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BACKGROUND - Wilms tumor (WT) is the most common childhood kidney cancer worldwide, yet its incidence and clinical behavior vary according to race and access to adequate healthcare resources. To guide and streamline therapy in the war-torn and resource-constrained city of Baghdad, Iraq, we conducted a first-ever molecular analysis of 20 WT specimens to characterize the biological features of this lethal disease within this challenged population.
METHODS - Next-generation sequencing of ten target genes associated with WT development and treatment resistance (WT1, CTNNB1, WTX, IGF2, CITED1, SIX2, p53, N-MYC, CRABP2, and TOP2A) was completed. Immunohistochemistry was performed for 6 marker proteins of WT (WT1, CTNNB1, NCAM, CITED1, SIX2, and p53). Patient outcomes were compiled.
RESULTS - Mutations were detected in previously described WT "hot spots" (e.g., WT1 and CTNNB1) as well as novel loci that may be unique to the Iraqi population. Immunohistochemistry showed expression domains most typical of blastemal-predominant WT. Remarkably, despite the challenges facing families and care providers, only one child, with combined WT1 and CTNNB1 mutations, was confirmed dead from disease. Median clinical follow-up was 40.5 months (range 6-78 months).
CONCLUSIONS - These data suggest that WT biology within a population of Iraqi children manifests features both similar to and unique from disease variants in other regions of the world. These observations will help to risk stratify WT patients living in this difficult environment to more or less intensive therapies and to focus treatment on cell-specific targets.
Vaccinia virus (VACV) envelope protein D8 is one of three glycosaminoglycan adhesion molecules and binds to the linear polysaccharide chondroitin sulfate (CS). D8 is also a target for neutralizing antibody responses that are elicited by the smallpox vaccine, which has enabled the first eradication of a human viral pathogen and is a useful model for studying antibody responses. However, to date, VACV epitopes targeted by human antibodies have not been characterized at atomic resolution. Here, we characterized the binding properties of several human anti-D8 antibodies and determined the crystal structures of three VACV-mAb variants, VACV-66, VACV-138, and VACV-304, separately bound to D8. Although all these antibodies bound D8 with high affinity and were moderately neutralizing in the presence of complement, VACV-138 and VACV-304 also fully blocked D8 binding to CS-A, the low affinity ligand for D8. VACV-138 also abrogated D8 binding to the high-affinity ligand CS-E, but we observed residual CS-E binding was observed in the presence of VACV-304. Analysis of the VACV-138- and VACV-304-binding sites along the CS-binding crevice of D8, combined with different efficiencies of blocking D8 adhesion to CS-A and CS-E allowed us to propose that D8 has a high- and low-affinity CS-binding region within its central crevice. The crevice is amenable to protein engineering to further enhance both specificity and affinity of binding to CS-E. Finally, a wild-type D8 tetramer specifically bound to structures within the developing glomeruli of the kidney, which express CS-E. We propose that through structure-based protein engineering, an improved D8 tetramer could be used as a potential diagnostic tool to detect expression of CS-E, which is a possible biomarker for ovarian cancer.
© 2018 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.
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.
It has been proposed that CD6, an important regulator of T cells, functions by interacting with its currently identified ligand, CD166, but studies performed during the treatment of autoimmune conditions suggest that the CD6-CD166 interaction might not account for important functions of CD6 in autoimmune diseases. The antigen recognized by mAb 3A11 has been proposed as a new CD6 ligand distinct from CD166, yet the identity of it is hitherto unknown. We have identified this CD6 ligand as CD318, a cell surface protein previously found to be present on various epithelial cells and many tumor cells. We found that, like CD6 knockout (KO) mice, CD318 KO mice are also protected in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. In humans, we found that CD318 is highly expressed in synovial tissues and participates in CD6-dependent adhesion of T cells to synovial fibroblasts. In addition, soluble CD318 is chemoattractive to T cells and levels of soluble CD318 are selectively and significantly elevated in the synovial fluid from patients with rheumatoid arthritis and juvenile inflammatory arthritis. These results establish CD318 as a ligand of CD6 and a potential target for the diagnosis and treatment of autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and inflammatory arthritis.
We hypothesized that distinct protein expression features of benign and malignant pulmonary nodules may reveal novel candidate biomarkers for the early detection of lung cancer. We performed proteome profiling by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry to characterize 34 resected benign lung nodules, 24 untreated lung adenocarcinomas (ADCs), and biopsies of bronchial epithelium. Group comparisons identified 65 proteins that differentiate nodules from ADCs and normal bronchial epithelium and 66 proteins that differentiate ADCs from nodules and normal bronchial epithelium. We developed a multiplexed parallel reaction monitoring (PRM) assay to quantify a subset of 43 of these candidate biomarkers in an independent cohort of 20 benign nodules, 21 ADCs, and 20 normal bronchial biopsies. PRM analyses confirmed significant nodule-specific abundance of 10 proteins including ALOX5, ALOX5AP, CCL19, CILP1, COL5A2, ITGB2, ITGAX, PTPRE, S100A12, and SLC2A3 and significant ADC-specific abundance of CEACAM6, CRABP2, LAD1, PLOD2, and TMEM110-MUSTN1. Immunohistochemistry analyses for seven selected proteins performed on an independent set of tissue microarrays confirmed nodule-specific expression of ALOX5, ALOX5AP, ITGAX, and SLC2A3 and cancer-specific expression of CEACAM6. These studies illustrate the value of global and targeted proteomics in a systematic process to identify and qualify candidate biomarkers for noninvasive molecular diagnosis of lung cancer.
OBJECTIVE - Blood vessel epicardial substance (BVES) is a tight junction-associated protein that regulates epithelial-mesenchymal states and is underexpressed in epithelial malignancy. However, the functional impact of BVES loss on tumourigenesis is unknown. Here we define the in vivo role of BVES in colitis-associated cancer (CAC), its cellular function and its relevance to patients with IBD.
DESIGN - We determined promoter methylation status using an Infinium HumanMethylation450 array screen of patients with UC with and without CAC. We also measured mRNA levels in a tissue microarray consisting of normal colons and CAC samples. and wild-type mice (controls) were administered azoxymethane (AOM) and dextran sodium sulfate (DSS) to induce tumour formation. Last, we used a yeast two-hybrid screen to identify BVES interactors and performed mechanistic studies in multiple cell lines to define how BVES reduces c-Myc levels.
RESULTS - mRNA was reduced in tumours from patients with CAC via promoter hypermethylation. Importantly, promoter hypermethylation was concurrently present in distant non-malignant-appearing mucosa. As seen in human patients, was underexpressed in experimental inflammatory carcinogenesis, and mice had increased tumour multiplicity and degree of dysplasia after AOM/DSS administration. Molecular analysis of tumours revealed Wnt activation and increased c-Myc levels. Mechanistically, we identified a new signalling pathway whereby BVES interacts with PR61α, a protein phosphatase 2A regulatory subunit, to mediate c-Myc destruction.
CONCLUSION - Loss of BVES promotes inflammatory tumourigenesis through dysregulation of Wnt signalling and the oncogene c-Myc. promoter methylation status may serve as a CAC biomarker.
Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited. For permission to use (where not already granted under a licence) please go to http://www.bmj.com/company/products-services/rights-and-licensing/.
The exocyst is an essential component of the secretory pathway required for delivery of basolateral proteins to the plasma membranes of epithelial cells. Delivery occurs adjacent to tight junctions (TJ), suggesting that it recognizes a receptor at this location. However, no such receptor has been identified. The Par3 polarity protein associates with TJs but has no known function in membrane traffic. We now show that, unexpectedly, Par3 is essential for mammary cell survival. Par3 silencing causes apoptosis, triggered by phosphoinositide trisphosphate depletion and decreased Akt phosphorylation, resulting from failure of the exocyst to deliver basolateral proteins to the cortex. A small region of PAR3 binds directly to Exo70 and is sufficient for exocyst docking, membrane-protein delivery and cell survival. PAR3 lacking this domain can associate with the cortex but cannot support exocyst function. We conclude that Par3 is the long-sought exocyst receptor required for targeted membrane-protein delivery.
Height is a highly heritable, classic polygenic trait with approximately 700 common associated variants identified through genome-wide association studies so far. Here, we report 83 height-associated coding variants with lower minor-allele frequencies (in the range of 0.1-4.8%) and effects of up to 2 centimetres per allele (such as those in IHH, STC2, AR and CRISPLD2), greater than ten times the average effect of common variants. In functional follow-up studies, rare height-increasing alleles of STC2 (giving an increase of 1-2 centimetres per allele) compromised proteolytic inhibition of PAPP-A and increased cleavage of IGFBP-4 in vitro, resulting in higher bioavailability of insulin-like growth factors. These 83 height-associated variants overlap genes that are mutated in monogenic growth disorders and highlight new biological candidates (such as ADAMTS3, IL11RA and NOX4) and pathways (such as proteoglycan and glycosaminoglycan synthesis) involved in growth. Our results demonstrate that sufficiently large sample sizes can uncover rare and low-frequency variants of moderate-to-large effect associated with polygenic human phenotypes, and that these variants implicate relevant genes and pathways.
BACKGROUND - The discovery of low-frequency coding variants affecting the risk of coronary artery disease has facilitated the identification of therapeutic targets.
METHODS - Through DNA genotyping, we tested 54,003 coding-sequence variants covering 13,715 human genes in up to 72,868 patients with coronary artery disease and 120,770 controls who did not have coronary artery disease. Through DNA sequencing, we studied the effects of loss-of-function mutations in selected genes.
RESULTS - We confirmed previously observed significant associations between coronary artery disease and low-frequency missense variants in the genes LPA and PCSK9. We also found significant associations between coronary artery disease and low-frequency missense variants in the genes SVEP1 (p.D2702G; minor-allele frequency, 3.60%; odds ratio for disease, 1.14; P=4.2×10(-10)) and ANGPTL4 (p.E40K; minor-allele frequency, 2.01%; odds ratio, 0.86; P=4.0×10(-8)), which encodes angiopoietin-like 4. Through sequencing of ANGPTL4, we identified 9 carriers of loss-of-function mutations among 6924 patients with myocardial infarction, as compared with 19 carriers among 6834 controls (odds ratio, 0.47; P=0.04); carriers of ANGPTL4 loss-of-function alleles had triglyceride levels that were 35% lower than the levels among persons who did not carry a loss-of-function allele (P=0.003). ANGPTL4 inhibits lipoprotein lipase; we therefore searched for mutations in LPL and identified a loss-of-function variant that was associated with an increased risk of coronary artery disease (p.D36N; minor-allele frequency, 1.9%; odds ratio, 1.13; P=2.0×10(-4)) and a gain-of-function variant that was associated with protection from coronary artery disease (p.S447*; minor-allele frequency, 9.9%; odds ratio, 0.94; P=2.5×10(-7)).
CONCLUSIONS - We found that carriers of loss-of-function mutations in ANGPTL4 had triglyceride levels that were lower than those among noncarriers; these mutations were also associated with protection from coronary artery disease. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health and others.).
Blood vessel epicardial substance (BVES/Popdc1) is a junctional-associated transmembrane protein that is underexpressed in a number of malignancies and regulates epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition. We previously identified a role for BVES in regulation of the Wnt pathway, a modulator of intestinal stem cell programs, but its role in small intestinal (SI) biology remains unexplored. We hypothesized that BVES influences intestinal stem cell programs and is critical to SI homeostasis after radiation injury. At baseline, Bves(-/-) mice demonstrated increased crypt height, as well as elevated proliferation and expression of the stem cell marker Lgr5 compared to wild-type (WT) mice. Intercross with Lgr5-EGFP reporter mice confirmed expansion of the stem cell compartment in Bves(-/-) mice. To examine stem cell function after BVES deletion, we used ex vivo 3D-enteroid cultures. Bves(-/-) enteroids demonstrated increased stemness compared to WT, when examining parameters such as plating efficiency, stem spheroid formation, and retention of peripheral cystic structures. Furthermore, we observed increased proliferation, expression of crypt-base columnar "CBC" and "+4" stem cell markers, amplified Wnt signaling, and responsiveness to Wnt activation in the Bves(-/-) enteroids. Bves expression was downregulated after radiation in WT mice. Moreover, after radiation, Bves(-/-) mice demonstrated significantly greater SI crypt viability, proliferation, and amplified Wnt signaling in comparison to WT mice. Bves(-/-) mice also demonstrated elevations in Lgr5 and Ascl2 expression, and putative damage-responsive stem cell populations marked by Bmi1 and TERT. Therefore, BVES is a key regulator of intestinal stem cell programs and mucosal homeostasis. Stem Cells 2016;34:1626-1636.
© 2016 AlphaMed Press.