TGFβ1 was initially identified as a potent chemotactic cytokine to initiate inflammation, but the autoimmune phenotype seen in TGFβ1 knockout mice reversed the dogma of TGFβ1 being a pro-inflammatory cytokine to predominantly an immune suppressor. The discovery of the role of TGFβ1 in Th17 cell activation once again revealed the pro-inflammatory effect of TGFβ1. We developed K5.TGFβ1 mice with latent human TGFβ1 overexpression targeted to epidermal keratinocytes by keratin 5. These transgenic mice developed significant skin inflammation. Further studies revealed that inflammation severity correlated with switching TGFβ1 transgene expression on and off, and genome wide expression profiling revealed striking similarities between K5.TGFβ1 skin and human psoriasis, a Th1/Th17-associated inflammatory skin disease. Our recent study reveals that treatments alleviating inflammatory skin phenotypes in this mouse model reduced Th17 cells, and antibodies against IL-17 also lessen the inflammatory phenotype. Examination of inflammatory cytokines/chemokines affected by TGFβ1 revealed predominantly Th1-, Th17-related cytokines in K5.TGFβ1 skin. However, the finding that K5.TGFβ1 mice also express Th2-associated inflammatory cytokines under certain pathological conditions raises the possibility that deregulated TGFβ signaling is involved in more than one inflammatory disease. Furthermore, activation of both Th1/Th17 cells and regulatory T cells (Tregs) by TGFβ1 reversely regulated by IL-6 highlights the dual role of TGFβ1 in regulating inflammation, a dynamic, context and organ specific process. This review focuses on the role of TGFβ1 in inflammatory skin diseases.
TGFβ1; skin inflammation
The ability to judge whether sensory stimuli match an internally represented pattern is central to many brain functions. To elucidate the underlying mechanism, we developed a neural circuit model for match/nonmatch decision making. At the core of this model is a “comparison circuit” consisting of two distinct neural populations: match enhancement cells show higher firing response for a match than a nonmatch to the target pattern, and match suppression cells exhibit the opposite trend. We propose that these two neural pools emerge from inhibition-dominated recurrent dynamics and heterogeneous top-down excitation from a working memory circuit. A downstream system learns, through plastic synapses, to extract the necessary information to make match/nonmatch decisions. The model accounts for key physiological observations from behaving monkeys in delayed match-to-sample experiments, including tasks that require more than simple feature-match (e.g. when BB in ABBA sequence must be ignored). A testable prediction is that magnitudes of match enhancement and suppression neural signals are parametrically tuned to the similarity between compared patterns. Furthermore, the same neural signals from the comparison circuit can be used differently in the decision process for different stimulus statistics or tasks; reward-dependent synaptic plasticity enables decision neurons to flexibly adjust the readout scheme to task demands, whereby the most informative neural signals have the highest impact on the decision.
delayed match-to-sample task; match enhancement and match suppression; repetition suppression; reward-dependent synaptic plasticity; fine discrimination
Synchronous rhythms represent a core mechanism for sculpting temporal coordination of neural activity in the brainwide network. This review focuses on oscillations in the cerebral cortex that occur during cognition, in alert behaving conditions. Over the last two decades, experimental and modeling work has made great strides in elucidating the detailed cellular and circuit basis of these rhythms, particularly gamma and theta rhythms. The underlying physiological mechanisms are diverse (ranging from resonance and pacemaker properties of single cells, to multiple scenarios for population synchronization and wave propagation), but also exhibit unifying principles. A major conceptual advance was the realization that synaptic inhibition plays a fundamental role in rhythmogenesis, either in an interneuronal network or in a recipropocal excitatory-inhibitory loop. Computational functions of synchronous oscillations in cognition are still a matter of debate among systems neuroscientists, in part because the notion of regular oscillation seems to contradict the common observation that spiking discharges of individual neurons in the cortex are highly stochastic and far from being clock-like. However, recent findings have led to a framework that goes beyond the conventional theory of coupled oscillators, and reconciles the apparent dichotomy between irregular single neuron activity and field potential oscillations. From this perspective, a plethora of studies will be reviewed on the involvement of long-distance neuronal coherence in cognitive functions such as multisensory integration, working memory and selective attention. Finally, implications of abnormal neural synchronization are discussed as they relate to mental disorders like schizophrenia and autism.
Dysregulation of transformation growth factor β (TGFβ) signaling has been reported in human psoriasis. However, the causal role of TGFβ in psoriasis has not been given attention until our recent report that the transgenic mice expressing wild-type TGFβ1 in the epidermis using a keratin 5 promoter (K5.TGFβ1wt) developed psoriasis-like skin inflammation. Additional experimental data further support the causal role of TGFβ1 overexpression in psoriasis. First, we temporally induced TGFβ1 expression in keratinocytes in our gene-switch-TGFβ1wt transgenic mice and found that inflammation severity correlated with on-and-off switch of TGFβ1wt transgene expression. Second, deletion of T cells in K5.TGFβ1wt mice significantly delayed the development of psoriatic lesions. Third, therapeutic approaches effective for human psoriasis, i.e. Enbrel and Rosiglitazone (Avandia®), are also effective in relieving the symptoms seen in K5.TGFβ1wt mice. Future studies will dissect specific mechanisms and identify key factors in the TGFβ1-induced skin inflammation. Our mouse models will provide a useful tool to test novel therapeutic interventions and help to design specific therapeutic approaches for inflammatory skin disorders, including human psoriasis.
Systems capable of targeting genetic manipulations to keratin-positive airway basal cells are more poorly developed than systems targeting other airway epithelial cell populations and this has likely hindered development of animal models of diseases such as lung squamous cell carcinoma. Although keratin promoter driven-Cre recombinase constructs are potentially useful for targeting these cells, these constructs have substantially higher activity in the skin and oral epithelium than in the airways. We developed a method for delivering RU486, the conditional activator of Cre recombinase progesterone receptor (CrePR) fusion proteins to the lung and then examined the activity of three keratin-driven CrePR constructs in the conducting airways. We also developed a technique for survival bronchioalveolar lavage on non-ventilated animals to examine the effects of the acetone/oil vehicle required to deliver RU486 to the lung. K5CrePR1 and K14CrePR1 constructs differ only in the keratin promoter used to target CrePR1 expression while K5Cre*PR contains a truncated progesterone receptor designed to reduce RU486-independent Cre activity. While all three constructs demonstrate RU486-inducible Cre activity in the conducting airways, both construct activity and tightness of regulation vary considerably. K5Cre*PR is the most tightly regulated Cre driver making it ideal for targeting somatic mutations to the airway epithelia while K5CrePR1 and K14CrePR1 may be better suited to studying diseases of the conducting airways where gene targeting of keratin expressing cells and their derivatives is desired.
Keratins; Cre recombinase; basal cells
We have previously shown that keratinocyte-specific deletion of Smad4, a TGFβ/Activin/BMP signaling mediator, results in a progressive alopecia. To further assess the molecular mechanisms of Smad4 loss-mediated alopecia, we examined expression levels of key molecules associated with hair follicle differentiation in Smad4-deleted skin. Among them, Desmoglein 4 (Dsg4) was down-regulated in Smad4-deleted skin prior to the onset of hair follicle abnormalities with gradual depletion coinciding with hair follicle degeneration. Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assay showed that Smad4, together with the BMP mediators Smad1 and Smad5, but not the TGFβ/Activin mediators Smad2 or Smad3, bound to the Smad Binding Element (SBE) of the Dsg4 promoter. A Dsg4 reporter assay revealed that Smad4 was required for the maximal transactivation of Dsg4 in cooperation with Smad1 and Smad5. Mutating the SBE of the Dsg4 promoter abrogated Smad4 transactivation of Dsg4. Furthermore, BMP ligands, but not ligands of TGFβ and Activin, induced endogenous Dsg4 expression. Our data demonstrate that in the presence of Smad4, BMP signaling participated in transcriptional regulation of Dsg4. Thus, Smad4 loss-associated Dsg4 depletion contributed, at least in part, to hair follicles degeneration in Smad4 deficient skin.
Smad4; Hair Follicle; Desmoglein-4; TGFβ; BMP
Previous studies have shown that non-human primates can generate highly stochastic choice behavior, especially when this is required during a competitive interaction with another agent. To understand the neural mechanism of such dynamic choice behavior, we propose a biologically plausible model of decision making endowed with synaptic plasticity that follows a reward-dependent stochastic Hebbian learning rule. This model constitutes a biophysical implementation of reinforcement learning, and it reproduces salient features of behavioral data from an experiment with monkeys playing a matching pennies game. Due to interaction with an opponent and learning dynamics, the model generates quasi-random behavior robustly in spite of intrinsic biases. Furthermore, non-random choice behavior can also emerge when the model plays against a non-interactive opponent, as observed in the monkey experiment. Finally, when combined with a meta-learning algorithm, our model accounts for the slow drift in the animal’s strategy based on a process of reward maximization.
Decision making; Reward-dependent stochastic Hebbian learning rule; Reinforcement learning; Meta-learning; Synaptic plasticity; Game theory
Recent behavioral studies have given rise to two contrasting models for limited working memory capacity: a “discrete-slot” model in which memory items are stored in a limited number of slots, and a “shared-resource” model in which the neural representation of items is distributed across a limited pool of resources. To elucidate the underlying neural processes, we investigated a continuous network model for working memory of an analog feature. Our model network fundamentally operates with a shared resource mechanism, and stimuli in cue arrays are encoded by a distributed neural population. On the other hand, the network dynamics and performance are also consistent with the discrete-slot model, because multiple objects are maintained by distinct localized population persistent activity patterns (bump attractors). We identified two phenomena of recurrent circuit dynamics that give rise to limited working memory capacity. As the working memory load increases, a localized persistent activity bump may either fade out (so the memory of the corresponding item is lost) or merge with another nearby bump (hence the resolution of mnemonic representation for the merged items becomes blurred). We identified specific dependences of these two phenomena on the strength and tuning of recurrent synaptic excitation, as well as network normalization: the overall population activity is invariant to set size and delay duration; therefore, a constant neural resource is shared by and dynamically allocated to the memorized items. We demonstrate that the model reproduces salient observations predicted by both discrete-slot and shared-resource models, and propose testable predictions of the merging phenomenon.
It is thought that a Th1/Th17-weighted immune response plays a predominant role in the pathogenesis of psoriasis. Our findings now indicate a link between IL-9, a Th2 and Th9 cytokine, and Th17 pathway in psoriasis. In K5.hTGF-β1 transgenic mice, exhibiting a psoriasis-like phenotype, we found increased IL-9R and IL-9 expression in the skin and intradermal IL-9 injection induced Th17-related inflammation. IL-9 also promoted angiogenesis and VEGF and CD31 overexpression in mice in vivo and increased tube formation of human endothelial cells in vitro. Injecting anti-IL-9 antibody into K5.hTGF-β1 transgenic mice not only diminished inflammation (including skin infiltration by T cells, monocytes/macrophages, and mast cells) and angiogenesis but also delayed the psoriasis-like skin phenotype. Notably, injection of anti-psoriatic acting anti-IL-17 antibody reduced skin IL-9 mRNA and serum IL-9 protein levels in K5.hTGF-β1 transgenic mice and prevented IL-9-induced epidermal hyperplasia and inflammation of the skin of wild type mice. In addition, we observed that IL-9R expression in lesional skin from psoriasis patients was markedly higher than in healthy skin from control subjects. Moreover, IL-9 significantly enhanced IL-17A production by cultured human peripheral blood mononuclear cells or CD4+ T cells, especially in psoriasis patients. Thus, IL-9 may play a role in the development of psoriatic lesions through Th17-associated inflammation and angiogenesis.
Vernalization-induced flowering is a cold-relevant adaptation in many species, but little is known about the genetic basis behind in Orchidaceae species. Here, we reported a collection of 15017 expressed sequence tags (ESTs) from the vernalized axillary buds of an Orchidaceae species, Dendrobium nobile, which were assembled for 9616 unique gene clusters. Functional enrichment analysis showed that genes in relation to the responses to stresses, especially in the form of low temperatures, and those involving in protein biosynthesis and chromatin assembly were significantly overrepresented during 40 days of vernalization. Additionally, a total of 59 putative flowering-relevant genes were recognized, including those homologous to known key players in vernalization pathways in temperate cereals or Arabidopsis, such as cereal VRN1, FT/VRN3, and Arabidopsis AGL19. Results from this study suggest that the networks regulating vernalization-induced floral transition are conserved, but just in a part, in D. nobile, temperate cereals, and Arabidopsis.
Detection of DNA methylation has produced promising results as biomarkers for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). However, current panels are limited by an insufficient number of sensitive and specific tumor markers. MicroRNAs (miR) play an important role in tumorigenesis, and may represent a novel panel of molecules for the development of cancer biomarkers. We investigated methylation of three miRNA promoter sites of miR-9 (miR-9-1, miR-9-2, miR-9-3) in 107 human head and neck tissue samples and controls. We found methylations of miR-9-1 and miR-9-3 were higher in oral and oropharyngeal carcinomas than that in laryngeal carcinoma, achieving a combined sensitivity of 63% and 56%, respectively, for these two tumor types, compared to 21% for the laryngeal carcinoma. Quantitative PCR of miR-9 showed reduced expression associated with methylation of miR-9 in tumor tissues. To investigate the functional consequences of miR-9 methylation, we found that miR-9 methylation is correlated with miR-9 expression level in human HNSCC cell lines. Demethylation treatment using 5-aza-deoxycytidine restored its expression in a miR-9 methylated human HNSCC cell line UM-SCC22A. Furthermore, cell proliferation and viability was significantly inhibited, while PTEN expression was elevated after transfection of miR-9 into the UM-SCC22A cell line. In summary, our results suggest that methylations of miR-9-1 and miR-9-3 are sensitive and specific biomarkers for HNSCC, particularly for oral and oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinomas. In addition, miR-9 may function as a tumor suppressor in HNSCC through inhibition of cell proliferation and elevation of tumor suppressor PTEN.
MicroRNA; Methylation; Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma; Biomarkers
Many of the cognitive deficits of normal aging (forgetfulness, distractibility, inflexibility, and impaired executive functions) involve prefrontal cortical (PFC) dysfunction1–4. The PFC guides behavior and thought using working memory5, essential functions in the Information Age. Many PFC neurons hold information in working memory through excitatory networks that can maintain persistent neuronal firing in the absence of external stimulation6. This fragile process is highly dependent on the neurochemical environment7. For example, elevated cAMP signaling reduces persistent firing by opening HCN and KCNQ potassium channels8,9. It is not known if molecular changes associated with normal aging alter the physiological properties of PFC neurons during working memory, as there have been no in vivo recordings from PFC neurons of aged monkeys. Here we characterize the first recordings of this kind, revealing a marked loss of PFC persistent firing with advancing age that can be rescued by restoring an optimal neurochemical environment. Recordings showed an age-related decline in the firing rate of DELAY neurons, while the firing of CUE neurons remained unchanged with age. The memory-related firing of aged DELAY neurons was partially restored to more youthful levels by inhibiting cAMP signaling, or by blocking HCN or KCNQ channels. These findings reveal the cellular basis of age-related cognitive decline in dorsolateral PFC, and demonstrate that physiological integrity can be rescued by addressing the molecular needs of PFC circuits.
prefrontal cortex; working memory; aging; cAMP signaling; HCN channels; KCNQ channels; α2A adrenoceptors
In cancer treatment, apoptosis is a well-recognized cell death mechanism through which cytotoxic agents kill tumor cells. Here we report that dying tumor cells use the apoptotic process to generate potent growth-stimulating signals to stimulate the repopulation of tumors undergoing radiotherapy. Surprisingly, activated caspase 3, a key executioner of apoptosis, plays key roles in the growth stimulation. One downstream effector that caspase 3 regulates is prostaglandin E2, which can potently stimulates growth of surviving tumor cells. Deficiency of caspase 3 either in tumor cells or in tumor stroma caused significant tumor sensitivity to radiotherapy in xenograft or mouse tumors. In human cancer patients, higher levels of activated caspase 3 in tumor tissues are correlated with significantly increased rate of recurrence and deaths. We propose the existence of a “Phoenix Rising” pathway of cell death-induced tumor repopulation in which caspase 3 plays key roles.
Exposure to tobacco carcinogens is causally associated with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), but the underlying molecular mechanisms remain unclear. Here, we reported that AKT is activated at a higher frequency in both HNSCC tumors and the adjacent mucosa from HNSCC patients who are smokers than those from HNSCC patients who are non-smokers. Adding physiologically relevant concentrations of 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-1butanone (NNK), a major tobacco carcinogen, to normal head and neck epithelial cells and HNSCC cell lines, rapidly and constitutively activated AKT through phosphorylation in a dose- and time-dependent manner. AKT phosphorylation was associated with activation of downstream signaling mediators BAD, MDM2, GSK-3β, mTOR. These alterations correlated with increased proliferation and decreased etoposide-induced apoptosis in NNK-exposed cells. Finally, NNK exposure to mouse head and neck epithelia resulted in epithelial hyperproliferation and reduced apoptosis, which is correlated with AKT activation. Our results suggest that AKT activation is an early event and plays a pivotal role in mediating tobacco-induced HNSCC carcinogenesis.
tobacco; NNK; AKT; head and neck epithelia; head and neck squamous cell carcinoma
Smad proteins are classified in different groups based on their functions in mediating transforming growth factor β (TGFβ) superfamily components. Smad1/5/8 mainly mediate bone morphogenetic proteins (BMP) pathway and Smad2/3 mainly mediate TGFβ pathway. Smad4 functions as common Smad to mediate both pathways. Previous studies showed many members of TGFβ superfamily play a role in carcinogenesis. The current review focuses on the role of TGFβ signaling Smads in squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs). TGFβ signaling inhibits early tumor development, but promotes tumor progression in the late stage. Although Smad2, Smad3 and Smad4 are all TGFβ signaling Smads, they play different roles in SCCs. Genetically, Smad2 and Smad4 are frequently mutated or deleted in certain human cancers whereas Smad3 mutation or deletion is infrequent. Genetically engineered mouse models with these individual Smad deletions have provided important tools to identify their diversified roles in cancer. Using these models, we have shown that Smad4 functions as a potent tumor suppressor and its loss causes spontaneous SCCs development; Smad2 functions as a tumor suppressor and its loss promotes SCC formation initiated by other genetic insults but is insufficient to initiate tumor formation. In contrast, Smad3 primarily mediates TGFβ-induced inflammation. The functions of each Smad also depends on the presence/absence of its Smad partner, thus need to be interpreted in a context-specific manner.
Smad2; Smad3; Smad4; squamous cell carcinomas; TGFβ signaling
Carboxyl-terminal binding protein 1 (CtBP1) is a transcriptional co-repressor and metabolic sensory protein, which often represses tumor suppressor genes. Hence, we sought to determine if CtBP1 affects expression of the tumor suppressor Brca1 in head and neck tissue, as down-regulation of Brca1 begins at the early stages of head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCCs). We found that CtBP1 represses Brca1 transcription by binding to the E2F4 site of the Brca1 promoter. Additionally, the recruitment of CtBP1 to the Brca1 promoter is redox-dependent, i.e., increased at high NADH levels in hypoxic conditions. Further, immunostaining using a human HNSCC tissue array revealed that nuclear CtBP1 staining began to accumulate in hyperplasic lesions and HNSCCs, this staining correlated with Brca1 down-regulation in these lesions. Pharmacological disruption of CtBP1 binding to Brca1 promoter by the antioxidant Tempol, which reduces NADH levels, relieved CtBP1-mediated repression of Brca1, leading to increased DNA repair in HNSCC cells. Since tumor cells are generally hypoxic with increased NADH levels, the dynamic control of Brca1 by a "metabolic switch" found in this study not only provides an important link between tumor metabolism and tumor suppressor expression, but also suggests a potential chemo preventative or therapeutic strategy for HNSCC via blocking NADH-dependent CtBP1 activity at early stages of HNSCC carcinogenesis.
Brca1; CtBP1; NADH; transcription; tumor suppressor; HNSCC
To evaluate the analgesic efficacy of bromfenac sodium ophthalmic solution 0.09% compared with ketorolac tromethamine ophthalmic solution 0.5% in laser epithelial keratomileusis (LASEK) or epithelial keratomileusis (epi-LASEK), sometimes referred to as epi-LASIK.
Eighty eyes (from 40 patients, 18 men and 22 women) undergoing bilateral simultaneous LASEK or epi-LASEK were randomized to receive ketorolac in one eye and bromfenac in the other. Mean age was 33.13 ± 9.34 years. One drop of bromfenac or ketorolac was instilled in each eye 15 minutes and one minute prior to surgery, and two and four hours following surgery. Patients were instructed to instill the medications on-label each day through postoperative day 4. The subjects completed pain and visual blurriness assessments from day of surgery to postoperative day 4. Uncorrected visual acuity was tested on postoperative days 1 and 6.
For each of the five days, pain scores for bromfenac-treated eyes were significantly less than that for ketorolac-treated eyes (P < 0.01). Of the 40 patients, 32 (80%) said bromfenac provided better postoperative analgesia than ketorolac. There was no statistically significant difference in visual blurriness scores between the two groups (P > 0.1). Uncorrected visual acuity did not vary significantly between the treatment groups (P > 0.1). No serious adverse events were noted.
Bromfenac is subjectively superior to ketorolac in reducing postoperative pain following LASEK or epi-LASEK. The subjects tolerated the drugs well with no serious adverse outcomes and no difference in uncorrected visual acuity.
LASEK; epi-LASEK; epi-LASIK; ketorolac; bromfenac; postoperative pain; non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
According to reinforcement learning theory of decision making, reward expectation is computed by integrating past rewards with a fixed timescale. By contrast, we found that a wide range of time constants is available across cortical neurons recorded from monkeys performing a competitive game task. By recognizing that reward modulates neural activity multiplicatively, we found that one or two time constants of reward memory can be extracted for each neuron in prefrontal, cingulate, and parietal cortex. These timescales ranged from hundreds of milliseconds to tens of seconds, according to a power-law distribution, which is consistent across areas and reproduced by a “reservoir” neural network model. These neuronal memory timescales were weakly but significantly correlated with those of monkey's decisions. Our findings suggest a flexible memory system, where neural subpopulations with distinct sets of long or short memory timescales may be selectively deployed according to the task demands.
It is known that the clade A protein phosphatase 2Cs (PP2Cs), including ABI1 and ABI2 and other PP2C members, are key players that function directly downstream of the PYR/PYL/RCAR abscisic acid (ABA) receptors. Here, identification of a crucial site for function of ABI2 protein phosphatase in ABA signalling is reported. It was observed that a calcium-dependent protein kinase (CDPK) phosphorylation site-like motif (CPL) in the ABI2 molecule is required for the interactions of ABI2 with the two members of the ABA receptors PYL5 and PYL9 and with a downstream protein kinase SnRK2.6, and for the catalytic activity of ABI2 in vitro, as well as for the response of ABI2 to the ABA receptors PYL5/PYL9 in relation to the ABA receptor-induced inhibition of the ABI2 phosphatase activity. Further, genetic evidence was provided to demonstrate that this CPL is required for the function of ABI2 to mediate ABA signalling. These data reveal that this CPL is an important site necessary for both the phosphatase activity of ABI2 and the functional interaction between ABI2 and PYL5/9 ABA receptors, providing new information to understand primary events of ABA signal transduction.
ABA signalling; ABI2; Arabidopsis thaliana; functional site; protein phosphorylation; type 2C protein phosphatase
Development of a suitable mouse model would facilitate the investigation of pathomechanisms underlying human psoriasis and would also assist in development of therapeutic treatments.
However, while many psoriasis mouse models have been proposed, no single model recapitulates all features of the human disease, and standardized validation criteria for psoriasis mouse models have not been widely applied. In this study, whole-genome transcriptional profiling is used to compare gene expression patterns manifested by human psoriatic skin lesions with those that occur in five psoriasis mouse models (K5-Tie2, imiquimod, K14-AREG, K5-Stat3C and K5-TGFbeta1). While the cutaneous gene expression profiles associated with each mouse phenotype exhibited statistically significant similarity to the expression profile of psoriasis in humans, each model displayed distinctive sets of similarities and differences in comparison to human psoriasis. For all five models, correspondence to the human disease was strong with respect to genes involved in epidermal development and keratinization. Immune and inflammation-associated gene expression, in contrast, was more variable between models as compared to the human disease. These findings support the value of all five models as research tools, each with identifiable areas of convergence to and divergence from the human disease. Additionally, the approach used in this paper provides an objective and quantitative method for evaluation of proposed mouse models of psoriasis, which can be strategically applied in future studies to score strengths of mouse phenotypes relative to specific aspects of human psoriasis.
Parainfluenza virus is an important pathogen threatening the health of animals and human, which brings human many kinds of disease, especially lower respiratory tract infection involving infants and young children. In order to control the virus, it is necessary to fully understand the molecular basis resulting in the genetic diversity of the virus. Homologous recombination is one of mechanisms for the rapid change of genetic diversity. However, as a negative-strand virus, it is unknown whether the recombination can naturally take place in human PIV. In this study, we isolated and identified a mosaic serotype 3 human PIV (HPIV3) from in China, and also provided several putative PIV mosaics from previous reports to reveal that the recombination can naturally occur in the virus. In addition, two swine PIV3 isolates transferred from cattle to pigs were found to have mosaic genomes. These results suggest that homologous recombination can promote the genetic diversity and potentially bring some novel biologic characteristics of HPIV.
Carboxyl-terminal binding protein 1 (CtBP1) is a transcriptional co-repressor that represses expression of various tumor suppressor genes. In the present study, we identified miR-137 as a potential regulator of CtBP1 expression in melanoma cells. Expression of miR-137 in melanoma cell lines was found to inversely correlate with CtBP1 levels. Target Scan predicted a putative site for miR-137 within the CtBP1 3′ untranslated region (3′UTR) at nt 710-716, which is highly conserved across species. To explore the mechanism of miR-137 targeting CtBP1, we performed an Argonaute 2 (Ago2)-pull down assay, and miR-137 was identified in complex with CtBP1 mRNA. miR-137 suppressed CtBP1 3' UTR luciferase-reporter activity, and this effect was lost with deletion of the putative 3' UTR target-site. Consistent with the results of the reporter assay, ectopic expression of miR-137 reduced expression levels of CtBP1. Furthermore, expression of miR-137 increased the immediate downstream effectors of CtBP1, such as E-cadherin and Bax. The human miR-137 gene is located at chromosome 1p22, which has previously been determined to be a susceptive region for melanoma. This study suggests miR-137 may act as a tumor suppressor by directly targeting CtBP1 to inhibit epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and inducing apoptosis of melanoma cells, thus illustrating a functional link between miR-137 and CtBP1 in melanoma development.
CtBP1; miR-137; transcription; tumor suppressor; melanoma
TGF-β signaling can promote tumor formation and development or suppress it, depending on the cellular context and tumor stage. A potential target of this dual effect of TGF-β is HGF, as TGF-β can inhibit or promote its expression, although the mechanisms underlying this are largely unknown. In the present study, we found that mice with keratinocyte-specific deletion of the TGF-β signaling mediator Smad2 (referred to herein as K5.Smad2–/– mice), which have increased susceptibility to squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs), exhibited angiogenesis associated with epithelial overexpression of HGF and endothelial activation of the HGF receptor c-Met. Application of a c-Met inhibitor abrogated angiogenesis, suggesting that HGF overexpression plays a major role in angiogenesis associated with epithelial Smad2 loss. On the Hgf promoter, Smad2 was mainly associated with transcriptional corepressors, whereas Smad4 was mainly associated with the transcriptional coactivator CREB-binding protein (CBP/p300). Smad2 loss caused increased binding of Smad4 and CBP/p300 to the Hgf promoter. Consistent with this, knocking down Smad2 in human keratinocytes caused increased levels of HGF, which were abrogated by concomitant knockdown of Smad3 and Smad4. Importantly, the incidence of HGF-positive human SCC was high in cases with Smad2 loss and lower when Smad4 was also lost. We therefore conclude that Smad2 loss causes HGF upregulation via loss of Smad2-mediated transcriptional repression and enhanced Smad3/4-mediated transactivation. Since Smad2 is often downregulated in human SCCs, our data suggest a therapeutic strategy of blocking HGF/c-Met activation for Smad2-deficient SCCs.