IRCCS Casa Sollievo Della Sofferenza CSS Hospital

San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy

IRCCS Casa Sollievo Della Sofferenza CSS Hospital

San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy
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Daniele G.,University of Bari | Simonetti G.,University of Bologna | Fusilli C.,Bioinformatics Unit | Iacobucci I.,University of Bologna | And 23 more authors.
Haematologica | Year: 2017

We here describe a leukemogenic role of the homeobox gene UNCX, activated by epigenetic modifications in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). We found the ectopic activation of UNCX in a leukemia patient harboring a t(7;10)(p22;p14) translocation, in 22 of 61 of additional cases [a total of 23 positive patients out of 62 (37.1%)], and in 6 of 75 (8%) of AML cell lines. UNCX is embedded within a lowmethylation region (canyon) and encodes for a transcription factor involved in somitogenesis and neurogenesis, with specific expression in the eye, brain, and kidney. UNCX expression turned out to be associated, and significantly correlated, with DNA methylation increase at its canyon borders based on data in our patients and in archived data of patients from The Cancer Genome Atlas. UNCX-positive and -negative patients displayed significant differences in their gene expression profiles. An enrichment of genes involved in cell proliferation and differentiation, such as MAP2K1 and CCNA1, was revealed. Similar results were obtained in UNCX-transduced CD34+ cells, associated with low proliferation and differentiation arrest. Accordingly, we showed that UNCX expression characterizes leukemia cells at their early stage of differentiation, mainly M2 and M3 subtypes carrying wild-type NPM1. We also observed that UNCX expression significantly associates with an increased frequency of acute promyelocytic leukemia with PML-RARA and AML with t(8;21)(q22;q22.1); RUNX1-RUNX1T1 classes, according to the World Health Organization disease classification. In summary, our findings suggest a novel leukemogenic role of UNCX, associated with epigenetic modifications and with impaired cell proliferation and differentiation in AML. © 2017 Ferrata Storti Foundation.


Conese M.,University of Foggia | Castellani S.,University of Foggia | Lepore S.,Laboratory of Preclinical and Translational Research | Palumbo O.,IRCCS Casa Sollievo Della Sofferenza CSS Hospital | And 13 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2014

In seeking more specific biomarkers of the cystic fibrosis (CF) lung inflammatory disease that would be sensitive to antibiotic therapy, we sought to evaluate the gene expression profiles of neutrophils in CF patients before treatment in comparison with non-CF healthy individuals and after antibiotic treatment. Genes involved in neutrophil-mediated inflammation, i.e. chemotaxis, respiratory burst, apoptosis, and granule exocytosis, were the targets of this study. Microarray analysis was carried out in blood and airway neutrophils from CF patients and in control subjects. A fold change (log) threshold of 1.4 and a cut-off of p<0.05 were utilized to identify significant genes. Community networks and principal component analysis were used to distinguish the groups of controls, pre- and post-therapy patients. Control subjects and CF patients before therapy were readily separated, whereas a clear distinction between patients before and after antibiotic therapy was not possible. Blood neutrophils before therapy presented 269 genes down-regulated and 56 up-regulated as compared with control subjects. Comparison between the same patients before and after therapy showed instead 44 genes downregulated and 72 up-regulated. Three genes appeared to be sensitive to therapy and returned to "healthy" condition: phorbol-12-myristate-13-acetate-induced protein 1 (PMAIP1), hydrogen voltage-gated channel 1 ( HVCN1), and β-arrestin 1 (ARRB1). The up-regulation of these genes after therapy were confirmed by real time PCR. In airway neutrophils, 1029 genes were differentially expressed post- vs pre-therapy. Of these, 30 genes were up-regulated and 75 down-regulated following antibiotic treatment. However, biological plausibility determined that only down-regulated genes belonged to the gene classes studied for blood neutrophils. Finally, it was observed that commonly expressed genes showed a greater variability in airway neutrophils than that found in blood neutrophils, both before and after therapy. These results indicate more specific targets for future interventions in CF patients involving respiratory burst, apoptosis, and granule exocytosis. © 2014 Conese et al.

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