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author:("castellani, S")
1.  Inhibiting interactions of lysine demethylase LSD1 with Snail/Slug blocks cancer cell invasion 
Cancer research  2012;73(1):235-245.
The process of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) which is required for cancer cell invasion is regulated by a family of E-box binding transcription repressors which include Snail (SNAI) and Slug (SNAI2). Snail appears to repress the expression of the EMT marker E-cadherin by epigenetic mechanisms dependent on the interaction of its N-terminal SNAG domain with chromatin modifying proteins including lysine specific demethylase 1 (LSD1/KDM1A). We assessed whether blocking Snail/Slug-LSD1 interaction by treatment with Parnate, an enzymatic inhibitor of LSD1, or TAT-SNAG, a cell-permeable peptide corresponding to the SNAG domain of Slug, suppresses the motility and invasiveness of cancer cells of different origin and genetic background. We show here that either treatment blocked Slug-dependent repression of the E-cadherin promoter and inhibited the motility and invasion of tumor cell lines without any effect on their proliferation. These effects correlated with induction of epithelial and repression of mesenchymal markers and were phenocopied by LSD1 or Slug down-regulation. Parnate treatment also inhibited bone marrow homing/engraftment of Slug-expressing K562 cells. Together, these studies support the concept that targeting Snail/Slug-dependent transcription repression complexes may lead to the development of novel drugs selectively inhibiting the invasive potential of cancer cells.
PMCID: PMC3537890  PMID: 23054398
Journal of Cellular Biochemistry  2012;113(5):1704-1713.
The CCAAT/Enhancer binding protein α (C/EBPα) is a transcription factor required for differentiation of myeloid progenitors. In acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cells expressing the constitutively active FLT3-ITD receptor tyrosine kinase, MAP kinase-dependent phosphorylation of serine 21 (S21) inhibits the ability of C/EBPα to induce granulocytic differentiation To assess whether this post-translational modification also modulates the activity of C/EBPα in BCR/ABL-expressing cells, we tested the biological effects of wild type and mutant C/EBPα mimicking phosphorylated or non–phosphorylatable serine 21 (S21D and S21A, respectively) in K562 cells ectopically expressing tamoxifen-regulated C/EBPα-ER chimeric proteins. We show here that S21D C/EBPα-ER induced terminal granulocytic differentiation of K562 cells almost as well as wild type C/EBPα-ER, while S21A C/EBPα-ER was less efficient. Furthermore, wild-type C/EBPα suppressed the proliferation and colony formation of K562 cells vigorously, while S21D and S21A C/EBPα mutants had more modest anti-proliferative effects. Both mutants were less effective than wild type C/EBPα in suppressing endogenous E2F-dependent transactivation and bound less E2F-2 and/or E2F-3 proteins in anti-C/EBPα immunoprecipitates. Together, these findings suggest that mutation of S21 more than its phosphorylation inhibits the anti-proliferative effects of C/EBPα due to reduced interaction with or impaired regulation of the activity of E2F proteins. By contrast, phosphorylation of serine 21 appears to have a modest role in modulating the differentiation-inducing effects of C/EBPα in K562 cells.
PMCID: PMC3329570  PMID: 22212957
transcription factor; protein complexes; cell cycle; granulocyte differentiation; leukemia; proliferation; phosphorylation
3.  The p53 Codon 72 Pro/Pro Genotype Identifies Poor-Prognosis Neuroblastoma Patients: Correlation with Reduced Apoptosis and Enhanced Senescence by the p53-72P Isoform12 
Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.)  2012;14(7):634-643.
The p53 gene is rarely mutated in neuroblastoma, but codon 72 polymorphism that modulates its proapoptotic activity might influence cancer risk and clinical outcome. We investigated whether this polymorphism affects neuroblastoma risk and disease outcome and assessed the biologic effects of the p53-72R and p53-72P isoforms in p53-null cells. Comparison of 288 healthy subjects and 286 neuroblastoma patients revealed that the p53-72 polymorphism had no significant impact on the risk of developing neuroblastoma; however, patients with the Pro/Pro genotype had a shorter survival than those with the Arg/Arg or the Arg/Pro genotypes even in the stage 3 and 4 subgroup without MYCN amplification. By Cox regression analysis, the p53 Pro/Pro genotype seems to be an independent marker of poor prognosis (hazard ratio = 2.74; 95% confidence interval = 1.14–6.55, P = .014) together with clinical stage, MYCN status, and age at diagnosis. In vitro, p53-72P was less effective than p53-72R in inducing apoptosis and inhibiting survival of p53-null LAN-1 cells treated with etoposide, topotecan, or ionizing radiation but not taxol. By contrast, p53-72P was more effective in promoting p21-dependent accelerated senescence, alone or in the presence of etoposide. Thus, the p53-72 Pro/Pro genotype might be a marker of poor outcome independent of MYCN amplification, possibly improving risk stratification. Moreover, the lower apoptosis and the enhanced accelerated senescence by the p53-72P isoform in response to DNA damage suggest that patients with neuroblastoma with the p53-72 Pro/Pro genotype may benefit from therapeutic protocols that do not rely only on cytotoxic drugs that function, in part, through p53 activation.
PMCID: PMC3421959  PMID: 22904680
4.  Expression of p89c-Mybex9b, an alternatively spliced form of c-Myb, is required for proliferation and survival of p210BCR/ABL-expressing cells 
Blood Cancer Journal  2012;2(5):e71-.
The c-Myb gene encodes the p75c-Myb isoform and less-abundant proteins generated by alternatively spliced transcripts. Among these, the best known is pc-Mybex9b, which contains 121 additional amino acids between exon 9 and 10, in a domain involved in protein–protein interactions and negative regulation. In hematopoietic cells, expression of pc-Mybex9b accounts for 10–15% of total c-Myb; these levels may be biologically relevant because modest changes in c-Myb expression affects proliferation and survival of leukemic cells and lineage choice and frequency of normal hematopoietic progenitors. In this study, we assessed biochemical activities of pc-Mybex9b and the consequences of perturbing its expression in K562 and primary chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) progenitor cells. Compared with p75c-Myb, pc-Mybex9b is more stable and more effective in transactivating Myb-regulated promoters. Ectopic expression of pc-Mybex9b enhanced proliferation and colony formation and reduced imatinib (IM) sensitivity of K562 cells; conversely, specific downregulation of pc-Mybex9b reduced proliferation and colony formation, enhanced IM sensitivity of K562 cells and markedly suppressed colony formation of CML CD34+ cells, without affecting the levels of p75c-Myb. Together, these studies indicate that expression of the low-abundance pc-Mybex9b isoform has an important role for the overall biological effects of c-Myb in BCR/ABL-transformed cells.
PMCID: PMC3366069  PMID: 22829973
transcription factor; oncogene; chronic myeloid leukemia
5.  Elongation Factor 1 alpha interacts with phospho-Akt in breast cancer cells and regulates their proliferation, survival and motility 
Molecular Cancer  2009;8:58.
Akt/PKB is a serine/threonine kinase that has attracted much attention because of its central role in regulating cell proliferation, survival, motility and angiogenesis. Activation of Akt in breast cancer portends aggressive tumour behaviour, resistance to hormone-, chemo-, and radiotherapy-induced apoptosis and it is correlated with decreased overall survival. Recent studies have identified novel tumor-specific substrates of Akt that may provide new diagnostic and prognostic markers and serve as therapeutic targets. This study was undertaken to identify pAkt-interacting proteins and to assess their biological roles in breast cancer cells.
We confirmed that one of the pAkt interacting proteins is the Elongation Factor EF1α. EF1α contains a putative Akt phosphorylation site, but is not phosphorylated by pAkt1 or pAkt2, suggesting that it may function as a modulator of pAkt activity. Indeed, downregulation of EF1α expression by siRNAs led to markedly decreased expression of pAkt1 and to less extent of pAkt2 and was associated with reduced proliferation, survival and invasion of HCC1937 cells. Proliferation and survival was further reduced by combining EF1α siRNAs with specific pAkt inhibitors whereas EF1α downregulation slightly attenuated the decreased invasion induced by Akt inhibitors.
We show here that EF1α is a pAkt-interacting protein which regulates pAkt levels. Since EF1α is often overexpressed in breast cancer, the consequences of EF1α increased levels for proliferation, survival and invasion will likely depend on the relative concentration of Akt1 and Akt2.
PMCID: PMC2727493  PMID: 19646290
6.  Pneumomediastinum following Politzer's manoeuvre. 
Thorax  1996;51(11):1169.
PMCID: PMC1090541  PMID: 8958910

Results 1-6 (6)