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1.  LATS2 is De-methylated and Overexpressed in Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma and Predicts Poor Prognosis 
BMC Cancer  2010;10:538.
LATS2, which encodes a novel serine/threonine kinase, is known to be important in centrosome duplication and in the maintenance of genomic stability. Recently, a potential role for LATS2 in cancer has been reported. In breast cancer and acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), LATS2 mRNA is downregulated and has been suggested to be a tumor suppressor. However, the role of LATS2 in nasopharyngeal carcinoma has not been investigated. In this study, we aimed to investigate the expression pattern of LATS2 and its clinicopathological involvement in nasopharyngeal carcinoma to understand its effect on cell survival.
Using quantitative real time PCR and immunoblotting, the expression of LATS2 was detected in nasopharyngeal carcinoma cell lines and in the immortalized nasopharyngeal epithelial cell line NP69. Using immunohistochemistry, we analyzed LATS2 protein expression in 220 nasopharyngeal carcinoma cases. The association of LATS2 protein expression with the clinicopathological characteristics and the prognosis of nasopharyngeal carcinoma were subsequently assessed. Using methylation specific PCR, we detected the methylation status of the LATS2 promoter. RNA interference was performed by transfecting siRNA to specifically knock down LATS2 expression in 5-8F and CNE2.
LATS2 protein was detected in 178 of 220 (80.91%) cases of nasopharyngeal carcinoma. LATS2 overexpression was a significant, independent prognosis predictor (P = 0.037) in nasopharyngeal carcinoma patients. Methylation specific PCR revealed that 36.7% (11/30) of nasopharyngeal carcinoma tissues and all of the chronic nasopharyngeal inflammation samples were methylated. Functional studies showed that the suppression of LATS2 expression in nasopharyngeal carcinoma (5-8F and CNE2) cell lines by using specific small interfering (siRNA) resulted in the inhibition of growth, induction of apoptosis and S-phase cell cycle increase. Overexpression of LATS2 in NP69 stimulated cell proliferation.
Our results indicate that LATS2 might play a role in the tumorigenesis of nasopharyngeal carcinoma by promoting the growth of nasopharyngeal carcinoma cells. Transfection with specific siRNA might be feasible for the inhibition of growth, induction of apoptosis and S phase increase in nasopharyngeal carcinoma.
PMCID: PMC2958949  PMID: 20932276
2.  Underexpression of LATS1 TSG in colorectal cancer is associated with promoter hypermethylation 
AIM: To investigate large tumor suppressor 1 (LATS1) expression, promoter hypermethylation, and microsatellite instability in colorectal cancer (CRC).
METHODS: RNA was isolated from tumor tissue of 142 CRC patients and 40 colon mucosal biopsies of healthy controls. After reverse transcription, quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was performed, and LATS1 expression was normalized to expression of the ACTB and RPL32 housekeeping genes. To analyze hypermethylation, genomic DNA was isolated from 44 tumor CRC biopsies, and methylation-specific PCR was performed. Microsatellite instability (MSI) status was checked with PCR using BAT26, BAT25, and BAT40 markers in the genomic DNA of 84 CRC patients, followed by denaturing gel electrophoresis.
RESULTS: Decreased LATS1 expression was found in 127/142 (89.4%) CRC cases with the average ratio of the LATS1 level 10.33 ± 32.64 in CRC patients vs 32.85 ± 33.56 in healthy controls. The lowest expression was found in Dukes’ B stage tumors and G1 (well-differentiated) cells. Hypermethylation of the LATS1 promoter was present in 25/44 (57%) CRC cases analyzed. LATS1 promoter hypermethylation was strongly associated with decreased gene expression; methylated cases showed 162× lower expression of LATS1 than unmethylated cases. Although high-grade MSI (mutation in all three markers) was found in 14/84 (17%) cases and low-grade MSI (mutation in 1-2 markers) was found in 30/84 (36%) cases, we found no association with LATS1 expression.
CONCLUSION: Decreased expression of LATS1 in CRC was associated with promoter hypermethylation, but not MSI status. Such reduced expression may promote progression of CRC.
PMCID: PMC3718905  PMID: 23885148
Large tumor suppressor 1; Colorectal cancer; Quantitative polymerase chain reaction; Reduced expression; Promoter hypermethylation; Microsatellite instability; Salvador-Warts-Hippo pathway
3.  Methylation of the DLEC1 gene correlates with poor prognosis in Japanese lung cancer patients 
Oncology Letters  2010;1(2):283-287.
The incidence of chromosome 3p gene alterations is one of the most frequent and earliest documented events in lung cancer. This study aimed to investigate promoter methylation in the deleted in lung and esophageal cancer 1 (DLEC1) gene, as well as the p16 and CDH1 genes in Japanese lung cancer cases. The methylation status of the promoter regions of DLEC1, p16 and CDH1 was investigated using methylation-specific PCR. The findings were compared to the clinicopathological features of lung cancer. Methylation-specific PCR showed that the DLEC1 promoter region was methylated in 65 out of 116 (56%) lung cancers. Patients with DLEC1-methylated cancer were associated with a significantly worse prognosis than those with unmethylated cancer (p=0.0368; hazard ratio=1.83). The p16 methylation status correlated with squamous histology (p=0.03) and smoking status (never smoker vs. smoker; p=0.0122). Patients with p16 ummethylated cancer harbored more EGFR mutations (p=0.0071). The CDH1 promoter region was hypermethylated in 65 out of 118 (55.1%) lung cancer cases. However, the CDH1 methylation status was not associated with the clinicopathological characteristics of the lung cancer types. p16 and CDH1 methylation status did not correlate with survival in the lung cancer patients. Thus, in our Japanese cohort, the methylation status of the DLEC1 gene was a marker of poor prognosis independent of stage.
PMCID: PMC3436471  PMID: 22966295
methylation; DLEC1 gene; lung cancer
4.  A Genome-Wide Screen for Promoter Methylation in Lung Cancer Identifies Novel Methylation Markers for Multiple Malignancies  
PLoS Medicine  2006;3(12):e486.
Promoter hypermethylation coupled with loss of heterozygosity at the same locus results in loss of gene function in many tumor cells. The “rules” governing which genes are methylated during the pathogenesis of individual cancers, how specific methylation profiles are initially established, or what determines tumor type-specific methylation are unknown. However, DNA methylation markers that are highly specific and sensitive for common tumors would be useful for the early detection of cancer, and those required for the malignant phenotype would identify pathways important as therapeutic targets.
Methods and Findings
In an effort to identify new cancer-specific methylation markers, we employed a high-throughput global expression profiling approach in lung cancer cells. We identified 132 genes that have 5′ CpG islands, are induced from undetectable levels by 5-aza-2′-deoxycytidine in multiple non-small cell lung cancer cell lines, and are expressed in immortalized human bronchial epithelial cells. As expected, these genes were also expressed in normal lung, but often not in companion primary lung cancers. Methylation analysis of a subset (45/132) of these promoter regions in primary lung cancer (n = 20) and adjacent nonmalignant tissue (n = 20) showed that 31 genes had acquired methylation in the tumors, but did not show methylation in normal lung or peripheral blood cells. We studied the eight most frequently and specifically methylated genes from our lung cancer dataset in breast cancer (n = 37), colon cancer (n = 24), and prostate cancer (n = 24) along with counterpart nonmalignant tissues. We found that seven loci were frequently methylated in both breast and lung cancers, with four showing extensive methylation in all four epithelial tumors.
By using a systematic biological screen we identified multiple genes that are methylated with high penetrance in primary lung, breast, colon, and prostate cancers. The cross-tumor methylation pattern we observed for these novel markers suggests that we have identified a partial promoter hypermethylation signature for these common malignancies. These data suggest that while tumors in different tissues vary substantially with respect to gene expression, there may be commonalities in their promoter methylation profiles that represent targets for early detection screening or therapeutic intervention.
John Minna and colleagues report that a group of genes are commonly methylated in primary lung, breast, colon, and prostate cancer.
Editors' Summary
Tumors or cancers contain cells that have lost many of the control mechanisms that normally regulate their behavior. Unlike normal cells, which only divide to repair damaged tissues, cancer cells divide uncontrollably. They also gain the ability to move round the body and start metastases in secondary locations. These changes in behavior result from alterations in their genetic material. For example, mutations (permanent changes in the sequence of nucleotides in the cell's DNA) in genes known as oncogenes stimulate cells to divide constantly. Mutations in another group of genes—tumor suppressor genes—disable their ability to restrain cell growth. Key tumor suppressor genes are often completely lost in cancer cells. But not all the genetic changes in cancer cells are mutations. Some are “epigenetic” changes—chemical modifications of genes that affect the amount of protein made from them. In cancer cells, methyl groups are often added to CG-rich regions—this is called hypermethylation. These “CpG islands” lie near gene promoters—sequences that control the transcription of DNA into RNA, the template for protein production—and their methylation switches off the promoter. Methylation of the promoter of one copy of a tumor suppressor gene, which often coincides with the loss of the other copy of the gene, is thought to be involved in cancer development.
Why Was This Study Done?
The rules that govern which genes are hypermethylated during the development of different cancer types are not known, but it would be useful to identify any DNA methylation events that occur regularly in common cancers for two reasons. First, specific DNA methylation markers might be useful for the early detection of cancer. Second, identifying these epigenetic changes might reveal cellular pathways that are changed during cancer development and so identify new therapeutic targets. In this study, the researchers have used a systematic biological screen to identify genes that are methylated in many lung, breast, colon, and prostate cancers—all cancers that form in “epithelial” tissues.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers used microarray expression profiling to examine gene expression patterns in several lung cancer and normal lung cell lines. In this technique, labeled RNA molecules isolated from cells are applied to a “chip” carrying an array of gene fragments. Here, they stick to the fragment that represents the gene from which they were made, which allows the genes that the cells express to be catalogued. By comparing the expression profiles of lung cancer cells and normal lung cells before and after treatment with a chemical that inhibits DNA methylation, the researchers identified genes that were methylated in the cancer cells—that is, genes that were expressed in normal cells but not in cancer cells unless methylation was inhibited. 132 of these genes contained CpG islands. The researchers examined the promoters of 45 of these genes in lung cancer cells taken straight from patients and found that 31 of the promoters were methylated in tumor tissues but not in adjacent normal tissues. Finally, the researchers looked at promoter methylation of the eight genes most frequently and specifically methylated in the lung cancer samples in breast, colon, and prostate cancers. Seven of the genes were frequently methylated in both lung and breast cancers; four were extensively methylated in all the tumor types.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These results identify several new genes that are often methylated in four types of epithelial tumor. The observation that these genes are methylated in multiple independent tumors strongly suggests, but does not prove, that loss of expression of the proteins that they encode helps to convert normal cells into cancer cells. The frequency and diverse patterning of promoter methylation in different tumor types also indicates that methylation is not a random event, although what controls the patterns of methylation is not yet known. The identification of these genes is a step toward building a promoter hypermethylation profile for the early detection of human cancer. Furthermore, although tumors in different tissues vary greatly with respect to gene expression patterns, the similarities seen in this study in promoter methylation profiles might help to identify new therapeutic targets common to several cancer types.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
US National Cancer Institute, information for patients on understanding cancer
CancerQuest, information provided by Emory University about how cancer develops
Cancer Research UK, information for patients on cancer biology
Wikipedia pages on epigenetics (note that Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit)
The Epigenome Network of Excellence, background information and latest news about epigenetics
PMCID: PMC1716188  PMID: 17194187
5.  WWP1 E3 Ligase Targets LATS1 for Ubiquitin-Mediated Degradation in Breast Cancer Cells 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(4):e61027.
The Large Tumor Suppressor 1 (LATS1) is a serine/threonine kinase and tumor suppressor found down-regulated in various human cancers. LATS1 has recently been identified as a central player of the emerging Hippo signaling pathway, which plays important roles in organ size control, tumorigenesis, and stem cell differentiation and renewal, etc. Although mounting evidence supports a role of LATS1 in tumor suppression and tumorigenesis, how LATS1 is regulated at the molecular level is not fully understood. Recently several positive regulators of LATS1 (Mst1/2, MOB1, Kibra, etc) have been identified but how LATS1 is negatively regulated is still largely unknown. We have recently identified Itch, a member of the NEDD4-like family E3 ubiquitin ligases, as a novel negative regulator of LATS1. However, whether other ubiquitin ligases modulate LATS1 stability and function is unclear. By screening many E3 ligases of the NEDD4-like family using over-expression and short-interference RNA knockdown approaches, we have identified WWP1 E3 ligase as another novel negative regulator of LATS1. We have provided in vitro and in vivo evidence that WWP1 is essential for LATS1 stability and negatively regulate LATS1 by promoting LATS1 degradation through polyubiquitination and the 26S proteasome pathway. Importantly, we also showed that degradation of LATS1 is critical in mediating WWP1-induced increased cell proliferation in breast cancer cells. Since WWP1 is an oncogene and LATS1 is a tumor suppressor gene in breast cancer, our studies provide a promising therapeutic strategy in which developed drugs targeting WWP1 cause activation of LATS1 in suppressing breast cancer cell growth.
PMCID: PMC3616014  PMID: 23573293
6.  Transcriptional activation of the Lats1 tumor suppressor gene in tumors of CUX1 transgenic mice 
Molecular Cancer  2009;8:60.
Lats1 (large tumor suppressor 1) codes for a serine/threonine kinase that plays a role in the progression through mitosis. Genetic studies demonstrated that the loss of LATS1 in mouse, and of its ortholog wts (warts) in Drosophila, is associated with increased cancer incidence. There are conflicting reports, however, as to whether overexpression of Lats1 inhibits cell proliferation. CUX1 is a transcription factor that exists in different isoforms as a result of proteolytic processing or alternative transcription initiation. Expression of p110 and p75 CUX1 in transgenic mice increases the susceptibility to cancer in various organs and tissues. In tissue culture, p110 CUX1 was shown to accelerate entry into S phase and stimulate cell proliferation.
Genome-wide location arrays in cell lines of various cell types revealed that Lats1 was a transcriptional target of CUX1. Scanning ChIP analysis confirmed that CUX1 binds to the immediate promoter of Lats1. Expression of Lats1 was reduced in cux1-/- MEFs, whereas it was increased in cells stably or transiently expressing p110 or p75 CUX1. Reporter assays confirmed that the immediate promoter of Lats1 was sufficient to confer transcriptional activation by CUX1. Lats1 was found to be overexpressed in tumors from the mammary gland, uterus and spleen that arise in p110 or p75 CUX1 transgenic mice. In tissue culture, such elevated LATS1 expression did not hinder cell cycle progression in cells overexpressing p110 CUX1.
While inactivation of Lats1/wts in mouse and Drosophila can increase cancer incidence, results from the present study demonstrate that Lats1 is a transcriptional target of CUX1 that can be overexpressed in tumors of various tissue-types. Interestingly, two other studies documented the overexpression of LATS1 in human cervical cancers and basal-like breast cancers. We conclude that, similarly to other genes involved in mitotic checkpoint, cancer can be associated with either loss-of-function or overexpression of Lats1.
PMCID: PMC2731069  PMID: 19656388
7.  The 2.2-Kilobase Latency-Associated Transcript of Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2 Does Not Modulate Viral Replication, Reactivation, or Establishment of Latency in Transgenic Mice 
Journal of Virology  2001;75(17):8166-8172.
To better understand the mechanisms responsible for the observed effects of deletions in the promoter region of the latency-associated transcript (LAT) gene in impairing herpes simplex virus (HSV) reactivation, we generated mice transgenic for a 5.5-kb HSV type 2 (HSV-2) genomic fragment spanning the major LAT, along with the LAT promoter and flanking regions, in the C57BL/6 background. The mice expressed abundant 2.2-kb major LATs in trigeminal ganglia (TG) and other tissues. The effects of the transgene on HSV-2 infection, latency, and reactivation were assessed. When infected with wild-type (WT) HSV-2 or its LAT promoter deletion (LAT−) mutant, primary lung fibroblast lines established from normal C57BL/6 and transgenic mice supported virus growth equally well. The replication of these viruses in the mouse eye and their spread to TG and brains were similar. The quantities of latent viral DNA in TG of transgenic and normal mice, as determined by real-time PCR, were comparable. UV light-induced reactivation of the LAT− mutant from transgenic mice (0 to 7%) was no more frequent than that from normal mice (0 to 14%), while WT virus was reactivated from 13 to 54% of normal mice and 22 to 54% of transgenic mice. The cumulative data indicate that, when expressed transgenically, the HSV-2 major LAT cannot influence HSV-2 infection or latency and cannot complement the defect in reactivation of the LAT− mutant. These results imply that the phenotype of reduced reactivation associated with the LAT− mutant is related to a function encoded in the LAT promoter but not to the major LAT itself.
PMCID: PMC115061  PMID: 11483762
8.  Identification of a Tumor Suppressor Relay between the FOXP3 and the Hippo Pathways in Breast and Prostate Cancers 
Cancer research  2011;71(6):2162-2171.
Defective expression of LATS2, a negative regulator of YAP onco-protein, has been reported in cancer of prostate, breast, liver, brain and blood origins. However, no transcriptional regulators for the LATS2 gene have been identified. Defective expression of LATS2, a negative regulator of YAP oncoprotein, has been reported in prostate, breast, liver, brain and blood cancers. However, the basis for LATS2 dysregulation in cancer is undefined. Here we report that spontaneous mutation of the transcription factor FOXP3 reduces expression of the LATS2 gene in mammary epithelial cells. shRNA-mediated silencing of FOXP3 in normal or malignant mammary epithelial cells of mouse and human origin repressed LATS2 expression and increased YAP protein levels. LATS2 induction required binding of FOXP3 to a specific sequence in the LATS2 promoter, and this interaction contributed to FOXP3-mediated growth inhibition of tumor cells. In support of these results, reduced expression and somatic mutations of FOXP3 correlated strongly with defective LATS2 expression in microdissected prostate cancer tissues. Thus, defective expression of LATS2 is attributable to FOXP3 defects and may be a major independent determinant of YAP protein elevation in cancer. Our findings identify a novel mechanism of LATS2 downregulation in cancer and reveal an important tumor suppressor relay between the FOXP3 and HIPPO pathways which are widely implicated in human cancer.
PMCID: PMC3070402  PMID: 21278236
prostate cancer; breast cancer; Hippo pathway; FoxP3; tumor suppressor genes
9.  The spontaneous reactivation function of the herpes simplex virus type 1 LAT gene resides completely within the first 1.5 kilobases of the 8.3-kilobase primary transcript. 
Journal of Virology  1996;70(2):976-984.
The herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) latency-associated transcript (LAT) gene is essential for efficient spontaneous reactivation of HSV-1 from latency. We report here that although the LAT gene is 8.3 kb in length, the first 1.5 kb of the LAT gene alone is sufficient for wild-type levels of spontaneous reactivation. We began with a LAT deletion mutant of HSV-1 strain McKrae in which the LAT promoter and the first 1.6 kb of the 5' end of the LAT gene had been deleted from both copies of LAT (one in each viral long repeat). As we previously reported, this mutant (dLAT2903) was significantly impaired for spontaneous reactivation (G. C. Perng, E. C. Dunkel, P. A. Geary, S. M. Slanina, H. Ghiasi, R. Kaiwar, A. B. Nesburn, and S. L. Wechsler, J. Virol. 68:8045-8055, 1994). We then inserted the LAT promoter and the first 1.5 kb of the LAT gene into a location in the unique long region of dLAT2903 far removed from the normal location of LAT in the long repeats. This resulted in a virus (LAT15a) whose capacity for transcribing LAT RNA was limited to the first 1.5 kb of the 8.3-kb LAT primary transcript. Rabbits were ocularly infected with this mutant, and spontaneous reactivation was measured in comparison to those of the original LAT-negative mutant and its marker-rescued (wild-type) virus, dLAT2903R. LAT15a had an in vivo spontaneous reactivation rate of 12%, compared with a rate of 11% for the marker-rescued virus and 0% for the LAT-negative virus. Southern analysis confirmed that the spontaneously reactivated LAT15a virus retained the original deletions in both copies of LAT and the 1.5-kb LAT insertion in the unique long region. Thus, insertion of the first 1.5 kb of LAT (and its promoter) at a site distant from the normal LAT location appeared to completely restore in vivo spontaneous reactivation to wild-type levels, despite the remaining inability of the original LAT genes to transcribe any LAT RNA. The function of LAT involved in efficient spontaneous reactivation therefore appeared to map completely within the first 1.5 kb of the LAT gene.
PMCID: PMC189902  PMID: 8551638
10.  LAT1 Expression in Pre and Post Implantation Embryos and Placenta 
Placenta  2009;30(3):270-276.
LAT-1 (L-type amino acid transporter 1) is a system L, Na+-independent amino acid transporter responsible for transport of large neutral amino acids. Dysregulated expression of LAT-1 is characteristic of many primary human cancers and is related to tumor invasion. Primary rat hepatocytes in culture increase LAT-1 mRNA in response to amino acid depletion. Transformed hepatic cell lines demonstrate constitutive expression of LAT-1. These observations suggest that LAT-1 expression confers a growth and survival advantage under limited amino acid availability. LAT-1 is highly expressed in the placenta. It has been shown previously that amino acids are fundamental regulators of cell function and energy metabolism in pre-implantation embryos. Our objectives were to analyze qualitatively and quantitatively LAT-1 expression in pre-implantation stages of mouse embryo development and to identify cell types expressing LAT-1 in post implantation stages.
LAT-1 was quantified by real-time qPCR. Localization of expression was by laser capture microdissection, in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry.
Our results show increasing mRNA levels of LAT-1 as the embryo develops from zygote to blastocyst with highest levels at hatching blastocyst. Expression studies of LAT-1 on microdissected samples from developing mouse placenta show highest levels of LAT-1 mRNA in trophoblast giant cells (TGC’s) at the time of implantation (E7.5), followed by maternal decidua, ectoplacental cone and epiblast. At later stages of development (E9.5 and E11.5) no differential expression of LAT-1 was observed. In situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry also showed differential expression of LAT-1 mRNA and protein, respectively, with darkest staining in TGC’s at E7.5. By E9.5 and E11.5 mRNA expression was no longer preferentially localized to TGC’s, hybridization was equal across the different cell types and regions. LAT-1 protein expression, however, still showed highest intensity of staining in TGC’s at E9.5 and E11.5.
Since trophoblast giant cells are invasive cells that displace and phagocytose the uterine epithelial cells, these data suggest that LAT-1 may play a role in the invasive phenotype. The mechanism of LAT-1 regulation during placentation, therefore, might provide valuable clues to its role in tumor progression and invasion.
PMCID: PMC2683020  PMID: 19193433
11.  Promoter methylation of RASSF1A and DAPK and mutations of K-ras, p53, and EGFR in lung tumors from smokers and never-smokers 
BMC Cancer  2007;7:74.
Epidemiological studies indicate that some characteristics of lung cancer among never-smokers significantly differ from those of smokers. Aberrant promoter methylation and mutations in some oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes are frequent in lung tumors from smokers but rare in those from never-smokers. In this study, we analyzed promoter methylation in the ras-association domain isoform A (RASSF1A) and the death-associated protein kinase (DAPK) genes in lung tumors from patients with primarily non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) from the Western Pennsylvania region. We compare the results with the smoking status of the patients and the mutation status of the K-ras, p53, and EGFR genes determined previously on these same lung tumors.
Promoter methylation of the RASSF1A and DAPK genes was analyzed by using a modified two-stage methylation-specific PCR. Data on mutations of K-ras, p53, and EGFR were obtained from our previous studies.
The RASSF1A gene promoter methylation was found in tumors from 46.7% (57/122) of the patients and was not significantly different between smokers and never-smokers, but was associated significantly in multiple variable analysis with tumor histology (p = 0.031) and marginally with tumor stage (p = 0.063). The DAPK gene promoter methylation frequency in these tumors was 32.8% (40/122) and did not differ according to the patients' smoking status, tumor histology, or tumor stage. Multivariate analysis adjusted for age, gender, smoking status, tumor histology and stage showed that the frequency of promoter methylation of the RASSF1A or DAPK genes did not correlate with the frequency of mutations of the K-ras, p53, and EGFR gene.
Our results showed that RASSF1A and DAPK genes' promoter methylation occurred frequently in lung tumors, although the prevalence of this alteration in these genes was not associated with the smoking status of the patients or the occurrence of mutations in the K-ras, p53 and EGFR genes, suggesting each of these events may represent independent event in non-small lung tumorigenesis.
PMCID: PMC1877812  PMID: 17477876
12.  New genetic variants of LATS1 detected in urinary bladder and colon cancer 
Frontiers in Genetics  2015;5:425.
LATS1, the large tumor suppressor 1 gene, encodes for a serine/threonine kinase protein and is implicated in cell cycle progression. LATS1 is down-regulated in various human cancers, such as breast cancer, and astrocytoma. Point mutations in LATS1 were reported in human sarcomas. Additionally, loss of heterozygosity of LATS1 chromosomal region predisposes to breast, ovarian, and cervical tumors. In the current study, we investigated LATS1 genetic variations including single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), in 28 Egyptian patients with either urinary bladder or colon cancers. The LATS1 gene was amplified and sequenced and the expression of LATS1 at the RNA level was assessed in 12 urinary bladder cancer samples. We report, the identification of a total of 29 variants including previously identified SNPs within LATS1 coding and non-coding sequences. A total of 18 variants were novel. Majority of the novel variants, 13, were mapped to intronic sequences and un-translated regions of the gene. Four of the five novel variants located in the coding region of the gene, represented missense mutations within the serine/threonine kinase catalytic domain. Interestingly, LATS1 RNA steady state levels was lost in urinary bladder cancerous tissue harboring four specific SNPs (16045 + 41736 + 34614 + 56177) positioned in the 5′UTR, intron 6, and two silent mutations within exon 4 and exon 8, respectively. This study identifies novel single-base-sequence alterations in the LATS1 gene. These newly identified variants could potentially be used as novel diagnostic or prognostic tools in cancer.
PMCID: PMC4292772  PMID: 25628642
urinary bladder cancer; colon cancer; LATS1; genetic variants; tumor suppressor
13.  A Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 Latency-Associated Transcript Mutant with Increased Virulence and Reduced Spontaneous Reactivation 
Journal of Virology  1999;73(2):920-929.
The herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) latency-associated transcript (LAT) gene is essential for efficient spontaneous reactivation of HSV-1 from latency. We previously reported that insertion of the LAT promoter and just the first 1.5 kb of the 8.3-kb LAT gene into an ectopic location in the virus restored wild-type spontaneous reactivation to a LAT null mutant. This mutant, LAT3.3A (previously designated LAT1.5a), thus showed that the expression of just the first 1.5 kb of LAT is sufficient for wild-type spontaneous reactivation. We also showed that in the context of the entire LAT gene, deletion of LAT nucleotides 76 to 447 (LAT mutant dLAT371) had no effect on spontaneous reactivation or virulence. We report here on a LAT mutant designated LAT2.9A. This mutant is similar to LAT3.3A, except that the ectopic LAT insert contains the same 371-nucleotide deletion found in dLAT371. We found that LAT2.9A had a significantly reduced rate of spontaneous reactivation compared to marker-rescued and wild-type viruses. This was unexpected, since the combined results of dLAT371 and LAT3.3A predicted that spontaneous reactivation of LAT2.9A would be wild type. We also found that LAT2.9A was more virulent than wild-type or marker-rescued viruses after ocular infection of rabbits. This was unexpected, since LAT null mutants and LAT3.3A have wild-type virulence. These results suggest for the first time (i) that regions past the first 1.5 kb of LAT can compensate for deletions in the first 1.5kb of LAT and may therefore play a role in LAT dependent spontaneous reactivation and (ii) that regions of LAT affect viral virulence.
PMCID: PMC103911  PMID: 9882292
14.  Increased expression of system large amino acid transporter (LAT)-1 mRNA is associated with invasive potential and unfavorable prognosis of human clear cell renal cell carcinoma 
BMC Cancer  2013;13:509.
The system L amino acid transporter (LAT) has an important role in the transport of various amino acids, and there have been reports about the relation of this system to cancer. Although LATs are highly expressed in the kidneys, little is known about their influence on human renal cancer.
To clarify the role of LATs in human clear cell renal cell carcinoma (RCC), we investigated the expression of mRNAs for LAT1, LAT2, LAT3, LAT4, and 4F2hc in clear cell RCC tissues. The mRNAs of these five genes were analyzed by the real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction in matched sets of tumor and non-tumor tissues obtained at operation from 82 Japanese patients with clear cell RCC. We also measured phosphorylated S6 ribosomal protein (Ser-235/236) proteins levels in 18 paired tumor and non-tumor tissues of the patients by Western blotting.
Expression of LAT1 mRNA was significantly increased in tumor tissue compared with non-tumor tissue, while expression of LAT2 and LAT3 mRNAs was reduced. There was no difference in the expression of LAT4 and 4F2hc mRNAs between tumor and non-tumor tissues. Increased expression of LAT1 mRNA was associated with less differentiated tumors, local invasion, microscopic vascular invasion, and metastasis. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis showed that a higher serum LAT1 mRNA level was associated with a shorter overall survival time. Phosphorylated S6 ribosomal protein levels were associated with metastatic potential. LAT1 mRNA levels positively correlated with phosphorylated S6 ribosomal protein proteins levels in primary tumors.
These findings suggest that LAT1 mRNA is related to the invasive and progressive potential of clear cell RCC.
PMCID: PMC3832879  PMID: 24168110
15.  Cigarette smoke induces methylation of the tumor suppressor gene NISCH 
Epigenetics  2013;8(4):383-388.
We have previously identified a putative tumor suppressor gene, NISCH, whose promoter is methylated in lung tumor tissue as well as in plasma obtained from lung cancer patients. NISCH was observed to be more frequently methylated in smoker lung cancer patients than in non-smoker lung cancer patients. Here, we investigated the effect of tobacco smoke exposure on methylation of the NISCH gene. We tested methylation of NISCH after oral keratinocytes were exposed to mainstream and side stream cigarette smoke extract in culture. Methylation of the promoter region of the NISCH gene was also evaluated in plasma obtained from lifetime non-smokers and light smokers (< 20 pack/year), with and without lung tumors, and heavy smokers (20+ pack/year) without disease. Promoter methylation of NISCH was tested by quantitative fluorogenic real-time PCR in all samples. Promoter methylation of NISCH occurred after exposure to mainstream tobacco smoke as well as to side stream tobacco smoke in normal oral keratinocyte cell lines. NISCH methylation was also detected in 68% of high-risk, heavy smokers without detectable tumors. Interestingly, in light smokers, NISCH methylation was present in 69% of patients with lung cancer and absent in those without disease. Our pilot study indicates that tobacco smoke induces methylation changes in the NISCH gene promoter before any detectable cancer. Methylation of the NISCH gene was also found in lung cancer patients’ plasma samples. After confirming these findings in longitudinally collected plasma samples from high-risk populations (such as heavy smokers), examining patients for hypermethylation of the NISCH gene may aid in identifying those who should undergo additional screening for lung cancer.
PMCID: PMC3674047  PMID: 23503203
lung cancer; Nisch; methylation; smoking; tobacco
16.  Silencing of the Lats2 tumor suppressor overrides a p53-dependent oncogenic stress checkpoint and enables mutant H-Ras-driven cell transformation 
Oncogene  2009;28(50):4469-4479.
The Lats2 tumor suppressor protein has previously been implicated in promoting p53 activation in response to mitotic apparatus stress, by preventing Mdm2-driven p53 degradation. We now report that Lats2 also plays a role in an ATR-Chk1-mediated stress checkpoint in response to oncogenic H-Ras. Activated mutant H-Ras triggers the translocation of Lats2 from centrosomes into the nucleus, coupled with an increase in Lats2 protein levels. This leads to induction of p53 activity, upregulation of proapoptotic genes, downregulation of antiapoptotic genes and eventually apoptotic cell death. Many of the cells that survive apoptosis undergo senescence. However, a fraction of the cells escape this checkpoint mechanism, despite maintaining high mutant H-Ras expression. These escapers display increased genome instability, as evidenced by a substantial fraction of cells with micronuclei and cells with polyploid genomes. Interestingly, such cells exhibit markedly reduced levels of Lats2, in conjunction with enhanced hypermethylation of the Lats2 gene promoter. Our findings suggest that Lats2 might play an important role in quenching H-Ras-induced transformation, while silencing of Lats2 expression might serve as a mechanism to enable tumor progression.
PMCID: PMC2795787  PMID: 19855428
Ras; p53; Lats2; apoptosis; polyploidy
17.  CDX2 serves as a Wnt signaling inhibitor and is frequently methylated in lung cancer 
Cancer Biology & Therapy  2012;13(12):1152-1157.
Aberrant promoter region hypermethylation of upstream transcription factors may be responsible for silencing entire anti-neoplastic gene networks. In this study, we explored whether transcription factor coding gene, caudal-related homeobox 2 (CDX2), is silenced by promoter hypermethylation in lung cancer, and examined its potential tumor-suppressive functions. Semi-quantitative RT-PCR showed that four of six lung cancer cell lines exhibited no or weak CDX2 expression. Expression of CDX2 was correlated to CDX2 promoter region methylation status, as determined by methylation-specific PCR (MSP) and bisulfite sequencing. Restoration of CDX2 expression was induced by treatment with demethylating drug 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine (5-AZA) in lung cancer cell lines. Methylation of CDX2 was common in human primary lung cancer (61 of 110 tumors, 55.45%), but no methylation was found in normal lung tissues. Re-expression of CDX2 suppressed lung cancer cell proliferation and blocked cells in G1 phase. β-catenin/TCF activity and downstream genes expression were inhibited by re-expression of CDX2, and increased by depletion of CDX2. In conclusion, CDX2 is frequently methylated in lung cancer, and expression of CDX2 is regulated by promoter region hypermethylation. CDX2 may serve as a tumor suppressor in lung cancer and inhibits lung cancer cell proliferation by suppressing Wnt signaling.
PMCID: PMC3469472  PMID: 22892849
5-aza-2’-deoxycytidine; CDX2; DNA methylation; Wnt signaling pathway; epigenetics; lung cancer
18.  Heat Shock Protein 90 (HSP90) Inhibition Depletes LATS1 and LATS2, Two Regulators of the Mammalian Hippo Tumor Suppressor Pathway 
Cancer research  2010;70(21):8642-8650.
Heat shock protein 90 (HSP90), which regulates the functions of multiple oncogenic signaling pathways, has emerged as a novel anticancer therapeutic target, and multiple small molecule HSP90 inhibitors are now in clinical trials. Although the effects of HSP90 inhibitors on oncogenic signaling pathways have been extensively studied, the impacts of these agents on tumor suppressor signaling pathways are currently unknown. Here, we have examined how HSP90 inhibitors affect LATS1 and the related protein LATS2, two kinases that relay antiproliferative signals in the Hippo tumor suppressor pathway. Both LATS1 and LATS2 were depleted from cells treated with the HSP90 inhibitors 17-allylamino-17-demethoxygeldanamycin (17-AAG), radicicol and PU-H71. Moreover, these kinases interacted with HSP90, and LATS1 isolated from 17-AAG-treated cells had reduced catalytic activity, thus demonstrating that the kinase is a bona fide HSP90 client. Importantly, LATS1 signaling was disrupted by 17-AAG in tumor cell lines in vitro and clinical ovarian cancers in vivo as shown by reduced levels of LATS1 and decreased phosphorylation of the LATS substrate YAP, an oncoprotein transcriptional coactivator that regulates genes involved in cell and tissue growth, including the CTGF gene. Consistent with the reduced YAP phosphorylation, there were increased levels of CTGF, a secreted protein that is implicated in tumor proliferation, metastasis, and angiogenesis. Taken together, these results identify LATS1 and LATS2 as novel HSP90 clients and demonstrate that HSP90 inhibitors can disrupt the LATS tumor suppressor pathway in human cancer cells.
PMCID: PMC2970685  PMID: 20841485
19.  Role of the L- amino acid transporter-1 (LAT-1) in Mouse Trophoblast Cell Invasion* 
Placenta  2010;31(6):528-534.
LAT-1 (L-type amino acid transporter 1) is a system L, Na+-independent amino acid transporter responsible for transport of large neutral amino acids. Dysregulated expression of LAT-1 is characteristic of many primary human cancers and it’s over expression is related to tumor invasion. LAT-1 is highly expressed in the trophoblast giant cells (TGCs) at the time of implantation. Since trophoblast giant cells are highly invasive during the process of endometrial implantation and placentation, LAT-1 may play a role in the invasive phenotype. Our objectives were to identify the effects of increased and decreased LAT-1 expression on mouse trophoblast invasion. We therefore examined the role of amino acid deprivation, pharmacologic blockade specific to leucine transport and gene silencing (siRNA) on LAT-1 expression and trophoblast cell invasion. We utilized mouse primary trophoblast stem (TS) cells. LAT-1 mRNA expression was quantified by real-time qPCR, protein by Western blotting and cell invasion was measured in Transwell plates through Matrigel. Amino acid transport using uptake of tritiated leucine. Under limited leucine availability and/or pharmacologic blockage, LAT-1 gene expression was significantly increased, p<0.05. This was associated with a 3-fold increase in cell invasion, p<0.05. In contrast, following siRNA-mediated gene silencing decreased LAT-1 expression (both mRNA and protein) was associated with decreased cell invasion and decreased leucine uptake, p<0.05. Upregulation of LAT-1 gene expression via limited amino acid availability or following pharmacologic blockade of transport leads to an increase in mouse trophoblast stem cell invasiveness. Downregulation of LAT-1 expression via genetic silencing leads to inhibition of invasiveness. These results demonstrate that LAT-1 plays an important role in trophoblast invasion.
PMCID: PMC2878872  PMID: 20421131
trophoblast stem cell; L amino acid transporter; LAT-1; Slc7a5; invasion; implantation
20.  A Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 Mutant Expressing a Baculovirus Inhibitor of Apoptosis Gene in Place of Latency-Associated Transcript Has a Wild-Type Reactivation Phenotype in the Mouse 
Journal of Virology  2005;79(19):12286-12295.
The latency-associated transcript (LAT) is essential for the wild-type herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) high-reactivation phenotype since LAT− mutants have a low-reactivation phenotype. We previously reported that LAT can decrease apoptosis and proposed that this activity is involved in LAT's ability to enhance the HSV-1 reactivation phenotype. The first 20% of the primary 8.3-kb LAT transcript is sufficient for enhancing the reactivation phenotype and for decreasing apoptosis, supporting this proposal. For this study, we constructed an HSV-1 LAT− mutant that expresses the baculovirus antiapoptosis gene product cpIAP under control of the LAT promoter and in place of the LAT region mentioned above. Mice were ocularly infected with this mutant, designated dLAT-cpIAP, and the reactivation phenotype was determined using the trigeminal ganglion explant model. dLAT-cpIAP had a reactivation phenotype similar to that of wild-type virus and significantly higher than that of (i) the LAT− mutant dLAT2903; (ii) dLAT1.5, a control virus containing the same LAT deletion as dLAT-cpIAP, but with no insertion of foreign DNA, thereby controlling for potential readthrough transcription past the cpIAP insert; and (iii) dLAT-EGFP, a control virus identical to dLAT-cpIAP except that it contained the enhanced green fluorescent protein open reading frame (ORF) in place of the cpIAP ORF, thereby controlling for expression of a random foreign gene instead of the cpIAP gene. These results show that an antiapoptosis gene with no sequence similarity to LAT can efficiently substitute for the LAT function involved in enhancing the in vitro-induced HSV-1 reactivation phenotype in the mouse.
PMCID: PMC1211541  PMID: 16160155
21.  LATS2 Suppresses Oncogenic Wnt Signaling by Disrupting β-catenin/BCL9 Interaction 
Cell reports  2013;5(6):1650-1663.
Abnormal activation of Wnt/β-catenin-mediated transcription is associated with a variety of human cancers. Here we report that LATS2 inhibited oncogenic Wnt/β-catenin-mediated transcription by disrupting the β-catenin/BCL9 interaction. LATS2 directly interacted with β-catenin and to be present on Wnt target gene promoters. Mechanistically, LATS2 inhibited the interaction between BCL9 and β-catenin and subsequent recruitment of BCL9, independent of LATS2 kinase activity. LATS2 was down-regulated and inversely correlated with the levels of Wnt target genes in human colorectal cancers. Moreover, nocodazole, an anti-microtubule drug, potently induced LATS2 to suppress tumor growth in vivo by targeting β-catenin/BCL9. Our results suggest that LATS2 is not only a key tumor suppressor in human cancer, but may also be an important target for anti-cancer therapy.
PMCID: PMC3897473  PMID: 24360964
22.  Decreased expression of LATS1 is correlated with the progression and prognosis of glioma 
LATS1 is a tumor suppressor genes implicated in the pathogenesis of certain types of tumors, but its role is not known in human glioma.
Using real-time PCR and immunohistochemistry, we detected the mRNA and protein expression of LATS1 in glioma. The effect of LATS1 on cell growth and invasion were investigated.
We found that mRNA and protein of LATS1 expression is significantly downregulated in glioma compared with normal control brain tissues. Furthermore, reduced LATS1 expression was markedly negatively correlated with WHO grade and KPS (p<0.001 and p<0.001) in glioma patients. Patients with lower LATS1 expression had a significantly shorter overall survival time than did patients with higher LATS1 expression. Multivariate analysis suggested that the level of LATS1 expression was an independent prognostic indicator (p<0.001) for the survival of patients with glioma. Forced expression of LATS1 in glioma U251 cells not only significantly suppressed cell growth, migration and invasion, but retarded cell cycle progression from G2/M to G1 in vitro. Finally, we found that overexpressed LATS1 markedly inhibited the expression level of cell cycle factor CCNA1.
These results indicate that LATS1 is an important candidate tumor suppressor and its downregulated expression may contribute to glioma progression.
PMCID: PMC3561646  PMID: 22909338
LATS1; Tumor suppressor; Prognosis; CCNA1
23.  Methylation screening of the TGFBI promoter in human lung and prostate cancer by methylation-specific PCR 
BMC Cancer  2008;8:284.
Hypermethylation of the TGFBI promoter has been shown to correlate with decreased expression of this gene in human tumor cell lines. In this study, we optimized a methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction (MSP) method and investigated the methylation status of the TGFBI promoter in human lung and prostate cancer specimens.
Methylation-specific primers were designed based on the methylation profiles of the TGFBI promoter in human tumor cell lines, and MSP conditions were optimized for accurate and efficient amplification. Genomic DNA was isolated from lung tumors and prostatectomy tissues of prostate cancer patients, bisulfite-converted, and analyzed by MSP.
Among 50 lung cancer samples, 44.0% (22/50) harbored methylated CpG sites in the TGFBI promoter. An analysis correlating gene methylation status with clinicopathological cancer features revealed that dense methylation of the TGFBI promoter was associated with a metastatic phenotype, with 42.9% (6/14) of metastatic lung cancer samples demonstrating dense methylation vs. only 5.6% (2/36) of primary lung cancer samples (p < 0.05). Similar to these lung cancer results, 82.0% (41/50) of prostate cancer samples harbored methylated CpG sites in the TGFBI promoter, and dense methylation of the promoter was present in 38.9% (7/18) of prostate cancer samples with the feature of locoregional invasiveness vs. only 19.4% (6/31) of prostate cancer samples without locoregional invasiveness (p < 0.05). Furthermore, promoter hypermethylation correlated with highly reduced expression of the TGFBI gene in human lung and prostate tumor cell lines.
We successfully optimized a MSP method for the precise and efficient screening of TGFBI promoter methylation status. Dense methylation of the TGFBI promoter correlated with the extent of TGFBI gene silencing in tumor cell lines and was related to invasiveness of prostate tumors and metastatic status of lung cancer tumors. Thus, TGFBI promoter methylation can be used as a potential prognostic marker for invasiveness and metastasis in prostate and lung cancer patients, respectively.
PMCID: PMC2572632  PMID: 18834524
24.  LAT1 expression is closely associated with hypoxic markers and mTOR in resected non-small cell lung cancer 
Aim: L-type amino acid transporter 1 (LAT1) is known to be highly expressed in various human neoplasms. However, little is known about how LAT1 is associated with glucose metabolism, hypoxia and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling pathway in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The aim of this study is to evaluate the relationship between LAT1 expression, and hypoxic marker and mTOR pathway in resected NSCLC. Methods: One hundred and sixty patients were included in this study. Tumors sections were stained by immunohistochemistry for LAT1, glucose transporter 1 (Glut1), hypoxia inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α), hexokinase I, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), microvessel density (MVD) by determinate by CD34, epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), Phosphatase and tensin analog (PTEN), phosph-Akt, phosph-mTOR and phosph-S6K. Results: A positive LAT1 and CD98 expression were recognized in 36.8% (59/160) and 33.7% (54/160), respectively (p=0.640). LAT1 expression was significantly associated with CD98, hypoxic markers (Glut1, HIF-1α, hexokinase I, VEGF and CD34) and mTOR pathway (EGFR, a loss of PTEN, p-mTOR and p-S6K), especially in lung adenocarcinoma (AC). The expression profile of these biomarkers was significantly higher in non-AC than in AC, but almost these biomarkers were equally expressed between AC (n=16) and non-AC (n=43) patients with a positive LAT1 expression. Overexpression of LAT1 was closely associated with poor outcome in patient with AC. Conclusion: LAT1 expression is closely correlated with hypoxic markers and mTOR pathway in patients with resected NSCLC.
PMCID: PMC3204889  PMID: 22046488
LAT1; hypoxia; mTOR; glucose transporter; NSCLC
25.  Gene silencing of SLC5A8 identified by genome-wide methylation profiling in lung cancer 
Aberrant DNA hypermethylation has been implicated as a component of an epigenetic mechanism that silences genes in cancers.
We performed a genome-wide search to identify differentially methylated loci between 26 tumor and adjacent non-tumor paired tissues from same lung cancer patients using restriction landmark genomic scanning (RLGS) analysis. Among 229 loci which were hypermethylated in lung tumors as compared to adjacent non-tumor tissues, solute carrier family 5, member 8 (SLC5A8) was one of the hypermethylated genes, and known as a tumor suppressor gene which is silenced by epigenetic changes in various tumors. We investigated the significance of DNA methylation in SLC5A8 expression in lung cancer cell lines, and 23 paired tumor and adjacent non-tumor lung tissues by reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR), quantitative methylation specific PCR (QMSP) and bisulfite modified DNA sequencing analyses.
Reduced or lost expression of SLC5A8 was observed in 39.1% (9/23) of the tumor tissues as compared with paired adjacent non-tumor tissues. Bisulfite sequencing results of lung cancer cell lines and tissues which did not express SLC5A8 showed a densely methylated promoter region of SLC5A8. SLC5A8 was reactivated by treatment with DNA methyltransferase inhibitor, 5-Aza and/or HDAC inhibitor, trichostatin A (TSA) in lung cancer cell lines, which did not express SLC5A8. Hypermethylation was detected at the promoter region of SLC5A8 in primary lung tumor tissues as compared with adjacent non-tumor tissues (14/23, 60.9%).
These results suggest that DNA methylation in the SLC5A8 promoter region may suppress the expression of SLC5A8 in lung tumor.
PMCID: PMC3566332  PMID: 23273563
Lung cancer; Gene silencing; SLC5A8; Tumor suppressor gene; DNA methylation; Restriction landmark genomic scanning

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