High-throughput profiling of human tissues typically yield as results the gene lists comprised of a mix of relevant molecular entities with multiple false positives that obstruct the translation of such results into mechanistic hypotheses. From general probabilistic considerations, gene lists distilled for the mechanistically relevant components can be far more useful for subsequent experimental design or data interpretation.
The input candidate gene lists were processed into different tiers of evidence consistency established by enrichment analysis across subsets of the same experiments and across different experiments and platforms. The cut-offs were established empirically through ontological and semantic enrichment; resultant shortened gene list was re-expanded by Ingenuity Pathway Assistant tool. The resulting sub-networks provided the basis for generating mechanistic hypotheses that were partially validated by literature search. This approach differs from previous consistency-based studies in that the cut-off on the Receiver Operating Characteristic of the true-false separation process is optimized by flexible selection of the consistency building procedure. The gene list distilled by this analytic technique and its network representation were termed Compact Disease Model (CDM). Here we present the CDM signature for the study of early-stage Alzheimer’s disease. The integrated analysis of this gene signature allowed us to identify the protein traffic vesicles as prominent players in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s. Considering the distances and complexity of protein trafficking in neurons, it is plausible that spontaneous protein misfolding along with a shortage of growth stimulation result in neurodegeneration. Several potentially overlapping scenarios of early-stage Alzheimer pathogenesis have been discussed, with an emphasis on the protective effects of AT-1 mediated antihypertensive response on cytoskeleton remodeling, along with neuronal activation of oncogenes, luteinizing hormone signaling and insulin-related growth regulation, forming a pleiotropic model of its early stages. Alignment with emerging literature confirmed many predictions derived from early-stage Alzheimer’s disease’ CDM.
A flexible approach for high-throughput data analysis, the Compact Disease Model generation, allows extraction of meaningful, mechanism-centered gene sets compatible with instant translation of the results into testable hypotheses.
Signature; Network; Knowledge-based algorithms; Alzheimer’s; Protein traffic vesicles; Affymetrix; Illumina; Antihypertensive drugs
Cell free DNA (cfDNA) circulates throughout the bloodstream of both healthy people and patients with various diseases and acts upon the cells. Response to cfDNA depends on concentrations and levels of the damage within cfDNA. Oxidized extracellular DNA acts as a stress signal and elicits an adaptive response.
Here we show that oxidized extracellular DNA stimulates the survival of MCF-7 tumor cells. Importantly, in cells exposed to oxidized DNA, the suppression of cell death is accompanied by an increase in the markers of genome instability. Short-term exposure to oxidized DNA results in both single- and double strand DNA breaks. Longer treatments evoke a compensatory response that leads to a decrease in the levels of chromatin fragmentations across cell populations. Exposure to oxidized DNA leads to a decrease in the activity of NRF2 and an increase in the activity of NF-kB and STAT3. A model that describes the role of oxidized DNA released from apoptotic cells in tumor biology is proposed.
Survival of cells with an unstable genome may substantially augment progression of malignancy. Further studies of the effects of extracellular DNA on malignant and normal cells are warranted.
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most common reproductive disorders with strong association with both insulin resistance and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). To untangle the complex relationship between PCOS and NAFLD, we analyzed serum biomarkers of apoptosis, some adipokines and mRNA profiles in the visceral adipose tissue of obese patients with NAFLD who were also diagnosed with PCOS and compared to a group with NAFLD only.
We included patients with biopsy-proven NAFLD and PCOS (N = 12) and BMI-matched biopsy-proven NAFLD patients without PCOS (N = 12). Expression levels of individual mRNAs and soluble serum biomarkers were compared by non-parametric Mann–Whitney test. The analysis also included Spearman rank correlation tests and multiple regression analysis. For co-correlated genes, the factor analysis was performed.
The total serum levels of apoptotic biomarker M30 were significantly elevated in PCOS patients with liver steatosis as compared to non-PCOS NAFLD controls (P < 0.02), pointing that androgen-dependent proapoptotic PCOS environment that may directly contribute to NAFLD progression in these patients. Similarly, hyperandrogenism may explain the observed PCOS-specific decrease (P < 0.04) in adipose LDLR mRNA expression that may be connected to the proneness of PCOS patients to NAFLD. The levels of mRNA encoding angiogenesis-associated GSK-3B interacting protein ninein were also significantly increased in the adipose tissue of NAFLD patients with PCOS (P < 0.007). Furthermore, the levels of resistin positively correlated with expression levels of LDLR and prothrombin time (PT).
An androgen-dependent proapoptotic PCOS environment may directly contribute to NAFLD progression in these patients. Hyperandrogenism may explain an observed decrease in adipose LDLR mRNA expression. An inflammation-associated increase in the release of resistin into circulation might contribute to the prothrombotic state observed under conditions associated with insulin resistance, including PCOS. The studies of larger cohorts of NAFLD with and without PCOS patients are needed to further assess these potential interactions.
NAFLD; PCOS; LDLR; M30; Apoptosis; Ninein; Resistin
The term “cell-free DNA” (cfDNA) was recently coined for DNA fragments from plasma/serum, while DNA present in in vitro cell culture media is known as extracellular DNA (ecDNA). Under oxidative stress conditions, the levels of oxidative modification of cellular DNA and the rate of cell death increase. Dying cells release their damaged DNA, thus, contributing oxidized DNA fragments to the pool of cfDNA/ecDNA. Oxidized cell-free DNA could serve as a stress signal that promotes irradiation-induced bystander effect. Evidence points to TLR9 as a possible candidate for oxidized DNA sensor. An exposure to oxidized ecDNA stimulates a synthesis of reactive oxygen species (ROS) that evokes an adaptive response that includes transposition of the homologous loci within the nucleus, polymerization and the formation of the stress fibers of the actin, as well as activation of the ribosomal gene expression, and nuclear translocation of NF-E2 related factor-2 (NRF2) that, in turn, mediates induction of phase II detoxifying and antioxidant enzymes. In conclusion, the oxidized DNA is a stress signal released in response to oxidative stress in the cultured cells and, possibly, in the human body; in particular, it might contribute to systemic abscopal effects of localized irradiation treatments.
The discovery of biomarkers is often performed using high-throughput proteomics-based platforms and is limited to the molecules recognized by a given set of purified and validated antigens or antibodies. Knowledge-based, or systems biology, approaches that involve the analysis of integrated data, predominantly molecular pathways and networks may infer quantitative changes in the levels of biomolecules not included by the given assay from the levels of the analytes profiled. In this study we attempted to use a knowledge-based approach to predict biomarkers reflecting the changes in underlying protein phosphorylation events using Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) as a model. Two soluble biomarkers, CCL-2 and FasL, were inferred in silico as relevant to NAFLD pathogenesis. Predictive performance of these biomarkers was studied using serum samples collected from patients with histologically proven NAFLD. Serum levels of both molecules, in combination with clinical and demographic data, were predictive of hepatic fibrosis in a cohort of NAFLD patients. Our study suggests that (1) NASH-specific disruption of the kinase-driven signaling cascades in visceral adipose tissue lead to detectable changes in the levels of soluble molecules released into the bloodstream, and (2) biomarkers discovered in silico could contribute to predictive models for non-malignant chronic diseases.
The standard treatment for CH-C, pegylated interferon-α and ribavirin (PEG-IFN + RBV), is associated with depression. Recent studies have proposed a new role for cytokines in the pathogenesis of depression. We aimed to assess differential gene expression related to depression in CH-C patients treated with PEG-IFN + RBV. We included 67 CH-C patients being treated with PEG-IFN+RBV. Of the entire study cohort, 22% had pre-existing depression, while another 37% developed new depression in course of the treatment. Pretreatment blood samples were collected into PAXgene™ RNA tubes, the RNAs extracted from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were used for one step RT-PCR to profile 160 mRNAs. Differentially expressed genes were separated into up- and down-regulated genes according to presence or absence of depression at baseline (pre-existing depression) or following the initiation of treatment (treatment-related depression). The mRNA expression profile associated with any depression and with treatment-related depression included four and six genes, respectively. Our data demonstrate a significant down-regulation of TGF-β1 and the shift of Th1-Th2 cytokine balance in the depression associated with IFN-based treatment of HCV infection. We propose that TGF-β1 plays an important role in the imbalance of Th1/Th2 in patients with CH-C and depression. With further validation, TGF-β1 and other components of Th1/Th2 regulation pathway may provide a future marker for CH-C patients predisposed to depression.
Depression; hepatitis C; interferon; ribavirin; TGFβ1; Th1/Th2 cytokines; treatment
Recent studies of CH-C patients have demonstrated a strong association between IL28B CC genotype and sustained virologic response (SVR) after PEG-IFN/RBV treatment. We aimed to assess whether IL28B alleles rs12979860 genotype influences gene expression in response to PEG-IFN/RBV in CH-C patients.
Clinical data and gene expression data were available for 56 patients treated with PEG-IFN/RBV. Whole blood was used to determine IL28B genotypes. Differential expression of 153 human genes was assessed for each treatment time point (Days: 0, 1, 7, 28, 56) and was correlated with IL28B genotype (IL28B C/C or non-C/C) over the course of the PEG-IFN/RBV treatment. Genes with statistically significant changes in their expression at each time point were used as an input for pathway analysis using KEGG Pathway Painter (KPP). Pathways were ranked based on number of gene involved separately per each study cohort.
The most striking difference between the response patterns of patients with IL28B C/C and T* genotypes during treatment, across all pathways, is a sustained pattern of treatment-induced gene expression in patients carrying IL28B C/C. In the case of IL28B T* genotype, pre-activation of genes, the lack of sustained pattern of gene expression or a combination of both were observed. This observation could potentially provide an explanation for the lower rate of SVR observed in these patients. Additionally, when the lists of IL28B genotype-specific genes which were differentially expressed in patients without SVR were compared at their baseline, IRF2 and SOCS1 genes were down-regulated regardless of patients' IL28B genotype. Furthermore, our data suggest that CH-C patients who do not have the SOCS1 gene silenced have a better chance of achieving SVR. Our observations suggest that the action of SOCS1 is independent of IL28B genotype.
IL28B CC genotype patients with CH-C show a sustained treatment-induced gene expression profile which is not seen in non-CC genotype patients. Silencing of SOCS1 is a negative and independent predictor of SVR. These data may provide some mechanistic explanation for higher rate of SVR in IL28B CC patients who are treated with PEG-IFN/RBV.
HCV; Gene Expression; Pathway Analysis; IL28B; SOCS1; IRF2; chronic hepatitis C; HCV treatment
Here we provide a molecular description of a new psychrophilic strain, KCh11, of marine luminescent bacteria classified as Aliivibrio logei. We sequenced the entire lux operon of A. logei KCh1 and showed that it is substantially similar to the lux operon of Aliivibrio salmonicida. It was demonstrated that the reduced production of bioluminescence in A. salmonicida is most likely defined by a specific defect in its luxD gene.
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) are a valuable approach to understanding the genetic basis of complex traits. One of the challenges of GWAS is the translation of genetic association results into biological hypotheses suitable for further investigation in the laboratory. To address this challenge, we introduce Network Interface Miner for Multigenic Interactions (NIMMI), a network-based method that combines GWAS data with human protein-protein interaction data (PPI). NIMMI builds biological networks weighted by connectivity, which is estimated by use of a modification of the Google PageRank algorithm. These weights are then combined with genetic association p-values derived from GWAS, producing what we call ‘trait prioritized sub-networks.’ As a proof of principle, NIMMI was tested on three GWAS datasets previously analyzed for height, a classical polygenic trait. Despite differences in sample size and ancestry, NIMMI captured 95% of the known height associated genes within the top 20% of ranked sub-networks, far better than what could be achieved by a single-locus approach. The top 2% of NIMMI height-prioritized sub-networks were significantly enriched for genes involved in transcription, signal transduction, transport, and gene expression, as well as nucleic acid, phosphate, protein, and zinc metabolism. All of these sub-networks were ranked near the top across all three height GWAS datasets we tested. We also tested NIMMI on a categorical phenotype, Crohn’s disease. NIMMI prioritized sub-networks involved in B- and T-cell receptor, chemokine, interleukin, and other pathways consistent with the known autoimmune nature of Crohn’s disease. NIMMI is a simple, user-friendly, open-source software tool that efficiently combines genetic association data with biological networks, translating GWAS findings into biological hypotheses.
With great advancements in the therapeutic modalities used for the treatment of chronic liver diseases, the accurate assessment of liver fibrosis is a vital need for successful individualized management of disease activity in patients. The lack of accurate, reproducible and easily applied methods for fibrosis assessment has been the major limitation in both the clinical management and for research in liver diseases. However, the problem of the development of biomarkers capable of non-invasive staging of fibrosis in the liver is difficult due to the fact that the process of fibrogenesis is a component of the normal healing response to injury, invasion by pathogens, and many other etiologic factors. Current non-invasive methods range from serum biomarker assays to advanced imaging techniques such as transient elastography and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Among non-invasive methods that gain strongest clinical foothold are FibroScan elastometry and serum-based APRI and FibroTest. There are many other tests that are not yet widely validated, but are none the less, promising. The rate of adoption of non-invasive diagnostic tests for liver fibrosis differs from country to country, but remains limited. At the present time, use of non-invasive procedures could be recommended as pre-screening that may allow physicians to narrow down the patients' population before definitive testing of liver fibrosis by biopsy of the liver. This review provides a systematic overview of these techniques, as well as both direct and indirect biomarkers based approaches used to stage fibrosis and covers recent developments in this rapidly advancing area.
The "off-target" silencing effect hinders the development of siRNA-based therapeutic and research applications. Existing solutions for finding possible locations of siRNA seats within a large database of genes are either too slow, miss a portion of the targets, or are simply not designed to handle a very large number of queries. We propose a new approach that reduces the computational time as compared to existing techniques.
The proposed method employs tree-based storage in a form of a modified truncated suffix tree to sort all possible short string substrings within given set of strings (i.e. transcriptome). Using the new algorithm, we pre-computed a list of the best siRNA locations within each human gene ("siRNA seats"). siRNAs designed to reside within siRNA seats are less likely to hybridize off-target. These siRNA seats could be used as an input for the traditional "set-of-rules" type of siRNA designing software. The list of siRNA seats is available through a publicly available database located at http://web.cos.gmu.edu/~gmanyam/siRNA_db/search.php
In attempt to perform top-down prediction of the human siRNA with minimized off-target hybridization, we developed an efficient algorithm that employs suffix tree based storage of the substrings. Applications of this approach are not limited to optimal siRNA design, but can also be useful for other tasks involving selection of the characteristic strings specific to individual genes. These strings could then be used as siRNA seats, as specific probes for gene expression studies by oligonucleotide-based microarrays, for the design of molecular beacon probes for Real-Time PCR and, generally, any type of PCR primers.
Here we show that the C-terminal domain of LuxR activates the transcription of Aliivibrio fischeri luxICDABEG in Escherichia coli SKB178 gro+ and E. coli OFB1111 groEL673 strains to the same level. Using affinity chromatography, we showed that GroEL binds to the N-terminal domain of LuxR, pointing to a GroEL/GroES requirement for the folding of the N-terminal domain of LuxR.
Given the epidemic proportions of obesity worldwide and the concurrent prevalence of metabolic syndrome, there is an urgent need for better understanding the underlying mechanisms of metabolic syndrome, in particular, the gene expression differences which may participate in obesity, insulin resistance and the associated series of chronic liver conditions. Real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) is the standard method for studying changes in relative gene expression in different tissues and experimental conditions. However, variations in amount of starting material, enzymatic efficiency and presence of inhibitors can lead to quantification errors. Hence the need for accurate data normalization is vital. Among several known strategies for data normalization, the use of reference genes as an internal control is the most common approach. Recent studies have shown that both obesity and presence of insulin resistance influence an expression of commonly used reference genes in omental fat. In this study we validated candidate reference genes suitable for qRT-PCR profiling experiments using visceral adipose samples from obese and lean individuals.
Cross-validation of expression stability of eight selected reference genes using three popular algorithms, GeNorm, NormFinder and BestKeeper found ACTB and RPII as most stable reference genes.
We recommend ACTB and RPII as stable reference genes most suitable for gene expression studies of human visceral adipose tissue. The use of these genes as a reference pair may further enhance the robustness of qRT-PCR in this model system.
Deletion of 13q14.3 and a candidate gene KCNRG (potassium channel regulating gene) is the most frequent chromosomal abnormality in B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia and is a common finding in multiple myeloma (MM). KCNRG protein may interfere with the normal assembly of the K+ channel proteins causing the suppression of Kv currents. We aimed to examine possible role of KCNRG haploinsufficiency in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and MM cells. We performed detailed genomic analysis of the KCNRG locus; studied effects of the stable overexpression of KCNRG isoforms in RPMI-8226, HL-60, and LnCaP cells; and evaluated relative expression of its transcripts in various human lymphomas. Three MM cell lines and 35 CLL PBL samples were screened for KCNRG mutations. KCNRG exerts growth suppressive and pro-apoptotic effects in HL-60, LnCaP, and RPMI-8226 cells. Direct sequencing of KCNRG exons revealed point mutation delT in RPMI-8226 cell line. Levels of major isoform of KCNRG mRNA are lower in DLBL lymphomas compared to normal PBL samples, while levels of its minor mRNA are decreased across the broad range of the lymphoma types. The haploinsufficiency of KCNRG might be relevant to the progression of CLL and MM at least in a subset of patients.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s13277-009-0005-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Tumor suppressor candidate; Potassium channels; 13q14; Chronic lymphocytic leukemia; Multiple myeloma; KCNRG
Cellular levels of RNAs containing transposable elements increase in response to various stresses. Polymerase III (Pol III)-dependent transcripts of transposons are different from transposon-containing RNAs generated by read-through Pol II-dependent transcription. Until now, Pol III transcripts were detected by primer extension followed by time-consuming gel electrophoresis. In this paper, we describe a more sensitive PCR-based method for the selective detection of Pol III-transcribed RNAs. The method is based on the difference in sequences at the 5′ ends of the Pol II- and Pol III-dependent transcripts. We employed this method to quantify Pol III transcripts of transposon B1 in rodent cells and revealed that their levels are affected by UV irradiation. We therefore conclude that the abundance of the Pol III-transcribed fraction of cellular RNA may serve as marker of stress response and can be conveniently quantified by the method described.
Transposable elements; UV stress; Transposon B1; Alu; Polymerase III; Adaptor-PCR; SINE
Chemically synthesized ligands for nuclear receptors of the PPAR family modulate a number of physiological functions, particularly insulin resistance in the context of energy homeostasis and the metabolic syndrome. Additionally, these compounds may treat or prevent the development of many secondary consequences of the metabolic syndrome. Many PPAR agonists are also known to influence the proliferation and apoptosis of breast carcinoma cells though the experiments were carried out at suprapharmacological doses of PPAR ligands. It is possible that the breast epithelium of diabetics exposed to PPAR agonists will experience perturbation of the corresponding signaling pathway. Consequently, these patients' lifetime breast carcinoma risks could be modified, as their breast lesion incidence or the rates of the conversion of these lesions to carcinomas might vary upward or downward. PPAR activating treatment may also influence the progression of existing, undiagnosed invasive lesions. In this review, we attempt to summarize the possible influence of chemical PPAR ligands on the molecular pathways involved in the initiation and progression of breast carcinoma, with a major emphasis on PPARγ agonists thiazolidinediones (TZDs).
Human gene RFP2 is a candidate tumor suppressor located at 13q14.3 and deleted in multiple tumor types. To explore regulation of RFP2, we determined structure of the 5′-untranslated region of RFP2 gene and its promoter. RFP2 promoter area is TATA-less, highly enriched in G and C nucleotides, and contains multiple quadruplex forming GGGGA-repeats. Deletion analysis of 5′-flanking sequences demonstrated that repeat containing fragment possesses activity seven times exceeding that of the combined SV40 promoter/enhancer. Other unusual features of the RFP2 promoter include anomalously high electrostatic fields induced by sequence-dependent dipoles and very low nucleosome forming potential. A “minimized” version of the RFP2 promoter could be used for overexpression of the various transgenes in the mammalian cells.
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia; Candidate tumor suppressor gene RFP2; Promoter; Quadruplex; Nucleosome forming potential; Luciferase assay
Although human pannexins (PanX) are homologous to gap junction molecules, their physiological function in vertebrates remains poorly understood. Our results demonstrate that overexpression of PanX1 results in the formation of Ca2+-permeable gap junction channels between adjacent cells, thus, allowing direct intercellular Ca2+ diffusion and facilitating intercellular Ca2+ wave propagation. More intriguingly, our results strongly suggest that PanX1 may also form Ca2+-permeable channels in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). These channels contribute to the ER Ca2+ leak and thereby affect the ER Ca2+ load. Because leakage remains the most enigmatic of those processes involved in intracellular calcium homeostasis, and the molecular nature of the leak channels is as yet unknown, the results of this work provide new insight into calcium signaling mechanisms. These results imply that for vertebrates, a new protein family, referred to as pannexins, may not simply duplicate the connexin function but may also provide additional pathways for intra- and intercellular calcium signaling and homeostasis.
Earlier we suggested the concept of the positive evolutionary role of tumors. According to this concept, tumors provide conditions for the expression of evolutionarily new and/or sleeping genes in their cells. Thus, tumors are considered as evolutionary proving ground or reservoir of expression. To support this concept we have previously characterized in silico and experimentally a new class of human tumor-related transcribed sequences.
In this article we describe results of further studies of previously described tumor-related sequences. The results of molecular phylogeny studies, Southern hybridization experiments and computational comparison with genomes of other species are presented.
These results suggest that these previously described tumor-related human transcripts are also relatively evolutionarily new.