Abstract: Expression of miRNAs in Neuroendocrine Neoplasms (NEN) is poorly characterized. We therefore wanted to examine the miRNA expression in Neuroendocrine Tumors (NETs), and identify their targets and importance in NET carcinogenesis. miRNA expression in six NEN primary tumors, six NEN metastases and four normal intestinal tissues was characterized using miRNA arrays, and validated by in-situ hybridization and qPCR. Among the down-regulated miRNAs miR-129-5p and the let-7f/let-7 family, were selected for further characterization. Transfection of miR-129-5p inhibited growth of a pulmonary and an intestinal carcinoid cell line. Analysis of mRNA expression changes identified EGR1 and G3BP1 as miR-129-5p targets. They were validated by luciferase assay and western blotting, and found robustly expressed in NETs by immunohistochemistry. Knockdown of EGR1 and G3BP1 mimicked the growth inhibition induced by miR-129-5p. let-7 overexpression inhibited growth of carcinoid cell lines, and let-7 inhibition increased protein content of the transcription factor BACH1 and its targets MMP1 and HMGA2, all known to promote bone metastases. Immunohistochemistry analysis revealed that let-7 targets are highly expressed in NETs and metastases. We found down-regulation of miR-129-5p and the let-7 family, and identified new neuroendocrine specific targets for these miRNAs, which contributes to the growth and metastatic potential of these tumors.
Genes2014, 5(4), 1115-1131; doi:10.3390/genes5041115 - published 19 December 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Several transcription factors (TFs) coordinate to regulate expression of specific genes at the transcriptional level. In Arabidopsis thaliana it is estimated that approximately 10% of all genes encode TFs or TF-like proteins. It is important to identify target genes that are directly regulated by TFs in order to understand the complete picture of a plant’s transcriptome profile. Here, we investigate the role of the LONG HYPOCOTYL5 (HY5) transcription factor that acts as a regulator of photomorphogenesis. We used an in vitro genomic DNA binding assay coupled with immunoprecipitation and next-generation sequencing (gDB-seq) instead of the in vivo chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP)-based methods. The results demonstrate that the HY5-binding motif predicted here was similar to the motif reported previously and that in vitro HY5-binding loci largely overlapped with the HY5-targeted candidate genes identified in previous ChIP-chip analysis. By combining these results with microarray analysis, we identified hundreds of HY5-binding genes that were differentially expressed in hy5. We also observed delayed induction of some transcripts of HY5-binding genes in hy5 mutants in response to blue-light exposure after dark treatment. Thus, an in vitro gDNA-binding assay coupled with sequencing is a convenient and powerful method to bridge the gap between identifying TF binding potential and establishing function.
Genes2014, 5(4), 1095-1114; doi:10.3390/genes5041095 - published 11 December 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Memantine is a non-competitive antagonist of the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor, and is an approved drug for the treatment of moderate-to-severe Alzheimer’s disease. We identified a mouse strain with a naturally occurring mutation and an ataxic phenotype that presents with severe leg cramps. To investigate the phenotypes of these mutant mice, we screened several phenotype-modulating drugs and found that memantine (10 mg/kg) disrupted the sense of balance in the mutants. Moreover, the mutant mice showed an attenuated optokinetic response (OKR) and impaired OKR learning, which was also observed in wild-type mice treated with memantine. Microsatellite analyses indicated that the Grid2 gene-deletion is responsible for these phenotypes. Patch-clamp analysis showed a relatively small change in NMDA-dependent current in cultured granule cells from Grid2 gene-deleted mice, suggesting that GRID2 is important for correct NMDA receptor function. In general, NMDA receptors are activated after the activation of non-NMDA receptors, such as AMPA receptors, and AMPA receptor dysregulation also occurs in Grid2 mutant mice. Indeed, the AMPA treatment enhanced memantine susceptibility in wild-type mice, which was indicated by balance sense and OKR impairments. The present study explores a new role for GRID2 and highlights the adverse effects of memantine in different genetic backgrounds.
Genes2014, 5(4), 1064-1094; doi:10.3390/genes5041064 - published 11 December 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Somatic mosaicism refers to the occurrence of two genetically distinct populations of cells within an individual, derived from a postzygotic mutation. In contrast to inherited mutations, somatic mosaic mutations may affect only a portion of the body and are not transmitted to progeny. These mutations affect varying genomic sizes ranging from single nucleotides to entire chromosomes and have been implicated in disease, most prominently cancer. The phenotypic consequences of somatic mosaicism are dependent upon many factors including the developmental time at which the mutation occurs, the areas of the body that are affected, and the pathophysiological effect(s) of the mutation. The advent of second-generation sequencing technologies has augmented existing array-based and cytogenetic approaches for the identification of somatic mutations. We outline the strengths and weaknesses of these techniques and highlight recent insights into the role of somatic mosaicism in causing cancer, neurodegenerative, monogenic, and complex disease.
Genes2014, 5(4), 1050-1063; doi:10.3390/genes5041050 - published 27 November 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Long non-coding (lnc) RNAs serve a multitude of functions in cells. NEAT1 RNA is a highly abundant 4 kb lncRNA in nuclei, and coincides with paraspeckles, nuclear domains that control sequestration of paraspeckle proteins. We examined NEAT1 RNA levels and its function in 3T3-L1 cells during differentiation to adipocytes. Levels of NEAT1 transcript, measured by RT-PCR, fluctuated in a temporal manner over the course of differentiation that suggested its role in alternative splicing of PPARγ mRNA, the major transcription factor driving adipogenesis. When cells were induced to differentiate by a media cocktail of insulin, dexamethasone, and isobutylmethyxanthine (IBMX) on Day 0, NEAT1 levels dropped on Day 4, when the PPARγ2 variant was spliced and when terminal differentiation occurs The appearance of PPARγ2 coordinates with the PPARγ1 variant to drive differentiation of adipocytes. SiRNA used to deplete NEAT1 resulted in the inability of cells to phosphorylate the serine/arginine-rich splicing protein, SRp40. SiRNA treatment for SRp40 resulted in dysregulation of PPARγ1 and, primarily, PPARγ2 mRNA levels. SRp40 associated with NEAT1, as shown by RNA-IP on days 0 and 8, but decreased on day 4, and concentrations increased over that of IgG control. Overexpression of SRp40 increased PPARγ2, but not γ1. Although lncRNA MALAT1 has been investigated in SR protein function, NEAT1 has not been shown to bind SR proteins for phosphorylation such that alternative splicing results. The ability of cells to increase phosphorylated SR proteins for PPARγ2 splicing suggests that fluxes in NEAT1 levels during adipogenesis regulate alternative splicing events.