MicroRNA (miRNA) is an emerging subclass of small non-coding RNAs that regulates gene expression and has a pivotal role for many physiological processes including cancer development. Recent reports revealed the role of miRNAs as ideal biomarkers and therapeutic targets due to their tissue- or disease-specific nature. Head and neck cancer (HNC) is a major cause of cancer-related mortality and morbidity, and laryngeal cancer has the highest incidence in it. However, the molecular mechanisms involved in laryngeal cancer development remain to be known and highly sensitive biomarkers and novel promising therapy is necessary.
To explore laryngeal cancer-specific miRNAs, RNA from 5 laryngeal surgical specimens including cancer and non-cancer tissues were hybridized to microarray carrying 723 human miRNAs. The resultant differentially expressed miRNAs were further tested by using quantitative real time PCR (qRT-PCR) on 43 laryngeal tissue samples including cancers, noncancerous counterparts, benign diseases and precancerous dysplasias. Significant expressional differences between matched pairs were reproduced in miR-133b, miR-455-5p, and miR-196a, among which miR-196a being the most promising cancer biomarker as validated by qRT-PCR analyses on additional 84 tissue samples. Deep sequencing analysis revealed both quantitative and qualitative deviation of miR-196a isomiR expression in laryngeal cancer. In situ hybridization confirmed laryngeal cancer-specific expression of miR-196a in both cancer and cancer stroma cells. Finally, inhibition of miR-196a counteracted cancer cell proliferation in both laryngeal cancer-derived cells and mouse xenograft model.
Our study provided the possibilities that miR-196a might be very useful in diagnosing and treating laryngeal cancer.
We previously reported the association of elevated levels of the multifunctional transcription factor, CCCTC binding factor (CTCF), in breast cancer cells with the specific anti-apoptotic function of CTCF. To understand the molecular mechanisms of this phenomenon, we investigated regulation of the human Bax gene by CTCF in breast and non-breast cells. Two CTCF binding sites (CTSs) within the Bax promoter were identified. In all cells, breast and non-breast, active histone modifications were present at these CTSs, DNA harboring this region was unmethylated, and levels of Bax mRNA and protein were similar. Nevertheless, up-regulation of Bax mRNA and protein and apoptotic cell death were observed only in breast cancer cells depleted of CTCF. We proposed that increased CTCF binding to the Bax promoter in breast cancer cells, by comparison with non-breast cells, may be mechanistically linked to the specific apoptotic phenotype in CTCF-depleted breast cancer cells. In this study, we show that CTCF binding was enriched at the Bax CTSs in breast cancer cells and tumors; in contrast, binding of other transcription factors (SP1, WT1, EGR1, and c-Myc) was generally increased in non-breast cells and normal breast tissues. Our findings suggest a novel mechanism for CTCF in the epigenetic regulation of Bax in breast cancer cells, whereby elevated levels of CTCF support preferential binding of CTCF to the Bax CTSs. In this context, CTCF functions as a transcriptional repressor counteracting influences of positive regulatory factors; depletion of breast cancer cells from CTCF therefore results in the activation of Bax and apoptosis.
Choriocarcinomas are embryonal tumours with loss of imprinting and hypermethylation at the insulin-like growth factor 2 (IGF2)-H19 locus. The DNA methyltransferase inhibitor, 5-Aza-2′deoxycytidine (5-AzaCdR) is an approved epigenetic cancer therapy. However, it is not known to what extent 5-AzaCdR influences other epigenetic marks. In this study, we set out to determine whether 5-AzaCdR treatment can reprogram the epigenomic organization of the IGF2-H19 locus in a choriocarcinoma cancer cell line (JEG3). We found that localized DNA demethylation at the H19 imprinting control region (ICR) induced by 5-AzaCdR, reduced IGF2, increased H19 expression, increased CTCF and cohesin recruitment and changed histone modifications. Furthermore chromatin accessibility was increased locus-wide and chromatin looping topography was altered such that a CTCF site downstream of the H19 enhancers switched its association with the CTCF site upstream of the IGF2 promoters to associate with the ICR. We identified a stable chromatin looping domain, which forms independently of DNA methylation. This domain contains the IGF2 gene and is marked by a histone H3 lysine 27 trimethylation block between CTCF site upstream of the IGF2 promoters and the Centrally Conserved Domain upstream of the ICR. Together, these data provide new insights into the responsiveness of chromatin topography to DNA methylation changes.
Human coronavirus strain 229E (HCoV-229E) commonly causes upper respiratory tract infections. However, lower respiratory tract infections can occur in some individuals, indicating that cells in the distal lung are susceptible to HCoV-229E. This study determined the virus susceptibility of primary cultures of human alveolar epithelial cells and alveolar macrophages (AMs). Fluorescent antibody staining indicated that HCoV-229E could readily infect AMs, but no evidence was found for infection in differentiated alveolar epithelial type II cells and only a very low level of infection in type II cells transitioning to the type I-like cell phenotype. However, a human bronchial epithelial cell line (16HBE) was readily infected. The innate immune response of AMs to HCoV-229E infection was evaluated for cytokine production and interferon (IFN) gene expression. AMs secreted significant amounts of tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), regulated on activation normal T-cell expressed and secreted (RANTES/CCL5) and macrophage inflammatory protein 1β (MIP-1β/CCL4) in response to HCoV-229E infection, but these cells exhibited no detectable increase in IFN-β or interleukin-29 in mRNA levels. AMs from smokers had reduced secretion of TNF-α compared with non-smokers in response to HCoV-229E infection. Surfactant protein A (SP-A) and SP-D are part of the innate immune system in the distal lung. Both surfactant proteins bound to HCoV-229E, and pre-treatment of HCoV-229E with SP-A or SP-D inhibited infection of 16HBE cells. In contrast, there was a modest reduction in infection in AMs by SP-A, but not by SP-D. In summary, AMs are an important target for HCoV-229E, and they can mount a pro-inflammatory innate immune response to infection.
Alveolar type II (ATII) cells cultured at an air–liquid (A/L) interface maintain differentiation, but they lose these properties when they are submerged. Others showed that an oxygen tension gradient develops in the culture medium as ATII cells consume oxygen. Therefore, we wondered whether hypoxia inducible factor (HIF) signaling could explain differences in the phenotypes of ATII cells cultured under A/L interface or submerged conditions. ATII cells were isolated from male Sprague-Dawley rats and cultured on inserts coated with a mixture of rat-tail collagen and Matrigel, in medium including 5% rat serum and 10 ng/ml keratinocyte growth factor, with their apical surfaces either exposed to air or submerged. The A/L interface condition maintained the expression of surfactant proteins, whereas that expression was down-regulated under the submerged condition, and the effect was rapid and reversible. Under submerged conditions, there was an increase in HIF1α and HIF2α in nuclear extracts, mRNA levels of HIF inducible genes, vascular endothelial growth factor, glucose transporter–1 (GLUT1), and the protein level of pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase isozyme–1. The expression of surfactant proteins was suppressed and GLUT1 mRNA levels were induced when cells were cultured with 1 mM dimethyloxalyl glycine. The expression of surfactant proteins was restored under submerged conditions with supplemented 60% oxygen. HIF signaling and oxygen tension at the surface of cells appears to be important in regulating the phenotype of rat ATII cells.
HIF; ATII cells; surfactant proteins; VEGF; GLUT1
Particular cis-Golgi proteins accumulate in novel punctate structures close to ERES by BFA treatment in tobacco BY-2 cells. These structures reassemble first to form cis-Golgi after BFA removal, and the Golgi stacks regenerate in the cis-to-trans order. This indicates that the punctate structures act as the scaffold for Golgi regeneration.
The Golgi apparatus forms stacks of cisternae in many eukaryotic cells. However, little is known about how such a stacked structure is formed and maintained. To address this question, plant cells provide a system suitable for live-imaging approaches because individual Golgi stacks are well separated in the cytoplasm. We established tobacco BY-2 cell lines expressing multiple Golgi markers tagged by different fluorescent proteins and observed their responses to brefeldin A (BFA) treatment and BFA removal. BFA treatment disrupted cis, medial, and trans cisternae but caused distinct relocalization patterns depending on the proteins examined. Medial- and trans-Golgi proteins, as well as one cis-Golgi protein, were absorbed into the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), but two other cis-Golgi proteins formed small punctate structures. After BFA removal, these puncta coalesced first, and then the Golgi stacks regenerated from them in the cis-to-trans order. We suggest that these structures have a property similar to the ER-Golgi intermediate compartment and function as the scaffold of Golgi regeneration.
Alveolar Type II (ATII) cells are important targets for seasonal and pandemic influenza. To investigate the influenza-induced innate immune response in those cells, we measured the global gene expression profile of highly differentiated ATII cells infected with the influenza A virus at a multiplicity of infection of 0.5 at 4 hours and 24 hours after inoculation. Infection with influenza stimulated a significant increase in the mRNA concentrations of many host defense–related genes, including pattern/pathogen recognition receptors, IFN, and IFN-induced genes, chemokines, and suppressors of cytokine signaling. We verified these changes by quantitative real-time RT-PCR. At the protein level, we detected a robust virus-induced secretion of the three glutamic acid-leucine-arginine (ELR)-negative chemokines CXCL9, CXCL10, and CXCL11, according to ELISA. The ultraviolet inactivation of virus abolished the chemokine and cytokine response. Viral infection did not appear to alter the differentiation of ATII cells, as measured by cellular mRNA and concentrations of surfactant proteins. However, viral infection significantly reduced the secretion of surfactant protein (SP)–A and SP–D. In addition, influenza A virus triggered a time-dependent activation of phosphatidylinositol 3–kinase signaling in ATII cells. The inhibition of this pathway significantly decreased the release of infectious virus and the chemokine response, but did not alter virus-induced cell death. This study provides insights into influenza-induced innate immunity in differentiated human ATII cells, and demonstrates that the alveolar epithelium is a critical part of the initial innate immune response to influenza.
human Type II cell; influenza; chemokine; PI3k; differentiation
Alveolar macrophages (AM) are one of the key cell types for initiating inflammatory and immune responses to influenza virus in the lung. However, the genome-wide changes in response to influenza infection in AM have not been defined. We performed gene profiling of human AM in response to H1N1 influenza A virus PR/8 using Affymetrix HG-U133 Plus 2.0 chips and verified the changes at both mRNA and protein levels by real-time RT-PCR and ELISA. We confirmed the response with a contemporary H3N2 influenza virus A/New York/238/2005 (NY/238). To understand the local cellular response, we also evaluated the impact of paracrine factors on virus-induced chemokine and cytokine secretion. In addition, we investigated the changes in the expression of macrophage receptors and uptake of pathogens after PR/8 infection. Although macrophages fail to release a large amount of infectious virus, we observed a robust induction of type I and type III interferons and several cytokines and chemokines following influenza infection. CXCL9, 10, and 11 were the most highly induced chemokines by influenza infection. UV-inactivation abolished virus-induced cytokine and chemokine response, with the exception of CXCL10. The contemporary influenza virus NY/238 infection of AM induced a similar response as PR/8. Inhibition of TNF and/or IL-1β activity significantly decreased the secretion of the proinflammatory chemokines CCL5 and CXCL8 by over 50%. PR/8 infection also significantly decreased mRNA levels of macrophage receptors including C-type lectin domain family 7 member A (CLEC7A), macrophage scavenger receptor 1 (MSR1), and CD36, and reduced uptake of zymosan. In conclusion, influenza infection induced an extensive proinflammatory response in human AM. Targeting local components of innate immune response might provide a strategy for controlling influenza A infection-induced proinflammatory response in vivo.
Hyper- and hypomethylation at the IGF2-H19 imprinting control region (ICR) result in reciprocal changes in IGF2-H19 expression and the two contrasting growth disorders, Beckwith–Wiedemann syndrome (BWS) and Silver–Russell syndrome (SRS). DNA methylation of the ICR controls the reciprocal imprinting of IGF2 and H19 by preventing the binding of the insulator protein, CTCF. We here show that local changes in histone modifications and CTCF–cohesin binding at the ICR in BWS and SRS together with DNA methylation correlate with the higher order chromatin structure at the locus. In lymphoblastoid cells from control individuals, we found the repressive histone H3K9me3 and H4K20me3 marks associated with the methylated paternal ICR allele and the bivalent H3K4me2/H3K27me3 mark together with H3K9ac and CTCF–cohesin associated with the non-methylated maternal allele. In patient-derived cell lines, the mat/pat asymmetric distribution of these epigenetic marks was lost with H3K9me3 and H4K20me3 becoming biallelic in the BWS and H3K4me2, H3K27me3 and H3K9ac together with CTCF–cohesin becoming biallelic in the SRS. We further show that in BWS and SRS cells, there is opposing chromatin looping conformation mediated by CTCF–cohesin binding sites surrounding the locus. In normal cells, lack of CTCF–cohesin binding at the paternal ICR is associated with monoallelic interaction between two CTCF sites flanking the locus. CTCF–cohesin binding at the maternal ICR blocks this interaction by associating with the CTCF site downstream of the enhancers. The two alternative chromatin conformations are differently favoured in BWS and SRS likely predisposing the locus to the activation of IGF2 or H19, respectively.
The rat coronavirus sialodacryoadenitis virus (SDAV) causes respiratory infection and provides a system for investigating respiratory coronaviruses in a natural host. A viral suspension in the form of a microspray aerosol was delivered by intratracheal instillation into the distal lung of 6–8-week-old Fischer 344 rats. SDAV inoculation produced a 7 % body weight loss over a 5 day period that was followed by recovery over the next 7 days. SDAV caused focal lesions in the lung, which were most severe on day 4 post-inoculation (p.i.). Immunofluorescent staining showed that four cell types supported SDAV virus replication in the lower respiratory tract, namely Clara cells, ciliated cells in the bronchial airway and alveolar type I and type II cells in the lung parenchyma. In bronchial alveolar lavage fluid (BALF) a neutrophil influx increased the population of neutrophils to 45 % compared with 6 % of the cells in control samples on day 2 after mock inoculation. Virus infection induced an increase in surfactant protein SP-D levels in BALF of infected rats on days 4 and 8 p.i. that subsided by day 12. The concentrations of chemokines MCP-1, LIX and CINC-1 in BALF increased on day 4 p.i., but returned to control levels by day 8. Intratracheal instillation of rats with SDAV coronavirus caused an acute, self-limited infection that is a useful model for studying the early events of the innate immune response to respiratory coronavirus infections in lungs of the natural virus host.
Surfactant proteins are produced predominantly by alveolar type II (ATII) cells, and the expression of these proteins can be altered by cytokines and growth factors. Th1/Th2 cytokine imbalance is suggested to be important in the pathogenesis of several adult lung diseases. Recently, we developed a culture system for maintaining differentiated adult human ATII cells. Therefore, we sought to determine the effects of IL-13 and IFN-γ on the expression of surfactant proteins in adult human ATII cells in vitro. Additional studies were done with rat ATII cells.
Adult human ATII cells were isolated from deidentified organ donors whose lungs were not suitable for transplantation and donated for medical research. The cells were cultured on a mixture of Matrigel and rat-tail collagen for 8 d with differentiation factors and human recombinant IL-13 or IFN-γ.
IL-13 reduced the mRNA and protein levels of surfactant protein (SP)-C, whereas IFN-γ increased the mRNA level of SP-C and proSP-C protein but not mature SP-C. Neither cytokine changed the mRNA level of SP-B but IFN-γ slightly decreased mature SP-B. IFN-γ reduced the level of the active form of cathepsin H. IL-13 also reduced the mRNA and protein levels of SP-D, whereas IFN-γ increased both mRNA and protein levels of SP-D. IL-13 did not alter SP-A, but IFN-γ slightly increased the mRNA levels of SP-A.
We demonstrated that IL-13 and IFN-γ altered the expression of surfactant proteins in human adult ATII cells in vitro. IL-13 decreased SP-C and SP-D in human ATII cells, whereas IFN-γ had the opposite effect. The protein levels of mature SP-B were decreased by IFN-γ treatment, likely due to the reduction in active form cathpesin H. Similarly, the active form of cathepsin H was relatively insufficient to fully process proSP-C as IFN-γ increased the mRNA levels for SP-C and proSP-C protein, but there was no increase in mature SP-C. These observations suggest that in disease states with an overexpression of IL-13, there would be some deficiency in mature SP-C and SP-D. In disease states with an excess of IFN-γ or therapy with IFN-γ, these data suggest that there might be incomplete processing of SP-B and SP-C.
Airflow limitation in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is caused by a mixture of small airway disease and emphysema, the relative contributions of which may vary among patients. Phenotypes of COPD classified purely based on severity of emphysema are not well defined and may be different from the classic phenotypes of “pink puffers” and “blue bloaters”.
To characterise clinical phenotypes based on severity of emphysema, 274 subjects with COPD were recruited, excluding those with physician‐diagnosed bronchial asthma. For all subjects a detailed interview of disease history and symptoms, quality of life (QOL) measurement, blood sampling, pulmonary function tests before and after inhalation of salbutamol (0.4 mg) and high‐resolution CT scanning were performed.
Severity of emphysema visually evaluated varied widely even among subjects with the same stage of disease. No significant differences were noted among three groups of subjects classified by severity of emphysema in age, smoking history, chronic bronchitis symptoms, blood eosinophil count, serum IgE level or bronchodilator response. However, subjects with severe emphysema had significantly lower body mass index (BMI) and poorer QOL scores, evaluated using St George's Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ), than those with no/mild emphysema (mean (SD) BMI 21.2 (0.5) vs 23.5 (0.3) kg/m2, respectively; SGRQ total score 40 (3) vs 28 (2), respectively; p<0.001 for both). These characteristics held true even if subjects with the same degree of airflow limitation were chosen.
The severity of emphysema varies widely even in patients with the same stage of COPD, and chronic bronchitis symptoms are equally distributed irrespective of emphysema severity. Patients with the phenotype in which emphysema predominates have lower BMI and poorer health‐related QOL.
Poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation of the conserved multifunctional transcription factor CTCF was previously identified as important to maintain CTCF insulator and chromatin barrier functions. However, the molecular mechanism of this regulation and also the necessity of this modification for other CTCF functions remain unknown. In this study, we identified potential sites of poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation within the N-terminal domain of CTCF and generated a mutant deficient in poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation. Using this CTCF mutant, we demonstrated the requirement of poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation for optimal CTCF function in transcriptional activation of the p19ARF promoter and inhibition of cell proliferation. By using a newly generated isogenic insulator reporter cell line, the CTCF insulator function at the mouse Igf2-H19 imprinting control region (ICR) was found to be compromised by the CTCF mutation. The association and simultaneous presence of PARP-1 and CTCF at the ICR, confirmed by single and serial chromatin immunoprecipitation assays, were found to be independent of CTCF poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation. These results suggest a model of CTCF regulation by poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation whereby CTCF and PARP-1 form functional complexes at sites along the DNA, producing a dynamic reversible modification of CTCF. By using bioinformatics tools, numerous sites of CTCF and PARP-1 colocalization were demonstrated, suggesting that such regulation of CTCF may take place at the genome level.
Hop stunt was a mysterious disorder that first emerged in the 1940s in commercial hops in Japan. To investigate the origin of this disorder, we infected hops with natural Hop stunt viroid (HpSVd) isolates derived from four host species (hop, grapevine, plum and citrus), which except for hop represent possible sources of the ancestral viroid. These plants were maintained for 15 years, then analyzed the HpSVd variants present. Here we show that the variant originally found in cultivated grapevines gave rise to various combinations of mutations at positions 25, 26, 54, 193, and 281. However, upon prolonged infection, these variants underwent convergent evolution resulting in a limited number of adapted mutants. Some of them showed nucleotide sequences identical to those currently responsible for hop stunt epidemics in commercial hops in Japan, China, and the United States. Therefore, these results indicate that we have successfully reproduced the original process by which a natural HpSVd variant naturally introduced into cultivated hops was able to mutate into the HpSVd variants that are currently present in commercial hops. Furthermore, and importantly, we have identified cultivated grapevines as a symptomless reservoir in which HSVd can evolve and be transmitted to hop crops to cause epidemics.
Cohesin is a chromatin-associated protein complex that mediates sister chromatid cohesion by connecting replicated DNA molecules. Cohesin also has important roles in gene regulation, but the mechanistic basis of this function is poorly understood. In mammalian genomes, cohesin co-localizes with CCCTC binding factor (CTCF), a zinc finger protein implicated in multiple gene regulatory events. At the imprinted IGF2-H19 locus, CTCF plays an important role in organizing allele-specific higher-order chromatin conformation and functions as an enhancer blocking transcriptional insulator. Here we have used chromosome conformation capture (3C) assays and RNAi–mediated depletion of cohesin to address whether cohesin affects higher order chromatin conformation at the IGF2-H19 locus in human cells. Our data show that cohesin has a critical role in maintaining CTCF–mediated chromatin conformation at the locus and that disruption of this conformation coincides with changes in IGF2 expression. We show that the cohesin-dependent, higher-order chromatin conformation of the locus exists in both G1 and G2 phases of the cell cycle and is therefore independent of cohesin's function in sister chromatid cohesion. We propose that cohesin can mediate interactions between DNA molecules in cis to insulate genes through the formation of chromatin loops, analogous to the cohesin mediated interaction with sister chromatids in trans to establish cohesion.
Recent work has shown that cohesin, a protein best known for its role in holding sister chromatids together, and CTCF, a protein implicated in the formation of chromatin loops, localize to the same regions of DNA in mammalian genomes. This observation raised the intriguing possibility that cohesin might facilitate the role of CTCF in structuring chromatin. CTCF is well known for its role in regulating genomic imprinting at the IGF2-H19 gene locus. Imprinted genes are widely studied due to their roles in fetal growth and cancer and have the unusual property of expressing only one parental copy of the gene. CTCF is thought to regulate imprinting of IGF2 and H19 by enabling DNA to form loops that separate the genes into silent or active domains. In this paper we describe, for the first time, the looping structure of the human IGF2-H19 locus and show that cohesin stabilises CTCF–mediated DNA loops. Depletion of cohesin leads to disruption of long-range chromatin interactions and changes expression levels of the IGF2 gene. This work adds a new level of understanding of how cohesin can play a role in gene expression.
The overexpression of murine double minute 2 (MDM2) is found in several human tumors, and increased expression of MDM2 inactivates the apoptotic and cell cycle arrest function of p53. Interleukin-16 (IL-16) is a pleiotrophic cytokine and the properties of IL-16 suggest that it involve in the pathophysiological process of chronic inflammatory diseases. In this study, we investigated the expression of MDM2 in intestinal metaplasia and gastric cancer as well as the effect of H. pylori infection and IL-16 on epithelial cell proliferation and MDM2 expression in gastric cells in vitro. The expression of MDM2 on gastric biopsies was studied immunohistochemistry. AGS cells were incubated with a combination of IL-16 and Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori). Gastric epithelial cell proliferation was studied by BrdU uptake and the expressions of MDM2 were studied by ELISA. There was no significant difference on the expression of MDM2 between with and without H. pylori infected chronic gastritis. In H. pylori infected gastric mucosa; the MDM2 expression was higher on intestinal metaplasia and gastric cancer than chronic gastritis. IL-16 administration was increased MDM2 expression and cell proliferation on AGS cells, which was decreased by H. pylori infection. In conclusion, the expression of MDM2 in long-term H. pylori infected gastric mucosa may indicate a risk for carcinogenesis. IL-16 secretion in H. pylori infected mucosa is one of the factors for gastric cancer. The expression of MDM2 on mucosa can be a mediator for gastric cancer.
Helicobacter pylori; gastric cancer; intestinal metaplasia; MDM2
Genomic imprinting is a normal process that causes genes to be expressed according to parental origin. The selective advantage conferred by imprinting is not understood but is hypothesised to act on dosage-critical genes. Here, we report a unique model in which the consequences of a single, double, and triple dosage of the imprinted Dlk1/Pref1, normally repressed on the maternally inherited chromosome, can be assessed in the growing embryo. BAC-transgenic mice were generated that over-express Dlk1 from endogenous regulators at all sites of embryonic activity. Triple dosage causes lethality associated with major organ abnormalities. Embryos expressing a double dose of Dlk1, recapitulating loss of imprinting, are growth enhanced but fail to thrive in early life, despite the early growth advantage. Thus, any benefit conferred by increased embryonic size is offset by postnatal lethality. We propose a negative correlation between gene dosage and survival that fixes an upper limit on growth promotion by Dlk1, and we hypothesize that trade-off between growth and lethality might have driven imprinting at this locus.
Genomic imprinting, the process that causes genes to be expressed from one of the two chromosome homologues according to parental origin, is likely to act on genes whose dosage is important for their correct function. To test this, we compared the phenotype of transgenic mice expressing a double and triple dose of the imprinted gene Dlk1/Pref1 with animals expressing the normal single dose expressed from the paternally inherited chromosome. Our results showed that a triple dose causes severe developmental abnormalities and death before or at birth. Embryos expressing a double dose, recapitulating absence of imprinting, are bigger at birth but then around one-third of them died within the first three days of life. Those that survived had poor early growth performance in the first week of life becoming small and remaining small, thus offsetting any benefit conferred by being born bigger. Therefore, imprinted levels of Dlk1/Pref1 represent the optimal balance of growth versus lethality. These findings lead to speculation about the evolutionary pressures acting to establish and maintain imprinting at this locus.
The imprinted insulin-like growth factor 2 (IGF2) gene is expressed predominantly from the paternal allele. Loss of imprinting (LOI) associated with hypomethylation at the promoter proximal sequence (DMR0) of the IGF2 gene was proposed as a predisposing constitutive risk biomarker for colorectal cancer. We used pyrosequencing to assess whether IGF2 DMR0 methylation is either present constitutively prior to cancer or whether it is acquired tissue-specifically after the onset of cancer. DNA samples from tumour tissues and matched non-tumour tissues from 22 breast and 42 colorectal cancer patients as well as peripheral blood samples obtained from colorectal cancer patients [SEARCH (n=case 192, controls 96)], breast cancer patients [ABC (n=case 364, controls 96)] and the European Prospective Investigation of Cancer [EPIC-Norfolk (n=breast 228, colorectal 225, controls 895)] were analysed. The EPIC samples were collected 2–5 years prior to diagnosis of breast or colorectal cancer. IGF2 DMR0 methylation levels in tumours were lower than matched non-tumour tissue. Hypomethylation of DMR0 was detected in breast (33%) and colorectal (80%) tumour tissues with a higher frequency than LOI indicating that methylation levels are a better indicator of cancer than LOI. In the EPIC population, the prevalence of IGF2 DMR0 hypomethylation was 9.5% and this correlated with increased age not cancer risk. Thus, IGF2 DMR0 hypomethylation occurs as an acquired tissue-specific somatic event rather than a constitutive innate epimutation. These results indicate that IGF2 DMR0 hypomethylation has diagnostic potential for colon cancer rather than value as a surrogate biomarker for constitutive LOI.
Differentially methylated regions (DMRs) are associated with many imprinted genes. In mice methylation at a DMR upstream of the H19 gene known as the Imprint Control region (IC1) is acquired in the male germline and influences the methylation status of DMRs 100 kb away in the adjacent Insulin-like growth factor 2 (Igf2) gene through long-range interactions. In humans, germline-derived or post-zygotically acquired imprinting defects at IC1 are associated with aberrant activation or repression of IGF2, resulting in the congenital growth disorders Beckwith-Wiedemann (BWS) and Silver-Russell (SRS) syndromes, respectively. In Wilms tumour and colorectal cancer, biallelic expression of IGF2 has been observed in association with loss of methylation at a DMR in IGF2. This DMR, known as DMR0, has been shown to be methylated on the silent maternal IGF2 allele presumably with a role in repression. The effect of IGF2 DMR0 methylation changes in the aetiology of BWS or SRS is unknown.
We analysed the methylation status of the DMR0 in BWS, SRS and Wilms tumour patients by conventional bisulphite sequencing and pyrosequencing. We show here that, contrary to previous reports, the IGF2 DMR0 is actually methylated on the active paternal allele in peripheral blood and kidney. This is similar to the IC1 methylation status and is inconsistent with the proposed silencing function of the maternal IGF2 allele. Beckwith-Wiedemann and Silver-Russell patients with IC1 methylation defects have similar methylation defects at the IGF2 DMR0, consistent with IC1 regulating methylation at IGF2 in cis. In Wilms tumour, however, methylation profiles of IC1 and IGF2 DMR0 are indicative of methylation changes occurring on both parental alleles rather than in cis.
These results support a model in which DMR0 and IC1 have opposite susceptibilities to global hyper and hypomethylation during tumorigenesis independent of the parent of origin imprint. In contrast, during embryogenesis DMR0 is methylated or demethylated according to the germline methylation imprint at the IC1, indicating different mechanisms of imprinting loss in neoplastic and non-neoplastic cells.
Recently the finding of gastric cancer in Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori)-infected mouse models was reported. Studies of humans and animal models have shown that H. pylori infection stimulates gastric epithelial cell proliferation and apoptosis. Polyphenols contained in green tea and related compounds were reported to have a variety anti-tumor effects and bactericidal properties. We studied the effect of green tea polyphenols on gastric cell proliferation and apoptosis in an H. pylori-infected mouse model. This model was prepared by inoculating Balb/c mice with 108 cfu of H. pylori (NCTC 11637 strain) by gavage. Beginning 18 weeks after inoculation, 0.5% polyphenols were given in drinking water every day for 2 weeks. Mice were sacrificed 1 h after bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) was given i.p. for preparation of paraffin-embedded specimens. Cell proliferation and apoptosis were examined by the avidin-biotin complex method using anti-BrdU antibody and the TUNEL method, respectively. H. pylori infection resulted in increased BrdU-labeled cells in both the antrum and the bodies. Administration of polyphenols suppressed this increased proliferation. H. pylori infection increased apoptotic cells in both the antrum and the corpus in comparison with controls. This increase was not seen in H. pylori-infected mice given polyphenols. We conclude the administration with polyphenols might suppress gastric carcinogenesis that is in part related to H. pylori infection.
Helicobacter pylori; green tea polyphenols; gastric cell proliferation; apoptosis