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(1/19725) The role of RBF in the introduction of G1 regulation during Drosophila embryogenesis.

The first appearance of G1 during Drosophila embryogenesis, at cell cycle 17, is accompanied by the down-regulation of E2F-dependent transcription. Mutant alleles of rbf were generated and analyzed to determine the role of RBF in this process. Embryos lacking both maternal and zygotic RBF products show constitutive expression of PCNA and RNR2, two E2F-regulated genes, indicating that RBF is required for their transcriptional repression. Despite the ubiquitous expression of E2F target genes, most epidermal cells enter G1 normally. Rather than pausing in G1 until the appropriate time for cell cycle progression, many of these cells enter an ectopic S-phase. These results indicate that the repression of E2F target genes by RBF is necessary for the maintenance but not the initiation of a G1 phase. The phenotype of RBF-deficient embryos suggests that rbf has a function that is complementary to the roles of dacapo and fizzy-related in the introduction of G1 during Drosophila embryogenesis.  (+info)

(2/19725) Deletion of a region that is a candidate for the difference between the deletion forms of hereditary persistence of fetal hemoglobin and deltabeta-thalassemia affects beta- but not gamma-globin gene expression.

The analysis of a number of cases of beta-globin thalassemia and hereditary persistence of fetal hemoglobin (HPFH) due to large deletions in the beta-globin locus has led to the identification of several DNA elements that have been implicated in the switch from human fetal gamma- to adult beta-globin gene expression. We have tested this hypothesis for an element that covers the minimal distance between the thalassemia and HPFH deletions and is thought to be responsible for the difference between a deletion HPFH and deltabeta-thalassemia, located 5' of the delta-globin gene. This element has been deleted from a yeast artificial chromosome (YAC) containing the complete human beta-globin locus. Analysis of this modified YAC in transgenic mice shows that early embryonic expression is unaffected, but in the fetal liver it is subject to position effects. In addition, the efficiency of transcription of the beta-globin gene is decreased, but the developmental silencing of the gamma-globin genes is unaffected by the deletion. These results show that the deleted element is involved in the activation of the beta-globin gene perhaps through the loss of a structural function required for gene activation by long-range interactions.  (+info)

(3/19725) Deletion of multiple immediate-early genes from herpes simplex virus reduces cytotoxicity and permits long-term gene expression in neurons.

Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) has many attractive features that suggest its utility for gene transfer to neurons. However, viral cytotoxicity and transient transgene expression limit practical applications even in the absence of viral replication. Mutant viruses deleted for the immediate early (IE) gene, ICP4, an essential transcriptional transactivator, are toxic to many cell types in culture in which only the remaining IE genes are expressed. In order to test directly the toxicity of other IE gene products in neurons and develop a mutant background capable of longterm transgene expression, we generated mutants deleted for multiple IE genes in various combinations and tested their relative cytotoxicity in 9L rat gliosarcoma cells, Vero monkey kidney cells, and primary rat cortical and dorsal root neurons in culture. Viral mutants deleted simultaneously for the IE genes encoding ICP4, ICP22 and ICP27 showed substantially reduced cytotoxicity compared with viruses deleted for ICP4 alone or ICP4 in combination with either ICP22, ICP27 or ICP47. Infection of neurons in culture with these triple IE deletion mutants substantially enhanced cell survival and permitted transgene expression for over 21 days. Such mutants may prove useful for efficient gene transfer and extended transgene expression in neurons in vitro and in vivo.  (+info)

(4/19725) Downregulation of metallothionein-IIA expression occurs at immortalization.

Metallothioneins (MTs) may modulate a variety of cellular processes by regulating the activity of zinc-binding proteins. These proteins have been implicated in cell growth regulation, and their expression is abnormal in some tumors. In particular, MT-IIA is expressed 27-fold less in human colorectal tumors and tumor cell lines compared with normal tissue (Zhang et al., 1997). Here we demonstrate that MT-IIA downregulation occurs when human cells become immortal, a key event in tumorigenesis. After immortalization MT-IIA expression remains inducible but the basal activity of the MT-IIA promoter is decreased. MT-IIA downregulation at immortalization is one of the most common immortalization-related changes identified to date, suggesting that MT-IIA has a role in this process.  (+info)

(5/19725) p73 at chromosome 1p36.3 is lost in advanced stage neuroblastoma but its mutation is infrequent.

p73, a novel p53 family member, is a recently identified candidate neuroblastoma (NBL) suppressor gene mapped at chromosome 1p36.33 and was found to inhibit growth and induce apoptosis in cell lines. To test the hypothesis that p73 is a NBL suppressor gene, we analysed the p73 gene in primary human NBLs. Loss of heterozygosity (LOH) for p73 was observed in 19% (28/151) of informative cases which included 92 mass-screening (MS) tumors. The high frequency of p73 LOH was significantly associated with sporadic NBLs (9% vs 34%, P<0.001), N-myc amplification (10% vs 71%, P<0.001), and advanced stage (14% vs 28%, P<0.05). Both p73alpha and p73beta transcripts were detectable in only 46 of 134 (34%) NBLs at low levels by RT-PCR methods, while they were easily detectable in most breast cancers and colorectal cancers under the same conditions. They found no correlation between p73 LOH and its expression levels (P>0.1). We found two mutations out of 140 NBLs, one somatic and one germline, which result in amino acid substitutions in the C-terminal region of p73 which may affect transactivation functions, though, in the same tumor samples, no mutation of the p53 gene was observed as reported previously. These results suggest that allelic loss of the p73 gene may be a later event in NBL tumorigenesis. However, p73 is infrequently mutated in primary NBLs and may hardly function as a tumor suppressor in a classic Knudson's manner.  (+info)

(6/19725) A molecular pathway revealing a genetic basis for human cardiac and craniofacial defects.

Microdeletions of chromosome 22q11 are the most common genetic defects associated with cardiac and craniofacial anomalies in humans. A screen for mouse genes dependent on dHAND, a transcription factor implicated in neural crest development, identified Ufd1, which maps to human 22q11 and encodes a protein involved in degradation of ubiquitinated proteins. Mouse Ufd1 was specifically expressed in most tissues affected in patients with 22q11 deletion syndrome. The human UFD1L gene was deleted in all 182 patients studied with 22q11 deletion, and a smaller deletion of approximately 20 kilobases that removed exons 1 to 3 of UFD1L was found in one individual with features typical of 22q11 deletion syndrome. These data suggest that UFD1L haploinsufficiency contributes to the congenital heart and craniofacial defects seen in 22q11 deletion.  (+info)

(7/19725) Pyrin/marenostrin mutations in familial Mediterranean fever.

Familial Mediterranean fever (FMF) is an inherited inflammatory disease that is frequently complicated by reactive systemic (AA) amyloidosis. It is principally recognized in certain Mediterranean populations, and the diagnosis depends on clinical features. Four mutations strongly linked to FMF have lately been identified in a gene encoding a novel protein that has been named pyrin or marenostrin. We studied 27 consecutive patients of varied ethnic origin, including an English man, who had classical, probable or possible FMF. Pyrin/marenostrin genotypes were determined, and AA amyloidosis was sought using serum amyloid P component scintigraphy. Among the 23 patients with classical or probable FMF, 17 were homozygotes or compound heterozygotes for pyrin/marenostrin mutations, and in five, only single allele mutations were identified. Two new mutations, T6811 and delta M694, were discovered in addition to the four described previously. No mutations were identified in three of the four patients with possible FMF. Nine patients had AA amyloidosis, but this association was not restricted to any particular genotype. Most patients with FMF have mutations in both pyrin/marenostrin alleles, and genotyping at this locus is a valuable diagnostic test. Unidentified second mutations are likely to occur in FMF patients who have apparently solitary mutations, and therefore genotype results must be interpreted in conjunction with the clinical picture.  (+info)

(8/19725) Mutations and allelic deletions of the MEN1 gene are associated with a subset of sporadic endocrine pancreatic and neuroendocrine tumors and not restricted to foregut neoplasms.

Endocrine pancreatic tumors (EPT) and neuroendocrine tumors (NET) occur sporadically and rarely in association with multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1). We analyzed the frequency of allelic deletions and mutations of the recently identified MEN1 gene in 53 sporadic tumors including 30 EPT and 23 NET (carcinoids) of different locations and types. Allelic deletion of the MEN1 locus was identified in 18/49 (36.7%) tumors (13/30, 43.3% in EPT and 5/19, 26.3% in NET) and mutations of the MEN1 gene were present in 8/52 (15.3%) tumors (4/30 (13.3%) EPT and 4/22 (18.1%) NET). The somatic mutations were clustered in the 5' region of the coding sequence and most frequently encompassed missense mutations. All tumors with mutations exhibited a loss of the other allele and a wild-type sequence of the MEN1 gene in nontumorous DNA. In one additional patient with a NET of the lung and no clinical signs or history of MEN1, a 5178-9G-->A splice donor site mutation in intron 4 was identified in both the tumor and blood DNA, indicating the presence of a thus far unknown MEN1 syndrome. In most tumor groups the frequency of allelic deletions at 11q13 was 2 to 3 times higher than the frequency of identified MEN1 gene mutations. Some tumor types, including rare forms of EPT and NET of the duodenum and small intestine, exhibited mutations more frequently than other types. Furthermore, somatic mutations were not restricted to foregut tumors but were also detectable in a midgut tumor (15.2% versus 16.6%). Our data indicate that somatic MEN1 gene mutations contribute to a subset of sporadic EPT and NET, including midgut tumors. Because the frequency of mutations varies significantly among the investigated tumor subgroups and allelic deletions are 2 to 3 times more frequently observed, factors other than MEN1 gene inactivation, including other tumor-suppressor genes on 11q13, may also be involved in the tumorigenesis of these neoplasms.  (+info)