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Cho G.,Children's Hospital of Philadelphia | Nasrallah M.P.,University of Pennsylvania | Lim Y.,University of Pennsylvania | Golden J.A.,Children's Hospital of Philadelphia | And 2 more authors.
Neurogenetics | Year: 2012

Mutations in the Aristaless-related homeobox gene (ARX) are associated with a wide variety of neurologic disorders including lissencephaly, hydrocephaly, West syndrome, Partington syndrome, and X-linked intellectual disability with or without epilepsy. A genotype - phenotype correlation exists for ARX mutations; however, the molecular basis for this association has not been investigated. To begin understanding the molecular basis for ARX mutations, we tested the DNA binding sequence preference and transcriptional repression activity for Arx, deletion mutants and mutants associated with various neurologic disorders. We found DNA binding preferences of Arx are influenced by the amino acid sequences adjacent to the homeodomain. Mutations in the homeodomain show a loss of DNA binding activity, while the T333N and P353R homeodomain mutants still possess DNA binding activities, although less than the wild type. Transcription repression activity, the primary function of ARX, is reduced in all mutants except the L343Q, which has no DNA binding activity and does not functionally repress Arx targets. These data indicate that mutations in the homeodomain result in not only a loss of DNA binding activity but also loss of transcriptional repression activity. Our results provide novel insights into the pathogenesis of ARX-related disorders and possible directions to pursue potential therapeutic interventions. © Springer-Verlag 2012.


Cho G.,Children's Hospital of Philadelphia | Lim Y.,University of Pennsylvania | Golden J.A.,Children's Hospital of Philadelphia | Golden J.A.,Abramson Research Center
Gene Expression Patterns | Year: 2011

Sizn1 (Zcchc12) is a transcriptional co-activator that positively modulates bone morphogenic protein (BMP) signaling through its interaction with Smad family members and CBP. We have demonstrated a role for Sizn1 in basal forebrain cholinergic neuron specific gene expression. Furthermore, mutations in SIZN1 have been associated with X-linked mental retardation. Given the defined role of SIZN1 in mental retardation, knowing its complete forebrain expression pattern is essential to further elucidating its role in cognition. To better define the dynamic expression pattern of Sizn1 during forebrain development, we investigated its expression in mouse brain development from embryonic day 8.0 (E8.0) to adult. We found that Sizn1 is primarily restricted to the ventral forebrain including the medial ganglionic eminence, the septum, amygdala, and striatum. In addition, Sizn1 expression is detected in the cortical hem and pallial-subpallial boundary (PSB; anti-hem); both sources of Cajal-Retzius cells. Sizn1 expression in the dorsal forebrain is restricted to a subset of cells in the marginal zone that also express Reln, indicative of Cajal-Retzius cells. These data provide novel information on brain regions and cell types that express Sizn1, facilitating further investigations into the function of Sizn1 in both development and the pathogenesis of mental retardation. © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Mazumdar J.,University of Pennsylvania | Mazumdar J.,Howard Hughes Medical Institute | Hickey M.M.,University of Pennsylvania | Hickey M.M.,Harvard University | And 10 more authors.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America | Year: 2010

Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is the leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide. The oxygen-sensitive hypoxia inducible factor (HIF) transcriptional regulators HIF-1α and HIF-2α are overexpressed in many human NSCLCs, and constitutive HIF-2α activity can promote murine lung tumor progression, suggesting that HIF proteins may be effective NSCLC therapeutic targets. To investigate the consequences of inhibiting HIF activity in lung cancers, we deleted Hif-1α or Hif-2α in an established Kras G12D-driven murine NSCLC model. Deletion of Hif-1α had no obvious effect on tumor growth, whereas Hif-2α deletion resulted in an unexpected increase in tumor burden that correlated with reduced expression of the candidate tumor suppressor gene Scgb3a1 (HIN-1). Here, we identify Scgb3a1 as a direct HIF-2α target gene and demonstrate that HIF-2α regulates Scgb3a1 expression and tumor formation in human KrasG12D-driven NSCLC cells. AKT pathway activity, reported to be repressed by Scgb3a1, was enhanced in HIF-2α-deficient human NSCLC cells and xenografts. Finally, a direct correlation between HIF-2α and SCGB3a1 expression was observed in approximately 70%of human NSCLC samples analyzed. These data suggest that, whereas HIF-2α overexpression can contribute to NSCLC progression, therapeutic inhibition of HIF-2α below a critical threshold may paradoxically promote tumor growth by reducing expression of tumor suppressor genes, including Scgb3a1.


De Leon D.D.,Children's Hospital of Philadelphia | De Leon D.D.,University of Pennsylvania | De Leon D.D.,Abramson Research Center | Stanley C.A.,Children's Hospital of Philadelphia | Stanley C.A.,University of Pennsylvania
Best Practice and Research: Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism | Year: 2013

Hyperinsulinemic hypoglycemia is the most common cause of persistent hypoglycemia in children and adults. The diagnosis of hyperinsulinemic hypoglycemia relies on the evaluation of the biochemical profile at the time of hypoglycemia, however, contrary to common perception, plasma insulin is not always elevated. Thus, the diagnosis must often be based on the examination of other physiologic manifestations of excessive insulin secretion, such as suppression of glycogenolysis, lipolysis and ketogenesis, which can be inferred by the finding of a glycemic response to glucagon, and the suppression of plasma free fatty acids and beta-hydroxybutyrate concentrations during hypoglycemia. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Couthouis J.,Stanford University | Hart M.P.,Stanford University | Hart M.P.,University of Pennsylvania | Erion R.,University of Pennsylvania | And 29 more authors.
Human Molecular Genetics | Year: 2012

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease affecting motor neurons. Mutations in related RNA-binding proteins TDP-43, FUS/TLS and TAF15 have been connected to ALS. These three proteins share several features, including the presence of a bioinformatics-predicted prion domain, aggregation-prone nature in vitro and in vivo and toxic effects when expressed in multiple model systems. Given these commonalities, we hypothesized that a related protein, EWSR1 (Ewing sarcoma breakpoint region 1), might also exhibit similar properties and therefore could contribute to disease. Here, we report an analysis of EWSR1 in multiple functional assays, including mutational screening in ALS patients and controls. We identified three missense variants in EWSR1 in ALS patients, which were absent in a large number of healthy control individuals. We show that disease-specific variants affect EWSR1 localization in motor neurons. We also provide multiple independent lines of in vitro and in vivo evidence that EWSR1 has similar properties as TDP-43, FUS and TAF15, including aggregation-prone behavior in vitro and ability to confer neurodegeneration in Drosophila. Postmortem analysis of sporadic ALS cases also revealed cytoplasmic mislocalization of EWSR1. Together, our studies highlight a potential role for EWSR1 in ALS, provide a collection of functional assays to be used to assess roles of additional RNA-binding proteins in disease and support an emerging concept that a class of aggregation-prone RNA-binding proteins might contribute broadly to ALS and related neurodegenerative diseases. © The Author 2012. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.


Chaijale N.N.,Abramson Research Center | Curtis A.L.,Abramson Research Center | Wood S.K.,Abramson Research Center | Zhang X.-Y.,Abramson Research Center | And 4 more authors.
Neuropsychopharmacology | Year: 2013

Stress is implicated in diverse psychiatric disorders including substance abuse. The locus coeruleus-norepinephrine (LC-NE) system is a major stress response system that is also a point of intersection between stress neuromediators and endogenous opioids and so may be a site at which stress can influence drug-taking behaviors. As social stress is a common stressor for humans, this study characterized the enduring impact of repeated social stress on LC neuronal activity. Rats were exposed to five daily consecutive sessions of social stress using the resident-intruder model or control manipulation. LC discharge rate recorded 2 days after the last manipulation was decreased in stressed rats compared with controls. By 10 days after the last manipulation, LC rates were comparable between groups. Systemic administration of the opiate antagonist, naloxone, robustly increased LC discharge rate in a manner suggestive of opiate withdrawal, selectively in stressed rats when administered 2 or 10 days after the last manipulation. This was accompanied by behavioral signs of mild opiate withdrawal. Western blot and electron microscopic studies indicated that repeated social stress decreased corticotropin-releasing factor type 1 receptor and increased μ-opioid receptor levels in the LC. Together, the results suggest that repeated social stress engages endogenous opioid modulation of LC activity and induces signs of cellular and physical opiate dependence that endure after the stress. These cellular effects may predispose individuals with a history of repeated social stress to substance abuse behaviors.


Zitnik G.A.,Abramson Research Center | Curtis A.L.,Abramson Research Center | Wood S.K.,University of South Carolina | Arner J.,Abramson Research Center | Valentino R.J.,Abramson Research Center
Neuropsychopharmacology | Year: 2016

Early life stress is associated with the development of psychiatric disorders. Because the locus coeruleus-norepinephrine (LC-NE) system is a major stress-response system that is implicated in psychopathology, developmental differences in the response of this system to stress may contribute to increased vulnerability. Here LC single unit and network activity were compared between adult and adolescent rats during resident-intruder stress. In some rats, LC and medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) coherence was quantified. The initial stress tonically activated LC neurons and induced theta oscillations, while simultaneously decreasing LC auditory-evoked responses in both age groups. Stress increased LC-mPFC coherence within the theta range. With repeated exposures, adolescent LC neuronal and network activity remained elevated even in the absence of the stressor and were unresponsive to stressor presentation. In contrast, LC neurons of adult rats exposed to repeated social stress were relatively inhibited in the absence of the stressor and mounted robust responses upon stressor presentation. LC sensory-evoked responses were selectively blunted in adolescent rats exposed to repeated social stress. Finally, repeated stress decreased LC-mPFC coherence in the high frequency range (beta and gamma) while maintaining strong coherence in the theta range, selectively in adolescents. Together, these results suggest that adaptive mechanisms that promote stress recovery and maintain basal activity of the brain norepinephrine system in the absence of stress are not fully developed or are vulnerable stress-induced impairments in adolescence. The resulting sustained activation of the LC-NE system after repeated social stress may adversely impact cognition and future social behavior of adolescents. © 2016 American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. All rights reserved.


Tsai J.,Children's Hospital of Philadelphia | Sulkowski J.,Children's Hospital of Philadelphia | Adzick N.S.,Children's Hospital of Philadelphia | Hedrick H.L.,Children's Hospital of Philadelphia | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Pediatric Surgery | Year: 2012

Background: Large congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) defects often require the use of synthetic patches for tension-free repair. Although high rates of recurrence and other morbidities have been previously reported, our favorable perception of patch repair prompted this review. Methods: A single-center retrospective chart review of CDH cases repaired between January 1, 1999, and October 1, 2010. Patch repairs were performed by multiple surgeons with an effort to construct a tension-free dome-shaped patch. Results: One hundred eighty-four children underwent CDH repair of whom 99 (53.8%) required a patch. Seventy-four (74.7%) of the 99 patients who underwent patch repair survived to discharge and were compared with 75 primary repair survivors. Of those undergoing patch repair, 88% were prenatally diagnosed, 55% had liver herniation, and 22 (29.9%) were repaired on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. Two patients experienced a recurrence after a patch repair and 3 after a primary repair for a rate of 5.4% and 4.0%, respectively (P = 1.0). Conclusions: These results demonstrate that synthetic patch repair for CDH can be performed with a very low rate of recurrence challenging the need for alternative approaches to diaphragmatic replacement. High rates of recurrence reported for patch repair may be technical rather than intrinsic to the patch. © 2012 Elsevier Inc.

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