• 6 2016

    The Boiko lab has published their work on antibody therapy for metastatic melanoma in Cell Reports

    The high rate of metastasis and recurrence among melanoma patients indicates the existence of cells within melanoma that have the ability to both initiate metastatic programs and bypass immune recognition. Here, we identify CD47 as a regulator of melanoma tumor metastasis and immune evasion. Protein and gene expression analysis of clinical melanoma samples reveals that CD47, an anti-phagocytic signal, correlates with melanoma metastasis. Antibody-mediated blockade of CD47 coupled with targeting of CD271(+) melanoma cells strongly inhibits tumor metastasis in patient-derived xenografts. This therapeutic effect is mediated by drastic changes in the tumor and metastatic site immune microenvironments, both of whichwhich exhibit greatly increased density of differentiated macrophages and significantly fewer inflammatory monocytes, pro-metastatic macrophages (CCR2(+)/VEGFR1(+)), and neutrophils, all of which are associated with disease progression. Thus, antibody therapy that activates the innate immune response in combination with selective targeting of CD271(+) melanoma cells represents a powerful therapeutic approach against metastatic melanoma. Read More

  • 6 2016

    The Andersen lab has published their work on CLIM1 and CLIM2 in corneal epithelial function in the Journal of Biological Chemistry

    Cofactors of LIM domain proteins, CLIM1 and CLIM2, are widely expressed transcriptional cofactors that are recruited to gene regulatory regions by DNA-binding proteins, including LIM domain transcription factors. In the cornea, epithelium-specific expression of a dominant negative (DN) CLIM under the keratin 14 (K14) promoter causes blistering, wounding, inflammation, epithelial hyperplasia, and neovascularization followed by epithelial thinning and subsequent epidermal-like differentiation of the corneal epithelium. The defects in corneal epithelial differentiation and cell fate determination suggest that CLIM may regulate corneal progenitor cells and the transition to differentiation. Consistent with this notion, the K14-DN-Clim corneal epithelium first exhibits increased proliferation followed by fewer progenitor cells with decreased proliferative potential. In vivo ChIP-sequencing experiments with corneal epithelium show that CLIM binds to and regulates numerous genes involved in cell adhesion and proliferation, including limbally enriched genes. Intriguingly, CLIM associates primarily with non-LIM homeodomain motifs in corneal epithelial cells, including that of estrogen receptor α. Among CLIM targets is the noncoding RNA H19 whose deregulation is associated with Silver-Russell and Beckwith-Wiedemann syndromes. We demonstrate here that H19 negatively regulates corneal epithelial proliferation. In addition to cell cycle regulators, H19 affects the expression of multiple cell adhesion genes. CLIM interacts with estrogen receptor α at the H19 locus, potentially explaining the higher expression of H19 in female than male corneas. Together, our results demonstrate an important role for CLIM in regulating the proliferative potential of corneal epithelial progenitors and identify CLIM downstream target H19 as a regulator of corneal epithelial proliferation and adhesion. Read More

  • 6 2016

    The Meyskens lab has published a their work on flavonoids in melanin synthesis in Molecular Nutrition Food Research

    Flavonoids are becoming popular nutraceuticals. Different flavonoids show similar or distinct biological effects on different tissues or cell types, which may limit or define their usefulness in cancer prevention and/or treatment application. This review focuses on a few selected flavonoids and discusses their functions in normal and transformed pigment cells, including cyanidin, apigenin, genistein, fisetin, EGCG, luteolin, baicalein, quercetin and kaempferol. Flavonoids exhibit melanogenic or anti-melanogenic effects mainly via transcriptional factor MiTF and/or the melanogenesis enzymes tyrosinase, DCT or TYRP-1. To identify a direct target has been a challenge as most studies were not able to discriminate whether the effect(s) of the flavonoid were from direct targeting or represented indirect effects. Flavonoids exhibit an anti-melanoma effect via inhibiting cell proliferation and invasion and inducing apoptosis. The mechanisms are also multi-fold, via ROS-scavenging, immune-modulation, cell cycle regulation and epigenetic modification including DNA methylation and histone deacetylation. In summary, although many flavonoid compounds are extremely promising nutraceuticals, their detailed molecular mechanism and their multi-target (simultaneously targeting multiple molecules) nature warrant further investigation before advancement to translational studies or clinical trials. Read More

  • 5 2016

    The Ganesan lab has published a methods piece on pigment production analysis in Methods in Molecular Biology

    The human epidermal melanocyte is a highly specialized pigmented cell that serves to protect the epidermis from ultraviolet (UV) damage through the production of melanin, or melanogenesis. Misregulation in melanogenesis leading to either hyper- or hypo-pigmentation is found in human diseases such as malasma and vitiligo. Current therapies for these diseases are largely unsuccessful and the need for new therapies is necessary. In order to identify genes and or compounds that can alter melanogenesis, methods are required that can detect changes in pigment production as well as expression of key melanogenesis transcription factors and enzymes. Here we describe methods to detect changes in melanogenesis in a human melanoma cell line, MNT-1, by (1) analyzing pigment production by measuring the absorbance of melanin present by spectrophotometry, (2) analyzing transcript expression of potent regulators of melanogenesis by qunatitative reverse-transcription (RT)PCR and (3) analyzing protein expression of potent regulators of melanogenesis by Western blot (WB). Read More

  • 4 2016

    The Meyskens lab has published a methods piece on measuring redox status in Methods in Molecular Biology

    Redox homeostasis plays multiple roles in essentially all aspects of cellular function, and hence, reliable methods for measuring cellular or tissue redox status are key elements in understanding the redox related signal pathways. However, in the free radical biology field, there are many controversies on the methods to measure reactive oxygen species. In this chapter we describe our experience in measuring superoxide, hydrogen peroxide, and a general redox status using redox-sensitive green fluorescence proteins (roGFPs) in human melanoma cells. Read More

  • 1 2016

    The Plikus lab has published a guide to studying human hair follicle cycling in vivo in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology

    Hair follicles (HFs) undergo life-long cyclical transformations, progressing through stages of rapid growth (anagen), regression (catagen), and relative “quiescence” (telogen). Since HF cycling abnormalities underlie many human hair growth disorders, the accurate classification of individual cycle stages within skin biopsies is clinically important and essential for hair research. For preclinical human hair research purposes, human scalp skin can be xenografted onto immunocompromised mice to study human HF cycling and manipulate long-lasting anagen in vivo. While available for mice, a comprehensive guide on how to recognize different human hair cycle stages in vivo is lacking. Here, we present such a guide, which uses objective, well-defined, and reproducible criteria and integrates simple morphological indicators with advanced, (immuno)-histochemical markers. This guide also characterizes human HF cycling in xenografts and highlights the utility of this model for in vivo hair research. Detailed schematic drawings and representative micrographs provide examples of how best to identify human HF stages, even in sub-optimally sectioned tissue, and practical recommendations are given for designing human-on-mouse hair cycle experiments. Thus, this guide seeks to offer a benchmark for human hair cycle stage classification, for both hair research experts and newcomers to the field. Read More

  • 1 2016

    The Meyskens lab has published a methods piece on detection of UGT activity in Methods in Molecular Biology

    The UDP-glucuronosyltransferases (UGTs) are integrally involved in the clearance of a wide range of drugs used to combat human diseases. UGT expression levels and activity can be induced by drug addition to cells and has been proposed as a potential intratumoral drug resistance mechanism. Traditional methods of assaying UGT activity are drug-centric and require HPLCs with multiple detectors (dependent on individual drug). Here, we describe a generalized method to detect total UGT activity (intrinsic or induced) via the UGT-Glo assay which utilizes a general UGT substrate with luminescence as the readout eliminating the need for multiple HPLC detectors to detect total UGT activity in a given sample. The method detailed here can be applied for any UGT containing sample, allowing for the efficient detection of total UGT activity to be the functional endpoint using a plate reader. In this manner, global changes in UGT activity can be monitored in response to a wide variety of stimuli. Read More

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