M M Coombes

University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, United States

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Publications (9)50.49 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Osterix (Osx) is an osteoblast-specific transcription factor required for osteoblast differentiation and bone formation. Osx null mice develop a normal cartilage skeleton but fail to form bone and to express osteoblast-specific marker genes. To better understand the control of transcriptional regulation by Osx, we identified Osx-interacting proteins using proteomics approaches. Here, we report that a Jumonji C (JmjC)-domain containing protein, called NO66, directly interacts with Osx and inhibits Osx-mediated promoter activation. The knockdown of NO66 in preosteoblast cells triggered accelerated osteoblast differentiation and mineralization, and markedly stimulated the expression of Osx target genes. A JmjC-dependent histone demethylase activity was exhibited by NO66, which was specific for both H3K4me and H3K36me in vitro and in vivo, and this activity was needed for the regulation of osteoblast-specific promoters. During BMP-2-induced differentiation of preosteoblasts, decreased NO66 occupancy correlates with increased Osx occupancy at Osx-target promoters. Our results indicate that interactions between NO66 and Osx regulate Osx-target genes in osteoblasts by modulating histone methylation states.
    The EMBO Journal 11/2009; 29(1):68-79. · 9.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) is the fifth most frequent cancer in the US. Several genetic and epigenetic alterations are associated with HNSCC tumorigenesis, including inactivation of CDKN2A, which encodes the p16 tumor suppressor, in cell lines and primary tumors by DNA methylation. Reactivation of tumor suppressor genes by DNA-demethylating agents and histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors shows therapeutic promise for other cancers. Therefore, we investigated the ability of these agents to reactivate p16 in Tu159 HNSCC cells. Treatment of cells with 5-aza-2'deoxycytidine (5-aza-dC) increases CDKN2A expression and slightly increases histone H3 acetylation at this gene. No reactivation of CDKN2A is observed upon treatment with the HDAC inhibitor trichostatin A (TSA), but synergistic reactivation of CDKN2A is observed upon sequential treatment of Tu159 cells with both 5-aza-dC and TSA. Silencing of CDKN2A in Tu159 cells is correlated with increased methylation of histone H3 at lysine 9 and decreased methylation at lysine 4 relative to the upstream p15 gene promoter. Interestingly, global levels of H3-K9 methylation are decreased upon treatment with 5-aza-dC. Together these data indicate that DNA methylation is a dominant epigenetic mark for silencing of CDKN2A in Tu159 tumor cells. Moreover, changes in DNA methylation can reset the histone code by impacting multiple H3 modifications.
    Oncogene 01/2004; 22(55):8902-11. · 8.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The genetic events associated with the development and progression of head and neck squamous carcinoma (HNSC) are largely unknown. We analysed 12 matched pairs of histologically normal squamous mucosa and tumor specimens from six conventional and six phenotypic variants HNSC to define the differentially expressed genes in these tumors. Parallel expression analysis of 8055 unique genes was performed, and the level of the hybridization signal for each gene was measured after normalization. Hierarchical cluster analysis of the expressed genes showed distinct inter- and intra-tumoral patterns in and between conventional squamous carcinoma and squamous carcinoma variants. We also identified 26 (0.32%) differentially expressed genes that were consistently different between matched pairs of normal and tumor specimens; a selected set of the overexpressed genes was validated using real-time quantitative RT-PCR. The majority of the genes were associated with differentiation and proliferation. Our study defines a set of genes that could form the basis for the construction of limited HNSC targeted expression array and in-depth studies and further highlights gene profile differences that may be useful in pathobiologic classification of HNSC.
    Oncogene 12/2002; 21(53):8206-19. · 8.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We performed microsatellite analysis at chromosomal regions frequently altered in head and neck squamous carcinoma on matched saliva and tumor samples from 37 patients who had oral squamous carcinoma. The results were correlated with the cytologic findings and traditional clinicopathologic factors to assess the diagnostic and biological potential of these markers. Our data showed that 18 (49%) of the saliva samples and 32 (86%) of the tumors had loss of heterozygosity (LOH) in at least one of the 25 markers studied. In saliva, the combination of markers D3S1234, D9S156, and D17S799 identified 13 (72.2%) of the 18 patients with LOH in saliva (P < 0.001). For tumors, markers D3S1234, D8S254, and D9S171 together identified 27 (84.3%) of the 32 tumors with LOH at any of the loci tested (P < 0.001). Eleven (55%) of the 20 saliva samples with cytologic atypia and seven (35%) of the 17 specimens without atypia had LOH. Significant correlation between LOH in tumor at certain markers and smoking and alcohol use was found. Our results indicate that: 1) epithelial cells in saliva from patients with head and neck squamous tumorigenesis provide suitable material for genetic analysis; 2) combined application of certain markers improves the detection of genetic alteration in these patients; 3) clonal heterogeneity between saliva and matching tumor supports genetic instability of the mucosal field in some of these patients; and 4) LOH at certain chromosomal loci appears to be associated with smoking and alcohol consumption.
    Journal of Molecular Diagnostics 11/2001; 3(4):164-70. · 3.95 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: p73, a recently identified gene, maps to chromosome region 1p36.3, which is frequently deleted in a variety of solid tumors. Although the gene shares sequence and functional homologies with p53, its suppressor function has not been proven. We investigated for the first time the genetic and expression status of the p73 gene and analyzed its flanking microsatellite loci on chromosome 1p36.3 in 67 primary oral and laryngeal squamous cell carcinomas to determine their association with these tumors. Our results reveal two missense mutations at codons 469 and 477 and a silent mutation at codon 349 in the C-terminal domain. Site-directed mutagenesis of p73 cDNA with these mutations and a p21 transactivation assay failed to show any significant functional consequences of these mutations. Microsatellite analysis of the flanking loci of p73 in region 1p36 showed overall alterations (loss of heterozygosity and instability) frequency of 39%, 16% at the proximal marker and 46% at the distal markers. Of the 21 cases for which we did protein expression analyses, 11 tumors had a >2-fold variation compared with matching histologically normal mucosa. Our study shows that: (i) intragenic alterations in this gene are rare and lack functional significance; (ii) its variable expression argues against a tumor suppressor function; (iii) this gene plays a minor role in head and neck squamous carcinoma; (iv) a distal site to this gene on 1p36 may harbor another suppressor gene.
    Carcinogenesis 05/2001; 22(5):729-35. · 5.64 Impact Factor
  • Journal of Molecular Diagnostics - J MOL DIAGN. 01/2001; 3(4):164-170.
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    ABSTRACT: To determine the genetic changes associated with the development of carcinoma ex-pleomorphic adenoma (Ca Ex-PA), we analyzed 15 microsatellite loci at chromosome arms 8q, 12q, and 17p on DNA from 26 neoplasms (including 8 microdissected benign and malignant components), and 13 pleomorphic adenomas for comparison. Pleomorphic adenomas and the adenoma component of Ca Ex-PAs showed a higher incidence of loss of heterozygosity (LOH) at chromosome arms 8q (52%) and 12q (28%) than at 17p (14%) loci. In the carcinoma component, the combined LOH at chromosome arm 8q, 12q, and 17p regions was 69%, 50%, and 69%, respectively; within these chromosomal regions, 8q11.23-q12 (42%), 12q23-qter (39%), 17p13 (41%), and 17p11 (45%) loci manifested the highest incidence of LOH. Eight carcinomas (30.7%) showed loss at all three chromosomal arms tested. Of the eight microdissected Ca Ex-PAs analyzed, four adenoma and corresponding carcinoma components (50%) had the same LOH at 12q loci and additional LOH at 17p loci only in carcinomas. Chromosome arm 17p alterations correlated significantly with high disease stage and an increased proliferative rate in these tumors. Our results indicate that alterations at regions on chromosome arms 8q and/or 12q may constitute early events associated with pleomorphic adenomas; that LOH at 12q loci may identify a subset of adenoma with potential progression to carcinoma; that acquisition of additional alterations at chromosome arm 17p loci might represent an event preceding malignant transformation and progression; and that 8q, 12q, and 17p regions may harbor tumor suppressor genes involved in the genesis of PA and Ca Ex-PA. Genes Chromosomes Cancer 27:162-168, 2000.
    Genes Chromosomes and Cancer 02/2000; 27(2):162-8. · 3.55 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To investigate the utility of primer extension preamplification (PEP) in the genetic analysis of head and neck squamous tumorigenesis, microsatellite analysis was performed on matched deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) samples extracted from 32 flow-sorted and microdissected specimens before and after PEP. Eighteen fresh and nine archival specimens were taken from invasive carcinomas, and five specimens were obtained from microdissected archival premalignant squamous epithelial lesions. Identical microsatellite patterns were observed in 276 (87%) of the 319 paired PEP and non-PEP genotypes with sufficient DNA. Overall, 13 (4%) of the PEP and 28 (8.8%) of the non-PEP fresh tissue samples failed specific microsatellite amplification. All 14 PEP-archival specimens were successfully amplified. Sorted cells showed a higher incidence (42.8%) of loss of heterozygosity (LOH) in both PEP and non-PEP samples compared with their unsorted counterparts. The results of this study indicate that (a) PEP is a simple and reliable technique for enhancing the DNA yield from small specimens; (b) flow sorting, in certain cases, improves the interpretation of genetic results; and (c) PEP may be used to compensate for PCR failure of unamplified DNA specimens in these lesions.
    Diagnostic Molecular Pathology 09/1998; 7(4):197-201. · 1.86 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We analysed 30 primary invasive oral and laryngeal squamous carcinomas (SC), with concurrent dysplastic lesions, for genetic alterations at 15 microsatellite loci on the short arm of chromosome 8. Overall, loss of heterozygosity (LOH) was observed, in at least one informative locus, in 27% of the dysplastic lesions and in 67% of the invasive carcinomas. The highest frequency of allele losses in dysplasia (20% and 17%), and invasive carcinoma (40% and 48%) were detected in the same D8S298 and LPL-tet loci located on chromosomes 8p21 and 8p22 respectively. The minimal region with LOH was limited to 4.6 megaBases (mBs) at 8p22 and 7.1 mBs at 8p21. In addition, allelic losses in both dysplastic and corresponding invasive specimens were noted at the same loci in some tumors suggesting their emergence from a common preneoplastic clone. Allele losses correlated significantly with male gender, oral and laryngeal sites and high proliferative index. The data suggest that inactivation of tumor suppressor gene(s), within these loci, may constitute an early event in the evolution of oral and laryngeal SC.
    Oncogene 07/1998; 16(23):2983-7. · 8.56 Impact Factor