April 23, 2014
Workshop on Environmental Epigenomics
On April 24th the department of Environmental Medicine, in conjunction with the NIEHS Environmental Health Sciences Center held a Workshop on Environmental Epigenomics in the URMC. Among the numerous collegues and attendees were Dr. Trevor Archer (NIEHS), Dr. Cheryl Walker (Texas A&M), Dr. Dana Dolinoy (University of Michigan), and Dr. Moshe Szyf (McGill University). The event was organized in part by Dr. Irfan Rahman.
See here for photos from the event.
February 14, 2014
Exposure to cigarette smoke is known to cause changes in the chromatin -- the complex of DNA and proteins that make up a cell's nucleus. This can lead to chronic lung disease. UR researchers Irfan Rahman, Professor of Environmental Medicine and Pulmonary Diseases, and Alan Friedman, Assistant Professor of Environmental Medicine, are shedding light on the role of histones in this process. Histones are key proteins that pass along genetic information from parents to children, play a role in gene expression, and act as
spoolsfor DNA to wind around.
Their study, featured on the cover of the Journal of Proteome Research (February 2014), reports that cigarette smoke induces specific post translational modifications in histones H3 and H4, which could serve as biomarkers to help identify and predict chronic lung diseases (COPD and lung cancer) induced by cigarette smoke. Their data may also help in our understanding of the epigenetic changes that occur during the development of these diseases.
January 6, 2014
The Clockmaker, c. 1735, color engraving, Engelbrecht, Martin (1684–1756). Engelbrecht, a noted print-seller and engraver, was best known for his miniature theater dioramas. Eight scenery-like cards are inserted into a peep-box, aligned one behind the other, creating a three-dimensional view. These popular home-theaters have been cited by photographers and cinematographers for their dramatic optical effects. Some even suggest that they are forerunners of cable television. Our
grandmotherclock, an 18th-century Rococo extravaganza of ormolu scrolls and miniature dragons, stands stage center against a backdrop of cedar trees. Her body consists of two timepieces: one resting on her bosomy mantel and the other, a longcase model resting on curlicued paws. In her right hand, she dangles a pendulum—perhaps a reference to Galileo's discovery. The theatrical image may also be a tribute to Engelbrecht's hometown of Augsburg, the chief supplier of highly ornamental clocks to all of Europe. In this issue, we learn how tobacco smoke disrupts the circadian rhythm of clock gene expression, increasing lung inflammation to produce emphysema in mice via sirtuin 1 (SIRT1)-dependent acetylation of the core clock gene, brain and muscle aryl hydrocarbon receptor nuclear translocator-like 1 (BMAL1). Image courtesy of Bibliothèque des Arts décoratifs, Paris, France/Archives Charmet/Bridgeman Art Library; Ann Weissmann, fine arts editor.
Environmental Medicine professor, Irfan Rahman's current article has been featured on the cover of the Journal of The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. The article, entitled Circadian clock function is disrupted by environmental tobacco/cigarette smoke, leading to lung inflammation and injury via a SIRT1-BMAL1 pathway, deals with patients with obstructive lung diseases display abnormal circadian rhythms in lung function. The Rahman lab determined the mechanism whereby environmental tobacco/cigarette smoke (CS) modulates expression of the core clock gene BMAL1, through Sirtuin1 (SIRT1) deacetylase during lung inflammatory and injurious responses.
January 3, 2014
A University of Rochester study has found that smokers can have a good night's sleep just by giving up the habit. Researchers said that smoking leads to sleep deprivation, depression and anxiety, cognitive decline and mood disorders. Lack of sleep can result in lethargy, crankiness and bad temper.
This study has found a common pathway whereby cigarette smoke impacts both pulmonary and neurophysiological function,Dr. Irfan Rahman from the University of Rochester Medical Centre in New York said in a press release.
We envisage that our findings will be the basis for future developments in the treatment of those patients who are suffering with tobacco smoke-mediated injuries and diseases.
- Environmental health hazards of e-cigarettes and their components: Oxidants and copper in e-cigarette aerosols. Environ Pollut. 198C, 100-107. (2015 Jan 08).
- SIRT1 protects against cigarette smoke-induced lung oxidative stress via a FOXO3-dependent mechanism. Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 306, L816-28. (2014 May 01).
- Cigarette smoke induces distinct histone modifications in lung cells: implications for the pathogenesis of COPD and lung cancer. J Proteome Res. 13, 982-96. (2014 Feb 07).