Publications by authors named "Arjan B Brenkman"

37 Publications

Endometriosis is associated with aberrant metabolite profiles in plasma.

Fertil Steril 2017 Mar;107(3):699-706.e6

Catholic University (KU) Leuven, Department of Development and Regeneration, Organ Systems, Leuven, Belgium. Electronic address:

Objective: To identify metabolites that are associated with and predict the presence of endometriosis.

Design: Metabolomics study using state-of-the-art mass spectrometry approaches.

Setting: University hospital and universities.

Patient(s): Twenty-five women with laparoscopically confirmed endometriosis (cases) and 19 women with laparoscopically documented absence of endometriosis (controls). None of the women included in this study had received oral contraception or GnRH agonists for a minimum of 1 month before blood collection.

Intervention(s): Plasma collection.

Main Outcome Measure(s): Metabolite profiles were generated and interrogated using multiple mass spectrometry methods, that is, high performance liquid chromatography coupled with negative mode electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry, UPLC-MS/MS, and ultra performance liquid chromatography-electroSpray ionization-quadrupole time-of-flight (UPLC-ESI-Q-TOF). Metabolite groups investigated included phospholipids, glycerophospholipids, ether-phospholipids, cholesterol-esters, triacylglycerol, sphingolipids, free fatty acids, steroids, eicosanoids, and acylcarnitines.

Result(s): A panel of acylcarnitines predicted the presence of endometriosis with 88.9% specificity and 81.5% sensitivity in human plasma, with a positive predictive value of 75%. However, due to data limitations the outcome of the receiver operating characteristic curve analysis was not significant.

Conclusion(s): A diagnostic model based on acylcarnitines has the potential to predict the presence and stage of endometriosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fertnstert.2016.12.032DOI Listing
March 2017

Electric Pulse Stimulation of Myotubes as an In Vitro Exercise Model: Cell-Mediated and Non-Cell-Mediated Effects.

Sci Rep 2015 Jun 19;5:10944. Epub 2015 Jun 19.

Molecular Cancer Research and Center for Molecular Medicine, University Medical Centre Utrecht, Universiteitsweg 100, 3584 CG, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Regular exercise has emerged as one of the best therapeutic strategies to prevent and treat type-2-diabetes. Exercise-induced changes in the muscle secretome, consisting of myokines and metabolites, may underlie the inter-organ communication between muscle and other organs. To investigate this crosstalk, we developed an in vitro system in which mouse C2C12 myotubes underwent electric pulse stimulation (EPS) to induce contraction. Subsequently the effects of EPS-conditioned media (EPS-CM) on hepatocytes were investigated. Here, we demonstrate that EPS-CM induces Metallothionein 1/2 and Slc30a2 gene expression and reduces Cyp2a3 gene expression in rat hepatocytes. When testing EPS-CM that was generated in the absence of C2C12 myotubes (non-cell EPS-CM) no decrease in Cyp2a3 expression was detected. However, similar inductions in hepatic Mt1/2 and Slc30a2 expression were observed. Non-cell EPS-CM were also applied to C2C12 myotubes and compared to C2C12 myotubes that underwent EPS: here changes in AMPK phosphorylation and myokine secretion largely depended on EPS-induced contraction. Taken together, these findings indicate that EPS can alter C2C12 myotube function and thereby affect gene expression in cells subjected to EPS-CM (Cyp2a3). However, EPS can also generate non-cell-mediated changes in cell culture media, which can affect gene expression in cells subjected to EPS-CM too. While EPS clearly represents a valuable tool in exercise research, care should be taken in experimental design to control for non-cell-mediated effects.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep10944DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4473537PMC
June 2015

A Long Noncoding RNA on the Ribosome Is Required for Lifespan Extension.

Cell Rep 2015 Jan 15;10(3):339-345. Epub 2015 Jan 15.

Hubrecht Institute, KNAW and University Medical Center Utrecht, 3584 CT Utrecht, the Netherlands. Electronic address:

The biogenesis of ribosomes and their coordination of protein translation consume an enormous amount of cellular energy. As such, it has been established that the inhibition of either process can extend eukaryotic lifespan. Here, we used next-generation sequencing to compare ribosome-associated RNAs from normal strains of Caenorhabditis elegans to those carrying the life-extending daf-2 mutation. We found a long noncoding RNA (lncRNA), transcribed telomeric sequence 1 (tts-1), on ribosomes of the daf-2 mutant. Depleting tts-1 in daf-2 mutants increases ribosome levels and significantly shortens their extended lifespan. We find tts-1 is also required for the longer lifespan of the mitochondrial clk-1 mutants but not the feeding-defective eat-2 mutants. In line with this, the clk-1 mutants express more tts-1 and fewer ribosomes than the eat-2 mutants. Our results suggest that the expression of tts-1 functions in different longevity pathways to reduce ribosome levels in a way that promotes life extension.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2014.12.029DOI Listing
January 2015

Antibody-opsonized bacteria evoke an inflammatory dendritic cell phenotype and polyfunctional Th cells by cross-talk between TLRs and FcRs.

J Immunol 2015 Feb 12;194(4):1856-66. Epub 2015 Jan 12.

Department of Molecular Cell Biology and Immunology, VU University Medical Center, 1081 BT Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Department of Surgery, VU University Medical Center, 1081 BT Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

During secondary immune responses, Ab-opsonized bacteria are efficiently taken up via FcRs by dendritic cells. We now demonstrate that this process induces cross-talk between FcRs and TLRs, which results in synergistic release of several inflammatory cytokines, as well as altered lipid metabolite profiles. This altered inflammatory profile redirects Th1 polarization toward Th17 cell responses. Interestingly, GM-CSF-producing Th cells were synergistically evoked as well, which suggests the onset of polyfunctional Th17 cells. Synergistic cytokine release was dependent on activation via MyD88 and ITAM signaling pathways through TLRs and FcRs, respectively. Cytokine regulation occurred via transcription-dependent mechanisms for TNF-α and IL-23 and posttranscriptional mechanisms for caspase-1-dependent release of IL-1β. Furthermore, cross-talk between TLRs and FcRs was not restricted to dendritic cells. In conclusion, our results support that bacteria alone initiate fundamentally different immune responses compared with Ab-opsonized bacteria through the combined action of two classes of receptors and, ultimately, may refine new therapies for inflammatory diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4049/jimmunol.1303126DOI Listing
February 2015

Acetylation of C/EBPε is a prerequisite for terminal neutrophil differentiation.

Blood 2015 Mar 7;125(11):1782-92. Epub 2015 Jan 7.

Department of Cell Biology, Center for Molecular Medicine, and Division of Pediatrics, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands;

C/EBPε, a member of the CCAAT/enhancer binding protein (C/EBP) family of transcription factors, is exclusively expressed in myeloid cells and regulates transition from the promyelocytic stage to the myelocytic stage of neutrophil development, being indispensable for secondary and tertiary granule formation. Knowledge concerning the functional role of C/EBPε posttranslational modifications is limited to studies concerning phosphorylation and sumoylation. In the current study, using ectopic expression and ex vivo differentiation of CD34(+) hematopoietic progenitor cells, we demonstrate that C/EBPε is acetylated, which was confirmed by mass spectrometry analysis, identifying 4 acetylated lysines in 3 distinct functional domains. Regulation of C/EBPε acetylation levels by the p300 acetyltransferase and the sirtuin 1 deacetylase controls transcriptional activity, which can at least in part be explained by modulation of DNA binding. During neutrophil development, acetylation of lysines 121 and 198 were found to be crucial for terminal neutrophil differentiation and the expression of neutrophil-specific granule proteins, including lactoferrin and collagenase. Taken together, our data illustrate a critical role for acetylation in the functional regulation of C/EBPε activity during terminal neutrophil development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood-2013-12-543850DOI Listing
March 2015

SIRT1 mediates FOXA2 breakdown by deacetylation in a nutrient-dependent manner.

PLoS One 2014 29;9(5):e98438. Epub 2014 May 29.

Center for Molecular Medicine, Department of Molecular Cancer Research, Section Metabolic Diseases, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands, and Netherlands Metabolomics Centre, Leiden, The Netherlands.

The Forkhead transcription factor FOXA2 plays a fundamental role in controlling metabolic homeostasis in the liver during fasting. The precise molecular regulation of FOXA2 in response to nutrients is not fully understood. Here, we studied whether FOXA2 could be controlled at a post-translational level by acetylation. By means of LC-MS/MS analyses, we identified five acetylated residues in FOXA2. Sirtuin family member SIRT1 was found to interact with and deacetylate FOXA2, the latter process being dependent on the NAD+-binding catalytic site of SIRT1. Deacetylation by SIRT1 reduced protein stability of FOXA2 by targeting it towards proteasomal degradation, and inhibited transcription from the FOXA2-driven G6pase and CPT1a promoters. While mutation of the five identified acetylated residues weakly affected protein acetylation and stability, mutation of at least seven additional lysine residues was required to abolish acetylation and reduce protein levels of FOXA2. The importance of acetylation of FOXA2 became apparent upon changes in nutrient levels. The interaction of FOXA2 and SIRT1 was strongly reduced upon nutrient withdrawal in cell culture, while enhanced Foxa2 acetylation levels were observed in murine liver in vivo after starvation for 36 hours. Collectively, this study demonstrates that SIRT1 controls the acetylation level of FOXA2 in a nutrient-dependent manner and in times of nutrient shortage the interaction between SIRT1 and FOXA2 is reduced. As a result, FOXA2 is protected from degradation by enhanced acetylation, hence enabling the FOXA2 transcriptional program to be executed to maintain metabolic homeostasis.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0098438PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4038515PMC
January 2015

Human adipocyte extracellular vesicles in reciprocal signaling between adipocytes and macrophages.

Obesity (Silver Spring) 2014 May 9;22(5):1296-308. Epub 2014 Jan 9.

Department of Vascular Medicine, University Medical Center Utrecht (UMC Utrecht), Utrecht, The Netherlands; Section Metabolic Diseases, Molecular Cancer Research, UMC Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Objective: Extracellular vesicles (EVs) released by human adipocytes or adipose tissue (AT)-explants play a role in the paracrine interaction between adipocytes and macrophages, a key mechanism in AT inflammation, leading to metabolic complications like insulin resistance (IR) were determined.

Methods: EVs released from in vitro differentiated adipocytes and AT-explants ex vivo were characterized by electron microscopy, Western blot, multiplex adipokine-profiling, and quantified by flow cytometry. Primary monocytes were stimulated with EVs from adipocytes, subcutaneous (SCAT) or omental-derived AT (OAT), and phenotyped. Macrophage supernatant was subsequently used to assess the effect on insulin signaling in adipocytes.

Results: Adipocyte and AT-derived EVs differentiated monocytes into macrophages characteristic of human adipose tissue macrophages (ATM), defined by release of both pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines. The adiponectin-positive subset of AT-derived EVs, presumably representing adipocyte-derived EVs, induced a more pronounced ATM-phenotype than the adiponectin-negative AT-EVs. This effect was more evident for OAT-EVs versus SCAT-EVs. Furthermore, supernatant of macrophages pre-stimulated with AT-EVs interfered with insulin signaling in human adipocytes. Finally, the number of OAT-derived EVs correlated positively with patients HOMA-IR.

Conclusions: A possible role for human AT-EVs in a reciprocal pro-inflammatory loop between adipocytes and macrophages, with the potential to aggravate local and systemic IR was demonstrated.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/oby.20679DOI Listing
May 2014

A protocol for quantifying lipid peroxidation in cellular systems by F2-isoprostane analysis.

PLoS One 2013 14;8(11):e80935. Epub 2013 Nov 14.

University Medical Center Utrecht, Department of Metabolic Diseases and Netherlands Metabolomics Center, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Cellular systems are essential model systems to study reactive oxygen species and oxidative damage but there are widely accepted technical difficulties with available methods for quantifying endogenous oxidative damage in these systems. Here we present a stable isotope dilution UPLC-MS/MS protocol for measuring F2-isoprostanes as accurate markers for endogenous oxidative damage in cellular systems. F2-isoprostanes are chemically stable prostaglandin-like lipid peroxidation products of arachidonic acid, the predominant polyunsaturated fatty acid in mammalian cells. This approach is rapid and highly sensitive, allowing for the absolute quantification of endogenous lipid peroxidation in as little as ten thousand cells as well as damage originating from multiple ROS sources. Furthermore, differences in the endogenous cellular redox state induced by transcriptional regulation of ROS scavenging enzymes were detected by following this protocol. Finally we showed that the F2-isoprostane 5-iPF2α-VI is a metabolically stable end product, which is excreted from cells. Overall, this protocol enables accurate, specific and sensitive quantification of endogenous lipid peroxidation in cellular systems.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0080935PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3828286PMC
February 2015

Early adipogenesis is regulated through USP7-mediated deubiquitination of the histone acetyltransferase TIP60.

Nat Commun 2013 ;4:2656

Section Metabolic Diseases, Molecular Cancer Research, and Netherlands Metabolomics Centre, University Medical Centre Utrecht, Utrecht 3584 CG, The Netherlands.

Transcriptional coregulators, including the acetyltransferase Tip60, have a key role in complex cellular processes such as differentiation. Whereas post-translational modifications have emerged as an important mechanism to regulate transcriptional coregulator activity, the identification of the corresponding demodifying enzymes has remained elusive. Here we show that the expression of the Tip60 protein, which is essential for adipocyte differentiation, is regulated through polyubiquitination on multiple residues. USP7, a dominant deubiquitinating enzyme in 3T3-L1 adipocytes and mouse adipose tissue, deubiquitinates Tip60 both in intact cells and in vitro and increases Tip60 protein levels. Furthermore, inhibition of USP7 expression and activity decreases adipogenesis. Transcriptome analysis reveals several cell cycle genes to be co-regulated by both Tip60 and USP7. Knockdown of either factor results in impaired mitotic clonal expansion, an early step in adipogenesis. These results reveal deubiquitination of a transcriptional coregulator to be a key mechanism in the regulation of early adipogenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncomms3656DOI Listing
May 2014

Current methods in quantifying ROS and oxidative damage in Caenorhabditis elegans and other model organism of aging.

Ageing Res Rev 2013 Sep 27;12(4):918-30. Epub 2013 Sep 27.

University Medical Center Utrecht, Department of Metabolic Diseases and Netherlands Metabolomics Center, Utrecht 3508 AB, The Netherlands.

Accumulation of oxidative damage has been proposed to be causal to aging as defined by the Free radical Theory of Aging, which has been subject to recent debate. However, a major hurdle in understanding the biological roles of reactive oxygen species (ROS) signaling and their oxidative damage has been the widely recognized methodological difficulties to measure oxidative damage and ROS in vivo. In this review we describe the various novel approaches that have recently been developed to overcome this challenge in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, which is a paradigm invertebrate model organism for studying aging and age-related disease given its short lifespan, easy genetics and transparency. In addition, we also discuss these methods in other important model organisms of aging, including the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster and the mouse Mus musculus. After an introduction on the various ROS that can be encountered, we discuss approaches for the detection and quantification of ROS and ROS damage of DNA, lipids and proteins, highlighting examples from literature to demonstrate the applicability and caveats of each method. As will become clear, combinations of approaches have now become possible and will prove essential for thoroughly understanding the involvement of ROS and ROS damage in the biology of aging and disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.arr.2013.09.003DOI Listing
September 2013

Stabilization of the transcription factor Foxp3 by the deubiquitinase USP7 increases Treg-cell-suppressive capacity.

Immunity 2013 Aug;39(2):259-71

Department of Immunology, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht 3584EA, The Netherlands.

Stable Foxp3 expression is required for the development of functional regulatory T (Treg) cells. Here, we demonstrate that the expression of the transcription factor Foxp3 can be regulated through the polyubiquitination of multiple lysine residues, resulting in proteasome-mediated degradation. Expression of the deubiquitinase (DUB) USP7 was found to be upregulated and active in Treg cells, being associated with Foxp3 in the nucleus. Ectopic expression of USP7 decreased Foxp3 polyubiquitination and increased Foxp3 expression. Conversely, either treatment with DUB inhibitor or USP7 knockdown decreased endogenous Foxp3 protein expression and decreased Treg-cell-mediated suppression in vitro. Furthermore, in a murine adoptive-transfer-induced colitis model, either inhibition of DUB activity or USP7 knockdown in Treg cells abrogated their ability to resolve inflammation in vivo. Our data reveal a molecular mechanism in which rapid temporal control of Foxp3 expression in Treg cells can be regulated by USP7, thereby modulating Treg cell numbers and function.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.immuni.2013.05.018DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4133784PMC
August 2013

Insulin/IGF-1-mediated longevity is marked by reduced protein metabolism.

Mol Syst Biol 2013 Jul 2;9:679. Epub 2013 Jul 2.

University Medical Center Utrecht, Wilhelmina Children's Hospital, Department of Molecular Cancer Research, Section Metabolic Diseases, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Mutations in the daf-2 gene of the conserved Insulin/Insulin-like Growth Factor (IGF-1) pathway double the lifespan of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. This phenotype is completely suppressed by deletion of Forkhead transcription factor daf-16. To uncover regulatory mechanisms coordinating this extension of life, we employed a quantitative proteomics strategy with daf-2 mutants in comparison with N2 and daf-16; daf-2 double mutants. This revealed a remarkable longevity-specific decrease in proteins involved in mRNA processing and transport, the translational machinery, and protein metabolism. Correspondingly, the daf-2 mutants display lower amounts of mRNA and 20S proteasome activity, despite maintaining total protein levels equal to that observed in wild types. Polyribosome profiling in the daf-2 and daf-16;daf-2 double mutants confirmed a daf-16-dependent reduction in overall translation, a phenotype reminiscent of Dietary Restriction-mediated longevity, which was independent of germline activity. RNA interference (RNAi)-mediated knockdown of proteins identified by our approach resulted in modified C. elegans lifespan confirming the importance of these processes in Insulin/IGF-1-mediated longevity. Together, the results demonstrate a role for the metabolism of proteins in the Insulin/IGF-1-mediated extension of life.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/msb.2013.35DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3734508PMC
July 2013

Development and validation of a quantitative LC-tandem MS assay for hexadeca-4,7,10,13-tetraenoic acid in human and mouse plasma.

J Chromatogr B Analyt Technol Biomed Life Sci 2013 Apr 24;925:16-9. Epub 2013 Jan 24.

University Medical Centre Utrecht, Department of Metabolic Diseases and Netherlands Metabolomics Centre, Lundlaan 6, 3584 EA Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Upon exposure to platinum analogs, mesenchymal stem cells were recently found to excrete minute amounts of specific lipid mediators that induce chemotherapy resistance. One of these lipids is hexadeca-4,7,10,13-tetraenoic acid (FA(16:4)n-3). Importantly, FA(16:4)n-3 is present in high concentrations in certain fish oils and algae and oral intake of these products also potently induced chemotherapy resistance. These findings suggested that certain foods could negatively affect clinical chemotherapy treatment. In order to allow further study of the relation between FA(16:4)n-3 and clinical chemotherapy resistance, a method for the detection and quantification of FA(16:4)n-3 in plasma is required. Therefore, a quantification method for FA(16:4)n-3 in human and mouse plasma was developed consisting of a liquid-liquid extraction, solid phase clean-up and LC-MS/MS (MRM) analysis. The method was fully validated over a period of three weeks according to the standard protocols and requirements. The linearity range of the method is 1-100 nmol/L (r(2)>0.99) using deuterated FA(16:3)n-3 as an internal standard. The limits of quantification and detection are 1.0 nmol/L and 0.8 nmol/L, respectively. Recoveries for spiked concentrations range from 103 to 108%. The intra-day and inter-day mean precision amounts to 98-106% and 100-108%, respectively. No significant loss of FA(16:4)n-3 is observed upon storage at -80 °C. The developed assay for the detection and quantification of FA(16:4)n-3 in human plasma is robust and reproducible. The validation parameters are within limits of acceptance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jchromb.2013.01.012DOI Listing
April 2013

The serine/threonine phosphatase PPM1B (PP2Cβ) selectively modulates PPARγ activity.

Biochem J 2013 Apr;451(1):45-53

Department of Metabolic Diseases, University Medical Centre Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Reversible phosphorylation is a widespread molecular mechanism to regulate the function of cellular proteins, including transcription factors. Phosphorylation of the nuclear receptor PPARγ (peroxisome-proliferator-activated receptor γ) at two conserved serine residue (Ser(112) and Ser(273)) results in an altered transcriptional activity of this transcription factor. So far, only a very limited number of cellular enzymatic activities has been described which can dephosphorylate nuclear receptors. In the present study we used immunoprecipitation assays coupled to tandem MS analysis to identify novel PPARγ-regulating proteins. We identified the serine/threonine phosphatase PPM1B [PP (protein phosphatase), Mg(2+)/Mn(2+) dependent, 1B; also known as PP2Cβ] as a novel PPARγ-interacting protein. Endogenous PPM1B protein is localized in the nucleus of mature 3T3-L1 adipocytes where it can bind to PPARγ. Furthermore we show that PPM1B can directly dephosphorylate PPARγ, both in intact cells and in vitro. In addition PPM1B increases PPARγ-mediated transcription via dephosphorylation of Ser(112). Finally, we show that knockdown of PPM1B in 3T3-L1 adipocytes blunts the expression of some PPARγ target genes while leaving others unaltered. These findings qualify the phosphatase PPM1B as a novel selective modulator of PPARγ activity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1042/BJ20121113DOI Listing
April 2013

Quantification of in vivo oxidative damage in Caenorhabditis elegans during aging by endogenous F3-isoprostane measurement.

Aging Cell 2013 Apr 30;12(2):214-23. Epub 2013 Jan 30.

University Medical Center Utrecht, Department of Metabolic Diseases and Netherlands Metabolomics Center, Utrecht, 3508 AB, The Netherlands.

Oxidative damage is thought to be a major cause in development of pathologies and aging. However, quantification of oxidative damage is methodologically difficult. Here, we present a robust liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) approach for accurate, sensitive, and linear in vivo quantification of endogenous oxidative damage in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, based on F3-isoprostanes. F3-isoprostanes are prostaglandin-like markers of oxidative damage derived from lipid peroxidation by Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS). Oxidative damage was quantified in whole animals and in multiple cellular compartments, including mitochondria and peroxisomes. Mutants of the mitochondrial electron transport proteins mev-1 and clk-1 showed increased oxidative damage levels. Furthermore, analysis of Superoxide Dismutase (sod) and Catalase (ctl) mutants uncovered that oxidative damage levels cannot be inferred from the phenotype of resistance to pro-oxidants alone and revealed high oxidative damage in a small group of chemosensory neurons. Longitudinal analysis of aging nematodes revealed that oxidative damage increased specifically with postreproductive age. Remarkably, aging of the stress-resistant and long-lived daf-2 insulin/IGF-1 receptor mutant involved distinct daf-16-dependent phases of oxidative damage including a temporal increase at young adulthood. These observations are consistent with a hormetic response to ROS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/acel.12043DOI Listing
April 2013

Canid progesterone receptors lack activation function 3 domain-dependent activity.

Endocrinology 2012 Dec 5;153(12):6104-13. Epub 2012 Oct 5.

Department of Clinical Sciences of Companion Animals, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, Yalelaan 108, 3584 CM Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Progesterone regulates multiple behavioral, physiological, and pathological aspects of female reproductive biology through its two progesterone receptors (PRs), PR-B and the truncated PR-A. PR-B is necessary for mammary gland development in mice and, compared with PR-A, is overall a stronger transactivator of target genes due to an additional activation function 3 (AF3) domain. In dogs, known for their high sensitivity to progesterone-induced mammary cancer, the PR-B function was studied. Canine PR (cPR)-B appeared to contain multiple mutations within AF3 core sequence motifs and lacks N-terminal ligand-independent posttranslational modifications. Consequently, cPR-B has a weak transactivation potential on progesterone-responsive mouse mammary tumor virus-luc and progesterone response element 2-luc reporters transiently transfected in hamster, human, or canine cells and also on known target genes FKBP5 and SGK in doxycycline-inducible, stable transfected cPR-B in canine mammary cells. The cPR-B function was restored to the level of human PR-B by the replacement of canine AF3 domain with the human one. The lack of AF3 domain-dependent transcriptional activity was unique for canids (gray wolf, red fox, and raccoon dog) and not present in closely related caniform species (brown bear, gray seal, and domestic ferret). Despite the limited transactivation potential, canids develop normal mammary glands and frequently mammary tumors. Therefore, these results question the role of PR-B in breast cancer development and may explain unique features of canid reproduction.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1210/en.2012-1793DOI Listing
December 2012

Mesenchymal stem cells induce resistance to chemotherapy through the release of platinum-induced fatty acids.

Cancer Cell 2011 Sep;20(3):370-83

Department of Medical Oncology, University Medical Center Utrecht, The Netherlands.

The development of resistance to chemotherapy is a major obstacle for lasting effective treatment of cancer. Here, we demonstrate that endogenous mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) become activated during treatment with platinum analogs and secrete factors that protect tumor cells against a range of chemotherapeutics. Through a metabolomics approach, we identified two distinct platinum-induced polyunsaturated fatty acids (PIFAs), 12-oxo-5,8,10-heptadecatrienoic acid (KHT) and hexadeca-4,7,10,13-tetraenoic acid (16:4(n-3)), that in minute quantities induce resistance to a broad spectrum of chemotherapeutic agents. Interestingly, blocking central enzymes involved in the production of these PIFAs (cyclooxygenase-1 and thromboxane synthase) prevents MSC-induced resistance. Our findings show that MSCs are potent mediators of resistance to chemotherapy and reveal targets to enhance chemotherapy efficacy in patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ccr.2011.08.010DOI Listing
September 2011

The MK5/PRAK kinase and Myc form a negative feedback loop that is disrupted during colorectal tumorigenesis.

Mol Cell 2011 Feb;41(4):445-57

Theodor-Boveri-Institute, Biocenter, University of Würzburg, Am Hubland, 97074 Würzburg, Germany.

Expression of the Myc oncoprotein is downregulated in response to stress signals to allow cells to cease proliferation and escape apoptosis, but the mechanisms involved in this process are poorly understood. Cell cycle arrest in response to DNA damage requires downregulation of Myc via a p53-independent signaling pathway. Here we have used siRNA screening of the human kinome to identify MAPKAPK5 (MK5, PRAK) as a negative regulator of Myc expression. MK5 regulates translation of Myc, since it is required for expression of miR-34b and miR-34c that bind to the 3'UTR of MYC. MK5 activates miR-34b/c expression via phosphorylation of FoxO3a, thereby promoting nuclear localization of FoxO3a and enabling it to induce miR-34b/c expression and arrest proliferation. Expression of MK5 in turn is directly activated by Myc, forming a negative feedback loop. MK5 is downregulated in colon carcinomas, arguing that this feedback loop is disrupted during colorectal tumorigenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.molcel.2011.01.023DOI Listing
February 2011

Activation of forkhead box O transcription factors by oncogenic BRAF promotes p21cip1-dependent senescence.

Cancer Res 2010 Nov 19;70(21):8526-36. Epub 2010 Oct 19.

Department of Physiological Chemistry and Center for Biomedical Genetics, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, the Netherlands.

Oncogene-induced senescence (OIS) is a potent tumor-suppressive mechanism that is thought to come at the cost of aging. The Forkhead box O (FOXO) transcription factors are regulators of life span and tumor suppression. However, whether and how FOXOs function in OIS have been unclear. Here, we show a role for FOXO4 in mediating senescence by the human BRAF(V600E) oncogene, which arises commonly in melanoma. BRAF(V600E) signaling through mitogen-activated protein kinase/extracellular signal-regulated kinase kinase resulted in increased reactive oxygen species levels and c-Jun NH(2) terminal kinase-mediated activation of FOXO4 via its phosphorylation on Thr(223), Ser(226), Thr(447), and Thr(451). BRAF(V600E)-induced FOXO4 phosphorylation resulted in p21(cip1)-mediated cell senescence independent of p16(ink4a) or p27(kip1). Importantly, melanocyte-specific activation of BRAF(V600E) in vivo resulted in the formation of skin nevi expressing Thr(223)/Ser(226)-phosphorylated FOXO4 and elevated p21(cip1). Together, these findings support a model in which FOXOs mediate a trade-off between cancer and aging.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-10-1563DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2989643PMC
November 2010

The DNA damage repair protein Ku70 interacts with FOXO4 to coordinate a conserved cellular stress response.

FASEB J 2010 Nov 22;24(11):4271-80. Epub 2010 Jun 22.

Department of Physiological Chemistry, University Medical Centre Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

In this study, we searched for proteins regulating the tumor suppressor and life-span regulator FOXO4. Through an unbiased tandem-affinity purification strategy combined with mass spectrometry, we identified the heterodimer Ku70/Ku80 (Ku), a DNA double-strand break repair component. Using biochemical interaction studies, we found Ku70 to be necessary and sufficient for the interaction. FOXO4 mediates its tumor-suppressive function in part through transcriptional regulation of the cell cycle arrest p27(kip1) gene. Immunoblotting, luciferase reporter assays, and flow cytometry showed that Ku70 inhibited FOXO4-mediated p27(kip1) transcription and cell cycle arrest induction by >40%. In contrast, Ku70 RNAi but not control RNAi significantly increased p27(kip1) transcription. In addition, in contrast to wild-type mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells, Ku70(-/-) ES cells showed significantly increased FOXO activity, which was rescued by Ku70 reexpression. Immunofluorescence studies demonstrated that Ku70 sequestered FOXO4 in the nucleus. Interestingly, the Ku70-FOXO4 interaction stoichiometry followed a nonlinear dose-response curve by hydrogen peroxide-generated oxidative stress. Low levels of oxidative stress increased interaction stoichiometry up to 75%, peaking at 50 μM, after which dissociation occurred. Because the Ku70 ortholog in the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans was shown to regulate life span involving C. elegans FOXO, our findings suggest a conserved critical Ku70 role for FOXO function toward coordination of a survival program, regulated by the magnitude of oxidative damage.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1096/fj.10-158717DOI Listing
November 2010

Phosphorylation of Not4p functions parallel to BUR2 to regulate resistance to cellular stresses in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

PLoS One 2010 Apr 8;5(4):e9864. Epub 2010 Apr 8.

Department of Physiological Chemistry, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Background: The evolutionarily conserved Ccr4-Not and Bur1/2 kinase complexes are functionally related in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. In this study, we further explore the relationship between the subunits Not4p and Bur2p.

Methodology/principal Findings: First, we investigated the presence of post-translational modifications on the Ccr4-Not complex. Using mass spectrometry analyses we identified several SP/TP phosphorylation sites on its Not4p, Not1p and Caf1p subunits. Secondly, the influence of Not4p phosphorylation on global H3K4 tri-methylation status was examined by immunoblotting. This histone mark is severely diminished in the absence of Not4p or of Bur2p, but did not require the five identified Not4p phosphorylation sites. Thirdly, we found that Not4p phosphorylation is not affected by the kinase-defective bur1-23 mutant. Finally, phenotypic analyses of the Not4p phosphomutant (not4S/T5A) and bur2Delta strains showed overlapping sensitivities to drugs that abolish cellular stress responses. The double-mutant not4S/T5A and bur2Delta strain even revealed enhanced phenotypes, indicating that phosphorylation of Not4p and BUR2 are active in parallel pathways for drug tolerance.

Conclusions: Not4p is a phospho-protein with five identified phosphorylation sites that are likely targets of a cyclin-dependent kinase(s) other than the Bur1/2p complex. Not4p phosphorylation on the five Not4 S/T sites is not required for global H3K4 tri-methylation. In contrast, Not4p phosphorylation is involved in tolerance to cellular stresses and acts in pathways parallel to BUR2 to affect stress responses in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0009864PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2851644PMC
April 2010

Regulation of Treg functionality by acetylation-mediated Foxp3 protein stabilization.

Blood 2010 Feb 7;115(5):965-74. Epub 2009 Dec 7.

Molecular Immunology Lab, Department of Immunology, Wilhelmina Children's Hospital, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Regulatory T cells (Tregs) are a specific subset of lymphocytes that are critical for the maintenance of self-tolerance. Expression levels of the transcription factor Foxp3 have been causally associated with Treg differentiation and function. Recent studies show that Foxp3 can also be transiently expressed in effector T cells; however, stable Foxp3 expression is required for development of a functional Treg suppressor phenotype. Here, we demonstrate that Foxp3 is acetylated, and this can be reciprocally regulated by the histone acetyltransferase p300 and the histone deacetylase SIRT1. Hyperacetylation of Foxp3 prevented polyubiquitination and proteasomal degradation, therefore dramatically increasing stable Foxp3 protein levels. Moreover, using mouse splenocytes, human peripheral blood mononuclear cells, T cell clones, and skin-derived T cells, we demonstrate that treatment with histone deacetylase inhibitors resulted in significantly increased numbers of functional Treg cells. Taken together, our data demonstrate that modulation of the acetylation state of Foxp3 provides a novel molecular mechanism for assuring rapid temporal control of Foxp3 levels in T cells, thereby regulating Treg numbers and functionality. Manipulating Foxp3 acetylation levels could therefore provide a new therapeutic strategy to control inappropriate (auto)immune responses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood-2009-02-207118DOI Listing
February 2010

Redox-sensitive cysteines bridge p300/CBP-mediated acetylation and FoxO4 activity.

Nat Chem Biol 2009 Sep 2;5(9):664-72. Epub 2009 Aug 2.

Department of Physiological Chemistry, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Cellular damage invoked by reactive oxygen species plays a key role in the pathobiology of cancer and aging. Forkhead box class O (FoxO) transcription factors are involved in various cellular processes including cell cycle regulation, apoptosis and resistance to reactive oxygen species, and studies in animal models have shown that these transcription factors are of vital importance in tumor suppression, stem cell maintenance and lifespan extension. Here we report that the activity of FoxO in human cells is directly regulated by the cellular redox state through a unique mechanism in signal transduction. We show that reactive oxygen species induce the formation of cysteine-thiol disulfide-dependent complexes of FoxO and the p300/CBP acetyltransferase, and that modulation of FoxO biological activity by p300/CBP-mediated acetylation is fully dependent on the formation of this redox-dependent complex. These findings directly link cellular redox status to the activity of the longevity protein FoxO.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nchembio.194DOI Listing
September 2009

Granzyme K displays highly restricted substrate specificity that only partially overlaps with granzyme A.

J Biol Chem 2009 Feb 5;284(6):3504-12. Epub 2008 Dec 5.

Department of Pathology, University Medical Center Utrecht, 3584 CX, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Granzymes are serine proteases stored in cytolytic granules of cytotoxic lymphocytes that eliminate virus-infected and tumor cells. Little is known about the molecular mechanism and function of granzyme (Gr)K. GrK is similar to GrA in that they are the only granzymes that display tryptase-like activity. Both granzymes induce cell death by single-stranded nicking of the chromosomal DNA by cleaving the same components of the endoplasmic reticulum-associated SET complex. Therefore, GrK may provide a backup and failsafe mechanism for GrA with redundant specificity. In the present study, we addressed the question of whether GrK displays identical substrate specificity as GrA. In peptide- and protease-proteomic screens, GrK and GrA displayed highly restricted substrate specificities that overlapped only partially. Whereas GrK and GrA cleave SET with similar efficiencies likely at the same sites, both granzymes cleaved the pre-mRNA-binding protein heterogeneous ribonuclear protein K with different kinetics at distinct sites. GrK was markedly more efficient in cleaving heterogeneous ribonuclear protein K than GrA. GrK, but not GrA, cleaved the microtubule network protein beta-tubulin after two distinct Arg residues. Neither GrK cleavage sites in beta-tubulin nor a peptide-based proteomic screen revealed a clear GrK consensus sequence around the P1 residue, suggesting that GrK specificity depends on electrostatic interactions between exosites of the substrate and the enzyme. We hypothesize that GrK not only constitutes a redundant functional backup mechanism that assists GrA-induced cell death but that it also displays a unique function by cleaving its own specific substrates.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M806716200DOI Listing
February 2009

The peptidyl-isomerase Pin1 regulates p27kip1 expression through inhibition of Forkhead box O tumor suppressors.

Cancer Res 2008 Sep;68(18):7597-605

Department of Metabolic and Endocrine Diseases and Netherlands Metabolomics Centre, University Medical Centre Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

The Forkhead box O (FOXO) protein family is an evolutionarily conserved subclass of transcription factors recently identified as bona fide tumor suppressors. Preventing the accumulation of cellular damage due to oxidative stress is thought to underlie its tumor-suppressive role. Oxidative stress, in turn, also feedback controls FOXO4 function. Regulation of this process, however, is poorly understood but may be relevant to the ability of FOXO to control tumor suppression. Here, we characterize novel FOXO4 phosphorylation sites after increased cellular oxidative stress and identify the isomerase Pin1, a protein frequently found to be overexpressed in cancer, as a critical regulator of p27(kip1) through FOXO4 inhibition. We show that Pin1 requires these phosphorylation events to act negatively on FOXO4 transcriptional activity. Consistent with this, oxidative stress induces binding of Pin1 to FOXO, thereby attenuating its monoubiquitination, a yet uncharacterized mode of substrate modulation by Pin1. We have previously shown that monoubiquitination is involved in controlling nuclear translocation in response to cellular stress, and indeed, Pin1 prevents nuclear FOXO4 accumulation. Interestingly, Pin1 acts on FOXO through stimulation of the activity of the deubiquitinating enzyme HAUSP/USP7. Ultimately, this results in decreased transcriptional activity towards target genes, including the cell cycle arrest gene p27(kip1). Notably, in a primary human breast cancer panel, low p27(kip1) levels inversely correlated with Pin1 expression. Thus, Pin1 is identified as a novel negative FOXO regulator, interconnecting FOXO phosphorylation and monoubiquitination in response to cellular stress to regulate p27(kip1).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-08-1059DOI Listing
September 2008

Mdm2 induces mono-ubiquitination of FOXO4.

PLoS One 2008 Jul 30;3(7):e2819. Epub 2008 Jul 30.

Department of Physiological Chemistry and Centre for Biomedical Genetics, University Medical Centre Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Background: The Forkhead box O (FOXO) class of transcription factors are involved in the regulation of several cellular responses including cell cycle progression and apoptosis. Furthermore, in model organisms FOXOs act as tumor suppressors and affect aging. Previously, we noted that FOXOs and p53 are remarkably similar within their spectrum of regulatory proteins. For example, the de-ubiquitinating enzyme USP7 removes ubiquitin from both FOXO and p53. However, Skp2 has been identified as E3 ligase for FOXO1, whereas Mdm2 is the prime E3 ligase for p53.

Principal Findings/methodology: Here we provide evidence that Mdm2 acts as an E3 ligase for FOXO as well. In vitro incubation of Mdm2 and FOXO results in ATP-dependent (multi)mono-ubiquitination of FOXO similar to p53. Furthermore, in vivo co-expression of Mdm2 and FOXO induces FOXO mono-ubiquitination and consistent with this result, siRNA-mediated depletion of Mdm2 inhibits mono-ubiquitination of FOXO induced by hydrogen peroxide. Regulation of FOXO ubiquitination by Mdm2 is likely to be direct since Mdm2 and FOXO co-immunoprecipitate. In addition, Mdm2-mediated ubiquitination regulates FOXO transcriptional activity.

Conclusions/significance: These data identify Mdm2 as a novel E3 ligase for FOXOs and extend the analogous mode of regulation between FOXO and p53.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0002819PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2475507PMC
July 2008

Chromosomal instability by inefficient Mps1 auto-activation due to a weakened mitotic checkpoint and lagging chromosomes.

PLoS One 2008 Jun 11;3(6):e2415. Epub 2008 Jun 11.

Department of Physiological Chemistry and Cancer Genomics Centre, UMC Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Background: Chromosomal instability (CIN), a feature widely shared by cells from solid tumors, is caused by occasional chromosome missegregations during cell division. Two of the causes of CIN are weakened mitotic checkpoint signaling and persistent merotelic attachments that result in lagging chromosomes during anaphase.

Principal Findings: Here we identify an autophosphorylation event on Mps1 that is required to prevent these two causes of CIN. Mps1 is phosphorylated in mitotic cells on at least 7 residues, 4 of which by autophosphorylation. One of these, T676, resides in the activation loop of the kinase domain and a mutant that cannot be phosphorylated on T676 is less active than wild-type Mps1 but is not kinase-dead. Strikingly, cells in which endogenous Mps1 was replaced with this mutant are viable but missegregate chromosomes frequently. Anaphase is initiated in the presence of misaligned and lagging chromosomes, indicative of a weakened checkpoint and persistent merotelic attachments, respectively.

Conclusions/significance: We propose that full activity of Mps1 is essential for maintaining chromosomal stability by allowing resolution of merotelic attachments and to ensure that single kinetochores achieve the strength of checkpoint signaling sufficient to prevent premature anaphase onset and chromosomal instability. To our knowledge, phosphorylation of T676 on Mps1 is the first post-translational modification in human cells of which the absence causes checkpoint weakening and CIN without affecting cell viability.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0002415PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2408436PMC
June 2008

Mps1 phosphorylates Borealin to control Aurora B activity and chromosome alignment.

Cell 2008 Jan;132(2):233-46

Department of Medical Oncology, Laboratory of Experimental Oncology, UMC Utrecht, Universiteitsweg 100, 3584 CG, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Maintenance of chromosomal stability relies on coordination between various processes that are critical for proper chromosome segregation in mitosis. Here we show that monopolar spindle 1 (Mps1) kinase, which is essential for the mitotic checkpoint, also controls correction of improper chromosome attachments. We report that Borealin/DasraB, a member of the complex that regulates the Aurora B kinase, is directly phosphorylated by Mps1 on residues that are crucial for Aurora B activity and chromosome alignment. As a result, cells lacking Mps1 kinase activity fail to efficiently align chromosomes due to impaired Aurora B function at centromeres, leaving improper attachments uncorrected. Strikingly, Borealin/DasraB bearing phosphomimetic mutations restores Aurora B activity and alignment in Mps1-depleted cells. Mps1 thus coordinates attachment error correction and checkpoint signaling, two crucial responses to unproductive chromosome attachments.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2007.11.046DOI Listing
January 2008

The adipogenic acetyltransferase Tip60 targets activation function 1 of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma.

Endocrinology 2008 Apr 20;149(4):1840-9. Epub 2007 Dec 20.

Department of Metabolic and Endocrine Diseases, University Medical Center Utrecht, Lundlaan 6, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

The transcription factor peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARgamma) plays a key role in the regulation of lipid and glucose metabolism in adipocytes, by regulating their differentiation, maintenance, and function. The transcriptional activity of PPARgamma is dictated by the set of proteins with which this nuclear receptor interacts under specific conditions. Here we identify the HIV-1 Tat-interacting protein 60 (Tip60) as a novel positive regulator of PPARgamma transcriptional activity. Using tandem mass spectrometry, we found that PPARgamma and the acetyltransferase Tip60 interact in cells, and through use of chimeric proteins, we established that coactivation by Tip60 critically depends on the N-terminal activation function 1 of PPARgamma, a domain involved in isotype-specific gene expression and adipogenesis. Chromatin immunoprecipitation experiments showed that the endogenous Tip60 protein is recruited to PPARgamma target genes in mature 3T3-L1 adipocytes but not in preadipocytes, indicating that Tip60 requires PPARgamma for its recruitment to PPARgamma target genes. Importantly, we show that in common with disruption of PPARgamma function, small interfering RNA-mediated reduction of Tip60 protein impairs differentiation of 3T3-L1 preadipocytes. Taken together, these findings qualify the acetyltransferase Tip60 as a novel adipogenic factor.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1210/en.2007-0977DOI Listing
April 2008