A missense mutation in ATP2A1 gene, encoding SERCA1 protein, causes Chianina cattle congenital pseudomyotonia, an exercise induced impairment of muscle relaxation. Skeletal muscles of affected cattle are characterized by a selective reduction of SERCA1 in sarcoplasmic reticulum membranes. In this paper we provide evidence that the ubiquitin proteasome system is involved in the reduced density of mutated SERCA1. The treatment with MG132, an inhibitor of ubiquitin proteasome system, rescues the expression level and membrane localization of the SERCA1 mutant in a heterologous cellular model. Cells cotransfected with the Ca2+ sensitive probe aequorin, show that the rescued SERCA1 mutant exhibits the same ability of wild-type to maintain Ca2+ homeostasis within cells. These data have been confirmed by those obtained ex vivo on adult skeletal muscle fibers from a biopsy from a pseudomyotonia affected subject. Our data show that the mutation generates a protein most likely corrupted in proper folding but not in catalytic activity. Rescue of mutated SERCA1 to sarcoplasmic reticulum membrane can re-establish resting cytosolic Ca2+ concentration and prevent the appearance of pathological signs of cattle pseudomyotonia.
Although the ETV6-RUNX1 fusion is a frequent initiating event in childhood leukemia, its role in leukemogenesis is only partly understood. The main impact of the fusion itself is to generate and sustain a clone of clinically silent pre-leukemic B cell progenitors (BCP). Additional oncogenic hits, occurring even several years later, are required for overt disease. The understanding of the features and interactions of ETV6-RUNX1 positive cells during this "latency" period may explain how these silent cells can persist, and whether they could be prone to additional genetic changes. In this study, two in vitro murine models were employed to investigate whether ETV6-RUNX1 alters the cellular adhesion and migration properties of BCP. ETV6-RUNX1 expressing cells showed a significant defect in the chemotactic response to CXCL12, caused by a block in CXCR4 signaling, as demonstrated by inhibition of CXCL12-associated calcium flux and lack of ERK kinase phosphorylation. Moreover, the induction of ETV6-RUNX1 caused changes in the expression of cell-surface adhesion molecules. The expression of genes regulating the cytoskeleton was also affected, resulting in a block of CDC42 signaling. The abnormalities described here could alter the interaction of ETV6-RUNX1 pre-leukemic BCP with the microenvironment and contribute to the pathogenesis of the disease.
By means of morphological and biochemical criteria, we here provide evidence for the localization and function of premature ovarian failure, 1B (POF1B) in desmosomes. In monolayers of Caco-2 intestinal cells and in stratified HaCaT keratinocytes, endogenous POF1B colocalized with desmoplakin at desmosome plaques and in cytoplasmic particles aligned along intermediate filaments (IFs). POF1B predominantly co-fractionated with desmosomes and IF components and exhibited properties characteristic of desmosomes (i.e., detergent insolubility and calcium independence). The role of NH2 and COOH domains in the association of POF1B with desmosomes and IFs was revealed by transient expression of the truncated protein in Caco-2 cells and in cells lacking desmosomes. The function of POF1B in desmosomes was investigated in HaCaT keratinocytes stably downregulated for POF1B expression. Transmission electron microscopy analysis revealed a decrease in desmosome number and size, and desmosomes of the downregulated keratinocytes displayed weak electron-dense plaques. Desmosome alterations were associated with defects in cell adhesion, as revealed by the reduced resistance to mechanical stress in the dispase fragmentation assay. Moreover, desmosome localization of POF1B was restricted to granular layers in human healthy epidermis, whereas it largely increased in hyperproliferative human skin diseases, thus demonstrating the localization of POF1B also in desmosomes of multistratified epithelia.Journal of Investigative Dermatology advance online publication, 18 September 2014; doi:10.1038/jid.2014.327.
Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) at tumor sites are often tolerogenic. Although pDCs initiate innate and adaptive immunity upon Toll-like receptor (TLR) triggering by pathogens, TLR-independent signals may be responsible for pDC activation and immune suppression in the tumor inflammatory environment. To identify molecules that are potentially involved in alternative pDC activation, we explored the expression and function of lymphocyte activation gene 3 (LAG-3) in human pDCs. In this report, we showed the expression of LAG-3 on the cell surface of a subset of circulating human pDCs. LAG-3+ pDCs exhibited a partially mature phenotype and were enriched at tumor sites in samples from melanoma patients. We found that LAG-3 interacted with major histocompatibility complex class II (MHC-II) to induce TLR-independent activation of pDCs with limited IFN? and enhanced IL-6 production. This in vitro cytokine profile of LAG-3-activated pDCs paralleled that of tumor-associated pDCs analyzed ex vivo. By confocal microscopy, LAG-3+ pDCs detected in melanoma-invaded lymph nodes (LNs) stained positive for IL-6 and preferentially localized near melanoma cells. These results suggest that LAG-3-mediated activation of pDCs takes place in vivo at tumor sites, and it is in part responsible for directing an immune-suppressive environment.
Sentinel lymph nodes set the stance of the immune system to a localized tumor and are often the first site to be colonized by neoplastic cells that metastasize. To investigate how the presence of neoplastic cells in sentinel lymph nodes may trigger pathways associated with metastatic progression, we analyzed the transcriptional profiles of archival sentinel node biopsy specimens obtained from melanoma patients. Biopsies from positive nodes were selected for comparable tumor infiltration, presence or absence of further regional node metastases, and relapse at 5-year follow-up. Unsupervised analysis of gene expression profiles revealed immune response to be a major gene ontogeny represented. Among genes upregulated in patients with progressing disease, the TNF receptor family member CD30/TNFRSF8 was confirmed in biopsy specimens from an independent group of patients. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed higher numbers of CD30(+) lymphocytes in nodes from progressing patients compared with nonprogressing patients. Phenotypic profiling demonstrated that CD30(+) lymphocytes comprised a broad population of suppressive or exhausted immune cells, such as CD4(+)Foxp3(+) or PD1(+) subpopulations and CD4(-)CD8(-) T cells. CD30(+) T lymphocytes were increased in peripheral blood lymphocytes of melanoma patients at advanced disease stages. Our findings reinforce the concept that sentinel nodes act as pivotal sites for determining progression patterns, revealing that the presence of CD30(+) lymphocytes at those sites associate positively with melanoma progression.
The frequency and function of regulatory T cells (Tregs) were studied in stage II-III melanoma patients who were enrolled in a phase II randomized trial of vaccination with HLA-A*0201-modified tumor peptides versus observation. The vaccinated patients received low-dose cyclophosphamide (CTX) and low-dose interleukin-2 (IL-2). Tregs were analyzed in the lymph nodes (LNs) of stage III patients who were undergoing complete lymph node dissection and in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) collected before vaccination and at different time points during the vaccination period. The LNs of the vaccinated patients, which were surgically removed after two rounds of vaccination and one dose of CTX, displayed a low frequency of Tregs and a less immunosuppressive environment compared with those of the untreated patients. The accurate time-course analysis of the PBMCs of patients enrolled in the vaccination arm indicated a limited and transient modulation in the frequencies of Tregs in PBMCs collected after low-dose CTX administration and a strong Treg boost in those PBMCs collected after low-dose IL-2 administration. However, a fraction of the IL-2-boosted Tregs was functionally modulated to a Th-1-like phenotype in the vaccinated patients. Moreover, low-dose IL-2 promoted the concomitant expansion of conventional activated CD4(+) T cells. Despite the amplification of Tregs, IL-2 administration maintained or further increased the number of antigen-specific CD8(+) T cells that were induced by vaccination as demonstrated by the ex vivo human leukocyte antigen-multimer staining and IFN-? ELISpot assays. Our study suggests that the use of CTX as a Treg modulator should be revised in terms of the administration schedule and of patients who may benefit from this drug treatment. Despite the Treg expansion that was observed in this study, low-dose IL-2 is not detrimental to the functional activities of vaccine-primed CD8(+) T cell effectors when used in the inflammatory environment of vaccination.
POF1B is a candidate gene for premature ovarian failure (POF); it is mainly expressed in polarised epithelial tissues, but its function in these tissues and the relationship with the disorder are unknown. Here we show colocalisation of POF1B with markers of both adherens and tight junctions in human jejunum. The tight junction localisation was maintained by the human POF1B stably expressed in the MDCK polarised epithelial cell line, whereas it was lost by the POF1B R329Q variant associated with POF. Localisation of apico-basal polarity markers and ultrastructure of the tight junctions were maintained in cells expressing the mutant. However, tight junction assembly was altered, cells were dysmorphic and the monolayer organisation was also altered in three-dimensional culture systems. Moreover, cells expressing the POF1B R329Q variant showed defects in ciliogenesis and cystogenesis as a result of misorientation of primary cilia and mitotic division. All of these defects were explained by interference of the mutant with the content and organisation of F-actin at the junctions. A role for POF1B in the regulation of the actin cytoskeleton was further verified by shRNA silencing of the endogenous protein in human intestinal Caco-2 cells. Taken together, these data indicate that localisation of POF1B to tight junctions has a key role in the organisation of epithelial monolayers by regulating the actin cytoskeleton.
The RET receptor tyrosine kinase is a member of the cadherin superfamily and plays a pivotal role in cell survival, differentiation and proliferation. Currently, 12 ret/ptc chimeric oncogenes, characterized by the fusion between the intracellular domain of RET and different activating genes, which can cause ligand-independent dimerization and constitutive activation, have been described. ?-catenin is usually involved in the maintenance of cell-to-cell adhesion and mediates the Wnt/?-catenin pathway important during embryogenesis and in cellular malignant transformation. Recently, a novel mechanism of RET-mediated function through the ?-catenin pathway has been reported in multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 and in sporadic thyroid carcinomas. Here, we investigated the effects of the ZD6474, a small molecule RET-inhibitor, on RET/?-catenin interaction. We confirmed the ZD6474 mediated-inhibition of recombinant RET kinase and of growth of cells expressing RET/PTC. Interestingly, we firstly observed reduced cellular mobility and changed morphology of TPC1 treated cells suggesting that RET-inhibitor could affect ?-catenin cellular distribution as resulted in its co-immunoprecipitation with E-cadherin. We further investigated this hypothesis showing that TPC1 treated cells displayed predominantly ?-catenin cytosolic localization. Surprisingly, RET and ?-catenin co-immunoprecipitated in both ZD6474-treated and untreated TPC1 cells, suggesting that RET/?-catenin interaction might not be affected by RET kinase inactivation. All together these results suggest that RET kinase activation is crucial for ?-catenin stabilization (pY654), localization and its signaling pathway activation but not for ?-catenin/RET physical interactions, in human papillary thyroid carcinomas. In conclusion, ZD6474, by inhibiting RET kinase, down-modulates ?-catenin pathway leading its recruitment to the membrane by E-cadherin.
Melanospheres, the melanoma cells that grow as nonadherent colonies and that show in vitro self-renewing capacity and multipotency, were selected from melanoma specimens or from melanoma cell lines. Melanospheres were highly tumorigenic, and intradermal injections in severe combined immunodeficient (SCID) mice of as few as 100 cells generated tumors that maintained tumorigenic potential into subsequent recipients. Primary and serially transplanted xenografts recapitulated the phenotypic features of the original melanoma of the patient. Melanoma cells cultured in the presence of fetal calf serum (FCS) were also tumorigenic in SCID mice, although with lower efficiency; these xenografts showed a homogeneous phenotype for the expression of melanoma-associated markers, Melan-A/Mart-1, HMB45, and MITF, and contained cells with features of fully differentiated cells. Melanospheres were heterogeneous for the expression of stem cell markers and showed a significantly enhanced expression of the Nanog and Oct3/4 transcription factors when compared with adherent melanoma cells. No direct and unique correlation between any of the examined stem cell markers and in vivo tumorigenicity was found. Taken together, our data provide further evidence on the heterogeneous nature of human melanomas and show that melanospheres and their corresponding tumors, which are generated in vivo in immunocompromised mice, represent a model to investigate melanoma biology.
Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) is a major obstacle to safe allogeneic hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation, leading to significant mortality. Recently, T-helper (TH)-17 cells have been shown to play a central role in mediating several autoimmune diseases. The aim of our study was to investigate the relationship between TH-17 cells and GVHD occurring in transplanted patients.
FLT3-ITD-mediated leukemogenesis is associated with increased expression of oncogenic PIM serine/threonine kinases. To dissect their role in FLT3-ITD-mediated transformation, we performed bone marrow reconstitution assays. Unexpectedly, FLT3-ITD cells deficient for PIM1 failed to reconstitute lethally irradiated recipients, whereas lack of PIM2 induction did not interfere with FLT3-ITD-induced disease. PIM1-deficient bone marrow showed defects in homing and migration and displayed decreased surface CXCR4 expression and impaired CXCL12-CXCR4 signaling. Through small interfering RNA-mediated knockdown, chemical inhibition, expression of a dominant-negative mutant, and/or reexpression in knockout cells, we found PIM1 activity to be essential for proper CXCR4 surface expression and migration of cells toward a CXCL12 gradient. Purified PIM1 led to the phosphorylation of serine 339 in the CXCR4 intracellular domain in vitro, a site known to be essential for normal receptor recycling. In primary leukemic blasts, high levels of surface CXCR4 were associated with increased PIM1 expression, and this could be significantly reduced by a small molecule PIM inhibitor in some patients. Our data suggest that PIM1 activity is important for homing and migration of hematopoietic cells through modification of CXCR4. Because CXCR4 also regulates homing and maintenance of cancer stem cells, PIM1 inhibitors may exert their antitumor effects in part by interfering with interactions with the microenvironment.
The progressive immune dysfunctions that occur in patients with advanced melanoma make them unlikely to efficiently respond to cancer vaccines. A multicenter randomized phase II trial was conducted to test whether immunization with modified HLA class I tumor peptides in the context of adjuvant therapy results in better immunologic responses and improved clinical outcomes in patients with early melanoma (stages IIB/C-III).
There are few papers on the cytostructural effects of surgical instruments used during pulmonary resections. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the parenchymal damage caused by different surgical instruments: a new generation electrosurgical scalpel and two different-wavelength lasers.
Exosomes are endosomal-derived nanovesicles released by most cells types, including tumor cells, and principally involved in intercellular communication in physiology and disease. Tumor exosomes are gaining increasing interest in medicine and oncology as efficient tools for the delivery of defined signals. Representing the acellular replicas of tumor cells, they contain a great variety of bioactive molecules, such as proteins, RNA, miRNA and DNA. Their great ability to recirculate in body fluids and their structure allow them to transport their cargo to distant targets. Major studies have shown that tumor exosomes convey information not only between tumor cells but also to other cell types, including different immune cell components. There is increasing evidence that these nanovesicles may contribute to cancer progression by influencing different immune cell types, likely blunting specific T cell immunity and skewing innate immune cells toward a pro-tumorigenic phenotype. Because of this function and the additional property to deliver molecular signals modulating neoangiogenesis and stroma remodeling, tumor exosomes are believed to play a role in tumor progression by favoring metastatic niche onset. This review outlines the recent knowledge on immune suppressive mechanisms mediated by tumor exosomes. We will discuss our view on the role of these nanovesicular structures in cancer progression and how their presence could interfere with cancer therapy.
Dopamine agonists (DA) are the first choice treatment of prolactinomas. However, a subset of patients is resistant to DA, due to undefined dopamine D2 receptor (D2R) alterations. Recently, D2R was found to associate with filamin-A (FLNA), a widely expressed cytoskeleton protein with scaffolding properties, in melanoma and neuronal cells.
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