Miguel Angel Pujana

IDIBELL Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute, Barcino, Catalonia, Spain

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Publications (69)426.99 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Epigenetic regulation and, in particular, DNA methylation have been linked to the underlying genetic sequence. DNA methylation quantitative trait loci (meQTL) have been identified through significant associations between the genetic and epigenetic codes in physiological and pathological contexts. We propose that interrogating the interplay between polymorphic alleles and DNA methylation is a powerful method for improving our interpretation of risk alleles identified in genome-wide association studies that otherwise lack mechanistic explanation. We integrated patient cancer risk genotype data and genome-scale DNA methylation profiles of 3,649 primary human tumors, representing 13 solid cancer types. We provide a comprehensive meQTL catalog containing DNA methylation associations for 21% of interrogated cancer risk polymorphisms. Differentially methylated loci harbor previously reported and as-yet-unidentified cancer genes. We suggest that such regulation at the DNA level can provide a considerable amount of new information about the biology of cancer-risk alleles.
    Cell reports. 04/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Most patients with tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) develop cortical tubers that cause severe neurological disabilities. It has been suggested that defects in neuronal differentiation and/or migration underlie the appearance of tubers. However, the precise molecular alterations remain largely unknown. Here, by combining cytological and immunohistochemical analyses of tubers from nine TSC patients (four of them diagnosed with TSC2 germline mutations) we show that alteration of microtubule biology through ROCK2 signaling contributes to TSC neuropathology. All tubers showed a larger number of binucleated neurons than expected relative to control cortex. An excess of normal and altered cytokinetic figures was also commonly observed. Analysis of centrosomal markers suggested increased microtubule nucleation capacity, which was supported by the analysis of an expression dataset from cortical tubers and control cortex, and subsequently linked to under-expression of Rho-associated coiled-coil containing kinase 2 (ROCK2). Thus, augmented microtubule nucleation capacity was observed in mouse embryonic fibroblasts and human fibroblasts deficient in the Tsc2/TSC2 gene product, tuberin. Consistent with ROCK2 under-expression, microtubule acetylation was found to be increased with tuberin deficiency; this alteration was abrogated by rapamycin treatment and mimicked by HDAC6 inhibition. Together, the results of this study support the hypothesis that loss of TSC2 expression can alter microtubule organization and dynamics, which, in turn, deregulate cell division and potentially impair neuronal differentiation.
    The Journal of Pathology 03/2014; · 7.59 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Translational research typically aims to identify and functionally validate individual, disease-specific genes. However, reaching this aim is complicated by the involvement of thousands of genes in common diseases, and that many of those genes are pleiotropic, i.e. shared by several diseases. We integrated genomic meta-analyses with prospective clinical studies to systematically investigate the pathogenic, diagnostic and therapeutic roles of pleiotropic genes. In a novel approach, we first used pathway analysis of all published GWAS to find a cell type common to many diseases. The analysis showed over-representation of the T helper cell differentiation pathway, which is expressed in T cells. This led us to focus on expression profiling of CD4+ T cells from highly diverse inflammatory and malignant diseases. We found that pleiotropic genes were highly interconnected and formed a pleiotropic module, which was enriched for inflammatory, metabolic and proliferative pathways. The general relevance of this module was supported by highly significant enrichment of genetic variants identified by all GWAS and cancer studies, as well as known diagnostic and therapeutic targets. Prospective clinical studies of multiple sclerosis and allergy showed the importance of both pleiotropic and disease specific modules for clinical stratification. In summary, this translational genomics study identified a pleiotropic module, which has key pathogenic, diagnostic and therapeutic roles.
    Genome Medicine 02/2014; 6(2):17. · 3.40 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Epigenetic regulation and, in particular, DNA methylation have been linked to the underlying genetic sequence. DNA methylation quantitative trait loci (meQTL) have been identified through significant associations between the genetic and epigenetic codes in physiological and pathological contexts. We propose that interrogating the interplay between polymorphic alleles and DNA methylation is a powerful method for improving our interpretation of risk alleles identified in genome-wide association studies that otherwise lack mechanistic explanation. We integrated patient cancer risk genotype data and genome-scale DNA methylation profiles of 3,649 primary human tumors, representing 13 solid cancer types. We provide a comprehensive meQTL catalog containing DNA methylation associations for 21% of interrogated cancer risk polymorphisms. Differentially methylated loci harbor previously reported and as-yet-unidentified cancer genes. We suggest that such regulation at the DNA level can provide a considerable amount of new information about the biology of cancer-risk alleles.
    Cell Reports. 01/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Dozens of common genetic variants associated with cancer risk have been identified through genome-wide association studies (GWASs). However, these variants only explain a modest fraction of the heritability of disease. The missing heritability has been attributed to several factors, among them the existence of genetic interactions (GxG). Systematic screens for GxG in model organisms have revealed their fundamental influence in complex phenotypes. In this scenario, GxG overlap significantly with other types of gene and/or protein relationships. Here, by integrating predicted GxG from GWAS data and complex- and context-defined gene co-expression profiles, we provide evidence for GxG associated with cancer risk. GxG predicted from a breast cancer GWAS dataset identified significant overlaps (relative enrichments of 8-36%, empirical P values < 0.05 - 10(-4)) with complex (non-linear) gene co-expression in breast tumors. The use of gene or protein data not specific for breast cancer did not reveal overlaps. According to the predicted GxG, experimental assays demonstrated functional interplay between LPP and TGFβ signaling in the MCF10A non-tumorigenic mammary epithelial cell model. Next, integration of pancreatic tumor gene expression profiles with pancreatic cancer GxG predicted from a GWAS corroborated the observations made for breast cancer risk (relative enrichments of 25-59%). The method presented here can potentially support the identification of genetic interactions associated with cancer risk, providing novel mechanistic hypotheses for carcinogenesis.
    Carcinogenesis 12/2013; · 5.64 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumours (MPNST) are rare, hereditary cancers associated with neurofibromatosis type I. MPNSTs lack effective treatment options as they often resist chemotherapies and have high rates of disease recurrence. Aurora kinase A (AURKA) is an emerging target in cancer and an aurora kinase inhibitor (AKI), termed MLN8237, shows promise against MPNST cell lines in vitro and in vivo. Here, we test MLN8237 against two primary human MPNST grown in vivo as xenotransplants and find that treatment results in tumour cells exiting the cell cycle and undergoing endoreduplication, which cumulates in stabilized disease. Targeted therapies can often fail in the clinic due to insufficient knowledge about factors that determine tumour susceptibilities, so we turned to three MPNST cell-lines to further study and modulate the cellular responses to AKI. We find that the sensitivity of cell-lines with amplification of AURKA depends upon the activity of the kinase, which correlates with the expression of the regulatory gene products TPX2 and HMMR/RHAMM. Silencing of HMMR/RHAMM, but not TPX2, augments AURKA activity and sensitizes MPNST cells to AKI. Furthermore, we find that AURKA activity is critical to the propagation and self-renewal of sphere-enriched MPNST cancer stem-like cells. AKI treatment significantly reduces the formation of spheroids, attenuates the self-renewal of spheroid forming cells, and promotes their differentiation. Moreover, silencing of HMMR/RHAMM is sufficient to endow MPNST cells with an ability to form and maintain sphere culture. Collectively, our data indicate that AURKA is a rationale therapeutic target for MPNST and tumour cell responses to AKI, which include differentiation, are modulated by the abundance of HMMR/RHAMM.
    Oncotarget 01/2013; · 6.64 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Adult stem cells have an enormous potential for clinical use in regenerative medicine that avoids many of the drawbacks characteristic of embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells. In this context, easily obtainable human adipose-derived stem cells offer an interesting option for future strategies in regenerative medicine. However, little is known about their repertoire of differentiation capacities, how closely they resemble the target primary tissues, and the potential safety issues associated with their use. DNA methylation is one of the most widely recognized epigenetic factors involved in cellular identity, prompting us to consider how the analyses of 27,578 CpG sites in the genome of these cells under different conditions reflect their different natural history. We show that human adipose-derived stem cells generate myogenic and osteogenic lineages that share much of the DNA methylation landscape characteristic of primary myocytes and osteocytes. Most important, adult stem cells and in vitro-generated myocytes and osteocytes display a significantly different DNA methylome from that observed in transformed cells from these tissue types, such as rhabdomyosarcoma and osteosarcoma. These results suggest that the plasticity of the DNA methylation patterns plays an important role in lineage commitment of adult stem cells and that it could be used for clinical purposes as a biomarker of efficient and safely differentiated cells.
    American Journal Of Pathology 09/2012; · 4.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) is the fifth leading cause of death in women diagnosed with gynecologic malignancies. The low survival rate is because of its advanced-stage diagnosis and either intrinsic or acquired resistance to standard platinum-based chemotherapy. So, the development of effective innovative therapeutic strategies to overcome cisplatin resistance remains a high priority. To investigate new treatments in in vivo models reproducing EOCs tumor growth, we generated a preclinical model of ovarian cancer after orthotopic implantation of a primary serous tumor in nude mice. Further, matched model of acquired cisplatin-resistant tumor version was successfully derived in mice. Effectiveness of lurbinectedin (PM01183) treatment, a novel marine-derived DNA minor groove covalent binder, was assessed in both preclinical models as a single and a combined-cisplatin agent. Orthotopically perpetuated tumor grafts mimic the histopathological characteristics of primary patients' tumors and they also recapitulate in mice characteristic features of tumor response to cisplatin treatments. We showed that single lurbinectedin or cisplatin-combined therapies were effective in treating cisplatin-sensitive and cisplatin-resistant preclinical ovarian tumor models. Furthermore, the strongest in vivo synergistic effect was observed for combined treatments, especially in cisplatin-resistant tumors. Lurbinectedin tumor growth inhibition was associated with reduced proliferation, increased rate of aberrant mitosis, and subsequent induced apoptosis. Taken together, preclinical orthotopic ovarian tumor grafts are useful tools for drug development, providing hard evidence that lurbinectedin might be a useful therapy in the treatment of EOC by overcoming cisplatin resistance. Clin Cancer Res; 18(19); 5399-411. ©2012 AACR.
    Clinical Cancer Research 08/2012; 18(19):5399-411. · 7.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The products of genes mutated or differentially expressed in cancer tend to occupy central positions within the network of protein-protein interactions, or the interactome network. Integration of different types of gene and protein relationships has considerably increased the understanding of the mechanisms of carcinogenesis, while also enhancing the applicability of expression signatures. In this scenario, however, it remains unknown how cancer develops, progresses and responds to therapies in a potentially controlled manner at the systems level. Here, by applying the concepts of load transfer and cascading failures in power grids, we examine the impact and transmission of cancer-related gene expression changes in the interactome network. Relative to random perturbations, this study reveals topological robustness associated with all cancer conditions. In addition, experimental perturbation of a central cancer node, which consists of over-expression of the α-synuclein (SNCA) protein in MCF7 breast cancer cells, also reveals robustness. Conversely, a search for proteins with an opposite topological impact identifies the autophagy pathway. Mechanistically, the existence of smaller shortest paths among cancer-related proteins appears to be a topological feature that partially contributes to the restricted perturbation of the network. Together, the results of this study suggest that cancer develops, progresses and responds to therapies following controlled, restricted perturbation of the interactome network.
    Integrative Biology 07/2012; 4(9):1038-48. · 4.32 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Human aging cannot be fully understood in terms of the constrained genetic setting. Epigenetic drift is an alternative means of explaining age-associated alterations. To address this issue, we performed whole-genome bisulfite sequencing (WGBS) of newborn and centenarian genomes. The centenarian DNA had a lower DNA methylation content and a reduced correlation in the methylation status of neighboring cytosine--phosphate--guanine (CpGs) throughout the genome in comparison with the more homogeneously methylated newborn DNA. The more hypomethylated CpGs observed in the centenarian DNA compared with the neonate covered all genomic compartments, such as promoters, exonic, intronic, and intergenic regions. For regulatory regions, the most hypomethylated sequences in the centenarian DNA were present mainly at CpG-poor promoters and in tissue-specific genes, whereas a greater level of DNA methylation was observed in CpG island promoters. We extended the study to a larger cohort of newborn and nonagenarian samples using a 450,000 CpG-site DNA methylation microarray that reinforced the observation of more hypomethylated DNA sequences in the advanced age group. WGBS and 450,000 analyses of middle-age individuals demonstrated DNA methylomes in the crossroad between the newborn and the nonagenarian/centenarian groups. Our study constitutes a unique DNA methylation analysis of the extreme points of human life at a single-nucleotide resolution level.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 06/2012; 109(26):10522-7. · 9.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Genes that, when mutated, cause Fanconi anemia or greatly increase breast cancer risk encode for proteins that converge on a homology-directed DNA damage repair process. Mutations in the SLX4 gene, which encodes for a scaffold protein involved in the repair of interstrand cross-links, have recently been identified in unclassified Fanconi anemia patients. A mutation analysis of SLX4 in German or Byelorussian familial cases of breast cancer without detected mutations in BRCA1 or BRCA2 has been completed, with globally negative results. The genomic region of SLX4, comprising all exons and exon-intron boundaries, was sequenced in 94 Spanish familial breast cancer cases that match a criterion indicating the potential presence of a highly-penetrant germline mutation, following exclusion of BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations. This mutational analysis revealed extensive genetic variation of SLX4, with 21 novel single nucleotide variants; however, none could be linked to a clear alteration of the protein function. Nonetheless, genotyping 10 variants (nine novel, all missense amino acid changes) in a set of controls (138 women and 146 men) did not detect seven of them. Overall, while the results of this study do not identify clearly pathogenic mutations of SLX4 contributing to breast cancer risk, further genetic analysis, combined with functional assays of the identified rare variants, may be warranted to conclusively assess the potential link with the disease.
    BMC Cancer 03/2012; 12:84. · 3.33 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Gene-based anticancer therapies delivered by adenoviruses are limited by the poor viral distribution into the tumor. In the current work we have explored the feasibility of targeting pancreatic tumors through a loco-regional route. We have taken advantage of the ductal network in the pancreas to retrogradelly inject adenoviruses through the common bile duct in two different mouse models of pancreatic carcinogenesis: The transgenic Ela-myc mice that develop mixed neoplasms displaying both acinar-like and duct-like neoplastic cells affecting the whole pancreas; and mice bearing PANC-1 and BxPC-3 orthotopic xenografts that constitute a model of localized human neoplastic tumors. We studied tumor targeting and the anticancer effects of newly thymidine kinase-engineered adenoviruses both in vitro and in vivo, and conducted comparative studies between intraductal or intravenous administration. Our data indicate that the intraductal delivery of adenovirus efficiently targets pancreatic tumors in the two mouse models. The in vivo application of AduPARTKT plus ganciclovir (GCV) treatment induced tumor regression in Ela-myc mice. Moreover, the intraductal injection of ICOVIR15-TKT oncolytic adenoviruses significantly improved mean survival of mice bearing PANC-1 and BxPC-3 pancreatic xenografts from 30 to 52 days and from 20 to 68 days respectively (p〈0.0001) when combined with GCV. Of notice, both AduPARTKT and ICOVIR15-TKT antitumoral responses were stronger by ductal viral application than intravenously, in line with the 38-fold increase in pancreas transduction observed upon ductal administration. In summary our data show that cytotoxic adenoviruses retrogradelly injected to the pancreas can be a feasible approach to treat localized pancreatic tumors.
    Oncotarget 01/2012; · 6.64 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: As cancer is a complex disease, the representation of a malignant cell as a protein-protein interaction network (PPIN) and its subsequent analysis can provide insight into the behaviour of cancer cells and lead to the discovery of new biomarkers. The aim of this review is to help life-science researchers without previous computer programming skills to extract meaningful biological information from such networks, taking advantage of easy-to-use, public bioinformatics tools. It is structured in four parts: the first section describes the pipeline of consecutive steps from network construction to biological hypothesis generation. The second part provides a repository of public, user-friendly tools for network construction, visualisation and analysis. Two different and complementary approaches of network analysis are presented: the topological approach studies the network as a whole by means of structural graph theory, whereas the global approach divides the PPIN into sub-graphs, or modules. In section three, some concepts and tools regarding heterogeneous molecular data integration through a PPIN are described. Finally, the fourth part is an example of how to extract meaningful biological information from a colorectal cancer PPIN using some of the described tools.
    Clinical and Translational Oncology 01/2012; 14(1):3-14. · 1.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Colorectal cancer studies typically include both colon and rectum tumors as a common entity, though this assumption is controversial and only minor differences have been reported at the molecular and epidemiologic level. We conducted a molecular study based on gene expression data of tumors from colon and rectum to assess the degree of similarity between these cancer sites at transcriptomic level. A pooled analysis of 460 colon tumors and 100 rectum tumors from four data sets belonging to three independent studies was conducted. Microsatellite instable tumors were excluded as these are known to have a different expression profile and have a preferential proximal colon location. Expression differences were assessed with linear models, and significant genes were identified using adjustment for multiple comparisons. Minor differences at a gene expression level were found between tumors arising in the proximal colon, distal colon, or rectum. Only several HOX genes were found to be associated with tumor location. More differences were found between proximal and distal colon than between distal colon and rectum. Microsatellite stable colorectal cancers do not show major transcriptomic differences for tumors arising in the colon or rectum. The small but consistent differences observed are largely driven by the HOX genes. These results may have important implications in the design and interpretation of studies in colorectal cancer.
    Clinical Cancer Research 12/2011; 17(23):7303-12. · 7.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Differentiated mammary epithelium shows apicobasal polarity, and loss of tissue organization is an early hallmark of breast carcinogenesis. In BRCA1 mutation carriers, accumulation of stem and progenitor cells in normal breast tissue and increased risk of developing tumors of basal-like type suggest that BRCA1 regulates stem/progenitor cell proliferation and differentiation. However, the function of BRCA1 in this process and its link to carcinogenesis remain unknown. Here we depict a molecular mechanism involving BRCA1 and RHAMM that regulates apicobasal polarity and, when perturbed, may increase risk of breast cancer. Starting from complementary genetic analyses across families and populations, we identified common genetic variation at the low-penetrance susceptibility HMMR locus (encoding for RHAMM) that modifies breast cancer risk among BRCA1, but probably not BRCA2, mutation carriers: n = 7,584, weighted hazard ratio (wHR) = 1.09 (95% CI 1.02–1.16), ptrend = 0.017; and n = 3,965, wHR = 1.04 (95% CI 0.94–1.16), ptrend = 0.43; respectively. Subsequently, studies of MCF10A apicobasal polarization revealed a central role for BRCA1 and RHAMM, together with AURKA and TPX2, in essential reorganization of microtubules. Mechanistically, reorganization is facilitated by BRCA1 and impaired by AURKA, which is regulated by negative feedback involving RHAMM and TPX2. Taken together, our data provide fundamental insight into apicobasal polarization through BRCA1 function, which may explain the expanded cell subsets and characteristic tumor type accompanying BRCA1 mutation, while also linking this process to sporadic breast cancer through perturbation of HMMR/RHAMM.
    PLoS Biology 11/2011; 9(11). · 12.69 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Differentiated mammary epithelium shows apicobasal polarity, and loss of tissue organization is an early hallmark of breast carcinogenesis. In BRCA1 mutation carriers, accumulation of stem and progenitor cells in normal breast tissue and increased risk of developing tumors of basal-like type suggest that BRCA1 regulates stem/progenitor cell proliferation and differentiation. However, the function of BRCA1 in this process and its link to carcinogenesis remain unknown. Here we depict a molecular mechanism involving BRCA1 and RHAMM that regulates apicobasal polarity and, when perturbed, may increase risk of breast cancer. Starting from complementary genetic analyses across families and populations, we identified common genetic variation at the low-penetrance susceptibility HMMR locus (encoding for RHAMM) that modifies breast cancer risk among BRCA1, but probably not BRCA2, mutation carriers: n = 7,584, weighted hazard ratio ((w)HR) = 1.09 (95% CI 1.02-1.16), p(trend) = 0.017; and n = 3,965, (w)HR = 1.04 (95% CI 0.94-1.16), p(trend) = 0.43; respectively. Subsequently, studies of MCF10A apicobasal polarization revealed a central role for BRCA1 and RHAMM, together with AURKA and TPX2, in essential reorganization of microtubules. Mechanistically, reorganization is facilitated by BRCA1 and impaired by AURKA, which is regulated by negative feedback involving RHAMM and TPX2. Taken together, our data provide fundamental insight into apicobasal polarization through BRCA1 function, which may explain the expanded cell subsets and characteristic tumor type accompanying BRCA1 mutation, while also linking this process to sporadic breast cancer through perturbation of HMMR/RHAMM.
    PLoS Biology 11/2011; 9(11):e1001199. · 12.69 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: DNA methylation is the most studied epigenetic mark and CpG methylation is central to many biological processes and human diseases. Since cancer has highlighted the contribution to disease of aberrant DNA methylation patterns, such as the presence of promoter CpG island hypermethylation-associated silencing of tumor suppressor genes and global DNA hypomethylation defects, their importance will surely become apparent in other pathologies. However, advances in obtaining comprehensive DNA methylomes are hampered by the high cost and time-consuming aspects of the single nucleotide methods currently available for whole genome DNA methylation analyses. Following the success of the standard CpG methylation microarrays for 1,505 CpG sites and 27,000 CpG sites, we have validated in vivo the newly developed 450,000 (450K) cytosine microarray (Illumina). The 450K microarray includes CpG and CNG sites, CpG islands/shores/shelves/open sea, non-coding RNA (microRNAs and long non-coding RNAs) and sites surrounding the transcription start sites (-200 bp to -1,500 bp, 5'-UTRs and exons 1) for coding genes, but also for the corresponding gene bodies and 3'-UTRs, in addition to intergenic regions derived from GWAS studies. Herein, we demonstrate that the 450K DNA methylation array can consistently and significantly detect CpG methylation changes in the HCT-116 colorectal cancer cell line in comparison with normal colon mucosa or HCT-116 cells with defective DNA methyltransferases (DKO). The provided validation highlights the potential use of the 450K DNA methylation microarray as a useful tool for ongoing and newly designed epigenome projects.
    Epigenetics: official journal of the DNA Methylation Society 06/2011; 6(6):692-702. · 4.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Intracellular signaling mediated by the receptor activator of nuclear factor-κB [Rank, encoded by the tumor necrosis factor receptor superfamily, member 11a (Tnfrsf11a) gene] is fundamental for mammary gland development in mice, regulating the expansion of stem and progenitor cell compartments. Conversely, Rank overexpression in mice promotes abnormal proliferation and impairs differentiation, leading to an increased incidence of tumorigenesis. Here, we show that a common genetic variant near the 5'-end of TNFRSF11A, rs7226991, is associated with breast cancer risk in the general population and among carriers of mutations in the breast cancer 2, early onset (BRCA2) gene. Akin to the results of the Cancer and Genetics Markers of Susceptibility initiative, combined analysis of rs7226991 in two Spanish case-control studies (1,365 controls and 1,323 cases in total) revealed a significant association with risk: odds ratio (OR) = 0.88, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.78-0.98, P (trend) = 0.025. Subsequent examination of BRCA1 (n = 1,017) and BRCA2 (n = 885) mutation carriers revealed a consistent association in the latter group: weighted hazard ratio ((w)HR) = 0.70; 95% CI 0.55-0.88; and P (trend) = 0.003; compared to BRCA1 mutation carriers, (w)HR = 0.91; 95% CI 0.76-1.10; and P (trend) = 0.33. The results of this study need to be replicated in other populations and with larger numbers of BRCA1/2 mutation carriers.
    Breast Cancer Research and Treatment 05/2011; 129(3):947-54. · 4.47 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Proteins encoded by Fanconi anemia (FA) and/or breast cancer (BrCa) susceptibility genes cooperate in a common DNA damage repair signaling pathway. To gain deeper insight into this pathway and its influence on cancer risk, we searched for novel components through protein physical interaction screens. Protein physical interactions were screened using the yeast two-hybrid system. Co-affinity purifications and endogenous co-immunoprecipitation assays were performed to corroborate interactions. Biochemical and functional assays in human, mouse and Caenorhabditis elegans models were carried out to characterize pathway components. Thirteen FANCD2-monoubiquitinylation-positive FA cell lines excluded for genetic defects in the downstream pathway components and 300 familial BrCa patients negative for BRCA1/2 mutations were analyzed for genetic mutations. Common genetic variants were genotyped in 9,573 BRCA1/2 mutation carriers for associations with BrCa risk. A previously identified co-purifying protein with PALB2 was identified, MRG15 (MORF4L1 gene). Results in human, mouse and C. elegans models delineate molecular and functional relationships with BRCA2, PALB2, RAD51 and RPA1 that suggest a role for MRG15 in the repair of DNA double-strand breaks. Mrg15-deficient murine embryonic fibroblasts showed moderate sensitivity to γ-irradiation relative to controls and reduced formation of Rad51 nuclear foci. Examination of mutants of MRG15 and BRCA2 C. elegans orthologs revealed phenocopy by accumulation of RPA-1 (human RPA1) nuclear foci and aberrant chromosomal compactions in meiotic cells. However, no alterations or mutations were identified for MRG15/MORF4L1 in unclassified FA patients and BrCa familial cases. Finally, no significant associations between common MORF4L1 variants and BrCa risk for BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation carriers were identified: rs7164529, Ptrend = 0.45 and 0.05, P2df = 0.51 and 0.14, respectively; and rs10519219, Ptrend = 0.92 and 0.72, P2df = 0.76 and 0.07, respectively. While the present study expands on the role of MRG15 in the control of genomic stability, weak associations cannot be ruled out for potential low-penetrance variants at MORF4L1 and BrCa risk among BRCA2 mutation carriers.
    Breast cancer research: BCR 04/2011; 13(2):R40. · 5.87 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

1k Citations
2k Downloads
426.99 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2009–2013
    • IDIBELL Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute
      Barcino, Catalonia, Spain
  • 2007–2010
    • Catalan Institute of Oncology
      • Translational Research Laboratory
      Badalona, Catalonia, Spain
    • Harvard Medical School
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States
  • 2002–2006
    • CRG Centre for Genomic Regulation
      Barcino, Catalonia, Spain
  • 2005
    • Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
      • Department of Cancer Biology
      Boston, MA, United States
  • 2003
    • Parc de recerca biomedica de barcelona
      Barcino, Catalonia, Spain
  • 2002–2003
    • SickKids
      • • Division of Clinical and Metabolic Genetics
      • • Program in Genetics and Genome Biology
      Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 1998
    • Hospital Clínic de Barcelona
      Barcino, Catalonia, Spain
  • 1997
    • Molecular Biology Institute of Barcelona
      Barcino, Catalonia, Spain
    • Pere Mata Institute
      Reus, Catalonia, Spain
  • 1996
    • Centro de Investigación del Cáncer
      Helmantica, Castille and León, Spain