Osteogenic differentiation from mesenchymal progenitor cells (MPCs) are initiated and regulated by a cascade of signaling events. Either Wnt/β-catenin or estrogen signaling pathway has been shown to play an important role in regulating skeletal development and maintaining adult tissue homeostasis. Here, we investigate the potential crosstalk and synergy of these two signaling pathways in regulating osteogenic differentiation of MPCs. We find that the activation of estrogen receptor (ER) signaling by estradiol (E2) or exogenously expressed ERα in MPCs synergistically enhances Wnt3A-induced early and late osteogenic markers, as well as matrix mineralization. The E2 or ERα-mediated synergy can be effectively blocked by ERα antagonist tamoxifen. E2 stimulation can enhance endochondral ossification of Wnt3A-transduced mouse fetal limb explants. Furthermore, exogenously expressed ERα significantly enhances the maturity and mineralization of Wnt3A-induced subcutaneous and intramuscular ectopic bone formation. Mechanistically, we demonstrate that E2 does not exert any detectable effect on β-catenin/Tcf reporter activity. However, ERα expression is up-regulated within the first 48h in AdWnt3A-transduced MPCs, whereas ERβ expression is significantly inhibited within 24h. Moreover, the key enzyme for the biosynthesis of estrogens aromatase is modulated by Wnt3A in a biphasic manner, up-regulated at 24h but reduced after 48h. Our results demonstrate that, while ER signaling acts synergistically with Wnt3A in promoting osteogenic differentiation, Wnt3A may crosstalk with ER signaling by up-regulating ERα expression and down-regulating ERβ expression in MPCs. Thus, the signaling crosstalk and synergy between these two pathways should be further explored as a potential therapeutic approach to combating bone and skeletal disorders, such as fracture healing and osteoporosis.
Biomarkers play critical roles in early detection, diagnosis and monitoring of therapeutic outcome and recurrence of cancer. Previous biomarker research on ovarian cancer (OC) has mostly focused on the discovery and validation of diagnostic biomarkers. The primary purpose of this study is to identify serum biomarkers for prognosis and therapeutic outcomes of ovarian cancer.
Forty serum proteins were analyzed in 70 serum samples from healthy controls (HC) and 101 serum samples from serous OC patients at three different disease phases: post diagnosis (PD), remission (RM) and recurrence (RC). The utility of serum proteins as OC biomarkers was evaluated using a variety of statistical methods including survival analysis.
Ten serum proteins (PDGF-AB/BB, PDGF-AA, CRP, sFas, CA125, SAA, sTNFRII, sIL-6R, IGFBP6 and MDC) have individually good area-under-the-curve (AUC) values (AUC = 0.69–0.86) and more than 10 three-marker combinations have excellent AUC values (0.91–0.93) in distinguishing active cancer samples (PD & RC) from HC. The mean serum protein levels for RM samples are usually intermediate between HC and OC patients with active cancer (PD & RC). Most importantly, five proteins (sICAM1, RANTES, sgp130, sTNFR-II and sVCAM1) measured at remission can classify, individually and in combination, serous OC patients into two subsets with significantly different overall survival (best HR = 17, p<10−3).
We identified five serum proteins which, when measured at remission, can accurately predict the overall survival of serous OC patients, suggesting that they may be useful for monitoring the therapeutic outcomes for ovarian cancer.
Expression of microRNAs (miRNAs) is under stringent regulation at both transcriptional and post-transcriptional levels. Disturbance at either level could cause dysregulation of miRNAs. Here we show that MLL fusion proteins negatively regulate production of miR-150, an miRNA widely repressed in acute leukemia, by blocking miR-150 precursors from being processed to mature miRNAs through MYC/LIN28 functional axis. Forced expression of miR-150 dramatically inhibited leukemic cell growth and delayed MLL-fusion-mediated leukemogenesis, likely through targeting FLT3 and MYB and thereby interfering with the HOXA9/MEIS1/FLT3/MYB signaling network, which in turn caused downregulation of MYC/LIN28. Collectively, we revealed a MLL-fusion/MYC/LIN28⊣miR-150⊣FLT3/MYB/HOXA9/MEIS1 signaling circuit underlying the pathogenesis of leukemia, where miR-150 functions as a pivotal gatekeeper and its repression is required for leukemogenesis.
miR-150; MLL-associated leukemia; MYC; LIN28; FLT3; MYB; HOXA9; MEIS1; microRNA maturation; signaling axis; leukemogenesis
mTOR is a highly conserved serine/threonine protein kinase that serves as a central regulator of cell growth, survival and autophagy. Deregulation of the PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling pathway occurs commonly in cancer and numerous inhibitors targeting the ATP-binding site of these kinases are currently undergoing clinical evaluation. Here we report the characterization of Torin2, a second generation ATP-competitive inhibitor that is potent and selective for mTOR with a superior pharmacokinetic profile to previous inhibitors. Torin2 inhibited mTORC1-dependent T389 phosphorylation on S6K (RPS6KB1) with an EC50 of 250 pM with approximately 800-fold selectivity for cellular mTOR versus PI3K. Torin2 also exhibited potent biochemical and cellular activity against PIKK family kinases including ATM (EC50 28 nM), ATR (EC50 35 nM) and DNA-PK (EC50 118 nM) (PRKDC), the inhibition of which sensitized cells to Irradiation. Similar to the earlier generation compound Torin1 and in contrast to other reported mTOR inhibitors, Torin2 inhibited mTOR kinase and mTORC1 signaling activities in a sustained manner suggestive of a slow dissociation from the kinase. Cancer cell treatment with Torin2 for 24 hours resulted in a prolonged block in negative feedback and consequent T308 phosphorylation on Akt. These effects were associated with strong growth inhibition in vitro. Single agent treatment with Torin2 in vivo did not yield significant efficacy against KRAS-driven lung tumors, but the combination of Torin2 with MEK inhibitor AZD6244 yielded a significant growth inhibition. Taken together, our findings establish Torin2 as a strong candidate for clinical evaluation in a broad number of oncological settings where mTOR signaling has a pathogenic role.
mTOR; ATM; ATR; lung cancer; kinase inhibitors
The purpose of this study was to determine the role of long-chain fatty acyl-CoA synthetase 4 (ACSL4) in breast cancer. Public databases were utilized to analyze the relationship between ACSL4 mRNA expression and the presence of steroid hormone and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) in both breast cancer cell lines and tissue samples. In addition, cell lines were utilized to assess the consequences of either increased or decreased levels of ACSL4 expression. Proliferation, migration, anchorage-independent growth and apoptosis were used as biological end points. Effects on mRNA expression and signal transduction pathways were also monitored. A meta-analysis of public gene expression databases indicated that ACSL4 expression is positively correlated with a unique subtype of triple negative breast cancer (TNBC), characterized by the absence of androgen receptor (AR) and therefore referred to as quadruple negative breast cancer (QNBC). Results of experiments in breast cancer cell lines suggest that simultaneous expression of ACSL4 and a receptor is associated with hormone resistance. Forced expression of ACSL4 in ACSL4-negative, estrogen receptor α (ER)-positive MCF-7 cells resulted in increased growth, invasion and anchorage independent growth, as well as a loss of dependence on estrogen that was accompanied by a reduction in the levels of steroid hormone receptors. Sensitivity to tamoxifen, triacsin C and etoposide was also attenuated. Similarly, when HER2-positive, ACSL4-negative, SKBr3 breast cancer cells were induced to express ACSL4, the proliferation rate increased and the apoptotic effect of lapatinib was reduced. The growth stimulatory effect of ACSL4 expression was also observed in vivo in nude mice when MCF-7 control and ACSL4-expressing cells were utilized to induce tumors. Our data strongly suggest that ACSL4 can serve as both a biomarker for, and mediator of, an aggressive breast cancer phenotype.
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are multipotent progenitors that can undergo osteogenic differentiation under proper stimuli. We demonstrated that BMP9 is one of the most osteogenic BMPs. However, the molecular mechanism underlying BMP9-initiated osteogenic signaling in MSCs remains unclear. Through gene expression profiling analysis we identified several candidate mediators of BMP9 osteogenic signaling. Here, we focus on one such signaling mediator and investigate the functional role of cysteine-rich with EGF-like domains 2 (Creld2) in BMP9-initiated osteogenic signaling. Creld2 was originally identified as an ER stress-inducible factor localized in the ER-Golgi apparatus. Our genomewide expression profiling analysis indicates that Creld2 is among the top up-regulated genes in BMP9-stimulated MSCs. We confirm that Creld2 is up-regulated by BMP9 in MSCs. ChIP analysis indicates that Smad1/5/8 directly binds to the Creld2 promoter in a BMP9-dependent fashion. Exogenous expression of Creld2 in MSCs potentiates BMP9-induced early and late osteogenic markers, and matrix mineralization. Conversely, silencing Creld2 expression inhibits BMP9-induced osteogenic differentiation. In vivo stem cell implantation assay reveals that exogenous Creld2 promotes BMP9-induced ectopic bone formation and matrix mineralization, whereas silencing Creld2 expression diminishes BMP9-induced bone formation and matrix mineralization. We further show that Creld2 is localized in ER and the ER stress inducers potentiate BMP9-induced osteogenic differentiation. Our results strongly suggest that Creld2 may be directly regulated by BMP9 and ER stress response may play an important role in regulating osteogenic differentiation.
Relapsed childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) carries a poor prognosis despite intensive retreatment, due to intrinsic drug resistance1-2. The biological pathways that mediate resistance are unknown. Here we report the transcriptome profiles of matched diagnosis and relapse bone marrow specimens from ten pediatric B lymphoblastic leukemia patients using RNA-sequencing. Transcriptome sequencing identified 20 newly acquired novel non-synonymous mutations not present at initial diagnosis, of which two patients harbored relapse specific mutations in the same gene, NT5C2, a 5′-nucleotidase. Full exon sequencing of NT5C2 was completed in 61 additional relapse specimens, identifying five additional cases. Enzymatic analysis of mutant proteins revealed that base substitutions conferred increased enzymatic activity and resistance to treatment with nucleoside analogue therapies. Clinically, all patients who harbored NT5C2 mutations relapsed early, or within 36 months of initial diagnosis (p=0.03). These results suggest that mutations in NT5C2 are associated with the outgrowth of drug resistant clones in ALL.
Here we describe the synthesis and characterization of a number of 3-amino-1H-indazol-6-yl-benzamides that were designed to target the “DFG-out” conformation of the kinase activation loop. Several compounds such as 4 and 11 exhibit single-digit nanomolar EC50s against FLT3, c-Kit and the gatekeeper T674M mutant of PDGFRα.
The HIV-1 Vif protein, essential for in vivo viral replication, protects the virus from innate antiviral cellular factor APOBEC3G (A3G), and is an attractive target for developing antiviral therapeutics. Here we have evaluated the structure-activity relationships of RN18, a small molecule recently identified as an inhibitor of Vif function that blocks viral replication only in non-permissive cells expressing A3G, by inhibiting Vif-A3G interactions. Microwave-assisted cross-coupling reactions were developed to prepare a series of RN18 analogues with diverse linkages and substitutions on the phenyl rings. A dual cell-based assay system was used to assess antiviral activity against wild-type HIV-1 in both non-permissive (H9) and permissive (MT-4) cells that also allowed evaluation of specificity. In general, variations of phenyl substitutions were detrimental for antiviral potency and specificity, but isosteric replacements of amide and ether linkages were relatively well tolerated. These SAR data define structural requirements for Vif-specific activity, identify new compounds with improved antiviral potency and specificity, and provide leads for further exploration to develop new antiviral therapeutics.
APOBEC3G; HIV-1 Vif; inhibitors; structure-activity relationships; drug discovery; antiviral agents
Synthesis and characterization of an inert perchlorotriphenylmethyl triester radical, PTM-TE, are reported. PTM-TE was prepared by a facile 3-step synthesis using Friedal-Crafts reaction of tetrachlorobenzene with chloroform followed by ethoxycarbonylation and subsequent oxidation. PTM-TE is paramagnetic, and detected as a single sharp peak by EPR spectroscopy. In solution, the EPR linewidth of PTM-TE is highly sensitive to the dissolved oxygen content, thus enabling accurate measurement of oxygen concentration (oximetry). In addition, the radical also shows high reactivity to superoxide. The ester radical has the potential for use as a high-sensitive probe for determination of oxygen concentration and superoxide in biological systems.
Perchlorotriphenylmethyl radical; perchlorotriphenylmethyl triester; superoxide; free radicals; EPR; oximetry; spectrophotometry
Polylactic acid (PLA), a biodegradable polymer, has the potential to replace (at least partially) traditional petroleum-based plastics, minimizing “white pollution”. However, cost-effective production of optically pure L-lactic acid is needed to achieve the full potential of PLA. Currently, starch-based glucose is used for L-lactic acid fermentation by lactic acid bacteria. Due to its competition with food resources, an alternative non-food substrate such as cellulosic biomass is needed for L-lactic acid fermentation. Nevertheless, the substrate (sugar stream) derived from cellulosic biomass contains significant amounts of xylose, which is unfermentable by most lactic acid bacteria. However, the microorganisms that do ferment xylose usually carry out heterolactic acid fermentation. As a result, an alternative strain should be developed for homofermentative production of optically pure L-lactic acid using cellulosic biomass.
In this study, an ethanologenic Escherichia coli strain, SZ470 (ΔfrdBC ΔldhA ΔackA ΔpflB ΔpdhR ::pflBp6-acEF-lpd ΔmgsA), was reengineered for homofermentative production of L-lactic acid from xylose (1.2 mole xylose = > 2 mole L-lactic acid), by deleting the alcohol dehydrogenase gene (adhE) and integrating the L-lactate dehydrogenase gene (ldhL) of Pediococcus acidilactici. The resulting strain, WL203, was metabolically evolved further through serial transfers in screw-cap tubes containing xylose, resulting in the strain WL204 with improved anaerobic cell growth. When tested in 70 g L-1 xylose fermentation (complex medium), WL204 produced 62 g L-1 L-lactic acid, with a maximum production rate of 1.631 g L-1 h-1 and a yield of 97% based on xylose metabolized. HPLC analysis using a chiral column showed that an L-lactic acid optical purity of 99.5% was achieved by WL204.
These results demonstrated that WL204 has the potential for homofermentative production of L-lactic acid using cellulosic biomass derived substrates, which contain a significant amount of xylose.
E. coli; Genetic engineering; L-lactic acid; PLA; Xylose fermentation
We examined the microRNA signature that distinguishes the most common melanoma histological subtypes, superficial spreading melanoma (SSM) and nodular melanoma (NM). We also investigated the mechanisms underlying the differential expression of histology-specific microRNAs. MicroRNA array performed on a training cohort of 82 primary melanoma tumors (26 SSM, 56 NM), and nine congenital nevi (CN) revealed 134 microRNAs differentially expressed between SSM and NM (P<0.05). Out of 134 microRNAs, 126 remained significant after controlling for thickness and 31 were expressed at a lower level in SSM compared with both NM and CN. For seven microRNAs (let-7g, miR-15a, miR-16, miR-138, miR-181a, miR-191, and miR-933), the downregulation was associated with selective genomic loss in SSM cell lines and primary tumors, but not in NM cell lines and primary tumors. The lower expression level of six out of seven microRNAs in SSM compared with NM was confirmed by real-time PCR on a subset of cases in the training cohort and validated in an independent cohort of 97 melanoma cases (38 SSM, 59 NM). Our data support a molecular classification in which SSM and NM are two molecularly distinct phenotypes. Therapeutic strategies that take into account subtype-specific alterations might improve the outcome of melanoma patients.
Genetic hypercalciuric stone-forming (GHS) rats have increased intestinal Ca absorption, decreased renal tubule Ca reabsorption and low bone mass, all of which are mediated at least in part by elevated tissue levels of the vitamin D receptor (VDR). Both 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25(OH)2D3) and bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP2) are critical for normal maintenance of bone metabolism and bone formation, respectively. The complex nature of bone cell regulation suggests a potential interaction of these two important regulators in GHS rats. In the present study, BMP2 expression is suppressed by the VDR-1,25(OH)2D3 complex in Bone Marrow Stromal Cells (BMSCs) from GHS and SD rat and in UMR-106 cell line. We used chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assays to identify VDR binding to only one of several potential binding sites within the BMP2 promoter regions. This negative region also mediates suppressor reporter gene activity. The molecular mechanisms underlying the down-regulation of BMP2 by 1,25(OH)2D3 were studied in vitro in BMSCs and UMR-106 cells using the DNA methyltransferase inhibitor 5-aza-2′-deoxycytidine (DAC) and the histone deacetylase inhibitor trichostatin A (TSA). Both DAC and TSA activate BMP2 expression in combination with 1,25(OH)2D3. Bisulfite DNA pyrosequencing reveals 1,25(OH)2D3 to completely hypermethylate a single CpG site in the same BMP2 promoter region identified by the ChIP and reporter gene assays. ChIP assays also show that 1,25(OH)2D3 can increase the repressive histone mark H3K9me2 and reduce the acetylation of histone H3 at the same BMP2 promoter region. Taken together, our results indicate that 1,25(OH)2D3 binding to VDR down-regulates BMP2 gene expression in BMSCs and osteoblast-like UMR-106 cells by binding to the BMP2 promoter region. The mechanism of this 1,25(OH)2D3-induced transcriptional repression of BMP2 involves DNA methylation and histone modification. The study provides novel evidence that 1,25(OH)2D3 represses bone formation through down-regulating BMP2 expression both in vivo and in vitro.
A novel dopamine-plus-HSA (human serum albumin) approach was developed to functionalize iron oxide nanoparticles (IONPs), yielding nanoconjugates that are highly efficient in labeling various types of cell lines, which was demonstrated by in vivo MR imaging on xenograft and focal cerebral ischemia models.
Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) are members of the TGF-β superfamily and play a critical role in skeletal development, bone formation and stem cell differentiation. Disruptions in BMP signaling result in a variety of skeletal and extraskeletal anomalies. BMP9 is a poorly characterized member of the BMP family and is among the most osteogenic BMPs, promoting osteoblastic differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) both in vitro and in vivo. Recent findings from various in vivo and molecular studies strongly suggest that the mechanisms governing BMP9-mediated osteoinduction differ from other osteogenic BMPs. Many signaling pathways with diverse functions have been found to play a role in BMP9-mediated osteogenesis. Several of these pathways are also critical in the differentiation of other cell lineages, including adipocytes and chondrocytes. While BMP9 is known to be a potent osteogenic factor, it also influences several other pathways including cancer development, angiogenesis and myogenesis. Although BMP9 has been demonstrated as one of the most osteogenic BMPs, relatively little is known about the specific mechanisms responsible for these effects. BMP9 has demonstrated efficacy in promoting spinal fusion and bony non-union repair in animal models, demonstrating great translational promise. This review aims to summarize our current knowledge of BMP9-mediated osteogenesis by presenting recently completed work which may help us to further elucidate these pathways.
BMP; BMP9; bone regeneration; IGF; osteogenesis; TGF-β; Wnt; signal transduction; mesenchymal stem cells
Activation of signal transducers and activators of transcription (STAT) proteins may be critical to their oncogenic functions as demonstrated by the development of B-cell lymphoma/leukemia in transgenic (TG) mice overexpressing a constitutively activated form of Stat5b. However, low incidence of CD8+ T cell lymphoma was observed in B6 transgenic mice overexpressing a wild-type Stat5b (B6.Stat5bTg) despite of undetectable Stat5b phosphorylation and the rate of lymphomagenesis was markedly enhanced by immunization or the introduction of TCR transgenes . Here, we report that the wild-type Stat5b transgene leads to the acceleration and high incidence (74%) of CD8+ T cell lymphoblastic lymphomas in the non-obese-diabetic (NOD) background. In contrast to the B6.Stat5bTg mice, Stat5b in transgenic NOD (NOD.Stat5bTg) mice is selectively and progressively phosphorylated in CD8+ thymocytes. Stat5 phosphorylation also leads to up-regulation of many genes putatively relevant to tumorigenesis. Treatment of NOD.Stat5bTg mice with cancer chemopreventive agents Apigenin and Xanthohumol efficiently blocked lymphomagenesis through reduction of Stat5 phosphorylation and genes up-regulated in the NOD.Stat5bTg mice. These results suggest that NOD genetic background is critical to the Stat5b-mediated lymphomagenesis through regulation of Stat5 hyperactivation. NOD.Stat5bTg mouse is an excellent model for studying the molecular mechanisms underlying lymphomagenesis and testing novel chemoprevention strategies.
There is no consensus regarding the management of ovarian cancer patients, who have shown complete clinical response (CCR) to primary therapy and have rising cancer antigen CA-125 levels but have no symptoms of recurrent disease. The present study aims to determine whether follow-up CA-125 levels can be used to identify the need for imaging studies and secondary cytoreductive surgery (CRS).
We identified 410 ovarian cancer patients treated at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center between 1984 and 2011. These patients had shown CCR to primary therapy. Follow-up was conducted based on the surveillance protocol of the MD Anderson Cancer Center. We used the Cox proportional hazards model and log-rank test to assess the associations between the follow-up CA-125 levels and secondary CRS and survival duration.
The CA-125 level of 1.68 × nadir was defined as the indicator of recurrent disease (p < 0.001). The specificity and sensitivity of this criterion were 82.9% and 85.6%, respectively, and the median lead-time of the CA-125 biochemical progression prior to clinically-defined relapse was 31 days (ranging from 1 to 391 days). The median number of the negative imaging studies for the clinical relapse findings in patients with a CA-125 level of < 1.68 × nadir was 3 (ranging from 0 to 24 times). The increase of CA-125 level at relapse was an independent predictor of overall and progression free survival in patients who had shown CCR to primary therapy (p = 0.04 and 0.02 respectively). The overall and progression free survival durations in patients with a CA-125 level ≤ 1.68 × nadir at relapse (69.4 and 13.8 months) were longer than those with a CA-125 level > 1.68 × nadir at relapse (55.7 and 10.4 months; p = 0.04 and 0.01, respectively). The overall and progression free survival duration of patients with asymptomatic relapse and underwent a secondary CRS was longer than that of patients with symptomatic relapse (p = 0.02 and 0.04 respectively).
The increase of serum CA-125 levels is an early warning of clinical relapse in ovarian cancer. Using CA-125 levels in guiding the treatment of patients with asymptomatic recurrent ovarian cancer, who have shown CCR to primary therapy, can facilitate optimal secondary CRS and extend the survival duration of the patients.
Epithelial ovarian cancer; CA-125; Tumor marker; Clinical relapse; Cytoreductive surgery
The Wnt signaling pathway plays an important role not only in embryonic development but also in the maintenance and differentiation of the stem cells in adulthood. In particular, Wnt signaling has been shown as an important regulatory pathway in the osteogenic differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells. Induction of the Wnt signaling pathway promotes bone formation while inactivation of the pathway leads to osteopenic states. Our current understanding of Wnt signaling in osteogenesis elucidates the molecular mechanisms of classic osteogenic pathologies. Activating and inactivating aberrations of the canonical Wnt signaling pathway in osteogenesis results in sclerosteosis and osteoporosis respectively. Recent studies have sought to target the Wnt signaling pathway to treat osteogenic disorders. Potential therapeutic approaches attempt to stimulate the Wnt signaling pathway by upregulating the intracellular mediators of the Wnt signaling cascade and inhibiting the endogenous antagonists of the pathway. Antibodies against endogenous antagonists, such as sclerostin and dickkopf-1, have demonstrated promising results in promoting bone formation and fracture healing. Lithium, an inhibitor of glycogen synthase kinase 3β, has also been reported to stimulate osteogenesis by stabilizing β catenin. Although manipulating the Wnt signaling pathway has abundant therapeutic potential, it requires cautious approach due to risks of tumorigenesis. The present review discusses the role of the Wnt signaling pathway in osteogenesis and examines its targeted therapeutic potential.
Wnt signaling; bone formation; osteoporosis; fracture healing; bone tumors
The members of the Aurora kinase family play critical roles in the regulation of the cell cycle and mitotic spindle assembly and have been intensively investigated as potential targets for a new class of anti-cancer drugs. We describe a new highly potent and selective class of Aurora kinase inhibitors discovered using a phenotypic cellular screen. Optimized inhibitors display many of the hallmarks of Aurora inhibition including endoreduplication, polyploidy, and loss of cell viability in cancer cells. Structure-activity relationships with respect to kinome-wide selectivity and guided by an Aurora B co-crystal structure resulted in the identification of key selectivity determinants and discovery of a sub-series with selectivity towards Aurora A. A direct comparison of biochemical and cellular profile with respect to published Aurora inhibitors including VX-680, AZD1152, MLN8054, and a pyrimidine-based compound from Genentech demonstrates that compounds 1 and 3 will become valuable additional pharmacological probes of Aurora dependent functions.
Objective: Progenitor cell-based cardiomyocyte regeneration holds great promise of repairing an injured heart. Although cardiomyogenic differentiation has been reported for a variety of progenitor cell types, the biological factors that regulate effective cardiomyogenesis remain largely undefined. Primary cardiomyogenic progenitors (CPs) have a limited life span in culture, hampering the CPs' in vitro and in vivo studies. The objective of this study is to investigate if primary CPs isolated from fetal mouse heart can be reversibly immortalized with SV40 large T and maintain long-term cell proliferation without compromising cardiomyogenic differentiation potential.
Methods: Primary cardiomyocytes were isolated from mouse E15.5 fetal heart, and immortalized retrovirally with the expression of SV40 large T antigen flanked with loxP sites. Expression of cardiomyogenic markers were determined by quantitative RT-PCR and immunofluorescence staining. The immortalization phenotype was reversed by using an adenovirus-mediated expression of the Cre reconbinase. Cardiomyogenic differentiation induced by retinoids or dexamethasone was assessed by an α-myosin heavy chain (MyHC) promoter-driven reporter.
Results: We demonstrate that the CPs derived from mouse E15.5 fetal heart can be efficiently immortalized by SV40 T antigen. The conditionally immortalized CPs (iCP15 clones) exhibit an increased proliferative activity and are able to maintain long-term proliferation, which can be reversed by Cre recombinase. The iCP15 cells express cardiomyogenic markers and retain differentiation potential as they can undergo terminal differentiate into cardiomyctes under appropriate differentiation conditions although the iCP15 clones represent a large repertoire of CPs at various differentiation stages. The removal of SV40 large T increases the iCPs' differentiation potential. Thus, the iCPs not only maintain long-term cell proliferative activity but also retain cardiomyogenic differentiation potential.
Conclusions: Our results suggest that the reported reversible SV40 T antigen-mediated immortalization represents an efficient approach for establishing long-term culture of primary cardiomyogenic progenitors for basic and translational research.
Cardiomyogenic progenitors; cardiomyogenic differentiation; cardiomyogenesis; cardiovascular disorders; heart progenitor cells; immortalization
In absence of their natural ligand 11-cis retinal, cone opsin GPCRs fail to traffic normally, a condition associated with photoreceptor degeneration and blindness. We created a mouse with a point mutation (F81Y) in cone S-opsin. As expected, cones with this knockin mutation respond to light with maximal sensitivity red-shifted from 360 nm to 420 nm, consistent with an altered interaction between the apoprotein and ligand, 11-cis retinal. However, cones expressing F81Y S-opsin showed an ~3-fold reduced absolute sensitivity that was associated with a corresponding reduction in S-opsin protein expression. The reduced S-opsin expression did not arise from decreased S-opsin mRNA or cone degeneration, but rather from enhanced ER-associated degradation (ERAD) of the nascent protein. Exogenously increased 11-cis retinal restored F81Y S-opsin protein expression to normal levels, suggesting that ligand binding in the ER facilitates proper folding. Immunohistochemistry and electron microscopy of normal retinas showed that Mueller cells, which synthesize a precursor of 11-cis retinal, are closely adjoined to the cone ER, so could deliver the ligand to the site of opsin synthesis. Together, these results suggest that the binding of 11-cis retinal in the ER is important for normal folding during cone opsin biosynthesis.
ER quality control; ERAD; retinal degeneration; photoreceptor; retinoid
The development of new effective therapeutic agents with minimal side effects for prostate cancer treatment is much needed. Indirubin, an active molecule identified in the traditional Chinese herbal medicine – Qing Dai (Indigo Naturalis), has been used to treat leukemia for decades. However, the anti-cancer properties of Natura-alpha, an indirubin derivative, are not well studied in solid tumors, particularly in prostate cancer.
Human prostate cancer cell lines were treated with or without Natura-alpha followed by cell growth and invasion assays measured. The anti-tumor effects of Natura-alpha were examined in nude mice tumor xenograft models, as well as in a patient with advanced hormone refractory metastatic prostate cancer. Signal network proteins targeted by Natura-alpha were analyzed using Proteomic Pathway Array Analysis (PPAA) on xenografts.
Natura-alpha inhibited the growth of both androgen-dependent (LNCaP), and androgen-independent (LNCaP-AI, PC-3, and DU145) prostate cancer cells with IC50 between 4 to 10 Μm, also inhibits invasion of androgen-independent prostate cancer cells. Its anti-tumor effects were further evident in vivo tumor reduction in androgen-dependent and -independent nude mice tumor xenograft models as well as reduced tumor volume in the patient with hormone refractory metastatic prostate cancer. PPAA revealed that anti-proliferative and anti-invasive activities of Natura-alpha on prostate cancer might primarily be through its down-regulation of Forkhead box M1 (FOXM1) protein. Forced over-expression of FOXM1 largely reversed the inhibition by Natura-alpha.
Natura-alpha could serve as a novel and effective therapeutic agent for treatment of both hormone sensitive and hormone refractory prostate cancer with minimal side effects.
Superficial spreading melanoma (SSM) and nodular melanoma (NM) are believed to represent sequential phases of linear progression from radial to vertical growth. Several lines of clinical, pathological and epidemiologic evidence suggest, however, that SSM and NM might be the result of independent pathways of tumor development. We utilized an integrative genomic approach that combines single nucleotide polymorphism array (SNP 6.0, Affymetrix) with gene expression array (U133A 2.0, Affymetrix) to examine molecular differences between SSM and NM. Pathway analysis of the most differentially expressed genes between SSM and NM (N=114) revealed significant differences related to metabolic processes. We identified 8 genes (DIS3, FGFR1OP, G3BP2, GALNT7, MTAP, SEC23IP, USO1, ZNF668) in which NM/SSM-specific copy number alterations correlated with differential gene expression (P<0.05, Spearman’s rank). SSM-specific genomic deletions in G3BP2, MTAP, and SEC23IP were independently verified in two external data sets. Forced overexpression of metabolism-related gene methylthioadenosine phosphorylase (MTAP) in SSM resulted in reduced cell growth. The differential expression of another metabolic related gene, aldehyde dehydrogenase 7A1 (ALDH7A1), was validated at the protein level using tissue microarrays of human melanoma. In addition, we show that the decreased ALDH7A1 expression in SSM may be the result of epigenetic modifications. Our data reveal recurrent genomic deletions in SSM not present in NM, which challenge the linear model of melanoma progression. Furthermore, our data suggest a role for altered regulation of metabolism-related genes as a possible cause of the different clinical behavior of SSM and NM.
melanoma; nodular; genomics; SNP array; DNA copy number