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1.  Histone deacetylase inhibition overcomes drug resistance through a miRNA-dependent mechanism 
Molecular cancer therapeutics  2013;12(10):10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-13-0418.
The treatment of specific tumor cell lines with poly- and oligoamine analogues results in a super-induction of polyamine catabolism that is associated with cytotoxicity; however, other tumor cells demonstrate resistance to analogue treatment. Recent data indicate that some of these analogues also have direct epigenetic effects. We therefore sought to determine the effects of combining specific analogues with an epigenetic targeting agent in phenotypically resistant human lung cancer cell lines. We demonstrate that the histone deacetylase inhibitor MS-275 when combined with (N1, N11)-bisethylnorspermine (BENSpm) or (N1, N12)-bis(ethyl)-cis-6,7-dehydrospermine tetrahydrochloride (PG-11047) synergistically induces the polyamine catabolic enzyme spermidine/spermine N1-acetyltransferase (SSAT), a major determinant of sensitivity to the antitumor analogues. Evidence indicates that the mechanism of this synergy includes reactivation of miR-200a, which targets and destabilizes kelch-like ECH-associated protein 1 (KEAP1) mRNA, resulting in the translocation and binding of nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like 2 (NRF2) to the polyamine-responsive element of the SSAT promoter. This transcriptional stimulation combined with positive regulation of SSAT mRNA and protein by the analogues results in decreased intracellular concentrations of natural polyamines and growth inhibition. The finding that an epigenetic targeting agent is capable of inducing a rate-limiting step in polyamine catabolism to overcome resistance to the antitumor analogues represents a completely novel chemotherapeutic approach. This is also the first demonstration of miRNA-mediated regulation of the polyamine catabolic pathway. Furthermore, the individual agents used in this study have been investigated clinically; therefore, translation of these combinations into the clinical setting holds promise.
PMCID: PMC3808125  PMID: 23943804
miR-200a; NRF2; spermidine/spermine N1-acetyltransferase SSAT; MS-275; KEAP1
2.  Sequencing of Candidate Chromosome Instability Genes in Endometrial Cancers Reveals Somatic Mutations in ESCO1, CHTF18, and MRE11A 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e63313.
Most endometrial cancers can be classified histologically as endometrioid, serous, or clear cell. Non-endometrioid endometrial cancers (NEECs; serous and clear cell) are the most clinically aggressive of the three major histotypes and are characterized by aneuploidy, a feature of chromosome instability. The genetic alterations that underlie chromosome instability in endometrial cancer are poorly understood. In the present study, we used Sanger sequencing to search for nucleotide variants in the coding exons and splice junctions of 21 candidate chromosome instability genes, including 19 genes implicated in sister chromatid cohesion, from 24 primary, microsatellite-stable NEECs. Somatic mutations were verified by sequencing matched normal DNAs. We subsequently resequenced mutated genes from 41 additional NEECs as well as 42 endometrioid ECs (EECs). We uncovered nonsynonymous somatic mutations in ESCO1, CHTF18, and MRE11A in, respectively, 3.7% (4 of 107), 1.9% (2 of 107), and 1.9% (2 of 107) of endometrial tumors. Overall, 7.7% (5 of 65) of NEECs and 2.4% (1 of 42) of EECs had somatically mutated one or more of the three genes. A subset of mutations are predicted to impact protein function. The co-occurrence of somatic mutations in ESCO1 and CHTF18 was statistically significant (P = 0.0011, two-tailed Fisher's exact test). This is the first report of somatic mutations within ESCO1 and CHTF18 in endometrial tumors and of MRE11A mutations in microsatellite-stable endometrial tumors. Our findings warrant future studies to determine whether these mutations are driver events that contribute to the pathogenesis of endometrial cancer.
PMCID: PMC3670891  PMID: 23755103
3.  Loss of LSD1 (lysine-specific demethylase 1) suppresses growth and alters gene expression of human colon cancer cells in a p53- and DNMT1(DNA methyltransferase 1)-independent manner 
Biochemical Journal  2012;449(Pt 2):459-468.
Epigenetic silencing of gene expression is important in cancer. Aberrant DNA CpG island hypermethylation and histone modifications are involved in the aberrant silencing of tumour-suppressor genes. LSD1 (lysine-specific demethylase 1) is a H3K4 (histone H3 Lys4) demethylase associated with gene repression and is overexpressed in multiple cancer types. LSD1 has also been implicated in targeting p53 and DNMT1 (DNA methyltransferase 1), with data suggesting that the demethylating activity of LSD1 on these proteins is necessary for their stabilization. To examine the role of LSD1 we generated LSD1 heterozygous (LSD1+/−) and homozygous (LSD1−/−) knockouts in the human colorectal cancer cell line HCT116. The deletion of LSD1 led to a reduced cell proliferation both in vitro and in vivo. Surprisingly, the knockout of LSD1 in HCT116 cells did not result in global increases in its histone substrate H3K4me2 (dimethyl-H3K4) or changes in the stability or function of p53 or DNMT1. However, there was a significant difference in gene expression between cells containing LSD1 and those null for LSD1. The results of the present study suggested that LSD1 is critical in the regulation of cell proliferation, but also indicated that LSD1 is not an absolute requirement for the stabilization of either p53 or DNMT1.
PMCID: PMC3525012  PMID: 23072722
chromatin; epigenetics; FAD-dependent oxidase; histone modification; transcriptional repression; AAV, adeno-associated viral; AOL, amine oxidase-like; ATRA, all-trans retinoic acid; ChIP, chromatin immunoprecipitation; COBRA, combined bisulfite restriction analysis; CoREST, RE1-silencing transcription factor corepressor 1; DNMT1, DNA methyltransferase 1; ES, embryonic stem; GAPDH, glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase; HA, homology arm; HDAC, histone deacetylase; HEK, human embryonic kidney; H3K4, histone H3 Lys4; H3K9, histone H3 Lys9; H3K9ac, H3K9 acetylation; JARID1, Jumonji, AT rich interactive domain 1; LINE-1, long interspersed nucleotide element 1; LSD, lysine-specific demethylase; me1, monomethyl; me2, dimethyl; me3, trimethyl; pAAV, AAV plasmid; PCNA, proliferating cell nuclear antigen; qPCR, quantitative PCR; SEPT, synthetic exon promoter trap; SET7/9, SET domain-containing histone methyltransferase 7/9; SWIRM, Swi3p/Rsc8p/Moira; TSS, transcriptional start site; VAT1L, vesicle amine transport protein 1 homologue-like; VIM, vimentin
4.  Largazole and Analogues with Modified Metal-Binding Motifs Targeting Histone Deacetylases: Synthesis and Biological Evaluation 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2011;54(21):7453-7463.
The histone deacetylase inhibitor, largazole 1 was synthesized by a convergent approach which involved several efficient and high yielding single pot multistep protocols. Initial attempts using t-butyl as thiol protecting group proved problematic and synthesis was accomplished by switching to trityl protecting group. This synthetic protocol provides a convenient approach to many new largazole analogues. Three side chain analogues with multiple heteroatoms for chelation with Zn2+ were synthesized and their biological activities were evaluated. They were less potent than largazole 1 in growth inhibition of HCT116 colon carcinoma cell line and in inducing increases in global H3 acetylation. Largazole 1 and the three side chain analogues had no effect on HDAC6 as indicated by the lack of increased acetylation of α-tubulin.
PMCID: PMC3208063  PMID: 21936551
5.  Interactions between epigenetics and metabolism in cancers 
Frontiers in Oncology  2012;2:163.
Cancer progression is accompanied by widespread transcriptional changes and metabolic alterations. While it is widely accepted that the origin of cancer can be traced to the mutations that accumulate over time, relatively recent evidence favors a similarly fundamental role for alterations in the epigenome during tumorigenesis. Changes in epigenetics that arise from post-translational modifications of histones and DNA are exploited by cancer cells to upregulate and/or downregulate the expression levels of oncogenes and tumor suppressors, respectively. Although the mechanisms behind these modifications, in particular how they lead to gene silencing and activation, are still being understood, most of the enzymatic machinery of epigenetics require metabolites as substrates or cofactors. As a result, their activities can be influenced by the metabolic state of the cell. The purpose of this review is to give an overview of cancer epigenetics and metabolism and provide examples of where they converge.
PMCID: PMC3498627  PMID: 23162793
Warburg effect; metabolic signaling; NAD metabolism; α-ketoglutarate and cancer; TCA cycle; histone modifications; IDH mutations
6.  Predisposition to Cancer Caused by Genetic and Functional Defects of Mammalian Atad5 
PLoS Genetics  2011;7(8):e1002245.
ATAD5, the human ortholog of yeast Elg1, plays a role in PCNA deubiquitination. Since PCNA modification is important to regulate DNA damage bypass, ATAD5 may be important for suppression of genomic instability in mammals in vivo. To test this hypothesis, we generated heterozygous (Atad5+/m) mice that were haploinsuffficient for Atad5. Atad5+/m mice displayed high levels of genomic instability in vivo, and Atad5+/m mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) exhibited molecular defects in PCNA deubiquitination in response to DNA damage, as well as DNA damage hypersensitivity and high levels of genomic instability, apoptosis, and aneuploidy. Importantly, 90% of haploinsufficient Atad5+/m mice developed tumors, including sarcomas, carcinomas, and adenocarcinomas, between 11 and 20 months of age. High levels of genomic alterations were evident in tumors that arose in the Atad5+/m mice. Consistent with a role for Atad5 in suppressing tumorigenesis, we also identified somatic mutations of ATAD5 in 4.6% of sporadic human endometrial tumors, including two nonsense mutations that resulted in loss of proper ATAD5 function. Taken together, our findings indicate that loss-of-function mutations in mammalian Atad5 are sufficient to cause genomic instability and tumorigenesis.
Author Summary
Genomic instability is a hallmark of tumorigenesis, suggesting that mutations in genes suppressing genomic instability contribute to this phenotype. In this study, we demonstrate for the first time that haploinsufficiency for Atad5, a protein that is important in stabilizing stalled DNA replication forks by regulating PCNA ubiquitination during DNA damage bypass, predisposes >90% of mice to tumorigenesis in multiple organs. In heterozygous Atad5 mice, both somatic cells and the spontaneous tumors showed high levels of genomic instability. In a subset of sporadic human endometrial tumors, we identified heterozygous loss-of-function somatic mutations in the ATAD5 gene, consistent with the role of mouse Atad5 in suppressing tumorigenesis. Collectively, our findings suggest that ATAD5 may be a novel tumor suppressor gene.
PMCID: PMC3161924  PMID: 21901109

Results 1-6 (6)