[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The interactions between the nephrogenic mesenchyme and the ureteric bud during kidney development are well documented. While recent studies have shed some light on the importance of the stroma during renal development, many of the signals generated in the stroma, the genetic pathways and interaction networks involving the stroma are yet to be identified. Our previous studies demonstrate that retinoids are crucial for branching of the ureteric bud and for patterning of the cortical stroma. In the present study we demonstrate that autocrine retinoic acid (RA) signaling in stromal cells is critical for their survival and patterning, and show that Extracellular matrix 1, Ecm1, a gene that in humans causes irritable bowel syndrome and lipoid proteinosis, is a novel RA-regulated target in the developing kidney, which is secreted from the cortical stromal cells surrounding the cap mesenchyme and ureteric bud. Our studies suggest that Ecm1 is required in the ureteric bud for regulating the distribution of Ret which is normally restricted to the tips, as inhibition of Ecm1 results in an expanded domain of Ret expression and reduced numbers of branches. We propose a model in which retinoid signaling in the stroma activates expression of Ecm1, which in turn down-regulates Ret expression in the ureteric bud cleft, where bifurcation normally occurs and normal branching progresses.
PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(12):e84155. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Down syndrome (DS) is the most frequent cause of human congenital mental retardation. Cognitive deficits in DS result from perturbations of normal cellular processes both during development and in adult tissues, but the mechanisms underlying DS etiology remain poorly understood. To assess the ability of iPSCs to model DS phenotypes, as a prototypical complex human disease, we generated bona-fide DS and wild-type (WT) non-viral iPSCs by episomal reprogramming. DS iPSCs selectively overexpressed chromosome 21 genes, consistent with gene dosage, which was associated with deregulation of thousands of genes throughout the genome. DS and WT iPSCs were neurally converted at >95% efficiency, and had remarkably similar lineage potency, differentiation kinetics, proliferation and axon extension at early time points. However, at later time points DS cultures showed a two-fold bias towards glial lineages. Moreover, DS neural cultures were up to two times more sensitive to oxidative stress induced apoptosis, and this could be prevented by the anti-oxidant N-acetylcysteine. Our results reveal a striking complexity in the genetic alterations caused by trisomy-21 that are likely to underlie DS developmental phenotypes, and indicate a central role for defective early glial development in establishing developmental defects in DS brains. Furthermore, oxidative stress sensitivity is likely to contribute to the accelerated neurodegeneration seen in DS, and we provide proof of concept for screening corrective therapeutics using DS iPSCs and their derivatives. Non-viral DS iPSCs can therefore recapitulate features of complex human disease in vitro, and provide a renewable and ethically unencumbered discovery platform.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: More than 98% of a typical vertebrate genome does not code for proteins. Although non-coding regions are sprinkled with short (<200 bp) islands of evolutionarily conserved sequences, the function of most of these unannotated conserved islands remains unknown. One possibility is that unannotated conserved islands could encode non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs); alternatively, unannotated conserved islands could serve as promoter-distal regulatory factor binding sites (RFBSs) like enhancers. Here we assess these possibilities by comparing unannotated conserved islands in the human and mouse genomes to transcribed regions and to RFBSs, relying on a detailed case study of one human and one mouse cell type. We define transcribed regions by applying a novel transcript-calling algorithm to RNA-Seq data obtained from total cellular RNA, and we define RFBSs using ChIP-Seq and DNAse-hypersensitivity assays. We find that unannotated conserved islands are four times more likely to coincide with RFBSs than with unannotated ncRNAs. Thousands of conserved RFBSs can be categorized as insulators based on the presence of CTCF or as enhancers based on the presence of p300/CBP and H3K4me1. While many unannotated conserved RFBSs are transcriptionally active to some extent, the transcripts produced tend to be unspliced, non-polyadenylated and expressed at levels 10 to 100-fold lower than annotated coding or ncRNAs. Extending these findings across multiple cell types and tissues, we propose that most conserved non-coding genomic DNA in vertebrate genomes corresponds to promoter-distal regulatory elements.
Nucleic Acids Research 06/2012; 40(16):7858-69. · 8.28 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Disruption of the breast cancer susceptibility gene Brca1 results in defective lobular-alveolar development in the mammary gland and a predisposition to breast tumourigenesis in humans and in mice. Recent evidence suggests that BRCA1 loss in humans is associated with an expansion of the luminal progenitor cell compartment in the normal breast and tumours with a luminal progenitor-like expression profile. To further investigate the role of BRCA1 in the mammary gland, we examined the consequences of Brca1 loss in mouse mammary epithelial cells in vitro and in vivo. Here, we show that Brca1 loss is associated with defective morphogenesis of SCp2 and HC11 mouse mammary epithelial cell lines and that in the MMTV-Cre Brca1(Co/Co) mouse model of Brca1 loss, there is an accumulation of luminal progenitor (CD61(+)CD29(lo)CD24(+)) cells during pregnancy. By day 1 of lactation, there are marked differences in the expression of 1379 genes, with most significantly altered pathways and networks, including lactation, the immune response and cancer. One of the most differentially expressed genes was the luminal progenitor marker, c-kit. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed that the increase in c-kit levels is associated with an increase in c-kit positivity. Interestingly, an inverse association between Brca1 and c-kit expression was also observed during mammary epithelial differentiation, and small interfering RNA-mediated knockdown of Brca1 resulted in a significant increase in c-kit mRNA levels. We found no evidence that c-kit plays a direct role in regulating differentiation of HC11 cells, suggesting that Brca1-mediated induction of c-kit probably contributes to Brca1-associated tumourigenesis via another cellular process, and that c-kit is likely to be a marker rather than a mediator of defective lobular-alveolar development resulting from Brca1 loss.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Combinatorial interactions among transcription factors are critical to directing tissue-specific gene expression. To build a global atlas of these combinations, we have screened for physical interactions among the majority of human and mouse DNA-binding transcription factors (TFs). The complete networks contain 762 human and 877 mouse interactions. Analysis of the networks reveals that highly connected TFs are broadly expressed across tissues, and that roughly half of the measured interactions are conserved between mouse and human. The data highlight the importance of TF combinations for determining cell fate, and they lead to the identification of a SMAD3/FLI1 complex expressed during development of immunity. The availability of large TF combinatorial networks in both human and mouse will provide many opportunities to study gene regulation, tissue differentiation, and mammalian evolution.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The cellular response to materials implanted in the peritoneal cavity has been utilised to produce tissue for grafting to hollow smooth muscle organs (blood vessels, bladder, uterus and vas deferens). To gain insight into the regulatory mechanisms involved in encapsulation of a foreign object, and subsequent differentiation of encapsulating cells, the present study used microarray technology and real-time RT-PCR to identify the temporal changes in gene expression associated with tissue development. Immunohistochemical analysis showed that 3-7 days post-implantation of foreign objects (cubes of boiled egg white) into rats, they were encapsulated by tissue comprised primarily of haemopoietic (CD45(+)) cells, mainly macrophages (CD68(+), CCR1(+)). By day 14, tissue capsule cells no longer expressed CD68, but were positive for myofibroblast markers alpha-smooth muscle (SM) actin and SM22. In accordance with these results, gene expression data showed that early capsule (days 3-7) development was dominated by the expression of monocyte/macrophage-specific genes (CD14, CSF-1, CSF-1R, MCP-1) and pro-inflammatory mediators such as transforming growth factor (TGF-beta). As tissue capsule development progressed (days 14-21), myofibroblast-associated and pro-fibrotic genes (associated with TGF-beta and Wnt/beta-catenin signalling pathways, including Wnt 4, TGFbetaRII, connective tissue growth factor (CTGF), SMADs-1, -2, -4 and collagen-1 subunits) were significantly up-regulated. The up-regulation of genes associated with Cardiovascular and Skeletal and Muscular System Development at later time-points suggests the capacity of cells within the tissue capsule for further differentiation to smooth muscle, and possibly other cell types. The identification of key regulatory pathways and molecules associated with the fibrotic response to implanted materials has important applications not only for optimising tissue engineering strategies, but also to control deleterious fibrotic responses.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Protease-Activated Receptor-2 (PAR2) has been implicated through genetic knockout mice with cytokine regulation and arthritis development. Many studies have associated PAR2 with inflammatory conditions (arthritis, airways inflammation, IBD) and key events in tumor progression (angiogenesis, metastasis), but they have relied heavily on the use of single agonists to identify physiological roles for PAR2. However such probes are now known not to be highly selective for PAR2, and thus precisely what PAR2 does and what mechanisms of downstream regulation are truly affected remain obscure. Effects of PAR2 activation on gene expression in Human Embryonic Kidney cells (HEK293), a commonly studied cell line in PAR2 research, were investigated here by comparing 19,000 human genes for intersecting up- or down-regulation by both trypsin (an endogenous protease that activates PAR2) and a PAR2 activating hexapeptide (2f-LIGRLO-NH(2)). Among 2,500 human genes regulated similarly by both agonists, there were clear associations between PAR2 activation and cellular metabolism (1,000 genes), the cell cycle, the MAPK pathway, HDAC and sirtuin enzymes, inflammatory cytokines, and anti-complement function. PAR-2 activation up-regulated four genes more than 5 fold (DUSP6, WWOX, AREG, SERPINB2) and down-regulated another six genes more than 3 fold (TXNIP, RARG, ITGB4, CTSD, MSC and TM4SF15). Both PAR2 and PAR1 activation resulted in up-regulated expression of several genes (CD44, FOSL1, TNFRSF12A, RAB3A, COPEB, CORO1C, THBS1, SDC4) known to be important in cancer. This is the first widespread profiling of specific activation of PAR2 and provides a valuable platform for better understanding key mechanistic roles of PAR2 in human physiology. Results clearly support the development of both antagonists and agonists of human PAR2 as potential disease modifying therapeutic agents.
PLoS ONE 01/2010; 5(11):e13809. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Extensive expression profiling studies have shown that sporadic breast cancer is composed of five clinically relevant molecular
subtypes. However, although BRCA1-related tumours are known to be predominantly basal-like, there are few published data on other classes of familial breast
tumours. We analysed a cohort of 75 BRCA1, BRCA2 and non-BRCA1/2 breast tumours by gene expression profiling and found that 74% BRCA1 tumours were basal-like, 73% of BRCA2 tumours were luminal A or B, and 52% non-BRCA1/2 tumours were luminal A. Thirty-four tumours were also analysed by single nucleotide polymorphism–comparative genomic hybridization
(SNP-CGH) arrays. Copy number data could predict whether a tumour was basal-like or luminal with high accuracy, but could
not predict its mutation class. Basal-like BRCA1 and basal-like non-BRCA1 tumours were very similar, and contained the highest number of chromosome aberrations. We identified regions of frequent
gain containing potential driver genes in the basal (8q and 12p) and luminal A tumours (1q and 17q). Regions of homozygous
loss associated with decreased expression of potential tumour suppressor genes were also detected, including in basal tumours
(5q and 9p), and basal and luminal tumours (10q). This study highlights the heterogeneity of familial tumours and the clinical
consequences for treatment and prognosis.
BRCA1 and BRCA2
-Molecular subtypes-Familial breast cancer-Gene expression-Copy number aberrations
Breast Cancer Research and Treatment 01/2010; 123(3):661-677. · 4.47 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sulfate (SO(4)(2-)) is an abundant component of intestinal mucins and its content is decreased in certain gastrointestinal diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease. In this study, the hyposulfataemic NaS1 sulfate transporter null (Nas1(-/-)) mice were used to investigate the physiological consequences of disturbed sulfate homeostasis on (1) intestinal sulfomucin content and mRNA expression; (2) intestinal permeability and proliferation; (3) dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)-induced colitis; and (4) intestinal barrier function against the bacterial pathogen, Campylobacter jejuni.
Intestinal sulfomucins and sialomucins were detected by high iron diamine staining, permeability was assessed by fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC)-dextran uptake, and proliferation was assessed by 5-bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) incorporation. Nas1(-/-) and wild-type (Nas1(+/+)) mice received DSS in drinking water, and intestinal damage was assessed by histological, clinical and haematological measurements. Mice were orally inoculated with C jejuni, and intestinal and systemic infection was assessed. Ileal mRNA expression profiles of Nas1(-/-) and Nas1(+/+) mice were determined by cDNA microarrays and validated by quantitative real-time PCR.
Nas1(-/-) mice exhibited reduced intestinal sulfomucin content, enhanced intestinal permeability and DSS-induced colitis, and developed systemic infections when challenged orally with C jejuni. The transcriptional profile of 41 genes was altered in Nas1(-/-) mice, with the most upregulated gene being pancreatic lipase-related protein 2 and the most downregulated gene being carbonic anhydrase 1 (Car1).
Sulfate homeostasis is essential for maintaining a normal intestinal metabolic state, and hyposulfataemia leads to reduced intestinal sulfomucin content, enhanced susceptibility to toxin-induced colitis and impaired intestinal barrier to bacterial infection.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sequence data is crucial to our understanding of crop growth and development, as differences in DNA sequence are responsible for almost all of the heritable differences between crop varieties and ecotypes. The sequence of a genome is often referred to as the genetic blueprint, and is the foundation for all additional information from the genome to the phenome. The value of DNA sequence is leading to rapid improvements in sequencing technology, increasing throughput, and reducing costs, and technological advances are accelerating with the introduction of novel approaches that are replacing the traditional Sanger-based methods. As genome sequencing becomes cheaper, it will be applied to a greater number of species with increasingly large and complex genomes. This will increase our understanding of how differences in the sequence relate to phenotypic observations, heritable traits, speciation, and evolution. Our understanding of plants will be greatly enhanced by this flow of sequence information, with direct benefit for crop improvement.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The GenitoUrinary Development Molecular Anatomy Project (GUDMAP) is a consortium of laboratories working to provide the scientific and medical community with gene expression data and tools to facilitate research (see "www.gudmap.org":http://www.gudmap.org). The data provided by GUDMAP includes large _in situ_ hybridization screens (wholemount and section) and expression microarray analysis of components of the developing mouse urogenital system (including laser-captured material and FACS-isolated cells from transgenic reporter mice). In addition, a high-resolution anatomy ontology has been developed by members of the GUDMAP consortium to describe the subcompartments of the developing murine genitourinary tract.
The GUDMAP Database Development Team and Editorial Office - both based in Edinburgh - function to ensure submission, curation, storage and presentation of the data submitted by the GUDMAP consortium. Our collective aim is twofold: 1) to simplify the process of submission so that data is publically available as soon as it is produced; and 2) to organize this information in a database and ensure that the online interface is continuously available and easy to use. Thus far, we have developed a range of tools that help both the submitter and the end user. These include: an online annotation tool that simplifies _in situ_ data submission through an ontology-based graphical user interface; a database interface that allows users to browse and query expression data, and to filter data by organ system; a heat-map display of microarray data and analyses. Furthermore, the Edinburgh team has developed a GUDMAP Disease Database that queries associations between genes, genitourinary diseases, and renal/urinary and reproductive phenotypes. In collaboration with GUDMAP consortium members at the CCHMC (Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center), the Disease Database is being extended to include mammalian phenotypes mapped to OMIM entries.
By virtue of its impressive dataset and its ease of use we hope that the GUDMAP Website will continue to serve as a powerful resource for biologists, clinicians and bioinformaticians with an interest in the urogenital system.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Commitment in embryonic stem cells is often depicted as a binary choice between alternate cell states, pluripotency and specification to a particular germ layer or extraembryonic lineage. However, close examination of human ES cell cultures has revealed significant heterogeneity in the stem cell compartment.
We isolated subpopulations of embryonic stem cells using surface markers, then examined their expression of pluripotency genes and lineage specific transcription factors at the single cell level, and tested their ability to regenerate colonies of stem cells. Transcript analysis of single embryonic stem cells showed that there is a gradient and a hierarchy of expression of pluripotency genes in the population. Even cells at the top of the hierarchy generally express only a subset of the stem cell genes studied. Many cells co-express pluripotency and lineage specific genes. Cells along the continuum show a progressively decreasing likelihood of self renewal as their expression of stem cell surface markers and pluripotency genes wanes. Most cells that are positive for stem cell surface markers express Oct-4, but only those towards the top of the hierarchy express the nodal receptor TDGF-1 and the growth factor GDF3.
These findings on gene expression in single embryonic stem cells are in concert with recent studies of early mammalian development, which reveal molecular heterogeneity and a stochasticity of gene expression in blastomeres. Our work indicates that only a small fraction of the population resides at the top of the hierarchy, that lineage priming (co-expression of stem cell and lineage specific genes) characterizes pluripotent stem cell populations, and that extrinsic signaling pathways are upstream of transcription factor networks that control pluripotency.
PLoS ONE 01/2009; 4(11):e7708. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Kidney development is based on differential cell-type-specific expression of a vast number of genes. While multiple critical genes and pathways have been elucidated, a genome-wide analysis of gene expression within individual cellular and anatomic structures is lacking. Accomplishing this could provide significant new insights into fundamental developmental mechanisms such as mesenchymal-epithelial transition, inductive signaling, branching morphogenesis, and segmentation. We describe here a comprehensive gene expression atlas of the developing mouse kidney based on the isolation of each major compartment by either laser capture microdissection or fluorescence-activated cell sorting, followed by microarray profiling. The resulting data agree with known expression patterns and additional in situ hybridizations. This kidney atlas allows a comprehensive analysis of the progression of gene expression states during nephrogenesis, as well as discovery of potential growth factor-receptor interactions. In addition, the results provide deeper insight into the genetic regulatory mechanisms of kidney development.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sulfate is essential for human growth and development, and circulating sulfate levels are maintained by the NaS1 sulfate transporter which is expressed in the kidney. Previously, we generated a NaS1-null (Nas1(-/-)) mouse which exhibits hyposulfatemia. In this study, we investigated the kidney transcriptome of Nas1(-/-) mice. We found increased (n=25) and decreased (n=60) mRNA levels of genes with functional roles that include sulfate transport and steroid metabolism. Corticosteroid-binding globulin was the most up-regulated gene (110% increase) in Nas1(-/-) mouse kidney, whereas the sulfate anion transporter-1 (Sat1) was among the most down-regulated genes (>or=50% decrease). These findings led us to investigate the circulating and urinary steroid levels of Nas1(-/-) and Nas1(+/+) mice, which revealed reduced blood levels of corticosterone ( approximately 50% decrease), dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA, approximately 30% decrease) and DHEA-sulfate ( approximately 40% decrease), and increased urinary corticosterone ( approximately 16-fold increase) and DHEA ( approximately 40% increase) levels in Nas1(-/-) mice. Our data suggest that NaS1 is essential for maintaining a normal metabolic state in the kidney and that loss of NaS1 function leads to reduced circulating steroid levels and increased urinary steroid excretion.
The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 09/2008; 112(1-3):55-62. · 3.98 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The functional consequences of missense variants in disease genes are difficult to predict. We assessed if gene expression profiles could distinguish between BRCA1 or BRCA2 pathogenic truncating and missense mutation carriers and familial breast cancer cases whose disease was not attributable to BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations (BRCAX cases). 72 cell lines from affected women in high-risk breast ovarian families were assayed after exposure to ionising irradiation, including 23 BRCA1 carriers, 22 BRCA2 carriers, and 27 BRCAX individuals. A subset of 10 BRCAX individuals carried rare BRCA1/2 sequence variants considered to be of low clinical significance (LCS). BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers had similar expression profiles, with some subclustering of missense mutation carriers. The majority of BRCAX individuals formed a distinct cluster, but BRCAX individuals with LCS variants had expression profiles similar to BRCA1/2 mutation carriers. Gaussian Process Classifier predicted BRCA1, BRCA2 and BRCAX status, with a maximum of 62% accuracy, and prediction accuracy decreased with inclusion of BRCAX samples carrying an LCS variant, and inclusion of pathogenic missense carriers. Similarly, prediction of mutation status with gene lists derived using Support Vector Machines was good for BRCAX samples without an LCS variant (82-94%), poor for BRCAX with an LCS (40-50%), and improved for pathogenic BRCA1/2 mutation carriers when the gene list used for prediction was appropriate to mutation effect being tested (71-100%). This study indicates that mutation effect, and presence of rare variants possibly associated with a low risk of cancer, must be considered in the development of array-based assays of variant pathogenicity.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In late 2004, an International Consortium of research groups were charged with the task of producing a high-quality molecular anatomy of the developing mammalian urogenital tract (UGT). Given the importance of these organ systems for human health and reproduction, the need for a systematic molecular and cellular description of their developmental programs was deemed a high priority. The information obtained through this initiative is anticipated to enable the highest level of basic and clinical research grounded on a 21st-century view of the developing anatomy. There are three components to the Genitourinary Developmental Molecular Anatomy Project GUDMAP; all of these are intended to provide resources that support research on the kidney and UGT. The first provides ontology of the cell types during UGT development and the molecular hallmarks of those cells as discerned by a variety of procedures, including in situ hybridization, transcriptional profiling, and immunostaining. The second generates novel mouse strains. In these strains, cell types of particular interest within an organ are labeled through the introduction of a specific marker into the context of a gene that exhibits appropriate cell type or structure-specific expression. In addition, the targeting construct enables genetic manipulation within the cell of interest in many of the strains. Finally, the information is annotated, collated, and promptly released at regular intervals, before publication, through a database that is accessed through a Web portal. Presented here is a brief overview of the Genitourinary Developmental Molecular Anatomy Project effort.
Journal of the American Society of Nephrology 05/2008; 19(4):667-71. · 8.99 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: One purpose of the biomedical literature is to report results in sufficient detail that the methods of data collection and analysis can be independently replicated and verified. Here we present reporting guidelines for gene expression localization experiments: the minimum information specification for in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry experiments (MISFISHIE). MISFISHIE is modeled after the Minimum Information About a Microarray Experiment (MIAME) specification for microarray experiments. Both guidelines define what information should be reported without dictating a format for encoding that information. MISFISHIE describes six types of information to be provided for each experiment: experimental design, biomaterials and treatments, reporters, staining, imaging data and image characterizations. This specification has benefited the consortium within which it was developed and is expected to benefit the wider research community. We welcome feedback from the scientific community to help improve our proposal.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Germline mutations in BRCA1 or BRCA2 confer an increased lifetime risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer, but variable penetrance suggests that cancer susceptibility is influenced in part by modifier genes. Microarray expression profiling was conducted for 69 irradiated lymphoblastoid cell lines derived from healthy controls, or from cancer-affected women with a strong family history of breast and ovarian cancer carrying pathogenic mutations in BRCA1 or BRCA2, or with no BRCA1/2 mutations (BRCAX). Genes discriminating between BRCA1, BRCA2 or BRCAX and controls were stratified based on irradiation response and/or cell cycle involvement. Gene lists were aligned against genes tagged with single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) determined by the Cancer Genetic Markers of Susceptibility (CGEMS) Breast Cancer Whole Genome Association Scan to be nominally associated with breast cancer risk. Irradiation responsive genes whose expression correlated with BRCA1 and/or BRCA2 mutation status were more likely to be tagged by risk-associated SNPs in the CGEMS dataset (BRCA1, P = 0.0005; BRCA2, P = 0.01). In contrast, irradiation responsive genes correlating with BRCAX status were not enriched in the CGEMS dataset. Classification of expression data by involvement in cell cycle processes did not enrich for genes tagged by risk-associated SNPs, for BRCA1, BRCA2 or BRCAX groups. Using a novel combinatorial approach, we have identified a subset of irradiation responsive genes as high priority candidate BRCA1/2 modifier genes. Similar approaches may be used to identify genes and underlying genetic risk factors that interact with exogenous stimulants to cause or modify any disease, without a priori knowledge of the pathways involved.
Breast Cancer Research and Treatment 01/2008; 112(2):229-36. · 4.47 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The mechanisms responsible for the maintenance of pluripotency in human embryonic stem cells, and those that drive their commitment into particular differentiation lineages, are poorly understood. In fact, even our knowledge of the phenotype of hESC is limited, because the immunological and molecular criteria presently used to define this phenotype describe the properties of a heterogeneous population of cells.
We used a novel approach combining immunological and transcriptional analysis (immunotranscriptional profiling) to compare gene expression in hESC populations at very early stages of differentiation. Immunotranscriptional profiling enabled us to identify novel markers of stem cells and their differentiated progeny, as well as novel potential regulators of hESC commitment and differentiation. The data show clearly that genes associated with the pluripotent state are downregulated in a coordinated fashion, and that they are co-expressed with lineage specific transcription factors in a continuum during the early stages of stem cell differentiation.
These findings, that show that maintenance of pluripotency and lineage commitment are dynamic, interactive processes in hESC cultures, have important practical implications for propagation and directed differentiation of these cells, and for the interpretation of mechanistic studies of hESC renewal and commitment. Since embryonic stem cells at defined stages of commitment can be isolated in large numbers by immunological means, they provide a powerful model for studying molecular genetics of stem cell commitment in the embryo.