The harmful consequences of carcinogenic metals, such as nickel, arsenic and chromium, are thought to be in part due to their ability to induce oxidative stress. The ubiquity of oxidative stress in biological systems has made it a fairly obvious culprit in causing cellular damage and/or development of disease. However, the full extent of oxidative stress-induced damage is not limited to its direct effects on cellular components, such as lipids, proteins and DNA, but may extend to its ability to alter gene expression. Gene expression regulation is an important component of cellular and/or tissue homeostasis, and its alteration can have detrimental consequences. Therefore, a growing amount of interest is being paid to understanding how oxidative stress can influence gene expression. Oxidative stress-induced epigenetic dysregulation in the form of post-translational histone modifications, in particular, is a popular topic of research. This review will therefore primarily focus on discussing the role of oxidative stress and hypoxia on histone methylation and/or gene expression alterations. The sources of oxidative stress discussed here are carcinogenic metals, such as, nickel, arsenic and chromium.
Metals; histones; hypoxia; oxidative stress; gene expression
The complex process of carcinogenesis begins with transformation of a single cell to favor aberrant traits such as loss of contact inhibition and unregulated proliferation – features found in every cancer. Despite cancer’s widespread prevalence, the early events that initiate cancer remain elusive, and without knowledge of these events cancer prevention is difficult. Here we show that exposure to As, Cr, Ni, or Vanadium (V) promotes changes in gene expression that occur in conjunction with aberrant growth. We exposed immortalized human bronchial epithelial cells to one of four metals/metalloid for four to eight weeks and selected transformed clonal populations based upon anchorage independent growth of single cells in soft agar. We detected a metal-specific footprint of cancer-related gene expression that was consistent across multiple transformed clones. These gene expression changes persisted in the absence of the progenitor metal for numerous cell divisions. Our results show that even a brief exposure to a carcinogenic metal may cause many changes in gene expression in the exposed cells, and that from these many changes, the specific change(s) that each metal causes that initiate cancer likely arise.
Polo-like kinase 3 (Plk3) is an important mediator of the cellular responses to genotoxic stresses. In this study, we examined the physiologic function of Plk3 by generating Plk3-deficient mice. Plk3−/− mice displayed an increase in weight and developed tumors in various organs at advanced age. Many tumors in Plk3−/− mice were large in size, exhibiting enhanced angiogenesis. Plk3−/− mouse embryonic fibroblasts were hypersensitive to the induction of hypoxiainducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) under hypoxic conditions or by nickel and cobalt ion treatments. Ectopic expression of the Plk3-kinase domain (Plk3-KD), but not its Polo-box domain or a Plk3-KD mutant, suppressed the nuclear accumulation of HIF-1α induced by nickel or cobalt ions. Moreover, hypoxia-induced HIF-1α expression was tightly associated with a significant down-regulation of Plk3 expression in HeLa cells. Given the importance of HIF-1α in mediating the activation of the “survival machinery” in cancer cells, these studies strongly suggest that enhanced tumorigenesis in Plk3-null mice is at least partially mediated by a deregulated HIF-1 pathway.
Carcinogenic metals, such as nickel, arsenic, and chromium, are widespread environmental and occupational pollutants. Chronic exposure to these metals has been connected with increased risks of numerous cancers and as well as non-carcinogenic health outcomes, including cardiovascular disease, neurologic deficits, neuro-developmental deficits in childhood, and hypertension. However, currently the specific molecular targets for metal toxicity and carcinogenicity are not fully understood. Here, we propose that the iron- and 2-oxoglutaratedependent dioxygenase family enzymes, as well as, other histone modifying enzymes are important intracellular targets that mediate the toxicity and carcinogenicity of nickel, and maybe potential targets in chromium and arsenic induced carcinogenesis. Our data demonstrates that all three metals are capable of inducing post-translational histone modifications and affecting the enzymes that modulate them (i.e. the iron- and 2-oxoglutaratedependent dioxygenase family, including HIF-prolyl hydroxylase PHD2, histone demethylase JHDM2A/JMJD1A, and DNA repair enzymes ABH3 and ABH2, and histone methyltransferases, G9a). Given the effects these metals can exert on the epigenome, future studies of their involvement in histone modifying enzymes dynamics would deepen our understanding on their respective toxicities and carcinogenicities.
There are many sources of nutritionally mediated oxidative stress that trigger inflammatory cascades along short and long time frames. These events are primarily mediated via NFκB. On the short-term scale postprandial inflammation is characterized by an increase in circulating levels of IL-6 and TNF-α and is mirrored on the long-term by proinflammatory gene expression changes in the adipocytes and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) of obese individuals. Specifically the upregulation of CCL2/MCP-1, CCL3/MIP-1α, CCL4/MIP-1β, CXCL2/MIP-2α, and CXCL3/MIP-2β is noted because these changes have been observed in both adipocytes and PBMC of obese humans. In comparing numerous human intervention studies it is clear that pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory consumption choices mediate gene expression in humans adipocytes and peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Arachidonic acid and saturated fatty acids (SFAs) both demonstrate an ability to increase pro-inflammatory IL-8 along with numerous other inflammatory factors including IL-6, TNFα, IL-1β, and CXCL1 for arachidonic acid and IGB2 and CTSS for SFA. Antioxidant rich foods including olive oil, fruits, and vegetables all demonstrate an ability to lower levels of IL-6 in PBMCs. Thus, dietary choices play a complex role in the mediation of unavoidable oxidative stress and can serve to exacerbate or dampen the level of inflammation.
The precise mechanisms for the carcinogenesis of nickel and arsenic compounds are not completely understood. In recent years, alterations of epigenetic mechanisms have been implicated in the carcinogenesis of these two metal compounds. In vitro exposure to nickel or arsenic induces changes in both DNA methylation patterns, as well as, in the levels of posttranslational modifications of histone tails. Changes in DNA methylation patterns have been reported in human subjects exposed to arsenic. Here we review our recent reports on the alterations in global levels of posttranslational histone modifications in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) of subjects with occupational exposure to nickel and subjects exposed to arsenic in their drinking water. Occupational exposure to nickel was associated with an increase in H3K4me3 and decrease in H3K9me2. A global increase in H3K9me2 and decrease in H3K9ac was found in subjects exposed to arsenic. Additionally, exposure to arsenic resulted in opposite changes in a number of histone modifications in males compared to females. The results of these two studies suggest that exposure to nickel or arsenic compounds, and possibly other carcinogenic metal compounds, can induce changes in global levels of posttranslational histone modifications in peripheral blood mononuclear cells.
nickel; arsenic; epigenetics; histone tail modifications
Nickel (Ni) is a worldwide pollutant and contaminant that humans are exposed to through various avenues resulting in multiple toxic responses - most alarming is its clear carcinogenic nature. A variety of particulate Ni compounds persist in the environment and can be distinguished by characteristics such as solubility, structure, and surface charge. These characteristics influence cellular uptake and toxicity. Some particulate forms of Ni are carcinogenic and are directly and rapidly endocytized by cells. A series of studies conducted in the 1980’s observed this process, and we have reanalyzed the results of these studies to help elucidate the molecular mechanism of particulate Ni uptake. Originally the process of uptake observed was described as phagocytosis, however in the context of recent research we hypothesize that the process is macropinocytosis and/or clathrin mediated endocytosis. Primary considerations in determining the route of uptake here include calcium dependence, particle size, and inhibition through temperature and pharmacological approaches. Particle characteristics that influenced uptake include size, charge, surface characteristics, and structure. This discussion is relevant in the context of nanoparticle studies and the emerging interest in nano-nickel (nano-Ni), where toxicity assessments require a clear understanding of the parameters of particulate uptake and where establishment of such parameters is often obscured through inconsistencies across experimental systems. In this regard, this review aims to carefully document one system (particulate nickel compound uptake) and characterize its properties.
macropinocytosis; phagocytosis; clathrin-mediated endocytosis; nickel; nickel sulfide; nickel subsulfide; nanoparticles; toxicity; endocytosis
Hexavalent chromium [Cr(VI)] is a human carcinogen that results in the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and a variety of DNA lesions leading to cell death. Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), the major polyphenol present in green tea, possesses potent antioxidative activity capable of protecting normal cells from various stimuli-induced oxidative stress and cell death. Here we demonstrated that co-treatment with EGCG protected human normal bronchial epithelial BEAS-2B cells from Cr(VI)-induced cell death in a dose-dependent manner. Cr(VI) induces apoptosis as the primary mode of cell death. Co-treatment of BEAS-2B cells with EGCG dose-dependently suppressed Cr(VI)-induced apoptosis. Fluorescence microscopic analyses and quantitative measurement revealed that EGCG significantly decreased intracellular levels of ROS induced by Cr(VI) exposure. Using a well-established K+/SDS precipitation assay, we further showed that EGCG was able to dose-dependently reduce DNA-protein cross-links (DPC), lesions that could be partially attributed to Cr(VI)-induced oxidative stress. Finally, analyses of Affymetrix microarray containing 28,869 well-annotated genes revealed that, among the 3412 genes changed more than 1.5-fold by Cr(VI) treatment, changes of 2404 genes (70%) were inhibited by pretreatment of EGCG. Real-time PCR confirmed the induction of 3 genes involved in cell death and apoptosis by Cr(VI), which was eliminated by EGCG. In contrast, Cr(VI) reduced the expression of 3 genes related to cellular defense, and this reduction was inhibited by EGCG. Our results indicate that EGCG protects BEAS-2B cells from Cr(VI)-induced cytotoxicity presumably by scavenging ROS and modulating a subset of genes. EGCG, therefore, might serve as a potential chemopreventive agent against Cr(VI) carcinogenesis.
Chromate; EGCG; BEAS-2B cells; Cell death; Apoptosis; Reactive oxygen species; DNA protein cross-links; Gene expression
Epigenetic dysregulation is being increasingly recognized as a hallmark of cancer. Post-translational modifications of histones, in particular, are known to play important roles gene expression alterations in cancer development and progression. Given their key involvement in the various stages of carcinogenesis, histone modifications are also being explored as potential biomarkers of disease progression and prognosis. This review will therefore discuss the role of histone modifications in cancer biology and will explore their prognostic potential.
Histone modifications; cancer; biomarkers; prognosis
Human ABH2 repairs DNA lesions by using an Fe(II)- and αKG-dependent oxidative demethylation mechanism. The structure of the active site features the facial triad of protein ligands consisting of the side chains of two histidine and one aspartate residues that is common to many nonheme Fe(II) oxygenases. X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) of metallated (Fe and Ni) samples of ABH2 were used to investigate the mechanism of ABH2 and its inhibition by Ni(II) ions. The data are consistent with a sequential mechanism that features a five coordinate metal center in both the presence and absence of the α-ketoglutarate cofactor. This aspect is not altered in the Ni(II)-substituted enzyme, and both metals are shown to bind the cofactor. When substrate is bound to the native Fe(II) complex with α-ketoglutarate bound, a five-coordinate Fe(II) center is retained that features an open coordination position for O2 binding. However, in the case of the Ni(II)-substituted enzyme, the complex that forms in the presence of cofactor and substrate is six-coordinate, and therefore features no open coordination site for oxygen activation at the metal.
Background: Occupational exposure to nickel (Ni) is associated with an increased risk for lung and nasal cancers. Ni compounds exhibit weak mutagenic activity, cause gene amplification, and disrupt cellular epigenetic homeostasis. However, the Ni-induced changes in global histone modification levels have only been tested in vitro.
Objective: This study was conducted in a Chinese population to determine whether occupational exposure to Ni is associated with alterations of global histone modification levels and to evaluate the inter- and intraindividual variance of global histone modification levels.
Method: Forty-five subjects with occupational exposure to Ni and 75 referents were recruited. Urinary Ni and global H3K4 trimethylation, H3K9 acetylation, and H3K9 dimethylation levels were measured in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) of subjects.
Results: H3K4me3 was elevated in Ni-exposed subjects (0.25% ± 0.11%) compared with referents (0.15% ± 0.04%; p = 0.0004), and H3K9me2 was decreased (Ni-exposed subjects, 0.11% ± 0.05%; referents, 0.15% ± 0.04%; p = 0.003). H3K4me3 was positively (r = 0.4, p = 0.0008) and H3K9ac was negatively (r = 0.1, p = 0.01) associated with urinary Ni. Interindividual variances of H3K4me3, H3K9ac, and H3K9me2 were larger compared with intraindividual variance in both exposure test groups, resulting in reliability coefficients (an estimate of consistency of a set of measurements) of 0.60, 0.67, and 0.79 for H3K4me3, H3K9ac, and H3K9me2, respectively, for Ni-exposed subjects and of 0.75, 0.74, and 0.97, respectively, for referent subjects.
Conclusion: The results of this study indicate that occupational exposure to Ni is associated with alterations of global histone modification levels and that measurements of global levels of histone modifications are relatively stable over time in human PBMCs.
epigenetics; H3K4 trimethylation; H3K9 acetylation; H3K9 dimethylation; histone modifications; interindividual variation; intraindividual variation; nickel; nickel refinery workers
Epigenetic silencing of tumor suppressor genes commonly occurs in human cancers via increasing DNA methylation and repressive histone modifications at gene promoters. However, little is known about how pathogenic environmental factors contribute to cancer development by affecting epigenetic regulatory mechanisms. Previously, we reported that both hypoxia and nickel (an environmental carcinogen) increased global histone H3 lysine 9 methylation in cells through inhibiting a novel class of iron- and α-ketoglutarate-dependent histone demethylases. Here, we investigated whether inhibition of histone demethylase JMJD1A by hypoxia and nickel could lead to repression/silencing of JMJD1A-targeted gene(s). By using Affymetrix GeneChip and ChIP-on-chip technologies, we identified Spry2 gene, a key regulator of receptor tyrosine kinase/extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) signaling, as one of the JMJD1A-targeted genes in human bronchial epithelial BEAS-2B cells. Both hypoxia and nickel exposure increased the level of H3K9me2 at the Spry2 promoter by inhibiting JMJD1A, which probably led to a decreased expression of Spry2 in BEAS-2B cells. Repression of Spry2 potentiated the nickel-induced ERK phosphorylation, and forced expression of Spry2 in BEAS-2B cells decreased the nickel-induced ERK phosphorylation and significantly suppressed nickel-induced anchorage-independent growth. Taken together, our results suggest that histone demethylases could be targets of environmental carcinogens and their inhibition may lead to altered gene expression and eventually carcinogenesis.
Animal studies and small clinical trials have shown that taurine (2-aminoethanesulphonic acid), a sulphur-containing molecule mainly obtained from the diet in human subjects, has a variety of biological actions that are related to atherosclerosis and cardiovascular functions. However, epidemiological studies of taurine and CHD risk are lacking. We evaluated whether a single measurement of serum taurine could serve as an estimate for long-term serum levels. Serum taurine was measured using HPLC in three annual samples from thirty postmenopausal women selected from the New York University Women’s Health Study. Overall, serum taurine values ranged from 62·8 to 245·3 nmol/ml, with a mean of 140 nmol/ml. The intraclass correlation coefficient of a single measurement of serum taurine was 0·48 (95 % CI 0·26, 0·68), which can be improved to 0·65 by using the mean of two annual measurements. The CV was 7 %. These results indicate that the mean of two or more annual measurements of serum taurine is a sufficiently reliable measure of long-term serum levels that can be used in epidemiological studies.
HPLC; Reproducibility; Epidemiology; Biomarkers
Liprin-α4 was strongly induced following nickel (II) chloride exposure in a variety of cell types including BEAS-2B, A549, BEP2D and BL41 cells. Liprin-α4, a member of the Liprin alpha family, has seven isoforms but only three of these variants were detected in BEAS-2B cells (004, 201 and 202). The level of Liprin-α4 variants 201 and 004 were highly increased in BEAS-2B cells in response to nickel. We showed that Liprin-α4 bound directly to the cytoplasmic region of RPTP-LAR (receptor protein tyrosine phosphatase-leukocyte antigen-related receptor F). The cytoplasmic region of RPTP-LAR contains two phosphatase domains but only the first domain shows activity. The second domain interacts with other proteins. The phosphatase activity was increased both following nickel treatment and also in the presence of nickel ions in cell extracts. Liprin-α4 knock-down lines with decreased expression of Liprin-α4 variants 004 and 201 exhibited greater nickel toxicity compared to controls. The RPTP-LAR phosphatase activity was only slightly increased in a Liprin-α4 knock-down line. Liprin-α4 appeared necessary for the nickel induced tyrosine phosphatase activity. The presence of Liprin-α4 and nickel increased tyrosine phosphatase activity that reduced the global levels of tyrosine phosphorylation in the cell.
Histone H3 Lysine 4 (H3K4) tri-methylation (H3K4me3) at the promoter region of genes has been linked to transcriptional activation. In the present study, we found that hypoxia (1 % oxygen) increased H3K4me3 in both normal human bronchial epithelial Beas-2B cells and human lung carcinoma A549 cells. The increase of H3K4me3 by hypoxia was likely caused by the inhibition of H3K4 demethylating activity, as hypoxia still increased H3K4me3 in methionine-deficient medium. Furthermore, an in vitro histone demethylation assay demonstrated that 1% oxygen decreased the activity of H3K4 demethylases in Beas-2B nuclear extract since ambient oxygen tensions were required for the demethylation reaction to proceed. Hypoxia only minimally increased H3K4me3 in the BEAS-2B cells with knockdown of JARID1A, which is the major histone H3K4 demethylase in this cell line. However, the mRNA and protein levels of JARID1A were not affected by hypoxia. GeneChip and pathway analysis in JARID1A knockdown Beas-2B cells revealed that JARID1A regulates the expression of hundreds of genes involved in different cellular functions, including tumorigenesis. Knocking down of JARID1A increased H3K4me3 at the promoters of HMOX1 and DAF genes. Thus, these results indicate that hypoxia may target JARID1A activity which in turn increases H3K4me3 at both the global and gene specific levels, leading to the altered programs of gene expression and tumor progression.
Hypoxia; Histone H3 lysine 4 methylation; JARID1A; epigenetics; lung cancer
Occupational exposure to nickel compounds has been associated with lung and nasal cancers. We have previously shown that exposure of the human lung adenocarcinoma A549 cells to NiCl2 for 24 hr significantly increased global levels of trimethylated H3K4 (H3K4me3), a transcriptional activating mark that maps to the promoters of transcribed genes. To further understand the potential epigenetic mechanism(s) underlying nickel carcinogenesis, we performed genome-wide mapping of H3K4me3 by chromatin immunoprecipitation and direct genome sequencing (ChIP-seq) and correlated with transcriptome genome-wide mapping of RNA transcripts by massive parallel sequencing of cDNA (RNA-seq). The effect of NiCl2 treatment on H3K4me3 peaks within 5,000 bp of transcription start sites (TSSs) on a set of genes highly induced by nickel in both A549 cells and human peripheral blood mononuclear cells were analyzed. Nickel exposure increased the level of H3K4 trimethylation in both the promoters and coding regions of several genes including CA9 and NDRG1 that were increased in expression in A549 cells. We have also compared the extent of the H3K4 trimethylation in the absence and presence of formaldehyde crosslinking and observed that crosslinking of chromatin was required to observe H3K4 trimethylation in the coding regions immediately downstream of TSSs of some nickel-induced genes including ADM and IGFBP3. This is the first genome-wide mapping of trimethylated H3K4 in the promoter and coding regions of genes induced after exposure to NiCl2. This study may provide insights into the epigenetic mechanism(s) underlying the carcinogenicity of nickel compounds.
Hexavalent chromium [Cr(VI)] is a potent human carcinogen.
Occupational exposure has been associated with increased risk of respiratory
cancer. Multiple mechanisms have been shown to contribute to Cr(VI) induced
carcinogenesis, including DNA damage, genomic instability, and epigenetic
modulation, however, the molecular mechanism and downstream genes mediating
chromium's carcinogenicity remain to be elucidated.
We established chromate transformed cell lines by chronic exposure of normal
human bronchial epithelial BEAS-2B cells to low doses of Cr(VI) followed by
anchorage-independent growth. These transformed cell lines not only
exhibited consistent morphological changes but also acquired altered and
distinct gene expression patterns compared with normal BEAS-2B cells and
control cell lines (untreated) that arose spontaneously in soft agar.
Interestingly, the gene expression profiles of six Cr(VI) transformed cell
lines were remarkably similar to each other yet differed significantly from
that of either control cell lines or normal BEAS-2B cells. A total of 409
differentially expressed genes were identified in Cr(VI) transformed cells
compared to control cells. Genes related to cell-to-cell junction were
upregulated in all Cr(VI) transformed cells, while genes associated with the
interaction between cells and their extracellular matrices were
down-regulated. Additionally, expression of genes involved in cell
proliferation and apoptosis were also changed.
This study is the first to report gene expression profiling of Cr(VI)
transformed cells. The gene expression changes across individual chromate
exposed clones were remarkably similar to each other but differed
significantly from the gene expression found in anchorage-independent clones
that arose spontaneously. Our analysis identified many novel gene expression
changes that may contribute to chromate induced cell transformation, and
collectively this type of information will provide a better understanding of
the mechanism underlying chromate carcinogenicity.
In humans, taurine (2-aminoethanesulfonic acid) is mainly obtained from diet. Despite the fact that the health effects of taurine are largely unknown, taurine has become a popular supplement and ingredient in energy drinks in recent years. Evidence from mechanistic and animal studies has shown that the main biological actions of taurine include its ability to conjugate bile acids, regulate blood pressure (BP), and act as a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. These actions suggest that high levels of taurine may be protective against coronary heart disease (CHD). However, data from epidemiologic and intervention studies in humans are limited. We review what is known about taurine’s metabolism, its transportation in the body, its food sources, and evidence of its effect on cardiovascular health from in vitro, animal, and epidemiologic studies. We also discuss shortcomings of the human studies that need to be addressed in the future. The identification of taurine as a preventive factor for CHD may be of great public health importance.
Taurine; coronary heart disease; cholesterol; blood pressure; antioxidant
Hypoxia induced factor-1α (HIF-1α) is a master transcription factor that is critical for the regulation of various cellular functions. HIF-1α is rapidly degraded via a von Hippel-Lindau tumor suppressor gene product (VHL)-mediated ubiquitin-proteasome pathway in normoxia conditions. Most recent studies reveal that heat-shock proteins (Hsp) can regulate HIF-1α protein degradation via a VHL-independent pathway. Here we demonstrate that c-Jun N-terminal kinase 1 (JNK1) is required for such an Hsp-dependent HIF-1α regulation. HIF-1α stabilization was impaired in JNK1−/− cells, and could be rescued by reconstitutional expression of JNK1 in either hypoxia or chemical-mimicked hypoxia conditions. This phenomena was confirmed in different cell lines using the shRNA-JNK1 knockdown approach. Accordingly, HIF-1-dependent transcriptional activity and its downstream gene’s expression were dramatically reduced in JNK1-deficient cells. We further found that in JNK1−/− cells the low expression level of Hsp90/Hsp70 proteins affected the protective roles of these chaperones in maintaining newly synthesized HIF-1α stabilization, and forced expression of Hsp90 or Hsp70 in JNK1−/− cells showed a notable increase in HIF-1α stability compared with that of parental cells. Furthermore, our studies found that defective HDAC6 expression and subsequently increased Hsp90 acetylation could account for the reduction of Hsp90 chaperon activity in JNK1−/− cells. Taken together, our studies provide strong evidence for a novel function of JNK1 in regulating VHL-independent HIF-1α degradation.
HIF-1α; JNKs; Hsp90; Hsp70; nickel
We have used Saccharomyces cerevisiae to identify toxicologically important proteins and pathways involved in arsenic-induced toxicity and carcinogenicity in humans. We performed a systemic screen of the complete set of 4,733 haploid S. cerevisiae single gene deletion mutants to identify those that have decreased or increased growth, relative to wild-type, after exposure to sodium arsenite (NaAsO2). IC50 values for all mutants were determined to further validate our results. Ultimately we identified 248 mutants sensitive to arsenite and 5 mutants resistant to arsenite exposure. We analyzed the proteins corresponding to arsenite-sensitive mutants and determined that they belonged to functional categories that include protein binding, phosphate metabolism, vacuolar/lysosomal transport, protein targeting, sorting, and translocation, cell growth/morphogenesis, cell polarity and filament formation. Furthermore, these data were mapped onto a protein interactome to identify arsenite toxicity-modulating networks. These networks are associated with the cytoskeleton, ubiquitination, histone acetylation and the MAPK signaling pathway. Our studies have potential implications for understanding toxicity and carcinogenesis in arsenic-induced human conditions, such as cancer and aging.
Arsenite; Toxicity; Saccharomyces cerevisiae
Several metal ions that are carcinogenic affect cellular iron homeostasis by competing with iron transporters or iron-regulated enzymes. Some metal ions can mimic a hypoxia response in cells under normal oxygen tension, and induce expression of HIF-1α-regulated genes. This study investigated whether 12 metal ions altered iron homeostasis in human lung carcinoma A549 cells as measured by an activation of IRP-1 and ferritin level. We also studied hypoxia signaling by measuring HIF-1α protein levels, hypoxia response element (HRE)-driven luciferase reporter activity, and Cap43 protein level (an HIF-1α responsive gene). Our results show the following: (i) Ni(II), Co(II), V(V), Mn(II), and to a lesser extent As(III) and Cu(II) activated the binding of IRP-1 to IRE after 24 h, while the other metal ions had no effect; (ii) 10 of 12 metal ions induced HIF-1α protein but to strikingly different degrees. Two of these metal ions, Al(III) and Cd(II), did not induce HIF-1α protein; however, as indicated below, only Ni(II), Co (II), and to lesser extent Mn(II) and V(V) activated HIF-1α-dependent transcription. The combined effects of both [Ni(II) + As(III)] and [Ni(II) + Cr(VI)] on HIF-1α protein were synergistic; (iii) Addition of Fe(II) with Ni(II), Co(II), and Cr(VI) attenuated the induction of HIF-1α after 4 h treatment; (iv) Ni(II), Co(II), and Mn(II) significantly decrease ferritin level after 24 h exposure; (v) Ni(II), Co(II), V (V), and Mn(II) activated HRE reporter gene after 20 h treatment; (vi) Ni(II), Co(II), V(V), and Mn(II) increased the HIF-1-dependent Cap43 protein level after 24 h treatment. In conclusion, only Ni (II), Co (II), and to a lesser extent Mn(II) and V(V) significantly stabilized HIF-1α protein, activated IRP, decreased the levels of ferritin, induced the transcription of HIF-dependent reporter, and increased the expression of Cap43 protein levels (HIF-dependent gene). The mechanism for the significant stabilization and elevation of HIF-1α protein which drives these other parameters was previously shown by us and others to involve a loss of cellular Fe as well as inhibition of HIF-1α-dependent prolyl hydroxylases which target the binding of VHL ubiquitin ligase and degrade HIF-1α. Even though there were small effects of some of the other metals on IRP and HIF-1α, downstream effects of HIF-1α activation and therefore robust hypoxia signaling were only observed with Ni(II), Co(II), and to much lesser extents with Mn(II) and V(V) in human A549 lung cells. It is of interest that the metal ions that were most effective in activating hypoxia signaling were the ones that were poor inducers of metallothionein protein and also decreased Ferritin levels, since both of these proteins can bind metal ions and protect the cell against toxicity in human lung cells. It is important to study effects of these metals in human lung cells since this represents a major route of human environmental and occupational exposure to these metal ions.
Metal ions; IRP-1; HIF-1α; HRE; Cap43
Chronic exposure to low doses of arsenite causes transformation of human osteogenic sarcoma (HOS) cells. Although oxidative stress is considered important in arsenite-induced cell transformation, the molecular and cellular mechanisms by which arsenite transforms human cells are still unknown. In the present study, we investigated whether altered iron homeostasis, known to affect cellular oxidative stress, can contribute to the arsenite-mediated cell transformation. Using arsenite-induced HOS cell transformation as a model, it was found that total iron levels are significantly higher in transformed HOS cells in comparison to parental control HOS cells. Under normal iron metabolism conditions, iron homeostasis is tightly controlled by inverse regulation of ferritin and transferrin receptor (TfR) through iron regulatory proteins (IRP). Increased iron levels in arsenite transformed cells should theoretically lead to higher ferritin and lower TfR in these cells than in controls. However, the results showed that both ferritin and TfR are decreased, apparently through two different mechanisms. A lower ferritin level in cytoplasm was due to the decreased mRNA in the arsenite-transformed HOS cells, while the decline in TfR was due to a lowered IRP-binding activity. By challenging cells with iron, it was further established that arsenite-transformed HOS cells are less responsive to iron treatment than control HOS cells, which allows accumulation of iron in the transformed cells, as exemplified by significantly lower ferritin induction. On the other hand, caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE), an antioxidant previously shown to suppress As-mediated cell transformation, prevents As-mediated ferritin depletion. In conclusion, our results suggest that altered iron homeostasis contributes to arsenite-induced oxidative stress and, thus, may be involved in arsenite-mediated cell transformation.
Arsenic; Cell transformation; Iron homeostasis; Ferritin; Transferrin receptor; Iron regulatory proteins; Free radicals
Global acetylation of histone H4 is a mark of gene transcriptional activation. The c-Myc transcription factor binds to specific DNA sites in cellular chromatin and induces the acetylation of histone H4. In this study, hypoxia (1% Oxygen) induced a decrease in both global acetylated histone H4 (AcH4) and c-Myc in human lung carcinoma A549 cells and in human bronchial epithelial Beas-2B cells, The decline was more stiking in A549 cells compared to Beas2-B cells, when cells were exposed to hypoxic stress for 24 hr. Further studies showed that these alterations of global AcH4 can be attributed to the decrease in c-Myc protein levels. While hypoxia-induced gene activation is known to be mediated by Hypoxia Response Elements (HRE), the mechanism for down-regulation of genes by hypoxia is not known. The decrease in c-Myc protein levels induced by hypoxia may contribute to hypoxia-induced gene repression.
Hypoxia; c-Myc; Acetylation; Histone H4
Young women diagnosed with breast cancer are known to have a higher mortality rate from the disease than older patients. Specific risk factors leading to this poorer outcome have not been identified. In the present study, we hypothesized that iron deficiency, a common ailment in young women, contributes to the poor outcome by promoting the hypoxia inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) formation. This hypothesis was tested in an in vitro cell culture model system.
Human breast cancer MDA-MB-231 cells were transfected with transferrin receptor-1 (TfR1) shRNA to constitutively impair iron uptake. Cellular iron status was determined by a set of iron proteins and angiogenesis was evaluated by levels of VEGF in cells as well as by a mouse xenograft model. Significant decreases in ferritin with concomitant increases in VEGF were observed in TfR1 knockdown MDA-MB-231 cells when compared to the parental cells. TfR1 shRNA transfectants also evoked a stronger angiogenic response after the cells were injected subcutaneously into nude mice. The molecular mechanism appears that cellular iron deficiency elevates VEGF formation by stabilizing HIF-1α. This mechanism is also true in human breast cancer MCF-7 and liver cancer HepG2 cells.
Cellular iron deficiency increased HIF-1α, VEGF, and angiogenesis, suggesting that systemic iron deficiency might play an important part in the tumor angiogenesis and recurrence in this young age group of breast cancer patients.
In the present study, we examined the effects of CoCl2 on multiple histone modifications at the global level. We found that in both human lung carcinoma A549 cells and human bronchial epithelial Beas-2B cells, exposure to CoCl2 (≥200 μM) for 24 h increased H3K4me3, H3K9me2, H3K9me3, H3K27me3, H3K36me3, uH2A and uH2B but decreased acetylation at histone H4 (AcH4). Further investigation demonstrated that in A549 cells, the increase in H3K4me3 and H3K27me3 by cobalt ions exposure was probably through enhancing histone methylation processes, as methionine-deficient medium blocked the induction of H3K4me3 and H3K27me3 by cobalt ions, whereas cobalt ions increased H3K9me3 and H3K36me3 by directly inhibiting JMJD2A demethylase activity in vitro, which was probably due to the competition of cobalt ions with iron for binding to the active site of JMJD2A. Furthermore, in vitro ubiquitination and deubiquitination assays revealed that the cobalt-induced histone H2A and H2B ubiquitination is the result of inhibition of deubiquitinating enzyme activity. Microarray data showed that exposed to 200 μM of CoCl2 for 24 h, A549 cells not only increased but also decreased expression of hundreds of genes involved in different cellular functions, including tumorigenesis. This study is the first to demonstrate that cobalt ions altered epigenetic homeostasis in cells. It also sheds light on the possible mechanisms involved in cobalt-induced alteration of histone modifications, which may lead to altered programs of gene expression and carcinogenesis since cobalt at higher concentrations is a known carcinogen.