Aggressive tumor growth, diffuse tissue invasion and neurodegeneration are hallmarks of malignant glioma. Although glutamate excitotoxicity is considered to play a key role in glioma-induced neurodegeneration, the mechanism(s) controlling this process is poorly understood. AEG-1 is an oncogene overexpressed in multiple types of human cancers including >90% of brain tumors. AEG-1 also promotes gliomagenesis particularly in the context of tumor growth and invasion, two primary characteristics of glioma. In the present study, we investigated the contribution of AEG-1 to glioma-induced neurodegeneration. Pearson correlation coefficient analysis in normal brain tissues and glioma patient samples indicated a strong negative correlation between expression of AEG-1 and a primary glutamate transporter of astrocytes EAAT2. Gain and loss of function studies in normal primary human fetal astrocytes and T98G glioblastoma multiforme cells revealed that AEG-1 repressed EAAT2 expression at a transcriptional level by inducing YY1 activity to inhibit CBP function as a coactivator on the EAAT2 promoter. In addition, AEG-1-mediated EAAT2 repression caused a reduction of glutamate uptake by glial cells, resulting in induction of neuronal cell death. These findings were also confirmed in glioma patient samples demonstrating that AEG-1 expression negatively correlated with NeuN expression. Taken together, our findings suggest that AEG-1 contributes to glioma-induced neurodegeneration, a hallmark of this fatal tumor, through regulation of EAAT2 expression.
AEG-1; glioma; EAAT2; glutamate; glioma-induced neurodegeneration
Tumor progression and metastasis are complex processes involving intricate interplay among multiple gene products. Astrocyte Elevated Gene (AEG)-1 was cloned as an HIV-1- and tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α)-inducible transcript in primary human fetal astrocytes by a rapid subtraction hybridization approach. AEG-1 downregulates the expression of the glutamate transporter EAAT2, thus it is implicated in glutamate-induced excitotoxic damage to neurons as evident in HIV-associated neurodegeneration. Interestingly, AEG-1 expression is elevated in subsets of breast cancer, glioblastoma multiforme and melanoma cells and AEG-1 cooperates with Ha-ras to augment the transformed phenotype of normal immortal cells. Moreover, AEG-1 is overexpressed in >95% of human malignant glioma samples when compared with normal human brain. Overexpression of AEG-1 increases and siRNA inhibition of AEG-1 decreases migration and invasion of human glioma cells, respectively. AEG-1 contains a lung-homing domain facilitating breast tumor metastasis to lungs. These findings indicate that AEG-1 might play a pivotal role in the pathogenesis, progression and metastasis of diverse cancers. Our recent observations indicate that AEG-1 exerts its effects by activating the NF-κB pathway and AEG-1 is a downstream target of Ha-ras and plays an important role in Ha-ras-mediated tumorigenesis. These provocative findings are intensifying interest in AEG-1 as a crucial regulator of tumor progression and metastasis and as a potential mediator of neurodegeneration. In this review, we discuss the cloning, structure and function(s) of AEG-1 and provide recent insights into the diverse actions and intriguing properties of this molecule.
AEG-1; Progression; Metastasis; Ha-ras oncogene; Glutamate excitotoxicity; AEG-1 promoter
Expression of astrocyte elevated gene-1 (AEG-1) is elevated in multiple human cancers including brain tumors, neuroblastomas, melanomas, breast cancers, non-small cell lung cancers, liver cancers, prostate cancers, and esophageal cancers. This gene plays crucial roles in tumor cell growth, invasion, angiogenesis and progression to metastasis. In addition, over-expression of AEG-1 protects primary and transformed cells from apoptosis-inducing signals by activating PI3K-Akt signaling pathways. These results suggest that AEG-1 is intimately involved in tumorigenesis and may serve as a potential therapeutic target for various human cancers. However, the normal physiological functions of AEG-1 require clarification. We presently analyzed the expression pattern of AEG-1 during mouse development. AEG-1 was expressed in mid-to-hindbrain, fronto-nasal processes, limbs, and pharyngeal arches in the early developmental period from E8.5 to E9.5. In addition, at stages of E12.5-E18.5 AEG-1 was localized in the brain, and olfactory and skeletal systems suggesting a role in neurogenesis, as well as in skin, including hair follicles, and in the liver, which are organ sites in which AEG-1 has been implicated in tumor development and progression. AEG-1 co-localized with Ki-67, indicating a role in cell proliferation, as previously revealed in tumorigenesis. Taken together, these results suggest that AEG-1 may play a prominent role during normal mouse development in the context of cell proliferation as well as differentiation, and that temporal regulation of AEG-1 expression may be required during specific stages and in specific tissues during development.
AEG-1; development; mouse embryo; cell proliferation; cancer
Glioma, including anaplastic astrocytoma and glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) are among the most commonly diagnosed malignant adult brain tumors. GBM is a highly invasive and angiogenic tumor, resulting in a 12 to 15 months median survival. The treatment of GBM is multimodal and includes surgical resection, followed by adjuvant radio-and chemotherapy. We have previously reported that short-term starvation (STS) enhances the therapeutic index of chemo-treatments by differentially protecting normal cells against and/or sensitizing tumor cells to chemotoxicity.
Methodology and Principal Findings
To test the effect of starvation on glioma cells in vitro, we treated primary mouse glia, murine GL26, rat C6 and human U251, LN229 and A172 glioma cells with Temozolomide in ad lib and STS mimicking conditions. In vivo, mice with subcutaneous or intracranial models of GL26 glioma were starved for 48 hours prior to radio- or chemotherapy and the effects on tumor progression and survival were measured. Starvation-mimicking conditions sensitized murine, rat and human glioma cells, but not primary mixed glia, to chemotherapy. In vivo, starvation for 48 hours, which causes a significant reduction in blood glucose and circulating insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) levels, sensitized both subcutaneous and intracranial glioma models to radio-and chemotherapy.
Starvation-induced cancer sensitization to radio- or chemotherapy leads to extended survival in the in vivo glioma models tested. These results indicate that fasting and fasting-mimicking interventions could enhance the efficacy of existing cancer treatments against aggressive glioma in patients.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a highly virulent malignancy with no effective treatment thus requiring innovative and effective targeted therapies. The oncogene Astrocyte elevated gene-1 (AEG-1) plays a seminal role in hepatocarcinogenesis and profoundly downregulates insulin-like growth factor binding protein-7 (IGFBP7). The present study focuses on analyzing potential tumor suppressor functions of IGFBP7 in HCC and the relevance of IGFBP7 downregulation in mediating AEG-1 function.
IGFBP7 expression was detected by immunohistochemistry in HCC tissue microarray and real-time PCR and ELISA in human HCC cell lines. Dual Fluorescence in situ hybridization was performed to detect loss of heterozygosity at IGFBP7 locus. Stable IGFBP7-overexpressing clones were established in the background of AEG-1-overexpressing human HCC cells and were analyzed for in vitro proliferation and senescence and in vivo tumorigenesis and angiogenesis.
IGFBP7 expression is significantly downregulated in human HCC samples and cell lines compared to normal liver and hepatocytes, respectively, and inversely correlates with the stages and grades of HCC. Genomic deletion of IGFBP7 was identified in 26% of HCC patients. Forced overexpression of IGFBP7 in AEG-1 overexpressing HCC cells inhibited in vitro growth and induced senescence, and profoundly suppressed in vivo growth in nude mice that might be an end result of inhibition of angiogenesis by IGFBP7.
The present findings provide evidence that IGFBP7 functions as a novel putative tumor suppressor for HCC and establish the corollary that IGFBP7 downregulation can effectively modify AEG-1 function. Accordingly, targeted overexpression of IGFBP7 might be a potential novel therapy for HCC.
Insulin-like growth factor binding protein-7 (IGFBP7); Astrocyte elevated gene-1; gene deletion; senescence; angiogenesis
Astrocyte elevated gene-1 (AEG-1) was originally characterized as a HIV-1-inducible gene in primary human fetal astrocyte. Recent studies highlight a potential role of AEG-1 in promoting tumor progression and metastasis. The aim of this study was to investigate if AEG-1 serves as a potential therapeutic target of human neuroblastoma.
We employed RNA interference to reduce AEG-1 expression in human neuroblastoma cell lines and analyzed their phenotypic changes.
We found that the knockdown of AEG-1 expression in human neuroblastoma cells significantly inhibited cell proliferation and apoptosis. The specific downregulation induced cell arrest in the G0/G1 phase of cell cycle. In the present study, we also observed a significant enhancement of chemo-sensitivity to cisplatin and doxorubicin by knockdown of AEG-1.
Our study suggests that overexpressed AEG-1 enhance the tumorogenic properties of neuroblastoma cells. The inhibition of AEG-1 expression could be a new adjuvant therapy for neuroblastoma.
Cancer is the result of the progressive acquisition of multiple malignant traits through the accumulation of genetic or epigenetic alterations. Recent studies have established a functional role of MTDH (Metadherin)/AEG-1 (Astrocyte Elevated Gene 1) in several crucial aspects of tumor progression, including transformation, evasion of apoptosis, invasion, metastasis and chemoresistance. Overexpression of MTDH/AEG-1 is frequently observed in melanoma, glioma, neuroblastoma, and carcinomas of breast, prostate, liver and esophagus and is correlated with poor clinical outcomes. MTDH/AEG-1 functions as a downstream mediator of the transforming activity of oncogenic Ha-Ras and c-Myc. Furthermore, MTDH/AEG-1 overexpression activates the PI3K/Akt, NFκB, and Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathways to stimulate proliferation, invasion, cell survival and chemoresistance. The lung-homing domain of MTDH/AEG-1 also mediates the adhesion of tumor cells to the vasculature of distant organs and promotes metastasis. These findings suggest that therapeutic targeting of MTDH/AEG-1 may simultaneously suppress tumor growth, block metastasis and enhance the efficacy of chemotherapeutic treatments.
Glioblastomas continue to carry poor prognoses for patients despite advances in surgical, chemotherapeutic and radiation regimens. One feature of glioblastoma associated with poor prognosis is the degree of hypoxia and expression levels of hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α). HIF-1α expression allows metabolic adaptation to low oxygen availability, partly through upregulation of VEGF and increased tumor angiogenesis. Here, we demonstrate an induced level of astrocyte-elevated gene-1 (AEG-1) by hypoxia in glioblastoma cells. AEG-1 has the capacity to promote anchorage-independent growth and cooperates with Ha-ras in malignant transformation. In addition, AEG-1 was recently demonstrated to serve as an oncogene and can induce angiogenesis in glioblastoma. Results from in vitro studies show that hypoxic induction of AEG-1 is dependent on HIF-1α stabilization during hypoxia and that PI3K inhibition abrogates AEG-1 induction during hypoxia through loss of HIF-1α stability. Furthermore, we show that AEG-1 is induced by glucose deprivation and that prevention of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) production prevents this induction. Additionally, AEG-1 knockdown results in increased ROS production and increased glucose deprivation-induced cytotoxicity. On the other hand, AEG-1 overexpression prevents ROS production and decreases glucose deprivation-induced cytotoxicity, indicating that AEG-1 induction is necessary for cells to survive this type of cell stress. These observations link AEG-1 overexpression in glioblastoma with hypoxia and glucose deprivation and targeting these physiological pathways may lead to therapeutic advances in the treatment of glioblastoma in the future.
AEG-1; glioblastoma; hypoxia; glucose deprivation; necrosis
Astrocyte elevated gene-1 (AEG-1) is associated with tumorigenesis and progression in diverse human cancers. The present study was aimed to investigate the clinical and prognostic significance of AEG-1 in salivary gland carcinomas (SGC).
Real-time PCR and western blot analyses were employed to examine AEG-1 expression in two normal salivary gland tissues, eight SGC tissues of various clinical stages, and five pairs of primary SGC and adjacent salivary gland tissues from the same patient. Immunohistochemistry (IHC) was performed to examine AEG-1 protein expression in paraffin-embedded tissues from 141 SGC patients. Statistical analyses was applies to evaluate the diagnostic value and associations of AEG-1 expression with clinical parameters.
AEG-1 expression was evidently up-regulated in SGC tissues compared with that in the normal salivary gland tissues and in matched adjacent salivary gland tissues. AEG-1 protein level was positively correlated with clinical stage (P < 0.001), T classification (P = 0.008), N classification (P = 0.008) and M classifications (P = 0.006). Patients with higher AEG-1 expression had shorter overall survival time, whereas those with lower tumor AEG-1 expression had longer survival time.
Our results suggest that AEG-1 expression is associated with SGC progression and may represent a novel and valuable predictor for prognostic evaluation of SGC patients.
AEG-1; Biomarker; Prognosis; Salivary gland carcinomas
Astrocyte elevated gene 1 (AEG-1), an important oncogene, has been shown to be overexpressed in several types of cancers. In colorectal cancer (CRC), the protein level of AEG-1 is up-regulated in tumour tissue compared to normal mucosa, showing prognostic significance. Since little is known about the transcriptional level of AEG-1 expression and its biological pathway in CRC the aim of the present study was to examine the relationship of AEG-1 mRNA expression, the protein level and clinicopathological variables as well as its biology pathway in CRC.
Material and methods
The mRNA expression of AEG-1 was analysed by qPCR in fresh frozen patient samples including 156 primary tumours, along with the corresponding normal mucosa, and in five colon cancer cell lines, SW480, SW620, KM12C, KM12SM and KM12L4a. AEG-1 protein expression was investigated by immunohistochemistry in paraffin-embedded materials from 74 distant normal mucosa, 107 adjacent mucosa, 158 primary tumour, 35 lymph node metastasis and 9 liver metastasis samples. In addition, the AEG-1 protein expression was elucidated in the cell lines by Western blot.
The lymph node metastatic cell line SW620 had a significantly higher AEG-1 mRNA (0.27 ± 0.02) expression compared to the primary tumour cell line SW480 (0.17 ± 0.04, p = 0.026). AEG-1 expression at the mRNA level and/or the protein level was significantly up-regulated gradually from normal mucosa to primary CRC, and then to lymph node metastasis and finally to liver metastasis (p < 0.05). There were significant associations of AEG-1 mRNA expression with tumour location (p = 0.047), as well as mRNA and protein expression with the tumour stage (p < 0.03). Furthermore AEG-1 protein expression was positively related to biological variables including NF-κB, p73, Rad50 and apoptosis (p < 0.05).
AEG-1 is up-regulated, at the mRNA and the protein level, during CRC development and aggressiveness, and is related to tumour location and stage. It may play its role in CRC through the NF-κB signaling pathway.
The prognosis of patients suffering from WHO grade 3 and 4 astrocytic glioma remains poor despite surgery, radiation therapy and the use of current chemotherapy regimen. Indeed, the median survival of glioblastoma multiforme (WHO grade 4) patients is at best 14.6 month with only 26.5 percents of the patients still alive after 2 years and the median survival of anaplastic astrocytomas (WHO grade 3) is 19.2 month. Recent evidence suggests that the transcription factor NF-kappaB is constitutively expressed in malignant gliomas and that its inhibition by drugs like Sulfasalazine may block the growth of astrocytic tumors in vitro and in experimental models of malignant gliomas.
ULg_GBM_04/1 is a prospective, randomized, double blind single-center phase 1–2 study. A total of twenty patients with progressive malignant glioma despite surgery, radiation therapy and a first line of chemotherapy will be recruited and assigned to four dosage regimen of Sulfasalazine. This medication will be taken orally t.i.d. at a daily dose of 1.5–3–4 or 6 g, continuously until complete remission, evidence of progression or drug intolerance. Primary endpoints are drug safety in the setting of malignant gliomas and tumor response as measured according to MacDonald's criteria. An interim analysis of drug safety will be conducted after the inclusion of ten patients. The complete evaluation of primary endpoints will be conducted two years after the enrolment of the last patient or after the death of the last patient should this occur prematurely.
The aim of this study is to evaluate the safety and efficacy of Sulfasalazine as a treatment for recurring malignant gliomas. The safety and efficacy of this drug are analyzed as primary endpoints. Overall survival and progression-free survival are secondary endpoint.
Malignant tumors are the leading cause of mortality worldwide. The search for new biomarkers for the early diagnosis of the onset of cancer to reduce high mortality is crucial. The potential of minimal invasive testing using serum from patients renders auto-antibodies promising biomarkers for cancer diagnosis. In this study, a 181 amino acid peptide of extracellular astrocyte elevated gene-1 (AEG-1) was expressed and purified, and the peptide was used in an ELISA assay to detect anti-AEG-1 auto-antibodies (AEG-1-Abs) in 483 serum samples from different cancer patients and 230 serum samples from normal blood donors. The results showed that AEG-1-Abs at titers ≥1:50 were detected in 238 of 483 (49%) cancer patients, and the positive antibody responses in different cancer patients were as follows: 44 of 98 (45%) in breast cancer patients, 48 of 96 (50%) in hepatic carcinoma patients, 43 of 88 (49%) in rectal cancer patients, 51 of 113 (45%) in lung cancer patients, and 52 of 88 (59%) in gastric cancer patients. These results were compared with 0 of 230 (0%) in normal individuals. Moreover, AEG-1-Abs at titers ≥1:50 were also detected in 24 of 94 (26%) cancer patients in TNM stages I and II, and the positive rates of AEG-1-Abs decreased with age. These results suggest that the AEG-1-Ab response acts as a diagnostic biomarker for cancer patients with AEG-1-positive expression, and may also prove to be a possible inducer, with substantial immunity against AEG-1 by immunization boosting with AEG-1 vaccines.
astrocyte elevated gene-1; anti-AEG-1 auto-antibody; serum; tumor biomarker; cancer
Recent studies in animal models, based on the hypothesis that malignant glioma cells are more dependent on glycolysis for energy generation, have shown promising results using ketogenic diet (KD) therapy as an alternative treatment strategy for malignant glioma, effectively starving glioma cells while providing ketone bodies as an energy source for normal neurons and glial cells. In order to test this treatment strategy in humans, we investigated the relative expression of several key enzymes involved in ketolytic and glycolytic metabolism in human anaplastic glioma (WHO grade III) and glioblastoma (GBM, WHO grade IV).
Immunohistochemistry was performed on formalin fixed paraffin embedded sections from 22 brain biopsies (17 GBM, 3 anaplastic astrocytoma and 2 anaplastic oligoastrocytoma) using antibodies raised against glycolytic and ketolytic enzymes. The glycolytic enzymes included hexokinase-II (HK2) and pyruvate kinase M2 isoform (PKM2). The ketone body metabolic enzymes included: succinyl CoA: 3-oxoacid CoA transferase (OXCT1), 3-hydroxybutyrate dehydrogenase 1 and 2 (BDH1 and BDH2), and acetyl-CoA acetyltransferase 1 (ACAT1). The immunoreactivities were graded using a semi-quantitative scale based on the percentage of positive cells: POS (>20%), LOW (5-20%), and very low (VLOW) (<5%). Focal non-neoplastic “normal” brain tissue within the biopsy specimens served as internal controls.
The rate limiting mitochondrial ketolytic enzymes (OXCT1 and BDH1) were either LOW or VLOW, concordantly in 14 of the 17 GBMs and in 1 of 5 anaplastic gliomas, whereas at least one of the glycolytic enzymes was POS in 13 of these 17 GBMs and all 5 anaplastic gliomas. Cytosolic BDH2 and mitochondrial ACTAT1 were, surprisingly, POS in most of these tumors.
Our results showing that malignant gliomas have differential expression of ketolytic and glycolytic enzymes are consistent with previous studies that have shown that these are genetically heterogeneous tumors. It seems reasonable to hypothesize that patients with low or very low expression of key ketolytic enzymes in their malignant gliomas may respond better to the KD therapy than those patients with positive expression of these enzymes. Further studies in animal models and/or a large-scale clinical trial would be needed to test this hypothesis.
OXCT1: Succinyl CoA: 3-oxoacid CoA transferase 1 (SCOT EC 188.8.131.52 locus symbol OXCT); BDH1: 3-hydroxybutyrate dehydrogenase 1; BDH2: 3-hydroxybutyrate dehydrogenase 2; ACAT1: acetyl-CoA acetyltransferase 1; HK2: Hexokinase-II; PKM2: Pyruvate kinase M2 isoform
Since its discovery, nearly one decade of research on astrocyte elevated gene 1 (AEG-1) has witnessed expanding knowledge of this molecule, ranging from its role in cancer biology to molecular mechanisms underlying the biological functions. As a multifunctional oncoprotein, AEG-1 has been shown to overexpress in multiple types of human cancer, and the elevation of AEG-1 in tumor cells leads to enhanced phenotypes characteristic of malignant aggressiveness, including increased abilities to proliferate robustly, to invade surrounding tissues, to migrate, to induce neovascularization, and to enhance chemoresistance. The multifunctional role of AEG-1 in tumor development and progression has been found to be associated with several signaling cascades, namely, 1) activation of NF-kappa B, partially through direct interaction with p65; 2) PI3K/AKT signaling triggered by AEG-1 indirectly; 3) enhancement of the transcriptional activity of beta-catenin by indirect activation of MAPK and induction of LEF1; 4) regulation of mi/siRNA-mediated gene silencing by interacting with SND1; and 5) promotion of protective autophagy; in addition to possibly unknown mechanisms. Elevated AEG-1 expression is seen in nearly all tumor types, and in most cases AEG-1 positively correlates with tumor progression and poorer patient survival. Taken together, AEG-1 might represent a potential prognostic biomarker and therapeutic target.
The disparate lengths of survival among patients with malignant astrocytic gliomas (anaplastic astrocytomas [AAs] and glioblastoma multiforme [GBM]) cannot be adequately accounted for by clinical variables (patient age, histology, and recurrent status). Using real-time quantitative reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction, we quantified the expression of four genes that were putative prognostic markers (CDK4, IGFBP2, MMP2, and RPS9) in a set of 43 AAs, 41 GBMs, and seven adjacent normal brain tissues. We previously explicated the expression and prognostic value of PAX6, PTEN, VEGF, and EGFR in these glioma tissues and established a comprehensive prognostic model (Zhou et al., 2003). This study attempts to improve that model by including four additional genetic markers, which exhibited a differential expression (P < 0.001) among tumor grades and between tumor and normal tissues. By including eight log-scaled gene expression variables, three clinical variables, and interaction terms among the eight genes, we established a prognostic model that accounted for two thirds of the variation (R2) in survival for this set of patients. To improve the R2 of the model without compromising its clinical utility, our data demonstrated that incorporating genes from different pathways markedly strengthens the model. Spearman rank correlation analysis of gene expression demonstrated a statistically significant positive correlation (P < 0.01) between the expression of IGFBP2–MMP2 and IGFBP2–VEGF in GBMs, but not in AAs. This finding suggests that the expression of IGFBP2 is associated with pathways activated specifically in GBMs that result in enhancing invasiveness and angiogenesis.
differential gene expression; astrocytic gliomas; CDK4; IGFBP2; MMP2; RPS9; real-time quantitative RT-PCR; prognostic model
A major barrier to effective treatment of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the invasion of glioma cells into the brain parenchyma rendering local therapies such as surgery and radiation therapy ineffective. GBM patients with such highly invasive and infiltrative tumors have poor prognosis with a median survival time of only about a year. However, the mechanisms leading to increased cell migration, invasion and diffused behavior of glioma cells are still poorly understood.
In the current study, we applied quantitative proteomics for the identification of differentially expressed proteins in GBMs as compared to non-malignant brain tissues.
Our study led to the identification of 23 proteins showing overexpression in GBM; these include membrane proteins, moesin and CD44. The results were verified using Western blotting and immunohistochemistry in independent set of GBM and non-malignant brain tissues. Both GBM tissues and glioma cell lines (U87 / U373) demonstrated membranous expression of moesin and CD44, as revealed by immunohistochemistry and immunofluorescence, respectively. Notably, glioma cells transfected with moesin siRNA displayed reduced migration and invasion on treatment with hyaluronan (HA), an important component of the extracellular matrix in GBM. CD44, a transmembrane glycoprotein, acts as a major receptor for hyaluronan (HA). Using co-immunoprecipitation assays, we further demonstrated that moesin interacts with CD44 in glioma cells only after treatment with HA; this implicates a novel role of moesin in HA-CD44 signaling in gliomas.
Our results suggest that development of inhibitors which interfere with CD44-moesin interactions may open a new avenue in the future to mitigate cellular migration in gliomas.
Glioblastoma; CD44; ERM proteins; Moesin
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a highly aggressive vascular cancer characterized by diverse etiology, activation of multiple signal transduction pathways, and various gene mutations. Here, we have determined a specific role for astrocyte elevated gene-1 (AEG1) in HCC pathogenesis. Expression of AEG1 was extremely low in human hepatocytes, but its levels were significantly increased in human HCC. Stable overexpression of AEG1 converted nontumorigenic human HCC cells into highly aggressive vascular tumors, and inhibition of AEG1 abrogated tumorigenesis by aggressive HCC cells in a xenograft model of nude mice. In human HCC, AEG1 overexpression was associated with elevated copy numbers. Microarray analysis revealed that AEG1 modulated the expression of genes associated with invasion, metastasis, chemoresistance, angiogenesis, and senescence. AEG1 also was found to activate Wnt/β-catenin signaling via ERK42/44 activation and upregulated lymphoid-enhancing factor 1/T cell factor 1 (LEF1/TCF1), the ultimate executor of the Wnt pathway, important for HCC progression. Inhibition studies further demonstrated that activation of Wnt signaling played a key role in mediating AEG1 function. AEG1 also activated the NF-κB pathway, which may play a role in the chronic inflammatory changes preceding HCC development. These data indicate that AEG1 plays a central role in regulating diverse aspects of HCC pathogenesis. Targeted inhibition of AEG1 might lead to the shutdown of key elemental characteristics of HCC and could lead to an effective therapeutic strategy for HCC.
GATA4 loss as a result of promoter hypermethylation or somatic mutation promotes growth and chemotherapy resistance of human astrocytomas.
Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM), the most common and lethal primary human brain tumor, exhibits multiple molecular aberrations. We report that loss of the transcription factor GATA4, a negative regulator of normal astrocyte proliferation, is a driver in glioma formation and fulfills the hallmarks of a tumor suppressor gene (TSG). Although GATA4 was expressed in normal brain, loss of GATA4 was observed in 94/163 GBM operative samples and was a negative survival prognostic marker. GATA4 loss occurred through promoter hypermethylation or novel somatic mutations. Loss of GATA4 in normal human astrocytes promoted high-grade astrocytoma formation, in cooperation with other relevant genetic alterations such as activated Ras or loss of TP53. Loss of GATA4 with activated Ras in normal astrocytes promoted a progenitor-like phenotype, formation of neurospheres, and the ability to differentiate into astrocytes, neurons, and oligodendrocytes. Re-expression of GATA4 in human GBM cell lines, primary cultures, and brain tumor–initiating cells suppressed tumor growth in vitro and in vivo through direct activation of the cell cycle inhibitor P21CIP1, independent of TP53. Re-expression of GATA4 also conferred sensitivity of GBM cells to temozolomide, a DNA alkylating agent currently used in GBM therapy. This sensitivity was independent of MGMT (O-6-methylguanine-DNA-methyltransferase), the DNA repair enzyme which is often implicated in temozolomide resistance. Instead, GATA4 reduced expression of APNG (alkylpurine-DNA-N-glycosylase), a DNA repair enzyme which is poorly characterized in GBM-mediated temozolomide resistance. Identification and validation of GATA4 as a TSG and its downstream targets in GBM may yield promising novel therapeutic strategies.
Astrocyte-elevated gene-1 (AEG-1) has been reported to be associated with cancer progression in various types of human cancers, including liver cancer. However, to date, the molecular mechanism of AEG-1 action on the growth of liver cancer cells has been poorly elucidated. The present study aimed to investigate the effect of AEG-1 on the proliferation and apoptosis of liver cancer cells and the role of IL-6 in this process using the HepG2 human hepatoma cell line. shRNAs targeting AEG-1 were used to silence the expression of AEG-1. The effects on cell growth were detected by 3-(4, 5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2, 5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide, colony formation and cell cycle assays. Apoptosis was analyzed by flow cytometry. The expression of IL-6 was examined by quantitative polymerase chain reaction and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and the phosphorylation of Stat3 was detected by western blotting. AEG-1 knockdown was observed to induce cell proliferation inhibition and apoptosis through the suppression of IL-6 secretion. Stat3, a downstream target of IL-6 signaling, was suppressed in the AEG-1-silenced cells and target genes, including Bcl-2 and crystalin, αB, which are associated with cell survival, were downregulated. Overall, the findings suggest that aberrant AEG-1 expression promotes the growth of HepG2 liver cancer cells, contributing to the progression of liver cancer, which may partly be mediated by IL-6 signaling.
astrocyte elevated gene-1; proliferation; apoptosis; IL-6; HepG2 cells
Astrocytomas and their most malignant variant glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) represent the vast majority of primary brain tumors. Despite the current progress in neurosurgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy, most astrocytomas remain fatal disorders. Although brain tumor biology is a matter of intense research, the cell-of-origin and the complete astrocytoma-inducing signaling pathway remain unknown. To further identify the mechanisms leading to gliomagenesis, we transduced primary astrocytes on a p53−/− background with c-Myc, constitutively active myr-Akt or both, myr-Akt and c-Myc. Transduced astrocytes showed oncogene-specific alterations of morphology, proliferation and differentiation. Following prolonged periods of cultivation, oncogene-transduced astrocytes expressed several stem-cell markers. Furthermore, astrocytes coexpressing c-Myc and Akt were tumorigenic when implanted into the brain of immunocompetent C57BL/6 mice. Our results reveal that the loss of p53 combined with oncogene overexpression in mature astrocytes simulates pivotal features of glioma pathogenesis, providing a good model for assessing the development of secondary glioblastomas.
Our recent findings demonstrate that Astrocyte Elevated Gene-1 (AEG-1) is overexpressed in >90% of human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) samples and AEG-1 plays a central role in regulating development and progression of HCC. In the present manuscript, we elucidate a molecular mechanism of AEG-1-induced chemoresistance, an important characteristic of aggressive cancers. AEG-1 increases the expression of multidrug resistance gene 1 (MDR1) protein resulting in increased efflux and decreased accumulation of doxorubicin (DOX) promoting DOX-resistance. Suppression of MDR1, by siRNA or by chemical reagents, or inhibition of AEG-1 or a combination of both genes significantly increases in vitro sensitivity to DOX. In nude mice xenograft studies, a lentivirus expressing AEG-1 shRNA, in combination with DOX, profoundly inhibited growth of aggressive human HCC cells compared to either agent alone. We document that although AEG-1 does not affect MDR1 gene transcription, it facilitates association of MDR1 mRNA to polysomes resulting in increased translation and AEG-1 also inhibits ubiquitination and subsequent proteasome-mediated degradation of MDR1 protein. This study is the first documentation of a unique aspect of AEG-1 function, i.e., translational and post-translational regulation of proteins. Inhibition of AEG-1 might provide a means of more effectively using chemotherapy to treat HCC, which displays inherent chemoresistance with aggressive pathology.
Astrocyte Elevated Gene-1 (AEG-1); doxorubicin; Multidrug resistance gene-1 (MDR1); translation; nude mice
Reactive astrogliosis is a ubiquitous but poorly understood hallmark of central nervous system pathologies such as trauma and neurodegenerative diseases. In vitro and in vivo studies have identified proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines as mediators of astrogliosis during injury and disease; however, the molecular mechanism remains unclear. In this study, we identify astrocyte elevated gene-1 (AEG-1), a human immunodeficiency virus 1 or tumor necrosis factor α-inducible oncogene, as a novel modulator of reactive astrogliosis. AEG-1 has engendered tremendous interest in the field of cancer research as a therapeutic target for aggressive tumors. However, little is known of its role in astrocytes and astrocyte-mediated diseases. Based on its oncogenic role in several cancers, here we investigate the AEG-1-mediated regulation of astrocyte migration and proliferation during reactive astrogliosis.
An in vivo brain injury mouse model was utilized to show AEG-1 induction following reactive astrogliosis. In vitro wound healing and cell migration assays following AEG-1 knockdown were performed to analyze the role of AEG-1 in astrocyte migration. AEG-1-mediated regulation of astrocyte proliferation was assayed by quantifying the levels of cell proliferation markers, Ki67 and proliferation cell nuclear antigen, using immunocytochemistry. Confocal microscopy was used to evaluate nucleolar localization of AEG-1 in cultured astrocytes following injury.
The in vivo mouse model for brain injury showed reactive astrocytes with increased glial fibrillary acidic protein and AEG-1 colocalization at the wound site. AEG-1 knockdown in cultured human astrocytes significantly reduced astrocyte migration into the wound site and cell proliferation. Confocal analysis showed colocalization of AEG-1 to the nucleolus of injured cultured human astrocytes.
The present findings report for the first time the novel role of AEG-1 in mediating reactive astrogliosis and in regulating astrocyte responses to injury. We also report the nucleolar localization of AEG-1 in human astrocytes in response to injury. Future studies may be directed towards elucidating the molecular mechanism of AEG-1 action in astrocytes during reactive astrogliosis.
AEG-1; Astrocyte; HIV-1; Reactive astrogliosis
Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most common and lethal malignant primary brain tumor. It is classified by the World Health Organization (WHO) in the group of diffusely infiltrating astrocytomas, representing up to 50% of all primary brain gliomas, and carries the poorest prognosis. Aberrant genetic events and signaling pathways have clearly demonstrated that GBM is highly anaplastic and a morphologically highly heterogeneous tumor. Understanding the genetic alterations, specific molecular biomarkers and proliferative pathways may promote therapeutic development for the management of GBM. Age, Karnofsky performance score, histology, position and the extent of tumor resection have been identified as potential prognostic factors for patients with GBM. In this study, we review the molecular characterization of tumor cells, the current standard of care for patients diagnosed with GBM, including gross or near-total resection of the tumor, followed by radiotherapy, stereotactic brachytherapy, chemotherapy and new targeted therapies. Thus, we conclude that multimodal approaches for the treatment of patients with GBM may significantly improve their prognoses.
glioblastoma multiforme; malignant glioma; genetics; molecular markers; targeted therapies
The survival rate of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) at advanced stage is poor, despite contemporary advances in treatment modalities. Recent studies have indicated that astrocyte elevated gene-1 (AEG-1), a single transmembrane protein without any known functional domains, is overexpressed in various malignancies and is implicated in both distant metastasis and poor survival.
High expression of AEG-1 in HNSCC was positively correlated with regional lymph node metastasis and a poor 5-year survival rate. Knockdown of AEG-1 in HNSCC cell lines reduced their capacity for colony formation, migration and invasion. Furthermore, decreased tumor volume and metastatic foci were observed after knockdown of AEG-1 in subcutaneous xenografts and pulmonary metastasis assays in vivo, respectively. We also demonstrated that AEG-1 increased phosphorylation of the p65 subunit of NF-κB, and regulated the expression of MMP1 in HNSCC cells. Moreover, compromised phosphorylation of the p65 (RelA) subunit of NF-κB at serine 536 was observed upon silencing of AEG-1 in both HNSCC cell lines and clinical specimens.
High expression of AEG-1 is associated with lymph node metastasis and its potentially associated mechanism is investigated.
Astrocyte elevated gene-1 (AEG-1); Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC); Metastasis; Matrix metalloproteinase 1 (MMP1); p65
Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM) is the most malignant and lethal form of astrocytoma. The GBM patient survival time of approximately one year necessitates the identification of novel molecular targets and more effective therapeutics. Cadherin-11, a calcium-dependent cell-cell adhesion molecule and mesenchymal marker, plays a role in both normal tissue development and in cancer cell migration. The functional significance of cadherin-11 in GBM has not been investigated. Here, we show that cadherin-11 is expressed in human GBM tumors and human glioma stem-like cells by immunohistochemical labeling. Additionally, we show that cadherin-11 is expressed in human glioma cell lines by immunoblotting. shRNA mediated knockdown of cadherin-11 expression in human glioma cell lines results in decreased migration and growth factor-independent cell survival in vitro. More importantly, knockdown of cadherin-11 inhibits glioma cell survival in heterotopic and orthotopic mouse xenograft models. Together, our results demonstrate the functional significance of cadherin-11 expression in GBM and provide evidence for a novel role of cadherin-11 in promoting glioma cell survival in an in vivo environment. Thus, our studies suggest cadherin-11 is a viable molecular target for therapeutic intervention in GBM.
Cadherin-11; glioma; cell migration; cell survival; mesenchymal lineage