Robi D Mitra

Washington University in St. Louis, San Luis, Missouri, United States

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Publications (67)574.19 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Cell fate decisions are integral to zonation and remodeling of the adrenal cortex. Animal models exhibiting ectopic differentiation of gonadal-like cells in the adrenal cortex can shed light on the molecular mechanisms regulating steroidogenic cell fate. In one such model, prepubertal gonadectomy (GDX) of mice triggers the formation of adrenocortical neoplasms that resemble luteinized ovarian stroma. Transcriptomic analysis and genome-wide DNA methylation mapping have identified genetic and epigenetic markers of GDX-induced adrenocortical neoplasia. Members of the GATA transcription factor family have emerged as key regulators of cell fate in this model. Expression of Gata4 is pivotal for the accumulation of gonadal-like cells in the adrenal glands of gonadectomized mice, whereas expression of Gata6 limits the spontaneous and GDX-induced differentiation of gonadal-like cells in the adrenal cortex. Additionally, Gata6 is essential for proper development of the adrenal X-zone, a layer analogous to the fetal zone of the human adrenal cortex. The relevance of these observations to developmental signaling pathways in the adrenal cortex, to other animal models of altered adrenocortical cell fate, and to human diseases is discussed. Copyright © 2014. Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd.
    Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology 06/2015; 408:165-177. DOI:10.1016/j.mce.2014.12.003 · 4.24 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Gonadectomy (GDX) induces sex steroid-producing adrenocortical tumors in certain mouse strains and in the domestic ferret. Transcriptome analysis and DNA methylation mapping were used to identify novel genetic and epigenetic markers of GDX-induced adrenocortical neoplasia in female DBA/2J mice. Markers were validated using a combination of laser capture microdissection, quantitative RT-PCR, in situ hybridization, and immunohistochemistry. Microarray expression profiling of whole adrenal mRNA from ovariectomized vs. intact mice demonstrated selective upregulation of gonadal-like genes including Spinlw1 and Insl3 in GDX-induced adrenocortical tumors of the mouse. A complementary candidate gene approach identified Foxl2 as another gonadal-like marker expressed in GDX-induced neoplasms of the mouse and ferret. That both "male-specific" (Spinlw1) and "female-specific" (Foxl2) markers were identified is noteworthy and implies that the neoplasms exhibit mixed characteristics of male and female gonadal somatic cells. Genome-wide methylation analysis showed that two genes with hypomethylated promoters, Igfbp6 and Foxs1, are upregulated in GDX-induced adrenocortical neoplasms. These new genetic and epigenetic markers may prove useful for studies of steroidogenic cell development and for diagnostic testing.
    Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology 01/2015; 399:122-30. DOI:10.1016/j.mce.2014.09.029 · 4.24 Impact Factor
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    Dataset: mmc4
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    Dataset: mmc2
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    Dataset: mmc1
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    Dataset: mmc3
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    ABSTRACT: Cell-cell interactions between tumor cells and constituents of their microenvironment are critical determinants of tumor tissue biology and therapeutic responses. Interactions between glioblastoma (GBM) cells and endothelial cells (ECs) establish a purported cancer stem cell niche. We hypothesized that genes regulated by these interactions would be important, particularly as therapeutic targets. Using a computational approach, we deconvoluted expression data from a mixed physical co-culture of GBM cells and ECs and identified a previously undescribed upregulation of the cAMP specific phosphodiesterase PDE7B in GBM cells in response to direct contact with ECs. We further found that elevated PDE7B expression occurs in most GBM cases and has a negative effect on survival. PDE7B overexpression resulted in the expansion of a stem-like cell subpopulation in vitro and increased tumor growth and aggressiveness in an in vivo intracranial GBM model. Collectively these studies illustrate a novel approach for studying cell-cell interactions and identifying new therapeutic targets like PDE7B in GBM.
    PLoS ONE 09/2014; 9(9):e107397. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0107397 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cell-to-cell variance in protein levels (noise) is a ubiquitous phenomenon that can increase fitness by generating phenotypic differences within clonal populations of cells. An important challenge is to identify the specific molecular events that control noise. This task is complicated by the strong dependence of a protein's cell-to-cell variance on its mean expression level through a power-law like relationship (σ2∝μ1.69). Here, we dissect the nature of this relationship using a stochastic model parameterized with experimentally measured values. This framework naturally recapitulates the power-law like relationship (σ2∝μ1.6) and accurately predicts protein variance across the yeast proteome (r2 = 0.935). Using this model we identified two distinct mechanisms by which protein variance can be increased. Variables that affect promoter activation, such as nucleosome positioning, increase protein variance by changing the exponent of the power-law relationship. In contrast, variables that affect processes downstream of promoter activation, such as mRNA and protein synthesis, increase protein variance in a mean-dependent manner following the power-law. We verified our findings experimentally using an inducible gene expression system in yeast. We conclude that the power-law-like relationship between noise and protein mean is due to the kinetics of promoter activation. Our results provide a framework for understanding how molecular processes shape stochastic variation across the genome.
    PLoS ONE 07/2014; 9(7):e102202. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0102202 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    Gabriel A Bien-Willner, Robi D Mitra
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    ABSTRACT: Current consensus identifies four molecular subtypes of medulloblastoma (MB): WNT, sonic hedgehog (SHH), and groups “3/C” and “4/D”. Group 4 is not well characterized, but harbors the most frequently observed chromosomal abnormality in MB, i17q, whose presence may confer a worse outcome. Recent publications have identified mutations in chromatin remodeling genes that may be overrepresented in this group, suggesting a biological role for these genes in i17q. This work seeks to explore the pathology that underlies i17q in MB. Specifically, we examine the prognostic significance of the previously-identified gene mutations in an independent set of MBs as well as to examine biological relevance of these genes and related pathways by gene expression profiling. The previously-implicated p53 signaling pathway is also examined as a putative driver of i17q tumor oncogenesis. The data show gene mutations associated with i17q tumors in previous studies (KMD6A, ZMYM3, MLL3 and GPS2) were correlated with significantly worse outcomes despite not being specific to i17q in this set. Expression of these genes did not appear to underlie the biology of the molecular variants. TP53 expression was significantly reduced in i17q/group 4 tumors; this could not be accounted for by dosage effects alone. Expression of regulators and mediators of p53 signaling were significantly altered in i17q tumors. Our findings support that chromatin remodeling gene mutations are associated with significantly worse outcomes in MB but cannot explain outcomes or pathogenesis of i17q tumors. However, expression analyses of the p53 signaling pathway shows alterations in i17q tumors that cannot be explained by dosage effects and is strongly suggestive of an oncogenic role. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s40478-014-0074-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
    07/2014; 2(1):74. DOI:10.1186/PREACCEPT-3585259851315412
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    David Mayhew, Robi D Mitra
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    ABSTRACT: Pseudohyphal growth is a developmental pathway seen in some strains of yeast, in which cells form multicellular filaments in response to environmental stresses. We used multiplexed transposon "Calling Cards" to record the genome-wide binding patterns of 28 transcription factors (TFs) in nitrogen-starved yeast. We identified TF targets relevant for pseudohyphal growth, producing a detailed map of its regulatory network. Using tools from graph theory, we identified 14 TFs that lie at the center of this network, including Flo8, Mss11, and Mfg1, which bind as a complex. Surprisingly, the DNA binding preferences for these key TFs were unknown. Using Calling Card data, we predicted the in vivo DNA binding motif for the Flo8-Mss11-Mfg1 complex and validated it using a reporter assay. We found that this complex binds several important targets, including FLO11, at both their promoter and termination sequences. We demonstrated that this binding pattern is the result of DNA-looping, which regulates the transcription of these targets and is stabilized by an interaction with the nuclear pore complex. This looping provides yeast cells with a transcriptional memory, enabling them to more rapidly execute the filamentous growth program when nitrogen-starved if they have been previously exposed to this condition.
    Molecular Biology of the Cell 07/2014; 25(17). DOI:10.1091/mbc.E14-04-0871 · 4.55 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Previous studies investigating a genetic basis for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) have focused on resequencing single genes in IPF kindreds or cohorts to determine the genetic contributions to IPF. None has investigated interactions among the candidate genes. To compare the frequencies and interactions of mutations in six IPF-associated genes in a cohort of 132 individuals with IPF with those of a disease-control cohort of 192 individuals with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and the population represented in the Exome Variant Server. We resequenced the genes encoding surfactant proteins A2 (SFTPA2), and C (SFTPC), the ATP binding cassette member A3 (ABCA3), telomerase (TERT), thyroid transcription factor (NKX2-1) and mucin 5B (MUC5B) and compared the collapsed frequencies of rare (minor allele frequency <1%), computationally predicted deleterious variants in each cohort. We also genotyped a common MUC5B promoter variant that is over-represented in individuals with IPF. We found 15 mutations in 14 individuals (11%) in the IPF cohort: (SFTPA2 (n=1), SFTPC (n=5), ABCA3 (n=4) and TERT (n=5)). No individual with IPF had two different mutations, but one individual with IPF was homozygous for p.E292V, the most common ABCA3 disease-causing variant. We did not detect an interaction between any of the mutations and the MUC5B promoter variant. Rare mutations in SFTPA2, SFTPC and TERT are collectively over-represented in individuals with IPF. Genetic analysis and counselling should be considered as part of the IPF evaluation.
    05/2014; 1(1):e000057. DOI:10.1136/bmjresp-2014-000057
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    ABSTRACT: To determine whether synonymous variants in the adenosine triphosphate-binding cassette A3 transporter (ABCA3) gene increase the risk for neonatal respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) in term and late preterm infants of European and African descent. Using next-generation pooled sequencing of race-stratified DNA samples from infants of European and African descent at ≥34 weeks gestation with and without RDS (n = 503), we scanned all exons of ABCA3, validated each synonymous variant with an independent genotyping platform, and evaluated race-stratified disease risk associated with common synonymous variants and collapsed frequencies of rare synonymous variants. The synonymous ABCA3 variant frequency spectrum differs between infants of European descent and those of African descent. Using in silico prediction programs and statistical strategies, we found no potentially disruptive synonymous ABCA3 variants or evidence of selection pressure. Individual common synonymous variants and collapsed frequencies of rare synonymous variants did not increase disease risk in term and late-preterm infants of European or African descent. In contrast to rare, nonsynonymous ABCA3 mutations, synonymous ABCA3 variants do not increase the risk for neonatal RDS among term and late-preterm infants of European or African descent.
    The Journal of pediatrics 03/2014; 164(6). DOI:10.1016/j.jpeds.2014.02.021 · 3.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Currently, oncology testing includes molecular studies and cytogenetic analysis to detect genetic aberrations of clinical significance. Next-generation sequencing (NGS) allows rapid analysis of multiple genes for clinically actionable somatic variants. The WUCaMP assay uses targeted capture for NGS analysis of 25 cancer-associated genes to detect mutations at actionable loci. We present clinical validation of the assay and a detailed framework for design and validation of similar clinical assays. Deep sequencing of 78 tumor specimens (≥1000× average unique coverage across the capture region) achieved high sensitivity for detecting somatic variants at low allele fraction (AF). Validation revealed sensitivities and specificities of 100% for detection of single-nucleotide variants (SNVs) within coding regions, compared with SNP array sequence data (95% CI = 83.4-100.0 for sensitivity and 94.2-100.0 for specificity) or whole-genome sequencing (95% CI = 89.1-100.0 for sensitivity and 99.9-100.0 for specificity) of HapMap samples. Sensitivity for detecting variants at an observed 10% AF was 100% (95% CI = 93.2-100.0) in HapMap mixes. Analysis of 15 masked specimens harboring clinically reported variants yielded concordant calls for 13/13 variants at AF of ≥15%. The WUCaMP assay is a robust and sensitive method to detect somatic variants of clinical significance in molecular oncology laboratories, with reduced time and cost of genetic analysis allowing for strategic patient management.
    The Journal of molecular diagnostics: JMD 11/2013; 16(1). DOI:10.1016/j.jmoldx.2013.10.002 · 3.96 Impact Factor
  • Cancer Research 08/2013; 73(8 Supplement):366-366. DOI:10.1158/1538-7445.AM2013-366 · 9.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In order to facilitate understanding of pigment cell biology, we developed a method to concomitantly purify melanocytes, iridophores, and retinal pigmented epithelium from zebrafish, and analyzed their transcriptomes. Comparing expression data from these cell types and whole embryos allowed us to reveal gene expression co-enrichment in melanocytes and retinal pigmented epithelium, as well as in melanocytes and iridophores. We found 214 genes co-enriched in melanocytes and retinal pigmented epithelium, indicating the shared functions of melanin-producing cells. We found 62 genes significantly co-enriched in melanocytes and iridophores, illustrative of their shared developmental origins from the neural crest. This is also the first analysis of the iridophore transcriptome. Gene expression analysis for iridophores revealed extensive enrichment of specific enzymes to coordinate production of their guanine-based reflective pigment. We speculate the coordinated upregulation of specific enzymes from several metabolic pathways recycles the rate-limiting substrate for purine synthesis, phosphoribosyl pyrophosphate, thus constituting a guanine cycle. The purification procedure and expression analysis described here, along with the accompanying transcriptome-wide expression data, provide the first mRNA sequencing data for multiple purified zebrafish pigment cell types, and will be a useful resource for further studies of pigment cell biology.
    PLoS ONE 07/2013; 8(7):e67801. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0067801 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Human leukocyte antigen (HLA) typing at the allelic level can in theory be achieved using whole exome sequencing (exome-seq) data with no added cost but has been hindered by its computational challenge. We developed ATHLATES, a program that applies assembly, allele identification and allelic pair inference to short read sequences, and applied it to data from Illumina platforms. In 15 data sets with adequate coverage for HLA-A, -B, -C, -DRB1 and -DQB1 genes, ATHLATES correctly reported 74 out of 75 allelic pairs with an overall concordance rate of 99% compared with conventional typing. This novel approach should be broadly applicable to research and clinical laboratories.
    Nucleic Acids Research 06/2013; 41(14). DOI:10.1093/nar/gkt481 · 9.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: DNA methylation is a mechanism for long-term transcriptional regulation and is required for normal cellular differentiation. Failure to properly establish or maintain DNA methylation patterns leads to cell dysfunction and diseases such as cancer. Identifying DNA methylation signatures in complex tissues can be challenging owing to inaccurate cell enrichment methods and low DNA yields. We have developed a technique called laser capture microdissection-reduced representation bisulfite sequencing (LCM-RRBS) for the multiplexed interrogation of the DNA methylation status of cytosine-guanine dinucleotide islands and promoters. LCM-RRBS accurately and reproducibly profiles genome-wide methylation of DNA extracted from microdissected fresh frozen or formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue samples. To demonstrate the utility of LCM-RRBS, we characterized changes in DNA methylation associated with gonadectomy-induced adrenocortical neoplasia in the mouse. Compared with adjacent normal tissue, the adrenocortical tumors showed reproducible gains and losses of DNA methylation at genes involved in cell differentiation and organ development. LCM-RRBS is a rapid, cost-effective, and sensitive technique for analyzing DNA methylation in heterogeneous tissues and will facilitate the investigation of DNA methylation in cancer and organ development.
    Nucleic Acids Research 04/2013; 41(11). DOI:10.1093/nar/gkt230 · 9.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Clickable nanogel solutions were synthesized by using the copper catalyzed azide/alkyne cycloaddition (CuAAC) to partially polymerize solutions of azide and alkyne functionalized poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) monomers. Coatings were fabricated using a second click reaction: a UV thiol-yne attachment of the nanogel solutions to mercaptosilanated glass. Because the CuAAC reaction was effectively halted by the addition of a copper-chelator, we were able to prevent bulk gelation and limit the coating thickness to a single monolayer of nanogels in the absence of the solution reaction. This enabled the inclusion of kosmotropic salts, which caused the PEG to phase-separate and nearly double the nanogel packing density, as confirmed by Quartz Crystal Microbalance with Dissipation (QCM-D). Protein adsorption was analyzed by single molecule counting with total internal reflection fluorescence (TIRF) microscopy and cell adhesion assays. Coatings formed from the phase-separated clickable nanogel solutions attached with salt adsorbed significantly less fibrinogen than other 100% PEG coatings tested, as well as poly-L-lysine-g-PEG (PLL-g-PEG) coatings. However, PEG/albumin nanogel coatings still outperformed the best 100% PEG clickable nanogel coatings. Additional surface crosslinking of the clickable nanogel coating in the presence of copper further reduced levels of fibrinogen adsorption closer to those of PEG/albumin nanogel coatings. However, this step negatively impacted long-term resistance to cell adhesion and dramatically altered the morphology of the coating by atomic force microscopy (AFM). The main benefit of the click strategy is that the partially polymerized solutions are stable almost indefinitely, allowing attachment in the phase-separated state without danger of bulk gelation, and thus, producing the best performing 100% PEG coating that we have studied to date.
    Langmuir 02/2013; 29(12). DOI:10.1021/la3051115 · 4.46 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The use of NextGen Sequencing clinically necessitates the need for informatics tools that support the complete workflow from sample accessioning to data analysis and reporting. To address this need we have developed Clinical Genomicist Workstation (CGW). CGW is a secure, n-tiered application where web browser submits requests to application servers that persist the data in a relational database. CGW is used by Washington University Genomic and Pathology Services for clinical genomic testing of many cancers. CGW has been used to accession, analyze and sign out over 409 cases since November, 2011. There are 22 ordering oncologists and 7 clinical genomicists that use the CGW. In summary, CGW a 'soup-to-nuts' solution to track, analyze, interpret, and report clinical genomic diagnostic tests.
    01/2013; 2013:156-157.

Publication Stats

3k Citations
574.19 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2003–2015
    • Washington University in St. Louis
      • • Department of Biomedical Engineering
      • • Department of Medicine
      • • Department of Energy, Environmental, and Chemical Engineering
      • • Department of Genetics
      San Luis, Missouri, United States
  • 2006
    • Duke University
      Durham, North Carolina, United States
  • 2000–2004
    • Harvard Medical School
      • Department of Genetics
      Boston, MA, United States
    • Harvard University
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States