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Scottsdale, AZ, United States

Alvarez M.L.,Arizona State University | Alvarez M.L.,Translational Genomic Research Institute TGen | Topal E.,Arizona State University | Martin F.,Arizona State University | And 3 more authors.
Plant Molecular Biology | Year: 2010

Improving foreign protein accumulation is crucial for enhancing the commercial success of plant-based production systems since product yields have a major influence on process economics. Cereal grain evolved to store large amounts of proteins in tightly organized aggregates. In maize, γ-Zein is the major storage protein synthesized by the rough endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and stored in specialized organelles called protein bodies (PB). Zera ® (γ-Zein ER-accumulating domain) is the N-terminal proline-rich domain of γ-zein that is sufficient to induce the assembly of PB formation. Fusion of the Zera® domain to proteins of interest results in assembly of dense PB-like, ER-derived organelles, containing high concentration of recombinant protein. Our main goal was to increase recombinant protein accumulation in plants in order to enhance the efficiency of orally-delivered plant-made vaccines. It is well known that oral vaccination requires substantially higher doses than parental formulations. As a part of a project to develop a plant-made plague vaccine, we expressed our model antigen, the Yersinia pestis F1-V antigen fusion protein, with and without a fused Zera® domain. We demonstrated that Zera®-F1-V protein accumulation was at least 3× higher than F1-V alone when expressed in three different host plant systems: Ncotiana benthamiana, Medicago sativa (alfalfa) and Nicotiana tabacum NT1 cells. We confirmed the feasibility of using Zera® technology to induce protein body formation in non-seed tissues. Zera® expression and accumulation did not affect plant development and growth. These results confirmed the potential exploitation of Zera® technology to substantially increase the accumulation of value-added proteins in plants. © 2009 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

Teraoka S.N.,University of Virginia | Bernstein J.L.,Sloan Kettering Cancer Center | Reiner A.S.,Sloan Kettering Cancer Center | Haile R.W.,University of Southern California | And 15 more authors.
Breast Cancer Research | Year: 2011

Introduction: Genome-wide association studies, focusing primarily on unilateral breast cancer, have identified single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in a number of genomic regions that have alleles associated with a significantly increased risk of breast cancer. In the current study we evaluate the contributions of these previously identified regions to the risk of developing contralateral breast cancer. The most strongly disease-associated SNPs from prior studies were tested for association with contralateral breast cancer. A subset of these SNPs, selected upon their main effects on contralateral breast cancer risk was further evaluated for interaction with treatment modalities and estrogen receptor (ER) status.Methods: We genotyped 21 SNPs in 708 women with contralateral breast cancer and 1394 women with unilateral breast cancer who serve as the cases and controls in the Women's Environment, Cancer and Radiation Epidemiology (WECARE) Study. Records of treatment and ER status were available for most of WECARE Study participants. Associations of SNP genotypes and risk for contralateral breast cancer were calculated with multivariable adjusted conditional logistic regression methods.Results: Multiple SNPs in the FGFR2 locus were significantly associated with contralateral breast cancer, including rs1219648 (per allele rate ratio (RR) = 1.25, 95%CI = 1.08-1.45). Statistically significant associations with contralateral breast cancer were also observed at rs7313833, near the PTHLH gene (per allele RR = 1.26, 95%CI = 1.08-1.47), rs13387042 (2q35) (per allele RR = 1.19, 95%CI = 1.02-1.37), rs13281615 (8q24) (per allele RR = 1.21, 95%CI = 1.04-1.40), and rs11235127 near TMEM135 (per allele RR = 1.26, 95%CI = 1.04-1.53). The A allele of rs13387042 (2q35) was significantly associated with contralateral breast cancer in ER negative first tumors while the A allele of rs11235127 (near TMEM135) was significantly associated with contralateral breast cancer in ER positive first tumors. Although some SNP genotypes appeared to modify contralateral breast cancer risk with respect to tamoxifen treatment or particular radiation doses, trend tests for such effects were not significant.Conclusions: Our results indicate that some common risk variants associated with primary breast cancer also increase risk for contralateral breast cancer, and that these risks vary with the ER status of the first tumor. © 2011 Teraoka et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Xie L.,Translational Genomic Research Institute TGen | Kassner M.,Translational Genomic Research Institute TGen | Munoz R.M.,Translational Genomic Research Institute TGen | Que Q.Q.,Translational Genomic Research Institute TGen | And 6 more authors.
Biochemical Pharmacology | Year: 2012

Aurora kinases are a family of mitotic kinases that play important roles in the tumorigenesis of a variety of cancers including pancreatic cancer. A number of Aurora kinase inhibitors (AKIs) are currently being tested in preclinical and clinical settings as anti-cancer therapies. However, the antitumor activity of AKIs in clinical trials has been modest. In order to improve the antitumor activity of AKIs in pancreatic cancer, we utilized a kinome focused RNAi screen to identify genes that, when silenced, would sensitize pancreatic cancer cells to AKI treatment. A total of 17 kinase genes were identified and confirmed as positive hits. One of the hits was the platelet-derived growth factor receptor, alpha polypeptide (PDGFRA), which has been shown to be overexpressed in pancreatic cancer cells and tumor tissues. Imatinib, a PDGFR inhibitor, significantly enhanced the anti-proliferative effect of ZM447439, an Aurora B specific inhibitor, and PHA-739358, a pan-Aurora kinase inhibitor. Further studies showed that imatinib augmented the induction of G2/M cell cycle arrest and apoptosis by PHA-739358. These findings indicate that PDGFRA is a potential mediator of AKI sensitivity in pancreatic cancer cells. © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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