Britta Skawran

Hannover Medical School, Hanover, Lower Saxony, Germany

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Publications (26)105.83 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Age-related macular degeneration is the major cause of blindness in the elderly worldwide and the risk is influenced by both environmental and genetic risk factors. One important disease-associated region in humans is located on 10q26 and includes the two candidate genes ARMS2 and HTRA1. However, determination of the causative gene has not yet been possible and examining the situation in the rhesus monkey may help understand the situation in humans. In a recent paper, we characterised the rhesus monkey 10q26-orthologue region on chromosome 9 in detail and identified the drusen-associated HTRA1 promoter SNP rs196357513 as a putative risk factor. In this study, we predicted 9 binding sites for the vitamin D-dependent transcription factor Vitamin D Receptor in the rhesus HTRA1 promoter, one of which is destroyed by the rs196357513-risk allele. As patients with vitamin D deficit are at increased risk for age-related macular degeneration, a luciferase assay in transiently transfected ARPE19-cells was performed to evaluate the influence of the SNP rs196357513 and of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D on the rhesus monkey HTRA1 promoter activity. This revealed that the luciferase activity of the promoter construct containing the rs196357513 wild type allele was significantly reduced after vitamin D stimulation. An in silico analysis and literature search imply that this regulation could also play a role in human HTRA1 expression. Moreover, HTRA1 promoter activity of the construct containing the rs196357513 risk allele appeared diminished in comparison to the construct with the wild type allele, albeit this difference was not significant. The lower promoter activity due to the rhesus monkey rs196357513 risk allele apparently contradicts the common hypothesis for the human HTRA1 promoter risk allele of SNP rs11200638, for which a higher promoter activity has been observed. Our data point to a yet unexpected effect of decreased HTRA1 expression on drusen pathogenesis. Thus not only a higher HTRA1 expression, but an imbalance of HTRA1 might be disease-relevant. Both findings require closer analysis, but if relevance for humans proves true, it would impact current age-related macular degeneration research and treatment.
    Experimental Eye Research 09/2013; · 3.03 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Suv39h1 mediates heterochromatin formation in pericentric and telomeric regions by trimethylation of lysine 9 of histone 3 (H3K9me3). Yet, its role in the induction of chromosomal instability is poorly understood. We established a leukemia model by retrovirally expressing Myc in wild-type and histone methyltransferase Suv39h1-deficient hematopoietic cells and characterized the resulting leukemias for chromosomal instability. All mice that received cells overexpressing Myc developed myeloid leukemia with a median survival of 44 days posttransplantation. Myc-overexpressing wild-type leukemias demonstrated clones with numerical chromosomal aberrations (5/16). In secondary transplantations of these leukemic cells, structural changes, mostly end-to-end fusions of chromosomes, appeared (10/12). In contrast, leukemic cells overexpressing Myc with reduced or no Suv39h1 expression had a normal karyotype in primary, secondary, and tertiary transplantations (16/16). Myc-transduced Suv39h1-deficient cells showed less critically short telomeres (P < 0.05) compared with Myc-transduced wild-type bone marrow cells. Gene expression analysis showed upregulation of genes involved in the alternative lengthening of telomeres (ALT) mechanism. Thus, we hypothesize that loss of Suv39h1 implies activation of the ALT mechanism, in turn ensuring telomere length and stability. Our data show for the first time that Suv39h1 deficiency may prevent chromosomal instability by more efficient telomere stabilization in hematopoietic bone marrow cells overexpressing Myc. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Genes Chromosomes and Cancer 01/2013; · 3.55 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Histone deacetylation regulates chromatin remodeling and transcriptional down-regulation of specific genomic regions; it is altered in many types of cancer cells. We searched for microRNAs (miRs) that are affected by histone deacetylation and investigated the effects in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells. HCC cell lines (HepG2, HLE, HLF, and Huh7) and immortalized liver cell lines (THLE-2 and THLE-3) were incubated with the histone deacetylase inhibitor trichostatin A. Differentially expressed messenger RNAs (mRNAs) and miRs were identified by expression profiling. Small interfering RNAs were used to reduce levels of histone deacetylases (HDAC)1-3, and HCC cell lines were transfected with miR-449. We evaluated growth of xenograft tumors from modified cells in nude mice. Cells were analyzed by immunoblot and luciferase reporter assays. We analyzed HCC samples from 23 patients. HDAC1-3 were up-regulated in HCC samples from patients. In cell lines, inhibition of HDAC significantly increased levels of hsa-miR-449a. c-MET mRNA, which encodes the receptor tyrosine kinase for hepatocyte growth factor, is a target of miR-449. Incubation of HCC cells with trichostatin A or transfection with miR-449 reduced expression of c-MET and phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1 and 2 (downstream effectors of c-MET), increased apoptosis, and reduced proliferation. Huh-7 cells transfected with miR-449 formed tumors more slowly in mice than cells expressing control miRs. HCC samples from patients had lower levels of miR-449 and higher levels of c-MET than human reference. In HCC cells, up-regulation of HDAC1-3 reduces expression of miR-449. miR-449 binds c-MET mRNA to reduce its levels, promoting apoptosis and reducing proliferation of liver cells. Expression of miR-449 slows growth of HCC xenograft tumors in mice; this miR might function as a tumor suppressor.
    Gastroenterology 05/2012; 143(3):811-20.e1-15. · 12.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Integrating vectors developed on the basis of various retroviruses have demonstrated therapeutic potential following genetic modification of long-lived hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells. Lentiviral vectors (LV) are assumed to circumvent genotoxic events previously observed with γ-retroviral vectors, due to their integration bias to transcription units in comparison to the γ-retroviral preference for promoter regions and CpG islands. However, recently several studies have revealed the potential for gene activation by LV insertions. Here, we report a murine acute B-lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL) triggered by insertional gene inactivation. LV integration occurred into the 8th intron of Ebf1, a major regulator of B-lymphopoiesis. Various aberrant splice variants could be detected that involved splice donor and acceptor sites of the lentiviral construct, inducing downregulation of Ebf1 full-length message. The transcriptome signature was compatible with loss of this major determinant of B-cell differentiation, with partial acquisition of myeloid markers, including Csf1r (macrophage colony-stimulating factor (M-CSF) receptor). This was accompanied by receptor phosphorylation and STAT5 activation, both most likely contributing to leukemic progression. Our results highlight the risk of intragenic vector integration to initiate leukemia by inducing haploinsufficiency of a tumor suppressor gene. We propose to address this risk in future vector design.
    Molecular Therapy 04/2012; 20(6):1187-95. · 7.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BRCA1 is a major gatekeeper of genomic stability. Acting in multiple central processes like double-strand break repair, centrosome replication, and checkpoint control, BRCA1 participates in maintaining genomic integrity and protects the cell against genomic instability. Chromosomal instability (CIN) as part of genomic instability is an inherent characteristic of most solid tumors and is also involved in breast cancer development. In this study, we determined the extent of CIN in 32 breast cancer tumors of women with a BRCA1 germline mutation compared to 62 unselected breast cancers. We applied fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) with centromere-specific probes for the chromosomes 1, 7, 8, 10, 17, and X and locus-specific probes for 3q27 (BCL6), 5p15.2 (D5S23), 5q31 (EGR1), 10q23.3 (PTEN), and 14q32 (IGH@) on formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue microarray sections. Our hypothesis of an increased level of CIN in BRCA1-associated breast cancer could not be confirmed by this approach. Surprisingly, we detected no significant difference in the extent of CIN in BRCA1-mutated versus sporadic tumors. The only exception was the CIN value for chromosome 1. Here, the extent of CIN was slightly higher in the group of sporadic tumors.
    Cytogenetic and Genome Research 01/2011; 135(2):84-92. · 1.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Adipose-derived stem cells (ASCs) are reported to display multilineage differentiation potential, including neuroectodermal pathways. The aim of the present study was to critically re-evaluate the potential neurogenic (trans-)differentiation capacity of ASCs using a neurogenic induction protocol based on the combination of isobutylmethylxanthine (IBMX), indomethacin and insulin. ASCs isolated from lipo-aspirate samples of five healthy female donors were characterized and potential neurogenic (trans-)differentiation was assessed by means of immunohistochemistry and gene expression analyses. Cell proliferation and cell cycle alterations were studied, and the expression of CREB/ATF transcription factors was analyzed. ASCs expressed CD59, CD90 and CD105, and were tested negative for CD34 and CD45. Under neurogenic induction, ASCs adopted a characteristic morphology comparable to neur(on)al progenitors and expressed musashi1, β-III-tubulin and nestin. Gene expression analyses revealed an increased expression of β-III-tubulin, GFAP, vimentin and BDNF, as well as SOX4 in induced ASCs. Cell proliferation was significantly reduced under neurogenic induction; cell cycle analyses showed a G2-cell cycle arrest accompanied by differential expression of key regulators of cell cycle progression. Differential expression of CREB/ATF transcription factors could be observed on neurogenic induction, pointing to a decisive role of the cAMP-CREB/ATF system. Our findings may point to a potential neurogenic (trans-)differentiation of ASCs into early neur(on)al progenitors, but do not present definite evidence for it. Especially, the adoption of a neural progenitor cell-like morphology must not automatically be misinterpreted as a specific characteristic of a respective (trans-)differentiation process, as this may as well be caused by alterations of cell cycle progression.
    Histochemie 10/2010; 134(5):453-68. · 2.61 Impact Factor
  • Journal of Hepatology - J HEPATOL. 01/2010; 52.
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    ABSTRACT: The early diagnosis of chronic organ rejection after lung transplantation (LTx) is currently hampered by the lack of reliable diagnostic markers. The present study aims to establish the procedure of gene expression profiling in bronchial epithelial cells for the identification of candidate genes that might prove useful in the early diagnosis. Twenty-three patients who underwent lung transplantations were investigated at a time point when no clinical signs of bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome (BOS) were apparent. Bronchial epithelial cells were obtained by bronchial brushing. Gene expression profiles were determined using a human whole-genome cDNA microarray (Stanford Faculty, Stanford, CA, USA). Unsupervised hierarchical cluster analysis revealed that the samples from LTx patients can be clearly distinguished from the comparison group. We also found that the samples from LTx patients with the same underlying disease do not form major clusters of gene expression pattern. Using biostatistical analysis, 'haemoglobin beta', expressed by alveolar type II and Clara cells, and CD99, involved in inflammatory processes, were identified comparing lung transplantation and comparison group. Thus, global expression analyses of bronchial epithelial cells might be a new approach to identify diagnostic markers, especially if patients with LTx are monitored sequentially and if patients with and without BOS are compared.
    European journal of cardio-thoracic surgery: official journal of the European Association for Cardio-thoracic Surgery 07/2009; 36(4):715-21. · 2.40 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Array-based comparative genomic hybridization (array-CGH) is an emerging high-resolution and high-throughput molecular genetic technique that allows genome-wide screening for chromosome alterations. DNA copy number alterations (CNAs) are a hallmark of somatic mutations in tumor genomes and congenital abnormalities that lead to diseases such as mental retardation. However, accurate identification of amplified or deleted regions requires a sequence of different computational analysis steps of the microarray data. We have developed a user-friendly and versatile tool for the normalization, visualization, breakpoint detection, and comparative analysis of array-CGH data which allows the accurate and sensitive detection of CNAs. The implemented option for the determination of minimal altered regions (MARs) from a series of tumor samples is a step forward in the identification of new tumor suppressor genes or oncogenes.
    Comparative and Functional Genomics 02/2009; · 0.92 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Dedifferentiation of hepatocellular carcinoma implies aggressive clinical behavior and is associated with an increasing number of genomic alterations, eg deletion of 13q. Genes directly or indirectly deregulated due to these genomic alterations are mainly unknown. Therefore this study compares array comparative genomic hybridization and whole genome gene expression data of 23 well, moderately, or poorly dedifferentiated hepatocellular carcinoma, using unsupervised hierarchical clustering. Dedifferentiated carcinoma clearly branched off from well and moderately differentiated carcinoma (P<0.001 chi(2)-test). Within the dedifferentiated group, 827 genes were upregulated and 33 genes were downregulated. Significance analysis of microarrays for hepatocellular carcinoma with and without deletion of 13q did not display deregulation of any gene located in the deleted region. However, 531 significantly upregulated genes were identified in these cases. A total of 6 genes (BIC, CPNE1, RBPMS, RFC4, RPSA, TOP2A) were among the 20 most significantly upregulated genes both in dedifferentiated carcinoma and in carcinoma with loss of 13q. These genes are involved in cell-cycle control and proliferation. Of 33 downregulated genes in the dedifferentiated subgroup, 4 metallothioneins had the lowest fold change, most probably mediated through inactivation of C/EBPalpha by the PI3K/AKT cascade. In conclusion dedifferentiation of hepatocellular carcinoma is associated with upregulation of genes involved in cell-cycle control and proliferation. Notably, a significant portion of these genes is also upregulated in carcinoma with deletion of 13q. As no downregulated genes were identified and microRNAs (mir-621, mir-16-1, mir-15a) are located within the deleted region of 13q and may be lost, we speculate that these miRNAs may induce the upregulation of critical cell-cycle control genes.
    Modern Pathology 10/2008; 21(12):1479-89. · 5.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cytogenetics of hepatocellular carcinoma and adenoma have revealed gains of chromosome 1q as a significant differentiating factor. However, no studies are available comparing these amplification events with gene expression. Therefore, gene expression profiling was performed on tumours cytogenetically well characterized by array-based comparative genomic hybridisation. For this approach analysis was carried out on 24 hepatocellular carcinoma and 8 hepatocellular adenoma cytogenetically characterised by array-based comparative genomic hybridisation. Expression profiles of mRNA were determined using a genome-wide microarray containing 43,000 spots. Hierarchical clustering analysis branched all hepatocellular adenoma from hepatocellular carcinoma. Significance analysis of microarray demonstrated 722 dysregulated genes in hepatocellular carcinoma. Gene set enrichment analysis detected groups of upregulated genes located in chromosome bands 1q22-42 seen also as the most frequently gained regions by comparative genomic hybridisation. Comparison of significance analysis of microarray and gene set enrichment analysis narrowed down the number of dysregulated genes to 18, with 7 genes localised on 1q22 (SCAMP3, IQGAP3, PYGO2, GPATC4, ASH1L, APOA1BP, and CCT3). In hepatocellular adenoma 26 genes in bands 11p15, 11q12, and 12p13 were upregulated. However, the respective chromosome bands were not gained in hepatocellular adenoma. Expression analysis and comparative genomic hybridisation identified an upregulation of genes in amplified regions of 1q. These results may serve to further narrow down the number of candidate driver genes in hepatocarcinogenesis.
    Modern Pathology 06/2008; 21(5):505-16. · 5.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Retrodifferentiation and regained proliferative capacity of growth-arrested human leukemic cells after monocyte-like differentiation requires proteolytic activities together with distinct regulatory factors. The AAA ATPase valosin-containing protein (VCP/p97) contributes to protein degradation and cell cycle regulation, respectively, and it was of interest to study a possible role of VCP/p97 during this myelomonocytic differentiation and retrodifferentiation. Separation of autonomously proliferating human U937 myeloid leukemia cells by centrifugal elutriation demonstrated unaltered VCP/p97 expression levels throughout distinct phases of the cell cycle. However, phorbol ester-induced G0/G1 cell cycle arrest in differentiating human U937 leukemia cells was associated with a significantly increased protein and mRNA amount of this AAA ATPase. These elevated VCP/p97 levels progressively decreased again when growth-arrested U937 cells entered a retrodifferentiation program and returned to the tumorigenic phenotype. Whereas VCP/p97 was observed predominantly in the cytosol of U937 tumor and retrodifferentiated cells, a significant nuclear accumulation appeared during differentiation and G0/G1 growth arrest. Analysis of subcellular compartments by immunoprecipitations and 2D Western blots substantiated these findings and revealed furthermore a tyrosine-specific phosphorylation of VCP/p97 in the cytosolic but not in the nuclear fractions. These altered tyrosine phosphorylation levels, according to distinct subcellular distributions, indicated a possible functional involvement of VCP/p97 in the leukemic differentiation process. Indeed, a down-modulation of VCP/p97 protein by siRNA revealed a reduced expression of differentiation-associated genes in subsequent DNA microarray analysis. Moreover, DNA-binding and proliferation-associated genes, which are down-regulated during differentiation of the leukemic cells, demonstrated elevated levels in the VCP/p97 siRNA transfectants. The findings demonstrated that monocytic differentiation and G0/G1 growth arrest in human U937 leukemia cells was accompanied by an increase in VCP/p97 expression and a distinct subcellular distribution to be reverted during retrodifferentiation. Together with a down-modulation of VCP/p97 by siRNA, these results suggested an association of this AAA ATPase in the differentiation/retrodifferentiation program.
    BMC Cell Biology 02/2008; 9:12. · 2.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Chromosomal instability is a key feature in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Array comparative genomic hybridization (aCGH) revealed recurring structural aberrations, whereas fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) indicated an increasing number of numerical aberrations in dedifferentiating HCC. Therefore, we examined whether there was a correlation between structural and numerical aberrations of chromosomal instability in HCC. 27 HCC (5 well, 10 moderately, 12 lower differentiated) already cytogenetically characterized by aCGH were analyzed. FISH analysis using probes for chromosomes 1, 3, 7, 8 and 17 revealed 1.46-4.24 signals/nucleus, which correlated with the histological grade (well vs. moderately,p < 0.0003; moderately vs. lower, p < 0.004). The number of chromosomes to each other was stable with exceptions only seen for chromosome 8. Loss of 4q and 13q, respectively, were correlated with the number of aberrations detected by aCGH (p < 0.001, p < 0.005; Mann-Whitney test). Loss of 4q and gain of 8q were correlated with an increasing number of numerical aberrations detected by FISH (p < 0.020, p < 0.031). Loss of 8p was correlated with the number of structural imbalances seen in aCGH (p < 0.048), but not with the number of numerical changes seen in FISH. We found that losses of 4q, 8p and 13q were closely correlated with an increasing number of aberrations detected by aCGH, whereas a loss of 4q and a gain of 8q were also observed in the context of polyploidization, the cytogenetic correlate of morphological dedifferentiation.
    Pathobiology 01/2008; 75(5):312-22. · 1.95 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mantle cell lymphoma (MCL), a mature B-cell neoplasm, is genetically characterized by the translocation t(11;14)(q13;q32). However, secondary alterations are required for malignant transformation. The identification of inactivated tumor suppressor genes contributing to the development of MCL may lead to further elucidation of the biology of this disease and help to identify novel targets for therapy. Whole genome microarray-based gene expression profiling on treated versus untreated MCL cell lines was used to identify genes induced by 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine. The degree of promoter methylation and transcriptional silencing of selected genes was then proven in MCL cell lines and primary cases by methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR) techniques, real-time PCR and gene expression profiling. After 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine treatment, we identified more than 1000 upregulated genes, 16 of which were upregulated > or =3-fold. Most of them were not known to be silenced by methylation in MCL. A low expression of ING1, RUNX3 and BNIP3L was observed in three of the five the MCL cell lines. In addition, the expression of PARG1, which is located in the frequently deleted region 1p22.1, was substantially reduced and displayed at least partial promoter methylation in all investigated MCL cell lines as well as in 31 primary MCL cases. In summary, we identified interesting novel candidate genes that probably contribute to the progression of MCL and suggest that PARG1 is a strong candidate tumor suppressor gene in MCL.
    Haematologica 04/2007; 92(4):460-8. · 5.94 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To gain more information about the molecular mechanisms leading to dedifferentiation of hepatocellular adenoma (HCA) and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), high-resolution array-based comparative genomic hybridization (array-CGH) was performed on 24 cases of HCC and 10 cases of HCA. DNA chips containing 6251 individual bacterial artificial chromosome/plasmid artificial chromosome clones were used. They allowed for a genome-wide resolution of 1 Mb and an even higher resolution of up to 100 kb for chromosome regions recurrently involved in human tumors and for regions containing known tumor-suppressor genes and oncogenes. Copy number changes on the genomic scale were found by array-based comparative genomic hybridization in all cases. In HCC, gains of chromosomal regions 1q (91.6%), and 8q (58.3%), and losses of 8p (54%) were found most frequently. Hierarchic cluster analysis branched all HCA from HCC. However, in 2 adenomas with a known history of glycogenosis type I and adenomatosis hepatis gains of 1q were found, too. The critically gained region was narrowed down to bands 1q22-23. Although no significant differences in the mean number of chromosomal aberrations were seen between adenomas and well-differentiated carcinomas (2.7 vs 4.6), a significant increase accompanied the dedifferentiation of HCC (14.1 in HCC-G2 and 16.3 in HCC-G2/3; P < .02). Dedifferentiation of HCC also was correlated closely to losses of 4q and 13q (P <.001 and <.005, respectively). The increased chromosomal instability during dedifferentiation of HCC leads to an accumulation of structural chromosomal aberrations and losses and gains of defined chromosome regions.
    Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology 11/2006; 4(10):1283-91. · 6.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Human TSPY is a candidate oncogene and is supposed to function as a proliferation factor during spermatogenesis. It is the only mammalian protein-coding gene known to be organized as a tandem repeat gene family. It is expressed at highest level in spermatogonia and to a lower amount in primary spermatocytes. To characterize the human TSPY promoter we used the luciferase reporter system in a mouse spermatogonia derived cell line (GC-1 spg) and in a GC-4 spc cell line, that harbour prophase spermatocytes of the preleptotene and early pachytene stage. We isolated a 1303 bp fragment of the 5'-flanking region of exon 1 that shows significant promoter activity in GC-1 spg and reduced activity in GC-4 spc cells. In order to gain further insight into the organization of the TSPY-promoter, stepwise truncations of the putative promoter sequence were performed. The resulting fragments were cloned into the pGL 3-vector and analysed for reporter gene activity in the murine germ cell lines GC-1 spg and GC-4 spc, leading to the characterization of a core promoter (--159 to--1), an enhancing region (--673 to--364) and a silencing region (--1262 to--669). Database research for cis-active elements yielded two putative SOX-like binding sites in the enhancing region and reporter gene activity was drastically reduced when three nucleotides of the AACAAT SOX core sequence were mutated. Our findings strongly suggest that testis-specific expression of human TSPY is mediated by Sox proteins.
    Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry 09/2005; 276(1-2):159-67. · 2.33 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To generate an animal model that is suitable for the analysis of regulation and expression of human testis-specific protein, Y-encoded TSPY, a transgenic mouse line, TgTSPY9, harboring a complete structural human TSPY gene was generated. Fluorescence in situ hybridization and Southern analyses show that approximately 50 copies of the human TSPY transgene are integrated at a single chromosomal site that maps to the distal long arm of the Y chromosome. The transgene is correctly transcribed and spliced according to the human pattern and is mainly expressed in testicular tissue, with spermatogonia and early primary spermatocytes (leptotene and zygotene) as expressing germ cells. TSPY transgenic mice are phenotypically normal, and spermatogenesis is neither impaired nor enhanced by the human transgene. The present study shows that a human TSPY gene integrated into the mouse genome follows the human expression pattern although murine tspy had lost its function in rodent evolution millions of years ago.
    Biology of Reproduction 10/2003; 69(3):968-75. · 4.03 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Blood relatives of patients with the inherited disease ataxia telangiectasia (A-T) have an increased susceptibility for breast cancer. We therefore looked for sequence alterations of the ATM gene in a large hospital-based series of unselected breast cancer patients. The whole ATM coding sequence was analyzed in genomic DNA samples from a core group of 192 consecutive breast cancer cases to define the spectrum of ATM gene mutations. Common sequence alterations were then screened in the whole series of 1000 breast cancer patients and in 500 random individuals. In the core group, 21 distinct sequence alterations were identified throughout the ATM coding region, and 1 common splicing mutation was uncovered in intron 10. Almost half of the breast cancer patients (46%) were heterozygotes for 1 of 16 different amino acid substitutions, and three patients (1.6%) carried a truncating mutation. These data indicate that approximately 1 in 50 German breast cancer patients is heterozygous for an A-T-causing mutation. In our extended series, the most common A-T mutation 1066-6T-->G was disclosed in 7 of 1000 (0.7%) breast cancer patients. Transcript analyses indicated that the loss of exon 11 in the ATM mRNA was the pathogenic consequence of this splicing mutation, which produced a <10% of full-length ATM mRNA and ATM protein in a homozygous A-T patient. We also found an excess of rare missense substitutions in the breast cancer cohort compared with random individuals (7.9% versus 5.3% of alleles; odds ratio = 1.6; P < 0.01). One missense substitution, S707P in exon 15, was two times more frequent in breast cancer patients (odds ratio = 2.4; 95% confidence interval, 1.0-5.8) and five times more frequent in patients with bilateral disease than in random individuals (P < 0.001). We conclude that a large variety of distinct ATM mutations and variants exist among breast cancer patients, some of which can contribute to the etiology and progression of the malignancy. Screening for frequent A-T mutations such as the 1066-6-->G splice site substitution can be effective to prospectively identify A-T heterozygotes in an unselected cancer patient population.
    Cancer Research 10/2001; 61(20):7608-15. · 8.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mutations of the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes have been shown to strongly predispose towards the development of contralateral breast cancer in patients from large multi-case families. In order to test the hypothesis that BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations are more frequent in patients with bilateral breast cancer, we have investigated a hospital-based series of 75 consecutive patients with bilateral breast cancer and a comparison group of 75 patients with unilateral breast cancer, pairwise matched by age and family history, for mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. Five frameshift deletions (517delGT in BRCA1; 4772delA, 5946delCT, 6174delT and 8138del5 in BRCA2) were identified in patients with bilateral disease. No further mutations, apart from polymorphisms and 3 rare unclassified variants, were found after scanning the whole BRCA1 and BRCA2 coding sequence. Three pathogenic BRCA1 mutations (Cys61Gly, 3814del5, 5382insC) were identified in the group of patients with unilateral breast cancer. The frequencies of common BRCA1 and BRCA2 missense variants were not different between the 2 groups. In summary, we did not find a significantly increased prevalence of BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations in a hospital-based cohort of German patients with bilateral breast cancer. We conclude that bilaterality of breast cancer on its own is not strongly associated with BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations when adjusted for age and family history. The high frequency of bilateral disease in multi-case breast cancer families may be due to a familial aggregation of additional susceptibility factors modifying the penetrance of BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations.
    British Journal of Cancer 10/2001; 85(6):850-8. · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We have studied the process of tspy gene silencing in murine evolution. We have isolated functional tspy sequences from Apodemus agrarius, A. sylvaticus, A. flavicollis, and Mus platythrix (subgenus Pyromys) and nonfunctional tspy sequences from species of the subgenus Mus. We present two alternative models as to how tspy may have lost its function in the murine lineage.
    Mammalian Genome 05/2000; 11(4):288-91. · 2.42 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

464 Citations
105.83 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 1997–2010
    • Hannover Medical School
      • • Institute for Cellular and Molecular Pathology
      • • Institute for Human Genetics
      Hanover, Lower Saxony, Germany
  • 2008
    • Institute for Molecular Medicine and Cell Therapy
      Düsseldorf, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

Disciplines