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Discovery of genotype-phenotype relationships remains a major challenge in clinical medicine. Here, we combined three sources of phenotypic data to uncover a new mechanism for rare and common diseases resulting from collagen secretion deficits. Using a zebrafish genetic screen, we identified the ric1 gene as being essential for skeletal biology. Using a gene-based phenome-wide association study (PheWAS) in the EHR-linked BioVU biobank, we show that reduced genetically determined expression of RIC1 is associated with musculoskeletal and dental conditions. Whole-exome sequencing identified individuals homozygous-by-descent for a rare variant in RIC1 and, through a guided clinical re-evaluation, it was discovered that they share signs with the BioVU-associated phenome. We named this new Mendelian syndrome CATIFA (cleft lip, cataract, tooth abnormality, intellectual disability, facial dysmorphism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder) and revealed further disease mechanisms. This gene-based, PheWAS-guided approach can accelerate the discovery of clinically relevant disease phenome and associated biological mechanisms.
WD repeat domain 5 (WDR5) is a member of the WD40-repeat protein family that plays a critical role in multiple chromatin-centric processes. Overexpression of WDR5 correlates with a poor clinical outcome in many human cancers, and WDR5 itself has emerged as an attractive target for therapy. Most drug-discovery efforts center on the WIN site of WDR5 that is responsible for the recruitment of WDR5 to chromatin. Here, we describe discovery of a novel WDR5 WIN site antagonists containing a dihydroisoquinolinone bicyclic core using a structure-based design. These compounds exhibit picomolar binding affinity and selective concentration-dependent antiproliferative activities in sensitive MLL-fusion cell lines. Furthermore, these WDR5 WIN site binders inhibit proliferation in MYC-driven cancer cells and reduce MYC recruitment to chromatin at MYC/WDR5 co-bound genes. Thus, these molecules are useful probes to study the implication of WDR5 inhibition in cancers and serve as a potential starting point toward the discovery of anti-WDR5 therapeutics.
Sterol 14α-demethylases (CYP51) are the cytochrome P450 enzymes required for biosynthesis of sterols in eukaryotes, the major targets for antifungal agents and prospective targets for treatment of protozoan infections. Human CYP51 could be and, for a while, was considered as a potential target for cholesterol-lowering drugs (the role that is now played by statins, which are also in clinical trials for cancer) but revealed high intrinsic resistance to inhibition. While microbial CYP51 enzymes are often inhibited stoichiometrically and functionally irreversibly, no strong inhibitors have been identified for human CYP51. In this study, we used comparative structure/functional analysis of CYP51 orthologs from different biological kingdoms and employed site-directed mutagenesis to elucidate the molecular basis for the resistance of the human enzyme to inhibition and also designed, synthesized, and characterized new compounds. Two of them inhibit human CYP51 functionally irreversibly with their potency approaching the potencies of azole drugs currently used to inhibit microbial CYP51.
The stress response system is disrupted in individuals with major depressive disorder (MDD) as well as in those at elevated risk for developing MDD. We examined whether DNA methylation (DNAm) levels of CpG sites within HPA-axis genes predict the onset of MDD. Seventy-seven girls, approximately half (n = 37) of whom were at familial risk for MDD, were followed longitudinally. Saliva samples were taken in adolescence (M age = 13.06 years [SD = 1.52]) when participants had no current or past MDD diagnosis. Diagnostic interviews were administered approximately every 18 months until the first onset of MDD or early adulthood (M age of last follow-up = 19.23 years [SD = 2.69]). We quantified DNAm in saliva samples using the Illumina EPIC chip and examined CpG sites within six key HPA-axis genes (NR3C1, NR3C2, CRH, CRHR1, CRHR2, FKBP5) alongside 59 genotypes for tagging SNPs capturing cis genetic variability. DNAm levels within CpG sites in NR3C1, CRH, CRHR1, and CRHR2 were associated with risk for MDD across adolescence and young adulthood. To rule out the possibility that findings were merely due to the contribution of genetic variability, we re-analyzed the data controlling for cis genetic variation within these candidate genes. Importantly, methylation levels in these CpG sites continued to significantly predict the onset of MDD, suggesting that variation in the epigenome, independent of proximal genetic variants, prospectively predicts the onset of MDD. These findings suggest that variation in the HPA axis at the level of the methylome may predict the development of MDD.
Intestinal inflammation is a risk factor for colorectal cancer formation, but the underlying mechanisms remain unknown. Here, we investigated whether colitis alters the colonic microbiota to enhance its cancer-inducing activity. Colitis increased epithelial oxygenation in the colon of mice and drove an expansion of within the gut-associated microbial community through aerobic respiration. An aerobic expansion of colibactin-producing was required for the cancer-inducing activity of this pathobiont in a mouse model of colitis-associated colorectal cancer formation. We conclude that increased epithelial oxygenation in the colon is associated with an expansion of a prooncogenic driver species, thereby increasing the cancer-inducing activity of the microbiota. One of the environmental factors important for colorectal cancer formation is the gut microbiota, but the habitat filters that control its cancer-inducing activity remain unknown. Here, we show that chemically induced colitis elevates epithelial oxygenation in the colon, thereby driving an expansion of colibactin-producing , a prooncogenic driver species. These data suggest that elevated epithelial oxygenation is a potential risk factor for colorectal cancer formation because the consequent changes in the gut habitat escalate the cancer-inducing activity of the microbiota.
Copyright © 2019 Cevallos et al.
-induced gastritis is the strongest risk factor for gastric adenocarcinoma, a malignancy preceded by a series of well-defined histological stages, including metaplasia. One microbial constituent that augments cancer risk is the type 4 secretion system (T4SS), which translocates the oncoprotein CagA into host cells. Aberrant stem cell activation is linked to carcinogenesis, and Lrig1 (leucine-rich repeats and Ig-like domains 1) marks a distinct population of progenitor cells. We investigated whether microbial effectors with carcinogenic potential influence Lrig1 progenitor cells ex vivo and via lineage expansion within -infected gastric mucosa. Lineage tracing was induced in (Lrig1/YFP) mice that were uninfected or subsequently infected with or an isogenic mutant (nonfunctional T4SS). In contrast to infection with wild-type (WT) for 2 wk, infection for 8 wk resulted in significantly increased inflammation and proliferation in the corpus and antrum compared with uninfected or mice infected with the mutant. WT -infected mice harbored significantly higher numbers of Lrig1/YFP epithelial cells that coexpressed UEA1 (surface cell marker). The number of cells coexpressing intrinsic factor (chief cell marker), YFP (lineage marker), and GSII lectin (spasmolytic polypeptide-expressing metaplasia marker) were increased only by WT In human samples, Lrig1 expression was significantly increased in lesions with premalignant potential compared with normal mucosa or nonatrophic gastritis. In conclusion, chronic infection stimulates Lrig1-expressing progenitor cells in a -dependent manner, and these reprogrammed cells give rise to a full spectrum of differentiated cells.
The ventricular-subventricular zone (V-SVZ) of the mammalian brain is a site of adult neurogenesis. Within the V-SVZ reside type B neural stem cells (NSCs) and type A neuroblasts. The V-SVZ is also a primary site for very aggressive glioblastoma (GBM). Standard-of-care therapy for GBM consists of safe maximum resection, concurrent temozolomide (TMZ), and X-irradiation (XRT), followed by adjuvant TMZ therapy. The question of how this therapy impacts neurogenesis is not well understood and is of fundamental importance as normal tissue tolerance is a limiting factor. Here, we studied the effects of concurrent TMZ/XRT followed by adjuvant TMZ on type B stem cells and type A neuroblasts of the V-SVZ in C57BL/6 mice. We found that chemoradiation induced an apoptotic response in type A neuroblasts, as marked by cleavage of caspase 3, but not in NSCs, and that A cells within the V-SVZ were repopulated given sufficient recovery time. 53BP1 foci formation and resolution was used to assess the repair of DNA double-strand breaks. Remarkably, the repair was the same in type B and type A cells. While Bax expression was the same for type A or B cells, antiapoptotic Bcl2 and Mcl1 expression was significantly greater in NSCs. Thus, the resistance of type B NSCs to TMZ/XRT appears to be due, in part, to high basal expression of antiapoptotic proteins compared with type A cells. This preclinical research, demonstrating that murine NSCs residing in the V-SVZ are tolerant of standard chemoradiation therapy, supports a dose escalation strategy for treatment of GBM. Stem Cells 2019;37:1629-1639.
© 2019 The Authors. Stem Cells published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of AlphaMed Press 2019.
Activating mutations in Kras are nearly ubiquitous in human pancreatic cancer and initiate precancerous pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PanINs) when induced in mouse acinar cells. PanINs normally take months to form but are accelerated by deletion of acinar cell differentiation factors such as Ptf1a, suggesting that loss of cell identity is rate limiting for pancreatic tumor initiation. Using a genetic mouse model that allows for independent control of oncogenic Kras and Ptf1a expression, we demonstrate that sustained Ptf1a is sufficient to prevent Kras-driven tumorigenesis, even in the presence of tumor-promoting inflammation. Furthermore, reintroducing Ptf1a into established PanINs reverts them to quiescent acinar cells in vivo. Similarly, Ptf1a re-expression in human pancreatic cancer cells inhibits their growth and colony-forming ability. Our results suggest that reactivation of an endogenous differentiation program can prevent and reverse oncogene-driven transformation in cells harboring tumor-driving mutations, introducing a potential paradigm for solid tumor prevention and treatment.
Copyright © 2019 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.