• About
    Istvan Liko currently works at the Structural Biology Research Programme, Central European Institute of Technology-Czech Republic. Istvan does research in Immunochemistry, Pharmacology and Biochemistry. Their most recent publication is 'Limitations of high throughput methods for miRNA expression profiles in non-functioning pituitary adenomas.'
    Research items
    Research Experience
    Nov 2014
    Central European Institute of Technology-Czech Republic · Structural Biology Research Programme
    Brno, Czech Republic
    Sep 1999 - Sep 2014
    Senior Researcher
    Gedeon Richter Plc · Molecular and Cellular Biology
    Budapest, Hungary
    Nov 1995 - Aug 1999
    Biological Research Centre, Hungarian Academy of Sciences · Institute of Plant Biology
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    Research Items
    Microarray, RT-qPCR based arrays and next-generation-sequencing (NGS) are available high-throughput methods for miRNA profiling (miRNome). Analytical and biological performance of these methods were tested in identification of biologically relevant miRNAs in non-functioning pituitary adenomas (NFPA). miRNome of 4 normal pituitary (NP) and 8 NFPA samples was determined by these platforms and expression of 21 individual miRNAs was measured on 30 (20 NFPA and 10 NP) independent samples. Complex bioinformatics was used. 132 and 137 miRNAs were detected by all three platforms in NP and NFPA, respectively, of which 25 were differentially expressed (fold change > 2). The strongest correlation was observed between microarray and TaqMan-array, while the data obtained by NGS were the most discordant despite of various bioinformatics settings. As a technical validation we measured the expression of 21 selected miRNAs by individual RT-qPCR and we were able to validate 35.1%, 76.2% and 71.4% of the miRNAs revealed by SOLiD, TLDA and microarray result, respectively. We performed biological validation using an extended number of samples (20 NFPAs and 8 NPs). Technical and biological validation showed high correlation (p < 0.001; R = 0.96). Pathway and network analysis revealed several common pathways but no pathway showed the same activation score. Using the 25 platform-independent miRNAs developmental pathways were the top functional categories relevant for NFPA genesis. The difference among high-throughput platforms is of great importance and selection of screening method can influence experimental results. Validation by another platform is essential in order to avoid or to minimalize the platform specific errors.
    Next generation sequencing (NGS) is becoming a valuable tool in clinical decisions. Here, we discuss the case of a family (2 parents with 3 children) with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy where we applied a NGS method developed by us to determine the genetic background of the disease. When the youngest sister underwent sudden cardiac arrest and successful reanimation, her genome was tested with this approach and two disease-causing heterozygous mutations in the MYBPC3 gene (p.R495Q and p.S593fs*11) were identified. After this, all of the family members were screened targeting these two mutations. The mother carried the frameshift mutation (p.S593fs*11) while the father’s genome contained the point mutation (p.R495Q). All the children were compound heterozygous. Information collected from our genetic testing panel helped to make the decision of implanting ICD that is associated potentially severe complications in children. This case further reinforces that a full-scale, cost-effective NGS method can be utilized to supplement diagnostic and therapeutic processes of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in clinical practice.
    Dysregulation of G1/S checkpoint of cell cycle has been reported in pituitary adenomas. In addition, our previous finding showing that deregulation of Wee1 kinase by microRNAs together with other studies demonstrating alteration of G2/M transition in nonfunctioning pituitary adenomas (NFPAs) suggest that G2/M transition may also be important in pituitary tumorigenesis. To systematically study the expression of members of the G2/M transition in NFPAs and to investigate potential microRNA (miRNA) involvement. Totally, 80 NFPA and 14 normal pituitary (NP) tissues were examined. Expression of 46 genes encoding members of the G2/M transition was profiled on 34 NFPA and 10 NP samples on TaqMan Low Density Array. Expression of CDC25A and two miRNAs targeting CDC25A were validated by individual quantitative real time PCR using TaqMan assays. Protein expression of CDC25A, CDC25C, CDK1 and phospho-CDK1 (Tyr-15) was investigated on tissue microarray and immunohistochemistry. Several genes' expression alteration were observed in NFPA compared to normal tissues by transcription profiling. On protein level CDC25A and both the total and the phospho-CDK1 were overexpressed in adenoma tissues. CDC25A correlated with nuclear localized CDK1 (nCDK1) and with tumor size and nCDK1 with Ki-67 index. Comparing primary vs. recurrent adenomas we found that Ki-67 proliferation index was higher and phospho-CDK1 (inactive form) was downregulated in recurrent tumors compared to primary adenomas. Investigating the potential causes behind CDC25A overexpression we could not find copy number variation at the coding region nor expression alteration of CDC25A regulating transcription factors however CDC25A targeting miRNAs were downregulated in NFPA and negatively correlated with CDC25A expression. Our results suggest that among alterations of G2/M transition of the cell cycle, overexpression of the CDK1 and CDC25A may have a role in the pathogenesis of the NFPA and that CDC25A is potentially regulated by miRNAs.
    Background: Previously, drug-based synchronization procedures were used for characterizing the cell cycle dependent transcriptional program. However, these synchronization methods result in growth imbalance and alteration of the cell cycle machinery. DNA content-based fluorescence activated cell sorting (FACS) is able to sort the different cell cycle phases without perturbing the cell cycle. MiRNAs are key transcriptional regulators of the cell cycle, however, their expression dynamics during cell cycle has not been explored. Methods: Following an optimized FACS, a complex initiative of high throughput platforms (microarray, Taqman Low Density Array, small RNA sequencing) were performed to study gene and miRNA expression profiles of cell cycle sorted human cells originating from different tissues. Validation of high throughput data was performed using quantitative real time PCR. Protein expression was detected by Western blot. Complex statistics and pathway analysis were also applied. Results: Beyond confirming the previously described cell cycle transcriptional program, cell cycle dependently expressed genes showed a higher expression independently from the cell cycle phase and a lower amplitude of dynamic changes in cancer cells as compared to untransformed fibroblasts. Contrary to mRNA changes, miRNA expression was stable throughout the cell cycle. Conclusions: Cell cycle sorting is a synchronization-free method for the proper analysis of cell cycle dynamics. Altered dynamic expression of universal cell cycle genes in cancer cells reflects the transformed cell cycle machinery. Stable miRNA expression during cell cycle progression may suggest that dynamical miRNA-dependent regulation may be of less importance in short term regulations during the cell cycle.
    Peripheral clocks are set by different nervous, hormonal and metabolic stimuli, and regulate the circadian expression of several genes. We investigated whether a peripheral clock could be induced in the human adrenocortical cell line H295R and whether glucocorticoid receptor isoforms (GRα and GRß) are involved in this clock system. After synchronization of cells with serum shock, the rhythmic oscillation of clock genes PER1, PER2, REV-ERBα, and ARNTL was confirmed. In addition, H295R cells even without serum shock showed rhythmic expression of PER1, PER2, CRY1 and ARNTL. Glucocorticoid treatment induced a rapid response of PER1, PER2 and CRY1 in a GRα-dependent manner. Continuous glucocorticoid stimulation after 6 hours caused suppression of REV-ERBα. Administration of a GR antagonist, RU486, disrupted the circadian oscillation of clock genes and prevented the acute changes in PER1, PER2 and CRY1 levels. Overexpression of the GRß isoform alone did not alter the expression of the examined clock genes, but did prevent the GRα-related suppression of REV-ERBα. These alterations occurred independently from ACTH and CRH. Our data demonstrate that a peripheral clock system is present in a human adrenocortical cell line and that periodic oscillations of clock genes are influenced by glucocorticoids, mainly through GRα.
    Whole transcriptome studies have become essential for understanding the complexity of genetic regulation. However, the conventionally applied short-read sequencing platforms cannot be used to reliably distinguish between many transcript isoforms. The Pacific Biosci-ences (PacBio) RS II platform is capable of reading long nucleic acid stretches in a single sequencing run. The pseudorabies virus (PRV) is an excellent system to study herpesvirus gene expression and potential interactions between the transcriptional units. In this work, non-amplified and amplified isoform sequencing protocols were used to characterize the poly(A +) fraction of the lytic transcriptome of PRV, with the aim of a complete transcriptional annotation of the viral genes. The analyses revealed a previously unrecognized complexity of the PRV transcriptome including the discovery of novel protein-coding and non-coding genes, novel mono-and polycistronic transcription units, as well as extensive transcrip-tional overlaps between neighboring and distal genes. This study identified non-coding transcripts overlapping all three replication origins of the PRV, which might play a role in the control of DNA synthesis. We additionally established the relative expression levels of gene products. Our investigations revealed that the whole PRV genome is utilized for transcription , including both DNA strands in all coding and intergenic regions. The genome-wide occurrence of transcript overlaps suggests a crosstalk between genes through a network formed by interacting transcriptional machineries with a potential function in the control of gene expression.
    Log scale representation of the transcriptional landscape of PRV. Transcript abundance is proportional to the number of ROIs. (PDF)
    List of genes possessing alternative promoters and poly(A) signals. The uncertain promoter and poly(A) signals are labeled by asterisks. A: Positions of other promoter elements (GC or CAAT boxes) are written if the TATA box was not predicted. The positions of these elements are underlined. (XLS)
    This table shows the percentages of the antisense-sense transcripts using qPCR (6 h after low and high MOI of PRV infection) data. PK-15 cells were infected with the PRV-Ka strain at different MOIs (0.1 and 10 pfu/cell). Real-Time PCR data were normalized to 28S RNAs. (DOC)
    Very long novel PRV transcripts with unidentified 5’ or 5’ and 3’-ends. Using PacBio and Illumina RNA sequencing and RT2-PCR, we have detected several very long transcripts with unidentified ends. The transcripts with unknown upstream, or upstream and downstream sequences are depicted as thin green rectangles and dashed arrow-lines in their non-sequenced regions. The green rectangles represent the longest sequence obtained by PacBio sequencing. We assume that the long transcripts are controlled by the next available promoter oriented in the appropriate direction. The 3’ transcript ends, if undetected, were predicted to be located at the next available PAS. However, these assumptions remain to be confirmed experimentally. The names that we selected for these transcripts are therefore considered to be ad hoc (the names contain all of the genes located on a transcript, but in this Figure they are abbreviated by using the names of only the first and last genes). The light-blue rectangles with dashed borders are those parts of the transcripts which we had earlier sequenced (but not published) by the Illumina platform, and the dark-gray rectangles inside them are the genomic loci which were analyzed by RT2-PCR in this study. The protein-coding transcripts are depicted as white rectangles with black borders, while the non-coding RNAs are illustrated as black arrow lines. (PDF)
    TATA box variants of PRV. (A) Sequence logo and position-frequency matrix of the TATA box. The sequences of the TATA boxes exhibited a certain extent of variation in the PRV genes. The sequence logos were generated by using WebLogo [74]. (B) The amounts of transcripts produced by the various TATA box variants. We found a varying quantity of transcripts produced from the different TATA boxes. Bars represent the average ROIs produced by the given TATA box variants. The highest level of expression is produced by the TATCAGT sequence of the ul10 gene. The expression ratios were calculated from the data generated using the non-amplified library preparation technique. TATA boxes labeled by asterisks are identified by the amplified method. (C) The number of genes using the particular TATA box variants. (PDF)
    Distribution of GC content in the three reading frames. In the PRV genome the third codon positions within the ORFs contain almost exclusively G or C bases, which provides a reliable method for the identification of coding sequences. The GC-frame plots of the orf-1 gene cluster exhibit a moderate bias of GC distribution at the third codon position. The GC-distribution is not biased at the CTO region. The GC-content of noir genes is not higher at any reading frames. There is no GC-preference at any of the reading frames in the pto genes. The GC-preference of the azure gene in one of its reading frames is the result of its overlap with the us3 gene (there is no GC-preference in the non-overlapping region) Images were generated by Artemis "GC Frame Plot" sequence analysis software, release 16.0.0.[43]. (PDF)
    List of the primers used in this study. (XLS)
    Novel transcripts and transcript isoforms of pseudorabies virus. This table contains novel transcripts and transcript isoforms including mono- and polycistronic transcription units. The already identified transcripts—many with novel transcriptional annotations—are listed in S2 Table. Abbreviations: TSS: transcription start site; TES: transcription end site The novel sequences annotated in silico are underlined. A: Transcription start site—based on the most frequent 5' end B: Transcription end site—based on the most frequent 3' end C: Positions of other promoter elements (GC or CAAT boxes) are indicated if the TATA box was not predicted. The positions of these elements are underlined. D: The uncertain TATA box positions and sequences are labeled by asterisks E: The uncertain PolyA signal positions and sequences are labeled by asterisks. (XLS)
    The list of previously identified genes, many with novel transcriptional annotations. Our study involved the transcriptional annotation of known gene products, which were not annotated with base-pair precision before. A: In silico prediction of TESs and TATA boxes as in KJ717942.1 B: Transcription start site—based on the most frequent 5' end C: Transcription end site—based on the most frequent 3' end D: Positions of other promoter elements (GC or CAAT boxes) are indicated if the TATA box was not predicted. The positions of these elements are underlined. E: The uncertain TATA box positions and sequences are labeled by asterisks F: References of the previously experimentally annotated transcripts. (XLS)
    Polymorphism at the transcription start and end sites of the abundant transcripts. PacBio analysis revealed that most viral transcripts exhibit a certain extent of variation in both their TSSs and TESs. (XLS)
    List of novel putative non-coding genes. This Table contains the 19 newly identified non-coding transcripts of PRV. The lengths, TATA boxes and poly(A) signal sequences of these transcripts are shown. The detected poly(A) tails are also indicated by ‘✓’. A: Positions of other promoter elements (GC or CAAT boxes) are written if the TATA box was not predicted. The positions of these elements are underlined. B: The uncertain poly(A) signals are labeled by asterisks. (XLS)
    List of novel mono- and polycistronic RNAs. This Table shows the novel mono-, bi-, tri- and tetracistronic transcripts and their lengths. (XLS)
    Pheochromocytomas (Pheo) and paragangliomas (PGL) are rare tumors, with heterogeneous genetic background. In up to 30 % of all, apparently sporadic Pheo/PGL cases germline mutations can be identified in one of the 15 genes representing genetic susceptibility for Pheo/PGL. Malignancy is rare but it frequently associates with SDHB mutations. Our aim was to determine the prevalence of germline SDHx, SDHAF2, MAX and TMEM127 mutations in Hungarian patients with apparently sporadic Pheo/PGLs. Mutation screening of the SDHx, SDHAF2, MAX and TMEM127 genes was performed in 82 Hungarian patients with apparently sporadic Pheo/PGL using PCR and bidirectional Sanger sequencing. Disease-causing germline mutations were identified in 11 patients, of which 4 SDHB and 2 TMEM127 mutations were novel. Earlier development of Pheo/PGL, more malignant phenotype and multiple tumors were observed in genetically positive cases especially in those with SDHB mutations. The presence of bilateral or multiple tumors was the most predictive for identification of a pathogenic mutation. Together with cases harboring germline RET, VHL and NF1 mutations, Hungarian patients with Pheo/PGL exhibit a heterogeneous mutation spectrum, indicating that all of the Pheo/PGL susceptibility genes should be tested. Novel genotype-phenotype associations revealed by our study may contribute to improvement of diagnostic approaches and may help to achieve a better clinical follow up for patients with Pheo/PGL.
    The technical developments leading to revolution in clinical genetic testing offer new approaches for patients with cancer. From one mutation or one gene approach the scale of genetic testing moved to whole exome or whole genome scale. It is well known that many tumours are genetically determined and they are part of familial tumour syndromes. In addition, some mutations indicate specific molecular targeted therapies. Although sampling and sample preparation are different for testing germline and somatic mutations, the technical background of the analysis is the same. The aim of clinical genetic testing is to identify patients who are carriers of disease-causing mutations or to test tumour tissue for the presence of genetic alterations which may be targets for therapeutic approaches. In this review the authors summarize novel possibilities offered by next-generation sequencing in clinical genetic testing of patients with endocrine tumours. In addition, the authors review recent guidelines on technical and ethical issues related to these novel methods.
    The glucocorticoid receptor (GR) plays a crucial role in inflammatory responses. GR has several isoforms, of which the most deeply studied are the GRα and GRß. Recently it has been suggested that in addition to its negative dominant effect on GRα, the GRß may have a GRα-independent transcriptional activity. The GRß isoform was found to be frequently overexpressed in various autoimmune diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). In this study, we wished to test whether the gene expression profile found in a GRß overexpressing intestinal cell line (Caco-2GRß) might mimic the gene expression alterations found in patients with IBD. Whole genome microarray analysis was performed in both normal and GRß overexpressing Caco-2 cell lines with and without dexamethasone treatment. IBD-related genes were identified from a meta-analysis of 245 microarrays available in online microarray deposits performed on intestinal mucosa samples from patients with IBD and healthy individuals. The differentially expressed genes were further studied using in silico pathway analysis. Overexpression of GRß altered a large proportion of genes that were not regulated by dexamethasone suggesting that GRß may have a GRα-independent role in the regulation of gene expression. About 10% of genes differentially expressed in colonic mucosa samples from IBD patients compared to normal subjects were also detected in Caco-2 GRß intestinal cell line. Common genes are involved in cell adhesion and cell proliferation. Overexpression of GRß in intestinal cells may affect appropriate mucosal repair and intact barrier function. The proposed novel role of GRß in intestinal epithelium warrants further studies.
    Introduction: There are three principal high-throughput methods that have been widely used to determine whole genome miRNAs expression profiles: i) microarrays, ii) qPCR based arrays, and iii) next generation sequencing (NGS). Our aim was to compare the results obtained from these platforms in normal and adenomatous pituitary samples and to validate the results by an independent sample set using qPCR. Material and methods: Using four normal pituitary (NP) and eight non-functioning pituitary adenoma (NFPA) samples we determined miRNA expression profile by GeneChip microRNA Galaxy Array v1, SOLiD NGS and qPCR based TaqMan Low Density Array Card (TLDA). For biological confirmation expression of 22 miRNAs by individual TaqMan assays on additional 24 NFPAs and ten NPs was used as validation cohort. Results: Totally 848 miRNAs of which only 162 were detected by all three approaches. Significant but not strong correlations between microarray and NGS (R²: 0.471 and 0.220; P<0.01), microarray and TLDA (R²: 0.462 and 0.339; P<0.01), and NGS and TLDA (R²: 0.353 and 0.290; P<0.01) were detected in NFPAs and NPs respectively. Various bioinformatics, including commercially available software CLCbio, free, web based (Bowtie) and one our own algorithms were used in order to test whether the different evaluation of NGS data would affect the correlations. Correlations between different bioinformatical approaches were strong (R²: 0.96–0.99) suggesting that these algorithms are useful and give similar results. Biological validation showed that 81% of TLDA results, and 72% of both microarray and NGS results could be validated regarding the direction of expression changes. Conclusion: miRNA expression profiles measured by different platforms showed poor correlation and they were hardly comparable. Consequently, selection of screening method can influence experimental results obtained by analyses using high-throughput data (e.g. pathway analysis). However, individual miRNA expression from microarrays and NGS results were replicable in an acceptable percentage by qPCR. Disclosure: KTIA-201200010.
    We previously showed that intraperitoneal administration of Freund's adjuvant treatment resulted in acute peritonitis and TGF-β was found to be one of the main organizers of the subsequent EMT in mesothelial cells. In the present study, we investigated whether TGF-β signaling molecules are present in mesothelial cells and how their compartmentalization pattern changes with the dynamics of inflammatory events in vivo. In addition, we tried to evaluate the turnover of endosomal compartments concomitant with the internalization of signaling molecules and examine whether caveola-mediated internalization might play a role in the termination of TGF-β signaling.
    Following Freund’s adjuvant induced acute inflammation, the regeneration of rat mesothelium was accompanied by the reduction of cell organelles. The aim of the present study was to test whether autophagy may play a role in the recovery process of mesothelial cells by eliminating accumulated cell organelles and also to investigate the presence of potential inducers and molecular transmitters of the process. Control and treated (from day 2 to day 11; D2-D11) mesothelial cells (n = 16 samples/group) obtained from male rats were isolated and were phenotypically characterized. Morphological studies included light and electron microscopy. Biochemical studies performed on tissue samples as well as isolated cells were used to evaluate the dynamics of autophagy and also to detect the expression levels of TNF-α, LC3B, estrogen receptors (ER-α and GPR30) and Erk1/2. Gene expression was measured by individual Taqman assays on quantitative RT-PCR. Protein expression study was performed by Western blotting and immunolabeling. Estradiol concentration was measured both in peritoneal fluid and plasma samples in control and treated animals (n = 3-10 animals per group). Our conventional electron microscopic and morphometric results showed a progressive autophagosome formation with a peak by the termination of inflammation (D5). Subsequently, autophagolysosome formation dominated between D6 and D8 with a concomitant expression of LC3B proved by immunoblotting. We further observed the reduction of cell compartments by D11 parallel with the morphological restitution of mesothelium. Estradiol showed a sustained level in the peritoneal fluid but not in plasma samples between D3 and D11 compared to levels obtained from untreated animals. The mRNA expression of TNF-α was increased between D2-D11 compared to control. Western blot analysis showed a constitutive expression of GPR30, while ER-α could not be detected between D6 and D11. Erk1/2 was activated by phosphorylation with a peak at D6. Considering our present in vivo results, we hypothesize that the facilitated autophagy might play an important role in the removal of cytoplasmic organelles during the recovery of mesothelium and our results also suggest that the detected peritoneal estradiol as well as TNF-α may contribute to this process.
    Background: ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters have key roles in various physiological functions as well as providing chemical defense and stress tolerance in human tissues. In this study, we have examined the expression pattern of all ABC proteins in pluripotent human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) and in their differentiated progenies. We paid special attention to the cellular expression and localization of multidrug transporter ABC proteins. Methods: Stem cell differentiation was carried out without chemical induction or cell sorting, and specialized cell types were separated mechanically. Cellular features regarding pluripotency and tissue identity, as well as ABC transporter expression were studied by flow cytomtery, immuno-microscopy, and qPCR-based low-density arrays. Results: Pluripotent hESCs and differentiated cell types (cardiomyocytes, neuronal cells, and mesenchymal stem cells) were distinguished by morphology, immunostaining markers, and selected mRNA expression patterns. We found that the mRNA expression levels of the 48 human ABC proteins also clearly distinguished the pluripotent and the respective differentiated cell types. When multidrug and lipid transporter ABC protein expression was examined by using well characterized specific antibodies by flow cytometry and confocal microscopy, the protein expression data corresponded well to the mRNA expression results. Moreover, the cellular localization of these important human ABC transporter proteins could be established in the pluripotent and differentiated hESC derived samples. Conclusions: These studies provide valuable information regarding ABC protein expression in human stem cells and their differentiated offspring. The results may also help to obtain further information concerning the specialized cellular functions of selected ABC transporters.
    Transformation of epithelial cells into connective tissue cells (epithelial-mesenchymal transition, EMT) is a complex mechanism involved in tumor metastasis, and in normal embryogenesis, while type II EMT is mainly associated with inflammatory events and tissue regenaration. In this study we examined type II EMT at the ultrastructural and molecular level during the inflammatory process induced by Freund's adjuvant treatment in rat mesenteric mesothelial cells. We found that upon the inflammatory stimulus mesothelial cells lost contact with the basal lamina and with each other, and were transformed into spindle-shaped cells. These morphological changes were accompanied by release of interleukins IL-1alpha, -1beta and IL-6 and by secretion of transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β) into the peritoneal cavity. Mesothelial cells also expressed estrogen receptor alpha (ER-α) as shown by immunolabeling at the light and electron microscopical levels, as well as by quantitative RT-PCR. The mRNA level of ER-α showed an inverse correlation with the secretion of TGF-β. At the cellular and subcellular levels ER-α was colocalized with the coat protein caveolin-1 and was found in the plasma membrane of mesothelial cells, in caveolae close to multivesicular bodies (MVBs) or in the membrane of these organelles, suggesting that ER-α is internalized via caveola-mediated endocytosis during inflammation. We found asymmetric, thickened, electron dense areas on the limiting membrane of MVBs (MVB plaques) indicating that these sites may serve as platforms for collecting and organizing regulatory proteins. Our morphological observations and biochemical data can contribute to form a potential model whereby ER-α and its caveola-mediated endocytosis might play role in TGF-β induced type II EMT in vivo.
    Because of the low overall response rates of 10-47% to targeted cancer therapeutics, there is an increasing need for predictive biomarkers. We aimed to identify genes predicting response to five already approved tyrosine kinase inhibitors. We tested 45 cancer cell lines for sensitivity to sunitinib, erlotinib, lapatinib, sorafenib and gefitinib at the clinically administered doses. A resistance matrix was determined, and gene expression profiles of the subsets of resistant vs. sensitive cell lines were compared. Triplicate gene expression signatures were obtained from the caArray project. Significance analysis of microarrays and rank products were applied for feature selection. Ninety-five genes were also measured by RT-PCR. In case of four sunitinib resistance associated genes, the results were validated in clinical samples by immunohistochemistry. A list of 63 top genes associated with resistance against the five tyrosine kinase inhibitors was identified. Quantitative RT-PCR analysis confirmed 45 of 63 genes identified by microarray analysis. Only two genes (ANXA3 and RAB25) were related to sensitivity against more than three inhibitors. The immunohistochemical analysis of sunitinib-treated metastatic renal cell carcinomas confirmed the correlation between RAB17, LGALS8, and EPCAM and overall survival. In summary, we determined predictive biomarkers for five tyrosine kinase inhibitors, and validated sunitinib resistance biomarkers by immunohistochemistry in an independent patient cohort.
    Cross validation. The accuracy of the classification in the leave-one-out cross-validation setting using all genes in the cell lines resulted in an efficiency of 92.8% in PAM (cell lines with intermediate resistances were excluded). The use of the top 100 genes identified by rank products resulted in 79% correct predictions. The correct classifications using the top 100 rank products identified genes are presented in blue and incorrect classifications in red. (XLSX)
    The complete normalized result of the TaqMan assays. CT values normalized to the housekeeping gene. (XLSX)
    Overlapping gene sets in other studies as identified using the ccancer algorithm. (XLSX)
    Immunohistochemistry. The intensity and frequency of the CD9, epCAM, LGALS8 and RAB17 staining, with the number of the sample and the patient ID. (XLSX)
    Introduction: Altered sensitivity against glucocorticoids is partly influenced by polymorphisms (SNP) of the glucocorticoid receptor gene (GR). The aim of the present study was to extend our earlier study by inclusion and evaluation the role of the BclI and A3669G polymorphisms of the GR in patients with hormonally inactive adrenal adenomas. Description of methods: This is a retrospective, single-centre genetic association study The study included 99 patients with hormonally inactive (HI) adrenal adenomas discovered incidentally (incidentalomas) and 129 healthy controls. Hormonal evaluation of the hypothalamo–pituitary–adrenal axis, measurement of metabolic parameters was carried out in patients, and genetic analysis in all subjects. The BclI polymorphism was detected by allele specific PCR while the A3669G by Taqman allele discrimination assay. Results: The prevalence of the BclI was lower in unilateral while the prevalence of the A3669G was lower in patients with bilateral HI than in healthy controls, (BclI: 21.8 vs 34.5%; A3669G: 10.8 vs 22.1% P<0.05). Patients who carried the BclI polymorphism had higher: systolic blood pressure, BMI, serum cholesterol level and ACTH level measured after methopyron test. The prevalence of obesity was also higher in BclI carriers, and this prevalence further increased when the A3669G SNP was present. Although lower prevalence of hyperlipidemia and plasma ACTH level was detected in the same group. Conclusion: Our results confirm that behind the development of adrenal tumors especial in bilateral cases the polymorphic allele of the N363S and the wild type alleles of the BclI and A3669G represent genetic risk factors. Different mechanisms related to GR genetic variants alone or together may contribute to the morbidities found in these patients
    Glucocorticoids play an important role in the regulation of carbohydrate and amino acid metabolism, they modulate the function of the immune system, and contribute to stress response. Increased and decreased production of glucocorticoids causes specific diseases. In addition to systemic hypo- or hypercortisolism, alteration of local synthesis and metabolism of cortisol may result in tissue-specific hypo- or hypercortisolism. One of the key enzymes participating in the local synthesis and metabolism of cortisol is the 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase enzyme. Two isoforms, type 1 and type 2 enzymes are located in the endoplasmic reticulum and catalyze the interconversion of hormonally active cortisol and inactive cortisone. The type 1 enzyme mainly works as an activator, and it is responsible for the generation of cortisol from cortisone in liver, adipose tissue, brain and bone. The gene encoding this enzyme is located on chromosome 1. The authors review the physiological and pathophysiological processes related to the function of the type 1 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase enzyme. They summarize the potential significance of polymorphic variants of the enzyme in clinical diseases as well as knowledge related to inhibitors of enzyme activity. Although further studies are still needed, inhibition of the enzyme activity may prove to be an effective tool for the treatment of several diseases such as obesity, osteoporosis and type 2 diabetes. Orv. Hetil., 2013, 154, 283-293.
    Background The intricate interactions between the immune, endocrine and central nervous systems shape the innate immune response of the brain. We have previously shown that estradiol suppresses expression of immune genes in the frontal cortex of middle-aged ovariectomized rats, but not in young ones reflecting elevated expression of these genes in middle-aged, ovarian hormone deficient animals. Here, we explored the impact of menopause on the microglia phenotype capitalizing on the differential expression of macrophage-associated genes in quiescent and activated microglia. Methods We selected twenty-three genes encoding phagocytic and recognition receptors expressed primarily in microglia, and eleven proinflammatory genes and followed their expression in the rat frontal cortex by real-time PCR. We used young, middle-aged and middle-aged ovariectomized rats to reveal age- and ovariectomy-related alterations. We analyzed the expression of the same set of genes in the postcentral and superior frontal gyrus of pre- and postmenopausal women using raw microarray data from our previous study. Results Ovariectomy caused up-regulation of four classic microglia reactivity marker genes including Cd11b, Cd18, Cd45 and Cd86. The change was reversible since estradiol attenuated transcriptional activation of the four marker genes. Expression of genes encoding phagocytic and toll-like receptors such as Cd11b, Cd18, C3, Cd32, Msr2 and Tlr4 increased, whereas scavenger receptor Cd36 decreased following ovariectomy. Ovarian hormone deprivation altered the expression of major components of estrogen and neuronal inhibitory signaling which are involved in the control of microglia reactivity. Strikingly similar changes took place in the postcentral and superior frontal gyrus of postmenopausal women. Conclusions Based on the overlapping results of rat and human studies we propose that the microglia phenotype shifts from the resting toward the reactive state which can be characterized by up-regulation of CD11b, CD14, CD18, CD45, CD74, CD86, TLR4, down-regulation of CD36 and unchanged CD40 expression. As a result of this shift, microglial cells have lower threshold for subsequent activation in the forebrain of postmenopausal women.
    Introduction: The 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 enzyme (11β-HSD1) plays an important role in the regulation of local glucocorticoid concentration in a tissue specific manner. Previous studies indicated associations between polymorphisms (SNPs) of the HSD11B1 gene and laboratory as well as osteodensitometric parameters of bone metabolism. In our present work we examined whether the tagging HSD11B1 gene polymorphisms could influence bone metabolism in healthy and postmenopausal osteoporotic women. Experimental: HapMap database was used for identification and selection of SNPs located in the 38kb range of the HSD11B1 gene. Twelve SNPs were selected and genotyped in 209 healthy control women using Taqman SNP assays on Real-Time PCR and direct DNA sequencing. Of these SNPs, the rs4844880 was genotyped in 154 women with postmenopausal osteoporosis. Functional characterization of the rs4844880 was performed by in vitro luciferase assay. Results: One of the 12 HSD11B1 SNPs, the rs4844880 showed a significant association with higher bone mineral density and/or T- and Z-scores at lumbar spine in healthy women. When data from 154 postmenopausal osteoporotic women were compared to those obtained from 101 age-matched postmenopausal healthy women selected from our healthy control group this association was strongly significant at the femoral neck region. In vitro luciferase assay demonstrated that the polymorphic rs4844880 allele inhibited the luciferase activity more significantly than the major allele. Conclusions: The rs4844880 polymorphism in the promoter region of the HSD11B1 gene resulting in a reduced expression of the enzyme may exert a beneficial effect on bone in healthy and postmenopausal osteoporotic women.
    Transcriptomic analysis of global gene expression in ovarian carcinoma can identify dysregulated genes capable to serve as molecular markers for histology subtypes and survival. The aim of our study was to validate previous candidate signatures in an independent setting and to identify single genes capable to serve as biomarkers for ovarian cancer progression. As several datasets are available in the GEO today, we were able to perform a true meta-analysis. First, 829 samples (11 datasets) were downloaded, and the predictive power of 16 previously published gene sets was assessed. Of these, eight were capable to discriminate histology subtypes, and none was capable to predict survival. To overcome the differences in previous studies, we used the 829 samples to identify new predictors. Then, we collected 64 ovarian cancer samples (median relapse-free survival 24.5 months) and performed TaqMan Real Time Polimerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) analysis for the best 40 genes associated with histology subtypes and survival. Over 90% of subtype-associated genes were confirmed. Overall survival was effectively predicted by hormone receptors (PGR and ESR2) and by TSPAN8. Relapse-free survival was predicted by MAPT and SNCG. In summary, we successfully validated several gene sets in a meta-analysis in large datasets of ovarian samples. Additionally, several individual genes identified were validated in a clinical cohort.
    I agree with comments above. The Kit is very useful if you have limited amount of sample. The kit works down to100 cells in our hand. And you can easily handle 96 samples parallel in conjunctions with qPCR assays.
    If you need lot of RNA (ie. lot of qPCR from the same sample) and you want to store it for further measurements, you would prefer the RNA isolation procedures.
    However with some cell line the kit dos not work well. For example using the kit with Kasumi1 cell line we could not get proper result, probably due to improper lysis (any suggestions are welcome).
    Complement C5a is associated primarily with inflammation. The widespread expression of its receptors, C5aR and C5L2 in neuronal cells, however, suggests additional regulatory roles for C5a in the CNS. C5aR agonist (PL37-MAP) evokes Ca(2+)-influx in GT1-7 neuronal cell line and the Ca(2+)-influx is regulated by estradiol. In the present study, we examined further the mechanism of Ca(2+)-influx and the contribution of the two estrogen receptor (ER) isotypes, ERα and ERβ, to estrogenic modulation of intracellular Ca(2+)-content. GT1-7 neurons were treated with isotype selective ER agonists for 24h then C5aR agonist evoked Ca(2+)-responses were measured by Ca(2+)-imaging. Transcriptional changes were followed by real-time PCR. We found that not only estradiol (100 pM), but the ERα selective agonist PPT (100 pM) enhanced the PL37-MAP-evoked Ca(2+)-influx (E2: 215%, PPT: 175%, compared to the PL37-MAP-evoked Ca(2+)-influx). In contrast, the ERβ selective agonist DPN (100 pM) significantly reduced the Ca(2+)-influx (32%). Attenuated Ca(2+)-response (25%) was observed in Ca-free environment and depletion of the Ca(2+)-pool by CPA eliminated the remaining elevation in the Ca(2+)-content, demonstrating that the majority of Ca(2+) originated from the extracellular compartment. L-type voltage-gated Ca(2+)-channel (L-VGCC) blocker nifedipine abolished the Ca(2+)-influx, while R-type Ca(2+)-channel blocker SNX-482 had no effect, exemplifying the predominant role of L-VGCC in this process. Acute pre-treatments (8 min) with ER agonists did not affect the evoked Ca(2+)-influx, revealing that the observed effects of estrogens were genomic. Therefore, we checked estrogenic regulation of C5a receptors and L-VGCC subunits. ER agonists increased C5aR mRNA expression, whereas they differentially regulated C5L2. Estradiol decreased transcription of Ca(v)1.3 L-VGCC subunit. Based on these results we propose that estradiol may differentially modulate C5a-induced Ca(2+)-influx via L-VGCCs in neurons depending on the expression of the two ER isotypes.
    Developing chemotherapy resistant cell lines can help to identify markers of resistance. Instead of using a panel of highly heterogeneous cell lines, we assumed that truly robust and convergent pattern of resistance can be identified in multiple parallel engineered derivatives of only a few parental cell lines. Parallel cell populations were initiated for two breast cancer cell lines (MDA-MB-231 and MCF-7) and these were treated independently for 18 months with doxorubicin or paclitaxel. IC50 values against 4 chemotherapy agents were determined to measure cross-resistance. Chromosomal instability and karyotypic changes were determined by cytogenetics. TaqMan RT-PCR measurements were performed for resistance-candidate genes. Pgp activity was measured by FACS. All together 16 doxorubicin- and 13 paclitaxel-treated cell lines were developed showing 2-46 fold and 3-28 fold increase in resistance, respectively. The RT-PCR and FACS analyses confirmed changes in tubulin isofom composition, TOP2A and MVP expression and activity of transport pumps (ABCB1, ABCG2). Cytogenetics showed less chromosomes but more structural aberrations in the resistant cells. We surpassed previous studies by parallel developing a massive number of cell lines to investigate chemoresistance. While the heterogeneity caused evolution of multiple resistant clones with different resistance characteristics, the activation of only a few mechanisms were sufficient in one cell line to achieve resistance.
    Normalized microarray data of all genes in all cell lines. (XLSX)
    Estrogens exert anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects in the brain mainly via estrogen receptors α (ERα) and β (ERβ). These receptors are members of the nuclear receptor superfamily of ligand-dependent transcription factors. This study was aimed at the elucidation of the effects of ERα and ERβ agonists on the expression of neuroinflammatory genes in the frontal cortex of aging female rats. To identify estrogen-responsive immunity/inflammation genes, we treated middle-aged, ovariectomized rats with 17β-estradiol (E2), ERα agonist 16α-lactone-estradiol (16α-LE2) and ERβ agonist diarylpropionitrile (DPN), or vehicle by Alzet minipump delivery for 29 days. Then we compared the transcriptomes of the frontal cortex of estrogen-deprived versus ER agonist-treated animals using Affymetrix Rat230 2.0 expression arrays and TaqMan-based quantitative real-time PCR. Microarray and PCR data were evaluated by using Bioconductor packages and the RealTime StatMiner software, respectively. Microarray analysis revealed the transcriptional regulation of 21 immunity/inflammation genes by 16α-LE2. The subsequent comparative real-time PCR study analyzed the isotype specific effects of ER agonists on neuroinflammatory genes of primarily glial origin. E2 regulated the expression of sixteen genes, including down-regulation of complement C3 and C4b, Ccl2, Tgfb1, macrophage expressed gene Mpeg1, RT1-Aw2, Cx3cr1, Fcgr2b, Cd11b, Tlr4 and Tlr9, and up-regulation of defensin Np4 and RatNP-3b, IgG-2a, Il6 and ER gene Esr1. Similar to E2, both 16α-LE2 and DPN evoked up-regulation of defensins, IgG-2a and Il6, and down-regulation of C3 and its receptor Cd11b, Ccl2, RT1-Aw2 and Fcgr2b. These findings provide evidence that E2, 16α-LE2 and DPN modulate the expression of neuroinflammatory genes in the frontal cortex of middle-aged female rats via both ERα and ERβ. We propose that ERβ is a promising target to suppress regulatory functions of glial cells in the E2-deprived female brain and in various neuroinflammatory diseases.
    MicroRNAs are involved in the pathogenesis of several tumors, however, there have been no data on microRNA expression in pheochromocytomas to date. The objective of our study was to perform microRNA expression profiling in sporadic and hereditary benign, and recurring adrenomedullary tumors. Furthermore, the applicability of formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue samples for the analysis of microRNA expression in pheochromocytomas was examined. MicroRNA expression data of three matched frozen and formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded samples were correlated. A total of 21 formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded samples (sporadic benign, multiple endocrine neoplasia 2, von Hippel-Lindau disease, sporadic recurring) were subjected to microRNA expression profiling using microarrays. MicroRNAs with significant differences in expression were validated and sample sizes were extended including tumors from neurofibromatosis type 1 patients by real-time quantitative reverse-transcription PCR (n=33). MicroRNA target prediction was carried out by TargetScan and MicroCosm Targets. Pathway analysis of targets was performed by Ingenuity Pathway Analysis and DIANA mirPath. Furthermore, microRNA expression profiles of a malignant pheochromocytoma and a pair of primary and recurrent tumors were studied by TaqMan Human MicroRNA Cards. MicroRNA expression correlated well between frozen and formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded samples (70-92%). Microarray analysis revealed 16 significantly differentially expressed microRNAs. Five of these were validated by real-time RT-PCR. miR-139-3p, miR-541 and miR-765 were significantly differentially expressed between sporadic benign and von Hippel-Lindau-related pheochromocytomas. Significantly higher expression of miR-885-5p and miR-1225-3p was found in multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 and sporadic recurring pheochromocytomas, respectively. Pathway analysis revealed the possible involvement of Notch- and G-protein-coupled receptor signaling in tumor recurrence. MicroRNA expression profiles in the primary recurrent and recurring malignant comparisons have been similar. In conclusion, we have proved that formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded samples can be used for the analysis of microRNA expression in pheochromocytomas. MicroRNA expression patterns differ between various sporadic, hereditary and recurring tumors and miR-1225-3p may be useful for identifying recurring pheochromocytomas.
    MicroRNAs (miRs) are small, 16-29 nucleotide long, non-coding RNA molecules which regulate the stability or translational efficiency of targeted mRNAs via RNA interference. MiRs participate in the control of cell proliferation, cell differentiation, signal transduction, cell death, and they play a role in carcinogenesis. The aims of our study were to analyse the expression profile of miRs in sporadic clinically non-functioning pituitary adenomas (NFPA) and in normal pituitary tissues, and to identify biological pathways altered in these pituitary tumors. MiR expression profiles of 12 pituitary tissue specimens (8 NFPA and 4 normal pituitary tissues) were determined using miR array based on quantitative real-time PCR with 678 different primers. Five overexpressed miRs and mRNA expression of Smads (Smad1-9), MEG and DLK1 genes were evaluated with individual Taqman assays in 10 NFPA and 10 normal pituitary tissues. Pathway analysis was performed by the DIANA-mirPath tool. Complex bioinformatical analysis by multiple algorithms and association studies between miRs, Smad3 and tumor size was performed. Of the 457 miRs expressed in both NFPA and normal tissues, 162 were significantly under- or overexpressed in NFPA compared to normal pituitary tissues Expression of Smad3, Smad6, Smad9, MEG and DLK1 was significantly lower in NFPA than in normal tissues. Pathway analysis together with in silico target prediction analysis indicated possible downregulation of the TGFβ signaling pathway in NFPA by a specific subset of miRs. Five miRs predicted to target Smad3 (miR-135a, miR-140-5p, miR-582-3p, miR-582-5p and miR-938) were overexpressed. Correlation was observed between the expression of seven overexpressed miRs and tumor size. Downregulation of the TGFβ signaling through Smad3 via miRs may have a possible role in the complex regulation of signaling pathways involved in the tumorigenesis process of NFPA.
    The tumorigenic mechanisms involved in pituitary adenomas, especially of nonfunctional pituitary adenomas (NFAs), remains unclear. Various cell cycle inhibitors have been found to be underexpressed in pituitary tumors; however, Wee1 kinase, a nuclear protein that delays mitosis and was recently recognized as a tumor suppressor gene, has not been previously investigated in pituitary tumors. Our objective was to examine the expression of Wee1 in pituitary tumors and to identify microRNAs (miRs) that can regulate its expression. Expression of Wee1 was examined by immunohistochemistry and quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR). Identification of miRs targeting the Wee1 3'-untranslated region was performed by miR array followed by expression analysis of identified miRs using qRT-PCR. Dual-luciferase assay and transient transfection of miRs into Hela cells followed by immunoblot analysis of Wee1 protein and cell proliferation analysis were carried out. A total of 57 pituitary tissue samples including 27 NFAs, 15 GH-producing adenomas with or without prolactin overproduction, and 15 normal pituitary glands were analyzed. Wee1 protein expression was decreased in NFAs and GH-producing tumors with or without prolactin production, but no change in mRNA expression was observed with qRT-PCR. A specific subset of five miRNAs revealed by in silico target prediction was significantly overexpressed in NFA samples; three miRs (miR-128a, miR-155, and miR-516a-3p) targeted the 3'-untranslated region of the Wee1 transcript, and exogenous overexpression of these miRs inhibited Wee1 protein expression and HeLa cell proliferation. To our knowledge, this is the first report suggesting that regulation of Wee1 kinase by miRs may be linked to pituitary tumorigenesis.
    Estradiol (E2) modulates a wide range of functions of the frontal cerebral cortex. From the onset of menopause, declining levels of E2 can cause cognitive disturbances and changes in behavior that can be counterbalanced by hormone replacement. To study the effect of E2 replacement on the cortical transcriptome in a rodent model with low serum E2 level, we treated middle-aged, ovariectomized rats with E2 or vehicle using osmotic minipumps for 4 wk. Six animals for each group were selected, and samples of their frontal cortex were subjected to expression profiling using oligonucleotide microarrays. The explored E2-regulated genes were related to neurotransmission (Adora2a, Cartpt, Drd1a, Drd2, Gjb2, Nts, and Tac1), immunity (C3, C4b, Cd74, Fcgr2b, Mpeg1, and RT1-Aw2), signal transduction (Igf2, Igfbp2, Igfbp6, Rgs9, and Sncg), transport (Abca1, Hba-a2, Slc13a3, and Slc22a8), extracellular matrix (Col1a2, Col3a1, Fmod, and Lum), and transcription (Irf7 and Nupr1). Seventy-four percent of the transcriptional changes identified by microarray were confirmed by quantitative real-time PCR. The genes identified by expression profiling indicated that chronic E2 replacement significantly altered the transcriptome of the frontal cortex. The genomic effects of E2 influenced dopaminergic and peptidergic neurotransmission, immune surveillance, adenosine and insulin-like growth factor signaling and transport processes, among other functions. Identification of these novel E2-regulated mechanisms highlights the wide range of genomic responses of the aging female frontal cerebral cortex subjected to hormone replacement. Some of the genomic effects identified in this study may underlie the beneficial effects of E2 on cognition, behavior, and neuroprotection.
    Glucocorticoid receptor (GR) is expressed in the normal human adrenal gland, however, no study has been performed to evaluate the separate expression of alpha- and beta-isoforms (GRalpha and GRbeta) in normal human adrenals and in adrenocortical adenomas. GRalpha and GRbeta mRNA expression was examined by quantitative real-time PCR in 31 adrenal tissues including 19 non-functioning adenomas (NFA), 6 cortisol-producing adenomas (CPA) and 6 normal adrenocortical tissues. In addition, the presence and cellular localization of GRalpha and GRbeta proteins in adrenal tissues were studied by immunohistochemistry. Compared to normal adrenocortical tissues, both GRalpha and GRbeta mRNAs were significantly increased in CPA but not in NFA. Using anti-GRalpha antibody a strong nuclear staining was observed in NFA and CPA, and a less remarkable immunoreactivity was detected in some nuclei of normal adrenocortical cells. GRbeta immunostaining was absent in normal adrenal tissues and NFA, while a strong cytoplasmic and nuclear immunoreaction was found in CPA. Altered expression of GRalpha and GRbeta in CPA raises their possible role in the pathophysiology of these adrenal tumors, although further studies are needed to elucidate the potential significance of these findings.
    Estradiol modulates a wide range of neural functions in the frontal cerebral cortex where subsets of neurons express estrogen receptor-alpha and -beta. Through these receptors, estradiol contributes to the maintenance of normal operation of the frontal cortex. During the decline of gonadal hormones, the frequency of neurological and psychiatric disorders increases. To shed light on the etiology of disorders related to declining levels of estrogens, we studied the genomic responses to estradiol. Ovariectomized rats were treated with a sc injection of estradiol. Twenty-four hours later, samples from the frontal cortices were dissected, and their mRNA content was analyzed. One hundred thirty-six estradiol-regulated transcripts were identified on Rat 230 2.0 Expression Array. Of the 136 estrogen-regulated genes, 26 and 36 genes encoded proteins involved in the regulation of transcription and signal transduction, respectively. Thirteen genes were related to the calcium signaling pathway. They comprised five genes coding for neurotransmitter receptors. Transcription of three neuropeptides, including cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript, were up-regulated. Fifty-two genes were selected for validation, and 12 transcriptional changes were confirmed. These results provided evidence that estradiol evokes broad transcriptional response in the cortex. Modulation of key components of the calcium signaling pathway, dopaminergic, serotonergic, and glutamatergic neurotransmission, may explain the influence of estrogens on cognitive function and behavior. Up-regulation of cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript contributes to the neuroprotective effects of estradiol. Identification of estradiol-regulated genes in the frontal cortex helps to understand the pathomechanism of neurological and psychiatric disorders associated with altered levels of estrogens.
    Gonadal hormones modulate the function of the cerebral frontal cortex. At the time of the menopause, decreasing levels of estrogens result in a change in cortical functioning at molecular, cellular and network levels. As a consequence, the prevalence of neurological disorders increases in postmenopausal women. In order to shed light on the etiology of disorders related to declining level of estradiol, we studied the changes of the cortical transcriptome in ovariectomized, middle-aged female rats as a novel rodent menopausal model. Sixteen, 13 months old rats were ovariectomized, and after a 2 week postoperative period animals were treated with estradiol or vehicle using Alzet osmotic minipumps. Six animals for each group were selected and their frontal cortices were subjected to gene expression profiling using Affymetrix Rat 230 2.0 Expression Arrays. Data analysis revealed alteration of several biological functions including immune surveillance. Genes related to the immune response including complement components, Fc receptors and MHC antigens were down-regulated. The changes were confirmed by quantitative real-time PCR. Our findings provide evidence that numerous genes involved in immune surveillance are regulated by estradiol. We propose that in the absence of estrogens, these changes gain significance in emerging neuroinflammation which may contribute to the pathomechanism of postmenopausal neurological diseases.
    Hyperandrogenic disorders are frequent in women. The most common cause is polycystic ovary syndrome, a condition found up to 7% in women of reproductive age. The effects of testosterone and dihydrotestosterone are elicited via androgen receptors. Androgen receptor acts as a ligand-dependent transcription factor that regulates the expression of several target genes. There are several pharmacological possibilities for the treatment of androgen excess, as inhibition of the biologic activity of androgens can be carried out at different levels. The androgen receptor, the 5alpha-reductase enzyme, and the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonad axis are the most frequent targets of antiandrogenic therapies. This review summarizes the structural and chemical features of currently available antiandrogenic drugs, including cyproterone acetate, spironolactone, flutamide and finasteride. Also, it presents some recent advances in the chemistry and pharmacology of novel steroidal and non-steroidal antiandrogens, and 5alpha-reductase inhibitors. Finally, recent knowledge on non-classical antiandrogenic drugs, such as insulin-sensitizers, ketoconazole, and GnRH-agonists are briefly discussed.
    Von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) disease is a hereditary tumor syndrome caused by mutations or deletions of the VHL tumor-suppressor gene. Germline VHL gene alterations may be also present in patients with apparently sporadic pheochromocytoma (ASP), although a wide variation in mutation frequencies has been reported in different patient cohorts. Herein, we report the analysis of the VHL gene in Hungarian families with VHL disease and in those with ASP. Seven families (35 members) with VHL disease and 37 unrelated patients with unilateral ASP were analyzed. Patients were clinically evaluated and the VHL gene was analyzed using direct sequencing, multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification, and real-time PCR with SYBR Green chemistry. Disease-causing genetic abnormalities were identified in each of the seven VHL families and in 3 out of the 37 patients with ASP (one nonsense and six missense mutations, two large gene deletions and one novel 2 bp deletion). Large gene deletions and other genetic alterations resulting in truncated VHL protein were found only in families with VHL type 1, whereas missense mutations were associated mainly, although not exclusively, with VHL type 2B and type 2C. The spectrum of VHL gene abnormalities in the Hungarian population is similar to that observed in Western, Japanese, or Chinese VHL kindreds. The presence of VHL gene mutations in 3 out of the 37 patients with ASP suggests that genetic testing is useful not only in patients with VHL disease but also in those with ASP.
    MicroRNAs (miRs) are involved in the pathogenesis of several neoplasms; however, there are no data on their expression patterns and possible roles in adrenocortical tumors. Our objective was to study adrenocortical tumors by an integrative bioinformatics analysis involving miR and transcriptomics profiling, pathway analysis, and a novel, tissue-specific miR target prediction approach. Thirty-six tissue samples including normal adrenocortical tissues, benign adenomas, and adrenocortical carcinomas (ACC) were studied by simultaneous miR and mRNA profiling. A novel data-processing software was used to identify all predicted miR-mRNA interactions retrieved from PicTar, TargetScan, and miRBase. Tissue-specific target prediction was achieved by filtering out mRNAs with undetectable expression and searching for mRNA targets with inverse expression alterations as their regulatory miRs. Target sets and significant microarray data were subjected to Ingenuity Pathway Analysis. Six miRs with significantly different expression were found. miR-184 and miR-503 showed significantly higher, whereas miR-511 and miR-214 showed significantly lower expression in ACCs than in other groups. Expression of miR-210 was significantly lower in cortisol-secreting adenomas than in ACCs. By calculating the difference between dCT(miR-511) and dCT(miR-503) (delta cycle threshold), ACCs could be distinguished from benign adenomas with high sensitivity and specificity. Pathway analysis revealed the possible involvement of G2/M checkpoint damage in ACC pathogenesis. To our knowledge, this is the first report describing miR expression patterns and pathway analysis in sporadic adrenocortical tumors. miR biomarkers may be helpful for the diagnosis of adrenocortical malignancy. This tissue-specific target prediction approach may be used in other tumors too.
    The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis setpoint and the glucocorticoid sensitivity of various tissues are at least partially genetically determined. We investigated the impact of glucocorticoid receptor (GR) gene polymorphisms, including the BclI, N363S, ER22/23EK and A3669G variants on bone turnover and/or mineral density (BMD) in patients with endogenous glucocorticoid excess. Sixty patients including 35 patients with ACTH producing pituitary adenoma (CD) and 25 patients with adrenal Cushing's syndrome (ACS) as well as 129 healthy subjects were genotyped. Analysis of the GR gene polymorphisms were determined using allele specific PCR, PCR-RFLP and Taqman allelic discrimination assays. Hormonal evaluation, BMD and bone marker measurements were carried out. No significant differences were found in allelic frequencies of the four polymorphisms between patients with ACS, CD and healthy controls. Patients with endogenous hypercortisolism carrying the BclI polymorphism in a homozygous form had reduced BMD at femoral subregions compared to patients with the wild-type variant; femoral neck Z-score (-1.44 +/- 0.73 vs. -0.39 +/- 0.91; P < 0.05), trochanteric Z-score (-1.89 +/- 0.47 vs.-0.54 +/- 0.98; P < 0.05). Patients with homozygous BclI polymorphism had significantly higher beta-CrossLaps Z-scores compared to those with the heterozygous and wild-type variants (+4.42 +/- 2.37 vs. +0.79 +/- 1.67 and +0.11 +/- 1.47; P < 0.01). The BclI, N363S, ER22/23EK and A3669G polymorphisms of the GR gene probably do not modify the risk for the development of CD or ACS. Contrary to healthy subjects, however, the BclI polymorphism may modify the skeletal sensitivity to glucocorticoids in patients with endogenous glucocorticoid excess.
    The aspartic acid residue at the bottom of the substrate-binding pocket of trypsin was replaced by glutamic acid through site-directed mutagenesis. The wild-type (Asp-189) and mutant (Glu-189) trypsinogens were expressed in E. coli, purified to homogeneity, activated by enterokinase. and tested on a series of fluorogenic tetrapeptide substrates. The substrates were of the general formula succinyl-Ala-Ala-Pro-X-AMC, where AMC is 7-amino-4-methylcoumarin and X is Lys. Arg. or Orn (ornithine). As compared to Asp-189 trypsin. the activity of Glu-189 trypsin on lysyl and arginyl substrates decreased by 3-4 orders of magnitude while its Km values did not significantly change. Lengthening the side-chain of Asp-189 by one methylene group could not be compensated for by shortening the side-chain of the substrate, since Glu-189 trypsin had no measurable activity on the ornithyl substrate. The replacement of Asp-189 with glutamic acid at the base of the substrate-binding pocket of trypsin appears to distort the structure of the critical transition-state complex. This could happen by disrupting interactions normally associated with Asp-189, and by altering the relative position of the scissile peptide bond in the active site of the enzyme.
    Von Hippel-Lindau disease (VHL) is a rare autosomal dominant disease characterized by development of cystic and tumorous lesions at multiple sites, including the brain, spinal cord, kidneys, adrenals, pancreas, epididymis and eyes. The clinical phenotype results from molecular abnormalities of the VHL tumor suppressor gene, mapped to human chromosome 3p25-26. The VHL gene encodes two functionally active VHL proteins due to the presence of two translational initiation sites separated by 53 codons. The majority of disease-causing mutations have been detected downstream of the second translational initiation site, but there are conflicting data as to whether few mutations located in the first 53 codons, such as the Pro25Leu could have a pathogenic role. In this paper we report a large Hungarian VHL type 2 family consisting of 32 members in whom a disease-causing AGT80AAT (Ser80Ile) c.239G>A, p.Ser80Ile mutation, but not the concurrent CCT25CTT (Pro25Leu) c.74C>T, p.Pro25Leu variant co-segregated with the disease. To our knowledge, the Ser80Ile mutation has not been previously described in VHL type 2 patients with high risk of pheochromocytoma and renal cell cancer. Therefore, this finding represents a novel genotype-phenotype association and VHL kindreds with Ser80Ile mutation will require careful surveillance for pheochromocytoma. We concluded that the Pro25Leu variant is a rare, neutral variant, but the presence such a rare gene variant may make genetic counseling difficult.
    Cushing's syndrome is a rare disease with significant morbidity and mortality. Surgical intervention represents the most effective treatment option in both adrenocorticotropin-dependent and -independent forms of hypercortisolism. It is not uncommon, however, that surgery fails to cure or control the disease. Pharmacotherapy with drugs inhibiting steroid biosynthesis can be effectively used in these cases in order to alleviate symptoms or even to induce chemical adrenalectomy. A few drugs inhibiting single or multiple steps in adrenal steroid biosynthesis can be used in clinical practice. Drugs predominantly inhibiting single enzymatic steps include the 11beta-hydroxylase inhibitor metyrapone and the 3beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase inhibitor trilostane, whereas mitotane, aminoglutethimide, ketoconazole and etomidate block multiple enzymatic reactions. Etomidate is the only agent available for parenteral administration that renders it as a treatment of choice in critically ill patients requiring a rapid control of hypercortisolemia. Ketoconazole, metyrapone and aminoglutethimide can be used alone or in combination for the treatment of hypercortisolism caused by benign adrenocorticotropin- or cortisol-secreting tumors. The clinical utility of trilostane is variable. Besides blocking multiple steps in adrenal steroid biosynthesis, the DDT (insecticide) analogue mitotane also has adrenolytic properties by inducing mitochondrial degeneration that renders it superior to other drugs in the treatment of adrenocortical cancer. Severe side effects may develop during therapy with each aforementioned drug that include hepatic, endocrine and neurological toxicity. After summarizing the chemical and biological properties of steroid biosynthetic inhibitors, the authors describe their possible clinical applications and limitations.
    Glucocorticoids have an important role in the regulation of the immune system, and alterations in glucocorticoid signaling may have an impact on the pathophysiology of autoimmune and inflammatory disorders. Because polymorphisms of the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) gene, including the N363S, ER22/23EK, A3669G and BclI variants were found to influence glucocorticoid signalling, we examined whether these polymorphisms could be associated with the development or clinical manifestations of Graves ophthalmopathy (GO). The carrier and allelic frequencies of the N363S, ER22/23EK, A3669G, and BclI polymorphisms of the GR were determined in 95 Hungarian outpatients with GO and 160 healthy controls. No significant changes were found in carrier frequencies of the four polymorphisms between GO patients and healthy controls. However, when GO patients were divided into two subgroups (American Thyroid Association Committee, ATA I-II vs ATA III or greater), the frequency of the polymorphic BclI allele was significantly higher in patients with ATA I-II compared with those with ATA III or more (p = 0.009). The significant association between the frequency of the polymorphic BclI allele and ATA stage distribution suggests that this polymorphism of the GR gene may affect clinical manifestations of GO, presumably due to an increased signaling of endogenous glucocorticoids.
    Studying the interaction between serum amyloid P component (SAP) and beta-amyloid (Abeta) a new Abeta binding site was identified on the SAP near the known binding site at the two bound calcium ions. SAP stabilizes deposits in neurodegenerative diseases, which is manifested via Abeta-binding. Because the inhibition of this interaction is a potential therapeutic target in neurodegeneration, the structural basis of SAP-Abeta binding was studied. The chymotryptic digestion of SAP resulted in a 18,223Da product identified by mass spectrometry. This cleavage was inhibited by Abeta revealing that this cleaving site between Tyr-140 and Gly-141 is involved in the interaction between SAP and Abeta These results suggest that the Abeta-binding site on SAP is larger than it was recently assumed.
    To characterize the contribution of amino acid 360 to the functional activity of the human flavin-containing monooxygenase form 3 (FMO3) and form 1 (FMO1) in the oxygenation of drugs and chemicals, we expressed four FMO3 variants (i.e., Ala360-FMO3, His360-FMO3, Gln360-FMO3, and Pro360-FMO3) and one FMO1 variant (i.e., Pro360-FMO1) and compared them to wild-type enzymes (Leu360-FMO3 and His360-FMO1, respectively). The amino acid substitutions were introduced into wild-type FMO3 or FMO1 cDNA by site-directed mutagenesis. The thermal stability of variants of Leu360 FMO3 was also studied, and the thermal stability was significantly different from that of wild-type FMO3. The influence of different substrates to modulate the catalytic activity of FMO3 variants was also examined. Selective functional substrate activity was determined with mercaptoimidazole, chlorpromazine, and 10-[(N,N-dimethylaminopentyl)-2-(trifluoromethyl)]phenothiazine. Compared with wild-type FMO3, the Ala360-FMO3 and His360-FMO3 variants were less catalytically efficient for mercaptoimidazole S-oxygenation. N-Oxygenation of chlorpromazine was significantly less catalytically efficient for His360-FMO3 compared with wild-type FMO3. Human Pro360-FMO1 was significantly more catalytically efficient at S-oxygenating mercaptoimidazole and chlorpromazine compared with wild-type FMO1. The data support the mechanism that the Pro360 loci affect thermal stability of FMO3. Because different amino acids at position 360 affect substrate oxygenation in a unique fashion compared with that of FMO3 stimulation, we conclude that the mechanism of stimulation of FMO3 is distinct from that of enzyme catalysis. A molecular model of human FMO3 was also constructed to help explain the results. The increase in catalytic efficiency observed for Pro360 in human FMO3 was also observed when the His of FMO1 was replaced by Pro at loci 360.
    Barley mild mosaic virus (BaMMV), a member of the family Potyviridae, genus Bymovirus, is involved in the economically important yellow mosaic disease of winter barley in East Asia and Europe. We investigated serological properties of bacterially expressed BaMMV coat protein (CP) of a German isolate. Ten mouse monoclonal antibodies were produced using purified E. coli expressed BaMMV-CP as immunogen. The reactivity of MAbs with different strains of BaMMV was analysed by several immunological methods that are frequently used in diagnostic virology: enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), dot-blot, Western-blotting (WB), direct tissue blotting immunoassay (DTBIA) and immunoelectron microscopy (IEM). The amino acids involved in the formation of epitopes recognised by several MAbs were mapped by using synthetic pin-bound peptides and the localisation of epitopes in assembled virus particles was determined by electron microscope studies. MAbs V29 and M1 decorated the whole virion indicating that their epitopes 6PDPI9 and 96ITDDEK101, respectively, are exposed on the surface. The MAbs V6 and V14 both interacted with 44LPEPKM49, which seems to be accessible at only one end of the virus particle. The MAbs V6, V14, V29 and M1 detected epitopes common to a wide range of BaMMV isolates and can therefore be used effectively in routine diagnostic tests for BaMMV from barley leaves. We suggest that MAbs M1, V6, V14 and V29 are most suitable for use in TAS-ELISA, V6, V14 and V29 for Western blotting and V29 and M1 for electron microscope serology.
    The CYP17 gene, located on chromosome 10q24-q25, encodes the cytochrome P450c17 enzyme. Mutations of this gene cause the 17alpha-hydroxylase/17,20-lyase deficiency, which is a rare, autosomal recessive form of congenital adrenal hyperplasia. Approximately 50 different mutations of the CYP17 gene have been described, of which some mutations have been identified in certain ethnic groups. In this study, we present the clinical history, hormonal findings and mutational analysis of two patients from unrelated families, who were evaluated for hypertension, hypokalemia and sexual infantilism. In the first patient, who was a 37-year-old female, additional studies showed a large myelolipoma in the left adrenal gland, and a smaller tumor in the right adrenal gland. In the second patient, who was a 31-year-old phenotypic female, clinical work-up revealed a 46,XY kariotype, absence of ovaries and presence of testes located in the inner opening of both inguinal canals. Analysis of the CYP17 gene by polymerase chain reaction amplification and direct sequencing demonstrated a novel homozygous mutation of codon 440 from CGC (Arg) to TGC (Cys) in both patients. The effect of this novel mutation on 17alpha-hydroxylase/17,20-lyase activity was assessed by in vitro studies on the mutant and wild-type P450c17 generated by site-directed mutagenesis and transfected in nonsteroidogenic COS-1 cells. These studies showed that the mutant P450c17 protein was produced in transfected COS-1 cells, but it had negligible 17alpha-hydroxylase and 17,20-lyase activities. In addition, three-dimensional computerized modeling of the heme-binding site of the P450c17 enzyme indicated that replacement of Arg by Cys at amino acid position 440 predicts a loss of the catalytic activity of the enzyme, as the mutant enzyme containing Cys440 fails to form a hydrogen bond with the propionate group of heme, which renders the mutant enzyme unable to stabilize the proper position of heme. Based on these findings we conclude that expressing the CYP17 gene with functional analysis, combined with three-dimensional computerized modeling of the heme-binding site of the protein provide feasible tools for molecular characterizing of functional consequences of the novel CYP17 mutation on enzyme function.
    Serum amyloid P component, a member of pentraxin serum protein family, has been suggested to contribute to the progression of neurodegeneration including Alzheimer's disease by binding to beta-amyloid fibrils leading to an increased stability of the deposits against proteolytic degradation and by inducing neuronal apoptosis. Here, we show that glycosaminoglycans inhibit both the serum amyloid P component-beta-amyloid interaction and the neurotoxic effect of serum amyloid P component. These effects correlate with the structure of glycosaminoglycans and show different structure-activity relationship in the case of the two different effects. While the efficacy of the inhibition on the serum amyloid P component-induced cell death increases with the uronic acid content, the inhibitory activity on the serum amyloid P component-beta-amyloid interaction decreases with the increasing uronic acid content of the glycosaminoglycans. The inhibitory effect of glycosaminoglycans on the interaction between the first component of the complement cascade (C1q) and beta-amyloid shows a similar structure-activity relationship as on the serum amyloid P component-beta-amyloid interaction. This suggests that glycosaminoglycans interfere with the binding site on beta-amyloid for serum amyloid P component and C1q. The functional consequence of this binding has been demonstrated by heparin which promotes the proteolysis of beta-amyloid in vitro in the presence of serum amyloid P component. Our results suggest that glycosaminoglycans might have therapeutical potential on the neurodegeneration reducing its progress.
    In recent years several mutations and sequence polymorphisms of the glucocorticoid receptor gene have been described. The majority of mutations have been found in patients with a rare endocrinological abnormality, the glucocorticoid resistance syndrome. In addition, some sequence polymorphisms have been considered to contribute to various diseases, but unambiguous correlations have not been established yet. Here we present the results of an in silico study, which revealed previously undescribed sequence variants of the glucocorticoid receptor gene. Although the three-dimensional structure of the DNA-binding domain of the glucocorticoid receptor has been known for several years, the crystal structure of the ligand-binding domain of the receptor has been published only recently. Using a comparative protein modelling, we analysed the structural relevance of known mutations as well as novel sequence variants discovered by our in silico approach in the ligand-binding domain of the glucocorticoid receptor. We conclude that comparative protein modelling of these mutant receptor variants offers a useful means to predict the functional consequences of amino acid replacements and to correlate structural abnormalities with clinical findings.
    The aspartic acid residue at the bottom of the substrate-binding pocket of trypsin was replaced by glutamic acid through site-directed mutagenesis. The wild-type (Asp-189) and mutant (Glu-189) trypsinogens were expressed in E. coli, purified to homogeneity, activated by enterokinase, and tested on a series of fluorogenic tetrapeptide substrates. The substrates were of the general formula succinyl-Ala-Ala-Pro-X-AMC, where AMC is 7-amino-4-methylcoumarin and X is Lys, Arg, or Orn (ornithine). As compared to Asp-189 trypsin, the activity of Glu-189 trypsin on lysyl and arginyl substrates decreased by 3-4 orders of magnitude while its Km values did not significantly change. Lengthening the side-chain of Asp-189 by one methylene group could not be compensated for by shortening the side-chain of the substrate, since Glu-189 trypsin had no measurable activity on the ornithyl substrate. The replacement of Asp-189 with glutamic acid at the base of the substrate-binding pocket of trypsin appears to distort the structure of the critical transition-state complex. This could happen by disrupting interactions normally associated with Asp-189, and by altering the relative position of the scissile peptide bond in the active site of the enzyme.
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