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2.  TGF-Beta Induces Serous Borderline Ovarian Tumor Cell Invasion by Activating EMT but Triggers Apoptosis in Low-Grade Serous Ovarian Carcinoma Cells 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):e42436.
Apoptosis in ovarian surface epithelial (OSE) cells is induced by transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β). However, high-grade serous ovarian carcinomas (HGC) are refractory to the inhibitory functions of TGF-β; their invasiveness is up-regulated by TGF-β through epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) activation. Serous borderline ovarian tumors (SBOT) have been recognized as distinct entities that give rise to invasive low-grade serous carcinomas (LGC), which have a relatively poor prognosis and are unrelated to HGC. While it is not fully understood how TGF-β plays disparate roles in OSE cells and its malignant derivative HGC, its role in SBOT and LGC remains unknown. Here we demonstrate the effects of TGF-β on cultured SBOT3.1 and LGC-derived MPSC1 cells, which express TGF-β type I and type II receptors. TGF-β treatment induced the invasiveness of SBOT3.1 cells but reduced the invasiveness of MPSC1 cells. The analysis of apoptosis, which was assessed by cleaved caspase-3 and trypan blue exclusion assay, revealed TGF-β-induced apoptosis in MPSC1, but not SBOT3.1 cells. The pro-apoptotic effect of TGF-β on LGC cells was confirmed in another immortalized LGC cell line ILGC. TGF-β treatment led to the activation of Smad3 but not Smad2. The specific TβRI inhibitor SB431542 and TβRI siRNA abolished the SBOT3.1 invasion induced by TGF-β, and it prevented TGF-β-induced apoptosis in MPSC1 cells. In SBOT3.1 cells, TGF-β down-regulated E-cadherin and concurrently up-regulated N-cadherin. TGF-β up-regulated the expression of the transcriptional repressors of E-cadherin, Snail, Slug, Twist and ZEB1. In contrast, co-treatment with SB431542 and TβRI depletion by siRNA abolished the effects of TGF-β on the relative cadherin expression levels and that of Snail, Slug, Twist and ZEB1 as well. This study demonstrates dual TGF-β functions: the induction of SBOT cell invasion by EMT activation and apoptosis promotion in LGC cells.
PMCID: PMC3419689  PMID: 22905131
3.  EGF-Induced EMT and Invasiveness in Serous Borderline Ovarian Tumor Cells: A Possible Step in the Transition to Low-Grade Serous Carcinoma Cells? 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):e34071.
In high-grade ovarian cancer cultures, it has been shown that epidermal growth factor (EGF) induces cell invasion by activating an epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). However, the effect of EGF on serous borderline ovarian tumors (SBOT) and low-grade serous carcinomas (LGC) cell invasion remains unknown. Here, we show that EGF receptor (EGFR) was expressed, that EGF treatment increased cell migration and invasion in two cultured SBOT cell lines, SBOT3.1 and SV40 large T antigen-infected SBOT cells (SBOT4-LT), and in two cultured LGC cell lines, MPSC1 and SV40 LT/ST-immortalized LGC cells (ILGC). However, EGF induced down-regulation of E-cadherin and concurrent up-regulation of N-cadherin in SBOT cells but not in LGC cells. In SBOT cells, the expression of the transcriptional repressors of E-cadherin, Snail, Slug and ZEB1 were increased by EGF treatment. Treatment with EGF led to the activation of the downstream ERK1/2 and PI3K/Akt. The MEK1 inhibitor PD98059 diminished the EGF-induced cadherin switch and the up-regulation of Snail, Slug and ZEB1 and the EGF-mediated increase in SBOT cell migration and invasion. The PI3K inhibitor LY294002 had similar effects, but it could not block the EGF-induced up-regulation of N-cadherin and ZEB1. This study demonstrates that EGF induces SBOT cell migration and invasion by activating EMT, which involves the activation of the ERK1/2 and PI3K/Akt pathways and, subsequently, Snail, Slug and ZEB1 expression. Moreover, our results suggest that there are EMT-independent mechanisms that mediate the EGF-induced LGC cell migration and invasion.
PMCID: PMC3316602  PMID: 22479527
4.  HOXA4 protein levels and localization in the aorta and in human abdominal aortic aneurysms 
BMC Physiology  2011;11:18.
This report presents evidence for the specificities of select commercially available HOXA4 antibodies in regards to concerns about the specificity of the HOXA4 antibody used by Lillvis et al. (Regional expression of HOXA4 along the aorta and its potential role in human abdominal aortic aneurysms. BMC Physiol 2011, 11:9). Using an antibody characterized extensively by us, Lillvis et al. report detecting HOXA4 at a size of 33 kDa despite our previous reports that HOXA4 is detected at ~37-39 kDa and that the ~30-33 kDa band is non-specific. Using small interfering RNA targeting HOXA4, forced expression of full-length HOXA4 and HOXA4-positive and -negative ovarian cancer cell lines, we confirm our previous findings that the ~30-33 kDa band is non-specific and that HOXA4 is detected at ~37-39 kDa. Moreover, we demonstrate that HOXA4 small interfering RNA reduces the ~37-39 kDa HOXA4 band, but not the ~30-33 kDa non-specific band, in a human acute monocytic leukemia cell line used by Lillvis et al. Western blot analysis performed with two additional commercially available HOXA4 antibodies also detected HOXA4 at ~37-39 kDa. Lastly, immunofluorescent staining of a HOXA4-negative ovarian cancer cell line with the antibody used by Lillvis et al. yields strong perinuclear staining, similar to that observed by Lillvis et al., which cannot be attributed to HOXA4. Our results highlight and briefly discuss the importance of careful antibody validation and selection for use in various applications.
PMCID: PMC3254126  PMID: 22168796
5.  Induction of papillary carcinoma in human ovarian surface epithelial cells using combined genetic elements and peritoneal microenvironment 
Cell cycle (Georgetown, Tex.)  2010;9(1):140-146.
Papillary differentiation is one of the most common histological features of ovarian cancer, although the underlying mechanism that leads to such differentiation is not known. We hypothesized that human ovarian surface epithelial cells can be transformed into carcinoma with papillary differentiation by overexpressing HER2/neu in these cells. Mice were injected either subcutaneously or intraperitoneally with two immortalized human ovarian surface epithelial cell lines after enforced expression of HER-2/neu. Mice subcutaneously injected with tumor cells from either the T29Nt or T80Nt developed undifferentiated carcinomas. In contrast, mice injected intraperitoneally with T29Nt cells developed papillary carcinoma, and those injected intraperitoneally with T80Nt cells developed undifferentiated carcinoma. Our results demonstrate that ovarian surface epithelial cells can develop into papillary carcinoma in mice, and that the induction of papillary differentiation depends not only on specific genetic modifications but also on the tumor microenvironment and epithelial cell type from ovary from different patients.
PMCID: PMC2931318  PMID: 20016289
high grade serous carcinoma; HER2/neu; human ovarian surface epithelial cells; transformation
7.  The eukaryotic translation elongation factor eEF1A2 induces neoplastic properties and mediates tumorigenic effects of ZNF217 in precursor cells of human ovarian carcinomas 
Ovarian epithelial carcinomas (OEC) frequently exhibit amplifications at the 20q13 locus which is the site of several oncogenes, including the eukaryotic elongation factor EEF1A2 and the transcription factor ZNF217. We reported previously that overexpressed ZNF217 induces neoplastic characteristics in precursor cells of OEC. Unexpectedly, ZNF217, which is a transcriptional repressor, enhanced expression of eEF1A2. In this study, array comparative genomic hybridization, single nucleotide polymorphism and Affymetrix analysis of ZNF217-overexpressing cell lines confirmed consistently increased expression of eEF1A2 but not of other oncogenes, and revealed early changes in EEF1A2 gene copy numbers and increased expression at crisis during immortalization. We defined the influence of eEF1A2 overexpression on immortalized ovarian surface epithelial cells, and investigated interrelationships between effects of ZNF217 and eEF1A2 on cellular phenotypes. Lentivirally induced eEF1A2 overexpression caused delayed crisis, apoptosis resistance and increases in serum-independence, saturation densities, and anchorage independence. siRNA to eEF1A2 reversed apoptosis resistance and reduced anchorage independence in eEF1A2-overexpressing lines. Remarkably, siRNA to eEF1A2 was equally efficient in inhibiting both anchorage independence and resistance to apoptosis conferred by ZNF217 overexpression. Our data define neoplastic properties that are caused by eEF1A2 in nontumorigenic ovarian cancer precursor cells, and suggest that eEF1A2 plays a role in mediating ZNF217-induced neoplastic progression.
PMCID: PMC2606039  PMID: 18661515
Ovarian cancer; ZNF217; EEF1A2; oncogene; ovarian epithelial cells; neoplastic progression
8.  HOX cofactors expression and regulation in the human ovary 
HOX cofactors enhance HOX binding affinities and specificities and increase HOX's unique functional activities. The expression and the regulation of HOX cofactors in human ovaries are unknown.
In this study, the expression of HOX cofactors, PBX1, PBX2, and MEIS1/2, were examined by using RT-PCR, immunofluorescence in cultured immortalized human granulosa (SVOG) cells. The distribution of these HOX cofactors in human ovaries was examined by immunohistochemistry. The effects of growth differentiation factor-9 (GDF-9) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) on PBX2 in SVOG cells were investigated by western blot analysis. Binding activities of HOXA7 and PBX2 to the specific sequences in granulosa cells were determined by electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA).
Results and conclusion
In SVOG cells, PBX1, PBX2 and MEIS1/2 were expressed during cell culture. In normal human ovaries, PBX1 and MEIS1/2 were expressed in granulosa cells at essentially all stages of follicular development. These cofactors were expressed in the nuclei of the granulosa cells from the primordial to the secondary follicles, whereas beyond multilayered follicles was observed in the cytoplasm. The co-expression of PBX1 and MEIS1/2 in granulosa cells in normal human ovaries suggested that MEIS1/2 might control PBX1 sublocalization, as seen in other systems. PBX2 was not expressed or weakly expressed in the primordial follicles. From the primary follicles to the preovulatory follicles, PBX2 expression was inconsistent and the expression was found in the granulosa cell nuclei. The PBX2 expression pattern is similar to HOXA7 expression in ovarian follicular development. Furthermore, FSH down-regulated, GDF-9 did not change PBX2 expression, but co-treatment of the granulosa cells with FSH and GDF-9 up-regulated PBX2 expression. These results implicated a role for PBX2 expression in the steroidogenic activities of granulosa cells in humans. Moreover, PBX2 and HOXA7 bound together to the Pbx sequence, but not to the EMX2 promoter sequence, in SVOG cells. Our findings indicate that HOX cofactors expression in normal human ovary is temporally and spatially specific and regulated by FSH and GDF-9 in granulosa cells. HOX proteins may use different HOX cofactors, depending on DNA sequences that are specific to the granulosa cells.
PMCID: PMC2585084  PMID: 18973687
9.  Ovarian surface epithelium: family history and early events in ovarian cancer 
Ovarian cancer is the most common cause of death from gynecological cancers in the Western world. There are many genetic and environmental factors which can influence a woman's risk of getting ovarian cancer. A strong family history of breast or ovarian cancer is definitely one of the most important and best-defined epidemiological risk factors. This review evaluates current knowledge of hereditary ovarian cancer. Histologic, cytologic and molecular studies on the ovarian surface epithelium (OSE), which is the origin of ovarian epithelial carcinomas, from women with a strong family history for ovarian carcinomas or with a mutation in one of the two known cancer susceptibility genes – BRCA1 and BRCA2, provide a background to facilitate understanding of the early changes in ovarian carcinogenesis. This overview is followed by a discussion of recent hypotheses and research on two questions. First, is there a mutational hotspot of BRCA mutation for ovarian cancer? Second, why do mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2, which are ubiquitously expressed genes that participate in general cellular activities, lead preferentially to breast and ovarian cancer?
PMCID: PMC270003  PMID: 14609432
10.  Mitogen-activated protein kinases in normal and (pre)neoplastic ovarian surface epithelium 
Mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) are a group of serine/threonine kinases which are activated in response to a diverse array of extracellular stimuli and mediate signal transduction from the cell surface to the nucleus. It has been demonstrated that MAPKs are activated by external stimuli including chemotherapeutic agents, growth factors and reproductive hormones in ovarian surface epithelial cells. Thus, the MAPK signaling pathway may play an important role in the regulation of proliferation, survival and apoptosis in response to these external stimuli in ovarian cancer. In this article, an activation of the MAPK signaling cascade by several key reproductive hormones and growth factors in epithelial ovarian cancer is reviewed.
PMCID: PMC239898  PMID: 14577832
MAPK; signaling pathway; ovarian cancer
The Journal of Cell Biology  1974;63(1):109-124.
Rat leukemia cells IRC 741 in suspension culture form single cytoplasmic protrusions by which the cells preferentially adhere to one another. The induction and/or maintenance of these protrusions is sensitive to changes in intercellular contact, pH, temperature, and nutritional conditions. The protrusions are stable, rigid structures which take part in intercellular adhesion but not in adhesion to substrata. Movement on substrata occurs by means of ruffling membranes formed on the main cell body. This asymmetry in cellular form and function is associated with specialized cell surface regions. Ultrastructurally, the cell surface over the protrusions lacks microvilli, and is covered with a 3,000–4,000-Å thick cell coat consisting of 200–500-Å electron-dense particles in an amorphous matrix. In contrast, the surface over the main cell body has microvilli and a 200-Å wide cell coat which lacks particles. The extracellular particles overlying the protrusions have electron-lucent cores, are protease- and pepsin-resistant, and do not stain with colloidal iron, while the matrix in which they are embedded is sensitive to proteolytic enzymes and contains acidic moieties. The negative surface charge density over the protrusions is higher than that over the main cell body, as shown by the orientation of the cells in an electric field. The unexpected observation that a region of higher charge density is one of increased intercellular adhesiveness might be explained, in part, by the rigidity of the protrusions and by the very small radius of curvature of the overlying extracellular particles. The protrusions permit the observation of discrete regions, differing in charge density, on the surface of living leukemia cells.
PMCID: PMC2109326  PMID: 4278552

Results 1-12 (12)