Aggressive tumor growth, diffuse tissue invasion and neurodegeneration are hallmarks of malignant glioma. Although glutamate excitotoxicity is considered to play a key role in glioma-induced neurodegeneration, the mechanism(s) controlling this process is poorly understood. AEG-1 is an oncogene overexpressed in multiple types of human cancers including >90% of brain tumors. AEG-1 also promotes gliomagenesis particularly in the context of tumor growth and invasion, two primary characteristics of glioma. In the present study, we investigated the contribution of AEG-1 to glioma-induced neurodegeneration. Pearson correlation coefficient analysis in normal brain tissues and glioma patient samples indicated a strong negative correlation between expression of AEG-1 and a primary glutamate transporter of astrocytes EAAT2. Gain and loss of function studies in normal primary human fetal astrocytes and T98G glioblastoma multiforme cells revealed that AEG-1 repressed EAAT2 expression at a transcriptional level by inducing YY1 activity to inhibit CBP function as a coactivator on the EAAT2 promoter. In addition, AEG-1-mediated EAAT2 repression caused a reduction of glutamate uptake by glial cells, resulting in induction of neuronal cell death. These findings were also confirmed in glioma patient samples demonstrating that AEG-1 expression negatively correlated with NeuN expression. Taken together, our findings suggest that AEG-1 contributes to glioma-induced neurodegeneration, a hallmark of this fatal tumor, through regulation of EAAT2 expression.
AEG-1; glioma; EAAT2; glutamate; glioma-induced neurodegeneration
The prognosis of patients with human high-grade gliomas (HGGs) remains dismal despite major advances in their management, due mainly to the high resistance of these infiltrative tumor cells to programmed cell death (PCD). Most therapeutic strategies for HGGs are aimed to maximize PCD type I, apoptosis or type II, autophagy. These are predominantly distinctive processes, but many studies suggest a cross-talk between the two. A better understanding of the link between PCD types I and II might allow development of more effective therapies for HGGs. In this study, we examined whether there is a common upstream signaling event responsible for both apoptotic and autophagic PCD using 3 chemotherapeutic agents in human HGG cells. Our study shows that each agent caused a significant decrease in cell viability in each of the HGG cell lines tested. The increase rate of apoptosis and autophagy varied among cell lines and chemotherapeutic agents used. Increased expression of cytidine-cytidine-adenosine-adenosine-thymidine (C)/enhancer binding protein (EBP) homologous transcription factor C/EBP homologous protein (CHOP)/growth arrest and DNA damage–inducible gene 153 (GADD153) was documented after use of either pro-autophagic or pro-apoptotic agents. The involvement of CHOP/GADD153 in both type I and type II PCD was confirmed by overexpression and gene-silencing studies. Gene silencing by small-interfering RNA–mediated CHOP/GADD153 resulted in increased cell viability, decreased upregulation of microtubule-associated protein light-chain 3′ type II (LC3II) and cleaved caspase-3, and inhibition of apoptosis and autophagy. Exogenous expression of CHOP/GADD153 triggered apoptosis and autophagy in the absence of other stimuli. The clinical significance of these findings was supported by the evidence that celecoxib, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug known to induce GADD153-mediated apoptosis, strongly increases both type I and type II PCD in HGG cells when combined with another inducer of GADD153. These data suggest that CHOP/GADD153 should be investigated as a novel targetable signaling step to improve therapies for HGGs.
apoptosis; autophagy; CHOP/GADD153; cell viability; gliomas
There is virtually no effective treatment for advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and novel targets need to be identified to develop effective treatment. We recently documented that the oncogene Astrocyte elevated gene-1 (AEG-1) plays a seminal role in hepatocarcinogenesis. Employing yeast two-hybrid assay and co-immunoprecipitation followed by mass spectrometry we identified Staphylococcal nuclease domain containing 1 (SND1), a nuclease in the RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC) facilitating RNAi-mediated gene silencing, as an AEG-1 interacting protein. Co-immunoprecipitation and co-localization studies confirmed that AEG-1 is also a component of RISC and both AEG-1 and SND1 are required for optimum RISC activity facilitating siRNA and miRNA-mediated silencing of luciferase reporter gene. In 109 human HCC samples SND1 was overexpressed in ∼74% cases compared to normal liver. Correspondingly, significantly higher RISC activity was observed in human HCC cells compared to immortal normal hepatocytes. Increased RISC activity, conferred by AEG-1 or SND1, resulted in increased degradation of tumor suppressor mRNAs that are target of oncomiRs. Inhibition of enzymatic activity of SND1 significantly inhibited proliferation of human HCC cells. As a corollary, stable overexpression of SND1 augmented and siRNA-mediated inhibition of SND1 abrogated growth of human HCC cells in vitro and in vivo thus revealing a potential role of SND1 in hepatocarcinogenesis.
We unravel a novel mechanism that overexpression of AEG-1 and SND1 leading to increased RISC activity might contribute to hepatocarcinogenesis. Targeted inhibition of SND1 enzymatic activity might be developed as an effective therapy for HCC.
AEG-1; SND1; protein-protein interaction; RNAi; hepatocarcinogenesis
Since its initial identification and cloning in 2002, Astrocyte Elevated Gene-1 (AEG-1), also known as metadherin (MTDH), 3D3 and LYsine-RIch CEACAM1 co-isolated (LYRIC), has emerged as an important oncogene that is overexpressed in all cancers analyzed so far. Examination of a large cohort of patient samples representing diverse cancer indications has revealed progressive increase in AEG-1 expression with stages and grades of the disease and an inverse relationship between AEG-1 expression level and patient prognosis. AEG-1 functions as a bona fide oncogene by promoting transformation. In addition, it plays a significant role in invasion, metastasis, angiogenesis and chemoresistance, all important hallmarks of an aggressive cancer. AEG-1 is also implicated in diverse physiological and pathological processes, such as development, inflammation, neurodegeneration, migraine and Huntington disease. AEG-1 is a highly basic protein with a transmembrane domain and multiple nuclear localization signals and it is present in the cell membrane, cytoplasm, nucleus, nucleolus and endoplasmic reticulum. In each location, AEG-1 interacts with specific proteins thereby modulating diverse intracellular processes the combination of which contributes to its pleiotrophic properties. The present review provides a snapshot of the current literature along with future perspectives on this unique molecule.
Astrocyte elevated gene-1 (AEG-1); Oncogene; Metastasis; Chemoresistance; Angiogenesis; Neurodegeneration
Evidence has pointed to brain tumor stem cells (BTSC) as culprits behind human high-grade glioma (hHGG) resistance to standard therapy. Pre-clinical rodent models are the mainstay for testing of new therapeutic strategies. The typical model involves the intracranial injection of human glioma cells into immunocompromised hosts, hindering the evaluation of tumor-host responses and resulting in non-infiltrative tumors. The CT-2A model is an immunocompetent mouse model with potential to overcome these disadvantages. In this study, we confirmed the highly infiltrative nature of intracranial CT-2A tumors and optimized reproducible injection parameters. We then generated neurospheres and established, for the first time, the stemness of this model. CT-2A expression of the BTSC marker, CD133, increased from 2% in monolayer cells to 31% in fully-formed neurospheres. Investigation of three stem cell markers (Oct4, Nanog and Nestin) revealed a distinct stemness signature with monolayer cells expressing Oct4 and Nestin (no Nanog), and neurospheres expressing all three. Additionally, CT-2A cells were more proliferative and invasive than U87 cells, while CT-2A neurospheres were significantly more proliferative and invasive than either monolayer cells in vitro. Taken together, our results show that this model is a valuable tool for pre-clinical testing of novel therapeutics against hHGG and also affords the opportunity for investigation of BTSC in an immunocompetent setting.
immunocompetent mouse model; glioma; stem cells
The cytokine melanoma differentiation associated gene 7 (mda-7) was identified by subtractive hybridization as a protein whose expression increased during the induction of terminal differentiation, and that was either not expressed or was present at low levels in tumor cells compared to non-transformed cells. Based on conserved structure, chromosomal location and cytokine-like properties, MDA-7, was classified as a member of the interleukin (IL)-10 gene family and designated as MDA-7/IL-24. Multiple studies have demonstrated that expression of MDA-7/IL-24 in a wide variety of tumor cell types, but not in corresponding equivalent non-transformed cells, causes their growth arrest and rapid cell death. In addition, MDA-7/IL-24 has been noted to radiosensitize tumor cells which in part is due to the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and ceramide that cause endoplasmic reticulum stress and suppress protein translation. Phase I clinical trial data has shown that a recombinant adenovirus expressing MDA-7/IL-24 (Ad.mda-7 (INGN-241)) was safe and had measurable tumoricidal effects in over 40% of patients, strongly arguing that MDA-7/IL-24 could have significant therapeutic value. This review describes what is presently known about the impact of MDA-7/IL-24 on tumor cell biology and its potential therapeutic applications.
MDA-7; IL-24; Apoptosis; Autophagy; Ceramide; ROS; Ca2+; Clinical trial; Signal transduction; PERK; ER stress; MCL-1
Melanoma differentiation-associated gene-7/interleukin-24 (mda-7/IL-24) is a novel cytokine displaying selective apoptosis-inducing activity in transformed cells without harming normal cells. The present studies focused on defining the mechanism(s) by which a GST-MDA-7 fusion protein inhibits cell survival of primary human glioma cells in vitro. GST-MDA-7 killed glioma cells with diverse genetic characteristics that correlated with inactivation of ERK1/2 and activation of JNK1-3. Activation of JNK1-3 was dependent on protein kinase R–like endoplasmic reticulum kinase (PERK), and GST-MDA-7 lethality was suppressed in PERK−/− cells. JNK1-3 signaling activated BAX, whereas inhibition of JNK1-3, deletion of BAX, or expression of dominant-negative caspase-9 suppressed lethality. GST-MDA-7 also promoted a PERK-, JNK-, and cathepsin B–dependent cleavage of BID; loss of BID function promoted survival. GST-MDA-7 suppressed BAD and BIM phosphorylation and heat shock protein 70 (HSP70) expression. GST-MDA-7 caused PERK-dependent vacuolization of LC3-expressing endosomes whose formation was suppressed by incubation with 3-methylade-nine, expression of HSP70 or BiP/GRP78, or knockdown of ATG5 or Beclin-1 expression but not by inhibition of the JNK1-3 pathway. Knockdown of ATG5 or Beclin-1 expression or overexpression of HSP70 reduced GST-MDA-7 lethality. Our data show that GST-MDA-7 induces an endoplasmic reticulum stress response that is causal in the activation of multiple proapoptotic pathways, which converge on the mitochondrion and highlight the complexity of signaling pathways altered by mda-7/IL-24 in glioma cells that ultimately culminate in decreased tumor cell survival.
Melanoma differentiation associated gene-7/interleukin-24 (mda-7/IL-24) is a unique member of the IL-10 gene family that displays nearly ubiquitous cancer-specific toxicity, with no harmful effects toward normal cells or tissues. mda-7/IL-24 was cloned from human melanoma cells by differentiation induction subtraction hybridization (DISH) and promotes endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress culminating in apoptosis or toxic autophagy in a broad-spectrum of human cancers, when assayed in cell culture, in vivo in human tumor xenograft mouse models and in a Phase I clinical trial in patients with advanced cancers. This therapeutically active cytokine also induces indirect anti-tumor activity through inhibition of angiogenesis, stimulation of an anti-tumor immune response, and sensitization of cancer cells to radiation-, chemotherapy- and antibody-induced killing.
mda-7/IL-24; apoptosis; autophagy; bystander antitumor activity; cancer terminator virus
Malignant gliomas including glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) and anaplastic astrocytomas are the most common primary brain tumors. Despite multimodal treatment including surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, median survival for patients with GBMs is only 12–15 months. Identifying molecules critical for glioma progression is crucial for devising effective targeted therapy. In the present study, we investigated the potential contribution of Astrocyte Elevated Gene-1 (AEG-1) in gliomagenesis and explored the possibility of AEG-1 as a therapeutic target for malignant glioma. We analyzed the expression levels of AEG-1 in 9 normal brain tissues and 98 brain tumor patient samples by Western blot analysis and immunohistochemistry. AEG-1 expression was significantly elevated in > 90% of diverse human brain tumor samples including GBMs and astrocytic tumors, and also in human glioma cell lines as compared to normal brain tissues and normal astrocytes. Knockdown of AEG-1 by siRNA inhibited cell viability, cloning efficiency, invasive ability of U87 human glioma cells and 9L rat gliosarcoma cells. We also found that matrix metalloproteases (MMP-2 and MMP-9) are involved in AEG-1-mediated invasion of glioma cells. In an orthotopic nude mouse brain tumor model using primary human GBM12 tumor cells, AEG-1 siRNA significantly suppressed glioma cell growth in vivo. Taken together these provocative results indicate that AEG-1 may play a crucial role in the pathogenesis of glioma and that AEG-1 could represent a viable potential target for malignant glioma therapy.
AEG-1; brain tumor; glioma; invasion; angiogenesis
The novel cytokine melanoma differentiation associated gene-7 (mda-7) was identified by subtractive hybridization in the mid-1990s as a protein whose expression increased during the induction of terminal differentiation, and that was either not expressed or was present at low levels in tumor cells compared to non-transformed cells. Based on conserved structure, chromosomal location and cytokine-like properties, MDA-7, has now been classified as a member of the expanding interleukin (IL)-10 gene family and designated as MDA-7/IL-24. Multiple studies have demonstrated that expression of MDA-7/IL-24 in a wide variety of tumor cell types, but not in corresponding equivalent non-transformed cells, causes their growth arrest and ultimately cell death. In addition, MDA-7/IL-24 has been noted to be a radiosensitizing cytokine, which in part is due to the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and ceramide that cause endoplasmic reticulum stress. Phase I clinical trial data has shown that a recombinant adenovirus expressing MDA-7/IL-24 (Ad.mda-7 (INGN-241)) was safe and had measurable tumoricidal effects in over 40% of patients, which strongly argues that MDA-7/IL-24 may have significant therapeutic value. This review describes what is known about the impact of MDA-7/IL-24 on tumor cell biology and its potential therapeutic applications.
MDA-7: melanoma differentiation associated gene 7
High-grade gliomas are among the most lethal of all cancers. Despite considerable advances in multi-modality treatment, including surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy, the overall prognosis for patients with this disease remains dismal. Currently available treatments necessitate the development of more effective tumor-selective therapies. The use of gene therapy for malignant gliomas is promising as it allows in situ delivery and selectively targets brain tumor cells while sparing the adjacent normal brain tissue. Viral vectors to deliver pro-apoptotic genes to malignant glioma cells have been investigated. Although tangible results on patients’ survival remains to be further documented, significant advances in therapeutic gene transfer strategies have been made. Recently, cell-based gene delivery has been sought as an alternative method. In this paper, we report the pro-apoptotic effects of embryonic stem cell (ESC)-mediated mda-7/IL-24 delivery to malignant glioma cell lines. Our data show that these are similar to those observed using a viral vector. Additionally, acknowledging the heterogeneity of malignant glioma cells and their signaling pathways, we assessed the effects of conventional treatment for high grade gliomas, IR and TMZ, when combined with ESC-mediated transgene delivery. This combination resulted in synergistic effects on tumor cell death. The mechanisms involved in this beneficial effect included activation of both apoptosis and autophagy. Our in vitro data supports the concept that ESC-mediated gene delivery might offer therapeutic advantages over standard approaches to malignant gliomas. Our results corroborate the theory that combined treatments exploiting different signaling pathways are needed to succeed in the treatment of malignant gliomas.
Embryonic stem cell; apoptosis; autophagy; malignant gliomas; gene delivery
Since its original cloning by subtraction hybridization in 2002, it is now evident that Astrocyte elevated gene-1 (AEG-1) is a key contributor to the carcinogenic process in diverse organs. AEG-1 protein expression is elevated in advanced stages of many cancers, which correlates with poor survival. In specific cancers, such as breast and liver cancer, the AEG-1 gene itself is amplified further supporting a seminal role in tumorigenesis. Overexpression and inhibition studies both in in vitro and in in vivo models reveal the importance of AEG-1 in regulating multiple physiologically and pathologically relevant processes including proliferation, invasion, metastasis and gene expression. AEG-1 is a single-pass transmembrane protein with multiple nuclear localization signals and no known domains or motifs. Although pertinent roles of AEG-1 in the carcinogenic process are established, its potential function (promotion of metastasis only versus functioning as a bona fide oncogene) as well as localization (cell surface versus nucleus) remain areas requiring further clarification. The present review critically evaluates what is currently known about AEG-1 and provides new perspectives relative to this intriguing molecule that may provide a rational target for intervening in the cancer phenotype.
Melanoma differentiation associated gene-7/interleukin-24 (mda-7/IL-24) is a novel cytokine displaying selective apoptosis-inducing activity in transformed cells without harming normal cells. The present studies focused on clarifying the mechanism(s) by which glutathione S-transferase (GST)-MDA-7 altered cell survival of human renal carcinoma cells in vitro. GST-MDA-7 caused plasma membrane clustering of CD95 and the association of CD95 with procaspase-8. GST-MDA-7 lethality was suppressed by inhibition of caspase-8 or by overexpression of short-form cellular FLICE inhibitory protein, but only weakly by inhibition of cathepsin proteases. GST-MDA-7–induced CD95 clustering (and apoptosis) was blocked by knockdown of acidic sphingomyelinase or, to a greater extent, ceramide synthase-6 expression. GST-MDA-7 killing was, in parallel, dependent on inactivation of extracellular signal–regulated kinase 1/2 and on CD95-induced p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase and c-jun NH2-terminal kinase-1/2 signaling. Knockdown of CD95 expression abolished GST-MDA-7–induced phosphorylation of protein kinase R–like endoplasmic reticulum kinase. GST-MDA-7 lethality was suppressed by knockout or expression of a dominant negative protein kinase R–like endoplasmic reticulum kinase that correlated with reduced c-jun NH2-terminal kinase-1/2 and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling and maintained extracellular signal–regulated kinase-1/2 phosphorylation. GST-MDA-7 caused vacuolization of LC3 through a mechanism that was largely CD95 dependent and whose formation was suppressed by knockdown of ATG5 expression. Knockdown of ATG5 suppressed GST-MDA-7 toxicity. Our data show that in kidney cancer cells GST-MDA-7 induces ceramide-dependent activation of CD95, which is causal in promoting an endoplasmic reticulum stress response that activates multiple proapoptotic pathways to decrease survival.
A potentially less toxic approach for cancer therapy comprises induction of tumor cells to lose growth potential irreversibly and terminally differentiate. Combining this scheme termed ‘differentiation therapy of cancer’ with subtraction hybridization to human melanoma cells resulted in the cloning of melanoma differentiation associated (mda) genes displaying elevated expression as a consequence of induction of terminal differentiation. One originally novel gene, mda-7, was found to display elevated expression in normal melanocytes and nevi with progressive loss of expression as a consequence of melanoma development and progression to metastasis. Based on structure, biochemical properties and chromosomal location, mda-7 has now been reclassified as interleukin (IL)-24 a member of the expanding IL-10 family of cytokines. In vitro cell culture and in vivo animal studies indicate that mda-7/IL-24 selectively induces programmed cell death (apoptosis) in multiple human cancers (including melanomas), without harming normal cells, and promotes profound anti-tumor activity in nude mice containing human tumor xenografts. Based on these remarkable properties, a Phase I Clinical trial was conducted to test the safety of administration of mda-7/IL-24 by a replication incompetent adenovirus (Ad.mda-7; INGN 241) in patients with advanced solid cancers including melanoma. mda-7/IL-24 was found to be safe and to promote significant clinical activity, particularly in the context of patients with metastatic melanoma. These results provide an impetus for further clinical studies, and document a central paradigm of cancer therapy, namely translation of basic science from the “bench to the bedside.”
mda-7/IL-24; apoptosis; metastatic melanoma; Phase I Clinical Trial
Melanoma differentiation associated gene-7/interleukin 24 (mda-7/IL-24) is a novel cytokine displaying selective apoptosis-inducing activity in transformed cells without harming normal cells. The studies by further defines the mechanism(s) by which a GST-MDA-7 fusion protein inhibits cell survival of primary human glioma cells in vitro. GST-MDA-7 killed glioma cells with diverse genetic characteristics that were dependent on activation of JNK1-3 with subsequent activation of BAX and the induction of mitochondrial dysfunction. Activation of JNK1-3 was dependent upon protein kinase R-like endoplasmic reticulum kinase (PERK) and GST-MDA-7 lethality was suppressed in PERK-/- cells. GST-MDA-7 caused PERK-dependent vacuolization of LC3-expressing endosomes whose formation was suppressed by incubation with 3-methyladenine, expression of HSP70 or of BiP/GRP78, or by knockdown of ATG5 or Beclin 1 expression, but not by inhibition of the JNK1-3 pathway. Knockdown of ATG5 or Beclin 1 expression or overexpression of HSP70 reduced GST-MDA-7 lethality. Our data demonstrate that GST-MDA-7 induces an ER stress response that, via the induction of autophagy, is causal in the activation of pro-apoptotic pathways that converge on the mitochondrion and ultimately culminate in decreased glioma cell survival.
autophagy; caspase; ER stress; cell death
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a highly aggressive vascular cancer characterized by diverse etiology, activation of multiple signal transduction pathways, and various gene mutations. Here, we have determined a specific role for astrocyte elevated gene-1 (AEG1) in HCC pathogenesis. Expression of AEG1 was extremely low in human hepatocytes, but its levels were significantly increased in human HCC. Stable overexpression of AEG1 converted nontumorigenic human HCC cells into highly aggressive vascular tumors, and inhibition of AEG1 abrogated tumorigenesis by aggressive HCC cells in a xenograft model of nude mice. In human HCC, AEG1 overexpression was associated with elevated copy numbers. Microarray analysis revealed that AEG1 modulated the expression of genes associated with invasion, metastasis, chemoresistance, angiogenesis, and senescence. AEG1 also was found to activate Wnt/β-catenin signaling via ERK42/44 activation and upregulated lymphoid-enhancing factor 1/T cell factor 1 (LEF1/TCF1), the ultimate executor of the Wnt pathway, important for HCC progression. Inhibition studies further demonstrated that activation of Wnt signaling played a key role in mediating AEG1 function. AEG1 also activated the NF-κB pathway, which may play a role in the chronic inflammatory changes preceding HCC development. These data indicate that AEG1 plays a central role in regulating diverse aspects of HCC pathogenesis. Targeted inhibition of AEG1 might lead to the shutdown of key elemental characteristics of HCC and could lead to an effective therapeutic strategy for HCC.
Tumor progression and metastasis are complex processes involving intricate interplay among multiple gene products. Astrocyte Elevated Gene (AEG)-1 was cloned as an HIV-1- and tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α)-inducible transcript in primary human fetal astrocytes by a rapid subtraction hybridization approach. AEG-1 downregulates the expression of the glutamate transporter EAAT2, thus it is implicated in glutamate-induced excitotoxic damage to neurons as evident in HIV-associated neurodegeneration. Interestingly, AEG-1 expression is elevated in subsets of breast cancer, glioblastoma multiforme and melanoma cells and AEG-1 cooperates with Ha-ras to augment the transformed phenotype of normal immortal cells. Moreover, AEG-1 is overexpressed in >95% of human malignant glioma samples when compared with normal human brain. Overexpression of AEG-1 increases and siRNA inhibition of AEG-1 decreases migration and invasion of human glioma cells, respectively. AEG-1 contains a lung-homing domain facilitating breast tumor metastasis to lungs. These findings indicate that AEG-1 might play a pivotal role in the pathogenesis, progression and metastasis of diverse cancers. Our recent observations indicate that AEG-1 exerts its effects by activating the NF-κB pathway and AEG-1 is a downstream target of Ha-ras and plays an important role in Ha-ras-mediated tumorigenesis. These provocative findings are intensifying interest in AEG-1 as a crucial regulator of tumor progression and metastasis and as a potential mediator of neurodegeneration. In this review, we discuss the cloning, structure and function(s) of AEG-1 and provide recent insights into the diverse actions and intriguing properties of this molecule.
AEG-1; Progression; Metastasis; Ha-ras oncogene; Glutamate excitotoxicity; AEG-1 promoter
“Differentiation therapy” provides a unique and potentially effective, less toxic treatment paradigm for cancer. Moreover, combining “differentiation therapy” with molecular approaches presents an unparalleled opportunity to identify and clone genes mediating cancer growth control, differentiation, senescence, and programmed cell death (apoptosis). Subtraction hybridization applied to human melanoma cells induced to terminally differentiate by treatment with fibroblast interferon (IFN-β) plus mezerein (MEZ) permitted cloning of melanoma differentiation associated (mda) genes. Founded on its novel properties, one particular mda gene, mda-7, now classified as a member of the interleukin (IL)-10 gene family (IL-24) because of conserved structure, chromosomal location, and cytokine-like properties has become the focus of attention of multiple laboratories. When administered by transfection or adenovirus-transduction into a spectrum of tumor cell types, melanoma differentiation associated gene-7/interleukin-24 (mda-7/IL-24) induces apoptosis, whereas no toxicity is apparent in normal cells. mda-7/IL-24 displays potent “bystander antitumor” activity and also has the capacity to enhance radiation lethality, to induce immune-regulatory activities, and to inhibit tumor angiogenesis. Based on these remarkable attributes and effective antitumor therapy in animal models, this cytokine has taken the important step of entering the clinic. In a Phase I clinical trial, intratumoral injections of adenovirus-administered mda-7/IL-24 (Ad.mda-7) was safe, elicited tumor-regulatory and immune-activating processes, and provided clinically significant activity. This review highlights our current understanding of the diverse activities and properties of this novel cytokine, with potential to become a prominent gene therapy for cancer.
mda-7/IL-24; Differentiation therapy of cancer; Programmed cell death; Antitumor bystander activity; Radiosensitization; Angiogenesis; Cell signaling; Phase I clinical trial
Ovarian cancer is the fifth most common cause of cancer-related death in women. Current interventional approaches, including debulking surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiation have proven minimally effective in preventing the recurrence and/or mortality associated with this malignancy. Subtraction hybridization applied to terminally differentiating human melanoma cells identified melanoma differentiation associated gene-7/interleukin-24 (mda-7/IL-24), whose unique properties include the ability to selectively induce growth suppression, apoptosis, and radiosensitization in diverse cancer cells, without causing any harmful effects in normal cells. Previously, it has been shown that adenovirus-mediated mda-7/IL-24 therapy (Ad.mda-7) induces apoptosis in ovarian cancer cells, however, the apoptosis induction was relatively low. We now document that apoptosis can be enhanced by treating ovarian cancer cells with ionizing radiation (IR) in combination with Ad.mda-7. Additionally, we demonstrate that mda-7/IL-24 gene delivery, under the control of a minimal promoter region of progression elevated gene-3 (PEG-3), which functions selectively in diverse cancer cells with minimal activity in normal cells, displays a selective radiosensitization effect in ovarian cancer cells. The present studies support the use of IR in combination with mda-7/IL-24 as a means of augmenting the therapeutic benefit of this gene in ovarian cancer, particularly in the context of tumors displaying resistance to radiation therapy.
To fully comprehend cellular senescence, identification of relevant genes involved in this process is mandatory. Human polynucleotide phosphorylase (hPNPaseOLD-35), an evolutionarily conserved 3′, 5′ exoribonuclease mediating mRNA degradation, was first identified as a predominantly mitochondrial protein overexpressed during terminal differentiation and senescence. Overexpression of hPNPaseOLD-35 in human melanoma cells and melanocytes induces distinctive changes associated with senescence, potentially mediated by direct degradation of c-myc mRNA by this enzyme. hPNPaseOLD-35 contains two RNase PH (RPH) domains, one PNPase domain, and two RNA binding domains. Using deletion mutation analysis in combination with biochemical and molecular analyses we now demonstrate that the presence of either one of the two RPH domains conferred similar functional activity as the full-length protein, whereas a deletion mutant containing only the RNA binding domains was devoid of activity. Moreover, either one of the two RPH domains induced the morphological, biochemical, and gene expression changes associated with senescence, including degradation of c-myc mRNA. Subcellular distribution confirmed hPNPaseOLD-35 to be localized both in mitochondria and the cytoplasm. The present study elucidates how a predominantly mitochondrial protein, via its localization in both mitochondria and cytoplasm, is able to target a specific cytoplasmic mRNA, c-myc, for degradation and through this process induce cellular senescence.