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1.  Cks1 Promotion of S Phase Entry and Proliferation Is Independent of p27Kip1 Suppression 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2012;32(13):2416-2427.
Cks1 is an activator of the SCFSkp2 ubiquitin ligase complex that targets the cell cycle inhibitor p27Kip1 for degradation. The loss of Cks1 results in p27Kip1 accumulation and decreased proliferation and inhibits tumorigenesis. We identify here a function of Cks1 in mammalian cell cycle regulation that is independent of p27Kip1. Specifically, Cks1−/−; p27Kip1−/− mouse embryonic fibroblasts retain defects in the G1-S phase transition that are coupled with decreased Cdk2-associated kinase activity and defects in proliferation that are associated with Cks1 loss. Furthermore, concomitant loss of Cks1 does not rescue the tumor suppressor function of p27Kip1 that is manifest in various organs of p27Kip1−/− mice. In contrast, defects in mitotic entry and premature senescence manifest in Cks1−/− cells are p27Kip1 dependent. Collectively, these findings establish p27Kip1-independent functions of Cks1 in regulating the G1-S transition.
doi:10.1128/MCB.06771-11
PMCID: PMC3434501  PMID: 22508990
2.  Cks1 Is Required for Tumor Cell Proliferation but Not Sufficient to Induce Hematopoietic Malignancies 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(5):e37433.
The Cks1 component of the SCFSkp2 complex is necessary for p27Kip1 ubiquitylation and degradation. Cks1 expression is elevated in various B cell malignancies including Burkitt lymphoma and multiple myeloma. We have previously shown that loss of Cks1 results in elevated p27Kip1 levels and delayed tumor development in a mouse model of Myc-induced B cell lymphoma. Surprisingly, loss of Skp2 in the same mouse model also resulted in elevated p27Kip1 levels but exhibited no impact on tumor onset. This raises the possibility that Cks1 could have other oncogenic activities than suppressing p27Kip1. To challenge this notion we have targeted overexpression of Cks1 to B cells using a conditional retroviral bone marrow transduction-transplantation system. Despite potent ectopic overexpression, Cks1 was unable to promote B cell hyperproliferation or B cell malignancies, indicating that Cks1 is not oncogenic when overexpressed in B cells. Since Skp2 overexpression can drive T-cell tumorigenesis or other cancers we also widened the quest for oncogenic activity of Cks1 by ubiquitously expressing Cks1 in hematopoetic progenitors. At variance with c-Myc overexpression, which caused acute myeloid leukemia, Cks1 overexpression did not induce myeloproliferation or leukemia. Therefore, despite being associated with a poor prognosis in various malignancies, sole Cks1 expression is insufficient to induce lymphoma or a myeloproliferative disease in vivo.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0037433
PMCID: PMC3356264  PMID: 22624029
3.  Efficacy of repeat myeloablative chemotherapy with autologous stem-cell support in multiple myeloma 
Objective:
Induction high-dose chemotherapy followed by myeloablative melphalan (HD-Mel) treatment and autologous hematopoietic stem-cell support (autoSCT) is a standard treatment for multiple myeloma (MM) either upfront or in relapse after conventional treatment. We performed a retrospective analysis of consecutive patients undergoing a late repeat HD-Mel/autoSCT treatment for MM.
Methods:
Data from 24 consecutive patients with MM who underwent a myeloablative treatment with HD-Mel late after completion of upfront first high-dose therapy were assessed for toxicity, response, progression-free survival (PFS) and time to next treatment (TTNT). These data were correlated with the results obtained after the initial high dose therapy and autoSCT.
Results:
A total of 23 patients were treated with novel drugs (lenalidomide, thalidomide, bortezomib) after relapse to initial autoSCT. The median overall survival (OS) of all patients was 90 months. 19 patients (79%) achieved a very good partial remission (VGPR) or complete remission (CR) after initial autoSCT, compared with 42% after late autoSCT. PFS and TTNT were 19 and 24 months after initial compared with 13 and 21 months after late autoSCT. Univariate analysis identified initial response duration and the achievement of a CR/VGPR after the initial transplantation to be associated with prolonged response after repeat autoSCT.
Conclusions:
Our data indicate that late high-dose treatment followed by autoSCT is safe and effective after upfront intensive treatment, can bridge to allogeneic SCT, and encourage collection of an additional graft.
doi:10.1177/2040620711433317
PMCID: PMC3573432  PMID: 23556114
high-dose therapy; multiple myeloma; stem-cell transplantation
4.  Aurora Kinase Inhibition Overcomes Cetuximab Resistance in Squamous Cell Cancer of the Head and Neck 
Oncotarget  2011;2(8):599-609.
Squamous cell cancer of the head and neck (SCCHN) is the sixth leading cause for cancer deaths worldwide. Despite extense knowledge of risk factors and pathogenesis about 50 percent of all patients and essentially every patient with metastatic SCCHN eventually die from this disease. We analyzed the clinical data and performed immunohistochemistry for Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and Aurora kinase A (Aurora-A) expression in 180 SCCHN patients. Patients characterized by elevated EGFR and elevated Aurora-A protein expression in tumor tissue represent a risk group with poor disease-free and overall survival (EGFRlow Aurora-Alow versus EGFRhigh Aurora-Ahigh, p = 0.024). Treating SCCHN cell lines with a pan-Aurora kinase inhibitor resulted in defective cytokinesis, polyploidy and apoptosis, which was effective irrespective of the EGFR status. Combined Aurora kinase and EGFR targeting using a monoclonal anti-EGFR antibody was more effective compared to single EGFR and Aurora kinase inhibition. Comparing pan-Aurora kinase and Aurora-A targeting hints towards a strong and clinically relevant biological effect mediated via Aurora kinase B. Taken together, our findings characterize a new poor risk group in SCCHN patients defined by elevated EGFR and Aurora-A protein expression. Our results demonstrate that combined targeting of EGFR and Aurora kinases represents a therapeutic means to activate cell cycle checkpoints and apoptosis in SCCHN.
PMCID: PMC3248211  PMID: 21865609
Squamous cell cancer of the head and neck; Aurora kinase; EGFR
5.  Skp2 directs Myc-mediated suppression of p27Kip1 yet has modest effects on Myc-driven lymphomagenesis 
Molecular cancer research : MCR  2010;8(3):353-362.
The universal cyclin-Cdk inhibitor p27Kip1 functions as a tumor suppressor and reduced levels of p27Kip1 connote poor prognosis in several human malignancies. p27Kip1 levels are predominately regulated by ubiquitin-mediated turnover of the protein, which is marked for destruction by the E3 ubiquitin ligase SCFSkp2 complex following its phosphorylation by the cyclin E-Cdk2 complex. Binding of phospho-p27Kip1 is directed by the Skp2 F-box protein, and this is greatly augmented by its allosteric regulator Cks1. We have established that programmed expression of c-Myc in the B cells of Eμ-Myc transgenic mice triggers p27Kip1 destruction by inducing Cks1, that this response controls Myc-driven proliferation, and that loss of Cks1 markedly delays Myc-induced lymphomagenesis and cancels the dissemination of these tumors. Here, we report that elevated levels of Skp2 are a characteristic of Eμ-Myc lymphomas and of human Burkitt lymphoma that bear MYC/immunoglobulin chromosomal translocations. As expected, Myc-mediated suppression of p27Kip1 was abolished in Skp2-null Eμ-Myc B cells. However, the impact of Skp2 loss on Myc-driven proliferation and lymphomagenesis was surprisingly modest compared to the effects of Cks1 loss. Collectively these findings suggest that Cks1 targets in addition to p27Kip1 are critical for Myc-driven proliferation and tumorigenesis.
doi:10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-09-0232
PMCID: PMC3095030  PMID: 20197382
Myc; Skp2; p27Kip1; lymphomagenesis

Results 1-5 (5)