Open AccessBrief Report
Functional Analysis of the rs774872314, rs116171003, rs200231898 and rs201107751 Polymorphisms in the Human RORγT Gene Promoter Region
Genes 2017, 8(4), 126; doi:10.3390/genes8040126 -
Abstract
RAR-related orphan receptor gamma RORγT, a tissue-specific isoform of the RORC gene, plays a critical role in the development of naive CD4+ cells into fully differentiated Th17 lymphocytes. Th17 lymphocytes are part of the host defense against numerous pathogens and are also involved
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RAR-related orphan receptor gamma RORγT, a tissue-specific isoform of the RORC gene, plays a critical role in the development of naive CD4+ cells into fully differentiated Th17 lymphocytes. Th17 lymphocytes are part of the host defense against numerous pathogens and are also involved in the pathogenesis of inflammatory diseases, including autoimmune disorders. In this study, we functionally examined four naturally occurring polymorphisms located within one of the previously identified GC-boxes in the promoter region of the gene. The single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) rs774872314, rs116171003 and rs201107751 negatively influenced the activity of the RORγT promoter in a gene reporter system and eliminated or reduced Sp1 and Sp2 transcription factor binding, as evidenced by the electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA) technique. Furthermore, we investigated the frequency of these SNPs in the Polish population and observed the presence of rs116171003 at a frequency of 3.42%. Thus, our results suggest that polymorphisms within the RORγT promoter occurring at significant rates in populations affect promoter activity. This might have phenotypic effects in immune systems, which is potentially significant for implicating pathogenetic mechanisms under certain pathological conditions, such as autoimmune diseases and/or primary immunodeficiencies (e.g., immunoglobulin E (IgE) syndrome). Full article
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Open AccessReview
Inherited Variation in Vitamin D Genes and Type 1 Diabetes Predisposition
Genes 2017, 8(4), 125; doi:10.3390/genes8040125 -
Abstract
The etiology and pathophysiology of type 1 diabetes remain largely elusive with no established concepts for a causal therapy. Efforts to clarify genetic susceptibility and screening for environmental factors have identified the vitamin D system as a contributory pathway that is potentially correctable.
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The etiology and pathophysiology of type 1 diabetes remain largely elusive with no established concepts for a causal therapy. Efforts to clarify genetic susceptibility and screening for environmental factors have identified the vitamin D system as a contributory pathway that is potentially correctable. This review aims at compiling all genetic studies addressing the vitamin D system in type 1 diabetes. Herein, association studies with case control cohorts are presented as well as family investigations with transmission tests, meta-analyses and intervention trials. Additionally, rare examples of inborn errors of vitamin D metabolism manifesting with type 1 diabetes and their immune status are discussed. We find a majority of association studies confirming a predisposing role for vitamin D receptor (VDR) polymorphisms and those of the vitamin D metabolism, particularly the CYP27B1 gene encoding the main enzyme for vitamin D activation. Associations, however, are tenuous in relation to the ethnic background of the studied populations. Intervention trials identify the specific requirements of adequate vitamin D doses to achieve vitamin D sufficiency. Preliminary evidence suggests that doses may need to be individualized in order to achieve target effects due to pharmacogenomic variation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
K-mer Content, Correlation, and Position Analysis of Genome DNA Sequences for the Identification of Function and Evolutionary Features
Genes 2017, 8(4), 122; doi:10.3390/genes8040122 -
Abstract
In genome analysis, k-mer-based comparison methods have become standard tools. However, even though they are able to deliver reliable results, other algorithms seem to work better in some cases. To improve k-mer-based DNA sequence analysis and comparison, we successfully checked whether
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In genome analysis, k-mer-based comparison methods have become standard tools. However, even though they are able to deliver reliable results, other algorithms seem to work better in some cases. To improve k-mer-based DNA sequence analysis and comparison, we successfully checked whether adding positional resolution is beneficial for finding and/or comparing interesting organizational structures. A simple but efficient algorithm for extracting and saving local k-mer spectra (frequency distribution of k-mers) was developed and used. The results were analyzed by including positional information based on visualizations as genomic maps and by applying basic vector correlation methods. This analysis was concentrated on small word lengths (1 ≤ k ≤ 4) on relatively small viral genomes of Papillomaviridae and Herpesviridae, while also checking its usability for larger sequences, namely human chromosome 2 and the homologous chromosomes (2A, 2B) of a chimpanzee. Using this alignment-free analysis, several regions with specific characteristics in Papillomaviridae and Herpesviridae formerly identified by independent, mostly alignment-based methods, were confirmed. Correlations between the k-mer content and several genes in these genomes have been found, showing similarities between classified and unclassified viruses, which may be potentially useful for further taxonomic research. Furthermore, unknown k-mer correlations in the genomes of Human Herpesviruses (HHVs), which are probably of major biological function, are found and described. Using the chromosomes of a chimpanzee and human that are currently known, identities between the species on every analyzed chromosome were reproduced. This demonstrates the feasibility of our approach for large data sets of complex genomes. Based on these results, we suggest k-mer analysis with positional resolution as a method for closing a gap between the effectiveness of alignment-based methods (like NCBI BLAST) and the high pace of standard k-mer analysis. Full article
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Open AccessReview
c-MYC—Making Liver Sick: Role of c-MYC in Hepatic Cell Function, Homeostasis and Disease
Genes 2017, 8(4), 123; doi:10.3390/genes8040123 -
Abstract
Over 35 years ago, c-MYC, a highly pleiotropic transcription factor that regulates hepatic cell function, was identified. In recent years, a considerable increment in the number of publications has significantly shifted the way that the c-MYC function is perceived. Overexpression of c-MYC alters
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Over 35 years ago, c-MYC, a highly pleiotropic transcription factor that regulates hepatic cell function, was identified. In recent years, a considerable increment in the number of publications has significantly shifted the way that the c-MYC function is perceived. Overexpression of c-MYC alters a wide range of roles including cell proliferation, growth, metabolism, DNA replication, cell cycle progression, cell adhesion and differentiation. The purpose of this review is to broaden the understanding of the general functions of c-MYC, to focus on c-MYC-driven pathogenesis in the liver, explain its mode of action under basal conditions and during disease, and discuss efforts to target c-MYC as a plausible therapy for liver disease. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Comparative Analysis of the Complete Chloroplast Genome of Four Endangered Herbals of Notopterygium
Genes 2017, 8(4), 124; doi:10.3390/genes8040124 -
Abstract
Notopterygium H. de Boissieu (Apiaceae) is an endangered perennial herb endemic to China. A good knowledge of phylogenetic evolution and population genomics is conducive to the establishment of effective management and conservation strategies of the genus Notopterygium. In this study, the complete
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Notopterygium H. de Boissieu (Apiaceae) is an endangered perennial herb endemic to China. A good knowledge of phylogenetic evolution and population genomics is conducive to the establishment of effective management and conservation strategies of the genus Notopterygium. In this study, the complete chloroplast (cp) genomes of four Notopterygium species (N. incisum C. C. Ting ex H. T. Chang, N. oviforme R. H. Shan, N. franchetii H. de Boissieu and N. forrestii H. Wolff) were assembled and characterized using next-generation sequencing. We investigated the gene organization, order, size and repeat sequences of the cp genome and constructed the phylogenetic relationships of Notopterygium species based on the chloroplast DNA and nuclear internal transcribed spacer (ITS) sequences. Comparative analysis of plastid genome showed that the cp DNA are the standard double-stranded molecule, ranging from 157,462 bp (N. oviforme) to 159,607 bp (N. forrestii) in length. The circular DNA each contained a large single-copy (LSC) region, a small single-copy (SSC) region, and a pair of inverted repeats (IRs). The cp DNA of four species contained 85 protein-coding genes, 37 transfer RNA (tRNA) genes and 8 ribosomal RNA (rRNA) genes, respectively. We determined the marked conservation of gene content and sequence evolutionary rate in the cp genome of four Notopterygium species. Three genes (psaI, psbI and rpoA) were possibly under positive selection among the four sampled species. Phylogenetic analysis showed that four Notopterygium species formed a monophyletic clade with high bootstrap support. However, the inconsistent interspecific relationships with the genus Notopterygium were identified between the cp DNA and ITS markers. The incomplete lineage sorting, convergence evolution or hybridization, gene infiltration and different sampling strategies among species may have caused the incongruence between the nuclear and cp DNA relationships. The present results suggested that Notopterygium species may have experienced a complex evolutionary history and speciation process. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Transcriptomic Comparison of Two Bambara Groundnut Landraces under Dehydration Stress
Genes 2017, 8(4), 121; doi:10.3390/genes8040121 -
Abstract
The ability to grow crops under low-water conditions is a significant advantage in relation to global food security. Bambara groundnut is an underutilised crop grown by subsistence farmers in Africa and is known to survive in regions of water deficit. This study focuses
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The ability to grow crops under low-water conditions is a significant advantage in relation to global food security. Bambara groundnut is an underutilised crop grown by subsistence farmers in Africa and is known to survive in regions of water deficit. This study focuses on the analysis of the transcriptomic changes in two bambara groundnut landraces in response to dehydration stress. A cross-species hybridisation approach based on the Soybean Affymetrix GeneChip array has been employed. The differential gene expression analysis of a water-limited treatment, however, showed that the two landraces responded with almost completely different sets of genes. Hence, both landraces with very similar genotypes (as assessed by the hybridisation of genomic DNA onto the Soybean Affymetrix GeneChip) showed contrasting transcriptional behaviour in response to dehydration stress. In addition, both genotypes showed a high expression of dehydration-associated genes, even under water-sufficient conditions. Several gene regulators were identified as potentially important. Some are already known, such as WRKY40, but others may also be considered, namely PRR7, ATAUX2-11, CONSTANS-like 1, MYB60, AGL-83, and a Zinc-finger protein. These data provide a basis for drought trait research in the bambara groundnut, which will facilitate functional genomics studies. An analysis of this dataset has identified that both genotypes appear to be in a dehydration-ready state, even in the absence of dehydration stress, and may have adapted in different ways to achieve drought resistance. This will help in understanding the mechanisms underlying the ability of crops to produce viable yields under drought conditions. In addition, cross-species hybridisation to the soybean microarray has been shown to be informative for investigating the bambara groundnut transcriptome. Full article
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Open AccessReview
MYC, Cell Competition, and Cell Death in Cancer: The Inseparable Triad
Genes 2017, 8(4), 120; doi:10.3390/genes8040120 -
Abstract
Deregulation of MYC family proteins in cancer is associated with a global reprogramming of gene expression, ultimately promoting glycolytic pathways, cell growth, and proliferation. It is well known that MYC upregulation triggers cell-autonomous apoptosis in normal tissues, while frankly malignant cells develop resistance
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Deregulation of MYC family proteins in cancer is associated with a global reprogramming of gene expression, ultimately promoting glycolytic pathways, cell growth, and proliferation. It is well known that MYC upregulation triggers cell-autonomous apoptosis in normal tissues, while frankly malignant cells develop resistance to apoptotic stimuli, partly resulting from MYC addiction. As well as inducing cell-autonomous apoptosis, MYC upregulation is able to trigger non cell-autonomous apoptotic death through an evolutionarily conserved mechanism known as “cell competition”. With regard to this intimate and dual relationship between MYC and cell death, recent evidence obtained in Drosophila models of cancer has revealed that, in early tumourigenesis, MYC upregulation guides the clonal expansion of mutant cells, while the surrounding tissue undergoes non-cell autonomous death. Apoptosis inhibition in this context was shown to restrain tumour growth and to restore a wild-type phenotype. This suggests that cell-autonomous and non cell-autonomous apoptosis dependent on MYC upregulation may shape tumour growth in different ways, soliciting the need to reconsider the role of cell death in cancer in the light of this new level of complexity. Here we review recent literature about MYC and cell competition obtained in Drosophila, with a particular emphasis on the relevance of cell death to cell competition and, more generally, to cancer. Possible implications of these findings for the understanding of mammalian cancers are also discussed. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Identification of Drought-Responsive MicroRNAs from Roots and Leaves of Alfalfa by High-Throughput Sequencing
Genes 2017, 8(4), 119; doi:10.3390/genes8040119 -
Abstract
Alfalfa, an important forage legume, is an ideal crop for sustainable agriculture and a potential crop for bioenergy resources. Drought, one of the most common environmental stresses, substantially affects plant growth, development, and productivity. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are newly discovered gene expression regulators that
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Alfalfa, an important forage legume, is an ideal crop for sustainable agriculture and a potential crop for bioenergy resources. Drought, one of the most common environmental stresses, substantially affects plant growth, development, and productivity. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are newly discovered gene expression regulators that have been linked to several plant stress responses. To elucidate the role of miRNAs in drought stress regulation of alfalfa, a high-throughput sequencing approach was used to analyze 12 small RNA libraries comprising of four samples, each with three biological replicates. From the 12 libraries, we identified 348 known miRNAs belonging to 80 miRNA families, and 281 novel miRNAs, using Mireap software. Eighteen known miRNAs in roots and 12 known miRNAs in leaves were screened as drought-responsive miRNAs. With the exception of miR319d and miR157a which were upregulated under drought stress, the expression pattern of drought-responsive miRNAs was different between roots and leaves in alfalfa. This is the first study that has identified miR3512, miR3630, miR5213, miR5294, miR5368 and miR6173 as drought-responsive miRNAs. Target transcripts of drought-responsive miRNAs were computationally predicted. All 447 target genes for the known miRNAs were predicted using an online tool. This study provides a significant insight on understanding drought-responsive mechanisms of alfalfa. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Controlling the Master: Chromatin Dynamics at the MYC Promoter Integrate Developmental Signaling
Genes 2017, 8(4), 118; doi:10.3390/genes8040118 -
Abstract
The transcription factor and cell growth regulator MYC is potently oncogenic and estimated to contribute to most cancers. Decades of attempts to therapeutically target MYC directly have not resulted in feasible clinical applications, and efforts have moved toward indirectly targeting MYC expression, function
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The transcription factor and cell growth regulator MYC is potently oncogenic and estimated to contribute to most cancers. Decades of attempts to therapeutically target MYC directly have not resulted in feasible clinical applications, and efforts have moved toward indirectly targeting MYC expression, function and/or activity to treat MYC-driven cancer. A multitude of developmental and growth signaling pathways converge on the MYC promoter to modulate transcription through their downstream effectors. Critically, even small increases in MYC abundance (<2 fold) are sufficient to drive overproliferation; however, the details of how oncogenic/growth signaling networks regulate MYC at the level of transcription remain nebulous even during normal development. It is therefore essential to first decipher mechanisms of growth signal-stimulated MYC transcription using in vivo models, with intact signaling environments, to determine exactly how these networks are dysregulated in human cancer. This in turn will provide new modalities and approaches to treat MYC-driven malignancy. Drosophila genetic studies have shed much light on how complex networks signal to transcription factors and enhancers to orchestrate Drosophila MYC (dMYC) transcription, and thus growth and patterning of complex multicellular tissue and organs. This review will discuss the many pathways implicated in patterning MYC transcription during development and the molecular events at the MYC promoter that link signaling to expression. Attention will also be drawn to parallels between mammalian and fly regulation of MYC at the level of transcription. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Eukaryotic Replicative Helicase Subunit Interaction with DNA and Its Role in DNA Replication
Genes 2017, 8(4), 117; doi:10.3390/genes8040117 -
Abstract
The replicative helicase unwinds parental double-stranded DNA at a replication fork to provide single-stranded DNA templates for the replicative polymerases. In eukaryotes, the replicative helicase is composed of the Cdc45 protein, the heterohexameric ring-shaped Mcm2-7 complex, and the tetrameric GINS complex (CMG). The
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The replicative helicase unwinds parental double-stranded DNA at a replication fork to provide single-stranded DNA templates for the replicative polymerases. In eukaryotes, the replicative helicase is composed of the Cdc45 protein, the heterohexameric ring-shaped Mcm2-7 complex, and the tetrameric GINS complex (CMG). The CMG proteins bind directly to DNA, as demonstrated by experiments with purified proteins. The mechanism and function of these DNA-protein interactions are presently being investigated, and a number of important discoveries relating to how the helicase proteins interact with DNA have been reported recently. While some of the protein-DNA interactions directly relate to the unwinding function of the enzyme complex, other protein-DNA interactions may be important for minichromosome maintenance (MCM) loading, origin melting or replication stress. This review describes our current understanding of how the eukaryotic replicative helicase subunits interact with DNA structures in vitro, and proposed models for the in vivofunctions of replicative helicase-DNA interactions are also described. Full article
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Open AccessReview
The Role of c-MYC in B-Cell Lymphomas: Diagnostic and Molecular Aspects
Genes 2017, 8(4), 116; doi:10.3390/genes8040116 -
Abstract
c-MYC is one of the most essential transcriptional factors, regulating a diverse array of cellular functions, including proliferation, growth, and apoptosis. Dysregulation of c-MYC is essential in the pathogenesis of a number of B-cell lymphomas, but is rarely reported in T-cell lymphomas. c-MYC
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c-MYC is one of the most essential transcriptional factors, regulating a diverse array of cellular functions, including proliferation, growth, and apoptosis. Dysregulation of c-MYC is essential in the pathogenesis of a number of B-cell lymphomas, but is rarely reported in T-cell lymphomas. c-MYC dysregulation induces lymphomagenesis by loss of the tight control of c-MYC expression, leading to overexpression of intact c-MYC protein, in contrast to the somatic mutations or fusion proteins seen in many other oncogenes. Dysregulation of c-MYC in B-cell lymphomas occurs either as a primary event in Burkitt lymphoma, or secondarily in aggressive lymphomas such as diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, plasmablastic lymphoma, mantle cell lymphoma, or double-hit lymphoma. Secondary c-MYC changes include gene translocation and gene amplification, occurring against a background of complex karyotype, and most often confer aggressive clinical behavior, as evidenced in the double-hit lymphomas. In low-grade B-cell lymphomas, acquisition of c-MYC rearrangement usually results in transformation into highly aggressive lymphomas, with some exceptions. In this review, we discuss the role that c-MYC plays in the pathogenesis of B-cell lymphomas, the molecular alterations that lead to c-MYC dysregulation, and their effect on prognosis and diagnosis in specific types of B-cell lymphoma. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Role of MYC in B Cell Lymphomagenesis
Genes 2017, 8(4), 115; doi:10.3390/genes8040115 -
Abstract
B cell lymphomas mainly arise from different developmental stages of B cells in germinal centers of secondary lymphoid tissue. There are a number of signaling pathways that affect the initiation and development of B cell lymphomagenesis. The functions of several key proteins that
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B cell lymphomas mainly arise from different developmental stages of B cells in germinal centers of secondary lymphoid tissue. There are a number of signaling pathways that affect the initiation and development of B cell lymphomagenesis. The functions of several key proteins that represent branching points of signaling networks are changed because of their aberrant expression, degradation, and/or accumulation, and those events determine the fate of the affected B cells. One of the most influential transcription factors, commonly associated with unfavorable prognosis for patients with B cell lymphoma, is nuclear phosphoprotein MYC. During B cell lymphomagenesis, oncogenic MYC variant is deregulated through various mechanisms, such as gene translocation, gene amplification, and epigenetic deregulation of its expression. Owing to alterations of downstream signaling cascades, MYC-overexpressing neoplastic B cells proliferate rapidly, avoid apoptosis, and become unresponsive to most conventional treatments. This review will summarize the roles of MYC in B cell development and oncogenesis, as well as its significance for current B cell lymphoma classification. We compared communication networks within transformed B cells in different lymphomas affected by overexpressed MYC and conducted a meta-analysis concerning the association of MYC with tumor prognosis in different patient populations. Full article
Open AccessReview
Targeting MYC Dependence by Metabolic Inhibitors in Cancer
Genes 2017, 8(4), 114; doi:10.3390/genes8040114 -
Abstract
Abstract:MYC is a critical growth regulatory gene that is commonly overexpressed in a wide range of cancers. Therapeutic targeting of MYC transcriptional activity has long been a goal, but it has been difficult to achieve with drugs that directly block its
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Abstract:MYC is a critical growth regulatory gene that is commonly overexpressed in a wide range of cancers. Therapeutic targeting of MYC transcriptional activity has long been a goal, but it has been difficult to achieve with drugs that directly block its DNA-binding ability. Additional approaches that exploit oncogene addiction are promising strategies against MYC-driven cancers. Also, drugs that target metabolic regulatory pathways and enzymes have potential for indirectly reducing MYC levels. Glucose metabolism and oxidative phosphorylation, which can be targeted by multiple agents, promote cell growth and MYC expression. Likewise, modulation of the signaling pathways and protein synthesis regulated by adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) can also be an effective route for suppressing MYC translation. Furthermore, recent data suggest that metabolism of nucleotides, fatty acids and glutamine are exploited to alter MYC levels. Combination therapies offer potential new approaches to overcome metabolic plasticity caused by single agents. Although potential toxicities must be carefully controlled, new inhibitors currently being tested in clinical trials offer significant promise. Therefore, as both a downstream target of metabolism and an upstream regulator, MYC is a prominent central regulator of cancer metabolism. Exploiting metabolic vulnerabilities of MYC-driven cancers is an emerging research area with translational potential. Full article
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Open AccessReview
The MYCN Protein in Health and Disease
Genes 2017, 8(4), 113; doi:10.3390/genes8040113 -
Abstract
MYCN is a member of the MYC family of proto-oncogenes. It encodes a transcription factor, MYCN, involved in the control of fundamental processes during embryonal development. The MYCN protein is situated downstream of several signaling pathways promoting cell growth, proliferation and metabolism of
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MYCN is a member of the MYC family of proto-oncogenes. It encodes a transcription factor, MYCN, involved in the control of fundamental processes during embryonal development. The MYCN protein is situated downstream of several signaling pathways promoting cell growth, proliferation and metabolism of progenitor cells in different developing organs and tissues. Conversely, deregulated MYCN signaling supports the development of several different tumors, mainly with a childhood onset, including neuroblastoma, medulloblastoma, rhabdomyosarcoma and Wilms’ tumor, but it is also associated with some cancers occurring during adulthood such as prostate and lung cancer. In neuroblastoma, MYCN-amplification is the most consistent genetic aberration associated with poor prognosis and treatment failure. Targeting MYCN has been proposed as a therapeutic strategy for the treatment of these tumors and great efforts have allowed the development of direct and indirect MYCN inhibitors with potential clinical use. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Anatomy of Mammalian Replication Domains
Genes 2017, 8(4), 110; doi:10.3390/genes8040110 -
Abstract
Genetic information is faithfully copied by DNA replication through many rounds of cell division. In mammals, DNA is replicated in Mb-sized chromosomal units called “replication domains.” While genome-wide maps in multiple cell types and disease states have uncovered both dynamic and static properties
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Genetic information is faithfully copied by DNA replication through many rounds of cell division. In mammals, DNA is replicated in Mb-sized chromosomal units called “replication domains.” While genome-wide maps in multiple cell types and disease states have uncovered both dynamic and static properties of replication domains, we are still in the process of understanding the mechanisms that give rise to these properties. A better understanding of the molecular basis of replication domain regulation will bring new insights into chromosome structure and function. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Genome-Wide Analysis of the Sucrose Synthase Gene Family in Grape (Vitis vinifera): Structure, Evolution, and Expression Profiles
Genes 2017, 8(4), 111; doi:10.3390/genes8040111 -
Abstract
Sucrose synthase (SS) is widely considered as the key enzyme involved in the plant sugar metabolism that is critical to plant growth and development, especially quality of the fruit. The members of SS gene family have been identified and characterized in multiple plant
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Sucrose synthase (SS) is widely considered as the key enzyme involved in the plant sugar metabolism that is critical to plant growth and development, especially quality of the fruit. The members of SS gene family have been identified and characterized in multiple plant genomes. However, detailed information about this gene family is lacking in grapevine (Vitis vinifera L.). In this study, we performed a systematic analysis of the grape (V. vinifera) genome and reported that there are five SS genes (VvSS1–5) in the grape genome. Comparison of the structures of grape SS genes showed high structural conservation of grape SS genes, resulting from the selection pressures during the evolutionary process. The segmental duplication of grape SS genes contributed to this gene family expansion. The syntenic analyses between grape and soybean (Glycine max) demonstrated that these genes located in corresponding syntenic blocks arose before the divergence of grape and soybean. Phylogenetic analysis revealed distinct evolutionary paths for the grape SS genes. VvSS1/VvSS5, VvSS2/VvSS3 and VvSS4 originated from three ancient SS genes, which were generated by duplication events before the split of monocots and eudicots. Bioinformatics analysis of publicly available microarray data, which was validated by quantitative real-time reverse transcription PCR (qRT-PCR), revealed distinct temporal and spatial expression patterns of VvSS genes in various tissues, organs and developmental stages, as well as in response to biotic and abiotic stresses. Taken together, our results will be beneficial for further investigations into the functionsof SS gene in the processes of grape resistance to environmental stresses. Full article
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Open AccessReview
DNA Replication Origins and Fork Progression at Mammalian Telomeres
Genes 2017, 8(4), 112; doi:10.3390/genes8040112 -
Abstract
Telomeres are essential chromosomal regions that prevent critical shortening of linear chromosomes and genomic instability in eukaryotic cells. The bulk of telomeric DNA is replicated by semi-conservative DNA replication in the same way as the rest of the genome. However, recent findings revealed
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Telomeres are essential chromosomal regions that prevent critical shortening of linear chromosomes and genomic instability in eukaryotic cells. The bulk of telomeric DNA is replicated by semi-conservative DNA replication in the same way as the rest of the genome. However, recent findings revealed that replication of telomeric repeats is a potential cause of chromosomal instability, because DNA replication through telomeres is challenged by the repetitive telomeric sequences and specific structures that hamper the replication fork. In this review, we summarize current understanding of the mechanisms by which telomeres are faithfully and safely replicated in mammalian cells. Various telomere-associated proteins ensure efficient telomere replication at different steps, such as licensing of replication origins, passage of replication forks, proper fork restart after replication stress, and dissolution of post-replicative structures. In particular, shelterin proteins have central roles in the control of telomere replication. Through physical interactions, accessory proteins are recruited to maintain telomere integrity during DNA replication. Dormant replication origins and/or homology-directed repair may rescue inappropriate fork stalling or collapse that can cause defects in telomere structure and functions. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Dystrophic Cardiomyopathy—Potential Role of Calcium in Pathogenesis, Treatment and Novel Therapies
Genes 2017, 8(4), 108; doi:10.3390/genes8040108 -
Abstract
Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is caused by defects in the DMD gene and results in progressive wasting of skeletal and cardiac muscle due to an absence of functional dystrophin. Cardiomyopathy is prominent in DMD patients, and contributes significantly to mortality. This is particularly
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Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is caused by defects in the DMD gene and results in progressive wasting of skeletal and cardiac muscle due to an absence of functional dystrophin. Cardiomyopathy is prominent in DMD patients, and contributes significantly to mortality. This is particularly true following respiratory interventions that reduce death rate and increase ambulation and consequently cardiac load. Cardiomyopathy shows an increasing prevalence with age and disease progression, and over 95% of patients exhibit dilated cardiomyopathy by the time they reach adulthood. Development of the myopathy is complex, and elevations in intracellular calcium, functional muscle ischemia, and mitochondrial dysfunction characterise the pathophysiology. Current therapies are limited to treating symptoms of the disease and there is therefore an urgent need to treat the underlying genetic defect. Several novel therapies are outlined here, and the unprecedented success of phosphorodiamidate morpholino oligomers (PMOs) in preclinical and clinical studies is overviewed. Full article
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Open AccessCommunication
Development of 44 Novel Polymorphic SSR Markers for Determination of Shiitake Mushroom (Lentinula edodes) Cultivars
Genes 2017, 8(4), 109; doi:10.3390/genes8040109 -
Abstract
The shiitake mushroom (Lentinulaedodes) is one of the most popular edible mushrooms in the world and has attracted attention for its value in medicinal and pharmacological uses. With recent advanced research and techniques, the agricultural cultivation of the shiitake mushroom
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The shiitake mushroom (Lentinulaedodes) is one of the most popular edible mushrooms in the world and has attracted attention for its value in medicinal and pharmacological uses. With recent advanced research and techniques, the agricultural cultivation of the shiitake mushroom has been greatly increased, especially in East Asia. Additionally, demand for the development of new cultivars with good agricultural traits has been greatly enhanced, but the development processes are complicated and more challenging than for other edible mushrooms. In this study, we developed 44 novel polymorphic simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers for the determination of shiitake mushroom cultivars based on a whole genome sequencing database of L. edodes. These markers were found to be polymorphic and reliable when screened in 23 shiitake mushroom cultivars. For the 44 SSR markers developed in this study, the major allele frequency ranged from 0.13 to 0.94; the number of genotypes and number of alleles were each 2–11; the observed and expected heterozygosity were 0.00–1.00 and 0.10–0.90, respectively; and the polymorphic information content value ranged from 0.10 to 0.89. These new markers can be used for molecular breeding, the determination of cultivars, and other applications. Full article
Open AccessReview
Modeling and Targeting MYC Genes in Childhood Brain Tumors
Genes 2017, 8(4), 107; doi:10.3390/genes8040107 -
Abstract
Brain tumors are the second most common group of childhood cancers, accounting for about 20%–25% of all pediatric tumors. Deregulated expression of the MYC family of transcription factors, particularly c-MYC and MYCN genes, has been found in many of these neoplasms,
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Brain tumors are the second most common group of childhood cancers, accounting for about 20%–25% of all pediatric tumors. Deregulated expression of the MYC family of transcription factors, particularly c-MYC and MYCN genes, has been found in many of these neoplasms, and their expression levels are often correlated with poor prognosis. Elevated c-MYC/MYCN initiates and drives tumorigenesis in many in vivo model systems of pediatric brain tumors. Therefore, inhibition of their oncogenic function is an attractive therapeutic target. In this review, we explore the roles of MYC oncoproteins and their molecular targets during the formation, maintenance, and recurrence of childhood brain tumors. We also briefly summarize recent progress in the development of therapeutic approaches for pharmacological inhibition of MYC activity in these tumors. Full article
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