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1.  Integrated Genomic Characterization Reveals Novel, Therapeutically Relevant Drug Targets in FGFR and EGFR Pathways in Sporadic Intrahepatic Cholangiocarcinoma 
PLoS Genetics  2014;10(2):e1004135.
Advanced cholangiocarcinoma continues to harbor a difficult prognosis and therapeutic options have been limited. During the course of a clinical trial of whole genomic sequencing seeking druggable targets, we examined six patients with advanced cholangiocarcinoma. Integrated genome-wide and whole transcriptome sequence analyses were performed on tumors from six patients with advanced, sporadic intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (SIC) to identify potential therapeutically actionable events. Among the somatic events captured in our analysis, we uncovered two novel therapeutically relevant genomic contexts that when acted upon, resulted in preliminary evidence of anti-tumor activity. Genome-wide structural analysis of sequence data revealed recurrent translocation events involving the FGFR2 locus in three of six assessed patients. These observations and supporting evidence triggered the use of FGFR inhibitors in these patients. In one example, preliminary anti-tumor activity of pazopanib (in vitro FGFR2 IC50≈350 nM) was noted in a patient with an FGFR2-TACC3 fusion. After progression on pazopanib, the same patient also had stable disease on ponatinib, a pan-FGFR inhibitor (in vitro, FGFR2 IC50≈8 nM). In an independent non-FGFR2 translocation patient, exome and transcriptome analysis revealed an allele specific somatic nonsense mutation (E384X) in ERRFI1, a direct negative regulator of EGFR activation. Rapid and robust disease regression was noted in this ERRFI1 inactivated tumor when treated with erlotinib, an EGFR kinase inhibitor. FGFR2 fusions and ERRFI mutations may represent novel targets in sporadic intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma and trials should be characterized in larger cohorts of patients with these aberrations.
Author Summary
Cholangiocarcinoma is a cancer that affects the bile ducts. Unfortunately, many patients diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma have disease that cannot be treated with surgery or has spread to other parts of the body, thus severely limiting treatment options. New advances in drug treatment have enabled treatment of these cancers with “targeted therapy” that exploits an error in the normal functioning of a tumor cell, compared to other cells in the body, thus allowing only tumor cells to be killed by the drug. We sought to identify changes in the genetic material of cholangiocarcinoma patient tumors in order to identify potential errors in cellular functioning by utilizing cutting edge genetic sequencing technology. We identified three patient tumors possessing an FGFR2 gene that was aberrantly fused to another gene. Two of these patients were able to receive targeted therapy for FGFR2 with resulting tumor shrinkage. A fourth tumor contained an error in a gene that controls a very important cellular mechanism in cancer, termed epidermal growth factor pathway (EGFR). This patient received therapy targeting this mechanism and also demonstrated response to treatment. Thus, we have been able to utilize cutting edge technology with targeted drug treatment to personalize medical treatment for cancer in cholangiocarcinoma patients.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1004135
PMCID: PMC3923676  PMID: 24550739
2.  Folic Acid Conjugated δ-Valerolactone-Poly(ethylene glycol) Based Triblock Copolymer as a Promising Carrier for Targeted Doxorubicin Delivery 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e70697.
The aim of this study is to test the hypothesis that the newly synthesized poly(δ-valerolactone)/poly(ethylene glycol)/poly(δ-valerolactone) (VEV) copolymer grafted with folic acid would impart targetability and further enhance the anti-tumor efficacy of doxorubicin (DOX). Here, folic acid conjugated VEV (VEV-FOL) was synthesized by a modified esterification method and characterized using IR and NMR. DOX loaded VEV-FOL micelles were synthesized using a novel solvent evaporation method and were obtained with a mean diameter of 97 nm with high encapsulation efficiency and sustained in vitro release profile. Comparative studies of polymer micelles with and without folate for cellular uptake and cytotoxicity were done on folate receptor-positive breast cancer cell line, MDAMB231. The intracellular uptake tests showed significant increase in folate micellar uptake when compared to non-folate-mediated micelles. MTT assay followed by apoptosis assays clearly indicated that folate decorated micelles showed significantly better cytotoxicity (IC50 = 0.014 µM) and efficiency to induce apoptosis than other treated groups. Moreover, a significant G2/M arrest was induced by DOX loaded VEV-FOL micelles at a concentration where free drug failed to show any activity. Thus, our results show that the folic acid-labeled VEV copolymer is a promising biomaterial with controlled and sustainable tumor targeting ability for anticancer drugs which can open new frontiers in the area of targeted chemotherapy.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0070697
PMCID: PMC3749165  PMID: 23990912
3.  Impact of Library Preparation on Downstream Analysis and Interpretation of RNA-Seq Data: Comparison between Illumina PolyA and NuGEN Ovation Protocol 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e71745.
Objectives
The sequencing by the PolyA selection is the most common approach for library preparation. With limited amount or degraded RNA, alternative protocols such as the NuGEN have been developed. However, it is not yet clear how the different library preparations affect the downstream analyses of the broad applications of RNA sequencing.
Methods and Materials
Eight human mammary epithelial cell (HMEC) lines with high quality RNA were sequenced by Illumina’s mRNA-Seq PolyA selection and NuGEN ENCORE library preparation. The following analyses and comparisons were conducted: 1) the numbers of genes captured by each protocol; 2) the impact of protocols on differentially expressed gene detection between biological replicates; 3) expressed single nucleotide variant (SNV) detection; 4) non-coding RNAs, particularly lincRNA detection; and 5) intragenic gene expression.
Results
Sequences from the NuGEN protocol had lower (75%) alignment rate than the PolyA (over 90%). The NuGEN protocol detected fewer genes (12–20% less) with a significant portion of reads mapped to non-coding regions. A large number of genes were differentially detected between the two protocols. About 17–20% of the differentially expressed genes between biological replicates were commonly detected between the two protocols. Significantly higher numbers of SNVs (5–6 times) were detected in the NuGEN samples, which were largely from intragenic and intergenic regions. The NuGEN captured fewer exons (25% less) and had higher base level coverage variance. While 6.3% of reads were mapped to intragenic regions in the PolyA samples, the percentages were much higher (20–25%) for the NuGEN samples. The NuGEN protocol did not detect more known non-coding RNAs such as lincRNAs, but targeted small and “novel” lincRNAs.
Conclusion
Different library preparations can have significant impacts on downstream analysis and interpretation of RNA-seq data. The NuGEN provides an alternative for limited or degraded RNA but it has limitations for some RNA-seq applications.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0071745
PMCID: PMC3747248  PMID: 23977132
4.  Novel late-onset Alzheimer disease loci variants associate with brain gene expression 
Neurology  2012;79(3):221-228.
Objective:
Recent genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of late-onset Alzheimer disease (LOAD) identified 9 novel risk loci. Discovery of functional variants within genes at these loci is required to confirm their role in Alzheimer disease (AD). Single nucleotide polymorphisms that influence gene expression (eSNPs) constitute an important class of functional variants. We therefore investigated the influence of the novel LOAD risk loci on human brain gene expression.
Methods:
We measured gene expression levels in the cerebellum and temporal cortex of autopsied AD subjects and those with other brain pathologies (∼400 total subjects). To determine whether any of the novel LOAD risk variants are eSNPs, we tested their cis-association with expression of 6 nearby LOAD candidate genes detectable in human brain (ABCA7, BIN1, CLU, MS4A4A, MS4A6A, PICALM) and an additional 13 genes ±100 kb of these SNPs. To identify additional eSNPs that influence brain gene expression levels of the novel candidate LOAD genes, we identified SNPs ±100 kb of their location and tested for cis-associations.
Results:
CLU rs11136000 (p = 7.81 × 10−4) and MS4A4A rs2304933/rs2304935 (p = 1.48 × 10−4–1.86 × 10−4) significantly influence temporal cortex expression levels of these genes. The LOAD-protective CLU and risky MS4A4A locus alleles associate with higher brain levels of these genes. There are other cis-variants that significantly influence brain expression of CLU and ABCA7 (p = 4.01 × 10−5–9.09 × 10−9), some of which also associate with AD risk (p = 2.64 × 10−2–6.25 × 10−5).
Conclusions:
CLU and MS4A4A eSNPs may at least partly explain the LOAD risk association at these loci. CLU and ABCA7 may harbor additional strong eSNPs. These results have implications in the search for functional variants at the novel LOAD risk loci.
doi:10.1212/WNL.0b013e3182605801
PMCID: PMC3398432  PMID: 22722634
5.  Cutaneous lava migrans in the paediatric foot 
BMJ Case Reports  2010;2010:bcr1020103406.
Dermatological referrals to paediatrics are a common occurrence often with a vast range of diagnoses made prior to referral to secondary care services. The authors report a case of cutaneous lava migrans infection in an 11-year-old girl in Northern England following her return from a family holiday in Jamaica. The authors report this case to raise awareness of this diagnosis. This girl initially received treatment for alternate diagnoses, and our aim is to encourage people to think of tropical dermatoses as a diagnosis in the returning traveller of all age groups.
doi:10.1136/bcr.10.2010.3406
PMCID: PMC3029890  PMID: 22802240
6.  Homozygosity Mapping and Exome Sequencing Reveal GATAD1 Mutation in Autosomal Recessive Dilated Cardiomyopathy 
Background
Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a heritable, genetically heterogeneous disorder, typically exhibiting autosomal dominant inheritance. Genomic strategies enable discovery of novel, unsuspected molecular underpinnings of familial DCM. We performed genome-wide mapping and exome sequencing in a unique family wherein DCM segregated as an autosomal recessive (AR) trait.
Methods and Results
Echocardiography in 17 adult descendants of first cousins revealed DCM in two female siblings and idiopathic left ventricular enlargement in their brother. Genotyping and linkage analysis mapped an AR DCM locus to chromosome 7q21, which was validated and refined by high-density homozygosity mapping. Exome sequencing of the affected sisters was then employed as a complementary strategy for mutation discovery. An iterative bioinformatics process was used to filter >40,000 genetic variants, revealing a single shared homozygous missense mutation localized to the 7q21 critical region. The mutation, absent in HapMap, 1000Genomes and 474 ethnically matched controls, altered a conserved residue of GATAD1, encoding GATA zinc finger domain-containing protein 1. Thirteen relatives were heterozygous mutation-carriers with no evidence of myocardial disease, even at advanced ages. Immunohistochemistry demonstrated nuclear localization of GATAD1 in left ventricular myocytes, yet subcellular expression and nuclear morphology were aberrant in the proband.
Conclusions
Linkage analysis and exome sequencing were used as synergistic genomic strategies to identify GATAD1 as a gene for AR DCM. GATAD1 binds to a histone modification site that regulates gene expression. Consistent with murine DCM caused by genetic disruption of histone deacetylases, our data implicate an inherited basis for epigenetic dysregulation in human heart failure.
doi:10.1161/CIRCGENETICS.111.961052
PMCID: PMC3248690  PMID: 21965549
Cardiomyopathy; Genetics; Genomics; Epigenetics; Next generation sequencing
7.  Functional crosstalk in culture between macrophages and trigeminal sensory neurons of a mouse genetic model of migraine 
BMC Neuroscience  2012;13:143.
Background
Enhanced activity of trigeminal ganglion neurons is thought to underlie neuronal sensitization facilitating the onset of chronic pain attacks, including migraine. Recurrent headache attacks might establish a chronic neuroinflammatory ganglion profile contributing to the hypersensitive phenotype. Since it is difficult to study this process in vivo, we investigated functional crosstalk between macrophages and sensory neurons in primary cultures from trigeminal sensory ganglia of wild-type (WT) or knock-in (KI) mice expressing the Cacna1a gene mutation (R192Q) found in familial hemiplegic migraine-type 1. After studying the number and morphology of resident macrophages in culture, the consequences of adding host macrophages on macrophage phagocytosis and membrane currents mediated by pain-transducing P2X3 receptors on sensory neurons were examined.
Results
KI ganglion cultures constitutively contained a larger number of active macrophages, although no difference in P2X3 receptor expression was found. Co-culturing WT or KI ganglia with host macrophages (active as much as resident cells) strongly stimulated single cell phagocytosis. The same protocol had no effect on P2X3 receptor expression in WT or KI co-cultures, but it largely enhanced WT neuron currents that grew to the high amplitude constitutively seen for KI neurons. No further potentiation of KI neuronal currents was observed.
Conclusions
Trigeminal ganglion cultures from a genetic mouse model of migraine showed basal macrophage activation together with enhanced neuronal currents mediated by P2X3 receptors. This phenotype could be replicated in WT cultures by adding host macrophages, indicating an important functional crosstalk between macrophages and sensory neurons.
doi:10.1186/1471-2202-13-143
PMCID: PMC3511260  PMID: 23171280
P2X3 receptor; Purinergic receptor; Pain; Neuroinflammation; ATP; Sensitization
8.  Methacrylic-based nanogels for the pH-sensitive delivery of 5-Fluorouracil in the colon 
Methacrylic-based copolymers in drug-delivery systems demonstrate a pH-sensitive drug-releasing behavior in the colon. In this study, copolymers of methacrylic acid and 2-ethyl hexyl acrylate were prepared using a microemulsion polymerization technique. The purified copolymer was characterized by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, proton nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, and differential scanning calorimetry. 5-Fluorouracil (5-FU) was entrapped within methacrylic-based copolymers by a solvent evaporation method. The size of the nanogels formed was characterized by transmission electron microscopy and atomic force microscopy. In vitro drug-release studies using phosphate-buffered saline at different pH levels demonstrated the sustained release of 5-FU and its pH dependence. Cell proliferation assay of a human colon tumor colon cancer cell line (HCT-116) was performed and showed that the nanogels containing 5-FU exhibited considerable cytotoxicity in comparison with free 5-FU. Cell uptake of the nanogels was also monitored using confocal microscopy. Western blot analysis and flow cytometry studies confirmed that the nanogels could be successfully used as an efficient vector for pH-sensitive and controlled delivery of drugs specifically targeted to the colon.
doi:10.2147/IJN.S31201
PMCID: PMC3501955  PMID: 23172988
5-FU; methacrylic polymer; colon cancer; nanogel
9.  Brain Expression Genome-Wide Association Study (eGWAS) Identifies Human Disease-Associated Variants 
PLoS Genetics  2012;8(6):e1002707.
Genetic variants that modify brain gene expression may also influence risk for human diseases. We measured expression levels of 24,526 transcripts in brain samples from the cerebellum and temporal cortex of autopsied subjects with Alzheimer's disease (AD, cerebellar n = 197, temporal cortex n = 202) and with other brain pathologies (non–AD, cerebellar n = 177, temporal cortex n = 197). We conducted an expression genome-wide association study (eGWAS) using 213,528 cisSNPs within ±100 kb of the tested transcripts. We identified 2,980 cerebellar cisSNP/transcript level associations (2,596 unique cisSNPs) significant in both ADs and non–ADs (q<0.05, p = 7.70×10−5–1.67×10−82). Of these, 2,089 were also significant in the temporal cortex (p = 1.85×10−5–1.70×10−141). The top cerebellar cisSNPs had 2.4-fold enrichment for human disease-associated variants (p<10−6). We identified novel cisSNP/transcript associations for human disease-associated variants, including progressive supranuclear palsy SLCO1A2/rs11568563, Parkinson's disease (PD) MMRN1/rs6532197, Paget's disease OPTN/rs1561570; and we confirmed others, including PD MAPT/rs242557, systemic lupus erythematosus and ulcerative colitis IRF5/rs4728142, and type 1 diabetes mellitus RPS26/rs1701704. In our eGWAS, there was 2.9–3.3 fold enrichment (p<10−6) of significant cisSNPs with suggestive AD–risk association (p<10−3) in the Alzheimer's Disease Genetics Consortium GWAS. These results demonstrate the significant contributions of genetic factors to human brain gene expression, which are reliably detected across different brain regions and pathologies. The significant enrichment of brain cisSNPs among disease-associated variants advocates gene expression changes as a mechanism for many central nervous system (CNS) and non–CNS diseases. Combined assessment of expression and disease GWAS may provide complementary information in discovery of human disease variants with functional implications. Our findings have implications for the design and interpretation of eGWAS in general and the use of brain expression quantitative trait loci in the study of human disease genetics.
Author Summary
Genetic variants that regulate gene expression levels can also influence human disease risk. Discovery of genomic loci that alter brain gene expression levels (brain expression quantitative trait loci = eQTLs) can be instrumental in the identification of genetic risk underlying both central nervous system (CNS) and non–CNS diseases. To systematically assess the role of brain eQTLs in human disease and to evaluate the influence of brain region and pathology in eQTL mapping, we performed an expression genome-wide association study (eGWAS) in 773 brain samples from the cerebellum and temporal cortex of ∼200 autopsied subjects with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and ∼200 with other brain pathologies (non–AD). We identified ∼3,000 significant associations between cisSNPs near ∼700 genes and their cerebellar transcript levels, which replicate in ADs and non–ADs. More than 2,000 of these associations were reproducible in the temporal cortex. The top cisSNPs are enriched for both CNS and non–CNS disease-associated variants. We identified novel and confirmed previous cisSNP/transcript associations for many disease loci, suggesting gene expression regulation as their mechanism of action. These findings demonstrate the reproducibility of the eQTL approach across different brain regions and pathologies, and advocate the combined use of gene expression and disease GWAS for identification and functional characterization of human disease-associated variants.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1002707
PMCID: PMC3369937  PMID: 22685416
10.  Glutathione S-transferase omega genes in Alzheimer and Parkinson disease risk, age-at-diagnosis and brain gene expression: an association study with mechanistic implications 
Background
Glutathione S-transferase omega-1 and 2 genes (GSTO1, GSTO2), residing within an Alzheimer and Parkinson disease (AD and PD) linkage region, have diverse functions including mitigation of oxidative stress and may underlie the pathophysiology of both diseases. GSTO polymorphisms were previously reported to associate with risk and age-at-onset of these diseases, although inconsistent follow-up study designs make interpretation of results difficult. We assessed two previously reported SNPs, GSTO1 rs4925 and GSTO2 rs156697, in AD (3,493 ADs vs. 4,617 controls) and PD (678 PDs vs. 712 controls) for association with disease risk (case-controls), age-at-diagnosis (cases) and brain gene expression levels (autopsied subjects).
Results
We found that rs156697 minor allele associates with significantly increased risk (odds ratio = 1.14, p = 0.038) in the older ADs with age-at-diagnosis > 80 years. The minor allele of GSTO1 rs4925 associates with decreased risk in familial PD (odds ratio = 0.78, p = 0.034). There was no other association with disease risk or age-at-diagnosis. The minor alleles of both GSTO SNPs associate with lower brain levels of GSTO2 (p = 4.7 × 10-11-1.9 × 10-27), but not GSTO1. Pathway analysis of significant genes in our brain expression GWAS, identified significant enrichment for glutathione metabolism genes (p = 0.003).
Conclusion
These results suggest that GSTO locus variants may lower brain GSTO2 levels and consequently confer AD risk in older age. Other glutathione metabolism genes should be assessed for their effects on AD and other chronic, neurologic diseases.
doi:10.1186/1750-1326-7-13
PMCID: PMC3393625  PMID: 22494505
GSTO genes; Disease risk; Gene expression; Association
11.  Deep Sequence Analysis of Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer: Integrated Analysis of Gene Expression, Alternative Splicing, and Single Nucleotide Variations in Lung Adenocarcinomas with and without Oncogenic KRAS Mutations 
KRAS mutations are highly prevalent in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), and tumors harboring these mutations tend to be aggressive and resistant to chemotherapy. We used next-generation sequencing technology to identify pathways that are specifically altered in lung tumors harboring a KRAS mutation. Paired-end RNA-sequencing of 15 primary lung adenocarcinoma tumors (8 harboring mutant KRAS and 7 with wild-type KRAS) were performed. Sequences were mapped to the human genome, and genomic features, including differentially expressed genes, alternate splicing isoforms and single nucleotide variants, were determined for tumors with and without KRAS mutation using a variety of computational methods. Network analysis was carried out on genes showing differential expression (374 genes), alternate splicing (259 genes), and SNV-related changes (65 genes) in NSCLC tumors harboring a KRAS mutation. Genes exhibiting two or more connections from the lung adenocarcinoma network were used to carry out integrated pathway analysis. The most significant signaling pathways identified through this analysis were the NFκB, ERK1/2, and AKT pathways. A 27 gene mutant KRAS-specific sub network was extracted based on gene–gene connections from the integrated network, and interrogated for druggable targets. Our results confirm previous evidence that mutant KRAS tumors exhibit activated NFκB, ERK1/2, and AKT pathways and may be preferentially sensitive to target therapeutics toward these pathways. In addition, our analysis indicates novel, previously unappreciated links between mutant KRAS and the TNFR and PPARγ signaling pathways, suggesting that targeted PPARγ antagonists and TNFR inhibitors may be useful therapeutic strategies for treatment of mutant KRAS lung tumors. Our study is the first to integrate genomic features from RNA-Seq data from NSCLC and to define a first draft genomic landscape model that is unique to tumors with oncogenic KRAS mutations.
doi:10.3389/fonc.2012.00012
PMCID: PMC3356053  PMID: 22655260
transcriptome sequencing; RNA-Seq; KRAS mutation; NSCLC; bioinformatics; network analysis; data integration and computational methods
12.  TREAT: a bioinformatics tool for variant annotations and visualizations in targeted and exome sequencing data 
Bioinformatics  2011;28(2):277-278.
Summary: TREAT (Targeted RE-sequencing Annotation Tool) is a tool for facile navigation and mining of the variants from both targeted resequencing and whole exome sequencing. It provides a rich integration of publicly available as well as in-house developed annotations and visualizations for variants, variant-hosting genes and host-gene pathways.
Availability and implementation: TREAT is freely available to non-commercial users as either a stand-alone annotation and visualization tool, or as a comprehensive workflow integrating sequencing alignment and variant calling. The executables, instructions and the Amazon Cloud Images of TREAT can be downloaded at the website: http://ndc.mayo.edu/mayo/research/biostat/stand-alone-packages.cfm
Contact: Hossain.Asif@mayo.edu; Kocher.JeanPierre@mayo.edu
Supplementary information: Supplementary data are provided at Bioinformatics online.
doi:10.1093/bioinformatics/btr612
PMCID: PMC3259432  PMID: 22088845
13.  Evaluation of triblock copolymeric micelles of δ- valerolactone and poly (ethylene glycol) as a competent vector for doxorubicin delivery against cancer 
Background
Specific properties of amphiphilic copolymeric micelles like small size, stability, biodegradability and prolonged biodistribution have projected them as promising vectors for drug delivery. To evaluate the potential of δ-valerolactone based micelles as carriers for drug delivery, a novel triblock amphiphilic copolymer poly(δ-valerolactone)/poly(ethylene glycol)/poly(δ-valerolactone) (VEV) was synthesized and characterized using IR, NMR, GPC, DTA and TGA. To evaluate VEV as a carrier for drug delivery, doxorubicin (DOX) entrapped VEV micelles (VEVDMs) were prepared and analyzed for in vitro antitumor activity.
Results
VEV copolymer was successfully synthesized by ring opening polymerization and the stable core shell structure of VEV micelles with a low critical micelle concentration was confirmed by proton NMR and fluorescence based method. Doxorubicin entrapped micelles (VEVDMs) prepared using a modified single emulsion method were obtained with a mean diameter of 90 nm and high encapsulation efficiency showing a pH dependent sustained doxorubicin release. Biological evaluation in breast adenocarcinoma (MCF7) and glioblastoma (U87MG) cells by flow cytometry showed 2-3 folds increase in cellular uptake of VEVDMs than free DOX. Block copolymer micelles without DOX were non cytotoxic in both the cell lines. As evaluated by the IC50 values VEVDMs induced 77.8, 71.2, 81.2% more cytotoxicity in MCF7 cells and 40.8, 72.6, 76% more cytotoxicity in U87MG cells than pristine DOX after 24, 48, 72 h treatment, respectively. Moreover, VEVDMs induced enhanced apoptosis than free DOX as indicated by higher shift in Annexin V-FITC fluorescence and better intensity of cleaved PARP. Even though, further studies are required to prove the efficacy of this formulation in vivo the comparable G2/M phase arrest induced by VEVDMs at half the concentration of free DOX confirmed the better antitumor efficacy of VEVDMs in vitro.
Conclusions
Our studies clearly indicate that VEVDMs possess great therapeutic potential for long-term tumor suppression. Furthermore, our results launch VEV as a promising nanocarrier for an effective controlled drug delivery in cancer chemotherapy.
doi:10.1186/1477-3155-9-42
PMCID: PMC3213063  PMID: 21943300
15.  Drug-induced Senescence Generates Chemoresistant Stemlike Cells with Low Reactive Oxygen Species* 
The Journal of Biological Chemistry  2011;286(43):37813-37829.
Background: Tumor stem cells contribute to tumor recurrence after chemotherapy.
Results: Reactivation of antioxidant enzymes through Nrf2-p21 signaling contributes to stem cell enrichment.
Conclusion: Nrf2 stabilization through reduced 26 S proteasome activity generates cells with tumor stem cell-like properties.
Significance: Nrf2, 26 S proteasome, and p21 are the key players in the emergence of drug-resistant tumor stem cells after chemotherapy.
Tumor recurrence after chemotherapy or radiation remains a major obstacle to successful cancer treatment. A subset of cancer cells, termed cancer stem cells, can elude conventional treatments and eventually regenerate a tumor that is more aggressive. Despite the large number of studies, molecular events that govern the emergence of aggressive therapy-resistant cells with stem cell properties after chemotherapy are poorly defined. The present study provides evidence for the rare escape of tumor cells from drug-induced cell death, after an intermediate stay in a non-cycling senescent stage followed by unstable multiplication characterized by spontaneous cell death. However, some cells appear to escape and generate stable colonies with an aggressive tumor stem cell-like phenotype. These cells displayed higher CD133 and Oct-4 expression. Notably, the drug-selected cells that contained low levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) also showed an increase in antioxidant enzymes. Consistent with this in vitro experimental data, we observed lower levels of ROS in breast tumors obtained after neoadjuvant chemotherapy compared with samples that did not receive preoperative chemotherapy. These latter tissues also expressed enhanced levels of ROS defenses with enhanced expression of superoxide dismutase. Higher levels of Oct-4 and CD133 were also observed in tumors obtained after neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Further studies provided evidence for the stabilization of Nrf2 due to reduced 26 S proteasome activity and increased p21 association as the driving signaling event that contributes to the transition from a high ROS quiescent state to a low ROS proliferating stage in drug-induced tumor stem cell enrichment.
doi:10.1074/jbc.M110.200675
PMCID: PMC3199523  PMID: 21878644
ABC Transporter; Anticancer Drug; Apoptosis; Cancer Therapy; Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS); Stem Cells; Senescence; Tumor Stem Cells
16.  Biological evaluation of 5-fluorouracil nanoparticles for cancer chemotherapy and its dependence on the carrier, PLGA 
Nanoscaled devices have great potential for drug delivery applications due to their small size. In the present study, we report for the first time the preparation and evaluation of antitumor efficacy of 5-fluorouracil (5-FU)-entrapped poly (D, L-lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) nanoparticles with dependence on the lactide/glycolide combination of PLGA. 5-FU-loaded PLGA nanoparticles with two different monomer combinations, 50-50 and 90-10 were synthesized using a modified double emulsion method, and their biological evaluation was done in glioma (U87MG) and breast adenocarcinoma (MCF7) cell lines. 5-FU-entrapped PLGA 50-50 nanoparticles showed smaller size with a high encapsulation efficiency of 66%, which was equivalent to that of PLGA 90-10 nanoparticles. Physicochemical characterization of nanoparticles using differential scanning calorimetry and X-ray diffraction suggested the presence of 5-FU in molecular dispersion form. In vitro release studies showed the prolonged and sustained release of 5-FU from nanoparticles with both the PLGA combinations, where PLGA 50-50 nanoparticles showed faster release. Nanoparticles with PLGA 50-50 combination exhibited better cytotoxicity than free drug in a dose- and time-dependent manner against both the tumor cell lines. The enhanced efficiency of PLGA 50-50 nanoparticles to induce apoptosis was indicated by acridine orange/ethidium bromide staining. Cell cycle perturbations studied using flow cytometer showed better S-phase arrest by nanoparticles in comparison with free 5-FU. All the results indicate that PLGA 50-50 nanoparticles possess better antitumor efficacy than PLGA 90-10 nanoparticles and free 5-FU. Since, studies have shown that long-term exposure of ailing tissues to moderate drug concentrations is more favorable than regular administration of higher concentration of the drug; our results clearly indicate the potential of 5-FU-loaded PLGA nanoparticles with dependence on carrier combination as controlled release formulation to multiplex the therapeutic effect of cancer chemotherapy.
doi:10.2147/IJN.S20165
PMCID: PMC3184929  PMID: 21980233
5-FU; poly (D, L-lactic-co-glycolic acid); controlled release
17.  Prognostic significance of STAT3 and phosphorylated STAT3 in human soft tissue tumors - a clinicopathological analysis 
Background
Signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) is a key signaling molecule and a central cytoplasmic transcription factor, implicated in the regulation of growth. Its aberrant activation has been demonstrated to correlate with many types of human malignancy. However, whether constitutive STAT3 signaling plays a key role in the survival and growth of soft-tissue tumors is still unclear and hence needs to be elucidated further. In our study we examined the expression levels of STAT3 and pSTAT3 in different grades of soft tissue tumors and correlated with its clinicopathological characteristics.
Methods
Expression levels of STAT3 and pSTAT3 in soft tissue tumors were studied using Immunohistochemistry, Western blotting and Reverse transcriptase- PCR and correlated with its clinicopathological characteristics using Chi squared or Fisher's exact test and by logistic regression analysis. Statistical analysis was done using Intercooled Stata software (Intercooled Stata 8.2 version).
Results
Of the 82 soft tissue tumor samples, fifty four (65.8%) showed immunoreactivity for STAT3 and twenty eight (34.1%) for pSTAT3. Expression of STAT3 and pSTAT3 was significantly associated with tumor grade (P < 0.001; P < 0.001), tumor location (P = 0.025; P = 0.027), plane of tumor (P = 0.011; P = 0.006), and tumor necrosis (P = 0.001; P = 0.002). Western blotting and RT-PCR analysis showed increased expression of STAT3 and p-STAT3 as grade of malignancy increased.
Conclusion
These findings suggest that constitutive activation of STAT3 is an important factor related to carcinogenesis of human soft tissue tumors and is significantly associated with its clinicopathological parameters which may possibly have potential diagnostic implications.
doi:10.1186/1756-9966-30-56
PMCID: PMC3105950  PMID: 21575192
STAT3; pSTAT3; Soft tissue tumors
18.  Familial hemiplegic migraine CaV2.1 channel mutation R192Q enhances ATP-gated P2X3 receptor activity of mouse sensory ganglion neurons mediating trigeminal pain 
Molecular Pain  2010;6:48.
Background
The R192Q mutation of the CACNA1A gene, encoding for the α1 subunit of voltage-gated P/Q Ca2+ channels (Cav2.1), is associated with familial hemiplegic migraine-1. We investigated whether this gain-of-function mutation changed the structure and function of trigeminal neuron P2X3 receptors that are thought to be important contributors to migraine pain.
Results
Using in vitro trigeminal sensory neurons of a mouse genetic model knockin for the CACNA1A R192Q mutation, we performed patch clamp recording and intracellular Ca2+ imaging that showed how these knockin ganglion neurons generated P2X3 receptor-mediated responses significantly larger than wt neurons. These enhanced effects were reversed by the Cav2.1 blocker ω-agatoxin. We, thus, explored intracellular signalling dependent on kinases and phosphatases to understand the molecular regulation of P2X3 receptors of knockin neurons. In such cells we observed strong activation of CaMKII reversed by ω-agatoxin treatment. The CaMKII inhibitor KN-93 blocked CaMKII phosphorylation and the hyperesponsive P2X3 phenotype. Although no significant difference in membrane expression of knockin receptors was found, serine phosphorylation of knockin P2X3 receptors was constitutively decreased and restored by KN-93. No change in threonine or tyrosine phosphorylation was detected. Finally, pharmacological inhibitors of the phosphatase calcineurin normalized the enhanced P2X3 receptor responses of knockin neurons and increased their serine phosphorylation.
Conclusions
The present results suggest that the CACNA1A mutation conferred a novel molecular phenotype to P2X3 receptors of trigeminal ganglion neurons via CaMKII-dependent activation of calcineurin that selectively impaired the serine phosphorylation state of such receptors, thus potentiating their effects in transducing trigeminal nociception.
doi:10.1186/1744-8069-6-48
PMCID: PMC2940876  PMID: 20735819
19.  Boswellic Acid Blocks STAT3 Signaling, Proliferation, and Survival of Multiple Myeloma via the Protein Tyrosine Phosphatase SHP-1 
Molecular cancer research : MCR  2009;7(1):118-128.
Activation of signal transducers and activators of transcription (STAT)-3 factors has been linked with survival, proliferation, chemoresistance and angiogenesis of tumor cells, including human multiple myeloma (MM). Thus agents that can suppress STAT3 activation have potential as cancer therapeutics. In our search for such agents, we identified acetyl-11-keto-β-boswellic acid (AKBA), originally isolated from Boswellia serrata. Our results show that AKBA inhibited constitutive STAT3 activation in human MM cells. AKBA suppressed IL-6-induced STAT3 activation, and the inhibition was reversible. The phosphorylation of both Jak 2 and Src, constituents of the STAT3 pathway, was inhibited by AKBA. Interestingly, treatment of cells with pervanadate suppressed AKBA’s effect to inhibit the phosphorylation of STAT3, thus suggesting the involvement of a protein tyrosine phosphatase. We found that AKBA induced Src homology region 2 domain-containing phosphatase 1 (SHP-1), which may account for its role in dephosphorylation of STAT3. Moreover, deletion of SHP-1 gene by SiRNA abolished the ability of AKBA to inhibit STAT3 activation. The inhibition of STAT3 activation by AKBA led to the suppression of gene products involved in proliferation (cyclin D1), survival (Bcl-2, Bcl-xL and Mcl-1), and angiogenesis (VEGF). This affect correlated with the inhibition of proliferation and apoptosis in MM cells. Consistent with these results, overexpression of constitutive active STAT3 significantly reduced the AKBA induced apoptosis. Overall, our results suggest that AKBA is a novel inhibitor of STAT3 activation and has potential in the treatment of cancer.
doi:10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-08-0154
PMCID: PMC2677182  PMID: 19147543
Acetyl-11-Keto-{beta}-Boswellic Acid; STAT3; c-Src; JAK2; SHP-1; Apoptosis
20.  Cyclosporin A Promotes Translational Silencing of Autocrine Interleukin-3 via Ribosome-Associated Deadenylation 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  1999;19(1):889-898.
Translation is regulated predominantly by an interplay between cis elements at the 3′ and 5′ ends of mRNAs and trans-acting proteins. Cyclosporin A (CsA), a calcineurin antagonist and blocker of interleukin-2 (IL-2) transcription in T cells, was found to inhibit translation of IL-3 mRNA in autocrine mast cell tumor lines. The mechanism involved ribosome-associated poly(A) shortening and required an intact AU-rich element in the 3′ untranslated region. FK506, another calcineurin inhibitor, shared the effect. The translational inhibition by CsA was specific to oncogenically induced lymphokines IL-3 and IL-4 but not to IL-6, c-jun, and c-myc, which are expressed in the nonmalignant precursor cells. Furthermore, no translational down-regulation of the mRNA was observed in IL-3-transfected precursor cells. These data suggest that translational silencing is associated with the tumor phenotype.
PMCID: PMC83946  PMID: 9858612

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