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1.  Epigenetic pathways and glioblastoma treatment 
Epigenetics  2013;8(8):785-795.
Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most common malignant adult brain tumor. Standard GBM treatment includes maximal safe surgical resection with combination radiotherapy and adjuvant temozolomide (TMZ) chemotherapy. Alarmingly, patient survival at five-years is below 10%. This is in part due to the invasive behavior of the tumor and the resulting inability to resect greater than 98% of some tumors. In fact, recurrence after such treatment may be inevitable, even in cases where gross total resection is achieved. The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) research network performed whole genome sequencing of GBM tumors and found that GBM recurrence is linked to epigenetic mechanisms and pathways. Central to these pathways are epigenetic enzymes, which have recently emerged as possible new drug targets for multiple cancers, including GBM. Here we review GBM treatment, and provide a systems approach to identifying epigenetic drivers of GBM tumor progression based on temporal modeling of putative GBM cells of origin. We also discuss advances in defining epigenetic mechanisms controlling GBM initiation and recurrence and the drug discovery considerations associated with targeting epigenetic enzymes for GBM treatment.
doi:10.4161/epi.25440
PMCID: PMC3883781  PMID: 23807265
epigenetics; glioblastoma; statistical modeling; drug discovery
2.  Identifying Glioblastoma Gene Networks Based on Hypergeometric Test Analysis 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e115842.
Patient specific therapy is emerging as an important possibility for many cancer patients. However, to identify such therapies it is essential to determine the genomic and transcriptional alterations present in one tumor relative to control samples. This presents a challenge since use of a single sample precludes many standard statistical analysis techniques. We reasoned that one means of addressing this issue is by comparing transcriptional changes in one tumor with those observed in a large cohort of patients analyzed by The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA). To test this directly, we devised a bioinformatics pipeline to identify differentially expressed genes in tumors resected from patients suffering from the most common malignant adult brain tumor, glioblastoma (GBM). We performed RNA sequencing on tumors from individual GBM patients and filtered the results through the TCGA database in order to identify possible gene networks that are overrepresented in GBM samples relative to controls. Importantly, we demonstrate that hypergeometric-based analysis of gene pairs identifies gene networks that validate experimentally. These studies identify a putative workflow for uncovering differentially expressed patient specific genes and gene networks for GBM and other cancers.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0115842
PMCID: PMC4281219  PMID: 25551752
3.  An Ultra-High Throughput Cell-Based Screen for Wee1 Degradation Inhibitors 
Journal of biomolecular screening  2010;15(8):907-917.
The tyrosine kinase Wee1 is part of a key cellular sensing mechanism that signals completion of DNA replication, ensuring proper timing of entry into mitosis. Wee1 acts as an inhibitor of mitotic entry by phosphorylating cyclin-dependent kinase CDK1. Wee1 activity is mainly regulated at the protein level through its phosphorylation and subsequent degradation by the ubiquitin proteasome pathway. To facilitate identification of small molecules preventing Wee1 degradation, a homogeneous cell-based assay was developed using HeLa cells transiently transfected with a Wee1-Luciferase fusion protein. To insure uHTS compatibility, the assay was scaled to 1,536-well plate format and cells were transfected in bulk and cryopreserved. This miniaturized homogenous assay demonstrated robust performance, with a calculated Z′ factor of 0.65±0.05. The assay was screened against a publicly available library of ~218,000 compounds in order to identify Wee1 stabilizers. Nonselective, cytotoxic and promiscuous compounds were rapidly triaged through the use of a similarly formatted counterscreen that measured stabilization of a N-cyclin B-Luciferase fusion protein, as well as execution of viability assessment in the parental HeLa cell line. This screening campaign led to the discovery of four unrelated cell-permeable small molecules that showed selective Wee1-Luciferase stabilization with micromolar potency. One of these compounds, SID4243143, was shown to inhibit cell cycle progression, underscoring the importance of Wee1 degradation to the cell cycle. Our results suggest that this uHTS approach is suitable for identifying selective chemical probes that prevent Wee1 degradation, and generally applicable to discovering inhibitors of the ubiquitin proteasome pathway.
doi:10.1177/1087057110375848
PMCID: PMC3082437  PMID: 20660794
Wee1; degradation; stabilizer; reporter assay; transient transfection; cryopreserved cells; ubiquitin; proteasome

Results 1-3 (3)