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1.  Excelling in the Role of Advocate: A Qualitative Study Exploring Advocacy as an Essential Physiotherapy Competency 
Physiotherapy Canada  2014;66(1):74-80.
Purpose: To explore the perspectives of leading advocates regarding the attributes required for excelling in the advocate role as described within the Essential Competency Profile for Physiotherapists in Canada (2009). Methods: We used a descriptive qualitative design involving in-depth, semi-structured interviews conducted with leading Canadian advocates within the physiotherapy profession. Transcribed interviews were coded and analyzed using thematic analysis. Results: The 17 participants identified eight attributes necessary for excelling in the role of advocate: collaboration, communication, scholarly practice, management, professionalism, passion, perseverance, and humility. The first five attributes correspond to roles within the Essential Competency Profile for Physiotherapists in Canada. Participants identified the attributes of collaboration, communication, and scholarly practice as the most important for successful advocacy. Participants also noted that the eight identified attributes must be used together and tailored to meet the needs of the advocacy setting. Conclusions: Identifying these eight attributes is an important first step in understanding how competence in the advocate role can be developed among physiotherapy students and practitioners. Most importantly, this study contributes to the knowledge base that helps physiotherapists to excel in advocating for their clients and the profession.
PMCID: PMC3941126  PMID: 24719513
competency-based education; patient advocacy; professional competence; spécialité de la physiothérapie, compétence professionnelle; éducation basée sur les compétences; défense des patients
2.  Autophagy-Dependent Metabolic Reprogramming Sensitizes TSC2-Deficient Cells to the Antimetabolite 6-Aminonicotinamide 
The mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) is hyperactive in many human cancers and in tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC). Autophagy, a key mTORC1 targeted process, is a critical determinant of metabolic homeostasis. Metabolomic profiling was performed to elucidate the cellular consequences of autophagy dysregulation under conditions of hyperactive mTORC1. It was discovered that TSC2-null cells have distinctive autophagy-dependent pentose phosphate pathway (PPP) alterations. This was accompanied by enhanced glucose uptake and utilization, decreased mitochondrial oxygen consumption, and increased mitochondrial ROS production. Importantly, these findings revealed that the PPP is a key autophagy-dependent compensatory metabolic mechanism. Furthermore, PPP inhibition with 6-aminonicotinamide (6-AN) in combination with autophagy inhibition suppressed proliferation and prompted the activation of NF-kB and CASP1 in TSC2-deficient, but not TSC2-proficient cells. These data demonstrate that TSC2-deficient cells can be therapeutically targeted, without mTORC1 inhibitors, by focusing on their metabolic vulnerabilities. Implications: This study provides proof-of-concept that therapeutic targeting of diseases with hyperactive mTORC1 can be achieved without the application of mTORC1 inhibitors.
PMCID: PMC4030750  PMID: 24296756
3.  Rapamycin-Insensitive Up-Regulation of Adipocyte Phospholipase A2 in Tuberous Sclerosis and Lymphangioleiomyomatosis 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e104809.
Tuberous sclerosis syndrome (TSC) is an autosomal dominant tumor suppressor gene syndrome affecting multiple organs, including renal angiomyolipomas and pulmonary lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM). LAM is a female-predominant interstitial lung disease characterized by the progressive cyst formation and respiratory failure, which is also seen in sporadic patients without TSC. Mutations in TSC1 or TSC2 cause TSC, result in hyperactivation of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), and are also seen in LAM cells in sporadic LAM. We recently reported that prostaglandin biosynthesis and cyclooxygenase-2 were deregulated in TSC and LAM. Phospholipase A2 (PLA2) is the rate-limiting enzyme that catalyzes the conversion of plasma membrane phospholipids into prostaglandins. In this study, we identified upregulation of adipocyte AdPLA2 (PLA2G16) in LAM nodule cells using publicly available expression data. We showed that the levels of AdPLA2 transcript and protein were higher in LAM lungs compared with control lungs. We then showed that TSC2 negatively regulates the expression of AdPLA2, and loss of TSC2 is associated with elevated production of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) and prostacyclin (PGI2) in cell culture models. Mouse model studies also showed increased expression of AdPLA2 in xenograft tumors, estrogen-induced lung metastatic lesions of Tsc2 null leiomyoma-derived cells, and spontaneous renal cystadenomas from Tsc2+/− mice. Importantly, rapamycin treatment did not affect the expression of AdPLA2 and the production of PGE2 by TSC2-deficient mouse embryonic fibroblast (Tsc2−/−MEFs), rat uterine leiomyoma-derived ELT3 cells, and LAM patient-associated renal angiomyolipoma-derived “mesenchymal” cells. Furthermore, methyl arachidonyl fluorophosphate (MAFP), a potent irreversible PLA2 inhibitor, selectively suppressed the growth and induced apoptosis of TSC2-deficient LAM patient-derived cells relative to TSC2-addback cells. Our findings suggest that AdPLA2 plays an important role in promoting tumorigenesis and disease progression by modulating the production of prostaglandins and may serve as a potential therapeutic target in TSC and LAM.
PMCID: PMC4210122  PMID: 25347447
4.  Folliculin regulates cell–cell adhesion, AMPK, and mTORC1 in a cell‐type‐specific manner in lung‐derived cells 
Physiological Reports  2014;2(8):e12107.
Germline loss‐of‐function BHD mutations cause cystic lung disease and hereditary pneumothorax, yet little is known about the impact of BHD mutations in the lung. Folliculin (FLCN), the product of the Birt–Hogg–Dube (BHD) gene, has been linked to altered cell–cell adhesion and to the AMPK and mTORC1 signaling pathways. We found that downregulation of FLCN in human bronchial epithelial (HBE) cells decreased the phosphorylation of ACC, a marker of AMPK activation, while downregulation of FLCN in small airway epithelial (SAEC) cells increased the activity of phospho‐S6, a marker of mTORC1 activation, highlighting the cell type–dependent functions of FLCN. Cell–cell adhesion forces were significantly increased in FLCN‐deficient HBE cells, consistent with prior findings in FLCN‐deficient human kidney‐derived cells. To determine how these altered cell–cell adhesion forces impact the lung, we exposed mice with heterozygous inactivation of Bhd (similarly to humans with germline inactivation of one BHD allele) to mechanical ventilation at high tidal volumes. Bhd+/− mice exhibited a trend (P = 0.08) toward increased elastance after 6 h of ventilation at 24 cc/kg. Our results indicate that FLCN regulates the AMPK and mTORC1 pathways and cell–cell adhesion in a cell type–dependent manner. FLCN deficiency may impact the physiologic response to inflation‐induced mechanical stress, but further investigation is required. We hypothesize that FLCN‐dependent effects on signaling and cellular adhesion contribute to the pathogenesis of cystic lung disease in BHD patients.
We found that downregulation of FLCN in human bronchial epithelial (HBE) cells decreased the phosphorylation of ACC, a marker of AMPK activation, while downregulation of FLCN in small airway epithelial (SAEC) cells increased the activity of phospho‐S6, a marker of mTORC1 activation, highlighting the cell type–dependent functions of FLCN. Cell–cell adhesion forces were significantly increased in FLCN‐deficient HBE cells, consistent with prior findings in FLCN‐deficient human kidney‐derived cells. To determine how these altered cell–cell adhesion forces impact the lung, we exposed mice with heterozygous inactivation of Bhd (similarly to humans with germline inactivation of one BHD allele) to mechanical ventilation at high tidal volumes. Bhd+/− mice exhibited a trend (P = 0.08) toward increased elastance after 6 h of ventilation at 24 cc/kg.
PMCID: PMC4246594  PMID: 25121506
AMPK; BHD; Cell–cell adhesion; folliculin; mTOR; pneumothorax
5.  Estradiol and mTORC2 cooperate to enhance prostaglandin biosynthesis and tumorigenesis in TSC2-deficient LAM cells 
Estradiol enhances COX-2 expression and prostaglandin biosynthesis in TSC2-deficient cells via a rapamycin-insensitive, mTORC2-dependent mechanism.
Lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM) is a progressive neoplastic disorder that leads to lung destruction and respiratory failure primarily in women. LAM is typically caused by tuberous sclerosis complex 2 (TSC2) mutations resulting in mTORC1 activation in proliferative smooth muscle–like cells in the lung. The female predominance of LAM suggests that estradiol contributes to disease development. Metabolomic profiling identified an estradiol-enhanced prostaglandin biosynthesis signature in Tsc2-deficient (TSC−) cells, both in vitro and in vivo. Estradiol increased the expression of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), a rate-limiting enzyme in prostaglandin biosynthesis, which was also increased at baseline in TSC-deficient cells and was not affected by rapamycin treatment. However, both Torin 1 treatment and Rictor knockdown led to reduced COX-2 expression and phospho-Akt-S473. Prostaglandin production was also increased in TSC-deficient cells. In preclinical models, both Celecoxib and aspirin reduced tumor development. LAM patients had significantly higher serum prostaglandin levels than healthy women. 15-epi-lipoxin-A4 was identified in exhaled breath condensate from LAM subjects and was increased by aspirin treatment, indicative of functional COX-2 expression in the LAM airway. In vitro, 15-epi-lipoxin-A4 reduced the proliferation of LAM patient–derived cells in a dose-dependent manner. Targeting COX-2 and prostaglandin pathways may have therapeutic value in LAM and TSC-related diseases, and possibly in other conditions associated with mTOR hyperactivation.
PMCID: PMC3892971  PMID: 24395886
6.  Faslodex Inhibits Estradiol-Induced Extracellular Matrix Dynamics and Lung Metastasis in a Model of Lymphangioleiomyomatosis 
Lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM) is a destructive lung disease primarily affecting women. Genetic studies indicate that LAM cells carry inactivating tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC)–2 mutations, and metastasize to the lung. We previously discovered that estradiol increases the metastasis of TSC2-deficient cells in mice carrying xenograft tumors. Here, we investigate the molecular basis underlying the estradiol-induced lung metastasis of TSC2-deficient cells, and test the efficacy of Faslodex (an estrogen receptor antagonist) in a preclinical model of LAM. We used a xenograft tumor model in which estradiol induces the lung metastasis of TSC2-deficient cells. We analyzed the impact of Faslodex on tumor size, the extracellular matrix organization, the expression of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)–2, and lung metastasis. We also examined the effects of estradiol and Faslodex on MMP2 expression and activity in tuberin-deficient cells in vitro. Estradiol resulted in a marked reduction of Type IV collagen deposition in xenograft tumors, associated with 2-fold greater MMP2 concentrations compared with placebo-treated mice. Faslodex normalized the Type IV collagen changes in xenograft tumors, enhanced the survival of the mice, and completely blocked lung metastases. In vitro, estradiol enhanced MMP2 transcripts, protein accumulation, and activity. These estradiol-induced changes in MMP2 were blocked by Faslodex. In TSC2-deficient cells, estradiol increased MMP2 concentrations in vitro and in vivo, and induced extracellular matrix remodeling. Faslodex inhibits the estradiol-induced lung metastasis of TSC2-deficient cells. Targeting estrogen receptors with Faslodex may be of efficacy in the treatment of LAM.
PMCID: PMC3727883  PMID: 23526212
tuberin; estrogen receptor antagonist; matrix metalloproteinase; extracellular matrix
7.  The mTORC1 pathway stimulates glutamine metabolism and cell proliferation by repressing SIRT4 
Cell  2013;153(4):840-854.
Proliferating mammalian cells use glutamine as a source of nitrogen and as a key anaplerotic source to provide metabolites to the tricarboxylic acid cycle (TCA) for biosynthesis. Recently, mTORC1 activation has been correlated with increased nutrient uptake and metabolism, but no molecular connection to glutaminolysis has been reported. Here, we show that mTORC1 promotes glutamine anaplerosis by activating glutamate dehydrogenase (GDH). This regulation requires transcriptional repression of SIRT4, the mitochondrial-localized sirtuin that inhibits GDH. Mechanistically, mTORC1 represses SIRT4 by promoting the proteasome-mediated destabilization of cAMP response element binding-2 (CREB2). Thus, a relationship between mTORC1, SIRT4 and cancer is suggested by our findings. Indeed, SIRT4 expression is reduced in human cancer, and its overexpression reduces cell proliferation, transformation and tumor development. Finally, our data indicate that targeting nutrient metabolism in energy-addicted cancers with high mTORC1 signaling may be an effective therapeutic approach.
PMCID: PMC3684628  PMID: 23663782
8.  MicroRNA-21 is Induced by Rapamycin in a Model of Tuberous Sclerosis (TSC) and Lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM) 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e60014.
Lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM), a multisystem disease of women, is manifest by the proliferation of smooth muscle-like cells in the lung resulting in cystic lung destruction. Women with LAM can also develop renal angiomyolipomas. LAM is caused by mutations in the tuberous sclerosis complex genes (TSC1 or TSC2), resulting in hyperactive mammalian Target of Rapamycin (mTOR) signaling. The mTOR inhibitor, Rapamycin, stabilizes lung function in LAM and decreases the volume of renal angiomyolipomas, but lung function declines and angiomyolipomas regrow when treatment is discontinued, suggesting that factors induced by mTORC1 inhibition may promote the survival of TSC2-deficient cells. Whether microRNA (miRNA, miR) signaling is involved in the response of LAM to mTORC1 inhibition is unknown. We identified Rapamycin-dependent miRNA in LAM patient angiomyolipoma-derived cells using two separate screens. First, we assayed 132 miRNA of known significance to tumor biology. Using a cut-off of >1.5-fold change, 48 microRNA were Rapamycin-induced, while 4 miRs were downregulated. In a second screen encompassing 946 miRNA, 18 miRs were upregulated by Rapamycin, while eight were downregulated. Dysregulation of miRs 29b, 21, 24, 221, 106a and 199a were common to both platforms and were classified as candidate “RapamiRs.” Validation by qRT-PCR confirmed that these microRNA were increased. miR-21, a pro-survival miR, was the most significantly increased by mTOR-inhibition (p<0.01). The regulation of miR-21 by Rapamycin is cell type independent. mTOR inhibition promotes the processing of the miR-21 transcript (pri-miR-21) to a premature form (pre-miR-21). In conclusion, our findings demonstrate that Rapamycin upregulates multiple miRs, including pro-survival miRs, in TSC2-deficient patient-derived cells. The induction of miRs may contribute to the response of LAM and TSC patients to Rapamycin therapy.
PMCID: PMC3612076  PMID: 23555865
9.  Frequency response areas in the inferior colliculus: nonlinearity and binaural interaction 
The tuning, binaural properties, and encoding characteristics of neurons in the central nucleus of the inferior colliculus (CNIC) were investigated to shed light on nonlinearities in the responses of these neurons. Results were analyzed for three types of neurons (I, O, and V) in the CNIC of decerebrate cats. Rate responses to binaural stimuli were characterized using a 1st- plus 2nd-order spectral integration model. Parameters of the model were derived using broadband stimuli with random spectral shapes (RSS). This method revealed four characteristics of CNIC neurons: (1) Tuning curves derived from broadband stimuli have fixed (i. e., level tolerant) bandwidths across a 50–60 dB range of sound levels; (2) 1st-order contralateral weights (particularly for type I and O neurons) were usually larger in magnitude than corresponding ipsilateral weights; (3) contralateral weights were more important than ipsilateral weights when using the model to predict responses to untrained noise stimuli; and (4) 2nd-order weight functions demonstrate frequency selectivity different from that of 1st-order weight functions. Furthermore, while the inclusion of 2nd-order terms in the model usually improved response predictions related to untrained RSS stimuli, they had limited impact on predictions related to other forms of filtered broadband noise [e. g., virtual-space stimuli (VS)]. The accuracy of the predictions varied considerably by response type. Predictions were most accurate for I neurons, and less accurate for O and V neurons, except at the lowest stimulus levels. These differences in prediction performance support the idea that type I, O, and V neurons encode different aspects of the stimulus: while type I neurons are most capable of producing linear representations of spectral shape, type O and V neurons may encode spectral features or temporal stimulus properties in a manner not easily explained with the low-order model. Supported by NIH grant DC00115.
PMCID: PMC3650518  PMID: 23675323
inferior colliculus; tuning; nonlinearity; binaural; model; random spectral shape; level tolerant; dynamic range
10.  Autophagy 
Autophagy  2011;7(11):1400-1401.
Mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) complex 1 (mTORC1), which is activated in tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) and lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM), is a master regulator of cell growth, cellular metabolism and autophagy. Treatment of TSC and LAM patients with mTORC1 inhibitors partially decreases the size of brain and kidney tumors, and stabilizes pulmonary function. However, the tumors regrow and lung function continues to decline when treatment is discontinued. We hypothesized that dysregulation of autophagy plays a critical role in the pathogenesis of tumors with mTORC1 hyperactivation and in their response to mTORC1-targeted therapy. We found that cells lacking TSC2 have low levels of autophagy under basal and cellular stress conditions. Using genetic and pharmacological approaches, we discovered that the survival of Tsc2-deficient tumor cells is dependent on autophagy induction. Thus, autophagy inhibitors may have therapeutic potential in TSC and LAM, either as single agent therapy or in combination with mTORC1 inhibitors.
PMCID: PMC3242802  PMID: 21997371
autophagy; p62/sequestosome 1; tuberin; sirolimus; mTOR; chloroquine; tuberous sclerosis complex; lymphangioleiomyomatosis; metabolism
11.  Real-Time Monitoring of Tumorigenesis, Dissemination, & Drug Response in a Preclinical Model of Lymphangioleiomyomatosis/Tuberous Sclerosis Complex 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(6):e38589.
TSC2-deficient cells can proliferate in the lungs, kidneys, and other organs causing devastating progressive multisystem disorders such as lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM) and tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC). Preclinical models utilizing LAM patient-derived cells have been difficult to establish. We developed a novel animal model system to study the molecular mechanisms of TSC/LAM pathogenesis and tumorigenesis and provide a platform for drug testing.
Methods and Findings
TSC2-deficient human cells, derived from the angiomyolipoma of a LAM patient, were engineered to co-express both sodium-iodide symporter (NIS) and green fluorescent protein (GFP). Cells were inoculated intraparenchymally, intravenously, or intratracheally into athymic NCr nu/nu mice and cells were tracked and quantified using single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) and computed tomography (CT). Surprisingly, TSC2-deficient cells administered intratracheally resulted in rapid dissemination to lymph node basins throughout the body, and histopathological changes in the lung consistent with LAM. Estrogen was found to be permissive for tumor growth and dissemination. Rapamycin inhibited tumor growth, but tumors regrew after the drug treatment was withdrawn.
We generated homogeneous NIS/GFP co-expressing TSC2-deficient, patient-derived cells that can proliferate and migrate in vivo after intratracheal instillation. Although the animal model we describe has some limitations, we demonstrate that systemic tumors formed from TSC2-deficient cells can be monitored and quantified noninvasively over time using SPECT/CT, thus providing a much needed model system for in vivo drug testing and mechanistic studies of TSC2-deficient cells and their related clinical syndromes.
PMCID: PMC3376142  PMID: 22719903
12.  mTOR Activation, Lymphangiogenesis, and Estrogen-Mediated Cell Survival: The “Perfect Storm” of Pro-Metastatic Factors in LAM Pathogenesis 
Research interest in lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM) has grown dramatically in the past decade, particularly among cancer biologists. There are at least two reasons for this: first, the discovery in the year 2000 that LAM cells carry TSC2 gene mutations, linking LAM with cellular pathways including the PI3K/Akt/mTOR axis, and allowing the Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC)-regulated pathways that are believed to underlie LAM pathogenesis to be studied in cells, yeast, Drosophila, and mice. A second reason for the rising interest in LAM is the discovery that LAM cells can travel to the lung, including repopulating a donor lung after lung transplantation, despite the fact that LAM cells are histologically benign. This “benign metastasis” underpinning suggests that elucidating LAM pathogenesis will unlock a set of fundamental mechanisms that underlie metastatic potential in the context of a cell that has not yet undergone malignant transformation. Here, we will outline the data supporting the metastatic model of LAM, consider the biochemical and cellular mechanisms that may enable LAM cells to metastasize, including both cell autonomous and non-cell autonomous factors, and highlight a mouse model in which estrogen promotes the metastasis and survival of TSC2-deficient cells in a MEK-dependent manner. We propose a multistep model of LAM cell metastasis that highlights multiple opportunities for therapeutic intervention. Taken together, the metastatic behavior of LAM cells and the involvement of tumor-related signaling pathways lead to optimism that cancer-related paradigms for diagnosis, staging, and therapy will lead to therapeutic breakthroughs for women living with LAM.
PMCID: PMC2883473  PMID: 20235886
13.  Mammalian Target of Rapamycin Signaling and Autophagy 
The pace of progress in lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM) is remarkable. In the year 2000, TSC2 gene mutations were found in LAM cells; in 2001 the tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) genes were discovered to regulate cell size in Drosophila via the kinase TOR (target of rapamycin); and in 2008 the results were published of a clinical trial of rapamycin, a specific inhibitor of TOR, in patients with TSC and LAM with renal angiomyolipomas. This interval of just 8 years between a genetic discovery for which the relevant signaling pathway was as yet unknown, to the initiation, completion, and publication of a clinical trial, is an almost unparalleled accomplishment in modern biomedical research. This robust foundation of basic, translational, and clinical research in TOR, TSC, and LAM is now poised to optimize and validate effective therapeutic strategies for LAM. An immediate challenge is to deduce the mechanisms underlying the partial response of renal angiomyolipomas to rapamycin, and thereby guide the design of combinatorial approaches. TOR complex 1 (TORC1), which is known to be active in LAM cells, is a key inhibitor of autophagy. One hypothesis, which will be explored here, is that low levels of autophagy in TSC2-null LAM cells limits their survival under conditions of bioenergetic stress. A corollary of this hypothesis is that rapamycin, by inducing autophagy, promotes the survival of LAM cells, while simultaneously arresting their growth. If this hypothesis proves to be correct, then combining TORC1 inhibition with autophagy inhibition may represent an effective clinical strategy for LAM.
PMCID: PMC3137149  PMID: 20160148
tuberin; rapamycin; chloroquine; Rheb; tuberous sclerosis
14.  The evolutionarily conserved TSC/Rheb pathway activates Notch in tuberous sclerosis complex and Drosophila external sensory organ development  
Mutations in either of the genes encoding the tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC), TSC1 and TSC2, result in a multisystem tumor disorder characterized by lesions with unusual lineage expression patterns. How these unusual cell-fate determination patterns are generated is unclear. We therefore investigated the role of the TSC in the Drosophila external sensory organ (ESO), a classic model of asymmetric cell division. In normal development, the sensory organ precursor cell divides asymmetrically through differential regulation of Notch signaling to produce a pIIa and a pIIb cell. We report here that inactivation of Tsc1 and overexpression of the Ras homolog Rheb each resulted in duplication of the bristle and socket cells, progeny of the pIIa cell, and loss of the neuronal cell, a product of pIIb cell division. Live imaging of ESO development revealed this cell-fate switch occurred at the pIIa-pIIb 2-cell stage. In human angiomyolipomas, benign renal neoplasms often found in tuberous sclerosis patients, we found evidence of Notch receptor cleavage and Notch target gene activation. Further, an angiomyolipoma-derived cell line carrying biallelic TSC2 mutations exhibited TSC2- and Rheb-dependent Notch activation. Finally, inhibition of Notch signaling using a γ-secretase inhibitor suppressed proliferation of Tsc2-null rat cells in a xenograft model. Together, these data indicate that the TSC and Rheb regulate Notch-dependent cell-fate decision in Drosophila and Notch activity in mammalian cells and that Notch dysregulation may underlie some of the distinctive clinical and pathologic features of TSC.
PMCID: PMC2798691  PMID: 20038815
15.  JAWS coordinates chondrogenesis and synovial joint positioning 
Development (Cambridge, England)  2008;135(13):2215-2220.
Properly positioned synovial joints are crucial to coordinated skeletal movement. Despite their importance for skeletal development and function, the molecular mechanisms underlying joint positioning are not well understood. We show that mice carrying an insertional mutation in a previously uncharacterized gene, which we have named Jaws (Joints abnormal with splitting), die perinatally with striking skeletal defects including ectopic interphalangeal joints. These ectopic joints develop along the longitudinal axis and persist at birth, suggesting that JAWS is uniquely required for the orientation and consequent positioning of interphalangeal joints within the endochondral skeleton. Jaws mutant mice also exhibit severe chondrodysplasia characterized by delayed and disorganized maturation of growth plate chondrocytes, together with impaired chondroitin sulfation and abnormal metabolism of the chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan aggrecan. Our findings identify JAWS as a key regulator of chondrogenesis and synovial joint positioning required for the restriction of joint formation to discrete, stereotyped locations in the embryonic skeleton.
PMCID: PMC2661817  PMID: 18539921
chondrogenesis; synovial joints; interzone; Gdf5; chondroitin sulfate; extracellular matrix; mouse embryo
16.  Evolution of the DAZ gene and the AZFc region on primate Y chromosomes 
The Azoospermia Factor c (AZFc) region of the human Y chromosome is a unique product of segmental duplication. It consists almost entirely of very long amplicons, represented by different colors, and is frequently deleted in subfertile men. Most of the AZFc amplicons have high sequence similarity with autosomal segments, indicating recent duplication and transposition to the Y chromosome. The Deleted in Azoospermia (DAZ) gene within the red-amplicon arose from an ancestral autosomal DAZ-like (DAZL) gene. It varies significantly between different men regarding to its copy number and the numbers of RNA recognition motif and DAZ repeat it encodes. We used Southern analyses to study the evolution of DAZ and AZFc amplicons on the Y chromosomes of primates.
The Old World monkey rhesus macaque has only one DAZ gene. In contrast, the great apes have multiple copies of DAZ, ranging from 2 copies in bonobos and gorillas to at least 6 copies in orangutans, and these DAZ genes have polymorphic structures similar to those of their human counterparts. Sequences homologous to the various AZFc amplicons are present on the Y chromosomes of some but not all primates, indicating that they arrived on the Y chromosome at different times during primate evolution.
The duplication and transposition of AZFc amplicons to the human Y chromosome occurred in three waves, i.e., after the branching of the New World monkey, the gorilla, and the chimpanzee/bonobo lineages, respectively. The red-amplicon, one of the first to arrive on the Y chromosome, amplified by inverted duplication followed by direct duplication after the separation of the Old World monkey and the great ape lineages. Subsequent duplication/deletion in the various lineages gave rise to a spectrum of DAZ gene structure and copy number found in today's great apes.
PMCID: PMC2322974  PMID: 18366765

Results 1-16 (16)