One of the most relevant risk factors for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) development is chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection, but only a fraction of chronic HBV carriers develop HCC, indicating that complex interactions among viral, environmental and genetic factors lead to HCC in HBV-infected patients. So far, host genetic factors have incompletely been characterized. Therefore, we performed a genome-wide association (GWA) study in a Southern Chinese cohort consisting of 95 HBV-infected HCC patients (cases) and 97 HBV-infected patients without HCC (controls) using the Illumina Human610-Quad BeadChips. The top single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were then validated in an independent cohort of 500 cases and 728 controls. 4 SNPs (rs12682266, rs7821974, rs2275959, rs1573266) at chromosome 8p12 showed consistent association in both the GWA and replication phases (ORcombined = 1.31–1.39; pcombined = 2.71×10−5–5.19×10−4; PARcombined = 26–31%). We found a 2.3-kb expressed sequence tag (EST) in the region using in-silico data mining and verified the existence of the full-length EST experimentally. The expression level of the EST was significantly reduced in human HCC tumors in comparison to the corresponding non-tumorous liver tissues (P<0.001). Results from sequence analysis and in-vitro protein translation study suggest that the transcript might function as a long non-coding RNA. In summary, our study suggests that variations at chromosome 8p12 may promote HCC in patients with HBV. Further functional studies of this region may help understand HBV-associated hepatocarcinogenesis.
Angiogenesis may play a role in the pathogenesis of Non-Small Cell Lung cancer (NSCLC). The CXC (ELR+) chemokine family are powerful promoters of the angiogenic response.
The expression of the CXC (ELR+) family members (CXCL1-3/GROα-γ, CXCL8/IL-8, CXCR1/2) was examined in a series of resected fresh frozen NSCLC tumours. Additionally, the expression and epigenetic regulation of these chemokines was examined in normal bronchial epithelial and NSCLC cell lines.
Overall, expression of the chemokine ligands (CXCL1, 2, 8) and their receptors (CXCR1/2) were down regulated in tumour samples compared with normal, with the exception of CXCL3. CXCL8 and CXCR1/2 were found to be epigenetically regulated by histone post-translational modifications. Recombinant CXCL8 did not stimulate cell growth in either a normal bronchial epithelial or a squamous carcinoma cell line (SKMES-1). However, an increase was observed at 72 hours post treatment in an adenocarcinoma cell line.
CXC (ELR+) chemokines are dysregulated in NSCLC. The balance of these chemokines may be critical in the tumour microenvironment and requires further elucidation. It remains to be seen if epigenetic targeting of these pathways is a viable therapeutic option in lung cancer treatment.
Ultra high throughput sequencing (UHTS) technologies find an important application in targeted resequencing of candidate genes or of genomic intervals from genetic association studies. Despite the extraordinary power of these new methods, they are still rarely used in routine analysis of human genomic variants, in part because of the absence of specific standard procedures. The aim of this work is to provide human molecular geneticists with a tool to evaluate the best UHTS methodology for efficiently detecting DNA changes, from common SNPs to rare mutations.
We tested the three most widespread UHTS platforms (Roche/454 GS FLX Titanium, Illumina/Solexa Genome Analyzer II and Applied Biosystems/SOLiD System 3) on a well-studied region of the human genome containing many polymorphisms and a very rare heterozygous mutation located within an intronic repetitive DNA element. We identify the qualities and the limitations of each platform and describe some peculiarities of UHTS in resequencing projects.
When appropriate filtering and mapping procedures are applied UHTS technology can be safely and efficiently used as a tool for targeted human DNA variations detection. Unless particular and platform-dependent characteristics are needed for specific projects, the most relevant parameter to consider in mainstream human genome resequencing procedures is the cost per sequenced base-pair associated to each machine.
The BRCA1 gene is an important breast cancer susceptibility gene. Promoter polymorphisms can alter the binding affinity of transcription factors, changing transcriptional activity and may affect susceptibility to disease.
Methods and Results
By direct sequencing of the BRCA1 promoter region, we identified four polymorphisms c.-2804T>C (rs799908:T>C), c.-2265C>T (rs11655505:C>T), c.-2004A>G (rs799906:A>G) and c.-1896(ACA)1/(ACA)2 (rs8176071:(ACA)1/(ACA)2) present in Hong Kong Chinese. Each was studied independently and in combination by functional assays. While all four variants significantly altered promoter activity, the c.-2265T allele most clearly provided stronger binding than the C allele and the most common mutant haplotype which contains the c.-2265T allele increased promoter activity by 70%. Risk association first tested in breast cancer cases and age-matched controls of Hong Kong Chinese women and replicated in a large population-based study of Shanghai Chinese, altogether totaling over 3,000 subjects, demonstrated the c.-2265T allele carriers had a reduced risk for breast cancer (combined ORs=0.80, 95%CI=0.69–0.93; p=0.003) which was more evident among women aged ≥45 years at first diagnosis of breast cancer and without family history of breast cancer (combined ORs=0.75, 95%CI=0.61–0.91; p=0.004). The most common haplotype containing the c.-2265T allele also showed significant risk association for women aged ≥45 years without family history of breast cancer (ORs=0.64, 95%CI=0.46–0.89; p=0.008).
Our comprehensive study of BRCA1 promoter polymorphisms demonstrated four variants which altered promoter activity, and with the most significant contribution from c.-2265C>T, which could affect susceptibility to breast cancer in the Chinese population. Its significance in other populations remains to be investigated.
BRCA1 promoter; polymorphism; transcription activity; breast cancer; Chinese women
Identification of the nature of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-infected cells is crucial toward understanding the pathogenesis. Using multicolor colocalization techniques, we previously reported that SARS+ cells in the lung of fatally infected patients expressed the only known functional receptor, angiotensin-converting enzyme 2, and also a binding receptor, liver/lymph node–specific ICAM-3–grabbing non-integrin (CD209L). In this study, we show that SARS-infected cells also express the stem/progenitor cell markers CD34 and Oct-4, and do not express cytokeratin or surfactant. These putative lung stem/progenitor cells can also be identified in some non-SARS individuals and can be infected by SARS-coronavirus ex vivo. Infection of these cells may contribute to the loss of lung repair capacity that leads to respiratory failure as clinically observed.
Neuroblastoma is one of the most genomically heterogeneous childhood malignances studied to date, and the molecular events that occur during the course of the disease are not fully understood. Genomic studies in neuroblastoma have showed only a few recurrent mutations and a low somatic mutation burden. However, none of these studies has examined the mutations arising during the course of disease, nor have they systemically examined the expression of mutant genes. Here we performed genomic analyses on tumors taken during a 3.5 years disease course from a neuroblastoma patient (bone marrow biopsy at diagnosis, adrenal primary tumor taken at surgical resection, and a liver metastasis at autopsy). Whole genome sequencing of the index liver metastasis identified 44 non-synonymous somatic mutations in 42 genes (0.85 mutation/MB) and a large hemizygous deletion in the ATRX gene which has been recently reported in neuroblastoma. Of these 45 somatic alterations, 15 were also detected in the primary tumor and bone marrow biopsy, while the other 30 were unique to the index tumor, indicating accumulation of de novo mutations during therapy. Furthermore, transcriptome sequencing on the 3 tumors demonstrated only 3 out of the 15 commonly mutated genes (LPAR1, GATA2, and NUFIP1) had high level of expression of the mutant alleles, suggesting potential oncogenic driver roles of these mutated genes. Among them, the druggable G-protein coupled receptor LPAR1 was highly expressed in all tumors. Cells expressing the LPAR1 R163W mutant demonstrated a significantly increased motility through elevated Rho signaling, but had no effect on growth. Therefore, this study highlights the need for multiple biopsies and sequencing during progression of a cancer and combinatorial DNA and RNA sequencing approach for systematic identification of expressed driver mutations.
PARP-1 is a nuclear enzyme that plays an important role in DNA repair, recombination, proliferation and the genome stability. The PARP-1 Val762Ala polymorphism has been associated with increased risk of developing cancers of the prostate, esophagus and lung. The aim of this study was to determine whether the PARP-1 Val762Ala polymorphism is associated with the risk of cervical carcinoma. MA-PCR was used to genotype the PARP-1 Val762Ala polymorphism in 539 women with cervical carcinoma, 480 women with CIN and 800 controls. The genotyping method was confirmed by the DNA sequencing analysis. The PARP-1 Val762Ala polymorphism was not associated with the risk of CIN. However, women carrying the PARP-1 Ala762Ala genotype were significantly susceptible to cervical carcinoma (OR: 2.70, 95% CI: 1.47–3.70), and the similar results were also found in squamous cell carcinoma (OR: 2.56, 95% CI: 1.47–3.70). In HPV positive population, the PARP-1 Ala762Ala genotype was also associated with increased risk of cervical carcinoma (OR: 5.56, 95% CI: 2.08–14.3). Our results indicate that the PARP-1 Ala762Ala genotype increases the risk of cervical carcinoma.
Autism is a common, severe and highly heritable neurodevelopmental disorder in children, affecting up to 100 children per 10,000. The MET gene has been regarded as a promising candidate gene for this disorder because it is located within a replicated linkage interval, is involved in pathways affecting the development of the cerebral cortex and cerebellum in ways relevant to autism patients, and has shown significant association signals in previous studies.
Here, we present new ASD patient and control samples from Heilongjiang, China and use them in a case-control and family-based replication study of two MET variants. One SNP, rs38845, was successfully replicated in a case-control association study, but failed to replicate in a family-based study, possibly due to small sample size. The other SNP, rs1858830, failed to replicate in both case-control and family-based studies.
This is the first attempt to replicate associations in Chinese autism samples, and our result provides evidence that MET variants may be relevant to autism susceptibility in the Chinese Han population.
RNA-seq is a powerful tool for comprehensive characterization of whole transcriptome at both gene and exon levels and with a unique ability of identifying novel splicing variants. To date, RNA-seq analysis of HBV-related hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) has not been reported. In this study, we performed transcriptome analyses for 10 matched pairs of cancer and non-cancerous tissues from HCC patients on Solexa/Illumina GAII platform. On average, about 21.6 million sequencing reads and 10.6 million aligned reads were obtained for samples sequenced on each lane, which was able to identify >50% of all the annotated genes for each sample. Furthermore, we identified 1,378 significantly differently expressed genes (DEGs) and 24, 338 differentially expressed exons (DEEs). Comprehensive function analyses indicated that cell growth-related, metabolism-related and immune-related pathways were most significantly enriched by DEGs, pointing to a complex mechanism for HCC carcinogenesis. Positional gene enrichment analysis showed that DEGs were most significantly enriched at chromosome 8q21.3–24.3. The most interesting findings were from the analysis at exon levels where we characterized three major patterns of expression changes between gene and exon levels, implying a much complex landscape of transcript-specific differential expressions in HCC. Finally, we identified a novel highly up-regulated exon-exon junction in ATAD2 gene in HCC tissues. Overall, to our best knowledge, our study represents the most comprehensive characterization of HBV-related HCC transcriptome including exon level expression changes and novel splicing variants, which illustrated the power of RNA-seq and provided important clues for understanding the molecular mechanisms of HCC pathogenesis at system-wide levels.
Human papillomavirus 16 (HPV16) species group (alpha-9) of the Alphapapillomavirus genus contains HPV16, HPV31, HPV33, HPV35, HPV52, HPV58 and HPV67. These HPVs account for 75% of invasive cervical cancers worldwide. Viral variants of these HPVs differ in evolutionary history and pathogenicity. Moreover, a comprehensive nomenclature system for HPV variants is lacking, limiting comparisons between studies.
DNA from cervical samples previously characterized for HPV type were obtained from multiple geographic regions to screen for novel variants. The complete 8 kb genomes of 120 variants representing the major and minor lineages of the HPV16-related alpha-9 HPV types were sequenced to capture maximum viral heterogeneity. Viral evolution was characterized by constructing phylogenic trees based on complete genomes using multiple algorithms. Maximal and viral region specific divergence was calculated by global and pairwise alignments. Variant lineages were classified and named using an alphanumeric system; the prototype genome was assigned to the A lineage for all types.
The range of genome-genome sequence heterogeneity varied from 0.6% for HPV35 to 2.2% for HPV52 and included 1.4% for HPV31, 1.1% for HPV33, 1.7% for HPV58 and 1.1% for HPV67. Nucleotide differences of approximately 1.0% - 10.0% and 0.5%–1.0% of the complete genomes were used to define variant lineages and sublineages, respectively. Each gene/region differs in sequence diversity, from most variable to least variable: noncoding region 1 (NCR1) /noncoding region 2 (NCR2) >upstream regulatory region (URR)> E6/E7 > E2/L2 > E1/L1.
These data define maximum viral genomic heterogeneity of HPV16-related alpha-9 HPV variants. The proposed nomenclature system facilitates the comparison of variants across epidemiological studies. Sequence diversity and phylogenies of this clinically important group of HPVs provides the basis for further studies of discrete viral evolution, epidemiology, pathogenesis and preventative/therapeutic interventions.
Recent evidence suggested that prostate cancer stem/progenitor cells (CSC) are responsible for cancer initiation as well as disease progression. Unfortunately, conventional therapies are only effective in targeting the more differentiated cancer cells and spare the CSCs. Here, we report that PSP, an active component extracted from the mushroom Turkey tail (also known as Coriolus versicolor), is effective in targeting prostate CSCs. We found that treatment of the prostate cancer cell line PC-3 with PSP led to the down-regulation of CSC markers (CD133 and CD44) in a time and dose-dependent manner. Meanwhile, PSP treatment not only suppressed the ability of PC-3 cells to form prostaspheres under non-adherent culture conditions, but also inhibited their tumorigenicity in vivo, further proving that PSP can suppress prostate CSC properties. To investigate if the anti-CSC effect of PSP may lead to prostate cancer chemoprevention, transgenic mice (TgMAP) that spontaneously develop prostate tumors were orally fed with PSP for 20 weeks. Whereas 100% of the mice that fed with water only developed prostate tumors at the end of experiment, no tumors could be found in any of the mice fed with PSP, suggesting that PSP treatment can completely inhibit prostate tumor formation. Our results not only demonstrated the intriguing anti-CSC effect of PSP, but also revealed, for the first time, the surprising chemopreventive property of oral PSP consumption against prostate cancer.
Persistent high-risk type Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is recognized as a necessary cause of cervical cancer. This study aimed to compare the HPV prevalence and risk factors between women residing in Hong Kong (HK) and Guangzhou (GZ) region of China.
A total of 1,570 and 1,369 women were recruited from HK and GZ, respectively. The cytology samples were collected and tested for HPV infection. The overall and type-specific HPV prevalence and the potential risk factors for acquisition of HPV infection were studied. Women with normal cytology in the GZ cohort had significantly higher HPV prevalence (10%) than those in the HK cohort (6.2%, p<0.001). The patterns of the age-specific HPV prevalence were also different between the two cohorts. In the HK cohort, women at the age of 20–29 years old had the highest prevalence and a second peak was observed in the age of ≥60 years old. In the GZ cohort, the highest HPV prevalence was also observed in 20–29 years old but declined as the age increased and a second peak was not seen. HPV16 and HPV52 were the most common high-risk types found in the HK and GZ cohorts, respectively. Age was the most consistently observed independent risk factor for HPV infection in the HK, while the number of sexual partners had association in the GZ cohort.
Our study provides the current status and the epidemiological characteristics of HPV prevalence in Southern Chinese women. The results strongly suggested that population education and the effective cervical cancer screening would be vital in the prevention of cervical cancer.
Tumour-specific splicing is known to contribute to cancer progression. In the case of the L1 cell adhesion molecule (L1CAM), which is expressed in many human tumours and often linked to bad prognosis, alternative splicing results in a full-length form (FL-L1CAM) and a splice variant lacking exons 2 and 27 (SV-L1CAM). It has not been elucidated so far whether SV-L1CAM, classically considered as tumour-associated, or whether FL-L1CAM is the metastasis-promoting isoform. Here, we show that both variants were expressed in human ovarian carcinoma and that exposure of tumour cells to pro-metastatic factors led to an exclusive increase of FL-L1CAM expression. Selective overexpression of one isoform in different tumour cells revealed that only FL-L1CAM promoted experimental lung and/or liver metastasis in mice. In addition, metastasis formation upon up-regulation of FL-L1CAM correlated with increased invasive potential and elevated Matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2 and -9 expression and activity in vitro as well as enhanced gelatinolytic activity in vivo. In conclusion, we identified FL-L1CAM as the metastasis-promoting isoform, thereby exemplifying that high expression of a so-called tumour-associated variant, here SV-L1CAM, is not per se equivalent to a decisive role of this isoform in tumour progression.
Recent genome-wide association studies (GWASs) have identified candidate genes contributing to cancer risk through low-penetrance mutations. Many of these genes were unexpected and, intriguingly, included well-known players in carcinogenesis at the somatic level. To assess the hypothesis of a germline-somatic link in carcinogenesis, we evaluated the distribution of somatic gene labels within the ordered results of a breast cancer risk GWAS. This analysis suggested frequent influence on risk of genetic variation in loci encoding for “driver kinases” (i.e., kinases encoded by genes that showed higher somatic mutation rates than expected by chance and, therefore, whose deregulation may contribute to cancer development and/or progression). Assessment of these predictions using a population-based case-control study in Poland replicated the association for rs3732568 in EPHB1 (odds ratio (OR) = 0.79; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.63–0.98; Ptrend = 0.031). Analyses by early age at diagnosis and by estrogen receptor α (ERα) tumor status indicated potential associations for rs6852678 in CDKL2 (OR = 0.32, 95% CI: 0.10–1.00; Precessive = 0.044) and rs10878640 in DYRK2 (OR = 2.39, 95% CI: 1.32–4.30; Pdominant = 0.003), and for rs12765929, rs9836340, rs4707795 in BMPR1A, EPHA3 and EPHA7, respectively (ERα tumor status Pinteraction<0.05). The identification of three novel candidates as EPH receptor genes might indicate a link between perturbed compartmentalization of early neoplastic lesions and breast cancer risk and progression. Together, these data may lay the foundations for replication in additional populations and could potentially increase our knowledge of the underlying molecular mechanisms of breast carcinogenesis.
The incidence of colorectal cancer (CRC) increases with age and early onset indicates an increased likelihood for genetic predisposition for this disease. The somatic genetics of tumor development in relation to patient age remains mostly unknown. We have examined the mutation status of five known cancer critical genes in relation to age at diagnosis, and compared the genomic complexity of tumors from young patients without known CRC syndromes with those from elderly patients. Among 181 CRC patients, stratified by microsatellite instability status, DNA sequence changes were identified in KRAS (32%), BRAF (16%), PIK3CA (4%), PTEN (14%) and TP53 (51%). In patients younger than 50 years (n = 45), PIK3CA mutations were not observed and TP53 mutations were more frequent than in the older age groups. The total gene mutation index was lowest in tumors from the youngest patients. In contrast, the genome complexity, assessed as copy number aberrations, was highest in tumors from the youngest patients. A comparable number of tumors from young (<50 years) and old patients (>70 years) was quadruple negative for the four predictive gene markers (KRAS-BRAF-PIK3CA-PTEN); however, 16% of young versus only 1% of the old patients had tumor mutations in PTEN/PIK3CA exclusively. This implies that mutation testing for prediction of EGFR treatment response may be restricted to KRAS and BRAF in elderly (>70 years) patients. Distinct genetic differences found in tumors from young and elderly patients, whom are comparable for known clinical and pathological variables, indicate that young patients have a different genetic risk profile for CRC development than older patients.
The receptor tyrosine kinase Met is involved in the progression and metastasis of numerous human cancers. Although overexpression and autocrine activation of the Met signaling pathway are commonly found in human cancers, mutational activation of Met has been observed in small cell and non-small cell lung cancers, lung adenocarcinomas, renal carcinomas, and mesotheliomas.
To investigate the influence of mutationally activated Met in tumorigenesis, we utilized a novel mouse model. Previously, we observed that various Met mutations developed unique mutation-specific tumor spectra on a C57BL/6 background. Here, we assessed the effect of genetic background on the tumorigenic potential of mutationally activated Met. For this purpose, we created congenic knock-in lines of the Met mutations D1226N, M1248T, and Y1228C on the FVB/N background. Consistent with the mutation-specific tumor spectra, several of the mutations were associated with the same tumor types as observed on C57BL/6 background. However, on the FVB/N background most developed a high incidence of mammary carcinomas with diverse histopathologies.
This study demonstrates that on two distinct mouse backgrounds, Met is able to initiate tumorigenesis in multiple cell types, including epithelial, hematopoietic, and endothelial. Furthermore, these observations emphasize that even a modest increase in Met activation can initiate tumorigenesis with both the Met mutational spectra and host background having profound influence on the type of tumor generated. Greater insight into the interaction of genetic modifiers and Met signaling will significantly enhance our ability to tailor combination therapies for Met-driven cancers.
Association studies are a promising way to uncover the genetic basis of complex traits in wild populations. Data on population stratification, linkage disequilibrium and distribution of variant effect-sizes for different trait-types are required to predict study success but are lacking for most taxa. We quantified and investigated the impacts of these key variables in a large-scale association study of a strongly selected trait of medical importance: pyrethroid resistance in the African malaria vector Anopheles gambiae.
We genotyped ≈1500 resistance-phenotyped wild mosquitoes from Ghana and Cameroon using a 1536-SNP array enriched for candidate insecticide resistance gene SNPs. Three factors greatly impacted study power. (1) Population stratification, which was attributable to co-occurrence of molecular forms (M and S), and cryptic within-form stratification necessitating both a partitioned analysis and genomic control. (2) All SNPs of substantial effect (odds ratio, OR>2) were rare (minor allele frequency, MAF<0.05). (3) Linkage disequilibrium (LD) was very low throughout most of the genome. Nevertheless, locally high LD, consistent with a recent selective sweep, and uniformly high ORs in each subsample facilitated significant direct and indirect detection of the known insecticide target site mutation kdr L1014F (OR≈6; P<10−6), but with resistance level modified by local haplotypic background.
Primarily as a result of very low LD in wild A. Gambiae, LD-based association mapping is challenging, but is feasible at least for major effect variants, especially where LD is enhanced by selective sweeps. Such variants will be of greatest importance for predictive diagnostic screening.