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  • 1
    Abstract: Autism is a common neurodevelopmental disorder with a complex mode of inheritance. It is one of the most highly heritable of the complex disorders, although the underlying genetic factors remain largely unknown. Here, we report mutations in the X-chromosome PTCHD1 (patched-related) gene in seven families with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and in three families with intellectual disability. A 167-kilobase microdeletion spanning exon 1 was found in two brothers, one with ASD and the other with a learning disability and ASD features; a 90-kilobase microdeletion spanning the entire gene was found in three males with intellectual disability in a second family. In 900 probands with ASD and 208 male probands with intellectual disability, we identified seven different missense changes (in eight male probands) that were inherited from unaffected mothers and not found in controls. Two of the ASD individuals with missense changes also carried a de novo deletion at another ASD susceptibility locus (DPYD and DPP6), suggesting complex genetic contributions. In additional males with ASD, we identified deletions in the 5 flanking region of PTCHD1 that disrupted a complex noncoding RNA and potential regulatory elements; equivalent changes were not found in male control individuals. Thus, our systematic screen of PTCHD1 and its 5 flanking regions suggests that this locus is involved in 1% of individuals with ASD and intellectual disability.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 20844286
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  • 2
    Keywords: CELL-LINE ; BLOOD-PRESSURE ; KNOCKOUT MICE ; STEROID-HORMONE RECEPTORS ; aldosterone ; HISTONE METHYLATION ; EPITHELIAL SODIUM-CHANNEL ; MEDULLARY COLLECTING DUCT ; NA+ CHANNEL ; FUSION PARTNER
    Abstract: Aldosterone is a major regulator of Na(+) absorption and acts by activating the mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) to stimulate the epithelial Na(+) channel (ENaC). MR(-/-) mice exhibited pseudohypoaldosteronism type 1 (hyponatremia, hyperkalemia, salt wasting, and high levels of aldosterone) and died around postnatal day 10. However, if and how MR regulates ENaC transcription remain incompletely understood. Our earlier work demonstrated that aldosterone activates alphaENaC transcription by reducing expression of Dot1a and Af9 and by impairing Dot1a-Af9 interaction. Most recently, we reported identification of a major Af9 binding site in the alphaENaC promoter and upregulation of alphaENaC mRNA expression in mouse kidneys lacking Dot1a. Despite these findings, the putative antagonism between the MR/aldosterone and Dot1a-Af9 complexes has never been addressed. The molecular defects leading to PHA-1 in MR(-/-) mice remain elusive. Here, we report that MR competes with Dot1a to bind Af9. MR/aldosterone and Dot1a-Af9 complexes mutually counterbalance ENaC mRNA expression in inner medullary collecting duct 3 (IMCD3) cells. Real-time RT-quantitative PCR revealed that 5-day-old MR(-/-) vs. MR(+/+) mice had significantly lower alphaENaC mRNA levels. This change was associated with an increased Af9 binding and H3 K79 hypermethylation in the alphaENaC promoter. Therefore, this study identified MR as a novel binding partner and regulator of Af9 and a novel mechanism coupling MR-mediated activation with relief of Dot1a-Af9-mediated repression via MR-Af9 interaction. Impaired ENaC expression due to failure to inhibit Dot1a-Af9 may play an important role in the early stages of PHA-1 (before postnatal day 8) in MR(-/-) mice.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 24026182
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  • 3
    Keywords: RECEPTOR ; KINASE ; PROTEIN ; DOWN-REGULATION ; fibroblasts ; BONE-MARROW ; STROMAL CELLS ; INTERNATIONAL-SOCIETY ; THERAPY POSITION STATEMENT ; GENOME-WIDE RNAI
    Abstract: Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are promising candidates for cellular therapies ranging from tissue repair in regenerative medicine to immunomodulation in graft versus host disease after allogeneic transplantation or in autoimmune diseases. Nonetheless, progress has been hampered by their enormous phenotypic as well as functional heterogeneity and the lack of uniform standards and guidelines for quality control. In this study, we describe a method to perform cellular phenotyping by high-throughput RNA interference in primary human bone marrow MSCs. We have shown that despite heterogeneity of MSC populations, robust functional assays can be established that are suitable for high-throughput and high-content screening. We profiled primary human MSCs against human fibroblasts. Network analysis showed a kinome fingerprint that differs from human primary fibroblasts as well as fibroblast cell lines. In conclusion, this study shows that high-throughput screening in primary human MSCs can be reliably used for kinome fingerprinting.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 26120366
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  • 4
    Abstract: The immune system influences the fate of developing cancers by not only functioning as a tumour promoter that facilitates cellular transformation, promotes tumour growth and sculpts tumour cell immunogenicity, but also as an extrinsic tumour suppressor that either destroys developing tumours or restrains their expansion. Yet, clinically apparent cancers still arise in immunocompetent individuals in part as a consequence of cancer-induced immunosuppression. In many individuals, immunosuppression is mediated by cytotoxic T-lymphocyte associated antigen-4 (CTLA-4) and programmed death-1 (PD-1), two immunomodulatory receptors expressed on T cells. Monoclonal-antibody-based therapies targeting CTLA-4 and/or PD-1 (checkpoint blockade) have yielded significant clinical benefits-including durable responses--to patients with different malignancies. However, little is known about the identity of the tumour antigens that function as the targets of T cells activated by checkpoint blockade immunotherapy and whether these antigens can be used to generate vaccines that are highly tumour-specific. Here we use genomics and bioinformatics approaches to identify tumour-specific mutant proteins as a major class of T-cell rejection antigens following anti-PD-1 and/or anti-CTLA-4 therapy of mice bearing progressively growing sarcomas, and we show that therapeutic synthetic long-peptide vaccines incorporating these mutant epitopes induce tumour rejection comparably to checkpoint blockade immunotherapy. Although mutant tumour-antigen-specific T cells are present in progressively growing tumours, they are reactivated following treatment with anti-PD-1 and/or anti-CTLA-4 and display some overlapping but mostly treatment-specific transcriptional profiles, rendering them capable of mediating tumour rejection. These results reveal that tumour-specific mutant antigens are not only important targets of checkpoint blockade therapy, but they can also be used to develop personalized cancer-specific vaccines and to probe the mechanistic underpinnings of different checkpoint blockade treatments.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 25428507
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  • 5
    Abstract: We aimed at investigating risk of specific second primary cancers (SPCs) after malignant mesothelioma (MM) and vice versa, which has not been reported. Among survivors of 3672 pleural MM and 895 peritoneal MM, overall 113 and 28 SPCs were recorded, respectively, while reverse analyses included overall 431 pleural and 88 peritoneal MMs after any first cancers. We found a bidirectional association of pleural MM with kidney cancer for overall [for second kidney cancer after pleural MM: standardized incidence ratios (SIRs) = 4.4, 95% confidence intervals (CIs): 2.0-8.3; for second pleural MM after kidney cancer: 2.3 (1.3-3.9)] and for 〈1 year follow-up [5.4 (2.0-12) and 4.9 (2.0-10), respectively, according to the 2-way analyses]. In contrast, a bidirectional association of pleural MM with unknown primary cancer was found only for follow-up 〉/=1 year [3.9 (1.1-10) and 2.8 (1.3-5.1), respectively]. We found a bidirectional association of pleural MM with kidney cancer for overall and for 〈1 year follow-up, suggesting the involvement of germline BAP1 mutations and increased medical surveillance, while the bidirectional association of pleural MM with unknown primary cancer suggests shared genetic or environmental risk factors.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 27260871
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  • 6
    Abstract: The enzymes gelatinase A/matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2) and gelatinase B/MMP-9 are essential for induction of neuroinflammatory symptoms in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), a mouse model of multiple sclerosis (MS); in the absence of these enzymes, the disease does not develop. We therefore investigated the cellular sources and relative contributions of MMP-2 and MMP-9 to disease at early stages of EAE induction. We demonstrated that MMP-9 from an immune cell source is required in EAE for initial infiltration of leukocytes into the central nervous system and that MMP-9 activity is a reliable marker of leukocyte penetration of the blood-brain barrier. We then developed a molecular imaging method to visualize MMP activity in the brain using fluorescent- and radioactive-labeled MMP inhibitors (MMPis) in EAE animals and used the radioactive MMP ligand for positron emission tomography (PET) imaging of MMP activity in patients with MS. In contrast to traditional T1-gadolinium contrast-enhanced MRI, MMPi-PET enabled tracking of MMP activity as a unique feature of early lesions and ongoing leukocyte infiltration. MMPi-PET therefore allows monitoring of the early steps of MS development and provides a sensitive, noninvasive means of following lesion formation and resolution in murine EAE and human MS.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 27831901
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  • 7
    Keywords: MESSENGER-RNA ; MASS-SPECTROMETRY ; PEPTIDES ; RAT-BRAIN ; CORTICOTROPIN-RELEASING-FACTOR ; TAIL SUSPENSION TEST ; PORTAL VESSEL BLOOD ; ST-JOHNS WORT ; SST(1) RECEPTOR ; PEPTIDOMICS
    Abstract: Excessive activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis has been associated with numerous diseases, including depression, and the tricyclic antidepressant imipramine has been shown to suppress activity of the HPA axis. Central hypothalamic control of the HPA axis is complex and involves a number of neuropeptides released from multiple hypothalamic subnuclei. The present study was therefore designed to determine the effects of imipramine administration on the mouse hypothalamus using a peptidomics approach. Among the factors found to be downregulated after acute (one day) or chronic (21 days) imipramine administration were peptides derived from secretogranin 1 (chromogranin B) as well as peptides derived from cerebellin precursors. In contrast, peptides SRIF-14 and SRIF-28 (1-11) derived from somatostatin (SRIF, somatotropin release inhibiting factor) were significantly upregulated by imipramine in the hypothalamus. Because diminished SRIF levels have long been known to occur in depression, a second part of the study investigated the roles of individual SRIF receptors in mediating potential antidepressant effects. SRA880, an antagonist of the somatostatin-1 autoreceptor (sst1) which positively modulates release of endogenous SRIF, was found to synergize with imipramine in causing antidepressant-like effects in the tail suspension test. Furthermore, chronic co-administration of SRA880 and imipramine synergistically increased BDNF mRNA expression in the cerebral cortex. Application of SRIF or L054264, an sst2 receptor agonist, but not L803807, an sst4 receptor agonist, increased phosphorylation of CaMKII and GluR1 in cerebrocortical slices. Our present experiments thus provide evidence for antidepressant-induced upregulation of SRIF in the brain, and strengthen the notion that augmented SRIF expression and signaling may counter depressive-like symptoms. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled 'Anxiety and Depression'.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 21856315
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  • 8
    Abstract: Genotoxicity models are extremely important to assess retroviral vector biosafety before gene therapy. We have developed an in utero model that demonstrates that hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) development is restricted to mice receiving nonprimate (np) lentiviral vectors (LV) and does not occur when a primate (p) LV is used regardless of woodchuck post-translation regulatory element (WPRE) mutations to prevent truncated X gene expression. Analysis of 839 npLV and 244 pLV integrations in the liver genomes of vector-treated mice revealed clear differences between vector insertions in gene dense regions and highly expressed genes, suggestive of vector preference for insertion or clonal outgrowth. In npLV-associated clonal tumors, 56% of insertions occurred in oncogenes or genes associated with oncogenesis or tumor suppression and surprisingly, most genes examined (11/12) had reduced expression as compared with control livers and tumors. Two examples of vector-inserted genes were the Park 7 oncogene and Uvrag tumor suppressor gene. Both these genes and their known interactive partners had differential expression profiles. Interactive partners were assigned to networks specific to liver disease and HCC via ingenuity pathway analysis. The fetal mouse model not only exposes the genotoxic potential of vectors intended for gene therapy but can also reveal genes associated with liver oncogenesis.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 23299800
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  • 9
    Keywords: EXPRESSION ; MICE ; DOWN-REGULATION ; METHYLATION ; METHYLTRANSFERASE ; NEPHROGENIC DIABETES-INSIPIDUS ; AQUAPORIN-2 TRAFFICKING ; WATER CHANNELS ; ENAC-ALPHA ; SET DOMAIN
    Abstract: Dot1l encodes histone H3 K79 methyltransferase Dot1a. Mice with Dot1l deficiency in renal Aqp2-expressing cells (Dot1l(AC)) develop polyuria by unknown mechanisms. Here, we report that Aqp5 links Dot1l deletion to polyuria through Aqp2. cDNA array analysis revealed and real-time RT-qPCR validated Aqp5 as the most upregulated gene in Dot1l(AC) vs. control mice. Aqp5 protein is barely detectable in controls, but robustly expressed in the Dot1l(AC) kidneys, where it colocalizes with Aqp2. The upregulation of Aqp5 is coupled with reduced association of Dot1a and H3 dimethyl K79 with specific subregions in Aqp5 5' flanking region in Dot1l(AC) vs. control mice. In vitro studies in IMCD3, MLE-15 and 293Tcells using multiple approaches including real-time RT-qPCR, luciferase reporter assay, cell surface biotinylation assay, colocalization, and co-immunoprecipitation uncovered that Dot1a represses Aqp5. Human AQP5 interacts with AQP2 and impairs its cell surface localization. The AQP5/AQP2 complex partially resides in the ER/Golgi. Consistently, AQP5 is expressed in none of 15 normal controls, but in all of 17 kidney biopsies from patients with diabetic nephropathy. In the patients with diabetic nephropathy, AQP5 colocalizes with AQP2 in the perinuclear region and AQP5 expression is associated with impaired cellular H3 dimethyl K79. Taken together, these data for the first time identify Aqp5 as a Dot1a potential transcriptional target, and an Aqp2 binding partner and regulator, and suggest that the upregulated Aqp5 may contribute to polyuria, possibly by impairing Aqp2 membrane localization, in Dot1l(AC) mice and in patients with diabetic nephropathy.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 23326416
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  • 10
    Keywords: kidney ; METHYLATION ; H+-ATPASE ; V-ATPASE ; ENAC-ALPHA ; DUCT-SPECIFIC KNOCKOUT ; COLLECTING DUCT ; EPITHELIAL POLARITY ; CARBONIC-ANHYDRASE ; TUBULAR-ACIDOSIS
    Abstract: The mammalian collecting duct comprises principal and intercalated cells, which maintain sodium/water and acid/base balance, respectively, but the epigenetic contributors to the differentiation of these cell types remain unknown. Here, we investigated whether the histone H3 K79 methyltransferase Dot1l, which is highly expressed in principal cells, participates in this process. Taking advantage of the distribution of aquaporin 2 (Aqp2), which localizes to principal cells of the collecting duct, we developed mice lacking Dot1l in Aqp2-expressing cells (Dot1l(AC)) and found that these mice had approximately 20% fewer principal cells and 13%-16% more intercalated cells than control mice. This deletion of Dot1l in principal cells abolished histone H3 K79 methylation in these cells, but unexpectedly, most intercalated cells also had undetectable di-methyl K79, suggesting that Aqp2(+) cells give rise to intercalated cells. These Aqp2(+) cell-derived intercalated cells were present in both developing and mature kidneys. Furthermore, compared with control mice, Dot1l(AC) mice had 40% higher urine volume and 18% lower urine osmolarity with relatively normal electrolyte and acid-base homeostasis. In conclusion, these data suggest that Dot1l deletion facilitates the differentiation of some alpha- and beta-intercalated cells from Aqp2-expressing progenitor cells or mature principal cells.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 23308014
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