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author:("ill, Barbara")
1.  c-MYC inhibition impairs hypoxia response in glioblastoma multiforme 
Oncotarget  2016;7(22):33257-33271.
The c-MYC oncoprotein is a DNA binding transcription factor that enhances the expression of many active genes. c-MYC transcriptional signatures vary according to the transcriptional program defined in each cell type during differentiation. Little is known on the involvement of c-MYC in regulation of gene expression programs that are induced by extracellular cues such as a changing microenvironment. Here we demonstrate that inhibition of c-MYC in glioblastoma multiforme cells blunts hypoxia-dependent glycolytic reprogramming and mitochondria fragmentation in hypoxia. This happens because c-MYC inhibition alters the cell transcriptional response to hypoxia and finely tunes the expression of a subset of Hypoxia Inducible Factor 1-regulated genes. We also show that genes whose expression in hypoxia is affected by c-MYC inhibition are able to distinguish the Proneural subtype of glioblastoma multiforme, thus potentially providing a molecular signature for this class of tumors that are the least tractable among glioblastomas.
doi:10.18632/oncotarget.8921
PMCID: PMC5078092  PMID: 27119353
HIF; c-MYC; hypoxia; glycolysis; glioblastoma
2.  Myc and Omomyc functionally associate with the Protein Arginine Methyltransferase 5 (PRMT5) in glioblastoma cells 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:15494.
The c-Myc protein is dysregulated in many human cancers and its function has not been fully elucitated yet. The c-Myc inhibitor Omomyc displays potent anticancer properties in animal models. It perturbs the c-Myc protein network, impairs c-Myc binding to the E-boxes, retaining transrepressive properties and inducing histone deacetylation. Here we have employed Omomyc to further analyse c-Myc activity at the epigenetic level. We show that both Myc and Omomyc stimulate histone H4 symmetric dimethylation of arginine (R) 3 (H4R3me2s), in human glioblastoma and HEK293T cells. Consistently, both associated with protein Arginine Methyltransferase 5 (PRMT5)—the catalyst of the reaction—and its co-factor Methylosome Protein 50 (MEP50). Confocal experiments showed that Omomyc co-localized with c-Myc, PRMT5 and H4R3me2s-enriched chromatin domains. Finally, interfering with PRMT5 activity impaired target gene activation by Myc whereas it restrained Omomyc-dependent repression. The identification of a histone-modifying complex associated with Omomyc represents the first demonstration of an active role of this miniprotein in modifying chromatin structure and adds new information regarding its action on c-Myc targets. More importantly, the observation that c-Myc may recruit PRMT5-MEP50, inducing H4R3 symmetric di-methylation, suggests previously unpredictable roles for c-Myc in gene expression regulation and new potential targets for therapy.
doi:10.1038/srep15494
PMCID: PMC4643314  PMID: 26563484
3.  The ciliary proteins Meckelin and Jouberin are required for retinoic acid-dependent neural differentiation of mouse embryonic stem cells 
The dysfunction of the primary cilium, a complex, evolutionarily conserved, organelle playing an important role in sensing and transducing cell signals, is the unifying pathogenetic mechanism of a growing number of diseases collectively termed “ciliopathies”, typically characterized by multiorgan involvement. Developmental defects of the central nervous system (CNS) characterize a subset of ciliopathies showing clinical and genetic overlap, such as Joubert syndrome (JS) and Meckel syndrome (MS). Although several knock-out mice lacking a variety of ciliary proteins have shown the importance of primary cilia in the development of the brain and CNS-derived structures, developmental in vitro studies, extremely useful to unravel the role of primary cilia along the course of neural differentiation, are still missing.
Mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs) have been recently proven to mimic brain development, giving the unique opportunity to dissect the CNS differentiation process along its sequential steps. In the present study we show that mESCs express the ciliary proteins Meckelin and Jouberin in a developmentally-regulated manner, and that these proteins co-localize with acetylated tubulin labeled cilia located at the outer embryonic layer. Further, mESCs differentiating along the neuronal lineage activate the cilia-dependent sonic hedgehog signaling machinery, which is impaired in Meckelin knockout cells but results unaffected in Jouberin-deficient mESCs. However, both lose the ability to acquire a neuronal phenotype. Altogether, these results demonstrate a pivotal role of Meckelin and Jouberin during embryonic neural specification and indicate mESCs as a suitable tool to investigate the developmental impact of ciliary proteins dysfunction.
doi:10.1016/j.diff.2014.02.005
PMCID: PMC4355919  PMID: 24613594
Embryonic stem cells; Neural differentiation; Primary cilium
4.  Mutations in TMEM216 perturb ciliogenesis and cause Joubert, Meckel and related syndromes 
Nature genetics  2010;42(7):619-625.
Joubert syndrome (JBTS), related disorders (JSRD) and Meckel syndrome (MKS) are ciliopathies. We now report that MKS2 and JBTS2 loci are allelic and due to mutations in TMEM216, encoding an uncharacterized tetraspan transmembrane protein. JBTS2 patients displayed frequent nephronophthisis and polydactytly, and two cases conformed to the Oro-Facio-Digital type VI phenotype, whereas skeletal dysplasia was common in MKS fetuses. A single p.R73L mutation was identified in all patients of Ashkenazi Jewish descent (n=10). TMEM216 localized to the base of primary cilia, and loss of TMEM216 in patient fibroblasts or following siRNA knockdown caused defective ciliogenesis and centrosomal docking, with concomitant hyperactivation of RhoA and Dishevelled. TMEM216 complexed with Meckelin, encoded by a gene also mutated in JSRD and MKS. Abrogation of tmem216 expression in zebrafish led to gastrulation defects that overlap with other ciliary morphants. The data implicate a new family of proteins in the ciliopathies, and further support allelism between ciliopathy disorders.
doi:10.1038/ng.594
PMCID: PMC2894012  PMID: 20512146
5.  Endothelial NOS, estrogen receptor β, and HIFs cooperate in the activation of a prognostic transcriptional pattern in aggressive human prostate cancer 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2009;119(5):1093-1108.
The identification of biomarkers that distinguish between aggressive and indolent forms of prostate cancer (PCa) is crucial for diagnosis and treatment. In this study, we used cultured cells derived from prostate tissue from patients with PCa to define a molecular mechanism underlying the most aggressive form of PCa that involves the functional activation of eNOS and HIFs in association with estrogen receptor β (ERβ). Cells from patients with poor prognosis exhibited a constitutively hypoxic phenotype and increased NO production. Upon estrogen treatment, formation of ERβ/eNOS, ERβ/HIF-1α, or ERβ/HIF-2α combinatorial complexes led to chromatin remodeling and transcriptional induction of prognostic genes. Tissue microarray analysis, using an independent cohort of patients, established a hierarchical predictive power for these proteins, with expression of eNOS plus ERβ and nuclear eNOS plus HIF-2α being the most relevant indicators of adverse clinical outcome. Genetic or pharmacologic modulation of eNOS expression and activity resulted in reciprocal conversion of the transcriptional signature in cells from patients with bad or good outcome, respectively, highlighting the relevance of eNOS in PCa progression. Our work has considerable clinical relevance, since it may enable the earlier diagnosis of aggressive PCa through routine biopsy assessment of eNOS, ERβ, and HIF-2α expression. Furthermore, proposing eNOS as a therapeutic target fosters innovative therapies for PCa with NO inhibitors, which are employed in preclinical trials in non-oncological diseases.
doi:10.1172/JCI35079
PMCID: PMC2673846  PMID: 19363294

Results 1-5 (5)