Publications by authors named "Jane B Lian"

308 Publications

Hypoxia-inducible factor 2α is a novel inhibitor of chondrocyte maturation.

J Cell Physiol 2021 Mar 21. Epub 2021 Mar 21.

Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Cell and Matrix Research Institute, Korea Mouse Phenotyping Center, School of Medicine, Kyungpook National University, Daegu, Republic of Korea.

Hypoxic environment is essential for chondrocyte maturation and longitudinal bone growth. Although hypoxia-inducible factor 1 alpha (Hif-1α) has been known as a key player for chondrocyte survival and function, the function of Hif-2α in cartilage is mechanistically and clinically relevant but remains unknown. Here we demonstrated that Hif-2α was a novel inhibitor of chondrocyte maturation through downregulation of Runx2 stability. Mechanistically, Hif-2α binding to Runx2 inhibited chondrocyte maturation by Runx2 degradation through disrupting Runx2/Cbfβ complex formation. The Hif-2α-mediated-Runx2 degradation could be rescued by Cbfβ transfection due to the increase of Runx2/Cbfβ complex formation. Consistently, mesenchymal cells derived from Hif-2α heterozygous mice were more rapidly differentiated into hypertrophic chondrocytes than those of wild-type mice in a micromass culture system. Collectively, these findings demonstrate that Hif-2α is a novel inhibitor for chondrocyte maturation by disrupting Runx2/Cbfβ complex formation and consequential regulatory activity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jcp.30356DOI Listing
March 2021

Mesenchymal stem cells overexpressing BMP-9 by CRISPR-Cas9 present high in vitro osteogenic potential and enhance in vivo bone formation.

Gene Ther 2021 Mar 8. Epub 2021 Mar 8.

Bone Research Lab, School of Dentistry of Ribeirão Preto, University of São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brazil.

Cell therapy is a valuable strategy for the replacement of bone grafts and repair bone defects, and mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are the most frequently used cells. This study was designed to genetically edit MSCs to overexpress bone morphogenetic protein 9 (BMP-9) using Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats/associated nuclease Cas9 (CRISPR-Cas9) technique to generate iMSCs-VPR, followed by in vitro evaluation of osteogenic potential and in vivo enhancement of bone formation in rat calvaria defects. Overexpression of BMP-9 was confirmed by its gene expression and protein expression, as well as its targets Hey-1, Bmpr1a, and Bmpr1b, Dlx-5, and Runx2 and  protein expression of SMAD1/5/8 and pSMAD1/5/8. iMSCs-VPR displayed significant changes in the expression of a panel of genes involved in TGF-β/BMP signaling pathway. As expected, overexpression of BMP-9 increased the osteogenic potential of MSCs indicated by increased gene expression of osteoblastic markers Runx2, Sp7, Alp, and Oc, higher ALP activity, and matrix mineralization. Rat calvarial bone defects treated with injection of iMSCs-VPR exhibited increased bone formation and bone mineral density when compared with iMSCs-VPR- and phosphate buffered saline (PBS)-injected defects. This is the first study to confirm that CRISPR-edited MSCs overexpressing BMP-9 effectively enhance bone formation, providing novel options for exploring the capability of genetically edited cells to repair bone defects.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41434-021-00248-8DOI Listing
March 2021

Bioactivity-Guided Isolation and Identification of Anti-adipogenic Constituents from the n-Butanol Fraction of Cissus quadrangularis.

Crit Rev Eukaryot Gene Expr 2020 ;30(6):519-541

School of Biological Sciences, University of the Punjab, Quaid-i-Azam Campus, Lahore, Pakistan.

Obesity is marked by the buildup of fat in adipose tissue that increases body weight and the risk of many associated health problems, including diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Treatment options for obesity are limited, and available medications have many side effects. Thus there is a great need to find alternative medicines for treating obesity. This study explores the anti-adipogenic potential of the n-butanol fraction of Cissus quadrangularis (CQ-B) on 3T3-L1 mouse preadipocyte cell line. The expression of various lipogenic marker genes such as adiponectin, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma, leptin, fatty acid-binding proteins, sterol regulatory element-binding proteins, fetal alcohol syndrome, steroyl-CoA desaturase-1, lipoproteins, acetyl-CoA carboxylase alpha, and acetyl-CoA carboxylase beta were variously significantly downregulated. After establishing the anti-adipogenic potential of CQ-B, it was fractionated to isolate anti-adipogenic compounds. We observed significant reduction in neutral lipid content of differentiated cells treated with various fractions of CQ-B. Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis revealed the presence of thirteen compounds with reported anti-adipogenic activities. Further studies to purify these compounds can offer efficacious and viable treatment options for obesity and related complications.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1615/CritRevEukaryotGeneExpr.2020036843DOI Listing
January 2020

Inhibition of the RUNX1-CBFβ transcription factor complex compromises mammary epithelial cell identity: a phenotype potentially stabilized by mitotic gene bookmarking.

Oncotarget 2020 Jun 30;11(26):2512-2530. Epub 2020 Jun 30.

Department of Biochemistry and University of Vermont Cancer Center, Robert Larner College of Medicine, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT 05405, USA.

RUNX1 has recently been shown to play an important role in determination of mammary epithelial cell identity. However, mechanisms by which loss of the RUNX1 transcription factor in mammary epithelial cells leads to epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) are not known. Here, we report that interaction between RUNX1 and its heterodimeric partner CBFβ is essential for sustaining mammary epithelial cell identity. Disruption of RUNX1-CBFβ interaction, DNA binding, and association with mitotic chromosomes alters cell morphology, global protein synthesis, and phenotype-related gene expression. During interphase, RUNX1 is organized as punctate, predominantly nuclear, foci that are dynamically redistributed during mitosis, with a subset localized to mitotic chromosomes. Genome-wide RUNX1 occupancy profiles for asynchronous, mitotically enriched, and early G1 breast epithelial cells reveal RUNX1 associates with RNA Pol II-transcribed protein coding and long non-coding RNA genes and RNA Pol I-transcribed ribosomal genes critical for mammary epithelial proliferation, growth, and phenotype maintenance. A subset of these genes remains occupied by the protein during the mitosis to G1 transition. Together, these findings establish that the RUNX1-CBFβ complex is required for maintenance of the normal mammary epithelial phenotype and its disruption leads to EMT. Importantly, our results suggest, for the first time, that RUNX1 mitotic bookmarking of a subset of epithelial-related genes may be an important epigenetic mechanism that contributes to stabilization of the mammary epithelial cell identity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.27637DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7335667PMC
June 2020

RUNX1 and RUNX2 transcription factors function in opposing roles to regulate breast cancer stem cells.

J Cell Physiol 2020 10 17;235(10):7261-7272. Epub 2020 Mar 17.

Department of Biochemistry and University of Vermont Cancer Center, University of Vermont College of Medicine, Burlington, Vermont.

Breast cancer stem cells (BCSCs) are competent to initiate tumor formation and growth and refractory to conventional therapies. Consequently BCSCs are implicated in tumor recurrence. Many signaling cascades associated with BCSCs are critical for epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT). We developed a model system to mechanistically examine BCSCs in basal-like breast cancer using MCF10AT1 FACS sorted for CD24 (negative/low in BCSCs) and CD44 (positive/high in BCSCs). Ingenuity Pathway Analysis comparing RNA-seq on the CD24 versus CD24 MCF10AT1 indicates that the top activated upstream regulators include TWIST1, TGFβ1, OCT4, and other factors known to be increased in BCSCs and during EMT. The top inhibited upstream regulators include ESR1, TP63, and FAS. Consistent with our results, many genes previously demonstrated to be regulated by RUNX factors are altered in BCSCs. The RUNX2 interaction network is the top significant pathway altered between CD24 and CD24 MCF10AT1. RUNX1 is higher in expression at the RNA level than RUNX2. RUNX3 is not expressed. While, human-specific quantitative polymerase chain reaction primers demonstrate that RUNX1 and CDH1 decrease in human MCF10CA1a cells that have grown tumors within the murine mammary fat pad microenvironment, RUNX2 and VIM increase. Treatment with an inhibitor of RUNX binding to CBFβ for 5 days followed by a 7-day recovery period results in EMT suggesting that loss of RUNX1, rather than increase in RUNX2, is a driver of EMT in early stage breast cancer. Increased understanding of RUNX regulation on BCSCs and EMT will provide novel insight into therapeutic strategies to prevent recurrence.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jcp.29625DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7415511PMC
October 2020

Identification of tRNA-derived small RNA (tsRNA) responsive to the tumor suppressor, RUNX1, in breast cancer.

J Cell Physiol 2020 06 10;235(6):5318-5327. Epub 2020 Jan 10.

Department of Biochemistry, Larner College of Medicine, University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont.

Despite recent advances in targeted therapies, the molecular mechanisms driving breast cancer initiation, progression, and metastasis are minimally understood. Growing evidence indicate that transfer RNA (tRNA)-derived small RNAs (tsRNA) contribute to biological control and aberrations associated with cancer development and progression. The runt-related transcription factor 1 (RUNX1) transcription factor is a tumor suppressor in the mammary epithelium whereas RUNX1 downregulation is functionally associated with breast cancer initiation and progression. We identified four tsRNA (ts-19, ts-29, ts-46, and ts-112) that are selectively responsive to expression of the RUNX1 tumor suppressor. Our finding that ts-112 and RUNX1 anticorrelate in normal-like mammary epithelial and breast cancer lines is consistent with tumor-related activity of ts-112 and tumor suppressor activity of RUNX1. Inhibition of ts-112 in MCF10CA1a aggressive breast cancer cells significantly reduced proliferation. Ectopic expression of a ts-112 mimic in normal-like mammary epithelial MCF10A cells significantly increased proliferation. These findings support an oncogenic potential for ts-112. Moreover, RUNX1 may repress ts-112 to prevent overactive proliferation in breast epithelial cells to augment its established roles in maintaining the mammary epithelium.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jcp.29419DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7238950PMC
June 2020

Switches in histone modifications epigenetically control vitamin D3-dependent transcriptional upregulation of the CYP24A1 gene in osteoblastic cells.

J Cell Physiol 2020 06 23;235(6):5328-5339. Epub 2019 Dec 23.

Faculty of Medicine and Faculty of Life Sciences, Institute of Biomedical Sciences and FONDAP Center for Genome Regulation, Universidad Andres Bello-Santiago, Santiago, Chile.

In bone cells vitamin D dependent regulation of gene expression principally occurs through modulation of gene transcription. Binding of the active vitamin D metabolite, 1,25-dihydroxy vitamin D3 (1,25(OH) D ) to the vitamin D receptor (VDR) induces conformational changes in its C-terminal domain enabling competency for interaction with physiologically relevant coactivators, including SRC-1. Consequently, regulatory complexes can be assembled that support intrinsic enzymatic activities with competency to posttranslationally modify chromatin histones at target genomic sequences to epigenetically alter transcription. Here we examine specific transitions in representation and/or enrichment of epigenetic histone marks during 1,25(OH) D mediated upregulation of CYP24A1 gene expression in osteoblastic cells. This gene encodes the 24-hydroxylase enzyme, essential for biological control of vitamin D levels. We demonstrate that as the CYP24A1 gene promoter remains transcriptionally silent, there is enrichment of H4R3me2s together with its "writing" enzyme PRMT5 and decreased abundance of the istone H3 and H4 acetylation, H3R17me2a, and H4R3me2a marks as well as of their corresponding "writers." Exposure of osteoblastic cells to 1,25(OH) D stimulates the recruitment of a VDR/SRC-1 containing complex to the CYP24A1 promoter to mediate increased H3/H4 acetylation. VDR/SRC-1 binding occurs concomitant with the release of PRMT5 and the recruitment of the arginine methyltransferases CARM1 and PRMT1 to catalyze the deposition of the H3R17me2a and H4R3me2a marks, respectively. Our results indicate that these dynamic transitions of histone marks at the CYP24A1 promoter, provide a "chromatin context" that is transcriptionally competent for activation of the CYP24A1 gene in osteoblastic cells in response to 1,25(OH) D .
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jcp.29420DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7401294PMC
June 2020

The Thyroid Hormone Receptor-RUNX2 Axis: A Novel Tumor Suppressive Pathway in Breast Cancer.

Horm Cancer 2020 02 21;11(1):34-41. Epub 2019 Dec 21.

Department of Pharmacology, University of Vermont, 89 Beaumont Avenue, Burlington, VT, 05405, USA.

Metastatic breast cancer is refractory to conventional therapies and is an end-stage disease. RUNX2 is a transcription factor that becomes oncogenic when aberrantly expressed in multiple tumor types, including breast cancer, supporting tumor progression and metastases. Our previous work demonstrated that the thyroid hormone receptor beta (TRβ) inhibits RUNX2 expression and tumorigenic characteristics in thyroid cells. As TRβ is a tumor suppressor, we investigated the compelling question whether TRβ also regulates RUNX2 in breast cancer. The Cancer Genome Atlas indicates that TRβ expression is decreased in the most aggressive basal-like subtype of breast cancer. We established that modulated levels of TRβ results in corresponding changes in the high levels of RUNX2 expression in metastatic, basal-like breast cells. The MDA-MB-231 triple-negative breast cancer cell line exhibits low expression of TRβ and high levels of RUNX2. Increased expression of TRβ decreased RUNX2 levels. The thyroid hormone-mediated suppression of RUNX2 is TRβ specific as TRα overexpression failed to alter RUNX2 expression. Consistent with these findings, knockdown of TRβ in non-tumor MCF10A mammary epithelial-like cells results in an increase in RUNX2 and RUNX2 target genes. Mechanistically, TRβ directly interacts with the proximal promoter of RUNX2 through a thyroid hormone response element to reduce promoter activity. The TRβ suppression of the oncogene RUNX2 is a signaling pathway shared by thyroid and breast cancers. Our findings provide a novel mechanism for TRβ-mediated tumor suppression in breast cancers. This pathway may be common to many solid tumors and impact treatment for metastatic cancers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12672-019-00373-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8007220PMC
February 2020

Osteogenic potential of hexane and dichloromethane fraction of Cissus quadrangularis on murine preosteoblast cell line MC3T3-E1 (subclone 4).

J Cell Physiol 2019 12 26;234(12):23082-23096. Epub 2019 May 26.

School of Biological Sciences, Quaid-i-Azam Campus, University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan.

In continuation of the investigation of osteogenic potential of solvent fractions of ethanolic extract of Cissus quadrangularis (CQ), an ancient medicinal plant, most notably known for its bone-healing properties, to isolate and identify antiosteoporotic compounds. In the current study, we report the effect of hexane fraction (CQ-H) and dichloromethane fraction (CQ-D) of CQ on the differentiation and mineralization of mouse preosteoblast cell line MC3T3-E1 (subclone 4). Growth, viability, and proliferation assays revealed that low concentrations (0.1, 1, and 100 ng/ml) of both solvent fractions were nontoxic, whereas higher concentrations were toxic to the cells. Differentiation and mineralization of MC3T3-E1 with nontoxic concentrations of CQ-D and CQ-H revealed that CQ-D delayed the mineralization of MC3T3-E1 cells. However, early and enhanced mineralization was observed in cultures treated with nontoxic concentrations of CQ-H, as indicated by Von Kossa staining and expression profile of osteoblast marker genes such as osterix, Runx2, alkaline phosphatase (ALP), collagen (Col1a1), integrin-related bone sialoprotein (IBSP), osteopontin (OPN), and osteocalcin (OCN). These findings suggest CQ-H as the most efficacious solvent fraction for further investigation to isolate and identify the active compounds in CQ-H.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jcp.28869DOI Listing
December 2019

Towards a more precise and individualized assessment of breast cancer risk.

Aging (Albany NY) 2019 02;11(4):1305-1316

University of Vermont Cancer Center, The Robert Larner MD College of Medicine, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT 05405, USA.

Many clinically based models are available for breast cancer risk assessment; however, these models are not particularly useful at the individual level, despite being designed with that intent. There is, therefore, a significant need for improved, precise individualized risk assessment. In this Research Perspective, we highlight commonly used clinical risk assessment models and recent scientific advances to individualize risk assessment using precision biomarkers. Genome-wide association studies have identified >100 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with breast cancer risk, and polygenic risk scores (PRS) have been developed by several groups using this information. The ability of a PRS to improve risk assessment is promising; however, validation in both genetically and ethnically diverse populations is needed. Additionally, novel classes of biomarkers, such as microRNAs, may capture clinically relevant information based on epigenetic regulation of gene expression. Our group has recently identified a circulating-microRNA signature predictive of long-term breast cancer in a prospective cohort of high-risk women. While progress has been made, the importance of accurate risk assessment cannot be understated. Precision risk assessment will identify those women at greatest risk of developing breast cancer, thus avoiding overtreatment of women at average risk and identifying the most appropriate candidates for chemoprevention or surgical prevention.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.18632/aging.101803DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6402518PMC
February 2019

Participation of integrin β3 in osteoblast differentiation induced by titanium with nano or microtopography.

J Biomed Mater Res A 2019 06 23;107(6):1303-1313. Epub 2019 Feb 23.

Cell Culture Laboratory, School of Dentistry of Ribeirão Preto, University of São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brazil.

The major role of integrins is to mediate cell adhesion but some of them are involved in the osteoblasts-titanium (Ti) interactions. In this study, we investigated the participation of integrins in osteoblast differentiation induced by Ti with nanotopography (Ti-Nano) and with microtopography (Ti-Micro). By using a PCR array, we observed that, compared with Ti-Micro, Ti-Nano upregulated the expression of five integrins in mesenchymal stem cells, including integrin β3, which increases osteoblast differentiation. Silencing integrin β3, using CRISPR-Cas9, in MC3T3-E1 cells significantly reduced the osteoblast differentiation induced by Ti-Nano in contrast to the effect on T-Micro. Concomitantly, integrin β3 silencing downregulated the expression of integrin αv, the parent chain that combines with other integrins and several components of the Wnt/β-catenin and BMP/Smad signaling pathways, all involved in osteoblast differentiation, only in cells cultured on Ti-Nano. Taken together, our results showed the key role of integrin β3 in the osteogenic potential of Ti-Nano but not of Ti-Micro. Additionally, we propose a novel mechanism to explain the higher osteoblast differentiation induced by Ti-Nano that involves an intricate regulatory network triggered by integrin β3 upregulation, which activates the Wnt and BMP signal transductions. © 2019 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res Part A: 107A: 1303-1313, 2019.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jbm.a.36643DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7336872PMC
June 2019

RUNX1-dependent mechanisms in biological control and dysregulation in cancer.

J Cell Physiol 2019 06 4;234(6):8597-8609. Epub 2018 Dec 4.

Department of Biochemistry and University of Vermont Cancer Center, University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont.

The RUNX1 transcription factor has recently been shown to be obligatory for normal development. RUNX1 controls the expression of genes essential for proper development in many cell lineages and tissues including blood, bone, cartilage, hair follicles, and mammary glands. Compromised RUNX1 regulation is associated with many cancers. In this review, we highlight evidence for RUNX1 control in both invertebrate and mammalian development and recent novel findings of perturbed RUNX1 control in breast cancer that has implications for other solid tumors. As RUNX1 is essential for definitive hematopoiesis, RUNX1 mutations in hematopoietic lineage cells have been implicated in the etiology of several leukemias. Studies of solid tumors have revealed a context-dependent function for RUNX1 either as an oncogene or a tumor suppressor. These RUNX1 functions have been reported for breast, prostate, lung, and skin cancers that are related to cancer subtypes and different stages of tumor development. Growing evidence suggests that RUNX1 suppresses aggressiveness in most breast cancer subtypes particularly in the early stage of tumorigenesis. Several studies have identified RUNX1 suppression of the breast cancer epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition. Most recently, RUNX1 repression of cancer stem cells and tumorsphere formation was reported for breast cancer. It is anticipated that these new discoveries of the context-dependent diversity of RUNX1 functions will lead to innovative therapeutic strategies for the intervention of cancer and other abnormalities of normal tissues.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jcp.27841DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6395522PMC
June 2019

Ethyl acetate and n-butanol fraction of Cissus quadrangularis promotes the mineralization potential of murine pre-osteoblast cell line MC3T3-E1 (sub-clone 4).

J Cell Physiol 2019 07 15;234(7):10300-10314. Epub 2018 Nov 15.

School of Biological Sciences, University of the Punjab, Quaid-i-Azam Campus, Lahore, Pakistan.

In a sequel to investigate osteogenic potential of ethanolic extract of Cissus quadrangularis (CQ), the present study reports the osteoblast differentiation and mineralization potential of ethyl acetate (CQ-EA) and butanol (CQ-B) extracts of CQ on mouse pre-osteoblast cell line MC3T3-E1 (sub-clone 4) with an objective to isolate an antiosteoporotic compound. Growth curve, proliferation, and viability assays showed that both the extracts were nontoxic to the cells even at high concentration (100 µg/ml). The cell proliferation was enhanced at low concentrations (0.1 µg/ml and 1 µg/ml) of both the extracts. They also upregulated the osteoblast differentiation and mineralization processes in MC3T3-E1 cells as reflected by expression profile of osteoblast marker genes such as RUNX2, Osterix, Collagen (COL1A1), Alkaline Phosphatase (ALP), Integrin-related Bone Sialoprotein (IBSP), Osteopontin (OPN), and Osteocalcin (OCN). CQ-EA treatment resulted in early differentiation and mineralization as compared with the CQ-B treatment. These findings suggest that low concentrations of CQ-EA and CQ-B have proliferative and osteogenic properties. CQ-EA, however, is more potent osteogenic than CQ-B.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jcp.27707DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7316083PMC
July 2019

Mll-COMPASS complexes mediate H3K4me3 enrichment and transcription of the osteoblast master gene Runx2/p57 in osteoblasts.

J Cell Physiol 2019 05 7;234(5):6244-6253. Epub 2018 Sep 7.

Faculty of Medicine and Faculty of Life Sciences, Institute of Biomedical Sciences, Universidad Andres Bello, Santiago, Chile.

Expression of Runx2/p57 is a hallmark of the osteoblast-lineage identity. Although several regulators that control the expression of Runx2/p57 during osteoblast-lineage commitment have been identified, the epigenetic mechanisms that sustain this expression in differentiated osteoblasts remain to be completely determined. Here, we assess epigenetic mechanisms associated with Runx2/p57 gene transcription in differentiating MC3T3 mouse osteoblasts. Our results show that an enrichment of activating histone marks at the Runx2/p57 P1 promoter is accompanied by the simultaneous interaction of Wdr5 and Utx proteins, both are components of COMPASS complexes. Knockdown of Wdr5 and Utx expression confirms the activating role of both proteins at the Runx2-P1 promoter. Other chromatin modifiers that were previously described to regulate Runx2/p57 transcription in mesenchymal precursor cells (Ezh2, Prmt5, and Jarid1b proteins) were not found to contribute to Runx2/p57 transcription in full-committed osteoblasts. We also determined the presence of additional components of COMPASS complexes at the Runx2/p57 promoter, evidencing that the Mll2/COMPASS- and Mll3/COMPASS-like complexes bind to the P1 promoter in osteoblastic cells expressing Runx2/p57 to modulate the H3K4me1 to H3K4me3 transition.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jcp.27355DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7261149PMC
May 2019

Suppression of Breast Cancer Stem Cells and Tumor Growth by the RUNX1 Transcription Factor.

Mol Cancer Res 2018 12 6;16(12):1952-1964. Epub 2018 Aug 6.

Department of Biochemistry and University of Vermont Cancer Center, University of Vermont College of Medicine, Burlington, Vermont.

Breast cancer remains the most common malignant disease in women worldwide. Despite advances in detection and therapies, studies are still needed to understand the mechanisms underlying this cancer. Cancer stem cells (CSC) play an important role in tumor formation, growth, drug resistance, and recurrence. Here, it is demonstrated that the transcription factor RUNX1, well known as essential for hematopoietic differentiation, represses the breast cancer stem cell (BCSC) phenotype and suppresses tumor growth . The current studies show that BCSCs sorted from premalignant breast cancer cells exhibit decreased RUNX1 levels, whereas ectopic expression of RUNX1 suppresses tumorsphere formation and reduces the BCSC population. RUNX1 ectopic expression in breast cancer cells reduces migration, invasion, and tumor growth (57%) in mouse mammary fat pad. Mechanistically, RUNX1 functions to suppress breast cancer tumor growth through repression of CSC activity and direct inhibition of ZEB1 expression. Consistent with these cellular and biochemical results, clinical findings using patient specimens reveal that the highest RUNX1 levels occur in normal mammary epithelial cells and that low RUNX1 expression in tumors is associated with poor patient survival. IMPLICATIONS: The key finding that RUNX1 represses stemness in several breast cancer cell lines points to the importance of RUNX1 in other solid tumors where RUNX1 may regulate CSC properties.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-18-0135DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6289193PMC
December 2018

Mitotic Gene Bookmarking: An Epigenetic Program to Maintain Normal and Cancer Phenotypes.

Mol Cancer Res 2018 11 12;16(11):1617-1624. Epub 2018 Jul 12.

Department of Biochemistry and University of Vermont Cancer Centre, University of Vermont, Burlington Vermont.

Reconfiguration of nuclear structure and function during mitosis presents a significant challenge to resume the next cell cycle in the progeny cells without compromising structural and functional identity of the cells. Equally important is the requirement for cancer cells to retain the transformed phenotype, that is, unrestricted proliferative potential, suppression of cell phenotype, and activation of oncogenic pathways. Mitotic gene bookmarking retention of key regulatory proteins that include sequence-specific transcription factors, chromatin-modifying factors, and components of RNA Pol (RNAP) I and II regulatory machineries at gene loci on mitotic chromosomes plays key roles in coordinate control of cell phenotype, growth, and proliferation postmitotically. There is growing recognition that three distinct protein types, mechanistically, play obligatory roles in mitotic gene bookmarking: (i) Retention of phenotypic transcription factors on mitotic chromosomes is essential to sustain lineage commitment; (ii) Select chromatin modifiers and posttranslational histone modifications/variants retain competency of mitotic chromatin for gene reactivation as cells exit mitosis; and (iii) Functional components of RNAP I and II transcription complexes (e.g., UBF and TBP, respectively) are retained on genes poised for reactivation immediately following mitosis. Importantly, recent findings have identified oncogenes that are associated with target genes on mitotic chromosomes in cancer cells. The current review proposes that mitotic gene bookmarking is an extensively utilized epigenetic mechanism for stringent control of proliferation and identity in normal cells and hypothesizes that bookmarking plays a pivotal role in maintenance of tumor phenotypes, that is, unrestricted proliferation and compromised control of differentiation. .
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-18-0415DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6214712PMC
November 2018

Epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition and cancer stem cells contribute to breast cancer heterogeneity.

J Cell Physiol 2018 12 3;233(12):9136-9144. Epub 2018 Jul 3.

Department of Biochemistry and University of Vermont Cancer Center, University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, and accounts for ~30% of new cancer cases and 15% of cancer-related deaths. Tumor relapse and metastasis are primary factors contributing to breast cancer-related deaths. Therefore, the challenge for breast cancer treatment is to sustain remission. A driving force behind tumor relapse is breast cancer heterogeneity (both intertumor, between different patients, and intratumor, within the same tumor). Understanding breast cancer heterogeneity is necessary to develop preventive interventions and targeted therapies. A recently emerging concept is that intratumor heterogeneity is driven by cancer stem cells (CSCs) that are capable of giving rise to a multitude of different cells within a tumor. Studies have highlighted linkage of CSC formation with epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT). In this review, we summarize the current understanding of breast cancer heterogeneity, links between EMT and CSCs, regulation of EMT by Runx transcription factors, and potential therapeutic strategies targeting these processes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jcp.26847DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6185773PMC
December 2018

Nuclear organization mediates cancer-compromised genetic and epigenetic control.

Adv Biol Regul 2018 08 9;69:1-10. Epub 2018 May 9.

Department of Biochemistry and University of Vermont Cancer Center, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT, United States. Electronic address:

Nuclear organization is functionally linked to genetic and epigenetic regulation of gene expression for biological control and is modified in cancer. Nuclear organization supports cell growth and phenotypic properties of normal and cancer cells by facilitating physiologically responsive interactions of chromosomes, genes and regulatory complexes at dynamic three-dimensional microenvironments. We will review nuclear structure/function relationships that include: 1. Epigenetic bookmarking of genes by phenotypic transcription factors to control fidelity and plasticity of gene expression as cells enter and exit mitosis; 2. Contributions of chromatin remodeling to breast cancer nuclear morphology, metabolism and effectiveness of chemotherapy; 3. Relationships between fidelity of nuclear organization and metastasis of breast cancer to bone; 4. Dynamic modifications of higher-order inter- and intra-chromosomal interactions in breast cancer cells; 5. Coordinate control of cell growth and phenotype by tissue-specific transcription factors; 6. Oncofetal epigenetic control by bivalent histone modifications that are functionally related to sustaining the stem cell phenotype; and 7. Noncoding RNA-mediated regulation in the onset and progression of breast cancer. The discovery of components to nuclear organization that are functionally related to cancer and compromise gene expression have the potential for translation to innovative cancer diagnosis and targeted therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jbior.2018.05.001DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6102062PMC
August 2018

Thyroid Hormone Receptor β Suppression of RUNX2 Is Mediated by Brahma-Related Gene 1-Dependent Chromatin Remodeling.

Endocrinology 2018 06;159(6):2484-2494

Department of Pharmacology, Larner College of Medicine, University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont.

Thyroid hormone receptor β (TRβ) suppresses tumor growth through regulation of gene expression, yet the associated TRβ-mediated changes in chromatin assembly are not known. The chromatin ATPase brahma-related gene 1 (BRG1; SMARCA4), a key component of chromatin-remodeling complexes, is altered in many cancers, but its role in thyroid tumorigenesis and TRβ-mediated gene expression is unknown. We previously identified the oncogene runt-related transcription factor 2 (RUNX2) as a repressive target of TRβ. Here, we report differential expression of BRG1 in nonmalignant and malignant thyroid cells concordant with TRβ. BRG1 and TRβ have similar nuclear distribution patterns and significant colocalization. BRG1 interacts with TRβ, and together, they are part of the regulatory complex at the RUNX2 promoter. Loss of BRG1 increases RUNX2 levels, whereas reintroduction of TRβ and BRG1 synergistically decreases RUNX2 expression. RUNX2 promoter accessibility corresponded to RUNX2 expression levels. Inhibition of BRG1 activity increased accessibility of the RUNX2 promoter and corresponding expression. Our results reveal a mechanism of TRβ repression of oncogenic gene expression: TRβ recruitment of BRG1 induces chromatin compaction and diminishes RUNX2 expression. Therefore, BRG1-mediated chromatin remodeling may be obligatory for TRβ transcriptional repression and tumor suppressor function in thyroid tumorigenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1210/en.2018-00128DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6692870PMC
June 2018

Regulation of osteogenesis by long noncoding RNAs: An epigenetic mechanism contributing to bone formation.

Connect Tissue Res 2018 12;59(sup1):35-41

a Department of Biochemistry , Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont , Burlington , Vermont , USA.

Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) have recently emerged as novel regulators of lineage commitment, differentiation, development, viability, and disease progression. Few studies have examined their role in osteogenesis; however, given their critical and wide-ranging roles in other tissues, lncRNAs are most likely vital regulators of osteogenesis. In this study, we extensively characterized lncRNA expression in mesenchymal cells during commitment and differentiation to the osteoblast lineage using a whole transcriptome sequencing approach (RNA-Seq). Using mouse primary mesenchymal stromal cells (mMSC), we identified 1438 annotated lncRNAs expressed during MSC differentiation, 462 of which are differentially expressed. We performed guilt-by-association analysis using lncRNA and mRNA expression profiles to identify lncRNAs influencing MSC commitment and differentiation. These findings open novel dimensions for exploring lncRNAs in regulating normal bone formation and in skeletal disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03008207.2017.1412432DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5965257PMC
December 2018

Higher order genomic organization and regulatory compartmentalization for cell cycle control at the G1/S-phase transition.

J Cell Physiol 2018 10 10;233(10):6406-6413. Epub 2018 May 10.

Department of Biochemistry and University of Vermont Cancer Center, University of Vermont Larner College of Medicine, Burlington, Vermont.

Fidelity of histone gene regulation, and ultimately of histone protein biosynthesis, is obligatory for packaging of newly replicated DNA into chromatin. Control of histone gene expression within the 3-dimensional context of nuclear organization is reflected by two well documented observations. DNA replication-dependent histone mRNAs are synthesized at specialized subnuclear domains designated histone locus bodies (HLBs), in response to activation of the growth factor dependent Cyclin E/CDK2/HINFP/NPAT pathway at the G1/S transition in mammalian cells. Complete loss of the histone gene regulatory factors HINFP or NPAT disrupts HLB integrity that is necessary for coordinate control of DNA replication and histone gene transcription. Here we review the molecular histone-related requirements for G1/S-phase progression during the cell cycle. Recently developed experimental strategies, now enable us to explore mechanisms involved in dynamic control of histone gene expression in the context of the temporal (cell cycle) and spatial (HLBs) remodeling of the histone gene loci.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jcp.26741DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6043376PMC
October 2018

Nanoparticle-based targeted cancer strategies for non-invasive prostate cancer intervention.

J Cell Physiol 2018 09 16;233(9):6408-6417. Epub 2018 Apr 16.

Department of Chemistry, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont.

Prostate cancer is screened by testing circulating levels of the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) biomarker, monitoring changes over time, or a digital rectal exam. Abnormal results often lead to prostate biopsy. Prostate cancer positive patients are stratified into very low-risk, low-risk, intermediate-risk, and high-risk, based on clinical classification parameters, to assess therapy options. However, there remains a gap in our knowledge and a compelling need for improved risk stratification to inform clinical decisions and reduce both over-diagnosis and over-treatment. Further, current strategies for clinical intervention do not distinguish clinically aggressive prostate cancer from indolent disease. This mini-review takes advantage of a large number of functionally characterized microRNAs (miRNA), epigenetic regulators of prostate cancer, that define prostate cancer cell activity, tumor stage, and circulate as biomarkers to monitor disease progression. Nanoparticles provide an effective platform for targeted delivery of miRNA inhibitors or mimics specifically to prostate tumor cells to inhibit cancer progression. Several prostate-specific transmembrane proteins expressed at elevated levels in prostate tumors are under investigation for targeting therapeutic agents to prostate cancer cells. Given that prostate cancer progresses slowly, circulating miRNAs can be monitored to identify tumor progression in indolent disease, allowing identification of miRNAs for nanoparticle intervention before the crucial point of transition to aggressive disease. Here, we describe clinically significant and non-invasive intervention nanoparticle strategies being used in clinical trials for drug and nucleic acid delivery. The advantages of mesoporous silica-based nanoparticles and a number of candidate miRNAs for inhibition of prostate cancer are discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jcp.26593DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5993634PMC
September 2018

Mitotically-Associated lncRNA (MANCR) Affects Genomic Stability and Cell Division in Aggressive Breast Cancer.

Mol Cancer Res 2018 04 29;16(4):587-598. Epub 2018 Jan 29.

Department of Biochemistry and University of Vermont Cancer Center, The University of Vermont Larner College of Medicine, Burlington, Vermont.

Aggressive breast cancer is difficult to treat as it is unresponsive to many hormone-based therapies; therefore, it is imperative to identify novel, targetable regulators of progression. Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNA) are important regulators in breast cancer and have great potential as therapeutic targets; however, little is known about how the majority of lncRNAs function within breast cancer. This study characterizes a novel lncRNA, MANCR (mitotically-associated long noncoding RNA; LINC00704), which is upregulated in breast cancer patient specimens and cells. Depletion of MANCR in triple-negative breast cancer cells significantly decreases cell proliferation and viability, with concomitant increases in DNA damage. Transcriptome analysis, based on RNA sequencing, following MANCR knockdown reveals significant differences in the expression of >2,000 transcripts, and gene set enrichment analysis identifies changes in multiple categories related to cell-cycle regulation. Furthermore, MANCR expression is highest in mitotic cells by both RT-qPCR and RNA hybridization. Consistent with a role in cell-cycle regulation, MANCR-depleted cells have a lower mitotic index and higher incidences of defective cytokinesis and cell death. Taken together, these data reveal a role for the novel lncRNA, MANCR, in genomic stability of aggressive breast cancer, and identify it as a potential therapeutic target. The novel lncRNA, MANCR (LINC00704), is upregulated in breast cancer and is functionally linked with cell proliferation, viability, and genomic stability. .
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-17-0548DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5882506PMC
April 2018

Development of a predictive miRNA signature for breast cancer risk among high-risk women.

Oncotarget 2017 Dec 28;8(68):112170-112183. Epub 2017 Nov 28.

University of Vermont Cancer Center, The Robert Larner MD College of Medicine, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT, USA.

Significant limitations exist in our ability to predict breast cancer risk at the individual level. Circulating microRNAs (C-miRNAs) have emerged as measurable biomarkers (liquid biopsies) for cancer detection. We evaluated the ability of C-miRNAs to identify women most likely to develop breast cancer by profiling miRNA from serum obtained long before diagnosis. 24 breast cancer cases and controls (matched for risk and age) were identified from women enrolled in the High-Risk Breast Program at the UVM Cancer Center. Isolated RNA from serum was profiled for over 2500 human miRNAs. The miRNA expression data were input into a stepwise linear regression model to discover a multivariable miRNA signature that predicts long-term risk of breast cancer. 25 candidate miRNAs were identified that individually classified cases and controls based on statistical methodologies. A refined 6-miRNA risk-signature was discovered following regression modeling that distinguishes cases and controls (AUC0.896, CI 0.804-0.988) in this cohort. A functional relationship between miRNAs that cluster together when cases are contrasted against controls was suggested and confirmed by pathway analyses. The discovered 6 miRNA risk-signature can discriminate high-risk women who ultimately develop breast cancer from those who remain cancer-free, improving current risk assessment models. Future studies will focus on functional analysis of the miRNAs in this signature and testing in larger cohorts. We propose that the combined signature is highly significant for predicting cancer risk, and worthy of further screening in larger, independent clinical cohorts.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.22750DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5762501PMC
December 2017

Genome-wide DNase hypersensitivity, and occupancy of RUNX2 and CTCF reveal a highly dynamic gene regulome during MC3T3 pre-osteoblast differentiation.

PLoS One 2017 27;12(11):e0188056. Epub 2017 Nov 27.

Department of Biochemistry, University of Vermont College of Medicine, Burlington, Vermont, United States of America.

The ability to discover regulatory sequences that control bone-related genes during development has been greatly improved by massively parallel sequencing methodologies. To expand our understanding of cis-regulatory regions critical to the control of gene expression during osteoblastogenesis, we probed the presence of open chromatin states across the osteoblast genome using global DNase hypersensitivity (DHS) mapping. Our profiling of MC3T3 mouse pre-osteoblasts during differentiation has identified more than 224,000 unique DHS sites. Approximately 65% of these sites are dynamic during temporal stages of osteoblastogenesis, and a majority of them are located within non-promoter (intergenic and intronic) regions. Nearly half of all DHS sites (both constitutive and dynamic) overlap binding events of the bone-essential RUNX2 and/or the chromatin-related CTCF transcription factors. This finding reinforces the role of these regulatory proteins as essential components of the bone gene regulome. We observe a reduction in chromatin accessibility throughout the genome between pre-osteoblast and early osteoblasts. Our analysis also defined a class of differentially expressed genes that harbor DHS peaks centered within 1 kb downstream of transcriptional end sites (TES). These DHSs at the 3'-flanks of genes exhibit dynamic changes during differentiation that may impact regulation of the osteoblast genome. Taken together, the distribution of DHS regions within non-promoter locations harboring osteoblast and chromatin related transcription factor binding motifs, reflect novel cis-regulatory requirements to support temporal gene expression in differentiating osteoblasts.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0188056PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5703546PMC
December 2017

Regulation of Bone Metabolism by Serotonin.

Adv Exp Med Biol 2017 ;1033:35-46

Department of Neurological Sciences, The University of Vermont, Burlington, VT, 05405, USA.

The processes of bone growth and turnover are tightly regulated by the actions of various signaling molecules, including hormones, growth factors, and cytokines. Imbalances in these processes can lead to skeletal disorders such as osteoporosis or high bone mass disease. It is becoming increasingly clear that serotonin can act through a number of mechanisms, and at different locations in the body, to influence the balance between bone formation and resorption. Its actions on bone metabolism can vary, based on its site of synthesis (central or peripheral) as well as the cells and subtypes of receptors that are activated. Within the central nervous system, serotonergic neurons act via the hypothalamus to suppress sympathetic input to the bone. Since sympathetic input inhibits bone formation, brain serotonin has a net positive effect on bone growth. Gut-derived serotonin is thought to inhibit bone growth by attenuating osteoblast proliferation via activation of receptors on pre-osteoblasts. There is also evidence that serotonin can be synthesized within the bone and act to modulate bone metabolism. Osteoblasts, osteoclasts, and osteocytes all have the machinery to synthesize serotonin, and they also express the serotonin-reuptake transporter (SERT). Understanding the roles of serotonin in the tightly balanced system of bone modeling and remodeling is a clinically relevant goal. This knowledge can clarify bone-related side effects of drugs that affect serotonin signaling, including serotonin-specific reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and receptor agonists and antagonists, and it can potentially lead to therapeutic approaches for alleviating bone pathologies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-66653-2_3DOI Listing
April 2018

Aneurysmal bone cysts and pathologic fracture associated with supernumerary ring chromosome 6 in two unrelated patients.

Am J Med Genet A 2017 Dec 28;173(12):3205-3210. Epub 2017 Oct 28.

Division of Medical Genetics, Nemours-Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, Wilmington, Delaware.

Small supernumerary ring chromosome 6 (sSRC[6]) is a rare chromosomal abnormality characterized by a broad clinical phenotype. The spectrum of this disorder can range from phenotypically normal to severe developmental delay and congenital anomalies. We describe two unrelated patients with small SRCs derived from chromosome 6 with a novel bone phenotype. Both patients presented with a complex bone disorder characterized by severe osteopenia, pathologic fractures, and cyst-like lesions within the bone. Imaging revealed decreased bone mineral density, mutiple multiloculated cysts and cortical thinning. Lesion pathology in both patients demonstrated a bland cyst wall with woven dysplastic appearing bone entrapped within it. In patient 1, array comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) detected a tandem duplication of region 6p12.3 to 6q12 per marker chromosome. Cytogenetic analysis further revealed a complex patient of mosaicism with some cell lines displaying either one or two copies of the marker indicative of both tetrasomy and hexasomy of this region. Patient 2 was mosaic for a sSRC that encompassed a 26.8 Mb gain from 6p21.2 to 6q12. We performed an in-depth clinical analysis of a phenotype not previously observed in sSRC(6) patients and discuss the potential influence of genes located within this region on the skeletal presentation observed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajmg.a.38498DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5687301PMC
December 2017

Bivalent Epigenetic Control of Oncofetal Gene Expression in Cancer.

Mol Cell Biol 2017 Dec 13;37(23). Epub 2017 Nov 13.

Department of Biochemistry, University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont, USA

Multiple mechanisms of epigenetic control that include DNA methylation, histone modification, noncoding RNAs, and mitotic gene bookmarking play pivotal roles in stringent gene regulation during lineage commitment and maintenance. Experimental evidence indicates that bivalent chromatin domains, i.e., genome regions that are marked by both H3K4me3 (activating) and H3K27me3 (repressive) histone modifications, are a key property of pluripotent stem cells. Bivalency of developmental genes during the G phase of the pluripotent stem cell cycle contributes to cell fate decisions. Recently, some cancer types have been shown to exhibit partial recapitulation of bivalent chromatin modifications that are lost along with pluripotency, suggesting a mechanism by which cancer cells reacquire properties that are characteristic of undifferentiated, multipotent cells. This bivalent epigenetic control of oncofetal gene expression in cancer cells may offer novel insights into the onset and progression of cancer and may provide specific and selective options for diagnosis as well as for therapeutic intervention.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/MCB.00352-17DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5686582PMC
December 2017

Cover Image, Volume 232, Number 12, December 2017.

J Cell Physiol 2017 Dec;232(12)

Department of Biochemistry and the University of Vermont Cancer Center, the University of Vermont Larner College of Medicine, Burlington, Vermont.

Cover: The cover image, by Michaela R. Reagan et al., is based on the Perspective A Perspective on Malignancy in the Marrow, DOI 10.1002/jcp.25860.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jcp.25563DOI Listing
December 2017