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1.  Both GLS silencing and GLS2 overexpression synergize with oxidative stress against proliferation of glioma cells 
Mitochondrial glutaminase (GA) plays an essential role in cancer cell metabolism, contributing to biosynthesis, bioenergetics and redox balance. Humans contain several GA isozymes encoded by the GLS and GLS2 genes, but the specific roles of each in cancer metabolism are still unclear. In this study, glioma SFxL and LN229 cells with silenced isoenzyme glutaminase KGA (encoded by GLS) showed lower survival ratios and a reduced GSH-dependent antioxidant capacity. These GLS-silenced cells also demonstrated induction of apoptosis indicated by enhanced annexin V binding capacity and caspase 3 activity. GLS silencing was associated with decreased mitochondrial membrane potential (ΔΨm) (JC-1 dye test), indicating that apoptosis was mediated by mitochondrial dysfunction. Similar observations were made in T98 glioma cells overexpressing glutaminase isoenzyme GAB, encoded by GLS2, though some characteristics (GSH/GSSG ratio) were different in the differently treated cell lines. Thus, control of GA isoenzyme expression may prove to be a key tool to alter both metabolic and oxidative stress in cancer therapy. Interestingly, reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation by treatment with oxidizing agents: arsenic trioxide or hydrogen peroxide, synergizes with either KGA silencing or GAB overexpression to suppress malignant properties of glioma cells, including the reduction of cellular motility. Of note, negative modulation of GLS isoforms or GAB overexpression evoked lower c-myc and bcl-2 expression, as well as higher pro-apoptotic bid expression. Combination of modulation of GA expression and treatment with oxidizing agents may become a therapeutic strategy for intractable cancers and provides a multi-angle evaluation system for anti-glioma pre-clinical investigations.
PMCID: PMC4327995  PMID: 24276018
Apoptosis; Cancer; Glioma; Glutaminase; Glutathione; ROS
2.  Mitochondrial biogenesis in the metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease 
The metabolic syndrome is a constellation of metabolic disorders including obesity, hypertension, and insulin resistance, components which are risk factors for the development of diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular, and renal disease. Pathophysiological abnormalities that contribute to the development of the metabolic syndrome include impaired mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation and mitochondrial biogenesis, dampened insulin metabolic signaling, endothelial dysfunction, and associated myocardial functional abnormalities. Recent evidence suggests that impaired myocardial mitochondrial biogenesis, fatty acid metabolism, and antioxidant defense mechanisms lead to diminished cardiac substrate flexibility, decreased cardiac energetic efficiency, and diastolic dysfunction. In addition, enhanced activation of the renin–angiotensin–aldosterone system and associated increases in oxidative stress can lead to mitochondrial apoptosis and degradation, altered bioenergetics, and accumulation of lipids in the heart. In addition to impairments in metabolic signaling and oxidative stress, genetic and environmental factors, aging, and hyperglycemia all contribute to reduced mitochondrial biogenesis and mitochondrial dysfunction. These mitochondrial abnormalities can predispose a metabolic cardiomyopathy characterized by diastolic dysfunction. Mitochondrial dysfunction and resulting lipid accumulation in skeletal muscle, liver, and pancreas also impede insulin metabolic signaling and glucose metabolism, ultimately leading to a further increase in mitochondrial dysfunction. Interventions to improve mitochondrial function have been shown to correct insulin metabolic signaling and other metabolic and cardiovascular abnormalities. This review explores mechanisms of mitochondrial dysfunction with a focus on impaired oxidative phosphorylation and mitochondrial biogenesis in the pathophysiology of metabolic heart disease.
PMCID: PMC4319704  PMID: 20725711
Metabolic impairment; Oxidative phosphorylation; Mitochondrial biogenesis
3.  [No title available] 
PMCID: PMC3926703  PMID: 24297496
4.  [No title available] 
PMCID: PMC3946681  PMID: 24248265
5.  [No title available] 
PMCID: PMC3946714  PMID: 24068256
6.  Metastasis Suppressors in Breast Cancers: Mechanistic Insights and Clinical Potential 
PMCID: PMC3923422  PMID: 24311119
metastasis suppressor; Nm23; RECK; BRMS1; KISS1; TIMP; E-cadherin; MKK4; KAI1; adhesion; invasion; MMP; intravasation; cohesion; motility; endothelium; angiogenesis; review
7.  Biological functions of ecto-enzymes in regulating extracellular adenosine levels in neoplastic and inflammatory disease states 
When present in the extracellular environment, the nucleoside adenosine protects cells and tissues from excessive inflammation and immune-mediated damage while promoting healing processes. This role has been highlighted experimentally using distinct disease models, including those of colitis, diabetes, asthma, sepsis, and ischemic injury. Adenosine also suppresses immune responses, as in the tumor microenvironment, assisting immune evasion while promoting angiogenesis. The mechanisms involved in adenosine signaling are addressed elsewhere in this issue. Here, the authors specifically address the generation of adenosine from extracellular nucleotides. This process is catalyzed by a series of plasma membrane ectonucleotidases, with the focus in this article on members of the CD39, CD73, and CD38 families and on their role in inflammatory and neoplastic hematological diseases. Pharmacological modulation of adenosine generation by drugs that either have or modulate ectonucleotidase function might be exploited to treat these diverse conditions.
PMCID: PMC4266600  PMID: 23292173
Adenosine; Cancer; Colitis; Ectonucleotidase; Inflammation; Ischemic injury
8.  The ACMSD gene, involved in tryptophan metabolism, is mutated in a family with cortical myoclonus, epilepsy, and parkinsonism 
Journal of molecular medicine (Berlin, Germany)  2013;91(12):10.1007/s00109-013-1075-4.
Familial cortical myoclonic tremor and epilepsy is a phenotypically and genetically heterogeneous autosomal dominant disorder characterized by the presence of cortical myoclonic tremor and epilepsy that is often accompanied of additional neurological features. Despite the numerous familial studies performed and the number of loci identified, there is no gene associated with this syndrome. It is expected that through the application of novel genomic technologies, such as whole exome sequencing and whole genome sequencing, a substantial number of novel genes will come to light in the coming years. In this study, we describe the identification of two disease-segregating mutations in a large family featuring cortical myoclonic tremor with epilepsy and parkinsonism. Due to the previous association of ACMSD deficiency with the development of epileptic seizures, we concluded that the identified nonsense mutation in the ACMSD gene, which encodes for a critical enzyme of the kynurenine pathway of the tryptophan metabolism, is the disease-segregating mutation most likely to be responsible for the phenotype described in our family. This finding not only reveals the identification of the first gene associated with familial cortical myoclonic tremor and epilepsy but also discloses the kynurenine pathway as a potential therapeutic target for the treatment of this devastating syndrome.
PMCID: PMC3833949  PMID: 23955123
FCMTE; Whole Exome Sequencing; ACMSD; Kynurenine Pathway
9.  PI3K inhibitor GDC-0941 enhances apoptotic effects of BH-3 mimetic ABT-737 in AML cells in the hypoxic bone marrow microenvironment 
Journal of molecular medicine (Berlin, Germany)  2013;91(12):10.1007/s00109-013-1076-3.
Both phosphatidylinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling and antiapoptotic Bcl-2 family members are critical for survival of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cells. Here we demonstrate the antileukemic effects of simultaneous inhibition of PI3K by the selective class I PI3K inhibitor GDC-0941 and of Bcl-2 family members by the BH3 mimetic ABT-737 in the context of the bone marrow microenvironment, where hypoxia and interactions with bone marrow stromal cells promote AML cell survival and chemoresistance. The combination of GDC-0941 and ABT-737 profoundly downregulated antiapoptotic Mcl-1 expression levels, activated BAX, and induced mitochondrial apoptosis in AML cells co-cultured with bone marrow stromal cells under hypoxic conditions. Hypoxia caused degradation of Mcl-1 and rendered Mcl-1-overexpressing OCI-AML3 cells sensitive to ABT-737. Our findings suggest that pharmacologic PI3K inhibition by GDC-0941 enhances ABT-737–induced leukemia cell death even under the protective conditions afforded by the bone marrow microenvironment.
PMCID: PMC3834093  PMID: 23955073
acute myeloid leukemia; bone marrow microenvironment; hypoxia; apoptosis; GDC-0941; ABT-737
10.  R-Spondin 1 promotes vibration-induced bone formation in mouse models of osteoporosis 
Journal of molecular medicine (Berlin, Germany)  2013;91(12):10.1007/s00109-013-1068-3.
Bone tissue adapts to its functional environment by optimizing its morphology for mechanical demand. Among the mechanosensitive cells that recognize and respond to forces in the skeleton are osteocytes, osteoblasts, and mesenchymal progenitor cells (MPCs). Therefore, the ability to use mechanical signals to improve bone health through exercise and devices that deliver mechanical signals is an attractive approach to age-related bone loss; however, the extracellular or circulating mediators of such signals are largely unknown. Using SDS-PAGE separation of proteins secreted by MPCs in response to low magnitude mechanical signals and in-gel trypsin digestion followed by HPLC and mass spectroscopy, we identified secreted proteins up-regulated by vibratory stimulation. We exploited a cell senescence-associated secretory phenotype screen, and reasoned that a subset of vibration-induced proteins with diminished secretion by senescent MPCs will have the capacity to promote bone formation in vivo. We identified one such vibration-induced bone-enhancing (vibe) gene as R-Spondin 1, a Wnt pathway modulator, and demonstrated that it has the capacity to promote bone formation in three mouse models of age-related bone loss. By virtue of their secretory status, some vibe proteins may be candidates for pre-clinical development as anabolic agents for the treatment of osteoporosis.
PMCID: PMC3834172  PMID: 23974989
Mechanical signals; vibration; R-spondin 1; telomerase; telomere; aging; osteoporosis; mesenchymal stem cells
11.  The N-Glycoform of sRAGE is the Key Determinant for Its Therapeutic Efficacy to Attenuate Injury-elicited Arterial Inflammation and Neointimal Growth 
Journal of molecular medicine (Berlin, Germany)  2013;91(12):10.1007/s00109-013-1091-4.
Signaling of the receptor for advanced glycation end products (RAGE) has been implicated in the development of injury-elicited vascular complications. Soluble RAGE (sRAGE) acts as a decoy of RAGE, and has been used to treat pathological vascular conditions in animal models. However, previous studies using sRAGE produced in insect Sf9 cells (sRAGESf9) used a high dose and multiple injections to achieve the therapeutic outcome. Here, we explore whether modulation of sRAGE N-glycoform impacts its bioactivity and augments its therapeutic efficacy. We first profiled carbohydrate components of sRAGECHO to show that a majority of its N-glycans belong to sialylated complex-types that are not shared by sRAGESf9. In cell-based NF-κB activation and vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) migration assays, sRAGECHO exhibited a significantly higher bioactivity relative to sRAGESf9 to inhibit RAGE alarmin ligand-induced NF-κB activation and VSMC migration. We next studied whether this N-glycoform-associated bioactivity of sRAGECHO is translated to higher in vivo therapeutic efficacy in a rat carotid artery balloon injury model. Consistent with the observed higher bioactivity in cell assays, sRAGECHO significantly reduced injury-induced neointimal growth and the expression of inflammatory markers in injured vasculature. Specifically, a single dose of 3 ng/g of sRAGECHO reduced neointimal hyperplasia by over 70%, whereas the same dose of sRAGESf9 showed no effect. The administered sRAGECHO is rapidly and specifically recruited to the injured arterial locus, suggesting that early intervention of arterial injury with sRAGECHO may offset an inflammatory circuit and reduce the ensuing tissue remodeling. Our findings showed that the N-glycoform of sRAGE is the key determinant underlying its bioactivity, and thus is an important glycobioengineering target to develop a highly potent therapeutic sRAGE for future clinical applications.
PMCID: PMC3846495  PMID: 24132651
sRAGE; N-glycoform; arterial injury; arterial inflammation; neointimal hyperplasia; therapeutic window
13.  The skinny on brain-derived neurotrophic factor: evidence from animal models to GWAS 
Journal of molecular medicine (Berlin, Germany)  2013;91(11):10.1007/s00109-013-1071-8.
Obesity and its sequelae constitute a major international healthcare problem. The obesity epidemic is due in part to higher calorie diets and reduced exercise over the past 30 years; however, increasing evidence has established genetic regulation of body weight as a major contributor to obesity. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) regulates development and plasticity of the central nervous system, and recent work has established a clear role for signaling through BDNF and its receptor TrkB in the control of body weight. Here we review research findings from animal models and human populations indicating that BDNF is a negative regulator of appetitive behavior and body weight.
PMCID: PMC3815745  PMID: 23828555
BDNF; TrkB; single nucleotide polymorphism; human obesity; hypothalamus
14.  Novel phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase inhibitor NVP-BKM120 induces apoptosis in myeloma cells and shows synergistic anti-myeloma activity with dexamethasone 
NVP-BKM120 is a novel phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) inhibitor and is currently being investigated in phase I clinical trials in solid tumors. This study aimed to evaluate the therapeutic efficacy of BKM120 in multiple myeloma (MM). BKM120 induces cell growth inhibition and apoptosis in both MM cell lines and freshly isolated primary MM cells. However, BKM120 only shows limited cytotoxicity toward normal lymphocytes. The presence of MM bone marrow stromal cells, insulin-like growth factor, or interleukin-6 does not affect BKM120-induced tumor cell apoptosis. More importantly, BKM120 treatment significantly inhibits tumor growth in vivo and prolongs the survival of myeloma-bearing mice. In addition, BKM120 shows synergistic cytotoxicity with dexamethasone in dexamethasone-sensitive MM cells. Low doses of BKM120 and dexamethasone, each of which alone has limited cytotoxicity, induce significant cell apoptosis in MM.1S and ARP-1. Mechanistic study shows that BKM120 exposure causes cell cycle arrest by upregulating p27 (Kip1) and downregulating cyclin D1 and induces caspase-dependent apoptosis by downregulating antiapoptotic XIAP and upregulating expression of cytotoxic small isoform of Bim, BimS. In summary, our findings demonstrate the in vitro and in vivo anti-MM activity of BKM120 and suggest that BKM120 alone or together with other MM chemotherapeutics, particularly dexamethasone, may be a promising treatment for MM.
PMCID: PMC4212830  PMID: 22207485
Multiple myeloma; PI3K; BKM120; Apoptosis; Chemotherapy
15.  Transcriptomic profiling facilitates classification of response to influenza challenge 
Despite increases in vaccination coverage, reductions in influenza-related mortality have not been observed. Better vaccines are therefore required and influenza challenge studies can be used to test the efficacy of new vaccines. However, this requires the accurate post-challenge classification of subjects by outcome, which is limited in current methods that use artificial thresholds to assign ‘symptomatic’ and ‘asymptomatic’ phenotypes. We present data from an influenza challenge study in which 22 healthy adults (11 vaccinated) were inoculated with H3N2 influenza (A/Wisconsin/67/2005). We generated genome-wide gene expression data from peripheral blood taken immediately before the challenge and at 12, 24 and 48 h post-challenge. Variation in symptomatic scoring was found amongst those with laboratory confirmed influenza. By combining the dynamic transcriptomic data with the clinical parameters this variability can be reduced. We identified four subjects with severe laboratory confirmed influenza that show differential gene expression in 1103 probes 48 h post-challenge compared to the remaining subjects. We have further reduced this profile to six genes (CCL2, SEPT4, LAMP3, RTP4, MT1G and OAS3) that can be used to define these subjects. We have used this gene set to predict symptomatic infection from an independent study. This analysis gives further insight into host-pathogen interactions during influenza infection. However, the major potential value is in the clinical trial setting by providing a more quantitative method to better classify symptomatic individuals post influenza challenge.
Key message
Differential gene expression signatures are seen following influenza challenge.Expression of six predictive genes can classify response to influenza challenge.The genomic influenza response classification replicates in an independent dataset.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00109-014-1212-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4281383  PMID: 25345603
Influenza; Challenge; Transcriptome; Expression; RNA; Microarray
16.  Retrograde trafficking of AB5 toxins: mechanisms to therapeutics 
Bacterial AB5 toxins are a clinically relevant class of exotoxins that includes several well-known members such as Shiga, cholera and pertussis toxins. Infections with toxin-producing bacteria cause devastating human diseases that affect millions of individuals each year and have no definitive medical treatment. The molecular targets of AB5 toxins reside in the cytosol of infected cells, and the toxins reach the cytosol by trafficking through the retrograde membrane transport pathway that avoids degradative late endosomes and lysosomes. Focusing on Shiga toxin as the archetype member, we review recent advances in understanding the molecular mechanisms involved in the retrograde trafficking of AB5 toxins and highlight how these basic science advances are leading to the development of a promising new therapeutic approach based on inhibiting toxin transport.
PMCID: PMC3773303  PMID: 23665994
17.  Rediscovering ACE: Novel insights into the many roles of the angiotensin-converting enzyme 
Angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) is best known for the catalytic conversion of angiotensin I to angiotensin II. However, the use of gene-targeting techniques has led to mouse models highlighting many other biochemical properties and actions of this enzyme. This review discusses recent studies examining the functional significance of ACE tissue-specific expression and the presence in ACE of two independent catalytic sites with distinct substrates and biological effects. It is these features which explain why ACE makes important contributions to many different physiological processes including renal development, blood pressure control, inflammation and immunity.
PMCID: PMC3779503  PMID: 23686164
Angiotensin II; Ac-SDKP; blood pressure; kidney function; MHC class I; antigen processing
18.  Cardiac Glutaminolysis: A Maladaptive Cancer Metabolism Pathway in the Right Ventricle in Pulmonary Hypertension 
Rapid growth of cancer cells is permitted by metabolic changes, notably increased aerobic glycolysis and increased glutaminolysis. Aerobic glycolysis is also evident in the hypertrophying myocytes in right ventricular hypertrophy (RVH), particularly in association with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). It is unknown whether glutaminolysis occurs in the heart. We hypothesized that glutaminolysis occurs in RVH and assessed the precipitating factors, transcriptional mechanisms and physiological consequences of this metabolic pathway.
Methods and Results
RVH was induced in two models, one with PAH (Monocrotaline-RVH) and the other without PAH (pulmonary artery banding, PAB-RVH). Despite similar RVH, ischemia as determined by reductions in RV VEGFα, coronary blood flow and microvascular density was greater in Monocrotaline-RVH versus PAB-RVH. A 6-fold increase in 14C-glutamine metabolism occurred in Monocrotaline-RVH but not PAB-RVH. In the RV working-heart model, the glutamine antagonist 6-Diazo-5-oxo-L-norleucine (DON) decreased glutaminolysis, caused a reciprocal increase in glucose oxidation and elevated cardiac output. Consistent with increased glutaminolysis in RVH, RV expression of glutamine transporters (SLC1A5 and SLC7A5) and mitochondrial malic enzyme were elevated (Monocrotaline-RVH>PAB-RVH>Control). Capillary rarefaction and glutamine transporter upregulation also occurred in RVH in patients with PAH. cMyc and Max, known to mediate transcriptional upregulation of glutaminolysis, were increased in Monocrotaline-RVH. In vivo, DON (0.5 mg/Kg/Da×3 weeks) restored pyruvate dehydrogenase activity, reduced RVH and increased cardiac output (89±8, vs. 55±13 ml/min, p<0.05) and treadmill distance (194±71, vs. 36 ±7 m, p<0.05) in Monocrotaline-RVH.
Glutaminolysis is induced in the RV in PAH by cMyc-Max, likely as a consequence of RV ischemia. Inhibition of glutaminolysis restores glucose oxidation and has therapeutic benefit in vivo.
PMCID: PMC3783571  PMID: 23794090
Warburg effect; cMyc; 6-Diazo-5-oxo-L-norleucine (DON); glucose oxidation; WHO Group 1 pulmonary hypertension (PAH); anapleurosis; congenital heart disease
19.  HIF-1α Influences Myeloid Cell Antigen Presentation and Response to Subcutaneous OVA Vaccination 
Hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1 is a transcription factor known to play an important role in regulating the innate immune response to infection. Under baseline conditions, cellular HIF-1 levels in leukocytes are scarce, but levels rise rapidly in response to hypoxia or molecular signals of infection or inflammation such as microbial surface molecules and host-derived cytokines. Innate immune cells such as macrophages, neutrophils and mast cells exhibit increased microbicidal activity when HIF-1 levels are increased, and mice lacking HIF-1 are more susceptible to invasive bacterial infection. In this study, we used genetic and pharmacologic means to determine whether HIF-1 also plays an important role in the adaptive immune response to infection. HIF-1α/Tie-2 Cre+ mice harboring a >90% knockdown of HIF-1 in myeloid cells were studied. We found antigen-presenting cells from these mice expressed lower levels of MHC-II and the costimulatory molecules CD80 and CD86, and were less able to induce T cell proliferation. These differences were present at baseline and persisted after activation. Increasing HIF-1 levels in WT cells by using the prolyl hydroxylase inhibitor drug AKB-4924 had the opposite effect, increasing MHC and co-stimulatory molecule expression and T cell proliferation. In experimental vaccination, HIF-1α/Tie-2 Cre+ mice exhibited a weaker T cell response and lower antibody levels in response to vaccination than WT mice, while WT mice treated with a drug to elevate HIF-1 responded more strongly to vaccination. Thus HIF-1 participates in bridging the innate and adaptive immune responses, and may merit further exploration as an adjuvant target.
PMCID: PMC3783576  PMID: 23686259
20.  Atorvastatin counteracts aberrant soft tissue mineralization in a mouse model of pseudoxanthoma elasticum (Abcc6−/−) 
Pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE), a multisystem heritable disorder with aberrant mineralization of arterial blood vessels, is caused by mutations in the ABCC6 gene. Previous studies have suggested that carriers of the ABCC6 mutations, particularly of p.R1141X, are at increased risk for coronary artery disease. In this study, we used Abcc6tm1Jfk knock-out mice to determine the serum lipid profiles and examine the effects of atorvastatin on the aberrant mineralization in this model of PXE. First, serum lipid profiles at 12 weeks of age, after overnight fasting, revealed a statistically significant increase in total cholesterol and triglyceride levels in Abcc6tm1Jfk mice compared to their wild-type littermates. Placing these mice at 4 weeks of age for 20 weeks on atorvastatin, either 0.01% or 0.04% of the diet (low statin and high statin groups, respectively), reduced the total triglyceride and cholesterol levels, which was accompanied with significantly reduced mineralization of the dermal sheath of vibrissae, a biomarker of the aberrant mineralization process in these mice. However, if the mice were placed on atorvastatin for 12 weeks at 12 weeks of age, at which time point significant mineralization had already taken place, no difference in the amount of mineralization was noted. These observations suggest that statins, particularly atorvastatin, can prevent, but not reverse, aberrant mineralization in this mouse model of PXE. For a clinical perspective, a survey of 1,747 patients with PXE was conducted regarding their present or past use of statins. The results indicated that about one third of all PXE patients are currently or have previously been on cholesterol-lowering drugs. Thus, a sizable number of patients with PXE could be subject to modulation of their mineralization processes by concomitant statin treatment.
PMCID: PMC3783622  PMID: 23807484
Pseudoxanthoma elasticum; Ectopic mineralization; Statin therapy
21.  Histone Deacetylase Inhibitor AR-42 Enhances E7-Specific CD8+ T Cell-Mediated Antitumor Immunity Induced by Therapeutic HPV DNA Vaccination 
We have previously created a potent DNA vaccine encoding calreticulin linked to the HPV oncogenic protein E7 (CRT/E7). While treatment of the CRT/E7 DNA vaccine generates significant tumor-specific immune responses in vaccinated mice, the potency of the DNA vaccine could potentially be improved by co-administration of a histone deacetylase inhibitor (HDACi) as HDACi have been shown to increase the expression of MHC class I and II molecules. Thus, we aimed to determine whether co-administration of a novel HDACi, AR-42, with therapeutic HPV DNA vaccines could improve activation of HPV antigen-specific CD8+ T cells resulting in potent therapeutic antitumor effects. To do so, HPV-16 E7-expressing murine TC-1 tumor-bearing mice were treated orally with AR-42 and/or CRT/E7 DNA vaccine via gene gun. Mice were monitored for E7-specific CD8+ T cell immune responses and antitumor effects. TC-1 tumor-bearing mice treated with AR-42 and CRT/E7 DNA vaccine experienced longer survival, decreased tumor growth, and enhanced E7-specific immune response compared to mice treated with AR-42 or CRT/E7 DNA vaccine alone. Additionally, treatment of TC-1 cells with AR-42 increased surface expression of MHC class I molecules and increased the susceptibility of tumor cells to the cytotoxicity of E7-specific T cells. This study indicates the ability of AR-42 to significantly enhance the potency of the CRT/E7 DNA vaccine by improving tumor-specific immune responses and antitumor effects. Both AR-42 and CRT/E7 DNA vaccine have been used in independent clinical trials and the current study serves as foundation for future clinical trials combining both treatments in cervical cancer therapy.
PMCID: PMC3783646  PMID: 23715898
Cancer vaccine; human papillomavirus; cervical cancer; histone deacetylase inhibitor
22.  Protective role for netrin-1 during diabetic nephropathy 
Recent studies implicate neuronal guidance molecules in the orchestration of inflammatory events. For example, previous studies demonstrate a functional role for netrin-1 in attenuating acute kidney injury. Here, we hypothesized a kidney-protective role for netrin-1 during chronic kidney disease, such as occurs during diabetic nephropathy. To study the role of netrin-1 during diabetic nephropathy, we induced diabetes in mice at age of 8 weeks by streptocotozin (STZ) treatment. Sixteen weeks after STZ treatment, we examined the kidneys. Initial studies in wild-type mice demonstrated robust induction of renal, urinary and plasma netrin-1 protein levels during diabetic nephropathy. Subsequent genetic studies in mice with partial netrin-1 deficiency (Ntrn1+/− mice) revealed a more severe degree of diabetic nephropathy, including more severe loss of kidney function (albuminuria, glomerular filtration rate, histology). We subsequently performed pharmacologic studies with recombinant netrin-1 treatment given continuously via osmotic pump. Indeed, netrin-1 treatment was associated with attenuated albuminuria and improved histologic scores for diabetic nephropathy compared to controls. Consistent with previous studies implicating purinergic signaling in netrin-1-elicited tissue-protection, mice deficient in the Adora2b adenosine receptor were not protected. Taken together, these studies demonstrate a functional role for endogenous netrin-1 in attenuating diabetic kidney disease.
PMCID: PMC3766438  PMID: 23636509
Diabetes; nephropathy; netrin-1; inflammation; vascular injury; hypoxia
23.  Detection of “oncometabolite” 2-hydroxyglutarate by magnetic resonance analysis as a biomarker of IDH1/2 mutations in glioma 
Somatic mutations in isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH)1 and 2 have been identified in a subset of gliomas, rendering these tumors with elevated levels of “oncometabolite,” D-2-hydroxyglutarate (2HG). Herein, we report that 2HG can be precisely detected by magnetic resonance (MR) in human glioma specimens and used as a reliable biomarker to identify this subset of tumors. Specifically, we developed a two-dimensional correlation spectroscopy resonance method to reveal the distinctive cross-peak pattern of 2HG in the complex metabolite nuclear MR spectra of brain tumor tissues. This study demonstrates the feasibility, specificity, and selectivity of using MR detection and quantification of 2HG for the diagnosis and classification of IDH1/2 mutation-positive brain tumors. It further opens up the possibility of developing analogous non-invasive MR-based imaging and spectroscopy studies directly in humans in the neuro-oncology clinic.
PMCID: PMC4147374  PMID: 22426639
Cancer; 2-Hydroxyglutarate; Isocitrate dehydrogenase; Nuclear magnetic resonance; Biomarker
24.  Visualizing CaMKII and CaM activity: a paradigm of compartmentalized signaling 
Calcium (Ca2+) has long been recognized as a crucial intracellular messenger attaining stimuli-specific cellular outcomes via localized signaling. Ca2+ binding proteins, such as calmodulin (CaM) and its target proteins are key to the segregation and refinement of these Ca2+-dependent signaling events. This review summarizes the recent technological advances enabling the study of subcellular Ca2+-CaM and Ca-CaM dependent protein kinase (CaMKII) signaling events but also highlights the outstanding challenges in the field.
PMCID: PMC3962229  PMID: 23775230
calcium; Calmodulin; Ca-calmodulin dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII)
25.  Stat3β mitigates development of atherosclerosis in apolipoprotein E-deficient mice 
The transcription factor Stat3 is an activator of systemic inflammatory genes. Two isoforms of Stat3 are generated by alternative splicing, Stat3α and Stat3β. The β isoform lacks the transactivation domain but retains other functions, including dimerization and DNA binding. Stat3β-deficient mice exhibit elevated expression of systemic inflammatory genes and are hyperresponsive to lipopolysaccharide, suggesting that Stat3β functions predominantly as a suppressor of systemic inflammation. To test whether Stat3β deficiency would provoke pathologic effects associated with chronic inflammation, we asked whether selective removal of Stat3β would exacerbate the development of atherosclerosis in apolipoprotein E-deficient mice. In apoE−/−Stat3β−/− mice atherosclerotic plaque formation was significantly enhanced relative to apoE−/−Stat3β+/+ controls. The ability of Stat3β deficiency to promote atherosclerosis was more pronounced in female mice, but could be unmasked in males by feeding a high fat diet. Infiltrating macrophages were not increased in aortas of apoE−/−Stat3β−/− mice. In contrast, the proportion of pro-inflammatory TH17 cells was significantly elevated in aortic infiltrates from apoE−/−Stat3β−/− mice, relative to paired apoE−/−Stat3β+/+ littermates. These observations indicate that Stat3β can suppress pathologic sequelae associated with chronic inflammation. Our findings further suggest that in Stat3β-deficient mice the unopposed action of Stat3α may enhance atherogenesis in part by promoting differentiation of TH17 cells.
PMCID: PMC3739303  PMID: 23619910
Stat3; Atherosclerosis; Inflammation; Acute phase response

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