Accurately measuring the volume of tissue damage in experimental lesion models is crucial to adequately control for the extent and location of the lesion, variables that can dramatically bias the outcome of preclinical studies. Many of the current commonly used techniques for this assessment, such as measuring the lesion volume with primitive software macros and plotting the lesion location manually using atlases, are time-consuming and offer limited precision. Here we present an easy to use semi-automated computational method for determining lesion volume and location, designed to increase precision and reduce the manual labor required. We compared this novel method to currently used methods and demonstrate that this tool is comparable or superior to current techniques in terms of precision and has distinct advantages with respect to user interface, labor intensiveness and quality of data presentation.
lesion volume; stroke; traumatic brain injury; cell death; lesion estimation; computational method
A subpopulation of tumor cells with distinct stem-like properties (cancer stem-like cells, CSCs) may be responsible for tumor initiation, invasive growth, and possibly dissemination to distant organ sites. CSCs exhibit a spectrum of biological, biochemical, and molecular features that are consistent with a stem-like phenotype, including growth as non-adherent spheres (clonogenic potential), ability to form a new tumor in xenograft assays, unlimited self-renewal, and the capacity for multipotency and lineage-specific differentiation. PKCδ is a novel class serine/threonine kinase of the PKC family, and functions in a number of cellular activities including cell proliferation, survival or apoptosis. PKCδ has previously been validated as a synthetic lethal target in cancer cells of multiple types with aberrant activation of Ras signaling, using both genetic (shRNA and dominant-negative PKCδ mutants) and small molecule inhibitors. In contrast, PKCδ is not required for the proliferation or survival of normal cells, suggesting the potential tumor-specificity of a PKCδ-targeted approach.
shRNA knockdown was used validate PKCδ as a target in primary cancer stem cell lines and stem-like cells derived from human tumor cell lines, including breast, pancreatic, prostate and melanoma tumor cells. Novel and potent small molecule PKCδ inhibitors were employed in assays monitoring apoptosis, proliferation and clonogenic capacity of these cancer stem-like populations. Significant differences among data sets were determined using two-tailed Student’s t tests or ANOVA.
We demonstrate that CSC-like populations derived from multiple types of human primary tumors, from human cancer cell lines, and from transformed human cells, require PKCδ activity and are susceptible to agents which deplete PKCδ protein or activity. Inhibition of PKCδ by specific genetic strategies (shRNA) or by novel small molecule inhibitors is growth inhibitory and cytotoxic to multiple types of human CSCs in culture. PKCδ inhibition efficiently prevents tumor sphere outgrowth from tumor cell cultures, with exposure times as short as six hours. Small-molecule PKCδ inhibitors also inhibit human CSC growth in vivo in a mouse xenograft model.
These findings suggest that the novel PKC isozyme PKCδ may represent a new molecular target for cancer stem cell populations.
Protein Kinase C isozymes; Synthetic lethal interaction; Cancer-initiating cell; Xenograft tumor model
Autophagy is a highly conserved mechanism for degradation and recycling of long-lived proteins and damaged organelle to maintain cell homeostasis. Deregulation of autophagy has been associated with tumorigenesis. Beclin 1 is an essential autophagy protein and its upregulation has been observed in most colorectal cancer tissues. However, there is a small population of colorectal cancers with downregulation of Beclin 1.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the role autophagy plays in colorectal cancers with downregulaion of Beclin 1.
LC3 protein, an autophagosome marker, was assessed by ICH and WB in colorectal cancers tissues. An anti-tumor effect of Beclin 1 was examined by introducing exogenous Beclin 1 in vitro. Colony formation assay, growth curves and mouse xenograft were analysed.
Our results showed that LC3 was suppressed in the colorectal cancers (9.86 %) with downregulation of Beclin 1. Moreover, overexpression of Beclin 1 inhibited colorectal cancer cell growth and enhanced the rapamycin-induced antitumor effect in vitro.
Downregulation of Beclin 1 and autophagy inhibition play an important role in a part of colorectal cancers. Activating autophagy or overexperssion of Beclin 1 may be an effective treatment for some colorectal cancers. Detection of expression profile of Beclin 1 in colorectal cancers could be a strategy for new diagnostic and therapeutic methods.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s10620-013-2732-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Colorectal cancer; Beclin 1; Autophagy; Rapamycin
The aim of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of a high-dose zinc sulfate and low-dose D-penicillamine combination in the treatment of pediatric Wilson’s disease (WD). A retropective chart review of 65 patients with WD was conducted. These patients received D-penicillamine (8–10 mg/kg/day) and zinc sulfate as the primary treatment. The pediatric dose of elemental zinc is 68–85 mg/day until 6 years of age, 85–136 mg/day until 8 years of age, 136–170 mg/day until 10 years of age and then 170 mg/day, in 3 divided doses 1 h before meals. After clinical and biochemical improvement or stabilization, zinc sulfate alone was administered as the maintenance therapy. Under treatment, the majority of patients (89.2%) had a favourable outcome and 3 patients succumbed due to poor therapy compliance. No penicillamine-induced neurological deterioration was noted and side-effects were observed in <11% of patients over the entire follow-up period. Benefical results on the liver and neurological symptoms were reported following extremely long-term treatment with a combination of low-dose D-penicillamine and high-dose zinc sulfate. Therefore, this regimen is an effective and safe treatment for children with WD.
Wilson’s disease; D-penicillamine; zinc sulfate; child
The concept of targeting cancer therapeutics towards specific mutations or abnormalities in tumor cells which are not found in normal tissues has the potential advantages of high selectivity for the tumor and correspondingly low secondary toxicities. Many human malignancies display activating mutations in the Ras family of signal-transducing genes or over-activity of p21Ras-signaling pathways. Carcinoid and other neuroendocrine tumors similarly have been demonstrated to have activation of Ras signaling directly by mutations in Ras, indirectly by loss of Ras-regulatory proteins, or via constitutive activation of upstream or downstream effector pathways of Ras, such as growth factor receptors or PI3-Kinase and Raf/MAP kinases. We previously reported that aberrant activation of Ras signaling sensitizes cells to apoptosis when the activity of the PKCδ isozyme is suppressed, and that PKCδ suppression is not toxic to cells with normal levels of p21Ras signaling. We demonstrate here that inhibition of PKCδ by a number of independent means, including genetic mechanisms (shRNA) or small molecule inhibitors, is able to efficiently and selectively repress the growth of human neuroendocrine cell lines derived from bronchopulmonary, foregut or hindgut tumors. PKCδ inhibition in these tumors also efficiently induced apoptosis. Exposure to small-molecule inhibitors of PKCδ over a period of 24 hr is sufficient to significantly suppress cell growth and clonogenic capacity of these tumor cell lines.
Neuroendocrine tumors are typically refractory to conventional therapeutic approaches. This Ras-targeted therapeutic approach, mediated through PKCδ suppression, which selectively takes advantage of the very oncogenic mutations which contribute to the malignancy of the tumor, may hold potential as a novel therapeutic modality.
carcinoid; Ras; apoptosis; cancer
Cells receive and interpret extracellular signals to regulate cellular responses such as proliferation, cell survival and differentiation. However, proper inactivation of these signals is critical for appropriate homeostasis. Cbl proteins are E3-ubiquitin ligases that restrict receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) signaling, most notably EGFR (Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor), via the endocytic pathway. Consistently, many mutant phenotypes of Drosophila cbl (D-cbl) are due to inappropriate activation of EGFR signaling. However, not all D-cbl phenotypes can be explained by increased EGFR activity. Here, we report that D-Cbl also negatively regulates Notch activity during eye and wing development. D-cbl produces two isoforms by alternative splicing. The long isoform, D-CblL, regulates the EGFR. We found that the short isoform, D-CblS, preferentially restricts Notch signaling. Specifically, our data imply that D-CblS controls the activity of the Notch ligand Delta. Taken together, these data suggest that D-Cbl controls the EGFR and Notch/Delta signaling pathways through production of two alternatively spliced isoforms during development in Drosophila.
Drosophila; cbl; D-cbl; RTK signaling; EGFR; Notch; Delta
We report here that des-methyl, des-amino pateamine A (DMDA-PatA), a structurally simplified analogue of the marine natural product pateamine A, has potent antiproliferative activity against a wide variety of human cancer cell lines while showing relatively low cytotoxicity against nonproliferating, quiescent human fibroblasts. DMDA-PatA retains almost full in vitro potency in P-glycoprotein-overexpressing MES-SA/D×5-R×1 human uterine sarcoma cells that are significantly resistant to paclitaxel, suggesting that DMDA-PatA is not a substrate for P-glycoprotein-mediated drug efflux. Treatment of proliferating cells with DMDA-PatA leads to rapid shutdown of DNA synthesis in the S phase of the cell cycle. Cell-free studies show that DMDA-PatA directly inhibits DNA polymerases α and γ in vitro albeit at concentrations considerably higher than those that inhibit cell proliferation. DMDA-PatA shows potent anticancer activity in several human cancer xenograft models in nude mice, including significant regressions observed in the LOX and MDA-MB-435 melanoma models. DMDA-PatA thus represents a promising natural product-based anticancer agent that warrants further investigation.
The mammalian p53-family consists of p53, p63 and p73. While p53 accounts for tumor suppression through cell cycle arrest and apoptosis, the functions of p63 and p73 are more diverse and also include control of cell differentiation. The Drosophila genome contains only one p53 homolog, Dp53. Previous work has established that Dp53 induces apoptosis, but not cell cycle arrest. Here, by using the developing eye as a model, we show that Dp53-induced apoptosis is primarily dependent on the pro-apoptotic gene hid, but not reaper, and occurs through the canonical apoptosis pathway. Importantly, similar to p63 and p73, expression of Dp53 also inhibits cellular differentiation of photoreceptor neurons and cone cells in the eye independently of its apoptotic function. Intriguingly, expression of the human cell cycle inhibitor p21 or its Drosophila homolog dacapo can suppress both Dp53-induced cell death and differentiation defects in Drosophila eyes. These findings provide new insights into the pathways activated by Dp53 and reveal that Dp53 incorporates functions of multiple p53-family members.
Trimethylated lysine 27 of histone H3 (H3K27me3) is an epigenetic mark for gene silencing and can be demethylated by the JmjC domain of UTX. Excessive H3K27me3 levels can cause tumorigenesis, but little is known about the mechanisms leading to those cancers. Mutants of the Drosophila H3K27me3 demethylase dUTX display some characteristics of Trithorax group mutants and have increased H3K27me3 levels in vivo. Surprisingly, dUTX mutations also affect H3K4me1 levels in a JmjC-independent manner. We show that a disruption of the JmjC domain of dUTX results in a growth advantage for mutant cells over adjacent wild-type tissue due to increased proliferation. The growth advantage of dUTX mutant tissue is caused, at least in part, by increased Notch activity, demonstrating that dUTX is a Notch antagonist. Furthermore, the inactivation of Retinoblastoma (Rbf in Drosophila) contributes to the growth advantage of dUTX mutant tissue. The excessive activation of Notch in dUTX mutant cells leads to tumor-like growth in an Rbf-dependent manner. In summary, these data suggest that dUTX is a suppressor of Notch- and Rbf-dependent tumors in Drosophila melanogaster and may provide a model for UTX-dependent tumorigenesis in humans.
Protein kinase C δ (PKC δ) modulates cell survival and apoptosis in diverse cellular systems. We recently reported that PKCδ functions as a critical anti-apoptotic signal transducer in cells containing activated p21Ras and results in the activation of AKT, thereby promoting cell survival. How PKCδ is regulated by p21Ras, however, remains incompletely understood. In this study, we show that PKCδ, as a transducer of anti-apoptotic signals, is activated by phosphotidylinositol 3′ kinase/Phosphoinositide-dependent kinase 1 (PI3K-PDK1) to deliver the survival signal to Akt in the environment of activated p21Ras. PDK1 is upregulated in cells containing an activated p21Ras. Knockdown of PDK1, PKCδ, or AKT forces cells containing activated p21Ras to undergo apoptosis. PDK1 regulates PKCδ activity, and constitutive expression of PDK1 increases PKCδ activity in different cell types. Conversely, expression of a kinase-dead (dominant-negative) PDK1 significantly suppresses PKCδ activity. p21Ras-mediated survival signaling is therefore regulated by via a PI3K-AKT pathway, which is dependent upon both PDK1 and PKCδ, and PDK1 activates and regulates PKCδ to determine the fate of cells containing a mutated, activated p21Ras.
PKCδ; PI3K; Akt; Protein kinase C; Apoptosis; Proliferation
Genetic studies in yeast have identified class E vps genes that form the ESCRT complexes required for protein sorting at the early endosome. In Drosophila, mutations of the ESCRT-II component vps25 cause endosomal defects leading to accumulation of Notch protein and increased Notch pathway activity. These endosomal and signaling defects are thought to account for several phenotypes. Depending on the developmental context, two different types of overgrowth can be detected. Tissue predominantly mutant for vps25 displays neoplastic tumor characteristics. In contrast, vps25 mutant clones in a wild-type background trigger hyperplastic overgrowth in a non-autonomous manner. In addition, vps25 mutant clones also promote apoptotic resistance in a non-autonomous manner.
Here, we genetically characterize the remaining ESCRT-II components vps22 and vps36. Like vps25, mutants of vps22 and vps36 display endosomal defects, accumulate Notch protein and – when the tissue is predominantly mutant – show neoplastic tumor characteristics. However, despite these common phenotypes, they have distinct non-autonomous phenotypes. While vps22 mutations cause strong non-autonomous overgrowth, they do not affect apoptotic resistance. In contrast, vps36 mutations increase apoptotic resistance, but have little effect on non-autonomous proliferation. Further characterization reveals that although all ESCRT-II mutants accumulate Notch protein, only vps22 and vps25 mutations trigger Notch activity.
The ESCRT-II components vps22, vps25 and vps36 display common and distinct genetic properties. Our data redefine the role of Notch for hyperplastic and neoplastic overgrowth in these mutants. While Notch is required for hyperplastic growth, it appears to be dispensable for neoplastic transformation.
Appropriate cell-cell signaling is crucial for proper tissue homeostasis. Protein sorting of cell surface receptors at the early endosome is important for both the delivery of the signal and the inactivation of the receptor, and its alteration can cause malignancies including cancer. In a genetic screen for suppressors of the pro-apoptotic gene hid in Drosophila, we identified two alleles of vps25, a component of the ESCRT machinery required for protein sorting at the early endosome. Paradoxically, although vps25 mosaics were identified as suppressors of hid-induced apoptosis, vps25 mutant cells die. However, we provide evidence that a non-autonomous increase of Diap1 protein levels, an inhibitor of apoptosis, accounts for the suppression of hid. Furthermore, before they die, vps25 mutant clones trigger non-autonomous proliferation through a failure to downregulate Notch signaling, which activates the mitogenic JAK/STAT pathway. Hid and JNK contribute to apoptosis of vps25 mutant cells. Inhibition of cell death in vps25 clones causes dramatic overgrowth phenotypes. In addition, Hippo signaling is increased in vps25 clones, and hippo mutants block apoptosis in vps25 clones. In summary, the phenotypic analysis of vps25 mutants highlights the importance of receptor downregulation by endosomal protein sorting for appropriate tissue homeostasis, and may serve as a model for human cancer.
Vps25; ESCRT; Protein sorting; MVB; Notch; Cell proliferation; Cell survival; Apoptosis
Ubiquitination is an essential process regulating turnover of proteins for basic cellular processes such as the cell cycle and cell death (apoptosis). Ubiquitination is initiated by ubiquitin-activating enzymes (E1), which activate and transfer ubiquitin to ubiquitin-conjugating enzymes (E2). Conjugation of target proteins with ubiquitin is then mediated by ubiquitin ligases (E3). Ubiquitination has been well characterized using mammalian cell lines and yeast genetics. However, the consequences of partial or complete loss of ubiquitin conjugation in a multi-cellular organism are not well understood. Here, we report the characterization of Uba1, the only E1 in Drosophila. We found that weak and strong Uba1 alleles behave genetically differently with sometimes opposing phenotypes. Whereas weak Uba1 alleles protect cells from cell death, clones of strong Uba1 alleles are highly apoptotic. Strong Uba1 alleles cause cell cycle arrest which correlates with failure to reduce cyclin levels. Surprisingly, clones of strong Uba1 mutants stimulate neighboring wild-type tissue to undergo cell division in a non-autonomous manner giving rise to overgrowth phenotypes of the mosaic fly. We demonstrate that the non-autonomous overgrowth is caused by failure to downregulate Notch signaling in Uba1 mutant clones. In summary, the phenotypic analysis of Uba1 demonstrates that impaired ubiquitin conjugation has significant consequences for the organism, and may implicate Uba1 as a tumor suppressor gene.
Uba1; E1; Ubiquitin-activating enzyme; Apoptosis; Proliferation; Drosophila; Autonomous control; Non autonomous control
Cyclin A/Cdk2 plays an important role during S and G2/M phases of the eukaryotic cell cycle, but the mechanisms by which it regulates cell cycle events are not fully understood. We have biochemically purified and identified SCAPER, a novel protein that specifically interacts with cyclin A/Cdk2 in vivo. Its expression is cell cycle independent, and it associates with cyclin A/Cdk2 at multiple phases of the cell cycle. SCAPER localizes primarily to the endoplasmic reticulum. Ectopic expression of SCAPER sequesters cyclin A from the nucleus and results specifically in an accumulation of cells in M phase of the cell cycle. RNAi-mediated depletion of SCAPER decreases the cytoplasmic pool of cyclin A and delays the G1/S phase transition upon cell cycle re-entry from quiescence. We propose that SCAPER represents a novel cyclin A/Cdk2 regulatory protein that transiently maintains this kinase in the cytoplasm. SCAPER could play a role in distinguishing S phase– from M phase–specific functions of cyclin A/Cdk2.
Activation of cell surface receptors transduces extracellular signals into cellular responses such as proliferation, differentiation and survival. However, as important as the activation of these receptors is their appropriate spatial and temporal down-regulation for normal development and tissue homeostasis. The Cbl family of E3-ubiquitin ligases plays a major role for the ligand-dependent inactivation of receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs), most notably the Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) through ubiquitin-mediated endocytosis and lysosomal degradation.
Here, we report the mutant phenotypes of Drosophila cbl (D-cbl) during eye development. D-cbl mutants display overgrowth, inhibition of apoptosis, differentiation defects and increased ommatidial spacing. Using genetic interaction and molecular markers, we show that most of these phenotypes are caused by increased activity of the Drosophila EGFR. Our genetic data also indicate a critical role of ubiquitination for D-cbl function, consistent with biochemical models.
These data may provide a mechanistic model for the understanding of the oncogenic activity of mammalian cbl genes.
The centrosome is an integral component of the eukaryotic cell cycle machinery, yet very few centrosomal proteins have been fully characterized to date. We have undertaken a series of biochemical and RNA interference (RNAi) studies to elucidate a role for CP110 in the centrosome cycle. Using a combination of yeast two-hybrid screens and biochemical analyses, we report that CP110 interacts with two different Ca2+-binding proteins, calmodulin (CaM) and centrin, in vivo. In vitro binding experiments reveal a direct, robust interaction between CP110 and CaM and the existence of multiple high-affinity CaM-binding domains in CP110. Native CP110 exists in large (∼300 kDa to 3 MDa) complexes that contain both centrin and CaM. We investigated a role for CP110 in CaM-mediated events using RNAi and show that its depletion leads to a failure at a late stage of cytokinesis and the formation of binucleate cells, mirroring the defects resulting from ablation of either CaM or centrin function. Importantly, expression of a CP110 mutant unable to bind CaM also promotes cytokinesis failure and binucleate cell formation. Taken together, our data demonstrate a functional role for CaM binding to CP110 and suggest that CP110 cooperates with CaM and centrin to regulate progression through cytokinesis.
It was believed that tumors originated from the transformation of their tissue-specific stem cells. However, bone marrow-derived cells (BMDCs), which possess an unexpected degree of plasticity and often reside in other tissues, might also represent a potential source of malignancy. To study whether BMDCs play a role in the source of other tumors, BMDCs from mice were treated with 3-methycholanthrene until malignant transformation was achieved. Here we show that transformed BMDCs could form many tumor types, including epithelial tumors, neural tumors, muscular tumors, tumors of fibroblasts, blood vessel endothelial tumors, and tumors of poor differentiation in vivo. Moreover, a single transformed BMDC has the ability to self-renew, differentiate spontaneously into various types of tumor cells in vitro, express markers associated with multipotency, and form teratoma in vivo. These data suggest that multipotent cancer stem cells seemed to originate from transformed BMDCs. Conclusively, these findings reveal that BMDCs might be a source of many tumor types, even teratoma. In addition, multipotent cancer stem cells might originate from malignant transformed BMDCs.
Bone marrow-derived cells; source of tumor; multiple tumor types; cancer stem cells; multipotency
The mannose 6-phosphate/insulin-like growth factor-II receptor (M6P/IGF2R) is a multi-functional protein that has been implicated in regulation of cell growth and apoptosis. Cardiac myocytes express relatively high levels of M6P/IGF2R, and cardiomyocyte apoptosis has been identified in a variety of cardiovascular disorders, such as myocardial infarction and heart failure. However, involvement of M6P/IGF2R in the pathogenesis of these conditions has not been determined. Thus, the objective of this study was to determine the role of M6P/IGF2R in regulation of cardiac myocyte growth and apoptosis.
We down-regulated the expression of M6P/IGF2R in neonatal rat cardiac myocytes and examined the effect on cell proliferation and apoptosis. Infection of neonatal cardiomyocytes with an adenovirus expressing a ribozyme targeted against the M6P/IGF2R significantly reduced the level of M6P/IGF2R mRNA, as determined by RT-PCR and Ribonuclease Protection Assay (RPA). M6P-containing protein binding and endocytosis as well as the M6P/IGF2R-mediated internalization of 125I-IGF-II were lower in the ribozyme-treated cells than the control myocytes, indicating that the number of functional M6P/IGF2R in the ribozyme treated cells was reduced. Accordingly, a marked increase in cell proliferation and a reduced cell susceptibility to hypoxia- and TNF-induced apoptosis were observed in the ribozyme-treated cells.
These findings suggest that M6P/IGF2R may play a role in regulation of cardiac myocyte growth and apoptosis. Down regulation of this gene in cardiac tissues might be a new approach to prevention of cell death or promotion of mitogenesis for certain heart diseases.
Loss or mutation of the mannose 6-phosphate/insulin-like growth factor-II receptor (M6P/IGF2R) has been found in breast cancer. However, whether or not decreased levels of functional M6P/IGF2R directly contribute to the process of carcinogenesis needs to be further verified by functional studies.
In this study, using viral and ribozyme strategies we reduced the expression of M6P/IGF2R in human breast cancer cells and then examined the effect on growth and apoptosis of these cells.
Our results showed that infection of MCF-7 cells with the adenovirus carrying a ribozyme targeted against the M6P/IGF2R mRNA dramatically reduced the level of transcripts and the functional activity of M6P/IGF2R in these cells. Accordingly, cells treated with the ribozyme exhibited a higher growth rate and a lower apoptotic index than control cells (infected with a control vector). Furthermore, decreased expression of M6P/IGF2R enhanced IGF-II-induced proliferation and reduced cell susceptibility to TNF-induced apoptosis.
These results suggest that M6P/IGF2R functions as a growth suppressor and its loss or mutation may contribute to development and progression of cancer. This study also demonstrates that adenoviral delivery of the ribozyme provides a useful tool for investigating the role of M6P/IGF2R in regulation of cell growth.
Various antitumor agents induce apoptotic cell death in tumor cells. Since the apoptosis program in tumor cells plays a critical role in the chemotherapy-induced tumor cell killing, it is suggested that the defect in the signaling pathway of apoptosis could cause a new form of multidrug resistance in tumor cells. This article describes the recent findings concerning the mechanisms of chemotherapy-induced apoptosis and discusses the implication of apoptosis resistance in cancer chemotherapy.
actin; apoptosis resistance; bcl-2; caspase; JNK; solid tumor