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1.  RNA-Dependent Protein Kinase Is Essential for 2-Methoxyestradiol-Induced Autophagy in Osteosarcoma Cells 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e59406.
Osteosarcoma is the most common primary malignant bone tumor in children and young adults. Surgical resection and adjunctive chemotherapy are the only widely available options of treatment for this disease. Anti-tumor compound 2-Methoxyestradiol (2-ME) triggers cell death through the induction of apoptosis in osteosarcoma cells, but not in normal osteoblasts. In this report, we have investigated whether autophagy plays a role in 2-ME actions on osteosarcoma cells. Transmission electron microscopy imaging shows that 2-ME treatment leads to the accumulation of autophagosomes in human osteosarcoma cells. 2-ME induces the conversion of the microtubule-associated protein LC3-I to LC3-II, a biochemical marker of autophagy that is correlated with the formation of autophagosomes. Conversion to LC3-II is accompanied by protein degradation in 2-ME-treated cells. 2-ME does not induce autophagosome formation in normal primary human osteoblasts. In addition, 2-ME-dependent autophagosome formation in osteosarcoma cells requires ATG7 expression. Furthermore, 2-ME does not induce accumulation of autophagosomes in osteosarcoma cells that express dominant negative mutant RNA-dependent protein kinase (PKR) and are resistant to anti-proliferative and anti-tumor effects of 2-ME. Taken together, our study shows that 2-ME treatment induces PKR-dependent autophagy in osteosarcoma cells, and that autophagy could play an important role in 2-ME-mediated anti-tumor actions and in the control of osteosarcoma.
PMCID: PMC3602192  PMID: 23527187
2.  Regulation of interferon pathway in 2-methoxyestradiol-treated osteosarcoma cells 
BMC Cancer  2012;12:93.
Osteosarcoma is a bone tumor that often affects children and young adults. Although a combination of surgery and chemotherapy has improved the survival rate in the past decades, local recurrence and metastases still develop in 40% of patients. A definite therapy is yet to be determined for osteosarcoma. Anti- tumor compound and a metabolite of estrogen, 2-methoxyestradiol (2-ME) induces cell death in osteosarcoma cells. In this report, we have investigated whether interferon (IFN) pathway is involved in 2-ME-induced anti-tumor effects in osteosarcoma cells.
2-ME effects on IFN mRNA levels were determined by Real time PCR analysis. Transient transfections followed by reporter assays were used for investigating 2-ME effects on IFN-pathway. Western blot analyses were used to measure protein and phosphorylation levels of IFN-regulated eukaryotic initiation factor-2 alpha (eIF-2α).
2-ME regulates IFN and IFN-mediated effects in osteosarcoma cells. 2 -ME induces IFN gene activity and expression in osteosarcoma cells. 2-ME treatment induced IFN-stimulated response element (ISRE) sequence-dependent transcription and gamma-activated sequence (GAS)-dependent transcription in several osteosarcoma cells. Whereas, 2-ME did not affect IFN gene and IFN pathways in normal primary human osteoblasts (HOB). 2-ME treatment increased the phosphorylation of eIF-2α in osteosarcoma cells. Furthermore, analysis of osteosarcoma tissues shows that the levels of phosphorylated form of eIF-2α are decreased in tumor compared to normal controls.
2-ME treatment triggers the induction and activity of IFN and IFN pathway genes in 2-ME-sensitive osteosarcoma tumor cells but not in 2-ME-resistant normal osteoblasts. In addition, IFN-signaling is inhibited in osteosarcoma patients. Thus, IFN pathways play a role in osteosarcoma and in 2-ME-mediated anti-proliferative effects, and therefore targeted induction of IFN signaling could lead to effective treatment strategies in the control of osteosarcoma.
PMCID: PMC3414746  PMID: 22429849
2-Methoxyestradiol; osteosarcoma; Interferon; ISRE; GAS
3.  2-Methoxyestradiol-induced Cell Death in Osteosarcoma Cells is Preceded by Cell Cycle Arrest 
2-Methoxyestradiol (2-ME), a naturally occurring mammalian metabolite of 17β-Estradiol (E2), induces cell death in osteosarcoma cells. To further understand the molecular mechanisms of action, we have investigated cell cycle progression in 2-ME-treated human osteosarcoma (MG63, SaOS-2 and LM8) cells. At 5 μM, 2-ME induced growth arrest by inducing a block in cell cycle; 2-ME-treatment resulted in 2-fold increases in G1 phase cells and a decrease in S phase cells in MG63 and SaOS-2 osteosarcoma cell lines, compared to the appropriate vehicle controls. 2-ME-treatment induced a 3-fold increase in the G2 phase in LM8 osteosarcoma cells. The results demonstrated steroid specificity, as the tumorigenic metabolite, 16α-hydroxyestradiol (16-OHE), did not have any effect on cell cycle progression in osteosarcoma cells. The cell cycle arrest coincided with an increase in expression of the cell cycle markers p21, p27 and p53 proteins in 2-ME-treated osteosarcoma cells. Also, MG63 cells, transiently transfected with cDNA for a ‘loss of function mutant” RNA-dependent protein kinase (PKR) protein, were resistant to 2-ME-induced cell cycle arrest. These results suggest that 2-ME works in concert with factors regulating cell cycle progression, and cell cycle arrest precedes cell death in 2-ME-treated osteosarcoma cells.
PMCID: PMC2821714  PMID: 18384113
estrogen metabolite; MG63 cells; cell cycle arrest; PKR
4.  Double-Stranded RNA-Dependent Protein Kinase Is Involved in 2-Methoxyestradiol–Mediated Cell Death of Osteosarcoma Cells 
We studied the involvement of interferon-regulated, PKR on 2-ME–mediated actions in human osteosarcoma cells. Our results show that PKR is activated by 2-ME treatment and is necessary for 2-ME–mediated induction of osteosarcoma cell death.
Osteosarcoma is the most common primary bone tumor and most frequently develops during adolescence. 2-Methoxyestradiol (2-ME), a metabolite of 17β-estradiol, induces interferon gene expression and apoptosis in human osteosarcoma cells. In this report, we studied the role of interferon-regulated double-stranded (ds)RNA-dependent protein kinase (PKR) protein on 2-ME–mediated cell death in human osteosarcoma cells.
Materials and Methods
Western blot analyses were used to measure PKR protein and phosphorylation levels. Cell survival and apoptosis assays were measured using trypan blue exclusion and Hoechst dye methods, respectively. A transient transfection protocol was used to express the dominant negative PKR mutants.
Results and Conclusions
PKR was increased in 2-ME–treated MG63 cells, whereas 17β-estradiol, 4-hydroxyestradiol, and 16α-hydroxyestradiol, which do not induce cell death, had no effect on PKR protein levels. Also, 2-ME treatment induced PKR kinase activity as indicated by increased autophosphorylation and phosphorylation of the endogenous substrate, eukaryotic initiation factor (eIF)-2α. dsRNA poly (I).poly (C), an activator of PKR protein, increased cell death when osteosarcoma cells were treated with a submaximal concentration of 2-ME. In contrast, a serine-threonine kinase inhibitor SB203580 and a specific PKR inhibitor 2-aminopurine (2-AP) blocked the 2-ME–induced cell death in MG63 cells. A dominant negative PKR mutant protein conferred resistance to 2-ME–induced cell death to MG63 osteosarcoma and 2-ME–mediated PKR regulation did not require interferon gene expression. PKR protein is activated in cell free extracts by 2-ME treatment, resulting in autophosphorylation and in the phosphorylation of the substrate eIF-2α. We conclude from these results that PKR is regulated by 2-ME independently of interferon and is essential for 2-ME–mediated cell death in MG63 osteosarcoma cells.
PMCID: PMC1955766  PMID: 17014383
estrogen metabolite; MG63 cells; interferon; protein kinase; double-stranded RNA-dependent protein kinase

Results 1-4 (4)