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1.  Correlations between Transmembrane 4 L6 Family Member 5 (TM4SF5), CD151, and CD63 in Liver Fibrotic Phenotypes and Hepatic Migration and Invasive Capacities 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e102817.
Transmembrane 4 L6 family member 5 (TM4SF5) is overexpressed during CCl4-mediated murine liver fibrosis and in human hepatocellular carcinomas. The tetraspanins form tetraspanin-enriched microdomains (TEMs) consisting of large membrane protein complexes on the cell surface. Thus, TM4SF5 may be involved in the signal coordination that controls liver malignancy. We investigated the relationship between TM4SF5-positive TEMs with liver fibrosis and tumorigenesis, using normal Chang hepatocytes that lack TM4SF5 expression and chronically TGFβ1-treated Chang cells that express TM4SF5. TM4SF5 expression is positively correlated with tumorigenic CD151 expression, but is negatively correlated with tumor-suppressive CD63 expression in mouse fibrotic and human hepatic carcinoma tissues, indicating cooperative roles of the tetraspanins in liver malignancies. Although CD151 did not control the expression of TM4SF5, TM4SF5 appeared to control the expression levels of CD151 and CD63. TM4SF5 interacted with CD151, and caused the internalization of CD63 from the cell surface into late lysosomal membranes, presumably leading to terminating the tumor-suppressive functions of CD63. TM4SF5 could overcome the tumorigenic effects of CD151, especially cell migration and extracellular matrix (ECM)-degradation. Taken together, TM4SF5 appears to play a role in liver malignancy by controlling the levels of tetraspanins on the cell surface, and could provide a promising therapeutic target for the treatment of liver malignancies.
PMCID: PMC4102591  PMID: 25033048
2.  Chronic Non-Social Stress Affects Depressive Behaviors But Not Anxiety in Mice 
The etiology of most psychiatric disorders is still incompletely understood. However, growing evidence suggests that stress is a potent environmental risk factor for depression and anxiety. In rodents, various stress paradigms have been developed, but psychosocial stress paradigms have received more attention than non-social stress paradigms because psychosocial stress is more prevalent in humans. Interestingly, some recent studies suggest that chronic psychosocial stress and social isolation affects mainly anxiety-related behaviors in mice. However, it is unclear whether chronic non-social stress induces both depression- and anxiety-related phenotypes or induces one specific phenotype in mice. In the present study, we examined the behavioral consequences of three chronic non-social stress paradigms: chronic predictable (restraint) stress (CPS), chronic unpredictable stress (CUS), and repeated corticosterone-HBC complex injection (RCI). Each of the three paradigms induced mild to severe depression/despair-like behaviors in mice and resulted in increased immobility in a tail suspension test. However, anxiety-related phenotypes, thigmotaxis and explorative behaviors, were not changed by the three paradigms. These results suggest that depression- and anxiety-related phenotypes can be dissociated in mouse stress models and that social and non-social stressors might affect brain circuits and behaviors differently.
PMCID: PMC4071180  PMID: 24976767
Anxiety; Chronic non-social stress; Depression; Open field test; Tail suspension test
3.  Relative Antioxidant Activities of Quercetin and Its Structurally Related Substances and Their Effects on NF-κB/CRE/AP-1 Signaling in Murine Macrophages 
Molecules and Cells  2013;35(5):410-420.
Reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reactive nitrogen species (RNS) produced by the oxidative burst in activated macrophages and neutrophils cause oxidative stress-implicated diseases. Quercetin is flavonoid that occurs naturally in plants and is widely used as a nutritional supplement due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. In this study, we investigated antioxidant activities and mechanisms of action in zymosan-induced macrophages of quercetin and quercetin-related flavonoids such as quercitrin, isoquercitrin, quercetin 3-O-β-(2″-galloyl)-rhamnopyranoside (QGR) and quercetin 3-O-β-(2″-galloyl)-glucopyranoside (QGG) as well as gallic acid, a building moiety of QGR and QGG. QGR and QGG exhibited stronger antioxidant activities compared with quercetin, whereas quercitrin, isoquercitrin and gallic acid exhibited weak-to-no antioxidant activities, assessed by 2,2-diphenyl-1-picryl-hydrazyl (DPPH) radical scavenging, superoxide production, superoxide scavenging, nitric oxide (NO) production, peroxynitrite (ONOO−) scavenging and myeloperoxidase (MPO) activity. Regarding mechanisms, the quercetin-containing flavonoids QGR and QGG differentially targeted compared with quercetin in the NF-κB signaling pathway that inhibited the DNA binding activity of the NF-κB complex without affecting the degradation and phosphorylation of IκBα and NF-κB phosphorylation. In addition, QGR and QGG inhibited CRE and activator protein (AP-1) transcriptional activity and JNK phosphorylation by inhibiting the cAMP/protein kinase A (PKA) and protein kinase C (PKC) signaling in a different manner than quercetin. Our results showed that although QGR and QGG exhibited stronger antioxidant activities than quercetin in macrophages, their mechanisms of action in terms of the NF-κB, PKA and PKC signaling pathways were different.
PMCID: PMC3887868  PMID: 23649461
antioxidant; NF-κB/CRE/AP-1; quercetin; ROS/RNS; structurally related compounds
4.  Streptochlorin Suppresses Allergic Dermatitis and Mast Cell Activation via Regulation of Lyn/Fyn and Syk Signaling Pathways in Cellular and Mouse Models 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e74194.
Allergic diseases are chronic inflammatory conditions with specific immune and inflammatory mechanisms. Scientific interest in understanding the mechanisms and discovering novel agents for the prevention and treatment of allergic disease is increasing. Streptochlorin, a small compound derived from marine actinomycete possesses anti-angiogenic and anti-tumor activities. However, the anti-allergic effects and underlying mechanisms remain to be elucidated. In the present study, we investigated the effect of streptochlorin on allergic responses in vitro and in vivo. Streptochlorin inhibited degranulation and production of tumor necrosis factor-α and IL-4 by antigen-stimulated mast cells. Streptochlorin also inhibited the phosphorylation of Akt and the mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs), including p38, ERK, and JNK. Further, streptochlorin reduced the phosphorylation of Syk in RBL-2H3 cells and inhibited the activity of Lyn and Fyn. Furthermore, administration of streptochlorin suppressed the allergic reactions in both passive cutaneous anaphylaxis reaction and 2, 4-dinitrofluorobenzene (DNFB)-induced allergic dermatitis in mice model. Considering the data obtained, we report for the first time that streptochlorin possess anti-allergic properties. The underlying mechanism of streptochlorin in exhibiting potent anti-allergic activity might be through the inhibition of the Lyn/Fyn and Syk signaling pathways.
PMCID: PMC3785495  PMID: 24086321
5.  Interleukin-6 Induces S100A9 Expression in Colonic Epithelial Cells through STAT3 Activation in Experimental Ulcerative Colitis 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(9):e38801.
Intestinal epithelium is essential for maintaining normal intestinal homeostasis; its breakdown leads to chronic inflammatory pathologies, such as inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs). Although high concentrations of S100A9 protein and interleukin-6 (IL-6) are found in patients with IBD, the expression mechanism of S100A9 in colonic epithelial cells (CECs) remains elusive. We investigated the role of IL-6 in S100A9 expression in CECs using a colitis model.
IL-6 and S100A9 expression, signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) phosphorylation, and infiltration of immune cells were analyzed in mice with dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)-induced colitis. The effects of soluble gp130-Fc protein (sgp130Fc) and S100A9 small interfering (si) RNA (si-S100A9) on DSS-induced colitis were evaluated. The molecular mechanism of S100A9 expression was investigated in an IL-6-treated Caco-2 cell line using chromatin immunoprecipitation assays.
IL-6 concentrations increased significantly in the colon tissues of DSS-treated mice. sgp130Fc or si-S100A9 administration to DSS-treated mice reduced granulocyte infiltration in CECs and induced the down-regulation of S100A9 and colitis disease activity. Treatment with STAT3 inhibitors upon IL-6 stimulation in the Caco-2 cell line demonstrated that IL-6 mediated S100A9 expression through STAT3 activation. Moreover, we found that phospho-STAT3 binds directly to the S100A9 promoter. S100A9 may recruit immune cells into inflamed colon tissues.
Elevated S100A9 expression in CECs mediated by an IL-6/STAT3 signaling cascade may play an important role in the development of colitis.
PMCID: PMC3433486  PMID: 22962574
6.  Methylsulfonylmethane Suppresses Breast Cancer Growth by Down-Regulating STAT3 and STAT5b Pathways 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(4):e33361.
Breast cancer is the most aggressive form of all cancers, with high incidence and mortality rates. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the molecular mechanism by which methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) inhibits breast cancer growth in mice xenografts. MSM is an organic sulfur-containing natural compound without any toxicity. In this study, we demonstrated that MSM substantially decreased the viability of human breast cancer cells in a dose-dependent manner. MSM also suppressed the phosphorylation of STAT3, STAT5b, expression of IGF-1R, HIF-1α, VEGF, BrK, and p-IGF-1R and inhibited triple-negative receptor expression in receptor-positive cell lines. Moreover, MSM decreased the DNA-binding activities of STAT5b and STAT3, to the target gene promoters in MDA-MB 231 or co-transfected COS-7 cells. We confirmed that MSM significantly decreased the relative luciferase activities indicating crosstalk between STAT5b/IGF-1R, STAT5b/HSP90α, and STAT3/VEGF. To confirm these findings in vivo, xenografts were established in Balb/c athymic nude mice with MDA-MB 231 cells and MSM was administered for 30 days. Concurring to our in vitro analysis, these xenografts showed decreased expression of STAT3, STAT5b, IGF-1R and VEGF. Through in vitro and in vivo analysis, we confirmed that MSM can effectively regulate multiple targets including STAT3/VEGF and STAT5b/IGF-1R. These are the major molecules involved in tumor development, progression, and metastasis. Thus, we strongly recommend the use of MSM as a trial drug for treating all types of breast cancers including triple-negative cancers.
PMCID: PMC3317666  PMID: 22485142
7.  Benzoxathiol derivative BOT-4-one suppresses L540 lymphoma cell survival and proliferation via inhibition of JAK3/STAT3 signaling 
Experimental & Molecular Medicine  2011;43(5):313-321.
Persistently activated JAK/STAT3 signaling pathway plays a pivotal role in various human cancers including major carcinomas and hematologic tumors, and is implicated in cancer cell survival and proliferation. Therefore, inhibition of JAK/STAT3 signaling may be a clinical application in cancer therapy. Here, we report that 2-cyclohexylimino-6-methyl-6,7-dihydro-5H-benzo [1,3]oxathiol-4-one (BOT-4-one), a small molecule inhibitor of JAK/STAT3 signaling, induces apoptosis through inhibition of STAT3 activation. BOT-4-one suppressed cytokine (upd)-induced tyrosine phosphorylation and transcriptional activity of STAT92E, the sole Drosophila STAT homolog. Consequently, BOT-4-one significantly inhibited STAT3 tyrosine phosphorylation and expression of STAT3 downstream target gene SOCS3 in various human cancer cell lines, and its effect was more potent in JAK3-activated Hodgkin's lymphoma cell line than in JAK2-activated breast cancer and prostate cancer cell lines. In addition, BOT-4-one-treated Hodgkin's lymphoma cells showed decreased cell survival and proliferation by inducing apoptosis through down-regulation of STAT3 downstream target anti-apoptotic gene expression. These results suggest that BOT-4-one is a novel small molecule inhibitor of JAK3/STAT3 signaling and may have therapeutic potential in the treatment of human cancers harboring aberrant JAK3/STAT3 signaling, specifically Hodgkin's lymphoma.
PMCID: PMC3104254  PMID: 21499010
BOT-4-one; cancer; JAK; small molecule inhibitor, apoptosis; STAT3
8.  LYR71, a derivative of trimeric resveratrol, inhibits tumorigenesis by blocking STAT3-mediated matrix metalloproteinase 9 expression 
Experimental & Molecular Medicine  2008;40(5):514-522.
Tumor migration/invasion is the main cause of tumor progression and STAT3 is needed to enhance tumor migration/invasion by up-regulating MMP-9. Thus, agents that inhibit STAT3 activation may be used as an anticancer drug. We present herein that 6-methyl-2-propylimino-6, 7-dihydro-5H-benzo [1, 3]-oxathiol-4-one (LYR71) , a derivative of trimeric resveratrol, has an anticancer activity through inhibition of STAT3 activation. We found that LYR71 suppressed STAT3 activation and inhibited the expression and activity of MMP-9 in RANTES-stimulated breast cancer cells. In addition, LYR71 reduced RANTES-induced MMP-9 transcripts by blocking STAT3 recruitment, dissociating p300 and deacetylating histone H3 and H4 on the MMP-9 promoter. Furthermore, LYR71 inhibited tumor migration/invasion in RANTES-treated breast cancer cells and consequently blocked tumor progression in tumor-bearing mice. Taken together, the results of this study suggest that LYR71 can be therapeutically useful due to the inhibition effect of STAT3-mediated MMP-9 expression in breast cancer cells.
PMCID: PMC2679359  PMID: 18985009
chemokine CCL5; LYR71; matrix metalloproteinase 9; neoplasm metastasis; STAT3 transcription factor
9.  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.
PMCID: PMC2679355  PMID: 18985005
anoxia; hypoxia-inducible factor1, α subunit; neoplasms; STAT3 transcription factor; ubiquitination; von Hippel-Lindau tumor suppressor protein
10.  Comparison of anti-oxidant activities of seventy herbs that have been used in Korean traditional medicine 
Nutrition Research and Practice  2008;2(3):143-151.
Many herbs have been used as therapeutics in Korean traditional medicine. In view of their clinical indications, anti-oxidant activity may contribute to their pharmacological effects. However, anti-oxidant information on these plants has not been available. In this study, seventy herbs which have been used in Korean traditional medicine were selected and screened for anti-oxidant activity using their water extracts. The anti-oxidant activity was assessed by their ability to inhibit three oxidation reactions; luminol/Fenton reagent, 2, 7-dichlorodihydrofluorescein (DCHF)/Fenton reagent and DCHF/peroxynitrite. In each assay, 70 herbs were divided into two groups; anti-oxidant group which inhibited the respective oxidation reaction and was majority (about 60 herbs), and pro-oxidant group which enhanced the oxidation reaction but was minority (more or less 10 herbs). When the herbs were listed in the order of their anti-oxidant strength, the orders obtained from each assay were found to be quite similar. The upper top rankers (more or less 10 herbs) in each assay showed strong activity compared to the others. The uppermost rankers in each assay were Rubus coreanus Miquel/ Rubus schizostylus, Schisandra chinensis Baillon/ Schizandra chinensis and Terminalia chebula Retzius/ Terminalia chebula. Of the pro-oxidant herbs, about 4-5 herbs were strongly pro-oxidant, which enhanced the control oxidation reactions to 150-300%. But the meaning of this observation is not known since few of them in one assay were also anti-oxidant in other assays. The results obtained in the present study may serve as information for understanding pharmacological effects of these herbs and developing new drugs from them.
PMCID: PMC2814189  PMID: 20126599
Anti-oxidants; herbs; chemiluminescence; peroxynitrite; Fenton reagent
11.  Tetraspanin TM4SF5 mediates loss of contact inhibition through epithelial-mesenchymal transition in human hepatocarcinoma 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2008;118(4):1354-1366.
The growth of normal cells is arrested when they come in contact with each other, a process known as contact inhibition. Contact inhibition is lost during tumorigenesis, resulting in uncontrolled cell growth. Here, we investigated the role of the tetraspanin transmembrane 4 superfamily member 5 (TM4SF5) in contact inhibition and tumorigenesis. We found that TM4SF5 was overexpressed in human hepatocarcinoma tissue. TM4SF5 expression in clinical samples and in human hepatocellular carcinoma cell lines correlated with enhanced p27Kip1 expression and cytosolic stabilization as well as morphological elongation mediated by RhoA inactivation. These TM4SF5-mediated effects resulted in epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) via loss of E-cadherin expression. The consequence of this was aberrant cell growth, as assessed by S-phase transition in confluent conditions, anchorage-independent growth, and tumor formation in nude mice. The TM4SF5-mediated effects were abolished by suppressing the expression of either TM4SF5 or cytosolic p27Kip1, as well as by reconstituting the expression of E-cadherin. Our observations have revealed a role for TM4SF5 in causing uncontrolled growth of human hepatocarcinoma cells through EMT.
PMCID: PMC2268877  PMID: 18357344
12.  Erythroid Cell-Specific α-Globin Gene Regulation by the CP2 Transcription Factor Family 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2005;25(14):6005-6020.
We previously demonstrated that ubiquitously expressed CP2c exerts potent erythroid-specific transactivation of α-globin through an unknown mechanism. This mechanism is reported here to involve specific CP2 splice variants and protein inhibitor of activated STAT1 (PIAS1). We identify a novel murine splice isoform of CP2, CP2b, which is identical to CP2a except that it has an additional 36 amino acids encoded by an extra exon. CP2b has an erythroid cell-specific transcriptional activation domain, which requires the extra exon and can form heteromeric complexes with other CP2 isoforms, but lacks the DNA binding activity found in CP2a and CP2c. Transcriptional activation of α-globin occurred following dimerization between CP2b and CP2c in erythroid K562 and MEL cells, but this dimerization did not activate the α-globin promoter in nonerythroid 293T cells, indicating that an additional erythroid factor is missing in 293T cells. PIAS1 was confirmed as a CP2 binding protein by the yeast two-hybrid screen, and expression of CP2b, CP2c, and PIAS1 in 293T cell induced α-globin promoter activation. These results show that ubiquitously expressed CP2b exerts potent erythroid cell-specific α-globin gene expression by complexing with CP2c and PIAS1.
PMCID: PMC1168829  PMID: 15988015
13.  Histone Acetylation Determines the Developmentally Regulated Accessibility for T Cell Receptor γ Gene Recombination 
Variable/diversity/joining (V[D]J) recombination of the T cell receptor (TCR) and immunoglobulin (Ig) genes is regulated by chromatin accessibility of the target locus to the recombinase in a lineage- and stage-specific manner. Histone acetylation has recently been proposed as a molecular mechanism underlying the accessibility control. Here, we investigate the role for histone acetylation in the developmentally regulated rearrangements of the mouse TCR-γ gene, wherein predominant rearrangement is switched from Vγ3 to Vγ2 gene during the fetal to adult thymocyte development. Our results indicate that histone acetylation correlates with accessibility, as histone acetylation at the fetal-type Vγ3 gene in accord with germline transcription is relatively high in fetal thymocytes, but specifically becomes low in adult thymocytes within the entirely hyperacetylated locus. Furthermore, inhibition of histone deacetylation during the development of adult bone marrow–derived thymocytes by a specific histone deacetylase inhibitor, trichostatin A, leads to elevated histone acetylation, germline transcription, cleavage, and rearrangement of the Vγ3 gene. These data demonstrate that histone acetyl- ation functionally determines the chromatin accessibility for V(D)J recombination in vivo and that an epigenetic modification of chromatin plays a direct role in executing a developmental switch in cell fate determination.
PMCID: PMC2193365  PMID: 11283160
V(D)J recombination; germline transcript; ligation-mediated PCR; chromatin immunoprecipitation; histone deacetylase

Results 1-13 (13)