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1.  Autophagy inhibition by chloroquine sensitizes HT-29 colorectal cancer cells to concurrent chemoradiation 
AIM: To investigate whether the inhibition of autophagy by chloroquine (CQ) sensitizes rectal tumors to radiation therapy (RT) or concurrent chemoradiation (chemoRT).
METHODS: In vitro, HCT-116 and HT-29 colorectal cancer (CRC) cell lines were treated as following: (1) PBS; (2) CQ; (3) 5-fluorouracil (5-FU); (4) RT; (5) CQ and RT; (6) 5-FU and RT; (7) CQ and 5-FU; and (8) 5-FU and CQ and RT. Each group was then exposed to various doses of radiation (0-8 Gy) depending on the experiment. Cell viability and proliferative capacity were measured by 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) and clonogenic assays. Clonogenic survival curves were constructed and compared across treatment groups. Autophagy status was determined by assessing the LC3-II to LC3-I ratio on western blot analysis, autophagosome formation on electron microscopy and identification of a perinuclear punctate pattern with GFP-labeled LC3 on fluorescence microscopy. Cell cycle arrest and cell death were evaluated by FACS and Annexin V analysis. All experiments were performed in triplicate and statistical analysis was performed by the student’s t test to compare means between treatment groups.
RESULTS: RT (2-8 Gy) induced autophagy in HCT-116 and HT-29 CRC cell lines at 4 and 6 h post-radiation, respectively, as measured by increasing LC3-II to LC3-I ratio on western blot. Additionally, electron microscopy demonstrated autophagy induction in HT-29 cells 24 h following irradiation at a dose of 8 Gy. Drug treatment with 5-FU (25 μmol/L) induced autophagy and the combination of 5-FU and RT demonstrated synergism in autophagy induction. CQ (10 μmol/L) alone and in combination with RT effectively inhibited autophagy and sensitized both HCT-116 and HT-29 cells to treatment with radiation (8 Gy; P < 0.001 and 0.00001, respectively). Significant decrease in clonogenic survival was seen only in the HT-29 cell line, when CQ was combined with RT at doses of 2 and 8 Gy (P < 0.5 and P = 0.05, respectively). There were no differences in cell cycle progression or Annexin V staining upon CQ addition to RT.
CONCLUSION: Autophagy inhibition by CQ increases CRC cell sensitivity to concurrent treatment with 5-FU and RT in vitro, suggesting that addition of CQ to chemoRT improves CRC treatment response.
doi:10.4251/wjgo.v6.i3.74
PMCID: PMC3955781  PMID: 24653797
Autophagy; Chloroquine; Radiosensitization; Colorectal 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

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