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Several ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters are critically involved in cholesterol and phospholipid efflux, reverse cholesterol transport, and play an important role in the development of atherosclerosis. Quantification of ABC mRNA is important in studying the regulation of cellular cholesterol homeostasis and mechanisms related to the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. We have developed a one-step real time quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) method for measuring mRNA levels of ABCA1, ABCG1, and ABCA2 in murine tissues using the TaqMan(TM) technology. It has significant methodological benefits when compared to classic Northern blotting or semi-quantitative RT-PCR analysis. Using this method, we found high expression levels of ABCA1 in liver and macrophages, and of ABCG1 in the brain and macrophages. The expression of ABCA1 and ABCG1 were further induced in macrophages loaded with acLDL. In contrast, ABCA2 was expressed exclusively in the brain with low expression levels in the macrophages. This method provides a rapid, highly sensitive, specific, and reproducible quantification of ABC mRNA, and can be performed with nanograms of total RNA sample, thus making it a superior method for studying the regulation of ABC transporters in cholesterol efflux and its role in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis in murine models.
The hypothalamic satiety peptide CART (cocaine and amphetamine regulated transcript) is expressed at high levels in anorectic rat glucagonomas but not in hypoglycemic insulinomas. However, a non-anorectic metastasis derived from the glucagonoma retained high CART expression levels and produced circulating CART levels comparable to that of the anorectic tumors. Moreover, distinct glucagonoma lines derived by stable HES-1 transfection of the insulinoma caused severe anorexia but retained low circulating levels of CART comparable to that of insulinoma bearing or control rats. Islet tumor associated anorexia and circulating CART levels are thus not correlated, and in line with this peripheral administration of CART (5-50 mg/kg) produced no effect on feeding behavior. In the rat two alternatively spliced forms of CART mRNA exist and quantitative PCR revealed expression of both forms in the hypothalamus, in the different islet tumors, and in the islets of Langerhans. Immunocytochemistry as well as in situ hybridization localized CART expression to the somatostatin producing islet D cell. A potential endocrine/paracrine role of islet CART remains to be clarified.
We previously demonstrated that a combination of both positive and negative cis -acting upstream elements control the transcription of the gene encoding TBP ( SPT15 ) in Saccharomyces cerevisiae . One of these elements found in that study, resident between 5' flanking sequences -147 and -128 , and termed PED (for positive element distal), was found to play an essential positive role in driving transcription of the gene encoding TBP. In this report, we map at nucleotide-level resolution, the critical residues which comprise PED, purify and sequence the protein that binds to it and determine that this PED binding factor is Abf1p, an abundant yeast protein previously broadly implicated in both gene regulation and DNA replication. In the case of the TBP-encoding gene, however, Abf1p works through the PED element which is a non-consensus binding site. Based upon the work of others, the PED-variant ABF1 site would be predicted to be a very poor binding site for this factor yet Abf1p binds PED and a consensus ABF1 site with comparable affinity. These results are discussed in light of the broader context of Abf1p-mediated gene regulation.
BACKGROUND - Many patients with carcinoma of the pancreas die because their disease is not detected until late in its course. Methods that detect these cancers earlier will improve patient outcome. Over 80% of pancreatic carcinomas contain mutations in codon 12 of the K-ras gene. Screening duodenal fluid for these mutations may lead to early detection of these cancers and assist in establishing a diagnosis of pancreatic carcinoma.
METHODS - Polymerase chain reaction (PCR), with and without restriction enzyme-mediated mutant enrichment, was performed on DNA isolated from duodenal fluid specimens from 61 patients who underwent pancreaticoduodenectomy (Whipple's operation) for either periampullary cancer or a benign condition of the pancreas. Representative sections of pancreas pathology (primary carcinoma, benign tumor, or chronic pancreatitis) from the patients with duodenal fluid specimens containing amplifiable DNA were also analyzed for K-ras mutations. Wild-type and mutant K-ras were detected by hybridization of the PCR products with K-ras codon 12 mutant and wild-type specific probes.
RESULTS - Seven of the 61 duodenal fluid specimens contained DNA that did not amplify. Thirteen (24% of the 54 duodenal fluid specimens with amplifiable DNA and 21% of the total of 61 specimens) contained activating point mutations at codon 12 of the K-ras gene. Mutations were detected in 13 of the 51 duodenal fluid specimens from patients with cancer (sensitivity, 25%), whereas mutations were not detected in any of the 9 amplifiable duodenal fluid specimens from patients with benign conditions of the pancreas (specificity, 100%). One duodenal fluid specimen from a patient with adenocarcinoma of the pancreas had two different K-ras mutations. DNA from three of the primary carcinomas did not amplify or was not available. Twenty-nine (69%) of the 42 primary tumors with amplifiable DNA contained K-ras mutations, whereas 3 (30%) of the 10 pancreata with benign conditions harbored mutations. Twenty-two (65%) of 34 ductal adenocarcinomas of the pancreas with amplifiable DNA had K-ras mutations. It is noteworthy that the same mutation was present in both the duodenal fluid and the primary carcinomas of 11 (92%) of the 12 patients who had primary tumors with amplifiable DNA as well as K-ras mutations in their duodenal fluid specimens.
CONCLUSIONS - The identification of genetic alterations in cancer-causing genes in duodenal fluid may form the basis for the development of new approaches to the detection of carcinoma of the pancreas. Some pancreata without cancer, however, may also harbor K-ras mutations, potentially limiting the specificity of K-ras-based tests.
BACKGROUND - Infection with Helicobacter pylori induces chronic gastritis in virtually all infected persons, and such gastritis has been associated with an increased risk of developing gastric cancer. This risk is further enhanced with cagA+ (positive for cytotoxin-associated gene A) H. pylori strains and may be a consequence of induced gastric cell proliferation and/or alteration in apoptosis (programmed cell death) in the gastric epithelium.
PURPOSE - To determine whether the H. pylori cagA genotype and another virulence-related characteristic, the vacA (vacuolating cytotoxin A) s1a genotype, differentially affect epithelial cell proliferation, apoptosis, and the histologic parameters of inflammation and injury, we quantitated these characteristics in infected and uninfected persons.
METHODS - Fifty patients underwent upper gastrointestinal endoscopy, and biopsy specimens were taken. Apoptotic cells in the specimens were quantitated after terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase labeling of DNA fragments with digoxigenin-deoxyuridine triphosphate; epithelial cell proliferation was scored by immunohistochemical analysis of the proliferation-associated antigen Ki-67. Antibodies directed against H. pylori and CagA protein were measured in the serum of patients by means of enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. Analysis of H. pylori genomic DNA, by use of the polymerase chain reaction, was performed to determine the cagA and vacA genotypes. Acute and chronic inflammation, epithelial cell degeneration, mucin depletion, intestinal metaplasia, glandular atrophy, and vacuolation were each scored in a blinded manner. Reported P values are two-sided.
RESULTS - Persons harboring cagA+ strains (n = 20) had significantly higher gastric epithelial proliferation scores than persons infected with cagA-strains (n = 9) or uninfected persons (n = 21) (P = .025 and P<.001, respectively), but the difference in cell proliferation between the latter two groups was not statistically significant. The number of apoptotic cells per 100 epithelial cells (apoptotic index) in persons infected with cagA+ strains was lower than in persons infected with cagA-strains (P = .05). Apoptotic indices in the cagA+ group were similar to those in the uninfected group (P = .2). Epithelial cell proliferation was significantly correlated with acute gastric inflammation, but only in the cagA+ group (r = .44; P = .006). The cagA+ and vacA s1a genotypes were found to be concordant, confirming the close relationship between these virulence-related genotypes.
CONCLUSIONS - Gastric mucosal proliferation was significantly correlated with the severity of acute gastritis in persons infected with cagA+ vacA s1a strains of H. pylori. This increased proliferation was not accompanied by a parallel increase in apoptosis.
IMPLICATIONS - Increased cell proliferation in the absence of a corresponding increase in apoptosis may explain the heightened risk for gastric carcinoma that is associated with infection by cagA+ vacA s1a strains of H. pylori.
Members of the winged helix family of transcription factors are required for the normal embryonic development of the mouse. Using the interspecific backcross panel from The Jackson Laboratory, we have determined the chromosomal locations of four genes that encode winged helix containing proteins. Mf1 was assigned to mouse Chromosome 8, Mf2 to Chromosome 4, Mf3 to Chromosome 9, and Mf4 to Chromosome 13. Since Mf3 is located in a region of Chromosome 9 containing many well-characterized mouse mutations such as short ear (se), ashen (ash), and dilute (d), we have analyzed deletion mutants to determine the location of Mf3 more precisely.
Mutation of the tumor suppressor gene p53 is the most frequent genetic alteration of human tumors. Our systematic immunohistochemical analysis of the p53 phenotype and the comparison to proliferation and differentiation has revealed that over 50% of the squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck show p53 accumulation of aberrant p53 protein. Normal epithelia did not show p53 accumulation and benign lesions only in exceptional cases. Expression of aberrant p53 was invariably confined to dysplastic cells in close vicinity to the tumor and to invasive, dedifferentiated tumor cells with high proliferative potential, as revealed by expression of the histone H3 gene and of the simple epithelial type cytokeratins. We discuss the possible clinical value of the immunohistochemical screening of tumor patients for the status of the p53 gene.
Since a previous report of a partial YAC contig of the Prader-Willi/Angelman chromosome region (15q11-q13), a complete contig spanning approximately 3.5 Mb has been developed. YACs were isolated from two human genomic libraries by PCR and hybridization screening methods. Twenty-three sequence-tagged sites (STSs) were mapped within the contig, a density of approximately 1 per 200 kb. Overlaps between YAC clones were identified by Alu-PCR dot-blot analysis and confirmed by STS mapping or hybridization with ends of YAC inserts. The gene encoding small nuclear ribonucleoprotein-associated peptide N (SNRPN), recently identified as a candidate gene for Prader-Willi syndrome, was localized within this contig between markers PW71 and TD3-21. Loci mapped within and immediately flanking the Prader-Willi/Angelman chromosome region contig are ordered as follows: cen-IR39-ML34-IR4-3R-TD189-1-PW71-SNRPN -TD3-21- LS6-1-GABRB3,D15S97-GABRA5-IR10-1-CMW1+ ++-tel. This YAC contig will be a useful resource for more detailed physical mapping of the region, for generation of new DNA markers, and for mapping or cloning candidate genes for the Prader-Willi and Angelman syndromes.
Growth factors and tumor promoters have been shown to play a role in intestinal epithelial growth regulation and transformation. In this study, transforming growth factor-alpha (TGF alpha) and the tumor promoter, tetradecanoyl phorbol acetate (TPA), are shown to stimulate the production of eicosanoids by rat intestinal epithelial (RIE-1) cells in culture. A 4.5-kb mRNA, which hybridizes to the mouse cyclooxygenase-2 cDNA probe, is elevated 18-fold within 30 min after TGF alpha or TPA treatment. Stimulation of RIE-1 cells with TGF alpha leads to the increase of a protein (M(r) approximately 69,000), which binds a monospecific antibody to the mouse cyclooxygenase-2 protein. Dexamethasone markedly inhibits the increase of the 4.5-kb mRNA. Pretreatment of TGF alpha or TPA-stimulated RIE-1 cells with dexamethasone or cyclooxygenase inhibitors prevents the increase in eicosanoid production by these cells. Treatment of quiescent RIE-1 cells with TGF alpha stimulates mitogenesis. This mitogenic activity is blocked by pretreating the cells with dexamethasone or cyclooxygenase inhibitors. A mitogen-inducible cyclooxygenase gene is thus shown to be regulated by TGF alpha and TPA in rat intestinal epithelial cells. We suggest that products of an intestinal growth factor-inducible cyclooxygenase may play a role in the regulation of mitogenesis.