Speleothem laminae have been postulated to form annually, and this lamina-chronology is widely applied to high-resolution modern and past climate reconstructions. However, this argument has not been directly supported by high resolution dating methods. Here we present contemporary single-lamina 230Th dating techniques with 2σ precision as good as ±0.5 yr on a laminated stalagmite with density couplets from Xianren Cave, China, that covers the last 300 years. We find that the layers do not always deposit annually. Annual bands can be under- or over-counted by several years during different multi-decadal intervals. The irregular formation of missing and false bands in this example indicates that the assumption of annual speleothem laminae in a climate reconstruction should be approached carefully without a robust absolute-dated chronology.
The polycomb group transcriptional modifier Bmi1 is often upregulated in numerous cancers and is intensely involved in normal and cancer stem cells, and importantly is as a prognostic indicator for some cancers, but its role in breast cancer remains unclear. Here, we found Bmi1 overexpression in 5-Fu (5-fluorouracil)-resistant MCF-7 cells (MCF-7/5-Fu) derived from MCF-7 breast cancer cells, MDA-MB-231 and MDA-MB-453 breast cancer cells compared to MCF-7 cells, was related with 5-Fu resistance and enrichment of CD44+/CD24- stem cell subpopulation. Bmi1 knockdown enhanced the sensitivity of breast cancer cells to 5-Fu and 5-Fu induced apoptosis via mitochondrial apoptotic pathway, and decreased the fraction of CD44+/CD24- subpopulation. In addition, our analysis showed inverse expression pattern between Bmi1 and miR-200c and miR-203 in selected breast cancer cell lines, and miR-200c and miR-203 directly repressed Bmi1 expression in protein level confirmed by luciferase reporter assay. MiR-200c and miR-203 overexpression in breast cancer cells downregulated Bmi1 expression accompanied with reversion of resistance to 5-Fu mediated by Bmi1. Inversely, Bmi1 overexpression inhibited miR-200c expression in MCF-7 cells, but not miR-203, however ectopic wild-type p53 expression reversed Bmi1 mediated miR-200c downregulation, suggesting the repressive effect of Bmi1 on miR-200c maybe depend on p53. Thus, our study suggests a cross-talk between Bmi1 and miR-200c mediated by p53, and Bmi1 interference would improve chemotherapy efficiency in breast cancer via susceptive apoptosis induction and cancer stem cell enrichment inhibition.
WNT signaling plays a key role in the self-renewal of tumor initiation cells (TICs). In this study, we used pyrvinium pamoate (PP), an FDA-approved antihelmintic drug that inhibits WNT signaling, to test whether pharmacologic inhibition of WNT signaling can specifically target TICs of aggressive breast cancer cells. SUM-149, an inflammatory breast cancer cell line, and SUM-159, a metaplastic basal-type breast cancer cell line, were used in these studies. We found that PP inhibited primary and secondary mammosphere formation of cancer cells at nanomolar concentrations, at least 10 times less than the dose needed to have a toxic effect on cancer cells. A comparable mammosphere formation IC50 dose to that observed in cancer cell lines was obtained using malignant pleural effusion samples from patients with IBC. A decrease in activity of the TIC surrogate aldehyde dehydrogenase was observed in PP-treated cells, and inhibition of WNT signaling by PP was associated with down-regulation of a panel of markers associated with epithelial-mesenchymal transition. In vivo, intratumoral injection was associated with tumor necrosis, and intraperitoneal injection into mice with tumor xenografts caused significant tumor growth delay and a trend toward decreased lung metastasis. In in vitro mammosphere-based and monolayer-based clonogenic assays, we found that PP radiosensitized cells in monolayer culture but not mammosphere culture. These findings suggest WNT signaling inhibition may be a feasible strategy for targeting aggressive breast cancer. Investigation and modification of the bioavailability and toxicity profile of systemic PP are warranted.
Resistance to trastuzumab, a rationally designed HER-2-targeting antibody, remains a major hurdle in the management of HER-2-positive breast cancer. Preclinical studies suggest the mechanisms of trastuzumab resistance are numerous. Unfortunately, the majority of these studies are based around HER-2-positive (HER-2+) luminal cell lines. The role of epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT), a genetic program that confers a basal phenotype, may represent a novel mechanism of escape for HER-2+ luminal cells from trastuzumab treatment. Here we investigated this possibility using a model of clonal selection in HER-2+ luminal breast cancer cells. Following a random isolation and expansion of “colony clusters” from SKBR-3 cell lines, several colony clusters underwent a spontaneous EMT in-vitro. In addition to expression of conventional EMT markers, all mesenchymal colony clusters displayed a predominant CD44+/CD24- phenotype with decreased HER-2 expression and elevated levels of a β1-integrin isoform with a high degree of N-glycosylation. Treatment with a β1-integrin function-blocking antibody, AIIB2, preferentially decreased the N-glycosylated form of β1-integrin, impaired mammosphere formation and restored epithelial phenotype in mesenchymal colony clusters. Using this model we provide the first clear evidence that resistance to trastuzumab (and lapatinib) can occur spontaneously as HER-2+ cells shift from a luminal to a basal/mesenchymal phenotype following EMT. While the major determinant of trastuzumab resistance in mesenchymal colony clusters is likely the down regulation of the HER-2 protein, our evidence suggests that multiple factors may contribute, including expression of N-glycosylated β1-integrin.
Cross-talk between the estrogen and the EGFR/HER signalling pathways has been suggested as a potential cause of resistance to endocrine therapy in breast cancer. Here, we determined HER1-4 receptor and neuregulin-1 (NRG1) ligand mRNA expression levels in breast cancers and corresponding normal breast tissue from patients previously characterized for plasma and tissue estrogen levels. In tumours from postmenopausal women harbouring normal HER2 gene copy numbers, we found HER2 and HER4, but HER3 levels in particular, to be elevated (2.48, 1.30 and 22.27 –fold respectively; P<0.01 for each) compared to normal tissue. Interestingly, HER3 as well as HER4 were higher among ER+ as compared to ER- tumours (P=0.004 and P=0.024, respectively). HER2 and HER3 expression levels correlated positively with ER mRNA (ESR1) expression levels (r=0.525, P=0.044; r=0.707, P=0.003, respectively). In contrast, EGFR/HER1 was downregulated in tumour compared to normal tissue (0.13-fold, P<0.001). In addition, EGFR/HER1 correlated negatively to intra-tumour (r=-0.633, P=0.001) as well as normal tissue (r=-0.556, P=0.006) and plasma estradiol levels (r=-0.625, P=0.002), suggesting an inverse regulation between estradiol and EGFR/HER1 levels. In ER+ tumours from postmenopausal women, NRG1 levels correlated positively with EGFR/HER1 (r=0.606, P=0.002) and negatively to ESR1 (r=-0.769, P=0.003) and E2 levels (r=-0.542, P=0.020). Our results indicate influence of estradiol on the expression of multiple components of the HER system in tumours not amplified for HER2, adding further support to the hypothesis that cross-talk between these systems may be of importance to breast cancer growth in vivo.
Fumarate hydratase (FH)-deficient kidney cancer undergoes metabolic remodeling, with changes in mitochondrial respiration, glucose, and glutamine metabolism. These changes represent multiple biochemical adaptations in glucose and fatty acid metabolism that supports malignant proliferation. However, the metabolic linkages between altered mitochondrial function, nucleotide biosynthesis and NADPH production required for proliferation and survival have not been elucidated. To characterize the alterations in glycolysis, the Krebs cycle and the pentose phosphate pathways (PPP) that either generate NADPH (oxidative) or do not (non-oxidative), we utilized [U-13C]-glucose, [U-13C,15N]-glutamine, and [1,2- 13C2]-glucose tracers with mass spectrometry and NMR detection to track these pathways, and measured the oxygen consumption rate (OCR) and extracellular acidification rate (ECAR) of growing cell lines. This metabolic reprogramming in the FH null cells was compared to cells in which FH has been restored. The FH null cells showed a substantial metabolic reorganization of their intracellular metabolic fluxes to fulfill their high ATP demand, as observed by a high rate of glucose uptake, increased glucose turnover via glycolysis, high production of glucose-derived lactate, and low entry of glucose carbon into the Krebs cycle. Despite the truncation of the Krebs cycle associated with inactivation of fumarate hydratase, there was a small but persistent level of mitochondrial respiration, which was coupled to ATP production from oxidation of glutamine-derived α–ketoglutarate through to fumarate. [1,2- 13C2]-glucose tracer experiments demonstrated that the oxidative branch of PPP initiated by glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase activity is preferentially utilized for ribose production (56-66%) that produces increased amounts of ribose necessary for growth and NADPH. Increased NADPH is required to drive reductive carboxylation of α-ketoglutarate and fatty acid synthesis for rapid proliferation and is essential for defense against increased oxidative stress. This increased NADPH producing PPP activity was shown to be a strong consistent feature in both fumarate hydratase deficient tumors and cell line models.
The Chlamydiae are a highly successful group of obligate intracellular bacteria, whose members are remarkably diverse, ranging from major pathogens of humans and animals to symbionts of ubiquitous protozoa. While their infective developmental stage, the elementary body (EB), has long been accepted to be completely metabolically inert, it has recently been shown to sustain some activities, including uptake of amino acids and protein biosynthesis. In the current study, we performed an in-depth characterization of the metabolic capabilities of EBs of the amoeba symbiont Protochlamydia amoebophila. A combined metabolomics approach, including fluorescence microscopy-based assays, isotope-ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS), ion cyclotron resonance Fourier transform mass spectrometry (ICR/FT-MS), and ultra-performance liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS) was conducted, with a particular focus on the central carbon metabolism. In addition, the effect of nutrient deprivation on chlamydial infectivity was analyzed. Our investigations revealed that host-free P. amoebophila EBs maintain respiratory activity and metabolize D-glucose, including substrate uptake as well as host-free synthesis of labeled metabolites and release of labeled CO2 from 13C-labeled D-glucose. The pentose phosphate pathway was identified as major route of D-glucose catabolism and host-independent activity of the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle was observed. Our data strongly suggest anabolic reactions in P. amoebophila EBs and demonstrate that under the applied conditions D-glucose availability is essential to sustain metabolic activity. Replacement of this substrate by L-glucose, a non-metabolizable sugar, led to a rapid decline in the number of infectious particles. Likewise, infectivity of Chlamydia trachomatis, a major human pathogen, also declined more rapidly in the absence of nutrients. Collectively, these findings demonstrate that D-glucose is utilized by P. amoebophila EBs and provide evidence that metabolic activity in the extracellular stage of chlamydiae is of major biological relevance as it is a critical factor affecting maintenance of infectivity.
The Chlamydiae are a group of bacteria that strictly rely on eukaryotic host cells as a niche for intracellular growth. This group includes major pathogens of humans and animals as well as symbionts of protists. Unlike most other bacteria, chlamydiae alternate between two distinct developmental stages. Here we provide novel insights into the infective stage, the elementary body (EB), which has been described almost a century ago and is commonly referred to as an inert spore-like particle. Our analyses of EBs of the amoeba symbiont Protochlamydia amoebophila provide a detailed overview of their metabolism outside of, and independent from, their natural host cells. We demonstrated that these EBs are capable of respiration and are active in the major routes of central carbon metabolism, including glucose import, biosynthetic reactions, and catabolism for energy generation. Glucose starvation resulted in a rapid decline of metabolic activity in P. amoebophila EBs and a concomitant decrease in their potential to infect new host cells. The human pathogen Chlamydia trachomatis was also dependent on nutrient availability for extracellular survival. The extent of metabolic activity in chlamydial EBs and its consequences for infectivity challenge long-standing textbook knowledge and demonstrate that the infective stage is far more dependent on its environment than previously recognized.
The presence of the Philadelphia chromosome in patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (Ph+ALL) is a negative prognostic indicator. Tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI) that target BCR/ABL, such as imatinib, have improved treatment of Ph+ALL and are generally incorporated into induction regimens. This approach has improved clinical responses, but molecular remissions are seen in less than 50% of patients leaving few treatment options in the event of relapse. Thus, identification of additional targets for therapeutic intervention has potential to improve outcomes for Ph+ALL. The human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (ErbB2) is expressed in ∼30% of B-ALLs, and numerous small molecule inhibitors are available to prevent its activation. We analyzed a cohort of 129 ALL patient samples using reverse phase protein array (RPPA) with ErbB2 and phospho-ErbB2 antibodies and found that activity of ErbB2 was elevated in 56% of Ph+ALL as compared to just 4.8% of Ph−ALL. In two human Ph+ALL cell lines, inhibition of ErbB kinase activity with canertinib resulted in a dose-dependent decrease in the phosphorylation of an ErbB kinase signaling target p70S6-kinase T389 (by 60% in Z119 and 39% in Z181 cells at 3 µM). Downstream, phosphorylation of S6-kinase was also diminished in both cell lines in a dose-dependent manner (by 91% in both cell lines at 3 µM). Canertinib treatment increased expression of the pro-apoptotic protein Bim by as much as 144% in Z119 cells and 49% in Z181 cells, and further produced caspase-3 activation and consequent apoptotic cell death. Both canertinib and the FDA-approved ErbB1/2-directed TKI lapatinib abrogated proliferation and increased sensitivity to BCR/ABL-directed TKIs at clinically relevant doses. Our results suggest that ErbB signaling is an additional molecular target in Ph+ALL and encourage the development of clinical strategies combining ErbB and BCR/ABL kinase inhibitors for this subset of ALL patients.
We performed a pilot study using Trojan vaccines in patients with advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN). These vaccines are composed of HLA-I and HLA-II restricted melanoma antigen E (MAGE)-A3 or human papillomavirus (HPV)-16 derived peptides, joined by furin-cleavable linkers, and linked to a “penetrin” peptide sequence derived from HIV-TAT. Thirty-one patients with SCCHN were screened for the trial and 5 were enrolled.
Enrolled patients were treated with 300 lg of Trojan peptide supplemented with Montanide and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) at 4-week intervals for up to 4 injections.
Following vaccination, peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from 4 of 5 patients recognized both the full Trojan constructs and constituent HLA-II peptides, whereas responses to HLA-I restricted peptides were less pronounced.
This treatment regimen seems to have acceptable toxicity and elicits measurable systemic immune responses against HLA-II restricted epitopes in a subset of patients with advanced SCCHN.
SCCHN; vaccine; HLA-I; HLA-II; immune response
Peginterferon and ribavirin treatment is less effective for hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 1 infections in African Americans (AA) compared with Caucasian Americans (CA). Host genetic variability near the interleukin-28B (IL28B) gene locus is partly responsible. We investigated the relationship between ribavirin drug exposure and week 24 and 72 (sustained virologic response, SVR) responses (undetected serum HCV RNA) in 71 AA and 74 CA with HCV genotype 1 who received >90 % of the prescribed peginterferon and weight-based ribavirin (1,000 or 1,200 mg per day) from week 1 to 24.
Ribavirin plasma levels were measured at weeks 1, 2, 4, 8, 12 and 24; ribavirin area under the concentration vs. time curve (AUC) was calculated using the linear trapezoidal rule.
Compared with CA, AA had lower week 24 (WK24VR) (57.8 vs. 78.1; P < 0.05) and week 72 (SVR) (36.6 % vs 54.8 %; P < 0.05) response rates. AA also had significantly lower ribavirin exposure (AUC) from week 1 to 12 (P < 0.05). Ribavirin exposures ≥ 4,065 and ≥ 4,480 ng/ml/day in the first week (AUC0–7) were thresholds for WK24VR and SVR in receiver-operating characteristic curve analyses. AA were less likely to have a threshold ribavirin AUC0–7 level than CA (P < 0.05). There were no significant racial differences in WK24VR (AA: 77 vs. CA: 84 %) and SVR (AA: 52 vs. CA: 60 %) rates in patients who met the ribavirin AUC0–7 thresholds. Ribavirin AUC0–7 predicted WK24VR and SVR independently of IL28B single-nucleotide polymorphism rs12979860 genotype. Yet, achieving threshold AUC0–7 levels increased response rates primarily in AA with the less favorable non-C/C genotypes.
Standard weight-based dosing leads to suboptimal ribavirin exposure in AA and contributes to the racial disparity in peginterferon and ribavirin treatment efficacy for HCV genotype 1.
Breast cancer occur both in hereditary and sporadic forms, and the later one comprises an overwhelming majority of breast cancer cases among women. Numerical and structural alterations involving chromosome 8, with loss of short arm (8p) and gain of long arm (8q), are frequently observed in breast cancer cells and tissues. In this study, we show that most of the human breast tumor cell lines examined display an over representation of 8q24, a chromosomal locus RecQL4 is regionally mapped to, and consequently, a markedly elevated level of RecQL4 expression. An increased RecQL4 mRNA level was also observed in a majority of clinical breast tumor samples (38/43) examined. shRNA-mediated RecQL4 suppression in MDA-MB453 breast cancer cells not only significantly inhibit the in vitro clonogenic survival and in vivo tumorigenicity. Further studies demonstrate that RecQL4 physically interacts with a major survival factor-survivin and its protein level affects survivin expression. Although loss of RecQL4 function due to gene mutations causally linked to occurrence of human RTS with features of premature aging and cancer predisposition, our studies provide the evidence that overexpression of RecQL4 due to gene amplification play a critical role in human breast tumor progression.
Noroviruses (NoVs) are the most important viral pathogens that cause epidemic acute gastroenteritis. NoVs recognize human histo-blood group antigens (HBGAs) as receptors or attachment factors. The elucidation of crystal structures of the HBGA-binding interfaces of a number of human NoVs representing different HBGA binding patterns opens a new strategy for the development of antiviral compounds against NoVs through rational drug design and computer-aided virtual screening methods. In this study, docking simulations and virtual screening were used to identify hit compounds targeting the A and B antigens binding sites on the surface of the capsid P protein of a GII.4 NoV (VA387). Following validation by re-docking of the A and B ligands, these structural models and AutoDock suite of programs were used to screen a large drug-like compound library (derived from ZINC library) for inhibitors blocking GII.4 binding to HBGAs. After screening >2 million compounds using multistage protocol, 160 hit compounds with best predicted binding affinities and representing a number of distinct chemical classes have been selected for subsequent experimental validation. Twenty of the 160 compounds were found to be able to block the VA387 P dimers binding to the A and/or B HBGAs at an IC50<40.0 µM, with top 5 compounds blocking the HBGA binding at an IC50<10.0 µM in both oligosaccharide- and saliva-based blocking assays. Interestingly, 4 of the top-5 compounds shared the basic structure of cyclopenta [a] dimethyl phenanthren, indicating a promising structural template for further improvement by rational design.
Resistance to radiation therapy is a major obstacle for the effective treatment of cancers. Lin28 has been shown to contribute to breast tumorigenesis; however, the relationship between Lin28 and radioresistance remains unknown. In this study, we investigated the association of Lin28 with radiation resistance and identified the underlying mechanisms of action of Lin28 in human breast cancer cell lines. The results showed that the expression level of Lin28 was closely associated with resistance to radiation treatment. The T47D cancer cell line, which highly expresses Lin28, is more resistant to radiation than MCF7, Bcap-37 or SK-BR-3 cancer cell lines, which have low-level Lin28 expression. Transfection with Lin28 siRNA significantly led to an increase of sensitivity to radiation. By contrast, stable expression of Lin28 in breast cancer cells effectively attenuated the sensitivity to radiation treatment. Stable expression of Lin28 also significantly inhibited radiation-induced apoptosis. Moreover, further studies have shown that caspases, H2A.X and Let-7 miRNA were the molecular targets of Lin28. Stable expression of Lin28 and treatment with radiation induced H2AX expression, while inhibited p21 and γ-H2A.X. Overexpression of Let-7 enhanced the sensitivities to radiation in breast cancer cells. Taken together, these results indicate that Lin28 might be one mechanism underlying radiation resistance, and Lin28 could be a potential target for overcoming radiation resistance in breast cancer.
It is well known that ErbB2, a receptor tyrosine kinase, localizes on the plasma membrane. Here we describe a novel observation that ErbB2 also localizes in mitochondria of cancer cells and patient samples. We found that ErbB2 translocates into mitochondria through the association with mtHSP70. Additionally, mitochondrial ErbB2 (mtErbB2) negatively regulates mitochondrial respiratory functions. Oxygen consumption and activities of complexes of the mitochondrial electron transport chain were decreased in mtErbB2-overexpressing cells. Mitochondrial membrane potential and the cellular ATP level also were decreased. In contrast, mtErbB2 enhanced cellular glycolysis. The translocation of ErbB2 and its impact on mitochondrial function are kinase dependent. Interestingly, cancer cells with higher levels of mtErbB2 were more resistant to ErbB2 targeting antibody trastuzumab. Our study provides a novel perspective on the metabolic regulatory function of ErbB2 and reveals that mtErbB2 plays an important role in the regulation of cellular metabolism and cancer cell resistance to therapeutics.
The obligate intracellular bacterium Chlamydia has an unusual developmental cycle in which there is conversion between two forms that are specialized for either intracellular replication or propagation of the infection to a new host cell. Expression of late chlamydial genes is upregulated during conversion from the replicating to the infectious form, but the mechanism for this temporal regulation is unknown. We found that EUO, which is expressed from an early gene, binds to two sites upstream of the late operon omcAB, but only the downstream site was necessary for transcriptional repression. Using gel shift and in vitro transcription assays we showed that EUO specifically bound and repressed promoters of Chlamydia trachomatis late genes, but not early or mid genes. These findings support a role for EUO as a temporal repressor that negatively regulates late chlamydial genes and prevents their premature expression. The basis of this specificity is the ability of EUO to selectively bind promoter regions of late genes, which would prevent their transcription by RNA polymerase. Thus, we propose that EUO is a master regulator that prevents the terminal differentiation of the replicating form of chlamydiae into the infectious form until sufficient rounds of replication have occurred.
The study of the pathogenesis of breast cancer is challenged by the long time-course of the disease process and the multi-factorial nature of generating oncogenic insults. The characterization of the longitudinal pathogenesis of malignant transformation from baseline normal breast duct epithelial dynamics may provide vital insight into the cascading systems failure that leads to breast cancer. To this end, extensive information on the baseline behavior of normal mammary epithelium and breast cancer oncogenesis was integrated into a computational model termed the Ductal Epithelium Agent-Based Model (DEABM). The DEABM is composed of computational agents that behave according to rules established from published cellular and molecular mechanisms concerning breast duct epithelial dynamics and oncogenesis. The DEABM implements DNA damage and repair, cell division, genetic inheritance and simulates the local tissue environment with hormone excretion and receptor signaling. Unrepaired DNA damage impacts the integrity of the genome within individual cells, including a set of eight representative oncogenes and tumor suppressors previously implicated in breast cancer, with subsequent consequences on successive generations of cells. The DEABM reproduced cellular population dynamics seen during the menstrual cycle and pregnancy, and demonstrated the oncogenic effect of known genetic factors associated with breast cancer, namely TP53 and Myc, in simulations spanning ∼40 years of simulated time. Simulations comparing normal to BRCA1-mutant breast tissue demonstrated rates of invasive cancer development similar to published epidemiologic data with respect to both cumulative incidence over time and estrogen-receptor status. Investigation of the modeling of ERα-positive (ER+) tumorigenesis led to a novel hypothesis implicating the transcription factor and tumor suppressor RUNX3. These data suggest that the DEABM can serve as a potentially valuable framework to augment the traditional investigatory workflow for future hypothesis generation and testing of the mechanisms of breast cancer oncogenesis.
Most cancer cells exhibit a shift in glucose metabolic strategy, displaying increased glycolysis even with adequate oxygen supply. SUMO-specific proteases (SENPs) de-SUMOylate substrates including HIF1α and p53,two key regulators in cancer glucose metabolism, to regulate their activity, stability and subcellular localization. However, the role of SENPs in tumor glucose metabolism remains unclear. Here we report that SUMO-specific protease 2 (SENP2) negatively regulates aerobic glycolysis in MCF7 and MEF cells. Over-expression of SENP2 reduces the glucose uptake and lactate production, increasing the cellular ATP levels in MCF7 cells, while SENP2 knockout MEF cells show increased glucose uptake and lactate production along with the decreased ATP levels. Consistently, the MCF7 cells over-expressing SENP2 exhibit decreased expression levels of key glycolytic enzymes and an increased rate of glucose oxidation compared with control MCF7 cells, indicating inhibited glycolysis but enhanced oxidative mitochondrial respiration. Moreover, SENP2 over-expressing MCF7 cells demonstrated a reduced amount of phosphorylated AKT, whereas SENP2 knockout MEFs exhibit increased levels of phosphorylated AKT. Furthermore, inhibiting AKT phosphorylation by LY294002 rescued the phenotype induced by SENP2 deficiency in MEFs. In conclusion, SENP2 represses glycolysis and shifts glucose metabolic strategy, in part through inhibition of AKT phosphorylation. Our study reveals a novel function of SENP2 in regulating glucose metabolism.
PP2A is a serine/threonine phosphatase critical to physiological processes, including apoptosis. Cell penetrating peptides are molecules that can translocate into cells without causing membrane damage. Our goal was to develop cell-penetrating fusion peptides specifically designed to disrupt the caspase-9/PP2A interaction and evaluate their therapeutic potential in vitro and in vivo.
We generated a peptide containing a penetrating sequence associated to the interaction motif between human caspase-9 and PP2A (DPT-C9h), in order to target their association. Using tumour cell lines, primary human cells and primary human breast cancer (BC) xenografts, we investigated the capacity of DPT-C9h to provoke apoptosis in vitro and inhibition of tumour growth (TGI) in vivo. DPT-C9h was intraperitonealy administered at doses from 1 to 25 mg/kg/day for 5 weeks. Relative Tumour Volume (RTV) was calculated.
We demonstrated that DPT-C9h specifically target caspase-9/PP2A interaction in vitro and in vivo and induced caspase-9-dependent apoptosis in cancer cell lines. DPT-C9h also induced significant TGI in BC xenografts models. The mouse-specific peptide DPT-C9 also induced TGI in lung (K-Ras model) and breast cancer (PyMT) models. DPT-C9h has a specific effect on transformed B cells isolated from chronic lymphocytic leukemia patients without any effect on primary healthy cells. Finally, neither toxicity nor immunogenic responses were observed.
Using the cell-penetrating peptides blocking caspase-9/PP2A interactions, we have demonstrated that DPT-C9h had a strong therapeutic effect in vitro and in vivo in mouse models of tumour progression.
Noroviruses (NoVs) are important pathogens causing epidemic acute gastroenteritis that affects millions of people worldwide. The protruding (P) domain of the NoV capsid protein, the surface antigen of NoV, forms a 24-mer subviral particle called the P particle that is an excellent candidate vaccine against NoVs. The P particles are easily produced in Escherichia coli, highly stable and highly immunogenic. Each P domain has three surface loops that can be used for foreign antigen presentation, making the P particles a useful platform for vaccine development against other infectious diseases. This article summarizes the discovery, structure, development and applications of the P particles as a vaccine against NoVs, as well as a vaccine platform against rotavirus, influenza virus and possibly other pathogens in the future.
antigen presentation; bivalent vaccine; calicivirus; influenza virus; M2e epitope; norovirus; P domain; P particle; rotavirus VP8; vaccine platform
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), used in China and other Asian counties for thousands of years, is increasingly utilized in Western countries. However, due to inherent differences in how Western medicine and this ancient modality are practiced, employing so-called Western medicine-based gold standard research methods to evaluate TCM is challenging. This article is a discussion of the obstacles inherent in the design and statistical analysis of clinical trials of TCM. It is based on our experience in designing and conducting a randomized controlled clinical trial of acupuncture for post-operative dental pain control in which acupuncture was shown to be statistically and significantly better than placebo in lengthening the median survival time to rescue drug. We demonstrate here that PH assumptions in the common Cox model did not hold in that trial and that TCM trials warrant more thoughtful modeling and more sophisticated models of statistical analysis. TCM study design entails all the challenges encountered in trials of drugs, devices, and surgical procedures in Western medicine. We present possible solutions to some but leave many issues unresolved.
traditional Chinese medicine (TCM); acupuncture; postoperative dental pain; accelerated failure time model; blinding in randomized clinical trials
Tulane virus (TV) is a newly isolated cultivatable calicivirus that infects juvenile rhesus macaques. Here we report a 6.3 Å resolution cryo-electron microscopy structure of the TV virion. The TV virion is about 400 Å in diameter and consists of a T = 3 icosahedral protein capsid enclosing the RNA genome. 180 copies of the major capsid protein VP1 (∼57 KDa) are organized into two types of dimers A/B and C/C and form a thin, smooth shell studded with 90 dimeric protrusions. The overall capsid organization and the capsid protein fold of TV closely resemble that of other caliciviruses, especially of human Norwalk virus, the prototype human norovirus. These close structural similarities support TV as an attractive surrogate for the non-cultivatable human noroviruses. The most distinctive feature of TV is that its C/C dimers are in a highly flexible conformation with significantly reduced interactions between the shell (S) domain and the protruding (P) domain of VP1. A comparative structural analysis indicated that the P domains of TV C/C dimers were much more flexible than those of other caliciviruses. These observations, combined with previous studies on other caliciviruses, led us to hypothesize that the enhanced flexibility of C/C dimer P domains are likely required for efficient calicivirus-host cell interactions and the consequent uncoating and genome release. Residues in the S-P1 hinge between the S and P domain may play a critical role in the flexibility of P domains of C/C dimers.
Phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)/AKT/mammalian target of rapamycin inhibitor (mTOR) pathway is often constitutively activated in human tumor cells and thus has been considered as a promising drug target. To ascertain a therapeutical approach of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC), we hypothesized NVP-BEZ235, a novel and potent imidazo[4,5-c] quinolone derivative, that dually inhibits both PI3K and mTOR kinases activities, had antitumor activity in NPC. Expectedly, we found that NVP-BEZ235 selectively inhibited proliferation of NPC cells rather than normal nasopharyngeal cells using MTT assay. In NPC cell lines, with the extended exposure, NVP-BEZ235 selectively inhibited proliferation of NPC cells harboring PIK3CA mutation, compared to cells with wild-type PIK3CA. Furthermore, exposure of NPC cells to NVP-BEZ235 resulted in G1 growth arrest by Propidium iodide uptake assay, reduction of cyclin D1and CDK4, and increased levels of P27 and P21 by Western blotting, but negligible apoptosis. Moreover, we found that cisplatin (CDDP) activated PI3K/AKT and mTORC1 pathways and NVP-BEZ235 alleviated the activation by CDDP through dually targeting PI3K and mTOR kinases. Also, NVP-BEZ235 combining with CDDP synergistically inhibited proliferation and induced apoptosis in NPC cells. In CNE2 and HONE1 nude mice xenograft models, orally NVP-BEZ235 efficiently attenuated tumor growth with no obvious toxicity. In combination with NVP-BEZ235 and CDDP, there was dramatic synergy in shrinking tumor volumes and inducing apoptosis through increasing Noxa, Bax and decreasing Mcl-1, Bcl-2. Based on the above results, NVP-BEZ235, which has entered phase I/II clinical trials in patients with advanced solid tumors, has a potential as a monotherapy or in combination with CDDP for NPC treatment.
Cell cycle activation (CCA) is one of the principal secondary injury mechanisms following brain trauma, and it leads to neuronal cell death, microglial activation, and neurological dysfunction. Cyclin D1 (CD1) is a key modulator of CCA and is upregulated in neurons and microglia following traumatic brain injury (TBI). In this study we subjected CD1-wild-type (CD1+/+) and knockout (CD1−/−) mice to controlled cortical impact (CCI) injury to evaluate the role of CD1 in post-traumatic neurodegeneration and neuroinflammation. As early as 24 h post-injury, CD1+/+ mice showed markers of CCA in the injured hemisphere, including increased CD1, E2F1, and proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA), as well as increased Fluoro-Jade B staining, indicating neuronal degeneration. Progressive neuronal loss in the hippocampus was observed through 21 days post-injury in these mice, which correlated with a decline in cognitive function. Microglial activation in the injured hemisphere peaked at 7 days post-injury, with sustained increases at 21 days. In contrast, CD1−/− mice showed reduced CCA and neurodegeneration at 24 h, as well as improved cognitive function, attenuated hippocampal neuronal cell loss, decreased lesion volume, and cortical microglial activation at 21 days post-injury. These findings indicate that CD1-dependent CCA plays a significant role in the neuroinflammation, progressive neurodegeneration, and related neurological dysfunction resulting from TBI. Our results further substantiate the proposed role of CCA in post-traumatic secondary injury, and suggest that inhibition of CD1 may be a key therapeutic target for TBI.
cell cycle; controlled cortical impact; cyclin D1; neuroinflammation; neuroprotection
As cancer cells are affected by many factors in their microenvironment, a major challenge is to isolate the effect of a specific factor on cancer stem cells (CSCs) while keeping other factors unchanged. We have developed a synthetic inert 3D polyethylene glycol diacrylate (PEGDA) gel culture system as a unique tool to study the effect of microenvironmental factors on CSCs response. We have reported that CSCs formed in the inert PEGDA gel by encapsulation of breast cancer cells maintain their stemness within a certain range of gel stiffness. The objective was to investigate the effect of CD44 binding peptide (CD44BP) conjugated to the gel on the maintenance of breast CSCs.
4T1 or MCF7 breast cancer cells were encapsulated in PEGDA gel with CD44BP conjugation. Control groups included dissolved CD44BP and the gel with mutant CD44BP conjugation. Tumorsphere size and density, and expression of CSC markers were determined after 9 days. For in vivo, cell encapsulated gels were inoculated in syngeneic Balb/C mice and tumor formation was determined after 4 weeks. Effect of CD44BP conjugation on breast CSC maintenance was compared with integrin binding RGD peptide (IBP) and fibronectin-derived heparin binding peptide (FHBP).
Conjugation of CD44BP to the gel inhibited breast tumorsphere formation in vitro and in vivo. The ability of the encapsulated cells to form tumorspheres in the peptide-conjugated gels correlated with the expression of CSC markers. Tumorsphere formation in vitro was enhanced by FHBP while it was abolished by IBP.
CD44BP and IBP conjugated to the gel abolished tumorsphere formation by encapsulated 4T1 cells while FHBP enhanced tumorsphere formation compared to cells in the gel without peptide. The PEGDA hydrogel culture system provides a novel tool to investigate the individual effect of factors in the microenvironment on CSC maintenance without interference of other factors.
Obesity is now considered as a risk factor for breast cancer in postmenopausal women. Adipokine levels are modulated in obesity, and may play a role in carcinogenesis. Moreover, obesity increases risk of cancer mortality. Here, we hypothesized that this increase could be due to a modification in angiogenesis, capital event in the development of metastases, and/or in effectiveness of cancer treatments. To test these assumptions, following a same experimental design and simultaneously the effects of leptin and adiponectin on angiogenesis were investigated, and the impact of hyperleptinemia on anticancer drug effectiveness was measured in physiological and obesity situations. Focusing on angiogenesis, the proliferation of endothelial cells (HUVEC), which expressed leptin and adiponectin receptors, was stimulated by leptin and inhibited by adiponectin. Both adipokines globally reduced apoptosis and caspase activity. Leptin increased migration whereas adiponectin decreased migration, and leptin enhanced the area of the tubes formed by HUVEC cells while adiponectin inhibited their formation. MCF7 and MDA-MB-231 cells treated with leptin secreted more VEGF than untreated cells, whereas adiponectin treatment inhibited VEGF secretion. Finally, MCF7 cells pre-treated with leptin were more invasive than untreated cells. This effect was not reproduced in MDA-MB-231 cells. In the MCF7 breast cancer cell line, leptin could induce cell proliferation and reduced the efficacy of all breast cancer therapies (tamoxifen, 5-fluorouracil, taxol and vinblastin). These results suggest that, in obesity situation, leptin– in contrast to adiponectin – may promote tumor invasion and angiogenesis, leading to metastases ‘apparition, and reduce treatment efficacy, which could explain the increased risk of cancer mortality in cases of overweight. The evidence suggests adipokines influence breast cancer issue and could play a significant role, especially in obese patients for which hyperleptinemia, hypoadiponectinemia and increased metastatic potential are described.