Since its initial identification as a HIV-1-inducible gene in 2002, astrocyte elevated gene-1 (AEG-1), subsequently cloned as metadherin (MTDH) and lysine-rich CEACAM1 coisolated (LYRIC), has emerged over the past 10 years as an important oncogene providing a valuable prognostic marker in patients with various cancers. Recent studies demonstrate that AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC is a pleiotropic protein that can localize in the cell membrane, cytoplasm, endoplasmic reticulum (ER), nucleus, and nucleolus, and contributes to diverse signaling pathways such as PI3K–AKT, NF-κB, MAPK, and Wnt. In addition to tumorigenesis, this multifunctional protein is implicated in various physiological and pathological processes including development, neurodegeneration, and inflammation. The present review focuses on the discovery of AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC and conceptualizes areas of future direction for this intriguing gene. We begin by describing how AEG-1, MTDH, and LYRIC were initially identified by different research groups and then discuss AEG-1 structure, functions, localization, and evolution. We conclude with a discussion of the expression profile of AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC in the context of cancer, neurological disorders, inflammation, and embryogenesis, and discuss how AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC is regulated. This introductory discussion of AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC will serve as the basis for the detailed discussions in other chapters of the unique properties of this intriguing molecule.
Astrocyte elevated gene-1 (AEG-1), also known as metadherin (MTDH) and lysine-rich CEACAM1 coisolated (LYRIC), was initially cloned in 2002. AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC has emerged as an important oncogene that is overexpressed in multiple types of human cancer. Expanded research on AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC has established a functional role of this molecule in several crucial aspects of tumor progression, including transformation, proliferation, cell survival, evasion of apoptosis, migration and invasion, metastasis, angiogenesis, and chemoresistance. The multifunctional role of AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC in tumor development and progression is associated with a number of signaling cascades, and recent studies identified several important interacting partners of AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC in regulating cancer promotion and other biological functions. This review evaluates the current literature on AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC function relative to signaling changes, interacting partners, and angiogenesis and highlights new perspectives of this molecule, indicating its potential as a significant target for the clinical treatment of various cancers and other diseases.
“Gain-of-function” and “loss-of-function” studies in human cancer cells and analysis of a transgenic mouse model have convincingly established that AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC performs a seminal role in regulating proliferation, invasion, angiogenesis, metastasis, and chemoresistance, the salient defining hallmarks of cancer. These observations are strongly buttressed by clinicopathologic correlations of AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC expression in a diverse array of cancers distinguishing AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC as an independent biomarker for highly aggressive metastatic disease with poor prognosis. AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC has been shown to be a marker predicting response to chemotherapy, and serum anti-AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC antibody titer also serves as a predictor of advanced stages of aggressive cancer. However, inconsistent findings have been reported regarding the localization of AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC protein in the nucleus or cytoplasm of cancer cells and the utility of nuclear or cytoplasmic AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC to predict the course and prognosis of disease. This chapter provides a comprehensive analysis of the existing literature to emphasize the common and conflicting findings relative to the clinical significance of AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC in cancer.
Melanoma differentiation associated gene-9 (mda-9/syntenin) encodes an adapter scaffold protein whose expression correlates with and mediates melanoma progression and metastasis. Tumor angiogenesis represents an integral component of cancer metastasis prompting us to investigate a possible role of mda-9/syntenin in inducing angiogenesis. Genetic (gain-of-function and loss-of-function) and pharmacological approaches were employed to modify mda-9/syntenin expression in normal immortal melanocytes, early radial growth phase melanoma and metastatic melanoma cells. The consequence of modifying mda-9/syntenin expression on angiogenesis was evaluated using both in vitro and in vivo assays, including tube formation assays using human vascular endothelial cells, CAM assays and xenograft tumor animal models. Gain-of-function and loss-of-function experiments confirm that MDA-9/syntenin induces angiogenesis by augmenting expression of several pro-angiogenic factors/genes. Experimental evidence is provided for a model of angiogenesis induction by MDA-9/syntenin in which MDA-9/syntenin interacts with the ECM activating Src and FAK resulting in activation by phosphorylation of Akt, which induces HIF-1α. The HIF-1α activates transcription of Insulin Growth Factor Binding Protein-2 (IGFBP-2), which is secreted thereby promoting angiogenesis and further induces endothelial cells to produce and secrete VEGF-A augmenting tumor angiogenesis. Our studies delineate an unanticipated cell non-autonomous function of MDA-9/syntenin in the context of angiogenesis, which may directly contribute to its metastasis-promoting properties. As a result, targeting MDA-9/syntenin or its downstream-regulated molecules may provide a means of simultaneously impeding metastasis by both directly inhibiting tumor cell transformed properties (autonomous) and indirectly by blocking angiogenesis (non-autonomous).
mda-9/syntenin; melanoma; angiogenesis; IGFBP-2; HuVECs; CAM assay
YSA is an EphA2-targeting peptide that effectively delivers anti-cancer agents to prostate cancer tumors (1). Here, we report on how we increased the drug-like properties of this delivery system.
By introducing non-natural amino acids, we have designed two new EphA2 targeting peptides: YNH, where norleucine and homoserine replace the two methionine residues of YSA, and dYNH, where a D-tyrosine replaces the L-tyrosine at the first position of the YNH peptide. We describe the details of the synthesis of YNH and dYNH paclitaxel conjugates (YNH-PTX and dYNH-PTX) and their characterization in cells and in vivo.
dYNH-PTX showed improved stability in mouse serum and significantly reduced tumor size in a prostate cancer xenograft model and also reduced tumor vasculature in a syngeneic orthotopic allograft mouse model of renal cancer compared to vehicle or paclitaxel treatments.
This study reveals that targeting EphA2 with dYNH drug conjugates could represent an effective way to deliver anti-cancer agents to a variety of tumor types.
Overexpression of the EphA2 positively correlates with tumor malignancy and poor prognosis. For this reason, EphA2 is an attractive target for cancer cell specific drug delivery. In this study, we report on the development of dYNH, an EphA2 targeting peptide that when coupled to paclitaxel (PTX) has favorable pharmacological properties and possesses powerful anti-tumor activity in vivo. dYNH-PTX may allow for an expanded therapeutic index of paclitaxel as well as precluding the need for complex formulations and long infusion times.
Therapeutic vaccines represent a viable option for active immunotherapy of cancers that aim to treat late stage disease by using a patient's own immune system. The promising results from clinical trials recently led to the approval of the first therapeutic cancer vaccine by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This major breakthrough not only provides a new treatment modality for cancer management, but also paves the way for rationally designing and optimizing future vaccines with improved anticancer efficacy. Numerous vaccine strategies are currently being evaluated both pre-clinically and clinically. This review discusses therapeutic cancer vaccines of diverse platforms or targets as well as the preclinical and clinical studies employing these therapeutic vaccines. We will also consider tumor-induced immune suppression that hinders the potency of therapeutic vaccines, and potential strategies to counteract these mechanisms for generating more robust and durable antitumor immune responses.
cancer vaccine; immunotherapy; tumor-associated antigen; immune modulator; immunosuppression; tumor microenvironment
Tumor vascularization is a highly complex process that involves the interaction between tumors and their surrounding stroma, as well as many distinct angiogenesis-regulating factors. Tumor associated macrophages (TAMs) represent one of the most abundant cell components in the tumor environment and key contributors to cancer-related inflammation. A large body of evidence supports the notion that TAMs play a critical role in promoting the formation of an abnormal tumor vascular network and subsequent tumor progression and invasion. Clinical and experimental evidence has shown that high levels of infiltrating TAMs are associated with poor patient prognosis and tumor resistance to therapies. In addition to stimulating angiogenesis during tumor growth, TAMs enhance tumor revascularization in response to cytotoxic therapy (e.g., radiotherapy), thereby causing cancer relapse. In this review, we highlight the emerging data related to the phenotype and polarization of TAMs in the tumor microenvironment, as well as the underlying mechanisms of macrophage function in the regulation of the angiogenic switch and tumor vascularization. Additionally, we discuss the potential of targeting pro-angiogenic TAMs, or reprograming TAMs toward a tumoricidal and angiostatic phenotype, to promote normalization of the tumor vasculature to enhance the outcome of cancer therapies.
Angiogenesis; Tumor vascularization; Tumor-associated macrophages
Given the complexity of prostate cancer progression and metastasis, multimodalities that target different aspects of tumor biology, e.g., radiotherapy (RT) in conjunction with immunotherapy, may provide the best opportunities for promoting clinical benefits in patients with high risk localized prostate cancer. Here we show that intratumoral administration of unmodified dendritic cells (DCs) failed to synergize with fractionated RT. However, ionizing radiation combined with in situ vaccination with DCs, in which the immunosuppressive scavenger receptor A (SRA/CD204) has been downregulated by lentivirus-mediated gene silencing, profoundly suppressed the growth of two mouse prostate cancers (e.g., RM1 and TRAMP-C2), and prolonged the lifespan of tumor-bearing animals. Treatment of subcutaneous tumors with this novel combinatorial radio-immunotherapeutic regimen resulted in a significant reduction in distant experimental metastases. SRA/CD204-silenced DCs were highly efficient in generating antigen or tumor-specific T cells with increased effector functions (e.g., cytokine production and tumoricidal activity). SRA/CD204 silencing-enhanced tumor cell death was associated with elevated IFN-γ levels in tumor tissue and increased tumor-infiltrating CD8+ cells. IFN-γ neutralization or depletion of CD8+ cells abrogated the SRA/CD204 downregulation-promoted antitumor efficacy, indicating a critical role of IFN-γ-producing CD8+ T cells. Therefore, blocking SRA/CD204 activity significantly enhances the therapeutic potency of local RT combined with in situ DC vaccination by promoting a robust systemic antitumor immunity. Further studies are warranted to test this novel combinatorial approach for translating into improved clinical outcomes in prostate cancer patients.
Prostate cancer; radiotherapy; dendritic cell; T cell; tumor immunity; IFN-γ; CD204; scavenger receptor A
The Growth Arrest and DNA Damage-inducible 45 (GADD45) proteins have been implicated in regulation of many cellular functions including DNA repair, cell cycle control, senescence and genotoxic stress. However, the pro-apoptotic activities have also positioned GADD45 as an essential player in oncogenesis. Emerging functional evidence implies that GADD45 proteins serve as tumor suppressors in response to diverse stimuli, connecting multiple cell signaling modules. Defects in the GADD45 pathway can be related to the initiation and progression of malignancies. Moreover, induction of GADD45 expression is an essential step for mediating anti-cancer activity of multiple chemotherapeutic drugs and the absence of GADD45 might abrogate their effects in cancer cells. In this review, we present a comprehensive discussion of the functions of GADD45 proteins, linking their regulation to effectors of cell cycle arrest, DNA repair and apoptosis. The ramifications regarding their roles as essential and central players in tumor growth suppression are also examined. We also extensively review recent literature to clarify how different chemotherapeutic drugs induce GADD45 gene expression and how its up-regulation and interaction with different molecular partners may benefit cancer chemotherapy and facilitate novel drug discovery.
GADD45 family; cancer; apoptosis; survival
Human Polynucleotide Phosphorylase (hPNPaseold-35 or PNPT1) is an evolutionarily conserved 3′→5′ exoribonuclease implicated in the regulation of numerous physiological processes including maintenance of mitochondrial homeostasis, mtRNA import and aging-associated inflammation. From an RNase perspective, little is known about the RNA or miRNA species it targets for degradation or whose expression it regulates; except for c-myc and miR-221. To further elucidate the functional implications of hPNPaseold-35 in cellular physiology, we knocked-down and overexpressed hPNPaseold-35 in human melanoma cells and performed gene expression analyses to identify differentially expressed transcripts. Ingenuity Pathway Analysis indicated that knockdown of hPNPaseold-35 resulted in significant gene expression changes associated with mitochondrial dysfunction and cholesterol biosynthesis; whereas overexpression of hPNPaseold-35 caused global changes in cell-cycle related functions. Additionally, comparative gene expression analyses between our hPNPaseold-35 knockdown and overexpression datasets allowed us to identify 77 potential “direct” and 61 potential “indirect” targets of hPNPaseold-35 which formed correlated networks enriched for cell-cycle and wound healing functional association, respectively. These results provide a comprehensive database of genes responsive to hPNPaseold-35 expression levels; along with the identification new potential candidate genes offering fresh insight into cellular pathways regulated by PNPT1 and which may be used in the future for possible therapeutic intervention in mitochondrial- or inflammation-associated disease phenotypes.
Despite significant improvements in therapeutic protocols, Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma (HNSCC) remains a major health problem worldwide. The 5-year post therapeutic survival rate is among the lowest of the major cancers with loco-regional relapse being the main cause of death. Moreover, in most instances, the quality of life of the afflicted patient is severely compromised. The poor prognosis for HNSCC is primarily due to disease detection at advanced stages. Accordingly, development of early detection and preventive strategies are essential. Recent advances in our understanding of the molecular biology and etiology of HNSCC should facilitate development of improved intervention and therapeutic approaches. The present review discusses the potential role of such factors for developing preventive and early diagnostic strategies for HNSCC management.
The incidence of melanoma continues to rise and prognosis in patients with metastatic melanoma remains poor. The cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen-4 (CTLA-4) serves as one of the primary immune checkpoints and downregulates T cell activation pathways. Enhancing T cell activation by antibody blockade of the CTLA-4 provides a novel approach to overcome tumor-induced immune tolerance. Recently, anti-CTLA-4 therapy demonstrated significant clinical benefit in patients with metastatic melanoma, which led to the approval of ipilimumab by the Food and Drug Administration in early 2011.
The fundamental concepts underlying CTLA-4 blockade-potentiated immune activation, the scientific rationale for and the preclinical evidence supporting CTLA-4-targeted cancer immunotherapy are presented. We also provide an update on clinical trials with anti-CTLA-4 inhibitors and discuss the associated autoimmune toxicity.
Given that overall survival is the only validated endpoint for the anti-CTLA-4 therapy, the clinical implications of the antigen or tumor-specific immunity in patients remain to be clarified. Additional research is necessary to elucidate the prognostic significance of immune-related side effects and significantly optimize the treatment regimens. An improved understanding of the mechanisms of action of CTLA-4 antibodies may also culminate in wide-ranging clinical applications of this novel therapy for other tumor types.
cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated antigen; CTL-A blockade; T cell activation; tumor immunity; overall survival
The present study aims at understanding the timing and nature of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) alterations in urothelial cell carcinoma (UCC) and their detection in urine sediments. The entire 16.5 kb mitochondrial genome was sequenced in matched normal lymphocytes, tumor and urine sediments from 31 UCC patients and compared with different clinical stages and histological grades. The mtDNA content index was examined in all the specimens. Sixty five percent (20/31) of the patients harbored at least 1 somatic mtDNA mutation. A total of 25 somatic mtDNA mutations were detected, which were more frequent in the respiratory complex coding regions (Complex-I, III, IV and V) of the mtDNA and significantly affected respiratory complex-III compared to the other complexes (P=0.021–0.039). Compared to stage Ta, mtDNA mutation was higher in stage T1 and significantly higher in stage T2 (P=0.01) patients. MtDNA mutation was also significantly higher (P=0.04) in stage T2 compared to stage T1 patients. Ninety percent (18/20) of the patients harboring mtDNA mutation in the tumor also had mutation in their urine sediments. Eighty percent (20/25) of the tumor-associated mtDNA mutations was detectable in the urine sediments. Compared to the normal lymphocytes, the mtDNA content increased significantly in the tumor (P=0.0013) and corresponding urine sediments (P=0.0025) in 19/25 (76%) patients analyzed. Our results indicate that mtDNA alterations occur frequently in progressive stages of UCC patients and are readily detectable in the urine sediments. MtDNA mutations appear to provide a promising tool for developing early detection and monitoring strategies for UCC patients.
Urothelial cell carcinoma; mitochondria; mtDNA alteration; urine detection
Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutations were reported in different cancers. However, the nature and role of mtDNA mutation in never-smoker lung cancer patients including patients with EGFR and KRAS gene mutation are unknown. In the present study, we sequenced entire mitochondrial genome (16.5 kb) in matched normal and tumors obtained from 30 never-smoker and 30 current-smoker lung cancer patients, and determined the mtDNA content. All the patients’ samples were sequenced for KRAS (exon 2) and EGFR (exon 19 and 21) gene mutation. The impact of forced overexpression of a respiratory complex-I gene mutation was evaluated in a lung cancer cell line. We observed significantly higher (P=0.006) mtDNA mutation in the never-smokers compared to the current-smoker lung cancer patients. MtDNA mutation was significantly higher (P=0.026) in the never-smoker Asian compared to the current-smoker Caucasian patients’ population. MtDNA mutation was significantly (P=0.007) associated with EGFR gene mutation in the never-smoker patients. We also observed a significant increase (P=0.037) in mtDNA content among the never-smoker lung cancer patients. The majority of the coding mtDNA mutations targeted respiratory complex-I and forced overexpression of one of these mutations resulted in increased in vitro proliferation, invasion and superoxide production in lung cancer cells. We observed a higher prevalence and new relationship between mtDNA alterations among never-smoker lung cancer patients and EGFR gene mutation. Moreover, a representative mutation produced strong growth effects after forced overexpression in lung cancer cells. Signature mtDNA mutations provide a basis to develop novel biomarkers and therapeutic strategies for never-smoker lung cancer patients.
Lung cancer; never-smokers; MtDNA mutation; Respiratory Complex-I; EGFR mutation
Melanoma differentiation-associated gene-7/interleukin-24 (mda-7/IL-24), a unique member of the IL-10 gene family, displays a broad range of antitumor properties including cancer-specific induction of apoptosis, inhibition of tumor angiogenesis, and modulation of anti-tumor immune responses. Here we identify clusterin (CLU) as a MDA-7/IL-24 interacting protein in DU-145 cells and investigate the role of MDA-7/IL-24 in regulating CLU expression and mediating the antitumor properties of mda-7/IL-24 in prostate cancer. Ad.mda-7 decreased expression of soluble CLU (sCLU) and increased expression of nuclear CLU (nCLU). In the initial phase of Ad.mda-7 infection sCLU expression increased and CLU interacted with MDA-7/IL-24 producing a cytoprotective effect. Infection of stable clones of DU-145 prostate cancer cells expressing sCLU with Ad.mda-7 resulted in generation of nCLU that correlated with decreased cell viability and increased apoptosis. In the presence of mda-7/IL-24, sCLU-DU-145 cells displayed G2/M phase arrest followed by apoptosis. Similarly, Ad.mda-7 infection decreased cell migration by altering cytoskeleton in sCLU-DU-145 cells. Ad.mda-7-treated sCLU-DU-145 cells displayed a significant reduction in tumor growth in mouse xenograft models and reduced angiogenesis when compared to the vector control group. Tumor tissue lysates demonstrated enhanced nCLU generated from sCLU with increased apoptosis in the presence of MDA-7/IL-24. Our findings reveal novel aspects relative to the role of sCLU/nCLU in regulating the anticancer properties of MDA-7/IL-24 that may be exploited for developing enhanced therapies for prostate cancer.
MDA-7/IL-24; soluble clusterin; nuclear clusterin; G2/M arrest; apoptosis
Background and Aims
Understanding the molecular pathogenesis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) would facilitate development of targeted and effective therapies for this fatal disease. We recently demonstrated that the cellular transcription factor Late SV40 Factor (LSF) is overexpressed in more than 90% of human HCC cases, compared to normal liver, and plays a seminal role in hepatocarcinogenesis. LSF transcriptionally upregulates osteopontin (OPN) that plays a significant role in mediating the oncogenic function of LSF. The present study aims at a better understanding of LSF function by analyzing the signaling pathway modulated by LSF.
Phospho-receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) array was performed to identify which receptor tyrosine kinases are activated by LSF. Immunohistochemical analysis using tissue microarray was performed to establish correlation among LSF, OPN and phospho-c-Met levels in HCC patients. Co-immunoprecipitation analysis was performed to check OPN-induced CD44 and c-Met interaction. Inhibition studies using chemicals and siRNAs were performed in vitro and in vivo using nude mice xenograft models to establish the importance of c-Met activation in mediating LSF function.
Secreted OPN, induced by LSF, activates c-Met via a potential interaction between OPN and its cell surface receptor CD44. A significant correlation was observed among LSF, OPN and activated c-Met levels in HCC patients. Chemical or genetic inhibition of c-Met resulted in profound abrogation of LSF-mediated tumorigenesis and metastasis in nude mice xenograft studies.
The present findings elucidate a novel pathway of c-Met activation during hepatocarcinogenesis and support the rationale of using c-Met inhibitors as potential HCC therapeutics.
Late SV40 Factor; CD44; Hepatocellular carcinoma; c-Met; osteopontin
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a highly virulent malignancy with no effective treatment thus requiring innovative and effective targeted therapies. The oncogene Astrocyte elevated gene-1 (AEG-1) plays a seminal role in hepatocarcinogenesis and profoundly downregulates insulin-like growth factor binding protein-7 (IGFBP7). The present study focuses on analyzing potential tumor suppressor functions of IGFBP7 in HCC and the relevance of IGFBP7 downregulation in mediating AEG-1 function.
IGFBP7 expression was detected by immunohistochemistry in HCC tissue microarray and real-time PCR and ELISA in human HCC cell lines. Dual Fluorescence in situ hybridization was performed to detect loss of heterozygosity at IGFBP7 locus. Stable IGFBP7-overexpressing clones were established in the background of AEG-1-overexpressing human HCC cells and were analyzed for in vitro proliferation and senescence and in vivo tumorigenesis and angiogenesis.
IGFBP7 expression is significantly downregulated in human HCC samples and cell lines compared to normal liver and hepatocytes, respectively, and inversely correlates with the stages and grades of HCC. Genomic deletion of IGFBP7 was identified in 26% of HCC patients. Forced overexpression of IGFBP7 in AEG-1 overexpressing HCC cells inhibited in vitro growth and induced senescence, and profoundly suppressed in vivo growth in nude mice that might be an end result of inhibition of angiogenesis by IGFBP7.
The present findings provide evidence that IGFBP7 functions as a novel putative tumor suppressor for HCC and establish the corollary that IGFBP7 downregulation can effectively modify AEG-1 function. Accordingly, targeted overexpression of IGFBP7 might be a potential novel therapy for HCC.
Insulin-like growth factor binding protein-7 (IGFBP7); Astrocyte elevated gene-1; gene deletion; senescence; angiogenesis
Although dendritic cell (DC) vaccines offer promise as cancer immunotherapy, further improvements are needed to amplify their clinical therapeutic efficacy. The pattern recognition scavenger receptor SRA/CD204 attenuates the ability of DCs to activate CD8+ T cell responses. Therefore, we examined the impact of SRA/CD204 on antitumor responses generated by DC vaccines and we also evaluated the feasibility of enhancing DC vaccine potency by SRA/CD204 blockade. DCs from SRA/CD204 deficient mice were more immunogenic in generating antitumor responses to B16 melanoma, compared to DCs from wild-type mice. Similarly, siRNA-mediated knockdown of SRA/CD204 by lentiviral vectors improved the ability of wild-type DCs to stimulate the expansion and activation of CD8+ T cells specific for idealized or established melanoma antigens in mice. Using SRA/CD204-silenced DCs to generate antigen-targeted vaccines, we documented a marked increase in the level of antitumor immunity achieved against established B16 tumors and metastases. This increase was associated with enhanced activation of antigen-specific CTLs, greater tumor infiltration by CD8+ T cells and NK cells, and increased intratumoral ratios of both CD4+ and CD8+ T effector cells to CD4+CD25+ T regulatory cells. Our studies establish that downregulating SRA/CD204 strongly enhances DC-mediated antitumor immunity. Additionally, they provide a rationale to enhance DC vaccine potency through SRA/CD204-targeting approaches that can improve clinical outcomes in cancer treatment.
dendritic cell vaccine; CD204; CTL; antitumor immunity
Expression of astrocyte elevated gene-1 (AEG-1) is elevated in multiple human cancers including brain tumors, neuroblastomas, melanomas, breast cancers, non-small cell lung cancers, liver cancers, prostate cancers, and esophageal cancers. This gene plays crucial roles in tumor cell growth, invasion, angiogenesis and progression to metastasis. In addition, over-expression of AEG-1 protects primary and transformed cells from apoptosis-inducing signals by activating PI3K-Akt signaling pathways. These results suggest that AEG-1 is intimately involved in tumorigenesis and may serve as a potential therapeutic target for various human cancers. However, the normal physiological functions of AEG-1 require clarification. We presently analyzed the expression pattern of AEG-1 during mouse development. AEG-1 was expressed in mid-to-hindbrain, fronto-nasal processes, limbs, and pharyngeal arches in the early developmental period from E8.5 to E9.5. In addition, at stages of E12.5-E18.5 AEG-1 was localized in the brain, and olfactory and skeletal systems suggesting a role in neurogenesis, as well as in skin, including hair follicles, and in the liver, which are organ sites in which AEG-1 has been implicated in tumor development and progression. AEG-1 co-localized with Ki-67, indicating a role in cell proliferation, as previously revealed in tumorigenesis. Taken together, these results suggest that AEG-1 may play a prominent role during normal mouse development in the context of cell proliferation as well as differentiation, and that temporal regulation of AEG-1 expression may be required during specific stages and in specific tissues during development.
AEG-1; development; mouse embryo; cell proliferation; cancer
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
Glutamate is an essential excitatory neurotransmitter regulating brain functions. Excitatory amino acid transporter (EAAT)-2 is one of the major glutamate transporters expressed predominantly in astroglial cells and is responsible for 90% of total glutamate uptake. Glutamate transporters tightly regulate glutamate concentration in the synaptic cleft. Dysfunction of EAAT2 and accumulation of excessive extracellular glutamate has been implicated in the development of several neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Analysis of the 2.5-kb human EAAT2 promoter showed that NF-κB is an important regulator of EAAT2 expression in astrocytes. Screening of approximately 1,040 FDA-approved compounds and nutritionals led to the discovery that many β-lactam antibiotics are transcriptional activators of EAAT2 resulting in increased EAAT2 protein levels. Treatment of animals with ceftriaxone (CEF), a β-lactam antibiotic, led to an increase of EAAT2 expression and glutamate transport activity in the brain. CEF has neuroprotective effects in both in vitro and in vivo models based on its ability to inhibit neuronal cell death by preventing glutamate excitotoxicity. CEF increases EAAT2 transcription in primary human fetal astrocytes (PHFA) through the NF-κB signaling pathway. The NF-κB binding site at −272 position was critical in CEF-mediated EAAT2 protein induction. These studies emphasize the importance of transcriptional regulation in controlling glutamate levels in the brain. They also emphasize the potential utility of the EAAT2 promoter for developing both low and high throughput screening assays to identify novel small molecule regulators of glutamate transport with potential to ameliorate pathological changes occurring during and causing neurodegeneration.
Pemetrexed (ALIMTA) is a folate anti-metabolite that has been approved for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer, and has been shown to stimulate autophagy. In the present study, we sought to further understand the role of autophagy in the response to pemetrexed and to test if combination therapy could enhance the level of toxicity through altered autophagy in tumor cells. The multi-kinase inhibitor sorafenib (NEXAVAR), used in the treatment of renal and hepatocellular carcinoma, suppresses tumor angiogenesis and promotes autophagy in tumor cells. We found that sorafenib interacted in a greater than additive fashion with pemetrexed to increase autophagy and to kill a diverse array of tumor cell types. Tumor cell types that displayed high levels of cell killing after combination treatment showed elevated levels of AKT, p70 S6K and/or phosphorylated mTOR, in addition to Class III RTKs such as PDGFRβ and VEGFR1, known in vivo targets of sorafenib. In xenograft and in syngeneic animal models of mammary carcinoma and glioblastoma, the combination of sorafenib and pemetrexed suppressed tumor growth without deleterious effects on normal tissues or animal body mass. Taken together, the data suggest that premexetred and sorafenib act synergistically to enhance tumor killing via the promotion of a toxic form of autophagy that leads to activation of the intrinsic apoptosis pathway, and predict that combination treatment represents a future therapeutic option in the treatment of solid tumors.
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