Mutations of oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes which activate mTOR through several downstream signaling pathways are common to cancer. Activation of mTOR when combined with inhibition of cell cycle progression or DNA replication stress has previously been shown to promote cell senescence. In the present study, we examined the conditions under which human non-small cell lung carcinoma A549 cells can undergo senescence when treated with the DNA alkylating agent mitomycin C (MMC). While exposure of A549 cells to 0.1 or 0.5 µg/ml of MMC led to their arrest in S phase of the cell cycle and subsequent apoptosis, exposure to 0.01 or 0.02 µg/ml for 6 d resulted in induction of cell senescence and near total (0.01 µg/ml) or total (0.02 µg/ml) elimination of their reproductive potential. During exposure to these low concentrations of MMC, the cells demonstrated evidence of DNA replication stress manifested by expression of γH2AX, p21WAF1 and a very low level of EdU incorporation into DNA. The data are consistent with the notion that enduring DNA replication stress in cells known to have activated oncogenes leads to their senescence. It is reasonable to expect that tumors having constitutive activation of oncogenes triggering mTOR signaling may be particularly predisposed to undergoing senescence following prolonged treatment with low doses of DNA damaging drugs.
cell cycle; human non-small cell lung carcinoma; mTOR; metronomic chemotherapy; oncogenes; personalized cancer treatment; senescence; γH2AX
Human DNA polymerase δ (Pol δ) is involved in various DNA damage responses in addition to its central role in DNA replication. The Pol δ4 holoenzyme consists of four subunits, p125, p50, p68 and p12. It has been established that the p12 subunit is rapidly degraded in response to DNA damage by UV leading to the in vivo conversion of Pol δ4 to Pol δ3, a trimeric form lacking the p12 subunit. We provide the first analysis of the time-dependent recruitment of the individual Pol δ subunits to sites of DNA damage produced by UV irradiation through 5 μm polycarbonate filters by immunofluorescence microscopy and laser scanning cytometry (LSC). Quantitative analysis demonstrates that the recruitments of the three large subunits was near complete by 2 h and did not change significantly up to 4 h after UV exposure. However, the recruitment of p12 was incomplete even at 4 h, with about 70% of the Pol δ lacking the p12 subunit. ChIP analysis of Pol δ after global UV irradiation further demonstrates that only p125, p50 and p68 were present. Thus, Pol δ3 is the predominant form of Pol δ at sites of UV damage as a result of p12 degradation. Using LSC, we have further confirmed that Pol δ was recruited to CPD damage sites in all phases of the cell cycle. Collectively, our results show that Pol δ at the DNA damage site is the Pol δ trimer lacking p12 regardless of the cell cycle phase.
DNA damage foci; DNA replication; POLD1; POLD4; UV damage; cyclobutane pyrimidine dimer; polymerase δ
Berberine (BRB), a natural alkaloid, has a long history of medicinal use in both Ayurvedic and old Chinese medicine. Recently, available as a dietary supplement, Berberine is reported to have application in treatment of variety diseases. Previously we observed that BRB inhibited mTOR/S6 signaling concurrently with reduction of the level of endogenous oxidants and constitutive DNA damage response. We currently tested whether Berberine can affect premature, stress-induced cellular senescence caused by mitoxantrone. The depth of senescence was quantitatively measured by morphometric parameters, senescence-associated β-galactosidase, induction of p21WAF1, replication stress (γH2AX expression), and mTOR signaling; the latter revealed by ribosomal S6 protein (rpS6) phosphorylation. All these markers of senescence were distinctly diminished, in a concentration-dependent manner, by Berberine. In view of the evidence that BRB localizes in mitochondria, inhibits respiratory electron chain and activates AMPK, the observed attenuation of the replication stress-induced cellular senescence most likely is mediated by AMPK that leads to inhibition of mTOR signaling. In support of this mechanism is the observation that rhodamine123, the cationic probe targeting mitochondrial electron chain, also suppressed rpS6 phosphorylation. The present findings reveal that: (a) in cells induced to senescence BRB exhibits gero-suppressive properties by means of mTOR/S6 inhibition; (b) in parallel, BRB reduces the level of constitutive DNA damage response, previously shown to report oxidative DNA damage by endogenous ROS; (c) there appears to a causal linkage between the (a) and (b) activities; (d) the in vitro model of premature stress-induced senescence can be used to assess effectiveness of potential gero-suppressive agents targeting mTOR/S6 and ROS signaling; (e) since most of the reported beneficial effects of BRB are in age-relate diseases, it is likely that gero-suppression is the primary activity of this traditional medicine.
Berberine; Cellular senescence; H2AX phosphorylation; ROS; ribosomal protein S6; calorie restriction; metformin; rapamycin; 2-deoxyglucose; replication stress; cell cycle
DNA topoisomerase I (Top1) and topoisomerase II (Top2) inhibitors are widely used to treat a variety of cancers. Their mechanism of action involves stabilization of otherwise transient (“cleavable”) complexes between Top1 or Top2 and DNA; collisions of DNA replication forks with such stabilized complexes lead to formation of DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs). In this study, using 5-ethynyl-2′deoxyuridine (EdU) as a DNA precursor, we directly assessed the relationship between DNA replication and induction of DSBs revealed as γH2AX foci in A549 cells treated with Top1 inhibitors topotecan (Tpt) or camptothecin (Cpt) and Top2 inhibitors mitoxantrone (Mxt) and etoposide (Etp). Analysis of cells by multiparameter laser scanning cytometry following treatment with Tpt or Cpt revealed that only DNA replicating cells showed induction of γH2AX and a strong correlation between DNA replication and formation of DSBs (r = 0.86). In cells treated with Mxt or Etp, the correlation was weaker (r = 0.52 and 0.64). In addition, both Mtx and Etp caused induction of γH2AX in cells not replicating DNA. Confocal imaging of nuclei of cells treated with Tpt revealed the presence of γH2AX foci predominantly in DNA replicating cells and close association and co-localization of γH2AX foci with DNA replication sites. In cells treated with Mxt or Etp, the γH2AX foci were induced in DNA replicating as well as non-replicating cells but the close association between a large proportion of γH2AX foci and DNA replication sites was also apparent. The data are consistent with the view that collision of DNA replication forks with cleavable Top1–DNA complexes stabilized by Tpt/Cpt is the sole cause of induction of DSBs. Additional mechanisms such as involvement of transcription and/or generation of oxidative stress may contribute to DSBs induction by Mxt and Etp. The confocal analysis of the association between DNA replication sites and the sites of DSBs (γH2AX foci) opens a new approach for mechanistic studies of the involvement of DNA replication in induction of DNA damage.
S phase; cell cycle; EdU incorporation; DNA damage response; click chemistry; H2AX phosphorylation
cell hypertrophy; growth imbalance; cell cycle; cell senescence; apoptosis; mTOR; cyclin D1; replication stress
Two different mechanisms are considered to be the primary cause of aging. Cumulative DNA damage caused by reactive oxygen species (ROS), the by-products of oxidative phosphorylation, is one of these mechanisms (ROS concept). Constitutive stimulation of mitogen- and nutrient-sensing mTOR/S6 signaling is the second mechanism (TOR concept). The flow- and laser scanning- cytometric methods were developed to measure the level of the constitutive DNA damage/ROS- as well as of mTOR/S6- signaling in individual cells. Specifically, persistent activation of ATM and expression of γH2AX in untreated cells appears to report constitutive DNA damage induced by endogenous ROS. The level of phosphorylation of Ser235/236-ribosomal protein (RP), of Ser2448-mTOR and of Ser65-4EBP1, informs on constitutive signaling along the mTOR/S6 pathway. Potential gero-suppressive agents rapamycin, metformin, 2-deoxyglucose, berberine, resveratrol, vitamin D3 and aspirin, all decreased the level of constitutive DNA damage signaling as seen by the reduced expression of γH2AX in proliferating A549, TK6, WI-38 cells and in mitogenically stimulated human lymphocytes. They all also decreased the level of intracellular ROS and mitochondrial trans-membrane potential ΔΨm, the marker of mitochondrial energizing as well as reduced phosphorylation of mTOR, RP-S6 and 4EBP1. The most effective was rapamycin. Although the primary target of each on these agents may be different the data are consistent with the downstream mechanism in which the decline in mTOR/S6K signaling and translation rate is coupled with a decrease in oxidative phosphorylation, (revealed by ΔΨm) that leads to reduction of ROS and oxidative DNA damage. The decreased rate of translation induced by these agents may slow down cells hypertrophy and alleviate other features of cell aging/senescence. Reduction of oxidative DNA damage may lower predisposition to neoplastic transformation which otherwise may result from errors in repair of DNA sites coding for oncogenes or tumor suppressor genes. The data suggest that combined assessment of constitutive γH2AX expression, mitochondrial activity (ROS, ΔΨm) and mTOR signaling provides an adequate gamut of cell responses to evaluate effectiveness of gero-suppressive agents.
H2AX phosphorylation; ROS; ribosomal protein S6; calorie restriction; metformin; rapamycin; 2-deoxyglucose; rapamycin; berberine; vitamin D3; resveratrol; aspirin; replication stress; senescence; cell cycle; 4EBP1
DNA in live cells undergoes continuous oxidative damage caused by metabolically generated endogenous as well as external oxidants and oxidant-inducers. The cumulative oxidative DNA damage is considered the key factor in aging and senescence while the effectiveness of anti-aging agents is often assessed by their ability to reduce such damage. Oxidative DNA damage also preconditions cells to neoplastic transformation. Sensitive reporters of DNA damage, particularly the induction of DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs), are activation of ATM, through its phosphorylation on Ser 1981, and phosphorylation of histone H2AX on Ser 139; the phosphorylated form of H2AX has been named γH2AX. We review the observations that constitutive ATM activation (CAA) and H2AX phosphorylation (CHP) take place in normal cells as well in the cells of tumor lines untreated by exogenous genotoxic agents. We postulate that CAA and CHP, which have been measured by multiparameter cytometry in relation to the cell cycle phase, are triggered by oxidative DNA damage. This review also presents the findings on differences in CAA and CHP in various cell lines as well as on the effects of several agents and growth conditions that modulate the extent of these histone and ATM modifications. Specifically, described are effects of the reactive oxygen species (ROS) scavenger N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC), and the glutathione synthetase inhibitor buthionine sulfoximine (BSO) as well as suppression of cell metabolism by growth at higher cell density or in the presence of the glucose antimetabolite 2-deoxy-D-glucose. Collectively, the reviewed data indicate that multiparameter cytometric measurement of the level of CHP and/or CAA allows one to estimate the extent of ongoing oxidative DNA damage and to measure the DNA protective-effects of antioxidants or agents that reduce or amplify generation of endogenous ROS.
aging; senescence; DNA replication; DNA double-strand breaks; cell cycle; free radicals; reactive oxygen species (ROS); reactive oxygen intermediates (ROIs); anti-oxidants; oxidative stress
In aqueous solutions, in the presence of double-stranded DNA, chlorophyllin (CHL) forms complexes with each of the three DNA intercalators: acridine orange (AO), quinacrine mustard (QM), and doxorubicin (DOX). The evidence for these interactions was obtained by measurement changes in the absorption and fluorescence spectra of the mixtures containing DNA and intercalators during titration with CHL. A model of simple competition between DNA and CHL for the intercalator was used to define the measured interactions. The concentrations of the complexes estimated based on this model were consistent with the concentrations obtained by actual measurement of the absorption spectra.
The present data provide further support for the role of chlorophyllin as an “interceptor” that may neutralize biological activity of aromatic compounds including mutagens and antitumor drugs.
Chlorophyllin; Intercalators; Acridine orange; Quinacrine mustard; Doxorubicin; Interceptors; Competitive interactions; Absorption; Fluorescence
Induction of DNA damage by oxidants such as H2O2 activates the complex network of DNA damage response (DDR) pathways present in cells to initiate DNA repair, halt cell cycle progression, and prepare an apoptotic reaction. We have previously reported that activation of Ataxia Telangiectasia Mutated protein kinase (ATM) and induction of γH2AX are among the early events of the DDR induced by exposure of cells to H2O2, and in human pulmonary carcinoma A549 cells, both events were expressed predominantly during S-phase. This study was designed to further explore a correlation between these events and DNA replication. Toward this end, we utilized 5-ethynyl-2′deoxyuridine (EdU) and the “click chemistry” approach to label DNA during replication, followed by exposure of A549 cells to H2O2. Multiparameter laser scanning cytometric analysis of these cells made it possible to identify DNA replicating cells and directly correlate H2O2-induced ATM activation and induction of γH2AX with DNA replication on a cell by cell basis. After pulse-labeling with EdU and exposure to H2O2, confocal microscopy was also used to examine the localization of DNA replication sites (“replication factories”) versus the H2AX phosphorylation sites (γH2AX foci) in nuclear chromatin in an attempt to observe the absence or presence of colocalization. The data indicate a close association between DNA replication and H2AX phosphorylation in A549 cells, suggesting that these DNA damage response events may be triggered by stalled replication forks and perhaps also by induction of DNA double-strand breaks at the primary DNA lesions induced by H2O2
reactive oxygen species; hydrogen peroxide; S phase; cell cycle; EdU incorporation; DNA damage response; replication stress
The present study was designed to estimate the ability of chlorophyllin (CHL) to interact with two acridine mutagens, quinacrine mustard (QM) and acridine orange (AO), and with the antitumor anthracycline doxorubicin (Dox). To this end, aqueous solutions of QM, AO or Dox during titration with CHL were subjected to spectrophotometry and spectrofluorimetry to detect possible interactions between these reagents. The data indicate that CHL forms complexes with AO, QM or Dox in these solutions. The presence of the complexes was manifested by a bathochromic shift of the absorption spectra, as well as by strong quenching of the fluorescence of each of these mutagens in the presence of CHL. CHL, thus, may serve as an interceptor of these mutagenic acridines in different in vivo or in vitro applications. Its ability to interact with Dox may potentially be utilized to detoxify patients overdosed with this or similar drugs.
Chlorophyllin; Acridine orange; Quinacrine mustard; Doxorubicin; Absorption; Fluorescence spectroscopy
Recent years have brought enormous progress in cell-based lab-on-a-chip technologies, allowing dynamic studies of cell death with an unprecedented accuracy. As interest in the microfabricated technologies for cell-based bioassays is rapidly gaining momentum, we highlight the most promising technologies that provide a new outlook for the rapid assessment of programmed and accidental cell death and are applicable in drug discovery, high-content drug screening, and personalized clinical diagnostics.
Disruption of cell cycle checkpoints and interference with the normal cell cycle progression frequently result in cell death or malignant transformation. Hexavalent chromium [Cr(VI)] is a well-known carcinogen that has been implicated in the occurrence of many types of human malignancies, including lung cancer. However, the exact mechanism by which Cr(VI) causes malignant transformation in the lung remains unknown. We have demonstrated that chronic exposure to a noncytotoxic concentration of Cr(VI) induced a variety of chromosomal abnormalities, including premature sister chromatid separation, chromosomal breakage and the presence of lagging/misaligned chromosomes. After treatment with nocodazole, both HeLa and normal lung bronchial epithelial cells were arrested at mitosis. However, Cr(VI) significantly compromised M-phase arrest induced by nocodazole. Cr(VI) suppressed BubR1 activation and reduced expression of Emi1, leading to an unscheduled activation of APC/C. Consistent with this observation, Cr(VI) treatment caused enhanced polyubiquitination of geminin during mitotic release, while it deregulated the activity of Cdt1, a DNA replication licensing factor. Combined, these results suggest that Cr(VI)-induced chromosomal instability is partly due to a perturbation of APC/C activities, leading to chromosomal instability.
chromium; checkpoint; chromosome instability; APC/C; BubR1; Emi1
By virtue of superior preservation of proteins and nucleic acids the zinc salt-based fixatives (ZBF) has been proposed as an alternative to precipitants and cross-linking fixatives in histopathology. It was recently reported that ZBF is compatible with analysis of cell surface immunophenotype and detection of intracellular epitopes by flow cytometry. The aim of this study was to explore whether ZBF is also compatible with the detection of DNA damage response assessed by phospho-specific antibodies (Abs) detecting phosphorylation of the key proteins of that pathway. DNA damage in human pulmonary adenocarcinoma A549 cells was induced by treatment with the DNA topoisomerase I inhibitor camptothecin and phosphorylation of histone H2AX on Ser139 (γH2AX) and of ATM on Ser1981 was detected with phospho-specific Abs; cellular fluorescence was measured by laser scanning cytometry (LSC). The sensitivity and accuracy of detection of H2AX and ATM phosphorylation concurrent with the detection of DNA replication by EdU incorporation and “click chemistry” was found in ZBF fixed cells to be comparable to that of cell fixed in formaldehyde. The accuracy of DNA content measurement as evident from the resolution of DNA content frequency histograms of cells stained with DAPI was somewhat better in ZBF- than in formaldehyde-fixed cells. The pattern of chromatin condensation revealed by the intensity of maximal pixel of DAPI that allows one to identify mitotic and immediately post-mitotic cells by LSC was preserved after ZBF fixation. ZBF fixation was also compatible with the detection of γH2AX foci considered to be the hallmarks of induction of DNA double-strand breaks. Analysis of cells by flow cytometry revealed that ZBF fixation of lymphoblastoid TK6 cells led to about 60 and 33% higher intensity of the side and forward light scatter, respectively, compared to formaldehyde fixed cells.
gammaH2AX; ATM activation; click chemistry; EdU incorporation; cell cycle; DNA replication; S phase; confocal microscopy
This review covers progress in the development of cytometric methodologies designed to assess DNA replication and RNA synthesis. The early approaches utilizing autoradiography to detect incorporation of 3H- or 14C-labeled thymidine were able to identify the four fundamental phases of the cell cycle G1, S, G2, and M, and by analysis of the fraction of labeled mitosis (FLM), to precisely define the kinetics of cell progression through these phases. Analysis of 3H-uridine incorporation and RNA content provided the means to distinguish quiescent G0 from cycling G1 cells. Subsequent progress in analysis of DNA replication was based on the use of BrdU as a DNA precursor and its detection by the quenching of the fluorescence intensity of DNA-bound fluorochromes such as Hoechst 33358 or acridine orange as measured by flow cytometry. Several variants of this methodology have been designed and used in studies to detect anticancer drug-induced perturbations of cell cycle kinetics. The next phase of method development, which was particularly useful in studies of the cell cycle in vivo, including clinical applications, relied on immunocytochemical detection of incorporated halogenated DNA or RNA precursors. This approach however was hampered by the need for DNA denaturation, which made it difficult to concurrently detect other cell constituents for multiparametric analysis. The recently introduced “click chemistry” approach has no such limitation and is the method of choice for analysis of DNA replication and RNA synthesis. This method is based on the use of 5-ethynyl-2′deoxyuridine (EdU) as a DNA precursor or 5-ethynyluridine (EU) as an RNA precursor and their detection with fluorochrome-tagged azides utilizing a copper (I) catalyzed [3+2] cycloaddition. Several examples are presented that illustrate incorporation of EdU or EU in cells subjected to DNA damage detected as histone H2AX phosphorylation that have been analyzed by flow or laser scanning cytometry.
cell cycle; flow cytometry; laser scanning cytometry; click chemistry; 5-ethynyl-2′deoxyuridine incorporation; 5-ethynyluridine incorporation; H2AX phosphorylation; UV light; S-phase
This unit covers general aspects of DNA content analysis and provides introductory or complementary information to the specific protocols of DNA content assessment in this chapter. It describes principles of DNA content analysis and outlines difficulties and pitfalls common to these methods. It also reviews methods of DNA staining in live, permeabilized, and fixed cells, and in cell nuclei isolated from paraffin-embedded tissues, as well as the approaches to stain DNA concurrently with cell immunophenotype. This unit addresses factors affecting accuracy of DNA measurement, such as chromatin features restricting accessibility of fluorochromes to DNA, stoichiometry of interaction with DNA, and “mass action law” characterizing binding to DNA in relation to unbound fluorochrome concentration. It also describes controls to ensure accuracy and quality control of DNA content determination and principles of DNA ploidy assessment. Because many aspects of DNA content analysis are common to protocols in UNITS 7.3, 7.6, 7.16, 7.20, 7.23, & 7.25, certain parts of this unit provide information redundant with commentaries in these units.
cell cycle; apoptosis; ploidy; DNA index; stoichiometry; fluorochrome; chromatin
In addition to its traditional role in the regulation of calcium homeostasis and bone metabolism, vitamin D also exhibits immunomodulatory, anti-proliferative and cancer preventive activities. Molecular mechanisms that confer the chemo-preventive properties to vitamin D are poorly understood. We previously reported that constitutive phosphorylation of histone H2AX on Ser139 (γH2AX) and activation of ATM (Ser1981 phosphorylation), seen in untreated normal or tumor cells predominantly in S phase of the cell cycle, is to a large extent indicative of DNA replication stress occurring as a result of persistent DNA damage caused by endogenous oxidants, by-products of oxidative metabolism. In the present study we observed that exposure of mitogenically stimulated human lymphocytes, pulmonary carcinoma A549 and lymphoblastoid TK6 cells to 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25-VD) reduced the level of constitutive expression of γH2AX and ATM-S1981P. We also observed that the H2O2-induced rise in the level of γH2AX in lymphocytes was attenuated by 1,25-VD. Whereas in lymphocytes 1,25-VD reduced by 50-70% the level of endogenous oxidants as determined by their ability to oxidize 2,7-dichlorodihydrofluorescein (DCFH) in A549 and TK6 cells the attenuation of DNA damage signaling by 1,25-VD was seen in the absence of detectable reduction in DCFH oxidation. These findings suggest that while the anti-oxidant activity of 1,25-VD may contribute to a reduction in the intensity of DNA replication stress in lymphocytes, other factors play a role in the 1,25-VD effects seen in A549 and TK6 cells. The data are consistent with the recent report on the interaction between DNA damage signaling (ATM activation) and 1,25D receptor (VDR) phosphorylation that lead to enhancement of DNA repair efficiency, and provide further support for the chemo-preventive and anti-aging properties of this vitamin/hormone.
Calcitriol; histone H2AX phosphorylation; ATM activation; cell cycle; apoptosis; oxidative DNA damage; DNA repair; aging; cancer prevention; replication stress; mTOR
Faithful preservation of genome integrity is the critical mission of stem cells as well as of germ cells. Reviewed are the following mechanisms involved in protecting DNA in these cells: (a) The efflux machinery that can pump out variety of genotoxins in ATP-dependent manner; (b) the mechanisms maintaining minimal metabolic activity which reduces generation of reactive oxidants, by-products of aerobic respiration; (c) the role of hypoxic niche of stem cells providing a gradient of variable oxygen tension; (d) (e) the presence of hyaluronan (HA) and HA receptors on stem cells and in the niche; (f) the role of HA in protecting DNA from oxidative damage; (g) the specific function of HA in protecting DNA in stem cells; (h) the interactions of HA with sperm cells and oocytes that also may shield their DNA from oxidative damage, and (e) mechanisms by which HA exerts the anti-oxidant activity. While HA has multitude of functions its anti-oxidant capabilities are often overlooked but may be of significance in preservation of integrity of stem and germ cells genome.
Hyaluronic acid; stem cells; stem cells niche; germinal cells; sperm cells; oocytes; oxidative DNA damage; reactive oxidative species (ROS); inflammation; cell cycle; apoptosis
A cell undergoing apoptosis demonstrates multitude of characteristic morphological and biochemical features, which vary depending on the inducer of apoptosis, cell type and the “time window” at which the process of apoptosis is observed. Because the gross majority of apoptotic hallmarks can be revealed by flow and image cytometry, the cytometric methods become a technology of choice in diverse studies of cellular demise. Variety of cytometric methods designed to identify apoptotic cells, detect particular events of apoptosis and probe mechanisms associated with this mode of cell death have been developed during the past two decades. In the present review, we outline commonly used methods that are based on the assessment of mitochondrial transmembrane potential, activation of caspases, DNA fragmentation, and plasma membrane alterations. We also present novel developments in the field such as the use of cyanine SYTO and TO-PRO family of probes. Strategies of selecting the optimal multiparameter approaches, as well as potential difficulties in the experimental procedures, are thoroughly summarized.
Validation of new therapeutic targets calls for the advance in innovative assays that probe both spatial and temporal relationships in signaling networks. Cell death assays have already found a widespread use in pharmacological profiling of anticancer drugs. Such assays are, however, predominantly restricted to end point DEAD/LIVE parameter that provides only a snapshot of inherently stochastic process such as tumor cell death. Development of new methods that can offer kinetic real-time analysis would be highly advantageous for the pharmacological screening and predictive toxicology.
In the present work we outline innovative protocols for the real-time analysis of tumor cell death, based on propidium iodide (PI) and SYTOX Green probes. These can be readily adapted to both flow cytometry and time-lapse fluorescence imaging. Considering vast time savings and kinetic data acquisition such assays have the potential to be applied in a number of areas including accelerated anticancer drug discovery and high-throughput screening routines.
Cytotoxicity; Real-time assays; Antitumor drugs; Flow cytometry; Time-lapse microscopy
Extensive DNA fragmentation that generates a multitude of DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) is a hallmark of apoptosis. A widely used approach to identify apoptotic cells relies on labeling DSBs in situ with fluorochromes. Flow or image cytometry is then used to detect and quantify apoptotic cells labeled this way. We developed several variants of the methodology that is based on the use of exogenous terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase (TdT) to label 3′-OH ends of the DSBs with fluorochromes, defined as the TUNEL assay. This chapter describes the variant based on DSBs labeling using 5-Bromo-2′-deoxyuridine-5′-triphosphate (BrdUTP) as a TdT substrate and the incorporated BrdU is subsequently detected immunocytochemically with anti-BrdU antibody. We also describe modifications of the protocol that allow using other than BrdUTP deoxyribonucleotides to label DSBs. Concurrent differential staining of cellular DNA and multiparameter analysis of cells by flow- or image cytometry enables one to correlate the induction of apoptosis with the cell cycle phase. Examples of the detection of apoptotic cells in cultures of human leukemic cell lines treated with TNF-α and DNA topoisomerase I inhibitor topote-can are presented. The protocol can be applied to the cells growing in vitro, treated ex vivo with cytotoxic drugs as well as to clinical samples.
Apoptosis; DNA damage; Flow cytometry; Laser scanning cytometry; Cell cycle; Immuno-fluorescence; BrdU
Papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) is the most common endocrine and thyroid malignancy. The urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR) plays an important role in cancer pathogenesis, including breakdown of the extracellular matrix, invasion and metastasis. Additionally, there is increasing evidence that uPAR also promotes tumorigenesis via the modulation of multiple signaling pathways. BRAFV600E, the most common initial genetic mutation in PTC, leads to ERK1/2 hyperphosphorylation, which has been shown in numerous cancers to induce uPAR. Treatment of the BRAFV600E-positive PTC cell line, BCPAP, with the MEK/ERK inhibitor U0126 reduced uPAR RNA levels by 90%. siRNA-mediated downregulation of uPAR in BCPAP cells resulted in greatly decreased activity in the focal adhesion kinase (FAK)/phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt signaling pathway. This phenomenon was concurrent with drastically reduced proliferation rates and decreased clonigenic survival, as well as demonstrated senescence-associated nuclear morphology and induction of β-galactosidase activity. uPAR-knockdown BCPAP cells also displayed greatly reduced migration and invasion rates, as well as a complete loss of the cells' ability to augment their invasiveness following plasminogen supplementation. Taken together, these data provide new evidence of a novel role for uPAR induction (as a consequence of constitutive ERK1/2 activation) as a central component in PTC pathogenesis, and highlight the potential of uPAR as a therapeutic target.
urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR); papillary thyroid carcinoma; invasion; migration; proliferation; senescence; FAK; PI3K; Akt
Activation of caspases is a hallmark of apoptosis. Several methods, therefore, were developed to identify and count the frequency of apoptotic cells based on the detection of caspases activation. The method described in this chapter is based on the use of fluorochrome-labeled inhibitors of caspases (FLICA) applicable to fluorescence microscopy, and flow- and image-cytometry. Cell-permeant FLICA reagents tagged with carboxyfluorescein or sulforhodamine when applied to live cells in vitro or in vivo, exclusively label cells that are undergoing apoptosis. The FLICA labeling methodology is simple, rapid, robust, and can be combined with other markers of cell death for multiplexed analysis. Examples are presented on FLICA use in combination with a vital stain (propidium iodide), detection of the loss of mitochondrial electrochemical potential, and exposure of phosphatidylserine on the outer surface of plasma cell membrane using Annexin V fluorochrome conjugates. Following cell fixation and stoichiometric staining of cellular DNA, FLICA binding can be correlated with DNA ploidy, cell cycle phase, DNA fragmentation, and other apoptotic events whose detection requires cell permeabilization. The “time window” for the detection of apoptosis with FLICA is wider compared to that with the Annexin V binding, making FLICA a preferable marker for the detection of early phase apoptosis and more accurate for quantification of apoptotic cells.
FLICA; Caspases; Apoptosis; Flow cytometry; Laser scanning cytometry; Cell death; Mitochondrial potential; Annexin V binding