DNA double strand breaks are a particularly toxic form of DNA damage and the mammalian cell has evolved an intricate set of responses to repair this type of DNA lesion. A key early event in the DNA damage response (DDR) is ATM phosphorylation of the histone variant H2AX at serine 139 at the site of the DNA break. Phosphorylated S139 H2AX, or γH2AX, forms a docking site for binding of MDC1, leading to sustained recruitment of other DNA repair factors that mediate the repair of the DNA double strand break. Moreover, recruitment of MDC1 to the break site activates cell cycle checkpoints, protecting the cell from replication of damaged DNA templates. While the molecular events leading to DNA double strand break repair have been well described, the deactivating or homeostatic mechanisms following completion of repair remain largely unexplored. Recent publications by our laboratories and the Medema laboratory shed new light on this issue. Both publications showed that the Wild-type p53-Induced Phosphatase 1 (WIP1) directly dephosphorylates γH2AX. WIP1 migrates to the sites of irradiation-induced foci (IRIF), though at a delayed rate relative to MDC1 and mediates γH2AX dephosphorylation, presumably after DNA repair is complete. This prevents recruitment of other repair factors such as MDC1 and 53BP1 to the DNA damage sites and promotes the dissolution of IRIF. In addition, overexpression of WIP1 has a suppressive effect on DNA double strand break repair. Taken together, these reports further implicate WIP1 as a critical homeostatic regulator of the DDR.
Wip1; PPM1D; γH2AX; MDC1; ATM; ATR; DNA double strand break repair
Tumor suppressors function in a coordinated regulatory network, and their inactivation is a key step in carcinogenesis. The tumor suppressor Par-4 is a novel integral player in the PTEN network. Thus, Par-4 is absent in a high percentage of human prostate carcinomas, and its loss is concomitantly associated with PTEN loss. Genetic ablation of Par-4 induces fully invasive prostate carcinomas in PTEN-heterozygous mice. In contrast, Par-4 deficiency alone, like PTEN heterozygosis, results in lesions that are unable to progress beyond the benign neoplastic stage known as PIN. At this PIN transition, the mutual induction of Par-4 and PTEN is an additional regulatory step in preventing cancer progression. Par-4 deficiency cooperates with PTEN haploinsufficiency in prostate cancer initiation and progression and their simultaneous inactivation, in addition to enhancing Akt activation, sets in motion a unique mechanism involving the synergistic activation of NFκB. These results suggest that the concurrent interruption of complementary signaling pathways targeting PI3K/Akt and NFκB activation could provide new and effective strategies for cancer therapy.
Par-4; PTEN; aPKC; PKCζ; Akt; NFκB; prostate cancer; tumor suppressors
Identification of cell signaling mechanisms mediating seizure-related neuronal death and epileptogenesis is important for developing more effective therapies for epilepsy. The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway has recently been implicated in regulating neuronal death and epileptogenesis in rodent models of epilepsy. In particular, kainate-induced status epilepticus causes abnormal activation of the mTOR pathway, and the mTOR inhibitor, rapamycin, can decrease the development of neuronal death and chronic seizures in the kainate model. Here, we discuss the significance of these findings and extend them further by identifying upstream signaling pathways through which kainate status epilepticus activates the mTOR pathway and by demonstrating limited situations where rapamycin may paradoxically increase mTOR activation and worsen neuronal death in the kainate model. Thus, the regulation of seizure-induced neuronal death and epileptogenesis by mTOR is complex and may have dual, opposing effects depending on the physiological and pathological context. Overall, these findings have important implications for designing potential neuroprotective and antiepileptogenic therapies that modulate the mTOR pathway.
kainate; apoptosis; epilepsy; seizure; rat
The retinoblastoma tumor suppressor protein pRB functions, at least in part, by directly binding to and modulating the activity of the E2F transcription factors. Previous studies have shown that both E2F4 and pRB play important roles in fetal erythropoiesis. Given that these two proteins interact directly we investigated the overlap of E2F4 and pRB function in this process by analyzing E2f4−/−, conditional Rb knockout (Rb1lox/1lox), and compound E2f4−/−;Rb1lox/1lox embryos. At E15.5 E2f4−/− and Rb1lox/1lox fetal erythroid cells display distinct abnormalities in their differentiation profiles. When cultured in vitro, both E2f4−/− and Rb1lox/1lox erythroid cells show defects in cell cycle progression. Surprisingly, analysis of cell cycle profiling suggests that E2F4 and pRB control cell cycle exit through different mechanisms. Moreover, only pRB, but not E2F4, promotes cell survival in erythroid cells. We observed an additive rather than a synergistic impact upon the erythroid defects in the compound E2f4−/−;Rb1lox/1lox embryos. We further found that fetal liver macrophage development is largely normal regardless of genotype. Taken together, our results show that E2F4 and pRB play independent cell-intrinsic roles in fetal erythropoiesis.
retinoblastoma; pRB; E2F4; erythroid differentiation; cell cycle
Cdk2 was once believed to play an essential role in cell cycle progression, but cdk2-/- mice have minimal phenotypic abnormalities. In this study, we examined the role of cdk2 in hepatocyte proliferation, centrosome duplication and survival. Cdk2-/- hepatocytes underwent mitosis and had normal centrosome content after mitogen stimulation. Unlike wild-type cells, cdk2-/- liver cells failed to undergo centrosome overduplication in response to ectopic cyclin D1 expression. After mitogen stimulation in culture or partial hepatectomy in vivo, cdk2-/- hepatocytes demonstrated diminished proliferation. Cyclin D1 is a key mediator of cell cycle progression in hepatocytes, and transient expression of this protein is sufficient to promote robust proliferation of these cells in vivo. In cdk2-/- mice and animals treated with the cdk2 inhibitor seliciclib, cyclin D1 failed to induce hepatocyte cell cycle progression. Surprisingly, cdk2 ablation or inhibition led to massive hepatocyte and animal death following cyclin D1 transfection. In a transgenic model of chronic hepatic cyclin D1 expression, seliciclib induced hepatocyte injury and animal death, suggesting that cdk2 is required for survival of cyclin D1-expressing cells even in the absence of substantial proliferation. In conclusion, our studies demonstrate that cdk2 plays a role in liver regeneration. Furthermore, it is essential for centrosome overduplication, proliferation and survival of hepatocytes that aberrantly express cyclin D1 in vivo. These studies suggest that cdk2 may warrant further investigation as a target for therapy of liver tumors with constitutive cyclin D1 expression.
apoptosis; cdk2; centrosomes; cyclin D1; liver regeneration; seliciclib
TGF; signaling; Smad; non-Smad; PI3K; epithelia; EMT; fibroblasts
Classic but also novel roles of p53 are becoming increasingly well characterized. We previously showed that ex vivo retroviral transfer of mitochondrially targeted wild type p53 (mitop53) in the Eμ-myc mouse lymphoma model efficiently induces tumor cell killing in vivo. In an effort to further explore the therapeutic potential of mitop53 for its pro-apoptotic effect in solid tumors, we generated replication-deficient recombinant human Adenovirus type 5 vectors. We show here that adenoviral delivery of mitop53 by intratumoral injection into HCT116 human colon carcinoma xenograft tumors in nude mice is surprisingly effective, resulting in tumor cell death of comparable potency to conventional p53. These apoptotic effects in vivo were confirmed by Ad5-mitop53 mediated cell death of HCT116 cells in culture. Together, these data provide encouragement to further explore the potential for novel mitop53 proteins in cancer therapy to execute the shortest known circuitry of p53 death signaling.
adenovirus; cancer; mitochondria; p53; therapy; xenograft
The protease HAUSP is a critical component of the p53-Mdm2 pathway and acts as a specific deubiquitinase for both p53 and Mdm2 and thus is important for p53 regulation. In knock-down and knock-out cellular systems it was observed that ablation of HAUSP induces profound stabilization of p53 due to enhanced degradation of Mdm2. Thus, inhibiting HAUSP by small compound interference has been proposed as a rational therapeutic strategy to activate p53 in p53 wild type tumors. However, HAUSP-mediated effects in the p53-Mdm2 axis are highly complex and non-linear and to date the role of HAUSP in tumor suppression in vivo remains unexplored.
Here we investigate the effect of HAUSP up and downregulation on cell proliferation, apoptosis and tumor growth in vitro and in a xenograft model in vivo, using an inducible isogenic human colon carcinoma cell system. Importantly, in the absence of stress, both HAUSP up and downregulation inhibit cell proliferation in vitro and tumor growth in vivo due to constitutively elevated p53 levels. Moreover, tumors with HAUSP up and downregulation respond to radiotherapy with further growth inhibition. However, HAUSP downregulation causes resistance to Camptothecin- and irradiation-induced apoptosis, which correlates with suppressed mitochondrial translocation of p53. Our data suggest that changes in HAUSP modulate tumor growth and apoptotic sensitivity in vivo.
HAUSP; p53; ubiquitination; Mdm2; deubiquitination; mitochondrial translocation
A recent report1 demonstrates that a subset of RGG motif proteins can bind translation initiation factor eIF4G and repress mRNA translation. This adds to the growing number of roles RGG motif proteins play in modulating transcription, splicing, mRNA export and now translation. Herein, we review the nature and breadth of functions of RGG motif proteins. In addition, the interaction of some RGG motif proteins and other translation repressors with eIF4G highlights the role of eIF4G as a general modulator of mRNA function and not solely as a translation initiation factor.
translation initiation; RGG motif; Sbp1; eIF4E; mRNA decay; eIF4G; Npl3; re-entry to translation; arginine methylation; decapping
Early assessment of cancer response to the treatment is of great importance in clinical oncology. Most antitumor drugs, among them DNA topoisomerase (topo) inhibitors, target nuclear DNA. The aim of the present study was to explore feasibility of the assessment of DNA damage response (DDR) as potential biomarker, eventually related to the clinical response, during treatment of human leukemias. We have measured DDR as reported by activation of ATM through its phosphorylation on Ser 1981 (ATM-S1981P) concurrent with histone H2AX phosphorylation on Ser139 (γH2AX) in leukemic blast cells from the blood of twenty patients, 16 children/adolescents and 4 adults, diagnosed with acute leukemias and treated with topo2 inhibitors doxorubicin, daunomycin, mitoxantrone or idarubicin. Phosphorylation of H2AX and ATM was detected using phospho-specific Abs and measured in individual cells by flow cytometry. The increase in the level of ATM-S1981P and γH2AX, varying in extent between the patients, was observed in blasts from the blood collected one hour after completion of the drug infusion with respect to the pre-treatment level. A modest degree of correlation was observed between the induction of ATM activation and H2AX phosphorylation in blasts of individual patients. The number of the studied patients (20) and the number of the clinically non-responding ones (2) was too low to draw a conclusion whether the assessment of DDR can be clinically prognostic. The present findings, however, demonstrate the feasibility of assessment of DDR during the treatment of leukemias with drugs targeting DNA.
histone H2AX phosphorylation; ATM activation; acute leukemias; apoptosis; DNA topoisomerase II inhibitors; mitoxantrone; doxorubicin; idarubicin; daunorubicin; cytometry
The p21 (CDKN1A, Waf1 or Cip1) protein is widely known as an inhibitor of cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK), which plays a critical role in regulation of the G1-S transition during the cell cycle progression. The inhibition of G1-S transition by p21 is mainly mediated in the nucleus. However, the cytoplasmic p21 has been shown to play a pro-proliferation and anti-apoptosis role. Thus, the regulation of p21’s intracellular distribution has a significant implication for cell fate determination. BCCIP is a BRCA2 and CDKN1A Interacting Protein. Previous reports showed that BCCIP enhances the p21 suppression activity towards CDK2, and BCCIP downregulation reduces p21 expression by abrogating p53 transcription activity. In this report, we demonstrate that the BCCIP-p21 interaction is enhanced in response to DNA damage using Fluorescent Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET) technique. We found that the downregulation of BCCIP reduces nuclear p21 and increases cytoplasmic p21. This p21 redistribution is not caused by the reduced expression of endogenous p21 resulting from BCCIP downregulation, because exogenously expressed p21 also preferably distributes in the cytoplasm. The BCCIP regulation of p21 distribution is not related to the status of Thr-145 phosphorylation that is known to cause cytoplasmic distribution. These data suggest that regulation of p21 intracellular distribution as a new mechanism for BCCIP to modulate p21 functions.
BCCIP; p21; G1/S; FRET; checkpoint
One of the early events of the DNA damage response (DDR), particularly if the damage involves induction of DNA double-strand breaks, is remodeling of chromatin structure characterized by its relaxation (decondensation). The relaxation increases accessibility of the damaged DNA sites to the repair machinery. We present here a simple cytometric approach to detect chromatin relaxation based on the analysis of the proclivity of DNA in situ to undergo denaturation after treatment with acid. DNA denaturation is probed by the metachromatic fluorochrome acridine orange (AO) which differentially stains single-stranded (denatured) DNA by fluorescing red and the double-stranded DNA by emitting green fluorescence. DNA damage was induced in both human leukemic TK6 cells and mitogen-stimulated human peripheral blood lymphocytes by exposure to UV light or by treatment with H2O2. Chromatin relaxation was revealed by diminished susceptibility of DNA to denaturation, likely reflecting decreased DNA torsional stress, seen as soon as 10 min after subjecting cells to UV or H2O2. While cells in all phases of the cell cycle showed a comparable extent of chromatin relaxation upon UV or H2O2 exposure, H2AX was phosphorylated on Ser139 predominantly in S-phase cells. The data are consistent with the notion that chromatin relaxation is global, affects all cells with damaged DNA, and is a prerequisite to the subsequent steps of DDR that can be selective to cells in a particular phase of the cell cycle. The method offers a rapid and simple means of detecting genotoxic insult on cells.
UV light; oxidative DNA damage; H2AX phosphorylation; cell cycle; DNA denaturation; acridine orange; metachromasia; ssDNA; lymphocytes
plasminogen; plasminogen receptor; macrophage; L-type Ca2+ channel; amlodipine; verapamil; inflammation
This review is focused on current findings implicating miRNAs in the polycystic liver diseases, which we categorized as cholangiociliopathies. Our recent data suggest that deregulation of miRNA pathways is emerging as a novel mechanism in the development of cholangiociliopathies. Experimental evidence demonstrates that miRNAs (i.e., miR-15a) influence hepatic cyst growth by affecting the expression of the cell cycle regulator, Cdc25A. Given that abnormalities in many cellular processes (i.e., cell cycle regulation, cell proliferation, cAMP and calcium signaling, the EGF-stimulated mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway and fluid secretion) contribute to the hepatic cystogenesis, the potential role of miRNAs in regulation of these processes is discussed.
miRNA; cholangiociliopathies; miR-15a; Cdc25A; cholangiocyte; proliferation
F-box proteins are the substrate recognition subunits of SCF (Skp1, Cul1, F-box protein) ubiquitin ligase complexes. Skp2 is a nuclear F-box protein that targets the CDK inhibitor p27 for ubiquitin- and proteasome-dependent degradation. In G0 and during the G1 phase of the cell cycle, Skp2 is degraded via the APC/CCdh1 ubiquitin ligase to allow stabilization of p27 and inhibition of CDKs, facilitating the maintenance of the G0/G1 state. APC/CCdh1 binds Skp2 through an N-terminal domain (amino acids 46–94 in human Skp2). It has been shown that phosphorylation of Ser64 and Ser72 in this domain dissociates Skp2 from APC/C. More recently, it has instead been proposed that phosphorylation of Skp2 on Ser72 by Akt/ PKB allows Skp2 binding to Skp1, promoting the assembly of an active SCFSkp2 ubiquitin ligase, and Skp2 relocalization/ retention into the cytoplasm, promoting cell migration via an unknown mechanism. According to these reports, a Skp2 mutant in which Ser72 is substituted with Ala is unable to promote cell proliferation and loses its oncogenic potential. Given the contrasting reports, we revisited these results and conclude that phosphorylation of Skp2 on Ser72 does not control Skp2 binding to Skp1 and Cul1, has no influence on SCFSkp2 ubiquitin ligase activity, and does not affect the subcellular localization of Skp2.
Skp2; Akt; SCF; ubiquitin
The key role of Cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (Cdk5) in neuronal function has been well established but understanding of its importance in sensory pathways is in its infancy. Recently we described the important role of Cdk5 in pain signaling. Our studies indicated that conditional deletion of Cdk5 in small sensory neurons causes hypoalgesia. In current study, we identified development of atypical non-healing skin lesions in these mutant mice during the general colony maintenance. Detailed examination of these lesions clearly distinguishes them from ulcerative dermatitis. Here we hypothesize that these skin lesions are due to general sensation loss in these mice as evident from deep skin scratches that turn into unhealed wounds.
Cyclin-dependent kinases are highly conserved among all eukaryotes, and have essential roles in the cell cycle. However, these roles are still only poorly understood at a molecular level, partly due to the functional redundance of different Cdk complexes. Indeed, mice knockouts have even thrown into some doubt the assumed essential roles for Cdk2-cyclin E in triggering S-phase, but this is almost certainly due to compensation by Cdk1 complexes. By combining both knockout approaches and chemical Cdk inhibition in Xenopus egg extracts, we have shown that one reason for functional redundancy of Cdk control of S-phase is that Cdk activity required to trigger S-phase is very low. Cdk1 contributes to this activity even in the presence of Cdk2, and Cdk activity at this stage does not show “switch-like” regulation, as at the onset of mitosis. It is important to try to confirm and extend these findings to other cell-types, and to explain why different cells might have evolved different requirements for Cdk activity. In this paper, we present data that suggest that selective chemical Cdk inhibition will be a useful tool towards achieving this goal.
Animals; CDC2 Protein Kinase; antagonists & inhibitors; physiology; Cell Cycle; drug effects; Cells, Cultured; Cyclin-Dependent Kinase 2; antagonists & inhibitors; physiology; DNA Replication; drug effects; Humans; Ovum; enzymology; Protein Kinase Inhibitors; pharmacology; Purines; pharmacology; Quinolines; pharmacology; Thiazoles; pharmacology; Xenopus; Cyclin dependent kinase; chemical inhibitors; Xenopus; fibroblasts; chromatinNu6102; RO-3306
Cdc14; Cdh1; Cdk1; cyclin-dependent kinase; DNA replication; Ime2; premeiotic S; pre-replication complex; Sic1
The bulge region of the hair follicle serves as a repository for epithelial stem cells that can regenerate the follicle in each hair growth cycle and contribute to epidermis regeneration upon injury. Here we describe a population of multipotential stem cells in the hair follicle bulge region; these cells can be identified by fluorescence in transgenic nestin-GFP mice. The morphological features of these cells suggest that they maintain close associations with each other and with the surrounding niche. Upon explantation, these cells can give rise to neurosphere-like structures in vitro. When these cells are permitted to differentiate, they produce several cell types, including cells with neuronal, astrocytic, oligodendrocytic, smooth muscle, adipocytic, and other phenotypes. Furthermore, upon implantation into the developing nervous system of chick, these cells generate neuronal cells in vivo. We used transcriptional profiling to assess the relationship between these cells and embryonic and postnatal neural stem cells and to compare them with other stem cell populations of the bulge. Our results show that nestin-expressing cells in the bulge region of the hair follicle have stem cell-like properties, are multipotent, and can effectively generate cells of neural lineage in vitro and in vivo.
stem cells; hair follicle; bulge; neurogenesis; transcriptional profiling
Capillary rarefaction is a hallmark of fibrotic diseases and results in reduced blood perfusion and oxygen delivery. In the kidney, tubulointerstitial fibrosis, which leads to the destruction of renal tissue and the irreversible loss of kidney function, is associated with hypoxia and the activation of Hypoxia-Inducible-Factor (HIF) signaling. HIF-1 and HIF-2 are basic-helix-loop-helix transcription factors that allow cells to survive in a low oxygen environment by regulating energy metabolism, vascular remodeling, erythropoiesis, cellular proliferation and apoptosis. Recent studies suggest that HIF activation promotes epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) and renal fibrogenesis. These findings raise the possibility that the spectrum of HIF activated biological responses to hypoxic stress may differ under conditions of acute and chronic hypoxia. Here we discuss the role of HIF signaling in the pathogenesis and progression of chronic kidney disease.
hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF); hypoxia; chronic kidney disease; fibrosis; epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT); epithelial cell plasticity; lysyl oxidases
A broad variety of organisms display circadian rhythms (i.e., oscillations with 24-hr periodicities) in many aspects of their behavior, physiology and metabolism. These rhythms are under genetic control and are generated endogenously at the cellular level. In mammals, the core molecular mechanism of the oscillator consists of two transcriptional activators, CLOCK and BMAL1, and their transcriptional targets, CRYPTOCHROMES (CRYS) and PERIODS (PERS). The CRY and PER proteins function as negative regulators of CLOCK/BMAL1 activity, thus forming the major circadian autoregulatory feedback loop. It is believed that the circadian clock system regulates daily variations in output physiology and metabolism through periodic activation/repression of the set of clock-controlled genes that are involved in various metabolic pathways. Importantly, circadian-controlled pathways include those that determine in vivo responses to genotoxic stress. By using circadian mutant mice deficient in different components of the molecular clock system, we have established genetic models that correlate with the two opposite extremes of circadian cycle as reflected by the activity of the CLOCK/BMAL1 transactivation complex. Comparison of the in vivo responses of these mutants to the chemotherapeutic drug, cyclophosphamide (CY), has established a direct correlation between drug toxicity and the functional status of the CLOCK/BMAL1 transcriptional complex. We have also demonstrated that CLOCK/BMAL1 modulates sensitivity to drug-induced toxicity by controlling B cell responses to active CY metabolites. These results suggest that the sensitivity of cells to genotoxic stress induced by anticancer therapy may be modulated by CLOCK/BMAL1 transcriptional activity. Further elucidation of the molecular mechanisms of circadian control as well as identification of specific pharmacological modulators of CLOCK/BMAL1 activity are likely to lead to the development of new anti-cancer treatment schedules with increased therapeutic index and reduced morbidity.
Circadian; CLOCK; BMAL1; transcription; anticancer therapy