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1.  Fatty acid synthase expression associated with NAC1 is a potential therapeutic target in ovarian clear cell carcinomas 
British Journal of Cancer  2012;107(2):300-307.
This study examined the clinical significance of NAC1 and the expression level of its potential downstream target fatty acid synthase (FASN) in ovarian clear cell carcinomas (OCCCs), and evaluated the NAC1/FASN pathway as a potential therapeutic target.
NAC1 and FASN expression and NACC1 gene amplification were assessed in ovarian cancers by immunohistochemistry, fluorescence in situ hybridisation, and clinical data collected by a retrospective chart review. C75, a FASN inhibitor, was used to assess whether this pathway represented a therapeutic target in OCCC.
High NAC1 expression was most frequent in clear cell tumours (40.0%:24/60). NACC1 gene amplification was identified in none of the 58 OCCCs. The frequency of NACC1 gene amplification was significantly higher in the high-grade serous histology than in the clear cell histology (P<0.01). NAC1 expression was significantly correlated with FASN expression in both OCCC samples and OCCC cell lines. Either high NAC1 expression or high FASN expression significantly correlated with shorter progression-free and overall survival (P=0.002 and 0.0048). NAC1 overexpression stimulated FASN expression, and NAC1 silencing using siRNA decreased FASN expression in OCCC cell lines. Profound growth inhibition was observed in C75-treated carcinoma cells with FASN overexpression when compared with the response in carcinoma cells without FASN expression.
These findings indicate that NAC1/FASN overexpression is critical to the growth and survival of a subset of OCCC. The FASN silencing by the C75-induced phenotypes depends on the expression status of the targeted cell line. Therefore, NAC1/FASN pathway-targeted therapy may benefit selected OCCC patients.
PMCID: PMC3394978  PMID: 22653145
ovarian clear cell carcinoma; fatty acid synthase; survival; NAC1; C75
2.  Involvement of an Skp-Like Protein, PGN_0300, in the Type IX Secretion System of Porphyromonas gingivalis 
Infection and Immunity  2015;84(1):230-240.
The oral Gram-negative anaerobic bacterium Porphyromonas gingivalis is an important pathogen involved in chronic periodontitis. Among its virulence factors, the major extracellular proteinases, Arg-gingipain and Lys-gingipain, are of interest given their abilities to degrade host proteins and process other virulence factors. Gingipains possess C-terminal domains (CTDs) and are translocated to the cell surface or into the extracellular milieu by the type IX secretion system (T9SS). Gingipains contribute to the colonial pigmentation of the bacterium on blood agar. In this study, Omp17, the PGN_0300 gene product, was found in the outer membrane fraction. A mutant lacking Omp17 did not show pigmentation on blood agar and showed reduced proteolytic activity of the gingipains. CTD-containing proteins were released from bacterial cells without cleavage of the CTDs in the omp17 mutant. Although synthesis of the anionic polysaccharide (A-LPS) was not affected in the omp17 mutant, the processing of and A-LPS modification of CTD-containing proteins was defective. PorU, a C-terminal signal peptidase that cleaves the CTDs of other CTD-containing proteins, was not detected in any membrane fraction of the omp17 mutant, suggesting that the defective maturation of CTD-containing proteins by impairment of Omp17 is partly due to loss of function of PorU. In the mouse subcutaneous infection experiment, the omp17 mutant was less virulent than the wild type. These results suggested that Omp17 is involved in P. gingivalis virulence.
PMCID: PMC4693996  PMID: 26502912
3.  Total synthesis of palau'amine 
Nature Communications  2015;6:8731.
Palau'amine has received a great deal of attention in the past two decades as an attractive synthetic target by virtue of its intriguing molecular architecture and significant immunosuppressive activity. Here we report the total synthesis of palau'amine characterized by the construction of an ABDE tetracyclic ring core including a trans-bicylo[3.3.0]octane skeleton at a middle stage of total synthesis. The ABDE tetracyclic ring core is constructed by a cascade reaction of a cleavage of the N–N bond, including simultaneous formation of imine, the addition of amide anion to the resulting imine (D-ring formation) and the condensation of pyrrole with methyl ester (B-ring formation) in a single step. The synthetic palau'amine is confirmed to exhibit excellent immunosuppressive activity. The present synthetic route has the potential to help elucidate a pharmacophore as well as the mechanistic details of immunosuppressive activity.
Thanks to its immunosuppressive activity and complex molecular architecture, the natural product palau'amine has attracted continuous attention over a number of years. Here, the authors report a new synthetic strategy which includes the formation of multiple rings in a single key step.
PMCID: PMC4667646  PMID: 26530707
4.  Loss of autophagy-related protein Beclin 1 may define poor prognosis in ovarian clear cell carcinomas 
International Journal of Oncology  2015;47(6):2037-2044.
The aim of the present study was to clarify the role of autophagy in cisplatin (CDDP) sensitivity in OCCCs and the role of Beclin 1 in OCCC progression. Autophagy was measured using: i) western blot analysis of LC3 and p62 and ii) microscopic observation of GFP-LC3 puncta. Autophagy was suppressed using chloroquine and Beclin 1 siRNA. Surgical specimens were examined for Beclin 1 protein expression by immunohistochemistry. The correlations between the loss of Beclin 1 expression and clinicopathological characteristics, prognosis and chemosensitivity were investigated. Inhibition of autophagy by chloroquine or Beclin 1 siRNA did not enhance the sensitivity of the ES2 and TOV-21G OCCC cell lines to CDDP. Loss of Beclin 1 expression was observed in 38.3% (23/60) of the analyzed tumors. There was no significant correlation between loss of Beclin 1 expression and FIGO stage, CA125 levels, patient age, status of endometriosis, Ki-67 labeling index, chemotherapy regimen or status of residual tumor. However, negative expression of Beclin 1 was associated with a shorter progression-free survival in comparison to positive Beclin 1 expression in OCCC who received cytoreductive surgery, followed by a standard platinum-based chemotherapy regimen (P=0.027, log-rank test). Beclin 1-negative tumors were no more resistant to primary adjuvant chemotherapy than were Beclin 1-positive tumors (50.0 vs. 66.7%, P=0.937). Beclin 1 knockdown using siRNA increased cell growth but not cell migration and invasion in ES2 and TOV-21G OCCC cell lines. Autophagy defects caused by loss of Beclin 1 are not related to chemoresistance and metastasis, but may be associated with malignant phenotype and poor prognosis of OCCC.
PMCID: PMC4665333  PMID: 26458502
ovarian clear cell carcinoma; Beclin 1; autophagy
5.  Association between DNA Methylation of the BDNF Promoter Region and Clinical Presentation in Alzheimer's Disease 
In the present study, we examined whether DNA methylation of the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) promoter is associated with the manifestation and clinical presentation of Alzheimer's disease (AD).
Of 20 patients with AD and 20 age-matched normal controls (NCs), the DNA methylation of the BDNF promoter (measured using peripheral blood samples) was completely analyzed in 12 patients with AD and 6 NCs. The resulting methylation levels were compared statistically. Next, we investigated the correlation between the DNA methylation levels and the clinical presentation of AD.
The total methylation ratio (in %) of the 20 CpG sites was significantly higher in the AD patients (5.08 ± 5.52%) than in the NCs (2.09 ± 0.81%; p < 0.05). Of the 20 CpG sites, the methylation level at the CpG4 site was significantly higher in the AD subjects than in the NCs (p < 0.05). Moreover, the methylation level was significantly and negatively correlated with some neuropsychological test subscores (registration, recall, and prehension behavior scores; p < 0.05).
These results suggest that the DNA methylation of the BDNF promoter may significantly influence the manifestation of AD and might be associated with its neurocognitive presentation.
PMCID: PMC4376924  PMID: 25873928
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor; BDNF; DNA methylation; Alzheimer's disease; Epigenetics; Neurotrophic factors
6.  Role of extracytoplasmic function sigma factors in biofilm formation of Porphyromonas gingivalis 
BMC Oral Health  2015;15:4.
Porphyromonas gingivalis has been implicated as a major pathogen in the development and progression of chronic periodontitis. P. gingivalis biofilm formation in the subgingival crevice plays an important role in the ability of the bacteria to tolerate stress signals outside the cytoplasmic membrane. Some bacteria use a distinct subfamily of sigma factors to regulate their extracytoplasmic functions (the ECF subfamily). The objective of this study was to determine if P. gingivalis ECF sigma factors affect P. gingivalis biofilm formation.
To elucidate the role of ECF sigma factors in P. gingivalis, chromosomal mutants carrying a disruption of each ECF sigma factor-encoding gene were constructed. Bacterial growth curves were measured by determining the turbidity of bacterial cultures. The quantity of biofilm growing on plates was evaluated by crystal violet staining.
Comparison of the growth curves of wild-type P. gingivalis strain 33277 and the ECF mutants indicated that the growth rate of the mutants was slightly lower than that of the wild-type strain. The PGN_0274- and PGN_1740-defective mutants had increased biofilm formation compared with the wild-type (p < 0.001); however, the other ECF sigma factor mutants or the complemented strains did not enhance biofilm formation.
These results suggest that PGN_0274 and PGN_1740 play a key role in biofilm formation by P. gingivalis.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1472-6831-15-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4324044  PMID: 25596817
Extracytoplasmic function sigma factor; Biofilm; Porphyromonas gingivalis; Periodontal disease
7.  Crystallization and preliminary X-ray crystallographic analysis of UDP-glucuronic acid:flavonol-3-O-glucuronosyltransferase (VvGT5) from the grapevine Vitis vinifera  
The UDP-glucuronic acid:flavonol-3-O-glucuronosyltransferase (VvGT5) from the grapevine V. vinifera was purified and crystallized. The best crystal diffracted X-rays to 2.2 Å resolution and belonged to space group P6122.
Grapevine (Vitis vinifera) glycosyltransferase 5 (VvGT5) is a UDP-glucuronic acid:flavonol-3-O-glucuronosyltransferase that catalyses the 3-O-specific glucuronosylation of flavonols using UDP-glucuronic acid as a sugar donor to produce flavonol 3-O-glucosides, which are important bioactive phytochemicals. Recombinant VvGT5 expressed in Escherichia coli cells was purified and crystallized by the sitting-drop vapour-diffusion method. A full set of X-ray diffraction data was collected to 2.2 Å Bragg spacing from a single crystal using a synchrotron-radiation source. The crystal was hexagonal, belonging to space group P6122, with unit-cell parameters a = b = 102.70, c = 535.92 Å. The initial phases were determined by the molecular-replacement method.
PMCID: PMC3539707  PMID: 23295490
VvGT5; UGT; glycosyltransferase; flavonol; flavonoid
8.  Skp2 deletion unmasks a p27 safeguard that blocks tumorigenesis in the absence of pRb and p53 tumor suppressors 
Cancer cell  2013;24(5):10.1016/j.ccr.2013.09.021.
pRb and p53 are two major tumor suppressors. Here, we found that p53 activates expression of Pirh2 and KPC1, two of the three ubiquitin ligases for p27. Loss of p53 in the absence of Skp2, the third ubiquitin ligase for p27, shrinks the cellular pool of p27 ubiquitin ligases to accumulate p27 protein. In the absence of pRb and p53, p27 was unable to inhibit DNA synthesis in spite of its abundance, but could inhibit division of cells that maintain DNA replication with re-replication. This mechanism blocked pRb and p53 doubly deficient pituitary and prostate tumorigenesis lastingly coexistent with BrdU-labeling neoplastic lesions, revealing an unconventional cancer cell vulnerability when pRb and p53 are inactivated.
PMCID: PMC3880806  PMID: 24229711
9.  A Developmental Model for Branching Morphogenesis of Lake Cress Compound Leaf 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e111615.
Lake cress, Rorippa aquatica (Brassicaceae), is a semi-aquatic plant that exhibits a variety of leaf shapes, from simple leaves to highly branched compound leaves, depending on the environment. Leaf shape can vary within a single plant, suggesting that the variation can be explained by a simple model. In order to simulate the branched structure in the compound leaves of R. aquatica, we implemented reaction-diffusion (RD) patterning onto a theoretical framework that had been developed for serration distribution in the leaves of Arabidopsis thaliana, with the modification of the one-dimensional reaction-diffusion domain being deformed with the spatial periodicity of the RD pattern while expanding. This simple method using an iterative pattern could create regular and nested branching patterns. Subsequently, we verified the plausibility of our theoretical model by comparing it with the experimentally observed branching patterns. The results suggested that our model successfully predicted both the qualitative and quantitative aspects of the timing and positioning of branching in growing R. aquatica leaves.
PMCID: PMC4222892  PMID: 25375102
10.  Long-term survival and conditional survival of cancer patients in Japan using population-based cancer registry data 
Cancer Science  2014;105(11):1480-1486.
Although we usually report 5-year cancer survival using population-based cancer registry data, nowadays many cancer patients survive longer and need to be followed-up for more than 5 years. Long-term cancer survival figures are scarce in Japan. Here we report 10-year cancer survival and conditional survival using an established statistical approach. We received data on 1 387 489 cancer cases from six prefectural population-based cancer registries in Japan, diagnosed between 1993 and 2009 and followed-up for at least 5 years. We estimated the 10-year relative survival of patients who were followed-up between 2002 and 2006 using period analysis. Using this 10-year survival, we also calculated the conditional 5-year survival for cancer survivors who lived for some years after diagnosis. We reported 10-year survival and conditional survival of 23 types of cancer for 15–99-year-old patients and four types of cancer for children (0–14 years old) and adolescent and young adults (15–29 years old) patients by sex. Variation in 10-year cancer survival by site was wide, from 5% for pancreatic cancer to 95% for female thyroid cancer. Approximately 70–80% of children and adolescent and young adult cancer patients survived for more than 10 years. Conditional 5-year survival for most cancer sites increased according to years, whereas those for liver cancer and multiple myeloma did not increase. We reported 10-year cancer survival and conditional survival using population-based cancer registries in Japan. It is important for patients and clinicians to report these relevant figures using population-based data.
PMCID: PMC4462379  PMID: 25183551
Cancer; cancer registry; conditional survival; period analysis; survival
11.  Skp2 suppresses apoptosis in Rb1 deficient tumors by limiting E2F1 activity 
Nature communications  2014;5:3463.
One mechanism of tumor suppression by pRb is repressing E2F1. Hence, E2f1 deletion diminishes tumorigenesis following Rb1 loss. However, E2F1 promotes both proliferation and apoptosis. It therefore remains unclear how de-repressed E2F1 promotes tumorigenesis. Another mechanism of pRb function is repressing Skp2 to elevate p27 to arrest proliferation. However, Skp2 deletion induced apoptosis, not proliferation arrest, in Rb1 deficient pituitary tumorigenesis. Here, we show that Rb1 deletion induces higher expression of E2F1 target genes in the absence of Skp2. E2F1 binds less cyclin A but more target promoters when Rb1 is deleted with Skp2 knockout or p27T187A knockin, suggesting that stabilized p27 prevents cyclin A from binding and inhibiting E2F1. In Rb1 deficient pituitary tumorigenesis, Skp2 deletion or p27T187A mutation converts E2F1’s role from proliferative to apoptotic. These findings delineate a pRb-Skp2-p27-cyclin A-E2F1 pathway that determines whether E2F1 is proliferative or apoptotic in Rb1 deficient tumorigenesis.
PMCID: PMC3982150  PMID: 24632684
Skp2 ubiquitin ligase; Rb1 tumor suppressor; E2F1 transcription factor; cyclin A; p27
12.  Hemoglobin Receptor Protein from Porphyromonas gingivalis Induces Interleukin-8 Production in Human Gingival Epithelial Cells through Stimulation of the Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase and NF-κB Signal Transduction Pathways 
Infection and Immunity  2014;82(1):202-211.
Periodontitis is an inflammatory disease of polymicrobial origin affecting the tissues supporting the tooth. The oral anaerobic bacterium Porphyromonas gingivalis, which is implicated as an important pathogen for chronic periodontitis, triggers a series of host inflammatory responses that promote the destruction of periodontal tissues. Among the virulence factors of P. gingivalis, hemoglobin receptor protein (HbR) is a major protein found in culture supernatants. In this study, we investigated the roles of HbR in the production of inflammatory mediators. We found that HbR induced interleukin-8 (IL-8) production in the human gingival epithelial cell line Ca9-22. p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and extracellular signal-related kinase 1/2 (Erk1/2) were activated in HbR-stimulated Ca9-22 cells. Inhibitors of p38 MAPK (SB203580) and Erk1/2 (PD98059) blocked HbR-induced IL-8 production. Additionally, HbR stimulated the translocation of NF-κB-p65 to the nucleus, consistent with enhancement of IL-8 expression by activation of the NF-κB pathway. In addition, small interfering RNA (siRNA) targeting activating transcription factor 2 (ATF-2) or cyclic AMP-response element-binding protein (CREB) inhibited HbR-induced IL-8 production. Moreover, pretreatment with SB203580 and PD98059 reduced HbR-induced phosphorylation of CREB and ATF-2, respectively. Combined pretreatment with an inhibitor of NF-κB (BAY11-7082) and SB203580 was more efficient in inhibiting the ability of HbR to induce IL-8 production than pretreatment with either BAY11-7082 or SB203580 alone. Thus, in Ca9-22 cells, the direct activation of p38 MAPK and Erk1/2 by HbR caused the activation of the transcription factors ATF-2, CREB, and NF-κB, thus resulting in the induction of IL-8 production.
PMCID: PMC3911866  PMID: 24126532
13.  Spatial regulation of VEGF receptor endocytosis in angiogenesis 
Nature cell biology  2013;15(3):249-260.
Activities as diverse as migration, proliferation and patterning occur simultaneously and in a coordinated fashion during tissue morphogenesis. In the growing vasculature, the formation of motile, invasive and filopodia-carrying endothelial sprouts is balanced with the stabilisation of blood-transporting vessels. Here, we show that sprouting endothelial cells in the retina have high rates of VEGF uptake, VEGF receptor endocytosis and turnover. These internalisation processes are opposed by atypical protein kinase C activity in more stable and mature vessels. aPKC phosphorylates Dab2, a clathrin-associated sorting protein that, together with the transmembrane protein ephrin-B2 and the cell polarity regulator PAR-3, enables VEGF receptor endocytosis and downstream signal transduction. Accordingly, VEGF receptor internalisation and the angiogenic growth of vascular beds are defective in loss-of-function mice lacking key components of this regulatory pathway. Our work uncovers how vessel growth is dynamically controlled by local VEGFR endocytosis and the activity of cell polarity proteins.
PMCID: PMC3901019  PMID: 23354168
14.  Sequence Analysis of the Genome of Carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus L.) 
The whole-genome sequence of carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus L.) cv. ‘Francesco’ was determined using a combination of different new-generation multiplex sequencing platforms. The total length of the non-redundant sequences was 568 887 315 bp, consisting of 45 088 scaffolds, which covered 91% of the 622 Mb carnation genome estimated by k-mer analysis. The N50 values of contigs and scaffolds were 16 644 bp and 60 737 bp, respectively, and the longest scaffold was 1 287 144 bp. The average GC content of the contig sequences was 36%. A total of 1050, 13, 92 and 143 genes for tRNAs, rRNAs, snoRNA and miRNA, respectively, were identified in the assembled genomic sequences. For protein-encoding genes, 43 266 complete and partial gene structures excluding those in transposable elements were deduced. Gene coverage was ∼98%, as deduced from the coverage of the core eukaryotic genes. Intensive characterization of the assigned carnation genes and comparison with those of other plant species revealed characteristic features of the carnation genome. The results of this study will serve as a valuable resource for fundamental and applied research of carnation, especially for breeding new carnation varieties. Further information on the genomic sequences is available at
PMCID: PMC4060945  PMID: 24344172
Dianthus caryophyllus L.; carnation; genome sequencing; gene prediction
15.  PKCδ Deficiency Perturbs Bone Homeostasis by Selective Uncoupling of Cathepsin K Secretion and Ruffled Border Formation in Osteoclasts 
Bone homeostasis requires stringent regulation of osteoclasts, which secrete proteolytic enzymes to degrade the bone matrix. Despite recent progress in understanding how bone resorption occurs, the mechanisms regulating osteoclast secretion, and in particular the trafficking route of cathepsin K vesicles, remain elusive. Using a genetic approach, we describe the requirement for PKCδ in regulating bone resorption by affecting cathepsin K exocytosis. Importantly, PKCδ deficiency does not perturb formation of the ruffled border or trafficking of lysosomal vesicles containing the v-ATPase. Mechanistically, we find that cathepsin K exocytosis is controlled by PKCδ through modulation of the actin bundling protein MARCKS. The relevance of our finding is emphasized in vivo as PKCδ−/− mice exhibit increased bone mass and are protected from pathological bone loss in a model of experimental post-menopausal osteoporosis. Collectively, our data provide novel mechanistic insights into the pathways that selectively promote secretion of cathepsin K lysosomes independently of ruffled border formation, providing evidence for the presence of multiple mechanisms that regulate lysosomal exocytosis in osteoclasts.
PMCID: PMC3498518  PMID: 22806935
16.  Genetic Association between Neurotrophin-3 Polymorphisms and Alzheimer's Disease in Japanese Patients 
Some polymorphisms of the neurotrophin family have previously been investigated as candidate genes for Alzheimer's disease (AD). In the present study, we examined whether neurotrophin-3 (NTF-3) polymorphisms are genetic risk factors in patients with AD.
From a sample of 507 subjects, we recruited 248 age-matched subjects divided into 2 groups: AD patients (n = 143) and normal controls (NCs) (n = 105). We identified 3 representative NTF-3 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs): rs6332, rs6489630, and rs4930767. Next, we statistically compared the allele frequencies of each SNP between the AD and NC groups in the early-onset (<65 years) cases under a more limited age-matched condition.
We found a significant association between rs6332 and the total group of AD patients (p = 0.013) and significant associations between both rs6332 (p = 0.033) and rs6489630 (p = 0.035) and early-onset AD patients.
These results suggest that NTF-3 SNPs may not only be associated with AD itself, but also with early-onset AD in Japanese patients, assuming that the NTF-3 gene may have age-related effects on neurodegenerative diseases.
PMCID: PMC3808222  PMID: 24174922
Neurotrophin-3; Single nucleotide polymorphisms; Alzheimer's disease; Neurotrophins; Polymorphism

17.  Loss of Protein Kinase C-δ Protects against LPS-Induced Osteolysis Owing to an Intrinsic Defect in Osteoclastic Bone Resorption 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e70815.
Bone remodeling is intrinsically regulated by cell signaling molecules. The Protein Kinase C (PKC) family of serine/threonine kinases is involved in multiple signaling pathways including cell proliferation, differentiation, apoptosis and osteoclast biology. However, the precise involvement of individual PKC isoforms in the regulation of osteoclast formation and bone homeostasis remains unclear. Here, we identify PKC-δ as the major PKC isoform expressed among all PKCs in osteoclasts; including classical PKCs (−α, −β and −γ), novel PKCs (−δ, −ε, −η and −θ) and atypical PKCs (−ι/λ and −ζ). Interestingly, pharmacological inhibition and genetic ablation of PKC-δ impairs osteoclastic bone resorption in vitro. Moreover, disruption of PKC-δ activity protects against LPS-induced osteolysis in mice, with osteoclasts accumulating on the bone surface failing to resorb bone. Treatment with the PKC-δ inhibitor Rottlerin, blocks LPS-induced bone resorption in mice. Consistently, PKC-δ deficient mice exhibit increased trabeculae bone containing residual cartilage matrix, indicative of an osteoclast-rich osteopetrosis phenotype. Cultured ex vivo osteoclasts derived from PKC-δ null mice exhibit decreased CTX-1 levels and MARKS phosphorylation, with enhanced formation rates. This is accompanied by elevated gene expression levels of cathepsin K and PKC −α, −γ and −ε, as well as altered signaling of pERK and pcSrc416/527 upon RANKL-induction, possibly to compensate for the defects in bone resorption. Collectively, our data indicate that PKC-δ is an intrinsic regulator of osteoclast formation and bone resorption and thus is a potential therapeutic target for pathological osteolysis.
PMCID: PMC3738588  PMID: 23951014
18.  KRAS and MAPK1 Gene Amplification in Type II Ovarian Carcinomas 
In this study, we examined the clinical significance of KRAS and MAPK1 amplification and assessed whether these amplified genes were potential therapeutic targets in type II ovarian carcinoma. Using fluorescence in situ hybridization, immunohistochemistry, and retrospectively collected clinical data, KRAS and MAPK1 amplifications were identified in 9 (13.2%) and 5 (7.4%) of 68 type II ovarian carcinoma tissue samples, respectively. Interestingly, co-amplification of KRAS and MAPK1 seemed to be absent in the type II ovarian carcinomas tested, except one case. Active phospho-ERK1/2 was identified in 26 (38.2%) out of 68 type II ovarian carcinomas and did not correlate with KRAS or MAPK1 amplification. There was no significant relationship between KRAS amplification and overall or progression-free survival in patients with type II ovarian carcinoma. However, patients with MAPK1 amplification had significantly poorer progression-free survival than patients without MAPK1 amplification. Moreover, type II ovarian carcinoma cells with concomitant KRAS amplification and mutation exhibited dramatic growth reduction following treatment with the MEK inhibitor PD0325901. These findings indicate that KRAS/MAPK1 amplification is critical for the growth of a subset of type II ovarian carcinomas. Additionally, RAS/RAF/MEK/ERK pathway-targeted therapy may benefit selected patients with type II ovarian carcinoma harboring KRAS/MAPK1 amplifications.
PMCID: PMC3742215  PMID: 23820584
type II ovarian carcinoma; KRAS; MAPK1; gene amplification; survival; MEK inhibitor
19.  RXR Partial Agonist CBt-PMN Exerts Therapeutic Effects on Type 2 Diabetes without the Side Effects of RXR Full Agonists 
ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters  2012;3(5):427-432.
Treating insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes in rodents, currently known retinoid X receptor (RXR) agonists induce significant adverse effects. Here we introduce a novel RXR partial agonist CBt-PMN (11b), which shows a potent glucose-lowering effect and improvements of insulin secretion and glucose tolerance without the serious adverse effects caused by RXR full agonists. We suggest that RXR partial agonists may be a new class of antitype 2 diabetes drug candidates.
PMCID: PMC4025743  PMID: 24900488
Nuclear receptors; RXR; partial agonists; type 2 diabetes
20.  Endometrial Serous Carcinoma: Its Molecular Characteristics and Histology-Specific Treatment Strategies 
Cancers  2012;4(3):799-807.
Endometrial cancer is the fourth most common malignancy in women, with most cases being classified as early stage endometrioid tumors that carry a favorable prognosis. The endometrial serous histological subtype (ESC), however, while only accounting for 10% of all endometrial cancers is responsible for a disproportionate number of deaths. Unlike the estrogen-dependent, well differentiated endometrioid tumors, which are commonly associated with a younger age of onset, ESCs are estrogen-independent and tend to present at an advanced stage and in older women. Treatment for ESC entails aggressive surgery and multimodal adjuvant therapy. In this review, we describe the clinical behavior, molecular aspects, and treatment strategies for ESC.
PMCID: PMC3712707  PMID: 24213467
endometrial serous carcinoma; endometrial carcinoma; Type II endometrial carcinoma; estrogen independent
21.  Novel Antiviral Characteristics of Nanosized Copper(I) Iodide Particles Showing Inactivation Activity against 2009 Pandemic H1N1 Influenza Virus 
We investigated the antiviral activity of nanosized copper(I) iodide (CuI) particles having an average size of 160 nm. CuI particles showed aqueous stability and generated hydroxyl radicals, which were probably derived from monovalent copper (Cu+). We confirmed that CuI particles showed antiviral activity against an influenza A virus of swine origin (pandemic [H1N1] 2009) by plaque titration assay. The virus titer decreased in a dose-dependent manner upon incubation with CuI particles, with the 50% effective concentration being approximately 17 μg/ml after exposure for 60 min. SDS-PAGE analysis confirmed the inactivation of the virus due to the degradation of viral proteins such as hemagglutinin and neuraminidase by CuI. Electron spin resonance (ESR) spectroscopy revealed that CuI generates hydroxyl radicals in aqueous solution, and radical production was found to be blocked by the radical scavenger N-acetylcysteine. Taken together, these findings indicate that CuI particles exert antiviral activity by generating hydroxyl radicals. Thus, CuI may be a useful material for protecting against viral attacks and may be suitable for applications such as filters, face masks, protective clothing, and kitchen cloths.
PMCID: PMC3272987  PMID: 22156433
22.  EGFR gene amplification is related to adverse clinical outcomes in cervical squamous cell carcinoma, making the EGFR pathway a novel therapeutic target 
British Journal of Cancer  2011;105(3):420-427.
The aim of this study was to investigate the patterns of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) overexpression, EGFR gene amplification, and the presence of activating mutations in the tyrosine kinase domain of this gene in squamous cell carcinomas and adenocarcinomas/adenosquamous carcinomas of the uterine cervix.
The EGFR expression, amplification, and mutation in cervical carcinomas were assessed by immunohistochemistry, fluorescence in situ hybridisation, and PCR–SSCP, respectively, and correlated with clinical data collected by a retrospective chart review. A functional assessment was performed by inactivating EGFR in cervical cancer cells with the potent inhibitor AG1478.
Immunohistochemical analysis revealed that 6 out of 59 (10.2%) cervical squamous cell carcinomas showed significant amplification of the EGFR locus, whereas none of the 52 adeno/adenosquamous cell carcinomas had detectable EGFR amplification (P<0.05). The EGFR amplification significantly correlated with shorter overall survival (P=0.001) in cervical squamous cell carcinomas. Multivariate analysis showed that EGFR gene amplification was an independent prognostic factor for overall survival (P=0.011). None of the squamous cell carcinomas (0%: 0 out of 32) had detectable oncogenic mutations in EGFR exons 18 through 21. The frequencies of KRAS and BRAF mutations were very low in both squamous and adeno/adenosquamous cell carcinomas. Sensitivity of cervical cancer cells to AG1478 depended on the presence of EGFR overexpression. AG1478-induced EGFR inactivation in cell lines with EGFR overexpression significantly suppressed tumour development and progression in a mouse xenograft model.
Our data suggest that EGFR signalling is important in a subset of cervical squamous cell carcinomas and that anti-EGFR therapy may benefit patients who carry the 7p11.2 amplicon in their tumours.
PMCID: PMC3172895  PMID: 21730982
cervical cancer; EGFR; gene amplification; survival; squamous cell carcinoma; adenocarcinoma/adenosquamous carcinoma
23.  SCFFbw7 Modulates the NFκB Signaling Pathway by Targeting NFκB2 for Ubiquitination and Destruction 
Cell reports  2012;1(5):434-443.
The NFκB/Rel family of proteins play critical roles in a variety of cellular processes. Thus, their physiological activation is tightly controlled. Recently, the NFκB2/p100 precursor has been characterized as the fourth IκB type of suppressor for NFκB. However, the molecular mechanism(s) underlying regulated destruction of NFκB2 remains largely unknown. Here, we report that, unlike other IκBs, ubiquitination and destruction of NFκB2 are governed by SCFFbw7 in a GSK3-dependent manner. In Fbw7−/− cells, elevated expression of NFκB2/p100 leads to a subsequent reduction in NFκB signaling pathways and elevated sensitivity to TNFα-induced cell death. Reintroducing wild-type Fbw7, but not disease-derived mutant forms of Fbw7, rescues NFκBactivity. Furthermore, T cell-specific depletion of Fbw7 also leads to reduced NFκB activity and perturbed T cell differentiation. Therefore, our work identifies Fbw7 as a physiological E3 ligase controlling NFκB2′s stability. It further implicates that Fbw7 might exert its tumor-suppressor function by regulating NFκB activity.
PMCID: PMC3375724  PMID: 22708077
24.  The Amelioration of Renal Damage in Skp2-Deficient Mice Canceled by p27 Kip1 Deficiency in Skp2−/− p27−/− Mice 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(4):e36249.
SCF-Skp2 E3 ubiquitin ligase (Skp2 hereafter) targets several cell cycle regulatory proteins for degradation via the ubiquitin-dependent pathway. However, the target-specific physiological functions of Skp2 have not been fully elucidated in kidney diseases. We previously reported an increase in Skp2 in progressive nephropathy and amelioration of unilateral ureteral obstruction (UUO) renal injury associated with renal accumulation of p27 in Skp2−/− mice. However, it remains unclear whether the amelioration of renal injury in Skp2−/− mice is solely caused by p27 accumulation, since Skp2 targets several other proteins. Using Skp2−/−p27−/− mice, we investigated whether Skp2 specifically targets p27 in the progressive nephropathy mediated by UUO. In contrast to the marked suppression of UUO renal injury in Skp2−/− mice, progression of tubular dilatation associated with tubular epithelial cell proliferation and tubulointerstitial fibrosis with increased expression of collagen and α-smooth muscle actin were observed in the obstructed kidneys in Skp2−/−p27−/− mice. No significant increases in other Skp2 target proteins including p57, p130, TOB1, cyclin A and cyclin D1 were noted in the UUO kidney in Skp2−/− mice, while p21, c-Myc, b-Myb and cyclin E were slightly increased. Contrary to the ameliorated UUO renal injure by Skp2-deficiency, the amelioration was canceled by the additional p27-deficiency in Skp2−/−p27−/− mice. These findings suggest a pathogenic role of the reduction in p27 targeted by Skp2 in the progression of nephropathy in UUO mice.
PMCID: PMC3338689  PMID: 22558406
25.  Deregulation of the p57-E2F1-p53 Axis Results in Nonobstructive Hydrocephalus and Cerebellar Malformation in Mice ▿ 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2011;31(20):4176-4192.
The cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor (CKI) p57Kip2 plays a pivotal role in cell cycle arrest during development, in particular, in the regulation of the entry of proliferating progenitors into quiescence. The gene encoding p57 undergoes genomic imprinting, and impairment of the regulation of p57 expression results in various developmental anomalies in humans and mice. We now show that p57 is expressed predominantly in the subcommissural organ and cerebellar interneurons in the mouse brain and that mice with brain-specific deletion of the p57 gene (Kip2) manifest prominent nonobstructive hydrocephalus as well as cerebellar malformation associated with the loss of Pax2-positive interneuron precursors and their descendants, including Golgi cells and γ-aminobutyric acid-containing neurons of the deep cerebellar nuclei. These abnormalities were found to be attributable to massive apoptosis of precursor cells in the developing brain. The morphological defects of the p57-deficient mice were corrected by knock-in of the gene for the related CKI p27Kip1 at the Kip2 locus. The abnormalities were also prevented by additional genetic ablation of p53 or E2F1. Our results thus implicate p57 in cell cycle arrest in the subcommissural organ and Pax2-positive interneuron precursors, with the lack of p57 resulting in induction of p53-dependent apoptosis due to hyperactivation of E2F1.
PMCID: PMC3187288  PMID: 21844226

Results 1-25 (1731)