Matching Items (6)

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C. elegans as a Model to Study Muscle Specific Changes in Duchenne Muscle Dystrophy

Description

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) is an X-linked recessive disease characterized by progressive muscle loss and weakness. This disease arises from a mutation that occurs on a gene that encodes for

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) is an X-linked recessive disease characterized by progressive muscle loss and weakness. This disease arises from a mutation that occurs on a gene that encodes for dystrophin, which results in observable muscle death and inflammation; however, the genetic changes that result from dystrophin's dysfunctionality remain unknown. Current DMD research uses mdx mice as a model, and while very useful, does not allow the study of cell-autonomous transcriptome changes during the progression of DMD due to the strong inflammatory response, perhaps hiding important therapeutic targets. C. elegans, which has a very weak inflammatory response compared to mdx mice and humans, has been used in the past to study DMD with some success. The worm ortholog of the dystrophin gene has been identified as dys-1 since its mutation phenocopies the progression of the disease and a portion of the human dystrophin gene alleviates symptoms. Importantly, the extracted RNA transcriptome from dys-1 worms showed significant change in gene expression, which needs to be further investigated with the development of a more robust model. Our lab previously published a method to isolate high-quality muscle-specific RNA from worms, which could be used to study such changes at higher resolution. We crossed the dys-1 worms with our muscle-specific strain and demonstrated that the chimeric strain exhibits similar behavioral symptoms as DMD patients as characterized by a shortened lifespan, difficulty in movement, and a decrease in speed. The presence of dys-1 and other members of the dystrophin complex in the body muscle were supported by the development of a resulting phenotype due to RNAi knockdown of each component in the body muscle; however, further experimentation is needed to reinforce this conclusion. Thus, the constructed chimeric C. elegans strain possesses unique characteristics that will allow the study of genetic changes, such as transcriptome rearrangements and dysregulation of miRNA, and how they affect the progression of DMD.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2016-05

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Mechanisms of miRNA-based gene regulation in C. elegans and human cells

Description

Multicellular organisms use precise gene regulation, executed throughout development, to build and sustain various cell and tissue types. Post-transcriptional gene regulation is essential for metazoan development and acts on mRNA

Multicellular organisms use precise gene regulation, executed throughout development, to build and sustain various cell and tissue types. Post-transcriptional gene regulation is essential for metazoan development and acts on mRNA to determine its localization, stability, and translation. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) and RNA binding proteins (RBPs) are the principal effectors of post-transcriptional gene regulation and act by targeting the 3'untranslated regions (3'UTRs) of mRNA. MiRNAs are small non-coding RNAs that have the potential to regulate hundreds to thousands of genes and are dysregulated in many prevalent human diseases such as diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and cancer. However, the precise contribution of miRNAs to the pathology of these diseases is not known.

MiRNA-based gene regulation occurs in a tissue-specific manner and is implemented by an interplay of poorly understood and complex mechanisms, which control both the presence of the miRNAs and their targets. As a consequence, the precise contributions of miRNAs to gene regulation are not well known. The research presented in this thesis systematically explores the targets and effects of miRNA-based gene regulation in cell lines and tissues.

I hypothesize that miRNAs have distinct tissue-specific roles that contribute to the gene expression differences seen across tissues. To address this hypothesis and expand our understanding of miRNA-based gene regulation, 1) I developed the human 3'UTRome v1, a resource for studying post-transcriptional gene regulation. Using this resource, I explored the targets of two cancer-associated miRNAs miR-221 and let-7c. I identified novel targets of both these miRNAs, which present potential mechanisms by which they contribute to cancer. 2) Identified in vivo, tissue-specific targets in the intestine and body muscle of the model organism Caenorhabditis elegans. The results from this study revealed that miRNAs regulate tissue homeostasis, and that alternative polyadenylation and miRNA expression patterns modulate miRNA targeting at the tissue-specific level. 3) Explored the functional relevance of miRNA targeting to tissue-specific gene expression, where I found that miRNAs contribute to the biogenesis of mRNAs, through alternative splicing, by regulating tissue-specific expression of splicing factors. These results expand our understanding of the mechanisms that guide miRNA targeting and its effects on tissue-specific gene expression.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2019

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Methods in the assessment of genotype-phenotype correlations in rare childhood disease through orthogonal multi-omics, high-throughput sequencing approaches

Description

Rapid advancements in genomic technologies have increased our understanding of rare human disease. Generation of multiple types of biological data including genetic variation from genome or exome, expression from transcriptome,

Rapid advancements in genomic technologies have increased our understanding of rare human disease. Generation of multiple types of biological data including genetic variation from genome or exome, expression from transcriptome, methylation patterns from epigenome, protein complexity from proteome and metabolite information from metabolome is feasible. "Omics" tools provide comprehensive view into biological mechanisms that impact disease trait and risk. In spite of available data types and ability to collect them simultaneously from patients, researchers still rely on their independent analysis. Combining information from multiple biological data can reduce missing information, increase confidence in single data findings, and provide a more complete view of genotype-phenotype correlations. Although rare disease genetics has been greatly improved by exome sequencing, a substantial portion of clinical patients remain undiagnosed. Multiple frameworks for integrative analysis of genomic and transcriptomic data are presented with focus on identifying functional genetic variations in patients with undiagnosed, rare childhood conditions. Direct quantitation of X inactivation ratio was developed from genomic and transcriptomic data using allele specific expression and segregation analysis to determine magnitude and inheritance mode of X inactivation. This approach was applied in two families revealing non-random X inactivation in female patients. Expression based analysis of X inactivation showed high correlation with standard clinical assay. These findings improved understanding of molecular mechanisms underlying X-linked disorders. In addition multivariate outlier analysis of gene and exon level data from RNA-seq using Mahalanobis distance, and its integration of distance scores with genomic data found genotype-phenotype correlations in variant prioritization process in 25 families. Mahalanobis distance scores revealed variants with large transcriptional impact in patients. In this dataset, frameshift variants were more likely result in outlier expression signatures than other types of functional variants. Integration of outlier estimates with genetic variants corroborated previously identified, presumed causal variants and highlighted new candidate in previously un-diagnosed case. Integrative genomic approaches in easily attainable tissue will facilitate the search for biomarkers that impact disease trait, uncover pharmacogenomics targets, provide novel insight into molecular underpinnings of un-characterized conditions, and help improve analytical approaches that use large datasets.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2015

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Insights towards developing regenerative therapies: the lizard, Anolis carolinensis, as a genetic model for regeneration in amniotes

Description

Damage to the central nervous system due to spinal cord or traumatic brain injury, as well as degenerative musculoskeletal disorders such as arthritis, drastically impact the quality of life. Regeneration

Damage to the central nervous system due to spinal cord or traumatic brain injury, as well as degenerative musculoskeletal disorders such as arthritis, drastically impact the quality of life. Regeneration of complex structures is quite limited in mammals, though other vertebrates possess this ability. Lizards are the most closely related organism to humans that can regenerate de novo skeletal muscle, hyaline cartilage, spinal cord, vasculature, and skin. Progress in studying the cellular and molecular mechanisms of lizard regeneration has previously been limited by a lack of genomic resources. Building on the release of the genome of the green anole, Anolis carolinensis, we developed a second generation, robust RNA-Seq-based genome annotation, and performed the first transcriptomic analysis of tail regeneration in this species. In order to investigate gene expression in regenerating tissue, we performed whole transcriptome and microRNA transcriptome analysis of regenerating tail tip and base and associated tissues, identifying key genetic targets in the regenerative process. These studies have identified components of a genetic program for regeneration in the lizard that includes both developmental and adult repair mechanisms shared with mammals, indicating value in the translation of these findings to future regenerative therapies.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2015

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Transcriptome and metabolic profiling of premalignant progression in Barrett's esophagus

Description

Cell-cell interactions in a microenvironment under stress conditions play a critical role in pathogenesis and pre-malignant progression. Hypoxia is a central factor in carcinogenesis, which induces selective pressure in this

Cell-cell interactions in a microenvironment under stress conditions play a critical role in pathogenesis and pre-malignant progression. Hypoxia is a central factor in carcinogenesis, which induces selective pressure in this process. Understanding the role of intercellular communications and cellular adaptation to hypoxia can help discover new cancer biosignatures and more effective diagnostic and therapeutic strategies. This dissertation presents a study on transcriptomic and metabolic profiling of pre-malignant progression of Barrett's esophagus. It encompasses two methodology developments and experimental findings of two related studies. To integrate phenotype and genotype measurements, a minimally invasive method was developed for selectively retrieving single adherent cells from cell cultures. Selected single cells can be harvested by a combination of mechanical force and biochemical treatment after phenotype measurements and used for end-point assays. Furthermore, a method was developed for analyzing expression levels of ten genes in individual mammalian cells with high sensitivity and reproducibility without the need of pre-amplifying cDNA. It is inexpensive and compatible with most of commercially available RT-qPCR systems, which warrants a wide applicability of the method to gene expression analysis in single cells. In the first study, the effect of intercellular interactions was investigated between normal esophageal epithelial and dysplastic Barrett's esophagus cells on gene expression levels and cellular functions. As a result, gene expression levels in dysplastic cells were found to be affected to a significantly larger extent than in the normal esophageal epithelial cells. These differentially expressed genes are enriched in cellular movement, TGFβ and EGF signaling networks. Heterotypic interactions between normal and dysplastic cells can change cellular motility and inhibit proliferation in both normal and dysplastic cells. In the second study, alterations in gene transcription levels and metabolic phenotypes between hypoxia-adapted cells and age-matched normoxic controls representing four different stages of pre-malignant progression in Barrett's esophagus were investigated. Through differential gene expression analysis and mitochondrial membrane potential measurements, evidence of clonal evolution induced by hypoxia selection pressure in metaplastic and high-grade dysplastic cells was found. These discoveries on cell-cell interactions and hypoxia adaptations provide a deeper insight into the dynamic evolutionary process in pre-malignant progression of Barrett's esophagus.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2014

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Leveraging Artificial Intelligence to Find Previously Undiscovered Patterns in Tumor Molecular Data to Aid in Diagnosis and Therapy Selection

Description

Cancer researchers have traditionally used a handful of markers to understand the origin of tumors and to predict therapeutic response. Additionally, performing machine learning activities on disparate data sources

Cancer researchers have traditionally used a handful of markers to understand the origin of tumors and to predict therapeutic response. Additionally, performing machine learning activities on disparate data sources of varying quality is fraught with inherent bias. The Caris Life Sciences Molecular Database (CMD) is an immense resource for discovery as it contains over 215,000 molecular profiles of tumors with consistently gathered clinical grade molecular data along with immense amounts of clinical outcomes data. This resource was leveraged to generate two artificial intelligence algorithms aiding in diagnosis and one for therapy selection.

The Molecular Disease Classifier (MDC) was trained on 34,352 cases and tested on 15,473 unambiguously diagnosed cases. The MDC predicted the correct tumor type out of thirteen possibilities in the labeled data set with sensitivity, specificity, PPV, and NPV of 90.5%, 99.2%, 90.5% and 99.2% respectively when considering up to 5 predictions for a case.

The availability of whole transcriptome data in the CMD prompted its inclusion into a new platform called MI GPSai (MI Genomic Prevalence Score). The algorithm trained on genomic data from 34,352 cases and genomic and transcriptomic data from 23,137 cases and was validated on 19,555 cases. MI GPSai can predict the correct tumor type out of 21 possibilities on 93% of cases with 94% accuracy. When considering the top two predictions for a case, the accuracy increases to 97%.

Finally, a 67 gene molecular signature predictive of efficacy of oxaliplatin-based chemotherapy in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer was developed - FOLFOXai. The signature was predictive of survival in an independent real-world evidence (RWE) dataset of 412 patients who had received FOLFOX/BV in 1st line and inversely predictive of survival in RWE data from 55 patients who had received 1st line FOLFIRI. Blinded analysis of TRIBE2 samples confirmed that FOLFOXai was predictive of OS in both oxaliplatin-containing arms (FOLFOX HR=0.629, p=0.04 and FOLFOXIRI HR=0.483, p=0.02).

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2020