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Melanomas are characterized by driver and loss-of-function mutations that promote mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling. MEK inhibitors are approved for use in BRAF-mutated melanoma; however, early-phase clinical trials show occasional responses in driver-negative melanoma, suggesting other alterations conferring MAPK/ERK dependency. To identify additional structural alterations in melanoma, we evaluated RNA-Seq from a set of known MAPK/ERK regulators using a novel population-based algorithm in The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA). We identified recurrent MAP3K8 rearrangements in 1.7% of melanomas in TCGA, occurring in more than 15% of tumors without known driver mutations (, and ). Using an independent tumor set, we validated a similar rearrangement frequency by FISH. MAP3K8-rearranged melanomas exhibit a low mutational burden and absence of typical UV-mutational patterns. We identified two melanoma cell lines that harbor endogenous truncating MAP3K8 rearrangements that demonstrate exquisite dependency. Rearrangement and amplification of the MAP3K8 locus in melanoma cells result in increased levels of a truncated, active MAP3K8 protein; oncogenic dependency on the aberrant MAP3K8; and a concomitant resistance to BRAF inhibition and sensitivity to MEK or ERK1/2 inhibition. Our findings reveal and biochemically characterize targetable oncogenic MAP3K8 truncating rearrangements in driver mutation-negative melanoma, and provide insight to therapeutic approaches for patients with these tumors. These data provide rationale for using MEK or ERK inhibitors in a subset of driver-negative, MAPK/ERK-dependent melanomas harboring truncating MAP3K8 rearrangements. IMPLICATIONS: This is the first mechanistic study and therapeutic implications of truncating MAP3K8 rearrangements in driver-negative melanoma.
©2019 American Association for Cancer Research.
The human dopamine (DA) transporter (hDAT) mediates clearance of DA. Genetic variants in hDAT have been associated with DA dysfunction, a complication associated with several brain disorders, including autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Here, we investigated the structural and behavioral bases of an ASD-associated in-frame deletion in hDAT at N336 (∆N336). We uncovered that the deletion promoted a previously unobserved conformation of the intracellular gate of the transporter, likely representing the rate-limiting step of the transport process. It is defined by a "half-open and inward-facing" state (HOIF) of the intracellular gate that is stabilized by a network of interactions conserved phylogenetically, as we demonstrated in hDAT by Rosetta molecular modeling and fine-grained simulations, as well as in its bacterial homolog leucine transporter by electron paramagnetic resonance analysis and X-ray crystallography. The stabilization of the HOIF state is associated both with DA dysfunctions demonstrated in isolated brains of expressing hDAT ∆N336 and with abnormal behaviors observed at high-time resolution. These flies display increased fear, impaired social interactions, and locomotion traits we associate with DA dysfunction and the HOIF state. Together, our results describe how a genetic variation causes DA dysfunction and abnormal behaviors by stabilizing a HOIF state of the transporter.
Functional disruptions of susceptibility genes by large genomic structure variant (SV) deletions in germlines are known to be associated with cancer risk. However, few studies have been conducted to systematically search for SV deletions in breast cancer susceptibility genes. We analysed deep (> 30x) whole-genome sequencing (WGS) data generated in blood samples from 128 breast cancer patients of Asian and European descent with either a strong family history of breast cancer or early cancer onset disease. To identify SV deletions in known or suspected breast cancer susceptibility genes, we used multiple SV calling tools including Genome STRiP, Delly, Manta, BreakDancer and Pindel. SV deletions were detected by at least three of these bioinformatics tools in five genes. Specifically, we identified heterozygous deletions covering a fraction of the coding regions of BRCA1 (with approximately 80kb in two patients), and TP53 genes (with ∼1.6 kb in two patients), and of intronic regions (∼1 kb) of the PALB2 (one patient), PTEN (three patients) and RAD51C genes (one patient). We confirmed the presence of these deletions using real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR). Our study identified novel SV deletions in breast cancer susceptibility genes and the identification of such SV deletions may improve clinical testing.
BRAF and MEK inhibitors have improved clinical outcomes in advanced, BRAF -mutated melanomas. Acquired resistance occurs in most patients, with numerous and diverse drivers. We obtained pretreatment and progression biopsies from a patient who progressed on dabrafenib and trametinib. In addition to a preserved BRAF mutation, an internal deletion (rearrangement) of BRAF was observed in the progression sample. This deletion involved exons 2-8, which includes the Ras-binding domain, and is analogous to previously documented BRAF fusions and splice variants known to reactivate RAS-RAF-MEK-ERK signaling. In a large cohort of melanomas, 10 additional internal deletions were identified (0.4% of all melanomas; nine of which had concurrent BRAF mutations), as well as sporadically in other tumor types. Thus, we describe a novel mechanism of resistance to BRAF and MEK inhibition.
© 2017 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Aspergillus fumigatus, a ubiquitous human fungal pathogen, produces asexual spores (conidia), which are the main mode of propagation, survival and infection of this human pathogen. In this study, we present the molecular characterization of a novel regulator of conidiogenesis and conidial survival called MybA because the predicted protein contains a Myb DNA binding motif. Cellular localization of the MybA::Gfp fusion and immunoprecipitation of the MybA::Gfp or MybA::3xHa protein showed that MybA is localized to the nucleus. RNA sequencing data and a uidA reporter assay indicated that the MybA protein functions upstream of wetA, vosA and velB, the key regulators involved in conidial maturation. The deletion of mybA resulted in a very significant reduction in the number and viability of conidia. As a consequence, the ΔmybA strain has a reduced virulence in an experimental murine model of aspergillosis. RNA-sequencing and biochemical studies of the ΔmybA strain suggested that MybA protein controls the expression of enzymes involved in trehalose biosynthesis as well as other cell wall and membrane-associated proteins and ROS scavenging enzymes. In summary, MybA protein is a new key regulator of conidiogenesis and conidial maturation and survival, and plays a crucial role in propagation and virulence of A. fumigatus.
© 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Haptoglobin (HP) protein plays a critical role in binding and removing free hemoglobin from blood. A deletion in the HP gene affects the protein structure and function. A recent study developed a novel method to impute this variant and discovered significant association of this variant with low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and total cholesterol levels among European descendants. In the present study, we investigated this variant among 3608 Chinese women. Consistent with findings from Europeans, we found significant associations between the deletion with lower cholesterol levels; women homozygous for the deletion allele (HP1-HP1), had a lower level of total cholesterol (-4.24 mg dl, P=0.02) and LDL cholesterol (-3.43 mg dl, P=0.03) than those not carrying the deletion allele (HP2-HP2). Especially, women carrying the HP1S-HP1S, had an even lower level of total cholesterol (-5.59 mg dl, P=7.0 × 10) and LDL cholesterol (-4.68 mg dl, P=8.0 × 10) compared to those carrying HP2-HP2. These associations remained significant after an adjustment for an established cholesterol level-related variant, rs2000999. Our study extends the previous findings regarding the association of HP structure variant with blood cholesterol levels to East Asians and affirms the validity of the new methodology for assessing HP structure variation.
A deletion variant of the dengue virus (DENV) serotype 2 (DENV2) Tonga/74 strain lacking 30 nucleotides from its 3' untranslated region (rDEN2Δ30) has previously been established for use in a controlled human DENV challenge model. To evaluate if this model is appropriate for the derivation of correlates of protection for DENV vaccines on the basis of cellular immunity, we wanted to compare the cellular immune response to this challenge strain to the response induced by natural infection. To achieve this, we predicted HLA class I- and class II-restricted peptides from rDEN2Δ30 and used them in a gamma interferon enzyme-linked immunosorbent spot assay to interrogate CD8 and CD4 T cell responses in healthy volunteers infected with rDEN2Δ30. At the level of CD8 responses, vigorous responses were detected in approximately 80% of donors. These responses were similar in terms of the magnitude and the numbers of epitopes recognized to the responses previously observed in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from donors from regions where DENV is hyperendemic. The similarity extended to the immunodominance hierarchy of the DENV nonstructural proteins, with NS3, NS5, and NS1 being dominant in both donor cohorts. At the CD4 level, the responses to rDEN2Δ30 vaccination were less vigorous than those to natural DENV infection and were more focused on nonstructural proteins. The epitopes recognized following rDEN2Δ30 infection and natural infection were largely overlapping for both the CD8 (100%) and CD4 (85%) responses. Finally, rDEN2Δ30 induced stronger CD8 responses than other, more attenuated DENV isolates. The lack of a known correlate of protection and the failure of a neutralizing antibody to correlate with protection against dengue virus have highlighted the need for a human DENV challenge model to better evaluate the candidate live attenuated dengue vaccines. In this study, we sought to characterize the immune profiles of rDEN2Δ30-infected subjects and to compare the profiles with those for subjects from areas where DENV is hyperendemic. Our data demonstrate that T cell responses to rDENV2Δ30 are largely similar to those to natural infection in terms of specificity, highlighting that the response to this virus in humans is appropriate as a model for the T cell response to primary DENV2 infection.
Copyright © 2017 American Society for Microbiology.
This study describes a 13-yr-old girl with orthostatic intolerance, respiratory weakness, multiple endocrine abnormalities, pancreatic insufficiency, and multiorgan failure involving the gut and bladder. Exome sequencing revealed a de novo, loss-of-function allele in , the gene encoding the Na-K-2Cl cotransporter-1. The 11-bp deletion in exon 22 results in frameshift (p.Val1026Phe*2) and truncation of the carboxy-terminal tail of the cotransporter. Preliminary studies in heterologous expression systems demonstrate that the mutation leads to a nonfunctional transporter, which is expressed and trafficked to the plasma membrane alongside wild-type NKCC1. The truncated protein, visible at higher molecular sizes, indicates either enhanced dimerization or misfolded aggregate. No significant dominant-negative effect was observed. K transport experiments performed in fibroblasts from the patient showed reduced total and NKCC1-mediated K influx. The absence of a bumetanide effect on K influx in patient fibroblasts only under hypertonic conditions suggests a deficit in NKCC1 regulation. We propose that disruption in NKCC1 function might affect sensory afferents and/or smooth muscle cells, as their functions depend on NKCC1 creating a Cl gradient across the plasma membrane. This Cl gradient allows the γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptor or other Cl channels to depolarize the membrane affecting processes such as neurotransmission or cell contraction. Under this hypothesis, disrupted sensory and smooth muscle function in a diverse set of tissues could explain the patient's phenotype.
The human neuropeptide Y receptor is a rhodopsin-like G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR), which contributes to anorexigenic signals. Thus, this receptor is a highly interesting target for metabolic diseases. As GPCR internalization and trafficking affect receptor signaling and vice versa, we aimed to investigate the molecular mechanism of hYR desensitization and endocytosis. The role of distinct segments of the hYR carboxyl terminus was investigated by fluorescence microscopy, binding assays, inositol turnover experiments and bioluminescence resonance energy transfer assays to examine the internalization behavior of hYR and its interaction with arrestin-3. Based on results of C-terminal deletion mutants and substitution of single amino acids, the motif EESEHLPLSTVHTEVSKGS was identified, with glutamate, threonine and serine residues playing key roles, based on site-directed mutagenesis. Thus, we identified the internalization motif for the human neuropeptide Y receptor, which regulates arrestin-3 recruitment and receptor endocytosis.
Copyright Â© 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The design of immunogens that elicit broadly reactive neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs) has been a major obstacle to HIV-1 vaccine development. One approach to assess potential immunogens is to use mice expressing precursors of human bnAbs as vaccination models. The bnAbs of the VRC01-class derive from the IGHV1-2 immunoglobulin heavy chain and neutralize a wide spectrum of HIV-1 strains via targeting the CD4 binding site of the envelope glycoprotein gp120. We now describe a mouse vaccination model that allows a germline human IGHV1-2(∗)02 segment to undergo normal V(D)J recombination and, thereby, leads to the generation of peripheral B cells that express a highly diverse repertoire of VRC01-related receptors. When sequentially immunized with modified gp120 glycoproteins designed to engage VRC01 germline and intermediate antibodies, IGHV1-2(∗)02-rearranging mice, which also express a VRC01-antibody precursor light chain, can support the affinity maturation of VRC01 precursor antibodies into HIV-neutralizing antibody lineages.
Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.