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  • Molecular Diversity Preservation International (MDPI)  (120,215)
  • 2015-2019  (120,215)
  • 1945-1949
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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2015-08-29
    Description: Paternally expressed Insulin-like Growth Factor II (IGF2) encodes a gene whose protein product functions as a potent growth mitogen. Overexpression of IGF2 has been implicated in a wide number of disorders and diseases. IGF2 is regulated in part by differential methylation of the two parentally derived alleles. The differentially methylated region (DMR) located upstream of the imprinted promoters of IGF2 exhibits plasticity under environmental stress and is hypomethylated in several types of cancer. Through bisulfite pyrosequencing and confirmation by nucleotide sequencing, we discovered a CpG to CpC transversion that results in hypomethylation of one of the three CpGs comprising this DMR. The presence of the polymorphism introduces a genetic rather than an environmentally-driven epigenetic source of hypomethylation that is additive to non-genetic sources.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4425
    Topics: Biology
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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2015-09-02
    Description: The spatial organization of metazoan genomes has a direct influence on fundamental nuclear processes that include transcription, replication, and DNA repair. It is imperative to understand the mechanisms that shape the 3D organization of the eukaryotic genomes. Chromatin insulators have emerged as one of the central components of the genome organization tool-kit across species. Recent advancements in chromatin conformation capture technologies have provided important insights into the architectural role of insulators in genomic structuring. Insulators are involved in 3D genome organization at multiple spatial scales and are important for dynamic reorganization of chromatin structure during reprogramming and differentiation. In this review, we will discuss the classical view and our renewed understanding of insulators as global genome organizers. We will also discuss the plasticity of chromatin structure and its re-organization during pluripotency and differentiation and in situations of cellular stress.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4425
    Topics: Biology
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2015-09-08
    Description: Mature B-cell lymphoma is a clinically and biologically highly diverse disease. Its diagnosis and prognosis is a challenge due to its molecular heterogeneity and diverse regimes of biological dysfunctions, which are partly driven by epigenetic mechanisms. We here present an integrative analysis of DNA methylation and gene expression data of several lymphoma subtypes. Our study confirms previous results about the role of stemness genes during development and maturation of B-cells and their dysfunction in lymphoma locking in more proliferative or immune-reactive states referring to B-cell functionalities in the dark and light zone of the germinal center and also in plasma cells. These dysfunctions are governed by widespread epigenetic effects altering the promoter methylation of the involved genes, their activity status as moderated by histone modifications and also by chromatin remodeling. We identified four groups of genes showing characteristic expression and methylation signatures among Burkitt’s lymphoma, diffuse large B cell lymphoma, follicular lymphoma and multiple myeloma. These signatures are associated with epigenetic effects such as remodeling from transcriptionally inactive into active chromatin states, differential promoter methylation and the enrichment of targets of transcription factors such as EZH2 and SUZ12.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4425
    Topics: Biology
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  • 4
    Publication Date: 2015-09-19
    Description: Herbaceous peony (Paeonia lactiflora Pall.), one of the world’s most important ornamental plants, is highly susceptible to Botrytis cinerea, and improving resistance to this pathogenic fungus is a problem yet to be solved. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) play an essential role in resistance to B. cinerea, but until now, no studies have been reported concerning miRNAs induction in P. lactiflora. Here, we constructed and sequenced two small RNA (sRNA) libraries from two B. cinerea-infected P. lactiflora cultivars (“Zifengyu” and “Dafugui”) with significantly different levels of resistance to B. cinerea, using the Illumina HiSeq 2000 platform. From the raw reads generated, 4,592,881 and 5,809,796 sRNAs were obtained, and 280 and 306 miRNAs were identified from “Zifengyu” and “Dafugui”, respectively. A total of 237 conserved and 7 novel sequences of miRNAs were differentially expressed between the two cultivars, and we predicted and annotated their potential target genes. Subsequently, 7 differentially expressed candidate miRNAs were screened according to their target genes annotated in KEGG pathways, and the expression patterns of miRNAs and corresponding target genes were elucidated. We found that miR5254, miR165a-3p, miR3897-3p and miR6450a might be involved in the P. lactiflora response to B. cinerea infection. These results provide insight into the molecular mechanisms responsible for resistance to B. cinerea in P. lactiflora.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4425
    Topics: Biology
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  • 5
    Publication Date: 2015-12-01
    Description: Reduced susceptibility to daptomycin in Staphylococcus aureus has now been described, leading to clinical failures. Here we determined the impact of daptomycin and gentamicin combination therapy on bactericidal activity and resistance emergence using daptomycin-susceptible and -resistant isolates with mutations linked to previous daptomycin or vancomycin exposure. Enhanced killing of S. aureus was observed when gentamicin was combined with daptomycin, most commonly with daptomycin concentrations below the peak serum free-drug concentrations achieved with standard dosing. Synergy was seen with daptomycin-susceptible isolates and with isolates resistant to vancomycin and daptomycin. Combination therapy also prevented the emergence of resistance. Daptomycin and gentamicin combination therapy may provide the synergy required to prevent emergence of resistance when daptomycin levels are below peak serum concentrations as would be found in deep-seated, complicated infections.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4425
    Topics: Biology
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  • 6
    Publication Date: 2015-12-09
    Description: Malnutrition is one of the world’s largest health concerns. Folate (also known as vitamin B9) is essential in the human diet, and without adequate folate intake, several serious health concerns, such as congenital birth defects and an increased risk of stroke and heart disease, can occur. Most people’s folate intake remains sub-optimal, even in countries that have a folic acid food fortification program in place. Staple crops, such as potatoes, represent an appropriate organism for biofortification through traditional breeding based on their worldwide consumption and the fact that modern cultivars only contain about 6% of the daily recommended intake of folate. To start breeding potatoes with enhanced folate content, high folate potato material must be identified. In this study, 250 individual plants from 77 accessions and 10 Solanum species were screened for their folate content using a tri-enzyme extraction and microbial assay. There was a 10-fold range of folate concentrations among individuals. Certain individuals within the species Solanum tuberosum subsp. andigenum, Solanum vernei and Solanum boliviense have the potential to produce more than double the folate concentrations of commercial cultivars, such as Russet Burbank. Our results show that tapping into the genetic diversity of potato is a promising approach to increase the folate content of this important crop.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4425
    Topics: Biology
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  • 7
    Publication Date: 2015-09-26
    Description: In the last few decades, epigenetics has emerged as an exciting new field in development and disease, with a more recent focus towards cancer. Epigenetics has classically referred to heritable patterns of gene expression, primarily mediated through DNA methylation patterns. More recently, it has come to include the reversible chemical modification of histones and DNA that dictate gene expression patterns. Both the epigenetic up-regulation of oncogenes and downregulation of tumor suppressors have been shown to drive tumor development. Current clinical trials for cancer therapy include pharmacological inhibition of DNA methylation and histone deacetylation, with the aim of reversing these cancer-promoting epigenetic changes. However, the DNA methyltransferase and histone deacetylase inhibitors have met with less than promising results in the treatment of solid tumors. Regions of hypoxia are a common occurrence in solid tumors. Tumor hypoxia is associated with increased aggressiveness and therapy resistance, and importantly, hypoxic tumor cells have a distinct epigenetic profile. In this review, we provide a summary of the recent clinical trials using epigenetic drugs in solid tumors, discuss the hypoxia-induced epigenetic changes and highlight the importance of testing the epigenetic drugs for efficacy against the most aggressive hypoxic fraction of the tumor in future preclinical testing.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4425
    Topics: Biology
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  • 8
    Publication Date: 2015-10-21
    Description: Sponges are an ancient metazoan group with broad ecological, evolutionary, and biotechnological importance. As in other marine invertebrates with a biphasic life cycle, the developing sponge undergoes a significant morphological, physiological, and ecological transformation during settlement and metamorphosis. In this study, we compare new transcriptome datasets for three life cycle stages of the red sponge (Mycale phyllophila) to test whether gene expression (as in the model poriferan, Amphimedon queenslandica) also varies more after settlement and metamorphosis. In contrast to A. queenslandica, we find that the transcriptome of M. phyllophila changes more during the earlier pre-competent larva/post-larva transition that spans these defining events. We also find that this transition is marked by a greater frequency of significantly up-regulated Gene Ontology terms including those for morphogenesis, differentiation, and development and that the transcriptomes of its pre-competent larvae and adult are distinct. The life cycle transcriptome variation between M. phyllophila and A. queenslandica may be due to their long separate evolutionary histories and corresponding differences in developmental rates and timing. This study now calls for new transcriptome datasets of M. phyllophila and other sponges, which will allow for tests of the generality of our life cycle expression differences and for the greater exploitation of poriferans in both basic and applied research.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4425
    Topics: Biology
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  • 9
    Publication Date: 2015-10-23
    Description: Codon usage bias, which exists in many genomes, is mainly determined by mutation and selection. To elucidate the genetic features and evolutionary history of herbaceous peony (Paeonia lactiflora), a well-known symbol of prosperity in China, we examined synonymous codon usage in 24,216 reconstructed genes from the P. lactiflora transcriptome. The mean GC content was 44.4%, indicating that the nucleotide content of P. lactiflora genes is slightly AT rich and GC poor. The P. lactiflora genome has a wide range of GC3 (GC content at the third synonymous codon position) distribution, with a significant correlation between GC12 and GC3. ENC (effective number of codons) analysis suggested that mutational bias played a major role in shaping codon usage. Parity Rule 2 (PR2) analysis revealed that GC and AU were not used proportionally. We identified 22 “optimal codons”, most ending with an A or U. Our results suggested that nucleotide composition mutation bias and translational selection were the main driving factors of codon usage bias in P. lactiflora. These results lay the foundation for exploring the evolutionary mechanisms and heterologous expression of functionally-important proteins in P. lactiflora.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4425
    Topics: Biology
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  • 10
    Publication Date: 2015-11-19
    Description: Rapeseed contains glucosinolates, a toxic group of sulfur-containing glucosides, which play critical roles in defense against herbivores and microbes. However, the presence of glucosinolates in rapeseed reduces the value of the meal as feed for livestock. We performed association mapping of seed glucosinolate (GS) content using the 60K Brassica Infinium single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) array in 520 oilseed rape accessions. A total of 11 peak SNPs significantly associated with GS content were detected in growing seasons of 2013 and 2014 and were located on B. napus chromosomes A08, A09, C03, and C09, respectively. Two associated regions of GS content covered by these markers were further verified, and three B. napus homologous genes involved in the biosynthesis and accumulation of GS were identified. These genes were multigene family members and were distributed on different chromosomes. Moreover, two genes (BnGRT2 and BnMYB28) associated with GS content were validated by the qRT-PCR analysis of their expression profiles. The further identification and functionalization of these genes will provide useful insight into the mechanism underlying GS biosynthesis and allocation in B. napus, and the associated SNPs markers could be helpful for molecular maker-assisted breeding for low seed GS in B. napus.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4425
    Topics: Biology
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  • 11
    Publication Date: 2015-10-15
    Description: Substance abuse has an enormous impact on economic and quality of life measures throughout the world. In more developed countries, overutilization of the most common forms of substances of abuse, alcohol and tobacco, is addressed primarily through prevention of substance use initiation and secondarily through the treatment of those with substance abuse or dependence. In general, these therapeutic approaches to substance abuse are deemed effective. However, there is a broad consensus that the development of additional tools to aid diagnosis, prioritize treatment selection and monitor treatment response could have substantial impact on the effectiveness of both substance use prevention and treatment. The recent demonstrations by a number of groups that substance use exposure is associated with robust changes in DNA methylation signatures of peripheral blood cells suggests the possibility that methylation assessments of blood or saliva could find broad clinical applications. In this article, we review recent progress in epigenetic approaches to substance use assessment with a particular emphasis on smoking (and alcohol) related applications. In addition, we highlight areas, such as the epigenetics of psychostimulant, opioid and cannabis abuse, which are markedly understudied and could benefit from intensified collaborative efforts to define epigenetic biomarkers of abuse and dependence.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4425
    Topics: Biology
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  • 12
    Publication Date: 2015-10-15
    Description: Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) is a heterogeneous group of clonal hematopoietic disorders. MDS is frequently associated with deletions on chromosome 5q as well as aberrant DNA methylation patterns including hypermethylation of key tumor suppressors. We have previously shown that hypermethylation and silencing of the non-coding RNA VTRNA2-1 are correlated with poor outcomes in acute myeloid leukemia patients. In this study, we find that VTRNA1-2 and VTRNA1-3, both located on chromosome 5q, can be regulated and silenced by promoter DNA methylation, and that the hypomethylating agent 5-aza-2-deoxycytidine causes reactivation these genes. In normal hematopoiesis, we find that vault RNAs (vtRNAs) show differential methylation between various hematopoietic cell populations, indicating that allele-specific methylation events may occur during hematopoiesis. In addition, we show that VTRNA1-3 promoter hypermethylation is frequent in lower risk MDS patients and is associated with a decreased overall survival.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4425
    Topics: Biology
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  • 13
    Publication Date: 2015-10-22
    Description: We systematically studied the expression of more than fifty histone and DNA (de)methylating enzymes in lymphoma and healthy controls. As a main result, we found that the expression levels of nearly all enzymes become markedly disturbed in lymphoma, suggesting deregulation of large parts of the epigenetic machinery. We discuss the effect of DNA promoter methylation and of transcriptional activity in the context of mutated epigenetic modifiers such as EZH2 and MLL2. As another mechanism, we studied the coupling between the energy metabolism and epigenetics via metabolites that act as cofactors of JmjC-type demethylases. Our study results suggest that Burkitt’s lymphoma and diffuse large B-cell Lymphoma differ by an imbalance of repressive and poised promoters, which is governed predominantly by the activity of methyltransferases and the underrepresentation of demethylases in this regulation. The data further suggest that coupling of epigenetics with the energy metabolism can also be an important factor in lymphomagenesis in the absence of direct mutations of genes in metabolic pathways. Understanding of epigenetic deregulation in lymphoma and possibly in cancers in general must go beyond simple schemes using only a few modes of regulation.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4425
    Topics: Biology
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  • 14
    Publication Date: 2015-10-24
    Description: Combined Bisulfite Restriction Analysis (COBRA) quantifies DNA methylation at a specific locus. It does so via digestion of PCR amplicons produced from bisulfite-treated DNA, using a restriction enzyme that contains a cytosine within its recognition sequence, such as TaqI. Here, we introduce COBRA-seq, a genome wide reduced methylome method that requires minimal DNA input (0.1–1.0 mg) and can either use PCR or linear amplification to amplify the sequencing library. Variants of COBRA-seq can be used to explore CpG-depleted as well as CpG-rich regions in vertebrate DNA. The choice of enzyme influences enrichment for specific genomic features, such as CpG-rich promoters and CpG islands, or enrichment for less CpG dense regions such as enhancers. COBRA-seq coupled with linear amplification has the additional advantage of reduced PCR bias by producing full length fragments at high abundance. Unlike other reduced representative methylome methods, COBRA-seq has great flexibility in the choice of enzyme and can be multiplexed and tuned, to reduce sequencing costs and to interrogate different numbers of sites. Moreover, COBRA-seq is applicable to non-model organisms without the reference genome and compatible with the investigation of non-CpG methylation by using restriction enzymes containing CpA, CpT, and CpC in their recognition site.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4425
    Topics: Biology
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  • 15
    Publication Date: 2015-10-22
    Description: Epigenetics contributes to molecular mechanisms leading to tumor cell transformation and systemic progression of cancer. However, the dynamics of epigenetic remodeling during metastasis remains unexplored. In this context, circulating tumor cells (CTCs) might enable a direct insight into epigenetic mechanisms relevant for metastasis by providing direct access to systemic cancer. CTCs can be used as prognostic markers in cancer patients and are regarded as potential metastatic precursor cells. However, despite substantial technical progress, the detection and molecular characterization of CTCs remain challenging, in particular the analysis of DNA methylation. As recent studies have started to address the epigenetic state of CTCs, we discuss here the potential of such investigations to elucidate mechanisms of metastasis and to develop tumor biomarkers.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4425
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  • 16
    Publication Date: 2015-10-22
    Description: Variations in porin proteins are common in Gram-negative pathogens. Altered or absent porins reduce access of polar antibiotics across the outer membrane and can thus contribute to antibiotic resistance. Reduced permeability has a cost however, in lowering access to nutrients. This trade-off between permeability and nutritional competence is the source of considerable natural variation in porin gate-keeping. Mutational changes in this trade-off are frequently selected, so susceptibility to detergents and antibiotics is polymorphic in environmental isolates as well as pathogens. Understanding the mechanism, costs and heterogeneity of antibiotic exclusion by porins will be crucial in combating Gram negative infections.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4425
    Topics: Biology
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  • 17
    Publication Date: 2015-11-10
    Description: Recently, unique areas of transcriptional regulation termed super-enhancers have been identified and implicated in human disease. Defined by their magnitude of size, transcription factor density, and binding of transcriptional machinery, super-enhancers have been associated with genes driving cell differentiation. While their functions are not completely understood, it is clear that these regions driving high-level transcription are susceptible to perturbation, and trait-associated single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) occur within super-enhancers of disease-relevant cell types. Here we review evidence for super-enhancer involvement in cancers, complex diseases, and developmental disorders and discuss interactions between super-enhancers and cofactors/chromatin regulators.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4425
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  • 18
    Publication Date: 2015-11-24
    Description: The adiponectin gene (ADIPOQ) plays an important role in energy homeostasis. In this study five separate regions (regions 1 to 5) of ovine ADIPOQ were analysed using PCR-SSCP. Four different PCR-SSCP patterns (A1-D1, A2-D2) were detected in region-1 and region-2, respectively, with seven and six SNPs being revealed. In region-3, three different patterns (A3-C3) and three SNPs were observed. Two patterns (A4-B4, A5-B5) and two and one SNPs were observed in region-4 and region-5, respectively. In total, nineteen SNPs were detected, with five of them in the coding region and two (c.46T/C and c.515G/A) putatively resulting in amino acid changes (p.Tyr16His and p.Lys172Arg). In region-1, -2 and -3 of 316 sheep from eight New Zealand breeds, variants A1, A2 and A3 were the most common, although variant frequencies differed in the eight breeds. Across region-1 and region-3, nine haplotypes were identified and haplotypes A1-A3, A1-C3, B1-A3 and B1-C3 were most common. These results indicate that the ADIPOQ gene is polymorphic and suggest that further analysis is required to see if the variation in the gene is associated with animal production traits.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4425
    Topics: Biology
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  • 19
    Publication Date: 2015-12-08
    Description: Ischemic stroke (IS) is responsible for a high death rate and for adult disability worldwide. MiR-146a (rs2910164), miR-149 (rs2292832), miR-196a2 (rs11614913) and miR-499 (rs3746444) are found to be associated with ischemic stroke. However, the results were inconsistent and inconclusive. The present study performed a meta-analysis to get a more precise and comprehensive estimation of the association between the four polymorphisms and IS risk. The databases Pubmed, Embase, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Chinese National Knowledge Infrastructure, and Chinese Biomedical Literature Database were searched for related studies. A total of five studies including 2230 cases and 2229 controls were identified for the meta-analysis. The results indicate that TT genotype and T allele of miR-149 (rs2292832) are associated with significantly lower risks of IS in a homozygous model (OR = 0.70) and an allelic model (OR = 0.86). No significant associations were found between miR-146a (rs2910164), miR-196a2 (rs11614913), miR-499 (3746444) and IS susceptibility in any of the studies. However, subgroup analysis by sample size indicates a significant decrease in risks of IS for CC genotype and C allele of miR-146a (rs2910164) in the large sample size group. Therefore, miR-149 (rs2292832) might be recommended as a predictor for IS risk, while miR-146a (rs2910164), miR-196a2 (rs11614913), miR-499 (3746444) are not.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4425
    Topics: Biology
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  • 20
    Publication Date: 2015-09-19
    Description: 4-Coumarate:CoA ligase (4CL) genes are critical for the biosynthesis of plant phenylpropanoids. Here we identified 20 4CL genes in the genomes of two desert poplars (Populus euphratica and P. pruinosa) and salt-sensitive congener (P. trichocarpa), but 12 in Salix suchowensis (Salix willow). Phylogenetic analyses clustered all Salicaceae 4CL genes into two clades, and one of them (corresponding to the 4CL-like clade from Arabidopsis) showed signals of adaptive evolution, with more genes retained in Populus than Salix and Arabidopsis. We also found that 4CL12 (in 4CL-like clade) showed positive selection along the two desert poplar lineages. Transcriptional profiling analyses indicated that the expression of 4CL2, 4CL11, and 4CL12 changed significantly in one or both desert poplars in response to salt stress compared to that of in P. trichocarpa. Our results suggest that the evolution of the 4CL genes may have contributed to the development of salt tolerance in the two desert poplars.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4425
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  • 21
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    Molecular Diversity Preservation International (MDPI)
    In: Genes
    Publication Date: 2015-10-01
    Description: Chromatin influences Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) integration and replication. This review highlights critical host factors that influence chromatin structure and organization and that also impact HIV integration, transcriptional regulation and latency. Furthermore, recent attempts to target chromatin associated factors to reduce the HIV proviral load are discussed.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4425
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  • 22
    Publication Date: 2015-11-03
    Description: The vetch (Vicia sativa) is one of the most important annual forage legumes globally due to its multiple uses and high nutritional content. Despite these agronomical benefits, many drawbacks, including cyano-alanine toxin, has reduced the agronomic value of vetch varieties. Here, we used 454 technology to sequence the two V. sativa subspecies (ssp. sativa and ssp. nigra) to enrich functional information and genetic marker resources for the vetch research community. A total of 86,532 and 47,103 reads produced 35,202 and 18,808 unigenes with average lengths of 735 and 601 bp for V. sativa sativa and V. sativa nigra, respectively. Gene Ontology annotations and the cluster of orthologous gene classes were used to annotate the function of the Vicia transcriptomes. The Vicia transcriptome sequences were then mined for simple sequence repeat (SSR) and single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers. About 13% and 3% of the Vicia unigenes contained the putative SSR and SNP sequences, respectively. Among those SSRs, 100 were chosen for the validation and the polymorphism test using the Vicia germplasm set. Thus, our approach takes advantage of the utility of transcriptomic data to expedite a vetch breeding program.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4425
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  • 23
    Publication Date: 2015-11-11
    Description: IGFBP5 is an important regulatory protein in breast cancer progression. We tried to identify differentially expressed genes (DEGs) between breast tumor tissues with IGFBP5 overexpression and their adjacent normal tissues. In this study, thirty-eight breast cancer and adjacent normal breast tissue samples were used to determine IGFBP5 expression by qPCR. cDNA microarrays were applied to the highest IGFBP5 overexpressed tumor samples compared to their adjacent normal breast tissue. Microarray analysis revealed that a total of 186 genes were differentially expressed in breast cancer compared with normal breast tissues. Of the 186 genes, 169 genes were downregulated and 17 genes were upregulated in the tumor samples. KEGG pathway analyses showed that protein digestion and absorption, focal adhesion, salivary secretion, drug metabolism-cytochrome P450, and phenylalanine metabolism pathways are involved. Among these DEGs, the prominent top two genes (MMP11 and COL1A1) which potentially correlated with IGFBP5 were selected for validation using real time RT-qPCR. Only COL1A1 expression showed a consistent upregulation with IGFBP5 expression and COL1A1 and MMP11 were significantly positively correlated. We concluded that the discovery of coordinately expressed genes related with IGFBP5 might contribute to understanding of the molecular mechanism of the function of IGFBP5 in breast cancer. Further functional studies on DEGs and association with IGFBP5 may identify novel biomarkers for clinical applications in breast cancer.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4425
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  • 24
    Publication Date: 2015-11-28
    Description: A novel Dasypyrum species, Dasypyrum breviaristatum, serves as a valuable source of useful genes for wheat improvement. The development and characterization of new wheat—D. breviaristatum introgression lines is important to determine the novel gene(s) on specific chromosome(s). We first used multi-color fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) to identify the individual D. breviaristatum Vb chromosomes in a common wheat—D. breviaristatum partial amphiploid, TDH-2. The FISH patterns of D. breviaristatum chromosomes were different from those of D. villosum chromosomes. Lines D2146 and D2150 were selected from a cross between wheat line MY11 and wheat—D. breviaristatum partial amphiploid TDH-2, and they were characterized by FISH and PCR-based molecular markers. We found that D2150 was a monosomic addition line for chromosome 5Vb of D. breviaristatum, while D2146 had the 5VbL chromosome arm translocated with wheat chromosome 5AS. Molecular marker analysis confirmed that the introduced D. breviaristatum chromosome 5VbL translocation possessed a duplicated region homoeologous to 5AS, revealing that the 5AS.5VbL translocation may not functionally compensate well. The dwarfing and the pre-harvest re-growth habits observed in the wheat—D. breviaristatum chromosome 5Vb derivatives may be useful for future development of perennial growth wheat lines.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4425
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  • 25
    Publication Date: 2015-02-13
    Description: Microsatellite instability (MSI) is a useful marker for risk assessment, prediction of chemotherapy responsiveness and prognosis in patients with colorectal cancer. Here, we describe a next generation sequencing approach for MSI testing using the MiSeq platform. Different from other MSI capturing strategies that are based on targeted gene capture, we utilize “deep resequencing”, where we focus the sequencing on only the microsatellite regions of interest. We sequenced a series of 44 colorectal tumours with normal controls for five MSI loci (BAT25, BAT26, BAT34c4, D18S55, D5S346) and a second series of six colorectal tumours (no control) with two mononucleotide loci (BAT25, BAT26). In the first series, we were able to determine 17 MSI-High, 1 MSI-Low and 26 microsatellite stable (MSS) tumours. In the second series, there were three MSI-High and three MSS tumours. Although there was some variation within individual markers, this NGS method produced the same overall MSI status for each tumour, as obtained with the traditional multiplex PCR-based method.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4425
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  • 26
    Publication Date: 2015-03-31
    Description: Inherited mutations in the DNA mismatch repair genes (MMR) can cause MMR deficiency and increased susceptibility to colorectal and endometrial cancer. Microsatellite instability (MSI) is the defining molecular signature of MMR deficiency. The clinical classification of identified MMR gene sequence variants has a direct impact on the management of patients and their families. For a significant proportion of cases sequence variants of uncertain clinical significance (also known as unclassified variants) are identified, constituting a challenge for genetic counselling and clinical management of families. The effect on protein function of these variants is difficult to interpret. The presence or absence of MSI in tumours can aid in determining the pathogenicity of associated unclassified MMR gene variants. However, there are some considerations that need to be taken into account when using MSI for variant interpretation. The use of MSI and other tumour characteristics in MMR gene sequence variant classification will be explored in this review.
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  • 27
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    Molecular Diversity Preservation International (MDPI)
    In: Genes
    Publication Date: 2015-04-01
    Description: Transport of messenger RNA (mRNA) from the nucleus to the cytoplasm is an essential step of eukaryotic gene expression. In the cell nucleus, a precursor mRNA undergoes a series of processing steps, including capping at the 5' ends, splicing and cleavage/polyadenylation at the 3' ends. During this process, the mRNA associates with a wide variety of proteins, forming a messenger ribonucleoprotein (mRNP) particle. Association with factors involved in nuclear export also occurs during transcription and processing, and thus nuclear export is fully integrated into mRNA maturation. The coupling between mRNA maturation and nuclear export is an important mechanism for providing only fully functional and competent mRNA to the cytoplasmic translational machinery, thereby ensuring accuracy and swiftness of gene expression. This review describes the molecular mechanism of nuclear mRNA export mediated by the principal transport factors, including Tap-p15 and the TREX complex.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4425
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  • 28
    Publication Date: 2015-04-01
    Description: DNA mismatch repair (MMR) function is critical for correcting errors coincident with polymerase-driven DNA replication, and its proteins are frequent targets for inactivation (germline or somatic), generating a hypermutable tumor that drives cancer progression. The biomarker for defective DNA MMR is microsatellite instability-high (MSI-H), observed in ~15% of colorectal cancers, and defined by mono- and dinucleotide microsatellite frameshift mutations. MSI-H is highly correlated with loss of MMR protein expression, is commonly diploid, is often located in the right side of the colon, prognosticates good patient outcome, and predicts poor efficacy with 5-fluorouracil treatment. Elevated microsatellite alterations at selected tetranucleotide repeats (EMAST) is another form of MSI at tetranucleotide repeats that has been observed in multiple cancers, but its etiology and clinical relevance to patient care has only been recently illuminated. Specifically, EMAST is an acquired somatic defect observed in up to 60% of colorectal cancers and caused by unique dysfunction of the DNA MMR protein MSH3 (and its DNA MMR complex MutSβ, a heterodimer of MSH2-MSH3), and in particular a loss-of-function phenotype due to a reversible shift from its normal nuclear location into the cytosol in response to oxidative stress and the pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-6. Tumor hypoxia may also be a contributor. Patients with EMAST colorectal cancers show diminished prognosis compared to patients without the presence of EMAST in their cancer. In addition to defective DNA MMR recognized by tetranucleotide (and di- and tri-nucleotide) frameshifts, loss of MSH3 also contributes to homologous recombination-mediated repair of DNA double stranded breaks, indicating the MSH3 dysfunction is a complex defect for cancer cells that generates not only EMAST but also may contribute to chromosomal instability and aneuploidy. Areas for future investigation for this most common DNA MMR defect among colorectal cancers include relationships between EMAST and chemotherapy response, patient outcome with aneuploid changes in colorectal cancers, target gene mutation analysis, and mechanisms related to inflammation-induced compartmentalization and inactivation for MSH3.
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  • 29
    Publication Date: 2015-04-14
    Description: The autosomal recessive form of persistent hyperinsulinemic hypoglycemia of infancy (PHHI) is associated with mutations in either ABCC8 or KCNJ11 genes. In the present study, we describe the clinical features and results of genetic analysis of 13 Saudi Arabian patients with PHHI. Clinically, most patients presented with infantile seizures and/or developmental delay, with a subset of patients who were also found to have abnormal brain imaging and electrophysiological studies. Interestingly no coding pathogenic mutations were identified in these two genes by direct sequencing. However, two splice variants were identified in ABCC8 gene in two patients, and a large deletion of exons 1-22 of the ABCC8 gene was identified in three patients. Our data shows that large deletions in ABCC8 gene are the common genetic mechanism in the Saudi population.
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  • 30
    Publication Date: 2015-02-07
    Description: The genome project increased appreciation of genetic complexity underlying disease phenotypes: many genes contribute each phenotype and each gene contributes multiple phenotypes. The aspiration of predicting common disease in individuals has evolved from seeking primary loci to marginal risk assignments based on many genes. Genetic interaction, defined as contributions to a phenotype that are dependent upon particular digenic allele combinations, could improve prediction of phenotype from complex genotype, but it is difficult to study in human populations. High throughput, systematic analysis of S. cerevisiae gene knockouts or knockdowns in the context of disease-relevant phenotypic perturbations provides a tractable experimental approach to derive gene interaction networks, in order to deduce by cross-species gene homology how phenotype is buffered against disease-risk genotypes. Yeast gene interaction network analysis to date has revealed biology more complex than previously imagined. This has motivated the development of more powerful yeast cell array phenotyping methods to globally model the role of gene interaction networks in modulating phenotypes (which we call yeast phenomic analysis). The article illustrates yeast phenomic technology, which is applied here to quantify gene X media interaction at higher resolution and supports use of a human-like media for future applications of yeast phenomics for modeling human disease.
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  • 31
    Publication Date: 2015-03-07
    Description: Mutations in the X-linked gene MECP2, the founding member of a family of proteins recognizing and binding to methylated DNA, are the genetic cause of a devastating neurodevelopmental disorder in humans, called Rett syndrome. Available evidence suggests that MECP2 protein has a critical role in activity-dependent neuronal plasticity and transcription during brain development. Moreover, recent studies in mice show that various posttranslational modifications, notably phosphorylation, regulate Mecp2’s functions in learning and memory, drug addiction, depression-like behavior, and the response to antidepressant treatment. The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis drives the stress response and its deregulation increases the risk for a variety of mental disorders. Early-life stress (ELS) typically results in sustained HPA-axis deregulation and is a major risk factor for stress related diseases, in particular major depression. Interestingly, Mecp2 protein has been shown to contribute to ELS-dependent epigenetic programming of Crh, Avp, and Pomc, all of these genes enhance HPA-axis activity. Hereby ELS regulates Mecp2 phosphorylation, DNA binding, and transcriptional activities in a tissue-specific and temporospatial manner. Overall, these findings suggest MECP2 proteins are so far underestimated and have a more dynamic role in the mediation of the gene-environment dialog and epigenetic programming of the neuroendocrine stress system in health and disease.
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  • 32
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    Molecular Diversity Preservation International (MDPI)
    In: Genes
    Publication Date: 2015-03-21
    Description: In eukaryotic cells, RNAs are transcribed in the nucleus and exported to the cytoplasm through the nuclear pore complex. The RNA molecules that are exported from the nucleus into the cytoplasm include messenger RNAs (mRNAs), ribosomal RNAs (rRNAs), transfer RNAs (tRNAs), small nuclear RNAs (snRNAs), micro RNAs (miRNAs), and viral mRNAs. Each RNA is transported by a specific nuclear export receptor. It is believed that most of the mRNAs are exported by Nxf1 (Mex67 in yeast), whereas rRNAs, snRNAs, and a certain subset of mRNAs are exported in a Crm1/Xpo1-dependent manner. tRNAs and miRNAs are exported by Xpot and Xpo5. However, multiple export receptors are involved in the export of some RNAs, such as 60S ribosomal subunit. In addition to these export receptors, some adapter proteins are required to export RNAs. The RNA export system of eukaryotic cells is also used by several types of RNA virus that depend on the machineries of the host cell in the nucleus for replication of their genome, therefore this review describes the RNA export system of two representative viruses. We also discuss the NPC anchoring-dependent mRNA export factors that directly recruit specific genes to the NPC.
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  • 33
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    Molecular Diversity Preservation International (MDPI)
    In: Genes
    Publication Date: 2015-01-08
    Description: The editors of Genes would like to express their sincere gratitude to the following reviewers for assessing manuscripts in 2014:[...]
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  • 34
    Publication Date: 2016-04-05
    Description: Mitogen‐activated protein kinase kinase kinase (MAPKKK) is a component of the MAPK cascade pathway that plays an important role in plant growth, development, and response to abiotic stress, the functions of which have been well characterized in several plant species, such as Arabidopsis, rice, and maize. In this study, we performed genome‐wide and systemic bioinformatics analysis of MAPKKK family genes in Medicago truncatula. In total, there were 73 MAPKKK family members identified by search of homologs, and they were classified into three subfamilies, MEKK, ZIK, and RAF. Based on the genomic duplication function, 72 MtMAPKKK genes were located throughout all chromosomes, but they cluster in different chromosomes. Using microarray data and high‐throughput sequencing‐data, we assessed their expression profiles in growth and development processes; these results provided evidence for exploring their important functions in developmental regulation, especially in the nodulation process. Furthermore, we investigated their expression in abiotic stresses by RNA‐seq, which confirmed their critical roles in signal transduction and regulation processes under stress. In summary, our genome‐wide, systemic characterization and expressional analysis of MtMAPKKK genes will provide insights that will be useful for characterizing the molecular functions of these genes in M. truncatula.
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  • 35
    Publication Date: 2016-04-13
    Description: Sesame is an important oil crop widely cultivated in Africa and Asia. Understanding the genetic diversity of accessions from these continents is critical to designing breeding methods and for additional collection of sesame germplasm. To determine the genetic diversity in relation to geographical regions, 96 sesame accessions collected from 22 countries distributed over six geographic regions in Africa and Asia were genotyped using 33 polymorphic SSR markers. Large genetic variability was found within the germplasm collection. The total number of alleles was 137, averaging 4.15 alleles per locus. The accessions from Asia displayed more diversity than those from Africa. Accessions from Southern Asia (SAs), Eastern Asia (EAs), and Western Africa (WAf) were highly diversified, while those from Western Asia (WAs), Northern Africa (NAf), and Southeastern Africa (SAf) had the lowest diversity. The analysis of molecular variance revealed that more than 44% of the genetic variance was due to diversity among geographic regions. Five subpopulations, including three in Asia and two in Africa, were cross-identified through phylogenetic, PCA, and STRUCTURE analyses. Most accessions clustered in the same population based on their geographical origins. Our results provide technical guidance for efficient management of sesame genetic resources in breeding programs and further collection of sesame germplasm from these different regions.
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  • 36
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    Molecular Diversity Preservation International (MDPI)
    In: Genes
    Publication Date: 2016-05-19
    Description: The Hippo tumour suppressor pathway has emerged as a critical regulator of tissue growth through controlling cellular processes such as cell proliferation, death, differentiation and stemness. Traditionally, the core cassette of the Hippo pathway includes the MST1/2 protein kinases, the LATS1/2 protein kinases, and the MOB1 scaffold signal transducer, which together regulate the transcriptional co-activator functions of the proto-oncoproteins YAP and TAZ through LATS1/2-mediated phosphorylation of YAP/TAZ. Recent research has identified additional kinases, such as NDR1/2 (also known as STK38/STK38L) and MAP4Ks, which should be considered as novel members of the Hippo core cassette. While these efforts helped to expand our understanding of Hippo core signalling, they also began to provide insights into the complexity and redundancy of the Hippo signalling network. Here, we focus on summarising our current knowledge of the regulation and functions of mammalian NDR kinases, discussing parallels between the NDR pathways in Drosophila and mammals. Initially, we provide a general overview of the cellular functions of NDR kinases in cell cycle progression, centrosome biology, apoptosis, autophagy, DNA damage signalling, immunology and neurobiology. Finally, we put particular emphasis on discussing NDR1/2 as YAP kinases downstream of MST1/2 and MOB1 signalling in Hippo signalling.
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  • 37
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    Molecular Diversity Preservation International (MDPI)
    In: Genes
    Publication Date: 2016-05-27
    Description: Telomerase is a reverse transcriptase capable of utilizing an integrated RNA component as a template to add protective tandem telomeric single strand DNA repeats, TTAGGG, to the ends of chromosomes. Telomere dysfunction and telomerase reactivation are observed in approximately 90% of human cancers; hence, telomerase activation plays a unique role as a nearly universal step on the path to malignancy. In the past two decades, multiple telomerase targeting therapeutic strategies have been pursued, including direct telomerase inhibition, telomerase interference, hTERT or hTERC promoter driven therapy, telomere-based approaches, and telomerase vaccines. Many of these strategies have entered clinical development, and some have now advanced to phase III clinical trials. In the coming years, one or more of these new telomerase-targeting drugs may be expected to enter the pharmacopeia of standard care. Here, we briefly review the molecular functions of telomerase in cancer and provide an update about the preclinical and clinical development of telomerase targeting therapeutics.
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  • 38
    Publication Date: 2016-05-28
    Description: The Hippo signaling pathway regulates cellular proliferation and survival, thus exerting profound effects on normal cell fate and tumorigenesis. Pivotal effectors of this pathway are YAP/TAZ, transcriptional co-activators whose dysfunction contributes to the development of cancer. Complex networks of intracellular and extracellular signaling pathways that modulate YAP and TAZ activities have recently been identified. Among them, KIBRA and PTPN14 are two evolutionarily-conserved and important YAP/TAZ upstream regulators. They can negatively regulate YAP/TAZ functions separately or in concert. In this review, we summarize the current and emerging regulatory roles of KIBRA and PTPN14 in the Hippo pathway and their functions in cancer.
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  • 39
    Publication Date: 2016-08-17
    Description: The family Mactridae is composed of a diverse group of marine organisms, commonly known as trough shells or surf clams, which illustrate a global distribution. Although this family includes some of the most fished and cultured bivalve species, their chromosomes are poorly studied. In this work, we analyzed the chromosomes of Spisula solida, Spisula subtruncata and Mactra stultorum by means of fluorochrome staining, C-banding and fluorescent in situ hybridization using 28S ribosomal DNA (rDNA), 5S rDNA, H3 histone gene and telomeric probes. All three trough shells presented 2n = 38 chromosomes but different karyotype compositions. As happens in most bivalves, GC-rich regions were limited to the nucleolus organizing regions in Spisula solida. In contrast, many GC-rich heterochromatic bands were detected in both Spisula subtruncata and Mactra stultorum. Although the three trough shells presented single 5S rDNA and H3 histone gene clusters, their chromosomal locations differed. Regarding major rDNA clusters, while Spisula subtruncata presented a single cluster, both Spisula solida and Mactra stultorum showed two. No evidence of intercalary telomeric signals was detected in these species. The molecular cytogenetic characterization of these taxa will contribute to understanding the role played by chromosome changes in the evolution of trough shells.
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  • 40
    Publication Date: 2016-08-17
    Description: Long non-coding transcripts from telomeres, called telomeric repeat-containing RNA (TERRA), were identified as blocking telomerase activity (TA), a telomere maintenance mechanism (TMM), in tumors. We expressed recombinant TERRA transcripts in tumor cell lines with TA and with alternative lengthening of telomeres (ALT) to study effects on TMM and cell growth. Adeno- and lentivirus constructs (AV and LV) were established for transient and stable expression of approximately 130 units of telomere hexanucleotide repeats under control of cytomegalovirus (CMV) and human RNase P RNA H1 (hH1) promoters with and without polyadenylation, respectively. Six human tumor cell lines either using telomerase or ALT were infected and analyzed for TA levels. Pre-infection cells using telomerase had 1%–3% of the TERRA expression levels of ALT cells. AV and LV expression of recombinant TERRA in telomerase positive cells showed a 1.3–2.6 fold increase in TERRA levels, and a decrease in TA of 25%–58%. Dominant-negative or small hairpin RNA (shRNA) viral expression against human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT) results in senescence, not induced by TERRA expression. Population doubling time, cell viability and TL (telomere length) were not impacted by ectopic TERRA expression. Clonal growth was reduced by TERRA expression in TA but not ALT cell lines. ALT cells were not affected by treatments applied. Established cell models and tools may be used to better understand the role of TERRA in the cell, especially for targeting telomerase.
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  • 41
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    Molecular Diversity Preservation International (MDPI)
    In: Genes
    Publication Date: 2016-08-18
    Description: Recombinational repair processes multiple types of DNA lesions. Though best understood in the repair of DNA breaks, recombinational repair is intimately linked to other situations encountered during replication. As DNA strands are decorated with many types of blocks that impede the replication machinery, a great number of genomic regions cannot be duplicated without the help of recombinational repair. This replication-associated recombinational repair employs both the core recombination proteins used for DNA break repair and the specialized factors that couple replication with repair. Studies from multiple organisms have provided insights into the roles of these specialized factors, with the findings in budding yeast being advanced through use of powerful genetics and methods for detecting DNA replication and repair intermediates. In this review, we summarize recent progress made in this organism, ranging from our understanding of the classical template switch mechanisms to gap filling and replication fork regression pathways. As many of the protein factors and biological principles uncovered in budding yeast are conserved in higher eukaryotes, these findings are crucial for stimulating studies in more complex organisms.
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  • 42
    Publication Date: 2016-08-20
    Description: Recombinase enzymes catalyse invasion of single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) into homologous duplex DNA forming “Displacement loops” (D-loops), a process called synapsis. This triggers homologous recombination (HR), which can follow several possible paths to underpin DNA repair and restart of blocked and collapsed DNA replication forks. Therefore, synapsis can be a checkpoint for controlling whether or not, how far, and by which pathway, HR proceeds to overcome an obstacle or break in a replication fork. Synapsis can be antagonized by limiting access of a recombinase to ssDNA and by dissociation of D-loops or heteroduplex formed by synapsis. Antagonists include DNA helicases and translocases that are identifiable in eukaryotes, bacteria and archaea, and which target synaptic and pre-synaptic DNA structures thereby controlling HR at early stages. Here we survey these events with emphasis on enabling DNA replication to be resumed from sites of blockage or collapse. We also note how knowledge of anti-recombination activities could be useful to improve efficiency of CRISPR-based genome editing.
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  • 43
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    Molecular Diversity Preservation International (MDPI)
    In: Genes
    Publication Date: 2016-08-20
    Description: The human cellular genome is under constant stress from extrinsic and intrinsic factors, which can lead to DNA damage and defective replication. In normal cells, DNA damage response (DDR) mediated by various checkpoints will either activate the DNA repair system or induce cellular apoptosis/senescence, therefore maintaining overall genomic integrity. Cancer cells, however, due to constitutive growth signaling and defective DDR, may exhibit “replication stress” —a phenomenon unique to cancer cells that is described as the perturbation of error-free DNA replication and slow-down of DNA synthesis. Although replication stress has been proven to induce genomic instability and tumorigenesis, recent studies have counterintuitively shown that enhancing replicative stress through further loosening of the remaining checkpoints in cancer cells to induce their catastrophic failure of proliferation may provide an alternative therapeutic approach. In this review, we discuss the rationale to enhance replicative stress in cancer cells, past approaches using traditional radiation and chemotherapy, and emerging approaches targeting the signaling cascades induced by DNA damage. We also summarize current clinical trials exploring these strategies and propose future research directions including the use of combination therapies, and the identification of potential new targets and biomarkers to track and predict treatment responses to targeting DNA replication stress.
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  • 44
    Publication Date: 2016-08-21
    Description: The 14-3-3 family of phosphorylated serine-binding proteins acts as signaling molecules in biological processes such as metabolism, division, differentiation, autophagy, and apoptosis. Herein, we report the requirement of 14-3-3ɛ isoform from Tenebrio molitor (Tm14-3-3ɛ) in the hemocyte antimicrobial activity. The Tm14-3-3ɛ transcript is 771 nucleotides in length and encodes a polypeptide of 256 amino acid residues. The protein has the typical 14-3-3 domain, the nuclear export signal (NES) sequence, and the peptide binding residues. The Tm14-3-3ɛ transcript shows a significant three-fold expression in the hemocyte of T. molitor larvae when infected with Escherichia coli Tm14-3-3ɛ silenced larvae show significantly lower survival rates when infected with E. coli. Under Tm14-3-3ɛ silenced condition, a strong antimicrobial activity is elicited in the hemocyte of the host inoculated with E. coli. This suggests impaired secretion of antimicrobial peptides (AMP) into the hemolymph. Furthermore, a reduction in AMP secretion under Tm14-3-3ɛ silenced condition would be responsible for loss in the capacity to kill bacteria and might explain the reduced survivability of the larvae upon E. coli challenge. This shows that Tm14-3-3ɛ is required to maintain innate immunity in T. molitor by enabling antimicrobial secretion into the hemolymph and explains the functional specialization of the isoform.
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  • 45
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    Molecular Diversity Preservation International (MDPI)
    In: Genes
    Publication Date: 2016-08-31
    Description: The Hippo signaling pathway is a highly-conserved developmental pathway that plays an essential role in organ size control, tumor suppression, tissue regeneration and stem cell self-renewal. The YES-associated protein (YAP) and the transcriptional co-activator with PDZ-binding motif (TAZ) are two important transcriptional co-activators that are negatively regulated by the Hippo signaling pathway. By binding to transcription factors, especially the TEA domain transcription factors (TEADs), YAP and TAZ induce the expression of growth-promoting genes, which can promote organ regeneration after injury. Therefore, controlled activation of YAP and TAZ can be useful for regenerative medicine. However, aberrant activation of YAP and TAZ due to deregulation of the Hippo pathway or overexpression of YAP/TAZ and TEADs can promote cancer development. Hence, pharmacological inhibition of YAP and TAZ may be a useful approach to treat tumors with high YAP and/or TAZ activity. In this review, we present the mechanisms regulating the Hippo pathway, the role of the Hippo pathway in tissue repair and cancer, as well as a detailed analysis of the different strategies to target the Hippo signaling pathway and the genes regulated by YAP and TAZ for regenerative medicine and cancer therapy.
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  • 46
    Publication Date: 2016-09-03
    Description: The article summarizes over 20 years of experience of a reference lab in fragile X mental retardation 1 gene (FMR1) molecular analysis in the molecular diagnosis of fragile X spectrum disorders. This includes fragile X syndrome (FXS), fragile X-associated primary ovarian insufficiency (FXPOI) and fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome (FXTAS), which are three different clinical conditions with the same molecular background. They are all associated with an expansion of CGG repeats in the 5′UTR of FMR1 gene. Until 2016, the FMR1 gene was tested in 9185 individuals with the pre-screening PCR, supplemented with Southern blot analysis and/or Triplet Repeat Primed PCR based method. This approach allowed us to confirm the diagnosis of FXS, FXPOI FXTAS in 636/9131 (6.96%), 4/43 (9.3%) and 3/11 (27.3%) of the studied cases, respectively. Moreover, the FXS carrier status was established in 389 individuals. The technical aspect of the molecular analysis is very important in diagnosis of FXS-related disorders. The new methods were subsequently implemented in our laboratory. This allowed the significance of the Southern blot technique to be decreased until its complete withdrawal. Our experience points out the necessity of implementation of the GeneScan based methods to simplify the testing procedure as well as to obtain more information for the patient, especially if TP-PCR based methods are used.
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  • 47
    Publication Date: 2016-06-18
    Description: Aging is one major risk factor for the incidence of cardiovascular diseases and the development of atherosclerosis. One important enzyme known to be involved in aging processes is Telomerase Reverse Transcriptase (TERT). After the discovery of the enzyme in humans, TERT had initially only been attributed to germ line cells, stem cells and cancer cells. However, over the last few years it has become clear that TERT is also active in cells of the cardiovascular system including cardiac myocytes, endothelial cells, smooth muscle cells and fibroblasts. Interference with the activity of this enzyme greatly contributes to cardiovascular diseases. This review will summarize the findings on the role of TERT in cardiovascular cells. Moreover, recent findings concerning TERT in different mouse models with respect to cardiovascular diseases will be described. Finally, the extranuclear functions of TERT will be covered within this review.
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  • 48
    Publication Date: 2016-06-18
    Description: The MST/Hippo signalling pathway was first described over a decade ago in Drosophila melanogaster and the core of the pathway is evolutionary conserved in mammals. The mammalian MST/Hippo pathway regulates organ size, cell proliferation and cell death. In addition, it has been shown to play a central role in the regulation of cellular homeostasis and it is commonly deregulated in human tumours. The delineation of the canonical pathway resembles the behaviour of the Hippo pathway in the fly where the activation of the core kinases of the pathway prevents the proliferative signal mediated by the key effector of the pathway YAP. Nevertheless, several lines of evidence support the idea that the mammalian MST/Hippo pathway has acquired new features during evolution, including different regulators and effectors, crosstalk with other essential signalling pathways involved in cellular homeostasis and the ability to actively trigger cell death. Here we describe the current knowledge of the mechanisms that mediate MST/Hippo dependent cell death, especially apoptosis. We include evidence for the existence of complex signalling networks where the core proteins of the pathway play a central role in controlling the balance between survival and cell death. Finally, we discuss the possible involvement of these signalling networks in several human diseases such as cancer, diabetes and neurodegenerative disorders.
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  • 49
    Publication Date: 2016-06-29
    Description: Telomerase, regulated primarily by the transcription of its catalytic subunit telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT), is critical for controlling cell proliferation and tissue homeostasis by maintaining telomere length. Although there is a high conservation between human and mouse TERT genes, the regulation of their transcription is significantly different in these two species. Whereas mTERT expression is widely detected in adult mice, hTERT is expressed at extremely low levels in most adult human tissues and cells. As a result, mice do not exhibit telomere-mediated replicative aging, but telomere shortening is a critical factor of human aging and its stabilization is essential for cancer development in humans. The chromatin environment and epigenetic modifications of the hTERT locus, the binding of transcriptional factors to its promoter, and recruitment of nucleosome modifying complexes all play essential roles in restricting its transcription in different cell types. In this review, we will discuss recent progress in understanding the molecular mechanisms of TERT regulation in human and mouse tissues and cells, and during cancer development.
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  • 50
    Publication Date: 2016-09-01
    Description: DNA is constantly exposed to both endogenous and exogenous damages. More than 10,000 DNA modifications are induced every day in each cell’s genome. Maintenance of the integrity of the genome is accomplished by several DNA repair systems. The core enzymes for these pathways are the DNA polymerases. Out of 17 DNA polymerases present in a mammalian cell, at least 13 are specifically devoted to DNA repair and are often acting in different pathways. DNA polymerases β and λ are involved in base excision repair of modified DNA bases and translesion synthesis past DNA lesions. Polymerase λ also participates in non-homologous end joining of DNA double-strand breaks. However, recent data have revealed that, depending on their relative levels, the cell cycle phase, the ratio between deoxy- and ribo-nucleotide pools and the interaction with particular auxiliary proteins, the repair reactions carried out by these enzymes can be an important source of genetic instability, owing to repair mistakes. This review summarizes the most recent results on the ambivalent properties of these enzymes in limiting or promoting genetic instability in mammalian cells, as well as their potential use as targets for anticancer chemotherapy.
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  • 51
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    Molecular Diversity Preservation International (MDPI)
    In: Genes
    Publication Date: 2016-09-02
    Description: Telomeres are tandem repeat DNA sequences present at the ends of each eukaryotic chromosome to stabilize the genome structure integrity. Telomere lengths progressively shorten with each cell division. Inflammation and oxidative stress, which are implicated as major mechanisms underlying cardiovascular diseases, increase the rate of telomere shortening and lead to cellular senescence. In clinical studies, cardiovascular risk factors such as smoking, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, and hypertension have been associated with short leukocyte telomere length. In addition, low telomerase activity and short leukocyte telomere length have been observed in atherosclerotic plaque and associated with plaque instability, thus stroke or acute myocardial infarction. The aging myocardium with telomere shortening and accumulation of senescent cells limits the tissue regenerative capacity, contributing to systolic or diastolic heart failure. In addition, patients with ion-channel defects might have genetic imbalance caused by oxidative stress-related accelerated telomere shortening, which may subsequently cause sudden cardiac death. Telomere length can serve as a marker for the biological status of previous cell divisions and DNA damage with inflammation and oxidative stress. It can be integrated into current risk prediction and stratification models for cardiovascular diseases and can be used in precise personalized treatments. In this review, we summarize the current understanding of telomeres and telomerase in the aging process and their association with cardiovascular diseases. In addition, we discuss therapeutic interventions targeting the telomere system in cardiovascular disease treatments.
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  • 52
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    Molecular Diversity Preservation International (MDPI)
    In: Genes
    Publication Date: 2016-07-22
    Description: Telomere length and cell function can be preserved by the human reverse transcriptase telomerase (hTERT), which synthesizes the new telomeric DNA from a RNA template, but is normally restricted to cells needing a high proliferative capacity, such as stem cells. Consequently, telomerase-based therapies to elongate short telomeres are developed, some of which have successfully reached the stage I in clinical trials. Telomerase is also permissive for tumorigenesis and 90% of all malignant tumors use telomerase to obtain immortality. Thus, reversal of telomerase upregulation in tumor cells is a potential strategy to treat cancer. Natural and small-molecule telomerase inhibitors, immunotherapeutic approaches, oligonucleotide inhibitors, and telomerase-directed gene therapy are useful treatment strategies. Telomerase is more widely expressed than any other tumor marker. The low expression in normal tissues, together with the longer telomeres in normal stem cells versus cancer cells, provides some degree of specificity with low risk of toxicity. However, long term telomerase inhibition may elicit negative effects in highly-proliferative cells which need telomerase for survival, and it may interfere with telomere-independent physiological functions. Moreover, only a few hTERT molecules are required to overcome senescence in cancer cells, and telomerase inhibition requires proliferating cells over a sufficient number of population doublings to induce tumor suppressive senescence. These limitations may explain the moderate success rates in many clinical studies. Despite extensive studies, only one vaccine and one telomerase antagonist are routinely used in clinical work. For complete eradication of all subpopulations of cancer cells a simultaneous targeting of several mechanisms will likely be needed. Possible technical improvements have been proposed including the development of more specific inhibitors, methods to increase the efficacy of vaccination methods, and personalized approaches. Telomerase activation and cell rejuvenation is successfully used in regenerative medicine for tissue engineering and reconstructive surgery. However, there are also a number of pitfalls in the treatment with telomerase activating procedures for the whole organism and for longer periods of time. Extended cell lifespan may accumulate rare genetic and epigenetic aberrations that can contribute to malignant transformation. Therefore, novel vector systems have been developed for a ‘mild’ integration of telomerase into the host genome and loss of the vector in rapidly-proliferating cells. It is currently unclear if this technique can also be used in human beings to treat chronic diseases, such as atherosclerosis.
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  • 53
    Publication Date: 2016-07-23
    Description: An aquatic gastropod belonging to the family Neritidae, Clithon retropictus is listed as an endangered class II species in South Korea. The lack of information on its genomic background limits the ability to obtain functional data resources and inhibits informed conservation planning for this species. In the present study, the transcriptomic sequencing and de novo assembly of C. retropictus generated a total of 241,696,750 high-quality reads. These assembled to 282,838 unigenes with mean and N50 lengths of 736.9 and 1201 base pairs, respectively. Of these, 125,616 unigenes were subjected to annotation analysis with known proteins in Protostome DB, COG, GO, and KEGG protein databases (BLASTX; E ≤ 0.00001) and with known nucleotides in the Unigene database (BLASTN; E ≤ 0.00001). The GO analysis indicated that cellular process, cell, and catalytic activity are the predominant GO terms in the biological process, cellular component, and molecular function categories, respectively. In addition, 2093 unigenes were distributed in 107 different KEGG pathways. Furthermore, 49,280 simple sequence repeats were identified in the unigenes (>1 kilobase sequences). This is the first report on the identification of transcriptomic and microsatellite resources for C. retropictus, which opens up the possibility of exploring traits related to the adaptation and acclimatization of this species.
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  • 54
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    Molecular Diversity Preservation International (MDPI)
    In: Genes
    Publication Date: 2016-08-06
    Description: The Hippo signalling pathway has recently emerged as an important regulator of cell apoptosis and proliferation with significant implications in human diseases. In mammals, the pathway contains the core kinases MST1/2, which phosphorylate and activate LATS1/2 kinases. The pro-apoptotic function of the MST/LATS signalling axis was previously linked to the Akt and ERK MAPK pathways, demonstrating that the Hippo pathway does not act alone but crosstalks with other signalling pathways to coordinate network dynamics and cellular outcomes. These crosstalks were characterised by a multitude of complex regulatory mechanisms involving competitive protein-protein interactions and phosphorylation mediated feedback loops. However, how these different mechanisms interplay in different cellular contexts to drive the context-specific network dynamics of Hippo-ERK signalling remains elusive. Using mathematical modelling and computational analysis, we uncovered that the Hippo-ERK network can generate highly diverse dynamical profiles that can be clustered into distinct dose-response patterns. For each pattern, we offered mechanistic explanation that defines when and how the observed phenomenon can arise. We demonstrated that Akt displays opposing, dose-dependent functions towards ERK, which are mediated by the balance between the Raf-1/MST2 protein interaction module and the LATS1 mediated feedback regulation. Moreover, Ras displays a multi-functional role and drives biphasic responses of both MST2 and ERK activities; which are critically governed by the competitive protein interaction between MST2 and Raf-1. Our study represents the first in-depth and systematic analysis of the Hippo-ERK network dynamics and provides a concrete foundation for future studies.
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  • 55
    Publication Date: 2016-07-02
    Description: Topoisomerase 2 (Top2) is an essential enzyme responsible for manipulating DNA topology during replication, transcription, chromosome organization and chromosome segregation. It acts by nicking both strands of DNA and then passes another DNA molecule through the break. The 5′ end of each nick is covalently linked to the tyrosine in the active center of each of the two subunits of Top2 (Top2cc). In this configuration, the two sides of the nicked DNA are held together by the strong protein-protein interactions between the two subunits of Top2, allowing the nicks to be faithfully resealed in situ. Top2ccs are normally transient, but can be trapped by cancer drugs, such as etoposide, and subsequently processed into DSBs in cells. If not properly repaired, these DSBs would lead to genome instability and cell death. Here, I review the current understanding of the mechanisms by which DSBs are induced by etoposide, the unique features of such DSBs and how they are repaired. Implications for the improvement of cancer therapy will be discussed.
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  • 56
    Publication Date: 2016-07-06
    Description: In replication-limited cells of Bacillus subtilis, Mfd is mutagenic at highly transcribed regions, even in the absence of bulky DNA lesions. However, the mechanism leading to increased mutagenesis through Mfd remains currently unknown. Here, we report that Mfd may promote mutagenesis in nutritionally stressed B. subtilis cells by coordinating error-prone repair events mediated by UvrA, MutY and PolI. Using a point-mutated gene conferring leucine auxotrophy as a genetic marker, it was found that the absence of UvrA reduced the Leu+ revertants and that a second mutation in mfd reduced mutagenesis further. Moreover, the mfd and polA mutants presented low but similar reversion frequencies compared to the parental strain. These results suggest that Mfd promotes mutagenic events that required the participation of NER pathway and PolI. Remarkably, this Mfd-dependent mutagenic pathway was found to be epistatic onto MutY; however, whereas the MutY-dependent Leu+ reversions required Mfd, a direct interaction between these proteins was not apparent. In summary, our results support the concept that Mfd promotes mutagenesis in starved B. subtilis cells by coordinating both known and previously unknown Mfd-associated repair pathways. These mutagenic processes bias the production of genetic diversity towards highly transcribed regions in the genome.
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  • 57
    Publication Date: 2016-07-10
    Description: The thyroid gland is an important endocrine organ modulating development, growth, and metabolism, mainly by controlling the synthesis and secretion of thyroid hormones (THs). However, little is known about the pig thyroid transcriptome. Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) regulate gene expression and play critical roles in many cellular processes. Yorkshire pigs have a higher growth rate but lower fat deposition than that of Jinhua pigs, and thus, these species are ideal models for studying growth and lipid metabolism. This study revealed higher levels of THs in the serum of Yorkshire pigs than in the serum of Jinhua pigs. By using Ribo-zero RNA sequencing—which can capture both polyA and non-polyA transcripts—the thyroid transcriptome of both breeds were analyzed and 22,435 known mRNAs were found to be expressed in the pig thyroid. In addition, 1189 novel mRNAs and 1018 candidate lncRNA transcripts were detected. Multiple TH-synthesis-related genes were identified among the 455 differentially-expressed known mRNAs, 37 novel mRNAs, and 52 lncRNA transcripts. Bioinformatics analysis revealed that differentially-expressed genes were enriched in the microtubule-based process, which contributes to THs secretion. Moreover, integrating analysis predicted 13 potential lncRNA-mRNA gene pairs. These data expanded the repertoire of porcine lncRNAs and mRNAs and contribute to understanding the possible molecular mechanisms involved in animal growth and lipid metabolism.
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  • 58
    Publication Date: 2016-07-16
    Description: The swine leukocyte antigens (SLAs) are the multigene families related to immune responses. Little is known about the effect of the DRA gene on diarrheal disease. This study reported the genetic diversity of the DRA gene in exons 1, 3 and 4 in 290 Chinese Yantai black pigs. No variation was identified in exon 3. In exon 1, three genotypes and two alleles were identified, generated by two single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). In exon 4, there were eight genotypes and five alleles containing seven SNPs were detected with four SNPs being novel SNPs. The low polymorphism found in swine DRA is consistent with the concept that the DRA gene is highly conserved among all mammalian species. Statistical analyses indicated that the genotypes of exon 1 were not significantly associated with piglet diarrhea (p > 0.05); however, genotypes C4C4 (1.80 ± 0.33) and A4E4 (1.66 ± 0.25) of exon 4 were significantly susceptible to diarrhea (p 〈 0.01). These indicate that the particular genotypes of the DRA gene are susceptible to diarrheal disease, which provides valuable information for disease-resistance breeding in swine.
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  • 59
    Publication Date: 2016-07-19
    Description: The accumulated evidence has pointed to a key role of telomerase in carcinogenesis. As a RNA-dependent DNA polymerase, telomerase synthesizes telomeric DNA at the end of linear chromosomes, and attenuates or prevents telomere erosion associated with cell divisions. By lengthening telomeres, telomerase extends cellular life-span or even induces immortalization. Consistent with its functional activity, telomerase is silent in most human normal somatic cells while active only in germ-line, stem and other highly proliferative cells. In contrast, telomerase activation widely occurs in human cancer and the enzymatic activity is detectable in up to 90% of malignancies. Recently, hotspot point mutations in the regulatory region of the telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) gene, encoding the core catalytic component of telomerase, was identified as a novel mechanism to activate telomerase in cancer. This review discusses the cancer-specific TERT promoter mutations and potential biological and clinical significances.
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  • 60
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    Molecular Diversity Preservation International (MDPI)
    In: Genes
    Publication Date: 2016-07-19
    Description: Genome sequencing is now a common procedure, but prior to this, screening experiments using protein baits was one of the routinely used methods that, occasionally, allowed the identification of new gene products. One such experiment uncovered the gene product called willin/human Expanded/FRMD6. Initial characterization studies found that willin bound phospholipids and was strongly co-localised with actin. However, subsequently, willin was found to be the closest human sequence homologue of the Drosophila protein Expanded (Ex), sharing 60% homology with the Ex FERM domain. This in turn suggested, and then was proven that willin could activate the Hippo signalling pathway. This review describes the increasing body of knowledge about the actions of willin in a number of cellular functions related to cancer. However, like many gene products involved in aspects of cell signalling, a convincing direct role for willin in cancer remains tantalisingly elusive, at present.
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  • 61
    Publication Date: 2016-06-17
    Description: Changes in hTERT splice variant expression have been proposed to facilitate the decrease of telomerase activity during fetal development in various human tissues. Here, we analyzed the expression of telomerase RNA (hTR), wild type and α-spliced hTERT in developing human fetal brain (post conception weeks, pcw, 6–19) and in young and old cortices using qPCR and correlated it to telomerase activity measured by TRAP assay. Decrease of telomerase activity occurred early during brain development and correlated strongest to decreased hTR expression. The expression of α-spliced hTERT increased between pcw 10 and 19, while that of wild type hTERT remained unchanged. Lack of expression differences between young and old cortices suggests that most changes seem to occur early during human brain development. Using in vitro differentiation of neural precursor stem cells (NPSCs) derived at pcw 6 we found a decrease in telomerase activity but no major expression changes in telomerase associated genes. Thus, they do not seem to model the mechanisms for the decrease in telomerase activity in fetal brains. Our results suggest that decreased hTR levels, as well as transient increase in α-spliced hTERT, might both contribute to downregulation of telomerase activity during early human brain development between 6 and 17 pcw.
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  • 62
    Publication Date: 2016-07-02
    Description: Mounting evidence indicates that alternate DNA structures, which deviate from normal double helical DNA, form in vivo and influence cellular processes such as replication and transcription. However, our understanding of how the cellular machinery deals with unusual DNA structures such as G-quadruplexes (G4), triplexes, or hairpins is only beginning to emerge. New advances in the field implicate a direct role of the Fanconi Anemia Group J (FANCJ) helicase, which is linked to a hereditary chromosomal instability disorder and important for cancer suppression, in replication past unusual DNA obstacles. This work sets the stage for significant progress in dissecting the molecular mechanisms whereby replication perturbation by abnormal DNA structures leads to genomic instability. In this review, we focus on FANCJ and its role to enable efficient DNA replication when the fork encounters vastly abundant naturally occurring DNA obstacles, which may have implications for targeting rapidly dividing cancer cells.
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  • 63
    Publication Date: 2016-07-26
    Description: Duplication of bacterial chromosomes is initiated via the assembly of two replication forks at a single defined origin. Forks proceed bi-directionally until they fuse in a specialised termination area opposite the origin. This area is flanked by polar replication fork pause sites that allow forks to enter but not to leave. The precise function of this replication fork trap has remained enigmatic, as no obvious phenotypes have been associated with its inactivation. However, the fork trap becomes a serious problem to cells if the second fork is stalled at an impediment, as replication cannot be completed, suggesting that a significant evolutionary advantage for maintaining this chromosomal arrangement must exist. Recently, we demonstrated that head-on fusion of replication forks can trigger over-replication of the chromosome. This over-replication is normally prevented by a number of proteins including RecG helicase and 3’ exonucleases. However, even in the absence of these proteins it can be safely contained within the replication fork trap, highlighting that multiple systems might be involved in coordinating replication fork fusions. Here, we discuss whether considering the problems associated with head-on replication fork fusion events helps us to better understand the important role of the replication fork trap in cellular metabolism.
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  • 64
    Publication Date: 2016-07-28
    Description: We report on two brothers with visual impairment, and non-syndromic alopecia in the elder proband. The parents were first-degree Pakistani cousins. Whole exome sequencing of the elder brother and parents, followed by Sanger sequencing of all four family members, led to the identification of the variants responsible for the two phenotypes. One variant was a homozygous nonsense variant in the inhibitory subunit of the cone-specific cGMP phosphodiesterase gene, PDE6H:c.35C>G (p.Ser12*). PDE6H is expressed in the cones of the retina, which are involved in perception of color vision. This is the second report of a homozygous PDE6H:c.35C>G variant causing incomplete achromatopsia (OMIM 610024), thus strongly supporting the hypothesis that loss-of-function variants in PDE6H cause this visual deficiency phenotype. The second variant was a homozygous missense substitution in the lysophosphatidic acid receptor 6, LPAR6:c.188A>T (p.Asp63Val). LPAR6 acts as a G-protein-coupled receptor involved in hair growth. Biallelic loss-of-function variants in LPAR6 cause hypotrichosis type 8 (OMIM 278150), with or without woolly hair, a form of non-syndromic alopecia. Biallelic LPAR6:c.188A>T was previously described in five families from Pakistan.
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  • 65
    Publication Date: 2016-07-30
    Description: Accessory replicative helicases aid the primary replicative helicase in duplicating protein-bound DNA, especially transcribed DNA. Recombination enzymes also aid genome duplication by facilitating the repair of DNA lesions via strand exchange and also processing of blocked fork DNA to generate structures onto which the replisome can be reloaded. There is significant interplay between accessory helicases and recombination enzymes in both bacteria and lower eukaryotes but how these replication repair systems interact to ensure efficient genome duplication remains unclear. Here, we demonstrate that the DNA content defects of Escherichia coli cells lacking the strand exchange protein RecA are driven primarily by conflicts between replication and transcription, as is the case in cells lacking the accessory helicase Rep. However, in contrast to Rep, neither RecA nor RecBCD, the helicase/exonuclease that loads RecA onto dsDNA ends, is important for maintaining rapid chromosome duplication. Furthermore, RecA and RecBCD together can sustain viability in the absence of accessory replicative helicases but only when transcriptional barriers to replication are suppressed by an RNA polymerase mutation. Our data indicate that the minimisation of replisome pausing by accessory helicases has a more significant impact on successful completion of chromosome duplication than recombination-directed fork repair.
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  • 66
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    Molecular Diversity Preservation International (MDPI)
    In: Genes
    Publication Date: 2016-07-30
    Description: High telomerase activity is detected in nearly all human cancers but most human cells are devoid of telomerase activity. There is well-documented evidence that reactivation of telomerase occurs during cellular transformation. In humans, tumors can rely in reactivation of telomerase or originate in a telomerase positive stem/progenitor cell, or rely in alternative lengthening of telomeres, a telomerase-independent telomere-length maintenance mechanism. In this review, we will focus on the telomerase positive tumors. In this context, the recent findings that telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) promoter mutations represent the most common non-coding mutations in human cancer have flared up the long-standing discussion whether cancer originates from telomerase positive stem cells or telomerase reactivation is a final step in cellular transformation. Here, we will discuss the pros and cons of both concepts in the context of telomere length-dependent and telomere length-independent functions of telomerase. Together, these observations may provoke a re-evaluation of telomere and telomerase based therapies, both in telomerase inhibition for cancer therapy and telomerase activation for tissue regeneration and anti-ageing strategies.
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  • 67
    Publication Date: 2016-08-11
    Description: Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is a form of inherited mental retardation that results from the absence of the fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP), the product of the Fmr1 gene. Numerous studies have shown that FMRP expression in astrocytes is important in the development of FXS. Although astrocytes affect neuronal dendrite development in Fmr1 knockout (KO) mice, the factors released by astrocytes are still unclear. We cultured wild type (WT) cortical neurons in astrocyte-conditioned medium (ACM) from WT or Fmr1 KO mice. Immunocytochemistry and Western blotting were performed to detect the dendritic growth of both WT and KO neurons. We determined glutamate and γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) levels using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). The total neuronal dendritic length was reduced when cultured in the Fmr1 KO ACM. This neurotoxicity was triggered by an imbalanced release of glutamate and GABA from Fmr1 KO astrocytes. We found increased glutaminase and GABA transaminase (GABA-T) expression and decreased monoamine oxidase B expression in Fmr1 KO astrocytes. The elevated levels of glutamate contributed to oxidative stress in the cultured neurons. Vigabatrin (VGB), a GABA-T inhibitor, reversed the changes caused by glutamate and GABA release in Fmr1 KO astrocytes and the abnormal behaviors in Fmr1 KO mice. Our results indicate that the imbalance in the astrocytic glutamate and GABA release may be involved in the neuropathology and the underlying symptoms of FXS, and provides a therapeutic target for treatment.
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  • 68
    Publication Date: 2016-08-19
    Description: Embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells have the ability to maintain their telomere length via expression of an enzymatic complex called telomerase. Similarly, more than 85%–90% of cancer cells are found to upregulate the expression of telomerase, conferring them with the potential to proliferate indefinitely. Telomerase Reverse Transcriptase (TERT), the catalytic subunit of telomerase holoenzyme, is the rate-limiting factor in reconstituting telomerase activity in vivo. To date, the expression and function of the human Telomerase Reverse Transcriptase (hTERT) gene are known to be regulated at various molecular levels (including genetic, mRNA, protein and subcellular localization) by a number of diverse factors. Among these means of regulation, transcription modulation is the most important, as evident in its tight regulation in cancer cell survival as well as pluripotent stem cell maintenance and differentiation. Here, we discuss how hTERT gene transcription is regulated, mainly focusing on the contribution of trans-acting factors such as transcription factors and epigenetic modifiers, as well as genetic alterations in hTERT proximal promoter.
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  • 69
    Publication Date: 2016-09-22
    Description: Mosaicism for FMR1 premutation (PM: 55–199 CGG)/full mutation (FM: >200 CGG) alleles or the presence of unmethylated FM (UFM) have been associated with a less severe fragile X syndrome (FXS) phenotype and fragile X associated tremor/ataxia syndrome (FXTAS)—a late onset neurodegenerative disorder. We describe a 38 year old male carrying a 100% methylated FM detected with Southern blot (SB), which is consistent with complete silencing of FMR1 and a diagnosis of fragile X syndrome. However, his formal cognitive scores were not at the most severe end of the FXS phenotype and he displayed tremor and ataxic gait. With the association of UFM with FXTAS, we speculated that his ataxia might be related to an undetected proportion of UFM alleles. Such UFM alleles were confirmed by more sensitive PCR based methylation testing showing FM methylation between 60% and 70% in blood, buccal, and saliva samples and real-time PCR analysis showing incomplete silencing of FMR1. While he did not meet diagnostic criteria for FXTAS based on MRI findings, the underlying cause of his ataxia may be related to UFM alleles not detected by SB, and follow-up clinical and molecular assessment are justified if his symptoms worsen.
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  • 70
    Publication Date: 2016-09-22
    Description: Defects in coordinated ribosomal RNA (rRNA) transcription in the nucleolus cause cellular and organismal growth deficiencies. Bloom’s syndrome, an autosomal recessive human disorder caused by mutated recQ-like helicase BLM, presents with growth defects suggestive of underlying defects in rRNA transcription. Our previous studies showed that BLM facilitates rRNA transcription and interacts with RNA polymerase I and topoisomerase I (TOP1) in the nucleolus. The mechanisms regulating localization of BLM to the nucleolus are unknown. In this study, we identify the TOP1-interaction region of BLM by co-immunoprecipitation of in vitro transcribed and translated BLM segments and show that this region includes the highly conserved nuclear localization sequence (NLS) of BLM. Biochemical and nucleolar co-localization studies using site-specific mutants show that two serines within the NLS (S1342 and S1345) are critical for nucleolar localization of BLM but do not affect the functional interaction of BLM with TOP1. Mutagenesis of both serines to aspartic acid (phospho-mimetic), but not alanine (phospho-dead), results in approximately 80% reduction in nucleolar localization of BLM while retaining the biochemical functions and nuclear localization of BLM. Our studies suggest a role for this region in regulating nucleolar localization of BLM via modification of the two serines within the NLS.
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  • 71
    Publication Date: 2016-09-22
    Description: The gene encoding DNA polymerase θ (Polθ) was discovered over ten years ago as having a role in suppressing genome instability in mammalian cells. Studies have now clearly documented an essential function for this unique A-family polymerase in the double-strand break (DSB) repair pathway alternative end-joining (alt-EJ), also known as microhomology-mediated end-joining (MMEJ), in metazoans. Biochemical and cellular studies show that Polθ exhibits a unique ability to perform alt-EJ and during this process the polymerase generates insertion mutations due to its robust terminal transferase activity which involves template-dependent and independent modes of DNA synthesis. Intriguingly, the POLQ gene also encodes for a conserved superfamily 2 Hel308-type ATP-dependent helicase domain which likely assists in alt-EJ and was reported to suppress homologous recombination (HR) via its anti-recombinase activity. Here, we review our current knowledge of Polθ-mediated end-joining, the specific activities of the polymerase and helicase domains, and put into perspective how this multifunctional enzyme promotes alt-EJ repair of DSBs formed during S and G2 cell cycle phases.
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  • 72
    Publication Date: 2016-09-24
    Description: Proximity ligation assays such as circularized chromosome conformation capture and high-throughput chromosome capture assays have shed light on the structural organization of the interphase genome. Functional topologically associating domains (TADs) that constitute the building blocks of genomic organization are disrupted and reconstructed during the cell cycle. Epigenetic memory, as well as the sequence of chromosomes, regulate TAD reconstitution. Sub-TAD domains that are invariant across cell types have been identified, and contacts between these domains, rather than looping, are speculated to drive chromatin folding. Replication domains are established simultaneously with TADs during the cell cycle and the two correlate well in terms of characteristic features, such as lamin association and histone modifications. CCCTC-binding factor (CTCF) and cohesin cooperate across different cell types to regulate genes and genome organization. CTCF elements that demarcate TAD boundaries are commonly disrupted in cancer and promote oncogene activation. Chromatin looping facilitates interactions between distant promoters and enhancers, and the resulting enhanceosome complex promotes gene expression. Deciphering the chromatin tangle requires comprehensive integrative analyses of DNA- and protein-dependent factors that regulate genomic organization.
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  • 73
    Publication Date: 2016-09-28
    Description: Globozoospermia is a rare (prevalence of 〈0.1%) but severe male infertility condition. In our previous study, we found that robust KIFC1 immunostaining was detected in the human elongating/elongated spermatids during human acrosomogenesis. However, the relationship between the decreased expression of KIFC1 and human globozoospermia remains largely unknown. Testicular biopsies of 30 globozoospermia and 30 obstructive azoospermia patients who underwent infertility evaluation and treatment were utilized in this study. Reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), Western blots, immunohistochemistry, an in vivo model, and intratesticular injection of small inhibitory RNA (siRNA) against the Kifc1 gene were employed, and sperm abnormalities were evaluated by hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) staining and immunocytochemistry. We revealed that the testicular level of KIFC1 mRNA in globozoospermia was significantly reduced compared with that in obstructive azoospermia, and the KIFC1 protein was barely detectable in testicular specimens in 30% (9 of 30) of patients with globozoospermia. Furthermore, knockdown of the Kifc1 gene in mice increased the percentage of sperm with globozoospermic defects (26.5%). Decreased KIFC1 expression was mainly observed in the testes of patients with globozoospermia at the spermatid stage, which may be useful for counseling and management of such patients.
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  • 74
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    Molecular Diversity Preservation International (MDPI)
    In: Genes
    Publication Date: 2016-09-29
    Description: Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is the most common heritable form of cognitive impairment. It results from a loss-of-function mutation by a CGG repeat expansion at the 5′ untranslated region of the X-linked fragile X mental retardation 1 (FMR1) gene. Expansion of the CGG repeats beyond 200 copies results in protein deficiency by leading to aberrant methylation of the FMR1 promoter and the switch from active to repressive histone modifications. Additionally, the CGGs become increasingly unstable, resulting in high degree of variation in expansion size between and within tissues of affected individuals. It is still unclear how the FMR1 protein (FMRP) deficiency leads to disease pathology in neurons. Nor do we know the mechanisms by which the CGG expansion results in aberrant DNA methylation, or becomes unstable in somatic cells of patients, at least in part due to the lack of appropriate animal or cellular models. This review summarizes the current contribution of pluripotent stem cells, mutant human embryonic stem cells, and patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells to disease modeling of FXS for basic and applied research, including the development of new therapeutic approaches.
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  • 75
    Publication Date: 2016-10-04
    Description: Increasing evidence indicates that elevated expression of enhancer of zeste homolog 2 gene (EZH2) in many human malignant tumors acts a significant role in the oncogenic process. However, the underlying molecular mechanism is still unclarified. It is evident that apoptosis and autophagy of tumor cells is crucial for the tumorigenesis and progression of cancer, however, the exact role of EZH2 plays in apoptosis and autophagy has not been fully elucidated in colorectal cancer (CRC). Our previous study found that the expression level of EZH2 was higher in CRC tumor tissues than in the paired normal tissues using immunohistochemical analysis. We also recently found that the autophagy‐related gene‐related protein Ambra1 plays an important role in the autophagy pathway in CRC cells. In this study, mRNA and protein expression of EZH2 in four CRC cell lines were tested at first and RKO and HCT116 cells showed the highest levels among them. Here we transfected with EZH2‐shRNA, or added DZNep (an EZH2 inhibitor) to RKO and HCT116 cells in order to detect the effect of EZH2 on autophagy via determining the change of the protein expression of LC3 and Ambra1. The outcome indicated an obvious decrease of autophagy level in cells transfected with EZH2‐shRNA or DZNep. We also found the apoptotic rate of cells was elevated significantly after downregulation of EZH2. In addition, compared to control group, CRC cells transfected with EZH2‐shRNA or added DZNep revealed a significantly increased G1 cell cycle rate and an obvious decrease in the G2 cell cycle rate. Further analysis showed that knockdown of EZH2 induced cell-cycle arrest in CRC cells. Meanwhile, downregulation of EZH2 in CRC cells induces autophagy and apoptosis. Taken together, our results suggest that EZH2 plays a critical role in autophagy and apoptosis in the progression of CRC, which potentially facilitates the development of an ideal strategy for combating colorectal cancer.
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  • 76
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    Molecular Diversity Preservation International (MDPI)
    In: Genes
    Publication Date: 2016-10-04
    Description: In the Gram‐positive pathogenic bacterium Staphylococcus aureus, the SaeRS twocomponent system (TCS) plays a major role in controlling the production of over 20 virulence factors including hemolysins, leukocidins, superantigens, surface proteins, and proteases. The SaeRS TCS is composed of the sensor histidine kinase SaeS, response regulator SaeR, and two auxiliary proteins SaeP and SaeQ. Since its discovery in 1994, the sae locus has been studied extensively, and its contributions to staphylococcal virulence and pathogenesis have been well documented and understood; however, the molecular mechanism by which the SaeRS TCS receives and processes cognate signals is not. In this article, therefore, we review the literature focusing on the signaling mechanism and its interaction with other global regulators.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4425
    Topics: Biology
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  • 77
    Publication Date: 2016-10-08
    Description: While the clinical benefit of proteasome inhibitors (PIs) for multiple myeloma (MM) treatment remains unchallenged, dose‐limiting toxicities and the inevitable emergence of drug resistance limit their long‐term utility. Disease eradication is compromised by drug resistance that is either present de novo or therapy‐induced, which accounts for the majority of tumor relapses and MM‐related deaths. Non‐coding RNAs (ncRNAs) are a broad class of RNA molecules, including long non‐coding RNAs (lncRNAs), that do not encode proteins but play a major role in regulating the fundamental cellular processes that control cancer initiation, metastasis, and therapeutic resistance. While lncRNAs have recently attracted significant attention as therapeutic targets to potentially improve cancer treatment, identification of lncRNAs that are deregulated in cells resistant to PIs has not been previously addressed. We have modeled drug resistance by generating three MM cell lines with acquired resistance to either bortezomib, carfilzomib, or ixazomib. Genome‐wide profiling identified lncRNAs that were significantly deregulated in all three PIresistant cell lines relative to the drug‐sensitive parental cell line. Strikingly, certain lncRNAs deregulated in the three PI‐resistant cell lines were also deregulated in MM plasma cells isolated from newly diagnosed patients compared to healthy plasma cells. Taken together, these preliminary studies strongly suggest that lncRNAs represent potential therapeutic targets to prevent or overcome drug resistance. More investigations are ongoing to expand these initial studies in a greater number of MM patients to better define lncRNAs signatures that contribute to PI resistance in MM.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4425
    Topics: Biology
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  • 78
    Publication Date: 2017-05-04
    Description: Smoking has been established as a major risk factor for developing oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC), but less attention has been paid to the effects of smokeless tobacco products. Our objective is to identify potential biomarkers to distinguish the biological effects of combustible tobacco products from those of non-combustible ones using oral cell lines. Normal human gingival epithelial cells (HGEC), non-metastatic (101A) and metastatic (101B) OSCC cell lines were exposed to different tobacco product preparations (TPPs) including cigarette smoke total particulate matter (TPM), whole-smoke conditioned media (WS-CM), smokeless tobacco extract in complete artificial saliva (STE), or nicotine (NIC) alone. We performed microarray-based gene expression profiling and found 3456 probe sets from 101A, 1432 probe sets from 101B, and 2717 probe sets from HGEC to be differentially expressed. Gene Set Enrichment Analysis (GSEA) revealed xenobiotic metabolism and steroid biosynthesis were the top two pathways that were upregulated by combustible but not by non-combustible TPPs. Notably, aldo-keto reductase genes, AKR1C1 and AKR1C2, were the core genes in the top enriched pathways and were statistically upregulated more than eight-fold by combustible TPPs. Quantitative real time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) results statistically support AKR1C1 as a potential biomarker for differentiating the biological effects of combustible from non-combustible tobacco products.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4425
    Topics: Biology
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  • 79
    Publication Date: 2017-05-12
    Description: Prenatal alcohol exposure causes persistent neuropsychiatric deficits included under the term fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD). Cellular identity emerges from a cascade of intrinsic and extrinsic (involving cell-cell interactions and signaling) processes that are partially initiated and maintained through changes in chromatin structure. Prenatal alcohol exposure influences neuronal and astrocyte development, permanently altering brain connectivity. Prenatal alcohol exposure also alters chromatin structure through histone and DNA modifications. However, the data linking alcohol-induced differentiation changes with developmental alterations in chromatin structure remain to be elucidated. In the first part of this review, we discuss the sequence of chromatin structural changes involved in neural cell differentiation during normal development. We then discuss the effects of prenatal alcohol on developmental histone modifications and DNA methylation in the context of neurogenesis and astrogliogenesis. We attempt to synthesize the developmental literature with the FASD literature, proposing that alcohol-induced changes to chromatin structure account for altered neurogenesis and astrogliogenesis as well as altered neuron and astrocyte differentiation. Together these changes may contribute to the cognitive and behavioral abnormalities in FASD. Future studies using standardized alcohol exposure paradigms at specific developmental stages will advance the understanding of how chromatin structural changes impact neural cell fate and maturation in FASD.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4425
    Topics: Biology
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  • 80
    Publication Date: 2017-05-13
    Description: Cytosine modifications, including DNA methylation, are stable epigenetic marks that may translate environmental change into transcriptional regulation. Research has begun to investigate DNA methylation dynamics in relation to cocaine use disorders. Specifically, DNA methylation machinery, including methyltransferases and binding proteins, are dysregulated in brain reward pathways after chronic cocaine exposure. In addition, numerous methylome-wide and candidate promoter studies have identified differential methylation, at the nucleotide level, in rodent models of cocaine abuse and drug seeking behavior. This review highlights the current progress in the field of cocaine-related methylation, and offers considerations for future research.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4425
    Topics: Biology
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  • 81
    Publication Date: 2017-05-14
    Description: Escherichia coli endonuclease VIII (Endo VIII) is a DNA glycosylase with substrate specificity for a wide range of oxidatively damaged pyrimidine bases. Endo VIII catalyzes hydrolysis of the N-glycosidic bond and β, δ-elimination of 3′- and 5′-phosphate groups of an apurinic/apyrimidinic site. Single mutants of Endo VIII L70S, L70W, Y71W, F121W, F230W, and P253W were analyzed here with the aim to elucidate the kinetic mechanism of protein conformational adjustment during damaged-nucleotide recognition and catalytic-complex formation. F121W substitution leads to a slight reduction of DNA binding and catalytic activity. F230W substitution slows the rate of the δ-elimination reaction indicating that interaction of Phe230 with a 5′-phosphate group proceeds in the latest catalytic step. P253W Endo VIII has the same activity as the wild type (WT) enzyme. Y71W substitution slightly reduces the catalytic activity due to the effect on the later steps of catalytic-complex formation. Both L70S and L70W substitutions significantly decrease the catalytic activity, indicating that Leu70 plays an important role in the course of enzyme-DNA catalytic complex formation. Our data suggest that Leu70 forms contacts with DNA earlier than Tyr71 does. Therefore, most likely, Leu70 plays the role of a DNA lesion “sensor”, which is used by Endo VIII for recognition of a DNA damage site.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4425
    Topics: Biology
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  • 82
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    Molecular Diversity Preservation International (MDPI)
    In: Genes
    Publication Date: 2017-05-14
    Description: A neuron is unique in its ability to dynamically modify its transcriptional output in response to synaptic activity while maintaining a core gene expression program that preserves cellular identity throughout a lifetime that is longer than almost every other cell type in the body. A contributing factor to the immense adaptability of a neuron is its unique epigenetic landscape that elicits locus-specific alterations in chromatin architecture, which in turn influences gene expression. One such epigenetic modification that is sensitive to changes in synaptic activity, as well as essential for maintaining cellular identity, is DNA methylation. The focus of this article is on the importance of DNA methylation in neuronal function, summarizing recent studies on critical players in the establishment of (the “writing”), the modification or erasure of (the “editing”), and the mediation of (the “reading”) DNA methylation in neurodevelopment and neuroplasticity. One “reader” of DNA methylation in particular, methyl-CpG-binding protein 2 (MeCP2), is highlighted, given its undisputed importance in neuronal function.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4425
    Topics: Biology
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  • 83
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    Unknown
    Molecular Diversity Preservation International (MDPI)
    In: Genes
    Publication Date: 2017-05-14
    Description: Overexpression of MYC is a hallmark of many human cancers. The MYC oncogene has long been thought to execute its neoplastic functions by acting as a classic transcription factor, deregulating the expression of a large number of specific target genes. However, MYC’s influence on many of these target genes is rather modest and there is little overlap between MYC regulated genes in different cell types, leaving many mechanistic questions unanswered. Recent advances in the field challenge the dogma further, revealing a role for MYC that extends beyond the traditional concept of a sequence-specific transcription factor. In this article, we review MYC’s function as a regulator of the cancer epigenome and transcriptome. We outline our current understanding of how MYC regulates chromatin structure in both a site-specific and genome-wide fashion, and highlight the implications for therapeutic strategies for cancers with high MYC expression.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4425
    Topics: Biology
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  • 84
    Publication Date: 2017-03-19