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1.  Sustained inhibition of PKCα reduces intravasation and lung seeding during mammary tumor metastasis in an in vivo mouse model 
Oncogene  2010;30(3):323-333.
Metastasis is the major reason for breast cancer-related deaths. Although there is a host of indirect evidence for a role of PKCα in primary breast cancer growth, its role in the molecular pathways leading to metastasis have not been comprehensively studied. By treating mice with αV5-3, a novel peptide inhibitor selective for PKCα, we were able to determine how PKCα regulates metastasis of mammary cancer cells using a syngeneic and orthotopic model. The primary tumor growth was not affected by αV5-3 treatment. However, the mortality rate was reduced and metastasis in the lung decreased by more than 90% in the αV5-3-treated mice relative to the control-treated mice. αV5-3 treatment reduced intravasation by reducing MMP-9 activities. αV5-3 treatment also reduced lung seeding of tumor cells and decreased cell migration, effects that were accompanied by a reduction in NFκB-activity and cell surface levels of the CXCL12 receptor, CXCR4. αV5-3 treatment caused no apparent toxicity in non-tumor bearing naïve mice. Rather, inhibiting PKCα protected against liver damage and increased the number of immune cells in tumor-bearing mice. Importantly, αV5-3 showed superior efficacy relative to anti-CXCR4 antibody in reducing metastasis, in vivo. Together, these data show that pharmacological inhibition of PKCα effectively reduces mammary cancer metastasis by targeting intravasation and lung seeding steps in the metastatic process and suggest that PKCα-specific inhibitors, such as αV5-3, can be used to study the mechanistic roles of PKCα specifically and may provide a safe and effective treatment for the prevention of lung metastasis of breast cancer patients.
doi:10.1038/onc.2010.415
PMCID: PMC3767436  PMID: 20856202
bioluminescence; mammary cancer; metastasis and protein kinase C
2.  ALDH2 Activator Inhibits Increased Myocardial Infarction Injury by Nitroglycerin Tolerance 
Science translational medicine  2011;3(107):107ra111.
Nitroglycerin, which helps impaired cardiac function as it is converted to nitric oxide, is used worldwide to treat patients with various ischemic and congestive cardiac diseases, including angina pectoris. Nevertheless, after continuous treatment, the benefits of nitroglycerin are limited by the development of tolerance to the drug. Nitroglycerin tolerance is a result of inactivation of aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2), an enzyme essential for cardioprotection in animals subjected to myocardial infarction (MI). Here we tested the hypothesis that the tolerance that develops as a result of sustained nitroglycerin treatment increases cardiac injury by subsequent MI. In a rat model of MI, 16 hours of prior, sustained nitroglycerin treatment (7.2 mg/kg/day) resulted in infarcts that were twice as large as those in untreated control animals and in diminished cardiac function at 3 days and 2 weeks after the MI. We also sought to identify a potential treatment to protect against this increased cardiac damage. Nitroglycerin inhibited ALDH2 activity in vitro, an effect that was blocked by Alda-1, an activator of ALDH2. Co-administration of Alda-1 (16 mg/kg/day) with the nitroglycerin prevented the nitroglycerin-induced increase in cardiac dysfunction after MI in rats, at least in part by enhancing metabolism of reactive aldehyde adducts that impair normal protein functions. If our animal studies showing that nitroglycerin tolerance increases cardiac injury upon ischemic insult are corroborated in humans, activators of ALDH2 such as Alda-1 may help to protect MI patients from this nitroglycerin-induced increase in cardiac injury, while maintaining the cardiac benefits of the increased nitric oxide concentrations produced by nitroglycerin.
doi:10.1126/scitranslmed.3002067
PMCID: PMC3547591  PMID: 22049071
3.  Mitochondrial import of PKCε is mediated by HSP90: a role in cardioprotection from ischaemia and reperfusion injury 
Cardiovascular Research  2010;88(1):83-92.
Aims
Protein kinase C epsilon (PKCε) is critical for cardiac protection from ischaemia and reperfusion (IR) injury. PKCε substrates that mediate cytoprotection reside in the mitochondria. However, the mechanism enabling mitochondrial translocation and import of PKCε to enable phosphorylation of these substrates is not known. Heat shock protein 90 (HSP90) is a cytoprotective protein chaperone that participates in mitochondrial import of a number of proteins. Here, we investigated the role of HSP90 in mitochondrial import of PKCε.
Methods and results
Using an ex vivo perfused rat heart model of IR, we found that PKCε translocates from the cytosol to the mitochondrial fraction following IR. Immunogold electron microscopy and mitochondrial fractionation demonstrated that following IR, mitochondrial PKCε is localized within the mitochondria, on the inner mitochondrial membrane. Pharmacological inhibition of HSP90 prevented IR-induced interaction between PKCε and the translocase of the outer membrane (Tom20), reduced mitochondrial import of PKCε, and increased necrotic cell death by ∼70%. Using a rational approach, we designed a 7-amino acid peptide activator of PKCε, derived from an HSP90 homologous sequence located in the C2 domain of PKCε (termed ψεHSP90). Treatment with this peptide (conjugated to the cell permeating TAT protein-derived peptide, TAT47–57) increased PKCε–HSP90 protein–protein interaction, enhanced mitochondrial translocation of PKCε, increased phosphorylation and activity of an intra-mitochondrial PKCε substrate, aldehyde dehydrogenase 2, and reduced cardiac injury in ex vivo and in vivo models of myocardial infarction.
Conclusion
Our results suggest that HSP90-mediated mitochondrial import of PKCε plays an important role in the protection of the myocardium from IR injury.
doi:10.1093/cvr/cvq154
PMCID: PMC2936125  PMID: 20558438
Protein kinase C epsilon; Mitochondria; Protein–protein interaction; Ischaemia reperfusion; Heat shock protein 90
4.  Mitochondrial aldehyde dehydrogenase and cardiac diseases 
Cardiovascular Research  2010;88(1):51-57.
Numerous conditions promote oxidative stress, leading to the build-up of reactive aldehydes that cause cell damage and contribute to cardiac diseases. Aldehyde dehydrogenases (ALDHs) are important enzymes that eliminate toxic aldehydes by catalysing their oxidation to non-reactive acids. The review will discuss evidence indicating a role for a specific ALDH enzyme, the mitochondrial ALDH2, in combating oxidative stress by reducing the cellular ‘aldehydic load’. Epidemiological studies in humans carrying an inactive ALDH2, genetic models in mice with altered ALDH2 levels, and small molecule activators of ALDH2 all highlight the role of ALDH2 in cardioprotection and suggest a promising new direction in cardiovascular research and the development of new treatments for cardiovascular diseases.
doi:10.1093/cvr/cvq192
PMCID: PMC2936126  PMID: 20558439
ALDH2; Mitochondria; Ischaemia; Nitroglycerin; Alda-1
5.  Protein kinase C in heart failure: a therapeutic target? 
Cardiovascular Research  2009;82(2):229-239.
Heart failure (HF) afflicts about 5 million people and causes 300 000 deaths a year in the United States alone. An integral part of the pathogenesis of HF is cardiac remodelling, and the signalling events that regulate it are a subject of intense research. Cardiac remodelling is the sum of responses of the heart to causes of HF, such as ischaemia, myocardial infarction, volume and pressure overload, infection, inflammation, and mechanical injury. These responses, including cardiomyocyte hypertrophy, myocardial fibrosis, and inflammation, involve numerous cellular and structural changes and ultimately result in a progressive decline in cardiac performance. Pharmacological and genetic manipulation of cultured heart cells and animal models of HF and the analysis of cardiac samples from patients with HF are all used to identify the molecular and cellular mechanisms leading to the disease. Protein kinase C (PKC) isozymes, a family of serine–threonine protein kinase enzymes, were found to regulate a number of cardiac responses, including those associated with HF. In this review, we describe the PKC isozymes that play critical roles in specific aspects of cardiac remodelling and dysfunction in HF.
doi:10.1093/cvr/cvp001
PMCID: PMC2675930  PMID: 19168855
Protein kinase C; Heart failure; Cardiac remodeling; Hypertrophy; Fibrosis and inflammation

Results 1-5 (5)