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1.  Photocaged permeability: a new strategy for controlled drug release† 
Light is used to release a drug from a cell impermeable small molecule, uncloaking its cytotoxic effect on cancer cells.
PMCID: PMC3500139  PMID: 22473358
2.  Comparative Cardiac Toxicity of Anthracyclines In Vitro and In Vivo in the Mouse 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e58421.
The antineoplastic efficacy of anthracyclines is limited by their cardiac toxicity. In this study, we evaluated the toxicity of doxorubicin, non-pegylated liposomal-delivered doxorubicin, and epirubicin in HL-1 adult cardiomyocytes in culture as well as in the mouse in vivo.
The cardiomyocytes were incubated with the three anthracyclines (1 µM) to assess reactive oxygen generation, DNA damage and apoptotic cell death. CF-1 mice (10/group) received doxorubicin, epirubicin or non-pegylated liposomal-doxorubicin (10 mg/kg) and cardiac function was monitored by Doppler echocardiography to measure left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF), heart rate (HR) and cardiac output (CO) both prior to and 10 days after drug treatment.
In HL-1 cells, non-pegylated liposomal-doxorubicin generated significantly less reactive oxygen species (ROS), as well as less DNA damage and apoptosis activation when compared with doxorubicin and epirubicin. Cultured breast tumor cells showed similar sensitivity to the three anthracyclines. In the healthy mouse, non-pegylated liposomal doxorubicin showed a minimal and non-significant decrease in LVEF with no change in HR or CO, compared to doxorubicin and epirubicin.
This study provides evidence for reduced cardiac toxicity of non-pegylated-liposomal doxorubicin characterized by attenuation of ROS generation, DNA damage and apoptosis in comparison to epirubicin and doxorubicin.
PMCID: PMC3597611  PMID: 23516478
3.  SRSF1 (SRp30a) regulates the alternative splicing of caspase 9 via a novel intronic splicing enhancer affecting the chemotherapeutic sensitivity of non-small cell lung cancer cells 
Molecular cancer research : MCR  2011;9(7):889-900.
Increasing evidence points to the functional importance of alternative splice variations in cancer pathophysiology with the alternative pre-mRNA processing of caspase 9 as one example. In this study, we delve into the underlying molecular mechanisms that regulate the alternative splicing of caspase 9. Specifically, the pre-mRNA sequence of caspase 9 was analyzed for RNA cis-elements known to interact with SRSF1, a required enhancer for caspase 9 RNA splicing. This analysis revealed thirteen possible RNA cis-elements for interaction with SRSF1 with mutagenesis of these RNA cis-elements identifying a strong intronic splicing enhancer located in intron 6 (C9-I6/ISE). SRSF1 specifically interacted with this sequence, which was required for SRSF1 to act as a splicing enhancer of the inclusion of the four exon cassette. To further determine the biological importance of this mechanism, we employed RNA oligonucleotides to redirect caspase 9 pre-mRNA splicing in favor of caspase 9b expression, which resulted in an increase in the IC50 of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cells to daunorubicin, cisplatinum, and paclitaxel. In contrast, downregulation of caspase 9b induced a decrease in the the IC50 of these chemotherapeutic drugs. Lastly, these studies demonstrated that caspase 9 RNA splicing was a major mechanism for the synergistic effects of combination therapy with daunorubicin and erlotinib. Overall, we have identified a novel intronic splicing enhancer that regulates caspase 9 RNA splicing and specifically interacts with SRSF1. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the alternative splicing of caspase 9 is an important molecular mechanism with therapeutic relevance to NSCLCs.
PMCID: PMC3140550  PMID: 21622622
ceramide; non-small cell lung cancer; RNA trans-factor; tumor repressor; oncogene; ASF/SF2; SRp30a; SRSF1; chemotherapy; erlotinib; daunorubicin; cisplatinum; paclitaxel
4.  Alternative splicing of Caspase 9 is modulated by the PI3K/Akt pathway via phosphorylation of SRp30a 
Cancer research  2010;70(22):9185-9196.
Increasing evidence points to the functional importance of alternative splice variations in cancer pathophysiology. Two splice variants are derived from the CASP9 gene via the inclusion (Casp9a) or exclusion (Casp9b) of a four exon cassette. Here we show that alternative splicing of Casp9 is dysregulated in non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC) regardless of their pathological classification. Based on these findings we hypothesized that survival pathways activated by oncogenic mutation regulated this mechanism. In contrast to K-RasV12 expression, EGFR overexpression or mutation dramatically lowered the Casp9a/9b splice isoform ratio. Moreover, Casp9b downregulation blocked the ability of EGFR mutations to induce anchorage-independent growth. Furthermore, Casp9b expression blocked inhibition of clonogenic colony formation by erlotinib. Interrogation of oncogenic signaling pathways showed that inhibition of PI3K or Akt dramatically increased the Casp9a/9b ratio in NSCLC cells. Finally, Akt was found to mediate exclusion of the exon 3,4,5,6 cassette of Casp9 via the phosphorylation state of the RNA splicing factor SRp30a via serines 199, 201, 227 and 234. Taken together, our findings demonstrate that oncogenic factors activating the PI3Kinase/Akt pathway can regulate alternative splicing of Casp9 via a coordinated mechanism involving the phosphorylation of SRp30a.
PMCID: PMC3059118  PMID: 21045158
SRp30a; alternative splicing; erlotinib; Akt

Results 1-4 (4)