K. Satyamoorthy, Ph.D.
Director, Life Sciences Centre, Manipal University, India
Epigenetic Changes due to DNA Methylation in Human Epithelial Tumors
Extensive global hypomethylation in the genome and hypermthylation of selective tumor specific suppressor genes appears to be a hallmark of human cancers. Data suggests that hypermethylation of promoter region in genes is more closely related to subsequent gene expression; contrary to gene-body DNA methylation. The intricate balance between these two may contribute to the progressive process of development, differentiation and carcinogenesis. Epigenetic changes encompass, apart from DNA methylation, chromatin modifications through post-translational changes in histones and control by miRNAs. At the genome level, effects from these are compounded by copy number variations (CNVs) which may ultimately influence protein functions. From clinical perspective, changes in DNA methylation occur very early which are reversible and are influenced by environmental factors. Therefore, these can be potential resource for identifying therapeutic targets as well as biomarkers for early screening of cancer. Our current efforts in profiling genome wide DNA methylation changes in oral, cervical and breast cancers through DNA methylation microarray analysis has revealed number of alterations critical for survival, progression and metastatic behavior of tumors. Bioinformatics and functional analysis revealed several key regulatory molecules controlled by DNA methylation and suggests that DNA methylation changes in several CpG islands appear to co-segregate in the regions of miRNAs as well as in the CNVs. We have validated the signatures for methylation of CpG islands through bisufite sequencing for essential genes in clinical samples and have undertaken transcriptional and functional analysis in tumor cell lines. These results will be presented.
Michelle Hermiston, MD, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics University of California San Francisco, USA
Interrogating Signaling Networks at the Single Cell Level In Primary Human Patient Samples
Multiparameter phosphoflow cytometry is a highly sensitive proteomic approach that enables monitoring of biochemical perturbations at the single cell level. By combining antisera to cell surface markers and key intracellular proteins, perturbations in signaling networks, cell survival and apoptosis mediators, cell cycle regulators, and/or modulators of other cellular processes can be analyzed in a highly reproducible and sensitive manner in the basal state and in response to stimulation or drug treatment. Advantages of this approach include the ability to identify the biochemical consequences of genetic and/or epigenetic changes in small numbers of cells, to map potential interplay between various signaling networks simultaneously in a single cell, and to interrogate potential mechanisms of drug resistance or response in a primary patient sample. Application of this technology to patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia or the autoimmune disease systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) will be discussed.