[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Checkpoint kinase 1 (Chk1) is a key element in the DNA-damage response pathway that is required for maintaining genomic stability. To study the potential role of Chk1 in mammary tumorigenesis, we disrupted it using a Cre/loxP system. We showed that although Chk1 heterozygosity caused abnormal development of the mammary gland, it was not sufficient to induce tumorigenesis. Simultaneous deletion of one copy of p53 failed to rescue the developmental defects; however, it synergistically induced mammary tumor formation in Chk1(+/-);MMTV-Cre animals with a median time to tumor latency of about 10 months. Chk1 deficiency caused a preponderance of abnormalities, including prolongation, multipolarity, misalignment, mitotic catastrophe and loss of spindle checkpoint, that are accompanied by reduced expression of several cell cycle regulators, including Mad2. On the other hand, we also showed that Chk1 deficiency inhibited mammary tumor formation in mice carrying a homozygous deletion of p53, uncovering a complex relationship between Chk1 and p53. Furthermore, inhibition of Chk1 with a specific inhibitor, SB-218078, or acute deletion of Chk1 using small hairpin RNA killed mammary tumor cells effectively. These data show that Chk1 is critical for maintaining genome integrity and serves as a double-edged sword for cancer: although its inhibition kills cancer cells, it also triggers tumorigenesis when favorable mutations are accumulated for cell growth.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: While attempting to reanalyze published data from Agilent 4 x 44 human expression chips, we found that some of the 60-mer olignucleotide features could not be interpreted as representing single human genes. For example, some of the oligonucleotides align with the transcripts of more than one gene. We decided to check the annotations for all autosomes and the X chromosome systematically using bioinformatics methods.
Out of 42683 reporters, we found that 25505 (60%) passed all our tests and are considered "fully valid". 9964 (23%) reporters did not have a meaningful identifier, mapped to the wrong chromosome, or did not pass basic alignment tests preventing us from correlating the expression values of these reporters with a unique annotated human gene. The remaining 7214 (17%) reporters could be associated with either a unique gene or a unique intergenic location, but could not be mapped to a transcript in RefSeq. The 7214 reporters are further partitioned into three different levels of validity.
Expression array studies should evaluate the annotations of reporters and remove those reporters that have suspect annotations. This evaluation can be done systematically and semi-automatically, but one must recognize that data sources are frequently updated leading to slightly changing validation results over time.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In lower eukaryotes, Sir2 serves as a histone deacetylase and is implicated in chromatin silencing, longevity, and genome stability. Here we mutated the Sirt1 gene, a homolog of yeast Sir2, in mice to study its function. We show that a majority of SIRT1 null embryos die between E9.5 and E14.5, displaying altered histone modification, impaired DNA damage response, and reduced ability to repair DNA damage. We demonstrate that Sirt1(+/-);p53(+/-) mice develop tumors in multiple tissues, whereas activation of SIRT1 by resveratrol treatment reduces tumorigenesis. Finally, we show that many human cancers exhibit reduced levels of SIRT1 compared to normal controls. Thus, SIRT1 may act as a tumor suppressor through its role in DNA damage response and genome integrity.
Cancer cell 11/2008; 14(4):312-23. · 25.29 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The nonrandom positioning of chromosome territories in eukaryotic cells is largely correlated with gene density and is conserved throughout evolution. Gene-rich chromosomes are predominantly central, while gene-poor chromosomes are peripherally localized in interphase nuclei. We previously demonstrated that artificially introduced human chromosomes assume a position equivalent to their endogenous homologues in the diploid colon cancer cell line DLD-1. These chromosomal aneuploidies result in a significant increase in transcript levels, suggesting a relationship between genomic copy number, gene expression, and chromosome position. We previously proposed that each chromosome is marked by a "zip code" that determines its nonrandom position in the nucleus. In this paper, we investigated (1) whether mouse nuclei recognize such determinants of nuclear position on human chromosomes to facilitate their distinct partitioning and (2) if chromosome positioning and transcriptional activity remain coupled under these trans-species conditions. Using three-dimensional fluorescence in situ hybridization, confocal microscopy, and gene expression profiling, we show (1) that gene-poor and gene-rich human chromosomes maintain their divergent but conserved positions in mouse-human hybrid nuclei and (2) that a foreign human chromosome is actively transcribed in mouse nuclei. Our results suggest a species-independent conserved mechanism for the nonrandom positioning of chromosomes in the three-dimensional interphase nucleus.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Formation of cancerous translocations requires the illegitimate joining of chromosomes containing double-strand breaks (DSBs). It is unknown how broken chromosome ends find their translocation partners within the cell nucleus. Here, we have visualized and quantitatively analysed the dynamics of single DSBs in living mammalian cells. We demonstrate that broken ends are positionally stable and unable to roam the cell nucleus. Immobilization of broken chromosome ends requires the DNA-end binding protein Ku80, but is independent of DNA repair factors, H2AX, the MRN complex and the cohesion complex. DSBs preferentially undergo translocations with neighbouring chromosomes and loss of local positional constraint correlates with elevated genomic instability. These results support a contact-first model in which chromosome translocations predominantly form among spatially proximal DSBs.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chromosomal aneuploidy is a defining feature of carcinomas. For instance, in colon cancer, an additional copy of Chromosome 7 is not only observed in early pre-malignant polyps, but is faithfully maintained throughout progression to metastasis. These copy number changes show a positive correlation with average transcript levels of resident genes. An independent line of research has also established that specific chromosomes occupy a well conserved 3D position within the interphase nucleus.
We investigated whether cancer-specific aneuploid chromosomes assume a 3D-position similar to that of its endogenous homologues, which would suggest a possible correlation with transcriptional activity. Using 3D-FISH and confocal laser scanning microscopy, we show that Chromosomes 7, 18, or 19 introduced via microcell-mediated chromosome transfer into the parental diploid colon cancer cell line DLD-1 maintain their conserved position in the interphase nucleus.
Our data is therefore consistent with the model that each chromosome has an associated zip code (possibly gene density) that determines its nuclear localization. Whether the nuclear localization determines or is determined by the transcriptional activity of resident genes has yet to be ascertained.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Aneuploidy has long been suggested to be causal in tumor formation. Direct testing of this hypothesis has been difficult because of the absence of methods to specifically induce aneuploidy. The chromosome-associated kinesin motor KIF4 plays multiple roles in mitosis, and its loss leads to multiple mitotic defects including aneuploidy. Here, we have taken advantage of the direct formation of aneuploidy in the absence of KIF4 to determine whether loss of a molecular motor and generation of aneuploidy during mitosis can trigger tumorigenesis. We find that embryonic stem cells genetically depleted of KIF4 support anchorage-independent growth and form tumors in nude mice. In cells lacking KIF4, mitotic spindle checkpoints and DNA-damage response pathways are activated. Down regulation or loss of KIF4 is physiologically relevant because reduced KIF4 levels are present in 35% of human cancers from several tissues. Our results support the notion that loss of a molecular motor leads to tumor formation and that aneuploidy can act as a primary trigger of tumorigenesis.
Current Biology 09/2006; 16(15):1559-64. · 9.49 Impact Factor