Publications by authors named "Leander Blaas"

19 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Laminin alpha 5 regulates mammary gland remodeling through luminal cell differentiation and Wnt4-mediated epithelial crosstalk.

Development 2021 06 15;148(12). Epub 2021 Jun 15.

Institute of Biotechnology, Helsinki Institute of Life Sciences (HiLIFE), 00014 University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.

Epithelial attachment to the basement membrane (BM) is essential for mammary gland development, yet the exact roles of specific BM components remain unclear. Here, we show that Laminin α5 (Lama5) expression specifically in the luminal epithelial cells is necessary for normal mammary gland growth during puberty, and for alveologenesis during pregnancy. Lama5 loss in the keratin 8-expressing cells results in reduced frequency and differentiation of hormone receptor expressing (HR+) luminal cells. Consequently, Wnt4-mediated crosstalk between HR+ luminal cells and basal epithelial cells is compromised during gland remodeling, and results in defective epithelial growth. The effects of Lama5 deletion on gland growth and branching can be rescued by Wnt4 supplementation in the in vitro model of branching morphogenesis. Our results reveal a surprising role for BM-protein expression in the luminal mammary epithelial cells, and highlight the function of Lama5 in mammary gland remodeling and luminal differentiation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1242/dev.199281DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8254867PMC
June 2021

A Mouse Model to Assess STAT3 and STAT5A/B Combined Inhibition in Health and Disease Conditions.

Cancers (Basel) 2019 Aug 22;11(9). Epub 2019 Aug 22.

Department of Physiology, Center of Physiology and Pharmacology, Comprehensive Cancer Center (CCC), Medical University of Vienna, 1090 Vienna, Austria.

Genetically-engineered mouse models (GEMMs) lacking diseased-associated gene(s) globally or in a tissue-specific manner represent an attractive tool with which to assess the efficacy and toxicity of targeted pharmacological inhibitors. and transcription factors have been implicated in several pathophysiological conditions, and pharmacological inhibition of both transcription factors has been proposed to treat certain diseases, such as malignancies. To model combined inhibition of and we have developed a GEMM harboring a flox - allele ( mice) and generated mice lacking and in hepatocytes (). mice exhibited a marked reduction of STAT3, STAT5A and STAT5B proteins in the liver and developed steatosis, a phenotype that resembles mice lacking in hepatocytes. In addition, embryonic deletion of and ( mice) resulted in lethality, similar to mice. This data illustrates that mice are functional and can be used as a valuable tool to model the combined inhibition of and in tumorigenesis and other diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers11091226DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6770775PMC
August 2019

Mice deficient of super-enhancer region reveal differential control mechanism between normal and pathological growth.

Elife 2017 06 6;6. Epub 2017 Jun 6.

Division of Functional Genomics and Systems Biology, Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.

The gene desert upstream of the oncogene on chromosome 8q24 contains susceptibility loci for several major forms of human cancer. The region shows high conservation between human and mouse and contains multiple enhancers that are activated in tumor cells. However, the role of this region in normal development has not been addressed. Here we show that a 538 kb deletion of the entire upstream super-enhancer region in mice results in 50% to 80% decrease in expression in multiple tissues. The mice are viable and show no overt phenotype. However, they are resistant to tumorigenesis, and most normal cells isolated from them grow slowly in culture. These results reveal that only cells whose MYC activity is increased by serum or oncogenic driver mutations depend on the 8q24 super-enhancer region, and indicate that targeting the activity of this element is a promising strategy of cancer chemoprevention and therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.23382DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5461110PMC
June 2017

Lgr6 labels a rare population of mammary gland progenitor cells that are able to originate luminal mammary tumours.

Nat Cell Biol 2016 Dec 31;18(12):1346-1356. Epub 2016 Oct 31.

Adult Stem Cell Laboratory, The Francis Crick Institute, 1 Midland Road, London NW1 1AT, UK.

The mammary gland is composed of a complex cellular hierarchy with unusual postnatal plasticity. The identities of stem/progenitor cell populations, as well as tumour-initiating cells that give rise to breast cancer, are incompletely understood. Here we show that Lgr6 marks rare populations of cells in both basal and luminal mammary gland compartments in mice. Lineage tracing analysis showed that Lgr6 cells are unipotent progenitors, which expand clonally during puberty but diminish in adulthood. In pregnancy or following stimulation with ovarian hormones, adult Lgr6 cells regained proliferative potency and their progeny formed alveoli over repeated pregnancies. Oncogenic mutations in Lgr6 cells resulted in expansion of luminal cells, culminating in mammary gland tumours. Conversely, depletion of Lgr6 cells in the MMTV-PyMT model of mammary tumorigenesis significantly impaired tumour growth. Thus, Lgr6 marks mammary gland progenitor cells that can initiate tumours, and cells of luminal breast tumours required for efficient tumour maintenance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncb3434DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5812439PMC
December 2016

Stromal Hedgehog signalling is downregulated in colon cancer and its restoration restrains tumour growth.

Nat Commun 2016 08 5;7:12321. Epub 2016 Aug 5.

Center for Innovative Medicine, Department of Biosciences and Nutrition, Karolinska Institutet, NOVUM, Hälsovägen 7, 14183 Huddinge, Sweden.

A role for Hedgehog (Hh) signalling in the development of colorectal cancer (CRC) has been proposed. In CRC and other solid tumours, Hh ligands are upregulated; however, a specific Hh antagonist provided no benefit in a clinical trial. Here we use Hh reporter mice to show that downstream Hh activity is unexpectedly diminished in a mouse model of colitis-associated colon cancer, and that downstream Hh signalling is restricted to the stroma. Functionally, stroma-specific Hh activation in mice markedly reduces the tumour load and blocks progression of advanced neoplasms, partly via the modulation of BMP signalling and restriction of the colonic stem cell signature. By contrast, attenuated Hh signalling accelerates colonic tumourigenesis. In human CRC, downstream Hh activity is similarly reduced and canonical Hh signalling remains predominantly paracrine. Our results suggest that diminished downstream Hh signalling enhances CRC development, and that stromal Hh activation can act as a colonic tumour suppressor.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncomms12321DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4980446PMC
August 2016

Disruption of STAT3 signalling promotes KRAS-induced lung tumorigenesis.

Nat Commun 2015 Mar 3;6:6285. Epub 2015 Mar 3.

1] Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Cancer Research (LBI-CR), Vienna 1090, Austria [2] Department of Physiology, Center of Physiology and Pharmacology, Comprehensive Cancer Center, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna 1090, Austria.

STAT3 is considered to play an oncogenic role in several malignancies including lung cancer; consequently, targeting STAT3 is currently proposed as therapeutic intervention. Here we demonstrate that STAT3 plays an unexpected tumour-suppressive role in KRAS mutant lung adenocarcinoma (AC). Indeed, lung tissue-specific inactivation of Stat3 in mice results in increased Kras(G12D)-driven AC initiation and malignant progression leading to markedly reduced survival. Knockdown of STAT3 in xenografted human AC cells increases tumour growth. Clinically, low STAT3 expression levels correlate with poor survival and advanced malignancy in human lung AC patients with smoking history, which are prone to KRAS mutations. Consistently, KRAS mutant lung tumours exhibit reduced STAT3 levels. Mechanistically, we demonstrate that STAT3 controls NF-κB-induced IL-8 expression by sequestering NF-κB within the cytoplasm, thereby inhibiting IL-8-mediated myeloid tumour infiltration and tumour vascularization and hence tumour progression. These results elucidate a novel STAT3-NF-κB-IL-8 axis in KRAS mutant AC with therapeutic and prognostic relevance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncomms7285DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4366489PMC
March 2015

Growth hormone resistance exacerbates cholestasis-induced murine liver fibrosis.

Hepatology 2015 Feb;61(2):613-26

Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Cancer Research, Vienna, Austria.

Unlabelled: Growth hormone (GH) resistance has been associated with liver cirrhosis in humans but its contribution to the disease remains controversial. In order to elucidate whether GH resistance plays a causal role in the establishment and development of liver fibrosis, or rather represents a major consequence thereof, we challenged mice lacking the GH receptor gene (Ghr(-/-), a model for GH resistance) by crossing them with Mdr2 knockout mice (Mdr2(-/-)), a mouse model of inflammatory cholestasis and liver fibrosis. Ghr(-/-);Mdr2(-/-) mice showed elevated serum markers associated with liver damage and cholestasis, extensive bile duct proliferation, and increased collagen deposition relative to Mdr2(-/-) mice, thus suggesting a more severe liver fibrosis phenotype. Additionally, Ghr(-/-);Mdr2(-/-) mice had a pronounced down-regulation of hepatoprotective genes Hnf6, Egfr, and Igf-1, and significantly increased levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and apoptosis in hepatocytes, compared to control mice. Moreover, single knockout mice (Ghr(-/-)) fed with a diet containing 1% cholic acid displayed an increase in hepatocyte ROS production, hepatocyte apoptosis, and bile infarcts compared to their wild-type littermates, indicating that loss of Ghr renders hepatocytes more susceptible to toxic bile acid accumulation. Surprisingly, and despite their severe fibrotic phenotype, Ghr(-/-);Mdr2(-/-) mice displayed a significant decrease in tumor incidence compared to Mdr2(-/-) mice, indicating that loss of Ghr signaling may slow the progression from fibrosis/cirrhosis to cancer in the liver.

Conclusion: GH resistance dramatically exacerbates liver fibrosis in a mouse model of inflammatory cholestasis, therefore suggesting that GH resistance plays a causal role in the disease and provides a novel target for the development of liver fibrosis treatments.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hep.27408DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4986903PMC
February 2015

A mouse model to identify cooperating signaling pathways in cancer.

Nat Methods 2012 Sep 5;9(9):897-900. Epub 2012 Aug 5.

Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Cancer Research, Vienna, Austria.

We here establish a mouse cancer model called Multi-Hit that allows for the evaluation of oncogene cooperativities in tumor development. The model is based on the stochastic expression of oncogene combinations ('hits') that are mediated by Cre in a given tissue. Cells with cooperating hits are positively selected and give rise to tumors. We used this approach to evaluate the requirement of Ras downstream effector pathways in tumorigenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nmeth.2130DOI Listing
September 2012

The use of bacterial artificial chromosomes for recombinant protein production in mammalian cell lines.

Methods Mol Biol 2012 ;824:581-93

Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Cancer Research, Vienna, Austria.

The choice of an expression vector is a critical step in the field of recombinant protein production in mammalian cells lines. Most expression vectors used in the field are sensitive to the surrounding chromatin to their integration site into the host genome cell. This so-called chromatin positional effects influences the expression levels of the transgene and tends to silence its expression over time. Bacterial artificial chromosomes (BACs) are vectors that can accommodate inserts of up to 400 kb. Due to the large cloning capacity, BACs can harbour an entire locus with all or most of the regulatory elements controlling the expression of a gene. Therefore, BACs contain their own natural chromatin domain and are subjected to chromatin positional effects to a lesser extend or not at all. This makes cell lines generated with BAC-based expression vectors more predictable in terms of protein production and stability. In this chapter, we explore the use of BACs as expression vectors for recombinant protein production in mammalian cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-1-61779-433-9_31DOI Listing
April 2012

Impairment of hepatic growth hormone and glucocorticoid receptor signaling causes steatosis and hepatocellular carcinoma in mice.

Hepatology 2011 Oct;54(4):1398-409

Ludwig-Boltzmann-Institute for Cancer Research, Vienna, Austria.

Unlabelled: Growth hormone (GH)-activated signal transducer and activator of transcription 5 (STAT5) and the glucocorticoid (GC)-responsive glucocorticoid receptor (GR) are important signal integrators in the liver during metabolic and physiologic stress. Their deregulation has been implicated in the development of metabolic liver diseases, such as steatosis and progression to fibrosis. Using liver-specific STAT5 and GR knockout mice, we addressed their role in metabolism and liver cancer onset. STAT5 single and STAT5/GR double mutants developed steatosis, but only double-mutant mice progressed to liver cancer. Mechanistically, STAT5 deficiency led to the up-regulation of prolipogenic sterol regulatory element binding protein 1 (SREBP-1) and peroxisome proliferator activated receptor gamma (PPAR-γ) signaling. Combined loss of STAT5/GR resulted in GH resistance and hypercortisolism. The combination of both induced expression of adipose tissue lipases, adipose tissue lipid mobilization, and lipid flux to the liver, thereby aggravating STAT5-dependent steatosis. The metabolic dysfunctions in STAT5/GR compound knockout animals led to the development of hepatic dysplasia at 9 months of age. At 12 months, 35% of STAT5/GR-deficient livers harbored dysplastic nodules and ∼ 60% hepatocellular carcinomas (HCCs). HCC development was associated with GH and insulin resistance, enhanced tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) expression, high reactive oxygen species levels, and augmented liver and DNA damage parameters. Moreover, activation of the c-Jun N-terminal kinase 1 (JNK1) and STAT3 was prominent.

Conclusion: Hepatic STAT5/GR signaling is crucial for the maintenance of systemic lipid homeostasis. Impairment of both signaling cascades causes severe metabolic liver disease and promotes spontaneous hepatic tumorigenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hep.24509DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3232450PMC
October 2011

JAK-STAT signaling in hepatic fibrosis.

Front Biosci (Landmark Ed) 2011 Jun 1;16:2794-811. Epub 2011 Jun 1.

Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Cancer Research, Waehringer Strasse 13a, A-1090 Vienna, Austria.

Chronic liver injury, liver fibrosis and formation of hepatocellular carcinoma are intimately linked and represent a major medical challenge since treatment options are limited. Therefore, it is important to identify cellular and molecular pathways that promote liver damage or provide hepatoprotection for development of therapeutic approaches. Recently, the transcription factors STAT3 and STAT5 have been implicated in liver fibrosis induced by cholestatic liver damage. In this review, we summarize our current knowledge about STAT proteins in liver fibrosis and focus on common activities that underlie the hepatoprotective mechanisms regulated by IL-6/gp130/STAT3 and GH/STAT5/IGF-1 signaling pathways.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2741/3886DOI Listing
June 2011

A mouse tool for conditional mutagenesis in ovarian granulosa cells.

Genesis 2010 Oct;48(10):612-7

Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Cancer Research, Vienna, Austria.

Here we describe the generation of an inducible Cre transgenic line allowing conditional mutagenesis in ovarian granulosa cells. We have expressed the tamoxifen inducible CreER(T)² fusion protein from a Bacterial Artificial Chromosome (BAC) containing the regulatory elements of the hydroxysteroid (17-beta) dehydrogenase 1 (Hsd17b1) gene. Hsd17b1-iCreER(T)² transgenic mice express the iCreER(T)² fusion protein exclusively in ovarian granulosa cells. Recombination analysis at the genomic DNA level using mice with "floxed" Stat3 alleles showed no Cre activity in absence of tamoxifen whereas tamoxifen treatment induced Cre activity solely in the ovaries. Further characterization of Hsd17b1-iCreER(T)² mice using a Cre reporter line demonstrated that Cre-mediated recombination was restricted to ovarian granulosa cells. Therefore, Hsd17b1-iCreER(T)² mice should be a useful tool to analyze the gene functions in ovarian granulosa cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/dvg.20664DOI Listing
October 2010

Signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 protects from liver injury and fibrosis in a mouse model of sclerosing cholangitis.

Gastroenterology 2010 Jun 26;138(7):2499-508. Epub 2010 Feb 26.

Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Cancer Research, Vienna, Austria.

Background & Aims: Signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (Stat3) is the main mediator of interleukin-6-type cytokine signaling required for hepatocyte proliferation and hepatoprotection, but its role in sclerosing cholangitis and other cholestatic liver diseases remains unresolved.

Methods: We investigated the role of Stat3 in inflammation-induced cholestatic liver injury and used mice lacking the multidrug resistance gene 2 (mdr2(-/-)) as a model for SC.

Results: We show that conditional inactivation of Stat3 in hepatocytes and cholangiocytes (stat3(Deltahc)) of mdr2(-/-) mice strongly aggravated bile acid-induced liver injury and fibrosis. A similar phenotype was observed in mdr2(-/-) mice lacking interleukin-6 production. Biochemical and molecular characterization suggested that Stat3 exerts hepatoprotective functions in both hepatocytes and cholangiocytes. Loss of Stat3 led to increased expression of tumor necrosis factor alpha, which might reduce the barrier function of bile ducts. Moreover, Stat3-deficient hepatocytes displayed up-regulation of bile acid biosynthesis genes and down-regulation of hepatoprotective epidermal growth factor receptor and insulin-like growth factor 1 signaling pathways. Consistently, stat3(Deltahc) mice were more sensitive to cholic acid-induced liver damage than control mice.

Conclusions: Our data suggest that Stat3 prevents cholestasis and liver damage in sclerosing cholangitis via regulation of pivotal functions in hepatocytes and cholangiocytes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1053/j.gastro.2010.02.049DOI Listing
June 2010

Disruption of the growth hormone--signal transducer and activator of transcription 5--insulinlike growth factor 1 axis severely aggravates liver fibrosis in a mouse model of cholestasis.

Hepatology 2010 Apr;51(4):1319-26

Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Cancer Research, Vienna, Austria.

Unlabelled: Growth hormone (GH) resistance and low serum levels of insulinlike growth factor 1 (IGF-1) are common features in human liver fibrosis and cirrhosis. Signal transducer and activator of transcription 5 (STAT5) controls several vital functions in the liver, including GH-mediated transcription of IGF-1. To investigate the role of STAT5 in liver fibrogenesis, we specifically deleted the Stat5a/b locus both in hepatocytes and cholangiocytes in the multidrug resistance gene 2 knockout (Mdr2(-/-)) mouse model of cholestasis. Double knockout mice develop an early and severe liver fibrosis phenotype, accompanied by perturbed expression of key regulators of bile acid homeostasis. Deletion of Stat5 resulted in GH resistance, and IGF-1 levels in serum were undetectable. We could observe reduced expression of important hepatoprotective genes, such as epidermal growth factor receptor (Egfr), hepatocyte nuclear factor 6 (Hnf6), prolactin receptor (Prlr), and leukemia inhibitory factor receptor (Lifr) as well as increased numbers of apoptotic hepatocytes.

Conclusion: Our data suggest that loss of STAT5 sensitizes hepatocytes to bile acid-induced damage and apoptosis caused by disruption of GH-induced transcription of Igf-1 and down-regulation of hepatoprotective genes. These findings could contribute to the understanding of liver fibrosis and future treatment strategies for liver fibrosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hep.23469DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2976853PMC
April 2010

Stat3 is a negative regulator of intestinal tumor progression in Apc(Min) mice.

Gastroenterology 2010 Mar 4;138(3):1003-11.e1-5. Epub 2009 Dec 4.

Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Cancer Research, A-1090 Vienna, Austria.

Background And Aims: The transcription factor signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (Stat3) has been considered to promote progression and metastasis of intestinal cancers.

Methods: We investigated the role of Stat3 in intestinal tumors using mice with conditional ablation of Stat3 in intestinal epithelial cells (Stat3(DeltaIEC)).

Results: In the Apc(Min) mouse model of intestinal cancer, genetic ablation of Stat3 reduced the multiplicity of early adenomas. However, loss of Stat3 promoted tumor progression at later stages, leading to formation of invasive carcinomas, which significantly shortened the lifespan of Stat3(DeltaIEC)Apc(Min/+) mice. Interestingly, loss of Stat3 in tumors of Apc(Min/+) mice had no significant impact on cell survival and angiogenesis, but promoted cell proliferation. A genome-wide expression analysis of Stat3-deficient tumors suggested that Stat3 might negatively regulate intestinal cancer progression via the cell adhesion molecule CEACAM1.

Conclusions: Our data suggest that Stat3 impairs invasiveness of intestinal tumors. Therefore, therapeutic targeting of the Stat3 signaling pathway in intestinal cancer should be evaluated for adverse effects on tumor progression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1053/j.gastro.2009.11.049DOI Listing
March 2010

Bacterial artificial chromosomes improve recombinant protein production in mammalian cells.

BMC Biotechnol 2009 Jan 14;9. Epub 2009 Jan 14.

Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Cancer Research (LBI-CR), Währinger Str, 13a, A-1090 Vienna, Austria.

Background: The development of appropriate expression vectors for large scale protein production constitutes a critical step in recombinant protein production. The use of conventional expression vectors to obtain cell lines is a cumbersome procedure. Often, stable cell lines produce low protein yields and production is not stable over the time. These problems are due to silencing of randomly integrated expression vectors by the surrounding chromatin. To overcome these chromatin effects, we have employed a Bacterial Artificial Chromosome (BAC) as expression vector to obtain stable cell lines suitable for protein production.

Results: In this work, we explore the efficacy of a Bacterial Artificial Chromosome based vector applied to production of the constant region of the human IgG1. Direct comparison of bulk HEK 293 cell cultures generated with a "conventional" vector or with a BAC-based vector showed that the BAC-based vector improved the protein yield by a factor of 10. Further analysis of stable cell clones harboring the BAC-based vector showed that the protein production was directly proportional to the number of integrated BAC copies and that the protein production was stable for at least 30 passages.

Conclusion: Generation of stable cell clones for protein production using Bacterial Artificial Chromosomes offers a clear advantage over the use of conventional vectors. First, protein production is increased by a factor of 10; second, protein production is stable overtime and third, generation of BAC-based expression vectors does not imply a significant amount of work compare to a conventional vector. Therefore, BAC-based vectors may become an attractive tool for protein production.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1472-6750-9-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2653024PMC
January 2009

PhiC31-mediated cassette exchange into a bacterial artificial chromosome.

Biotechniques 2007 Nov;43(5):659-60, 662, 664

Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Cancer Research, Vienna, Austria.

The use of bacterial artificial chromosomes (BACs) modified via homologous recombination in Escherichia coli has become a powerful tool in the transgenic field. Homologous recombination allows the manipulation of BACs in very different ways. However this process can be cumbersome and problematic when using large targeting constructs containing several repeated elements. In order to address this problem, we have established a phiC31 integrase-mediated cassette exchange into a BAC. As an example of this technique, we have exchanged a cassette previously recombined into a BAC containing the Rosa 26 locus, by a 16.5-kb incoming construct containing several repeated elements. The combination of homologous recombination in E. coli and cassette exchange should expand the tools for manipulating BACs, thus facilitating the generation of constructs with higher complexity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2144/000112592DOI Listing
November 2007

Selective modulation of Hedgehog/GLI target gene expression by epidermal growth factor signaling in human keratinocytes.

Mol Cell Biol 2006 Aug;26(16):6283-98

Department of Molecular Biology, University of Salzburg, Hellbrunnerstrasse 34, A-5020 Salzburg, Austria.

Hedgehog (HH)/GLI signaling plays a critical role in epidermal development and basal cell carcinoma. Here, we provide evidence that epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signaling modulates the target gene expression profile of GLI transcription factors in epidermal cells. Using expression profiling and quantitative reverse transcriptase PCR, we identified a set of 19 genes whose transcription is synergistically induced by GLI1 and parallel EGF treatment. Promoter studies of a subset of GLI/EGF-regulated genes, including the genes encoding interleukin-1 antagonist IL1R2, Jagged 2, cyclin D1, S100A7, and S100A9, suggest convergence of EGFR and HH/GLI signaling at the level of promoters of selected direct GLI target genes. Inhibition of EGFR and MEK/ERK but not of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/AKT abrogated synergistic activation of GLI/EGF target genes, showing that EGFR can signal via RAF/MEK/ERK to cooperate with GLI proteins in selective target gene regulation. Coexpression of the GLI/EGF target IL1R2, EGFR, and activated ERK1/2 in human anagen hair follicles argues for a cooperative role of EGFR and HH/GLI signaling in specifying the fate of outer root sheath (ORS) cells. We also show that EGF treatment neutralizes GLI-mediated induction of epidermal stem cell marker expression and provide evidence that EGFR signaling is essential for GLI-induced cell cycle progression in epidermal cells. The results suggest that EGFR signaling modulates GLI target gene profiles which may play an important regulatory role in ORS specification, hair growth, and possibly cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/MCB.02317-05DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1592816PMC
August 2006