Although Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC) is recognized as the most metastatic variant of locally advanced breast cancer, the molecular basis for the distinct clinical presentation and accelerated program of metastasis of IBC is unknown. Reverse phase protein arrays revealed activation of the receptor tyrosine kinase, anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) and biochemically-linked downstream signaling molecules including JAK1/STAT3, AKT, mTor, PDK1, and AMPKβ in pre-clinical models of IBC. To evaluate the clinical relevance of ALK in IBC, analysis of 25 IBC patient tumors using the FDA approved diagnostic test for ALK genetic abnormalities was performed. These studies revealed that 20/25 (80%) had either increased ALK copy number, low level ALK gene amplification, or ALK gene expression, with a prevalence of ALK alterations in basal-like IBC. One of 25 patients was identified as having an EML4-ALK translocation. The generality of gains in ALK copy number in basal-like breast tumors with IBC characteristics was demonstrated by analysis of 479 breast tumors using the TGCA data-base and our newly developed 79 IBC-like gene signature. The small molecule dual tyrosine kinase cMET/ALK inhibitor, Crizotinib (PF-02341066/Xalkori®, Pfizer Inc), induced both cytotoxicity (IC50 = 0.89 μM) and apoptosis, with abrogation of pALK signaling in IBC tumor cells and in FC-IBC01 tumor xenograft model, a new IBC model derived from pleural effusion cells isolated from an ALK+ IBC patient. Based on these studies, IBC patients are currently being evaluated for the presence of ALK genetic abnormalities and when eligible, are being enrolled into clinical trials evaluating ALK targeted therapeutics.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/2193-1801-2-497) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Inflammatory breast cancer; Anaplastic lymphoma kinase; Reverse phase protein arrays; Crizotinib
Mucin genes encode a family of the largest expressed proteins in the human genome. The proteins are highly substituted with O-linked oligosaccharides which greatly restrict access to the peptide backbones. The genomic organization of the N-terminal, O-glycosylated, and C-terminal regions of most of the mucins has been established and is available in the sequence databases. However, much less is known about the fate of their exposed protein regions after translation and secretion, and, to date, detailed proteomic studies complementary to the genomic studies are rather limited. Using mucins isolated from cultured human airway epithelial cell secretions, trypsin digestion and mass spectrometry, we investigated the proteome coverage of the mucins responsible for the maintenance and protection of the airway epithelia. Excluding the heavily glycosylated mucin domains, up to 85% coverage of the N-terminal region of the gel forming mucins MUC5B and MUC5AC was achieved, and up to 60% of the C-terminal regions were covered, suggesting that more N- and sparsely O-glycosylated regions as well as possible other modifications are available at the C-terminus. All possible peptides from the cysteine-rich regions that interrupt the heavily glycosylated mucin domains were identified. Interestingly, 43 cleavage sites from ten different domains of MUC5B and MUC5AC were identified, which possessed a non-tryptic cleavage site on the N-terminal end of the peptide, indicating potential exposure to proteolytic and/or “spontaneous cleavages”. Some of these non-tryptic cleavages may be important for proper maturation of the molecule, before and/or after secretion. Most of the peptides identified from MUC16 were from the SEA region. Surprisingly, three peptides were clearly identified from its heavily glycosylated regions. Up to 25% coverage of MUC4 was achieved covering seven different domains of the molecule. All peptides from the MUC1 cytoplasmic domain were detected along with the three non-tryptic cleavages in the region. Only one peptide was identified from MUC20 which led us to successful antisera raised against the molecule. Taken together, this report represents our current efforts to dissect the complexities of mucin macromolecules. Identification of regions accessible to proteolysis can help in the design of effective antibodies and points to regions that might be available for mucin-protein interactions and identification of cleavage sites will enable understanding of their pre- and post-secretory processing in normal and disease environments.
Mucins; respiratory; proteomics; coverage; MUC5B; MUC5AC
Cellular senescence suppresses cancer by arresting the proliferation of cells at risk for malignant transformation. Recently, senescent cells were shown to secrete numerous cytokines, growth factors and proteases that can alter the tissue microenvironment and may promote age-related pathology. To identify small molecules that suppress the senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP), we developed a screening protocol using normal human fibroblasts and a library of compounds that are approved for human use. Among the promising library constituents was the glucocorticoid corticosterone. Both corticosterone and the related glucocorticoid cortisol decreased the production and secretion of selected SASP components, including several pro-inflammatory cytokines. Importantly, the glucocorticoids suppressed the SASP without reverting the tumor suppressive growth arrest, and were efficacious whether cells were induced to senesce by ionizing radiation or strong mitogenic signals delivered by oncogenic RAS or MAP kinase kinase 6 overexpression. Suppression of the prototypical SASP component IL-6 required the glucocorticoid receptor, which, in the presence of ligand, inhibited IL-1α signaling and NF-κB transactivation activity. Accordingly, co-treatments combining glucocorticoids with the glucocorticoid antagonist RU-486 or recombinant IL-1α efficiently reestablished NF-κB transcriptional activity and IL-6 secretion. Our findings demonstrate feasibility of screening for compounds that inhibit the effects of senescent cells. They further show that glucocorticoids inhibit selected components of the SASP, and suggest that corticosterone and cortisol, two FDA-approved drugs, might exert their effects in part by suppressing senescence-associated inflammation.
aging; cancer; inflammation; IL-6; IL-8; MMP-3
The transcription factor signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) acts downstream of many pro-oncogenic signals, including cytokines, growth factors and oncogenes, and is accordingly constitutively active in a wide variety of tumors that often become addicted to it. Moreover, STAT3 is a key player in mediating inflammation-driven tumorigenesis, where its aberrant continuous activation is typically triggered by local or systemic production of the pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-6. We recently showed that mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) derived from STAT3C k/in mice, which express physiological levels of the constitutively active mutant STAT3C, display features of transformed cells such as increased proliferation, resistance to apoptosis and senescence, and aerobic glycolysis. Here, we show that pre-existing constitutively active STAT3 is sufficient to prime primary MEFs for malignant transformation upon spontaneous immortalization. Transformation is strictly STAT3-dependent and correlates with high resistance to apoptosis and enhanced expression of anti-apoptotic/pro-survival genes. Additionally, hypoxia inducible factor (HIF)-1α level is elevated by twofold and contributes to STAT3 oncogenic activity by supporting high rates of aerobic glycolysis. Thus, constitutively active STAT3, an accepted essential factor for tumor growth/progression, can also act as a first hit in multistep carcinogenesis; this ability to predispose cells to malignant transformation may be particularly relevant in the pro-oncogenic niche represented by chronically inflamed tissues.
STAT3; HIF-1α; aerobic glycolysis; tumorigenesis; apoptosis; 3T3 MEFs
To determine whether inhibition of TGFβ signaling prior to irradiation sensitizes human and murine cancer cells in vitro and in vivo.
TGFβ-mediated growth and Smad phosphorylation of MCF7, Hs578T, MDA-MB-231, and T47D human breast cancer cell lines were examined and correlated with clonogenic survival following graded radiation doses with and without pretreatment with LY364947, a small molecule inhibitor of the TGFβ type I receptor kinase. The DNA damage response was assessed in irradiated MDA-MB-231 cells pretreated with LY364947 in vitro and LY2109761, a pharmacokinetically stable inhibitor of TGFβ signaling, in vivo. The in vitro response of a syngeneic murine tumor, 4T1, was tested using a TGFβ neutralizing antibody, 1D11, with single or fractionated radiation doses in vivo.
Human breast cancer cell lines pretreated with TGFβ small molecule inhibitor were radio-sensitized, irrespective of sensitivity to TGFβ growth inhibition. Consistent with increased clonogenic cell death, radiation-induced phosphorylation of H2AX and p53 was significantly reduced in MDA-MB-231 triple-negative breast cancer cells when pretreated in vitro or in vivo with a TGFfS type I receptor kinase inhibitor. Moreover, TGFβ neutralizing antibodies increased radiation sensitivity, blocked γH2AX foci formation, and significantly increased tumor growth delay in 4T1 murine mammary tumors in response to single and fractionated radiation exposures.
These results show that TGFβ inhibition prior to radiation attenuated DNA damage responses, increased clonogenic cell death, and promoted tumor growth delay, and thus may be an effective adjunct in cancer radiotherapy.
Previously, we reported that peripheral vaccination of mice with modified autologous tumor cells secreting granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) combined with ionizing radiation to the whole brain cured 50% of mice using a syngeneic, intracranial model of murine high-grade glioma. Here, we tested the combination of radiotherapy (4 Gy × 2) with an immunotherapeutic approach using an anti-CD137 antibody directed to the co-stimulatory molecule CD137. The CD137 antibody has shown promise in generating effective antitumor responses in several animal models and has demonstrated a favorable toxicity profile in the clinic. The combination of radiation and anti-CD137 therapy resulted in complete tumor eradication and prolonged survival in six of nine (67%) mice with established brain tumors (P = 0.0009). Five of six (83%) long-term survivors in the combination group demonstrated antitumor immunity by rejecting challenge tumors. Antitumor immunity was associated with an increased number of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) in brain tumors and increased tumor-specific production of γ IFN. In view of the finding that radiation enhanced the antitumor effect of anti-CD137 therapy, this approach should be studied further for clinical translation.
Senescence is a cellular response to damage and stress. The senescence response prevents cancer by suppressing the proliferation of cells with a compromised genome and contributes to optimal wound healing in normal tissues. Persistent senescent cells are also thought to drive aging and age-associated pathologies through their secretion of inflammatory factors that modify the tissue microenvironment and alter the function of nearby normal or transformed cells. Understanding how senescent cells alter the microenvironment would be aided by the ability to induce or eliminate senescent cells at will in vivo. Here, we combine the use of the synthetic nucleoside analog ganciclovir (GCV) with herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase (HSVtk) activity to create or eliminate senescent human cells. We show that low concentrations of GCV induce senescence through the accumulation of nuclear DNA damage while higher concentrations of GCV, similar to those used in vivo, kill non-dividing senescent cells via mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) damage and caspase-dependent apoptosis. Using this system, we effectively eliminated xenografted normal human senescent fibroblasts or induced senescence in human breast cancer cells in vivo. Thus, cellular senescence and mtDNA damage are outcomes of synthetic nucleoside analog treatment, indicating that the GCV–HSVtk combination can be used effectively to promote the targeted formation or eradication of senescent cells.
aging; ganciclovir; herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase; mitochondria; nuclear DNA damage foci; tumorigenesis
Notwithstanding the recommendations from the Canadian Pediatric Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics on the indications for neonatal circumcision, this procedure is still common in North America and throughout the world. Our purpose is not to argue whether this procedure should be done, but rather to examine who is doing it, their training, how it is performed and how can we prevent unsatisfactory results and complications. The objective is to identify what fields of knowledge require improvement and then design a teaching module to improve the outcomes of neonatal circumcision.
A 19-question cross-sectional survey, including a visual identification item, was submitted to 87 physicians who perform neonatal circumcisions in Southwestern Ontario, Canada. To improve our response rate, study subjects were contacted in a variety of ways, including mail and fax and telephone. Once the survey was completed, we produced a surgical technique training video on using the Gomco clamp and the Plastibell techiques. A knowledge dissemination workshop was held with survey participants to discuss contraindications and the use of anesthesia and management of complications of neonatal circumcision and to evaluate the surgical technique training video. A 6-month follow-up questionnaire was completed to determine the impact of the teaching course on participants’ daily practice.
In total, we received 54 responses (62% response rate). From these, 46 (85%) were family doctors and pediatricians, while the remaining 8 (15%) were pediatric general surgeons and urologists. The circumcisions were carried out with the Gomco clamp 35 (63%) and the Plastibell 21 (37%). No respondent admitted to learning the procedure through a structured training course. Of the non-surgeons, 19 (43%) learned to perform a circumcision from a non-surgeon colleague. A little over a third of the participants (17, 31%) were happy to perform a circumcision in a child born with a concealed penis, where circumcision is contraindicated. With respect to the early complications post-circumcision, 8 (100%) surgeons versus 29 (63%) non-surgeons felt comfortable dealing with bleeding (p = 0.046). In total, 7 (88%) surgeons versus 16 (35%) non-surgeons were comfortable dealing with urinary retention (p = 0.01). Also, 8 (100%) surgeons versus 24 (52%) non-surgeons were comfortable dealing with a wound dehiscence (p = 0.02). Moreover, 6 (75%) surgeons and 5 (10%) non-surgeons were comfortable managing meatal stenosis (p < 0.01). Five (63%) surgeons versus 15 (33%) non-surgeons were confident in dealing with a trapped penis post-circumcision (p = 0.24).
Our survey findings indicate that most physicians performing neonatal circumcisions in our community have received informal and unstructured training. This lack of formal instruction may explain the complications and unsatisfactory results witnessed in our pediatric urology practice. Many practitioners are not aware of the contraindications to neonatal circumcision and most non-surgeons perform the procedure without being able to handle common post-surgical complications. Based on our survey findings, we planned and carried out a formal training course to address these issues.
Novel breast cancer risk-reducing strategies for individuals with germline mutations of the BRCA1 and/or BRCA2 genes are urgently needed. Identification of antigenic targets that are expressed in early cancers, but absent in normal breast epithelium of these high-risk individuals, could provide the basis for the development of effective immunoprophylactic strategies. Cancer testis (CT) antigens are potential candidates because their expression is restricted to tumors, and accumulating data suggest that they play important roles in cellular proliferation, stem cell function, and carcinogenesis. The objective of this study was to examine the expression of CT antigens and their frequency in BRCA-associated breast cancers.
Archived breast cancer tissues (n = 26) as well as morphologically normal breast tissues (n = 7) from women carrying deleterious BRCA 1 and/or 2 mutations were obtained for antigen expression analysis by immunohistochemistry. Expression of the following CT antigens was examined: MAGE-A1, MAGE-A3, MAGE-A4, MAGE-C1. CT7, NY-ESO-1, MAGE-C2/CT10, and GAGE.
CT antigens were expressed in 16/26 (61.5%, 95% CI 43–80%) of BRCA-associated cancers, including in situ tumors. Thirteen of twenty-six (50%) breast cancers expressed two or more CT antigens; three cancers expressed all seven CT antigens. MAGE-A was expressed in 13/26 (50%) of cancers, NY-ESO-1 was expressed in 10/26 (38%) of tumors. In contrast, none of the CT antigens were expressed in adjacent or contralateral normal breast epithelium (P = 0.003).
We report a high CT antigen expression rate in BRCA-associated breast cancer as well as the lack of expression of these antigens in benign breast tissue of carriers, identifying CT antigens as potential vaccine targets for breast cancer prevention in these high-risk individuals.
Cancer testis antigen; NY-ESO-1; MAGE-A; Breast cancer; BRCA1/2; Vaccine; Prevention
Tissue fusion is an essential morphogenetic mechanism in development, playing a fundamental role in developing neural tube, palate and the optic fissure. Disruption of genes associated with the tissue fusion can lead to congenital malformations, such as spina bifida, cleft lip/palate and ocular coloboma. For instance, the Pax2 transcription factor is required for optic fissure closure, although the mechanism of Pax2 action leading to tissue fusion remains elusive. This lack of information defining how transcription factors drive tissue morphogenesis at the cellular level is hampering new treatments options. Through loss- and gain-of-function analysis, we now establish that pax2 in combination with vax2 directly regulate the fas-associated death domain (fadd) gene. In the presence of fadd, cell proliferation is restricted in the developing eye through a caspase-dependent pathway. However, the loss of fadd results in a proliferation defect and concomitant activation of the necroptosis pathway through RIP1/RIP3 activity, leading to an abnormal open fissure. Inhibition of RIP1 with the small molecule drug necrostatin-1 rescues the pax2 eye fusion defect, thereby overcoming the underlying genetic defect. Thus, fadd has an essential physiological function in protecting the developing optic fissure neuroepithelium from RIP3-dependent necroptosis. This study demonstrates the molecular hierarchies that regulate a cellular switch between proliferation and the apoptotic and necroptotic cell death pathways, which in combination drive tissue morphogenesis. Furthermore, our data suggest that future therapeutic strategies may be based on small molecule drugs that can bypass the gene defects causing common congenital tissue fusion defects.
Radiotherapy sensitizes unresponsive tumors to the antineoplastic activity of antibodies that target the inhibitory receptor CTLA-4 on T cells. One molecular mechanism accounting for this therapeutic synergy is the induction of NKG2D ligands on irradiated tumor cells. The fact that NKG2D receptors must be engaged for the elicitation of CD8+ T-cell antitumor responses has important clinical implications.
abscopal effect; CTLA-4; ipilimumab; NKG2D; RAE-1; radiotherapy; synergy; tumor rejection
Our aim was to investigate the safety and efficacy of intravenous allogeneic human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) in patients with myocardial infarction (MI).
Bone marrow-derived hMSCs may ameliorate consequences of MI, and have the advantages of preparation ease, allogeneic use due to immunoprivilege, capacity to home to injured tissue, and extensive pre-clinical support.
We performed a double-blind, placebo-controlled, dose-ranging (0.5, 1.6, and 5 million cells/kg) safety trial of intravenous allogeneic hMSCs (Prochymal, Osiris Therapeutics, Inc., Baltimore, Maryland) in reperfused MI patients (n = 53). The primary end point was incidence of treatment-emergent adverse events within 6 months. Ejection fraction and left ventricular volumes determined by echocardiography and magnetic resonance imaging were exploratory efficacy end points.
Adverse event rates were similar between the hMSC-treated (5.3 per patient) and placebo-treated (7.0 per patient) groups, and renal, hepatic, and hematologic laboratory indexes were not different. Ambulatory electrocardiogram monitoring demonstrated reduced ventricular tachycardia episodes (p = 0.025), and pulmonary function testing demonstrated improved forced expiratory volume in 1 s (p = 0.003) in the hMSC-treated patients. Global symptom score in all patients (p = 0.027) and ejection fraction in the important subset of anterior MI patients were both significantly better in hMSCs versus placebo subjects. In the cardiac magnetic resonance imaging substudy, hMSC treatment, but not placebo, increased left ventricular ejection fraction and led to reverse remodeling.
Intravenous allogeneic hMSCs are safe in patients after acute MI. This trial provides pivotal safety and provisional efficacy data for an allogeneic bone marrow-derived stem cell in post-infarction patients. (Safety Study of Adult Mesenchymal Stem Cells [MSC] to Treat Acute Myocardial Infarction; NCT00114452)
magnetic resonance imaging; echocardiography; allogeneic; mesenchymal stem cells
This study evaluated the use of an injectable hydrogel derived from ventricular extracellular matrix (ECM) for treating myocardial infarction (MI) and its ability to be delivered percutaneously.
Injectable materials offer promising alternatives to treat MI. While most of the examined materials have shown preserved or improved cardiac function in small animal models, none have been specifically designed for the heart and few have translated to catheter delivery in large animal models.
We have developed a myocardial specific hydrogel, derived from decellularized ventricular ECM, which self-assembles when injected in vivo. Female Sprague-Dawley rats underwent ischemia reperfusion followed by injection of the hydrogel or saline 2 weeks later. The implantation response was assessed via histology and immunohistochemistry, and potential for arrhythmogenesis was examined using programmed electrical stimulation 1 week post-injection. Cardiac function was analyzed with magnetic resonance imaging 1 week pre-injection and 4 weeks post-MI. In a porcine model, we delivered the hydrogel using the NOGA guided Myostar catheter, and utilized histology to assess retention of the material.
We demonstrate that injection of the material in the rat MI model increases endogenous cardiomyocytes in the infarct area and maintains cardiac function without inducing arrhythmias. Furthermore, we demonstrate feasibility of transendocardial catheter injection in a porcine model.
To our knowledge, this is the first in situ gelling material to be delivered via transendocardial injection in a large animal model, a critical step towards the translation of injectable materials for treating myocardial infarction in humans. Our results warrant further study of this material in a large animal model of myocardial infarction and suggest this may be a promising new therapy for treating myocardial infarction.
myocardial infarction; heart failure; biomaterial; scaffold; extracellular matrix
Venous thromboembolic event after traumatic brain injury represents a unique clinical challenge. Physicians must balance appropriate timing of chemoprophylaxis with risk of increased cerebral hemorrhage. Despite an increase in the literature since the 1990s, there are clear disparities in treatment strategies. This review discusses the prominent studies and subsequent findings regarding the topic with an attempt to establish recommendations using the existing evidence-based literature.
Deep venous thrombosis; prophylaxis; traumatic brain injury; venous thromboembolic events
Cross-talk between NK cells and dendritic cells (DCs) is critical for the potent therapeutic response to dsRNA, but the receptors involved remained controversial. We show in this paper that two dsRNAs, polyadenylic-polyuridylic acid and polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid [poly(I:C)], similarly engaged human TLR3, whereas only poly(I:C) triggered human RIG-I and MDA5. Both dsRNA enhanced NK cell activation within PBMCs but only poly(I:C) induced IFN-γ. Although myeloid DCs (mDCs) were required for NK cell activation, induction of cytolytic potential and IFN-γ production did not require contact with mDCs but was dependent on type I IFN and IL-12, respectively. Poly(I:C) but not polyadenylic-polyuridylic acid synergized with mDC-derived IL-12 for IFN-γ production by acting directly on NK cells. Finally, the requirement of both TLR3 and Rig-like receptor (RLR) on mDCs and RLRs but not TLR3 on NK cells for IFN-γ production was demonstrated using TLR3- and Cardif-deficient mice and human RIG-I–specific activator. Thus, we report the requirement of cotriggering TLR3 and RLR on mDCs and RLRs on NK cells for a pathogen product to induce potent innate cell activation.
Neuroglobin (Ngb) is a hypoxia-inducible protein with cytoprotective effects in animal models of stroke, Alzheimer's disease, and related disorders, but the molecular mechanisms involved in its induction are unknown. We tested the hypothesis that hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF-1) regulates Ngb levels, using shRNA-mediated knockdown and lentiviral vector-mediated overexpression of the HIF-1α subunit, in cultured neural (HN33) cells. HIF-1α knockdown decreased and HIF-1α overexpression increased Ngb levels, consistent with a connection between HIF-1 and Ngb induction. These findings may have implications for understanding the hypoxia-response repertoire of neural cells and devising therapeutic strategies for neurologic disorders.
neuroglobin; hypoxia; hypoxia-inducible factor-1; stroke
Capgras syndrome is a delusional misidentification syndrome characterized by the patient’s belief that his or her relatives have been replaced by impostors.
Here we describe the clinical picture and the therapeutic approach to an 11-year-old Caucasian girl with Capgras syndrome. A complete psychopathological assessment was conducted during the acute phase, at one month, two months and six months since diagnosis.
Subsequent follow-up evaluations in this patient allowed us to detect improvements in the psychotic symptoms following treatment with risperidone and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, suggesting that this combined therapy may significantly improve the clinical outcome in patients who have Capgras syndrome.
Capgras; Children; Risperidone; Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors
Natural killer T (NKT) cells are a small population of lymphocytes that possess characteristics of both innate and adaptive immune cells. They are uniquely poised to respond rapidly to infection and inflammation and produce cytokines that critically shape the ensuing adaptive cellular response. Therefore, they represent promising therapeutic targets. In cancer, NKT cells are attributed a role in immunosurveillance. NKT cells also act as potent activators of antitumor immunity when stimulated with a synthetic agonist in experimental models. However, in some settings, NKT cells seem to act as suppressors and regulators of antitumor immunity. Here we briefly review current data supporting these paradoxical roles of NKT cells and their regulation. Increased understanding of the signals that determine the function of NKT cells in cancer will be essential to improve current strategies for NKT-cell-based immunotherapeutic approaches.
Toll-like receptor (TLR)-dependent pathways control the activation of various immune cells and the production of cytokines and chemokines that are important in innate immune control of viruses, including mouse cytomegalovirus (MCMV). Here we report that upon MCMV infection wild-type and TLR7−/− male mice were more resistant than their female counterparts, while TLR9−/− male and female mice showed similar susceptibility. Interestingly, 36 h upon MCMV infection TLR9 mRNA expression was higher in male than in female mouse spleens. MCMV infection led to stronger reduction of marginal zone (MZ) B cells, and higher infiltration of plasmacytoid dendritic cells and neutrophils in wild-type male than female mice, while no such sex differences were observed in TLR9−/− mice. In accordance, the serum levels of KC and MIP-2, major neutrophil chemoattractants, were higher in wild-type, but not in TLR9−/−, male versus female mice. Wild-type MCMV-infected female mice showed more severe liver inflammation, necrosis and steatosis compared to infected male mice. Our data demonstrate sex differences in susceptibility to MCMV infection, accompanied by a lower activation of the innate immune system in female mice, and can be attributed, at least in a certain degree, to the lower expression of TLR9 in female than male mice.
A promising strategy for cancer immunotherapy is to disrupt key pathways regulating immune tolerance, such as cytotoxic T lymphocyte–associated protein 4 (CTLA-4). However, the determinants of response to anti–CTLA-4 mAb treatment remain incompletely understood. In murine models, anti–CTLA-4 mAbs alone fail to induce effective immune responses to poorly immunogenic tumors but are successful when combined with additional interventions, including local ionizing radiation (IR) therapy. We employed an established model based on control of a mouse carcinoma cell line to study endogenous tumor-infiltrating CD8+ T lymphocytes (TILs) following treatment with the anti–CTLA-4 mAb 9H10. Alone, 9H10 monotherapy reversed the arrest of TILs with carcinoma cells in vivo. In contrast, the combination of 9H10 and IR restored MHC class I–dependent arrest. After implantation, the carcinoma cells had reduced expression of retinoic acid early inducible–1 (RAE-1), a ligand for natural killer cell group 2D (NKG2D) receptor. We found that RAE-1 expression was induced by IR in vivo and that anti-NKG2D mAb blocked the TIL arrest induced by IR/9H10 combination therapy. These results demonstrate that anti–CTLA-4 mAb therapy induces motility of TIL and that NKG2D ligation offsets this effect to enhance TILs arrest and antitumor activity.
This study rigorously defines lamin B1 loss as a marker of senescence in response to all classic signals of senescence, including DNA damage, oncogene activation, and replicative exhaustion. This decline is induced by activation of either the p53 or the pRb pathway and occurs in vivo in response to a senescence-inducing dose of radiation.
Cellular senescence is a potent tumor-suppressive mechanism that arrests cell proliferation and has been linked to aging. However, studies of senescence have been impeded by the lack of simple, exclusive biomarkers of the senescent state. Senescent cells develop characteristic morphological changes, which include enlarged and often irregular nuclei and chromatin reorganization. Because alterations to the nuclear lamina can affect both nuclear morphology and gene expression, we examined the nuclear lamina of senescent cells. We show here than lamin B1 is lost from primary human and murine cell strains when they are induced to senesce by DNA damage, replicative exhaustion, or oncogene expression. Lamin B1 loss did not depend on the p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase, nuclear factor-κB, ataxia telangiectasia–mutated kinase, or reactive oxygen species signaling pathways, which are positive regulators of senescent phenotypes. However, activation of either the p53 or pRB tumor suppressor pathway was sufficient to induce lamin B1 loss. Lamin B1 declined at the mRNA level via a decrease in mRNA stability rather than by the caspase-mediated degradation seen during apoptosis. Last, lamin B1 protein and mRNA declined in mouse tissue after senescence was induced by irradiation. Our findings suggest that lamin B1 loss can serve as biomarker of senescence both in culture and in vivo.
The M2 isoform of pyruvate kinase, highly expressed in tumor cells, is known to engage a feed forward loop with the glycolysis master transcription factor HIF-1α. Gao and co-authors recently showed that dimeric PKM2 localizes to the nucleus in highly proliferating cancer cells, where it regulates in vivo growth by acting as a protein kinase and directly activating STAT3. STAT3 is therefore a novel player of the PKM2/HIF-1α feedback loop, since HIF-induced PKM2 activates STAT3 that in turn induces HIF-1α expression. These findings have profound implications for understanding the complex connections between gene regulation, metabolism, survival and proliferation in cancer.
pyruvate kinase isoforms; PKM2; glycolysis; Warburg; cancer; cell proliferation; malignant transformation; growth factors; STAT3