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  • 1
    Keywords: MESSENGER-RNA ; TRANSGENIC MICE ; STEM-CELLS ; point mutation ; lentiviral vectors ; DEVELOPMENTAL CONTROL ; SICKLE-CELL-ANEMIA ; YEAST ARTIFICIAL CHROMOSOME ; GREEK HEREDITARY PERSISTENCE ; EPSILON-GLOBIN
    Abstract: Fetal hemoglobin (HbF) is a potent genetic modifier of the severity of beta-thalassemia and sickle cell anemia. We used an in vitro culture model of human erythropoiesis in which late-stage erythroblasts are derived directly from human CD34(+) hematopoietic cells to evaluate HbF production. This system recapitulates expression of globin genes according to the developmental stage of the originating cell source. When cytokine-mobilized peripheral blood CD34(+) cells from adults were cultured, background levels of HbF were 2% or less. Cultured cells were readily transduced with lentiviral vectors when exposed to vector particles between 48 and 72 hours. Among the genetic elements that may enhance fetal hemoglobin production is an artificial zinc-finger transcription factor, GG1-VP64, designed to interact with the proximal gamma-globin gene promoters. Our data show that lentiviral-mediated, enforced expression of GG1-VP64 under the control of relatively weak erythroid-specific promoters induced significant amounts of HbF (up to 20%) in erythroblasts derived from adult CD34(+) cells without altering their capacity for erythroid maturation and only modestly reducing the total numbers of cells that accumulate in culture after transduction. These observations demonstrate the potential for sequence-specific enhancement of HbF in patients with beta-thalassemia or sickle cell anemia.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 20190190
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  • 2
    Keywords: KINASE ; THERAPY ; DISCOVERY ; BREAST-CANCER ; INHIBITORS ; AG1478
    Abstract: The identification of compounds that specifically inhibit or kill cancer cells without affecting cells from healthy tissues is very challenging but very important for reducing the side effects of current cancer therapies. Hence, there is an urgent need for improved assays allowing the selectivity of a given compound to be monitored directly. The authors present an assay system based on the competitive co-cultivation of an excess of cancer cells with a small fraction of noncancer human indicator cells generating a fluorescence signal. In the absence of a specific anticancer compound, the cancer cells outgrow the indicator cells and abolish the fluorescence signal. In contrast, the presence of specific anticancer drugs (such as Tyrphostin-AG1478 or PLX4720) results in the selective growth of the indicator cells, giving rise to a strong fluorescence signal. Furthermore, the authors show that the nonspecific cytotoxic compound sodium azide kills both cancer and noncancer cells, and no fluorescence signal is obtained. Hence, this assay system favors the selection of compounds that specifically target cancer cells and decreases the probability of selecting nonspecific cytotoxic molecules. Z factors of up to 0.85 were obtained, indicating an excellent assay that can be used for high-throughput screening.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 21788393
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  • 3
    Abstract: BACKGROUND: The non-pathogenic course of SIV infection in its natural host is characterized by robust viral replication in the absence of chronic immune activation and T cell proliferation. In contrast, acutely lethal enteropathic SIVsmm strain PBj induces a strong immune activation and causes a severe acute and lethal disease in pig-tailed macaques after cross-species transmission. One important pathogenicity factor of the PBj virus is the PBj-Nef protein, which contains a conserved diacidic motif and, unusually, an immunoreceptor tyrosine-based activation motif (ITAM). RESULTS: Mutation of the diacidic motif in the Nef protein of the SIVsmmPBj abolishes the acute phenotype of this virus. In vitro, wild-type and mutant PBj (PBj-Nef202/203GG) viruses replicated to similar levels in macaque PBMCs, but PBj-Nef202/203GG no longer triggers ERK mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase pathway including an alteration of a Nef-associated Raf-1/ERK-2 multiprotein signaling complex. Moreover, stimulation of IL-2 and down-modulation of CD4 and CD28 were impaired in the mutant virus. Pig-tailed macaques infected with PBj-Nef202/203GG did not show enteropathic complications and lethality as observed with wild-type PBj virus, despite efficient replication of both viruses in vivo. Furthermore, PBj-Nef202/203GG infected animals revealed reduced T-cell activation in periphery lymphoid organs and no detectable induction of IL-2 and IL-6. CONCLUSIONS: In sum, we report here that mutation of the diacidic motif in the PBj-Nef protein abolishes disease progression in pig-tailed macaques despite efficient replication. These data suggest that alterations in the ability of a lentivirus to promote T cell activation and proliferation can have a dramatic impact on its pathogenic potential.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 21366921
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  • 4
    Abstract: Analysis of biological processes is frequently performed with the help of phenotypic assays where data is mostly acquired in single end-point analysis. Alternative phenotypic profiling techniques are desired where time-series information is essential to the biological question, for instance to differentiate early and late regulators of cell proliferation in loss-of-function studies. So far there is no study addressing this question despite of high unmet interests, mostly due to the limitation of conventional end-point assaying technologies. We present the first human kinome screen with a real-time cell analysis system (RTCA) to capture dynamic RNAi phenotypes, employing time-resolved monitoring of cell proliferation via electrical impedance. RTCA allowed us to investigate the dynamics of phenotypes of cell proliferation instead of using conventional end-point analysis. By introducing data transformation with first-order derivative, i.e. the cell-index growth rate, we demonstrate this system suitable for high-throughput screenings (HTS). The screen validated previously identified inhibitor genes and, additionally, identified activators of cell proliferation. With the information of time kinetics available, we could establish a network of mitotic-event related genes to be among the first displaying inhibiting effects after RNAi knockdown. The time-resolved screen captured kinetics of cell proliferation caused by RNAi targeting human kinome, serving as a resource for researchers. Our work establishes RTCA technology as a novel robust tool with biological and pharmacological relevance amenable for high-throughput screening.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 21765947
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  • 5
    Keywords: CANCER ; CELLS ; EXPRESSION ; PATHWAYS ; QUANTIFICATION ; RNA ; DNA ; REDUCTION ; PEPTIDE NUCLEIC-ACIDS ; IN-SITU HYBRIDIZATION ; PROBES ; LIVING CELLS ; TARGETS ; REGULATORS ; miRNAs
    Abstract: It is generally accepted that microRNAs (miRNAs) play a crucial role in gene expression regulation and that their aberrant expression is intimately linked with pathologies, most notably cancer. There is thus significant interest in detecting and quantifying these important regulators. Herein, we report the fluorescence imaging of miRNAs within a few hours using a nucleic-acid templated Staudinger reaction. A good correlation between the level of miRNAs and the fluorescence intensity was observed across different cell lines. This method was shown to also be applicable for suspended cells with fluorescence quantification by flow cytometry
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
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  • 6
    Abstract: While next-generation sequencing has accelerated the discovery of human disease genes, progress has been largely limited to the "low hanging fruit" of mutations with obvious exonic coding or canonical splice site impact. In contrast, the lack of high-throughput, unbiased approaches for functional assessment of most noncoding variants has bottlenecked gene discovery. We report the integration of transcriptome sequencing (RNA-seq), which surveys all mRNAs to reveal functional impacts of variants at the transcription level, into the gene discovery framework for a unique human disease, microcephaly-micromelia syndrome (MMS). MMS is an autosomal recessive condition described thus far in only a single First Nations population and causes intrauterine growth restriction, severe microcephaly, craniofacial anomalies, skeletal dysplasia, and neonatal lethality. Linkage analysis of affected families, including a very large pedigree, identified a single locus on Chromosome 21 linked to the disease (LOD 〉 9). Comprehensive genome sequencing did not reveal any pathogenic coding or canonical splicing mutations within the linkage region but identified several nonconserved noncoding variants. RNA-seq analysis detected aberrant splicing in DONSON due to one of these noncoding variants, showing a causative role for DONSON disruption in MMS. We show that DONSON is expressed in progenitor cells of embryonic human brain and other proliferating tissues, is co-expressed with components of the DNA replication machinery, and that Donson is essential for early embryonic development in mice as well, suggesting an essential conserved role for DONSON in the cell cycle. Our results demonstrate the utility of integrating transcriptomics into the study of human genetic disease when DNA sequencing alone is not sufficient to reveal the underlying pathogenic mutation.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 28630177
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  • 7
    Keywords: CELLS ; EXPRESSION ; IN-VITRO ; CELL ; VITRO ; GENE ; PROTEIN ; transcription ; cell line ; MICE ; ACTIVATION ; TRANSCRIPTION FACTOR ; DOMAIN ; animals ; BIOLOGY ; MOLECULAR-BIOLOGY ; RECOGNITION ; PARTICLES ; TARGET ; TRANSCRIPTION FACTORS ; HUMANS ; VECTOR ; PROMOTER ; MAMMALIAN-CELLS ; STRATEGIES ; SELECTION ; REPRESSION ; DOMAINS ; molecular biology ; REPERTOIRE ; LIBRARIES ; interaction ; LIBRARY ; ACTIVATION DOMAIN ; USA ; Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction ; CALIFORNIA ; STRATEGY ; TRANSCRIPTION-FACTOR ; PARTICLE ; gamma-Globins/genetics ; Models,Theoretical ; Promoter Regions,Genetic/genetics ; Retroviridae/*genetics/*physiology ; Transcription Factors/genetics/*metabolism ; Zinc Fingers
    Abstract: Through the shuffling of predefined modular zinc finger domains with predictable target site recognition in vitro, we have generated a large repertoire of artificial transcription factors with five zinc finger domains (TF(ZF)s). Here we report an effective strategy for the selection of ATF libraries by coupling expression of transcriptional activators of the promoter of interest to the enhanced production of retroviral vector particles transferring the TF(ZF) encoding gene. Using this strategy, we successfully selected specific TF(ZF)s that upregulate the expression of the gamma-globin promoter. Selected transcription factors induced the expression of gamma-globin when coupled to an activation domain and reduced expression when linked to a repression domain. This new retroviral approach might be used to select other TF(ZF)s but might also be generalized for the selection of other protein and small-molecule interactions.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 19838191
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  • 8
    Keywords: INVASION ; proliferation ; microarray ; FAMILY ; GROWTH-FACTOR RECEPTOR ; SIGNAL-TRANSDUCTION ; leukemia ; TARGETS ; TUMOR-SUPPRESSOR ; EXPRESSION PROFILES
    Abstract: The EGFR-driven cell-cycle pathway has been extensively studied due to its pivotal role in breast cancer proliferation and pathogenesis. Although several studies reported regulation of individual pathway components by microRNAs (miRNAs), little is known about how miRNAs coordinate the EGFR protein network on a global miRNA (miRNome) level. Here, we combined a large-scale miRNA screening approach with a high-throughput proteomic readout and network-based data analysis to identify which miRNAs are involved, and to uncover potential regulatory patterns. Our results indicated that the regulation of proteins by miRNAs is dominated by the nucleotide matching mechanism between seed sequences of the miRNAs and 3'-UTR of target genes. Furthermore, the novel network-analysis methodology we developed implied the existence of consistent intrinsic regulatory patterns where miRNAs simultaneously co-regulate several proteins acting in the same functional module. Finally, our approach led us to identify and validate three miRNAs (miR-124, miR-147 and miR-193a-3p) as novel tumor suppressors that co-target EGFR-driven cell-cycle network proteins and inhibit cell-cycle progression and proliferation in breast cancer.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 22333974
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  • 9
  • 10
    Keywords: ANGIOGENESIS ; EXPRESSION ; GROWTH-FACTOR ; INVASION ; proliferation ; ACTIVATION ; UP-REGULATION ; EMBRYONIC STEM-CELLS ; bone metastasis ; MicroRNAs
    Abstract: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) as modulators of gene expression have been described to display both tumor-promoting and tumor-suppressive functions. Although their role has been studied in different tumor types, little is known about how they regulate nuclear factor kappaB (NF-kappaB) signaling in breast cancer. Here, we performed an unbiased whole genome miRNA (miRome) screen to identify novel modulators of NF-kappaB pathway in breast cancer. The screen identified 13 miRNA families whose members induced consistent effects on NF-kappaB activity. Among those, the miR-520/373 family inhibited NF-kappaB signaling through direct targeting of RELA and thus strongly reduced expression and secretion of the pro-inflammatory cytokines interleukin (IL)-6 and IL-8. With a combination of in vitro and in vivo approaches, we propose a metastasis-suppressive role of miR-520/373 family. miR-520c and miR-373 abrogated both in vitro cell invasion and in vivo intravasation of highly invasive MDA-MB-231 cells. However, knockdown of RELA did not affect their metastatic ability. mRNA profiling of MDA-MB-231 cells on overexpression of miR-520/373 members revealed a strong downregulation of transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) signaling. Mechanistically, the metastasis-suppressive role of miR-520/373 can be attributed to direct suppression of TGFBR2, as the silencing of TGFBR2 phenocopied the effects of miR-520/373 overexpression on suppression of Smad-dependent expression of the metastasis-promoting genes parathyroid hormone-related protein, plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 and angiopoietin-like 4 as well as tumor cell invasion, in vitro and in vivo. A negative correlation between miR-520c and TGFBR2 expression was observed in estrogen receptor negative (ER(-)) breast cancer patients but not in the ER positive (ER(+)) subtype. Remarkably, decreased expression of miR-520c correlated with lymph node metastasis specifically in ER(-) tumors. Taken together, our findings reveal that miR-520/373 family has a tumor-suppressive role in ER(-) breast cancer by acting as a link between the NF-kappaB and TGF-beta pathways and may thus contribute to the interplay of tumor progression, metastasis and inflammation.Oncogene advance online publication, 12 December 2011; doi:10.1038/onc.2011.571.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 22158050
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