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1.  Immunosurveillance against tetraploidization-induced colon tumorigenesis 
Cell Cycle  2013;12(3):473-479.
Circumstantial evidence suggests that colon carcinogenesis can ensue the transient tetraploidization of (pre-)malignant cells. In line with this notion, the tumor suppressors APC and TP53, both of which are frequently inactivated in colon cancer, inhibit tetraploidization in vitro and in vivo. Here, we show that—contrarily to their wild-type counterparts—Tp53−/− colonocytes are susceptible to drug-induced or spontaneous tetraploidization in vitro. Colon organoids generated from tetraploid Tp53−/− cells exhibit a close-to-normal morphology as compared to their diploid Tp53−/− counterparts, yet the colonocytes constituting these organoids are characterized by an increased cell size and an elevated expression of the immunostimulatory protein calreticulin on the cell surface. The subcutaneous injection of tetraploid Tp53−/− colon organoids led to the generation of proliferating tumors in immunodeficient, but not immunocompetent, mice. Thus, tetraploid Tp53−/− colonocytes fail to survive in immunocompetent mice and develop neoplastic lesions in immunocompromised settings only. These results suggest that tetraploidy is particularly oncogenic in the context of deficient immunosurveillance.
doi:10.4161/cc.23369
PMCID: PMC3587448  PMID: 23324343
apoptosis; cell cycle; cytochalasin D; mitotic catastrophe; nocodazole; p53
3.  Extracellular ATP acts on P2Y2 purinergic receptors to facilitate HIV-1 infection 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2011;208(9):1823-1834.
Contact with HIV-1 envelope protein elicits release of ATP through pannexin-1 channels on target cells; by activating purinergic receptors and Pyk2 kinase in target cells, this extracellular ATP boosts HIV-1 infectivity.
Extracellular adenosine triphosphate (ATP) can activate purinergic receptors of the plasma membrane and modulate multiple cellular functions. We report that ATP is released from HIV-1 target cells through pannexin-1 channels upon interaction between the HIV-1 envelope protein and specific target cell receptors. Extracellular ATP then acts on purinergic receptors, including P2Y2, to activate proline-rich tyrosine kinase 2 (Pyk2) kinase and transient plasma membrane depolarization, which in turn stimulate fusion between Env-expressing membranes and membranes containing CD4 plus appropriate chemokine co-receptors. Inhibition of any of the constituents of this cascade (pannexin-1, ATP, P2Y2, and Pyk2) impairs the replication of HIV-1 mutant viruses that are resistant to conventional antiretroviral agents. Altogether, our results reveal a novel signaling pathway involved in the early steps of HIV-1 infection that may be targeted with new therapeutic approaches.
doi:10.1084/jem.20101805
PMCID: PMC3171090  PMID: 21859844
4.  Radiation and inhibition of angiogenesis by canstatin synergize to induce HIF-1α–mediated tumor apoptotic switch 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  2007;117(7):1844-1855.
Tumor radioresponsiveness depends on endothelial cell death, which leads in turn to tumor hypoxia. Radiation-induced hypoxia was recently shown to trigger tumor radioresistance by activating angiogenesis through hypoxia-inducible factor 1–regulated (HIF-1–regulated) cytokines. We show here that combining targeted radioiodide therapy with angiogenic inhibitors, such as canstatin, enhances direct tumor cell apoptosis, thereby overcoming radio-induced HIF-1–dependent tumor survival pathways in vitro and in vivo. We found that following dual therapy, HIF-1α increases the activity of the canstatin-induced αvβ5 signaling tumor apoptotic pathway and concomitantly abrogates mitotic checkpoint and tetraploidy triggered by radiation. Apoptosis in conjunction with mitotic catastrophe leads to lethal tumor damage. We discovered that HIF-1 displays a radiosensitizing activity that is highly dependent on treatment modalities by regulating key apoptotic molecular pathways. Our findings therefore support a crucial role for angiogenesis inhibitors in shifting the fate of radiation-induced HIF-1α activity from hypoxia-induced tumor radioresistance to hypoxia-induced tumor apoptosis. This study provides a basis for developing new biology-based clinically relevant strategies to improve the efficacy of radiation oncology, using HIF-1 as an ally for cancer therapy.
doi:10.1172/JCI30269
PMCID: PMC1884687  PMID: 17557121
5.  Caspase-dependent immunogenicity of doxorubicin-induced tumor cell death 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2005;202(12):1691-1701.
Systemic anticancer chemotherapy is immunosuppressive and mostly induces nonimmunogenic tumor cell death. Here, we show that even in the absence of any adjuvant, tumor cells dying in response to anthracyclins can elicit an effective antitumor immune response that suppresses the growth of inoculated tumors or leads to the regression of established neoplasia. Although both antracyclins and mitomycin C induced apoptosis with caspase activation, only anthracyclin-induced immunogenic cell death was immunogenic. Caspase inhibition by Z-VAD-fmk or transfection with the baculovirus inhibitor p35 did not inhibit doxorubicin (DX)-induced cell death, yet suppressed the immunogenicity of dying tumor cells in several rodent models of neoplasia. Depletion of dendritic cells (DCs) or CD8+T cells abolished the immune response against DX-treated apoptotic tumor cells in vivo. Caspase inhibition suppressed the capacity of DX-killed cells to be phagocytosed by DCs, yet had no effect on their capacity to elicit DC maturation. Freshly excised tumors became immunogenic upon DX treatment in vitro, and intratumoral inoculation of DX could trigger the regression of established tumors in immunocompetent mice. These results delineate a procedure for the generation of cancer vaccines and the stimulation of anti-neoplastic immune responses in vivo.
doi:10.1084/jem.20050915
PMCID: PMC2212968  PMID: 16365148
6.  Inhibition of Macroautophagy Triggers Apoptosis† 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2005;25(3):1025-1040.
Mammalian cells were observed to die under conditions in which nutrients were depleted and, simultaneously, macroautophagy was inhibited either genetically (by a small interfering RNA targeting Atg5, Atg6/Beclin 1-1, Atg10, or Atg12) or pharmacologically (by 3-methyladenine, hydroxychloroquine, bafilomycin A1, or monensin). Cell death occurred through apoptosis (type 1 cell death), since it was reduced by stabilization of mitochondrial membranes (with Bcl-2 or vMIA, a cytomegalovirus-derived gene) or by caspase inhibition. Under conditions in which the fusion between lysosomes and autophagosomes was inhibited, the formation of autophagic vacuoles was enhanced at a preapoptotic stage, as indicated by accumulation of LC3-II protein, ultrastructural studies, and an increase in the acidic vacuolar compartment. Cells exhibiting a morphology reminiscent of (autophagic) type 2 cell death, however, recovered, and only cells with a disrupted mitochondrial transmembrane potential were beyond the point of no return and inexorably died even under optimal culture conditions. All together, these data indicate that autophagy may be cytoprotective, at least under conditions of nutrient depletion, and point to an important cross talk between type 1 and type 2 cell death pathways.
doi:10.1128/MCB.25.3.1025-1040.2005
PMCID: PMC543994  PMID: 15657430
7.  Human Immunodeficiency Virus 1 Envelope Glycoprotein Complex-Induced Apoptosis Involves Mammalian Target of Rapamycin/Fkbp12-Rapamycin–Associated Protein–Mediated P53 Phosphorylation 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2001;194(8):1097-1110.
Syncytia arising from the fusion of cells expressing a lymphotropic human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1–encoded envelope glycoprotein complex (Env) gene with cells expressing the CD4/CXCR4 complex undergo apoptosis through a mitochondrion-controlled pathway initiated by the upregulation of Bax. In syncytial apoptosis, phosphorylation of p53 on serine 15 (p53S15) precedes Bax upregulation, the apoptosis-linked conformational change of Bax, the insertion of Bax in mitochondrial membranes, subsequent release of cytochrome c, caspase activation, and apoptosis. p53S15 phosphorylation also occurs in vivo, in HIV-1+ donors, where it can be detected in preapoptotic and apoptotic syncytia in lymph nodes, as well as in peripheral blood mononuclear cells, correlating with viral load. Syncytium-induced p53S15 phosphorylation is mediated by the upregulation/activation of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), also called FKBP12-rapamycin-associated protein (FRAP), which coimmunoprecipitates with p53. Inhibition of mTOR/FRAP by rapamycin reduces apoptosis in several paradigms of syncytium-dependent death, including in primary CD4+ lymphoblasts infected by HIV-1. Concomitantly, rapamycin inhibits p53S15 phosphorylation, mitochondrial translocation of Bax, loss of the mitochondrial transmembrane potential, mitochondrial release of cytochrome c, and nuclear chromatin condensation. Transfection with dominant negative p53 has a similar antiapoptotic action as rapamycin, upstream of the Bax upregulation/translocation. In summary, we demonstrate that phosphorylation of p53S15 by mTOR/FRAP plays a critical role in syncytial apoptosis driven by HIV-1 Env.
PMCID: PMC2193513  PMID: 11602639
cell death; envelope glycoprotein complex; human immunodeficiency virus; mitochondria; rapamycin
8.  Control of Mitochondrial Membrane Permeabilization by Adenine Nucleotide Translocator Interacting with HIV-1 Viral Protein R and Bcl-2 
Viral protein R (Vpr), an apoptogenic accessory protein encoded by HIV-1, induces mitochondrial membrane permeabilization (MMP) via a specific interaction with the permeability transition pore complex, which comprises the voltage-dependent anion channel (VDAC) in the outer membrane (OM) and the adenine nucleotide translocator (ANT) in the inner membrane. Here, we demonstrate that a synthetic Vpr-derived peptide (Vpr52-96) specifically binds to the intermembrane face of the ANT with an affinity in the nanomolar range. Taking advantage of this specific interaction, we determined the role of ANT in the control of MMP. In planar lipid bilayers, Vpr52-96 and purified ANT cooperatively form large conductance channels. This cooperative channel formation relies on a direct protein–protein interaction since it is abolished by the addition of a peptide corresponding to the Vpr binding site of ANT. When added to isolated mitochondria, Vpr52-96 uncouples the respiratory chain and induces a rapid inner MMP to protons and NADH. This inner MMP precedes outer MMP to cytochrome c. Vpr52-96–induced matrix swelling and inner MMP both are prevented by preincubation of purified mitochondria with recombinant Bcl-2 protein. In contrast to König's polyanion (PA10), a specific inhibitor of the VDAC, Bcl-2 fails to prevent Vpr52-96 from crossing the mitochondrial OM. Rather, Bcl-2 reduces the ANT–Vpr interaction, as determined by affinity purification and plasmon resonance studies. Concomitantly, Bcl-2 suppresses channel formation by the ANT–Vpr complex in synthetic membranes. In conclusion, both Vpr and Bcl-2 modulate MMP through a direct interaction with ANT.
PMCID: PMC2195906  PMID: 11181702
ADP/ATP translocase; HIV; Vpr; mitochondria; Bcl-2

Results 1-8 (8)