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1.  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
2.  Central chondrosarcoma progression is associated with pRb pathway alterations: CDK4 down-regulation and p16 overexpression inhibit cell growth in vitro 
Chondrosarcomas are highly resistant to conventional radiation and chemotherapy, and surgical removal is the only option for curative treatment. Consequently, there is nothing to offer patients with inoperable tumours and metastatic disease. The aim of this study is to investigate genes involved in cell cycle control: CDK4, CDKN2A/p16, cyclin D1, p21, p53, MDM2 and c-MYC, which may point towards new therapeutic strategies. The pRb pathway was targeted using CDKN2A/p16 overexpressing vectors and shRNA against CDK4 in chondrosarcoma cell lines OUMS27, SW1353, and CH2879. Cell survival and proliferation were assessed. CDK4, MDM2 and c-MYC expression levels were investigated by qPCR and immunohistochemistry (IHC) in 34 fresh frozen and 90 FFPE samples of enchondroma and chondrosarcoma patients. On a subset of 29 high-grade chondrosarcomas IHC for cyclin D1, p21 and p53 was performed. The overexpression of CDKN2A/p16 and knockdown of CDK4 by shRNA in OUMS27, SW1353 and CH2879 resulted in a significant decrease in cell viability and proliferation and a decreased ability to form colonies in vitro. Expression of CDK4 and MDM2 was associated with high-grade chondrosarcoma both at the mRNA and protein level. Combining these results with the expression of cyclin D1 and the previously shown loss of CDKN2A/p16 expression show that the majority (96%; 28/29) of high-grade chondrosarcomas contain alterations in the pRb pathway. This suggests a role for the use of CDK4 inhibitors as a treatment of metastatic or inoperable high-grade chondrosarcoma.
PMCID: PMC4498940  PMID: 18624751
chondrosarcoma; bone tumour; cell cycle; pRb-pathway; shRNA
3.  Differential Roles of ATM- and Chk2-Mediated Phosphorylations of Hdmx in Response to DNA Damage†  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2006;26(18):6819-6831.
The p53 tumor suppressor plays a major role in maintaining genomic stability. Its activation and stabilization in response to double strand breaks (DSBs) in DNA are regulated primarily by the ATM protein kinase. ATM mediates several posttranslational modifications on p53 itself, as well as phosphorylation of p53's essential inhibitors, Hdm2 and Hdmx. Recently we showed that ATM- and Hdm2-dependent ubiquitination and subsequent degradation of Hdmx following DSB induction are mediated by phosphorylation of Hdmx on S403, S367, and S342, with S403 being targeted directly by ATM. Here we show that S367 phosphorylation is mediated by the Chk2 protein kinase, a downstream kinase of ATM. This phosphorylation, which is important for subsequent Hdmx ubiquitination and degradation, creates a binding site for 14-3-3 proteins which controls nuclear accumulation of Hdmx following DSBs. Phosphorylation of S342 also contributed to optimal 14-3-3 interaction and nuclear accumulation of Hdmx, but phosphorylation of S403 did not. Our data indicate that binding of a 14-3-3 dimer and subsequent nuclear accumulation are essential steps toward degradation of p53's inhibitor, Hdmx, in response to DNA damage. These results demonstrate a sophisticated control by ATM of a target protein, Hdmx, which itself is one of several ATM targets in the ATM-p53 axis of the DNA damage response.
PMCID: PMC1592859  PMID: 16943424
4.  Interaction of Huntington Disease Protein with Transcriptional Activator Sp1 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2002;22(5):1277-1287.
Polyglutamine expansion causes Huntington disease (HD) and at least seven other neurodegenerative diseases. In HD, N-terminal fragments of huntingtin with an expanded glutamine tract are able to aggregate and accumulate in the nucleus. Although intranuclear huntingtin affects the expression of numerous genes, the mechanism of this nuclear effect is unknown. Here we report that huntingtin interacts with Sp1, a transcription factor that binds to GC-rich elements in certain promoters and activates transcription of the corresponding genes. In vitro binding and immunoprecipitation assays show that polyglutamine expansion enhances the interaction of N-terminal huntingtin with Sp1. In HD transgenic mice (R6/2) that express N-terminal-mutant huntingtin, Sp1 binds to the soluble form of mutant huntingtin but not to aggregated huntingtin. Mutant huntingtin inhibits the binding of nuclear Sp1 to the promoter of nerve growth factor receptor and suppresses its transcriptional activity in cultured cells. Overexpression of Sp1 reduces the cellular toxicity and neuritic extension defects caused by intranuclear mutant huntingtin. These findings suggest that the soluble form of mutant huntingtin in the nucleus may cause cellular dysfunction by binding to Sp1 and thus reducing the expression of Sp1-regulated genes.
PMCID: PMC134707  PMID: 11839795

Results 1-4 (4)