122 research outputs found

    Effective Alu repeat based RT-qPCR normalization in cancer cell perturbation experiments

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    Background: Measuring messenger RNA (mRNA) levels using the reverse transcription quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) is common practice in many laboratories. A specific set of mRNAs as internal control reference genes is considered as the preferred strategy to normalize RT-qPCR data. Proper selection of reference genes is a critical issue, especially in cancer cells that are subjected to different in vitro manipulations. These manipulations may result in dramatic alterations in gene expression levels, even of assumed reference genes. In this study, we evaluated the expression levels of 11 commonly used reference genes as internal controls for normalization of 19 experiments that include neuroblastoma, T-ALL, melanoma, breast cancer, non small cell lung cancer (NSCL), acute myeloid leukemia (AML), prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, and cervical cancer cell lines subjected to various perturbations. Results: The geNorm algorithm in the software package qbase+ was used to rank the candidate reference genes according to their expression stability. We observed that the stability of most of the candidate reference genes varies greatly in perturbation experiments. Expressed Alu repeats show relatively stable expression regardless of experimental condition. These Alu repeats are ranked among the best reference assays in all perturbation experiments and display acceptable average expression stability values (M<0.5). Conclusions: We propose the use of Alu repeats as a reference assay when performing cancer cell perturbation experiments

    In silico discovery of a FOXM1 driven embryonal signaling pathway in therapy resistant neuroblastoma tumors

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    Chemotherapy resistance is responsible for high mortality rates in neuroblastoma. MYCN, an oncogenic driver in neuroblastoma, controls pluripotency genes including LIN28B. We hypothesized that enhanced embryonic stem cell (ESC) gene regulatory programs could mark tumors with high pluripotency capacity and subsequently increased risk for therapy failure. An ESC miRNA signature was established based on publicly available data. In addition, an ESC mRNA signature was generated including the 500 protein coding genes with the highest positive expression correlation with the ESC miRNA signature score in 200 neuroblastomas. High ESC m(i)RNA expression signature scores were significantly correlated with poor neuroblastoma patient outcome specifically in the subgroup of MYCN amplified tumors and stage 4 nonamplified tumors. Further data-mining identified FOXM1, as the major predicted driver of this ESC signature, controlling a large set of genes implicated in cell cycle control and DNA damage response. Of further interest, re-analysis of published data showed that MYCN transcriptionally activates FOXM1 in neuroblastoma cells. In conclusion, a novel ESC m(i)RNA signature stratifies neuroblastomas with poor prognosis, enabling the identification of therapy-resistant tumors. The finding that this signature is strongly FOXM1 driven, warrants for drug design targeted at FOXM1 or key components controlling this pathway

    Genome wide expression profiling of p53 regulated miRNAs in neuroblastoma

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    Restoration of the antitumor activity of p53 could offer a promising approach for the treatment of neuroblastoma. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are important mediators of p53 activity, but their role in the p53 response has not yet been comprehensively addressed in neuroblastoma. Therefore, we set out to characterize alterations in miRNA expression that are induced by p53 activation in neuroblastoma cells. Genome-wide miRNA expression analysis showed that miR-34a-5p, miR-182-5p, miR-203a, miR-222-3p, and miR-432-5p are upregulated following nutlin-3 treatment in a p53 dependent manner. The function of miR-182-5p, miR-203a, miR-222-3p, and miR-432-5p was analyzed by ectopic overexpression of miRNA mimics. We observed that these p53-regulated miRNAs inhibit the proliferation of neuroblastoma cells to varying degrees, with the most profound growth inhibition recorded for miR-182-5p. Overexpression of miR-182-5p promoted apoptosis in some neuroblastoma cell lines and induced neuronal differentiation of NGP cells. Using Chromatin Immunoprecipitation-qPCR (ChIP-qPCR), we did not observe direct binding of p53 to MIR182, MIR203, MIR222, and MIR432 in neuroblastoma cells. Taken together, our findings yield new insights in the network of p53-regulated miRNAs in neuroblastoma

    Limited effect of duration of CMV infection on adaptive immunity and frailty:insights from a 27-year-long longitudinal study

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    Objectives: Cytomegalovirus infection is thought to affect the immune system and to impact general health during ageing. Higher CMV-specific antibody levels in the elderly are generally assumed to reflect experienced viral reactivation during life. Furthermore, high levels of terminally differentiated and CMV-specific T cells are hallmarks of CMV infection, which are thought to expand over time, a process also referred to as memory inflation.Methods: We studied CMV-specific antibody levels over ~ 27 years in 268 individuals (aged 60-89 years at study endpoint), and to link duration of CMV infection to T-cell numbers, CMV-specific T-cell functions, frailty and cardiovascular disease at study endpoint.Results: In our study, 136/268 individuals were long-term CMV seropositive and 19 seroconverted during follow-up (seroconversion rate: 0.56%/year). CMV-specific antibody levels increased slightly over time. However, we did not find an association between duration of CMV infection and CMV-specific antibody levels at study endpoint. No clear association between duration of CMV infection and the size and function of the memory T-cell pool was observed. Elevated CMV-specific antibody levels were associated with the prevalence of cardiovascular disease but not with frailty. Age at CMV seroconversion was positively associated with CMV-specific antibody levels, memory CD4+ T-cell numbers and frailty.Conclusion: Cytomegalovirus-specific memory T cells develop shortly after CMV seroconversion but do not seem to further increase over time. Age-related effects other than duration of CMV infection seem to contribute to CMV-induced changes in the immune system. Although CMV-specific immunity is not evidently linked to frailty, it tends to associate with higher prevalence of cardiovascular disease.</p

    Focal DNA copy number changes in neuroblastoma target MYCN regulated genes

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    Neuroblastoma is an embryonic tumor arising from immature sympathetic nervous system cells. Recurrent genomic alterations include MYCN and ALK amplification as well as recurrent patterns of gains and losses of whole or large partial chromosome segments. A recent whole genome sequencing effort yielded no frequently recurring mutations in genes other than those affecting ALK. However, the study further stresses the importance of DNA copy number alterations in this disease, in particular for genes implicated in neuritogenesis. Here we provide additional evidence for the importance of focal DNA copy number gains and losses, which are predominantly observed in MYCN amplified tumors. A focal 5 kb gain encompassing the MYCN regulated miR-17,92 cluster as sole gene was detected in a neuroblastoma cell line and further analyses of the array CGH data set demonstrated enrichment for other MYCN target genes in focal gains and amplifications. Next we applied an integrated genomics analysis to prioritize MYCN down regulated genes mediated by MYCN driven miRNAs within regions of focal heterozygous or homozygous deletion. We identified RGS5, a negative regulator of G-protein signaling implicated in vascular normalization, invasion and metastasis, targeted by a focal homozygous deletion, as a new MYCN target gene, down regulated through MYCN activated miRNAs. In addition, we expand the miR-17,92 regulatory network controlling TGFß signaling in neuroblastoma with the ring finger protein 11 encoding gene RNF11, which was previously shown to be targeted by the miR-17,92 member miR-19b. Taken together, our data indicate that focal DNA copy number imbalances in neuroblastoma (1) target genes that are implicated in MYCN signaling, possibly selected to reinforce MYCN oncogene addiction and (2) serve as a resource for identifying new molecular targets for treatment

    N-Cadherin in Neuroblastoma Disease: Expression and Clinical Significance

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    One of the first and most important steps in the metastatic cascade is the loss of cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions. N-cadherin, a crucial mediator of homotypic and heterotypic cell-cell interactions, might play a central role in the metastasis of neuroblastoma (NB), a solid tumor of neuroectodermal origin. Using Reverse Transcription Quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR), Western blot, immunocytochemistry and Tissue MicroArrays (TMA) we demonstrate the expression of N-cadherin in neuroblastoma tumors and cell lines. All neuroblastic tumors (n = 356) and cell lines (n = 10) expressed various levels of the adhesion protein. The N-cadherin mRNA expression was significantly lower in tumor samples from patients suffering metastatic disease. Treatment of NB cell lines with the N-cadherin blocking peptide ADH-1 (Exherin, Adherex Technologies Inc.), strongly inhibited tumor cell proliferation in vitro by inducing apoptosis. Our results suggest that N-cadherin signaling may play a role in neuroblastoma disease, marking involvement of metastasis and determining neuroblastoma cell viability

    Recommendations for early referral of individuals with suspected polymyalgia rheumatica: An initiative from the international giant cell arteritis and polymyalgia rheumatica study group

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    Objective To develop international consensus-based recommendations for early referral of individuals with suspected polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR). Methods A task force including 29 rheumatologists/ internists, 4 general practitioners, 4 patients and a healthcare professional emerged from the international giant cell arteritis and PMR study group. The task force supplied clinical questions, subsequently transformed into Population, Intervention, Comparator, Outcome format. A systematic literature review was conducted followed by online meetings to formulate and vote on final recommendations. Levels of evidence (LOE) (1–5 scale) and agreement (LOA) (0–10 scale) were evaluated. Results Two overarching principles and five recommendations were developed. LOE was 4–5 and LOA ranged between 8.5 and 9.7. The recommendations suggest that (1) each individual with suspected or recently diagnosed PMR should be considered for specialist evaluation, (2) before referring an individual with suspected PMR to specialist care, a thorough history and clinical examination should be performed and preferably complemented with urgent basic laboratory investigations, (3) individuals with suspected PMR with severe symptoms should be referred for specialist evaluation using rapid access strategies, (4) in individuals with suspected PMR who are referred via rapid access, the commencement of glucocorticoid therapy should be deferred until after specialist evaluation and (5) individuals diagnosed with PMR in specialist care with a good initial response to glucocorticoids and a low risk of glucocorticoid related adverse events can be managed in primary care. Conclusions These are the first international recommendations for referral of individuals with suspected PMR, which complement the European Alliance of Associations for Rheumatology/American College of Rheumatology management guidelines for established PMR

    ENIGMA and global neuroscience: A decade of large-scale studies of the brain in health and disease across more than 40 countries

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    This review summarizes the last decade of work by the ENIGMA (Enhancing NeuroImaging Genetics through Meta Analysis) Consortium, a global alliance of over 1400 scientists across 43 countries, studying the human brain in health and disease. Building on large-scale genetic studies that discovered the first robustly replicated genetic loci associated with brain metrics, ENIGMA has diversified into over 50 working groups (WGs), pooling worldwide data and expertise to answer fundamental questions in neuroscience, psychiatry, neurology, and genetics. Most ENIGMA WGs focus on specific psychiatric and neurological conditions, other WGs study normal variation due to sex and gender differences, or development and aging; still other WGs develop methodological pipelines and tools to facilitate harmonized analyses of "big data" (i.e., genetic and epigenetic data, multimodal MRI, and electroencephalography data). These international efforts have yielded the largest neuroimaging studies to date in schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance use disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, autism spectrum disorders, epilepsy, and 22q11.2 deletion syndrome. More recent ENIGMA WGs have formed to study anxiety disorders, suicidal thoughts and behavior, sleep and insomnia, eating disorders, irritability, brain injury, antisocial personality and conduct disorder, and dissociative identity disorder. Here, we summarize the first decade of ENIGMA's activities and ongoing projects, and describe the successes and challenges encountered along the way. We highlight the advantages of collaborative large-scale coordinated data analyses for testing reproducibility and robustness of findings, offering the opportunity to identify brain systems involved in clinical syndromes across diverse samples and associated genetic, environmental, demographic, cognitive, and psychosocial factors

    Novel genetic loci underlying human intracranial volume identified through genome-wide association

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    Intracranial volume reflects the maximally attained brain size during development, and remains stable with loss of tissue in late life. It is highly heritable, but the underlying genes remain largely undetermined. In a genome-wide association study of 32,438 adults, we discovered five novel loci for intracranial volume and confirmed two known signals. Four of the loci are also associated with adult human stature, but these remained associated with intracranial volume after adjusting for height. We found a high genetic correlation with child head circumference (ρgenetic=0.748), which indicated a similar genetic background and allowed for the identification of four additional loci through meta-analysis (Ncombined = 37,345). Variants for intracranial volume were also related to childhood and adult cognitive function, Parkinson’s disease, and enriched near genes involved in growth pathways including PI3K–AKT signaling. These findings identify biological underpinnings of intracranial volume and provide genetic support for theories on brain reserve and brain overgrowth
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