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1.  Self-renewal and Multilineage Differentiation of Mouse Dental Epithelial Stem Cells 
Stem cell research  2013;11(3):990-1002.
Understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the self-renewal and differentiation of dental epithelial stem cells (DESCs) that support the unlimited growth potential of mouse incisors is critical for developing novel tooth regenerative therapies and unraveling the pathogenesis of odontogenic tumors. However, analysis of DESC properties and regulation has been limited by the lack of an in vitro assay system and well-documented DESC markers. Here, we describe an in vitro sphere culture system to isolate the DESCs from postnatal mouse incisor cervical loops (CLs) where the DESCs are thought to reside. The dissociated cells from CLs were able to expand and form spheres for multiple generations in the culture system. Lineage tracing indicated that DESC within the spheres were epithelial in origin as evident by lineage tracing. Upon stimulation, the sphere cells differentiated into cytokeratin 14- and amelogenin-expressing and mineral material-producing cells. Compared to the CL tissue, sphere cells expressed high levels of expression of Sca-1, CD49f (also designated as integrin α6), and CD44. Fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) analyses of mouse incisor CL cells further showed that the CD49fBright population was enriched in sphere-forming cells. In addition, the CD49fBright population includes both slow-cycling and Lgr5+ DESCs. The in vitro sphere culture system and identification of CD49fBright as a DESC marker provide a novel plateform for enriching DESCs, interrogating how maintenance, cell fate determination, and differentiation of DESCs are regulated, and developing tooth regenerative therapies.
doi:10.1016/j.scr.2013.06.008
PMCID: PMC3952636  PMID: 23906788
tooth epithelial stem cell; sphere culture; CD49f (integrin α6); ameloblast; cervical loop
2.  Targeting Fibroblast Growth Factor Pathways in Prostate Cancer 
Advanced prostate cancer carries a poor prognosis and novel therapies are needed. Research has focused on identifying mechanisms that promote angiogenesis and cellular proliferation during prostate cancer progression from the primary tumor to bone—the principal site of prostate cancer metastases. One candidate pathway is the fibroblast growth factor (FGF) axis. Aberrant expression of FGF ligands and FGF receptors leads to constitutive activation of multiple downstream pathways involved in prostate cancer progression, including mitogen-activated protein kinase, phosphoinositide 3-kinase, and phospholipase Cγ. The involvement of FGF pathways in multiple mechanisms relevant to prostate tumorigenesis s provides a rationale for the therapeutic blockade of this pathway, and two small-molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitors—dovitinib and nintedanib—are currently in phase 2 clinical development for advanced prostate cancer. Preliminary results from these trials suggest that FGF pathway inhibition represents a promising new strategy to treat castrate-resistant disease.
doi:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-13-1550
PMCID: PMC3926427  PMID: 24052019
fibroblast growth factor; metastatic castrate-resistant prostate cancer; tyrosine kinase inhibitors; dovitinib; nintedanib
3.  FGFR1 Abrogates Inhibitory Effect of Androgen Receptor Concurrent with Induction of Androgen-receptor Variants in Androgen Receptor-negative Prostate Tumor Epithelial Cells 
The Prostate  2011;71(15):1691-1700.
BACKGROUND
Despite dramatic positive effects, there is evidence that the androgen receptor (AR) may negatively influence prostate tumor progression. Understanding the AR repressor function and how it is subverted is of particular importance in anti-androgen and AR intervention strategies.
METHODS
AR, resident FGFR2IIIb and ectopic FGFR1 were expressed by transfection in the AR-negative epithelial cell line DTE that predominates in cell culture of AR-positive androgen-responsive model Dunning R3327 rat prostate tumors. Androgen-responsiveness at transcription was measured by a luciferase reporter. Cell population growth rates were assessed by cell counts, DNA synthesis and expression of cell cycle genes. AR variants (ARVs) were assessed by immunochemistry and nuclease protection of mRNA.
RESULTS
Expression of AR inhibited cell population growth of AR-negative DTE cells at the G1 to S phase of the cell cycle. Ectopic FGFR1, but not resident FGFR2IIIb abrogated the growth inhibitory effects of AR. Appearance of ARVs was coincident with co-expression of FGFR1 and AR and abrogation of the AR-dependent inhibition of cell growth.
CONCLUSIONS
DTE cells may represent nonmalignant AR-negative progenitors whose population is restricted by activation of AR in vivo. Ectopic expression of epithelial FGFR1, a common observation in tumors, overrides the inhibition of AR and thus may contribute to evolution of androgen and AR independent tumors. These results are consistent with the notion that some tumor cells are negatively restricted by AR and are unleased by androgen-deprivation or ectopic expression of FGFR1. ARV’s may play a role in the bypass of the negative restrictions of AR.
doi:10.1002/pros.21386
PMCID: PMC3513346  PMID: 21446013
castration-resistance; fibroblast growth factor signaling; stem cells; tumor suppression; tyrosine kinases
4.  FGFR3-expressing smooth muscle-like stromal cells differentiate in response to FGFR2IIIb-expressing prostate tumor cells and delay tumor progression 
Evolution of unresponsiveness to homeostasis-promoting signals from the microenvironment is a hallmark of malignant tumor cells. In Dunning R3327 model rat prostate tumors that are comprised of distinct stromal and epithelial compartments, progression from non-malignant, androgen-responsive tumors to malignancy is characterized by loss of compartmentation coincident with a loss of resident epithelial cell FGFR2IIIb that receives instructive signals from stromal FGF7 and FGF10. Restoration of FGFR2IIIb to malignant tumor cells restores responsiveness to stromal cells, restores distinct stromal and epithelial compartments and retards malignant progression. Cultured stromal cells from two compartment tumors are comprised of smooth muscle α−actin-positive cells that express predominantly FGFR3 and fibroblast-like cells devoid of α−actin and FGFR3. Here we show that it is primarily the smooth muscle cell-like α−actin-expressing stromal cells that survive, morphologically differentiate and delay tumor incidence and size in the presence of malignant cells in which FGFR2IIIb has been restored. Expression of FGFR3 by transfection in the fibroblast-like stromal cells conferred ability to respond similar to the smooth muscle cell-like stromal cells in which FGFR3 is normally resident. These results highlight the importance of the two-way communication back and forth between stroma and epithelium that is mediated by signaling within the FGFR family during progression to malignancy.
doi:10.1007/s11626-011-9432-5
PMCID: PMC3471788  PMID: 21691921
cell-cell communication; Dunning tumors; tumor microenvironment; prostate cancer; receptor tyrosine kinases; stromal-epithelial interactions; tissue homeostasis
5.  Effects of Obesity on Transcriptomic Changes and Cancer Hallmarks in Estrogen Receptor–Positive Breast Cancer 
Background
Obesity increases the risk of cancer death among postmenopausal women with estrogen receptor–positive (ER+) breast cancer, but the direct evidence for the mechanisms is lacking. The purpose of this study is to demonstrate direct evidence for the mechanisms mediating this epidemiologic phenomenon.
Methods
We analyzed transcriptomic profiles of pretreatment biopsies from a prospective cohort of 137 ER+ breast cancer patients. We generated transgenic (MMTV-TGFα;A y /a) and orthotopic/syngeneic (A y /a) obese mouse models to investigate the effect of obesity on tumorigenesis and tumor progression and to determine biological mechanisms using whole-genome transcriptome microarrays and protein analyses. We used a coculture system to examine the impact of adipocytes/adipokines on breast cancer cell proliferation. All statistical tests were two-sided.
Results
Functional transcriptomic analysis of patients revealed the association of obesity with 59 biological functional changes (P < .05) linked to cancer hallmarks. Gene enrichment analysis revealed enrichment of AKT-target genes (P = .04) and epithelial–mesenchymal transition genes (P = .03) in patients. Our obese mouse models demonstrated activation of the AKT/mTOR pathway in obesity-accelerated mammary tumor growth (3.7- to 7.0-fold; P < .001; n = 6–7 mice per group). Metformin or everolimus can suppress obesity-induced secretion of adipokines and breast tumor formation and growth (0.5-fold, P = .04; 0.3-fold, P < .001, respectively; n = 6–8 mice per group). The coculture model revealed that adipocyte-secreted adipokines (eg, TIMP-1) regulate adipocyte-induced breast cancer cell proliferation and invasion. Metformin suppress adipocyte-induced cell proliferation and adipocyte-secreted adipokines in vitro.
Conclusions
Adipokine secretion and AKT/mTOR activation play important roles in obesity-accelerated breast cancer aggressiveness in addition to hyperinsulinemia, estrogen signaling, and inflammation. Metformin and everolimus have potential for therapeutic interventions of ER+ breast cancer patients with obesity.
doi:10.1093/jnci/dju158
PMCID: PMC4110474  PMID: 24957076
6.  Sequence Analysis of LRPPRC and Its SEC1 Domain Interaction Partners Suggests Roles in Cytoskeletal Organization, Vesicular Trafficking, Nucleocytosolic Shuttling and Chromosome Activity 
Genomics  2002;79(1):124-136.
LRPPRC (originally called LRP130) is an intracellular 130-kDa leucine-rich protein that co-purifies with the FGF receptor from liver cell extracts and has been detected in diverse multi-protein complexes from the cell membrane, cytoskeleton and nucleus. Here we report results of a sequence homology analysis of LRPPRC and its SEC1 domain interactive partners. Twenty-three copies of tandem repeats that are similar to PPR, TPR and HEAT repeats characterize the LRPPRC sequence. The N-terminus exhibits multiple copies of leucine-rich nuclear transport signals followed by ENTH, DUF28 and SEC1 homology domains. We used the SEC1 domain to trap interactive partners expressed from a human liver cDNA library. Interactive C19ORF5 (XP_038600) exhibited a strong homology to microtubule-associated proteins (MAP) and a potential arginine-rich mRNA binding motif. UXT (XP_033860) exhibited α-helical properties homologous to the actin-associated spectrin repeat and L/I heptad repeats in mobile transcription factors. C6ORF34 (XP_004305) was homologous to the non-DNA binding C-terminus of the E. coli Rob transcription factor. CECR2 (AAK15343) exhibited a transcription factor AT-hook motif next to two bromodomains and a homology to guanylate-binding protein 1. Taken together these features suggest a regulatory role of LRPPRC and its SEC1 domain-interactive partners in integration of cytoskeletal networks with vesicular trafficking, nucleocytosolic shuttling, chromosome remodeling and transcription.
doi:10.1006/geno.2001.6679
PMCID: PMC3241999  PMID: 11827465
FGF receptor; LRP repeat; microtubule-associated proteins; CECR2; chromosome remodeling; exocytosis; secretion; mobile transcription factors
7.  Dual function microtubule- and mitochondria-associated proteins mediate mitotic cell death 
Background
Survival and evolution of aneuploid cells after an asymmetric segregation of chromosomes at mitosis may be the common initiating event and underlying cause of the genetic diversity and adaptability of cancers. We hypothesize that mechanisms exist to detect impending aneuploidy and prevent it before completion of an aberrant mitosis.
Methods
The distribution of isoforms of C19ORF5, an interactive partner with mitochondria-associated LRPPRC and tumor suppressor RASSF1A, state of spindle microtubules and mitochondrial aggregation was analyzed in synchronized mitotic cells and cells stalled in mitosis after treatment with paclitaxel.
Results
C19ORF5 distributed broadly across the mitotic spindle and reversibly accumulated during reversible mitotic arrest. Prolonged stabilization of microtubules caused an accumulation of a C19ORF5 product with dual MAP and MtAP properties that caused irreversible aggregation of mitochondria and death of mitotic cells.
Conclusion
Dual function microtubule-associated (MAP) and mitochondria-associated (MtAP) proteins generated by prolonged mitotic arrest trigger mitochondrial-induced mitotic cell death. This is a potential mechanism to prevent minimal survivable aneuploidy resulting from an aberrant cell division and cancers in general at their earliest common origin.
doi:10.3233/CLO-2009-0484
PMCID: PMC3226783  PMID: 19759419
Aneuploidy; C19ORF5; genetic instability; LRPPRC; microtubule dynamics; mitochondrial dynamics; RASSF1A; paclitaxel; tumor suppression; mitochondria aggregation
8.  Distinct Structural Domains within C19ORF5 Support Association with Stabilized Microtubules and Mitochondrial Aggregation and Genome Destruction 
Cancer research  2005;65(10):4191-4201.
C19ORF5 is a sequence homologue of microtubule-associated proteins MAP1A/MAP1B of unknown function, except for its association with mitochondria-associated proteins and the paclitaxel-like microtubule stabilizer and candidate tumor suppressor RASSF1A. Here, we show that when overexpressed in mammalian cells the recombinant 393-amino acid residue COOH terminus of C19ORF5 (C19ORF5C) exhibited four types of distribution patterns proportional to expression level. Although normally distributed throughout the cytosol without microtubular association, C19ORF5C specifically accumulated on stabilized microtubules in paclitaxel-treated cells and interacted directly with paclitaxel-stabilized microtubules in vitro. The native 113-kDa full-length C19ORF5 and a shorter 56-kDa form similarly associated with stabilized microtubules in liver cells and stabilized microtubules from their lysates. As C19ORF5 accumulated, it appeared on mitochondria and progressively induced distinct perinuclear aggregates of mitochondria. C19ORF5 overlapped with cytochrome c-deficient mitochondria with reduced membrane potential. Mitochondrial aggregation resulted in gross degradation of DNA, a cell death–related process we refer to as mitochondrial aggregation and genome destruction (MAGD). Deletion muta-genesis revealed that the C19ORF5 hyperstabilized microtubule-binding domain resides in a highly basic sequence of <100 residues, whereas the MAGD activity resides further downstream in a distinct 25-residue sequence (F967–A991). Our results suggest that C19ORF5 mediates communication between the microtubular cytoskeleton and mitochondria in control of cell death and defective genome destruction through distinct bifunctional structural domains. The accumulation of C19ORF5 and resultant MAGD signaled by hyperstabilized microtubules may be involved in the tumor suppression activity of RASSF1A, a natural microtubule stabilizer and interaction partner with C19ORF5, and the taxoid drug family.
doi:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-04-3865
PMCID: PMC3225222  PMID: 15899810
9.  FXR-induced secretion of FGF15/19 inhibits CYP27 expression in cholangiocytes through p38 kinase pathway 
Cholangiocytes, bile duct lining cells, actively adjust the amount of cholesterol and bile acids in bile through expression of enzymes and channels involved in transportation and metabolism of the cholesterol and bile acids. Herein, we report molecular mechanisms regulating bile acid biosynthesis in cholangiocytes. Among the cytochrome p450 (Cyp) enzymes involved in bile acid biosynthesis, sterol 27-hydroxylase (Cyp27) that is the rate-limiting enzyme for the acidic pathway of bile acid biosynthesis expressed in cholangiocytes. Expression of other Cyp enzymes for the basic bile acid biosynthesis was hardly detected. The Cyp27 expression was negatively regulated by a hydrophobic bile acid through farnesoid X receptor (FXR), a nuclear receptor activated by bile acid ligands. Activated FXR exerted the negative effects by inducing an expression of fibroblast growth factor 15/19 (FGF15/19). Similar to its repressive function against cholesterol 7α-hydroxylase (Cyp7a1) expression in hepatocytes, secreted FGF15/19 triggered Cyp27 repression in cholangiocytes through interaction with its cognate receptor fibroblast growth factor receptor 4 (FGFR4). The involvements of FXR and FGFR4 for the bile acid-induced Cyp27 repression were confirmed in vivo using knockout mouse models. Different from the signaling in hepatocytes, wherein the FGF15/19-induced repression signaling is mediated by c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK), FGF15/19-induced Cyp27 repression in cholangiocytes was mediated by p38 kinase. Thus, the results collectively suggest that cholangiocytes may be able to actively regulate bile acid biosynthesis in cholangiocytes and even hepatocyte by secreting FGF15/19. We suggest the presence of cholangiocyte-mediated intrahepatic feedback loop in addition to the enterohepatic feedback loop against bile acid biosynthesis in the liver.
doi:10.1007/s00424-013-1364-3
PMCID: PMC3967003  PMID: 24068255
Cholangiocyte; Cyp27; p38 kinase
10.  Deficiency of metabolic regulator FGFR4 delays breast cancer progression through systemic and microenvironmental metabolic alterations 
Cancer & Metabolism  2013;1:21.
Background
Endocrine FGF21 and FGF19 target adipocytes and hepatocytes through betaKlotho (KLB) and FGFR tyrosine kinases effecting glucose, lipid and energy metabolism. Both factors alleviate obesity and metabolic abnormalities which are contributing factors to breast tumor progression. Genomic manipulation of hepatic FGFR4 has uncovered roles of endocrine FGF signaling in both metabolic and cellular homeostasis. Here we determined whether systemic and microenvironmental metabolic alterations caused by the FGFR4 deficiency affect tumorigenesis in breast where FGFR4 is negligible. Breast tumors were induced in the bigenic mice with ablation of FGFR4 and overexpression of TGFα that activates Her2 in the ductal and lobular epithelium surrounded by adipocytes. Mammary tumorigenesis and alterations in systemic and breast microenvironmental metabolic parameters and regulatory pathways were analyzed.
Results
Ablation of FGFR4 had no effect on cellular homeostasis and Her2 activity of normal breast tissue. However, the absence of FGFR4 reduced TGFα–driven breast tumor incidence and progression and improved host survival. Notable increases in hepatic and serum FGF21, ileal FGF15/19, adiponectin and adipsin, and decreases in systemic Fetuin A, IGF-1, IGFBP-1, RBP4 and TIMP1 were observed. The ablation affected adipogenesis and secretory function of adipocytes as well as lipogenesis, glycolysis and energy homeostasis associated with the functions of mitochondria, ER and peroxisomes in the breast and tumor foci. Treatment with a chemical inhibitor of NAMPT involved in the pathways inhibited the growth and survival of breast tumor cells and tumor-initiating cell-containing spheres. The FGFR4 ablation also caused elevation of inflammatory factors in the breast.
Conclusions
Although the primary role of FGFR4 in metabolism occurs in hepatocytes, its ablation results in a net inhibitory effect on mammary tumor progression. We suggest that the tumor-delaying effect of FGFR4 deficiency may be in large part due to elevated anti-obesogenic FGF21 that triggers tumor-suppressing signals from both peripheral and breast adipocytes. The predominant changes in metabolic pathways suggested roles of metabolic effects from both peripheral and breast adipocytes on metabolic reprogramming in breast epithelial cells that contribute to the suppression of tumor progression. These results provide new insights into the contribution of systemic and microenvironmental metabolic effects controlled by endocrine FGF signaling to breast carcinogenesis.
doi:10.1186/2049-3002-1-21
PMCID: PMC4178208  PMID: 24279986
Adipokines; Breast cancer; endocrine fibroblast growth factor (eFGF); Fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR); Inflammatory response; Metabolism; Microenvironmental and systemic effects; Transforming growth factor alpha (TGFα)
11.  Distinct Roles for Fibroblast Growth Factor Signaling in Cerebellar Development and Medulloblastoma 
Oncogene  2012;32(35):10.1038/onc.2012.440.
Cerebellar granule neurons are the most abundant neurons in the brain, and a critical element of the circuitry that controls motor coordination and learning. In addition, granule neuron precursors (GNPs) are thought to represent cells of origin for medulloblastoma, the most common malignant brain tumor in children. Thus, understanding the signals that control the growth and differentiation of these cells has important implications for neurobiology and neuro-oncology. Our previous studies have shown that proliferation of GNPs is regulated by Sonic hedgehog (Shh), and that aberrant activation of the Shh pathway can lead to medulloblastoma. Moreover, we have demonstrated that Shh-dependent proliferation of GNPs and medulloblastoma cells can be blocked by basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF). But while the mitogenic effects of Shh signaling have been confirmed in vivo, the inhibitory effects of bFGF have primarily been studied in culture. Here we demonstrate that mice lacking FGF signaling in GNPs exhibit no discernable changes in GNP proliferation or differentiation. In contrast, activation of FGF signaling has a potent effect on tumor growth: treatment of medulloblastoma cells with bFGF prevents them from forming tumors following transplantation, and inoculation of tumor-bearing mice with bFGF markedly inhibits tumor growth in vivo. These results suggest that activators of FGF signaling may be useful for targeting medulloblastoma and other Shh-dependent tumors.
doi:10.1038/onc.2012.440
PMCID: PMC3808889  PMID: 23045271
12.  FRS2α-mediated FGF signals suppress premature differentiation of cardiac stem cells through regulating autophagy activity 
Circulation research  2011;110(4):e29-e39.
Rational
Although the fibroblast growth factor (FGF) signaling axis plays important roles in heart development, the molecular mechanism by which the FGF regulates cardiogenesis is not fully understood.
Objective
To investigate the mechanism by which FGF signaling regulates cardiac progenitor cell differentiation.
Methods and results
Using mice with tissue-specific ablation of FGF receptors and FGF receptor substrate 2α (Frs2α) in heart progenitor cells, we demonstrate that that disruption of FGF signaling leads to premature differentiation of cardiac progenitor cells in mice. Using embryoid body (EB) cultures of mouse embryonic stem cells (ESCs), we reveal that FGF signaling promotes mesoderm differentiation in ESCs, but inhibits cardiomyocyte differentiation of the mesoderm cells at later stages. Furthermore, we also report that inhibiting FRS2α-mediated signals increases autophagy and that activating autophagy promotes myocardial differentiation and vice versa.
Conclusions
The results indicate that the FGF/FRS2α-mediated signals prevent premature differentiation of heart progenitor cells through suppressing autophagy. The findings provide the first evidence that autophagy plays a role in heart progenitor differentiation.
doi:10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.111.255950
PMCID: PMC3677753  PMID: 22207710
FGF; autophagy; heart development; second heart field; premature differentiation; heart defect
13.  Activation of Liver FGF21 in hepatocarcinogenesis and during hepatic stress 
BMC Gastroenterology  2013;13:67.
Background
FGF21 is a promising intervention therapy for metabolic diseases as fatty liver, obesity and diabetes. Recent results suggest that FGF21 is highly expressed in hepatocytes under metabolic stress caused by starvation, hepatosteatosis, obesity and diabetes. Hepatic FGF21 elicits metabolic benefits by targeting adipocytes of the peripheral adipose tissue through the transmembrane FGFR1-KLB complex. Ablation of adipose FGFR1 resulted in increased hepatosteatosis under starvation conditions and abrogation of the anti-obesogenic action of FGF21. These results indicate that FGF21 may be a stress responsive hepatokine that targets adipocytes and adipose tissue for alleviating the damaging effects of stress on the liver. However, it is unclear whether hepatic induction of FGF21 is limited to only metabolic stress, or to a more general hepatic stress resulting from liver pathogenesis and injury.
Methods
In this survey-based study, we examine the nature of hepatic FGF21 activation in liver tissues and tissue sections from several mouse liver disease models and human patients, by quantitative PCR, immunohistochemistry, protein chemistry, and reporter and CHIP assays. The liver diseases include genetic and chemical-induced HCC, liver injury and regeneration, cirrhosis, and other types of liver diseases.
Results
We found that mouse FGF21 is induced in response to chemical (DEN treatment) and genetic-induced hepatocarcinogenesis (disruptions in LKB1, p53, MST1/2, SAV1 and PTEN). It is also induced in response to loss of liver mass due to partial hepatectomy followed by regeneration. The induction of FGF21 expression is potentially under the control of stress responsive transcription factors p53 and STAT3. Serum FGF21 levels correlate with FGF21 expression in hepatocytes. In patients with hepatitis, fatty degeneration, cirrhosis and liver tumors, FGF21 levels in hepatocytes or phenotypically normal hepatocytes are invariably elevated compared to normal health subjects.
Conclusion
FGF21 is an inducible hepatokine and could be a biomarker for normal hepatocyte function. Activation of its expression is a response of functional hepatocytes to a broad spectrum of pathological changes that impose both cellular and metabolic stress on the liver. Taken together with our recent data, we suggest that hepatic FGF21 is a general stress responsive factor that targets adipose tissue for normalizing local and systemic metabolic parameters while alleviating the overload and damaging effects imposed by the pathogenic stress on the liver. This study therefore provides a rationale for clinical biomarker studies in humans.
doi:10.1186/1471-230X-13-67
PMCID: PMC3637159  PMID: 23590285
Adipose tissue; Biomarker; Endocrine FGF; Fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21); Hepatic expression; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Hepatocytes; Liver disease; Metabolism
14.  The fibroblast growth factor signaling axis controls cardiac stem cell differentiation through regulating autophagy 
Autophagy  2012;8(4):690-691.
The fibroblast growth factor (FGF) signaling axis plays important roles in heart development. Yet, the molecular mechanism by which the FGF regulates cardiogenesis is not fully understood. Using genetically engineered mouse and in vitro cultured embryoid body (EB) models, we demonstrate that FGF signaling suppresses premature differentiation of heart progenitor cells, as well as autophagy in outflow tract (OFT) myocardiac cells. The FGF also promotes mesoderm differentiation in embryonic stem cells (ESCs) but inhibits cardiomyocyte differentiation of the mesoderm cells at later stages. Furthermore, inhibition of FGF signaling increases myocardial differentiation and autophagy in both ex vivo cultured embryos and EBs, whereas activation of autophagy promotes myocardial differentiation. Thus, a link between FGF signals preventing premature differentiation of heart progenitor cells and suppression of autophagy has been established. These findings provide the first evidence that autophagy plays a role in heart progenitor differentiation, and suggest a new venue to regulate stem/progenitor cell differentiation.
doi:10.4161/auto.19290
PMCID: PMC3405844  PMID: 22302007
FGF; autophagy; heart defect; heart development; premature differentiation; second heart field
15.  MAP1S enhances autophagy to suppress tumorigenesis 
Autophagy  2012;8(2):278-280.
Microtubule-associated protein 1 small form (MAP1S; originally named C19ORF5) was identified as serving as linkers to connect mitochondria with microtubules for trafficking, and to bridge the autophagy machinery with microtubules and mitochondria to affect autophagosomal biogenesis and degradation. We found that MAP1S levels become elevated immediately in response to diethylnitrosamine-induced or genome instability-driven metabolic stress in a murine model of hepatocarcinoma. Elevation of MAP1S enhances autophagy to remove p62-associated aggresomes and dysfunctional organelles that trigger DNA double-strand (DSB) breaks and genome instability. The early accumulation of an unstable genome prior to signs of tumorigenesis suggested that genome instability causes tumorigenesis. After tumorigenesis, tumor development then triggers the activation of autophagy to reduce genome instability in tumor foci. We concluded that an increase in MAP1S levels triggers autophagy in order to suppress genome instability so that both the incidence of diethylnitrosamine-induced hepatocarcinogenesis and malignant progression are suppressed. Thus, a link between MAP1S-enhanced autophagy and suppression of genomic instability and tumorigenesis has been established.
doi:10.4161/auto.8.2.18939
PMCID: PMC3336082  PMID: 22301994
autophagy; C19ORF5; genome instability; hepatocarcinomas; LRPPRC; MAP1S; microtubules; mitochondria; p62; RASSF1A
16.  Stressed Liver and Muscle Call on Adipocytes with FGF21 
Fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21) is an emerging regulator of local and systemic metabolic homeostasis. Treatment with pharmacological levels of FGF21 alleviates obesity and associated metabolic diseases including diabetes. However, beyond anti-obesogenic effects, the normal roles and underlying mechanisms of FGF21 as an endocrine hormone remain unclear. A recent wave of studies has revealed that FGF21 is a stress-induced endocrine factor in liver, muscle, and other tissues that targets adipose tissue and adipocytes through the FGFR1-betaKlotho complex. Adipose tissues and adipocytes within diverse tissues respond with metabolites and adipokine signals that affect functions of body tissues systemically and cells within the local microenvironment adjacent to adipocytes. Normally this is to prevent impaired tissue-specific function and damage to diverse tissues secreting FGF21 in response to chronic stress. Therefore, diverse stressed tissues and the adipose tissue and adipocytes constitute a beneficial endocrine and paracrine communication network through FGF21. Here we attempt to unify these developments with beneficial pharmacological effects of FGF21 on obesity in respect to inter-organ stress communication and mechanisms.
doi:10.3389/fendo.2013.00194
PMCID: PMC3866528  PMID: 24385972
diabetes; FGF21; adipose FGFR1; obesity; stress response
17.  Autophagy Enhanced by Microtubule and Mitochondrion-associated MAP1S Suppresses Genome Instability and Hepatocarcinogenesis 
Cancer research  2011;71(24):7537-7546.
Dysfunctional autophagy is associated with tumorigenesis, yet the relationship between the two processes remains unclear. Here, we show that MAP1S levels immediately become elevated in response to diethylnitrosamine-induced or genome instability-driven metabolic stress in a murine model of hepatocarcinoma. Upregulation of MAP1S enhanced autophagy to remove aggresomes and dysfunctional organelles that trigger DNA double strand breaks and genome instability. The early accumulation of an unstable genome prior to signs of tumorigenesis suggested that genome instability caused tumorigenesis. After tumorigenesis, tumor development then triggered the activation of autophagy to reduce genome instability in tumor foci. We therefore conclude that an increase in MAP1S levels triggers autophagy in order to suppress genome instability, so that both the incidence of diethylnitrosamine-induced hepatocarcinogenesis and malignant progression are suppressed. Taken together, the data establish a link between MAP1S-enhanced autophagy and suppression of genomic instability and tumorigenesis.
doi:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-11-2170
PMCID: PMC3242898  PMID: 22037873
18.  Control of lipid metabolism by adipocyte FGFR1-mediated adipohepatic communication during hepatic stress 
Background
Endocrine FGF19 and FGF21 exert their effects on metabolic homeostasis through fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) and co-factor betaKlotho (KLB). Ileal FGF19 regulates bile acid metabolism through specifically FGFR4-KLB in hepatocytes where FGFR1 is not significant. Both FGF19 and FGF21 activate FGFR1-KLB whose function predominates in adipocytes. Recent studies using administration of FGF19 and FGF21 and genetic ablation of KLB or adipocyte FGFR1 indicate that FGFR1-KLB mediates the response of adipocytes to both FGF21 and FGF19. Here we show that adipose FGFR1 regulates lipid metabolism through direct effect on adipose tissue and indirect effects on liver under starvation conditions that cause hepatic stress.
Methods
We employed adipocyte-specific ablations of FGFR1 and FGFR2 genes in mice, and analyzed metabolic consequences in adipose tissue, liver and systemic parameters under normal, fasting and starvation conditions.
Results
Under normal conditions, the ablation of adipose FGFR1 had little effect on adipocytes, but caused shifts in expression of hepatic genes involved in lipid metabolism. Starvation conditions precipitated a concurrent elevation of serum triglycerides and non-esterified fatty acids, and increased hepatic steatosis and adipose lipolysis in the FGFR1-deficient mice. Little effect on glucose or ketone bodies due to the FGFR1 deficiency was observed.
Conclusions
Our results suggest an adipocyte-hepatocyte communication network mediated by adipocyte FGFR1 that concurrently dampens hepatic lipogenesis and adipocyte lipolysis. We propose that this serves overall to mete out and extend lipid reserves for neural fuels (glucose and ketone bodies), while at the same time governing extent of hepatosteatosis during metabolic extremes and other conditions causing hepatic stress.
doi:10.1186/1743-7075-9-94
PMCID: PMC3545967  PMID: 23106963
Adipose tissue; Fibroblast growth factor; FGF; Fibroblast growth factor receptor; FGFR; Hepatic steatosis; Hepatic stress; Lipid metabolism; Starvation
19.  Differential Specificity of Endocrine FGF19 and FGF21 to FGFR1 and FGFR4 in Complex with KLB 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):e33870.
Background
Recent studies suggest that betaKlotho (KLB) and endocrine FGF19 and FGF21 redirect FGFR signaling to regulation of metabolic homeostasis and suppression of obesity and diabetes. However, the identity of the predominant metabolic tissue in which a major FGFR-KLB resides that critically mediates the differential actions and metabolism effects of FGF19 and FGF21 remain unclear.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We determined the receptor and tissue specificity of FGF21 in comparison to FGF19 by using direct, sensitive and quantitative binding kinetics, and downstream signal transduction and expression of early response gene upon administration of FGF19 and FGF21 in mice. We found that FGF21 binds FGFR1 with much higher affinity than FGFR4 in presence of KLB; while FGF19 binds both FGFR1 and FGFR4 in presence of KLB with comparable affinity. The interaction of FGF21 with FGFR4-KLB is very weak even at high concentration and could be negligible at physiological concentration. Both FGF19 and FGF21 but not FGF1 exhibit binding affinity to KLB. The binding of FGF1 is dependent on where FGFRs are present. Both FGF19 and FGF21 are unable to displace the FGF1 binding, and conversely FGF1 cannot displace FGF19 and FGF21 binding. These results indicate that KLB is an indispensable mediator for the binding of FGF19 and FGF21 to FGFRs that is not required for FGF1. Although FGF19 can predominantly activate the responses of the liver and to a less extent the adipose tissue, FGF21 can do so significantly only in the adipose tissue and adipocytes. Among several metabolic and endocrine tissues, the response of adipose tissue to FGF21 is predominant, and can be blunted by the ablation of KLB or FGFR1.
Conclusions
Our results indicate that unlike FGF19, FGF21 is unable to bind FGFR4-KLB complex with affinity comparable to FGFR1-KLB, and therefore, at physiological concentration less likely to directly and significantly target the liver where FGFR4-KLB predominantly resides. However, both FGF21 and FGF19 have the potential to activate responses of primarily the adipose tissue where FGFR1-KLB resides.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0033870
PMCID: PMC3307775  PMID: 22442730
20.  Robust autophagy/mitophagy persists during mitosis 
Cell cycle (Georgetown, Tex.)  2009;8(10):1616-1620.
From microscopic observations of autophagosome content it has been argued that autophagy is shut down during mitosis to protect the relative short-lived organelles spindle and chromosomes from the process while they are contiguous with cytosol. However, without autophagy, buildup of dysfunctional mitochondria arising from the intense energy demands of mitosis potentially poses a hazard to accurate partition of chromosomes. Here we show using biochemical markers of autophagosomes and mitophagosomes and a blockade at the lysosomal clearance step that autophagy/mitophagy persists during mitosis at robust levels equal to interphase. This suggests a mechanism that insulates normal spindle and chromosomes from autophagy and potentially recognition of defects in spindle and chromosomes by the autophagic process.
PMCID: PMC3230076  PMID: 19411827
aneuploidy; cell synchronization; citrate synthase; LC3; lysosomal inhibitor; mitochondrial mass; mitophagosome; mitotic cell death; mitotic spindle; nocodazole
21.  The NMDAR subunit NR3A interacts with microtubule-associated protein 1S in the brain 
When screening a brain cDNA library, we found that the N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor subunit NR3A binds to microtubule-associated protein (MAP) 1S/chromosome 19 open reading frame 5 (C19ORF5). The interaction was confirmed in vitro and in vivo, and binding of MAP1S was localized to the membrane-proximal part of the NR3A C-terminus. MAP1S belongs to the same family as MAP1A and MAP1B, and was found to be abundant in both postnatal and adult rat brain. In hippocampal neurons the distribution-pattern of MAP1S resembled that of β-tubulin III, but a fraction of the protein colocalized with synaptic markers synapsin and postsynaptic density protein 95 (PSD95), in β-tubulin III-negative filopodia-like protrusions. There was coexistance between MAP1S and NR3A immunoreactivity in neurite shafts and occasionally in filopodia-like processes. MAP1S potentially links NR3A to the cytoskeleton, and may stabilize NR3A-containing receptors at the synapse and regulate their movement between synaptic and extrasynaptic sites.
doi:10.1016/j.bbrc.2007.06.179
PMCID: PMC3229768  PMID: 17658481
N-Methyl-d-aspartate receptor; NR3A; Microtubule associated-protein; MAP1S; C19ORF5
22.  UXT (Ubiquitously Expressed Transcript) causes mitochondrial aggregation 
Mitochondria are the bioenergetic and metabolic centers in eukaryotic cells and play a central role in apoptosis. Mitochondrial distribution is controlled by the microtubular cytoskeleton. The perinuclear aggregation of mitochondria is one of the characteristics associated with some types of cell death. Control of mitochondrial aggregation particularly related to cell death events is poorly understood. Previously, we identified ubiquitously expressed transcript (UXT) as a potential component of mitochondrial associated LRPPRC, a multidomain organizer that potentially integrates mitochondria and the microtubular cytoskeleton with chromosome remodeling. Here we show that when overexpressed in mammalian cells, green fluorescent protein-tagged UXT (GFP-UXT) exhibits four types of distribution patterns that are proportional to the protein level, and increase with time. UXT initially was dispersed in the extranuclear cytosol, then appeared in punctate cytosolic dots, then an intense perinuclear aggregation that eventually invaded and disrupted the nucleus. The punctate cytosolic aggregates of GFP-UXT coincided with aggregates of mitochondria and LRPPRC. We conclude that increasing concentrations of UXT contributes to progressive aggregation of mitochondria and cell death potentially through association of UXT with LRPPRC.
doi:10.1007/s11626-007-9016-6
PMCID: PMC3229262  PMID: 17554592
Apoptosis; Cell death; C19ORF5; LRPPRC; RASSF1A; Prefoldin; Microtubule-associated proteins
23.  NOVEL COMPLEX INTEGRATING MITOCHONDRIA AND THE MICROTUBULAR CYTOSKELETON WITH CHROMOSOME REMODELING AND TUMOR SUPPRESSOR RASSF1 DEDUCED BY IN SILICO HOMOLOGY ANALYSIS, INTERACTION CLONING IN YEAST, AND COLOCALIZATION IN CULTURED CELLS 
Summary
Availability of the complete sequence of the human genome and sequence homology analysis has accelerated new protein discovery and clues to protein function. Protein–protein interaction cloning suggests multisubunit complexes and pathways. Here, we combine these molecular approaches with cultured cell colocalization analysis to suggest a novel complex and a pathway that integrate the mitochondrial location and the microtubular cytoskeleton with chromosome remodeling, apoptosis, and tumor suppression based on a novel leucine-rich pentatricopeptide repeat-motif–containing protein (LRPPRC) that copurified with the fibroblast growth factor receptor complex. One round of interaction cloning and sequence homology analysis defined a primary LRPPRC complex with novel subunits cat eye syndrome chromosome region candidate 2 (CECR2), ubiquitously expressed transcript (UXT), and chromosome 19 open reading frames 5 (C19ORF5) but still of unknown function. Immuno, deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), and green fluorescent protein (GFP) tag colocalization analyses revealed that LRPPRC appears in both cytosol and nuclei of cultured cells, colocalizes with mitochondria and β-tubulin rather than with α-actin in the cytosol of interphase cells, and exhibits phase-dependent organization around separating chromosomes in mitotic cells. GFP–tagged CECR2B was strictly nuclear and colocalized with condensed DNA in apoptotic cells. GFP–tagged UXT and GFP–tagged C19ORF5 appeared in both cytosol and nuclei and colocalized with LRPPRC and β-tubulin. Cells exhibiting nuclear C19ORF5 were apoptotic. Screening for interactive substrates with the primary LRPPRC substrates in the human liver complementary DNA library revealed that CECR2B interacted with chromatin-associated TFIID-associated protein TAFII30 and ribonucleic acid splicing factor SRP40, UXT bridged to CBP/p300–binding factor CITED2 and kinetochore-associated factor BUB3, and C19ORF5 complexed with mitochondria-associated NADH dehydrogenase I and cytochrome c oxidase I. C19ORF5 also interacted with RASSF1, providing a bridge to apoptosis and tumor suppression.
PMCID: PMC3225227  PMID: 12762840
apoptosis; chromosome separation; cytokinesis; genetic instability; microtubule-associated proteins; nucleo-cytosolic shuttling; tumor suppressor
24.  Putative tumor suppressor RASSF1 interactive protein and cell death inducer C19ORF5 is a DNA binding protein 
C19ORF5 is a homologue of microtubule-associated protein MAP1B that interacts with natural paclitaxel-like microtubule stabilizer and candidate tumor suppressor RASSF1A. Although normally distributed throughout the cytosol, C19ORF5 specifically associates with microtubules stabilized by paclitaxel or RASSF1A. At sufficiently high concentrations, C19ORF5 causes mitochondrial aggregation and genome destruction (MAGD). The accumulation on hyperstabilized microtubules coupled to MAGD has been proposed to mediate tumor suppression by the taxoid drug family and RASSF1A. Here, we show that the C-terminus of C19ORF5 (C19ORF5C) interacts with mitochondria-associated DNA binding protein, LRPPRC, in liver cells. Like LRPPRC, C19ORF5 also binds DNA with an affinity and specificity sufficient to be of utility in DNA affinity chromatography to purify homogeneous recombinant C19ORF5C from bacterial extracts. Homogeneous C19ORF5 exhibited no intrinsic DNase activity. Deletion mutagenesis indicated that C19ORF5 selectively binds double stranded DNA through its microtubule binding domain. These results suggest C19ORF5 as a DNA binding protein similar to microtubule-associated proteins tau and MAP2.
doi:10.1016/j.bbrc.2005.05.006
PMCID: PMC3225229  PMID: 15907802
Aneuploidy; Apoptosis; DNA binding; LRPPRC; MAP1B; Microtubule-associated proteins; Mitochondria; Mitotic spindle; Paclitaxel; RASSF1A; VCY2IP1
25.  FRS2α is Essential for the Fibroblast Growth Factor to Regulate the mTOR Pathway and Autophagy in Mouse Embryonic Fibroblasts 
Although the fibroblast growth factor (FGF) signaling axis plays important roles in cell survival, proliferation, and differentiation, the molecular mechanism underlying how the FGF elicits these diverse regulatory signals is not well understood. By using the Frs2α null mouse embryonic fibroblast (MEF) in conjunction with inhibitors to multiple signaling pathways, here we report that the FGF signaling axis activates mTOR via the FGF receptor substrate 2α (FRS2α)-mediated PI3K/Akt pathway, and suppresses autophagy activity in MEFs. In addition, the PI3K/Akt pathway regulated mTOR is crucial for the FGF signaling axis to suppress autophagy in MEFs. Since autophagy has been proposed to play important roles in cell survival, proliferation, and differentiation, the findings suggest a novel mechanism for the FGF signaling axis to transmit regulatory signals to downstream effectors.
PMCID: PMC3174388  PMID: 21927580
FGF; autophagy; mouse embryonic fibroblast; receptor tyrosine kinase; cell signaling.

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