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The dissemination of prostate cancer to bone is a common, incurable aspect of advanced disease. Prevention and treatment of this terminal phase of prostate cancer requires improved molecular understanding of the process as well as markers indicative of molecular progression. Through biochemical analyses and loss-of-function in vivo studies, we demonstrate that the cell adhesion molecule, activated leukocyte cell adhesion molecule (ALCAM), is actively shed from metastatic prostate cancer cells by the sheddase ADAM17 in response to TGF-β. Not only is this posttranslational modification of ALCAM a marker of prostate cancer progression, the molecule is also required for effective metastasis to bone. Biochemical analysis of prostate cancer cell lines reveals that ALCAM expression and shedding is elevated in response to TGF-β signaling. Both in vitro and in vivo shedding is mediated by ADAM17. Longitudinal analysis of circulating ALCAM in tumor-bearing mice revealed that shedding of tumor, but not host-derived ALCAM is elevated during growth of the cancer. Gene-specific knockdown of ALCAM in bone-metastatic PC3 cells greatly diminished both skeletal dissemination and tumor growth in bone. The reduced growth of ALCAM knockdown cells corresponded to an increase in apoptosis (caspase-3) and decreased proliferation (Ki67). Together, these data demonstrate that the ALCAM is both a functional regulator as well as marker of prostate cancer progression.
Molecular biomarkers of cancer are needed to assist histologic staging in the selection of treatment, outcome risk stratification, and patient prognosis. This is particularly important for patients with early-stage disease. We show that shedding of the extracellular domain of activated leukocyte cell adhesion molecule (ALCAM) is prognostic for outcome in patients with colorectal cancer (CRC). Previous reports on the prognostic value of ALCAM expression in CRC have been contradictory and inconclusive. This study clarifies the prognostic value of ALCAM by visualizing ectodomain shedding using a dual stain that detects both the extracellular and the intracellular domains in formalin-fixed tissue. Using this novel assay, 105 patients with primary CRCs and 12 normal mucosa samples were evaluated. ALCAM shedding, defined as detection of the intracellular domain in the absence of the corresponding extracellular domain, was significantly elevated in patients with CRC and correlated with reduced survival. Conversely, retention of intact ALCAM was associated with improved survival, thereby confirming that ALCAM shedding is associated with poor patient outcome. Importantly, analysis of patients with stage II CRC showed that disease-specific survival is significantly reduced for patients with elevated ALCAM shedding (P = 0.01; HR, 3.0), suggesting that ALCAM shedding can identify patients with early-stage disease at risk of rapid progression.
We have undertaken a genome-wide analysis of rare copy-number variation (CNV) in 1124 autism spectrum disorder (ASD) families, each comprised of a single proband, unaffected parents, and, in most kindreds, an unaffected sibling. We find significant association of ASD with de novo duplications of 7q11.23, where the reciprocal deletion causes Williams-Beuren syndrome, characterized by a highly social personality. We identify rare recurrent de novo CNVs at five additional regions, including 16p13.2 (encompassing genes USP7 and C16orf72) and Cadherin 13, and implement a rigorous approach to evaluating the statistical significance of these observations. Overall, large de novo CNVs, particularly those encompassing multiple genes, confer substantial risks (OR = 5.6; CI = 2.6-12.0, p = 2.4 × 10(-7)). We estimate there are 130-234 ASD-related CNV regions in the human genome and present compelling evidence, based on cumulative data, for association of rare de novo events at 7q11.23, 15q11.2-13.1, 16p11.2, and Neurexin 1.
Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The genetics underlying the autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) is complex and remains poorly understood. Previous work has demonstrated an important role for structural variation in a subset of cases, but has lacked the resolution necessary to move beyond detection of large regions of potential interest to identification of individual genes. To pinpoint genes likely to contribute to ASD etiology, we performed high density genotyping in 912 multiplex families from the Autism Genetics Resource Exchange (AGRE) collection and contrasted results to those obtained for 1,488 healthy controls. Through prioritization of exonic deletions (eDels), exonic duplications (eDups), and whole gene duplication events (gDups), we identified more than 150 loci harboring rare variants in multiple unrelated probands, but no controls. Importantly, 27 of these were confirmed on examination of an independent replication cohort comprised of 859 cases and an additional 1,051 controls. Rare variants at known loci, including exonic deletions at NRXN1 and whole gene duplications encompassing UBE3A and several other genes in the 15q11-q13 region, were observed in the course of these analyses. Strong support was likewise observed for previously unreported genes such as BZRAP1, an adaptor molecule known to regulate synaptic transmission, with eDels or eDups observed in twelve unrelated cases but no controls (p = 2.3x10(-5)). Less is known about MDGA2, likewise observed to be case-specific (p = 1.3x10(-4)). But, it is notable that the encoded protein shows an unexpectedly high similarity to Contactin 4 (BLAST E-value = 3x10(-39)), which has also been linked to disease. That hundreds of distinct rare variants were each seen only once further highlights complexity in the ASDs and points to the continued need for larger cohorts.
Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are childhood neurodevelopmental disorders with complex genetic origins. Previous studies focusing on candidate genes or genomic regions have identified several copy number variations (CNVs) that are associated with an increased risk of ASDs. Here we present the results from a whole-genome CNV study on a cohort of 859 ASD cases and 1,409 healthy children of European ancestry who were genotyped with approximately 550,000 single nucleotide polymorphism markers, in an attempt to comprehensively identify CNVs conferring susceptibility to ASDs. Positive findings were evaluated in an independent cohort of 1,336 ASD cases and 1,110 controls of European ancestry. Besides previously reported ASD candidate genes, such as NRXN1 (ref. 10) and CNTN4 (refs 11, 12), several new susceptibility genes encoding neuronal cell-adhesion molecules, including NLGN1 and ASTN2, were enriched with CNVs in ASD cases compared to controls (P = 9.5 x 10(-3)). Furthermore, CNVs within or surrounding genes involved in the ubiquitin pathways, including UBE3A, PARK2, RFWD2 and FBXO40, were affected by CNVs not observed in controls (P = 3.3 x 10(-3)). We also identified duplications 55 kilobases upstream of complementary DNA AK123120 (P = 3.6 x 10(-6)). Although these variants may be individually rare, they target genes involved in neuronal cell-adhesion or ubiquitin degradation, indicating that these two important gene networks expressed within the central nervous system may contribute to the genetic susceptibility of ASD.
Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) represent a group of childhood neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders characterized by deficits in verbal communication, impairment of social interaction, and restricted and repetitive patterns of interests and behaviour. To identify common genetic risk factors underlying ASDs, here we present the results of genome-wide association studies on a cohort of 780 families (3,101 subjects) with affected children, and a second cohort of 1,204 affected subjects and 6,491 control subjects, all of whom were of European ancestry. Six single nucleotide polymorphisms between cadherin 10 (CDH10) and cadherin 9 (CDH9)-two genes encoding neuronal cell-adhesion molecules-revealed strong association signals, with the most significant SNP being rs4307059 (P = 3.4 x 10(-8), odds ratio = 1.19). These signals were replicated in two independent cohorts, with combined P values ranging from 7.4 x 10(-8) to 2.1 x 10(-10). Our results implicate neuronal cell-adhesion molecules in the pathogenesis of ASDs, and represent, to our knowledge, the first demonstration of genome-wide significant association of common variants with susceptibility to ASDs.
Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are important for developmental tissue remodeling and for the inflammatory response. Although the vertebrate MMP family is large and functionally redundant, the fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster has only two MMPs, both essential genes. Our previous work demonstrated that Mmp1 is required for growth of the tracheal system, and we suggested that the mutant phenotype resulted from aberrant persistence of cell adhesion to the extracellular matrix. Here we report the identification of NijA, a transmembrane protein whose vertebrate homologs regulate cell adhesion, as a two-hybrid binding partner for Mmp1. The binding of Mmp1 and NijA was confirmed by coimmunoprecipitation of endogenous proteins from flies, and the endogenous proteins were found to colocalize at the tracheal cell surface in larvae. When NijA is expressed in S2 cells, they lose adhesion to surfaces; this adhesion-loss phenotype is dependent on the expression and catalytic activity of Mmp1. Our data indicate that Mmp1 releases the N-terminal extracellular domain of NijA. This liberated ectodomain promotes the loss of cell adhesion in a cell-nonautonomous manner. We suggest that tracheal cell adhesion is regulated by a novel mechanism utilizing an MMP and a ninjurin family member.
The heterozygote reeler mouse (HRM) shows many neuroanatomical and biochemical features that are also present in some human cognitive disorders, such as schizophrenia. In the present study, hippocampal dependent plasticity and cognitive function of the HRM were characterized in detail in an attempt to reveal phenotypic functional differences that result from Reelin haploinsufficiency. The HRM and wild type mice show similar levels of overall activity, coordination, thermal nociception, startle responses, and anxiety-like behavior. In addition, both genotypes show similar shock threshold, identical cued freezing behavior and comparable spatial learning in Morris water maze tasks. However, a significant reduction in contextual fear conditioned learning was observed in the HRM. Electrophysiological studies in hippocampal CA1 synapses revealed a plethora of differences between genotypes. The HRM exhibits reduced field excitatory postsynaptic potentials in responses to similar synaptic inputs, lowered paired pulse facilitation ratio and impaired long-term depression and tetanus-induced long-term potentiation (LTP). Also, deficits were detected in LTP elicited by theta burst stimulation or by a whole cell pairing protocol. These physiologic differences could not be accounted for by changes in the overall amount of glutamate receptor subunits. In addition, it was determined that network-driven excitatory and inhibitory activities recorded in CA1 pyramidal neurons showed that the HRM had comparable amplitude and frequency of spontaneous excitatory postsynaptic currents, but a marked reduction in spontaneous inhibitory postsynaptic currents. Thus, the HRM exhibits a specific hippocampal-dependent learning deficit accompanied with a pronounced impairment of hippocampal plasticity and functional inhibitory innervation.
Several genome-wide screens have indicated the presence of an autism susceptibility locus within the distal long arm of chromosome 7 (7q). Mapping at 7q22 within this region is the candidate gene reelin (RELN). RELN encodes a signaling protein that plays a pivotal role in the migration of several neuronal cell types and in the development of neural connections. Given these neurodevelopmental functions, recent reports that RELN influences genetic risk for autism are of significant interest. The total data set consists of 218 Caucasian families collected by our group, 85 Caucasian families collected by AGRE, and 68 Caucasian families collected at Tufts University were tested for genetic association of RELN variants to autism. Markers included five single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and a repeat in the 5'-untranslated region (5'-UTR). Tests for association in Duke and AGRE families were also performed on four additional SNPs in the genes PSMC2 and ORC5L, which flank RELN. Family-based association analyses (PDT, Geno-PDT, and FBAT) were used to test for association of single-locus markers and multilocus haplotypes with autism. The most significant association identified from this combined data set was for the 5'-UTR repeat (PDT P-value=0.002). These analyses show the potential of RELN as an important contributor to genetic risk in autism.