Almac Diagnostics

Craigavon, United Kingdom

Almac Diagnostics

Craigavon, United Kingdom
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Plebani R.,University of Chieti Pescara | Oliver G.R.,Almac Diagnostics | Trerotola M.,University of Chieti Pescara | Trerotola M.,Thomas Jefferson University | And 9 more authors.
Neoplasia (United States) | Year: 2012

mRNA chimeras from chromosomal translocations often play a role as transforming oncogenes. However, cancer transcriptomes also contain mRNA chimeras that may play a role in tumor development, which arise as transcriptional or post-transcriptional events. To identify such chimeras, we developed a deterministic screening strategy for long-range sequence analysis. High-throughput, long-read sequencing was then performed on cDNA libraries from major tumor histotypes and corresponding normal tissues. These analyses led to the identification of 378 chimeras, with an unexpectedly high frequency of expression (≈ 2 × 10-5 of all mRNA). Functional assays in breast and ovarian cancer cell lines showed that a large fraction of mRNA chimeras regulates cell replication. Strikingly, chimeras were shown to include both positive and negative regulators of cell growth, which functioned as such in a cell-type-specific manner. Replication-controlling chimeras were found to be expressed by most cancers from breast, ovary, colon, uterus, kidney, lung, and stomach, suggesting a widespread role in tumor development. © 2012 Neoplasia Press, Inc. All rights reserved.


Huang M.,Dana-Farber Cancer Institute | Kennedy R.,Almac Diagnostics | Ali A.M.,University of Cincinnati | Moreau L.A.,Dana-Farber Cancer Institute | And 4 more authors.
DNA Repair | Year: 2011

The Fanconi Anemia (FA) pathway encodes a DNA damage response activated by DNA damage-stalled replication forks. Current evidence suggests that the FA pathway initiates with DNA damage recognition by the FANCM complex (FANCM/FAAP24/MHF). However, genetic inactivation of FANCM in mouse and DT40 cells causes only a partial defect in the FA pathway activation, suggesting the existence of redundant DNA damage sensors. Here we show that the MutS homologs function in this capacity. A RNAi screen revealed that MSH2 silencing caused defective FA pathway activation, as assessed by damage-induced FANCD2 mono-ubiquitination. A similar FA pathway defect was observed with MSH3 or MSH6 silencing. MSH2 depletion caused cellular phenotypes associated with defective FA pathway, including mitomycin C hypersensitivity and chromosomal instability. Further, silencing of FANCM in MSH2 deficient HEC59 cells caused a more severe FA defect relative to comparable silencing in MSH2 complemented HEC59. +. Chr2 cells, suggesting redundant functions between MSH2 and FANCM. Consistent with this hypothesis, depletion of MSH2 resulted in defective chromatin localization of the FA core complex upon DNA damage. Further, MSH2 was co-purified and co-immunoprecipitated with FA core complex components. Taken together, our results suggest that human MutS homologs and FANCM complexes function as redundant DNA damage sensors of the FA pathway. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.


Hadad S.,University of Dundee | Iwamoto T.,University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center | Jordan L.,University of Dundee | Purdie C.,University of Dundee | And 10 more authors.
Breast Cancer Research and Treatment | Year: 2011

Metformin may reduce the incidence of breast cancer and enhance response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy in diabetic women. This trial examined the effects of metformin on Ki67 and gene expression in primary breast cancer. Non-diabetic women with operable invasive breast cancer received pre-operative metformin. A pilot cohort of eight patients had core biopsy of the cancer at presentation, a week later (without treatment; internal control), then following metformin 500-mg o.d. for 1 week increased to 1-g b.d. for a further week continued to surgery. A further 47 patients had core biopsy at diagnosis were randomized to metformin (the same dose regimen) or no drug, and 2 weeks later had core biopsy at surgery. Ki67 immunohistochemistry, transcriptome analysis on formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded cores and serum insulin determination were performed blinded to treatment. Seven patients (7/32, 21.9%) receiving metformin withdrew because of gastrointestinal upset. The mean percentage of cells staining for Ki67 fell significantly following metformin treatment in both the pilot cohort (P = 0.041, paired t-test) and in the metformin arm (P = 0.027, Wilcoxon rank test) but was unchanged in the internal control or metformin control arms. Messenger RNA expression was significantly downregulated by metformin for PDE3B (phosphodiesterase 3B, cGMP-inhibited; a critical regulator of cAMP levels that affect activation of AMP-activated protein kinase, AMPK), confirmed by immunohistochemistry, SSR3, TP53 and CCDC14. By ingenuity pathway analysis, the tumour necrosis factor receptor 1 (TNFR1) signaling pathway was most affected by metformin: TGFB and MEKK were upregulated and cdc42 downregulated; mTOR and AMPK pathways were also affected. Gene set analysis additionally revealed that p53, BRCA1 and cell cycle pathways also had reduced expression following metformin. Mean serum insulin remained stable in patients receiving metformin but rose in control patients. This trial presents biomarker evidence for anti-proliferative effects of metformin in women with breast cancer and provides support for therapeutic trials of metformin. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.


Redmond K.L.,Queen's University of Belfast | Crawford N.T.,Queen's University of Belfast | Farmer H.,Queen's University of Belfast | D'Costa Z.C.,Queen's University of Belfast | And 6 more authors.
Oncogene | Year: 2010

T-box 2 (TBX2) is a transcription factor involved in mammary development and is known to be overexpressed in a subset of aggressive breast cancers. TBX2 has previously been shown to repress growth control genes such as p14 ARF and p21 WAF1/cip1. In this study we show that TBX2 drives proliferation in breast cancer cells and this is abrogated after TBX2 small interfering RNA (siRNA) knockdown or after the expression of a dominant-negative TBX2 protein. Using microarray analysis we identified a large cohort of novel TBX2-repressed target genes including the breast tumour suppressor NDRG1 (N-myc downregulated gene 1). We show that TBX2 targets NDRG1 through a previously undescribed mechanism involving the recruitment of early growth response 1 (EGR1). We show EGR1 is required for the ability of TBX2 to repress NDRG1 and drive cell proliferation. We show that TBX2 interacts with EGR1 and that TBX2 requires EGR1 to target the NDRG1 proximal promoter. Abrogation of either TBX2 or EGR1 expression is accompanied by the upregulation of cell senescence and apoptotic markers. NDRG1 can recapitulate these effects when transfected into TBX2-expressing cells. Together, these data identify a novel mechanism for TBX2-driven oncogenesis and highlight the importance of NDRG1 as a growth control gene in breast tissue. © 2010 Macmillan Publishers Limited All rights reserved.


Maxwell P.J.,Queen's University of Belfast | Coulter J.,Queen's University of Belfast | Walker S.M.,Queen's University of Belfast | McKechnie M.,Queen's University of Belfast | And 6 more authors.
European Urology | Year: 2013

Background: Inflammation and genetic instability are enabling characteristics of prostate carcinoma (PCa). Inactivation of the tumour suppressor gene phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) is prevalent in early PCa. The relationship of PTEN deficiency to inflammatory signalling remains to be characterised. Objective: To determine how loss of PTEN functionality modulates expression and efficacy of clinically relevant, proinflammatory chemokines in PCa. Design, setting, and participants: Experiments were performed in established cell-based PCa models, supported by pathologic analysis of chemokine expression in prostate tissue harvested from PTEN heterozygous (Pten +/-) mice harbouring inactivation of one PTEN allele. Interventions: Small interfering RNA (siRNA)- or small hairpin RNA (shRNA)-directed strategies were used to repress PTEN expression and resultant interleukin-8 (CXCL8) signalling, determined under normal and hypoxic culture conditions. Outcome measurements and statistical analysis: Changes in chemokine expression in PCa cells and tissue were analysed by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR), immunoblotting, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), and immunohistochemistry; effects of chemokine signalling on cell function were assessed by cell cycle analysis, apoptosis, and survival assays. Results and limitations: Transient (siRNA) or prolonged (shRNA) PTEN repression increased expression of CXCL8 and its receptors, chemokine (C-X-C motif) receptor (CXCR) 1 and CXCR2, in PCa cells. Hypoxia-induced increases in CXCL8, CXCR1, and CXCR2 expression were greater in magnitude and duration in PTEN-depleted cells. Autocrine CXCL8 signalling was more efficacious in PTEN-depleted cells, inducing hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF-1) and nuclear factor kappa-light-chain- enhancer of activated B cells (NF-κB) transcription and regulating genes involved in survival and angiogenesis. Increased expression of the orthologous chemokine KC was observed in regions displaying atypical cytologic features in Pten+/- murine prostate tissue relative to normal epithelium in wild-type PTEN (PtenWT) glands. Attenuation of CXCL8 signalling decreased viability of PCa cells harbouring partial or complete PTEN loss through promotion of G1 cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. The current absence of clinical validation is a limitation of the study. Conclusions: PTEN loss induces a selective upregulation of CXCL8 signalling that sustains the growth and survival of PTEN-deficient prostate epithelium. © 2012 European Association of Urology.


Gorski J.J.,Queen's University of Belfast | James C.R.,Queen's University of Belfast | Quinn J.E.,Queen's University of Belfast | Stewart G.E.,Queen's University of Belfast | And 7 more authors.
Breast Cancer Research and Treatment | Year: 2010

Expression profiling of BRCA1-deficient tumours has identified a pattern of gene expression similar to basal-like breast tumours. In this study, we examine whether a BRCA1-dependent transcriptional mechanism may underpin the link between BRCA1 and basal-like phenotype. In methods section, the mRNA and protein were harvested from a number of BRCA1 mutant and wild-type breast cancer cell lines and from matched isogenic controls. Microarray-based expression profiling was used to identify potential BRCA1-regulated transcripts. These gene targets were then validated (by in silico analysis of tumour samples) by real-time PCR and Western blot analysis. Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assays were used to confirm recruitment of BRCA1 to specific promoters. In results, we demonstrate that functional BRCA1 represses the expression of cytokeratins 5(KRT5) and 17(KRT17) and p-Cadherin (CDH3) in HCC1937 and T47D breast cancer cell lines at both mRNA and protein level. ChIP assays demonstrate that BRCA1 is recruited to the promoters of KRT5, KRT17 and CDH3, and re-ChIP assays confirm that BRCA1 is recruited independently to form c-Myc and Sp1 complexes on the CDH3 promoter. We show that siRNA-mediated inhibition of endogenous c-Myc (and not Sp1) results in a marked increase in CDH3 expression analogous to that observed following the inhibition of endogenous BRCA1. The data provided suggest a model whereby BRCA1 and c-Myc form a repressor complex on the promoters of specific basal genes and represent a potential mechanism to explain the observed overexpression of key basal markers in BRCA1-deficient tumours. © 2009 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.


Gorski J.J.,Queen's University of Belfast | Savage K.I.,Queen's University of Belfast | Mulligan J.M.,ALMAC Diagnostics | McDade S.S.,Queen's University of Belfast | And 3 more authors.
Nucleic Acids Research | Year: 2011

A role for BRCA1 in the direct and indirect regulation of transcription is well established. However, a comprehensive view of the degree to which BRCA1 impacts transcriptional regulation on a genome-wide level has not been defined. We performed genome-wide expression profiling and ChIP-chip analysis, comparison of which revealed that although BRCA1 depletion results in transcriptional changes in 1294 genes, only 44 of these are promoter bound by BRCA1. However, 27 of these transcripts were linked to transcriptional regulation possibly explaining the large number of indirect transcriptional changes observed by microarray analysis. We show that no specific consensus sequence exists for BRCA1 DNA binding but rather demonstrate the presence of a number of known and novel transcription factor (TF)- binding sites commonly found on BRCA1 bound promoters. Co-immunoprecipitations confirmed that BRCA1 interacts with a number of these TFs including AP2-α, PAX2 and ZF5. Finally, we show that BRCA1 is bound to a subset of promoters of genes that are not altered by BRCA1 loss, but are transcriptionally regulated in a BRCA1-dependent manner upon DNA damage. These data suggest a model, whereby BRCA1 is present on defined promoters as part of an inactive complex poised to respond to various genotoxic stimuli. © The Author(s) 2011. Published by Oxford University Press.


Farztdinov V.,Almac Diagnostics | McDyer F.,Almac Diagnostics
Algorithms for Molecular Biology | Year: 2012

Background: Because of the large volume of data and the intrinsic variation of data intensity observed in microarray experiments, different statistical methods have been used to systematically extract biological information and to quantify the associated uncertainty. The simplest method to identify differentially expressed genes is to evaluate the ratio of average intensities in two different conditions and consider all genes that differ by more than an arbitrary cut-off value to be differentially expressed. This filtering approach is not a statistical test and there is no associated value that can indicate the level of confidence in the designation of genes as differentially expressed or not differentially expressed. At the same time the fold change by itself provide valuable information and it is important to find unambiguous ways of using this information in expression data treatment.Results: A new method of finding differentially expressed genes, called distributional fold change (DFC) test is introduced. The method is based on an analysis of the intensity distribution of all microarray probe sets mapped to a three dimensional feature space composed of average expression level, average difference of gene expression and total variance. The proposed method allows one to rank each feature based on the signal-to-noise ratio and to ascertain for each feature the confidence level and power for being differentially expressed. The performance of the new method was evaluated using the total and partial area under receiver operating curves and tested on 11 data sets from Gene Omnibus Database with independently verified differentially expressed genes and compared with the t-test and shrinkage t-test. Overall the DFC test performed the best - on average it had higher sensitivity and partial AUC and its elevation was most prominent in the low range of differentially expressed features, typical for formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded sample sets.Conclusions: The distributional fold change test is an effective method for finding and ranking differentially expressed probesets on microarrays. The application of this test is advantageous to data sets using formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded samples or other systems where degradation effects diminish the applicability of correlation adjusted methods to the whole feature set. © 2012 Farztdinov and McDyer; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


Tanney A.,Almac Diagnostics | Kennedy R.D.,Almac Diagnostics
Personalized Medicine | Year: 2010

Cancer is a complex and heterogeneous disease which is one of the leading causes of death in Western civilisations. Thus, oncology is viewed as a primary focus for personalized medicine. It is recognised that cancer treatment needs to be better tailored in order to improve patient outcome. Patient tumor samples will be required to characterize cancer at a molecular level and identify where there may be disease subgroups that should be treated differently. The use of formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue is important for enabling such studies. In this report, we focus on the challenges that have been faced to date along with the technological developments that have now made this possible. We also highlight the impact this may have on drug and diagnostic development. © 2010 Future Medicine Ltd.


Fonville J.M.,Imperial College London | Bylesjo M.,Almac Diagnostics | Coen M.,Imperial College London | Nicholson J.K.,Imperial College London | And 3 more authors.
Analytica Chimica Acta | Year: 2011

Linear multivariate projection methods are frequently applied for predictive modeling of spectroscopic data in metabonomic studies. The OPLS method is a commonly used computational procedure for characterizing spectral metabonomic data, largely due to its favorable model interpretation properties providing separate descriptions of predictive variation and response-orthogonal structured noise. However, when the relationship between descriptor variables and the response is non-linear, conventional linear models will perform sub-optimally. In this study we have evaluated to what extent a non-linear model, kernel-based orthogonal projections to latent structures (K-OPLS), can provide enhanced predictive performance compared to the linear OPLS model. Just like its linear counterpart, K-OPLS provides separate model components for predictive variation and response-orthogonal structured noise. The improved model interpretation by this separate modeling is a property unique to K-OPLS in comparison to other kernel-based models. Simulated annealing (SA) was used for effective and automated optimization of the kernel-function parameter in K-OPLS (SA-K-OPLS).Our results reveal that the non-linear K-OPLS model provides improved prediction performance in three separate metabonomic data sets compared to the linear OPLS model. We also demonstrate how response-orthogonal K-OPLS components provide valuable biological interpretation of model and data. The metabonomic data sets were acquired using proton Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, and include a study of the liver toxin galactosamine, a study of the nephrotoxin mercuric chloride and a study of Trypanosoma brucei brucei infection. Automated and user-friendly procedures for the kernel-optimization have been incorporated into version 1.1.1 of the freely available K-OPLS software package for both R and Matlab to enable easy application of K-OPLS for non-linear prediction modeling. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.

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