Epithelial cancer cells are likely to undergo epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT) prior to entering the peripheral circulation. By undergoing EMT, circulating tumor cells (CTCs) lose epithelial markers and may escape detection by conventional methods. Therefore, we conducted a pilot study to investigate mRNA transcripts of EMT-inducing transcription factors (TFs) in tumor cells from the peripheral blood (PB) of primary breast cancer (PBC) patients.
Peripheral blood mononuclear cells were isolated from 52 stages I–III PBC patients and 30 healthy donors (HD) and sequentially depleted of EpCAM+ cells and CD45+ leukocytes, henceforth referred to as CD45−. The expression levels of EMT-inducing TFs (TWIST1, SNAIL1, SLUG, ZEB1, and FOXC2) in the CD45− cells were determined using qRT-PCR. The highest level of expression by the CD45− cell fraction of HD was used as “cut off” to determine if samples from PBC patients overexpressed any EMT-inducing TFs. In total, 15.4% of PBC patients overexpressed at least one of the EMT-inducing TF transcripts. Overexpression of any EMT-inducing TF transcripts was more likely to be detected in PBC patients who received neoadjuvant therapies (NAT) than patients who received no NAT (P = 0.003). Concurrently, CTCs were detected in 7 out of 38 (18.4%) patients by CellSearch® and 15 out of 42 (35.7%) patients by AdnaTest™. There was no association between the presence of CTCs measured by CellSearch® or AdnaTest™.
In summary, our results demonstrate that CTCs with EMT phenotype may occur in the peripheral circulation of PBC patients and NAT is unable to eliminate CTCs undergoing EMT.
circulating tumor cells; epithelial-mesenchymal transition; primary breast cancer; neoadjuvant therapy
Adipose tissue expansion involves the enlargement of existing adipocytes, the formation of new cells from committed preadipocytes, and the coordinated development of the tissue vascular network. Here we find that murine endothelial cells (EC) of classic white and brown fat depots share ultrastructural characteristics with pericytes, which are pluripotent and can potentially give rise to preadipocytes. Lineage tracing experiments using the VE-cadherin promoter reveal localization of reporter genes in EC, and also in preadipocytes and adipocytes of white and brown fat depots. Furthermore, capillary sprouts from human adipose tissue, which have predominantly EC characteristics, are found to express Zfp423, a recently identified marker of preadipocyte determination. In response to PPARγ activation, endothelial characteristics of sprouting cells are progressively lost, and cells form structurally and biochemically defined adipocytes. Together these data support an endothelial origin of murine and human adipocytes, suggesting a model for how adipogenesis and angiogenesis are coordinated during adipose tissue expansion.
adipose stem cells; preadipocytes; adipogenesis; white adipose tissue; electron microscopy; in vivo lineage tracing; adipose tissue explants
In hormone receptor-positive breast cancers, most tumors in the early stages of development depend on the activity of the estrogen receptor and its ligand, estradiol. Anti-estrogens, such as tamoxifen, have been used as the first line of therapy for over three decades due to the fact that they elicit cell cycle arrest. Unfortunately, after an initial period, most cells become resistant to hormonal therapy. Peptidylprolyl isomerase 1 (Pin1), a protein overexpressed in many tumor types including breast, has been demonstrated to modulate ERalpha activity and is involved in resistance to hormonal therapy. Here we show a new mechanism through which CDK2 drives an ERalpha-Pin1 interaction under hormone- and growth factor-free conditions. The PI3K/AKT pathway is necessary to activate CDK2, which phosphorylates ERalphaSer294, and mediates the binding between Pin1 and ERalpha. Site-directed mutagenesis demonstrated that ERalphaSer294 is essential for Pin1-ERalpha interaction and modulates ERalpha phosphorylation on Ser118 and Ser167, dimerization and activity. These results open up new drug treatment opportunities for breast cancer patients who are resistant to anti-estrogen therapy.
Where population coverage is limited, the exclusive use of Cancer Registries might limit ascertainment of incident cancer cases. We explored the potentials of Nationwide hospital discharge records (NHDRs) to capture incident breast cancer cases in Italy.
We analyzed NHDRs for mastectomies and quadrantectomies performed between 2001 and 2008. The average annual percentage change (AAPC) and related 95% Confidence Interval (CI) in the actual number of mastectomies and quadrantectomies performed during the study period were computed for the full sample and for subgroups defined by age, surgical procedure, macro-area and singular Region. Re-admissions of the same patients were separately presented.
The overall number of mastectomies decreased, with an AAPC of −2.1% (−2.3 -1.8). This result was largely driven by the values observed for women in the 45 to 64 and 65 to 74 age subgroups (−3.0%, -3.4 -3.6 and −3.3%, -3.8 -2.8, respectively). We observed no significant reduction in mastectomies for women in the remaining age groups. Quadrantectomies showed an overall +4.7 AAPC (95%CI:4.5–4.9), with no substantial differences by age. Analyses by geographical area showed a remarkable decrease in mastectomies, with inter-regional discrepancies possibly depending upon variability in mammography screening coverage and adherence. Quadrantectomies significantly increased, with Southern Regions presenting the highest average rates. Data on repeat admissions within a year revealed a total number of 46,610 major breast surgeries between 2001 and 2008, with an overall +3.2% AAPC (95%CI:2.8-3.6).
In Italy, NHDRs might represent a valuable supplemental data source to integrate Cancer Registries in cancer surveillance.
Hospital discharge records; Breast cancer; Mastectomies; Quadrantectomies; Cancer surveillance
Several human diseases including neurodegenerative disorders and cancer are associated with abnormal accumulation and aggregation of misfolded proteins. Proteins with high tendency to aggregate include the p53 gene product, TAU and alpha synuclein. The potential toxicity of aberrantly folded proteins is limited via their transport into intracellular sub-compartments, the aggresomes, where misfolded proteins are stored or cleared via autophagy. We have identified a region of the acetyltransferase p300 that is highly disordered and displays similarities with prion-like domains. We show that this region is encoded as an alternative spliced variant independently of the acetyltransferase domain, and provides an interaction interface for various misfolded proteins, promoting their aggregation. p300 enhances aggregation of TAU and of p53 and is a component of cellular aggregates in both tissue culture cells and in alpha-synuclein positive Lewy bodies of patients affected by Parkinson disease. Down-regulation of p300 impairs aggresome formation and enhances cytotoxicity induced by misfolded protein stress. These data unravel a novel activity of p300, offer new insights into the function of disordered domains and implicate p300 in pathological aggregation that occurs in neurodegeneration and cancer.
Gastric cancer is a multifactorial neoplastic pathology numbering among its causes both environmental and genetic predisposing factors. It is mainly diffused in South America and South-East Asia, where it shows the highest morbility percentages and it is relatively scarcely diffused in Western countries and North America. Although molecular mechanisms leading to gastric cancer development are only partially known, three main causes are well characterized: Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection, diet rich in salted and/or smoked food and red meat, and epithelial cadherin (E-cadherin) mutations. Unhealthy diet and H. pylori infection are able to induce in stomach cancer cells genotypic and phenotypic transformation, but their effects may be crossed by a diet rich in vegetables and fresh fruits. Various authors have recently focused their attention on the importance of a well balanced diet, suggesting a necessary dietary education starting from childhood. A constant surveillance will be necessary in people carrying E-cadherin mutations, since they are highly prone in developing gastric cancer, also within the inner stomach layers. Above all in the United States, several carriers decided to undergo a gastrectomy, preferring changing their lifestyle than living with the awareness of the development of a possible gastric cancer. This kind of choice is strictly personal, hence a decision cannot be suggested within the clinical management. Here we summarize the key points of gastric cancer prevention analyzing possible strategies referred to the different predisposing factors. We will discuss about the effects of diet, H. pylori infection and E-cadherin mutations and how each of them can be handled.
Cancer; Prevention; Diet; Vegetables; Cell cycle; Lifestyle; Helicobacter pylori
FoxO3A; PPARα; anticancer properties; fenobribate; glioblastoma
Comment on: Tran KV, et al. Cell Metab 2012; 15:222-9.
adipogenesis; adipose tissue explants; brown adipose tissue; electron microscopy; endothelial cells; in vivo lineage-tracing; preadipocytes; white adipose tissue
Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are purported to be epithelial tumor cells expressing CD44+CD24lo that exhibit aldehyde dehydrogenase activity (Aldefluor+). We hypothesized that if CSCs are responsible for tumor dissemination, disseminated cells in the bone marrow (BM) would be positive for putative breast CSC markers. Therefore, we assessed the presence of Aldefluor+ epithelial (CD326+CD45dim) cells for the presence of the CD44+CD24lo phenotype in BM of patients with primary breast cancer (PBC).
BM aspirates were collected at the time of surgery from 66 patients with PBC. Thirty patients received neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NACT) prior to aspiration. BM was analyzed for Aldefluor+ epithelial cells with or without CD44+CD24lo expression by flow cytometry. BM aspirates from 3 healthy donors (HD) were subjected to identical processing and analyses and served as controls.
Patients with triple-receptor-negative (TN) tumors had a significantly higher median percentage of CD44+CD24lo CSC within Aldefluor+ epithelial cell population than patients with other immunohistochemical subtypes (P=0.018). Patients with TN tumors or with pN2 or higher pathologic nodal status were more likely to have a proportion of CD44+CD24lo CSC within Aldefluor+ epithelial cell population above the highest level of HD. Furthermore, patients who received NACT were more likely to have percentages of Aldefluor+ epithelial cells greater than the highest level of HD (P=0.004).
The percentage of CD44+CD24lo CSC in the BM is higher in PBC patients with high risk tumor features. The selection or enrichment of Aldefluor+ epithelial cells by NACT may represent an opportunity to target these cells with novel therapies.
The neural differentiation process is studied in mesenchymal stem cells obtained from Rett patients and in neuroblastoma cells carrying a partially silenced MECP2 gene. The data suggest that neural cell fate and neuronal maintenance might be perturbed by senescence triggered by impaired MECP2 protein activity either before or after neural differentiation.
MECP2 protein binds preferentially to methylated CpGs and regulates gene expression by causing changes in chromatin structure. The mechanism by which impaired MECP2 activity can induce pathological abnormalities in the nervous system of patients with Rett syndrome (RTT) is not clearly understood. To gain further insight into the role of MECP2 in human neurogenesis, we compared the neural differentiation process in mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) obtained from a RTT patient and from healthy donors. We further analyzed neural differentiation in a human neuroblastoma cell line carrying a partially silenced MECP2 gene. Senescence and reduced expression of neural markers were observed in proliferating and differentiating MSCs from the RTT patient, which suggests that impaired activity of MECP2 protein may impair neural differentiation, as observed in RTT patients. Next, we used an inducible expression system to silence MECP2 in neuroblastoma cells before and after the induction of neural differentiation via retinoic acid treatment. This approach was used to test whether MECP2 inactivation affected the cell fate of neural progenitors and/or neuronal differentiation and maintenance. Overall, our data suggest that neural cell fate and neuronal maintenance may be perturbed by senescence triggered by impaired MECP2 activity either before or after neural differentiation.
This study emphasizes the dynamical properties of mechanical loading via simulated microgravity, its effect on acute myeloid leukemia proliferation and hematopoietic stem cell (HSPC) growth and its implications in the area of tissue regeneration. Data presented illustrates that mechanical transduction changes the expression of humoral factors by facilitating paracrine/autocrine signalling, therefore modulating intracellular trafficking of tyrosine kinase receptors. Understanding mechano-transduction in the context of cell and tissue morphogenesis is the major focus of this study. The effects of external physiological stresses, such as blood flow, on several cellular subtypes seem to produce very intricate cellular responses. It is well accepted that mechanical loading plays an intrinsic and extrinsic influence on cell survival. This study shows how microgravity effects hematopoietic stem cells, and human leukemic cell proliferation and expression of its receptors that control cell survival, such as the tyrosine kinase vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-1, receptor-2 and receptor-3.
Thrombopoietin; VEGFR's; CD34+; CD45
Glutamate is emerging as a major factor stimulating energy production in CNS. Brain mitochondria can utilize this neurotransmitter as respiratory substrate and specific transporters are required to mediate the glutamate entry into the mitochondrial matrix. Glutamate transporters of the Excitatory Amino Acid Transporters (EAATs) family have been previously well characterized on the cell surface of neuronal and glial cells, representing the primary players for glutamate uptake in mammalian brain. Here, by using western blot, confocal microscopy and immunoelectron microscopy, we report for the first time that the Excitatory Amino Acid Carrier 1 (EAAC1), an EAATs member, is expressed in neuronal and glial mitochondria where it participates in glutamate-stimulated ATP production, evaluated by a luciferase-luciferin system. Mitochondrial metabolic response is counteracted when different EAATs pharmacological blockers or selective EAAC1 antisense oligonucleotides were used. Since EAATs are Na+-dependent proteins, this raised the possibility that other transporters regulating ion gradients across mitochondrial membrane were required for glutamate response. We describe colocalization, mutual activity dependency, physical interaction between EAAC1 and the sodium/calcium exchanger 1 (NCX1) both in neuronal and glial mitochondria, and that NCX1 is an essential modulator of this glutamate transporter. Only NCX1 activity is crucial for such glutamate-stimulated ATP synthesis, as demonstrated by pharmacological blockade and selective knock-down with antisense oligonucleotides. The EAAC1/NCX1-dependent mitochondrial response to glutamate may be a general and alternative mechanism whereby this neurotransmitter sustains ATP production, since we have documented such metabolic response also in mitochondria isolated from heart. The data reported here disclose a new physiological role for mitochondrial NCX1 as the key player in glutamate-induced energy production.
Background: Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are an independent prognostic factor in metastatic breast cancer (MBC) patients treated by conventional dose chemotherapy. The aim of this study was to determine the role of CTCs and CTCs undergoing epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in metastatic breast cancer. We used the platform of high-dose chemotherapy (HDCT) and autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (AHSCT) to study the CTCs and CTCs with EMT.
Patients and methods: CTCs were enumerated in 21 MBC patients before apheresis and 1 month after AHSCT. CD34-depleted apheresis products were analyzed for CD326+ epithelial and Aldefluor+ cancer stem cells (CSC) by flow cytometry and were depleted of CD45+ cells and assessed for EMT-inducing transcription factors (EMT-TF) by quantitative RT-PCR.
Results: Patients with ≥ 5 CTCs/7.5 mL of peripheral blood 1 month after AHSCT had shorter progression-free survival (PFS) (P=0.02) and overall survival (OS) (P=0.02). Patients with apheresis products containing high percentages of CD326+ epithelial cells or overexpressing EMT-TF had shorter PFS. In multivariate analysis, low percentage of CD326+ epithelial cells and response to HDCT with AHSCT were associated with longer PFS, whereas lower CTCs after AHSCT was associated with longer OS. High CTCs, 1 month after AHSCT correlated with shorter PFS and OS in MBC patients undergoing HDCT and AHSCT, while CTCs with EMT and CSCs phenotype in apheresis products are associated with relapse.
Conclusion: Our data suggest that CTC and CTCs with EMT are prognostic in MBC patients undergoing HDCT followed by AHSCT.
metastatic breast cancer; circulating tumor cells; epithelial-mesenchymal transition; high-dose chemotherapy; autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.
NSP 5a3a is a novel structural protein found to be over-expressed in certain cancer cell lines in-vitro such as Hela, Saos-2, and MCF-7 while barely detectable levels in normal body tissues except for Testis. This particular isoform has been known to interact with cyto- nuclear proteins B23, known to be involved in multi-faceted cellular processes such as cell division, apoptosis, ribosome biogenesis, and rRNA processing, as well as with hnRNP-L, known to be involved with RNA metabolism and rRNA processing. A previous preliminary investigation of NSP 5a3a as a potential target in Head and Neck Carcinoma revealed a novel p73 dependent mechanism through which NSP 5a3a induced apoptosis in Head and Neck cell lines when over-expressed in-vitro. Our present investigation further elucidated a novel dual axis signaling point by which NSP 5a3a induces apoptosis in Head and Neck cell line HN30 through p73-DAXX and TRAF2-TRADD. Interestingly, this novel mechanism appears independent of canonical caspases involved in the intrinsic mitochondrial pathway as well as those in the death receptor pathway thru TRAF2 and TRADD.
NSP 5a3a; Head and Neck Carcinoma; TNFR-1 signaling pathway
The formation and progression of mudulloblastoma (MB) is poorly understood. However, somatic inactivation of pRb/p105, in combination with a somatic or a germ-line TP53 inactivation, leads to MB in a mouse model. Presently, there is no specific evidence of pathway/s alterations for the other two members of the retinoblastoma family, pRb2/p130 and/or p107 in MB. JC virus (JCV) is a human polyomavirus. Although there is no firm evidence that this virus plays a causal role in human neoplasia, it has been clearly proven that JCV is highly oncogenic when injected into the brain of experimental animals. The mechanism of JCV-induced tumorigenesis is not entirely clear. However, several studies relate the oncogenic properties of JCV mainly to its early protein large T-antigen (T-Ag), which is able to bind and inactivate both TP53 and Rb family proteins. Here, we compared the protein expression profiles of p53, p73, pRb family proteins, and PCNA, as main regulators of cell proliferation and death, in different cell lines of mouse primitive neuroectodermal tumors (PNET), either T-Ag-positive or -negative, and in human MB cell lines. Our goal was to determine if changes in the relative expression of these regulators could trigger molecular perturbations underlying MB pathogenesis in mouse and human cells. Our results support that the presence of JCV T-Ag may interfere with the expression of pRb family proteins, specific p73 isoforms, and p53. In turn, this “perturbation” may trigger a network of signals strictly connected with survival and apoptosis.
MEDULLOBLASTOMA; LARGE T-ANTIGEN; JC VIRUS; SV40; pRb FAMILY; p53/p73
Medulloblastoma is the most common malignant tumor of central nervous system in children. Patients affected by medulloblastoma may be categorized as high-risk and standard-risk patients, based on the clinical criteria and histologic features of the disease. Currently, multimodality treatment, including surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy is considered as the most effective strategy against these malignant cerebellar tumors of the childhood. Despite the potential poor outcomes of these lesions, the 5-year survival stands, at present, at 70% to 80% for standard-risk patients, whereas high-risk patients have a 5-year survival of 55% to 76%. Attempts to further reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with medulloblastoma have been restricted by the toxicity of conventional treatments and the infiltrative nature of the disease. Over the past decade, new discoveries in molecular biology have revealed new insights in signaling pathways regulating medulloblastoma tumor formation. Recent advances in the molecular biology of medulloblastoma indicate that the classification of these embryonal tumors, solely based on histology and clinical criteria, may not be adequate enough. Better understanding of the growth control mechanisms involved in the development and progression of medulloblastoma will allow a better classification, leading to the improvement of the existing therapies, as well as to the development of new therapeutic approaches.
There is growing evidence that interconnections among molecular pathways governing tissue differentiation are nodal points for malignant transformation. In this scenario, microRNAs appear as crucial players. This class of non-coding small regulatory RNA molecules controls developmental programs by modulating gene expression through post-transcriptional silencing of target mRNAs. During myogenesis, muscle-specific and ubiquitously-expressed microRNAs tightly control muscle tissue differentiation. In recent years, microRNAs have emerged as prominent players in cancer as well. Rhabdomyosarcoma is a pediatric skeletal muscle-derived soft-tissue sarcoma that originates from myogenic precursors arrested at different stages of differentiation and that continue to proliferate indefinitely. MicroRNAs involved in muscle cell fate determination appear down-regulated in rhabdomyosarcoma primary tumors and cell lines compared to their normal counterparts. More importantly, they behave as tumor suppressors in this malignancy, as their re-expression is sufficient to restore the differentiation capability of tumor cells and to prevent tumor growth in vivo. In addition, up-regulation of pro-oncogenic microRNAs has also been recently detected in rhabdomyosarcoma.
In this review, we provide an overview of current knowledge on microRNAs de-regulation in rhabdomyosarcoma. Additionally, we examine the potential of microRNAs as prognostic and diagnostic markers in this soft-tissue sarcoma, and discuss possible therapeutic applications and challenges of a "microRNA therapy".
Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) represent an independent predictor of outcome in patients with metastatic breast cancer (MBC). We assessed the prognostic impact of CTCs according to different first-line systemic treatments, and explored their potential predictive value in MBC patients.
We retrospectively evaluated 235 newly diagnosed MBC patients, treated at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. All patients had a baseline CTC assessment performed with CellSearch®. Progression-free survival and overall survival were compared with the log-rank test between groups, according to CTC count (< 5 vs. ≥ 5) and type of systemic therapy. We further explored the predictive value of baseline CTCs in patients receiving different treatments.
At a median follow-up of 18 months, the CTC count was confirmed to be a robust prognostic marker in the overall population (median progression-free survival 12.0 and 7.0 months for patients with CTC < 5 and ≥ 5, respectively; P < 0.001). Conversely, in patients with human epidermal growth factor receptor-2-overexpressed/amplified tumors receiving trastuzumab or lapatinib, the baseline CTC count was not prognostic (median progression-free survival 14.5 months for patients with CTC < 5 and 16.1 months for those with CTC ≥ 5; P = 0.947). Furthermore, in patients with human epidermal growth factor receptor-2 normal tumors, a baseline CTC count ≥ 5 identified subjects who derived benefit from more aggressive treatments, including combination chemotherapy and chemotherapy plus bevacizumab.
This analysis suggests that the prognostic information provided by CTC count may be useful in patient stratifications and therapeutic selection, particularly in the group with positive CTCs, in which various therapeutic choices may procure differential palliative benefit.
Soft tissue sarcomas of childhood are a group of heterogeneous tumors thought to be derived from mesenchymal stem cells. Surgical resection is effective only in about 50% of cases and resistance to conventional chemotherapy is often responsible for treatment failure. Therefore, investigations on novel therapeutic targets are of fundamental importance. Deregulation of epigenetic mechanisms underlying chromatin modifications during stem cell differentiation has been suggested to contribute to soft tissue sarcoma pathogenesis. One of the main elements in this scenario is enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2), a methyltransferase belonging to the Polycomb group proteins. EZH2 catalyzes histone H3 methylation on gene promoters, thus repressing genes that induce stem cell differentiation to maintain an embryonic stem cell signature. EZH2 deregulated expression/function in soft tissue sarcomas has been recently reported. In this review, an overview of the recently reported functions of EZH2 in soft tissue sarcomas is given and the hypothesis that its expression might be involved in soft tissue sarcomagenesis is discussed. Finally, the therapeutic potential of epigenetic therapies modulating EZH2-mediated gene repression is considered.
EZH2; soft tissue sarcomas; epigenetics; methylation; methyltransferases
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide among both men and women, with more than 1 million deaths annually. Non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) accounts for about 80% of all lung cancers.
Although recent advances have been made in diagnosis and treatment strategies, the prognosis of NSCLC patients is poor and it is basically due to a lack of early diagnostic tools.
However, in the last years genetic and biochemical studies have provided more information about the protein and gene’s mutations involved in lung tumors. Additionally, recent proteomic and microRNA’s approaches have been introduced to help biomarker discovery.
Here we would like to discuss the most recent discoveries in lung cancer pathways, focusing on the genetic and epigenetic factors that play a crucial role in malignant cell proliferation, and how they could be helpful in diagnosis and targeted therapy.
Lung cancer; oncosuppressors; oncogenes; epigenetics of lung cancer; diagnostic tools for lung cancer.
The steroid hormone testosterone has been found to be greatly reduced by opioids in different experimental and clinical conditions. The purpose of this study on male rats was to determine the effects of a single injection of morphine (5 mg/Kg) on persistent pain (formalin test) and the single or combined effects on p450-aromatase and 5-alpha reductase type 1 mRNA expression in the brain, liver and testis. Testosterone was determined in the plasma and in the brain, morphine was assayed in the plasma.
In the morphine-treated rats, there were increases of 5-alpha reductase mRNA expression in the liver and aromatase mRNA expression in the brain and gonads. Morphine was detected in the blood of all morphine-treated rats even though there were no clear analgesic affects in the formalin-treated animals three hours after treatment. Testosterone was greatly reduced in the plasma and brain in morphine-treated subjects.
It appears that morphine administration can induce long-lasting genomic effects in different body areas which contribute to the strong central and peripheral testosterone levels. These changes were not always accompanied by behavioral modifications.
NSP 5a3a along with three other distinct though similar splice variants were initially identified corresponding to locus HCMOGT-1 on chromosome 17p11.2 . Secondary structure analysis of the novel structural protein (NSP) isoforms revealed similarity to Spectrin like proteins containing coiled coil domains . The NSP 5a3a isoform had been found to be highly expressed in-vitro in particular cancer cell lines while very low to un-detectable levels in normal body tissues . Subsequent investigation of this isoform revealed its novel interaction with B23 , a multifunctional nucleolar protein involved in ribosome biogenesis, rRNA transcription, mitosis, cell growth control, and apoptosis . Subsequent investigation, elucidated NSP 5a3a's potential involvement in cellular processes such as ribosome biogenesis and rRNA processing by validating NSP 5a3a's novel interaction with B23 and ribonuclear protein hnRNP-L possibly implicating NSP 5a3a's involvement in cellular activities such as RNA metabolism and processing . In this preliminary investigation, we wanted to observe the effect that over-expressing NSP 5a3a may have on cell cycle and its potential application in cancer treatment in aggressive cancers such as head and neck carcinomas. Over-expressed NSP 5a3a in HN30 cells induced a significant degree of apoptosis, an average of a 10.85 fold increase compared to controls 3 days post-transfection. This effect was more significant then the apoptosis observed between Fadu cells over-expressing NSP 5a3a and its controls. Though, the apoptosis induced in the WI38 control cell line showed an average of a 13.2 fold increase between treated and controls comparable to the HN30 cell line 3 days post-transfection. Molecular analysis indentified a novel p73 dependent mechanism independent of p53 and caspase 3 activity through which NSP 5a3a is inducing apoptosis. We propose NSP 5a3a as a potential therapeutic target for site directed cancer treatment in perhaps certain head and neck carcinomas by induction of apoptosis.
NSP5a3a; P73; Head and Neck Carcinoma; Apoptosis; Cell Cycle
At present, 51 genes are already known to be responsible for Non-Syndromic hereditary Hearing Loss (NSHL), but the knowledge of 121 NSHL-linked chromosomal regions brings to the hypothesis that a number of disease genes have still to be uncovered. To help scientists to find new NSHL genes, we built a gene-scoring system, integrating Gene Ontology, NCBI Gene and Map Viewer databases, which prioritizes the candidate genes according to their probability to cause NSHL. We defined a set of candidates and measured their functional similarity with respect to the disease gene set, computing a score () that relies on the assumption that functionally related genes might contribute to the same (disease) phenotype. A Kolmogorov-Smirnov test, comparing the pair-wise distribution on the disease gene set with the distribution on the remaining human genes, provided a statistical assessment of this assumption. We found at a p-value that the former pair-wise is greater than the latter, justifying a prioritization strategy based on the functional similarity of candidate genes respect to the disease gene set. A cross-validation test measured to what extent the ranking for NSHL is different from a random ordering: adding 15% of the disease genes to the candidate gene set, the ranking of the disease genes in the first eight positions resulted statistically different from a hypergeometric distribution with a p-value and a power. The twenty top-scored genes were finally examined to evaluate their possible involvement in NSHL. We found that half of them are known to be expressed in human inner ear or cochlea and are mainly involved in remodeling and organization of actin formation and maintenance of the cilia and the endocochlear potential. These findings strongly indicate that our metric was able to suggest excellent NSHL candidates to be screened in patients and controls for causative mutations.
CDK-inhibitors can diminish transcriptional levels of cell cycle-related cyclins through the inhibition of E2F family members and CDK7 and 9. Cyclin A1, an E2F-independent cyclin, is strongly upregulated under genotoxic conditions and functionally was shown to increase NHEJ activity. Cyclin A1 outcompetes with cyclin A2 for CDK2 binding, possibly redirecting its activity towards DNA repair. To see if we could therapeutically block this switch, we analyzed the effects of the CDK-inhibitor R-Roscovitine on the expression levels of cyclin A1 under genotoxic stress and observed subsequent DNA damage and repair mechanisms.
We found that R-Roscovitine alone was unable to alter cyclin A1 transcriptional levels, however it was able to reduce protein expression through a proteosome-dependent mechanism. When combined with DNA damaging agents, R-Roscovitine was able to prevent the DNA damage-induced upregulation of cyclin A1 on a transcriptional and post-transcriptional level. This, moreover resulted in a significant decrease in non-homologous end-joining (NHEJ) paired with an increase in DNA DSBs and overall DNA damage over time. Furthermore, microarray analysis demonstrated that R-Roscovitine affected DNA repair mechanisms in a more global fashion.
Our data reveal a new mechanism of action for R-Roscovitine on DNA repair through the inhibition of the molecular switch between cyclin A family members under genotoxic conditions resulting in reduced NHEJ capability.
Abacavir is one of the most efficacious nucleoside analogues, with a well-characterized inhibitory activity on reverse transcriptase enzymes of retroviral origin, and has been clinically approved for the treatment of AIDS. Recently, Abacavir has been shown to inhibit also the human telomerase activity. Telomerase activity seems to be required in essentially all tumours for the immortalization of a subset of cells, including cancer stem cells. In fact, many cancer cells are dependent on telomerase for their continued replication and therefore telomerase is an attractive target for cancer therapy. Telomerase expression is upregulated in primary primitive neuroectodermal tumours and in the majority of medulloblastomas suggesting that its activation is associated with the development of these diseases. Therefore, we decided to test Abacavir activity on human medulloblastoma cell lines with high telomerase activity. We report that exposure to Abacavir induces a dose-dependent decrease in the proliferation rate of medulloblastoma cells. This is associated with a cell accumulation in the G2/M phase of the cell cycle in the Daoy cell line, and with increased cell death in the D283-MED cell line, and is likely to be dependent on the inhibition of telomerase activity. Interestingly, both cell lines showed features of senescence after Abacavir treatment. Moreover, following Abacavir exposure we detected, by immunofluorescence staining, increased protein expression of the glial marker glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) and the neuronal marker synaptophysin (SYN) in both medulloblastoma cell lines. In conclusion, our results suggest that Abacavir reduces proliferation and induces differentiation of human medulloblastoma cells through the downregulation of telomerase activity. Thus, using Abacavir, alone or in combination with current therapies, might be an effective therapeutic strategy for the treatment of medulloblastoma.
Abacavir; differentiation; medulloblastoma; reverse transcriptase; telomerase; senescence