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
Nek6 is a recently identified NIMA-related kinase that is required for mitotic cell cycle progression. In the present study, we examined the role of Nek6 in the DNA damage response. We found that Nek6 is phosphorylated upon IR and UV irradiation through the DNA damage checkpoint in vivo. Nek6 is also directly phosphorylated by the checkpoint kinases Chk1 and Chk2 in vitro. Notably, Nek6 activation during mitosis is completely abolished by IR and UV irradiation. Moreover, the ectopic expression of Nek6 overrides DNA damage-induced G2/M arrest. These results suggest that Nek6 is a novel target of the DNA damage checkpoint and that the inhibition of Nek6 activity is required for proper cell cycle arrest in the G2/M phase upon DNA damage.
Nek6; DNA damage checkpoint; G2/M arrest; protein phosphorylation; Chk1; Chk2
ulcerative colitis; Crohn’s disease; dextran sulfate sodium; DNA damage; IL-10; G-alphai2
Certain forms of hexavalent chromium [Cr(VI)] are human carcinogens. Our recent work has shown that a broad range protein tyrosine phosphatase (PTP) inhibitor, sodium orthovanadate (SOV), abrogated both Cr(VI)-induced growth arrest and clonogenic lethality. Notably, SOV enhanced Cr(VI) mutation frequency, ostensibly through forced survival of genetically damaged cells. In the present study, co-treatment with this PTP inhibitor bypassed the Cr(VI)-induced G1/S checkpoint arrest in diploid human lung fibroblasts (HLF). Moreover, the PTP inhibitor abrogated the Cr(VI)-induced decrease in the expression of key effectors of the G1/S checkpoint [Cyclin D1, phospho Ser 807/811 Rb (pRB), p27]. Cr(VI)-induced G1 arrest was associated with the cytoplasmic appearance of pRb and the nuclear localization of p27, both of which were reversed by the PTP inhibitor. The PTP inhibitor’s reversal of G1/S checkpoint effector localization after Cr exposure was found to be Akt1-dependent, as this was abrogated by transfection with either akt1 siRNA or an Akt1-kinase dead plasmid. Furthermore, Akt1 activation alone was sufficient to induce G1/S checkpoint bypass and to prevent Cr(VI)-induced changes in pRb and p27 localization. In conclusion, this work establishes Akt1 activation to be both sufficient to bypass the Cr(VI)-induced G1/S checkpoint, as well as necessary for the observed PTP inhibitor effects on key mediators of the G1/S transition. The potential for Akt to bypass G1/S checkpoint arrest in the face of genotoxic damage could increase genomic instability, which is a hallmark of neoplastic progression.
Akt1; hexavalent chromium; G1/S checkpoint transition; cdk inhibitors
Gene organization on nuclear chromosomes is usually depicted as a linear array, but at least some regions of the genome are localized to specific subnuclear positions in interphase nuclei. Studies in yeast have found that centromeres and telomeres are found around the nuclear periphery, and that tRNA genes are gathered at the nucleolus, along with the ribosomal RNA gene cluster. These 325 loci alone impose significant constraints on the three dimensional organization of chromosomes in the nucleus, and there is mounting experimental evidence that transcription by RNA polymerase II is strongly affected by proximity to these regions. Given these observations, one consideration in understanding nuclear gene regulation might be the degree to which spatial positioning affects at least a subset of gene families.
tRNA gene; centromere; telomere; silencing; nucleus; nucleolus; gene organization; nuclear pathways; nuclear architecture
To identify C-MYC targets rate-limiting for proliferation of malignant melanoma, we stably inhibited C-MYC in several human metastatic melanoma lines via lentivirus-based shRNAs approximately to the levels detected in normal melanocytes. C-MYC depletion did not significantly affect levels of E2F1 protein reported to regulate expression of many S-phase specific genes, but resulted in the repression of several genes encoding enzymes rate-limiting for dNTP metabolism. These included thymidylate synthase (TS), inosine monophosphate dehydrogenase 2 (IMPDH2) and phosphoribosyl pyrophosphate synthetase 2 (PRPS2). C-MYC depletion also resulted in reduction in the amounts of deoxyribonucleoside triphosphates (dNTPs) and inhibition of proliferation. shRNA-mediated suppression of TS, IMPDH2 or PRPS2 resulted in the decrease of dNTP pools and retardation of the cell cycle progression of melanoma cells in a manner similar to that of C-MYC-depletion in those cells. Reciprocally, concurrent overexpression of cDNAs for TS, IMPDH2 and PRPS2 delayed proliferative arrest caused by inhibition of C-MYC in melanoma cells. Overexpression of C-MYC in normal melanocytes enhanced expression of the above enzymes and increased individual dNTP pools. Analysis of in vivo C-MYC interactions with TS, IMPDH2 and PRPS2 genes confirmed that they are direct C-MYC targets. Moreover, all three proteins express at higher levels in cells from several metastatic melanoma lines compared to normal melanocytes. Our data establish a novel functional link between C-MYC and dNTP metabolism and identify its role in proliferation of tumor cells.
C-MYC; melanoma; nucleotide metabolism
Cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (Cdk5) is a nontraditional Cdk that is primarily active in postmitotic neurons. An important core function of Cdk5 involves regulating the migration and maturation of embryonic post-mitotic neurons. These developmental roles are dependent on its kinase activity. Initially, there was little evidence indicating a role for Cdk5 in normal cell cycle regulation. Recent data from our lab, however, suggest that Cdk5 plays a crucial role as a cell cycle suppressor in normal post-mitotic neurons and neuronal cell lines. It performs this foundation in a kinase independent manner. Cdk5 normally found in both nucleus and cytoplasm, but it exits the nucleus in neurons risk to death in an AD patient’s brain. The shift in sub-cellular location is accompanied by cell cycle re-entry and neuronal death. This “new” function of Cdk5 raises cautions in the design of Cdk5-directed drugs for the therapy of neurodegenerative diseases.
Cdk5; p27; E2F1; non-catalytic; cell cycle suppressor
iNOS; Type 1 Diabetes; osteoporosis; osteopenia
Dysregulated activity of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) and mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) is characteristic feature of hamartoma syndromes. Hamartoma syndromes, dominantly inherited cancer predisposition disorders, affect multiple organs and are manifested by benign tumors consisting of various cell types native to the tissues in which they arise. In the past few years, three inherited hamartoma syndromes, Cowden syndrome (CS), tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) syndrome, and Peutz-Jeghens syndrome (PJS), have all been linked to a common biochemical pathway: the hyperactivation of PI3K/mTORC1 intracellular signaling. Three tumor suppressors, PTEN (phosphatases and tensin homolog), tuberous sclerosis complex TSC1/TSC2, and LKB1, are negative regulators of PI3K/mTORC1 signaling; disease-related inactivation of these tumor suppressors results in the development of PTEN-associated hamartoma syndromes, TSC and PJS, respectively. The goal of this review is to provide a roadmap for navigating the inherently complex regulation of PI3K/mTORC1 signaling while highlighting the progress that has been made in elucidating the cellular and molecular mechanisms of hamartoma syndromes and identificating potential therapeutic targets for their treatment. Importantly, because the PI3K/mTORC1 pathway is activated in the majority of common human cancers, the identification of novel molecular target(s) for the treatment of hamartoma syndromes may have a broader translational potential, and is critically important not only for therapeutic intervention in hamartoma disorders, but also for the treatment of cancers.
PI3K; mTORC1; PTEN; cancer; lung; kidney; TSC; LAM; biomarker; therapy
Replication stress (RS) is a source of DNA damage that has been linked to cancer and ageing, and which is suppressed by the ATR kinase. In mice, reduced ATR levels in a model of the ATR-Seckel Syndrome lead to RS and accelerated ageing. Similarly, ATR-Seckel embryonic fibroblasts (MEF) accumulate RS and undergo cellular senescence. We previously showed that senescence of ATR-Seckel MEF cannot be rescued by p53-deletion. Here we show that the genetic ablation of the INK4a/Arf locus fully rescues senescence on ATR mutant MEF, but also that induced by other conditions that generate RS such as low doses of hydroxyurea or ATR inhibitors. In addition, we show that a persistent exposure to RS leads to increased levels of INK4a/Arf products, revealing that INK4a/ARF behaves as a bona fide RS-checkpoint. Our data reveal an unkown role for INK4a/ARF in limiting the expansion of cells suffering from persistent replication stress, linking this well-known tumor suppressor to the maintenance of genomic integrity.
H2AX; ATR; replicative stress; INK4a/ARF; DNA damage
Ubiquitin mediated degradation of cyclin D1 following the G1/S transition counters its mitogen-dependent accumulation during G1 phase of the cell cycle. Although the cellular machinery responsible for this process has been identified, how this regulatory pathway interfaces to cellular stress responses, often referred to as checkpoints, remains to be established. One intensely investigated checkpoint is the cellular response to DNA damage. When DNA damage is sensed, the corresponding DNA damage checkpoint triggers the inhibition of CDK-dependent cell cycle progression, with arrest coordinated by induction of CDK inhibitors and rapid degradation of specific cyclins, such as cyclin D1. In recent work, we identified a phosphorylation- and Fbx4-dependent cyclin D1 degradation mechanism in response to genotoxic stress.18 This work revealed that loss of cyclin D1 regulation compromises the intra-Sphase response to DNA damage, promoting genomic instability and sensitization of cells to S-phase chemotherapy, highlighting a potential therapeutic strategy for cancers exhibiting cyclin D1 accumulation.
Cyclin D1; phosphorylation; ATM; CDK4; DNA damage; intra-S-phase checkpoint; SCFFbx4-αBCrystallin; GSK3β