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1.  AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC, the Beginning: Initial Cloning, Structure, Expression Profile, and Regulation of Expression 
Since its initial identification as a HIV-1-inducible gene in 2002, astrocyte elevated gene-1 (AEG-1), subsequently cloned as metadherin (MTDH) and lysine-rich CEACAM1 coisolated (LYRIC), has emerged over the past 10 years as an important oncogene providing a valuable prognostic marker in patients with various cancers. Recent studies demonstrate that AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC is a pleiotropic protein that can localize in the cell membrane, cytoplasm, endoplasmic reticulum (ER), nucleus, and nucleolus, and contributes to diverse signaling pathways such as PI3K–AKT, NF-κB, MAPK, and Wnt. In addition to tumorigenesis, this multifunctional protein is implicated in various physiological and pathological processes including development, neurodegeneration, and inflammation. The present review focuses on the discovery of AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC and conceptualizes areas of future direction for this intriguing gene. We begin by describing how AEG-1, MTDH, and LYRIC were initially identified by different research groups and then discuss AEG-1 structure, functions, localization, and evolution. We conclude with a discussion of the expression profile of AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC in the context of cancer, neurological disorders, inflammation, and embryogenesis, and discuss how AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC is regulated. This introductory discussion of AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC will serve as the basis for the detailed discussions in other chapters of the unique properties of this intriguing molecule.
PMCID: PMC3930353  PMID: 23889986
2.  AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC: Signaling Pathways, Downstream Genes, Interacting Proteins, and Regulation of Tumor Angiogenesis 
Advances in cancer research  2013;120:75-111.
Astrocyte elevated gene-1 (AEG-1), also known as metadherin (MTDH) and lysine-rich CEACAM1 coisolated (LYRIC), was initially cloned in 2002. AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC has emerged as an important oncogene that is overexpressed in multiple types of human cancer. Expanded research on AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC has established a functional role of this molecule in several crucial aspects of tumor progression, including transformation, proliferation, cell survival, evasion of apoptosis, migration and invasion, metastasis, angiogenesis, and chemoresistance. The multifunctional role of AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC in tumor development and progression is associated with a number of signaling cascades, and recent studies identified several important interacting partners of AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC in regulating cancer promotion and other biological functions. This review evaluates the current literature on AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC function relative to signaling changes, interacting partners, and angiogenesis and highlights new perspectives of this molecule, indicating its potential as a significant target for the clinical treatment of various cancers and other diseases.
PMCID: PMC3928810  PMID: 23889988
3.  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.
PMCID: PMC4081432  PMID: 25009642
astrocyte elevated gene-1; metadherin; neoplasms; metastasis; chemoresistance
4.  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.
PMCID: PMC4204483  PMID: 23889991
AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC; CNS; HIV; Cancer; Glioblastoma
5.  Astrocyte elevated gene-1 regulates astrocyte responses to neural injury: implications for reactive astrogliosis and neurodegeneration 
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.
PMCID: PMC3488579  PMID: 22884085
AEG-1; Astrocyte; HIV-1; Reactive astrogliosis
6.  AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC: Clinical Significance 
Advances in cancer research  2013;120:39-74.
“Gain-of-function” and “loss-of-function” studies in human cancer cells and analysis of a transgenic mouse model have convincingly established that AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC performs a seminal role in regulating proliferation, invasion, angiogenesis, metastasis, and chemoresistance, the salient defining hallmarks of cancer. These observations are strongly buttressed by clinicopathologic correlations of AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC expression in a diverse array of cancers distinguishing AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC as an independent biomarker for highly aggressive metastatic disease with poor prognosis. AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC has been shown to be a marker predicting response to chemotherapy, and serum anti-AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC antibody titer also serves as a predictor of advanced stages of aggressive cancer. However, inconsistent findings have been reported regarding the localization of AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC protein in the nucleus or cytoplasm of cancer cells and the utility of nuclear or cytoplasmic AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC to predict the course and prognosis of disease. This chapter provides a comprehensive analysis of the existing literature to emphasize the common and conflicting findings relative to the clinical significance of AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC in cancer.
PMCID: PMC3924591  PMID: 23889987
7.  The role of MTDH/AEG-1 in the progression of cancer 
Cancer progression is driven by an accumulation of numerous genetic and epigenetic alterations in cancer cells themselves as well as constructional changes in their microenvironment. Metadherin (MTDH)/Astrocyte elevated gene-1 (AEG-1) has emerged in recent years as a key contributor to the carcinogenic process in diverse organs and tissues. As a multifunctional mediator of carcinogenesis, MTDH/AEG-1 has been found to be involved in multiple signaling pathways, such as: PI3K/Akt, NF-κB, Wnt/β-catenin and MAPK. Overexpression of MTDH/AEG-1 is observed in a variety of cancers belonging to all biological systems, and has crucial relevance with cancer progression, including initiation, proliferation, invasion, metastasis and chemoresistance. In addition, a plethora of studies have convincingly demonstrated that MTDH/AEG-1 overexpression markedly correlates with poor clinical prognosis. These findings suggest that MTDH/AEG-1 may be used as a potential biomarker for the diagnosis of cancer, monitoring of cancer progression, and target therapies which may simultaneously inhibit tumor growth, block metastasis, and intensify the efficacy of chemotherapeutic treatments.
PMCID: PMC4484038  PMID: 26131054
MTDH/AEG-1; cancer progression; carcinogenesis; signaling pathway; target therapy
8.  Drug resistance mediated by AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC 
Advances in cancer research  2013;120:135-157.
AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC has been shown to promote cancer progression and development. Overexpression of AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC correlates with angiogenesis, metastasis and chemoresistance to various chemotherapy agents in cancer cells originating from a variety of tissues. In this review article, we focus on the role of AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC in drug resistance. Mechanistic studies have shown that AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC is involved in classical oncogenic pathways including Ha-Ras, myc, NFκB and PI3K/Akt. AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC also promotes protective autophagy by activating AMP kinase and autophagy-related gene 5. Another reported mechanism by which AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC regulates drug resistance is by increasing loading of multidrug resistance gene (MDR) 1 mRNA to the polysome, thereby facilitating MDR1 protein translation. More recently, a novel function for AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC as an RNA binding protein was elucidated, which has the potential to impact expression of drug sensitivity or resistance genes. Finally, AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC acts in microRNA-directed gene silencing via an interaction with staphylococcal nuclease and tudor domain containing 1 (SND1), a component of the RNA-induced silencing complex. Altered microRNA expression and activity induced by AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC represents an additional way that AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC may cause drug resistance in cancer. The multiple functions of AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC in drug resistance highlight that it is a viable target as an anti-cancer agent for a wide variety of cancers.
PMCID: PMC3967868  PMID: 23889990
AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC; SND1; NFκB; miR-375; chemoresistance
9.  Astrocyte elevated gene-1 (AEG-1): far more than just a gene regulated in astrocytes 
Cancer research  2009;69(22):8529-8535.
Since its original cloning by subtraction hybridization in 2002, it is now evident that Astrocyte elevated gene-1 (AEG-1) is a key contributor to the carcinogenic process in diverse organs. AEG-1 protein expression is elevated in advanced stages of many cancers, which correlates with poor survival. In specific cancers, such as breast and liver cancer, the AEG-1 gene itself is amplified further supporting a seminal role in tumorigenesis. Overexpression and inhibition studies both in in vitro and in in vivo models reveal the importance of AEG-1 in regulating multiple physiologically and pathologically relevant processes including proliferation, invasion, metastasis and gene expression. AEG-1 is a single-pass transmembrane protein with multiple nuclear localization signals and no known domains or motifs. Although pertinent roles of AEG-1 in the carcinogenic process are established, its potential function (promotion of metastasis only versus functioning as a bona fide oncogene) as well as localization (cell surface versus nucleus) remain areas requiring further clarification. The present review critically evaluates what is currently known about AEG-1 and provides new perspectives relative to this intriguing molecule that may provide a rational target for intervening in the cancer phenotype.
PMCID: PMC2782420  PMID: 19903854
10.  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.
PMCID: PMC4135401  PMID: 25125681
Hepatocellular Carcinoma; Protein-protein interaction; Transcriptional regulation; Retinoic acid; Cancer therapeutics
11.  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.
PMCID: PMC2747034  PMID: 19723648
12.  AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC in Liver Cancer 
Advances in cancer research  2013;120:193-221.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a highly virulent malignancy with diverse etiology. Identification of a common mediator of aggressive progression of HCC would be extremely beneficial not only for diagnostic/prognostic purposes but also for developing targeted therapies. AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC gene is amplified in human HCC patients, and overexpression of AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC has been identified in a high percentage of both hepatitis B virus and hepatitis C virus positive HCC cases, suggesting its key role in regulating hepatocarcinogenesis. Important insights into the molecular mechanisms mediating oncogenic properties of AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC, especially regulating chemoresistance, angiogenesis, and metastasis, have been obtained from studies using HCC model. Additionally, analysis of HCC model has facilitated the identification of AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC downstream genes and interacting proteins, thereby unraveling novel players regulating HCC development and progression leading to the development of novel interventional strategies. Characterization of a hepatocyte-specific AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC transgenic mouse (Alb/AEG-1) has revealed novel aspects of AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC function in in vivo contexts. Combination of AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC inhibition and chemotherapy has documented significant efficacy in abrogating human HCC xenografts in nude mice indicating the need for developing effective AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC inhibition strategies to obtain objective response and survival benefits in terminal HCC patients.
PMCID: PMC3924581  PMID: 23889992
13.  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.
PMCID: PMC2039930  PMID: 17397930
AEG-1; Progression; Metastasis; Ha-ras oncogene; Glutamate excitotoxicity; AEG-1 promoter
14.  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.
PMCID: PMC3410483  PMID: 22866094
astrocyte elevated gene-1; metastasis; angiogenesis; prognosis; breast cancer
15.  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.
PMCID: PMC2648696  PMID: 19221438
16.  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.
PMCID: PMC3193553  PMID: 21852380
AEG-1; glioma; EAAT2; glutamate; glioma-induced neurodegeneration
17.  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.
PMCID: PMC3221637  PMID: 22060137
18.  Expression of AEG-1 mRNA and protein in colorectal cancer patients and colon cancer cell lines 
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.
PMCID: PMC3464714  PMID: 22643064
19.  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.
PMCID: PMC3165053  PMID: 20736086
AEG-1; development; mouse embryo; cell proliferation; cancer
20.  Molecular mechanism of chemoresistance by Astrocyte Elevated Gene-1 (AEG-1) 
Cancer research  2010;70(8):3249-3258.
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.
PMCID: PMC2855753  PMID: 20388796
Astrocyte Elevated Gene-1 (AEG-1); doxorubicin; Multidrug resistance gene-1 (MDR1); translation; nude mice
21.  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.
PMCID: PMC4275702  PMID: 25431427
apoptosis; astrocyte elevated gene-1; chemosensitivity; proliferation; renal cancer cells
22.  AEG-1 expression correlates with CD133 and PPP6c levels in human glioma tissues 
Journal of Biomedical Research  2014;28(5):388-395.
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.
PMCID: PMC4197390  PMID: 25332711
glioma; AEG-1; immunohistochemistry; radioresistance
23.  Astrocyte-elevated gene-1 (AEG-1) induction by hypoxia and glucose deprivation in glioblastoma 
Cancer Biology & Therapy  2011;11(1):32-39.
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.
PMCID: PMC3047099  PMID: 21084864
AEG-1; glioblastoma; hypoxia; glucose deprivation; necrosis
24.  Astrocyte elevated gene-1 (AEG-1) is a marker for aggressive salivary gland carcinoma 
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.
PMCID: PMC3286424  PMID: 22133054
AEG-1; Biomarker; Prognosis; Salivary gland carcinomas
25.  Knockdown of astrocyte elevated gene-1 (AEG-1) in cervical cancer cells decreases their invasiveness, epithelial to mesenchymal transition, and chemoresistance 
Cell Cycle  2014;13(11):1702-1707.
During cancer development, epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT) facilitates tumor dissemination and metastatic spread, which is characterized by morphologic changes from epithelial cells to fibroblast-like cells, disassembly of intercellular junction, and increased cell motility. Overexpression of astrocyte elevated gene-1(AEG-1) in various cancer cell lines and cancers has been found to be associated with aggressive tumor behavior. We found that AEG-1 expression was elevated in low differentiation cervical cancer specimens from patients. However, little is known about the AEG-1’s precise role in invasion and metastasis. Here we demonstrate that downregulation of AEG-1 by RNAi significantly decreased the invasion and migration of cervical cancer cells, suggesting that AEG-1 overexpression may enhance cancer cell motility by inducing EMT. Downregulation of AEG-1 also led to reduced expression of mesenchymal marker vimentin and the transcription factor Snail but upregulation of epithelial marker E-cadherin in HeLa cells. In addition, knockdown of AEG-1 decreased colony forming units and increased sensitivity to cancer drugs in vitro. Taken together, our results suggest that knockdown of AEG-1 could decrease EMT and chemoresistance in cervical cancer cells and attenuate their aggressive behavior.
PMCID: PMC4111716  PMID: 24675891
astrocyte elevated gene-1; AEG-1; chemoresistance; epithelial to mesenchymal transition; invasiveness; metastasis; cervical cancer

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