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1.  Expression of Maspin is associated with the Intestinal Type of Gastric Adenocarcinoma 
Maspin is known as a tumor suppressor gene, but its significance has been questioned in various human cancers. The aim of this study was to investigate the expression pattern of Maspin in human gastric adenocarcinomas and its possible correlation with clinicopathological findings.
Materials and Methods
The expression of Maspin mRNA was measured by nested RT-PCR using 60 frozen adenocarcinomas of the stomach and 31 noncancerous tissues from the proximal resection margin. Immunohistochemical study for Maspin protein expression was carried out using 62 paraffin-embedded tissues, composed of both cancer and noncancerous tissues.
Maspin mRNA expression was detected in 80.0% (48 of 60) of the gastric adenocarcinomas, but in only 22.6% (7 of 31) of the normal gastric mucosa (p<0.001). The positive rate of Maspin protein expression was higher in the adenocarcinomas than the normal tissues (62.9% vs. 27.4%, p<0.05). In addition, the intestinal type of tumors showed significantly higher expression levels compared to the diffuse type of tumors (81.5% vs. 48.6%, p<0.05).
Our results suggest that Maspin is frequently expressed in human gastric cancers, and its expression might be associated with tumorigenesis of the intestinal type of gastric cancer.
PMCID: PMC2785921  PMID: 19956519
Maspin; Gastric adenocarcinoma; Nested RT-PCR; Immunohistochemistry
2.  Nuclear location of tumor suppressor protein maspin inhibits proliferation of breast cancer cells without affecting proliferation of normal epithelial cells 
BMC Cancer  2014;14:142.
Maspin, which is classified as a tumor suppressor protein, is downregulated in many types of cancer. Several studies have suggested potential anti-proliferative activity of maspin as well as sensitizing activity of maspin for therapeutic cytotoxic agents in breast cancer tissue culture and animal models. All of the experimental data gathered so far have been based on studies with maspin localized cytoplasmically, while maspin in breast cancer tumor cells may be located in the cytoplasm, nucleus or both. In this study, the effect of maspin cytoplasmic and nuclear location and expression level on breast cancer proliferation and patient survival was studied.
Tissue sections from 166 patients with invasive ductal breast cancer were stained by immunohistochemistry for maspin and Ki-67 protein. The localization and expression level of maspin were correlated with estimated patient overall survival and percent of Ki-67-positive cells. In further studies, we created constructs for transient transfection of maspin into breast cancer cells with targeted cytoplasmic and nuclear location. We analyzed the effect of maspin location in normal epithelial cell line MCF10A and three breast cancer cell lines - MCF-7, MDA-MB-231 and SKBR-3 - by immunofluorescence and proliferation assay.
We observed a strong positive correlation between moderate and high nuclear maspin level and survival of patients. Moreover, a statistically significant negative relationship was observed between nuclear maspin and Ki-67 expression in patients with invasive ductal breast cancer. Spearman’s correlation analysis showed a negative correlation between level of maspin localized in nucleus and percentage of Ki-67 positive cells. No such differences were observed in cells with cytoplasmic maspin. We found a strong correlation between nuclear maspin and loss of Ki-67 protein in breast cancer cell lines, while there was no effect in normal epithelial cells from breast. The anti-proliferative effect of nuclear maspin on breast cancer cells was statistically significant in comparison to cytoplasmic maspin.
Our results suggest that nuclear maspin localization may be a prognostic factor in breast cancer and may have a strong therapeutic potential in gene therapy. Moreover, these data provide a new insight into the role of cytoplasmic and nuclear fractions of maspin in breast cancer.
PMCID: PMC3975902  PMID: 24581141
Maspin; Breast cancer; Nuclear maspin; Cell proliferation; Ki-67
3.  Maspin: The New Frontier 
Maspin (mammary serine protease inhibitor) was identified in 1994 by subtractive hybridization analysis of normal mammary tissue and breast cancer cell lines. Subsequently, emerging evidence portrays maspin as a multifaceted protein, interacting with diverse group of intercellular and extracellular proteins, regulating cell adhesion, motility, apoptosis, and angiogenesis and critically involved in mammary gland development. The tissue-specific expression of maspin is epigenetically controlled, and aberrant methylation of maspin promoter is closely associated with maspin gene silencing. Identification of new tissue sites expressing maspin and novel maspin-binding partners has expanded the horizon for maspin research and promises maspin-based therapeutic approaches for combating cancer. This perspective briefly outlines the past and present strides in deciphering this unique molecule and speculates on new frontiers in maspin research and prospects of maspin as a diagnostic/prognostic indicator in cancer.
PMCID: PMC3175762  PMID: 17189399
4.  The associated expression of Maspin and Bax proteins as a potential prognostic factor in intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma 
BMC Cancer  2006;6:255.
Maspin, a member of the serpin family, is a suppressor of tumor growth, an inhibitor of angiogenesis and an inducer of apoptosis. Maspin induces apoptosis by increasing Bax, a member of the Bcl-2 family of apoptosis-regulating proteins. In this exploratory study, we investigated the associated expression of Maspin and Bax proteins as a potential prognostic factor in intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (IHCCA).
Twenty-two paraffin-embedded samples were analyzed by immunohistochemical methods using Maspin, Bax and CD34 antibodies. Maspin was scored semiquantitatively (HSCORE). Apoptosis was assessed using an antibody against cleaved caspase-3.
The strong relationship observed between the expression of Maspin and Bax, indicates that Bax is likely to be the key effector of Maspin-mediated induction of apoptosis as indicated by the activation of cleaved caspase-3. We categorized Maspin HSCORE by calculating the optimal cutpoint. A Maspin HSCORE above the cutpoint was inversely related with tumor dimension, depth of tumor and vascular invasion. Uni/multivariate analysis suggests that a Maspin HSCORE below the cutpoint significantly worsens the patients' prognosis. Tumors with Maspin HSCORE below the cutpoint had a shorter survival (11+/-5 months) than did patients with Maspin HSCORE above the cutpoint (27+/-4 months), whereas Kaplan-Meier analysis and logrank test showed no significant difference in overall survival between the patients.
The associated expression of Maspin and Bax might delay tumor progression in IHCCA. Maspin above the cutpoint might counteract tumor development by increasing cell apoptosis, and by decreasing tumor mass and cell invasion. The combined expression of Maspin and Bax appears to influence the susceptibility of tumor cholangiocytes to apoptosis and thus may be involved in delaying IHCCA progression.
PMCID: PMC1635990  PMID: 17067385
5.  mMaspin: the mouse homolog of a human tumor suppressor gene inhibits mammary tumor invasion and motility. 
Molecular Medicine  1997;3(1):49-59.
BACKGROUND: The human maspin gene encodes a protein in the serine proteinase inhibitor (serpin) family with tumor-suppressing functions in cell culture and in nude mice. In order to examine the role of maspin in an intact mammal, we cloned and sequenced the cDNA of mouse maspin. The recombinant protein was produced and its activity in cell culture was assessed. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Mouse maspin (mMaspin) was cloned by screening a mouse mammary gland cDNA library with the human maspin cDNA probe. Northern blot analysis was used to examine the expression patterns in mouse tissues, mammary epithelial cells, and carcinomas. Recombinant mMaspin protein was produced in E. coli. Invasion and motility assays were used to assess the biological function of mMaspin. RESULTS: mMaspin is 89% homologous with human maspin at the amino acid level. Like its human homolog, mMaspin is expressed in normal mouse mammary epithelial cells and down-regulated in mouse breast tumor cell lines. The expression is altered at different developmental stages in mammary gland. Addition of the recombinant mMaspin protein to mouse tumor cells was shown to inhibit invasion in a dose-dependent manner. As with the human protein, recombinant mMaspin protein also inhibited mouse mammary tumor motility. Deletion in the putative mMaspin reactive site loop (RSL) region resulted in the loss of its inhibitory functions. CONCLUSIONS: mMaspin is the mouse homolog of a human tumor suppressor gene. The expression of mMaspin is down-regulated in tumor cells and is altered at different developmental stages of mammary gland. mMaspin has inhibitory properties similar to those of human maspin in cell culture, suggesting that the homologous proteins play similar physiological roles in vivo.
PMCID: PMC2230109  PMID: 9132279
6.  Angiopoietin-1 is expressed in the synovium of patients with rheumatoid arthritis and is induced by tumour necrosis factor α 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2003;62(2):100-107.
Objectives: To examine the potential role of the angiogenic growth factor angiopoietin-1 (Ang-1) in inflammatory arthritis.
Methods: Eighteen synovial tissue samples were obtained from 17 patients with a clinical diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and compared with six synovial tissue samples from six patients with osteoarthritis (OA). Ang-1 expression in synovial tissues was determined by immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridisation. Ang-1 mRNA and protein expression were also examined by northern blot analysis and enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) in cultured synovial fibroblasts and human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) before and after treatment with tumour necrosis factor (TNF)α.
Results: Ang-1 protein expression was detected by immunohistochemistry in 16/18 RA synovial tissue samples. Ang-1 protein was frequently observed in the synovial lining layer and in cells within the sublining synovial tissue, in both perivascular areas and in areas remote from vessels. In contrast, Ang-1 was only weakly detected in these sites in OA samples. Ang-1 mRNA and protein were also expressed in cultured synovial fibroblasts derived from patients with RA. In addition, induction of Ang-1 mRNA and protein was observed by northern blot analysis and ELISA after stimulation of RA synovial fibroblasts, but not HUVECs, with the proinflammatory cytokine TNFα.
Conclusions: Ang-1 mRNA and protein are expressed in the synovium of patients with RA, and are up regulated in synovial fibroblasts by TNFα. Ang-1 may therefore be an important regulator of angiogenesis in inflammatory arthritis.
PMCID: PMC1754433  PMID: 12525377
7.  Maspin expression is frequent and correlates with basal markers in triple-negative breast cancer 
Diagnostic Pathology  2011;6:36.
Maspin is a unique member of the serine protease inhibitor superfamily and its expression is found in myoepithelial cells of normal mammary glands; therefore, it has been considered to be a myoepithelial marker. We previously reported that maspin was frequently expressed in biologically aggressive breast cancers. In turn, triple-negative (TN) breast cancer is a subtype of tumor with aggressive clinical behavior and shows frequent expression of basal markers. We hypothesized that maspin expression may be frequent and correlate with basal rather than myoepithelial markers in TN breast cancer.
Paraffin-embedded 135 TN invasive ductal carcinoma tissue samples were immunohistochemically investigated using the Dako Envision+ kit and primary antibodies for maspin, basal (CK5/6, EGFR, CK14) and myoepithelial markers (p63, CD10). The correlation between maspin expression and relapse-free survival (RFS) was investigated by the log-rank test.
The positive rate for maspin was 85.9% and significantly correlated with younger age (P = 0.0015), higher histological grade (P = 0.0013), CK5/6 positivity (P < 0.0001), CK14 positivity (P = 0.0034) and the basal-like subtype defined by CK5/6, EGFR and CK14 positivity (P = 0.013). The positive rates for CK5/6, EGFR, CK14, CD10 and p63 were 59.2%, 48.9%, 34.1%, 17.8% and 12.6%, respectively. There was no significant correlation between maspin expression and RFS.
The positive rate for maspin is the highest among known basal and myoepithelial markers, and strongly correlates with basal markers in TN breast cancer. These results suggested that maspin could be a candidate for a therapeutic target for TN breast cancer.
PMCID: PMC3094259  PMID: 21496280
8.  Maspin Suppresses Survival of Lung Cancer Cells through Modulation of Akt Pathway 
Maspin is a tumor suppressor protein that has been reported to stimulate the cell death of cancer and inhibit the metastasis of cancer. The present study aimed to explore the survival pathway by which maspin modulates the resistance of human lung cancer cells to chemotherapeutic drugs, and the consequences of maspin gene therapy in an animal model.
Materials and Methods
NCI-H157 and A549 cells were transfected with either a mock vector (pCMVTaq4C), maspin (pCMV-maspin), siControl or siMaspin. RT-PCR and Western blot analysis were performed to study the expressions of survival proteins in lung cancer. cDNA microarray analysis was carried out to compare the maspin-modulated gene expression between the xenograft tumors derived from the lung cancer cells that were stably transfected with pCMVTaq4C or pCMV-maspin. Maspin gene therapy was performed by intra-tumoral injections of pCMVTaq4C or pCMV-maspin into the pre-established subcutaneous tumors in nude mice.
Maspin significantly decreased the survival to doxorubicin and etoposide, whereas did not affect the survival to cisplatin in the NCI-H157 cells. Interestingly, transfection with a maspin plasmid resulted in a significant reduction of the phosphorylation of Akt in the NCI-H157 cells, whereas knockdown of maspin increased the phosphorylation of Akt in the A549 cells. Microarray analysis of the xenograft tumors revealed a specific gene expression profile, demonstrating that maspin is associated with the differential expressions of PTEN and IGF2R. Direct transfer of pCMV-maspin into the tumor significantly retarded the tumor growth in the animal experiments (p=0.0048).
Lung cancer cells lacking maspin could be resistant to chemotherapeutic drugs such as doxorubicin or etoposide, at least in part by maintaining Akt phosphorylation.
PMCID: PMC2848751  PMID: 20369051
SERPIN-B5; Akt; Survival; Microarray analysis
9.  Aberrant Methylation of the Maspin Promoter Is an Early Event in Human Breast Cancer1 
Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.)  2004;6(4):380-389.
The maspin gene functions as a tumor suppressor in human breasts, and its expression is frequently lost during breast cancer progression. In vitro models of human breast cancer indicate that the loss of maspin expression is closely linked to aberrant methylation of the maspin promoter. We conducted a study on 30 archival ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) specimens to determine if aberrant methylation of the maspin promoter occurred in vivo, and whether it occurred early in breast cancer evolution. Healthy tissue obtained from reduction mammoplasty was used as normal control. Results from immunohistochemical analysis indicate that maspin expression is lost in a substantial fraction of DCIS specimens (57%). Bisulfite sequencing of DNA isolated from laser capture-microdissected normal and neoplastic ducts showed that loss of maspin expression was often, but not always, linked to aberrant methylation of the maspin promoter, suggesting that other mechanisms, in addition to aberrant methylation, participate and/or cooperate to silence maspin gene expression. Taken together, these results indicate that aberrant methylation of the maspin promoter is an early event in human breast cancer.
PMCID: PMC1502109  PMID: 15256060
Methylation; breast cancer; tumor suppressor; maspin; laser capture; microdissection
10.  Expression of Snail transcription factor in prostatic adenocarcinoma in Egypt: correlation with Maspin protein expression and clinicopathologic variables 
Background: Snail transcription factor and Maspin tumor suppressor serpin are involved in the regulation of progression, invasion and metastasis of many human malignancies. However, there is very limited data in the literature about their role in prostatic adenocarcinoma. The present study was designed to investigate Snail and Maspin expression, their interrelationship and their relationship to different clinicopathologic variables in clinically detectable prostatic adenocarcinoma. Material and methods: Tissue sections from 110 resected prostatic lesions distributed as 80 cases of prostatic adenocarcinoma and 30 cases of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) were evaluated for Snail and Maspin proteins expression by immunohistochemistry. Results: Snail protein expression was detected in 53.8% of prostatic adenocarcinomas versus none of BPH cases (p = < 0.001). A significant positive correlation of Snail expression to cancer grade (p = 0.015), lymph node metastasis (p = 0.026) and pTNM stage (p = 0.036). Maspin expression was detected in 36.6% of prostatic adenocarcinomas versus 93.3% of BPH cases (p = < 0.001). A significant negative correlation of Maspin expression to cancer grade (p = 0.007) and lymphovascular invasion (p = 0.017). Also detected was a significant negative relationship between Snail and Maspin expression in cancer cases under investigation (p = 0.002). Conclusion: Snail immunohistochemical expression can be promising as a potential prognostic biomarker in prostatic adenocarcinoma since it was significantly associated with clinicopathologic variables of progressive disease. A potential role for Snail in regulating Maspin expression is suggested based on the finding of negative association between Snail and Maspin expression in prostatic adenocarcinoma.
PMCID: PMC3726971  PMID: 23923074
Benign prostatic hyperplasia; immunohistochemistry; Maspin; prostatic adenocarcinoma; Snail; clinicopathologic variables
11.  Nuclear and cytoplasmic Maspin expression in primary non‐small cell lung cancer 
Journal of Clinical Pathology  2006;60(5):483-486.
To investigate whether nuclear and cytoplasmic Maspin expression is associated with distinct clinicopathological parameters and TP53 expression in a representative series of primary non‐small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
Tissue microarrays (n = 487) were used to immunohistochemically analyse expression of Maspin and TP53. Cytoplasmic and nuclear expression of Maspin was scored on the basis of the percentage of positive tumour cells. Univariate analysis of clinicopathological variables potentially affecting tumour‐specific survival was performed.
Immunohistochemical Maspin expression (nuclear and cytoplasmic) was informative in 72.3% (352/487) of cases. Cytoplasmic and nuclear Maspin immunoreactivity in ⩾10% of tumour cells was detected in 37.8% (133/352) and 65.3% (230/352) of informative cases, respectively. Nuclear and cytoplasmic Maspin staining was observed more frequently in primary squamous cell carcinomas than in other lung cancer types. Only nuclear Maspin immunoreactivity was significantly associated with positive TP53 staining. Cytoplasmic or nuclear Maspin expression was not associated with tumour‐specific survival.
Maspin expression was found both in the nucleus and the cytoplasm of NSCLC, more frequently in squamous cell carcinomas. However, no association with tumour‐specific survival could be demonstrated.
PMCID: PMC1994526  PMID: 16698957
12.  Decrease in expression of bone morphogenetic proteins 4 and 5 in synovial tissue of patients with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis 
Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) have been identified as important morphogens with pleiotropic functions in regulating the development, homeostasis and repair of various tissues. The aim of this study was to characterize the expression of BMPs in synovial tissues under normal and arthritic conditions. Synovial tissue from normal donors (ND) and from patients with osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) were analyzed for BMP expression by using microarray hybridization. Differential expression of BMP-4 and BMP-5 was validated by semiquantitative RT-PCR, in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry. Activity of arthritis was determined by routine parameters for systemic inflammation, by histological scoring of synovitis and by semiquantitative RT-PCR of IL-1β, TNF-α, stromelysin and collagenase I in synovial tissue. Expression of BMP-4 and BMP-5 mRNA was found to be significantly decreased in synovial tissue of patients with RA in comparison with ND by microarray analysis (p < 0.0083 and p < 0.0091). Validation by PCR confirmed these data in RA (p < 0.002) and also revealed a significant decrease in BMP-4 and BMP-5 expression in OA compared with ND (p < 0.015). Furthermore, histomorphological distribution of both morphogens as determined by in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry showed a dominance in the lining layer of normal tissues, whereas chronically inflamed tissue from patients with RA revealed BMP expression mainly scattered across deeper layers. In OA, these changes were less pronounced with variable distribution of BMPs in the lining and sublining layer. BMP-4 and BMP-5 are expressed in normal synovial tissue and were found decreased in OA and RA. This may suggest a role of distinct BMPs in joint homeostasis that is disturbed in inflammatory and degenerative joint diseases. In comparison with previous reports, these data underline the complex impact of these factors on homeostasis and remodeling in joint physiology and pathology.
PMCID: PMC1526630  PMID: 16542506
13.  Expression of MicroRNA-146 in Rheumatoid Arthritis Synovial Tissue 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2008;58(5):1284-1292.
Several microRNA, which are ~22-nucleotide noncoding RNAs, exhibit tissue-specific or developmental stage–specific expression patterns and are associated with human diseases. The objective of this study was to identify the expression pattern of microRNA-146 (miR-146) in synovial tissue from patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
The expression of miR-146 in synovial tissue from 5 patients with RA, 5 patients with osteoarthritis (OA), and 1 normal subject was analyzed by quantitative reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and by in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry of tissue sections. Induction of miR-146 following stimulation with tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα) and interleukin-1β (IL-1β) of cultures of human rheumatoid arthritis synovial fibroblasts (RASFs) was examined by quantitative PCR and RT-PCR.
Mature miR-146a and primary miR-146a/b were highly expressed in RA synovial tissue, which also expressed TNFα, but the 2 microRNA were less highly expressed in OA and normal synovial tissue. In situ hybridization showed primary miR-146a expression in cells of the superficial and sublining layers in synovial tissue from RA patients. Cells positive for miR-146a were primarily CD68+ macrophages, but included several CD3+ T cell subsets and CD79a+ B cells. Expression of miR-146a/b was markedly up-regulated in RASFs after stimulation with TNFα and IL-1β.
This study shows that miR-146 is expressed in RA synovial tissue and that its expression is induced by stimulation with TNFα and IL-1β. Further studies are required to elucidate the function of miR-146 in these tissues.
PMCID: PMC2749927  PMID: 18438844
14.  Maspin is a deoxycholate-inducible, anti-apoptotic stress-response protein differentially expressed during colon carcinogenesis 
Increased maspin expression in the colon is related to colon cancer risk and patient survival. Maspin is induced by the hydrophobic bile acid, deoxycholate (DOC), which is an endogenous carcinogen and inducer of oxidative stress and DNA damage in the colon. Persistent exposure of colon epithelial cells, in vitro, to high physiologic levels of DOC results in increased constitutive levels of maspin protein expression associated with the development of apoptosis resistance. When an apoptosis-resistant colon epithelial cell line (HCT-116RC) developed in the authors’ laboratory was treated with a maspin-specific siRNA probe, there was a statistically significant increase in apoptosis compared to treatment with an siRNA control probe. These results indicate, for the first time, that maspin is an anti-apoptotic protein in the colon. Immunohistochemical evaluation of maspin expression in human colonic epithelial cells during sporadic colon carcinogenesis (131 human tissues evaluated) indicated a statistically significant increase in maspin protein expression beginning at the polyp stage of carcinogenesis. There was no statistically significant difference in maspin expression between hyperplastic/adenomatous polyps and colonic adenocarcinomas. The absence of “field defects” in the non-neoplastic colonic mucosa of patients with colonic neoplasia indicates that maspin may drive the growth of tumors, in part, through its anti-apoptotic function.
PMCID: PMC3234125  PMID: 22162927
maspin; anti-apoptotic; bile acid-inducible; immunohistochemistry; colon cancer
15.  Tumor Suppressor Maspin as a Rheostat in HDAC Regulation to Achieve the Fine-Tuning of Epithelial Homeostasis 
Maspin, a class II tumor suppressor, is often downregulated during tumor progression and its depletion from the nucleus is associated with poor prognosis. Recently, we reported that reintroduction of maspin is sufficient for redifferentiation of prostate cancer cells to epithelial phenotype, a reversal of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition. We have linked this effect of maspin with its ability to directly inhibit HDAC1, thereby influencing the acetylation state of transcription factors and other proteins. Maspin overexpression leads to changes in the expression level of a large number of proteins and these changes are often microenvironment specific. In this review, we summarize the epigenetic effects of maspin and provide comprehensive bioinformatic analysis of microarray-derived gene expression changes caused by maspin in different microenvironments. The analysis was performed on multiple levels, including identification of statistically enriched gene ontology groups, detection of overreprepresented transcription factors binding sites in promoters of differentially expressed genes, followed by searching for key nodes of regulatory networks controlling these transcription factors. The results are consistent with our hypothesis that maspin serves as an endogenous regulator of HDAC activity and suggest that the effect of maspin is primarily mediated by TGFβ, β-catenin/E-cadherin pathways, and network key nodes such as Abl kinase, p62, IL1, and caspases 6 and 8.
PMCID: PMC3612174  PMID: 23140166
maspin; HDAC; tumor suppressor; re-differentiation; epigenetic regulation; E-cadherin; MEF2; Nanog; TGFβ; Abl
16.  Interferon-Inducible Protein IFIXα Inhibits Cell Invasion by Upregulating the Metastasis Suppressor Maspin 
Molecular carcinogenesis  2008;47(10):739-743.
IFIXα, a member of the interferon-inducible HIN-200 family, has been identified as a putative tumor suppressor. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying IFIXα-mediated tumor suppression are poorly understood. In the present study, we demonstrated that the metastasis suppressor maspin acts as the downstream target of IFIXα. IFIXα suppressed the invasion activity of MDA-MB-468 breast cancer cells, and its inhibitory effect was reversed by the knockdown of maspin. Both Maspin mRNA and protein were upregulated by IFIXα. Histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors, but not DNA methyltransferase inhibitor upregulated maspin, and HDAC1 inhibited the transactivation of maspin promoter. Although the HDAC1 protein was downregulated in IFIXα-expressing cells, IFIXα did not affect HDAC1 mRNA levels. Conversely, a proteasome inhibitor restored the level of HDAC1 protein in IFIXα-expressing cells, and the polyubiqutination of HDAC1 was promoted by IFIXα, suggesting that HDAC1 is regulated by IFIXα through a ubiquitin-proteasome pathway. Together, these data provide novel insights into the tumor-suppressive function of IFIXα.
PMCID: PMC2596649  PMID: 18247378
IFIXα; maspin; HDAC1; breast cancer
17.  Elevated Maspin Expression Is Associated with Better Overall Survival in Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma (ESCC) 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e63581.
Tumor suppressor maspin is a differentially regulated gene in the progression of many types of cancer. While the biological function of maspin in blocking tumor invasion and metastasis is consistent with the loss of maspin expression at the late stage of tumor progression, the differential expression and the biological significance of maspin in early stage of tumor progression appear to be complex and remain to be elucidated. In the current study, we examined the expression of maspin in 84 esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) cases (stages I–III) and 55 non-tumor adjacent esophageal tissue specimens by immunohistochemical (IHC) staining. The correlation of maspin with clinicopathological parameters was analyzed. Compared to normal esophageal squamous tissue where 80% (47/55) of the cases expressed maspin at a low to moderate level, all ESCC specimens (100% (84/84)) were positive for maspin expression at a moderate to high level. ESCC with low or moderate maspin expression had significantly shorter postoperative survival rates compared to those that had high maspin expression (p<0.001). Since the correlation of maspin with ESCC histology and the correlation of maspin with ESCC prognosis seem to be at odds, we further investigated the biological function of maspin in ESCC using the established ESCC cell lines. The expression of maspin in five human esophageal squamous cancer cell lines (T12, E450, KYSE150, EC109, and KYSE510) was examined by the Western blot. ESCC cell line KYSE510 that did not express maspin and was stably transfected by maspin cDNA or an empty vector. The resulting transfected cells were characterized in vitro. Maspin expression significantly inhibited cell proliferation, motility and matrigel invasion. Taken together, our data suggest that the transient up-regulation of maspin in the early development of ESCC may be a defense mechanism against further transition towards more malignant phenotypes, ultimately slowing down ESCC tumor progression.
PMCID: PMC3661574  PMID: 23717449
18.  HDAC1 Inhibition by Maspin Abrogates Epigenetic Silencing of Glutathione S-Transferase Pi (GSTp) in Prostate Carcinoma Cells 
Molecular cancer research : MCR  2011;9(6):733-745.
Both maspin and glutathione s-transferase pi (GSTp) are implicated as tumor suppressors and down regulated in human prostate cancer. It is well established that GSTp down-regulation is through DNA methylation-based silencing. We report here that maspin expression in prostate cancer cell line DU145 reversed GSTp DNA methylation, as measured by methylation-specific PCR, MethyLight assay and bisulfite sequencing. The effect of maspin on GSTp expression was similar to that of the combination of a synthetic histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor and DNA methylation inhibitor 5-aza-2’-deoxycytidine. Maspin expression also led to an increased level of acetylated histone 3, decreased level of methyl transferase and methyl-CpG-binding domain proteins at the site of demethylated GSTp promoter DNA. Earlier, we have shown that maspin inhibits HDAC1. In PC3 cells where both maspin and GSTp are expressed at a reduced level, maspin knockdown led to a significant reduction in GSTp expression whereas dual knockdown of maspin and HDAC1 barely increased the level of GSTp expression. Thus, HDAC1 may play an essential role in cellular response to maspin-mediated GSTp de-silencing. Maspin has been shown to increase tumor cell sensitivity to drug induced apoptosis. Interestingly, GSTp re-expression in the absence of maspin expression perturbation blocked the phosphorylation of histone 2A.X, the induction of hypoxia-induced factor 1α (HIF-1α), and cell death of LNCaP cells under oxidative stress. Since DNA hypermethylation-based silencing may couple with and depend on histone deacetylation, our study suggests that endogenous HDAC inhibition by maspin may prevent pathological gene silencing in prostate tumor progression.
PMCID: PMC3612175  PMID: 21622623
histone acetylation; DNA methylation; oxidative stress response; apoptosis; cellular detoxification; DNA damage repair; epithelial epigenetic homeostasis; prostate tumor progression
19.  Snail transcription factor negatively regulates maspin tumor suppressor in human prostate cancer cells 
BMC Cancer  2012;12:336.
Maspin, a putative tumor suppressor that is down-regulated in breast and prostate cancer, has been associated with decreased cell motility. Snail transcription factor is a zinc finger protein that is increased in breast cancer and is associated with increased tumor motility and invasion by induction of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). We investigated the molecular mechanisms by which Snail increases tumor motility and invasion utilizing prostate cancer cells.
Expression levels were analyzed by RT-PCR and western blot analyses. Cell motility and invasion assays were performed, while Snail regulation and binding to maspin promoter was analyzed by luciferase reporter and chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assays.
Snail protein expression was higher in different prostate cancer cells lines as compared to normal prostate epithelial cells, which correlated inversely with maspin expression. Snail overexpression in 22Rv1 prostate cancer cells inhibited maspin expression and led to increased migration and invasion. Knockdown of Snail in DU145 and C4-2 cancer cells resulted in up-regulation of maspin expression, concomitant with decreased migration. Transfection of Snail into 22Rv1 or LNCaP cells inhibited maspin promoter activity, while stable knockdown of Snail in C4-2 cells increased promoter activity. ChIP analysis showed that Snail is recruited to the maspin promoter in 22Rv1 cells.
Overall, this is the first report showing that Snail can negatively regulate maspin expression by directly repressing maspin promoter activity, leading to increased cell migration and invasion. Therefore, therapeutic targeting of Snail may be useful to re-induce expression of maspin tumor suppressor and prevent prostate cancer tumor progression.
PMCID: PMC3437215  PMID: 22857708
Snail; Maspin; Prostate cancer
20.  Aberrant maspin expression in gallbladder epithelium is associated with intestinal metaplasia in patients with cholelithiasis 
Journal of Clinical Pathology  2006;59(3):328-330.
Aberrant expression of maspin protein related to DNA hypomethylation in the promoter region is frequently observed in gallbladder carcinomas, whereas the non‐tumorous gallbladder epithelium is maspin negative. We investigated maspin expression in non‐tumorous gallbladder epithelium in patients with cholelithiasis.
An immunohistochemical study of maspin expression was performed in 69 patients with cholelithiasis and 30 patients with gastric cancer without cholelithiasis.
Immunoreactivity for maspin was observed in focal and patchy regions of the gallbladder epithelium. Positive immunoreactivity for maspin was significantly associated with the presence of intestinal metaplasia in patients with cholelithiasis (p<0.05).
The high incidence of aberrant maspin expression in both intestinal metaplasia and carcinoma of the gallbladder supports the assumption that intestinal metaplasia of the gallbladder may predispose to gallbladder carcinoma.
PMCID: PMC1860347  PMID: 16505288
gallbladder carcinoma; intestinal metaplasia; cholelithiasis; maspin; epigenetics
21.  Maspin Reprograms the Gene Expression Profile of Prostate Carcinoma Cells for Differentiation 
Genes & Cancer  2011;2(11):1009-1022.
Maspin is an epithelial-specific tumor suppressor gene. Previous data suggest that maspin expression may redirect poorly differentiated tumor cells to better differentiated phenotypes. Further, maspin is the first and only endogenous polypeptide inhibitor of histone deacetylase 1 (HDAC1) identified thus far. In the current study, to address what central program of tumor cell redifferentiation is regulated by maspin and how tumor microenvironments further define the effects of maspin, we conducted a systematic and extensive comparison of prostate tumor cells grown in 2-dimensional culture, in 3-dimensional collagen I culture, and as in vivo bone tumors. We showed that maspin was sufficient to drive prostate tumor cells through a spectrum of temporally and spatially polarized cellular processes of redifferentiation, a reversal of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Genes commonly regulated by maspin were a small subset of HDAC target genes that are closely associated with epithelial differentiation and TGFβ signaling. These results suggest that a specific endogenous HDAC inhibitor may regulate one functionally related subset of HDAC target genes, although additional maspin-induced changes of gene expression may result from tumor interaction with its specific microenvironments. Currently, EMT is recognized as a critical step in tumor progression. To this end, our current study uncovered a link between maspin and a specific mechanism of prostate epithelial differentiation that can reverse EMT.
PMCID: PMC3379563  PMID: 22737267
cell differentiation; organotypic model; microarray analysis
22.  Mammary Serine Protease Inhibitor (Maspin) Binds Directly to Interferon Regulatory Factor 6 
The Journal of biological chemistry  2005;280(40):34210-34217.
Since its reported discovery in 1994, maspin (mammary serine protease inhibitor) has been characterized as a class II tumor suppressor by its ability to promote apoptosis and inhibit cell invasion. Maspin is highly expressed in normal mammary epithelial cells but reduced or absent in aggressive breast carcinomas. However, despite efforts to characterize the mechanism(s) by which maspin functions as a tumor suppressor, its molecular characterization has remained somewhat elusive. Therefore, in an attempt to identify maspin-interacting proteins and thereby gain insight into the functional pathways of maspin, we employed a maspin-baited yeast two-hybrid system and subsequently identified Interferon Regulatory Factor 6 (IRF6) as a maspin-binding protein. IRF6 belongs to the IRF family of transcription factors, which is best known for its regulation of interferon and interferon-inducible genes following a pathogenic stimulus. Although many of the IRF family members have been well characterized, IRF6 remains poorly understood. We report that IRF6 is expressed in normal mammary epithelial cells and that it directly associates with maspin in a yeast two-hybrid system and in vitro. The interaction occurs via the conserved IRF protein association domain and is regulated by phosphorylation of IRF6. We have shown that, similar to maspin, IRF6 expression is inversely correlated with breast cancer invasiveness. We further demonstrated that the transient re-expression of IRF6 in breast cancer cells results in an increase of N-cadherin and a redistribution of vimentin commensurate with changes in cell morphology, suggestive of an epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition event. Concomitantly, we showed that maspin acts as a negative regulator of this process. These findings help to elucidate the molecular mechanisms of maspin and suggest an interactive role between maspin and IRF6 in regulating cellular phenotype, the loss of which can lead to neoplastic transformation.
PMCID: PMC3175759  PMID: 16049006
23.  Increased activity and expression of histone deacetylase 1 in relation to tumor necrosis factor-alpha in synovial tissue of rheumatoid arthritis 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2010;12(4):R133.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the profile of histone deacetylase (HDAC) expression in the synovial tissue of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) compared with that of normal control and osteoarthritis (OA), and to examine whether there is a link between HDAC activity and synovial inflammation.
HDAC activity and histone acetyltransferase (HAT) activity were determined in nuclear extracts of total synovial tissue surgically obtained from normal, OA and RA joints. The level of cytoplasmic tumor necrosis factor a (TNFα) fraction was measured by ELISA. Total RNA of synovial tissue was used for RT-PCR of HDAC1-8. In synovial fibroblasts from RA (RASFs), the effects of TNFα on nuclear HDAC activity and class I HDACs (1, 2, 3, 8) mRNA expressions were examined by quantitative real-time PCR. The protein expression and distribution of class I HDACs were examined by Western blotting.
Nuclear HDAC activity was significantly higher in RA than in OA and normal controls and correlated with the amount of cytoplasmic TNFα. The mRNA expression of HDAC1 in RA synovial tissue was higher than in OA and normal controls, and showed positive correlation with TNFα mRNA expression. The protein level of nuclear HDAC1 was higher in RA synovial tissue compared with OA synovial tissue. Stimulation with TNFα significantly increased the nuclear HDAC activity and HDAC1 mRNA expression at 24 hours and HDAC1 protein expression at 48 hours in RASFs.
Our results showed nuclear HDAC activity and expression of HDAC1 were significantly higher in RA than in OA synovial tissues, and they were upregulated by TNFα stimulation in RASFs. These data might provide important clues for the development of specific small molecule HDAC inhibitors.
PMCID: PMC2945023  PMID: 20609223
24.  S100A4 is expressed at site of invasion in rheumatoid arthritis synovium and modulates production of matrix metalloproteinases 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2006;65(12):1645-1648.
The metastasis‐associated protein S100A4 promotes the progression of cancer by regulating the remodelling of the extracellular matrix. The expression of S100A4 in vivo is shown and the functional role of S100A4 in the pathogenesis of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritisis is explored. The expression of S100A4 in rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and normal synovial tissues was determined by immunohistochemistry. The expression of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) mRNA was measured in rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis synovial fibroblasts treated and untreated with S100A4 oligomer by real‐time polymerase chain reaction. Levels of released MMPs were confirmed by ELISA in cell culture supernatants. S100A4 protein was expressed in rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis synovial tissues, in contrast with normal synovium. S100A4 up regulated MMP‐3 mRNA in rheumatoid arthritis synovial fluid, with a peak after 6 h. This resulted in release of MMP‐3 protein. MMP‐1, MMP‐9 and MMP‐13 mRNA were also up regulated in synovial fluid, but with different kinetics. MMP‐14 mRNA showed no change. Thus, S100A4 protein is expressed in synovial tissues of patients with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis in contrast with healthy people. It induces the expression and release of MMP‐3 and other MMPs from synovial fluid. The data suggest that S100A4‐producing cells could be involved in the pathogenesis of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, including pannus formation and joint destruction.
PMCID: PMC1798462  PMID: 17105852
25.  Maspin protein expression correlates with tumor progression in non-muscle invasive bladder cancer 
Oncology Letters  2010;1(4):621-626.
Maspin is a 42-kDa protein that belongs to the family of serine protease inhibitors. It is involved in various physiological processes. In cancer tissue, Maspin was found to influence angiogenesis, tumor growth, metastasis and the prognosis of tumor patients. This study was performed to analyze the involvement of Maspin in transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder as well as its prognostic impact in a large patient cohort. Specimens from 162 non-muscle invasive bladder cancer patients (pTa, 91; pT1, 71) treated by transurethral resection with a minimum 3-year follow-up (median 58.5 months) were included in the present investigation. Tissue microarrays were constructed, and the specimens were immunohistochemically stained for Maspin protein expression. Each tissue specimen was assessed on a staining scale ranging from 0 (no staining) to 300 (strong staining) and correlated with various clinicopathological parameters. Maspin protein expression predicted progression with a sensitivity of 95% and a specificity of 70% (p<0.001). In predicting recurrence, Maspin staining showed 52% sensitivity and 67% specificity (p<0.05). Kaplan-Meier analyses were performed, and a low Maspin protein expression was correlated with a higher incidence of tumor progression (p<0.0001). However, expression levels of Maspin protein did not distinguish between pTa and pT1 specimens. Multivariate analyses indicated Maspin expression as an independent factor for predicting progression (p<0.0001) and recurrence (p<0.05). The present results suggest that the Maspin protein expression is an independent prognostic indicator for predicting recurrence and progression to muscle invasive disease. This study further emphasizes a possible clinical role of this novel tumor suppressor gene in transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder.
PMCID: PMC3436411  PMID: 22966354
biomarker; maspin; recurrence; prognosis; progression; transitional cell carcinoma; transitional bladder cancer

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