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Publications (6)66.58 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: RATIONALE: Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a disease of progressive lung fibrosis with a high mortality rate. In organ repair and remodeling, epigenetic events are important. Micro(mi)RNAs regulate gene expression post-transcriptionally and can target epigenetic molecules important in DNA methylation. The miR-17~92 miRNA cluster is critical for lung development and lung epithelial cell homeostasis and is predicted to target fibrotic genes and DNA methyltransferase-1 (DNMT-1) expression. OBJECTIVES: We investigated the miR-17~92 cluster expression and its role in regulating DNA methylation events in IPF lung tissue. METHODS: Expression and DNA methylation patterns of miR-17~ 92 were determined in human IPF lung tissue and fibroblasts and fibrotic mouse lung tissue. The relationship between the miR-17~ 92 cluster and DNMT-1 expression was examined in vitro. Using a murine model of pulmonary fibrosis, we examined the therapeutic potential of the demethylating agent, 5'-aza-2'-deoxycytidine. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Compared to control samples, miR-17~92 expression was reduced in lung biopsies and lung fibroblasts from patients with IPF while DNMT-1 expression and methylation of the miR-17~92 promoter was increased. Several miRNAs from the miR-17~92 cluster targeted DNMT-1 expression resulting in a negative feedback loop. Similarly, miR-17~92 expression was reduced in the lungs of bleomycin-treated mice. Treatment with 5'-aza-2'-deoxycytidine in a murine bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis model reduced fibrotic gene and DNMT-1 expression, enhanced miR-17~92 cluster expression and attenuated pulmonary fibrosis. This study provides insight into the pathobiology of IPF and identifies a novel epigenetic feedback loop between miR-17~92 and DNMT-1 in lung fibrosis.
    American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 01/2013; · 11.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Tumor fibroblasts are active partners in tumor progression, but the genes and pathways that mediate this collaboration are ill-defined. Previous work demonstrates that Ets2 function in stromal cells significantly contributes to breast tumor progression. Conditional mouse models were used to study the function of Ets2 in both mammary stromal fibroblasts and epithelial cells. Conditional inactivation of Ets2 in stromal fibroblasts in PyMT and ErbB2 driven tumors significantly reduced tumor growth, however deletion of Ets2 in epithelial cells in the PyMT model had no significant effect. Analysis of gene expression in fibroblasts revealed a tumor- and Ets2-dependent gene signature that was enriched in genes important for ECM remodeling, cell migration, and angiogenesis in both PyMT and ErbB2 driven-tumors. Consistent with these results, PyMT and ErbB2 tumors lacking Ets2 in fibroblasts had fewer functional blood vessels, and Ets2 in fibroblasts elicited changes in gene expression in tumor endothelial cells consistent with this phenotype. An in vivo angiogenesis assay revealed the ability of Ets2 in fibroblasts to promote blood vessel formation in the absence of tumor cells. Importantly, the Ets2-dependent gene expression signatures from both mouse models were able to distinguish human breast tumor stroma from normal stroma, and correlated with patient outcomes in two whole tumor breast cancer data sets. The data reveals a key function for Ets2 in tumor fibroblasts in signaling to endothelial cells to promote tumor angiogenesis. The results highlight the collaborative networks that orchestrate communication between stromal cells and tumor cells, and suggest that targeting tumor fibroblasts may be an effective strategy for developing novel anti-angiogenic therapies.
    PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(8):e71533. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    Kevin E Wenzke, Carmen Cantemir-Stone, Jie Zhang, Clay B Marsh, Kun Huang
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    ABSTRACT: Fibroproliferative diseases of organs are poorly understood and generally lack effective anti-fibrotic treatments. Our goal was to identify the key regulatory factors in pathologic fibrosis, common between organ-based fibrotic disease. We analyzed 9 microarray datasets publicly available in the GEO datasets from lung, heart, liver and kidney fibrotic disease tissue (489 microarrays total, disease and control). We identified a set of 90 genes differentially expressed in at least five microarray datasets. We used IPA and DAVID analysis to identify gene networks and their molecular functions. A mutual information based network work activity analysis showed that a connective tissue disorders network was the most active for all types of fibrosis included in this analysis. CONCLUSION: Our analysis indicates that despite different disease manifestation, organ fibrosis share a specific set of genes suggesting the potential for a common origin.
    AMIA Summits on Translational Science proceedings AMIA Summit on Translational Science. 01/2012; 2012:106-15.
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    ABSTRACT: Ets-2 is a ubiquitous transcription factor activated after phosphorylation at threonine-72. Previous studies highlighted the importance of phosphorylated ets-2 in lung inflammation and extracellular matrix remodeling, two pathways involved in pulmonary fibrosis. We hypothesized that phosphorylated ets-2 played an important role in pulmonary fibrosis, and we sought to determine the role of ets-2 in its pathogenesis. We challenged ets-2 (A72/A72) transgenic mice (harboring a mutated form of ets-2 at phosphorylation site threonine-72) and ets-2 (wild-type/wild-type [WT/WT]) control mice with sequential intraperitoneal injections of bleomycin, followed by quantitative measurements of lung fibrosis and inflammation and primary cell in vitro assays. Concentrations of phosphorylated ets-2 were detected via the single and dual immunohistochemical staining of murine lungs and lung sections from patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Ets-2 (A72/A72) mice were protected from bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis, compared with ets-2 (WT/WT) mice. This protection was characterized by decreased lung pathological abnormalities and the fibrotic gene expression of Type I collagen, Type III collagen, α-smooth muscle actin, and connective tissue growth factor. Immunohistochemical staining of lung sections from bleomycin-treated ets-2 (WT/WT) mice and from patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis demonstrated increased staining of phosphorylated ets-2 that colocalized with Type I collagen expression and to fibroblastic foci. Lastly, primary lung fibroblasts from ets-2 (A72/A72) mice exhibited decreased expression of Type I collagen in response to stimulation with TGF-β, compared with fibroblasts from ets-2 (WT/WT) mice. These data indicate the importance of phosphorylated ets-2 in the pathogenesis of pulmonary fibrosis through the expression of Type I collagen and (myo)fibroblast activation.
    American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology 05/2011; 45(5):999-1006. · 4.15 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The tumour stroma is believed to contribute to some of the most malignant characteristics of epithelial tumours. However, signalling between stromal and tumour cells is complex and remains poorly understood. Here we show that the genetic inactivation of Pten in stromal fibroblasts of mouse mammary glands accelerated the initiation, progression and malignant transformation of mammary epithelial tumours. This was associated with the massive remodelling of the extracellular matrix (ECM), innate immune cell infiltration and increased angiogenesis. Loss of Pten in stromal fibroblasts led to increased expression, phosphorylation (T72) and recruitment of Ets2 to target promoters known to be involved in these processes. Remarkably, Ets2 inactivation in Pten stroma-deleted tumours ameliorated disruption of the tumour microenvironment and was sufficient to decrease tumour growth and progression. Global gene expression profiling of mammary stromal cells identified a Pten-specific signature that was highly represented in the tumour stroma of patients with breast cancer. These findings identify the Pten-Ets2 axis as a critical stroma-specific signalling pathway that suppresses mammary epithelial tumours.
    Nature 10/2009; 461(7267):1084-91. · 38.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The ras/Raf/Mek/Erk pathway plays a central role in coordinating endothelial cell activities during angiogenesis. Transcription factors Ets1 and Ets2 are targets of ras/Erk signaling pathways that have been implicated in endothelial cell function in vitro, but their precise role in vascular formation and function in vivo remains ill-defined. In this work, mutation of both Ets1 and Ets2 resulted in embryonic lethality at midgestation, with striking defects in vascular branching having been observed. The action of these factors was endothelial cell autonomous as demonstrated using Cre/loxP technology. Analysis of Ets1/Ets2 target genes in isolated embryonic endothelial cells demonstrated down-regulation of Mmp9, Bcl-X(L), and cIAP2 in double mutants versus controls, and chromatin immunoprecipitation revealed that both Ets1 and Ets2 were loaded at target promoters. Consistent with these observations, endothelial cell apoptosis was significantly increased both in vivo and in vitro when both Ets1 and Ets2 were mutated. These results establish essential and overlapping functions for Ets1 and Ets2 in coordinating endothelial cell functions with survival during embryonic angiogenesis.
    Blood 06/2009; 114(5):1123-30. · 9.06 Impact Factor