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Patients with histories of myocardial infarction display shortened leukocyte telomere length (LTL), but conflicting findings have been reported on the relation between LTL and subclinical coronary artery atherosclerosis, as expressed by coronary artery calcium (CAC). The aim of this study was to examine the relation between LTL, measured by Southern blots, and CAC in 3,169 participants in the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Family Heart Study. Participants consisted of 2,556 whites, 613 blacks, 1,790 women, and 1,379 men. The odds of having CAC ≥100 for the shortest LTL tertile versus the longest LTL tertile were 1.95 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.28 to 3.16) in white men and 1.76 (95% CI 1.18 to 2.45) in white women, after adjusting for multiple covariates of CAC. The corresponding odds ratios for blacks were 1.53 (95% CI 0.67 to 3.50) and 0.87 (95% CI 0.37 to 2.00). Significance levels of tests for trend across LTL tertiles were p = 0.002 in white men, p = 0.006 in white women, p = 0.32 in black men, and p = 0.74 in black women. The associations, or lack of associations, were independent of C-reactive protein levels and other risk factors for CAC. As previously shown in other studies, whites displayed shorter LTLs than blacks (p <0.0001). In conclusion, the higher the coronary artery atherosclerotic burden in whites, the shorter the LTL. This LTL-atherosclerosis connection is not found in blacks. The mechanisms for the racial difference in LTL, CAC, and their interrelations do not seem to be related to inflammation and merit further research.
Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome (BWS) is a clinical diagnosis; however, molecular confirmation via abnormal methylation of DMR2(LIT1) and/or DMR1(H19) has clinical utility due to epigenotype-tumor association. Despite the strong link between H19 hypermethylation and tumor risk, several diagnostic laboratories only test for hypomethylation of LIT1. We assessed the added diagnostic value of combined LIT1 and H19 testing in a large series of referred samples from 1298 patients, including 53 well-characterized patients from the St. Louis Children's Hospital BWS-Registry (validation samples) and 1245 consecutive nationwide referrals (practice samples). Methylation-sensitive enzymatic digestion with Southern hybridization assessed loss of normal imprinting. In the validation group, abnormal LIT1 hypomethylation was detected in 60% (32/52) of patients but LIT1/H19-combined testing was abnormal in 68% (36/53); sensitivity in the practice setting demonstrated 27% (342/1245) abnormal LIT1 and 32% (404/1245) abnormal LIT1/H19-combined. In addition, H19 methylation was abnormal in 7% of LIT1-normal patients. We observed absence of uniparental disomy (UPD) in 27% of combined LIT1/H19-abnormal samples, diagnostic of multilocus methylation abnormalities; in contrast to studies implicating that combined LIT1/H19 abnormalities are diagnostic of UPD. The overall low detection rate, even in validated patient samples and despite characterization of both loci and UPD status, emphasizes the importance of clinical diagnosis in BWS.
The ΦC31 integrase system provides genomic integration of plasmid DNA that may be useful in gene therapy. For example, the ΦC31 system has been used in combination with hydrodynamic injection to achieve long-term expression of factor IX in mouse liver. However, a concern is that prolonged expression of ΦC31 integrase within cells could potentially stimulate chromosome rearrangements or an immune response. Western blot and immunofluorescence analyses were performed to investigate the duration of ΦC31 integrase expression in mouse liver. Integrase was expressed within 2 to 3 hr after hydrodynamic injection of a plasmid expressing ΦC31 integrase. Expression peaked between 8 and 16 hr and fell to background levels by 24-48 hr postinjection. Analysis of the amount of integrase plasmid DNA present in the liver over time suggested that the brief period of integrase expression could largely be accounted for by rapid loss of the bulk of the plasmid DNA, as well as by silencing of plasmid expression. PCR analysis of integration indicated that ΦC31 integrase carried out genomic integration of a codelivered attB-containing plasmid by 3 hr after plasmid injection. Integrase was expressed for longer times and at higher levels in transfected cultured cells compared with liver. Inhibitor studies suggested that the enzyme had a short half-life and was degraded by the 26S proteasome. The short duration of integrase expression in liver and rapid integration reaction appear to be features favorable for use in gene therapy.
Somatic cell gene transfer has permitted inducible gene expression in vivo through coinfection of multiple viruses. We hypothesized that the highly efficient plasmid-based piggyBac transposon system would enable long-term inducible gene expression in mice in vivo. We used a multiple-transposon delivery strategy to create a tetracycline-inducible expression system in vitro in human cells by delivering the two genes on separate transposons for inducible reporter gene expression along with a separate selectable transposon marker. Evaluation of stable cell lines revealed 100% of selected clones exhibited inducible expression via stable expression from three separate transposons simultaneously. We next tested and found that piggyBac-mediated gene transfer to liver or lung could achieve stable reporter gene expression in mice in vivo in either immunocompetent or immune deficient animals. A single injection of piggyBac transposons could achieve long-term inducible gene expression in the livers of mice in vivo, confirming our multiple-transposon strategy used in cultured cells. The plasmid-based piggyBac transposon system enables constitutive or inducible gene expression in vivo for potential therapeutic and biological applications without using viral vectors.
Frequent hallmarks of T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) include aberrant NOTCH signaling and deletion of the CDKN2A locus, which contains 2 closely linked tumor suppressor genes (INK4A and ARF). When bone marrow cells or thymocytes transduced with a vector encoding the constitutively activated intracellular domain of Notch1 (ICN1) are expanded ex vivo under conditions that support T-cell development, cultured progenitors rapidly induce CD4+/CD8+ T-ALLs after infusion into healthy syngeneic mice. Under these conditions, enforced ICN1 expression also drives formation of T-ALLs in unconditioned CD-1 nude mice, bypassing any requirements for thymic maturation. Retention of Arf had relatively modest activity in suppressing the formation of T-ALLs arising from bone marrow-derived ICN1+ progenitors in which the locus is epigenetically silenced, and all resulting Arf (+/+) tumors failed to express the p19(Arf) protein. In striking contrast, retention of Arf in thymocyte-derived ICN1+ donor cells significantly delayed disease onset and suppressed the penetrance of T-ALL. Use of cultured thymocyte-derived donor cells expressing a functionally null Arf-GFP knock-in allele confirmed that ICN1 signaling can induce Arf expression in vivo. Arf activation by ICN1 in T cells thereby provides stage-specific tumor suppression but also a strong selective pressure for deletion of the locus in T-ALL.
Although ligand-selective regulation of G protein-coupled receptor-mediated signaling and trafficking are well documented, little is known about whether ligand-selective effects occur on endogenous receptors or whether such effects modify the signaling response in physiologically relevant cells. Using a gene targeting approach, we generated a knock-in mouse line, in which N-terminal hemagglutinin epitope-tagged alpha(2A)-adrenergic receptor (AR) expression was driven by the endogenous mouse alpha(2A)AR gene locus. Exploiting this mouse line, we evaluated alpha(2A)AR trafficking and alpha(2A)AR-mediated inhibition of Ca(2+) currents in native sympathetic neurons in response to clonidine and guanfacine, two drugs used for treatment of hypertension, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, and enhancement of analgesia through actions on the alpha(2A)AR subtype. We discovered a more rapid desensitization of Ca(2+) current suppression by clonidine than guanfacine, which paralleled a more marked receptor phosphorylation and endocytosis of alpha(2A)AR evoked by clonidine than by guanfacine. Clonidine-induced alpha(2A)AR desensitization, but not receptor phosphorylation, was attenuated by blockade of endocytosis with concanavalin A, indicating a critical role for internalization of alpha(2A)AR in desensitization to this ligand. Our data on endogenous receptor-mediated signaling and trafficking in native cells reveal not only differential regulation of G protein-coupled receptor endocytosis by different ligands, but also a differential contribution of receptor endocytosis to signaling desensitization. Taken together, our data suggest that these HA-alpha(2A)AR knock-in mice will serve as an important model in developing ligands to favor endocytosis or nonendocytosis of receptors, depending on the target cell and pathophysiology being addressed.
Increased levels of red cell fetal hemogloblin, whether due to hereditary persistence of expression or from induction with hydroxyurea therapy, effectively ameliorate sickle cell disease (SCD). Therefore, we developed erythroid-specific, gamma-globin lentiviral vectors for hematopoietic stem cell (HSC)-targeted gene therapy with the goal of permanently increasing fetal hemoglobin (HbF) production in sickle red cells. We evaluated two different gamma-globin lentiviral vectors for therapeutic efficacy in the BERK sickle cell mouse model. The first vector, V5, contained the gamma-globin gene driven by 3.1 kb of beta-globin regulatory sequences and a 130-bp beta-globin promoter. The second vector, V5m3, was identical except that the gamma-globin 3'-untranslated region (3'-UTR) was replaced with the beta-globin 3'-UTR. Adult erythroid cells have beta-globin mRNA 3'-UTR-binding proteins that enhance beta-globin mRNA stability and we postulated this design might enhance gamma-globin expression. Stem cell gene transfer was efficient and nearly all red cells in transplanted mice expressed human gamma-globin. Both vectors demonstrated efficacy in disease correction, with the V5m3 vector producing a higher level of gamma-globin mRNA which was associated with high-level correction of anemia and secondary organ pathology. These data support the rationale for a gene therapy approach to SCD by permanently enhancing HbF using a gamma-globin lentiviral vector.
Mdm2 inhibits the function of the p53 tumor suppressor. Mdm2 is overexpressed in many tumors with wild-type p53 suggesting an alternate mechanism of loss of p53 activity in tumors. An Mdm2-binding protein (MTBP) was identified using a yeast two-hybrid screen. In tissue culture, MTBP inhibits Mdm2 self-ubiquitination, leading to stabilization of Mdm2 and increased degradation of p53. To address the role of MTBP in the regulation of the p53 pathway in vivo, we deleted the Mtbp gene in mice. Homozygous disruption of Mtbp resulted in early embryonic lethality, which was not rescued by loss of p53. Mtbp+/- mice were not tumor prone. When mice were sensitized for tumor development by p53 heterozygosity, we found that the Mtbp+/-p53+/- mice developed significantly more metastatic tumors (18.2%) as compared to p53+/- mice (2.6%). Results of in vitro migration and invasion assays support the in vivo findings. Downmodulation of Mtbp in osteosarcoma cells derived from p53+/- mice resulted in increased invasiveness, and overexpression of Mtbp in Mtbp+/-p53+/- osteosarcoma cells inhibited invasiveness. These results suggest that MTBP is a metastasis suppressor. These results advance our understanding of the cellular roles of MTBP and raise the possibility that MTBP is a novel therapeutic target for metastasis.
Mdm2, a regulator of the p53 tumor suppressor, is frequently overexpressed in lymphomas, including lymphomas that have inactivated p53. However, the biological consequences of Mdm2 overexpression in lymphocytes are not fully resolved. Here, we report that increased expression of Mdm2 in B cells augmented proliferation and reduced susceptibility to p53-dependent apoptosis, which was due to inhibition of p53 and suppression of p21 expression. Notably, developing and mature B cells from Mdm2 transgenic mice had an increased frequency of chromosomal/chromatid breaks and/or aneuploidy. This Mdm2-mediated genome instability occurred at a similar frequency as that in B cells overexpressing the oncogene c-Myc, but the chromosomal instability was not further enhanced when Mdm2 and c-Myc were overexpressed together. Elevated Mdm2 expression alone increased the occurrence of B-cell transformation in vivo and cooperated with c-Myc overexpression, resulting in an acceleration of B-cell lymphomagenesis. In addition, the frequency of p53 mutations was reduced, but not eliminated, in lymphomas arising in Mdm2/Emu-myc double transgenic mice. Therefore, increased Mdm2 expression facilitated B-cell lymphomagenesis, in part, through regulation of p53 by altering B-cell proliferation and susceptibility to apoptosis, and by inducing chromosomal instability.
The peripheral primitive neuroectodermal tumor/Ewing's sarcoma family tumor (pPNET/ESFT) group includes small round cell tumors of the bone, soft tissue, and nerve with morphological attributes of the germinal neuroepithelium. Peripheral PNETs/ESFTs also occur within the craniospinal vault, a region including the central nervous system, the meninges, and the cranial and spinal nerve roots. Gene rearrangements between the EWS gene on chromosome 22q12 and members of the ETS gene family are common in and specific to pPNETs/ESFTs. Another defining characteristic of pPNETs/ESFTs is their membranous expression of the MIC2 gene product. We describe 2 cases of pPNETs within the craniospinal vault. An intradural tumor arising from the nerve roots of the cauda equina was discovered in a 32-year-old man presenting with radiculopathic back pain and lower-extremity weakness. An intracranial pPNET that mimicked a meningioma was found in a 21-year-old man presenting with headache and visual disturbances. MIC2 gene product expression and EWS/ETS gene rearrangement were detected in both case patients. The literature with regard to pPNETs/ESFTs arising within the craniospinal vault is reviewed.