Pihlajamäki J, Lerin C, Itkonen P, Boes T, Floss T, Schroeder J, Dearie F, Crunkhorn S, Burak F, Jimenez-Chillaron JC, Kuulasmaa T, Miettinen P, Park PJ, Nasser I, Zhao Z, Zhang Z, Xu Y, Wurst W, Ren H, Morris AJ, Stamm S, Goldfine AB, Laakso M, Patti ME. Expression of the splicing factor gene SFRS10 is reduced in human obesity and contributes to enhanced lipogenesis. Cell Metab 2011;14(2):208-18.Abstract

Alternative mRNA splicing provides transcript diversity and may contribute to human disease. We demonstrate that expression of several genes regulating RNA processing is decreased in both liver and skeletal muscle of obese humans. We evaluated a representative splicing factor, SFRS10, downregulated in both obese human liver and muscle and in high-fat-fed mice, and determined metabolic impact of reduced expression. SFRS10-specific siRNA induces lipogenesis and lipid accumulation in hepatocytes. Moreover, Sfrs10 heterozygous mice have increased hepatic lipogenic gene expression, VLDL secretion, and plasma triglycerides. We demonstrate that LPIN1, a key regulator of lipid metabolism, is a splicing target of SFRS10; reduced SFRS10 favors the lipogenic β isoform of LPIN1. Importantly, LPIN1β-specific siRNA abolished lipogenic effects of decreased SFRS10 expression. Together, our results indicate that reduced expression of SFRS10, as observed in tissues from obese humans, alters LPIN1 splicing, induces lipogenesis, and therefore contributes to metabolic phenotypes associated with obesity.

Kim T-M, Ramírez V, Barrera-Chimal J, Bobadilla NA, Park PJ, Vaidya VS. Gene expression analysis reveals the cell cycle and kinetochore genes participating in ischemia reperfusion injury and early development in kidney. PLoS One 2011;6(9):e25679.Abstract

BACKGROUND: The molecular mechanisms that mediate the ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) injury in kidney are not completely understood. It is also largely unknown whether such mechanisms overlap with those governing the early development of kidney. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We performed gene expression analysis to investigate the transcriptome changes during regeneration after I/R injury in the rat (0 hr, 6 hr, 24 hr, and 120 hr after reperfusion) and early development of mouse kidney (embryonic day 16 p.c. and postnatal 1 and 7 day). Pathway analysis revealed a wide spectrum of molecular functions that may participate in the regeneration and developmental processes of kidney as well as the functional association between them. While the genes associated with cell cycle, immunity, inflammation, and apoptosis were globally activated during the regeneration after I/R injury, the genes encoding various transporters and metabolic enzymes were down-regulated. We also observed that these injury-associated molecular functions largely overlap with those of early kidney development. In particular, the up-regulation of kinases and kinesins with roles in cell division was common during regeneration and early developmental kidney as validated by real-time PCR and immunohistochemistry. CONCLUSIONS: In addition to the candidate genes whose up-regulation constitutes an overlapping expression signature between kidney regeneration and development, this study lays a foundation for studying the functional relationship between two biological processes.

Yoon SS, Duda DG, Karl DL, Kim T-M, Kambadakone AR, Chen Y-L, Rothrock C, Rosenberg AE, Nielsen PG, Kirsch DG, Choy E, Harmon DC, Hornicek FJ, Dreyfuss JM, Ancukiewicz M, Sahani DV, Park PJ, Jain RK, Delaney TF. Phase II study of neoadjuvant bevacizumab and radiotherapy for resectable soft tissue sarcomas. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 2011;81(4):1081-90.Abstract

PURPOSE: Numerous preclinical studies have demonstrated that angiogenesis inhibitors can increase the efficacy of radiotherapy (RT). We sought to examine the safety and efficacy of bevacizumab (BV) and RT in soft tissue sarcomas and explore biomarkers to help determine the treatment response. METHODS AND MATERIALS: Patients with ≥5 cm, intermediate- or high-grade soft tissue sarcomas at significant risk of local recurrence received neoadjuvant BV alone followed by BV plus RT before surgical resection. Correlative science studies included analysis of the serial blood and tumor samples and serial perfusion computed tomography scans. RESULTS: The 20 patients had a median tumor size of 8.25 cm, with 13 extremity, 1 trunk, and 6 retroperitoneal/pelvis tumors. The neoadjuvant treatment was well tolerated, with only 4 patients having Grade 3 toxicities (hypertension, liver function test elevation). BV plus RT resulted in ≥80% pathologic necrosis in 9 (45%) of 20 tumors, more than double the historical rate seen with RT alone. Three patients had a complete pathologic response. The median microvessel density decreased 53% after BV alone (p <.05). After combination therapy, the median tumor cell proliferation decreased by 73%, apoptosis increased 10.4-fold, and the blood flow, blood volume, and permeability surface area decreased by 62-72% (p <.05). Analysis of gene expression microarrays of untreated tumors identified a 24-gene signature for treatment response. The microvessel density and circulating progenitor cells at baseline and the reduction in microvessel density and plasma soluble c-KIT with BV therapy also correlated with a good pathologic response (p <.05). After a median follow-up of 20 months, only 1 patient had developed local recurrence. CONCLUSIONS: The results from the present exploratory study indicated that BV increases the efficacy of RT against soft tissue sarcomas and might reduce the incidence of local recurrence. Thus, this regimen warrants additional investigation. Gene expression profiles and other tissue and circulating biomarkers showed promising correlations with treatment response.

Blackledge NP, Zhou JC, Tolstorukov MY, Farcas AM, Park PJ, Klose RJ. CpG islands recruit a histone H3 lysine 36 demethylase. Molecular Cell 2010;38(2):179-90.Abstract

In higher eukaryotes, up to 70% of genes have high levels of nonmethylated cytosine/guanine base pairs (CpGs) surrounding promoters and gene regulatory units. These features, called CpG islands, were identified over 20 years ago, but there remains little mechanistic evidence to suggest how these enigmatic elements contribute to promoter function, except that they are refractory to epigenetic silencing by DNA methylation. Here we show that CpG islands directly recruit the H3K36-specific lysine demethylase enzyme KDM2A. Nucleation of KDM2A at these elements results in removal of H3K36 methylation, creating CpG island chromatin that is uniquely depleted of this modification. KDM2A utilizes a zinc finger CxxC (ZF-CxxC) domain that preferentially recognizes nonmethylated CpG DNA, and binding is blocked when the CpG DNA is methylated, thus constraining KDM2A to nonmethylated CpG islands. These data expose a straightforward mechanism through which KDM2A delineates a unique architecture that differentiates CpG island chromatin from bulk chromatin.

Goutagny S, Yang HW, Zucman-Rossi J, Chan J, Dreyfuss JM, Park PJ, Black PM, Giovannini M, Carroll RS, Kalamarides M. Genomic profiling reveals alternative genetic pathways of meningioma malignant progression dependent on the underlying NF2 status. Clin Cancer Res 2010;16(16):4155-64.Abstract

PURPOSE: Meningiomas are the most common central nervous system tumors in the population of age 35 and older. WHO defines three grades predictive of the risk of recurrence. Clinical data supporting histologic malignant progression of meningiomas are sparse and underlying molecular mechanisms are not clearly depicted. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: We identified genetic alterations associated with histologic progression of 36 paired meningioma samples in 18 patients using 500K SNP genotyping arrays and NF2 gene sequencing. RESULTS: The most frequent chromosome alterations observed in progressing meningioma samples are early alterations (i.e., present both in lower- and higher-grade samples of a single patient). In our series, NF2 gene inactivation was an early and frequent event in progressing meningioma samples (73%). Chromosome alterations acquired during progression from grade I to grade II meningioma were not recurrent. Progression to grade III was characterized by recurrent genomic alterations, the most frequent being CDKN2A/CDKN2B locus loss on 9p. CONCLUSION: Meningiomas displayed different patterns of genetic alterations during progression according to their NF2 status: NF2-mutated meningiomas showed higher chromosome instability during progression than NF2-nonmutated meningiomas, which had very few imbalanced chromosome segments. This pattern of alterations could thus be used as markers in clinical practice to identify tumors prone to progress among grade I meningiomas.

Jagani Z, Mora-Blanco LE, Sansam CG, McKenna ES, Wilson B, Chen D, Klekota J, Tamayo P, Nguyen PTL, Tolstorukov M, Park PJ, Cho Y-J, Hsiao K, Buonamici S, Pomeroy SL, Mesirov JP, Ruffner H, Bouwmeester T, Luchansky SJ, Murtie J, Kelleher JF, Warmuth M, Sellers WR, Roberts CWM, Dorsch M. Loss of the tumor suppressor Snf5 leads to aberrant activation of the Hedgehog-Gli pathway. Nat Med 2010;16(12):1429-33.Abstract

Aberrant activation of the Hedgehog (Hh) pathway can drive tumorigenesis. To investigate the mechanism by which glioma-associated oncogene family zinc finger-1 (GLI1), a crucial effector of Hh signaling, regulates Hh pathway activation, we searched for GLI1-interacting proteins. We report that the chromatin remodeling protein SNF5 (encoded by SMARCB1, hereafter called SNF5), which is inactivated in human malignant rhabdoid tumors (MRTs), interacts with GLI1. We show that Snf5 localizes to Gli1-regulated promoters and that loss of Snf5 leads to activation of the Hh-Gli pathway. Conversely, re-expression of SNF5 in MRT cells represses GLI1. Consistent with this, we show the presence of a Hh-Gli-activated gene expression profile in primary MRTs and show that GLI1 drives the growth of SNF5-deficient MRT cells in vitro and in vivo. Therefore, our studies reveal that SNF5 is a key mediator of Hh signaling and that aberrant activation of GLI1 is a previously undescribed targetable mechanism contributing to the growth of MRT cells.

Balakrishnan A, Stearns AT, Park PJ, Dreyfuss JM, Ashley SW, Rhoads DB, Tavakkolizadeh A. MicroRNA mir-16 is anti-proliferative in enterocytes and exhibits diurnal rhythmicity in intestinal crypts. Exp Cell Res 2010;316(20):3512-21.Abstract

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: The intestine exhibits profound diurnal rhythms in function and morphology, in part due to changes in enterocyte proliferation. The regulatory mechanisms behind these rhythms remain largely unknown. We hypothesized that microRNAs are involved in mediating these rhythms, and studied the role of microRNAs specifically in modulating intestinal proliferation. METHODS: Diurnal rhythmicity of microRNAs in rat jejunum was analyzed by microarrays and validated by qPCR. Temporal expression of diurnally rhythmic mir-16 was further quantified in intestinal crypts, villi, and smooth muscle using laser capture microdissection and qPCR. Morphological changes in rat jejunum were assessed by histology and proliferation by immunostaining for bromodeoxyuridine. In IEC-6 cells stably overexpressing mir-16, proliferation was assessed by cell counting and MTS assay, cell cycle progression and apoptosis by flow cytometry, and cell cycle gene expression by qPCR and immunoblotting. RESULTS: mir-16 peaked 6 hours after light onset (HALO 6) with diurnal changes restricted to crypts. Crypt depth and villus height peaked at HALO 13-14 in antiphase to mir-16. Overexpression of mir-16 in IEC-6 cells suppressed specific G1/S regulators (cyclins D1-3, cyclin E1 and cyclin-dependent kinase 6) and produced G1 arrest. Protein expression of these genes exhibited diurnal rhythmicity in rat jejunum, peaking between HALO 11 and 17 in antiphase to mir-16. CONCLUSIONS: This is the first report of circadian rhythmicity of specific microRNAs in rat jejunum. Our data provide a link between anti-proliferative mir-16 and the intestinal proliferation rhythm and point to mir-16 as an important regulator of proliferation in jejunal crypts. This function may be essential to match proliferation and absorptive capacity with nutrient availability.

Woo CJ, Kharchenko PV, Daheron L, Park PJ, Kingston RE. A region of the human HOXD cluster that confers polycomb-group responsiveness. Cell 2010;140(1):99-110.Abstract

Polycomb group (PcG) proteins are essential for accurate axial body patterning during embryonic development. PcG-mediated repression is conserved in metazoans and is targeted in Drosophila by Polycomb response elements (PREs). However, targeting sequences in humans have not been described. While analyzing chromatin architecture in the context of human embryonic stem cell (hESC) differentiation, we discovered a 1.8kb region between HOXD11 and HOXD12 (D11.12) that is associated with PcG proteins, becomes nuclease hypersensitive, and then shows alteration in nuclease sensitivity as hESCs differentiate. The D11.12 element repressed luciferase expression from a reporter construct and full repression required a highly conserved region and YY1 binding sites. Furthermore, repression was dependent on the PcG proteins BMI1 and EED and a YY1-interacting partner, RYBP. We conclude that D11.12 is a Polycomb-dependent regulatory region with similarities to Drosophila PREs, indicating conservation in the mechanisms that target PcG function in mammals and flies.

Gurumurthy S, Xie SZ, Alagesan B, Kim J, Yusuf RZ, Saez B, Tzatsos A, Ozsolak F, Milos P, Ferrari F, Park PJ, Shirihai OS, Scadden DT, Bardeesy N. The Lkb1 metabolic sensor maintains haematopoietic stem cell survival. Nature 2010;468(7324):659-63.Abstract

Haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) can convert between growth states that have marked differences in bioenergetic needs. Although often quiescent in adults, these cells become proliferative upon physiological demand. Balancing HSC energetics in response to nutrient availability and growth state is poorly understood, yet essential for the dynamism of the haematopoietic system. Here we show that the Lkb1 tumour suppressor is critical for the maintenance of energy homeostasis in haematopoietic cells. Lkb1 inactivation in adult mice causes loss of HSC quiescence followed by rapid depletion of all haematopoietic subpopulations. Lkb1-deficient bone marrow cells exhibit mitochondrial defects, alterations in lipid and nucleotide metabolism, and depletion of cellular ATP. The haematopoietic effects are largely independent of Lkb1 regulation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signalling. Instead, these data define a central role for Lkb1 in restricting HSC entry into cell cycle and in broadly maintaining energy homeostasis in haematopoietic cells through a novel metabolic checkpoint.

Gelbart ME, Larschan E, Peng S, Park PJ, Kuroda MI. Drosophila MSL complex globally acetylates H4K16 on the male X chromosome for dosage compensation. Nat Struct Mol Biol 2009;16(8):825-32.Abstract

The Drosophila melanogaster male-specific lethal (MSL) complex binds the single male X chromosome to upregulate gene expression to equal that from the two female X chromosomes. However, it has been puzzling that approximately 25% of transcribed genes on the X chromosome do not stably recruit MSL complex. Here we find that almost all active genes on the X chromosome are associated with robust H4 Lys16 acetylation (H4K16ac), the histone modification catalyzed by the MSL complex. The distribution of H4K16ac is much broader than that of the MSL complex, and our results favor the idea that chromosome-wide H4K16ac reflects transient association of the MSL complex, occurring through spreading or chromosomal looping. Our results parallel those of localized Polycomb repressive complex and its more broadly distributed chromatin mark, trimethylated histone H3 Lys27 (H3K27me3), suggesting a common principle for the establishment of active and silenced chromatin domains.

Hodge JC, Park PJ, Dreyfuss JM, Assil-Kishawi I, Somasundaram P, Semere LG, Quade BJ, Lynch AM, Stewart EA, Morton CC. Identifying the molecular signature of the interstitial deletion 7q subgroup of uterine leiomyomata using a paired analysis. Genes Chromosomes Cancer 2009;48(10):865-85.Abstract

Uterine leiomyomata (UL), the most common neoplasm in reproductive-age women, have recurrent cytogenetic abnormalities including interstitial deletion of 7q. To develop a molecular signature, matched del(7q) and non-del(7q) tumors identified by FISH or karyotyping from 11 women were profiled with expression arrays. Our analysis using paired t tests demonstrates this matched design is critical to eliminate the confounding effects of genotype and environment that underlie patient variation. A gene list ordered by genome-wide significance showed enrichment for the 7q22 target region. Modification of the gene list by weighting each sample for percent of del(7q) cells to account for the mosaic nature of these tumors further enhanced the frequency of 7q22 genes. Pathway analysis revealed two of the 19 significant functional networks were associated with development and the most represented pathway was protein ubiquitination, which can influence tumor development by stabilizing oncoproteins and destabilizing tumor suppressor proteins. Array CGH (aCGH) studies determined the only consistent genomic imbalance was deletion of 9.5 megabases from 7q22-7q31.1. Combining the aCGH data with the del(7q) UL mosaicism-weighted expression analysis resulted in a list of genes that are commonly deleted and whose copy number is correlated with significantly decreased expression. These genes include the proliferation inhibitor HPB1, the loss of expression of which has been associated with invasive breast cancer, as well as the mitosis integrity-maintenance tumor suppressor RINT1. This study provides a molecular signature of the del(7q) UL subgroup and will serve as a platform for future studies of tumor pathogenesis.

Gorchakov AA, Alekseyenko AA, Kharchenko P, Park PJ, Kuroda MI. Long-range spreading of dosage compensation in Drosophila captures transcribed autosomal genes inserted on X. Genes Dev 2009;23(19):2266-71.Abstract

Dosage compensation in Drosophila melanogaster males is achieved via targeting of male-specific lethal (MSL) complex to X-linked genes. This is proposed to involve sequence-specific recognition of the X at approximately 150-300 chromatin entry sites, and subsequent spreading to active genes. Here we ask whether the spreading step requires transcription and is sequence-independent. We find that MSL complex binds, acetylates, and up-regulates autosomal genes inserted on X, but only if transcriptionally active. We conclude that a long-sought specific DNA sequence within X-linked genes is not obligatory for MSL binding. Instead, linkage and transcription play the pivotal roles in MSL targeting irrespective of gene origin and DNA sequence.

McKinney-Freeman SL, Naveiras O, Yates F, Loewer S, Philitas M, Curran M, Park PJ, Daley GQ. Surface antigen phenotypes of hematopoietic stem cells from embryos and murine embryonic stem cells. Blood 2009;114(2):268-78.Abstract

Surface antigens on hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) enable prospective isolation and characterization. Here, we compare the cell-surface phenotype of hematopoietic repopulating cells from murine yolk sac, aorta-gonad-mesonephros, placenta, fetal liver, and bone marrow with that of HSCs derived from the in vitro differentiation of murine embryonic stem cells (ESC-HSCs). Whereas c-Kit marks all HSC populations, CD41, CD45, CD34, and CD150 were developmentally regulated: the earliest embryonic HSCs express CD41 and CD34 and lack CD45 and CD150, whereas more mature HSCs lack CD41 and CD34 and express CD45 and CD150. ESC-HSCs express CD41 and CD150, lack CD34, and are heterogeneous for CD45. Finally, although CD48 was absent from all in vivo HSCs examined, ESC-HSCs were heterogeneous for the expression of this molecule. This unique phenotype signifies a developmentally immature population of cells with features of both primitive and mature HSC. The prospective fractionation of ESC-HSCs will facilitate studies of HSC maturation essential for normal functional engraftment in irradiated adults.

Pihlajamäki J, Boes T, Kim E-Y, Dearie F, Kim BW, Schroeder J, Mun E, Nasser I, Park PJ, Bianco AC, Goldfine AB, Patti ME. Thyroid hormone-related regulation of gene expression in human fatty liver. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2009;94(9):3521-9.Abstract

CONTEXT: Fatty liver is an important complication of obesity; however, regulatory mechanisms mediating altered gene expression patterns have not been identified. OBJECTIVE: The aim of the study was to identify novel transcriptional changes in human liver that could contribute to hepatic lipid accumulation and associated insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. DESIGN: We evaluated gene expression in surgical liver biopsies from 13 obese (nine with type 2 diabetes) and five control subjects using Affymetrix U133A microarrays. PCR validation was performed in liver biopsies using an additional 16 subjects. We also tested thyroid hormone responses in mice fed chow or high-fat diet. SETTING: Recruitment was performed in an academic medical center. PARTICIPANTS: Individuals undergoing elective surgery for obesity or gallstones participated in the study. RESULTS: The top-ranking gene set, down-regulated in obese subjects, was comprised of genes previously demonstrated to be positively regulated by T(3) in human skeletal muscle (n = 399; P < 0.001; false discovery rate = 0.07). This gene set included genes related to RNA metabolism (SNRPE, HNRPH3, TIA1, and SFRS2), protein catabolism (PSMA1, PSMD12, USP9X, IBE2B, USP16, and PCMT1), and energy metabolism (ATP5C1, COX7C, UQCRB). We verified thyroid hormone regulation of these genes in the liver after injection of C57BL/6J mice with T(3) (100 microg/100 g body weight); furthermore, T(3)-induced increases in expression of these genes were abolished by high-fat diet. In agreement, expression of these genes inversely correlated with liver fat content in humans. CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest that impaired thyroid hormone action may contribute to altered patterns of gene expression in fatty liver.

Wang X-P, O'Connell DJ, Lund JJ, Saadi I, Kuraguchi M, Turbe-Doan A, Cavallesco R, Kim H, Park PJ, Harada H, Kucherlapati R, Maas RL. Apc inhibition of Wnt signaling regulates supernumerary tooth formation during embryogenesis and throughout adulthood. Development 2009;136(11):1939-49.Abstract

The ablation of Apc function or the constitutive activation of beta-catenin in embryonic mouse oral epithelium results in supernumerary tooth formation, but the underlying mechanisms and whether adult tissues retain this potential are unknown. Here we show that supernumerary teeth can form from multiple regions of the jaw and that they are properly mineralized, vascularized, innervated and can start to form roots. Even adult dental tissues can form new teeth in response to either epithelial Apc loss-of-function or beta-catenin activation, and the effect of Apc deficiency is mediated by beta-catenin. The formation of supernumerary teeth via Apc loss-of-function is non-cell-autonomous. A small number of Apc-deficient cells is sufficient to induce surrounding wild-type epithelial and mesenchymal cells to participate in the formation of new teeth. Strikingly, Msx1, which is necessary for endogenous tooth development, is dispensable for supernumerary tooth formation. In addition, we identify Fgf8, a known tooth initiation marker, as a direct target of Wnt/beta-catenin signaling. These studies identify key mechanistic features responsible for supernumerary tooth formation.

Yoon SS, Stangenberg L, Lee Y-J, Rothrock C, Dreyfuss JM, Baek K-H, Waterman PR, Nielsen PG, Weissleder R, Mahmood U, Park PJ, Jacks T, Dodd RD, Fisher CJ, Ryeom S, Kirsch DG. Efficacy of sunitinib and radiotherapy in genetically engineered mouse model of soft-tissue sarcoma. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 2009;74(4):1207-16.Abstract

PURPOSE: Sunitinib (SU) is a multitargeted receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor of the vascular endothelial growth factor and platelet-derived growth factor receptors. The present study examined SU and radiotherapy (RT) in a genetically engineered mouse model of soft tissue sarcoma (STS). METHODS AND MATERIALS: Primary extremity STSs were generated in genetically engineered mice. The mice were randomized to treatment with SU, RT (10 Gy x 2), or both (SU+RT). Changes in the tumor vasculature before and after treatment were assessed in vivo using fluorescence-mediated tomography. The control and treated tumors were harvested and extensively analyzed. RESULTS: The mean fluorescence in the tumors was not decreased by RT but decreased 38-44% in tumors treated with SU or SU+RT. The control tumors grew to a mean of 1378 mm(3) after 12 days. SU alone or RT alone delayed tumor growth by 56% and 41%, respectively, but maximal growth inhibition (71%) was observed with the combination therapy. SU target effects were confirmed by loss of target receptor phosphorylation and alterations in SU-related gene expression. Cancer cell proliferation was decreased and apoptosis increased in the SU and RT groups, with a synergistic effect on apoptosis observed in the SU+RT group. RT had a minimal effect on the tumor microvessel density and endothelial cell-specific apoptosis, but SU alone or SU+RT decreased the microvessel density by >66% and induced significant endothelial cell apoptosis. CONCLUSION: SU inhibited STS growth by effects on both cancer cells and tumor vasculature. SU also augmented the efficacy of RT, suggesting that this combination strategy could improve local control of STS.

Cancer Genome Atlas Research Network TCGA. Comprehensive genomic characterization defines human glioblastoma genes and core pathways. Nature 2008;455(7216):1061-8.Abstract

Human cancer cells typically harbour multiple chromosomal aberrations, nucleotide substitutions and epigenetic modifications that drive malignant transformation. The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) pilot project aims to assess the value of large-scale multi-dimensional analysis of these molecular characteristics in human cancer and to provide the data rapidly to the research community. Here we report the interim integrative analysis of DNA copy number, gene expression and DNA methylation aberrations in 206 glioblastomas--the most common type of adult brain cancer--and nucleotide sequence aberrations in 91 of the 206 glioblastomas. This analysis provides new insights into the roles of ERBB2, NF1 and TP53, uncovers frequent mutations of the phosphatidylinositol-3-OH kinase regulatory subunit gene PIK3R1, and provides a network view of the pathways altered in the development of glioblastoma. Furthermore, integration of mutation, DNA methylation and clinical treatment data reveals a link between MGMT promoter methylation and a hypermutator phenotype consequent to mismatch repair deficiency in treated glioblastomas, an observation with potential clinical implications. Together, these findings establish the feasibility and power of TCGA, demonstrating that it can rapidly expand knowledge of the molecular basis of cancer.

Mueller JL, Mahadevaiah SK, Park PJ, Warburton PE, Page DC, Turner JMA. The mouse X chromosome is enriched for multicopy testis genes showing postmeiotic expression. Nat Genet 2008;40(6):794-9.Abstract

According to the prevailing view, mammalian X chromosomes are enriched in spermatogenesis genes expressed before meiosis and deficient in spermatogenesis genes expressed after meiosis. The paucity of postmeiotic genes on the X chromosome has been interpreted as a consequence of meiotic sex chromosome inactivation (MSCI)--the complete silencing of genes on the XY bivalent at meiotic prophase. Recent studies have concluded that MSCI-initiated silencing persists beyond meiosis and that most genes on the X chromosome remain repressed in round spermatids. Here, we report that 33 multicopy gene families, representing approximately 273 mouse X-linked genes, are expressed in the testis and that this expression is predominantly in postmeiotic cells. RNA FISH and microarray analysis show that the maintenance of X chromosome postmeiotic repression is incomplete. Furthermore, X-linked multicopy genes exhibit a similar degree of expression as autosomal genes. Thus, not only is the mouse X chromosome enriched for spermatogenesis genes functioning before meiosis, but in addition, approximately 18% of mouse X-linked genes are expressed in postmeiotic cells.

Tun HW, Personett D, Baskerville KA, Menke DM, Jaeckle KA, Kreinest P, Edenfield B, Zubair AC, O'Neill BP, Lai WR, Park PJ, McKinney M. Pathway analysis of primary central nervous system lymphoma. Blood 2008;111(6):3200-10.Abstract

Primary central nervous system (CNS) lymphoma (PCNSL) is a diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) confined to the CNS. A genome-wide gene expression comparison between PCNSL and non-CNS DLBCL was performed, the latter consisting of both nodal and extranodal DLBCL (nDLBCL and enDLBCL), to identify a "CNS signature." Pathway analysis with the program SigPathway revealed that PCNSL is characterized notably by significant differential expression of multiple extracellular matrix (ECM) and adhesion-related pathways. The most significantly up-regulated gene is the ECM-related osteopontin (SPP1). Expression at the protein level of ECM-related SPP1 and CHI3L1 in PCNSL cells was demonstrated by immunohistochemistry. The alterations in gene expression can be interpreted within several biologic contexts with implications for PCNSL, including CNS tropism (ECM and adhesion-related pathways, SPP1, DDR1), B-cell migration (CXCL13, SPP1), activated B-cell subtype (MUM1), lymphoproliferation (SPP1, TCL1A, CHI3L1), aggressive clinical behavior (SPP1, CHI3L1, MUM1), and aggressive metastatic cancer phenotype (SPP1, CHI3L1). The gene expression signature discovered in our study may represent a true "CNS signature" because we contrasted PCNSL with wide-spectrum non-CNS DLBCL on a genomic scale and performed an in-depth bioinformatic analysis.

Claus EB, Park PJ, Carroll R, Chan J, Black PM. Specific genes expressed in association with progesterone receptors in meningioma. Cancer Res 2008;68(1):314-22.Abstract

An association between hormones and meningioma has been postulated. No data exist that examine gene expression in meningioma by hormone receptor status. The data are surgical specimens from 31 meningioma patients undergoing neurosurgical resection at Brigham and Women's Hospital from March 15, 2004 to May 10, 2005. Progesterone and estrogen hormone receptors (PR and ER, respectively) were measured via immunohistochemistry and compared with gene expression profiling results. The sample is 77% female with a mean age of 55.7 years. Eighty percent were grade 1 and the mean MIB was 6.2, whereas 33% and 84% were ER+ and PR+, respectively. Gene expression seemed more strongly associated with PR status than with ER status. Genes on the long arm of chromosome 22 and near the neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2) gene (22q12) were most frequently noted to have expression variation, with significant up-regulation in PR+ versus PR- lesions, suggesting a higher rate of 22q loss in PR- lesions. Pathway analyses indicated that genes in collagen and extracellular matrix pathways were most likely to be differentially expressed by PR status. These data, although preliminary, are the first to examine gene expression for meningioma cases by hormone receptor status and indicate a stronger association with PR than with ER status. PR status is related to the expression of genes near the NF2 gene, mutations in which have been identified as the initial event in many meningiomas. These findings suggest that PR status may be a clinical marker for genetic subgroups of meningioma and warrant further examination in a larger data set.