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1.  Analysis artefacts of the INS-IGF2 fusion transcript 
BMC Molecular Biology  2015;16:13.
In gene expression analysis, overlapping genes, splice variants, and fusion transcripts are potential sources of data analysis artefacts, depending on how the observed intensity is assigned to one, or more genes. We here exemplify this by an in-depth analysis of the INS-IGF2 fusion transcript, which has recently been reported to be among the highest expressed transcripts in human pancreatic beta cells and its protein indicated as a novel autoantigen in Type 1 Diabetes.
Through RNA sequencing and variant specific qPCR analyses we demonstrate that the true abundance of INS-IGF2 is >20,000 fold lower than INS in human beta cells, and we suggest an explanation to the nature of the artefacts which have previously led to overestimation of the gene expression level in selected studies. We reinvestigated the previous reported findings of detection of INS-IGF2 using antibodies both in Western blotting and immunohistochemistry. We found that the one available commercial antibody (BO1P) raised against recombinant INS-IGF2 show strong cross-reaction to native proinsulin, and we did not detect INS-IGF2 protein in the human beta cell line EndoC-βH1. Furthermore, using highly sensitive proteomics analysis we could not demonstrate INS-IGF2 protein in samples of human islets nor in EndoC-βH1.
Sequence features, such as fusion transcripts spanning multiple genes can lead to unexpected results in gene expression analysis, and care must be taken in generating and interpreting the results. For the specific case of INS-IGF2 we conclude that the abundance of the fusion transcript/protein is exceedingly lower than previously reported, and that current immuno-reagents available for detecting INS-IGF2 protein have a strong cross-reaction to native human proinsulin. Finally, we were unable to detect INS-IGF2 protein by proteomics analysis.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12867-015-0042-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4517550  PMID: 26220792
Insulin; INS-IGF2; Beta cell; Fusion-transcript; Gene expression; Proteomics; Antibody; Bioinformatics; Analysis artefact; Pancreatic islets; Diabetes
2.  A BAC transgenic Hes1-EGFP reporter reveals novel expression domains in mouse embryos 
Gene expression patterns : GEP  2011;11(7):415-426.
Expression of the basic helix-loop-helix factor Hairy and Enhancer of Split-1 (Hes1) is required for normal development of a number of tissues during embryonic development. Depending on context, Hes1 may act as a Notch signalling effector which promotes the undifferentiated and proliferative state of progenitor cells, but increasing evidence also points to Notch independent regulation of Hes1 expression. Here we use high resolution confocal scanning of EGFP in a novel BAC transgenic mouse reporter line, Tg(Hes1-EGFP)1Hri, to analyse Hes1 expression from embryonic day 7.0 (e7.0). Our data recapitulates some previous observations on Hes1 expression and suggests new, hitherto unrecognised expression domains including expression in the definitive endoderm at early somite stages before gut tube closure and thus preceding organogenesis. This mouse line will be a valuable tool for studies addressing the role of Hes1 in a number of different research areas including organ specification, development and regeneration.
PMCID: PMC3163761  PMID: 21745596
3.  The transcriptional activity of Neurog3 affects migration and differentiation of ectopic endocrine cells in chicken endoderm 
Structured abstract
Neurog3 is expressed transiently in pancreatic endocrine progenitors where it is responsible for activating a transcription factor cascade which eventually defines the mature endocrine cells. However, the mechanism by which Neurog3 regulates different aspects of the endocrine differentiation program is less clear. In this report we used in ovo electroporation to investigate how manipulation of Neurog3 protein activity affected migration, differentiation and fate determination. We found that changes in the onset of Neurog3 expression only had minor effect on differentiation. However increasing the transcriptional activity of Neurog3 by fusing it to VP16 or co-electroporating with Ep300 caused the electroporated cells to migrate rather than differentiate. In contrast, reducing the transcriptional activity of Neurog3 by deleting parts of the activation domain, by fusing Neurog3 to the engrailed repressor domain, or co-electroporating with Hdac1 greatly increased the proportion of glucagon expressing cells.
PMCID: PMC3070887  PMID: 20549731
Neurog3; Ngn3; neurogenin 3; in ovo electroporation; whole mount fluorescence; pancreas; differentiation; glucagon; endocrine competence
4.  Hedgehog Signaling Is Required for Effective Regeneration of Exocrine Pancreas 
Gastroenterology  2008;135(2):621-631.
Although both endocrine and the exocrine pancreas display a significant capacity for tissue regeneration and renewal, the existence of progenitor cells in the adult pancreas remains uncertain. Using a model of cerulein-mediated injury and repair, we demonstrate that mature exocrine cells, defined by expression of an Elastase1 promoter, actively contribute to regenerating pancreatic epithelium through formation of metaplastic ductal intermediates. Acinar cell regeneration is associated with activation of Hedgehog (Hh) signaling, as assessed by up-regulated expression of multiple pathway components, as well as activation of a Ptch-lacZ reporter allele. Using both pharmacologic and genetic techniques, we also show that the ability of mature exocrine cells to accomplish pancreatic regeneration is impaired by blockade of Hh signaling. Specifically, attenuated regeneration in the absence of an intact Hh pathway is characterized by persistence of metaplastic epithelium expressing markers of pancreatic progenitor cells, suggesting an inhibition of redifferentiation into mature exocrine cells. Given the known role of Hh signaling in exocrine pancreatic cancer, these findings may provide a mechanistic link between injury-induced activation of pancreatic progenitors and subsequent pancreatic neoplasia.
PMCID: PMC2666349  PMID: 18515092

Results 1-4 (4)