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1.  Essential Role of the Linear Ubiquitin Chain Assembly Complex in Lymphoma Revealed by Rare Germline Polymorphisms 
Cancer discovery  2014;4(4):480-493.
Constitutive activation of NF-κB is a hallmark of the activated B cell-like (ABC) subtype of diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL), owing to upstream signals from the B cell receptor (BCR) and MyD88 pathways. The linear polyubiquitin chain assembly complex (LUBAC) attaches linear polyubiquitin chains to IκB kinase γ, a necessary event in some pathways that engage NF-κB. Two germ line polymorphisms affecting the LUBAC subunit RNF31 are rare among healthy individuals (~1%) but enriched in ABC DLBCL (7.8%). These polymorphisms alter RNF31 α helices that mediate binding to the LUBAC subunit RBCK1, thereby increasing RNF31-RBCK1 association, LUBAC enzymatic activity, and NF-κB engagement. In the BCR pathway, LUBAC associates with the CARD11/MALT1/BCL10 adapter complex and is required for ABC DLBCL viability. A stapled RNF31 α-helical peptide based on the ABC DLBCL-associated Q622L polymorphism inhibited RFN31-RBCK1 binding, decreased NF-κB and killed ABC DLBCL cells, credentialing this protein-protein interface as a therapeutic target.
doi:10.1158/2159-8290.CD-13-0915
PMCID: PMC3992927  PMID: 24491438
2.  MDM4 is a key therapeutic target in cutaneous melanoma 
Nature medicine  2012;18(8):10.1038/nm.2863.
The inactivation of the p53 tumor suppressor pathway, which often occurs through mutations in TP53 (encoding tumor protein 53) is a common step in human cancer. However, in melanoma—a highly chemotherapy-resistant disease—TP53 mutations are rare, raising the possibility that this cancer uses alternative ways to overcome p53-mediated tumor suppression. Here we show that Mdm4 p53 binding protein homolog (MDM4), a negative regulator of p53, is upregulated in a substantial proportion (∼65%) of stage I–IV human melanomas and that melanocyte-specific Mdm4 overexpression enhanced tumorigenesis in a mouse model of melanoma induced by the oncogene Nras. MDM4 promotes the survival of human metastatic melanoma by antagonizing p53 proapoptotic function. Notably, inhibition of the MDM4-p53 interaction restored p53 function in melanoma cells, resulting in increased sensitivity to cytotoxic chemotherapy and to inhibitors of the BRAF (V600E) oncogene. Our results identify MDM4 as a key determinant of impaired p53 function in human melanoma and designate MDM4 as a promising target for antimelanoma combination therapy.
doi:10.1038/nm.2863
PMCID: PMC3744207  PMID: 22820643
3.  High levels of Hdmx promote cell growth in a subset of uveal melanomas 
The p53 tumor suppressor pathway is inactivated in cancer either via direct mutation or via deregulation of upstream regulators or downstream effectors. P53 mutations are rare in uveal melanoma. Here we investigated the role of the p53 inhibitor Hdmx in uveal melanoma. We found Hdmx over-expression in a subset of uveal melanoma cell lines and fresh-frozen tumor samples. Hdmx depletion resulted in cell-line dependent growth inhibition, apparently correlating with differential Hdm2 levels. Surprisingly, p53 knockdown hardly rescued cell cycle arrest and apoptosis induction upon Hdmx knockdown, whereas it effectively prevented growth suppression induced by the potent p53 activator Nutlin-3. In addition, two compounds inhibiting Hdmx function or expression, SAH-p53-8 and XI-011, also elicited a growth inhibitory effect in a partly p53-independent manner. These findings suggest a novel, growth-promoting function of Hdmx that does not rely on its ability to inhibit p53. We provide evidence for a contribution of p27 protein induction to the observed p53-independent G1 arrest in response to Hdmx knockdown. In conclusion, our study establishes the importance of Hdmx as an oncogene in a subset of uveal melanomas and widens the spectrum of its function beyond p53 inhibition.
PMCID: PMC3433101  PMID: 22957303
Uveal melanoma; Hdmx; p53; Nutlin-3; p27; SAH-p53-8; XI-011; retinoblastoma
4.  A Stapled p53 Helix Overcomes HDMX-Mediated Suppression of p53 
Cancer cell  2010;18(5):411-422.
Summary
Cancer cells neutralize p53 by deletion, mutation, proteasomal degradation, or sequestration to achieve a pathologic survival advantage. Targeting the E3 ubiquitin ligase HDM2 can lead to a therapeutic surge in p53 levels. However, the efficacy of HDM2 inhibition can be compromised by overexpression of HDMX, an HDM2 homologue that binds and sequesters p53. Here we report that a stapled p53 helix preferentially targets HDMX, blocks the formation of inhibitory p53-HDMX complexes, induces p53-dependent transcriptional upregulation, and thereby overcomes HDMX-mediated cancer resistance in vitro and in vivo. Importantly, our analysis of p53 interaction dynamics provides a blueprint for reactivating the p53 pathway in cancer by matching HDM2, HDMX, or dual inhibitors to the appropriate cellular context.
doi:10.1016/j.ccr.2010.10.024
PMCID: PMC3050021  PMID: 21075307

Results 1-4 (4)