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1.  B-Ring-Aryl Substituted Luotonin A Analogues with a New Binding Mode to the Topoisomerase 1-DNA Complex Show Enhanced Cytotoxic Activity 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e95998.
Topoisomerase 1 inhibition is an important strategy in targeted cancer chemotherapy. The drugs currently in use acting on this enzyme belong to the family of the camptothecins, and suffer severe limitations because of their low stability, which is associated with the hydrolysis of the δ-lactone moiety in their E ring. Luotonin A is a natural camptothecin analogue that lacks this functional group and therefore shows a much-improved stability, but at the cost of a lower activity. Therefore, the development of luotonin A analogues with an increased potency is important for progress in this area. In the present paper, a small library of luotonin A analogues modified at their A and B rings was generated by cerium(IV) ammonium nitrate-catalyzed Friedländer reactions. All analogues showed an activity similar or higher than the natural luotonin A in terms of topoisomerase 1 inhibition and some compounds had an activity comparable to that of camptothecin. Furthermore, most compounds showed a better activity than luotonin A in cell cytotoxicity assays. In order to rationalize these results, the first docking studies of luotonin-topoisomerase 1-DNA ternary complexes were undertaken. Most compounds bound in a manner similar to luotonin A and to standard topoisomerase poisons such as topotecan but, interestingly, the two most promising analogues, bearing a 3,5-dimethylphenyl substituent at ring B, docked in a different orientation. This binding mode allows the hydrophobic moiety to be shielded from the aqueous environment by being buried between the deoxyribose belonging to the G(+1) guanine and Arg364 in the scissile strand and the surface of the protein and a hydrogen bond between the D-ring carbonyl and the basic amino acid. The discovery of this new binding mode and its associated higher inhibitory potency is a significant advance in the design of new topoisomerase 1 inhibitors.
PMCID: PMC4022624  PMID: 24830682
2.  Poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase 3 (PARP3), a potential repressor of telomerase activity 
Considering previous result in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC), we investigated in human cancer cells the role of PARP3 in the regulation of telomerase activity.
We selected A549 (lung adenocarcinoma cell line) and Saos-2 (osteosarcoma cell line), with high and low telomerase activity levels, respectively. The first one was transfected using a plasmid construction containing a PARP3 sequence, whereas the Saos-2 cells were submitted to shRNA transfection to get PARP3 depletion. PARP3 expression on both cell systems was evaluated by real-time quantitative PCR and PARP3 protein levels, by Western-blot. Telomerase activity was determined by TRAP assay.
In A549 cells, after PARP3 transient transfection, data obtained indicated that twenty-four hours after transfection, up to 100-fold increased gene expression levels were found in the transfected cells with pcDNA/GW-53/PARP3 in comparison to transfected cells with the empty vector. Moreover, 48 hours post-transfection, telomerase activity decreased around 33%, and around 27%, 96 hours post-transfection. Telomerase activity average ratio was 0.67 ± 0.05, and 0.73 ± 0.06, respectively, with significant differences. In Saos-2 cells, after shRNA-mediated PARP3 silencing, a 2.3-fold increase in telomerase activity was detected in relation to the control.
Our data indicated that, at least in some cancer cells, repression of PARP3 could be responsible for an increased telomerase activity, this fact contributing to telomere maintenance and, therefore, avoiding genome instability.
PMCID: PMC3937032  PMID: 24528514
PARP3; Telomerase; Lung cancer; Tumour cell lines
3.  Labeling and Biological Evaluation of 99mTc-HYNIC-Trastuzumab as a Potential Radiopharmaceutical for In Vivo Evaluation of HER2 Expression in Breast Cancer 
The amplification of HER2 gene has been described in several tumor types, mainly breast cancer with a subsequent increase in HER2 protein expression. Trastuzumab is a humanized monoclonal antibody that recognizes selectively the HER2 extracellular domain. The objective of the present work was to standardize the conjugation of Trastuzumab with Succinimidyl-hydrazinonicotinamide (HYNIC) and labeling with 99mTc to obtain 99mTc-HYNIC-Trastuzumab for use as in vivo tracer of the HER2 expression in breast cancer. The labeling procedure involved derivatization of 0.067 μmol of Trastuzumab with 0.33 μmols of HYNIC in dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO). The mixture was incubated for 30 min. A mixture of Tricine and SnCl2.2H2O was prepared by add a solution of 44.6 μmols Tricine in 0.05 mL HCl 2.0 M and a similar volume of another solution containing 44.3 μmols SnCl2.2H2O in 0.5 mL HCl 2.0 M. Then, 0.05 mL of this mixed was added to the conjugated with 296 MBq of 99mTcO-4. The final mixture was incubated at room temperature (18-25°C) for 30 min. Radiochemical purity of the labeled solution was studied by chromatography, to evaluate 99mTc-Tricine, 99mTcO2.H2O, and free 99mTcO4−. Radiochemical purity was also evaluated by HPLC. Stability studies were tested in solution at 4°C and lyophilized at 4°C. Biodistribution studies were performed in healthy CD-1 female mice at 2, 5, and 24 h (n = 3) and CD-1 female mice spontaneous breast adenocarcinoma (n = 3). Scintigraphic images of spontaneous breast adenocarcinoma in female CD-1 mice were acquired in a gamma camera at 2, 5, and 24 h post-injection. Labeling was easily performed with high yields (>90%) and radiopharmaceutical stability for 24 h post-labeling. Stability studies revealed that antibody derivative must be lyophilized for undamaged storage. Biodistribution studies and imaging revealed excellent uptake in the tumor. Based on the results it was concluded that 99mTc-HYNIC-Trastuzumab could be a promising radiopharmaceutical for in vivo diagnosis of the HER2 status in breast with impact on treatment planning.
PMCID: PMC3745630  PMID: 23961253
Breast cancer; hydrazinonicotinamide; scintigraphy; 99mTc-labeling; trastuzumab
4.  Expression of Human MDGA1 Increases Cell Motility and Cell-Cell Adhesion and Reduces Adhesion to Extracellular Matrix Proteins in MDCK Cells 
Cancer Microenvironment  2010;4(1):23-32.
Characterization of the novel human protein MDGA1 (MAM Domain containing Glycosylphosphatidylinositol Anchor-1) has been reported in our laboratory in the past few years. hMDGA1 is a glycoprotein containing 955 aminoacids (137 kDa) attached to the eukaryotic cell membrane by a GPI (Glycosylphosphatidylinositol) anchor and localized specifically into membrane microdomains known as lipid rafts. Moreover, MDGA1 protein contains structural features found in different types of cell adhesion molecules (CAMs) such as the presence of immunoglobulin domains and a MAM domain (Meprin, A5 protein, receptor protein-tyrosine phosphatase μ), suggesting a role of MDGA1 in cell migration and/or adhesion. In order to investigate this aim, stable MDCK cell lines expressing MDGA1 or the truncated proteins IgGPI (lacking the MAM domain) and MAMGPI (lacking Ig domains) were generated. Our results reveal that MDGA1 increases the ability of MDCK cells to migrate, as it contains both Ig and MAM domains which have been implicated in cell motility. In addition, cell adhesion to extracellular matrix proteins, mainly to collagen IV, is reduced by MDGA1 and the IgGPI and MAMGPI truncated proteins. Accordingly, silencing MDGA1 by siRNA revealed a significant increase in adhesion to collagen IV. Furthermore, MDGA1 expression, through the intrinsic properties of the MAM domain, increases cell-cell adhesion independently of the cell monolayer used, suggesting that MDGA1 mediates cell-cell adhesiveness in a heterophilic manner.
PMCID: PMC3047631  PMID: 21505559
Adhesion; CAM (Cell Adhesion Molecule); Glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI); Immunoglobulin family; MAM; MDCK cells; MDGA1; Migration
5.  Differential colorectal carcinogenesis: Molecular basis and clinical relevance 
Colorectal cancer (CCR) is one of the most frequent cancers in developed countries. It poses a major public health problem and there is renewed interest in understanding the basic principles of the molecular biology of colorectal cancer. It has been established that sporadic CCRs can arise from at least two different carcinogenic pathways. The traditional pathway, also called the suppressor or chromosomal instability pathway, follows the Fearon and Vogelstein model and shows mutation in classical oncogenes and tumour suppressor genes, such as K-ras, adenomatous polyposis coli, deleted in colorectal cancer, or p53. Alterations in the Wnt pathway are also very common in this type of tumour. The second main colorectal carcinogenesis pathway is the mutator pathway. This pathway is present in nearly 15% of all cases of sporadic colorectal cancer. It is characterized by the presence of mutations in the microsatellite sequences caused by a defect in the DNA mismatch repair genes, mostly in hMLH1 or hMSH2. These two pathways have clear molecular differences, which will be reviewed in this article, but they also present distinct histopathological features. More strikingly, their clinical behaviours are completely different, having the “mutator” tumours a better outcome than the “suppressor” tumours.
PMCID: PMC2999176  PMID: 21160823
Colorectal cancer; Microsatellite instability; Clinical outcome
6.  Telomere function in colorectal cancer 
Colorectal cancer is the third most common form of cancer and the second leading cause of cancer-related death in the western world. Tumour cells acquire the hallmarks of cancer during the carcinogenic selection process. Cell immortality is one of the principal features acquired during this process which involves the stabilization of telomere length. It is achieved mainly, by telomerase activation. Thus, the discovery of telomeres and telomerase allowed an understanding of the mechanisms by which cells can become immortalized. Different studies have shown that tumour cells have shorter telomeres than nontumour cells and have detected telomerase activity in the majority of tumours. Survival studies have determined that telomere maintenance and telomerase activity are associated with poor prognosis. Taking into account all the results achieved by different groups, quantification and evaluation of telomerase activity and measurement of telomere length may be useful methods for additional biologic and prognostic staging of colorectal carcinoma.
PMCID: PMC2999092  PMID: 21160767
Colorectal cancer; Telomeres; Immortality
7.  188Re radiopharmaceuticals for radiosynovectomy: evaluation and comparison of tin colloid, hydroxyapatite and tin-ferric hydroxide macroaggregates 
Radiosynovectomy is a therapy used to relieve pain and inflammation from rheumatoid arthritis and related diseases. In this study three 188Re particulate compounds were characterized according to their physico-chemical properties and their biological behavior in rabbits. The results were compared in order to establish which was the radiopharmaceutical that better fits the requirements of this kind of radiotherapy.
Three radiopharmaceutical formulations, tin colloid, hydroxyapatite particles (HA) and ferric hydroxide macroaggregates coated with tin colloid (FHMA), were physically characterized (number, volume and surface of the particles). For this purpose laser diffraction methodology was used. To evaluate cavity leakage of activity the following studies in New Zealand rabbits were performed: scintigraphic images for 48 hr after intraarticular injection of each radiopharmaceutical, biodistribution at 48 hr and urine samples collection during the first 24 hr post-radiopharmaceutical administration.
Labeling procedures for 188Re-HA and 188Re-Sn-FHMA were labour intensive while 188Re-Sn was easily prepared. Furthermore, 188Re-Sn colloid offered the greatest surface area in the 2–10 microm range and was obtained with a radiochemical purity over 95%, while percentage of bound activity for 188Re-HA and 188Re-Sn-FHMA were 55% and 92% respectively. Stability was verified for the three radiopharmaceuticals for 24 hr. Scintigraphic studies and biodistribution in rabbits after intraarticular administration of the radiopharmaceuticals showed relevant activity only in the knee, this being over 90% of the residual activity in the whole body at 48 hr in every case. Renal elimination of 188Re-Sn colloid and 188Re-Sn-FHMA was detected by activity measurements in urine samples, during the first 12 hr post-radiopharmaceutical injection.
The percentage of activity retained in the knee was 69.1% for 188Re-Sn colloid, 55.1% for 188Re-Sn-FHMA and 33.6% for 188Re-HA.
The 188Re-Sn colloid was easy to prepare, minimum facilities were required, was stable for 24 hr and showed minimal leakage from the joint after intraarticular injection into the rabbit's knee. Furthermore, 188Re-Sn colloid has greater retention in the knee when it is compared with the other radiopharmaceuticals, so it could provide the best therapeutic effect/absorbed dose ratio for the patient.
PMCID: PMC373254  PMID: 15040807
8.  Physico-chemical characterisation and biological evaluation of 188-Rhenium colloids for radiosynovectomy 
Radiosynovectomy is a type of radiotherapy used to relieve pain and inflammation from rheumatoid arthritis. In this study, 188-Rhenium (188Re) colloids were characterized by physical and biological methodologies. This was used to assess which parameters of the kit formulation would be the basis in the development of a more effective radiopharmaceutical for synovectomy. Intraarticular injection in knees of rabbits assessed cavity leakage of activity.
The physical characteristics of tin (Sn) and sulphur (S) colloids were determined to assess the formulation with suitable properties. Particles were grouped in three ranges for analyzing their distribution according to their number, volume and surface. The ideal particle size range was considered to be from 2 to 10 microns. Membrane filtration and laser diffraction characterization methodologies were used.
While membrane filtration could give misleading data, laser diffraction proportions more reliable results. The Sn colloid showed a better distribution of particle volume and surface than S colloid, in the 2 to 10 microns range. The 188Re-Sn colloid was obtained with a radiochemical purity higher than 95% after 30 minutes of autoclaving. While Sn colloid kit stability was verified for 60 days, the 188Re-Sn preparation was stable in the first 24 hrs. No significant intrabatch variability (n = 3) was detected. Biodistribution and scintigraphic studies in rabbits after intraarticular injection showed relevant activity only in knee, being 90% at 48 hours.
The 188Re-Sn colloid is easy to prepare, is stable for 24 hours and shows minimal cavity leakage after intraarticular injection into rabbit knees, suggesting this radiotherapeutical agent has suitable physical properties for evaluation for joint treatment in humans.
PMCID: PMC134460  PMID: 12379158

Results 1-8 (8)