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Inactivation of the retinoblastoma gene () product, pRB, is common in many human cancers. Targeting downstream effectors of pRB that are central to tumorigenesis is a promising strategy to block the growth of tumors harboring loss-of-function mutations. One such effector is retinoblastoma-binding protein 2 (RBP2, also called JARID1A or KDM5A), which encodes an H3K4 demethylase. Binding of pRB to RBP2 has been linked to the ability of pRB to promote senescence and differentiation. Importantly, genetic ablation of RBP2 is sufficient to phenocopy pRB's ability to induce these cellular changes in cell culture experiments. Moreover, germline deletion significantly impedes tumorigenesis in mice. The value of RBP2 as a therapeutic target in cancer, however, hinges on whether loss of RBP2 could block the growth of established tumors as opposed to simply delaying their onset. Here we show that conditional, systemic ablation of RBP2 in tumor-bearing mice is sufficient to slow tumor growth and significantly extend survival without causing obvious toxicity to the host. These findings show that established -null tumors require RBP2 for growth and further credential RBP2 as a therapeutic target in human cancers driven by inactivation.
Filamentous fungi produce a diverse array of secondary metabolites (SMs) critical for defense, virulence, and communication. The metabolic pathways that produce SMs are found in contiguous gene clusters in fungal genomes, an atypical arrangement for metabolic pathways in other eukaryotes. Comparative studies of filamentous fungal species have shown that SM gene clusters are often either highly divergent or uniquely present in one or a handful of species, hampering efforts to determine the genetic basis and evolutionary drivers of SM gene cluster divergence. Here, we examined SM variation in 66 cosmopolitan strains of a single species, the opportunistic human pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus. Investigation of genome-wide within-species variation revealed 5 general types of variation in SM gene clusters: nonfunctional gene polymorphisms; gene gain and loss polymorphisms; whole cluster gain and loss polymorphisms; allelic polymorphisms, in which different alleles corresponded to distinct, nonhomologous clusters; and location polymorphisms, in which a cluster was found to differ in its genomic location across strains. These polymorphisms affect the function of representative A. fumigatus SM gene clusters, such as those involved in the production of gliotoxin, fumigaclavine, and helvolic acid as well as the function of clusters with undefined products. In addition to enabling the identification of polymorphisms, the detection of which requires extensive genome-wide synteny conservation (e.g., mobile gene clusters and nonhomologous cluster alleles), our approach also implicated multiple underlying genetic drivers, including point mutations, recombination, and genomic deletion and insertion events as well as horizontal gene transfer from distant fungi. Finally, most of the variants that we uncover within A. fumigatus have been previously hypothesized to contribute to SM gene cluster diversity across entire fungal classes and phyla. We suggest that the drivers of genetic diversity operating within a fungal species shown here are sufficient to explain SM cluster macroevolutionary patterns.
VacA is a channel-forming toxin unrelated to other known bacterial toxins. Most strains contain a gene, but there is marked variation among strains in VacA toxin activity. This variation is attributable to strain-specific variations in VacA amino acid sequences, as well as variations in the levels of VacA transcription and secretion. In this review, we discuss epidemiologic studies showing an association between specific allelic types and gastric cancer, as well as studies that have used animal models to investigate VacA activities relevant to gastric cancer. We also discuss the mechanisms by which VacA-induced cellular alterations may contribute to the pathogenesis of gastric cancer.
Characterization of the molecular function of the human genome and its variation across individuals is essential for identifying the cellular mechanisms that underlie human genetic traits and diseases. The Genotype-Tissue Expression (GTEx) project aims to characterize variation in gene expression levels across individuals and diverse tissues of the human body, many of which are not easily accessible. Here we describe genetic effects on gene expression levels across 44 human tissues. We find that local genetic variation affects gene expression levels for the majority of genes, and we further identify inter-chromosomal genetic effects for 93 genes and 112 loci. On the basis of the identified genetic effects, we characterize patterns of tissue specificity, compare local and distal effects, and evaluate the functional properties of the genetic effects. We also demonstrate that multi-tissue, multi-individual data can be used to identify genes and pathways affected by human disease-associated variation, enabling a mechanistic interpretation of gene regulation and the genetic basis of disease.
Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) is a pediatric disorder of dysregulated growth and differentiation caused by loss of function mutations in either the TSC1 or TSC2 genes, which regulate mTOR kinase activity. To study aberrations of early development in TSC, we generated induced pluripotent stem cells using dermal fibroblasts obtained from patients with TSC. During validation, we found that stem cells generated from TSC patients had a very high rate of integration of the reprogramming plasmid containing a shRNA against TP53. We also found that loss of one allele of TSC2 in human fibroblasts is sufficient to increase p53 levels and impair stem cell reprogramming. Increased p53 was also observed in TSC2 heterozygous and homozygous mutant human stem cells, suggesting that the interactions between TSC2 and p53 are consistent across cell types and gene dosage. These results support important contributions of TSC2 heterozygous and homozygous mutant cells to the pathogenesis of TSC and the important role of p53 during reprogramming.
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BACKGROUND - During pregnancy, as the mammary gland prepares for synthesis and delivery of milk to newborns, a luminal mammary epithelial cell (MEC) subpopulation proliferates rapidly in response to systemic hormonal cues that activate STAT5A. While the receptor tyrosine kinase ErbB4 is required for STAT5A activation in MECs during pregnancy, it is unclear how ErbB3, a heterodimeric partner of ErbB4 and activator of phosphatidyl inositol-3 kinase (PI3K) signaling, contributes to lactogenic expansion of the mammary gland.
METHODS - We assessed mRNA expression levels by expression microarray of mouse mammary glands harvested throughout pregnancy and lactation. To study the role of ErbB3 in mammary gland lactogenesis, we used transgenic mice expressing WAP-driven Cre recombinase to generate a mouse model in which conditional ErbB3 ablation occurred specifically in alveolar mammary epithelial cells (aMECs).
RESULTS - Profiling of RNA from mouse MECs isolated throughout pregnancy revealed robust Erbb3 induction during mid-to-late pregnancy, a time point when aMECs proliferate rapidly and undergo differentiation to support milk production. Litters nursed by ErbB3 dams weighed significantly less when compared to litters nursed by ErbB3 dams. Further analysis revealed substantially reduced epithelial content, decreased aMEC proliferation, and increased aMEC cell death during late pregnancy. Consistent with the potent ability of ErbB3 to activate cell survival through the PI3K/Akt pathway, we found impaired Akt phosphorylation in ErbB3 samples, as well as impaired expression of STAT5A, a master regulator of lactogenesis. Constitutively active Akt rescued cell survival in ErbB3-depleted aMECs, but failed to restore STAT5A expression or activity. Interestingly, defects in growth and survival of ErbB3 aMECs as well as Akt phosphorylation, STAT5A activity, and expression of milk-encoding genes observed in ErbB3 MECs progressively improved between late pregnancy and lactation day 5. We found a compensatory upregulation of ErbB4 activity in ErbB3 mammary glands. Enforced ErbB4 expression alleviated the consequences of ErbB3 ablation in aMECs, while combined ablation of both ErbB3 and ErbB4 exaggerated the phenotype.
CONCLUSIONS - These studies demonstrate that ErbB3, like ErbB4, enhances lactogenic expansion and differentiation of the mammary gland during pregnancy, through activation of Akt and STAT5A, two targets crucial for lactation.
This study evaluates the relationship between single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) metabolism and related pathways and spontaneous abortion (SAB, gestation < 20 weeks) risk. Women were enrolled in Right from the Start (2004-2010) prospective cohort. Periconceptional NSAIDs reported through the sixth week of pregnancy were obtained from study interviews. We evaluated 201 SNPs in 600 European American women. Interaction analyses between NSAID use and SNPs were conducted using logistic regression, adjusted for confounders. We also evaluated prostaglandin E2 urinary metabolite (PGE-M) in an independent population for association with SNPs using linear regression. NSAID use was reported by 63% of cases and 62% controls. The most significant interaction was at prostacyclin synthase (PGIS) rs5602 (OR = 0.34, 95% CI 0.19-0.60, p = 2.45 × 10) and was significant after a Bonferroni correction. NSAID users were protected from SAB (OR = 0.78, 95% CI 0.56-1.10), while non-NSAID users were at increased risk (OR = 2.11, 95% CI 1.35-3.29) in rs5602 stratified analyses. rs5602 also associated with increased PGE-M levels (Beta = 0.09, 95% CI -0.002-0.19, p = 0.033). We identified an association between a PGIS variant and SAB risk that is modified by NSAIDs use during pregnancy and directly associated with increased levels of PGE metabolites. This suggests the potential use of genetic information to guide pharmaceutical intervention to prevent adverse pregnancy outcomes.
Uterine fibroids are benign tumors of the uterus affecting up to 77% of women by menopause. They are the leading indication for hysterectomy, and account for $34 billion annually in the United States. Race/ethnicity and age are the strongest known risk factors. African American (AA) women have higher prevalence, earlier onset, and larger and more numerous fibroids than European American women. We conducted a multi-stage genome-wide association study (GWAS) of fibroid risk among AA women followed by in silico genetically predicted gene expression profiling of top hits. In Stage 1, cases and controls were confirmed by pelvic imaging, genotyped and imputed to 1000 Genomes. Stage 2 used self-reported fibroid and GWAS data from 23andMe, Inc. and the Black Women's Health Study. Associations with fibroid risk were modeled using logistic regression adjusted for principal components, followed by meta-analysis of results. We observed a significant association among 3399 AA cases and 4764 AA controls at rs739187 (risk-allele frequency = 0.27) in CYTH4 (OR (95% confidence interval) = 1.23 (1.16-1.30), p value = 7.82 × 10). Evaluation of the genetic association results with MetaXcan identified lower predicted gene expression of CYTH4 in thyroid tissue as significantly associated with fibroid risk (p value = 5.86 × 10). In this first multi-stage GWAS for fibroids among AA women, we identified a novel risk locus for fibroids within CYTH4 that impacts gene expression in thyroid and has potential biological relevance for fibroids.
Heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT) is an unpredictable, life-threatening, immune-mediated reaction to heparin. Variation in human leukocyte antigen (HLA) genes is now used to prevent immune-mediated adverse drug reactions. Combinations of HLA alleles and killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIR) are associated with multiple autoimmune diseases and infections. The objective of this study is to evaluate the association of HLA alleles and KIR types, alone or in the presence of different HLA ligands, with HIT. HIT cases and heparin-exposed controls were identified in BioVU, an electronic health record coupled to a DNA biobank. HLA sequencing and KIR type imputation using Illumina OMNI-Quad data were performed. Odds ratios for HLA alleles and KIR types and HLA*KIR interactions using conditional logistic regressions were determined in the overall population and by race/ethnicity. Analysis was restricted to KIR types and HLA alleles with a frequency greater than 0.01. The p values for HLA and KIR association were corrected by using a false discovery rate q<0.05 and HLA*KIR interactions were considered significant at p<0.05. Sixty-five HIT cases and 350 matched controls were identified. No statistical differences in baseline characteristics were observed between cases and controls. The HLA-DRB3*01:01 allele was significantly associated with HIT in the overall population (odds ratio 2.81 [1.57-5.02], p=2.1×10 , q=0.02) and in individuals with European ancestry, independent of other alleles. No KIR types were associated with HIT, although a significant interaction was observed between KIR2DS5 and the HLA-C1 KIR binding group (p=0.03). The HLA-DRB3*01:01 allele was identified as a potential risk factor for HIT. This class II HLA gene and allele represent biologically plausible candidates for influencing HIT pathogenesis. We found limited evidence of the role of KIR types in HIT pathogenesis. Replication and further study of the HLA-DRB3*01:01 association is necessary.
© 2017 Pharmacotherapy Publications, Inc.
Haptoglobin (HP) protein plays a critical role in binding and removing free hemoglobin from blood. A deletion in the HP gene affects the protein structure and function. A recent study developed a novel method to impute this variant and discovered significant association of this variant with low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and total cholesterol levels among European descendants. In the present study, we investigated this variant among 3608 Chinese women. Consistent with findings from Europeans, we found significant associations between the deletion with lower cholesterol levels; women homozygous for the deletion allele (HP1-HP1), had a lower level of total cholesterol (-4.24 mg dl, P=0.02) and LDL cholesterol (-3.43 mg dl, P=0.03) than those not carrying the deletion allele (HP2-HP2). Especially, women carrying the HP1S-HP1S, had an even lower level of total cholesterol (-5.59 mg dl, P=7.0 × 10) and LDL cholesterol (-4.68 mg dl, P=8.0 × 10) compared to those carrying HP2-HP2. These associations remained significant after an adjustment for an established cholesterol level-related variant, rs2000999. Our study extends the previous findings regarding the association of HP structure variant with blood cholesterol levels to East Asians and affirms the validity of the new methodology for assessing HP structure variation.