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BACKGROUND - Congenital hydrocephalus (CH) is a highly morbid disease that features enlarged brain ventricles and impaired cerebrospinal fluid homeostasis. Although early linkage or targeted sequencing studies in large multigenerational families have localized several genes for CH, the etiology of most CH cases remains unclear. Recent advances in whole exome sequencing (WES) have identified five new bona fide CH genes, implicating impaired regulation of neural stem cell fate in CH pathogenesis. Nonetheless, in the majority of CH cases, the pathological etiology remains unknown, suggesting more genes await discovery.
METHODS - WES of family members of a sporadic and familial form of severe L1CAM mutation-negative CH associated with aqueductal stenosis was performed. Rare genetic variants were analyzed, prioritized, and validated. De novo copy number variants (CNVs) were identified using the XHMM algorithm and validated using qPCR. Xenopus oocyte experiments were performed to access mutation impact on protein function and expression.
RESULTS - A novel inherited protein-damaging mutation (p.Pro605Leu) in SLC12A6, encoding the K -Cl cotransporter KCC3, was identified in both affected members of multiplex kindred CHYD110. p.Pro605 is conserved in KCC3 orthologs and among all human KCC paralogs. The p.Pro605Leu mutation maps to the ion-transporting domain, and significantly reduces KCC3-dependent K transport. A novel de novo CNV (deletion) was identified in SLC12A7, encoding the KCC3 paralog and binding partner KCC4, in another family (CHYD130) with sporadic CH.
CONCLUSION - These findings identify two novel, related genes associated with CH, and implicate genetically encoded impairments in ion transport for the first time in CH pathogenesis.
© 2019 The Authors. Molecular Genetics & Genomic Medicine published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
In epithelial-derived cancers, altered regulation of cell-cell adhesion facilitates the disruption of tissue cohesion that is central to the progression to malignant disease. Although numerous intercellular adhesion molecules participate in epithelial adhesion, the immunoglobulin superfamily (IgSF) member activated leukocyte cell adhesion molecule (ALCAM), has emerged from multiple independent studies as a central contributor to tumor progression. ALCAM is an archetypal member of the IgSF with conventional organization of five Ig-like domains involved in homo- and heterotypic adhesions. Like many IgSF members, ALCAM is broadly expressed and involved in cellular adhesion across many cellular processes. While the redundancy of intercellular adhesion molecules (CAMs) could diminish the impact of any single CAM, consistent correlation between ALCAM expression and patient outcome for multiple cancers underscores its role in tumor progression. Unlike most oncogenes and tumor suppressors, ALCAM is neither mutated nor amplified or deleted. Experimental disruption of ALCAM-mediated adhesions implies that this IgSF member contributes to tumor progression through dynamic turnover of the protein at the cell surface. Since ALCAM is not frequently altered at the gene level, it appears to promote malignant behavior through regulation of its availability rather than its specific activity. These observations help explain its heterogeneous expression within malignant disease and the drastic changes in protein levels across tumor progression. To reveal how ALCAM contributes to tumor progression, we review regulation of its gene expression, alternative splicing, targeted proteolysis, binding partners, and surface shedding within the context of cancer. Studying ALCAM regulation has led to a novel understanding of the fine-tuning of cell adhesive state through the utilization of otherwise normal regulatory processes, which thereby enable tumor cell invasion and metastasis.
Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are important mediators of cell-cell communication due to their cargo content of proteins, lipids, and RNAs. We previously reported that small EVs (SEVs) called exosomes promote directed and random cell motility, invasion, and serum-independent growth. In contrast, larger EVs (LEVs) were not active in those assays, but might have unique functional properties. In order to identify protein cargos that may contribute to different functions of SEVs and LEVs, we used isobaric tags for relative and absolute quantitation (iTRAQ)-liquid chromatography (LC) tandem mass spectrometry (MS) on EVs isolated from a colon cancer cell line. Bioinformatics analyses revealed that SEVs are enriched in proteins associated with cell-cell junctions, cell-matrix adhesion, exosome biogenesis machinery, and various signaling pathways. In contrast, LEVs are enriched in proteins associated with ribosome and RNA biogenesis, processing, and metabolism. Western blot analysis of EVs purified from two different cancer cell types confirmed the enrichment of cell-matrix and cell-cell adhesion proteins in SEVs. Consistent with those data, we found that cells exhibit enhanced adhesion to surfaces coated with SEVs compared to an equal protein concentration of LEVs. These data suggest that a major function of SEVs is to promote cellular adhesion.
Intimal stiffening has been linked with increased vascular permeability and leukocyte transmigration, hallmarks of atherosclerosis. However, recent evidence indicates age-related intimal stiffening is not uniform but rather characterized by increased point-to-point heterogeneity in subendothelial matrix stiffness, the impact of which is much less understood. To investigate the impact of spatially heterogeneous matrix rigidity on endothelial monolayer integrity, we develop a micropillar model to introduce closely-spaced, step-changes in substrate rigidity and compare endothelial monolayer phenotype to rigidity-matched, uniformly stiff and compliant substrates. We found equivalent disruption of adherens junctions within monolayers on step-rigidity and uniformly stiff substrates relative to uniformly compliant substrates. Similarly, monolayers cultured on step-rigidity substrates exhibited equivalent percentages of leukocyte transmigration to monolayers on rigidity-matched, uniformly stiff substrates. Adherens junction tension and focal adhesion density, but not size, increased within monolayers on step-rigidity and uniformly stiff substrates compared to more compliant substrates suggesting that elevated tension is disrupting adherens junction integrity. Leukocyte transmigration frequency and time, focal adhesion size, and focal adhesion density did not differ between stiff and compliant sub-regions of step-rigidity substrates. Overall, our results suggest that endothelial monolayers exposed to mechanically heterogeneous substrates adopt the phenotype associated with the stiffer matrix, indicating that spatial heterogeneities in intimal stiffness observed with age could disrupt endothelial barrier integrity and contribute to atherogenesis.
Mouse laser-induced choroidal neovascularization (mouse LCNV) recapitulates the "wet" form of human age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) is a known inflammatory biomarker, and it increases in the choroidal neovascular tissues characteristic of this experimental model. We have designed and constructed gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) functionalized with hairpin-DNA that incorporates an antisense sequence complementary to VCAM-1 mRNA (AS-VCAM-1 hAuNPs) and tested them as optical imaging probes. The 3' end of the hairpin is coupled to a near-infrared fluorophore that is quenched by the AuNP surface via Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET). Hybridization of the antisense sequence to VCAM-1 mRNA displaces the fluorophore away from the AuNP surface, inducing fluorescent activity. In vitro testing showed that hAuNPs hybridize to an exogenous complementary oligonucleotide within a pH range of 4.5-7.4, and that they are stable at reduced pH. LCNV mice received tail-vein injections of AS-VCAM-1 hAuNPs. Hyperspectral imaging revealed the delivery of AS-VCAM-1 hAuNPs to excised choroidal tissues. Fluorescent images of CNV lesions were obtained, presumably in response to the hybridization of AS-hAuNPs to LCNV-induced VCAM-1 mRNA. This is the first demonstration of systemic delivery of hAuNPs to ocular tissues to facilitate mRNA imaging of any target.
Integrins are α/β heterodimers that interconvert between inactive and active states. In the active state the α/β cytoplasmic domains recruit integrin-activating proteins and separate the transmembrane and cytoplasmic (TMcyto) domains (unclasped TMcyto). Conversely, in the inactive state the α/β TMcyto domains bind integrin-inactivating proteins, resulting in the association of the TMcyto domains (clasped TMcyto). Here, we report the isolation of integrin cytoplasmic tail interactors using either lipid bicelle-incorporated integrin TMcyto domains (α5, αM, αIIb, β1, β2 and β3 integrin TMcyto) or a clasped, lipid bicelle-incorporated αMβ2 TMcyto. Among the proteins found to preferentially bind clasped rather than the isolated αM and β2 subunits was L-plastin (LCP1, also known as plastin-2), which binds to and maintains the inactive state of αMβ2 integrin and thereby regulates leukocyte adhesion to integrin ligands under flow. Our findings offer a global view on cytoplasmic proteins interacting with different integrins and provide evidence for the existence of conformation-specific integrin interactors.
© 2018. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.
Blood vessel epicardial substance (BVES) is a tight-junction associated protein that was originally discovered from a cDNA screen of the developing heart. Research over the last decade has shown that not only is BVES is expressed in cardiac and skeletal tissue, but BVES is also is expressed throughout the gastrointestinal epithelium. Mice lacking BVES sustain worse intestinal injury and inflammation. Furthermore, BVES is suppressed in gastrointestinal cancers, and mouse modeling has shown that loss of BVES promotes tumor formation. Recent work from multiple laboratories has revealed that BVES can regulate several molecular pathways, including cAMP, WNT, and promoting the degradation of the oncogene, c-Myc. This review will summarize our current understanding of how BVES regulates the intestinal epithelium and discuss how BVES functions at the molecular level to preserve epithelial phenotypes and suppress tumorigenesis.
The ability to divide is a fundamental property of a living cell. The 3D orientation of cell division is essential for embryogenesis, maintenance of tissue organization and architecture, as well as controlling cell fate. Much attention has been placed on the mitotic spindle's role in placing itself along the cell's longest axis, where a shape sensing mechanism between a population of microtubules extending from mitotic centrosomes to the cell cortex occurs. However, contractile forces at the cell cortex also likely play a decisive role in determining the final placement of daughter cells following division. In this review, we discuss recent literature that describes the role of these contractile forces and how these forces could be balanced by mitotic adhesion complexes.
Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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.
Blood vessel epicardial substance (BVES), or POPDC1, is a tight junction-associated transmembrane protein that modulates epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) via junctional signaling pathways. There have been no in vivo studies investigating the role of BVES in colitis. We hypothesized that BVES is critical for maintaining colonic epithelial integrity. At baseline, Bves mouse colons demonstrate increased crypt height, elevated proliferation, decreased apoptosis, altered intestinal lineage allocation, and dysregulation of tight junctions with functional deficits in permeability and altered intestinal immunity. Bves mice inoculated with Citrobacter rodentium had greater colonic injury, increased colonic and mesenteric lymph node bacterial colonization, and altered immune responses after infection. We propose that increased bacterial colonization and translocation result in amplified immune responses and worsened injury. Similarly, dextran sodium sulfate (DSS) treatment resulted in greater histologic injury in Bves mice. Two different human cell lines (Caco2 and HEK293Ts) co-cultured with enteropathogenic E. coli showed increased attaching/effacing lesions in the absence of BVES. Finally, BVES mRNA levels were reduced in human ulcerative colitis (UC) biopsy specimens. Collectively, these studies suggest that BVES plays a protective role both in ulcerative and infectious colitis and identify BVES as a critical protector of colonic mucosal integrity.