Matching Items (32)

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Alternative Polyadenylation Directs Tissue-Specific miRNA Targeting in Caenorhabditis elegans Somatic Tissues

Description

mRNA expression dynamics promote and maintain the identity of somatic tissues in living organisms; however, their impact in post-transcriptional gene regulation in these processes is not fully understood. Here, we

mRNA expression dynamics promote and maintain the identity of somatic tissues in living organisms; however, their impact in post-transcriptional gene regulation in these processes is not fully understood. Here, we applied the PAT-Seq approach to systematically isolate, sequence, and map tissue-specific mRNA from five highly studied Caenorhabditis elegans somatic tissues: GABAergic and NMDA neurons, arcade and intestinal valve cells, seam cells, and hypodermal tissues, and studied their mRNA expression dynamics. The integration of these datasets with previously profiled transcriptomes of intestine, pharynx, and body muscle tissues, precisely assigns tissue-specific expression dynamics for 60% of all annotated C. elegans protein-coding genes, providing an important resource for the scientific community. The mapping of 15,956 unique high-quality tissue-specific polyA sites in all eight somatic tissues reveals extensive tissue-specific 3′untranslated region (3′UTR) isoform switching through alternative polyadenylation (APA) . Almost all ubiquitously transcribed genes use APA and harbor miRNA targets in their 3′UTRs, which are commonly lost in a tissue-specific manner, suggesting widespread usage of post-transcriptional gene regulation modulated through APA to fine tune tissue-specific protein expression. Within this pool, the human disease gene C. elegans orthologs rack-1 and tct-1 use APA to switch to shorter 3′UTR isoforms in order to evade miRNA regulation in the body muscle tissue, resulting in increased protein expression needed for proper body muscle function. Our results highlight a major positive regulatory role for APA, allowing genes to counteract miRNA regulation on a tissue-specific basis.

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Date Created
  • 2017-03-27

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Evolutionary patterns of metazoan microRNAs reveal targeting principles in the let-7 and miR-10 families

Description

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) regulate gene output by targeting degenerate elements in mRNAs and have undergone drastic expansions in higher metazoan genomes. The evolutionary advantage of maintaining copies of highly similar miRNAs

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) regulate gene output by targeting degenerate elements in mRNAs and have undergone drastic expansions in higher metazoan genomes. The evolutionary advantage of maintaining copies of highly similar miRNAs is not well understood, nor is it clear what unique functions, if any, miRNA family members possess. Here, we study evolutionary patterns of metazoan miRNAs, focusing on the targeting preferences of the let-7 and miR-10 families. These studies reveal hotspots for sequence evolution with implications for targeting and secondary structure. High-throughput screening for functional targets reveals that each miRNA represses sites with distinct features and regulates a large number of genes with cooperative function in regulatory networks. Unexpectedly, given the high degree of similarity, single-nucleotide changes grant miRNA family members with distinct targeting preferences. Together, our data suggest complex functional relationships among miRNA duplications, novel expression patterns, sequence change, and the acquisition of new targets.

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Date Created
  • 2016-12-07

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Potential Diagnostic and Prognostic Biomarkers of Epigenetic Drift within the Cardiovascular Compartment

Description

Biomarkers encompass a wide range of different measurable indicators, representing a tangible link to physiological changes occurring within the body. Accessibility, sensitivity, and specificity are significant factors in biomarker suitability.

Biomarkers encompass a wide range of different measurable indicators, representing a tangible link to physiological changes occurring within the body. Accessibility, sensitivity, and specificity are significant factors in biomarker suitability. New biomarkers continue to be discovered, and questions over appropriate selection and assessment of their usefulness remain. If traditional markers of inflammation are not sufficiently robust in their specificity, then perhaps alternative means of detection may provide more information. Epigenetic drift (epigenetic modifications as they occur as a direct function with age), and its ancillary elements, including platelets, secreted microvesicles (MVs), and microRNA (miRNA), may hold enormous predictive potential. The majority of epigenetic drift observed in blood is independent of variations in blood cell composition, addressing concerns affecting traditional blood-based biomarker efficacy. MVs are found in plasma and other biological fluids in healthy individuals. Altered MV/miRNA profiles may also be found in individuals with various diseases. Platelets are also highly reflective of physiological and lifestyle changes, making them extremely sensitive biomarkers of human health. Platelets release increased levels of MVs in response to various stimuli and under a plethora of disease states, which demonstrate a functional effect on other cell types.

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Date Created
  • 2015-11-24

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Multiplexed, In-Solution Protein Array (MISPA) for Identification of Novel Protein Interactions and Early Detection of Pathogen Induced Cancers

Description

Disturbances in the protein interactome often play a large role in cancer progression. Investigation of protein-protein interactions (PPI) can increase our understanding of cancer pathways and will disclose unknown targets

Disturbances in the protein interactome often play a large role in cancer progression. Investigation of protein-protein interactions (PPI) can increase our understanding of cancer pathways and will disclose unknown targets involved in cancer disease biology. Although numerous methods are available to study protein interactions, most platforms suffer from drawbacks including high false positive rates, low throughput, and lack of quantification. Moreover, most methods are not compatible for use in a clinical setting. To address these limitations, we have developed a multiplexed, in-solution protein microarray (MISPA) platform with broad applications in proteomics. MISPA can be used to quantitatively profile PPIs and as a robust technology for early detection of cancers. This method utilizes unique DNA barcoding of individual proteins coupled with next generation sequencing to quantitatively assess interactions via barcode enrichment. We have tested the feasibility of this technology in the detection of patient immune responses to oropharyngeal carcinomas and in the discovery of novel PPIs in the B-cell receptor (BCR) pathway. To achieve this goal, 96 human papillomavirus (HPV) antigen genes were cloned into pJFT7-cHalo (99% success) and pJFT7-n3xFlag-Halo (100% success) expression vectors. These libraries were expressed via a cell-free in vitro transcription-translation system with 93% and 96% success, respectively. A small-scale study of patient serum interactions with barcoded HPV16 antigens was performed and a HPV proteome-wide study will follow using additional patient samples. In addition, 15 query proteins were cloned into pJFT7_nGST expression vectors, expressed, and purified with 93% success to probe a library of 100 BCR pathway proteins and detect novel PPIs.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2016-12

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EXPRESSION DETECTION OF HPV-16 mRNA USING RT-qPCR IN HEAD AND NECK CANCER

Description

Background: Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the cause of 99.7% of cervical cancers. Research of cervical cancer has made this disease mostly curable in the developing world. Head and neck cancer,

Background: Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the cause of 99.7% of cervical cancers. Research of cervical cancer has made this disease mostly curable in the developing world. Head and neck cancer, which is increasingly caused by HPV, still is associated with a mortality rate of 50,000 in the US annually. This study proposed to evaluate the biology of HPV-16 in head and neck tumors by using RT-qPCR to measure the RNA expression and its relation to physical status of the virus. Methods: This study was to develop an assay that uses RT-qPCR to determine the quantitative expression of HPV-16 RNA coding for proteins E1, E2, E4, E5, E6, and E7 in tumor samples. The assay development started with creation of primers. It went on to test the primers on template DNA through traditional PCR and then on DNA from HPV-16 positive cell lines, SiHa and CaSki, using RT-qPCR. This paper also describes the troubleshooting methods taken for the PCR reaction. Once the primers are verified, the RT-qPCR process can be carried out on RNA purified from tumor samples. Results: No primer sets have been confirmed to produce a product through PCR or RT-qPCR. The primer sequences match up correctly with known sequences for HPV-16 E1, E2, E4, E5, E6, and E7. RT-qPCR showed results consistent with the hypothesis. Conclusion: The RT-qPCR protocol must be optimized to confirm the primer sequences work as desired. Then primers will be used to study physical status and RNA expression in HPV-positive and HPV-negative head and neck tumor samples. This assay can help shed light on which proteins are expressed most in tumors of the head and neck and will aid in the development of future screening and treatment options.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2015-05

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Light-induced CO2 Reduction By Cobalt-cytochrome b562: Rational Design and Directed Evolution Approaches

Description

The successful reduction of CO2 and protons by a light-induced cobalt porphyrin/cytb562 hybrid metalloenzyme in water is reported. Incorporation of the porphyrin into a protein scaffold results in increases in

The successful reduction of CO2 and protons by a light-induced cobalt porphyrin/cytb562 hybrid metalloenzyme in water is reported. Incorporation of the porphyrin into a protein scaffold results in increases in CO and H2 production over naked porphyrin. Rational point mutations to the CoPPIX binding site of cytb562 modulate production, indicating possible further improvements in catalytic activity.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2020-05

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High-throughput identification of miRNA targets in the 3`UTRs of the soil nematode C. elegans

Description

miRNAs are short non-coding regulatory RNAs that have an important roles in a wide range of biological processes. Dysfunction of miRNA regulation has also been shown to occur in diseases

miRNAs are short non-coding regulatory RNAs that have an important roles in a wide range of biological processes. Dysfunction of miRNA regulation has also been shown to occur in diseases such as cancer. Despite the widespread influence of miRNAs in these contexts, the vast majority of miRNA targets are poorly characterized. The aim of this research project was to gain a better understating of miRNA targeting by using the model organism C. elegans. In order to do this I adapted a novel high-throughput assay to detect miRNA targets for use with the C. elegans 3`UTRome. As a proof of principle I performed this assay on 96 C. elegans 3`UTRs using high-throughput techniques. The results revealed miRNA interactions with two predicted 3`UTR targets for the miRNA lin-4 and ten unpredicted targets. The results also corroborated previous findings that certain worm miRNAs require special modifications to be expressed in human cells.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2013-12

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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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Exploring nuclease resistance and biological stability of threose nucleic acid

Description

Nucleic acid polymers have numerous applications in both therapeutics and research to control gene expression and bind biologically relevant targets. However, due to poor biological stability their clinical applications are

Nucleic acid polymers have numerous applications in both therapeutics and research to control gene expression and bind biologically relevant targets. However, due to poor biological stability their clinical applications are limited. Chemical modifications can improve both intracellular and extracellular stability and enhance resistance to nuclease degradation. To identify a potential candidate for a highly stable synthetic nucleic acid, the biostability of α-L-threofuranosyl nucleic acid (TNA) was evaluated under simulated biological conditions. TNA contains a four-carbon sugar and is linked by 2’, 3’ phosphodiester bonds. We hypothesized that this distinct chemical structure would yield greater nuclease resistance in human serum and human liver microsomes, which were selected as biologically relevant nuclease conditions. We found that TNA oligonucleotides remained undigested for 7 days in these conditions. In addition, TNA/DNA heteropolymers and TNA/RNA oligonucleotide duplexes displayed nuclease resistance, suggesting that TNA has a protective effect over DNA and RNA. In conclusion TNA demonstrates potential as a viable synthetic nucleic acid for use in numerous clinical and therapeutic applications.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2016-12

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miRNA Targeting: In depth review of biologically significant mechanisms and a bioinformatic approach to identifying targeting sequences in C. elegans

Description

microRNAs (miRNAs) are short ~22nt non-coding RNAs that regulate gene output at the post-transcriptional level. Via targeting of degenerate elements primarily in 3'untranslated regions (3'UTR) of mRNAs, miRNAs can target

microRNAs (miRNAs) are short ~22nt non-coding RNAs that regulate gene output at the post-transcriptional level. Via targeting of degenerate elements primarily in 3'untranslated regions (3'UTR) of mRNAs, miRNAs can target thousands of varying genes and suppress their protein translation. The precise mechanistic function and bio- logical role of miRNAs is not fully understood and yet it is a major contributor to a pleth- ora of diseases, including neurological disorders, muscular disorders, and cancer. Cer- tain model organisms are valuable in understanding the function of miRNA and there- fore fully understanding the biological significance of miRNA targeting. Here I report a mechanistic analysis of miRNA targeting in C. elegans, and a bioinformatic approach to aid in further investigation of miRNA targeted sequences. A few of the biologically significant mechanisms discussed in this thesis include alternative polyadenylation, RNA binding proteins, components of the miRNA recognition machinery, miRNA secondary structures, and their polymorphisms. This thesis also discusses a novel bioinformatic approach to studying miRNA biology, including computational miRNA target prediction software, and sequence complementarity. This thesis allows a better understanding of miRNA biology and presents an ideal strategy for approaching future research in miRNA targeting.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2014-12