Radiotherapy for breast cancer may expose the esophagus to ionizing radiation, but no study has evaluated esophageal cancer risk after breast cancer associated with radiation dose or systemic therapy use.
Nested case–control study of esophageal cancer among 289 748 ≥5-year survivors of female breast cancer from five population-based cancer registries (252 cases, 488 individually matched controls), with individualized radiation dosimetry and information abstracted from medical records.
The largest contributors to esophageal radiation exposure were supraclavicular and internal mammary chain treatments. Esophageal cancer risk increased with increasing radiation dose to the esophageal tumor location (Ptrend < 0.001), with doses of ≥35 Gy associated with an odds ratio (OR) of 8.3 [95% confidence interval (CI) 2.7–28]. Patients with hormonal therapy ≤5 years preceding esophageal cancer diagnosis had lower risk (OR = 0.4, 95% CI 0.2–0.8). Based on few cases, alkylating agent chemotherapy did not appear to affect risk. Our data were consistent with a multiplicative effect of radiation and other esophageal cancer risk factors (e.g. smoking).
Esophageal cancer is a radiation dose-related complication of radiotherapy for breast cancer, but absolute risk is low. At higher esophageal doses, the risk warrants consideration in radiotherapy risk assessment and long-term follow-up.
breast cancer; esophageal cancer; radiotherapy; second cancer
The development of DNA sequencing methods for characterizing microbial communities has evolved rapidly over the past decades. To evaluate more traditional, as well as newer methodologies for DNA library preparation and sequencing, we compared fosmid, short-insert shotgun and 454 pyrosequencing libraries prepared from the same metagenomic DNA samples. GC content was elevated in all fosmid libraries, compared with shotgun and 454 libraries. Taxonomic composition of the different libraries suggested that this was caused by a relative underrepresentation of dominant taxonomic groups with low GC content, notably Prochlorales and the SAR11 cluster, in fosmid libraries. While these abundant taxa had a large impact on library representation, we also observed a positive correlation between taxon GC content and fosmid library representation in other low-GC taxa, suggesting a general trend. Analysis of gene category representation in different libraries indicated that the functional composition of a library was largely a reflection of its taxonomic composition, and no additional systematic biases against particular functional categories were detected at the level of sequencing depth in our samples. Another important but less predictable factor influencing the apparent taxonomic and functional library composition was the read length afforded by the different sequencing technologies. Our comparisons and analyses provide a detailed perspective on the influence of library type on the recovery of microbial taxa in metagenomic libraries and underscore the different uses and utilities of more traditional, as well as contemporary ‘next-generation' DNA library construction and sequencing technologies for exploring the genomics of the natural microbial world.
454 pyrosequencing; DNA sequencing; metagenomics; fosmid; shotgun library
Copy number variation (CNV) analysis has had a major impact on the field of medical genetics, providing a mechanism to identify disease-causing genomic alterations in an unprecedented number of diseases and phenotypes. CNV analysis is now routinely used in the clinical diagnostic laboratory, and has led to a significant increase in the detection of chromosomal abnormalities. These findings are used for prenatal decision making, clinical management and genetic counseling. Although a powerful tool to identify genomic alterations, CNV analysis may also result in the detection of genomic alterations that have unknown clinical significance or reveal unintended information. This highlights the importance of informed consent and genetic counseling for clinical CNV analysis. This review examines the advantages and limitations of CNV discovery in the clinical diagnostic laboratory, as well as the impact on the clinician and family.
Comparative genomic hybridization; CGH; copy number variation; CNV; genetic counseling; microarray; single nucleotide polymorphism; SNP
We compared 31 complete and nearly complete globally derived HSV-1 genomic sequences using HSV-2 HG52 as an outgroup to investigate their phylogenetic relationships and look for evidence of recombination. The sequences were retrieved from NCBI and were then aligned using Clustal W. The generation of a maximum likelihood tree resulted in a six clade structure that corresponded with the timing and routes of past human migration. The East African derived viruses contained the greatest amount of genetic diversity and formed four of the six clades. The East Asian and European/North American derived viruses formed separate clades. HSV-1 strains E07, E22 and E03 were highly divergent and may each represent an individual clade. Possible recombination was analyzed by partitioning the alignment into 5 kb segments, performing individual phylogenetic analysis on each partition and generating a.phylogenetic network from the results. However most evidence for recombination spread at the base of the tree suggesting that recombination did not significantly disrupt the clade structure. Examination of previous estimates of HSV-1 mutation rates in conjunction with the phylogenetic data presented here, suggests that the substitution rate for HSV-1 is approximately 1.38×10−7 subs/site/year. In conclusion, this study expands the previously described HSV-1 three clade phylogenetic structures to a minimum of six and shows that the clade structure also mirrors global human migrations. Given that HSV-1 has co-evolved with its host, sequencing HSV-1 isolated from various populations could serve as a surrogate biomarker to study human population structure and migration patterns.
While the signal quality of recording neural electrodes is observed to degrade over time, the degradation mechanisms are complex and less easily observable. Recording microelectrodes failures are attributed to different biological factors such as tissue encapsulation, immune response, and disruption of blood-brain barrier (BBB) and non-biological factors such as strain due to micromotion, insulation delamination, corrosion, and surface roughness on the recording site (1–4). Strain due to brain micromotion is considered to be one of the important abiotic factors contributing to the failure of the neural implants. To reduce the forces exerted by the electrode on the brain, a high compliance 2D serpentine shaped electrode cable was designed, simulated, and measured using polyimide as the substrate material. Serpentine electrode cables were fabricated using MEMS microfabrication techniques, and the prototypes were subjected to load tests to experimentally measure the compliance. The compliance of the serpentine cable was numerically modeled and quantitatively measured to be up to 10 times higher than the compliance of a straight cable of same dimensions and material.
neuroprosthetics; brain-machine interface; flexible microelectrode array; strain relief; high compliance electrode cable
AL-38022A is a novel synthetic serotonergic (5-HT) ligand that exhibited high affinity for each of the 5-HT2 receptor subtypes (Ki ≤ 2.2 nM), but a significantly lower (>100-fold less) affinity for other 5-HT receptors. In addition, AL-38022A displayed a very low affinity for a broad array of other receptors, neurotransmitter transport sites, ion channels, and second messenger elements, making it a relatively selective agent. AL-38022A potently stimulated functional responses via native and cloned rat (EC50 range: 1.9 – 22.5 nM) and human (EC50 range: 0.5 – 2.2 nM) 5-HT2 receptor subtypes including [Ca2+]i mobilization and tissue contractions with apparently similar potencies and intrinsic activities and was a full agonist at all 5-HT2 receptor subtypes. The CNS activity of AL-38022A was assessed by evaluating its discriminative stimulus effects in both a rat and a monkey drug discrimination paradigm using DOM as the training drug. AL-38022A fully generalized to the DOM stimulus in each of these studies; in monkeys MDL 100907 antagonized both DOM and AL-38022A. The pharmacological profile of AL-38022A suggests that it could be a useful tool in defining 5-HT2 receptor signaling and receptor characterization where 5-HT may function as a neurotransmitter.
Drug discrimination; 5-HT2 receptor; R-DOI; DOM; MDL 100907; rat; monkey
Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) has been characterized as a critical factor in the development and progression of multiple solid tumors, including head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). However, monotherapy with EGFR-specific agents has not been as dramatic as preclinical studies have suggested. Since complex regulation of the EGFR signaling axis might confound current attempts to inhibit EGFR directly, we searched for microRNAs (miRNAs) that may target the EGFR signaling axis. We identified miR-27a (miR-27a-3p) and its complementary or star (*) strand, miR-27a* (miR-27a-5p), as novel miRNAs targeting EGFR, which were significantly downregulated in multiple HNSCC cell lines. Analysis of human specimens demonstrated that miR-27a* is significantly underexpressed in HNSCC as compared to normal mucosa. Increased expression of miR-27a* in HNSCC produced a profound cytotoxic effect not seen with miR-27a. Analysis for potential targets of miR-27a* led to the identification of AKT1 (protein kinase B) and mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin) within the EGFR signaling axis. Treatment with miR-27a* led to coordinated downregulation of EGFR, AKT1 and mTOR. Overexpression of EGFR signaling pathway components decreased the overall effect of miR-27a* on HNSCC cell viability. Constitutive and inducible expression of miR-27a* in a murine orthotopic xenograft model of oral cavity cancer led to decreased tumor growth. Direct intratumoral injection of miR-27a* inhibited tumor growth in vivo. These findings identify miR-27a* as a functional star sequence that exhibits novel coordinated regulation of the EGFR pathway in solid tumors and potentially represents a novel therapeutic option.
miRNA; EGFR; AKT1; mTOR; miRNA-27a*; miRNA-27a-5p
To test the in vivo activity of a peptide derived from the protein transducing domain of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) Tat protein, TAT-Cd0, in a murine herpes simplex type 1 (HSV-1) keratitis model.
The efficacy of TAT-Cd0 was assessed in a postinfection treatment model with different concentrations (1 mg/mL, 0.1 mg/mL, 0.01 mg/mL) of the peptide in one of four delivery vehicles: artificial tears, PBS, methylcellulose, and aquaphor cream. Treatment began within 4 or 24 hours postinfection. Viral titers in the tear film were determined by plaque assay.
TAT-Cd0 reduced the severity of keratitis in all of the delivery vehicles tested when treatment started, 4 hours postinfection. Peptide in the tears or PBS delivery vehicle had the most significant reduction in disease severity and delayed the onset of vascularization and stromal keratitis. The percentage of mice presenting with disease was also significantly reduced and viral titers were reduced by 1 log at 24 hours postinfection in mice treated with 1 mg/mL TAT-Cd0, suggesting that inhibiting replication early is sufficient to achieve clinical effects. Lower concentrations were not effective and delaying treatment by 24 hours was also not effective.
This study shows that TAT-Cd0 is an effective antiviral against HSV-1 strain KOS when applied shortly postinfection and that aqueous-based formulations are more suitable.
A cationic peptide derived from protein transducing domain of tat possesses in vivo antiviral activity in a mouse ocular model of HSV-1 keratitis.
Scientific innovation has enabled whole exome capture and massively parallel sequencing of cancer genomes. In head and neck cancer, next-generation sequencing has granted us further understanding of the mutational spectrum of squamous cell carcinoma. As a result of these new technologies, frequently occurring mutations were identified in NOTCH1, a gene that had not previously been implicated in head and neck cancer. The current review describes the most common mutations in head and neck cancer: TP53, NOTCH1, HRAS, PIK3CA, and CDKN2A. Emphasis is placed on the involved cellular pathways, clinical correlations, and potential therapeutic interventions. Additionally, the implications of human papillomavirus on mutation patterns are discussed.
next generation sequencing; mutations; oncogene; tumor suppressor gene; head and neck squamous cell carcinoma
Individuals with chronic ankle instability (CAI) often have impairments in ankle range of motion (ROM) and balance. There is limited evidence that these impairments are related in individuals with CAI. The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between ankle dorsiflexion ROM and dynamic balance in individuals with CAI.
Forty‐five participants (age=23.2±2.8 y, height=172.1±10.8 cm, mass=70.6±13.3 kg, Foot and Ankle Ability Measure Sport= 71.2±11.7, Modified Ankle Instability Instrument= 6.4±1.3) volunteered for this study. Ankle dorsiflexion ROM was measured in a weight‐bearing position while dynamic balance was measured using the Star Excursion Balance Test (SEBT) in the anterior, posteromedial, and posterolateral directions. Linear regression was used to determine the relationship between ankle dorsiflexion ROM and measures of dynamic balance.
There were fair positive correlations between dorsiflexion ROM and the anterior reach direction (r = .55, r2= .31, P < .001), posterolateral reach direction (r = .29, r2 = .09, P = .03), and the composite SEBT scores (r = .30, r2 = .09, P= .02). There was little or no relationship between ankle dorsiflexion and the posteromedial reach direction (r = .01, r2 = .001, P = .47).
Ankle dorsiflexion ROM can influence dynamic balance, specifically the anterior reach portion of the SEBT.
Individuals with CAI who demonstrate impairments in dorsiflexion ROM may also demonstrate difficulty with portions of the SEBT. Clinicians may use this information to better optimize rehabilitation programs that address ankle dorsiflexion ROM and dynamic balance.
Level of Evidence:
Ankle sprain; functional ankle instability; postural control
Mutations in the TP53 tumor suppressor gene are common in HNSCC and correlate with radioresistance. Currently, there are no clinically available therapeutic approaches targeting p53 in HNSCC. Here we propose a strategy which uses TP53 mutational status to individualize anti-metabolic strategies for potentiation of radiation toxicity in HNSCC cells.
Glycolytic flux and mitochondrial respiration were evaluated in wild-type (wt) and mutant (mut) TP53 HNSCC cell lines. Sensitivity to external beam radiation (XRT) was measured using a clonogenic assay.
HNSCC cells expressing mutTP53 demonstrated radioresistance compared to HNSCC cells expressing wtTP53. Glycolytic inhibition potentiated radiation toxicity in mutTP53, but not wtTP53 expressing HNSCC cells. The relative sensitivity of mutp53 HNSCC cells to glycolytic inhibition is due to a glycolytic dependence associated with decreased mitochondrial complex II and IV activity. Wild-typeTP53 expressing cells maintain mitochondrial reserves and are relatively insensitive to glycolytic inhibition. Inhibition of respiration using metformin increases glycolytic dependence in wtTP53 expressing cells and potentiates the effects of glycolyic inhibition on radiation toxicity.
TP53 mutation in HNSCC cells correlates with a metabolic shift away from mitochondrial respiration toward glycolysis resulting in increased sensitivity to the potentiating effects of glycolytic inhibition on radiation toxicity. In contrast, wtTP53 expressing cells require inhibition of both mitochondrial respiration and glycolysis to become sensitized to radiation. One can therefore, use TP53 mutational status as a marker of altered tumor cell metabolism to individualize HNSCC treatment selection of specific targeted metabolic agents that can overcome cellular resistance to radiation therapy.
p53; 2-deoxyglucose; metformin; mitochondria; radiation
The purpose of this study is to investigate whether children with congenital esotropia are more likely than controls to develop mental illness by early adulthood.
Retrospective, population-based cohort.
Children (<19 years) diagnosed with congenital esotropia while residing in Olmsted County, Minnesota, from January 1, 1965, through December 31, 1994, and their one-to-one non-strabismic birth- and gender-matched controls.
The medical records of patients with esotropia and their controls were retrospectively reviewed for the subsequent development of psychiatric disease.
Main Outcome Measures
The development of mental illness and associated co-morbidities among patients with congenital esotropia and their controls.
A mental health disorder was diagnosed in 42 (33%) of the 127 patients with congenital esotropia followed to a mean age of 20.4 years compared to 16% of controls (p=0.002). Congenital esotropia increased the odds of developing a psychiatric illness 2.6 times (Confidence interval: 1.5- 4.8) compared to controls. The number of mental health diagnoses (p=0.019) and the use of psychotropic medications (p= 0.015) were significantly more common among esotropic patients compared to non-strabismic controls.
Congenital esotropia, similar to those with intermittent exotropia or convergence insufficiency, increases the odds of devloping mental illness by early adulthood 2.6 times compared to controls. The etiology of this association does not appear to be associated with premature birth.
Dihydropteridine reductase (DHPR) deficiency is a genetic disorder of tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4) regeneration and may present with hyperphenylalaninemia, microcephaly, hypotonia, mental retardation, and convulsions. BH4 is an essential cofactor for the hydroxylation of aromatic amino acids and a deficiency of BH4 results in decreased synthesis of dopamine and serotonin. We present a 27-month-old female patient with DHPR deficiency who was treated with l-dopa/carbidopa (2 mg/kg, four times per day), 5-hydroxytryptophan (2 mg/kg, four times per day), folinic acid (10 mg/day), and BH4 supplementation (20 mg/kg, twice a day). Although remarkable clinical improvement with normal plasma phenylalanine (Phe) levels and increased phenylalanine tolerance was noted 1 month after the treatment, CSF neurotransmitter metabolites did not improve. BH4 supplementation was increased to 40 mg/kg/day and the CSF study was repeated 1 month later. There was no significant change of CSF neurotransmitters, BH4 or BH2 levels but plasma Phe level was within normal range. Surprisingly, she had developmental improvement noted at 1-month and 3-month visits following an augmented neurotransmitter and BH4 treatment. She was able to pull herself to the standing position and sit down on her own. She was also noted to be more alert and responsive following treatment. Her expressive language did not improve, although her receptive language was markedly improved. The above treatment improved patient’s clinical findings, normalized blood Phe levels, and increased Phe tolerance in the diet, but neither 20 nor 40 mg/kg/day BH4 supplementation corrected neurotransmitter or BH4 levels or increased BH2 level in CSF. Further studies are needed to find the optimal management plan for patients with DHPR deficiency.
Planktonic microbial activity and community structure is dynamic, and can change dramatically on time scales of hours to days. Yet for logistical reasons, this temporal scale is typically under-sampled in the marine environment. In order to facilitate higher-resolution, long-term observation of microbial diversity and activity, we developed a protocol for automated collection and fixation of marine microbes using the Environmental Sample Processor (ESP) platform. The protocol applies a preservative (RNALater) to cells collected on filters, for long-term storage and preservation of total cellular RNA. Microbial samples preserved using this protocol yielded high-quality RNA after 30 days of storage at room temperature, or onboard the ESP at in situ temperatures. Pyrosequencing of complementary DNA libraries generated from ESP-collected and preserved samples yielded transcript abundance profiles nearly indistinguishable from those derived from conventionally treated replicate samples. To demonstrate the utility of the method, we used a moored ESP to remotely and autonomously collect Monterey Bay seawater for metatranscriptomic analysis. Community RNA was extracted and pyrosequenced from samples collected at four time points over the course of a single day. In all four samples, the oxygenic photoautotrophs were predominantly eukaryotic, while the bacterial community was dominated by Polaribacter-like Flavobacteria and a Rhodobacterales bacterium sharing high similarity with Rhodobacterales sp. HTCC2255. However, each time point was associated with distinct species abundance and gene transcript profiles. These laboratory and field tests confirmed that autonomous collection and preservation is a feasible and useful approach for characterizing the expressed genes and environmental responses of marine microbial communities.
metatranscriptomics; gene expression; automated sampling; marine bacterioplankton; RNA preservation; Monterey Bay
Human cell lines are useful for studying cancer biology and pre-clinically modeling cancer therapy, but can be misidentified and cross contamination is unfortunately common. The purpose of this study was to develop a panel of validated head and neck cell lines representing the spectrum of tissue sites and histologies that could be used for studying the molecular, genetic, and phenotypic diversity of head and neck cancer.
A panel of 122 clinically and phenotypically diverse head and neck cell lines from head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), thyroid cancer, cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma, adenoid cystic carcinoma, oral leukoplakia, immortalized primary keratinocytes, and normal epithelium, was assembled from the collections of several individuals and institutions. Authenticity was verified by performing short tandem repeat (STR) analysis. Human papillomavirus (HPV) status and cell morphology were also determined.
Eighty-five of the 122 cell lines had unique genetic profiles. HPV-16 DNA was detected in 2 cell lines. These 85 cell lines included cell lines from the major head and neck primary tumor sites, and close examination demonstrates a wide range of in vitro phenotypes.
This panel of 85 genomically validated head and neck cell lines represents a valuable resource for the head and neck cancer research community that can help advance understanding of the disease by providing a standard reference for cell lines that can be utilized for biological as well as preclinical studies.
head and neck cancer; short tandem repeat (STR) profiling; head and neck squamous cell carcinoma; thyroid cancer; human papillomavirus
The Cheiruridae are a diverse group of trilobites and several subfamilies within the clade have been the focus of recent phylogenetic studies. This paper focuses on the relationships of one of those subfamilies, the Ordovician Eccoptochilinae. We analyze sixteen species from six genera within the traditionally defined group, using the pilekiid Anacheirurus frederici as an outgroup. To assess the monophyly of the Eccoptochilinae seven sphaerexochine species, Kawina arnoldi, Sphaerexochus arenosus, S. atacius, S. latifrons, S. mirus, S. parvus, and S. scabridus were included in the analysis as well. The results of this analysis show that the genus Eccoptochile represents a paraphyletic grade and species traditionally assigned to Parasphaerexochus and Skelipyx plot within Pseudosphaerexochus. Also, representative species of Sphaerexochinae plot within the traditionally defined Eccoptochilinae, suggesting Eccoptochilinae itself is paraphyletic. To resolve this, we propose all species of Pseudosphaerexochus be placed within Sphaerexochinae and Eccoptochilinae be restricted to a monotypic Eccoptochile clavigera.
To characterize tumor growth and metastatic potential in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) cell lines in an orthotopic murine model of oral tongue cancer, and to correlate TP53 mutation status with these findings.
Cells from each of 48 HNSCC cell lines were orthotopically injected into the oral tongues of nude mice. Tumor volume, cervical lymph node metastasis, and mouse survival were recorded. Direct sequencing of the TP53 gene and western blot analysis for the p53 protein after induction with 5-fluorouracil was performed. Cell lines were categorized as either mutant TP53 or wild-type TP53, and lines with TP53 mutation were further categorized on the basis of type of mutation (disruptive or non-disruptive), and level of p53 protein expression. The behavior of tumors in these different groups was compared.
The 48 HNSCC cell lines showed a wide range of behavior from highly aggressive and metastatic to no tumor formation. Mice injected with cells harboring disruptive TP53 mutations had faster tumor growth, greater incidence of cervical lymph node metastasis, and shorter survival than mice injected with cells lacking these mutations.
HNSCC cell lines display a wide spectrum of behavior in an orthotopic model of oral cancer. Cell lines with disruptive TP53 mutations are more aggressive in this system, corroborating clinical reports that have linked these mutations to poor patient outcome.
head and neck squamous cell carcinoma; TP53; disruptive TP53 mutation; cervical lymph node metastasis; orthotopic nude mouse model
Given the poor immunogenicity of current H5N1 influenza vaccines, additives and adjuvants remain a viable solution for increasing efficacy. Here, we demonstrate that a 20-amino acid peptide (EB) possessing influenza antiviral activity also enhances the immune response to H5N1 vaccination in mice. The addition of EB to formalin-inactivated whole-virus vaccine induced virion aggregation and these aggregates were readily engulfed by phagocytic cells in vitro. In vivo, mice vaccinated with a suboptimal dose of inactivated vaccine containing EB peptide had reduced morbidity, improved viral clearance, and faster recovery than mice receiving vaccine alone. This phenomenon was not accompanied by an increase in virus-specific antibodies. Instead, cell-mediated immunity was enhanced as demonstrated by increased interferon-γ production from splenocytes. This data demonstrates that the EB peptide may a useful adjuvant for boosting the efficacy of poorly immunogenic influenza vaccines.
H5N1 influenza virus; inactivated influenza vaccine; adjuvant; cell-mediated immunity
Proteorhodopsin (PR) is a photoprotein that functions as a light-driven proton pump in diverse marine Bacteria and Archaea. Recent studies have suggested that PR may enhance both growth rate and yield in some flavobacteria when grown under nutrient-limiting conditions in the light. The direct involvement of PR, and the metabolic details enabling light-stimulated growth, however, remain uncertain. Here, we surveyed transcriptional and growth responses of a PR-containing marine flavobacterium during carbon-limited growth in the light and the dark. As previously reported (Gómez-Consarnau et al., 2007), Dokdonia strain MED134 exhibited light-enhanced growth rates and cell yields under low carbon growth conditions. Inhibition of retinal biosynthesis abolished the light-stimulated growth response, supporting a direct role for retinal-bound PR in light-enhanced growth. Among protein-coding transcripts, both PR and retinal biosynthetic enzymes showed significant upregulation in the light. Other light-associated proteins, including bacterial cryptochrome and DNA photolyase, were also expressed at significantly higher levels in the light. Membrane transporters for Na+/phosphate and Na+/alanine symporters, and the Na+-translocating NADH-quinone oxidoreductase (NQR) linked electron transport chain, were also significantly upregulated in the light. Culture experiments using a specific inhibitor of Na+-translocating NQR indicated that sodium pumping via NQR is a critical metabolic process in the light-stimulated growth of MED134. In total, the results suggested the importance of both the PR-enabled, light-driven proton gradient, as well as the generation of a Na+ ion gradient, as essential components for light-enhanced growth in these flavobacteria.
flavobacteria; marine; photoheterotrophy; proteorhodopsin; transcriptomics
Variants of unknown significance (VUS) complicate the assignment of risk to new DNA sequence variants found in at-risk populations. This study focused on the poorly studied linker region of the cancer-associated BRCA2 protein encoded by exons twelve through fourteen of BRCA2. To develop a new method to characterize VUS in this region of BRCA2, we first chose to study 4 reported VUS occurring on evolutionarily conserved residues within the linker region. To determine if these VUS represent neutral changes or if they impact the function of the BRCA2 protein, we stably transfected expression plasmids encoding wild-type or each mutant peptide into T47D breast cancer cells, which are wild-type for BRCA2. Four mutant peptide expressing cell lines and a wild-type linker region expressing cell line next were studied by challenging transfected cell lines with the DNA crosslinking compound cisplatin (10 μM) for 5 days. Expression of the wild-type linker region and certain mutant linker peptides (N2452D and I2285V) decreased apoptosis (as demonstrated by cell death detection assay) in transfected cell lines, indicating that the linker region peptide directly or indirectly affects the DNA damage repair pathway. By determining the cell survival and assaying the apoptotic index of treated cell lines, one could potentially use this screen to determine that a particular VUS has a functional impact on BRCA2 function, and hence is of functional significance. We conclude that this method is useful for screening the effect of linker region VUS on BRCA2 function, and to identify mutations for further testing. We also conclude that mutations in the linker region may have heretofore unappreciated roles in BRCA2 function.
BRCA2; breast cancer; cisplatin; variants of unknown significance; mutation screen
Herpes simplex ocular infection is a major cause of corneal blindness. Local antiviral treatments exist but are associated with corneal toxicity, and resistance has become an issue. We evaluated the biodistribution and efficacy of a humanized anti-herpes simplex virus (anti-HSV) IgG FAb fragment (AC-8; 53 kDa) following repeated topical administration. AC-8 was found in the corneal epithelium, anterior stroma, subepithelial stromal cells, and retinal glial cells, with preferential entry through the ocular limbus. AC-8 was active against 13 different strains of HSV-1, with 50% and 90% mean effective concentrations (MEC50 and MEC90, respectively) ranging from 0.03 to 0.13 μg/ml, indicating broad-spectrum activity. The in vivo efficacy of AC-8 was evaluated in a mouse model of herpes-induced ocular disease. Treatment with low-dose AC-8 (1 mg/ml) slightly reduced the ocular disease scores. A greater reduction of the disease scores was observed in the 10-mg/ml AC-8-treated group, but not as much as with trifluridine (TFT). AC-8 treatment reduced viral titers but less than trifluridine. AC-8 did not display any toxicity to the cornea or other structures in the eye. In summary, topical instillation of an anti-HSV FAb can be used on both intact and ulcerated corneas. It is well tolerated and does not alter reepithelialization. Further studies to improve the antiviral effect are needed for AC-8 to be considered for therapeutic use.
Tumor metabolism is an essential contributor to disease progression and response to treatment. An understanding of the metabolic phenotype of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) will allow development of appropriate anti-metabolic strategies for this tumor type.
A panel of 15 HNSCC cell lines was assayed for glucose and glutamine dependence and sensitivity to metabolic inhibitors. Additionally, broad-spectrum metabolomic analysis using mass spectrometry/liquid chromatography was combined with individual measurements of reducing potential, adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and lactate production to characterize cellular metabolic phenotypes.
HNSCC energy and reducing potential levels closely mirrored extra-cellular glucose concentrations. Glucose starvation induced cell death despite activation of secondary energetic pathways. Conversely, glutamine was not required for HNSCC survival and did not serve as a significant source of energy. 2-deoxyglucose (2-DG) and its fluorinated derivative decreased glycolytic and Krebs cycle activity, cellular energy and reducing potential and inhibited HNSCC cell proliferation. 2-DG effects were potentiated by the addition of metformin, but not inhibitors of the pentose phosphate pathway or glutaminolysis. Despite dependence on glucose catabolism, we identified a subset of cell lines relatively resistant to starvation. Exploration of one such cell line (HN30) suggests that the presence of wild-type p53 can partially protect tumor cells from glucose starvation.
HNSCC tumor cells are dependent on glucose, not glutamine for energy production and survival, providing a rationale for treatment strategies targeting glucose catabolism. However, anti-metabolic strategies may need to be tailored to the tumor background, more specifically, p53 status.
glycolysis; glutamine; reducing potential; 2-deoxyglucose; metabolism
Identification of novel indications for commonly prescribed drugs could accelerate translation of therapies. We investigated whether any clinically-used drugs might have utility for treating prostate cancer by coupling an efficient, high-throughput laboratory-based screen and a large, prospective cohort study. In stage 1, we conducted an in vitro prostate cancer cell cytotoxicity screen of 3,187 compounds. Digoxin emerged as the leading candidate given its potency in inhibiting proliferation in vitro (mean IC50=163 nM) and common use. In stage 2, we evaluated the association between the leading candidate drug from stage 1 and prostate cancer risk in 47,884 men followed 1986–2006. Regular digoxin users (versus nonusers: RR=0.76, 95% CI 0.61–0.95), especially users for ≥10 years (RR=0.54, 95% CI 0.37–0.79, P-trend<0.001), had a lower prostate cancer risk. Digoxin was highly potent in inhibiting prostate cancer cell growth in vitro and its use was associated with a 25% lower prostate cancer risk.
Digoxin; prostate cancer; risk; cohort; transdisciplinary; cytotoxicity
Sequencing of microbial community RNA (metatranscriptome) is a useful approach for assessing gene expression in microorganisms from the natural environment. This method has revealed transcriptional patterns in situ, but can also be used to detect transcriptional cascades in microcosms following experimental perturbation. Unambiguously identifying differential transcription between control and experimental treatments requires constraining effects that are simply due to sampling and bottle enclosure. These effects remain largely uncharacterized for “challenging” microbial samples, such as those from anoxic regions that require special handling to maintain in situ conditions. Here, we demonstrate substantial changes in microbial transcription induced by sample collection and incubation in experimental bioreactors. Microbial communities were sampled from the water column of a marine oxygen minimum zone by a pump system that introduced minimal oxygen contamination and subsequently incubated in bioreactors under near in situ oxygen and temperature conditions. Relative to the source water, experimental samples became dominated by transcripts suggestive of cell stress, including chaperone, protease, and RNA degradation genes from diverse taxa, with strong representation from SAR11-like alphaproteobacteria. In tandem, transcripts matching facultative anaerobic gammaproteobacteria of the Alteromonadales (e.g., Colwellia) increased 4–13 fold up to 43% of coding transcripts, and encoded a diverse gene set suggestive of protein synthesis and cell growth. We interpret these patterns as taxon-specific responses to combined environmental changes in the bioreactors, including shifts in substrate or oxygen availability, and minor temperature and pressure changes during sampling with the pump system. Whether such changes confound analysis of transcriptional patterns may vary based on the design of the experiment, the taxonomic composition of the source community, and on the metabolic linkages between community members. These data highlight the impressive capacity for transcriptional changes within complex microbial communities, underscoring the need for caution when inferring in situ metabolism based on transcript abundances in experimental incubations.