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1.  Developmental regulation of ecdysone receptor (EcR) and EcR-controlled gene expression during pharate-adult development of honeybees (Apis mellifera) 
Frontiers in Genetics  2014;5:445.
Major developmental transitions in multicellular organisms are driven by steroid hormones. In insects, these, together with juvenile hormone (JH), control development, metamorphosis, reproduction and aging, and are also suggested to play an important role in caste differentiation of social insects. Here, we aimed to determine how EcR transcription and ecdysteroid titers are related during honeybee postembryonic development and what may actually be the role of EcR in caste development of this social insect. In addition, we expected that knocking-down EcR gene expression would give us information on the participation of the respective protein in regulating downstream targets of EcR. We found that in Apis mellifera females, EcR-A is the predominantly expressed variant in postembryonic development, while EcR-B transcript levels are higher in embryos, indicating an early developmental switch in EcR function. During larval and pupal stages, EcR-B expression levels are very low, while EcR-A transcripts are more variable and abundant in workers compared to queens. Strikingly, these transcript levels are opposite to the ecdysteroid titer profile. 20-hydroxyecdysone (20E) application experiments revealed that low 20E levels induce EcR expression during development, whereas high ecdysteroid titers seem to be repressive. By means of RNAi-mediated knockdown (KD) of both EcR transcript variants we detected the differential expression of 234 poly-A+ transcripts encoding genes such as CYPs, MRJPs and certain hormone response genes (Kr-h1 and ftz-f1). EcR-KD also promoted the differential expression of 70 miRNAs, including highly conserved ones (e.g., miR-133 and miR-375), as well honeybee-specific ones (e.g., miR-3745 and miR-3761). Our results put in evidence a broad spectrum of EcR-controlled gene expression during postembryonic development of honeybees, revealing new facets of EcR biology in this social insect.
PMCID: PMC4273664  PMID: 25566327
honey bee; adult development; 20E; ecdysteroid; juvenile hormone; JH; RNAi; miRNA
3.  High-throughput sequencing of black pepper root transcriptome 
BMC Plant Biology  2012;12:168.
Black pepper (Piper nigrum L.) is one of the most popular spices in the world. It is used in cooking and the preservation of food and even has medicinal properties. Losses in production from disease are a major limitation in the culture of this crop. The major diseases are root rot and foot rot, which are results of root infection by Fusarium solani and Phytophtora capsici, respectively. Understanding the molecular interaction between the pathogens and the host’s root region is important for obtaining resistant cultivars by biotechnological breeding. Genetic and molecular data for this species, though, are limited. In this paper, RNA-Seq technology has been employed, for the first time, to describe the root transcriptome of black pepper.
The root transcriptome of black pepper was sequenced by the NGS SOLiD platform and assembled using the multiple-k method. Blast2Go and orthoMCL methods were used to annotate 10338 unigenes. The 4472 predicted proteins showed about 52% homology with the Arabidopsis proteome. Two root proteomes identified 615 proteins, which seem to define the plant’s root pattern. Simple-sequence repeats were identified that may be useful in studies of genetic diversity and may have applications in biotechnology and ecology.
This dataset of 10338 unigenes is crucially important for the biotechnological breeding of black pepper and the ecogenomics of the Magnoliids, a major group of basal angiosperms.
PMCID: PMC3487918  PMID: 22984782
5.  Distinct patterns of somatic alterations in a lymphoblastoid and a tumor genome derived from the same individual 
Nucleic Acids Research  2011;39(14):6056-6068.
Although patterns of somatic alterations have been reported for tumor genomes, little is known on how they compare with alterations present in non-tumor genomes. A comparison of the two would be crucial to better characterize the genetic alterations driving tumorigenesis. We sequenced the genomes of a lymphoblastoid (HCC1954BL) and a breast tumor (HCC1954) cell line derived from the same patient and compared the somatic alterations present in both. The lymphoblastoid genome presents a comparable number and similar spectrum of nucleotide substitutions to that found in the tumor genome. However, a significant difference in the ratio of non-synonymous to synonymous substitutions was observed between both genomes (P = 0.031). Protein–protein interaction analysis revealed that mutations in the tumor genome preferentially affect hub-genes (P = 0.0017) and are co-selected to present synergistic functions (P < 0.0001). KEGG analysis showed that in the tumor genome most mutated genes were organized into signaling pathways related to tumorigenesis. No such organization or synergy was observed in the lymphoblastoid genome. Our results indicate that endogenous mutagens and replication errors can generate the overall number of mutations required to drive tumorigenesis and that it is the combination rather than the frequency of mutations that is crucial to complete tumorigenic transformation.
PMCID: PMC3152357  PMID: 21493686
6.  Ultra-Deep Sequencing Reveals the microRNA Expression Pattern of the Human Stomach 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(10):e13205.
While microRNAs (miRNAs) play important roles in tissue differentiation and in maintaining basal physiology, little is known about the miRNA expression levels in stomach tissue. Alterations in the miRNA profile can lead to cell deregulation, which can induce neoplasia.
Methodology/Principal Findings
A small RNA library of stomach tissue was sequenced using high-throughput SOLiD sequencing technology. We obtained 261,274 quality reads with perfect matches to the human miRnome, and 42% of known miRNAs were identified. Digital Gene Expression profiling (DGE) was performed based on read abundance and showed that fifteen miRNAs were highly expressed in gastric tissue. Subsequently, the expression of these miRNAs was validated in 10 healthy individuals by RT-PCR showed a significant correlation of 83.97% (P<0.05). Six miRNAs showed a low variable pattern of expression (miR-29b, miR-29c, miR-19b, miR-31, miR-148a, miR-451) and could be considered part of the expression pattern of the healthy gastric tissue.
This study aimed to validate normal miRNA profiles of human gastric tissue to establish a reference profile for healthy individuals. Determining the regulatory processes acting in the stomach will be important in the fight against gastric cancer, which is the second-leading cause of cancer mortality worldwide.
PMCID: PMC2951895  PMID: 20949028
7.  Epigenetic Silencing of CRABP2 and MX1 in Head and Neck Tumors12 
Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.)  2009;11(12):1329-1339.
Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) is a heterogeneous disease affecting the epithelium of the oral cavity, pharynx and larynx. Conditions of most patients are diagnosed at late stages of the disease, and no sensitive and specific predictors of aggressive behavior have been identified yet. Therefore, early detection and prognostic biomarkers are highly desirable for a more rational management of the disease. Hypermethylation of CpG islands is one of the most important epigenetic mechanisms that leads to gene silencing in tumors and has been extensively used for the identification of biomarkers. In this study, we combined rapid subtractive hybridization and microarray analysis in a hierarchical manner to select genes that are putatively reactivated by the demethylating agent 5-aza-2′-deoxycytidine (5Aza-dC) in HNSCC cell lines (FaDu, UM-SCC-14A, UM-SCC-17A, UM-SCC-38A). This combined analysis identified 78 genes, 35 of which were reactivated in at least 2 cell lines and harbored a CpG island at their 5′ region. Reactivation of 3 of these 35 genes (CRABP2, MX1, and SLC15A3) was confirmed by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR; fold change, ≥3). Bisulfite sequencing of their CpG islands revealed that they are indeed differentially methylated in the HNSCC cell lines. Using methylation-specific PCR, we detected a higher frequency of CRABP2 (58.1% for region 1) and MX1 (46.3%) hypermethylation in primary HNSCC when compared with lymphocytes from healthy individuals. Finally, absence of the CRABP2 protein was associated with decreased disease-free survival rates, supporting a potential use of CRABP2 expression as a prognostic biomarker for HNSCC patients.
PMCID: PMC2794514  PMID: 20019841
8.  A score system for quality evaluation of RNA sequence tags: an improvement for gene expression profiling 
BMC Bioinformatics  2009;10:170.
High-throughput molecular approaches for gene expression profiling, such as Serial Analysis of Gene Expression (SAGE), Massively Parallel Signature Sequencing (MPSS) or Sequencing-by-Synthesis (SBS) represent powerful techniques that provide global transcription profiles of different cell types through sequencing of short fragments of transcripts, denominated sequence tags. These techniques have improved our understanding about the relationships between these expression profiles and cellular phenotypes. Despite this, more reliable datasets are still necessary. In this work, we present a web-based tool named S3T: Score System for Sequence Tags, to index sequenced tags in accordance with their reliability. This is made through a series of evaluations based on a defined rule set. S3T allows the identification/selection of tags, considered more reliable for further gene expression analysis.
This methodology was applied to a public SAGE dataset. In order to compare data before and after filtering, a hierarchical clustering analysis was performed in samples from the same type of tissue, in distinct biological conditions, using these two datasets. Our results provide evidences suggesting that it is possible to find more congruous clusters after using S3T scoring system.
These results substantiate the proposed application to generate more reliable data. This is a significant contribution for determination of global gene expression profiles. The library analysis with S3T is freely available at . S3T source code and datasets can also be downloaded from the aforementioned website.
PMCID: PMC2701951  PMID: 19500384
9.  Searching for molecular markers in head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCC) by statistical and bioinformatic analysis of larynx-derived SAGE libraries 
BMC Medical Genomics  2008;1:56.
Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) is one of the most common malignancies in humans. The average 5-year survival rate is one of the lowest among aggressive cancers, showing no significant improvement in recent years. When detected early, HNSCC has a good prognosis, but most patients present metastatic disease at the time of diagnosis, which significantly reduces survival rate. Despite extensive research, no molecular markers are currently available for diagnostic or prognostic purposes.
Aiming to identify differentially-expressed genes involved in laryngeal squamous cell carcinoma (LSCC) development and progression, we generated individual Serial Analysis of Gene Expression (SAGE) libraries from a metastatic and non-metastatic larynx carcinoma, as well as from a normal larynx mucosa sample. Approximately 54,000 unique tags were sequenced in three libraries.
Statistical data analysis identified a subset of 1,216 differentially expressed tags between tumor and normal libraries, and 894 differentially expressed tags between metastatic and non-metastatic carcinomas. Three genes displaying differential regulation, one down-regulated (KRT31) and two up-regulated (BST2, MFAP2), as well as one with a non-significant differential expression pattern (GNA15) in our SAGE data were selected for real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in a set of HNSCC samples. Consistent with our statistical analysis, quantitative PCR confirmed the upregulation of BST2 and MFAP2 and the downregulation of KRT31 when samples of HNSCC were compared to tumor-free surgical margins. As expected, GNA15 presented a non-significant differential expression pattern when tumor samples were compared to normal tissues.
To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study reporting SAGE data in head and neck squamous cell tumors. Statistical analysis was effective in identifying differentially expressed genes reportedly involved in cancer development. The differential expression of a subset of genes was confirmed in additional larynx carcinoma samples and in carcinomas from a distinct head and neck subsite. This result suggests the existence of potential common biomarkers for prognosis and targeted-therapy development in this heterogeneous type of tumor.
PMCID: PMC2629771  PMID: 19014460
10.  The use of Open Reading frame ESTs (ORESTES) for analysis of the honey bee transcriptome 
BMC Genomics  2004;5:84.
The ongoing efforts to sequence the honey bee genome require additional initiatives to define its transcriptome. Towards this end, we employed the Open Reading frame ESTs (ORESTES) strategy to generate profiles for the life cycle of Apis mellifera workers.
Of the 5,021 ORESTES, 35.2% matched with previously deposited Apis ESTs. The analysis of the remaining sequences defined a set of putative orthologs whose majority had their best-match hits with Anopheles and Drosophila genes. CAP3 assembly of the Apis ORESTES with the already existing 15,500 Apis ESTs generated 3,408 contigs. BLASTX comparison of these contigs with protein sets of organisms representing distinct phylogenetic clades revealed a total of 1,629 contigs that Apis mellifera shares with different taxa. Most (41%) represent genes that are in common to all taxa, another 21% are shared between metazoans (Bilateria), and 16% are shared only within the Insecta clade. A set of 23 putative genes presented a best match with human genes, many of which encode factors related to cell signaling/signal transduction. 1,779 contigs (52%) did not match any known sequence. Applying a correction factor deduced from a parallel analysis performed with Drosophila melanogaster ORESTES, we estimate that approximately half of these no-match ESTs contigs (22%) should represent Apis-specific genes.
The versatile and cost-efficient ORESTES approach produced minilibraries for honey bee life cycle stages. Such information on central gene regions contributes to genome annotation and also lends itself to cross-transcriptome comparisons to reveal evolutionary trends in insect genomes.
PMCID: PMC533872  PMID: 15527499

Results 1-10 (10)