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1.  Astrocyte elevated gene-1 (AEG-1) promotes hepatocarcinogenesis: novel insights from a mouse model 
Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.)  2012;56(5):1782-1791.
Astrocyte elevated gene-1 (AEG-1) is a key contributor to hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) development and progression. To enhance our understanding of the role of AEG-1 in hepatocarcinogenesis, a transgenic mouse with hepatocyte-specific expression of AEG-1 (Alb/AEG1) was developed. Treating Alb/AEG-1, but not Wild type (WT) mice, with N-nitrosodiethylamine (DEN), resulted in multinodular HCC with steatotic features and associated modulation of expression of genes regulating invasion, metastasis, angiogenesis and fatty acid synthesis. Hepatocytes isolated from Alb/AEG-1 mice displayed profound resistance to chemotherapeutics and growth factor deprivation with activation of pro-survival signaling pathways. Alb/AEG-1 hepatocytes also exhibited marked resistance towards senescence, which correlated with abrogation of activation of a DNA damage response. Conditioned media (CM) from Alb/AEG-1 hepatocytes induced marked angiogenesis with elevation in several coagulation factors. Among these factors, AEG-1 facilitated association of Factor XII (FXII) mRNA with polysomes resulting in increased translation. siRNA-mediated knockdown of FXII resulted in profound inhibition of AEG-1-induced angiogenesis.
Conclusion
We uncover novel aspects of AEG-1 functions, including induction of steatosis, inhibition of senescence and activation of coagulation pathway to augment aggressive hepatocarcinogenesis. The Alb/AEG-1 mouse provides an appropriate model to scrutinize the molecular mechanism of hepatocarcinogenesis and to evaluate the efficacy of novel therapeutic strategies targeting HCC.
doi:10.1002/hep.25868
PMCID: PMC3449036  PMID: 22689379
Astrocyte elevated gene-1 (AEG-1); transgenic; hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC); senescence; angiogenesis
2.  The transcription factor LSF: a novel oncogene for hepatocellular carcinoma 
The transcription factor LSF (Late SV40 Factor), also known as TFCP2, belongs to the LSF/CP2 family related to Grainyhead family of proteins and is involved in many biological events, including regulation of cellular and viral promoters, cell cycle, DNA synthesis, cell survival and Alzheimer’s disease. Our recent studies establish an oncogenic role of LSF in Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). LSF overexpression is detected in human HCC cell lines and in more than 90% cases of human HCC patients, compared to normal hepatocytes and liver, and its expression level showed significant correlation with the stages and grades of the disease. Forced overexpression of LSF in less aggressive HCC cells resulted in highly aggressive, angiogenic and multi-organ metastatic tumors in nude mice. Conversely, inhibition of LSF significantly abrogated growth and metastasis of highly aggressive HCC cells in nude mice. Microarray studies revealed that as a transcription factor LSF modulated specific genes regulating invasion, angiogenesis, chemoresistance and senescence. LSF transcriptionally regulates thymidylate synthase (TS) gene, thus contributing to cell cycle regulation and chemoresistance. Our studies identify a network of proteins, including osteopontin (OPN), Matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9), c-Met and complement factor H (CFH), that are directly regulated by LSF and play important role in LSF-induced hepatocarcinogenesis. A high throughput screening identified small molecule inhibitors of LSF DNA binding and the prototype of these molecules, Factor Quinolinone inhibitor 1 (FQI1), profoundly inhibited cell viability and induced apoptosis in human HCC cells without exerting harmful effects to normal immortal human hepatocytes and primary mouse hepatocytes. In nude mice xenograft studies, FQI1 markedly inhibited growth of human HCC xenografts as well as angiogenesis without exerting any toxicity. These studies establish a key role of LSF in hepatocarcinogenesis and usher in a novel therapeutic avenue for HCC, an invariably fatal disease.
PMCID: PMC3365805  PMID: 22679558
Late SV40 Factor (LSF); hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC); osteopontin (OPN); matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9); c-Met; thymidylate synthase (TS); angiogenesis; metastasis; cell cycle regulation; small molecule inhibitors; FQI1
3.  Loss of IRF-4–binding protein leads to the spontaneous development of systemic autoimmunity 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  2006;116(3):703-714.
IFN regulatory factor 4–binding (IRF-4–binding) protein (IBP) is a novel type of activator of Rho GTPases that is recruited to the immunological synapse upon TCR stimulation. Here we demonstrate that loss of IBP leads to the spontaneous development of a systemic autoimmune disorder characterized by the accumulation of effector/memory T cells and IgG+ B cells, profound hypergammaglobulinemia, and autoantibody production. Similar to human SLE, this syndrome primarily affects females. T cells from IBP-deficient mice are resistant to death in vitro as well as in vivo and exhibit selective defects in effector function. In the absence of IBP, T cells respond suboptimally to TCR engagement, as demonstrated by diminished ERK1/2 activation, decreased c-Fos induction, impaired immunological synapse formation, and defective actin polymerization. Transduction of IBP-deficient T cells with a WT IBP protein, but not with an IBP mutant lacking the Dbl-like domain required for Rho GTPase activation, rescues the cytoskeletal defects exhibited by these cells. Collectively, these findings indicate that IBP, a novel regulator of Rho GTPases, is required for optimal T cell effector function, lymphocyte homeostasis, and the prevention of systemic autoimmunity.
doi:10.1172/JCI24096
PMCID: PMC1361345  PMID: 16470246

Results 1-3 (3)