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1.  Epstein Barr virus-associated lymphoproliferative diseases: the virus as a therapeutic target 
Epstein Barr virus (EBV)-associated lymphoproliferative diseases (LPDs) express all EBV latent antigens (type III latency) in immunodeficient patients and limited antigens (type I and II latencies) in immunocompetent patients. Post-transplantation lymphoproliferative disease (PTLD) is the prototype exhibiting type III EBV latency. Although EBV antigens are highly immunogenic, PTLD cell proliferation remains unchecked because of the underlying immunosuppression. The restoration of anti-EBV immunity by EBV-specific T cells of either autologous or allogeneic origin has been shown to be safe and effective in PTLDs. Cellular therapy can be improved by establishing a bank of human leukocyte antigen-characterized allogeneic EBV-specific T cells. In EBV+ LPDs exhibiting type I and II latencies, the use of EBV-specific T cells is more limited, although the safety and efficacy of this therapy have also been demonstrated. The therapeutic role of EBV-specific T cells in EBV+ LPDs needs to be critically reappraised with the advent of monoclonal antibodies and other targeted therapy. Another strategy involves the use of epigenetic approaches to induce EBV to undergo lytic proliferation when expression of the viral thymidine kinase renders host tumor cells susceptible to the cytotoxic effects of ganciclovir. Finally, the prophylactic use of antiviral drugs to prevent EBV reactivation may decrease the occurrence of EBV+ LPDs.
doi:10.1038/emm.2014.102
PMCID: PMC4314579  PMID: 25613733
2.  Epstein–Barr virus-positive T/NK-cell lymphoproliferative disorders 
Epstein–Barr virus, a ubiquitous human herpesvirus, can induce both lytic and latent infections that result in a variety of human diseases, including lymphoproliferative disorders. The oncogenic potential of Epstein–Barr virus is related to its ability to infect and transform B lymphocytes into continuously proliferating lymphoblastoid cells. However, Epstein–Barr virus has also been implicated in the development of T/natural killer cell lymphoproliferative diseases. Epstein–Barr virus encodes a series of products that mimic several growth, transcription and anti-apoptotic factors, thus usurping control of pathways that regulate diverse homeostatic cellular functions and the microenvironment. However, the exact mechanism by which Epstein–Barr virus promotes oncogenesis and inflammatory lesion development remains unclear. Epstein–Barr virus-associated T/natural killer cell lymphoproliferative diseases often have overlapping clinical symptoms as well as histologic and immunophenotypic features because both lymphoid cell types derive from a common precursor. Accurate classification of Epstein–Barr virus-associated T/natural killer cell lymphoproliferative diseases is a prerequisite for appropriate clinical management. Currently, the treatment of most T/natural killer cell lymphoproliferative diseases is less than satisfactory. Novel and targeted therapies are strongly required to satisfy clinical demands. This review describes our current knowledge of the genetics, oncogenesis, biology, diagnosis and treatment of Epstein–Barr virus-associated T/natural killer cell lymphoproliferative diseases.
doi:10.1038/emm.2014.105
PMCID: PMC4314580  PMID: 25613730
3.  EBV and human cancer 
doi:10.1038/emm.2014.109
PMCID: PMC4314581  PMID: 25613727
4.  EBV-driven B-cell lymphoproliferative disorders: from biology, classification and differential diagnosis to clinical management 
Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) is a ubiquitous herpesvirus, affecting >90% of the adult population. EBV targets B-lymphocytes and achieves latent infection in a circular episomal form. Different latency patterns are recognized based on latent gene expression pattern. Latent membrane protein-1 (LMP-1) mimics CD40 and, when self-aggregated, provides a proliferation signal via activating the nuclear factor-kappa B, Janus kinase/signal transducer and activator of transcription, phosphoinositide 3-kinase/Akt (PI3K/Akt) and mitogen-activated protein kinase pathways to promote cellular proliferation. LMP-1 also induces BCL-2 to escape from apoptosis and gives a signal for cell cycle progression by enhancing cyclin-dependent kinase 2 and phosphorylation of retinoblastoma (Rb) protein and by inhibiting p16 and p27. LMP-2A blocks the surface immunoglobulin-mediated lytic cycle reactivation. It also activates the Ras/PI3K/Akt pathway and induces Bcl-xL expression to promote B-cell survival. Recent studies have shown that ebv-microRNAs can provide extra signals for cellular proliferation, cell cycle progression and anti-apoptosis. EBV is well known for association with various types of B-lymphocyte, T-lymphocyte, epithelial cell and mesenchymal cell neoplasms. B-cell lymphoproliferative disorders encompass a broad spectrum of diseases, from benign to malignant. Here we review our current understanding of EBV-induced lymphomagenesis and focus on biology, diagnosis and management of EBV-associated B-cell lymphoproliferative disorders.
doi:10.1038/emm.2014.82
PMCID: PMC4314582  PMID: 25613729
5.  Epstein–Barr virus latent genes 
Latent Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) infection has a substantial role in causing many human disorders. The persistence of these viral genomes in all malignant cells, yet with the expression of limited latent genes, is consistent with the notion that EBV latent genes are important for malignant cell growth. While the EBV-encoded nuclear antigen-1 (EBNA-1) and latent membrane protein-2A (LMP-2A) are critical, the EBNA-leader proteins, EBNA-2, EBNA-3A, EBNA-3C and LMP-1, are individually essential for in vitro transformation of primary B cells to lymphoblastoid cell lines. EBV-encoded RNAs and EBNA-3Bs are dispensable. In this review, the roles of EBV latent genes are summarized.
doi:10.1038/emm.2014.84
PMCID: PMC4314583  PMID: 25613728
6.  Modeling EBV infection and pathogenesis in new-generation humanized mice 
The development of highly immunodeficient mouse strains has allowed the reconstitution of functional human immune system components in mice. New-generation humanized mice generated in this manner have been extensively used for modeling viral infections that are exclusively human tropic. Epstein–Barr virus (EBV)-infected humanized mice reproduce cardinal features of EBV-associated B-cell lymphoproliferative disease and EBV-associated hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH). Erosive arthritis morphologically resembling rheumatoid arthritis (RA) has also been recapitulated in these mice. Low-dose EBV infection of humanized mice results in asymptomatic, persistent infection. Innate immune responses involving natural killer cells, EBV-specific adaptive T-cell responses restricted by human major histocompatibility and EBV-specific antibody responses are also elicited in humanized mice. EBV-associated T-/natural killer cell lymphoproliferative disease, by contrast, can be reproduced in a distinct mouse xenograft model. In this review, recent findings on the recapitulation of human EBV infection and pathogenesis in these mouse models, as well as their application to preclinical studies of experimental anti-EBV therapies, are described.
doi:10.1038/emm.2014.88
PMCID: PMC4314584  PMID: 25613732
7.  Genomic assays for Epstein–Barr virus-positive gastric adenocarcinoma 
A small set of gastric adenocarcinomas (9%) harbor Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) DNA within malignant cells, and the virus is not an innocent bystander but rather is intimately linked to pathogenesis and tumor maintenance. Evidence comes from unique genomic features of host DNA, mRNA, microRNA and CpG methylation profiles as revealed by recent comprehensive genomic analysis by The Cancer Genome Atlas Network. Their data show that gastric cancer is not one disease but rather comprises four major classes: EBV-positive, microsatellite instability (MSI), genomically stable and chromosome instability. The EBV-positive class has even more marked CpG methylation than does the MSI class, and viral cancers have a unique pattern of methylation linked to the downregulation of CDKN2A (p16) but not MLH1. EBV-positive cancers often have mutated PIK3CA and ARID1A and an amplified 9p24.1 locus linked to overexpression of JAK2, CD274 (PD-L1) and PDCD1LG2 (PD-L2). Multiple noncoding viral RNAs are highly expressed. Patients who fail standard therapy may qualify for enrollment in clinical trials targeting cancer-related human gene pathways or promoting destruction of infected cells through lytic induction of EBV genes. Genomic tests such as the GastroGenus Gastric Cancer Classifier are available to identify actionable variants in formalin-fixed cancer tissue of affected patients.
doi:10.1038/emm.2014.93
PMCID: PMC4314585  PMID: 25613731
8.  Fucoidan promotes osteoblast differentiation via JNK- and ERK-dependent BMP2–Smad 1/5/8 signaling in human mesenchymal stem cells 
Fucoidan has attracted attention as a potential drug because of its biological activities, which include osteogenesis. However, the molecular mechanisms involved in the osteogenic activity of fucoidan in human alveolar bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (hABM-MSCs) remain largely unknown. We investigated the action of fucoidan on osteoblast differentiation in hABM-MSCs and its impact on signaling pathways. Its effect on proliferation was determined using the crystal violet staining assay. Osteoblast differentiation was evaluated based on alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity and the mRNA expression of multiple osteoblast markers. Calcium accumulation was determined by Alizarin red S staining. We found that fucoidan induced hABM-MSC proliferation. It also significantly increased ALP activity, calcium accumulation and the expression of osteoblast-specific genes, such as ALP, runt-related transcription factor 2, type I collagen-α 1 and osteocalcin. Moreover, fucoidan induced the expression of bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP2) and stimulated the activation of extracellular signal-related kinase (ERK), c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase by increasing phosphorylation. However, the effect of fucoidan on osteogenic differentiation was inhibited by specific inhibitors of ERK (PD98059) and JNK (SP600125) but not p38 (SB203580). Fucoidan enhanced BMP2 expression and Smad 1/5/8, ERK and JNK phosphorylation. Moreover, the effect of fucoidan on osteoblast differentiation was diminished by BMP2 knockdown. These results indicate that fucoidan induces osteoblast differentiation through BMP2–Smad 1/5/8 signaling by activating ERK and JNK, elucidating the molecular basis of the osteogenic effects of fucoidan in hABM-MSCs.
doi:10.1038/emm.2014.95
PMCID: PMC4314586  PMID: 25572360
9.  BAFF knockout improves systemic inflammation via regulating adipose tissue distribution in high-fat diet-induced obesity 
Obesity is recognized as a chronic low-grade inflammatory state due to adipose tissue expansion being accompanied by an increase in the production of proinflammatory adipokines. Our group is the first to report that B-cell-activating factor (BAFF) is produced from adipocytes and functions as a proinflammatory adipokine. Here, we investigated how loss of BAFF influenced diet-induced obesity in mice by challenging BAFF−/− mice with a high-fat diet for 10 weeks. The results demonstrated that weight gain in BAFF−/− mice was >30% than in control mice, with a specific increase in the fat mass of the subcutaneous region rather than the abdominal region. Expression of lipogenic genes was examined by quantitative real-time PCR, and increased lipogenesis was observed in the subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT), whereas lipogenesis in the epididymal adipose tissue (EAT) was reduced. A significant decrease in EAT mass resulted in the downregulation of inflammatory gene expression in EAT, and more importantly, overall levels of inflammatory cytokines in the circulation were reduced in obese BAFF−/− mice. We also observed that the macrophages recruited in the enlarged SAT were predominantly M2 macrophages. 3T3-L1 adipocytes were cultured with adipose tissue conditioned media (ATCM), demonstrating that EAT ATCM from BAFF−/− mice contains antilipogenic and anti-inflammatory properties. Taken together, BAFF−/− improved systemic inflammation by redistributing adipose tissue into subcutaneous regions. Understanding the mechanisms by which BAFF regulates obesity in a tissue-specific manner would provide therapeutic opportunities to target obesity-related chronic diseases.
doi:10.1038/emm.2014.98
PMCID: PMC4314587  PMID: 25591987
10.  Activation of KRAS promotes the mesenchymal features of basal-type breast cancer 
Basal-type breast cancers are among the most aggressive and deadly breast cancer subtypes, displaying a high metastatic ability associated with mesenchymal features. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying the maintenance of mesenchymal phenotypes of basal-type breast cancer cells remain obscure. Here, we report that KRAS is a critical regulator for the maintenance of mesenchymal features in basal-type breast cancer cells. KRAS is preferentially activated in basal-type breast cancer cells as compared with luminal type. By loss and gain of KRAS, we found that KRAS is necessary and sufficient for the maintenance of mesenchymal phenotypes and metastatic ability through SLUG expression. Taken together, this study demonstrates that KRAS is a critical regulator for the metastatic behavior associated with mesenchymal features of breast cancer cells, implicating a novel therapeutic target for basal-type breast cancer.
doi:10.1038/emm.2014.99
PMCID: PMC4314588  PMID: 25633745
11.  Inhibition of phospholipase D2 induces autophagy in colorectal cancer cells 
Autophagy is a conserved lysosomal self-digestion process used for the breakdown of long-lived proteins and damaged organelles, and it is associated with a number of pathological processes, including cancer. Phospholipase D (PLD) isozymes are dysregulated in various cancers. Recently, we reported that PLD1 is a new regulator of autophagy and is a potential target for cancer therapy. Here, we investigated whether PLD2 is involved in the regulation of autophagy. A PLD2-specific inhibitor and siRNA directed against PLD2 were used to treat HT29 and HCT116 colorectal cancer cells, and both inhibition and genetic knockdown of PLD2 in these cells significantly induced autophagy, as demonstrated by the visualization of light chain 3 (LC3) puncta and autophagic vacuoles as well as by determining the LC3-II protein level. Furthermore, PLD2 inhibition promoted autophagic flux via the canonical Atg5-, Atg7- and AMPK-Ulk1-mediated pathways. Taken together, these results suggest that PLD2 might have a role in autophagy and that its inhibition might provide a new therapeutic basis for targeting autophagy.
doi:10.1038/emm.2014.74
PMCID: PMC4274395  PMID: 25475140
12.  Role of LPA and the Hippo pathway on apoptosis in salivary gland epithelial cells 
Lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) is a bioactive lysophospholipid involved in numerous physiological responses. However, the expression of LPA receptors and the role of the Hippo signaling pathway in epithelial cells have remained elusive. In this experiment, we studied the functional expression of LPA receptors and the associated signaling pathway using reverse transcriptase–PCR, microspectrofluorimetry, western blotting and immunocytochemistry in salivary gland epithelial cells. We found that LPA receptors are functionally expressed and involved in activating the Hippo pathway mediated by YAP/TAZ through Lats/Mob1 and RhoA/ROCK. Upregulation of YAP/TAZ-dependent target genes, including CTGF, ANKRD1 and CYR61, has also been observed in LPA-treated cells. In addition, based on data suggesting that tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α induces cell apoptosis, LPA upregulates TNF-induced caspase-3 and cleaved Poly(ADP-ribose)polymerase (PARP). However, small interfering RNA treatment to Yes-associated protein (YAP) or transcriptional co-activator with a PDZ-binding motif (TAZ) significantly decreased TNF-α- and LPA-induced apoptosis, suggesting that YAP and TAZ modulate the apoptotic pathway in salivary epithelial cells.
doi:10.1038/emm.2014.77
PMCID: PMC4274396  PMID: 25502757
13.  Phospholipase D activates HIF-1-VEGF pathway via phosphatidic acid 
Growth factor-stimulated phospholipase D (PLD) catalyzes the hydrolysis of phosphatidylcholine (PC), generating phosphatidic acid (PA) which may act as a second messenger during cell proliferation and survival. Therefore, PLD is believed to play an important role in tumorigenesis. In this study, a potential mechanism for PLD-mediated tumorigenesis was explored. Ectopic expression of PLD1 or PLD2 in human glioma U87 cells increased the expression of hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) protein. PLD-induced HIF-1 activation led to the secretion of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a HIF-1 target gene involved in tumorigenesis. PLD induction of HIF-1α was significantly attenuated by 1-butanol which blocks PA production by PLD, and PA per se was able to elevate HIF-1α protein level. Inhibition of mTOR, a PA-responsive kinase, reduced the levels of HIF-1α and VEGF in PLD-overexpressed cells. Epidermal growth factor activated PLD and increased the levels of HIF-1α and VEGF in U87 cells. A specific PLD inhibitor abolished expression of HIF-1α and secretion of VEGF. PLD may utilize HIF-1-VEGF pathway for PLD-mediated tumor cell proliferation and survival.
doi:10.1038/emm.2014.86
PMCID: PMC4274397  PMID: 25523098
14.  Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid and ursodeoxycholic acid have an additive effect in attenuating diet-induced nonalcoholic steatohepatitis in mice 
Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) can progress into liver cirrhosis; however, no definite treatment is available. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (omega-3) has been reported to alleviate experimental NASH, although its beneficial effect was not evident when tested clinically. Thus, this study aimed to investigate the additive effect of omega-3 and ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) on diet-induced NASH in mice. C57BL/6 mice were given a high-fat diet (HFD) for 24 weeks, at which point the mice were divided into three groups and fed HFD alone, HFD with omega-3 or HFD with omega-3 in combination with UDCA for another 24 weeks. Feeding mice an HFD and administering omega-3 improved histologically assessed liver fibrosis, and UDCA in combination with omega-3 further attenuated this disease. The assessment of collagen α1(I) expression agreed with the histological evaluation. Omega-3 in combination with UDCA resulted in a significant attenuation of inflammation whereas administering omega-3 alone failed to improve histologically assessed liver inflammation. Quantitative analysis of tumor necrosis factor α showed an additive effect of omega-3 and UDCA on liver inflammation. HFD-induced hepatic triglyceride accumulation was attenuated by omega-3 and adding UDCA accentuated this effect. In accordance with this result, the expression of sterol regulatory binding protein-1c decreased after omega-3 administration and adding UDCA further diminished SREBP-1c expression. The expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), which may reflect oxidative stress-induced tissue damage, was suppressed by omega-3 administration and adding UDCA further attenuated iNOS expression. These results demonstrated an additive effect of omega-3 and UDCA for alleviating fibrosis, inflammation and steatosis in diet-induced NASH.
doi:10.1038/emm.2014.90
PMCID: PMC4274398  PMID: 25523099
15.  B-RafV600E inhibits sodium iodide symporter expression via regulation of DNA methyltransferase 1 
B-RafV600E mutant is found in 40–70% of papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) and has an important role in the pathogenesis of PTC. The sodium iodide symporter (NIS) is an integral plasma membrane glycoprotein that mediates active iodide transport into the thyroid follicular cells, and B-RafV600E has been known to be associated with the loss of NIS expression. In this study, we found that B-RafV600E inhibited NIS expression by the upregulation of its promoter methylation, and that specific regions of CpG islands of NIS promoter in B-RafV600E harboring PTC were highly methylated compared with surrounding normal tissue. Although DNA methyltransferase 3a and 3b (DNMT3a,3b) were not increased by B-RafV600E, DNMT1 expression was markedly upregulated in PTC and B-RafV600E expressing thyrocytes. Furthermore, DNMT1 expression was upregulated by B-RafV600E induced NF-κB activation. These results led us to conclude that NIS promoter methylation, which was induced by B-RafV600E, is one of the possible mechanisms involved in NIS downregulation in PTC.
doi:10.1038/emm.2014.68
PMCID: PMC4261912  PMID: 25378232
16.  Heme-binding-mediated negative regulation of the tryptophan metabolic enzyme indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase 1 (IDO1) by IDO2 
Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenases (IDOs) are tryptophan-catabolizing enzymes with immunomodulatory functions. However, the biological role of IDO2 and its relationship with IDO1 are unknown. To assess the relationship between IDO2 and IDO1, we investigated the effects of co-expression of human (h) IDO2 on hIDO1 activity. Cells co-expressing hIDO1 and hIDO2 showed reduced tryptophan metabolic activity compared with those expressing hIDO1 only. In a proteomic analysis, hIDO1-expressing cells exhibited enhanced expression of proteins related to the cell cycle and amino acid metabolism, and decreased expression of proteins related to cell survival. However, cells co-expressing hIDO1 and hIDO2 showed enhanced expression of negative regulators of cell apoptosis compared with those expressing hIDO1 only. Co-expression of hIDO1 and hIDO2 rescued the cell death induced by tryptophan-depletion through hIDO1 activity. Cells expressing only hIDO2 exhibited no marked differences in proteome profiles or cell growth compared with mock-transfectants. Cellular tryptophan metabolic activity and cell death were restored by co-expressing the hIDO2 mutant substituting the histidine 360 residue for alanine. These results demonstrate that hIDO2 plays a novel role as a negative regulator of hIDO1 by competing for heme-binding with hIDO1, and provide information useful for development of therapeutic strategies to control cancer and immunological disorders that target IDO molecules.
doi:10.1038/emm.2014.69
PMCID: PMC4261913  PMID: 25394548
17.  miR-27 regulates mitochondrial networks by directly targeting the mitochondrial fission factor 
Mitochondrial morphology is dynamically regulated by forming small, fragmented units or interconnected networks, and this is a pivotal process that is used to maintain mitochondrial homeostasis. Although dysregulation of mitochondrial dynamics is related to the pathogenesis of several human diseases, its molecular mechanism is not fully elucidated. In this study, we demonstrate the potential role of miR-27 in the regulation of mitochondrial dynamics. Mitochondrial fission factor (MFF) mRNA is a direct target of miR-27, whose ectopic expression decreases MFF expression through binding to its 3′-untranslated region. Expression of miR-27 results in the elongation of mitochondria as well as an increased mitochondrial membrane potential and mitochondrial ATP level. Our results suggest that miR-27 is a novel regulator affecting morphological mitochondrial changes by targeting MFF.
doi:10.1038/emm.2014.73
PMCID: PMC4261914  PMID: 25431021
18.  (Lymph)angiogenic influences on hematopoietic cells in acute myeloid leukemia 
The purpose of this review is to provide an overview of the effect of (lymph)angiogenic cytokines on hematopoietic cells involved in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Like angiogenesis, lymphangiogenesis occurs in pathophysiological conditions but not in healthy adults. AML is closely associated with the vasculature system, and the interplay between lymphangiogenic cytokines maintains leukemic blast survival in the bone marrow (BM). Once AML is induced, proangiogenic cytokines function as angiogenic or lymphangiogenic factors and affect hematopoietic cells, including BM-derived immune cells. Simultaneously, the representative cytokines, VEGFs and their receptors are expressed on AML blasts in vascular and osteoblast niches in both the BM and the peripheral circulation. After exposure to (lymph)angiogenic cytokines in leukemogenesis and infiltration, immune cell phenotypes and functions are affected. These dynamic behaviors in the BM reflect the clinical features of AML. In this review, we note the importance of lymphangiogenic factors and their receptors in hematopoietic cells in AML. Understanding the functional characterization of (lymph)angiogenic factors in the BM niche in AML will also be helpful in interrupting the engraftment of leukemic stem cells and for enhancing immune cell function by modulating the tumor microenvironment.
doi:10.1038/emm.2014.72
PMCID: PMC4262793  PMID: 25412683
19.  Growth hormone receptor inhibition decreases the growth and metastasis of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma 
Pancreatic cancer is the only major cancer with very low survival rates (1%). It is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related death. Hyperactivated growth hormone receptor (GHR) levels have been shown to increase the risk of cancer in general and this pathway is a master regulator of key cellular functions like proliferation, apoptosis, differentiation, metastasis, etc. However, to date there is no available data on how GHR promotes pancreatic cancer pathogenesis. Here, we used an RNA interference approach targeted to GHR to determine whether targeting GHR is an effective method for controlling pancreatic cancer growth and metastasis. For this, we used an in vitro model system consisting of HPAC and PANC-1 pancreatic cancer cells lines. GHR is upregulated in both of these cell lines and silencing GHR significantly reduced cell proliferation and viability. Inhibition of GHR also reduced the metastatic potential of pancreatic cancer cells, which was aided through decreased colony-forming ability and reduced invasiveness. Flow cytometric and western blot analyses revealed the induction of apoptosis in GHR silenced cells. GHR silencing affected phosphatidylinositol 3 kinase/AKT, mitogen extracellular signal-regulated kinase/extracellular signal-regulated kinase, Janus kinase/signal transducers and activators of transcription and mammalian target of rapamycin signaling, as well as, epithelial to mesenchymal transition. Interestingly, silencing GHR also suppressed the expression of insulin receptor-β and cyclo-oxygenease-2. Altogether, GHR silencing controls the growth and metastasis of pancreatic cancer and reveals its importance in pancreatic cancer pathogenesis.
doi:10.1038/emm.2014.61
PMCID: PMC4221692  PMID: 25301264
20.  miR-98 suppresses melanoma metastasis through a negative feedback loop with its target gene IL-6 
Dysregulated microRNA (miRNA) expression has a critical role in tumor development and metastasis. However, the mechanism by which miRNAs control melanoma metastasis is unknown. Here, we report reduced miR-98 expression in melanoma tissues with increasing tumor stage as well as metastasis; its expression is also negatively associated with melanoma patient survival. Furthermore, we demonstrate that miR-98 inhibits melanoma cell migration in vitro as well as metastatic tumor size in vivo. We also found that IL-6 is a target gene of miR-98, and IL-6 represses miR-98 levels via the Stat3-NF-κB-lin28B pathway. In an in vivo melanoma model, we demonstrate that miR-98 reduces melanoma metastasis and increases survival in part by reducing IL-6 levels; it also decreases Stat3 and p65 phosphorylation as well as lin28B mRNA levels. These results suggest that miR-98 inhibits melanoma metastasis in part through a novel miR-98-IL-6-negative feedback loop.
doi:10.1038/emm.2014.63
PMCID: PMC4221693  PMID: 25277211
21.  Chronic stress enhances progression of periodontitis via α1-adrenergic signaling: a potential target for periodontal disease therapy 
This study assessed the roles of chronic stress (CS) in the stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system and explored the underlying mechanisms of periodontitis. Using an animal model of periodontitis and CS, the expression of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) and the protein levels of the α1-adrenergic receptor (α1-AR) and β2-adrenergic receptor (β2-AR) were assessed. Furthermore, human periodontal ligament fibroblasts (HPDLFs) were stimulated with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) to mimic the process of inflammation. The proliferation of the HPDLFs and the expression of α1-AR and β2-AR were assessed. The inflammatory-related cytokines interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6 and IL-8 were detected after pretreatment with the α1/β2-AR blockers phentolamine/propranolol, both in vitro and in vivo. Results show that periodontitis under CS conditions enhanced the expression of TH, α1-AR and β2-AR. Phentolamine significantly reduced the inflammatory cytokine levels. Furthermore, we observed a marked decrease in HPDLF proliferation and the increased expression of α1-ARfollowing LPS pretreatment. Pretreatment with phentolamine dramatically ameliorated LPS-inhibited cell proliferation. In addition, the blocking of α1-ARsignaling also hindered the upregulation of the inflammatory-related cytokines IL-1β, IL-6 and IL-8. These results suggest that CS can significantly enhance the pathological progression of periodontitis by an α1-adrenergic signaling-mediated inflammatory response. We have identified a potential therapeutic target for the treatment of periodontal disease, particularly in those patients suffering from concurrent CS.
doi:10.1038/emm.2014.65
PMCID: PMC4221694  PMID: 25323788
22.  A putative pH-dependent nuclear localization signal in the juxtamembrane region of c-Met 
The C-terminal fragment of the c-Met receptor tyrosine kinase is present in the nuclei of some cells irrespective of ligand stimulation, but the responsible nuclear localization signal (NLS) has not been previously reported. Here, we report that two histidine residues separated by a 10-amino-acid spacer (H1068–H1079) located in the juxtamembrane region of c-Met function as a putative novel NLS. Deletion of these sequences significantly abolished the nuclear translocation of c-Met, as did substitution of the histidines with alanines. This substitution also decreased the association of c-Met fragment with importin β. The putative NLS of c-Met is unique in that it relies on histidines, whose positive charge changes depending on pH, rather than the lysines or arginines, commonly found in classical bipartite NLSs, suggesting the possible ‘pH-dependency' of this NLS. Indeed, decreasing the cytosolic pH either with nigericin, an Na+/H+ exchanger or pH 6.5 KRB buffer significantly increased the level of nuclear c-Met and the interaction of the c-Met fragment with importin β, indicating that low pH itself enhanced nuclear translocation. Consistent with this, nigericin treatment also increased the nuclear level of endogenous c-Met in HeLa cells. The putative aberrant bipartite NLS of c-Met seems to be the first example of what we call a ‘pH-dependent' NLS.
doi:10.1038/emm.2014.67
PMCID: PMC4221695  PMID: 25341359
23.  Attenuation of airway inflammation by simvastatin and the implications for asthma treatment: is the jury still out? 
Although some studies have explained the immunomodulatory effects of statins, the exact mechanisms and the therapeutic significance of these molecules remain to be elucidated. This study not only evaluated the therapeutic potential and inhibitory mechanism of simvastatin in an ovalbumin (OVA)-specific asthma model in mice but also sought to clarify the future directions indicated by previous studies through a thorough review of the literature. BALB/c mice were sensitized to OVA and then administered three OVA challenges. On each challenge day, 40 mg kg−1 simvastatin was injected before the challenge. The airway responsiveness, inflammatory cell composition, and cytokine levels in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid were assessed after the final challenge, and the T cell composition and adhesion molecule expression in lung homogenates were determined. The administration of simvastatin decreased the airway responsiveness, the number of airway inflammatory cells, and the interleukin (IL)-4, IL-5 and IL-13 concentrations in BAL fluid compared with vehicle-treated mice (P<0.05). Histologically, the number of inflammatory cells and mucus-containing goblet cells in lung tissues also decreased in the simvastatin-treated mice. Flow cytometry showed that simvastatin treatment significantly reduced the percentage of pulmonary CD4+ cells and the CD4+/CD8+ T-cell ratio (P<0.05). Simvastatin treatment also decreased the expression of the vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 and intercellular adhesion molecule 1 proteins, as measured in homogenized lung tissues (P<0.05) and human epithelial cells. The reduction in the T cell influx as a result of the decreased expression of cell adhesion molecules is one of the mechanisms by which simvastatin attenuates airway responsiveness and allergic inflammation. Rigorous review of the literature together with our findings suggested that simvastatin should be further developed as a potential therapeutic strategy for allergic asthma.
doi:10.1038/emm.2014.55
PMCID: PMC4183942  PMID: 25213768
24.  An antibody reactive to the Gly63–Lys68 epitope of NT-proBNP exhibits O-glycosylation-independent binding 
The N-terminal fragment of prohormone brain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) is a commonly used biomarker for the diagnosis of congestive heart failure, although its biological function is not well known. NT-proBNP exhibits heavy O-linked glycosylation, and it is quite difficult to develop an antibody that exhibits glycosylation-independent binding. We developed an antibody that binds to the recombinant NT-proBNP protein and its deglycosylated form with similar affinities in an enzyme immunoassay. The epitope was defined as Gly63–Lys68 based on mimetic peptide screening, site-directed mutagenesis and a competition assay with a peptide mimotope. The nearest O-glycosylation residues are Thr58 and Thr71; therefore, four amino acid residues intervene between the epitope and those residues in both directions. In conclusion, we report that an antibody reactive to Gly63–Lys68 of NT-proBNP exhibits O-glycosylation-independent binding.
doi:10.1038/emm.2014.57
PMCID: PMC4183943  PMID: 25236766
25.  Preeclampsia serum-induced collagen I expression and intracellular calcium levels in arterial smooth muscle cells are mediated by the PLC-γ1 pathway 
In women with preeclampsia (PE), endothelial cell (EC) dysfunction can lead to altered secretion of paracrine factors that induce peripheral vasoconstriction and proteinuria. This study examined the hypothesis that PE sera may directly or indirectly, through human umbilical vein ECs (HUVECs), stimulate phospholipase C-γ1-1,4,5-trisphosphate (PLC-γ1-IP3) signaling, thereby increasing protein kinase C-α (PKC-α) activity, collagen I expression and intracellular Ca2+ concentrations ([Ca2+]i) in human umbilical artery smooth muscle cells (HUASMCs). HUASMCs and HUVECs were cocultured with normal or PE sera before PLC-γ1 silencing. Increased PLC-γ1 and IP3 receptor (IP3R) phosphorylation was observed in cocultured HUASMCs stimulated with PE sera (P<0.05). In addition, PE serum significantly increased HUASMC viability and reduced their apoptosis (P<0.05); these effects were abrogated with PLC-γ1 silencing. Compared with normal sera, PE sera increased [Ca2+]i in cocultured HUASMCs (P<0.05), which was inhibited by PLC-γ1 and IP3R silencing. Finally, PE sera-induced PKC-α activity and collagen I expression was inhibited by PLC-γ1 small interfering RNA (siRNA) (P<0.05). These results suggest that vasoactive substances in the PE serum may induce deposition in the extracellular matrix through the activation of PLC-γ1, which may in turn result in thickening and hardening of the placental vascular wall, placental blood supply shortage, fetal hypoxia–ischemia and intrauterine growth retardation or intrauterine fetal death. PE sera increased [Ca2+]i and induced PKC-α activation and collagen I expression in cocultured HUASMCs via the PLC-γ1 pathway.
doi:10.1038/emm.2014.59
PMCID: PMC4183944  PMID: 25257609

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