There is increasing experimental evidence of the nongenomic action of thyroid hormones mediated by receptors located in the plasma membrane or inside cells. The aim of this work was to characterize the reverse T3 (rT3) action on calcium uptake and its involvement in immature rat Sertoli cell secretion. The results presented herein show that very low concentrations of rT3 are able to increase calcium uptake after 1 min of exposure. The implication of T-type voltage-dependent calcium channels and chloride channels in the effect of rT3 was evidenced using flunarizine and 9-anthracene, respectively. Also, the rT3-induced calcium uptake was blocked in the presence of the RGD peptide (an inhibitor of integrin-ligand interactions). Therefore, our findings suggest that calcium uptake stimulated by rT3 may be mediated by integrin αvβ3. In addition, it was demonstrated that calcium uptake stimulated by rT3 is PKC and ERK-dependent. Furthermore, the outcomes indicate that rT3 also stimulates cellular secretion since the cells manifested a loss of fluorescence after 4 min incubation, indicating an exocytic quinacrine release that seems to be mediated by the integrin receptor. These findings indicate that rT3 modulates the calcium entry and cellular secretion, which might play a role in the regulation of a plethora of intracellular processes involved in male reproductive physiology.
MicroRNA profiling represents an important first-step in deducting individual RNA-based regulatory function in a cell, tissue, or at a specific developmental stage. Currently there are several different platforms to choose from in order to make the initial miRNA profiles. In this study we investigate recently developed digital microRNA high-throughput technologies. Four different platforms were compared including next generation SOLiD ligation sequencing and Illumina HiSeq sequencing, hybridization-based NanoString nCounter, and miRCURY locked nucleic acid RT-qPCR. For all four technologies, full microRNA profiles were generated from human cell lines that represent noninvasive and invasive tumorigenic breast cancer. This study reports the correlation between platforms, as well as a more extensive analysis of the accuracy and sensitivity of data generated when using different platforms and important consideration when verifying results by the use of additional technologies. We found all the platforms to be highly capable for microRNA analysis. Furthermore, the two NGS platforms and RT-qPCR all have equally high sensitivity, and the fold change accuracy is independent of individual miRNA concentration for NGS and RT-qPCR. Based on these findings we propose new guidelines and considerations when performing microRNA profiling.
Correct interactions with extracellular matrix are essential to human pluripotent stem cells (hPSC) to maintain their pluripotent self-renewal capacity during in vitro culture. hPSCs secrete laminin 511/521, one of the most important functional basement membrane components, and they can be maintained on human laminin 511 and 521 in defined culture conditions. However, large-scale production of purified or recombinant laminin 511 and 521 is difficult and expensive. Here we have tested whether a commonly available human choriocarcinoma cell line, JAR, which produces high quantities of laminins, supports the growth of undifferentiated hPSCs. We were able to maintain several human pluripotent stem cell lines on decellularized matrix produced by JAR cells using a defined culture medium. The JAR matrix also supported targeted differentiation of the cells into neuronal and hepatic directions. Importantly, we were able to derive new human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC) lines on JAR matrix and show that adhesion of the early hiPSC colonies to JAR matrix is more efficient than to matrigel. In summary, JAR matrix provides a cost-effective and easy-to-prepare alternative for human pluripotent stem cell culture and differentiation. In addition, this matrix is ideal for the efficient generation of new hiPSC lines.
Impaired migration of primordial germ cells during embryonic development causes hereditary gonadal hypoplasia in both sexes of Northern Finncattle and Swedish Mountain cattle. The affected gonads exhibit a lack of or, in rare cases, a reduced number of germ cells. Most affected animals present left-sided gonadal hypoplasia. However, right-sided and bilateral cases are also found. This type of gonadal hypoplasia prevails in animals with white coat colour. Previous studies indicated that gonadal hypoplasia is inherited in an autosomal recessive fashion with incomplete penetrance. In order to identify genetic regions underlying gonadal hypoplasia, a genome-wide association study (GWAS) and a copy number variation (CNV) analysis were performed with 94 animals, including 21 affected animals, using bovine 777,962 SNP arrays. The GWAS and CNV results revealed two significantly associated regions on bovine chromosomes (BTA) 29 and 6, respectively (P=2.19 x 10-13 and P=5.65 x 10-6). Subsequent cytogenetic and PCR analyses demonstrated that homozygosity of a ~500 kb chromosomal segment translocated from BTA6 to BTA29 (Cs29 allele) is the underlying genetic mechanism responsible for gonadal hypoplasia. The duplicated segment includes the KIT gene that is known to regulate the migration of germ cells and precursors of melanocytes. This duplication is also one of the two translocations associated with colour sidedness in various cattle breeds.
Sex of birds is genetically determined through inheritance of the ZW sex chromosomes (ZZ males and ZW females). Although the mechanisms of avian sex determination remains unknown, the genetic sex is experimentally reversible by in ovo exposure to exogenous estrogens (ZZ-male feminization) or aromatase inhibitors (ZW-female masculinization). Expression of various testis- and ovary-specific marker genes during the normal and reversed gonadal sex differentiation in chicken embryos has been extensively studied, but the roles of sex-specific epigenetic marks in sex differentiation are unknown. In this study, we show that a 170-nt region in the promoter of CYP19A1/aromatase, a key gene required for ovarian estrogen biosynthesis and feminization of chicken embryonic gonads, contains highly quantitative, nucleotide base-level epigenetic marks that reflect phenotypic gonadal sex differentiation. We developed a protocol to feminize ZZ-male chicken embryonic gonads in a highly quantitative manner by direct injection of emulsified ethynylestradiol into yolk at various developmental stages. Taking advantage of this experimental sex reversal model, we show that the epigenetic sex marks in the CYP19A1/aromatase promoter involving DNA methylation and histone lysine methylation are feminized significantly but only partially in sex-converted gonads even when morphological and transcriptional marks of sex differentiation show complete feminization, being indistinguishable from gonads of normal ZW females. Our study suggests that the epigenetic sex of chicken embryonic gonads is more stable than the morphologically or transcriptionally characterized sex differentiation, suggesting the importance of the nucleotide base-level epigenetic sex in gonadal sex differentiation.
Quantitative epigenetic marks in the CYP19A1/aromatase promoter in male chicken embryonic gonads reveal that epigenetic sex is more resistant to estrogen-induced sex reversal than morphological or transcriptional sex factors.
embryo; endocrine disruptors; epigenetics; gene regulation; sex determination
In the red-eared slider turtle (Trachemys scripta), a species with temperature-dependent sex determination (TSD), the expression of the aromatase gene during gonad development is strictly limited to the female-producing temperature. The underlying mechanism remains unknown. In this study, we identified the upstream 5′-flanking region of the aromatase gene, gonad-specific promoter, and the temperature-dependent DNA methylation signatures during gonad development in the red-eared slider turtle. The 5′-flanking region of the slider aromatase exhibited sequence similarities to the aromatase genes of the American alligator, chicken, quail, and zebra finch. A putative TATA box was located 31 bp upstream of the gonad-specific transcription start site. DNA methylation at the CpG sites between the putative binding sites of the fork head domain factor (FOX) and vertebrate steroidogenic factor 1 (SF1) and adjacent TATA box in the promoter region were significantly lower in embryonic gonads at the female-producing temperature compared the male-producing temperature. A shift from male- to female-, but not from female- to male-, producing temperature changed the level of DNA methylation in gonads. Taken together these results indicate that the temperature, particularly female-producing temperature, allows demethylation at the specific CpG sites of the promoter region which leads the temperature-specific expression of aromatase during gonad development.
Exposure of rodent fetuses to low doses of the endocrine disruptor bisphenol A (BPA) causes subtle morphological changes in the prenatal mammary gland and results in pre-cancerous and cancerous lesions during adulthood. To examine whether the BPA-induced morphological alterations of the fetal mouse mammary glands are a) associated with changes in mRNA expression reflecting estrogenic actions and/or b) dependent on the estrogen receptor α (ERα), we compared the transcriptomal effects of BPA and the steroidal estrogen ethinylestradiol (EE2) on fetal mammary tissues of wild type and ERα knock-out mice. Mammary glands from fetuses of dams exposed to vehicle, 250 ng BPA/kg BW/d or 10 ng EE2/kg BW/d from embryonic day (E) 8 were harvested at E19. Transcriptomal analyses on the ductal epithelium and periductal stroma revealed altered expression of genes involved in the focal adhesion and adipogenesis pathways in the BPA-exposed stroma while genes regulating the apoptosis pathway changed their expression in the BPA-exposed epithelium. These changes in gene expression correlated with previously reported histological changes in matrix organization, adipogenesis, and lumen formation resulting in enhanced maturation of the fat-pad and delayed lumen formation in the epithelium of BPA-exposed fetal mammary glands. Overall similarities in the transcriptomal effects of BPA and EE2 were more pronounced in the epithelium, than in the stroma. In addition, the effects of BPA and EE2 on the expression of various genes involved in mammary stromal-epithelial interactions were suppressed in the absence of ERα. These observations support a model whereby BPA and EE2 act directly on the stroma, which expresses ERα, ERβ and GPR30 in fetal mammary glands, and that the stroma, in turn, affects gene expression in the epithelium, where ERα and ERβ are below the level of detection at this stage of development.
The results from recent studies show that some benzophenones (BPs) and their hydroxylated metabolites can function as weak estrogens (E2) in the environment. However, little is known about the structure-activity relationship of these molecules. We have examined the effects of exposure to ten different BPs on the proliferation of estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancer cells and on the transcriptional activity of E2-target genes. We analyzed two genes that are tightly linked with estrogen-mediated proliferation, the CXCL12 and amphiregulin genes and two classical estrogen-responsive genes, the pS2 and progesterone receptor. Significant differences in the BPs efficiency to induce cell proliferation and endogenous E2-target gene expressions were observed. Using ERE-, Sp1-, AP1- and C3-reporter genes that contain different ER-binding sites in their promoter, we also showed significant differences in the BPs efficiency in activation of the ER transactivation. Together, our analyzes showed that the most active molecule is 4-hydroxy-BP. Docking analysis of the interaction of BPs in the ligand-binding pocket of ERα suggests that the minimum structural requirement for the estrogenic activity of BPs is a hydroxyl (OH) group in the phenyl A-ring that allows interaction with Glu-353, Arg-394 or Phe-404, which enhances the stability between BPs and ERα. Our modeling also indicates a loss of interaction between the OH groups of the phenyl B-ring and His-524. In addition, the presence of some OH groups in the phenyl B-ring can create repulsion forces, which may constrain helix 12 in an unfavorable position, explaining the differential estrogenic effects of BPs. These results, together with our analysis of BPs for their potency in activation of cell proliferation and ER-mediated transcription, report an improved understanding of the mechanism and structure–activity relationship of BPs.
Fulvestrant is a representative pure antiestrogen and a Selective Estrogen Receptor Down-regulator (SERD). In contrast to the Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators (SERMs) such as 4-hydroxytamoxifen that bind to estrogen receptor α (ERα) as antagonists or partial agonists, fulvestrant causes proteasomal degradation of ERα protein, shutting down the estrogen signaling to induce proliferation arrest and apoptosis of estrogen-dependent breast cancer cells. We performed genome-wide RNAi knockdown screenings for protein kinases required for fulvestrant-induced apoptosis of the MCF-7 estrogen-dependent human breast caner cells and identified the c-Src tyrosine kinase (CSK), a negative regulator of the oncoprotein c-Src and related protein tyrosine kinases, as one of the necessary molecules. Whereas RNAi knockdown of CSK in MCF-7 cells by shRNA-expressing lentiviruses strongly suppressed fulvestrant-induced cell death, CSK knockdown did not affect cytocidal actions of 4-hydroxytamoxifen or paclitaxel, a chemotherapeutic agent. In the absence of CSK, fulvestrant-induced proteasomal degradation of ERα protein was suppressed in both MCF-7 and T47D estrogen-dependent breast cancer cells whereas the TP53-mutated T47D cells were resistant to the cytocidal action of fulvestrant in the presence or absence of CSK. MCF-7 cell sensitivities to fulvestrant-induced cell death or ERα protein degradation was not affected by small-molecular-weight inhibitors of the tyrosine kinase activity of c-Src, suggesting possible involvement of other signaling molecules in CSK-dependent MCF-7 cell death induced by fulvestrant. Our observations suggest the importance of CSK in the determination of cellular sensitivity to the cytocidal action of fulvestrant.
Environmental toxicants have been shown to induce the epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of adult onset disease, including testis disease and male infertility. The current study was designed to determine the impact of an altered sperm epigenome on the subsequent development of an adult somatic cell (Sertoli cell) that influences the onset of a specific disease (male infertility). A gestating female rat (F0 generation) was exposed to the agriculture fungicide vinclozolin during gonadal sex determination and then the subsequent F3 generation progeny used for the isolation of Sertoli cells and assessment of testis disease. As previously observed, enhanced spermatogenic cell apoptosis was observed. The Sertoli cells provide the physical and nutritional support for the spermatogenic cells. Over 400 genes were differentially expressed in the F3 generation control versus vinclozolin lineage Sertoli cells. A number of specific cellular pathways were identified to be transgenerationally altered. One of the key metabolic processes affected was pyruvate/lactate production that is directly linked to spermatogenic cell viability. The Sertoli cell epigenome was also altered with over 100 promoter differential DNA methylation regions (DMR) modified. The genomic features and overlap with the sperm DMR were investigated. Observations demonstrate that the transgenerational sperm epigenetic alterations subsequently alters the development of a specific somatic cell (Sertoli cell) epigenome and transcriptome that correlates with adult onset disease (male infertility). The environmentally induced epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of testis disease appears to be a component of the molecular etiology of male infertility.
Sandhoff disease (SD) is a glycosphingolipid storage disease that arises from mutations in the Hexb gene and the resultant deficiency in β-hexosaminidase activity. This deficiency results in aberrant lysosomal accumulation of the ganglioside GM2 and related glycolipids, and progressive deterioration of the central nervous system. Dysfunctional glycolipid storage causes severe neurodegeneration through a poorly understood pathogenic mechanism. Induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technology offers new opportunities for both elucidation of the pathogenesis of diseases and the development of stem cell-based therapies. Here, we report the generation of disease-specific iPSCs from a mouse model of SD. These mouse model-derived iPSCs (SD-iPSCs) exhibited pluripotent stem cell properties and significant accumulation of GM2 ganglioside. In lineage-directed differentiation studies using the stromal cell-derived inducing activity method, SD-iPSCs showed an impaired ability to differentiate into early stage neural precursors. Moreover, fewer neurons differentiated from neural precursors in SD-iPSCs than in the case of the wild type. Recovery of the Hexb gene in SD-iPSCs improved this impairment of neuronal differentiation. These results provide new insights as to understanding the complex pathogenic mechanisms of SD.
Several recent studies have reported that expression quantitative trait loci (eQTLs) may affect gene expression in a cell-dependent manner. In the current study, a genome-wide eQTL analysis was performed in whole blood samples collected from 76 Japanese subjects. RNA microarray analysis was performed for 3 independent sample groups that were genotyped in a genome-wide scan. The correlations between the genotypes of 534,404 autosomal single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and the expression levels of 30,465 probes were examined for each sample group. The SNP-probe pairs with combined correlation coefficients of all 3 sample groups corresponding to P<3.1×10−12 (i.e., Bonferroni-corrected P<0.05) were considered significant. SNP-probe pairs with a high likelihood of cross-hybridization and SNP-in-probe effects were excluded to avoid false positive results. We identified 102 cis-acting and 5 trans-acting eQTL regions. The cis-eQTL regions were widely distributed both upstream and downstream of the gene, as well as within the gene. The eQTL SNPs identified were examined for their influence on the expression levels in lymphoblastoid cell lines by using a public database. The results showed that genetic variants affecting expression levels in whole blood may have different effects on gene expression in lymphoblastoid cell lines. Further studies are required to clarify how SNPs function in affecting the expression levels in whole blood as well as in other tissues.
Environmental compounds are known to promote epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of adult onset disease in subsequent generations (F1–F3) following ancestral exposure during fetal gonadal sex determination. The current study was designed to determine if a mixture of plastic derived endocrine disruptor compounds bisphenol-A (BPA), bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP) and dibutyl phthalate (DBP) at two different doses promoted epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of adult onset disease and associated DNA methylation epimutations in sperm. Gestating F0 generation females were exposed to either the “plastics” or “lower dose plastics” mixture during embryonic days 8 to 14 of gonadal sex determination and the incidence of adult onset disease was evaluated in F1 and F3 generation rats. There were significant increases in the incidence of total disease/abnormalities in F1 and F3 generation male and female animals from plastics lineages. Pubertal abnormalities, testis disease, obesity, and ovarian disease (primary ovarian insufficiency and polycystic ovaries) were increased in the F3 generation animals. Kidney and prostate disease were only observed in the direct fetally exposed F1 generation plastic lineage animals. Analysis of the plastics lineage F3 generation sperm epigenome previously identified 197 differential DNA methylation regions (DMR) in gene promoters, termed epimutations. A number of these transgenerational DMR form a unique direct connection gene network and have previously been shown to correlate with the pathologies identified. Observations demonstrate that a mixture of plastic derived compounds, BPA and phthalates, can promote epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of adult onset disease. The sperm DMR provide potential epigenetic biomarkers for transgenerational disease and/or ancestral environmental exposures.
Tamoxifen significantly improves outcome for estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) breast cancer, but the 15-year recurrence rate remains 30%. The aim of this study was to identify gene profiles that accurately predicted the outcome of ER+ breast cancer patients who received adjuvant Tamoxifen mono-therapy.
Post-menopausal breast cancer patients diagnosed no later than 2002, being ER+ as defined by >1% IHC staining and having a frozen tumor sample with >50% tumor content were included. Tumor samples from 108 patients treated with adjuvant Tamoxifen were analyzed for the expression of 59 genes using quantitative-PCR. End-point was clinically verified recurrence to distant organs or ipsilateral breast. Gene profiles were identified using a model building procedure based on conditional logistic regression and leave-one-out cross-validation, followed by a non-parametric bootstrap (1000x re-sampling). The optimal profiles were further examined in 5 previously-reported datasets containing similar patient populations that were either treated with Tamoxifen or left untreated (n = 623). Three gene signatures were identified, the strongest being a 2-gene combination of BCL2-CDKN1A, exhibiting an accuracy of 75% for prediction of outcome. Independent examination using 4 previously-reported microarray datasets of Tamoxifen-treated patient samples (n = 503) confirmed the potential of BCL2-CDKN1A. The predictive value was further determined by comparing the ability of the genes to predict recurrence in an additional, previously-published, cohort consisting of Tamoxifen-treated (n = 58, p = 0.015) and untreated patients (n = 62, p = 0.25).
A novel gene expression signature predictive of outcome of Tamoxifen-treated patients was identified. The validation suggests that BCL2-CDKN1A exhibit promising predictive potential.
The generation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) often results in aberrant epigenetic silencing of the imprinted Dlk1-Dio3 gene cluster, which compromises the cells’ ability to generate entirely iPSC-derived adult mice (“all-iPSC mice”). Here, we show that reprogramming in the presence of ascorbic acid attenuates hypermethylation of Dlk1-Dio3 by enabling a chromatin configuration that interferes with binding of the de novo DNA methyltransferase Dnmt3a. This allowed us to generate all-iPSC mice from mature B cells, which have thus far failed to support the development of exclusively iPSC-derived postnatal animals. Our data demonstrate that transcription factor-mediated reprogramming can endow a defined, terminally differentiated cell type with a developmental potential equivalent to that of embryonic stem cells. More generally, these findings indicate that culture conditions during cellular reprogramming can strongly influence the epigenetic and biological properties of resultant iPSCs.
Unlike other tissues, development and differentiation of the mammary gland occur mostly after birth. The roles of systemic hormones and local growth factors important for this development and functional differentiation are well-studied. In other tissues, it has been shown that chromatin organization plays a key role in transcriptional regulation and underlies epigenetic regulation during development and differentiation. However, the role of chromatin organization in mammary gland development and differentiation is less well-defined. Here, we have studied the changes in chromatin organization at the milk protein gene loci (casein, whey acidic protein, and others) in the mouse mammary gland before and after functional differentiation.
Distal regulatory elements within the casein gene cluster and whey acidic protein gene region have an open chromatin organization after pubertal development, while proximal promoters only gain open-chromatin marks during pregnancy in conjunction with the major induction of their expression. In contrast, other milk protein genes, such as alpha-lactalbumin, already have an open chromatin organization in the mature virgin gland. Changes in chromatin organization in the casein gene cluster region that are present after puberty persisted after lactation has ceased, while the changes which occurred during pregnancy at the gene promoters were not maintained. In general, mammary gland expressed genes and their regulatory elements exhibit developmental stage- and tissue-specific chromatin organization.
A progressive gain of epigenetic marks indicative of open/active chromatin on genes marking functional differentiation accompanies the development of the mammary gland. These results support a model in which a chromatin organization is established during pubertal development that is then poised to respond to the systemic hormonal signals of pregnancy and lactation to achieve the full functional capacity of the mammary gland.
Sterol Regulatory Element-Binding Proteins (SREBPs) activate genes involved in the synthesis and trafficking of cholesterol and other lipids, and therefore are critical for maintaining lipid homeostasis. Aberrant SREBP activity, however, can result in excess stored fat and contribute to obesity, fatty liver disease and insulin resistance, hallmarks of metabolic syndrome. Our studies identify a conserved regulatory circuit in which SREBP-1 controls production of the methyl donor S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe). Methylation is critical for synthesis of phosphatidylcholine (PC), a major membrane component, and we find that blocking SAMe or PC synthesis in C. elegans, mouse liver and human cells causes elevated SREBP-1-dependent transcription and lipid droplet accumulation. Distinct from negative regulation of SREBP-2 by cholesterol, our data suggest a mechanism where maturation of nuclear, transcriptionally active SREBP-1 is controlled by levels of PC. Thus, nutritional or genetic conditions limiting SAMe or PC production may activate SREBP-1, contributing to human metabolic disorders.
Huntington's disease (HD) involves marked early neurodegeneration in the striatum, whereas the cerebellum is relatively spared despite the ubiquitous expression of full-length mutant huntingtin, implying that inherent tissue-specific differences determine susceptibility to the HD CAG mutation. To understand this tissue specificity, we compared early mutant huntingtin-induced gene expression changes in striatum to those in cerebellum in young Hdh CAG knock-in mice, prior to onset of evident pathological alterations. Endogenous levels of full-length mutant huntingtin caused qualitatively similar, but quantitatively different gene expression changes in the two brain regions. Importantly, the quantitatively different responses in the striatum and cerebellum in mutant mice were well accounted for by the intrinsic molecular differences in gene expression between the striatum and cerebellum in wild-type animals. Tissue-specific gene expression changes in response to the HD mutation, therefore, appear to reflect the different inherent capacities of these tissues to buffer qualitatively similar effects of mutant huntingtin. These findings highlight a role for intrinsic quantitative tissue differences in contributing to HD pathogenesis, and likely to other neurodegenerative disorders exhibiting tissue-specificity, thereby guiding the search for effective therapeutic interventions.
To search for new targets of anticancer therapies using phytoestrogens we performed comparative metabolic profiling of the breast cancer cell line MCF-7 and the non-tumorigenic breast cell line MCF-12A. Application of gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) revealed significant differences in the metabolic levels after exposure with 17ß-estradiol, genistein or a composition of phytoestrogens within a native root flax extract. We observed the metabolites 3-(4-hydroxyphenyl)-lactic acid, cis-aconitic acid, 11-beta-hydroxy-progesterone, chenodeoxycholic acid and triacontanoic acid with elevated levels due to estrogen action. Particularly highlighted were metabolites of the sphingolipid metabolism. Sphingosine and its dihydro derivate as well as ethanolaminephosphate were significantly altered after exposure with 1 nM 17ß-estradiol in the cell line MCF-7, while MCF-12A was not affected. Treatment with genistein and the flax extract normalized the sphingosine concentrations to the basic levels found in MCF-12A cells. We could further demonstrate that the expression levels of the sphingosine metabolizing enzymes: sphingosine-1-phosphate kinase (Sphk) and lyase (S1P lyase) were significantly influenced by estrogens as well as phytoestrogens. The isoform Sphk2 was overexpressed in the tumorigenic cell line MCF-7, while S1P lyase was predominantly expressed in the non-tumorigenic cell line MCF-12A. Importantly, in MCF-7 the weak S1P lyase expression could be significantly increased after exposure with 10 µM genistein and 1 µg/ml root flax extract. Here, we present, for the first time, an analysis of metabolic response of phytoestrogens to breast cancer cell lines. The contrasting regulation of sphingolipid enzymes in MCF-7 and MCF-12A render them as preferred targets for future anticancer strategies.
Environmental compounds can promote epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of adult-onset disease in subsequent generations following ancestral exposure during fetal gonadal sex determination. The current study examined the ability of dioxin (2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo[p]dioxin, TCDD) to promote epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of disease and DNA methylation epimutations in sperm. Gestating F0 generation females were exposed to dioxin during fetal day 8 to 14 and adult-onset disease was evaluated in F1 and F3 generation rats. The incidences of total disease and multiple disease increased in F1 and F3 generations. Prostate disease, ovarian primordial follicle loss and polycystic ovary disease were increased in F1 generation dioxin lineage. Kidney disease in males, pubertal abnormalities in females, ovarian primordial follicle loss and polycystic ovary disease were increased in F3 generation dioxin lineage animals. Analysis of the F3 generation sperm epigenome identified 50 differentially DNA methylated regions (DMR) in gene promoters. These DMR provide potential epigenetic biomarkers for transgenerational disease and ancestral environmental exposures. Observations demonstrate dioxin exposure of a gestating female promotes epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of adult onset disease and sperm epimutations.
Breast cancers with a basal-like gene signature are primarily triple-negative, frequently metastatic, and carry a poor prognosis. Basal-like breast cancers are enriched for markers of breast cancer stem cells as well as markers of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). While EMT is generally thought to be important in the process of metastasis, in vivo evidence of EMT in human disease remains rare. Here we report a novel model of human triple-negative breast cancer, the DKAT cell line, which was isolated from an aggressive, treatment-resistant triple-negative breast cancer that demonstrated morphological and biochemical evidence suggestive of phenotypic plasticity in the patient. The DKAT cell line displays a basal-like phenotype in vitro when cultured in serum-free media, and undergoes phenotypic changes consistent with EMT/MET in response to serum-containing media, a unique property among the breast cancer cell lines we tested. This EMT is marked by increased expression of the transcription factor Zeb1, and Zeb1 is required for the enhanced migratory ability of DKAT cells in the mesenchymal state. DKAT cells also express progenitor-cell markers, and single DKAT cells are able to generate tumorspheres containing both epithelial and mesenchymal cell types. In vivo, as few as ten DKAT cells are capable of forming xenograft tumors which display a range of epithelial and mesenchymal phenotypes. The DKAT model provides a novel model to study the molecular mechanisms regulating phenotypic plasticity and the aggressive biology of triple-negative breast cancers.
A major event in mammalian male sex determination is the induction of the testis determining factor Sry and its downstream gene Sox9. The current study provides one of the first genome wide analyses of the downstream gene binding targets for SRY and SOX9 to help elucidate the molecular control of Sertoli cell differentiation and testis development. A modified ChIP-Chip analysis using a comparative hybridization was used to identify 71 direct downstream binding targets for SRY and 109 binding targets for SOX9. Interestingly, only 5 gene targets overlapped between SRY and SOX9. In addition to the direct response element binding gene targets, a large number of atypical binding gene targets were identified for both SRY and SOX9. Bioinformatic analysis of the downstream binding targets identified gene networks and cellular pathways potentially involved in the induction of Sertoli cell differentiation and testis development. The specific DNA sequence binding site motifs for both SRY and SOX9 were identified. Observations provide insights into the molecular control of male gonadal sex determination.
In mammals, DNA methylation is restricted to cytosines of CpG dinucleotides, which are frequently found in short genomic regions including gene promoters. Methylation within CpG-rich regions around promoters tends to repress gene expression; thus, the CpG islands of housekeeping genes are normally unmethylated. We previously described a testis-specific single-exon gene containing a CpG-rich sequence that is methylated and thus repressed in somatic cells, whereas its expression in spermatogenic cells requires that it be hypomethylated. However, the relationship among the specific expression of spermatogenic genes, their methylation dynamics, and their CpG frequencies are poorly understood. Here, we analyzed the methylation patterns of the sphort genomic region around the transcription start site in spermatogenic cell-specific single-exon genes of various CpG contents. By using UniGene and Ensembl database analyses of the mouse genome and reverse transcription-PCR, we identified 39 single-exon genes that are exclusively expressed in spermatogeniccells. Regardless of their specific expression characteristics, genes containing higher (7 to 14 CpGs in 200 bp; mean = 12) and lower (2 to 6 CpGs in 200 bp; mean = 3.1) number ofCpG were hypo- and hyper-methylated, respectively, in all cell types examined, including spermatogeniccells. We found that genes with intermediate number of CpG (2 to 11 CpGs in 200 bp; mean = 6.9) are methylated in somatic cells, but not in male germ cells. These results suggest that DNA methylation dynamics of spermatogenic cell-specific single-exon genes are associated with CpG content, and the methylation status are stably maintained throughout male germ cell development.
Huntington's disease is initiated by the expression of a CAG repeat-encoded polyglutamine region in full-length huntingtin, with dominant effects that vary continuously with CAG size. The mechanism could involve a simple gain of function or a more complex gain of function coupled to a loss of function (e.g. dominant negative-graded loss of function). To distinguish these alternatives, we compared genome-wide gene expression changes correlated with CAG size across an allelic series of heterozygous CAG knock-in mouse embryonic stem (ES) cell lines (HdhQ20/7, HdhQ50/7, HdhQ91/7, HdhQ111/7), to genes differentially expressed between Hdhex4/5/ex4/5 huntingtin null and wild-type (HdhQ7/7) parental ES cells. The set of 73 genes whose expression varied continuously with CAG length had minimal overlap with the 754-member huntingtin-null gene set but the two were not completely unconnected. Rather, the 172 CAG length-correlated pathways and 238 huntingtin-null significant pathways clustered into 13 shared categories at the network level. A closer examination of the energy metabolism and the lipid/sterol/lipoprotein metabolism categories revealed that CAG length-correlated genes and huntingtin-null-altered genes either were different members of the same pathways or were in unique, but interconnected pathways. Thus, varying the polyglutamine size in full-length huntingtin produced gene expression changes that were distinct from, but related to, the effects of lack of huntingtin. These findings support a simple gain-of-function mechanism acting through a property of the full-length huntingtin protein and point to CAG-correlative approaches to discover its effects. Moreover, for therapeutic strategies based on huntingtin suppression, our data highlight processes that may be more sensitive to the disease trigger than to decreased huntingtin levels.
The actions of environmental toxicants and relevant mixtures in promoting the epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of ovarian disease was investigated with the use of a fungicide, a pesticide mixture, a plastic mixture, dioxin and a hydrocarbon mixture. After transient exposure of an F0 gestating female rat during embryonic gonadal sex determination, the F1 and F3 generation progeny adult onset ovarian disease was assessed. Transgenerational disease phenotypes observed included an increase in cysts resembling human polycystic ovarian disease (PCO) and a decrease in the ovarian primordial follicle pool size resembling primary ovarian insufficiency (POI). The F3 generation granulosa cells were isolated and found to have a transgenerational effect on the transcriptome and epigenome (differential DNA methylation). Epigenetic biomarkers for environmental exposure and associated gene networks were identified. Epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of ovarian disease states was induced by all the different classes of environmental compounds, suggesting a role of environmental epigenetics in ovarian disease etiology.