ResearchPad - insertion-mutation https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[TIM, a targeted insertional mutagenesis method utilizing CRISPR/Cas9 in <i>Chlamydomonas reinhardtii</i>]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13864 Generation and subsequent analysis of mutants is critical to understanding the functions of genes and proteins. Here we describe TIM, an efficient, cost-effective, CRISPR-based targeted insertional mutagenesis method for the model organism Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. TIM utilizes delivery into the cell of a Cas9-guide RNA (gRNA) ribonucleoprotein (RNP) together with exogenous double-stranded (donor) DNA. The donor DNA contains gene-specific homology arms and an integral antibiotic-resistance gene that inserts at the double-stranded break generated by Cas9. After optimizing multiple parameters of this method, we were able to generate mutants for six out of six different genes in two different cell-walled strains with mutation efficiencies ranging from 40% to 95%. Furthermore, these high efficiencies allowed simultaneous targeting of two separate genes in a single experiment. TIM is flexible with regard to many parameters and can be carried out using either electroporation or the glass-bead method for delivery of the RNP and donor DNA. TIM achieves a far higher mutation rate than any previously reported for CRISPR-based methods in C. reinhardtii and promises to be effective for many, if not all, non-essential nuclear genes.

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<![CDATA[Comparative analysis of mutational robustness of the intrinsically disordered viral protein VPg and of its interactor eIF4E]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6f148fd5eed0c48467a2e5

Conformational intrinsic disorder is a feature present in many virus proteins. Intrinsically disordered regions (IDRs) have weaker structural requirement than ordered regions and mutations in IDRs could have a lower impact on the virus fitness. This could favor its exploration of adaptive solutions. The potyviral protein VPg contains IDRs with determinants for adaptation to its host plant. To experimentally assess whether IDRs are more resistant to mutations than ordered regions, the biologically relevant interaction between mutant libraries of both VPg and the eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E (eIF4E) and their respective wild type partner was examined using yeast two hybrid assay. Our data shows that VPg is significantly more robust to mutations than eIF4E and as such belongs to a particular class of intrinsically disordered proteins. This result is discussed from the standpoint of IDRs involvement in the virus adaptive processes.

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<![CDATA[Adaptation of Pseudomonas aeruginosa to the chronic phenotype by mutations in the algTmucABD operon in isolates from Brazilian cystic fibrosis patients]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c0993d5d5eed0c4842ada44

Chronic lung infection by Pseudomonas aeruginosa is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients. This is associated with the conversion of the non-mucoid to the mucoid phenotype. However, there is little information about the occurrence of alginate-producing P. aeruginosa in CF patients outside Europe and North America. The aim of the present study was to investigate mutations in the algTmucABD operon in mucoid and non-mucoid isolates from Brazilian CF patients. Twenty-seven mucoid and 37 non-mucoid isolates from 40 CF patients chronically infected by P. aeruginosa attending a CF reference center in Brazil were evaluated by sequence analysis. Mutations in mucA were observed in 93% of the mucoid isolates and 54% of the non-mucoid isolates. Among these non-mucoid isolates, 55% were considered revertants, since they also had mutations in algT (algU). Most isolates associated with moderate alginate production presented point mutations in mucB and/or mucD. We identified 30 mutations not previously described in the operon. In conclusion, mutations in mucA were the main mechanism of conversion to mucoidy, and most of the non-mucoid isolates were revertants, but the mechanism of revertance is not fully explained by changes in algT.

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<![CDATA[Non-Homologous End Joining and Homology Directed DNA Repair Frequency of Double-Stranded Breaks Introduced by Genome Editing Reagents]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9ecab0ee8fa60b6cee3

Genome editing using transcription-activator like effector nucleases or RNA guided nucleases allows one to precisely engineer desired changes within a given target sequence. The genome editing reagents introduce double stranded breaks (DSBs) at the target site which can then undergo DNA repair by non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) or homology directed recombination (HDR) when a template DNA molecule is available. NHEJ repair results in indel mutations at the target site. As PCR amplified products from mutant target regions are likely to exhibit different melting profiles than PCR products amplified from wild type target region, we designed a high resolution melting analysis (HRMA) for rapid identification of efficient genome editing reagents. We also designed TaqMan assays using probes situated across the cut site to discriminate wild type from mutant sequences present after genome editing. The experiments revealed that the sensitivity of the assays to detect NHEJ-mediated DNA repair could be enhanced by selection of transfected cells to reduce the contribution of unmodified genomic DNA from untransfected cells to the DNA melting profile. The presence of donor template DNA lacking the target sequence at the time of genome editing further enhanced the sensitivity of the assays for detection of mutant DNA molecules by excluding the wild-type sequences modified by HDR. A second TaqMan probe that bound to an adjacent site, outside of the primary target cut site, was used to directly determine the contribution of HDR to DNA repair in the presence of the donor template sequence. The TaqMan qPCR assay, designed to measure the contribution of NHEJ and HDR in DNA repair, corroborated the results from HRMA. The data indicated that genome editing reagents can produce DSBs at high efficiency in HEK293T cells but a significant proportion of these are likely masked by reversion to wild type as a result of HDR. Supplying a donor plasmid to provide a template for HDR (that eliminates a PCR amplifiable target) revealed these cryptic DSBs and facilitated the determination of the true efficacy of genome editing reagents. The results indicated that in HEK293T cells, approximately 40% of the DSBs introduced by genome editing, were available for participation in HDR.

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<![CDATA[Genetically Thermo-Stabilised, Immunogenic Poliovirus Empty Capsids; a Strategy for Non-replicating Vaccines]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db53ab0ee8fa60bdcd32

While wild type polio has been nearly eradicated there will be a need to continue immunisation programmes for some time because of the possibility of re-emergence and the existence of long term excreters of poliovirus. All vaccines in current use depend on growth of virus and most of the non-replicating (inactivated) vaccines involve wild type viruses known to cause poliomyelitis. The attenuated vaccine strains involved in the eradication programme have been used to develop new inactivated vaccines as production is thought safer. However it is known that the Sabin vaccine strains are genetically unstable and can revert to a virulent transmissible form. A possible solution to the need for virus growth would be to generate empty viral capsids by recombinant technology, but hitherto such particles are so unstable as to be unusable. We report here the genetic manipulation of the virus to generate stable empty capsids for all three serotypes. The particles are shown to be extremely stable and to generate high levels of protective antibodies in animal models.

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<![CDATA[The Gene Encoding Dihydroflavonol 4-Reductase Is a Candidate for the anthocyaninless Locus of Rapid Cycling Brassica rapa (Fast Plants Type)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daa8ab0ee8fa60ba870b

Rapid cycling Brassica rapa, also known as Wisconsin Fast Plants, are a widely used organism in both K-12 and college science education. They are an excellent system for genetics laboratory instruction because it is very easy to conduct genetic crosses with this organism, there are numerous seed stocks with variation in both Mendelian and quantitative traits, they have a short generation time, and there is a wealth of educational materials for instructors using them. Their main deficiency for genetics education is that none of the genetic variation in RCBr has yet been characterized at the molecular level. Here we present the first molecular characterization of a gene responsible for a trait in Fast Plants. The trait under study is purple/nonpurple variation due to the anthocyaninless locus, which is one of the Mendelian traits most frequently used for genetics education with this organism. We present evidence that the DFR gene, which encodes dihyroflavonol 4-reductase, is the candidate gene for the anthocyaninless (ANL) locus in RCBr. DFR shows complete linkage with ANL in genetic crosses with a total of 948 informative chromosomes, and strains with the recessive nonpurple phenotype have a transposon-related insertion in the DFR which is predicted to disrupt gene function.

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<![CDATA[Novel Mutations in FKBP10 and PLOD2 Cause Rare Bruck Syndrome in Chinese Patients]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da52ab0ee8fa60b8e35e

Bruck syndrome (BS) is an extremely rare form of osteogenesis imperfecta characterized by congenital joint contracture, multiple fractures and short stature. We described the phenotypes of BS in two Chinese patients for the first time. The novel compound heterozygous mutations c.764_772dupACGTCCTCC (p.255_257dupHisValLeu) in exon 5 and c.1405G>T (p.Gly469X) in exon 9 of FKBP10 were identified in one proband. The novel compound heterozygous mutations c.1624delT (p.Tyr542Thrfs*18) in exon 14 and c.1880T>C (p.Val627Ala) in exon 17 of PLOD2 were identified in another probrand. Intravenous zoledronate was a potent agent for these patients, confirmed the efficacy of bisphosphonates on this disease. In conclusion, the novel causative mutations identified in the patients expand the genotypic spectrum of BS.

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<![CDATA[Likelihood-Based Inference of B Cell Clonal Families]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dad8ab0ee8fa60bb8c09

The human immune system depends on a highly diverse collection of antibody-making B cells. B cell receptor sequence diversity is generated by a random recombination process called “rearrangement” forming progenitor B cells, then a Darwinian process of lineage diversification and selection called “affinity maturation.” The resulting receptors can be sequenced in high throughput for research and diagnostics. Such a collection of sequences contains a mixture of various lineages, each of which may be quite numerous, or may consist of only a single member. As a step to understanding the process and result of this diversification, one may wish to reconstruct lineage membership, i.e. to cluster sampled sequences according to which came from the same rearrangement events. We call this clustering problem “clonal family inference.” In this paper we describe and validate a likelihood-based framework for clonal family inference based on a multi-hidden Markov Model (multi-HMM) framework for B cell receptor sequences. We describe an agglomerative algorithm to find a maximum likelihood clustering, two approximate algorithms with various trade-offs of speed versus accuracy, and a third, fast algorithm for finding specific lineages. We show that under simulation these algorithms greatly improve upon existing clonal family inference methods, and that they also give significantly different clusters than previous methods when applied to two real data sets.

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<![CDATA[Characterization of Novel Hepatitis B Virus PreS/S-Gene Mutations in a Patient with Occult Hepatitis B Virus Infection]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daefab0ee8fa60bc0939

Objective

The impact of hepatitis B virus (HBV) preS/S-gene mutations on occult HBV infection (OBI) is not fully understood. This study characterized multiple novel HBV preS/S-gene mutants obtained from an OBI patient.

Methods

PreS/S-gene mutants were analyzed by clonal sequencing. Viral replication and expression were analyzed by transfecting HBV genomic recombinants into HepG2 cells.

Results

Twenty-one preS/S-gene mutants were cloned from four sequential serum samples, including 13 mutants that were not previously documented: (1) sI/T126V+sG145R; (2) preS1 nt 3014−3198 deletion; (3) preS1 nt 3046−3177 deletion; (4) preS1 nt 3046−3177 deletion+s115−116 “INGTST” insertion; (5) preS1 nt 3046−3177 deletion+s115−116 “INGTST” insertion+sG145R; (6) preS1 nt 3115−3123 deletion+sQ129N; (7) preS1 nt 3115−3123 deletion+s126−127 “RPCMNCTI” insertion; (8) s115−116 “INGTST” insertion; (9) s115−116 “INGTST” insertion+sG145R; (10) s126−127 “RPCMNCTI” insertion; (11) preS1 nt 2848−2862 deletion+preS2 initiation codon M→I; (12) s122−123 “KSTGLCK” insertion+sQ129N; and (13) preS2 initiation codon M→I+s131−133TSM→NST. The proportion of preS1 nt 3046−3177 deletion and preS2 initiation codon M→I+s131−133TSM→NST mutants increased in the viral pool with prolonged disease. The 13 novel OBI-related mutants showed a 51.2−99.9% decrease in HBsAg levels compared with that of the wild type. Additional N-glycosylation-associated mutations, sQ129N and s131−133TSM→NST, but not s126−127 “RPCMNCTI,” greatly attenuated anti-HBs binding to HBsAg. Compared with the wild type, replication and surface antigen promoter II activity of the preS1 nt 3046−3177 deletion mutant decreased by 43.3% and 97.0%, respectively.

Conclusion

PreS/S-gene mutations may play coordinated roles in the presentation of OBI and might be associated with disease progression. This has implications for HBV diagnosis and vaccine improvement.

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<![CDATA[Two Desmin Gene Mutations Associated with Myofibrillar Myopathies in Polish Families]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da03ab0ee8fa60b74e03

Desmin is a muscle-specific intermediate filament protein which forms a network connecting the sarcomere, T tubules, sarcolemma, nuclear membrane, mitochondria and other organelles. Mutations in the gene coding for desmin (DES) cause skeletal myopathies often combined with cardiomyopathy, or isolated cardiomyopathies. The molecular pathomechanisms of the disease remain ambiguous. Here, we describe and comprehensively characterize two DES mutations found in Polish patients with a clinical diagnosis of desminopathy. The study group comprised 16 individuals representing three families. Two mutations were identified: a novel missense mutation (Q348P) and a small deletion of nine nucleotides (A357_E359del), previously described by us in the Polish population. A common ancestry of all the families bearing the A357_E359del mutation was confirmed. Both mutations were predicted to be pathogenic using a bioinformatics approach, including molecular dynamics simulations which helped to rationalize abnormal behavior at molecular level. To test the impact of the mutations on DES expression and the intracellular distribution of desmin muscle biopsies were investigated. Elevated desmin levels as well as its atypical localization in muscle fibers were observed. Additional staining for M-cadherin, α-actinin, and myosin heavy chains confirmed severe disruption of myofibrill organization. The abnormalities were more prominent in the Q348P muscle, where both small atrophic fibers as well large fibers with centrally localized nuclei were observed. We propose that the mutations affect desmin structure and cause its aberrant folding and subsequent aggregation, triggering disruption of myofibrils organization.

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<![CDATA[Identification of the potentiating mutations and synergistic epistasis that enabled the evolution of inter-species cooperation]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5aab0ee8fa60bdf753

Microbes often engage in cooperation through releasing biosynthetic compounds required by other species to grow. Given that production of costly biosynthetic metabolites is generally subjected to multiple layers of negative feedback, single mutations may frequently be insufficient to generate cooperative phenotypes. Synergistic epistatic interactions between multiple coordinated changes may thus often underlie the evolution of cooperation through overproduction of metabolites. To test the importance of synergistic mutations in cooperation we used an engineered bacterial consortium of an Escherichia coli methionine auxotroph and Salmonella enterica. S. enterica relies on carbon by-products from E. coli if lactose is the only carbon source. Directly selecting wild-type S. enterica in an environment that favored cooperation through secretion of methionine only once led to a methionine producer, and this producer both took a long time to emerge and was not very effective at cooperating. On the other hand, when an initial selection for resistance of S. enterica to a toxic methionine analog, ethionine, was used, subsequent selection for cooperation with E. coli was rapid, and the resulting double mutants were much more effective at cooperation. We found that potentiating mutations in metJ increase expression of metA, which encodes the first step of methionine biosynthesis. This increase in expression is required for the previously identified actualizing mutations in metA to generate cooperation. This work highlights that where biosynthesis of metabolites involves multiple layers of regulation, significant secretion of those metabolites may require multiple mutations, thereby constraining the evolution of cooperation.

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<![CDATA[Characterization of a Non-Canonical Signal Peptidase Cleavage Site in a Replication Protein from Tomato Ringspot Virus]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da6dab0ee8fa60b935cf

The NTB-VPg polyprotein from tomato ringspot virus is an integral membrane replication protein associated with endoplasmic reticulum membranes. A signal peptidase (SPase) cleavage was previously detected in the C-terminal region of NTB-VPg downstream of a 14 amino acid (aa)-long hydrophobic region (termed TM2). However, the exact location of the cleavage site was not determined. Using in vitro translation assays, we show that the SPase cleavage site is conserved in the NTB-VPg protein from various ToRSV isolates, although the rate of cleavage varies from one isolate to another. Systematic site-directed mutagenesis of the NTB-VPg SPase cleavage sites of two ToRSV isolates allowed the identification of sequences that affect cleavage efficiency. We also present evidence that SPase cleavage in the ToRSV-Rasp2 isolate occurs within a GAAGG sequence likely after the AAG (GAAG/G). Mutation of a downstream MAAV sequence to AAAV resulted in SPase cleavage at both the natural GAAG/G and the mutated AAA/V sequences. Given that there is a distance of seven aa between the two cleavage sites, this indicates that there is flexibility in the positioning of the cleavage sites relative to the inner surface of the membrane and the SPase active site. SPase cleavage sites are typically located 3–7 aa downstream of the hydrophobic region. However, the NTB-VPg GAAG/G cleavage site is located 17 aa downstream of the TM2 hydrophobic region, highlighting unusual features of the NTB-VPg SPase cleavage site. A putative 11 aa-long amphipathic helix was identified immediately downstream of the TM2 region and five aa upstream of the GAAG/G cleavage site. Based on these results, we present an updated topology model in which the hydrophobic and amphipathic domains form a long tilted helix or a bent helix in the membrane lipid bilayer, with the downstream cleavage site(s) oriented parallel to the membrane inner surface.

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<![CDATA[Microhomology-mediated end joining induces hypermutagenesis at breakpoint junctions]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5aab0ee8fa60bdf319

Microhomology (MH) flanking a DNA double-strand break (DSB) drives chromosomal rearrangements but its role in mutagenesis has not yet been analyzed. Here we determined the mutation frequency of a URA3 reporter gene placed at multiple locations distal to a DSB, which is flanked by different sizes (15-, 18-, or 203-bp) of direct repeat sequences for efficient repair in budding yeast. Induction of a DSB accumulates mutations in the reporter gene situated up to 14-kb distal to the 15-bp MH, but more modestly to those carrying 18- and 203-bp or no homology. Increased mutagenesis in MH-mediated end joining (MMEJ) appears coupled to its slower repair kinetics and the extensive resection occurring at flanking DNA. Chromosomal translocations via MMEJ also elevate mutagenesis of the flanking DNA sequences 7.1 kb distal to the breakpoint junction as compared to those without MH. The results suggest that MMEJ could destabilize genomes by triggering structural alterations and increasing mutation burden.

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<![CDATA[Prognostic value of plasma EGFR ctDNA in NSCLC patients treated with EGFR-TKIs]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db50ab0ee8fa60bdc0ab

Objective

Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) specific mutations have been known to improve survival of patients with non-small-cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC). However, whether there are any changes of EGFR mutations after targeted therapy and its clinical significance is unclear. This study was to identify the status of EGFR mutations after targeted therapy and predict the prognostic significance for NSCLC patients.

Methods

A total of forty-five (45) NSCLC patients who received EGFR-TKI therapy were enrolled. We identified the changes of EGFR mutations in plasma ctDNA by Amplification Refractory Mutation System (ARMS) PCR technology.

Results

In the 45 cases of NSCLC with EGFR mutations, the EGFR mutation status changed in 26 cases, in which, 12 cases (26.7%) from positive to negative, and 14 cases (31.1%) from T790M mutation negative to positive after TKI targeted therapy. The T790M occurance group had a shorter Progression -Free-Survival (PFS) than the groups of EGFR mutation undetected and EGFR mutation turned out to have no change after EGFR-TKI therapy (p < 0.05).

Conclusions

According to this study, it’s necessary to closely monitor EGFR mutations during follow-up to predict the prognosis of NSCLC patients who are to receive the TKI targeted therapy.

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<![CDATA[Targeted Mutagenesis in Plant Cells through Transformation of Sequence-Specific Nuclease mRNA]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da29ab0ee8fa60b81eaa

Plant genome engineering using sequence-specific nucleases (SSNs) promises to advance basic and applied plant research by enabling precise modification of endogenous genes. Whereas DNA is an effective means for delivering SSNs, DNA can integrate randomly into the plant genome, leading to unintentional gene inactivation. Further, prolonged expression of SSNs from DNA constructs can lead to the accumulation of off-target mutations. Here, we tested a new approach for SSN delivery to plant cells, namely transformation of messenger RNA (mRNA) encoding TAL effector nucleases (TALENs). mRNA delivery of a TALEN pair targeting the Nicotiana benthamiana ALS gene resulted in mutation frequencies of approximately 6% in comparison to DNA delivery, which resulted in mutation frequencies of 70.5%. mRNA delivery resulted in three-fold fewer insertions, and 76% were <10bp; in contrast, 88% of insertions generated through DNA delivery were >10bp. In an effort to increase mutation frequencies using mRNA, we fused several different 5’ and 3’ untranslated regions (UTRs) from Arabidopsis thaliana genes to the TALEN coding sequence. UTRs from an A. thaliana adenine nucleotide α hydrolases-like gene (At1G09740) enhanced mutation frequencies approximately two-fold, relative to a no-UTR control. These results indicate that mRNA can be used as a delivery vehicle for SSNs, and that manipulation of mRNA UTRs can influence efficiencies of genome editing.

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<![CDATA[Synonymous Co-Variation across the E1/E2 Gene Junction of Hepatitis C Virus Defines Virion Fitness]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da29ab0ee8fa60b81bee

Hepatitis C virus is a positive-sense single-stranded RNA virus. The gene junction partitioning the viral glycoproteins E1 and E2 displays concurrent sequence evolution with the 3′-end of E1 highly conserved and the 5′-end of E2 highly heterogeneous. This gene junction is also believed to contain structured RNA elements, with a growing body of evidence suggesting that such structures can act as an additional level of viral replication and transcriptional control. We have previously used ultradeep pyrosequencing to analyze an amplicon library spanning the E1/E2 gene junction from a treatment naïve patient where samples were collected over 10 years of chronic HCV infection. During this timeframe maintenance of an in-frame insertion, recombination and humoral immune targeting of discrete virus sub-populations was reported. In the current study, we present evidence of epistatic evolution across the E1/E2 gene junction and observe the development of co-varying networks of codons set against a background of a complex virome with periodic shifts in population dominance. Overtime, the number of codons actively mutating decreases for all virus groupings. We identify strong synonymous co-variation between codon sites in a group of sequences harbouring a 3 bp in-frame insertion and propose that synonymous mutation acts to stabilize the RNA structural backbone.

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<![CDATA[The percentage of Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR)-mutated neoplastic cells correlates to response to tyrosine kinase inhibitors in lung adenocarcinoma]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5cab0ee8fa60bdfdf2

Background

Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) molecular analysis is performed to assess the responsiveness to Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors (TKIs) in patients with Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC). The existence of molecular intra-tumoral heterogeneity has been observed in lung cancers. The aim of the present study is to investigate if the percentage of mutated neoplastic cells within the tumor sample might influence the responsiveness to TKIs treatment.

Material and methods

A total of 931 cases of NSCLC were analyzed for EGFR mutational status (exon 18, 19, 20, 21) using Next Generation Sequencer. The percentage of mutated neoplastic cells was calculated after normalizing the percentage of mutated alleles obtained after next generation sequencer analysis with the percentage of neoplastic cells in each tumor.

Results

Next generation sequencing revealed an EGFR mutation in 167 samples (17.9%), mainly deletions in exon 19. In 18 patients treated with TKIs and with available follow-up, there was a significant correlation between the percentage of mutated neoplastic cells and the clinical response (P = 0.017). Patients with a percentage of mutated neoplastic cells greater than 56%, have a statistical trend (P = 0.081) for higher Overall Survival (26.3 months) when compared to those with a rate of mutated neoplastic cells lower than 56% (8.2 months).

Conclusions

The percentage of EGFR-mutated neoplastic cells in the tumor is associated with response to TKIs. A “quantitative result” of EGFR mutational status might provide useful information in order to recognize those patients which might have the greatest benefit from TKIs.

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<![CDATA[Genomic and phenotypic characterization of myxoma virus from Great Britain reveals multiple evolutionary pathways distinct from those in Australia]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db54ab0ee8fa60bdcf64

The co-evolution of myxoma virus (MYXV) and the European rabbit occurred independently in Australia and Europe from different progenitor viruses. Although this is the canonical study of the evolution of virulence, whether the genomic and phenotypic outcomes of MYXV evolution in Europe mirror those observed in Australia is unknown. We addressed this question using viruses isolated in the United Kingdom early in the MYXV epizootic (1954–1955) and between 2008–2013. The later UK viruses fell into three distinct lineages indicative of a long period of separation and independent evolution. Although rates of evolutionary change were almost identical to those previously described for MYXV in Australia and strongly clock-like, genome evolution in the UK and Australia showed little convergence. The phenotypes of eight UK viruses from three lineages were characterized in laboratory rabbits and compared to the progenitor (release) Lausanne strain. Inferred virulence ranged from highly virulent (grade 1) to highly attenuated (grade 5). Two broad disease types were seen: cutaneous nodular myxomatosis characterized by multiple raised secondary cutaneous lesions, or an amyxomatous phenotype with few or no secondary lesions. A novel clinical outcome was acute death with pulmonary oedema and haemorrhage, often associated with bacteria in many tissues but an absence of inflammatory cells. Notably, reading frame disruptions in genes defined as essential for virulence in the progenitor Lausanne strain were compatible with the acquisition of high virulence. Combined, these data support a model of ongoing host-pathogen co-evolution in which multiple genetic pathways can produce successful outcomes in the field that involve both different virulence grades and disease phenotypes, with alterations in tissue tropism and disease mechanisms.

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<![CDATA[Structural features embedded in G protein-coupled receptor co-crystal structures are key to their success in virtual screening]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db51ab0ee8fa60bdc204

Structure based drug discovery on GPCRs harness atomic detail X-ray binding pockets and large libraries of potential drug lead candidates in virtual screening (VS) to identify novel lead candidates. Relatively small conformational differences between such binding pockets can be critical to the success of VS. Retrospective VS on GPCR/ligand co-crystal structures revealed stark differences in the ability of different structures to identify known ligands, despite being co-crystallized with the same ligand. When using the OpenEye toolkit and the ICM modeling package, we identify criteria associated with the predictive power of binding pockets in VS that consists of a combination of ligand/receptor interaction pattern and predicted ligand/receptor interaction strength. These findings can guide the selection and refinement of GPCR binding pockets for use in SBDD programs and may also provide a potential framework for evaluating the ability of computational GPCR binding pocket refinement tools in improving the predictive power of binding pockets.

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<![CDATA[The frequency and clinical impact of HER2 alterations in lung adenocarcinoma]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db4fab0ee8fa60bdb8c4

Human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2 or ErbB2) can be overexpressed, amplified and/or mutated in malignant tumors, and is a candidate for therapeutic targeting. However, molecular associations and clinical significances of these alterations were controversial in lung cancer. In this study, we investigated the frequency and clinicopathological significance of HER2 dysregulation in patients with lung adenocarcinoma. HER2 protein overexpression, gene amplification, and gene mutation were evaluated by immunohistochemistry (IHC), silver in situ hybridization, and direct sequencing, respectively. The H-scoring method and American Society of Clinical Oncology/College of American Pathologists breast cancer guidelines were used to interpret IHC results. Genetic analyses of EGFR and KRAS mutations, and of ALK and ROS1 rearrangements, were also performed. Of the 321 adenocarcinoma patients identified, HER2 overexpression (H-score ≥200) and gene amplification were found in 6 (1.9%) and 46 (14.3%), respectively. HER2 overexpression was correlated with papillary predominant histology; furthermore, it indicated poor overall survival and was an independent prognostic factor. HER2 amplification was associated with pleural invasion and showed a tendency towards shorter overall and disease-free survival. High-level gene amplification (HER2/CEP17 ratio ≥5 or copy number ≥10) was a poor prognostic factor for disease-free survival. HER2 mutations were detected in 6.7% (7 of 104) of driver oncogene-negative adenocarcinomas. Our study suggests that HER2 overexpression or amplification is a poor prognostic factor in lung adenocarcinoma, although the frequency of such events is low. Since molecular targeted agents are being tested in clinical trials, awareness of the specific HER2 status can influence the prognostic stratification and treatment of patients with molecularly defined subsets of lung adenocarcinoma.

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