Search tips
Search criteria

Results 1-25 (33)

Clipboard (0)

Select a Filter Below

more »
Year of Publication
more »
Document Types
1.  Loss of PHD3 allows tumours to overcome hypoxic growth inhibition and sustain proliferation through EGFR 
Nature Communications  2014;5:5582.
Solid tumours are exposed to microenvironmental factors such as hypoxia that normally inhibit cell growth. However, tumour cells are capable of counteracting these signals through mechanisms that are largely unknown. Here we show that the prolyl hydroxylase PHD3 restrains tumour growth in response to microenvironmental cues through the control of EGFR. PHD3 silencing in human gliomas or genetic deletion in a murine high-grade astrocytoma model markedly promotes tumour growth and the ability of tumours to continue growing under unfavourable conditions. The growth-suppressive function of PHD3 is independent of the established PHD3 targets HIF and NF-κB and its hydroxylase activity. Instead, loss of PHD3 results in hyperphosphorylation of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). Importantly, epigenetic/genetic silencing of PHD3 preferentially occurs in gliomas without EGFR amplification. Our findings reveal that PHD3 inactivation provides an alternative route of EGFR activation through which tumour cells sustain proliferative signalling even under conditions of limited oxygen availability.
Little is known on how solid tumours overcome growth inhibitory signals within its hypoxic microenvironment. Here Henze et al. show that oxygen sensor PHD3 is frequently lost in gliomas, and that this loss hyperactivates EGFR signaling to sustain tumour cell proliferation and survival in hypoxia.
PMCID: PMC4263145  PMID: 25420773
2.  Deletion of the von Hippel–Lindau gene in pancreatic β cells impairs glucose homeostasis in mice 
Defective insulin secretion in response to glucose is an important component of the β cell dysfunction seen in type 2 diabetes. As mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation plays a key role in glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS), oxygen-sensing pathways may modulate insulin release. The von Hippel–Lindau (VHL) protein controls the degradation of hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) to coordinate cellular and organismal responses to altered oxygenation. To determine the role of this pathway in controlling glucose-stimulated insulin release from pancreatic β cells, we generated mice lacking Vhl in pancreatic β cells (βVhlKO mice) and mice lacking Vhl in the pancreas (PVhlKO mice). Both mouse strains developed glucose intolerance with impaired insulin secretion. Furthermore, deletion of Vhl in β cells or the pancreas altered expression of genes involved in β cell function, including those involved in glucose transport and glycolysis, and isolated βVhlKO and PVhlKO islets displayed impaired glucose uptake and defective glucose metabolism. The abnormal glucose homeostasis was dependent on upregulation of Hif-1α expression, and deletion of Hif1a in Vhl-deficient β cells restored GSIS. Consistent with this, expression of activated Hif-1α in a mouse β cell line impaired GSIS. These data suggest that VHL/HIF oxygen-sensing mechanisms play a critical role in glucose homeostasis and that activation of this pathway in response to decreased islet oxygenation may contribute to β cell dysfunction.
PMCID: PMC2613475  PMID: 19065050
3.  Identification of multiple transcription initiation, polyadenylation, and splice sites in the Drosophila melanogaster TART family of telomeric retrotransposons 
Nucleic Acids Research  2006;34(19):5498-5507.
The Drosophila non-long terminal repeat (non-LTR) retrotransposons TART and HeT-A specifically retrotranspose to chromosome ends to maintain Drosophila telomeric DNA. Relatively little is known, though, about the regulation of their expression and their retrotransposition to telomeres. We have used rapid amplification of cDNA ends (RACE) to identify multiple transcription initiation and polyadenylation sites for sense and antisense transcripts of three subfamilies of TART elements in Drosophila melanogaster. These results are consistent with the production of an array of TART transcripts. In contrast to other Drosophila non-LTR elements, a major initiation site for sense transcripts was mapped near the 3′ end of the TART 5′-untranslated region (5′-UTR), rather than at the start of the 5′-UTR. A sequence overlapping this sense start site contains a good match to an initiator consensus for the transcription start sites of Drosophila LTR retrotransposons. Interestingly, analysis of 5′ RACE products for antisense transcripts and the GenBank EST database revealed that TART antisense transcripts contain multiple introns. Our results highlight differences between transcription of TART and of other Drosophila non-LTR elements and they provide a foundation for testing the relationship between exceptional aspects of TART transcription and TART's specialized role at telomeres.
PMCID: PMC1636488  PMID: 17020919
4.  The hypoxia factor Hif-1α controls neural crest chemotaxis and epithelial to mesenchymal transition 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2013;201(5):759-776.
Hif-1α is a novel and important regulator of EMT and chemotaxis during migration of neural crest cells.
One of the most important mechanisms that promotes metastasis is the stabilization of Hif-1 (hypoxia-inducible transcription factor 1). We decided to test whether Hif-1α also was required for early embryonic development. We focused our attention on the development of the neural crest, a highly migratory embryonic cell population whose behavior has been likened to cancer metastasis. Inhibition of Hif-1α by antisense morpholinos in Xenopus laevis or zebrafish embryos led to complete inhibition of neural crest migration. We show that Hif-1α controls the expression of Twist, which in turn represses E-cadherin during epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) of neural crest cells. Thus, Hif-1α allows cells to initiate migration by promoting the release of cell–cell adhesions. Additionally, Hif-1α controls chemotaxis toward the chemokine SDF-1 by regulating expression of its receptor Cxcr4. Our results point to Hif-1α as a novel and key regulator that integrates EMT and chemotaxis during migration of neural crest cells.
PMCID: PMC3664719  PMID: 23712262
5.  Genetic loci influencing kidney function and chronic kidney disease in man 
Chambers, John C | Zhang, Weihua | Lord, Graham M | van der Harst, Pim | Lawlor, Debbie A | Sehmi, Joban S | Gale, Daniel P | Wass, Mark N | Ahmadi, Kourosh R | Bakker, Stephan JL | Beckmann, Jacqui | Bilo, Henk JG | Bochud, Murielle | Brown, Morris J | Caulfield, Mark J | Connell, John M C | Cook, Terence | Cotlarciuc, Ioana | Smith, George Davey | de Silva, Ranil | Deng, Guohong | Devuyst, Olivier | Dikkeschei, Lambert D. | Dimkovic, Nada | Dockrell, Mark | Dominiczak, Anna | Ebrahim, Shah | Eggermann, Thomas | Farrall, Martin | Ferrucci, Luigi | Floege, Jurgen | Forouhi, Nita G | Gansevoort, Ron T | Han, Xijin | Hedblad, Bo | van der Heide, Jaap J Homan | Hepkema, Bouke G | Hernandez-Fuentes, Maria | Hypponen, Elina | Johnson, Toby | de Jong, Paul E | Kleefstra, Nanne | Lagou, Vasiliki | Lapsley, Marta | Li, Yun | Loos, Ruth J F | Luan, Jian'an | Luttropp, Karin | Maréchal, Céline | Melander, Olle | Munroe, Patricia B | Nordfors, Louise | Parsa, Afshin | Penninx, Brenda W. | Perucha, Esperanza | Pouta, Anneli | Prokopenko, Inga | Roderick, Paul J | Ruokonen, Aimo | Samani, Nilesh | Sanna, Serena | Schalling, Martin | Schlessinger, David | Schlieper, Georg | Seelen, Marc AJ | Shuldiner, Alan R | Sjögren, Marketa | Smit, Johannes H. | Snieder, Harold | Soranzo, Nicole | Spector, Timothy D | Stenvinkel, Peter | Sternberg, Michael JE | Swaminathan, Ramasamyiyer | Tanaka, Toshiko | Ubink-Veltmaat, Lielith J. | Uda, Manuela | Vollenweider, Peter | Wallace, Chris | Waterworth, Dawn | Zerres, Klaus | Waeber, Gerard | Wareham, Nicholas J | Maxwell, Patrick H | McCarthy, Mark I | Jarvelin, Marjo-Riitta | Mooser, Vincent | Abecasis, Goncalo R | Lightstone, Liz | Scott, James | Navis, Gerjan | Elliott, Paul | Kooner., Jaspal S
Nature genetics  2010;42(5):373-375.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD), the result of permanent loss of kidney function, is a major global problem. We identify common genetic variants at chr2p12-p13, chr6q26, chr17q23 and chr19q13 associated with serum creatinine, a marker of kidney function (P=10−10 to 10−15). SNPs rs10206899 (near NAT8, chr2p12-p13) and rs4805834 (near SLC7A9, chr19q13) were also associated with CKD. Our findings provide new insight into metabolic, solute and drug-transport pathways underlying susceptibility to CKD.
PMCID: PMC3748585  PMID: 20383145
6.  Epistatic Role of the MYH9/APOL1 Region on Familial Hematuria Genes 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e57925.
Familial hematuria (FH) is explained by at least four different genes (see below). About 50% of patients develop late proteinuria and chronic kidney disease (CKD). We hypothesized that MYH9/APOL1, two closely linked genes associated with CKD, may be associated with adverse progression in FH. Our study included 102 thin basement membrane nephropathy (TBMN) patients with three known COL4A3/COL4A4 mutations (cohort A), 83 CFHR5/C3 glomerulopathy patients (cohort B) with a single CFHR5 mutation and 15 Alport syndrome patients (cohort C) with two known COL4A5 mild mutations, who were categorized as “Mild” (controls) or “Severe” (cases), based on renal manifestations. E1 and S1 MYH9 haplotypes and variant rs11089788 were analyzed for association with disease phenotype. Evidence for association with “Severe” progression in CFHR5 nephropathy was found with MYH9 variant rs11089788 and was confirmed in an independent FH cohort, D (cumulative p value = 0.001, odds ratio = 3.06, recessive model). No association was found with APOL1 gene. Quantitative Real time PCR did not reveal any functional significance for the rs11089788 risk allele. Our results derive additional evidence supporting previous reports according to which MYH9 is an important gene per se, predisposing to CKD, suggesting its usefulness as a prognostic marker for young hematuric patients.
PMCID: PMC3597641  PMID: 23516419
7.  Incidence of End-Stage Renal Disease in the Turkish-Cypriot Population of Northern Cyprus: A Population Based Study 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(1):e54394.
This is the first report of the incidence and causes of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) of the Turkish-Cypriot population in Northern Cyprus.
Data were collected over eight consecutive years (2004–2011) from all those starting renal replacement therapy (RRT) in this population. Crude and age-standardised incidence at 90 days was calculated and comparisons made with other national registries. We collected DNA from the entire prevalent population. As an initial experiment we looked for two genetic causes of ESRD that have been reported in Greek Cypriots.
Crude and age-standardised incidence at 90 days was 234 and 327 per million population (pmp) per year, respectively. The mean age was 63, and 62% were male. The age-adjusted prevalence of RRT in Turkish-Cypriots was 1543 pmp on 01/01/2011. The incidence of RRT is higher than other countries reporting to the European Renal Association – European Dialysis and Transplant Association, with the exception of Turkey. Diabetes is a major cause of ESRD in those under 65, accounting for 36% of incident cases followed by 30% with uncertain aetiology. 18% of the incident population had a family history of ESRD. We identified two families with thin basement membrane nephropathy caused by a mutation in COL4A3, but no new cases of CFHR5 nephropathy.
This study provides the first estimate of RRT incidence in the Turkish-Cypriot population, describes the contribution of different underlying diagnoses to ESRD, and provides a basis for healthcare policy planning.
PMCID: PMC3547872  PMID: 23349874
8.  What happens to clinical training fellows? A retrospective study of the 20 years outcome of a Medical Research Council UK cohort 
BMJ Open  2012;2(4):e001792.
The Clinical Research Training Fellowship (CRTF) allows up to 3 years support for clinically qualified candidates to undertake specialised or further research training in biomedical sciences. CRTFs are perceived as a crucial step in the career development and progression of Clinical Academics but there are no published data to support this notion. We conducted an electronic survey of a large cohort of Medical Research Council (MRC) CRTFs followed for up to 20 years.
Retrospective analysis of CRTF outcome data held with the MRC, UK.
Two cohorts comprising 40 CRFTs awarded by the MRC in the year 1991 and 299 MRC CRTFs who were awarded a fellowship between 1993 and 2003.
The MRC CRTF scheme built capacity in clinical academia across the UK with 40% of CRTFs progressing to a University professorship. Importantly, the CRTF scheme is also providing NHS consultants who remain research active.
This is the first analysis of outcome of CRTFs in the UK and provides robust evidence of the importance of this capacity building mode of funding to underpin research excellence at the University–NHS interface.
PMCID: PMC3432844  PMID: 22936819
9.  Human CHCHD4 mitochondrial proteins regulate cellular oxygen consumption rate and metabolism and provide a critical role in hypoxia signaling and tumor progression 
Increased expression of the regulatory subunit of HIFs (HIF-1α or HIF-2α) is associated with metabolic adaptation, angiogenesis, and tumor progression. Understanding how HIFs are regulated is of intense interest. Intriguingly, the molecular mechanisms that link mitochondrial function with the HIF-regulated response to hypoxia remain to be unraveled. Here we describe what we believe to be novel functions of the human gene CHCHD4 in this context. We found that CHCHD4 encodes 2 alternatively spliced, differentially expressed isoforms (CHCHD4.1 and CHCHD4.2). CHCHD4.1 is identical to MIA40, the homolog of yeast Mia40, a key component of the mitochondrial disulfide relay system that regulates electron transfer to cytochrome c. Further analysis revealed that CHCHD4 proteins contain an evolutionarily conserved coiled-coil-helix-coiled-coil-helix (CHCH) domain important for mitochondrial localization. Modulation of CHCHD4 protein expression in tumor cells regulated cellular oxygen consumption rate and metabolism. Targeting CHCHD4 expression blocked HIF-1α induction and function in hypoxia and resulted in inhibition of tumor growth and angiogenesis in vivo. Overexpression of CHCHD4 proteins in tumor cells enhanced HIF-1α protein stabilization in hypoxic conditions, an effect insensitive to antioxidant treatment. In human cancers, increased CHCHD4 expression was found to correlate with the hypoxia gene expression signature, increasing tumor grade, and reduced patient survival. Thus, our study identifies a mitochondrial mechanism that is critical for regulating the hypoxic response in tumors.
PMCID: PMC3266784  PMID: 22214851
10.  Renal Cyst Formation in Fh1-Deficient Mice Is Independent of the Hif/Phd Pathway: Roles for Fumarate in KEAP1 Succination and Nrf2 Signaling 
Cancer Cell  2011;20(4):524-537.
The Krebs cycle enzyme fumarate hydratase (FH) is a human tumor suppressor whose inactivation is associated with the development of leiomyomata, renal cysts, and tumors. It has been proposed that activation of hypoxia inducible factor (HIF) by fumarate-mediated inhibition of HIF prolyl hydroxylases drives oncogenesis. Using a mouse model, we provide genetic evidence that Fh1-associated cyst formation is Hif independent, as is striking upregulation of antioxidant signaling pathways revealed by gene expression profiling. Mechanistic analysis revealed that fumarate modifies cysteine residues within the Kelch-like ECH-associated protein 1 (KEAP1), abrogating its ability to repress the Nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like 2 (Nrf2)-mediated antioxidant response pathway, suggesting a role for Nrf2 dysregulation in FH-associated cysts and tumors.
► Fh1-associated renal cyst formation is independent of Hif/Phd pathway ► Nrf2-mediated antioxidant response pathway is upregulated following Fh1 loss ► Fumarate modifies cysteine residues in Keap1 by succination
PMCID: PMC3202623  PMID: 22014577
11.  Genome-wide association study identifies variants in TMPRSS6 associated with hemoglobin levels 
Nature genetics  2009;41(11):1170-1172.
We carried out a genome-wide association study of hemoglobin levels in 16,001 individuals of European and Indian Asian ancestry. The most closely associated SNP (rs855791) results in nonsynonymous (V736A) change in the serine protease domain of TMPRSS6 and a blood hemoglobin concentration 0.13 (95% CI 0.09–0.17) g/dl lower per copy of allele A (P = 1.6 × 10−13). Our findings suggest that TMPRSS6, a regulator of hepcidin synthesis and iron handling, is crucial in hemoglobin level maintenance.
PMCID: PMC3178047  PMID: 19820698
12.  Inactivation of the von Hippel-Lindau tumour suppressor gene induces Neuromedin U expression in renal cancer cells 
Molecular Cancer  2011;10:89.
209 000 new cases of renal carcinoma are diagnosed each year worldwide and new therapeutic targets are urgently required. The great majority of clear cell renal cancer involves inactivation of VHL, which acts as a gatekeeper tumour suppressor gene in renal epithelial cells. However how VHL exerts its tumour suppressor function remains unclear. A gene expression microarray comparing RCC10 renal cancer cells expressing either VHL or an empty vector was used to identify novel VHL regulated genes.
NMU (Neuromedin U) is a neuropeptide that has been implicated in energy homeostasis and tumour progression. Here we show for the first time that VHL loss-of-function results in dramatic upregulation of NMU expression in renal cancer cells. The effect of VHL inactivation was found to be mediated via activation of Hypoxia Inducible Factor (HIF). Exposure of VHL expressing RCC cells to either hypoxia or dimethyloxalylglycine resulted in HIF activation and increased NMU expression. Conversely, suppression of HIF in VHL defective RCC cells via siRNA of HIF-α subunits or expression of Type 2C mutant VHLs reduced NMU expression levels. We also show that renal cancer cells express a functional NMU receptor (NMUR1), and that NMU stimulates migration of renal cancer cells.
These findings suggest that NMU may act in an autocrine fashion, promoting progression of kidney cancer. Hypoxia and HIF expression are frequently observed in many non-renal cancers and are associated with a poor prognosis. Our study raises the possibility that HIF may also drive NMU expression in non-renal tumours.
PMCID: PMC3155908  PMID: 21791076
13.  Cardiopulmonary function in two human disorders of the hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) pathway: von Hippel-Lindau disease and HIF-2α gain-of-function mutation 
The FASEB Journal  2011;25(6):2001-2011.
The hypoxia-inducible factors (HIFs; isoforms HIF-1α, HIF-2α, HIF-3α) mediate many responses to hypoxia. Their regulation is principally by oxygen-dependent degradation, which is initiated by hydroxylation of specific proline residues followed by binding of von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) protein. Chuvash polycythemia is a disorder with elevated HIF. It arises through germline homozygosity for hypomorphic VHL alleles and has a phenotype of hematological, cardiopulmonary, and metabolic abnormalities. This study explores the phenotype of two other HIF pathway diseases: classic VHL disease and HIF-2α gain-of-function mutation. No cardiopulmonary abnormalities were detected in classic VHL disease. HIF-2α gain-of-function mutations were associated with pulmonary hypertension, increased cardiac output, increased heart rate, and increased pulmonary ventilation relative to metabolism. Comparison of the HIF-2α gain-of-function responses with data from studies of Chuvash polycythemia suggested that other aspects of the Chuvash phenotype were diminished or absent. In classic VHL disease, patients are germline heterozygous for mutations in VHL, and the present results suggest that a single wild-type allele for VHL is sufficient to maintain normal cardiopulmonary function. The HIF-2α gain-of-function phenotype may be more limited than the Chuvash phenotype either because HIF-1α is not elevated in the former condition, or because other HIF-independent functions of VHL are perturbed in Chuvash polycythemia.—Formenti, F., Beer, P. A., Croft, Q. P. P., Dorrington, K. L., Gale, D. P., Lappin, T. R. J., Lucas, G. S., Maher, E. R., Maxwell, P. H., McMullin, M. F., O'Connor, D. F., Percy, M. J., Pugh, C. W., Ratcliffe, P. J., Smith, T. G., Talbot, N. P., Robbins, P. A. Cardiopulmonary function in two human disorders of the hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) pathway: von Hippel-Lindau disease and HIF-2α gain-of-function mutation.
PMCID: PMC3159892  PMID: 21389259
pulmonary hypertension; ventilation; metabolism; polycythemia
14.  Prolyl hydroxylase 3 (PHD3) is essential for hypoxic regulation of neutrophilic inflammation in humans and mice 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2011;121(3):1053-1063.
The regulation of neutrophil lifespan by induction of apoptosis is critical for maintaining an effective host response and preventing excessive inflammation. The hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) oxygen-sensing pathway has a major effect on the susceptibility of neutrophils to apoptosis, with a marked delay in cell death observed under hypoxic conditions. HIF expression and transcriptional activity are regulated by the oxygen-sensitive prolyl hydroxylases (PHD1–3), but the role of PHDs in neutrophil survival is unclear. We examined PHD expression in human neutrophils and found that PHD3 was strongly induced in response to hypoxia and inflammatory stimuli in vitro and in vivo. Using neutrophils from mice deficient in Phd3, we demonstrated a unique role for Phd3 in prolonging neutrophil survival during hypoxia, distinct from other hypoxia-associated changes in neutrophil function and metabolic activity. Moreover, this selective defect in neutrophil survival occurred in the presence of preserved HIF transcriptional activity but was associated with upregulation of the proapoptotic mediator Siva1 and loss of its binding target Bcl-xL. In vivo, using an acute lung injury model, we observed increased levels of neutrophil apoptosis and clearance in Phd3-deficient mice compared with WT controls. We also observed reduced neutrophilic inflammation in an acute mouse model of colitis. These data support what we believe to be a novel function for PHD3 in regulating neutrophil survival in hypoxia and may enable the development of new therapeutics for inflammatory disease.
PMCID: PMC3049381  PMID: 21317538
15.  Differentiation in Neuroblastoma: Diffusion-Limited Hypoxia Induces Neuro-Endocrine Secretory Protein 55 and Other Markers of a Chromaffin Phenotype 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(9):e12825.
Neuroblastoma is a childhood malignancy of sympathetic embryonal origin. A high potential for differentiation is a hallmark of neuroblastoma cells. We have previously presented data to suggest that in situ differentiation in tumors frequently proceeds along the chromaffin lineage and that decreased oxygen (hypoxia) plays a role in this. Here we explore the utility of Neuro-Endocrine Secretory Protein 55 (NESP55), a novel member of the chromogranin family, as a marker for this process.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Immunohistochemical analyses and in situ hybridizations were performed on human fetal tissues, mouse xenografts of human neuroblastoma cell lines, and on specimens of human neuroblastoma/ganglioneuroma. Effects of anaerobic exposure on gene expression by cultured neuroblastoma cells was analyzed with quantitative real-time PCR. Fetal sympathetic nervous system expression of NESP55 was shown to be specific for chromaffin cell types. In experimental and clinical neuroblastoma NESP55 immunoreactivity was specific for regions of chronic hypoxia. NESP55 expression also correlated strikingly with morphological evidence of differentiation and with other chromaffin-specific patterns of gene expression, including IGF2 and HIF2α. Anaerobic culture of five neuroblastoma cell lines resulted in an 18.9-fold mean up-regulation of NESP55.
The data confirms that chronic tumor hypoxia is a key microenvironmental factor for neuroblastoma cell differentiation, causing induction of chromaffin features and NESP55 provides a reliable marker for this neuronal to neuroendocrine transition. The hypoxia-induced phenotype is the predominant form of differentiation in stroma-poor tumors, while in stroma-rich tumors the chromaffin phenotype coexists with ganglion cell-like differentiation. The findings provide new insights into the biological diversity which is a striking feature of this group of tumors.
PMCID: PMC2941466  PMID: 20862257
16.  Identification of a mutation in complement factor H-related protein 5 in patients of Cypriot origin with glomerulonephritis 
Lancet  2010;376(9743):794-801.
Complement is a key component of the innate immune system, and variation in genes that regulate its activation is associated with renal and other disease. We aimed to establish the genetic basis for a familial disorder of complement regulation associated with persistent microscopic haematuria, recurrent macroscopic haematuria, glomerulonephritis, and progressive renal failure.
We sought patients from the West London Renal and Transplant Centre (London, UK) with unusual renal disease and affected family members as a method of identification of new genetic causes of kidney disease. Two families of Cypriot origin were identified in which renal disease was consistent with autosomal dominant transmission and renal biopsy of at least one individual showed C3 glomerulonephritis. A mutation was identified via a genome-wide linkage study and candidate gene analysis. A PCR-based diagnostic test was then developed and used to screen for the mutation in population-based samples and in individuals and families with renal disease.
Occurrence of familial renal disease cosegregated with the same mutation in the complement factor H-related protein 5 gene (CFHR5). In a cohort of 84 Cypriots with unexplained renal disease, four had mutation in CFHR5. Overall, we identified 26 individuals with the mutation and evidence of renal disease from 11 ostensibly unrelated kindreds, including the original two families. A mutant CFHR5 protein present in patient serum had reduced affinity for surface-bound complement. We term this renal disease CFHR5 nephropathy.
CFHR5 nephropathy accounts for a substantial burden of renal disease in patients of Cypriot origin and can be diagnosed with a specific molecular test. The high risk of progressive renal disease in carriers of the CFHR5 mutation implies that isolated microscopic haematuria or recurrent macroscopic haematuria should not be regarded as a benign finding in individuals of Cypriot descent.
UK Medical Research Council and Wellcome Trust.
PMCID: PMC2935536  PMID: 20800271
17.  HIF-1alpha and HIF-2alpha Are Differentially Activated in Distinct Cell Populations in Retinal Ischaemia 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(6):e11103.
Hypoxia plays a key role in ischaemic and neovascular disorders of the retina. Cellular responses to oxygen are mediated by hypoxia-inducible transcription factors (HIFs) that are stabilised in hypoxia and induce the expression of a diverse range of genes. The purpose of this study was to define the cellular specificities of HIF-1alpha and HIF-2alpha in retinal ischaemia, and to determine their correlation with the pattern of retinal hypoxia and the expression profiles of induced molecular mediators.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We investigated the tissue distribution of retinal hypoxia during oxygen-induced retinopathy (OIR) in mice using the bio-reductive drug pimonidazole. We measured the levels of HIF-1alpha and HIF-2alpha proteins by Western blotting and determined their cellular distribution by immunohistochemistry during the development of OIR. We measured the temporal expression profiles of two downstream mediators, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and erythropoietin (Epo) by ELISA. Pimonidazole labelling was evident specifically in the inner retina. Labelling peaked at 2 hours after the onset of hypoxia and gradually declined thereafter. Marked binding to Müller glia was evident during the early hypoxic stages of OIR. Both HIF-1alpha and HIF-2alpha protein levels were significantly increased during retinal hypoxia but were evident in distinct cellular distributions; HIF-1alpha stabilisation was evident in neuronal cells throughout the inner retinal layers whereas HIF-2alpha was restricted to Müller glia and astrocytes. Hypoxia and HIF-alpha stabilisation in the retina were closely followed by upregulated expression of the downstream mediators VEGF and EPO.
Both HIF-1alpha and HIF-2alpha are activated in close correlation with retinal hypoxia but have contrasting cell specificities, consistent with differential roles in retinal ischaemia. Our findings suggest that HIF-2alpha activation plays a key role in regulating the response of Müller glia to hypoxia.
PMCID: PMC2885428  PMID: 20559438
18.  Variations within oxygen-regulated gene expression in humans 
Journal of Applied Physiology  2008;106(1):212-220.
The effects of hypoxia on gene transcription are mainly mediated by a transcription factor complex termed hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF). Genetic manipulation of animals and studies of humans with rare hereditary disease have shown that modifying the HIF pathway affects systems-level physiological responses to hypoxia. It is, however, an open question whether variations in systems-level responses to hypoxia between individuals could arise from variations within the HIF system. This study sought to determine whether variations in the responsiveness of the HIF system at the cellular level could be detected between normal individuals. Peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL) were isolated on three separate occasions from each of 10 healthy volunteers. After exposure of PBL to eight different oxygen tensions ranging from 20% to 0.1%, the expression levels of four HIF-regulated transcripts involved in different biological pathways were measured. The profile of expression of all four transcripts in PBL was related to oxygen tension in a curvilinear manner. Double logarithmic transformation of these data resulted in a linear relationship that allowed the response to be parameterized through a gradient and intercept. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) on these parameters showed that the level of between-subject variation in the gradients of the responses that was common across all four HIF-regulated transcripts was significant (P = 0.008). We conclude that statistically significant variation within the cellular response to hypoxia can be detected between normal humans. The common nature of the variability across all four HIF-regulated genes suggests that the source of this variation resides within the HIF system itself.
PMCID: PMC2636937  PMID: 19008490
hypoxia-inducible factor; reverse transcription quantitative polymerase chain reaction; oxygen tension; peripheral blood lymphocytes
19.  Evidence for a Lack of a Direct Transcriptional Suppression of the Iron Regulatory Peptide Hepcidin by Hypoxia-Inducible Factors 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(11):e7875.
Hepcidin is a major regulator of iron metabolism and plays a key role in anemia of chronic disease, reducing intestinal iron uptake and release from body iron stores. Hypoxia and chemical stabilizers of the hypoxia-inducible transcription factor (HIF) have been shown to suppress hepcidin expression. We therefore investigated the role of HIF in hepcidin regulation.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Hepcidin mRNA was down-regulated in hepatoma cells by chemical HIF stabilizers and iron chelators, respectively. In contrast, the response to hypoxia was variable. The decrease in hepcidin mRNA was not reversed by HIF-1α or HIF-2α knock-down or by depletion of the HIF and iron regulatory protein (IRP) target transferrin receptor 1 (TfR1). However, the response of hepcidin to hypoxia and chemical HIF inducers paralleled the regulation of transferrin receptor 2 (TfR2), one of the genes critical to hepcidin expression. Hepcidin expression was also markedly and rapidly decreased by serum deprivation, independent of transferrin-bound iron, and by the phosphatidylinositol 3 (PI3) kinase inhibitor LY294002, indicating that growth factors are required for hepcidin expression in vitro. Hepcidin promoter constructs mirrored the response of mRNA levels to interleukin-6 and bone morphogenetic proteins, but not consistently to hypoxia or HIF stabilizers, and deletion of the putative HIF binding motifs did not alter the response to different hypoxic stimuli. In mice exposed to carbon monoxide, hypoxia or the chemical HIF inducer N-oxalylglycine, liver hepcidin 1 mRNA was elevated rather than decreased.
Taken together, these data indicate that hepcidin is neither a direct target of HIF, nor indirectly regulated by HIF through induction of TfR1 expression. Hepcidin mRNA expression in vitro is highly sensitive to the presence of serum factors and PI3 kinase inhibition and parallels TfR2 expression.
PMCID: PMC2773926  PMID: 19924283
20.  Regulation of Renal Epithelial Tight Junctions by the von Hippel-Lindau Tumor Suppressor Gene Involves Occludin and Claudin 1 and Is Independent of E-Cadherin 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2009;20(3):1089-1101.
Epithelial-to-mesenchymal transitions (EMT) are important in renal development, fibrosis, and cancer. Loss of function of the tumor suppressor VHL leads to many features of EMT, and it has been hypothesized that the pivotal mediator is down-regulation of the adherens junction (AJ) protein E-cadherin. Here we show that VHL loss-of-function also has striking effects on the expression of the tight junction (TJ) components occludin and claudin 1 in vitro in VHL-defective clear cell renal cell carcinoma (CCRCC) cells and in vivo in VHL-defective sporadic CCRCCs (compared with normal kidney). Occludin is also down-regulated in premalignant foci in kidneys from patients with germline VHL mutations, consistent with a contribution to CCRCC initiation. Reexpression of E-cadherin was sufficient to restore AJ but not TJ assembly, indicating that the TJ defect is independent of E-cadherin down-regulation. Additional experiments show that activation of hypoxia inducible factor (HIF) contributes to both TJ and AJ abnormalities, thus the VHL/HIF pathway contributes to multiple aspects of the EMT phenotype that are not interdependent. Despite the independent nature of the defects, we show that treatment with the histone deacetylase inhibitor sodium butyrate, which suppresses HIF activation, provides a method for reversing EMT in the context of VHL inactivation.
PMCID: PMC2633394  PMID: 19073886
21.  Abnormal Sympathoadrenal Development and Systemic Hypotension in PHD3−/− Mice▿  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2008;28(10):3386-3400.
Cell culture studies have implicated the oxygen-sensitive hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) prolyl hydroxylase PHD3 in the regulation of neuronal apoptosis. To better understand this function in vivo, we have created PHD3−/− mice and analyzed the neuronal phenotype. Reduced apoptosis in superior cervical ganglion (SCG) neurons cultured from PHD3−/− mice is associated with an increase in the number of cells in the SCG, as well as in the adrenal medulla and carotid body. Genetic analysis by intercrossing PHD3−/− mice with HIF-1a+/− and HIF-2a+/− mice demonstrated an interaction with HIF-2α but not HIF-1α, supporting the nonredundant involvement of a PHD3-HIF-2α pathway in the regulation of sympathoadrenal development. Despite the increased number of cells, the sympathoadrenal system appeared hypofunctional in PHD3−/− mice, with reduced target tissue innervation, adrenal medullary secretory capacity, sympathoadrenal responses, and systemic blood pressure. These observations suggest that the role of PHD3 in sympathoadrenal development extends beyond simple control of cell survival and organ mass, with functional PHD3 being required for proper anatomical and physiological integrity of the system. Perturbation of this interface between developmental and adaptive signaling by hypoxic, metabolic, or other stresses could have important effects on key sympathoadrenal functions, such as blood pressure regulation.
PMCID: PMC2423159  PMID: 18332118
22.  The von Hippel-Lindau Tumor Suppressor Protein and Egl-9-Type Proline Hydroxylases Regulate the Large Subunit of RNA Polymerase II in Response to Oxidative Stress▿  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2008;28(8):2701-2717.
Human renal clear cell carcinoma (RCC) is frequently associated with loss of the von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) tumor suppressor (pVHL), which inhibits ubiquitylation and degradation of the alpha subunits of hypoxia-inducible transcription factor. pVHL also ubiquitylates the large subunit of RNA polymerase II, Rpb1, phosphorylated on serine 5 (Ser5) within the C-terminal domain (CTD). A hydroxylated proline 1465 within an LXXLAP motif located N-terminal to the CTD allows the interaction of Rpb1 with pVHL. Here we report that in RCC cells, pVHL regulates expression of Rpb1 and is necessary for low-grade oxidative-stress-induced recruitment of Rpb1 to the DNA-engaged fraction and for its P1465 hydroxylation, phosphorylation, and nondegradative ubiquitylation. Egln-9-type prolyl hydroxylases, PHD1 and PHD2, coimmunoprecipitated with Rpb1 in the chromatin fraction of VHL+ RCC cells in response to oxidative stress, and PHD1 was necessary for P1465 hydroxylation while PHD2 had an inhibitory effect. P1465 hydroxylation was required for oxidative-stress-induced Ser5 phosphorylation of Rpb1. Importantly, overexpression of wild-type Rpb1 stimulated formation of kidney tumors by VHL+ cells, and this effect was abolished by P1465A mutation of Rpb1. These data indicate that through this novel pathway involving P1465 hydroxylation and Ser5 phosphorylation of Rbp1, pVHL may regulate tumor growth.
PMCID: PMC2293119  PMID: 18285459
23.  Role of Gas6 in erythropoiesis and anemia in mice 
Many patients with anemia fail to respond to treatment with erythropoietin (Epo), a commonly used hormone that stimulates erythroid progenitor production and maturation by human BM or by murine spleen. The protein product of growth arrest–specific gene 6 (Gas6) is important for cell survival across several cell types, but its precise physiological role remains largely enigmatic. Here, we report that murine erythroblasts released Gas6 in response to Epo and that Gas6 enhanced Epo receptor signaling by activating the serine-threonine kinase Akt in these cells. In the absence of Gas6, erythroid progenitors and erythroblasts were hyporesponsive to the survival activity of Epo and failed to restore hematocrit levels in response to anemia. In addition, Gas6 may influence erythropoiesis via paracrine erythroblast-independent mechanisms involving macrophages. When mice with acute anemia were treated with Gas6, the protein normalized hematocrit levels without causing undesired erythrocytosis. In a transgenic mouse model of chronic anemia caused by insufficient Epo production, Gas6 synergized with Epo in restoring hematocrit levels. These findings may have implications for the treatment of patients with anemia who fail to adequately respond to Epo.
PMCID: PMC2176185  PMID: 18188450
25.  Venular basement membranes contain specific matrix protein low expression regions that act as exit points for emigrating neutrophils 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2006;203(6):1519-1532.
The mechanism of leukocyte migration through venular walls in vivo is largely unknown. By using immunofluorescence staining and confocal microscopy, the present study demonstrates the existence of regions within the walls of unstimulated murine cremasteric venules where expression of key vascular basement membrane (BM) constituents, laminin 10, collagen IV, and nidogen-2 (but not perlecan) are considerably lower (<60%) than the average expression detected in the same vessel. These sites were closely associated with gaps between pericytes and were preferentially used by migrating neutrophils during their passage through cytokine-stimulated venules. Although neutrophil transmigration did not alter the number/unit area of extracellular matrix protein low expression sites, the size of these regions was enlarged and their protein content was reduced in interleukin-1β–stimulated venules. These effects were entirely dependent on the presence of neutrophils and appeared to involve neutrophil-derived serine proteases. Furthermore, evidence was obtained indicating that transmigrating neutrophils carry laminins on their cell surface in vivo. Collectively, through identification of regions of low extracellular matrix protein localization that define the preferred route for transmigrating neutrophils, we have identified a plausible mechanism by which neutrophils penetrate the vascular BM without causing a gross disruption to its intricate structure.
PMCID: PMC2118318  PMID: 16754715

Results 1-25 (33)