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Current laboratory models of lymphatic metastasis generally require either genetically modified animals or are technically challenging. Herein, we have developed a robust protocol for the induction of intralymphatic metastasis in wild-type mice with reproducible outcomes. To determine an optimal injection quantity and timeline for tumorigenesis, C57Bl/6 mice were injected directly into the mesenteric lymph duct (MLD) with varying numbers of syngeneic murine colon cancer cells (MC38) or gastric cancer cells (YTN16) expressing GFP/luciferase and monitored over 2-4 weeks. Tumor growth was tracked via whole-animal in vivo bioluminescence imaging (IVIS). Our data indicate that the injection of tumor cells into the MLD is a viable model for lymphatic metastasis as necropsies revealed large tumor burdens and metastasis in regional lymph nodes. This protocol enables a closer study of the role of lymphatics in cancer metastasis and opens a window for the development of novel approaches for treatment of metastatic diseases.
We used the CRISPR/Cas9 system to knock-in reporter transgenes at the kidney injury molecule-1 (KIM-1) locus and isolated human proximal tubule cell (HK-2) clones. PCR verified targeted knock-in of the luciferase and eGFP reporter at the KIM-1 locus. HK-2-KIM-1 reporter cells responded to various stimuli including hypoxia, cisplatin, and high glucose, indicative of upregulation of KIM-1 expression. We attempted using CRISPR/Cas9 to also engineer the KIM-1 reporter in telomerase-immortalized human RPTEC cells. However, these cells demonstrated an inability to undergo homologous recombination at the target locus. KIM-1-reporter human proximal tubular cells could be valuable tools in drug discovery for molecules inhibiting kidney injury. Additionally, our gene targeting strategy could be used in other cell lines to evaluate the biology of KIM-1 in vitro or in vivo.
A rationally-designed library of ternary siRNA polyplexes was developed and screened for gene silencing efficacy in vitro and in vivo with the goal of overcoming both cell-level and systemic delivery barriers. [2-(dimethylamino)ethyl methacrylate] (DMAEMA) was homopolymerized or copolymerized (50mol% each) with butyl methacrylate (BMA) from a reversible addition - fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) chain transfer agent, with and without pre-conjugation to polyethylene glycol (PEG). Both single block polymers were tested as core-forming units, and both PEGylated, diblock polymers were screened as corona-forming units. Ternary siRNA polyplexes were assembled with varied amounts and ratios of core-forming polymers to PEGylated corona-forming polymers. The impact of polymer composition/ratio, hydrophobe (BMA) placement, and surface PEGylation density was correlated to important outcomes such as polyplex size, stability, pH-dependent membrane disruptive activity, biocompatibility, and gene silencing efficiency. The lead formulation, DB4-PDB12, was optimally PEGylated not only to ensure colloidal stability (no change in size by DLS between 0 and 24h) and neutral surface charge (0.139mV) but also to maintain higher cell uptake (>90% positive cells) than the most densely PEGylated particles. The DB4-PDB12 polyplexes also incorporated BMA in both the polyplex core- and corona-forming polymers, resulting in robust endosomolysis and in vitro siRNA silencing (~85% protein level knockdown) of the model gene luciferase across multiple cell types. Further, the DB4-PDB12 polyplexes exhibited greater stability, increased blood circulation time, reduced renal clearance, increased tumor biodistribution, and greater silencing of luciferase compared to our previously-optimized, binary parent formulation following intravenous (i.v.) delivery. This polyplex library approach enabled concomitant optimization of the composition and ratio of core- and corona-forming polymers (indirectly tuning PEGylation density) and identification of a ternary nanomedicine optimized to overcome important siRNA delivery barriers in vitro and in vivo.
Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Transposons are highly abundant in eukaryotic genomes, but their mobilization must be finely tuned to maintain host organism fitness and allow for transposon propagation. Forty percent of the human genome is comprised of transposable element sequences, and the most abundant cut-and-paste transposons are from the hAT superfamily. We found that the hAT transposase TcBuster from Tribolium castaneum formed filamentous structures, or rodlets, in human tissue culture cells, after gene transfer to adult mice, and ex vivo in cell-free conditions, indicating that host co-factors or cellular structures were not required for rodlet formation. Time-lapsed imaging of GFP-laced rodlets in human cells revealed that they formed quickly in a dynamic process involving fusion and fission. We delayed the availability of the transposon DNA and found that transposition declined after transposase concentrations became high enough for visible transposase rodlets to appear. In combination with earlier findings for maize Ac elements, these results give insight into transposase overproduction inhibition by demonstrating that the appearance of transposase protein structures and the end of active transposition are simultaneous, an effect with implications for genetic engineering and horizontal gene transfer.
Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research 2016. This work is written by (a) US Government employee(s) and is in the public domain in the US.
Optogenetic techniques allow intracellular manipulation of Ca by illumination of light-absorbing probe molecules such as channelrhodopsins and melanopsins. The consequences of optogenetic stimulation would optimally be recorded by non-invasive optical methods. However, most current optical methods for monitoring Ca levels are based on fluorescence excitation that can cause unwanted stimulation of the optogenetic probe and other undesirable effects such as tissue autofluorescence. Luminescence is an alternate optical technology that avoids the problems associated with fluorescence. Using a new bright luciferase, we here develop a genetically encoded Ca sensor that is ratiometric by virtue of bioluminescence resonance energy transfer (BRET). This sensor has a large dynamic range and partners optimally with optogenetic probes. Ca fluxes that are elicited by brief pulses of light to cultured cells expressing melanopsin and to neurons-expressing channelrhodopsin are quantified and imaged with the BRET Ca sensor in darkness, thereby avoiding undesirable consequences of fluorescence irradiation.
Genome-wide association studies have identified SNPs near ZNF365 at 10q21.2 that are associated with both breast cancer risk and mammographic density. To identify the most likely causal SNPs, we fine mapped the association signal by genotyping 428 SNPs across the region in 89,050 European and 12,893 Asian case and control subjects from the Breast Cancer Association Consortium. We identified four independent sets of correlated, highly trait-associated variants (iCHAVs), three of which were located within ZNF365. The most strongly risk-associated SNP, rs10995201 in iCHAV1, showed clear evidence of association with both estrogen receptor (ER)-positive (OR = 0.85 [0.82-0.88]) and ER-negative (OR = 0.87 [0.82-0.91]) disease, and was also the SNP most strongly associated with percent mammographic density. iCHAV2 (lead SNP, chr10: 64,258,684:D) and iCHAV3 (lead SNP, rs7922449) were also associated with ER-positive (OR = 0.93 [0.91-0.95] and OR = 1.06 [1.03-1.09]) and ER-negative (OR = 0.95 [0.91-0.98] and OR = 1.08 [1.04-1.13]) disease. There was weaker evidence for iCHAV4, located 5' of ADO, associated only with ER-positive breast cancer (OR = 0.93 [0.90-0.96]). We found 12, 17, 18, and 2 candidate causal SNPs for breast cancer in iCHAVs 1-4, respectively. Chromosome conformation capture analysis showed that iCHAV2 interacts with the ZNF365 and NRBF2 (more than 600 kb away) promoters in normal and cancerous breast epithelial cells. Luciferase assays did not identify SNPs that affect transactivation of ZNF365, but identified a protective haplotype in iCHAV2, associated with silencing of the NRBF2 promoter, implicating this gene in the etiology of breast cancer.
Copyright © 2015 The American Society of Human Genetics. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Screens for small-molecule modulators of biological pathways typically utilize cultured cell lines, purified proteins, or, recently, model organisms (e.g., zebrafish, Drosophila, C. elegans). Herein, we describe a method for using Xenopus laevis egg extract, a biologically active and highly tractable cell-free system that recapitulates a legion of complex chemical reactions found in intact cells. Specifically, we focus on the use of a luciferase-based fusion system to identify small-molecule modulators that affect protein turnover.
UNLABELLED - Members of the APOBEC3 family of cytidine deaminases vary in their proportions of a virion-incorporated enzyme that is localized to mature retrovirus cores. We reported previously that APOBEC3F (A3F) was highly localized into mature human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) cores and identified that L306 in the C-terminal cytidine deaminase (CD) domain contributed to its core localization (C. Song, L. Sutton, M. Johnson, R. D'Aquila, J. Donahue, J Biol Chem 287:16965-16974, 2012, http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M111.310839). We have now determined an additional genetic determinant(s) for A3F localization to HIV-1 cores. We found that one pair of leucines in each of A3F's C-terminal and N-terminal CD domains jointly determined the degree of localization of A3F into HIV-1 virion cores. These are A3F L306/L368 (C-terminal domain) and A3F L122/L184 (N-terminal domain). Alterations to one of these specific leucine residues in either of the two A3F CD domains (A3F L368A, L122A, and L184A) decreased core localization and diminished HIV restriction without changing virion packaging. Furthermore, double mutants in these leucine residues in each of A3F's two CD domains (A3F L368A plus L184A or A3F L368A plus L122A) still were packaged into virions but completely lost core localization and anti-HIV activity. HIV virion core localization of A3F is genetically separable from its virion packaging, and anti-HIV activity requires some core localization.
IMPORTANCE - Specific leucine-leucine interactions are identified as necessary for A3F's core localization and anti-HIV activity but not for its packaging into virions. Understanding these signals may lead to novel strategies to enhance core localization that may augment effects of A3F against HIV and perhaps of other A3s against retroviruses, parvoviruses, and hepatitis B virus.
Copyright © 2015, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.
Light-chain amyloidosis (AL) is a degenerative disease characterized by the extracellular aggregation of a destabilized amyloidogenic Ig light chain (LC) secreted from a clonally expanded plasma cell. Current treatments for AL revolve around ablating the cancer plasma cell population using chemotherapy regimens. Unfortunately, this approach is limited to the ∼ 70% of patients who do not exhibit significant organ proteotoxicity and can tolerate chemotherapy. Thus, identifying new therapeutic strategies to alleviate LC organ proteotoxicity should allow AL patients with significant cardiac and/or renal involvement to subsequently tolerate established chemotherapy treatments. Using a small-molecule screening approach, the unfolded protein response (UPR) was identified as a cellular signaling pathway whose activation selectively attenuates secretion of amyloidogenic LC, while not affecting secretion of a nonamyloidogenic LC. Activation of the UPR-associated transcription factors XBP1s and/or ATF6 in the absence of stress recapitulates the selective decrease in amyloidogenic LC secretion by remodeling the endoplasmic reticulum proteostasis network. Stress-independent activation of XBP1s, or especially ATF6, also attenuates extracellular aggregation of amyloidogenic LC into soluble aggregates. Collectively, our results show that stress-independent activation of these adaptive UPR transcription factors offers a therapeutic strategy to reduce proteotoxicity associated with LC aggregation.
Outcome of TGFβ1 signaling is context dependent and differs between individuals due to germ-line genetic variation. To explore innate genetic variants that determine differential outcome of reduced TGFβ1 signaling, we dissected the modifier locus Tgfbm3, on mouse chromosome 12. On a NIH/OlaHsd genetic background, the Tgfbm3b(C57) haplotype suppresses prenatal lethality of Tgfb1(-/-) embryos and enhances nuclear accumulation of mothers against decapentaplegic homolog 2 (Smad2) in embryonic cells. Amino acid polymorphisms within a disintegrin and metalloprotease 17 (Adam17) can account, at least in part, for this Tgfbm3b effect. ADAM17 is known to down-regulate Smad2 signaling by shedding the extracellular domain of TGFβRI, and we show that the C57 variant is hypomorphic for down-regulation of Smad2/3-driven transcription. Genetic variation at Tgfbm3 or pharmacological inhibition of ADAM17, modulates postnatal circulating endothelial progenitor cell (CEPC) numbers via effects on TGFβRI activity. Because CEPC numbers correlate with angiogenic potential, this suggests that variant Adam17 is an innate modifier of adult angiogenesis, acting through TGFβR1. To determine whether human ADAM17 is also polymorphic and interacts with TGFβ signaling in human vascular disease, we investigated hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia (HHT), which is caused by mutations in TGFβ/bone morphogenetic protein receptor genes, ENG, encoding endoglin (HHT1), or ACVRL1 encoding ALK1 (HHT2), and considered a disease of excessive abnormal angiogenesis. HHT manifests highly variable incidence and severity of clinical features, ranging from small mucocutaneous telangiectases to life-threatening visceral and cerebral arteriovenous malformations (AVMs). We show that ADAM17 SNPs associate with the presence of pulmonary AVM in HHT1 but not HHT2, indicating genetic variation in ADAM17 can potentiate a TGFβ-regulated vascular disease.