Melanosomes are lysosome-related organelles that serve as specialized sites of melanin synthesis and storage in melanocytes. The progression of melanosomes through the different stages of their formation requires trafficking of specific proteins and membrane constituents in a sequential manner, which is likely to deploy ubiquitous cellular machinery along with melanocyte-specific proteins. Recent evidence revealed a connection between melanogenesis and the autophagy machinery, suggesting a novel role for members of the latter in melanocytes. Here we focused on ULK1, a key autophagy protein which is negatively regulated by mTORC1, to assess its potential role in melanogenesis in MNT-1 cells. We found that ULK1 depletion causes an increase in melanin levels, suggesting an inhibitory function for this protein in melanogenesis. Furthermore, this increase was accompanied by increased transcription of MITF (microphthalmia-associated transcription factor) and tyrosinase and by elevated protein levels of tyrosinase, the rate-limiting factor in melanin biogenesis. We also provide evidence to show that ULK1 function in this context is independent of the canonical ULK1 autophagy partners, ATG13 and FIP200. Furthermore we show that regulation of melanogenesis by ULK1 is independent of mTORC1 inhibition. Our data thus provide intriguing insights regarding the involvement of the key regulatory autophagy machinery in melanogenesis.
p62 is constitutively degraded by autophagy via its interaction with LC3. However, the interaction of p62 with LC3 species in the context of the LC3 lipidation process is not specified. Further, the p62-mediated protein aggregation’s effect on autophagy is unclear. We systemically analyzed the interactions of p62 with all known Atg proteins involved in LC3 lipidation. We find that p62 does not interact with LC3 at the stages when it is being processed by Atg4B or when it is complexed or conjugated with Atg3. p62 does interact with LC3-I and LC3-I:Atg7 complex and is preferentially recruited by LC3-II species under autophagic stimulation. Given that Atg4B, Atg3 and LC3-Atg3 are indispensable for LC3-II conversion, our study reveals a protective mechanism for Atg4B, Atg3 and LC3-Atg3 conjugate from being inappropriately sequestered into p62 aggregates. Our findings imply that p62 could potentially impair autophagy by negatively affecting LC3 lipidation and contribute to the development of protein aggregate diseases.
The tumour suppressor ARF is specifically required for p53 activation under oncogenic stress1–6. Recent studies showed that p53 activation mediated by ARF, but not that induced by DNA damage, acts as a major protection against tumorigenesis in vivo under certain biological settings7,8, suggesting that the ARF–p53 axis has more fundamental functions in tumour suppression than originally thought. Because ARF is a very stable protein in most human cell lines, it has been widely assumed that ARF induction is mediated mainly at the transcriptional level and that activation of the ARF–p53 pathway by oncogenes is a much slower and largely irreversible process by comparison with p53 activation after DNA damage. Here we report that ARF is very unstable in normal human cells but that its degradation is inhibited in cancerous cells. Through biochemical purification, we identified a specific ubiquitin ligase for ARF and named it ULF. ULF interacts with ARF both in vitro and in vivo and promotes the lysine-independent ubiquitylation and degradation of ARF. ULF knockdown stabilizes ARF in normal human cells, triggering ARF-dependent, p53-mediated growth arrest. Moreover, nucleophosmin (NPM) and c-Myc, both of which are commonly overexpressed in cancer cells, are capable of abrogating ULF-mediated ARF ubiquitylation through distinct mechanisms, and thereby promote ARF stabilization in cancer cells. These findings reveal the dynamic feature of the ARF–p53 pathway and suggest that transcription-independent mechanisms are critically involved in ARF regulation during responses to oncogenic stress.
Histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors have been shown to induce cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in cancer cells. However, the mechanisms of HDAC inhibitor induced apoptosis are incompletely understood. In this study, depsipeptide, a novel HDAC inhibitor, was shown to be able to induce significant apoptotic cell death in human lung cancer cells. Further study showed that Bim, a BH3-only proapoptotic protein, was significantly upregulated by depsipeptide in cancer cells, and Bim's function in depsipeptide-induced apoptosis was confirmed by knockdown of Bim with RNAi. In addition, we found that depsipeptide-induced expression of Bim was directly dependent on acetylation of forkhead box class O1 (FoxO1) that is catalyzed by cyclic adenosine monophosphate-responsive element-binding protein-binding protein, and indirectly induced by a decreased four-and-a-half LIM-domain protein 2. Moreover, our results demonstrated that FoxO1 acetylation is required for the depsipeptide-induced activation of Bim and apoptosis, using transfection with a plasmid containing FoxO1 mutated at lysine sites and a luciferase reporter assay. These data show for the first time that an HDAC inhibitor induces apoptosis through the FoxO1 acetylation-Bim pathway.
Autophagy is activated to maintain cellular energy homeostasis in response to nutrient starvation. However, autophagy is not persistently activated, which is poorly understood at a mechanistic level. Here, we report that turnover of FoxO1 is involved in the dynamic autophagic process caused by glutamine starvation. X-box-binding protein-1u (XBP-1u) has a critical role in FoxO1 degradation by recruiting FoxO1 to the 20S proteasome. In addition, the phosphorylation of XBP-1u by extracellular regulated protein kinases1/2 (ERK1/2) on Ser61 and Ser176 was found to be critical for the increased interaction between XBP-1u and FoxO1 upon glutamine starvation. Furthermore, knockdown of XBP-1u caused the sustained level of FoxO1 and the persistent activation of autophagy, leading to a significant decrease in cell viability. Finally, the inverse correlation between XBP-1u and FoxO1 expression agrees well with the expression profiles observed in many human cancer tissues. Thus, our findings link the dynamic process of autophagy to XBP-1u-induced FoxO1 degradation.
FoxO1; XBP-1u; ERK; autophagy; cancer
Gene MAGEA1 belongs to a group of human germline-specific genes that rely on DNA methylation for repression in somatic tissues. Many of these genes, termed cancer-germline (CG) genes, become demethylated and activated in a wide variety of tumors, where they encode tumor-specific antigens. The process leading to DNA demethylation of CG genes in tumors remains unclear. Previous data suggested that histone acetylation might be involved. Here, we investigated the relative contribution of DNA methylation and histone acetylation in the epigenetic regulation of gene MAGEA1. We show that MAGEA1 DNA hypomethylation in expressing melanoma cells is indeed correlated with local increases in histone H3 acetylation (H3ac). However, when MAGEA1-negative cells were exposed to a histone deacetylase inhibitor (TSA), we observed only short-term activation of the gene and detected no demethylation of its promoter. As a more sensitive assay, we used a cell clone harboring a methylated MAGEA1/hph construct, which confers resistance to hygromycin upon stable re-activation. TSA induced only transient de-repression of the transgene, and did not lead to the emergence of hygromycin-resistant cells. In striking contrast, transient depletion of DNA-methyltransferase-1 in the reporter cell clone gave rise to a hygromycin-resistant population, in which the re-activated MAGEA1/hph transgene displayed not only marked DNA hypomethylation, but also significant reversal of histone marks, including gains in H3ac and H3K4me2, and losses of H3K9me2. Collectively, our results indicate that DNA methylation has a dominant role in the epigenetic hierarchy governing MAGEA1 expression.
DNA methylation and histone acetylation are epigenetic modifications that act as regulators of gene expression. DNA methylation is considered an important mechanism for silencing of retroelements in the mammalian genome. However, the methylation of human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs) is not well investigated. The aim of this study was to investigate the transcriptional potential of HERV-Fc1 proviral 5′LTR in more detail, and examined the specific influence of CpG methylation on this LTR in number of cell lines. Specifically, the role of demethylating chemicals e.g. 5-aza-2′ deoxycytidine and Trichostatin-A, in inducing or reactivating expression of HERV-Fc1 specific sequences and the mechanisms were investigated. In our present study, 5-aza-dC is shown to be a powerful inducer of HERV-Fc1, and at the same time it strongly inhibits methylation of DNA. Treatment with this demethylating agent 5-aza-dC, results in significantly increased levels of HERV-Fc1 expression in cells previously not expressing HERV-Fc1, or with a very low expression level. The extent of expression of HERV-Fc1 RNAs precisely correlates with the apparent extent of demethylation of the related DNA sequences. In conclusion, the results suggest that inhibition of DNA methylation/histone deacetylase can interfere with gene silencing mechanisms affecting HERV-Fc1 expression in human cells.
Among the human genome, p53 is one of the first tumor suppressor genes to be discovered. It has a wide range of functions covering cell cycle control, apoptosis, genome integrity maintenance, metabolism, fertility, cellular reprogramming and autophagy. Although different possible underlying mechanisms for p53 regulation have been proposed for decades, none of them is conclusive. While much literature focuses on the importance of individual post-translational modifications, further explorations indicate a new layer of p53 coordination through the interplay of the modifications, which builds up a complex 'network'. This review focuses on the necessity, characteristics and mechanisms of the crosstalk among post-translational modifications and its effects on the precise and selective behavior of p53.
p53; post-translational modification; crosstalk; protein-protein interaction; semiotic system.
Histone deacetylase inhibitor (HDACi) has been shown to demethylate the mammalian genome, which further strengthens the concept that DNA methylation and histone modifications interact in regulation of gene expression. Here, we report that an HDAC inhibitor, depsipeptide, exhibited significant demethylating activity on the promoters of several genes, including p16, SALL3, and GATA4 in human lung cancer cell lines H719 and H23, colon cancer cell line HT-29, and pancreatic cancer cell line PANC1. Although expression of DNA methyltransferase 1 (DNMT1) was not affected by depsipeptide, a decrease in binding of DNMT1 to the promoter of these genes played a dominant role in depsipeptide-induced demethylation and reactivation. Depsipeptide also suppressed expression of histone methyltransferases G9A and SUV39H1, which in turn resulted in a decrease of di- and trimethylated H3K9 around these genes' promoter. Furthermore, both loading of heterochromatin-associated protein 1 (HP1α and HP1β) to methylated H3K9 and binding of DNMT1 to these genes' promoter were significantly reduced in depsipeptide-treated cells. Similar DNA demethylation was induced by another HDAC inhibitor, apicidin, but not by trichostatin A. Our data describe a novel mechanism of HDACi-mediated DNA demethylation via suppression of histone methyltransferases and reduced recruitment of HP1 and DNMT1 to the genes' promoter.
Deregulated expression of E2F1 not only promotes S-phase entry but also induces apoptosis. Although it has been well documented that E2F1 is able to induce p53-dependent apoptosis via raising ARF activity, the mechanism by which E2F induces p53-independent apoptosis remains unclear. Here we report that E2F1 can directly bind to and activate the promoter of Smac/DIABLO, a mitochondrial proapoptotic gene, through the E2F1-binding sites BS2 (−542 ∼ −535 bp) and BS3 (−200 ∼ −193 bp). BS2 and BS3 appear to be utilized in combination rather than singly by E2F1 in activation of Smac/DIABLO. Activation of BS2 and BS3 are E2F1-specific, since neither E2F2 nor E2F3 is able to activate BS2 or BS3. Using the H1299 ER-E2F1 cell line where E2F1 activity can be conditionally induced, E2F1 has been shown to upregulate the Smac/DIABLO expression at both mRNA and protein levels upon 4-hydroxytamoxifen treatment, resulting in an enhanced mitochondria-mediated apoptosis. Reversely, reducing the Smac/DIABLO expression by RNA interference significantly diminishes apoptosis induced by E2F1. These results may suggest a novel mechanism by which E2F1 promotes p53-independent apoptosis through directly regulating its downstream mitochondrial apoptosis-inducing factors, such as Smac/DIABLO.
Generally, histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor-induced p21Waf1/Cip1 expression is thought to be p53 independent. Here we found that an inhibitor of HDAC, depsipeptide (FR901228), but not trichostatin A (TSA), induces p21Waf1/Cip1 expression through both p53 and Sp1/Sp3 pathways in A549 cells (which retain wild-type p53). This is demonstrated by measuring relative luciferase activities of p21 promoter constructs with p53 or Sp1 binding site mutagenesis and was further confirmed by transfection of wild-type p53 into H1299 cells (p53 null). That p53 was acetylated after depsipeptide treatment was tested by sequential immunoprecipitation/Western immunoblot analysis with anti-acetylated lysines and anti-p53 antibodies. The acetylated p53 has a longer half-life due to a significant decrease in p53 ubiquitination. Further study using site-specific antiacetyllysine antibodies and transfection of mutated p53 vectors (K319/K320/K321R mutated and K373R/K382R mutations) into H1299 cells revealed that depsipeptide specifically induces p53 acetylation at K373/K382, but not at K320. As assayed by coimmunoprecipitation, the K373/K382 acetylation is accompanied by a recruitment of p300, but neither CREB-binding protein (CBP) nor p300/CBP-associated factor (PCAF), to the p53 C terminus. Furthermore, activity associated with the binding of the acetylated p53 at K373/K382 to the p21 promoter as well as p21Waf1/Cip1 expression is significantly increased after depsipeptide treatment, as tested by chromatin immunoprecipitations and Western blotting, respectively. In addition, p53 acetylation at K373/K382 is confirmed to be required for recruitment of p300 to the p21 promoter, and the depsipeptide-induced p53 acetylation at K373/K382 is unlikely to be dependent on p53 phosphorylation at Ser15, Ser20, and Ser392 sites. Our data suggest that p53 acetylation at K373/K382 plays an important role in depsipeptide-induced p21Waf1/Cip1 expression.
DNA methylation in the promoter of certain genes is associated with transcriptional silencing. Methylation affects gene expression directly by interfering with transcription factor binding and/or indirectly by recruiting histone deacetylases through methyl-DNA-binding proteins. In this study, we demonstrate that the human lung cancer cell line H719 lacks p53-dependent and -independent p21Cip1 expression. p53 response to treatment with gamma irradiation or etoposide is lost due to a mutation at codon 242 of p53 (C→W). Treatment with depsipeptide, an inhibitor of histone deacetylase, was unable to induce p53-independent p21Cip1 expression because the promoter of p21Cip1 in these cells is hypermethylated. By analyzing luciferase activity of transfected p21Cip1 promoter vectors, we demonstrate that depsipeptide functions on Sp1-binding sites to induce p21Cip1 expression. We hypothesize that hypermethylation may interfere with Sp1/Sp3 binding. By using an electrophoretic mobility shift assay, we show that, although methylation within the consensus Sp1-binding site did not reduce Sp1/Sp3 binding, methylation outside of the consensus Sp1 element induced a significant decrease in Sp1/Sp3 binding. Depsipeptide induced p21Cip1 expression was reconstituted when cells were pretreated with 5-aza-2′-deoxycytidine. Our data suggest, for the first time, that hypermethylation around the consensus Sp1-binding sites may directly reduce Sp1/Sp3 binding, therefore leading to a reduced p21Cip1 expression in response to depsipeptide treatment.
Epigenetic changes, including DNA methylation, are a common finding in cancer. In lung cancers methylation of cytosine residues may affect tumor initiation and progression in several ways, including the silencing of tumor suppressor genes through promoter methylation and by providing the targets for adduct formation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons present in combustion products of cigarette smoke. Although the importance of aberrant DNA methylation is well established, the extent of DNA methylation in lung cancers has never been determined. Restriction landmark genomic scanning (RLGS) is a highly reproducible two-dimensional gel electrophoresis that allows the determination of the methylation status of up to 2000 promoter sequences in a single gel. We selected 1184 CpG islands for RLGS analysis and determined their methylation status in 16 primary non-small cell lung cancers. Some tumors did not show methylation whereas others showed up to 5.3% methylation in all CpG islands of the profile. Cloning of 21 methylated loci identified 11 genes and 6 ESTs. We demonstrate that methylation is part of the silencing process of BMP3B in primary tumors and lung cancer cell lines.
non-small cell lung cancer; DNA methylation; RLGS; genome scanning; epigenetic
The hnRNP A/B paralogs A1, A2/B1 and A3 are key components of the nuclear 40S hnRNP core particles. Despite a high degree of sequence similarity, increasing evidence suggests they perform additional, functionally distinct roles in RNA metabolism. Here we identify and study the functional consequences of differential post-translational modification of hnRNPs A1, A2 and A3. We show that while arginine residues in the RGG box domain of hnRNP A1 and A3 are almost exhaustively, asymmetrically dimethylated, hnRNP A2 is dimethylated at only a single residue (Arg-254) and this modification is conserved across cell types. It has been suggested that arginine methylation regulates the nucleocytoplasmic distribution of hnRNP A/B proteins. However, we show that transfected cells expressing an A2R254A point mutant exhibit no difference in subcellular localization. Similarly, immunostaining and mass spectrometry of endogenous hnRNP A2 in transformed cells reveals a naturally-occurring pool of unmethylated protein but an exclusively nuclear pattern of localization. Our results suggest an alternative role for post-translational arginine methylation of hnRNPs and offer further evidence that the hnRNP A/B paralogs are not functionally redundant.
Epigenetic gene silencing, mediated by aberrant promoter DNA hypermethylation and repressive histone modifications, is a hallmark of cancer. Although heritable, the dynamic nature and potential reversibility through pharmacological interventions make such aberrations attractive targets. Since cancers contain multiple epigenetic abnormalities, combining therapies that target different defects could potentially enhance their individual efficacies. 5-Aza-2'-deoxycytidine (5-Aza-CdR), FDA-approved drug for the treatment of myelodysplastic syndrome, can inhibit DNA methyltransferases (DNMTs) upon incorporation into the DNA of dividing cells, resulting in global demethylation. More recently, the first histone demethylase, lysine specific demethylase 1 (LSD1), which demethylates both histone and non-histone substrates, has become a new target for epigenetic therapy. Using, clorgyline, an LSD1 inhibitor (LSD1i) to treat cancer cell lines, we show that clorgyline employs two mechanisms of action depending on the cell type: it can either induce global DNA demethylation or inhibit LSD1-driven H3K4me2 and H3K4me1 demethylation to establish an active chromatin configuration. We also investigate the therapeutic efficacy of combining 5-Aza-CdR with clorgyline and determine that this combinatorial treatment has synergistic effects on reactivating aberrantly silenced genes by enriching H3K4me2 and H3K4me1. Many of the reactivated genes are categorized as cancer testis antigens or belong to the interferon-signaling pathway, suggesting potential implications for immunotherapy. Together, our results demonstrate that combinatorial treatment consisting of a DNMT inhibitor (DNMTi) and an LSD1i have enhanced therapeutic values and could improve the efficacy of epigenetic therapy.
Identification of gastric tumor-initiating cells (TICs) is essential to explore new therapies for gastric cancer patients. There are reports that gastric TICs can be identified using the cell surface marker CD44 and that they form floating spheres in culture, but we could not obtain consistent results with our patient-derived tumor xenograft (PDTX) cells. We thus searched for another marker for gastric TICs, and found that CD49fhigh cells from newly-dissected gastric cancers formed tumors with histological features of parental ones while CD49flow cells did not when subcutaneously injected into immunodeficient mice. These results indicate that CD49f, a subunit of laminin receptors, is a promising marker for human gastric TICs. We established a primary culture system for PDTX cells where only CD49fhigh cells could grow on extracellular matrix (ECM) to form ECM-attaching spheres. When injected into immunodeficient mice, these CD49fhigh sphere cells formed tumors with histological features of parental ones, indicating that only TICs could grow in the culture system. Using this system, we found that some sphere-forming TICs were more resistant than gastric tumor cell lines to chemotherapeutic agents, including doxorubicin, 5-fluorouracil and doxifluridine. There was a patient-dependent difference in the tumorigenicity of sphere-forming TICs and their response to anti-tumor drugs. These results suggest that ECM plays an essential role for the growth of TICs, and that this culture system will be useful to find new drugs targeting gastric TICs.
P21-activated kinase 1 (PAK1), a serine/threonine protein kinase, modulates many cellular processes by phosphorylating its downstream substrates. In addition to its role in the cytoplasm, PAK1 also affects gene transcription due to its nuclear localization and association with chromatin. It is now recognized that PAK1 kinase activity and its nuclear translocation are rapidly stimulated by ionizing radiation (IR), and that PAK1 activation is a component of the DNA damage response. Owing to the role of PAK1 in the cell survival, its association with the chromatin, and now, stimulation by ionizing radiation, we hypothesize that PAK1 may be contributing to modulation of genes with roles in cellular processes that might be important in the DNA damage response. The purpose of this study was to identify new PAK1 targets in response to ionizing radiation with putative role in the DNA damage response. We examined the effect of IR on the gene expression patterns in the murine embryonic fibroblasts with or without Pak1 using microarray technology. Differentially expressed transcripts were identified using Gene Spring GX 10.0.2. Pathway, network, functional analyses and gene family classification were carried out using Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG), Ingenuity Pathway, Gene Ontology and PANTHER respectively. Selective targets of PAK1 were validated by RT-qPCR. For the first time, we provide a genome-wide analysis of PAK1 and identify its targets with potential roles in the DNA damage response. Gene Ontology analysis identified genes in the IR-stimulated cells that were involved in cell cycle arrest and cell death. Pathway analysis revealed p53 pathway being most influenced by IR responsive, PAK1 targets. Gene family of transcription factors was over represented and gene networks involved in DNA replication, repair and cellular signaling were identified. In brief, this study identifies novel PAK1 dependent IR responsive genes which reveal new aspects of PAK1 biology.
The Hedgehog pathway is activated in various types of malignancies. We previously reported that inhibition of SMO or GLI prevents osteosarcoma growth in vitro and in vivo. Recently, it has been reported that arsenic trioxide (ATO) inhibits cancer growth by blocking GLI transcription. In this study, we analyzed the function of ATO in the pathogenesis of osteosarcoma. Real-time PCR showed that ATO decreased the expression of Hedgehog target genes, including PTCH1, GLI1, and GLI2, in human osteosarcoma cell lines. WST-1 assay and colony formation assay revealed that ATO prevented osteosarcoma growth. These findings show that ATO prevents GLI transcription and osteosarcoma growth in vitro. Flow cytometric analysis showed that ATO promoted apoptotic cell death. Comet assay showed that ATO treatment increased accumulation of DNA damage. Western blot analysis showed that ATO treatment increased the expression of γH2AX, cleaved PARP, and cleaved caspase-3. In addition, ATO treatment decreased the expression of Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL. These findings suggest that ATO treatment promoted apoptotic cell death caused by accumulation of DNA damage. In contrast, Sonic Hedgehog treatment decreased the expression of γH2AX induced by cisplatin treatment. ATO re-induced the accumulation of DNA damage attenuated by Sonic Hedgehog treatment. These findings suggest that ATO inhibits the activation of Hedgehog signaling and promotes apoptotic cell death in osteosarcoma cells by accumulation of DNA damage. Finally, examination of mouse xenograft models showed that ATO administration prevented the growth of osteosarcoma in nude mice. Because ATO is an FDA-approved drug for treatment of leukemia, our findings suggest that ATO is a new therapeutic option for treatment of patients with osteosarcoma.
Posttranslational modifications (PTMs) of the histone H3 tail such as methylation, acetylation and phosphorylation play important roles in epigenetic signaling. Here we study the effect of some of these PTMs on the demethylation rates of methylated lysine 9 in vitro using peptide substrates mimicking histone H3. Various combinations with other PTMs were employed to study possible cross-talk effects by comparing enzyme kinetic characteristics. We compared the kinetics of histone tail substrates for truncated histone lysine demethylases KDM4A and KDM4C containing only the catalytic core (cc) and some combinations were characterized on full length (FL) KDM4A and KDM4C. We found that the substrates combining trimethylated K4 and K9 resulted in a significant increase in the catalytic activity for FL-KDM4A. For the truncated versions of KDM4A and KDM4C a two-fold increase in the catalytic activity toward bis-trimethylated substrates could be observed. Furthermore, a significant difference in the catalytic activity between dimethylated and trimethylated substrates was found for full length demethylases in line with what has been reported previously for truncated demethylases. Histone peptide substrates phosphorylated at T11 could not be demethylated by neither truncated nor full length KDM4A and KDM4C, suggesting that phosphorylation of threonine 11 prevents demethylation of the H3K9me3 mark on the same peptide. Acetylation of K14 was also found to influence demethylation rates significantly. Thus, for truncated KDM4A, acetylation on K14 of the substrate leads to an increase in enzymatic catalytic efficiency (kcat/Km), while for truncated KDM4C it induces a decrease, primarily caused by changes in Km. This study demonstrates that demethylation activities towards trimethylated H3K9 are significantly influenced by other PTMs on the same peptide, and emphasizes the importance of studying these interactions at the peptide level to get a more detailed understanding of the dynamics of epigenetic marks.
The pathogenic mechanisms underlying pituitary somatotroph adenoma formation, progression are poorly understood. To identify candidate tumor suppressor genes involved in pituitary somatotroph adenoma tumorigenesis, we used HG18 CpG plus Promoter Microarray in 27 human somatotroph adenomas and 4 normal human adenohypophyses. RASSF3 was found with frequent methylation of CpG island in its promoter region in somatotroph adenomas but rarely in adenohypophyses. This result was confirmed by pyrosequencing analysis. We also found that RASSF3 mRNA level correlated negatively to its gene promoter methylation level. RASSF3 hypermethylation and downregulation was also observed in rat GH3 and mouse GT1.1 somatotroph adenoma cell lines. 5-Aza-2′ deoxycytidine and trichostatin-A treatment induced RASSF3 promoter demethylation, and restored its expression in GH3 and GT1.1 cell lines. RASSF3 overexpression in GH3 and GT1.1 cells inhibited proliferation, induced apoptosis accompanied by increased Bax, p53, and caspase-3 protein and decreased Bcl-2 protein expression. We also found that the antitumor effect of RASSF3 was p53 dependent, and p53 knockdown blocked RASSF3-induced apoptosis and growth inhibition. Taken together, our results suggest that hypermethylation-induced RASSF3 silencing plays an important role in the tumorigenesis of pituitary somatotroph adenomas.
Recent evidence suggests that several dietary polyphenols may exert their chemopreventive effect through epigenetic modifications. Curcumin is one of the most widely studied dietary chemopreventive agents for colon cancer prevention, however, its effects on epigenetic alterations, particularly DNA methylation, remain unclear. Using systematic genome-wide approaches, we aimed to elucidate the effect of curcumin on DNA methylation alterations in colorectal cancer cells.
Materials and Methods
To evaluate the effect of curcumin on DNA methylation, three CRC cell lines, HCT116, HT29 and RKO, were treated with curcumin. 5-aza-2′-deoxycytidine (5-aza-CdR) and trichostatin A treated cells were used as positive and negative controls for DNA methylation changes, respectively. Methylation status of LINE-1 repeat elements, DNA promoter methylation microarrays and gene expression arrays were used to assess global methylation and gene expression changes. Validation was performed using independent microarrays, quantitative bisulfite pyrosequencing, and qPCR.
As expected, genome-wide methylation microarrays revealed significant DNA hypomethylation in 5-aza-CdR-treated cells (mean β-values of 0.12), however, non-significant changes in mean β-values were observed in curcumin-treated cells. In comparison to mock-treated cells, curcumin-induced DNA methylation alterations occurred in a time-dependent manner. In contrast to the generalized, non-specific global hypomethylation observed with 5-aza-CdR, curcumin treatment resulted in methylation changes at selected, partially-methylated loci, instead of fully-methylated CpG sites. DNA methylation alterations were supported by corresponding changes in gene expression at both up- and down-regulated genes in various CRC cell lines.
Our data provide previously unrecognized evidence for curcumin-mediated DNA methylation alterations as a potential mechanism of colon cancer chemoprevention. In contrast to non-specific global hypomethylation induced by 5-aza-CdR, curcumin-induced methylation changes occurred only in a subset of partially-methylated genes, which provides additional mechanistic insights into the potent chemopreventive effect of this dietary nutraceutical.
Chromosome 8q24 is the most commonly amplified region across multiple cancer types, and the typical length of the amplification suggests that it may target additional genes to MYC. To explore the roles of the genes most frequently included in 8q24 amplifications, we analyzed the relation between copy number alterations and gene expression in three sets of endometrial cancers (N = 252); and in glioblastoma, ovarian, and breast cancers profiled by TCGA. Among the genes neighbouring MYC, expression of the bromodomain-containing gene ATAD2 was the most associated with amplification. Bromodomain-containing genes have been implicated as mediators of MYC transcriptional function, and indeed ATAD2 expression was more closely associated with expression of genes known to be upregulated by MYC than was MYC itself. Amplifications of 8q24, expression of genes downstream from MYC, and overexpression of ATAD2 predicted poor outcome and increased from primary to metastatic lesions. Knockdown of ATAD2 and MYC in seven endometrial and 21 breast cancer cell lines demonstrated that cell lines that were dependent on MYC also depended upon ATAD2. These same cell lines were also the most sensitive to the histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor Trichostatin-A, consistent with prior studies identifying bromodomain-containing proteins as targets of inhibition by HDAC inhibitors. Our data indicate high ATAD2 expression is a marker of aggressive endometrial cancers, and suggest specific inhibitors of ATAD2 may have therapeutic utility in these and other MYC-dependent cancers.
Adiponectin, an abundant adipose tissue-derived protein, exerts protective effect against cardiovascular disease. Adiponectin receptors (AdipoR1 and AdipoR2) mediate the beneficial effects of adiponectin on the cardiovascular system. However, the alteration of AdipoRs in cardiac remodeling is not fully elucidated. Here, we investigated the effect of angiotensin II (AngII) on cardiac AdipoRs expression and explored the possible molecular mechanism. AngII infusion into rats induced cardiac hypertrophy, reduced AdipoR1 but not AdipoR2 expression, and attenuated the phosphorylations of adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase and acetyl coenzyme A carboxylase, and those effects were all reversed by losartan, an AngII type 1 (AT1) receptor blocker. AngII reduced expression of AdipoR1 mRNA and protein in cultured neonatal rat cardiomyocytes, which was abolished by losartan, but not by PD123319, an AT2 receptor antagonist. The antioxidants including reactive oxygen species (ROS) scavenger NAC, NADPH oxidase inhibitor apocynin, Nox2 inhibitor peptide gp91 ds-tat, and mitochondrial electron transport chain complex I inhibitor rotenone attenuated AngII-induced production of ROS and phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) 1/2. AngII-reduced AdipoR1 expression was reversed by pretreatment with NAC, apocynin, gp91 ds-tat, rotenone, and an ERK1/2 inhibitor PD98059. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assay demonstrated that AngII provoked the recruitment of c-Myc onto the promoter region of AdipoR1, which was attenuated by PD98059. Moreover, AngII-induced DNA binding activity of c-Myc was inhibited by losartan, NAC, apocynin, gp91 ds-tat, rotenone, and PD98059. c-Myc small interfering RNA abolished the inhibitory effect of AngII on AdipoR1 expression. Our results suggest that AngII inhibits cardiac AdipoR1 expression in vivo and in vitro and AT1 receptor/ROS/ERK1/2/c-Myc pathway is required for the downregulation of AdipoR1 induced by AngII.
Differential positioning of the histone variant H2A.Z in a p53 dependent manner was shown to regulate p21 transcription. Whether H2A.Z is involved in p21 activity in the absence of p53 is not known. The p21 gene is repressed in estrogen receptor (ER) negative cell lines that are p53−/− and hormone independent for their growth. Here we demonstrate that class I and II pan Histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACi) induce p21 transcription and reduce cell proliferation of MDA-MB231, an ERα-negative mammary tumor cell line, in a H2A.Z dependent manner. H2A.Z is associated with the transcription start site (TSS) of the repressed p21 gene. Depleting H2A.Z did not lead to transcription of p21 but annihilated the stimulating effect of HDACi on this gene. Acetylation of H2A.Z but not of H3K9 at the p21 promoter correlated with p21 activation. We further show that HDACi treatment reduced the presence of the p400 chromatin remodeler at the p21 TSS. We propose a model in which association of p400 negatively affects p21 transcription by interfering with acetylation of H2A.Z.
We previously identified actin filament-associated protein 1-like 1 (AFAP1L1) as a metastasis-predicting marker from the gene-expression profiles of 65 spindle cell sarcomas, and demonstrated the up-regulation of AFAP1L1 expression to be an independent risk factor for distant metastasis in multivariate analyses. Little is known, however, about how the expression of AFAP1L1 is regulated. Luciferase reporter assays showed tandem binding motives of a specificity protein (Sp) located at −85 to −75 relative to the transcriptional start site to be essential to the promoter activity. Overexpression of Sp1 and Sp3 proteins transactivated the proximal AFAP1L1 promoter construct, and electrophoretic mobility shift assays showed that both Sp1 and Sp3 were able to bind to this region in vitro. Chromatin immunoprecipitation experiments, however, revealed that Sp3 is the major factor binding to the proximal promoter region of the AFAP1L1 gene in AFAP1L1- positive cells. Treatment with mithramycin A, an inhibitor of proteins binding to GC-rich regions, prevented Sp3 from binding to the proximal promoter region of AFAP1L1 and decreased its expression in a dose-dependent manner. Finally, knocking down Sp3 using small inhibitory RNA duplex (siRNA) reduced AFAP1L1 expression significantly, which was partially restored by expressing siRNA-resistant Sp3. These findings indicate a novel role for Sp3 in sarcomas as a driver for expression of the metastasis-related gene AFAP1L1.