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1.  Expression patterns of MDA-9/syntenin during development of the mouse embryo 
Journal of molecular histology  2012;44(2):159-166.
MDA-9 (melanoma differentiation associated gene-9)/Syntenin is a PDZ domain-containing adaptor protein involved in multiple diverse cellular processes including organization of protein complexes in the plasma membrane, intracellular trafficking and cell surface targeting, synaptic transmission, and cancer metastasis. In the present study, we analyzed the expression pattern of MDA-9/syntenin during mouse development. MDA-9/syntenin was robustly expressed with tight regulation of its temporal and spatial expression during fetal development in the developing skin, spinal cord, heart, lung and liver, which are regulated by multiple signaling pathways in the process of organogenesis. Recent studies also indicate that MDA-9/syntenin is involved in the signaling pathways crucial during development such as Wnt, Notch and FGF. Taken together, these results suggest that MDA-9/syntenin may play a prominent role during normal mouse development in the context of cell proliferation as well as differentiation through modulating multiple signaling pathways as a crucial adaptor protein. Additionally, temporal regulation of MDA-9/syntenin expression may be required during specific stages and in specific tissues during development.
doi:10.1007/s10735-012-9468-1
PMCID: PMC3605205  PMID: 23180153
MDA-9/syntenin; development; mouse embryo; adaptor protein
2.  Targeting the Bcl-2 Family for Cancer Therapy 
Introduction
Programmed cell death is well-orchestrated process regulated by multiple pro-apoptotic and anti-apoptotic genes, particularly those of the Bcl-2 gene family. These genes are well documented in cancer with aberrant expression being strongly associated with resistance to chemotherapy and radiation.
Areas covered
This review focuses on the resistance induced by the Bcl-2 family of anti-apoptotic proteins and current therapeutic interventions currently in preclinical or clinical trials that target this pathway. Major resistance mechanisms that are regulated by Bcl-2 family proteins and potential strategies to circumvent resistance are also examined. Although antisense and gene therapy strategies are used to nullify Bcl-2 family proteins, recent approaches use small molecule inhibitors and peptides. Structural similarity of the Bcl-2 family of proteins greatly favors development of inhibitors that target the BH3 domain, called BH3 mimetics.
Expert opinion
Strategies to specifically identify and inhibit critical determinants that promote therapy-resistance and tumor progression represent viable approaches for developing effective cancer therapies. From a clinical perspective, pretreatment with novel, potent Bcl-2 inhibitors either alone or in combination with conventional therapies hold significant promise for providing beneficial clinical outcomes. Identifying small molecule inhibitors with broader and higher affinities for inhibiting all of the Bcl-2 pro-survival proteins will facilitate development of superior cancer therapies.
doi:10.1517/14728222.2013.733001
PMCID: PMC3955095  PMID: 23173842
BH3 domain; apoptosis; Mcl-1; radiation resistance; chemotherapy resistance
3.  Raf kinase inhibitor RKIP inhibits MDA-9/syntenin-mediated metastasis in melanoma 
Cancer research  2012;72(23):6217-6226.
Melanoma differentiation associated gene-9 (MDA-9), also known as syntenin, functions as a positive regulator of melanoma progression and metastasis. In contrast, the Raf kinase inhibitor RKIP, a negative modulator of RAF-stimulated MEKK activation, is strongly downregulated in metastatic melanoma cells. In this study, we explored an hypothesized inverse relationship between MDA-9 and RKIP in melanoma. Tumor array and cell line analyses confirmed an inverse relationship between expression of MDA-9 and RKIP during melanoma progression. We found that MDA-9 transcriptionally downregulated RKIP in support of a suggested crosstalk between these two proteins. Further, MDA-9 and RKIP physically interacted in a manner that correlated with a suppression of FAK and c-Src phosphorylation, crucial steps necessary for MDA-9 to promote FAK/c-Src complex formation and initiate signaling cascades that drive the MDA-9-mediated metastatic phenotype. Lastly, ectopic RKIP expression in melanoma cells overrode MDA-9-mediated signaling, inhibiting cell invasion, anchorage-independent growth and in vivo dissemination of tumor cells. Taken together, these findings establish RKIP as an inhibitor of MDA-9-dependent melanoma metastasis, with potential implications for targeting this process therapeutically.
doi:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-12-0402
PMCID: PMC3939082  PMID: 23066033
RKIP; MDA-9/syntenin, melanoma; c-Src; FAK
4.  MDA-9/Syntenin and IGFBP-2 Promote Angiogenesis in Human Melanoma 
Cancer research  2012;73(2):844-854.
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).
doi:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-12-1681
PMCID: PMC3548987  PMID: 23233738
mda-9/syntenin; melanoma; angiogenesis; IGFBP-2; HuVECs; CAM assay
5.  A multi-functional chimeric chaperone serves as a novel immune modulator inducing therapeutic antitumor immunity 
Cancer research  2013;73(7):2093-2103.
Converting the immunosuppressive tumor environment into one that is favorable to induction of antitumor immunity is indispensable for effective cancer immunotherapy. Here we strategically incorporate a pathogen (i.e., Flagellin)-derived, NF-κB-stimulating `danger' signal into the large stress protein or chaperone Grp170 (HYOU1/ORP150) that was previously shown to facilitate antigen cross-presentation. This engineered chimeric molecule (i.e., Flagrp170) is capable of transporting tumor antigens and concurrently inducing functional activation of dendritic cells. Intratumoral administration of adenoviruses expressing Flagrp170 induces a superior antitumor response against B16 melanoma and its distant lung metastasis compared to unmodified Grp170 and Flagellin. The enhanced tumor destruction is accompanied with significantly increased tumor infiltration by CD8+ cells as well as elevation of IFN-γ and IL-12 levels in the tumor sites. In situ Ad.Flagrp170 therapy provokes systemic activation of CTLs that recognize several antigens naturally expressing in melanoma (e.g., gp100/PMEL and TRP2/DCT). The mechanistic studies using CD11c-DTR transgenic mice and Batf3-deficient mice reveal that CD8α+ DCs are required for the improved T cell cross-priming. Antibody neutralization assays show that IL-12 and IFN-γ are essential for the Flagrp170-elicited antitumor response, which also involves CD8+ T cells and NK cells. The therapeutic efficacy of Flagrp170 and its immune stimulating activity are also confirmed in mouse prostate cancer and colon carcinoma. Together, targeting the tumor microenvironment with this chimeric chaperone is highly effective in mobilizing or restoring antitumor immunity, supporting the potential therapeutic use of this novel immune modulator in the treatment of metastatic diseases.
doi:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-12-1740
PMCID: PMC3618619  PMID: 23333935
molecular chaperone; Grp170; Flagellin; immune modulator; antitumor immunity
6.  Staphylococcal nuclease domain containing-1 (SND1) promotes migration and invasion via angiotensin II type 1 receptor (AT1R) and TGFβ signaling 
FEBS Open Bio  2014;4:353-361.
Highlights
•SND1 augments AT1R receptor level by posttranscriptional regulation.•SND1 activates TGFβ signaling which promotes the epithelial–mesenchymal transition.•Migration and invasion by human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells are augmented by SND1.•A correlation is observed between SND1 and AT1R expression in HCC patients.
Staphylococcal nuclease domain containing-1 (SND1) is overexpressed in human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients and promotes tumorigenesis by human HCC cells. We now document that SND1 increases angiotensin II type 1 receptor (AT1R) levels by increasing AT1R mRNA stability. This results in activation of ERK, Smad2 and subsequently the TGFβ signaling pathway, promoting epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT) and migration and invasion by human HCC cells. A positive correlation was observed between SND1 and AT1R expression levels in human HCC patients. Small molecule inhibitors of SND1, alone or in combination with AT1R blockers, might be an effective therapeutic strategy for late-stage aggressive HCC.
doi:10.1016/j.fob.2014.03.012
PMCID: PMC4050181  PMID: 24918049
ACE, angiotensin-I converting enzyme; ACE-I, ACE inhibitors; AT1R, angiotensin II type 1 receptor; EMT, epithelial–mesenchymal transition; FDR, false discovery rate; HCC, human hepatocellular carcinoma; LP, losartan potassium; MTT, 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide; NASH, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis; PAI-1, plasminogen activator inhibitor-1; RISC, RNA-induced silencing complex; SND1, Staphylococcal nuclease domain containing-1; SND1; AT1R; TGFβ; PAI-1; Invasion
7.  AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC, the Beginning: Initial Cloning, Structure, Expression Profile, and Regulation of Expression 
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.
doi:10.1016/B978-0-12-401676-7.00001-2
PMCID: PMC3930353  PMID: 23889986
8.  AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC: Signaling Pathways, Downstream Genes, Interacting Proteins, and Regulation of Tumor Angiogenesis 
Advances in cancer research  2013;120:75-111.
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.
doi:10.1016/B978-0-12-401676-7.00003-6
PMCID: PMC3928810  PMID: 23889988
9.  AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC: Clinical Significance 
Advances in cancer research  2013;120:39-74.
“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.
doi:10.1016/B978-0-12-401676-7.00002-4
PMCID: PMC3924591  PMID: 23889987
11.  Blockade of cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen-4 as a novel therapeutic approach for advanced melanoma 
Expert opinion on pharmacotherapy  2011;12(17):2695-2706.
Introduction
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.
Areas covered
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.
Expert opinion
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.
doi:10.1517/14656566.2011.629187
PMCID: PMC3711751  PMID: 22077831
cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated antigen; CTL-A blockade; T cell activation; tumor immunity; overall survival
12.  Targeted Delivery of Paclitaxel to EphA2-Expressing Cancer Cells 
Purpose
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.
Experimental Design
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.
Results
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.
Conclusion
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.
Translational Relevance
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.
doi:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-12-2654
PMCID: PMC3537892  PMID: 23155185
13.  Therapeutic Cancer Vaccines: Past, Present and Future 
Advances in cancer research  2013;119:421-475.
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.
doi:10.1016/B978-0-12-407190-2.00007-1
PMCID: PMC3721379  PMID: 23870514
cancer vaccine; immunotherapy; tumor-associated antigen; immune modulator; immunosuppression; tumor microenvironment
14.  Oncogene AEG-1 promotes glioma-induced neurodegeneration by increasing glutamate excitotoxicity 
Cancer research  2011;71(20):6514-6523.
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.
doi:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-11-0782
PMCID: PMC3193553  PMID: 21852380
AEG-1; glioma; EAAT2; glutamate; glioma-induced neurodegeneration
15.  The role of tumor-associated macrophages in tumor vascularization 
Vascular Cell  2013;5:20.
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.
doi:10.1186/2045-824X-5-20
PMCID: PMC3913793  PMID: 24314323
Angiogenesis; Tumor vascularization; Tumor-associated macrophages
16.  Enhanced delivery of mda-7/IL-24 using a serotype chimeric adenovirus (Ad.5/3) in combination with the Apogossypol derivative BI-97C1 (Sabutoclax) improves therapeutic efficacy in low CAR colorectal cancer cells 
Journal of Cellular Physiology  2012;227(5):2145-2153.
Adenovirus (Ad)-based gene therapy represents a potentially viable strategy for treating colorectal cancer. The infectivity of serotype 5 adenovirus (Ad.5), routinely used as a transgene delivery vector, is dependent on Coxsackie-adenovirus receptors (CAR). CAR expression is downregulated in many cancers thus preventing optimum therapeutic efficiency of Ad.5-based therapies. To overcome the low CAR problem, a serotype chimerism approach was used to generate a recombinant Ad (Ad.5/3) that is capable of infecting cancer cells via Ad.3 receptors in a CAR-independent manner. We evaluated the improved transgene delivery and efficacy of Ad.5/3 recombinant virus expressing melanoma differentiation associated gene-7/interleukin-24 (mda-7/IL-24), an effective wide-spectrum cancer-selective therapeutic. In low CAR human colorectal cancer cells RKO, wild-type Ad.5 virus expressing mda-7/IL-24 (Ad.5-mda-7) failed to infect efficiently resulting in lack of expression of MDA-7/IL-24 or induction of apoptosis. However, a recombinant Ad.5/3 virus expressing mda-7/IL-24 (Ad.5/3-mda-7) efficiently infected RKO cells resulting in higher MDA-7/IL-24 expression and inhibition of cell growth both in vitro and in nude mice xenograft models. Addition of the novel Bcl-2 family pharmacological inhibitor Apogossypol derivative BI-97C1 (Sabutoclax) significantly augmented the efficacy of Ad.5/3-mda-7. A combination regimen of suboptimal doses of Ad.5/3-mda-7 and BI-97C1 profoundly enhanced cytotoxicity in RKO cells both in vitro and in vivo. Considering the fact that Ad.5-mda-7 has demonstrated significant objective responses in a Phase I clinical trial for advanced solid tumors, Ad.5/3-mda-7 alone or in combination with BI-97C1 would be predicted to exert significantly improved therapeutic efficacy in colorectal cancer patients.
doi:10.1002/jcp.22947
PMCID: PMC3228880  PMID: 21780116
Viral gene therapy; Mcl-1 inhibition; apoptosis induction; anti-tumor activity
17.  mda-7/IL-24 differentially regulates soluble and nuclear clusterin in prostate cancer 
Journal of Cellular Physiology  2012;227(5):1805-1813.
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.
doi:10.1002/jcp.22904
PMCID: PMC3228882  PMID: 21732348
MDA-7/IL-24; soluble clusterin; nuclear clusterin; G2/M arrest; apoptosis
18.  Astrocyte elevated gene-1 (AEG-1) promotes hepatocarcinogenesis: novel insights from a mouse model 
Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.)  2012;56(5):1782-1791.
Astrocyte elevated gene-1 (AEG-1) is a key contributor to hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) development and progression. To enhance our understanding of the role of AEG-1 in hepatocarcinogenesis, a transgenic mouse with hepatocyte-specific expression of AEG-1 (Alb/AEG1) was developed. Treating Alb/AEG-1, but not Wild type (WT) mice, with N-nitrosodiethylamine (DEN), resulted in multinodular HCC with steatotic features and associated modulation of expression of genes regulating invasion, metastasis, angiogenesis and fatty acid synthesis. Hepatocytes isolated from Alb/AEG-1 mice displayed profound resistance to chemotherapeutics and growth factor deprivation with activation of pro-survival signaling pathways. Alb/AEG-1 hepatocytes also exhibited marked resistance towards senescence, which correlated with abrogation of activation of a DNA damage response. Conditioned media (CM) from Alb/AEG-1 hepatocytes induced marked angiogenesis with elevation in several coagulation factors. Among these factors, AEG-1 facilitated association of Factor XII (FXII) mRNA with polysomes resulting in increased translation. siRNA-mediated knockdown of FXII resulted in profound inhibition of AEG-1-induced angiogenesis.
Conclusion
We uncover novel aspects of AEG-1 functions, including induction of steatosis, inhibition of senescence and activation of coagulation pathway to augment aggressive hepatocarcinogenesis. The Alb/AEG-1 mouse provides an appropriate model to scrutinize the molecular mechanism of hepatocarcinogenesis and to evaluate the efficacy of novel therapeutic strategies targeting HCC.
doi:10.1002/hep.25868
PMCID: PMC3449036  PMID: 22689379
Astrocyte elevated gene-1 (AEG-1); transgenic; hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC); senescence; angiogenesis
19.  In situ vaccination with CD204 gene-silenced dendritic cell, not unmodified dendritic cell, enhances radiation therapy of prostate cancer 
Molecular cancer therapeutics  2012;11(11):2331-2341.
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.
doi:10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-12-0164
PMCID: PMC3496075  PMID: 22896667
Prostate cancer; radiotherapy; dendritic cell; T cell; tumor immunity; IFN-γ; CD204; scavenger receptor A
20.  GADD45 proteins: central players in tumorigenesis 
Current molecular medicine  2012;12(5):634-651.
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.
PMCID: PMC3797964  PMID: 22515981
GADD45 family; cancer; apoptosis; survival
21.  Identification of Genes Potentially Regulated by Human Polynucleotide Phosphorylase (hPNPaseold-35) Using Melanoma as a Model 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e76284.
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.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0076284
PMCID: PMC3797080  PMID: 24143183
22.  Emerging Strategies for the Early Detection and Prevention of Head and Neck Squamous Cell Cancer 
Journal of cellular physiology  2012;227(2):467-473.
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.
doi:10.1002/jcp.22767
PMCID: PMC3158829  PMID: 21465466
23.  Selected Approaches for Rational Drug Design and High Throughput Screening to Identify Anti-Cancer Molecules 
Structure-based modeling combined with rational drug design, and high throughput screening approaches offer significant potential for identifying and developing lead compounds with therapeutic potential. The present review focuses on these two approaches using explicit examples based on specific derivatives of Gossypol generated through rational design and applications of a cancer-specific-promoter derived from Progression Elevated Gene-3. The Gossypol derivative Sabutoclax (BI-97C1) displays potent anti-tumor activity against a diverse spectrum of human tumors. The model of the docked structure of Gossypol bound to Bcl-XL provided a virtual structure-activity-relationship where appropriate modifications were predicted on a rational basis. These structure-based studies led to the isolation of Sabutoclax, an optically pure isomer of Apogossypol displaying superior efficacy and reduced toxicity. These studies illustrate the power of combining structure-based modeling with rational design to predict appropriate derivatives of lead compounds to be empirically tested and evaluated for bioactivity. Another approach to cancer drug discovery utilizes a cancer-specific promoter as readouts of the transformed state. The promoter region of Progression Elevated Gene-3 is such a promoter with cancer-specific activity. The specificity of this promoter has been exploited as a means of constructing cancer terminator viruses that selectively kill cancer cells and as a systemic imaging modality that specifically visualizes in vivo cancer growth with no background from normal tissues. Screening of small molecule inhibitors that suppress the Progression Elevated Gene-3-promoter may provide relevant lead compounds for cancer therapy that can be combined with further structure-based approaches leading to the development of novel compounds for cancer therapy.
PMCID: PMC3763986  PMID: 22931411
Progression Elevated Gene-3; Sabutoclax; Apogossypol; BI-97C1; Gossypol; AP-1; PEA3; ETV4; E1AF; c-fos; c-jun; Cancer Terminator Virus
24.  Combining histone deacetylase inhibitors with MDA-7/IL-24 enhances killing of renal carcinoma cells 
Cancer Biology & Therapy  2013;14(11):1039-1049.
In the present study we show that histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACIs) enhance the anti-tumor effects of melanoma differentiation associated gene-7/interleukin 24 (mda-7/IL-24) in human renal carcinoma cells. Similar data were obtained in other GU tumor cells. Combination of these two agents resulted in increased autophagy that was dependent on expression of ceramide synthase 6, with HDACIs enhancing MDA-7/IL-24 toxicity by increasing generation of ROS and Ca2+. Knock down of CD95 protected cells from HDACI and MDA-7/IL-24 lethality. Sorafenib treatment further enhanced (HDACI + MDA-7/IL-24) lethality. Anoikis resistant renal carcinoma cells were more sensitive to MDA-7/IL-24 that correlated with elevated SRC activity and tyrosine phosphorylation of CD95. We employed a recently constructed serotype 5/3 adenovirus, which is more effective than a serotype 5 virus in delivering mda-7/IL-24 to renal carcinoma cells and which conditionally replicates (CR) in tumor cells expressing MDA-7/IL-24 by virtue of placing the adenoviral E1A gene under the control of the cancer-specific promoter progression elevated gene-3 (Ad.5/3-PEG-E1A-mda-7; CRAd.5/3-mda-7, Ad.5/3-CTV), to define efficacy in renal carcinoma cells. Ad.5/3-CTV decreased the growth of renal carcinoma tumors to a significantly greater extent than did a non-replicative virus Ad.5/3-mda-7. In contralateral uninfected renal carcinoma tumors Ad.5/3-CTV also decreased the growth of tumors to a greater extent than did Ad.5/3-mda-7. In summation, our data demonstrates that HDACIs enhance MDA-7/IL-24-mediated toxicity and tumor specific adenoviral delivery and viral replication of mda-7/IL-24 is an effective pre-clinical renal carcinoma therapeutic.
doi:10.4161/cbt.26110
PMCID: PMC3925659  PMID: 24025359
MDA-7/IL-24; HDACI; ceramide; apoptosis; bystander; cytokine; ROS; caspase; animal study
25.  Role of Excitatory Amino Acid Transporter-2 (EAAT2) and Glutamate in Neurodegeneration: Opportunities for Developing Novel Therapeutics 
Journal of Cellular Physiology  2011;226(10):2484-2493.
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.
doi:10.1002/jcp.22609
PMCID: PMC3130100  PMID: 21792905

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