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The Babraham Institute Publications database contains details of all publications resulting from our research groups and scientific facilities. Pre-prints by Institute authors can be viewed on the Institute's bioRxiv channel. We believe that free and open access to the outputs of publicly‐funded research offers significant social and economic benefits, as well as aiding the development of new research. We are working to provide Open Access to as many publications as possible and these can be identified below by the padlock icon. Where this hasn't been possible, subscriptions may be required to view the full text.
 

CD Ellson, K Davidson, GJ Ferguson, R O'Connor, LR Stephens, PT Hawkins Signalling

The generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) by the reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH) oxidase complex plays a critical role in the antimicrobial functions of the phagocytic cells of the immune system. The catalytic core of this oxidase consists of a complex between gp91(phox), p22(phox), p47(phox), p67(phox), p40(phox), and rac-2. Mutations in each of the phox components, except p40(phox), have been described in cases of chronic granulomatous disease (CGD), defining their essential role in oxidase function. We sought to establish the role of p40(phox) by investigating the NADPH oxidase responses of neutrophils isolated from p40(phox-/-) mice. In the absence of p40(phox), the expression of p67(phox) is reduced by approximately 55% and oxidase responses to tumor necrosis factor alpha/fibrinogen, immunoglobulin G latex beads, Staphylococcus aureus, formyl-methionyl-leucyl-phenylalanine, and zymosan were reduced by approximately 97, 85, 84, 75, and 30%, respectively. The defect in ROS production by p40(phox-/-) neutrophils in response to S. aureus translated into a severe, CGD-like defect in the killing of this organism both in vitro and in vivo, defining p40(phox) as an essential component in bacterial killing.

+view abstract The Journal of experimental medicine , PMID: 16880254 2006

Gonzalez MA, Tachibana KE, Adams DJ, van der Weyden L, Hemberger M, Coleman N, Bradley A, Laskey RA Epigenetics

In multicellular eukaryotes, geminin prevents overreplication of DNA in proliferating cells. Here, we show that genetic ablation of geminin in the mouse prevents formation of inner cell mass (ICM) and causes premature endoreduplication at eight cells, rather than 32 cells. All cells in geminin-deficient embryos commit to the trophoblast cell lineage and consist of trophoblast giant cells (TGCs) only. Geminin is also down-regulated in TGCs of wild-type blastocysts during S and gap-like phases by proteasome-mediated degradation, suggesting that loss of geminin is part of the mechanism regulating endoreduplication.

+view abstract Genes & development , PMID: 16847348 2006

J Houseley, J LaCava, D Tollervey Epigenetics

The exosome complex of 3'-->5' exonucleases is an important component of the RNA-processing machinery in eukaryotes. This complex functions in the accurate processing of nuclear RNA precursors and in the degradation of RNAs in both the nucleus and the cytoplasm. However, it has been unclear how different classes of substrate are distinguished from one another. Recent studies now provide insights into the regulation and structure of the exosome, and they reveal striking similarities between the process of RNA degradation in bacteria and eukaryotes.

+view abstract Nature reviews. Molecular cell biology , PMID: 16829983 2006

Kurukuti S, Tiwari VK, Tavoosidana G, Pugacheva E, Murrell A, Zhao Z, Lobanenkov V, Reik W, Ohlsson R Epigenetics

It is thought that the H19 imprinting control region (ICR) directs the silencing of the maternally inherited Igf2 allele through a CTCF-dependent chromatin insulator. The ICR has been shown to interact physically with a silencer region in Igf2, differentially methylated region (DMR)1, but the role of CTCF in this chromatin loop and whether it restricts the physical access of distal enhancers to Igf2 is not known. We performed systematic chromosome conformation capture analyses in the Igf2/H19 region over >160 kb, identifying sequences that interact physically with the distal enhancers and the ICR. We found that, on the paternal chromosome, enhancers interact with the Igf2 promoters but that, on the maternal allele, this is prevented by CTCF binding within the H19 ICR. CTCF binding in the maternal ICR regulates its interaction with matrix attachment region (MAR)3 and DMR1 at Igf2, thus forming a tight loop around the maternal Igf2 locus, which may contribute to its silencing. Mutation of CTCF binding sites in the H19 ICR leads to loss of CTCF binding and de novo methylation of a CTCF target site within Igf2 DMR1, showing that CTCF can coordinate regional epigenetic marks. This systematic chromosome conformation capture analysis of an imprinting cluster reveals that CTCF has a critical role in the epigenetic regulation of higher-order chromatin structure and gene silencing over considerable distances in the genome.

+view abstract Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America , PMID: 16815976 2006

E McNeill, SJ Conway, HL Roderick, MD Bootman, N Hogg

The S100 family member S100A9 and its heterodimeric partner, S100A8, are cytosolic Ca2+ binding proteins abundantly expressed in neutrophils. To understand the role of this EF-hand-containing complex in Ca2+ signalling, neutrophils from S100A9 null mice were investigated. There was no role for the complex in buffering acute cytosolic Ca2+ elevations. However, Ca2+ responses to inflammatory agents such as chemokines MIP-2 and KC and other agonists are altered. For S100A9 null neutrophils, signalling at the level of G proteins is normal, as is release of Ca2+ from the IP(3) receptor-gated intracellular stores. However MIP-2 and FMLP signalling in S100A9 null neutrophils was less susceptible than wildtype to PLCbeta inhibition, revealing dis-regulation of the signalling pathway at this level. Downstream of PLCbeta, there was reduced intracellular Ca2+ release induced by sub-maximal levels of chemokines. Conversely the response to FMLP was uncompromised, demonstrating different regulation compared to MIP-2 stimulation. Study of the activity of PLC product DAG revealed that chemokine-induced signalling was susceptible to inhibition by elevated DAG with S100A9 null cells showing enhanced inhibition by DAG. This study defines a lesion in S100A9 null neutrophils associated with inflammatory agonist-induced IP3-mediated Ca2+ release that is manifested at the level of PLCbeta.

+view abstract Cell calcium , PMID: 16814379 2007

E Vigorito, M Turner Immunology

+view abstract Advances in experimental medicine and biology , PMID: 16802598 2006

M Veldhoen, B Stockinger Immunology

Transforming growth factor (TGF)beta is most commonly considered an anti-inflammatory cytokine, a view that clearly does not correlate with the recently described role for TGFbeta1 in the differentiation of T-helper (Th)17 cells, a novel, highly inflammatory T-cell subset that produces interleukin (IL)-17. However, these recent findings endorse earlier studies, pre-dating the discovery of Th17 cells, which described a seemingly paradoxical pro-inflammatory role of TGFbeta. In this article, we propose that the administration of neutralizing anti-TGFbeta antibodies in target sites of chronic inflammation would ameliorate or abolish disease because this would limit the differentiation of Th17 cells. By contrast, similar interventions at mucosal sites, where Th17 cells seem to have a protective role, might exacerbate disease in experimental models of colitis. An excess production of Th17 cells in response to infection or trauma could result in leakage into peripheral tissues and cause autoimmune pathology.

+view abstract Trends in immunology , PMID: 16793343 2006

van Meeteren LA, Ruurs P, Stortelers C, Bouwman P, van Rooijen MA, Pradère JP, Pettit TR, Wakelam MJ, Saulnier-Blache JS, Mummery CL, Moolenaar WH, Jonkers J Signalling

Autotaxin (ATX), or nucleotide pyrophosphatase-phosphodiesterase 2, is a secreted lysophospholipase D that promotes cell migration, metastasis, and angiogenesis. ATX generates lysophosphatidic acid (LPA), a lipid mitogen and motility factor that acts on several G protein-coupled receptors. Here we report that ATX-deficient mice die at embryonic day 9.5 (E9.5) with profound vascular defects in yolk sac and embryo resembling the Galpha13 knockout phenotype. Furthermore, at E8.5, ATX-deficient embryos showed allantois malformation, neural tube defects, and asymmetric headfolds. The onset of these abnormalities coincided with increased expression of ATX and LPA receptors in normal embryos. ATX heterozygous mice appear healthy but show half-normal ATX activity and plasma LPA levels. Our results reveal a critical role for ATX in vascular development, indicate that ATX is the major LPA-producing enzyme in vivo, and suggest that the vascular defects in ATX-deficient embryos may be explained by loss of LPA signaling through Galpha13.

+view abstract Molecular and cellular biology , PMID: 16782887 2006

AT Dossey, V Reale, H Chatwin, C Zachariah, M deBono, PD Evans, AS Edison

Phe-Met-Arg-Phe-NH2 (FMRFamide)-like peptides (FLPs) are the largest neuropeptide family in animals, particularly invertebrates. FLPs are characterized by a C-N-terminal gradient of decreasing amino acid conservation. Neuropeptide receptor 1 (NPR-1) is a G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR), which has been shown to be a strong regulator of foraging behavior and aggregation responses in Caenorhabditis elegans. Recently, ligands for NPR-1 were identified as neuropeptides coded by the precursor genes flp-18 and flp-21 in C. elegans. The flp-18 gene encodes eight FLPs including DFDGAMPGVLRF-NH2 and EMPGVLRF-NH2. These peptides exhibit considerably different activities on NPR-1, with the longer one showing a lower potency. We have used nuclear magnetic resonance and biological activity to investigate structural features that may explain these activity differences. Our data demonstrate that long-range electrostatic interactions exist between N-terminal aspartates and the C-terminal penultimate arginine as well as N-terminal hydrogen-bonding interactions that form transient loops within DFDGAMPGVLRF-NH2. We hypothesize that these loops, along with peptide charge, diminish the activity of this peptide on NPR-1 relative to that of EMPGVLRF-NH2. These results provide some insight into the large amino acid diversity in FLPs.

+view abstract Biochemistry , PMID: 16768454 2006

AM Holmes, HL Roderick, F McDonald, MD Bootman

A ubiquitous pathway for cellular Ca(2+) influx involves 'store-operated channels' that respond to depletion of intracellular Ca(2+) pools via an as yet unknown mechanism. Due to its wide-spread expression, store-operated Ca(2+) entry (SOCE) has been considered a principal route for Ca(2+) influx. However, recent evidence has suggested that alternative pathways, activated for example by lipid metabolites, are responsible for physiological Ca(2+) influx. It is not clear if these messenger-activated Ca(2+) entry routes exist in all cells and what interaction they have with SOCE. In the present study we demonstrate that HEK-293 cells and Saos-2 cells express an arachidonic acid (AA)-activated Ca(2+) influx pathway that is distinct from SOCE on the basis of sensitivity to pharmacological blockers and depletion of cellular cholesterol. We examined the functional interaction between SOCE and the arachidonate-triggered Ca(2+) influx (denoted non-SOCE). Both Ca(2+) entry routes could underlie substantial long-lasting Ca(2+) elevations. However, the two pathways could not operate simultaneously. With cells that had an on-going SOCE response, addition of arachidonate gave two profound effects. Firstly, it rapidly inhibited SOCE. Secondly, the mode of Ca(2+) influx switched to the non-SOCE mechanism. Addition of arachidonate to naïve cells resulted in rapid activation of the non-SOCE pathway. However, this Ca(2+) entry route was very slowly engaged if the SOCE pathway was already operative. These data indicate that the SOCE and arachidonate-activated non-SOCE pathways interact in an inhibitory manner. We probed the plausible mechanisms by which these two pathways may communicate.

+view abstract Cell calcium , PMID: 16765441 2007

M Grati, ME Schneider, K Lipkow, EE Strehler, RJ Wenthold, B Kachar

We studied the spatial distribution, mobility, and trafficking of plasma membrane Ca2+ATPase-2 (PMCA2), a protein enriched in the hair cell apical membrane and essential for hair cell function. Using immunofluorescence, we determined that PMCA2 is enriched in the stereocilia and present at a relatively low concentration in the kinocilium and in the remaining apical membrane. Using an antibody to the extracellular domain of PMCA2 as a probe, we observed that PMCA2 diffuses laterally from the stereocilia membrane and is internalized at the apical cell border maintaining an estimated half-life of residency in the stereocilia of approximately 5-7 h. A computer simulation of our data indicates that PMCA2 has an estimated global diffusion coefficient of 0.01-0.005 microm2/s. Using a green fluorescent protein tag, we observed that PMCA2 is rapidly delivered to the apical cell border from where it diffuses to the entire stereocilia surface. Fluorescence recovery after photobleaching experiments show that approximately 60% of PMCA2 in the stereocilia exhibit high mobility with a diffusion coefficient of 0.1-0.2 microm2/s, whereas the remaining pool represents a relatively immobile fraction. These results suggest that PMCA2 molecules maintain transient interactions with other components of the stereocilia, and the mobile pool of PMCA2 mediates the exchange between the stereocilia and the removal and delivery sites at the periphery of the apical cell surface. This rapid turnover of a major stereocilia membrane protein matches the previously described rapid turnover of proteins of the stereocilia actin core, further demonstrating that these organelles undergo rapid continuous renewal.

+view abstract The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience , PMID: 16763047 2006

Ward DG, Suggett N, Cheng Y, Wei W, Johnson H, Billingham LJ, Ismail T, Wakelam MJ, Johnson PJ, Martin A Signalling

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is often diagnosed at a late stage with concomitant poor prognosis. Early detection greatly improves prognosis; however, the invasive, unpleasant and inconvenient nature of current diagnostic procedures limits their applicability. No serum-based test is currently of sufficient sensitivity or specificity for widespread use. In the best currently available blood test, carcinoembryonic antigen exhibits low sensitivity and specificity particularly in the setting of early disease. Hence, there is great need for new biomarkers for early detection of CRC. We have used surface-enhanced laser desorbtion/ionisation (SELDI) to investigate the serum proteome of 62 CRC patients and 31 noncancer subjects. We have identified proteins (complement C3a des-arg, alpha1-antitrypsin and transferrin) with diagnostic potential. Artificial neural networks trained using only the intensities of the SELDI peaks corresponding to identified proteins were able to classify the patients used in this study with 95% sensitivity and 91% specificity.

+view abstract British journal of cancer , PMID: 16755300 2006

Houseley JM,Garcia-Casado Z,Pascual M,Paricio N,O'Dell KM,Monckton DG,Artero RD Epigenetics

It has become increasingly evident that eukaryotic cells produce RNA molecules from coding genes with constitutions other than those of typically spliced mRNA transcripts. Here we describe new cDNAs from the Drosophila melanogaster muscleblind (mbl) locus that identify two such atypical RNA molecules: RNAs containing an incomplete exon 2 tandem repetition (mblE2E2') or having exons with a different order compared to the corresponding genomic DNA (mblE2E3'E2'; exon scrambling). The existence of exon duplications and rearrangements in the genomic locus that might explain such cDNAs was ruled out by genomic Southern blotting and in silico analysis of the Drosophila genome sequence. The incomplete exon 2 tandem repetition was confirmed by sequencing reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) products, rapid amplification of cDNA ends, and detection of a band consistent with cDNA sizes in total RNA northern blots. RT-PCRs with exon-specific primers downstream of exon 2 were unable to amplify products other than those expected from canonical mbl isoforms, thus indicating that no other exons were efficiently spliced downstream of exon 2. Moreover, mblE2E2' transcripts seem to be poorly polyadenylated, if at all, and behave aberrantly in a polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE) mobility assay. Taken together, lack of polyadenylation, lack of downstream splicing events, small size of mblE2E2', and PAGE behavior all suggest that these noncanonical transcripts may be circular RNAs. The functional implications for these noncanonical transcripts are unclear. A developmental expression profile of mblE2E2' revealed an almost constant expression except during early embryogenesis and early adulthood. The protein putatively encoded is unlikely to be functional because an in-frame stop codon occurs almost immediately after the splice site. Such noncanonical transcripts have previously been observed in vertebrates, and these data provide the first experimental evidence for similar phenomena in invertebrates.

+view abstract The Journal of heredity , PMID: 16714427 0

Lipkow K

In the chemotaxis pathway of the bacterium Escherichia coli, signals are carried from a cluster of receptors to the flagellar motors by the diffusion of the protein CheY-phosphate (CheYp) through the cytoplasm. A second protein, CheZ, which promotes dephosphorylation of CheYp, partially colocalizes with receptors in the plasma membrane. CheZ is normally dimeric in solution but has been suggested to associate into highly active oligomers in the presence of CheYp. A model is presented here and supported by Brownian dynamics simulations, which accounts for these and other experimental data: A minority component of the receptor cluster (dimers of CheA(short)) nucleates CheZ oligomerization and CheZ molecules move from the cytoplasm to a bound state at the receptor cluster depending on the current level of cellular stimulation. The corresponding simulations suggest that dynamic CheZ localization will sharpen cellular responses to chemoeffectors, increase the range of detectable ligand concentrations, and make adaptation more precise and robust. The localization and activation of CheZ constitute a negative feedback loop that provides a second tier of adaptation to the system. Subtle adjustments of this kind are likely to be found in many other signaling pathways.

+view abstract PLoS computational biology , PMID: 16683020 2006

T Xie, A Plagge, O Gavrilova, S Pack, W Jou, EW Lai, M Frontera, G Kelsey, LS Weinstein Epigenetics

The complex imprinted Gnas locus encodes several gene products including G(s)alpha, the ubiquitously expressed G protein alpha-subunit required for receptor-stimulated cAMP generation, and the neuroendocrine-specific G(s)alpha isoform XLalphas. XLalphas is only expressed from the paternal allele, whereas G(s)alpha is biallelically expressed in most tissues. XLalphas knock-out mice (Gnasxl(m+/p-)) have poor suckling and perinatal lethality, implicating XLalphas as critical for postnatal feeding. We have now examined the metabolic phenotype of adult Gnasxl(m+/p-) mice. Gnasxl(m+/p-) mice had reduced fat mass and lipid accumulation in adipose tissue, with increased food intake and metabolic rates. Gene expression profiling was consistent with increased lipid metabolism in adipose tissue. These changes likely result from increased sympathetic nervous system activity rather than adipose cell-autonomous effects, as we found that XLalphas is not normally expressed in adult adipose tissue, and Gnasxl(m+/p-) mice had increased urinary norepinephrine levels but not increased metabolic responsiveness to a beta3-adrenergic agonist. Gnasxl(m+/p-) mice were hypolipidemic and had increased glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity. The similar metabolic profile observed in some prior paternal Gnas knock-out models results from XLalphas deficiency (or deficiency of the related alternative truncated protein XLN1). XLalphas (or XLN1) is a negative regulator of sympathetic nervous system activity in mice.

+view abstract The Journal of biological chemistry , PMID: 16672216 2006

Lim HS,Roychoudhuri R,Peto J,Schwartz G,Baade P,Moller H Immunology

Sunlight is essential for the production of vitamin D in the body. Evidence exists to suggest that vitamin D metabolites may have a role in tumor growth suppression. In this large study, involving over a million cancer patients from the United Kingdom, we have analyzed the role of season of diagnosis and sunlight exposure in cancer survival for cancers of the breast, colorectum, lung, prostate and at all sites combined. We used population-based data from the Thames Cancer Registry to analyze cancer survival in periods 0-1 and 0-5 years after diagnosis. The analysis was performed using Cox proportional regression analysis adjusting for age and period at diagnosis and including season of diagnosis and sunlight exposure in the preceding months as factors in the analysis. We found evidence of substantial seasonality in cancer survival, with diagnosis in summer and autumn associated with improved survival compared with that in winter, especially in female breast cancer patients and both male and female lung cancer patients (hazard ratios 0.86 [95% CI 0.83-0.89], 0.95 [95% CI 0.92-0.97] and 0.95 [95% CI 0.93-0.98] respectively). Cumulative sunlight exposure in the months preceding diagnosis was also a predictor of subsequent survival, although season of diagnosis was a stronger predictor than cumulative sunlight exposure. We found seasonality in cancer survival to be stronger in women than in men. Our results add to a growing body of evidence that vitamin D metabolites play an important role in cancer survival.

+view abstract International journal of cancer. Journal international du cancer , PMID: 16671100 2006

L Conforti, G Fang, B Beirowski, MS Wang, L Sorci, S Asress, R Adalbert, A Silva, K Bridge, XP Huang, G Magni, JD Glass, MP Coleman Signalling

The slow Wallerian degeneration protein (Wld(S)), a fusion protein incorporating full-length nicotinamide mononucleotide adenylyltransferase 1 (Nmnat1), delays axon degeneration caused by injury, toxins and genetic mutation. Nmnat1 overexpression is reported to protect axons in vitro, but its effect in vivo and its potency remain unclear. We generated Nmnat1-overexpressing transgenic mice whose Nmnat activities closely match that of Wld(S) mice. Nmnat1 overexpression in five lines of transgenic mice failed to delay Wallerian degeneration in transected sciatic nerves in contrast to Wld(S) mice where nearly all axons were protected. Transected neurites in Nmnat1 transgenic dorsal root ganglion explant cultures also degenerated rapidly. The delay in vincristine-induced neurite degeneration following lentiviral overexpression of Nmnat1 was significantly less potent than for Wld(S), and lentiviral overexpressed enzyme-dead Wld(S) still displayed residual neurite protection. Thus, Nmnat1 is significantly weaker than Wld(S) at protecting axons against traumatic or toxic injury in vitro, and has no detectable effect in vivo. The full protective effect of Wld(S) requires more N-terminal sequences of the protein.

+view abstract Cell death and differentiation , PMID: 16645633 2007

Roychoudhuri R,Putcha V,Moller H Immunology

The human body displays marked asymmetry: paired organs differ bilaterally exerting effects upon cancer incidence and progression. However the factors involved remain contentious. In this large study involving over a quarter of a million cancer patients, we examine the epidemiological correlates of cancer laterality including incidence, stage at diagnosis and survival in the five major paired organs: the breasts, lungs, kidneys, testes and ovaries.

+view abstract Cancer causes & control : CCC , PMID: 16633912 2006

TR Pettitt, SK Dove, A Lubben, SD Calaminus, MJ Wakelam Signalling

It is now apparent that each of the known, naturally occurring polyphosphoinositides, the phosphatidylinositol monophosphates (PtdIns3P, PtdIns4P, PtdIns5P), phosphatidylinositol bisphosphates [PtdIns(3,4)P(2), PtdIns(3,5)P(2), PtdIns(4,5)P(2)], and phosphatidylinositol trisphosphate [PtdIns(3,4,5)P(3)], have distinct roles in regulating many cellular events, including intracellular signaling, migration, and vesicular trafficking. Traditional identification techniques require [(32)P]inorganic phosphate or [(3)H]inositol radiolabeling, acidified lipid extraction, deacylation, and ion-exchange head group separation, which are time-consuming and not suitable for samples in which radiolabeling is impractical, thus greatly restricting the study of these lipids in many physiologically relevant systems. Thus, we have developed a novel, high-efficiency, buffered citrate extraction methodology to minimize acid-induced phosphoinositide degradation, together with a high-sensitivity liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) protocol using an acetonitrile-chloroform-methanol-water-ethylamine gradient with a microbore silica column that enables the identification and quantification of all phosphoinositides in a sample. The liquid chromatograph is sufficient to resolve PtdInsP(3) and PtdInsP(2) regioisomers; however, the PtdInsP regioisomers require a combination of LC and diagnostic fragmentation to MS(3). Data are presented using this approach for the analysis of phosphoinositides in human platelet and yeast samples.

+view abstract Journal of lipid research , PMID: 16632799 2006

Foukas LC, Claret M, Pearce W, Okkenhaug K, Meek S, Peskett E, Sancho S, Smith AJ, Withers DJ, Vanhaesebroeck B

The eight catalytic subunits of the mammalian phosphoinositide-3-OH kinase (PI(3)K) family form the backbone of an evolutionarily conserved signalling pathway; however, the roles of most PI(3)K isoforms in organismal physiology and disease are unknown. To delineate the role of p110alpha, a ubiquitously expressed PI(3)K involved in tyrosine kinase and Ras signalling, here we generated mice carrying a knockin mutation (D933A) that abrogates p110alpha kinase activity. Homozygosity for this kinase-dead p110alpha led to embryonic lethality. Mice heterozygous for this mutation were viable and fertile, but displayed severely blunted signalling via insulin-receptor substrate (IRS) proteins, key mediators of insulin, insulin-like growth factor-1 and leptin action. Defective responsiveness to these hormones led to reduced somatic growth, hyperinsulinaemia, glucose intolerance, hyperphagia and increased adiposity in mice heterozygous for the D933A mutation. This signalling function of p110alpha derives from its highly selective recruitment and activation to IRS signalling complexes compared to p110beta, the other broadly expressed PI(3)K isoform, which did not contribute to IRS-associated PI(3)K activity. p110alpha was the principal IRS-associated PI(3)K in cancer cell lines. These findings demonstrate a critical role for p110alpha in growth factor and metabolic signalling and also suggest an explanation for selective mutation or overexpression of p110alpha in a variety of cancers.

+view abstract Nature , PMID: 16625210 2006

CL Stace, NT Ktistakis Signalling

Phosphatidic acid and phosphatidylserine are negatively charged abundant phospholipids with well-recognized structural roles in cellular membranes. They are also signaling lipids since their regulated formation (or appearance) can constitute an important signal for downstream responses. The list of potential effectors for these lipids is expanding rapidly and includes proteins involved in virtually all aspects of cellular regulation. Because it is not always clear whether these effectors recognize the specific phospholipids or a general negatively-charged membrane environment, questions about specificity must be addressed on a case by case basis. In this review we present an up to date list of potential phosphatidic acid- and phosphatidylserine-binding proteins.

+view abstract Biochimica et biophysica acta , PMID: 16624617 2006

Condliffe AM, Webb LM, Ferguson GJ, Davidson K, Turner M, Vigorito E, Manifava M, Chilvers ER, Stephens LR, Hawkins PT Immunology

RhoG is a Rho family small GTPase implicated in cytoskeletal regulation, acting either upstream of or in parallel to Rac1. The precise function(s) of RhoG in vivo has not yet been defined. We have identified a novel role for RhoG in signaling the neutrophil respiratory burst stimulated by G protein-coupled receptor agonists. Bone marrow-derived neutrophils from RhoG knockout (RhoG(-/-)) mice exhibited a marked impairment of oxidant generation in response to C5a or fMLP, but normal responses to PMA or opsonized zymosan and normal bacterial killing. Activation of Rac1 and Rac2 by fMLP was diminished in RhoG(-/-) neutrophils only at very early (5 s) time points (by 25 and 32%, respectively), whereas chemotaxis in response to soluble agonists was unaffected by lack of RhoG. Additionally, fMLP-stimulated phosphorylation of protein kinase B and p38MAPK, activation of phospholipase D, and calcium fluxes were equivalent in wild-type and RhoG(-/-) neutrophils. Our results define RhoG as a critical component of G protein-coupled receptor-stimulated signaling cascades in murine neutrophils, acting either via a subset of total cellular Rac relevant to oxidase activation and/or by a novel and as yet undefined interaction with the neutrophil NADPH oxidase.

+view abstract Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950) , PMID: 16621998 2006

Monk D, Arnaud P, Apostolidou S, Hills FA, Kelsey G, Stanier P, Feil R, Moore GE Epigenetics

The epigenetic phenomenon of genomic imprinting provides an additional level of gene regulation that is confined to a limited number of genes, frequently, but not exclusively, important for embryonic development. The evolution and maintenance of imprinting has been linked to the balance between the allocation of maternal resources to the developing fetus and the mother's well being. Genes that are imprinted in both the embryo and extraembryonic tissues show extensive conservation between a mouse and a human. Here we examine the human orthologues of mouse genes imprinted only in the placenta, assaying allele-specific expression and epigenetic modifications. The genes from the KCNQ1 domain and the isolated human orthologues of the imprinted genes Gatm and Dcn all are expressed biallelically in the human, from first-trimester trophoblast through to term. This lack of imprinting is independent of promoter CpG methylation and correlates with the absence of the allelic histone modifications dimethylation of lysine-9 residue of H3 (H3K9me2) and trimethylation of lysine-27 residue of H3 (H3K27me3). These specific histone modifications are thought to contribute toward regulation of imprinting in the mouse. Genes from the IGF2R domain show polymorphic concordant expression in the placenta, with imprinting demonstrated in only a minority of samples. Together these findings have important implications for understanding the evolution of mammalian genomic imprinting. Because most human pregnancies are singletons, this absence of competition might explain the comparatively relaxed need in the human for placental-specific imprinting.

+view abstract Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America , PMID: 16614068 2006

Fowden AL, Sibley C, Reik W, Constancia M Epigenetics

In mammals, imprinted genes have an important role in feto-placental development. They affect the growth, morphology and nutrient transfer capacity of the placenta and, thereby, control the nutrient supply for fetal growth. In particular, the reciprocally imprinted Igf2-H19 gene complex has a central role in these processes and matches the placental nutrient supply to the fetal nutrient demands for growth. Comparison of Igf2P0 and complete Igf2 null mice has shown that interplay between placental and fetal Igf2 regulates both placental growth and nutrient transporter abundance. In turn, epigenetic modification of imprinted genes via changes in DNA methylation may provide a mechanism linking environmental cues to placental phenotype, with consequences for development both before and after birth. Changes in expression of imprinted genes, therefore, have major implications for developmental programming and may explain the poor prognosis of the infant born small for gestational age and the wide spectrum of adult-onset diseases that originate in utero.

+view abstract Hormone research , PMID: 16612114 2006