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1.  Transglutaminase inhibitors attenuate vascular calcification in a preclinical model 
In vitro, transglutaminase 2 (TG2)-mediated activation of the β-catenin signaling pathway is central in warfarin-induced calcification, warranting inquiry into the importance of this signaling axis as a target for preventive therapy of vascular calcification in vivo.
Methods and Results
The adverse effects of warfarin-induced elastocalcinosis in a rat model include calcification of the aortic media, loss of the cellular component in the vessel wall, and isolated systolic hypertension, associated with accumulation and activation of TG2 and activation of β-catenin signaling. These effects of warfarin can be completely reversed by intraperitoneal administration of the TG2-specific inhibitor KCC-009 or dietary supplementation with the bioflavonoid quercetin, known to inhibit β-catenin signaling. Our study also uncovers a previously uncharacterized ability of quercetin to inhibit TG2. Quercetin reversed the warfarin-induced increase in systolic pressure, underlying the functional consequence of this treatment. Molecular analysis shows that quercetin diet stabilizes the phenotype of smooth muscle and prevents its transformation into osteoblastic cells.
Inhibition of the TG2/β-catenin signaling axis appears to prevent warfarin-induced elastocalcinosis and to control isolated systolic hypertension.
PMCID: PMC3544469  PMID: 23117658
vascular calcification; warfarin; transglutaminase 2; quercetin; β-catenin
2.  A DNA Element Regulates Drug Tolerance and Withdrawal in Drosophila 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e75549.
Drug tolerance and withdrawal are insidious responses to drugs of abuse; the first increases drug consumption while the second punishes abstention. Drosophila generate functional tolerance to benzyl alcohol sedation by increasing neural expression of the slo BK-type Ca2+ activated K+ channel gene. After drug clearance this change produces a withdrawal phenotype—increased seizure susceptibility. The drug-induced histone modification profile identified the 6b element (60 nt) as a drug responsive element. Genomic deletion of 6b produces the allele, sloΔ6b, that reacts more strongly to the drug with increased induction, a massive increase in the duration of tolerance, and an increase in the withdrawal phenotype yet does not alter other slo-dependent behaviors. The 6b element is a homeostatic regulator of BK channel gene expression and is the first cis-acting DNA element shown to specifically affect the duration of a drug action.
PMCID: PMC3781064  PMID: 24086565
3.  Sex-Biased Gene Expression on the Avian Z Chromosome: Highly Expressed Genes Show Higher Male-Biased Expression 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(10):e46854.
Dosage compensation, the process whereby expression of sex-linked genes remains similar between sexes (despite heterogamety) and balanced with autosomal expression, was long believed to be essential. However, recent research has shown that several lineages, including birds, butterflies, monotremes and sticklebacks, lack chromosome-wide dosage compensation mechanisms and do not completely balance the expression of sex-linked and autosomal genes. To obtain further understanding of avian sex-biased gene expression, we studied Z-linked gene expression in the brain of two songbirds of different genera (zebra finch, Taeniopygia guttata, and common whitethroat, Sylvia communis) using microarray technology. In both species, the male-bias in gene expression was significantly higher for Z than for autosomes, although the ratio of Z-linked to autosomal expression (Z:A) was relatively close to one in both sexes (range: 0.89–1.01). Interestingly, the Z-linked male-bias in gene expression increased with expression level, and genes with low expression showed the lowest degree of sex-bias. These results support the view that the heterogametic females have up-regulated their single Z-linked homologues to a high extent when the W-chromosome degraded and thereby managed to largely balance their Z:A expression with the exception of highly expressed genes. The male-bias in highly expressed genes points towards male-driven selection on Z-linked loci, and this and other possible hypotheses are discussed.
PMCID: PMC3463555  PMID: 23056488
4.  Increasing Coverage of Transcription Factor Position Weight Matrices through Domain-level Homology 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):e42779.
Transcription factor-DNA interactions, central to cellular regulation and control, are commonly described by position weight matrices (PWMs). These matrices are frequently used to predict transcription factor binding sites in regulatory regions of DNA to complement and guide further experimental investigation. The DNA sequence preferences of transcription factors, encoded in PWMs, are dictated primarily by select residues within the DNA binding domain(s) that interact directly with DNA. Therefore, the DNA binding properties of homologous transcription factors with identical DNA binding domains may be characterized by PWMs derived from different species. Accordingly, we have implemented a fully automated domain-level homology searching method for identical DNA binding sequences.
By applying the domain-level homology search to transcription factors with existing PWMs in the JASPAR and TRANSFAC databases, we were able to significantly increase coverage in terms of the total number of PWMs associated with a given species, assign PWMs to transcription factors that did not previously have any associations, and increase the number of represented species with PWMs over an order of magnitude. Additionally, using protein binding microarray (PBM) data, we have validated the domain-level method by demonstrating that transcription factor pairs with matching DNA binding domains exhibit comparable DNA binding specificity predictions to transcription factor pairs with completely identical sequences.
The increased coverage achieved herein demonstrates the potential for more thorough species-associated investigation of protein-DNA interactions using existing resources. The PWM scanning results highlight the challenging nature of transcription factors that contain multiple DNA binding domains, as well as the impact of motif discovery on the ability to predict DNA binding properties. The method is additionally suitable for identifying domain-level homology mappings to enable utilization of additional information sources in the study of transcription factors. The domain-level homology search method, resulting PWM mappings, web-based user interface, and web API are publicly available at
PMCID: PMC3428306  PMID: 22952610
5.  No severe and global X chromosome inactivation in meiotic male germline of Drosophila 
BMC Biology  2012;10:50.
This article is a response to Vibranovski et al.
See correspondence article and the original research article
We have previously reported a high propensity of testis-expressed X-linked genes to activation in meiotic cells, a similarity in global gene expression between the X chromosome and autosomes in meiotic germline, and under-representation of various types of tissue-specific genes on the X chromosome. Based on our findings and a critical review of the current literature, we believe that there is no global and severe silencing of the X chromosome in the meiotic male germline of Drosophila. The term 'meiotic sex chromosome inactivation' (MSCI) therefore seems misleading when used to describe the minor underexpression of the X chromosome in the testis of Drosophila, because this term erroneously implies a profound and widespread silencing of the X-linked genes, by analogy to the well-studied MSCI system in mammals, and therefore distracts from identification and analysis of the real mechanisms that orchestrate gene expression and evolution in this species.
PMCID: PMC3391177
6.  Lack of global meiotic sex chromosome inactivation, and paucity of tissue-specific gene expression on the Drosophila X chromosome 
BMC Biology  2011;9:29.
Paucity of male-biased genes on the Drosophila X chromosome is a well-established phenomenon, thought to be specifically linked to the role of these genes in reproduction and/or their expression in the meiotic male germline. In particular, meiotic sex chromosome inactivation (MSCI) has been widely considered a driving force behind depletion of spermatocyte-biased X-linked genes in Drosophila by analogy with mammals, even though the existence of global MCSI in Drosophila has not been proven.
Microarray-based study and qRT-PCR analyses show that the dynamics of gene expression during testis development are very similar between X-linked and autosomal genes, with both showing transcriptional activation concomitant with meiosis. However, the genes showing at least ten-fold expression bias toward testis are significantly underrepresented on the X chromosome. Intriguingly, the genes with similar expression bias toward tissues other than testis, even those not apparently associated with reproduction, are also strongly underrepresented on the X. Bioinformatics analysis shows that while tissue-specific genes often bind silencing-associated factors in embryonic and cultured cells, this trend is less prominent for the X-linked genes.
Our data show that the global meiotic inactivation of the X chromosome does not occur in Drosophila. Paucity of testis-biased genes on the X appears not to be linked to reproduction or germline-specific events, but rather reflects a general underrepresentation of tissue-biased genes on this chromosome. Our analyses suggest that the activation/repression switch mechanisms that probably orchestrate the highly-biased expression of tissue-specific genes are generally not efficient on the X chromosome. This effect, probably caused by dosage compensation counteracting repression of the X-linked genes, may be the cause of the exodus of highly tissue-biased genes to the autosomes.
PMCID: PMC3104377  PMID: 21542906
7.  Up-regulation of the Ku heterodimer in Drosophila testicular cyst cells 
FEBS letters  2007;581(9):1707-1715.
In Drosophila, developing germline cysts in testis are enveloped by two somatic cyst cells essential for germline development and male reproduction. The cyst cells continue development along with the germline. However, the mechanisms of somatic gene expression in testes are poorly understood. We report transcriptional up-regulation of the Ku heterodimer in cyst cells. The initial up-regulation is independent of germline, and transcription is further augmented during spermatogenesis. Abundance of Ku in the cyst cell cytoplasm suggests the role for Ku subunits in the regulation of sperm individualization.
PMCID: PMC1992518  PMID: 17418821
testes; transcription; somatic cells; Ku heterodimer
8.  The Pattern of Chromosome Folding in Interphase Is Outlined by the Linear Gene Density Profile 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2005;25(18):8379-8386.
Spatial organization of chromatin in the interphase nucleus plays a role in gene expression and inheritance. Although it appears not to be random, the principles of this organization are largely unknown. In this work, we show an explicit relationship between the intranuclear localization of various chromosome segments and the pattern of gene distribution along the genome sequence. Using a 7-megabase-long region of the Drosophila melanogaster chromosome 2 as a model, we observed that the six gene-poor chromosome segments identified in the region interact with components of the nuclear matrix to form a compact stable cluster. The six gene-rich segments form a spatially segregated unstable cluster dependent on nonmatrix nuclear proteins. The resulting composite structure formed by clusters of gene-rich and gene-poor regions is reproducible between the nuclei. We suggest that certain aspects of chromosome folding in interphase are predetermined and can be inferred through in silico analysis of chromosome sequence, using gene density profile as a manifestation of “folding code.”
PMCID: PMC1234341  PMID: 16135824
9.  Regulated chromatin domain comprising cluster of co-expressed genes in Drosophila melanogaster 
Nucleic Acids Research  2005;33(5):1435-1444.
Recently, the phenomenon of clustering of co-expressed genes on chromosomes was discovered in eukaryotes. To explore the hypothesis that genes within clusters occupy shared chromatin domains, we performed a detailed analysis of transcription pattern and chromatin structure of a cluster of co-expressed genes. We found that five non-homologous genes (Crtp, Yu, CK2βtes, Pros28.1B and CG13581) are expressed exclusively in Drosophila melanogaster male germ-line and form a non-interrupted cluster in the 15 kb region of chromosome 2. The cluster is surrounded by genes with broader transcription patterns. Analysis of DNase I sensitivity revealed ‘open’ chromatin conformation in the cluster and adjacent regions in the male germ-line cells, where all studied genes are transcribed. In contrast, in somatic tissues where the cluster genes are silent, the domain of repressed chromatin encompassed four out of five cluster genes and an adjacent non-cluster gene CG13589 that is also silent in analyzed somatic tissues. The fifth cluster gene (CG13581) appears to be excluded from the chromatin domain occupied by the other four genes. Our results suggest that extensive clustering of co-expressed genes in eukaryotic genomes does in general reflect the domain organization of chromatin, although domain borders may not exactly correspond to the margins of gene clusters.
PMCID: PMC1062873  PMID: 15755746
10.  Cytoplasmic Dynein Intermediate-Chain Isoforms with Different Targeting Properties Created by Tissue-Specific Alternative Splicing 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  1998;18(11):6816-6825.
The intermediate chains (ICs) are the subunits of the cytoplasmic dynein that provide binding of the complex to cargo organelles through interaction of their N termini with dynactin. We present evidence that in Drosophila, the IC subunits are represented by at least 10 structural isoforms, created by the alternative splicing of transcripts from a unique Cdic gene. The splicing pattern is tissue specific. A constitutive set of four IC isoforms is expressed in all tissues tested; in addition, tissue-specific isoforms are found in the ovaries and nervous tissue. The structural variations between isoforms are limited to the N terminus of the IC molecule, where the interaction with dynactin takes place. This suggests differences in the dynactin-mediated organelle binding by IC isoforms. Accordingly, when transiently expressed in Drosophila Schneider-3 cells, the IC isoforms differ in their intracellular targeting properties from each other. A mechanism is proposed for the regulation of dynein binding to organelles through the changes in the content of the IC isoform pool.
PMCID: PMC109265  PMID: 9774695
11.  The N-Terminal Cleavage of Chondromodulin-I in Growth-Plate Cartilage at the Hypertrophic and Calcified Zones during Bone Development 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e94239.
Chondromodulin-I (ChM-I) is a 20–25 kDa anti-angiogenic glycoprotein in cartilage matrix. In the present study, we identified a novel 14-kDa species of ChM-I by immunoblotting, and purified it by immunoprecipitation with a newly raised monoclonal antibody against ChM-I. The N-terminal amino acid sequencing indicated that it was an N-terminal truncated form of ChM-I generated by the proteolytic cleavage at Asp37-Asp38. This 14-kDa ChM-I was shown by the modified Boyden chamber assay to have very little inhibitory activity on the VEGF-A-induced migration of vascular endothelial cells in contrast to the intact 20–25 kDa form of ChM-I (ID50 = 8 nM). Immunohistochemistry suggested that 20–25 kDa ChM-I was exclusively localized in the avascular zones, i.e. the resting, proliferating, and prehypertrophic zones, of the cartilaginous molds of developing long bone, whereas the 14-kDa form of ChM-I was found in hypertrophic and calcified zones. Immunoblotting demonstrated that mature growth-plate chondrocytes isolated from rat costal cartilage actively secrete ChM-I almost exclusively as the intact 20–25 kDa form into the medium in primary culture. Taken together, our results suggest that intact 20–25 kDa ChM-I is stored as a component of extracellular matrix in the avascular cartilage zones, but it is inactivated by a single N-terminal proteolytic cleavage in the hypertrophic zone of growth-plate cartilage.
PMCID: PMC3977995  PMID: 24710035
12.  Abnormal Chondrocyte Apoptosis in the Cartilage Growth Plate is Influenced by Genetic Background and Deletion of CHOP in a Targeted Mouse Model of Pseudoachondroplasia 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e85145.
Pseudoachondroplasia (PSACH) is an autosomal dominant skeletal dysplasia caused by mutations in cartilage oligomeric matrix protein (COMP) and characterised by short limbed dwarfism and early onset osteoarthritis. Mouse models of PSACH show variable retention of mutant COMP in the ER of chondrocytes, however, in each case a different stress pathway is activated and the underlying disease mechanisms remain largely unknown. T585M COMP mutant mice are a model of moderate PSACH and demonstrate a mild ER stress response. Although mutant COMP is not retained in significant quantities within the ER of chondrocytes, both BiP and the pro-apoptotic ER stress-related transcription factor CHOP are mildly elevated, whilst bcl-2 levels are decreased, resulting in increased and spatially dysregulated chondrocyte apoptosis. To determine whether the abnormal chondrocyte apoptosis observed in the growth plate of mutant mice is CHOP-mediated, we bred T585M COMP mutant mice with CHOP-null mice to homozygosity, and analysed the resulting phenotype. Although abnormal apoptosis was alleviated in the resting zone following CHOP deletion, the mutant growth plates were generally more disorganised. Furthermore, the bone lengths of COMP mutant CHOP null mice were significantly shorter at 9 weeks of age when compared to the COMP mutant mice, including a significant difference in the skull length. Overall, these data demonstrate that CHOP-mediated apoptosis is an early event in the pathobiology of PSACH and suggest that the lack of CHOP, in conjunction with a COMP mutation, may lead to aggravation of the skeletal phenotype via a potentially synergistic effect on endochondral ossification.
PMCID: PMC3928032  PMID: 24558358
13.  The PPARγ Locus Makes Long-Range Chromatin Interactions with Selected Tissue-Specific Gene Loci during Adipocyte Differentiation in a Protein Kinase A Dependent Manner 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e86140.
Differentiation signaling results in reprogramming of cellular gene expression that leads to morphological changes and functional specialization of a precursor cell. This global change in gene expression involves temporal regulation of differentiation-specific genes that are located throughout the genome, raising the idea that genome structure may also be re-organized during cell differentiation to facilitate regulated gene expression. Using in vitro adipocyte differentiation as a model, we explored whether gene organization within the nucleus is altered upon exposure of precursor cells to signaling molecules that induce adipogenesis. The peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ) nuclear hormone receptor is a master determinant of adipogenesis and is required for adipose differentiation. We utilized the chromosome conformation capture (3C) assay to determine whether the position of the PPARγ locus relative to other adipogenic genes is changed during differentiation. We report that the PPARγ2 promoter is transiently positioned in proximity to the promoters of genes encoding adipokines and lipid droplet associated proteins at 6 hours post-differentiation, a time that precedes expression of any of these genes. In contrast, the PPARγ2 promoter was not in proximity to the EF1α promoter, which drives expression of a constitutively active, housekeeping gene that encodes a translation elongation factor, nor was the PPARγ2 promoter in proximity to the promoter driving the expression of the C/EBPα regulatory protein. The formation of the long-range, intergenic interactions involving the PPARγ2 promoter required the regulatory factor C/EBPβ, elevated cyclic AMP (cAMP) levels, and protein kinase A (PKA) signaling. We conclude that genome organization is dynamically remodeled in response to adipogenic signaling, and we speculate that these transient inter-genic interactions may be formed for the purposes of selecting some of the transcriptionally silent tissue-specific loci for subsequent transcriptional activation.
PMCID: PMC3896465  PMID: 24465921
14.  Runx1 Is Critical for PTH-induced Onset of Mesenchymal Progenitor Cell Chondrogenic Differentiation 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e74255.
Parathyroid hormone (PTH) plays a critical role in the regulation of chondrogenesis. In this study, we have found for the first time that Runt-related transcription factor 1 (Runx1) contributes to PTH-induced chondrogenesis. Upon PTH treatment, limb bud mesenchymal progenitor cells in micromass culture showed an enhanced chondrogenesis, which was associated with a significant increase of chondrogenic marker gene expression, such as type II collagen and type X collagen. Runx1 was also exclusively expressed in cells treated with PTH at the onset stage of chondrogenesis. Knockdown of Runx1 completely blunted PTH-mediated chondrogenesis. Furthermore, PTH induced Runx1 expression and chondrogenesis were markedly reduced by inhibition of protein kinase A (PKA) signaling. Taken together, our present study indicates that chondrogenesis induced by PTH in mesenchymal progenitor cells is mediated by Runx1, which involves the activation of PKA. These data provide a novel insight into understanding the molecular mechanisms behind PTH-enhanced cartilage regeneration.
PMCID: PMC3776859  PMID: 24058535
15.  Dynamics of Response to Asynapsis and Meiotic Silencing in Spermatocytes from Robertsonian Translocation Carriers 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e75970.
Failure of homologous synapsis during meiotic prophase triggers transcriptional repression. Asynapsis of the X and Y chromosomes and their consequent silencing is essential for spermatogenesis. However, asynapsis of portions of autosomes in heterozygous translocation carriers may be detrimental for meiotic progression. In fact, a wide range of phenotypic outcomes from meiotic arrest to normal spermatogenesis have been described and the causes of such a variation remain elusive. To better understand the consequences of asynapsis in male carriers of Robertsonian translocations, we focused on the dynamics of recruitment of markers of asynapsis and meiotic silencing at unsynapsed autosomal trivalents in the spermatocytes of Robertsonian translocation carrier mice. Here we report that the enrichment of breast cancer 1 (BRCA1) and histone γH2AX at unsynapsed trivalents declines during the pachytene stage of meiosis and differs from that observed in the sex body. Furthermore, histone variant H3.3S31, which associates with the sex chromosomes in metaphase I/anaphase I spermatocytes, localizes to autosomes in 12% and 31% of nuclei from carriers of one and three translocations, respectively. These data suggest that the proportion of spermatocytes with markers of meiotic silencing of unsynapsed chromatin (MSUC) at trivalents depends on both, the stage of meiosis and the number of translocations. This may explain some of the variability in phenotypic outcomes associated with Robertsonian translocations. In addition our data suggest that the dynamics of response to asynapsis in Robertsonian translocations differs from the response to sex chromosomal asynapsis in the male germ line.
PMCID: PMC3774740  PMID: 24066189
16.  Optimized Position Weight Matrices in Prediction of Novel Putative Binding Sites for Transcription Factors in the Drosophila melanogaster Genome 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e68712.
Position weight matrices (PWMs) have become a tool of choice for the identification of transcription factor binding sites in DNA sequences. DNA-binding proteins often show degeneracy in their binding requirement and thus the overall binding specificity of many proteins is unknown and remains an active area of research. Although existing PWMs are more reliable predictors than consensus string matching, they generally result in a high number of false positive hits. Our previous study introduced a promising approach to PWM refinement in which known motifs are used to computationally mine putative binding sites directly from aligned promoter regions using composition of similar sites. In the present study, we extended this technique originally tested on single examples of transcription factors (TFs) and showed its capability to optimize PWM performance to predict new binding sites in the fruit fly genome. We propose refined PWMs in mono- and dinucleotide versions similarly computed for a large variety of transcription factors of Drosophila melanogaster. Along with the addition of many auxiliary sites the optimization includes variation of the PWM motif length, the binding sites location on the promoters and the PWM score threshold. To assess the predictive performance of the refined PWMs we compared them to conventional TRANSFAC and JASPAR sources. The results have been verified using performed tests and literature review. Overall, the refined PWMs containing putative sites derived from real promoter content processed using optimized parameters had better general accuracy than conventional PWMs.
PMCID: PMC3735551  PMID: 23936309
17.  Biochemical and Functional Analysis of Drosophila-Sciara Chimeric Sex-Lethal Proteins 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e65171.
The Drosophila SXL protein controls sex determination and dosage compensation. It is a sex-specific factor controlling splicing of its own Sxl pre-mRNA (auto-regulation), tra pre-mRNA (sex determination) and msl-2 pre-mRNA plus translation of msl-2 mRNA (dosage compensation). Outside the drosophilids, the same SXL protein has been found in both sexes so that, in the non-drosophilids, SXL does not appear to play the key discriminating role in sex determination and dosage compensation that it plays in Drosophila. Comparison of SXL proteins revealed that its spatial organisation is conserved, with the RNA-binding domains being highly conserved, whereas the N- and C-terminal domains showing significant variation. This manuscript focuses on the evolution of the SXL protein itself and not on regulation of its expression.
Drosophila-Sciara chimeric SXL proteins were produced. Sciara SXL represents the non-sex-specific function of ancient SXL in the non-drosophilids from which presumably Drosophila SXL evolved. Two questions were addressed. Did the Drosophila SXL protein have affected their functions when their N- and C-terminal domains were replaced by the corresponding ones of Sciara? Did the Sciara SXL protein acquire Drosophila sex-specific functions when the Drosophila N- and C-terminal domains replaced those of Sciara? The chimeric SXL proteins were analysed in vitro to study their binding affinity and cooperative properties, and in vivo to analyse their effect on sex determination and dosage compensation by producing Drosophila flies that were transgenic for the chimeric SXL proteins.
The sex-specific properties of extant Drosophila SXL protein depend on its global structure rather than on a specific domain. This implies that the modifications, mainly in the N- and C-terminal domains, that occurred in the SXL protein during its evolution within the drosophilid lineage represent co-evolutionary changes that determine the appropriate folding of SXL to carry out its sex-specific functions.
PMCID: PMC3677924  PMID: 23762307
18.  Downregulation of Carbonic Anhydrase IX Promotes Col10a1 Expression in Chondrocytes 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e56984.
Carbonic anhydrase (CA) IX is a transmembrane isozyme of CAs that catalyzes reversible hydration of CO2. While it is known that CA IX is distributed in human embryonic chondrocytes, its role in chondrocyte differentiation has not been reported. In the present study, we found that Car9 mRNA and CA IX were expressed in proliferating but not hypertrophic chondrocytes. Next, we examined the role of CA IX in the expression of marker genes of chondrocyte differentiation in vitro. Introduction of Car9 siRNA to mouse primary chondrocytes obtained from costal cartilage induced the mRNA expressions of Col10a1, the gene for type X collagen α-1 chain, and Epas1, the gene for hypoxia-responsible factor-2α (HIF-2α), both of which are known to be characteristically expressed in hypertrophic chondrocytes. On the other hand, forced expression of CA IX had no effect of the proliferation of chondrocytes or the transcription of Col10a1 and Epas1, while the transcription of Col2a1 and Acan were up-regulated. Although HIF-2α has been reported to be a potent activator of Col10a1 transcription, Epas1 siRNA did not suppress Car9 siRNA-induced increment in Col10a1 expression, indicating that down-regulation of CA IX induces the expression of Col10a1 in chondrocytes in a HIF-2α-independent manner. On the other hand, cellular cAMP content was lowered by Car9 siRNA. Furthermore, the expression of Col10a1 mRNA after Car9 silencing was augmented by an inhibitor of protein kinase A, and suppressed by an inhibitor for phosphodiesterase as well as a brominated analog of cAMP. While these results suggest a possible involvement of cAMP-dependent pathway, at least in part, in induction of Col10a1 expression by down-regulation of Car9, more detailed study is required to clarify the role of CA IX in regulation of Col10a1 expression in chondrocytes.
PMCID: PMC3575511  PMID: 23441228
19.  Role of Histone Deacetylases in Gene Regulation at Nuclear Lamina 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e49692.
Theoretical models suggest that gene silencing at the nuclear periphery may involve “closing” of chromatin by transcriptional repressors, such as histone deacetylases (HDACs). Here we provide experimental evidence confirming these predictions. Histone acetylation, chromatin compactness, and gene repression in lamina-interacting multigenic chromatin domains were analyzed in Drosophila S2 cells in which B-type lamin, diverse HDACs, and lamina-associated proteins were downregulated by dsRNA. Lamin depletion resulted in decreased compactness of the repressed multigenic domain associated with its detachment from the lamina and enhanced histone acetylation. Our data reveal the major role for HDAC1 in mediating deacetylation, chromatin compaction, and gene silencing in the multigenic domain, and an auxiliary role for HDAC3 that is required for retention of the domain at the lamina. These findings demonstrate the manifold and central involvement of class I HDACs in regulation of lamina-associated genes, illuminating a mechanism by which these enzymes can orchestrate normal and pathological development.
PMCID: PMC3511463  PMID: 23226217
20.  Functional Feeds Reduce Heart Inflammation and Pathology in Atlantic Salmon (Salmo salar L.) following Experimental Challenge with Atlantic Salmon Reovirus (ASRV) 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e40266.
Heart and Skeletal Muscle Inflammation (HSMI), recently associated with a novel Atlantic salmon reovirus (ASRV), is currently one of the most prevalent inflammatory diseases in commercial Atlantic salmon farms in Norway. Mortality varies from low to 20%, but morbidity can be very high, reducing growth performance and causing considerable financial impact. Clinical symptoms, including myocarditis, myocardial and red skeletal muscle necrosis, correlate with the intensity of the inflammatory response. In the present study, the effects of two functional feeds (FF1 and FF2) were compared to a standard commercial reference feed (ST) in Atlantic salmon subjected to an ASRV challenge. The functional feeds had reduced levels of total lipid and digestible energy, and different levels and proportions of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFA). The objective was to determine whether these feeds could provide effective protection by decreasing the inflammatory response associated with HSMI. Histopathology, viral load, fatty acid composition and gene expression of heart tissue were assessed over a period of 16 weeks post-infection with ASRV. The viral load and histopathology scores in heart tissue in response to ASRV infection were reduced in fish fed both functional feeds, with FF1 showing the greatest effect. Microarray hierarchical cluster analysis showed that the functional feeds greatly affected expression of inflammation/immune related genes over the course of the ASRV infection. Viral load correlated with up-regulation of pro-inflammatory genes at the early-mid stages of infection in fish fed the ST diet. Expression of inflammatory genes 16-weeks after ASRV challenge reflected the difference in efficacy between the functional feeds, with fish fed FF1 showing lower expression. Thus, severity of the lesions in heart tissue correlated with the intensity of the innate immune response and was associated with tissue fatty acid compositions. The present study demonstrated that dietary modulation through clinical nutrition had major influences on the development and severity of the response to ASRV infection in salmon. Thus, HSMI was reduced in fish fed the functional feeds, particularly FF1. The modulation of gene expression between fish fed the different feeds provided further insight into the molecular mechanisms and progression of the inflammatory and immune responses to ASRV infection in salmon.
PMCID: PMC3511526  PMID: 23226193
21.  BmTGIF, a Bombyx mori Homolog of Drosophila DmTGIF, Regulates Progression of Spermatogenesis 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e47861.
TG-interacting factor (TGIF) in Drosophila consists of two tandemly-repeated genes, achintya (Dmachi) and vismay (Dmvis), which act as transcriptional activators in Drosophila spermatogenesis. In contrast, TGIF in humans is a transcriptional repressor that binds directly to DNA or interacts with corepressors to repress the transcription of target genes. In this study, we investigated the characteristics and functions of BmTGIF, a Bombyx mori homolog of DmTGIF. Like DmTGIF, BmTGIF is predominantly expressed in the testes and ovaries. Four alternatively spliced isoforms could be isolated from testes, and two isoforms from ovaries. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction indicated BmTGIF was abundantly expressed in the testis of 3rd instar larvae, when the testis is almost full of primary spermatocytes. The results of luciferase assays indicated that BmTGIF contains two adjacent acidic domains that activate the transcription of reporter genes. Immunofluorescence assay in BmN cells showed that the BmTGIF protein was located mainly in the nucleus, and paraffin sections of testis showed BmTGIF was grossly expressed in primary spermatocytes and mature sperms. Consistent with the role of DmVis in Drosophila development, BmTGIF significantly affected spermatid differentiation, as indicated by hematoxylin-eosin staining of paraffin sections of testis from BmTGIF-small interfering RNA (siRNA)-injected male silkworms. Co-immunoprecipitation experiments suggested that BmTGIF interacted with BmAly, and that they may recruit other factors to form a complex to regulate the genes required for meiotic divisions and spermatid differentiation. The results of this analysis of BmTGIF will improve our understanding of the mechanism of spermatid differentiation in B. mori, with potential applications for pest control.
PMCID: PMC3494694  PMID: 23152760
22.  Fetal Mesenchymal Stromal Cells Differentiating towards Chondrocytes Acquire a Gene Expression Profile Resembling Human Growth Plate Cartilage 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e44561.
We used human fetal bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stromal cells (hfMSCs) differentiating towards chondrocytes as an alternative model for the human growth plate (GP). Our aims were to study gene expression patterns associated with chondrogenic differentiation to assess whether chondrocytes derived from hfMSCs are a suitable model for studying the development and maturation of the GP. hfMSCs efficiently formed hyaline cartilage in a pellet culture in the presence of TGFβ3 and BMP6. Microarray and principal component analysis were applied to study gene expression profiles during chondrogenic differentiation. A set of 232 genes was found to correlate with in vitro cartilage formation. Several identified genes are known to be involved in cartilage formation and validate the robustness of the differentiating hfMSC model. KEGG pathway analysis using the 232 genes revealed 9 significant signaling pathways correlated with cartilage formation. To determine the progression of growth plate cartilage formation, we compared the gene expression profile of differentiating hfMSCs with previously established expression profiles of epiphyseal GP cartilage. As differentiation towards chondrocytes proceeds, hfMSCs gradually obtain a gene expression profile resembling epiphyseal GP cartilage. We visualized the differences in gene expression profiles as protein interaction clusters and identified many protein clusters that are activated during the early chondrogenic differentiation of hfMSCs showing the potential of this system to study GP development.
PMCID: PMC3489884  PMID: 23144774
23.  Analysis of Intron Sequence Features Associated with Transcriptional Regulation in Human Genes 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(10):e46784.
Although some preliminary work has revealed the potential transcriptional regulatory function of the introns in eukaryotes, additional evidences are needed to support this conjecture. In this study, we perform systemic analyses of the sequence characteristics of human introns. The results show that the first introns are generally longer and C, G and their dinucleotide compositions are over-represented relative to other introns, which are consistent with the previous findings. In addition, some new phenomena concerned with transcriptional regulation are found: i) the first introns are enriched in CpG islands; and ii) the percentages of the first introns containing TATA, CAAT and GC boxes are relatively higher than other position introns. The similar features of introns are observed in tissue-specific genes. The results further support that the first introns of human genes are likely to be involved in transcriptional regulation, and give an insight into the transcriptional regulatory regions of genes.
PMCID: PMC3474797  PMID: 23082130
24.  Modeling and Experimental Methods to Probe the Link between Global Transcription and Spatial Organization of Chromosomes 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(10):e46628.
Genomes are spatially assembled into chromosome territories (CT) within the nucleus of living cells. Recent evidences have suggested associations between three-dimensional organization of CTs and the active gene clusters within neighboring CTs. These gene clusters are part of signaling networks sharing similar transcription factor or other downstream transcription machineries. Hence, presence of such gene clusters of active signaling networks in a cell type may regulate the spatial organization of chromosomes in the nucleus. However, given the probabilistic nature of chromosome positions and complex transcription factor networks (TFNs), quantitative methods to establish their correlation is lacking. In this paper, we use chromosome positions and gene expression profiles in interphase fibroblasts and describe methods to capture the correspondence between their spatial position and expression. In addition, numerical simulations designed to incorporate the interacting TFNs, reveal that the chromosome positions are also optimized for the activity of these networks. These methods were validated for specific chromosome pairs mapped in two distinct transcriptional states of T-Cells (naïve and activated). Taken together, our methods highlight the functional coupling between topology of chromosomes and their respective gene expression patterns.
PMCID: PMC3462193  PMID: 23049710
25.  Gender Differences in Transcriptional Signature of Developing Rat Testes and Ovaries following Embryonic Exposure to 2,3,7,8-TCDD 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(7):e40306.
Dioxins are persistent organic pollutants interfering with endocrine systems and causing reproductive and developmental disorders. The objective of our project was to determine the impact of an in utero exposure to 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) on reproductive function of male and female offspring in the rat with a special emphasis on the immature period. We used a low dose of TCDD (unique exposure by oral gavage of 200 ng/kg at 15.5 days of gestation) in order to mirror a response to an environmental dose of TCDD not altering fertility of the progeny. We choose a global gene expression approach using Affymetrix microarray analysis, and testes of 5 days and ovaries of 14 days of age. Less than 1% of the expressed genes in gonads were altered following embryonic TCDD exposure; specifically, 113 genes in ovaries and 56 in testes with 7 genes common to both sex gonads. It included the repressor of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (Ahrr), the chemokines Ccl5 and Cxcl4 previously shown to be regulated by dioxin in testis, Pgds2/Hpgds and 3 others uncharacterized. To validate and extend the microarray data we realized real-time PCR on gonads at various developmental periods of interest (from 3 to 25 days for ovaries, from 5 to the adult age for testes). Overall, our results evidenced that both sex gonads responded differently to TCDD exposure. For example, we observed induction of the canonic battery of TCDD-induced genes coding enzymes of the detoxifying machinery in ovaries aged of 3–14 days of age (except Cyp1a1 induced at 3–10 days) but not in testes of 5 days (except Ahrr). We also illustrated that inflammatory pathway is one pathway activated by TCDD in gonads. Finally, we identified several new genes targeted by TCDD including Fgf13 in testis and one gene, Ptgds2/Hpgds regulated in the two sex gonads.
PMCID: PMC3392256  PMID: 22808131

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