The let-7 microRNA (miRNA) plays important roles in human liver development and disease such as hepatocellular carcinoma, liver fibrosis and hepatitis wherein oxidative stress accelerates the progression of these diseases. To date, the role of the let-7 miRNA family in modulation of heme oxygenase 1 (HMOX1), a key cytoprotective enzyme, remains unknown. Our aims were to determine whether let-7 miRNA directly regulates Bach1, a transcriptional repressor of the HMOX1 gene, and whether indirect up-regulation of HMOX1 by let-7 miRNA attenuates oxidant injury in human hepatocytes. The effects of let-7 miRNA on Bach1 and HMOX1 gene expression in Huh-7 and HepG2 cells were determined by real-time qRT-PCR, Western blot, and luciferase reporter assays. Dual luciferase reporter assays revealed that let-7b, let-7c, or miR-98 significantly decreased Bach1 3’-untranslated region (3’-UTR)-dependent luciferase activity but not mutant Bach1 3’-UTR-dependent luciferase activity, whereas mutant let-7 miRNA containing base complementarity with mutant Bach1 3’-UTR restored its effect on mutant reporter activity. let-7b, let-7c, or miR-98 down-regulated Bach1 protein levels by 50–70%, and subsequently up-regulated HMOX1 gene expression by 3–4 fold, compared with non-specific controls. Furthermore, Huh-7 cells transfected with let-7b, let-7c or miR-98 mimic showed increased resistance against oxidant injury induced by tert-butyl-hydroperoxide (tBuOOH), whereas the protection was abrogated by over-expression of Bach1. In conclusion, let-7 miRNA directly acts on the 3’-UTR of Bach1 and negatively regulates expression of this protein, and thereby up-regulates HMOX1 gene expression. Over-expression of the let-7 miRNA family members may represent a novel approach to protecting human hepatocytes from oxidant injury.
let-7; HMOX1; Bach1; microRNA; oxidative stress; Huh-7 cell
Accumulation of microtubule-associated protein tau has been observed in the brain of aging and tauopathies. Tau was observed in microglia, but its role is not illustrated. By immunofluorescence staining and the fractal dimension value assay in the present study, we observed that microglia were activated in the brains of rats and mice during aging, simultaneously, the immunoreactivities of total tau and the phosphorylated tau were significantly enhanced in the activated microglia. Furtherly by transient transfection of tau40 (human 2N/4R tau) into the cultured rat microglia, we demonstrated that expression of tau40 increased the level of Iba1, indicating activation of microglia. Moreover, expression of tau40 significantly enhanced the membranous localization of the phosphorylated tau at Ser396 in microglia possibly by a mechanism involving protein phosphatase 2A, extracellular signal-regulated kinase and glycogen synthase kinase-3β. It was also found that expression of tau40 promoted microglial migration and phagocytosis, but not proliferation. And we observed increased secretion of several cytokines, including interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, IL-10, tumor necrosis factor-α and nitric oxide after the expression of tau40. These data suggest a novel role of human 2N/4R tau in microglial activation.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD), an age-related neurodegenerative disorder with progressive cognition deficit, is characterized by extracellular senile plaques (SP) of aggregated β-amyloid (Aβ) and intracellular neurofibrillary tangles, mainly containing the hyperphosphorylated microtubule-associated protein tau. Multiple factors contribute to the etiology of AD in terms of initiation and progression. Melatonin is an endogenously produced hormone in the brain and decreases during aging and in patients with AD. Data from clinical trials indicate that melatonin supplementation improves sleep, ameliorates sundowning and slows down the progression of cognitive impairment in AD patients. Melatonin efficiently protects neuronal cells from Aβ-mediated toxicity via antioxidant and anti-amyloid properties. It not only inhibits Aβ generation, but also arrests the formation of amyloid fibrils by a structure-dependent interaction with Aβ. Our studies have demonstrated that melatonin efficiently attenuates Alzheimer-like tau hyperphosphorylation. Although the exact mechanism is still not fully understood, a direct regulatory influence of melatonin on the activities of protein kinases and protein phosphatases is proposed. Additionally, melatonin also plays a role in protecting the cholinergic system and in anti-inflammation. The aim of this review is to stimulate interest in melatonin as a potentially useful agent in the prevention and treatment of AD.
Alzheimer’s disease; melatonin; tau hyperphosphorylation; beta amyloid; antioxidation; cholinergic; neuroinflammation
Whole genome sequencing studies are essential to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the vast pattern of human genomic variations. Here we report the results of a high-coverage whole genome sequencing study for 44 unrelated healthy Caucasian adults, each sequenced to over 50-fold coverage (averaging 65.8×). We identified approximately 11 million single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), 2.8 million short insertions and deletions, and over 500,000 block substitutions. We showed that, although previous studies, including the 1000 Genomes Project Phase 1 study, have catalogued the vast majority of common SNPs, many of the low-frequency and rare variants remain undiscovered. For instance, approximately 1.4 million SNPs and 1.3 million short indels that we found were novel to both the dbSNP and the 1000 Genomes Project Phase 1 data sets, and the majority of which (∼96%) have a minor allele frequency less than 5%. On average, each individual genome carried ∼3.3 million SNPs and ∼492,000 indels/block substitutions, including approximately 179 variants that were predicted to cause loss of function of the gene products. Moreover, each individual genome carried an average of 44 such loss-of-function variants in a homozygous state, which would completely “knock out” the corresponding genes. Across all the 44 genomes, a total of 182 genes were “knocked-out” in at least one individual genome, among which 46 genes were “knocked out” in over 30% of our samples, suggesting that a number of genes are commonly “knocked-out” in general populations. Gene ontology analysis suggested that these commonly “knocked-out” genes are enriched in biological process related to antigen processing and immune response. Our results contribute towards a comprehensive characterization of human genomic variation, especially for less-common and rare variants, and provide an invaluable resource for future genetic studies of human variation and diseases.
Femoral neck geometric parameters (FNGPs), which include cortical thickness (CT), periosteal diameter (W), buckling ratio (BR), cross-sectional area (CSA), and section modulus (Z), contribute to bone strength and may predict hip fracture risk. Age at menarche (AAM) is an important risk factor for osteoporosis and bone fractures in women. Some FNGPs are genetically correlated with AAM. In this study, we performed a bivariate genome-wide association study (GWAS) to identify new candidate genes responsible for both FNGPs and AAM. In the discovery stage, we tested 760,794 SNPs in 1,728 unrelated Caucasian subject, followed by replication analyses in independent samples of US Caucasians (with 501 subjects) and Chinese (with 826 subjects). We found six SNPs that were associated with FNGPs and AAM. These SNPs are located in three genes (i.e. NRCAM, IDS and LOC148145), suggesting these three genes may co-regulate FNGPs and AAM. Our findings may help improve the understanding of genetic architecture and pathophysiological mechanisms underlying both osteoporosis and AAM.
AIM: To assess effects of heme on messenger RNA (mRNA) and microRNA (miRNA) profiles of liver cells derived from humans.
METHODS: We exposed human hepatoma cell line Huh-7 cells to excess iron protoporphyrin (heme) (10 μmol/L) or induced heme deficiency by addition of 4, 6-dioxoheptanoic acid (500 μmol/L), a potent inhibitor of aminolevulinic acid dehydratase, for 6 h or 24 h. We harvested total RNA from the cells and performed both mRNA and miRNA array analyses, with use of Affymetrix chips, reagents, and instruments (human genome U133 plus 2.0 and miRNA 2.0 arrays). We assessed changes and their significance and interrelationships with Target Scan, Pathway Studios, and Ingenuity software.
RESULTS: Changes in mRNA levels were most numerous and striking at 6 h after heme treatment but were similar and still numerous at 24 h. After 6 h of heme exposure, the increase in heme oxygenase 1 gene expression was 60-fold by mRNA and 88-fold by quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. We found striking changes, especially up-regulation by heme of nuclear erythroid-2 related factor-mediated oxidative stress responses, protein ubiquitination, glucocorticoid signaling, P53 signaling, and changes in RNAs that regulate intermediary metabolism. Fewer mRNAs were down-regulated by heme, and the fold decreases were less exuberant than were the increases. Notable decreases after 24 h of heme exposure were patatin-like phospholipase domain-containing protein 3 (-6.5-fold), neuronal PAS domain protein 2 (-1.93-fold), and protoporphyrinogen oxidase (-1.7-fold).
CONCLUSION: Heme excess exhibits several toxic effects on liver and kidney, which deserve study in humans and in animal models of the human porphyrias or other disorders.
Delta-aminolevulinic acid synthase; Heme; Heat shock proteins; Hepatotoxicity; Messenger RNA; MicroRNA
EPAC proteins are the guanine nucleotide exchange factors that act as the intracellular receptors for cyclic AMP. Two variants of EPAC genes including EPAC1 and EPAC2 are cloned and are widely expressed throughout the brain. But, their functions in the brain remain unknown. Here, we genetically delete EPAC1 (EPAC1-/-), or EPAC2 (EPAC2-/-) or both EPAC1 and EPAC2 genes (EPAC-/-) in the forebrain of mice. We show that EPAC null mutation impairs long-term potentiation (LTP) and that this impairment is paralleled with the severe deficits in spatial learning and social interactions and is mediated in a direct manner by miR-124 transcription and Zif268 translation. Knockdown of miR-124 restores Zif268 and hence reverses all aspects of the EPAC-/- phenotypes, whereas expression of miR-124 or knockdown of Zif268 reproduces the effects of EPAC null mutation. Thus, EPAC proteins control miR-124 transcription in the brain for processing spatial learning and social interactions.
AIM: To investigate the adjunct anticancer effect of Astragalus polysaccharides in H22 tumor-bearing mice.
METHODS: To establish a solid tumor model, 5.0 × 106/mL H22 hepatoma cells were inoculated subcutaneously into the right armpit region of Kunming mice (6-12 wk old, 18-22 g). When the tumors reached a size of 100 mm3, the animals were treated as indicated, and the mice were randomly assigned to seven groups (n = 10 each). After ten days of treatment, blood samples were collected from mouse eyes, and serum was harvested by centrifugation. Mice were sacrificed, and the whole body, tumor, spleen and thymus were weighed immediately. The rate of tumor inhibition and organ indexes were calculated. The expression levels of serum cytokines, P-glycoprotein (P-GP) and multidrug resistance (MDR) 1 mRNA in tumor tissues were detected using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, Western blotting, and quantitative myeloid-derived suppressor cells reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, respectively.
RESULTS: The tumor inhibition rates in the treatment groups of Adriamycin (ADM) + Astragalus polysaccharides (APS) (50 mg/kg), ADM + APS (100 mg/kg), and ADM + APS (200 mg/kg) were significantly higher than in the ADM group (72.88% vs 60.36%, P = 0.013; 73.40% vs 60.36%, P = 0.010; 77.57% vs 60.36%, P = 0.001). The spleen indexes of the above groups were also significantly higher than in the ADM group (0.65 ± 0.22 vs 0.39 ± 0.17, P = 0.023; 0.62 ± 0.34 vs 0.39 ± 0.17, P = 0.022; 0.67 ± 0.20 vs 0.39 ± 0.17, P = 0.012), and the thymus indexes of the ADM + APS (100 mg/kg) and ADM + APS (200 mg/kg) groups were significantly higher than in the ADM group (0.20 ± 0.06 vs 0.13 ± 0.04, P = 0.029; 0.47 ± 0.12 vs 0.13 ± 0.04, P = 0.000). APS was found to exert a synergistic anti-tumor effect with ADM and to alleviate the decrease in the sizes of the spleen and thymus induced by AMD. The expression of interleukin-1α (IL-1α), IL-2, IL-6, and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) was significantly higher in the ADM + APS (50 mg/kg), ADM + APS (100 mg/kg) and ADM + APS (200 mg/kg) groups than in the ADM group; and IL-10 was significantly lower in the above groups than in the ADM group. APS could increase IL-1α, IL-2, IL-6, and TNF-α expression and decrease IL-10 levels. Compared with the ADM group, APS treatment at a dose of 50-200 mg/kg could down-regulate MDR1 mRNA expression in a dose-dependent manner (0.48 ± 0.13 vs 4.26 ± 1.51, P = 0.000; 0.36 ± 0.03 vs 4.26 ± 1.51, P = 0.000; 0.21 ± 0.04 vs 4.26 ± 1.51, P = 0.000). The expression level of P-GP was significantly lower in the ADM + APS (200 mg/kg) group than in the ADM group (137.35 ± 9.20 mg/kg vs 282.19 ± 20.54 mg/kg, P = 0.023).
CONCLUSION: APS exerts a synergistic anti-tumor effect with ADM in H22 tumor-bearing mice. This may be related to its ability to enhance the expression of IL-1α, IL-2, IL-6, and TNF-α, decrease IL-10, and down-regulate MDR1 mRNA and P-GP expression levels.
Astragalus polysaccharides; Tumor inhibition rate; Cytokines; P-glycoprotein; Adjunct anticancer
Human height is a highly heritable trait considered as an important factor for health. There has been limited success in identifying the genetic factors underlying height variation. We aim to identify sequence variants associated with adult height by a genome-wide association study of copy number variants (CNVs) in Chinese.
Genome-wide CNV association analyses were conducted in 1,625 unrelated Chinese adults and sex specific subgroup for height variation, respectively. Height was measured with a stadiometer. Affymetrix SNP6.0 genotyping platform was used to identify copy number polymorphisms (CNPs). We constructed a genomic map containing 1,009 CNPs in Chinese individuals and performed a genome-wide association study of CNPs with height.
We detected 10 significant association signals for height (p<0.05) in the whole population, 9 and 11 association signals for Chinese female and male population, respectively. A copy number polymorphism (CNP12587, chr18:54081842-54086942, p = 2.41×10−4) was found to be significantly associated with height variation in Chinese females even after strict Bonferroni correction (p = 0.048). Confirmatory real time PCR experiments lent further support for CNV validation. Compared to female subjects with two copies of the CNP, carriers of three copies had an average of 8.1% decrease in height. An important candidate gene, ubiquitin-protein ligase NEDD4-like (NEDD4L), was detected at this region, which plays important roles in bone metabolism by binding to bone formation regulators.
Our findings suggest the important genetic variants underlying height variation in Chinese.
Many lines of evidence suggest that mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) variants are involved in the pathogenesis of human complex diseases, especially for age-related disorders. Osteoporosis is a typical age-related complex disease. However, the role of mtDNA variants in the susceptibility of osteoporosis is largely unknown. In this study, we performed a mitochondria-wide association study for osteoporosis in Caucasians. A total of 445 mitochondrial single nucleotide polymorphisms (mtSNPs) were genotyped in a large sample of 2,286 unrelated Caucasian subjects by using the Affymetrix Genome-Wide SNP Array 6.0, and 72 mtSNPs survived the quality control. We first tested for association between single-mtSNP and bone mineral density (BMD), and identified that, a mtSNP within the NADH dehydrogenase 2 gene (ND2), mt4823 C/A polymorphism, was strongly associated with hip BMD (P = 2.05 × 10−4), even after conservative Bonferroni correction‥ The C allele of mt4823 was associated with reduced hip BMD and the effect size (β) was estimated to be ~0.044. Another SNP mt15885 within the Cytochrome b gene (Cytb) was found to be associated both with spine (P = 1.66×10−3) and hip BMD (P = 0.023). The T allele of mt15885 had a protective effect on spine (β = 0.064) and hip BMD (β = 0.038). Next, we classified subjects into the nine common European haplogroups and conducted association analyses. Subjects classified as haplogroup X had significantly lower mean hip BMD values than others (P = 0.040). Our results highlighted the importance of mtDNA variants in influencing BMD variation and risk to osteoporosis.
mtSNP; haplogroup; osteoporosis; BMD; association
Astragalus polysaccharides (APS) are active constituents of Astragalus membranaceus. They have been widely studied, especially with respect to their immunopotentiating properties, their ability to counteract the side effects of chemotherapeutic drugs, and their anticancer properties. However, the mechanism by which APS inhibit cancer and the issue of whether that mechanism involves the reversal of multidrug resistance (MDR) is not completely clear. The present paper describes an investigation of the effects of APS on P-glycoprotein function and expression in H22 hepatoma cell lines resistant to Adriamycin (H22/ADM).
H22/ADM cell lines were treated with different concentrations of APS and/or the most common chemotherapy drugs, such as Cyclophosphamid, Adriamycin, 5-Fluorouracil, Cisplatin, Etoposide, and Vincristine. Chemotherapeutic drug sensitivity, P-glycoprotein function and expression, and MDR1 mRNA expression were detected using MTT assay, flow cytometry, Western blotting, and quantitative RT-PCR.
When used alone, APS had no anti-tumor activity in H22/ADM cells in vitro. However, it can increase the cytotoxicity of certain chemotherapy drugs, such as Cyclophosphamid, Adriamycin, 5-Fluorouracil, Cisplatin, Etoposide, and Vincristine, in H22/ADM cells. It acts in a dose-dependent manner. Compared to a blank control group, APS increased intracellular Rhodamine-123 retention and decreased P-glycoprotein efflux function in a dose-dependent manner. These factors were assessed 24 h, 48 h, and 72 h after administration. APS down regulated P-glycoprotein and MDR1 mRNA expression in a concentration-dependent manner within a final range of 0.8–500 mg/L and in a time-dependent manner from 24–72 h.
APS can enhance the chemosensitivity of H22/ADM cells. This may involve the downregulation of MDR1 mRNA expression, inhibition of P-GP efflux pump function, or both, which would decrease the expression of the MDR1 protein.
Astragalus polysaccharides; Multidrug resistance; P-glycoprotein
Alcohol dependence (AD) is a complex disorder characterized by psychiatric and physiological dependence on alcohol. AD is reflected by regular alcohol drinking, which is highly inheritable. In this study, to identify susceptibility genes associated with alcohol drinking, we performed a genome-wide association study of copy number variants (CNVs) in 2,286 Caucasian subjects with Affymetrix SNP6.0 genotyping array. We replicated our findings in 1,627 Chinese subjects with the same genotyping array. We identified two CNVs, CNV207 (combined p-value 1.91E-03) and CNV1836 (combined p-value 3.05E-03) that were associated with alcohol drinking. CNV207 and CNV1836 are located at the downstream of genes LTBP1 (870 kb) and FGD4 (400 kb), respectively. LTBP1, by interacting TGFB1, may down-regulate enzymes directly participating in alcohol metabolism. FGD4 plays a role in clustering and trafficking GABAA receptor and subsequently influence alcohol drinking through activating CDC42. Our results provide suggestive evidence that the newly identified CNV regions and relevant genes may contribute to the genetic mechanism of alcohol dependence.
Little is known about retinal neuronal loss in the retinas of diabetic mice. The purpose of this study was the quantitative assessment of retinal neural cell number in diabetic mice.
Five-week-old C57BL/6 mice were used as a diabetic model with streptozotocin. Mice were studied over the course of 6 and 12 weeks after the onset of diabetes. Intraocular pressure (IOP) was measured with a noninvasive TonoLab tonometer. The retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) were counted at two different time points after the induction of diabetes and examined using the immunofluorescence technique and quantitative analysis.
The diabetic mice had significantly elevated IOP levels at 6 and 12 weeks after the onset of diabetes compared with the age-matched control mice (p<0.01 and p<0.001, respectively). The temporal course of Brn3a+ RGC and Neuronal Nuclei+RGC (NeuN+ RGC) loss induced by intraperitoneal injection of streptozotocin followed a similar trend. At 6 and 12 weeks after the onset of diabetes, the number of Brn3a+ RGCs (p<0.05 at 6 weeks; p<0.001 at 12 weeks) and NeuN+ RGCs (p<0.05 at 6 weeks; p<0.001 at 12 weeks) was significantly lower in diabetic mice than age-matched control mice. In the retinal flatmounts, the number of Brn3a+ RGCs (p<0.05 at 6 weeks, p<0.01 at 12 weeks) was also significantly lower in diabetic mice than control mice. The IOP in diabetic mice was negatively related with RGCs in cross sections. The cut-off value of IOP was 14.2 mmHg for diabetes.
This is a specific quantitative study of neural cell loss in the retina during diabetes. These data suggest that retinal neural cell reduction occurs in diabetic mice. It indicates that RGC loss may be an important component of diabetic retinopathy.
Obesity and osteoporosis are closely correlated genetically. FTO gene has been consistently identified to be associated with obesity phenotypes. A recent study reported that the mice lacking Fto could result in lower bone mineral density (BMD). Thus, we hypothesize that the FTO gene might be also important for osteoporosis phenotypes. To test for such a hypothesis, we performed an association analyses to investigate the relationship between SNPs in FTO and BMD at both hip and spine. A total of 141 SNPs were tested in two independent Chinese populations (818 and 809 unrelated Han subjects, respectively) and a Caucasian population (2,286 unrelated subjects). Combining the two Chinese samples, we identified 6 SNPs in FTO to be significantly associated with hip BMD after multiple testing adjustments, with the combined P values ranged from 4.99×10−4–1.47×10−4. These 6 SNPs are all located at the intron 8 of FTO and in high linkage disequilibrium. Each copy of the minor allele of each SNP was associated with increased hip BMD values with the effect size (beta) of ∼0.025 and ∼0.015 in the Chinese sample 1 and 2, respectively. However, none of these 6 SNPs showed significant association signal in the Caucasian sample, by presenting some extent of ethnic difference. Our findings, together with the prior biological evidence, suggest that the FTO gene might be a new candidate for BMD variation and osteoporosis in Chinese populations.
Deubiquitinating enzymes (DUBs) regulate diverse cellular functions by their activity of cleaving ubiquitin from specific protein substrates. Ubiquitin-Specific Protease 46 (USP46) has recently been identified as a quantitative trait gene responsible for immobility in the tail suspension test and forced swimming test in mice. Mice with a lysine codon (Lys 92) deletion in USP46 exhibited loss of ‘behavioral despair’ under inescapable stresses in addition to abnormalities in circadian behavioral rhythms and the GABAergic system. However, whether this deletion affects enzyme activity is unknown. Here we show that USP46 has deubiquitinating enzyme activity detected by USP cleavage assay using GST-Ub52 as a model substrate. Interestingly, compared to wild type, the Lys 92 deletion mutant resulted in a decreased deubiquitinating enzyme activity of 27.04%. We also determined the relative expression levels of Usp46 in rat tissues using real-time RT-PCR. Usp46 mRNA was expressed in various tissues examined including brain, with the highest expression in spleen. In addition, like rat USP46, both human and mouse USP46 are active toward to the model substrate, indicating the USP cleavage assay is a simple method for testing the deubiquitinating enzyme activity of USP46. These results suggest that the Lys 92 deletion of USP46 could influence enzyme activity and thereby provide a molecular clue how the enzyme regulating the pathogenesis of mental illnesses.
Interstitial lung disease (ILD) induced by epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors (EGFR-TKIs), such as gefitinib and erlotinib, is a rare but fatal complication of TKI treatment. Transfer to chemotherapy or continuation with TKI of reduced dose are alternative treatment strategies. We report a case of severe ILD in a non-small cell lung cancer patient treated with gefitinib. She experienced partial response with restarted low-dose EGFR-TKI erlotinib and corticosteroid treatment.
Non-small cell lung cancer; Epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors; Interstitial lung disease
Osteoporotic hip fracture (HF) is a serious global public health problem associated with high morbidity and mortality. Hip bone size (BS) has been identified as one of key measurable risk factors for HF, independent of bone mineral density (BMD). Hip BS is highly genetically determined, but genetic factors underlying BS variation are still poorly defined. Here, we performed an initial genome-wide copy number variation (CNV) association analysis for hip BS in 1,627 Chinese Han subjects using Affymetrix GeneChip Human Mapping SNP 6.0 Array and a follow-up replicate study in 2,286 unrelated US Caucasians sample. We found that a copy number polymorphism (CNP267) located at chromosome 2q12.2 was significantly associated with hip BS in both initial Chinese and replicate Caucasian samples with p values of 4.73E-03 and 5.66E-03, respectively. An important candidate gene, four and a half LIM domains 2 (FHL2), was detected at the downstream of CNP267, which plays important roles in bone metabolism by binding to several bone formation regulator, such as insulin-like growth factor-binding protein 5 (IGFBP-5) and androgen receptor (AR). Our findings suggest that CNP267 region may be associated with hip BS which might influence the FHL2 gene downstream.
Mitochondria play a central role in ATP production and energy metabolism. Previous studies suggest that common variants in mtDNA are associated with several common complex diseases, including obesity. To test the hypothesis that common mtDNA variants influence obesity-related phenotypes, including BMI and body fat mass, we genotyped a total of 445 mtSNPs across the whole mitochondrial genome in a large sample of 2,286 unrelated Caucasian subjects. 72 of these 445 mtSNPs passed quality control criteria, and were used for subsequent analyses. We also classified all subjects into nine common European haplogroups. Association analyses were conducted for both BMI and body fat mass with single mtSNPs and mtDNA haplogroups. Two mtSNPs, mt4823 and mt8873 were detected to be significantly associated with body fat mass, with adjusted P values of 4.94×10-3 and 4.58×10-2, respectively. The minor alleles mt4823 C and mt8873 A were associated with reduced fat mass values and the effect size (β) was estimated to be 3.52 and 3.18, respectively. These two mtSNPs also achieved nominally significant levels for association with BMI. For haplogroup analyses, we found that haplogroup X was strongly associated with both BMI (adjusted P = 8.31×10-3) and body fat mass (adjusted P = 5.67×10-4) Subjects classified as haplogroup X had lower BMI and fat mass values, with the β estimated to be 2.86 and 6.03, respectively. Our findings suggest that common variants in mitochondria might play a role in variations of body fat mass. Further molecular and functional studies will be needed to clarify the potential mechanism.
The growth factor progranulin (PGRN) has been implicated in embryonic development, tissue repair, tumorigenesis, and inflammation, but its receptors remain unidentified. We report that PGRN bound directly to tumor necrosis factor receptors (TNFR), and disturbed the TNFα/TNFR interaction. PGRN-deficient mice were susceptible to collagen-induced arthritis, and administration of PGRN reversed inflammatory arthritis. Atsttrin, an engineered protein composed of three PGRN fragments, exhibited selective TNFR binding. PGRN and Atsttrin prevented inflammation in multiple arthritis mouse models and inhibited TNFα-activated intracellular signaling. Collectively, these findings demonstrate that PGRN is a ligand of TNFR, an antagonist of TNFα signaling and plays a critical role in the pathogenesis of inflammatory arthritis in mice. They also suggest new potential therapeutic interventions for various TNFα-mediated pathologies and conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis.
Background & Aims
The nonstructural 5A (NS5A) protein of hepatitis C virus (HCV), plays a critical role in HCV replication and is an attractive target for the therapy of HCV infection. So far, little is known about the post-translational regulation of NS5A protein and its precise role in HCV RNA replication. Our objectives were to elucidate the down-regulation of NS5A protein and HCV RNA replication by zinc mesoporphyrin (ZnMP), and the mechanism by which this process occurs.
Human hepatoma cells expressing HCV proteins were used to investigate the post-translational regulation of ZnMP on NS5A protein by Western blots (WB) and immunoprecipitation (IP). Quantitative RT-PCR (qRT-PCR) was used to determine the effects of ZnMP on HCV RNA replication.
ZnMP selectively and markedly down-regulated NS5A protein levels by increasing degradation of NS5A protein [half life fell from 18.7 h to 2.7 h]. The proteasome inhibitors, epoxomicin and MG132, significantly abrogated degradation of NS5A protein by ZnMP without affecting levels of NS5A in the absence of ZnMP. Analysis of immunoprecipitates with an anti-ubiquitin antibody revealed polyubiquitination of NS5A, suggesting that ZnMP induces ubiquitination of NS5A protein. In addition, 10 μM of ZnMP reduced HCV replication by ~63% in the Con1 replicon cells, ~70% in J6/JFH1 HCV transfected cells, and ~90% in J6/JFH1 HCV infected cells without affecting cell viability.
ZnMP produces a rapid and profound down-regulation of the NS5A protein by enhancing its polyubiquitination and proteasome-dependent catabolism. Zinc mesoporphyrin may hold promise as a novel agent to treat HCV infection.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) directly induces oxidative stress and liver injury. Bach1, a zipper (bZip) mammalian transcriptional repressor, negatively regulates heme oxygenase 1 (HMOX1), a key cytoprotective enzyme that has anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. microRNAs are small non-coding RNAs (~22 nt) that are important regulators of gene expression. Whether and how microRNAs regulate Bach1 or HCV are largely unknown. The aims of this study were to determine whether miR-196 regulates Bach1, HMOX1, and/or HCV gene expression. HCV replicon cell lines (Con1 and 9-13) of the Con1 isolate and J6/JFH1-based HCV cell culture system were used in this study. The effects of miR-196 mimic on Bach1, HMOX1 and HCV RNA and protein levels were measured by qRT-PCR and Western blots, respectively. The Dual Glo™ Luciferase Assay System was used to determine reporter activities. miR-196 mimic significantly down-regulated Bach1 and up-regulated HMOX1 gene expression, and inhibited HCV expression. Dual luciferase reporter assays demonstrated that transfection of miR-196 mimic resulted in a significant decrease in Bach1 3′-UTR-dependent luciferase activity but not in mutant Bach1 3′-UTR-dependent luciferase activity. Moreover, there was no detectable effect of mutant miR-196 on Bach1 3′-UTR-dependent luciferase activity.
miR-196 directly acts on the 3′-UTR of Bach1 mRNA and translationally represses the expression of this protein, and up-regulates HMOX1. miR-196 also inhibits HCV expression in HCV replicon cell lines (genotype 1b) and in J6/JFH1 (genotype 2a) HCV cell culture system. Thus, miR-196 plays a role in both HMOX1/Bach1 expression and the regulation of HCV expression in human hepatocytes. Over-expression of miR-196 holds promise as a potential novel strategy to prevent or ameliorate hepatitis C infection, and to protect against liver injury in chronic HCV infection.
microRNA; heme oxygenase-1; hepatitis C virus; 3′-UTR; reporter gene assay
Bone mineral density (BMD) measured at the femoral neck (FN) is the most important risk phenotype for osteoporosis and has been used as a reference standard for describing osteoporosis. The specific genes influencing FN BMD remain largely unknown. To identify such genes, we first performed a genome-wide association (GWA) analysis for FN BMD in a discovery sample consisting of 983 unrelated white subjects. We then tested the top significant single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs; 175 SNPs with p < 5 × 10−4) for replication in a family-based sample of 2557 white subjects. Combing results from these two samples, we found that two genes, parathyroid hormone (PTH) and interleukin 21 receptor (IL21R), achieved consistent association results in both the discovery and replication samples. The PTH gene SNPs, rs9630182, rs2036417, and rs7125774, achieved p values of 1.10 × 10−4, 3.24 × 10−4, and 3.06 × 10−4, respectively, in the discovery sample; p values of 6.50 × 10−4, 5.08 × 10−3, and 5.68 × 10−3, respectively, in the replication sample; and combined p values of 3.98 × 10−7, 9.52 × 10−6, and 1.05 × 10−5, respectively, in the total sample. The IL21R gene SNPs, rs8057551, rs8061992, and rs7199138, achieved p values of 1.51 × 10−4, 1.53 × 10−4, and 3.88 × 10−4, respectively, in the discovery sample; p values of 2.36 × 10−3, 6.74 × 10−3, and 6.41 × 10−3, respectively, in the replication sample; and combined p values of 2.31 × 10−6, 8.62 × 10−6, and 1.41 × 10−5, respectively, in the total sample. The effect size of each SNP was approximately 0.11 SD estimated in the discovery sample. PTH and IL21R both have potential biologic functions important to bone metabolism. Overall, our findings provide some new clues to the understanding of the genetic architecture of osteoporosis. © 2010 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research.
genome-wide association; BMD; PTH; IL21R; osteoporosis
Lung cancer is one of the most common human cancers and the leading cause of cancer death worldwide. The identification of lung cancer associated genes is essential for lung cancer diagnosis and treatment.
Differential Display-PCR technique was used to achieve the novel cDNA, which were then verified by real-time PCR. Northern blot was utilized to observe the expression of LCMR1 in different human tissues. 84 cases human NSCLC tissues and normal counterparts were analyzed for the expression of LCMR1 by immunohistochemistry.
A novel 778-bp cDNA fragment from human large cell lung carcinoma cell lines 95C and 95D was obtained, and named LCMR1 (Lung Cancer Metastasis Related protein 1). LCMR1 was differentially expressed in different human tissues. LCMR1 was strongly overexpressed in NSCLC and its expression was significantly associated with clinical stage.
Our data indicated that LCMR1, strongly overexpressed in NSCLC, might have applications in the clinical diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer.
Great progress has been made in genetic dissection of quantitative trait variation during the past two decades, but many studies still reveal only a small fraction of quantitative trait loci (QTLs), and epistasis remains elusive. We integrate contemporary knowledge of signal transduction pathways with principles of quantitative and population genetics to characterize genetic networks underlying complex traits, using a model founded upon one-way functional dependency of downstream genes on upstream regulators (the principle of hierarchy) and mutual functional dependency among related genes (functional genetic units, FGU). Both simulated and real data suggest that complementary epistasis contributes greatly to quantitative trait variation, and obscures the phenotypic effects of many ‘downstream’ loci in pathways. The mathematical relationships between the main effects and epistatic effects of genes acting at different levels of signaling pathways were established using the quantitative and population genetic parameters. Both loss of function and “co-adapted” gene complexes formed by multiple alleles with differentiated functions (effects) are predicted to be frequent types of allelic diversity at loci that contribute to the genetic variation of complex traits in populations. Downstream FGUs appear to be more vulnerable to loss of function than their upstream regulators, but this vulnerability is apparently compensated by different FGUs of similar functions. Other predictions from the model may account for puzzling results regarding responses to selection, genotype by environment interaction, and the genetic basis of heterosis.