[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Atopic dermatitis (AD; eczema) is characterized by a widespread abnormality in cutaneous barrier function and propensity to inflammation. Filaggrin is a multifunctional protein and plays a key role in skin barrier formation. Loss-of-function mutations in the gene encoding filaggrin (FLG) are a highly significant risk factor for atopic disease, but the molecular mechanisms leading to dermatitis remain unclear. We sought to interrogate tissue-specific variations in the expressed genome in the skin of children with AD and to investigate underlying pathomechanisms in atopic skin. We applied single-molecule direct RNA sequencing to analyze the whole transcriptome using minimal tissue samples. Uninvolved skin biopsy specimens from 26 pediatric patients with AD were compared with site-matched samples from 10 nonatopic teenage control subjects. Cases and control subjects were screened for FLG genotype to stratify the data set. Two thousand four hundred thirty differentially expressed genes (false discovery rate, P < .05) were identified, of which 211 were significantly upregulated and 490 downregulated by greater than 2-fold. Gene ontology terms for “extracellular space” and “defense response” were enriched, whereas “lipid metabolic processes” were downregulated. The subset of FLG wild-type cases showed dysregulation of genes involved with lipid metabolism, whereas filaggrin haploinsufficiency affected global gene expression and was characterized by a type 1 interferon–mediated stress response. These analyses demonstrate the importance of extracellular space and lipid metabolism in atopic skin pathology independent of FLG genotype, whereas an aberrant defense response is seen in subjects with FLG mutations. Genotype stratification of the large data set has facilitated functional interpretation and might guide future therapy development.
Full-text · Article · May 2014 · Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Colorectal cancers commonly carry truncation mutations in the adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) gene. The APC protein contributes to the stabilization of microtubules. Consistently, microtubules in cells lacking APC depolymerize more readily in response to microtubule-destabilizing drugs. This raises the possibility that such agents are suitable for treatment of APC-deficient cancers. However, APC-deficient cells have a compromised spindle assembly checkpoint, which renders them less sensitive to killing by microtubule poisons whose toxicity relies on the induction of prolonged mitotic arrest. Here, we describe the novel discovery that the clinically used microtubule-depolymerizing drug vinorelbine (Navelbine) kills APC-deficient cells in culture and in intestinal tissue more effectively than it kills wild-type cells. This is due to the ability of vinorelbine to kill cells in interphase independently of mitotic arrest. Consistent with a role for p53 in cell death in interphase, depletion of p53 renders cells less sensitive to vinorelbine, but only in the presence of wild-type APC. The pro-apoptotic protein BIM (also known as BCL2L11) is recruited to mitochondria in response to vinorelbine, where it can inhibit the anti-apoptotic protein BCL2, suggesting that BIM mediates vinorelbine-induced cell death. This recruitment of BIM is enhanced in cells lacking APC. Consistently, BIM depletion dampens the selective effect of vinorelbine on these cells. Our findings reveal that vinorelbine is a potential therapeutic agent for colorectal cancer, but they also illustrate the importance of the APC tumour suppressor status when predicting therapeutic efficacy.
Full-text · Article · Mar 2012 · Journal of Cell Science
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Filaggrin (FLG) mutations result in reduced stratum corneum (SC) natural moisturizing factor (NMF) components and consequent increased SC pH. Because higher pH activates SC protease activity, we hypothesized an enhanced release of proinflammatory IL-1 cytokines from corneocytes in patients with atopic dermatitis (AD) with FLG mutations (AD(FLG)) compared with that seen in patients with AD without these mutations (AD(NON-FLG)).
We sought to investigate SC IL-1 cytokine profiles in the uninvolved skin of controls and patients with AD(FLG) versus patients with AD(NON-FLG). We also sought to examine the same profiles in a murine model of filaggrin deficiency (Flg(ft)/Flg(ft) [Flg(delAPfal)] mice).
One hundred thirty-seven patients were studied. NMF levels were ascertained using confocal Raman spectroscopy; transepidermal water loss and skin surface pH were measured. IL-1α, IL-1β, IL-18, IL-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1RA), and IL-8 levels were determined in SC tape strips from 93 patients. All subjects were screened for 9 FLG mutations. Flg(ft)/Flg(ft) (Flg(delAPfal)) mice, separated from maFlg(ft)/maFlg(ft) (flaky tail) mice, were used for the preparation and culture of primary murine keratinocytes and as a source of murine skin. RT-PCR was performed using primers specific for murine IL-1α, IL-1β, and IL-1RA.
SC IL-1 levels were increased in patients with AD(FLG); these levels were inversely correlated with NMF levels. NMF values were also inversely correlated with skin surface pH. Skin and keratinocytes from Flg(ft)/Flg(ft) mice had upregulated expression of IL-1β and IL-1RA mRNA.
AD(FLG) is associated with an increased SC IL-1 cytokine profile; this profile is also seen in a murine homologue of filaggrin deficiency. These findings might have importance in understanding the influence of FLG mutations on the inflammasome in the pathogenesis of AD and help individualize therapeutic approaches.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2012 · The Journal of allergy and clinical immunology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Loss-of-function variants within the filaggrin gene (FLG) increase the risk of atopic dermatitis. FLG also demonstrates intragenic copy number variation (CNV), with alleles encoding 10, 11, or 12 filaggrin monomers; hence, CNV may affect the amount of filaggrin expressed in the epidermis. A total of 876 Irish pediatric atopic dermatitis cases were compared with 928 population controls to test the hypothesis that CNV within FLG affects the risk of atopic dermatitis independently of FLG-null mutations. Cases and controls were screened for CNV and common FLG-null mutations. In this population the 11-repeat allele was most prevalent (allele frequency 51.5%); the 10-repeat allele frequency was 33.9% and the 12-repeat allele frequency was 14.6%. Having excluded FLG mutation carriers, the control group had a significantly higher number of repeats than cases (χ(2) P=0.043), and the odds ratio of disease was reduced by a factor of 0.88 (95% confidence interval 0.78-0.98, P=0.025) for each additional unit of copy number. Breakdown products of filaggrin were quantified in tape-stripped stratum corneum from 31 atopic dermatitis patients and urocanic acid showed a positive correlation with total copy number. CNV within FLG makes a significant, dose-dependent contribution to atopic dermatitis risk, and therefore treatments to increase filaggrin expression may have therapeutic utility.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2011 · Journal of Investigative Dermatology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Filaggrin, coded by FLG, is the main source of several major components of natural moisturizing factor (NMF) in the stratum corneum (SC), including pyrrolidone carboxylic acid (PCA) and urocanic acid (UCA). Loss-offunction mutations in FLG lead to reduced levels of filaggrin degradation products in the SC. It has recently been suggested that expression of filaggrin may additionally be influenced by the atopic inflammatory response. In this study, we investigated the levels of several breakdown products of filaggrin in the SC in healthy controls (CTRL) and patients with atopic dermatitis (AD) in relation to FLG null allele status. We examined the relationship between NMF (defined here as the sum of PCA and UCA) and AD severity.
The SC levels of filaggrin degradation products including PCA, UCA, histidine (HIS) and tyrosine were determined in 24 CTRL and 96 patients with moderate-to-severe AD. All subjects were screened for 11 FLG mutations relevant for the study population.
The levels of PCA, UCA and HIS correlated with FLG genotype. Furthermore, these levels were higher in the CTRL when compared to AD patients with no FLG mutations. Multiple regression analysis showed that NMF levels were independently associated with FLG genotype and severity of disease.
Decreased NMF is a global feature of moderate-to-severe AD; within AD, FLG genotype is the major determinant of NMF, with disease severity as a secondary modifier. NMF components are reliably determined by a noninvasive and relatively inexpensive tape stripping technique.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background Null mutations in the filaggrin gene (FLG) cause ichthyosis vulgaris (IV) and predispose to atopic dermatitis (AD). Cohort studies in Europe and Japan have reported an FLG mutation carrier frequency of between 14% and 56%, but the prevalent European FLG mutations are rare or absent in Chinese patients with IV and AD.
Objectives To investigate further the spectrum of FLG-null mutations in Chinese patients and to compare it with that in other populations.
Methods We conducted comprehensive FLG genetic analysis in a discovery cohort of 92 Singaporean Chinese individuals with IV and/or moderate-to-severe AD. All detected FLG mutations were then screened in a cohort of 425 patients with AD and 440 normal controls.
Results In total, 22 FLG-null mutations, of which 14 are novel, were identified in this study; the combined null FLG genotype of 17 mutations detected in cases and controls showed strong association with AD [Fisher’s exact test; P = 5·3 × 10−9; odds ratio (OR) 3·3], palmar hyperlinearity (Fisher’s exact test; P = 9·0 × 10−15; OR 5·8), keratosis pilaris (Fisher’s exact test; P = 0·001; OR 4·7) and with increased severity of AD (permutation test; P = 0·0063).
Conclusions This study emphasizes the wider genetic landscape of FLG-null mutations in Asia that is slowly emerging.
Full-text · Article · Jun 2011 · British Journal of Dermatology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mutations in the adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) tumour suppressor are the key initiating event of colorectal cancer. Although the control of WNT signalling is well established as a central tumour-suppressive function, the significance of APC in regulating chromosome instability is less well established. In this study, we test whether APC-deficient cells have a functional spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC) in vivo by examining the response of these cells to Taxol and Vinorelbine. We also show for the first time that APC deficiency compromises the arrest response to Taxol in vivo. This effect is independent of the role that APC has in WNT signalling. At higher levels of Taxol, APC-deficient cells arrest as efficiently as wild-type cells. Importantly, this dose of Taxol strongly suppresses intestinal tumourigenesis in models of benign (APC(Min/+) mouse) and invasive (AhCreER(+)APC(fl/+)PTEN(fl/fl)) cancer. In contrast to intestinal enterocytes with a general SAC defect because of Bub1 (budding uninhibited by benzimidazole 1) deletion, APC-deficient enterocytes arrest equivalently to wild type when treated with Vinorelbine. This suggests that the failed arrest in response to Taxol is because of a specific defect in microtubule stabilization following Taxol treatment rather than a general role of the APC protein in the mitotic spindle checkpoint. In summary, this study clarifies the role of APC as a mitotic spindle checkpoint protein in vivo and shows that APC-deficient cells have a compromised response to Taxol.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Filaggrin (FLG) has a central role in the pathogenesis of atopic dermatitis (AD). FLG is a complex repetitive gene; highly population-specific mutations and multiple rare mutations make routine genotyping complex. Furthermore, the mechanistic pathways through which mutations in FLG predispose to AD are unclear.
We sought to determine whether specific Raman microspectroscopic natural moisturizing factor (NMF) signatures of the stratum corneum could be used as markers of FLG genotype in patients with moderate-to-severe AD.
The composition and function of the stratum corneum in 132 well-characterized patients with moderate-to-severe AD were assessed by means of confocal Raman microspectroscopy and measurement of transepidermal water loss (TEWL). These parameters were compared with FLG genotype and clinical assessment.
Three subpopulations closely corresponding with FLG genotype were identified by using Raman spectroscopy. The Raman signature of NMF discriminated between FLG-associated AD and non-FLG-associated AD (area under the curve, 0.94; 95% CI, 0.91-0.99). In addition, within the subset of FLG-associated AD, NMF distinguished between patients with 1 versus 2 mutations. Five novel FLG mutations were found on rescreening outlying patients with Raman signatures suggestive of undetected mutations (R3418X, G1138X, S1040X, 10085delC, and L2933X). TEWL did not associate with FLG genotype subgroups.
Raman spectroscopy permits rapid and highly accurate stratification of FLG-associated AD. FLG mutations do not influence TEWL within established moderate-to-severe AD.
Full-text · Article · Sep 2010 · The Journal of allergy and clinical immunology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Truncation mutations in the adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) gene are responsible for familial and sporadic colorectal cancer. APC is a multifunctional protein involved in cell migration, proliferation and differentiation. The APC protein forms specific clusters in the cell periphery that correlate with sites of active cell migration. Little is known about the molecular mechanisms that govern these clusters. Here, we identify a novel interaction of an N-terminal region of APC with the extreme C-terminal 300 amino acids of APC and also with itself. The latter interaction is phospho-sensitive and is enhanced by 14-3-3 (YWHA) protein. These interactions modulate the clustering of APC at the ends of membrane protrusions. Overexpressing this domain or inhibiting 14-3-3 proteins disperses APC clusters and leads to decreased cell migration. Moreover, deleting this domain from full-length APC results in less-dynamic clusters compared with wild-type APC. Our data indicate that this newly identified regions in the N-terminal third of APC contributes to the regulation of APC clusters, thus providing a molecular clue for how locally regulated phosphorylation events could mediate the dynamics of APC clusters and contribute to cell migration.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Most sporadic colorectal tumors carry truncation mutations in the adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) gene. The APC protein is involved in many processes that govern gut tissue. In addition to its involvement in the regulation of beta-catenin, APC is a cytoskeletal regulator with direct and indirect effects on microtubules. Cancer-related truncation mutations lack direct and indirect binding sites for microtubules in APC, suggesting that loss of this function contributes to defects in APC-mutant cells. In this study, we show that loss of APC results in disappearance of cellular protrusions and decreased cell migration. These changes are accompanied by a decrease in overall microtubule stability and also by a decrease in posttranslationally modified microtubules in the cell periphery particularly the migrating edge. Consistent with the ability of APC to affect cell shape, the overexpression of APC in cells can induce cellular protrusions. These data demonstrate that cell migration and microtubule stability are linked to APC status, thereby revealing a weakness in APC-deficient cells with potential therapeutic implications.
Full-text · Article · Apr 2007 · Molecular Biology of the Cell
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mutations in the adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) tumor suppressor gene initiate a majority of colorectal cancers. Acquisition of chromosomal instability is an early event in these tumors. We provide evidence that the loss of APC leads to a partial loss of interkinetochore tension at metaphase and alters mitotic progression. Furthermore, we show that inhibition of APC in U2OS cells compromises the mitotic spindle checkpoint. This is accompanied by a decrease in the association of the checkpoint proteins Bub1 and BubR1 with kinetochores. Additionally, APC depletion reduced apoptosis. As expected from this combination of defects, tetraploidy and polyploidy are consequences of APC inhibition in vitro and in vivo. The removal of APC produced the same defects in HCT116 cells that have constitutively active beta-catenin. These data show that the loss of APC immediately induces chromosomal instability as a result of a combination of mitotic and apoptotic defects. We suggest that these defects amplify each other to increase the incidence of tetra- and polyploidy in early stages of tumorigenesis.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2007 · The Journal of Cell Biology