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See detailIdentification and characterization of novel bovine leukemia virus (BLV) antisense transcripts in leukemic and pre-leukemic clones
Durkin, Keith ULg; Rosewick, Nicolas; Artesi, Maria ULg et al

Conference (2016, May 21)

The deltaretrovirus Bovine Leukemia Virus (BLV) is closely related to the Human T-cell leukemia virus-1 (HTLV-1). Cattle are the natural host of BLV where it integrates into B-cells, produces a lifelong ... [more ▼]

The deltaretrovirus Bovine Leukemia Virus (BLV) is closely related to the Human T-cell leukemia virus-1 (HTLV-1). Cattle are the natural host of BLV where it integrates into B-cells, produces a lifelong infection. Most infected animals remain asymptomatic but following a protracted latency period about ~5% develop an aggressive leukemia/lymphoma, mirroring the disease trajectory of HTLV-1. Like the case in HTLV-1 the 5’LTR BLV provirus is transcriptionally silent in tumors, however the provirus is not entirely quiescent, constitutively express the BLV microRNAs in tumors. Using RNA-seq, we found that in addition to microRNAs, the BLV provirus also constitutively expresses two antisense transcripts in all BLV infected samples examined. The first transcript (AS1) has alternate potential polyadenylation sites generating a short transcript of ~600bp (AS1-S) and a less abundant longer transcript of ~2200bp (AS1-L). Alternative splicing also creates a second transcript of ~400bp (AS2) utilizing the first exon of AS1. Production of AS transcripts from the 3’LTR was supported by reporter assays demonstrating that the BLV LTR has substantial and Tax-independent antisense promoter activity. BLV AS transcripts predominantly localize in the nucleus. Examination of protein coding potential showed AS2 to be non-coding, while the AS1-S/L transcripts coding potential is ambiguous, with a small potential open reading frame (ORF) of 264bp present. The AS1-L transcript overlaps the BLV microRNAs transcribed in the sense direction. Using high throughput sequencing of RNA-ligase-mediated (RLM) 5' RACE products, we show that the perfect complementary between the transcripts leads to RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC) mediated cleavage of AS1-L. Furthermore, experiments using BLV proviruses where the microRNAs were removed or inverted point to additional transcriptional interactions between the two viral RNA species. Knock down of AS1-S/L using locked nucleic acids (LNAs) showed no obvious effect on the cells phenotype. While a detailed elucidation of the BLV antisense transcripts function remains in the future, the constitutive expression in all samples examined, points to a vital role for the transcripts in the life cycle and oncogenic potential of BLV. [less ▲]

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See detailCharacterization of novel Bovine Leukemia Virus (BLV) antisense transcripts by deep sequencing reveals constitutive expression in tumors and transcriptional interaction with viral microRNAs.
Durkin, Keith ULg; Rosewick, Nicolas; Artesi, Maria ULg et al

in Retrovirology (2016), 13(1), 33

BACKGROUND: Bovine Leukemia Virus (BLV) is a deltaretrovirus closely related to the Human T cell leukemia virus-1 (HTLV-1). Cattle are the natural host of BLV where it integrates into B-cells, producing a ... [more ▼]

BACKGROUND: Bovine Leukemia Virus (BLV) is a deltaretrovirus closely related to the Human T cell leukemia virus-1 (HTLV-1). Cattle are the natural host of BLV where it integrates into B-cells, producing a lifelong infection. Most infected animals remain asymptomatic but following a protracted latency period about 5 % develop an aggressive leukemia/lymphoma, mirroring the disease trajectory of HTLV-1. The mechanisms by which these viruses provoke cellular transformation remain opaque. In both viruses little or no transcription is observed from the 5'LTR in tumors, however the proviruses are not transcriptionally silent. In the case of BLV a cluster of RNA polymerase III transcribed microRNAs are highly expressed, while the HTLV-1 antisense transcript HBZ is consistently found in all tumors examined. RESULTS: Here, using RNA-seq, we demonstrate that the BLV provirus also constitutively expresses antisense transcripts in all leukemic and asymptomatic samples examined. The first transcript (AS1) can be alternately polyadenylated, generating a transcript of ~600 bp (AS1-S) and a less abundant transcript of ~2200 bp (AS1-L). Alternative splicing creates a second transcript of ~400 bp (AS2). The coding potential of AS1-S/L is ambiguous, with a small open reading frame of 264 bp, however the transcripts are primarily retained in the nucleus, hinting at a lncRNA-like role. The AS1-L transcript overlaps the BLV microRNAs and using high throughput sequencing of RNA-ligase-mediated (RLM) 5'RACE, we show that the RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC) cleaves AS1-L. Furthermore, experiments using altered BLV proviruses with the microRNAs either deleted or inverted point to additional transcriptional interference between the two viral RNA species. CONCLUSIONS: The identification of novel viral antisense transcripts shows the BLV provirus to be far from silent in tumors. Furthermore, the consistent expression of these transcripts in both leukemic and nonmalignant clones points to a vital role in the life cycle of the virus and its tumorigenic potential. Additionally, the cleavage of the AS1-L transcript by the BLV encoded microRNAs and the transcriptional interference between the two viral RNA species suggest a shared role in the regulation of BLV. [less ▲]

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See detailHTLV-1/BLV antisense-RNA dependent host gene perturbation in pre-leukemic and leukemic clones
Rosewick, Nicolas; Durkin, Keith ULg; Marçais, Ambroise et al

in Retrovirology (2015, August 28), 12(1),

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See detailImproving the methodology for the detection of proviral integration sites in the host genome via high throughput sequencing.
Durkin, Keith ULg; Artesi, Maria ULg; Rosewick, Nicolas et al

in Retrovirology (2015, August 28), 12(1),

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See detailImproving proviral integration site detection with high throughput sequencing
Durkin, Keith ULg; Artesi, Maria ULg; Rosewick, Nicolas et al

Poster (2015, May)

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See detailConnexin 30 expression inhibits growth of human malignant gliomas but protects them against radiation therapy.
Artesi, Maria ULg; Kroonen, Jerome; Bredel, Markus et al

in Neuro-oncology (2014)

BACKGROUND: Glioblastomas remain ominous tumors that almost invariably escape treatment. Connexins are a family of transmembrane, gap junction-forming proteins, some members of which were reported to act ... [more ▼]

BACKGROUND: Glioblastomas remain ominous tumors that almost invariably escape treatment. Connexins are a family of transmembrane, gap junction-forming proteins, some members of which were reported to act as tumor suppressors and to modulate cellular metabolism in response to cytotoxic stress. METHODS: We analyzed the copy number and expression of the connexin (Cx)30 gene gap junction beta-6 (GJB6), as well as of its protein immunoreactivity in several public and proprietary repositories of glioblastomas, and their influence on patient survival. We evaluated the effect of the expression of this gap junction protein on the growth, DNA repair and energy metabolism, and treatment resistance of these tumors. RESULTS: The GJB6 gene was deleted in 25.8% of 751 analyzed tumors and mutated in 15.8% of 158 tumors. Cx30 immunoreactivity was absent in 28.9% of 145 tumors. Restoration of Cx30 expression in human glioblastoma cells reduced their growth in vitro and as xenografts in the striatum of immunodeficient mice. Cx30 immunoreactivity was, however, found to adversely affect survival in 2 independent retrospective cohorts of glioblastoma patients. Cx30 was found in clonogenic assays to protect glioblastoma cells against radiation-induced mortality and to decrease radiation-induced DNA damage. This radioprotection correlated with a heat shock protein 90-dependent mitochondrial translocation of Cx30 following radiation and an improved ATP production following this genotoxic stress. CONCLUSION: These results underline the complex relationship between potential tumor suppressors and treatment resistance in glioblastomas and single out GJB6/Cx30 as a potential biomarker and target for therapeutic intervention in these tumors. [less ▲]

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See detailCasein kinase 2 inhibition modulates the DNA damage response but fails to radiosensitize malignant glioma cells.
KROONEN, Jérôme ULg; Artesi, Maria ULg; CAPRARO, Valérie ULg et al

in International Journal of Oncology (2012), 41(2), 776-82

Inhibitors of casein kinase 2 (CK2), a regulator of cell proliferation and mediator of the DNA damage response, are being evaluated in clinical trials for the treatment of cancers. Apigenin was capable of ... [more ▼]

Inhibitors of casein kinase 2 (CK2), a regulator of cell proliferation and mediator of the DNA damage response, are being evaluated in clinical trials for the treatment of cancers. Apigenin was capable of inhibiting the activation of CK2 following gamma irradiation in LN18 and U87 malignant glioma cells. Apigenin and siRNA-mediated CK2 protein depletion further inhibited NF-kappaB activation and altered the Tyr68 phosphorylation of Chk2 kinase, a DNA damage response checkpoint kinase, following irradiation. However, CK2 inhibition did not decrease the ability of these glioma cells to repair double-strand DNA breaks, as assessed by COMET assays and gamma-H2Ax staining. Likewise, apigenin and siRNA-induced depletion of CK2 failed to sensitize glioma cells to the cytotoxic effect of 2 to 10 G-rays of gamma irradiation, as assessed by clonogenic assays. These results contrast with those found in other cancer types, and urge to prudence regarding the inclusion of malignant glioma patients in clinical trials that assess the radiosensitizing role of CK2 inhibitors in solid cancers. [less ▲]

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See detailEarly termination of ISRCTN45828668, a phase 1/2 prospective, randomized study of sulfasalazine for the treatment of progressing malignant gliomas in adults.
Robe, Pierre ULg; Martin, Didier ULg; Nguyen-Khac, Minh-Tuan ULg et al

in BMC Cancer (2009), 9

BACKGROUND: Sulfasalazine, a NF-kappaB and x(c)-cystine/glutamate antiport inhibitor, has demonstrated a strong antitumoral potential in preclinical models of malignant gliomas. As it presents an ... [more ▼]

BACKGROUND: Sulfasalazine, a NF-kappaB and x(c)-cystine/glutamate antiport inhibitor, has demonstrated a strong antitumoral potential in preclinical models of malignant gliomas. As it presents an excellent safety profile, we initiated a phase 1/2 clinical study of this anti-inflammatory drug for the treatment of recurrent WHO grade 3 and 4 astrocytic gliomas in adults. METHODS: 10 patients with advanced recurrent anaplastic astrocytoma (n = 2) or glioblastoma (n = 8) aged 32-62 years were recruited prior to the planned interim analysis of the study. Subjects were randomly assigned to daily doses of 1.5, 3, 4.5, or 6 grams of oral sulfasalazine, and treated until clinical or radiological evidence of disease progression or the development of serious or unbearable side effects. Primary endpoints were the evaluation of toxicities according to the CTCAE v.3.0, and the observation of radiological tumor responses based on MacDonald criteria. RESULTS: No clinical response was observed. One tumor remained stable for 2 months with sulfasalazine treatment, at the lowest daily dose of the drug. The median progression-free survival was 32 days. Side effects were common, as all patients developed grade 1-3 adverse events (mean: 7.2/patient), four patients developed grade 4 toxicity. Two patients died while on treatment or shortly after its discontinuation. CONCLUSION: Although the proper influence of sulfasalazine treatment on patient outcome was difficult to ascertain in these debilitated patients with a large tumor burden (median KPS = 50), ISRCTN45828668 was terminated after its interim analysis. This study urges to exert cautiousness in future trials of Sulfasalazine for the treatment of malignant gliomas. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN45828668. [less ▲]

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