Pancreatic cancer progression is attributed to genetic and epigenetic alterations and a chaotic tumor microenvironment. Those diverse “upstream signal” factors appear to converge on specific sets of central nuclear regulators, namely, transcription factors. Specificity Protein 1 (Sp1) and signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (Stat3) are central transcription factors that regulate a number of pathways important to tumorigenesis, including tumor cell-cycle progression, apoptosis, angiogenesis, metastasis, and evasion of the immune system. Recently, researchers demonstrated many types of crosstalk of Sp1 and Stat3 in tumor signal transduction and that these factors function cooperatively to activate targeted genes and promote tumorigenesis in pancreatic cancer. Therefore, targeting both Sp1 and Stat3 is a potential preventive and therapeutic strategy for pancreatic cancer.
Therapy; angiogenesis; metastasis
The ability of mature organisms to stabilize phenotypes has enormous selective advantage across all phyla, but the mechanisms have been largely unexplored. Individuals with fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP), a rare genetic disorder of progressive heterotopic ossification, undergo a pathological metamorphosis in which one normal tissue is transformed into another through a highly regulated process of tissue destruction and phenotype reassignment. This disabling metamorphosis is mediated by the FOP metamorphogene, which encodes a mutant bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) type I receptor that exhibits mild constitutive activity during development and severe episodic dysregulation postnatally. The discovery of the FOP metamorphogene reveals a highly conserved target for drug development and identifies a fundamental defect in the BMP signaling pathway that when triggered by injury and inflammation transforms one tissue into another.
Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva; heterotopic ossification; bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) receptor; BMP signaling; metamorphosis; metamorphogene; ACVR1; activin-like kinase 2 (ALK2)
C-X-C motif chemokine 10 (CXCL10) also known as interferon γ-induced protein 10 kDa (IP-10) or small-inducible cytokine B10 is a cytokine belonging to the CXC chemokine family. CXCL10 binds CXCR3 receptor to induce chemotaxis, apoptosis, cell growth and angiostasis. Alterations in CXCL10 expression levels have been associated with inflammatory diseases including infectious diseases, immune dysfunction and tumor development. CXCL10 is also recognized as a biomarker that predicts severity of various diseases. A review of the emerging role of CXCL10 in pathogenesis of infectious diseases revealed diverse roles of CXCL10 in disease initiation and progression. The potential utilization of CXCL10 as a therapeutic target for infectious diseases is discussed.
Chemokine; CXCL10; CXCR3; infectious diseases
Double-stranded RNA (dsRNA), the genetic material for many RNA viruses, induces robust host immune responses via pattern recognition receptors, which include Toll-like receptor 3 (TLR3), retinoic acid-inducible gene-I-like receptors (RLRs) and the multi-protein NLRP3 inflammasome complex. The engagement of dsRNA receptors or inflammasome activation by viral dsRNA initiates complex intracellular signaling cascades that play essential roles in inflammation and innate immune responses, as well as the resultant development of adaptive immunity. This review focuses on signaling pathways mediated by TLR3, RLRs and the NLRP3 inflammasome, as well as the potential use of agonists and antagonists that target these pathways to treat disease.
double-stranded viral RNA; TLR3; RIG-I; NLRP3 inflammasome; signal transduction
Interferon (IFN)-γ is a cytokine known for its immunomodulatory and anti-proliferative action. In the liver, IFN-γ can induce hepatocyte apoptosis or inhibit hepatocyte cell cycle progression. This article reviews recent mechanistic reports that describe how IFN-γ may direct the fate of hepatocytes either towards apoptosis or a cell cycle arrest. This review also describes a probable role for IFN-γ in modulating hepatocyte fate during liver regeneration, transplantation, hepatitis, fibrosis and hepatocellular carcinoma, and highlights promising areas of research that may lead to the development of IFN-γ as a therapy to enhance recovery from liver disease.
IFN-γ; hepatocyte; liver; proliferation; apoptosis
Sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P)-metabolizing enzymes regulate the level of bioactive sphingolipids that have curative potential. Recently, S1P-metabolizing enzymes such as sphingosine kinase 1 and S1P lyase were shown to regulate influenza virus replication and the virus-induced cytopathogenicity. The mechanism appeared to employ a JAK/STAT type I interferon signaling pathway that induces anti-viral status. Further, sphingosine analogs altered cytokine responses upon influenza virus infection. This article focuses on recent discoveries about the sphingolipid system that influences on host protection from viral virulence and the involvement of cytokine signaling in its underlying mechanisms. Deciphering the steps of this pathway could help us envision how the modulation of sphingolipid metabolism can be applied as a therapeutic approach to overcome infectious diseases.
sphingosine kinase; S1P lyase; influenza virus; type I IFN; TNF
The pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin (IL)-17 (also known as IL-17A) has been associated with induction of tissue inflammation. Obese individuals exhibit many symptoms of chronic low-grade inflammation, suggesting that IL-17A may impact adipose tissue. However, the role of IL-17A in obesity is largely unexplored. Emerging studies indicate that obesity selectively promotes expansion of the Th17 T-cell lineage, exacerbating disease in murine models of autoimmunity such as EAE and colitis. Human studies support this concept, as new clinical studies suggest that IL-17A is expressed at elevated levels in obese individuals. Conversely, however, an anti-adipogenic role for IL-17A is becoming evident, and therefore the interconnections between IL-17A and fat metabolism may be quite complex. Here, we consolidate the potential implications of IL-17 in relation to obesity and describe the emerging data regarding the role of IL-17A in adipose tissue.
The T helper type 17 (Th17) lineage of CD4+ T-cells produce several effector molecules including IL-17A, IL-17F, IL-21, and IL-22. In addition to CD4+, αβ T-cells, these cytokines can be produced by natural killer and γδ T-cells. These effector cytokines can be produced rapidly upon infection at mucosal sites and evidence to date strongly implicates that this arm of the immune system plays a critical role in mucosal immunity to many extracellular pathogens. Moreover these cytokines can also coordinate adaptive immunity to some intracellular pathogens. In this review, we will highlight recent progress in our understanding of these cytokines, and mechanisms of their effector function in the mucosa.
Th17; Infection; mucosa
Interleukin (IL)-17 (also known as IL-17A) is produced by activated T cells. It is a marker cytokine of the TH17 lineage. IL-17 production is induced in infections, autoimmune diseases and other inflammatory events. IL-17 is involved in host defense, but also inflammatory tissue destruction. Vascular disease, mostly in the chronic form of atherosclerosis, is a leading cause of death. While normal vessels harbor only few leukocytes, large numbers of both innate and adaptive immune cells accumulate during vascular inflammation, both in chronic forms such as atherosclerosis and in acute vasculitis. IL-17 has a role in chronic vascular inflammation of atherosclerosis and possibly hypertensive vascular changes. In acute inflammation, IL-17 is elevated and may be causally involved in the autoimmune vasculitides including vasculitis in systemic lupus erythematodes. Blood vessels are important targets in alloimmune graft rejection and a number of studies provide data on a role of IL-17 in this context. This brief review summarizes the currently available evidence for and putative mechanisms of action of IL-17 in mouse models of and human vascular disease.
Interleukin 17; T cells; atherosclerosis; vasculitis; vasculopathy
Recently, the IL-17 family member cytokines have become prominent subjects of investigation. IL-17 (IL-17A) is the best-described member of this family where its production has been mainly attributed to a specialized T helper subset of the adaptive immune response termed Th17. However, recent research on this and other Th17 cytokines has revealed new sources and functions of IL-17 family members in the innate immune response. This review will highlight recent advances in the field of IL-17 family member cytokines and will predominately focus on the innate regulation and function of IL-17, IL-17F, and IL-25.
IL-17; IL-17F; IL-25; innate immunity
Tuberculosis is primarily a disease of the lung. Constant expression of cellular immunity in this organ is required to control Mycobacterium tuberculosis growth, but this can also result in chronic inflammation and pathologic consequences. During primary tuberculosis both IFN-γ and IL-17-producing cells are induced; both are potent inflammatory cytokines capable of inducing expression of chemokines that promote cell recruitment and granuloma organization throughout infection. During the chronic phase, a balance between Th1 and Th17 responses needs to be achieved to control bacterial growth and limit immunopathology, as a shift of the response towards excessive IL-17 production may sustain extensive neutrophil recruitment and tissue damage. Thus, regulation of Th1 and Th17 responses during tuberculosis is essential to promote anti-mycobacterial immunity and prevent extensive immunopathological consequences.
tuberculosis; lung; cytokines; inflammation; immunopathology
Over the last decade, our understanding of helper/effector T cell differentiation has changed dramatically. The discovery of interleukin (IL-)17–producing T cells (Th17) and other subsets has changed our view of T cell-mediated immunity. Characterization of the signaling pathways involved in the Th17 commitment has provided exciting new insights into the differentiation of CD4+ T cells. Importantly, the emerging data on conversion among polarized T helper cells have raised the question how we should view such concepts as T cell lineage commitment, terminal differentiation and plasticity. In this review, we will discuss the current understanding of the signaling pathways, molecular interactions, and transcriptional and epigenetic events that contribute to Th17 differentiation and acquisition of effector functions.
Th17; T cell differentiation; cytokines; signal transduction; transcription factor; epigenetics
Fibroblast growth factor homologous factors (FHFs) bear strong sequence and structural similarity to fibroblast growth factors (FGFs). However, the biochemical and functional properties of FHFs are largely, if not totally, unrelated to those of FGFs. Whereas FGFs function through binding to the extracellular domains of FGF receptors (FGFRs), FHFs bind to intracellular domains of voltage-gated sodium channels (VGSCs) and to a neuronal MAP kinase scaffold protein, islet-brain-2 (IB2). These findings demonstrate the remarkable functional adaptability during evolution of the FGF gene family. FHF gene mutations in mice result in a range of neurological abnormalities, and at least one of these anomalies, cerebellar ataxia, is linked to FHF mutations in humans. This article reviews the sequences and structure of FHFs, along with our still limited understanding of FHF function.
IL-26 is classified as a member of the IL-10 cytokine family because it has limited sequence homology to IL-10 and the IL-10-related cytokines. The human IL-26 gene, IL26, is located on chromosome 12q15 between the genes for two other important class-2 cytokines, IFNG (IFN-γ) and IL22 (IL-22). IL-26 is often co-expressed with IL-22 by activated T cells, especially Th17 cells. It signals through a heterodimeric receptor complex composed of the IL-20R1 and IL-10R2 chains. IL-26 receptors are primarily expressed on non-hematopoietic cell types, particularly epithelial cells. Signaling through IL-26 receptor complexes results in the activation of STAT1 and STAT3 with subsequent induction of IL-26-responsive genes. The biological functions of IL-26 have only begun to be defined.
IL-26; Th17 cells; IL-20R1; STAT3; inflammation
Interleukin-10 (IL-10) family of cytokines includes a number of its viral homologs, and eight cellular cytokines (IL-19, IL-20, IL-22, IL-24, IL-26, IL-28A, IL-28B, and IL29. The latter three proteins are also known as IFN-λ2, IFN-λ3, and IFN-λ1 and are recognized as type III (or λ) interferons. Most of the cellular homologs of IL-10 are monomeric in solution, whereas IL-10 and its viral homologs are intercalated dimers consisting of two helical bundle domains topologically similar to the monomeric members of the family. A classical four-helix bundle, a signature element of all helical cytokines, is always found as part of the domain of each member of the IL-10 family. The only crystal structures of the cytokine receptors that have been determined to date are for their extracellular domains (ECDs). Each ECD consists of two β-sandwich domains connected in the middle by a linkage. Signal transduction occurs when a cytokine binds to its two appropriate receptor chains. IL-10 and its viral homologs use the same IL-10 receptor system, whereas the cellular homologs of IL-10 use their own receptors, which in some cases may overlap and be used in different pairwise combinations. The known structures of binary complexes allowed marking of the receptor binding site, which always includes helix A, loop AB and helix F (IL-10 notations) on the side of a ligand, and loops of the N-terminal and C-terminal domains directed toward the ligand, and the interdomain linkage of the ECD. An analysis of the published structures of both the binary and ternary complexes of all helical cytokines allowed generation of a model of the signaling complex of IL-10. The receptor binding site I of the high affinity receptor IL-10R1 is exactly the same as in the crystal structure of the binary IL-10/sIL-10R1 complex, whereas the receptor binding site II is located on the surface of the first and the third helices of the four-helix bundle. The receptor/receptor interface, or site III, is formed between the C-terminal domains of IL-10R1 and IL-10R2.
Class II cytokines; interleukin-10; ligand/receptor interactions; helix bundle; signal transduction
Melanoma differentiation associated gene-7/interleukin-24 (mda-7/IL-24) is a unique member of the IL-10 gene family that displays nearly ubiquitous cancer-specific toxicity, with no harmful effects toward normal cells or tissues. mda-7/IL-24 was cloned from human melanoma cells by differentiation induction subtraction hybridization (DISH) and promotes endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress culminating in apoptosis or toxic autophagy in a broad-spectrum of human cancers, when assayed in cell culture, in vivo in human tumor xenograft mouse models and in a Phase I clinical trial in patients with advanced cancers. This therapeutically active cytokine also induces indirect anti-tumor activity through inhibition of angiogenesis, stimulation of an anti-tumor immune response, and sensitization of cancer cells to radiation-, chemotherapy- and antibody-induced killing.
mda-7/IL-24; apoptosis; autophagy; bystander antitumor activity; cancer terminator virus
NF-κB inducing kinase (NIK) is a kinase that activates the canonical and non-canonical NF-κB pathways to control transcriptional expression of certain proteins such as cytokines, chemokines and NF-κB signaling molecules. Many advances have been made in understanding the molecular mechanisms by which the stability of NIK is regulated to affect downstream signaling. Genetic mouse models suggest that NIK has an essential role in regulation of the immune system as well as in the bone microenvironment. Increasing evidence links NIK to the tumorigenesis of hematological cancers, such as multiple myeloma, and solid tumors, such as pancreatic carcinoma and melanoma. Understanding the mechanism by which NIK is de-regulated will potentially provide therapeutic options for certain diseases such as autoimmunity and cancer.
NF-κB inducing kinase (NIK); NF-κB; IKK; canonical pathway; non-canonical pathway
Genetic and functional studies indicate that common components of the Bone Morphogenetic Protein (BMP) signaling pathway play critical roles in regulating vascular development in the embryo, and in promoting vascular homeostasis and disease in the adult. However, discrepancies between in vitro and in vivo findings, and distinct functional properties of the BMP signaling pathway in different vascular beds have led to controversies in the field that have been difficult to reconcile. This review attempts to clarify some of these issues by providing an up to date overview of the biology and genetics of BMP signaling relevant to the intact vasculature.
Bone Morphogenetic Protein; BMP; signaling; vasculature; development; disease
Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) were first studied as growth factors or morphogens of the transforming growth factor-beta super family. These growth molecules, originally associated with bone and cartilage development, are now known to play important roles in morphogenesis and homeostasis in many other tissues. More recently, significant contributions of BMPs, their receptors, and interacting molecules have been linked to carcinogenesis and tumor progression. On the other hand, BMPs can sometimes play a role as a tumor suppressor. Our report highlights these new roles in the pathogenesis of cancer that may suggest novel targets for therapeutic intervention.
Bone Morphogenetic Proteins; Bone morphogenetic receptors; TGF- β; Cancer; Metastasis
Mutations in fibroblast growth factor receptors (Fgfrs) are the etiology of many craniosynostosis and chondrodysplasia syndromes in humans. The phenotypes associated with these human syndromes and the phenotypes resulting from targeted mutagenesis in the mouse have defined essential roles for FGF signaling in both endochondral and intramembranous bone development. In this review, I will focus on the role of FGF signaling in chondrocytes and osteoblasts and how FGFs regulate the growth and development of endochondral bone.
FGF; Skeletal development; Craniosynostosis; Achondroplasia; Receptor tyrosine kinase
High-dose chemotherapy and radiation followed by autologous blood and marrow transplantation (ABMT) has been extensively used for the treatment of certain cancers that are refractory to standard therapeutic regimes. However, a major challenge with ABMT for patients with hematologic malignancies is disease relapse, mainly due to either contamination with cancerous hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) within the autograft or the persistence of residual therapy-resistant disease niches within the patient. Oncolytic viruses represent a promising therapeutic approach to prevent cancer relapse by eliminating tumor-initiating cells that contaminate the autograft. Here we summarize an ex vivo “purging” strategy with oncolytic myxoma virus (MYXV) to remove cancer-initiating cells from patient autografts prior to transplantation. MYXV, a novel oncolytic poxvirus with potent anti-cancer properties in a variety of in vivo tumor models, can specifically eliminate cancerous stem and progenitor cells from samples obtained from acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) patients, while sparing normal CD34+ hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells capable of rescuing hematopoiesis following high dose conditioning. We propose that a broader subset of patients with intractable hematologic malignancies who have failed standard therapy could become eligible for ABMT when the treatment schema is coupled with ex vivo oncolytic therapy.
Interactions between tumor cells and their microenvironment have been shown to play a very significant role in the initiation, progression, and invasiveness of cancer. These tumor-stromal interactions are capable of altering the delivery and effectiveness of therapeutics into the tumor and are also known to influence future resistance and re-growth after treatment. Here we review recent advances in the understanding of the tumor microenvironment and its response to oncolytic viral therapy. The multifaceted environmental response to viral therapy can influence viral infection, replication, and propagation within the tumor. Recent studies have unveiled the complicated temporal changes in the tumor vasculature post OV treatment, and their impact on tumor biology. Similarly, the secreted extracellular matrix in solid tumors can affect both infection and spread of the therapeutic virus. Together, these complex changes in the tumor microenvironment also modulate the activation of the innate antiviral host immune response, leading to quick and efficient viral clearance. In order to combat these detrimental responses, viruses have been combined with pharmacological adjuvants and “armed” with therapeutic genes in order to suppress the pernicious environmental conditions following therapy. In this review we will discuss the impact of the tumor environment on viral therapy and examine some of the recent literature investigating methods of modulating this environment to enhance oncolysis.
PVS-RIPO is a genetically recombinant, non-pathogenic poliovirus chimera with a tumor-specific conditional replication phenotype. Consisting of the genome of the live attenuated poliovirus type 1 (Sabin) vaccine with its cognate IRES element replaced with that of human rhinovirus type 2, PVS-RIPO displays an inability to translate its genome in untransformed neuronal cells, but effectively does so in cells originating from primary tumors in the central nervous system or other cancers. Hence, PVS-RIPO unleashes potent cytotoxic effects on infected cancer cells and produces sustained anti-tumoral responses in animal tumor models. PVS-RIPO presents a novel approach to the treatment of patients with glioblastoma multiforme, based on conditions favoring an unconventional viral translation initiation mechanism in cancerous cells. In this review, we summarize advances in the understanding of major molecular determinants of PVS-RIPO oncolytic efficacy and safety and discuss their implications for upcoming clinical investigations.
The classic view that the role of immune cells in cancer is primarily one of tumor rejection has been supplanted by a more complex view of leukocytes having both pro-and anti-tumor properties. This shift is due to the now well recognized capabilities of several myeloid cell types that foster pro-tumor programming of premalignant tissue, as well as the discovery that subsets of leukocytes also suppress development and effector functions of lymphocytes important for mediating anti-tumor immunity. In this review, we focus on the underappreciated role that T lymphocytes play in promoting tumor development. This includes, in addition to the role of T regulatory cells, a role for natural killer T cells and CD4+ T helper cells in suppressing anti-tumor immunity and promoting cancer growth and metastasis.
Lymphocytes; Inflammation; Cancer; Tumors