Nucleic acid binding molecules have been extensively explored for nucleic acid assay, nuclear imaging, and antitumor and antivirus therapies. Most of these molecules usually bear positive charges to enhance their binding affinity. However, their in vivo applications are limited by poor membrane permeability and the lack of selectivity to nucleic acids. Here we describe the effects of positive charged side chains (including aminoethyl, dimethylaminopropyl and guanidinoethyl) on the DNA binding ability, cell permeability, cellular localization and cytotoxicity of 4-aminonaphthalimides, a class of DNA-intercalating agents and fluorophores. The synthesized 4-aminonaphthalimides have a strong binding ability to duplex DNA, and can be used as pre-staining dyes for gel electrophoresis of DNA and RNA. When entering into cells, they rapidly concentrate in cell nuclei, especially in nucleoli. The guanidinoethyl side chains increase the binding ability to nucleic acids, but do not favour the cell permeability and cytotoxicity; dimethylaminopropyl groups enhance the cell permeability and cytotoxicity of 4-aminonaphthalimides. These results suggest the potential applications of 4-aminonaphthalimides in nucleic acid assay and nuclear imaging, and provide useful information for the molecular design of DNA-binding drugs and fluorescent probes.
Sirtuin 6 (SIRT6) is associated with longevity and is also a tumor suppressor. Identification of molecular regulators of SIRT6 might enable its activation therapeutically in cancer patients. In various breast cancer cell lines, we found that SIRT6 was phosphorylated at Ser(338) by the kinase AKT1, which induced the interaction and ubiquitination of SIRT6 by MDM2, targeting SIRT6 for protease-dependent degradation. The survival of breast cancer patients positively correlated with the abundance of SIRT6 and inversely correlated with the phosphorylation of SIRT6 at Ser(338). In a panel of breast tumor biopsies, SIRT6 abundance inversely correlated with the abundance of phosphorylated AKT. Inhibiting AKT or preventing SIRT6 phosphorylation by mutating Ser(338) prevented the degradation of SIRT6 mediated by MDM2, suppressed the proliferation of breast cancer cells in culture, and inhibited the growth of breast tumor xenografts in mice. Overexpressing MDM2 decreased the abundance of SIRT6 in cells, whereas overexpressing an E3 ligase-deficient MDM2 or knocking down endogenous MDM2 increased SIRT6 abundance. Trastuzumab (known as Herceptin) is a drug that targets a specific receptor common in some breast cancers, and knocking down SIRT6 increased the survival of a breast cancer cell exposed to trastuzumab. Overexpression of a nonphosphorylatable SIRT6 mutant increased trastuzumab sensitivity in a resistant breast cancer cell line. Thus, stabilizing SIRT6 may be a clinical strategy for overcoming trastuzumab resistance in breast cancer patients.
Conversion of waste biomass to value-added carbon is an environmentally benign utilization of waste biomass to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution caused by open burning. In this study, various waste biomasses are converted to capacitive carbon by a single-step molten salt carbonization (MSC) process. The as-prepared carbon materials are amorphous with oxygen-containing functional groups on the surface. For the same type of waste biomass, the carbon materials obtained in Na2CO3-K2CO3 melt have the highest Brunauer-Emmett-Teller (BET) surface area and specific capacitance. The carbon yield decreases with increasing reaction temperature, while the surface area increases with increasing carbonization temperature. A working temperature above 700 °C is required for producing capacitive carbon. The good dissolving ability of alkaline carbonate molten decreases the yield of carbon from waste biomasses, but helps to produce high surface area carbon. The specific capacitance data confirm that Na2CO3-K2CO3 melt is the best for producing capacitive carbon. The specific capacitance of carbon derived from peanut shell is as high as 160 F g(-1) and 40 ?F cm(-2), and retains 95% after 10,000 cycles at a rate of 1 A g(-1). MSC offers a simple and environmentally sound way for transforming waste biomass to highly capacitive carbon as well as an effective carbon sequestration method.
Through first-principles computations, we investigated Li4NiTeO6, which is a new layered Ni-based cathode material for Li ion batteries, by focusing on the sequence of Li removal when it is charged. According to our computations, Li4NiTeO6 exhibits satisfactory structural stability with a volume change of 7.2% and electrical conductivity similar to Li2MnO3. We also examined the electronic configuration of this cathode material during its electrochemical progress and found a weak hybridization of Ni3d and O2p. Moreover, by analyzing the Bader charges of different elements, we confirmed that O and Ni are exclusively responsible for electron loss and gain. In addition, O evolution reactions occur when half of Li(+) ions are extracted. Finally, we investigated Li(+) migration paths and concluded that migration barriers depend on the charge distribution around migration paths.
DNA sequences that can form G-quadruplexes (G4s) are highly prevalent in the genome. However, the structures and functions of most G4-forming sequences in the genome are poorly understood. Therefore, the development of molecular probes for G4 recognition in biological samples, especially probes with long wavelength, are important for the basic research of G4s. Squaraines dyes exhibit sharp and intense absorption and strong emission in the red to NIR region, but very few of them have been reported as probes for the recognition of nucleic acids. Here we report the interactions of two squaraine dyes, STS and CSTS, with different kinds of DNA. The dicyanomethylene-functionalized squaraine dye, CSTS, exhibits strong interaction with the parallel G4s, but no interaction with other DNA. In aqueous conditions, this interaction causes the transformation of CSTS from H-aggregates to monomers, which results in decline and growth of the absorption spectra of both forms. The parallel G4s enhance the fluorescence of both STS and CSTS, but the fluorescence enhancement of CSTS is much higher than that of STS. CSTS is demonstrated to bind to G4s through end-stacking model on G-quartet surface. The high selectivity of CSTS to parallel G4s is attributed to its V-shaped rigid planar ? scaffold. The high selectivity, very low background fluorescence, large absorption coefficient, and high fluorescence quantum yield make CSTS hold great promise as a long-wavelength probe for parallel G4 detection in biological samples or in vivo.
Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is a highly heterogeneous and recurrent subtype of breast cancer that lacks an effective targeted therapy. To identify candidate therapeutic targets, we profiled global gene expression in TNBC and breast tumor-initiating cells with a patient survival dataset. Eight TNBC-related kinases were found to be overexpressed in TNBC cells with stem-like properties. Among them, expression of PKC-?, MET, and CDK6 correlated with poorer survival outcomes. In cases coexpressing two of these three kinases, survival rates were lower than in cases where only one of these kinases was expressed. In functional tests, two-drug combinations targeting these three kinases inhibited TNBC cell proliferation and tumorigenic potential in a cooperative manner. A combination of PKC-?-MET inhibitors also attenuated tumor growth in a cooperative manner in vivo. Our findings define three kinases critical for TNBC growth and offer a preclinical rationale for their candidacy as effective therapeutic targets in treating TNBC.
Solid electrode processes fall in the central focus of electrochemistry due to their broad-based applications in electrochemical energy storage/conversion devices, sensors and electrochemical preparation. The electrolytic production of metals, alloys, semiconductors and oxides via the electrochemical reduction of solid compounds (especially solid oxides) in high temperature molten salts has been well demonstrated to be an effective and environmentally friendly process for refractory metal extraction, functional materials preparation as well as spent fuel reprocessing. The (electro)chemical reduction of solid compounds under cathodic polarizations generally accompanies a variety of changes at the cathode/melt electrochemical interface which result in diverse electrolytic products with different compositions, morphologies and microstructures. This report summarizes various (electro)chemical reactions taking place at the compound cathode/melt interface during the electrochemical reduction of solid compounds in molten salts, which mainly include: (1) the direct electro-deoxidation of solid oxides; (2) the deposition of the active metal together with the electrochemical reduction of solid oxides; (3) the electro-inclusion of cations from molten salts; (4) the dissolution-electrodeposition process, and (5) the electron hopping process and carbon deposition with the utilization of carbon-based anodes. The implications of the forenamed cathodic reactions on the energy efficiency, chemical compositions and microstructures of the electrolytic products are also discussed. We hope that a comprehensive understanding of the cathodic processes during the electrochemical reduction of solid compounds in molten salts could form a basis for developing a clean, energy efficient and affordable production process for advanced/engineering materials.
An MS-based proteomic strategy combined with chemically functionalized gold nanoparticles as affinity probes was developed and validated by successful identification and quantification of HMGB1, which is well characterized to interact selectively with 1,2-cross-linked DNA by cisplatin, from whole cell lysates. The subsequent application of this method to identify proteins responding to 1,3-cross-linked DNA by a trans-platinum anticancer complex, trans-PtTz (Tz = thiazole), revealed that the human nuclear protein positive cofactor PC4 selectively binds to the damaged DNA, implying that PC4 may play a role in cellular response to DNA damage by trans-PtTz.
A simple and effective strategy for designing ratiometric fluorescent nanosensor has been described in this work. A carbon dots (CDs) based dual-emission nanosensor for Cu(2+) detection was prepared by coating CDs on the surface of Rhodamine B-doped silica nanoparticles. The fluorescent CDs were synthesized using N-(?-aminoethyl)-?-aminopropyl methyldimethoxysilane (AEAPMS) as the main raw material, so that the residual ethylenediamine groups and methoxysilane groups on the surface of CDs can serve as the Cu(2+) recognition sites and the silylation reaction groups. The obtained nanosensor showed characteristic fluorescence emissions of Rhodamine B (red) and CDs (blue) under a single excitation wavelength. Upon binding to Cu(2+), only the fluorescence of CDs was quenched, resulting in the ratiometric fluorescence response of the dual-emission silica nanoparticles. This ratiometric nanosensor exhibited good selectivity to Cu(2+) over other substances, such as metal ions, amino acids, proteins, and vitamin C. The ratio of F467/F585 linearly decreased with the increasing of Cu(2+) concentration in the range of 0 to 3 × 10(-6) M, a detection limit as low as 35.2 nM was achieved. Additionally, this nanosensor was successfully applied for the ratiometric fluorescence imaging of Cu(2+) in cells and determination of Cu(2+) in real tap water.
Head and neck paraganglioma is a rare and predominantly asymptomatic tumor. In the present study, an extremely rare case of asymptomatic paraganglioma located between the left common carotid artery and the left thyroid is described. The clinical presentation, cytomorphology and the immunohistochemical characteristics for the diagnosis of head and neck paraganglioma are described. To the best of our knowledge, only two cases of paraganglioma located between the left common carotid artery and the left thyroid have previously been reported.
Combinatorial targeted therapies are more effective in treating cancer by blocking by-pass mechanisms or inducing synthetic lethality. However, their clinical application is hampered by resistance and toxicity. To meet this important challenge, we developed and tested a novel concept of biomarker-guided sequential applications of various targeted therapies using ErbB2-overexpressing/PTEN-low, highly aggressive breast cancer as our model. Strikingly, sustained activation of ErbB2 and downstream pathways drives trastuzumab resistance in both PTEN-low/trastuzumab-resistant breast cancers from patients and mammary tumors with intratumoral heterogeneity from genetically-engineered mice. Although lapatinib initially inhibited trastuzumab-resistant mouse tumors, tumors by-passed the inhibition by activating the PI3K/mTOR signaling network as shown by the quantitative protein arrays. Interestingly, activation of the mTOR pathway was also observed in neoadjuvant lapatinib-treated patients manifesting lapatinib resistance. Trastuzumab + lapatinib resistance was effectively overcome by sequential application of a PI3K/mTOR dual kinase inhibitor (BEZ235) with no significant toxicity. However, our p-RTK array analysis demonstrated that BEZ235 treatment led to increased ErbB2 expression and phosphorylation in genetically-engineered mouse tumors and in 3-D, but not 2-D, culture, leading to BEZ235 resistance. Mechanistically, we identified ErbB2 protein stabilization and activation as a novel mechanism of BEZ235 resistance, which was reversed by subsequent treatment with lapatinib + BEZ235 combination. Remarkably, this sequential application of targeted therapies guided by biomarker changes in the tumors rapidly evolving resistance doubled the life-span of mice bearing exceedingly aggressive tumors. This fundamentally novel approach of using targeted therapies in a sequential order can effectively target and reprogram the signaling networks in cancers evolving resistance during treatment.
Breast cancer is the second-leading cause of oncology-related death in US women. Of all invasive breast cancers, patients with tumors lacking expression of the estrogen and progesterone hormone receptors and overexpression of human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 have the poorest clinical prognosis. These referred to as triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) represent an aggressive form of disease that is marked by early-onset metastasis, high tumor recurrence rate, and low overall survival during the first three years post-diagnosis. In this report, we discuss a novel model of early-onset TNBC metastasis to bone and lungs, derived from MDA-MB-231 cells. Breast cancer cells injected intravenously produced rapid, osteolytic metastases in long bones and spines of athymic nude mice, with concurrent metastasis to lungs, liver, and soft tissues. From the bone metastases, we developed a highly metastatic luciferase-tagged cell line variant named MDA-231-LUC Met. In this report, we demonstrate that the Akt/mTOR/S6K1 axis is hyperactivated in these cells, leading to a dramatic increase in phosphorylation of S6 ribosomal protein at Ser235/236. Lastly, we provide evidence that inhibition of the furthest downstream kinase in the mTOR pathway, S6K1, with a highly specific inhibitor PF-4708671 inhibits cell migration, and thus may provide a potent anti-metastatic adjuvant therapy approach.
Activation of K-ras and inactivation of p16 are the most frequently identified genetic alterations in human pancreatic epithelial adenocarcinoma (PDAC). Mouse models engineered with mutant K-ras and deleted p16 recapitulate key pathological features of PDAC. However, a human cell culture transformation model that recapitulates the human pancreatic molecular carcinogenesis is lacking. In this study, we investigated the role of p16 in hTERT-immortalized human pancreatic epithelial nestin-expressing (HPNE) cells expressing mutant K-ras (K-rasG12V). We found that expression of p16 was induced by oncogenic K-ras in these HPNE cells and that silencing of this induced p16 expression resulted in tumorigenic transformation and development of metastatic PDAC in an orthotopic xenograft mouse model. Our results revealed that PI3K/Akt, ERK1/2 pathways and TGF? signaling were activated by K-ras and involved in the malignant transformation of human pancreatic cells. Also, p38/MAPK pathway was involved in p16 up-regulation. Thus, our findings establish an experimental cell-based model for dissecting signaling pathways in the development of human PDAC. This model provides an important tool for studying the molecular basis of PDAC development and gaining insight into signaling mechanisms and potential new therapeutic targets for altered oncogenic signaling pathways in PDAC.
Morbidity and mortality of prostate cancer (PCa) have increased in recent years worldwide. Currently existing methods for diagnosis and treatment do not make the situation improve, especially for hormone refractory prostate cancer (HRPC). The lack of molecular probes for PCa hindered the early diagnosis of metastasis and accurate staging for PCa. In this work, we have developed a new aptamer probe Wy-5a against PCa cell line PC-3 by cell-SELEX technique. Wy-5a shows high specificity to the target cells with dissociation constants in the nanomolar range, and does not recognize other tested PCa cell lines and other tested tumor cell lines. The staining of clinical tissue sections with fluorescent dye labeled Wy-5a shows that sections from high risk group with metastasis exhibited stronger fluorescence and sections from Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) did not exhibit notable fluorescence, which suggests that aptamer Wy-5a may bind to protein related to the progression of PCa. The high affinity and specificity of Wy-5a makes this aptamer hold potential for application in diagnosis and target therapy of PCa.
Putative G-quadruplex-forming sequences (PQS) are highly prevalent in human genome; however, the structures and functions of most PQSs in genome are poorly understood. Therefore, selective recognition of certain types of G-quadruplexes (G4s) is important for the study of G4s. A new light up fluorescent probe, BPBC composed of benzimidazole and carbazole moieties was designed and synthesized. BPBC possesses a crescent-shaped ?-conjugated planar core that is slightly larger than the dimension of the G-quartet plane in G4s. This structure endows BPBC with excellent selectivity to parallel G4s. BPBC exhibits almost no fluorescence in the aqueous buffer condition, its fluorescence increases approximately 330-1800-fold in the presence of parallel G4s but only about 30-fold in the presence of single/double-stranded (ss/ds) DNA and 30-110-fold in the presence of antiparallel G4s. Binding studies indicate that the highly selective fluorescent response of BPBC arises from end-stack binding model to G-quartet.
Despite better control of early-stage disease and improved overall survival of patients with breast cancer, the incidence of life-threatening brain metastases continues to increase in some of these patients. Unfortunately, other than palliative treatments there is no effective therapy for this condition. In this study, we reveal a critical role for Src activation in promoting brain metastasis in a preclinical model of breast cancer and we show how Src-targeting combinatorial regimens can treat HER2(+) brain metastases in this model. We found that Src was hyperactivated in brain-seeking breast cancer cells derived from human cell lines or from patients brain metastases. Mechanistically, Src activation promoted tumor cell extravasation into the brain parenchyma via permeabilization of the blood-brain barrier. When combined with the EGFR/HER2 dual-targeting drug lapatinib, an Src-targeting combinatorial regimen prevented outgrowth of disseminated breast cancer cells through the induction of cell-cycle arrest. More importantly, this combinatorial regimen inhibited the outgrowth of established experimental brain metastases, prolonging the survival of metastases-bearing mice. Our results provide a rationale for clinical evaluation of Src-targeting regimens to treat patients with breast cancer suffering from brain metastasis.
In order to diagnose cancer, a sample must be removed, prepared, and examined under a microscope, which is expensive, invasive, and time consuming. Fiber optic fluorescence endomicroscopy, where an image guide is used to obtain high-resolution images of tissue in vivo, has shown promise as an alternative to conventional biopsies. However, the resolution of standard endomicroscopy is limited by the fiber bundle sampling frequency and out-of-focus light. A system is presented which incorporates a plastic, achromatic objective to increase the sampling and which provides optical sectioning via structured illumination to reject background light. An image is relayed from the sample by a fiber bundle with the custom 2.1-mm outer diameter objective lens integrated to the distal tip. The objective is corrected for the excitation and the emission wavelengths of proflavine (452 and 515 nm). It magnifies the object onto the fiber bundle to improve the systems lateral resolution by increasing the sampling. The plastic lenses were fabricated via single-point diamond turning and assembled using a zero alignment technique. Ex vivo images of normal and neoplastic murine mammary tissues stained with proflavine are captured. The system achieves higher contrast and resolves smaller features than standard fluorescence endomicroscopy.
Rapid and simple methods for microRNA (miRNA) detection are essential for biological research of miRNAs and clinical diagnosis. Here we describe a sensitive and specific real time RT-PCR (also RT-qPCR) method for miRNA quantification. The whole detection process including reverse transcription and PCR is performed in one PCR tube by a one-step operation on a real-time PCR system. The results display a wide linear range from 0.1 amol to 10 fmol with a detection limit of 12.6 zmol for miRNA let-7a detection. Let-7a in small RNA samples extracted from tumor cells has been successfully detected by this method. This method is cost-effective, simple and rapid, and has the advantages in the high-throughput routing assay of given miRNAs, as well as in non-model research that has less specific kits and reagents.
In order to develop a sensor for opium alkaloid codeine detection, DNA aptamers against codeine were generated by SELEX (systematic evolution of ligands by exponential enrichment) technique. An aptamer HL7-14, which is a 37-mer sequence with Kd values of 0.91 ?M, was optimized by the truncation-mutation assay. The specificity investigation shows that HL7-14 exhibits high specificity to codeine over morphine, and almost cannot bind to other small molecule. With this new selected aptamer, a novel electrochemical label-free codeine aptamer biosensor based on Au-mesoporous silica nanoparticles (Au-MSN) as immobilized substrate has been proposed using [Fe(CN)6](3-/4-) as electroactive redox probe. The linear range covered from 10 pM to 100 nM with correlation coefficient of 0.9979 and the detection limit was 3 pM. Our study demonstrates that the biosensor has good specificity, stability and well regeneration. It can be used to detect codeine.
Pulmonary hypertension (PH) in adults with sickle cell disease (SCD) is associated with early mortality, but no prior studies have evaluated quantitative relationships of mortality to physiological measures of pre- and postcapillary PH.
Elevation of serum phosphorus concentrations has been associated with cardiovascular events in older women and men. Whether age, sex, or estrogen therapy is associated with different phosphorus levels is unknown.
Low levels of the adipocyte-secreted protein adiponectin correlate with albuminuria in both mice and humans, but whether adiponectin has a causative role in modulating renal disease is unknown. Here, we first generated a mouse model that allows induction of caspase-8-mediated apoptosis specifically in podocytes upon injection of a construct-specific agent. These POD-ATTAC mice exhibited significant kidney damage, mimicking aspects of human renal disease, such as foot process effacement, mesangial expansion, and glomerulosclerosis. After the initial induction, both podocytes and filtration function recovered. Next, we crossed POD-ATTAC mice with mice lacking or overexpressing adiponectin. POD-ATTAC mice lacking adiponectin developed irreversible albuminuria and renal failure; conversely, POD-ATTAC mice overexpressing adiponectin recovered more rapidly and exhibited less interstitial fibrosis. In conclusion, these results suggest that adiponectin is a renoprotective protein after podocyte injury. Furthermore, the POD-ATTAC mouse provides a platform for further studies, allowing precise timing of podocyte injury and regeneration.
Brain metastasis is a common cause of mortality in cancer patients, yet potential therapeutic targets remain largely unknown. The type I insulin-like growth factor receptor (IGF-IR) is known to play a role in the progression of breast cancer and is currently being investigated in the clinical setting for various types of cancer. The present study demonstrates that IGF-IR is constitutively autophosphorylated in brain-seeking breast cancer sublines. Knockdown of IGF-IR results in a decrease of phospho-AKT and phospho-p70s6k, as well as decreased migration and invasion of MDA-MB-231Br brain-seeking cells. In addition, transient ablation of IGFBP3, which is overexpressed in brain-seeking cells, blocks IGF-IR activation. Using an in vivo experimental brain metastasis model, we show that IGF-IR knockdown brain-seeking cells have reduced potential to establish brain metastases. Finally, we demonstrate that the malignancy of brain-seeking cells is attenuated by pharmacological inhibition with picropodophyllin, an IGF-IR-specific tyrosine kinase inhibitor. Together, our data suggest that the IGF-IR is an important mediator of brain metastasis and its ablation delays the onset of brain metastases in our model system.
G-quadruplexes (G4s) are four-stranded nucleic acid structures adopted by some repetitive guanine-rich sequences. Putative G-quadruplex-forming sequences (PQSs) are highly prevalent in human genome. Recently some G4s have been reported to have cancer-selective antiproliferative activity. A G4 DNA, AS1411, is currently in phase II clinical trials as an anticancer agent, which is reported to bind tumor cells by targeting surface nucleolin. AS1411 also has been extensively investigated as a target-recognition element for cancer cell specific drug delivery or cancer cell imaging. Here we show that, in addition to AS1411, intramolecular G4s with parallel structure (including PQSs in genes) have general binding activity to many cell lines with different affinity. The binding of these G4s compete with each other, and their targets are certain cellular surface proteins. The tested G4s exhibit enhanced cellular uptake than non-G4 sequences. This uptake may be through the endosome/lysosome pathway, but it is independent of cellular binding of the G4s. The tested G4s also show selective antiproliferative activity that is independent of their cellular binding. Our findings provide new insight into the molecular recognition of G4s by cells; offer new clues for understanding the functions of G4s in vivo, and may extend the potential applications of G4s.
Allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation is associated with profound changes in levels of various cytokines. Emphasis has been placed on conditioning-associated mucosal damage and neutropenia and associated bacterial translocation as the initiating conditions predisposing to acute graft-versus-host disease. The post-transplant period is, however, also associated with increases in certain homeostatic cytokines. It is unclear how much the homeostatic drive to lymphocyte recovery and the production of cytokines from the engrafting donor immune system determine cytokine fluctuations in the peri- and immediate post-transplant period. The aim of this study was to examine the contributions of the conditioning regimen, donor engraftment, infections, and graft-versus-host disease to fluctuations in cytokines involved in homeostasis and inflammation.
MicroRNAs (miRNA) are endogenous, short, non-coding RNA that undergo a multistep biogenesis before generating the functional, mature sequence. The core components of the microprocessor complex, consisting of Drosha and DGCR8, are both necessary and sufficient for this process, although accessory proteins have been found that modulate the biogenesis of a subset of miRNA. Curiously, many of the proteins involved in miRNA biogenesis are also needed for ribosomal RNA processing. Here we show that nucleolin, another protein critical for rRNA processing, is involved in the biogenesis of microRNA 15a/16 (miR-15a/16), specifically at the primary to precursor stage of processing. Through overexpression and knockdown studies, we show that miR-15a/16 levels are directly correlated to nucleolin expression. Furthermore, we found that cellular localization is critical for the proper functioning of nucleolin in this pathway and that nucleolin directly interacts with DGCR8 and Drosha in the nucleus. Nucleolin can bind to the primary miRNA both directly and specifically. Finally, we show that in the absence of nucleolin, cell extracts are unable to process miR-15a/16 in vitro and that this can be rescued by the addition of nucleolin. Our findings offer a new protein component in the microRNA biogenesis pathway and lend insight into miRNA dysregulation in certain cancers.
Src is a non-receptor tyrosine kinase that is deregulated in many types of cancer. Decades of research have revealed the crucial role of Src in many aspects of tumor development, including proliferation, survival, adhesion, migration, invasion and, most importantly, metastasis, in multiple tumor types. Despite extensive preclinical evidence that warrants targeting Src as a promising therapeutic approach for cancer, Src inhibitor(s) showed only minimal therapeutic activity in various types of solid tumors when used as a single agent in recent early-phase clinical trials. In this review, we highlight the most recent advances from preclinical studies and clinical trials that shed light on potential clinical use of Src inhibitor-containing combinatorial regimens in overcoming resistance to current anticancer therapies and in preventing metastatic recurrence.
Breast cancer initiating cells (BCICs), which can fully recapitulate the tumor origin and are often resistant to chemo- and radiotherapy, are currently considered as a major obstacle for breast cancer treatment. Here, we show that BIKDD, a constitutively active mutant form of proapoptotic gene, BIK, effectively induces apoptosis of breast cancer cells and synergizes with lapatinib. Most importantly, BikDD significantly reduces BCICs through co-antagonism of its binding partners Bcl-2, Bcl-xL, and Mcl-1, suggesting a potential therapeutic strategy targeting BCICs. Furthermore, we developed a cancer-specific targeting approach for breast cancer that selectively expresses BikDD in breast cancer cells including BCICs, and demonstrated its potent antitumor activity and synergism with lapatinib in vitro and in vivo.
Trastuzumab resistance has been linked to activation of the phosphoinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) pathway. Phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) is a dual phosphatase that counteracts the PI3K function; PTEN loss leads to activation of the Akt cascade and the downstream mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR). Preclinical studies demonstrated that mTOR inhibition sensitized the response to trastuzumab in mice with HER2 overexpressing and PTEN-deficient breast xenografts. Our trial evaluated the safety and efficacy of the combination of everolimus and trastuzumab in women with HER2-overexpressing metastatic breast cancer (MBC) that progressed on trastuzumab-based therapy.
Recently, G-quadruplex/hemin (G4/hemin) complexes have been found to exhibit peroxidase activity, and this feature has been extensively exploited for colorimetric detection of various targets. To further understand and characterize this important DNAzyme, its substrate specificity, inactivation mechanism, and kinetics have been examined by comparison with horseradish peroxidase (HRP). G4/hemin DNAzyme exhibits broader substrate specificity and much higher inactivation rate than HRP because of the exposure of the catalytic hemin center. The inactivation of G4/hemin DNAzyme is mainly attributed to the degradation of hemin by H(2)O(2) rather than the destruction of G4. Both the inactivation rate and catalytic oxidation rate of G4/hemin DNAzyme depend on the concentration of H(2)O(2), which suggests that active intermediates formed by G4/hemin and H(2)O(2) are the branch point of catalysis and inactivation. Reducing substrates greatly inhibit the inactivation of G4/hemin DNAzyme by rapidly reacting with the active intermediates. A possible catalytic and inactivation process of G4/hemin has been proposed. These results imply a potential cause for the hemin-mediated cellular injury and provide insightful information for the future application of G4/hemin DNAzyme.
Ligands specific to bioactive molecules play important roles in biomedical researches and applications, such as biological assay, diagnosis and therapy. Systemin is a peptide hormone firstly identified in plant. In this paper we report the selection of a group of DNA aptamers that can specifically bind to systemin. Through comparing the predicted secondary structures of all the aptamers, a hairpin structure with G-rich loop was determined to be the binding motif of these aptamers. The G-rich loop region of this binding motif was further characterized to fold into an antiparallel G-quadruplex by truncation-mutation assay and CD spectrum. The apparent equilibrium dissociation constant (K(d)) of one strong binding sequence (S-5-1) was measured to be 0.5 ?M. The specificity assay shows that S-5-1 strongly bind to whole systemin, weakly bind to truncated or mutated systemin and does not bind to the scrambled peptide with the same amino acid composition as systemin. The high affinity and specificity make S-5-1 hold potentials to serve as a molecular ligand applied in detection, separation and functional investigation of systemin in plants.
Cancer stem cells (CSCs) or tumor initiating cells (TICs) make up only a small fraction of total tumor cell population, but recent evidence suggests that they are responsible for tumor initiation and the maintenance of tumor growth. Whether CSCs/TICs originate from normal stem cells or result from the dedifferentiation of terminally differentiated cells remains unknown. Here we provide evidence that sustained expression of the proinflammatory protein tissue transglutaminase (TG2) confers stem cell like properties in non-transformed and transformed mammary epithelial cells. Sustained expression of TG2 was associated with increase in CD44(high)/CD24(low/-) subpopulation, increased ability of cells to form mammospheres, and acquisition of self-renewal ability. Mammospheres derived from TG2-transfected mammary epithelial cells (MCF10A) differentiated into complex secondary structures when grown in Matrigel cultures. Cells in these secondary structures differentiated into Muc1-positive (luminal marker) and integrin ?6-positive (basal marker) cells in response to prolactin treatment. Highly aggressive MDA-231 and drug-resistant MCF-7/RT breast cancer cells, which express high basal levels of TG2, shared many traits with TG2-transfected MCF10A stem cells but unlike MCF10A-derived stem cells they failed to form the secondary structures and to differentiate into Muc1-positive luminal cells when grown in Matrigel culture. Downregulation of TG2 attenuated stem cell properties in both non-transformed and transformed mammary epithelial cells. Taken together, these results suggested a new function for TG2 and revealed a novel mechanism responsible for promoting the stem cell characteristics in adult mammary epithelial cells.
Solitary fibrous tumor in the mesentery is rare. We report a case of a malignant solitary fibrous tumor in the appendical mesentery of 6-year-old boy. Computed tomography and ultrasound of the abdomen demonstrated a well-defined solid mass, 4.0 cm in diameter, in the lower right abdomen. At laparotomy, an encapsulated tumor was observed in the appendical mesentery and was easily separated from the appendix. Immunohistochemistry stain showed that the spindle-shaped cells were positive for CD34 and neuron-specific enolase. DOG-1, CD117, desmin, S-100 protein, and SMA were negative. The sequence of KIT and platelet-derived growth factor receptor ? was presented with wild type, no mutation. The patient received the reoperation 5 months postoperation. Despite these treatments, the relapsed tumor rapidly and markedly enlarged. The patient died of recurrent tumor with liver dissemination 7 months after reoperation.
Metastasis accounts for 90% of cancer-related mortality. Brain metastases generally present during the late stages in the natural history of cancer progression. Recent advances in cancer treatment and management have resulted in better control of systemic disease metastatic to organs other than the brain and improved patient survival. However, patients who experience recurrent disease manifest an increasing number of brain metastases, which are usually refractory to therapies. To meet the new challenges of controlling brain metastasis, the research community has been tackling the problem with novel experimental models and research tools, which have led to an improved understanding of brain metastasis. The time-tested "seed-and-soil" hypothesis of metastasis indicates that successful outgrowth of deadly metastatic tumors depends on permissible interactions between the metastatic cancer cells and the site-specific microenvironment in the host organs. Consistently, recent studies indicate that the brain, the major component of the central nervous system, has unique physiological features that can determine the outcome of metastatic tumor growth. The current review summarizes recent discoveries on these tumor-brain interactions, and the potential clinical implications these novel findings could have for the better treatment of patients with brain metastasis.
The epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) has recently been linked to stem cell phenotype. However, the molecular mechanism underlying EMT and regulation of stemness remains elusive. Here, using genomic approaches, we show that tumour suppressor p53 has a role in regulating both EMT and EMT-associated stem cell properties through transcriptional activation of the microRNA miR-200c. p53 transactivates miR-200c through direct binding to the miR-200c promoter. Loss of p53 in mammary epithelial cells leads to decreased expression of miR-200c and activates the EMT programme, accompanied by an increased mammary stem cell population. Re-expressing miR-200c suppresses genes that mediate EMT and stemness properties and thereby reverts the mesenchymal and stem-cell-like phenotype caused by loss of p53 to a differentiated epithelial cell phenotype. Furthermore, loss of p53 correlates with a decrease in the level of miR-200c, but an increase in the expression of EMT and stemness markers, and development of a high tumour grade in a cohort of breast tumours. This study elucidates a role for p53 in regulating EMT-MET (mesenchymal-epithelial transition) and stemness or differentiation plasticity, and reveals a potential therapeutic implication to suppress EMT-associated cancer stem cells through activation of the p53-miR-200c pathway.
Significant progress has been achieved toward elucidating the molecular mechanisms that underlie breast cancer progression; yet, much less is known about the associated cellular biophysical traits. To this end, we use time-lapsed confocal microscopy to investigate the interplay among cell motility, three-dimensional (3D) matrix stiffness, matrix architecture, and transforming potential in a mammary epithelial cell (MEC) cancer progression series. We use a well characterized breast cancer progression model where human-derived MCF10A MECs overexpress either ErbB2, 14-3-3?, or both ErbB2 and 14-3-3?, with empty vector as a control. Cell motility assays showed that MECs overexpressing ErbB2 alone exhibited notably high migration speeds when cultured atop two-dimensional (2D) matrices, while overexpression of 14-3-3? alone most suppressed migration atop 2D matrices (as compared to non-transformed MECs). Our results also suggest that co-overexpression of the 14-3-3? and ErbB2 proteins facilitates cell migratory capacity in 3D matrices, as reflected in cell migration speed. Additionally, 3D matrices of sufficient stiffness can significantly hinder the migratory ability of partially transformed cells, but increased 3D matrix stiffness has a lesser effect on the aggressive migratory behavior exhibited by fully transformed cells that co-overexpress both ErbB2 and 14-3-3?. Finally, this study shows that for MECs possessing partial or full transforming potential, those overexpressing ErbB2 alone show the greatest sensitivity of cell migration speed to matrix architecture, while those overexpressing 14-3-3? alone exhibit the least sensitivity to matrix architecture. Given the current knowledge of breast cancer mechanobiology, these findings overall suggest that cell motility is governed by a complex interplay between matrix mechanics and transforming potential.
Normal mammary gland homeostasis requires the coordinated regulation of protein signaling networks. However, we have little prospective information on whether activation of protein signaling occurs in premalignant mammary epithelial cells, as represented by cells with cytological atypia from women who are at high risk for breast cancer. This information is critical for understanding the role of deregulated signaling pathways in the initiation of breast cancer and for developing targeted prevention and/or treatment strategies for breast cancer in the future. In this pilot and feasibility study, we examined the expression of 52 phosphorylated, total, and cleaved proteins in 31 microdissected Random Periareolar Fine Needle Aspiration (RPFNA) samples by high-throughput Reverse Phase Protein Microarray. Unsupervised hierarchical clustering analysis indicated the presence of four clusters of proteins that represent the following signaling pathways: (1) receptor tyrosine kinase/Akt/mammalian target of rapamycin (RTK/Akt/mTOR), (2) RTK/Akt/extracellular signal-regulated kinase (RTK/Akt/ERK), (3) mitochondrial apoptosis, and (4) indeterminate. Clusters 1 through 3 comprised moderately to highly expressed proteins, while Cluster 4 comprised proteins that are lowly expressed in a majority of RPFNA samples. Our exploratory study showed that the interlinked components of mitochondrial apoptosis pathway are highly expressed in all mammary epithelial cells obtained from high-risk women. In particular, the expression levels of anti-apoptotic Bcl-xL and pro-apoptotic Bad are positively correlated in both non-atypical and atypical samples (unadjusted P < 0.0001), suggesting a delicate balance between the pro-apoptotic and anti-apoptotic regulation of cell proliferation during the early steps of mammary carcinogenesis. Our feasibility study suggests that the activation of key proteins along the RTK/Akt pathway may tip this balance to cell survival. Taken together, our results demonstrate the feasibility of mapping proteomic signaling networks in limited RPFNA samples obtained from high-risk women and the promise of developing rational drug targets or preventative strategies for breast cancer in future proteomic studies with a larger cohort of high-risk women.
Trastuzumab is a successful rationally designed ERBB2-targeted therapy. However, about half of individuals with ERBB2-overexpressing breast cancer do not respond to trastuzumab-based therapies, owing to various resistance mechanisms. Clinically applicable regimens for overcoming trastuzumab resistance of different mechanisms are not yet available. We show that the nonreceptor tyrosine kinase c-SRC (SRC) is a key modulator of trastuzumab response and a common node downstream of multiple trastuzumab resistance pathways. We find that SRC is activated in both acquired and de novo trastuzumab-resistant cells and uncover a novel mechanism of SRC regulation involving dephosphorylation by PTEN. Increased SRC activation conferred considerable trastuzumab resistance in breast cancer cells and correlated with trastuzumab resistance in patients. Targeting SRC in combination with trastuzumab sensitized multiple lines of trastuzumab-resistant cells to trastuzumab and eliminated trastuzumab-resistant tumors in vivo, suggesting the potential clinical application of this strategy to overcome trastuzumab resistance.
Many biological and clinical studies require the longitudinal study and analysis of morphology and function with cellular level resolution. Traditionally, multiple experiments are run in parallel, with individual samples removed from the study at sequential time points for evaluation by light microscopy. Several intravital techniques have been developed, with confocal, multiphoton, and second harmonic microscopy all demonstrating their ability to be used for imaging in situ. With these systems, however, the required infrastructure is complex and expensive, involving scanning laser systems and complex light sources. Here we present a protocol for the design and assembly of a high-resolution microendoscope which can be built in a day using off-the-shelf components for under US$5,000. The platform offers flexibility in terms of image resolution, field-of-view, and operating wavelength, and we describe how these parameters can be easily modified to meet the specific needs of the end user. We and others have explored the use of the high-resolution microendoscope (HRME) in in vitro cell culture, in excised and living animal tissues, and in human tissues in vivo. Users have reported the use of several different fluorescent contrast agents, including proflavine, benzoporphyrin-derivative monoacid ring A (BPD-MA), and fluoroscein, all of which have received full, or investigational approval from the FDA for use in human subjects. High-resolution microendoscopy, in the form described here, may appeal to a wide range of researchers working in the basic and clinical sciences. The technique offers an effective and economical approach which complements traditional benchtop microscopy, by enabling the user to perform high-resolution, longitudinal imaging in situ.
Obesity is a well-established risk factor for cancer, accounting for up to 20% of cancer deaths in women. Studies of women with breast cancer have shown obesity to be associated with an increased risk of dying from breast cancer and increased risk of developing distant metastasis. While previous studies have focused on differences in circulating hormone levels as a cause for increased breast cancer incidence in postmenopausal women, few studies have focused on potential differences in the protein expression patterns of mammary epithelial cells obtained from obese versus nonobese women.
Rapid determination of Sudan I in foodstuffs is very important because it was found to be a carcinogen and its use in the food industry was banned. A rapid, sensitive, and convenient electrochemical method was developed for the determination of Sudan I based on the distinctive properties of mesoporous SiO2. The electrochemical responses of Sudan I were investigated. A sensitive oxidation peak was observed for Sudan I, and the peak currents greatly increased at the mesoporous SiO2-modified electrode, which can be attributed to its large surface area and high accumulation efficiency. The effects of pH, amount of mesoporous SiO2, scan rate, accumulation potential, and time were examined on the oxidation signals of Sudan I. The linear range was from 4.00 x 10(-8) to 2.00 x 10(-5) M, and the LOD was 7.50 x 10(-9) M. The newly developed method was successfully used to detect and quantify Sudan I in hot chili powder and juice samples.
Estrogen independence and progression to a metastatic phenotype are hallmarks of therapeutic resistance and mortality in breast cancer patients. Metastasis has been associated with chemokine signaling through the SDF-1-CXCR4 axis. Thus, the development of estrogen independence and endocrine therapy resistance in breast cancer patients may be driven by SDF-1-CXCR4 signaling. Here we report that CXCR4 overexpression is indeed correlated with worse prognosis and decreased patient survival irrespective of the status of the estrogen receptor (ER). Constitutive activation of CXCR4 in poorly metastatic MCF-7 cells led to enhanced tumor growth and metastases that could be reversed by CXCR4 inhibition. CXCR4 overexpression in MCF-7 cells promoted estrogen independence in vivo, whereas exogenous SDF-1 treatment negated the inhibitory effects of treatment with the anti-estrogen ICI 182,780 on CXCR4-mediated tumor growth. The effects of CXCR4 overexpression were correlated with SDF-1-mediated activation of downstream signaling via ERK1/2 and p38 MAPK (mitogen activated protein kinase) and with an enhancement of ER-mediated gene expression. Together, these results show that enhanced CXCR4 signaling is sufficient to drive ER-positive breast cancers to a metastatic and endocrine therapy-resistant phenotype via increased MAPK signaling. Our findings highlight CXCR4 signaling as a rational therapeutic target for the treatment of ER-positive, estrogen-independent breast carcinomas needing improved clinical management.
Here, we describe a colorimetric sensor for detecting Hg(2+) in aqueous media, which is simply constructed by the self-assembly of thymine acetamidoethanethiol (T-SH) on gold nanoparticles (AuNPs). Based on the specific interaction of Hg(2+) with two thymines (T), the T-SH modified AuNPs can be induced to aggregate through the formation of a stable T-Hg-T complex in the presence of Hg(2+), resulting in a color change from red to blue-gray. As low as 0.5 µM of Hg(2+) can be easily monitored by the naked eye using this sensor. Other metal ions, including Zn(2+), Cd(2+), Pb(2+), Ni(2+), Cu(2+), Co(2+), Mn(2+), Ba(2+), Fe(2+), Ca(2+), Mg(2+), Al(3+), and Fe(3+), could not cause any response, even at concentrations 100-fold higher than Hg(2+). The high selectivity, high stability and easy operation enable this sensor suitable for the rapid on-site detection of Hg(2+) pollution.
DNA aptamers for specific recognition of L-tryptophan have been evolved by a SELEX (systematic evolution of ligands by exponential enrichment) technique. Truncation-mutation experiments suggest that a 34-mer sequence, Trp3a-1, possesses the strongest binding ability to L-tryptophan. Trp3a-1 is predicted to adopt a loop-stem secondary structure, in which the loop may further fold into a binding pocket for L-tryptophan with the help of the stem. The specificity investigation shows that Trp3a-1 strongly binds to L-tryptophan, has almost no binding to other amino acids, and weakly binds to some tryptophan analogs and peptides containing the L-tryptophan residue. The binding of Trp3a-1 to L-tryptophan is mainly contributed to by hydrogen bonds and precise stacking formed between the binding pocket of Trp3a-1 and all groups on L-tryptophan. This aptamer has also been proved to be an effective ligand for the chiral separation of D/L-tryptophan. L-tryptophan and its derivatives are known to play important biological roles; this aptamer ligand could be used as a tool for the analysis of tryptophan and other related studies.
The ubiquitously expressed 14-3-3? protein is involved in numerous important cellular pathways involved in cancer. Recent research suggests 14-3-3? may play a central role regulating multiple pathways responsible for cancer initiation and progression. This review will provide an overview of 14-3-3 proteins and address the role of 14-3-3? overexpression in cancer.
While p21 is well known to inhibit cyclin-CDK activity in the nucleus and it has also been demonstrated to have oncogenic properties in different types of human cancers. In vitro studies showed that the oncogenic function of p21is closely related to its cytoplasmic localization. However, it is unclear whether cytoplasmic p21 contributes to tumorigenesis in vivo. To address this question, we generated transgenic mice expressing the Akt-phosphorylated form of p21 (p21T145D) in the mammary epithelium. The results showed that Akt-activated p21 was expressed in the cytoplasm of mammary epithelium. Overexpression of Akt-activated p21 accelerated tumor onset and promoted lung metastasis in MMTV/neu mice, providing evidence that p21, especially cytoplasmic phosphorylated p21, has an oncogenic role in promoting mammary tumorigenesis and metastasis.
Amplification or overexpression of murine double minute 2 (MDM2) promotes a variety of human tumors by degrading tumor suppressor proteins such as p53. Phosphorylation of MDM2 on Ser(166) and Ser(186) by the survival kinase Akt inhibits p53-mediated apoptosis. However, it is unclear whether this pathway contributes to normal or malignant pathophysiology in vivo. To address these questions, we generated transgenic mice expressing the Akt-phosphorylated form of MDM2 (MDM2DDS166D/S186D) in the mammary epithelium. Activation of MDM2 delayed mammary gland involution and accelerated tumor progression in mouse mammary tumor virus/neu transgenic mice by inhibiting apoptosis in a manner associated with decreased p53 expression. Our findings offer in vivo evidence that activation of MDM2 by Akt contributes to mammary development and tumorigenesis.
Phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) is a key modulator of trastuzumab sensitivity in HER2-overexpressing breast cancer. Because PTEN opposes the downstream signaling of phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K), we investigated the role of PTEN and other components of the PI3K pathway in trastuzumab resistance. We analyzed the status of PTEN, p-AKT-Ser473, and p-p70S6K-Thr389 using immunohistochemistry. PIK3CA mutation status was analyzed by direct sequencing. Primary tumor tissue was available from 137 patients with HER2-overexpressing metastatic breast cancer who had received trastuzumab-based chemotherapy. We observed that each of the four biomarkers alone did not significantly correlate with trastuzumab response, whereas PTEN loss alone significantly correlated with shorter survival times (P = 0.023). PI3K pathway activation, defined as PTEN loss and/or PIK3CA mutation, was associated with a poor response to trastuzumab (P = 0.047) and a shorter survival time (P = 0.015). PTEN loss was significantly associated with a poor response to trastuzumab (P = 0.028) and shorter survival time (P = 0.008) in patients who had received first-line trastuzumab and in patients with estrogen receptor- (P = 0.029) and progesterone receptor-negative tumors (P = 0.033). p-AKT-Ser473 and p-p70S6K-Thr389 each had a limited correlation with trastuzumab response. When these markers were combined with PTEN loss, an increased correlation with patient outcome was observed. In conclusion, PI3K pathway activation plays a pivotal role in trastuzumab resistance. Our findings may facilitate the evaluation of tumor response to trastuzumab-based and targeted therapies.
Protein tyrosine kinase-7 (PTK7) is a catalytically inactive receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK). PTK7 is upregulated in many common human cancers, including colon cancer, lung cancer, gastric cancer and acute myeloid leukemia. The reason for this up-regulation is not yet known. To explore the functional role of PTK7, the expression of PTK7 in HCT 116 cells was examined using small interference (siRNA)-mediated gene silencing. Following transfection, the siRNA successfully suppressed PTK7 mRNA and protein expression. Knocking down of PTK7 in HCT 116 cells inhibited cell proliferation compared to control groups and induced apoptosis. Furthermore, this apoptosis was characterized by decreased mitochondrial membrane potential and activation of caspase-9 and -10. Addition of a caspase-10 inhibitor totally blocked this apoptosis, suggesting that caspase-10 may play a critical role in PTK7-knockdown-induced apoptosis, downstream of mitochondria. These observations may indicate a role for PTK7 in cell proliferation and cell apoptosis and may provide a potential therapeutic pathway for the treatment of a variety of cancers.
The tumor suppressor phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) is a nonredundant phosphatase, counteracting one of the most critical cancer-promoting pathways: the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt signaling pathway. In addition to the canonical function of dephosphorylation of phosphatidylinositol-3,4,5-trisphosphate (PIP3), recent studies showed the intriguing roles of PTEN in regulating genomic instability, DNA repair, stem cell self-renewal, cellular senescence, and cell migration and/or metastasis. Clinically, PTEN mutations and deficiencies are prevalent in many types of human cancers. Severe PTEN deficiency is also associated with advanced tumor stage and therapeutic resistance, such as the resistance to trastuzumab, an anti-HER2 therapy. Currently, targeting the deregulated PI3K/PTEN-Akt signaling axis has emerged as one of the major tenets in anticancer drug development. In this review, we highlight our current knowledge of PTEN function and the recent discoveries in dissecting the PTEN signaling pathway. The deregulations of PTEN in cancers, clinical lessons, and new prospects of rationally designed PI3K/Akt-targeted therapy for effective cancer treatment are also discussed.
Recent observations that aberrant expression of tissue transglutaminase (TG2) promotes growth, survival, and metastasis of multiple tumor types is of great significance and could yield novel therapeutic targets for improved patient outcomes. To accomplish this, a clear understanding of how TG2 contributes to these phenotypes is essential. Using mammary epithelial cell lines (MCF10A, MCF12A, MCF7 and MCF7/RT) as a model system, we determined the impact of TG2 expression on cell growth, cell survival, invasion, and differentiation. Our results show that TG2 expression promotes drug resistance and invasive functions by inducing epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Thus, TG2 expression supported anchorage-independent growth of mammary epithelial cells in soft-agar, disrupted the apical-basal polarity, and resulted in disorganized acini structures when grown in 3D-culture. At molecular level, TG2 expression resulted in loss of E-cadherin and increased the expression of various transcriptional repressors (Snail1, Zeb1, Zeb2 and Twist1). Tumor growth factor-beta (TGF-?) failed to induce EMT in cells lacking TG2 expression, suggesting that TG2 is a downstream effector of TGF-?-induced EMT. Moreover, TG2 expression induced stem cell-like phenotype in mammary epithelial cells as revealed by enrichment of CD44(+)/CD24(-/low) cell populations. Overall, our studies show that aberrant expression of TG2 is sufficient for inducing EMT in epithelial cells and establish a strong link between TG2 expression and progression of metastatic breast disease.
In the past two decades, high-affinity nucleic acid aptamers have been developed for a wide variety of pure molecules and complex systems such as live cells. Conceptually, aptamers are developed by an evolutionary process, whereby, as selection progresses, sequences with a certain conformation capable of binding to the target of interest emerge and dominate the pool. This protocol, cell-SELEX (systematic evolution of ligands by exponential enrichment), is a method that can generate DNA aptamers that can bind specifically to a cell type of interest. Commonly, a cancer cell line is used as the target to generate aptamers that can differentiate that cell type from other cancers or normal cells. A single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) library pool is incubated with the target cells. Nonbinding sequences are washed off and bound sequences are recovered from the cells by heating cell-DNA complexes at 95 degrees C, followed by centrifugation. The recovered pool is incubated with the control cell line to filter out the sequences that bind to common molecules on both the target and the control, leading to the enrichment of specific binders to the target. Binding sequences are amplified by PCR using fluorescein isothiocyanate-labeled sense and biotin-labeled antisense primers. This is followed by removal of antisense strands to generate an ssDNA pool for subsequent rounds of selection. The enrichment of the selected pools is monitored by flow cytometry binding assays, with selected pools having increased fluorescence compared with the unselected DNA library. The procedure, from design of oligonucleotides to enrichment of the selected pools, takes approximately 3 months.
While significant advances have been made toward revealing the molecular mechanisms that influence breast cancer progression, much less is known about the associated cellular mechanical properties. To this end, we use particle-tracking microrheology to investigate the interplay among intracellular mechanics, three-dimensional matrix stiffness, and transforming potential in a mammary epithelial cell (MEC) cancer progression series. We use a well-characterized model system where human-derived MCF10A MECs overexpress either ErbB2, 14-3-3?, or both ErbB2 and 14-3-3?, with empty vector as a control. Our results show that MECs possessing ErbB2 transforming potential stiffen in response to elevated matrix stiffness, whereas non-transformed MECs or those overexpressing only 14-3-3? do no exhibit this response. We further observe that overexpression of ErbB2 alone is associated with the highest degree of intracellular sensitivity to matrix stiffness, and that the effect of transforming potential on intracellular stiffness is matrix-stiffness-dependent. Moreover, our intracellular stiffness measurements parallel cell migration behavior that has been previously reported for these MEC sublines. Given the current knowledge base of breast cancer mechanobiology, these findings suggest that there may be a positive relationship among intracellular stiffness sensitivity, cell motility, and perturbed mechanotransduction in breast cancer.
Assisted by ionic liquids, a facile way of preparing size controllable emulsions stabilised by a CNT/IL composite has been demonstrated. The functionally and structurally tunable CNT/IL composite layer will potentially enhance the application of emulsion in template synthesis, biphase catalysis and interface electron/charge transfer.
Aptamers that are selected in vitro from random pools of DNA or RNA molecules by SELEX (Systematic evolution of ligands by exponential enrichment) technique have been extensively explored for analytical and biomedical applications. Although many aptamers with high affinity and specificity against specific ligands have been reported, there is still a lack of well characterized DNA aptamers. Here we report the selection of a group of aptamer candidates (85 mer) against streptavidin. Through comparing the predicted secondary structures of all the candidates, a conservative bulge-hairpin structure section (about 29 mer) was found, and then it was determined to be the binding motif to streptavidin. This binding motif was further discovered to also exist in streptavidin-binding aptamers (SBAs) selected by three other laboratories using different methods. The primary sequences of this secondary structure motif are very different, only several nucleotides in the loop and bulge area are critical for binding and other nucleotides are variable. The streptavidin binding of all the SBAs could be competed by biotin implying that they bind to the same site on streptavidin. These results suggest that the evolution of SBA is predominated by specific groups on streptavidin. The highly variable sequence composition of streptavidin-binding aptamer would make the design of aptameric sensor or device based on streptavidin more flexible and easy.
Trastuzumab is a monoclonal antibody directed against the human EGFR2 (HER2) protein that has been shown to improve survival in patients with HER2-positive breast cancer. Lapatinib is an oral small-molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitor directed against EGFR and HER2. Lapatinib therapy was shown to prolong the time to progression and increase the rate of response to capecitabine in patients who had received anthracycline-based and taxane-based chemotherapy, and whose tumors had progressed on trastuzumab. HER2 status, either gene copy number or the protein expression level, is the best predictive marker available for assessing response to trastuzumab and lapatinib. Whether the power of this predictive marker is the same in advanced and early-stage cancers is unknown. There is great interest in developing diagnostic tests that predict which patients are more likely to benefit from specific HER2-directed therapies. Novel therapeutics that will overcome resistance to trastuzumab and lapatinib are under intense clinical development. In the future, it will be important to characterize mechanisms of resistance in metastatic tumors to determine which novel targeted therapy will be most appropriate for individual patients.
ErbB2 (HER2, neu) is a receptor tyrosine kinase overexpressed in about 25% of invasive breast carcinomas. Neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (NGAL) is a secreted glycoprotein expressed in a variety of cancers, including breast carcinomas. NGAL can inhibit erythroid cell production, leading to anemia. Anemia usually occurs in cancer patients and negatively affects quality of life. However, current treatment for cancer-related anemia has potential complications. ErbB2, NGAL, and anemia have all been associated with increased metastasis and poor prognosis in breast cancer patients, although the relationship between ErbB2 and NGAL expression is not clear. Here, using breast cancer cell lines in vitro and transgenic mice carrying the activated c-neu oncogene driven by a mouse mammary tumor virus (MMTV-neu) in vivo, we show that ErbB2 overexpression leads to NGAL upregulation, which is dependent on nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB) activity. MMTV-neu transgenic mice developed anemia after tumor onset, and anemia progression could be partially arrested by a NF-kappaB inhibitor and ErbB2-targeted therapy. Taken together, upregulation of NGAL by ErbB2 through NF-kappaB activation is involved in cancer-related anemia, and the ErbB2, NF-kappaB, and NGAL pathways may serve as potential therapeutic targets for cancer-related anemia.
We immobilized carbonic anhydrase (CA) onto the surface of membrane oxygenator of polymethyl pentene (PMP) to enhance the removal of carbon dioxide in blood by two steps. We first introduced hydroxyl groups onto PMP surface by water plasma treatment, and then coupled CA onto PMP surface by using cyanate bromide (CNBr) as a crosslinker. After plasma treatment, the contact angle with water and chemical composition of PMP surface were characterized by analysis system of surface contact angle and XPS. Using p-nitrophenyl acetate (p-NPA) as a substrate, the activity, concentration, storage stability and re-usability of immobilized CA on PMP hollow fibers were studied by ultraviolet spectrophotometer. The preliminary data showed that hydroxyl groups could be introduced on the surface of PMP by water plasma treatment, and CA with catalysis activity could be successfully introduced onto PMP surface in high immobilization efficiency. The activity of covalently immobilized CA increased with the increase of concentration of CNBr, and the maximum was 73% of the theoretical activity of CA spread on PMP surface in monolayer in studied range. Covalently immobilized CA showed higher reusability compared to physically adsorbed CA, and higher storage stability compared to free CA in solution at 37 degrees C. The method would be used potentially in the membrane oxygenator to improve the capacity of removal of carbon dioxide in blood in the future.
Here we report on the construction and evaluation of a bifunctional combined aptamer (BCA) that consists of a DNA streptavidin-binding aptamer (SBA), a DNA thrombin-binding aptamer (TBA) and a fluorophore. The BCA adopts a new conformation that is very different from simply linking the conformations of the two individual aptamers together, so that it does not bind to streptavidin in the absence of thrombin. Binding of this novel DNA aptamer to streptavidin is triggered by the thrombin binding and depends on the concentration of thrombin. Meanwhile, fluorescence from the streptavidin captured BCA reflects the quantity of the target molecule in the sample. This aptamer combination strategy based on the SBA holds good potential for applications in simultaneous detection and separation of targets of aptamers or certain DNA and RNA targets.
Vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-3 is a receptor tyrosine kinase that is overexpressed in some human carcinomas, but its role in tumorigenesis has not been fully elucidated. We examined VEGFR-3 expression in normal, nonneoplastic and early stage malignant breast tissues and have shown that VEGFR-3 upregulation in breast cancer preceded tumor cell invasion, suggesting that VEGFR-3 may function as a survival signal. We characterized the biological effects of VEGFR-3 over-expression in human breast cancer cells based on two approaches: gain of function by overexpressing VEGFR-3 in MCF-7 breast cancer cells and loss of function by RNAi-mediated silencing of VEGFR-3 in MCF-7-VEGFR-3 and BT474 cells. VEGFR-3 overexpression increased cellular proliferation by 40% when MCF7-VEGFR-3 cells were compared to parental MCF7 cells, and proliferation was reduced by more than 40% when endogenous VEGFR-3 was downregulated in BT474 cells. VEGFR-3 overexpression promoted a three-fold increase in motility and invasion and both motility and invasion were inhibited by downregulation of VEGFR-3. Furthermore, VEGFR-3 overexpression promoted cellular survival under stress conditions induced by staurosporine treatment and led to anchorage-independent growth. VEGFR-3 overexpression dramatically increased tumor formation in both hormone-dependent and independent xenograft models. With estrogen stimulation, MCF7-VEGFR-3 xenografts were ten times larger than control xenografts. Finally, downregulation of VEGFR-3 expression in both xenograft model cell lines led to a significant reduction of tumor growth. For the first time, we have demonstrated that VEGFR-3 overexpression promotes breast cancer cell proliferation, motility, survival, anchorage-independent growth and tumorogenicity in the absence of ligand expression.
DNA sequences with repetitive G-rich structural motifs, which form special structures called G-quadruplexes, widely exist in the human genome. Here we report the general peroxidase activity of G-quadruplex-hemin complexes and discuss the connection between peroxidase activity and G-quadruplex structures. The high peroxidase activity of hemin complexed with intramolecular parallel G-quadruplex-forming sequences in gene promoters (such as c-Myc, VEGF, c-Kit21, HIF-1alpha, and RET) may imply a potential mechanism of hemin-mediated cellular injury. This peroxidase activity has also been demonstrated to be applicable for screening G-quadruplex ligands (potential anticancer reagents) using colorimetric and visual detection strategies.
FAK is a tyrosine kinase that functions as a key orchestrator of signals leading to invasion and metastasis. Since FAK interacts directly with a number of critical proteins involved in survival signaling in tumor cells, we hypothesized that targeting a key protein-protein interface with druglike small molecules was a feasible strategy for inhibiting tumor growth. In this study, we targeted the protein-protein interface between FAK and VEGFR-3 and identified compound C4 (chloropyramine hydrochloride) as a drug capable of (1) inhibiting the biochemical function of VEGFR-3 and FAK, (2) inhibiting proliferation of a diverse set of cancer cell types in vitro, and (3) reducing tumor growth in vivo. Chloropyramine hydrochloride reduced tumor growth as a single agent, while concomitant administration with doxorubicin had a pronounced synergistic effect. Our data demonstrate that the FAK-VEGFR-3 interaction can be targeted by small druglike molecules and this interaction can provide the basis for highly specific novel cancer therapeutics.
A significant number of G-quadruplex-forming sequences have been revealed in human genome by bioinformatic searches, implying that G-quadruplexes may be involved in important biological processes and may be new chemotherapeutic targets. Therefore, it is important to discover the potential interactions of G-quadruplexes with other molecules or groups. Here we describe a class of G-quadruplexes, which can bind to ethanolamine groups that widely exist in biomolecules and drug molecules. The specific interaction of these G-quadruplexes with ethanolamine groups was identified by high performance affinity chromatography (HPAC) using immobilized ethanolamine and diethanolamine as stationary phase reagents. The circular dichroism (CD) spectra and native polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE) show that these ethanolamine binding quadruplexes adopt an intramolecularly parallel structure. The relationship of ethanolamine binding and G-quadruplexe structure provides new clues for the G-quadruplex-related studies as well as for the molecular designs of therapeutic reagents.
In this work, we have developed new aptamer probes for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) by directing the aptamer selection process against the living cells of adenocarcinoma, the most common subtype of NSCLC. A panel of single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) aptamers were generated and evaluated for adenocarcinoma cell recognition. The aptamers bound to the adenocarcinoma cells with dissociation constants in the nanomolar range and the binding of the selected aptamers to the adenocarcinoma cells were significantly stronger than the other cancerous lung cells as well as other types of cancer cells. Moreover, the application of the aptamers to the clinical tissue section samples showed the differentiation of adenocarcinoma from normal lung tissue and other subtypes of lung cancer. The aptamers are expected to be new molecular probes for the investigation of the molecular bases of different NSCLC subtypes and their biological heterogeneity, which is valuable for advancing NSCLC diagnosis and treatment.
ErbB2, a metastasis-promoting oncoprotein, is overexpressed in approximately 25% of invasive/metastatic breast cancers, but in 50%-60% of noninvasive ductal carcinomas in situ (DCIS). It has been puzzling how a subset of ErbB2-overexpressing DCIS develops into invasive breast cancer (IBC). We found that co-overexpression of 14-3-3zeta in ErbB2-overexpressing DCIS conferred a higher risk of progression to IBC. ErbB2 and 14-3-3zeta overexpression, respectively, increased cell migration and decreased cell adhesion, two prerequisites of tumor cell invasion. 14-3-3zeta overexpression reduced cell adhesion by activating the TGF-beta/Smads pathway that led to ZFHX1B/SIP-1 upregulation, E-cadherin loss, and epithelial-mesenchymal transition. Importantly, patients whose breast tumors overexpressed both ErbB2 and 14-3-3zeta had higher rates of metastatic recurrence and death than those whose tumors overexpressed only one.
Related JoVE Video
Journal of Visualized Experiments
What is Visualize?
JoVE Visualize is a tool created to match the last 5 years of PubMed publications to methods in JoVE's video library.
How does it work?
We use abstracts found on PubMed and match them to JoVE videos to create a list of 10 to 30 related methods videos.
Video X seems to be unrelated to Abstract Y...
In developing our video relationships, we compare around 5 million PubMed articles to our library of over 4,500 methods videos. In some cases the language used in the PubMed abstracts makes matching that content to a JoVE video difficult. In other cases, there happens not to be any content in our video library that is relevant to the topic of a given abstract. In these cases, our algorithms are trying their best to display videos with relevant content, which can sometimes result in matched videos with only a slight relation.