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1.  ANG II promotes IGF-IIR expression and cardiomyocyte apoptosis by inhibiting HSF1 via JNK activation and SIRT1 degradation 
Cell Death and Differentiation  2014;21(8):1262-1274.
Hypertension-induced cardiac hypertrophy and apoptosis are major characteristics of early-stage heart failure. Our previous studies found that the activation of insulin-like growth factor receptor II (IGF-IIR) signaling was critical for hypertensive angiotensin II (ANG II)-induced cardiomyocyte apoptosis. However, the detailed mechanism by which ANG II regulates IGF-IIR in heart cells remains elusive. In this study, we found that ANG II activated its downstream kinase JNK to increase IGF-IIR expression through the ANG II receptor angiotensin type 1 receptor. JNK activation subsequently led to sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) degradation via the proteasome, thus preventing SIRT1 from deacetylating heat-shock transcription factor 1 (HSF1). The resulting increase in the acetylation of HSF1 impaired its ability to bind to the IGF-IIR promoter region (nt −748 to −585). HSF1 protected cardiomyocytes by acting as a repressor of IGF-IIR gene expression, and ANG II diminished this HSF1-mediated repression through enhanced acetylation, thus activating the IGF-IIR apoptosis pathway. Taken together, these results suggest that HSF1 represses IGF-IIR gene expression to protect cardiomyocytes. ANG II activates JNK to degrade SIRT1, resulting in HSF1 acetylation, which induces IGF-IIR expression and eventually results in cardiac hypertrophy and apoptosis. HSF1 could be a valuable target for developing treatments for cardiac diseases in hypertensive patients.
PMCID: PMC4085534  PMID: 24786827
2.  Genomewide Study of Salivary MicroRNAs for Detection of Oral Cancer 
Journal of Dental Research  2014;93(7 Suppl):86S-93S.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) in human saliva have recently demonstrated to be potential biomarkers for diagnosis purposes. However, lack of well-characterized/matched clinical groups and lack of suitable endogenous control (EC) for salivary extracellular miRNA detection and normalization are among the restrictions of applying salivary-based miRNA biomarker discovery. In the present study, we examined the differential expression pattern of miRNAs among 4 groups of subjects—including patients with oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC), patients with OSCC in remission (OSCC-R), patients with oral lichen planus, and healthy controls (HCs)—using a genomewide high-throughput miRNA microarray. First, we systematically screened 10 pooling samples and 34 individual samples of different groups to find a proper EC miRNA. We then investigated the genomewide expression patterns of differentially expressed miRNAs in saliva of different groups using NanoString nCounter miRNA expression assay and real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction, followed by construction of receiver operating characteristic curves to determine the sensitivity and specificity of the assay. We identified miRNA-191 as a suitable EC miRNA with minimal intergroup and intragroup variability, and we used it for normalization. Of more than 700 miRNAs tested, 13 were identified as being significantly deregulated in saliva of OSCC patients compared to HCs: 11 miRNAs were underexpressed (miRNA-136, miRNA-147, miRNA-1250, miRNA-148a, miRNA-632, miRNA-646, miRNA668, miRNA-877, miRNA-503, miRNA-220a, miRNA-323-5p), and 2 miRNAs were overexpressed (miRNA-24, miRNA-27b). MiRNA-136 was underexpressed in both OSCC vs. HCs and OSCC vs. OSCC-R. MiRNA-27b levels were significantly higher in OSCC patients compared to those found in HCs, patients with OSCC-R, and patients with oral lichen planus and served as a characteristic biomarker of OSCC. Receiver operating characteristic curve analyses showed that miRNA-27b could be a valuable biomarker for distinguishing OSCC patients from the other groups. Our novel findings established a reliable EC miRNA for salivary-based diagnostic and indicate that the salivary miRNA profiles are discriminatory in OSCC patients.
PMCID: PMC4107544  PMID: 24718111
saliva; microRNA-27a; human; biomarker; squamous cell carcinoma; microRNA-191
3.  Participation of c-FLIP in NLRP3 and AIM2 inflammasome activation 
Cell Death and Differentiation  2013;21(3):451-461.
Cellular FLICE-inhibitory protein (c-FLIP) is an inhibitor of caspase-8 and is required for macrophage survival. Recent studies have revealed a selective role of caspase-8 in noncanonical IL-1β production that is independent of caspase-1 or inflammasome. Here we demonstrated that c-FLIPL is an unexpected contributor to canonical inflammasome activation for the generation of caspase-1 and active IL-1β. Hemizygotic deletion of c-FLIP impaired ATP- and monosodium uric acid (MSU)-induced IL-1β production in macrophages primed through Toll-like receptors (TLRs). Decreased IL-1β expression was attributed to a reduced activation of caspase-1 in c-FLIP hemizygotic cells. In contrast, the production of TNF-α was not affected by downregulation in c-FLIP. c-FLIPL interacted with NLRP3 or procaspase-1. c-FLIP is required for the full NLRP3 inflammasome assembly and NLRP3 mitochondrial localization, and c-FLIP is associated with NLRP3 inflammasome. c-FLIP downregulation also reduced AIM2 inflammasome activation. In contrast, c-FLIP inhibited SMAC mimetic-, FasL-, or Dectin-1-induced IL-1β generation that is caspase-8-mediated. Our results demonstrate a prominent role of c-FLIPL in the optimal activation of the NLRP3 and AIM2 inflammasomes, and suggest that c-FLIP could be a valid target for treatment of inflammatory diseases caused by over-activation of inflammasomes.
PMCID: PMC3921593  PMID: 24270411
c-FLIP; inflammasome; IL-1β; caspase-1; caspase-8; macrophages
4.  Protogenin prevents premature apoptosis of rostral cephalic neural crest cells by activating the α5β1-integrin 
Cell Death & Disease  2013;4(6):e651-.
The bones and connective tissues of the murine jaws and skull are partly derived from cephalic neural crest cells (CNCCs). Here, we report that mice deficient of protogenin (Prtg) protein, an immunoglobulin domain-containing receptor expressed in the developing nervous system, have impairments of the palatine and skull. Data from lineage tracing experiments, expression patterns of neural crest cell (NCC) marker genes and detection of apoptotic cells indicate that the malformation of bones in Prtg-deficient mice is due to increased apoptosis of rostral CNCCs (R-CNCCs). Using a yeast two-hybrid screening, we found that Prtg interacts with Radil, a protein previously shown to affect the migration and survival of NCCs in zebrafish with unknown mechanism. Overexpression of Prtg induces translocation of Radil from cytoplasm to cell membrane in cultured AD293 cells. In addition, overexpression of Prtg and Radil activates α5β1-integrins to high-affinity conformational forms, which is further enhanced by the addition of Prtg ligand ERdj3 into cultured cells. Blockage of Radil by RNA interference abolishes the effect of ERdj3 and Prtg on the α5β1-integrin, suggesting that Radil acts downstream of Prtg. Prtg-deficient R-CNCCs display fewer activated α5β1-integrins in embryos, and these cells show reduced migratory ability in in vitro transwell assay. These results suggest that the inside-out activation of the α5β1-integrin mediated by ERdj3/Prtg/Radil signaling is crucial for proper functions of R-CNCCs, and the deficiency of this pathway causes premature apoptosis of a subset of R-CNCCs and malformation of craniofacial structures.
PMCID: PMC3698544  PMID: 23744351
Radil; branchial arches; bone formation; integrin
5.  Resistance to hypoxia-induced necroptosis is conferred by glycolytic pyruvate scavenging of mitochondrial superoxide in colorectal cancer cells 
Cell Death & Disease  2013;4(5):e622-.
Cancer cells may survive under oxygen and nutrient deprivation by metabolic reprogramming for high levels of anaerobic glycolysis, which contributes to tumor growth and drug resistance. Abnormally expressed glucose transporters (GLUTs) are colocalized with hypoxia (Hx) inducible factor (HIF)1α in peri-necrotic regions in human colorectal carcinoma. However, the underlying mechanisms of anti-necrotic resistance conferred by glucose metabolism in hypoxic cancer cells remain poorly understood. Our aim was to investigate signaling pathways of Hx-induced necroptosis and explore the role of glucose pyruvate metabolite in mechanisms of death resistance. Human colorectal carcinoma cells were Hx exposed with or without glucose, and cell necroptosis was examined by receptor-interacting protein (RIP)1/3 kinase immunoprecipitation and 32P kinase assays. Our results showed increased RIP1/3 complex formation and phosphorylation in hypoxic, but not normoxic cells in glucose-free media. Blocking RIP1 signaling, by necrostatin-1 or gene silencing, decreased lactodehydrogenase (LDH) leakage and plasma membrane disintegration. Generation of mitochondrial superoxide was noted after hypoxic challenge; its reduction by antioxidants inhibited RIP signaling and cell necrosis. Supplementation of glucose diminished the RIP-dependent LDH leakage and morphological damage in hypoxic cells, whereas non-metabolizable sugar analogs did not. Hypoxic cells given glucose showed nuclear translocation of HIF1α associated with upregulation of GLUT-1 and GLUT-4 expression, as well as increase of intracellular ATP, pyruvate and lactate levels. The glucose-mediated death resistance was ablated by iodoacetate (an inhibitor to glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase), but not by UK5099 (an inhibitor to mitochondrial pyruvate carrier), suggesting that glycolytic pathway was involved in anti-necrotic mechanism. Lastly, replacing glucose with cell-permeable pyruvate derivative also led to decrease of Hx-induced necroptosis by suppression of mitochondrial superoxide in an energy-independent manner. In conclusion, glycolytic metabolism confers resistance to RIP-dependent necroptosis in hypoxic cancer cells partly through pyruvate scavenging of mitochondrial free radicals.
PMCID: PMC3674358  PMID: 23640464
receptor-interacting protein kinase; necrotic death; mitochondrial dysfunction; hypoxic stress; glucose metabolism
6.  LARG at chromosome 11q23 has functional characteristics of a tumor suppressor in human breast and colorectal cancer 
Oncogene  2009;28(47):4189-4200.
Deletion of 11q23–q24 is frequent in a diverse variety of malignancies, including breast and colorectal carcinoma, implicating the presence of a tumor suppressor gene at that chromosomal region. We examined a 6-Mb region on 11q23 by high-resolution deletion mapping, using both loss of heterozygosity analysis and customized microarray comparative genomic hybridization. LARG (leukemia-associated Rho guanine-nucleotide exchange factor) (also called ARHGEF12), identified from the analysed region, is frequently underexpressed in breast and colorectal carcinomas with a reduced expression observed in all breast cancer cell lines (n=11), in 12 of 38 (32%) primary breast cancers, 5 of 10 (50%) colorectal cell lines and in 20 of 37 (54%) primary colorectal cancers. Underexpression of the LARG transcript was significantly associated with genomic loss (P=0.00334). Hypermethylation of the LARG promoter was not detected in either breast or colorectal cancer, and treatment of four breast and four colorectal cancer cell lines with 5-aza-2′-deoxycytidine and/or trichostatin A did not result in a reactivation of LARG. Enforced expression of LARG in breast and colorectal cancer cells by stable transfection resulted in reduced cell proliferation and colony formation, as well as in a markedly slower cell migration rate in colorectal cancer cells, providing functional evidence for LARG as a candidate tumor suppressor gene.
PMCID: PMC2844776  PMID: 19734946
LARG; tumor suppressor; breast cancer; colorectal cancer
7.  Cumulative survival in early-onset unilateral and bilateral breast cancer: an analysis of 1907 Taiwanese women 
British Journal of Cancer  2009;100(4):563-570.
As the epidemiological pattern of breast cancer in modernising Asian countries differs greatly from that in Western countries, it is worthwhile to investigate the long-term prognoses of unilateral and bilateral breast cancer in these nations. A retrospective cohort study composed of 1907 Taiwanese women was conducted to follow 1863 unilateral and 44 bilateral cases of breast cancer. Time-dependent Cox regression was used to assess the risk of breast cancer death by considering the time course of unilateral and bilateral tumour development. The 15-year survival rates were 68.37, 62.63, and 26.42% for unilateral, synchronous bilateral, and metachronous bilateral breast cancer, respectively. Differences among types were most apparent after 5 years of follow-up. After adjusting for significant prognostic factors, the risk of death for overall bilateral breast cancer was 2.50-fold greater (95% CI, 1.43–4.37) compared to unilateral breast cancer. The corresponding figures were 1.12-fold (95% CI, 0.42–3.02) and 6.11-fold (95% CI, 3.14–11.89) for synchronous and metachronous bilateral breast cancer, respectively. Taiwanese women, who are frequently diagnosed with breast cancer before 50 years of age, showed poorer survival for metachronous bilateral than for synchronous bilateral or unilateral breast cancer. Survival was markedly poorer compared to recent data from Sweden.
PMCID: PMC2653740  PMID: 19190627
bilateral breast cancer; metachronous breast cancer; survival; synchronous breast cancer; early-onset breast cancer
10.  Differentiation of central nervous system neuronal cells by fibroblast-derived growth factor requires at least two signaling pathways: roles for Ras and Src. 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  1997;17(8):4633-4643.
To evaluate the role of mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase and other signaling pathways in neuronal cell differentiation by basic fibroblast-derived growth factor (bFGF), we used a conditionally immortalized cell line from rat hippocampal neurons (H19-7). Previous studies have shown that activation of MAP kinase kinase (MEK) is insufficient to induce neuronal differentiation of H19-7 cells. To test the requirement for MEK and MAP kinase (ERK1 and ERK2), H19-7 cells were treated with the MEK inhibitor PD098059. Although the MEK inhibitor blocked the induction of differentiation by constitutively activated Raf, the H19-7 cells still underwent differentiation by bFGF. These results suggest that an alternative pathway is utilized by bFGF for differentiation of the hippocampal neuronal cells. Expression in the H19-7 cells of a dominant-negative Ras (N17-Ras) or Raf (C4-Raf) blocked differentiation by bFGF, suggesting that Ras and probably Raf are required. Expression of dominant-negative Src (pcSrc295Arg) or microinjection of an anti-Src antibody blocked differentiation by bFGF in H19-7 cells, indicating that bFGF also signals through a Src kinase-mediated pathway. Although neither constitutively activated MEK (MEK-2E) nor v-Src was sufficient individually to differentiate the H19-7 cells, coexpression of constitutively activated MEK and v-Src induced neurite outgrowth. These results suggest that (i) activation of MAP kinase (ERK1 and ERK2) is neither necessary nor sufficient for differentiation by bFGF; (ii) activation of Src kinases is necessary but not sufficient for differentiation by bFGF; and (iii) differentiation of H19-7 neuronal cells by bFGF requires at least two signaling pathways activated by Ras and Src.
PMCID: PMC232316  PMID: 9234720
11.  Conserved structure and adjacent location of the thrombin receptor and protease-activated receptor 2 genes define a protease-activated receptor gene cluster. 
Molecular Medicine  1996;2(3):349-357.
BACKGROUND: Thrombin is a serine protease that elicits a variety of cellular responses. Molecular cloning of a thrombin receptor revealed a G protein-coupled receptor that is activated by a novel proteolytic mechanism. Recently, a second protease-activated receptor was discovered and dubbed PAR2. PAR2 is highly related to the thrombin receptor by sequence and, like the thrombin receptor, is activated by cleavage of its amino terminal exodomain. Also like the thrombin receptor, PAR2 can be activated by the hexapeptide corresponding to its tethered ligand sequence independent of receptor cleavage. Thus, functionally, the thrombin receptor and PAR2 constitute a fledgling receptor family that shares a novel proteolytic activation mechanism. To further explore the relatedness of the two known protease-activated receptors and to examine the possibility that a protease-activated gene cluster might exist, we have compared the structure and chromosomal locations of the thrombin receptor and PAR2 genes. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The genomic structures of the two protease-activated receptor genes were determined by analysis of lambda phage, P1 bacteriophage, and bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) genomic clones. Chromosomal location was determined with fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) on metaphase chromosomes, and the relative distance separating the two genes was evaluated both by means of two-color FISH and analysis of YACs and BACs containing both genes. RESULTS: Analysis of genomic clones revealed that the two protease-activated receptor genes share a two-exon genomic structure in which the first exon encodes 5'-untranslated sequence and signal peptide, and the second exon encodes the mature receptor protein and 3'-untranslated sequence. The two receptor genes also share a common locus with the two human genes located at 5q13 and the two mouse genes at 13D2, a syntenic region of the mouse genome. These techniques also suggest that the physical distance separating these two genes is less than 100 kb. CONCLUSIONS: The fact that the thrombin receptor and PAR2 genes share an identical structure and are located within approximately 100 kb of each other in the genome demonstrates that these genes arose from a gene duplication event. These results define a new protease-activated receptor gene cluster in which new family members may be found.
PMCID: PMC2230143  PMID: 8784787
12.  Identification of novel cry-type genes from Bacillus thuringiensis strains on the basis of restriction fragment length polymorphism of the PCR-amplified DNA. 
Two pairs of universal oligonucleotide primers were designed to probe the most conserved regions of all known cryI-type gene sequences so that the amplified PCR fragments of the DNA template from Bacillus thuringiensis strains may contain all possible cryI-type gene sequences. The restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) patterns of the PCR-amplified fragments revealed that 14 distinct cry-type genes have been identified from 20 B. thuringiensis strains. Those cry-type genes included cryIA(a), cryIA(a), cryIA(b), cryIA(b), cryIA(c), cryIB, cryIC, cryIC, cryIC(b), cryID, cryIE, cryIF, cryIF, and cryIII (a dagger at the end of a gene designation indicates a novel cry-type gene determined by restriction mapping or DNA sequences). Among them, the sequences of cryIA(a), cryIA(b), cryIB, cryIC, cryIF, and cryIII were found to be different from the corresponding published cry gene sequences. Interestingly, five cry-type genes [cryIA(a)-, cryIB-, cryIC-, cryIC(b)-, and cryIF-type genes] and seven cry-type genes [cryIA(a)-, cryIA(b)-, cryIB-, cryIC-, cryIC(b)-, cryIF-, and cryIII-type genes] have been detected from B. thuringiensis subsp. morrisoni HD-12 and B. thuringiensis subsp. wuhanensis, respectively. Therefore, the PCR-RFLP typing system is a facile method to detect both known and novel cry genes existing in B. thuringiensis strains.
PMCID: PMC167904  PMID: 8919799
13.  Raf, but not MEK or ERK, is sufficient for differentiation of hippocampal neuronal cells. 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  1996;16(4):1458-1470.
To elucidate signal transduction pathways leading to neuronal differentiation, we have investigated a conditionally immortalized cell line from rat hippocampal neurons (H19-7) that express a temperature sensitive simian virus 40 large T antigen. Treatment of H19-7 cells with the differentiating agent basic fibroblast growth factor at 39 degrees C, the nonpermissive temperature for T function, resulted in the activation of c-Raf-1, MEK, and mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinases (ERK1 and -2). To evaluate the role of Raf-1 in neuronal cell differentiation, we stably transfected H19-7 cells with v-raf or an oncogenic human Raf-1-estrogen receptor fusion gene (deltaRaf-1:ER). deltaRaf-1:ER transfectants in the presence of estradiol for 1 to 2 days expressed a differentiation phenotype only at the nonpermissive temperature. However, extended exposure of the deltaRaf-1:ER transfectants to estradiol or stable expression of the v-raf construct yielded cells that extended processes at the permissive as well as the nonpermissive temperature, suggesting that cells expressing the large T antigen are capable of responding to the Raf differentiation signal. deltaRaf-1:ER, MEK, and MAP kinase activities in the deltaRaf-1:ER cells were elevated constitutively for up to 36 h of estradiol treatment at the permissive temperature. At the nonpermissive temperature, MEK and ERKs were activated to a significantly lesser extent, suggesting that prolonged MAP kinase activation may not be sufficient for differentiation. To test this possibility, H19-7 cells were transfected or microinjected with constitutively activated MEK. The results indicate that prolonged activation of MEK or MAP kinases (ERK1 and -2) is not sufficient for differentiation of H19-7 neuronal cells and raise the possibility that an alternative signaling pathway is required for differentiation of H19-7 cells by Raf.
PMCID: PMC231130  PMID: 8657119
14.  A transcriptionally defective long terminal repeat within an endogenous copy of mouse mammary tumor virus proviral DNA. 
Journal of Virology  1988;62(7):2394-2402.
Mouse mammary tumor virus proviral DNA is endogenous to most inbred strains of mice but in many strains is not transcriptionally active. This inactivity may be due to defects in the proviruses themselves or to position effects mediated by DNA sequences flanking the proviral units. The transcriptional competence of long terminal repeats (LTRs) derived from endogenous proviral DNA at genetic loci Mtv-8, Mtv-9, and Mtv-17 of the C57BL/6 mouse strain was examined with a transient transfection assay in which gene expression was monitored by expression of chloramphenicol acetyltransferase. LTRs from Mtv-8 and Mtv-9 were able to direct glucocorticoid-induced chloramphenicol acetyltransferase expression in this assay, while the LTR from Mtv-17 was only about 5% as effective. Analysis of chimeric LTRs indicated that the glucocorticoid-inducible transcriptional enhancer element within the Mtv-17 LTR is active when linked to a functional promoter from Mtv-8, whereas the promoter from Mtv-17 is defective in directing hormone-induced gene expression, even when linked to the Mtv-8 glucocorticoid-responsive enhancer. The DNA sequence of transcriptional control regions of the LTRs of all three endogenous proviral units was determined; this analysis revealed that the source of the defect in Mtv-17 is a single G-to-A transition at position-75 with respect to the site of transcription initiation that resides within the previously defined binding site for the transcription factor nuclear factor 1. Competition experiments with a gel electrophoresis mobility shift assay indicated that the affinity of nuclear factor 1 for DNA derived from Mtv-17 is significantly less than for comparable sequences derived from Mtv-8.
PMCID: PMC253397  PMID: 2836622
15.  MicroRNA-149 targets GIT1 to suppress integrin signaling and breast cancer metastasis 
Oncogene  2014;33(36):4496-4507.
Metastasis is the predominant cause of death in breast cancer patients. Several lines of evidence have shown that microRNAs (miRs) can have an important role in cancer metastasis. Using isogenic pairs of low and high metastatic lines derived from a human breast cancer line, we have identified miR-149 to be a suppressor of breast cancer cell invasion and metastasis. We also identified GIT1 (G-protein-coupled receptor kinase-interacting protein 1) as a direct target of miR-149. Knockdown of GIT1 reduced migration/invasion and metastasis of highly invasive cells. Re-expression of GIT1 significantly rescued miR-149-mediated inhibition of cell migration/invasion and metastasis. Expression of miR-149 impaired fibronectin-induced focal adhesion formation and reduced phosphorylation of focal adhesion kinase and paxillin, which could be restored by re-expression of GIT1. Inhibition of GIT1 led to enhanced protein degradation of paxillin and α5β1 integrin via proteasome and lysosome pathways, respectively. Moreover, we found that GIT1 depletion in metastatic breast cancer cells greatly reduced α5β1-integrin-mediated cell adhesion to fibronectin and collagen. Low level of miR-149 and high level of GIT1 was significantly associated with advanced stages of breast cancer, as well as with lymph node metastasis. We conclude that miR-149 suppresses breast cancer cell migration/invasion and metastasis by targeting GIT1, suggesting potential applications of the miR-149-GIT1 pathway in clinical diagnosis and therapeutics.
PMCID: PMC4155808  PMID: 24608434

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