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1.  The Role of Proline Rich Tyrosine Kinase 2 (Pyk2) on Cisplatin Resistance in Hepatocellular Carcinoma 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(11):e27362.
We previously demonstrated Proline rich tyrosine kinase 2 (Pyk2) plays important roles in regulating tumor progression, migration and invasion in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). In this study, we aimed to examine the role of proline rich tyrosine kinase 2 (Pyk2) on cisplatin resistance in HCC and to explore its underlying molecular mechanism.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Stable transfectants either overexpressing or suppressing Pyk2 were established in different HCC cell lines. MTT, colony formation and Annexin-V assays were employed to examine their in vitro responses to cisplatin. Xenograft ectopic and orthotopic nude mice models were generated to investigate the in vivo responses of them to cisplatin treatment. cDNA microarray was performed to identify Pyk2-induced genes which were further validated by quantitative real-time RT-PCR using clinical HCC samples. In vitro functional study demonstrated that Pyk2-overexpressing HCC transfectants exhibited relatively lower cytotoxicity, higher colony-forming ability and lower apoptosis to cisplatin compared with the control transfectants. Moreover, Pyk2 overexpressing HCC transfectants had a higher survival rate under cisplatin treatment by up-regulation of AKT phosphorylation. In vivo xenograft nude mice model demonstrated that Pyk2-overexpressing transfectants developed higher tolerance to cisplatin treatment together with less tumor necrosis and apoptosis. cDNA microarray analysis revealed that there were more than 4,000 genes differentially expressed upon overexpression of Pyk2. Several upregulated genes were found to be involved in drug resistance and invasion in cancers. Among them, the expression profiles of MDR1, GAGE1, STAT1 and MAP7 were significantly associated with the expression of Pyk2 in clinical HCC samples.
Our results may suggest a new evidence of Pyk2 on promoting cisplatin resistance of HCC cells through preventing cell apoptosis, activation of AKT pathway and upregulation of drug resistant genes.
PMCID: PMC3212555  PMID: 22096562
2.  Suppression of Glypican 3 Inhibits Growth of Hepatocellular Carcinoma Cells through Up-Regulation of TGF-β212 
Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.)  2011;13(8):735-747.
Glypican 3 (GPC3) is a valuable diagnostic marker and a potential therapeutic target in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). To evaluate the efficacy of targeting GPC3 at the translational level, we used RNA interference to examine the biologic and molecular effects of GPC3 suppression in HCC cells in vitro and in vivo. Transfection of Huh7 and HepG2 cells with GPC3-specific small interfering RNA (siRNA) inhibited cell proliferation (P < .001) together with cell cycle arrest at the G1 phase, down-regulation of antiapoptotic protein (Bcl-2, Bcl-xL, and Mcl-1), and replicative senescence. Gene expression analysis revealed that GPC3 suppression significantly correlated with transforming growth factor beta receptor (TGFBR) pathway (P = 4.57e-5) and upregulated TGF-β2 at both RNA and protein levels. The effects of GPC3 suppression by siRNA can be recapitulated by addition of human recombinant TGF-β2 to HCC cells in culture, suggesting the possible involvement of TGF-β2 in growth inhibition of HCC cells. Cotransfection of siRNA-GPC3 with siRNA-TGF-β2 partially attenuated the effects of GPC3 suppression on cell proliferation, cell cycle progression, apoptosis, and replicative senescence, confirming the involvement of TGF-β2 in siRNA-GPC3-mediated growth suppression. In vivo, GPC3 suppression significantly inhibited the growth of orthotopic xenografts of Huh7 and HepG2 cells (P < .05), accompanied by increased TGF-β2 expression, reduced cell proliferation (observed by proliferating cell nuclear antigen staining), and enhanced apoptosis (by TUNEL staining). In conclusion, molecular targeting of GPC3 at the translational level offers an effective option for the clinical management of GPC3-positive HCC patients.
PMCID: PMC3156664  PMID: 21847365
3.  Pulmonary Toxicity of Polysorbate-80-coated Inhalable Nanoparticles; In vitro and In vivo Evaluation 
The AAPS Journal  2010;12(3):294-299.
PMCID: PMC2895437  PMID: 20405258
inhalable nanoparticles; polysorbate 80; pulmonary toxicity; surface pressure-area isotherm
4.  Proline-Rich Tyrosine Kinase 2 (Pyk2) Promotes Cell Motility of Hepatocellular Carcinoma through Induction of Epithelial to Mesenchymal Transition 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(4):e18878.
Proline-rich tyrosine kinase 2 (Pyk2), a non-receptor tyrosine kinase of the focal adhesion kinase (FAK) family, is up-regulated in more than 60% of the tumors of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients. Forced overexpression of Pyk2 can promote the proliferation and invasion of HCC cells. In this study, we aimed to explore the underlying molecular mechanism of Pyk2-mediated cell migration of HCC cells.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We demonstrated that Pyk2 transformed the epithelial HCC cell line Hep3B into a mesenchymal phenotype via the induction of epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT), signified by the up-regulation of membrane ruffle formation, activation of Rac/Rho GTPases, down-regulation of epithelial genes E-cadherin and cytokeratin as well as promotion of cell motility in presence of lysophosphatidic acid (LPA). Suppression of Pyk2 by overexpression of dominant negative PRNK domain in the metastatic HCC cell line MHCC97L transformed its fibroblastoid phenotype to an epithelial phenotype with up-regulation of epithelial genes, down-regulation of mesenchymal genes N-cadherin and STAT5b, and reduction of LPA-induced membrane ruffle formation and cell motility. Moreover, overexpression of Pyk2 in Hep3B cells promoted the phosphorylation and localization of mesenchymal gene Hic-5 onto cell membrane while suppression of Pyk2 in MHCC97L cells attenuated its phosphorylation and localization.
These data provided new evidence of the underlying mechanism of Pyk2 in controlling cell motility of HCC cells through regulation of genes associated with EMT.
PMCID: PMC3080371  PMID: 21533080

Results 1-4 (4)