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1.  An integrated understanding of the physiological response to elevated extracellular phosphate 
Journal of cellular physiology  2013;228(7):1536-1550.
Recent studies have suggested that changes in serum phosphate levels influence pathological states associated with aging such as cancer, bone metabolism, and cardiovascular function, even in individuals with normal renal function. The causes are only beginning to be elucidated but are likely a combination of endocrine, paracrine, autocrine, and cell autonomous effects. We have used an integrated quantitative biology approach, combining transcriptomics and proteomics to define a multi-phase, extracellular phosphate-induced, signaling network in pre-osteoblasts as well as primary human and mouse mesenchymal stromal cells. We identified a rapid mitogenic response stimulated by elevated phosphate that results in the induction of immediate early genes including c-fos. The mechanism of activation requires FGF receptor signaling followed by stimulation of N-ras and activation of AP-1 and serum response elements. A distinct long-term response also requires FGF receptor signaling and results in N-ras activation and expression of genes and secretion of proteins involved in matrix regulation, calcification, and angiogenesis. The late response is synergistically enhanced by addition of FGF23 peptide. The intermediate phase results in increased oxidative phosphorylation and ATP production and is necessary for the late response providing a functional link between the phases. Collectively, the results define elevated phosphate, as a mitogen and define specific mechanisms by which phosphate stimulates proliferation and matrix regulation. Our approach provides a comprehensive understanding of the cellular response to elevated extracellular phosphate, functionally connecting temporally coordinated signaling, transcriptional, and metabolic events with changes in long-term cell behavior.
PMCID: PMC3702686  PMID: 23280476
Inorganic phosphate; FGF receptor signaling; immediate early genes; angiogenesis; AP-1
2.  Obesity-related hormones and endometrial cancer among postmenopausal women: a nested case–control study within the B~FIT cohort 
Endocrine-related cancer  2013;20(1):151-160.
Endometrial cancer risk is strongly influenced by obesity, but the mechanisms of action remain unclear. Leptin and adiponectin, secreted from adipose tissue, reportedly play a role in such carcinogenic processes as cell proliferation, angiogenesis, and insulin regulation. In this case–control study, nested within the Breast and Bone Follow-up of the Fracture Intervention Trial (n = 15 595), we assessed pre-diagnostic serum leptin, total adiponectin, and high-molecular-weight (HMW) adiponectin in relation to endometrial cancer among postmenopausal women. During the 10-year follow-up, 62 incident endometrial cases were identified and matched to 124 controls on age, geographical site, time of fasting blood draw at baseline (1992–1993), and trial participation status. Adipokines and C-peptide were measured by ELISA. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) were estimated via conditional logistic regression, with exposures categorized in tertiles (T). Multivariable models considered C-peptide, BMI (kg/m2), and estradiol (E2) as potential confounders. Endometrial cancer risk was significantly associated with higher leptin levels, adjusted for E2 and C-peptide (ORT3 vs T1 = 2.96; 95% CI, 1.21–7.25; P trend <0.01). After further adjustment for BMI, the estimates were attenuated and the positive trend was no longer statistically significant (ORT3 vs T1 = 2.11; 95% CI, 0.69–6.44; P trend = 0.18). No significant associations were observed with adiponectin or HMW adiponectin and endometrial cancer. Our findings with leptin suggest that the leptin–BMI axis might increase endometrial cancer risk through mechanisms other than estrogen-driven proliferation. Continued exploration of these pathways in larger prospective studies may help elucidate mechanisms underlying observed obesity–endometrial cancer associations.
PMCID: PMC4038326  PMID: 23222000
endometrial cancer; adiponectin; leptin; obesity
3.  Urinary Free Bisphenol A and Bisphenol A Glucuronide Concentrations in Newborns 
The Journal of pediatrics  2013;162(4):870-872.
Infants are exposed to the endocrine disruptor bisphenol A (BPA) through breast milk and baby formula. Detoxication by conjugation of BPA may be limited in infants. We demonstrate BPA exposure in 11 neonates and 1 young infant, but find no evidence of a low capacity for BPA conjugation.
PMCID: PMC3609880  PMID: 23312693
Neonate; Biomarker; Endocrine Disruptor; Environment; Exposure
4.  Estrogen metabolism within the lung and its modulation by tobacco smoke 
Carcinogenesis  2012;34(4):909-915.
Although estrogen and the enzymes responsible for its metabolism have been detected within the lung, the ability of this tissue to metabolize estrogen has not been demonstrated previously. The goal of this study was to characterize the profile of estrogen metabolites within the murine lung and to determine the effect of tobacco smoke exposure on metabolite levels. Use of liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry led to the detection of three estrogens (E1, E2 and E3) and five estrogen metabolites (2-OHE1, 4-OHE1, 4-OHE2, 2-OMeE1 and 2-OMeE2) within the perfused lung, with 4-OHE1 being the most abundant species. Levels of 4-OHEs, carcinogenic derivatives produced primarily by cytochrome P450 1B1 (Cyp1b1), were 2-fold higher in females than males. Deletion of Cyp1b1 in females led to a dramatic reduction (21-fold) in 4-OHEs, whereas levels of 2-OHE1 and the putative protective estrogen metabolite 2-OMeE2 were increased (2.4- and 5.0-fold, respectively) (P = 0.01). Similar quantitative differences in estrogen metabolite levels were observed between Cyp1b1 null and wild-type males. Exposure of female mice to tobacco smoke for 8 weeks (2h per day, 5 days per week) increased the levels of 4-OHE1 (4-fold) and 2-OHE2 (2-fold) within the lung while reducing the total concentration of 2-OMeEs to 70% of those of unexposed controls. These data suggest that tobacco smoke accelerates the production of 4-OHEs within the lung; carcinogenic metabolites that could potentially contribute to lung tumor development. Thus, inhibition of CYP1B1 may represent a promising strategy for the prevention and treatment of lung cancer.
PMCID: PMC3616670  PMID: 23276798
5.  NANOG Modulates Stemness in Human Colorectal Cancer 
Oncogene  2012;32(37):4397-4405.
NANOG is a stem cell transcription factor that is essential for embryonic development, reprogramming normal adult cells and malignant transformation and progression. The nearly identical retrogene NANOGP8 is expressed in multiple cancers, but generally not in normal tissues and its function is not well defined. Our postulate is that NANOGP8 directly modulates the stemness of individual human colorectal carcinoma (CRC) cells. Stemness was measured in vitro as the spherogenicity of single CRC cells in serum free medium and the size of the side population and in vivo as tumorigenicity and experimental metastatic potential in NOD/SCID mice. We found that 80% of clinical liver metastases express a NANOG with 75% of the positive metastases containing NANOGP8 transcripts. 3 to 62% of single cells within 6 CRC lines form spheroids in serum free medium in suspension. NANOGP8 is translated into protein. The relative expression of a NANOG gene increased 8–122 fold during spheroid formation, more than the increase in OCT4 or SOX2 transcripts with NANOGP8 the more prevalent family member. shRNA to NANOG not only inhibits spherogenicity but also reduces expression of OCT4 and SOX2, the size of the side population and tumor growth in vivo. Inhibition of NANOG gene expression is associated with inhibition of proliferation and decreased phosphorylation of G2-related cell cycle proteins. Overexpression of NANOGP8 rescues single cell spherogenicity when NANOG gene expression is inhibited and increases the side population in CRC. Thus, NANOGP8 can substitute for NANOG in directly promoting stemness in CRC.
PMCID: PMC3556342  PMID: 23085761
NANOG; NANOGP8; stemness; colorectal cancer; cancer stem cell
6.  Estrogen metabolism and mammographic density in postmenopausal women: a cross-sectional study 
Prospective studies have consistently found that postmenopausal breast cancer risk increases with circulating estrogens; however, findings from studies of estrogens and mammographic density (MD), an intermediate marker of breast cancer risk, have been inconsistent. We investigated the cross-sectional associations of urinary estrogens, and their 2-, 4-, and 16-hydroxylated metabolites with MD.
Postmenopausal women without breast cancer (n=194), ages 48-82 years, and reporting no current menopausal hormone therapy use were enrolled at a clinic in Western NY in 2005. Urinary estrogens and estrogen metabolites were measured using mass spectrometry. Percent MD and dense area (cm2) were measured using computer-assisted analyses of digitized films. Linear regression models were used to estimate associations of log-transformed estrogen measures with MD while adjusting for age, body mass index (BMI), parity, and past hormone therapy use.
Urinary concentrations of most individual estrogens and metabolites were not associated with MD; however, across the interdecile range of the ratio of parent estrogens (estrone and estradiol) to their metabolites, MD increased by 6.8 percentage points (p=0.02) and dense area increased by 10.3 cm2 (p=0.03). Across the interdecile ranges of the ratios of 2-, 4-, and 16-hydroxylation pathways to the parent estrogens, MD declined by 6.2 (p=0.03), 6.4 (p=0.04), and 5.7 (p=0.05) percentage points, respectively. All associations remained apparent in models without adjustment for BMI.
In this study of postmenopausal women, less extensive hydroxylation of parent estrogens was associated with higher MD.
Hydroxylation of estrogens may modulate postmenopausal breast cancer risk through a pathway involving MD.
PMCID: PMC3436977  PMID: 22736791
Estrogens; metabolism; mammography; breast neoplasms; risk factors; human; female; middle-aged
7.  Phosphorylation of centromeric histone H3 variant regulates chromosome segregation in Saccharomyces cerevisiae 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2013;24(12):2034-2044.
Cse4 is posttranslationally modified in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Ipl1 contributes to Cse4 phosphorylation in vivo and in vitro. Phosphorylation of Cse4 at centromeres is enhanced in response to nocodazole or reduced cohesion. The results suggest that phosphorylation of Cse4 ensures faithful chromosome segregation.
The centromeric histone H3 variant (CenH3) is essential for chromosome segregation in eukaryotes. We identify posttranslational modifications of Saccharomyces cerevisiae CenH3, Cse4. Functional characterization of cse4 phosphorylation mutants shows growth and chromosome segregation defects when combined with kinetochore mutants okp1 and ame1. Using a phosphoserine-specific antibody, we show that the association of phosphorylated Cse4 with centromeres increases in response to defective microtubule attachment or reduced cohesion. We determine that evolutionarily conserved Ipl1/Aurora B contributes to phosphorylation of Cse4, as levels of phosphorylated Cse4 are reduced at centromeres in ipl1 strains in vivo, and in vitro assays show phosphorylation of Cse4 by Ipl1. Consistent with these results, we observe that a phosphomimetic cse4-4SD mutant suppresses the temperature-sensitive growth of ipl1-2 and Ipl1 substrate mutants dam1 spc34 and ndc80, which are defective for chromosome biorientation. Furthermore, cell biology approaches using a green fluorescent protein–labeled chromosome show that cse4-4SD suppresses chromosome segregation defects in dam1 spc34 strains. On the basis of these results, we propose that phosphorylation of Cse4 destabilizes defective kinetochores to promote biorientation and ensure faithful chromosome segregation. Taken together, our results provide a detailed analysis, in vivo and in vitro, of Cse4 phosphorylation and its role in promoting faithful chromosome segregation.
PMCID: PMC3681705  PMID: 23637466
8.  Stress-Induced Phosphorylation and Proteasomal Degradation of Mitofusin 2 Facilitates Mitochondrial Fragmentation and Apoptosis 
Molecular cell  2012;47(4):547-557.
Mitochondria play central roles in integrating pro- and anti-apoptotic stimuli and JNK is well-known to have roles in activating apoptotic pathways. We establish a critical link between stress-induced JNK activation, mitofusin 2, which is an essential component of the mitochondrial outer membrane fusion apparatus, and the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS). JNK phosphorylation of mitofusin 2 in response to cellular stress leads to recruitment of the ubiquitin ligase (E3) Huwe1/Mule/ARF-BP1/HectH9/E3Histone/Lasu1 to mitofusin 2, with the BH3 domain of Huwe1 implicated in this interaction. This results in ubiquitin-mediated proteasomal degradation of mitofusin 2, leading to mitochondrial fragmentation and enhanced apoptotic cell death. The stability of a non-phosphorylatable mitofusin 2 mutant is unaffected by stress and protective against apoptosis. Conversely, a mitofusin 2 phosphomimic is more rapidly degraded without cellular stress. These findings demonstrate how proximal signaling events can influence both mitochondrial dynamics and apoptosis through phosphorylation-stimulated degradation of the mitochondrial fusion machinery.
PMCID: PMC3526191  PMID: 22748923
9.  Manganese superoxide dismutase regulates a metabolic switch during the mammalian cell cycle 
Cancer research  2012;72(15):3807-3816.
Proliferating cells consume more glucose to cope with the bioenergetics and biosynthetic demands of rapidly dividing cells as well as to counter a shift in cellular redox environment. This study investigates the hypothesis that manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD) regulates cellular redox flux and glucose consumption during the cell cycle. A direct correlation was observed between glucose consumption and percentage of S-phase cells in MnSOD wild type fibroblasts, which was absent in MnSOD homozygous knockout fibroblasts. Results from electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy and flow cytometry assays showed a significant increase in cellular superoxide levels in S-phase cells, which was associated with an increase in glucose and oxygen consumption, and a decrease in MnSOD activity. Mass spectrometry results showed a complex pattern of MnSOD-methylation at both lysine (68, 89, 122, and 202) and arginine (197 and 216) residues. MnSOD protein carrying a K89A mutation had significantly lower activity compared to wild type MnSOD. Computational-based simulations indicate that lysine and arginine methylation of MnSOD during quiescence would allow greater accessibility to the enzyme active site as well as increase the positive electrostatic potential around and within the active site. Methylation-dependent changes in the MnSOD conformation and subsequent changes in the electrostatic potential around the active site during quiescence vs. proliferation could increase the accessibility of superoxide, a negatively charged substrate. These results support the hypothesis that MnSOD regulates a “metabolic switch” during progression from quiescent through the proliferative cycle. We propose MnSOD as a new molecular player contributing to the “Warburg effect.”
PMCID: PMC3429130  PMID: 22710435
MnSOD; methylation; glucose; cell cycle; Warburg effect
10.  Ku70 Is a Novel Cytosolic DNA Sensor that Induces Type-III Rather than Type-I IFN1 
Cytosolic foreign DNA is detected by pattern recognition receptors and mainly induces Type-I IFN production. We found that transfection of different types of DNA into various untreated cells induces Type-III IFN (IFN-lambda1) rather than Type-I IFN, indicating the presence of uncharacterized DNA sensor(s). A pull-down assay using cytosolic proteins identified that Ku70 and Ku80 are the DNA binding proteins. The knockdown studies and the reporter assay revealed that Ku70 is a novel DNA sensor inducing the IFN-lambda1 activation. The functional analysis of IFNL1 promoter revealed that PRDI and ISRE sites are predominantly involved in the DNA-mediated IFNL1 activation. A pull-down assay using nuclear proteins demonstrated that the IFN-lambda1 induction is associated with the activation of IRF-1 and IRF-7. Thus we show for the first time that Ku70 mediates type III IFN induction by DNA.
PMCID: PMC3720676  PMID: 21398614
11.  Comparison of Strong Cation Exchange and SDS/PAGE Fractionation for Analysis of Multi-Protein Complexes 
Journal of proteome research  2010;9(12):6696-6704.
Affinity purification of protein complexes followed by identification using liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) is a robust method to study the fundamental process of protein interaction. While affinity isolation reduces the complexity of the sample, fractionation prior to LC-MS/MS analysis is still necessary to maximize protein coverage. In this study, we compared the protein coverage obtained via LC-MS/MS analysis of protein complexes pre-fractionated using two commonly employed methods, SDS-PAGE and strong cation exchange chromatography (SCX). The two complexes analyzed focused on the nuclear proteins Bmi-1 and GATA3 that were expressed within the cells at low and high levels, respectively. Pre-fractionation of the complexes at the peptide level using SCX consistently resulted in the identification of approximately 3-fold more proteins compared to separation at the protein level using SDS-PAGE. The increase in the number of identified proteins was especially pronounced for the Bmi-1 complex, where the target protein was expressed at a low level. The data shows that pre-fractionation of affinity isolated protein complexes using SCX prior to LC-MS/MS analysis significantly increases the number of identified proteins and individual protein coverage, particularly for target proteins expressed at low levels.
PMCID: PMC3707127  PMID: 20968308
strong cation exchange; immuno-precipitation; protein complex isolation; mass spectrometry; FLAG
12.  Systematic proteome analysis identifies transcription factor YY1 as a direct target of miR-34a 
Journal of proteome research  2010;10(2):479-487.
MicroRNA 34a (miR-34a) is a potential tumor suppressor gene and has been identified as a miRNA component of the p53 network. To better understand the biological pathways involved in miR-34a action, a parallel global protein and mRNA expression profiling on miR-34a treated neuroblastoma cells (IMR32) was performed using isotope-coded affinity tags (ICAT) and Affymetrix U133plus2 microarray respectively. Global profiling showed that miR-34a causes much smaller mRNA expression changes compared to changes at the protein level. A total of 1495 proteins represented by 2 or more peptides were identified from the quantitative ICAT analysis, of which 143 and 192 proteins are significantly up- or down-regulated by miR-34a, respectively. Pathway analysis of these differentially expressed proteins showed the enrichment of apoptosis and cell death processes in up-regulated proteins but DNA replication and cell cycle processes in the down-regulated proteins. Ribosomal proteins are the most significant set down-regulated by miR-34a. Additionally, biological network analysis to identify direct interactions among the differentially expressed proteins demonstrated that the expression of the ubiquitous transcription factor YY1, as well as its downstream proteins, is significantly reduced by miR-34a. We further demonstrated that miR-34a directly targets YY1 through a miR-34a-binding site within the 3’ UTR of YY1 using a luciferase reporter system. YY1 is a negative regulator of p53 and it plays an essential role in cancer biology. Therefore, YY1 is another important direct target of miR-34a which closely regulates TP53 activities.
PMCID: PMC3679541  PMID: 21182263
miR-34a; YY1; ICAT; proteomics; neuroblastoma
13.  Metabolomics: the final frontier? 
Genome Medicine  2012;4(4):40.
PMCID: PMC3446268  PMID: 22546050
14.  Relationship of serum estrogens and estrogen metabolites to postmenopausal breast cancer risk: a nested case-control study 
Elevated levels of circulating estrogens are linked to breast cancer risk among postmenopausal women but little is known about the importance of estrogen metabolism. A recently developed liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry-based method (LC-MS/MS) measuring a panel of 15 estrogen metabolites (EM) has been evaluated in one study, linking high levels of 2-pathway metabolites relative to the parent estrogens to reduced breast cancer risk. We analyzed this panel of EM in a nested case-control study of postmenopausal breast cancer.
Between 1977 and 1987, 6,915 women provided blood samples to the Columbia Missouri Serum Bank and were followed for incident breast cancer through December 2002. We studied 215 postmenopausal breast cancer cases and 215 matched controls who were postmenopausal and not using exogenous hormones at the time of blood draw. EM were examined individually, grouped by pathway (hydroxylation at the C-2, C-4 or C-16 positions of the steroid ring) and by ratios of the groupings. Logistic regression models controlling for matching and breast cancer risk factors were used to calculate quartile-specific odds ratios (ORs) and 95% CIs.
Significant elevated risks were not observed for individual EM, except for quartiles of 16-epiestriol (P trend = 0.07). The OR for total EM, the parent estrogens estrone and estradiol, and 2-pathway catechol EM (2-hydroxyestrone and 2-hydroxyestradiol) were elevated but the trends were not statistically significant. Among 2-pathway metabolites, risks for the highest levels of 2-hydroxyestrone-3-methyl ether and 2-methoxyestradiol were reduced; ORs for women in the highest versus lowest quartiles were 0.57 (95% CI = 0.33 to 0.99) and 0.53 (95% CI = 0.30 to 0.96), respectively. Overall, women with higher levels of 2-pathway EM had a reduced risk of breast cancer, which remained after accounting for levels of parent EM, 4-pathway EM and 16-pathway EM (all trends, P <0.11).
Women with more extensive hydroxylation along the 2-pathway may have a reduced risk of postmenopausal breast cancer. Further studies are needed to clarify the risks for specific EM and complex patterns of estrogen metabolism. This will require aggregation of EM results from several studies.
PMCID: PMC4053199  PMID: 23607871
15.  Estrogen Metabolism and Risk of Breast Cancer in Postmenopausal Women 
Estrogens are recognized causal factors in breast cancer. Interindividual variation in estrogen metabolism may also influence the risk of breast cancer and could provide clues to mechanisms of breast carcinogenesis. Long-standing hypotheses about how estrogen metabolism might influence breast cancer have not been adequately evaluated in epidemiological studies because of the lack of accurate, reproducible, and high-throughput assays for estrogen metabolites.
We conducted a prospective case–control study nested within the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial (PLCO). Participants included 277 women who developed invasive breast cancer (case subjects) and 423 matched control subjects; at PLCO baseline, all subjects were aged 55–74 years, postmenopausal and not using hormone therapy, and provided a blood sample. Liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry was used to measure serum concentrations of 15 estrogens and estrogen metabolites, in unconjugated and conjugated forms, including the parent estrogens, estrone and estradiol, and estrogen metabolites in pathways defined by irreversible hydroxylation at the C-2, C-4, or C-16 positions of the steroid ring. We calculated hazard ratios (HRs) approximating risk in highest vs lowest deciles of individual estrogens and estrogen metabolites, estrogens and estrogen metabolites grouped by metabolic pathways, and metabolic pathway ratios using multivariable Cox proportional hazards models. All statistical tests were two-sided.
Nearly all estrogens, estrogen metabolites, and metabolic pathway groups were associated with an increased risk of breast cancer; the serum concentration of unconjugated estradiol was strongly associated with the risk of breast cancer (HR = 2.07, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.19 to 3.62). No estrogen, estrogen metabolite, or metabolic pathway group remained statistically significantly associated with the risk of breast cancer after adjusting for unconjugated estradiol. The ratio of the 2-hydroxylation pathway to parent estrogens (HR = 0.66, 95% CI = 0.51 to 0.87) and the ratio of 4-hydroxylation pathway catechols to 4-hydroxylation pathway methylated catechols (HR = 1.34, 95% CI = 1.04 to 1.72) were statistically significantly associated with the risk of breast cancer and remained so after adjustment for unconjugated estradiol.
More extensive 2-hydroxylation of parent estrogens is associated with lower risk, and less extensive methylation of potentially genotoxic 4-hydroxylation pathway catechols is associated with higher risk of postmenopausal breast cancer.
PMCID: PMC3283536  PMID: 22232133
16.  Green tea intake is associated with urinary estrogen profiles in Japanese-American women 
Nutrition Journal  2013;12:25.
Intake of green tea may reduce the risk of breast cancer; polyphenols in this drink can influence enzymes that metabolize estrogens, known causal factors in breast cancer etiology.
Methods and results
We examined the associations of green tea intake (<1 time/week, 1-6 times weekly, or 7+ times weekly) with urinary estrogens and estrogen metabolites (jointly EM) in a cross-sectional sample of healthy Japanese American women, including 119 premenopausal women in luteal phase and 72 postmenopausal women. We fit robust regression models to each log-transformed EM concentration (picomoles per mg creatinine), adjusting for age and study center. In premenopausal women, intake of green tea was associated with lower luteal total EM (P trend = 0.01) and lower urinary 16-pathway EM (P trend = 0.01). In postmenopausal women, urinary estrone and estradiol were approximately 20% and 40% lower (P trend = 0.01 and 0.05, respectively) in women drinking green tea daily compared to those drinking <1 time/week. Adjustment for potential confounders (age at menarche, parity/age at first birth, body mass index, Asian birthplace, soy) did not change these associations.
Findings suggest that intake of green tea may modify estrogen metabolism or conjugation and in this way may influence breast cancer risk.
PMCID: PMC3584908  PMID: 23413779
Estrogens; Metabolism; Green tea; Camellia sinensis; Breast neoplasms; Risk factors; Human; Female; Middle-aged
17.  Urinary estrogens and estrogen metabolites and subsequent risk of breast cancer among premenopausal women 
Cancer Research  2011;72(3):696-706.
Endogenous estrogens and estrogen metabolism are hypothesized to be associated with premenopausal breast cancer risk but evidence is limited. We examined 15 urinary estrogens/estrogen metabolites (EM) and breast cancer risk among premenopausal women in a case-control study nested within the Nurses’ Health Study II (NHSII). In 1996–1999, urine was collected from 18,521 women during the mid-luteal menstrual phase. Breast cancer cases (N=247) diagnosed between collection and June 2005 were matched to 2 controls each (N=485). Urinary EM were measured by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry and adjusted for creatinine level. Relative risks (RRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated by multivariate conditional logistic regression. Higher urinary estrone and estradiol levels were strongly significantly associated with lower risk (top vs. bottom quartile RR estrone=0.52, 95% CI=(0.30–0.88); estradiol=0.51, 95% CI=(0.30–0.86)). Generally inverse, though non-significant, patterns also were observed with 2- and 4-hydroxylation pathway EM. Inverse associations generally were not observed with 16-pathway EM and a significant positive association was observed with 17-epiestriol (top vs. bottom quartile RR=1.74, 95% CI=(1.08–2.81), p-trend=0.01). In addition, there was a significant increased risk with higher 16-pathway/parent EM ratio (comparable RR=1.61, 95% CI=(0.99–2.62), p-trend=0.04). Other pathway ratios were not significantly associated with risk except parent EM/non-parent EM (comparable RR=0.58, 95% CI=(0.35–0.96), p-trend=0.03). These data suggest that most mid-luteal urinary EM concentrations are not positively associated with breast cancer risk among premenopausal women. The inverse associations with parent EM and the parent EM/non-parent EM ratio suggest that women with higher urinary excretion of parent estrogens are at lower risk.
PMCID: PMC3271178  PMID: 22144471
18.  Fecal microbial determinants of fecal and systemic estrogens and estrogen metabolites: a cross-sectional study 
High systemic estrogen levels contribute to breast cancer risk for postmenopausal women, whereas low levels contribute to osteoporosis risk. Except for obesity, determinants of non-ovarian systemic estrogen levels are undefined. We sought to identify members and functions of the intestinal microbial community associated with estrogen levels via enterohepatic recirculation.
Fifty-one epidemiologists at the National Institutes of Health, including 25 men, 7 postmenopausal women, and 19 premenopausal women, provided urine and aliquots of feces, using methods proven to yield accurate and reproducible results. Estradiol, estrone, 13 estrogen metabolites (EM), and their sum (total estrogens) were quantified in urine and feces by liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry. In feces, β-glucuronidase and β-glucosidase activities were determined by realtime kinetics, and microbiome diversity and taxonomy were estimated by pyrosequencing 16S rRNA amplicons. Pearson correlations were computed for each loge estrogen level, loge enzymatic activity level, and microbiome alpha diversity estimate. For the 55 taxa with mean relative abundance of at least 0.1%, ordinal levels were created [zero, low (below median of detected sequences), high] and compared to loge estrogens, β-glucuronidase and β-glucosidase enzymatic activity levels by linear regression. Significance was based on two-sided tests with α=0.05.
In men and postmenopausal women, levels of total urinary estrogens (as well as most individual EM) were very strongly and directly associated with all measures of fecal microbiome richness and alpha diversity (R≥0.50, P≤0.003). These non-ovarian systemic estrogens also were strongly and significantly associated with fecal Clostridia taxa, including non-Clostridiales and three genera in the Ruminococcaceae family (R=0.57−0.70, P=0.03−0.002). Estrone, but not other EM, in urine correlated significantly with functional activity of fecal β-glucuronidase (R=0.36, P=0.04). In contrast, fecal β-glucuronidase correlated inversely with fecal total estrogens, both conjugated and deconjugated (R≤-0.47, P≤0.01). Premenopausal female estrogen levels, which were collected across menstrual cycles and thus highly variable, were completely unrelated to fecal microbiome and enzyme parameters (P≥0.6).
Intestinal microbial richness and functions, including but not limited to β-glucuronidase, influence levels of non-ovarian estrogens via enterohepatic circulation. Thus, the gut microbial community likely affects the risk for estrogen-related conditions in older adults. Understanding how Clostridia taxa relate to systemic estrogens may identify targets for interventions.
Trial registration
Not applicable.
PMCID: PMC3552825  PMID: 23259758
Microbiome; Feces; Enterohepatic circulation; β-glucuronidase; β-glucosidase; Postmenopausal estrogens; Fecal estrogens; Estrogen metabolites
19.  Material Properties of Matrix Lipids Determine Conformation and Intermolecular Reactivity of a Diacetylenic Phosphatidylcholine in the Lipid Bilayer 
Photopolymerizable phospholipid DC8,9PC (1,2-bis-(tricosa-10,12-diynoyl)-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine) exhibits unique assembly characteristics in the lipid bilayer. Due to the presence of the diacetylene groups, DC8,9PC undergoes polymerization upon UV (254 nm) exposure and assumes chromogenic properties. DC8,9PC photopolymerization in a gel phase matrix lipid 1,2-dipalmitoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DPPC) monitored by UV-VIS absorption spectroscopy occurred within 2 minutes after UV treatment, whereas no spectral shifts were observed when DC8,9PC was incorporated in a liquid phase matrix 1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (POPC). Liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry analysis showed a decrease in DC8,9PC monomer in both DPPC and POPC environments without any change in matrix lipids in UV-treated samples. Molecular Dynamics (MD) simulations of DPPC/DC8,9PC and POPC/DC8,9PC bilayers indicate that the DC8,9PC molecules adjust to the thickness of the matrix lipid bilayer. Furthermore, motions of DC8,9PC in the gel phase bilayer are more restricted than in the fluid bilayer. The restricted motional flexibility of DC8,9PC (in the gel phase) enables the reactive diacetylenes in individual molecules to align and undergo polymerization, whereas the unrestricted motions in the fluid bilayer restrict polymerization due to the lack of appropriate alignment of the DC8,9PC fatty acyl chains. Fluorescence microscopy data indicates homogenous distribution of the lipid probe 1,2-dioleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphoethanolamine-N-lissamine rhodamine B sulfonyl ammonium salt (N-Rh-PE) in POPC/DC8,9PC monolayers, but domain formation in DPPC/DC8,9PC monolayers. These results show that the DC8,9PC molecules cluster and assume the preferred conformation in the gel phase matrix for UV-triggered polymerization reaction.
PMCID: PMC3237889  PMID: 22053903
polymerizable lipids; lipid packing; triggered drug release; diacetylene phospholipids; light-sensitive liposomes; lipid modification; phase separation
20.  CD44 Promotes Intoxication by the Clostridial Iota-Family Toxins 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e51356.
Various pathogenic clostridia produce binary protein toxins associated with enteric diseases of humans and animals. Separate binding/translocation (B) components bind to a protein receptor on the cell surface, assemble with enzymatic (A) component(s), and mediate endocytosis of the toxin complex. Ultimately there is translocation of A component(s) from acidified endosomes into the cytosol, leading to destruction of the actin cytoskeleton. Our results revealed that CD44, a multifunctional surface protein of mammalian cells, facilitates intoxication by the iota family of clostridial binary toxins. Specific antibody against CD44 inhibited cytotoxicity of the prototypical Clostridium perfringens iota toxin. Versus CD44+ melanoma cells, those lacking CD44 bound less toxin and were dose-dependently resistant to C. perfringens iota, as well as Clostridium difficile and Clostridium spiroforme iota-like, toxins. Purified CD44 specifically interacted in vitro with iota and iota-like, but not related Clostridium botulinum C2, toxins. Furthermore, CD44 knockout mice were resistant to iota toxin lethality. Collective data reveal an important role for CD44 during intoxication by a family of clostridial binary toxins.
PMCID: PMC3517468  PMID: 23236484
21.  Proteomics in Diagnostics 
Disease markers  2004;19(4-5):167-168.
PMCID: PMC3850560  PMID: 15258331
22.  Diagnostic Proteomics: Serum Proteomic Patterns for the Detection of Early Stage Cancers 
Disease Markers  2004;19(4-5):209-218.
The ability to interrogate thousands of proteins found in complex biological samples using proteomic technologies has brought the hope of discovering novel disease-specific biomarkers. While most proteomic technologies used to discover diagnostic biomarkers are quite sophisticated, "proteomic pattern analysis" has emerged as a simple, yet potentially revolutionary, method for the early diagnosis of diseases. Utilizing this technology, hundreds of clinical samples can be analyzed per day and several preliminary studies suggest proteomic pattern analysis has the potential to be a novel, highly sensitive diagnostic tool for the early detection of cancer.
PMCID: PMC3851082  PMID: 15258335
proteomic patterns; cancer detection; serum; mass spectrometry
23.  Identification of Potential Protein Targets of Isothiocyanates by Proteomics 
Chemical research in toxicology  2011;24(10):1735-1743.
Isothiocyanates (ITCs), such as phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC) and sulforaphane (SFN), are effective cancer chemopreventive compounds. It is believed that a major mechanism for the cancer preventive activity of ITCs is through induction of cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. However, the upstream molecular targets of ITCs have been underexplored until recently. To identify proteins that are covalently modified by ITCs, human non-small cell lung cancer A549 cells were treated with 14C-PEITC and 14C-SFN and the cell lysates were extracted for analysis by 2-D gel electrophoresis and mass spectrometry. After superimposing the colloidal Coomassie blue protein staining pattern with the pattern of radioactivity obtained from X-ray films, it was clear that only a small fraction of cellular proteins contained radioactivity, presumably resulting from selective binding with PEITC or SFN via thiocarbamation. More than 30 proteins with a variety of biological functions were identified with high confidence. Here we report the identities of these potential ITC target proteins and discuss their biological relevance. The discovery of the protein targets may facilitate studies of the mechanisms by which ITCs exert their cancer preventive activity and provide molecular basis for designing more efficacious ITC compounds.
PMCID: PMC3493163  PMID: 21838287
24.  An Optimized Method for Computing 18O/16O Ratios of Differentially Stable-isotope Labeled Peptides in the Context of Post-digestion 18O Exchange/Labeling 
Analytical chemistry  2010;82(13):5878-5886.
Differential 18O/16O stable isotope labeling of peptides that relies on enzyme-catalyzed oxygen exchange at their carboxyl termini in the presence of H218O has been widely used for relative quantitation of peptides/proteins. The role of tryptic proteolysis in bottom-up shotgun proteomics and low reagent costs, has made trypsin-catalyzed 18O post-digestion exchange a convenient and affordable stable isotope labeling approach. However, it is known that trypsin-catalyzed 18O exchange at the carboxyl terminus is in many instances inhomogeneous/incomplete. The extent of the 18O exchange/incorporation fluctuates from peptide to peptide mostly due to variable enzyme-substrate affinity. Thus, accurate calculation and interpretation of peptide ratios are analytically complicated and in some regard deficient. Therefore, a computational approach capable of improved measurement of actual 18O incorporation for each differentially labeled peptide pair is needed. In this regard, we have developed an algorithmic method that relies on the trapezoidal rule to integrate peak intensities of all detected isotopic species across a particular peptide ion over the retention time, which fits the isotopic manifold to Poisson distributions. Optimal values for manifold fitting were calculated and then 18O/16O ratios derived via evolutionary programming. The algorithm is tested using trypsin–catalyzed 18O post-digestion exchange to differentially label bovine serum albumin (BSA) at a priori determined ratios. Both, accuracy and precision are improved utilizing this rigorous mathematical approach. Utilizing this algorithmic technique, we demonstrate the effectiveness of this method to accurately calculate 18O/16O ratios for differentially labeled BSA peptides, by accounting for artifacts caused by a variable degree of post-digestion 18O exchange. We further demonstrate the effectiveness of this method to accurately calculate 18O/16O ratios in a large scale proteomic quantitation of detergent resistant membrane microdomains (DRMMs) isolated from cells expressing wild-type HIV-1 Gag and its non myristylated mutant.
PMCID: PMC3479679  PMID: 20540505
quantitation; 18O/16O stable isotope labeling; variable/incomplete 18O exchange
25.  SIRT2 Maintains Genome Integrity and Suppresses Tumorigenesis through Regulating APC/C Activity 
Cancer cell  2011;20(4):487-499.
Members of sirtuin family regulate multiple critical biological processes, yet their role in carcinogenesis remains controversial. To investigate the physiological functions of SIRT2 in development and tumorigenesis, we disrupted Sirt2 in mice. We demonstrated that SIRT2 regulates the anaphase-promoting complex/cyclosome activity through deacetylation of its co-activators, APCCDH1 and CDC20. SIRT2 deficiency caused increased levels of mitotic regulators, including Aurora-A and -B that direct centrosome amplification, aneuploidy, and mitotic cell death. Sirt2-deficient mice develop gender-specific tumorigenesis, with females primarily developing mammary tumors, and males developing more hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Human breast cancers and HCC samples exhibited reduced SIRT2 levels compared with normal tissues. These data demonstrate that SIRT2 is a tumor suppressor through its role in regulating mitosis and genome integrity.
PMCID: PMC3199577  PMID: 22014574
APC/C-CDH1; APC/C-CDC20; Aurora-A; mitosis; centrosome

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