The distribution of chromatin within the mammalian nucleus is constrained by its organization into chromosome territories (CTs). However, recent studies have suggested that promiscuous intra- and inter-chromosomal interactions play fundamental roles in regulating chromatin function and so might define the spatial integrity of CTs. In order to test the extent of DNA mixing between CTs, DNA foci of individual CTs were labeled in living cells following incorporation of Alexa-488 and Cy-3 conjugated replication precursor analogues during consecutive cell cycles. Uniquely labeled chromatin domains, resolved following random mitotic segregation, were visualized as discrete structures with defined borders. At the level of resolution analysed, evidence for mixing of chromatin from adjacent domains was only apparent within the surface volumes where neighboring CTs touched. However, while less than 1% of the nuclear volume represented domains of inter-chromosomal mixing, the dynamic plasticity of DNA foci within individual CTs allows continual transformation of CT structure so that different domains of chromatin mixing evolve over time. Notably, chromatin mixing at the boundaries of adjacent CTs had little impact on the innate structural properties of DNA foci. However, when TSA was used to alter the extent of histone acetylation changes in chromatin correlated with increased chromatin mixing. We propose that DNA foci maintain a structural integrity that restricts widespread mixing of DNA and discuss how the potential to dynamically remodel genome organization might alter during cell differentiation.
Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a leading genetic cause of childhood mortality, caused by reduced levels of survival motor neuron (SMN) protein. SMN functions as part of a large complex in the biogenesis of small nuclear ribonucleoproteins (snRNPs). It is not clear if defects in snRNP biogenesis cause SMA or if loss of some tissue-specific function causes disease. We recently demonstrated that the SMN complex localizes to the Z-discs of skeletal and cardiac muscle sarcomeres, and that SMN is a proteolytic target of calpain. Calpains are implicated in muscle and neurodegenerative disorders, although their relationship to SMA is unclear. Using mass spectrometry, we identified two adjacent calpain cleavage sites in SMN, S192 and F193. Deletion of small motifs in the region surrounding these sites inhibited cleavage. Patient-derived SMA mutations within SMN reduced calpain cleavage. SMN(D44V), reported to impair Gemin2 binding and amino-terminal SMN association, drastically inhibited cleavage, suggesting a role for these interactions in regulating calpain cleavage. Deletion of A188, a residue mutated in SMA type I (A188S), abrogated calpain cleavage, highlighting the importance of this region. Conversely, SMA mutations that interfere with self-oligomerization of SMN, Y272C and SMNΔ7, had no effect on cleavage. Removal of the recently-identified SMN degron (Δ268-294) resulted in increased calpain sensitivity, suggesting that the C-terminus of SMN is important in dictating availability of the cleavage site. Investigation into the spatial determinants of SMN cleavage revealed that endogenous calpains can cleave cytosolic, but not nuclear, SMN. Collectively, the results provide insight into a novel aspect of the post-translation regulation of SMN.
Phenotypic alteration of vascular smooth muscle cells (SMC) in response to injury or inflammation is an essential component of vascular disease. Evidence suggests that this process is dependent on epigenetic regulatory processes. P300, a histone acetyltransferase (HAT), activates crucial muscle-specific promoters in terminal (non-SMC) myocyte differentiation, and may be essential to SMC modulation as well.
We performed a subanalysis examining transcriptional time-course microarray data obtained using the A404 model of SMC differentiation. Numerous chromatin remodeling genes (up to 62% of such genes on our array platform) showed significant regulation during differentiation. Members of several chromatin-remodeling families demonstrated involvement, including factors instrumental in histone modification, chromatin assembly-disassembly and DNA silencing, suggesting complex, multi-level systemic epigenetic regulation. Further, trichostatin A, a histone deacetylase inhibitor, accelerated expression of SMC differentiation markers in this model. Ontology analysis indicated a high degree of p300 involvement in SMC differentiation, with 60.7% of the known p300 interactome showing significant expression changes. Knockdown of p300 expression accelerated SMC differentiation in A404 cells and human SMCs, while inhibition of p300 HAT activity blunted SMC differentiation. The results suggest a central but complex role for p300 in SMC phenotypic modulation.
Our results support the hypothesis that chromatin remodeling is important for SMC phenotypic switching, and detail wide-ranging involvement of several epigenetic modification families. Additionally, the transcriptional coactivator p300 may be partially degraded during SMC differentiation, leaving an activated subpopulation with increased HAT activity and SMC differentiation-gene specificity.
Wound healing is a complex dynamic process characterised by a uniform flow of events in nearly all types of tissue damage, from a small skin scratch to myocardial infarction. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are essential during the healing process at multiple stages, ranging from the initial signal that instigates the immune response, to the triggering of intracellular redox-dependent signalling pathways and the defence against invading bacteria. Excessive ROS in the wound milieu nevertheless impedes new tissue formation. Here we identify small proline-rich (SPRR) proteins as essential players in this latter process, as they directly link ROS detoxification with cell migration. A literature-based meta-analysis revealed their up-regulation in various forms of tissue injury, ranging from heart infarction and commensal-induced gut responses to nerve regeneration and burn injury. Apparently, SPRR proteins have a far more widespread role in wound healing and tissue remodelling than their established function in skin cornification. It is inferred that SPRR proteins provide injured tissue with an efficient, finely tuneable antioxidant barrier specifically adapted to the tissue involved and the damage inflicted. Their recognition as novel cell protective proteins combining ROS detoxification with cell migration will provide new venues to study and manage tissue repair and wound healing at a molecular level.
We recently demonstrated noninvasive detection of fetal aneuploidy by shotgun sequencing cell-free DNA in maternal plasma using next-generation high throughput sequencer. However, GC bias introduced by the sequencer placed a practical limit on the sensitivity of aneuploidy detection. In this study, we describe a method to computationally remove GC bias in short read sequencing data by applying weight to each sequenced read based on local genomic GC content. We show that sensitivity is limited only by counting statistics and that sensitivity can be increased to arbitrary precision in sample containing arbitrarily small fraction of fetal DNA simply by sequencing more DNA molecules. High throughput shotgun sequencing of maternal plasma DNA should therefore enable noninvasive diagnosis of any type of fetal aneuploidy.
γ-Secretase is an intramembrane aspartyl protease whose cleavage of the amyloid precursor protein (APP) generates the amyloid β-peptide (Aβ) and the APP intracellular domain. Aβ is widely believed to have a causative role in Alzheimer's disease pathogenesis, and therefore modulation of γ-secretase activity has become a therapeutic goal. Besides APP, more than 50 substrates of γ-secretase with different cellular functions during embryogenesis as well as adulthood have been revealed. Prior to γ-secretase cleavage, substrates are ectodomain shedded, producing membrane bound C-terminal fragments (CTFs).
Here, we investigated γ-secretase cleavage of five substrates; APP, Notch1, N-cadherin, ephrinB and p75 neurotrophin receptor (p75-NTR) in membranes isolated from embryonic, young or old adult rat brain by analyzing the release of the corresponding intracellular domains (ICDs) or Aβ40 by western blot analysis and ELISA respectively. The highest levels of all ICDs and Aβ were produced by embryonic membranes. In adult rat brain only cleavage of APP and Notch1 could be detected and the Aβ40 and ICD production from these substrates was similar in young and old adult rat brain. The CTF levels of Notch1, N-cadherin, ephrinB and p75-NTR were also clearly decreased in the adult brain compared to embryonic brain, whereas the APP CTF levels were only slightly decreased.
In summary our data suggests that γ-secretase dependent ICD production is down-regulated in the adult brain compared to embryonic brain. In addition, the present approach may be useful for evaluating the specificity of γ-secretase inhibitors.
Meiotic chromosomes in an oocyte are not only a maternal genome carrier but also provide a positional signal to induce cortical polarization and define asymmetric meiotic division of the oocyte, resulting in polar body extrusion and haploidization of the maternal genome. The meiotic chromosomes play dual function in determination of meiosis: 1) organizing a bipolar spindle formation and 2) inducing cortical polarization and assembly of a distinct cortical cytoskeleton structure in the overlying cortex for polar body extrusion. At fertilization, a sperm brings exogenous paternal chromatin into the egg, which induces ectopic cortical polarization at the sperm entry site and leads to a cone formation, known as fertilization cone. Here we show that the sperm chromatin-induced fertilization cone formation is an abortive polar body extrusion due to lack of spindle induction by the sperm chromatin during fertilization. If experimentally manipulating the fertilization process to allow sperm chromatin to induce both cortical polarization and spindle formation, the fertilization cone can be converted into polar body extrusion. This suggests that sperm chromatin is also able to induce polar body extrusion, like its maternal counterpart. The usually observed cone formation instead of ectopic polar body extrusion induced by sperm chromatin during fertilization is due to special sperm chromatin compaction which restrains it from rapid spindle induction and therefore provides a protective mechanism to prevent a possible paternal genome loss during ectopic polar body extrusion.
Coilin is the signature protein of the Cajal body, a conserved nuclear organelle involved in multiple aspects of small ribonucleoprotein (RNP) biogenesis. Coilin is required for Cajal body homeostasis in both plants and animals. Mice lacking coilin are viable when the mutation is crossed to an outbred strain but only partially viable when crossed to inbred lines.
In order to clarify this issue, we backcrossed the coilin deletion onto the C57BL6/J background for ten generations and then investigated the consequences of coilin removal on overall viability and reproductive success. We conclude that semi-lethal phenotype observed in mixed-background crosses is due to loss of the Coilin gene (or a very tightly-linked locus). Interestingly, coilin knockout embryos die relatively late in gestation, between E13.5 and birth. We show that the maternal contribution of coilin is not important for organismal viability. Importantly, coilin knockout mice display significant fertility and fecundity defects. Mutant males that escape the embryonic lethality display reduced testis size, however, both males and females contribute to the observed reduction in reproductive fitness.
The evolutionary conservation of coilin from plants to animals suggests that the protein plays an important role, perhaps coordinating the activities of various RNA-processing machineries. Our observations are consistent with the idea that coilin functions to ensure robust organismal development, especially during periods of rapid growth.
Available instances of inheritance of epigenetic transgenerational phenotype are limited to environmental exposures during embryonic and adult gonadal development. Adult exposures can also affect gametogenesis and thereby potentially result in reprogramming of the germline. Although examples of epigenetic effects on gametogenesis exist, it is notable that transgenerational inheritance of environment-induced adult phenotype has not yet been reported. Epigenetic codes are considered to be critical in neural plasticity. A Drosophila systems model of pentylenetetrazole (PTZ) induced long-term brain plasticity has recently been described. In this model, chronic PTZ treatment of adult males causes alterations in CNS transcriptome. Here, we describe our search for transgenerational spermatogenic inheritance of PTZ induced gene expression phenotype acquired by adult Drosophila males. We generated CNS transcriptomic profiles of F1 adults after treating F0 adult males with PTZ and of F2 adults resulting from a cross between F1 males and normal females. Surprisingly, microarray clustering showed F1 male profile as closest to F1 female and F0 male profile closest to F2 male. Differentially expressed genes in F1 males, F1 females and F2 males showed significant overlap with those caused by PTZ. Interestingly, microarray evidence also led to the identification of upregulated rRNA in F2 males. Next, we generated microarray expression profiles of adult testis from F0 and F1 males. Further surprising, clustering of CNS and testis profiles and matching of differentially expressed genes in them provided evidence of a spermatogenic mechanism in the transgenerational effect observed. To our knowledge, we report for the first time detection of transgenerational spermatogenic inheritance of adult acquired somatic gene expression characteristic. The Drosophila systems model offers an excellent opportunity to understand the epigenetic mechanisms underlying the phenomenon. The finding that adult acquired transcriptomic alteration in soma is spermatogenically inherited across generations has potential implications in human health and evolution.
The development of DNA microarray assays is hampered by two important aspects: processing of the microarrays is done under a single stringency condition, and characteristics such as melting temperature are difficult to predict for immobilized probes. A technical solution to these limitations is to use a thermal gradient and information from melting curves, for instance to score genotypes. However, application of temperature gradients normally requires complicated equipment, and the size of the arrays that can be investigated is restricted due to heat dissipation. Here we present a simple microfluidic device that creates a gradient comprising zones of defined ionic strength over a glass slide, in which each zone corresponds to a subarray. Using this device, we demonstrated that ionic strength gradients function in a similar fashion as corresponding thermal gradients in assay development. More specifically, we noted that (i) the two stringency modulators generated melting curves that could be compared, (ii) both led to increased assay robustness, and (iii) both were associated with difficulties in genotyping the same mutation. These findings demonstrate that ionic strength stringency buffers can be used instead of thermal gradients. Given the flexibility of design of ionic gradients, these can be created over all types of arrays, and encompass an attractive alternative to temperature gradients, avoiding curtailment of the size or spacing of subarrays on slides associated with temperature gradients.
FISH (Fluorescence in situ hybridization) is a powerful technique that detects and localises specific DNA sequences on metaphase chromosomes, interphase nuclei or chromatin fibres. When coupled to BrdU (5-Bromo 2-deoxy-uridine) labeling of newly replicated DNA, the replication properties of different DNA sequences can be analysed. However, the technique for the detection of BrdU incorporation is time consuming, and relies on acidic pH buffer treatments, that prevent use of pH sensitive fluorochromes such as FITC (Fluoro-isothiocianate) during FISH. In this work, we describe a simplified protocol that allows the simultaneous detection of FISH signals and BrdU incorporation. Since the technique does not involve paraformaldehyde for cell fixation, or formamide for denaturation of the target DNA and in post-hybridisation washes, it represents a safer alternative to classical FISH techniques.
Turner's syndrome (caused by monosomy of chromosome X) is one of the most common chromosomal abnormalities in females. Although 3% of all pregnancies start with XO embryos, 99% of these pregnancies terminate spontaneously during the first trimester. The common genetic explanation for the early lethality of monosomy X embryos, as well as the phenotype of surviving individuals is haploinsufficiency of pseudoautosomal genes on the X chromosome. Another possible mechanism is null expression of imprinted genes on the X chromosome due to the loss of the expressed allele. In contrast to humans, XO mice are viable, and fertile. Thus, neither cells from patients nor mouse models can be used in order to study the cause of early lethality in XO embryos. Human embryonic stem cells (HESCs) can differentiate in culture into cells from the three embryonic germ layers as well as into extraembryonic cells. These cells have been shown to have great value in modeling human developmental genetic disorders. In order to study the reasons for the early lethality of 45,XO embryos we have isolated HESCs that have spontaneously lost one of their sex chromosomes. To examine the possibility that imprinted genes on the X chromosome play a role in the phenotype of XO embryos, we have identified genes that were no longer expressed in the mutant cells. None of these genes showed a monoallelic expression in XX cells, implying that imprinting is not playing a major role in the phenotype of XO embryos. To suggest an explanation for the embryonic lethality caused by monosomy X, we have differentiated the XO HESCs in vitro an in vivo. DNA microarray analysis of the differentiated cells enabled us to compare the expression of tissue specific genes in XO and XX cells. The tissue that showed the most significant differences between the clones was the placenta. Many placental genes are expressed at much higher levels in XX cells in compare to XO cells. Thus, we suggest that abnormal placental differentiation as a result of haploinsufficiency of X-linked pseudoautosomal genes causes the early lethality in XO human embryos.
Alopecia is the common hair loss problem that can affect many people. However, current therapies for treatment of alopecia are limited by low efficacy and potentially undesirable side effects. We have identified a new function for valproic acid (VPA), a GSK3β inhibitor that activates the Wnt/β-catenin pathway, to promote hair re-growth in vitro and in vivo.
Methodology/ Principal Findings
Topical application of VPA to male C3H mice critically stimulated hair re-growth and induced terminally differentiated epidermal markers such as filaggrin and loricrin, and the dermal papilla marker alkaline phosphatase (ALP). VPA induced ALP in human dermal papilla cells by up-regulating the Wnt/β-catenin pathway, whereas minoxidil (MNX), a drug commonly used to treat alopecia, did not significantly affect the Wnt/β-catenin pathway. VPA analogs and other GSK3β inhibitors that activate the Wnt/β-catenin pathway such as 4-phenyl butyric acid, LiCl, and BeCl2 also exhibited hair growth-promoting activities in vivo. Importantly, VPA, but not MNX, successfully stimulate hair growth in the wounds of C3H mice.
Our findings indicate that small molecules that activate the Wnt/β-catenin pathway, such as VPA, can potentially be developed as drugs to stimulate hair re-growth.
Nuclear myosin I (NM1) was the first molecular motor identified in the cell nucleus. Together with nuclear actin, they participate in crucial nuclear events such as transcription, chromatin movements, and chromatin remodeling. NM1 is an isoform of myosin 1c (Myo1c) that was identified earlier and is known to act in the cytoplasm. NM1 differs from the “cytoplasmic” myosin 1c only by additional 16 amino acids at the N-terminus of the molecule. This amino acid stretch was therefore suggested to direct NM1 into the nucleus.
We investigated the mechanism of nuclear import of NM1 in detail. Using over-expressed GFP chimeras encoding for truncated NM1 mutants, we identified a specific sequence that is necessary for its import to the nucleus. This novel nuclear localization sequence is placed within calmodulin-binding motif of NM1, thus it is present also in the Myo1c. We confirmed the presence of both isoforms in the nucleus by transfection of tagged NM1 and Myo1c constructs into cultured cells, and also by showing the presence of the endogenous Myo1c in purified nuclei of cells derived from knock-out mice lacking NM1. Using pull-down and co-immunoprecipitation assays we identified importin beta, importin 5 and importin 7 as nuclear transport receptors that bind NM1. Since the NLS sequence of NM1 lies within the region that also binds calmodulin we tested the influence of calmodulin on the localization of NM1. The presence of elevated levels of calmodulin interfered with nuclear localization of tagged NM1.
We have shown that the novel specific NLS brings to the cell nucleus not only the “nuclear” isoform of myosin I (NM1 protein) but also its “cytoplasmic” isoform (Myo1c protein). This opens a new field for exploring functions of this molecular motor in nuclear processes, and for exploring the signals between cytoplasm and the nucleus.
Assisted reproductive technologies allow to utilize a limited number of fully grown oocytes despite the presence in the ovary of a large pool of meiotically incompetent gametes potentially able to produce live births. In vitro folliculogenesis could be useful to recruit these oocytes by promoting their growth and differentiation.
In vitro folliculogenesis was performed starting from sheep preantral (PA) follicles to evaluate oocyte nuclear/epigenetic maturation. Chromatin configuration, quantification of global DNA methylation, and epigenetic remodelling enzymes were evaluated with immunocytochemistry, telomere elongation was assessed with the Q-FISH technique, while the DNA methylation status at the DMRs of maternally IGF2R and BEGAIN, and paternally H19 methylated imprinted genes was determined by bisulfite sequencing and COBRA. Specifically, 70% of PA underwent early antrum (EA) differentiation and supported in culture oocyte global DNA methylation, telomere elongation, TERT and Dnmt3a redistribution thus mimicking the physiological events that involve the oocyte during the transition from secondary to tertiary follicle. Dnmt1 anticipated cytoplasmic translocation in in vitro grown oocytes did not impair global and single gene DNA methylation. Indeed, the in vitro grown oocytes acquired a methylation profile of IGF2R and BEGAIN compatible with the follicle/oocyte stage reached, and maintained an unmethylated status of H19. In addition, the percentage of oocytes displaying a condensed chromatin configuration resulted lower in in vitro grown oocytes, however, their ability to undergo meiosis and early embryo development after IVF and parthenogenetic activation was similar to that recorded in EA follicle in vivo grown oocytes.
In conclusion, the in vitro folliculogenesis was able to support the intracellular/nuclear mechanisms leading the oocytes to acquire a meiotic and developmental competence. Thus, the in vitro culture may increase the availability of fertilizable oocytes in sheep, and become an in vitro translational model to investigate the mechanisms governing nuclear/epigenetic oocyte maturation.
DNA damage response (DDR) is an intrinsic barrier of cell to tumorigenesis initiated by genotoxic agents. However, the mechanisms underlying the DDR are not completely understood despite of extensive investigation. Recently, we have reported that ectopic expression of germline stem cell gene PIWIL2 is associated with tumor stem cell development, although the underlying mechanisms are largely unknown. Here we show that PIWIL2 is required for the repair of DNA-damage induced by various types of genotoxic agents. Upon ultraviolet (UV) irradiation, silenced PIWIL2 gene in normal human fibroblasts was transiently activated after treatment with UV light. This activation was associated with DNA repair, because Piwil2-deficienct mouse embryonic fibroblasts (mili-/- MEFs) were defective in cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers (CPD) repair after UV treatment. As a result, the UV-treated mili-/- MEFs were more susceptible to apoptosis, as characterized by increased levels of DNA damage-associated apoptotic proteins, such as active caspase-3, cleaved Poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) and Bik. The impaired DNA repair in the mili-/- MEFs was associated with the reductions of histone H3 acetylation and chromatin relaxation, although the DDR pathway downstream chromatin relaxation appeared not to be directly affected by Piwil2. Moreover, guanine–guanine (Pt-[GG]) and double strand break (DSB) repair were also defective in the mili-/- MEFs treated by genotoxic chemicals Cisplatin and ionizing radiation (IR), respectively. The results indicate that Piwil2 can mediate DNA repair through an axis of Piwil2 → histone acetylation → chromatin relaxation upstream DDR pathways. The findings reveal a new role for Piwil2 in DNA repair and suggest that Piwil2 may act as a gatekeeper against DNA damage-mediated tumorigenesis.
All eukaryotic cells alter their transcriptional program in response to the sugar glucose. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the best-studied downstream effector of this response is the glucose-regulated repressor Mig1. We show here that nuclear pore complexes also contribute to glucose-regulated gene expression. NPCs participate in glucose-responsive repression by physically interacting with Mig1 and mediating its function independently of nucleocytoplasmic transport. Surprisingly, despite its abundant presence in the nucleus of glucose-grown nup120Δ or nup133Δ cells, Mig1 has lost its ability to interact with target promoters. The glucose repression defect in the absence of these nuclear pore components therefore appears to result from the failure of Mig1 to access its consensus recognition sites in genomic DNA. We propose that the NPC contributes to both repression and activation at the level of transcription.
Micronucleation, mediated by interphase nuclear budding, has been repeatedly suggested, but the process is still enigmatic. In the present study, we confirmed the previous observation that there are lamin B1-negative micronuclei in addition to the positive ones. A large cytoplasmic bleb was found to frequently entrap lamin B1-negative micronuclei, which were connected to the nucleus by a thin chromatin stalk. At the bottom of the stalk, the nuclear lamin B1 structure appeared broken. Chromatin extrusion through lamina breaks has been referred to as herniation or a blister of the nucleus, and has been observed after the expression of viral proteins. A cell line in which extrachromosomal double minutes and lamin B1 protein were simultaneously visualized in different colors in live cells was established. By using these cells, time-lapse microscopy revealed that cytoplasmic membrane blebbing occurred simultaneously with the extrusion of nuclear content, which generated lamin B1-negative micronuclei during interphase. Furthermore, activation of cytoplasmic membrane blebbing by the addition of fresh serum or camptothecin induced nuclear budding within 1 to 10 minutes, which suggested that blebbing might be the cause of the budding. After the induction of blebbing, the frequency of lamin-negative micronuclei increased. The budding was most frequent during S phase and more efficiently entrapped small extrachromosomal chromatin than the large chromosome arm. Based on these results, we suggest a novel mechanism in which cytoplasmic membrane dynamics pulls the chromatin out of the nucleus through the lamina break. Evidence for such a mechanism was obtained in certain cancer cell lines including human COLO 320 and HeLa. The mechanism could significantly perturb the genome and influence cancer cell phenotypes.
Fluorescence in situ hybridization was performed to characterize 81 cases of myeloid and lymphoid malignancies with cytogenetic 1p36 alterations not affecting the PRDM16 locus. In total, three subgroups were identified: balanced translocations (N = 27) and telomeric rearrangements (N = 15), both mainly observed in myeloid disorders; and unbalanced non-telomeric rearrangements (N = 39), mainly observed in lymphoid proliferations and frequently associated with a highly complex karyotype. The 1p36 rearrangement was isolated in 12 cases, mainly myeloid disorders. The breakpoints on 1p36 were more widely distributed than previously reported, but with identifiable rare breakpoint cluster regions, such as the TP73 locus. We also found novel partner loci on 1p36 for the known multi-partner genes HMGA2 and RUNX1. We precised the common terminal 1p36 deletion, which has been suggested to have an adverse prognosis, in B-cell lymphomas [follicular lymphomas and diffuse large B-cell lymphomas with t(14;18)(q32;q21) as well as follicular lymphomas without t(14;18)]. Intrachromosomal telomeric repetitive sequences were detected in at least half the cases of telomeric rearrangements. It is unclear how the latter rearrangements occurred and whether they represent oncogenic events or result from chromosomal instability during oncogenesis.
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) derived from adult tissues are an important candidate for cell-based therapies and regenerative medicine due to their multipotential differentiation capability. MSCs have been identified in many adult tissues but have not reported in the human intervertebral disc cartilage endplate (CEP). The initial purpose of this study was to determine whether MSCs exist in the degenerated human CEP. Next, the morphology, proliferation capacity, cell cycle, cell surface epitope profile and differentiation capacity of these CEP-derived stem cells (CESCs) were compared with bone-marrow MSCs (BM-MSCs). Lastly, whether CESCs are a suitable candidate for BM-MSCs was evaluated. Isolated cells from degenerated human CEP were seeded in an agarose suspension culture system to screen the proliferative cell clusters. Cell clusters were chosen and expanded in vitro and were compared with BM-MSCs derived from the same patient. The morphology, proliferation rate, cell cycle, immunophenotype and stem cell gene expression of the CESCs were similar to BM-MSCs. In addition, the CESCs could be induced into osteoblasts, adipocytes, chondrocytes, and are superior to BM-MSCs in terms of osteogenesis and chondrogenesis. This study is first to demonstrate the presence of stem cells in the human degenerated CEP. These results may improve our understanding of intervertebral disc (IVD) pathophysiology and the degeneration process, and could provide cell candidates for cell-based regenerative medicine and tissue engineering.
Coilin is a nuclear phosphoprotein that accumulates in Cajal bodies (CBs). CBs participate in ribonucleoprotein and telomerase biogenesis, and are often found in cells with high transcriptional demands such as neuronal and cancer cells, but can also be observed less frequently in other cell types such as fibroblasts. Many proteins enriched within the CB are phosphorylated, but it is not clear what role this modification has on the activity of these proteins in the CB. Coilin is considered to be the CB marker protein and is essential for proper CB formation and composition in mammalian cells. In order to characterize the role of coilin phosphorylation on CB formation, we evaluated various coilin phosphomutants using transient expression. Additionally, we generated inducible coilin phosphomutant cell lines that, when used in combination with endogenous coilin knockdown, allow for the expression of the phosphomutants at physiological levels. Transient expression of all coilin phosphomutants except the phosphonull mutant (OFF) significantly reduces proliferation. Interestingly, a stable cell line induced to express the coilin S489D phosphomutant displays nucleolar accumulation of the mutant and generates a N-terminal degradation product; neither of which is observed upon transient expression. A N-terminal degradation product and nucleolar localization are also observed in a stable cell line induced to express a coilin phosphonull mutant (OFF). The nucleolar localization of the S489D and OFF coilin mutants observed in the stable cell lines is decreased when endogenous coilin is reduced. Furthermore, all the phosphomutant cells lines show a significant reduction in CB formation when compared to wild-type after endogenous coilin knockdown. Cell proliferation studies on these lines reveal that only wild-type coilin and the OFF mutant are sufficient to rescue the reduction in proliferation associated with endogenous coilin depletion. These results emphasize the role of coilin phosphorylation in the formation and activity of CBs.
Thioglycolic acid (TGA) is widely used in the hairdressing industry, which mostly caters to women. Recently, TGA has been reported to impair several organs, especially reproductive ones such as testes and ovaries. The reproductive toxicity of TGA on females has become an issue that cannot be neglected.
In the present work, superovulated female mice were percutaneously treated with different doses of TGA (37.81, 75.62, and 151.25 mg/kg). The mice were sacrificed to collect ovulated oocytes, whose numbers were counted and compared. Immunofluorescence-stained oocytes were observed under a confocal microscope to investigate the effects of TGA on spindle morphology, distribution of cortical granules (CGs), and parthenogenetic activation. The number of ovulated oocytes was decreased by TGA. The ovulated oocytes in the 151.25 mg/kg TGA group were significantly less than in the control and in the 37.81 mg/kg TGA groups. The ovulated oocytes in the 75.62 mg/kg TGA group were less than in the 37.81 mg/kg dose group. Abnormal spindle configuration in vivo was also induced by TGA. The spindle areas in the 75.62 and 151.25 mg/kg TGA groups were significantly larger than in the control and 37.81 mg/kg TGA groups. The parthenogenetic activation of ovulated oocytes in vitro was inhibited as well. The percentage of activated oocytes in the 75.62 and 151.25 mg/kg TGA groups was significantly lower than in the control and 37.81 mg/kg TGA groups. The percentage in the 151.25 mg/kg TGA group was also less than in the 75.62 mg/kg group. CG distribution was not affected by TGA.
Mice were percutaneously treated with TGA. Consequently, the number of ovulated oocytes decreased, abnormal spindle configurations were induced, and the parthenogenetic activation of ovulated oocytes was inhibited. CG distribution was not affected.
Recently immunoglobulins (Igs) have been found to be expressed by cells other than B lymphocytes, including various human carcinoma cells. Sarcomas are derived from mesenchyme, and the knowledge about the occurrence of Ig production in sarcoma cells is very limited. Here we investigated the phenomenon of immunoglobulin G (IgG) expression and its molecular basis in 3 sarcoma cell lines. The mRNA transcripts of IgG heavy chain and kappa light chain were detected by RT-PCR. In addition, the expression of IgG proteins was confirmed by Western blot and immunofluorescence. Immuno-electron microscopy localized IgG to the cell membrane and rough endoplasmic reticulum. The essential enzymes required for gene rearrangement and class switch recombination, and IgG germ-line transcripts were also identified in these sarcoma cells. Chromatin immunoprecipitation results demonstrated histone H3 acetylation of both the recombination activating gene and Ig heavy chain regulatory elements. Collectively, these results confirmed IgG expression in sarcoma cells, the mechanism of which is very similar to that regulating IgG expression in B lymphocytes.
Multiple genetic modifications in pigs can essentially benefit research on agriculture, human disease and xenotransplantation. Most multi-transgenic pigs have been produced by complex and time-consuming breeding programs using multiple single-transgenic pigs. This study explored the feasibility of producing multi-transgenic pigs using the viral 2A peptide in the light of previous research indicating that it can be utilized for multi-gene transfer in gene therapy and somatic cell reprogramming. A 2A peptide-based double-promoter expression vector that mediated the expression of four fluorescent proteins was constructed and transfected into primary porcine fetal fibroblasts. Cell colonies (54.3%) formed under G418 selection co-expressed the four fluorescent proteins at uniformly high levels. The reconstructed embryos, which were obtained by somatic cell nuclear transfer and confirmed to express the four fluorescent proteins evenly, were transplanted into seven recipient gilts. Eleven piglets were delivered by two gilts, and seven of them co-expressed the four fluorescent proteins at equivalently high levels in various tissues. The fluorescence intensities were directly observed at the nose, hoof and tongue using goggles. The results suggest that the strategy of combining the 2A peptide and double promoters efficiently mediates the co-expression of the four fluorescent proteins in pigs and is hence a promising methodology to generate multi-transgenic pigs by a single nuclear transfer.
Interspecies somatic cell nuclear transfer (iSCNT) involves the transfer of a nucleus or cell from one species into the cytoplasm of an enucleated oocyte from another. Once activated, reconstructed oocytes can be cultured in vitro to blastocyst, the final stage of preimplantation development. However, they often arrest during the early stages of preimplantation development; fail to reprogramme the somatic nucleus; and eliminate the accompanying donor cell's mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) in favour of the recipient oocyte's genetically more divergent population. This last point has consequences for the production of ATP by the electron transfer chain, which is encoded by nuclear and mtDNA. Using a murine-porcine interspecies model, we investigated the importance of nuclear-cytoplasmic compatibility on successful development. Initially, we transferred murine fetal fibroblasts into enucleated porcine oocytes, which resulted in extremely low blastocyst rates (0.48%); and failure to replicate nuclear DNA and express Oct-4, the key marker of reprogramming. Using allele specific-PCR, we detected peak levels of murine mtDNA at 0.14±0.055% of total mtDNA at the 2-cell embryo stage and then at ever-decreasing levels to the blastocyst stage (<0.001%). Furthermore, these embryos had an overall mtDNA profile similar to porcine embryos. We then depleted porcine oocytes of their mtDNA using 10 µM 2′,3′-dideoxycytidine and transferred murine somatic cells along with murine embryonic stem cell extract, which expressed key pluripotent genes associated with reprogramming and contained mitochondria, into these oocytes. Blastocyst rates increased significantly (3.38%) compared to embryos generated from non-supplemented oocytes (P<0.01). They also had significantly more murine mtDNA at the 2-cell stage than the non-supplemented embryos, which was maintained throughout early preimplantation development. At later stages, these embryos possessed 49.99±2.97% murine mtDNA. They also exhibited an mtDNA profile similar to murine preimplantation embryos. Overall, these data demonstrate that the addition of species compatible mtDNA and reprogramming factors improves developmental outcomes for iSCNT embryos.