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1.  Evaluation of the biomarker candidate MFAP4 for non-invasive assessment of hepatic fibrosis in hepatitis C patients 
The human microfibrillar-associated protein 4 (MFAP4) is located to extracellular matrix fibers and plays a role in disease-related tissue remodeling. Previously, we identified MFAP4 as a serum biomarker candidate for hepatic fibrosis and cirrhosis in hepatitis C patients. The aim of the present study was to elucidate the potential of MFAP4 as biomarker for hepatic fibrosis with a focus on the differentiation of no to moderate (F0–F2) and severe fibrosis stages and cirrhosis (F3 and F4, Desmet-Scheuer scoring system).
MFAP4 levels were measured using an AlphaLISA immunoassay in a retrospective study including n = 542 hepatitis C patients. We applied a univariate logistic regression model based on MFAP4 serum levels and furthermore derived a multivariate model including also age and gender. Youden-optimal cutoffs for binary classification were determined for both models without restrictions and considering a lower limit of 80 % sensitivity (correct classification of F3 and F4), respectively. To assess the generalization error, leave-one-out cross validation (LOOCV) was performed.
MFAP4 levels were shown to differ between no to moderate fibrosis stages F0–F2 and severe stages (F3 and F4) with high statistical significance (t test on log scale, p value <2.2·10−16). In the LOOCV, the univariate classification resulted in 85.8 % sensitivity and 54.9 % specificity while the multivariate model yielded 81.3 % sensitivity and 61.5 % specificity (restricted approaches).
We confirmed the applicability of MFAP4 as a novel serum biomarker for assessment of hepatic fibrosis and identification of high-risk patients with severe fibrosis stages in hepatitis C. The combination of MFAP4 with existing tests might lead to a more accurate non-invasive diagnosis of hepatic fibrosis and allow a cost-effective disease management in the era of new direct acting antivirals.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12967-016-0952-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4932744  PMID: 27378383
Hepatic fibrosis; Cirrhosis; Microfibrillar-associated protein 4; Serum biomarker; Hepatitis C; Direct acting antivirals
2.  Complicated fecal microbiota transplantation in a tetraplegic patient with severe Clostridium difficile infection 
A 65-year-old male suffering from acute spinal cord injury leading to incomplete tetraplegia presented with severe recurrent Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) infection subsequent to antibiotic treatment for pneumonia. After a history of ineffective antimicrobial therapies, including metronidazole, vancomycin, fidaxomicin, rifaximin and tigecycline, leading to several relapses, the patient underwent colonoscopic fecal microbiota transplantation from his healthy son. Four days subsequent to the procedure, the patient showed a systemic inflammation response syndrome. Without detecting an infectious cause, the patient received antimicrobial treatment, including tigecycline, metronidazole, vancomycin via polyethylene glycol and an additional enema for a period of seven days, leading to a prompt recovery and no reported C. difficile infection relapse during a 12 wk follow up.
PMCID: PMC4375600  PMID: 25834343
Clostridium difficile infection; Spinal cord injury; Fecal microbiota transplantation; Systemic inflammatory response syndrome
3.  Successful treatment of life-threatening bleeding from a duodenal posterior bulb peptic ulcer by an over-the-scope-clip 
Bleeding of peptic ulcer at the posterior duodenal bulb still is a particular endoscopic challenge with increased risk of treatment failure and worse outcome. In this article, we report successful treatment of an actively bleeding peptic ulcer located at the posterior duodenal wall, using an over-the-scope-clip in the case of a 54-year-old male patient with hemorrhagic shock. Incident primary hemostasis was achieved and no adverse events occurred during a follow-up of 60 d.
PMCID: PMC4316111  PMID: 25663788
Over-the-scope-clip; Duodenal ulcer; Upper gastrointestinal bleeding
4.  New insights in the composition of extracellular vesicles from pancreatic cancer cells: implications for biomarkers and functions 
Proteome Science  2014;12:50.
Pancreatic cancer development is associated with characteristic alterations like desmoplastic reaction and immune escape which are mediated by the cell-cell communication mechanism and by the microenvironment of the cells. The whole of released components are important determinants in these processes. Especially the extracellular vesicles released by pancreatic cancer cells play a role in cell communication and modulate cell growth and immune responses.
Here, we present the proteomic description of affinity purified extracellular vesicles from pancreatic tumour cells, compared to the secretome, defined as the whole of the proteins released by pancreatic cancer cells. The proteomic data provide comprehensive catalogues of hundreds of proteins, and the comparison reveals a special proteomic composition of pancreatic cancer cell derived extracellular vesicles. The functional analysis of the protein composition displayed that membrane proteins, glycoproteins, small GTP binding proteins and a further, heterogeneous group of proteins are enriched in vesicles, whereas proteins derived from proteasomes and ribosomes, as well as metabolic enzymes, are not components of the vesicles. Furthermore proteins playing a role in carcinogenesis and modulators of the extracellular matrix (ECM) or cell-cell interactions are components of affinity purified extracellular vesicles.
The data deepen the knowledge of extracellular vesicle composition by hundreds of proteins that have not been previously described as vesicle components released by pancreatic cancer cells. Extracellular vesicles derived from pancreatic cancer cells show common proteins shared with other vesicles as well as cell type specific proteins indicating biomarker candidates and suggesting functional roles in cancer cell stroma interactions.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12953-014-0050-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4251850  PMID: 25469109
Extracellular vesicles; Exosome; Secretome; Proteomics; Affinity purification; Biomarker; Pancreatic cancer
5.  A Soluble Form of the Giant Cadherin Fat1 Is Released from Pancreatic Cancer Cells by ADAM10 Mediated Ectodomain Shedding 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e90461.
In pancreatic cancer, there is a clear unmet need to identify new serum markers for either early diagnosis, therapeutic stratification or patient monitoring. Proteomic analysis of tumor cell secretomes is a promising approach to indicate proteins released from tumor cells in vitro. Ectodomain shedding of transmembrane proteins has previously been shown to contribute significant fractions the tumor cell secretomes and to generate valuable serum biomarkers. Here we introduce a soluble form of the giant cadherin Fat1 as a novel biomarker candidate. Fat1 expression and proteolytic processing was analyzed by mass spectrometry and Western blotting using pancreatic cancer cell lines as compared to human pancreatic ductal epithelial cells. RNA expression in cancer tissues was assessed by in silico analysis of publically available microarray data. Involvement of ADAM10 (A Disintegrin and metalloproteinase domain-containing protein 10) in Fat1 ectodomain shedding was analyzed by chemical inhibition and knockdown experiments. A sandwich ELISA was developed to determine levels of soluble Fat1 in serum samples. In the present report we describe the release of high levels of the ectodomain of Fat1 cadherin into the secretomes of human pancreatic cancer cells in vitro, a process that is mediated by ADAM10. We confirm the full-length and processed heterodimeric form of Fat1 expressed on the plasma membrane and also show the p60 C-terminal transmembrane remnant fragment corresponding to the shed ectodomain. Fat1 and its sheddase ADAM10 are overexpressed in pancreatic adenocarcinomas and ectodomain shedding is also recapitulated in vivo leading to increased Fat1 serum levels in some pancreatic cancer patients. We suggest that soluble Fat1 may find an application as a marker for patient monitoring complementing carbohydrate antigen 19-9 (CA19-9). In addition, detailed analysis of the diverse processed protein isoforms of the candidate tumor suppressor Fat1 can also contribute to our understanding of cell biology and tumor behavior.
PMCID: PMC3953070  PMID: 24625754
6.  Effect of KRAS codon13 mutations in patients with advanced colorectal cancer (advanced CRC) under oxaliplatin containing chemotherapy. Results from a translational study of the AIO colorectal study group 
BMC Cancer  2012;12:349.
To evaluate the value of KRAS codon 13 mutations in patients with advanced colorectal cancer (advanced CRC) treated with oxaliplatin and fluoropyrimidines.
Tumor specimens from 201 patients with advanced CRC from a randomized, phase III trial comparing oxaliplatin/5-FU vs. oxaliplatin/capecitabine were retrospectively analyzed for KRAS mutations. Mutation data were correlated to response data (Overall response rate, ORR), progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS).
201 patients were analysed for KRAS mutation (61.2% males; mean age 64.2 ± 8.6 years). KRAS mutations were identified in 36.3% of tumors (28.8% in codon 12, 7.4% in codon 13). The ORR in codon 13 patients compared to codon 12 and wild type patients was significantly lower (p = 0.008). There was a tendency for a better overall survival in KRAS wild type patients compared to mutants (p = 0.085). PFS in all patients was not different in the three KRAS genetic groups (p = 0.72). However, we found a marked difference in PFS between patients with codon 12 and 13 mutant tumors treated with infusional 5-FU versus capecitabine based regimens.
Our data suggest that the type of KRAS mutation may be of clinical relevance under oxaliplatin combination chemotherapies without the addition of monoclonal antibodies in particular when overall response rates are important.
Trial registration number
PMCID: PMC3442969  PMID: 22876876
Codon 13 mutation; Colorectal cancer; KRAS; Oxaliplatin; Prognosis
7.  Keratin 23, a novel DPC4/Smad4 target gene which binds 14-3-3ε 
BMC Cancer  2011;11:137.
Inactivating mutations of SMAD4 are frequent in metastatic colorectal carcinomas. In previous analyses, we were able to show that restoration of Smad4 expression in Smad4-deficient SW480 human colon carcinoma cells was adequate to suppress tumorigenicity and invasive potential, whereas in vitro cell growth was not affected. Using this cellular model system, we searched for new Smad4 targets comparing nuclear subproteomes derived from Smad4 re-expressing and Smad4 negative SW480 cells.
High resolution two-dimensional (2D) gel electrophoresis was applied to identify novel Smad4 targets in the nuclear subproteome of Smad4 re-expressing SW480 cells. The identified candidate protein Keratin 23 was further characterized by tandem affinity purification. Immunoprecipitation, subfractionation and immunolocalization studies in combination with RNAi were used to validate the Keratin 23-14-3-3ε interaction.
We identified keratins 8 and 18, heat shock proteins 60 and 70, plectin 1, as well as 14-3-3ε and γ as novel proteins present in the KRT23-interacting complex. Co-immunoprecipitation and subfractionation analyses as well as immunolocalization studies in our Smad4-SW480 model cells provided further evidence that KRT23 associates with 14-3-3ε and that Smad4 dependent KRT23 up-regulation induces a shift of the 14-3-3ε protein from a nuclear to a cytoplasmic localization.
Based on our findings we propose a new regulatory circuitry involving Smad4 dependent up-regulation of KRT23 (directly or indirectly) which in turn modulates the interaction between KRT23 and 14-3-3ε leading to a cytoplasmic sequestration of 14-3-3ε. This cytoplasmic KRT23-14-3-3 interaction may alter the functional status of the well described 14-3-3 scaffold protein, known to regulate key cellular processes, such as signal transduction, cell cycle control, and apoptosis and may thus be a previously unappreciated facet of the Smad4 tumor suppressive circuitry.
PMCID: PMC3095566  PMID: 21492476
8.  Gastrointestinal bleeding 30 years after a complicated cholecystectomy 
Gastrointestinal bleeding from small-bowel varices is a rare and difficult to treat complication of portal hypertension. We describe the case of a 79-year-old female patient with recurrent severe hemorrhage from small-bowel varices 30 years after a complicated cholecystectomy. When double balloon enteroscopy was unsuccessful to reach the site of bleeding, a rendezvous approach was favored with intraoperative endoscopy. Active bleeding from varices within a biliodigestive anastomosis was found and controlled by endoscopic injection of cyanoacrylate. Intraoperative endoscopy should be considered in the case of life-threatening gastrointestinal hemorrhage that is not accessible by conventional endoscopy.
PMCID: PMC2951528  PMID: 20872978
Upper gastrointestinal bleeding; Intestinal varices; Intraoperative endoscopy; Cyanoacrylate
9.  Detection of Novel Biomarkers of Liver Cirrhosis by Proteomic Analysis 
Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.)  2009;49(4):1257-1266.
Hepatic cirrhosis is a life-threatening disease arising from different chronic liver disorders. One major cause for hepatic cirrhosis is chronic hepatitis C. Chronic hepatitis C is characterized by a highly variable clinical course, with at least 20% developing liver cirrhosis within 40 years. Only liver biopsy allows a reliable evaluation of the course of hepatitis C by grading inflammation and staging fibrosis, and thus serum biomarkers for hepatic fibrosis with high sensitivity and specificity are needed. To identify new candidate biomarkers for hepatic fibrosis, we performed a proteomic approach of microdissected cirrhotic septa and liver parenchyma cells. In cirrhotic septa, we detected an increasing expression of cell structure associated proteins, including actin, prolyl 4-hydroxylase, tropomyosin, calponin, transgelin, and human microfibril–associated protein 4 (MFAP-4). Tropomyosin, calponin, and transgelin reflect a contribution of activated stellate cells/myofibroblasts to chronic liver injury. The expression of tropomyosin, transgelin, and MFAP-4, an extracellular matrix associated protein, were further evaluated by immunohistochemistry. Tropomyosin and MFAP-4 demonstrated high serum levels in patients with hepatic cirrhosis of different causes.
A quantitative analysis of MFAP-4 serum levels in a large number of patients showed MFAP-4 as novel candidate biomarker with high diagnostic accuracy for prediction of nondiseased liver versus cirrhosis [area under receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) = 0.97, P < 0.0001] as well as stage 0 versus stage 4 fibrosis (AUC = 0.84, P < 0.0001), and stages 0 to 3 versus stage 4 fibrosis (AUC = 0.76, P < 0.0001).
PMCID: PMC2895500  PMID: 19177598
10.  Peri-operative chemotherapy for the treatment of resectable liver metastases from colorectal cancer: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized trials 
BMC Cancer  2010;10:309.
The role of peri-operative chemotherapy in patients with resected stage IV colorectal cancer (CRC) remains to be defined. This study was aimed at evaluating the effectiveness of peri-operative chemotherapy in patients with resected stage IV CRC by performing a meta-analysis of relevant trials.
We performed a literature search to identify trials comparing patients with stage IV CRC receiving peri-operative chemotherapy and surgery with patients undergoing surgery alone. The hazard ratio (HR) was estimated to assess any survival advantage of peri-operative chemotherapy.
Eight trials conducted on a total of 1174 patients were identified by a literature search. In these trials, HR estimates suggested that peri-operative chemotherapy yielded no survival advantage over surgery alone (HR, 0.94; 95%CI, 0.8-1.10; p = 0.43). In a subset analysis on intra-arterial chemotherapy alone, no survival benefit was evident (HR, 1.0; 95% CI, 0.84-1.21; p = 0.96; I2 = 30%), whereas in the trials involving systemic chemotherapy, the difference between the groups approached statistical significance (HR, 0.74; 95% CI, 0.53-1.04; p = 0.08; I2 = 0%). Both peri-operative treatment groups had a significant recurrence-free survival benefit (HR, 0.78; 95% CI, 0.65-0.95; P = 0.01 for hepatic arterial infusion; and HR, 0.75; 95% CI, 0.62-0.91; p = 0.003 for systemic therapy). The toxicities of chemotherapy were acceptable in most trials.
This is the first meta-analysis demonstrating the importance of peri-operative chemotherapy in the treatment of resected stage IV CRC. Although the results must be carefully interpreted because of some limitations, critical issues were identified that must be resolved by future studies.
PMCID: PMC2908098  PMID: 20565923
11.  Uncoupled responses of Smad4-deficient cancer cells to TNFα result in secretion of monomeric laminin-γ2 
Molecular Cancer  2010;9:65.
Functional loss of the tumor suppressor Smad4 is involved in pancreatic and colorectal carcinogenesis and has been associated with the acquisition of invasiveness. We have previously demonstrated that the heterotrimeric basement membrane protein laminin-332 is a Smad4 target. Namely, Smad4 functions as a positive transcriptional regulator of all three genes encoding laminin-332; its loss is thus implicated in the reduced or discontinuous deposition of the heterotrimeric basement membrane molecule as evident in carcinomas. Uncoupled expression of laminin genes, on the other hand, namely overexpression of the laminin-γ2 chain is an impressive marker at invasive edges of carcinomas where tumor cells are maximally exposed to signals from stromal cell types like macrophages. As Smad4 is characterized as an integrator of multiple extracellular stimuli in a strongly contextual manner, we asked if loss of Smad4 may also be involved in uncoupled expression of laminin genes in response to altered environmental stimuli. Here, we address Smad4 dependent effects of the prominent inflammatory cytokine TNFα on tumor cells.
Smad4-reconstituted colon carcinoma cells like adenoma cells respond to TNFα with an increased expression of all three chains encoding laminin-332; coincubation with TGFβ and TNFα leads to synergistic induction and to the secretion of large amounts of the heterotrimer. In contrast, in Smad4-deficient cells TNFα can induce expression of the γ2 and β3 but not the α3 chain. Surprisingly, this uncoupled induction of laminin-332 chains in Smad4-negative cells rather than causing intracellular accumulation is followed by the release of γ2 into the medium, either in a monomeric form or in complexes with as yet unknown proteins. Soluble γ2 is associated with increased cell migration.
Loss of Smad4 may lead to uncoupled induction of laminin-γ2 in response to TNFα and may therefore represent one of the mechanisms which underlie accumulation of laminin-γ2 at the invasive margin of a tumor. The finding, that γ2 is secreted from tumor cells in significant amounts and is associated with increased cell migration may pave the way for further investigation to better understand its functional relevance for tumor progression.
PMCID: PMC2853515  PMID: 20307265
12.  Immunoscreening of the extracellular proteome of colorectal cancer cells 
BMC Cancer  2010;10:70.
The release of proteins from tumors can trigger an immune response in cancer patients involving T lymphocytes and B lymphocytes, which results in the generation of antibodies to tumor-derived proteins. Many studies aim to use humoral immune responses, namely autoantibody profiles, directly, as clinical biomarkers. Alternatively, the antibody immune response as an amplification system for tumor associated alterations may be used to indicate putative protein biomarkers with high sensitivity. Aiming at the latter approach we here have implemented an autoantibody profiling strategy which particularly focuses on proteins released by tumor cells in vitro: the so-called secretome.
For immunoscreening, the extracellular proteome of five colorectal cancer cell lines was resolved on 2D gels, immobilized on PVDF membranes and used for serological screening with individual sera from 21 colorectal cancer patients and 24 healthy controls. All of the signals from each blot were assigned to a master map, and autoantigen candidates were defined based of the pattern of immunoreactivities. The corresponding proteins were isolated from preparative gels, identified by MALDI-MS and/or by nano-HPLC/ESI-MS/MS and exemplarily confirmed by duplex Western blotting combining the human serum samples with antibodies directed against the protein(s) of interest.
From 281 secretome proteins stained with autoantibodies in total we first defined the "background patterns" of frequently immunoreactive extracellular proteins in healthy and diseased people. An assignment of these proteins, among them many nominally intracellular proteins, to the subset of exosomal proteins within the secretomes revealed a large overlap. On this basis we defined and consequently confirmed novel biomarker candidates such as the extreme C-terminus of the extracellular matrix protein agrin within the set of cancer-enriched immunorectivities.
Our findings suggest, first, that autoantibody responses may be due, in large part, to cross-presentation of antigens to the immune system via exosomes, membrane vesicles released by tumor cells and constituting a significant fraction of the secretome. In addition, this immunosecretomics approach has revealed novel biomarker candidates, some of them secretome-specific, and thus serves as a promising complementary tool to the frequently reported immunoproteomic studies for biomarker discovery.
PMCID: PMC2837015  PMID: 20184735
13.  A prospective, non-randomized phase II trial of Trastuzumab and Capecitabine in patients with HER2 expressing metastasized pancreatic cancer 
BMC Surgery  2009;9:1.
Pancreatic cancer is the fourth most common cause of cancer related death in Western countries. Advantages in surgical techniques, radiation and chemotherapy had almost no impact on the long term survival of affected patients. Therefore, the need for better treatment strategies is urgent. HER2, a receptor tyrosine kinase of the EGFR family, involved in signal transduction pathways leading to cell growth and differentiation is overexpressed in a number of cancers, including breast and pancreatic cancer. While in breast cancer HER2 has already been successfully used as a treatment target, there are only limited data evaluating the effects of inhibiting HER2 tyrosine kinases in patients with pancreatic cancer.
Here we report the design of a prospective, non-randomized multi-centered Phase II clinical study evaluating the effects of the Fluoropyrimidine-carbamate Capecitabine (Xeloda ®) and the monoclonal anti-HER2 antibody Trastuzumab (Herceptin®) in patients with non-resectable, HER2 overexpressing pancreatic cancer. Patients eligible for the study will receive Trastuzumab infusions on day 1, 8 and 15 concomitant to the oral intake of Capecitabine from day 1 to day 14 of each three week cylce. Cycles will be repeated until tumor progression. A total of 37 patients will be enrolled with an interim analysis after 23 patients.
Primary end point of the study is to determine the progression free survival after 12 weeks of bimodal treatment with the chemotherapeutic agent Capecitabine and the anti-HER2 antibody Trastuzumab. Secondary end points include patient's survival, toxicity analysis, quality of life, the correlation of HER2 overexpression and clinical response to Trastuzumab treatment and, finally, the correlation of CA19-9 plasma levels and progression free intervals.
PMCID: PMC2661037  PMID: 19133157
14.  Divergent mechanisms underlie Smad4-mediated positive regulation of the three genes encoding the basement membrane component laminin-332 (laminin-5) 
BMC Cancer  2008;8:215.
Functional inactivation of the tumor suppressor Smad4 in colorectal and pancreatic carcinogenesis occurs coincident with the transition to invasive growth. Breaking the basement membrane (BM) barrier, a prerequisite for invasive growth, can be due to tumor induced proteolytic tissue remodeling or to reduced synthesis of BM molecules by incipient tumor cells. Laminin-332 (laminin-5), a heterotrimeric BM component composed of α3-, β3- and γ2-chains, has recently been identified as a target structure of Smad4 and represents the first example for expression control of an essential BM component by a tumor and invasion suppressor. Biochemically Smad4 is a transmitter of signals of the TGFβ superfamily of cytokines. We have reported previously, that Smad4 functions as a positive transcriptional regulator of constitutive and of TGFβ-induced transcription of all three genes encoding Laminin-332, LAMA3, LAMB3 and LAMC2.
Promoter-reporter constructs harboring 4 kb upstream regions, each of the three genes encoding Laminin-322 as well as deletion and mutations constructs were established. Promoter activities and TGFβ induction were assayed through transient transfections in Smad4-negative human cancer cells and their stable Smad4-positive derivatives. Functionally relevant binding sites were subsequently confirmed through chromatin immunoprecipitation.
Herein, we report that Smad4 mediates transcriptional regulation through three different mechanisms, namely through Smad4 binding to a functional SBE site exclusively in the LAMA3 promoter, Smad4 binding to AP1 (and Sp1) sites presumably via interaction with AP1 family components and lastly a Smad4 impact on transcription of AP1 factors. Whereas Smad4 is essential for positive regulation of all three genes, the molecular mechanisms are significantly divergent between the LAMA3 promoter as compared to the LAMB3 and LAMC2 promoters.
We hypothesize that this divergence in modular regulation of the three promoters may lay the ground for uncoupled regulation of Laminin-332 in Smad4-deficient tumor cells in response to stromally expressed cytokines acting on budding tumor cells.
PMCID: PMC2525660  PMID: 18664273
15.  High-level inducible Smad4-reexpression in the cervical cancer cell line C4-II is associated with a gene expression profile that predicts a preferential role of Smad4 in extracellular matrix composition 
BMC Cancer  2007;7:209.
Smad4 is a tumour suppressor frequently inactivated in pancreatic and colorectal cancers. We have recently reported loss of Smad4 in every fourth carcinoma of the uterine cervix. Smad4 transmits signals from the TGF-β superfamily of cytokines and functions as a versatile transcriptional co-modulator. The prevailing view suggests that the tumour suppressor function of Smad4 primarily resides in its capability to mediate TGF-β growth inhibitory responses. However, accumulating evidence indicates, that the acquisition of TGF-β resistance and loss of Smad4 may be independent events in the carcinogenic process. Through inducible reexpression of Smad4 in cervical cancer cells we wished to shed more light on this issue and to identify target genes implicated in Smad4 dependent tumor suppression.
Smad4-deficient human C4-II cervical carcinoma cells were used to establish inducible Smad4 reexpression using the commercial Tet-on™ system (Clontech). The impact of Smad4 reexpression on cell growth was analysed in vitro and in vivo. Transcriptional responses were assessed through profiling on cDNA macroarrays (Clontech) and validated through Northern blotting.
Clones were obtained that express Smad4 at widely varying levels from approximately physiological to 50-fold overexpression. Smad4-mediated tumour suppression in vivo was apparent at physiological expression levels as well as in Smad4 overexpressing clones. Smad4 reexpression in a dose-dependent manner was associated with transcriptional induction of the extracellular matrix-associated genes, BigH3, fibronectin and PAI-1, in response to TGF-β. Smad4-dependent regulation of these secreted Smad4 targets is not restricted to cervical carcinoma cells and was confirmed in pancreatic carcinoma cells reexpressing Smad4 after retroviral transduction and in a stable Smad4 knockdown model. On the other hand, the classical cell cycle-associated TGF-β target genes, c-myc, p21 and p15, remained unaltered.
Our results show that Smad4-mediated tumour suppression in cervical cancer cells is not due to restoration of TGF-β growth inhibitory responses. Rather, tumour cell-ECM interactions may be more relevant for Smad4-mediated tumour suppression. C4-II cells with a high level inducible Smad4 expression may serve as a model to indicate further Smad4 targets responsive to diverse environmental stimuli operative in vivo.
PMCID: PMC2186346  PMID: 17997817
16.  aRNA-longSAGE: a new approach to generate SAGE libraries from microdissected cells 
Nucleic Acids Research  2004;32(16):e131.
Large-scale gene expression analyses of microdissected primary tissue are still difficult because generally only a limited amount of mRNA can be obtained from microdissected cells. The introduction of the T7-based RNA amplification technique was an important step to reduce the amount of RNA needed for such analyses. This amplification technique produces amplified antisense RNA (aRNA), which so far has precluded its direct use for serial analysis of gene expression (SAGE) library production. We describe a method, termed ‘aRNA-longSAGE’, which is the first to allow the direct use of aRNA for standard longSAGE library production. The aRNA-longSAGE protocol was validated by comparing two aRNA-longSAGE libraries with two Micro-longSAGE libraries that were generated from the same RNA preparations of two different cell lines. Using a conservative validation approach, we were able to verify 68% of the differentially expressed genes identified by aRNA-longSAGE. Furthermore, the identification rate of differentially expressed genes was roughly twice as high in our aRNA-longSAGE libraries as in the standard Micro-longSAGE libraries. Using our validated aRNA-longSAGE protocol, we were able to successfully generate longSAGE libraries from as little as 40 ng of total RNA isolated from 2000–3000 microdissected pancreatic ductal epithelial cells or cells from pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasias.
PMCID: PMC519129  PMID: 15371555
17.  HNPCC: Six new pathogenic mutations 
BMC Medical Genetics  2004;5:16.
Hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) is an autosomal dominant disease with a high risk for colorectal and endometrial cancer caused by germline mutations in DNA mismatch-repair genes (MMR). HNPCC accounts for approximately 2 to 5% of all colorectal cancers. Here we present 6 novel mutations in the DNA mismatch-repair genes MLH1, MSH2 and MSH6.
Patients with clinical diagnosis of HNPCC were counselled. Tumor specimen were analysed for microsatellite instability and immunohistochemistry for MLH1, MSH2 and MSH6 protein was performed. If one of these proteins was not detectable in the tumor mutation analysis of the corresponding gene was carried out.
We identified 6 frameshift mutations (2 in MLH1, 3 in MSH2, 1 in MSH6) resulting in a premature stop: two mutations in MLH1 (c.2198_2199insAACA [p.N733fsX745], c.2076_2077delTG [p.G693fsX702]), three mutations in MSH2 (c.810_811delGT [p.C271fsX282], c.763_766delAGTGinsTT [p.F255fsX282], c.873_876delGACT [p.L292fsX298]) and one mutation in MSH6 (c.1421_1422dupTG [p.C475fsX480]). All six tumors tested for microsatellite instability showed high levels of microsatellite instability (MSI-H).
HNPCC in families with MSH6 germline mutations may show an age of onset that is comparable to this of patients with MLH1 and MSH2 mutations.
PMCID: PMC446196  PMID: 15217520
18.  Autocrine Stimulation of Human Pancreatic Duct–Like Development by Soluble Isoforms of Epimorphin in Vitro 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2001;152(5):911-922.
Epimorphin was recently described as a mesenchymal factor modulating morphogenesis of murine mammary ducts, skin, liver, and lung in vitro. In this study epimorphin was analyzed in a human, pancreatic adenocarcinoma cell line (A818-6) which develops single layer epithelial hollow spheres resembling normal pancreatic ductal structures in vitro. Soluble 34- and 31-kD isoforms of epimorphin were found in the culture supernatant of A818-6 cells. In lysates of A818-6 cells we detected the 34-and 31-kD isoforms and the dimers, and in lysates of fibroblasts the 150-kD tetramers of epimorphin additionally. A neutralizing monoclonal antibody against epimorphin (MC-1) efficiently blocked the development of hollow sphere structures from A818-6 cells. Coculture of A818-6 cells with fibroblasts stimulated the development of hollow sphere structures in general and increased differentiation in 5–6-d-old hollow spheres. A818-6 hollow sphere development in the presence of fibroblasts was also blocked by MC-1. In this novel system for human duct-like differentiation of pancreatic epithelial cells, we provide evidence for an autocrine and paracrine function of epimorphin as a major mediator for morphogenesis.
PMCID: PMC2198814  PMID: 11238448
epimorphin; pancreas; epithelial differentiation; spheres; duct structures
19.  The Nonfunctional Allele TCRBV6S1B Is Strongly Associated with Helicobacter pylori Infection 
Infection and Immunity  2000;68(11):6493-6495.
To determine genetic susceptibility factors for Helicobacter pylori infection, polymorphic T-cell receptor gene elements were investigated in 203 H. pylori-infected individuals and 180 uninfected individuals (controls). H. pylori infection is highly associated with individuals homozygous for the nonfunctional TCRBV6S1B element (odds ratio = 5.9; χ2 = 13; P = 0.00032; P value corrected for multiple comparisons [Bonferroni correction] = 0.00063).
PMCID: PMC97740  PMID: 11035766

Results 1-19 (19)