Open AccessReview
MYC Deregulation in Primary Human Cancers
Genes 2017, 8(6), 151; doi:10.3390/genes8060151 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
MYC regulates a complex biological program by transcriptionally activating and repressing its numerous target genes. As such, MYC is a master regulator of many processes, including cell cycle entry, ribosome biogenesis, and metabolism. In cancer, the activity of the MYC transcriptional network is
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MYC regulates a complex biological program by transcriptionally activating and repressing its numerous target genes. As such, MYC is a master regulator of many processes, including cell cycle entry, ribosome biogenesis, and metabolism. In cancer, the activity of the MYC transcriptional network is frequently deregulated, contributing to the initiation and maintenance of disease. Deregulation often leads to constitutive overexpression of MYC, which can be achieved through gross genetic abnormalities, including copy number alterations, chromosomal translocations, increased enhancer activity, or through aberrant signal transduction leading to increased MYC transcription or increased MYC mRNA and protein stability. Herein, we summarize the frequency and modes of MYC deregulation and describe both well-established and more recent findings in a variety of cancer types. Notably, these studies have highlighted that with an increased appreciation for the basic mechanisms deregulating MYC in cancer, new therapeutic vulnerabilities can be discovered and potentially exploited for the inhibition of this potent oncogene in cancer. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Maternal Factors that Induce Epigenetic Changes Contribute to Neurological Disorders in Offspring
Genes 2017, 8(6), 150; doi:10.3390/genes8060150 -
Abstract
It is well established that the regulation of epigenetic factors, including chromatic reorganization, histone modifications, DNA methylation, and miRNA regulation, is critical for the normal development and functioning of the human brain. There are a number of maternal factors influencing epigenetic pathways such
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It is well established that the regulation of epigenetic factors, including chromatic reorganization, histone modifications, DNA methylation, and miRNA regulation, is critical for the normal development and functioning of the human brain. There are a number of maternal factors influencing epigenetic pathways such as lifestyle, including diet, alcohol consumption, and smoking, as well as age and infections (viral or bacterial). Genetic and metabolic alterations such as obesity, gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), and thyroidism alter epigenetic mechanisms, thereby contributing to neurodevelopmental disorders (NDs) such as embryonic neural tube defects (NTDs), autism, Down’s syndrome, Rett syndrome, and later onset of neuropsychological deficits. This review comprehensively describes the recent findings in the epigenetic landscape contributing to altered molecular profiles resulting in NDs. Furthermore, we will discuss potential avenues for future research to identify diagnostic markers and therapeutic epi-drugs to reverse these abnormalities in the brain as epigenetic marks are plastic and reversible in nature. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Reticulate Evolution of the Rock Lizards: Meiotic Chromosome Dynamics and Spermatogenesis in Diploid and Triploid Males of the Genus Darevskia
Genes 2017, 8(6), 149; doi:10.3390/genes8060149 -
Abstract
Knowing whether triploid hybrids resulting from natural hybridization of parthenogenetic and bisexual species are fertile is crucial for understanding the mechanisms of reticulate evolution in rock lizards. Here, using males of the bisexual diploid rock lizard species Darevskia raddei nairensis and Darevskia valentini
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Knowing whether triploid hybrids resulting from natural hybridization of parthenogenetic and bisexual species are fertile is crucial for understanding the mechanisms of reticulate evolution in rock lizards. Here, using males of the bisexual diploid rock lizard species Darevskia raddei nairensis and Darevskia valentini and a triploid hybrid male Darevskia unisexualis × Darevskia valentini, we performed karyotyping and comparative immunocytochemistry of chromosome synapsis and investigated the distribution of RAD51 and MLH1 foci in spread spermatocyte nuclei in meiotic prophase I. Three chromosome sets were found to occur in cell nuclei in the D. unisexualis × D. valentini hybrid, two originating from a parthenogenetic D. unisexualis female and one from the D. valentini male. Despite this distorted chromosome synapsis and incomplete double-strand breaks repair in meiotic prophase I, the number of mismatch repair foci in the triploid hybrid was enough to pass through both meiotic divisions. The defects in synapsis and repair did not arrest meiosis or spermatogenesis. Numerous abnormal mature spermatids were observed in the testes of the studied hybrid. Full article
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Open AccessReview
CpG and Non-CpG Methylation in Epigenetic Gene Regulation and Brain Function
Genes 2017, 8(6), 148; doi:10.3390/genes8060148 -
Abstract
DNA methylation is a major epigenetic mark with important roles in genetic regulation. Methylated cytosines are found primarily at CpG dinucleotides, but are also found at non-CpG sites (CpA, CpT, and CpC). The general functions of CpG and non-CpG methylation include gene silencing
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DNA methylation is a major epigenetic mark with important roles in genetic regulation. Methylated cytosines are found primarily at CpG dinucleotides, but are also found at non-CpG sites (CpA, CpT, and CpC). The general functions of CpG and non-CpG methylation include gene silencing or activation depending on the methylated regions. CpG and non-CpG methylation are found throughout the whole genome, including repetitive sequences, enhancers, promoters, and gene bodies. Interestingly, however, non-CpG methylation is restricted to specific cell types, such as pluripotent stem cells, oocytes, neurons, and glial cells. Thus, accumulation of methylation at non-CpG sites and CpG sites in neurons seems to be involved in development and disease etiology. Here, we provide an overview of CpG and non-CpG methylation and their roles in neurological diseases. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Clinical Course of Patients with Preschool Manifestation of Type 1 Diabetes Is Independent of the HLA DR-DQ Genotype
Genes 2017, 8(5), 146; doi:10.3390/genes8050146 -
Abstract
Introduction: Major histocompatibility complex class II genes are considered major genetic risk factors for autoimmune diabetes. We analysed Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) DR and DQ haplotypes in a cohort with early-onset (age < 5 years), long term type 1 diabetes (T1D) and explored
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Introduction: Major histocompatibility complex class II genes are considered major genetic risk factors for autoimmune diabetes. We analysed Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) DR and DQ haplotypes in a cohort with early-onset (age < 5 years), long term type 1 diabetes (T1D) and explored their influence on clinical and laboratory parameters. Methods: Intermediate resolution HLA-DRB1, DQA1 and DQB1 typing was performed in 233 samples from the German Paediatric Diabetes Biobank and compared with a local control cohort of 19,544 cases. Clinical follow-up data of 195 patients (diabetes duration 14.2 ± 2.9 years) and residual C-peptide levels were compared between three HLA risk groups using multiple linear regression analysis. Results: Genetic variability was low, 44.6% (104/233) of early-onset T1D patients carried the highest-risk genotype HLA-DRB1*03:01-DQA1*05:01-DQB1*02:01/DRB1*04-DQA1*03:01-DQB1*03:02 (HLA-DRB1*04 denoting 04:01/02/04/05), and 231 of 233 individuals carried at least one of six risk haplotypes. Comparing clinical data between the highest (n = 83), moderate (n = 106) and low risk (n = 6) genotypes, we found no difference in age at diagnosis (mean age 2.8 ± 1.1 vs. 2.8 ± 1.2 vs. 3.2 ± 1.5 years), metabolic control, or frequency of associated autoimmune diseases between HLA risk groups (each p > 0.05). Residual C-peptide was detectable in 23.5% and C-peptide levels in the highest-risk group were comparable to levels in moderate to high risk genotypes. Conclusion: In this study, we saw no evidence for a different clinical course of early-onset T1D based on the HLA genotype within the first ten years after manifestation. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Epigenetic Regulation of Telomere Maintenance for Therapeutic Interventions in Gliomas
Genes 2017, 8(5), 145; doi:10.3390/genes8050145 -
Abstract
High-grade astrocytoma of WHO grade 4 termed glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is a common human brain tumor with poor patient outcome. Astrocytoma demonstrates two known telomere maintenance mechanisms (TMMs) based on telomerase activity (TA) and on alternative lengthening of telomeres (ALT). ALT is associated
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High-grade astrocytoma of WHO grade 4 termed glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is a common human brain tumor with poor patient outcome. Astrocytoma demonstrates two known telomere maintenance mechanisms (TMMs) based on telomerase activity (TA) and on alternative lengthening of telomeres (ALT). ALT is associated with lower tumor grades and better outcome. In contrast to ALT, regulation of TA in tumors by direct mutation and epigenetic activation of the hTERT promoter is well established. Here, we summarize the genetic background of TMMs in non-malignant cells and in cancer, in addition to clinical and pathological features of gliomas. Furthermore, we present new evidence for epigenetic mechanisms (EMs) involved in regulation of ALT and TA with special emphasis on human diffuse gliomas as potential therapeutic drug targets. We discuss the role of TMM associated telomeric chromatin factors such as DNA and histone modifying enzymes and non-coding RNAs including microRNAs and long telomeric TERRA transcripts. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Variability of DNA Methylation within Schizophrenia Risk Loci across Subregions of Human Hippocampus
Genes 2017, 8(5), 143; doi:10.3390/genes8050143 -
Abstract
Identification of 108 genomic regions significantly associated with schizophrenia risk by the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium was a milestone for the field, and much work is now focused on determining the mechanism of risk associated with each locus. Within these regions, we investigated variability
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Identification of 108 genomic regions significantly associated with schizophrenia risk by the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium was a milestone for the field, and much work is now focused on determining the mechanism of risk associated with each locus. Within these regions, we investigated variability of DNA methylation, a low-level cellular phenotype closely linked to genotype, in two highly similar cellular populations sampled from the human hippocampus, to draw inferences about the elaboration of genotype to phenotype within these loci enriched for schizophrenia risk. DNA methylation was assessed with the Illumina HumanMethylation450 BeadArray in tissue laser-microdissected from the stratum oriens of subfield CA1 or CA2/3, regions having unique connectivity with intrinsic and extrinsic fiber systems within the hippocampus. Samples consisted of postmortem human hippocampus tissue from eight schizophrenia patients, eight bipolar disorder patients, and eight healthy control subjects. Within these genomic regions, we observed far greater difference in methylation patterns between circuit locations within subjects than in a single subregion between subjects across diagnostic groups, demonstrating the complexity of genotype to phenotype elaboration across the diverse circuitry of the human brain. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
DNA Methylation Targets Influenced by Bisphenol A and/or Genistein Are Associated with Survival Outcomes in Breast Cancer Patients
Genes 2017, 8(5), 144; doi:10.3390/genes8050144 -
Abstract
Early postnatal exposures to Bisphenol A (BPA) and genistein (GEN) have been reported to predispose for and against mammary cancer, respectively, in adult rats. Since the changes in cancer susceptibility occurs in the absence of the original chemical exposure, we have investigated the
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Early postnatal exposures to Bisphenol A (BPA) and genistein (GEN) have been reported to predispose for and against mammary cancer, respectively, in adult rats. Since the changes in cancer susceptibility occurs in the absence of the original chemical exposure, we have investigated the potential of epigenetics to account for these changes. DNA methylation studies reveal that prepubertal BPA exposure alters signaling pathways that contribute to carcinogenesis. Prepubertal exposure to GEN and BPA + GEN revealed pathways involved in maintenance of cellular function, indicating that the presence of GEN either reduces or counters some of the alterations caused by the carcinogenic properties of BPA. We subsequently evaluated the potential of epigenetic changes in the rat mammary tissues to predict survival in breast cancer patients via the Cancer Genomic Atlas (TCGA). We identified 12 genes that showed strong predictive values for long-term survival in estrogen receptor positive patients. Importantly, two genes associated with improved long term survival, HPSE and RPS9, were identified to be hypomethylated in mammary glands of rats exposed prepuberally to GEN or to GEN + BPA respectively, reinforcing the suggested cancer suppressive properties of GEN. Full article
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Open AccessReview
The Crucial Role of DNA Methylation and MeCP2 in Neuronal Function
Genes 2017, 8(5), 141; doi:10.3390/genes8050141 -
Abstract
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
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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. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Mutational and Kinetic Analysis of Lesion Recognition by Escherichia coli Endonuclease VIII
Genes 2017, 8(5), 140; doi:10.3390/genes8050140 -
Abstract
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
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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. Full article
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Open AccessReview
MYC—Master Regulator of the Cancer Epigenome and Transcriptome
Genes 2017, 8(5), 142; doi:10.3390/genes8050142 -
Abstract
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
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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. Full article
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Open AccessReview
DNA Methylation Dynamics and Cocaine in the Brain: Progress and Prospects
Genes 2017, 8(5), 138; doi:10.3390/genes8050138 -
Abstract
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
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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. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Rectal Cancer in a Patient with Bartter Syndrome: A Case Report
Genes 2017, 8(5), 139; doi:10.3390/genes8050139 -
Abstract
A woman with rectal cancer was scheduled for surgery. However, she also had hypokalemia, hyperreninemia, and hyperaldosteronism in the absence of any known predisposing factors or endocrine tumors. She was given intravenous potassium, and her blood abnormalities stabilized after tumor resection. Genetic analysis
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A woman with rectal cancer was scheduled for surgery. However, she also had hypokalemia, hyperreninemia, and hyperaldosteronism in the absence of any known predisposing factors or endocrine tumors. She was given intravenous potassium, and her blood abnormalities stabilized after tumor resection. Genetic analysis revealed mutations in several genes associated with Bartter syndrome (BS) and Gitelman syndrome, including SLC12A1, CLCNKB, CASR, SLC26A3, and SLC12A3. Prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) plays an important role in BS and worsens electrolyte abnormalities. The PGE2 level is reportedly increased in colorectal cancer, and in the present case, immunohistochemical examination revealed an increased PGE2 level in the tumor. We concluded that the tumor-related PGE2 elevation had worsened the patient’s BS, which became more manageable after tumor resection. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Chromatin Switches during Neural Cell Differentiation and Their Dysregulation by Prenatal Alcohol Exposure
Genes 2017, 8(5), 137; doi:10.3390/genes8050137 -
Abstract
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.
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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. Full article
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Open AccessReview
The Role of the N-Terminal Domains of Bacterial Initiator DnaA in the Assembly and Regulation of the Bacterial Replication Initiation Complex
Genes 2017, 8(5), 136; doi:10.3390/genes8050136 -
Abstract
The primary role of the bacterial protein DnaA is to initiate chromosomal replication. The DnaA protein binds to DNA at the origin of chromosomal replication (oriC) and assembles into a filament that unwinds double-stranded DNA. Through interaction with various other proteins,
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The primary role of the bacterial protein DnaA is to initiate chromosomal replication. The DnaA protein binds to DNA at the origin of chromosomal replication (oriC) and assembles into a filament that unwinds double-stranded DNA. Through interaction with various other proteins, DnaA also controls the frequency and/or timing of chromosomal replication at the initiation step. Escherichia coli DnaA also recruits DnaB helicase, which is present in unwound single-stranded DNA and in turn recruits other protein machinery for replication. Additionally, DnaA regulates the expression of certain genes in E. coli and a few other species. Acting as a multifunctional factor, DnaA is composed of four domains that have distinct, mutually dependent roles. For example, C-terminal domain IV interacts with double-stranded DnaA boxes. Domain III drives ATP-dependent oligomerization, allowing the protein to form a filament that unwinds DNA and subsequently binds to and stabilizes single-stranded DNA in the initial replication bubble; this domain also interacts with multiple proteins that control oligomerization. Domain II constitutes a flexible linker between C-terminal domains III–IV and N-terminal domain I, which mediates intermolecular interactions between DnaA and binds to other proteins that affect DnaA activity and/or formation of the initiation complex. Of these four domains, the role of the N-terminus (domains I–II) in the assembly of the initiation complex is the least understood and appears to be the most species-dependent region of the protein. Thus, in this review, we focus on the function of the N-terminus of DnaA in orisome formation and the regulation of its activity in the initiation complex in different bacteria. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Combination of RNA Interference and Stem Cells for Treatment of Central Nervous System Diseases
Genes 2017, 8(5), 135; doi:10.3390/genes8050135 -
Abstract
RNA interference (RNAi), including microRNAs, is an important player in the mediation of differentiation and migration of stem cells via target genes. It is used as a potential strategy for gene therapy for central nervous system (CNS) diseases. Stem cells are considered vectors
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RNA interference (RNAi), including microRNAs, is an important player in the mediation of differentiation and migration of stem cells via target genes. It is used as a potential strategy for gene therapy for central nervous system (CNS) diseases. Stem cells are considered vectors of RNAi due to their capacity to deliver RNAi to other cells. In this review, we discuss the recent advances in studies of RNAi pathways in controlling neuronal differentiation and migration of stem cells. We also highlight the utilization of a combination of RNAi and stem cells in treatment of CNS diseases. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
MB0 and MBI Are Independent and Distinct Transactivation Domains in MYC that Are Essential for Transformation
Genes 2017, 8(5), 134; doi:10.3390/genes8050134 -
Abstract
MYC is a transcription factor that is essential for cellular proliferation and development. Deregulation or overexpression of MYC occurs in a variety of human cancers. Ectopic expression of MYC causes hyperproliferation and transformation of cells in culture and tumorigenesis in several transgenic mouse
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MYC is a transcription factor that is essential for cellular proliferation and development. Deregulation or overexpression of MYC occurs in a variety of human cancers. Ectopic expression of MYC causes hyperproliferation and transformation of cells in culture and tumorigenesis in several transgenic mouse models. Deregulation of MYC can also induce apoptosis through activation of p53 and/or ARF tumor suppressors as a safeguard to prevent tumorigenesis. MYC binds to thousands of genomic sites and regulates hundreds of target genes in a context-dependent fashion to mediate these diverse biological roles. The N-terminal region of MYC contains several conserved domains or MYC Boxes (MB), which influence the different MYC transcriptional and biological activities to varying degrees. However, the specific domains that mediate the ability of MYC to activate transcription remain ill defined. In this report, we have identified a new conserved transactivation domain (TAD), MB0, which is essential for MYC transactivation and target gene induction. We demonstrate that MB0 and MBI represent two distinct and independent TADs within the N-terminal 62 amino acids of MYC. In addition, both MB0 and MBI are essential for MYC transformation of primary fibroblasts in cooperation with activated RAS, while MB0 is necessary for efficient MYC-induced p53-independent apoptosis. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Genetic Population Isolate in The Netherlands Showing Extensive Haplotype Sharing and Long Regions of Homozygosity
Genes 2017, 8(5), 133; doi:10.3390/genes8050133 -
Abstract
Genetic isolated populations have features that may facilitate genetic analyses and can be leveraged to improve power of mapping genes to complex traits. Our aim was to test the extent to which a population with a former history of geographic isolation and religious
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Genetic isolated populations have features that may facilitate genetic analyses and can be leveraged to improve power of mapping genes to complex traits. Our aim was to test the extent to which a population with a former history of geographic isolation and religious endogamy, and currently with one of the highest fertility rates in The Netherlands, shows signs of genetic isolation. For this purpose, genome-wide genotype data was collected of 72 unrelated individuals from this population as well as in a sample of 104 random control subjects from The Netherlands. Additional reference data from different populations and population isolates was available through HapMap and the Human Genome Diversity Project. We performed a number of analyses to compare the genetic structure between these populations: we calculated the pairwise genetic distance between populations, examined the extent of identical-by-descent (IBD) sharing and estimated the effective population size. Genetic analysis of this population showed consistent patterns of a population isolate at all levels tested. We confirmed that this population is most closely related to the Dutch control subjects, and detected high levels of IBD sharing and runs of homozygosity at equal or even higher levels than observed in previously described population isolates. The effective population size of this population was estimated to be several orders of magnitude smaller than that of the Dutch control sample. We conclude that the geographic isolation of this population combined with rapid population growth has resulted in a genetic isolate with great potential value for future genetic studies. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
AKR1C1 as a Biomarker for Differentiating the Biological Effects of Combustible from Non-Combustible Tobacco Products
Genes 2017, 8(5), 132; doi:10.3390/genes8050132 -
Abstract
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
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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. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Stearoyl-CoA Desaturase-1 (Desat1) in Drosophila cooperated with Myc to Induce Autophagy and Growth, a Potential New Link to Tumor Survival
Genes 2017, 8(5), 131; doi:10.3390/genes8050131 -
Abstract
Lipids are an important energy supply in our cells and can be stored or used to produce macromolecules during lipogenesis when cells experience nutrient starvation. Our proteomic analysis reveals that the Drosophila homologue of human Stearoyl-CoA desaturase-1 (Desat1) is an indirect target of
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Lipids are an important energy supply in our cells and can be stored or used to produce macromolecules during lipogenesis when cells experience nutrient starvation. Our proteomic analysis reveals that the Drosophila homologue of human Stearoyl-CoA desaturase-1 (Desat1) is an indirect target of Myc in fat cells. Stearoyl-CoA desaturases are key enzymes in the synthesis of monounsaturated fatty acids critical for the formation of complex lipids such as triglycerides and phospholipids. Their function is fundamental for cellular physiology, however in tumors, overexpression of SCD-1 and SCD-5 has been found frequently associated with a poor prognosis. Another gene that is often upregulated in tumors is the proto-oncogene c-myc, where its overexpression or increased protein stability, favor cellular growth. Here, we report a potential link between Myc and Desat1 to control autophagy and growth. Using Drosophila, we found that expression of Desat1, in metabolic tissues like the fat body, in the gut and in epithelial cells, is necessary for Myc function to induce autophagy a cell eating mechanism important for energy production. In addition, we observed that reduction of Desat1 affects Myc ability to induce growth in epithelial cells. Our data also identify, in prostatic tumor cells, a significant correlation between the expression of Myc and SCD-1 proteins, suggesting the existence of a potential functional relationship between the activities of these proteins in sustaining tumor progression. Full article
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