Numerous epidemiological studies have examined associations of genetic variations in LEP (G2548A, -2548 nucleotide upstream of the ATG start site) and LEPR (Q223R, nonsynonymous SNP in exon 6) with cancer susceptibility; however, the findings are inconsistent. Therefore, we performed a meta-analysis to comprehensively evaluate such associations.
We searched published literature from MEDLINE, EMBASE, Web of Science and CBM for eligible publications. We also assessed genotype-based mRNA expression data from HapMap for rs7799039 (G2548A) and rs1137101 (Q223R) in normal cell lines derived from 270 subjects with different ethnicities.
The final analysis included 16 published studies of 6569 cases and 8405 controls for the LEP G2548A and 19 studies of 7504 cases and 9581 controls for the LEPR Q223R. Overall, LEP G2548A was statistically significantly associated with an increased risk of overall cancer (AA vs. GG: OR=1.27, 95% CI=1.05-1.54; recessive model: OR=1.19, 95% CI=1.00-1.41). Further stratifications by cancer type showed an increased risk for prostate cancer (recessive model: OR=1.26, 95% CI=1.05-1.51) but not for other cancers. For LEPR Q223R, no statistical evidence for an association with risk of cancer was found for all; however, further stratification by ethnicity showed an increased risk for Africans but not for other ethnicities. No significantly differences in LEP and LEPR mRNA expression were found among genotypes or by ethnicity.
Despite some limitations, this meta-analysis found some statistical evidence for an association between the LEP 2548AA genotype and overall risk of cancer, particularly for prostate cancer, but given this variant did not have an effect on mRNA expression, this association warrants additional validation in large and well-designed studies.
The Deleted in Azoospermia gene family encodes three germ cell-specific RNA-binding proteins (DAZ, DAZL and BOLL) that are essential for gametogenesis in diverse species. Targeted disruption of Boll in mice causes male-specific spermiogenic defects, but females are apparently fertile. Overexpression of human BOLL promotes the derivation of germ cell-like cells from genetically female (XX), but not male (XY) human ES cells however, suggesting a functional role for BOLL in regulating female gametogenesis in humans. Whether BOLL is expressed during oogenesis in mammals also remains unclear. We have therefore investigated the expression of BOLL during fetal oogenesis in humans and mice. We demonstrate that BOLL protein is expressed in the germ cells of the human fetal ovary, at a later developmental stage than, and almost mutually-exclusive to, the expression of DAZL. Strikingly, BOLL is downregulated, and DAZL re-expressed, as primordial follicles form, revealing BOLL expression to be restricted to a narrow window during fetal oogenesis. By quantifying the extent of co-expression of DAZL and BOLL with markers of meiosis, we show that this window likely corresponds to the later stages of meiotic prophase I. Finally, we demonstrate that Boll is also transiently expressed during oogenesis in the fetal mouse ovary, but is simultaneously co-expressed within the same germ cells as Dazl. These data reveal significant similarities and differences between the expression of BOLL homologues during oogenesis in humans and mice, and raise questions as to the validity of the Boll-/- mouse as a model for understanding BOLL function during human oogenesis.
Devices and materials intended for clinical applications as medical and implant devices should be evaluated to determine their biocompatibility in physiological systems. This article presents results from cytotoxicity assay of L929 mouse fibroblasts culture, tests for skin irritation, intracutaneous reactivity and sensitization, and material implantation tests for the novel copper/low-density polyethylene nanocomposite intrauterine device (nano-Cu/LDPE IUD) with potential for future clinical utilization. Cytotoxicity test in vitro was conducted to evaluate the change in morphology, growth and proliferation of cultured L929 mouse fibroblasts, which in vivo examination for skin irritation (n = 6) and intracutaneous reactivity (n = 6) were carried out to explore the irritant behavior in New Zealand White rabbits. Skin sensitization was implemented to evaluate the potential skin sensitizing in Hartley guinea pigs (n = 35). The materials were implanted into the spinal muscle of rabbits (n = 9). The cytotoxicity grade of the nano-Cu/LDPE IUD was 0–1, suggested that the composite was nontoxic or mildly cytotoxic; no irritation reaction and skin sensitization were identified in any animals of specific extracts prepared from the material under test; similarly to the control sides, the inflammatory reaction was observed in the rabbits living tissue of the implanted material in intramuscular implantation assay. They indicated that the novel composite intrauterine device presented potential for this type of application because they meet the requirements of the standard practices recommended for evaluating the biological reactivity. The nano-Cu/LDPE IUD has good biocompatibility, which is biologically safe for the clinical research as a novel contraceptive device.
Germline mutation of the tumor suppressor gene, adenomatous polyposis coli (APC), is responsible for familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) with nearly 100% risk for colon cancer at an early age. Although FAP is involved in only 1% of all colon cancer cases, over 80% of sporadic cancers harbor somatic mutations of APC. We show here that bromo-onoscapine (EM011), a rationally-designed synthetic derivative of a natural non-toxic tubulin-binding alkaloid-noscapine, that reduces the dynamics of microtubules, causes a reversible G2/M arrest in wild type mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs), but an aberrant exit from a brief mitotic block, followed by apoptosis in MEFs after APC deletion with siRNA. Furthermore, both β-catenin levels and activity fell to half the original levels with a concomitant reduction of cell proliferation-inducing cyclin D1, c-Myc, and induction of cytostatic protein p21 prior to caspase-3 activation. Additionally, we show a statistically significant reduction in the number of newly emerging intestinal polyps (to 35% compared with untreated mice) as well as the mean size of polyps (to 42% compared with untreated mice) in EM011-treated ApcMin/+ mice as compared to their sham-treated control littermates. The remaining polyps in the EM011 treated group of ApcMin/+ mice showed evidence of elevated apoptosis as revealed by immunohistochemistry. We failed to detect any evidence of histopathological and hematological toxicities following EM011 treatment. Taken together, our data are persuasive that a clinical trial of EM011 is possible for the prevention/amelioration of polyposis in FAP patients.
Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (AFP); Colon Cancer; bromo noscapine; EM011; Noscapine; β-catenin
Caspase 7 (CASP7) is an important regulator and executioner in the apoptosis pathway and plays a crucial role in cancer development and progression. However, few studies have evaluated associations between functional single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the 3′ untranslational region (UTR) of CASP7 and risk of gastric cancer.
In a case-control study of 1117 patients with gastric cancer and 1146 cancer-free controls with frequency matching on age and sex, we genotyped four potentially functional SNPs (rs4353229T>C, rs10787498T>G, rs1127687G>A and rs12247479G>A) located in the microRNA binding sites of the CASP7 3′ UTR by using Taqman assays and evaluated their associations with risk of gastric cancer by using logistic regression analyses as well as multifactorial dimension reduction (MDR) analysis.
In the single-locus analysis, only the CASP7 rs4353229 TT genotype was associated with 0.83-fold decreased risk (95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.70–0.98) of gastric cancer under a recessive model, compared with the CT/CC genotypes. In the combined analysis of all four SNPs, we found that the risk of gastric cancer decreased by 19% in those carrying any of the risk genotypes (adjusted odds ratio = 0.81, 95% CI = 0.68–0.96), compared with those carrying zero risk genotypes, and this risk was more evident in subgroups of younger age (<59 years), females, non-smokers, non-drinkers and patients with non-gastric cardia adenocarcinoma. Further MDR analysis suggested some evidence of interactions between the combined genotypes and other risk factors for gastric cancer.
Potentially functional CASP7 variants may contribute to risk of gastric cancer. Larger studies with different ethnic populations are warranted to validate our findings.
SIL-TAL1 rearrangement is common in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL), however its prognostic implication remains controversial. To investigate the clinical characteristics and outcome of this subtype in Chinese population, we systemically reviewed 62 patients with newly diagnosed T-ALL, including 15 patients with SIL-TAL1 rearrangement. We found that SIL-TAL1+ T-ALL was characterized by higher white blood cell count (P = 0.029) at diagnosis, predominant cortical T-ALL immunophenotype (P = 0.028) of the leukemic blasts, and a higher prevalence of tumor lysis syndrome (TLS, P<0.001) and disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC, P<0.001), which led to a higher early mortality (P = 0.011). Compared with SIL-TAL1− patients, SIL-TAL1+ patients had shorter relapse free survival (P = 0.007) and overall survival (P = 0.002). Our NOD/SCID xenotransplantation model also demonstrated that SIL-TAL1+ mice models had earlier disease onset, higher leukemia cell load in peripheral blood and shorter overall survival (P<0.001). Moreover, the SIL-TAL1+ mice models exerted a tendency of TLS/DIC and seemed vulnerable towards chemotherapy, which further simulated our clinical settings. These data demonstrate that SIL-TAL1 rearrangement identifies a distinct subtype with inferior outcome which could allow for individual therapeutic stratification for T-ALL patients.
Crocodilians are diving reptiles that can hold their breath under water for long periods of time and are crepuscular animals with excellent sensory abilities. They comprise a sister lineage of birds and have no sex chromosome. Here we report the genome sequence of the endangered Chinese alligator (Alligator sinensis) and describe its unique features. The next-generation sequencing generated 314 Gb of raw sequence, yielding a genome size of 2.3 Gb. A total of 22 200 genes were predicted in Alligator sinensis using a de novo, homology- and RNA-based combined model. The genetic basis of long-diving behavior includes duplication of the bicarbonate-binding hemoglobin gene, co-functioning of routine phosphate-binding and special bicarbonate-binding oxygen transport, and positively selected energy metabolism, ammonium bicarbonate excretion and cardiac muscle contraction. Further, we elucidated the robust Alligator sinensis sensory system, including a significantly expanded olfactory receptor repertoire, rapidly evolving nerve-related cellular components and visual perception, and positive selection of the night vision-related opsin and sound detection-associated otopetrin. We also discovered a well-developed immune system with a considerable number of lineage-specific antigen-presentation genes for adaptive immunity as well as expansion of the tripartite motif-containing C-type lectin and butyrophilin genes for innate immunity and expression of antibacterial peptides. Multifluorescence in situ hybridization showed that alligator chromosome 3, which encodes DMRT1, exhibits significant synteny with chicken chromosome Z. Finally, population history analysis indicated population admixture 0.60-1.05 million years ago, when the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau was uplifted.
diving hypoxia; oxidative phosphorylation; olfaction; immunity; FISH; SNP
The mTOR gene regulates cell growth by controlling mRNA translation, ribosome biogenesis, autophagy, and metabolism. Abnormally increased expression of mTOR was associated with carcinogenesis, and its functional single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) may regulate the expression of mTOR and thus contribute to cancer risk.
In a hospital-based case-control study of 1004 prostate cancer (PCa) cases and 1051 cancer-free controls, we genotyped six potentially functional SNPs of mTOR (rs2536 T>C, rs1883965 G>A, rs1034528 G>C, rs17036508 T>C, rs3806317 A>G, and rs2295080 T>G) and assessed their associations with risk of PCa by using logistic regression analysis.
In the single-locus analysis, we found a significantly increased risk of PCa associated with mTOR rs2536 CT/CC and rs1034528 CG/CC genotypes [adjusted OR = 1.42 (1.13–1.78), P = 0.003 and 1.29 (1.07–1.55), P = 0.007), respectively], compared with their common homozygous genotypes, whereas mTOR rs2295080 GT/GG genotypes were associated with a decreased risk of PCa [adjusted OR = 0.76 (0.64–0.92), P = 0.003], compared with wild-type TT genotypes. In the combined analysis of the six SNPs, we found that individuals carrying two or more adverse genotypes had an increased risk of PCa [adjusted OR = 1.24 (1.04–1.47), P = 0.016], compared with individuals carrying less than two adverse genotypes. In the multiple dimension reduction analysis, body mass index (BMI) was the best one-factor model with the highest CVC (100%) and the lowest prediction error (42.7%) among all seven factors. The model including an interaction among BMI, rs17036508, and rs2536 was the best three-factor model with the highest CVC (100%) and the lowest prediction error of 41.9%. These findings suggested that mTOR SNPs may contribute to the risk of PCa in Eastern Chinese men, but the effect was weak and needs further validation by larger population-based studies.
We recently developed an orthogonal, high-throughput assay to identify peptides that self-assemble into potent, equilibrium pores in synthetic lipid bilayers. Here, we use this assay as a high-throughput screen to select for highly potent pore-forming peptides from a 7,776-member rational combinatorial peptide library based on the sequence of the natural pore-forming peptide toxin melittin. In the library we varied ten critical residues in the melittin sequence, chosen to test specific structural hypotheses about the mechanism of pore formation. Using the new high-throughput assay, we screened the library for gain-of-function sequences at a peptide to lipid ratio of 1:1000 where native melittin is not active. More than 99% of the library sequences were also inactive under these conditions. A small number of library members (0.1%) were highly active. From these we identified 14 potent, gain-of-function, pore-forming sequences. These sequences differed from melittin in only 2–6 amino acids out of 26. Some native residues were highly conserved and others were consistently changed. The two factors that were essential for gain-of-function were the preservation of melittin's proline-dependent break in the middle of the helix and the improvement and extension the amphipathic nature of the α-helix. In particular the highly cationic carboxyl-terminal sequence of melittin, is consistently changed in the gain-of-function variants to a sequence that it is capable of participating in an extended amphipathic α-helix. The most potent variants reside in a membrane-spanning orientation, in contrast to the parent melittin, which is predominantly surface bound. This structural information, taken together with the high-throughput tools developed for this work, enable the identification, refinement and optimization of pore-forming peptides for many potential applications.
To estimate the relationship between genetic polymorphisms of X-ray repair cross-complementing group 1 (XRCC1) and the susceptibility to childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).
Relevant case-control studies were enrolled in the meta-analysis. We applied Rev Man 4.2 software to pool raw data and test studies’ heterogeneity and to calculate the incorporated odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence interval (95% CI).
Our data showed that the OR for the Gln allele of the Arg399Gln polymorphism, compared with the Arg allele, was 1.35 (95% CI, 1.16-1.57; P<0.0001) for childhood ALL patients. Similarly, the homozygous genotype Gln/Gln and heterozygous genotype Arg/Gln both significantly increased the risk of childhood ALL compared with the wild genotype Arg/Arg (OR =1.58; 95% CI, 1.13-2.21; P=0.008; OR =1.51; 95% CI, 1.21-1.87; P=0.0002). The dominant model of Arg399Gln was associated with childhood ALL risk (OR =1.54; 95% CI, 1.25-1.89; P<0.0001). The ethnic subgroup analysis demonstrated that the Gln allele in all five ethnic groups was prone to be a risk factor for childhood ALL just with different degrees of correlation while Arg194Trp SNP showed a protective or risk factor or irrelevant thing in different races.
XRCC1 399 polymorphism may increase the risk of childhood ALL. Different ethnic groups with some gene polymorphism have different disease risks.
X-ray repair cross-complementing group 1 (XRCC1); gene polymorphism; childhood; acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL)
Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the major cause of death in the United States. Coronary artery calcification (CAC) scores are independent predictors of CHD. African Americans (AA) have higher rates of CHD but are less well-studied in genomic studies. We assembled the largest AA data resource currently available with measured CAC to identify associated genetic variants.
We analyzed log transformed CAC quantity (ln(CAC + 1)), for association with ~2.5 million single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and performed an inverse-variance weighted meta-analysis on results for 5,823 AA from 8 studies. Heritability was calculated using family studies. The most significant SNPs among AAs were evaluated in European Ancestry (EA) CAC data; conversely, the significance of published SNPs for CAC/CHD in EA was queried within our AA meta-analysis.
Heritability of CAC was lower in AA (~30%) than previously reported for EA (~50%). No SNP reached genome wide significance (p < 5E-08). Of 67 SNPs with p < 1E-05 in AA there was no evidence of association in EA CAC data. Four SNPs in regions previously implicated in CAC/CHD (at 9p21 and PHACTR1) in EA reached nominal significance for CAC in AA, with concordant direction. Among AA, rs16905644 (p = 4.08E-05) had the strongest association in the 9p21 region.
While we observed substantial heritability for CAC in AA, we failed to identify loci for CAC at genome-wide significant levels despite having adequate power to detect alleles with moderate to large effects. Although suggestive signals in AA were apparent at 9p21 and additional CAC and CAD EA loci, overall the data suggest that even larger samples and an ethnic specific focus will be required for GWAS discoveries for CAC in AA populations.
Atherosclerosis; Coronary artery calcium; Genetics; Meta-analysis; African-American
Autoreactive CD4 T cells play a central role in the development of type 1 diabetes. The BDC-panel of diabetogenic T cell clones was originally isolated from non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice and has been used to study the role of autoreactive CD4 T cells and T cell autoantigens in the development of diabetes. Recent studies by our group have led to the identification of two new target antigens for clones of this panel. This review describes the proteomic strategy used for antigen identification, the antigens identified, and the potential contribution of post-translational modification to autoantigen generation. In addition, we compare peptide epitopes for the T cell clones and discuss their potential applications in investigating the role of T cell autoantigens in the pathogenesis and regulation of disease.
Autoreactive T Cells; Type 1 Diabetes; Autoantigens; Post-translational Modification
membrane protein; potassium channel; translocation; peptide; voltage sensor
Offspring of pregnancy complicated with preeclampsia are at high risk for hypertension, stroke and possibly obesity. The mechanisms behind the association of intrauterine exposure to preeclampsia and high risk of health problems in the later life remain largely unknown. The aims of the current investigation were to determine the changes in DNA methylation at IGF2 and GNAS DMR in offspring of preeclamptic pregnancy and to explore the possible mechanisms underlying the association between maternal preeclampsia and high risk for health problems in the later life of their offspring.
Umbilical cord blood was taken from infants born to women of preeclampsia (n=56), gestational hypertension (n=23) and normal pregnancy (n=81). DNA methylation levels of IGF2 and GNAS DMR were determined by Massarray quantitative methylation analysis. Methylation levels at IGF2 DMR were significantly lower in preeclampsia than normal pregnancy. The average methylation level at IGF2 DMR was significantly correlated with preeclampsia even after birth weight, maternal age, gestational age at delivery and fetal gender were adjusted. The difference in methylation level was not significantly different between mild and severe preeclampsia. The methylation level at GNAS DMR was not significantly correlated with birth weight, maternal age, gestational age at delivery, fetal gender, preeclampsia or gestational hypertension.
We concluded preeclampsia induced a decrease in methylation level at IGF 2 DMR, and this might be among the mechanisms behind the association between intrauterine exposure to preeclampsia and high risk for metabolic diseases in the later life of the infants.
Preeclampsia; Offspring; DNA methylation; IGF2; GNAS; Metabolic diseases
In many case–control genetic association studies, a set of correlated secondary phenotypes that may share common genetic factors with disease status are collected. Examination of these secondary phenotypes can yield valuable insights about the disease etiology and supplement the main studies. However, due to unequal sampling probabilities between cases and controls, standard regression analysis that assesses the effect of SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms) on secondary phenotypes using cases only, controls only, or combined samples of cases and controls can yield inflated type I error rates when the test SNP is associated with the disease. To solve this issue, we propose a Gaussian copula-based approach that efficiently models the dependence between disease status and secondary phenotypes. Through simulations, we show that our method yields correct type I error rates for the analysis of secondary phenotypes under a wide range of situations. To illustrate the effectiveness of our method in the analysis of real data, we applied our method to a genome-wide association study on high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), where “cases” are defined as individuals with extremely high HDL-C level and “controls” are defined as those with low HDL-C level. We treated 4 quantitative traits with varying degrees of correlation with HDL-C as secondary phenotypes and tested for association with SNPs in LIPG, a gene that is well known to be associated with HDL-C. We show that when the correlation between the primary and secondary phenotypes is >0.2, the P values from case–control combined unadjusted analysis are much more significant than methods that aim to correct for ascertainment bias. Our results suggest that to avoid false-positive associations, it is important to appropriately model secondary phenotypes in case–control genetic association studies.
Case–control studies; Statistical genetics; Statistical methods in Epidemiology
To enable selection and characterization of highly potent pore-forming peptides, we developed a set of novel assays to probe 1) the potency of peptide pores at very low peptide concentration; 2) the presence or absence of pores in membranes after equilibration; 3) the interbilayer exchangeability of pore-forming peptides; and 4) the degree to which pore-forming peptides disrupt the bilayer organization at equilibrium. Here, we use these assays to characterize, in parallel, six membrane-permeabilizing peptides belonging to multiple classes. We tested the antimicrobial peptides LL37 and dermaseptin S1, the well-known natural lytic peptides melittin and alamethicin, and the very potent lentivirus lytic peptides LLP1 and LLP2 from the cytoplasmic domain of HIV GP41. The assays verified that that the antimicrobial peptides are not potent pore formers, and form only transient permeabilization pathways in bilayers which are not detectable at equilibrium. The other peptides are far more potent and form pores that are still detectable in vesicles after many hours. Among the peptides studies, alamethicin is unique in that it is very potent, readily exchanges between vesicles and disturbs the local bilayer structure even at very low concentration. The equally potent LLP peptides do not exchange readily and do not perturb the bilayer at equilibrium. Comparison of these classes of pore forming peptides in parallel using the set of assays we developed demonstrates our ability to detect differences in their mechanism of action. Importantly, these assays will be very useful in high-throughput screening where highly potent pore-forming peptides can be selected based on their mechanism of action.
There have been few genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of prostate cancer among diverse populations. To search for novel prostate cancer risk variants, we conducted GWAS of prostate cancer in Japanese and Latinos. In addition, we tested prostate cancer risk variants and developed genetic risk models of prostate cancer for Japanese and Latinos.
Our first stage GWAS of prostate cancer included Japanese (cases/controls=1,033/1,042) and Latino (cases/controls=1,043/1,057) from the Multiethnic Cohort. Significant associations from stage 1 (P < 1.0×10−4) were examined in silico in GWAS of prostate cancer (stage 2) in Japanese (cases/controls=1,583/3,386) and Europeans (cases/controls=1,854/1,894).
No novel stage 1 SNPs outside of known risk regions reached genome-wide significance. For Japanese, in stage 1, the most notable putative novel association was seen with 10 SNPs (P<8.0. x10−6) at chromosome 2q33; however, this was not replicated in stage 2. For Latinos, the most significant association was observed with rs17023900 at the known 3p12 risk locus (stage 1: OR=1.45; P=7.01×10−5 and stage 2: OR=1.58; P =3.05×10−7). The majority of the established risk variants for prostate cancer, 79% and 88%, were positively associated with prostate cancer in Japanese and Latinos (stage I), respectively. The cumulative effects of these variants significantly influence prostate cancer risk (OR per allele=1.10; P = 2.71×10−25 and OR=1.07; P = 1.02×10−16 for Japanese and Latinos, respectively).
Conclusion and Impact
Our GWAS of prostate cancer did not identify novel genome-wide significant variants. However, our findings demonstrate that established risk variants for prostate cancer significantly contribute to risk among Japanese and Latinos.
Atherosclerotic plaque is subjected to a repetitive deformation due to arterial pulsatility during each cardiac cycle and damage may be accumulated over a time period causing fibrous cap (FC) fatigue, which may ultimately lead to rupture. In this study, we investigate the fatigue process in human carotid plaques using in vivo carotid magnetic resonance (MR) imaging.
Twenty seven patients with atherosclerotic carotid artery disease were included in this study. Multi-sequence, high-resolution MR imaging was performed to depict the plaque structure. Twenty patients were found with ruptured FC or ulceration and 7 without. Modified Paris law was used to govern crack propagation and the propagation direction was perpendicular to the maximum principal stress at the element node located at the vulnerable site.
The predicted crack initiations from 20 patients with FC defect all matched with the locations of the in vivo observed FC defect. Crack length increased rapidly with numerical steps. The natural logarithm of fatigue life decreased linearly with the local FC thickness (R2 = 0.67). Plaques (n=7) without FC defect had a longer fatigue life compared with those with FC defect (p = 0.03).
Fatigue process seems to explain the development of cracks in FC, which ultimately lead to plaque rupture.
Atherosclerosis; Carotid; MRI; Fatigue; Rupture
The zinc finger transcription factor Slug (Snai2) serves a wide variety of functions in the epidermis, with roles in skin development, hair growth, wound healing, skin cancer, and sunburn. Slug is expressed in basal keratinocytes and hair follicles where it is important in maintaining epidermal homeostasis. Slug also helps coordinate the skin response to exogenous stimuli. Slug is rapidly induced by a variety of growth factors and injurious agents and Slug controls, directly or indirectly, a variety of keratinocyte responses, including changes in differentiation, adhesion, motility, and production of inflammatory mediators. Slug thus modulates the interactions of the keratinocyte with its environment and with surrounding cells. The function of Slug in the epidermis appears to be distinct from that of the closely related Snail transcription factor.
Skin; Snail family transcription factors; Ultraviolet rays; Wound healing; Skin neoplasms
Ras plays a pivotal role in many cellular activities, and its subcellular compartmentalization provides spatial and temporal selectivity. Here we report a mode of spatial regulation of Ras signaling in the Golgi apparatus by two highly homologous proteins PAQR10 and PAQR11 of the progestin and AdipoQ receptors family. PAQR10 and PAQR11 are exclusively localized in the Golgi apparatus. Overexpression of PAQR10/PAQR11 stimulates basal and EGF-induced ERK phosphorylation and increases the expression of ERK target genes in a dose-dependent manner. Overexpression of PAQR10/PAQR11 markedly elevates Golgi localization of HRas, NRas and KRas4A, but not KRas4B. PAQR10 and PAQR11 can also interact with HRas, NRas and KRas4A, but not KRas4B. The increased Ras protein at the Golgi apparatus by overexpression of PAQR10/PAQR11 is in an active state. Consistently, knockdown of PAQR10 and PAQR11 reduces EGF-stimulated ERK phosphorylation and Ras activation at the Golgi apparatus. Intriguingly, PAQR10 and PAQR11 are able to interact with RasGRP1, a guanine nucleotide exchange protein of Ras, and increase Golgi localization of RasGRP1. The C1 domain of RasGRP1 is both necessary and sufficient for the interaction of RasGRP1 with PAQR10/PAQR11. The simulation of ERK phosphorylation by overexpressed PAQR10/PAQR11 is abrogated by downregulation of RasGRP1. Furthermore, differentiation of PC12 cells is significantly enhanced by overexpression of PAQR10/PAQR11. Collectively, this study uncovers a new paradigm of spatial regulation of Ras signaling in the Golgi apparatus by PAQR10 and PAQR11.
Ras; Signal transduction; Golgi apparatus; compartmentalization; ERK
The nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) is an important therapeutic target for a wide range of pathophysiological conditions, for which rational drug designs often require receptor structures at atomic resolution. Recent proof-of-concept studies demonstrated a water-solubilization approach to structure determination of membrane proteins by NMR (Slovic et al., PNAS, 101: 1828-1833, 2004; Ma et al., PNAS, 105: 16537-42, 2008). We report here the computational design and experimental characterization of WSA, a water-soluble protein with ∼83% sequence identity to the transmembrane (TM) domain of the nAChR α1 subunit. Although the design was based on a low-resolution structural template, the resulting high-resolution NMR structure agrees remarkably well with the recent crystal structure of the TM domains of the bacterial Gloeobacter violaceus pentameric ligand-gated ion channel (GLIC), demonstrating the robustness and general applicability of the approach. NMR T2 dispersion measurements showed that the TM2 domain of the designed protein was dynamic, undergoing conformational exchange on the NMR timescale. Photoaffinity labeling with isoflurane and propofol photolabels identified a common binding site in the immediate proximity of the anesthetic binding site found in the crystal structure of the anesthetic-GLIC complex. Our results illustrate the usefulness of high-resolution NMR analyses of water-solubilized channel proteins for the discovery of potential drug binding sites.
Transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) plays a key role in hypertrophic scar formation. A lot of studies have shown that TGF-β1 stimulates fibroblast proliferation, collagen production, and α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) expression, inhibits matrix degradation and eventually leads to scar formation. Smad proteins are important intracellular mediators of TGF-β1 signaling, and Smad ubiquitination regulatory factor 2 (Smurf2), an ubiquitin ligase for Smads, plays critical roles in the regulation of TGF-β1/Smad signaling. It was reported that Smurf2 was abnormally expressed during the process of liver fibrosis and lung fibrosis. Hypertrophic scarring is a fibroproliferative disorder of the dermis that occurs following wounding. However, little is known about the expression of Smurf2 in hypertrophic scarring. We hypothesized that TGF-β1 signaling cannot be disrupted after wound epithelialization probably due to abnormal expression of Smurf2 in hypertrophic scar fibroblasts. In the present study, we found that hypertrophic scar fibroblasts exhibited increased Smurf2 protein and mRNA levels compared with normal fibroblasts, and the expression of Smurf2 gradually increased in hypertrophic scar fibroblasts after TGF-β1 stimulation. Furthermore, we transfected Smurf2 siRNA into hypertrophic scar fibroblasts, and we found that silencing the expression of Smurf2 in hypertrophic scar fibroblasts dramatically reduced TGF-β1 production, inhibited TGF-β1-induced α-SMA expression and inhibited TGF-β1-induced collagen I synthesis. Our results suggest that the enhanced expression of Smurf2 is involved in the progression of hypertrophic scarring.
Smad ubiquitination regulatory factor 2; TGF-β1; Hypertrophic scar
Although anaplasmosis cases have been nationally identified in China, no human isolates of A. phagocytophilum have been obtained, which limits the analysis of any molecular and genetic contributions to patients' severe clinical manifestations and the study of the bacteria's pathogeneses in China. Given this situation, a joint project was conducted in 2009–2010. A total of 421 febrile cases of unknown etiology were collected and the patients' blood samples were collected for laboratory diagnoses including serologic diagnosis based on the four-fold rise in the anti- A. phagocytophilum IgG titer by indirect micro-immunofluorescence assay (IFA), positive PCR assay and confirmation of A. phagocytophilum DNA and positive culture of A. phagocytophilum and confirmed by amplification and sequencing of the 16S rRNA and ank A genes of the A. phagocytophilum isolates. A total of 570 ticks were collected from the patients' domestic animals (456) and from wild fields (114) for culturing and amplifying and sequencing the 16S rRNA gene of A. phagocytophilum. Phylogenetic analyses were performed on the 16S rRNA and ank A gene sequences of the isolates and the ticks tested in the study. A total of 46 (10.9%) confirmed and 16 (3.8%) probable cases were diagnosed and severe clinical features and higher mortality rates were observed in these Chinese patients. Five isolates were obtained and the 16S rRNA genes of the 5 isolates were conserved but variety for ank A genes. Two human isolates and 1 tick isolate from Shandong Peninsula, where all patients exhibited severe clinical manifestations, were grouped as one clan based on the phylogenetic analyses, while 2 other human isolates were clustered in a second clan. 43.5% of H. longicornis were infected with A. phagocytophilum.The present study is the first to obtain clinical isolates of A. phagocytophilum in China. The diversity of the ank A genes of Chinese isolates will help us to further discern the relationship between the variations in the ank A genes and the severity of the disease's clinical manifestations in China.
Nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) is a central transcriptional factor and a pleiotropic regulator of many genes involved in acute lung injury. Andrographolide is found in the plant of Andrographis paniculata and widely used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, exhibiting potently anti-inflammatory property by inhibiting NF-κB activity. The purpose of our investigation was designed to reveal the effect of andrographolide on various aspects of LPS induced inflammation in vivo and in vitro.
Methods and Results
In vivo, BALB/C mice were subjected to LPS injection with or without andrographolide treatments to induce ALI model. In vitro, MLE-12 cells were stimulated with LPS in the presence and absence of andrographolide. In vivo, pulmonary inflammation, pulmonary edema, ultrastructure changes of type II alveolar epithelial cells, MPO activity, total cells, neutrophils, macrophages, TNF-α, IL-6 and IL-1β in BALF, along with the expression of VCAM-1 and VEGF were dose-dependently attenuated by andrographolide. Meanwhile, in vitro, the expression of VCAM-1 and VEGF was also reduced by andrographolide. Moreover, our data showed that andrographolide significantly inhibited the ratios of phospho-IKKβ/total IKKβ, phospho-IκBα/total IκBα and phospho-NF-κB p65/total NF-κB p65, and NF-κB p65 DNA binding activities, both in vivo and in vitro.
These results indicate that andrographolide dose-dependently suppressed the severity of LPS-induced ALI, more likely by virtue of andrographolide-mediated NF-κB inhibition at the level of IKKβ activation. These results suggest andrographolide may be considered as an effective and safe drug for the potential treatment of ALI.
To verify circulating tumor cell (CTC) prognostic utility in stage IV resected melanoma patients in a prospective international phase III clinical trial.
Summary Background Data
Our studies of melanoma patients in phase II clinical trials demonstrated prognostic significance for CTCs in patients with AJCC stage IV melanoma. CTCs were assessed to determine prognostic utility in follow-up of disease-free stage IV patients pre- and during treatment.
After complete metastasectomy, patients were prospectively enrolled in a randomized trial of adjuvant therapy with a whole-cell melanoma vaccine plus Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vs. placebo plus BCG. Blood specimens obtained pretreatment (n=244) and during treatment (n=214) were evaluated by quantitative real-time reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) for expression of MART-1, MAGE-A3 and PAX3 mRNA biomarkers. Univariate and multivariate Cox analyses examined CTC biomarker expression with respect to clinicopathological variables.
CTC biomarker(s) (≥1) was detected in 54% of patients pretreatment and in 86% of patients over the first 3 months. With a median follow-up of 21.9 months, 71% of patients recurred and 48% expired. CTC levels were not associated with known prognostic factors or treatment arm. In multivariate analysis, pretreatment CTC (>0 vs. 0 biomarker) status was significantly associated with disease-free survival (DFS) (HR 1.64, p=0.002) and overall survival (OS) (HR 1.53, p=0.028). Serial CTC (>0 vs. 0 biomarker) status was also significantly associated with DFS (HR 1.91, p=0.02) and OS (HR 2.57, p=0.012).
CTC assessment can provide prognostic discrimination before and during adjuvant treatment for resected stage IV melanoma patients. Study registration ID# NCT00052156.
Melanoma; Circulating Tumor Cells; Stage IV; Prognosis