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author:("Liu, jingning")
1.  A novel proteasome inhibitor suppresses tumor growth via targeting both 19S proteasome deubiquitinases and 20S proteolytic peptidases 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:5240.
The successful development of bortezomib-based therapy for treatment of multiple myeloma has established proteasome inhibition as an effective therapeutic strategy, and both 20S proteasome peptidases and 19S deubiquitinases (DUBs) are becoming attractive targets of cancer therapy. It has been reported that metal complexes, such as copper complexes, inhibit tumor proteasome. However, the involved mechanism of action has not been fully characterized. Here we report that (i) copper pyrithione (CuPT), an alternative to tributyltin for antifouling paint biocides, inhibits the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) via targeting both 19S proteasome-specific DUBs and 20S proteolytic peptidases with a mechanism distinct from that of the FDA-approved proteasome inhibitor bortezomib; (ii) CuPT potently inhibits proteasome-specific UCHL5 and USP14 activities; (iii) CuPT inhibits tumor growth in vivo and induces cytotoxicity in vitro and ex vivo. This study uncovers a novel class of dual inhibitors of DUBs and proteasome and suggests a potential clinical strategy for cancer therapy.
doi:10.1038/srep05240
PMCID: PMC4050382  PMID: 24912524
2.  Hepatitis B Virus Inhibits Apoptosis of Hepatoma Cells by Sponging the MicroRNA 15a/16 Cluster 
Journal of Virology  2013;87(24):13370-13378.
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) causes chronic hepatitis in hundreds of millions of people worldwide, which can eventually lead to hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The molecular mechanisms underlying HBV persistence are not well understood. In this study, we found that HBV inhibited the chemotherapy drug etoposide-induced apoptosis of hepatoma cells. Further analysis revealed that HBV mRNAs possess a microRNA 15a/16 (miR-15a/16)-complementary site (HBV nucleotides [nt] 1362 to 1383) that acts as a sponge to bind and sequester endogenous miR-15a/16. Consequently, Bcl-2, known as the target of miR-15a/16, was upregulated in HBV-infected cells. The data from HBV-transgenic mice further confirmed that HBV transcripts cause the reduction of miR-15a/16 and increase of Bcl-2. More importantly, we examined the levels of HBV transcripts and miR-15a/16 in HBV-infected HCC from patients and found that the amount of HBV mRNA and the level of miR-15a/16 were negatively correlated. Consistently, the level of Bcl-2 mRNA was upregulated in HBV-infected patients. In conclusion, we identified a novel HBV mRNA–miR-15a/16–Bcl-2 regulatory pathway that is involved in inhibiting etoposide-induced apoptosis of hepatoma cells, which may contribute to facilitating chronic HBV infection and hepatoma development.
doi:10.1128/JVI.02130-13
PMCID: PMC3838258  PMID: 24089558
3.  Microtubule Stabilization by Mdp3 Is Partially Attributed to Its Modulation of HDAC6 in Addition to Its Association with Tubulin and Microtubules 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e90932.
Microtubule-mediated cellular events such as intracellular transport and the maintenance of cell polarity are highly dependent upon microtubule stability, which is controlled by a repertoire of microtubule-associated proteins (MAPs) in the cell. MAP7 domain-containing protein 3 (Mdp3) has recently been identified as a critical regulator of microtubule stability. However, it remains elusive how Mdp3 carries out this function. In this study, by examination of tubulin partitioning between the polymer and soluble dimer forms, we found that Mdp3 could protect microtubules from cold- or nocodazole-induced depolymerization. Immunoblotting and immunofluorescence microscopy showed that knockdown of Mdp3 expression significantly reduced the level of tubulin acetylation. In vitro tubulin polymerization assays revealed that the amino-terminal region of Mdp3 was necessary for its ability to stabilize microtubules. Immunoprecipitation and pulldown experiments showed that the amino-terminal region mediated the interaction of Mdp3 with histone deacetylase 6 (HDAC6), in addition to its association with tubulin and microtubules. Immunofluorescence microscopy further demonstrated that endogenous Mdp3 and HDAC6 colocalized in the cytoplasm. Moreover, depletion of Mdp3 dramatically increased the activity of HDAC6 toward tubulin deacetylation. These findings suggest that Mdp3 controls microtubule stability through its binding to tubulin and microtubules as well as its regulation of HDAC6 activity.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0090932
PMCID: PMC3948737  PMID: 24614595
4.  Gambogic acid suppresses pressure overload cardiac hypertrophy in rats 
Cardiac hypertrophy is a common response of the heart to a variety of cardiovascular stimuli. Pathological cardiac hypertrophy eventually leads to heart failure. Gambogic acid (GA) is a main active ingredient isolated from the gamboge resin of Garcinia hanburyi trees and has potent anti-tumor and anti-inflammatory effects that are associated with inhibition of the NF-κB pathway. We and others recently reported that GA can significantly inhibit the function of the proteasome with much less toxicity than conventional proteasome inhibitors. The increasing lines of evidence indicate that the inhibition of the proteasome can promote the regression of cardiac hypertrophy induced by pressure overload through the blockade of the NF-κB pathway. In the present study, we examined the effect of GA on pressure overload or isoproterenol infusion induced cardiac hypertrophy and fibrosis, and changes in myocardial NF-κB signaling. We observed that the heart weight/body weight ratio, the size of cardiomyocytes, interstitial fibrosis, and the reactivation of fetal genes (α-SK-actin and BNP mRNA) were markedly increased by abdominal aorta constriction (AAC) or isoproterenol infusion (ISO), all of which were effectively inhibited by GA treatment. Furthermore, GA treatment abolished proteasome chymotrypsin-like activity increases induced by AAC or ISO, led to increased myocardial IκB protein, decreased NF-κB p65 subunit levels in the nuclear fraction, decreased NF-κB DNA-binding activity, and reduced IL2 levels in the myocardium of rats subject to AAC or ISO. In conclusion, GA treatment can suppress cardiac hypertrophy and fibrosis induced by pressure overload or isoproterenol possibly through the inhibition of the proteasome and the NF-κB pathway, suggesting that GA treatment may provide a new strategy to treat cardiac hypertrophy.
PMCID: PMC3819582  PMID: 24224134
Gambogic acid; cardiac hypertrophy; pressure overload; isoproterenol; proteasome; NF-κB
5.  Intracellular ATP Concentration Contributes to the Cytotoxic and Cytoprotective Effects of Adenosine 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e76731.
Extracellular adenosine (Ade) interacts with cells by two pathways: by activating cell surface receptors at nanomolar/micromolar concentrations; and by interfering with the homeostasis of the intracellular nucleotide pool at millimolar concentrations. Ade shows both cytotoxic and cytoprotective effects; however, the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. In the present study, the effects of adenosine-mediated ATP on cell viability were investigated. Adenosine treatment was found to be cytoprotective in the low intracellular ATP state, but cytotoxic under the normal ATP state. Adenosine-mediated cytotoxicity and cytoprotection rely on adenosine-derived ATP formation, but not via the adenosine receptor pathway. Ade enhanced proteasome inhibition-induced cell death mediated by ATP generation. These data provide a new pathway by which adenosine exerts dual biological effects on cell viability, suggesting an important role for adenosine as an ATP precursor besides the adenosine receptor pathway.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0076731
PMCID: PMC3789704  PMID: 24098558
6.  Gambogic acid moderates cardiac responses to chronic hypoxia likely by acting on the proteasome and NF-κB pathway 
Gambogic acid (GA) is the principal active ingredient of gamboges. GA was reported to exert anti-tumor and anti-inflammatory effects both in vitro and in vivo. Previously, we have shown that GA is a more tissue-specific proteasome inhibitor than bortezomib and it is less toxic to peripheral white blood cells compared to bortezomib. Ubiquitous proteasome inhibition was shown by some reports, but not by others, to prevent cardiac remodeling in response to pressure overload by blocking the NF-κB pathway; however, whether GA modulates the development of chronic hypoxia-induced right ventricular hypertrophy has not been investigated yet. Here we report that GA can significantly attenuate right ventricular hypertrophy induced by chronic hypoxia, reduce cardiac fibrosis, and remarkably block the reactivation of bona fide fetal genes in the cardiac tissue. Furthermore, we also investigated the potential molecular targets of GA on right ventricular hypertrophy. The results showed that GA could accumulate the IκB levels associated with decreased proteasomal activity, block the translocation of NF-κB from the cytoplasm to the nucleus, decrease NF-κB DNA-binding activity, and reduce IL-2 levels. In conclusion, GA is capable of preventing the development of chronic hypoxia-induced right ventricular hypertrophy. GA has great potential to be developed into an effective anti-hypertrophy agent.
PMCID: PMC3751679  PMID: 23991348
Gambogic acid; chronic hypoxia; right ventricular hypertrophy; NF-κB
7.  Gambogic acid enhances proteasome inhibitor-induced anticancer activity 
Cancer letters  2011;301(2):221-228.
Proteasome inhibition has emerged as a novel approach to anticancer therapy. Numerous natural compounds, such as gambogic acid, have been tested in vitro and in vivo as anticancer agents for cancer prevention and therapy. However, whether gambogic acid has chemosensitizing properties when combined with proteasome inhibitors in the treatment of malignant cells is still unknown. In an effort to investigate this effect, human leukemia K562 cells, mouse hepatocarcinoma H22 cells and H22 cell allografts were treated with gambogic acid, a proteasome inhibitor (MG132 or MG262) or the combination of both, followed by measurement of cellular viability, apoptosis induction and tumor growth inhibition. We report, for the first time, that: (i) the combination of natural product gambogic acid and the proteasome inhibitor MG132 or MG262 results in a synergistic inhibitory effect on growth of malignant cells and tumors in allograft animal models and (ii) there was no apparent systemic toxicity observed in the animals treated with the combination. Therefore, the findings presented in this study demonstrate that natural product gambogic acid is a valuable candidate to be used in combination with proteasome inhibitors, thus representing a compelling anticancer strategy.
doi:10.1016/j.canlet.2010.12.015
PMCID: PMC3662239  PMID: 21216092
Gambogic acid; Proteasome inhibitors; Antitumor activity; Synergistic effect
8.  HDAC Inhibitor L-Carnitine and Proteasome Inhibitor Bortezomib Synergistically Exert Anti-Tumor Activity In Vitro and In Vivo 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e52576.
Combinations of proteasome inhibitors and histone deacetylases (HDAC) inhibitors appear to be the most potent to produce synergistic cytotoxicity in preclinical trials. We have recently confirmed that L-carnitine (LC) is an endogenous HDAC inhibitor. In the current study, the anti-tumor effect of LC plus proteasome inhibitor bortezomib (velcade, Vel) was investigated both in cultured hepatoma cancer cells and in Balb/c mice bearing HepG2 tumor. Cell death and cell viability were assayed by flow cytometry and MTS, respectively. Gene, mRNA expression and protein levels were detected by gene microarray, quantitative real-time PCR and Western blot, respectively. The effect of Vel on the acetylation of histone H3 associated with the p21cip1 gene promoter was examined by using ChIP assay and proteasome peptidase activity was detected by cell-based chymotrypsin-like (CT-like) activity assay. Here we report that (i) the combination of LC and Vel synergistically induces cytotoxicity in vitro; (ii) the combination also synergistically inhibits tumor growth in vivo; (iii) two major pathways are involved in the synergistical effects of the combinational treatment: increased p21cip1 expression and histone acetylation in vitro and in vivo and enhanced Vel-induced proteasome inhibition by LC. The synergistic effect of LC and Vel in cancer therapy should have great potential in the future clinical trials.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0052576
PMCID: PMC3527572  PMID: 23285100
9.  L-Carnitine Is an Endogenous HDAC Inhibitor Selectively Inhibiting Cancer Cell Growth In Vivo and In Vitro 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e49062.
L-carnitine (LC) is generally believed to transport long-chain acyl groups from fatty acids into the mitochondrial matrix for ATP generation via the citric acid cycle. Based on Warburg's theory that most cancer cells mainly depend on glycolysis for ATP generation, we hypothesize that, LC treatment would lead to disturbance of cellular metabolism and cytotoxicity in cancer cells. In this study, Human hepatoma HepG2, SMMC-7721 cell lines, primary cultured thymocytes and mice bearing HepG2 tumor were used. ATP content was detected by HPLC assay. Cell cycle, cell death and cell viability were assayed by flow cytometry and MTS respectively. Gene, mRNA expression and protein level were detected by gene microarray, Real-time PCR and Western blot respectively. HDAC activities and histone acetylation were detected both in test tube and in cultured cells. A molecular docking study was carried out with CDOCKER protocol of Discovery Studio 2.0 to predict the molecular interaction between L-carnitine and HDAC. Here we found that (1) LC treatment selectively inhibited cancer cell growth in vivo and in vitro; (2) LC treatment selectively induces the expression of p21cip1 gene, mRNA and protein in cancer cells but not p27kip1; (4) LC increases histone acetylation and induces accumulation of acetylated histones both in normal thymocytes and cancer cells; (5) LC directly inhibits HDAC I/II activities via binding to the active sites of HDAC and induces histone acetylation and lysine-acetylation accumulation in vitro; (6) LC treatment induces accumulation of acetylated histones in chromatin associated with the p21cip1 gene but not p27kip1 detected by ChIP assay. These data support that LC, besides transporting acyl group, works as an endogenous HDAC inhibitor in the cell, which would be of physiological and pathological importance.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0049062
PMCID: PMC3489732  PMID: 23139833
10.  Sanggenon C decreases tumor cell viability associated with proteasome inhibition 
Several flavonoids have been reported to be proteasome inhibitors, but whether prenylated flavonoids are able to inhibit proteasome function remains unknown. We report for the first time that Sanggenon C, a natural prenylated flavonoid, inhibits tumor cellular proteasomal activity and cell viability. We found that (1) Sanggenon C inhibited tumor cell viability and induced cell cycle arrest at G0/G1 phase; (2) Sanggenon C inhibited the chymotrypsin-like activity of purified human 20S proteasome and 26S proteasome in H22 cell lysate, and Sanggenon C was able to dose-dependently accumulate ubiquitinated proteins and proteasome substrate protein p27; (3) Sanggenon C-induced proteasome inhibition occurred prior to cell death in murine H22 and P388 cell lines; (4) Sanggenon C induced death of human K562 cancer cells and primary cells isolated from leukemic patients. We conclude that Sanggenon C inhibits tumor cell viability via induction of cell cycle arrest and cell death, which is associated with its ability to inhibit the proteasome function and that proteasome inhibition by Sanggenon C at least partially contributes to the observed tumor cell growth-inhibitory activity.
PMCID: PMC3303154  PMID: 21622138
Sanggenon C; proteasome inhibitor; cell death; cell cycle; flavonoid
11.  Shikonin extracted from medicinal Chinese herbs exerts anti-inflammatory effect via proteasome inhibition 
European Journal of Pharmacology  2011;658(2-3):242-247.
Shikonin, extracted from medicinal Chinese herb (Lithospermum erythrorhizo), was reported to exert anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer effects both in vitro and in vivo. We have found that proteasome was a molecular target of shikonin in tumor cells, but whether shikonin targets macrophage proteasome needs to be investigated. In the current study, we report that shikonin inhibited inflammation in mouse models as efficiently as dexamethasone. Shikonin at 4 μM reduced the Lipopolysaccharides (LPS)-mediated TNFα release in rat primary macrophage cultures, and blocked the translocation of p65-NF-κB from the cytoplasm to the nucleus, associated with decreased proteasomal activity. Consistently, shikonin accumulated IκB-α, an inhibitor of NF-κB, and ubiquitinated proteins in rat primary macrophage cultures, demonstrating that the proteasome is a target of shikonin under inflammatory conditions. Shikonin also induced macrophage cell apoptosis and cell death. These results demonstrate for the first time that proteasome inhibition by shikonin contributes to its anti-inflammatory effect. The novel finding about macrophage proteasome as a target of shikonin suggests that this medicinal compound has great potential to be developed into an anti-inflammatory agent.
doi:10.1016/j.ejphar.2011.02.043
PMCID: PMC3299007  PMID: 21392503
Shikonin; Proteasome inhibitor; Macrophage; Inflammation

Results 1-11 (11)