Publications by authors named "Christoph Schorl"

23 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Effects of High Fat Versus Normal Diet on Extracellular Vesicle-Induced Angiogenesis in a Swine Model of Chronic Myocardial Ischemia.

J Am Heart Assoc 2021 Feb 9;10(4):e017437. Epub 2021 Feb 9.

Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery Alpert Medical School of Brown University and Rhode Island Hospital Providence RI.

Background Mesenchymal stem cell-derived extracellular vesicles (EVs) promote angiogenesis in the ischemic myocardium. This study examines the difference in vascular density, myocardial perfusion, molecular signaling, and gene expression between normal diet (ND) and high fat diet (HFD) groups at baseline and following intramyocardial injection of EVs. Methods and Results Intact male Yorkshire swine fed either an ND (n=17) or HFD (n=14) underwent placement of an ameroid constrictor on the left circumflex coronary artery. Subsequently, animals received either intramyocardial injection of vehicle-saline as controls; (ND-controls n=7, HFD-controls, n=6) or EVs; (ND-EVs n=10, HFD-EVs n=8) into the ischemic territory. Five weeks later, myocardial function, perfusion, vascular density, cell signaling, and gene expression were examined. EVs improved indices of myocardial contractile function, myocardial perfusion, and arteriogenesis in both dietary cohorts. Interestingly, quantification of alpha smooth muscle actin demonstrated higher basal arteriolar density in HFD swine compared with their ND counterparts; whereas EVs were associated with increased CD31-labeled endothelial cell density only in the ND tissue, which approached significance. Levels of total endothelial nitric oxide synthase, FOXO1 (forkhead box protein O1) , transforming growth factor-β, phosphorylated VEGFR2 (vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2), and phosphorylated MAPK ERK1/ERK2 (mitogen-activated protein kinase) were higher in ischemic myocardial lysates from ND-controls compared with HFD-controls. Conversely, HFD-control tissue showed increased expression of phosphorylated endothelial nitric oxide synthase, phosphorylated FOXO1, VEGFR2, and MAPK ERK1/ERK2 with respect to ND-controls. Preliminary gene expression studies indicate differential modulation of transcriptional activity by EVs between the 2 dietary cohorts. Conclusions HFD produces a profound metabolic disorder that dysregulates the molecular mechanisms of collateral vessel formation in the ischemic myocardium, which may hinder the therapeutic angiogenic effects of EVs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/JAHA.120.017437DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7955347PMC
February 2021

Mechanical stretch regulates the expression of specific miRNA in extracellular vesicles released from lung epithelial cells.

J Cell Physiol 2020 11 22;235(11):8210-8223. Epub 2020 Jan 22.

Department of Pediatrics, Women and Infants Hospital, Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island.

The underlying mechanism of normal lung organogenesis is not well understood. An increasing number of studies are demonstrating that extracellular vesicles (EVs) play critical roles in organ development by delivering microRNAs (miRNA) to neighboring and distant cells. miRNAs are important for fetal lung growth; however, the role of miRNA-EVs (miRNAs packaged inside the EVs) during fetal lung development is unexplored. The aim of this study was to examine the expression of miRNA-EVs in MLE-12, a murine lung epithelial cell line subjected to mechanical stretch in vitro with the long-term goal to investigate their potential role in the fetal lung development. Both cyclic and continuous mechanical stretch regulate miRNA differentially in EVs released from MLE-12 and intracellularly, demonstrating that mechanical signals regulate the expression of miRNA-EVs in lung epithelial cells. These results provide a proof-of-concept for the potential role that miRNA-EVs could play in the development of fetal lung.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jcp.29476DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7374064PMC
November 2020

Effect of prematurity on genome wide methylation in the placenta.

BMC Med Genet 2019 06 28;20(1):116. Epub 2019 Jun 28.

Pediatrics, Center for Computational Molecular Biology, Brown Medical School, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, 02906, USA.

Background: Preterm birth is a significant clinical problem and an enormous burden on society, affecting one in eight pregnant women and their newborns. Despite decades of research, the molecular mechanism underlying its pathogenesis remains unclear. Many studies have shown that preterm birth is associated with health risks across the later life course. The "fetal origins" hypothesis postulates that adverse intrauterine exposures are associated with later disease susceptibility. Our recent studies have focused on the placental epigenome at term. We extended these studies to genome-wide placental DNA methylation across a wide range of gestational ages. We applied methylation dependent immunoprecipitation/DNA sequencing (MeDIP-seq) to 9 placentas with gestational age from 25 weeks to term to identify differentially methylated regions (DMRs).

Results: Enrichment analysis revealed 427 DMRs with nominally significant differences in methylation between preterm and term placentas (p < 0.01) and 21 statistically significant DMRs after multiple comparison correction (FDR p < 0.05), of which 62% were hypo-methylated in preterm placentas vs term placentas. The majority of DMRs were in distal intergenic regions and introns. Significantly enriched pathways identified by Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (IPA) included Citrulline-Nitric Oxide Cycle and Fcy Receptor Mediated Phagocytosis in macrophages. The DMR gene set overlapped placental gene expression data, genes and pathways associated evolutionarily with preterm birth.

Conclusion: These studies form the basis for future studies on the epigenetics of preterm birth, "fetal programming" and the impact of environment exposures on this important clinical challenge.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12881-019-0835-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6599230PMC
June 2019

All-Trans Retinoic Acid Disrupts Development in Ex Vivo Cultured Fetal Rat Testes. I: Altered Seminiferous Cord Maturation and Testicular Cell Fate.

Toxicol Sci 2019 02;167(2):546-558

Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island 02912.

Exposure to excess retinoic acid (RA) disrupts the development of the mammalian testicular seminiferous cord. However, the molecular events surrounding RA-driven loss of cord structure have not previously been examined. To investigate the mechanisms associated with this adverse developmental effect, fetal rat testes were isolated on gestational day 15, after testis determination and the initiation of cord development, and cultured in media containing all-trans RA (ATRA; 10-8 to 10-6 M) or vehicle for 3 days. ATRA exposure resulted in a concentration-dependent decrease in the number of seminiferous cords per testis section and number of germ cells, assessed by histopathology and immunohistochemistry. Following 1 day of culture, genome-wide expression profiling by microarray demonstrated that ATRA exposure altered biological processes related to retinoid metabolism and gonadal sex determination. Real-time RT-PCR analysis confirmed that ATRA enhanced the expression of the key ovarian development gene Wnt4 and the antitestis gene Nr0b1 in a concentration-dependent manner. After 3 days of culture, ATRA-treated testes contained both immunohistochemically DMRT1-positive and FOXL2-positive somatic cells, providing evidence of disrupted testicular cell fate maintenance following ATRA exposure. We conclude that exogenous RA disrupts seminiferous cord development in ex vivo cultured fetal rat testes, resulting in a reduction in seminiferous cord number, and interferes with maintenance of somatic cell fate by enhancing expression of factors that promote ovarian development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/toxsci/kfy260DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6358251PMC
February 2019

Bone marrow-specific loss of induces myeloproliferative neoplasm with features resembling human myelofibrosis.

Blood 2018 11 13;132(19):2053-2066. Epub 2018 Sep 13.

Signal Transduction Laboratory, Division of Hematology/Oncology at Rhode Island Hospital and Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University, Providence, RI.

Although the pathogenesis of primary myelofibrosis (PMF) and other myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) is linked to constitutive activation of the JAK-STAT pathway, JAK inhibitors have neither curative nor MPN-stem cell-eradicating potential, indicating that other targetable mechanisms are contributing to the pathophysiology of MPNs. We previously demonstrated that Abelson interactor 1 (Abi-1), a negative regulator of Abelson kinase 1, functions as a tumor suppressor. Here we present data showing that bone marrow-specific deletion of in a novel mouse model leads to development of an MPN-like phenotype resembling human PMF. loss resulted in a significant increase in the activity of the Src family kinases (SFKs), STAT3, and NF-κB signaling. We also observed impairment of hematopoietic stem cell self-renewal and fitness, as evidenced in noncompetitive and competitive bone marrow transplant experiments. CD34 hematopoietic progenitors and granulocytes from patients with PMF showed decreased levels of transcript as well as increased activity of SFKs, STAT3, and NF-κB. In aggregate, our data link the loss of Abi-1 function to hyperactive SFKs/STAT3/NF-κB signaling and suggest that this signaling axis may represent a regulatory module involved in the molecular pathophysiology of PMF.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood-2018-05-848408DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6236464PMC
November 2018

ColXα1 is a stromal component that colocalizes with elastin in the breast tumor extracellular matrix.

J Pathol Clin Res 2019 01 1;5(1):40-52. Epub 2018 Nov 1.

Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Rhode Island Hospital and Lifespan Medical Center, Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Providence, RI, USA.

The tumor microenvironment regulates tissue development and homeostasis, and its dysregulation contributes to neoplastic progression. Increased expression of type X collagen α-1 (ColXα1) in tumor-associated stroma correlates with poor pathologic response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy in estrogen receptor (ER) and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-positive breast cancers. Evaluation of ColXα1 expression patterns suggests a potential connection with elastin fibers. To investigate the possible interaction between ColXα1 and elastin, we evaluated the expression of ColXα1 in relation to elastin fibers in normal breast tissue, ductal carcinoma in situ, and invasive breast carcinomas at cellular and subcellular levels. Our findings demonstrate that ColXα1 colocalizes with elastin in invasive breast cancer-associated stroma by immunohistochemistry, immunofluorescence, and electron microscopy. In 212 invasive breast carcinomas, this complex was aberrantly and selectively expressed in tumor extracellular matrix in 79% of ER+/HER2-, 80% of ER+/HER2+, 76% of ER-/HER2+, and 58% of triple negative breast cancers. In contrast, ColXα1 was generally absent, while elastin was present perivascularly in normal breast tissue. ColXα1 and elastin were coexpressed in 58% of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) in periductal areas. In mass-forming DCIS with desmoplastic stroma, the complex was intensely expressed in periductal areas as well as within the tumor-associated stroma in all cases. Our data suggest that the breast carcinoma neoplastic process may involve aberrant expression of ColXα1 and elastin in the tumor microenvironment emerging early at the DCIS stage. Enrichment of these complexes in tumor-associated stroma may represent a stromal signature indicative of intrinsic differences between breast cancers. These findings shed light on investigation into the role of aberrant collagen complex expression in tumorigenesis and tumor progression which may be leveraged in therapeutic and theranostic applications.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cjp2.115DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6317058PMC
January 2019

SHP2 regulates skeletal cell fate by modifying SOX9 expression and transcriptional activity.

Bone Res 2018 6;6:12. Epub 2018 Apr 6.

1Department of Orthopaedics, Brown University Alpert Medical School and Rhode Island Hospital, Providence, RI 02903 USA.

Chondrocytes and osteoblasts differentiate from a common mesenchymal precursor, the osteochondroprogenitor (OCP), and help build the vertebrate skeleton. The signaling pathways that control lineage commitment for OCPs are incompletely understood. We asked whether the ubiquitously expressed protein-tyrosine phosphatase SHP2 (encoded by ) affects skeletal lineage commitment by conditionally deleting in mouse limb and head mesenchyme using "Cre-loxP"-mediated gene excision. SHP2-deficient mice have increased cartilage mass and deficient ossification, suggesting that SHP2-deficient OCPs become chondrocytes and not osteoblasts. Consistent with these observations, the expression of the master chondrogenic transcription factor SOX9 and its target genes , and were increased in SHP2-deficient chondrocytes, as revealed by gene expression arrays, qRT-PCR, in situ hybridization, and immunostaining. Mechanistic studies demonstrate that SHP2 regulates OCP fate determination via the phosphorylation and SUMOylation of SOX9, mediated at least in part via the PKA signaling pathway. Our data indicate that SHP2 is critical for skeletal cell lineage differentiation and could thus be a pharmacologic target for bone and cartilage regeneration.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41413-018-0013-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5886981PMC
April 2018

Localization of dimethylated histone three lysine four in the Rattus norvegicus sperm genome.

Biol Reprod 2018 08;99(2):266-268

Brown University, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Providence, Rhode Island, USA.

We examined the precise localization of dimethylated histone three lysine four (H3K4me2) in mature rat sperm. Within nonintergenic-enriched regions, half of the DNA peaks associated with H3K4me2 retention fell in gene bodies and the other half in promoter regions. The most significant peaks near annotated DNA regions in the composite data included loci known to be associated with RNA metabolism, cell cycle regulation, and spermatogenesis. Regions associated with differential retention of H3K4me2 within gene bodies were significantly enriched for housekeeping gene and cell-cycle functionality. Proximal promoter-associated peaks were enriched for viral reproduction and cell cycle regulation genes, while Promoter1k and Promoter3k peaks were enriched for RNA metabolism functions. Further, homeobox- and kruppel-like factor motifs were among the most significantly enriched de novo and known motifs discovered within gene-associated H3K4me2 peaks. Motif analysis and native chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by sequencing (nChIP-seq) peak calling indicated an instructive role for retained paternal histones in the epigenetic regulation of early embryonic development in the rat.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/biolre/ioy051DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6454492PMC
August 2018

Human Epididymis Protein 4 Promotes Events Associated with Metastatic Ovarian Cancer Regulation of the Extracelluar Matrix.

Front Oncol 2017 22;7:332. Epub 2018 Jan 22.

Division of Gynecologic Oncology, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Program in Women's Oncology, Women and Infants Hospital, Providence, RI, United States.

Human epididymis protein 4 (HE4) has received much attention recently due to its diagnostic and prognostic abilities for epithelial ovarian cancer. Since its inclusion in the Risk of Ovarian Malignancy Algorithm (ROMA), studies have focused on its functional effects in ovarian cancer. Here, we aimed to investigate the role of HE4 in invasion, haptotaxis, and adhesion of ovarian cancer cells. Furthermore, we sought to gain an understanding of relevant transcriptional profiles and protein kinase signaling pathways mediated by this multifunctional protein. Exposure of OVCAR8 ovarian cancer cells to recombinant HE4 (rHE4) promoted invasion, haptotaxis toward a fibronectin substrate, and adhesion onto fibronectin. Overexpression of HE4 or treatment with rHE4 led to upregulation of several transcripts coding for extracellular matrix proteins, including , and . Gene ontology indicated an enrichment of terms related to extracellular matrix, cell migration, adhesion, growth, and kinase phosphorylation. LAMC2 and LAMB3 protein levels were constitutively elevated in cells overexpressing HE4 and were upregulated in a time-dependent manner in cells exposed to rHE4 in the media. Deposition of laminin-332, the heterotrimer comprising LAMC2 and LAMB3 proteins, was increased in OVCAR8 cells treated with rHE4 or conditioned media from HE4-overexpressing cells. Enzymatic activity of matriptase, a serine protease that cleaves laminin-332 and contributes to its pro-migratory functional activity, was enhanced by rHE4 treatment . Proteomic analysis revealed activation of focal adhesion kinase signaling in OVCAR8 cells treated with conditioned media from HE4-overexpressing cells. Focal adhesions were increased in cells treated with rHE4 in the presence of fibronectin. These results indicate a direct role for HE4 in mediating malignant properties of ovarian cancer cells and validate the need for HE4-targeted therapies that will suppress activation of oncogenic transcriptional activation and signaling cascades.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fonc.2017.00332DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5786890PMC
January 2018

Low microchimeric cell density in tumors suggests alternative antineoplastic mechanism.

Med Oncol 2017 Apr 22;34(4):65. Epub 2017 Mar 22.

The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, 222 Richmond St, Providence, RI, 02903, USA.

Microchimerism has generally been shown to protect against cancer (Gilmore et al. in Exp Hematol 36(9):1073-1077, 2008). The mechanism of how this occurs is an area of intense study, as it may lead to new cancer treatments. The leading theory is that microchimeric cells perform immune surveillance by directly fighting cancerous cells and that they also act as stem cells, repairing damaged tissue (Khosrotehrani et al. in JAMA 292:75-80, 2004). However, there is conflicting evidence to support this theory. Several small studies have found few microchimeric cells in tumor tissue (Gadi in Breast Cancer Res Treat 121(1):241-244, 2010; Cirello et al. in Int J Cancer 126:2874-2878, 2010), while another study contradicted these findings by showing microchimeric cells clustered around tumor tissue (O'Donoghue et al. in Reprod Biomed Online 16:382-390, 2008). To date, we have designed the largest and broadest study to investigate this question of whether microchimeric cells really do cluster at tumor tissue. We analyzed 245 samples from a broad range of cancer types. Using PCR for the male chromosome marker TSPY1, we identified only 12 out of 245 samples with microchimerism for a rate of 4.9% (95% confidence interval 2.2-7.6%). Five of these samples were confirmed using Y fluorescence in situ hybridization. This rate of 4.9% microchimerism is the lowest reported in any study. The low percentage of microchimerism observed in our broad study suggests that microchimeric cells do not invade tumors to fight off neoplasm.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12032-017-0921-6DOI Listing
April 2017

MuSK is a BMP co-receptor that shapes BMP responses and calcium signaling in muscle cells.

Sci Signal 2016 09 6;9(444):ra87. Epub 2016 Sep 6.

Department of Neuroscience, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912, USA.

Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) function in most tissues but have cell type-specific effects. Given the relatively small number of BMP receptors, this exquisite signaling specificity requires additional molecules to regulate this pathway's output. The receptor tyrosine kinase MuSK (muscle-specific kinase) is critical for neuromuscular junction formation and maintenance. Here, we show that MuSK also promotes BMP signaling in muscle cells. MuSK bound to BMP4 and related BMPs with low nanomolar affinity in vitro and to the type I BMP receptors ALK3 and ALK6 in a ligand-independent manner both in vitro and in cultured myotubes. High-affinity binding to BMPs required the third, alternatively spliced MuSK immunoglobulin-like domain. In myoblasts, endogenous MuSK promoted BMP4-dependent phosphorylation of SMADs and transcription of Id1, which encodes a transcription factor involved in muscle differentiation. Gene expression profiling showed that MuSK was required for the BMP4-induced expression of a subset of genes in myoblasts, including regulator of G protein signaling 4 (Rgs4). In myotubes, MuSK enhanced the BMP4-induced expression of a distinct set of genes, including transcripts characteristic of slow muscle. MuSK-mediated stimulation of BMP signaling required type I BMP receptor activity but was independent of MuSK tyrosine kinase activity. MuSK-dependent expression of Rgs4 resulted in the inhibition of Ca(2+) signaling induced by the muscarinic acetylcholine receptor in myoblasts. These findings establish that MuSK has dual roles in muscle cells, acting both as a tyrosine kinase-dependent synaptic organizing molecule and as a BMP co-receptor that shapes BMP transcriptional output and cholinergic signaling.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/scisignal.aaf0890DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5242376PMC
September 2016

TAF4b Regulates Oocyte-Specific Genes Essential for Meiosis.

PLoS Genet 2016 06 24;12(6):e1006128. Epub 2016 Jun 24.

MCB Department, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, United States of America.

TAF4b is a gonadal-enriched subunit of the general transcription factor TFIID that is implicated in promoting healthy ovarian aging and female fertility in mice and humans. To further explore the potential mechanism of TAF4b in promoting ovarian follicle development, we analyzed global gene expression at multiple time points in the human fetal ovary. This computational analysis revealed coordinate expression of human TAF4B and critical regulators and effectors of meiosis I including SYCP3, YBX2, STAG3, and DAZL. To address the functional relevance of this analysis, we turned to the embryonic Taf4b-deficient mouse ovary where, for the first time, we demonstrate, severe deficits in prophase I progression as well as asynapsis in Taf4b-deficient oocytes. Accordingly, TAF4b occupies the proximal promoters of many essential meiosis and oogenesis regulators, including Stra8, Dazl, Figla, and Nobox, and is required for their proper expression. These data reveal a novel TAF4b function in regulating a meiotic gene expression program in early mouse oogenesis, and support the existence of a highly conserved TAF4b-dependent gene regulatory network promoting early oocyte development in both mice and women.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1006128DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4920394PMC
June 2016

Targeted Sequencing and Meta-Analysis of Preterm Birth.

PLoS One 2016 10;11(5):e0155021. Epub 2016 May 10.

Department of Pediatrics, Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island, Providence, Rhode Island, United States of America.

Understanding the genetic contribution(s) to the risk of preterm birth may lead to the development of interventions for treatment, prediction and prevention. Twin studies suggest heritability of preterm birth is 36-40%. Large epidemiological analyses support a primary maternal origin for recurrence of preterm birth, with little effect of paternal or fetal genetic factors. We exploited an "extreme phenotype" of preterm birth to leverage the likelihood of genetic discovery. We compared variants identified by targeted sequencing of women with 2-3 generations of preterm birth with term controls without history of preterm birth. We used a meta-genomic, bi-clustering algorithm to identify gene sets coordinately associated with preterm birth. We identified 33 genes including 217 variants from 5 modules that were significantly different between cases and controls. The most frequently identified and connected genes in the exome library were IGF1, ATM and IQGAP2. Likewise, SOS1, RAF1 and AKT3 were most frequent in the haplotype library. Additionally, SERPINB8, AZU1 and WASF3 showed significant differences in abundance of variants in the univariate comparison of cases and controls. The biological processes impacted by these gene sets included: cell motility, migration and locomotion; response to glucocorticoid stimulus; signal transduction; metabolic regulation and control of apoptosis.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0155021PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4862658PMC
July 2017

Identification of stromal ColXα1 and tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes as putative predictive markers of neoadjuvant therapy in estrogen receptor-positive/HER2-positive breast cancer.

BMC Cancer 2016 Apr 18;16:274. Epub 2016 Apr 18.

Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Rhode Island Hospital and Lifespan Medical Center, Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Providence, USA.

Background: The influence of the tumor microenvironment and tumor-stromal interactions on the heterogeneity of response within breast cancer subtypes have just begun to be explored. This study focuses on patients with estrogen receptor-positive/human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-positive (ER+/HER2+) breast cancer receiving neoadjuvant chemotherapy and HER2-targeted therapy (NAC+H), and was designed to identify novel predictive biomarkers by combining gene expression analysis and immunohistochemistry with pathologic response.

Methods: We performed gene expression profiling on pre-NAC+H tumor samples from responding (no or minimal residual disease at surgery) and non-responding patients. Gene set enrichment analysis identified potentially relevant pathways, and immunohistochemical staining of pre-treatment biopsies was used to measure protein levels of those pathways, which were correlated with pathologic response in both univariate and multivariate analysis.

Results: Increased expression of genes encoding for stromal collagens, including Col10A1, and reduced expression of immune-associated genes, reflecting lower levels of total tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs), were strongly associated with poor pathologic response. Lower TILs in tumor biopsies correlated with reduced likelihood of achieving an optimal pathologic response, but increased expression of the Col10A1 gene product, colXα1, had greater predictive value than stromal abundance for poor response (OR = 18.9, p = 0.003), and the combination of increased colXα1 expression and low TILs was significantly associated with poor response in multivariate analysis. ROC analysis suggests strong specificity and sensitivity for this combination in predicting treatment response.

Conclusions: Increased expression of stromal colXα1 and low TILs correlate with poor pathologic response in ER+/HER2+ breast tumors. Further studies are needed to confirm their predictive value and impact on long-term outcomes, and to determine whether this collagen exerts a protective effect on the cancer cells or simply reflects other factors within the tumor microenvironment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12885-016-2302-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4835834PMC
April 2016

Intussusceptive-like angiogenesis in human fetal lung xenografts: Link with bronchopulmonary dysplasia-associated microvascular dysangiogenesis?

Exp Lung Res 2015 ;41(9):477-88

a Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Alpert Medical School of Brown University , Providence , Rhode Island , USA.

Background: Human fetal lung xenografts display an unusual pattern of non-sprouting, plexus-forming angiogenesis that is reminiscent of the dysmorphic angioarchitecture described in bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD). The aim of this study was to determine the clinicopathological correlates, growth characteristics and molecular regulation of this aberrant form of graft angiogenesis.

Methods: Fetal lung xenografts, derived from 12 previable fetuses (15 to 22 weeks' gestation) and engrafted in the renal subcapsular space of SCID-beige mice, were analyzed 4 weeks posttransplantation for morphology, vascularization, proliferative activity and gene expression.

Results: Focal plexus-forming angiogenesis (PFA) was observed in 60/230 (26%) of xenografts. PFA was characterized by a complex network of tortuous nonsprouting vascular structures with low endothelial proliferative activity, suggestive of intussusceptive-type angiogenesis. There was no correlation between the occurrence of PFA and gestational age or time interval between delivery and engraftment. PFA was preferentially localized in the relatively hypoxic central subcapsular area. Microarray analysis suggested altered expression of 15 genes in graft regions with PFA, of which 7 are known angiogenic/lymphangiogenic regulators and 5 are known hypoxia-inducible genes. qRT-PCR analysis confirmed significant upregulation of SULF2, IGF2, and HMOX1 in graft regions with PFA.

Conclusion: These observations in human fetal lungs ex vivo suggest that postcanalicular lungs can switch from sprouting angiogenesis to an aberrant intussusceptive-type of angiogenesis that is highly reminiscent of BPD-associated dysangiogenesis. While circumstantial evidence suggests hypoxia may be implicated, the exact triggering mechanisms, molecular regulation and clinical implications of this angiogenic switch in preterm lungs in vivo remain to be determined.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3109/01902148.2015.1080321DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4764792PMC
August 2016

MicroRNA profiling in mucosal biopsies of eosinophilic esophagitis patients pre and post treatment with steroids and relationship with mRNA targets.

PLoS One 2012 16;7(7):e40676. Epub 2012 Jul 16.

Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Rhode Island Hospital, the Alpert School of Medicine, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, United States of America.

Background: The characterization of miRNAs and their target mRNAs involved in regulation of the immune process is an area of intense research and relatively little is known governing these processes in allergic inflammation. Here we present novel findings defining the miRNA and mRNA transcriptome in eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), an increasing recognized allergic disorder.

Methods: Esophageal epithelial miRNA and mRNA from five paired biopsies pre- and post-treatment with glucocorticosteroids were profiled using Taqman and Affymetrix arrays. Validation was performed on additional paired biopsies, untreated EoE specimens and normal controls. Differentially regulated miRNAs and mRNAs were generated, within which miRNA-mRNA target pairs with high predicted confidence were identified.

Results: Compared to the post-glucocorticoid treated esophageal mucosa, of all the 377 miRNA sequences examined, 32 miRNAs were significantly upregulated and four downregulated in the pre-treated biopsies. MiR-214 was the most upregulated (150 fold) and miR-146b-5b, 146a, 145, 142-3p and 21 were upregulated by at least 10 fold. Out of 12 miRNAs chosen for validation by qRT-PCR, five (miR-214, 146b-5p, 146a, 142-3p and 21) were confirmed and 11 shared the same trend. When the expression of the 12 miRNAs in the EoE mucosa was compared to unrelated normal mucosa, six (miR-214, 146b-5p, 146a, 21, 203, and 489) showed similar significant changes as in the paired samples and 10 of them shared the same trend. In the same five pairs of samples used to profile miRNA, 311 mRNAs were down-regulated and 35 were up-regulated in pre-treated EoE mucosa. Among them, 164 mRNAs were identified as potential targets of differentially regulated miRNAs. Further analysis revealed that immune-related genes, targeted and non-targeted by miRNAs, were among the most important genes involved in the pathogenesis of EoE.

Conclusions: Our findings add to the accumulating body of data defining a regulatory role for miRNA in immune and allergic processes.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0040676PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3398046PMC
March 2013

Postnatal liver growth and regeneration are independent of c-myc in a mouse model of conditional hepatic c-myc deletion.

BMC Physiol 2012 Mar 7;12. Epub 2012 Mar 7.

Department of Pediatrics, Rhode Island Hospital and Brown University, Providence, RI 02903, USA.

Background: The transcription factor c-myc regulates genes involved in hepatocyte growth, proliferation, metabolism, and differentiation. It has also been assigned roles in liver development and regeneration. In previous studies, we made the unexpected observation that c-Myc protein levels were similar in proliferating fetal liver and quiescent adult liver with c-Myc displaying nucleolar localization in the latter. In order to investigate the functional role of c-Myc in adult liver, we have developed a hepatocyte-specific c-myc knockout mouse, c-mycfl/fl;Alb-Cre.

Results: Liver weight to body weight ratios were similar in control and c-myc deficient mice. Liver architecture was unaffected. Conditional c-myc deletion did not result in compensatory induction of other myc family members or in c-Myc's binding partner Max. Floxed c-myc did have a negative effect on Alb-Cre expression at 4 weeks of age. To explore this relationship further, we used the Rosa26 reporter line to assay Cre activity in the c-myc floxed mice. No significant difference in Alb-Cre activity was found between control and c-mycfl/fl mice. c-myc deficient mice were studied in a nonproliferative model of liver growth, fasting for 48 hr followed by a 24 hr refeeding period. Fasting resulted in a decrease in liver mass and liver protein, both of which recovered upon 24 h of refeeding in the c-mycfl/fl;Alb-Cre animals. There was also no effect of reducing c-myc on recovery of liver mass following 2/3 partial hepatectomy.

Conclusions: c-Myc appears to be dispensable for normal liver growth during the postnatal period, restoration of liver mass following partial hepatectomy and recovery from fasting.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1472-6793-12-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3353165PMC
March 2012

Chromatin remodeling in the aging genome of Drosophila.

Aging Cell 2010 Dec 21;9(6):971-8. Epub 2010 Oct 21.

Department of Molecular Biology, Cell Biology and Biochemistry, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912, USA.

Chromatin structure affects the accessibility of DNA to transcription, repair, and replication. Changes in chromatin structure occur during development, but less is known about changes during aging. We examined the state of chromatin structure and its effect on gene expression during aging in Drosophila at the whole genome and cellular level using whole-genome tiling microarrays of activation and repressive chromatin marks, whole-genome transcriptional microarrays and single-cell immunohistochemistry. We found dramatic reorganization of chromosomal regions with age. Mapping of H3K9me3 and HP1 signals to fly chromosomes reveals in young flies the expected high enrichment in the pericentric regions, the 4th chromosome, and islands of facultative heterochromatin dispersed throughout the genome. With age, there is a striking reduction in this enrichment resulting in a nearly equivalent level of H3K9me3 and HP1 in the pericentric regions, the 4th chromosome, facultative heterochromatin, and euchromatin. These extensive changes in repressive chromatin marks are associated with alterations in age-related gene expression. Large-scale changes in repressive marks with age are further substantiated by single-cell immunohistochemistry that shows changes in nuclear distribution of H3K9me3 and HP1 marks with age. Such epigenetic changes are expected to directly or indirectly impinge upon important cellular functions such as gene expression, DNA repair, and DNA replication. The combination of genome-wide approaches such as whole-genome chromatin immunoprecipitation and transcriptional studies in conjunction with single-cell immunohistochemistry as shown here provide a first step toward defining how changes in chromatin may contribute to the process of aging in metazoans.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1474-9726.2010.00624.xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2980570PMC
December 2010

Comparative transcriptional profiling identifies takeout as a gene that regulates life span.

Aging (Albany NY) 2010 May;2(5):298-310

Department of Molecular Biology, Cell Biology and Biochemistry, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912, USA.

A major challenge in translating the positive effects of dietary restriction (DR) for the improvement of human health is the development of therapeutic mimics. One approach to finding DR mimics is based upon identification of the proximal effectors of DR life span extension. Whole genome profiling of DR in Drosophila shows a large number of changes in gene expression, making it difficult to establish which changes are involved in life span determination as opposed to other unrelated physiological changes. We used comparative whole genome expression profiling to discover genes whose change in expression is shared between DR and two molecular genetic life span extending interventions related to DR, increased dSir2 and decreased Dmp53 activity. We find twenty-one genes shared among the three related life span extending interventions. One of these genes, takeout, thought to be involved in circadian rhythms, feeding behavior and juvenile hormone binding is also increased in four other life span extending conditions: Rpd3, Indy, chico and methuselah. We demonstrate takeout is involved in longevity determination by specifically increasing adult takeout expression and extending life span. These studies demonstrate the power of comparative whole genome transcriptional profiling for identifying specific downstream elements of the DR life span extending pathway.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2898020PMC
http://dx.doi.org/10.18632/aging.100146DOI Listing
May 2010

Accelerated ovarian aging in the absence of the transcription regulator TAF4B in mice.

Biol Reprod 2010 Jan 14;82(1):23-34. Epub 2009 Aug 14.

Department of Molecular and Cell Biology and Biochemistry, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island 02903, USA.

The mammalian ovary is unique in that its reproductive life span is limited by oocyte quantity and quality. Oocytes are recruited from a finite pool of primordial follicles that are usually exhausted from the ovary during midadult life. If regulation of this pool is perturbed, the reproductive capacity of the ovary is compromised. TAF4B is a gonad-enriched subunit of the TFIID complex required for female fertility in mice. Previous characterization of TAF4B-deficient ovaries revealed several reproductive deficits that collectively result in infertility. However, the etiology of such fertility defects remains unknown. By assaying estrous cycle, ovarian pathology, and gene expression changes in young Taf4b-null female mice, we show that TAF4B-deficient female mice exhibit premature reproductive senescence. The rapid decline of ovarian function in Taf4b-null mice begins in early postnatal life, and follicle depletion is completed by 16 wk of age. To uncover differences in gene expression that may underlie accelerated ovarian aging, we compared genome-wide expression profiles of 3-wk-old, prepubescent Taf4b-null and wild-type ovaries. At 3 wk of age, decreased gene expression in Taf4b-null ovaries is similar to that seen in aged ovaries, revealing several molecular signatures of premature reproductive senescence, including reduced Smc1b. One significantly reduced transcript in the young TAF4B-null ovary codes for MOV10L1, a putative germline-specific RNA helicase that is related to the Drosophila RNA interference protein, armitage. We show here that Mov10l1 is expressed in mouse oocytes and that its expression is sensitive to TAF4B level, linking TAF4B to the posttranscriptional control of ovarian gene expression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1095/biolreprod.109.077495DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2802112PMC
January 2010

Analysis of cell cycle phases and progression in cultured mammalian cells.

Methods 2007 Feb;41(2):143-50

Department of Molecular Biology, Cell Biology and Biochemistry, and Center for Genomics and Proteomics, Brown University, 70 Ship Street, Providence, RI 02903, USA.

Fluorescence activated cell sorting (FACS) analysis has become a standard tool to analyze cell cycle distributions in populations of cells. These methods require relatively large numbers of cells, and do not provide optimal resolution of the transitions between cell cycle phases. In this report we describe in detail complementary methods that utilize the incorporation of nucleotide analogs combined with microscopic examination. While often more time consuming, these protocols typically require far fewer cells, and allow accurate kinetic assessment of cell cycle progression. We also describe the use of a technique for the synchronization of adherent cells in mitosis by simple mechanical agitation (mitotic shake-off) that eliminates physiological perturbation associated with drug treatments.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ymeth.2006.07.022DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1828876PMC
February 2007

c-Myc localization within the nucleus: evidence for association with the PML nuclear body.

J Cell Biochem 2004 Dec;93(6):1282-96

Department of Cell Biology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, 55 Lake Avenue North, Worcester, Massachusetts 01655, USA.

Definitive localization of c-Myc within the nucleus is important to fully understand the regulation and function of this oncoprotein. Studies of c-Myc distribution, however, have produced conflicting results. To overcome technical challenges inherent in c-Myc cytology, we use here three methods to visualize c-Myc and in addition examine the impact of proteasome inhibition. EYFP or HA-tagged Myc was reintroduced by stable transfection into myc null diploid rat fibroblasts, replacing endogenous Myc with tagged Myc expressed at or near normal levels. This tagged Myc is shown to functionally replace the endogenous Myc by restoration of normal cell morphology and growth rate. We were able to confirm key findings using antibodies to the endogenous c-Myc and/or its partner, Max. Contrary to some published reports, by all three methods the c-Myc protein in rat fibroblasts distributes predominantly throughout the nucleus in a dispersed granular pattern, avoiding the nucleolus. Importantly, however, several findings provide evidence for an unanticipated relationship between c-Myc and PML nuclear bodies, which is enhanced under conditions of proteasome inhibition. Evidence of Max concentration within PML bodies is shown both with and without proteasome inhibition, strengthening the relationship between PML bodies and Myc/Max. Some accumulation of Myc and Max in nucleoli upon proteasome inhibition is also observed, although co-localization of ubiquitin was only seen with PML bodies. This work provides a comprehensive study of c-Myc distribution and also presents the first evidence of a relationship between turnover of this oncoprotein and PML nuclear bodies, known to break down in certain cancers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jcb.20273DOI Listing
December 2004

Loss of protooncogene c-Myc function impedes G1 phase progression both before and after the restriction point.

Mol Biol Cell 2003 Mar;14(3):823-35

Department of Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, and Biochemistry, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island 02912, USA.

c-myc is an important protooncogene whose misregulation is believed to causally affect the development of numerous human cancers. c-myc null rat fibroblasts are viable but display a severe (two- to threefold) retardation of proliferation. The rates of RNA and protein synthesis are reduced by approximately the same factor, whereas cell size remains unaffected. We have performed a detailed kinetic cell cycle analysis of c-myc(-/-) cells by using several labeling and synchronization methods. The majority of cells (>90%) in asynchronous, exponential phase c-myc(-/-) cultures cycle continuously with uniformly elongated cell cycles. Cell cycle elongation is due to a major lengthening of G(1) phase (four- to fivefold) and a more limited lengthening of G(2) phase (twofold), whereas S phase duration is largely unaffected. Progression from mitosis to the G1 restriction point and the subsequent progression from the restriction point into S phase are both drastically delayed. These results are best explained by a model in which c-Myc directly affects cell growth (accumulation of mass) and cell proliferation (the cell cycle machinery) by independent pathways.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1091/mbc.e02-10-0649DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC151562PMC
March 2003