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Genes, Volume 7, Issue 7 (July 2016) – 10 articles

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Article
Transcriptomic Analysis of the Endangered Neritid Species Clithon retropictus: De Novo Assembly, Functional Annotation, and Marker Discovery
Genes 2016, 7(7), 35; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes7070035 - 22 Jul 2016
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 3610
Abstract
An aquatic gastropod belonging to the family Neritidae, Clithon retropictus is listed as an endangered class II species in South Korea. The lack of information on its genomic background limits the ability to obtain functional data resources and inhibits informed conservation planning for [...] Read more.
An aquatic gastropod belonging to the family Neritidae, Clithon retropictus is listed as an endangered class II species in South Korea. The lack of information on its genomic background limits the ability to obtain functional data resources and inhibits informed conservation planning for this species. In the present study, the transcriptomic sequencing and de novo assembly of C. retropictus generated a total of 241,696,750 high-quality reads. These assembled to 282,838 unigenes with mean and N50 lengths of 736.9 and 1201 base pairs, respectively. Of these, 125,616 unigenes were subjected to annotation analysis with known proteins in Protostome DB, COG, GO, and KEGG protein databases (BLASTX; E ≤ 0.00001) and with known nucleotides in the Unigene database (BLASTN; E ≤ 0.00001). The GO analysis indicated that cellular process, cell, and catalytic activity are the predominant GO terms in the biological process, cellular component, and molecular function categories, respectively. In addition, 2093 unigenes were distributed in 107 different KEGG pathways. Furthermore, 49,280 simple sequence repeats were identified in the unigenes (>1 kilobase sequences). This is the first report on the identification of transcriptomic and microsatellite resources for C. retropictus, which opens up the possibility of exploring traits related to the adaptation and acclimatization of this species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Population and Evolutionary Genetics and Genomics)
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Review
Therapeutic Targeting of Telomerase
Genes 2016, 7(7), 39; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes7070039 - 21 Jul 2016
Cited by 77 | Viewed by 5066
Abstract
Telomere length and cell function can be preserved by the human reverse transcriptase telomerase (hTERT), which synthesizes the new telomeric DNA from a RNA template, but is normally restricted to cells needing a high proliferative capacity, such as stem cells. Consequently, telomerase-based therapies [...] Read more.
Telomere length and cell function can be preserved by the human reverse transcriptase telomerase (hTERT), which synthesizes the new telomeric DNA from a RNA template, but is normally restricted to cells needing a high proliferative capacity, such as stem cells. Consequently, telomerase-based therapies to elongate short telomeres are developed, some of which have successfully reached the stage I in clinical trials. Telomerase is also permissive for tumorigenesis and 90% of all malignant tumors use telomerase to obtain immortality. Thus, reversal of telomerase upregulation in tumor cells is a potential strategy to treat cancer. Natural and small-molecule telomerase inhibitors, immunotherapeutic approaches, oligonucleotide inhibitors, and telomerase-directed gene therapy are useful treatment strategies. Telomerase is more widely expressed than any other tumor marker. The low expression in normal tissues, together with the longer telomeres in normal stem cells versus cancer cells, provides some degree of specificity with low risk of toxicity. However, long term telomerase inhibition may elicit negative effects in highly-proliferative cells which need telomerase for survival, and it may interfere with telomere-independent physiological functions. Moreover, only a few hTERT molecules are required to overcome senescence in cancer cells, and telomerase inhibition requires proliferating cells over a sufficient number of population doublings to induce tumor suppressive senescence. These limitations may explain the moderate success rates in many clinical studies. Despite extensive studies, only one vaccine and one telomerase antagonist are routinely used in clinical work. For complete eradication of all subpopulations of cancer cells a simultaneous targeting of several mechanisms will likely be needed. Possible technical improvements have been proposed including the development of more specific inhibitors, methods to increase the efficacy of vaccination methods, and personalized approaches. Telomerase activation and cell rejuvenation is successfully used in regenerative medicine for tissue engineering and reconstructive surgery. However, there are also a number of pitfalls in the treatment with telomerase activating procedures for the whole organism and for longer periods of time. Extended cell lifespan may accumulate rare genetic and epigenetic aberrations that can contribute to malignant transformation. Therefore, novel vector systems have been developed for a ‘mild’ integration of telomerase into the host genome and loss of the vector in rapidly-proliferating cells. It is currently unclear if this technique can also be used in human beings to treat chronic diseases, such as atherosclerosis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Telomerase Activity in Human Cells)
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Review
Cancer-Specific Telomerase Reverse Transcriptase (TERT) Promoter Mutations: Biological and Clinical Implications
Genes 2016, 7(7), 38; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes7070038 - 18 Jul 2016
Cited by 65 | Viewed by 5963
Abstract
The accumulated evidence has pointed to a key role of telomerase in carcinogenesis. As a RNA-dependent DNA polymerase, telomerase synthesizes telomeric DNA at the end of linear chromosomes, and attenuates or prevents telomere erosion associated with cell divisions. By lengthening telomeres, telomerase extends [...] Read more.
The accumulated evidence has pointed to a key role of telomerase in carcinogenesis. As a RNA-dependent DNA polymerase, telomerase synthesizes telomeric DNA at the end of linear chromosomes, and attenuates or prevents telomere erosion associated with cell divisions. By lengthening telomeres, telomerase extends cellular life-span or even induces immortalization. Consistent with its functional activity, telomerase is silent in most human normal somatic cells while active only in germ-line, stem and other highly proliferative cells. In contrast, telomerase activation widely occurs in human cancer and the enzymatic activity is detectable in up to 90% of malignancies. Recently, hotspot point mutations in the regulatory region of the telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) gene, encoding the core catalytic component of telomerase, was identified as a novel mechanism to activate telomerase in cancer. This review discusses the cancer-specific TERT promoter mutations and potential biological and clinical significances. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Telomerase Activity in Human Cells)
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Review
Willing to Be Involved in Cancer
Genes 2016, 7(7), 37; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes7070037 - 18 Jul 2016
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2665
Abstract
Genome sequencing is now a common procedure, but prior to this, screening experiments using protein baits was one of the routinely used methods that, occasionally, allowed the identification of new gene products. One such experiment uncovered the gene product called willin/human Expanded/FRMD6. Initial [...] Read more.
Genome sequencing is now a common procedure, but prior to this, screening experiments using protein baits was one of the routinely used methods that, occasionally, allowed the identification of new gene products. One such experiment uncovered the gene product called willin/human Expanded/FRMD6. Initial characterization studies found that willin bound phospholipids and was strongly co-localised with actin. However, subsequently, willin was found to be the closest human sequence homologue of the Drosophila protein Expanded (Ex), sharing 60% homology with the Ex FERM domain. This in turn suggested, and then was proven that willin could activate the Hippo signalling pathway. This review describes the increasing body of knowledge about the actions of willin in a number of cellular functions related to cancer. However, like many gene products involved in aspects of cell signalling, a convincing direct role for willin in cancer remains tantalisingly elusive, at present. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hippo Signaling Pathway)
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Article
Effect of Genetic Diversity in Swine Leukocyte Antigen-DRA Gene on Piglet Diarrhea
Genes 2016, 7(7), 36; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes7070036 - 15 Jul 2016
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2807
Abstract
The swine leukocyte antigens (SLAs) are the multigene families related to immune responses. Little is known about the effect of the DRA gene on diarrheal disease. This study reported the genetic diversity of the DRA gene in exons 1, 3 and 4 in [...] Read more.
The swine leukocyte antigens (SLAs) are the multigene families related to immune responses. Little is known about the effect of the DRA gene on diarrheal disease. This study reported the genetic diversity of the DRA gene in exons 1, 3 and 4 in 290 Chinese Yantai black pigs. No variation was identified in exon 3. In exon 1, three genotypes and two alleles were identified, generated by two single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). In exon 4, there were eight genotypes and five alleles containing seven SNPs were detected with four SNPs being novel SNPs. The low polymorphism found in swine DRA is consistent with the concept that the DRA gene is highly conserved among all mammalian species. Statistical analyses indicated that the genotypes of exon 1 were not significantly associated with piglet diarrhea (p > 0.05); however, genotypes C4C4 (1.80 ± 0.33) and A4E4 (1.66 ± 0.25) of exon 4 were significantly susceptible to diarrhea (p < 0.01). These indicate that the particular genotypes of the DRA gene are susceptible to diarrheal disease, which provides valuable information for disease-resistance breeding in swine. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Genetics and Genomics)
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Article
Long Noncoding RNA and mRNA Expression Profiles in the Thyroid Gland of Two Phenotypically Extreme Pig Breeds Using Ribo-Zero RNA Sequencing
Genes 2016, 7(7), 34; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes7070034 - 09 Jul 2016
Cited by 22 | Viewed by 2947
Abstract
The thyroid gland is an important endocrine organ modulating development, growth, and metabolism, mainly by controlling the synthesis and secretion of thyroid hormones (THs). However, little is known about the pig thyroid transcriptome. Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) regulate gene expression and play critical [...] Read more.
The thyroid gland is an important endocrine organ modulating development, growth, and metabolism, mainly by controlling the synthesis and secretion of thyroid hormones (THs). However, little is known about the pig thyroid transcriptome. Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) regulate gene expression and play critical roles in many cellular processes. Yorkshire pigs have a higher growth rate but lower fat deposition than that of Jinhua pigs, and thus, these species are ideal models for studying growth and lipid metabolism. This study revealed higher levels of THs in the serum of Yorkshire pigs than in the serum of Jinhua pigs. By using Ribo-zero RNA sequencing—which can capture both polyA and non-polyA transcripts—the thyroid transcriptome of both breeds were analyzed and 22,435 known mRNAs were found to be expressed in the pig thyroid. In addition, 1189 novel mRNAs and 1018 candidate lncRNA transcripts were detected. Multiple TH-synthesis-related genes were identified among the 455 differentially-expressed known mRNAs, 37 novel mRNAs, and 52 lncRNA transcripts. Bioinformatics analysis revealed that differentially-expressed genes were enriched in the microtubule-based process, which contributes to THs secretion. Moreover, integrating analysis predicted 13 potential lncRNA-mRNA gene pairs. These data expanded the repertoire of porcine lncRNAs and mRNAs and contribute to understanding the possible molecular mechanisms involved in animal growth and lipid metabolism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Genetics and Genomics)
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Article
Stationary-Phase Mutagenesis in Stressed Bacillus subtilis Cells Operates by Mfd-Dependent Mutagenic Pathways
Genes 2016, 7(7), 33; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes7070033 - 05 Jul 2016
Cited by 23 | Viewed by 2621
Abstract
In replication-limited cells of Bacillus subtilis, Mfd is mutagenic at highly transcribed regions, even in the absence of bulky DNA lesions. However, the mechanism leading to increased mutagenesis through Mfd remains currently unknown. Here, we report that Mfd may promote mutagenesis in [...] Read more.
In replication-limited cells of Bacillus subtilis, Mfd is mutagenic at highly transcribed regions, even in the absence of bulky DNA lesions. However, the mechanism leading to increased mutagenesis through Mfd remains currently unknown. Here, we report that Mfd may promote mutagenesis in nutritionally stressed B. subtilis cells by coordinating error-prone repair events mediated by UvrA, MutY and PolI. Using a point-mutated gene conferring leucine auxotrophy as a genetic marker, it was found that the absence of UvrA reduced the Leu+ revertants and that a second mutation in mfd reduced mutagenesis further. Moreover, the mfd and polA mutants presented low but similar reversion frequencies compared to the parental strain. These results suggest that Mfd promotes mutagenic events that required the participation of NER pathway and PolI. Remarkably, this Mfd-dependent mutagenic pathway was found to be epistatic onto MutY; however, whereas the MutY-dependent Leu+ reversions required Mfd, a direct interaction between these proteins was not apparent. In summary, our results support the concept that Mfd promotes mutagenesis in starved B. subtilis cells by coordinating both known and previously unknown Mfd-associated repair pathways. These mutagenic processes bias the production of genetic diversity towards highly transcribed regions in the genome. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Replication and Transcription Associated DNA Repair)
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Review
Collision of Trapped Topoisomerase 2 with Transcription and Replication: Generation and Repair of DNA Double-Strand Breaks with 5′ Adducts
Genes 2016, 7(7), 32; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes7070032 - 01 Jul 2016
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 4275
Abstract
Topoisomerase 2 (Top2) is an essential enzyme responsible for manipulating DNA topology during replication, transcription, chromosome organization and chromosome segregation. It acts by nicking both strands of DNA and then passes another DNA molecule through the break. The 5′ end of each nick [...] Read more.
Topoisomerase 2 (Top2) is an essential enzyme responsible for manipulating DNA topology during replication, transcription, chromosome organization and chromosome segregation. It acts by nicking both strands of DNA and then passes another DNA molecule through the break. The 5′ end of each nick is covalently linked to the tyrosine in the active center of each of the two subunits of Top2 (Top2cc). In this configuration, the two sides of the nicked DNA are held together by the strong protein-protein interactions between the two subunits of Top2, allowing the nicks to be faithfully resealed in situ. Top2ccs are normally transient, but can be trapped by cancer drugs, such as etoposide, and subsequently processed into DSBs in cells. If not properly repaired, these DSBs would lead to genome instability and cell death. Here, I review the current understanding of the mechanisms by which DSBs are induced by etoposide, the unique features of such DSBs and how they are repaired. Implications for the improvement of cancer therapy will be discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Replication and Transcription Associated DNA Repair)
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Review
Getting Ready for the Dance: FANCJ Irons Out DNA Wrinkles
Genes 2016, 7(7), 31; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes7070031 - 01 Jul 2016
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 2734
Abstract
Mounting evidence indicates that alternate DNA structures, which deviate from normal double helical DNA, form in vivo and influence cellular processes such as replication and transcription. However, our understanding of how the cellular machinery deals with unusual DNA structures such as G-quadruplexes (G4), [...] Read more.
Mounting evidence indicates that alternate DNA structures, which deviate from normal double helical DNA, form in vivo and influence cellular processes such as replication and transcription. However, our understanding of how the cellular machinery deals with unusual DNA structures such as G-quadruplexes (G4), triplexes, or hairpins is only beginning to emerge. New advances in the field implicate a direct role of the Fanconi Anemia Group J (FANCJ) helicase, which is linked to a hereditary chromosomal instability disorder and important for cancer suppression, in replication past unusual DNA obstacles. This work sets the stage for significant progress in dissecting the molecular mechanisms whereby replication perturbation by abnormal DNA structures leads to genomic instability. In this review, we focus on FANCJ and its role to enable efficient DNA replication when the fork encounters vastly abundant naturally occurring DNA obstacles, which may have implications for targeting rapidly dividing cancer cells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Replication and Transcription Associated DNA Repair)
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Review
Human Specific Regulation of the Telomerase Reverse Transcriptase Gene
Genes 2016, 7(7), 30; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes7070030 - 28 Jun 2016
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 3552
Abstract
Telomerase, regulated primarily by the transcription of its catalytic subunit telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT), is critical for controlling cell proliferation and tissue homeostasis by maintaining telomere length. Although there is a high conservation between human and mouse TERT genes, the regulation of their [...] Read more.
Telomerase, regulated primarily by the transcription of its catalytic subunit telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT), is critical for controlling cell proliferation and tissue homeostasis by maintaining telomere length. Although there is a high conservation between human and mouse TERT genes, the regulation of their transcription is significantly different in these two species. Whereas mTERT expression is widely detected in adult mice, hTERT is expressed at extremely low levels in most adult human tissues and cells. As a result, mice do not exhibit telomere-mediated replicative aging, but telomere shortening is a critical factor of human aging and its stabilization is essential for cancer development in humans. The chromatin environment and epigenetic modifications of the hTERT locus, the binding of transcriptional factors to its promoter, and recruitment of nucleosome modifying complexes all play essential roles in restricting its transcription in different cell types. In this review, we will discuss recent progress in understanding the molecular mechanisms of TERT regulation in human and mouse tissues and cells, and during cancer development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Telomerase Activity in Human Cells)
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