Short interfering RNAs (siRNAs) are widely used as tool for gene inactivation in basic research and therapeutic applications. One of the major shortcomings of siRNA experiments are sequence-specific off-target effects. Such effects are largely unpredictable because siRNAs can affect partially complementary sequences and function like microRNAs (miRNAs), which inhibit gene expression on mRNA stability or translational levels. Here we demonstrate that novel, enzymatically generated siRNA pools-referred to as siPools-containing up to 60 accurately defined siRNAs eliminate off-target effects. This is achieved by the low concentration of each individual siRNA diluting sequence-specific off-target effects below detection limits. In fact, whole transcriptome analyses reveal that single siRNA transfections can severely affect global gene expression. However, when complex siRNA pools are transfected, almost no transcriptome alterations are observed. Taken together, we present enzymatically produced complex but accurately defined siRNA pools with potent on-target silencing but without detectable off-target effects.
Overnutrition is the major cause of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and its advanced form nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). We aimed to develop and characterize a murine model, which resembles both the pathology and nutritional situation, of NASH patients in Western societies. Mice were fed with a NASH-inducing diet (ND) containing sucrose, cholesterol and fats rich in saturated fatty acids in a composition, which mimics Western food. After 12 weeks, ND-fed mice revealed obesity and impaired glucose tolerance. In the liver, ND-feeding led to marked steatosis, hepatocellular damage, inflammation and beginning fibrosis. Transcriptome-wide gene expression analysis and search for over-represented transcription factor target sites among the differentially expressed genes identified activator protein-1 (AP-1) as the most likely factor to cause the transcriptional changes in ND livers. Combining differentially expressed gene and protein-protein interaction network analysis identified c-Jun as hub in the largest connected deregulated sub-network in ND livers. Accordingly, ND livers revealed c-Jun-phosphorylation and nuclear translocation. Moreover, hepatic c-Jun expression was enhanced in ND-fed mice. Combined tissue microarray technology and immunohistochemical analysis confirmed enhanced hepatic c-Jun levels in NAFLD patients, which correlated with inflammation, and notably, with the degree of hepatic steatosis. In summary, our new mouse model shows important pathological changes also found in human NASH and indicates c-Jun/AP-1 activation as critical regulator of hepatic alterations. Abundance of c-Jun in NAFLD likely facilitates development and progression of NASH.
Next-generation sequencing of the hypervariable V3 region of the 16s rRNA gene isolated from serial stool specimens collected from 31 patients receiving allogeneic stem cell transplantation (SCT) was performed to elucidate variations in the composition of the intestinal microbiome in the course of allogeneic SCT. Metagenomic analysis was complemented by strain-specific enterococcal PCR and indirect assessment of bacterial load by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry of urinary indoxyl sulfate. At the time of admission, patients showed a predominance of commensal bacteria. After transplantation, a relative shift toward enterococci was observed, which was more pronounced under antibiotic prophylaxis and treatment of neutropenic infections. The shift was particularly prominent in patients that developed subsequently or suffered from active gastrointestinal (GI) graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). The mean proportion of enterococci in post-transplant stool specimens was 21% in patients who did not develop GI GVHD as compared with 46% in those that subsequently developed GI GVHD and 74% at the time of active GVHD. Enterococcal PCR confirmed predominance of Enterococcus faecium or both E. faecium and Enterococcus faecalis in these specimens. As a consequence of the loss of bacterial diversity, mean urinary indoxyl sulfate levels dropped from 42.5 ± 11 ?mol/L to 11.8 ± 2.8 ?mol/L in all post-transplant samples and to 3.5 ± 3 ?mol/L in samples from patients with active GVHD. Our study reveals major microbiome shifts in the course of allogeneic SCT that occur in the period of antibiotic treatment but are more prominent in association with GI GVHD. Our data indicate early microbiome shifts and a loss of diversity of the intestinal microbiome that may affect intestinal inflammation in the setting of allogeneic SCT.
The genetic hallmark of Burkitt lymphoma (BL) is the t(8;14)(q24;q32) and its variants leading to activation of the MYC oncogene. It is a matter of debate whether true BL without MYC translocation exists. Here, we identified 59 lymphomas concordantly called BL by 2 gene expression classifiers among 753 B-cell lymphomas. Only 2 (3%) of these 59 molecular BL lacked a MYC translocation, which both shared a peculiar pattern of chromosome 11q aberration characterized by interstitial gains including 11q23.2-q23.3 and telomeric losses of 11q24.1-qter. We extended our analysis to 17 MYC-negative high-grade B-cell lymphomas with a similar 11q aberration and showed this aberration to be recurrently associated with morphologic and clinical features of BL. The minimal region of gain was defined by high-level amplifications in 11q23.3 and associated with overexpression of genes including PAFAH1B2 on a transcriptional and protein level. The recurrent region of loss contained a focal homozygous deletion in 11q24.2-q24.3 including the ETS1 gene, which was shown to be mutated in 4 of 16 investigated cases. These findings indicate the existence of a molecularly distinct subset of B-cell lymphomas reminiscent of BL, which is characterized by deregulation of genes in 11q.
High-grade gliomas are amongst the most deadly human tumors. Treatment results are disappointing. Still, in several trials around 20% of patients respond to therapy. To date, diagnostic strategies to identify patients that will profit from a specific therapy do not exist.
For biological pathways, it is common to measure a gene expression time series after various knockdowns of genes that are putatively involved in the process of interest. These interventional time-resolved data are most suitable for the elucidation of dynamic causal relationships in signaling networks. Even with this kind of data it is still a major and largely unsolved challenge to infer the topology and interaction logic of the underlying regulatory network.
Our current understanding of cellular networks is rather incomplete. We over look important but so far unknown genes and mechanisms in the pathways. Moreover, we often only have a partial account of the molecular interactions and modifications of the known players. When analyzing the cell, we look through narrow windows leaving potentially important events in blind spots. Network reconstruction is naturally confined to what we have observed. Little is known on how the incompleteness of our observations confounds our interpretation of the available data. Here we ask which features of a network can be confounded by incomplete observations and which cannot. In the context of nested effects models, we show that in the presence of missing observations or hidden factors a reliable reconstruction of the full network is not feasible. Nevertheless, we can show that certain characteristics of signaling networks like the existence of cross-talk between certain branches of the network can be inferred in a nonconfoundable way. We derive a test for inferring such nonconfoundable characteristics of signaling networks. Next, we introduce a new data structure to represent partially reconstructed signaling networks. Finally, we evaluate our method both on simulated data and in the context of a study on early stem cell differentiation in mice.
Chromosomal translocations affecting the MYC oncogene are the biologic hallmark of Burkitt lymphomas but also occur in a subset of other mature B-cell lymphomas. If accompanied by a chromosomal break targeting the BCL2 and/or BCL6 oncogene these MYC translocation positive (MYC+) lymphomas are called double-hit lymphomas, otherwise the term single-hit lymphomas is applied. In order to characterize the biologic features of these MYC+ lymphomas other than Burkitt lymphoma we explored, after exclusion of molecular Burkitt lymphoma as defined by gene expression profiling, the molecular, pathological and clinical aspects of 80 MYC-translocation positive lymphomas (31 single-hit, 46 double-hit & 3 MYC+-lymphomas with unknown BCL6 status). Comparison of single-hit and double-hit lymphomas revealed no difference in MYC partner (IG/non-IG), genomic complexity, MYC expression or gene expression profile. Double-hit lymphomas showed more frequent GCB-like gene expression profile and higher IGH and MYC mutation frequencies. Gene expression profiling revealed 130 differentially expressed genes between BCL6+/MYC+ and BCL2+/MYC+ double-hit lymphomas. BCL2+/MYC+ double-hit lymphomas showed a more frequent GCB-like gene expression profile. Analysis of all lymphomas according to MYC partner (IG/non-IG) revealed no substantial differences. In this series of lymphomas, in which immunochemotherapy was administered in only a minority of cases, single-hit and double-hit lymphomas had a similar poor outcome in contrast with molecular Burkitt lymphoma and lymphomas without MYC break. Our data suggest that, after excluding molecular Burkitt lymphoma and pediatric cases, MYC+ lymphomas are biologically quite homogenous with single-hit and double-hit lymphomas as well as IG-MYC and non-IG-MYC+ lymphomas sharing various molecular characteristics.
Mutations of the LMX1B gene cause nail-patella syndrome, a rare autosomal-dominant disorder affecting the development of the limbs, eyes, brain, and kidneys. The characterization of conventional Lmx1b knockout mice has shown that LMX1B regulates the development of podocyte foot processes and slit diaphragms, but studies using podocyte-specific Lmx1b knockout mice have yielded conflicting results regarding the importance of LMX1B for maintaining podocyte structures. In order to address this question, we generated inducible podocyte-specific Lmx1b knockout mice. One week of Lmx1b inactivation in adult mice resulted in proteinuria with only minimal foot process effacement. Notably, expression levels of slit diaphragm and basement membrane proteins remained stable at this time point, and basement membrane charge properties also did not change, suggesting that alternative mechanisms mediate the development of proteinuria in these mice. Cell biological and biophysical experiments with primary podocytes isolated after 1 week of Lmx1b inactivation indicated dysregulation of actin cytoskeleton organization, and time-resolved DNA microarray analysis identified the genes encoding actin cytoskeleton-associated proteins, including Abra and Arl4c, as putative LMX1B targets. Chromatin immunoprecipitation experiments in conditionally immortalized human podocytes and gel shift assays showed that LMX1B recognizes AT-rich binding sites (FLAT elements) in the promoter regions of ABRA and ARL4C, and knockdown experiments in zebrafish support a model in which LMX1B and ABRA act in a common pathway during pronephros development. Our report establishes the importance of LMX1B in fully differentiated podocytes and argues that LMX1B is essential for the maintenance of an appropriately structured actin cytoskeleton in podocytes.
Aberrant regulation of the Wnt/?-catenin pathway has an important role during the onset and progression of colorectal cancer, with over 90% of cases of sporadic colon cancer featuring mutations in APC or ?-catenin. However, it has remained a point of controversy whether these mutations are sufficient to activate the pathway or require additional upstream signals. Here we show that colorectal tumours express elevated levels of Wnt3 and Evi/Wls/GPR177. We found that in colon cancer cells, even in the presence of mutations in APC or ?-catenin, downstream signalling remains responsive to Wnt ligands and receptor proximal signalling. Furthermore, we demonstrate that truncated APC proteins bind ?-catenin and key components of the destruction complex. These results indicate that cells with mutations in APC or ?-catenin depend on Wnt ligands and their secretion for a sufficient level of ?-catenin signalling, which potentially opens new avenues for therapeutic interventions by targeting Wnt secretion via Evi/Wls.
Melanoma inhibitory activity (MIA), a small soluble secreted protein, is functionally important for progression of malignant melanoma. We recently revealed that p54(nrb) acts as a mediator of MIA action. In this study, we characterize the transcriptional regulation of p54(nrb) by MIA to explain MIAs molecular action. We identified one highly conserved region in the p54(nrb) promoter that is necessary and sufficient for MIA-dependent activation. Functional promoter analysis identified the transcription factor YBX1 as the mediator of MIA activation of p54(nrb) transcription. We screened the genome for further potential MIA-regulated genes carrying the element in their promoter regions. Integrating our sequence data with expression data from human melanomas identified a list of 23 potential MIA-YBX1 targets in melanomas. In summary, we present for the first time effects of MIA on transcriptional regulation. Uncovering new potential downstream effectors working via activation of YBX1 supports the important role of MIA in melanoma.
Burkitts lymphoma (BL) is a highly malignant, aggressive non-Hodgkins lymphoma derived from germinal center B cells. Recently, global gene expression profiling of patient samples led to a molecular definition of BL with lymphocyte enhancer-binding factor 1 (LEF1) as a signature gene. Herein, we report the expression of nucleic LEF1 in 15 of 18 patients with BL and the identification of LEF1 target genes. Germinal center B cells were devoid of detectable nuclear LEF1 expression, as were mantle cell lymphoma (0 of 5), marginal zone lymphoma (0 of 6), follicular lymphoma (0 of 12), and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (1 of 31). Whole-genome gene expression profiling after transient knockdown of LEF1 in BL cell lines identified new LEF1 target genes; these LEF1 targets are enriched with genes associated with cancers. The expression of LEF1 and LEF1-regulated genes in primary BL suggests that LEF1 is not only aberrantly expressed but also transcriptionally active. This study supports a functionally important role for LEF1 and its target genes in BLs.
Suppressor of cytokine signaling 1 (SOCS1) is frequently mutated in primary mediastinal and diffuse large B-cell lymphomas (DLBCL). Currently, the prognostic relevance of these mutations in DLBCL is unknown. To evaluate the value of the SOCS1 mutation status as a prognostic biomarker in DLBCL patients, we performed full-length SOCS1 sequencing in tumors of 154 comprehensively characterized DLBCL patients. We identified 90 SOCS1 mutations in 16% of lymphomas. With respect to molecular consequences of mutations, we defined two distinct subtypes: those with truncating (major) and those with non-truncating mutations (minor), respectively. The SOCS1 mutated subgroup or the minor/major subtypes cannot be predicted on clinical grounds; however, assignment of four established gene-expression profile-based classifiers revealed significant associations of SOCS1 major cases with germinal center and specific pathway activation pattern signatures. Above all, SOCS1 major cases have an excellent overall survival, even better than the GCB-like subgroup. SOCS1 minor cases had a dismal survival, even worse than the ABC gene signature group. The SOCS1 mutation subsets retained prognostic significance in uni- and multivariate analyses. Together our data indicate that assessment of the SOCS1 mutation status is a single gene prognostic biomarker in DLBCL.
MIA/CD-RAP is a small, secreted protein involved in cartilage differentiation and melanoma progression. We recently revealed that p54(nrb) acts as a mediator of MIA/CD-RAP action to promote chondrogenesis and the progression of malignant melanoma. As the molecular mechanism of MIA/CD-RAP action in cartilage has not been defined in detail until now, we aimed to understand the regulation of p54(nrb) transcription in chondrogenesis. We concentrated on the previously described MIA/CD-RAP-dependent regulatory region in the p54(nrb) promoter and characterized the transcriptional regulation of p54(nrb) by MIA/CD-RAP in cartilage. A series of truncated p54(nrb) promoter constructs and mutagenesis analysis revealed that the transcription factor YBX1, which has not been investigated in chondrogenesis thus far, is the mediator of MIA/CD-RAP dependent activation of p54(nrb) transcription. A systematic analysis of genes carrying this binding site in their promoter region revealed further potential MIA/CD-RAP-regulated genes that have been implicated in cartilage differentiation. In summary, we described the effects of MIA/CD-RAP on transcriptional regulation in chondrocytes. Understanding the regulation of p54(nrb) via YBX1 contributes to the understanding of chondrogenesis. Uncovering new downstream effectors that function via the activation of YBX1 supports the important role of MIA/CD-RAP in these processes.
MYC is a key transcription factor involved in central cellular processes such as regulation of the cell cycle, histone acetylation and ribosomal biogenesis. It is overexpressed in the majority of human tumors including aggressive B-cell lymphoma. Especially Burkitt lymphoma (BL) is a highlight example for MYC overexpression due to a chromosomal translocation involving the c-MYC gene. However, no genome-wide analysis of MYC-binding sites by chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) followed by next generation sequencing (ChIP-Seq) has been conducted in BL so far.
Classification algorithms for high-dimensional biological data like gene expression profiles or metabolomic fingerprints are typically evaluated by the number of misclassifications across a test dataset. However, to judge the classification of a single case in the context of clinical diagnosis, we need to assess the uncertainties associated with that individual case rather than the average accuracy across many cases. Reliability of individual classifications can be expressed in terms of class probabilities. While classification algorithms are a well-developed area of research, the estimation of class probabilities is considerably less progressed in biology, with only a few classification algorithms that provide estimated class probabilities.
In biomedical research transcriptomic, proteomic or metabolomic profiles of patient samples are often combined with genomic profiles from experiments in cell lines or animal models. Integrating experimental data with patient data is still a challenging task due to the lack of tailored statistical tools.
Gene expression profiling has recently enabled the reclassification of aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphomas (aNHL) into distinct subgroups. In Burkitt lymphoma (BL) aberrant c-Myc activity results from IG-MYC translocations. However, MYC aberrations are not limited to BLs and then have a negative prognostic impact. In this study, we investigated to which extent aberrant c-Myc activity plays a functional role in other aNHL and whether it is independent from MYC translocations. Based on a combined microarray analysis of human germinal center (GC) B cells transfected with c-Myc and 220 aNHLs cases, we developed a "c-Myc index." This index measures the extent to which lymphomas express c-Myc responsive genes. It comprises genes that are affected in a variety of tumors compared to normal tissue. This supports the view that aberrant c-Myc expression in GC B cells triggers a tumor-like expression pattern. As expected, the "c-Myc index" is very high in molecular Burkitt lymphoma (mBL), but more importantly also high within other aNHL. It constitutes a negative prognostic marker independent of established risk factors and of the presence of a MYC translocation. Our data provide new insights into the role of c-Myc activity in different lymphomas and raises the question of treatment changes for those patients under risk.
The prognosis of germinal center-derived B-cell (GCB) lymphomas, including follicular lymphoma and diffuse large-B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), strongly depends on age. Children have a more favorable outcome than adults. It is not known whether this is because of differences in host characteristics, treatment protocols, or tumor biology, including the presence of chromosomal alterations. By screening for novel IGH translocation partners in pediatric and adult lymphomas, we identified chromosomal translocations juxtaposing the IRF4 oncogene next to one of the immunoglobulin (IG) loci as a novel recurrent aberration in mature B-cell lymphoma. FISH revealed 20 of 427 lymphomas to carry an IG/IRF4-fusion. Those were predominantly GCB-type DLBCL or follicular lymphoma grade 3, shared strong expression of IRF4/MUM1 and BCL6, and lacked PRDM1/BLIMP1 expression and t(14;18)/BCL2 breaks. BCL6 aberrations were common. The gene expression profile of IG/IRF4-positive lymphomas differed from other subtypes of DLBCL. A classifier for IG/IRF4 positivity containing 27 genes allowed accurate prediction. IG/IRF4 positivity was associated with young age and a favorable outcome. Our results suggest IRF4 translocations to be primary alterations in a molecularly defined subset of GCB-derived lymphomas. The probability for this subtype of lymphoma significantly decreases with age, suggesting that diversity in tumor biology might contribute to the age-dependent differences in prognosis of lymphoma.
Extracting biomedical information from large metabolomic datasets by multivariate data analysis is of considerable complexity. Common challenges include among others screening for differentially produced metabolites, estimation of fold changes, and sample classification. Prior to these analysis steps, it is important to minimize contributions from unwanted biases and experimental variance. This is the goal of data preprocessing. In this work, different data normalization methods were compared systematically employing two different datasets generated by means of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. To this end, two different types of normalization methods were used, one aiming to remove unwanted sample-to-sample variation while the other adjusts the variance of the different metabolites by variable scaling and variance stabilization methods. The impact of all methods tested on sample classification was evaluated on urinary NMR fingerprints obtained from healthy volunteers and patients suffering from autosomal polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD). Performance in terms of screening for differentially produced metabolites was investigated on a dataset following a Latin-square design, where varied amounts of 8 different metabolites were spiked into a human urine matrix while keeping the total spike-in amount constant. In addition, specific tests were conducted to systematically investigate the influence of the different preprocessing methods on the structure of the analyzed data. In conclusion, preprocessing methods originally developed for DNA microarray analysis, in particular, Quantile and Cubic-Spline Normalization, performed best in reducing bias, accurately detecting fold changes, and classifying samples. ELECTRONIC SUPPLEMENTARY MATERIAL: The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11306-011-0350-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Transcriptome regionalization is an essential polarity determinant among metazoans, directing embryonic axis formation during normal development. Although conservation of this principle in mammals is assumed, recent evidence is conflicting and it is not known whether transcriptome asymmetries exist within unfertilized mammalian eggs or between the respective cleavage products of early embryonic divisions. We here address this by comparing transcriptome profiles of paired single cells and sub-cellular structures obtained microsurgically from mouse oocytes and totipotent embryos. Paired microsurgical spindle and remnant samples from unfertilized metaphase II oocytes possessed distinguishable profiles. Fertilization produces a totipotent 1-cell embryo (zygote) and associated spindle-enriched second polar body whose paired profiles also differed, reflecting spindle transcript enrichment. However, there was no programmed transcriptome asymmetry between sister cells within 2- or 3-cell embryos. Accordingly, there is transcriptome asymmetry within mouse oocytes, but not between the sister blastomeres of early embryos. This work places constraints on pre-patterning in mammals and provides documentation correlating potency changes and transcriptome partitioning at the single-cell level.
Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is paradigmatic for the investigation of cancer stem cells (CSC) in solid tumors. Growing evidence suggests that different types of CSC lead to the formation of GBM. This has prompted the present comparison of gene expression profiles between 17 GBM CSC lines and their different putative founder cells. Using a newly derived 24-gene signature, we can now distinguish two subgroups of GBM: Type I CSC lines display "proneural" signature genes and resemble fetal neural stem cell (fNSC) lines, whereas type II CSC lines show "mesenchymal" transcriptional profiles similar to adult NSC (aNSC) lines. Phenotypically, type I CSC lines are CD133 positive and grow as neurospheres. Type II CSC lines, in contrast, display (semi-)adherent growth and lack CD133 expression. Molecular differences between type I and type II CSC lines include the expression of extracellular matrix molecules and the transcriptional activity of the WNT and the transforming growth factor-beta/bone morphogenetic protein signaling pathways. Importantly, these characteristics were not affected by induced adherence on laminin. Comparing CSC lines with their putative cells of origin, we observed greatly increased proliferation and impaired differentiation capacity in both types of CSC lines but no cancer-associated activation of otherwise silent signaling pathways. Thus, our data suggest that the heterogeneous tumor entity GBM may derive from cells that have preserved or acquired properties of either fNSC or aNSC but lost the corresponding differentiation potential. Moreover, we propose a gene signature that enables the subclassification of GBM according to their putative cells of origin.
The Affymetrix MitoChip v2.0 is an oligonucleotide tiling array for the resequencing of the human mitochondrial (mt) genome. For each of 16,569 nucleotide positions of the mt genome it holds two sets of four 25-mer probes each that match the heavy and the light strand of a reference mt genome and vary only at their central position to interrogate all four possible alleles. In addition, the MitoChip v2.0 carries alternative local context probes to account for known mtDNA variants. These probes have been neglected in most studies due to the lack of software for their automated analysis.
Comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography-time-of-flight mass spectrometry (GC x GC-TOF-MS) was applied to the comparative metabolic fingerprinting of a wild-type versus a double mutant strain of Escherichia coli lacking the transhydrogenases UdhA and PntAB. Using peak lists generated with the Leco ChromaTOF software as input, we developed retention time correction and data alignment tools (INCA). The accuracy of peak alignment and detection of 1.1- to 4-fold changes in metabolite concentration was validated by a spike-in experiment with 20 standard compounds. A list of 48 significant features that differentiated the two E. coli strains was obtained with an estimated false discovery rate (FDR) of <0.05. A total of 27 metabolites, mainly from the citrate cycle, were identified. That the signal intensity of the m/z 73 trace of the trimethylsilyl (TMS) group reflected true differences in metabolite abundance was confirmed by quantification of pyruvate, fumarate, malate, succinate, alpha-ketoglutarate, citrate, cis-aconitate, myo-inositol, and glucose-6-phosphate using compound specific fragment ions and stable isotope labeled standards. Relative standard deviations for metabolite extraction and GC x GC-TOF-MS analysis of those analytes ranged from 13.2 to 26.3% for the universal m/z 73 trace and 7.4 to 24.5% for the analyte specific fragment ion trace.
Lymphomas are assumed to originate at different stages of lymphocyte development through chromosomal aberrations. Thus, different lymphomas resemble lymphocytes at distinct differentiation stages and show characteristic morphologic, genetic, and transcriptional features. Here, we have performed a microarray-based DNA methylation profiling of 83 mature aggressive B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphomas (maB-NHLs) characterized for their morphologic, genetic, and transcriptional features, including molecular Burkitt lymphomas and diffuse large B-cell lymphomas. Hierarchic clustering indicated that methylation patterns in maB-NHLs were not strictly associated with morphologic, genetic, or transcriptional features. By supervised analyses, we identified 56 genes de novo methylated in all lymphoma subtypes studied and 22 methylated in a lymphoma subtype-specific manner. Remarkably, the group of genes de novo methylated in all lymphoma subtypes was significantly enriched for polycomb targets in embryonic stem cells. De novo methylated genes in all maB-NHLs studied were expressed at low levels in lymphomas and normal hematopoietic tissues but not in nonhematopoietic tissues. These findings, especially the enrichment for polycomb targets in stem cells, indicate that maB-NHLs with different morphologic, genetic, and transcriptional background share a similar stem cell-like epigenetic pattern. This suggests that maB-NHLs originate from cells with stem cell features or that stemness was acquired during lymphomagenesis by epigenetic remodeling.
We introduce systematic approaches to chemical kinetics based on the use of phase-phase (log-log) representations of the rate equations. For slow processes, we obtain a corrected form of the mass-action law, where the concentrations are replaced by kinetic activities. For fast reactions, delay expressions are derived. The phase-phase expansion is, in general, applicable to kinetic and transport processes. A mechanism is introduced for the occurrence of a generalized mass-action law as a result of self-similar recycling. We show that our self-similar recycling model applied to prothrombin assays reproduces the empirical equations for the International Normalized Ratio calibration (INR), as well as the Watala, Golanski, and Kardas relation (WGK) for the dependence of the INR on the concentrations of coagulation factors. Conversely, the experimental calibration equation for the INR, combined with the experimental WGK relation, without the use of theoretical models, leads to a generalized mass-action type kinetic law.
Cellular decision making in differentiation, proliferation, or cell death is mediated by molecular signaling processes, which control the regulation and expression of genes. Vice versa, the expression of genes can trigger the activity of signaling pathways. We introduce and describe a statistical method called Dynamic Nested Effects Model (D-NEM) for analyzing the temporal interplay of cell signaling and gene expression. D-NEMs are Bayesian models of signal propagation in a network. They decompose observed time delays of multiple step signaling processes into single steps. Time delays are assumed to be exponentially distributed. Rate constants of signal propagation are model parameters, whose joint posterior distribution is assessed via Gibbs sampling. They hold information on the interplay of different forms of biological signal propagation. Molecular signaling in the cytoplasm acts at high rates, direct signal propagation via transcription and translation act at intermediate rates, while secondary effects operate at low rates. D-NEMs allow the dissection of biological processes into signaling and expression events, and analysis of cellular signal flow. An application of D-NEMs to embryonic stem cell development in mice reveals a feed-forward loop dominated network, which stabilizes the differentiated state of cells and points to Nanog as the key sensitizer of stem cells for differentiation stimuli.
Follicular lymphoma (FL) is characterized by a large number of chromosomal aberrations. However, their exact genomic extension and involved target genes remain to be determined. For this purpose, we used array-based intermediate-high resolution genomic profiling in combination with Affymetrix gene expression analysis. Tumor specimens from 128 FL patients were analyzed for the presence of genomic aberrations and the results were correlated to clinical data sets and mRNA expression levels. In 114 (89%) of the 128 analyzed cases, a total of 688 genomic aberrations (384 gains/amplifications and 304 losses) were detected. Frequent genomic aberrations were: -1p36 (18%), +2p15 (24%), -3q (14%), -6q (25%), +7p (19%), +7q (23%), +8q (14%), -9p (16%), -11q (15%), +12q (20%), -13q (11%), -17p (16%), +18p (18%), and +18q (28%). Critical segments of these imbalances were delineated to genomic fragments with a minimum size down to 0.2 Mb. By comparison of these with mRNA gene expression data, putative candidate genes were identified. Moreover, we found that deletions affecting the tumor suppressor gene CDKN2A/B on 9p21 were detected in nontransformed FL grade I-II. For this aberration as well as for -6q25 and -6q26, an association with inferior survival was observed.
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is present in all cases of endemic Burkitt lymphoma (BL) but in few European/North American sporadic BLs. Gene expression arrays of sporadic tumors have defined a consensus BL profile within which tumors are classifiable as "molecular BL" (mBL). Where endemic BLs fall relative to this profile remains unclear, since they not only carry EBV but also display one of two different forms of virus latency. Here, we use early-passage BL cell lines from different tumors, and BL subclones from a single tumor, to compare EBV-negative cells with EBV-positive cells displaying either classical latency I EBV infection (where EBNA1 is the only EBV antigen expressed from the wild-type EBV genome) or Wp-restricted latency (where an EBNA2 gene-deleted virus genome broadens antigen expression to include the EBNA3A, -3B, and -3C proteins and BHRF1). Expression arrays show that both types of endemic BL fall within the mBL classification. However, while EBV-negative and latency I BLs show overlapping profiles, Wp-restricted BLs form a distinct subgroup, characterized by a detectable downregulation of the germinal center (GC)-associated marker Bcl6 and upregulation of genes marking early plasmacytoid differentiation, notably IRF4 and BLIMP1. Importantly, these same changes can be induced in EBV-negative or latency I BL cells by infection with an EBNA2-knockout virus. Thus, we infer that the distinct gene profile of Wp-restricted BLs does not reflect differences in the identity of the tumor progenitor cell per se but differences imposed on a common progenitor by broadened EBV gene expression.
Burkitt lymphoma is a mature aggressive B-cell lymphoma derived from germinal center B cells. Its cytogenetic hallmark is the Burkitt translocation t(8;14)(q24;q32) and its variants, which juxtapose the MYC oncogene with one of the three immunoglobulin loci. Consequently, MYC is deregulated, resulting in massive perturbation of gene expression. Nevertheless, MYC deregulation alone seems not to be sufficient to drive Burkitt lymphomagenesis. By whole-genome, whole-exome and transcriptome sequencing of four prototypical Burkitt lymphomas with immunoglobulin gene (IG)-MYC translocation, we identified seven recurrently mutated genes. One of these genes, ID3, mapped to a region of focal homozygous loss in Burkitt lymphoma. In an extended cohort, 36 of 53 molecularly defined Burkitt lymphomas (68%) carried potentially damaging mutations of ID3. These were strongly enriched at somatic hypermutation motifs. Only 6 of 47 other B-cell lymphomas with the IG-MYC translocation (13%) carried ID3 mutations. These findings suggest that cooperation between ID3 inactivation and IG-MYC translocation is a hallmark of Burkitt lymphomagenesis.
Nontargeted metabolite fingerprinting is increasingly applied to biomedical classification. The choice of classification algorithm may have a considerable impact on outcome. In this study, employing nested cross-validation for assessing predictive performance, six binary classification algorithms in combination with different strategies for data-driven feature selection were systematically compared on five data sets of urine, serum, plasma, and milk one-dimensional fingerprints obtained by proton nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. Support Vector Machines and Random Forests combined with t-score-based feature filtering performed well on most data sets, whereas the performance of the other tested methods varied between data sets.
The blood–brain barrier (BBB) and the environment of the central nervous system (CNS) guard the nervous tissue from peripheral immune cells. In the autoimmune disease multiple sclerosis, myelin-reactive T-cell blasts are thought to transgress the BBB and create a pro-inflammatory environment in the CNS, thereby making possible a second autoimmune attack that starts from the leptomeningeal vessels and progresses into the parenchyma. Using a Lewis rat model of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, we show here that contrary to the expectations of this concept, T-cell blasts do not efficiently enter the CNS and are not required to prepare the BBB for immune-cell recruitment. Instead, intravenously transferred T-cell blasts gain the capacity to enter the CNS after residing transiently within the lung tissues. Inside the lung tissues, they move along and within the airways to bronchus-associated lymphoid tissues and lung-draining mediastinal lymph nodes before they enter the blood circulation from where they reach the CNS. Effector T cells transferred directly into the airways showed a similar migratory pattern and retained their full pathogenicity. On their way the T cells fundamentally reprogrammed their gene-expression profile, characterized by downregulation of their activation program and upregulation of cellular locomotion molecules together with chemokine and adhesion receptors. The adhesion receptors include ninjurin 1, which participates in T-cell intravascular crawling on cerebral blood vessels. We detected that the lung constitutes a niche not only for activated T cells but also for resting myelin-reactive memory T cells. After local stimulation in the lung, these cells strongly proliferate and, after assuming migratory properties, enter the CNS and induce paralytic disease. The lung could therefore contribute to the activation of potentially autoaggressive T cells and their transition to a migratory mode as a prerequisite to entering their target tissues and inducing autoimmune disease.
microRNAs (miRNAs) are short non-coding RNAs with regulatory functions in various biological processes including cell differentiation, development and oncogenic transformation. They can bind to mRNA transcripts of protein-coding genes and repress their translation or lead to mRNA degradation. Conversely, the transcription of miRNAs is regulated by proteins including transcription factors, co-factors, and messenger molecules in signaling pathways, yielding a bidirectional regulatory network of gene and miRNA expression. We describe here a least angle regression approach for uncovering the functional interplay of gene and miRNA regulation based on paired gene and miRNA expression profiles. First, we show that gene expression profiles can indeed be reconstructed from the expression profiles of miRNAs predicted to be regulating the specific gene. Second, we propose a two-step model where in the first step, sequence information is used to constrain the possible set of regulating miRNAs and in the second step, this constraint is relaxed to find regulating miRNAs that do not rely on perfect seed binding. Finally, a bidirectional network comprised of miRNAs regulating genes and genes regulating miRNAs is built from our previous regulatory predictions. After applying the method to a human cancer cell line data set, an analysis of the underlying network reveals miRNAs known to be associated with cancer when dysregulated are predictors of genes with functions in apoptosis. Among the predicted and newly identified targets that lack a classical miRNA seed binding site of a specific oncomir, miR-19b-1, we found an over-representation of genes with functions in apoptosis, which is in accordance with the previous finding that this miRNA is the key oncogenic factor in the mir-17-92 cluster. In addition, we found genes involved in DNA recombination and repair that underline its importance in maintaining the integrity of the cell.
Although brain tumors are classified and treated based upon their histology, the molecular factors involved in the development of various tumor types remain unknown. In this study, we show that the type and order of genetic events directs the development of gliomas, central nervous system primitive neuroectodermal tumors, and atypical teratoid/rhabdoid-like tumors from postnatal mouse neural stem/progenitor cells (NSC/NPC). We found that the overexpression of specific genes led to the development of these three different brain tumors from NSC/NPCs, and manipulation of the order of genetic events was able to convert one established tumor type into another. In addition, loss of the nuclear chromatin-remodeling factor SMARCB1 in rhabdoid tumors led to increased phosphorylation of eIF2?, a central cytoplasmic unfolded protein response (UPR) component, suggesting a role for the UPR in these tumors. Consistent with this, application of the proteasome inhibitor bortezomib led to an increase in apoptosis of human cells with reduced SMARCB1 levels. Taken together, our findings indicate that the order of genetic events determines the phenotypes of brain tumors derived from a common precursor cell pool, and suggest that the UPR may represent a therapeutic target in atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumors.
Immune cell infiltration varies widely between different glioblastomas (GBMs). The underlying mechanism, however, remains unknown. Here we show that TGF-beta regulates proliferation, migration, and tumorigenicity of mesenchymal GBM cancer stem cells (CSCs) in vivo and in vitro. In contrast, proneural GBM CSCs resisted TGF-beta due to TGFR2 deficiency. In vivo, a substantially increased infiltration of immune cells was observed in mesenchymal GBMs, while immune infiltrates were rare in proneural GBMs. On a functional level, proneural CSC lines caused a significantly stronger TGF-beta-dependent suppression of NKG2D expression on CD8(+) T and NK cells in vitro providing a mechanistic explanation for the reduced immune infiltration of proneural GBMs. Thus, the molecular subtype of CSCs TGF-beta-dependently contributes to the degree of immune infiltration.
Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma is the most frequent type of B-cell lymphoma in adult patients but also occurs in children. Patients are currently assigned to therapy regimens based on arbitrarily chosen age limits only (eg, 18 or 60 years) and not biologically justified limits. A total of 364 diffuse large B-cell lymphomas and related mature aggressive B-cell lymphomas other than Burkitt lymphoma from all age groups were analyzed by comprehensive molecular profiling. The probability of several biologic features previously reported to be associated with poor prognosis in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, such as ABC subtype, BCL2 expression, or cytogenetic complexity, increases with age at diagnosis. Similarly, various genetic features, such as IRF4 translocations, gains in 1q21, 18q21, 7p22, and 7q21, as well as changes in 3q27, including gains and translocations affecting the BCL6 locus, are significantly associated with patient age, but no cut-offs between age groups could be defined. If age was incorporated in multivariate analyses, genetic complexity lost its prognostic significance, whereas the prognostic impact of ABC subtype and age were additive. Our data indicate that aging is a major determinant of lymphoma biology. They challenge current concepts regarding both prognostic biomarkers and treatment stratification based on strict age cut-offs.
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