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1.  Epigenetic Modifications of Nrf2 by 3,3′-diindolylmethane In Vitro in TRAMP C1 Cell Line and In Vivo TRAMP Prostate Tumors 
The AAPS Journal  2013;15(3):864-874.
3,3′-diindolylmethane (DIM) is currently being investigated in many clinical trials including prostate, breast, and cervical cancers and has been shown to possess anticancer effects in several in vivo and in vitro models. Previously, DIM has been reported to possess cancer chemopreventive effects in prostate carcinogenesis in TRAMP mice; however, the in vivo mechanism is unclear. The present study aims to investigate the in vitro and in vivo epigenetics modulation of DIM in TRAMP-C1 cells and in TRAMP mouse model. In vitro study utilizing TRAMP-C1 cells showed that DIM suppressed DNMT expression and reversed CpG methylation status of Nrf2 resulting in enhanced expression of Nrf2 and Nrf2-target gene NQO1. In vivo study, TRAMP mice fed with DIM-supplemented diet showed much lower incidence of tumorigenesis and metastasis than the untreated control group similar to what was reported previously. DIM increased apoptosis, decreased cell proliferation and enhanced Nrf2 and Nrf2-target gene NQO1 expression in prostate tissues. Importantly, immunohistochemical analysis showed that DIM reduced the global CpG 5-methylcytosine methylation. Focusing on one of the early cancer chemopreventive target gene Nrf2, bisulfite genomic sequencing showed that DIM decreased the methylation status of the first five CpGs of the Nrf2 promoter region, corroborating with the results of in vitro TRAMP-C1 cells. In summary, our current study shows that DIM is a potent cancer chemopreventive agent for prostate cancer and epigenetic modifications of the CpG including Nrf2 could be a potential mechanism by which DIM exerts its chemopreventive effects.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1208/s12248-013-9493-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1208/s12248-013-9493-3
PMCID: PMC3691436  PMID: 23658110
3,3′-diindolylmethane (DIM); epigenetic; methylation; Nrf2; prostate cancer
2.  PALB2 Interacts with KEAP1 To Promote NRF2 Nuclear Accumulation and Function 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2012;32(8):1506-1517.
PALB2/FANCN is mutated in breast and pancreatic cancers and Fanconi anemia (FA). It controls the intranuclear localization, stability, and DNA repair function of BRCA2 and links BRCA1 and BRCA2 in DNA homologous recombination repair and breast cancer suppression. Here, we show that PALB2 directly interacts with KEAP1, an oxidative stress sensor that binds and represses the master antioxidant transcription factor NRF2. PALB2 shares with NRF2 a highly conserved ETGE-type KEAP1 binding motif and can effectively compete with NRF2 for KEAP1 binding. PALB2 promotes NRF2 accumulation and function in the nucleus and lowers the cellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) level. In addition, PALB2 also regulates the rate of NRF2 export from the nucleus following induction. Our findings identify PALB2 as a regulator of cellular redox homeostasis and provide a new link between oxidative stress and the development of cancer and FA.
doi:10.1128/MCB.06271-11
PMCID: PMC3318596  PMID: 22331464
3.  Epigenetic CpG Demethylation of the Promoter and Reactivation of the Expression of Neurog1 by Curcumin in Prostate LNCaP Cells 
The AAPS Journal  2011;13(4):606-614.
ABSTRACT
Curcumin (CUR), a major bioactive polyphenolic component from turmeric curry, Curcuma longa, has been shown to be a potent anti-cancer phytochemical with well-established anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative stress effects. Chromatin remodeling-related epigenetic regulation has emerged as an important mechanism of carcinogenesis, chemoprevention, and chemotherapy. CUR has been found to inhibit histone acetyltransferase activity, and it was also postulated to be a potential DNA methyltransferase (DNMT) and histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor. In this study, we show that when human prostate LNCaP cells were treated with CUR, it led to demethylation of the first 14 CpG sites of the CpG island of the Neurog1 gene and restored the expression of this cancer-related CpG-methylation epigenome marker gene. At the protein level, CUR treatment had limited effects on the expression of epigenetic modifying proteins MBD2, MeCP2, DNMT1, and DNMT3a. Using ChIP assay, CUR decreased MeCP2 binding to the promoter of Neurog1 dramatically. CUR treatment showed different effects on the protein expression of HDACs, increasing the expression of HDAC1, 4, 5, and 8 but decreasing HDAC3. However, the total HDAC activity was decreased upon CUR treatment. Further analysis of the tri-methylation of histone 3 at lysine 27 (H3K27me3) showed that CUR decreased the enrichment of H3K27me3 at the Neurog1 promoter region as well as at the global level. Taken together, our present study provides evidence on the CpG demethylation ability of CUR on Neurog1 while activating its expression, suggesting a potential epigenetic modifying role for this phytochemical compound in human prostate cancer cells.
doi:10.1208/s12248-011-9300-y
PMCID: PMC3231852  PMID: 21938566
curcumin; demethylation; hypermethylation; LNCaP; Neurog1
4.  Differential in vivo mechanism of chemoprevention of tumor formation in azoxymethane/dextran sodium sulfate mice by PEITC and DBM 
Carcinogenesis  2009;31(5):880-885.
Previously, phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC) and dibenzoylmethane (DBM) had been shown to inhibit intestinal carcinogenesis in Apc(Min/+) mice. In this study, we investigated the chemopreventive efficacy of PEITC and DBM in the azoxymethane (AOM)-initiated and dextran sodium sulfate (DSS)-promoted colon cancer mouse model and to compare their potential in vivo mechanisms leading to chemoprevention. The mice were fed with diet supplemented with 0.05% PEITC or 1% DBM before or after AOM initiation. Our results showed that AOM/DSS mice fed with PEITC- or DBM-supplemented diet had lower tumor incidence, lower colon tumor multiplicities and smaller polyps as compared with mice fed with the standard AIN-76A diet. PEITC was effective even after AOM initiation, whereas DBM was not as effective when fed after AOM initiation. Hematoxylin and eosin staining showed that mice fed with PEITC or DBM had attenuated loss of crypt, a marker of inflammation. To examine potential in vivo mechanisms involved in chemoprevention, western blotting was performed and showed that inhibition of growth of adenomas by PEITC was associated with an increase of apoptosis (increased cleaved caspase-3 and-7) and cell cycle arrest (increased p21). In contrast DBM's effect on cell cycle arrest and apoptosis markers was not as substantial as PEITC. Instead, DBM showed increased induction of NF-E2-related factor-2 (Nrf2) transcription factor and phase II detoxifying enzymes, which appears to correlate with in vitro cell lines results that DBM is a more potent Nrf2 activator than PEITC. In summary, our present study shows that PEITC and DBM are potent natural dietary compounds for chemoprevention of colon cancer induced by AOM/DSS and appears to be associated with different in vivo mechanism of actions. PEITC's chemopreventive effect appears to be due to induction of apoptosis and cell cycle arrest, whereas DBM's effect is due to prevention of AOM initiation via induction of Nrf2 and phase II detoxifying enzymes.
doi:10.1093/carcin/bgp285
PMCID: PMC2864406  PMID: 19959557
5.  Molecular Targets of Dietary Phenethyl Isothiocyanate and Sulforaphane for Cancer Chemoprevention 
The AAPS Journal  2009;12(1):87-97.
Development of cancer is a long-term and multistep process which comprises initiation, progression, and promotion stages of carcinogenesis. Conceivably, it can be targeted and interrupted along these different stages. In this context, many naturally occurring dietary compounds from our daily consumption of fruits and vegetables have been shown to possess cancer preventive effects. Phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC) and sulforaphane (SFN) are two of the most widely investigated isothiocyanates from the crucifers. Both have been found to be very potent chemopreventive agents in numerous animal carcinogenesis models as well as cell culture models. They exert their chemopreventive effects through regulation of diverse molecular mechanisms. In this review, we will discuss the molecular targets of PEITC and SFN potentially involved in cancer chemoprevention. These include the regulation of drug-metabolizing enzymes phase I cytochrome P450s and phase II metabolizing enzymes. In addition, the signaling pathways including Nrf2–Keap 1, anti-inflammatory NFκB, apoptosis, and cell cycle arrest as well as some receptors will also be discussed. Furthermore, we will also discuss the similarities and their potential differences in the regulation of these molecular targets by PEITC and SFN.
doi:10.1208/s12248-009-9162-8
PMCID: PMC2811646  PMID: 20013083
dietary cancer chemoprevention; NF-kB; Nrf2; phenethyl isothiocyanate; sulforaphane
6.  Nrf2 Expression Is Regulated by Epigenetic Mechanisms in Prostate Cancer of TRAMP Mice 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(1):e8579.
Nuclear factor-erythroid 2 p45-related factor 2 (Nrf2) is a transcription factor which regulates the expression of many cytoprotective genes. In the present study, we found that the expression of Nrf2 was suppressed in prostate tumor of the Transgenic Adenocarcinoma of Mouse Prostate (TRAMP) mice. Similarly, the expression of Nrf2 and the induction of NQO1 were also substantially suppressed in tumorigenic TRAMP C1 cells but not in non-tumorigenic TRAMP C3 cells. Examination of the promoter region of the mouse Nrf2 gene identified a CpG island, which was methylated at specific CpG sites in prostate TRAMP tumor and in TRAMP C1 cells but not in normal prostate or TRAMP C3 cells, as shown by bisulfite genomic sequencing. Reporter assays indicated that methylation of these CpG sites dramatically inhibited the transcriptional activity of the Nrf2 promoter. Chromatin immunopreceipitation (ChIP) assays revealed increased binding of the methyl-CpG-binding protein 2 (MBD2) and trimethyl-histone H3 (Lys9) proteins to these CpG sites in the TRAMP C1 cells as compared to TRAMP C3 cells. In contrast, the binding of RNA Pol II and acetylated histone H3 to the Nrf2 promoter was decreased. Furthermore, treatment of TRAMP C1 cells with DNA methyltransferase (DNMT) inhibitor 5-aza-2′-deoxycytidine (5-aza) and histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor trichostatin A (TSA) restored the expression of Nrf2 as well as the induction of NQO1 in TRAMP C1 cells. Taken together, these results indicate that the expression of Nrf2 is suppressed epigenetically by promoter methylation associated with MBD2 and histone modifications in the prostate tumor of TRAMP mice. Our present findings reveal a novel mechanism by which Nrf2 expression is suppressed in TRAMP prostate tumor, shed new light on the role of Nrf2 in carcinogenesis and provide potential new directions for the detection and prevention of prostate cancer.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0008579
PMCID: PMC2799519  PMID: 20062804
7.  PEITC Induces G1 Cell Cycle Arrest on HT-29 Cells Through the Activation of p38 MAPK Signaling Pathway 
The AAPS Journal  2008;10(2):277-281.
Phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC), an isothiocyanate abundantly found in cruciferous vegetables have been shown to induce apoptosis through MAPK pathway in prostate and colon cancer cells. In the present study, we investigate the effect of PEITC on cell cycle regulation of HT-29 colon cancer cells. Using flow cytometry and Western blot analyses, we found that PEITC significantly induced G1 cell cycle arrest in HT-29 cells. We showed that the cell cycle arrest was not related to beta-catenin translocation into the nucleus. Interestingly, inhibition of p38 attenuated the cell cycle arrest, suggesting that cell cycle arrest by PEITC was caused by the activation of MAPK pathway. Treatments of PEITC resulted in a dose-dependent down-regulation of cyclins A, D, E and pRb protein expression. The down-regulation can be attributed to the activation of the p38 pathway, since inhibition of its activities by specific inhibitor blocked PEITC’s ability to decrease the expression level of cyclins A and D and attenuate cell cycle arrest effect of PEITC. In conclusion, this study shows for the first time that PEITC can arrest HT-29 cells in G1 phase by down-regulation of cyclins through the activation of p38 MAPK signaling pathway.
doi:10.1208/s12248-008-9032-9
PMCID: PMC2751382  PMID: 18473178
cell cycle arrest; colon cancer; cyclin; PEITC; p38

Results 1-7 (7)