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author:("hippi, Konrad")
1.  Identification of the receptor tyrosine kinase AXL in breast cancer as a target for the human miR-34a microRNA 
The identification of molecular features that contribute to the progression of breast cancer can provide valuable insight into the pathogenesis of this disease. Deregulated microRNA expression represents one type of molecular event that has been associated with many different human cancers. In order to identify a miRNA/mRNA regulatory interaction that is biologically relevant to the triple-negative breast cancer genotype/phenotype, we initially conducted a miRNA profiling experiment to detect differentially expressed miRNAs in cell line models representing triple-negative (MDA-MB-231), ER+ (MCF7), and HER-2 over expressed (SK-BR-3) histotypes. We identified human miR-34a expression as being >3-fold down (from its median expression value across all cell lines) in MDA-MB-231 cells, and identified AXL as a putative mRNA target using multiple miRNA/target prediction algorithms. The miR-34a/AXL interaction was functionally characterized through ectopic over expression experiments with a miR-34a mimic in two independent triple-negative breast cancer cell lines. In reporter assays, miR-34a binds to its putative target site within the AXL 3′UTR to inhibit luciferase expression. We also observed degradation of AXL mRNA and decreased AXL protein levels, as well as cell signaling effects on AKT phosphorylation and phenotypic effects on cell migration. Finally, we present an inverse correlative trend in miR-34a and AXL expression for both cell line and patient tumor samples.
doi:10.1007/s10549-011-1690-0
PMCID: PMC3381742  PMID: 21814748
MicroRNAs; AXL; miR-34a; Triple negative; Breast cancer
2.  Genomic instability and mouse microRNAs 
Toxicology Mechanisms and Methods  2011;21(4):325-333.
Tumor progression is the continual selection of variant subpopulations of malignant cells that have acquired increasing levels of genetic instability (Nowell Science 1976, 194, 23–28). This instability is manifested as chromosomal aneuploidy or translocations, viral integration or somatic mutations that typically affect the expression of a gene (oncogene) that is especially damaging to the proper function of a cell. With the recent discovery of non-coding RNAs such as microRNAs (miRNAs), the concept that a target of genetic instability must be a protein-encoding gene is no longer tenable. Over the years, we have conducted several studies comparing the location of miRNA genes to positions of genetic instability, principally retroviral integration sites and chromosomal translocations in the mouse as a means of identifying miRNAs of importance in carcinogenesis. In this current study, we have used the most recent annotation of the mouse miRome (miRBase, release 16.0), and several datasets reporting the sites of integration of different retroviral vectors in a variety of mouse strains and mouse models of cancer, including for the first time a model that shows a propensity to form solid tumors, as a means to further identify or define, candidate oncogenic miRNAs. Several miRNA genes and miRNA gene clusters stand out as interesting new candidate oncogenes due to their close proximity to common retroviral integration sites including miR-29a/b/c and miR106a~363. We also discussed some recently identified miRNAs including miR-1965, miR-1900, miR-1945, miR-1931, miR-1894, and miR-1936 that are close to common retroviral integration sites and are therefore likely to have some role in cell homeostasis.
doi:10.3109/15376516.2011.562759
PMCID: PMC3401939  PMID: 21495870
MicroRNA; retrovirus; genomic instability
3.  The 8q24 Gene Desert: An Oasis of Non-Coding Transcriptional Activity 
Understanding the functional effects of the wide-range of aberrant genetic characteristics associated with the human chromosome 8q24 region in cancer remains daunting due to the complexity of the locus. The most logical target for study remains the MYC proto-oncogene, a prominent resident of 8q24 that was first identified more than a quarter of a century ago. However, many of the amplifications, translocation breakpoints, and viral integration sites associated with 8q24 are often found throughout regions surrounding large expanses of the MYC locus that include other transcripts. In addition, chr.8q24 is host to a number of single nucleotide polymorphisms associated with cancer risk. Yet, the lack of a direct correlation between cancer risk alleles and MYC expression has also raised the possibility that MYC is not always the target of these genetic associations. The 8q24 region has been described as a “gene desert” because of the paucity of functionally annotated genes located within this region. Here we review the evidence for the role of other loci within the 8q24 region, most of which are non-coding transcripts, either in concert with MYC or independent of MYC, as possible candidate gene targets in malignancy.
doi:10.3389/fgene.2012.00069
PMCID: PMC3339310  PMID: 22558003
MYC; PVT1; miR-1204; 8q24
4.  Systems-wide RNAi analysis of CASP8AP2/FLASH shows transcriptional deregulation of the replication-dependent histone genes and extensive effects on the transcriptome of colorectal cancer cells 
Molecular Cancer  2012;11:1.
Background
Colorectal carcinomas (CRC) carry massive genetic and transcriptional alterations that influence multiple cellular pathways. The study of proteins whose loss-of-function (LOF) alters the growth of CRC cells can be used to further understand the cellular processes cancer cells depend upon for survival.
Results
A small-scale RNAi screen of ~400 genes conducted in SW480 CRC cells identified several candidate genes as required for the viability of CRC cells, most prominently CASP8AP2/FLASH. To understand the function of this gene in maintaining the viability of CRC cells in an unbiased manner, we generated gene specific expression profiles following RNAi. Silencing of CASP8AP2/FLASH resulted in altered expression of over 2500 genes enriched for genes associated with cellular growth and proliferation. Loss of CASP8AP2/FLASH function was significantly associated with altered transcription of the genes encoding the replication-dependent histone proteins as a result of the expression of the non-canonical polyA variants of these transcripts. Silencing of CASP8AP2/FLASH also mediated enrichment of changes in the expression of targets of the NFκB and MYC transcription factors. These findings were confirmed by whole transcriptome analysis of CASP8AP2/FLASH silenced cells at multiple time points. Finally, we identified and validated that CASP8AP2/FLASH LOF increases the expression of neurofilament heavy polypeptide (NEFH), a protein recently linked to regulation of the AKT1/ß-catenin pathway.
Conclusions
We have used unbiased RNAi based approaches to identify and characterize the function of CASP8AP2/FLASH, a protein not previously reported as required for cell survival. This study further defines the role CASP8AP2/FLASH plays in the regulating expression of the replication-dependent histones and shows that its LOF results in broad and reproducible effects on the transcriptome of colorectal cancer cells including the induction of expression of the recently described tumor suppressor gene NEFH.
doi:10.1186/1476-4598-11-1
PMCID: PMC3281783  PMID: 22216762
CASP8AP2; FLASH; RNAi screening; RNAi analysis; siRNA; replication-dependent histone transcripts
5.  MicroRNAs and Genomic Instability 
Seminars in cancer biology  2006;17(1):65-73.
A new species of non-coding RNA, microRNAs (miRNAs) has been identified that may regulate the expression of as many as one third to one half of all protein encoding genes. MicroRNAs are found throughout mammalian genomes, but an association between the location of these miRNAs and regions of genomic instability (or fragile sites) in humans has been suggested [1]. In this review we discuss the possible role of altered miRNA expression on human cancer and conduct an analysis correlating the physical location of murine miRNAs with sites of genetic alteration in mouse models of cancer.
doi:10.1016/j.semcancer.2006.10.004
PMCID: PMC1839944  PMID: 17113784
microRNAs; genomic instability; mouse genome; integration sites
6.  Pvt1-encoded microRNAs in oncogenesis 
Retrovirology  2008;5:4.
Background
The functional significance of the Pvt1 locus in the oncogenesis of Burkitt's lymphoma and plasmacytomas has remained a puzzle. In these tumors, Pvt1 is the site of reciprocal translocations to immunoglobulin loci. Although the locus encodes a number of alternative transcripts, no protein or regulatory RNA products were found. The recent identification of non-coding microRNAs encoded within the PVT1 region has suggested a regulatory role for this locus.
Results
The mouse Pvt1 locus encodes several microRNAs. In mouse T cell lymphomas induced by retroviral insertions into the locus, the Pvt1 transcripts, and at least one of their microRNA products, mmu-miR-1204 are overexpressed. Whereas up to seven co-mutations can be found in a single tumor, in over 2,000 tumors none had insertions into both the Myc and Pvt1 loci.
Conclusion
Judging from the large number of integrations into the Pvt1 locus – more than in the nearby Myc locus – Pvt1 and the microRNAs encoded by it are as important as Myc in T lymphomagenesis, and, presumably, in T cell activation. An analysis of the co-mutations in the lymphomas likely place Pvt1 and Myc into the same pathway.
doi:10.1186/1742-4690-5-4
PMCID: PMC2257975  PMID: 18194563
7.  Multiplexing siRNAs to compress RNAi-based screen size in human cells 
Nucleic Acids Research  2007;35(8):e57.
Here we describe a novel strategy using multiplexes of synthetic small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) corresponding to multiple gene targets in order to compress RNA interference (RNAi) screen size. Before investigating the practical use of this strategy, we first characterized the gene-specific RNAi induced by a large subset (258 siRNAs, 129 genes) of the entire siRNA library used in this study (∼800 siRNAs, ∼400 genes). We next demonstrated that multiplexed siRNAs could silence at least six genes to the same degree as when the genes were targeted individually. The entire library was then used in a screen in which randomly multiplexed siRNAs were assayed for their affect on cell viability. Using this strategy, several gene targets that influenced the viability of a breast cancer cell line were identified. This study suggests that the screening of randomly multiplexed siRNAs may provide an important avenue towards the identification of candidate gene targets for downstream functional analyses and may also be useful for the rapid identification of positive controls for use in novel assay systems. This approach is likely to be especially applicable where assay costs or platform limitations are prohibitive.
doi:10.1093/nar/gkm141
PMCID: PMC1885663  PMID: 17392344
8.  Control region mutations and the 'common deletion' are frequent in the mitochondrial DNA of patients with esophageal squamous cell carcinoma 
BMC Cancer  2004;4:30.
Background
North central China has some of the highest rates of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma in the world with cumulative mortality surpassing 20%. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) accumulates more mutations than nuclear DNA and because of its high abundance has been proposed as a early detection device for subjects with cancer at various sites. We wished to examine the prevalence of mtDNA mutation and polymorphism in subjects from this high risk area of China.
Methods
We used DNA samples isolated from tumors, adjacent normal esophageal tissue, and blood from 21 esophageal squamous cell carcinoma cases and DNA isolated from blood from 23 healthy persons. We completely sequenced the control region (D-Loop) from each of these samples and used a PCR assay to assess the presence of the 4977 bp common deletion.
Results
Direct DNA sequencing revealed that 7/21 (33%, 95% CI = 17–55%) tumor samples had mutations in the control region, with clustering evident in the hyper-variable segment 1 (HSV1) and the homopolymeric stretch surrounding position 309. The number of mutations per subject ranged from 1 to 16 and there were a number of instances of heteroplasmy. We detected the 4977 bp 'common deletion' in 92% of the tumor and adjacent normal esophageal tissue samples examined, whereas no evidence of the common deletion was found in corresponding peripheral blood samples.
Conclusions
Control region mutations were insufficiently common to warrant attempts to develop mtDNA mutation screening as a clinical test for ESCC. The common deletion was highly prevalent in the esophageal tissue of cancer cases but absent from peripheral blood. The potential utility of the common deletion in an early detection system will be pursued in further studies.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-4-30
PMCID: PMC459226  PMID: 15230979
9.  Restricted Immunoglobulin Variable Region (Ig V) Gene Expression Accompanies Secondary Rearrangements of Light Chain Ig V Genes in Mouse Plasmacytomas 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  1999;190(10):1405-1416.
The many binding studies of monoclonal immunoglobulin (Ig) produced by plasmacytomas have found no universally common binding properties, but instead, groups of plasmacytomas with specific antigen-binding activities to haptens such as phosphorylcholine, dextrans, fructofuranans, or dinitrophenyl. Subsequently, it was found that plasmacytomas with similar binding chain specificities not only expressed the same idiotype, but rearranged the same light (VL) and heavy (VH) variable region genes to express a characteristic monoclonal antibody. In this study, we have examined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay five antibodies secreted by silicone-induced mouse plasmacytomas using a broader panel of antigens including actin, myosin, tubulin, single-stranded DNA, and double-stranded DNA. We have determined the Ig heavy and light chain V gene usage in these same plasmacytomas at the DNA and RNA level. Our studies reveal: (a) antibodies secreted by plasmacytomas bind to different antigens in a manner similar to that observed for natural autoantibodies; (b) the expressed Ig heavy genes are restricted in V gene usage to the VH-J558 family; and (c) secondary rearrangements occur at the light chain level with at least three plasmacytomas expressing both κ and λ light chain genes. These results suggest that plasmacytomas use a restricted population of B cells that may still be undergoing rearrangement, thereby bypassing the allelic exclusion normally associated with expression of antibody genes.
PMCID: PMC2195694  PMID: 10562316
V(D)J rearrangement; plasmacytoma; allelic exclusion; polyreactivity; V gene usage

Results 1-10 (10)