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BACKGROUND - Asthma exacerbations are a major cause of morbidity and medical cost.
OBJECTIVE - The objective of this study was to identify genetic predictors of exacerbations in asthmatic subjects.
METHODS - We performed a genome-wide association study meta-analysis of acute asthma exacerbation in 2 pediatric clinical trials: the Childhood Asthma Management Program (n = 581) and the Childhood Asthma Research and Education (n = 205) network. Acute asthma exacerbations were defined as treatment with a 5-day course of oral steroids. We obtained a replication cohort from Biobank of Vanderbilt University Medical Center (BioVU; n = 786), the Vanderbilt University electronic medical record-linked DNA biobank. We used CD4(+) lymphocyte genome-wide mRNA expression profiling to identify associations of top single nucleotide polymorphisms with mRNA abundance of nearby genes.
RESULTS - A locus in catenin (cadherin-associated protein), alpha 3 (CTNNA3), reached genome-wide significance (rs7915695, P = 2.19 × 10(-8); mean exacerbations, 6.05 for minor alleles vs 3.71 for homozygous major alleles). Among the 4 top single nucleotide polymorphisms replicated in BioVU, rs993312 in Sema domain, immunoglobulin domain (Ig), short basic domain, secreted, (semaphorin) 3D (SEMA3D) was significant (P = .0083) and displayed stronger association among African Americans (P = .0004 in BioVU [mean exacerbations, 3.91 vs 1.53]; P = .0089 in the Childhood Asthma Management Program [mean exacerbations, 6.0 vs 3.25]). CTNNA3 variants did not replicate in BioVU. A regulatory variant in the CTNNA3 locus was associated with CTNNA3 mRNA expression in CD4(+) cells from asthmatic patients (P = .00079). CTNNA3 appears to be active in the immune response, and SEMA3D has a plausible role in airway remodeling. We also provide a replication of a previous association of purinergic receptor P2X, ligand-gated ion channel, 7 (P2RX7), with asthma exacerbation.
CONCLUSIONS - We identified 2 loci associated with exacerbations through a genome-wide association study. CTNNA3 met genome-wide significance thresholds, and SEMA3D replicated in a clinical biobank database.
Copyright © 2015 American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The intracellular protein p120 catenin aids in maintenance of cell-cell adhesion by regulating E-cadherin stability in epithelial cells. In an effort to understand the biology of p120 catenin in pancreas development, we ablated p120 catenin in mouse pancreatic progenitor cells, which resulted in deletion of p120 catenin in all epithelial lineages of the developing mouse pancreas: islet, acinar, centroacinar, and ductal. Loss of p120 catenin resulted in formation of dilated epithelial tubules, expansion of ductal epithelia, loss of acinar cells, and the induction of pancreatic inflammation. Aberrant branching morphogenesis and tubulogenesis were also observed. Throughout development, the phenotype became more severe, ultimately resulting in an abnormal pancreas comprised primarily of duct-like epithelium expressing early progenitor markers. In pancreatic tissue lacking p120 catenin, overall epithelial architecture remained intact; however, actin cytoskeleton organization was disrupted, an observation associated with increased cytoplasmic PKCζ. Although we observed reduced expression of adherens junction proteins E-cadherin, β-catenin, and α-catenin, p120 catenin family members p0071, ARVCF, and δ-catenin remained present at cell membranes in homozygous p120(f/f) pancreases, potentially providing stability for maintenance of epithelial integrity during development. Adult mice homozygous for deletion of p120 catenin displayed dilated main pancreatic ducts, chronic pancreatitis, acinar to ductal metaplasia (ADM), and mucinous metaplasia that resembles PanIN1a. Taken together, our data demonstrate an essential role for p120 catenin in pancreas development.
Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) originate in stratified epithelia, with a small subset becoming metastatic. Epithelial stem cells are targets for driver mutations that give rise to SCCs, but it is unknown whether they contribute to oncogenic multipotency and metastasis. We developed a mouse model of SCC by targeting two frequent genetic mutations in human SCCs, oncogene Kras(G12D) activation and Smad4 deletion, to mouse keratin 15-expressing (K15+) stem cells. We show that transgenic mice developed multilineage tumors, including metastatic SCCs. Among cancer stem cell-enriched (CSC-enriched) populations, those with increased side population (SP) cells correlated with epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and lung metastasis. We show that microRNA-9 (miR-9) contributed to SP expansion and metastasis, and miR-9 inhibition reduced the number of SP cells and metastasis. Increased miR-9 was detected in metastatic human primary SCCs and SCC metastases, and miR-9-transduced human SCC cells exhibited increased invasion. We identified α-catenin as a predominant miR-9 target. Increased miR-9 in human SCC metastases correlated with α-catenin loss but not E-cadherin loss. Our results demonstrate that stem cells with Kras(G12D) activation and Smad4 depletion can produce tumors that are multipotent and susceptible to EMT and metastasis. Additionally, tumor initiation and metastatic properties of CSCs can be uncoupled, with miR-9 regulating the expansion of metastatic CSCs.
To identify novel late-onset Alzheimer disease (LOAD) risk genes, we have analysed Amish populations of Ohio and Indiana. We performed genome-wide SNP linkage and association studies on 798 individuals (109 with LOAD). We tested association using the Modified Quasi-Likelihood Score test and also performed two-point and multipoint linkage analyses. We found that LOAD was significantly associated with APOE (P= 9.0 × 10-6) in all our ascertainment regions except for the Adams County, Indiana, community (P= 0.55). Genome-wide, the most strongly associated SNP was rs12361953 (P= 7.92 × 10-7). A very strong, genome-wide significant multipoint peak [recessive heterogeneity multipoint LOD (HLOD) = 6.14, dominant HLOD = 6.05] was detected on 2p12. Three additional loci with multipoint HLOD scores >3 were detected on 3q26, 9q31 and 18p11. Converging linkage and association results, the most significantly associated SNP under the 2p12 peak was at rs2974151 (P= 1.29 × 10-4). This SNP is located in CTNNA2, which encodes catenin alpha 2, a neuronal-specific catenin known to have function in the developing brain. These results identify CTNNA2 as a novel candidate LOAD gene, and implicate three other regions of the genome as novel LOAD loci. These results underscore the utility of using family-based linkage and association analyses in isolated populations to identify novel loci for traits with complex genetic architecture.
© 2012 The Authors Annals of Human Genetics © 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd/University College London.
The adherens junction (AJ) is important for maintaining uterine structural integrity, composition of the luminal environment, and initiation of implantation by virtue of its properties of cell-cell recognition, adhesion, and establishment of cell polarity and permeability barriers. In this study, we investigated the uterine changes of AJ components E-cadherin, beta-catenin, and alpha-catenin at their mRNA and protein levels, together with the cellular distribution of meprinbeta, phospho-beta-catenin, and active beta-catenin proteins, in hamsters that show only ovarian progesterone-dependent uterine receptivity and implantation. By in situ hybridization and immunofluorescence, we have demonstrated that uterine epithelial cells expressed three of these AJ proteins and their mRNAs prior to and during the initial phase of implantation. Immunofluorescence study showed no change in epithelial expression patterns of uterine AJ proteins from Days 1 to 5 of pregnancy. With advancement of the implantation process, AJ components were primarily expressed in cells of the secondary decidual zone (SDZ), but not in the primary decidual zone (PDZ). In contrast, we noted strong expression of beta-catenin and alpha-catenin proteins in the PDZ, but not in the SDZ, of mice. Taken together, these results suggest that AJ proteins contribute to uterine barrier functions by cell-cell adhesion to ensure protection of the embryo. In addition, cleavage of E-cadherin by meprinbeta might contribute to weakening uterine epithelial cell-cell contact for blastocyst implantation. We also report that the nuclear localization of active beta-catenin from Day 4 onward in hamsters implies that beta-catenin/Wnt-signal transduction is activated in the uterus during implantation and decidualization.
Cadherins and catenins evidently partnered at the dawn of the animal kingdom to enable the first polarized epithelium, and perhaps animal evolution itself. New evidence from a primitive slime mold, however, suggests that α- and β-catenins may have engaged this function independently, long before cadherins arrived on the scene.
Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
p120(ctn) binds to the cytoplasmic domain of cadherins but its role is poorly understood. Colo 205 cells grow as dispersed cells despite their normal expression of E-cadherin and catenins. However, in these cells we can induce typical E-cadherin-dependent aggregation by treatment with staurosporine or trypsin. These treatments concomitantly induce an electrophoretic mobility shift of p120(ctn) to a faster position. To investigate whether p120(ctn) plays a role in this cadherin reactivation process, we transfected Colo 205 cells with a series of p120(ctn) deletion constructs. Notably, expression of NH2-terminally deleted p120(ctn) induced aggregation. Similar effects were observed when these constructs were introduced into HT-29 cells. When a mutant N-cadherin lacking the p120(ctn)-binding site was introduced into Colo 205 cells, this molecule also induced cell aggregation, indicating that cadherins can function normally if they do not bind to p120(ctn). These findings suggest that in Colo 205 cells, a signaling mechanism exists to modify a biochemical state of p120(ctn) and the modified p120(ctn) blocks the cadherin system. The NH2 terminus-deleted p120(ctn) appears to compete with the endogenous p120(ctn) to abolish the adhesion-blocking action.
Loss of expression and function of the E-cadherin/catenin membrane complex can result in loss of cell adhesion and contribute to invasive or metastatic potential in carcinomas. The aim of this study was to examine the expression of alpha- and beta-catenin and E-cadherin in Barrett's esophagus with and without dysplasia and in esophageal adenocarcinomas and to identify any relationship with tumor growth pattern and clinical outcome. Immunoperoxidase staining for alpha- and beta-catenin and E-cadherin was performed on specimens of Barrett's esophagus with and without dysplasia and on 54 esophageal adenocarcinoma specimens. Membranous staining for all of the components was seen in normal gastric and esophageal mucosa. Abnormal expression of beta-catenin, alpha-catenin, and E-cadherin was significantly associated with higher degrees of dysplasia in Barrett's esophagus. Fourteen of 16 cases of high grade dysplasia and 7 of 7 cases of intramucosal carcinoma showed abnormal expression of beta-catenin, compared with 3 of 6 cases indefinite for dysplasia and 11 of 17 cases with low grade dysplasia (P = 0.022). Similar results were seen for expression of alpha-catenin (P < .01) and E-cadherin (P = .049). In esophageal adenocarcinomas, preserved expression of these proteins occurred more frequently in well-differentiated tumors; abnormal expression was more common in diffusely infiltrative poorly differentiated tumors that did not form glands. Focal nuclear staining for beta-catenin was present in two high-grade dysplasias, two intramucosal carcinomas, and five adenocarcinomas. No survival advantage was demonstrated for patients whose tumors retained expression of these cell adhesion components. In conclusion, abnormal expression of the E-cadherin/catenin membrane complex is common in esophageal adenocarcinoma and occurs early in the dysplasia/carcinoma sequence in Barrett's esophagus, indicating that disturbances in this cell adhesion complex might be important in tumorigenesis and tumor progression in this disorder.
Several studies have reported loss or alteration of expression of E-cadherin in breast cancer and more recently changes in levels of expression of the catenins. We used immunofluorescence to examine E-cadherin, alpha-catenin, beta-catenin, and p120ctn (formerly p120CAS) expression in 91 cases of invasive ductal carcinoma. As expected, all four proteins co-localize to the junctional regions of the cells. Although nuclear localization has been described for beta-catenin in colonic polyps, no examples were found in these breast cancer cases. We found that, although alteration is common in the catenins and E-cadherin, complete loss, as exemplified by E-cadherin in lobular carcinoma (where E-cadherin is frequently mutated), is rarely seen. In contrast, the catenin-related protein p120ctn shows an expression pattern that is significantly unrelated to the other catenins (or E-cadherin), including complete loss of expression in approximately 10% of the cases. No statistically significant correlations with traditional prognostic indicators were observed with any of these proteins. We conclude 1) that expression of E-cadherin and alpha- and beta-catenin are generally retained at the membrane although frequently reduced or altered, 2) that complete loss of p120ctn expression is seen in approximately 10% of the cases, and 3) that there is a significant correlation in the expression of E-cadherin and the catenins but no correlation between these molecules and p120ctn, suggesting an absence of coordinate regulation.
The tyrosine kinase substrate p120cas (CAS), which is structurally similar to the cell adhesion proteins beta-catenin and plakoglobin, was recently shown to associate with the E-cadherin-catenin cell adhesion complex. beta-catenin, plakoglobin, and CAS all have an Arm domain that consists of 10 to 13 repeats of a 42-amino-acid motif originally described in the Drosophila Armadillo protein. To determine if the association of CAS with the cadherin cell adhesion machinery is similar to that of beta-catenin and plakoglobin, we examined the CAS-cadherin-catenin interactions in a number of cell lines and in the yeast two-hybrid system. In the prostate carcinoma cell line PC3, CAS associated normally with cadherin complexes despite the specific absence of alpha-catenin in these cells. However, in the colon carcinoma cell line SW480, which has negligible E-cadherin expression, CAS did not associate with beta-catenin, plakoglobin, or alpha-catenin, suggesting that E-cadherin is the protein which bridges CAS to the rest of the complex. In addition, CAS did not associate with the adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) tumor suppressor protein in any of the cell lines analyzed. Interestingly, expression of the various CAS isoforms was quite heterogeneous in these tumor cell lines, and in the colon carcinoma cell line HCT116, which expresses normal levels of E-cadherin and the catenins, the CAS1 isoforms were completely absent. By using the yeast two-hybrid system, we confirmed the direct interaction between CAS and E-cadherin and determined that CAS Arm repeats 1 to 10 are necessary and sufficient for this interaction. Hence, like beta-catenin and plakoglobin, CAS interacts directly with E-cadherin in vivo; however, unlike beta-catenin and plakoglobin, CAS does not interact with APC or alpha-catenin.