Open AccessReview
MYC in Regulating Immunity: Metabolism and Beyond
Genes 2017, 8(3), 88; doi:10.3390/genes8030088 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Myelocytomatosis oncogene (MYC) family members, including cellular MYC (c-Myc), neuroblastoma derived MYC (MYCN), and lung carcinoma derived MYC (MYCL), have all been implicated as key oncogenic drivers in a broad range of human cancers. Beyond cancer, MYC plays an important role in other
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Myelocytomatosis oncogene (MYC) family members, including cellular MYC (c-Myc), neuroblastoma derived MYC (MYCN), and lung carcinoma derived MYC (MYCL), have all been implicated as key oncogenic drivers in a broad range of human cancers. Beyond cancer, MYC plays an important role in other physiological and pathological processes, namely immunity and immunological diseases. MYC largely functions as a transcription factor that promotes the expression of numerous target genes to coordinate death, proliferation, and metabolism at the cellular, tissue, and organismal levels. It has been shown that the expression of MYC family members is tightly regulated in immune cells during development or upon immune stimulations. Emerging evidence suggests that MYC family members play essential roles in regulating the development, differentiation and activation of immune cells. Through driving the expression of a broad range of metabolic genes in immune cells, MYC family members coordinate metabolic programs to support immune functions. Here, we discuss our understanding of MYC biology in immune system and how modulation of MYC impacts immune metabolism and responses. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Systematic Identification and Assessment of Therapeutic Targets for Breast Cancer Based on Genome-Wide RNA Interference Transcriptomes
Genes 2017, 8(3), 86; doi:10.3390/genes8030086 -
Abstract
With accumulating public omics data, great efforts have been made to characterize the genetic heterogeneity of breast cancer. However, identifying novel targets and selecting the best from the sizeable lists of candidate targets is still a key challenge for targeted therapy, largely owing
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With accumulating public omics data, great efforts have been made to characterize the genetic heterogeneity of breast cancer. However, identifying novel targets and selecting the best from the sizeable lists of candidate targets is still a key challenge for targeted therapy, largely owing to the lack of economical, efficient and systematic discovery and assessment to prioritize potential therapeutic targets. Here, we describe an approach that combines the computational evaluation and objective, multifaceted assessment to systematically identify and prioritize targets for biological validation and therapeutic exploration. We first establish the reference gene expression profiles from breast cancer cell line MCF7 upon genome-wide RNA interference (RNAi) of a total of 3689 genes, and the breast cancer query signatures using RNA-seq data generated from tissue samples of clinical breast cancer patients in the Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA). Based on gene set enrichment analysis, we identified a set of 510 genes that when knocked down could significantly reverse the transcriptome of breast cancer state. We then perform multifaceted assessment to analyze the gene set to prioritize potential targets for gene therapy. We also propose drug repurposing opportunities and identify potentially druggable proteins that have been poorly explored with regard to the discovery of small-molecule modulators. Finally, we obtained a small list of candidate therapeutic targets for four major breast cancer subtypes, i.e., luminal A, luminal B, HER2+ and triple negative breast cancer. This RNAi transcriptome-based approach can be a helpful paradigm for relevant researches to identify and prioritize candidate targets for experimental validation. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Historical and Clinical Experiences of Gene Therapy  for Solid Cancers in China
Genes 2017, 8(3), 85; doi:10.3390/genes8030085 -
Abstract
Based on the theoretical and clinical development of modern medicines, gene therapy has been a promising treatment strategy for cancer and other diseases. The practice of gene therapy is nearly 27 years old, since the first authorized gene transfer study took place at
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Based on the theoretical and clinical development of modern medicines, gene therapy has been a promising treatment strategy for cancer and other diseases. The practice of gene therapy is nearly 27 years old, since the first authorized gene transfer study took place at the National Institute of Health in 1989. However, gene therapy was not readily adopted worldwide, until recently. Several gene therapy clinical trials have been carried out in China since 1998, and medical research in China has flourished. In this report, we review the history of gene therapy in China, focusing on treatment protocol, the administration cycle, dosage calculation, and the evaluation of therapeutic effects, in order to provide more information for the additional development of this promising treatment strategy. Full article
Open AccessReview
Targeting Splicing in the Treatment of Human Disease
Genes 2017, 8(3), 87; doi:10.3390/genes8030087 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
The tightly regulated process of precursor messenger RNA (pre-mRNA) alternative splicing (AS) is a key mechanism in the regulation of gene expression. Defects in this regulatory process affect cellular functions and are the cause of many human diseases. Recent advances in our understanding
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The tightly regulated process of precursor messenger RNA (pre-mRNA) alternative splicing (AS) is a key mechanism in the regulation of gene expression. Defects in this regulatory process affect cellular functions and are the cause of many human diseases. Recent advances in our understanding of splicing regulation have led to the development of new tools for manipulating splicing for therapeutic purposes. Several tools, including antisense oligonucleotides and trans-splicing, have been developed to target and alter splicing to correct misregulated gene expression or to modulate transcript isoform levels. At present, deregulated AS is recognized as an important area for therapeutic intervention. Here, we summarize the major hallmarks of the splicing process, the clinical implications that arise from alterations in this process, and the current tools that can be used to deliver, target, and correct deficiencies of this key pre-mRNA processing event. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Cross-Species Gene Expression Marker-Based Genetic Map and QTL Analysis in Bambara Groundnut
Genes 2017, 8(2), 84; doi:10.3390/genes8020084 -
Abstract
Bambara groundnut (Vigna subterranea (L.) Verdc.) is an underutilised legume crop, which has long been recognised as a protein-rich and drought-tolerant crop, used extensively in Sub-Saharan Africa. The aim of the study was to identify quantitative trait loci (QTL) involved in agronomic
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Bambara groundnut (Vigna subterranea (L.) Verdc.) is an underutilised legume crop, which has long been recognised as a protein-rich and drought-tolerant crop, used extensively in Sub-Saharan Africa. The aim of the study was to identify quantitative trait loci (QTL) involved in agronomic and drought-related traits using an expression marker-based genetic map based on major crop resources developed in soybean. The gene expression markers (GEMs) were generated at the (unmasked) probe-pair level after cross-hybridisation of bambara groundnut leaf RNA to the Affymetrix Soybean Genome GeneChip. A total of 753 markers grouped at an LOD (Logarithm of odds) of three, with 527 markers mapped into linkage groups. From this initial map, a spaced expression marker-based genetic map consisting of 13 linkage groups containing 218 GEMs, spanning 982.7 cM (centimorgan) of the bambara groundnut genome, was developed. Of the QTL detected, 46% were detected in both control and drought treatment populations, suggesting that they are the result of intrinsic trait differences between the parental lines used to construct the cross, with 31% detected in only one of the conditions. The present GEM map in bambara groundnut provides one technically feasible route for the translation of information and resources from major and model plant species to underutilised and resource-poor crops. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Targeting MDM4 Splicing in Cancers
Genes 2017, 8(2), 82; doi:10.3390/genes8020082 -
Abstract
MDM4, an essential negative regulator of the P53 tumor suppressor, is frequently overexpressed in cancer cells that harbor a wild‐type P53. By a mechanism based on alternative splicing, the MDM4 gene generates two mutually exclusive isoforms: MDM4-FL, which encodes the full‐length MDM4 protein,
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MDM4, an essential negative regulator of the P53 tumor suppressor, is frequently overexpressed in cancer cells that harbor a wild‐type P53. By a mechanism based on alternative splicing, the MDM4 gene generates two mutually exclusive isoforms: MDM4-FL, which encodes the full‐length MDM4 protein, and a shorter splice variant called MDM4-S. Previous results suggested that the MDM4-S isoform could be an important driver of tumor development. In this short review, we discuss a recent set of data indicating that MDM4-S is more likely a passenger isoform during tumorigenesis and that targeting MDM4 splicing to prevent MDM4-FL protein expression appears as a promising strategy to reactivate p53 in cancer cells. The benefits and risks associated with this strategy are also discussed. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Deep Transcriptome Sequencing of Two Green Algae, Chara vulgaris and Chlamydomonas reinhardtii,  Provides No Evidence of Organellar RNA Editing
Genes 2017, 8(2), 80; doi:10.3390/genes8020080 -
Abstract
Nearly all land plants post‐transcriptionally modify specific nucleotides within RNAs, a process known as RNA editing. This adaptation allows the correction of deleterious mutations within the asexually reproducing and presumably non‐recombinant chloroplast and mitochondrial genomes. There are no reports of RNA editing in
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Nearly all land plants post‐transcriptionally modify specific nucleotides within RNAs, a process known as RNA editing. This adaptation allows the correction of deleterious mutations within the asexually reproducing and presumably non‐recombinant chloroplast and mitochondrial genomes. There are no reports of RNA editing in any of the green algae so this phenomenon is presumed to have originated in embryophytes either after the invasion of land or in the now extinct algal ancestor of all land plants. This was challenged when a recent in silico screen for RNA edit sites based on genomic sequence homology predicted edit sites in the green alga Chara vulgaris, a multicellular alga found within the Streptophyta clade and one of the closest extant algal relatives of land plants. In this study, the organelle transcriptomes of C. vulgaris and Chlamydomonas reinhardtii were deep sequenced for a comprehensive assessment of RNA editing. Initial analyses based solely on sequence comparisons suggested potential edit sites in both species, but subsequent high‐resolution melt analysis, RNase H‐dependent PCR (rhPCR), and Sanger sequencing of DNA and complementary DNAs (cDNAs) from each of the putative edit sites revealed them to be either single‐nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) or spurious deep sequencing results. The lack of RNA editing in these two lineages is consistent with the current hypothesis that RNA editing evolved after embryophytes split from its ancestral algal lineage. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
New Evidence for the Theory of Chromosome Organization by Repetitive Elements (CORE)
Genes 2017, 8(2), 81; doi:10.3390/genes8020081 -
Abstract
Repetitive DNA elements were proposed to coordinate chromatin folding and interaction in chromosomes by their intrinsic homology-based clustering ability. A recent analysis of the data sets from chromosome-conformation-capture experiments confirms the spatial clustering of DNA repeats of the same family in the nuclear
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Repetitive DNA elements were proposed to coordinate chromatin folding and interaction in chromosomes by their intrinsic homology-based clustering ability. A recent analysis of the data sets from chromosome-conformation-capture experiments confirms the spatial clustering of DNA repeats of the same family in the nuclear space, and thus provides strong new support for the CORE theory. Full article
Open AccessArticle
MNT and Emerging Concepts of MNT‐MYC Antagonism
Genes 2017, 8(2), 83; doi:10.3390/genes8020083 -
Abstract
MYC family proteins play fundamental roles in stem and progenitor cell homeostasis, morphogenesis and cancer. As expected for proteins that profoundly affect the fate of cells, the activities of MYC are regulated at a multitude of levels. One mechanism with the potential to
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MYC family proteins play fundamental roles in stem and progenitor cell homeostasis, morphogenesis and cancer. As expected for proteins that profoundly affect the fate of cells, the activities of MYC are regulated at a multitude of levels. One mechanism with the potential to broadly affect the activities of MYC is transcriptional antagonism by a group of MYC‐related transcriptional repressors. From this group, the protein MNT has emerged as having perhaps the most far‐reaching impact on MYC activities. In this review, we discuss the current understanding of MNT, its regulation and how, as a MYC antagonist, it functions both as a tumor suppressor and facilitator of MYC‐driven proliferation and oncogenesis. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Transgene Expression and Host Cell Responses to Replication-Defective, Single-Cycle, and Replication-Competent Adenovirus Vectors
Genes 2017, 8(2), 79; doi:10.3390/genes8020079 -
Abstract
Most adenovirus (Ad) vectors are E1 gene deleted replication defective (RD-Ad) vectors that deliver one transgene to the cell and all expression is based on that one gene. In contrast, E1-intact replication-competent Ad (RC-Ad) vectors replicate their DNA and their transgenes up to
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Most adenovirus (Ad) vectors are E1 gene deleted replication defective (RD-Ad) vectors that deliver one transgene to the cell and all expression is based on that one gene. In contrast, E1-intact replication-competent Ad (RC-Ad) vectors replicate their DNA and their transgenes up to 10,000-fold, amplifying transgene expression markedly higher than RD-Ad vectors. While RC-Ad are more potent, they run the real risk of causing adenovirus infections in vector recipients and those that administer them. To gain the benefits of transgene amplification, but avoid the risk of Ad infections, we developed “single cycle” Ad (SC-Ad) vectors. SC-Ads amplify transgene expression and generated markedly stronger and more persistent immune responses than RD-Ad as expected. However, they also unexpectedly generated stronger immune responses than RC-Ad vectors. To explore the basis of this potency here, we compared gene expression and the cellular responses to infection to these vectors in vitro and in vivo. In vitro, in primary human lung epithelial cells, SC- and RC-Ad amplified their genomes more than 400-fold relative to RD-Ad with higher replication by SC-Ad. This replication translated into higher green fluorescent protein (GFP) expression for 48 h by SC- and RC-Ad than by RD-Ad. In vitro, in the absence of an immune system, RD-Ad expression became higher by 72 h coincident with cell death mediated by SC- and RC-Ad and release of transgene product from the dying cells. When the vectors were compared in human THP-1 Lucia- interferon-stimulated gene (ISG) cells, which are a human monocyte cell line that have been modified to quantify ISG activity, RC-Ad6 provoked significantly stronger ISG responses than RD- or SC-Ad. In mice, intravenous or intranasal injection produced up to 100-fold genome replication. Under these in vivo conditions in the presence of the immune system, luciferase expression by RC and SC-Ad was markedly higher than that by RD-Ad. In immunodeficient mice, SC-Ad drove stronger luciferase expression than RC- or RD-Ad. These data demonstrate better transgene expression by SC- and RC-Ad in vitro and in vivo than RD-Ad. This higher expression by the replicating vectors results in a peak of expression within 1 to 2 days followed by cell death of infected cells and release of transgene products. While SC- and RC-Ad expression were similar in mice and in Syrian hamsters, RC-Ad provoked much stronger ISG induction which may explain in part SC-Ad′s ability to generate stronger and more persistent immune responses than RC-Ad in Ad permissive hamsters. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
MicroRNA Expression Profile Identifies High Grade, Non-Muscle-Invasive Bladder Tumors at Elevated Risk to Progress to an Invasive Phenotype
Genes 2017, 8(2), 77; doi:10.3390/genes8020077 -
Abstract
The objective of this study was to identify a panel of microRNAs (miRNAs) differentially expressed in high-grade non-muscle invasive (NMI; TaG3–T1G3) urothelial carcinoma that progress to muscle-invasive disease compared to those that remain non-muscle invasive, whether recurrence happens or not. Eighty-nine high-grade NMI
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The objective of this study was to identify a panel of microRNAs (miRNAs) differentially expressed in high-grade non-muscle invasive (NMI; TaG3–T1G3) urothelial carcinoma that progress to muscle-invasive disease compared to those that remain non-muscle invasive, whether recurrence happens or not. Eighty-nine high-grade NMI urothelial carcinoma lesions were identified and total RNA was extracted from paraffin-embedded tissue. Patients were categorized as either having a non-muscle invasive lesion with no evidence of progression over a 3-year period or as having a similar lesion showing progression to muscle invasion over the same period. In addition, comparison of miRNA expression levels between patients with and without prior intravesical therapy was performed. Total RNA was pooled for microarray analysis in each group (non-progressors and progressors), and qRT-PCR of individual samples validated differential expression between non-progressive and progressive lesions. MiR-32-5p, -224-5p, and -412-3p were associated with cancer-specific survival. Downregulation of miR-203a-3p and miR-205-5p were significantly linked to progression in non-muscle invasive bladder tumors. These miRNAs include those implicated in epithelial mesenchymal transition, previously identified as members of a panel characterizing transition from the non-invasive to invasive phenotype in bladder tumors. Furthermore, we were able to identify specific miRNAs that are linked to postoperative outcome in patients with high grade NMI urothelial carcinoma of the bladder (UCB) that progressed to muscle-invasive (MI) disease. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Ageing Brain: Effects on DNA Repair and DNA Methylation in Mice
Genes 2017, 8(2), 75; doi:10.3390/genes8020075 -
Abstract
Base excision repair (BER) may become less effective with ageing resulting in accumulation of DNA lesions, genome instability and altered gene expression that contribute to age-related degenerative diseases. The brain is particularly vulnerable to the accumulation of DNA lesions; hence, proper functioning of
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Base excision repair (BER) may become less effective with ageing resulting in accumulation of DNA lesions, genome instability and altered gene expression that contribute to age-related degenerative diseases. The brain is particularly vulnerable to the accumulation of DNA lesions; hence, proper functioning of DNA repair mechanisms is important for neuronal survival. Although the mechanism of age-related decline in DNA repair capacity is unknown, growing evidence suggests that epigenetic events (e.g., DNA methylation) contribute to the ageing process and may be functionally important through the regulation of the expression of DNA repair genes. We hypothesize that epigenetic mechanisms are involved in mediating the age-related decline in BER in the brain. Brains from male mice were isolated at 3–32 months of age. Pyrosequencing analyses revealed significantly increased Ogg1 methylation with ageing, which correlated inversely with Ogg1 expression. The reduced Ogg1 expression correlated with enhanced expression of methyl-CpG binding protein 2 and ten-eleven translocation enzyme 2. A significant inverse correlation between Neil1 methylation at CpG-site2 and expression was also observed. BER activity was significantly reduced and associated with increased 8-oxo-7,8-dihydro-2′-deoxyguanosine levels. These data indicate that Ogg1 and Neil1 expression can be epigenetically regulated, which may mediate the effects of ageing on DNA repair in the brain. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Mcm10: A Dynamic Scaffold at Eukaryotic Replication Forks
Genes 2017, 8(2), 73; doi:10.3390/genes8020073 -
Abstract
To complete the duplication of large genomes efficiently, mechanisms have evolved that coordinate DNA unwinding with DNA synthesis and provide quality control measures prior to cell division. Minichromosome maintenance protein 10 (Mcm10) is a conserved component of the eukaryotic replisome that contributes to
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To complete the duplication of large genomes efficiently, mechanisms have evolved that coordinate DNA unwinding with DNA synthesis and provide quality control measures prior to cell division. Minichromosome maintenance protein 10 (Mcm10) is a conserved component of the eukaryotic replisome that contributes to this process in multiple ways. Mcm10 promotes the initiation of DNA replication through direct interactions with the cell division cycle 45 (Cdc45)-minichromosome maintenance complex proteins 2-7 (Mcm2-7)-go-ichi-ni-san GINS complex proteins, as well as single- and double-stranded DNA. After origin firing, Mcm10 controls replication fork stability to support elongation, primarily facilitating Okazaki fragment synthesis through recruitment of DNA polymerase-α and proliferating cell nuclear antigen. Based on its multivalent properties, Mcm10 serves as an essential scaffold to promote DNA replication and guard against replication stress. Under pathological conditions, Mcm10 is often dysregulated. Genetic amplification and/or overexpression of MCM10 are common in cancer, and can serve as a strong prognostic marker of poor survival. These findings are compatible with a heightened requirement for Mcm10 in transformed cells to overcome limitations for DNA replication dictated by altered cell cycle control. In this review, we highlight advances in our understanding of when, where and how Mcm10 functions within the replisome to protect against barriers that cause incomplete replication. Full article
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Open AccessReview
The Intra-S Checkpoint Responses to DNA Damage
Genes 2017, 8(2), 74; doi:10.3390/genes8020074 -
Abstract
Faithful duplication of the genome is a challenge because DNA is susceptible to damage by a number of intrinsic and extrinsic genotoxins, such as free radicals and UV light. Cells activate the intra-S checkpoint in response to damage during S phase to protect
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Faithful duplication of the genome is a challenge because DNA is susceptible to damage by a number of intrinsic and extrinsic genotoxins, such as free radicals and UV light. Cells activate the intra-S checkpoint in response to damage during S phase to protect genomic integrity and ensure replication fidelity. The checkpoint prevents genomic instability mainly by regulating origin firing, fork progression, and transcription of G1/S genes in response to DNA damage. Several studies hint that regulation of forks is perhaps the most critical function of the intra-S checkpoint. However, the exact role of the checkpoint at replication forks has remained elusive and controversial. Is the checkpoint required for fork stability, or fork restart, or to prevent fork reversal or fork collapse, or activate repair at replication forks? What are the factors that the checkpoint targets at stalled replication forks? In this review, we will discuss the various pathways activated by the intra-S checkpoint in response to damage to prevent genomic instability. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Immune-Mediated Therapies for Liver Cancer
Genes 2017, 8(2), 76; doi:10.3390/genes8020076 -
Abstract
In recent years, immunotherapy has gained renewed interest as an alternative therapeutic approach for solid tumors. Its premise is based on harnessing the power of the host immune system to destroy tumor cells. Development of immune-mediated therapies, such as vaccines, adoptive transfer of
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In recent years, immunotherapy has gained renewed interest as an alternative therapeutic approach for solid tumors. Its premise is based on harnessing the power of the host immune system to destroy tumor cells. Development of immune-mediated therapies, such as vaccines, adoptive transfer of autologous immune cells, and stimulation of host immunity by targeting tumor-evasive mechanisms have advanced cancer immunotherapy. In addition, studies on innate immunity and mechanisms of immune evasion have enhanced our understanding on the immunology of liver cancer. Preclinical and clinical studies with immune-mediated therapies have shown potential benefits in patients with liver cancer. In this review, we summarize current knowledge and recent developments in tumor immunology by focusing on two main primary liver cancers: hepatocellular carcinoma and cholangiocarcinoma. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Early Insights from Commercialization of Gene Therapies in Europe
Genes 2017, 8(2), 78; doi:10.3390/genes8020078 -
Abstract After years of research and development, gene therapies are now becoming a commercial reality with several products approved by European regulatory authorities [...] Full article
Open AccessReview
Therapeutic Approaches Targeting MYC-Driven Prostate Cancer
Genes 2017, 8(2), 71; doi:10.3390/genes8020071 -
Abstract
The transcript encoding the proto-oncogene MYC is commonly overexpressed in prostate cancer (PC). MYC protein abundance is also increased in the majority of cases of advanced and metastatic castrate-resistant PC (mCRPC). Accordingly, the MYC-directed transcriptional program directly contributes to PC by upregulating the
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The transcript encoding the proto-oncogene MYC is commonly overexpressed in prostate cancer (PC). MYC protein abundance is also increased in the majority of cases of advanced and metastatic castrate-resistant PC (mCRPC). Accordingly, the MYC-directed transcriptional program directly contributes to PC by upregulating the expression of a number of pro-tumorigenic factors involved in cell growth and proliferation. A key cellular process downstream of MYC activity is the regulation of ribosome biogenesis which sustains tumor growth. MYC activity also cooperates with the dysregulation of the phosphoinositol-3-kinase (PI3K)/AKT/mTOR pathway to promote PC cell survival. Recent advances in the understanding of these interactions through the use of animal models have provided significant insight into the therapeutic efficacy of targeting MYC activity by interfering with its transcriptional program, and indirectly by targeting downstream cellular events linked to MYC transformation potential. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Type 1 Diabetes Candidate Genes Linked to Pancreatic Islet Cell Inflammation and Beta-Cell Apoptosis
Genes 2017, 8(2), 72; doi:10.3390/genes8020072 -
Abstract
Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is a chronic immune-mediated disease resulting from the selective destruction of the insulin-producing pancreatic islet β-cells. Susceptibility to the disease is the result of complex interactions between environmental and genetic risk factors. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified more
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Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is a chronic immune-mediated disease resulting from the selective destruction of the insulin-producing pancreatic islet β-cells. Susceptibility to the disease is the result of complex interactions between environmental and genetic risk factors. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified more than 50 genetic regions that affect the risk of developing T1D. Most of these susceptibility loci, however, harbor several genes, and the causal variant(s) and gene(s) for most of the loci remain to be established. A significant part of the genes located in the T1D susceptibility loci are expressed in human islets and β cells and mounting evidence suggests that some of these genes modulate the β-cell response to the immune system and viral infection and regulate apoptotic β-cell death. Here, we discuss the current status of T1D susceptibility loci and candidate genes with focus on pancreatic islet cell inflammation and β-cell apoptosis. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Primetime for Learning Genes
Genes 2017, 8(2), 69; doi:10.3390/genes8020069 -
Abstract
Learning genes in mature neurons are uniquely suited to respond rapidly to specific environmental stimuli. Expression of individual learning genes, therefore, requires regulatory mechanisms that have the flexibility to respond with transcriptional activation or repression to select appropriate physiological and behavioral responses. Among
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Learning genes in mature neurons are uniquely suited to respond rapidly to specific environmental stimuli. Expression of individual learning genes, therefore, requires regulatory mechanisms that have the flexibility to respond with transcriptional activation or repression to select appropriate physiological and behavioral responses. Among the mechanisms that equip genes to respond adaptively are bivalent domains. These are specific histone modifications localized to gene promoters that are characteristic of both gene activation and repression, and have been studied primarily for developmental genes in embryonic stem cells. In this review, studies of the epigenetic regulation of learning genes in neurons, particularly the brain-derived neurotrophic factor gene (BDNF), by methylation/demethylation and chromatin modifications in the context of learning and memory will be highlighted. Because of the unique function of learning genes in the mature brain, it is proposed that bivalent domains are a characteristic feature of the chromatin landscape surrounding their promoters. This allows them to be “poised” for rapid response to activate or repress gene expression depending on environmental stimuli. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
FTO Genotype and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: Spatial Analysis and Meta-Analysis of 62 Case-Control Studies from Different Regions
Genes 2017, 8(2), 70; doi:10.3390/genes8020070 -
Abstract
Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is a global health problem that results from the interaction of environmental factors with genetic variants. Although a number of studies have suggested that genetic polymorphisms in the fat mass and obesity-associated (FTO) gene are associated
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Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is a global health problem that results from the interaction of environmental factors with genetic variants. Although a number of studies have suggested that genetic polymorphisms in the fat mass and obesity-associated (FTO) gene are associated with T2DM risk, the results have been inconsistent. To investigate whether FTO polymorphisms associate with T2DM risk and whether this association is region-related, we performed this spatial analysis and meta-analysis. More than 60,000 T2DM patients and 90,000 controls from 62 case-control studies were included in this study. Odds ratios (ORs), 95% confidence intervals (CIs) and Moran’s I statistic were used to estimate the association between FTO rs9939609, rs8050136, rs1421085, and rs17817499, and T2DM risk in different regions. rs9939609 (OR = 1.15, 95% CI 1.11–1.19) and rs8050136 (OR = 1.14, 95% CI 1.10–1.18) conferred a predisposition to T2DM. After adjustment for body mass index (BMI), the association remained statistically significant for rs9939609 (OR = 1.11, 95% CI 1.05–1.17) and rs8050136 (OR = 1.08, 95% CI 1.03–1.12). In the subgroup analysis of rs9939609 and rs8050136, similar results were observed in East Asia, while no association was found in North America. In South Asia, an association for rs9939609 was revealed but not for rs8050136. In addition, no relationship was found with rs1421085 or rs17817499 regardless of adjustment for BMI. Moran’s I statistic showed that significant positive spatial autocorrelations existed in rs9939609 and rs8050136. Studies on rs9939609 and rs8050136 focused on East Asia and South Asia, whereas studies on rs1421085 and rs17817499 were distributed in North America and North Africa. Our data suggest that the associations between FTO rs9939609, rs8050136 and T2DM are region-related, and the two single-nucleotide polymorphisms contribute to an increased risk of T2DM. Future studies should investigate this issue in more regions. Full article
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