DigitalCommons@The Texas Medical Center


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    Gene silencing due to epigenetic mechanisms shows evidence of significant contributions to cancer development. We hypothesis that the genetic architecture based on retrotransposon elements surrounding the transcription start site, plays an important role in the suppression and promotion of DNA methylation. In our investigation we found a high rate of SINE and LINEs retrotransposon elements near the transcription start site of unmethylated genes when compared to methylated genes. The presence of these elements were positively associated with promoter methylation, contrary to logical expectations, due to the malicious effects of retrotransposon elements which insert themselves randomly into the genome causing possible loss of gene function. In our genome wide analysis of human genes, results suggested that 22% of the genes in cancer were predicted to be methylation-prone; in cancer these genes are generally down-regulated and function in the development process. In summary, our investigation validated our hypothesis and showed that these widespread genomic elements in cancer are highly associated with promoter DNA methylation and may further participate in influencing epigenetic regulation


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    Understanding Nanog’s Role in Cancer Biology Mark Daniel Badeaux Supervisory Professor Dean Tang, PhD The cancer stem cell model holds that tumor heterogeneity and population-level immortality are driven by a subset of cells within the tumor, termed cancer stem cells. Like embryonic or somatic stem cells, cancer stem cells are believed to possess self-renewal capacity and the ability to give rise to a multitude of varieties of daughter cell. Because of cancer’s implied connections to authentic stem cells, we screened a variety of prostate cancer cell lines and primary tumors in order to determine if any notable ‘stemness’ genes were expressed in malignant growths. We found a promising lead in Nanog, a central figure in maintaining embryonic stem cell pluripotency, and through a variety of experiments in which we diminished Nanog expression, found that it may play a significant role in prostate cancer development. We then created a transgenic mouse model in which we targeted Nanog expression to keratin 14-expressing in order to assess its potential contribution to tumorigenesis. We found a variety of developmental abnormalities and altered differentiation patterns in our model , but much to our chagrin we observed neither spontaneous tumor formation nor premalignant changes in these mice, but instead surprisingly found that high levels of Nanog expression inhibited tumor formation in a two-stage skin carcinogenesis model. We also noted a depletion of skin stem cell populations, which underlies the wound-healing defect our mice harbor as well. Gene expression analysis shows a reduction in c-Jun and Bmp5, two genes whose loss inhibits skin tumor development and reduces stem cell counts respectively. As we further explored Nanog’s activity in prostate cancer, it became apparent that the protein oftentimes was not expressed. Emboldened by the competing endogenous RNA (ceRNA) hypothesis, we identified the Nanog 3’UTR as a regulator of the tumor suppressive microRNA 128a (miR-128a), which includes known oncogenes such as Bmi1 among its authentic targets. Future work will necessarily involve discerning instances in which Nanog mRNA is the biologically relevant molecule, as well as identifying additional mRNA species which may serve solely as a molecular sink for miR-128a

    The Role of Consistency and Diversity in Building Knowledge in Family Preservation

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    Family preservation has been criticized for implementing programs that are not theoretically founded. One result of this circumstance is a lack of information regarding processes and outcomes of family preservation services. The knowledge base of family preservation is thus rather limited at present and will remain limited unless theory is consistently integrated within individual programs. A model for conceptualizing how theoretical consistency may be implemented within programs is presented and applied to family preservation. It is also necessary for programs to establish theoretical consistency before theoretical diversity, both within individual and across multiple programs, in order to advance the field in meaningful ways. A developmental cycle of knowledge generation is presented and applied to family preservation

    Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health, Revised and Expanded Edition

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    A review of Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition, and Health, Revised and Expanded Edition


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    The human endogenous retrovirus K (HERV-K) env gene encodes envelope protein comprising surface (SU) and transmembrane (TM) domains. Having shown the exclusive expression of SU in human breast cancer and the stimulation of SU-specific immune responses in patients with breast cancer, our research here confirmed and extended the data by investigating the expression of HERV-K TM envelope domain and the induction of specific immune responses against TM in breast cancer patients. We found HERV-K TM mRNA and protein expression only in human breast cancer cells but not in normal controls. The specific immune responses against TM domain were induced in mice determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and IFN-γ enzyme-linked immunosorbent spot (ELISPOT) assay. Furthermore, ELISA detected higher titers of anti-HERV-K TM Env IgG antibodies in sera of breast cancer patients. In addition, the magnitude of the anti-HERV TM B cell response was correlated with the disease stage. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) before and after in vitro stimulation (IVS) with HERV-K TM from patients with breast cancer as well as healthy controls were tested for T cell responses against HERV-K TM domain by ELISPOT assay. Breast cancer patients (n=21) had stronger HERV-K TM-specific cellular responses than healthy controls (n=12) (P \u3c 0.05). These findings suggest, for the first time, that HERV-K TM expression was enhanced in human breast cancer cells and was able to induce specific B cell and T cell immune responses in breast cancer patients. This study provides support for HERV-K TM as a promising source of antigen for anti-tumor immunotherapy, prevention, diagnosis, and prognosis

    Mutagenicity of herpes simplex virus type 1 in a shuttle vector

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    The shuttle vector plasmid pZ189 was used to find the kinds of mutations that are induced by herpes simplex virus type-1 (HSV-1). In cells infected by HSV-1 the frequency of mutation in supF gene, the mutagenesis marker, was increased over background by from two- to seven-fold, reaching 0.14-0.45%. No increase was induced by infection by vaccinia virus under the same conditions. Mutagenesis was an early event, showing a four-fold increase in mutation frequency at only two hours after infection, and peaking at a seven-fold increase at four hours after infection. DNA sequencing and gel electrophoresis analysis were performed on 105 HSV-1 induced mutants and 65 spontaneous mutants and provided the following information: (1) A change in plasmid size was seen in 54% of HSV-1 related mutants, compared with only 37% of spontaneous mutants. (2) Among point mutations, the predominant type was G:C to A:T transition, which accounted for 51% of point mutations in mutants isolated from cells infected with HSV-1, and 32% of point mutations in spontaneous mutants. (3) Deletions of DNA were seen in HSV-1 related mutants at a frequency of 40%, compared with 29% in spontaneous mutants. The HSV-1 related deletions were about half the length of spontaneous mutants and three contained short filler sequences. (4) Fifteen (15%) of HSV-1 induced mutants revealed the altered restriction patterns on agarose gel electrophoresis analysis and were due either to rearrangements of plasmid DNA, and/or to insertion of sequences derived from chromosomal DNA (seven plasmids). No insertions of DNA from HSV-1 were detected. Among spontaneous mutants, only 5 (7.7%) were rearrangements and none had inserted chromosomal DNA. (5) DNA sequence analysis of seven plasmids with inserted chromosomal DNA revealed that four cases had repetitive DNA sequences integrated and the other three were unidentified sequences from the GenBank database. Three repetitive DNA included $\alpha$ satellite, Alu and KpnI family sequences. The other sequence was identified as tRNA-like component. The observed mutations have implications for the mechanism of malignant transformation of cells by HSV-1

    Characterization of sea urchin yolk glycoproteins

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    To study the fate of the yolk glycoproteins found in eggs and embryos of the sea urchin, S. purpuratus, a polyclonal antibody to a 90-kDa polymannose glycoprotein was prepared. lmmunoblot analysis of total proteins over the course of development showed that this antibody recognized a family of glycoproteins. Concomitant with the disappearance of the major 160-kDa egg yolk glycoprotein during embryogenesis, glycoproteins with a lower molecular mass appeared. These glycoproteins (115, 108, 90, 83, and 68 kDa) were purified and peptide mapping revealed that they were cleavage products derived from the major yolk glycoprotein. The antibody identified a homologous set of yolk glycoproteins with similar molecular masses in the embryos of three other species in the class Echinoidea: L. pictus, A. punctulata, and D. excentricus. However, eggs from other echinoderm classes and from chicken, frog, fruit fly, and nematode did not contain any cross-reactive molecules. Cross-reactivity within the class Echinoidea was not due to a common carbohydrate epitope, because the antibody recognized the glycoproteins even after the N-linked, polymannose carbohydrate side chains were enzymatically removed. The major yolk glycoprotein (160-170 kDa) from each of the three sea urchin species was purified and analyzed, revealing striking similarities in pI and in amino acid and monosaccharide composition. Peptide mapping showed that the 160-kDa glycoprotein from the four echinoids are structurally homologous. The major yolk glycoprotein appeared to be proteolyzed by a thiol protease, which could be activated in yolk particles prepared from unfertilized eggs by low pH. Immunolocalization by electron microscopy in S. purpuratus showed that the yolk glycoproteins remained within the yolk platelet throughout embryonic development, and that externalization of the glycoproteins was not detectable. The yolk glycoprotein precursor began to be synthesized in premetamorphosis larvae, and continued in adult males and females. Both the yolk glycoproteins and the yolk platelets disappeared during larval development. This disappearance has special significance because there were no yolk proteins in the direct developing sea urchin, H. erthryogramma, which bypasses larval development and metamorphoses directly into an adult

    Chromosomal organization and evolutionary conservation of the human chromosome 19q linkage group containing three DNA repair genes

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    A series of human-rodent somatic cell hybrids were investigated by Southern blot analysis for the presence or absence of twenty-six molecular markers and three isozyme loci from human chromosome 19. Based on the co-retention of these markers in the various independent hybrid clones containing portions of human chromosome 19 and on pulsed field mapping, chromosome 19 is divided into twenty ordered regions. The most likely marker order for the chromosome is: (LDLR, C3)-(cen-MANNB)-D19S7-PEPD-D19S9-GPI-TGF$ \beta$-(CYP2A, NCA, CGM2, BCKAD)-PSG1a-(D19S8, XRCC1)-(D19S19, ATP1A3)-(D19S37, APOC2)-CKMM-ERCC2-ERCC1-(D19S62, D19S51)-D19S6-D19S50-D19S22-(CGB, FTL)-qter. The region of 19q between the proximal marker D19S7 and the distal gene coding for the beta subunit of chorionic gonadotropin (CGB) is about 37 Mb in size and covers about 37 cM genetic distance. The ration of genetic to physical distance on 19q is therefore very close to the genomic average OF 1 cM/Mb. Estimates of physical distances for intervals between chromosome 19 markers were calculated using a mapping function which estimates distances based on the number of breaks in hybrid clone panels. The consensus genetic distances between individual markers (established at HBM10) were compared to these estimates of physical distances. The close agreement between the two estimates suggested that spontaneously broken hybrids are as appropriate for this type of study as radiation hybrids. All three DNA repair genes located on chromosome 19 were found to have homologues on Chinese hamster chromosome 9, which is hemizygous in CHO cells, providing an explanation for the apparent ease with which mutations at these loci were identified in CHO cells. Homologues of CKMM and TGF$\beta$ (from human chromosome 19q) and a mini-satellite DNA specific to the distal region of human chromosome 19q were also mapped to Chinese hamster 9. Markers from 19p did not map to this hamster chromosome. Thus the q-arm of chromosome 19, at least between the genes PEPD and ERCC1, appears to be a linkage group which is conserved intact between humans and Chinese hamsters

    Tumor cell-associated epitopes recognized by lymphokine-activated killers (LAK)

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    Interleukin-2 activated lymphocytes, designated lymphokine-activated killers (LAK), acquire the unique capacity to express potent cytologic activity against a broad spectrum of abnormal and/or transformed NK-sensitive and NK-resistant target cells while sparing normal cell types. Investigations into the target spectra exhibited by cloned effector cells indicate that LAK cells express a polyspecific recognition mechanism that identifies an undefined class of cell surface-associated molecules expressed on susceptible targets. This report extends our previous investigations into the biochemical nature of these molecules by characterizing the functional role of two tumor cell-surface-associated epitopes implicated in conferring target cells with susceptibility to LAK-mediated cytotoxicity. The first moiety is implicated in the formation of effector/target cell conjugates. This binding ligand is preferentially expressed on tumor cells relative to LAK-resistant PBL target cells, sensitive to trypsin treatment, resistant to functional inactivation by heat- and detergent-induced conformational changes, and does not require N-linked glycosylation to maintain binding activity. In contrast, a carbohydrate-associated epitope represents the second tumor-associated molecule required for target cell susceptibility to LAK cells. Specifically, N-linked glyoprotein synthesis represents an absolute requirement for post-trypsin recovery of target cell susceptibility. The minimal N-linked oligosaccharide residue capable of restoring this second signal has been identified as a high mannose structure. Although ultimately required for tumor cell susceptibility, as measured in $\sp{51}$Cr-release assays, this N-glycan-associated molecule is not required for the differential tumor cell binding expressed by LAK cells. Furthermore, N-glycan expression is not adequate in itself to confer target cell susceptibility. Additional categories of cell surface components have been investigated, including O-linked oligosaccharides, and glycosaminoglycans, without identifying additional moieties relevant to target cell recognition. Collectively, these data suggest that tumor cell recognition by LAK cells is dependent on cell surface presentation of two epitopes: a trypsin-sensitive molecule that participates in the initial conjugate formation and an N-glycan-associated moiety that is involved in a post-binding event required for target cell killing
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