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1.  Keratin 19 as a key molecule in progression of human hepatocellular carcinomas through invasion and angiogenesis 
BMC Cancer  2016;16:903.
Keratin (K) 19-positive hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is well known to have a higher malignant potential than K19-negative HCC: However, the molecular mechanisms involved in K19-mediated progression of HCC remain unclear. We attempted to clarify whether K19 directly affects cell survival and invasiveness in association with cellular senescence or epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in K19-positive HCC.
K19 expression was analysed in 136 HCC surgical specimens. The relationship of K19 with clinicopathological factors and survival was analysed. Further, the effect of K19 on cell proliferation, invasion, and angiogenesis was examined by silencing K19 in the human HCC cell lines, HepG2, HuH-7, and PLC/PRF/5. Finally, we investigated HCC invasion, proliferation, and angiogenesis using K19-positive HCC specimens.
Analysis of HCC surgical specimens revealed that K19-positive HCC exhibited higher invasiveness, metastatic potential, and poorer prognosis. In vitro experiments using the human HCC cell lines revealed that K19 silencing suppressed cell growth by inducting apoptosis or upregulating p16 and p27, resulting in cellular senescence. In addition, transfection with K19 siRNA upregulated E-cadherin gene expression, significantly inhibited the invasive capacity of the cells, downregulated angiogenesis-related molecules such as vasohibin-1 (VASH1) and fibroblast growth factor 1 (FGFR1), and upregulated vasohibin-2 (VASH2). K19-positive HCC specimens exhibited a high MIB-1 labelling index, decreased E-cadherin expression, and high microvessel density around cancer foci.
K19 directly promotes cancer cell survival, invasion, and angiogenesis, resulting in HCC progression and poor clinical outcome. K19 may therefore be a novel drug target for the treatment of K19-positive HCC.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12885-016-2949-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC5116168  PMID: 27863477
Keratin 19; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Senescence; Apoptosis; Angiogenesis
2.  MicroRNA-331-3p Suppresses Cervical Cancer Cell Proliferation and E6/E7 Expression by Targeting NRP2 
Aberrant expression of microRNAs (miRNAs) is involved in the development and progression of various types of cancers. In this study, we investigated the role of miR-331-3p in cell proliferation and the expression of keratinocyte differentiation markers of uterine cervical cancer cells. Moreover, we evaluated whether neuropilin 2 (NRP2) are putative target molecules that regulate the human papillomavirus (HPV) related oncoproteins E6 and E7. Cell proliferation in the human cervical cancer cell lines SKG-II, HCS-2, and HeLa was assessed using the 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-5-(3-carboxymethoxyphenyl)-2-(4-sulfophenyl)-2H-tetrazolium, inner salt (MTS) assay. Cellular apoptosis was measured using the TdT-mediated dUTP nick end labeling (TUNEL) and Annexin V assays. Quantitative RT-PCR was used to measure the messenger RNA (mRNA) expression of the NRP2, E6, E7, p63, and involucrin (IVL) genes. A functional assay for cell growth was performed using cell cycle analyses. Overexpression of miR-331-3p inhibited cell proliferation, and induced G2/M phase arrest and apoptosis in SKG-II, HCS-2 and HeLa cells. The luciferase reporter assay of the NRP2 3′-untranslated region revealed the direct regulation of NRP2 by miR-331-3p. Gene expression analyses using quantitative RT-PCR in SKG-II, HCS-2, and HeLa cells overexpressing miR-331-3p or suppressing NRP2 revealed down-regulation of E6, E7, and p63 mRNA and up-regulation of IVL mRNA. Moreover, miR-331-3p overexpression was suppressed NRP2 expression in protein level. We showed that miR-331-3p and NRP2 were key effectors of cell proliferation by regulating the cell cycle, apoptosis. NRP-2 also regulates the expression of E6/E7 and keratinocyte differentiation markers. Our findings suggest that miR-331-3p has an important role in regulating cervical cancer cell proliferation, and that miR-331-3p may contribute to keratinocyte differentiation through NRP2 suppression. miR-331-3p and NRP2 may contribute to anti-cancer effects.
PMCID: PMC5000747  PMID: 27548144
cervical cancer; human papillomavirus; miR-331-3p; neuropilin 2; E6/E7 mRNA; keratinocyte differentiation
3.  microRNA-145 promotes differentiation in human urothelial carcinoma through down-regulation of syndecan-1 
BMC Cancer  2015;15:818.
A new molecular marker of carcinoma in the urinary bladder is needed as a diagnostic tool or as a therapeutic target. Potential markers include microRNAs (miRNAs), which are short, low molecular weight RNAs 19–24 nt long that regulate genes associated with cell proliferation, differentiation, and development in various cancers. In this study, we investigated the molecular mechanisms by which miR-145 promotes survival of urothelial carcinoma cells and differentiation into multiple lineages. We found miR-145 to regulate expression of syndecan-1, a heparin sulfate proteoglycan.
Cell proliferation in the human urothelial carcinoma cell lines T24 and KU7 was assessed by MTS assay. Cellular senescence and apoptosis were measured by senescence-associated β-galactosidase (SA-β-gal) and TUNEL assay, respectively. Quantitative RT-PCR was used to measure mRNA expression of various genes, including syndecan-1, stem cell factors, and markers of differentiation into squamous, glandular, or neuroendocrine cells.
Overexpression of miR-145 induced cell senescence, and thus significantly inhibited cell proliferation in T24 and KU7 cells. Syndecan-1 expression diminished, whereas stem cell markers such as SOX2, NANOG, OCT4, and E2F3 increased. miR-145 also up-regulated markers of differentiation into squamous (p63, TP63, and CK5), glandular (MUC-1, MUC-2, and MUC-5 AC), and neuroendocrine cells (NSE and UCHL-1). Finally, expression of miR-145 was down-regulated in high-grade urothelial carcinomas, but not in low-grade tumors.
Results indicate that miR-145 suppresses syndecan-1 and, by this mechanism, up-regulates stem cell factors and induces cell senescence and differentiation. We propose that miR-145 may confer stem cell-like properties on urothelial carcinoma cells and thus facilitate differentiation into multiple cell types.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12885-015-1846-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4625524  PMID: 26514209
Urinary bladder cancer; MicroRNA; MiR-145; Syndecan-1
4.  Depth-selective microscopic observation of a photomobile liquid crystal polymer under UV illumination† 
By using the depth selective imaging method, we studied the UV induced change in a photomobile liquid crystalline polymer film. With 1 μm depth resolution, each slice inside the film was selectively observed. A network-like structure mixed with the ordered and disordered regions of molecules in the middle of the film, and a rubbed polymer layer at the bottom of the film were observed. In each slice of the film, the phase change induced by UV light was observed strongly dependent on the director direction, which indicates the ordering change of the liquid crystalline molecules in the director direction. It took several tens of seconds for the ordering change caused by the collaborative interaction between the molecules. Furthermore, it was suggested that the UV induced change travelled from the bottom layer to the middle layer on the micron order.
PMCID: PMC4291456  PMID: 25384880
5.  Usefulness of Cordotomy in Patients With Cancer Who Experience Bilateral Pain: Implications of Increased Pain and New Pain 
Neurosurgery  2015;76(3):249-257.
Although mirror pain occurs after cordotomy in patients experiencing unilateral pain via a referred pain mechanism, no studies have examined whether this pain mechanism operates in patients who have bilateral pain.
To assess the usefulness of cordotomy for bilateral pain from the viewpoint of increased pain or new pain caused by a referred pain mechanism.
Twenty-six patients who underwent percutaneous cordotomy through C1-C2 for severe bilateral cancer pain in the lumbosacral nerve region were enrolled. Pain was dominant on 1 side in 23 patients, and pain was equally severe on both sides in 3 patients. Unilateral cordotomy was performed for the dominant side of pain, and bilateral cordotomy was performed for 13 patients in whom pain on the nondominant side developed or remained severe after cordotomy.
After unilateral cordotomy, 19 patients (73.1%) exhibited increased pain, which for 14 patients was as severe as the original dominant pain. After bilateral cordotomy, 7 patients (53.4%) exhibited new pain, which was located cephalad to the region rendered analgesic by cordotomy and was better controlled than the original pain. No pathological organic causes of new pain were found in any patient, and evidence of a referred pain mechanism was found in 3 patients after bilateral cordotomy.
These results show that a referred pain mechanism causes increased or new pain after cordotomy in patients with bilateral pain. Nevertheless, cordotomy can still be indicated for patients with bilateral pain because postoperative pain is better controlled than the original pain.
PMCID: PMC4337588  PMID: 25603110
Bilateral cordotomy; Bilateral pain; Increased pain; New pain; Referred pain; Unilateral cordotomy
6.  Development of an Agrobacterium-Mediated Stable Transformation Method for the Sensitive Plant Mimosa pudica 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e88611.
The sensitive plant Mimosa pudica has long attracted the interest of researchers due to its spectacular leaf movements in response to touch or other external stimuli. Although various aspects of this seismonastic movement have been elucidated by histological, physiological, biochemical, and behavioral approaches, the lack of reverse genetic tools has hampered the investigation of molecular mechanisms involved in these processes. To overcome this obstacle, we developed an efficient genetic transformation method for M. pudica mediated by Agrobacterium tumefaciens (Agrobacterium). We found that the cotyledonary node explant is suitable for Agrobacterium-mediated transformation because of its high frequency of shoot formation, which was most efficiently induced on medium containing 0.5 µg/ml of a synthetic cytokinin, 6-benzylaminopurine (BAP). Transformation efficiency of cotyledonary node cells was improved from almost 0 to 30.8 positive signals arising from the intron-sGFP reporter gene by using Agrobacterium carrying a super-binary vector pSB111 and stabilizing the pH of the co-cultivation medium with 2-(N-morpholino)ethanesulfonic acid (MES) buffer. Furthermore, treatment of the explants with the detergent Silwet L-77 prior to co-cultivation led to a two-fold increase in the number of transformed shoot buds. Rooting of the regenerated shoots was efficiently induced by cultivation on irrigated vermiculite. The entire procedure for generating transgenic plants achieved a transformation frequency of 18.8%, which is comparable to frequencies obtained for other recalcitrant legumes, such as soybean (Glycine max) and pea (Pisum sativum). The transgene was stably integrated into the host genome and was inherited across generations, without affecting the seismonastic or nyctinastic movements of the plants. This transformation method thus provides an effective genetic tool for studying genes involved in M. pudica movements.
PMCID: PMC3922943  PMID: 24533121
7.  ROS generation via NOX4 and its utility in the cytological diagnosis of urothelial carcinoma of the urinary bladder 
BMC Urology  2011;11:22.
Reactive oxygen species (ROS) production via NADPH oxidase (NOX) contributes to various types of cancer progression. In the present research, we examined the pathobiological role of NADPH oxidase (NOX)4-mediated generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in urothelial carcinoma (UC) of the urinary bladder, and demonstrated the utility of ROS labeling in urine cytology.
NOX4 gene was silenced in vivo and in vitro by NOX4 siRNA transfection with or without atlocollagen. Cell cycle and measurement of ROS were analyzed by flowcytometry. Orthotopic implantation animal model was used in vivo experiment. NOX4 expression in urothelial carcinoma cells was observed by immunohistochemical analysis using surgical specimens of human bladder cancer. Urine cytology was performed after treatment with ROS detection reagents in addition to Papanicolaou staining.
NOX4 was overexpressed in several UC cell lines and the NOX inhibitor, diphenylene iodonium reduced intracellular ROS and induced p16-dependent cell cycle arrest at the G1 phase. Moreover, silencing of NOX4 by siRNA significantly reduced cancer cell growth in vivo as assessed in an orthotopic mouse model. Immunohistochemistry demonstrated high expression of NOX4 in low grade/non-invasive and high grade/invasive UC including precancerous lesions such as dysplasia but not in normal urothelium. Then, we assessed the usefulness of cytological analysis of ROS producing cells in urine (ROS-C). Urine samples obtained from UC cases and normal controls were treated with fluorescent reagents labeling the hydrogen peroxide/superoxide anion and cytological atypia of ROS positive cells were analyzed. As a result, the sensitivity for detection of low grade, non-invasive UC was greatly increased (35% in conventional cytology (C-C) vs. 75% in ROS-C), and the specificity was 95%. Through ROS-C, we observed robust improvement in the accuracy of follow-up urine cytology for cases with previously diagnosed UC, especially in those with low grade/non-invasive cancer recurrence (0% in C-C vs. 64% in ROS-C).
This is the first report demonstrating that ROS generation through NOX4 contributes to an early step of urothelial carcinogenesis and cancer cell survival. In addition, cytology using ROS labeling could be a useful diagnostic tool in human bladder cancer.
PMCID: PMC3215170  PMID: 22032647
8.  Crystallization and preliminary X-ray diffraction studies of maleylacetate reductase from Rhizobium sp. strain MTP-10005 
Maleylacetate reductase from Rhizobium sp. strain MTP-10005 has been crystallized using the sitting-drop vapour-diffusion method and microseeding. The crystals contained one dimeric molecule per asymmetric unit and diffracted to 1.79 Å resolution.
Maleylacetate reductase (EC, which catalyzes the reduction of maleylacetate to 3-oxoadipate, plays an important role in the aerobic microbial catabolism of resorcinol. The enzyme has been crystallized at 293 K by the sitting-drop vapour-diffusion method supplemented with a microseeding technique, using ammonium sulfate as the precipitating agent. The crystal belonged to the monoclinic space group C2, with unit-cell parameters a = 56.85, b = 121.13, c = 94.09 Å, β = 101.48°, and contained one dimeric molecule in the asymmetric unit. It diffracted to 1.79 Å resolution.
PMCID: PMC2494958  PMID: 18678945
maleylacetate reductase; Rhizobium; resorcinol catabolic pathway
9.  Crystallization and preliminary X-ray diffraction studies of tetrameric malate dehydrogenase from the novel Antarctic psychrophile Flavobacterium frigidimaris KUC-1 
A psychrophilic malate dehydrogenase from the novel Antarctic bacterium F. frigidimaris KUC-1 was crystallized using the hanging-drop vapour-diffusion method. The crystals contained one tetrameric molecule per asymmetric unit. The best crystal diffracted to 1.8 Å resolution.
Flavobacterium frigidimaris KUC-1 is a novel psychrotolerant bacterium isolated from Antarctic seawater. Malate dehydrogenase (MDH) is an essential metabolic enzyme in the citric acid cycle and has been cloned, overexpressed and purified from F. frigidimaris KUC-1. In contrast to the already known dimeric form of MDH from the psychrophile Aquaspirillium arcticum, F. frigidimaris MDH exists as a tetramer. It was crystallized at 288 K by the hanging-drop vapour-diffusion method using ammonium sulfate as the precipitating agent. The crystal diffracted to a maximum resolution of 1.80 Å. It contains one tetrameric molecule in the asymmetric unit.
PMCID: PMC2339744  PMID: 18007057
malate dehydrogenase; tetramer; psychrophile; Antarctic

Results 1-9 (9)