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author:("upi, gabriela")
1.  Bcl-2 Regulates HIF-1α Protein Stabilization in Hypoxic Melanoma Cells via the Molecular Chaperone HSP90 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(7):e11772.
Background
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.
Conclusions/Significance
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.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0011772
PMCID: PMC2910721  PMID: 20668552
2.  Growth-Inhibitory and Antiangiogenic Activity of the MEK Inhibitor PD0325901 in Malignant Melanoma with or without BRAF Mutations12 
Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.)  2009;11(8):720-731.
The Raf/MEK/ERK pathway is an important mediator of tumor cell proliferation and angiogenesis. Here, we investigated the growth-inhibitory and antiangiogenic properties of PD0325901, a novel MEK inhibitor, in human melanoma cells. PD0325901 effects were determined in a panel of melanoma cell lines with different genetic aberrations. PD0325901 markedly inhibited ERK phosphorylation and growth of both BRAF mutant and wild-type melanoma cell lines, with IC50 in the nanomolar range even in the least responsive models. Growth inhibition was observed both in vitro and in vivo in xenograft models, regardless of BRAF mutation status, and was due to G1-phase cell cycle arrest and subsequent induction of apoptosis. Cell cycle (cyclin D1, c-Myc, and p27KIP1) and apoptosis (Bcl-2 and survivin) regulators were modulated by PD0325901 at the protein level. Gene expression profiling revealed profound modulation of several genes involved in the negative control of MAPK signaling and melanoma cell differentiation, suggesting alternative, potentially relevant mechanisms of action. Finally, PD0325901 inhibited the production of the proangiogenic factors vascular endothelial growth factor and interleukin 8 at a transcriptional level. In conclusion, PD0325901 exerts potent growth-inhibitory, proapoptotic, and antiangiogenic activity in melanoma lines, regardless of their BRAF mutation status. Deeper understanding of the molecular mechanisms of action of MEK inhibitors will likely translate into more effective treatment strategies for patients experiencing malignant melanoma.
PMCID: PMC2713590  PMID: 19649202
3.  Stabilization of quadruplex DNA perturbs telomere replication leading to the activation of an ATR-dependent ATM signaling pathway 
Nucleic Acids Research  2009;37(16):5353-5364.
Functional telomeres are required to maintain the replicative ability of cancer cells and represent putative targets for G-quadruplex (G4) ligands. Here, we show that the pentacyclic acridinium salt RHPS4, one of the most effective and selective G4 ligands, triggers damages in cells traversing S phase by interfering with telomere replication. Indeed, we found that RHPS4 markedly reduced BrdU incorporation at telomeres and altered the dynamic association of the telomeric proteins TRF1, TRF2 and POT1, leading to chromosome aberrations such as telomere fusions and telomere doublets. Analysis of the molecular damage pathway revealed that RHPS4 induced an ATR-dependent ATM signaling that plays a functional role in the cellular response to RHPS4 treatment. We propose that RHPS4, by stabilizing G4 DNA at telomeres, impairs fork progression and/or telomere processing resulting in telomere dysfunction and activation of a replication stress response pathway. The detailed understanding of the molecular mode of action of this class of compounds makes them attractive tools to understand telomere biology and provides the basis for a rational use of G4 ligands for the therapy of cancer.
doi:10.1093/nar/gkp582
PMCID: PMC2760797  PMID: 19596811
4.  CCCTC-binding Factor Activates PARP-1 Affecting DNA Methylation Machinery*S⃞ 
The Journal of Biological Chemistry  2008;283(32):21873-21880.
Our previous data have shown that in L929 mouse fibroblasts the control of methylation pattern depends in part on poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation and that ADP-ribose polymers (PARs), both present on poly(ADP-ribosyl)ated PARP-1 and/or protein-free, have an inhibitory effect on Dnmt1 activity. Here we show that transient ectopic overexpression of CCCTC-binding factor (CTCF) induces PAR accumulation, PARP-1, and CTCF poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation in the same mouse fibroblasts. The persistence in time of a high PAR level affects the DNA methylation machinery; the DNA methyltransferase activity is inhibited with consequences for the methylation state of genome, which becomes diffusely hypomethylated affecting centromeric minor satellite and B1 DNA repeats. In vitro data show that CTCF is able to activate PARP-1 automodification even in the absence of nicked DNA. Our new finding that CTCF is able per se to activate PARP-1 automodification in vitro is of great interest as so far a burst of poly(ADP-ribosyl)ated PARP-1 has generally been found following introduction of DNA strand breaks. CTCF is unable to inhibit DNMT1 activity, whereas poly(ADP-ribosyl)ated PARP-1 plays this inhibitory role. These data suggest that CTCF is involved in the cross-talk between poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation and DNA methylation and underscore the importance of a rapid reversal of PARP activity, as DNA methylation pattern is responsible for an important epigenetic code.
doi:10.1074/jbc.M801170200
PMCID: PMC2494936  PMID: 18539602
5.  Telomere damage induced by the G-quadruplex ligand RHPS4 has an antitumor effect 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2007;117(11):3236-3247.
Functional telomeres are required for the replicability of cancer cells. The G-rich strand of telomeric DNA can fold into a 4-stranded structure known as the G-quadruplex (G4), whose stabilization alters telomere function limiting cancer cell growth. Therefore, the G4 ligand RHPS4 may possess antitumor activity. Here, we show that RHPS4 triggers a rapid and potent DNA damage response at telomeres in human transformed fibroblasts and melanoma cells, characterized by the formation of several telomeric foci containing phosphorylated DNA damage response factors γ-H2AX, RAD17, and 53BP1. This was dependent on DNA repair enzyme ATR, correlated with delocalization of the protective telomeric DNA–binding protein POT1, and was antagonized by overexpression of POT1 or TRF2. In mice, RHPS4 exerted its antitumor effect on xenografts of human tumor cells of different histotype by telomere injury and tumor cell apoptosis. Tumor inhibition was accompanied by a strong DNA damage response, and tumors overexpressing POT1 or TRF2 were resistant to RHPS4 treatment. These data provide evidence that RHPS4 is a telomere damage inducer and that telomere disruption selectively triggered in malignant cells results in a high therapeutic index in mice. They also define a functional link between telomere damage and antitumor activity and reveal the key role of telomere-protective factors TRF2 and POT1 in response to this anti-telomere strategy.
doi:10.1172/JCI32461
PMCID: PMC2000812  PMID: 17932567
6.  Involvement of PI3K and MAPK Signaling in bcl-2-induced Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Expression in Melanoma Cells 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2005;16(9):4153-4162.
We have previously demonstrated that bcl-2 overexpression in tumor cells exposed to hypoxia increases the expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) gene through the hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF-1). In this article, we demonstrate that exposure of bcl-2 overexpressing melanoma cells to hypoxia induced phosphorylation of AKT and extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK)1/2 proteins. On the contrary, no modulation of these pathways by bcl-2 was observed under normoxic conditions. When HIF-1α expression was reduced by RNA interference, AKT and ERK1/2 phosphorylation were still induced by bcl-2. Pharmacological inhibition of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) signaling pathways reduced the induction of VEGF and HIF-1 in response to bcl-2 overexpression in hypoxia. No differences were observed between control and bcl-2-overexpressing cells in normoxia, in terms of VEGF protein secretion and in response to PI3K and MAPK inhibitors. We also demonstrated that RNA interference-mediated down-regulation of bcl-2 expression resulted in a decrease in the ERK1/2 phosphorylation and VEGF secretion only in bcl-2-overexpressing cell exposed to hypoxia but not in control cells. In conclusion, our results indicate, for the first time, that bcl-2 synergizes with hypoxia to promote expression of angiogenesis factors in melanoma cells through both PI3K- and MAPK-dependent pathways.
doi:10.1091/mbc.E04-12-1087
PMCID: PMC1196326  PMID: 15987743
7.  In vitro and in vivo evaluation of NCX 4040 cytotoxic activity in human colon cancer cell lines 
Background
Nitric oxide-releasing nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NO-NSAIDs) are reported to be safer than NSAIDs because of their lower gastric toxicity. We compared the effect of a novel NO-releasing derivate, NCX 4040, with that of aspirin and its denitrated analog, NCX 4042, in in vitro and in vivo human colon cancer models and investigated the mechanisms of action underlying its antitumor activity.
Methods
In vitro cytotoxicity was evaluated on a panel of colon cancer lines (LoVo, LoVo Dx, WiDr and LRWZ) by sulforhodamine B assay. Cell cycle perturbations and apoptosis were evaluated by flow cytometry. Protein expression was detected by Western blot. In the in vivo experiments, tumor-bearing mice were treated with NCX 4040, five times a week, for six consecutive weeks.
Results
In the in vitro studies, aspirin and NCX 4042 did not induce an effect on any of the cell lines, whereas NCX 4040 produced a marked cytostatic dose-related effect, indicating a pivotal role of the -NO2 group. Furthermore, in LoVo and LRWZ cell lines, we observed caspase-9 and -3-mediated apoptosis, whereas no apoptotic effect was observed after drug exposure in WiDr or LoVo Dx cell lines. In in vivo studies, both NCX 4040 and its parental compound were administered per os. NCX 4040 induced a 40% reduction in tumor weight. Conversely, aspirin did not influence tumor growth at all.
Conclusions
NCX 4040, but not its parental compound, aspirin, showed an in vitro and in vivo antiproliferative activity, indicating its potential usefulness to treat colon cancer.
doi:10.1186/1479-5876-3-7
PMCID: PMC549525  PMID: 15691389
8.  Lonidamine Causes Inhibition of Angiogenesis-Related Endothelial Cell Functions1 
Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.)  2004;6(5):513-522.
Abstract
The aim of this study was to assess whether lonidamine (LND) interferes with some steps in angiogenesis progression. We report here, for the first time, that LND inhibited angiogenic-related endothelial cell functions in a dose-dependent manner (1–50 µg/ml). In particular, LND decreased proliferation, migration, invasion, and morphogenesis on matrigel of different endothelial cell lines. Zymographic and Western blot analysis assays showed that LND treatment produced a reduction in the secretion of matrix metalloproteinase- 2 and metalloproteinase-9 by endothelial cells. Vessel formation in a matrigel plug was also reduced by LND. The viability, migration, invasion, and matrix metalloproteinase production of different tumor cell lines were not affected by low doses of LND (1–10 µg/ml), whereas 50 µg/ml LND, which corresponds to the dose used in clinical management of tumors, triggered apoptosis both in endothelial and tumor cells. Together, these data demonstrate that LND is a compound that interferes with endothelial cell functions, both at low and high doses. Thus, the effect of LND on endothelial cell functions, previously undescribed, may be a significant contributor to the antitumor effect of LND observed for clinical management of solid tumors.
PMCID: PMC1531654  PMID: 15548359
Angiogenesis; lonidamine; endothelial cells; metalloproteinases; cancer
9.  Glutathione Depletion Induced by c-Myc Downregulation Triggers Apoptosis on Treatment with Alkylating Agents1 
Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.)  2004;6(3):195-206.
Abstract
Here we investigate the mechanism(s) involved in the c-Myc-dependent drug response of melanoma cells. By using three M14-derived c-Myc low-expressing clones, we demonstrate that alkylating agents, cisplatin and melphalan, trigger apoptosis in the c-Myc antisense transfectants, but not in the parental line. On the contrary, topoisomerase inhibitors, adriamycin and camptothecin, induce apoptosis to the same extent regardless of c-Myc expression. Because we previously demonstrated that c-Myc downregulation decreases glutathione (GSH) content, we evaluated the role of GSH in the apoptosis induced by the different drugs. In control cells treated with one of the alkylating agents or the others, GSH depletion achieved by l-buthionine-sulfoximine preincubation opens the apoptotic pathway. The apoptosis proceeded through early Bax relocalization, cytochrome c release, and concomitant caspase-9 activation, whereas reactive oxygen species production and alteration of mitochondria membrane potential were late events. That GSH was determining in the c-Myc-dependent drug-induced apoptosis was demonstrated by altering the intracellular GSH content of the c-Myc low-expressing cells up to the level of controls. Indeed, GSH ethyl ester-mediated increase of GSH abrogated apoptosis induced by cisplatin and melphalan by inhibition of Bax/cytochrome c redistribution. The relationship among c-Myc, GSH content, and the response to alkylating agent has been also evaluated in the M14 Myc overexpressing clones as well as in the melanoma JR8 c-Myc antisense transfectants. All together, these results demonstrate that GSH plays a key role in governing c-Myc-dependent drug-induced apoptosis.
PMCID: PMC1502103  PMID: 15153331
c-Myc; glutathione; antineoplastic drugs; apoptosis; melanoma; ADR, adriamycin; CDDP, cisplatin; l-PAM, melphalan; CPT, camptothecin; ROS, reactive oxygen species; Δψm, mitochondrial membrane potential; DHE, dihydroethidium; GSH, reduced glutathione; BSO, l-buthionine-sulfoximine; PI, propidium iodide; PIPES, piperazine-N,N′-bis[2-ethanesulfonic acid]; PBS, phosphate-buffered saline

Results 1-9 (9)