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1.  Astrocyte Elevated Gene (AEG)-1: recent insights into a novel gene involved in tumor progression, metastasis and neurodegeneration 
Pharmacology & therapeutics  2007;114(2):155-170.
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.
doi:10.1016/j.pharmthera.2007.01.010
PMCID: PMC2039930  PMID: 17397930
AEG-1; Progression; Metastasis; Ha-ras oncogene; Glutamate excitotoxicity; AEG-1 promoter
2.  Oncogene AEG-1 promotes glioma-induced neurodegeneration by increasing glutamate excitotoxicity 
Cancer research  2011;71(20):6514-6523.
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.
doi:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-11-0782
PMCID: PMC3193553  PMID: 21852380
AEG-1; glioma; EAAT2; glutamate; glioma-induced neurodegeneration
3.  Astrocyte elevated gene-1 (AEG-1) interacts with Akt isoform 2 to control glioma growth, survival and pathogenesis 
Cancer research  2014;74(24):7321-7332.
The oncogene AEG-1 (MTDH) is highly expressed in glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) and many other types of cancer, where it activates multiple signaling pathways that drive proliferation, invasion, angiogenesis, chemoresistance, radioresistance and metastasis. AEG-1 activates the Akt signaling pathway and Akt and c-Myc are positive regulators of AEG-1 transcription, generating a positive feedback loop between AEG-1 and Akt in regulating tumorigenesis. Here we describe in GBM cells a direct interaction between an internal domain of AEG-1 and the PH domain of Akt2, a major driver in GBM. Expression and interaction of AEG-1 and Akt2 are elevated in GBM and contribute to tumor cell survival, proliferation and invasion. Clinically, in silico gene expression and immunohistochemical analyses of patient specimens showed that AEG-1 and Akt2 expression correlated with GBM progression and reduced patient survival. AEG-1-Akt2 interaction prolonged stabilization of Akt2 phosphorylation at S474, regulating downstream signaling cascades which enable cell proliferation and survival. Disrupting AEG-1-Akt2 interaction by competitive binding of the Akt2-PH domain led to reduced cell viability and invasion. When combined with AEG-1 silencing, conditional expression of Akt2-PH markedly increased survival in an orthotopic mouse model of human GBM. Our study uncovers a novel molecular mechanism by which AEG-1 augments glioma progression and offers a rationale to block AEG-1-Akt2 signaling function as a novel GBM treatment.
doi:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-13-2978
PMCID: PMC4268375  PMID: 25304263
Glioblastoma; AEG-1; Akt2
4.  DYT-40, a novel synthetic 2-styryl-5-nitroimidazole derivative, blocks malignant glioblastoma growth and invasion by inhibiting AEG-1 and NF-κB signaling pathways 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:27331.
Astrocyte elevated gene-1 (AEG-1) has been explored as a novel target for human glioma therapy, thus reflecting its potential contribution to gliomagenesis. In the present study, we investigated the effect of DYT-40, a novel synthetic 2-styryl-5-nitroimidazole derivative, on cell growth and invasion in glioblastoma (GBM) and uncovered the underlying mechanisms of this molecule. DYT-40 induces the intrinsic mitochondrial pathway of apoptosis and inhibits the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and invasion of GBM cell lines. Furthermore, DYT-40 deactivates PI3K/Akt and MAPK pathways, suppresses AEG-1 expression, and inhibits NF-κB nuclear translocation. DYT-40 reduced the tumor volumes in a rat C6 glioma model by apoptotic induction. Moreover, HE staining demonstrated that the glioma rat model treated with DYT-40 exhibited better defined tumor margins and fewer invasive cells to the contralateral striatum compared with the vehicle control and temozolomide-treated rats. Microscopic examination showed a decrease in AEG-1-positive cells in DYT-40-treated rats compared with the untreated controls. DYT-40-treatment increases the in vivo apoptotic response of glioma cells to DYT-40 treatment by TUNEL staining. In conclusion, the inhibitory effects of DYT-40 on growth and invasion in GBM suggest that DYT-40 might be a potential AEG-1 inhibitor to prevent the growth and motility of malignant glioma.
doi:10.1038/srep27331
PMCID: PMC4890319  PMID: 27251589
5.  Prognostic significance of astrocyte elevated gene-1 in human astrocytomas 
Astrocyte Elevated Gene-1 (AEG-1) has been proposed as a biomarker for a variety of cancers. This study aimed to investigate the expression of AEG-1 in human astrocytomas and the correlation between AEG-1 expression and clinicopathologic variables of astrocytomas. AEG-1 expression in four pairs of matched astrocytomas tissues and 5 cell lines was detected by immunohistochemical and Western blot analysis. In addition, AEG-1 protein expression was examined by immunohistochemical staining in 204 cases, including 32 normal brain tissues, 80 Low-malignant astrocytomas (LMAs) and 92 High-Malignant astrocytomas (HMAs). AEG-1 expression in 31 LMAs and 29 HMAs samples was detected by RT-PCR and Western blot analysis. We detected AEG-1 expression in normal neurons and glioma cell lines U87, U251 and M059K, but not in normal glial cells. Immunohistochemical analysis showed that 128 of 172 (74.4%) paraffin-embedded archival astrocytomas samples exhibited positive AEG-1 expression. Statistical analysis suggested that higher AEG-1 level was significantly correlated with histological grade of astrocytomas. In addition, AEG-1 mRNA and protein expression was higher in HMAs than in LMAs. AEG-1 expression had no correlation with the gender or age of astrocytoma patients. In summary, our data suggest that AEG-1 may represent a novel prognostic marker for astrocytomas.
PMCID: PMC4152066  PMID: 25197376
Astrocytoma; AEG-1; prognosis
6.  Expression patterns of astrocyte elevated gene-1 (AEG-1) during development of the mouse embryo 
Gene expression patterns : GEP  2010;10(7-8):361-367.
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.
doi:10.1016/j.gep.2010.08.004
PMCID: PMC3165053  PMID: 20736086
AEG-1; development; mouse embryo; cell proliferation; cancer
7.  Combination of nanoparticle-delivered siRNA for Astrocyte elevated gene-1 (AEG-1) and all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA): an effective therapeutic strategy for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) 
Bioconjugate chemistry  2015;26(8):1651-1661.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a fatal cancer with no effective therapy. Astrocyte elevated gene-1 (AEG-1) plays a pivotal role in hepatocarcinogenesis and inhibits retinoic acid-induced gene expression and cell death. Combination of a lentivirus expressing AEG-1 shRNA and all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) profoundly and synergistically inhibited subcutaneous human HCC xenografts in nude mice. We now have developed liver-targeted nanoplexes by conjugating poly(amidoamine) (PAMAM) dendrimers with polyethylene glycol (PEG) and lactobionic acid (Gal) (PAMAM-PEG-Gal) which were complexed with AEG-1 siRNA (PAMAM-AEG-1si). The polymer conjugate was characterized by 1H-NMR, MALDI and mass spectrometry, and optimal nanoplex formulations were characterized for surface charge, size and morphology. Orthotopic xenografts of human HCC cell QGY-7703 expressing luciferase (QGY-luc) were established in the livers of athymic nude mice and tumor development was monitored by bioluminescence imaging (BLI). Tumor-bearing mice were treated with PAMAM-siCon, PAMAM-siCon+ATRA, PAMAM-AEG-1si and PAMAM-AEG-1si+ATRA. In the control group the tumor developed aggressively. ATRA showed little effect due to high AEG-1 levels in QGY-luc cells. PAMAM-AEG-1si showed significant reduction in tumor growth and the combination of PAMAM-AEG-1si+ATRA showed profound and synergistic inhibition so that the tumors were almost undetectable by BLI. A marked decrease in AEG-1 level was observed in tumor samples treated with PAMAM-AEG-1si. The group treated with PAMAM-AEG-1si+ATRA nanoplexes showed increased necrosis, inhibition of proliferation and increased apoptosis when compared to other groups. Liver is an ideal organ for RNAi therapy and ATRA is an approved anti-cancer agent. Our exciting observations suggest that the combinatorial approach might be an effective way to combat HCC.
doi:10.1021/acs.bioconjchem.5b00254
PMCID: PMC4783168  PMID: 26079152
Astrocyte elevated gene-1; all-trans retinoic acid; nanoparticle; hepatocellular carcinoma; combinatorial therapy; orthotopic xenograft
8.  Progress of cancer research on astrocyte elevated gene-1/Metadherin (Review) 
Oncology Letters  2014;8(2):493-501.
Tumor development is initiated by an accumulation of numerous genetic and epigenetic alterations that promote tumor initiation, invasion and metastasis. Astrocyte elevated gene-1 [AEG-1; also known as Metadherin (MTDH) and Lysine-rich CEACAM1 co-isolated (LYRIC)] has emerged in recent years as a potentially crucial mediator of tumor malignancy, and a key converging point of a complex network of oncogenic signaling pathways. AEG-1/MTDH has a multifunctional role in tumor development that has been found to be involved in the following signaling cascades: i) The Ha-Ras and PI3K/Akt pathways; ii) the nuclear factor-κB signaling pathway; iii) the ERK/mitogen-activated protein kinase and Wnt/β-catenin pathways; and iv) the Aurora-A kinase signaling pathway. Studies have established that AEG-1/MTDH is crucial in tumor progression, including transformation, the evasion of apoptosis, invasion, angiogenesis and metastasis. In addition, recent clinical studies have convincingly associated AEG-1/MTDH with tumor progression and poor prognosis in a number of cancer types, including hepatocellular, esophageal squamous cell, gallbladder and renal cell carcinomas, breast, non-small cell lung, prostate, gastric and colorectal cancers, and glioma, melanoma, neuroblastoma and osteosarcoma. AEG-1/MTDH may be used as a biomarker to identify subgroups of patients who require more intensive treatments and who are likely to benefit from AEG-1/MTDH-targeted therapies. The therapeutic targeting of AEG-1/MTDH may simultaneously block metastasis, suppress tumor growth and enhance the efficacy of chemotherapeutic treatments.
doi:10.3892/ol.2014.2231
PMCID: PMC4081432  PMID: 25009642
astrocyte elevated gene-1; metadherin; neoplasms; metastasis; chemoresistance
9.  Astrocyte elevated gene-1 regulates astrocyte responses to neural injury: implications for reactive astrogliosis and neurodegeneration 
Background
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1186/1742-2094-9-195
PMCID: PMC3488579  PMID: 22884085
AEG-1; Astrocyte; HIV-1; Reactive astrogliosis
10.  Astrocyte elevated gene-1(AEG-1) induces epithelial-mesenchymal transition in lung cancer through activating Wnt/β-catenin signaling 
BMC Cancer  2015;15:107.
Background
Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is a highly metastatic cancer with limited therapeutic options, so development of novel therapies that target NSCLC is needed. During the early stage of metastasis, the cancer cells undergo an epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), a phase in which Wnt/β-catenin signaling is known to be involved. Simultaneously, AEG-1 has been demonstrated to activate Wnt-mediated signaling in some malignant tumors.
Methods
Human NSCLC cell lines and xenograft of NSCLC cells in nude mice were used to investigate the effects of AEG-1 on EMT. EMT or Wnt/β-catenin pathway-related proteins were characterized by western blot, immunofluorescence and immunohistochemistry.
Results
In the present study, we demonstrated that astrocyte elevated gene-1(AEG-1) ectopic overexpression promoted EMT, which resulted from the down-regulation of E-cadherin and up-regulation of Vimentin in lung cancer cell lines and clinical lung cancer specimens. Using an orthotopic xenograft-mouse model, we also observed that AEG-1 overexpression in human carcinoma cells led to the development of multiple lymph node metastases and elevated mesenchymal markers such as Vimentin, which is a characteristic of cells in EMT. Furthermore, AEG-1 functioned as a critical protein in the regulation of EMT by directly targeting multiple positive regulators of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling cascade, including GSK-3β and CKIδ. Notably, overexpression of AEG-1 in metastatic cancer tissues was closely associated with poor survival of NSCLC patients.
Conclusions
These results reveal the critical role of AEG-1 in EMT and suggest that AEG-1 may be a prognostic biomarker and its targeted inhibition may be utilized as a novel therapy for NSCLC.
doi:10.1186/s12885-015-1124-1
PMCID: PMC4358870  PMID: 25880337
AEG-1; Epithelial-mesenchymal transition; Non-small cell lung cancer; Wnt; β-catenin
11.  AEG-1/MTDH-activated autophagy enhances human malignant glioma susceptibility to TGF-β1-triggered epithelial-mesenchymal transition 
Oncotarget  2016;7(11):13122-13138.
Autophagy is a tightly regulated process activated in response to metabolic stress and other microenvironmental changes. Astrocyte elevated gene 1 (AEG-1) reportedly induces protective autophagy. Our results indicate that AEG-1 also enhances the susceptibility of malignant glioma cells to TGF-β1-triggered epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) through induction of autophagy. TGF-β1 induced autophagy and activated AEG-1 via Smad2/3 phosphorylation in malignant glioma cells. Also increased was oncogene cyclin D1 and EMT markers, which promoted tumor progression. Inhibition of autophagy using siRNA-BECN1 and siRNA-AEG-1 suppressed EMT. In tumor samples from patients with malignant glioma, immunohistochemical assays showed that expression levels of TGF-β1, AEG-1, and markers of autophagy and EMT, all gradually increase with glioblastoma progression. In vivo siRNA-AEG-1 administration to rats implanted with C6 glioma cells inhibited tumor growth and increased the incidence of apoptosis among tumor cells. These findings shed light on the mechanisms underlying the invasiveness and progression of malignant gliomas.
doi:10.18632/oncotarget.7536
PMCID: PMC4914346  PMID: 26909607
transforming growth factor-β1; astrocyte elevated gene-1; protective autophagy; epithelial mesenchymal transition; malignant glioma invasion
12.  Astrocyte elevated gene-1 (AEG-1) and c-Myc cooperate to promote hepatocarcinogenesis 
Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.)  2015;61(3):915-929.
Astrocyte elevated gene-1 (AEG-1) and c-Myc are overexpressed in human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) functioning as oncogenes. AEG-1 is transcriptionally regulated by c-Myc and AEG-1 itself induces c-Myc by activating Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway. We now document cooperation of AEG-1 and c-Myc in promoting hepatocarcinogenesis by analyzing hepatocyte-specific transgenic mice expressing either AEG-1 (Alb/AEG-1), c-Myc (Alb/c-Myc) or both (Alb/AEG-1/c-Myc). WT and Alb/AEG-1 mice did not develop spontaneous HCC. Alb/c-Myc mice developed spontaneous HCC without distant metastasis while Alb/AEG-1/c-Myc mice developed highly aggressive HCC with frank metastasis to the lungs. Induction of carcinogenesis by N-nitrosodiethylamine (DEN) significantly accelerated the kinetics of tumor formation in all groups. However, in Alb/AEG-1/c-Myc the effect was markedly pronounced with lung metastasis. In vitro analysis showed that Alb/AEG-1/c-Myc hepatocytes acquired increased proliferation and transformative potential with sustained activation of pro-survival and epithelialmesenchymal transition (EMT) signaling pathways. RNA-sequencing analysis identified a unique gene signature in livers of Alb/AEG-1/c-Myc mice that was not observed when either AEG-1 or c-Myc was overexpressed. Specifically Alb/AEG-1/c-Myc mice overexpressed maternally imprinted non-coding RNAs, such as Rian, Meg-3 and Migr, which are implicated in hepatocarcinogenesis. Knocking down these ncRNAs significantly inhibited proliferation and invasion by Alb/AEG-1/c-Myc hepatocytes.
Conclusion
Our studies reveal a novel cooperative oncogenic effect of AEG-1 and c-Myc that might explain the mechanism of aggressive HCC. Alb/AEG-1/c-Myc mice provide a useful model to understand the molecular mechanism of cooperation between these two oncogenes and other molecules involved in hepatocarcinogenesis. This model might also be of use for evaluating novel therapeutic strategies targeting HCC.
doi:10.1002/hep.27339
PMCID: PMC4309751  PMID: 25065684
AEG-1; c-Myc; hepatocarcinogenesis; metastasis; ncRNA
13.  Lentivirus-Mediated Knockdown of Astrocyte Elevated Gene-1 Inhibits Growth and Induces Apoptosis through MAPK Pathways in Human Retinoblastoma Cells 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(2):e0148763.
Purpose
To explore expression and function of astrocyte elevated gene-1 (AEG-1) in human retinoblastoma (RB).
Methods
The expression of AEG-1 in histological sections of human RBs and in RB cell lines was examined using immunohistochemical staining and RT-PCR and Western blotting respectively. We knocked down AEG-1 gene levels by AEG-1-siRNA lentivirus transfection of human RB cell lines SO-RB50 and Y79, and using an MTT assay, we assessed the role of AEG-1 on RB cell proliferation. The biological significance of lentivirus transfection induced AEG-1 down-regulation was examined by assessing the apoptosis rate in the transfected RB cells by Annexin V-APC staining and flow cytometry. We additionally measured the expression of Bcl-2, Bax, cleaved-caspase-3 and caspase-3, and the phosphorylation and non-phosphorylation alternation of MAPKs.
Results
AEG-1 expression was detected to be strongly positive in the histological slides of 35 out of 54 (65%) patients with RB. AEG-1 expression increased significantly (P<0.05) with tumor stage. In the RB cell lines SO-RB50, Y79 and WERI-RB1 as compared with retinal pigment epithelium cells, expression of AEG-1 mRNA and AEG-1 protein was significantly higher. In AEG-1-siRNA lentivirus transfected cell cultures as compared with negative control lentivirus transfected cell cultures, levels of AEG-1 mRNA and of AEG-1 protein (P<0.05) and cell growth rates (P<0.01) were significantly lower, and apoptosis rate (P<0.001), Bax/Bcl-2 ratio and cleaved-caspase-3 protein level were significantly increased. The P-ERK/ERK ratio was significantly decreased in the AEG-1-siRNA lentivirus transfected cell lines.
Conclusions
Expression of AEG-1 was associated with RB, in histological slides of patients and in cell culture experiments. Lentivirus transfection induced knockdown of AEG-1 had a tumor suppressive effect, potentially by tumor cell apoptosis induction through inhibition of ERK.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0148763
PMCID: PMC4760765  PMID: 26894431
14.  The multifaceted role of MTDH/AEG-1 in cancer progression 
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.
doi:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-09-0049
PMCID: PMC2747034  PMID: 19723648
15.  The Role of AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC in the Pathogenesis of Central Nervous System Disease 
Advances in cancer research  2013;120:159-192.
Astrocyte-elevated gene-1 (AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC) is a potent oncogene that regulates key cellular processes underlying disease of the central nervous system (CNS). From its involvement in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 infection to its role in neurodegenerative disease and malignant brain tumors, AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC facilitates cellular survival and proliferation through the control of a multitude of molecular signaling cascades. AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC induction by HIV-1 and TNF highlights its importance in viral infection, and its incorporation into viral vesicles supports its potential role in active viral replication. Overexpression of AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC in the brains of Huntington’s disease patients suggests its function in neurodegenerative disease, and its association with genetic polymorphisms in large genome-wide association studies of migraine patients suggests a possible role in the pathogenesis of migraine headaches. In the field of cancer, AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC promotes angiogenesis, migration, invasion, and enhanced tumor metabolism through key oncogenic signaling cascades. In response to external stress cues and cellular mechanisms to inhibit further growth, AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC activates pathways that bypass cell checkpoints and potentiates signals to enhance survival and tumorigenesis. As an oncogene that promotes aberrant cellular processes within the CNS, AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC represents an important therapeutic target for the treatment of neurological disease.
doi:10.1016/B978-0-12-401676-7.00006-1
PMCID: PMC4204483  PMID: 23889991
AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC; CNS; HIV; Cancer; Glioblastoma
16.  Astrocyte elevated gene-1 regulates hepatocellular carcinoma development and progression 
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.
doi:10.1172/JCI36460
PMCID: PMC2648696  PMID: 19221438
17.  AEG-1 regulates retinoid X receptor and inhibits retinoid signaling 
Cancer research  2014;74(16):4364-4377.
Retinoid X Receptor (RXR) regulates key cellular responses such as cell growth and development, and this regulation is frequently perturbed in various malignancies, including Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC). However, the molecule(s) that physically govern this deregulation are mostly unknown. Here, we identified RXR as an interacting partner of Astrocyte Elevated Gene-1 (AEG-1)/Metadherin (MTDH), an oncogene upregulated in all cancers. Upon interaction, AEG-1 profoundly inhibited RXR/Retinoic Acid Receptor (RAR)-mediated transcriptional activation. Consequently, AEG-1 markedly protected HCC and acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cells from retinoid- and rexinoid-induced cell death. In non-tumorigenic cells and primary hepatocytes, AEG-1/RXR co-localizes in the nucleus where AEG-1 interferes with recruitment of transcriptional co-activators to RXR preventing transcription of target genes. In tumor cells and AEG-1 transgenic hepatocytes, overexpressed AEG-1 entraps RXR in cytoplasm, precluding its nuclear translocation. Additionally, ERK, activated by AEG-1, phosphorylates RXR which leads to its functional inactivation and attenuation of ligand-dependent transactivation. In nude mice models, combination of all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) and AEG-1 knockdown synergistically inhibited growth of human HCC xenografts. The present study establishes AEG-1 as a novel homeostatic regulator of RXR and RXR/RAR that might contribute to hepatocarcinogenesis. Targeting AEG-1 could sensitize HCC and AML patients to retinoid- and rexinoid-based therapeutics.
doi:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-14-0421
PMCID: PMC4135401  PMID: 25125681
Hepatocellular Carcinoma; Protein-protein interaction; Transcriptional regulation; Retinoic acid; Cancer therapeutics
18.  Astrocyte elevated gene 1: biological functions and molecular mechanism in cancer and beyond 
Cell & Bioscience  2011;1:36.
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.
doi:10.1186/2045-3701-1-36
PMCID: PMC3221637  PMID: 22060137
19.  Astrocyte elevated gene-1 and breast cancer (Review) 
Oncology Letters  2011;2(3):399-405.
Astrocyte elevated gene-1 (AEG-1), also known as MTDH and Lyric, is a novel gene that was first cloned by subtraction hybridization in 2002 and has recently been shown to play a role as a crucial oncogene that acts as a promoter of tumor malignancy. Overexpression and inhibition studies both in in vitro and in vivo models have partly shown the oncogenic roles of AEG-1 in a number of crucial aspects of tumor development and progression, including transformation, evasion of apoptosis, proliferation, cell survival, migration, invasion, metastasis, angiogenesis and chemoresistance through the activation of numerous signaling pathways, such as the nuclear factor κB, PI3K/AKT, Wnt/β-catenin and mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling pathways. However the potential roles of AEG-1, particularly in specific organs or tissues, such as breast tissue, require further clarification. Studies have found that in normal human breast tissue, AEG-1 is always expressed at low levels or is absent, while it is widely overexpressed in many breast cancer cell lines and breast tumors. The present review evaluates the current literature with regards to AEG-1 relative to breast cancer development and progression and highlights new perspectives relative to this molecule, indicating its potential to become a new target for the clinical treatment of breast cancer.
doi:10.3892/ol.2011.268
PMCID: PMC3410483  PMID: 22866094
astrocyte elevated gene-1; metastasis; angiogenesis; prognosis; breast cancer
20.  Increased RNA-Induced Silencing Complex (RISC) Activity Contributes to Hepatocellular Carcinoma 
Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.)  2011;53(5):1538-1548.
There is virtually no effective treatment for advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and novel targets need to be identified to develop effective treatment. We recently documented that the oncogene Astrocyte elevated gene-1 (AEG-1) plays a seminal role in hepatocarcinogenesis. Employing yeast two-hybrid assay and co-immunoprecipitation followed by mass spectrometry we identified Staphylococcal nuclease domain containing 1 (SND1), a nuclease in the RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC) facilitating RNAi-mediated gene silencing, as an AEG-1 interacting protein. Co-immunoprecipitation and co-localization studies confirmed that AEG-1 is also a component of RISC and both AEG-1 and SND1 are required for optimum RISC activity facilitating siRNA and miRNA-mediated silencing of luciferase reporter gene. In 109 human HCC samples SND1 was overexpressed in ∼74% cases compared to normal liver. Correspondingly, significantly higher RISC activity was observed in human HCC cells compared to immortal normal hepatocytes. Increased RISC activity, conferred by AEG-1 or SND1, resulted in increased degradation of tumor suppressor mRNAs that are target of oncomiRs. Inhibition of enzymatic activity of SND1 significantly inhibited proliferation of human HCC cells. As a corollary, stable overexpression of SND1 augmented and siRNA-mediated inhibition of SND1 abrogated growth of human HCC cells in vitro and in vivo thus revealing a potential role of SND1 in hepatocarcinogenesis.
Conclusion
We unravel a novel mechanism that overexpression of AEG-1 and SND1 leading to increased RISC activity might contribute to hepatocarcinogenesis. Targeted inhibition of SND1 enzymatic activity might be developed as an effective therapy for HCC.
doi:10.1002/hep.24216
PMCID: PMC3081619  PMID: 21520169
AEG-1; SND1; protein-protein interaction; RNAi; hepatocarcinogenesis
21.  MiR-136 modulates glioma cell sensitivity to temozolomide by targeting astrocyte elevated gene-1 
Diagnostic Pathology  2014;9:173.
Background
Recent studies have linked chemotherapy resistance to the altered expression of microRNAs (miRNAs). Thus, miRNA-based approaches to modulating sensitivity to temozolomide (TMZ) may overcome chemoresistance. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether miR-136 could modulates glioma cell sensitivity to TMZ.
Methods
The proliferation of glioma U251 cell line was evaluated by MTT assay. The expression of astrocyte elevated gene-1 (AEG-1)was detected by real‑time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR)and Western blot. The luciferase reporter gene was used to test whether AEG-1 was the target of the miR-136.
Results
The MTT assay showed that U251 cells with miR-136 overexpression were significantly more sensitive to the therapy of TMZ than control cells. Luciferase assays revealed that miR-136 directly targeted the 3’UTR of AEG-1. qRT–PCR and western blotting analysis found that AEG-1 expression at the mRNA and protein levels decreased in the miR-136 mimic-treatment group relative to control group. Downregulation of AEG-1 expression by siRNAs, U251 cells became more sensitive to the therapy of TMZ. In addition, the enhanced growth-inhibitory effect by the miR-136 mimics transfection was enhanced after the addition of AEG-1 siRNA.
Conclusions
The present study provides the first evidence that miR-136 plays a key role in TMZ resistance by targeting the AEG-1 protein in glioma cell line, suggesting that miR-136 can be used to predict a patient’s response to TMZ therapy as well as serve as a novel potential maker for glioma therapy.
Virtual Slides
The virtual slide(s) for this article can be found here: http://www.diagnosticpathology.diagnomx.eu/vs/13000_2014_173
doi:10.1186/s13000-014-0173-0
PMCID: PMC4195982  PMID: 25266957
Glioma, miR-136; Sensitivity; Temozolomide; AEG-1
22.  RNA Interference-Mediated Knockdown of Astrocyte Elevated Gene-1 Inhibits Growth, Induces Apoptosis, and Increases the Chemosensitivity to 5-Fluorouracil in Renal Cancer Caki-1 Cells 
Molecules and Cells  2014;37(12):857-864.
Astrocyte elevated gene-1 (AEG-1) is a recently discovered oncogene that has been reported to be highly expressed in various types of malignant tumors, including renal cell carcinoma. However, the precise role of AEG-1 in renal cancer cell proliferation and apoptosis has not been clarified. In this study, we transfected the renal cancer cell line Caki-1 with a plasmid expressing AEG-1 short hairpin RNA (shRNA) and obtained cell colonies with stable knockdown of AEG-1. We found that AEG-1 down-regulation inhibited cell proliferation and colony formation and arrested cell cycle progression at the sub-G1 and G0/G1 phase. Western blot analysis indicated that the expression of proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA), cyclin D1 and cyclin E were significantly reduced following AEG-1 down-regulation. In addition, AEG-1 knockdown led to the appearance of apoptotic bodies in renal cancer cells, and the ratio of apoptotic cells significantly increased. Expression of the anti-apoptotic factor Bcl-2 was dramatically reduced, whereas the pro-apoptotic factors Bax, caspase-3 and poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) were significantly activated. Finally, AEG-1 knockdown in Caki-1 cells remarkably suppressed cell proliferation and enhanced cell apoptosis in response to 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) treatment, suggesting that AEG-1 inhibition sensitizes Caki-1 cells to 5-FU. Taken together, our data suggest that AEG-1 plays an important role in renal cancer formation and development and may be a potential target for future gene therapy for renal cell carcinoma.
doi:10.14348/molcells.2014.0081
PMCID: PMC4275702  PMID: 25431427
apoptosis; astrocyte elevated gene-1; chemosensitivity; proliferation; renal cancer cells
23.  Serum anti-AEG-1 auto-antibody is a potential novel biomarker for malignant tumors 
Oncology Letters  2012;4(2):319-323.
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.
doi:10.3892/ol.2012.734
PMCID: PMC3402762  PMID: 22844377
astrocyte elevated gene-1; anti-AEG-1 auto-antibody; serum; tumor biomarker; cancer
24.  AEG-1 expression correlates with CD133 and PPP6c levels in human glioma tissues 
Journal of Biomedical Research  2014;28(5):388-395.
Abstract
Astrocyte elevated gene-1 (AEG-1) is associated with tumor genesis and progression in a variety of human cancers. This study aimed to explore the significance of AEG-1 in glioma and investigate whether it correlated with radioresistance of glioma cells. Immunohistochemical staining showed that the intensity of AEG-1, CD133 and PPP6c protein expression in glioma tissues increased significantly, mainly in the cytoplasm. The expression rate of AEG-1, CD133 and PPP6c were 85.9% (67/78), 60.3% (47/78) and 65.8% (51/78), respectively. AEG-1 expression was correlated with age (r = 0.227, P = 0.045), clinical stage (r = 0.491, P<0.001) and clinical grade (r = 0.450, P<0.001). No correlation was found between AEG-1 expression and other clinicopathologic parameters (P>0.05). The expression of AEG-1 was positively correlated with the expression of CD133 (r = 0.240, P  =  0.035) and PPP6c (r =  0.250, P  =  0.027). In addition, retrieved data on TCGA implied co-occurrence of genomic alterations of AEG-1 and PPP6c in glioblastoma. Our findings indicate that AEG-1 is positively correlated with CD133 and AEG-1 expression. It may play an important role in the progression of glioma and may serve as potential novel marker of chemoresistance and radioresistance.
doi:10.7555/JBR.28.20140015
PMCID: PMC4197390  PMID: 25332711
glioma; AEG-1; immunohistochemistry; radioresistance
25.  Insulin-like growth factor binding protein-7 (IGFBP7) functions as a potential tumor suppressor in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) 
Purpose
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.
Experimental Design
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.
Results
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.
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-10-2774
PMCID: PMC3207018  PMID: 21908579
Insulin-like growth factor binding protein-7 (IGFBP7); Astrocyte elevated gene-1; gene deletion; senescence; angiogenesis

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