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1.  Airway Fibroblasts in Asthma Manifest an Invasive Phenotype 
Rationale: Invasive cell phenotypes have been demonstrated in malignant transformation, but not in other diseases, such as asthma. Cellular invasiveness is thought to be mediated by transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1 and matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). IL-13 is a key TH2 cytokine that directs many features of airway remodeling through TGF-β1 and MMPs.
Objectives: We hypothesized that, in human asthma, IL-13 stimulates increased airway fibroblast invasiveness via TGF-β1 and MMPs in asthma compared with normal controls.
Methods: Fibroblasts were cultured from endobronchial biopsies in 20 subjects with mild asthma (FEV1: 90 ± 3.6% pred) and 17 normal control subjects (FEV1: 102 ± 2.9% pred) who underwent bronchoscopy. Airway fibroblast invasiveness was investigated using Matrigel chambers. IL-13 or IL-13 with TGF-β1 neutralizing antibody or pan-MMP inhibitor (GM6001) was added to the lower chamber as a chemoattractant. Flow cytometry and immunohistochemistry were performed in a subset of subjects to evaluate IL-13 receptor levels.
Measurements and Main Results: IL-13 significantly stimulated invasion in asthmatic airway fibroblasts, compared with normal control subjects. Inhibitors of both TGF-β1 and MMPs blocked IL-13–induced invasion in asthma, but had no effect in normal control subjects. At baseline, in airway tissue, IL-13 receptors were expressed in significantly higher levels in asthma, compared with normal control subjects. In airway fibroblasts, baseline IL-13Rα2 was reduced in asthma compared with normal control subjects.
Conclusions: IL-13 potentiates airway fibroblast invasion through a mechanism involving TGF-β1 and MMPs. IL-13 receptor subunits are differentially expressed in asthma. These effects may result in IL-13–directed airway remodeling in asthma.
doi:10.1164/rccm.201009-1452OC
PMCID: PMC3136991  PMID: 21471104
airway remodeling; interleukin-13; transforming growth factor-β; matrix metalloproteinase
2.  DNA-PKcs deficiency leads to persistence of oxidatively-induced clustered DNA lesions in human tumor cells 
Free radical biology & medicine  2010;48(10):1435-1443.
DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-PK) is a key non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) nuclear serine/threonine protein kinase involved in various DNA metabolic and damage signaling pathways contributing to the maintenance of genomic stability and prevention of cancer. In order to examine the role of DNA-PK in processing of non-DSB clustered DNA damage, we have used three different models of DNA-PK deficiency i.e. chemical inactivation of its kinase activity by novel inhibitors IC86621 and NU7026, knock-down and complete absence of the protein in human breast cancer (MCF-7) and glioblastoma cell lines (MO59-J/K). Compromised DNA-PK repair pathway has lead to accumulation of clustered DNA lesions induced by γ-rays. Tumor cells lacking protein expression or with inhibited kinase activity showed a marked decrease in their ability to process oxidatively-induced non-DSB clustered DNA lesions measured using a modified version of pulsed field gel electrophoresis or single cell gel electrophoresis (Comet assay). In all cases, DNA-PK inactivation lead to a higher level of lesion persistence even after 24–72 hrs of repair. We suggest a model in which DNA-PK deficiency affects the processing of these clusters by first compromising base excision repair and second by the presence of catalytically inactive DNA-PK inhibiting the efficient processing of these lesions due to the failure of DNA-PK to disassociate from the DNA ends. The information rendered will be important not only for understating cancer etiology in the presence of a NHEJ deficiency but also lead to a better understanding of cancer treatments based on the induction of oxidative stress and inhibition of cluster repair.
doi:10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2010.02.033
PMCID: PMC2901171  PMID: 20193758
Oxidative clustered DNA lesions; DNA-PKcs; cancer; DNA damage; γ-H2AX

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