Kyushu University Academic Staff Educational and Research Activities Database
List of Papers
Motoko Unoki Last modified date:2019.09.24

Associate Professor / Division of Epigenomics and Development / Department of Molecular and Structural Biology / Medical Institute of Bioregulation

1. Sharmin Aktar, Hiroyuki Sasaki, Motoko Unoki, Identification of ZBTB24 protein domains and motifs essential for heterochromatin localization and transcriptional activation, Genes to Cells, in press, 2019.09.
2. Motoko Unoki, Hironori Funabiki, Guillaume Velasco, Claire Francastel, Hiroyuki Sasaki, CDCA7 and HELLS mutations undermine non-homologous end joining in centromeric instability syndrome, J. Clin. Invest., doi: 10.1172/JCI99751, 129, 1, 78-92, 2019.01, [URL].
3. Shigeru Matsuda, Takehiro Yasukawa, Yuriko Sakaguchi, Kenji Ichiyanagi, Motoko Unoki, Kazuhito Gotoh, Kei Fukuda, Hiroyuki Sasaki, Tsutomu Suzuki, Dongchon Kang, Accurate estimation of 5-methylcytosine in mammalian mitochondrial DNA, Scientific Reports, doi:10.1038/s41598-018-24251-z, 8, 1, 5801, 2018.04, [URL].
4. Shoji Maenohara, Motoko Unoki, Hidehiro Toh, Hiroaki Ohishi, Jafar Sharif, Haruhiko Koseki, Hiroyuki Sasaki, Role of UHRF1 in De Novo DNA Methylation in Oocytes and Maintenance Methylation in Preimplantation Embryos, PLOS Genetics, 10.1371/journal.pgen.1007042. , 13, 10, e1007042, 2017.10, [URL], The methylation of cytosine at CG sites in the mammalian genome is dynamically reprogrammed during gametogenesis and preimplantation development. It was previously shown that oocyte-derived DNMT1 (a maintenance methyltransferase) is essential for maintaining and propagating CG methylation at imprinting control regions in preimplantation embryos. In mammalian somatic cells, hemimethylated-CG-binding protein UHRF1 plays a critical role in maintaining CG methylation by recruiting DNMT1 to hemimethylated CG sites. However, the role of UHRF1 in oogenesis and preimplantation development is unknown. In the present study, we show that UHRF1 is mainly, but not exclusively, localized in the cytoplasm of oocytes and preimplantation embryos. However, smaller amounts of UHRF1 existed in the nucleus, consistent with the expected role in DNA methylation. We then generated oocyte-specific Uhrf1 knockout (KO) mice and found that, although oogenesis was itself unaffected, a large proportion of the embryos derived from the KO oocytes died before reaching the blastocyst stage (a maternal effect). Whole genome bisulfite sequencing revealed that blastocysts derived from KO oocytes have a greatly reduced level of CG methylation, suggesting that maternal UHRF1 is essential for maintaining CG methylation, particularly at the imprinting control regions, in preimplantation embryos. Surprisingly, UHRF1 was also found to contribute to de novo CG and non-CG methylation during oocyte growth: in Uhrf1 KO oocytes, transcriptionally-inactive regions gained less methylation, while actively transcribed regions, including the imprinting control regions, were unaffected. We also found that de novo methylation was defective during the late stage of oocyte growth. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to demonstrate the role of UHRF1 in de novo DNA methylation in vivo. Our study reveals multiple functions of UHRF1 during the global epigenetic reprogramming of oocytes and early embryos..
5. Peter E. Thijssen, Yuya Ito, Giacomo Grillo, Jun Wang, Guillaume Velasco, Hirohisa Nitta, Motoko Unoki, Minako Yoshihara, Mikita Suyama, Yu Sun, Richard J.L F. Lemmers, Jessica C. de Greef, Andrew Gennery, Paolo Picco, Barbara Kloeckener-Gruissem, Tayfun Gungor, Ismail Reisli, Capucine Picard, Kamila Kebaili, Bertrand Roquelaure, Mutations in CDCA7 and HELLS cause immunodeficiency-centromeric instability-facial anomalies syndrome, Nature Communications, 10.1038/ncomms8870, 6, 7870, 2015.07, [URL], The life-threatening Immunodeficiency, Centromeric Instability and Facial Anomalies (ICF) syndrome is a genetically heterogeneous autosomal recessive disorder. Twenty percent of patients cannot be explained by mutations in the known ICF genes DNA methyltransferase 3B or zinc-finger and BTB domain containing 24. Here we report mutations in the cell division cycle associated 7 and the helicase, lymphoid-specific genes in 10 unexplained ICF cases. Our data highlight the genetic heterogeneity of ICF syndrome; however, they provide evidence that all genes act in common or converging pathways leading to the ICF phenotype. .
6. Hirohisa Nitta, Motoko Unoki, Kenji Ichiyanagi, Tomoki Kosho, Tomonari Shigemura, Hiroshi Takahashi, Guillaume Velasco, Claire Francastel, Capucine Picard, Takeo Kubota, Hiroyuki Sasaki, Three novel ZBTB24 mutations identified in Japanese and Cape Verdean type 2 ICF syndrome patients, J. Hum. Genet., doi:10.1038/jhg.2013.56, 58, 7, 455-460, 2013.06, [URL], Immunodeficiency, centromeric instability, and facial anomalies (ICF) syndrome is a rare autosomal recessive disorder that shows DNA hypomethylation at pericentromeric satellite-2 and -3 repeats in chromosomes 1, 9, and 16. ICF syndrome is classified into two groups: type 1 (ICF1) patients have mutations in the DNMT3B gene, and about half of type 2 (ICF2) patients have mutations in the ZBTB24 gene. Besides satellite-2 and -3 repeats, α-satellite repeats are also hypomethylated in ICF2. In this study, we report three novel ZBTB24 mutations in ICF2. A Japanese patient was homozygous for a missense mutation (C383Y), and a Cape Verdean patient was a compound heterozygote for a nonsense mutation (K263X) and a frameshift mutation (C327W fsX54). In addition, the second Japanese patient was homozygous for a previously reported nonsense mutation (R320X). The C383Y mutation abolished a C2H2 motif in one of the eight zinc finger domains, and the other three mutations caused a complete or large loss of the zinc finger domains. Our immunofluorescence analysis revealed that mouse Zbtb24 proteins possessing a mutation corresponding to either C383Y or R320X are mislocalized from pericentrometic heterochromatin, suggesting the importance of the zinc finger domains in proper intranuclear localization of this protein. We further revealed that the proper localization of wildtype Zbtb24 protein does not require DNA methylation..
7. Motoko Unoki, Akiko Masuda, Naoshi Dohmae, Kyohei Arita, Masanori Yoshimatsu, Yukiko Iwai, Yoshinori Fukui, Koji Ueda, Ryuji Hamamoto, Masahiro Shirakawa, Hiroyuki Sasaki, Yusuke Nakamura, Lysyl 5-Hydroxylation, a Novel Histone Modification, by Jumonji Domain Containing 6 (JMJD6), J Biol Chem, 10.1074/jbc.M112.433284 , 288, 9, 6053-6062, 2013.03, [URL], JMJD6 is reported to hydroxylate lysyl residues of a splicing factor, U2AF65. In this study, we found that JMJD6 hydroxylates histone lysyl residues. In vitro experiments showed that JMJD6 has a binding affinity to histone proteins and hydroxylates multiple lysyl residues of histone H3 and H4 tails. Using JMJD6 knockout mouse embryos, we revealed that JMJD6 hydroxylates lysyl residues of histones H2A/H2B and H3/H4 in vivo by amino acid composition analysis. 5-hydroxylysine was detected at the highest level in histones purified from murine testis, which expressed JMJD6 at a significantly high level among various tissues examined, and JMJD6 overexpression increased the amount of 5-hydroxylysine in histones in human embryonic kidney 293 cells. These results indicate that histones are additional substrates of JMJD6 in vivo. Because 5-hydroxylation of lysyl residues inhibited N-acetylation and N-methylation by an acetyltransferase and a methyltransferase, respectively, in vitro, histone 5-hydroxylation may have important roles in epigenetic regulation of gene transcription or chromosomal rearrangement..
8. Kofunato Y, Kumamoto K, Saitou K, Hayase S, Okayama H, Miyamoto K, Sato Y, Katakura K, Nakamura I, Ohki S, Koyama Y, Unoki M, Takenoshita S., UHRF1 expression is upregulated and associated with cellular proliferation in colorectal cancer., Oncology Reports, doi: 10.3892/or.2012.2064, in press, 2012.12, [URL], Ubiquitin-like with PHD and ring-finger domain 1 (UHRF1) binds to methylated promoters of a number of tumor-suppressor genes, including p16INK4A and p14ARF, by forming complexes with DNA methyltransferases and HDAC1, resulting in the induction of carcinogenesis. Altered UHRF1 expression has been demonstrated in various types of cancers. Previous reports indicate that UHRF1 expression is regulated by E2F-1 expression. We investigated UHRF1 expression using immunohistochemical staining in 231 colorectal cancer and 40 adenoma specimens, analyzed the relationship between UHRF1 expression and clinicopathological findings and the association between UHRF1 and E2F-1 expression. To better understand the biological function of UHRF1 in colorectal cancer, knock-down of UHRF1 expression was performed using siRNA methods. High UHRF1 expression was observed in 152 of 231 (65.8%) colorectal cancer patients, and was detected in 35 of 40 adenoma specimens samples (87.5%). UHRF1 staining was detected in the nucleus of cancer cells, while it was not detected in colonic normal mucosa. High UHRF1 expression was significantly observed in right compared with left hemicolon cancer (P=0.008). Moreover, high UHRF1 expression tended to be associated with depth of invasion (P=0.051). UHRF1 expression was significantly associated with E2F-1 expression (P<0.0001). Knockdown of UHRF1 expression suppressed cellular growth in colon cancer cell lines, HCT116 and SW620. In conclusion, we demonstrated that UHRF1 expression was upregulated in approximately two-thirds of colorectal cancer specimens and was particularly expressed in right comparedwith left hemicolon cancer. Moreover, knockdown of UHRF1 expression induced growth inhibition in colon cancer cell lines. UHRF1 may be involved in cellular proliferation and molecular pathogenesis of colorectal cancer in the right hemicolon..
9. Arita K, Isogai S, Oda T, Unoki M, Sugita K, Sekiyama N, Kuwata K, Hamamoto R, Tochio H, Sato M, Ariyoshi M, Shirakawa M., Recognition of modification status on a histone H3 tail by linked histone reader modules of the epigenetic regulator UHRF1., Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 10.1073/pnas.1203701109 , 109, 32, 12950-12955, 2012.07, [URL], Multiple covalent modifications on a histone tail are often recognized by linked histone reader modules. UHRF1 [ubiquitin-like, containing plant homeodomain (PHD) and really interesting new gene (RING) finger domains 1], an essential factor for maintenance of DNA methylation, contains linked two-histone reader modules, a tandem Tudor domain and a PHD finger, tethered by a 17-aa linker, and has been implicated to link histone modifications and DNA methylation. Here, we present the crystal structure of the linked histone reader modules of UHRF1 in complex with the amino-terminal tail of histone H3. Our structural and biochemical data provide the basis for combinatorial readout of unmodified Arg-2 (H3-R2) and methylated Lys-9 (H3-K9) by the tandem tudor domain and the PHD finger. The structure reveals that the intermodule linker plays an essential role in the formation of a histone H3-binding hole between the reader modules by making extended contacts with the tandem tudor domain. The histone H3 tail fits into the hole by adopting a compact fold harboring a central helix, which allows both of the reader modules to simultaneously recognize the modification states at H3-R2 and H3-K9. Our data also suggest that phosphorylation of a linker residue can modulate the relative position of the reader modules, thereby altering the histone H3-binding mode. This finding implies that the linker region plays a role as a functional switch of UHRF1 involved in multiple regulatory pathways such as maintenance of DNA methylation and transcriptional repression..
10. Cho HS, Suzuki T, Dohmae N, Hayami S, Unoki M, Yoshimatsu M, Toyokawa G, Takawa M, Chen T, Kurash JK, Field H, Ponder BA, Nakamura Y, Hamamoto R., Demethylation of RB regulator MYPT1 by histone demethylase LSD1 promotes cell cycle progression in cancer cells., Cancer Res., 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-10-2446, 71, 3, 655-660, 2011.02, [URL], Histone demethylase LSD1 (also known as KDM1 and AOF2) is active in various cancer cells, but its biological significance in human carcinogenesis is unexplored. In this study, we explored hypothesized interactions between LSD1 and MYPT1, a known regulator of RB1 phosphorylation. We found that MYPT1 was methylated in vitro and in vivo by histone lysine methyltransferase SETD7 and demethylated by LSD1, identifying Lys 442 of MYPT1 as a target for methylation/demethylation by these enzymes. LSD1 silencing increased MYPT1 protein levels, decreasing the steady state level of phosphorylated RB1 (Ser 807/811) and reducing E2F activity. MYPT1 methylation status influenced the affinity of MYPT1 for the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway of protein turnover. MYPT1 was unstable in murine cells deficient in SETD7, supporting the concept that MYPT1 protein stability is physiologically regulated by methylation status. LSD1 overexpression could activate RB1 phosphorylation by inducing a destabilization of MYPT1 protein. Taken together, our results comprise a novel cell cycle regulatory mechanism mediated by methylation/demethylation dynamics, and they reveal the significance of LSD1 overexpression in human carcinogenesis..
11. Yoshimatsu M, Toyokawa G, Hayami S, Unoki M, Tsunoda T, Field HI, Kelly JD, Neal DE, Maehara Y, Ponder BAJ, Nakamura Y, Hamamoto R., Dysregulation of PRMT1 and PRMT6, type I arginine methyltransferases, is involved in various types of human cancers. , Int J Cancer, 10.1002/ijc.25366, 128, 3, 562-573, 2011.02, [URL], Protein arginine methylation is a novel post-translational modification regulating a diversity of cellular processes, including histone functions, but the roles of protein arginine methyltransferases (PRMTs) in human cancer are not well investigated. To address this issue, we first examined expression levels of genes belonging to the PRMT family and found significantly higher expression of PRMT1 and PRMT6, both of which are Type I PRMTs, in cancer cells of various tissues than in non-neoplastic cells. Abrogation of the expression of these genes with specific siRNAs significantly suppressed growth of bladder and lung cancer cells. Expression profile analysis using the cells transfected with the siRNAs indicated that PRMT1 and PRMT6 interplay in multiple pathways, supporting regulatory roles in the cell cycle, RNA processing and also DNA replication that are fundamentally important for cancer cell proliferation. Furthermore, we demonstrated that serum asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA) levels of a number of cancer cases are significantly higher than those of nontumor control cases. In summary, our results suggest that dysregulation of PRMT1 and PRMT6 can be involved in human carcinogenesis and that these Type I arginine methyltransferases are good therapeutic targets for various types of cancer..
12. Hayami S, Kelly JD, Cho HS, Yoshimatsu M, Unoki M, Tsunoda T, Field HI, Yamaue H, Ponder BAJ, Nakamura Y, Hamamoto R., Overexpression of LSD1 contributes to human carcinogenesis through chromatin regulation in various cancers., Int J Cancer, 10.1002/ijc.25349, 128, 3, 574-586, 2011.02, [URL], A number of histone demethylases have been identified and biochemically characterized, but the pathological roles of their dysfunction in human disease like cancer have not been well understood. Here, we demonstrate important roles of lysine-specific demethylase 1 (LSD1) in human carcinogenesis. Expression levels of LSD1 are significantly elevated in human bladder carcinomas compared with nonneoplastic bladder tissues (p < 0.0001). cDNA microarray analysis also revealed its transactivation in lung and colorectal carcinomas. LSD1-specific small interfering RNAs significantly knocked down its expression and resulted in suppression of proliferation of various bladder and lung cancer cell lines. Concordantly, introduction of exogenous LSD1 expression promoted cell cycle progression of human embryonic kidney fibroblast cells. Expression profile analysis showed that LSD1 could affect the expression of genes involved in various chromatin-modifying pathways such as chromatin remodeling at centromere, centromeric heterochromatin formation and chromatin assembly, indicating its essential roles in carcinogenesis through chromatin modification..
13. Unoki M, Daigo D, Koinuma J, Tsuchiya E, Hamamoto R, Nakamura Y., UHRF1 is a novel diagnostic marker of lung cancer. , Br. J. Cancer, 10.1038/sj.bjc.6605717, 103, 2, 217-22, 2010.07, [URL], BACKGROUND: Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide. As the sensitivity and specificity of current diagnostic markers are not perfect, we examined whether ubiquitin-like with PHD and ring finger domains 1 (UHRF1), which is overexpressed in various cancers but not yet examined in lung cancer in large scale, can be a novel diagnostic marker of lung cancer.

METHODS: Immunohistochemical analysis using surgical specimens obtained from 56 US and 322 Japanese patients with lung cancer was performed.

RESULTS: The UHRF1 was stained specifically in the nuclei of cancer cells, but not in the other cells. The UHRF1 expression was observed in all histological types of lung cancer, especially in non-adenocarcinomas (non-ADCs), both in the US and Japanese cases. In 322 Japanese non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cases, UHRF1 expression was associated with the histological type (higher in non-ADCs; P<0.00001), gender (higher in male; P=0.00082), smoking (higher in smokers; P=0.00004), pT factor (higher in advanced stage; P=0.00010), and pN factor (higher in cancers with metastasis in regional lymph nodes; P=0.00018). The UHRF1 expression was also associated with poor prognosis for NSCLC patients (P=0.0364). Although UHRF1 overexpression was associated with these malignant indicators, UHRF1 was detectable in half of lung cancer patients in an early pathological stage.

CONCLUSION: The UHRF1 is overexpressed in various types of lung cancer from early pathological stage. Therefore, detection of UHRF1 expression in tissue specimens by immunohistochemistry can be useful for diagnosis of lung cancer in all pathological stages..
14. Hayami S, Yoshimatsu M, Veerakumarasivam A, Unoki M, Iwai Y, Tsunoda T, Field HI, Kelly JD, Neal DE, Yamaue H, Ponder BAJ, Nakamura Y, Hamamoto R., Overexpression of the JmjC Histone Demethylase KDM5B in Human Carcinogenesis: Involvement in the Proliferation of Cancer Cells through the E2F/RB Pathway., Molecular Cancer, 10.1186/1476-4598-9-59, 9, 59, 2010.03, [URL], BACKGROUND: Although an increasing number of histone demethylases have been identified and biochemically characterized, their biological functions largely remain uncharacterized, particularly in the context of human diseases such as cancer. We investigated the role of KDM5B, a JmjC histone demethylase, in human carcinogenesis. Quantitative RT-PCR and microarray analyses were used to examine the expression profiles of histone demethylases in clinical tissue samples. We also examined the functional effects of KDM5B on the growth of cancer cell lines treated with small interfering RNAs (siRNAs). Downstream genes and signal cascades induced by KDM5B expression were identified from Affymetrix Gene Chip experiments, and validated by real-time PCR and reporter assays. Cell cycle-dependent characteristics of KDM5B were identified by immunofluorescence and FACS.

RESULTS: Quantitative RT-PCR analysis confirmed that expression levels of KDM5B are significantly higher in human bladder cancer tissues than in their corresponding non-neoplastic bladder tissues (P < 0.0001). The expression profile analysis of clinical tissues also revealed up-regulation of KDM5B in various kinds of malignancies. Transfection of KDM5B-specific siRNA into various bladder and lung cancer cell lines significantly suppressed the proliferation of cancer cells and increased the number of cells in sub-G1 phase. Microarray expression analysis indicated that E2F1 and E2F2 are downstream genes in the KDM5B pathway.

CONCLUSIONS: Inhibition of KDM5B may affect apoptosis and reduce growth of cancer cells. Further studies will explore the pan-cancer therapeutic potential of KDM5B inhibition..
15. Kumamoto K, Fujita K, Kurotani R, Saito M, Unoki M, Hagiwara N, Shiga H, Bowman ED, Yanaihara N, Okamura S, Nagashima M, Miyamoto K, Takenoshita S, Yokota J, Harris CC., ING2 is up-regulated in colon cancer and increases invasion by enhanced MMP13 expression., Int. J. Cancer, 10.1002/ijc.24437, 125, 6, 1306-1315, 2009.09, [URL], Inhibitor of growth 2 (ING2) is associated with chromatin remodeling and regulation of gene expression by binding to a methylated histone H3K4 residue and recruiting HDAC complexes to the region. The aim of our study is to investigate the regulation of ING2 expression and the clinical significance of upregulated ING2 in colon cancer. Here, we show that the ING2 mRNA level in colon cancer tissue increased to more than twice than that in normal mucosa in the 45% of colorectal cancer cases that we examined. A putative NF-kappaB binding site was found in the ING2 promoter region. We confirmed that NF-kappaB could bind to the ING2 promoter by EMSA and luciferase assays. Subsequent microarray analyses revealed that ING2 upregulates expression of matrix metalloproteinase 13 (MMP13), which enhances cancer invasion and metastasis. ING2 regulation of MMP13 expression was confirmed in both ING2 overexpression and knock down experiments. MMP13 expression was further induced by coexpression of ING2 with HDAC1 or with mSin3A, suggesting that the ING2-HDAC1-mSin3A complex members regulates expression of MMP13. In vitro invasion assay was performed to determine functional significance of ING2 upregulation. ING2 overexpressed cells exhibited greater invasive potential. Taken together, upregulation of ING2 was associated with colon cancer and MMP13-dependent cellular invasion, indicating that ING2 expression might be involved with cancer invasion and metastasis..
16. Unoki M, Kelly JD, Neal DE, Ponder BAJ, Nakamura Y, Hamamoto R., UHRF1 is a novel molecular marker for diagnosis and the prognosis of bladder cancer., Br. J. Cancer, 10.1038/sj.bjc.6605123, 101, 1, 98-106, 2009.07, [URL], BACKGROUND: Bladder cancer is the second most common cancer of the urinary system. Early diagnosis of this tumour and estimation of risk of future progression after initial transuretherial resection have a significant impact on prognosis. Although there are several molecular markers for the diagnosis and prognosis for this tumour, their accuracy is not ideal. Previous reports have shown that UHRF1 (ubiquitin-like with PHD and ring-finger domains 1) is essential for cellular proliferation. In this study, we examined whether UHRF1 can be a novel molecular marker of bladder cancer.

METHODS: We performed real-time TaqMan quantitative reverse transcription-PCR and immunohistochemistry to examine expression levels of UHRF1 in bladder and kidney cancers.

RESULTS: Significant overexpression of UHRF1 was observed in bladder cancer. The overexpression was correlated with the stage and grade of the cancer. Although UHRF1 expression in muscle-invasive cancer was greater than in non-invasive (pTa) or superficially invasive (pT1) cancers, UHRF1 could still be detected by immunohistochemistry in these early-stage cancers. Overexpression of UHRF1 in bladder cancer was associated with increased risk of progression after transurethral resection. High expression of UHRF1 in kidney cancer was also observed. But the increased levels of UHRF1 in kidney cancer were less significant compared with those in bladder cancer.

CONCLUSION: Our result indicates that an immunohistochemistry-based UHRF1 detection in urine sediment or surgical specimens can be a sensitive and cancer-specific diagnostic and/or prognosis method, and may greatly improve the current diagnosis based on cytology..
17. Unoki M, Kumamoto K, Robles AI,Shen JC,Zheng ZM, Harris CC., A novel ING2 isoform, ING2b, synergizes with ING2a to prevent cell cycle arrest and apoptosis., FEBS Letters, 10.1016/j.febslet.2008.10.024, 582, 28, 3868-74, 2008.11, [URL], We identified a novel inhibitor of growth family member 2 (ING2) isoform, ING2b, which shares exon 2 with ING2a, but lacks the N-terminal p53 binding region. Contrary to ING2a, ING2b's promoter has no p53 binding sites. Consistently, activation of p53 led to suppression of ING2a, leaving ING2b unaffected. Through isoform-specific targeting, we showed that ING2a knockdown suppressed cell growth only in the presence of p53, ING2b knockdown had no effect on cell growth, and knockdown of both induced cell cycle arrest and apoptosis independently of p53. ING2a and ING2b have compensatory roles that protect cells from cell cycle arrest and apoptosis and may be involved in development of chemotherapeutic resistance..
18. Brunet J, Pfaff AW, Abidi A, Unoki M, Nakamura Y, Guinard M, Klein JP, Candolfi E, Mousli M., Toxoplasma gondii exploits UHRF1 and induces host cell cycle arrest at G2 to enable its proliferation., Cell Microbiol., 10.1111/j.1462-5822.2007.01093.x, 10, 4, 908-20, 2008.04, [URL], Toxoplasma gondii is an obligate intracellular parasite that causes severe disease in humans. It is able to infect all nucleated mammalian cells leading to lifelong persistence of the parasite in the host. Here, we studied the effect of T. gondii infection on host cell proliferation and explored the molecular mechanisms involved in host cell cycle progression. We found that T. gondii induced G1/S transition in host cells in the presence of UHRF1, followed by G2 arrest after cyclin B1 downregulation which is probably the major cause of the arrest. Other molecules at the G2/M checkpoint including p53, p21 and Cdk1 were normally regulated. Interestingly, while parasite proliferation was normal in cells that were in the G2 phase, it was suppressed in G1-arrested cells induced by UHRF1-siRNA, indicating the importance of the G2 phase via UHRF1-induced G1/S transition for T. gondii growth..
19. Unoki M, Bronner C, Mousli M., A concern regarding the current confusion with the human homolog of mouse Np95, ICBP90/UHRF1., Radiat Res., 10.1667/RR1209.1, 169, 2, 240-4, 2008.02, [URL], ICBP90/UHRF1, which is overexpressed in cancer cells and is down-regulated by p53, possesses a methylated CpG binding affinity and binds to the methylated promoters of tumor suppressor genes in cancer cells with HDAC1 and DNMT1, suggesting suppression of these genes and maintenance of methylation status which leads to carcinogenesis. Recently, it was reported that the human homolog of Np95 is different from ICBP90 but not from UHRF1. Because UHRF1 is the gene symbol of ICBP90, the claim is a little confusing; that is, UHRF1 and ICBP90 are identical. Because the previously published genomic structure of the ICBP90 gene needed to be revised and the registered ICBP90 sequence (AF129507) contains two rare polymorphisms or sequence errors, we think that confusion could occur. Here we show the revised ICBP90 gene structure and 366 polymorphisms in this gene. Our conclusion is that the human homolog of Np95 is ICBP90, whose gene symbol is UHRF1..
20. Shen JC, Unoki M, Ythier D, Duperray A, Varticovski L, Kumamoto K, Pedeux R, Harris CC., Inhibitor of growth 4 suppresses cell spreading and cell migration by interacting with a novel binding partner, liprin alpha1. , Cancer Res., 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-06-3870, 67, 6, 2552-8, 2007.03, [URL], Inhibitor of growth 4 (ING4) is a candidate tumor suppressor that plays a major role in gene regulation, cell cycle control, apoptosis, and angiogenesis. ING4 expression is down-regulated in glioblastoma cells and head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. Here, we identified liprin alpha1/PPFIA1, a cytoplasmic protein necessary for focal adhesion formation and axon guidance, as a novel interacting protein with ING4. ING4 and liprin alpha1 colocalized at lamellipodia in the vicinity of vinculin. Overexpressed ING4 suppressed cell spreading and cell migration. In contrast, overexpressed liprin alpha1 enhanced cell spreading and cell migration. Knockdown of endogenous ING4 with RNA interference induced cell motility, whereas knockdown of endogenous liprin alpha1 suppressed cell motility. ING4 also suppressed cell motility that was enhanced by liprin alpha1. However, ING4 did not further suppress cell motility when liprin alpha1 was suppressed with RNA interference, suggesting a functional and mechanistic interdependence between these proteins. In addition to its nuclear functions, cytoplasmic ING4 interacts with liprin alpha1 to regulate cell migration and, with its known antiangiogenic function, may prevent invasion and metastasis..
21. Unoki M, Shen JC, Zheng ZM, Harris, CC., Novel splice variants of ING4 and their possible roles in regulation of cell growth and motility. , J Biol Chem., 10.1074/jbc.M606296200, 281, 45, 34677-86, 2006.11, [URL], The ING4 gene is a candidate tumor suppressor gene that functions in cell proliferation, contact inhibition, and angiogenesis. We identified three novel splice variants of ING4 with differing activities in controlling cell proliferation, cell spreading, and cell migration. ING4_v1 (the longest splice variant), originally identified as ING4, encodes an intact nuclear localization signal (NLS), whereas the other three splice variants (ING4_v2, ING4_v3, and ING4_v4) lack the full NLS, resulting in increased cytoplasmic localization of these proteins. We found that one of the three ING4 variants, ING4_v2, is expressed at the same level as the original ING4 (ING4_v1), suggesting that ING4 variants may have significant biological functions. Growth suppressive effects of the variants that have a partial NLS (ING4_v2 and ING4_v4) were attenuated by a weaker effect of the variants on p21(WAF1) promoter activation. ING4_v4 lost cell spreading and migration suppressive effects; on the other hand, ING4_v2 retained a cell migration suppressive effect but lost a cell spreading suppressive effect. Therefore, ING4_v2, which localized primarily into cytoplasm, might have an important role in the regulation of cell migration. We also found that ING4_v4 played dominant-negative roles in the induction of p21(WAF1) promoter activation and in the suppression of cell motility by ING4_v1. In addition, ING4 variants had different binding affinities to two cytoplasmic proteins, protein-tyrosine phosphatase, receptor type, f polypeptide (PTPRF), interacting protein (liprin), alpha1, and G3BP2a. Understanding the functions of the four splice variants may aid in defining their roles in human carcinogenesis..
22. Unoki M, Nishidate T, Nakamura Y., ICBP90, an E2F-1 target, recruits HDAC1 and binds to methyl-CpG through its SRA domain., Oncogene, 10.1038/sj.onc.1208053, 23, 46, 7601-10., 2004.10, [URL], ICBP90, inverted CCAAT box-binding protein of 90 kDa, has been reported as a regulator of topoisomerase IIalpha expression. We present evidence here that ICBP90 binds to methyl-CpG when at least one symmetrically methylated-CpG dinucleotides is presented as its recognition sequence. A SET and RING finger-associated (SRA) domain accounts for the high binding affinity of ICBP90 for methyl-CpG dinucleotides. This protein constitutes a complex with HDAC1 also via its SRA domain, and bound to methylated promoter regions of various tumor suppressor genes, including p16INK4Aand p14ARF, in cancer cells. It has been reported that expression of ICBP90 was upregulated by E2F-1, and we confirmed that the upregulation was caused by binding of E2F-1 to the intron1 of ICBP90, which contains two E2F-1-binding motifs. Our data also revealed accumulation of ICBP90 in breast-cancer cells, where it might suppress expression of tumor suppressor genes through deacetylation of histones after recruitment of HDAC1. The data reported here suggest that ICBP90 is involved in cell proliferation by way of methylation-mediated regulation of certain genes..
23. Unoki M, Nakamura Y., Methylation at CpG-islands in intron1 of EGR2 confers enhancer-like activity., FEBS Lett., 10.1016/S0014-5793(03)01092-5, 554, 1-2, 67-72, 2003.11, [URL], We previously demonstrated several lines of evidence indicating that early growth response 2 (EGR2) functions as a tumor suppressor, partly on the basis that its expression was often decreased in human tumors and cancer cell lines. Here we report a possible molecular mechanism to account for down-regulation of EGR2 in tumor cells. Although no genetic mutations in the gene or alterations in methylation status of its promoter were detected, we found a high degree of methylation at CpG islands in intron 1 of EGR2 in cell lines that were expressing this gene at a high level. Moreover, reporter gene experiments revealed that methylated intron 1 had somehow conferred enhancer-like activity. The data imply the existence of a previously unsuspected mechanism of gene expression regulation..
24. Unoki M, Okutsu J, Nakamura Y. , Identification of a novel human gene, ZFP91, involved in acute myelogenous leukemia., Int J Oncol., 22, 6, 1217-23, 2003.06, [URL], To elucidate mechanisms leading to acute myelogenous leukemia (AML), to find sensitive markers and novel targets for drug therapy, and to allow choice of suitable chemotherapy for each affected individual, we previously compared expression of mRNA from mononuclear cells of AML patients with that of normal controls using a cDNA microarray. Data from that study identified many genes that were commonly up- or down-regulated in AML cells. Of these, we report here the identification of a novel gene whose expression was increased in 27 (93%) of the 29 AML cases whose PBMC preparations include >70% leukemia cells. The gene product, localized in nuclei, showed several characteristics of transcription factors: five zinc-finger domains, a leucine zipper, and several nuclear localization signals. Its 92.5% identity in amino-acid sequence to the murine penta zinc finger protein (mPZf; gene symbol Zfp91), led us to term it ZFP91. Anti-sense oligonucleotides inhibited expression of ZFP91, suppressed cell growth, and induced apoptosis. Our results suggest that ZFP91 is likely to play an important role in cell proliferation and/or anti-apoptosis, and may serve as a molecular marker for AML..
25. Unoki M, Nakamura Y., EGR2 induces apoptosis in various cancer cell lines by direct transactivation of BNIP3L and BAK., Oncogene, 10.1038/sj.onc.1206222, 22, 14, 2172-85., 2003.04, [URL], EGR2 plays a key role in the PTEN-induced apoptotic pathway. Using adenovirus-mediated gene transfer to 39 cancer cell lines, we found that EGR2 could induce apoptosis in a large proportion of these lines by altering the permeability of mitochondrial membranes, releasing cytochrome c and activating caspase-3, -8, and -9. Analysis by cDNA microarray and subsequent functional studies revealed that EGR2 directly transactivates expression of BNIP3L and BAK. Our results helped to clarify the molecular mechanism of the apoptotic pathway induced by PTEN-EGR2, and suggested that EGR2 may be an excellent target molecule for gene therapy to treat a variety of cancers..
26. Takeoka S, Unoki M, Onouchi Y, Doi S, Fujiwara H, Miyatake A, Fujita K, Inoue I, Nakamura Y, Tamari M., Amino-acid substitutions in the IKAP gene product significantly increase risk for bronchial asthma in children. , J Hum Genet. , 46, 2, 57-63, 2001.10, [URL], The complex etiology of bronchial asthma (BA), one of the most common inflammatory diseases throughout the world, involves a combination of various genetic and environmental factors. A number of investigators have undertaken linkage and association studies to shed light on the genetic background of BA, but the genetic aspects of this disease are still poorly understood. In the course of a project to screen the entire human genome for single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that might represent useful markers for large-scale association analyses of common diseases and pharmacogenetic traits, we identified six SNPs within the gene encoding I-kappaB-associated protein (IKAP), a regulator of the NF-kappaB signal pathway. Most of these SNPs were in linkage disequilibrium with each other. We observed a strong allelic association between BA in childhood and two of the SNP sites, T3214A (Cys1072Ser) and C3473T (Pro1158Leu); P = 0.000004 for T3214A and P = 0.0009 for C3473T. T3214A was also associated with BA in adult patients (P = 0.000002), but C3473T was not (P = 0.056). To confirm the above results, we compared estimated frequencies of haplotypes of the six SNPs between BA patients and controls. We found a strong association between BA in childhood and a specific haplotype, TGAAAT, that involved two amino-acid substitutions (819T, 2295G, 2446A, 2490A, 3214A, and 3473T; P = 0.00004, odds ratio, 2.94; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.48-3.4). On the other hand, haplotype TACGTC, which differed from the TGAAAT haplotype in the last five nucleotides, was inversely correlated with the BA phenotype (P = 0.002; odds ratio, 9.83; 95% CI, 8.35-11.31). These results indicated that specific variants of the IKAP gene, or a variant in linkage disequilibrium with the TGAAAT haplotype, might be associated with mechanisms responsible for early-onset BA..
27. Suzuki C, Unoki M, Nakamura Y., Identification and allelic frequencies of novel single-nucleotide polymorphisms in the DUSP1 and BTG1 genes. , J Hum Genet., 10.1007/s100380170105, 46, 3, 155-7, 2001.10, [URL], Defects in the activity of the PTEN gene, a tumor suppressor, are implicated in many types of cancer in humans. However, not all mediators of PTEN signaling pathways have been clarified, and, during efforts to identify such molecules, we previously induced expression of the DUSP1 and BTG1 genes by introducing exogenous PTEN into endometrial cancer cell lines. In the course of analyzing these two genes for mutations in ovarian carcinomas, we identified a novel single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the DUSP1 gene, and three novel SNPs in the BTG1 gene, and we have established their allelic frequencies in a Japanese population sample. These polymorphic sites will be useful for detecting losses of heterozygosity (LOH) in tumors and for examining latent associations between specific alleles and disease susceptibility..
28. Unoki M, Nakamura Y., Growth-suppressive effects of BPOZ and EGR2, two genes involved in the PTEN signaling pathway., Oncogene, doi:10.1038/sj.onc.1204608 , 20, 33, 4457-65, 2001.07, Defects in PTEN, a tumor suppressor, have been found in cancers arising in a variety of human tissues. To elucidate the tumor-suppressive function of this gene, we have been analysing expression profiles of cancer cells after introduction of exogenous PTEN. Those experiments identified 99 candidate genes that were transcriptionally transactivated. Among them, we report here the further analyses of eight genes, EGR2/Krox-20, BPOZ, APS, HCLS1/HS1, DUSP1/MKP1, NDRG1/Drg1/RTP, NFIL3/E4BP4, and a novel gene (PINK1, PTEN-induced putative kinase). Expression of six of them (PINK1, EGR2, HCLS1, DUSP1, BPOZ, and NFIL3) was decreased in ovarian tumors compared with corresponding normal tissues. Colony-formation assays using plasmid clones designed to express each gene indicated that EGR2 and BPOZ were able to suppress growth of cancer cells significantly; in particular, cancer-cell lines stably expressing BPOZ grew more slowly than control cells containing mock vector. Flow cytometry suggested that over-expression of BPOZ inhibited progression of the cell cycle at the G(1)/S transition. Anti-sense oligonucleotides for BPOZ or EGR2 effectively inhibited their expression, and cell growth was accelerated. Therefore both genes appear to be novel candidates as mediators of the PTEN growth-suppressive signaling pathway..
29. Matsushima-Nishiu M, Unoki M, Ono K, Tsunoda T, Minaguchi T, Kuramoto H, Nishida M, Satoh T, Tanaka T, Nakamura Y., Growth and gene expression profile analyses of endometrial cancer cells expressing exogenous PTEN. , Can. Res., 61, 9, 3741-9, 2001.05, [URL], The PTEN tumor suppressor gene encodes a multifunctional phosphatase that plays an important role in inhibiting the phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase pathway and downstream functions that include activation of Akt/protein kinase B, cell survival, and cell proliferation. Enforced expression of PTEN in various cancer cell lines decreases cell proliferation through arrest of the cell cycle, accompanied in some cases by induction of apoptosis. We used cDNA microarrays containing 4009 cDNAs to examine changes in gene-expression profiles when exogenous PTEN was induced in PTEN-defective cells. The microarrays and subsequent semi-quantitative reverse transcription-PCR analysis revealed transcriptional stimulation of 99 genes and repression of 72 genes. Some of the differentially expressed genes already had been implicated in cell proliferation, differentiation, apoptosis, or cell cycle control, e.g., overexpression of PTEN-induced transactivation of cyclin-dependent inhibitor 1B (p27Kip1) and 2B (p15INK4B), members of the TNF receptor family, tumor necrosis factor-associated genes, and members of the Notch-signaling and Mad families. To our knowledge this is the first report of transactivation of those genes by PTEN. The genes differentially expressed in our experiments also included many whose correlation with cancer development had not been recognized before. Our data should contribute to a greater understanding of the broad spectrum of ways in which PTEN affects intracellular signaling pathways. Analysis of expression profiles with microarrays appears to be a powerful approach for identifying anticancer genes and/or disease-specific targets for cancer therapy..
30. Yamada R, Tanaka T, Unoki M, Nagai T, Sawada T, Ohnishi Y, Tsunoda T, Yukioka M, Maeda A, Suzuki K, Tateishi H, Ochi T, Nakamura Y, Yamamoto K., Association between a single-nucleotide polymorphism in the promoter of the human interleukin-3 gene and rheumatoid arthritis in Japanese patients, and maximum-likelihood estimation of combinatorial effect that two genetic loci have on susceptibility to the disease., Am J Hum Genet., 10.1086/318789, 68, 3, 674-85, 2001.03, [URL], Genetic variants of interleukin-3 (IL-3), a well-studied cytokine, may have a role in the pathophysiology of rheumatoid arthritis (RA); but reports on this association sometimes conflict. A case-control study was designed to investigate association between RA and a single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the IL-3 promoter region. Comparison of cases of RA versus control individuals yielded a chi(2) value of 14.28 (P=.0002), with a genotype odds ratio of 2.24 (95% confidence interval [95%CI] 1.44-3.49). When female cases with earlier onset were compared with female control individuals, the SNP revealed an even more significant correlation, with chi2=21.75 (P=.000004) and a genotype odds ratio of 7.27 (95%CI 2.80-18.89). The stronger association that we observed in this clinically distinct subgroup (females with early onset), within a region where linkage disequilibrium was not significantly extended, suggested that the genuine RA locus should locate either within or close to the IL-3 gene. Combined genotype data on SNPs on eight other candidate genes were combined with our IL-3 results, to estimate relationships between pairs of loci and RA, by maximum-likelihood analysis. The utility of combining the genotype data in this way to identify possible contributions of various genes to this disease is discussed..
31. Unoki M, Furuta S, Onouchi Y, Watanabe O, Doi S, Fujiwara H, Miyatake A, Fujita K, Tamari M, Nakamura Y., Association studies of 33 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 29 candidate genes for bronchial asthma: positive association a T924C polymorphism in the thromboxane A2 receptor gene., Hum Genet., 10.1007/s004390000267, 106, 4, 440-6, 2000.04, [URL], Although intensive studies have attempted to elucidate the genetic background of bronchial asthma (BA), one of the most common of the chronic inflammatory diseases in human populations, genetic factors associated with its pathogenesis are still not well understood. We surveyed 29 possible candidate genes for this disease for single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), the most frequent type of genetic variation, in genomic DNAs from Japanese BA patients. We identified 33 SNPs, only four of which had been reported previously, among 14 of those genes. We also performed association studies using 585 BA patients and 343 normal controls for these SNPs. Of the 33 SNPs tested, 32 revealed no positive association with BA, but a T924C polymorphism in the thromboxane A2 receptor gene showed significant association (chi2=4.71, P=0.030), especially with respect to adult patients (chi2=6.20, P=0.013). Our results suggest that variants of the TBXA2R gene or some nearby gene(s) may play an important role in the pathogenesis of adult BA..