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Genes, Volume 8, Issue 9 (September 2017)

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Cover Story Zebrafish are an emerging model for cancer research, enabling high-resolution in vivo imaging. [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle Auxin Response Factor Genes Repertoire in Mulberry: Identification, and Structural, Functional and Evolutionary Analyses
Genes 2017, 8(9), 202; doi:10.3390/genes8090202
Received: 27 July 2017 / Revised: 10 August 2017 / Accepted: 10 August 2017 / Published: 25 August 2017
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Abstract
Auxin Response Factors (ARFs) are at the core of the regulation mechanism for auxin-mediated responses, along with AUX/IAA proteins.They are critical in the auxin-mediated control of various biological responses including development and stress. A wild mulberry species genome has been sequenced and offers
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Auxin Response Factors (ARFs) are at the core of the regulation mechanism for auxin-mediated responses, along with AUX/IAA proteins.They are critical in the auxin-mediated control of various biological responses including development and stress. A wild mulberry species genome has been sequenced and offers an opportunity to investigate this important gene family. A total of 17 ARFs have been identified from mulberry (Morus notabilis) which show a wide range of expression patterns. Of these 17 ARFs, 15 have strong acidic isoelectric point (pI) values and a molecular mass ranging from 52 kDa to 101 kDa. The putative promoters of these ARFs harbour cis motifs related to light-dependent responses, various stress responses and hormone regulations suggestive of their multifactorial regulation. The gene ontology terms for ARFs indicate their role in flower development, stress, root morphology and other such development and stress mitigation related activities. Conserved motif analysis showed the presence of all typical domains in all but four members that lack the PB1 domain and thus represent truncated ARFs. Expression analysis of these ARFs suggests their preferential expression in tissues ranging from leaf, root, winter bud, bark and male flowers. These ARFs showed differential expression in the leaf tissue of M. notabilis, Morus laevigata and Morus serrata. Insights gained from this analysis have implications in mulberry improvement programs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Genetics and Genomics)
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Open AccessArticle Whole Genome Sequencing Revealed Mutations in Two Independent Genes as the Underlying Cause of Retinal Degeneration in an Ashkenazi Jewish Pedigree
Genes 2017, 8(9), 210; doi:10.3390/genes8090210
Received: 30 June 2017 / Revised: 5 August 2017 / Accepted: 18 August 2017 / Published: 24 August 2017
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Abstract
Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) causes progressive photoreceptor loss resulting from mutations in over 80 genes. This study identified the genetic cause of RP in three members of a non-consanguineous pedigree. Detailed ophthalmic evaluation was performed in the three affected family members. Whole exome sequencing
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Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) causes progressive photoreceptor loss resulting from mutations in over 80 genes. This study identified the genetic cause of RP in three members of a non-consanguineous pedigree. Detailed ophthalmic evaluation was performed in the three affected family members. Whole exome sequencing (WES) and whole genome sequencing (WGS) were performed in the three affected and the two unaffected family members and variants were filtered to detect rare, potentially deleterious variants segregating with disease. WES and WGS did not identify potentially pathogenic variants shared by all three affected members. However, WES identified a previously reported homozygous nonsense mutation in KIZ (c.226C>T, p.Arg76*) in two affected sisters, but not in their affected second cousin. WGS revealed a novel 1.135 kb homozygous deletion in a retina transcript of C21orf2 and a novel 30.651 kb heterozygous deletion in CACNA2D4 in the affected second cousin. The sisters with the KIZ mutation carried no copies of the C21orf2 or CACNA2D4 deletions, while the second cousin with the C21orf2 and CACNA2D4 deletions carried no copies of the KIZ mutation. This study identified two independent, homozygous mutations in genes previously reported in autosomal recessive RP in a non-consanguineous family, and demonstrated the value of WGS when WES fails to identify likely disease-causing mutations. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Two Archaeal RecJ Nucleases from Methanocaldococcus jannaschii Show Reverse Hydrolysis Polarity: Implication to Their Unique Function in Archaea
Genes 2017, 8(9), 211; doi:10.3390/genes8090211
Received: 24 June 2017 / Revised: 16 August 2017 / Accepted: 17 August 2017 / Published: 24 August 2017
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Abstract
Bacterial nuclease RecJ, which exists in almost all bacterial species, specifically degrades single-stranded (ss) DNA in the 5′ to 3′ direction. Some archaeal phyla, except Crenarchaea, also encode RecJ homologs. Compared with bacterial RecJ, archaeal RecJ exhibits a largely different amino acid sequence
[...] Read more.
Bacterial nuclease RecJ, which exists in almost all bacterial species, specifically degrades single-stranded (ss) DNA in the 5′ to 3′ direction. Some archaeal phyla, except Crenarchaea, also encode RecJ homologs. Compared with bacterial RecJ, archaeal RecJ exhibits a largely different amino acid sequence and domain organization. Archaeal RecJs from Thermococcus kodakarensis and Pyrococcus furiosus show 5′→3′ exonuclease activity on ssDNA. Interestingly, more than one RecJ exists in some Euryarchaeota classes, such as Methanomicrobia, Methanococci, Methanomicrobia, Methanobacteria, and Archaeoglobi. Here we report the biochemical characterization of two RecJs from Methanocaldococcus jannaschii, the long RecJ1 (MJ0977) and short RecJ2 (MJ0831) to understand their enzymatic properties. RecJ1 is a 5′→3′ exonuclease with a preference to ssDNA; however, RecJ2 is a 3′→5′ exonuclease with a preference to ssRNA. The 5′ terminal phosphate promotes RecJ1 activity, but the 3′ terminal phosphate inhibits RecJ2 nuclease. Go-Ichi-Ni-San (GINS) complex does not interact with two RecJs and does not promote their nuclease activities. Finally, we discuss the diversity, function, and molecular evolution of RecJ in archaeal taxonomy. Our analyses provide insight into the function and evolution of conserved archaeal RecJ/eukaryotic Cdc45 protein. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue DNA Replication Controls)
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Open AccessCommunication Chloroplast Genome Sequence of Clusterbean (Cyamopsis tetragonoloba L.): Genome Structure and Comparative Analysis
Genes 2017, 8(9), 212; doi:10.3390/genes8090212
Received: 18 July 2017 / Revised: 16 August 2017 / Accepted: 21 August 2017 / Published: 19 September 2017
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Abstract
Clusterbean (Cyamopsis tetragonoloba L.), also known as guar, belongs to the family Leguminosae, and is an annual herbaceous legume. Guar is the main source of galactomannan for gas mining industries. In the present study, the draft chloroplast genome of clusterbean was generated
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Clusterbean (Cyamopsis tetragonoloba L.), also known as guar, belongs to the family Leguminosae, and is an annual herbaceous legume. Guar is the main source of galactomannan for gas mining industries. In the present study, the draft chloroplast genome of clusterbean was generated and compared to some of the previously reported legume chloroplast genomes. The chloroplast genome of clusterbean is 152,530 bp in length, with a quadripartite structure consisting of large single copy (LSC) and small single copy (SSC) of 83,025 bp and 17,879 bp in size, respectively, and a pair of inverted repeats (IRs) of 25,790 bp in size. The chloroplast genome contains 114 unique genes, which includes 78 protein coding genes, 30 tRNAs, 4 rRNAs genes, and 2 pseudogenes. It also harbors a 50 kb inversion, typical of the Leguminosae family. The IR region of the clusterbean chloroplast genome has undergone an expansion, and hence, the whole rps19 gene is included in the IR, as compared to other legume plastid genomes. A total of 220 simple sequence repeats (SSRs) were detected in the clusterbean plastid genome. The analysis of the clusterbean plastid genome will provide useful insights for evolutionary, molecular and genetic engineering studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Genetics and Genomics)
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Open AccessArticle 5′-UTR and 3′-UTR Regulation of MICB Expression in Human Cancer Cells by Novel microRNAs
Genes 2017, 8(9), 213; doi:10.3390/genes8090213
Received: 14 July 2017 / Revised: 17 August 2017 / Accepted: 21 August 2017 / Published: 29 August 2017
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Abstract
The treatment of cancer through the induction of natural killer group 2, member D (NKG2D) ligands is of interest, but understanding of mechanisms controlling expression of individual ligand is limited. The major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I chain related protein B (MICB) is
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The treatment of cancer through the induction of natural killer group 2, member D (NKG2D) ligands is of interest, but understanding of mechanisms controlling expression of individual ligand is limited. The major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I chain related protein B (MICB) is a member of NKG2D ligands. We aimed to investigate the role of 3′-untranslated (3′-UTR) and 5′-untranslated regions (5′-UTR) in post-transcriptional regulation of MICB. Nine novel microRNAs (miRNAs) predicted to interact with 3′-UTR and 5′-UTR using TargetScan, RNAhybrid and miBridge were identified. Their regulation of 3′-UTR, 5′-UTR and both 3′- and 5′-UTR sequences of MICB were indicated by the reduction of luciferase activities of luciferase reporter constructs. Mutations of miRNA binding sites at 3′- and 5′-UTRs resulted in increased luciferase activities confirming the regulation of nine candidate miRNAs. In addition, overexpression of candidate miRNAs also down-regulated the expression of reporter constructs. Consequently, the overexpression and inhibition of candidate miRNAs lead to the decreased and increased. MICB protein expressions on the cells tested, respectively. This study has identified a new role of miRNAs in regulation of MICB expression via both 3′-UTR and 5′-UTR sequences applicable for cancer immunotherapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Clinical Genomics in Genetic Diseases and Cancer)
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Open AccessArticle Detection of G1138A Mutation of the FGFR3 Gene in Tooth Material from a 180-Year-Old Museological Achondroplastic Skeleton
Genes 2017, 8(9), 214; doi:10.3390/genes8090214
Received: 24 July 2017 / Revised: 18 August 2017 / Accepted: 22 August 2017 / Published: 29 August 2017
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Abstract
Throughout the last four centuries, many anatomical museums across the world have collected teratological specimens that became precious objects. These can be regarded as spirits of the past which have captured the morphology of diseases through time. These valuable and irreplaceable specimens can
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Throughout the last four centuries, many anatomical museums across the world have collected teratological specimens that became precious objects. These can be regarded as spirits of the past which have captured the morphology of diseases through time. These valuable and irreplaceable specimens can be perfectly used in contemporary dysmorphological or genetic research. Unfortunately, due to the historical nature of these specimens and the regularly used aggressive preservation fluids, DNA degradation is often present. Furthermore, the use of material for DNA extraction is restricted to preserve the appearance of these valuable museological specimens. Thus, the most challenging part in this perspective is to harvest sufficient DNA of good quality for further testing without damaging the specimens. Besides fixated specimens, most teratological collections contain dried skeletal and teeth materials which are an excellent source to extract DNA. We here present a DNA-based method that enables genetic identification of the G1138A mutation of the FGFR3 gene in a 180-year-old achondroplastic skeleton, confirming the previously morphologically determined disease. Nuclear DNA was extracted from a premolar tooth and the mutation was found using Sanger sequencing of a small region of the FGFR3 gene. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel and Neglected Areas of Ancient DNA Research)
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Open AccessArticle Intrachromosomal Rearrangements in Rodents from the Perspective of Comparative Region-Specific Painting
Genes 2017, 8(9), 215; doi:10.3390/genes8090215
Received: 11 July 2017 / Revised: 22 August 2017 / Accepted: 23 August 2017 / Published: 30 August 2017
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Abstract
It has long been hypothesized that chromosomal rearrangements play a central role in different evolutionary processes, particularly in speciation and adaptation. Interchromosomal rearrangements have been extensively mapped using chromosome painting. However, intrachromosomal rearrangements have only been described using molecular cytogenetics in a limited
[...] Read more.
It has long been hypothesized that chromosomal rearrangements play a central role in different evolutionary processes, particularly in speciation and adaptation. Interchromosomal rearrangements have been extensively mapped using chromosome painting. However, intrachromosomal rearrangements have only been described using molecular cytogenetics in a limited number of mammals, including a few rodent species. This situation is unfortunate because intrachromosomal rearrangements are more abundant than interchromosomal rearrangements and probably contain essential phylogenomic information. Significant progress in the detection of intrachromosomal rearrangement is now possible, due to recent advances in molecular biology and bioinformatics. We investigated the level of intrachromosomal rearrangement in the Arvicolinae subfamily, a species-rich taxon characterized by very high rate of karyotype evolution. We made a set of region specific probes by microdissection for a single syntenic region represented by the p-arm of chromosome 1 of Alexandromys oeconomus, and hybridized the probes onto the chromosomes of four arvicolines (Microtus agrestis, Microtus arvalis, Myodes rutilus, and Dicrostonyx torquatus). These experiments allowed us to show the intrachromosomal rearrangements in the subfamily at a significantly higher level of resolution than previously described. We found a number of paracentric inversions in the karyotypes of M. agrestis and M. rutilus, as well as multiple inversions and a centromere shift in the karyotype of M. arvalis. We propose that during karyotype evolution, arvicolines underwent a significant number of complex intrachromosomal rearrangements that were not previously detected. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chromosomal Evolution)
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Open AccessArticle X Chromosome Evolution in Cetartiodactyla
Genes 2017, 8(9), 216; doi:10.3390/genes8090216
Received: 1 August 2017 / Revised: 24 August 2017 / Accepted: 25 August 2017 / Published: 31 August 2017
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Abstract
The phenomenon of a remarkable conservation of the X chromosome in eutherian mammals has been first described by Susumu Ohno in 1964. A notable exception is the cetartiodactyl X chromosome, which varies widely in morphology and G-banding pattern between species. It is hypothesized
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The phenomenon of a remarkable conservation of the X chromosome in eutherian mammals has been first described by Susumu Ohno in 1964. A notable exception is the cetartiodactyl X chromosome, which varies widely in morphology and G-banding pattern between species. It is hypothesized that this sex chromosome has undergone multiple rearrangements that changed the centromere position and the order of syntenic segments over the last 80 million years of Cetartiodactyla speciation. To investigate its evolution we have selected 26 evolutionarily conserved bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) clones from the cattle CHORI-240 library evenly distributed along the cattle X chromosome. High-resolution BAC maps of the X chromosome on a representative range of cetartiodactyl species from different branches: pig (Suidae), alpaca (Camelidae), gray whale (Cetacea), hippopotamus (Hippopotamidae), Java mouse-deer (Tragulidae), pronghorn (Antilocapridae), Siberian musk deer (Moschidae), and giraffe (Giraffidae) were obtained by fluorescent in situ hybridization. To trace the X chromosome evolution during fast radiation in specious families, we performed mapping in several cervids (moose, Siberian roe deer, fallow deer, and Pere David’s deer) and bovid (muskox, goat, sheep, sable antelope, and cattle) species. We have identified three major conserved synteny blocks and rearrangements in different cetartiodactyl lineages and found that the recently described phenomenon of the evolutionary new centromere emergence has taken place in the X chromosome evolution of Cetartiodactyla at least five times. We propose the structure of the putative ancestral cetartiodactyl X chromosome by reconstructing the order of syntenic segments and centromere position for key groups. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chromosomal Evolution)
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Open AccessArticle 3D Microstructure Inhibits Mesenchymal Stem Cells Homing to the Site of Liver Cancer Cells on a Microchip
Genes 2017, 8(9), 218; doi:10.3390/genes8090218
Received: 1 August 2017 / Revised: 28 August 2017 / Accepted: 29 August 2017 / Published: 1 September 2017
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Abstract
The cell microenvironment consists of multiple types of biophysical and biochemical factors, and represents a complex integrated system that is variable in both time and space. Studies show that changes in biochemical and biophysical factors in cell microenvironments result in significant changes in
[...] Read more.
The cell microenvironment consists of multiple types of biophysical and biochemical factors, and represents a complex integrated system that is variable in both time and space. Studies show that changes in biochemical and biophysical factors in cell microenvironments result in significant changes in cellular forms and functions, especially for stem cells. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are derived from adult stem cells of the mesoderm and play an important role in tissue engineering, regenerative medicine and even cancer therapy. Furthermore, it is found that MSCs can interact with multiple types of tumor cells. The interaction is reflected as two totally different aspects. The negative aspect is that MSCs manifest as tumor-associated fibroblasts and could induce migration of cancer cells and promote tumor formation. On the other hand, MSCs can home to sites of the tumor microenvironment, directionally migrate toward tumor cells and cause tumor cell apoptosis. In this study, we designed and made a simple microfluidic chip for cell co-culture, and studied stem cell homing behavior in the interaction between MSCs and liver cancer cells. Moreover, by etching a three-dimensional microstructure on the base and adding transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) in the co-culture environment, we studied the impact of biophysical and biochemical factors on stem cell homing behavior, and the causes of such impact. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue From the Lab-on-a-Chip to the Organ-on-a-Chip)
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Open AccessArticle Quantification of Pseudouridine Levels in Cellular RNA Pools with a Modified HPLC-UV Assay
Genes 2017, 8(9), 219; doi:10.3390/genes8090219
Received: 25 July 2017 / Revised: 28 August 2017 / Accepted: 30 August 2017 / Published: 5 September 2017
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Abstract
Pseudouridine (Ψ) is the most abundant post-transcriptionally modified ribonucleoside. Different Ψ modifications correlate with stress responses and are postulated to coordinate the distinct biological responses to a diverse panel of cellular stresses. With the help of different guide RNAs, the dyskerin complex pseudouridylates
[...] Read more.
Pseudouridine (Ψ) is the most abundant post-transcriptionally modified ribonucleoside. Different Ψ modifications correlate with stress responses and are postulated to coordinate the distinct biological responses to a diverse panel of cellular stresses. With the help of different guide RNAs, the dyskerin complex pseudouridylates ribosomal RNA, small nuclear RNA and selective messenger RNAs. To monitor Ψ levels quantitatively, a previously reported high performance liquid chromatography method coupled with ultraviolet detection (HPLC-UV) was modified to determine total Ψ levels in different cellular RNA fractions. Our method was validated to be accurate and precise within the linear range of 0.06–15.36 pmol/μL and to have absolute Ψ quantification levels as low as 3.07 pmol. Using our optimized HPLC assay, we found that 1.20% and 1.94% of all ribonucleosides in nuclear-enriched RNA and small non-coding RNA pools from the HEK293 cell line, and 1.77% and 0.98% of ribonucleosides in 18S and 28S rRNA isolated from the HeLa cell line, were pseudouridylated. Upon knockdown of dyskerin expression, a consistent and significant reduction in total Ψ levels in nuclear-enriched RNA pools was observed. Our assay provides a fast and accurate quantification method to measure changes in Ψ levels of different RNA pools without sample derivatization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue RNA Modification)
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Open AccessArticle High-Throughput Study of the Effects of Celastrol on Activated Fibroblast-Like Synoviocytes from Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis
Genes 2017, 8(9), 221; doi:10.3390/genes8090221
Received: 1 August 2017 / Revised: 24 August 2017 / Accepted: 31 August 2017 / Published: 6 September 2017
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Abstract
Celastrol, a natural triterpene, exhibits potential anti-inflammatory activity in a variety of inflammatory diseases. The present study aimed to investigate its biological effect on activated fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLSs) from patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The primary FLSs of the synovial tissues were obtained
[...] Read more.
Celastrol, a natural triterpene, exhibits potential anti-inflammatory activity in a variety of inflammatory diseases. The present study aimed to investigate its biological effect on activated fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLSs) from patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The primary FLSs of the synovial tissues were obtained from synovial biopsies of patients with RA. The normal human FLS line (HFLS) was used as a control. After the RA–FLSs and HFLSs were treated with or without celastrol, various approaches, including the WST-1 assay, transwell assay, real-time PCR and ELISA analysis, were performed to estimate proliferation, invasion and expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines of the RA–FLSs. Microarray analysis was performed to screen for differentially expressed genes in RA–FLSs before and after celastrol treatment. The results showed that treatment of celastrol attenuated both the proliferation and invasion of the RA–FLSs. The expression of several chemokine genes, including CCL2, CXCL10, CXCL12, CCR2 and CXCR4, was significantly changed after celastrol treatment. The genes involved in the NF-κB signaling pathway appeared to be regulated by celastrol. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue From the Lab-on-a-Chip to the Organ-on-a-Chip)
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Open AccessArticle RECQ1 Helicase Silencing Decreases the Tumour Growth Rate of U87 Glioblastoma Cell Xenografts in Zebrafish Embryos
Genes 2017, 8(9), 222; doi:10.3390/genes8090222
Received: 14 July 2017 / Revised: 18 August 2017 / Accepted: 5 September 2017 / Published: 6 September 2017
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Abstract
RECQ1 helicase has multiple roles in DNA replication, including restoration of the replication fork and DNA repair, and plays an important role in tumour progression. Its expression is highly elevated in glioblastoma as compared to healthy brain tissue. We studied the effects of
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RECQ1 helicase has multiple roles in DNA replication, including restoration of the replication fork and DNA repair, and plays an important role in tumour progression. Its expression is highly elevated in glioblastoma as compared to healthy brain tissue. We studied the effects of small hairpin RNA (shRNA)-induced silencing of RECQ1 helicase on the increase in cell number and the invasion of U87 glioblastoma cells. RECQ1 silencing reduced the rate of increase in the number of U87 cells by 30%. This corresponded with a 40% reduction of the percentage of cells in the G2 phase of the cell cycle, and an accumulation of cells in the G1 phase. These effects were confirmed in vivo, in the brain of zebrafish (Danio rerio) embryos, by implanting DsRed-labelled RECQ1 helicase-silenced and control U87 cells. The growth of resulting tumours was quantified by monitoring the increase in xenograft fluorescence intensity during a three-day period with fluorescence microscopy. The reduced rate of tumour growth, by approximately 30% in RECQ1 helicase-silenced cells, was in line with in vitro measurements of the increase in cell number upon RECQ1 helicase silencing. However, RECQ1 helicase silencing did not affect invasive behaviour of U87 cells in the zebrafish brain. This is the first in vivo confirmation that RECQ1 helicase is a promising molecular target in the treatment of glioblastoma. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zebrafish: The Key for Cancer Treatment)
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Open AccessArticle Functional Characterization of Selected Universal Stress Protein from Salvia miltiorrhiza (SmUSP) in Escherichia coli
Genes 2017, 8(9), 224; doi:10.3390/genes8090224
Received: 1 July 2017 / Revised: 20 August 2017 / Accepted: 5 September 2017 / Published: 8 September 2017
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Abstract
The multigene universal stress protein (USP) family is evolutionarily conserved. Members play indispensable roles in plant tolerance to abiotic stresses. Although relatively well-characterized in model plants, such as Arabidopsis thaliana and Oryza sativa, this family has not been investigated in Salvia miltiorrhiza
[...] Read more.
The multigene universal stress protein (USP) family is evolutionarily conserved. Members play indispensable roles in plant tolerance to abiotic stresses. Although relatively well-characterized in model plants, such as Arabidopsis thaliana and Oryza sativa, this family has not been investigated in Salvia miltiorrhiza, an important herbal plant for which yields can be limited by various abiotic stresses. Here, we identified 32 USP family members in the S. miltiorrhiza genome, and used phylogenetic analysis to sort these SmUSPs into four groups. Groups A and B belong to the ATP-binding class whereas Groups C and D are in the non-ATP-binding class. Motif analysis and multiple sequence alignment hinted that members of group A and B were able to bind ATP. Our qRT-PCR data from different tissues/organs and under salt and heat stresses provided an overall expression pattern for those genes. Three SmUSPs (SmUSP1, SmUSP8, and SmUSP27) were cloned from S. miltiorrhiza and functionally characterized in Escherichia coli. Compared with the control cells, those that expressed SmUSPs exhibited enhanced tolerance to salt, heat, and a combination of the two. This suggested that the protein has a protective role in cells when exposed to single-stress and multiple-stress conditions. Our findings provide valuable information that helps improve our understanding of the evolutionary and functional conservation and diversity associated with the USP gene family in S. miltiorrhiza. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetic Regulation of Abiotic Stress Responses)
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Open AccessArticle Identification of the Ovine Keratin-Associated Protein 26-1 Gene and Its Association with Variation in Wool Traits
Genes 2017, 8(9), 225; doi:10.3390/genes8090225
Received: 11 July 2017 / Revised: 1 September 2017 / Accepted: 6 September 2017 / Published: 13 September 2017
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Abstract
Keratin-associated proteins (KAPs) are structural components of wool and hair fibres, and are believed to play a role in defining the physico-mechanical properties of the wool fibre. In this study, the putative ovine homologue of the human KAP26-1 gene (KRTAP26-1) was
[...] Read more.
Keratin-associated proteins (KAPs) are structural components of wool and hair fibres, and are believed to play a role in defining the physico-mechanical properties of the wool fibre. In this study, the putative ovine homologue of the human KAP26-1 gene (KRTAP26-1) was sequenced and four variants (named A–D) were identified. The sequences shared some identity with each other and with other KRTAPs, but they had the greatest similarity with the human KRTAP26-1 sequence. This suggests they represent different variants of ovine KRTAP26-1. The association of these KRTAP26-1 variants with wool traits was investigated in the 383 Merino-Southdown cross sheep. The presence of B was associated (p < 0.05) with an increase in mean fibre diameter (MFD), mean fibre curvature, and prickle factor (PF). The presence of C was found to be associated (p < 0.05) with an increase in wool yield (Yield) and mean staple length (MSL), and a decrease in MFD, fibre diameter standard deviation (FDSD), and PF. The results suggest that sheep with C have, on average, higher wool quality. These results may be useful in the future development of breeding programs based on decreasing wool MFD and FDSD, or on increasing wool MSL. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Complex Genetic Loci)
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Open AccessArticle Salt-Stress Response Mechanisms Using de Novo Transcriptome Sequencing of Salt-Tolerant and Sensitive Corchorus spp. Genotypes
Genes 2017, 8(9), 226; doi:10.3390/genes8090226
Received: 30 July 2017 / Revised: 29 August 2017 / Accepted: 5 September 2017 / Published: 18 September 2017
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Abstract
High salinity is a major environmental stressor for crops. To understand the regulatory mechanisms underlying salt tolerance, we conducted a comparative transcriptome analysis between salt-tolerant and salt-sensitive jute (Corchorus spp.) genotypes in leaf and root tissues under salt stress and control conditions.
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High salinity is a major environmental stressor for crops. To understand the regulatory mechanisms underlying salt tolerance, we conducted a comparative transcriptome analysis between salt-tolerant and salt-sensitive jute (Corchorus spp.) genotypes in leaf and root tissues under salt stress and control conditions. In total, 68,961 unigenes were identified. Additionally, 11,100 unigenes (including 385 transcription factors (TFs)) exhibited significant differential expression in salt-tolerant or salt-sensitive genotypes. Numerous common and unique differentially expressed unigenes (DEGs) between the two genotypes were discovered. Fewer DEGs were observed in salt-tolerant jute genotypes whether in root or leaf tissues. These DEGs were involved in various pathways, such as ABA signaling, amino acid metabolism, etc. Among the enriched pathways, plant hormone signal transduction (ko04075) and cysteine/methionine metabolism (ko00270) were the most notable. Eight common DEGs across both tissues and genotypes with similar expression profiles were part of the PYL-ABA-PP2C (pyrabactin resistant-like/regulatory components of ABA receptors-abscisic acid-protein phosphatase 2C). The methionine metabolism pathway was only enriched in salt-tolerant jute root tissue. Twenty-three DEGs were involved in methionine metabolism. Overall, numerous common and unique salt-stress response DEGs and pathways between salt-tolerant and salt-sensitive jute have been discovered, which will provide valuable information regarding salt-stress response mechanisms and help improve salt-resistance molecular breeding in jute. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetic Regulation of Abiotic Stress Responses)
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Open AccessArticle The Chloroplast Genome Sequence of Scutellaria baicalensis Provides Insight into Intraspecific and Interspecific Chloroplast Genome Diversity in Scutellaria
Genes 2017, 8(9), 227; doi:10.3390/genes8090227
Received: 30 July 2017 / Revised: 1 September 2017 / Accepted: 5 September 2017 / Published: 13 September 2017
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Abstract
Scutellaria baicalensis Georgi (Lamiaceae) is the source of the well-known traditional Chinese medicine “HuangQin” (Radix Scutellariae). Natural sources of S. baicalensis are rapidly declining due to high market demand and overexploitation. Moreover, the commercial products of Radix Scutellariae have often been
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Scutellaria baicalensis Georgi (Lamiaceae) is the source of the well-known traditional Chinese medicine “HuangQin” (Radix Scutellariae). Natural sources of S. baicalensis are rapidly declining due to high market demand and overexploitation. Moreover, the commercial products of Radix Scutellariae have often been found to contain adulterants in recent years, which may give rise to issues regarding drug efficacy and safety. In this study, we developed valuable chloroplast molecular resources by comparing intraspecific and interspecific chloroplast genome. The S. baicalensis chloroplast genome is a circular molecule consisting of two single-copy regions separated by a pair of inverted repeats. Comparative analyses of three Scutellaria chloroplast genomes revealed six variable regions (trnH-psbA, trnK-rps16, petN-psbM, trnT-trnL, petA-psbJ, and ycf1) that could be used as DNA barcodes. There were 25 single nucleotide polymorphisms(SNPs) and 29 indels between the two S. baicalensis genotypes. All of the indels occurred within non-coding regions. Phylogenetic analysis suggested that Scutellarioideae is a sister taxon to Lamioideae. These resources could be used to explore the variation present in Scutellaria populations and for further evolutionary, phylogenetic, barcoding and genetic engineering studies, in addition to effective exploration and conservation of S. baicalensis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Genetics and Genomics)
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Open AccessArticle Isoform Sequencing Provides a More Comprehensive View of the Panax ginseng Transcriptome
Genes 2017, 8(9), 228; doi:10.3390/genes8090228
Received: 3 July 2017 / Revised: 17 August 2017 / Accepted: 12 September 2017 / Published: 15 September 2017
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Abstract
Korean ginseng (Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer) has been widely used for medicinal purposes and contains potent plant secondary metabolites, including ginsenosides. To obtain transcriptomic data that offers a more comprehensive view of functional genomics in P. ginseng, we generated genome-wide transcriptome
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Korean ginseng (Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer) has been widely used for medicinal purposes and contains potent plant secondary metabolites, including ginsenosides. To obtain transcriptomic data that offers a more comprehensive view of functional genomics in P. ginseng, we generated genome-wide transcriptome data from four different P. ginseng tissues using PacBio isoform sequencing (Iso-Seq) technology. A total of 135,317 assembled transcripts were generated with an average length of 3.2 kb and high assembly completeness. Of those unigenes, 67.5% were predicted to be complete full-length (FL) open reading frames (ORFs) and exhibited a high gene annotation rate. Furthermore, we successfully identified unique full-length genes involved in triterpenoid saponin synthesis and plant hormonal signaling pathways, including auxin and cytokinin. Studies on the functional genomics of P. ginseng seedlings have confirmed the rapid upregulation of negative feed-back loops by auxin and cytokinin signaling cues. The conserved evolutionary mechanisms in the auxin and cytokinin canonical signaling pathways of P. ginseng are more complex than those in Arabidopsis thaliana. Our analysis also revealed a more detailed view of transcriptome-wide alternative isoforms for 88 genes. Finally, transposable elements (TEs) were also identified, suggesting transcriptional activity of TEs in P. ginseng. In conclusion, our results suggest that long-read, full-length or partial-unigene data with high-quality assemblies are invaluable resources as transcriptomic references in P. ginseng and can be used for comparative analyses in closely related medicinal plants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Genetics and Genomics)
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Open AccessArticle Transcription Factors Responding to Pb Stress in Maize
Genes 2017, 8(9), 231; doi:10.3390/genes8090231
Received: 3 August 2017 / Revised: 7 September 2017 / Accepted: 15 September 2017 / Published: 18 September 2017
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Abstract
Pb can damage the physiological function of human organs by entering the human body via food-chain enrichment. Revealing the mechanisms of maize tolerance to Pb is critical for preventing this. In this study, a Pb-tolerant maize inbred line, 178, was used to analyse
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Pb can damage the physiological function of human organs by entering the human body via food-chain enrichment. Revealing the mechanisms of maize tolerance to Pb is critical for preventing this. In this study, a Pb-tolerant maize inbred line, 178, was used to analyse transcription factors (TFs) expressed under Pb stress based on RNA sequencing data. A total of 464 genes expressed in control check (CK) or Pb treatment samples were annotated as TFs. Among them, 262 differentially expressed transcription factors (DETs) were identified that responded to Pb treatment. Furthermore, the DETs were classified into 4 classes according to their expression patterns, and 17, 12 and 2 DETs were significantly annotated to plant hormone signal transduction, basal transcription factors and base excision repair, respectively. Seventeen DETs were found to participate in the plant hormone signal transduction pathway, where basic leucine zippers (bZIPs) were the most significantly enriched TFs, with 12 members involved. We further obtained 5 Arabidopsis transfer DNA (T-DNA) mutants for 6 of the maize bZIPs, among which the mutants atbzip20 and atbzip47, representing ZmbZIP54 and ZmbZIP107, showed obviously inhibited growth of roots and above-ground parts, compared with wild type. Five highly Pb-tolerant and 5 highly Pb-sensitive in maize lines were subjected to DNA polymorphism and expression level analysis of ZmbZIP54 and ZmbZIP107. The results suggested that differences in bZIPs expression partially accounted for the differences in Pb-tolerance among the maize lines. Our results contribute to the understanding of the molecular regulation mechanisms of TFs in maize under Pb stress. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Genomics and Epigenomics for Trait Improvement)
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Open AccessArticle Effects of Cellular Methylation on Transgene Expression and Site-Specific Integration of Adeno-Associated Virus
Genes 2017, 8(9), 232; doi:10.3390/genes8090232
Received: 22 August 2017 / Revised: 7 September 2017 / Accepted: 8 September 2017 / Published: 18 September 2017
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Abstract
DNA methylation is a major epigenetic event that affects not only cellular gene expression but that also has the potential to influence bacterial and viral DNA in their host-dependent functions. Adeno-associated virus (AAV) genome contains a high degree of CpG sequences capable of
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DNA methylation is a major epigenetic event that affects not only cellular gene expression but that also has the potential to influence bacterial and viral DNA in their host-dependent functions. Adeno-associated virus (AAV) genome contains a high degree of CpG sequences capable of methylation in its terminal repeat sequences, which are the sole elements retained in AAV-based vectors used in gene therapy. The present study determined the influence of methylation status of the host cell on wild type (wt) AAV integration and recombinant (r) AAV transgene expression in HeLa cells. Results of the study indicated that hypo-methylation significantly enhanced both wtAAV chromosomal integration and transgene expression of rAAV. A direct influence of methylation on AAV integration was further confirmed by methylating the AAVS1 integration sites prior to viral infection with DNA trans-complementation assay. These results signify the importance of epigenetic status of target cells as one of the key factors in long-term transgene expression in AAV gene therapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Clinical Genomics in Genetic Diseases and Cancer)
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Open AccessArticle Predicting Variation of DNA Shape Preferences in Protein-DNA Interaction in Cancer Cells with a New Biophysical Model
Genes 2017, 8(9), 233; doi:10.3390/genes8090233
Received: 31 July 2017 / Revised: 13 September 2017 / Accepted: 13 September 2017 / Published: 18 September 2017
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Abstract
DNA shape readout is an important mechanism of transcription factor target site recognition, in addition to the sequence readout. Several machine learning-based models of transcription factor–DNA interactions, considering DNA shape features, have been developed in recent years. Here, we present a new biophysical
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DNA shape readout is an important mechanism of transcription factor target site recognition, in addition to the sequence readout. Several machine learning-based models of transcription factor–DNA interactions, considering DNA shape features, have been developed in recent years. Here, we present a new biophysical model of protein–DNA interactions by integrating the DNA shape properties. It is based on the neighbor dinucleotide dependency model BayesPI2, where new parameters are restricted to a subspace spanned by the dinucleotide form of DNA shape features. This allows a biophysical interpretation of the new parameters as a position-dependent preference towards specific DNA shape features. Using the new model, we explore the variation of DNA shape preferences in several transcription factors across various cancer cell lines and cellular conditions. The results reveal that there are DNA shape variations at FOXA1 (Forkhead Box Protein A1) binding sites in steroid-treated MCF7 cells. The new biophysical model is useful for elucidating the finer details of transcription factor–DNA interaction, as well as for predicting cancer mutation effects in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integrative Genomics and Systems Medicine in Cancer)
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Open AccessArticle Genome-Wide Analysis of the Biosynthesis and Deactivation of Gibberellin-Dioxygenases Gene Family in Camellia sinensis (L.) O. Kuntze
Genes 2017, 8(9), 235; doi:10.3390/genes8090235
Received: 1 August 2017 / Revised: 11 September 2017 / Accepted: 15 September 2017 / Published: 19 September 2017
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Abstract
Gibberellins (GAs), a class of diterpenoid phytohormones, play a key role in regulating diverse processes throughout the life cycle of plants. Bioactive GA levels are rapidly regulated by Gibberellin-dioxygenases (GAox), which are involved in the biosynthesis and deactivation of gibberellin. In this manuscript,
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Gibberellins (GAs), a class of diterpenoid phytohormones, play a key role in regulating diverse processes throughout the life cycle of plants. Bioactive GA levels are rapidly regulated by Gibberellin-dioxygenases (GAox), which are involved in the biosynthesis and deactivation of gibberellin. In this manuscript, a comprehensive genome-wide analysis was carried out to find all GAox in Camellia sinensis. For the first time in a tea plant, 14 CsGAox genes, containing two domains, DIOX_N (PF14226) and 2OG-FeII_Oxy, were identified (PF03171). These genes all belong to 2-oxoglutarate-dependent dioxygenases (2-ODD), including four CsGA20ox (EC: 1.14.11.12), three CsGA3ox (EC: 1.14.11.15), and seven CsGA2ox (EC: 1.14.11.13). According to the phylogenetic classification as in Arabidopsis, the CsGAox genes spanned five subgroups. Each CsGAox shows tissue-specific expression patterns, although these vary greatly. Some candidate genes, which may play an important role in response to external abiotic stresses, have been identified with regards to patterns, such as CsGA20ox2, CsGA3ox2, CsGA3ox3, CsGA2ox1, CsGA2ox2, and CsGA2ox4. The bioactive GA levels may be closely related to the GA20ox, GA3ox and GA2ox genes. In addition, the candidate genes could be used as marker genes for abiotic stress resistance breeding in tea plants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetic Regulation of Abiotic Stress Responses)
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Review

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Open AccessReview Zebrafish Xenograft: An Evolutionary Experiment in Tumour Biology
Genes 2017, 8(9), 220; doi:10.3390/genes8090220
Received: 2 August 2017 / Revised: 27 August 2017 / Accepted: 29 August 2017 / Published: 5 September 2017
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Abstract
Though the cancer research community has used mouse xenografts for decades more than zebrafish xenografts, zebrafish have much to offer: they are cheap, easy to work with, and the embryonic model is relatively easy to use in high-throughput assays. Zebrafish can be imaged
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Though the cancer research community has used mouse xenografts for decades more than zebrafish xenografts, zebrafish have much to offer: they are cheap, easy to work with, and the embryonic model is relatively easy to use in high-throughput assays. Zebrafish can be imaged live, allowing us to observe cellular and molecular processes in vivo in real time. Opponents dismiss the zebrafish model due to the evolutionary distance between zebrafish and humans, as compared to mice, but proponents argue for the zebrafish xenograft’s superiority to cell culture systems and its advantages in imaging. This review places the zebrafish xenograft in the context of current views on cancer and gives an overview of how several aspects of this evolutionary disease can be addressed in the zebrafish model. Zebrafish are missing homologs of some human proteins and (of particular interest) several members of the matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) family of proteases, which are known for their importance in tumour biology. This review draws attention to the implicit evolutionary experiment taking place when the molecular ecology of the xenograft host is significantly different than that of the donor. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zebrafish: The Key for Cancer Treatment)
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Open AccessReview Advances in Genomic Profiling and Analysis of 3D Chromatin Structure and Interaction
Genes 2017, 8(9), 223; doi:10.3390/genes8090223
Received: 28 July 2017 / Revised: 25 August 2017 / Accepted: 4 September 2017 / Published: 8 September 2017
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Abstract
Recent sequence-based profiling technologies such as high-throughput sequencing to detect fragment nucleotide sequence (Hi-C) and chromatin interaction analysis by paired-end tag sequencing (ChIA-PET) have revolutionized the field of three-dimensional (3D) chromatin architecture. It is now recognized that human genome functions as folded 3D
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Recent sequence-based profiling technologies such as high-throughput sequencing to detect fragment nucleotide sequence (Hi-C) and chromatin interaction analysis by paired-end tag sequencing (ChIA-PET) have revolutionized the field of three-dimensional (3D) chromatin architecture. It is now recognized that human genome functions as folded 3D chromatin units and looping paradigm is the basic principle of gene regulation. To better interpret the 3D data dramatically accumulating in past five years and to gain deep biological insights, huge efforts have been made in developing novel quantitative analysis methods. However, the full understanding of genome regulation requires thorough knowledge in both genomic technologies and their related data analyses. We summarize the recent advances in genomic technologies in identifying the 3D chromatin structure and interaction, and illustrate the quantitative analysis methods to infer functional domains and chromatin interactions, and further elucidate the emerging single-cell Hi-C technique and its computational analysis, and finally discuss the future directions such as advances of 3D chromatin techniques in diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integrative Genomics and Systems Medicine in Cancer)
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Open AccessReview Emerging Estrogenic Pollutants in the Aquatic Environment and Breast Cancer
Genes 2017, 8(9), 229; doi:10.3390/genes8090229
Received: 19 July 2017 / Revised: 7 September 2017 / Accepted: 8 September 2017 / Published: 15 September 2017
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Abstract
The number and amount of man-made chemicals present in the aquatic environment has increased considerably over the past 50 years. Among these contaminants, endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) represent a significant proportion. This family of compounds interferes with normal hormonal processes through multiple molecular pathways.
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The number and amount of man-made chemicals present in the aquatic environment has increased considerably over the past 50 years. Among these contaminants, endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) represent a significant proportion. This family of compounds interferes with normal hormonal processes through multiple molecular pathways. They represent a potential risk for human and wildlife as they are suspected to be involved in the development of diseases including, but not limited to, reprotoxicity, metabolic disorders, and cancers. More precisely, several studies have suggested that the increase of breast cancers in industrialized countries is linked to exposure to EDCs, particularly estrogen-like compounds. Estrogen receptors alpha (ERα) and beta (ERβ) are the two main transducers of estrogen action and therefore important targets for these estrogen-like endocrine disrupters. More than 70% of human breast cancers are ERα-positive and estrogen-dependent, and their development and growth are not only influenced by endogenous estrogens but also likely by environmental estrogen-like endocrine disrupters. It is, therefore, of major importance to characterize the potential estrogenic activity from contaminated surface water and identify the molecules responsible for the hormonal effects. This information will help us understand how environmental contaminants can potentially impact the development of breast cancer and allow us to fix a maximal limit to the concentration of estrogen-like compounds that should be found in the environment. The aim of this review is to provide an overview of emerging estrogen-like compounds in the environment, sum up studies demonstrating their direct or indirect interactions with ERs, and link their presence to the development of breast cancer. Finally, we emphasize the use of in vitro and in vivo methods based on the zebrafish model to identify and characterize environmental estrogens. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zebrafish: The Key for Cancer Treatment)
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Open AccessReview Satellite DNA: An Evolving Topic
Genes 2017, 8(9), 230; doi:10.3390/genes8090230
Received: 3 August 2017 / Revised: 12 September 2017 / Accepted: 13 September 2017 / Published: 18 September 2017
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Abstract
Satellite DNA represents one of the most fascinating parts of the repetitive fraction of the eukaryotic genome. Since the discovery of highly repetitive tandem DNA in the 1960s, a lot of literature has extensively covered various topics related to the structure, organization, function,
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Satellite DNA represents one of the most fascinating parts of the repetitive fraction of the eukaryotic genome. Since the discovery of highly repetitive tandem DNA in the 1960s, a lot of literature has extensively covered various topics related to the structure, organization, function, and evolution of such sequences. Today, with the advent of genomic tools, the study of satellite DNA has regained a great interest. Thus, Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS), together with high-throughput in silico analysis of the information contained in NGS reads, has revolutionized the analysis of the repetitive fraction of the eukaryotic genomes. The whole of the historical and current approaches to the topic gives us a broad view of the function and evolution of satellite DNA and its role in chromosomal evolution. Currently, we have extensive information on the molecular, chromosomal, biological, and population factors that affect the evolutionary fate of satellite DNA, knowledge that gives rise to a series of hypotheses that get on well with each other about the origin, spreading, and evolution of satellite DNA. In this paper, I review these hypotheses from a methodological, conceptual, and historical perspective and frame them in the context of chromosomal organization and evolution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chromosomal Evolution)
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Open AccessReview Circulating microRNAs and Bioinformatics Tools to Discover Novel Diagnostic Biomarkers of Pediatric Diseases
Genes 2017, 8(9), 234; doi:10.3390/genes8090234
Received: 28 July 2017 / Revised: 8 September 2017 / Accepted: 12 September 2017 / Published: 19 September 2017
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Abstract
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small noncoding RNAs that regulate gene expression at the post-transcriptional level. Current studies have shown that miRNAs are also present in extracellular spaces, packaged into various membrane-bound vesicles, or associated with RNA-binding proteins. Circulating miRNAs are highly stable and can
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MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small noncoding RNAs that regulate gene expression at the post-transcriptional level. Current studies have shown that miRNAs are also present in extracellular spaces, packaged into various membrane-bound vesicles, or associated with RNA-binding proteins. Circulating miRNAs are highly stable and can act as intercellular messengers to affect many physiological processes. MicroRNAs circulating in body fluids have generated strong interest in their potential use as clinical biomarkers. In fact, their remarkable stability and the relative ease of detection make circulating miRNAs ideal tools for rapid and non-invasive diagnosis. This review summarizes recent insights about the origin, functions and diagnostic potential of extracellular miRNAs by especially focusing on pediatric diseases in order to explore the feasibility of alternative sampling sources for the development of non-invasive pediatric diagnostics. We will also discuss specific bioinformatics tools and databases for circulating miRNAs focused on the identification and discovery of novel diagnostic biomarkers of pediatric diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-coding RNAs)
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Open AccessReview Zebrafish in Translational Cancer Research: Insight into Leukemia, Melanoma, Glioma and Endocrine Tumor Biology
Genes 2017, 8(9), 236; doi:10.3390/genes8090236
Received: 14 August 2017 / Revised: 8 September 2017 / Accepted: 14 September 2017 / Published: 20 September 2017
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Abstract
Over the past 15 years, zebrafish have emerged as a powerful tool for studying human cancers. Transgenic techniques have been employed to model different types of tumors, including leukemia, melanoma, glioblastoma and endocrine tumors. These models present histopathological and molecular conservation with their
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Over the past 15 years, zebrafish have emerged as a powerful tool for studying human cancers. Transgenic techniques have been employed to model different types of tumors, including leukemia, melanoma, glioblastoma and endocrine tumors. These models present histopathological and molecular conservation with their human cancer counterparts and have been fundamental for understanding mechanisms of tumor initiation and progression. Moreover, xenotransplantation of human cancer cells in embryos or adult zebrafish offers the advantage of studying the behavior of human cancer cells in a live organism. Chemical-genetic screens using zebrafish embryos have uncovered novel druggable pathways and new therapeutic strategies, some of which are now tested in clinical trials. In this review, we will report on recent advances in using zebrafish as a model in cancer studies—with specific focus on four cancer types—where zebrafish has contributed to novel discoveries or approaches to novel therapies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zebrafish: The Key for Cancer Treatment)
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