The protein kinase complement of the human genome.

The protein kinase complement of the human genome.

We have catalogued the protein kinase complement of the human genome (the “kinome”) using public and proprietary genomic, complementary DNA, and expressed sequence tag (EST) sequences. This provides a starting point for comprehensive analysis of protein phosphorylation in normal and disease states, as well as a detailed view of the current state of human genome analysis through a focus on one large gene family. We identify 518 putative protein kinase genes, of which 71 have not previously been reported or described as kinases, and we extend or correct the protein sequences of 56 more kinases.
New genes include members of well-studied families as well as previously unidentified families, some of which are conserved in model organisms. Classification and comparison with model organism kinomes identified orthologous groups and highlighted expansions specific to human and other lineages. We also identified 106 protein kinase pseudogenes. Chromosomal mapping revealed several small clusters of kinase genes and revealed that 244 kinases map to disease loci or cancer amplicons.


Glioma stem cells promote radioresistance by preferential activation of the DNA damage response.

Ionizing radiation represents the most effective therapy for glioblastoma (World Health Organization grade IV glioma), one of the most lethal human malignancies, but radiotherapy remains only palliative because of radioresistance. The mechanisms underlying tumour radioresistance have remained elusive. Here we show that cancer stem cells contribute to glioma radioresistance through preferential activation of the DNA damage checkpoint response and an increase in DNA repair capacity.
The fraction of tumour cells expressing CD133 (Prominin-1), a marker for both neural stem cells and brain cancer stem cells, is enriched after radiation in gliomas. In both cell culture and the brains of immunocompromised mice, CD133-expressing glioma cells survive ionizing radiation in increased proportions relative to most tumour cells, which lack CD133. CD133-expressing tumour cells isolated from both human glioma xenografts and primary patient glioblastoma specimens preferentially activate the DNA damage checkpoint in response to radiation, and repair radiation-induced DNA damage more effectively than CD133-negative tumour cells.
In addition, the radioresistance of CD133-positive glioma stem cells can be reversed with a specific inhibitor of the Chk1 and Chk2 checkpoint kinases. Our results suggest that CD133-positive tumour cells represent the cellular population that confers glioma radioresistance and could be the source of tumour recurrence after radiation. Targeting DNA damage checkpoint response in cancer stem cells may overcome this radioresistance and provide a therapeutic model for malignant brain cancers.

Free radicals and antioxidants in normal physiological functions and human disease.

Reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reactive nitrogen species (RNS, e.g. nitric oxide, NO(*)) are well recognised for playing a dual role as both deleterious and beneficial species. ROS and RNS are normally generated by tightly regulated enzymes, such as NO synthase (NOS) and NAD(P)H oxidase isoforms, respectively. Overproduction of ROS (arising either from mitochondrial electron-transport chain or excessive stimulation of NAD(P)H) results in oxidative stress, a deleterious process that can be an important mediator of damage to cell structures, including lipids and membranes, proteins, and DNA.
In contrast, beneficial effects of ROS/RNS (e.g. superoxide radical and nitric oxide) occur at low/moderate concentrations and involve physiological roles in cellular responses to noxia, as for example in defence against infectious agents, in the function of a number of cellular signalling pathways, and the induction of a mitogenic response. Ironically, various ROS-mediated actions in fact protect cells against ROS-induced oxidative stress and re-establish or maintain “redox balance” termed also “redox homeostasis”.
The “two-faced” character of ROS is clearly substantiated. For example, a growing body of evidence shows that ROS within cells act as secondary messengers in intracellular signalling cascades which induce and maintain the oncogenic phenotype of cancer cells, however, ROS can also induce cellular senescence and apoptosis and can therefore function as anti-tumourigenic species. This review will describe the: (i) chemistry and biochemistry of ROS/RNS and sources of free radical generation; (ii) damage to DNA, to proteins, and to lipids by free radicals; (iii) role of antioxidants (e.g. glutathione) in the maintenance of cellular “redox homeostasis”; (iv) overview of ROS-induced signaling pathways; (v) role of ROS in redox regulation of normal physiological functions, as well as (vi) role of ROS in pathophysiological implications of altered redox regulation (human diseases and ageing).
Attention is focussed on the ROS/RNS-linked pathogenesis of cancer, cardiovascular disease, atherosclerosis, hypertension, ischemia/reperfusion injury, diabetes mellitus, neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease), rheumatoid arthritis, and ageing. Topics of current debate are also reviewed such as the question whether excessive formation of free radicals is a primary cause or a downstream consequence of tissue injury.

Distinct types of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma identified by gene expression profiling

Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), the most common subtype of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, is clinically heterogeneous: 40% of patients respond well to current therapy and have prolonged survival, whereas the remainder succumb to the disease.
We proposed that this variability in natural history reflects unrecognized molecular heterogeneity in the tumours. Using DNA microarrays, we have conducted a systematic characterization of gene expression in B-cell malignancies. Here we show that there is diversity in gene expression among the tumours of DLBCL patients, apparently reflecting the variation in tumour proliferation rate, host response and differentiation state of the tumour.
We identified two molecularly distinct forms of DLBCL which had gene expression patterns indicative of different stages of B-cell differentiation. One type expressed genes characteristic of germinal centre B cells (‘germinal centre B-like DLBCL’); the second type expressed genes normally induced during in vitro activation of peripheral blood B cells (‘activated B-like DLBCL’). Patients with germinal centre B-like DLBCL had a significantly better overall survival than those with activated B-like DLBCL. The molecular classification of tumours on the basis of gene expression can thus identify previously undetected and clinically significant subtypes of cancer.
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