Bone morphogenetic protein 6 (BMP6) has been identified as crucial regulator of iron homeostasis. However, its further role in liver pathology including non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and its advanced form non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is elusive. The aim of this study was to investigate the expression and function of BMP6 in chronic liver disease.
Several recent studies have shown evidence supporting the general knowledge that tumour cells exhibit changes in metabolism. It is becoming increasingly important to understand how these metabolic changes in tumour cells promote carcinogenesis and disease progression. We recently discovered a lack of methylthioadenosine phosphorylase (MTAP) expression in melanoma, which resulted in an accumulation of the metabolite 5'-methylthioadenosine (MTA) in melanoma cells and in the extracellular environment. MTA was shown to affect cell proliferation of surrounding stroma cells and cell invasiveness and the activation of the transcription factor activator protein-1 (AP-1) in melanoma cells. In this study, we addressed the regulation of cellular signalling by extracellular MTA accumulation. By focusing on putative receptors that could modulate MTA signalling, we identified the adenosine receptor ADORA2B as an important candidate. Knockdown experiments and the use of specific agonists and antagonists confirmed a link between MTA and AP-1 signalling through the ADORA2B receptor. Interestingly, stimulation of the cells with MTA did not result in activation of the classical cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) signalling cascades or in Ca(2+)-dependent signalling. We instead showed protein kinase C (PKC) signalling to be involved in MTA-mediated AP-1 activation. In summary, we identified ADORA2B to be the specific receptor and signalling pathway for the metabolite MTA. These findings may influence the use of MTA in a therapeutic manner.
In human cancers, giant cadherin FAT1 may function both, as an oncogene and a tumor suppressor. Here, we investigated the expression and function of FAT1 in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). FAT1 expression was increased in human HCC cell lines and tissues compared with primary human hepatocytes and non-tumorous liver tissue as assessed by quantitative PCR and western blot analysis. Combined immunohistochemical and tissue microarray analysis showed a significant correlation of FAT1 expression with tumor stage and proliferation. Suppression of FAT1 expression by short hairpin RNA impaired proliferation and migration as well as apoptosis resistance of HCC cells in vitro. In nude mice, tumors formed by FAT1-suppressed HCC cells showed a delayed onset and more apoptosis compared with tumors of control cells. Both hepatocyte growth factor and hypoxia-mediated hypoxia-inducible factor 1 alpha activation were identified as strong inducers of FAT1 in HCC. Moreover, demethylating agents induced FAT1 expression in HCC cells. Hypoxia lead to reduced levels of the methyl group donor S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAM) and hypoxia-induced FAT1 expression was inhibited by SAM supplementation in HCC cells. Together, these findings indicate that FAT1 expression in HCC is regulated via promotor methylation. FAT1 appears as relevant mediator of hypoxia and growth receptor signaling to critical tumorigenic pathways in HCC. This knowledge may facilitate the rational design of novel therapeutics against this highly aggressive malignancy.
The transcription factor SOX10 (SRY (sex determining region Y)-box 10) has a key role in the embryonic development of melanocytes. Recently, it has been suggested that SOX10 is highly relevant for melanoma development and survival. However, the distinct functions and downstream targets of SOX10 in melanoma remain widely unknown. In this study, we inhibited SOX10 via RNA interference in different human melanoma cell lines and found a significantly reduced invasion capacity in vitro and in the chick embryo model. At later time points, SOX10 inhibition reduced proliferation and induced cell death. We identified melanoma inhibitory activity (MIA) as a direct target gene of SOX10, which is an essential protein for melanoma cell migration and invasion. Expression levels of SOX10 and MIA strictly correlated in melanoma cell lines, and SOX10 inhibition reduced MIA expression and promoter activity. Direct binding of SOX10 to the MIA promoter was demonstrated by electrophoretic mobility shift assay and chromatin immunoprecipitation. Ectopic expression of MIA in SOX10-inhibited melanoma cells restored the invasion capacity, supporting the hypothesis that MIA is responsible for SOX10-mediated melanoma cell invasion. Our data provide evidence for a critical role of SOX10 in melanoma cell invasion through the regulation of MIA and highlight its role as a therapeutic target in melanoma.
Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer, being largely resistant to conventional therapies at advanced stages. Understanding the molecular mechanisms behind this disease might be the key for the development of novel therapeutic strategies. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNAs that post-transcriptionally control gene expression, thereby regulating various cellular signaling pathways involved in the initiation and progression of different cancer types, including melanoma. In this review, we summarize approaches for the identification of candidate miRNAs and their target genes and review the functions of miRNAs in melanoma. Finally, we highlight the recent progress in pre-clinical use of miRNAs as prognostic markers and therapeutic targets.
Transport and Golgi organisation protein 1 (TANGO), also known as MIA3, belongs to the melanoma inhibitory activity (MIA) gene family. Although MIA acts as an oncogene, MIA2 and TANGO have a tumour-suppressive function in several malignancies; accordingly, the role and function of the MIA gene family in tumours remain controversial. Here the roles of TANGO were investigated in oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC). We analysed expression and function of TANGO in human OSCC cell lines. TANGO expression was also examined in 171 cases of primary OSCC by immunohistochemistry and statistically assessed the correlation between TANGO positivity and the clinicopathological parameters including vessel density. By TANGO knockdown in OSCC cells, the growth and invasion were repressed and apoptosis was induced. Activities of platelet-derived growth factor beta polypeptide (PDGFB) and Neuropilin2 were inhibited by TANGO knockdown. TANGO immunoreactivity was detected in 35.1% (60/171) cases of OSCC. TANGO expression was strongly associated with tumour progression, nodal metastasis, clinical stage and number of blood or lymph vessels in OSCC. Patients showing TANGO-expression fared significantly worse disease-free survival than cases without TANGO expression. These findings suggest that TANGO might promote angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis by upregulation of PDGFB and Neuropilin2 in OSCC.
High-grade gliomas are amongst the most deadly human tumors. Treatment results are disappointing. Still, in several trials around 20% of patients respond to therapy. To date, diagnostic strategies to identify patients that will profit from a specific therapy do not exist.
In a recent study we determined a strong differential expression of DCC in OA compared to normal chondrocytes and a strong impact of the DCC receptor on cellular mobility triggered by its ligand Netrin-1. Migration of chondrocytes or their progenitor cells may play a role in remodeling of cartilage and pathological conditions. The purpose of this study is to identify subsets of chondrocytes expressing DCC and to understand signaling pathways used by DCC in chondrocytes.
Malignant melanoma is a highly aggressive cancer with a very poor prognosis after the onset of metastasis. We have previously demonstrated that the protein melanoma inhibitory activity (MIA) is involved in the metastasis of and immunosuppression in malignant melanoma. Recently, we further established MIA as a therapeutic target to inhibit metastatic spread in malignant melanoma. We could show that an inhibition of MIA by a synthetic peptide decreased both the number of metastases as well as immunosuppression in a murine model of malignant melanoma. To control recurrence after surgical resection of a primary lesion, it is paramount to have diagnostic tools available that can detect a relapse due to the strong metastatic potential of melanoma. This follow-up is maintained with periodic re-examinations. Due to high cost and the associated radiation exposure, radiology examinations are avoided if possible. The analysis of prognostic markers in patient serum is therefore attractive. In this review, we focus on the quantitative analysis of the MIA protein as a prognostic tool because it has proven to be a useful serum marker for documenting disease progression of malignant melanoma. The MIA quantification assay itself is readily performed using an ELISA kit and common laboratory equipment. Because analysing MIA serum levels in combination with other established markers such as S100B improves their prognostic value, we feel that the quantification of MIA in the serum, among other markers, should be performed as a general standard of care in patients at risk of developing metastatic melanoma.
Recent in vitro analysis of MIA/CD-RAP-deficient (MIA(-/-)) mesenchymal stem cells revealed altered chondrogenic differentiation, characterised by enhanced proliferation and delayed differentiation. However, adult MIA(-/-) mice develop normally and show only ultrastructural defects of the cartilage but no major abnormalities. We therefore focused, in this study, on chondrogenesis in vivo in MIA(-/-) mouse embryos to reveal potential molecular changes during embryogenesis and possible redundant mechanisms, which explain the almost normal phenotype despite MIA/CD-RAP loss. In situ hybridisation analysis revealed larger expression areas of Col2a1 and Sox9 positive, proliferating chondrocytes at day 15.5 and 16.5 of embryogenesis in MIA(-/-) mice. The initially diminished zone of Col10a1-expressing hypertrophic chondrocytes at day 15.5 was compensated at day 16.5 in MIA(-/-) embryos. Supported by in vitro studies using mesenchymal stem cells, we discovered that chondrogenesis in MIA(-/-) mice is modified by enhanced Sox9, Sox6 and AP-2? expression. Finally, we identified reduced AP1 and CRE activity, analysed by reporter gene- and electrophoretic mobility shift assays, important for redundancy mechanism which rescued delayed hypertrophic differentiation and allows normal development of MIA(-/-) mice. In summary, as observed in other knockout models of molecules important for cartilage development and differentiation, viability and functional integrity is reached by remarkable molecular redundancy in MIA/CD-RAP knockout mice.
Melanoma inhibitory activity (MIA), a small soluble secreted protein, is functionally important for progression of malignant melanoma. We recently revealed that p54(nrb) acts as a mediator of MIA action. In this study, we characterize the transcriptional regulation of p54(nrb) by MIA to explain MIAs molecular action. We identified one highly conserved region in the p54(nrb) promoter that is necessary and sufficient for MIA-dependent activation. Functional promoter analysis identified the transcription factor YBX1 as the mediator of MIA activation of p54(nrb) transcription. We screened the genome for further potential MIA-regulated genes carrying the element in their promoter regions. Integrating our sequence data with expression data from human melanomas identified a list of 23 potential MIA-YBX1 targets in melanomas. In summary, we present for the first time effects of MIA on transcriptional regulation. Uncovering new potential downstream effectors working via activation of YBX1 supports the important role of MIA in melanoma.
Over the past few years, the application of cold atmospheric plasma (CAP) in medicine has developed into an innovative field of research of rapidly growing importance. One promising new medical application of CAP is cancer treatment. Different studies revealed that CAP may potentially affect the cell cycle and cause cell apoptosis or necrosis in tumor cells dependent on the CAP device and doses. In this study, we used a novel hand-held and battery-operated CAP device utilizing the surface micro discharge (SMD) technology for plasma production in air and consequently analysed dose-dependent CAP treatment effects on melanoma cells. After 2 min of CAP treatment, we observed irreversible cell inactivation. Phospho-H2AX immunofluorescence staining and Flow cytometric analysis demonstrated that 2 min of CAP treatment induces DNA damage, promotes induction of Sub-G1 phase and strongly increases apoptosis. Further, protein array technology revealed induction of pro-apoptotic events like p53 and Rad17 phosphorylation of Cytochrome c release and activation of Caspase-3. Interestingly, using lower CAP doses with 1 min of treatment, almost no apoptosis was observed but long-term inhibition of proliferation. H3K9 immunofluorescence, SA-ß-Gal staining and p21 expression revealed that especially these low CAP doses induce senescence in melanoma cells. In summary, we observed differences in induction of apoptosis or senescence of tumor cells in respond to different CAP doses using a new CAP device. The mechanism of senescence with regard to plasma therapy was so far not described previously and is of great importance for therapeutic application of CAP.
MIA/CD-RAP is a small, secreted protein involved in cartilage differentiation and melanoma progression. We recently revealed that p54(nrb) acts as a mediator of MIA/CD-RAP action to promote chondrogenesis and the progression of malignant melanoma. As the molecular mechanism of MIA/CD-RAP action in cartilage has not been defined in detail until now, we aimed to understand the regulation of p54(nrb) transcription in chondrogenesis. We concentrated on the previously described MIA/CD-RAP-dependent regulatory region in the p54(nrb) promoter and characterized the transcriptional regulation of p54(nrb) by MIA/CD-RAP in cartilage. A series of truncated p54(nrb) promoter constructs and mutagenesis analysis revealed that the transcription factor YBX1, which has not been investigated in chondrogenesis thus far, is the mediator of MIA/CD-RAP dependent activation of p54(nrb) transcription. A systematic analysis of genes carrying this binding site in their promoter region revealed further potential MIA/CD-RAP-regulated genes that have been implicated in cartilage differentiation. In summary, we described the effects of MIA/CD-RAP on transcriptional regulation in chondrocytes. Understanding the regulation of p54(nrb) via YBX1 contributes to the understanding of chondrogenesis. Uncovering new downstream effectors that function via the activation of YBX1 supports the important role of MIA/CD-RAP in these processes.
High-density cell culture is widely used for the analysis of cartilage development of human mesenchymal stem cells (HMSCs) in vitro. Several cell culture systems, as micromass, pellet culture and alginate culture, are applied by groups in the field to induce chondrogenic differentiation of HMSCs. A draw back of all model systems is the high amount of cells necessary for the experiments. Further, handling of large experimental approaches is difficult due to culturing e.g. in 15 ml tubes. Therefore, we aimed to develop a new model system based on "hanging drop" cultures using 10 to 100 fold less cells. Here, we demonstrate that differentiation of chondrogenic cells was induced as previously shown in other model systems. Real time RT-PCR analysis demonstrated that Collagen type II and MIA/CD-RAP were upregulated during culturing whereas for induction of hypertrophic markers like Collagen type X and AP-2 epsilon treatment with TGF beta was needed. To further test the system, siRNA against Sox9 was used and effects on chondrogenic gene expression were evaluated. In summary, the hanging drop culture system was determined to be a promising tool for in vitro chondrogenic studies.
Cold atmospheric plasma (CAP) has the potential to interact with tissue or cells leading to fast, painless and efficient disinfection and furthermore has positive effects on wound healing and tissue regeneration. For clinical implementation it is necessary to examine how CAP improves wound healing and which molecular changes occur after the CAP treatment. In the present study we used the second generation MicroPlaSter ß® in analogy to the current clinical standard (2 min treatment time) in order to determine molecular changes induced by CAP using in vitro cell culture studies with human fibroblasts and an in vivo mouse skin wound healing model. Our in vitro analysis revealed that the CAP treatment induces the expression of important key genes crucial for the wound healing response like IL-6, IL-8, MCP-1, TGF-ß1, TGF-ß2, and promotes the production of collagen type I and alpha-SMA. Scratch wound healing assays showed improved cell migration, whereas cell proliferation analyzed by XTT method, and the apoptotic machinery analyzed by protein array technology, was not altered by CAP in dermal fibroblasts. An in vivo wound healing model confirmed that the CAP treatment affects above mentioned genes involved in wound healing, tissue injury and repair. Additionally, we observed that the CAP treatment improves wound healing in mice, no relevant side effects were detected. We suggest that improved wound healing might be due to the activation of a specified panel of cytokines and growth factors by CAP. In summary, our in vitro human and in vivo animal data suggest that the 2 min treatment with the MicroPlaSter ß® is an effective technique for activating wound healing relevant molecules in dermal fibroblasts leading to improved wound healing, whereas the mechanisms which contribute to these observed effects have to be further investigated.
An important phenomenon observed in glioma metabolism is increased aerobic glycolysis in tumor cells, which is generally referred to as the Warburg effect. Transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta2, which we previously showed to be induced by lactic acid, is a key pathophysiological factor in glioblastoma, leading to increased invasion and severe local immunosuppression after proteolytic cleavage from its latency associated peptide. In this study we tested the hypothesis, that lactate regulates TGF-beta2 expression and glioma cell migration via induction of Thrombospondin-1 (THBS-1), a TGF-beta activating protein.
Cell-cell communication is necessary for the crosstalk between cells that constitute multicellular organisms and is essential for cells to coordinate their physiological behavior to create cohesive tissues. Cellular crosstalk is not only controlled by molecules, like growth factors, hormones, ions and G-proteins, etc. but also by cell-cell contacts. These contacts are essential for intercellular communication and are involved in survival, apoptosis, proliferation, differentiation and homeostasis of entire tissues. In polarized epithelia of vertebrates, the adherent junction is part of the tripartite junctional complex that is localized at the juxtaluminal region, which includes tight junctions (including claudins, occludins, and zonula occludens proteins), desmosomal junctions (including desmogleins), and adherent junctions. In focus of the manuscript are adherent molecules of the cadherin superfamily of the skin. In the normal epidermis, melanocytes and keratinocytes are mostly connected via E-cadherin, P-cadherin and H-cadherin [1-3]. Melanocytes that reside in the basal layer of the epidermis predominantly contain E-cadherin and H-cadherin, whereas those that reside in the hair follicles are rich in P-cadherin . The regulation and role of E-cadherin during melanoma development will be the focus of this review.
Several of the different bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) are involved in development and progression of specific tumors. For hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) only BMP4 and BMP6 are described to be important for carcinogenesis. However, up to now neither the influence of other BMPs on tumor progression, nor the responsible signaling pathways to mediate target gene expression in HCC are known. In order to characterize BMP expression pattern in HCC cell lines, we performed RT-PCR analysis and revealed enhanced expression levels of several BMPs (BMP4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13 and 15) in HCC. Thus, we treated HCC cells with the general BMP inhibitors chordin and noggin to determine the functional relevance of BMP overexpression and observed decreased migration and invasion of HCC cells. A cDNA microarray of noggin treated HCC cells was performed to analyze downstream targets of BMPs mediating these oncogenic functions. Subsequent analysis identified collagen XVI as Smad signaling specific and nidogen-2 as MAPK/ERK signaling specific BMP-target genes. To examine which signaling pathway is mainly responsible for the oncogenic role of BMPs in HCC, we treated HCC cells with dorsomorphin to determine the influence of BMP activated Smad signaling. Interestingly, also migratory and invasive behavior of dorsomorphin treated HCC cells was diminished. In summary, our findings demonstrate enhanced expression levels of several BMPs in HCC supporting enhanced migratory and invasive phenotype of HCC cells mainly via activation of Smad signaling.
Recently, we revealed that bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) 4 is increased in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Furthermore, latest reports described BMPs, in particular BMP6, as important regulators of hepcidin expression in iron homeostasis. Therefore, we aimed to unravel why enhanced BMP expression in HCC patients does not lead to severe changes in iron metabolism. Initial analysis of the BMP4 and BMP6 expression patterns revealed enhanced expression on mRNA and protein level in HCC cell lines and tissue samples compared with primary human hepatocytes (PHHs) and normal liver tissues. However and interestingly, hepcidin expression was reduced in HCC cell lines and tissues. Analysis of BMP6 receptor expression revealed loss of BMP6-specific receptor subunit in HCC. To identify a possible regulatory mechanism causing lack of reaction to BMP4 we analyzed the expression of hemojuvelin (HJV), which is involved in iron metabolism as BMP co-receptor. HJV expression was markedly decreased in HCC cell lines and tissues. HJV promoter analysis revealed potential HNF-1? and snail-binding sites, but functional analysis ruled out that these transcriptional regulators or promoter methylation are the cause of HJV downregulation in HCC. However, we identified AU-rich elements in the HJV 3-untranslated region and revealed significantly faster decay of HJV mRNA in HCC cells as compared with PHH indicating decreased mRNA-stability as the reason for the loss of HJV expression in HCC.
Recently, we discovered that the loss of E-cadherin induces c-Jun protein expression, which is a member of the AP-1 transcription factor family and a key player in the processes of cell proliferation and tumor development and also found in elevated levels in melanomas. Notably, the mRNA level of c-Jun was not affected, suggesting that c-Jun is regulated at post-transcriptional level. Here, we present data that suggest that the dynamic cytoskeletal network, linked to E-cadherin, is involved in the regulation of the c-Jun protein and transcriptional activity. In a signaling cascade, the loss of E-cadherin activates the transcriptional regulator ETS-1 and consequently leads to the induction of RhoC expression that stabilizes c-Jun in melanoma. The link between RhoC and c-Jun seems to be indirect via the cytoskeleton. We conclude that the loss of E-cadherin mediated cell-adhesion induces c-Jun protein expression in a multistep process, offering several possibilities for therapeutic intervention.
Nuclear RNA-binding protein p54(nrb) and its murine homolog NonO are known to be involved in a variety of nuclear processes including transcription and RNA processing. Melanoma inhibitory activity (MIA) has been shown to play an essential role in the progression of malignant melanoma and to influence melanoma-associated molecules and pathways in the early tumor formation steps. Interestingly, recent studies suggest that MIA is a regulator of p54(nrb). Here, we show that p54(nrb) is strongly expressed and localized in the nucleus of both melanoma cell lines and melanoma tissue samples compared with normal human melanocytes or normal skin, respectively. Furthermore, all tested melanoma cell lines revealed strong p54(nrb) promoter activity. Treatment with MIA-specific small interfering RNAs showed an influence of MIA on p54(nrb) expression on both messenger RNA (mRNA) and protein level. Knockdown of p54(nrb) protein in melanoma cell lines led to reduced proliferation rates and to a strong decrease in their migratory potential. In addition, attachment to laminin and poly-l-lysine was significantly increased. We could identify Connexin-43 (Cx-43) as a downstream target molecule of p54(nrb) as knockdown of p54(nrb) resulted in enhanced Cx-43 mRNA and protein levels. As a confirmation of these findings, melanoma cell lines showed very low Cx-43 expression levels compared with melanocytes. Our results demonstrate that p54(nrb) is highly expressed in malignant melanoma and, as a MIA target molecule, it seems to be involved in the development and progression of malignant melanoma.
Many consolidated findings have revealed that cancer formation resembles events of embryonic development. In particular, the network of transcription factors and adhesion molecules is very similar when comparing neural crest-derived melanoblasts and melanoma cells. The main difference is found in the manifestation of distinct genes in melanoma, whereas in neural crest cells gene expression is tightly regulated to promote either a migratory or stationary phenotype. We established a cell culture system to generate melanoblast-related cells (MBrc) out of melanocytes as originally described by Cook et al. First, we confirmed the typical gene expression pattern of BRN-2, SOX10, PAX3 and EDNRB. Furthermore, we identified enhanced migration and proliferation similar to that of melanoma cells. Our intention of using this system was to classify the known melanoma-associated genes into a subgroup of genes solely regulated by the differentiation process and a second subgroup that is unaffected by differentiation and is potentially important to the stabilization of a melanoma phenotype. The expression of melanoma-associated genes (N-cadherin, MUC-18, integrin ?3, ?3, ?5, ?v, SLUG, TBX3, HIF1-?, BMP-4 and bFGF) was enhanced in MBrc which were de-differentiated out of melanocytes. E-cadherin, H-cadherin and ?-catenin, prevalently found to be downregulated in melanoma, were diminished in MBrc. Remarkably, the transcription factor SNAIL was unaffected by differentiation and could be one key molecule in early melanoma development that is of prevailing importance. In summary, we feel that the analysis of MBrc generated in a reproducible system will give new insight into the role and importance of melanoma-associated genes.
Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) is one of the most common forms of congenital heart disease. Mutations in transcription factor TFAP2B cause Char syndrome, a human disorder characterized by PDA, facial dysmorphysm and hand anomalies. Animal research data are needed to understand the mechanisms. The aim of our study was to elucidate the pathogenesis of Char syndrome at the molecular level.
Resulting from a screening for microRNAs differentially regulated in melanocytes and melanoma cells, we found expression of miR-196a to be significantly down-regulated in malignant melanoma cell lines and tissue samples. As it was stated before that miR-196a might negatively regulate expression of the transcription factor HOX-C8, we analyzed HOX-C8 levels in NHEMs and melanoma cells and found a strong up-regulation of HOX-C8 expression in malignant melanoma cell lines and tissue samples compared with melanocytes. Several HOX-C8 target genes are known to be involved in processes such as oncogenesis, cell adhesion, proliferation and apoptosis. We, therefore, aimed to further investigate a potential "miR-196a ? HOX-C8 ? HOX-C8 target gene" relationship. Stable transfection with an miR-196a expression plasmid led to strong down-regulation of HOX-C8 expression in melanoma cells. Luciferase assays using reporter plasmids containing different fragments of the HOX-C8 3UTR confirmed direct interactions of miR-196a with the HOX-C8 mRNA. Focusing on target genes of HOX-C8, which might play an important role in melanomagenesis, we identified three genes (cadherin-11, calponin-1 and osteopontin) that are up- or down-regulated, respectively, by altered HOX-C8 expression in miR-196a expressing cell clones and are thus indirectly regulated by this microRNA. As those target genes are closely related to important cellular mechanisms such as cell adhesion, cytoskeleton remodeling, tumor formation and invasive behavior of tumor cells, altered miR-196a expression exerts strong effects contributing to tumor cell transformation and formation and progression of malignant melanoma. This fact is underlined by a strongly reduced invasive behavior of melanoma cells re-expressing miR-196a in vitro.
The Wnt/?-catenin pathway is involved in differentiation events during embryonic development and is further described as a pathway often participating in tumor formation when aberrantly activated. Molecular studies concentrating on colorectal cancer revealed mutations of apc, ctnnbi, btrc and tcf-4 genes which mimic Wnt stimulation. However, such mutations are rarely found during melanoma development. Therefore, we analyzed the ?-catenin activity in this type of skin cancer. Interestingly, localization of ?-catenin protein was basically cytoplasmic in melanomas in vivo, which was in clear contrast to findings in colon carcinoma. Congruently, the transcriptional activity of ?-catenin regulating expression of ?-catenin target genes was not observed in several melanoma cell lines. Further, neither LiCl nor Wnt agonist treatment led to significant activation of ?-catenin signaling. This lack in functionality seems to depend on phosphorylation at threonine 41 and serine 45 of ?-catenin observed in several melanoma cell lines. However, this specific endogenous phosphorylation pattern led to upregulation of other signaling pathways resulting e.g. in induction of N-cadherin expression. In summary, this study suggests a cell type-specific regulation of ?-catenin function. This alternative ?-catenin signaling pathway should be considered when thinking about targeting ?-catenin in melanoma treatment.
Dermal wound healing depends on highly complex interplay among various cytokines and cell types. Disruption of this process can result in impaired healing in the form of excessive scarring, as is the case in fibrotic diseases such as keloid and scleroderma. In the present study, we found Fussel-15, a new member of the Ski/Sno family of TGF-?/BMP signaling repressors, to be expressed in early wound healing and constantly overexpressed in keloid-derived and scleroderma-derived fibroblasts. Comparing the results of three-dimensional free-floating and attached-released in vitro wound healing assays, we observed that Fussel-15 is expressed during the migratory phase in the free-floating assay, indicating that Fussel-15 might play a role during fibroblast migration. Fussel-15-transfected fibroblasts showed greater migration ability in a scratch wound healing assay, compared with control-transfected cells. This migratory phenotype due to Fussel-15 was confirmed by increased peripheral F-actin localization and modifications in size, amount, and distribution of focal adhesion complexes, which were observed using F-actin and focal adhesion kinase (FAK) immunofluorescence staining, respectively. The present results suggest that expression of Fussel-15 during wound healing might promote fibroblast migration. Permanent expression of Fussel-15 in keloid and skin sclerosis fibroblasts could be involved in the pathogenesis of these conditions, but the molecular mechanism underlying this up-regulation remains to be determined.
A pyrene-labeled Zn²+-cyclen complex for the staining of DNA in agarose gels is reported. The metal chelate coordinates reversibly to the DNA phosphate backbone, which induces the formation of pyrene excimers. The typical pyrene excimer emission is used for the detection of the DNA. Staining is limited to agarose gels and is less sensitive than ethidium bromide, but DNA amounts as low as 10 ng and short DNA strands (?300 b.p.) are detectable. Gel extraction as a standard technique in molecular biology was successfully performed after staining with Zn²+-cyclen-pyrene. Cytotoxicity tests on HeLa and V-79 cells reveal that the zinc-cyclen pyrene probe is significant less toxic compared to ethidium bromide.
Malignant melanoma, characterized by invasive local growth and early formation of metastases, is the most aggressive type of skin cancer. Melanoma inhibitory activity (MIA), secreted by malignant melanoma cells, interacts with the cell adhesion receptors, integrins ?(4)?(1) and ?(5)?(1), facilitating cell detachment and promoting formation of metastases. In the present study, we demonstrate that MIA secretion is confined to the rear end of migrating cells, while in non-migrating cells MIA accumulates in the actin cortex. MIA protein takes a conventional secretory pathway including coat protein complex I (COPI)- and coat protein complex II (COPII)-dependent protein transport to the cell periphery, where its final release depends on intracellular Ca(2+) ions. Interestingly, the Ca(2+)-activated K(+)-channel, subfamily N, member 4 (KCa3.1), known to be active at the rear end of migrating cells, was found to support MIA secretion. Secretion was diminished by the specific KCa3.1 channel inhibitor TRAM-34 and by expression of dominant-negative mutants of the channel. In summary, we have elucidated the migration-associated transport of MIA protein to the cell rear and also disclosed a new mechanism by which KCa3.1 potassium channels promote cell migration.
Four and a half LIM domain protein 2 (FHL2) can interact with many proteins and regulates different cellular processes, including proliferation and differentiation. FHL2 expression is often deregulated in cancer and may act as both tumor-promoter or tumor-suppressor depending on the type of cancer. Thus, a previous study found that increased FHL2 expression in colon cancer and suppression of FHL2 in a colon cancer cell line with endogenously high FHL2 expression inhibited tumor growth. We applied the opposite strategy, an FHL2 expression plasmid was stably transfected into HT-29 cells, a colon carcinoma cell line which exhibits very low basal levels of FHL2. Stable expression of FHL2 in HT-29 cells induced a G2/M arrest and inhibited anchorage-dependent and -independent growth in vitro. Further, FHL2 expressing HT-29 cell clones revealed significantly higher expression of the differentiation marker E-cadherin but reduced activity of the transcription factor NF-kappaB, which is known to promote colon cancer progression. These findings further underscore the complex role of FHL2 in tumorigenicity, with even different effects on cellular functions of cancer cell lines derived from the same type of tumor and distinctly suggest caution regarding therapeutic strategies targeting FHL2 to treat (colon) cancer.
Liver regeneration is a multistep and well-orchestrated process which is initiated by injuries such as tissue loss, infectious or toxic insults. Augmenter of liver regeneration (ALR) is a hepatotrophic growth factor which has been shown to stimulate hepatic regeneration after partial hepatectomy and therefore seems to be regulated during the regenerative process in the liver. Our aim was to analyze how ALR is regulated in hepatic tissues and which transcription factors might regulate its tissue-specific expression. Promoter studies of ALR (-733/+527 bp) revealed potential regulatory elements for various transcription factors like Foxa2, IL-6 RE-BP and C/EBPbeta. Analysis of the promoter activity by performing luciferase assays revealed that co-transfection with Foxa2 significantly induced the activity of ALR promoter in HepG2 cells. EMSA and Supershift analysis using anti-Foxa2 antibody confirmed the specific binding of Foxa2 to ALR promoter and this binding was inducible when the cells were simultaneously stimulated with IL-6. The increased binding after activation with IL-6 and/or Foxa2 was confirmed by elevated ALR protein levels using Western blot technique. In addition, we could not detect any binding of C/EBPbeta and IL-6 RE-BP to the promoter of ALR. In conclusion, these results indicate that ALR is regulated by Foxa2, and this regulation may be amplified by IL-6.
Melanoma inhibiting activity/cartilage-derived retinoic acid-sensitive protein (MIA/CD-RAP) is a small soluble protein secreted from malignant melanoma cells and from chondrocytes. Recently, we revealed that MIA/CD-RAP can modulate bone morphogenetic protein (BMP)2-induced osteogenic differentiation into a chondrogenic direction. In the current study we aimed to find the molecular details of this MIA/CD-RAP function. Direct influence of MIA on BMP2 by protein-protein-interaction or modulating SMAD signaling was ruled out experimentally. Instead, we revealed inhibition of ERK signaling by MIA/CD-RAP. This inhibition is regulated via binding of MIA/CD-RAP to integrin alpha5 and abolishing its activity. Active ERK signaling is known to block chondrogenic differentiation and we revealed induction of aggrecan expression in chondrocytes by treatment with MIA/CD-RAP or PD098059, an ERK inhibitor. In in vivo models we could support the role of MIA/CD-RAP in influencing osteogenic differentiation negatively. Further, MIA/CD-RAP-deficient mice revealed an enhanced calcified cartilage layer of the articular cartilage of the knee joint and disordered arrangement of chondrocytes. Taken together, our data indicate that MIA/CD-RAP stabilizes cartilage differentiation and inhibits differentiation into bone potentially by regulating signaling processes during differentiation.
Since bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) play an important role in melanoma progression, we aimed to determine the molecular mechanisms leading to overexpression of BMP4 in melanoma cells compared to normal melanocytes. With our experimental approach we revealed that loss of expression of a microRNA represents the starting point for a signaling cascade finally resulting in overexpression of BMP4 in melanoma cells. In detail, strongly reduced expression of the microRNA miR-196a in melanoma cells compared to healthy melanocytes leads to enhanced HOX-B7 mRNA and protein levels, which subsequently raise Ets-1 activity by inducing basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF). Ets-1 finally accounts for induction of BMP4 expression. We were furthermore able to demonstrate that bFGF-mediated induction of migration is achieved via activation of BMP4, thus determining BMP4 as major modulator of migration in melanoma. In summary, our study provides insights into the early steps of melanoma progression and might thereby harbor therapeutic relevance.
Fibroblast growth factor receptor 2 isoform b (FGFR2-IIIb) is highly expressed in hepatocytes and plays an important role in liver homeostasis and regeneration. Here, we analyzed the expression and function of FGFR2-IIIb in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). FGFR2-IIIb expression in HCC tissues and cell lines was lower than in primary human hepatocytes and nontumorous tissue. FGFR2-IIIb-negative HCCs showed a significantly higher Ki-67 labeling index, and loss of FGFR2-IIIb expression correlated significantly with vascular invasion and more advanced tumor stages. A decrease in FGFR-2IIIb expression in HCC cell lines was not related to promoter hypermethylation. However, PCR analysis indicated that chromosomal deletion at 10q accounted for the loss of FGFR2 expression in a subset of HCC cells. FGFR2-IIIb re-expression in stable transfected HCC cell lines induced a higher basal apoptosis rate and a significantly reduced proliferation and migratory potential in vitro. In nude mice, FGFR2-IIIb re-expressing HCC cells grew significantly slower, and terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick-end labeling assay revealed higher apoptosis rates. The antitumorigenic effects of FGFR2-IIIb expression in HCC cells were not affected by keratinocyte growth factor or an inhibitor of FGFR-phosphorylation, indicating that they are independent of tyrosine kinase activation. In conclusion, our data indicate that FGFR2-IIIb inhibits tumorigenicity of HCC cells. Identification of the molecular mechanisms promoting regeneration in normal tissue while suppressing malignancy may lead to novel therapeutic targets of this highly aggressive tumor.
The hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF-1), which consists of the constitutive HIF-1beta and the oxygen-responsive HIF-1alpha subunit, is the master activator of the cellular transcriptional response to hypoxia coordinating gene expression during reduced oxygen tension. Overexpression of HIF-1 and increased transcriptional activity induced by hypoxia are linked to progression of many tumour types such as head and neck cancer, cervical carcinoma, leukaemia and renal cell carcinoma. In this study, we demonstrate that HIF activity is increased in malignant melanoma cells already under normoxic conditions in contrast to other tumour types. HIF-1alpha and -2alpha knockdown by siRNA transfection revealed that this effect is due to constitutive HIF-1alpha expression. Furthermore, the inhibition or activation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) decreased or activated, respectively, HIF-1 activity and HIF-1alpha protein expression. Interestingly, the inhibition of the NFkappaB pathway also reduced the accumulation of HIF-1alpha assuming a context between ROS and NFkappaB, and suggesting that ROS and NFkappaB activity contribute to HIF-1alpha accumulation. In summary, we identified an increased HIF-1alpha protein expression and activity in melanoma under normoxia mediated by ROS and the NFkappaB pathway.
We examined the role of angiogenesis/lymphangiogenesis and the relationship between melanoma inhibitory activity (MIA) and angiogenesis or lymphangiogenesis in oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC). One hundred and one formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded specimens of primary OSCC were evaluated for microvessel density (MVD), lymphovessel density (LVD), expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), VEGF-C, VEGF-D and MIA. Fresh frozen 18 samples of primary OSCC were further examined for the expression of VEGF, VEGF-C, VEGF-D and MIA protein by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). In in vitro analysis, we studied the change of VEGF, VEGF-C and VEGF-D expression after MIA siRNA treatment. Higher MVD, LVD and VEGF expression levels were closely associated with tumour progression, nodal metastasis and poor prognosis. Expression levels of VEGF-C and VEGF-D were only related with nodal metastasis. MIA expression was significantly associated with MVD, LVD, VEGF, VEGF-C and VEGF-D expression by immunohistochemistry and ELISA assay. VEGF, VEGF-C, VEGF-D and MIA expression levels of metastatic tongue cancer HSC-3 cells were higher than those with no metastatic HSC-4 cells, and VEGF, VEGF-C and VEGF-D expression levels were decreased by MIA siRNA treatment in both cells. MIA-dependent angiogenesis/lymphangiogenesis might be a useful therapeutic target in progressive and metastatic OSCC.
Analyses of protein interactions are fundamental for the investigation of molecular mechanisms responsible for cellular processes and diseases, as well as for drug discovery in the pharmaceutical industry. The present study details the development of a fluorescence polarization assay using melanoma inhibitory activity (MIA) protein-binding compounds and studies of the binding properties of this protein. Since they are dependent on the the lifetime of the fluorescent label, currently available fluorescence polarization assays can only determine interactions with either high- or low-molecular weight interaction partners. Our new approach eliminates this limitation by immobilizing a known binding partner of MIA protein to a well plate and by labeling the target protein using luminescent transition metal labels such as Ru(bpy)3 for binding studies with both high- and low-molecular weight interaction partners. Due to the use of a functionalized surface, we termed our concept heterogeneous transition metal-based fluorescence polarization (HTFP) assay. The assays independence from the molecular weight of potential binding partners should make the technique amenable to investigations on subjects as diverse as multimerization, interactions with pharmacophores, or binding affinity determination.
Lactate dehydrogenase type A (LDH-A) is a key metabolic enzyme catalyzing pyruvate into lactate and is excessively expressed by tumor cells. Transforming growth factor-beta2 (TGF-beta2) is a key regulator of invasion in high-grade gliomas, partially by inducing a mesenchymal phenotype and by remodeling the extracellular matrix. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that lactate metabolism regulates TGF-beta2-mediated migration of glioma cells. Small interfering RNA directed against LDH-A (siLDH-A) suppresses, and lactate induces, TGF-beta2 expression, suggesting that lactate metabolism is strongly associated with TGF-beta2 in glioma cells. Here we demonstrate that TGF-beta2 enhances expression, secretion, and activation of matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2) and induces the cell surface expression of integrin alpha(v)beta(3) receptors. In spheroid and Boyden chamber migration assays, inhibition of MMP-2 activity using a specific MMP-2 inhibitor and blocking of integrin alpha(v)beta(3) abrogated glioma cell migration stimulated by TGF-beta2. Furthermore, siLDH-A inhibited MMP2 activity, leading to inhibition of glioma migration. Taken together, we define an LDH-A-induced and TGF-beta2-coordinated regulatory cascade of transcriptional regulation of MMP-2 and integrin alpha(v)beta(3). This novel interaction between lactate metabolism and TGF-beta2 might constitute a crucial mechanism for glioma migration.
The concept of the chondrocyte as a stationary cell surrounded by an apparently impenetrable matrix has been challenged by in vitro observations in recent years. Chondrocyte migration may have a role in remodelling of the cartilage and pathological conditions. Candidate molecules are repellent factors for the regulation of chondrocyte migration, which are expressed in fetal and adult cartilage. We analysed the potential role of the receptor deleted in colon carcinoma (DCC) in chondrocytes, as this may exert attractive activities.
Hepcidin is a major regulator of iron metabolism and plays a key role in anemia of chronic disease, reducing intestinal iron uptake and release from body iron stores. Hypoxia and chemical stabilizers of the hypoxia-inducible transcription factor (HIF) have been shown to suppress hepcidin expression. We therefore investigated the role of HIF in hepcidin regulation.
MIA (melanoma inhibitory activity) protein, identified as a small 11 kDa protein highly expressed and secreted by malignant melanoma cells, plays an important functional role in melanoma development, progression and tumor cell invasion. Recent data describe a direct interaction of MIA protein with cell adhesion receptors integrin alpha(4)beta(1) and integrin alpha(5)beta(1) and extracellular matrix molecules. By modulating integrin activity MIA protein mediates detachment of melanoma cells from surrounding structures resulting in enhanced invasive and migratory potential. However, until today a detailed understanding of the processes of MIA function is missing. In this study, we show that after binding of MIA protein to integrin alpha(5)beta(1), MIA protein is internalized together with this cell adhesion receptor at the cell rear. This mechanism enables tumor cells to migrate in a defined direction as appropriate for invasion processes. Treatment of melanoma cells with PKC-inhibitors strongly reduced internalization of MIA protein. Endocytosis is followed by dissociation of MIA-integrin complexes. In acidic vesicles MIA protein is degraded while integrins are recycled. Treatment of melanoma cells with MIA inhibitory peptides almost completely blocked the MIA protein uptake into cells. As MIA protein has a major contribution to the aggressive characteristics of malignant melanoma in particular to formation of metastasis, it is important to elucidate the MIA functional mechanism in tumor cells to find novel therapeutic strategies in the fight against skin cancer.
Striking similarities exist between molecular mechanisms driving embryonic liver development and progression of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs), particularly BMP4, have been proposed to regulate embryonic hepatic development. BMP expression has been observed in neoplasia but the expression and biological role of BMP4 in human HCC are unknown. We found increased BMP4 mRNA and protein in HCC cell lines and tissue samples compared to primary human hepatocytes and corresponding non-tumourous tissue. Hypoxia further induced BMP4 expression in HCC cells, which was abolished by transfection of a dominant negative form of HIF-1 alpha (dnHIF-1 alpha). However, gel shift assays revealed only minor binding activity in nuclear extracts from (hypoxic) HCC cells to a putative hypoxia-response element in the BMP4 promoter. Sequence analysis of the BMP4 promoter revealed two Ets-1 binding sites, and Ets-1 activity was increased in HCC cells under hypoxic conditions. Transfection of dnHIF-1 alpha completely abrogated hypoxia-induced Ets-1 activity as well as BMP4 expression. Overexpression of Ets-1 markedly enhanced BMP4 promoter activity, while antisense Ets-1 almost completely abolished basal as well as hypoxia-induced BMP4 expression. These data demonstrate that Ets-1 activity contributes to baseline expression of the BMP4 gene and is the predominant mediator of the HIF-dependent BMP4 induction under hypoxic conditions. To determine the functional relevance of BMP4 expression, HCC cell lines were treated with antisense BMP4 constructs or siRNA against BMP4. BMP4 suppression resulted in a strong reduction of the migratory and invasive potential and anchorage-independent growth. Furthermore, tube formation assays indicated that BMP4 expressed by HCC cells promotes vasculogenesis. Our findings demonstrate that BMP4 is increased in HCC and promotes HCC progression. Therefore, BMP4 expression may have clinical relevance, and interfering with BMP4 signalling appears as an attractive therapeutic target for this highly aggressive tumour.
Recent studies identified bone morphogenic protein 6 (BMP6) as a key regulator of hepatic hepcidin expression and iron metabolism, but the cellular source of BMP6 and the reason for its specific effect on hepatocytes are unknown.
Melanoma inhibitory activity (MIA) has been identified as a small protein secreted from malignant melanoma cells, which strongly enhances melanoma cell migration and invasion. Detailed analyses performed by our group showed interaction of MIA with extracellular matrix proteins and integrin alpha4beta1 and alpha5beta1 leading to cellular detachment. In this study, we identified cadherin-7 as a new MIA-binding protein using surface-enhanced laser desorption/ionization-mass spectrometry technology and co-immunoprecipitation. Cadherin-7 is a classical cell-cell adhesion molecule which was shown to be upregulated in malignant melanoma. We demonstrated enhanced expression of cadherin-7 in primary tumor cells compared to metastatic cells. Upregulation of cadherin-7 expression in metastatic cell lines but also downregulation of expression in cells derived from primary melanomas resulted in reduced cell migration. In addition, we speculate that MIA/cadherin-7 interaction may regulate cell-cell adhesion of malignant melanoma cells influencing the migration of the cells. Interestingly, overexpression of cadherin-7 resulted in a decreased MIA mRNA expression. In addition, MIA effects on cell migration were abrogated in cell clones overexpressing cadherin-7. In conclusion, these findings suggest that cadherin-7 regulates the expression and activity of MIA and the migration of melanoma cells playing a role in tumor development of malignant melanoma.
Liver cirrhosis is the main risk factor for the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Activated hepatic stellate cells (HSC) are the effector cells of hepatic fibrosis and also infiltrate the HCC stroma where they might play a critical role in HCC progression. Here we aimed to analyze the effects of activated HSC on the proliferation and growth of HCC cell lines in vitro and in vivo. Conditioned media (CM) collected from HSC significantly induced proliferation and migration of HCC cells cultured in monolayers. In a 3-dimensional spheroid coculture system, HSC promoted HCC growth and diminished the extent of central necrosis. In accordance, in vivo simultaneous implantation of HSC and HCC cells into nude mice promoted tumor growth and invasiveness, and inhibited necrosis formation. As potential mechanism of the tumorigenic effects of HSC we identified activation of NFkappaB and extracellular-regulated kinase (ERK) in HCC cells, two signaling cascades that play a crucial role in HCC progression. In summary, our data indicate that stromal HSC promotes HCC progression and suggest the HSC-HCC interaction as an interesting tumor differentiation-independent target for therapy of this highly aggressive cancer.
Loss of methylthioadenosine phosphorylase (MTAP) expression and a concomitant accumulation of 5-methyl-thioadenosine (MTA) characterise several tumour entities including malignant melanoma. MTA affects cellular signalling, proliferation and migration not only of cancer but also surrounding cells including lymphocytes and stromal fibroblasts. The mode of action of MTA is still not known. Interestingly, MTA is a known potent inhibitor of protein arginine methyltransferases (PRMTs) and is used as a tool in studying activity and impact of PRMTs. This study aimed at analysing PRMTs in melanoma and the potential impact of MTA on tumourigenesis. Our findings demonstrate that expression of PRMT4/CARM1 and PRMT6 is deregulated in melanoma, whereas expression of the remaining PRMTs stays unchanged. General PRMT activity and, consequently, symmetric and asymmetric protein methylation are reduced significantly in melanoma cells and tissues. This is due to a loss of MTAP expression and accumulation of MTA. Reduction of protein methylation by MTA affects cell signalling and leads, for example, to an activation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) activity. The effects of endogeneous MTA on PRMTs as presented in this study can strongly support the migratory and invasive phenotype of melanoma cells.
Malignant melanoma, a malignancy of pigment-producing cells, causes the greatest number of skin cancer-related deaths worldwide. The tumor is characterized by its aggressive phenotype and can metastasize at very early stages of the disease. Since metastatic lesions are usually characterized by an intrinsic resistance to standard radiation and chemotherapy, the prognosis of this tumor remains very poor in advanced stages. Melanoma inhibitory activity (MIA), an 11 kDa protein expressed and secreted by melanoma cells after their malignant transformation, is known to play a key role in melanoma development, progression and tumor cell invasion. After its secretion, which is restricted to the rear pole of migrating cells, MIA protein directly interacts with cell adhesion receptors and extracellular matrix molecules. By this mechanism, MIA protein actively facilitates focal cell detachment from surrounding structures at the cell rear and strongly promotes tumor cell invasion and formation of metastases. It has further been demonstrated that MIA contributes to immunosuppression frequently seen in malignant melanomas by binding to integrin ?(4)?(1) expressed by leukocytes and thus inhibiting cellular antitumor immune response. Analyses at the molecular level revealed that MIA protein reaches functional activity by self assembly. Functional inactivation of MIA protein by dodecapeptides that directly bind to the dimerization interface leads to a strongly reduced tumor cell invasion in an in vivo mouse melanoma model. The molecular understanding of the contribution of MIA protein to formation of metastases provides an excellent starting point for the development of a new strategy in malignant melanoma therapy.
Although the protooncogene c-Jun plays a critical role in cell proliferation, cell death, and malignant transformation, DNA microarray screens have identified only a few human cancer types with aberrant expression of c-Jun. Here, we show that c-Jun accumulation is robustly elevated in human glioblastoma and that this increase contributes to the malignant properties of the cells. Most importantly, the increase in c-Jun protein accumulation occurs with no corresponding increase in c-Jun mRNA or the half-life of the c-Jun protein but, rather, in the translatability of the transcript. The c-Jun 5UTR harbors a potent internal ribosomal entry site (IRES) with a virus-like IRES domain that directs cap-independent translation in glioblastoma cells. Accumulation of c-Jun is not dependent on MAPK activity but can be stimulated by a cytoskeleton-dependent pathway. Our findings provide evidence that human c-Jun is an IRES-containing cellular transcript that contributes to cancer development through translational activation. This previously undescribed mechanism of c-Jun regulation might also be relevant to other types of human cancer and offers unique potential targets for therapy.
Hepatic fibrosis can be considered as wound healing process in response to hepatocellular injury. Activation of hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) is a key event of hepatic fibrosis since activated HSCs are the cellular source of enhanced extracellular matrix deposition, and reversion of liver fibrosis is accompanied by clearance of activated HSCs by apoptosis. The atypical cadherin FAT1 has been shown to regulate diverse biological functions as cell proliferation and planar cell polarity, and also to affect wound healing. Here, we found increased FAT1 expression in different murine models of chronic liver injury and in cirrhotic livers of patients with different liver disease. Also in hepatic tissue of patients with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis FAT1 expression was significantly enhanced and correlated with collagen alpha I(1) expression. Immunohistochemistry revealed no significant differences in staining intensity between hepatocytes in normal and cirrhotic liver tissue but myofibroblast like cells in fibrotic septa of cirrhotic livers showed a prominent immunosignal. Furthermore, FAT1 mRNA and protein expression markedly increased during in vitro activation of primary human and murine HSCs. Together, these data indicated activated HSCs as cellular source of enhanced FAT1 expression in diseased livers. To gain insight into the functional role of FAT1 in activated HSCs we suppressed FAT1 in these cells by siRNA. We newly found that FAT1 suppression in activated HSCs caused a downregulation of NF?B activity. This transcription factor is critical for apoptosis resistance of HSCs, and consequently, we detected a higher apoptosis rate in FAT1 suppressed HSCs compared to control cells. Our findings suggest FAT1 as new therapeutic target for the prevention and treatment of hepatic fibrosis in chronic liver disease.
Murine model systems are critically required tools for the investigation of unknown mechanisms of melanoma development and metastasis and for developing more efficient therapies. The Tg(Grm1)EPv melanoma mouse model is characterized by spontaneous development of pigmented cutaneous melanomas at hairless skin regions, with a short latency and 100% penetrance. Local metastasis was described in initial analyses; however, melanoma cells were not observed in distant organs. Here, we demonstrate that the established Tg(Grm1)EPv melanoma mouse model exhibits more extensive metastasis into distant organs than previously described. Disseminated cells undergo phenotypic changes, as we observed high numbers of non-pigmented Grm1-expressing melanoma cells within distant organs. As such changes during metastasis are common in human melanoma, our findings demonstrate that this mouse model represents an even more useful tool to study unknown mechanisms of metastasis in human melanoma than previously assumed.
The TGF-?/BMP signaling cascades control a wide range of developmental and physiological functions in vertebrates and invertebrates. In Drosophila melanogaster, members of this pathway can be divided into a Bone Morphogenic Protein (BMP) and an Activin-ß (Act-ß) branch, where Decapentaplegic (Dpp), a member of the BMP family has been most intensively studied. They differ in ligands, receptors and transmitting proteins, but also share some components, such as the Co-Smad Medea (Med). The essential role of Med is to form a complex with one of the two activating Smads, mothers against decapentaplegic (Mad) or dSmad, and to translocate together to the nucleus where they can function as transcriptional regulators of downstream target genes. This signaling cascade underlies different mechanisms of negative regulation, which can be exerted by inhibitory Smads, such as daughters against decapentaplegic (dad), but also by the Ski-Sno family. In this work we identified and functionally analyzed a new member of the Ski/Sno-family, fussel (fuss), the Drosophila homolog of the human functional suppressing element 15 (fussel-15). fuss codes for two differentially spliced transcripts with a neuronal expression pattern. The proteins are characterized by a Ski-Sno and a SAND homology domain. Overexpression studies and genetic interaction experiments clearly reveal an interaction of fuss with members of the BMP pathway, leading to a strong repression of BMP-signaling. The protein interacts directly with Medea and seems to reprogram the Smad pathway through its influence upon the formation of functional Mad/Medea complexes. This leads amongst others to a repression of downstream target genes of the Dpp pathway, such as optomotor blind (omb). Taken together we could show that fuss exerts a pivotal role as an antagonist of BMP signaling in Drosophila melanogaster.
Melanoma is the most aggressive form of skin cancer, with fast progression and early dissemination mediated by the melanoma inhibitory activity (MIA) protein. Here, we discovered that dimerization of MIA is required for functional activity through mutagenesis of MIA which showed the correlation between dimerization and functional activity. We subsequently identified the dodecapeptide AR71, which prevents MIA dimerization and thereby acts as a MIA inhibitor. Two-dimensional nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy demonstrated the binding of AR71 to the MIA dimerization domain, in agreement with in vitro and in vivo data revealing reduced cell migration, reduced formation of metastases and increased immune response after AR71 treatment. We believe AR71 is a lead structure for MIA inhibitors. More generally, inhibiting MIA dimerization is a novel therapeutic concept in melanoma therapy.
Immunohistochemistry is an important and valuable technique in many fields of research, although several common pitfalls can lead to wrong or misinterpreted results. A recently published study  claims that the protein MIA (melanoma inhibitory activity) is expressed in Purkinje cells in the cerebellum. Careful re-analysis resulted in negative results. Due to these results of our group we feel that this analysis could serve as example for the potential problems in immunohistochemistry caused by the combination of an unspecific antibody and the omission of evaluating control tissue samples.
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