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author:("Lu, lifing")
1.  Chemical genetics approach to restoring p27Kip1 reveals novel compounds with antiproliferative activity in prostate cancer cells 
BMC Biology  2010;8:153.
Background
The cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) inhibitor p27Kip1 is downregulated in a majority of human cancers due to ectopic proteolysis by the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway. The expression of p27 is subject to multiple mechanisms of control involving several transcription factors, kinase pathways and at least three different ubiquitin ligases (SCFSKP2, KPC, Pirh2), which regulate p27 transcription, translation, protein stability and subcellular localization. Using a chemical genetics approach, we have asked whether this control network can be modulated by small molecules such that p27 protein expression is restored in cancer cells.
Results
We developed a cell-based assay for measuring the levels of endogenous nuclear p27 in a high throughput screening format employing LNCaP prostate cancer cells engineered to overexpress SKP2. The assay platform was optimized to Z' factors of 0.48 - 0.6 and piloted by screening a total of 7368 chemical compounds. During the course of this work, we discovered two small molecules of previously unknown biological activity, SMIP001 and SMIP004, which increase the nuclear level of p27 at low micromolar concentrations. SMIPs (small molecule inhibitors of p27 depletion) also upregulate p21Cip1, inhibit cellular CDK2 activity, induce G1 delay, inhibit colony formation in soft agar and exhibit preferential cytotoxicity in LNCaP cells relative to normal human fibroblasts. Unlike SMIP001, SMIP004 was found to downregulate SKP2 and to stabilize p27, although neither SMIP is a proteasome inhibitor. Whereas the screening endpoint - nuclear p27 - was robustly modulated by the compounds, SMIP-mediated cell cycle arrest and apoptosis were not strictly dependent on p27 and p21 - a finding that is explained by parallel inhibitory effects of SMIPs on positive cell cycle regulators, including cyclins E and A, and CDK4.
Conclusions
Our data provide proof-of-principle that the screening platform we developed, using endogenous nuclear p27 as an endpoint, presents an effective means of identifying bioactive molecules with cancer selective antiproliferative activity. This approach, when applied to larger and more diverse sets of compounds with refined drug-like properties, bears the potential of revealing both unknown cellular pathways globally impinging on p27 and novel leads for chemotherapeutics targeting a prominent molecular defect of human cancers.
doi:10.1186/1741-7007-8-153
PMCID: PMC3025922  PMID: 21182779
2.  NSPc1 is a cell growth regulator that acts as a transcriptional repressor of p21Waf1/Cip1 via the RARE element 
Nucleic Acids Research  2006;34(21):6158-6169.
The mammalian polycomb group proteins play an important role in cell cycle control and tumorigenesis. Nervous system polycomb 1 (NSPc1) is a newly identified transcription repressor, highly homologous with PcG protein Bmi-1. In this article, we showed that NSPc1 could promote tumor cell cycle progression and cell proliferation. Semi-quantitative RT–PCR showed that NSPc1 did not affect the expression levels of most Cyclin-depentent kinases (CDK) inhibitors except for p21Waf1/Cip1. Repression activity assays, chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) and DNA pulldown assays all verified that NSPc1 represses the expression of p21Waf1/Cip1 by binding to the (−1357 to −1083) region of the p21Waf1/Cip1 promoter in vivo, and the repression effect is dependent on the retinoid acid response element (RARE element) within the above region of the p21Waf1/Cip1 promoter. Further analysis showed that NSPc1 could compete the RARE element site with RA receptors both in vitro and in vivo. Taken together, our results support the hypothesis that NSPc1 has a positive role in tumor cell growth by down-regulating p21Waf1/Cip1 via the RARE element, which directly connects transcriptional repression of PcGs to CDKIs and RA signaling pathways.
doi:10.1093/nar/gkl834
PMCID: PMC1693893  PMID: 17088287
3.  The F-box protein SKP2 mediates androgen control of p27 stability in LNCaP human prostate cancer cells 
BMC Cell Biology  2002;3:22.
Background
The cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p27 is a putative tumor suppressor that is downregulated in the majority of human prostate cancers. The mechanism of p27 down-regulation in prostate cancers in unknown, but presumably involves increased proteolysis mediated by the SCFSKP2 ubiquitin ligase complex. Here we used the human prostate cancer cell line LNCaP, which undergoes G1 cell cycle arrest in response to androgen, to examine the role of the SKP2 F-box protein in p27 regulation in prostate cancer.
Results
We show that androgen-induced G1 cell cycle arrest of LNCaP cells coincides with inhibition of cyclin-dependent kinase 2 activity and p27 accumulation caused by reduced p27 ubiquitylation activity. At the same time, androgen decreased expression of SKP2, but did not affect other components of SCFSKP2. Adenovirus-mediated overexpression of SKP2 led to ectopic down-regulation of p27 in asynchronous cells. Furthermore, SKP2 overexpression was sufficient to overcome p27 accumulation in androgen arrested cells by stimulating cellular p27 ubiquitylation activity. This resulted in transient activation of CDK2 activity, but was insufficient to override the androgen-induced G1 block.
Conclusions
Our studies suggest that SKP2 is a major determinant of p27 levels in human prostate cancer cells. Based on our in vitro studies, we suggest that overexpression of SKP2 may be one of the mechanisms that allow prostate cancer cells to escape growth control mediated by p27. Consequently, the SKP2 pathway may be a suitable target for novel prostate cancer therapies.
doi:10.1186/1471-2121-3-22
PMCID: PMC122093  PMID: 12188931

Results 1-3 (3)