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1.  p38 MAPK-inhibited dendritic cells induce superior antitumor immune responses and overcome regulatory T cell-mediated immunosuppression 
Nature communications  2014;5:4229.
Dendritic cell (DC)-based cancer immunotherapy is a promising method but so far has demonstrated limited clinical benefits. Regulatory T cells (Treg) represent a major obstacle to cancer immunotherapy approaches. Here we show that inhibiting p38 MAPK during DC differentiation enables DCs to activate tumor-specific effector T cells (Teff), inhibiting the conversion of Treg and compromising Treg inhibitory effects on Teff. Inhibition of p38 MAPK in DCs lowers expression of PPARγ, activating p50 and upregulation of OX40L expression in DCs. OX40L/OX40 interactions between DCs and Teff and/or Treg are critical for priming effective and therapeutic antitumor responses. Similarly, p38 MAPK inhibition also augments the T cell-stimulatory capacity of human monocyte-derived DCs in the presence of Treg. These findings contribute to ongoing efforts to improve DC-based immunotherapy in human cancers.
doi:10.1038/ncomms5229
PMCID: PMC4249595  PMID: 24957461
2.  Novel phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase inhibitor NVP-BKM120 induces apoptosis in myeloma cells and shows synergistic anti-myeloma activity with dexamethasone 
NVP-BKM120 is a novel phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) inhibitor and is currently being investigated in phase I clinical trials in solid tumors. This study aimed to evaluate the therapeutic efficacy of BKM120 in multiple myeloma (MM). BKM120 induces cell growth inhibition and apoptosis in both MM cell lines and freshly isolated primary MM cells. However, BKM120 only shows limited cytotoxicity toward normal lymphocytes. The presence of MM bone marrow stromal cells, insulin-like growth factor, or interleukin-6 does not affect BKM120-induced tumor cell apoptosis. More importantly, BKM120 treatment significantly inhibits tumor growth in vivo and prolongs the survival of myeloma-bearing mice. In addition, BKM120 shows synergistic cytotoxicity with dexamethasone in dexamethasone-sensitive MM cells. Low doses of BKM120 and dexamethasone, each of which alone has limited cytotoxicity, induce significant cell apoptosis in MM.1S and ARP-1. Mechanistic study shows that BKM120 exposure causes cell cycle arrest by upregulating p27 (Kip1) and downregulating cyclin D1 and induces caspase-dependent apoptosis by downregulating antiapoptotic XIAP and upregulating expression of cytotoxic small isoform of Bim, BimS. In summary, our findings demonstrate the in vitro and in vivo anti-MM activity of BKM120 and suggest that BKM120 alone or together with other MM chemotherapeutics, particularly dexamethasone, may be a promising treatment for MM.
doi:10.1007/s00109-011-0849-9
PMCID: PMC4212830  PMID: 22207485
Multiple myeloma; PI3K; BKM120; Apoptosis; Chemotherapy
3.  USP18 is crucial for IFN-γ-mediated inhibition of B16 melanoma tumorigenesis and antitumor immunity 
Molecular Cancer  2014;13:132.
Background
Interferon (IFN)-γ-mediated immune response plays an important role in tumor immunosurveillance. However, the regulation of IFN-γ-mediated tumorigenesis and immune response remains elusive. USP18, an interferon stimulating response element, regulates IFN-α-mediated signaling in anti-viral immune response, but its role in IFN-γ-mediated tumorigenesis and anti-tumor immune response is unknown.
Method
In this study, USP18 in tumorigenesis and anti-tumor immune response was comprehensively appraised in vivo by overexpression or downregulation its expression in murine B16 melanoma tumor model in immunocompetent and immunodeficient mice.
Results
Ectopic expression or downregulation of USP18 in B16 melanoma tumor cells inhibited or promoted tumorigenesis, respectively, in immunocompetent mice. USP18 expression in B16 melanoma tumor cells regulated IFN-γ-mediated immunoediting, including upregulating MHC class-I expression, reducing tumor cell-mediated inhibition of T cell proliferation and activation, and suppressing PD-1 expression in CD4+ and CD8+ T cells in tumor-bearing mice. USP18 expression in B16 melanoma tumor cells also enhanced CTL activity during adoptive immunotherapy by prolonging the persistence and enhancing the activity of adoptively transferred CTLs and by reducing CTL exhaustion in the tumor microenvironment. Mechanistic studies demonstrated that USP18 suppressed tumor cell-mediated immune inhibition by activating T cells, inhibiting T-cell exhaustion, and reducing dendritic cell tolerance, thus sensitizing tumor cells to immunosurveillance and immunotherapy.
Conclusion
These findings suggest that stimulating USP18 is a feasible approach to induce B16 melanoma specific immune response.
doi:10.1186/1476-4598-13-132
PMCID: PMC4057584  PMID: 24884733
USP18; Immunosurveillance; Immunotherapy
4.  p38 MAPK in myeloma cells regulates osteoclast and osteoblast activity and induces bone destruction 
Cancer research  2012;72(24):6393-6402.
p38 MAPK which is constitutively activated in human myeloma has been implicated in bone destruction by this cancer, but the processes it recruits are obscure. In this study, we demonstrate that p38 activity in myeloma inhibits osteoblast differentiation and bone formation but also enhances osteoclast maturation and bone resorption. p38 regulated the expression and secretion of the Wnt pathway antagonist DKK-1 and the monocyte chemoattractant MCP-1. Attenuating p38, DKK-1 or MCP-1 were each sufficient to reduce bone lesions in vivo. Although it is well known that DKK-1 inhibits osteoblast differentiation, we found that together with MCP-1 it could also promote osteoclast differentiation and bone resorption. The latter effects were mediated by enhancing expression of RANK in osteoclast progenitor cells and by upregulating secretion of its ligand RANKL from stromal cells and mature osteoblasts. In summary, our study defined the mechanisms by which p38 signaling in myeloma cells regulates osteoblastogenesis, osteoclastogenesis, and bone destruction. Our findings, which may have implications for bone invasion by other cancers where p38 is elevated, strongly suggests that targeting p38 for inhibition might offer an effective therapeutic approach to treat osteolytic bone lesions in myeloma patients.
doi:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-12-2664
PMCID: PMC3525770  PMID: 23066034
5.  Bone Marrow Stromal Cells Derived MCP-1 Reverses the Inhibitory Effects of Multiple Myeloma Cells on Osteoclastogenesis by Upregulating the RANK Expression 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e82453.
Multiple myeloma (MM) cells are responsible for aberrant osteoclast (OC) activation. However, when cocultured monocytes, but not OC precursors, with MM cells, we made a novel observation that MM cells inhibited receptor activator of nuclear factor κB ligand (RANKL)-induced increase of OC differentiation, OC gene expression, signaling pathways and bone resorption activity. Our results showed that MM cells produced multiple inhibitory cytokines of osteoclastogenesis, such as IL-10, which activated STAT3 signaling and induce OC inhibition. However, cocultures of bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs) reversed MM-induced OC inhibition. We found that MM cells increased production of MCP-1 from BMSCs and BMSC-derived MCP-1 enhanced OC formation. Mechanistic studies showed that IL-10 downregulated RANK expression in monocytes and thus, inhibited RANKL-induced OC formation. In contrast, MCP-1 upregulated RANK expression and thus, enhanced OC formation. Overall, our studies for the first time demonstrated that MM cell have inhibitory effects on osteoclastogenesis by producing inhibitory cytokines. Our results further indicate that activation of osteoclastogenesis in bone marrow requests the crosstalk of MM cells, BMSCs and their produced cytokines. Thus, our studies provide evidences that targeting bone marrow microenvironmental cells and/or cytokines may be a new approach to treating MM bone destruction.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0082453
PMCID: PMC3858321  PMID: 24340030
6.  CpG or IFN-α are more potent adjuvants than GM-CSF to promote anti-tumor immunity following idiotype vaccine in multiple myeloma 
Cancer immunology, immunotherapy : CII  2011;61(4):10.1007/s00262-011-1123-2.
Idiotype (Id) protein in combination with GM-CSF has been used as vaccines for immunotherapy of patients with myeloma and B-cell tumors and the results have been disappointing. To search for better immune adjuvants to improve the efficacy of Id-based immunotherapy in myeloma, we evaluated and compared the efficacy of vaccination of Id protein in combination with CpG or IFN-α, or GM-CSF as a control, in the 5TGM1 myeloma mouse model. Our results showed that Id vaccine combined with CpG or IFN-α, but not GM-CSF, not only efficiently protected mice from developing myeloma but also eradicated established myeloma. The therapeutic responses were associated with an induction of strong humoral immune responses including anti-Id antibodies, and cellular immune responses including Id- and myeloma-specific CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs), CD4+ type-1 T-helper (Th1) cells and memory T cells in mice receiving Id vaccine combined with CpG or IFN-α. Furthermore, Id vaccine combined with CpG or IFN-α induced Id- and tumor-specific memory immune responses that protected surviving mice from tumor rechallenge. Thus, our study clearly shows that CpG or IFN-α are better immune adjuvants than GM-CSF. This information will be important for improving the strategies of Id-based immunotherapy for patients with myeloma and other B-cell tumors.
doi:10.1007/s00262-011-1123-2
PMCID: PMC3810206  PMID: 22002243
Multiple myeloma; Idiotype; Adjuvants; Vaccination; Immunotherapy
7.  Constitutive activation of p38 MAPK in tumor cells contributes to osteolytic bone lesions in multiple myeloma 
Bone destruction is a hallmark of multiple myeloma and affects more than 80% of patients. However, current therapy is unable to completely cure and/or prevent bone lesions. Although it is accepted that myeloma cells mediate bone destruction by inhibition of osteoblasts and activation of osteoclasts, the underlying mechanism is still poorly understood. This study demonstrates that constitutive activation of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase in myeloma cells is responsible for myeloma-induced osteolysis. Our results show that p38 is constitutively activated in most myeloma cell lines and primary myeloma cells from patients. Myeloma cells with high/detectable p38 activity, but not those with low/undetectable p38 activity, injected into SCID or SCID-hu mice caused bone destruction. Inhibition or knockdown of p38 in human myeloma reduced or prevented myeloma-induced osteolytic bone lesions without affecting tumor growth, survival, or homing to bone. Mechanistic studies showed that myeloma cell p38 activity inhibited osteoblastogenesis and bone formation and activated osteoclastogenesis and bone resorption in myeloma-bearing SCID mice. This study elucidates a novel molecular mechanism—sactivation of p38 signaling in myeloma cells—by which myeloma cells induce osteolytic bone lesions and indicates that targeting myeloma cell p38 may be a viable approach to treating or preventing myeloma bone disease.
doi:10.1038/leu.2012.71
PMCID: PMC3381862  PMID: 22425892
Myeloma; p38 MAPK; Osteolytic bone lesions; Osteoblastogenesis; Osteoclastogenesis
8.  Far Upstream Element Binding Protein 1 Activates Translation of p27Kip1 mRNA Through Its Internal Ribosomal Entry Site 
The cyclin dependent kinase inhibitor p27 plays an important role in controlling the eukaryotic cell cycle by regulating progression through G1 and entry into S phase. It is often elevated during differentiation and under conditions of cellular stress. In contrast, it is commonly downregulated in cancer cells and its levels are generally inversely correlated with favorable prognosis. The cellular levels of p27 are regulated, in part, by translational control mechanisms. The 5′-untranslated region (5′-UTR) of the p27 mRNA harbors an internal ribosome entry site (IRES) which may facilitate synthesis of p27 in certain conditions. In this study, Far Upstream Element (FUSE) Binding Protein 1 (FBP1) was shown to directly bind to the human p27 5′-UTR and to promote IRES activity. An eight-nucleotide element downstream of a U-rich region within the 5′-UTR was important for FBP1 binding and p27 IRES activity. Overexpression of FBP1 enhanced endogenous p27 levels and stimulated translation initiation. In contrast, repression of FBP1 by siRNA transfection downregulated endogenous p27 protein levels. Using rabbit reticulocyte lysates, FBP1 stimulated p27 mRNA translation in vitro. The central domain of FBP1, containing four K homology motifs, was required for p27 5′-UTR RNA binding and the N terminal domain was important for translational activation. These findings indicate that FBP1 is a novel activator of p27 translation upon binding to the 5′-UTR.
doi:10.1016/j.biocel.2011.08.001
PMCID: PMC3206725  PMID: 21855647
p27Kip1; cell cycle; IRES; FBP; 5′-untranslated region
9.  Th9 cells promote antitumor immune responses in vivo 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2012;122(11):4160-4171.
Th9 cells are a subset of CD4+ Th cells that produce the pleiotropic cytokine IL-9. IL-9/Th9 can function as both positive and negative regulators of immune response, but the role of IL-9/Th9 in tumor immunity is unknown. We examined the role of IL-9/Th9 in a model of pulmonary melanoma in mice. Lack of IL-9 enhanced tumor growth, while tumor-specific Th9 cell treatment promoted stronger antitumor responses in both prophylactic and therapeutic models. Th9 cells also elicited strong host antitumor CD8+ CTL responses by promoting Ccl20/Ccr6-dependent recruitment of DCs to the tumor tissues. Subsequent tumor antigen delivery to the draining LN resulted in CD8+ T cell priming. In agreement with this model, Ccr6 deficiency abrogated the Th9 cell–mediated antitumor response. Our data suggest a distinct role for tumor-specific Th9 cells in provoking CD8+ CTL-mediated antitumor immunity and indicate that Th9 cell–based cancer immunotherapy may be a promising therapeutic approach.
doi:10.1172/JCI65459
PMCID: PMC3484462  PMID: 23064366
10.  Targeting cell surface β2-microglobulin by pentameric IgM antibodies 
British journal of haematology  2011;154(1):111-121.
Summary
Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) specific for human β2-microglobulin (β2M) have been shown to induce tumour cell apoptosis in haematological and solid tumours via recruiting major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I molecules into and excluding cytokine receptors from the lipid rafts. Based on these findings, we hypothesized that IgM anti-β2M mAbs might have stronger apoptotic effects because of their pentameric structure. Our results showed that, compared with IgG mAbs, IgM anti-β2M mAbs exhibited stronger tumouricidal activity in vitro against different tumour cells, including myeloma, mantle cell lymphoma, and prostate cancer, and in vivo in a human-like xenografted myeloma mouse model without damaging normal tissues. IgM mAb-induced apoptosis is dependent on the pentameric structure of the mAbs. Disrupting pentameric IgM into monomeric IgM significantly reduced their ability to induce cell apoptosis. Monomeric IgM mAbs were less efficient at recruiting MHC class I molecules into and exclusion of cytokine receptors from lipid rafts, and at activating the intrinsic apoptosis cascade. Thus, we developed and validated the efficacy of anti-β2M IgM mAbs that may be utilized in the clinical setting and showed that IgM anti-β2M mAbs may be more potent than IgG mAbs at inducing tumour apoptosis.
doi:10.1111/j.1365-2141.2011.08714.x
PMCID: PMC3111817  PMID: 21554263
Tumour apoptosis; anti-β2 mAbs; IgM pentamer; multiple myeloma; haematological and solid tumours
11.  CUG-binding protein represses translation of p27Kip1 mRNA through its internal ribosomal entry site 
RNA Biology  2011;8(3):365-371.
The cyclin dependent kinase inhibitor p27Kip1 plays an important role in controlling the eukaryotic cell cycle. The 5′-untranslated region of the p27 mRNA harbors an internal ribosome entry site (IRES) which may facilitate synthesis of p27 in certain conditions. In this study, the RNA-associated protein CUGBP1 was shown to interact with the human p27 5′-untranslated region. Overexpression of CUGBP1 inhibited endogenous p27 expression and reduced translation initiation through the p27 IRES. In contrast, repression of CUGBP1 by siRNA transfection enhanced p27 protein levels and stimulated p27 IRES activity. Addition of recombinant CUGBP1 repressed p27 IRES reporter mRNA translation in vitro. At last, our finding showed that cytosolic form of CUGBP1 binds efficiently to the p27 5′-untranslated region.
doi:10.4161/rna.8.3.14804
PMCID: PMC3218506  PMID: 21508681
p27Kip1; cell cycle; IRES; CUGBP1; 5′-untranslated region
12.  Rapamycin regulates Stearoyl CoA Desaturase 1 Expression in Breast Cancer 
Molecular cancer therapeutics  2010;9(10):2770-2784.
mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin) signaling is a central regulator of protein translation, cell growth and metabolism. Alterations of the mTOR signaling pathway are common in cancer, making mTOR a promising therapeutic target. In clinical trials, rapamycin analogs have shown modest response rates for most cancer types, including breast cancer. Therefore, there is an urgent need to better understand rapamycin’s mechanism of action, in order to improve patient selection and to monitor pathway inhibition. To identify novel pharmacodynamic markers of rapamycin activity, we performed transcriptional profiling of total and polysome-associated RNA in three breast cancer cell lines representing different subtypes. In all three cell lines, we found that rapamycin significantly decreased polysome-associated mRNA for stearoyl-CoA desaturase 1 (SCD1), the rate-limiting enzyme in monounsaturated fatty acid synthesis. Activators of mTOR increased SCD1 protein expression, while rapamycin, LY294002 and BEZ235 decreased SCD1 protein expression. Rapamycin decreased total SCD1 RNA expression without inducing a significant decline in its relative polysomal recruitment (polysome/total ratio). Rapamycin did not alter SCD1 mRNA stability. Instead, rapamycin inhibited SCD1 promoter activity and decreased expression of mature transcription factor sterol regulatory element binding protein 1 (SREBP1). Eukaryotic initiation factor 4E (eIF4E) siRNA decreased both SCD1 and SREBP1 expression, suggesting SCD1 may be regulated through the mTOR/eIF4E-binding protein 1 axis. Furthermore, SCD1 siRNA knockdown inhibited breast cancer cell growth, while over-expression increased growth. Taken together these findings demonstrate that rapamycin decreases SCD1 expression, establishing an important link between cell signaling and cancer cell fatty acid synthesis and growth.
doi:10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-09-0980
PMCID: PMC2965451  PMID: 20876744
mTOR; eIF4E; Stearoyl CoA Desaturase 1; rapamycin; breast cancer
13.  eIF4E knockdown decreases breast cancer cell growth without activating Akt signaling 
Molecular cancer therapeutics  2008;7(7):1782-1788.
Activation of translation initiation is essential for the malignant phenotype, and is emerging as a potential therapeutic target. Translation is regulated by the expression of translation initiation factor 4E (eIF4E) as well as the interaction of eIF4E with eIF4E-binding proteins (e.g. 4E-BP1). Rapamycin inhibits translation initiation by decreasing the phosphorylation of 4E-BP1, increasing eIF4E/4E-BP1 interaction. However, rapamycin also inhibits S6K phosphorylation, leading to feedback-loop activation of Akt. We hypothesized that targeting eIF4E directly would inhibit breast cancer cell growth without activating Akt. We demonstrated that eIF4E is ubiquitously expressed in breast cancer cell lines. eIF4E knockdown by siRNA inhibited growth in different breast cancer cell subtypes including triple-negative (ER/PR/HER2-negative) cancer cells. eIF4E knockdown inhibited the growth of cells with varying total and p-4E-BP1 levels, and inhibited rapamycin-insensitive as well as sensitive cell lines. eIF4E knockdown led to a decrease in expression of cyclin D1, Bcl2 and Bcl-xL. eIF4E knockdown did not lead to Akt phosphorylation, but did decrease 4E-BP1 expression. We conclude that eIF4E is a promising target for breast cancer therapy. eIF4E-targeted therapy may be efficacious in a variety of breast cancer subtypes including triple-negative tumors for which currently there are no targeted therapies. Unlike rapamycin and its analogues, eIF4E knockdown is not associated with Akt activation.
doi:10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-07-2357
PMCID: PMC2559956  PMID: 18644990
Translation; targeted therapy; breast cancer; eIF4E; mTOR

Results 1-13 (13)