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Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine

Magali De Koninck, Ana Losada
Cohesin is a large ring-shaped protein complex, conserved from yeast to human, which participates in most DNA transactions that take place in the nucleus. It mediates sister chromatid cohesion, which is essential for chromosome segregation and homologous recombination (HR)-mediated DNA repair. Together with architectural proteins and transcriptional regulators, such as CTCF and Mediator, respectively, it contributes to genome organization at different scales and thereby affects transcription, DNA replication, and locus rearrangement...
October 14, 2016: Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine
Robert A Bonomo
β-Lactamases, the enzymes that hydrolyze β-lactam antibiotics, remain the greatest threat to the usage of these agents. In this review, the mechanism of hydrolysis is discussed for both those enzymes that use serine at the active site and those that require divalent zinc ions for hydrolysis. The β-lactamases now include >2000 unique, naturally occurring amino acid sequences. Some of the clinically most important of these are the class A penicillinases, the extended-spectrum β-lactamases (ESBLs), the AmpC cephalosporinases, and the carbapenem-hydrolyzing enzymes in both the serine and metalloenzyme groups...
October 14, 2016: Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine
Susanne Paukner, Rosemarie Riedl
Pleuromutilins are antibiotics that selectively inhibit bacterial translation and are semisynthetic derivatives of the naturally occurring tricyclic diterpenoid pleuromutilin, which received its name from the pleuromutilin-producing fungus Pleurotus mutilus Tiamulin and valnemulin are two established derivatives in veterinary medicine for oral and intramuscular administration. As these early pleuromutilin drugs were developed at a time when companies focused on major antibacterial classes, such as the β-lactams, and resistance was not regarded as an issue, interest in antibiotic research including pleuromutilins was limited...
October 14, 2016: Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine
Maria Isabel Achatz, Gerard P Zambetti
A common criticism of studying rare diseases is the often-limited relevance of the findings to human health. Here, we review ∼15 years of research into an unusual germline TP53 mutation (p.R337H) that began with its detection in children with adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC), a remarkably rare childhood cancer that is associated with poor prognosis. We have come to learn that the p.R337H mutation exists at a very high frequency in Southern and Southeastern Brazil, occurring in one of 375 individuals within a total population of ∼100 million...
September 23, 2016: Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine
Daina Zeng, Dmitri Debabov, Theresa L Hartsell, Raul J Cano, Stacy Adams, Jessica A Schuyler, Ronald McMillan, John L Pace
The glycopeptide antimicrobials are a group of natural product and semisynthetic glycosylated peptides that show antibacterial activity against Gram-positive organisms through inhibition of cell-wall synthesis. This is achieved primarily through binding to the d-alanyl-d-alanine terminus of the lipid II bacterial cell-wall precursor, preventing cross-linking of the peptidoglycan layer. Vancomycin is the foundational member of the class, showing both clinical longevity and a still preferential role in the therapy of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and of susceptible Enterococcus spp...
September 23, 2016: Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine
John D Martin, Dai Fukumura, Dan G Duda, Yves Boucher, Rakesh K Jain
Solid tumors consist of cancer cells and stromal cells, including resident and transiting immune cells-all ensconced in an extracellular matrix (ECM)-nourished by blood vessels and drained by lymphatic vessels. The microenvironment constituents are abnormal and heterogeneous in morphology, phenotype, and physiology. Such irregularities include an inefficient tumor vascular network comprised of leaky and compressed vessels, which impair blood flow and oxygen delivery. Low oxygenation in certain tumor regions-or focal hypoxia-is a mediator of cancer progression, metastasis, immunosuppression, and treatment resistance...
September 23, 2016: Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine
Yuriy Shevchenko, Sherri Bale
Historically, sequencing has been the key technology to assess variation in the genetic code, and has been widely accepted in clinical diagnostics of genetic disease. The advent of next-generation sequencing (NGS) methods increased the size of the analyzed target by several orders of magnitude, while at the same time drastically reducing the cost of sequencing. Current research allows sequencing of germline and tumor whole genomes. However, with the arrival of cutting-edge technology to the clinical diagnostic field, strict regulatory oversight is required to use the advances of the latest research when applied to routine clinical practice...
September 16, 2016: Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine
Christie C Sze, Ali Shilatifard
During development, precise spatiotemporal patterns of gene expression are coordinately controlled by cis-regulatory modules known as enhancers. Their crucial role in development helped spur numerous studies aiming to elucidate the functional properties of enhancers within their physiological and disease contexts. In recent years, the role of enhancer malfunction in tissue-specific tumorigenesis is increasingly investigated. Here, we direct our focus to two primary players in enhancer regulation and their role in cancer pathogenesis: MLL3 and MLL4, members of the COMPASS family of histone H3 lysine 4 (H3K4) methyltransferases, and their complex-specific subunit UTX, a histone H3 lysine 27 (H3K27) demethylase...
September 16, 2016: Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine
Lynn L Silver
Successful small-molecule antibacterial agents must meet a variety of criteria. Foremost is the need for selectivity and safety: It is easy to kill bacteria with chemicals, but difficult to do it without harming the patient. Other requirements are possession of a useful antibacterial spectrum, no cross-resistance with existing therapeutics, low propensity for rapid resistance selection, and pharmacological properties that allow effective systemic dosing. Choosing molecular targets for new antibiotics does seem a good basis for achieving these criteria, but this could be misleading...
September 6, 2016: Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine
Scott M Carlson, Or Gozani
Proteins are regulated by an incredible array of posttranslational modifications (PTMs). Methylation of lysine residues on histone proteins is a PTM with well-established roles in regulating chromatin and epigenetic processes. The recent discovery that hundreds and likely thousands of nonhistone proteins are also methylated at lysine has opened a tremendous new area of research. Major cellular pathways involved in cancer, such as growth signaling and the DNA damage response, are regulated by lysine methylation...
August 31, 2016: Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine
William R Miller, Arnold S Bayer, Cesar A Arias
Lipopeptides are natural product antibiotics that consist of a peptide core with a lipid tail with a diverse array of target organisms and mechanisms of action. Daptomycin (DAP) is an example of these compounds with specific activity against Gram-positive organisms. DAP has become increasingly important to combat infections caused by Gram-positive bacteria because of the presence of multidrug resistance in these organisms, particularly in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE)...
August 31, 2016: Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine
Andrei V Gudkov, Elena A Komarova
Chronic inflammation is a major cancer predisposition factor. Constitutive activation of the inflammation-driving NF-κB pathway commonly observed in cancer or developed in normal tissues because of persistent infections or endogenous tissue irritating factors, including products of secretion by senescent cells accumulating with age, markedly represses p53 functions. In its turn, p53 acts as a suppressor of inflammation helping to keep it within safe limits. The antagonistic relationship between p53 and NF-κB is controlled by multiple mechanisms and reflects cardinal differences in organismal responses to intrinsic and extrinsic cell stresses driven by these two transcription factors, respectively...
August 22, 2016: Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine
Stefan Schwarz, Jianzhong Shen, Kristina Kadlec, Yang Wang, Geovana Brenner Michael, Andrea T Feßler, Birte Vester
Lincosamides, streptogramins, phenicols, and pleuromutilins (LSPPs) represent four structurally different classes of antimicrobial agents that inhibit bacterial protein synthesis by binding to particular sites on the 50S ribosomal subunit of the ribosomes. Members of all four classes are used for different purposes in human and veterinary medicine in various countries worldwide. Bacteria have developed ways and means to escape the inhibitory effects of LSPP antimicrobial agents by enzymatic inactivation, active export, or modification of the target sites of the agents...
August 22, 2016: Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine
Pierre Hainaut, Gerd P Pfeifer
Amid the complexity of genetic alterations in human cancer, TP53 mutation appears as an almost invariant component, representing by far the most frequent genetic alteration overall. Compared with previous targeted sequencing studies, recent integrated genomics studies offer a less biased view of TP53 mutation patterns, revealing that >20% of mutations occur outside the DNA-binding domain. Among the 12 mutations representing each at least 1% of all mutations, five occur at residues directly involved in specific DNA binding, four affect the tertiary fold of the DNA-binding domain, and three are nonsense mutations, two of them in the carboxyl terminus...
August 8, 2016: Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine
Bartha Maria Knoppers, Minh Thu Nguyen, Karine Sénécal, Anne Marie Tassé, Ma'n H Zawati
The impact of next-generation sequencing (NGS) on the issue of return of results is defying clear policy guidance and creating international confusion. Limiting ourselves to the return of results revealed by NGS (including incidental findings) in adults, children, family members of deceased individuals, and population studies, we describe and contrast emerging policy positions in Europe, Canada, and the United States. Until there are clear, scientific, and professional standards and practical policy, both researchers and clinicians cannot be faulted for being either hesitant or pressured to return NGS results...
October 3, 2016: Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine
Yixuan Li, Edward Seto
Over the last several decades, it has become clear that epigenetic abnormalities may be one of the hallmarks of cancer. Posttranslational modifications of histones, for example, may play a crucial role in cancer development and progression by modulating gene transcription, chromatin remodeling, and nuclear architecture. Histone acetylation, a well-studied posttranslational histone modification, is controlled by the opposing activities of histone acetyltransferases (HATs) and histone deacetylases (HDACs). By removing acetyl groups, HDACs reverse chromatin acetylation and alter transcription of oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes...
October 3, 2016: Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine
Corey Fyfe, Trudy H Grossman, Kathy Kerstein, Joyce Sutcliffe
Macrolide resistance mechanisms can be target-based with a change in a 23S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) residue or a mutation in ribosomal protein L4 or L22 affecting the ribosome's interaction with the antibiotic. Alternatively, mono- or dimethylation of A2058 in domain V of the 23S rRNA by an acquired rRNA methyltransferase, the product of an erm (erythromycin ribosome methylation) gene, can interfere with antibiotic binding. Acquired genes encoding efflux pumps, most predominantly mef(A) + msr(D) in pneumococci/streptococci and msr(A/B) in staphylococci, also mediate resistance...
October 3, 2016: Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine
Jean-Baptiste Micol, Omar Abdel-Wahab
Additional sex combs-like (ASXL) proteins are mammalian homologs of Addition of sex combs (Asx), a protein that regulates the balance of trithorax and Polycomb function in Drosophila. All three ASXL family members (ASXL1, ASXL2, and ASXL3) are affected by somatic or de novo germline mutations in cancer or rare developmental syndromes, respectively. Although Asx is characterized as a catalytic partner for the deubiquitinase Calypso (or BAP1), there are domains of ASXL proteins that are distinct from Asx and the roles and redundancies of ASXL members are not yet well understood...
October 3, 2016: Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine
Michael J Trimble, Patrik Mlynárčik, Milan Kolář, Robert E W Hancock
Antibiotic resistance among pathogenic bacteria is an ever-increasing issue worldwide. Unfortunately, very little has been achieved in the pharmaceutical industry to combat this problem. This has led researchers and the medical field to revisit past drugs that were deemed too toxic for clinical use. In particular, the cyclic cationic peptides polymyxin B and colistin, which are specific for Gram-negative bacteria, have been used as "last resort" antimicrobials. Before the 1980s, these drugs were known for their renal and neural toxicities; however, new clinical practices and possibly improved manufacturing have made them safer to use...
October 3, 2016: Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine
Yael Aylon, Moshe Oren
Unlike the rather stereotypic image by which it was portrayed until not too many years ago, p53 is now increasingly emerging as a multifaceted transcription factor that can sometimes exert opposing effects on biological processes. This includes pro-survival activities that seem to contradict p53's canonical proapoptotic features, as well as opposing effects on cell migration, metabolism, and differentiation. Such antagonistic bifunctionality (balancing both positive and negative signals) bestows p53 with an ideal attribute to govern homeostasis...
July 13, 2016: Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine
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