TGFβ signaling Smads (Smad2, 3, and 4) were suspected tumor suppressors soon after their discovery. Nearly two decades of research confirmed this role and revealed other divergent and cancer-specific functions including paradoxical tumor promotion effects. Although Smad4 is the most potent tumor suppressor, its functions are highly context-specific as exemplified by pancreatic cancer and head-and-neck cancer: in pancreatic cancer, Smad4 loss cannot initiate tumor formation but promotes metastases while in head-and-neck cancer Smad4 loss promotes cancer progression but also initiates tumor formation, likely through effects on genomic instability. The differing consequences of impaired Smad signaling in human cancers and the molecular mechanisms that underpin these differences will have important implications for the design and application of novel targeted therapies.
Fanconi Anemia; juvenile polyposis Smads; pancreatic cancer; squamous cell carcinomas; TGFβ signaling
Carboxyl-terminal binding protein 1 (CtBP1) is a transcriptional co-repressor with oncogenic potential. Immunohistochemistry (IHC) staining using human breast cancer tissue arrays revealed that 92% of invasive ductal breast cancer cases have CtBP1-positive staining compared to 4% CtBP1-positive in normal breast tissue. To explore the functional impact of CtBP1 in breast cancer, we examined CtBP1’s transcriptional regulation of known tumor suppressors, breast cancer susceptibility gene 1 (Brca1), and E-cadherin. We found CtBP1 was recruited to the promoter regions of Brca1 and E-cadherin genes in breast cancer cells. Concomitantly, Brca1 loss was detected in 57% and E-cadherin loss was detected in 76% of human invasive ductal breast cancers, and correlated with CtBP1 nuclear staining in these lesions. Importantly, siRNA knock down of CtBP1 restored Brca1 and E-cadherin expression in breast cancer cell lines, implying CtBP1 down-regulates Brca1 and E-cadherin genes in human breast cancer. This study provides evidence that although genetic loss of Brca1 and E-cadherin are infrequent in breast cancer, they are downregulated at the transcriptional level by CtBP1 expression. Thus, CtBP1 activation could be a potential biomarker for breast cancer development.
Brca1; CtBP1; E-cadherin; transcription; breast cancer
TGFβ1 was initially identified as a potent chemotactic cytokine to initiate inflammation, but the autoimmune phenotype seen in TGFβ1 knockout mice reversed the dogma of TGFβ1 being a pro-inflammatory cytokine to predominantly an immune suppressor. The discovery of the role of TGFβ1 in Th17 cell activation once again revealed the pro-inflammatory effect of TGFβ1. We developed K5.TGFβ1 mice with latent human TGFβ1 overexpression targeted to epidermal keratinocytes by keratin 5. These transgenic mice developed significant skin inflammation. Further studies revealed that inflammation severity correlated with switching TGFβ1 transgene expression on and off, and genome wide expression profiling revealed striking similarities between K5.TGFβ1 skin and human psoriasis, a Th1/Th17-associated inflammatory skin disease. Our recent study reveals that treatments alleviating inflammatory skin phenotypes in this mouse model reduced Th17 cells, and antibodies against IL-17 also lessen the inflammatory phenotype. Examination of inflammatory cytokines/chemokines affected by TGFβ1 revealed predominantly Th1-, Th17-related cytokines in K5.TGFβ1 skin. However, the finding that K5.TGFβ1 mice also express Th2-associated inflammatory cytokines under certain pathological conditions raises the possibility that deregulated TGFβ signaling is involved in more than one inflammatory disease. Furthermore, activation of both Th1/Th17 cells and regulatory T cells (Tregs) by TGFβ1 reversely regulated by IL-6 highlights the dual role of TGFβ1 in regulating inflammation, a dynamic, context and organ specific process. This review focuses on the role of TGFβ1 in inflammatory skin diseases.
TGFβ1; skin inflammation
The ability to judge whether sensory stimuli match an internally represented pattern is central to many brain functions. To elucidate the underlying mechanism, we developed a neural circuit model for match/nonmatch decision making. At the core of this model is a “comparison circuit” consisting of two distinct neural populations: match enhancement cells show higher firing response for a match than a nonmatch to the target pattern, and match suppression cells exhibit the opposite trend. We propose that these two neural pools emerge from inhibition-dominated recurrent dynamics and heterogeneous top-down excitation from a working memory circuit. A downstream system learns, through plastic synapses, to extract the necessary information to make match/nonmatch decisions. The model accounts for key physiological observations from behaving monkeys in delayed match-to-sample experiments, including tasks that require more than simple feature-match (e.g. when BB in ABBA sequence must be ignored). A testable prediction is that magnitudes of match enhancement and suppression neural signals are parametrically tuned to the similarity between compared patterns. Furthermore, the same neural signals from the comparison circuit can be used differently in the decision process for different stimulus statistics or tasks; reward-dependent synaptic plasticity enables decision neurons to flexibly adjust the readout scheme to task demands, whereby the most informative neural signals have the highest impact on the decision.
delayed match-to-sample task; match enhancement and match suppression; repetition suppression; reward-dependent synaptic plasticity; fine discrimination
Synchronous rhythms represent a core mechanism for sculpting temporal coordination of neural activity in the brainwide network. This review focuses on oscillations in the cerebral cortex that occur during cognition, in alert behaving conditions. Over the last two decades, experimental and modeling work has made great strides in elucidating the detailed cellular and circuit basis of these rhythms, particularly gamma and theta rhythms. The underlying physiological mechanisms are diverse (ranging from resonance and pacemaker properties of single cells, to multiple scenarios for population synchronization and wave propagation), but also exhibit unifying principles. A major conceptual advance was the realization that synaptic inhibition plays a fundamental role in rhythmogenesis, either in an interneuronal network or in a recipropocal excitatory-inhibitory loop. Computational functions of synchronous oscillations in cognition are still a matter of debate among systems neuroscientists, in part because the notion of regular oscillation seems to contradict the common observation that spiking discharges of individual neurons in the cortex are highly stochastic and far from being clock-like. However, recent findings have led to a framework that goes beyond the conventional theory of coupled oscillators, and reconciles the apparent dichotomy between irregular single neuron activity and field potential oscillations. From this perspective, a plethora of studies will be reviewed on the involvement of long-distance neuronal coherence in cognitive functions such as multisensory integration, working memory and selective attention. Finally, implications of abnormal neural synchronization are discussed as they relate to mental disorders like schizophrenia and autism.
Dysregulation of transformation growth factor β (TGFβ) signaling has been reported in human psoriasis. However, the causal role of TGFβ in psoriasis has not been given attention until our recent report that the transgenic mice expressing wild-type TGFβ1 in the epidermis using a keratin 5 promoter (K5.TGFβ1wt) developed psoriasis-like skin inflammation. Additional experimental data further support the causal role of TGFβ1 overexpression in psoriasis. First, we temporally induced TGFβ1 expression in keratinocytes in our gene-switch-TGFβ1wt transgenic mice and found that inflammation severity correlated with on-and-off switch of TGFβ1wt transgene expression. Second, deletion of T cells in K5.TGFβ1wt mice significantly delayed the development of psoriatic lesions. Third, therapeutic approaches effective for human psoriasis, i.e. Enbrel and Rosiglitazone (Avandia®), are also effective in relieving the symptoms seen in K5.TGFβ1wt mice. Future studies will dissect specific mechanisms and identify key factors in the TGFβ1-induced skin inflammation. Our mouse models will provide a useful tool to test novel therapeutic interventions and help to design specific therapeutic approaches for inflammatory skin disorders, including human psoriasis.
Systems capable of targeting genetic manipulations to keratin-positive airway basal cells are more poorly developed than systems targeting other airway epithelial cell populations and this has likely hindered development of animal models of diseases such as lung squamous cell carcinoma. Although keratin promoter driven-Cre recombinase constructs are potentially useful for targeting these cells, these constructs have substantially higher activity in the skin and oral epithelium than in the airways. We developed a method for delivering RU486, the conditional activator of Cre recombinase progesterone receptor (CrePR) fusion proteins to the lung and then examined the activity of three keratin-driven CrePR constructs in the conducting airways. We also developed a technique for survival bronchioalveolar lavage on non-ventilated animals to examine the effects of the acetone/oil vehicle required to deliver RU486 to the lung. K5CrePR1 and K14CrePR1 constructs differ only in the keratin promoter used to target CrePR1 expression while K5Cre*PR contains a truncated progesterone receptor designed to reduce RU486-independent Cre activity. While all three constructs demonstrate RU486-inducible Cre activity in the conducting airways, both construct activity and tightness of regulation vary considerably. K5Cre*PR is the most tightly regulated Cre driver making it ideal for targeting somatic mutations to the airway epithelia while K5CrePR1 and K14CrePR1 may be better suited to studying diseases of the conducting airways where gene targeting of keratin expressing cells and their derivatives is desired.
Keratins; Cre recombinase; basal cells
We have previously shown that keratinocyte-specific deletion of Smad4, a TGFβ/Activin/BMP signaling mediator, results in a progressive alopecia. To further assess the molecular mechanisms of Smad4 loss-mediated alopecia, we examined expression levels of key molecules associated with hair follicle differentiation in Smad4-deleted skin. Among them, Desmoglein 4 (Dsg4) was down-regulated in Smad4-deleted skin prior to the onset of hair follicle abnormalities with gradual depletion coinciding with hair follicle degeneration. Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assay showed that Smad4, together with the BMP mediators Smad1 and Smad5, but not the TGFβ/Activin mediators Smad2 or Smad3, bound to the Smad Binding Element (SBE) of the Dsg4 promoter. A Dsg4 reporter assay revealed that Smad4 was required for the maximal transactivation of Dsg4 in cooperation with Smad1 and Smad5. Mutating the SBE of the Dsg4 promoter abrogated Smad4 transactivation of Dsg4. Furthermore, BMP ligands, but not ligands of TGFβ and Activin, induced endogenous Dsg4 expression. Our data demonstrate that in the presence of Smad4, BMP signaling participated in transcriptional regulation of Dsg4. Thus, Smad4 loss-associated Dsg4 depletion contributed, at least in part, to hair follicles degeneration in Smad4 deficient skin.
Smad4; Hair Follicle; Desmoglein-4; TGFβ; BMP
Previous studies have shown that non-human primates can generate highly stochastic choice behavior, especially when this is required during a competitive interaction with another agent. To understand the neural mechanism of such dynamic choice behavior, we propose a biologically plausible model of decision making endowed with synaptic plasticity that follows a reward-dependent stochastic Hebbian learning rule. This model constitutes a biophysical implementation of reinforcement learning, and it reproduces salient features of behavioral data from an experiment with monkeys playing a matching pennies game. Due to interaction with an opponent and learning dynamics, the model generates quasi-random behavior robustly in spite of intrinsic biases. Furthermore, non-random choice behavior can also emerge when the model plays against a non-interactive opponent, as observed in the monkey experiment. Finally, when combined with a meta-learning algorithm, our model accounts for the slow drift in the animal’s strategy based on a process of reward maximization.
Decision making; Reward-dependent stochastic Hebbian learning rule; Reinforcement learning; Meta-learning; Synaptic plasticity; Game theory
We report that K5.Smad7 mice, which express Smad7 transgene by a keratin-5 promoter, were resistant to radiation-induced oral mucositis, a painful oral ulceration. In addition to NF-κB activation known to contribute to oral mucositis, we found activated TGF-β signaling in oral mucositis. Smad7 dampened both pathways to attenuate inflammation, growth inhibition and apoptosis. Additionally, Smad7 promoted oral epithelial migration to close the wound. Further analyses revealed that TGF-β signaling Smads and their co-repressor CtBP1 transcriptionally repressed Rac1, and Smad7 abrogated this repression. Knocking down Rac1 in mouse keratinocytes abrogated Smad7-induced migration. Topically applying Smad7 protein with a cell permeable Tat-tag (Tat-Smad7) to oral mucosa showed preventive and therapeutic effects on radiation-induced oral mucositis in mice. Thus, we have identified novel molecular mechanisms involved in oral mucositis pathogenesis and our data suggest an alternative therapeutic strategy to block multiple pathological processes of oral mucositis.
Rituximab, a monoclonal antibody against CD20+ antigen specific B cell, has been increasingly used in the treatment of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and some other autoimmune diseases, such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and rheumatoid arthritis. It is noted that Rituximab could enhanced the efficacy of CHOP-based chemotherapy. Meanwhile it could increase the opportunity of lung infection. Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia (PCP), a rare opportunistic infection that was not reported in the large-scale clinical trials of Rituximab, was found recently in patients with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma treated with remedy containing Rituximab. We herein report two cases of PCP in lymphoma patients after Rituximab-containing chemotherapy. Both patients were successfully treated, with trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (TMP-SMX) in one case and Caspofungin alone in the other. We also reviewed the literature and concluded that PCP is an infrequent but potentially life-threatening infection in patients with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma subjected to Rituximab-containing regimen. Therefore, adequate prophylaxis, timely diagnosis and treatment are necessary.
Rituximab; non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma; pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia (PCP); Caspofungin
Oral leukoplakia (OL) is the most common premalignancy in the oral cavity and can progress to oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC). SMAD4 is a tumor suppressor implicated in multiple cancer types including OSCC. To assess the role of SMAD4 in oral leukoplakia malignant transformation, the authors investigated SMAD4 expression patterns in OL and OSCC using a highly specific antibody and correlated the patterns with the risk of malignant transformation oral leukoplakia. Immunohistochemistry and a quantitative imaging system were used to measure SMAD4 expression in OL from 88 OL patients, including 22 who later went through malignant transformation, and their OSCC counterpart. Forty-three (48.9%) of the 88 OL patients had strong SMAD4 expression. SMAD4 expression had no significant correlation with patients' clinicopathological parameters. Interestingly, 17 (39.5%) of the 43 OL lesions with strong SMAD4 expression went through malignant transformation whereas only 5 (11.1%) of the 45 OL lesions with weak SMAD4 expression did so (p = 0.002). The SMAD4 expression in OL was much higher than that in their OSCC counterpart. Kaplan-Meier analysis revealed that the combination of SMAD4 expression and histological grade of dysplasia (p = 0.007) is a better predictor for the malignant transformation of oral leukoplakia. In the multivariate analysis, both SMAD4 expression and grade of dysplasia were identified as independent factors for OL malignant transformation risk (p = 0.013 and 0.021, respectively). It was concluded that high SMAD4 expression may be indicative of an early carcinogenic process in OL and serve as an independent biomarker in assessing malignant transformation risk in patients with OL, and the combination of SMAD4 expression and histological grade of dysplasia is a better predictor for the malignant transformation of oral leukoplakia.
The present study examined the downregulation of survivin expression by hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) miRNA and its effect in the inhibition of A549 cell growth in vitro and in vivo. Survivin expression, apoptosis, proliferation and migration under normoxic and hypoxic conditions were assessed by standard methods. Cotransfection and chromatin immunoprecipitation were used to observe the effects of HIF-1α on survivin transcription. HIF-1α knockdown in A549 cells were injected into nude mice to examine survivin expression and suppression of tumorigenicity. Transfection of A549 cells with HIF-1α miRNA led to decreased expression of HIF-1α and survivin mRNA and protein. Survivin overexpression is mediated by HIF-1α by direct binding to a putative binding site in the survivin core promoter. HIF-1α-miRNA induced apoptosis and inhibited proliferation of A549 cells under hypoxic, but not normoxic, conditions, whereas transfection by survivin expression vectors partly rescued the apoptotic phenotype and revived cell proliferation under hypoxic conditions. However, cell migration was substantially suppressed by HIF-1α silencing under normoxic and hypoxic conditions. After A549 cells were xenografted in nude mice, survivin expression in mice treated with HIF-1α miRNA was downregulated, and tumor growth was significantly inhibited. Silenced HIF-1α gene expression induced apoptosis and suppressed growth of A549 cells by downregulating survivin expression in vitro and in vivo. Our results also provide a basis to target the HIF-1α pathway in lung cancer therapy.
Hypoxia-inducible factor-1α; miRNA; survivin; lung cancer
Recent physiological studies have shown that neurons in various regions of the central nervous systems continuously receive noisy excitatory and inhibitory synaptic inputs in a balanced and covaried fashion. While this balanced synaptic input (BSI) is typically described in terms of maintaining the stability of neural circuits, a number of experimental and theoretical studies have suggested that BSI plays a proactive role in brain functions such as top-down modulation for executive control. Two issues have remained unclear in this picture. First, given the noisy nature of neuronal activities in neural circuits, how do the modulatory effects change if the top-down control implements BSI with different ratios between inhibition and excitation? Second, how is a top-down BSI realized via only excitatory long-range projections in the neocortex? To address the first issue, we systematically tested how the inhibition/excitation ratio affects the accuracy and reaction times of a spiking neural circuit model of perceptual decision. We defined an energy function to characterize the network dynamics, and found that different ratios modulate the energy function of the circuit differently and form two distinct functional modes. To address the second issue, we tested BSI with long-distance projection to inhibitory neurons that are either feedforward or feedback, depending on whether these inhibitory neurons do or do not receive inputs from local excitatory cells, respectively. We found that BSI occurs in both cases. Furthermore, when relying on feedback inhibitory neurons, through the recurrent interactions inside the circuit, BSI dynamically and automatically speeds up the decision by gradually reducing its inhibitory component in the course of a trial when a decision process takes too long.
The palliative therapy effect by docetaxel for CRPC patients makes it urgent to improve the therapy. It was suggested that PI3K and androgen receptor-directed combination therapy may be effective for prostate cancer (PCa) patients PTEN negative. However, for those patients PTEN positive, the mechanism of anti-apoptosis survival of cancer cells is not yet well defined. Amplification of AURKA has been detected in 5% of PCa. In this work, Du145, a PTEN positive PCa cell model, was employed to investigate the role of aurora kinase a (AURKA) on cell growth. Inhibition of AURKA expression by shRNA markedly reduced prostate cancer cell viability. Furthermore, we demonstrate that AURKA inhibition induced a remarkable downregulation of AKT activity and Bax induction. Moreover, specific inhibition of the activity of AURKA, but not other aurora family members, by small molecular chemical inhibitors induced significant cell killing effects. Notably, AURKA inhibition sensitized prostate cancer cells to docetaxel treatment. Our work suggests that AURKA-directed monotherapy or combination therapy with docetaxel could be a potent treatment for PCa patients in future.
Prostate cancer; AURKA; p53; docetaxel; castration-resistant prostate cancer; aurora kinases
Lung adenocarcinoma (AdC) and lung squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) are the most common non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) subtypes. This study was designed to determine whether reduced expression of transforming growth factor β type II receptor (TGFβRII) promotes lung AdC and SCC carcinogenesis.
We examined TGFβRII expression at the protein and mRNA levels in human NSCLC samples and assessed the relationship between TGFβRII expression and clinico-pathologic parameters. To determine if sporadic TGFβRII deletion in airway epithelial cells induces NSCLC formation, we targeted TGFβRII deletion alone and in combination with oncogenic KrasG12D to murine airways using a keratin 5 (K5) promoter and inducible Cre recombinase.
Reduced TGFβRII expression in human NSCLC is associated with male gender, smoking, SCC histology, reduced differentiation, increased tumor stage, increased nodal metastasis, and reduced survival. Homozygous or heterozygous TGFβRII deletion in mouse airway epithelia increases the size and number of KrasG12D-initiated AdC and SCC. TGFβRII deletion increases proliferation, local inflammation, and TGFβ ligand elaboration; TGFβRII knockdown in airway epithelial cells increases migration and invasion.
Reduced TGFβRII expression in human NSCLC is associated with more aggressive tumor behavior and inflammation that is at least partially mediated by increased TGFβ1 expression. TGFβRII deletion in mouse airway epithelial cells promotes AdC and SCC formation, indicating that TGFβRII loss plays a causal role in lung carcinogenesis. That TGFβRII demonstrates haploid insufficiency, suggests that a 50% TGFβRII protein reduction would negatively impact lung cancer prognosis.
lung adenocarcinoma; lung squamous cell carcinoma; TGFβ; tumor progression; mouse model
Recent behavioral studies have given rise to two contrasting models for limited working memory capacity: a “discrete-slot” model in which memory items are stored in a limited number of slots, and a “shared-resource” model in which the neural representation of items is distributed across a limited pool of resources. To elucidate the underlying neural processes, we investigated a continuous network model for working memory of an analog feature. Our model network fundamentally operates with a shared resource mechanism, and stimuli in cue arrays are encoded by a distributed neural population. On the other hand, the network dynamics and performance are also consistent with the discrete-slot model, because multiple objects are maintained by distinct localized population persistent activity patterns (bump attractors). We identified two phenomena of recurrent circuit dynamics that give rise to limited working memory capacity. As the working memory load increases, a localized persistent activity bump may either fade out (so the memory of the corresponding item is lost) or merge with another nearby bump (hence the resolution of mnemonic representation for the merged items becomes blurred). We identified specific dependences of these two phenomena on the strength and tuning of recurrent synaptic excitation, as well as network normalization: the overall population activity is invariant to set size and delay duration; therefore, a constant neural resource is shared by and dynamically allocated to the memorized items. We demonstrate that the model reproduces salient observations predicted by both discrete-slot and shared-resource models, and propose testable predictions of the merging phenomenon.
It is thought that a Th1/Th17-weighted immune response plays a predominant role in the pathogenesis of psoriasis. Our findings now indicate a link between IL-9, a Th2 and Th9 cytokine, and Th17 pathway in psoriasis. In K5.hTGF-β1 transgenic mice, exhibiting a psoriasis-like phenotype, we found increased IL-9R and IL-9 expression in the skin and intradermal IL-9 injection induced Th17-related inflammation. IL-9 also promoted angiogenesis and VEGF and CD31 overexpression in mice in vivo and increased tube formation of human endothelial cells in vitro. Injecting anti-IL-9 antibody into K5.hTGF-β1 transgenic mice not only diminished inflammation (including skin infiltration by T cells, monocytes/macrophages, and mast cells) and angiogenesis but also delayed the psoriasis-like skin phenotype. Notably, injection of anti-psoriatic acting anti-IL-17 antibody reduced skin IL-9 mRNA and serum IL-9 protein levels in K5.hTGF-β1 transgenic mice and prevented IL-9-induced epidermal hyperplasia and inflammation of the skin of wild type mice. In addition, we observed that IL-9R expression in lesional skin from psoriasis patients was markedly higher than in healthy skin from control subjects. Moreover, IL-9 significantly enhanced IL-17A production by cultured human peripheral blood mononuclear cells or CD4+ T cells, especially in psoriasis patients. Thus, IL-9 may play a role in the development of psoriatic lesions through Th17-associated inflammation and angiogenesis.
Vernalization-induced flowering is a cold-relevant adaptation in many species, but little is known about the genetic basis behind in Orchidaceae species. Here, we reported a collection of 15017 expressed sequence tags (ESTs) from the vernalized axillary buds of an Orchidaceae species, Dendrobium nobile, which were assembled for 9616 unique gene clusters. Functional enrichment analysis showed that genes in relation to the responses to stresses, especially in the form of low temperatures, and those involving in protein biosynthesis and chromatin assembly were significantly overrepresented during 40 days of vernalization. Additionally, a total of 59 putative flowering-relevant genes were recognized, including those homologous to known key players in vernalization pathways in temperate cereals or Arabidopsis, such as cereal VRN1, FT/VRN3, and Arabidopsis AGL19. Results from this study suggest that the networks regulating vernalization-induced floral transition are conserved, but just in a part, in D. nobile, temperate cereals, and Arabidopsis.
Detection of DNA methylation has produced promising results as biomarkers for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). However, current panels are limited by an insufficient number of sensitive and specific tumor markers. MicroRNAs (miR) play an important role in tumorigenesis, and may represent a novel panel of molecules for the development of cancer biomarkers. We investigated methylation of three miRNA promoter sites of miR-9 (miR-9-1, miR-9-2, miR-9-3) in 107 human head and neck tissue samples and controls. We found methylations of miR-9-1 and miR-9-3 were higher in oral and oropharyngeal carcinomas than that in laryngeal carcinoma, achieving a combined sensitivity of 63% and 56%, respectively, for these two tumor types, compared to 21% for the laryngeal carcinoma. Quantitative PCR of miR-9 showed reduced expression associated with methylation of miR-9 in tumor tissues. To investigate the functional consequences of miR-9 methylation, we found that miR-9 methylation is correlated with miR-9 expression level in human HNSCC cell lines. Demethylation treatment using 5-aza-deoxycytidine restored its expression in a miR-9 methylated human HNSCC cell line UM-SCC22A. Furthermore, cell proliferation and viability was significantly inhibited, while PTEN expression was elevated after transfection of miR-9 into the UM-SCC22A cell line. In summary, our results suggest that methylations of miR-9-1 and miR-9-3 are sensitive and specific biomarkers for HNSCC, particularly for oral and oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinomas. In addition, miR-9 may function as a tumor suppressor in HNSCC through inhibition of cell proliferation and elevation of tumor suppressor PTEN.
MicroRNA; Methylation; Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma; Biomarkers
Many of the cognitive deficits of normal aging (forgetfulness, distractibility, inflexibility, and impaired executive functions) involve prefrontal cortical (PFC) dysfunction1–4. The PFC guides behavior and thought using working memory5, essential functions in the Information Age. Many PFC neurons hold information in working memory through excitatory networks that can maintain persistent neuronal firing in the absence of external stimulation6. This fragile process is highly dependent on the neurochemical environment7. For example, elevated cAMP signaling reduces persistent firing by opening HCN and KCNQ potassium channels8,9. It is not known if molecular changes associated with normal aging alter the physiological properties of PFC neurons during working memory, as there have been no in vivo recordings from PFC neurons of aged monkeys. Here we characterize the first recordings of this kind, revealing a marked loss of PFC persistent firing with advancing age that can be rescued by restoring an optimal neurochemical environment. Recordings showed an age-related decline in the firing rate of DELAY neurons, while the firing of CUE neurons remained unchanged with age. The memory-related firing of aged DELAY neurons was partially restored to more youthful levels by inhibiting cAMP signaling, or by blocking HCN or KCNQ channels. These findings reveal the cellular basis of age-related cognitive decline in dorsolateral PFC, and demonstrate that physiological integrity can be rescued by addressing the molecular needs of PFC circuits.
prefrontal cortex; working memory; aging; cAMP signaling; HCN channels; KCNQ channels; α2A adrenoceptors
In cancer treatment, apoptosis is a well-recognized cell death mechanism through which cytotoxic agents kill tumor cells. Here we report that dying tumor cells use the apoptotic process to generate potent growth-stimulating signals to stimulate the repopulation of tumors undergoing radiotherapy. Surprisingly, activated caspase 3, a key executioner of apoptosis, plays key roles in the growth stimulation. One downstream effector that caspase 3 regulates is prostaglandin E2, which can potently stimulates growth of surviving tumor cells. Deficiency of caspase 3 either in tumor cells or in tumor stroma caused significant tumor sensitivity to radiotherapy in xenograft or mouse tumors. In human cancer patients, higher levels of activated caspase 3 in tumor tissues are correlated with significantly increased rate of recurrence and deaths. We propose the existence of a “Phoenix Rising” pathway of cell death-induced tumor repopulation in which caspase 3 plays key roles.