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1.  Human ABCG2: structure, function, and its role in multidrug resistance 
Human ABCG2 is a member of the ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporter superfamily and is known to contribute to multidrug resistance (MDR) in cancer chemotherapy. Among ABC transporters that are known to cause MDR, ABCG2 is particularly interesting for its potential role in protecting cancer stem cells and its complex oligomeric structure. Recent studies have also revealed that the biogenesis of ABCG2 could be modulated by small molecule compounds. These modulators, upon binding to ABCG2, accelerate the endocytosis and trafficking to lysosome for degradation and effectively reduce the half-life of ABCG2. Hence, targeting ABCG2 stability could be a new venue for therapeutic discovery to sensitize drug resistant human cancers. In this report, we review recent progress on understanding the structure, function, biogenesis, as well as physiological and pathophysiological functions of ABCG2.
PMCID: PMC3325772  PMID: 22509477
Human ABCG2; structure; function; multidrug resistance; ATP-binding cassette; cancer; chemotherapy
2.  Translational regulation of RPA2 via internal ribosomal entry site and by eIF3a 
Carcinogenesis  2013;34(6):1224-1231.
RPA2 is a subunit of a trimeric replication protein A (RPA) complex important for DNA repair and replication. Although it is known that RPA activity is regulated by post-translational modification, whether RPA expression is regulated and the mechanism therein is currently unknown. eIF3a, the largest subunit of eIF3, is an important player in translational control and has been suggested to regulate translation of a subset of messenger RNAs important for tumorigenesis, metastasis, cell cycle progression, drug response and DNA repair. In the present study, we show that RPA2 expression is regulated at translational level via internal ribosome entry site (IRES)-mediated initiation in response to DNA damage. We also found that eIF3a suppresses RPA2 synthesis and inhibits its cellular IRES activity by directly binding to the IRES element of RPA2 located at −50 to −150 bases upstream of the translation start site. Taken together, we conclude that RPA2 expression is translationally regulated via IRES and by eIF3a and that this regulation is partly accountable for cellular response to DNA damage and survival.
doi:10.1093/carcin/bgt052
PMCID: PMC3670257  PMID: 23393223
3.  14-3-3σ, the double-edged sword of human cancers 
14-3-3σ is a member of a highly conserved family of 14-3-3 proteins that are present in all eukaryotic organisms. 14-3-3σ has been considered as a tumor suppressor with reduced expression in some human cancers while its increased expression causes resistance to anticancer agents and radiation that cause DNA damages. The increased expression of 14-3-3σ may also predict poor prognosis in some human cancers. Thus, 14-3-3σ may play an important role as a double-edged sword in human cancers, which may attribute to its property as a molecular chaperone by binding to various protein ligands important to many cellular processes such as cell cycle checkpoint regulation and apoptosis in response to DNA damages. In this article, we will review recent studies and progresses in understanding 14-3-3σ as a double-edged sword in human cancers.
PMCID: PMC2780041  PMID: 19956445
14-3-3σ; tumorigenesis; metastasis; prognosis; drug resistance; expression regulation
4.  Critical Residue That Promotes Protein Dimerization: A Story of Partially Exposed Phe25 in 14-3-3σ 
Many proteins exist and function as oligomers. While hydrophobic interactions have been recognized as the major driving force for oligomerization, detailed molecular mechanisms for the assembly are unknown. Here, we used 14-3-3σ as a model protein and investigated the role of hydrophobic residues at the dimeric interface using MD simulations and coimmunoprecipitations. We found that a half-exposed and half-buried residue in the interface, Phe25, plays a more important role in promoting homodimerization than the hydrophobic core residues by organizing both favorable hydrophobic and hydrophilic interactions. Phe25 is critical in packing and stabilizing hydrophobic core residues. We conclude that the structural stability of hydrophobic cores is critical for a stable homodimer complex and this stable property can be bestowed by residues outside of hydrophobic core. The important organizing activity of Phe25 for homodimerization of 14-3-3σ originates from its unique physical location, rigidity, size, and hydrophobicity. Thus, hydrophobic residues that are not deeply buried at the oligomeric interface may play important but different roles from the buried core residues and they may promote oligomerization by organizing co-operativity of core and other residues for favorable hydrophobic and electrostatic interactions.
doi:10.1021/ci200212y
PMCID: PMC3322420  PMID: 21870863
5.  Role of eIF3a in regulating cisplatin sensitivity and nucleotide excision repair of nasopharyngeal carcinomas 
Oncogene  2011;30(48):4814-4823.
Translational control at the initiation step has been recognized as a major and important regulatory mechanism of gene expression. eIF3a, a putative subunit of eIF3 complex, has recently been shown to play an important role in regulating translation of a subset of mRNAs and found to correlate with prognosis of cancers. In this study, using nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) cells as a model system we tested the hypothesis that eIF3a negatively regulates synthesis of nucleotide excision repair (NER) proteins and, thus, NER activities and cellular response to treatments with DNA damaging agents such as cisplatin. We found that a cisplatin-sensitive subclone S16 isolated from a NPC cell line CNE2 via limited dilution has increased eIF3a expression. Knocking down its expression in S16 cells increased cellular resistance to cisplatin, NER activity, and synthesis of NER proteins XPA, XPC, RAD23B, and RPA32. Altering eIF3a expression also changed cellular response to cisplatin and UV treatment in other NPC cell lines. Taken together, we conclude that eIF3a plays an important role in cisplatin response and NER activity of nasopharyngeal carcinomas by suppressing synthesis of NER proteins.
doi:10.1038/onc.2011.189
PMCID: PMC3165083  PMID: 21625209
cisplatin sensitivity; eIF3a; nasopharyngeal carcinoma; nucleotide excision repair; translational control
6.  Characterization and analyses of multidrug resistance-associated protein 1 (MRP1/ABCC1) polymorphisms in Chinese population 
Pharmacogenetics and genomics  2009;19(3):206-216.
Multidrug resistance (MDR) is one of the major obstacles for successful cancer chemotherapy. Over-expression of ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters such as MRP1/ABCC1 has been suggested to cause MDR. In this study, we explored the distribution frequencies of four common single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of MRP1/ABCC1 in a mainland Chinese population and investigated whether these SNPs affect the expression and function of the MRP1/ABCC1. We found that the allelic frequencies of Cys43Ser (128G>C), Thr73Ile (218C>T), Arg723Gln (2168G>A) and Arg1058Gln (3173G>A) in mainland Chinese were 0.5%, 1.4%, 5.8% and 0.5%, respectively. These four SNPs were recreated by site-directed mutagenesis and tested for their effect on MRP1/ABCC1 expression and MDR function in HEK293 and CHO-K1 cells lines. We found that none of these mutations had any effect on MRP1/ABCC1 expression and trafficking, but that Arg723Gln mutation significantly reduced MRP1/ABCC1-mediated resistance to daunorubicin, doxorubicin, etoposide, vinblastine and vincristine. The Cys43Ser mutation did not affect all tested drugs resistance. On the other hand, the Thr73Ile mutation reduced resistance to methotrexate and etoposide while the Arg1058Gln mutation increased the response of two anthracycline drugs and etoposide in HEK293 and CHO-K1 cells as well as vinblastine and methotrexate in CHO-K1 cells. We conclude that the allelic frequency of the Arg723Gln mutation is relatively higher than other SNPs in mainland Chinese population and therefore this mutation significantly reduces MRP1/ABCC1 activity in MDR.
doi:10.1097/FPC.0b013e328323f680
PMCID: PMC2667206  PMID: 19214144
ABC transporter; MDR; Multidrug resistance-associated protein 1 (MRP1/ABCC1); drug resistance; genetic polymorphism
7.  Effect of cysteine mutagenesis on the function and disulfide bond formation of human ABCG2 
ABCG2 is a member of the ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporter superfamily. Its over-expression causes multidrug resistance in cancer chemotherapy. Based on its apparent half size in sequence when compared to other traditional ABC transporters, ABCG2 has been thought to exist and function as a homodimer linked by inter-molecular disulfide bonds. However, recent evidence suggests that ABCG2 may exist as a higher form of oligomers due to non-covalent interactions. In this study, we attempted to create a cysless mutant ABCG2 as a tool for further characterization of this molecule. We found, however, that the cysless mutant ABCG2 is well expressed but not functional. Mapping of the cysteine residues showed that three cysteine residues (C284, C374, and C438) are required concurrently for the function of ABCG2 and potentially for intra-molecular disulfide bond formation. We also found that the cysteine residues (C592, C603, and C608) in the third extracellular loop are involved in forming inter-molecular disulfide bonds and that mutation of these residues does not affect the expression or drug transport activity of human ABCG2. Thus, we conclude that C284, C374, and C438, which may be involved in intra-molecular disulfide bond formation, are concurrently required for ABCG2 function whereas C592, C603, and C608, potentially involved in inter-molecular disulfide bond formation, are not required.
doi:10.1124/jpet.108.138115
PMCID: PMC2632310  PMID: 18430864
8.  A Novel Two Mode-Acting Inhibitor of ABCG2-Mediated Multidrug Transport and Resistance in Cancer Chemotherapy 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(5):e5676.
Background
Multidrug resistance (MDR) is a major problem in successful treatment of cancers. Human ABCG2, a member of the ATP-binding cassette transporter superfamily, plays a key role in MDR and an important role in protecting cancer stem cells. Knockout of ABCG2 had no apparent adverse effect on the mice. Thus, ABCG2 is an ideal target for development of chemo-sensitizing agents for better treatment of drug resistant cancers and helping eradicate cancer stem cells.
Methods/Preliminary Findings
Using rational screening of representatives from a chemical compound library, we found a novel inhibitor of ABCG2, PZ-39 (N-(4-chlorophenyl)-2-[(6-{[4,6-di(4-morpholinyl)-1,3,5-triazin-2-yl]amino}-1,3-benzothiazol-2-yl)sulfanyl]acetamide), that has two modes of actions by inhibiting ABCG2 activity and by accelerating its lysosome-dependent degradation. PZ-39 has no effect on ABCB1 and ABCC1-mediated drug efflux, resistance, and their expression, indicating that it may be specific to ABCG2. Analyses of its analogue compounds showed that the pharmacophore of PZ-39 is benzothiazole linked to a triazine ring backbone.
Conclusion/Significance
Unlike any previously known ABCG2 transporter inhibitors, PZ-39 has a novel two-mode action by inhibiting ABCG2 activity, an acute effect, and by accelerating lysosome-dependent degradation, a chronic effect. PZ-39 is potentially a valuable probe for structure-function studies of ABCG2 and a lead compound for developing therapeutics targeting ABCG2-mediated MDR in combinational cancer chemotherapy.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0005676
PMCID: PMC2682573  PMID: 19479068
9.  Use of comparative proteomics to identify potential resistance mechanisms in cancer treatment 
Cancer treatment reviews  2007;33(8):741-756.
Drug resistance is a major problem in successful cancer chemotherapy. Many molecular mechanisms that are responsible for drug resistance are known whereas others have yet to be discovered. Determining the exact mechanism activated in a particular case (clinical or laboratory) is a difficult task. Recently, proteomics has been applied to investigate drug resistance mechanisms in model cancer cell lines. As a result, novel mechanisms of resistance have been discovered and known mechanisms of resistance confirmed. In this paper, we wish to review recent developments and progresses in the application of proteomic tools to identify known and novel drug resistance mechanisms in drug-selected model cancer cell lines. Our combined analyses of multiple proteomic studies of various drug resistant cancer cell lines revealed that many mechanisms of resistance likely exist in any given drug-selected cancer cell line and that common mechanisms of resistance may be selected in a spectrum of cancer cell lines. These observations suggest that combination therapies targeting multiple mechanisms to sensitize drug resistant cancers may be necessary to eradicate cancers in the future.
doi:10.1016/j.ctrv.2007.07.018
PMCID: PMC2203306  PMID: 17854999
proteomics; 2-dimensional gel electrophoresis; mass spectrometry; drug resistance; cancer chemotherapy
10.  Dimerization of Human XPA and Formation of XPA2-RPA Protein Complex† 
Biochemistry  2002;41(43):13012-13020.
XPA plays an important role in the DNA damage recognition during human nucleotide excision repair. Here we report that the XPA is a homodimer either in the free state or as a complex with human RPA in solution under normal conditions. The human XPA protein purified from baculovirus-infected sf21 insect cells has a molecular mass of 36 317 Da, as determined by mass spectroscopy. However, the apparent molecular mass of XPA determined by the native gel filtration chromatography was about 71 kDa, suggesting that XPA is a dimer. This observation was supported by a native PFO-PAGE and fluorescence spectroscopy analysis. XPA formed a dimer (XPA2) in a broad range of XPA and NaCl concentrations, and the dimerization was not due to the disulfide bond formation. Furthermore, a titration analysis of the binding of XPA to the human RPA indicated that it was the XPA2 that formed the complex with RPA. Finally, the difference between the mass spectrometric and the calculated masses of XPA implies that the protein contains posttranslational modifications. Taken together, our data suggest that the dimerization of XPA may play an important role in the DNA damage recognition of nucleotide excision repair.
PMCID: PMC1450105  PMID: 12390028
11.  Regulation of expression by promoters versus internal ribosome entry site in the 5′-untranslated sequence of the human cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p27kip1 
Nucleic Acids Research  2005;33(12):3763-3771.
p27kip1 regulates cell proliferation by binding to and inhibiting the activity of cyclin-dependent kinases and its expression oscillates with cell cycle. Recently, it has been suggested from studies using the traditional dicistronic DNA assay that the expression of p27kip1 is regulated by internal ribosome entry site (IRES)-mediated translation initiation, and several RNA-binding protein factors were thought to play some role in this regulation. Considering the inevitable drawbacks of the dicistronic DNA assay, which could mislead a promoter activity or alternative splicing to IRES as previously demonstrated, we decided to reanalyze the 5′-untranslated region (5′-UTR) sequence of p27kip1 and test whether it contains an IRES element or a promoter using more stringent methods, such as dicistronic RNA and promoterless dicistronic and monocistronic DNA assays. We found that the 5′-UTR sequence of human p27kip1 does not have any significant IRES activity. The previously observed IRES activities are likely generated from the promoter activities present in the 5′-UTR sequences of p27kip1. The findings in this study indicate that transcriptional regulation likely plays an important role in p27kip1 expression, and the mechanism of regulation of p27 expression by RNA-binding factors needs to be re-examined. The findings in this study also further enforce the importance that more stringent studies, such as promoterless dicistronic and monocistronic DNA and dicistronic RNA tests, are required to safeguard any future claims of cellular IRES.
doi:10.1093/nar/gki680
PMCID: PMC1174905  PMID: 16006622
12.  Regulation of ribonucleotide reductase M2 expression by the upstream AUGs 
Nucleic Acids Research  2005;33(8):2715-2725.
Ribonucleotide reductase catalyzes a rate-limiting reaction in DNA synthesis by converting ribonucleotides to deoxyribonucleotides. It consists of two subunits and the small one, M2 (or R2), plays an essential role in regulating the enzyme activity and its expression is finely controlled. Changes in the M2 level influence the dNTP pool and, thus, DNA synthesis and cell proliferation. M2 gene has two promoters which produce two major mRNAs with 5′-untranslated regions (5′-UTRs) of different lengths. In this study, we found that the M2 mRNAs with the short (63 nt) 5′-UTR can be translated with high efficiency whereas the mRNAs with the long (222 nt) one cannot. Examination of the long 5′-UTR revealed four upstream AUGs, which are in the same reading frame as the unique physiological translation initiation codon. Further analysis demonstrated that these upstream AUGs act as negative cis elements for initiation at the downstream translation initiation codon and their inhibitory effect on M2 translation is eIF4G dependent. Based on the findings of this study, we conclude that the expression of M2 is likely regulated by fine tuning the translation from the mRNA with a long 5′-UTR during viral infection and during the DNA replication phase of cell proliferation.
doi:10.1093/nar/gki569
PMCID: PMC1097769  PMID: 15888728
13.  EIF3 p170, a Mediator of Mimosine Effect on Protein Synthesis and Cell Cycle Progression 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2003;14(9):3942-3951.
l-Mimosine, a plant amino acid, can reversibly block mammalian cells at late G1 phase and has been suggested to affect translation of mRNAs such as p27, the CDK inhibitor. However, the mechanism of this effect is not known. Regulation of translation generally occurs at the initiation step that, in mammalian cells, is a complex process that requires multiple eukaryotic initiation factors (eIFs) and ribosome. The effects of mimosine on initiation factors or regulators consequently will influence translation initiation. P170, a putative subunit of eIF3, has been suggested to be nonessential for eIF3 function to form preinitiation complexes and it may function as a regulator for translation of a subset of mRNAs. In this article, we tested this hypothesis and investigated whether eIF3 p170 mediates mimosine effect on mRNA translation. We found that p170 translation was dramatically reduced by mimosine due to its iron-chelating function. The decreased expression of p170 by mimosine caused diminished de novo synthesis of tyrosinated α-tubulin and elevated translation of p27 before cell cycle arrest. These observations suggest that p170 is likely an early response gene to mimosine treatment and a mediator for mimosine effect on mRNA translation. The effect of p170 on the synthesis of tyrosinated α-tubulin and p27 in a reciprocal manner also suggests that p170 functions as a regulator for mRNA translation.
doi:10.1091/mbc.E02-12-0784
PMCID: PMC196594  PMID: 12972576
14.  Regulation of Gene Expression by Internal Ribosome Entry Sites or Cryptic Promoters: the eIF4G Story 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2002;22(21):7372-7384.
As an alternative to the scanning mechanism of initiation, the direct-internal-initiation mechanism postulates that the translational machinery assembles at the AUG start codon without traversing the entire 5′ untranslated region (5′-UTR) of the mRNA. Although the existence of internal ribosome entry sites (IRESs) in viral mRNAs is considered to be well established, the existence of IRESs in cellular mRNAs has recently been challenged, in part because when testing is carried out using a conventional dicistronic vector, Northern blot analyses might not be sensitive enough to detect low levels of monocistronic transcripts derived via a cryptic promoter or splice site. To address this concern, we created a new promoterless dicistronic vector to test the putative IRES derived from the 5′-UTR of an mRNA that encodes the translation initiation factor eIF4G. Our analysis of this 5′-UTR sequence unexpectedly revealed a strong promoter. The activity of the internal promoter relies on the integrity of a polypyrimidine tract (PPT) sequence that had been identified as an essential component of the IRES. The PPT sequence overlaps with a binding site for transcription factor C/EBPβ. Two other transcription factors, Sp1 and Ets, were also found to bind to and mediate expression from the promoter in the 5′-UTR of eIF4G mRNA. The biological significance of the internal promoter in the eIF4G mRNA might lie in the production of an N-terminally truncated form of the protein. Consistent with the idea that the cryptic promoter we identified underlies the previously reported IRES activity, we found no evidence of IRES function when a dicistronic mRNA containing the eIF4G sequence was translated in vitro or in vivo. Using the promoterless dicistronic vector, we also found promoter activities in the long 5′-UTRs of human Sno and mouse Bad mRNAs although monocistronic transcripts were not detectable on Northern blot analyses. The promoterless dicistronic vector might therefore prove useful in future studies to examine more rigorously the claim that there is IRES activity in cellular mRNAs.
doi:10.1128/MCB.22.21.7372-7384.2002
PMCID: PMC135655  PMID: 12370285
15.  Dissection of De Novo Membrane Insertion Activities of Internal Transmembrane Segments of ATP-Binding-Cassette Transporters: Toward Understanding Topological Rules for Membrane Assembly of Polytopic Membrane Proteins 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  1998;9(4):853-863.
The membrane assembly of polytopic membrane proteins is a complicated process. Using Chinese hamster P-glycoprotein (Pgp) as a model protein, we investigated this process previously and found that Pgp expresses more than one topology. One of the variations occurs at the transmembrane (TM) domain including TM3 and TM4: TM4 inserts into membranes in an Nin-Cout rather than the predicted Nout-Cin orientation, and TM3 is in cytoplasm rather than the predicted Nin-Cout orientation in the membrane. It is possible that TM4 has a strong activity to initiate the Nin-Cout membrane insertion, leaving TM3 out of the membrane. Here, we tested this hypothesis by expressing TM3 and TM4 in isolated conditions. Our results show that TM3 of Pgp does not have de novo Nin-Cout membrane insertion activity whereas TM4 initiates the Nin-Cout membrane insertion regardless of the presence of TM3. In contrast, TM3 and TM4 of another polytopic membrane protein, cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR), have a similar level of de novo Nin-Cout membrane insertion activity and TM4 of CFTR functions only as a stop-transfer sequence in the presence of TM3. Based on these findings, we propose that 1) the membrane insertion of TM3 and TM4 of Pgp does not follow the sequential model, which predicts that TM3 initiates Nin-Cout membrane insertion whereas TM4 stops the insertion event; and 2) “leaving one TM segment out of the membrane” may be an important folding mechanism for polytopic membrane proteins, and it is regulated by the Nin-Cout membrane insertion activities of the TM segments.
PMCID: PMC25312  PMID: 9529383

Results 1-15 (15)