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2.  High resolution Chromatin Immunoprecipitation (ChIP) sequencing reveals novel bindings targets and prognostic role for SOX11 in Mantle cell lymphoma 
Oncogene  2014;34(10):1231-1240.
SOX11 (Sex determining region Y-box 11) expression is specific for MCL as compared to other Non-Hodgkin's lymphomas. However, the function and direct binding targets of SOX11 in MCL are largely unknown. We used high-resolution ChIP-Seq to identify the direct target genes of SOX11 in a genome-wide, unbiased manner and elucidate its functional significance. Pathway analysis identified WNT, PKA and TGF-beta signaling pathways as significantly enriched by SOX11 target genes. qCHIP and promoter reporter assays confirmed that SOX11 directly binds to individual genes and modulates their transcription activities in these pathways in MCL. Functional studies using RNA interference demonstrate that SOX11 directly regulates WNT in MCL. We analyzed SOX11 expression in three independent well-annotated tissue microarrays from the University of Wisconsin (UW), Karolinska Institute and British Columbia Cancer Agency (BCCA). Our findings suggest that high SOX11 expression is associated with improved survival in a subset of MCL patients, particularly those treated with intensive chemotherapy. Transcriptional regulation of WNT and other biological pathways affected by SOX11 target genes may help explain the impact of SOX11 expression on patient outcomes.
doi:10.1038/onc.2014.44
PMCID: PMC4511176  PMID: 24681958
Mantle cell lymphoma (MCL); SOX11; ChIP-seq; WNT pathway; Prognosis
3.  Diamine Derivatives as Novel Small-Molecule, Potent, and Subtype-Selective Somatostatin SST3 Receptor Agonists 
ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters  2014;5(6):690-695.
A novel class of small-molecule, highly potent, and subtype-selective somatostatin SST3 agonists was discovered through modification of a SST3 antagonist. As an example, (1R,2S)-9 demonstrated not only potent in vitro SST3 agonist activity but also in vivo SST3 agonist activity in a mouse oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). These agonists may be useful reagents for studying the physiological roles of the SST3 receptor and may potentially be useful as therapeutic agents.
doi:10.1021/ml500079u
PMCID: PMC4060944  PMID: 24944745
Somatostatin; GPCR; somatostin receptor subtype 3 (SST3); small-molecule SST3 agonists
4.  Nuclear Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor is a Functional Molecular Target in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer 
Molecular cancer therapeutics  2014;13(5):1356-1368.
Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is a subclass of breast cancers (i.e. estrogen receptor negative, progesterone receptor negative, and HER2 negative) that have poor prognosis and very few identified molecular targets. Strikingly, a high percentage of TNBC’s overexpress the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), yet EGFR inhibition has yielded little clinical benefit. Over the last decade, advances in EGFR biology have established that EGFR functions in two distinct signaling pathways: 1) classical membrane-bound signaling, and 2) nuclear signaling. Previous studies have demonstrated that nuclear EGFR (nEGFR) can enhance resistance to anti-EGFR therapies and is correlated with poor overall survival in breast cancer. Based on these findings we hypothesized that nEGFR may promote intrinsic resistance to cetuximab in TNBC. To examine this question, a battery of TNBC cell lines and human tumors were screened and found to express nEGFR. Knockdown of EGFR expression demonstrated that TNBC cell lines retained dependency on EGFR for proliferation, yet all cell lines were resistant to cetuximab. Further, Src Family Kinases (SFKs) influenced nEGFR translocation in TNBC cell lines and in vivo tumor models, where inhibition of SFK activity led to potent reductions in nEGFR expression. Inhibition of nEGFR translocation led to a subsequent accumulation of EGFR on the plasma membrane, which greatly enhanced sensitivity of TNBC cells to cetuximab. Collectively, these data suggest that targeting both the nEGFR signaling pathway, through the inhibition of its nuclear transport, and the classical EGFR signaling pathway with cetuximab may be a viable approach for the treatment of TNBC patients.
doi:10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-13-1021
PMCID: PMC4013210  PMID: 24634415
triple-negative breast cancer; nuclear EGFR; cetuximab; resistance
5.  Stem cell aging: mechanisms, regulators and therapeutic opportunities 
Nature medicine  2014;20(8):870-880.
Aging tissues experience a progressive decline in homeostatic and regenerative capacities, which has been attributed to degenerative changes in tissue-specific stem cells, stem cell niches and systemic cues that regulate stem cell activity. Understanding the molecular pathways involved in this age-dependent deterioration of stem cell function will be critical for developing new therapies for diseases of aging that target the specific causes of age-related functional decline. Here we explore key molecular pathways that are commonly perturbed as tissues and stem cells age and degenerate. We further consider experimental evidence both supporting and refuting the notion that modulation of these pathways per se can reverse aging phenotypes. Finally, we ask whether stem cell aging establishes an epigenetic ‘memory’ that is indelibly written or one that can be reset.
doi:10.1038/nm.3651
PMCID: PMC4160113  PMID: 25100532
7.  Immunohistochemical evaluation of MYC expression in mantle cell lymphoma 
Histopathology  2013;63(4):499-508.
Aim
To assess the validity and potential clinical utility of evaluating MYC protein expression by immunohistochemistry (IHC) in mantle cell lymphoma (MCL).
Methods and results
MYC IHC was scored on a tissue microarray containing 62 MCL cases and 29 controls by two pathologists. Inter-observer correlation was high (intra-class correlation=0.98). MYC IHC scores correlated with MYC gene expression (Spearman’s 0.69, p<0.0001) and weakly with Ki-67 proliferation index (Spearman’s 0.30, p=0.03). Six cases of blastic MCL did not have higher mean MYC IHC scores or MYC mRNA expression than non-blastic MCL cases. None of 57 cases assessed, including all the blastic cases, showed MYC gene rearrangement by fluorescence in situ hybridization. Multivariate analysis using backward selection from potential predictors including age, lactate dehydrogenase, leukocyte count, MIPI score, ECOG performance status, blastic morphology, and Ki-67 index showed that MYC IHC score is an independent predictor of progression-free survival (hazard ratio=2.34, 95% CI 1.42 – 3.88, p=0.0009) and overall survival (hazard ratio=1.90, 95% CI 1.05 – 3.43, p=0.034).
Conclusions
We show that a new monoclonal anti-MYC antibody can enable accurate and reproducible visual assessment of MYC protein expression that is independently predictive of clinical outcomes in MCL.
doi:10.1111/his.12207
PMCID: PMC3871984  PMID: 23926923
MYC; mantle cell lymphoma; immunohistochemistry; tissue microarray
8.  New In Situ Capture Quantitative (Real-Time) Reverse Transcription-PCR Method as an Alternative Approach for Determining Inactivation of Tulane Virus 
Human noroviruses (HuNoVs) are the major cause of epidemic nonbacterial gastroenteritis. Although quantitative (real-time) reverse transcription-PCR (qRT-PCR) is widely used for detecting HuNoVs, it only detects the presence of viral RNA and does not indicate viral infectivity. Human blood group antigens (HBGAs) have been identified as receptors/co-receptors for both HuNoVs and Tulane virus (TV) and are crucial for viral infection. We propose that viral infectivity can be evaluated with a molecular assay based on receptor-captured viruses. In this study, we employed TV as an HuNoV surrogate to validate the HBGA-based capture qRT-PCR method against the 50% tissue culture infectious dose (TCID50) method. We employed type B HBGA on an immuno-well module to concentrate TV, followed by amplification of the captured viral genome by in situ qRT-PCR. We first demonstrated that this in situ capture qRT-PCR (ISC-qRT-PCR) method could effectively concentrate and detect TV. We then treated TV under either partial or full inactivation conditions and measured the remaining infectivity by ISC-qRT-PCR and a tissue culture-based amplification method (TCID50). We found that the ISC-qRT-PCR method could be used to evaluate virus inactivation deriving from damage to the capsid and study interactions between the capsid and viral receptor. Heat, chlorine, and ethanol treatment primarily affect the capsid structure, which in turns affects the ability of the capsid to bind to viral receptors. Inactivation of the virus by these methods could be reflected by the ISC-qRT-PCR method and confirmed by TCID50 assay. However, the loss of the infectivity caused by damage to the viral genome (such as that from UV irradiation) could not be effectively reflected by this method. Despite this limitation, the ISC-qRT-PCR provides an alternative approach to determine inactivation of Tulane virus. A particular advantage of the ISC-qRT-PCR method is that it is also a faster and easier method to effectively recover and detect the viruses, as there is no need to extract viral RNA or to transfer the captured virus from magnetic beads to PCR tubes for further amplification. Therefore, ISC-qRT-PCR can be easily adapted for use in automated systems for multiple samples.
doi:10.1128/AEM.04036-13
PMCID: PMC3993159  PMID: 24463967
9.  Patched Targeting Peptides for Imaging and Treatment of Hedgehog Positive Breast Tumors 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:525680.
High tumor hedgehog expression is correlated with poor prognosis in invasive ductal carcinoma. Peptides which bind the patched receptor have recently been reported to have a growth inhibitory effect in tumors with activated hedgehog signaling. We sought to examine growth inhibition with these peptides in breast cancer cells and use these peptides as molecular imaging probes to follow changes in hedgehog expression after chemotherapy. Significant growth inhibition was observed in breast cancer cell lines treated with PTCH-blocking peptides. Significant in vitro uptake was observed with both FITC- and 99mTc-EC-peptide conjugates. In vivo imaging studies displayed greater accumulation of 99mTc-labeled peptides within tumors as compared to adjacent muscle tissue. Patched receptor expression increased after treatment and this correlated with an increase in tumor radiotracer uptake. These studies suggest that peptides which bind the sonic hedgehog docking site in patched receptor correlate with patched expression and can be used to image patched in vivo. Further, our data suggest that radiolabeled peptides may enable us to examine the activity of the hedgehog signaling pathway and to evaluate response to anti-cancer therapies.
doi:10.1155/2014/525680
PMCID: PMC4172929  PMID: 25276795
10.  Automated Synthesis of 18F-Fluoropropoxytryptophan for Amino Acid Transporter System Imaging 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:492545.
Objective. This study was to develop a cGMP grade of [18F]fluoropropoxytryptophan (18F-FTP) to assess tryptophan transporters using an automated synthesizer. Methods. Tosylpropoxytryptophan (Ts-TP) was reacted with K18F/kryptofix complex. After column purification, solvent evaporation, and hydrolysis, the identity and purity of the product were validated by radio-TLC (1M-ammonium acetate : methanol = 4 : 1) and HPLC (C-18 column, methanol : water = 7 : 3) analyses. In vitro cellular uptake of 18F-FTP and 18F-FDG was performed in human prostate cancer cells. PET imaging studies were performed with 18F-FTP and 18F-FDG in prostate and small cell lung tumor-bearing mice (3.7 MBq/mouse, iv). Results. Radio-TLC and HPLC analyses of 18F-FTP showed that the Rf and Rt values were 0.9 and 9 min, respectively. Radiochemical purity was >99%. The radiochemical yield was 37.7% (EOS 90 min, decay corrected). Cellular uptake of 18F-FTP and 18F-FDG showed enhanced uptake as a function of incubation time. PET imaging studies showed that 18F-FTP had less tumor uptake than 18F-FDG in prostate cancer model. However, 18F-FTP had more uptake than 18F-FDG in small cell lung cancer model. Conclusion. 18F-FTP could be synthesized with high radiochemical yield. Assessment of upregulated transporters activity by 18F-FTP may provide potential applications in differential diagnosis and prediction of early treatment response.
doi:10.1155/2014/492545
PMCID: PMC4127279  PMID: 25136592
11.  NUCLEAR EGFR PROTEIN EXPRESSION PREDICTS POOR SURVIVAL IN EARLY STAGE NON-SMALL CELL LUNG CANCER 
Introduction
Nuclear EGFR (nEGFR) has been identified in various human tumor tissues, including cancers of the breast, ovary, oropharynx, and esophagus, and has predicted poor patient outcomes. We sought to determine if protein expression of nEGFR is prognostic in early stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
Methods
Resected stage I and II NSCLC specimens were evaluated for nEGFR protein expression using immunohistochemistry (IHC). Cases with at least one replicate core containing ≥5% of tumor cells demonstrating strong dot-like nucleolar EGFR expression were scored as nEGFR positive.
Results
Twenty-three (26.1% of the population) of 88 resected specimens stained positively for nEGFR. Nuclear EGFR protein expression was associated with higher disease stage (45.5% of stage II vs. 14.5% of stage I; p=0.023), histology (41.7% in squamous cell carcinoma vs. 17.1% in adenocarcinoma; p=0.028), shorter progression-free survival (PFS) (median PFS 8.7 months [95% CI 5.1–10.7 mo] for nEGFR positive vs. 14.5 months [95% CI 9.5–17.4 mo] for nEGFR negative; hazard ratio (HR) of 1.89 [95% CI 1.15–3.10]; p=0.011), and shorter overall survival (OS) (median OS 14.1 months [95% CI 10.3–22.7 mo] for nEGFR positive vs. 23.4 months [95% CI 20.1–29.4 mo] for nEGFR negative; HR of 1.83 [95% CI 1.12–2.99]; p=0.014).
Conclusions
Expression of nEGFR protein was associated with higher stage and squamous cell histology, and predicted shorter PFS and OS, in this patient cohort. Nuclear EGFR serves as a useful independent prognostic variable and as a potential therapeutic target in NSCLC.
doi:10.1016/j.lungcan.2013.03.020
PMCID: PMC3679338  PMID: 23628526
non-small cell lung cancer; nuclear; epidermal growth factor receptor; prognosis; biomarker; survival analysis
12.  Inactivation of the Tulane Virus, a Novel Surrogate for the Human Norovirus 
Journal of food protection  2013;76(4):712-718.
Human noroviruses (HuNoVs) are the major cause of nonbacterial gastroenteritis epidemics. The culturable feline calicivirus and murine norovirus have been used extensively as surrogates to study HuNoV biology, as HuNoV does not grow in vitro. Additional efforts to identify new surrogates are needed, because neither of these common surrogates are truly intestinal pathogens. The newly described Tulane virus (TV) is a typical calicivirus, it is isolated from macaque stools, is cultivable in vitro, and recognizes human histo-blood group antigens. Therefore, TV is a promising surrogate for HuNoVs. In this study, we evaluated the resistance or stability of TV under various physical and environmental conditions by measuring a 50% reduction of tissue culture infective dose (TCID50) by using a TV cell culture system. Due to the nature of this virus, it is hard to produce a high-titer stock through tissue culture. In our study, the maximal reduction in virus titers was 5 D (D = 1 log) in heat-denaturation and EtOH experiments, and 4 D in UV, chlorine, and pH-stability experiments. Therefore in this study, we defined the inactivation of TV as reaching a TCID50/ml of 0 (a 4- to 5-D reduction in TCID50, depending on the detection limit). TV was inactivated after incubation at 63°C for 5 min, incubation at 56°C for 30 min (5 D), exposure to 60 mJ/cm2 of UVC radiation (4 D), or incubation at 300 ppm of free chlorine for 10 min (4 D). TV was shown to be stable from pH 3.0 to 8.0, though an obvious reduction in virus titer was observed at pH 2.5 and 9.0, and was inactivated at pH 10.0 (4 D). TV was resistant to a low concentration of EtOH (40% or lower) but was fully inactivated (5 D) by 50 to 70% EtOH after a short exposure (20 s). In contrast, quantitative real-time PCR was unable to detect, or poorly detected, virus titer reductions between treated and untreated samples described in this study.
doi:10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-12-361
PMCID: PMC4073237  PMID: 23575140
13.  Combined MEK and JAK inhibition abrogates murine myeloproliferative neoplasm 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2014;124(6):2762-2773.
Overactive RAS signaling is prevalent in juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (JMML) and the myeloproliferative variant of chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (MP-CMML) in humans, and both are refractory to conventional chemotherapy. Conditional activation of a constitutively active oncogenic Nras (NrasG12D/G12D) in murine hematopoietic cells promotes an acute myeloproliferative neoplasm (MPN) that recapitulates many features of JMML and MP-CMML. We found that NrasG12D/G12D-expressing HSCs, which serve as JMML/MP-CMML–initiating cells, show strong hyperactivation of ERK1/2, promoting hyperproliferation and depletion of HSCs and expansion of downstream progenitors. Inhibition of the MEK pathway alone prolonged the presence of NrasG12D/G12D-expressing HSCs but failed to restore their proper function. Consequently, approximately 60% of NrasG12D/G12D mice treated with MEK inhibitor alone died within 20 weeks, and the remaining animals continued to display JMML/MP-CMML–like phenotypes. In contrast, combined inhibition of MEK and JAK/STAT signaling, which is commonly hyperactivated in human and mouse CMML, potently inhibited human and mouse CMML cell growth in vitro, rescued mutant NrasG12D/G12D-expressing HSC function in vivo, and promoted long-term survival without evident disease manifestation in NrasG12D/G12D animals. These results provide a strong rationale for further exploration of combined targeting of MEK/ERK and JAK/STAT in treating patients with JMML and MP-CMML.
doi:10.1172/JCI74182
PMCID: PMC4038579  PMID: 24812670
14.  Improved synthesis of 17β-hydroxy-16α-iodo-wortmannin, 17β-hydroxy-16α-iodoPX866, and the [131I] analogue as useful PET tracers for PI3-kinase 
Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry  2013;21(17):5182-5187.
An improved method for the synthesis of 17β-hydroxy-16α-iodo-wortmannin along with the first synthesis of 17β-hydroxy-16α-iodoPX866 and [131I] radiolabeled 17β-hydroxy-16α-[131I]iodo-wortmannin, as potential PET tracers for PI3K was also described. The differences between wortmannin and its iodo analogue were compared by covalently docking each structure to L833 in PI3K.
doi:10.1016/j.bmc.2013.06.036
PMCID: PMC3960976  PMID: 23859776
PI3 kinase; Positron emission tomography (PET); imaging; 17β-Hydroxy-16α-iodowortmannin; 17β-Hydroxy-16α-iodoPX866; 17β-Hydroxy-16α-[131I]iodowortmannin
15.  Development and characterization of HPV-positive and HPV-negative head and neck squamous cell carcinoma tumorgrafts 
Purpose
To develop a clinically relevant model system to study head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), we have established and characterized a direct-from-patient, tumorgraft model of Human Papillomavirus (HPV)-positive and HPV-negative cancers.
Experimental Design
Patients with newly diagnosed or recurrent HNSCC were consented for donation of tumor specimens. Surgically obtained tissue was implanted subcutaneously into immunodeficient mice. During subsequent passages, both formalin-fixed/paraffin embedded as well as flash frozen tissues were harvested. Tumors were analyzed for a variety of relevant tumor markers. Tumor growth rates and response to radiation, cisplatin, or cetuximab were assessed and early passage cell strains were developed for rapid testing of drug sensitivity.
Results
Tumorgrafts have been established in 22 of 26 patients to date. Significant diversity in tumorgraft tumor differentiation was observed with good agreement in degree of differentiation between patient tumor and tumorgraft (Kappa 0.72). Six tumorgrafts were HPV-positive on the basis of p16 staining. A strong inverse correlation between tumorgraft p16 and p53 or Rb was identified (Spearman correlations p=0.085 and p=0.002, respectively). Significant growth inhibition of representative tumorgrafts was demonstrated with cisplatin, cetuximab or radiation treatment delivered over a two-week period. Early passage cell strains showed high consistency in response to cancer therapy between tumorgraft and cell strain.
Conclusions
We have established a robust human tumorgraft model system for investigating HPV-positive and HPV-negative HNSCC. These tumorgrafts show strong correlation with the original tumor specimens and provide a powerful resource for investigating mechanisms of therapeutic response as well as preclinical testing.
doi:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-12-2746
PMCID: PMC3581858  PMID: 23251001
Head and neck cancer; animal models of cancer; DNA tumor viruses
16.  99mTc-N4amG: Synthesis Biodistribution and Imaging in Breast Tumor-bearing Rodents 
99mTc-N4-guanine (99mTc-N4amG) was synthesized and evaluated in this study. Cellular uptake and cellular fraction studies were performed to evaluate the cell penetrating ability. Biodistribution and planar imaging were conducted in breast tumor-bearing rats. Up to 17%ID uptake was observed in cellular uptake study with 40% of 99mTc-N4amG was accumulated in the nucleus. Biodistribution and scintigraphic imaging studies showed increased tumor/muscle count density ratios as a function of time. Our results demonstrate the feasibility of using 99mTc-N4amG in tumor specific imaging.
doi:10.1016/j.apradiso.2012.07.018
PMCID: PMC3881426  PMID: 23208240
17.  Sulfonylurea receptor as a target for molecular imaging of pancreas beta cells with 99mTc-DTPA-glipizide 
Annals of nuclear medicine  2012;26(3):10.1007/s12149-011-0569-9.
Objective
This study was aimed to assess pancreas beta cell activity using 99mTc-diethyleneaminepentaacetic acid-glipizide (DTPA-GLP), a sulfonylurea receptor agent. The effect of DTPA-GLP on the blood glucose level in rats was also evaluated.
Methods
DTPA dianhydride was conjugated with GLP in the presence of sodium amide, yielding 60%. Biodistribution and planar images were obtained at 30–120 min after injection of 99mTc-DTPA-GLP (1 mg/rat, 0.74 and 11.1 MBq per rat, respectively) in normal female Fischer 344 rats. The control group was given 99mTc-DTPA. To demonstrate pancreas beta cell uptake of 99mTc-DTPA-GLP via a receptor-mediated process, a group of rats was pretreated with streptozotocin (a beta cell toxin, 55 mg/kg, i.v.) and the images were acquired at immediately—65 min on day 5 post-treatment. The effect on the glucose levels after a single administration (ip) of DTPA-GLP was compared to glipizide (GLP) for up to 6 h.
Results
The structure of DTPA-GLP was confirmed by NMR, mass spectrometry and HPLC. Radiochemical purity assessed by ITLC was >96%. 99mTc-DTPA-GLP showed increased pancreas-to-muscle ratios, whereas 99mTc-DTPA showed decreased ratios at various time points. Pancreas could be visualized with 99mTc-DTPA-GLP in normal rat, however, 99mTc-DTPA has poor uptake suggesting the specificity of 99mTc-DTPA-GLP. Pancreas beta cell uptake could be blocked by pre-treatment with streptozotocin. DTPA-GLP showed an equal or better response in lowering the glucose levels compared to the existing GLP drug.
Conclusions
It is feasible to use 99mTc-DTPA-GLP to assess pancreas beta cell receptor recognition. 99mTc-DTPA-GLP may be helpful in evaluating patients with diabetes, pancreatitis and pancreatic tumors.
doi:10.1007/s12149-011-0569-9
PMCID: PMC3865706  PMID: 22237676
99mTc-DTPA-glipizide; Sulfonylurea receptor; Imaging; Pancreas
19.  A population-based experimental model for protein evolution: effects of mutation rate and selection stringency on evolutionary outcomes 
Biochemistry  2013;52(8):1490-1499.
Protein evolution is a critical component of organismal evolution and a valuable method for the generation of useful molecules in the laboratory. Few studies, however, have experimentally characterized how fundamental parameters influence protein evolution outcomes over long evolutionary trajectories or multiple replicates. In this work, we applied phage-assisted continuous evolution (PACE) as an experimental platform to study evolving protein populations over hundreds of rounds of evolution. We varied evolutionary conditions as T7 RNA polymerase evolved to recognize the T3 promoter DNA sequence and characterized how specific combinations of both mutation rate and selection stringency reproducibly result in different evolutionary outcomes. We observed significant and dramatic increases in the activity of the evolved RNA polymerase variants on the desired target promoter after 96 hours of selection, confirming positive selection occurred under all conditions. We used high-throughput sequencing to quantitatively define convergent genetic solutions, including mutational “signatures” and non-signature mutations that map to specific regions of protein sequence. These findings illuminate key determinants of evolutionary outcomes, inform the design of future protein evolution experiments, and demonstrate the value of PACE as a method to study protein evolution.
doi:10.1021/bi3016185
PMCID: PMC3641671  PMID: 23360105
20.  Synthesis and Biological Evaluation of O-[3-18F-fluoropropyl]-α-methyl Tyrosine in Mesothelioma-Bearing Rodents 
BioMed Research International  2013;2013:460619.
Radiolabeled tyrosine analogs enter cancer cells via upregulated amino acid transporter system and have been shown to be superior to 18F-fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose (18F-FDG) in differential diagnosis in cancers. In this study, we synthesized O-[3-19F-fluoropropyl]-α-methyl tyrosine (19F-FPAMT) and used manual and automated methods to synthesize O-[3-18F-fluoropropyl]-α-methyl tyrosine (18F-FPAMT) in three steps: nucleophilic substitution, deprotection of butoxycarbonyl, and deesterification. Manual and automated synthesis methods produced 18F-FPAMT with a radiochemical purity >96%. The decay-corrected yield of 18F-FPAMT by manual synthesis was 34% at end-of-synthesis (88 min). The decay-corrected yield of 18F-FPAMT by automated synthesis was 15% at end-of-synthesis (110 min). 18F-FDG and 18F-FPAMT were used for in vitro and in vivo studies to evaluate the feasibility of 18F-FPAMT for imaging rat mesothelioma (IL-45). In vitro studies comparing 18F-FPAMT with 18F-FDG revealed that 18F-FDG had higher uptake than that of 18F-FPAMT, and the uptake ratio of 18F-FPAMT reached the plateau after being incubated for 60 min. Biodistribution studies revealed that the accumulation of 18F-FPAMT in the heart, lungs, thyroid, spleen, and brain was significantly lower than that of 18F-FDG. There was poor bone uptake in 18F-FPAMT for up to 3 hrs suggesting its in vivo stability. The imaging studies showed good visualization of tumors with 18F-FPAMT. Together, these results suggest that 18F-FPAMT can be successfully synthesized and has great potential in mesothelioma imaging.
doi:10.1155/2013/460619
PMCID: PMC3722965  PMID: 23936803
21.  Managing Lymphoma with Non-FDG Radiotracers: Current Clinical and Preclinical Applications 
BioMed Research International  2013;2013:626910.
Nuclear medicine imaging modalities such as positron emission tomography (PET) and single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) have played a prominent role in lymphoma management. PET with [18F]Fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose (FDG) is the most commonly used tool for lymphoma imaging. However, FDG-PET has several limitations that give the false positive or false negative diagnosis of lymphoma. Therefore, development of new radiotracers with higher sensitivity, specificity, and different uptake mechanism is in great demand in the management of lymphoma. This paper reviews non-FDG radiopharmaceuticals that have been applied for PET and SPECT imaging in patients with different types of lymphoma, with attention to diagnosis, staging, therapy response assessment, and surveillance for disease relapse. In addition, we introduce three radiolabeled anti-CD20 antibodies for radioimmunotherapy, which is another important arm for lymphoma treatment and management. Finally, the relatively promising radiotracers that are currently under preclinical development are also discussed in this paper.
doi:10.1155/2013/626910
PMCID: PMC3690206  PMID: 23841079
22.  Two Protein Lysine Methyltransferases Methylate Outer Membrane Protein B from Rickettsia 
Journal of Bacteriology  2012;194(23):6410-6418.
Rickettsia prowazekii, the etiologic agent of epidemic typhus, is a potential biological threat agent. Its outer membrane protein B (OmpB) is an immunodominant antigen and plays roles as protective envelope and as adhesins. The observation of the correlation between methylation of lysine residues in rickettsial OmpB and bacterial virulence has suggested the importance of an enzymatic system for the methylation of OmpB. However, no rickettsial lysine methyltransferase has been characterized. Bioinformatic analysis of genomic DNA sequences of Rickettsia identified putative lysine methyltransferases. The genes of the potential methyltransferases were synthesized, cloned, and expressed in Escherichia coli, and expressed proteins were purified by nickel-nitrilotriacetic acid (Ni-NTA) affinity chromatography. The methyltransferase activities of the purified proteins were analyzed by methyl incorporation of radioactively labeled S-adenosylmethionine into recombinant fragments of OmpB. Two putative recombinant methyltransferases (rRP789 and rRP027-028) methylated recombinant OmpB fragments. The specific activity of rRP789 is 10- to 30-fold higher than that of rRP027-028. Western blot analysis using specific antibodies against trimethyl lysine showed that both rRP789 and rRP027-028 catalyzed trimethylation of recombinant OmpB fragments. Liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC/MS-MS) analysis showed that rRP789 catalyzed mono-, di-, and trimethylation of lysine, while rRP027-028 catalyzed exclusively trimethylation. To our knowledge, rRP789 and rRP027-028 are the first biochemically characterized lysine methyltransferases of outer membrane proteins from Gram-negative bacteria. The production and characterization of rickettsial lysine methyltransferases provide new tools to investigate the mechanism of methylation of OmpB, effects of methylation on the structure and function of OmpB, and development of methylated OmpB-based diagnostic assays and vaccine candidates.
doi:10.1128/JB.01379-12
PMCID: PMC3497471  PMID: 23002218
23.  Whole-genome sequencing identifies recurrent somatic NOTCH2 mutations in splenic marginal zone lymphoma 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2012;209(9):1553-1565.
NOTCH2 mutations in splenic marginal zone lymphoma are associated with poor prognosis.
Splenic marginal zone lymphoma (SMZL), the most common primary lymphoma of spleen, is poorly understood at the genetic level. In this study, using whole-genome DNA sequencing (WGS) and confirmation by Sanger sequencing, we observed mutations identified in several genes not previously known to be recurrently altered in SMZL. In particular, we identified recurrent somatic gain-of-function mutations in NOTCH2, a gene encoding a protein required for marginal zone B cell development, in 25 of 99 (∼25%) cases of SMZL and in 1 of 19 (∼5%) cases of nonsplenic MZLs. These mutations clustered near the C-terminal proline/glutamate/serine/threonine (PEST)-rich domain, resulting in protein truncation or, rarely, were nonsynonymous substitutions affecting the extracellular heterodimerization domain (HD). NOTCH2 mutations were not present in other B cell lymphomas and leukemias, such as chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma (CLL/SLL; n = 15), mantle cell lymphoma (MCL; n = 15), low-grade follicular lymphoma (FL; n = 44), hairy cell leukemia (HCL; n = 15), and reactive lymphoid hyperplasia (n = 14). NOTCH2 mutations were associated with adverse clinical outcomes (relapse, histological transformation, and/or death) among SMZL patients (P = 0.002). These results suggest that NOTCH2 mutations play a role in the pathogenesis and progression of SMZL and are associated with a poor prognosis.
doi:10.1084/jem.20120910
PMCID: PMC3428949  PMID: 22891276
24.  p38 MAPK activation promotes denervated Schwann cell phenotype and functions as a negative regulator of Schwann cell differentiation and myelination 
The Journal of Neuroscience  2012;32(21):7158-7168.
Physical damage to the peripheral nerves triggers Schwann cell injury response in the distal nerves in an event termed Wallerian degeneration: the Schwann cells degrade their myelin sheaths and de-differentiate, reverting to a phenotype that supports axon regeneration and nerve repair. The molecular mechanisms regulating Schwann cell plasticity in the PNS remain to be elucidated. Using both in vivo and in vitro models for peripheral nerve injury, here we show that inhibition of p38 MAPK activity in mice blocks Schwann cell demyelination and de-differentiation following nerve injury, suggesting that the kinase mediates the injury signal that triggers distal Schwann cell injury response. In myelinating co-cultures, p38 MAPK also mediates myelin breakdown induced by Schwann cell growth factors, such as neuregulin and FGF-2. Furthermore, ectopic activation of p38 MAPK is sufficient to induce myelin breakdown and drives differentiated Schwann cells to acquire phenotypic features of immature Schwann cells. We also show that p38 MAPK concomitantly functions as a negative regulator of Schwann cell differentiation: enforced p38 MAPK activation blocks cAMP-induced expression of Krox 20 and myelin proteins, but induces expression of c-Jun. As expected of its role as a negative signal for myelination, inhibition of p38 MAPK in co-cultures promotes myelin formation by increasing the number as well as the length of individual myelin segments. Altogether, our data identify p38 MAPK as an important regulator of Schwann cell plasticity and differentiation.
doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.5812-11.2012
PMCID: PMC3369433  PMID: 22623660
Wallerian degeneration; dedifferentiation; MKK6; c-Jun; cAMP
25.  p38 MAPK activation promotes denervated Schwann cell phenotype and functions as a negative regulator of Schwann cell differentiation and myelination 
Physical damage to the peripheral nerves triggers Schwann cell injury response in the distal nerves in an event termed Wallerian degeneration: the Schwann cells degrade their myelin sheaths and de-differentiate, reverting to a phenotype that supports axon regeneration and nerve repair. The molecular mechanisms regulating Schwann cell plasticity in the PNS remain to be elucidated. Using both in vivo and in vitro models for peripheral nerve injury, here we show that inhibition of p38 MAPK activity in mice blocks Schwann cell demyelination and de-differentiation following nerve injury, suggesting that the kinase mediates the injury signal that triggers distal Schwann cell injury response. In myelinating co-cultures, p38 MAPK also mediates myelin breakdown induced by Schwann cell growth factors, such as neuregulin and FGF-2. Furthermore, ectopic activation of p38 MAPK is sufficient to induce myelin breakdown and drives differentiated Schwann cells to acquire phenotypic features of immature Schwann cells. We also show that p38 MAPK concomitantly functions as a negative regulator of Schwann cell differentiation: enforced p38 MAPK activation blocks cAMP-induced expression of Krox 20 and myelin proteins, but induces expression of c-Jun. As expected of its role as a negative signal for myelination, inhibition of p38 MAPK in co-cultures promotes myelin formation by increasing the number as well as the length of individual myelin segments. Altogether, our data identify p38 MAPK as an important regulator of Schwann cell plasticity and differentiation.
doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.5812-11.2012
PMCID: PMC3369433  PMID: 22623660
Wallerian degeneration; dedifferentiation; MKK6; c-Jun; cAMP

Results 1-25 (59)