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1.  Transamidase site-targeted agents alter the conformation of the transglutaminase cancer stem cell survival protein to reduce GTP binding activity and cancer stem cell survival 
Oncogene  2016;36(21):2981-2990.
Type 2 transglutaminase (TG2) is an important cancer stem cell survival protein that exists in open and closed conformations. The major intracellular form is the closed conformation that functions as a GTP-binding GTPase and is required for cancer stem cell survival. However, at a finite rate, TG2 transitions to an open conformation that exposes the transamidase catalytic site involved in protein-protein crosslinking. The activities are mutually exclusive, as the closed conformation has GTP binding/GTPase activity, and the open conformation transamidase activity. We recently showed that GTP binding, but not transamidase activity, is required for TG2-dependent cancer stem cell invasion, migration and tumor formation. However, we were surprised that transamidase site-specific inhibitors reduce cancer stem cell survival. We now show that compounds NC9, VA4 and VA5, which react exclusively at the TG2 transamidase site, inhibit both transamidase and GTP-binding activities. Transamidase activity is inhibited by direct inhibitor binding at the transamidase site, and GTP binding is blocked because inhibitor interaction at the transamidase site locks the protein in the extended/open conformation to disorganize/inactivate the GTP binding/GTPase site. These findings suggest that transamidase site-specific inhibitors can inhibit GTP binding/signaling by driving a conformation change that disorganizes the TG2 GTP binding to reduce TG2-dependent signaling, and that drugs designed to target this site may be potent anti-cancer agents.
PMCID: PMC5444990  PMID: 27941875
Transglutaminase 2; NC9; VA4; VA5; CP4d; cancer; cancer stem cells; squamous cell carcinoma
2.  Hypoxia and cell cycle regulation of the von Hippel-Lindau tumor suppressor 
Oncogene  2010;30(1):21-31.
Inactivation of von Hippel-Lindau tumor suppressor protein (pVHL) is associated with von Hippel-Lindau disease, an inherited cancer syndrome, as well as the majority of patients with sporadic clear cell renal carcinoma (RCC). While the involvement of pVHL in oxygen sensing through targeting HIFα subunits to ubiquitin-dependent proteolysis has been well documented, less is known about pVHL regulation under both normoxic and hypoxic conditions. We found that pVHL levels decreased in hypoxia and that hypoxia-induced cell cycle arrest is associated with pVHL expression in RCC cells. pVHL levels fluctuate during the cell cycle, paralleling cyclin B1 levels, with decreased levels in mitosis and G1. pVHL contains consensus Destruction box sequences, and pVHL associates with Cdh1, an activator of the anaphase promoting complex/cyclosome (APC/C) E3 ubiquitin ligase. We show that pVHL has a decreased half-life in G1, Cdh1 downregulation results in increased pVHL expression, while Cdh1 overexpression results in decreased pVHL expression. Taken together these results suggest that pVHL is a novel substrate of APC/CCdh1. Destruction box-independent pVHL degradation was also detected, indicating that other ubiquitin ligases are also activated for pVHL degradation.
PMCID: PMC2995849  PMID: 20802534
Von Hippel-Lindau protein; renal cell carcinoma; anaphase promoting complex/cyclosome; hypoxia; cell cycle

Results 1-2 (2)