Netherlands Toxicogenomics Center

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von Stechow L.,Leiden University | von Stechow L.,Netherlands Toxicogenomics Center | Ruiz-Aracama A.,RIKILT Institute of Food Safety | Ruiz-Aracama A.,Netherlands Toxicogenomics Center | And 4 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

The chemotherapeutic compound, cisplatin causes various kinds of DNA lesions but also triggers other pertubations, such as ER and oxidative stress. We and others have shown that treatment of pluripotent stem cells with cisplatin causes a plethora of transcriptional and post-translational alterations that, to a major extent, point to DNA damage response (DDR) signaling. The orchestrated DDR signaling network is important to arrest the cell cycle and repair the lesions or, in case of damage beyond repair, eliminate affected cells. Failure to properly balance the various aspects of the DDR in stem cells contributes to ageing and cancer. Here, we performed metabolic profiling by mass spectrometry of embryonic stem (ES) cells treated for different time periods with cisplatin. We then integrated metabolomics with transcriptomics analyses and connected cisplatin-regulated metabolites with regulated metabolic enzymes to identify enriched metabolic pathways. These included nucleotide metabolism, urea cycle and arginine and proline metabolism. Silencing of identified proline metabolic and catabolic enzymes indicated that altered proline metabolism serves as an adaptive, rather than a toxic response. A group of enriched metabolic pathways clustered around the metabolite S-adenosylmethionine, which is a hub for methylation and transsulfuration reactions and polyamine metabolism. Enzymes and metabolites with pro- or anti-oxidant functions were also enriched but enhanced levels of reactive oxygen species were not measured in cisplatin-treated ES cells. Lastly, a number of the differentially regulated metabolic enzymes were identified as target genes of the transcription factor p53, pointing to p53-mediated alterations in metabolism in response to genotoxic stress. Altogether, our findings reveal interconnecting metabolic pathways that are responsive to cisplatin and may serve as signaling modules in the DDR in pluripotent stem cells. © 2013 von Stechow et al.


Magkoufopoulou C.,Maastricht University | Magkoufopoulou C.,Netherlands Toxicogenomics Center | Claessen S.M.H.,Maastricht University | Tsamou M.,Maastricht University | And 6 more authors.
Carcinogenesis | Year: 2012

The lack of accurate in vitro assays for predicting in vivo toxicity of chemicals together with new legislations demanding replacement and reduction of animal testing has triggered the development of alternative methods. This study aimed at developing a transcriptomics-based in vitro prediction assay for in vivo genotoxicity. Transcriptomics changes induced in the human liver cell line HepG2 by 34 compounds after treatment for 12, 24, and 48h were used for the selection of gene-sets that are capable of discriminating between in vivo genotoxins (GTX) and in vivo nongenotoxins (NGTX). By combining transcriptomics with publicly available results for these chemicals from standard in vitro genotoxicity studies, we developed several prediction models. These models were validated by using an additional set of 28 chemicals. The best prediction was achieved after stratification of chemicals according to results from the Ames bacterial gene mutation assay prior to transcriptomics evaluation after 24h of treatment. A total of 33 genes were selected for discriminating GTX from NGTX for Ames-positive chemicals and 22 for Ames-negative chemicals. Overall, this method resulted in 89% accuracy and 91% specificity, thereby clearly outperforming the standard in vitro test battery. Transcription factor network analysis revealed HNF3a, HNF4a, HNF6, androgen receptor, and SP1 as main factors regulating the expression of classifiers for Ames-positive chemicals. Thus, the classical bacterial gene mutation assay in combination with in vitro transcriptomics in HepG2 is proposed as an upgraded in vitro approach for predicting in vivo genotoxicity of chemicals holding a great promise for reducing animal experimentations on genotoxicity. © The Author 2012. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.


Van Leeuwen D.M.,Maastricht University | Pedersen M.,Copenhagen University | Knudsen L.E.,Copenhagen University | Bonassi S.,Unit of Clinical and Molecular Epidemiology | And 5 more authors.
Mutagenesis | Year: 2011

Mechanistically relevant information on responses of humans to xenobiotic exposure in relation to chemically induced biological effects, such as micronuclei (MN) formation can be obtained through large-scale transcriptomics studies. Network analysis may enhance the analysis and visualisation of such data. Therefore, this study aimed to develop a 'MN formation' network based on a priori knowledge, by using the pathway tool MetaCore. The gene network contained 27 genes and three gene complexes that are related to processes involved in MN formation, e.g. spindle assembly checkpoint, cell cycle checkpoint and aneuploidy. The MN-related gene network was tested against a transcriptomics case study associated with MN measurements. In this case study, transcriptomic data from children and adults differentially exposed to ambient air pollution in the Czech Republic were analysed and visualised on the network. Six genes from the network, i.e. BAX, DMNT1, PCNA, HIC1, p21 and CDC20, were retrieved. Based on these six genes and in combination with p53 and IL-6, a dedicated network was created. This dedicated network is possibly suited for the development of a reporter gene assay that could be used to screen populations complementary to the current MN test assay. In conclusion, we have shown that network analysis of transcriptomics data in relation to the formation of MN is possible and provides a novel mechanistic hypothesis by indicating which genes are regulated and influence others. © The Author 2010. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the UK Environmental Mutagen Society. All rights reserved.


Magkoufopoulou C.,Maastricht University | Magkoufopoulou C.,Netherlands Toxicogenomics Center | Claessen S.M.H.,Maastricht University | Jennen D.G.J.,Maastricht University | And 5 more authors.
Mutagenesis | Year: 2011

The conventional in vitro assays for genotoxicity assessment of chemicals are characterised by a high false-positive rate, thus failing to correctly predict their in vivo genotoxic effects. This study aimed to identify the cellular mechanisms induced by the false-positive genotoxins quercetin, 8-Hydroxyquinoline and 17-beta oestradiol in comparison to true genotoxins and non-genotoxins, by combining in vitro phenotypic parameters with transcriptomics data from HepG2 cells. The effects of these compounds on the phosphorylation of H2AX, cell cycle distribution and whole genome gene expression following treatment for 12, 24 and 48 h were compared with the effects of true genotoxins [benzo[a]pyrene and aflatoxin B1] and non-genotoxins (2,3,7,8- tetrachlorodibenzodioxin, cyclosporin A and ampicillin C). Quercetin induced similar phenotypic effects as true genotoxins and to some extent similar gene expression alterations. Different gene expression changes were also observed, including the up-regulation of DNA repair-related genes. 8-Hydroxyquinoline and 17-beta oestradiol showed no similarities to the true genotoxins at both the phenotypic and the transcriptomic level. In a classification approach, classifiers were selected to discriminate between genotoxins and non-genotoxins. Subsequent analysis for the false-positive compounds showed quercetin to be predicted as genotoxic and 8-hydroxyquinoline and 17-beta oestradiol as non-genotoxic. Our results support that transcriptomics analysis of compound effects in HepG2 leads to similar results with phenotypic analysis and provides additional mechanistic information. Therefore, combined evaluation of gene expression alterations and relevant functional end points using HepG2 cells may contribute to the better understanding of modes-of-action of chemicals and the correct evaluation of their genotoxic properties. © The Author 2011. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the UK Environmental Mutagen Society.


Jennen D.,Maastricht University | Jennen D.,Netherlands Toxicogenomics Center | Ruiz-Aracama A.,Wageningen University | Ruiz-Aracama A.,Netherlands Toxicogenomics Center | And 9 more authors.
BMC Systems Biology | Year: 2011

The integration of different 'omics' technologies has already been shown in several in vivo studies to offer a complementary insight into cellular responses to toxic challenges. Being interested in developing in vitro cellular models as alternative to animal-based toxicity assays, we hypothesize that combining transcriptomics and metabonomics data improves the understanding of molecular mechanisms underlying the effects caused by a toxic compound also in vitro in human cells. To test this hypothesis, and with the focus on non-genotoxic carcinogenesis as an endpoint of toxicity, in the present study, the human hepatocarcinoma cell line HepG2 was exposed to the well-known environmental carcinogen 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD).Results: Transcriptomics as well as metabonomics analyses demonstrated changes in TCDD-exposed HepG2 in common metabolic processes, e.g. amino acid metabolism, of which some of the changes only being confirmed if both 'omics' were integrated. In particular, this integrated analysis identified unique pathway maps involved in receptor-mediated mechanisms, such as the G-protein coupled receptor protein (GPCR) signaling pathway maps, in which the significantly up-regulated gene son of sevenless 1 (SOS1) seems to play an important role. SOS1 is an activator of several members of the RAS superfamily, a group of small GTPases known for their role in carcinogenesis.Conclusions: The results presented here were not only comparable with other in vitro studies but also with in vivo studies. Moreover, new insights on the molecular responses caused by TCDD exposure were gained by the cross-omics analysis. © 2011 Jennen et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


Rieswijk L.,Maastricht University | Rieswijk L.,Netherlands Toxicogenomics Center | Claessen S.M.H.,Maastricht University | Bekers O.,Maastricht University | And 8 more authors.
Toxicology | Year: 2016

Chronic exposure to aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) has, in certain regions in the world, been strongly associated with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) development. AFB1 is a very potent hepatotoxic and carcinogenic mycotoxin which is frequently reported as a food contaminant. Epigenetic modifications provoked by environmental exposures, such as AFB1, may create a persistent epigenetic footprint. Deregulation of epigenetic mechanisms has actually been reported in HCC patients following AFB1 exposure; however, no attempts have yet been made to investigate early effects on the epigenome level which may be persistent on longer term, thereby possibly initiating carcinogenic events. In this study, we aim to identify methyl DNA-mRNA-interactions representative for a persistent epigenetic footprint associated with the early onset of AFB1-induced HCC. For this, primary human hepatocytes were exposed to 0.3 μM of AFB1 for 5 days. Persistent epigenetic effects were measured 3 days after terminating the carcinogenic exposure. Whole genome DNA methylation changes and whole genome transcriptomic analysis were analyzed applying microarray technologies, and cross-omics interactions were evaluated. Upon combining transcriptomics data with results on DNA methylation, a range of persistent hyper- and hypo-methylated genes was identified which also appeared affected on the transcriptome level. For six of the hypo-methylated and up-regulated genes, namely TXNRD1, PCNA, CCNK, DIAPH3, RAB27A and HIST1H2BF, a clear role in carcinogenic events could be identified. This study is the first to report on a carcinogen-induced persistent impact on the epigenetic footprint in relation with the transcriptome which could be indicative for the early onset of AFB1-related development of HCC. © 2016 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.


Ruiz-Aracama A.,Wageningen University | Ruiz-Aracama A.,Netherlands Toxicogenomics Center | Peijnenburg A.,Wageningen University | Peijnenburg A.,Netherlands Toxicogenomics Center | And 9 more authors.
BMC Genomics | Year: 2011

Background: In vitro cell systems together with omics methods represent promising alternatives to conventional animal models for toxicity testing. Transcriptomic and proteomic approaches have been widely applied in vitro but relatively few studies have used metabolomics. Therefore, the goal of the present study was to develop an untargeted methodology for performing reproducible metabolomics on in vitro systems. The human liver cell line HepG2, and the well-known hepatotoxic and non-genotoxic carcinogen 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD), were used as the in vitro model system and model toxicant, respectively.Results: The study focused on the analysis of intracellular metabolites using NMR, LC-MS and GC-MS, with emphasis on the reproducibility and repeatability of the data. State of the art pre-processing and alignment tools and multivariate statistics were used to detect significantly altered levels of metabolites after exposing HepG2 cells to TCDD. Several metabolites identified using databases, literature and LC-nanomate-Orbitrap analysis were affected by the treatment. The observed changes in metabolite levels are discussed in relation to the reported effects of TCDD.Conclusions: Untargeted profiling of the polar and apolar metabolites of in vitro cultured HepG2 cells is a valid approach to studying the effects of TCDD on the cell metabolome. The approach described in this research demonstrates that highly reproducible experiments and correct normalization of the datasets are essential for obtaining reliable results. The effects of TCDD on HepG2 cells reported herein are in agreement with previous studies and serve to validate the procedures used in the present work. © 2011 Ruiz-Aracama et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


Jennen D.G.J.,Maastricht University | Jennen D.G.J.,Netherlands Toxicogenomics Center | Magkoufopoulou C.,Maastricht University | Magkoufopoulou C.,Netherlands Toxicogenomics Center | And 7 more authors.
Toxicological Sciences | Year: 2010

Direct comparison of the hepatoma cell lines HepG2 and HepaRG has previously been performed by only evaluating a limited set of genes or proteins. In this study, we examined the whole-genome gene expression of both cell lines before and after exposure to the genotoxic (GTX) carcinogens aflatoxin B1 and benzo[a]pyrene and the nongenotoxic (NGTX) carcinogens cyclosporin A, 17β-estradiol, and 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-paradioxin for 12 and 48 h. Before exposure, this analysis revealed an extensive network of genes and pathways, which were regulated differentially for each cell line. The comparison of the basal gene expression between HepG2, HepaRG, primary human hepatocytes (PHH), and liver clearly showed that HepaRG resembles PHH and liver the most. After exposure to the GTX and NGTX carcinogens, for both cell lines, common pathways were found that are important in carcinogenesis, for example, cell cycle regulation and apoptosis. However, also clear differences between exposed HepG2 and HepaRG were observed, and these are related to common metabolic processes, immune response, and transcription processes. Furthermore, HepG2 performs better in discriminating between GTX and NGTX carcinogens. In conclusion, these results have shown that HepaRG is a more suited in vitro liver model for biological interpretations of the effects of exposure to chemicals, whereas HepG2 is a more promising in vitro liver model for classification studies using the toxicogenomics approach. Although, it should be noted that only five carcinogens were used in this study. © The Author 2010. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society of Toxicology. All rights reserved.


Puigvert J.C.,Leiden University | Von Stechow L.,Leiden University | Von Stechow L.,Netherlands Toxicogenomics Center | Siddappa R.,Leiden University | And 11 more authors.
Science Signaling | Year: 2013

In pluripotent stem cells, DNA damage triggers loss of pluripotency and apoptosis as a safeguard to exclude damaged DNA from the lineage. An intricate DNA damage response (DDR) signaling network ensures that the response is proportional to the severity of the damage. We combined an RNA interference screen targeting all kinases, phosphatases, and transcription factors with global transcriptomics and phosphoproteomics to map the DDR in mouse embryonic stem cells treated with the DNA cross-linker cisplatin. Networks derived from canonical pathways shared in all three data sets were implicated in DNA damage repair, cell cycle and survival, and differentiation. Experimental probing of these networks identified a mode of DNA damage-induced Wnt signaling that limited apoptosis. Silencing or deleting the p53 gene demonstrated that genotoxic stress elicited Wnt signaling in a p53-independent manner. Instead, this response occurred through reduced abundance of Csnk1a1 (CK1α), a kinase that inhibits β-catenin. Together, our findings reveal a balance between p53-mediated elimination of stem cells (through loss of pluripotency and apoptosis) and Wnt signaling that attenuates this response to tune the outcome of the DDR.


Puigvert J.C.,Leiden University | Puigvert J.C.,Netherlands Toxicogenomics Center | De Bont H.,Leiden University | Van De Water B.,Leiden University | Danen E.H.J.,Leiden University
Current Protocols in Cell Biology | Year: 2010

Apoptosis is important for embryonic development, tissue homeostasis, and removal of cells with (potentially transforming) DNA lesions or other types of injuries. Functional genomics screens performed to unravel apoptotic signaling cascades in the context of toxicant-induced cell injury commonly use apoptosis as an end-point. Here, a method to detect the accumulation of apoptotic cells in real time that is well suited for high-throughput screens is described. The method uses automated microscopy in a 96-well format setting to visualize binding of fluorescent annexin V to the outer membrane leaflet of apoptotic cells. The automated image acquisition is followed by quantitative analysis using bioinformatics software. A protocol for each of the steps in this kinetic method is described, which includes the caspase-dependent apoptotic response to toxic compounds in multiple cell types and demonstrates that RNAi-based gene silencing of candidate apoptotic regulators affects the apoptosis kinetics as expected. This protocol will be useful for functional genomics as well as chemical (drug) screens. © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

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