Guan Lab

Department of Computational Medicine & Bioinformatics
Sat, 04/23/2016 - 16:24 -- gyuanfan
TitleEffects of Antioxidants in Human Cancers: Differential Effects on Non-Coding Intronic RNA Expression.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsMenon S, Lu C, Menon R, Schwartz J, Guan Y
JournalAntioxidants (Basel) (The first author of this paper is a high-school trainee --now in Harvard-- in my lab, who entered the finalist of Intel Talent Search based on this piece of work.)
Date Published2016

The notion that dietary antioxidants can help fight cancer is popular. However, the mechanism(s) behind the effect of antioxidants in cancer is still unclear. Previous studies indicate that supplements can influence gene expression; however, all of these studies were focused on the coding/exonic gene expression. Studies are now emerging to highlight critical functional roles for RNAs expressed from the non-coding regions. This project was designed to study the effect of antioxidant supplements on non-coding intronic RNA expression in human cancers. Vitamin E, N-Acetyl cysteine (NAC) and Sulforaphane are commonly used supplements to prevent diseases including cancers. We studied the effect of these antioxidant supplements on the non-coding intronic RNA expression using publicly available datasets from a mouse model for lung cancer and prostate cancer cell lines. Although high throughput polyA-enriched RNA-Seq data characterize spliced coding mRNA regions, recent studies reveal the expression of reads from the non-coding intronic regions. Our analyses indicate that cancer cells have higher expression of introns compared to that of normal cells and that treatment with antioxidant supplements reduces the increased expression of introns of several genes. However, we did find high expression of introns of multiple genes including many oncogenes in the supplement treated groups compared to that of the control; this effect was distinct depending on the cell type and the supplement studied. Using RT-PCRs, we validated the expression of introns of two oncogenes, DLK1 and LRG1, known to be key players in lung cancer progression, and demonstrate changed intronic expression with supplement treatment in cancer cells. With regard to the antioxidant system, supplements did not change the intronic RNAs for endogenous antioxidant enzymes except for a significant decrease in the expression of superoxide dismutase (SOD) intronic RNA. Concurrently, we also found that a prolonged (48 h) exposure to Vitamin C, Vitamin E and Green tea extract reduced the enzymatic activity of SOD in lung cancer cells. The results from this study reveal that the antioxidant supplements have a significant effect on the intronic RNA expression of many genes including cancer genes that are not directly linked to the body's antioxidant system. It is important to study this novel effect of antioxidant supplements in detail as it may have a significant role in disease progression.


(The first author of this paper is a high-school trainee --now in Harvard-- in my lab, who entered the finalist of Intel Talent Search based on this piece of work.)

Alternate JournalAntioxidants (Basel)
Refereed DesignationRefereed
PubMed ID26805894
PubMed Central IDPMC4808750