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1.  Dexamethasone Induces FcγRIIb Expression in RBL-2H3 Cells 
Mast cells are involved in allergic responses, protection against pathogens and autoimmune diseases. Dexamethasone (Dex) and other glucocorticoids suppress FcεRI-mediated release of inflammatory mediators from mast cells. The inhibition mechanisms were mainly investigated on the downstream signaling of Fc receptor activations. Here, we addressed the effects of Dex on Fc receptor expressions in rat mast cell line RBL-2H3. We measured mRNA levels of Fc receptors by real-time PCR. As expected, Dex decreased the mRNA levels of activating Fc receptor for IgE (FcεR) I and increased the mRNA levels of the inhibitory Fc receptor for IgG FcγRIIb. Interestingly, Dex stimulated transcriptions of other activating receptors such as Fc receptors for IgG (FcγR) I and FcγRIII. To investigate the mechanisms underlying transcriptional regulation, we employed a transcription inhibitor actinomycin D and a translation inhibitor cycloheximide. The inhibition of protein synthesis without Dex treatment enhanced FcγRI and FcγRIII mRNA levels potently, while FcεRI and FcγRIIb were minimally affected. Next, we examined expressions of the Fc receptors on cell surfaces by the flow cytometric method. Only FcγRIIb protein expression was significantly enhanced by Dex treatment, while FcγRI, FcγRIII and FcεRI expression levels were marginally changed. Our data showed, for the first time, that Dex regulates Fc receptor expressions resulting in augmentation of the inhibitory receptor FcγRIIb.
PMCID: PMC3526743  PMID: 23269901
Degranulation; Fc receptor; Glucocorticoid; Mast cells; Transcription
2.  Docosahexaenoic Acid Induces Cell Death in Human Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Cells by Repressing mTOR via AMPK Activation and PI3K/Akt Inhibition 
BioMed Research International  2015;2015:239764.
The anticancer properties and mechanism of action of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (ω3-PUFAs) have been demonstrated in several cancers; however, the mechanism in lung cancer remains unclear. Here, we show that docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a ω3-PUFA, induced apoptosis and autophagy in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cells. DHA-induced cell death was accompanied by AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) activation and inactivated phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling. Knocking down AMPK and overexpressing Akt increased mTOR activity and attenuated DHA-induced cell death, suggesting that DHA induces cell death via AMPK- and Akt-regulated mTOR inactivation. This was confirmed in Fat-1 transgenic mice, which produce ω3-PUFAs. Lewis lung cancer (LLC) tumor cells implanted into Fat-1 mice showed slower growth, lower phospho-Akt levels, and higher levels of apoptosis and autophagy than cells implanted into wild-type mice. Taken together, these data suggest that DHA-induced apoptosis and autophagy in NSCLC cells are associated with AMPK activation and PI3K/Akt inhibition, which in turn lead to suppression of mTOR; thus ω3-PUFAs may be utilized as potential therapeutic agents for NSCLC treatment.
PMCID: PMC4538321  PMID: 26339598
3.  Docosahexaenoic acid-induced apoptosis is mediated by activation of mitogen-activated protein kinases in human cancer cells 
BMC Cancer  2014;14:481.
The role of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (ω3-PUFAs) in cancer prevention has been demonstrated; however, the exact molecular mechanisms underlying the anticancer activity of ω3-PUFAs are not fully understood. Here, we investigated the relationship between the anticancer action of a specific ω3-PUFA docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and the conventional mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) including extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), c-JUN N-terminal kinase (JNK) and p38 whose dysregulation has been implicated in human cancers.
MTT assays were carried out to determine cell viability of cancer cell lines (PA-1, H1299, D54MG and SiHa) from different origins. Apoptosis was confirmed by TUNEL staining, DNA fragmentation analysis and caspase activity assays. Activities of the conventional MAPKs were monitored by their phosphorylation levels using immunoblotting and immunocytochemistry analysis. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) production was measured by flow cytometry and microscopy using fluorescent probes for general ROS and mitochondrial superoxide.
DHA treatment decreased cell viability and induced apoptotic cell death in all four studied cell lines. DHA-induced apoptosis was coupled to the activation of the conventional MAPKs, and knockdown of ERK/JNK/p38 by small interfering RNAs reduced the apoptosis induced by DHA, indicating that the pro-apoptotic effect of DHA is mediated by MAPKs activation. Further study revealed that the DHA-induced MAPKs activation and apoptosis was associated with mitochondrial ROS overproduction and malfunction, and that ROS inhibition remarkably reversed these effects of DHA.
Together, these results indicate that DHA-induced MAPKs activation is dependent on its capacity to provoke mitochondrial ROS generation, and accounts for its cytotoxic effect in human cancer cells.
PMCID: PMC4094407  PMID: 24993937
Docosahexaenoic acid; Reactive oxygen species; Mitogen-activated protein kinases; Apoptosis; Cancer
4.  The Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid DHA Induces Simultaneous Apoptosis and Autophagy via Mitochondrial ROS-Mediated Akt-mTOR Signaling in Prostate Cancer Cells Expressing Mutant p53 
BioMed Research International  2013;2013:568671.
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) induces autophagy-associated apoptotic cell death in wild-type p53 cancer cells via regulation of p53. The present study investigated the effects of DHA on PC3 and DU145 prostate cancer cell lines harboring mutant p53. Results show that, in addition to apoptosis, DHA increased the expression levels of lipidated form LC3B and potently stimulated the autophagic flux, suggesting that DHA induces both autophagy and apoptosis in cancer cells expressing mutant p53. DHA led to the generation of mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS), as shown by the mitochondrial ROS-specific probe mitoSOX. Similarly, pretreatment with the antioxidant N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) markedly inhibited both the autophagy and the apoptosis triggered by DHA, indicating that mitochondrial ROS mediate the cytotoxicity of DHA in mutant p53 cells. Further, DHA reduced the levels of phospho-Akt and phospho-mTOR in a concentration-dependent manner, while NAC almost completely blocked that effect. Collectively, these findings present a novel mechanism of ROS-regulated apoptosis and autophagy that involves Akt-mTOR signaling in prostate cancer cells with mutant p53 exposed to DHA.
PMCID: PMC3691929  PMID: 23841076
5.  Docosahexaenoic acid induces autophagy through p53/AMPK/mTOR signaling and promotes apoptosis in human cancer cells harboring wild-type p53 
Autophagy  2011;7(11):1348-1358.
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) has been reported to induce tumor cell death by apoptosis. However, little is known about the effects of DHA on autophagy, another complex well-programmed process characterized by the sequestration of cytoplasmic material within autophagosomes. Here we show that DHA increased both the level of microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3 and the number of autophagic vacuoles without impairing autophagic vesicle turnover, indicating that DHA induces not only apoptosis but also autophagy. We also observed that DHA-induced autophagy was accompanied by p53 loss. Inhibition of p53 increased DHA-induced autophagy and prevention of p53 degradation significantly led to the attenuation of DHA-induced autophagy, suggesting that DHA-induced autophagy is mediated by p53. Further experiments showed that the mechanism of DHA-induced autophagy associated with p53 attenuation involved an increase in the active form of AMP-activated protein kinase and a decrease in the activity of mammalian target of rapamycin. In addition, compelling evidence for the interplay between autophagy and apoptosis induced by DHA is supported by the findings that autophagy inhibition suppressed apoptosis and further autophagy induction enhanced apoptosis in response to DHA treatment. Overall, our results demonstrate that autophagy contributes to the cytotoxicity of DHA in cancer cells harboring wild-type p53.
PMCID: PMC3242799  PMID: 21811093
DHA; autophagy; apoptosis; p53; cancer; mTOR; AMPK; p27
6.  DJ-1 Null Dopaminergic Neuronal Cells Exhibit Defects in Mitochondrial Function and Structure: Involvement of Mitochondrial Complex I Assembly 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):e32629.
DJ-1 is a Parkinson's disease-associated gene whose protein product has a protective role in cellular homeostasis by removing cytosolic reactive oxygen species and maintaining mitochondrial function. However, it is not clear how DJ-1 regulates mitochondrial function and why mitochondrial dysfunction is induced by DJ-1 deficiency. In a previous study we showed that DJ-1 null dopaminergic neuronal cells exhibit defective mitochondrial respiratory chain complex I activity. In the present article we investigated the role of DJ-1 in complex I formation by using blue native-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and 2-dimensional gel analysis to assess native complex status. On the basis of these experiments, we concluded that DJ-1 null cells have a defect in the assembly of complex I. Concomitant with abnormal complex I formation, DJ-1 null cells show defective supercomplex formation. It is known that aberrant formation of the supercomplex impairs the flow of electrons through the channels between respiratory chain complexes, resulting in mitochondrial dysfunction. We took two approaches to study these mitochondrial defects. The first approach assessed the structural defect by using both confocal microscopy with MitoTracker staining and electron microscopy. The second approach assessed the functional defect by measuring ATP production, O2 consumption, and mitochondrial membrane potential. Finally, we showed that the assembly defect as well as the structural and functional abnormalities in DJ-1 null cells could be reversed by adenovirus-mediated overexpression of DJ-1, demonstrating the specificity of DJ-1 on these mitochondrial properties. These mitochondrial defects induced by DJ-1mutation may be a pathological mechanism for the degeneration of dopaminergic neurons in Parkinson's disease.
PMCID: PMC3293835  PMID: 22403686
7.  Src-like adaptor protein (SLAP) is upregulated in antigen-stimulated mast cells and acts as a negative regulator 
Molecular immunology  2009;46(10):2133-2139.
Our studies in the RBL-2H3 mast cell line suggest that responses to antigen (Ag) are negatively modulated through upregulation of Src-like adaptor protein (SLAP). Ag stimulation of RBL-2H3 cells leads to increased levels of SLAP (but not SLAP2) transcripts and protein over a period of several hours. The effects of pharmacologic inhibitors indicate that the upregulation of SLAP is dependent on multiple signaling pathways. Knockdown of SLAP with anti-SLAP siRNA is associated with enhanced phosphorylation of Syk, the linker for activation of T cells (LAT), phospholipase Cγ, MAP kinases, and various transcription factors. Production of IL-3 and MCP-1, but not degranulation, is also enhanced. The upregulation of SLAP may thus serve to limit the duration of cytokine production in Ag-stimulated cells.
PMCID: PMC2684944  PMID: 19371953
Mast cells; Antigen; Src-like Adaptor Protein; Inhibitory regulator; Signaling; Cytokines
8.  Mechanism of upregulation of the inhibitory regulator, src-like adaptor protein (SLAP), by glucocorticoids in mast cells 
Molecular immunology  2008;46(3):492-497.
Glucocorticoids suppress mast cell activation by inhibiting signaling events as well as transcription of cytokine genes. The inhibition of signaling events has been attributed to upregulation of inhibitory regulators such as Src-like adaptor protein1 (SLAP), downstream of tyrosine kinase1 (Dok1), and dual specificity protein phospahatase1 (DUSP1). As reported here, the upregulation of SLAP and Dok1, but not DUSP1, in the RBL-2H3 mast cell line was inhibited by actinomycin D and was thus dependent on gene transcription. Examination of the gene sequences revealed a glucocorticoid response element (GRE) and a half GRE as potential regulators of the SLAP and Dok1, respectively. As indicated by luciferase reporter assays, SLAP GRE, but not the Dok1 half GRE, robustly activated gene transcription after treatment of cells with glucocorticoids. Binding of the glucocorticoid receptor to the SLAP GRE was verified by chromatin immunoprecipitation assay. These findings further support the notion that the immunosuppressive actions of glucocorticoids are exerted in part through upregulation of inhibitory regulators by various mechanisms. In the case of SLAP specifically, this requires activation of gene transcription through the interaction of the glucocorticoid receptor with GRE.
PMCID: PMC2656921  PMID: 19036452
Mast cells; SLAP; Gene transcription; Glucocorticoids; Glucocorticoid response element
9.  Modulatory role of phospholipase D in the activation of signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT)-3 by thyroid oncogenic kinase RET/PTC 
BMC Cancer  2008;8:144.
RET/PTC (rearranged in transformation/papillary thyroid carcinomas) gene rearrangements are the most frequent genetic alterations identified in papillary thyroid carcinoma. Although it has been established that RET/PTC kinase plays a crucial role in intracellular signaling pathways that regulate cellular transformation, growth, and proliferation in thyroid epithelial cells, the upstream signaling that leads to the activation of RET/PTC is largely unknown. Based on the observation of high levels of PLD expression in human papillary thyroid cancer tissues, we investigated whether PLD plays a role in the regulating the RET/PTC-induced STAT3 activation.
Cancer tissue samples were obtained from papillary thyroid cancer patients (n = 6). The expression level of PLD was examined using immunohistochemistry and western blotting. Direct interaction between RET/PTC and PLD was analyzed by co-immunoprecipitation assay. PLD activity was assessed by measuring the formation of [3H]phosphatidylbutanol, the product of PLD-mediated transphosphatidylation, in the presence of n-butanol. The transcriptional activity of STAT3 was assessed by m67 luciferase reporter assay.
In human papillary thyroid cancer, the expression levels of PLD2 protein were higher than those in the corresponding paired normal tissues. PLD and RET/PTC could be co-immunoprecipitated from cells where each protein was over-expressed. In addition, the activation of PLD by pervanadate triggered phosphorylation of tyrosine 705 residue on STAT-3, and its phosphorylation was dramatically higher in TPC-1 cells (from papillary carcinoma) that have an endogenous RET/PTC1 than in ARO cells (from anaplastic carcinoma) without alteration of total STAT-3 expression. Moreover, the RET/PTC-mediated transcriptional activation of STAT-3 was synergistically increased by over-expression of PLD, whereas the PLD activity as a lipid hydrolyzing enzyme was not affected by RET/PTC.
These findings led us to suggest that the PLD synergistically functions to activate the STAT3 signaling by interacting directly with the thyroid oncogenic kinase RET/PTC.
PMCID: PMC2412888  PMID: 18498667

Results 1-9 (9)