Imprinted genes are commonly clustered in domains across the mammalian genome, suggesting a degree of coregulation via long-range coordination of their monoallelic transcription. The distal end of mouse chromosome 7 contains two clusters of imprinted genes within a ~1 Mb domain. This region is conserved on human 11q15.5 where it is implicated in the Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome. In both species, imprinted regulation requires two critical cis-acting imprinting centres, carrying different germline epigenetic marks and mediating imprinted expression in the proximal and distal sub-domains. The clusters are separated by a region containing the gene for tyrosine hydroxylase (Th) as well as a high density of short repeats and retrotransposons in the mouse. We have used the Cre-loxP recombination system in vivo to engineer an interstitial deletion of this ~280-kb intervening region previously proposed to participate in the imprinting mechanism or to act as a boundary between the two sub-domains. The deletion allele, Del7AI, is silent with respect to epigenetic marking at the two flanking imprinting centres. Reciprocal inheritance of Del7AI demonstrates that the deleted region, which represents more than a quarter of the previously defined imprinted domain, is associated with intrauterine growth restriction in maternal heterozygotes. In homozygotes, the deficiency behaves as a Th null allele and can be rescued pharmacologically by bypassing the metabolic requirement for TH in utero. Our results show that the deleted interval is not required for normal imprinting on distal Chr 7 and uncover a new imprinted growth phenotype.
PMID: 19684026 CAMSID: cams3629
Mutations in the human NPHP5 gene cause retinal and renal disease but the precise mechanisms by which NPHP5 functions are not understood. We report that NPHP5 is a centriolar protein whose depletion inhibits an early step of ciliogenesis, a phenotype reminiscent of Cep290 loss and contrary to IFT88 loss. Functional dissection of NPHP5 interactions with Cep290 and CaM reveals a requirement of the former for ciliogenesis, while the latter prevents NPHP5 self-aggregation. Disease-causing mutations lead to truncated products unable to bind Cep290 and localize to centrosomes, thereby compromising cilia formation. In contrast, a modifier mutation cripples CaM-binding but has no overt effect on ciliogenesis. Drugs that antagonize negative regulators of the ciliogenic pathway can rescue ciliogenesis in cells depleted of NPHP5, with response profiles similar to those of Cep290- but not IFT88-depleted cells. Our results uncover the underlying molecular basis of disease and provide novel insights into mitigating NPHP5 deficiency.
PMID: 23446637 CAMSID: cams3098
We evaluated the hypothesis that dopaminergic polymorphisms are risk factors for schizophrenia (SZ). In stage I, we screened 18 dopamine-related genes in two independent US Caucasian samples: 150 trios and 328 cases/501 controls. The most promising associations were detected with SLC6A3 (alias DAT), DRD3, COMT and SLC18A2 (alias VMAT2). In stage II, we comprehensively evaluated these four genes by genotyping 68 SNPs in all 478 cases and 501 controls from stage I. Fifteen (23.1%) significant associations were found (p ≤ 0.05). We sought epistasis between pairs of SNPs providing evidence of a main effect and observed 17 significant interactions (169 tests); 41.2% of significant interactions involved rs3756450 (5′ near promoter) or rs464049 (intron 4) at SLC6A3. In stage III, we confirmed our findings by genotyping 65 SNPs among 659 Bulgarian trios. Both SLC6A3 variants implicated in the US interactions were overtransmitted in this cohort (rs3756450, p = 0.035; rs464049, p = 0.011). Joint analyses from stages II and III identified associations at all four genes (pjoint < 0.05). We tested 29 putative interactions from stage II and detected replication between seven locus pairs (p ≤ 0.05). Simulations suggested our stage II and stage III interaction results were unlikely to have occurred by chance (p = 0.008 and 0.001, respectively). In stage IV we evaluasted rs464049 and rs3756450 for functional effects and found significant allele-specific differences at rs3756450 using electrophoretic mobility shift assays and dualluciferase promoter assays. Our data suggest that a network of dopaminergic polymorphisms increase risk for SZ.
Non-syndromic cleft lip with or without cleft palate (NSCLP) results from the complex interaction between genes and environmental factors. Candidate gene analysis and genome scans have been employed to identify the genes contributing to NSCLP. In this study, we evaluated the 16q24.1 chromosomal region, which has been identified by multiple genome scans as an NSCLP region of interest. Two candidate genes were found in the region: interferon regulatory factor 8 (IRF8) and cysteine-rich secretory protein LCCL domain containing 2 (CRISPLD2). Initially, Caucasian and Hispanic NSCLP multiplex families and simplex parent–child trios were genotyped for single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in both IRF8 and CRISPLD2. CRISPLD2 was subsequently genotyped in a data set comprised of NSCLP families from Colombia, South America. Linkage disequilibrium analysis identified a significant association between CRISPLD2 and NSCLP in both our Caucasian and Hispanic NSCLP cohorts. SNP rs1546124 and haplotypes between rs1546124 and either rs4783099 or rs16974880 were significant in the Caucasian multiplex population (P = 0.01, P = 0.002 and P = 0.001, respectively). An altered transmission of CRISPLD2 SNPs rs8061351 (P = 0.02) and rs2326398 (P = 0.06) was detected in the Hispanic population. No association was found between CRISPLD2 and our Colombian population or IRF8 and NSCLP. In situ hybridization showed that CRISPLD2 is expressed in the mandible, palate and nasopharynx regions during craniofacial development at E13.5–E17.5, respectively. Altogether, these data suggest that genetic variation in CRISPLD2 has a role in the etiology of NSCLP.
We applied genetic tools available in Drosophila to identify candidate substrates of the UBE3A ubiquitin ligase, the gene responsible for Angelman syndrome (AS). Human UBE3A was expressed in Drosophila heads to identify proteins differentially regulated in UBE3A-expressing versus wild-type extracts. Using two-dimensional gel and MALDI-TOF analysis, we detected 20 proteins that were differentially regulated by over-expression of human UBE3A in Drosophila heads. One protein responsive to UBE3A was the Rho-GEF pebble (pbl). Here, we present three lines of evidence suggesting that UBE3A regulates Pbl. First, we show genetic evidence that UBE3A and the Drosophila de-ubiquitinase fat facets (faf) exert opposing effects on Pbl function. Secondly, we find that both Pbl and ECT2, the mammalian orthologue of Pbl called epithelial cell transforming sequence 2 oncogene, physically interact with their respective ubiquitin E3 ligases. Finally, we show that Ect2 expression is regulated by Ube3a in mouse neurons as the pattern of Ect2 expression is dramatically altered in the hippocampus and cerebellum of Ube3a null mice. These results suggest that an orthologous UBE3A post-translational regulatory pathway regulates neuronal outgrowth in the mammalian brain and that dysregulation of this pathway may result in neurological phenotypes including AS and possibly other autism spectrum disorders.
Results from two studies have implicated the interferon regulatory gene IRF5 as a susceptibility gene in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). In this study, we conducted a family-based association analysis in 380 UK SLE nuclear families. Using a higher density of markers than has hitherto been screened, we show that there is association with two SNPs in the first intron, rs2004640 (P = 3.4 × 10−4) and rs3807306 (P = 4.9 × 10−4), and the association extends into the 3′-untranslated region (UTR). There is a single haplotype block encompassing IRF5 and we show for the first time that the gene comprises two over-transmitted haplotypes and a single under-transmitted haplotype. The strongest association is with a TCTAACT haplotype (T:U = 1.92, P = 5.8 × 10−5), which carries all the over-transmitted alleles from this study. Haplotypes carrying the T alleles of rs2004640 and rs2280714 and the A allele of rs10954213 are over-transmitted in SLE families. The TAT haplotype shows a dose-dependent relationship with mRNA expression. A differential expression pattern was seen between two expression probes located each side of rs10954213 in the 3′-UTR. rs10954213 shows the strongest association with RNA expression levels (P = 1 × 10−14). The A allele of rs10954213 creates a functional polyadenylation site and the A genotype correlates with increased expression of a transcript variant containing a shorter 3′-UTR. Expression levels of transcript variants with the shorter or longer 3′-UTRs are inversely correlated. Our data support a new mechanism by which an IRF5 polymorphism controls the expression of alternate transcript variants which may have different effects on interferon signalling.
Relative deficiency of pentraxin proteins is implicated in the pathogenesis of systemic lupus erythematosus. The C-reactive protein (CRP) response is defective in patients with acute flares of disease, and mice with targeted deletions of the serum amyloid P component gene (Sap) develop a lupus-like illness. In humans, the genes for CRP (CRP) and SAP (APCS) map to 1q23.2 within an interval linked with SLE. We have investigated the candidate genes CRP and APCS in two cohorts totalling 586 UK simplex SLE families. The inheritance of an intronic dinucleotide repeat and seven single nucleotide polymorphisms in the CRP and APCS genes was examined by application of family-based tests of association and linkage. Basal levels of CRP were influenced independently by two polymorphisms at the CRP locus, CRP 2 and CRP 4. Furthermore, the latter polymorphism was linked/associated with SLE and antinuclear autoantibody production. Thus, the polymorphism associated with reduced basal CRP was also associated with the development of SLE. These data support the hypothesis that defective disposal of potentially immunogenic material is a contributory factor in lupus pathogenesis. The identification of polymorphisms that determine basal CRP levels has implications in ischaemic heart disease, where CRP level is an important predictor of risk.
Expanded CAG repeat tracts are the cause of at least a dozen neurodegenerative disorders. In humans, long CAG repeats tend to expand during transmissions from parent to offspring, leading to an earlier age of disease onset and more severe symptoms in subsequent generations. Here, we show that the maintenance DNA methyltransferase Dnmt1, which preserves the patterns of CpG methylation, plays a key role in CAG repeat instability in human cells and in the male and female mouse germlines. SiRNA knockdown of Dnmt1 in human cells destabilized CAG triplet repeats, and Dnmt1 deficiency in mice promoted intergenerational expansion of CAG repeats at the murine spinocerebellar ataxia type 1 (Sca1) locus. Importantly, Dnmt1+/− SCA1 mice, unlike their Dnmt1+/+ SCA1 counterparts, closely reproduced the intergenerational instability patterns observed in human SCA1 patients. In addition, we found aberrant DNA and histone methylation at sites within the CpG island that abuts the expanded repeat tract in Dnmt1-deficient mice. These studies suggest that local chromatin structure may play a role in triplet repeat instability. These results are consistent with normal epigenetic changes during germline development contributing to intergenerational instability of CAG repeats in mice and in humans.
The Rod-derived Cone Viability Factors, RdCVF and RdCVF2, have potential therapeutical interests for the treatment of inherited photoreceptor degenerations. In the mouse lacking Nxnl2, the gene encoding RdCVF2, the progressive decline of the visual performance of the cones in parallel with their degeneration arises due to loss of trophic support from RdCVF2. Contrarily, the progressive loss of rod visual function of the Nxnl2−/− mouse results from a decrease in outer segment length, mediated by a cell-autonomous mechanism involving the putative thioredoxin protein RdCVF2L, the second spliced product of the Nxnl2 gene. This novel signaling mechanism extends to olfaction as shown by the progressive impairment of olfaction in aged Nxnl2−/− mice and the protection of olfactory neurons by RdCVF2. This study shows that Nxnl2 is a bi-functional gene involved in the maintenance of both the function and the viability of sensory neurons.
Animals; Cell Survival; genetics; Cells, Cultured; Eye Proteins; genetics; metabolism; Mice; RNA Splicing; Retinal Rod Photoreceptor Cells; metabolism; Sensory Receptor Cells; cytology; metabolism; Thioredoxins; genetics; metabolism
Pycnodysostosis is a genetic bone disease featuring the unique bone homeostasis disorders of osteolysis and osteopetrosis in the same organism. The pathomechanism for pycnodysostosis has been largely unknown due to the unavailability of a pycnodysostosis mouse model with all the traits of the disease. We generated cathepsin K−/− mouse strains in the 129/Sv and C57BL/6J backgrounds and found that, only in the 129/Sv background, cathepsin K−/− mice exhibit many characteristics of the human pycnodysostosis-like phenotype. Our data indicated that 129/Sv cathepsin K−/− osteoclasts (OCs) lacked normal apoptosis and senescence and exhibited over-growth both in vitro and in vivo. These abnormalities resulted in an unusually high OC number, which is consistent with a recent case study of human pycnodysostosis. Our results show that cathepsin K function has different effects around the skeleton due to site-specific variations in bone homeostasis, such as phenotypes of osteopetrosis in tibiae and osteolysis in calvariae as a result of cathepsin K mutation. Our data demonstrated that the expression levels of p19, p53 and p21 were significantly reduced in 129/Sv cathepsin K−/− OCs and forced expression of cathepsin K in pre-OCs induced premature senescence and increased expression of p19, p53 and p21. This is the first evidence that cathepsin K plays a key role in OC apoptosis and senescence, revealing the importance of OC senescence in bone homeostasis. The finding of this novel cathepsin K function provides insight into the pathomechanism of pycnodysostosis and may provide new drug targets for diseases involved in OC-related abnormal bone homeostasis.
Motor neuron diseases (MNDs) are progressive neurodegenerative disorders characterized by selective death of motor neurons leading to spasticity, muscle wasting and paralysis. Human VAMP-associated protein B (hVAPB) is the causative gene of a clinically diverse group of MNDs including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), atypical ALS and late-onset spinal muscular atrophy. The pathogenic mutation is inherited in a dominant manner. Drosophila VAMP-associated protein of 33 kDa A (DVAP-33A) is the structural homologue of hVAPB and regulates synaptic remodeling by affecting the size and number of boutons at neuromuscular junctions. Associated with these structural alterations are compensatory changes in the physiology and ultrastructure of synapses, which maintain evoked responses within normal boundaries. DVAP-33A and hVAPB are functionally interchangeable and transgenic expression of mutant DVAP-33A in neurons recapitulates major hallmarks of the human diseases including locomotion defects, neuronal death and aggregate formation. Aggregate accumulation is accompanied by a depletion of the endogenous protein from its normal localization. These findings pinpoint to a possible role of hVAPB in synaptic homeostasis and emphasize the relevance of our fly model in elucidating the pathophysiology underlying motor neuron degeneration in humans.
The recently described DNA replication-based mechanisms of fork stalling and template switching (FoSTeS) and microhomology-mediated break-induced replication (MMBIR) were previously shown to catalyze complex exonic, genic and genomic rearrangements. By analyzing a large number of isochromosomes of the long arm of chromosome X (i(Xq)), using whole-genome tiling path array comparative genomic hybridization (aCGH), ultra-high resolution targeted aCGH and sequencing, we provide evidence that the FoSTeS and MMBIR mechanisms can generate large-scale gross chromosomal rearrangements leading to the deletion and duplication of entire chromosome arms, thus suggesting an important role for DNA replication-based mechanisms in both the development of genomic disorders and cancer. Furthermore, we elucidate the mechanisms of dicentric i(Xq) (idic(Xq)) formation and show that most idic(Xq) chromosomes result from non-allelic homologous recombination between palindromic low copy repeats and highly homologous palindromic LINE elements. We also show that non-recurrent-breakpoint idic(Xq) chromosomes have microhomology-associated breakpoint junctions and are likely catalyzed by microhomology-mediated replication-dependent recombination mechanisms such as FoSTeS and MMBIR. Finally, we stress the role of the proximal Xp region as a chromosomal rearrangement hotspot.
Genetics of Holoprosencephaly (HPE), a congenital malformation of the developing human forebrain, is due to multiple genetic defects. Most genes that have been implicated in HPE belong to the Sonic Hedgehog (SHH) signaling pathway. Here we describe a new candidate gene isolated from array CGH redundant 6qter deletions, DELTA Like 1 (DLL1), which is a ligand of NOTCH. We show that DLL1 is co-expressed in the developing chick forebrain with Fgf8. By treating chick embryos with a pharmacological inhibitor, we demonstrate that DLL1 interacts with FGF signaling pathway. Moreover, a mutation analysis of DLL1 in HPE patients, revealed a three-nucleotide deletion. These various findings implicate DLL1 in early patterning of the forebrain and identify NOTCH as a new signaling pathway involved in HPE.
Adult; Amino Acid Sequence; Androstenediols; Animals; Base Sequence; Chick Embryo; Female; Holoprosencephaly; genetics; metabolism; Humans; Infant, Newborn; Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins; Male; Membrane Proteins; chemistry; genetics; metabolism; Molecular Sequence Data; Receptors, Notch; genetics; metabolism; Sequence Alignment; Sequence Deletion; Signal Transduction
Nemaline myopathy (NM), the most common non-dystrophic congenital myopathy, is a variably severe neuromuscular disorder for which no effective treatment is available. Although a number of genes have been identified in which mutations can cause NM, the pathogenetic mechanisms leading to the phenotypes are poorly understood. To address this question, we examined gene expression patterns in an NM mouse model carrying the human Met9Arg mutation of alpha-tropomyosin slow (Tpm3). We assessed five different skeletal muscles from affected mice, which are representative of muscles with differing fiber-type compositions, different physiological specializations and variable degrees of pathology. Although these same muscles in non-affected mice showed marked variation in patterns of gene expression, with diaphragm being the most dissimilar, the presence of the mutant protein in nemaline muscles resulted in a more similar pattern of gene expression among the muscles. This result suggests a common process or mechanism operating in nemaline muscles independent of the variable degrees of pathology. Transcriptional and protein expression data indicate the presence of a repair process and possibly delayed maturation in nemaline muscles. Markers indicative of satellite cell number, activated satellite cells and immature fibers including M-Cadherin, MyoD, desmin, Pax7 and Myf6 were elevated by western-blot analysis or immunohistochemistry. Evidence suggesting elevated focal repair was observed in nemaline muscle in electron micrographs. This analysis reveals that NM is characterized by a novel repair feature operating in multiple different muscles.
Mutations and polymorphisms in the gene encoding factor H (CFH) have been associated with atypical haemolytic uraemic syndrome, dense deposit disease and age-related macular degeneration. The disease-predisposing CFH variants show a differential association with pathology that has been very useful to unravel critical events in the pathogenesis of one or other disease. In contrast, the fH-Ile62 polymorphism confers strong protection to all three diseases. Using ELISA-based methods and surface plasmon resonance analyses we show here that the protective fH-Ile62 variant binds more efficiently to C3b than fH-Val62 and competes better with factor B in proconvertase formation. Functional analyses demonstrate an increased cofactor activity for fH-Ile62 in the factor I-mediated cleavage of fluid phase and surface-bound C3b; however, the two fH variants show no differences in decay accelerating activity. From these data we conclude that the protective effect of the fH-Ile62 variant is due to its better capacity to bind C3b, inhibit proconvertase formation and catalyse inactivation of fluid-phase and surface-bound C3b. This demonstration of the functional consequences of the fH-Ile62 polymorphism provides relevant insights into the complement regulatory activities of fH that will be useful in disease prediction and future development of effective therapeutics for disorders caused by complement dysregulation.
Quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis of genetic crosses has proven to be a useful tool for identifying loci associated with specific phenotypes and for dissecting genetic components of complex traits. Inclusion of a mutation that interacts epistatically with QTLs in genetic crosses is a unique and potentially powerful method of revealing the function of novel genes and pathways. Although we know that a mutation within the novel tub gene leads to obesity and cochlear and retinal degeneration, the biological function of the gene and the mechanism by which it induces its phenotypes are not known. In the current study, a QTL analysis for auditory brainstem response (ABR) thresholds, which indicates hearing ability, was performed in tubby mice from F2 intercrosses between C57BL/6J-tub/tub and AKR/J-+/+ F1, hybrids (AKR intercross) and between C57BL/6J-tub/tub and CAST/Ei.B6-tub/tub F1 hybrids (CAST intercross). A major QTL, designated as modifier of tubby hearing1 (moth1), was identified on chromosome 2 with a LOD score of 33.4 (P <; 10−33) in the AKR intercross (181 mice) and of 6.0 (P <; 10−6) in the CAST intercross (46 mice). This QTL is responsible for 57 and 43% of ABR threshold variance, respectively, in each strain combination. In addition, a C57BL/6J congenic line carrying a 129/Ola segment encompassing the described QTL region when made homozygous for tubby also exhibits normal hearing ability. We hypothesize that C57BL/6J carries a recessive mutation of the moth1 gene which interacts with the tub mutation to cause hearing loss in tub/tub mice. A moth1 allele from either AKR/J, CAST/Ei or 129/Ola is sufficient to protect C57BL/6J-tub/tub mice from hearing loss.
Collagen type IV is the major structural component of the basement membrane and COL4A1 mutations cause adult small vessel disease, familial porencephaly and HANAC syndrome. Here we show that animals with a Col4a1 missense mutation (Col4a1+/Raw) display focal detachment of the endothelium from the media and age dependent defects in vascular function including a reduced response to nor-epinephrine. Age-dependent hypersensitivity to acetylcholine, is abolished by inhibition of nitric oxide synthase (NOS) activity, indicating that Col4a1 mutations affect vasorelaxation mediated by endothelium-derived nitric oxide (NO). These defects are associated with a reduction in basal NOS activity and the development of heightened NO sensitivity of the smooth muscle. The vascular function defects are physiologically relevant as they maintain in part the hypotension in mutant animals, which is primarily associated with a reduced red blood cell volume due to a reduction in red blood cell number, rather than defects in kidney function. To understand the molecular mechanism underlying these vascular defects we examined the deposition of collagen type IV in the basement membrane, and found it to be defective. Interestingly, this mutation also leads to activation of the unfolded protein response. In summary, our results indicate that mutations in Col4a1 result in a complex vascular phenotype encompassing defects in maintenance of vascular tone, endothelial cell function and blood pressure regulation.
We examined 13 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) spanning the coding region of the μ-opioid receptor gene (OPRM1), among 382 European Americans (EAs) affected with substance dependence [alcohol dependence (AD) and/or drug dependence (DD)] and 338 EA healthy controls. These SNPs delineated two haplotype blocks. Genotype distributions for all SNPs were in Hardy–Weinberg equilibrium (HWE) in controls, but in cases, four SNPs in Block I and three SNPs in Block II showed deviation from HWE. Significant differences were found between cases and controls in allele and/or genotype frequencies for six SNPs in Block I and two SNPs in Block II. Association of SNP4 in Block I with DD (allele: P = 0.004), SNP5 in Block I with AD and DD (allele: P ≤ 0.005 for both) and two SNPs in Block II with AD (SNP11 genotype: P = 0.002; SNP12 genotype: P = 0.001) were significant after correction for multiple testing. Frequency distributions of haplotypes (constructed by five tag SNPs) differed significantly for cases and controls (P < 0.001 for both AD and DD). Logistic regression analyses confirmed the association between OPRM1 variants and substance dependence, when sex and age of subjects and alleles, genotypes, haplotypes or diplotypes of five tag SNPs were considered. Population structure analyses excluded population stratification artifact. Additional supporting evidence for association between OPRM1 and AD was obtained in a smaller Russian sample (247 cases and 100 controls). These findings suggest that OPRM1 intronic variants play a role in susceptibility to AD and DD in populations of European ancestry.
Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is an inherited disorder that is characterized by the accumulation of cysts in the renal parenchyma and progressive decline in renal function. Recent studies suggest that PKD arises from abnormalities of the primary cilium. We have previously shown that kidney-specific inactivation of the ciliogenic gene Kif3a during embryonic development produces kidney cysts and renal failure. Here, we used tamoxifen-inducible, kidney-specific gene targeting to inactivate Kif3a in the postnatal mouse kidney. Kidney-specific inactivation of Kif3a in newborn mice resulted in the loss of primary cilia and produced kidney cysts primarily in the loops of Henle, whereas inactivation in adult mice did not lead to the rapid development of cysts despite a comparable loss of primary cilia. The age-dependence and locations of the cysts suggested that cyst formation required increased rates of cell proliferation. To test this possibility, we stimulated cell proliferation in the adult kidney by inducing acute kidney injury and tubular regeneration. Acute kidney injury induced cyst formation in adult Kif3a mutant mice. Analysis of pre-cystic tubules in Kif3a mutant mice showed that the loss of cilia did not stimulate cell proliferation but instead resulted in aberrant planar cell polarity as manifested by abnormalities in the orientation of cell division. We conclude that primary cilia are required for the maintenance of planar cell polarity in the mammalian kidney and that acute kidney injury exacerbates cystic disease.
Neurofibromas are common tumors found in neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) patients. These complex tumors are composed of Schwann cells, mast cells, fibroblasts and perineurial cells embedded in collagen that provide a lattice for tumor invasion. Genetic studies demonstrate that in neurofibromas, nullizygous loss of Nf1 in Schwann cells and haploinsufficiency of Nf1 in non-neuronal cells are required for tumorigenesis. Fibroblasts are a major cellular constituent in neurofibromas and are a source of collagen that constitutes ~50% of the dry weight of the tumor. Here, we show that two of the prevalent heterozygous cells found in neurofibromas, mast cells and fibroblasts interact directly to contribute to tumor phenotype. Nf1+/− mast cells secrete elevated concentrations of the profibrotic transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β). In response to TGF-β, both murine Nf1+/− fibroblasts and fibroblasts from human neurofibromas proliferate and synthesize excessive collagen, a hallmark of neurofibromas. We also establish that the TGF-β response occurs via hyperactivation of a novel Ras-c-abl signaling pathway. Genetic or pharmacological inhibition of c-abl reverses fibroblast proliferation and collagen synthesis to wild-type levels. These studies identify a novel molecular target to inhibit neurofibroma formation.
Rod-derived Cone Viability Factor (RdCVF) is a trophic factor with therapeutic potential for the treatment of retinitis pigmentosa, a retinal disease that commonly results in blindness. RdCVF is encoded by Nucleoredoxin-like 1 (Nxnl1), a gene homologous with the family of thioredoxins that participate in the defense against oxidative stress. RdCVF expression is lost after rod degeneration in the first phase of retinitis pigmentosa, and this loss has been implicated in the more clinically significant secondary cone degeneration that often occurs. Here, we describe a study of the Nxnl1 promoter using an approach that combines promoter and transcriptomic analysis. By transfection of selected candidate transcription factors, chosen based upon their expression pattern, we identified the homeodomain proteins CHX10/VSX2, VSX1 and PAX4, as well as the zinc finger protein SP3, as factors that can stimulate both the mouse and human Nxnl1 promoter. In addition, CHX10/VSX2 binds to the Nxnl1 promoter in vivo. Since CHX10/VSX2 is expressed predominantly in the inner retina, this finding motivated us to demonstrate that RdCVF is expressed in the inner as well as the outer retina. Interestingly, the loss of rods in the rd1 mouse, a model of retinitis pigmentosa, is associated with decreased expression of RdCVF by inner retinal cells as well as by rods. Based upon these results, we propose an alternative therapeutic strategy aimed at recapitulating RdCVF expression in the inner retina, where cell loss is not significant, to prevent secondary cone death and central vision loss in patients suffering from retinitis pigmentosa.
Rod-derived Cone Viability Factor (RdCVF) is a trophic factor with therapeutic potential for the treatment of retinitis pigmentosa, a retinal disease that commonly results in blindness. RdCVF is encoded by Nucleoredoxin-like 1 (Nxnl1), a gene homologous with the family of thioredoxins that participate in the defense against oxidative stress. RdCVF expression is lost after rod degeneration in the first phase of retinitis pigmentosa, and this loss has been implicated in the more clinically significant secondary cone degeneration that often occurs. Here we describe a study of the Nxnl1 promoter using an approach that combines promoter and transcriptomic analysis. By transfection of selected candidate transcription factors, chosen based upon their expression pattern, we identified the homeodomain proteins CHX10/VSX2, VSX1, and PAX4, as well as the zinc finger protein SP3, as factors that can stimulate both the mouse and human Nxnl1 promoter. In addition, CHX10/VSX2 binds to the Nxnl1 promoter in vivo. Since CHX10/VSX2 is expressed predominantly in the inner retina, this finding motivated us to demonstrate that RdCVF is expressed in the inner as well as the outer retina. Interestingly, the loss of rods in the rd1 mouse, a model of retinitis pigmentosa, is associated with decreased expression of RdCVF by inner retinal cells as well as by rods. Based upon these results, we propose an alternative therapeutic strategy aimed at recapitulating RdCVF expression in the inner retina, where cell loss is not significant, to prevent secondary cone death and central vision loss in patients suffering from retinitis pigmentosa.
Animals; Eye Proteins; genetics; metabolism; Gene Expression Regulation; Genes, Homeobox; Homeodomain Proteins; genetics; metabolism; Humans; Mice; Mice, Inbred BALB C; Mice, Knockout; Promoter Regions, Genetic; Protein Binding; Retina; metabolism; Retinitis Pigmentosa; genetics; metabolism; Thioredoxins; genetics; metabolism; Transcription Factors; genetics; metabolism
Deletion of chromosome 6q14-q22 is common in multiple human cancers including prostate cancer, and chromosome 6 transferred into cancer cells induces senescence and reduces cell growth, tumorigenicity and metastasis, indicating the existence of one or more tumor suppressor genes in 6q. To identify the 6q tumor suppressor gene, we first narrowed the common region of deletion to a 2.5-Mb interval at 6q14-15. Of the 11 genes located in this minimal deletion region and expressed in normal prostates, only snoRNA U50 was mutated, demonstrated transcriptional downregulation, and inhibited colony formation in prostate cancer cells. The mutation, a homozygous 2-bp (TT) deletion, was found in 2 of 30 prostate cancer cell lines/xenografts and 9 of 89 localized prostate cancers (11 of 119 or 9% cancers). Two of 89 (2%) patients with prostate cancer also showed the same mutation in their germline DNA, but none of 104 cancer-free control men did. The homozygous deletion abolished U50 function in a colony formation assay. Analysis of 1371 prostate cancer cases and 1371 matched control men from a case-control study nested in a prospective cohort showed that, although a germline heterozygous genotype of the deletion was detected in both patients and controls at similar frequencies, the homozygosity of the deletion was significantly associated with clinically significant prostate cancer (odds ratio = 2.9, 95% confidence interval = 1.17 – 7.21). These findings establish snoRNA U50 as a reasonable candidate for the 6q tumor suppressor gene in prostate cancer and likely in other types of cancers.
Non-syndromic thoracic aortic aneurysms and dissections (TAADs) are inherited in an autosomal dominant manner in ~20% of cases. Familial TAAD is genetically heterogeneous and four loci have been mapped for this disease to date, including a locus at 16p for TAAD associated with patent ductus arteriosus (PDA). The defective gene at the 16p locus has recently been identified as the smooth muscle cell (SMC)-specific myosin heavy chain gene (MYH11). On sequencing MYH11 in 93 families with TAAD alone and three families with TAAD/PDA, we identified novel mutations in two families with TAAD/PDA, but none in families with TAAD alone. Histopathological analysis of aortic sections from two individuals with MYH11 mutations revealed SMC disarray and focal hyperplasia of SMCs in the aortic media. SMC hyperplasia leading to significant lumen narrowing in some of the vessels of the adventitia was also observed. Insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) was upregulated in mutant aortas as well as explanted SMCs, but no increase in transforming growth factor-β expression or downstream targets was observed. Enhanced expression of angiotensin-converting enzyme and markers of Angiotensin II (Ang II) vascular inflammation (macrophage inflammatory protein-1α and β) were also found. These data suggest that MYH11 mutations are likely to be specific to the phenotype of TAAD/PDA and result in a distinct aortic and occlusive vascular pathology potentially driven by IGF-1 and Ang II.