Translate this page to:
In JoVE (1)
Other Publications (3)
Articles by Alberto Villanueva in JoVE
Basic Caenorhabditis elegans Methods: Synchronization and Observation
Montserrat Porta-de-la-Riva1,2, Laura Fontrodona1, Alberto Villanueva1,2, Julián Cerón1,2
1Department of Cancer and Human Molecular Genetics, Bellvitge Institute for Biomedical Research, 2C. elegans Core Facility, Bellvitge Institute for Biomedical Research
The easiness of maintaining and propagating the nematode C. elegans make it a nice model organism to work with. The possibility of synchronizing worms allows the work with a significant amount of subjects at the same developmental stage, what facilitates the study of one particular process in many animals.
Other articles by Alberto Villanueva on PubMed
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. Apr, 2009 | Pubmed ID: 19325125
Notch has been linked to beta-catenin-dependent tumorigenesis; however, the mechanisms leading to Notch activation and the contribution of the Notch pathway to colorectal cancer is not yet understood. By microarray analysis, we have identified a group of genes downstream of Wnt/beta-catenin (down-regulated when blocking Wnt/beta-catenin) that are directly regulated by Notch (repressed by gamma-secretase inhibitors and up-regulated by active Notch1 in the absence of beta-catenin signaling). We demonstrate that Notch is downstream of Wnt in colorectal cancer cells through beta-catenin-mediated transcriptional activation of the Notch-ligand Jagged1. Consistently, expression of activated Notch1 partially reverts the effects of blocking Wnt/beta-catenin pathway in tumors implanted s.c. in nude mice. Crossing APC(Min/+) with Jagged1(+/Delta) mice is sufficient to significantly reduce the size of the polyps arising in the APC mutant background indicating that Notch is an essential modulator of tumorigenesis induced by nuclear beta-catenin. We show that this mechanism is operating in human tumors from Familial Adenomatous Polyposis patients. We conclude that Notch activation, accomplished by beta-catenin-mediated up-regulation of Jagged1, is required for tumorigenesis in the intestine. The Notch-specific genetic signature is sufficient to block differentiation and promote vasculogenesis in tumors whereas proliferation depends on both pathways.
Interplay Between BRCA1 and RHAMM Regulates Epithelial Apicobasal Polarization and May Influence Risk of Breast Cancer
PLoS Biology. Nov, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 22110403
Differentiated mammary epithelium shows apicobasal polarity, and loss of tissue organization is an early hallmark of breast carcinogenesis. In BRCA1 mutation carriers, accumulation of stem and progenitor cells in normal breast tissue and increased risk of developing tumors of basal-like type suggest that BRCA1 regulates stem/progenitor cell proliferation and differentiation. However, the function of BRCA1 in this process and its link to carcinogenesis remain unknown. Here we depict a molecular mechanism involving BRCA1 and RHAMM that regulates apicobasal polarity and, when perturbed, may increase risk of breast cancer. Starting from complementary genetic analyses across families and populations, we identified common genetic variation at the low-penetrance susceptibility HMMR locus (encoding for RHAMM) that modifies breast cancer risk among BRCA1, but probably not BRCA2, mutation carriers: n = 7,584, weighted hazard ratio ((w)HR) = 1.09 (95% CI 1.02-1.16), p(trend) = 0.017; and n = 3,965, (w)HR = 1.04 (95% CI 0.94-1.16), p(trend) = 0.43; respectively. Subsequently, studies of MCF10A apicobasal polarization revealed a central role for BRCA1 and RHAMM, together with AURKA and TPX2, in essential reorganization of microtubules. Mechanistically, reorganization is facilitated by BRCA1 and impaired by AURKA, which is regulated by negative feedback involving RHAMM and TPX2. Taken together, our data provide fundamental insight into apicobasal polarization through BRCA1 function, which may explain the expanded cell subsets and characteristic tumor type accompanying BRCA1 mutation, while also linking this process to sporadic breast cancer through perturbation of HMMR/RHAMM.
Genome Research. Feb, 2012 | Pubmed ID: 21613409
Most of the studies characterizing DNA methylation patterns have been restricted to particular genomic loci in a limited number of human samples and pathological conditions. Herein, we present a compromise between an extremely comprehensive study of a human sample population with an intermediate level of resolution of CpGs at the genomic level. We obtained a DNA methylation fingerprint of 1628 human samples in which we interrogated 1505 CpG sites. The DNA methylation patterns revealed show this epigenetic mark to be critical in tissue-type definition and stemness, particularly around transcription start sites that are not within a CpG island. For disease, the generated DNA methylation fingerprints show that, during tumorigenesis, human cancer cells underwent a progressive gain of promoter CpG-island hypermethylation and a loss of CpG methylation in non-CpG-island promoters. Although transformed cells are those in which DNA methylation disruption is more obvious, we observed that other common human diseases, such as neurological and autoimmune disorders, had their own distinct DNA methylation profiles. Most importantly, we provide proof of principle that the DNA methylation fingerprints obtained might be useful for translational purposes by showing that we are able to identify the tumor type origin of cancers of unknown primary origin (CUPs). Thus, the DNA methylation patterns identified across the largest spectrum of samples, tissues, and diseases reported to date constitute a baseline for developing higher-resolution DNA methylation maps and provide important clues concerning the contribution of CpG methylation to tissue identity and its changes in the most prevalent human diseases.