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Concept: Regulation of gene expression


The presence of dark melanin (eumelanin) within human epidermis represents one of the strongest predictors of low skin cancer risk. Topical rescue of eumelanin synthesis, previously achieved in “redhaired” Mc1r-deficient mice, demonstrated significant protection against UV damage. However, application of a topical strategy for human skin pigmentation has not been achieved, largely due to the greater barrier function of human epidermis. Salt-inducible kinase (SIK) has been demonstrated to regulate MITF, the master regulator of pigment gene expression, through its effects on CRTC and CREB activity. Here, we describe the development of small-molecule SIK inhibitors that were optimized for human skin penetration, resulting in MITF upregulation and induction of melanogenesis. When topically applied, pigment production was induced in Mc1r-deficient mice and normal human skin. These findings demonstrate a realistic pathway toward UV-independent topical modulation of human skin pigmentation, potentially impacting UV protection and skin cancer risk.

Concepts: DNA, Gene expression, Ultraviolet, Regulation of gene expression, Skin, Melanin, Human skin color, Melanocyte


Centenarians exhibit extreme longevity and a remarkable compression of morbidity. They have a unique capacity to maintain homeostatic mechanisms. Since small non-coding RNAs (including microRNAs) are implicated in the regulation of gene expression, we hypothesised that longevity of centenarians may reflect alterations in small non-coding RNA expression. We report the first comparison of microRNAs expression profiles in mononuclear cells from centenarians, octogenarians and young individuals resident near Valencia, Spain. Principal Component Analysis of the expression of 15,644 mature microRNAs and, 2,334 snoRNAs and scaRNAs in centenarians revealed a significant overlap with profiles in young individuals but not with octogenarians and a significant up-regulation of 7 small non-coding RNAs in centenarians compared to young persons and notably 102 small non-coding RNAs when compared with octogenarians. We suggest that the small non-coding RNAs signature in centenarians may provide insights into the underlying molecular mechanisms endowing centenarians with extreme longevity.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Gene expression, Molecular biology, RNA, Regulation of gene expression, Non-coding RNA, RNA splicing


Turmeric has been used as a medicinal herb for thousands of years for treatment of various disorders. Although curcumin is the most studied active constituents of turmeric, accumulating evidence suggests that other components of turmeric have additional anti-inflammatory and anti-tumorigenic properties. Herein, we investigated anti-inflammatory efficacy and associated gene expression alterations of a specific, curcumin preparation containing essential turmeric oils (ETO-curcumin) in comparison to standard curcumin at three specific doses (0, 5, 25 or 50 mg/kg), in an animal model of dextran sodium sulfate (DSS)-induced colitis. The present study showed that both ETO and standard curcumin treatments provided protection against DSS-induced inflammation. However, ETO-curcumin improved disease activity index (DAI) dose-dependently, while the anti-inflammatory efficacy of standard curcumin remained constant, suggesting that ETO-curcumin may provide superior anti-inflammatory efficacy compared to standard curcumin. Gene expression analysis revealed that anti-inflammatory cytokines including IL-10 and IL-11 as well as FOXP3 were upregulated in the colon by ETO-curcumin. Collectively, these findings suggest that the combined treatment of curcumin and essential turmeric oils provides superior protection from DSS-induced colitis than curcumin alone, highlighting the anti-inflammatory potential of turmeric.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Genetics, Gene expression, Evolution, Transcription, Organism, Regulation of gene expression


Cutaneous wound healing is a complex process that aims to re-establish the original structure of the skin and its functions. Among other disorders, peripheral neuropathies are known to severely impair wound healing capabilities of the skin, revealing the importance of skin innervation for proper repair. Here, we report that peripheral glia are crucially involved in this process. Using a mouse model of wound healing, combined with in vivo fate mapping, we show that injury activates peripheral glia by promoting de-differentiation, cell-cycle re-entry and dissemination of the cells into the wound bed. Moreover, injury-activated glia upregulate the expression of many secreted factors previously associated with wound healing and promote myofibroblast differentiation by paracrine modulation of TGF-β signalling. Accordingly, depletion of these cells impairs epithelial proliferation and wound closure through contraction, while their expansion promotes myofibroblast formation. Thus, injury-activated glia and/or their secretome might have therapeutic potential in human wound healing disorders.

Concepts: DNA, Gene expression, Scar, Wound healing, Regulation of gene expression, Skin, Glial cell, Glial cells


Despite novel therapies, relapse of multiple myeloma (MM) is virtually inevitable. Amplification of chromosome 1q, which harbors the inflammation-responsive RNA editase adenosine deaminase acting on RNA (ADAR)1 gene, occurs in 30-50% of MM patients and portends a poor prognosis. Since adenosine-to-inosine RNA editing has recently emerged as a driver of cancer progression, genomic amplification combined with inflammatory cytokine activation of ADAR1 could stimulate MM progression and therapeutic resistance. Here, we report that high ADAR1 RNA expression correlates with reduced patient survival rates in the MMRF CoMMpass data set. Expression of wild-type, but not mutant, ADAR1 enhances Alu-dependent editing and transcriptional activity of GLI1, a Hedgehog (Hh) pathway transcriptional activator and self-renewal agonist, and promotes immunomodulatory drug resistance in vitro. Finally, ADAR1 knockdown reduces regeneration of high-risk MM in serially transplantable patient-derived xenografts. These data demonstrate that ADAR1 promotes malignant regeneration of MM and if selectively inhibited may obviate progression and relapse.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Genetics, Gene expression, Transcription, Regulation of gene expression, Transcription factor, Activator


Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) are key regulators of diverse biological processes such as transcriptional regulation, cell growth and differentiation. Previous studies have demonstrated that the lncRNA-ANCR (anti-differentiation ncRNA) is required to maintain the undifferentiated cell state within the epidermis. However, little is known about whether ANCR regulates osteoblast differentiation. In this study, we found that the ANCR expression level is significantly decreased during hFOB1.19 cell differentiation. ANCR-siRNA blocks the expression of endogenous ANCR, resulting in osteoblast differentiation, whereas ANCR overexpression is sufficient to inhibit osteoblast differentiation. We further demonstrated that ANCR is associated with enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2) and that this association results in the inhibition of both Runx2 expression and subsequent osteoblast differentiation. These data suggest that ANCR is an essential mediator of osteoblast differentiation, thus offering a new target for the development of therapeutic agents to treat bone diseases.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Gene expression, Developmental biology, Bone marrow, Regulation of gene expression, Cellular differentiation, Long noncoding RNA


Peripheral and spinal hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide-gated cation (HCN) channels play important roles in neuropathic pain by regulating neuronal excitability. However, the participation of HCN channels in the ventral-lateral periaqueductal gray (vlPAG) during neuropathic pain states has not been clarified. To investigate the role of vlPAG HCN channels in neuropathic pain, the authors developed a chronic constriction injury (CCI) model. By using western blot analysis, they detected the upregulation of HCN1 and HCN2 channel expression at vlPAG 14 days post-CCI surgery. Subsequently, the function of these upregulated channels was verified by the intravlPAG infusion of ZD7288, a specific HCN blocker, which significantly relieved mechanical allodynia and thermal hyperalgesia in CCI animals. These results suggest that the upregulation of vlPAG HCN channels plays an important role in pain maintenance and might be a target for attenuating pain. (PsycINFO Database Record © 2013 APA, all rights reserved).

Concepts: Molecular biology, Regulation of gene expression, Western blot, Electrophysiology, Pain, Ion channels, All rights reserved, HCN channel


BACKGROUND: Growth differentiation factor 15 (GDF15), a divergent TGFβ superfamily, has recently been implicated in the modulation of iron homeostasis, acting as an upstream negative regulator of hepcidin, the key iron regulatory hormone produced primarily by hepatocytes. However, little is known about possible roles that GDF15 might play in the regulation of iron homeostasis and development of hyperferritinemia in children with hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH). PROCEDURES: We compared serum GDF15 level and mRNA expressions of GDF15 and key molecules of iron metabolism, and made correlations between their expressions in children with HLH and control children. RESULTS: Serum GDF15 level was remarkably higher in HLH group than that in controls, with median serum concentration of 1,700 and 260 pg/ml, respectively (P < 0.001). In addition, GDF15 mRNA was significantly upregulated but independent of hypoxia-inducible factor-mediated oxygen signaling pathway. More importantly, GDF15 induction was positively correlated to upregulation of ferroportin, the only cellular iron exporter, and to upregulation of ferritin heavy chain. CONCLUSIONS: Our study suggests that GDF15 induction helps suppress further activation of macrophages in stressful physiologic states as HLH, and is intimately implicated in the development of hyperferritinemia by modulating the hepcidin-ferroportin axis, resulting in enhanced ferroportin-mediated iron efflux. Pediatr Blood Cancer © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Concepts: Gene expression, Regulation of gene expression, Hematology, Iron deficiency anemia, Human iron metabolism, Anemia of chronic disease, Ferroportin, Hepcidin


Melanoma treatment with the BRAF V600E inhibitor vemurafenib (VMF) provides therapeutic benefits but the common emergence of drug resistance remains a challenge. We generated A375 melanoma cells resistant to VMF with the goal of investigating changes in miRNA expression patterns that might contribute to resistance. Increased expression of miR-204-5p and miR-211-5p occurring in VMF-resistant cells was determined to impact VMF response. Their expression was rapidly affected by VMF treatment through RNA stabilization. Similar effects were elicited by MEK and ERK inhibitors but not AKT or Rac inhibitors. Ectopic expression of both miRNA in drug-naive human melanoma cells was sufficient to confer VMF resistance and more robust tumor growth in vivo. Conversely, silencing their expression in resistant cells inhibited cell growth. Joint overexpression of miR-204-5p and miR-211-5p durably stimulated Ras and MAPK upregulation after VMF exposure. Overall, our findings show how upregulation of miR-204-5p and miR-211-5p following VMF treatment enables the emergence of resistance, with potential implications for mechanism-based strategies to improve VMF responses.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Cell nucleus, Gene expression, Bacteria, Regulation of gene expression, Antibiotic resistance, Inhibitor


Accumulating evidence suggests that exogenous cellular stress induces PD-L1 upregulation in cancer. A DNA double-strand break (DSB) is the most critical type of genotoxic stress, but the involvement of DSB repair in PD-L1 expression has not been investigated. Here we show that PD-L1 expression in cancer cells is upregulated in response to DSBs. This upregulation requires ATM/ATR/Chk1 kinases. Using an siRNA library targeting DSB repair genes, we discover that BRCA2 depletion enhances Chk1-dependent PD-L1 upregulation after X-rays or PARP inhibition. In addition, we show that Ku70/80 depletion substantially enhances PD-L1 upregulation after X-rays. The upregulation by Ku80 depletion requires Chk1 activation following DNA end-resection by Exonuclease 1. DSBs activate STAT1 and STAT3 signalling, and IRF1 is required for DSB-dependent PD-L1 upregulation. Thus, our findings reveal the involvement of DSB repair in PD-L1 expression and provide mechanistic insight into how PD-L1 expression is regulated after DSBs.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Genetics, Gene expression, Cancer, DNA repair, Regulation of gene expression, DNA replication