Abstract: Chromatin influences Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) integration and replication. This review highlights critical host factors that influence chromatin structure and organization and that also impact HIV integration, transcriptional regulation and latency. Furthermore, recent attempts to target chromatin associated factors to reduce the HIV proviral load are discussed.
Abstract: In the last few decades, epigenetics has emerged as an exciting new field in development and disease, with a more recent focus towards cancer. Epigenetics has classically referred to heritable patterns of gene expression, primarily mediated through DNA methylation patterns. More recently, it has come to include the reversible chemical modification of histones and DNA that dictate gene expression patterns. Both the epigenetic up-regulation of oncogenes and downregulation of tumor suppressors have been shown to drive tumor development. Current clinical trials for cancer therapy include pharmacological inhibition of DNA methylation and histone deacetylation, with the aim of reversing these cancer-promoting epigenetic changes. However, the DNA methyltransferase and histone deacetylase inhibitors have met with less than promising results in the treatment of solid tumors. Regions of hypoxia are a common occurrence in solid tumors. Tumor hypoxia is associated with increased aggressiveness and therapy resistance, and importantly, hypoxic tumor cells have a distinct epigenetic profile. In this review, we provide a summary of the recent clinical trials using epigenetic drugs in solid tumors, discuss the hypoxia-induced epigenetic changes and highlight the importance of testing the epigenetic drugs for efficacy against the most aggressive hypoxic fraction of the tumor in future preclinical testing.
Abstract: Herbaceous peony (Paeonia lactiflora Pall.), one of the world’s most important ornamental plants, is highly susceptible to Botrytis cinerea, and improving resistance to this pathogenic fungus is a problem yet to be solved. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) play an essential role in resistance to B. cinerea, but until now, no studies have been reported concerning miRNAs induction in P. lactiflora. Here, we constructed and sequenced two small RNA (sRNA) libraries from two B. cinerea-infected P. lactiflora cultivars (“Zifengyu” and “Dafugui”) with significantly different levels of resistance to B. cinerea, using the Illumina HiSeq 2000 platform. From the raw reads generated, 4,592,881 and 5,809,796 sRNAs were obtained, and 280 and 306 miRNAs were identified from “Zifengyu” and “Dafugui”, respectively. A total of 237 conserved and 7 novel sequences of miRNAs were differentially expressed between the two cultivars, and we predicted and annotated their potential target genes. Subsequently, 7 differentially expressed candidate miRNAs were screened according to their target genes annotated in KEGG pathways, and the expression patterns of miRNAs and corresponding target genes were elucidated. We found that miR5254, miR165a-3p, miR3897-3p and miR6450a might be involved in the P. lactiflora response to B. cinerea infection. These results provide insight into the molecular mechanisms responsible for resistance to B. cinerea in P. lactiflora.
Abstract: 4-Coumarate:CoA ligase (4CL) genes are critical for the biosynthesis of plant phenylpropanoids. Here we identified 20 4CL genes in the genomes of two desert poplars (Populuseuphratica and P. pruinosa) and salt-sensitive congener (P. trichocarpa), but 12 in Salixsuchowensis (Salixwillow). Phylogenetic analyses clustered all Salicaceae 4CL genes into two clades, and one of them (corresponding to the 4CL-like clade from Arabidopsis) showed signals of adaptive evolution, with more genes retained in Populus than Salix and Arabidopsis. We also found that 4CL12 (in 4CL-like clade) showed positive selection along the two desert poplar lineages. Transcriptional profiling analyses indicated that the expression of 4CL2, 4CL11, and 4CL12 changed significantly in one or both desert poplars in response to salt stress compared to that of in P. trichocarpa. Our results suggest that the evolution of the 4CL genes may have contributed to the development of salt tolerance in the two desert poplars.
Abstract: Altered DNA methylation patterns are found in many diseases, particularly in cancer, where the analysis of DNA methylation holds the promise to provide diagnostic, prognostic and predictive information of great clinical value. Methylation of the promoter-associated CpG island of GSTP1 occurs in many hormone-sensitive cancers, has been shown to be a biomarker for the early detection of cancerous lesions and has been associated with important clinical parameters, such as survival and response to treatment. In the current manuscript, we assessed the performance of several widely-used sodium bisulfite conversion-dependent methods (methylation-specific PCR, MethyLight, pyrosequencing and MALDI mass-spectrometry) for the analysis of DNA methylation patterns in the GSTP1 promoter. We observed large discordances between the results obtained by the different technologies. Cloning and sequencing of the investigated region resolved single-molecule DNA methylation patterns and identified heterogeneous DNA methylation patterns as the underlying cause of the differences. Heterogeneous DNA methylation patterns in the GSTP1 promoter constitute a major obstacle to the implementation of DNA methylation-based analysis of GSTP1 and might explain some of the contradictory findings in the analysis of the significance of GSTP1 promoter methylation in breast cancer.
Abstract: DNA replication is essential for cell division. Challenges to the progression of DNA polymerase can result in replication stress, promoting the stalling and ultimately collapse of replication forks. The latter involves the formation of DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) and has been linked to both genome instability and irreversible cell cycle arrest (senescence). Recent technological advances have elucidated many of the factors that contribute to the sensing and repair of stalled or broken replication forks. In addition to bona fide repair factors, these efforts highlight a range of chromatin-associated changes at and near sites of replication stress, suggesting defects in epigenome maintenance as a potential outcome of aberrant DNA replication. Here, we will summarize recent insight into replication stress-induced chromatin-reorganization and will speculate on possible adverse effects for gene expression, nuclear integrity and, ultimately, cell function.