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1.  Expression of flotillins in the human placenta: potential implications for placental transcytosis 
Histochemistry and cell biology  2012;139(3):487-500.
A proteomics survey of human placental syncytiotrophoblast (ST) apical plasma membranes revealed peptides corresponding with flotillin-1 (FLOT1) and flotillin-2 (FLOT2). The flotillins belong to a class of lipid microdomain-associated integral membrane proteins that have been implicated in clathrin- and caveolar-independent endocytosis. In the present study, we characterized the expression of the flotillin proteins within the human placenta. FLOT1 and FLOT2 were coexpressed in placental lysates and BeWo human trophoblast cells. Immunofluorescence microscopy of first-trimester and term placentas revealed that both proteins were more prominent in villous endothelial cells and cytotrophoblasts (CTs) than the ST. Correspondingly, forskolin-induced fusion in BeWo cells resulted in a decrease in FLOT1 and FLOT2, suggesting that flotillin protein expression is reduced following trophoblast syncytialization. The flotillin proteins co-localized with a marker of fluid-phase pinocytosis, and knockdown of FLOT1 and/or FLOT2 expression resulted in decreased endocytosis of cholera toxin B subunit. We conclude that FLOT1 and FLOT2 are abundantly coexpressed in term villous placental CTs and endothelial cells, and in comparison, expression of these proteins in the ST is reduced. These findings suggest that flotillin-dependent endocytosis is unlikely to be a major pathway in the ST, but may be important in the CT and endothelium.
PMCID: PMC3574205  PMID: 23064789
flotillin-1; flotillin-2; placenta; trophoblast; endothelium; endocytosis
2.  Interactions between the non-seed region of siRNA and RNA-binding RLC/RISC proteins, Ago and TRBP, in mammalian cells 
Nucleic Acids Research  2014;42(8):5256-5269.
Small interfering RNA (siRNA)-based RNA interference (RNAi) is widely used for target gene silencing in various organisms. We previously showed that 8-nt-long 5′ proximal nucleotides, which include seed sequence (positions 2–8 from the 5′ end of guide strand), and the complementary sequence of the passenger strand are capable of being simultaneously replaced with cognate deoxyribonucleotides without any substantial loss of gene silencing. In the present study, examination was made of RNA requirements in the non-seed region of siRNA. The non-seed region of siRNA was found to be subdivided into four domains, in which two nucleotide pairs (positions 13 and 14) were replaceable with cognate deoxyribonucleotides without reducing RNAi activity. However, RNA sequences at positions 9-12 and 15-18 were essential for effective gene silencing, and these two double-stranded RNA cores are required for binding of the trans-activation response RNA-binding protein (TRBP). The terminal RNA (positions 19–21) provided Argonaute protein binding sites. Argonaute binding was enhanced by the presence of RNAs at positions 15–18. Knockdown experiments showed that, unlike Argonaute and TRBP, Dicer was dispensable for RNAi. Based on these observations, we discuss possible RNA/protein and protein/protein interactions in RNA-induced silencing complex formation.
PMCID: PMC4005638  PMID: 24561616
4.  MiR-376c Down-Regulation Accelerates EGF-Dependent Migration by Targeting GRB2 in the HuCCT1 Human Intrahepatic Cholangiocarcinoma Cell Line 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e69496.
MicroRNA miR-376c was expressed in normal intrahepatic biliary epithelial cells (HIBEpiC), but was significantly suppressed in the HuCCT1 intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (ICC) cell line. The biological significance of the down-regulation of miR-376c in HuCCT1 cells is unknown. We hypothesized that miR-376c could function as a tumor suppressor in these cells. To test this hypothesis, we sought the targets of miR-376c, and characterized the effect of its down-regulation on HuCCT1 cells. We performed proteomic analysis of miR-376c-overexpressing HuCCT1 cells to identify candidate targets of miR-376c, and validated these targets by 3′-UTR reporter assay. Transwell migration assays were performed to study the migratory response of HuCCT1 cells to miR-376c overexpression. Furthermore, microarrays were used to identify the signaling that were potentially involved in the miR-376c-modulated migration of HuCCT1. Finally, we assessed epigenetic changes within the potential promoter region of the miR-376c gene in these cells. Proteomic analysis and subsequent validation assays showed that growth factor receptor-bound protein 2 (GRB2) was a direct target of miR-376c. The transwell migration assay revealed that miR-376c significantly reduced epidermal growth factor (EGF)-dependent cell migration in HuCCT1 cells. DNA microarray and subsequent pathway analysis showed that interleukin 1 beta and matrix metallopeptidase 9 were possible participants in EGF-dependent migration of HuCCT1 cells. Bisulfite sequencing showed higher methylation levels of CpG sites upstream of the miR-376c gene in HuCCT1 relative to HIBEpiC cells. Combined treatment with the DNA-demethylating agent 5-aza-2′-deoxycytidine and the histone deacetylase inhibitor trichostatin A significantly upregulated the expression of miR-376c in HuCCT1 cells. We revealed that epigenetic repression of miR-376c accelerated EGF-dependent cell migration through its target GRB2 in HuCCT1 cells. These findings suggest that miR-376c functions as a tumor suppressor. Since metastasis is the major cause of death in ICC, microRNA manipulation could lead to the development of novel anti-cancer therapy strategies for ICC.
PMCID: PMC3724868  PMID: 23922722
5.  The miR-221/222 cluster, miR-10b and miR-92a are highly upregulated in metastatic minimally invasive follicular thyroid carcinoma 
International Journal of Oncology  2013;42(6):1858-1868.
Minimally invasive follicular thyroid carcinoma (MI-FTC) is characterized by limited capsular and/or vascular invasion with good long-term outcomes. However, some cases of MI-FTC show a poor prognosis because of severe distant metastasis (i.e., metastatic MI-FTC). Nonetheless, no method has been established for predicting the prognosis of MI-FTC. This study was conducted to identify novel prognostic factors for metastatic MI-FTC by the use of microRNA (miRNA). Thirty-four patients with MI-FTC were categorized into two groups: the metastatic group, M(+) (n=12) and the non-metastatic group, M(−) (n=22). In the M(+) group, distant metastasis was recognized after the initial operation established the diagnosis of MI-FTC. In the M(−) group, no distant metastasis was recognized postoperatively for ≥10 years. Using laser micro-dissection followed by quantitative real-time PCR and PCR arrays, we performed a comprehensive expression profiling of 667 miRNAs in formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded samples from the initial MI-FTC operation. Furthermore, we assessed the potential use of miRNAs as novel biomarkers for the metastatic potential of MI-FTC by logistic regression analysis. Comprehensive quantitative analysis of miRNA expression in MI-FTC samples revealed that the miR-221/222 cluster (i.e., miR-221, miR-222 and miR-222*), miR-10b and miR-92a were significantly upregulated in the M(+) group compared with the M(−) group. Interestingly, the expression levels of these miRNAs were also shown to be upregulated in widely invasive FTC (WI-FTC; n=13) that has distant metastasis and worse prognosis, indicating a close similarity in the miRNA expression between metastatic MI-FTC and WI-FTC. Logistic regression analysis revealed that miR-10b made a significant contribution to prognosis (OR 19.759, 95% CI 1.433–272.355, p= 0.026). Our findings suggest that miR-10b is a potential prognostic factor for evaluating the metastatic potential of MI-FTC at an initial operation stage.
PMCID: PMC3699596  PMID: 23563786
microRNA; minimally invasive follicular thyroid carcinoma; thyroid surgery; metastasis; prognostic factor
6.  SPRR2A enhances p53 deacetylation through HDAC1 and down regulates p21 promoter activity 
BMC Molecular Biology  2012;13:20.
Small proline rich protein (SPRR) 2A is one of 14 SPRR genes that encodes for a skin cross-linking protein, which confers structural integrity to the cornified keratinocyte cell envelope. New evidence, however, shows that SPRR2A is also a critical stress and wound repair modulator: it enables a variety of barrier epithelia to transiently acquire mesenchymal characteristics (EMT) and simultaneously quench reactive oxygen species during wound repair responses. p53 is also widely recognized as the node in cellular stress responses that inhibits EMT and triggers cell-cycle arrest, apoptosis, and cellular senescence. Since some p53-directed processes would seem to impede wound repair of barrier epithelia, we hypothesized that SPRR2A up regulation might counteract these effects and enable/promote wound repair under stressful environmental conditions.
Using a well characterized cholangiocarcinoma cell line we show that levels of SPRR2A expression, similar to that seen during stressful biliary wound repair responses, disrupts acetylation and subsequent p53 transcriptional activity. p53 deacetylation is accomplished via two distinct, but possibly related, mechanisms: 1) a reduction of p300 acetylation, thereby interfering with p300-p53 binding and subsequent p300 acetylation of K382 in p53; and 2) an increase in histone deacetylase 1 (HDAC1) mRNA and protein expression. The p300 CH3 domain is essential for both the autoacetylation of p300 and transference of the acetyl group to p53 and HDAC1 is a component of several non-p300 complexes that enhance p53 deacetylation, ubiquitination, and proteosomal degradation. HDAC1 can also bind the p300-CH3 domain, regulating p300 acetylation and interfering with p300 mediated p53 acetylation. The importance of this pathway is illustrated by showing complete restoration of p53 acetylation and partial restoration of p300 acetylation by treating SPRR2A expressing cells with HDAC1 siRNA.
Up-regulation of SPRR2A, similar to that seen during barrier epithelia wound repair responses reduces p53 acetylation by interfering with p300-p53 interactions and by increasing HDAC1 expression. SPRR2A, therefore, functions as a suppressor of p53-dependent transcriptional activity, which otherwise might impede cellular processes needed for epithelial wound repair responses such as EMT.
PMCID: PMC3495018  PMID: 22731250
7.  Gene Suppression of Mouse Testis In Vivo Using Small Interfering RNA Derived from Plasmid Vectors 
We evaluated whether inhibiting gene expression by small interfering RNA (siRNA) can be used for an in vivo model using a germ cell-specific gene (Tex101) as a model target in mouse testis. We generated plasmid-based expression vectors of siRNA targeting the Tex101 gene and transfected them into postnatal day 10 mouse testes by in vivo electroporation. After optimizing the electroporation conditions using a vector transfected into the mouse testis, a combination of high- and low-voltage pulses showed excellent transfection efficiency for the vectors with minimal tissue damage, but gene suppression was transient. Gene suppression by in vivo electroporation may be helpful as an alternative approach when designing experiments to unravel the basic role of testicular molecules.
PMCID: PMC3317496  PMID: 22489107
siRNA; electroporation; Tex101; mouse testis
8.  Cooperation of p300 and PCAF in the Control of MicroRNA 200c/141 Transcription and Epithelial Characteristics 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(2):e32449.
Epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) not only occurs during embryonic development and in response to injury, but is an important element in cancer progression. EMT and its reverse process, mesenchymal to epithelial transition (MET) is controlled by a network of transcriptional regulators and can be influenced by posttranscriptional and posttranslational modifications. EMT/MET involves many effectors that can activate and repress these transitions, often yielding a spectrum of cell phenotypes. Recent studies have shown that the miR-200 family and the transcriptional suppressor ZEB1 are important contributors to EMT. Our previous data showed that forced expression of SPRR2a was a powerful inducer of EMT and supports the findings by others that SPRR gene members are highly upregulated during epithelial remodeling in a variety of organs. Here, using SPRR2a cells, we characterize the role of acetyltransferases on the microRNA-200c/141 promoter and their effect on the epithelial/mesenchymal status of the cells. We show that the deacetylase inhibitor TSA as well as P300 and PCAF can cause a shift towards epithelial characteristics in HUCCT-1-SPRR2a cells. We demonstrate that both P300 and PCAF act as cofactors for ZEB1, forming a P300/PCAF/ZEB1 complex on the miR200c/141 promoter. This binding results in lysine acetylation of ZEB1 and a release of ZEB1 suppression on miR-200c/141 transcription. Furthermore, disruption of P300 and PCAF interactions dramatically down regulates miR-200c/141 promoter activity, indicating a PCAF/P300 cooperative function in regulating the transcriptional suppressor/activator role of ZEB1. These data demonstrate a novel mechanism of miRNA regulation in mediating cell phenotype.
PMCID: PMC3284570  PMID: 22384255
9.  Real-Time PCR-Based Analysis of the Human Bile MicroRNAome Identifies miR-9 as a Potential Diagnostic Biomarker for Biliary Tract Cancer 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(8):e23584.
Biliary tract cancer (BTC) is often difficult to diagnose definitively, even through histological examination. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) regulate a variety of physiological processes. In recent years, it has been suggested that profiles for circulating miRNAs, as well as those for tissue miRNAs, have the potential to be used as diagnostic biomarkers for cancer. The aim of this study was to confirm the existence of miRNAs in human bile and to assess their potential as clinical biomarkers for BTC. We sampled bile from patients who underwent biliary drainage for biliary diseases such as BTC and choledocholithiasis. PCR-based miRNA detection and miRNA cloning were performed to identify bile miRNAs. Using high-throughput real-time PCR-based miRNA microarrays, the expression profiles of 667 miRNAs were compared in patients with malignant disease (n = 9) and age-matched patients with the benign disease choledocholithiasis (n = 9). We subsequently characterized bile miRNAs in terms of stability and localization. Through cloning and using PCR methods, we confirmed that miRNAs exist in bile. Differential analysis of bile miRNAs demonstrated that 10 of the 667 miRNAs were significantly more highly expressed in the malignant group than in the benign group at P<0.0005. Setting the specificity threshold to 100% showed that some miRNAs (miR-9, miR-302c*, miR-199a-3p and miR-222*) had a sensitivity level of 88.9%, and receiver-operating characteristic analysis demonstrated that miR-9 and miR-145* could be useful diagnostic markers for BTC. Moreover, we verified the long-term stability of miRNAs in bile, a characteristic that makes them suitable for diagnostic use in clinical settings. We also confirmed that bile miRNAs are localized to the malignant/benign biliary epithelia. These findings suggest that bile miRNAs could be informative biomarkers for hepatobiliary disease and that some miRNAs, particularly miR-9, may be helpful in the diagnosis and clinical management of BTC.
PMCID: PMC3157401  PMID: 21858175
10.  Sequencing and Bioinformatics-Based Analyses of the microRNA Transcriptome in Hepatitis B–Related Hepatocellular Carcinoma 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(1):e15304.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) participate in crucial biological processes, and it is now evident that miRNA alterations are involved in the progression of human cancers. Recent studies on miRNA profiling performed with cloning suggest that sequencing is useful for the detection of novel miRNAs, modifications, and precise compositions and that miRNA expression levels calculated by clone count are reproducible. Here we focus on sequencing of miRNA to obtain a comprehensive profile and characterization of these transcriptomes as they relate to human liver. Sequencing using 454 sequencing and conventional cloning from 22 pair of HCC and adjacent normal liver (ANL) and 3 HCC cell lines identified reliable reads of more than 314000 miRNAs from HCC and more than 268000 from ANL for registered human miRNAs. Computational bioinformatics identified 7 novel miRNAs with high conservation, 15 novel opposite miRNAs, and 3 novel antisense miRNAs. Moreover sequencing can detect miRNA modifications including adenosine-to-inosine editing in miR-376 families. Expression profiling using clone count analysis was used to identify miRNAs that are expressed aberrantly in liver cancer including miR-122, miR-21, and miR-34a. Furthermore, sequencing-based miRNA clustering, but not individual miRNA, detects high risk patients who have high potentials for early tumor recurrence after liver surgery (P = 0.006), and which is the only significant variable among pathological and clinical and variables (P = 0,022). We believe that the combination of sequencing and bioinformatics will accelerate the discovery of novel miRNAs and biomarkers involved in human liver cancer.
PMCID: PMC3026781  PMID: 21283620
11.  Development of ichthyosiform skin compensates for defective permeability barrier function in mice lacking transglutaminase 1 
Transglutaminase 1 (TGase 1) is one of the genes implicated in autosomal recessive congenital ichthyosis. Skin from TGase 1–/– mice, which die as neonates, lacks the normal insoluble cornified envelope and has impaired barrier function. Characterization of in situ dye permeability and transepidermal water loss revealed defects in the development of the skin permeability barrier in TGase 1–/– mice. In the stratum corneum of the skin, tongue, and forestomach, intercellular lipid lamellae were disorganized, and the corneocyte lipid envelope and cornified envelope were lacking. Neonatal TGase 1–/– mouse skin was taut and erythrodermic, but transplanted TGase 1–/– mouse skin resembled that seen in severe ichthyosis, with epidermal hyperplasia and marked hyperkeratosis. Abnormalities in those barrier structures remained, but transepidermal water loss was improved to control levels in the ichthyosiform skin. From these results, we conclude that TGase 1 is essential to the assembly and organization of the barrier structures in stratified squamous epithelia. We suggest that the ichthyosiform skin phenotype in TGase 1 deficiency develops the massive hyperkeratosis as a physical compensation for the defective cutaneous permeability barrier required for survival in a terrestrial environment.
PMCID: PMC150837  PMID: 11805136
12.  Adeno-associated virus-mediated transfer of endothelial nitric oxide synthase gene reduces the vasoconstrictive response 
Adeno-associated virus (AAV) has a number of attractive features for gene therapy including the ability to transduce nondividing cells and long term transgene expression.
To investigate whether the endothelial constitutive nitric oxide synthase (ecNOS) gene can be efficiently introduced into rat aortic segments using AAV vectors and thereby modulate the vasoconstrictive response.
Excised rat aortas were incubated with medium containing ecNOS-expressing AAV vectors (AAV-ecNOS). Expression of ecNOS in the aortic segments was evaluated by immunohistochemical staining. The isometric tension of the aortic segments transduced with AAV-ecNOS was measured.
Adventitial cells in rat aortic segments were efficiently transduced with AAV-ecNOS. The vasoconstrictive response induced by 30 mmol/L K+ was enhanced in endothelium-denuded aortic segments compared with intact aortic segments. However, in endothelium-denuded aortic segments transduced with AAV-ecNOS, the enhancement of the vasoconstrictive response disappeared. This effect induced by ecNOS gene transfer was abolished in the presence of the nitric oxide synthase inhibitor NG-monomethyl-l-arginine acetate.
These results show that ecNOS gene transfer using AAV vectors abolishes the pathological enhancement of the vasoconstrictive response in endothelium-denuded aortic segments.
PMCID: PMC2858966  PMID: 20428445
Endothelium; Gene transfer; Nitric oxide; Vasoconstriction

Results 1-12 (12)