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1.  RNA-Based TWIST1 Inhibition via Dendrimer Complex to Reduce Breast Cancer Cell Metastasis 
BioMed Research International  2015;2015:382745.
Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths among women in the United States, and survival rates are lower for patients with metastases and/or triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC; ER, PR, and Her2 negative). Understanding the mechanisms of cancer metastasis is therefore crucial to identify new therapeutic targets and develop novel treatments to improve patient outcomes. A potential target is the TWIST1 transcription factor, which is often overexpressed in aggressive breast cancers and is a master regulator of cellular migration through epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Here, we demonstrate an siRNA-based TWIST1 silencing approach with delivery using a modified poly(amidoamine) (PAMAM) dendrimer. Our results demonstrate that SUM1315 TNBC cells efficiently take up PAMAM-siRNA complexes, leading to significant knockdown of TWIST1 and EMT-related target genes. Knockdown lasts up to one week after transfection and leads to a reduction in migration and invasion, as determined by wound healing and transwell assays. Furthermore, we demonstrate that PAMAM dendrimers can deliver siRNA to xenograft orthotopic tumors and siRNA remains in the tumor for at least four hours after treatment. These results suggest that further development of dendrimer-based delivery of siRNA for TWIST1 silencing may lead to a valuable adjunctive therapy for patients with TNBC.
doi:10.1155/2015/382745
PMCID: PMC4339717  PMID: 25759817
2.  TWIST1 associates with NF-κB subunit RELA via carboxyl-terminal WR domain to promote cell autonomous invasion through IL8 production 
BMC Biology  2012;10:73.
Background
Metastasis is the primary cause of death for cancer patients. TWIST1, an evolutionarily conserved basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factor, is a strong promoter of metastatic spread and its expression is elevated in many advanced human carcinomas. However, the molecular events triggered by TWIST1 to motivate dissemination of cancer cells are largely unknown.
Results
Here we show that TWIST1 induces the production of interleukin 8 (IL8), which activates matrix metalloproteinases and promotes invasion of breast epithelial and cancer cells. In this novel mechanism, TWIST1-mediated IL8 transcription is induced through the TWIST1 carboxy-terminal WR (Trp-Arg) domain instead of the classic DNA binding bHLH domain. Co-immunoprecipitation analyses revealed that the WR domain mediates the formation of a protein complex comprised of TWIST1 and the nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-κB) subunit RELA (p65/NF-κB3), which synergistically activates the transcriptional activity of NF-κB. This activation leads to increased DNA binding affinity of RELA to the IL8 promoter and thus induces the expression of the cytokine. Blockage of IL8 signaling by IL8 neutralizing antibodies or receptor inhibition reduced the invasiveness of both breast epithelial and cancer cells, indicating that TWIST1 induces autonomous cell invasion by establishing an IL8 antocrine loop.
Conclusions
Our data demonstrate that the TWIST1 WR domain plays a critical role in TWIST1-induced IL8 expression through interactions with and activation of NF-κB. The produced IL8 signals through an autocrine loop and promotes extracellular matrix degradation to enable cell invasion across the basement membrane.
doi:10.1186/1741-7007-10-73
PMCID: PMC3482588  PMID: 22891766
TWIST1; WR domain; RELA; NF-κB; IL8

Results 1-2 (2)