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1.  Longitudinal Claudin Gene Expression Analyses in Canine Mammary Tissues and Thereof Derived Primary Cultures and Cell Lines 
Human and canine mammary tumours show partial claudin expression deregulations. Further, claudins have been used for directed therapeutic approaches. However, the development of claudin targeting approaches requires stable claudin expressing cell lines. This study reports the establishment and characterisation of canine mammary tissue derived cell lines, analysing longitudinally the claudin-1, -3, -4 and -7 expressions in original tissue samples, primary cultures and developed cell lines. Primary cultures were derived from 17 canine mammary tissues: healthy, lobular hyperplasia, simple adenoma, complex adenoma, simple tubular carcinoma, complex carcinoma, carcinoma arising in a benign mixed tumour and benign mixed tissue. Cultivation was performed, if possible, until passage 30. Claudin mRNA and protein expressions were analysed by PCR, QuantiGene Plex Assay, immunocytochemistry and immunofluorescence. Further, cytokeratin expression was analysed immunocytochemically. Cultivation resulted in 11 established cell lines, eight showing epithelial character. In five of the early passages the claudin expressions decreased compared to the original tissues. In general, claudin expressions were diminished during cultivation. Three cell lines kept longitudinally claudin, as well as epithelial marker expressions, representing valuable tools for the development of claudin targeted anti-tumour therapies.
PMCID: PMC5085688  PMID: 27690019
claudin; mammary neoplasias; canine; cell lines; cell culture; marker expression
2.  Multiplex Gene Expression Profiling of 16 Target Genes in Neoplastic and Non-Neoplastic Canine Mammary Tissues Using Branched-DNA Assay 
Mammary gland tumors are one of the most common neoplasms in female dogs, and certain breeds are prone to develop the disease. The use of biomarkers in canines is still restricted to research purposes. Therefore, the necessity to analyze gene profiles in different mammary entities in large sample sets is evident in order to evaluate the strength of potential markers serving as future prognostic factors. The aim of the present study was to analyze the gene expression of 16 target genes (BRCA1, BRCA2, FOXO3, GATA4, HER2, HMGA1, HMGA2, HMGB1, MAPK1, MAPK3, MCL1, MYC, PFDN5, PIK3CA, PTEN, and TP53) known to be involved in human and canine mammary neoplasm development. Expression was analyzed in 111 fresh frozen (FF) and in 170 formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) specimens of neoplastic and non-neoplastic canine mammary tissues using a multiplexed branched-DNA (b-DNA) assay. TP53, FOXO3, PTEN, and PFDN5 expression revealed consistent results with significant low expression in malignant tumors. The possibility of utilizing them as predictive factors as well as for assisting in the choice of an adequate gene therapy may help in the development of new and improved approaches in canine mammary tumors.
PMCID: PMC5037854  PMID: 27657059
canine mammary tumor; gene expression; RNA; multiplexed branched-DNA (b-DNA) assay; formalin-fixed; paraffin-embedded samples; fresh frozen tissue
3.  Genomic amplification of the caprine EDNRA locus might lead to a dose dependent loss of pigmentation 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:28438.
The South African Boer goat displays a characteristic white spotting phenotype, in which the pigment is limited to the head. Exploiting the existing phenotype variation within the breed, we mapped the locus causing this white spotting phenotype to chromosome 17 by genome wide association. Subsequent whole genome sequencing identified a 1 Mb copy number variant (CNV) harboring 5 genes including EDNRA. The analysis of 358 Boer goats revealed 3 alleles with one, two, and three copies of this CNV. The copy number is correlated with the degree of white spotting in goats. We propose a hypothesis that ectopic overexpression of a mutant EDNRA scavenges EDN3 required for EDNRB signaling and normal melanocyte development and thus likely lead to an absence of melanocytes in the non-pigmented body areas of Boer goats. Our findings demonstrate the value of domestic animals as reservoir of unique mutants and for identifying a precisely defined functional CNV.
PMCID: PMC4916431  PMID: 27329507
5.  Characterization of the novel indolylmaleimides' PDA-66 and PDA-377 effect on canine lymphoma cells 
Oncotarget  2016;7(23):35379-35389.
Protein kinase inhibitors are widely used in chemotherapeutic cancer regimens. Maleimide derivatives such as SB-216763 act as GSK-3 inhibitor targeting cell proliferation, cell death and cell cycle progression.
Herein, the two arylindolylmaleimide derivatives PDA-66 and PDA-377 were evaluated as potential chemotherapeutic agents on canine B-cell lymphoma cell lines. Canine lymphoma represents a naturally occurring model closely resembling the human high-grade non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL). PDA-66 showed more pronounced effects on both cell lines. Application of 2.5μM PDA-66 resulted in a significant induction of apoptosis (approx. 11 %), decrease of the metabolic activity (approx. 95 %), anti-proliferative effect (approx. 85 %) and cell death within 48h. Agent induced mode of action was characterized by whole transcriptome sequencing, 12 h and 24 h post-agent exposure. Key PDA-66-modulated pathways identified were cell cycle, DNA replication and p53 signaling. Expression analyses indicated that the drug acting mechanism is mediated through DNA replication and cycle arrest involving the spindle assembly checkpoint.
In conclusion, both PDA derivatives displayed strong anti-proliferation activity in canine B-cell lymphoma cells. The cell and molecular PDA-induced effect characterization and the molecular characterization of the agent acting mechanism provides the basis for further evaluation of a potential drug for canine lymphoma serving as model for human NHL.
PMCID: PMC5085236  PMID: 27177088
PDA; arylindolylmaleimides; canine lymphoma; transcriptome sequencing
6.  The Holstein Friesian Lethal Haplotype 5 (HH5) Results from a Complete Deletion of TBF1M and Cholesterol Deficiency (CDH) from an ERV-(LTR) Insertion into the Coding Region of APOB 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(4):e0154602.
With the availability of massive SNP data for several economically important cattle breeds, haplotype tests have been performed to identify unknown recessive disorders. A number of so-called lethal haplotypes, have been uncovered in Holstein Friesian cattle and, for at least seven of these, the causative mutations have been identified in candidate genes. However, several lethal haplotypes still remain elusive. Here we report the molecular genetic causes of lethal haplotype 5 (HH5) and cholesterol deficiency (CDH). A targeted enrichment for the known genomic regions, followed by massive parallel sequencing was used to interrogate for causative mutations in a case/control approach.
Targeted enrichment for the known genomic regions, followed by massive parallel sequencing was used in a case/control approach. PCRs for the causing mutations were developed and compared to routine imputing in 2,100 (HH5) and 3,100 (CDH) cattle.
HH5 is caused by a deletion of 138kbp, spanning position 93,233kb to 93,371kb on chromosome 9 (BTA9), harboring only dimethyl-adenosine transferase 1 (TFB1M). The deletion breakpoints are flanked by bovine long interspersed nuclear elements Bov-B (upstream) and L1ME3 (downstream), suggesting a homologous recombination/deletion event. TFB1M di-methylates adenine residues in the hairpin loop at the 3’-end of mitochondrial 12S rRNA, being essential for synthesis and function of the small ribosomal subunit of mitochondria. Homozygous TFB1M-/- mice reportedly exhibit embryonal lethality with developmental defects. A 2.8% allelic frequency was determined for the German HF population. CDH results from a 1.3kbp insertion of an endogenous retrovirus (ERV2-1-LTR_BT) into exon 5 of the APOB gene at BTA11:77,959kb. The insertion is flanked by 6bp target site duplications as described for insertions mediated by retroviral integrases. A premature stop codon in the open reading frame of APOB is generated, resulting in a truncation of the protein to a length of only <140 amino acids. Such early truncations have been shown to cause an inability of chylomicron excretion from intestinal cells, resulting in malabsorption of cholesterol. The allelic frequency of this mutation in the German HF population was 6.7%, which is substantially higher than reported so far. Compared to PCR assays inferring the genetic variants directly, the routine imputing used so far showed a diagnostic sensitivity of as low as 91% (HH5) and 88% (CDH), with a high specificity for both (≥99.7%).
With the availability of direct genetic tests it will now be possible to more effectively reduce the carrier frequency and ultimately eliminate the disorders from the HF populations. Beside this, the fact that repetitive genomic elements (RE) are involved in both diseases, underline the evolutionary importance of RE, which can be detrimental as here, but also advantageous over generations.
PMCID: PMC4851415  PMID: 27128314
7.  Recent development of allele frequencies and exclusion probabilities of microsatellites used for parentage control in the German Holstein Friesian cattle population 
BMC Genetics  2016;17:18.
Methods for parentage control in cattle have changed since their initial implementation in the late 1950’s from blood group typing to more current single nucleotide polymorphism determination. In the early 1990’s, 12 microsatellites were selected by the International Society for Animal Genetics based on their informativeness and robustness in a variety of different cattle breeds. Since then this panel is used as standard in cattle herd book breeding and its application is accompanied by recurrent international comparison tests ensuring permanent validity for the most common commercial dairy and beef cattle breeds for example Holstein Friesian, Simmental, Angus, and Hereford. Although, nearly every parentage can be resolved using these microsatellites, cases with very close relatives became an emerging resolution problem during recent years. This is mainly due to an increase of monomorphism and a trend to the fixation of alleles, although no direct selection against their variability was applied. Thus other effects must be presumed resulting in a loss of polymorphism information content, heterozygosity, and exclusion probabilities.
To determine changes of allele frequencies and exclusion probabilities, we analyzed the development of these parameters for the 12 microsatellites from 2004 to 2014. One hundred sixty eight thousand recorded Holstein Friesian cattle genotypes were evaluated. During this period certain alleles of nine microsatellites increased significantly (t-values >5). When calculating the exclusion probabilities for 11 microsatellites, reduction was determined for the three situations, i.e. one parent is wrongly identified (p = 0.01), both parents are wrongly identified (p = 0.005), and the genotype of one parent is missing (p = 0.048). With the addition of BM1818 to the marker set in 2009, this development was corrected leading to significant increases in exclusion probabilities. Although, the exclusion probabilities for the three family situations using the 12 microsatellites are >99 %, the clarification of 142 relationships in 40,000 situations where one parent is missing will still be impossible.
Twenty-five sires were identified that are responsible for the most significant microsatellite allele increases in the population. The corresponding alleles are mainly associated with milk protein and fat yield, body weight at birth and weaning, as well as somatic cell score, milk fat percentage, and longissimus muscle area.
Our data show that most of the microsatellites used for parentage control in cattle show directional changes in allele frequencies consistent with the history of artificial selection in the German Holstein population.
PMCID: PMC4706708  PMID: 26747197
Parentage control; Cattle; Holstein Friesian; Microsatellite; Single nucleotide polymorphism; Allele frequency; Exclusion probability; Hitchhiking
8.  Porcine SOX9 Gene Expression Is Influenced by an 18bp Indel in the 5’-Untranslated Region 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(10):e0139583.
Sex determining region Y-box 9 (SOX9) is an important regulator of sex and skeletal development and is expressed in a variety of embryonal and adult tissues. Loss or gain of function resulting from mutations within the coding region or chromosomal aberrations of the SOX9 locus lead to a plethora of detrimental phenotypes in humans and animals. One of these phenotypes is the so-called male-to-female or female-to-male sex-reversal which has been observed in several mammals including pig, dog, cat, goat, horse, and deer. In 38,XX sex-reversal French Large White pigs, a genome-wide association study suggested SOX9 as the causal gene, although no functional mutations were identified in affected animals. However, besides others an 18bp indel had been detected in the 5′-untranslated region of the SOX9 gene by comparing affected animals and controls. We have identified the same indel (Δ18) between position +247bp and +266bp downstream the transcription start site of the porcine SOX9 gene in four other pig breeds; i.e., German Large White, Laiwu Black, Bamei, and Erhualian. These animals have been genotyped in an attempt to identify candidate genes for porcine inguinal and/or scrotal hernia. Because the 18bp segment in the wild type 5′-UTR harbours a highly conserved cAMP-response element (CRE) half-site, we analysed its role in SOX9 expression in vitro. Competition and immunodepletion electromobility shift assays demonstrate that the CRE half-site is specifically recognized by CREB. Both binding of CREB to the wild type as well as the absence of the CRE half-site in Δ18 reduced expression efficiency in HEK293T, PK–15, and ATDC5 cells significantly. Transfection experiments of wild type and Δ18 SOX9 promoter luciferase constructs show a significant reduction of RNA and protein levels depending on the presence or absence of the 18bp segment. Hence, the data presented here demonstrate that the 18bp indel in the porcine SOX9 5′-UTR is of functional importance and may therefore indeed be a causative variation in SOX9 associated traits.
PMCID: PMC4592210  PMID: 26430891
9.  Prevalence of the Prefoldin Subunit 5 Gene Deletion in Canine Mammary Tumors 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(7):e0131280.
A somatic deletion at the proximal end of canine chromosome 27 (CFA27) was recently reported in 50% of malignant mammary tumors. This region harbours the tumor suppressor gene prefoldin subunit 5 (PFDN5) and the deletion correlated with a higher Ki-67 score. PFDN5 has been described to repress c-MYC and is, therefore, a candidate tumor-suppressor and cancer-driver gene in canine mammary cancer. Aim of this study was to confirm the recurrent deletion in a larger number of tumors.
Droplet digital PCR for PFDN5 was performed in DNA from 102 malignant, 40 benign mammary tumors/dysplasias, 11 non-neoplastic mammary tissues and each corresponding genomic DNA from leukocytes. The copy number of PFDN5 was normalized to a reference amplicon on canine chromosome 32 (CFA32). Z-scores were calculated, based on Gaussian distributed normalized PFDN5 copy numbers of the leukocyte DNA. Z-scores ≤ -3.0 in tissue were considered as being indicative of the PFDN5 deletion and called as such. The Ki-67 proliferation index was assessed in a subset of 79 tissue samples by immunohistochemistry.
The deletion was confirmed in 24% of all malignant tumors, detected in only 7.5% of the benign tumors and was not present in any normal mammary tissue sample. The subgroup of solid carcinomas (n = 9) showed the highest frequency of the deletion (67%) and those malignomas without microscopical high fraction of benign tissue (n = 71) had a 32% frequency (p<0.01 vs. benign samples). The Ki-67 score was found to be significantly higher (p<0.05) in the PFDN5-deleted group compared to malignant tumors without the deletion.
A somatic deletion of the PFDN5 gene is recurrently present in canine mammary cancer, supporting a potential role in carcinogenesis. The association of this deletion with higher Ki-67 indicates an increased proliferation rate and thus a link to tumor aggressiveness can be hypothesized. The confirmation of earlier results warrants further studies on PFDN5 as cancer-driver gene.
PMCID: PMC4489437  PMID: 26132936
10.  A 20 bp Duplication in Exon 2 of the Aristaless-Like Homeobox 4 Gene (ALX4) Is the Candidate Causative Mutation for Tibial Hemimelia Syndrome in Galloway Cattle 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(6):e0129208.
Aristaless-like homeobox 4 (ALX4) gene is an important transcription regulator in skull and limb development. In humans and mice ALX4 mutations or loss of function result in a number of skeletal and organ malformations, including polydactyly, tibial hemimelia, omphalocele, biparietal foramina, impaired mammary epithelial morphogenesis, alopecia, coronal craniosynostosis, hypertelorism, depressed nasal bridge and ridge, bifid nasal tip, hypogonadism, and body agenesis. Here we show that a complex skeletal malformation of the hind limb in Galloway cattle together with other developmental anomalies is a recessive autosomal disorder most likely caused by a duplication of 20 bp in exon 2 of the bovine ALX4 gene. A second duplication of 34 bp in exon 4 of the same gene has no known effect, although both duplications result in a frameshift and premature stop codon leading to a truncated protein. Genotyping of 1,688 Black/Red/Belted/Riggit Galloway (GA) and 289 White Galloway (WGA) cattle showed that the duplication in exon 2 has allele frequencies of 1% in GA and 6% in WGA and the duplication in exon 4 has frequencies of 23% in GA and 38% in WGA. Both duplications were not detected in 876 randomly selected German Holstein Friesian and 86 cattle of 21 other breeds. Hence, we have identified a candidate causative mutation for tibial hemimelia syndrome in Galloway cattle and selection against this mutation can be used to eliminate the mutant allele from the breed.
PMCID: PMC4468193  PMID: 26076463
11.  Analytical and statistical consideration on the use of the ISAG-ICAR-SNP bovine panel for parentage control, using the Illumina BeadChip technology: example on the German Holstein population 
Parentage control is moving from short tandem repeats- to single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) systems. For SNP-based parentage control in cattle, the ISAG-ICAR Committee proposes a set of 100/200 SNPs but quality criteria are lacking. Regarding German Holstein-Friesian cattle with only a limited number of evaluated individuals, the exclusion probability is not well-defined. We propose a statistical procedure for excluding single SNPs from parentage control, based on case-by-case evaluation of the GenCall score, to minimize parentage exclusion, based on miscalled genotypes. Exclusion power of the ISAG-ICAR SNPs used for the German Holstein-Friesian population was adjusted based on the results of more than 25 000 individuals.
Experimental data were derived from routine genomic selection analyses of the German Holstein-Friesian population using the Illumina BovineSNP50 v2 BeadChip (20 000 individuals) or the EuroG10K variant (7000 individuals). Averages and standard deviations of GenCall scores for the 200 SNPs of the ISAG-ICAR recommended panel were calculated and used to calculate the downward Z-value. Based on minor allelic frequencies in the Holstein-Friesian population, one minus exclusion probability was equal to 1.4×10−10 and 7.2×10−26, with one and two parents, respectively. Two monomorphic SNPs from the 100-SNP ISAG-ICAR core-panel did not contribute. Simulation of 10 000 parentage control combinations, using the GenCall score data from both BeadChips, showed that with a Z-value greater than 3.66 only about 2.5% parentages were excluded, based on the ISAG-ICAR recommendations (core-panel: ≥ 90 SNPs for one, ≥ 85 SNPs for two parents). When applied to real data from 1750 single parentage assessments, the optimal threshold was determined to be Z = 5.0, with only 34 censored cases and reduction to four (0.2%) doubtful parentages. About 70 parentage exclusions due to weak genotype calls were avoided, whereas true exclusions (n = 34) were unaffected.
Using SNPs for parentage evaluation provides a high exclusion power also for parent identification. SNPs with a low GenCall score show a high tendency towards intra-molecular secondary structures and substantially contribute to false exclusion of parentages. We propose a method that controls this error without excluding too many parent combinations from the evaluation.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12711-014-0085-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4318447  PMID: 25651826
12.  Genome Aberrations in Canine Mammary Carcinomas and Their Detection in Cell-Free Plasma DNA 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e75485.
Mammary tumors are the most frequent cancers in female dogs exhibiting a variety of histopathological differences. There is lack of knowledge about the genomes of these common dog tumors. Five tumors of three different histological subtypes were evaluated. Massive parallel sequencing (MPS) was performed in comparison to the respective somatic genome of each animal. Copy number and structural aberrations were validated using droplet digital PCR (ddPCR). Using mate-pair sequencing chromosomal aneuploidies were found in two tumors, frequent smaller deletions were found in one, inter-chromosomal fusions in one other, whereas one tumor was almost normal. These aberrations affect several known cancer associated genes such as cMYC, and KIT. One common deletion of the proximal end of CFA27, harboring the tumor suppressor gene PFDN5 was detected in four tumors. Using ddPCR, this deletion was validated and detected in 50% of tumors (N = 20). Breakpoint specific dPCRs were established for four tumors and tumor specific cell-free DNA (cfDNA) was detected in the plasma. In one animal tumor-specific cfDNA was found >1 year after surgery, attributable to a lung metastasis. Paired-end sequencing proved that copy-number imbalances of the tumor are reflected by the cfDNA. This report on chromosomal instability of canine mammary cancers reveals similarities to human breast cancers as well as special canine alterations. This animal model provides a framework for using MPS for screening for individual cancer biomarkers with cost effective confirmation and monitoring using ddPCR. The possibility exists that ddPCR can be expanded to screening for common cancer related variants.
PMCID: PMC3787092  PMID: 24098698
13.  The G32E Functional Variant Reduces Activity of PPARD by Nuclear Export and Post-Translational Modification in Pigs 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e75925.
Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor beta/delta (PPARD) is a crucial and multifaceted determinant of diverse biological functions including lipid metabolism, embryonic development, inflammatory response, wound healing and cancer. Recently, we proposed a novel function of porcine PPARD (sPPARD) in external ear development. A missense mutation (G32E) in an evolutionary conservative domain of sPPARD remarkably increases external ear size in pigs. Here, we investigated the underlying molecular mechanism of the causal mutation at the cellular level. Using a luciferase reporter system, we showed that the G32E substitution reduced transcription activity of sPPARD in a ligand-dependent manner. By comparison of the subcellular localization of wild-type and mutated sPPARD in both PK-15 cells and pinna cartilage-derived primary chondrocytes, we found that the G32E substitution promoted CRM-1 mediated nuclear exportation of sPPARD. With the surface plasmon resonance technology, we further revealed that the G32E substitution had negligible effect on its ligand binding affinity. Finally, we used co-immunoprecipitation and luciferase reporter assays to show that the G32E substitution greatly reduced ubiquitination level by blocking ubiquitination of the crucial A/B domain and consequently decreased transcription activity of sPPARD. Taken together, our findings strongly support that G32E is a functional variant that plays a key role in biological activity of sPPARD, which advances our understanding of the underlying mechanism of sPPARD G32E for ear size in pigs.
PMCID: PMC3776753  PMID: 24058710
14.  Detergents modify proteinase K resistance of PrPSc in different transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) 
Veterinary Microbiology  2011;157(1-2):23-31.
Prion diseases are diagnosed by the detection of their proteinase K-resistant prion protein fragment (PrPSc). Various biochemical protocols use different detergents for the tissue preparation. We found that the resistance of PrPSc against proteinase K may vary strongly with the detergent used. In our study, we investigated the influence of the most commonly used detergents on eight different TSE agents derived from different species and distinct prion disease forms. For a high throughput we used a membrane adsorbtion assay to detect small amounts of prion aggregates, as well as Western blotting. Tissue lysates were prepared using DOC, SLS, SDS or Triton X-100 in different concentrations and these were digested with various amounts of proteinase K. Detergents are able to enhance or diminish the detectability of PrPSc after proteinase K digestion. Depending on the kind of detergent, its concentration - but also on the host species that developed the TSE and the disease form or prion type - the detectability of PrPSc can be very different. The results obtained here may be helpful during the development or improvement of a PrPSc detection method and they point towards a detergent effect that can be additionally used for decontamination purposes. A plausible explanation for the detergent effects described in this article could be an interaction with the lipids associated with PrPSc that may stabilize the aggregates.
PMCID: PMC3338006  PMID: 22226540
prion protein; scrapie; BSE; chronic wasting disease; proteinase resistance; detergent
15.  Extrinsic and intrinsic regulation of DOR/TP53INP2 expression in mice: effects of dietary fat content, tissue type and sex in adipose and muscle tissues 
DOR/TP53INP2 acts both at the chromosomal level as a nuclear co-factor e.g. for the thyroid hormone receptor and at the extrachromosomal level as an organizing factor of the autophagosome. In a previous study, DOR was shown to be down-regulated in skeletal muscle of obese diabetic Zucker fa/fa rats.
To identify sites of differential DOR expression in metabolically active tissues, we measured differences in DOR expression in white adipose tissue (WAT), brown adipose tissue (BAT), skeletal muscle (SM) and heart muscle (HM) by qPCR. To assess whether DOR expression is influenced in the short term by nutritional factors, NMRI mice were fed different fat rich diets (fat diet, FD: 18% or high fat diet, HFD: 80% fat) for one week and DOR expression was compared to NMRI mice fed a control diet (normal diet, ND: 3.3% fat). Additionally, DOR expression was measured in young (45 days old) and adult (100 days old) genetically obese (DU6/DU6i) mice and compared to control (DUKs/DUKsi) animals.
ANOVA results demonstrate a significant influence of diet, tissue type and sex on DOR expression in adipose and muscle tissues of FD and HFD mice. In SM, DOR expression was higher in HFD than in FD male mice. In WAT, DOR expression was increased compared to BAT in male FD and HFD mice. In contrast, expression levels in female mice were higher in BAT for both dietary conditions.
DOR expression levels in all tissues of 100 days old genetically obese animals were mainly influenced by sex. In HM, DOR expression was higher in male than female animals.
DOR expression varies under the influence of dietary fat content, tissue type and sex. We identified target tissues for further studies to analyze the specific function of DOR in obesity. DOR might be part of a defense mechanism against fat storage in high fat diets or obesity.
PMCID: PMC3497704  PMID: 22995226
DOR/TP53INP2; High fat diet; Genetically induced obesity; Fat tissue; Muscle tissue
16.  Phenotype Selection Reveals Coevolution of Muscle Glycogen and Protein and PTEN as a Gate Keeper for the Accretion of Muscle Mass in Adult Female Mice 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(6):e39711.
We have investigated molecular mechanisms for muscle mass accretion in a non-inbred mouse model (DU6P mice) characterized by extreme muscle mass. This extreme muscle mass was developed during 138 generations of phenotype selection for high protein content. Due to the repeated trait selection a complex setting of different mechanisms was expected to be enriched during the selection experiment. In muscle from 29-week female DU6P mice we have identified robust increases of protein kinase B activation (AKT, Ser-473, up to 2-fold) if compared to 11- and 54-week DU6P mice or controls. While a number of accepted effectors of AKT activation, including IGF-I, IGF-II, insulin/IGF-receptor, myostatin or integrin-linked kinase (ILK), were not correlated with this increase, phosphatase and tensin homologue deleted on chromosome 10 (PTEN) was down-regulated in 29-week female DU6P mice. In addition, higher levels of PTEN phosphorylation were found identifying a second mechanism of PTEN inhibition. Inhibition of PTEN and activation of AKT correlated with specific activation of p70S6 kinase and ribosomal protein S6, reduced phosphorylation of eukaryotic initiation factor 2α (eIF2α) and higher rates of protein synthesis in 29-week female DU6P mice. On the other hand, AKT activation also translated into specific inactivation of glycogen synthase kinase 3ß (GSK3ß) and an increase of muscular glycogen. In muscles from 29-week female DU6P mice a significant increase of protein/DNA was identified, which was not due to a reduction of protein breakdown or to specific increases of translation initiation. Instead our data support the conclusion that a higher rate of protein translation is contributing to the higher muscle mass in mid-aged female DU6P mice. Our results further reveal coevolution of high protein and high glycogen content during the selection experiment and identify PTEN as gate keeper for muscle mass in mid-aged female DU6P mice.
PMCID: PMC3387210  PMID: 22768110
17.  Novel polysome messages and changes in translational activity appear after induction of adipogenesis in 3T3-L1 cells 
Control of translation allows for rapid adaptation of the cell to stimuli, rather than the slower transcriptional control. We presume that translational control is an essential process in the control of adipogenesis, especially in the first hours after hormonal stimulation. 3T3-L1 preadipocytes were cultured to confluency and adipogenesis was induced by standard protocols using a hormonal cocktail. Cells were harvested before and 6 hours after hormonal induction. mRNAs attached to ribosomes (polysomal mRNAs) were separated from unbound mRNAs by velocity sedimentation. Pools of polysomal and unbound mRNA fractions were analyzed by microarray analysis. Changes in relative abundance in unbound and polysomal mRNA pools were calculated to detect putative changes in translational activity. Changes of expression levels of selected genes were verified by qPCR and Western blotting.
We identified 43 genes that shifted towards the polysomal fraction (up-regulated) and 2 genes that shifted towards free mRNA fraction (down-regulated). Interestingly, we found Ghrelin to be down-regulated. Up-regulated genes comprise factors that are nucleic acid binding (eIF4B, HSF1, IRF6, MYC, POLR2a, RPL18, RPL27a, RPL6, RPL7a, RPS18, RPSa, TSC22d3), form part of ribosomes (RPL18, RPL27a, RPL6, RPL7a, RPS18, RPSa), act on the regulation of translation (eIF4B) or transcription (HSF1, IRF6, MYC, TSC22d3). Others act as chaperones (BAG3, HSPA8, HSP90ab1) or in other metabolic or signals transducing processes.
We conclude that a moderate reorganisation of the functionality of the ribosomal machinery and translational activity are very important steps for growth and gene expression control in the initial phase of adipogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3347988  PMID: 22436005
18.  Polymorphisms in the bovine HSP90AB1 gene are associated with heat tolerance in Thai indigenous cattle 
Heat shock proteins act as molecular chaperones that have preferentially been transcribed in response to severe perturbations of the cellular homeostasis such as heat stress. Here the traits respiration rate (RR), rectal temperature (RT), pack cell volume (PCV) and the individual heat tolerance coefficient (HTC) were recorded as physiological responses on heat stress (environmental temperatures) in Bos taurus (crossbred Holstein Friesian; HF) and B. indicus (Thai native cattle: White Lamphun; WL and Mountain cattle; MT) animals (n = 47) in Thailand. Polymorphisms of the heat shock protein 90-kDa beta gene (HSP90AB1) were evaluated by comparative sequencing. Nine single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) were identified, i.e. three in exons 10 and 11, five in introns 8, 9, 10 and 11, and one in the 3′UTR. The exon 11 SNP g.5082C>T led to a missense mutation (alanine to valine). During the period of extreme heat (in the afternoon) RR and RT were elevated in each of the three breeds, whereas the PCV decreased. Mountain cattle and White Lamphun heifers recorded significantly better physiologic parameters (p < 0.05) in all traits considered, including or particularly HTC than Holstein Friesian heifers. The association analysis revealed that the T allele at SNP g.4338T>C within intron 3 improved the heat tolerance (p < 0.05). Allele T was exclusively found in White Lamphun animals and to 84% in Mountain cattle. Holstein Friesian heifers revealed an allele frequency of only 18%. Polymorphisms within HSP90AB1 were not causative for the physiological responses; however, we propose that they should at least be used as genetic markers to select appropriate breeds for hot climates.
PMCID: PMC3289787  PMID: 22008953
Heat stress; HSP90AB1; Polymorphisms; Indigenous cattle; Thailand
19.  PrPSc spreading patterns in the brain of sheep linked to different prion types 
Veterinary Research  2011;42(1):32.
Scrapie in sheep and goats has been known for more than 250 years and belongs nowadays to the so-called prion diseases that also include e.g. bovine spongiform encephalopathy in cattle (BSE) and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans. According to the prion hypothesis, the pathological isoform (PrPSc) of the cellular prion protein (PrPc) comprises the essential, if not exclusive, component of the transmissible agent. Currently, two types of scrapie disease are known - classical and atypical/Nor98 scrapie. In the present study we examine 24 cases of classical and 25 cases of atypical/Nor98 scrapie with the sensitive PET blot method and validate the results with conventional immunohistochemistry. The sequential detection of PrPSc aggregates in the CNS of classical scrapie sheep implies that after neuroinvasion a spread from spinal cord and obex to the cerebellum, diencephalon and frontal cortex via the rostral brainstem takes place. We categorize the spread of PrPSc into four stages: the CNS entry stage, the brainstem stage, the cruciate sulcus stage and finally the basal ganglia stage. Such a sequential development of PrPSc was not detectable upon analysis of the present atypical/Nor98 scrapie cases. PrPSc distribution in one case of atypical/Nor98 scrapie in a presumably early disease phase suggests that the spread of PrPSc aggregates starts in the di- or telencephalon. In addition to the spontaneous generation of PrPSc, an uptake of the infectious agent into the brain, that bypasses the brainstem and starts its accumulation in the thalamus, needs to be taken into consideration for atypical/Nor98 scrapie.
PMCID: PMC3050706  PMID: 21324114
20.  Cloning, mapping and molecular characterization of porcine progesterone receptor membrane component 2 (PGRMC2) gene 
Genetics and Molecular Biology  2010;33(3):471-474.
Progesterone plays an important role in sow reproduction by stimulating classic genomic pathways via nuclear receptors and non-genomic pathways via membrane receptors such a progesterone receptor membrane component 2 (PGRMC2). In this work, we used radiation hybrid mapping to assign PGRMC2 to pig chromosome 8 and observed that this receptor has two transcripts in pigs. The full-length cDNA of the large transcript is 1858 bp long and contains a 669-bp open reading frame (ORF) encoding a protein of 223 amino acids. The shorter transcript encodes a protein of 170 amino acids. The porcine PGRMC2 gene consists of three exons 446 bp, 156 bp and 1259 bp in length. The promoter sequence is GC-rich and lacks a typical TATA box. Several putative cis-regulatory DNA motifs were identified in the 208-bp upstream genomic region. Five single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were detected in introns* and the 3' UTR. RT-PCR indicated that the PGRMC2 gene is expressed ubiquitously in all pig tissues examined.
PMCID: PMC3036127  PMID: 21637418
expression profile; molecular characterization; physical mapping
21.  Genome-wide QTL mapping for three traits related to teat number in a White Duroc × Erhualian pig resource population 
BMC Genetics  2009;10:6.
Teat number is an important fertility trait for pig production, reflecting the mothering ability of sows. It is also a discrete and often canalized trait presenting bilateral symmetry with minor differences between the two sides, providing a potential power to evaluate fluctuating asymmetry and developmental instability. The knowledge of its genetic control is still limited. In this study, a genome-wide scan was performed with 183 microsatellites covering the pig genome to identify quantitative trait loci (QTL) for three traits related to teat number including the total teat number (TTN), the teat number at the left (LTN) and right (RTN) sides in a large scale White Duroc × Erhualian resource population.
A sex-average linkage map with a total length of 2350.3 cM and an average marker interval of 12.84 cM was constructed. Eleven genome-wide significant QTL for TTN were detected on 8 autosomes including pig chromosomes (SSC) 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 12. Six suggestive QTL for this trait were detected on SSC6, 9, 13, 14 and 16. Eight chromosomal regions each on SSC1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 12 showed significant associations with LTN. These regions were also evidenced as significant QTL for RTN except for those on SSC6 and SSC8. The most significant QTL for the 3 traits were all located on SSC7. Erhualian alleles at most of the identified QTL had positive additive effects except for three QTL on SSC1 and SSC7, at which White Duroc alleles increased teat numbers. On SSC1, 6, 9, 13 and 16, significant dominance effects were observed on TTN, and predominant imprinting effect on TTN was only detected on SSC12.
The results not only confirmed the QTL regions from previous experiments, but also identified five new QTL for the total teat number in swine. Minor differences between the QTL regions responsible for LTN and RTN were validated. Further fine mapping should be focused on consistently identified regions with small confidence intervals, such as those on SSC1, SSC7 and SSC12.
PMCID: PMC2672953  PMID: 19226448
22.  Disease-specific motifs can be identified in circulating nucleic acids from live elk and cattle infected with transmissible spongiform encephalopathies 
Nucleic Acids Research  2008;37(2):550-556.
To gain insight into the disease progression of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE), we searched for disease-specific patterns in circulating nucleic acids (CNA) in elk and cattle. In a 25-month time-course experiment, CNAs were isolated from blood samples of 24 elk (Cervus elaphus) orally challenged with chronic wasting disease (CWD) infectious material. In a separate experiment, blood-sample CNAs from 29 experimental cattle (Bos taurus) 40 months post-inoculation with clinical bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) were analyzed according to the same protocol. Next-generation sequencing provided broad elucidation of sample CNAs: we detected infection-specific sequences as early as 11 months in elk (i.e. at least 3 months before the appearance of the first clinical signs) and we established CNA patterns related to BSE in cattle at least 4 months prior to clinical signs. In elk, a progression of CNA sequence patterns was found to precede and correlate with macro-observable disease progression, including delayed CWD progression in elk with PrP genotype LM. Some of the patterns identified contain transcription-factor-binding sites linked to endogenous retroviral integration. These patterns suggest that retroviruses may be connected to the manifestation of TSEs. Our results may become useful for the early diagnosis of TSE in live elk and cattle.
PMCID: PMC2632913  PMID: 19059996
23.  A genome-wide scan for quantitative trait loci affecting limb bone lengths and areal bone mineral density of the distal femur in a White Duroc × Erhualian F2 population 
BMC Genetics  2008;9:63.
Limb bone lengths and bone mineral density (BMD) have been used to assess the bone growth and the risk of bone fractures in pigs, respectively. It has been suggested that limb bone lengths and BMD are under genetic control. However, the knowledge about the genetic basis of the limb bone lengths and mineralisatinon is limited in pigs. The aim of this study was to identify quantitative trait loci (QTL) affecting limb bone lengths and BMD of the distal femur in a White Duroc × Erhualian resource population.
Limb bone lengths and femoral bone mineral density (fBMD) were measured in a total of 1021 and 116 F2 animals, respectively. There were strong positive correlations among the lengths of limb bones and medium positive correlations between the lengths of limb bones and fBMD. A whole-genome scan involving 183 microsatellite markers across the pig genome revealed 35 QTL for the limb bone lengths and 2 for femoral BMD. The most significant QTL for the lengths of five limb bones were mapped on two chromosomes affecting all 5 limb bones traits. One was detected around 57 cM on pig chromosome (SSC) 7 with the largest F-value of more than 26 and 95% confidence intervals of less than 5 cM, providing a crucial start point to identify the causal genes for these traits. The Erhualian alleles were associated with longer limb bones. The other was located on SSCX with a peak at 50–53 cM, whereas alleles from the White Duroc breed increased the bone length. Many QTL identified are homologous to the human genomic regions containing QTL for bone-related traits and a list of interesting candidate genes.
This study detected the QTL for the lengths of scapula, ulna, humerus and tibia and fBMD in the pig for the first time. Moreover, several new QTL for the pig femoral length were found. As correlated traits, QTL for the lengths of five limb bones were mainly located in the same genomic regions. The most promising QTL for the lengths of five limb bones on SSC7 merits further investigation.
PMCID: PMC2613148  PMID: 18840302
24.  Accumulation of Pathological Prion Protein PrPSc in the Skin of Animals with Experimental and Natural Scrapie 
PLoS Pathogens  2007;3(5):e66.
Prion infectivity and its molecular marker, the pathological prion protein PrPSc, accumulate in the central nervous system and often also in lymphoid tissue of animals or humans affected by transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. Recently, PrPSc was found in tissues previously considered not to be invaded by prions (e.g., skeletal muscles). Here, we address the question of whether prions target the skin and show widespread PrPSc deposition in this organ in hamsters perorally or parenterally challenged with scrapie. In hamsters fed with scrapie, PrPSc was detected before the onset of symptoms, but the bulk of skin-associated PrPSc accumulated in the clinical phase. PrPSc was localized in nerve fibres within the skin but not in keratinocytes, and the deposition of PrPSc in skin showed no dependence from the route of infection and lymphotropic dissemination. The data indicated a neurally mediated centrifugal spread of prions to the skin. Furthermore, in a follow-up study, we examined sheep naturally infected with scrapie and detected PrPSc by Western blotting in skin samples from two out of five animals. Our findings point to the skin as a potential reservoir of prions, which should be further investigated in relation to disease transmission.
Author Summary
Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs), or prion diseases, are fatal neurodegenerative diseases affecting the central nervous system. According to the prion hypothesis, TSEs are caused by proteinaceous infectious particles (“prions”) that consist essentially of PrPSc, an aberrant form of the prion protein with a pathologically altered folding and/or aggregation structure. Scrapie of sheep, chronic wasting disease (CWD) of deer, bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) of cattle, and variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) of humans are prominent examples of acquired prion diseases. To further pinpoint the peripheral tissues that could serve as reservoirs of prions in the mammalian body and from which these pathogens could be potentially disseminated into the environment and transmitted to other individuals, we examined the skin of hamsters perorally challenged with scrapie and of naturally infected scrapie sheep for the presence of PrPSc. We show that PrPSc can accumulate in the skin at late stages of incubation, and that the protein is located primarily in small nerve fibres within this organ. The question of whether the skin may also provide a reservoir for prions in CWD, BSE, or vCJD, and the role of the skin in relation to the natural transmission of scrapie in the field needs further investigation.
PMCID: PMC1876502  PMID: 17530923
25.  Molecular characterization and exclusion of porcine GUSB as a candidate gene for congenital hernia inguinalis/scrotalis 
Inguinal hernias are usually caused by a congenital defect, which occurs as a weakness of the inguinal canal. Porcine β-glucuronidase gene (GUSB) was chosen as functional candidate gene because of its involvement in degradation of hyaluronan within gubernacular tissue during descent of testes. Since a genome-wide linkage analysis approach has shown evidence that two regions on porcine chromosome 3 (SSC 3) are involved in the inheritance of hernia inguinalis/scrotalis in German pig breeds, GUSB also attained status as a positional candidate gene by its localization within a hernia-associated chromosomal region.
A contig spanning 17,157 bp, which contains the entire GUSB, was assembled. Comparative sequence analyses were conducted for the GUSB gene locus. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) located within the coding region of GUSB were genotyped in 512 animals. Results of transmission disequilibrium test (TDT) for two out of a total of five detected SNPs gave no significant association with the outcome of hernia in pigs.
On the basis of our studies we are able to exclude the two analyzed SNPs within the porcine GUSB gene as causative for the transmission of inguinal hernia.
PMCID: PMC1471780  PMID: 16646965

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