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author:("silvia, Mark")
1.  Melanoma Brain Metastasis: Mechanisms, Models, and Medicine 
The development of brain metastases in patients with advanced stage melanoma is common, but the molecular mechanisms responsible for their development are poorly understood. Melanoma brain metastases cause significant morbidity and mortality and confer a poor prognosis; traditional therapies including whole brain radiation, stereotactic radiotherapy, or chemotherapy yield only modest increases in overall survival (OS) for these patients. While recently approved therapies have significantly improved OS in melanoma patients, only a small number of studies have investigated their efficacy in patients with brain metastases. Preliminary data suggest that some responses have been observed in intracranial lesions, which has sparked new clinical trials designed to evaluate the efficacy in melanoma patients with brain metastases. Simultaneously, recent advances in our understanding of the mechanisms of melanoma cell dissemination to the brain have revealed novel and potentially therapeutic targets. In this review, we provide an overview of newly discovered mechanisms of melanoma spread to the brain, discuss preclinical models that are being used to further our understanding of this deadly disease and provide an update of the current clinical trials for melanoma patients with brain metastases.
PMCID: PMC5037746  PMID: 27598148
melanoma; brain metastases; mechanisms; models; clinical trials
2.  ERG activates the YAP1 transcriptional program and induces the development of age-related prostate tumors 
Cancer cell  2015;27(6):797-808.
Significance of ERG in human prostate cancer is unclear because mouse prostate is resistant to ERG-mediated transformation. We determined that ERG activates the transcriptional program regulated by YAP1 of the Hippo signaling pathway and found that prostate-specific activation of either ERG or YAP1 in mice induces similar transcriptional changes and results in age-related prostate tumors. ERG binds to chromatin regions occupied by TEAD/YAP1 and transactivates Hippo target genes. In addition, in human luminal type prostate cancer cells, ERG binds to the promoter of YAP1 and is necessary for YAP1 expression. These results provide direct genetic evidence of a causal role for ERG in prostate cancer and reveal a connection between ERG and the Hippo signaling pathway.
PMCID: PMC4461839  PMID: 26058078
3.  α-catenin is a tumor suppressor that controls cell accumulation by regulating the localization and activity of the transcriptional coactivator Yap1 
Science Signaling  2011;4(174):ra33.
The Hippo pathway regulates contact inhibition of cell proliferation and, ultimately, organ size in diverse multicellular organisms. Inactivation of the Hippo pathway promotes nuclear localization of the transcriptional coactivator Yap1, a Hippo pathway effector, and can cause cancer. Here, we show that deletion of αE-catenin in the hair follicle stem cell compartment resulted in the development of skin squamous cell carcinoma in mice. Tumor formation was accelerated by simultaneous deletion of αE-catenin and the tumor suppressor-encoding gene p53. An siRNA screen revealed a functional connection between αE-catenin and Yap1. By interacting with Yap1, αE-catenin promoted its cytoplasmic localization, and Yap1 showed constitutive nuclear localization in αE-catenin-null cells. We also found an inverse correlation between αE-catenin abundance and Yap1 activation in human squamous cell carcinoma tumors. These findings identify αE-catenin as a tumor suppressor that inhibits Yap1 activity and sequesters it in the cytoplasm.
PMCID: PMC3366274  PMID: 21610251
4.  Rab11b Regulates the Apical Recycling of the Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator in Polarized Intestinal Epithelial Cells 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2009;20(8):2337-2350.
The cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR), a cAMP/PKA-activated anion channel, undergoes efficient apical recycling in polarized epithelia. The regulatory mechanisms underlying CFTR recycling are understood poorly, yet this process is required for proper channel copy number at the apical membrane, and it is defective in the common CFTR mutant, ΔF508. Herein, we investigated the function of Rab11 isoforms in regulating CFTR trafficking in T84 cells, a colonic epithelial line that expresses CFTR endogenously. Western blotting of immunoisolated Rab11a or Rab11b vesicles revealed localization of endogenous CFTR within both compartments. CFTR function assays performed on T84 cells expressing the Rab11a or Rab11b GDP-locked S25N mutants demonstrated that only the Rab11b mutant inhibited 80% of the cAMP-activated halide efflux and that only the constitutively active Rab11b-Q70L increased the rate constant for stimulated halide efflux. Similarly, RNAi knockdown of Rab11b, but not Rab11a, reduced by 50% the CFTR-mediated anion conductance response. In polarized T84 monolayers, adenoviral expression of Rab11b-S25N resulted in a 70% inhibition of forskolin-stimulated transepithelial anion secretion and a 50% decrease in apical membrane CFTR as assessed by cell surface biotinylation. Biotin protection assays revealed a robust inhibition of CFTR recycling in polarized T84 cells expressing Rab11b-S25N, demonstrating the selective requirement for the Rab11b isoform. This is the first report detailing apical CFTR recycling in a native expression system and to demonstrate that Rab11b regulates apical recycling in polarized epithelial cells.
PMCID: PMC2669039  PMID: 19244346
5.  Exocyst Requirement for Endocytic Traffic Directed Toward the Apical and Basolateral Poles of Polarized MDCK Cells 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2007;18(10):3978-3992.
The octameric exocyst complex is associated with the junctional complex and recycling endosomes and is proposed to selectively tether cargo vesicles directed toward the basolateral surface of polarized Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells. We observed that the exocyst subunits Sec6, Sec8, and Exo70 were localized to early endosomes, transferrin-positive common recycling endosomes, and Rab11a-positive apical recycling endosomes of polarized MDCK cells. Consistent with its localization to multiple populations of endosomes, addition of function-blocking Sec8 antibodies to streptolysin-O–permeabilized cells revealed exocyst requirements for several endocytic pathways including basolateral recycling, apical recycling, and basolateral-to-apical transcytosis. The latter was selectively dependent on interactions between the small GTPase Rab11a and Sec15A and was inhibited by expression of the C-terminus of Sec15A or down-regulation of Sec15A expression using shRNA. These results indicate that the exocyst complex may be a multipurpose regulator of endocytic traffic directed toward both poles of polarized epithelial cells and that transcytotic traffic is likely to require Rab11a-dependent recruitment and modulation of exocyst function, likely through interactions with Sec15A.
PMCID: PMC1995710  PMID: 17686995
6.  Endocytic Trafficking of CFTR in Health and Disease 
The cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) is a Cl-selective anion channel expressed in epithelial tissues. Mutations in CFTR lead to the debilitating genetic disease cystic fibrosis (CF). Within each epithelial cell, CFTR interacts with a large number of transient macromolecular complexes, many of which are involved in the trafficking and targeting of CFTR. Understanding how these complexes regulate the trafficking and fate of CFTR, provides a singular insight not only into the patho-physiology of cystic fibrosis, but also provides potential drug targets to help cure this debilitating disease.
PMCID: PMC1964799  PMID: 17098482

Results 1-6 (6)