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1.  Relation between microRNA expression and progression and prognosis of gastric cancer: a microRNA expression analysis 
The Lancet. Oncology  2009;11(2):136-146.
Summary
Background
Analyses of microRNA expression profiles have shown that many microRNAs are expressed aberrantly and correlate with tumorigenesis, progression, and prognosis of various haematological and solid tumours. We aimed to assess the relation between microRNA expression and progression and prognosis of gastric cancer.
Methods
353 gastric samples from two independent subsets of patients from Japan were analysed by microRNA microarray. MicroRNA expression patterns were compared between non-tumour mucosa and cancer samples, graded by diffuse and intestinal histological types and by progression-related factors (eg, depth of invasion, metastasis, and stage). Disease outcome was calculated by multivariable regression analysis to establish whether microRNAs are independent prognostic factors.
Findings
In 160 paired samples of non-tumour mucosa and cancer, 22 microRNAs were upregulated and 13 were downregulated in gastric cancer; 292 (83%) samples were distinguished correctly by this signature. The two histological subtypes of gastric cancer showed different microRNA signatures: eight microRNAs were upregulated in diffuse-type and four in intestinal-type cancer. In the progression-related signature, miR-125b, miR-199a, and miR-100 were the most important microRNAs involved. Low expression of let-7g (hazard ratio 2·6 [95% CI 1·3–4·9]) and miR-433 (2·1 [1·1–3·9]) and high expression of miR-214 (2·4 [1·2–4·5]) were associated with unfavourable outcome in overall survival independent of clinical covariates, including depth of invasion, lymph-node metastasis, and stage.
Interpretation
MicroRNAs are expressed differentially in gastric cancers, and histological subtypes are characterised by specific microRNA signatures. Unique microRNAs are associated with progression and prognosis of gastric cancer.
Funding
National Cancer Institute.
doi:10.1016/S1470-2045(09)70343-2
PMCID: PMC4299826  PMID: 20022810
2.  UCbase 2.0: ultraconserved sequences database (2014 update) 
UCbase 2.0 (http://ucbase.unimore.it) is an update, extension and evolution of UCbase, a Web tool dedicated to the analysis of ultraconserved sequences (UCRs). UCRs are 481 sequences >200 bases sharing 100% identity among human, mouse and rat genomes. They are frequently located in genomic regions known to be involved in cancer or differentially expressed in human leukemias and carcinomas. UCbase 2.0 is a platform-independent Web resource that includes the updated version of the human genome annotation (hg19), information linking disorders to chromosomal coordinates based on the Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine classification, a query tool to search for Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) and a new text box to directly interrogate the database using a MySQL interface. To facilitate the interactive visual interpretation of UCR chromosomal positioning, UCbase 2.0 now includes a graph visualization interface directly linked to UCSC genome browser.
Database URL: http://ucbase.unimore.it
doi:10.1093/database/bau062
PMCID: PMC4064129  PMID: 24951797
3.  Dysregulation of miR-31 and miR-21 induced by zinc deficiency promotes esophageal cancer 
Carcinogenesis  2012;33(9):1736-1744.
Zinc deficiency (ZD) increases the risk of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC). In a rat model, chronic ZD induces an inflammatory gene signature that fuels ESCC development. microRNAs regulate gene expression and are aberrantly expressed in cancers. Here we investigated whether chronic ZD (23 weeks) also induces a protumorigenic microRNA signature. Using the nanoString technology, we evaluated microRNA profiles in ZD esophagus and six additional tissues (skin, lung, pancreas, liver, prostate and peripheral blood mononuclear cells [PBMC]). ZD caused overexpression of inflammation genes and altered microRNA expression across all tissues analyzed, predictive of disease development. Importantly, the inflammatory ZD esophagus had a distinct microRNA signature resembling human ESCC or tongue SCC miRNAomes with miR-31 and miR-21 as the top-up-regulated species. Circulating miR-31 was also the top-up-regulated species in PBMCs. In ZD esophagus and tongue, oncogenic miR-31 and miR-21 overexpression was accompanied by down-regulation of their respective tumor-suppressor targets PPP2R2A and PDCD4. Importantly, esophageal miR-31 and miR-21 levels were directly associated with the appearance of ESCC in ZD rats, as compared with their cancer-free Zn-sufficient or Zn-replenished counterparts. In situ hybridization analysis in rat and human tongue SCCs localized miR-31 to tumor cells and miR-21 to stromal cells. In regressing tongue SCCs from Zn-supplemented rats, miR-31 and miR-21 expression was concomitantly reduced, establishing their responsiveness to Zn therapy. A search for putative microRNA targets revealed a bias toward genes in inflammatory pathways. Our finding that ZD causes miR-31 and miR-21 dysregulation associated with inflammation provides insight into mechanisms whereby ZD promotes ESCC.
doi:10.1093/carcin/bgs204
PMCID: PMC3514898  PMID: 22689922
4.  Oncosuppressive role of p53-induced miR-205 in triple negative breast cancer 
Molecular oncology  2012;6(4):458-472.
An increasing body of evidence highlights an intriguing interaction between microRNAs and transcriptional factors involved in determining cell fate, including the well known “genome guardian” p53. Here we show that miR-205, oncosuppressive microRNA lost in breast cancer, is directly transactivated by oncosuppressor p53.
Moreover, evaluating miR-205 expression in a panel of cell lines belonging to the highly aggressive triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) subtype, which still lacks an effective targeted therapy and characterized by an extremely undifferentiated and mesenchymal phenotype, we demonstrated that this microRNA is critically down-expressed compared to a normal-like cell line. Re-expression of miR-205 where absent strongly reduces cell proliferation, cell cycle progression and clonogenic potential in vitro, and inhibits tumor growth in vivo, and this tumor suppressor activity is at least partially exerted through targeting of E2F1, master regulator of cell cycle progression, and LAMC1, component of extracellular matrix involved in cell adhesion, proliferation and migration.
doi:10.1016/j.molonc.2012.03.003
PMCID: PMC3679926  PMID: 22578566
miR-205; p53; E2F1; LAMC1
5.  Estrogen Mediated-Activation of miR-191/425 Cluster Modulates Tumorigenicity of Breast Cancer Cells Depending on Estrogen Receptor Status 
PLoS Genetics  2013;9(3):e1003311.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs), single-stranded non-coding RNAs, influence myriad biological processes that can contribute to cancer. Although tumor-suppressive and oncogenic functions have been characterized for some miRNAs, the majority of microRNAs have not been investigated for their ability to promote and modulate tumorigenesis. Here, we established that the miR-191/425 cluster is transcriptionally dependent on the host gene, DALRD3, and that the hormone 17β-estradiol (estrogen or E2) controls expression of both miR-191/425 and DALRD3. MiR-191/425 locus characterization revealed that the recruitment of estrogen receptor α (ERα) to the regulatory region of the miR-191/425-DALRD3 unit resulted in the accumulation of miR-191 and miR-425 and subsequent decrease in DALRD3 expression levels. We demonstrated that miR-191 protects ERα positive breast cancer cells from hormone starvation-induced apoptosis through the suppression of tumor-suppressor EGR1. Furthermore, enforced expression of the miR-191/425 cluster in aggressive breast cancer cells altered global gene expression profiles and enabled us to identify important tumor promoting genes, including SATB1, CCND2, and FSCN1, as targets of miR-191 and miR-425. Finally, in vitro and in vivo experiments demonstrated that miR-191 and miR-425 reduced proliferation, impaired tumorigenesis and metastasis, and increased expression of epithelial markers in aggressive breast cancer cells. Our data provide compelling evidence for the transcriptional regulation of the miR-191/425 cluster and for its context-specific biological determinants in breast cancers. Importantly, we demonstrated that the miR-191/425 cluster, by reducing the expression of an extensive network of genes, has a fundamental impact on cancer initiation and progression of breast cancer cells.
Author Summary
MicroRNAs are small noncoding RNAs that act as posttranscriptional repressors of gene expression. A pivotal role for miRNAs in all the molecular processes driving initiation and progression of various malignancies, including breast cancer, has been described. Divergent miRNA expression between normal and neoplastic breast tissues has been demonstrated, as well as differential miRNA expression among the molecular subtypes of breast cancer. Over half of all breast cancers overexpress ERα, and several studies have shown that miRNA expression is controlled by ERα. We assessed the global change in microRNA expression after estrogen starvation and stimulation in breast cancer cells and identified that miR-191/425 and the host gene DALRD3 are positively associated to ERα-positive tumors. We demonstrated that ERα regulates the miR-191/425 cluster and verified the existence of a transcriptional network that allows a dual effect of estrogen on miR-191/425 and their host gene. We show that estrogen induction of miR-191/425 supports in vitro and in vivo the estrogen-dependent proliferation of ERα positive breast cancer cells. On the contrary, miR-191/425 cluster reprograms gene expression to impair tumorigenicity and metastatic potential of highly aggressive ERα negative breast cancer cells.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1003311
PMCID: PMC3591271  PMID: 23505378
6.  Down-regulation of p53-inducible microRNAs 192, 194 and 215 impairs the p53/MDM2 auto-regulatory loop in multiple myeloma development 
Cancer cell  2010;18(4):367-381.
Summary
In multiple myeloma (MM), an incurable B-cell neoplasm, mutation or deletion of p53 is rarely detected at diagnosis. Using small-molecule inhibitors of MDM2, we provide evidence that miR-192, 194 and 215, which are down-regulated in a subset of newly diagnosed MMs, can be transcriptionally activated by p53 and then modulate MDM2 expression. Furthermore, ectopic re-expression of these miRNAs in MM cells increases the therapeutic action of MDM2 inhibitors in vitro and in vivo by enhancing their p53-activating effects. In addition, miR-192 and 215 target the IGF pathway, preventing enhanced migration of plasma cells into bone marrow. The results suggest that these miRNAs are positive regulators of p53 and that their down-regulation plays a key role in MM development.
doi:10.1016/j.ccr.2010.09.005
PMCID: PMC3561766  PMID: 20951946
7.  Definition of miRNAs Expression Profile in Glioblastoma Samples: The Relevance of Non-Neoplastic Brain Reference 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(1):e55314.
Glioblastoma is the most aggressive brain tumor that may occur in adults. Regardless of the huge improvements in surgery and molecular therapy, the outcome of neoplasia remains poor. MicroRNAs are small molecules involved in several cellular processes, and their expression is altered in the vast majority of tumors. Several studies reported the expression of different miRNAs in glioblastoma, but one of the most critical point in understanding glioblastoma miRNAs profile is the comparison of these studies. In this paper, we focused our attention on the non-neoplastic references used for determining miRNAs expression. The aim of this study was to investigate if using three different non-neoplastic brain references (normal adjacent the tumor, commercial total RNA, and epileptic specimens) could provide discrepant results. The analysis of 19 miRNAs was performed using Real-Time PCR, starting from the set of samples described above and the expression values compared. Moreover, the three different normal RNAs were used to determine the miRNAs profile in 30 glioblastomas. The data showed that different non-neoplastic controls could lead to different results and emphasize the importance of comparing miRNAs profiles obtained using the same experimental condition.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0055314
PMCID: PMC3558478  PMID: 23383149
8.  Zinc deficiency activates S100A8 inflammation in the absence of COX-2 and promotes murine oral-esophageal tumor progression 
Zinc (Zn)-deficiency (ZD) is implicated in the pathogenesis of human oral-esophageal cancers. Previously, we showed that in ZD mice genetic deletion of cyclooxygenase-2 (Cox-2) enhances N-nitrosomethylbenzylamine-induced forestomach carcinogenesis. By contrast, Cox-2 deletion offers protection in Zn-sufficient (ZS) mice. We hypothesize that ZD activates pathways insensitive to COX-2 inhibition, thereby promoting carcinogenesis. This hypothesis is tested in a Cox-2−/− mouse tongue cancer model that mimics pharmacologic blockade of COX-2 by firstly examining transcriptome profiles of forestomach mucosa from Cox-2−/− and wild-type mice on a ZD versus ZS diet, and secondly investigating the roles of identified markers in mouse forestomach/tongue preneoplasia and carcinomas. In Cox-2−/− mice exposed to the tongue carcinogen 4-nitroquinoline 1-oxide, dietary ZD elicited tongue/esophagus/forestomach carcinomas that were prevented by ZS. The precancerous ZD:Cox-2−/− vs ZS:Cox-2−/− forestomach had an inflammatory signature with up-regulation of the proinflammation genes S100a8 and S100a9. Bioinformatics analysis revealed overrepresentation of inflammation processes comprising S100a8/a9 and an NF-kB network with connectivity to S100A8. Immunohistochemistry revealed co-overexpression of S100A8, its heterodimeric partner S100A9, the receptor for advanced glycation end-products (RAGE), NF-kB p65, and cyclin D1, in ZD:Cox-2−/− forestomach/tongue preneoplasia and carcinomas, evidence for the activation of a RAGE-S100A8/A9 inflammatory pathway. Accumulation of p53 in these carcinomas indicated activation of additional inflammatory pathways. Zn-replenishment in ZD:Cox-2−/−mice reversed the inflammation and inhibited carcinogenesis. Thus, ZD activates alternative inflammation-associated cancer pathways that fuel tumor progression and bypass the antitumor effect of Cox-2 ablation. These findings have important clinical implications, as combination cancer therapy that includes Zn may improve efficacy.
doi:10.1002/ijc.25688
PMCID: PMC3015018  PMID: 20857495
Zinc deficiency; transcriptome profiling; Cox-2 null mice; S100A8 inflammation; tongue cancer prevention
9.  miRNAs Expression Analysis in Paired Fresh/Frozen and Dissected Formalin Fixed and Paraffin Embedded Glioblastoma Using Real-Time PCR 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(4):e35596.
miRNAs are small molecules involved in gene regulation. Each tissue shows a characteristic miRNAs epression profile that could be altered during neoplastic transformation. Glioblastoma is the most aggressive brain tumour of the adult with a high rate of mortality. Recognizing a specific pattern of miRNAs for GBM could provide further boost for target therapy. The availability of fresh tissue for brain specimens is often limited and for this reason the possibility of starting from formalin fixed and paraffin embedded tissue (FFPE) could very helpful even in miRNAs expression analysis. We analysed a panel of 19 miRNAs in 30 paired samples starting both from FFPE and Fresh/Frozen material. Our data revealed that there is a good correlation in results obtained from FFPE in comparison with those obtained analysing miRNAs extracted from Fresh/Frozen specimen. In the few cases with a not good correlation value we noticed that the discrepancy could be due to dissection performed in FFPE samples. To the best of our knowledge this is the first paper demonstrating that the results obtained in miRNAs analysis using Real-Time PCR starting from FFPE specimens of glioblastoma are comparable with those obtained in Fresh/Frozen samples.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0035596
PMCID: PMC3329457  PMID: 22530056
10.  MicroRNA Cluster 221-222 and Estrogen Receptor α Interactions in Breast Cancer 
Background
Several lines of evidence have suggested that estrogen receptor α (ERα)–negative breast tumors, which are highly aggressive and nonresponsive to hormonal therapy, arise from ERα-positive precursors through different molecular pathways. Because microRNAs (miRNAs) modulate gene expression, we hypothesized that they may have a role in ER-negative tumor formation.
Methods
Gene expression profiles were used to highlight the global changes induced by miRNA modulation of ERα protein. miRNA transfection and luciferase assays enabled us to identify new targets of miRNA 206 (miR-206) and miRNA cluster 221-222 (miR-221-222). Northern blot, luciferase assays, estradiol treatment, and chromatin immunoprecipitation were performed to identify the miR-221-222 transcription unit and the mechanism implicated in its regulation.
Results
Different global changes in gene expression were induced by overexpression of miR-221-222 and miR-206 in ER-positive cells. miR-221 and -222 increased proliferation of ERα-positive cells, whereas miR-206 had an inhibitory effect (mean absorbance units [AU]: miR-206: 500 AU, 95% confidence interval [CI]) = 480 to 520; miR-221: 850 AU, 95% CI = 810 to 873; miR-222: 879 AU, 95% CI = 850 to 893; P < .05). We identified hepatocyte growth factor receptor and forkhead box O3 as new targets of miR-206 and miR-221-222, respectively. We demonstrated that ERα negatively modulates miR-221 and -222 through the recruitment of transcriptional corepressor partners: nuclear receptor corepressor and silencing mediator of retinoic acid and thyroid hormone receptor.
Conclusions
These findings suggest that the negative regulatory loop involving miR-221-222 and ERα may confer proliferative advantage and migratory activity to breast cancer cells and promote the transition from ER-positive to ER-negative tumors.
doi:10.1093/jnci/djq102
PMCID: PMC2873185  PMID: 20388878
11.  ParkDB: a Parkinson’s disease gene expression database 
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a common, adult-onset, neuro-degenerative disorder characterized by the degeneration of cardinal motor signs mainly due to the loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra. To date, researchers still have limited understanding of the key molecular events that provoke neurodegeneration in this disease. Here, we present ParkDB, the first queryable database dedicated to gene expression in PD. ParkDB contains a complete set of re-analyzed, curated and annotated microarray datasets. This resource enables scientists to identify and compare expression signatures involved in PD and dopaminergic neuron differentiation under different biological conditions and across species.
Database URL: http://www2.cancer.ucl.ac.uk/Parkinson_Db2/
doi:10.1093/database/bar007
PMCID: PMC3098727  PMID: 21593080
12.  MicroRNA Profiles of Drug-Resistant Myeloma Cell Lines 
Acta Haematologica  2010;123(4):201-204.
doi:10.1159/000302889
PMCID: PMC2881892  PMID: 20357429
13.  Hepatitis C virus proteins modulate microRNA expression and chemosensitivity in malignant hepatocytes 
Purpose
Hepatocellular cancer (HCC) is highly resistant to chemotherapy and is associated with a poor prognosis. Chronic hepatitis C (HCV) infection is a major cause of HCC. However, the effect of viral proteins in mediating chemosensitivity in tumor cells is unknown. We postulated that HCV viral proteins could modulate therapeutic responses by altering host cell microRNA (miRNA) expression.
Experimental design
HepG2 malignant hepatocytes were stably transfected with full length HCV genome (Hep-394) or an empty vector (Hep-SWX). miRNA profiling was performed by using a custom microarray, and the expression of selected miRNAs was validated by real time PCR. Protein expression was assessed by western blotting, while caspase activation by a luminometric assay.
Results
The IC50 to sorafenib was lower in Hep-394 compared to Hep-SWX control cells. Alterations in miRNA expression occurred with 10 miRNAs > 2-fold down-regulated and 23 miRNAs > 2-fold up-regulated in Hep-394 cells compared to controls. Of these, miR-193b was over-expressed by 5-fold in Hep-394 cells. miR-193b was predicted to target Mcl-1, an anti-apoptotic protein that can modulate the response to sorafenib. The expression of Mcl-1 expression was decreased and basal caspase-3/7 activity and PARP cleavage were increased in Hep-394 cells compared to controls. Moreover, transfection with precursors to miR-193b decreased both Mcl-1 expression and the IC50 to sorafenib.
Conclusions
Cellular expression of full length HCV increases sensitivity to sorafenib by miRNA-dependent modulation of Mcl-1 and apoptosis. Modulation of miRNA responses may be a useful strategy to enhance response to chemotherapy in HCC.
doi:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-09-2123
PMCID: PMC2818698  PMID: 20103677
microRNA; HCC; sorafenib; HCV
14.  MiR-221&222 regulate TRAIL-resistance and enhance tumorigenicity through PTEN and TIMP3 down-regulation 
Cancer cell  2009;16(6):498-509.
Summary
Lung and liver cancers are among the most deadly types of cancer. Despite improvements in treatment over the past few decades, patient survival remains poor, underlining the need for development of targeted therapies. MicroRNAs represent a class of small RNAs, frequently deregulated in human malignancies. We now report that miR221&222 are over-expressed in aggressive non small cell lung cancer and hepatocarcinoma cells, as compared with less invasive and/or normal lung and liver cells. We show that miR-221&222, by targeting PTEN and TIMP3 tumor suppressors, induce TRAIL resistance and enhance cellular migration through the activation of the AKT pathway and metallopeptidases. Finally, we demonstrate that the MET oncogene is involved in miR-221&222 activation, through the c-Jun transcription factor.
doi:10.1016/j.ccr.2009.10.014
PMCID: PMC2796583  PMID: 19962668
15.  A LIF/Nanog axis is revealed in T lymphocytes that lack MARCH-7, a RINGv E3 ligase that regulates the LIF-receptor 
Cell Cycle  2010;9(20):4213-4221.
Nanog is a stem cell transcription factor required for self-renewal and for maintaining pluripotency, and Nanog itself is regulated at least in part by leukaemia inhibitory factor (LIF)—a pluripotent cytokine of the IL6 family. MARCH-7 is an E-3 ligase linked to regulation of the LIF-receptor in T lymphocytes and T cells from mice that lack expression of MARCH-7 are hyper-responsive to activation signals and show a five-fold increase in LIF activity. Here we ask, does MARCH-7 influence the expression profile of Nanog during the synchronized entry of T cells into the cell cycle? We discovered that lack of MARCH-7 was permissive for Nanog expression at both transcript and protein levels during G1/S: moreover, addition of exogenous LIF to the MARCH-7 null cells caused a further 13-fold induction of Nanog; other measured transcripts including TGFβ, p53 and STAT3 were relatively unchanged. Since lack of MARCH-7 altered responsiveness to activation signals we sought evidence for pre-existing regulatory miR's that might correlate with MARCH-7 gene dose using head-to-head comparisons between MARCH-7 null, heterozygous and wt spleen cells. Thirty-four miRs were found including miR-346 that is known to target LIF transcripts and miR-346 is one of 16 miRs differentially expressed between hESCs and induced hiPSCs. Of the 34 miRs, 12 were known to be temporally regulated in embryonic nerve cells. In summary, in the absence of MARCH-7 a new signaling pathway is unmasked that involves Nanog expression in the T-cell lineage. This is the first demonstration that T cells retain responsiveness to a LIF/Nanog axis and that this axis is linked to MARCH-7.
doi:10.4161/cc.9.20.13543
PMCID: PMC3055204  PMID: 20962578
nanog; MARCH-7; E3-ligase; T lymphocytes; LIF
16.  GAM/ZFp/ZNF512B is central to a gene sensor circuitry involving cell-cycle regulators, TGFβ effectors, Drosha and microRNAs with opposite oncogenic potentials 
Nucleic Acids Research  2010;38(21):7673-7688.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small regulatory RNAs targeting multiple effectors of cell homeostasis and development, whose malfunctions are associated with major pathologies such as cancer. Herein we show that GAM/ZFp/ZNF512B works within an intricate gene regulatory network involving cell-cycle regulators, TGFβ effectors and oncogenic miRNAs of the miR-17-92 cluster. Thus, GAM impairs the transcriptional activation of the miR-17-92 promoter by c-Myc, downregulates miR-17-92 miRNAs differentially, and limits the activation of genes responsive to TGFβ canonical pathway. In contrast, TGFβ decreases GAM transcripts levels while differentially upregulating miR-17-92 miRNAs. In turn, miR-17, miR-20a and miR-92a-1 target GAM transcripts, thus establishing a feedback autoregulatory loop. GAM transcripts are also targeted by miRNAs of the let-7 family. GAM downregulates Drosha, the main effector of miRNA maturation in the nucleus, and interacts with it in a RNA-dependent manner. Finally, GAM modulates the levels of E2F1 and Ras, and increases apoptosis while reducing cell proliferation. We propose that GAM represents a new kind of vertebrate regulator aimed at balancing the opposite effects of regulators of cell homeostasis by increasing the robustness of gene circuitries controlling cell proliferation, differentiation and development.
doi:10.1093/nar/gkq637
PMCID: PMC2995059  PMID: 20639536
17.  Zinc Replenishment Reverses Overexpression of the Proinflammatory Mediator S100A8 and Esophageal Preneoplasia in the Rat 
Gastroenterology  2008;136(3):953-966.
Background & Aims
Zinc-deficiency is implicated in the pathogenesis of human esophageal cancer. In the rat esophagus, it induces cell proliferation, modulates genetic expression, and enhances carcinogenesis. Zinc-replenishment reverses proliferation and inhibits carcinogenesis. The zinc-deficient rat model allows the identification of biological differences affected by zinc during early esophageal carcinogenesis.
Methods
We evaluated gene expression profiles of esophageal epithelia from zinc-deficient and replenished rats versus sufficient rats using Affymetrix Rat Genome GeneChip. We characterized the role of the top-upregulated gene S100A8 in esophageal hyperplasia/reversal and in chemically-induced esophageal carcinogenesis in zinc-modulated animals by immunohistochemistry and real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction.
Results
The hyperplastic deficient esophagus has a distinct expression signature with the proinflammation-gene S100A8 and S100A9 upregulated 57- and 5-fold. “Response to external stimulus” comprising S100A8 was the only significantly overrepresented biological pathway among the upregulated genes. Zinc-replenishment rapidly restored to control levels the expression of S100A8/A9 and 27 other genes and reversed the hyperplastic phenotype. With its receptor RAGE, co-localization and overexpression of S100A8 protein occurred in the deficient esophagus that overexpressed NF-κB p65 and COX-2 protein. Zinc-replenishment but not by a COX-2 inhibitor reduced the overexpression of these 4 proteins. Additionally, esophageal S100A8/A9 mRNA levels were directly associated with the diverse tumorigenic outcome in zinc-deficient and zinc-replenished rats.
Conclusions
In vivo zinc regulates S100A8 expression and modulates the link between S100A8-RAGE interaction and downstream NF-κB/COX-2 signaling. The finding that zinc regulates an inflammatory pathway in esophageal carcinogenesis may lead to prevention and therapy for this cancer.
doi:10.1053/j.gastro.2008.11.039
PMCID: PMC2650087  PMID: 19111725
18.  UCbase & miRfunc: a database of ultraconserved sequences and microRNA function 
Nucleic Acids Research  2008;37(Database issue):D41-D48.
Four hundred and eighty-one ultraconserved sequences (UCRs) longer than 200 bases were discovered in the genomes of human, mouse and rat. These are DNA sequences showing 100% identity among the three species. UCRs are frequently located at genomic regions involved in cancer, differentially expressed in human leukemias and carcinomas and in some instances regulated by microRNAs (miRNAs). Here we present UCbase & miRfunc, the first database which provides ultraconserved sequences data and shows miRNA function. Also, it links UCRs and miRNAs with the related human disorders and genomic properties. The current release contains over 2000 sequences from three species (human, mouse and rat). As a web application, UCbase & miRfunc is platform independent and it is accessible at http://microrna.osu.edu/.UCbase4.
doi:10.1093/nar/gkn702
PMCID: PMC2686429  PMID: 18945703
19.  Compatible solutes from hyperthermophiles improve the quality of DNA microarrays 
BMC Biotechnology  2007;7:82.
Background
DNA microarrays are among the most widely used technical platforms for DNA and RNA studies, and issues related to microarrays sensitivity and specificity are therefore of general importance in life sciences. Compatible solutes are derived from hyperthermophilic microorganisms and allow such microorganisms to survive in environmental and stressful conditions. Compatible solutes show stabilization effects towards biological macromolecules, including DNA.
Results
We report here that compatible solutes from hyperthermophiles increased the performance of the hybridization buffer for Affymetrix GeneChip® arrays. The experimental setup included independent hybridizations with constant RNA over a wide range of compatible solute concentrations. The dependence of array quality and compatible solute was assessed using specialized statistical tools provided by both the proprietary Affymetrix quality control system and the open source Bioconductor suite.
Conclusion
Low concentration (10 to 25 mM) of hydroxyectoine, potassium mannosylglycerate and potassium diglycerol phosphate in hybridization buffer positively affected hybridization parameters and enhanced microarrays outcome. This finding harbours a strong potential for the improvement of DNA microarray experiments.
doi:10.1186/1472-6750-7-82
PMCID: PMC2248183  PMID: 18036223
20.  Zinc deficiency activates S100A8 inflammation in the absence of COX-2 and promotes murine oral-esophageal tumor progression 
Zinc (Zn)-deficiency (ZD) is implicated in the pathogenesis of human oral-esophageal cancers. Previously, we showed that in ZD mice genetic deletion of cyclooxygenase-2 (Cox-2) enhances N-nitrosomethylbenzylamine-induced forestomach carcinogenesis. By contrast, Cox-2 deletion offers protection in Zn-sufficient (ZS) mice. We hypothesize that ZD activates pathways insensitive to COX-2 inhibition, thereby promoting carcinogenesis. This hypothesis is tested in a Cox-2−/− mouse tongue cancer model that mimics pharmacologic blockade of COX-2 by firstly examining transcriptome profiles of forestomach mucosa from Cox-2−/− and wild-type mice on a ZD vs. ZS diet, and secondly investigating the roles of identified markers in mouse forestomach/tongue preneoplasia and carcinomas. In Cox-2−/− mice exposed to the tongue carcinogen 4-nitroquinoline 1-oxide, dietary ZD elicited tongue/esophagus/forestomach carcinomas that were prevented by ZS. The precancerous ZD:Cox-2−/−vs. ZS:Cox-2−/− forestomach had an inflammatory signature with upregulation of the proinflammation genes S100a8 and S100a9. Bioinformatics analysis revealed overrepresentation of inflammation processes comprising S100a8/a9 and an nuclear factor (NF)-κB network with connectivity to S100A8. Immunohistochemistry revealed co-overexpression of S100A8, its heterodimeric partner S100A9, the receptor for advanced glycation end-products (RAGE), NF-κB p65, and cyclin D1, in ZD:Cox-2−/− forestomach/tongue preneoplasia and carcinomas, evidence for the activation of a RAGE-S100A8/A9 inflammatory pathway. Accumulation of p53 in these carcinomas indicated activation of additional inflammatory pathways. Zn-replenishment in ZD:Cox-2−/−mice reversed the inflammation and inhibited carcinogenesis. Thus, ZD activates alternative inflammation-associated cancer pathways that fuel tumor progression and bypass the antitumor effect of Cox-2 ablation. These findings have important clinical implications, as combination cancer therapy that includes Zn may improve efficacy.
doi:10.1002/ijc.25688
PMCID: PMC3015018  PMID: 20857495
zinc deficiency; transcriptome profiling; Cox-2 null mice; S100A8 inflammation; tongue cancer prevention

Results 1-20 (20)