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author:("Reeves, jak")
1.  A phylogenetic model for understanding the effect of gene duplication on cancer progression 
Nucleic Acids Research  2013;42(5):2870-2878.
As biotechnology advances rapidly, a tremendous amount of cancer genetic data has become available, providing an unprecedented opportunity for understanding the genetic mechanisms of cancer. To understand the effects of duplications and deletions on cancer progression, two genomes (normal and tumor) were sequenced from each of five stomach cancer patients in different stages (I, II, III and IV). We developed a phylogenetic model for analyzing stomach cancer data. The model assumes that duplication and deletion occur in accordance with a continuous time Markov Chain along the branches of a phylogenetic tree attached with five extended branches leading to the tumor genomes. Moreover, coalescence times of the phylogenetic tree follow a coalescence process. The simulation study suggests that the maximum likelihood approach can accurately estimate parameters in the phylogenetic model. The phylogenetic model was applied to the stomach cancer data. We found that the expected number of changes (duplication and deletion) per gene for the tumor genomes is significantly higher than that for the normal genomes. The goodness-of-fit test suggests that the phylogenetic model with constant duplication and deletion rates can adequately fit the duplication data for the normal genomes. The analysis found nine duplicated genes that are significantly associated with stomach cancer.
PMCID: PMC3950708  PMID: 24371277
2.  Expression and sub-cellular localization of an epigenetic regulator, co-activator arginine methyltransferase 1 (CARM1), is associated with specific breast cancer subtypes and ethnicity 
Molecular Cancer  2013;12:40.
Co-Activator Arginine Methyltransferase 1(CARM1) is an Estrogen Receptor (ER) cofactor that remodels chromatin for gene regulation via methylation of Histone3. We investigated CARM1 levels and localization across breast cancer tumors in a cohort of patients of either European or African ancestry.
We analyzed CARM1 levels using tissue microarrays with over 800 histological samples from 549 female cancer patients from the US and Nigeria, Africa. We assessed associations between CARM1 expression localized to the nucleus and cytoplasm for 11 distinct variables, including; ER status, Progesterone Receptor status, molecular subtypes, ethnicity, HER2+ status, other clinical variables and survival.
We found that levels of cytoplasmic CARM1 are distinct among tumor sub-types and increased levels are associated with ER-negative (ER-) status. Higher nuclear CARM1 levels are associated with HER2 receptor status. EGFR expression also correlates with localization of CARM1 into the cytoplasm. This suggests there are distinct functions of CARM1 among molecular tumor types. Our data reveals a basal-like subtype association with CARM1, possibly due to expression of Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR). Lastly, increased cytoplasmic CARM1, relative to nuclear levels, appear to be associated with self-identified African ethnicity and this result is being further investigated using quantified genetic ancestry measures.
Although it is known to be an ER cofactor in breast cancer, CARM1 expression levels are independent of ER. CARM1 has distinct functions among molecular subtypes, as is indicative of its sub-cellular localization and it may function in subtype etiology. These sub-cellular localization patterns, indicate a novel role beyond its ER cofactor function in breast cancer. Differential localization among ethnic groups may be due to ancestry-specific polymorphisms which alter the gene product.
PMCID: PMC3663705  PMID: 23663560
Tissue-microarray; Breast cancer; Molecular subtypes; CARM1; Epigenetic regulator; Subcellular localization; Ethnic disparities
3.  Systems Biology of the qa Gene Cluster in Neurospora crassa 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(6):e20671.
An ensemble of genetic networks that describe how the model fungal system, Neurospora crassa, utilizes quinic acid (QA) as a sole carbon source has been identified previously. A genetic network for QA metabolism involves the genes, qa-1F and qa-1S, that encode a transcriptional activator and repressor, respectively and structural genes, qa-2, qa-3, qa-4, qa-x, and qa-y. By a series of 4 separate and independent, model-guided, microarray experiments a total of 50 genes are identified as QA-responsive and hypothesized to be under QA-1F control and/or the control of a second QA-responsive transcription factor (NCU03643) both in the fungal binuclear Zn(II)2Cys6 cluster family. QA-1F regulation is not sufficient to explain the quantitative variation in expression profiles of the 50 QA-responsive genes. QA-responsive genes include genes with products in 8 mutually connected metabolic pathways with 7 of them one step removed from the tricarboxylic (TCA) Cycle and with 7 of them one step removed from glycolysis: (1) starch and sucrose metabolism; (2) glycolysis/glucanogenesis; (3) TCA Cycle; (4) butanoate metabolism; (5) pyruvate metabolism; (6) aromatic amino acid and QA metabolism; (7) valine, leucine, and isoleucine degradation; and (8) transport of sugars and amino acids. Gene products both in aromatic amino acid and QA metabolism and transport show an immediate response to shift to QA, while genes with products in the remaining 7 metabolic modules generally show a delayed response to shift to QA. The additional QA-responsive cutinase transcription factor-1β (NCU03643) is found to have a delayed response to shift to QA. The series of microarray experiments are used to expand the previously identified genetic network describing the qa gene cluster to include all 50 QA-responsive genes including the second transcription factor (NCU03643). These studies illustrate new methodologies from systems biology to guide model-driven discoveries about a core metabolic network involving carbon and amino acid metabolism in N. crassa.
PMCID: PMC3114802  PMID: 21695121

Results 1-3 (3)