The early-response gene product IEX-1 (also known as IER3) was recently found to interact with the anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 family member, myeloid cell leukemia-1 (Mcl-1). In this study we show that this interaction specifically and timely controls the accumulation of Mcl-1 in the nucleus in response to DNA damage. The IEX-1 protein is rapidly induced by γ-irradiation, genotoxic agents or replication inhibitors, in a way dependent on ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM) activity and is necessary for Mcl-1 nuclear translocation. Conversely, IEX-1 protein proteasomal degradation triggers the return of Mcl-1 to the cytosol. IEX-1 and Mcl-1 are integral components of the DNA damage response. Loss of IEX-1 or Mcl-1 leads to genomic instability and increased sensitivity to genotoxic and replicative stresses. The two proteins cooperate to maintain Chk1 activation and G2 checkpoint arrest. Mcl-1 nuclear translocation may foster checkpoint and improve the tumor resistance to DNA damage-based cancer therapies. Deciphering the pathways involved in IEX-1 degradation should lead to the discovery of new therapeutic targets to increase sensitivity of tumor cells to chemotherapy.
IEX-1; Mcl-1; DNA damage; checkpoint; apoptosis
The von Hippel–Lindau tumor suppressor gene product, pVHL, functions as the substrate recognition component of an E3-ubiquitin ligase, which targets the oxygen-sensitive α-subunit of hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) for rapid proteasomal degradation under normoxic conditions and as such plays a central role in molecular oxygen sensing. Mutations in pVHL can be found in familial and sporadic clear cell carcinomas of the kidney, hemangioblastomas of the retina and central nervous system, and pheochromocytomas, underscoring its gatekeeper function in the pathogenesis of these tumors. Tissue-specific gene targeting of VHL in mice has demonstrated that efficient execution of pVHL-mediated HIF proteolysis under normoxia is fundamentally important for survival, proliferation, differentiation and normal physiology of many cell types, and has provided novel insights into the biological function of individual HIF transcription factors. In this review, we discuss the role of HIF in the development of the VHL phenotype.
von Hippel–indau (VHL) tumor suppressor; hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF); conditional knockout mice; renal cell cancer; hemangiomas; vascular tumors
Regulated removal of proteins and organelles by autophagy–lysosome system is critical for muscle homeostasis. Excessive activation of autophagy-dependent degradation contributes to muscle atrophy and cachexia. Conversely, inhibition of autophagy causes accumulation of protein aggregates and abnormal organelles, leading to myofiber degeneration and myopathy. Defects in lysosomal function result in severe muscle disorders such as Pompe (glycogen storage disease type II (GSDII)) disease, characterized by an accumulation of autophagosomes. However, whether autophagy is detrimental or not in muscle function of Pompe patients is unclear. We studied infantile and late-onset GSDII patients and correlated impairment of autophagy with muscle wasting. We also monitored autophagy in patients who received recombinant α-glucosidase. Our data show that infantile and late-onset patients have different levels of autophagic flux, accumulation of p62-positive protein aggregates and expression of atrophy-related genes. Although the infantile patients show impaired autophagic function, the late-onset patients display an interesting correlation among autophagy impairment, atrophy and disease progression. Moreover, reactivation of autophagy in vitro contributes to acid α-glucosidase maturation in both healthy and diseased myotubes. Together, our data suggest that autophagy protects myofibers from disease progression and atrophy in late-onset patients.
atrophy; autophagy; glycogen storage disease; Pompe disease; MuRF1
Activation of NFκB in response to DNA-damage is considered to contribute to repair of genetic lesions, increased cell survival and cytokine release. The molecular mechanisms orchestrating this cytoplasmic event involve core-components of the nuclear DNA-damage response machinery, including ATM-kinase and PARP-1. The physiological consequences of defective NFκB-activation in this context, however, remain poorly investigated. Here we report on the role of the “p53-induced protein with a death domain”, PIDD, which appears rate limiting in this process, as is PARP-1. Despite impaired NFκB activation, DNA-damage did not increase cell death or reduce clonal survival of various cell types lacking PIDD such as mouse embryonic fibroblasts or stem and progenitor cells of the hematopoietic system. Furthermore, lymphomagenesis induced by gamma-irradiation (IR) was unaffected by deficiency for PIDD or PARP-1, demonstrating that loss of DNA-damage triggered NFκB signalling does not affect IR-driven tumorigenesis. However, loss of either gene compromised cytokine release after acute irradiation-injury. Hence we propose that NFκB’s most notable function after DNA-damage in primary cells is related to the release of cytokines, thereby contributing to sterile inflammation.
PIDD; NFκB; DNA-damage
Despite several therapies are currently available to treat inflammatory diseases, new drugs to treat chronic conditions with less side effects and lower production costs are still needed. An innovative approach to drug discovery, the Connectivity Map (CMap), shows how integrating genome-wide gene expression data of drugs and diseases can accelerate this process. Comparison of genome-wide gene expression data generated with Annexin A1 (AnxA1) with the CMap revealed significant alignment with gene profiles elicited by histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACIs), what made us to hypothesize that AnxA1 might mediate the anti-inflammatory actions of HDACIs. Addition of HDACIs (valproic acid, sodium butyrate and thricostatin A) to mouse macrophages caused externalization of AnxA1 with concomitant inhibition of cytokine gene expression and release, events that occurred independently since this inhibition was retained in AnxA1 null macrophages. However, novel AnxA1-mediated functions for HDACIs could be unveiled, including promotion of neutrophil apoptosis and macrophage phagocytosis, both steps crucial for effective resolution of inflammation. In a model of acute resolving inflammation, administration of valproic acid and sodium butyrate to mice at the peak of disease accelerated resolution processes in wild type, but much more modestly in AnxA1 null mice. Deeper analyses revealed a role for endogenous AnxA1 in the induction of neutrophil death in vivo by HDACIs. In summary, interrogation of the CMap revealed an unexpected association between HDACIs and AnxA1 that translated in mechanistic findings with particular impact on the processes that regulate the resolution of inflammation. We propose non-genomic modulation of AnxA1 in immune cells as a novel mechanism of action for HDACIs, which may underlie their reported efficacy in models of chronic inflammatory pathologies.
Annexin A1; Efferocytosis; Genomics; Inflammation; Resolution
CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein-β (C/EBPβ) is a mediator of cell survival and tumorigenesis. When C/EBPβ−/− mice are treated with carcinogens that produce oncogenic Ras mutations in keratinocytes, they respond with abnormally elevated keratinocyte apoptosis and a block in skin tumorigenesis. Although this aberrant carcinogen-induced apoptosis results from abnormal upregulation of p53, it is not known whether upregulated p53 results from oncogenic Ras and its ability to induce p19Arf and/or activate DNA-damage response pathways or from direct carcinogen-induced DNA damage. We report that p19Arf is dramatically elevated in C/EBPβ−/− epidermis and that C/EBPβ represses a p19Arf promoter reporter. To determine whether p19Arf is responsible for the proapoptotic phenotype in C/EBPβ−/− mice, C/EBPβ−/−;p19Arf−/− mice were generated. C/EBPβ−/−;p19Arf−/− mice responded to carcinogen treatment with increased p53 and apoptosis, indicating p19Arf is not essential. To ascertain whether oncogenic Ras activation induces aberrant p53 and apoptosis in C/EBPβ−/− epidermis, we generated K14-ER:Ras; C/EBPβ−/− mice. Oncogenic Ras activation induced by 4-hydroxytamoxifen did not produce increased p53 or apoptosis. Finally, when C/EBPβ−/− mice were treated with differing types of DNA-damaging agents, including alkylating chemotherapeutic agents, they displayed aberrant levels of p53 and apoptosis. These results indicate that C/EBPβ represses p53 to promote cell survival downstream of DNA damage and suggest that inhibition of C/EBPβ may be a target for cancer cotherapy to increase the efficacy of alkylating chemotherapeutic agents.
apoptosis; p53; C/EBPβ; p19Arf; DNA damage; keratinocytes
IRX-2 is a cytokine-based biologic agent that has the potential to enhance antitumor immune responses. We investigated whether IRX-2 can protect T cells from tumor-induced apoptosis. Tumor-derived microvesicles (MV) expressing FasL were purified from supernatants of tumor cells and incubated with activated CD8+ T cells. MV induced significant CD8+ T-cell apoptosis, as evidenced by Annexin binding (64.4±6.4%), caspase activation (58.1±7.6%), a loss of mitochondrial membrane potential (82.9±3.9%) and DNA fragmentation. T-cell pretreatment with IRX-2 prevented apoptosis. IRX-2-mediated cytoprotection was dose and time dependent and was comparable to effects of IL-2, IL-7 or IL-15. IRX-2 prevented MV-induced downregulation of JAK3 and TCRζ chain and induced STAT5 activation in T cells. IRX-2 prevented MV-induced Bax and Bim upregulation (P<0.005–0.05), prevented cytochrome c release and Bid cleavage, and concurrently restored the expression of Bcl-2, Bcl-xL, FLIP and Mcl-1 (P<0.005–0.01) in T cells. In addition, IRX-2 reversed MV-induced inhibition of the PI3K/Akt pathway. An Akt inhibitor (Akti-1/2) abrogated protective effects of IRX-2, suggesting that Akt is a downstream target of IRX-2 signaling. Thus, ex vivo pretreatment of CD8+ T cells with IRX-2 provided potent protection from tumor-induced apoptosis. IRX-2 application to future cancer biotherapies could improve their effectiveness by bolstering T-cell resistance to tumor-induced immunosuppression.
cytokines; apoptosis; lymphocyte survival; PI3K/Akt; IRX-2
p53 is a central integrator of a plethora of signals and outputs these signals in the form of tumor suppression. It is well accepted that ubiquitination plays a major part in p53 regulation. Nonetheless, the molecular mechanisms by which p53 activity is controlled by ubiquitination are complex. Mdm2, a RING oncoprotein, was once thought to be the sole E3 ubiquitin ligase for p53, however recent studies have shown that p53 is stabilized but still degraded in the cells of Mdm2-null mice. Although the essential role of Mdm2 in p53 regulation is well established, there are an increasing number of other E3 ligases implicated in Mdm2-independent regulation of p53 by ubiquitination. The different types of ubiquitination on p53 by various E3 ligases have been linked to its differential effects on p53-mediated stress responses. In addition to proteasome-mediated degradation, ubiquitination of p53 acts as signals for degradation-independent functions, such as nuclear export. The function of ubiquitinated p53 varies in the nucleus and cytosol underlying the many potential contributions ubiquitinated p53 may have in promoting cell proliferation or death. Thus, p53 requires multiple layers of regulatory control to ensure correct temporal and spatial functions.
p53; Mdm2; Mdmx; HAUSP; ubiquitination; apoptosis
Bcl-2 family proteins regulate mitochondrial apoptosis downstream of diverse stressors. Cancer cells frequently deregulate Bcl-2 proteins leading to chemoresistance. We have optimized a platform for solid tumors in which Bcl-2 family resistance patterns are inferred. Functional mitochondria were isolated from neuroblastoma cell lines, exposed to distinct BH3-domain peptides, and assayed for cytochrome c release. Such BH3 profiles revealed three patterns of cytochrome c response. A subset had a dominant NoxaBH3 response implying Mcl1-dependence. These cells were more sensitive to small molecules that antagonize Mcl1 (AT-101) than those that antagonize Bcl-2, Bcl-xL and Bcl-w (ABT-737). A second subset had a dominant BikBH3 response, implying a Bcl-xL/-w dependence, and was exquisitely sensitive to ABT-737 (IC50 <200 nM). Finally, most neuroblastoma cell lines derived at relapse were relatively resistant to pro-death BH3 peptides and Bcl-2 antagonists. Our findings define heterogeneity for apoptosis resistance in neuroblastoma, help triage emerging Bcl-2 antagonists for clinical use, and provide a platform for studies to characterize post-therapy resistance mechanisms for neuroblastoma and other solid tumors.
Bcl-2 homology proteins; experimental therapeutics; chemoresistance; BH3 mimetics; neuroblastoma
Forkhead transcription factors of the O class (FOXOs) are important targets of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt pathway, and are key regulators of the cell cycle, apoptosis and response to oxidative stress. FOXOs have been shown to have tumour suppressor function and are important for stem cell maintenance. We have performed a detailed analysis of the transcriptional programme induced in response to Forkhead-box protein O3a (FOXO3a) activation. We observed that FOXO3a activation results in the repression of a large number of nuclear-encoded genes with mitochondrial function. Repression of these genes was mediated by FOXO3a-dependent inhibition of c-Myc. FOXO3a activation also caused a reduction in mitochondrial DNA copy number, expression of mitochondrial proteins, respiratory complexes and mitochondrial respiratory activity. FOXO3a has been previously implicated in the detoxification of reactive oxygen species (ROS) through induction of manganese-containing superoxide dismutase (SOD2). We observed that reduction in ROS levels following FOXO3a activation was independent of SOD2, but required c-Myc inhibition. Hypoxia increases ROS production from the mitochondria, which is required for stabilisation of the hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α). FOXO3a activation blocked the hypoxia-dependent increase in ROS and prevented HIF-1α stabilisation. Our data suggest that FOXO factors regulate mitochondrial activity through inhibition of c-Myc function and alter the hypoxia response.
FOXO; c-Myc; mitochondrial biogenesis; HIF-1α; reactive oxygen species
Components of the TNFR1 complex are subject to dynamic ubiquitination that impacts on their effects as signalling factors. We have found that the ubiquitin-specific protease USP2a has a pivotal role in the decision for cell death or survival by the TNFR1 complex. This enzyme is a novel component of the TNFR1 complex that is recruited upon ligand binding and controls the signalling activity of the TNFR1-interacting protein RIP1 by removing its K63-linked ubiquitin chains. USP2a similarly de-ubiquitinates TRAF2, a ubiquitin-ligase recruited to the TNFR1 complex. During the TNF response the activity of USP2a on RIP1 and TRAF2 is required for the efficient reappearance of IκBα, which is essential to inactivate the anti-apoptotic transcription factor NF-κB. The effects of USP2a culminate in the conversion of the anti-apoptotic TNFR1 complex I into the pro-apoptotic TNFR1 complex II. Consequently, downregulation of USP2a promotes NF-κB activation and protects cells against TNF-induced cell death.
apoptosis; TNF; NF-κB; ubiquitin
The tumour suppressor p53 transcriptionally regulates a range of target genes that control cell growth and survival. Mutations of p53 have been implicated in the development of ∼50% of human cancers, including those instigated by exposure to mutagens. Although numerically rare, cancers can arise as a consequence of inherited mutations, such as in the Li–Fraumeni syndrome, which is caused by mutation of one p53 allele. Gene-targeted mice deficient for p53 have been generated to study this familial cancer syndrome. On a C57BL/6 background, p53-deficient mice develop primarily thymic lymphoma and more rarely sarcoma. Evasion of apoptosis is considered to be essential for neoplastic transformation. As proteins of the Bcl-2 family are the critical regulators of apoptosis, we investigated the role of the pro-survival members Bcl-2, Bcl-xL and Bcl-w in cancer development in p53+/− and p53−/− mice by testing whether ABT-737, a pharmacological inhibitor of these proteins, could prevent or delay tumourigenesis. Our studies showed that ABT-737 prophylaxis only caused a minor delay and reduction in γ-radiation-induced thymic lymphoma development in p53−/− mice, but this was accompanied by a concomitant increase in sarcoma. These data show that, collectively, Bcl-2, Bcl-xL and Bcl-w have only minor roles in thymic lymphoma development elicited by defects in p53, and this may indicate that Mcl-1 and/or A1 may feature more prominently in this process.
p53; ABT-737; Bcl-2 family; lymphoma; cancer
Regulated removal of proteins and organelles by autophagy-lysosome system is critical for muscle homeostasis. Excessive activation of autophagy-dependent degradation contributes to muscle atrophy and cachexia. Conversely, inhibition of autophagy causes accumulation of protein aggregates and abnormal organelles, leading to myofiber degeneration and myopathy. Defects in lysosomal function result in severe muscle disorders such as Pompe (GSDII) disease, characterised by an accumulation of autophagosomes. However, whether autophagy is detrimental or not in muscle function of Pompe patients is unclear. We studied infantile and late-onset GSDII patients and correlated impairment of autophagy with muscle wasting. We also monitored autophagy in patients who received recombinant α-glucosidase. Our data show that infantile and late-onset patients have different levels of autophagic flux, accumulation of p62-positive protein aggregates and expression of atrophy-related genes. Although the infantile patients show impaired autophagic function, the late-onset patients display an interesting correlation among autophagy impairment, atrophy and disease progression. Moreover, reactivation of autophagy in vitro contributes to GAA maturation in both healthy and diseased myotubes. Together, our data suggest that autophagy protects myofibers from disease progression and atrophy in late-onset patients.
atrophy; autophagy; glycogen storage disease; Pompe disease; MuRF1
Exposure of the brain to ionizing radiation can cause neurocognitive deficiencies. The pathophysiology of these neurological changes is complex and includes radiation-induced apoptosis in the subgranular zone of the hippocampus. We have recently found that inhibition of glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK-3β) resulted in significant protection from radiation-induced apoptosis in hippocampal neurons. The molecular mechanisms of this cytoprotection include abrogation of radiation-induced accumulation of p53. Here we show that pretreatment of irradiated HT-22 hippocampal-derived neurons with small molecule inhibitors of GSK-3β SB216763 or SB415286, or with GSK-3β-specific shRNA resulted in accumulation of the p53-specific E3 ubiquitin ligase MDM2. Knockdown of MDM2 using specific shRNA or chemical inhibition of MDM2-p53 interaction prevented the protective changes triggered by GSK-3β inhibition in irradiated HT-22 neurons and restored radiation cytotoxicity. We found that this could be due to regulation of apoptosis by subcellular localization and interaction of GSK-3β, p53 and MDM2. These data suggest that the mechanisms of radioprotection by GSK-3β inhibitors in hippocampal neurons involve regulation of MDM2-dependent p53 accumulation and interactions between GSK-3β, MDM2 and p53.
ionizing radiation; hippocampal neurons; GSK-3β; MDM2; p53
Normal stem cells reside in functional niches critical for self-renewal and maintenance. Neural and hematopoietic stem cell niches, in particular, are characterized by restricted availability of oxygen and the resulting regulation by hypoxia-inducible factors (HIFs). Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most common malignant brain tumor and also contains high degrees of hypoxia. Heterogeneity within the neoplastic compartment has been well characterized in GBM and may be derived from genetic and epigenetic sources that co-evolve during malignant progression. Recent experimental evidence has supported the importance of hypoxia in glioma stem cell (GSC) niches. We hypothesized that HIFs require epigenetic-modifying proteins to promote tumor malignancy in GBM. Here we demonstrate that in GBM the histone methyltransferase mixed-lineage leukemia 1 (MLL1) is induced by hypoxia and enhances hypoxic responses. Loss of MLL1 reduces the expression of HIF transcripts and HIF2α protein. Targeting MLL1 by RNA interference inhibited the expression of HIF2α and target genes, including vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). GSCs expressed higher levels of MLL1 than matched non-stem tumor cells and depletion of MLL1 reduced GSC self-renewal, growth, and tumorigenicity. These studies have uncovered a novel mechanism mediating tumor hypoxic responses linking microenvironmental regulation of epigenetic-modifying proteins to cellular heterogeneity and provide rationale for the design of more sophisticated clinical approaches targeting epigenetic regulation.
hypoxia; MLL1; cancer stem cell; HIF2α; epigenetics
Active caspases execute apoptosis to eliminate superfluous or harmful cells in animals. In Drosophila, living cells prevent uncontrolled caspase activation through an inhibitor of apoptosis protein (IAP) family member, dIAP1, and apoptosis is preceded by the expression of IAP-antagonists, such as Reaper, Hid and Grim. Strong genetic modifiers of this pathway include another IAP family gene encoding an E2 ubiquitin conjugating enzyme domain, dBruce. Although the genetic effects of dBruce mutants are well documented, molecular targets of its encoded protein have remained elusive. Here, we report that dBruce targets Reaper for ubiquitination through an unconventional mechanism. Specifically, we show that dBruce physically interacts with Reaper, dependent upon Reaper's IAP-binding (IBM) and GH3 motifs. Consistently, Reaper levels were elevated in a dBruce −/− background. Unexpectedly, we found that dBruce also affects the levels of a mutant form of Reaper without any internal lysine residues, which normally serve as conventional ubiquitin acceptor sites. Furthermore, we were able to biochemically detect ubiquitin conjugation on lysine-deficient Reaper proteins, and knockdown of dBruce significantly reduced the extent of this ubiquitination. Our results indicate that dBruce inhibits apoptosis by promoting IAP-antagonist ubiquitination on unconventional acceptor sites.
apoptosis; ubiquitin; IAP; Reaper; dBruce
Tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) induces apoptosis and preferentially kills tumor cells by engaging specific glycosylated death receptors, resulting in the internalization of ligand/receptor complexes and recruitment of the initiator caspase-8 to an activation platform known as the death-inducing signaling complex (DISC). However, emergence of TRAIL-resistant sub-populations may contribute to therapeutic failure. To investigate resistance mechanisms, we isolated a stable TRAIL-resistant sub-population of the metastatic colon cancer cell line LS-LIM6, designated LIM6-TR. LIM6-TR cells are impaired in endocytosis of TRAIL/death receptors complexes and failed to recruit/activate caspase-8 to the DISC upon TRAIL stimulation. Differential activation of Wnt and JNK pathways is not responsible for acquisition of TRAIL resistance. LIM6-TR cells display a marked increase in cell-surface expression of galectin-3, an endogenous lectin, which co-localizes with and binds death receptors. Silencing of galectin-3 restores TRAIL sensitivity and promotes TRAIL-mediated endocytosis of TRAIL/death receptors complexes. Inhibitors of galectin-3 and glycosylation also re-sensitize LIM6-TR to TRAIL and restore internalization of ligand/receptors complexes. These studies identify a novel TRAIL-resistance mechanism in which galectin-3 impedes trafficking of death receptor by anchoring them in glycan nano-clusters, blocking the execution of the apoptosis signal.
galectin-3; TRAIL; apoptosis; colon cancer
Signalling through the janus kinase (JAK)/signal transducer and activator of transcription (Stat) pathway is required at different stages of mammary gland development, and this pathway is frequently hyper-activated in cancer, including tumours of the breast. Stats 3, 5 and 6 have important roles in the differentiation and survival of mammary alveolar cells, but somewhat paradoxically, both Stat3 and 5 can have oncogenic activity in the mammary gland. Constitutive activation of JAK2 could be anticipated to result in hyper-activation of Stats 1, 3, 5 and 6 with concomitant cell transformation, although the outcome is difficult to envisage, particularly since Stats 3 and 5 play opposing roles in normal mammary gland development. Here, we show that expression of a constitutively active JAK2 mutant, JAK2 V617F, leads to hyper-activation of Stat5 in mammary epithelial cells (MECs), and transgenic mice expressing JAK2 V617F specifically in the mammary gland exhibit accelerated alveologenesis during pregnancy and delayed post-lactational regression. Overexpressing JAK2 V617F in MECs in vitro results in elevated proliferation and resistance to cell death. Furthermore, constitutively active JAK2 enhances anchorage-independent cell growth in the presence of a co-operating oncogene and accelerates tumourigenesis in a xenograft model. Taken together, our results provide insights into signalling downstream of constitutively active JAK2 and could be important for understanding the molecular mechanisms of breast tumourigenesis.
JAK/Stat signalling; mammary gland development; breast cancer; JAK2 V617F; Stat5
The role of the serine protease HtrA2 in neuroprotection was initially identified by the demonstration of neurodegeneration in mice lacking HtrA2 expression or function, and the interesting finding that mutations adjacent to two putative phosphorylation sites (S142 and S400) have been found in Parkinson's disease patients. However, the mechanism of this neuroprotection and the signalling pathways associated with it remain mostly unknown. Here we report that cyclin-dependent kinase-5 (Cdk5), a kinase implicated in the pathogenesis of several neurodegenerative diseases, is responsible for phosphorylating HtrA2 at S400. HtrA2 and Cdk5 interact in human and mouse cell lines and brain, and Cdk5 phosphorylates S400 on HtrA2 in a p38-dependent manner. Phosphorylation of HtrA2 at S400 is involved in maintaining mitochondrial membrane potential under stress conditions and is important for mitochondrial function, conferring cells protection against cellular stress.
HtrA2; Cdk5; phosphorylation; mitochondria; Parkinson's disease
Atherosclerosis involves a specialized inflammatory process regulated by an intricate network of cytokine and chemokine signaling. Atherosclerotic lesions lead to the release of cytokines that can have multiple affects on various vascular cell functions either promoting lesion expansion or alternatively retard progression. Tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) is one such cytokine that can activate both cell survival and cell death mechanisms simultaneously. Here we show that TNF-α induces apoptosis in human aortic endothelial cells (HAECs), while it promotes the proliferation of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs). Both events involved the activation of the Rb–E2F1 transcriptional regulatory pathway. Stimulation of HAECs with TNF-α led to an increased expression of p73 protein and a reduction in the levels of p53. This involved apoptosis signal-regulating kinase 1 (ASK1)- mediated inactivation of Rb and its dissociation from the p73 promoter. In contrast, TNF-α stimulation of VSMCs enhanced the association of E2F1 with proliferative promoters like thymidylate synthase and cdc25A, while Rb was dissociated. ASK1 kinase has a critical role in the apoptotic process, as its depletion or dissociation from Rb reduced TNF-α-induced apoptosis. These results show that the cytokine TNF-α can elicit diametrically opposite responses in vascular endothelial cells and VSMCs, utilizing the Rb–E2F pathway.
TNF-α; endothelial cells; apoptosis; E2F1; p73; ASK1
Mutant p53 (mutp53) cancers are surprisingly dependent on their hyperstable mutp53 protein for survival, identifying mutp53 as a potentially significant clinical target. However, exploration of effective small molecule therapies targeting mutp53 has barely begun. Mutp53 hyperstabilization, a hallmark of p53 mutation, is cancer cell-specific and due to massive upregulation of the HSP90 chaperone machinery during malignant transformation. We recently showed that stable complex formation between HSP90 and its mutp53 client inhibits E3 ligases MDM2 and CHIP, causing mutp53 stabilization. Histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors (HDACi) are a new class of promising anti-cancer drugs, hyperacetylating histone and non-histone targets. Currently, suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid (SAHA) is the only FDA-approved HDACi. We show that SAHA exhibits preferential cytotoxicity for mutant, rather than wild-type and null p53 human cancer cells. Loss/gain-of-function experiments revealed that although able to exert multiple cellular effects, SAHA's cytotoxicity is caused to a significant degree by its ability to strongly destabilize mutp53 at the level of protein degradation. The underlying mechanism is SAHA's inhibition of HDAC6, an essential positive regulator of HSP90. This releases mutp53 and enables its MDM2- and CHIP-mediated degradation. SAHA also strongly chemosensitizes mutp53 cancer cells for chemotherapy due to its ability to degrade mutp53. This identifies a novel action of SAHA with the prospect of SAHA becoming a centerpiece in mutp53-specific anticancer strategies.
SAHA; mutant p53; HDAC6; activated Hsp90 chaperone; MDM2; CHIP
Mutations in PTEN-induced kinase 1 (PINK1) are associated with a familial syndrome related to Parkinson's disease (PD). We previously reported that stable neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cell lines with reduced expression of endogenous PINK1 exhibit mitochondrial fragmentation, increased mitochondria-derived superoxide, induction of compensatory macroautophagy/mitophagy and a low level of ongoing cell death. In this study, we investigated the ability of protein kinase A (PKA) to confer protection in this model, focusing on its subcellular targeting. Either: (1) treatment with pharmacological PKA activators; (2) transient expression of a constitutively active form of mitochondria-targeted PKA; or (3) transient expression of wild-type A kinase anchoring protein 1 (AKAP1), a scaffold that targets endogenous PKA to mitochondria, reversed each of the phenotypes attributed to loss of PINK1 in SH-SY5Y cells, and rescued parameters of mitochondrial respiratory dysfunction. Mitochondrial and lysosomal changes in primary cortical neurons derived from PINK1 knockout mice or subjected to PINK1 RNAi were also reversed by the activation of PKA. PKA phosphorylates the rat dynamin-related protein 1 isoform 1 (Drp1) at serine 656 (homologous to human serine 637), inhibiting its pro-fission function. Mimicking phosphorylation of Drp1 recapitulated many of the protective effects of AKAP1/PKA. These data indicate that redirecting endogenous PKA to mitochondria can compensate for deficiencies in PINK1 function, highlighting the importance of compartmentalized signaling networks in mitochondrial quality control.
PINK1; PKA; AKAP1; neurodegeneration; mitochondria and mitophagy; 6-hydroxydopamine