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Grand Junction, CO, United States

Thomas K.J.,U.S. National Institute on Aging | Thomas K.J.,Saccomanno Research Institute | McCoy M.K.,U.S. National Institute on Aging | Blackinton J.,U.S. National Institute on Aging | And 8 more authors.
Human Molecular Genetics | Year: 2011

Mutations in DJ-1, PINK1 (PTEN-induced putative kinase 1) and parkin all cause recessive parkinsonism in humans, but the relationships between these genes are not clearly defined. One event associated with loss of any of these genes is altered mitochondrial function. Recent evidence suggests that turnover of damaged mitochondria by autophagy might be central to the process of recessive parkinsonism. Here, we show that loss of DJ-1 leads to loss of mitochondrial polarization, fragmentation of mitochondria and accumulation of markers of autophagy (LC3 punctae and lipidation) around mitochondria in human dopaminergic cells. These effects are due to endogenous oxidative stress, as antioxidants will reverse all of them. Similar to PINK1 and parkin, DJ-1 also limits mitochondrial fragmentation in response to the mitochondrial toxin rotenone. Furthermore, overexpressed parkin will protect against loss of DJ-1 and, although DJ-1 does not alter PINK1 mitochondrial phenotypes, DJ-1 is still active against rotenone-induced damage in the absence of PINK1. None of the three proteins complex together using size exclusion chromatography. These data suggest that DJ-1 works in parallel to the PINK1/parkin pathway to maintain mitochondrial function in the presence of an oxidative environment. Source


Jacobson M.R.,Saccomanno Research Institute
Protein Reviews | Year: 2011

In addition to its role in ribosome biogenesis, the nucleolus contributes to many other activities including the processing and assembly of other nonribosomal RNA-protein complexes. Recent findings suggest that the nucleolus is involved in the biogenesis of the signal recognition particle (SRP), a cytoplasmic ribonucleoprotein (RNP) complex that recognizes and targets select ribosomes to the endoplasmic reticulum membrane for the cotranslational translocation of membrane and secretory proteins. Assembly of the SRP into a functional RNP complex requires the ordered, sequential association of protein subunits onto the SRP RNA. Here, we will review our current understanding of SRP assembly with a focus on the role the nucleolus plays in SRP biogenesis. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. Source


Amos C.I.,University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center | Pinney S.M.,University of Cincinnati | Li Y.,University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center | Kupert E.,University of Cincinnati | And 15 more authors.
Cancer Research | Year: 2010

Cigarette smoking is the major cause for lung cancer, but genetic factors also affect susceptibility. We studied families that included multiple relatives affected by lung cancer. Results from linkage analysis showed strong evidence that a region of chromosome 6q affects lung cancer risk. To characterize the effects that this region of chromosome 6q region has on lung cancer risk, we identified a haplotype that segregated with lung cancer. We then performed Cox regression analysis to estimate the differential effects that smoking behaviors have on lung cancer risk according to whether each individual carried a risk-associated haplotype or could not be classified and was assigned unknown haplotypic status. We divided smoking exposures into never smokers, light smokers (<20 pack-years), moderate smokers (20 to <40 pack-years), and heavy smokers (≥40 pack-years). Comparing results according to smoking behavior stratified by carrier status, compared with never smokers, there was weakly increasing risk for increasing smoking behaviors, with the hazards ratios being 3.44, 4.91, and 5.18, respectively, for light, moderate, or heavy smokers, whereas among the individuals from families without the risk haplotype, the risks associated with smoking increased strongly with exposure, the hazards ratios being, respectively, 4.25, 9.17, and 11.89 for light, moderate, and heavy smokers. The never smoking carriers had a 4.71-fold higher risk than the never smoking individuals without known risk haplotypes. These results identify a region of chromosome 6q that increases risk for lung cancer and that confers particularly higher risks to never and light smokers. ©2010 AACR. Source


Leng S.,Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute | Picchi M.A.,Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute | Liu Y.,Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute | Thomas C.L.,Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute | And 12 more authors.
Carcinogenesis | Year: 2013

Epidemiological studies of underground miners suggested that occupational exposure to radon causes lung cancer with squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) as the predominant histological type. However, the genetic determinants for susceptibility of radon-induced SCC in miners are unclear. Double-strand breaks induced by radioactive radon daughters are repaired primarily by non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) that is accompanied by the dynamic changes in surrounding chromatin, including nucleosome repositioning and histone modifications. Thus, a molecular epidemiological study was conducted to assess whether genetic variation in 16 genes involved in NHEJ and related histone modification affected susceptibility for SCC in radon-exposed former miners (267 SCC cases and 383 controls) from the Colorado plateau. A global association between genetic variation in the haplotype block where SIRT1 resides and the risk for SCC in miners (P = 0.003) was identified. Haplotype alleles tagged by the A allele of SIRT1 rs7097008 were associated with increased risk for SCC (odds ratio = 1.69, P = 8.2 × 10-5) and greater survival in SCC cases (hazard ratio = 0.79, P = 0.03) in miners. Functional validation of rs7097008 demonstrated that the A allele was associated with reduced gene expression in bronchial epithelial cells and compromised DNA repair capacity in peripheral lymphocytes. Together, these findings substantiate genetic variation in SIRT1 as a risk modifier for developing SCC in miners and suggest that SIRT1 may also play a tumor suppressor role in radon-induced cancer in miners. © The Author 2013. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. Source


Thomas K.J.,Colorado Mesa University | Thomas K.J.,Saccomanno Research Institute | Jacobson M.R.,Saccomanno Research Institute
PLoS ONE | Year: 2012

Evasion of apoptosis is implicated in almost all aspects of cancer progression, as well as treatment resistance. In this study, resistance to apoptosis was identified in tumorigenic lung epithelial (A549) cells as a consequence of defects in mitochondrial and autophagic function. Mitochondrial function is determined in part by mitochondrial morphology, a process regulated by mitochondrial dynamics whereby the joining of two mitochondria, fusion, inhibits apoptosis while fission, the division of a mitochondrion, initiates apoptosis. Mitochondrial morphology of A549 cells displayed an elongated phenotype-mimicking cells deficient in mitochondrial fission protein, Dynamin-related protein 1 (Drp1). A549 cells had impaired Drp1 mitochondrial recruitment and decreased Drp1-dependent fission. Cytochrome c release and caspase-3 and PARP cleavage were impaired both basally and with apoptotic stimuli in A549 cells. Increased mitochondrial mass was observed in A549 cells, suggesting defects in mitophagy (mitochondrial selective autophagy). A549 cells had decreased LC3-II lipidation and lysosomal inhibition suggesting defects in autophagy occur upstream of lysosomal degradation. Immunostaining indicated mitochondrial localized LC3 punctae in A549 cells increased after mitochondrial uncoupling or with a combination of mitochondrial depolarization and ectopic Drp1 expression. Increased inhibition of apoptosis in A549 cells is correlated with impeded mitochondrial fission and mitophagy. We suggest mitochondrial fission defects contribute to apoptotic resistance in A549 cells. © 2012 Thomas, Jacobson. Source

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