Myotonic dystrophy (DM1) is a highly variable, multi-system disorder resulting from the expansion of an untranslated CTG tract in DMPK. In DM1 expanded CUG repeat RNAs form hairpin secondary structures that bind and aberrantly sequester the RNA splice regulator, MBNL1. RNA splice defects resulting as a consequence of MBNL1 depletion have been shown to play a key role in the development of DM1 pathology. In patient populations, both the number and severity of DM1 symptoms increase broadly as a function of CTG tract length. However significant variability in the DM1 phenotype is observed in patients encoding similar CTG repeat numbers. Here we demonstrate that a gradual decrease in MBNL1 levels results both in the expansion of the repertoire of splice defects and an increase in the severity of the splice alterations. Thus, MBNL1 loss does not have an all or none outcome but rather shows a graded effect on the number and severity of the ensuing splice defects. Our results suggest that once a critical threshold is reached, relatively small dose variations of free MBNL1 levels, which may reflect modest changes in the size of the CUG tract or the extent of hairpin secondary structure formation, can significantly alter the number and severity of splice abnormalities and thus contribute to the phenotype variability observed in DM1 patients.
The TP53 Arg72Pro polymorphism encodes two p53 variants with different biochemical properties. Here we investigated the impact of this polymorphism on the expression of key p53 target genes in a panel of human breast carcinomas, breast cancer risk, and age at onset.
The Arg72Pro polymorphism was genotyped in 270 breast cancer patients and 221 control subjects. In addition, the Arg72Pro genotype of 116 breast tumors was determined, and correlated with intratumoral mRNA expression of TP53 and its key target genes MDM2, p21, BAX, and PERP, as quantified by qRT-PCR. We found a significantly increased breast cancer risk associated with the Pro-allele (per-allele odds ratio, 1.46; 95% confidence interval, 1.08–1.99), and a significantly later mean age at breast cancer onset for Pro/Pro patients (63.2±18 years) compared to Arg/Arg patients (58.2±15 years). The frequency of somatic TP53 inactivation was 25.4% in Arg/Arg, 20.9% in Arg/Pro, and 16.7% in Pro/Pro patients, which may reflect a higher selective pressure to mutate the Arg-allele. The median mRNA levels of p21 and BAX in the tumors of Pro-allele carriers were significantly reduced to 55.7% and 76.9% compared to Arg/Arg patients, whereas p53, MDM2 and PERP expression were hardly altered.
The p5372Arg variant appears to be a more potent in vivo transcription factor and tumor suppressor in human breast cancer than the p5372Pro variant. The Arg72Pro genotype has no significant effects in patients with TP53 mutated tumors, in which p53 is non-functional.
Congenital reduction in nephron number (renal hypoplasia) is a predisposing factor for chronic kidney disease and hypertension. Despite identification of specific genes and pathways in nephrogenesis, determinants of final nephron endowment are poorly understood. Here, we report that mice with germ-line p53 deletion (p53−/−) manifest renal hypoplasia; the phenotype can be recapitulated by conditional deletion of p53 from renal progenitors in the cap mesenchyme (CMp53−/−). Mice or humans with germ-line heterozygous mutations in Pax2 exhibit renal hypoplasia. Since both transcription factors are developmentally expressed in the metanephros, we tested the hypothesis that p53 and Pax2 cooperate in nephrogenesis. In this study, we provide evidence for the presence of genetic epistasis between p53 and Pax2: a) p53−/− and CMp53−/−embryos express lower Pax2 mRNA and protein in nephron progenitors than their wild-type littermates; b) ChIP-Seq identified peaks of p53 occupancy in chromatin regions of the Pax2 promoter and gene in embryonic kidneys; c) p53 binding to Pax2 gene is significantly more enriched in Pax2 -expressing than non-expressing metanephric mesenchyme cells; d) in transient transfection assays, Pax2 promoter activity is stimulated by wild-type p53 and inhibited by a dominant negative mutant p53; e) p53 knockdown in cultured metanephric mesenchyme cells down-regulates endogenous Pax2 expression; f) reduction of p53 gene dosage worsens the renal hypoplasia in Pax2+/− mice. Bioinformatics identified a set of developmental renal genes likely to be co-regulated by p53 and Pax2. We propose that the cross-talk between p53 and Pax2 provides a transcriptional platform that promotes nephrogenesis, thus contributing to nephron endowment.
Acute myeloid leukemia patients with normal cytogenetics (CN-AML) account for almost half of AML cases. We aimed to study the frequency and relationship of a wide range of genes previously reported as mutated in AML (ASXL1, NPM1, FLT3, TET2, IDH1/2, RUNX1, DNMT3A, NRAS, JAK2, WT1, CBL, SF3B1, TP53, KRAS and MPL) in a series of 84 CN-AML cases. The most frequently mutated genes in primary cases were NPM1 (60.8%) and FLT3 (50.0%), and in secondary cases ASXL1 (48.5%) and TET2 (30.3%). We showed that 85% of CN-AML patients have mutations in at least one of ASXL1, NPM1, FLT3, TET2, IDH1/2 and/or RUNX1. Serial samples from 19 MDS/CMML cases that progressed to AML were analyzed for ASXL1/TET2/IDH1/2 mutations; seventeen cases presented mutations of at least one of these genes. However, there was no consistent pattern in mutation acquisition during disease progression. This report concerns the analysis of the largest number of gene mutations in CN-AML studied to date, and provides insight into the mutational profile of CN-AML.
Myotonic dystrophy (DM) is the most common adult-onset muscular dystrophy with an estimated prevalence of 1/8000. There are two genetically distinct types, DM1 and DM2. DM2 is generally milder with more phenotypic variability than the classic DM1. Our previous data on co-segregation of heterozygous recessive CLCN1 mutations in DM2 patients indicated a higher than expected DM2 prevalence. The aim of this study was to determine the DM2 and DM1 frequency in the general population, and to explore whether the DM2 mutation functions as a modifier in other neuromuscular diseases (NMD) to account for unexplained phenotypic variability. We genotyped 5535 Finnish individuals: 4532 normal blood donors, 606 patients with various non-myotonic NMD, 221 tibial muscular dystrophy patients and their 176 healthy relatives for the DM2 and DM1 mutations. We also genotyped an Italian idiopathic non-myotonic proximal myopathy cohort (n=93) for the DM2 mutation. In 5496 samples analyzed for DM2, we found three DM2 mutations and two premutations. In 5511 samples analyzed for DM1, we found two DM1 mutations and two premutations. In the Italian cohort, we identified one patient with a DM2 mutation. We conclude that the DM2 mutation frequency is significantly higher in the general population (1/1830; P-value=0.0326) than previously estimated. The identification of DM2 mutations in NMD patients with clinical phenotypes not previously associated with DM2 is of particular interest and is in accord with the high overall prevalence. On the basis of our results, DM2 appears more frequent than DM1, with most DM2 patients currently undiagnosed with symptoms frequently occurring in the elderly population.
myotonic dystrophy; mutation frequency; prevalence; population
The transcription factor TCF21 is involved in mesenchymal-to-epithelial differentiation and was shown to be aberrantly hypermethylated in lung and head and neck cancers. Because of its reported high frequency of hypermethylation in lung cancer, we sought to characterize the stages and types of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) that are hypermethylated and to define the frequency of hypermethylation and associated “second hits”.
We determined TCF21 promoter hypermethylation in 105 NSCLC including various stages and histologies in smokers and nonsmokers. Additionally, we examined TCF21 loss-of-heterozygosity and mutational status. We also assayed 22 cancer cell lines from varied tissue origins. We validated and expanded our NSCLC results by examining TCF21 immunohistochemical expression on a tissue microarray containing 300 NSCLC cases.
Overall, 81% of NSCLC samples showed TCF21 promoter hypermethylation and 84% showed decreased TCF21 protein expression. Multivariate analysis showed that TCF21 expression, although below normal in both histologies, was lower in adenocarcinoma than squamous cell carcinoma, and was not independently correlated with gender, smoking and EGFR mutation status, or clinical outcome. Cell lines from other cancer types also showed frequent TCF21 promoter hypermethylation.
Hypermethylation and decreased expression of TCF21 were tumor-specific and very frequent in all NSCLC, even early-stage disease, thus making TCF21 a potential candidate methylation biomarker for early-stage NSCLC screening. TCF21 hypermethylation in a variety of tumor cell lines suggests it may also be a valuable methylation biomarker in other tumor types.
TCF21; methylation; biomarker; lung cancer; screening
Polyphenols are the most abundant antioxidants in the human diet and are widespread constituents of fruits and beverages, such as tea, coffee or wine. Epidemiological, clinical and animal studies support a role of polyphenols in the prevention of various diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, cancers or neurodegenerative diseases. Recent findings suggest that polyphenols could interact with cellular signaling cascades regulating the activity of transcription factors and consequently affecting the expression of genes. However, the impact of polyphenol on the expression of microRNA, small non-coding RNAs, has not yet been studied. The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of dietary supplementation with polyphenols at nutritional doses on miRNA expression in the livers of apolipoprotein E-deficient mice (apoE−/−) jointly with mRNA expression profiling.
Using microarrays, we measured the global miRNA expression in the livers of wild-type (C57B6/J) mice or apoE−/− mice fed diets supplemented with one of nine different polyphenols or a control diet. This analysis revealed that knock-out of the apoE gene induced significant modulation in the expression of miRNA. Moreover, changes in miRNA expression were observed after polyphenol supplementation, and five miRNAs (mmu-miR-291b-5p, mmu-miR-296-5p, mmu-miR-30c-1*, mmu-miR-467b* and mmu-miR-374*) were identified as being commonly modulated by these polyphenols. We also observed that these polyphenols counteracted the modulation of miRNA expression induced by apoE mutation. Pathway analyses on these five miRNA-target genes revealed common pathways, some of which were also identified from a pathway analysis on mRNA profiles.
This in vivo study demonstrated for the first time that polyphenols at nutritional doses modulate the expression of miRNA in the liver. Even if structurally different, all polyphenols induced a similar miRNA expression profile. Common pathways were identified from both miRNA-target and mRNA analysis, revealing cellular functions that could be regulated by polyphenols at both the miRNA and mRNA level.
Eleven samples of DNA from choriocarcinomas were studied by high resolution CGH-array 244 K. They were studied after histopathological confirmation of the diagnosis, of the androgenic etiology and after a microsatellite marker analysis confirming the absence of contamination of tumor DNA from maternal DNA. Three cell lines, BeWo, JAR, JEG were also studied by this high resolution pangenomic technique. According to aCGH analysis, the de novo choriocarcinomas exhibited simple chromosomal rearrangements or normal profiles. The cell lines showed various and complex chromosomal aberrations. 23 Minimal Critical Regions were defined that allowed us to list the genes that were potentially implicated. Among them, unusually high numbers of microRNA clusters and imprinted genes were observed.
Genome wide association studies (GWAS) and their replications that have associated DNA variants with myocardial infarction (MI) and/or coronary artery disease (CAD) are predominantly based on populations of European or Eastern Asian descent. Replication of the most significantly associated polymorphisms in multiple populations with distinctive genetic backgrounds and lifestyles is crucial to the understanding of the pathophysiology of a multifactorial disease like CAD. We have used our Lebanese cohort to perform a replication study of nine previously identified CAD/MI susceptibility loci (LTA, CDKN2A-CDKN2B, CELSR2-PSRC1-SORT1, CXCL12, MTHFD1L, WDR12, PCSK9, SH2B3, and SLC22A3), and 88 genes in related phenotypes. The study was conducted on 2,002 patients with detailed demographic, clinical characteristics, and cardiac catheterization results. One marker, rs6922269, in MTHFD1L was significantly protective against MI (OR = 0.68, p = 0.0035), while the variant rs4977574 in CDKN2A-CDKN2B was significantly associated with MI (OR = 1.33, p = 0.0086). Associations were detected after adjustment for family history of CAD, gender, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, diabetes, and smoking. The parallel study of 88 previously published genes in related phenotypes encompassed 20,225 markers, three quarters of which with imputed genotypes The study was based on our genome-wide genotype data set, with imputation across the whole genome to HapMap II release 22 using HapMap CEU population as a reference. Analysis was conducted on both the genotyped and imputed variants in the 88 regions covering selected genes. This approach replicated HNRNPA3P1-CXCL12 association with CAD and identified new significant associations of CDKAL1, ST6GAL1, and PTPRD with CAD. Our study provides evidence for the importance of the multifactorial aspect of CAD/MI and describes genes predisposing to their etiology.
Epigenetic regulation of tumor suppressor genes (TSGs) has been shown to play a central role in melanomagenesis. By integrating gene expression and methylation array analysis we identified novel candidate genes frequently methylated in melanoma. We validated the methylation status of the most promising genes using highly sensitive Sequenom Epityper assays in a large panel of melanoma cell lines and resected melanomas, and compared the findings with those from cultured melanocytes. We found transcript levels of UCHL1, COL1A2, THBS1 and TNFRSF10D were inversely correlated with promoter methylation. For THBS1 and UCHL1 the effect of this methylation on expression was confirmed at the protein level. Identification of these candidate TSGs and future research designed to understand how their silencing is related to melanoma development will increase our understanding of the etiology of this cancer and may provide tools for its early diagnosis.
Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is a heritable disorder that can increase the risk of premature coronary heart disease. Studies suggest there are substantial genetic heterogeneities for different populations. Here we tried to identify novel susceptibility loci for FH in a Chinese pedigree.
We performed a SNP-based genome-wide linkage scan with the Chinese FH pedigree. Two suggestive linkage loci not previously reported were identified on chromosomes 3q25.1-26.1 (NPL = 9.01, nominal P<0.00001, and simulated occurrence per genome scan = 1.08) and 21q22.3 (NPL = 8.95, nominal P<0.00001, and simulated occurrence per genome scan = 1.26). In the interaction analysis with a trimmed version of the pedigree, we obtained a significantly increased joint LOD score (2.70) compared with that obtained when assuming the two loci uncorrelated, suggesting that more than one locus was involved in this pedigree. Exon screening of two candidate genes ABCG1 and LSS from one of the suggestive region 21q22 didn't report any causative mutations.
These results confirm complex etiologies and suggest new genetic casual factors for the FH disorder. Further study of the two candidate regions is advocated.
Whole genome amplification can faithfully amplify genomic DNA (gDNA) with minimal bias and substantial genome coverage. Whole genome amplified DNA (wgaDNA) has been tested to be workable for high-throughput genotyping arrays. However, issues about whether wgaDNA would decrease genotyping performance at increasing multiplexing levels and whether the storage period of wgaDNA would reduce genotyping performance have not been examined. Using the Sequenom MassARRAY iPLEX Gold assays, we investigated 174 single nucleotide polymorphisms for 3 groups of matched samples: group 1 of 20 gDNA samples, group 2 of 20 freshly prepared wgaDNA samples, and group 3 of 20 stored wgaDNA samples that had been kept frozen at −70°C for 18 months. MassARRAY is a medium-throughput genotyping platform with reaction chemistry different from those of high-throughput genotyping arrays. The results showed that genotyping performance (efficiency and accuracy) of freshly prepared wgaDNA was similar to that of gDNA at various multiplexing levels (17-plex, 21-plex, 28-plex and 36-plex) of the MassARRAY assays. However, compared with gDNA or freshly prepared wgaDNA, stored wgaDNA was found to give diminished genotyping performance (efficiency and accuracy) due to potentially inferior quality. Consequently, no matter whether gDNA or wgaDNA was used, better genotyping efficiency would tend to have better genotyping accuracy.
Familial aggregation of ischemic stroke derives from shared genetic and environmental factors. We present a meta-analysis of genome-wide association scans (GWAS) from 3 cohorts to identify the contribution of common variants to ischemic stroke risk.
This study involved 1464 ischemic stroke cases and 1932 controls. Cases were genotyped using the Illumina 610 or 660 genotyping arrays; controls, with Illumina HumanHap 550Kv1 or 550Kv3 genotyping arrays. Imputation was performed with the 1000 Genomes European ancestry haplotypes (August 2010 release) as a reference. A total of 5,156,597 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were incorporated into the fixed effects meta-analysis. All SNPs associated with ischemic stroke (P<1×10−5) were incorporated into a multivariate risk profile model.
No SNP reached genome-wide significance for ischemic stroke (P<5×10−8). Secondary analysis identified a significant cumulative effect for age at onset of stroke (first versus fifth quintile of cumulative profiles based on SNPs associated with late onset, ß = 14.77 [10.85,18.68], P = 5.5×10−12), as well as a strong effect showing increased risk across samples with a high propensity for stroke among samples with enriched counts of suggestive risk alleles (P<5×10−6). Risk profile scores based only on genomic information offered little incremental prediction.
There is little evidence of a common genetic variant contributing to moderate risk of ischemic stroke. Quintiles based on genetic loading of alleles associated with a younger age at onset of ischemic stroke revealed a significant difference in age at onset between those in the upper and lower quintiles. Using common variants from GWAS and imputation, genomic profiling remains inferior to family history of stroke for defining risk. Inclusion of genomic (rare variant) information may be required to improve clinical risk profiling.
Parkinson's disease (PD) is linked to the formation of insoluble fibrillar aggregates of the presynaptic protein α-Synuclein (αS) in neurons. The appearance of such aggregates coincides with severe motor deficits in human patients. These deficits are often preceded by non-motor symptoms such as sleep-related problems in the patients. PD-like motor deficits can be recapitulated in model organisms such as Drosophila melanogaster when αS is pan-neurally expressed. Interestingly, both these deficits are more severe when αS mutants with reduced aggregation properties are expressed in flies. This indicates that that αS aggregation is not the primary cause of the PD-like motor symptoms. Here we describe a model for PD in Drosophila which utilizes the targeted expression of αS mutants in a subset of dopadecarboxylase expressing serotonergic and dopaminergic (DA) neurons. Our results show that targeted expression of pre-fibrillar αS mutants not only recapitulates PD-like motor symptoms but also the preceding non-motor symptoms such as an abnormal sleep-like behavior, altered locomotor activity and abnormal circadian periodicity. Further, the results suggest that the observed non-motor symptoms in flies are caused by an early impairment of neuronal functions rather than by the loss of neurons due to cell death.
The integrated analysis of genotypic and expression data for association with complex traits could identify novel genetic pathways involved in complex traits. We profiled 19,573 expression probes in Epstein-Barr virus-transformed lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs) from 299 twins and correlated these with 44 quantitative traits (QTs). For 939 expressed probes correlating with more than one QT, we investigated the presence of eQTL associations in three datasets of 57 CEU HapMap founders and 86 unrelated twins. Genome-wide association analysis of these probes with 2.2 m SNPs revealed 131 potential eQTLs (1,989 eQTL SNPs) overlapping between the HapMap datasets, five of which were in cis (58 eQTL SNPs). We then tested 535 SNPs tagging the eQTL SNPs, for association with the relevant QT in 2,905 twins. We identified nine potential SNP-QT associations (P<0.01) but none significantly replicated in five large consortia of 1,097–16,129 subjects. We also failed to replicate previous reported eQTL associations with body mass index, plasma low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglycerides levels derived from lymphocytes, adipose and liver tissue. Our results and additional power calculations suggest that proponents may have been overoptimistic in the power of LCLs in eQTL approaches to elucidate regulatory genetic effects on complex traits using the small datasets generated to date. Nevertheless, larger tissue-specific expression data sets relevant to specific traits are becoming available, and should enable the adoption of similar integrated analyses in the near future.
Forkhead Box M1 (Foxm1) is a transcription factor essential for organ morphogenesis and development of various cancers. Although complete deletion of Foxm1 in Foxm1−/− mice caused embryonic lethality due to severe abnormalities in multiple organ systems, requirements for Foxm1 in cardiomyocytes remain to be determined. This study was designed to elucidate the cardiomyocyte-autonomous role of Foxm1 signaling in heart development. We generated a new mouse model in which Foxm1 was specifically deleted from cardiomyocytes (Nkx2.5-Cre/Foxm1fl/f mice). Deletion of Foxm1 from cardiomyocytes was sufficient to disrupt heart morphogenesis and induce embryonic lethality in late gestation. Nkx2.5-Cre/Foxm1fl/fl hearts were dilated with thinning of the ventricular walls and interventricular septum, as well as disorganization of the myocardium which culminated in cardiac fibrosis and decreased capillary density. Cardiomyocyte proliferation was diminished in Nkx2.5-Cre/Foxm1fl/fl hearts owing to altered expression of multiple cell cycle regulatory genes, such as Cdc25B, Cyclin B1, Plk-1, nMyc and p21cip1. In addition, Foxm1 deficient hearts displayed reduced expression of CaMKIIδ, Hey2 and myocardin, which are critical mediators of cardiac function and myocardial growth. Our results indicate that Foxm1 expression in cardiomyocytes is critical for proper heart development and required for cardiomyocyte proliferation and myocardial growth.
BACE1 is a key enzyme involved in the production of amyloid ß-peptide (Aß) in Alzheimer's disease (AD) brains. Normally, its expression is constitutively inhibited due to the presence of the 5′untranslated region (5′UTR) in the BACE1 promoter. BACE1 expression is activated by phosphorylation of the eukaryotic initiation factor (eIF)2-alpha, which reverses the inhibitory effect exerted by BACE1 5′UTR. There are four kinases associated with different types of stress that could phosphorylate eIF2-alpha. Here we focus on the double-stranded (ds) RNA-activated protein kinase (PKR). PKR is activated during viral infection, including that of herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV1), a virus suggested to be implicated in the development of AD, acting when present in brains of carriers of the type 4 allele of the apolipoprotein E gene. HSV1 is a dsDNA virus but it has genes on both strands of the genome, and from these genes complementary RNA molecules are transcribed. These could activate BACE1 expression by the PKR pathway. Here we demonstrate in HSV1-infected neuroblastoma cells, and in peripheral nervous tissue from HSV1-infected mice, that HSV1 activates PKR. Cloning BACE1 5′UTR upstream of a luciferase (luc) gene confirmed its inhibitory effect, which can be prevented by salubrinal, an inhibitor of the eIF2-alpha phosphatase PP1c. Treatment with the dsRNA analog poly (I∶C) mimicked the stimulatory effect exerted by salubrinal over BACE1 translation in the 5′UTR-luc construct and increased Aß production in HEK-APPsw cells. Summarizing, our data suggest that PKR activated in brain by HSV1 could play an important role in the development of AD.
The fur of common rabbits is constituted of 3 types of hair differing in length and diameter while that of rex animals is essentially made up of amazingly soft down-hair. Rex short hair coat phenotypes in rabbits were shown to be controlled by three distinct loci. We focused on the “r1” mutation which segregates at a simple autosomal-recessive locus in our rabbit strains. A positional candidate gene approach was used to identify the rex gene and the corresponding mutation. The gene was primo-localized within a 40 cM region on rabbit chromosome 14 by genome scanning families of 187 rabbits in an experimental mating scheme. Then, fine mapping refined the region to 0.5 cM (Z = 78) by genotyping an additional 359 offspring for 94 microsatellites present or newly generated within the first defined interval. Comparative mapping pointed out a candidate gene in this 700 kb region, namely LIPH (Lipase Member H). In humans, several mutations in this major gene cause alopecia, hair loss phenotypes. The rabbit gene structure was established and a deletion of a single nucleotide was found in LIPH exon 9 of rex rabbits (1362delA). This mutation results in a frameshift and introduces a premature stop codon potentially shortening the protein by 19 amino acids. The association between this deletion and the rex phenotype was complete, as determined by its presence in our rabbit families and among a panel of 60 rex and its absence in all 60 non-rex rabbits. This strongly suggests that this deletion, in a homozygous state, is responsible for the rex phenotype in rabbits.
The CDKN2A/ARF locus encompasses overlapping tumor suppressor genes p16(INK4A) and p14(ARF), which are frequently co-deleted in human malignant mesothelioma (MM). The importance of p16(INK4A) loss in human cancer is well established, but the relative significance of p14(ARF) loss has been debated. The tumor predisposition of mice singly deficient for either Ink4a or Arf, due to targeting of exons 1α or 1β, respectively, supports the idea that both play significant and nonredundant roles in suppressing spontaneous tumors. To further test this notion, we exposed Ink4a(+/−) and Arf(+/−) mice to asbestos, the major cause of MM. Asbestos-treated Ink4a(+/−) and Arf(+/−) mice showed increased incidence and shorter latency of MM relative to wild-type littermates. MMs from Ink4a(+/−) mice exhibited biallelic inactivation of Ink4a, loss of Arf or p53 expression and frequent loss of p15(Ink4b). In contrast, MMs from Arf(+/−) mice exhibited loss of Arf expression, but did not require loss of Ink4a or Ink4b. Mice doubly deficient for Ink4a and Arf, due to deletion of Cdkn2a/Arf exon 2, showed accelerated asbestos-induced MM formation relative to mice deficient for Ink4a or Arf alone, and MMs exhibited biallelic loss of both tumor suppressor genes. The tumor suppressor function of Arf in MM was p53-independent, since MMs with loss of Arf retained functional p53. Collectively, these in vivo data indicate that both CDKN2A/ARF gene products suppress asbestos carcinogenicity. Furthermore, while inactivation of Arf appears to be crucial for MM pathogenesis, the inactivation of both p16(Ink4a) and p19(Arf) cooperate to accelerate asbestos-induced tumorigenesis.
Cancer genomes frequently contain somatic copy number alterations (SCNA) that can significantly perturb the expression level of affected genes and thus disrupt pathways controlling normal growth. In melanoma, many studies have focussed on the copy number and gene expression levels of the BRAF, PTEN and MITF genes, but little has been done to identify new genes using these parameters at the genome-wide scale. Using karyotyping, SNP and CGH arrays, and RNA-seq, we have identified SCNA affecting gene expression (‘SCNA-genes’) in seven human metastatic melanoma cell lines. We showed that the combination of these techniques is useful to identify candidate genes potentially involved in tumorigenesis. Since few of these alterations were recurrent across our samples, we used a protein network-guided approach to determine whether any pathways were enriched in SCNA-genes in one or more samples. From this unbiased genome-wide analysis, we identified 28 significantly enriched pathway modules. Comparison with two large, independent melanoma SCNA datasets showed less than 10% overlap at the individual gene level, but network-guided analysis revealed 66% shared pathways, including all but three of the pathways identified in our data. Frequently altered pathways included WNT, cadherin signalling, angiogenesis and melanogenesis. Additionally, our results emphasize the potential of the EPHA3 and FRS2 gene products, involved in angiogenesis and migration, as possible therapeutic targets in melanoma. Our study demonstrates the utility of network-guided approaches, for both large and small datasets, to identify pathways recurrently perturbed in cancer.
The β2-adrenergic receptor (ADRB2) gene has been widely researched as a candidate gene for essential hypertension (EH), but no consensus has been reached in different ethnicities. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the possible association between the ADRB2 gene polymorphisms and the EH risk in the Northern Han Chinese population.
This study included 747 hypertensive subjects and 390 healthy volunteers as control subjects in the Northern Han Chinese. Genotyping was performed to identify the C-47T, A46G and C79G polymorphisms of the ADRB2 gene. G allelic frequency of A46G polymorphism was significantly higher in hypertensive subjects (P = 0.011, OR = 1.287, 95%CI [1.059–1.565]) than that in controls. Significant association could also be found in dominant genetic model (GG+AG vs. AA, P = 0.006, OR = 1.497, 95%CI [1.121–1.998]), in homozygote comparison (GG vs. AA, P = 0.025, OR = 1.568, 95%CI [1.059–2.322]), and in additive genetic model (GG vs. AG vs. AA, P = 0.012, OR = 1.282, 95%CI [1.056–1.555]). Subgroup analyses performed by gender suggested that this association could be found in male, but not in female. Stratification analyses by obesity showed that A46G polymorphism was related to the prevalence of hypertension in the obese population (GG vs. AG vs. AA, P<0.001, OR = 1.645, 95%CI [1.258–2.151]). Significant interaction was found between A46G genotypes and body mass index on EH risk. No significant association could be found between C-47T or C79G polymorphism and EH risk. Linkage disequilibrium was detected between the C-47T, A46G and C79G polymorphisms. Haplotype analyses observed that the T-47-A46-C79 haplotype was a protective haplotype for EH, while the T-47-G46-C79 haplotype increased the risk.
We revealed that the ADRB2 A46G polymorphism might increase the risk for EH in the Northern Han Chinese population.
Gain-of function or dominant-negative mutations in the voltage-gated potassium channel KCNC3 (Kv3.3) were recently identified as a cause of autosomal dominant spinocerebellar ataxia. Our objective was to describe the frequency of mutations associated with KCNC3 in a large cohort of index patients with sporadic or familial ataxia presenting to three US ataxia clinics at academic medical centers.
DNA sequence analysis of the coding region of the KCNC3 gene was performed in 327 index cases with ataxia. Analysis of channel function was performed by expression of DNA variants in Xenopus oocytes.
Sequence analysis revealed two non-synonymous substitutions in exon 2 and five intronic changes, which were not predicted to alter splicing. We identified another pedigree with the p.Arg423His mutation in the highly conserved S4 domain of this channel. This family had an early-onset of disease and associated seizures in one individual. The second coding change, p.Gly263Asp, subtly altered biophysical properties of the channel, but was unlikely to be disease-associated as it occurred in an individual with an expansion of the CAG repeat in the CACNA1A calcium channel.
Mutations in KCNC3 are a rare cause of spinocerebellar ataxia with a frequency of less than 1%. The p.Arg423His mutation is recurrent in different populations and associated with early onset. In contrast to previous p.Arg423His mutation carriers, we now observed seizures and mild mental retardation in one individual. This study confirms the wide phenotypic spectrum in SCA13.
Hearing impairment is the most common sensory impairment in humans, affecting 1∶1,000 births. We have identified an ENU generated mouse mutant, Mozart, with recessively inherited, non-syndromic progressive hearing loss caused by a mutation in the synaptojanin 2 (Synj2), a central regulatory enzyme in the phosphoinositide-signaling cascade.
The hearing loss in Mozart is caused by a p.Asn538Lys mutation in the catalytic domain of the inositol polyphosphate 5-phosphatase synaptojanin 2. Within the cochlea, Synj2 mRNA expression was detected in the inner and outer hair cells but not in the spiral ganglion. Synj2N538K mutant protein showed loss of lipid phosphatase activity, and was unable to degrade phosphoinositide signaling molecules. Mutant Mozart mice (Synj2N538K/N538K) exhibited progressive hearing loss and showed signs of hair cell degeneration as early as two weeks of age, with fusion of stereocilia followed by complete loss of hair bundles and ultimately loss of hair cells. No changes in vestibular or neurological function, or other clinical or behavioral manifestations were apparent.
Phosphoinositides are membrane associated signaling molecules that regulate many cellular processes including cell death, proliferation, actin polymerization and ion channel activity. These results reveal Synj2 as a critical regulator of hair cell survival that is essential for hair cell maintenance and hearing function.
The aim of the present study was to investigate the role of CAG repeat polymorphism and X-chromosome Inactivation (XCI) pattern in Recurrent Spontaneous Abortions among Indian women which has not been hitherto explored. 117 RSA cases and 224 Controls were included in the study. Cases were recruited from two different hospitals - Lakshmi Fertility Clinic, Nellore and Fernandez Maternity Hospital, Hyderabad. Controls were roughly matched for age, ethnicity and socioeconomic status. The CAG repeats of the Androgen Receptor gene were genotyped using a PCR-based assay and were analysed using the GeneMapper software to determine the CAG repeat length. XCI analysis was also carried out to assess the inactivation percentages. RSA cases had a significantly greater frequency of allele sizes in the polymorphic range above 19 repeats (p = 0.006), which is the median value of the controls, and in the biallelic mean range above 21 repeats (p = 0.002). We found no evidence of abnormal incidence of skewed X-inactivation. We conclude that longer CAG repeat lengths are associated with increased odds for RSA with statistical power estimated to be ∼90%.
Endobronchial Ultrasound Guided Transbronchial Needle Aspiration (EBUS-TBNA) and Trans-esophageal Ultrasound Scanning with Fine Needle Aspiration (EUS-FNA) are important, novel techniques for the diagnosis and staging of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) that have been incorporated into lung cancer staging guidelines. To guide and optimize treatment decisions, especially for NSCLC patients in stage III and IV, EGFR and KRAS mutation status is often required. The concordance rate of the mutation analysis between these cytological aspirates and histological samples obtained by surgical staging is unknown. Therefore, we studied the extent to which allele-specific quantitative real-time PCR with hydrolysis probes could be reliably performed on EBUS and EUS fine needle aspirates by comparing the results with histological material from the same patient. We analyzed a series of 43 NSCLC patients for whom cytological and histological material was available. We demonstrated that these standard molecular techniques can be accurately applied on fine needle cytological aspirates from NSCLC patients. Importantly, we show that all mutations detected in the histological material of primary tumor were also identified in the cytological samples. We conclude that molecular profiling can be reliably performed on fine needle cytology aspirates from NSCLC patients.