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1.  Statins impair glucose uptake in human cells 
Considering the increasing number of clinical observations indicating hyperglycemic effects of statins, this study was designed to measure the influence of statins on the uptake of glucose analogs by human cells derived from liver, adipose tissue, and skeletal muscle.
Flow cytometry and scintillation counting were used to measure the uptake of fluorescently labeled or tritiated glucose analogs by differentiated visceral preadipocytes, skeletal muscle cells, skeletal muscle myoblasts, and contact-inhibited human hepatocellular carcinoma cells. A bioinformatics approach was used to predict the structure of human glucose transporter 1 (GLUT1) and to identify the presence of putative cholesterol-binding (cholesterol recognition/interaction amino acid consensus (CRAC)) motifs within this transporter. Mutagenesis of CRAC motifs in SLC2A1 gene and limited proteolysis of membrane GLUT1 were used to determine the molecular effects of statins.
Statins significantly inhibit the uptake of glucose analogs in all cell types. Similar effects are induced by methyl-β-cyclodextrin, which removes membrane cholesterol. Statin effects can be rescued by addition of mevalonic acid, or supplementation with exogenous cholesterol. Limited proteolysis of GLUT1 and mutagenesis of CRAC motifs revealed that statins induce conformational changes in GLUTs.
Statins impair glucose uptake by cells involved in regulation of glucose homeostasis by inducing cholesterol-dependent conformational changes in GLUTs. This molecular mechanism might explain hyperglycemic effects of statins observed in clinical trials.
PMCID: PMC4212557  PMID: 25452863
Glucose Uptake; GLUT1; Pharmacological Therapy
2.  The PERK-eIF2α phosphorylation arm is a pro-survival pathway of BCR-ABL signaling and confers resistance to imatinib treatment in chronic myeloid leukemia cells 
Cell Cycle  2012;11(21):4069-4078.
Activation of adaptive mechanisms plays a crucial role in cancer progression and drug resistance by allowing cell survival under stressful conditions. Therefore, inhibition of the adaptive response is considered as a prospective therapeutic strategy. The PERK-eIF2α phosphorylation pathway is an important arm of the unfolded protein response (UPR), which is induced under conditions of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress. Our previous work showed that ER stress is induced in chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) cells. Herein, we demonstrate that the PERK-eIF2α phosphorylation pathway is upregulated in CML cell lines and CD34+ cells from CML patients and is associated with CML progression and imatinib resistance. We also show that induction of apoptosis by imatinib results in the downregulation of the PERK-eIF2α phosphorylation arm. Furthermore, we demonstrate that inactivation of the PERK-eIF2α phosphorylation arm decreases the clonogenic and proliferative capacities of CML cells and sensitizes them to death by imatinib. These findings provide evidence for a pro-survival role of PERK-eIF2α phosphorylation arm that contributes to CML progression and development of imatinib resistance. Thus, the PERK-eIF2α phosphorylation arm may represent a suitable target for therapeutic intervention for CML disease.
PMCID: PMC3507502  PMID: 23095523
BCR-ABL; CML; ER stress; PERK; eIF2α phosphorylation; imatinib
3.  Imatinib sensitivity in BCR-ABL1-positive chronic myeloid leukemia cells is regulated by the remaining normal ABL1 allele 
Cancer research  2011;71(16):5381-5386.
Chronic myeloid leukemia in chronic phase (CML-CP) cells that harbor oncogenic BCR-ABL1 and normal ABL1 allele often become resistant to the ABL1 kinase inhibitor imatinib. Here we report that loss of the remaining normal ABL1 allele in these tumors, which results from cryptic interstitial deletion in 9q34 in patients who did not achieve a complete cytogenetic remission during treatment, engenders a novel unexpected mechanism of imatinib resistance. BCR-ABL1-positive Abl1−/− leukemia cells were refractory to imatinib as indicated by persistent BCR-ABL1 -mediated tyrosine phosphorylation, lack of BCR-ABL1 protein degradation, increased cell survival and clonogenic activity. Expression of ABL1 kinase, but not a kinase-dead mutant, restored the anti-leukemic effects of imatinib in ABL1-negative CML cells and in BCR-ABL1-positive Abl1−/− murine leukemia cells. The intracellular concentration of imatinib and expression of its transporters were not affected, while proteins involved in BCR-ABL1 degradation were downregulated in Abl1−/− cells. Furthermore, twelve genes associated with imatinib resistance were favorably deregulated in Abl1−/− leukemia. Taken together, our results indicate that loss of the normal ABL1 kinase may serve as a key prognostic factor that exerts major impact on CML treatment outcomes.
PMCID: PMC3156347  PMID: 21693657
4.  Statins Impair Glucose Uptake in Tumor Cells1 
Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.)  2012;14(4):311-323.
Statins, HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, are used in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases owing to their lipid-lowering effects. Previous studies revealed that, by modulating membrane cholesterol content, statins could induce conformational changes in cluster of differentiation 20 (CD20) tetraspanin. The aim of the presented study was to investigate the influence of statins on glucose transporter 1 (GLUT1)-mediated glucose uptake in tumor cells. We observed a significant concentration- and time-dependent decrease in glucose analogs' uptake in several tumor cell lines incubated with statins. This effect was reversible with restitution of cholesterol synthesis pathway with mevalonic acid as well as with supplementation of plasma membrane with exogenous cholesterol. Statins did not change overall GLUT1 expression at either transcriptional or protein levels. An exploratory clinical trial revealed that statin treatment decreased glucose uptake in peripheral blood leukocytes and lowered 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (18F-FDG) uptake by tumor masses in a mantle cell lymphoma patient. A bioinformatics analysis was used to predict the structure of human GLUT1 and to identify putative cholesterol-binding motifs in its juxtamembrane fragment. Altogether, the influence of statins on glucose uptake seems to be of clinical significance. By inhibiting 18F-FDG uptake, statins can negatively affect the sensitivity of positron emission tomography, a diagnostic procedure frequently used in oncology.
PMCID: PMC3349257  PMID: 22577346
5.  Monoubiquitinated Fanconi Anemia D2 (FANCD2-Ub) Is Required for BCR-ABL1 Kinase -Induced Leukemogenesis 
Fanconi D2 (FANCD2) is monoubiquitinated on K561 (FANCD2-Ub) in response to DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) to stimulate repair of these potentially lethal DNA lesions. FANCD2-Ub was upregulated in CD34+ chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) cells and in BCR-ABL1 kinase –positive cell lines in response to elevated levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and DNA cross-linking agent mitomycin C. Downregulation of FANCD2 and inhibition of FANCD2-Ub reduced the clonogenic potential of CD34+ CML cells and delayed BCR-ABL1 leukemogenesis in mice. Retarded proliferation of BCR-ABL1 -positive FANCD2−/− leukemia cells could be rescued by FANCD2 expression. BCR-ABL1 –positive FANCD2−/− cells accumulated more ROS-induced DSBs in comparison to BCR-ABL1 –positive FANCD2+/+ cells. Antioxidants diminished the number of DSBs and enhanced proliferation of BCR-ABL1 –positive FANCD2−/− cells. Expression of wild-type FANCD2 and FANCD2(S222A) phosphorylation-defective mutant (deficient in stimulation of intra-S phase checkpoint but proficient in DSB repair), but not FANCD2(K561R) monoubiquitination-defective mutant (proficient in stimulation of intra-S phase checkpoint but deficient in DSB repair) reduced the number of DSBs and facilitated proliferation of BCR-ABL1 –positive FANCD2−/− cells. We hypothesize that FANCD2-Ub plays an important role in BCR-ABL1 leukemogenesis due to its ability to facilitate the repair of numerous ROS-induced DSBs.
PMCID: PMC3145022  PMID: 21519342
BCR-ABL1; FANCD2-Ub; CML; transformation; DNA damage

Results 1-5 (5)