Neutrophil plays an essential role in host defense against infection, but uncontrolled neutrophilic infiltration can cause inflammation and severe epithelial damage. We recently showed that CXCR2 formed a signaling complex with NHERF1 and PLC-2, and that the formation of this complex was required for intracellular calcium mobilization and neutrophilic transepithelial migration. To uncover the structural basis of the complex formation, we report here the crystal structure of the NHERF1 PDZ1 domain in complex with the C-terminal sequence of CXCR2 at 1.16 Å resolution. The structure reveals that the CXCR2 peptide binds to PDZ1 in an extended conformation with the last four residues making specific side chain interactions. Remarkably, comparison of the structure to previously studied PDZ1 domains has allowed the identification of PDZ1 ligand-specific interactions and the mechanisms that govern PDZ1 target selection diversities. In addition, we show that CXCR2 can bind both NHERF1 PDZ1 and PDZ2 in pulldown experiments, consistent with the observation that the peptide binding pockets of these two PDZ domains are highly structurally conserved. The results of this study therefore provide structural basis for the CXCR2-mediated neutrophilic migration and could have important clinical applications in the prevention and treatment of numerous neutrophil-dependent inflammatory disorders.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most aggressive malignancies in humans, and its prognosis is generally poor even after surgery. Many advances have been made to understand the pathogenesis of HCC; however, the molecular mechanisms that lead to hepatocarcinogenesis and progression are still not clearly understood.
The expression of DACT2 in specimens from 30 paired HCCs and an additional 61 HCC patients after liver transplantation was evaluated by quantitative RT-PCR and immunohistochemical analysis. We investigated the methylation status of the DACT2 promoter region. We also analyzed the alterations of the cell cycle, migration and invasion after DACT2 knockdown.
The expression level of DACT2 was significantly lower in HCC tissues than in non-cancerous tissues. Reduced DACT2 expression was associated with large tumor size. DACT2 transcripts were at low levels in hypermethylated liver cancer cells and were restored by exposure to a demethylating agent. Reduced expression of DACT2 in MHCC97L cells induced G1/S arrest, increased cell proliferation, and promoted cell invasion.
Our study suggests that DACT2 is silenced by promoter hypermethylation, and reduced DACT2 can promote liver cancer progression. DACT2 may serve as a novel tumor suppressor gene in HCC.
DACT2; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Methylation; Progression
WAVE2–Arp2/3 is a major nucleator of actin assembly at the zonula adherens and likely acts in response to junctional Rac signaling. It supports myosin II recruitment to, and tension generation at, the junction.
The epithelial zonula adherens (ZA) is a specialized adhesive junction where actin dynamics and myosin-driven contractility coincide. The junctional cytoskeleton is enriched in myosin II, which generates contractile force to support junctional tension. It is also enriched in dynamic actin filaments, which are replenished by ongoing actin assembly. In this study we sought to pursue the relationship between actin assembly and junctional contractility. We demonstrate that WAVE2–Arp2/3 is a major nucleator of actin assembly at the ZA and likely acts in response to junctional Rac signaling. Furthermore, WAVE2–Arp2/3 is necessary for junctional integrity and contractile tension at the ZA. Maneuvers that disrupt the function of either WAVE2 or Arp2/3 reduced junctional tension and compromised the ability of cells to buffer side-to-side forces acting on the ZA. WAVE2–Arp2/3 disruption depleted junctions of both myosin IIA and IIB, suggesting that dynamic actin assembly may support junctional tension by facilitating the local recruitment of myosin.
In the title molecule, C7H4N2O2S2, the nitro group is twisted by 5.5 (1)° from the plane of the attached benzene ring. In the crystal, N—H⋯S hydrogen bonds link pairs of molecules into inversion dimers, which are linked by weak C—H⋯O interactions into sheets parallel to (101). The crystal packing exhibits short intermolecular S⋯O contacts of 3.054 (4) Å and π–π interactions of 3.588 (5) Å between the centroids of the five- and six-membered rings of neighbouring molecules.
Type IV pili (TFP) and exopolysaccharides (EPS) are important components for social behaviors in Myxococcus xanthus, including gliding motility and fruiting body formation. Although specific interactions between TFP and EPS have been proposed, direct observations of these interactions under native condition have not yet been made. In this study, we found that a truncated PilA protein (PilACt) which only contains the C-terminal domain (amino acids 32-208) is sufficient for EPS binding in vitro. Furthermore, an enhanced green fluorescent protein (eGFP) and PilACt fusion protein was constructed and used to label the native EPS in M. xanthus. Under confocal laser scanning microscope, the eGFP-PilACt-bound fruiting bodies, trail structures and biofilms exhibited similar patterns as the wheat germ agglutinin lectin (WGA)-labeled EPS structures. This study showed that eGFP-PilACt fusion protein was able to efficiently label the EPS of M. xanthus and for the first time provided evidence for the direct interaction between the PilA protein and EPS under native conditions.
Type IV Pilin; Exopolysaccharides; Biofilm; Fruiting body; Confocal laser scanning microscopy; eGFP
Background: C-reactive protein (CRP) which used to be a prototypical inflammatory cytokine has been identified involving in the progression of tumor-promoting inflammation. Several studies have indicated that CRP is a predictor for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), but the results are controversial. Methods: We conducted a systematic review of ten studies (1885 patients) to examine the association of high serum CRP expression with overall survival (OS) and recurrence-free survival (RFS) in HCC patients by meta-analysis. Moreover, the correlation between high serum CRP and tumor clinicopathological parameters was also assessed. Hazard ratio (HR) or odds ratio (OR) with its 95% confidence interval (CI) was used as the effect size estimate. Results: Our pooled results showed that high expression level of serum CRP (≥10 mg/L) was associated with poor OS (HR: 2.15, 95% CI: 1.76-2.63) and RFS (HR: 2.66, 95% CI: 1.54-4.58) in HCC. Serum CRP overexpression (≥10 mg/L) was also significantly associated with the presence of tumor vascular invasion (OR: 3.05, 95% CI: 1.79-5.23), multiple tumor (OR: 2.36, 95% CI: 1.36-4.10), larger tumor size (OR: 3.41, 95% CI: 1.04-11.18), and advanced TNM stage (OR: 3.23, 95% CI: 2.29-4.57). In addition, serum CRP overexpression (≥10 mg/L) tended to be correlated with poor differentiation (OR: 1.58, 95% CI: 0.74-3.39), though not significantly. Conclusion: The present systematic review and meta-analysis demonstrate that high serum level of CRP (≥10 mg/L) denotes a poor prognosis of patients with HCC.
C-reactive protein; hepatocellular carcinoma; prognosis; survival.
One intriguing discovery in modern microbiology is the extensive presence of extracellular DNA (eDNA) within biofilms of various bacterial species. Although several biological functions have been suggested for eDNA, including involvement in biofilm formation, the detailed mechanism of eDNA integration into biofilm architecture is still poorly understood. In the biofilms formed by Myxococcus xanthus, a Gram-negative soil bacterium with complex morphogenesis and social behaviors, DNA was found within both extracted and native extracellular matrices (ECM). Further examination revealed that these eDNA molecules formed well organized structures that were similar in appearance to the organization of exopolysaccharides (EPS) in ECM. Biochemical and image analyses confirmed that eDNA bound to and colocalized with EPS within the ECM of starvation biofilms and fruiting bodies. In addition, ECM containing eDNA exhibited greater physical strength and biological stress resistance compared to DNase I treated ECM. Taken together, these findings demonstrate that DNA interacts with EPS and strengthens biofilm structures in M. xanthus.
Neuroendocrine carcinoma (NEC) of the pancreas is rare. We report the case of a 34-year-old man with pancreatic NEC with soft tissue metastasis. The patient presented with right upper abdominal discomfort. Computed tomography revealed a low-density heterogeneous mass in the tail and body of the pancreas that encroached on the greater curvature of the stomach and spleen. We performed exploratory laparotomy and total pancreatectomy with splenectomy and total gastrectomy. Histopathological analysis showed spindle-shaped cells with scanty cytoplasm and hyperchromatic nuclei, confirming a primary pancreatic NEC. One month after the surgery, the patient experienced leg swelling. Positron emission tomography-computed tomography revealed high uptake of fludeoxyglucose in the left leg, and the leg was amputated. Histopathological analysis confirmed metastasis of pancreatic NEC. The patient was followed up and received chemotherapy (etoposide and cisplatin). One month after amputation, the level of tumor marker neuron-specific enolase was 142.70 μg/L and computed tomography scan revealed an aggravated metastatic lesion. The patient suffered from unbearable pain and we treated him with odynolysis. Four months postoperatively, the patient died of respiratory failure.
Neuroendocrine carcinoma; Pancreas; Soft tissue metastasis; Neuron-specific enolase; Positron emission tomography-computed tomography
Type IV pili (TFP) are membrane-anchored filaments with a number of important biological functions. In the model organism Myxococcus xanthus, TFP act as molecular engines that power social (S) motility through cycles of extension and retraction. TFP filaments consist of several thousand copies of a protein called PilA or pilin. PilA contains an N-terminal α-helix essential for TFP assembly and a C-terminal globular domain important for its activity. The role of the PilA sequence and its structure–function relationship in TFP-dependent S motility remain active areas of research. In this study, we identified an M. xanthus PilA mutant carrying an alanine to valine substitution at position 32 in the α-helix, which produced structurally intact but retraction-defective TFP. Characterization of this mutant and additional single-residue variants at this position in PilA demonstrated the critical role of alanine 32 in PilA stability, TFP assembly and retraction.
Identifying essential factors in cellular interactions and organized movement of cells is important in predicting behavioral phenotypes exhibited by many bacterial cells. We chose to study Myxococcus xanthus, a soil bacterium whose individual cell behavior changes while in groups, leading to spontaneous formation of aggregation center during the early stage of fruiting body development. In this paper, we develop a cell-based computational model that solely relies on experimentally determined parameters to investigate minimal elements required to produce the observed social behaviors in M. xanthus. The model verifies previously known essential parameters and identifies one novel parameter, the active turning, which we define as the ability and tendency of a cell to turn to a certain angle without the presence of any obvious external factors. The simulation is able to produce both gliding pattern and spontaneous aggregation center formation as observed in experiments. The model is tested against several known M. xanthus mutants and our modification of parameter values relevant for the individual mutants produces good phenotypic agreements. This outcome indicates the strong predictive potential of our model for the social behaviors of uncharacterized mutants and their expected phenotypes during development.
SmyD2 belongs to a new class of chromatin regulators that control gene expression in heart development and tumorigenesis. Besides methylation of histone H3 K4, SmyD2 can methylate non-histone targets including p53 and the retinoblastoma tumor suppressor. The methyltransferase activity of SmyD proteins has been proposed to be regulated by autoinhibition via the intra- and interdomain bending of the conserved C-terminal domain (CTD). However, there has been no direct evidence of a conformational change in the CTD. Here, we report two crystal structures of SmyD2 bound either to the cofactor product S-adenosylhomocysteine or to the inhibitor sinefungin. SmyD2 has a two-lobed structure with the active site located at the bottom of a deep crevice formed between the CTD and the catalytic domain. By extensive engagement with the methyltransferase domain, the CTD stabilizes the autoinhibited conformation of SmyD2 and restricts access to the catalytic site. Unexpectedly, despite that the two SmyD2 structures are highly superimposable, significant differences are observed in the first two helices of the CTDs: the two helices bend outwards and move away from the catalytic domain to generate a less closed conformation in the sinefungin-bound structure. Although the overall fold of the individual domains is structurally conserved among SmyD proteins, SmyD2 appear to be a conformational “intermediate” between a close form of SmyD3 and an open form of SmyD1. In addition, the structures reveal that the CTD is structurally similar to tetratricopeptide repeats (TPR), a motif through which many cochaperones bind to the heat shock protein Hsp90. Our results thus provide the first evidence for the intradomain flexibility of the TPR-like CTD, which may be important for the activation of SmyD proteins by Hsp90.
Alkylidenecyclopropanes can be synthesized from enantiomerically enriched cyclopropene derivatives with >99% stereotransfer and good to excellent yield. The protocol comprises the stereoselective reaction of Grignard reagents with 1-alkoxymethyl-3-hydroxymethyl cyclopropenes and a stereospecific [1,3] carbon shift reaction.
With the development of high-throughput screening, a variety of genetic alterations has been found in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Although previous studies on HCC methylation profiles have focused on liver tissue, studies using isolated hepatocytes are rare. The heterogeneity of liver composition may impact the genuine methylation status of HCC; therefore, it is important to clarify the methylation profile of hepatocytes to aid in understanding the process of tumorigenesis.
Methods and Findings
The global methylation profile of single hepatocytes isolated from liver tissue of hepatitis B virus (HBV) related HCC (HBHC) was analyzed using Illumina Infinium Human Methylation27 BeadChips, and combined bisulfite restriction analysis (COBRA) and bisulfite sequencing were used to validate the 20 significant hypermethylated genes identified. In this study, we found many noteworthy differences in the genome-wide methylation profiles of single hepatocytes of HBHC. Unsupervised hierarchical clustering analysis showed that hepatocyte methylation profiles could be classified according to three cell types: hepatocytes of HCC, adjacent hepatocytes and normal hepatocytes. Among the 20 most hypermethylated genes in the hepatocytes of HBHC, 7 novel genes (WNK2, EMILIN2, TLX3, TM6SF1, TRIM58, HIST1H4Fand GRASP) were found to be hypermethylated in HBHC and hypomethylated in paired adjacent liver tissues; these findings have not been reported in previous studies on tissue samples.
The genome-wide methylation profile of purified single hepatocytes of HBHC was aided in understanding the process of tumorigenesis, and a series of novel methylated genes found in this study have the potential to be biomarkers for the diagnosis and prognosis of HBHC.
Social motility (S motility), the coordinated movement of large cell groups
on agar surfaces, of Myxococcus xanthus requires type IV
pili (TFP) and exopolysaccharides (EPS). Previous models proposed that this
behavior, which only occurred within cell groups, requires cycles of TFP extension
and retraction triggered by the close interaction of TFP with EPS. However,
the curious observation that M. xanthus can perform TFP-dependent
motility at a single-cell level when placed onto polystyrene surfaces in a
highly viscous medium containing 1% methylcellulose indicated that “S
motility” is not limited to group movements. In an apparent further
challenge of the previous findings for S motility, mutants defective in EPS
production were found to perform TFP-dependent motility on polystyrene surface
in methylcellulose-containing medium. By exploring the interactions between
pilin and surface materials, we found that the binding of TFP onto polystyrene
surfaces eliminated the requirement for EPS in EPS- cells and thus
enabled TFP-dependent motility on a single cell level. However, the presence
of a general anchoring surface in a viscous environment could not substitute
for the role of cell surface EPS in group movement. Furthermore, EPS was found
to serve as a self-produced anchoring substrate that can be shed onto surfaces
to enable cells to conduct TFP-dependent motility regardless of surface properties.
These results suggested that in certain environments, such as in methylcellulose
solution, the cells could bypass the need for EPS to anchor their TPF and
conduct single-cell S motility to promote exploratory movement of colonies
over new specific surfaces.
Recent studies have shown that high expression levels of class I histone deacetylases (HDACs) correlate with malignant phenotype and poor prognosis in some human tumors. However, the expression patterns and prognostic role of class I HDAC isoforms in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) remain unclear.
The expression patterns and clinical significance of class I HDAC isoforms were assessed by immunohistochemistry in a cohort of 43 hepatitis B virus-associated HCC patients treated with liver transplantation. In addition, the effects of HDAC inhibition on HCC cell behavior were investigated by knockdown of the HDAC isoform with short interfering RNA. Class I HDACs were highly expressed in a subset of HCCs with positivity for HDAC1 in 51.2%, HDAC2 in 48.8%, and HDAC3 in 32.6% of cases. The expression levels of HDAC isoforms were significantly associated with the proliferation index of HCC. Kaplan-Meier curves showed that a high expression level of HDAC2 or HDAC3 implicated significantly reduced recurrence-free survival. Cox proportional hazards model analysis revealed HDAC3 overexpression was an unfavorable independent prognostic factor (P = 0.002; HR 3.907). In vitro, inhibition of HDAC2 and HDAC3, but not HDAC1, suppressed proliferation and the invasiveness of liver cancer cells.
Our findings demonstrate that HDAC3 plays a significant role in regulating tumor cell proliferation and invasion, and it could be served as a candidate biomarker for predicting the recurrence of hepatitis B virus-associated HCC following liver transplantation and a potential therapeutic target.
Myxococcus xanthus is a gram-negative bacterium capable of complex developmental processes involving vegetative swarming and fruiting body formation. Social (S-) gliding motility, one of the two motility systems employed by M. xanthus, requires at least two cell surface structures: type IV pili (TFP) and extracellular polysaccharides (EPS). Extended TFP which are composed of thousands of copies of PilA retract upon binding to EPS and thereby pull the cell forward. TFP also act as external sensor to regulate EPS production. In this study, we generated a random PilA mutant library and identified one derivative, SW1066, which completely failed to undergo developmental processes. Detailed characterization revealed that SW1066 produced very little EPS but wild-type amounts of PilA. These mutated PilA subunits, however, are unable to assemble into functional TFP despite their ability to localize to the membrane. By preventing the mutated PilA of SW1066 to translocate from the cytoplasm to the membrane, fruiting body formation and EPS production was restored to the levels observed in mutant strains lacking PilA. This apparent connection between PilA membrane accumulation and reduction in surface EPS implies that specific cellular PilA localization are required to maintain the EPS level necessary to sustain normal S-motilityin M. xanthus.
Myxococcus xanthus; type four pili; PilA; extracellular polysaccharide
CpG island methylator phenotype (CIMP), in which multiple genes concordantly methylated, has been demonstrated to be associated with progression, recurrence, as well as overall survival in some types of cancer.
We examined the promoter methylation status of seven genes including P16, CDH1, GSTP1, DAPK, XAF1, SOCS1 and SYK in 65 cases of HCC treated with LT by methylation-specific PCR. CIMP+ was defined as having three or more genes that are concordantly methylated. The relationship between CIMP status and clinicopathological parameters, as well as tumor recurrence was further analyzed.
CIMP+ was more frequent in HCC with AFP > 400 ng/ml than those with AFP ≤ 400 ng/ml (P = 0.017). In addition, patients with CIMP+ were prone to have multiple tumor numbers than those with CIMP- (P = 0.007). Patients with CIMP+ tumors had significantly worse recurrence-free survival (RFS) than patients with CIMP-tumors by Kaplan-Meier estimates (P = 0.004). Multivariate analysis also revealed that CIMP status might be a novel independent prognostic factor of RFS for HCC patients treated with LT (HR: 3.581; 95% CI: 1.473-8.710, P = 0.005).
Our results suggested that CIMP could serve as a new prognostic biomarker to predict the risk of tumor recurrence in HCC after transplantation.
The literature comparing private not-for-profit, for-profit, and government providers mostly relies on empirical evidence from high-income and established market economies. Studies from developing and transitional economies remain scarce, especially regarding patient case-mix and quality of care in public and private hospitals, even though countries such as China have expanded a mixed-ownership approach to service delivery. The purpose of this study is to compare the operations and performance of public and private hospitals in Guangdong Province, China, focusing on differences in patient case-mix and quality of care.
We analyze survey data collected from 362 government-owned and private hospitals in Guangdong Province in 2005, combining mandatorily reported administrative data with a survey instrument designed for this study. We use univariate and multi-variate regression analyses to compare hospital characteristics and to identify factors associated with simple measures of structural quality and patient outcomes.
Compared to private hospitals, government hospitals have a higher average value of total assets, more pieces of expensive medical equipment, more employees, and more physicians (controlling for hospital beds, urban location, insurance network, and university affiliation). Government and for-profit private hospitals do not statistically differ in total staffing, although for-profits have proportionally more support staff and fewer medical professionals. Mortality rates for non-government non-profit and for-profit hospitals do not statistically differ from those of government hospitals of similar size, accreditation level, and patient mix.
In combination with other evidence on health service delivery in China, our results suggest that changes in ownership type alone are unlikely to dramatically improve or harm overall quality. System incentives need to be designed to reward desired hospital performance and protect vulnerable patients, regardless of hospital ownership type.
Heterotopic pancreas is defined as pancreatic tissue found outside the usual anatomical location of the pancreas. It is often an incidental finding and can be found at different sites in the gastrointestinal tract. It may become clinically evident when complicated by pathological changes such as inflammation, bleeding, obstruction, and malignant transformation. In this report, a 60-year-old man with carcinoid syndrome caused by heterotopic pancreatic tissue in the duodenum is described, along with a 62-year-old man with abdominal pain caused by heterotopic pancreatic tissue in the gastric antrum. The difficulty of making an accurate diagnosis is highlighted. The patients remain healthy and symptom-free after follow-up of 1 year. Frozen sections may help in deciding the extent of resection intraoperatively. Although heterotopic pancreas is rare, it should be considered in the differential diagnosis of gastrointestinal stromal tumor.
Heterotopic pancreas; Gastrointestinal stromal tumor; Carcinoid syndrome; Ultrasonography; Gastroscopy
Protein glutamine methylation at GGQ sites of protein chain release factors plays a pivotal role in the termination of translation. We report here the crystal structure of the Escherichia coli HemK protein (N5)-glutamine methyltransferase (MTase) in a binary complex with the methyl-donor product S-adenosyl-l-homocysteine (AdoHcy). HemK contains two domains: a putative substrate binding domain at the N terminus consisting of a five helix bundle and a seven-stranded catalytic domain at the C terminus that harbors the binding site for AdoHcy. The two domains are linked by a β-hairpin. Structure-guided sequence analysis of the HemK family revealed 11 invariant residues functioning in methyl-donor binding and catalysis of methyl transfer. The putative substrate-binding domains of HemK from E. coli and Thermotoga maritima are structurally similar, despite the fact that they share very little sequence similarity. When the two proteins are aligned structurally, the helical N-terminal domain is subject to approximately 10° of hinge movement relative to the C-terminal domain. The apparent hinge mobility of the two domains may reflect functional importance during the reaction cycle. Comparative phylogenetic analysis of the hemK gene and its frequent neighbor gene, prfA, which encodes a major substrate, provides evidence for several examples of lateral gene transfer.
HemK; protein glutamine methylation; GGQ motif; NPPY motif
DIM-5 is a SUV39-type histone H3 Lys9 methyltransferase that is essential for DNA methylation in N. crassa. We report the structure of a ternary complex including DIM-5, S-adenosyl-l-homocysteine, and a substrate H3 peptide. The histone tail inserts as a parallel strand between two DIM-5 strands, completing a hybrid sheet. Three post-SET cysteines coordinate a zinc atom together with Cys242 from the SET signature motif (NHXCXPN) near the active site. Consequently, a narrow channel is formed to accommodate the target Lys9 side chain. The sulfur atom of S-adenosyl-l-homocysteine, where the transferable methyl group is to be attached in S-adenosyl-l-methionine, lies at the opposite end of the channel,~4Å away from the target Lys9 nitrogen. Structural comparison of the active sites of DIM-5, an H3 Lys9 trimethyltransferase, and SET7/9, an H3 Lys4 monomethyltransferase, allowed us to design substitutions in both enzymes that profoundly alter their product specificities without affecting their catalytic activities.
Methylation of Lys79 on histone H3 by Dot1p is important for gene silencing. The elongated structure of the conserved core of yeast Dot1p contains an N-terminal helical domain and a seven-stranded catalytic domain that harbors the binding site for the methyl-donor and an active site pocket sided with conserved hydrophobic residues. The S-adenosyl-L-homocysteine exhibits an extended conformation distinct from the folded conformation observed in structures of SET domain histone lysine methyltransferases. A catalytic asparagine (Asn479), located at the bottom of the active site pocket, suggests a mechanism similar to that employed for amino methylation in DNA and protein glutamine methylation. The acidic, concave cleft between the two domains contains two basic residue binding pockets that could accommodate the outwardly protruding basic side chains around Lys79 of histone H3 on the disk-like nucleosome surface. Biochemical studies suggest that recombinant Dot1 proteins are active on recombinant nucleosomes, free of any modifications.
Mammals use DNA methylation for the heritable silencing of retrotransposons and imprinted genes and for the inactivation of the X chromosome in females. The establishment of patterns of DNA methylation during gametogenesis depends in part on DNMT3L, an enzymatically inactive regulatory factor that is related in sequence to the DNA methyltransferases DNMT3A and DNMT3B1,2. The main proteins that interact in vivo with the product of an epitope-tagged allele of the endogenous Dnmt3L gene were identified by mass spectrometry as DNMT3A2, DNMT3B and the four core histones. Peptide interaction assays showed that DNMT3L specifically interacts with the extreme amino terminus of histone H3; this interaction was strongly inhibited by methylation at lysine 4 of histone H3 but was insensitive to modifications at other positions. Crystallographic studies of human DNMT3L showed that the protein has a carboxy-terminal methyltransferase-like domain and an N-terminal cysteine-rich domain. Cocrystallization of DNMT3L with the tail of histone H3 revealed that the tail bound to the cysteine-rich domain of DNMT3L, and substitution of key residues in the binding site eliminated the H3 tail-DNMT3L interaction. These data indicate that DNMT3L recognizes histone H3 tails that are unmethylated at lysine 4 and induces de novo DNA methylation by recruitment or activation of DNMT3A2.
To examine the feasibility of using blood-derived smooth muscle cells (BD-SMCs) as a target for to deliver therapeutic proteins.
Materials and Methods
Mononuclear cells (MNC) were isolated from peripheral blood. The outgrowth colonies from MNC culture were differentiated into BD-SMCs in media containing platelet-derived growth factor BB. Phenotypic characterization of BD-SMCs was assessed by immunocytochemistry. Cell proliferation, gene transfer efficiency with a retroviral vector, apoptosis, and the biological activity of the transduced gene product from the BD-SMCs were evaluated in vitro and in vivo in comparison with vascular derived SMC (VSMCs).
BD-SMCs stained positive for SMC markers. No significant difference was observed between BD-SMCs and VSMCs in cell proliferation, migration, adhesiveness, and gene transfer efficiency. After BD-SMCs were transduced with a retroviral vector carrying the secreted alkaline phosphatase gene (SEAP), 174 ± 50 μg biologically active SEAP was produced per 106 cells over 24 hrs. After injecting 5×106 cells expressing SEAP intravenously into rabbits, SEAP concentration increased significantly in the circulation from 0.14 ± 0.04 μg/ml to 2.34 ± 0.16 μg/ml 3 days after cell injection (P<0.01, n=3). Circulating levels of SEAP decreased to 1.76 μg /ml one week later and remained at this level up to 8 weeks, then declined to pre-cell injection level at 12 weeks. VSMC in vivo gene expression data were equivalent.
BD-SMCs have similar characteristics to mature VSMCs, and can be used as a novel target for gene transfer to deliver a therapeutic protein.
Cell-based therapy strategies offer the potential to correct a wide spectrum of inherited and acquired human diseases. Translation to a clinical trial will require a detailed pre-clinical study to understand the characteristics of the isolated cells. BD-SMC are practical and effective targets for ex vivo genetic engineering. They are obtained with ease by phlebotomy, eliminating the need for surgical tissue explantation. This study tested the suitability of BD-SMC in vivo as a target for gene therapy. The outcome of the study has direct application in progenitor cell-based therapy.
smooth muscle cells; blood derived progenitor cells; gene transfer; gene expression in vivo