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author:("Kim, Yong-nyu")
1.  Anoikis Resistance: An Essential Prerequisite for Tumor Metastasis 
Metastasis is a multistep process including dissociation of cancer cells from primary sites, survival in the vascular system, and proliferation in distant target organs. As a barrier to metastasis, cells normally undergo an apoptotic process known as “anoikis,” a form of cell death due to loss of contact with the extracellular matrix or neighboring cells. Cancer cells acquire anoikis resistance to survive after detachment from the primary sites and travel through the circulatory and lymphatic systems to disseminate throughout the body. Because recent technological advances enable us to detect rare circulating tumor cells, which are anoikis resistant, currently, anoikis resistance becomes a hot topic in cancer research. Detailed molecular and functional analyses of anoikis resistant cells may provide insight into the biology of cancer metastasis and identify novel therapeutic targets for prevention of cancer dissemination. This paper comprehensively describes recent investigations of the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying anoikis and anoikis resistance in relation to intrinsic and extrinsic death signaling, epithelial-mesenchymal transition, growth factor receptors, energy metabolism, reactive oxygen species, membrane microdomains, and lipid rafts.
doi:10.1155/2012/306879
PMCID: PMC3296207  PMID: 22505926
2.  An In Vivo C. elegans Model System for Screening EGFR-Inhibiting Anti-Cancer Drugs 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(9):e42441.
The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is a well-established target for cancer treatment. EGFR tyrosine kinase (TK) inhibitors, such as gefinitib and erlotinib, have been developed as anti-cancer drugs. Although non-small cell lung carcinoma with an activating EGFR mutation, L858R, responds well to gefinitib and erlotinib, tumors with a doubly mutated EGFR, T790M-L858R, acquire resistance to these drugs. The C. elegans EGFR homolog LET-23 and its downstream signaling pathway have been studied extensively to provide insight into regulatory mechanisms conserved from C. elegans to humans. To develop an in vivo screening system for potential cancer drugs targeting specific EGFR mutants, we expressed three LET-23 chimeras in which the TK domain was replaced with either the human wild-type TK domain (LET-23::hEGFR-TK), a TK domain with the L858R mutation (LET-23::hEGFR-TK[L858R]), or a TK domain with the T790M-L858R mutations (LET-23::hEGFR-TK[T790M-L858R]) in C. elegans vulval cells using the let-23 promoter. The wild-type hEGFR-TK chimeric protein rescued the let-23 mutant phenotype, and the activating mutant hEGFR-TK chimeras induced a multivulva (Muv) phenotype in a wild-type C. elegans background. The anti-cancer drugs gefitinib and erlotinib suppressed the Muv phenotype in LET-23::hEGFR-TK[L858R]-expressing transgenic animals, but not in LET-23::hEGFR-TK[T790M-L858R] transgenic animals. As a pilot screen, 8,960 small chemicals were tested for Muv suppression, and AG1478 (an EGFR-TK inhibitor) and U0126 (a MEK inhibitor) were identified as potential inhibitors of EGFR-mediated biological function. In conclusion, transgenic C. elegans expressing chimeric LET-23::hEGFR-TK proteins are a model system that can be used in mutation-specific screens for new anti-cancer drugs.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0042441
PMCID: PMC3434183  PMID: 22957020
3.  STAT3 inhibits the degradation of HIF-1α by pVHL-mediated ubiquitination 
Experimental & Molecular Medicine  2008;40(5):479-485.
Hypoxia-inducible factor 1α (HIF-1α) is rapidly degraded by the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway under normoxic conditions. Ubiquitination of HIF-1α is mediated by interaction with von Hippel-Lindau tumor suppressor protein (pVHL). In our previous report, we found that hypoxia-induced active signal transducer and activator of transcription3 (STAT3) accelerated the accumulation of HIF-1α protein and prolonged its half-life in solid tumor cells. However, its specific mechanisms are not fully understood. Thus, we examined the role of STAT3 in the mechanism of pVHL-mediated HIF-1α stability. We found that STAT3 interacts with C-terminal domain of HIF-1α and stabilizes HIF-1α by inhibition of pVHL binding to HIF-1α. The binding between HIF-1α and pVHL, negative regulator of HIF-1α stability, was interfered dose-dependently by overexpressed constitutive active STAT3. Moreover, we found that the enhanced HIF-1α protein levels by active STAT3 are due to decrease of poly-ubiquitination of HIF-1α protein via inhibition of interaction between pVHL and HIF-1α. Taken together, our results suggest that STAT3 decreases the pVHL-mediated ubiquitination of HIF-1α through competition with pVHL for binding to HIF-1α, and then stabilizes HIF-1α protein levels.
doi:10.3858/emm.2008.40.5.479
PMCID: PMC2679355  PMID: 18985005
anoxia; hypoxia-inducible factor1, α subunit; neoplasms; STAT3 transcription factor; ubiquitination; von Hippel-Lindau tumor suppressor protein
4.  Simple and Versatile Molecular Method of Copy-Number Measurement Using Cloned Competitors 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e69414.
Variations and alterations of copy numbers (CNVs and CNAs) carry disease susceptibility and drug responsiveness implications. Although there are many molecular methods to measure copy numbers, sensitivity, reproducibility, cost, and time issues remain. In the present study, we were able to solve those problems utilizing our modified real competitive PCR method with cloned competitors (mrcPCR). First, the mrcPCR for ERBB2 copy number was established, and the results were comparable to current standard methods but with a shorter assay time and a lower cost. Second, the mrcPCR assays for 24 drug-target genes were established, and the results in a panel of NCI-60 cells were comparable to those from real-time PCR and microarray. Third, the mrcPCR results for FCGR3A and the FCGR3B CNVs were comparable to those by the paralog ratio test (PRT), but without PRT's limitations. These results suggest that mrcPCR is comparable to the currently available standard or the most sensitive methods. In addition, mrcPCR would be invaluable for measurement of CNVs in genes with variants of similar structures, because combination of the other methods is not necessary, along with its other advantages such as short assay time, small sample amount requirement, and applicability to all sequences and genes.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0069414
PMCID: PMC3728337  PMID: 23936009

Results 1-4 (4)