Nader Pourmand, Ph.D.
Director, UCSC Genome Technology Center,University of California, Santa Cruz
Biosensor and Single Cell Manipulation using Nanopipettes
Approaching sub-cellular biological problems from an engineering perspective begs for the incorporation of electronic readouts. With their high sensitivity and low invasiveness, nanotechnology-based tools hold great promise for biochemical sensing and single-cell manipulation. During my talk I will discuss the incorporation of electrical measurements into nanopipette technology and present results showing the rapid and reversible response of these subcellular sensors to different analytes such as antigens, ions and carbohydrates. In addition, I will present the development of a single-cell manipulation platform that uses a nanopipette in a scanning ion-conductive microscopy technique. We use this newly developed technology to position the nanopipette with nanoscale precision, and to inject and/or aspirate a minute amount of material to and from individual cells or organelle without comprising cell viability. Furthermore, if time permits, I will show our strategy for a new, single-cell DNA/ RNA sequencing technology that will potentially use nanopipette technology to analyze the minute amount of aspirated cellular material.
Gokul Das, Ph.D.
Co-Director, Breast Disease Site Research Group, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, NY
Probing Estrogen Receptor−Tumor Suppressor p53 Interaction in Cancer: From Basic Research to Clinical Trial
Tumor suppressor p53 and estrogen receptor have opposite roles in the onset and progression of breast cancer. p53 responds to a variety of cellular of stresses by restricting the proliferation and survival of abnormal cells. Estrogen receptor plays an important role in normal mammary gland development and the preservation of adult mammary gland function; however, when deregulated it becomes abnormally pro-proliferative and greatly contributes to breast tumorigenesis. The biological actions of estrogens are mediated by two genetically distinct estrogen receptors (ERs): ER alpha and ER beta. In addition to its expression in several ER alpha-positive breast cancers and normal mammary cells, ER beta is usually present in ER alpha-negative cancers including triple-negative breast cancer. In spite of genetically being wild type, why p53 is functionally debilitated in breast cancer has remained unclear. Our recent finding that ER alpha binds directly to p53 and inhibits its function has provided a novel mechanism for inactivating genetically wild type p53 in human cancer. Using a combination of proliferation and apoptosis assays, RNAi technology, quantitative chromatin immunoprecipitation (qChIP), and quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR), in situ proximity ligation assay (PLA), and protein expression analysis in patient tissue micro array (TMA), we have demonstrated binding of ER alpha to p53 and have delineated the domains on both the proteins necessary for the interaction. Importantly, ionizing radiation inhibits the ER-p53 interaction in vivo both in human cancer cells and human breast tumor xenografts in mice. In addition, antiestrogenstamoxifen and faslodex/fulvestrant (ICI 182780) disrupt the ER-p53 interaction and counteract the repressive effect of ER alpha on p53, whereas 17β-estradiol (E2) enhances the interaction. Intriguingly, E2 has diametrically opposite effects on corepressor recruitment to a p53-target gene promoter versus a prototypic ERE-containing promoter. Thus, we have uncovered a novel mechanism by which estrogen could be providing a strong proliferative advantage to cells by dual mechanisms: enhancing expression of ERE-containing pro-proliferative genes while at the same time inhibiting transcription of p53-dependent anti-proliferative genes. Consistently, ER alpha enhances cell cycle progression and inhibits apoptosis of breast cancer cells. Correlating with these observations, our retrospective clinical study shows that presence of wild type p53 in ER-positive breast tumors is associated with better response to tamoxifen therapy. These data suggest ER alpha-p53 interaction could be one of the mechanisms underlying resistance to tamoxifen therapy, a major clinical challenge encountered in breast cancer patients. We have launched a prospective clinical trial to analyze ER-p53 interaction in breast cancer patient tumors at Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Our more recent finding that ER beta has opposite functions depending on the mutational status of p53 in breast cancer cells is significant in understanding the hard-to-treat triple-negative breast cancer and in developing novel therapeutic strategies against it. Our integrated approach to analyze ER-p53 interaction at the basic, translational, and clinical research levels has major implications in the diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of breast cancer.
Akhilesh Pandey, Ph.D.
Professor, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, USA
A draft map of the human proteome
We have generated a draft map of the human proteome through a systematic and comprehensive analysis of normal human adult tissues, fetal tissues and hematopoietic cells as an India-US initiative. This unique dataset was generated from 30 histologically normal adult tissues, fetal tissues and purified primary hematopoietic cells that were analyzed at high resolution in the MS mode and by HCD fragmentation in the MS/MS mode on LTQ-Orbitrap Velos/Elite mass spectrometers. This dataset was searched against a 6-frame translation of the human genome and RNA-Seq transcripts in addition to standard protein databases. In addition to confirming a large majority (>16,000) of the annotated protein-coding genes in humans, we obtained novel information at multiple levels: novel protein-coding genes, unannotated exons, novel splice sites, proof of translation of pseudogenes (i.e. genes incorrectly annotated as pseudogenes), fused genes, SNPs encoded in proteins and novel N-termini to name a few. Many proteins identified in this study were identified by proteomic methods for the first time (e.g. hypothetical proteins or proteins annotated based solely on their chromosomal location). We have generated a catalog of proteins that show a more tissue-restricted pattern of expression, which should serve as the basis for pursuing biomarkers for diseases pertaining to specific organs. This study also provides one of the largest sets of proteotypic peptides for use in developing MRM assays for human proteins. Identification of several novel protein-coding regions in the human genome underscores the importance of systematic characterization of the human proteome and accurate annotation of protein-coding genes. This comprehensive dataset will complement other global HUPO initiatives using antibody-based as well as MRM mass spectrometry-based strategies. Finally, we believe that this dataset will become a reference set for use as a spectral library as well as for interesting interrogations pertaining to biomedical as well as bioinformatics questions.