Chunsheng Zhang

Merck, White House Station, New Jersey, United States

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Publications (30)337.41 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Using expression profiles from postmortem prefrontal cortex samples of 624 dementia patients and non-demented controls, we investigated global disruptions in the co-regulation of genes in two neurodegenerative diseases, late-onset Alzheimer's disease (AD) and Huntington's disease (HD). We identified networks of differentially co-expressed (DC) gene pairs that either gained or lost correlation in disease cases relative to the control group, with the former dominant for both AD and HD and both patterns replicating in independent human cohorts of AD and aging. When aligning networks of DC patterns and physical interactions, we identified a 242-gene subnetwork enriched for independent AD/HD signatures. This subnetwork revealed a surprising dichotomy of gained/lost correlations among two inter-connected processes, chromatin organization and neural differentiation, and included DNA methyltransferases, DNMT1 and DNMT3A, of which we predicted the former but not latter as a key regulator. To validate the inter-connection of these two processes and our key regulator prediction, we generated two brain-specific knockout (KO) mice and show that Dnmt1 KO signature significantly overlaps with the subnetwork (P = 3.1 × 10−12), while Dnmt3a KO signature does not (P = 0.017).
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2014 · Molecular Systems Biology
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    ABSTRACT: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most deadly cancers worldwide and has no effective treatment, yet the molecular basis of hepatocarcinogenesis remains largely unknown. Here we report findings from a whole genome sequencing (WGS) study of 88 matched HCC tumor/normal pairs, 81 of which are HBV positive, seeking to identify genetically altered genes and pathways implicated in HBV-associated HCC. We find beta catenin to be the most frequently mutated oncogene (15.9%) and TP53 the most frequently mutated tumor suppressor (35.2%). The Wnt/beta catenin and JAK/STAT pathways, altered in 62.5% and 45.5% of cases respectively, are likely to act as two major oncogenic drivers in HCC. This study also identifies several prevalent and potentially actionable mutations including activating mutations of Janus Kinase 1 (JAK1) in 9.1% of patients and provides a path towards therapeutic intervention of the disease.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2013 · Genome Research
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    ABSTRACT: The genetics of complex disease produce alterations in the molecular interactions of cellular pathways whose collective effect may become clear through the organized structure of molecular networks. To characterize molecular systems associated with late-onset Alzheimer's disease (LOAD), we constructed gene-regulatory networks in 1,647 postmortem brain tissues from LOAD patients and nondemented subjects, and we demonstrate that LOAD reconfigures specific portions of the molecular interaction structure. Through an integrative network-based approach, we rank-ordered these network structures for relevance to LOAD pathology, highlighting an immune- and microglia-specific module that is dominated by genes involved in pathogen phagocytosis, contains TYROBP as a key regulator, and is upregulated in LOAD. Mouse microglia cells overexpressing intact or truncated TYROBP revealed expression changes that significantly overlapped the human brain TYROBP network. Thus the causal network structure is a useful predictor of response to gene perturbations and presents a framework to test models of disease mechanisms underlying LOAD.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2013 · Cell
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    ABSTRACT: Complex diseases result from molecular changes induced by multiple genetic factors and the environment. To derive a systems view of how genetic loci interact in the context of tissue-specific molecular networks, we constructed an F2 intercross comprised of >500 mice from diabetes-resistant (B6) and diabetes-susceptible (BTBR) mouse strains made genetically obese by the Leptin(ob/ob) mutation (Lep(ob)). High-density genotypes, diabetes-related clinical traits, and whole-transcriptome expression profiling in five tissues (white adipose, liver, pancreatic islets, hypothalamus, and gastrocnemius muscle) were determined for all mice. We performed an integrative analysis to investigate the inter-relationship among genetic factors, expression traits, and plasma insulin, a hallmark diabetes trait. Among five tissues under study, there are extensive protein-protein interactions between genes responding to different loci in adipose and pancreatic islets that potentially jointly participated in the regulation of plasma insulin. We developed a novel ranking scheme based on cross-loci protein-protein network topology and gene expression to assess each gene's potential to regulate plasma insulin. Unique candidate genes were identified in adipose tissue and islets. In islets, the Alzheimer's gene App was identified as a top candidate regulator. Islets from 17-week-old, but not 10-week-old, App knockout mice showed increased insulin secretion in response to glucose or a membrane-permeant cAMP analog, in agreement with the predictions of the network model. Our result provides a novel hypothesis on the mechanism for the connection between two aging-related diseases: Alzheimer's disease and type 2 diabetes.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2012 · PLoS Genetics
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    ABSTRACT: Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified loci reproducibly associated with pulmonary diseases; however, the molecular mechanism underlying these associations are largely unknown. The objectives of this study were to discover genetic variants affecting gene expression in human lung tissue, to refine susceptibility loci for asthma identified in GWAS studies, and to use the genetics of gene expression and network analyses to find key molecular drivers of asthma. We performed a genome-wide search for expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) in 1,111 human lung samples. The lung eQTL dataset was then used to inform asthma genetic studies reported in the literature. The top ranked lung eQTLs were integrated with the GWAS on asthma reported by the GABRIEL consortium to generate a Bayesian gene expression network for discovery of novel molecular pathways underpinning asthma. We detected 17,178 cis- and 593 trans- lung eQTLs, which can be used to explore the functional consequences of loci associated with lung diseases and traits. Some strong eQTLs are also asthma susceptibility loci. For example, rs3859192 on chr17q21 is robustly associated with the mRNA levels of GSDMA (P = 3.55×10(-151)). The genetic-gene expression network identified the SOCS3 pathway as one of the key drivers of asthma. The eQTLs and gene networks identified in this study are powerful tools for elucidating the causal mechanisms underlying pulmonary disease. This data resource offers much-needed support to pinpoint the causal genes and characterize the molecular function of gene variants associated with lung diseases.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2012 · PLoS Genetics
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    ABSTRACT: Common inflammatome gene signatures as well as disease-specific signatures were identified by analyzing 12 expression profiling data sets derived from 9 different tissues isolated from 11 rodent inflammatory disease models. The inflammatome signature significantly overlaps with known drug targets and co-expressed gene modules linked to metabolic disorders and cancer. A large proportion of genes in this signature are tightly connected in tissue-specific Bayesian networks (BNs) built from multiple independent mouse and human cohorts. Both the inflammatome signature and the corresponding consensus BNs are highly enriched for immune response-related genes supported as causal for adiposity, adipokine, diabetes, aortic lesion, bone, muscle, and cholesterol traits, suggesting the causal nature of the inflammatome for a variety of diseases. Integration of this inflammatome signature with the BNs uncovered 151 key drivers that appeared to be more biologically important than the non-drivers in terms of their impact on disease phenotypes. The identification of this inflammatome signature, its network architecture, and key drivers not only highlights the shared etiology but also pinpoints potential targets for intervention of various common diseases.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2012 · Molecular Systems Biology
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    ABSTRACT: To survey hepatitis B virus (HBV) integration in liver cancer genomes, we conducted massively parallel sequencing of 81 HBV-positive and 7 HBV-negative hepatocellular carcinomas (HCCs) and adjacent normal tissues. We found that HBV integration is observed more frequently in the tumors (86.4%) than in adjacent liver tissues (30.7%). Copy-number variations (CNVs) were significantly increased at HBV breakpoint locations where chromosomal instability was likely induced. Approximately 40% of HBV breakpoints within the HBV genome were located within a 1,800-bp region where the viral enhancer, X gene and core gene are located. We also identified recurrent HBV integration events (in ≥ 4 HCCs) that were validated by RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) and Sanger sequencing at the known and putative cancer-related TERT, MLL4 and CCNE1 genes, which showed upregulated gene expression in tumor versus normal tissue. We also report evidence that suggests that the number of HBV integrations is associated with patient survival.
    No preview · Article · May 2012 · Nature Genetics
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    ABSTRACT: The prognosis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) varies following surgical resection and the large variation remains largely unexplained. Studies have revealed the ability of clinicopathologic parameters and gene expression to predict HCC prognosis. However, there has been little systematic effort to compare the performance of these two types of predictors or combine them in a comprehensive model. Tumor and adjacent non-tumor liver tissues were collected from 272 ethnic Chinese HCC patients who received curative surgery. We combined clinicopathologic parameters and gene expression data (from both tissue types) in predicting HCC prognosis. Cross-validation and independent studies were employed to assess prediction. HCC prognosis was significantly associated with six clinicopathologic parameters, which can partition the patients into good- and poor-prognosis groups. Within each group, gene expression data further divide patients into distinct prognostic subgroups. Our predictive genes significantly overlap with previously published gene sets predictive of prognosis. Moreover, the predictive genes were enriched for genes that underwent normal-to-tumor gene network transformation. Previously documented liver eSNPs underlying the HCC predictive gene signatures were enriched for SNPs that associated with HCC prognosis, providing support that these genes are involved in key processes of tumorigenesis. When applied individually, clinicopathologic parameters and gene expression offered similar predictive power for HCC prognosis. In contrast, a combination of the two types of data dramatically improved the power to predict HCC prognosis. Our results also provided a framework for understanding the impact of gene expression on the processes of tumorigenesis and clinical outcome.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2011 · BMC Cancer
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    ABSTRACT: Biomarkers derived from gene expression profiling data may have a high false-positive rate and must be rigorously validated using independent clinical data sets, which are not always available. Although animal model systems could provide alternative data sets to formulate hypotheses and limit the number of signatures to be tested in clinical samples, the predictive power of such an approach is not yet proven. The present study aims to analyze the molecular signatures of liver cancer in a c-MET-transgenic mouse model and investigate its prognostic relevance to human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Tissue samples were obtained from tumor (TU), adjacent non-tumor (AN) and distant normal (DN) liver in Tet-operator regulated (TRE) human c-MET transgenic mice (n = 21) as well as from a Chinese cohort of 272 HBV- and 9 HCV-associated HCC patients. Whole genome microarray expression profiling was conducted in Affymetrix gene expression chips, and prognostic significances of gene expression signatures were evaluated across the two species. Our data revealed parallels between mouse and human liver tumors, including down-regulation of metabolic pathways and up-regulation of cell cycle processes. The mouse tumors were most similar to a subset of patient samples characterized by activation of the Wnt pathway, but distinctive in the p53 pathway signals. Of potential clinical utility, we identified a set of genes that were down regulated in both mouse tumors and human HCC having significant predictive power on overall and disease-free survival, which were highly enriched for metabolic functions. In conclusions, this study provides evidence that a disease model can serve as a possible platform for generating hypotheses to be tested in human tissues and highlights an efficient method for generating biomarker signatures before extensive clinical trials have been initiated.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2011 · PLoS ONE
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    ABSTRACT: Although Dickkopf-1 (DKK1) is known to be a negative regulator of the Wnt/β-catenin pathway, it has been recently found to be upregulated in cancers. We investigated the clinical and prognostic significance of both serum and transcript DKK1 and its functional roles in human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). We evaluated the expression level of DKK1 in both tissue and serum samples from patients with HCC using GeneChip microarray and real-time-quantitative PCR and sandwich ELISA system respectively. The clinicopathological and prognostic significance of serum and tissue DKK1 levels was examined. Functional characterization of DKK1 with regard to cell migration, invasion and tumour growth was performed. Both DKK1 transcript and serum protein were upregulated in a stepwise manner in human HCCs. Its transcript levels were associated with more aggressive tumour behaviour, in terms of venous invasion (P = 0.003), advanced tumour stage (P = 0.003). DKK1 transcript correlated with shorter overall (P = 0.006) and disease-free survival (P = 0.012), and higher serum DKK1 levels correlated with shorter disease-free survival (P = 0.046). Knockdown of DKK1 significantly reduced both migratory and invasive abilities of HCC cells, whereas overexpression of DKK1 enhanced the tumour formation efficiency and tumour growth in vivo. Serum and tissue DKK1 levels increased in a stepwise manner in multistep hepatocarcinogenesis and had prognostic significance. DKK1 plays a functional role in cell migration, invasion and tumour growth.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2011 · Liver international: official journal of the International Association for the Study of the Liver
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    ABSTRACT: One of the primary objectives in cancer research is to identify causal genomic alterations, such as somatic copy number variation (CNV) and somatic mutations, during tumor development. Many valuable studies lack genomic data to detect CNV; therefore, methods that are able to infer CNVs from gene expression data would help maximize the value of these studies. We developed a framework for identifying recurrent regions of CNV and distinguishing the cancer driver genes from the passenger genes in the regions. By inferring CNV regions across many datasets we were able to identify 109 recurrent amplified/deleted CNV regions. Many of these regions are enriched for genes involved in many important processes associated with tumorigenesis and cancer progression. Genes in these recurrent CNV regions were then examined in the context of gene regulatory networks to prioritize putative cancer driver genes. The cancer driver genes uncovered by the framework include not only well-known oncogenes but also a number of novel cancer susceptibility genes validated via siRNA experiments. To our knowledge, this is the first effort to systematically identify and validate drivers for expression based CNV regions in breast cancer. The framework where the wavelet analysis of copy number alteration based on expression coupled with the gene regulatory network analysis, provides a blueprint for leveraging genomic data to identify key regulatory components and gene targets. This integrative approach can be applied to many other large-scale gene expression studies and other novel types of cancer data such as next-generation sequencing based expression (RNA-Seq) as well as CNV data.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2011 · BMC Systems Biology
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    ABSTRACT: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a heterogeneous and highly aggressive malignancy, for which there are no effective cures. Identification of a malignant stemlike subtype of HCC may offer patients with a dismal prognosis a potential targeted therapy using c-MET and Wnt pathway inhibitors. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) show promise as diagnostic and prognostic tools for cancer detection and stratification. Using a TRE-c-Met-driven transgenic HCC mouse model, we identified a cluster of 23 miRNAs that is encoded within the Dlk1-Gtl2 imprinted region on chromosome 12qF1 overexpressed in all of the isolated liver tumors. Interestingly, this region is conserved among mammalian species and maps to the human DLK1-DIO3 region on chromosome 14q32.2. We thus examined the expression of the DLK1-DIO3 miRNA cluster in a cohort of 97 hepatitis B virus-associated HCC patients and identified a subgroup (n = 18) of patients showing strong coordinate overexpression of miRNAs in this cluster but not in other cancer types (breast, lung, kidney, stomach, and colon) that were tested. Expression levels of imprinted gene transcripts from neighboring loci in this 14q32.2 region and from a subset of other imprinted sites were concomitantly elevated in human HCC. Interestingly, overexpression of the DLK1-DIO3 miRNA cluster was positively correlated with HCC stem cell markers (CD133, CD90, EpCAM, Nestin) and associated with a high level of serum α-fetoprotein, a conventional biomarker for liver cancer, and poor survival rate in HCC patients. In conclusion, our findings suggest that coordinate up-regulation of the DLK1-DIO3 miRNA cluster at 14q32.2 may define a novel molecular (stem cell-like) subtype of HCC associated with poor prognosis.
    No preview · Article · Jul 2011 · Journal of Biological Chemistry
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    ABSTRACT: In hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) genes predictive of survival have been found in both adjacent normal (AN) and tumor (TU) tissues. The relationships between these two sets of predictive genes and the general process of tumorigenesis and disease progression remains unclear. Here we have investigated HCC tumorigenesis by comparing gene expression, DNA copy number variation and survival using ∼250 AN and TU samples representing, respectively, the pre-cancer state, and the result of tumorigenesis. Genes that participate in tumorigenesis were defined using a gene-gene correlation meta-analysis procedure that compared AN versus TU tissues. Genes predictive of survival in AN (AN-survival genes) were found to be enriched in the differential gene-gene correlation gene set indicating that they directly participate in the process of tumorigenesis. Additionally the AN-survival genes were mostly not predictive after tumorigenesis in TU tissue and this transition was associated with and could largely be explained by the effect of somatic DNA copy number variation (sCNV) in cis and in trans. The data was consistent with the variance of AN-survival genes being rate-limiting steps in tumorigenesis and this was confirmed using a treatment that promotes HCC tumorigenesis that selectively altered AN-survival genes and genes differentially correlated between AN and TU. This suggests that the process of tumor evolution involves rate-limiting steps related to the background from which the tumor evolved where these were frequently predictive of clinical outcome. Additionally treatments that alter the likelihood of tumorigenesis occurring may act by altering AN-survival genes, suggesting that the process can be manipulated. Further sCNV explains a substantial fraction of tumor specific expression and may therefore be a causal driver of tumor evolution in HCC and perhaps many solid tumor types.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2011 · PLoS ONE
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    ABSTRACT: Recent work has revealed the causative links between deregulation of microRNAs (miRNAs) and cancer development. In hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), aberrant expression of miRNAs has been observed, but the molecular mechanisms that contribute to such changes remains to be elucidated. Here, we reported the analysis of miRNA expression in 94 pairs of tumor and adjacent nontumor tissues from HBV-associated HCC in Chinese patients. We found miRNAs were aberrantly expressed in HCC tissues. To investigate the cause of such deregulation, we detected changes in DNA copy number by measuring locus-specific hybridization intensity, and found changes in expression of several miRNAs are correlated with genomic amplification or deletion. For example, the genomic regions of miR-30d and miR-151 were amplified in ∼50% of HCC tumor tissues, and the expressions of these miRNAs are significantly correlated with DNA copy number. We also employed cDNA microarray data, and provide evidence that key regulators of the miRNA biosynthetic pathway, including DROSHA, DGCR8, AGO1, and AGO2, are frequently overexpressed in HCC. This study provides molecular clues that may contribute to the global changes of miRNA expression in HCC.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2011 · Omics: a journal of integrative biology
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    ABSTRACT: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most aggressive human malignancies, common in Asia, Africa, and in areas with endemic infections of hepatitis-B or -C viruses (HBV or HCV) (But et al, 2008). Globally, the 5-year survival rate of HCC is <5% and about 600 000 HCC patients die each year. The high mortality associated with this disease is mainly attributed to the failure to diagnose HCC patients at an early stage and a lack of effective therapies for patients with advanced stage HCC. Understanding the relationships between phenotypic and molecular changes in HCC is, therefore, of paramount importance for the development of improved HCC diagnosis and treatment methods. In this study, we examined mRNA and microRNA (miRNA)-expression profiles of tumor and adjacent non-tumor liver tissue from HCC patients. The patient population was selected from a region of endemic HBV infection, and HBV infection appears to contribute to the etiology of HCC in these patients. A total of 96 HCC patients were included in the study, of which about 88% tested positive for HBV antigen; patients testing positive for HCV antigen were excluded. Among the 220 miRNAs profiled, miR-122 was the most highly expressed miRNA in liver, and its expression was decreased almost two-fold in HCC tissue relative to adjacent non-tumor tissue, confirming earlier observations (Lagos-Quintana et al, 2002; Kutay et al, 2006; Budhu et al, 2008). Over 1000 transcripts were correlated and over 1000 transcripts were anti-correlated with miR-122 expression. Consistent with the idea that transcripts anti-correlated with miR-122 are potential miR-122 targets, the most highly anti-correlated transcripts were highly enriched for the presence of the miR-122 central seed hexamer, CACTCC, in the 3′UTR. Although the complete set of negatively correlated genes was enriched for cell-cycle genes, the subset of seed-matched genes had no significant KEGG Pathway annotation, suggesting that miR-122 is unlikely to directly regulate the cell cycle in these patients. In contrast, transcripts positively correlated with miR-122 were not enriched for 3′UTR seed matches to miR-122. Interestingly, these 1042 transcripts were enriched for genes coding for mitochondrially localized proteins and for metabolic functions. To analyze the impact of loss of miR-122 in vivo, silencing of miR-122 was performed by antisense inhibition (anti-miR-122) in wild-type mice (Figure 3). As with the genes negatively correlated with miR-122 in HCC patients, no significant biological annotation was associated with the seed-matched genes up-regulated by anti-miR-122 in mouse livers. The most significantly enriched biological annotation for anti-miR-122 down-regulated genes, as for positively correlated genes in HCC, was mitochondrial localization; the down-regulated mitochondrial genes were enriched for metabolic functions. Putative direct and downstream targets with orthologs on both the human and mouse microarrays showed significant overlap for regulations in the same direction. These overlaps defined sets of putative miR-122 primary and secondary targets. The results were further extended in the analysis of a separate dataset from 180 HCC, 40 cirrhotic, and 6 normal liver tissue samples (Figure 4), showing anti-correlation of proposed primary and secondary targets in non-healthy tissues. To validate the direct correlation between miR-122 and some of the primary and secondary targets, we determined the expression of putative targets after transfection of miR-122 mimetic into PLC/PRF/5 HCC cells, including the putative direct targets SMARCD1 and MAP3K3 (MEKK3), a target described in the literature, CAT-1 (SLC7A1), and three putative secondary targets, PPARGC1A (PGC-1α) and succinate dehydrogenase subunits A and B. As expected, the putative direct targets showed reduced expression, whereas the putative secondary target genes showed increased expression in cells over-expressing miR-122 (Figure 4). Functional classification of genes using the total ancestry method (Yu et al, 2007) identified PPARGC1A (PGC-1α) as the most connected secondary target. PPARGC1A has been proposed to function as a master regulator of mitochondrial biogenesis (Ventura-Clapier et al, 2008), suggesting that loss of PPARGC1A expression may contribute to the loss of mitochondrial gene expression correlated with loss of miR-122 expression. To further validate the link of miR-122 and PGC-1α protein, we transfected PLC/PRF/5 cells with miR-122-expression vector, and observed an increase in PGC-1α protein levels. Importantly, transfection of both miR-122 mimetic and miR-122-expression vector significantly reduced the lactate content of PLC/PRF/5 cells, whereas anti-miR-122 treatment increased lactate production. Together, the data support the function of miR-122 in mitochondrial metabolic functions. Patient survival was not directly associated with miR-122-expression levels. However, miR-122 secondary targets were expressed at significantly higher levels in both tumor and adjacent non-tumor tissues among survivors as compared with deceased patients, providing supporting evidence for the potential relevance of loss of miR-122 function in HCC patient morbidity and mortality. Overall, our findings reveal potentially new biological functions for miR-122 in liver physiology. We observed decreased expression of miR-122, a liver-specific miRNA, in HBV-associated HCC, and loss of miR-122 seemed to correlate with the decrease of mitochondrion-related metabolic pathway gene expression in HCC and in non-tumor liver tissues, a result that is consistent with the outcome of treatment of mice with anti-miR-122 and is of prognostic significance for HCC patients. Further investigation will be conducted to dissect the regulatory function of miR-122 on mitochondrial metabolism in HCC and to test whether increasing miR-122 expression can improve mitochondrial function in liver and perhaps in liver tumor tissues. Moreover, these results support the idea that primary targets of a given miRNA may be distributed over a variety of functional categories while resulting in a coordinated secondary response, potentially through synergistic action (Linsley et al, 2007).
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2010 · Molecular Systems Biology
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    ABSTRACT: Using comparative proteomic and genomic approaches, the authors identified eukaryotic translation initiation factor 5A (eIF5A) as an oncofetal molecule highly abundant in mouse embryonic livers and human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cell lines. To evaluate the oncogenic role and prognostic significance of eIF5A in HCC, we investigate the expression patterns of the two isoforms (eIF5A1 and eIF5A2) in a cohort of 258 HCC cases by cDNA microarray. Both eIF5A isoforms were expressed in the tumors, and clinically correlated eIF5A1 with more numbers of tumor nodules and eIF5A2 with tumor venous infiltration in HCC. In a separate cohort of 50 HCCs, high level of eIF5A2, but not eIF5A1, was associated with elevated levels of deoxyhypusine synthase and deoxyhypusine hydroxylase that catalyze post-translational hypusination of eIF5A protein. Interestingly, N1-guanyl-1,7-diaminoheptane (GC7), which is an inhibitor for the first step of eIF5A hypusination, was shown to significantly impair the cell proliferation and invasion of primary HCC cells (HepG2 and Hep3B). To further demonstrate the tumorigenic role associated with eIF5A, a drastic reduction of cell proliferation was associated with suppression of eIF5A2 by transfecting Hep3B, H2-P and H2-M HCC cells expressing high level of this isoform using small interfering RNA (siRNA) against eIF5A2. For these assays, a milder response was usually observed in normal hepatocyte cell line. Therefore, these findings suggest that eIF5A plays an important role in HCC tumorigenesis and metastasis, and targeting eIF5A hypusination by GC7 inhibitor or eIF5A2 by RNA interference (RNAi) may offer new therapeutic alternatives to HCC patients.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2010 · International Journal of Cancer
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    ABSTRACT: Copy number variation (CNV) is one of the most profound forms of somatic DNA changes that underlie most human cancers. However, the degree of complexity within and between DNA and mRNA variations in cancer cohorts has yet to be fully characterized. Here we characterized the connectivity of CNV/CNV and its contribution to transcriptome in human cancer cell lines. Strikingly, we found there is a significant nonrandom correlation of many unlinked DNA loci and also a significant association between CNV and mRNA expression in cis and in trans (called eCNV). Both distributions of DNA/DNA and DNA/mRNA associations exhibit a scale-free structure showing that, for DNA/DNA, a few loci correlate to many other loci, whereas most loci correlate to only a few loci; and for DNA/mRNA, certain chromosomal loci associate with many mRNAs and that many mRNAs are controlled by more than one locus. This suggests that a small number of DNA loci act as hubs in a hierarchical structure that is highly nonrandom in nature, and genes linking to these hot spots tend to be involved in similar biological functions. Derivation of highly connected structures suggests a process of undirected copy number changes followed by selection of those advantageous to tumor cells during tumorigenesis. Given that the cohort includes many tissue types, our observations may identify a common and important underlying structure present in human tumors.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2010 · Omics: a journal of integrative biology
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    ABSTRACT: Surgical resection is one important curative treatment for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), but the prognosis following surgery differs substantially and such large variation is mainly unexplained. A review of the literature yields a number of clinicopathologic parameters associated with HCC prognosis. However, the results are not consistent due to lack of systemic approach to establish a prediction model incorporating all these parameters. We conducted a retrospective analysis on the common clinicopathologic parameters from a cohort of 572 ethnic Chinese HCC patients who received curative surgery. The cases were randomly divided into training (n = 272) and validation (n = 300) sets. Each parameter was individually tested and the significant parameters were entered into a linear classifier for model building, and the prediction accuracy was assessed in the validation set Our findings based on the training set data reveal 6 common clinicopathologic parameters (tumor size, number of tumor nodules, tumor stage, venous infiltration status, and serum alpha-fetoprotein and total albumin levels) that were significantly associated with the overall HCC survival and disease-free survival (time to recurrence). We next built a linear classifier model by multivariate Cox regression to predict prognostic outcomes of HCC patients after curative surgery This analysis detected a considerable fraction of variance in HCC prognosis and the area under the ROC curve was about 70%. We further evaluated the model using two other protocols; leave-one-out procedure (n = 264) and independent validation (n = 300). Both were found to have excellent prediction power. The predicted score could separate patients into distinct groups with respect to survival (p-value = 1.8e-12) and disease free survival (p-value = 3.2e-7). This described model will provide valuable guidance on prognosis after curative surgery for HCC in clinical practice. The adaptive nature allows easy accommodation for future new biomarker inputs, and it may serve as the foundation for future modeling and prediction for HCC prognosis after surgical treatment.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2009 · BMC Cancer
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    ABSTRACT: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a lethal malignancy for which there are no effective therapies. To develop rational therapeutic approaches for treating this disease, we are performing proof-of-principle studies targeting molecules crucial for the development of HCC. Here, we show that cadherin-17 (CDH17) adhesion molecule is up-regulated in human liver cancers and can transform premalignant liver progenitor cells to produce liver carcinomas in mice. RNA interference-mediated knockdown of CDH17 inhibited proliferation of both primary and highly metastatic HCC cell lines in vitro and in vivo. The antitumor mechanisms underlying CDH17 inhibition involve inactivation of Wnt signaling, because growth inhibition and cell death were accompanied by relocalization of beta-catenin to the cytoplasm and a concomitant reduction in cyclin D1 and an increase in retinoblastoma. CONCLUSION: Our results identify CDH17 as a novel oncogene in HCC and suggest that CDH17 is a biomarker and attractive therapeutic target for this aggressive malignancy.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2009 · Hepatology
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    ABSTRACT: A principal task in dissecting the genetics of complex traits is to identify causal genes for disease phenotypes. We previously developed a method to infer causal relationships among genes through the integration of DNA variation, gene transcription and phenotypic information. Here we have validated our method through the characterization of transgenic and knockout mouse models of genes predicted to be causal for abdominal obesity. Perturbation of eight out of the nine genes, with Gas7, Me1 and Gpx3 being newly confirmed, resulted in significant changes in obesity-related traits. Liver expression signatures revealed alterations in common metabolic pathways and networks contributing to abdominal obesity and overlapped with a macrophage-enriched metabolic network module that is highly associated with metabolic traits in mice and humans. Integration of gene expression in the design and analysis of traditional F(2) intercross studies allows high-confidence prediction of causal genes and identification of pathways and networks involved.
    Full-text · Article · May 2009 · Nature Genetics

Publication Stats

3k Citations
337.41 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2012
    • Merck
      White House Station, New Jersey, United States
  • 2011
    • Shanghai Cancer Institute
      Shanghai, Shanghai Shi, China
  • 2009
    • InPharmatics
      San Diego, California, United States