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1.  Mixed Lineage Kinase 3 is Required for Matrix Metalloproteinase Expression and Invasion in Ovarian Cancer Cells 
Experimental Cell Research  2012;318(14):1641-1648.
Mixed lineage kinase 3 (MLK3) is a mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase kinase (MAP3K) that activates MAPK signaling pathways and regulates cellular responses such as proliferation, migration and apoptosis. Here we report high levels of total and phospho-MLK3 in ovarian cancer cell lines in comparison to immortalized nontumorigenic ovarian epithelial cell lines. Using small interfering RNA (siRNA)-mediated gene silencing, we determined that MLK3 is required for the invasion of SKOV3 and HEY1B ovarian cancer cells. Furthermore, mlk3 silencing substantially reduced matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) -1, -2, -9 and -12 gene expression and MMP-2 and -9 activities in SKOV3 and HEY1B ovarian cancer cells. MMP-1, -2, -9 and-12 expression, and MLK3-induced activation of MMP-2 and MMP-9 requires both extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) and c-Jun N-terminal kinase activities. In addition, inhibition of activator protein-1 (AP-1) reduced MMP-1, MMP-9 and MMP-12 gene expression. Collectively, these findings establish MLK3 as an important regulator of MMP expression and invasion in ovarian cancer cells.
PMCID: PMC3389280  PMID: 22652451
MLK3; MMP; invasion; ovarian cancer; MAPK; AP-1
2.  Nitric oxide-dependent killing of aerobic, anaerobic and persistent Burkholderia pseudomallei 
Burkholderia pseudomallei infections are fastidious to treat with conventional antibiotic therapy, often involving a combination of drugs and long-term regimes. Bacterial genetic determinants contribute to the resistance of B. pseudomallei to many classes of antibiotics. In addition, anaerobiosis and hypoxia in abscesses typical of melioidosis select for persistent populations of B. pseudomallei refractory to a broad spectrum of antibacterials. We tested the susceptibility of B. pseudomallei to the drugs hydroxyurea, spermine NONOate and DETA NONOate that release nitric oxide (NO). Our investigations indicate that B. pseudomallei are killed by NO in a concentration and time-dependent fashion. The cytoxicity of this diatomic radical against B. pseudomallei depends on both the culture medium and growth phase of the bacteria. Rapidly growing, but not stationary phase, B. pseudomallei are readily killed upon exposure to the NO donor spermine NONOate. NO also has excellent antimicrobial activity against anaerobic B. pseudomallei. In addition, persistent bacteria highly resistant to most conventional antibiotics are remarkably susceptible to NO. Sublethal concentrations of NO inhibited the enzymatic activity of [4Fe-4S]-cofactored aconitase of aerobic and anaerobic B. pseudomallei. The strong anti-B. pseudomallei activity of NO described herein merits further studies on the application of NO-based antibiotics for the treatment of melioidosis.
PMCID: PMC3517295  PMID: 22521523
antibiotics; antimicrobials; melioidosis; reactive nitrogen species; therapy; [4Fe-4S] clusters
3.  Mycobacterium bovis BCG Vaccine Strains Lack narK2 and narX Induction and Exhibit Altered Phenotypes during Dormancy▿  
Infection and Immunity  2008;76(6):2587-2593.
Mycobacterium tuberculosis is the causative agent of tuberculosis, a disease that affects one-third of the world's population. The sole extant vaccine for tuberculosis is the live attenuated Mycobacterium bovis bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG). We examined 13 representative BCG strains from around the world to ascertain their ability to express DosR-regulated dormancy antigens. These are known to be recognized by T cells of M. tuberculosis-infected individuals, especially those harboring latent infections. Differences in the expression of these antigens could be valuable for use as diagnostic markers to distinguish BCG vaccination from latent tuberculosis. We determined that all BCG strains were defective for the induction of two dormancy genes: narK2 (Rv1737c) and narX (Rv1736c). NarK2 is known to be necessary for nitrate respiration during anaerobic dormancy. Analysis of the narK2/X promoter region revealed a base substitution mutation in all tested BCG strains and M. bovis in comparison to the M. tuberculosis sequence. We also show that nitrate reduction by BCG strains during dormancy was greatly reduced compared to M. tuberculosis and varied between tested strains. Several dormancy regulon transcriptional differences were also identified among the strains, as well as variation in their growth and survival. These findings demonstrate defects in DosR regulon expression during dormancy and phenotypic variation between commonly used BCG vaccine strains.
PMCID: PMC2423053  PMID: 18362135
4.  Inactivation of [Fe-S] Metalloproteins Mediates Nitric Oxide-Dependent Killing of Burkholderia mallei 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(4):e1976.
Much remains to be known about the mechanisms by which O2-dependent host defenses mediate broad antimicrobial activity.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We show herein that reactive nitrogen species (RNS) generated by inducible nitric oxide (NO) synthase (iNOS) account for the anti-Burkholderia mallei activity of IFNγ-primed macrophages. Inducible NOS-mediated intracellular killing may represent direct bactericidal activity, because B. mallei showed an exquisite sensitivity to NO generated chemically. Exposure of B. mallei to sublethal concentrations of NO upregulated transcription of [Fe-S] cluster repair genes, while damaging the enzymatic activity of the [Fe-S] protein aconitase. To test whether [Fe-S] clusters are critical targets for RNS-dependent killing of B. mallei, a mutation was constructed in the NO-induced, [Fe-S] cluster repair regulator iscR. Not only was the iscR mutant hypersusceptible to iNOS-mediated killing, but its aconitase pool was readily oxidized by NO donors as compared to wild-type controls. Although killed by authentic H2O2, which also oxidizes [Fe-S] clusters, B. mallei appear to be resilient to NADPH oxidase-mediated cytotoxicity. The poor respiratory burst elicited by this bacterium likely explains why the NADPH oxidase is nonessential to the killing of B. mallei while it is still confined within phagosomes.
Collectively, these findings have revealed a disparate role for NADPH oxidase and iNOS in the innate macrophage response against the strict aerobe B. mallei. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first instance in which disruption of [Fe-S] clusters is demonstrated as cause of the bactericidal activity of NO congeners.
PMCID: PMC2276317  PMID: 18398486
5.  Lack of Immune Responses to Mycobacterium tuberculosis DosR Regulon Proteins following Mycobacterium bovis BCG Vaccination▿  
Infection and Immunity  2007;75(7):3523-3530.
Mycobacterium bovis BCG is widely used as a vaccine against tuberculosis (TB), despite its variable protective efficacy. Relatively little is known about the immune response profiles following BCG vaccination in relation to protection against TB. Here we tested whether BCG vaccination results in immune responses to DosR (Rv3133c) regulon-encoded proteins. These so-called TB latency antigens are targeted by the immune system during persistent Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection and have been associated with immunity against latent M. tuberculosis infection. In silico analysis of the DosR regulon in BCG and M. tuberculosis showed at least 97% amino acid sequence homology, with 41 out of 48 genes being identical. Transcriptional profiling of 14 different BCG strains, under hypoxia and nitric oxide exposure in vitro, revealed a functional DosR regulon similar to that observed in M. tuberculosis. Next, we assessed human immune responses to a series of immunodominant TB latency antigens and found that BCG vaccination fails to induce significant responses to latency antigens. Similar results were obtained with BCG-vaccinated BALB/c mice. In contrast, responses to latency antigens were observed in individuals with suspected exposure to TB (as indicated by positive gamma interferon responses to TB-specific antigens ESAT-6 and CFP-10) and in mice vaccinated with plasmid DNA encoding selected latency antigens. Since immune responses to TB latency antigens have been associated with control of latent M. tuberculosis infection, our findings support the development of vaccination strategies incorporating DosR regulon antigens to complement and improve the current BCG vaccine.
PMCID: PMC1932964  PMID: 17502400

Results 1-5 (5)