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    ABSTRACT: X-linked lymphoproliferative (XLP) syndromes and related autosomal disorders are severe primary immune deficiencies triggered by infection with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), the causative agent of infectious mononucleosis. Recent findings reviewed herein provided key new insights into the genetic and immunological basis of these diseases. They also improved our comprehension of the immunological mechanisms controlling EBV infection. Mutations of an X-linked gene, SH2D1A, which encodes the signaling lymphocytic activation molecule (SLAM)-associated protein (SAP), are responsible for most cases of XLP disorders. More recently, other genetic causes for XLP syndromes and autosomal recessive variants of this disease were elucidated. Mutations in genes such as XIAP, ITK, and CD27 were identified. The clinical manifestations and immunological defects seen in these patients were characterized. The similarities and differences in immunological defects and clinical manifestations between XLP syndromes and related autosomal recessive disorders enabled important new insights into the pathogenesis of these diseases. They also helped our comprehension of the mechanisms implicated in the control of EBV infection. They suggested that CD8 T cells, natural killer (NK) cells, and NKT cells are critically involved.
    Current Opinion in Allergy and Clinical Immunology 10/2013; DOI:10.1097/ACI.0000000000000008
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    ABSTRACT: Human origins of DNA replication are specific sequences within the genome whereby DNA replication is initiated. A select group of proteins, known as the pre-replication (pre-RC) complex, in whose formation the Ku protein (Ku70/Ku86) was shown to play a role, bind to replication origins to initiate DNA replication. In this study, we have examined the involvement of Ku in breast tumorigenesis and tumor progression and found that the Ku protein expression levels in human breast metastatic (MCF10AC1a) cells were higher in the chromatin fraction compared to hyperplastic (MCF10AT) and normal (MCF10A) human breast cells, but remained constant in both the nuclear and cytoplasmic fractions. In contrast, in human intestinal cells, the Ku expression level was relatively constant for all cell fractions. Nascent DNA abundance and chromatin association of Ku70/86 revealed that the c-myc origin activity in MCF10AC1a is 2.5 to 5-fold higher than in MCF10AT and MCF10A, respectively, and Ku was bound to the c-myc origin more abundantly in MCF10AC1a, by approximately 1.5 to 4.2-fold higher than in MCF10AT and MCF10A, respectively. In contrast, similar nascent DNA abundance and chromatin association was found for all cell lines for the lamin B2 origin, associated with the constitutively active housekeeping lamin B2 gene. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays (EMSAs) performed on the nuclear extracts (NEs) of the three cell types revealed the presence of protein-DNA replication complexes on both the c-myc and lamin B2 origins, but an increase in binding activity was observed from normal, to transformed, to cancer cells for the c-myc origin, whereas no such difference was seen for the lamin B2 origin. Overall, the results suggest that increased Ku chromatin association, beyond wild type levels, alters cellular processes, which have been implicated in tumorigenesis.
    05/2013; 4(5):358-70. DOI:10.7150/jca.6289
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    ABSTRACT: Epigenetic inactivation of chromatin plays an important role in determining cell phenotype in both normal and cancer cells, but our knowledge is still incomplete with respect to any potential monoallelic nature of the phenomenon. We have genotyped DNA isolated from chromatin of two colorectal cancer-derived lines and a culture of normal human intestinal epithelial cells (HIEC), which was immunoprecipitated with antibodies to acetylated vs. methylated histone H3K9, and presented the data as B allele frequency differences over multiple single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) moving window averages. [B allele is an arbitrary term defined as one of the two alleles at any given SNP, named A and B]. Three different validation tests confirmed that peaks exhibiting differences represented monoallelic domains. These complementary tests confirmed the following: 1) genes in the regions of high B allele frequency difference were expressed monoallelically; 2) in normal cells all five imprinting control regions which carried heterozygous SNPs were characterized by B allele difference peaks; and 3) the haplotypes in the B allele difference peaks were faithfully maintained in the chromatin immunoprecipitated with the respective antibodies. In both samples most of the monoallelic domains were found at the boundaries between regions of open and closed chromatin. With respect to the cancer line, this supports the established concept of conformation spreading, but the results from the normal cells were unexpected. Since these cells were polyclonal, the monoallelic structures were probably not determined by random choice as occurs in X-inactivation, so we propose that epigenetic inactivation in some domains may be heritable and polymorphic in normal human cells.
    PLoS ONE 05/2013; 8(5):e63190. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0063190
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    ABSTRACT: This study examines the abundance of the major protein constituents of the pre-replication complex (pre-RC), both genome-wide and in association with specific replication origins, namely the lamin B2, c-myc, 20mer1, and 20mer2 origins. Several pre-RC protein components, namely ORC1-6, Cdc6, Cdt1, MCM4, MCM7, as well as additional replication proteins, such as Ku70/86, 14-3-3, Cdc45, and PCNA, were comparatively and quantitatively analyzed in both transformed and normal cells. The results show that these proteins are overexpressed and more abundantly bound to chromatin in the transformed compared to normal cells. Interestingly, the 20mer1, 20mer2, and c-myc origins exhibited a two- to threefold greater origin activity and a two- to threefold greater in vivo association of the pre-RC proteins with these origins in the transformed cells, whereas the origin associated with the housekeeping lamin B2 gene exhibited both similar levels of activity and in vivo association of these pre-RC proteins in both cell types. Overall, the results indicate that cellular transformation is associated with an overexpression and increased chromatin association of the pre-RC proteins. This study is significant, because it represents the most systematic comprehensive analysis done to date, using multiple replication proteins and different replication origins in both normal and transformed cell lines.
    Journal of Cellular Biochemistry 04/2012; 113(4):1333-47. DOI:10.1002/jcb.24006
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    ABSTRACT: This study examines the chromatin structure encompassing replication origins in transformed and normal cells. Analysis of the global levels of histone H3 acetylated at K9&14 (open chromatin) and histone H3 trimethylated at K9 (closed chromatin) revealed a higher ratio of open to closed chromatin in the transformed cells. Also, the trithorax and polycomb group proteins, Brg-1 and Bmi-1, respectively, were overexpressed and more abundantly bound to chromatin in the transformed cells. Quantitative comparative analyses of episomal and in situ chromosomal replication origin activity as well as chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assays, using specific antibodies targeting members of the pre-replication complex (pre-RC) as well as open/closed chromatin markers encompassing both episomal and chromosomal origins, revealed that episomal origins had similar levels of in vivo activity, nascent DNA abundance, pre-RC protein association, and elevated open chromatin structure at the origin in both cell types. In contrast, the chromosomal origins corresponding to 20mer1, 20mer2, and c-myc displayed a 2- to 3-fold higher activity and pre-RC protein abundance as well as higher ratios of open to closed chromatin and of Brg-1 to Bmi-1 in the transformed cells, whereas the origin associated with the housekeeping lamin B2 gene exhibited similar levels of activity, pre-RC protein abundance, and higher ratios of open to closed chromatin and of Brg-1 to Bmi-1 in both cell types. Nucleosomal positioning analysis, using an MNase-Southern blot assay, showed that all the origin regions examined were situated within regions of inconsistently positioned nucleosomes, with the nucleosomes being spaced farther apart from each other prior to the onset of S phase in both cell types. Overall, the results indicate that cellular transformation is associated with differential epigenetic regulation, whereby chromatin structure is more open, rendering replication origins more accessible to initiator proteins, thus allowing increased origin activity.
    Genes & cancer 02/2012; 3(2):152-76. DOI:10.1177/1947601912457026
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    ABSTRACT: Colorectal cancer cells establish a crosstalk with the tumor microenvironment, such that implantation and development of the tumor is generally favoured. CRC progression depends on mutations in the tumor's oncogenic pathways as well as metastasis suppressor genes, but is also influenced by the inflammatory components in the microenvironment. Inflammation results from the dietary intakes and is either compounded or counterbalanced by our lifestyles. Whether driven by intrinsic pathways or infection, inflammation produces a massive influx of cytokines and chemokines. Currently, in colorectal cancer, the best approach to counter this inflammatory wave in the microenvironment appears to be CCL2 cytokine targeting. A fairly new avenue of discovery has identified microRNAs regulating colorectal cancer-mediated inflammation, and in particular the IL-6 pro-inflammatory pathway that induces pro-apoptotic genes and HIF1α-elicited VEGF secretion. miRNAs also play a significant role in controlling metabolic genes such as the upregulation of the fatty acid synthase gene with the concomitant down-regulation of the carnitine palmitoyl transferase 1 gene. Within the metastatic environment, the Discoidin domain receptor-2 (DDR2) gene encodes a tyrosine kinase receptor for fibrillar collagen that contributes to colorectal cancer metastasis by increasing myofibroblasts, neoangiogenic vessels and proliferating cancer cells. Ongoing identification of gene signatures differentiating between primary tumor cells and their metastatic counterparts promises a wealth of new targets to be exploited for further therapeutic use within the next decade.
    Cancer Microenvironment 07/2011; 4(2):181-5. DOI:10.1007/s12307-011-0074-7
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    ABSTRACT: Using libraries of replication origins generated previously, we identified three clones that supported the autonomous replication of their respective plasmids in transformed, but not in normal cells. Assessment of their in vivo replication activity by in situ chromosomal DNA replication assays revealed that the chromosomal loci corresponding to these clones coincided with chromosomal replication origins in all cell lines, which were more active by 2-3-fold in the transformed by comparison to the normal cells. Evaluation of pre-replication complex (pre-RC) protein abundance at these origins in transformed and normal cells by chromatin immunoprecipitation assays, using anti-ORC2, -cdc6 and -cdt1 antibodies, showed that they were bound by these pre-RC proteins in all cell lines, but a 2-3-fold higher abundance was observed in the transformed by comparison to the normal cells. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays (EMSAs) performed on the most efficiently replicating clone, using nuclear extracts from the transformed and normal cells, revealed the presence of a DNA replication complex in transformed cells, which was barely detectable in normal cells. Subsequent supershift EMSAs suggested the presence of transformation-specific complexes. Mass spectrometric analysis of these complexes revealed potential new protein players involved in DNA replication that appear to correlate with cellular transformation.
    Nucleic Acids Research 04/2010; 38(7):2314-31. DOI:10.1093/nar/gkp1192
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    ABSTRACT: Initiation of DNA replication involves the ordered assembly of the multi-protein pre-replicative complex (pre-RC) during G(1) phase. Previously, DNA topoisomerase II (topo II) was shown to associate with the DNA replication origin located in the lamin B2 gene locus in a cell-cycle-modulated manner. Here we report that activation of both the early-firing lamin B2 and the late-firing hOrs8 human replication origins involves DNA topo II-dependent, transient, site-specific dsDNA-break formation. Topo IIbeta in complex with the DNA repair protein Ku associates in vivo and in vitro with the pre-RC region, introducing dsDNA breaks in a biphasic manner, during early and mid-G(1) phase. Inhibition of topo II activity interferes with the pre-RC assembly resulting in prolonged G(1) phase. The data mechanistically link DNA topo IIbeta-dependent dsDNA breaks and the components of the DNA repair machinery with the initiation of DNA replication and suggest an important role for DNA topology in origin activation.
    Nucleic Acids Research 08/2009; 37(17):5714-24. DOI:10.1093/nar/gkp617
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    ABSTRACT: Current therapeutic strategies against Wilms' tumor (WT) reach 80% to 85% success rate. In spite of this, a remaining 15% to 20% of tumors relapse and are associated with increased metastasis and poor prognosis. To identify new regulators of WT progression, we screened for developmental target genes of Pax2, a key regulator of kidney development and a WT signature gene. We show that one of these target genes, calcineurin A-binding protein (CnABP), is coexpressed with Pax2 during kidney development and is overexpressed in >70% of WT samples analyzed. The CnABP gene encodes a novel protein product conserved in higher vertebrates. We show that CnABP promotes cell proliferation and migration in cell culture experiments. Biochemical analyses additionally identified an interaction between CnABP and calcineurin Abeta, the catalytic subunit of the calcium-responsive serine/threonine phosphatase calcineurin. We show that this interaction leads to the inhibition of calcineurin phosphatase activity and prevents nuclear factor of activated T-cell (NFAT) nuclear translocation. Inhibition of NFAT nuclear localization results in decreased NFAT transcriptional response. Together, these data identify a new modulator of calcineurin signaling up-regulated in WTs.
    Molecular Cancer Research 07/2009; 7(6):821-31. DOI:10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-08-0402
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    ABSTRACT: The transcription factor encoded by the murine ecotropic integration site 1 gene (MEIS1) is a partner of HOX and PBX proteins. It has been implicated in embryonic patterning and leukemia, and causally linked to restless legs syndrome. The MEIS1A C terminus harbors a transcriptional activation domain that is stimulated by protein kinase A (PKA) in a manner dependent on the co-activator of cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB), CREB-binding protein (CBP). We explored the involvement of another mediator of PKA-inducible transcription, namely the CREB co-activators transducers of regulated CREB activity (TORCs). Overexpression of TORC1 or TORC2 bypassed PKA for activation by MEIS1A. Co-immunoprecipitation experiments demonstrated a physical interaction between MEIS1 and TORC2 that is dependent on the MEIS1A C terminus, whereas chromatin immunoprecipitation revealed PKA-inducible recruitment of MEIS1, PBX1, and TORC2 on the MEIS1 target genes Hoxb2 and Meis1. The MEIS1 interaction domain on TORC1 was mapped to the N-terminal coiled-coil region, and TORC1 mutants lacking this domain attenuated the response to PKA on a natural MEIS1A target enhancer. Thus, TORCs physically cooperate with MEIS1 to achieve PKA-inducible transactivation through the MEIS1A C terminus, suggesting a concerted action in developmental and oncogenic processes.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 06/2009; 284(28):18904-12. DOI:10.1074/jbc.M109.005090
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