Publications -- Nicole Phillips

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This collection is limited to articles published under the terms of a creative commons license or other open access publishing agreement since 2016. It is not intended as a complete list of the author's works.


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Now showing 1 - 10 of 10
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    Top Alzheimer's disease risk allele frequencies differ in HABS-HD Mexican- versus Non-Hispanic White Americans
    (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2024-01-02) Housini, Mohammad; Zhou, Zhengyang; Gutierrez, John; Rao, Sumedha; Jomaa, Rodwan; Subasinghe, Kumudu; Reid, Danielle M.; Silzer, Talisa; Phillips, Nicole; O'Bryant, Sid E.; Barber, Robert C.; Team, HABS-HD Study
    INTRODUCTION: Here we evaluate frequencies of the top 10 Alzheimer's disease (AD) risk alleles for late-onset AD in Mexican American (MA) and non-Hispanic White (NHW) American participants enrolled in the Health and Aging Brain Study-Health Disparities Study cohort. METHODS: Using DNA extracted from this community-based diverse population, we calculated the genotype frequencies in each population to determine whether a significant difference is detected between the different ethnicities. DNA genotyping was performed per manufacturers' protocols. RESULTS: Allele and genotype frequencies for 9 of the 11 single nucleotide polymorphisms (two apolipoprotein E variants, CR1, BIN1, DRB1, NYAP1, PTK2B, FERMT2, and ABCA7) differed significantly between MAs and NHWs. DISCUSSION: The significant differences in frequencies of top AD risk alleles observed here across MAs and NHWs suggest that ethnicity-specific genetic risks for AD exist. Given our results, we are advancing additional projects to further elucidate ethnicity-specific differences in AD.
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    Mitochondrial SOS: how mtDNA may act as a stress signal in Alzheimer's disease
    (BioMed Central Ltd., 2023-10-12) Gorham, Isabelle K.; Barber, Robert C.; Jones, Harlan P.; Phillips, Nicole R.
    BACKGROUND: Alterations in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) levels have been observed in Alzheimer's disease and are an area of research that shows promise as a useful biomarker. It is well known that not only are the mitochondria a key player in producing energy for the cell, but they also are known to interact in other important intracellular processes as well as extracellular signaling and communication. BODY: This mini review explores how cells use mtDNA as a stress signal, particularly in Alzheimer's disease. We investigate the measurement of these mtDNA alterations, the mechanisms of mtDNA release, and the immunological effects from the release of these stress signals. CONCLUSION: Literature indicates a correlation between the release of mtDNA in Alzheimer's disease and increased immune responses, showing promise as a potential biomarker. However, several questions remain unanswered and there is great potential for future studies in this area.
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    Maternal and fetal mitochondrial gene dysregulation in hypertensive disorders of pregnancy
    (American Physiological Society, 2023-05-15) Ricci, Contessa A.; Reid, Danielle M.; Sun, Jie; Santillan, Donna A.; Santillan, Mark K.; Phillips, Nicole R.; Goulopoulou, Styliani
    Mitochondrial dysfunction has been implicated in pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH). The role of mitochondrial gene dysregulation in PIH, and consequences for maternal-fetal interactions, remain elusive. Here, we investigated mitochondrial gene expression and dysregulation in maternal and placental tissues from pregnancies with and without PIH; further, we measured circulating mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutational load, an index of mtDNA integrity. Differential gene expression analysis followed by Time Course Gene Set Analysis (TcGSA) was conducted on publicly available high throughput sequencing transcriptomic data sets. Mutational load analysis was carried out on peripheral mononuclear blood cells from healthy pregnant individuals and individuals with preeclampsia. Thirty mitochondrial differentially expressed genes (mtDEGs) were detected in the maternal cell-free circulating transcriptome, whereas nine were detected in placental transcriptome from pregnancies with PIH. In PIH pregnancies, maternal mitochondrial dysregulation was associated with pathways involved in inflammation, cell death/survival, and placental development, whereas fetal mitochondrial dysregulation was associated with increased production of extracellular vesicles (EVs) at term. Mothers with preeclampsia did not exhibit a significantly different degree of mtDNA mutational load. Our findings support the involvement of maternal mitochondrial dysregulation in the pathophysiology of PIH and suggest that mitochondria may mediate maternal-fetal interactions during healthy pregnancy.NEW & NOTEWORTHY This study identifies aberrant maternal and fetal expression of mitochondrial genes in pregnancies with gestational hypertension and preeclampsia. Mitochondrial gene dysregulation may be a common etiological factor contributing to the development of de novo hypertension in pregnancy-associated hypertensive disorders.
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    Hypermethylation at CREBBP Is Associated with Cognitive Impairment in a Mexican American Cohort
    (IOS Press, 2023-03-07) Abraham Daniel, Ann; Silzer, Talisa; Sun, Jie; Zhou, Zhengyang; Hall, Courtney; Phillips, Nicole; Barber, Robert C.
    BACKGROUND: The aging Mexican American (MA) population is the fastest growing ethnic minority group in the US. MAs have a unique metabolic-related risk for Alzheimer's disease (AD) and mild cognitive impairment (MCI), compared to non-Hispanic whites (NHW). This risk for cognitive impairment (CI) is multifactorial involving genetics, environmental, and lifestyle factors. Changes in environment and lifestyle can alter patterns and even possibly reverse derangement of DNA methylation (a form of epigenetic regulation). OBJECTIVE: We sought to identify ethnicity-specific DNA methylation profiles that may be associated with CI in MAs and NHWs. METHODS: DNA obtained from peripheral blood of 551 participants from the Texas Alzheimer's Research and Care Consortium was typed on the Illumina Infinium® MethylationEPIC chip array, which assesses over 850K CpG genomic sites. Within each ethnic group (N = 299 MAs, N = 252 NHWs), participants were stratified by cognitive status (control versus CI). Beta values, representing relative degree of methylation, were normalized using the Beta MIxture Quantile dilation method and assessed for differential methylation using the Chip Analysis Methylation Pipeline (ChAMP), limma and cate packages in R. RESULTS: Two differentially methylated sites were significant: cg13135255 (MAs) and cg27002303 (NHWs) based on an FDR p < 0.05. Three suggestive sites obtained were cg01887506 (MAs) and cg10607142 and cg13529380 (NHWs). Most methylation sites were hypermethylated in CI compared to controls, except cg13529380 which was hypomethylated. CONCLUSION: The strongest association with CI was at cg13135255 (FDR-adjusted p = 0.029 in MAs), within the CREBBP gene. Moving forward, identifying additional ethnicity-specific methylation sites may be useful to discern CI risk in MAs.
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    Genetically-regulated transcriptomics & copy number variation of proctitis points to altered mitochondrial and DNA repair mechanisms in individuals of European ancestry
    (BioMed Central Ltd., 2020-10-02) Pathak, Gita A.; Polimanti, Renato; Silzer, Talisa K.; Wendt, Frank R.; Chakraborty, Ranajit; Phillips, Nicole R.
    BACKGROUND: Proctitis is an inflammation of the rectum and may be induced by radiation treatment for cancer. The genetic heritability of developing radiotoxicity and prior role of genetic variants as being associated with side-effects of radiotherapy necessitates further investigation for underlying molecular mechanisms. In this study, we investigated gene expression regulated by genetic variants, and copy number variation in prostate cancer survivors with radiotoxicity. METHODS: We investigated proctitis as a radiotoxic endpoint in prostate cancer patients who received radiotherapy (n = 222). We analyzed the copy number variation and genetically regulated gene expression profiles of whole-blood and prostate tissue associated with proctitis. The SNP and copy number data were genotyped on Affymetrix(R) Genome-wide Human SNP Array 6.0. Following QC measures, the genotypes were used to obtain gene expression by leveraging GTEx, a reference dataset for gene expression association based on genotype and RNA-seq information for prostate (n = 132) and whole-blood tissue (n = 369). RESULTS: In prostate tissue, 62 genes were significantly associated with proctitis, and 98 genes in whole-blood tissue. Six genes - CABLES2, ATP6AP1L, IFIT5, ATRIP, TELO2, and PARD6G were common to both tissues. The copy number analysis identified seven regions associated with proctitis, one of which (ALG1L2) was also associated with proctitis based on transcriptomic profiles in the whole-blood tissue. The genes identified via transcriptomics and copy number variation association were further investigated for enriched pathways and gene ontology. Some of the enriched processes were DNA repair, mitochondrial apoptosis regulation, cell-to-cell signaling interaction processes for renal and urological system, and organismal injury. CONCLUSIONS: We report gene expression changes based on genetic polymorphisms. Integrating gene-network information identified these genes to relate to canonical DNA repair genes and processes. This investigation highlights genes involved in DNA repair processes and mitochondrial malfunction possibly via inflammation. Therefore, it is suggested that larger studies will provide more power to infer the extent of underlying genetic contribution for an individual's susceptibility to developing radiotoxicity.
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    Mitochondrial tRNA methylation in Alzheimer's disease and progressive supranuclear palsy
    (BioMed Central Ltd., 2020-05-19) Silzer, Talisa K.; Pathak, Gita A.; Phillips, Nicole R.
    BACKGROUND: Methylation of mitochondrial tRNAs (mt-tRNA) at the 9th position ("p9 site") is known to impact translational efficiency and downstream mitochondrial function; however, direct assessment of mt-RNA methylation is challenging. Recent RNA sequence-based methods have been developed to reliably identify post-transcriptional methylation. Though p9 methylation has been studied in healthy human populations and in the context of cancer, it has not yet been analyzed in neurodegenerative disease, where mitochondrial dysfunction is a prominent and early hallmark of disease progression. METHODS: Mitochondrial p9 methylation was inferred from multi-allelic calls in RNA-seq data. Gene-based association studies were performed in FUMA. Correlations between nuclear gene expression and p9 methylation were tested using Spearman's rho. Fisher's Exact test was used in PANTHER and IPA to test for overrepresentation and enrichment of biological processes and pathways in the top nuclear genes correlated with p9 methylation. RESULTS: Variable methylation was observed at 11 p9 sites in post-mortem cerebellar tissue of elderly subjects who were either healthy or diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease (AD), progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) or pathological aging (PA). Similarities in degree of methylation were observed between AD and PSP. Certain nuclear encoded genes were identified as significantly associated with p9 methylation. Expression of 5300 nuclear encoded genes was significantly correlated with p9 methylation, with AD and PSP subjects exhibiting similar expression profiles. Overrepresentation and enrichment testing using the top transcripts revealed enrichment for a number of molecular processes, terms and pathways including many of which that were mitochondrial-related. CONCLUSION: With mitochondrial dysfunction being an established hallmark of neurodegenerative disease pathophysiology, this work sheds light on the potential molecular underpinnings of this dysfunction. Here we show overlap in cerebellar pathophysiology between common tauopathies such as Alzheimer's disease and progressive supranuclear palsy. Whether p9 hypermethylation is a cause or consequence of pathology remains an area of focus.
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    Patient genetics is linked to chronic wound microbiome composition and healing
    (PLOS, 2020-06-18) Tipton, Craig D.; Wolcott, Randall D.; Sanford, Nicholas E.; Miller, Clint; Pathak, Gita A.; Silzer, Talisa K.; Sun, Jie; Fleming, Derek; Rumbaugh, Kendra P.; Little, Todd D.; Phillips, Nicole; Phillips, Caleb D.
    The clinical importance of microbiomes to the chronicity of wounds is widely appreciated, yet little is understood about patient-specific processes shaping wound microbiome composition. Here, a two-cohort microbiome-genome wide association study is presented through which patient genomic loci associated with chronic wound microbiome diversity were identified. Further investigation revealed that alternative TLN2 and ZNF521 genotypes explained significant inter-patient variation in relative abundance of two key pathogens, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus epidermidis. Wound diversity was lowest in Pseudomonas aeruginosa infected wounds, and decreasing wound diversity had a significant negative linear relationship with healing rate. In addition to microbiome characteristics, age, diabetic status, and genetic ancestry all significantly influenced healing. Using structural equation modeling to identify common variance among SNPs, six loci were sufficient to explain 53% of variation in wound microbiome diversity, which was a 10% increase over traditional multiple regression. Focusing on TLN2, genotype at rs8031916 explained expression differences of alternative transcripts that differ in inclusion of important focal adhesion binding domains. Such differences are hypothesized to relate to wound microbiomes and healing through effects on bacterial exploitation of focal adhesions and/or cellular migration. Related, other associated loci were functionally enriched, often with roles in cytoskeletal dynamics. This study, being the first to identify patient genetic determinants for wound microbiomes and healing, implicates genetic variation determining cellular adhesion phenotypes as important drivers of infection type. The identification of predictive biomarkers for chronic wound microbiomes may serve as risk factors and guide treatment by informing patient-specific tendencies of infection.
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    Reduced Maternal Circulating Cell-Free Mitochondrial DNA Is Associated With the Development of Preeclampsia
    (American Heart Association, Inc., 2022-01-11) Cushen, Spencer C.; Ricci, Contessa A.; Bradshaw, Jessica L.; Silzer, Talisa K.; Blessing, Alexandra M.; Sun, Jie; Zhou, Zhengyang; Scroggins, Sabrina M.; Santillan, Mark K.; Santillan, Donna A.; Phillips, Nicole R.; Goulopoulou, Styliani
    Background Circulating cell-free mitochondrial DNA (ccf-mtDNA) is a damage-associated molecular pattern that reflects cell stress responses and tissue damage, but little is known about ccf-mtDNA in preeclampsia. The main objectives of this study were to determine (1) absolute concentrations of ccf-mtDNA in plasma and mitochondrial DNA content in peripheral blood mononuclear cells and (2) forms of ccf-mtDNA transport in blood from women with preeclampsia and healthy controls. In addition, we sought to establish the association between aberrance in circulating DNA-related metrics, including ccf-mtDNA and DNA clearance mechanisms, and the clinical diagnosis of preeclampsia using bootstrapped penalized logistic regression. Methods and Results Absolute concentrations of ccf-mtDNA were reduced in plasma from women with preeclampsia compared with healthy controls (P0.05). While the pattern of reduced ccf-mtDNA in patients with preeclampsia remained, DNA isolation from plasma using membrane lysis buffer resulted in 1000-fold higher ccf-mtDNA concentrations in the preeclampsia group (P=0.0014) and 430-fold higher ccf-mtDNA concentrations in the control group (P<0.0001). Plasma from women with preeclampsia did not induce greater Toll-like receptor-9-induced nuclear factor kappa-light-chain enhancer of activated B cells-dependent responses in human embryonic kidney 293 cells overexpressing the human TLR-9 gene (P>0.05). Penalized regression analysis showed that women with preeclampsia were more likely to have lower concentrations of ccf-mtDNA as well as higher concentrations of nuclear DNA and DNase I compared with their matched controls. Conclusions Women with preeclampsia have aberrant circulating DNA dynamics, including reduced ccf-mtDNA concentrations and DNA clearance mechanisms, compared with gestational age-matched healthy pregnant women.
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    Circulating mitochondrial DNA: New indices of type 2 diabetes-related cognitive impairment in Mexican Americans
    (PLoS, 2019-03-12) Silzer, Talisa K.; Barber, Robert C.; Sun, Jie; Pathak, Gita A.; Johnson, Leigh A.; O'Bryant, Sid E.; Phillips, Nicole
    Mitochondrial function has been implicated and studied in numerous complex age-related diseases. Understanding the potential role of mitochondria in disease pathophysiology is of importance due to the rise in prevalence of complex age-related diseases, such as type 2 diabetes (T2D) and Alzheimer's disease (AD). These two diseases specifically share common pathophysiological characteristics which potentially point to a common root cause or factors for disease exacerbation. Studying the shared phenomena in Mexican Americans is of particular importance due to the disproportionate prevalence of both T2D and AD in this population. Here, we assessed the potential role of mitochondria in T2D and cognitive impairment (CI) in a Mexican American cohort by analyzing blood-based indices of mitochondrial DNA copy number (mtDNACN) and cell-free mitochondrial DNA (CFmtDNA). These mitochondrial metrics were also analyzed for correlation with relevant neuropsychological variables and physiological data collected as indicators of disease and/or disease progression. We found mtDNACN to be significantly decreased in individuals with CI, while CFmtDNA was significantly elevated in T2D; further, CFmtDNA elevation was significantly exacerbated in individuals with both diseases. MtDNACN was found to negatively correlate with age and fatty acid binding protein concentration, while positively correlating with CFmtDNA as well as CERAD total recall score. Candidate gene SNP-set analysis was performed on genes previously implicated in maintenance and control of mitochondrial dynamics to determine if nuclear variants may account for variability in mtDNACN. The results point to a single significant locus, in the LRRK2/MUC19 region, encoding leucine rich repeat kinase 2 and mucin 19. This locus has been previously implicated in Parkinson's disease, among others; rs7302859 was the driver SNP. These combined findings further indicate that mitochondrial dysfunction (as assessed by proxy via mtDNACN) is intimately linked to both T2D and CI phenotypes as well as aging.
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    The Health & Aging Brain among Latino Elders (HABLE) study methods and participant characteristics
    (Wiley Periodicals, LLC, 2021-06-21) O'Bryant, Sid E.; Johnson, Leigh A.; Barber, Robert C.; Braskie, Meredith N.; Christian, Bradley; Hall, James R.; Hazra, Nalini; King, Kevin; Kothapalli, Deydeep; Large, Stephanie; Mason, David; Matsiyevskiy, Elizabeth; McColl, Roderick; Nandy, Rajesh; Palmer, Raymond; Petersen, Melissa E.; Philips, Nicole; Rissman, Robert A.; Shi, Yonggang; Toga, Arthur W.; Vintimilla, Raul; Vig, Rocky; Zhang, Fan; Yaffe, Kristine
    Introduction: Mexican Americans remain severely underrepresented in Alzheimer's disease (AD) research. The Health & Aging Brain among Latino Elders (HABLE) study was created to fill important gaps in the existing literature. Methods: Community-dwelling Mexican Americans and non-Hispanic White adults and elders (age 50 and above) were recruited. All participants underwent comprehensive assessments including an interview, functional exam, clinical labs, informant interview, neuropsychological testing, and 3T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain. Amyloid and tau positron emission tomography (PET) scans were added at visit 2. Blood samples were stored in the Biorepository. Results: Data was examined from n = 1705 participants. Significant group differences were found in medical, demographic, and sociocultural factors. Cerebral amyloid and neurodegeneration imaging markers were significantly different between Mexican Americans and non-Hispanic Whites. Discussion: The current data provide strong support for continued investigations that examine the risk factors for and biomarkers of AD among diverse populations.