Variants in regulatory regions are predicted to play an important role in disease susceptibility of common diseases. Polymorphisms mapping to microRNA (miRNA) binding sites have been shown to disrupt the ability of miRNAs to target genes resulting in differential mRNA and protein expression. Skin tumor susceptibility 5 (Skts5) was identified as a locus conferring susceptibility to chemically-induced skin cancer in NIH/Ola by SPRET/Outbred F1 backcrosses. To determine if polymorphisms between the strains which mapped to putative miRNA binding sites in the 3′ untranslated region (3′UTR) of genes at Skts5 influenced expression, we conducted a systematic evaluation of 3′UTRs of candidate genes across this locus. Nine genes had polymorphisms in their 3′UTRs which fit the linkage data and eight of these contained polymorphisms suspected to interfere with or introduce miRNA binding. 3′UTRs of six genes, Bcap29, Dgkb, Hbp1, Pik3cg, Twistnb, and Tspan13 differentially affected luciferase expression, but did not appear to be differentially regulated by the evaluated miRNAs predicted to bind to only one of the two isoforms. 3′UTRs from four additional genes chosen from the locus that fit less stringent criteria were evaluated. Ifrd1 and Etv1 showed differences and contained polymorphisms predicted to disrupt or create miRNA binding sites but showed no difference in regulation by the miRNAs tested. In summary, multiple 3′UTRs with putative functional variants between susceptible and resistant strains of mice influenced differential expression independent of predicted miRNA binding.
The functional polymorphism (rs1800566) in the NQO1 gene, a 609C>T substitution, leading to proline-to-serine amino-acid and enzyme activity changes, has been implicated in cancer risk, but individually published studies showed inconclusive results.
We performed a meta-analysis of 20 publications with a total of 5,491 cases and 5,917 controls, mainly on gastrointestinal (GI) cancers. We summarized the data on the association between the NQO1 609C>T polymorphism and risk of GI cancers and performed subgroup analyses by ethnicity, cancer site, and study quality. We found that the variant CT heterozygous and CT/TT genotypes of the NQO1 609 C>T polymorphism were associated with a modestly increased risk of GI cancers (CT vs. CC: OR = 1.10, 95% CI = 1.01 – 1.19, Pheterogeneity = 0.27, I2 = 0.15; CT/TT vs. CC: OR = 1.11, 95%CI = 1.02 – 1.20, Pheterogeneity = 0.14; I2 = 0.27). Following further stratified analyses, the increased risk was only observed in subgroups of Caucasians, colorectal cancer in Caucasians, and high quality studies.
This meta-analysis suggests that the NQO1 609T allele is a low-penetrance risk factor for GI cancers. Although the effect on GI cancers may be modified by ethnicity and cancer sites, small sample seizes of the subgroup analyses suggest that further larger studies are needed, especially for non-colorectal GI cancers in Caucasians and GI cancers in Asians.
Wilms tumor (WT) has been a model to study kidney embryogenesis and tumorigenesis and, although associated with hereditary, cancer predisposition syndromes, the majority of tumors occur sporadically. To analyze genetic changes in WT we have defined copy number changes and loss of heterozygosity in 56 Wilms tumors using high resolution oligonucleotide arrays at a average resolution of ∼12 Kb. Consistent deletions were seen on chromosomes 1p, 4q, 7p, 9q, 11p, 11q, 14q, 16q, and 21q. High frequency gains were seen for 1q and lower frequency gains were seen on 7q and chromosomes 8, 12 and 18. The high resolution provided by the SNP mapping arrays has defined minimal regions of deletion for many of these LOH events. Analysis of CNAs by tumor stage show relatively stable karyotypes in stage 1 tumors and more complex aCGH profiles in tumors from stages 3–5.
The development of microarray-based genetic tests for diseases that are caused by known mutations is becoming increasingly important. The key obstacle to developing functional genotyping assays is that such mutations need to be genotyped regardless of their location in genomic regions. These regions include large variations in G+C content, and structural features like hairpins.
We describe a rational, stable method for screening and combining assay conditions for the genetic analysis of 42 Phenylketonuria-associated mutations in the phenylalanine hydroxylase gene. The mutations are located in regions with large variations in G+C content (20–75%). Custom-made microarrays with different lengths of complementary probe sequences and spacers were hybridized with pooled PCR products of 12 exons from each of 38 individual patient DNA samples. The arrays were washed with eight buffers with different stringencies in a custom-made microfluidic system. The data were used to assess which parameters play significant roles in assay development.
Several assay development methods found suitable probes and assay conditions for a functional test for all investigated mutation sites. Probe length, probe spacer length, and assay stringency sufficed as variable parameters in the search for a functional multiplex assay. We discuss the optimal assay development methods for several different scenarios.
There have been few published analyses of the effects of missense mutations of the BRCA1 gene on BRCA1 protein function. In this study, we adapted a previously described homology directed recombination (HDR) assay to the analysis of the effects of BRCA1 point substitutions on its function in recombination. We established a HeLa-derived cell line, which has integrated in its genome a recombination substrate. Following transfection of a plasmid that expresses the endonuclease that creates a double-stranded break in the recombination substrate, HDR is readily scored by the percentage of GFP-positive cells. By combining RNAi specific for the cellular BRCA1 mRNA with expression of BRCA1 mutants resistant to the RNAi, we could effectively replace the endogenous BRCA1 protein with selected point mutants of BRCA1 and test these in the recombination assay. We found that both, the amino- and carboxy-terminal ~300 residues of BRCA1 were essential for directing HDR. Sixteen missense mutants from the amino terminus of BRCA1 were analyzed for function in HDR, and we found that several point mutants fully replaced the wild-type BRCA1 and are neutral in this process. Mutation of any single zinc-coordinating residue was fully defective in this assay. Several protein variants due to missense mutations, including methionine-18 to threonine and threonine-37 to arginine were also found to be defective for recombination. We have thus established a robust assay system for the analysis of the effects of specific missense mutations of BRCA1 in regulating the homologous recombination process.
Studies have suggested that somatic events in tumors can depend on an individual's constitutional genotype. We used squamous cell carcinomas (SCC) of the skin, which arise in high multiplicity in organ transplant recipients, as a model to compare the pattern of somatic alterations within and across individuals. Specifically, we performed array comparative genomic hybridization on 104 tumors from 25 unrelated individuals who each had three or more independently arisen SCCs and compared the profiles occurring within patients to profiles of tumors across a larger set of 135 patients. In general, chromosomal aberrations in SCCs were more similar within than across individuals (two-sided exact-test p-value ), consistent with the notion that the genetic background was affecting the pattern of somatic changes. To further test this possibility, we performed allele-specific imbalance studies using microsatellite markers mapping to 14 frequently aberrant regions of multiple independent tumors from 65 patients. We identified nine loci which show evidence of preferential allelic imbalance. One of these loci, 8q24, corresponded to a region in which multiple single nucleotide polymorphisms have been associated with increased cancer risk in genome-wide association studies (GWAS). We tested three implicated variants and identified one, rs13281615, with evidence of allele-specific imbalance (p-value = 0.012). The finding of an independently identified cancer susceptibility allele with allele-specific imbalance in a genomic region affected by recurrent DNA copy number changes suggest that it may also harbor risk alleles for SCC. Together these data provide strong evidence that the genetic background is a key driver of somatic events in cancer, opening an opportunity to expand this approach to identify cancer risk alleles.
Tumors exhibit DNA copy number gains and losses, many of which alter the dosage of genes that promote or suppress tumorigenesis. Evidence from familial cancer syndromes and animal models have shown that DNA copy number changes acquired somatically during tumor progression can be controlled by the constitutional genotype. The genetic heterogeneity among humans makes it difficult to systematically assess the extent of this effect. We used a unique clinical scenario of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), which can arise in high multiplicity within patients, to compare the pattern of somatic alterations on a homogeneous genetic background. We examined the genome-wide pattern of DNA copy number changes of tumors from individuals who had three or more independent SCCs. We identified multiple chromosomal regions that showed higher frequency of change in SCCs within patients than across patients, suggesting that the genetic background of the individual is important in driving these changes. We further confirmed this by identifying eight regions with strong evidence for a selection of loss or gain of a particular allele within patients. Together these data demonstrate that the genetic background of an individual influences the pattern of somatic alterations in tumors, offering a novel approach to map susceptibility alleles.
Epigenetic alterations of the genome such as DNA promoter methylation and chromatin remodeling play an important role in tumorigenesis. Recent findings indicate epigenetic modifications as key factors in breast carcinogenesis. These modifications are quite appealing as targets for preventative care and therapeutics because of their potential for reversal. Future medical care for breast cancer patients will likely depend upon a better understanding of the roles epigenetic modifications play in carcinogenesis. Here, we discuss the importance of epigenetics in breast cancer detection, prognosis, and therapy with an emphasis on mechanisms and epigenetic contributions to field cancerization effects.
epigenetics; breast cancer; field cancerization BRCA; ER
In immunocompromised individuals, such as organ transplant recipients, the risk of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is increased 60-250 fold, and there is an increased likelihood to develop aggressive, metastatic SCC. An understanding of the genes involved in SCC tumorigenesis is critical to prevent SCC-associated morbidity and mortality. Mouse models show that different immunosuppressive drugs lead to SCCs varying in size, number, and malignant potential. In this study we utilized mouse models that mimic adult transplant recipients to study the effect of immunosuppressive drugs and UV light on SCC development. UV-induced tumors from six treatment groups, control, tacrolimus (Tac), rapamycin (Rap), cyclosporin (CsA), mycophenolate mofetil (MMF), and Rap plus CsA, were evaluated by array comparative genomic hybridication. Mouse SCCs appear to show similar genomic aberrations as those reported in human SCCs and offer the ability to identify genomic changes associated with specific and combinatorial effects of drugs. Fewer aberrations were seen in tumors of mice treated with MMF or Rap. Tumors from Tac treated animals showed the highest number of changes. Calcineurin inhibitors (Tac and CsA) did not cluster together by their genomic aberrations, indicating their contribution to UV mediated carcinogenesis may be through different pathways. The combination treatment (Rap plus CsA) did not cluster with either treatment individually, suggesting it may influence SCC tumorigenesis via a different mechanism. Future studies will identify specific genes mapping to regions of aberration that are different between treatment groups to identify target pathways that may be affected by these drugs.
DNA-based microarrays are increasingly central to biomedical research. Selecting oligonucleotide sequences that will behave consistently across experiments is essential to the design, production and performance of DNA microarrays. Here our aim was to improve on probe design parameters by empirically and systematically evaluating probe performance in a multivariate context. We used experimental data from 19 array CGH hybridizations to assess the probe performance of 385,474 probes tiled in the Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) region of the X chromosome. Our results demonstrate that probe melting temperature, single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), and homocytosine motifs all have a strong effect on probe behavior. These findings, when incorporated into future microarray probe selection algorithms, may improve microarray performance for a wide variety of applications.
Twenty percent of individuals with a strong family and/or personal history of breast and ovarian cancer carry a deleterious mutation in BRCA1 or BRCA2. Identification of mutations in these genes is extremely beneficial for patients pursuing risk reduction strategies. Approximately 7% of individuals who have genetic testing of BRCA1 and BRCA2 carry a variant of uncertain significance (VUS), making clinical management less certain. The majority of identified VUS occur only in one to two individuals; these variants are not able to be classified using current classification models with segregation analysis components.
To develop a clinically applicable method that can predict the pathogenicity of VUS that does not require familial information or segregation analysis, we identified characteristics of breast or ovarian tumors that distinguished sporadic tumors from tumors with BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations. Study participants included individuals with known deleterious mutations in BRCA1 or BRCA2 and individuals with classified or unclassified BRCA variants.
We applied the models to 57 tumors with 43 different deleterious BRCA mutations and 57 tumors with 54 unique classified and unclassified BRCA variants. Of the 33 previously unclassified VUS studied, we found evidence of neutrality for 21.
Our models showed 98% sensitivity and 76% specificity for predicting classified DNA changes. We classified 64% of unknown variants as neutral. Classification of VUS as neutral will have immediate benefit for those individuals and their family members. These models are adaptable for the clinic and will be useful for individuals with limited available family history.
In lung cancer, a patient's survival is poor with a wide variation in survival within the stage of disease. The aim of this study was to investigate the familial concordance in lung cancer survival by means of analyses of pairs with different degrees of familial relationships.
Our population-based Swedish family database included three million families and over 58 100 lung cancer patients. We modelled the proband (parent, sibling, spouse) survival utilizing a multivariate proportional hazard (Cox) model adjusting for possible confounders of survival. Subsequently, the survival in proband's relative (child, sibling, spouse) was analysed with a Cox model.
By use of Cox modelling with 5 years follow-up, we noted a decreased hazard ratio for death in children with good parental survival (Hazard Ratio [HR] = 0.71, 95% CI = 0.51 to 0.99), compared to those with poor parental survival. Also for siblings, a very strong protective effect was seen (HR = 0.14, 95% CI = 0.030 to 0.65). Finally, in spouses no correlation in survival was found.
Our findings suggest that genetic factors are important in lung cancer survival. In a clinical setting, information on prognosis in a relative may be vital in foreseeing the survival in an individual newly diagnosed with lung cancer. Future molecular studies enhancing the understanding of the underlying mechanisms and pathways are needed.
Mus spretus diverged from Mus musculus over one million years ago. These mice are genetically and phenotypically divergent. Despite the value of utilizing M. musculus and M. spretus for quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping, relatively little genomic information on M. spretus exists, and most of the available sequence and polymorphic data is for one strain of M. spretus, Spret/Ei. In previous work, we mapped fifteen loci for skin cancer susceptibility using four different M. spretus by M. musculus F1 backcrosses. One locus, skin tumor susceptibility 5 (Skts5) on chromosome 12, shows strong linkage in one cross.
To identify potential candidate genes for Skts5, we sequenced 65 named and unnamed genes and coding elements mapping to the peak linkage area in outbred spretus, Spret/EiJ, FVB/NJ, and NIH/Ola. We identified polymorphisms in 62 of 65 genes including 122 amino acid substitutions. To look for polymorphisms consistent with the linkage data, we sequenced exons with amino acid polymorphisms in two additional M. spretus strains and one additional M. musculus strain generating 40.1 kb of sequence data. Eight candidate variants were identified that fit with the linkage data. To determine the degree of variation across M. spretus, we conducted phylogenetic analyses. The relatedness of the M. spretus strains at this locus is consistent with the proximity of region of ascertainment of the ancestral mice.
Our analyses suggest that, if Skts5 on chromosome 12 is representative of other regions in the genome, then published genomic data for Spret/EiJ are likely to be of high utility for genomic studies in other M. spretus strains.
Evidence strongly suggests that spontaneous doublet mutations in normal mouse tissues generally arise from chronocoordinate events. These chronocoordinate mutations sometimes reflect “mutation showers”, which are multiple chronocoordinate mutations spanning many kilobases. However, little is known about mutagenesis of doublet and multiplet mutations (domuplets) in human cancer. Lung cancer accounts for about 25% of all cancer deaths. Herein, we analyze the epidemiology of domuplets in the EGFR and TP53 genes in lung cancer. The EGFR gene is an oncogene in which doublets are generally driver plus driver mutations, while the TP53 gene is a tumor suppressor gene with a more typical situation in which doublets derive from a driver and passenger mutation.
EGFR mutations identified by sequencing were collected from 66 published papers and our updated EGFR mutation database (www.egfr.org). TP53 mutations were collected from IARC version 12 (www-p53.iarc.fr). For EGFR and TP53 doublets, no clearly significant differences in race, ethnicity, gender and smoking status were observed. Doublets in the EGFR and TP53 genes in human lung cancer are elevated about eight- and three-fold, respectively, relative to spontaneous doublets in mouse (6% and 2.3% versus 0.7%).
Although no one characteristic is definitive, the aggregate properties of doublet and multiplet mutations in lung cancer are consistent with a subset derived from chronocoordinate events in the EGFR gene: i) the eight frameshift doublets (present in 0.5% of all patients with EGFR mutations) are clustered and produce a net in-frame change; ii) about 32% of doublets are very closely spaced (≤30 nt); and iii) multiplets contain two or more closely spaced mutations. TP53 mutations in lung cancer are very closely spaced (≤30 nt) in 33% of doublets, and multiplets generally contain two or more very closely spaced mutations. Work in model systems is necessary to confirm the significance of chronocoordinate events in lung and other cancers.
The Ccs3 locus on mouse chromosome 3 regulates differential susceptibility of A/J (A, susceptible) and C57BL/6J (B6, resistant) mouse strains to chemically-induced colorectal cancer (CRC). Here, we report the high-resolution positional mapping of the gene underlying the Ccs3 effect. Using phenotype/genotype correlation in a series of 33 AcB/BcA recombinant congenic mouse strains, as well as in groups of backcross populations bearing unique recombinant chromosomes for the interval, and in subcongenic strains, we have delineated the maximum size of the Ccs3 physical interval to a ∼2.15 Mb segment. This interval contains 12 annotated transcripts. Sequencing of positional candidates in A and B6 identified many either low-priority coding changes or non-protein coding variants. We found a unique copy number variant (CNV) in intron 15 of the Nfkb1 gene. The CNV consists of two copies of a 54 bp sequence immediately adjacent to the exon 15 splice site, while only one copy is found in CRC-susceptible A. The Nfkb1 protein (p105/p50) expression is much reduced in A tumors compared to normal A colonic epithelium as analyzed by immunohistochemistry. Studies in primary macrophages from A and B6 mice demonstrate a marked differential activation of the NfκB pathway by lipopolysaccharide (kinetics of stimulation and maximum levels of phosphorylated IκBα), with a more robust activation being associated with resistance to CRC. NfκB has been previously implicated in regulating homeostasis and inflammatory response in the intestinal mucosa. The interval contains another positional candidate Slc39a8 that is differentially expressed in A vs B6 colons, and that has recently been associated in CRC tumor aggressiveness in humans.
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified around 60 common variants associated with multiple sclerosis (MS), but these loci only explain a fraction of the heritability of MS. Some missing heritability may be caused by rare variants that have been suggested to play an important role in the aetiology of complex diseases such as MS. However current genetic and statistical methods for detecting rare variants are expensive and time consuming. ‘Population-based linkage analysis’ (PBLA) or so called identity-by-descent (IBD) mapping is a novel way to detect rare variants in extant GWAS datasets. We employed BEAGLE fastIBD to search for rare MS variants utilising IBD mapping in a large GWAS dataset of 3,543 cases and 5,898 controls. We identified a genome-wide significant linkage signal on chromosome 19 (LOD = 4.65; p = 1.9×10−6). Network analysis of cases and controls sharing haplotypes on chromosome 19 further strengthened the association as there are more large networks of cases sharing haplotypes than controls. This linkage region includes a cluster of zinc finger genes of unknown function. Analysis of genome wide transcriptome data suggests that genes in this zinc finger cluster may be involved in very early developmental regulation of the CNS. Our study also indicates that BEAGLE fastIBD allowed identification of rare variants in large unrelated population with moderate computational intensity. Even with the development of whole-genome sequencing, IBD mapping still may be a promising way to narrow down the region of interest for sequencing priority.
Recent studies have revealed that BRCA1 and BRCA2 germline mutation-related breast cancers show frequent overexpression of hypoxia inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α), the key regulator of the hypoxia response. However, the question remained whether hypoxia is a late stage bystander or a true carcinogenetic event in patients with hereditary predisposition. We therefore studied HIF-1α overexpression in ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), an established precursor of invasive breast cancer.
We used immunohistochemistry to examine the expression of the hypoxia markers HIF-1α, CAIX and Glut-1 in DCIS and available invasive carcinoma lesions of 32 BRCA1, 16 BRCA2 and 77 non-BRCA mutation-related cases. HIF-1α expression was detected in 63% of BRCA1 and 62% of BRCA2 as compared to 34% of non-BRCA mutation-related DCIS cases (p = 0.005). CAIX overexpression was present in 56% of BRCA1 and 44% of BRCA2 as compared to 6% of non-BRCA mutation-related DCIS cases (p = 0.000). Glut-1 overexpression was observed in 59% of BRCA1, 75% of BRCA2 and 67% of non-BRCA mutation-related DCIS cases (p = 0.527). Overall, HIF-1α, CAIX and Glut-1 expression in BRCA mutation-related DCIS matched the expression in the accompanying invasive cancers in 60% or more of cases. In non-BRCA mutation-related cases the expression of the hypoxia markers in DCIS matched the expression in the invasive part in 46% or more of the cases.
Although BRCA1 and BRCA2 germline mutation-related invasive breast cancers are different in many ways, the hypoxia-related proteins HIF-1α, CAIX and Glut-1 are expressed in both DCIS and invasive lesions of BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers. This suggests that hypoxia may already play a role in the DCIS stage of BRCA1 and BRCA2 germline mutation related breast carcinogenesis, and may also drive cancer progression. Hypoxia-related proteins are therefore putative targets for therapy and molecular imaging for early detection and monitoring therapy response in BRCA mutation patients.
The identification of the two most prevalent susceptibility genes in breast cancer, BRCA1 and BRCA2, was the beginning of a sustained effort to uncover new genes explaining the missing heritability in this disease. Today, additional high, moderate and low penetrance genes have been identified in breast cancer, such as P53, PTEN, STK11, PALB2 or ATM, globally accounting for around 35 percent of the familial cases. In the present study we used massively parallel sequencing to analyze 7 BRCA1/BRCA2 negative families, each having at least 6 affected women with breast cancer (between 6 and 10) diagnosed under the age of 60 across generations. After extensive filtering, Sanger sequencing validation and co-segregation studies, variants were prioritized through either control-population studies, including up to 750 healthy individuals, or case-control assays comprising approximately 5300 samples. As a result, a known moderate susceptibility indel variant (CHEK2 1100delC) and a catalogue of 11 rare variants presenting signs of association with breast cancer were identified. All the affected genes are involved in important cellular mechanisms like DNA repair, cell proliferation and survival or cell cycle regulation. This study highlights the need to investigate the role of rare variants in familial cancer development by means of novel high throughput analysis strategies optimized for genetically heterogeneous scenarios. Even considering the intrinsic limitations of exome resequencing studies, our findings support the hypothesis that the majority of non-BRCA1/BRCA2 breast cancer families might be explained by the action of moderate and/or low penetrance susceptibility alleles.
The progesterone receptor (PgR), a sex steroid hormone receptor that binds progesterone is critical for normal breast development. The PgR (+331G/A, rs10895068) promoter polymorphism is associated with cancer risk possibly by altering the expression of progesterone receptor B isoform. Previous studies have provided inconsistent results. To validate the association between the PgR +331G/A polymorphism and female reproductive cancer risk (breast, endometrial and ovarian cancer), we performed a meta-analysis of 19 studies (19,978 cases and 24,525 controls) by using the CMA Version 2 software. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were used to assess the strength of the associations. The overall results indicated that the variant allele and genotypes were associated with a mild increase in overall female reproductive cancer risk (A vs. G: OR = 1.063, 95% CI = 1.001–1.129; AA+AG vs. GG: OR = 1.067, 95% CI = 1.002–1.136). The results suggest that the PgR +331G/A polymorphism might be associated with an increased female reproductive cancer risk.
The incidence of penile cancer varies between populations but is rare in developed nations. Penile cancer is associated with a number of established risk factors and associated diseases including phimosis with chronic inflammation, human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, poor hygiene and smoking. The objective of this study was to identify genes related to this type of cancer. The detection of HPV was analyzed in 47 penile squamous cell carcinoma samples. HPV DNA was detected in 48.9% of penile squamous cell carcinoma cases. High-risk HPV were present in 42.5% of cases and low-risk HPV were detected in 10.6% of penile squamous cell carcinomas. The RaSH approach identified differential expression of Annexin A1 (ANXA1), p16, RPL6, PBEF1 and KIAA1033 in high-risk HPV positive penile carcinoma; ANXA1 and p16 were overexpressed in penile squamous cells positive for high-risk HPVs compared to normal penile samples by qPCR. ANXA1 and p16 proteins were significantly more expressed in the cells from high-risk HPV-positive penile carcinoma as compared to HPV-negative tumors (p<0.0001) independently of the subtype of the carcinoma. Overexpression of ANXA1 might be mediated by HPV E6 in penile squamous cell carcinoma of patients with high-risk HPVs, suggesting that this gene plays an important role in penile cancer.
Alopecia areata (AA) is a common autoimmune disorder mostly presented as round patches of hair loss and subclassified into alopecia totalis/alopecia universalis (AT/AU) based on the area of alopecia. Although AA is relatively common, only 5% of AA patients progress to AT/AU, which affect the whole scalp and whole body respectively. To determine genetic determinants of this orphan disease, we undertook whole-exome sequencing of 6 samples from AU patients, and 26 variants in immune-related genes were selected as candidates. When an additional 14 AU samples were genotyped for these candidates, 6 of them remained at the level of significance in comparison with 155 Asian controls (p<1.92×10−3). Linkage disequilibrium was observed between some of the most significant SNPs, including rs41559420 of HLA-DRB5 (p<0.001, OR 44.57) and rs28362679 of BTNL2 (p<0.001, OR 30.21). While BTNL2 was reported as a general susceptibility gene of AA previously, HLA-DRB5 has not been implicated in AA. In addition, we found several genetic variants in novel genes (HLA-DMB, TLR1, and PMS2) and discovered an additional locus on HLA-A, a known susceptibility gene of AA. This study provides further evidence for the association of previously reported genes with AA and novel findings such as HLA-DRB5, which might represent a hidden culprit gene for AU.
Sporadic canine colorectal cancers (CRCs) should make excellent models for studying the corresponding human cancers. To molecularly characterize canine CRC, we investigated exonic sequence mutations of adenomatous polyposis coli (APC), the best known tumor suppressor gene of human CRC, in 23 sporadic canine colorectal tumors, including 8 adenomas and 15 adenocarcinomas, via exon-resequencing analysis. As a comparison, we also performed the same sequencing analysis on 10 other genes, either located at human 5q22 (the same locus as APC) or 18q21 (also frequently altered in human CRC), or known to play a role in human carcinogenesis. We noted that APC was the most significantly mutated gene in both canine adenomas and adenocarcinomas among the 11 genes examined. Significantly, we detected large deletions of ≥10 bases, many clustered near the mutation cluster region, as well as single or two base deletions in ∼70% canine tumors of both subtypes. These observations indicate that like in the human, APC is also frequently altered in sporadic colorectal tumors in the dog and its alteration is an early event in canine colorectal tumorigenesis. Our study provides further evidence demonstrating the molecular similarity in pathogenesis between sporadic human and canine CRCs. This work, along with our previous copy number abnormality study, supports that sporadic canine CRCs are valid models of human CRCs at the molecular level.
Dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa is an inherited bullous dermatosis caused by the COL7A1 gene mutation in autosomal dominant or recessive mode. COL7A1 gene encodes type VII collagen – the main component of the anchoring fibrils at the dermal–epidermal junction. Besides the 730 mutations reported, we identified two novel COL7A1 gene mutations in a Chinese family, which caused recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (RDEB). The diagnosis was established histopathologically and ultrastructurally. After genomic DNA extraction from the peripheral blood sample of all subjects (5 pedigree members and 136 unrelated control individuals), COL7A1 gene screening was performed by polymerase chain reaction amplification and direct DNA sequencing of the whole coding exons and flanking intronic regions. Genetic analysis of the COL7A1 gene in affected individuals revealed compound heterozygotes with identical novel mutations. The maternal mutation is a 2-bp deletion at exon 8 (c.1006_1007delCA), leading to a subsequent reading frame-shift and producing a premature termination codon located 48 amino acids downstream in exon 9 (p.Q336EfsX48), consequently resulting in the truncation of 2561 amino acids downstream. This was only present in two affected brothers, but not in the other unaffected family members. The paternal mutation is a 1-bp deletion occurring at the first base of intron 65 (c.IVS5568+1delG) that deductively changes the strongly conserved GT dinucleotide at the 5′ donor splice site, results in subsequent reading-through into intron 65, and creates a stop codon immediately following the amino acids encoded by exon 65 (GTAA→TAA). This is predicted to produce a truncated protein lacking of 1089 C-terminal amino acids downstream. The latter mutation was found in all family members except one of the two unaffected sisters. Both mutations were observed concurrently only in the two affected brothers. Neither mutation was discovered in 136 unrelated Chinese control individuals. This study reveals novel disease-causing mutations in the COL7A1 gene.
The -93G>A (rs1800734) polymorphism located in the promoter of mismatch repair gene, MLH1, has been identified as a low-penetrance variant for cancer risk. Many published studies have evaluated the association between the MLH1 -93G>A polymorphism and colorectal cancer (CRC) risk. However, the results remain conflicting rather than conclusive.
The aim of this study was to assess the association between the MLH1 -93G>A polymorphism and the risk of CRC.
To derive a more precise estimation of the association, a meta-analysis of six studies (17,791 cases and 13,782 controls) was performed. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were used to evaluate the strength of the association. Four of these published studies were performed on subjects of known microsatellite instability (MSI) status. An additional analysis including 742 cases and 10,895 controls was used to assess the association between the MLH1 -93G>A polymorphism and the risk of MSI-CRC.
The overall results indicated that the variant genotypes were associated with a significantly increased risk of CRC (AG versus GG: OR = 1.06, 95% CI = 1.01–1.11; AA/AG versus GG: OR = 1.06, 95% CI = 1.01–1.11). This increased risk was also found during stratified analysis of MSI status (AA versus GG: OR = 2.52, 95% CI = 1.94–3.28; AG versus GG: OR = 1.29, 95% CI = 1.10–1.52; AA/AG versus GG: OR = 1.45, 95% CI = 1.24–1.68; AA versus AG/GG: OR = 2.29, 95% CI = 1.78–2.96). Egger’s test did not show any evidence of publication bias.
Our results suggest that the MLH1 -93G>A polymorphism may contribute to individual susceptibility to CRC and act as a risk factor for MSI-CRC.
Maternal diabetes and high-fat feeding during pregnancy have been linked to later life outcomes in offspring. To investigate the effects of both maternal and paternal hyperglycemia on offspring phenotypes, we utilized an autosomal dominant mouse model of diabetes (hypoinsulinemic hyperglycemia in Akita mice). We determined metabolic and skeletal phenotypes in wildtype offspring of Akita mothers and fathers.
Both maternal and paternal diabetes resulted in phenotypic changes in wildtype offspring. Phenotypic changes were more pronounced in male offspring than in female offspring. Maternal hyperglycemia resulted in metabolic and skeletal phenotypes in male wildtype offspring. Decreased bodyweight and impaired glucose tolerance were observed as were reduced whole body bone mineral density and reduced trabecular bone mass.
Phenotypic changes in offspring of diabetic fathers differed in effect size from changes in offspring of diabetic mothers. Male wildtype offspring developed a milder metabolic phenotype, but a more severe skeletal phenotype. Female wildtype offspring of diabetic fathers were least affected.
Both maternal and paternal diabetes led to the development of metabolic and skeletal changes in wildtype offspring, with a greater effect of maternal diabetes on metabolic parameters and of paternal diabetes on skeletal development. The observed changes are unlikely to derive from Mendelian inheritance, since the investigated offspring did not inherit the Akita mutation. While fetal programming may explain the phenotypic changes in offspring exposed to maternal diabetes in-utero, the mechanism underlying the effect of paternal diabetes on wildtype offspring is unclear.
The contribution of adherens junction inactivation, typically by downregulation or mutation of the transmembrane core component E-cadherin, to cancer progression is well recognized. In contrast, the role of the desmosomal cadherin components of the related cell-cell adhesion junction, the desmosome, in cancer development has not been well explored. Here, we use mouse models to probe the functional role of desmosomal cadherins in carcinogenesis. Because mice lacking the desmosomal cadherin Desmoglein 3 (Dsg3) have revealed a crucial role for Dsg3 in cell-cell adhesion in stratified epithelia, we investigate the consequence of Dsg3 loss in two models of skin carcinogenesis. First, using Dsg3−/− keratinocytes, we show that these cells display adhesion defects in vitro and compromised tumor growth in allograft assays, suggesting that Dsg3 enables tumor formation in certain settings. In contrast, using an autochthonous model for SCC development in response to chronic UVB treatment, we discover a surprising lack of enhanced tumorigenesis in Dsg3−/− mice relative to controls, unlike mice lacking the desmosomal component Perp. Accordingly, there is no defect in the apoptotic response to UVB or enhanced immune cell infiltration upon Dsg3 loss that could promote tumorigenesis. Thus, Dsg3 does not display a clear function as a tumor suppressor in these mouse skin cancer models. Continued unraveling of the roles of Dsg3 and other desmosomal constituents in carcinogenesis in different contexts will be important for ultimately improving cancer diagnosis, prognostication, and treatment.