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author:("riparo, Elio")
1.  Necroptosis: Molecular Signalling and Translational Implications 
Necroptosis is a form of programmed necrosis whose molecular players are partially shared with apoptotic cell death. Here we summarize what is known about molecular signalling of necroptosis, particularly focusing on fine tuning of FLIP and IAP proteins in the apoptosis/necroptosis balance. We also emphasize necroptosis involvement in physiological and pathological conditions, particularly in the regulation of immune homeostasis.
PMCID: PMC3920604  PMID: 24587805
2.  Autophagy in Prostate Cancer and Androgen Suppression Therapy 
The role of autophagy is known to be highly complex and context-dependent, leading to both cancer suppression and progression in several tumors including melanoma, breast and prostate cancer. In the present review, recent advances in an understanding of the involvement of autophagy in prostate cancer treatment are described. The regulatory effects of androgens on prostate cancer cell autophagy are particularly discussed in order to highlight the effects of autophagy modulation during androgen deprivation. A critical evaluation of the studies examined in the present review suggests the attractive possibility of autophagy inhibition combined with hormonal therapy as a promising approach for prostate cancer treatment.
PMCID: PMC3709775  PMID: 23743823
autophagy; apoptosis; prostate cancer; androgen deprivation therapy
3.  Toll-like receptors in prostate infection and cancer between bench and bedside 
Toll-Like receptors (TLRs) are a family of evolutionary conserved transmembrane proteins that recognize highly conserved molecules in pathogens. TLR-expressing cells represent the first line of defence sensing pathogen invasion, triggering innate immune responses and subsequently priming antigen-specific adaptive immunity. In vitro and in vivo studies on experimental cancer models have shown both anti- and pro-tumoural activity of different TLRs in prostate cancer, indicating these receptors as potential targets for cancer therapy. In this review, we highlight the intriguing duplicity of TLR stimulation by pathogens: their protective role in cases of acute infections, and conversely their negative role in favouring hyperplasia and/or cancer onset, in cases of chronic infections. This review focuses on the role of TLRs in the pathophysiology of prostate infection and cancer by exploring the biological bases of the strict relation between TLRs and prostate cancer. In particular, we highlight the debated question of how reliable mutations or deregulated expression of TLRs are as novel diagnostic or prognostic tools for prostate cancer. So far, the anticancer activity of numerous TLR ligands has been evaluated in clinical trials only in organs other than the prostate. Here we review recent clinical trials based on the most promising TLR agonists in oncology, envisaging a potential application also in prostate cancer therapy.
PMCID: PMC3823175  PMID: 23551576
prostate carcinoma; prostate infections; TLR; clinical trials; cancer therapy; innate immunity
5.  Plasma membrane micro domains regulate TACE-dependent TNFR1 shedding in human endothelial cells 
Upon stimulation by histamine, human vascular endothelial cells (EC) shed a soluble form of TNFR1 (sTNFR1) that binds up free TNF, dampening the inflammatory response. Shedding occurs through proteolytic cleavage of plasma membrane-expressed TNFR1 catalyzed by TNF-α converting enzyme (TACE). Surface expressed TNFR1 on EC is largely sequestered into specific plasma membrane micro domains, the lipid rafts/caveolae. The purpose of this study was to determine the role of these domains in TACE-mediated TNFR1 shedding in response to histamine. Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells (HUVEC)-derived EA.hy926 cells respond to histamine via H1 receptors to shed TNFR1. Both depletion of cholesterol by methyl-β-cyclodextrin (MBCD) and siRNA knockdown of the scaffolding protein caveolin-1 (cav-1), treatments that disrupt caveolae, reduce histamine-induced shedding of membrane-bound TNFR1. Moreover, immunoblotting of discontinuous sucrose gradient fractions show that TACE, like TNFR1, is present within low density membrane fractions, concentrated within caveolae, in unstimulated EA.hy926 endothelial cells and co-immunoprecipitates with cav-1. Silencing of cav-1 reduces the levels of both TACE and TNFR1 protein and displaces TACE, from low density membrane fractions where TNFR1 remains. In summary, we show that endothelial lipid rafts/caveolae co-localize TACE to surface expressed TNFR1, promoting efficient shedding of sTNFR1 in response to histamine.
PMCID: PMC3202671  PMID: 21645239
TACE; Caveolin-1; Lipid rafts; TNF-receptor; Histamine; Inflammation; Endothelium
6.  Bcl-2 Regulates HIF-1α Protein Stabilization in Hypoxic Melanoma Cells via the Molecular Chaperone HSP90 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(7):e11772.
Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1 (HIF-1) is a transcription factor that is a critical mediator of the cellular response to hypoxia. Enhanced levels of HIF-1α, the oxygen-regulated subunit of HIF-1, is often associated with increased tumour angiogenesis, metastasis, therapeutic resistance and poor prognosis. It is in this context that we previously demonstrated that under hypoxia, bcl-2 protein promotes HIF-1/Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF)-mediated tumour angiogenesis.
Methodology/Principal Findings
By using human melanoma cell lines and their stable or transient derivative bcl-2 overexpressing cells, the current study identified HIF-1α protein stabilization as a key regulator for the induction of HIF-1 by bcl-2 under hypoxia. We also demonstrated that bcl-2-induced accumulation of HIF-1α protein during hypoxia was not due to an increased gene transcription or protein synthesis. In fact, it was related to a modulation of HIF-1α protein expression at a post-translational level, indeed its degradation rate was faster in the control lines than in bcl-2 transfectants. The bcl-2-induced HIF-1α stabilization in response to low oxygen tension conditions was achieved through the impairment of ubiquitin-dependent HIF-1α degradation involving the molecular chaperone HSP90, but it was not dependent on the prolyl hydroxylation of HIF-1α protein. We also showed that bcl-2, HIF-1α and HSP90 proteins form a tri-complex that may contribute to enhancing the stability of the HIF-1α protein in bcl-2 overexpressing clones under hypoxic conditions. Finally, by using genetic and pharmacological approaches we proved that HSP90 is involved in bcl-2-dependent stabilization of HIF-1α protein during hypoxia, and in particular the isoform HSP90β is the main player in this phenomenon.
We identified the stabilization of HIF-1α protein as a mechanism through which bcl-2 induces the activation of HIF-1 in hypoxic tumour cells involving the β isoform of molecular chaperone HSP90.
PMCID: PMC2910721  PMID: 20668552
7.  Toll-like Receptor 3 Regulates Angiogenesis and Apoptosis in Prostate Cancer Cell Lines through Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1α1 
Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.)  2010;12(7):539-549.
Toll-like receptors (TLRs) recognize microbial/viral-derived components that trigger innate immune response and conflicting data implicate TLR agonists in cancer, either as protumor or antitumor agents. We previously demonstrated that TLR3 activation mediated by its agonist poly(I:C) induces antitumor signaling, leading to apoptosis of prostate cancer cells LNCaP and PC3 with much more efficiency in the former than in the second more aggressive line. The transcription factor hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1) regulates several cellular processes, including apoptosis, in response to hypoxia and to other stimuli also in normoxic conditions. Here we describe a novel protumor machinery triggered by TLR3 activation in PC3 cells consisting of increased expression of the specific I.3 isoform of HIF-1α and nuclear accumulation of HIF-1 complex in normoxia, resulting in reduced apoptosis and in secretion of functional vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Moreover, we report that, in the less aggressive LNCaP cells, TLR3 activation fails to induce nuclear accumulation of HIF-1α. However, the transfection of I.3 isoform of hif-1α in LNCaP cells allows poly(I:C)-induced HIF-1 activation, resulting in apoptosis protection and VEGF secretion. Altogether, our findings demonstrate that differences in the basal level of HIF-1α expression in different prostate cancer cell lines underlie their differential response to TLR3 activation, suggesting a correlation between different stages of malignancy, hypoxic gene expression, and beneficial responsiveness to TLR agonists.
PMCID: PMC2907580  PMID: 20651983
8.  Cyclic Expression of Endothelin-converting Enzyme-1 Mediates the Functional Regulation of Seminiferous Tubule Contraction  
The Journal of Cell Biology  1999;145(5):1027-1038.
The potent smooth muscle agonist endothelin-1 (ET-1) is involved in the local control of seminiferous tubule contractility, which results in the forward propulsion of tubular fluid and spermatozoa, through its action on peritubular myoid cells. ET-1, known to be produced in the seminiferous epithelium by Sertoli cells, is derived from the inactive intermediate big endothelin-1 (big ET-1) through a specific cleavage operated by the endothelin-converting enzyme (ECE), a membrane-bound metalloprotease with ectoenzymatic activity. The data presented suggest that the timing of seminiferous tubule contractility is controlled locally by the cyclic interplay between different cell types. We have studied the expression of ECE by Sertoli cells and used myoid cell cultures and seminiferous tubule explants to monitor the biological activity of the enzymatic reaction product. Northern blot analysis showed that ECE-1 (and not ECE-2) is specifically expressed in Sertoli cells; competitive enzyme immunoassay of ET production showed that Sertoli cell monolayers are capable of cleaving big ET-1, an activity inhibited by the ECE inhibitor phosphoramidon. Microfluorimetric analysis of intracellular calcium mobilization in single cells showed that myoid cells do not respond to big endothelin, nor to Sertoli cell plain medium, but to the medium conditioned by Sertoli cells in the presence of big ET-1, resulting in cell contraction and desensitization to further ET-1 stimulation; in situ hybridization analysis shows regional differences in ECE expression, suggesting that pulsatile production of endothelin by Sertoli cells (at specific “stages” of the seminiferous epithelium) may regulate the cyclicity of tubular contraction; when viewed in a scanning electron microscope, segments of seminiferous tubules containing the specific stages characterized by high expression of ECE were observed to contract in response to big ET-1, whereas stages with low ECE expression remained virtually unaffected. These data indicate that endothelin-mediated spatiotemporal control of rhythmic tubular contractility might be operated by Sertoli cells through the cyclic expression of ECE-1, which is, in turn, dependent upon the timing of spermatogenesis.
PMCID: PMC2133129  PMID: 10352019
endothelin; endothelin-converting enzyme; spermatogenesis; peritubular myoid cells; seminiferous epithelium

Results 1-8 (8)