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Find video protocols related to scientific articles indexed in Pubmed.
Understanding the role of circulating chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 2 in patients with chronic ischemia threatening the lower extremities.
Vasc Med
PUBLISHED: 10-23-2014
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The role of chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 2 (CCL2) in peripheral artery disease is unclear. We measured the difference between serum and plasma levels of CCL2 in patients with chronic ischemia threatening the lower extremities following the observation that atypical chemokine receptors in blood and tissue cells may prevent CCL2 from entering the circulation and consequently modulate its function of attracting monocytes to the site of lesion. To identify the influence of CCL2, we compared the patients' values to those in bio-banked samples from a control population. Further, we explored the association with the Asp42Gly polymorphism (rs12075) in Duffy antigen chemokine receptor; one of these atypical chemokine receptors. When possible, we evaluated in surgically excised normal and affected arteries the calcium burden as well as the expression of CCL2 and related receptors reflecting the inflammatory status. Our findings indicate that circulating CCL2 was significantly associated with the severity and presence of the disease (OR 0.966, 95% CI 0.944 to 0.988, p = 0.003). Circulating CCL2 was dependent on the rs12075 genotype (AA>AG>GG), which, probably, indicates a higher expression of chemokine receptor in the arteries of AA subjects. The associations with genetic variants and the over-expression of atypical chemokine receptors in diseased arteries may have potential implications and our data indicate that CCL2 may represent a previously unrecognized factor that needs to be considered in the screening of patients with risk factors for peripheral artery disease.
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Computer-aided discovery of biological activity spectra for anti-aging and anti-cancer olive oil oleuropeins.
Aging (Albany NY)
PUBLISHED: 10-18-2014
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Aging is associated with common conditions, including cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and Alzheimer's disease. The type of multi-targeted pharmacological approach necessary to address a complex multifaceted disease such as aging might take advantage of pleiotropic natural polyphenols affecting a wide variety of biological processes. We have recently postulated that the secoiridoids oleuropein aglycone (OA) and decarboxymethyl oleuropein aglycone (DOA), two complex polyphenols present in health-promoting extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), might constitute a new family of plant-produced gerosuppressant agents. This paper describes an analysis of the biological activity spectra (BAS) of OA and DOA using PASS (Prediction of Activity Spectra for Substances) software. PASS can predict thousands of biological activities, as the BAS of a compound is an intrinsic property that is largely dependent on the compound's structure and reflects pharmacological effects, physiological and biochemical mechanisms of action, and specific toxicities. Using Pharmaexpert, a tool that analyzes the PASS-predicted BAS of substances based on thousands of "mechanism-effect" and "effect-mechanism" relationships, we illuminate hypothesis-generating pharmacological effects, mechanisms of action, and targets that might underlie the anti-aging/anti-cancer activities of the gerosuppressant EVOO oleuropeins.
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Chemical inhibition of acetyl-CoA carboxylase suppresses self-renewal growth of cancer stem cells.
Oncotarget
PUBLISHED: 09-24-2014
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Cancer stem cells (CSC) may take advantage of the Warburg effect-induced siphoning of metabolic intermediates into de novo fatty acid biosynthesis to increase self-renewal growth. We examined the anti-CSC effects of the antifungal polyketide soraphen A, a specific inhibitor of the first committed step of lipid biosynthesis catalyzed by acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACACA). The mammosphere formation capability of MCF-7 cells was reduced following treatment with soraphen A in a dose-dependent manner. MCF-7 cells engineered to overexpress the oncogene HER2 (MCF-7/HER2 cells) were 5-fold more sensitive than MCF-7 parental cells to soraphen A-induced reductions in mammosphere-forming efficiency. Soraphen A treatment notably decreased aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH)-positive CSC-like cells and impeded the HER2's ability to increase the ALDH+-stem cell population. The following results confirmed that soraphen A-induced suppression of CSC populations occurred throughACACA-driven lipogenesis: a.) exogenous supplementation with supraphysiological concentrations of oleic acid fully rescued mammosphere formation in the presence of soraphen A and b.) mammosphere cultures of MCF-7 cells with stably silenced expression of the cytosolic isoform ACACA1, which specifically participates in de novo lipogenesis, were mostly refractory to soraphen A treatment. Our findings reveal for the first time that ACACA may constitute a previously unrecognized target for novel anti-breast CSC therapies.
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Silibinin administration improves hepatic failure due to extensive liver infiltration in a breast cancer patient.
Anticancer Res.
PUBLISHED: 07-31-2014
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Silibinin exerts hepatoprotective, anti-inflammatory and anti-fibrotic effects. Several pre-clinical studies have shown anti-tumoral activity of silibinin in breast cancer cell lines.
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Molecular promiscuity of plant polyphenols in the management of age-related diseases: far beyond their antioxidant properties.
Adv. Exp. Med. Biol.
PUBLISHED: 07-21-2014
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The use of plant-derived polyphenols for the management of diseases has been under debate in the last decades. Most studies have focused on the specific effects of polyphenols on particular targets, while ignoring their pleiotropic character. The multitargeted character of polyphenols, a plausible consequence of their molecular promiscuity, may suppose an opportunity to fight multifactorial diseases. Therefore, a wider perspective is urgently needed to elucidate whether their rational use as bioactive food components may be valid for the management of diseases. In this chapter, we discuss the most likely targets of polyphenols that may account for their salutary effects from a global perspective. Among these targets, the modulation of signalling and energy-sensitive pathways, oxidative stress and inflammation-related processes, mitochondrial functionality, epigenetic machinery, histone acetylation and membrane-dependent processes play central roles in polyphenols' mechanisms of action.Sufficient evidence on polyphenols has accumulated for them to be considered a serious option for the management of non-communicable diseases, such as cancer and obesity, as well as infectious diseases. The remaining unresolved issues that must be seriously addressed are their bioavailability, metabolite detection, specific molecular targets, interactions and toxicity. The Xenohormesis hypothesis, which postulates that polyphenols are the product of plant evolutive adaptation to stress and conferee their resistance to mammals, offers a reasonable explanation to justify the beneficial and non-toxic effects of plant mixtures, but do not fully meet expectations. Hence, future research must be supported by the use of complex polypharmacology approaches and synergic studies focused on the understanding of the pleiotropic effects of polyphenols. Revisiting polyphenol mechanisms of action with the help of these techniques may allow for the improvement of human health and wellness by using intelligent nutritional intervention.
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Energy metabolism and metabolic sensors in stem cells: the metabostem crossroads of aging and cancer.
Adv. Exp. Med. Biol.
PUBLISHED: 07-21-2014
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We are as old as our adult stem cells are; therefore, stem cell exhaustion is considered a hallmark of aging. Our tumors are as aggressive as the number of cancer stem cells (CSCs) they bear because CSCs can survive treatments with hormones, radiation, chemotherapy, and molecularly targeted drugs, thus increasing the difficulty of curing cancer. Not surprisingly, interest in stem cell research has never been greater among members of the public, politicians, and scientists. But how can we slow the rate at which our adult stem cells decline over our lifetime, reducing the regenerative potential of tissues, while efficiently eliminating the aberrant, life-threatening activity of "selfish", immortal, and migrating CSCs? Frustrated by the gene-centric limitations of conventional approaches to aging diseases, our group and other groups have begun to appreciate that bioenergetic metabolism, i.e., the production of fuel & building blocks for growth and division, and autophagy/mitophagy, i.e., the quality-control, self-cannibalistic system responsible for "cleaning house" and "recycling the trash", can govern the genetic and epigenetic networks that facilitate stem cell behaviors. Indeed, it is reasonable to suggest the existence of a "metabostem" infrastructure that operates as a shared hallmark of aging and cancer, thus making it physiologically plausible to maintain or even increase the functionality of adult stem cells while reducing the incidence of cancer and extending the lifespan. This "metabostemness" property could lead to the discovery of new drugs that reprogram cell metabotypes to increase the structural and functional integrity of adult stem cells and positively influence their lineage determination, while preventing the development and aberrant function of stem cells in cancer tissues. While it is obvious that the antifungal antibiotic rapamycin, the polyphenol resveratrol, and the biguanide metformin already belong to this new family of metabostemness-targeting drugs, we can expect a rapid identification of new drug candidates (e.g., polyphenolic xenohormetins) that reverse or postpone "geroncogenesis", i.e., aging-induced metabolic decline as a driver of tumorigenesis, at the stem cell level.
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Autophagy is an inflammation-related defensive mechanism against disease.
Adv. Exp. Med. Biol.
PUBLISHED: 07-21-2014
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The inflammatory response is an energy-intensive process. Consequently, metabolism is closely associated with immune function. The autophagy machinery plays a role in metabolism by providing energy but may also be used to attack invading pathogens (xenophagy). The autophagy machinery may function to protect against not only the threats of infection but also the threats of the host's own response acting on the central immunological tolerance and the negative regulation of innate and inflammatory signaling. The balance between too little and too much autophagy is critical for the survival of immune cells because autophagy is linked to type 2-cell death programmed necrosis and apoptosis. Changes in inflammatory cells are driven by extracellular signals; however, the mechanisms by which cytokines mediate autophagy regulation and govern immune cell function remain unknown. Certain cytokines increase autophagy, whereas others inhibit autophagy. The relationship between autophagy and inflammation is also important in the pathogenesis of metabolic, non-communicable diseases. Inflammation per se is not the cause of obesity-associated diseases, but it is secondary to both the positive energy balance and the specific cellular responses. In metabolic tissues, the suppression of autophagy increases inflammation with the overexpression of cytokines, resulting in an activation of autophagy. The physiological role of these apparently contradictory findings remains uncertain but exemplifies future challenges in the therapeutic modulation of autophagy in the management of disease.
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Successful empirical erlotinib treatment of a mechanically ventilated patient newly diagnosed with metastatic lung adenocarcinoma.
Lung Cancer
PUBLISHED: 07-08-2014
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Lung cancer is the most common solid tumor in critically ill cancer patients who are admitted to intensive care units (ICUs). An ICU trial consists of unlimited ICU support for a limited time period.
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The nutritional phenome of EMT-induced cancer stem-like cells.
Oncotarget
PUBLISHED: 07-05-2014
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The metabolic features of cancer stem (CS) cells and the effects of specific nutrients or metabolites on CS cells remain mostly unexplored. A preliminary study to delineate the nutritional phenome of CS cells exploited the landmark observation that upon experimental induction into an epithelial-to-mesenchymal (EMT) transition, the proportion of CS-like cells drastically increases within a breast cancer cell population. EMT-induced CS-like cells (HMLERshEcad) and isogenic parental cells (HMLERshCntrol) were simultaneously screened for their ability to generate energy-rich NADH when cultured in a standardized high-throughput metabolic phenotyping platform comprising >350 wells that were pre-loaded with different carbohydrates/starches, alcohols, fatty acids, ketones, carboxylic acids, amino acids, and bi-amino acids. The generation of "phenetic maps" of the carbon and nitrogen utilization patterns revealed that the acquisition of a CS-like cellular state provided an enhanced ability to utilize additional catabolic fuels, especially under starvation conditions. Crucially, the acquisition of cancer stemness activated a metabolic infrastructure that enabled the vectorial transfer of high-energy nutrients such as glycolysis end products (pyruvate, lactate) and bona fide ketone bodies (?-hydroxybutyrate) from the extracellular microenvironment to support mitochondrial energy production in CS-like cells. Metabolic reprogramming may thus constitute an efficient adaptive strategy through which CS-like cells would rapidly obtain an advantage in hostile conditions such as nutrient starvation following the inhibition of tumor angiogenesis. By understanding how specific nutrients could bioenergetically boost EMT-CS-like phenotypes, "smart foods" or systemic "metabolic nichotherapies" may be tailored to specific nutritional CSC phenomes, whereas high-resolution heavy isotope-labeled nutrient tracking may be developed to monitor the spatiotemporal distribution and functionality of CS-like cells in real time.
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Oncobiguanides: Paracelsus' law and nonconventional routes for administering diabetobiguanides for cancer treatment.
Oncotarget
PUBLISHED: 06-10-2014
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"The dose makes the poison", the common motto of toxicology first expressed by Paracelsus more than 400 years ago, may effectively serve to guide potential applications for metformin and related biguanides in oncology. While Paracelsus' law for the dose-response effect has been commonly exploited for the use of some anti-cancer drugs at lower doses in non-neoplastic diseases (e.g., methotrexate), the opposite scenario also holds true; in other words, higher doses of non-oncology drugs, such as anti-diabetic biguanides, might exert direct anti-neoplastic effects. Here, we propose that, as for any drug, there is a dose range for biguanides that is without any effect, one corresponding to "diabetobiguanides" with a pharmacological effect (e.g., insulin sensitization in type 2 diabetes, prevention of insulin-dependent carcinogenesis, indirect inhibition of insulin and growth factor-dependent cancer growth) but with minimal toxicity and another corresponding to "oncobiguanides" with pharmacological (i.e., direct and strong anticancer activity against cancer cells) as well as toxic effects. Considering that biguanides demonstrate a better safety profile than most oncology drugs in current use, we should contemplate the possibility of administering biguanides through non-conventional routes (e.g., inhaled for carcinomas of the lung, topical for skin cancers, intravenous as an adjunctive therapy, rectal suppositories for rectal cancer) to unambiguously investigate the therapeutic value of high-dose transient biguanide exposure in cancer. Perhaps then, the oncobiguanides, as we call them here, could be viewed as a mechanistically different type of anti-cancer drugs employed at doses notably higher than those used chronically when functioning as diabetobiguanides.
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Cell cycle regulation by the nutrient-sensing mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway.
Methods Mol. Biol.
PUBLISHED: 06-08-2014
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Cell division involves a series of ordered and controlled events that lead to cell proliferation. Cell cycle progression implies not only demanding amounts of cell mass, protein, lipid, and nucleic acid content but also a favorable energy state. The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), in response to the energy state, nutrient status, and growth factor stimulation of cells, plays a pivotal role in the coordination of cell growth and the cell cycle. Here, we review how the nutrient-sensing mTOR-signaling cascade molecularly integrates nutritional and mitogenic/anti-apoptotic cues to accurately coordinate cell growth and cell cycle. First, we briefly outline the structure, functions, and regulation of the mTOR complexes (mTORC1 and mTORC2). Second, we concisely evaluate the best known ability of mTOR to control G1-phase progression. Third, we discuss in detail the recent evidence that indicates a new genome stability caretaker function of mTOR based on the specific ability of phosphorylated forms of several mTOR-signaling components (AMPK, raptor, TSC, mTOR, and S6K1), which spatially and temporally associate with essential mitotic regulators at the mitotic spindle and at the cytokinetic cleavage furrow.
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Discovery and validation of an INflammatory PROtein-driven GAstric cancer Signature (INPROGAS) using antibody microarray-based oncoproteomics.
Oncotarget
PUBLISHED: 04-12-2014
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This study aimed to improve gastric cancer (GC) diagnosis by identifying and validating an INflammatory PROtein-driven GAstric cancer Signature (hereafter INPROGAS) using low-cost affinity proteomics. The detection of 120 cytokines, 43 angiogenic factors, 41 growth factors, 40 inflammatory factors and 10 metalloproteinases was performed using commercially available human antibody microarray-based arrays. We identified 21 inflammation-related proteins (INPROGAS) with significant differences in expression between GC tissues and normal gastric mucosa in a discovery cohort of matched pairs (n=10) of tumor/normal gastric tissues. Ingenuity pathway analysis confirmed the "inflammatory response", "cellular movement" and "immune cell trafficking" as the most overrepresented biofunctions within INPROGAS. Using an expanded independent validation cohort (n = 22), INPROGAS classified gastric samples as "GC" or "non-GC" with a sensitivity of 82% (95% CI 59-94) and a specificity of 73% (95% CI 49-89). The positive predictive value and negative predictive value in this validation cohort were 75% (95% CI 53-90) and 80% (95% CI 56-94), respectively. The positive predictive value and negative predictive value in this validation cohort were 75% (95% CI 53-90) and 80% (95% CI 56-94), respectively. Antibody microarray analyses of the GC-associated inflammatory proteome identified a 21-protein INPROGAS that accurately discriminated GC from noncancerous gastric mucosa.
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An improved axillary staging system using the OSNA assay does not modify the therapeutic management of breast cancer patients.
Sci Rep
PUBLISHED: 04-07-2014
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The one-step nucleic acid amplification (OSNA) assay is a molecular procedure that can identify deposits of breast cancer (BC) cells in the sentinel lymph node (SLN). We examined the consistency of the OSNA assay with a classic hematoxylin-eosin (H&E)-based immunohistochemistry (IHC) study and evaluated how OSNA-based axillary staging might impact the therapeutic management of BC patients. SLN biopsy results were considered to be positive in 60 patients (40%) in the OSNA group (N = 148) and in 43 (28%) patients in the IHC cohort (N = 153, p = 0.023). There was no difference in the macrometastasis (22% for OSNA, 15% for H&E, p = 0.139) or micrometastasis (19% for OSNA, 13% for H&E, p = 0.166) rates, but we found statistically significant differences in the number of isolated tumor cells (1% for OSNA, 11% for H&E, p < 0.001). There were no differences in the administration rate of adjuvant systemic therapy between the OSNA (66% in the SLN(+) patients) and the H&E (74% in the SLN(+) patients) groups (p = 0.159). The OSNA assay allows for the detection of SLN metastases more precisely than conventional pathologic methods but does not alter the therapeutic management of SLN(+) BC patients.
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Acquired resistance to metformin in breast cancer cells triggers transcriptome reprogramming toward a degradome-related metastatic stem-like profile.
Cell Cycle
PUBLISHED: 02-07-2014
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Therapeutic interventions based on metabolic inhibitor-based therapies are expected to be less prone to acquired resistance. However, there has not been any study assessing the possibility that the targeting of the tumor cell metabolism may result in unforeseeable resistance. We recently established a pre-clinical model of estrogen-dependent MCF-7 breast cancer cells that were chronically adapted to grow (> 10 months) in the presence of graded, millimolar concentrations of the anti-diabetic biguanide metformin, an AMPK agonist/mTOR inhibitor that has been evaluated in multiple in vitro and in vivo cancer studies and is now being tested in clinical trials. To assess what impact the phenomenon of resistance might have on the metformin-like "dirty" drugs that are able to simultaneously hit several metabolic pathways, we employed the ingenuity pathway analysis (IPA) software to functionally interpret the data from Agilent whole-human genome arrays in the context of biological processes, networks, and pathways. Our findings establish, for the first time, that a "global" targeting of metabolic reprogramming using metformin certainly imposes a great selective pressure for the emergence of new breast cancer cellular states. Intriguingly, acquired resistance to metformin appears to trigger a transcriptome reprogramming toward a metastatic stem-like profile, as many genes encoding the components of the degradome (KLK11, CTSF, FREM1, BACE-2, CASP, TMPRSS4, MMP16, HTRA1), cancer cell migration and invasion factors (TP63, WISP2, GAS3, DKK1, BCAR3, PABPC1, MUC1, SPARCL1, SEMA3B, SEMA6A), stem cell markers (DCLK1, FAK), and key pro-metastatic lipases (MAGL and Cpla2) were included in the signature. Because this convergent activation of pathways underlying tumor microenvironment interactions occurred in low-proliferative cancer cells exhibiting a notable downregulation of the G 2/M DNA damage checkpoint regulators that maintain genome stability (CCNB1, CCNB2, CDC20, CDC25C, AURKA, AURKB, BUB1, CENP-A, CENP-M) and pro-autophagic features (i.e., TRAIL upregulation and BCL-2 downregulation), it appears that the unique mechanism of acquired resistance to metformin has opposing roles in growth and metastatic dissemination. While refractoriness to metformin limits breast cancer cell growth, likely due to aberrant mitotic/cytokinetic machinery and accelerated autophagy, it notably increases the potential of metastatic dissemination by amplifying the number of pro-migratory and stemness inputs via the activation of a significant number of proteases and EMT regulators. Future studies should elucidate whether our findings using supra-physiological concentrations of metformin mechanistically mimic the ultimate processes that could paradoxically occur in a polyploid, senescent-autophagic scenario triggered by the chronic metabolic stresses that occur during cancer development and after treatment with cancer drugs.
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Polyphenols and the modulation of gene expression pathways: can we eat our way out of the danger of chronic disease?
Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr
PUBLISHED: 02-07-2014
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Plant-derived dietary polyphenols may improve some disease states and promote health. Experimental evidence suggests that this is partially attributable to changes in gene expression. The rational use of bioactive food components may therefore present an opportunity to activate or repress selected gene expression pathways and, consequently, to manage or prevent disease. It remains to be determined whether this use of bioactive food components can be done safely. This article reviews the associated controversies and limitations of polyphenol therapy. There is a paucity of clinical data on the rational use of polyphenols, including a lack of knowledge on effective dosage, actual chemical formulations, bioavailability, distribution in tissues, the effect of genetic variations, differences in gut microflora, the synergistic (or antagonistic) effects observed in extracts, and the possible interaction between polyphenols and lipid domains of cell membranes that may alter the function of relevant receptors. The seminal question of why plants make substances that benefit humans remains unanswered, and there is still much to learn in terms of correlative versus causal effects of human exposure to various nutrients. The available data strongly suggest significant effects at the molecular level that represent interactions with the epigenome. The advent of relatively simple technologies is helping the field of epigenetics progress and facilitating the acquisition of multiple types of data that were previously difficult to obtain. In this review, we summarize the molecular basis of the epigenetic regulation of gene expression and the epigenetic changes associated with the consumption of polyphenols that illustrate how modifications in human nutrition may become relevant to health and disease.
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Gerometabolites: the pseudohypoxic aging side of cancer oncometabolites.
Cell Cycle
PUBLISHED: 02-03-2014
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Oncometabolites are defined as small-molecule components (or enantiomers) of normal metabolism whose accumulation causes signaling dysregulation to establish a milieu that initiates carcinogenesis. In a similar manner, we propose the term "gerometabolites" to refer to small-molecule components of normal metabolism whose depletion causes signaling dysregulation to establish a milieu that drives aging. In an investigation of the pathogenic activities of the currently recognized oncometabolites R(-)-2-hydroxyglutarate (2-HG), fumarate, and succinate, which accumulate due to mutations in isocitrate dehydrogenases (IDH), fumarate hydratase (FH), and succinate dehydrogenase (SDH), respectively, we illustrate the fact that metabolic pseudohypoxia, the accumulation of hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF?) under normoxic conditions, and the subsequent Warburg-like reprogramming that shifts glucose metabolism from the oxidative pathway to aerobic glycolysis are the same mechanisms through which the decline of the "gerometabolite" nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD)(+) reversibly disrupts nuclear-mitochondrial communication and contributes to the decline in mitochondrial function with age. From an evolutionary perspective, it is reasonable to view NAD(+)-driven mitochondrial homeostasis as a conserved response to changes in energy supplies and oxygen levels. Similarly, the natural ability of 2-HG to significantly alter epigenetics might reflect an evolutionarily ancient role of certain metabolites to signal for elevated glutamine/glutamate metabolism and/or oxygen deficiency. However, when chronically altered, these responses become conserved causes of aging and cancer. Because HIF?-driven pseudohypoxia might drive the overproduction of 2-HG, the intriguing possibility exists that the decline of gerometabolites such as NAD(+) could promote the chronic accumulation of oncometabolites in normal cells during aging. If the sole activation of a Warburg-like metabolic reprogramming in normal tissues might be able to significantly increase the endogenous production of bona fide etiological determinants in cancer, such as oncometabolites, this undesirable trade-off between mitochondrial dysfunction and activation of oncometabolites production might then pave the way for the epigenetic initiation of carcinogenesis in a strictly metabolic-dependent manner. Perhaps it is time to definitely adopt the view that aging and aging diseases including cancer are governed by a pivotal regulatory role of metabolic reprogramming in cell fate decisions.
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Hibiscus sabdariffa extract lowers blood pressure and improves endothelial function.
Mol Nutr Food Res
PUBLISHED: 01-13-2014
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Polyphenols from Hibiscus sabdariffa calices were administered to patients with metabolic syndrome (125 mg/kg/day for 4 wk, n = 31) and spontaneously hypertensive rats (125 or 60 mg/kg in a single dose or daily for 1 wk, n = 8 for each experimental group). The H. sabdariffa extract improved metabolism, displayed potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities, and significantly reduced blood pressure in both humans and rats. Diuresis and inhibition of the angiotensin I-converting enzyme were found to be less important mechanisms than those related to the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and endothelium-dependent effects to explain the beneficial actions. Notably, polyphenols induced a favorable endothelial response that should be considered in the management of metabolic cardiovascular risks.
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Xenopatients 2.0: reprogramming the epigenetic landscapes of patient-derived cancer genomes.
Cell Cycle
PUBLISHED: 01-09-2014
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In the science-fiction thriller film Minority Report, a specialized police department called "PreCrime" apprehends criminals identified in advance based on foreknowledge provided by 3 genetically altered humans called "PreCogs". We propose that Yamanaka stem cell technology can be similarly used to (epi)genetically reprogram tumor cells obtained directly from cancer patients and create self-evolving personalized translational platforms to foresee the evolutionary trajectory of individual tumors. This strategy yields a large stem cell population and captures the cancer genome of an affected individual, i.e., the PreCog-induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cancer cells, which are immediately available for experimental manipulation, including pharmacological screening for personalized "stemotoxic" cancer drugs. The PreCog-iPS cancer cells will re-differentiate upon orthotopic injection into the corresponding target tissues of immunodeficient mice (i.e., the PreCrime-iPS mouse avatars), and this in vivo model will run through specific cancer stages to directly explore their biological properties for drug screening, diagnosis, and personalized treatment in individual patients. The PreCog/PreCrime-iPS approach can perform sets of comparisons to directly observe changes in the cancer-iPS cell line vs. a normal iPS cell line derived from the same human genetic background. Genome editing of PreCog-iPS cells could create translational platforms to directly investigate the link between genomic expression changes and cellular malignization that is largely free from genetic and epigenetic noise and provide proof-of-principle evidence for cutting-edge "chromosome therapies" aimed against cancer aneuploidy. We might infer the epigenetic marks that correct the tumorigenic nature of the reprogrammed cancer cell population and normalize the malignant phenotype in vivo. Genetically engineered models of conditionally reprogrammable mice to transiently express the Yamanaka stemness factors following the activation of phenotypic copies of specific cancer diseases might crucially evaluate a "reprogramming cure" for cancer. A new era of xenopatients 2.0 generated via nuclear reprogramming of the epigenetic landscapes of patient-derived cancer genomes might revolutionize the current personalized translational platforms in cancer research.
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Metabostemness: a new cancer hallmark.
Front Oncol
PUBLISHED: 01-01-2014
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The acquisition of and departure from stemness in cancer tissues might not only be hardwired by genetic controllers, but also by the pivotal regulatory role of the cellular metabotype, which may act as a "starter dough" for cancer stemness traits. We have coined the term metabostemness to refer to the metabolic parameters causally controlling or functionally substituting the epitranscriptional orchestration of the genetic reprograming that redirects normal and tumor cells toward less-differentiated cancer stem cell (CSC) cellular states. Certain metabotypic alterations might operate as pivotal molecular events rendering a cell of origin susceptible to epigenetic rewiring required for the acquisition of aberrant stemness and, concurrently, of refractoriness to differentiation. The metabostemness attribute can remove, diminish, or modify the nature of molecular barriers present in Waddington's epigenetic landscapes, thus allowing differentiated cells to more easily (re)-enter into CSC cellular macrostates. Activation of the metabostemness trait can poise cells with chromatin states competent for rapid dedifferentiation while concomitantly setting the idoneous metabolic stage for later reprograming stimuli to finish the journey from non-cancerous into tumor-initiating cells. Because only a few permitted metabotypes will be compatible with the operational properties owned by CSC cellular states, the metabostemness property provides a new framework through which to pharmacologically resolve the apparently impossible problem of discovering drugs aimed to target the molecular biology of the cancer stemness itself. The metabostemness cancer hallmark generates a shifting oncology theory that should guide a new era of metabolo-epigenetic cancer precision medicine.
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Reprogramming of non-genomic estrogen signaling by the stemness factor SOX2 enhances the tumor-initiating capacity of breast cancer cells.
Cell Cycle
PUBLISHED: 10-04-2013
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The restoration of pluripotency circuits by the reactivation of endogenous stemness factors, such as SOX2, may provide a new paradigm in cancer development. The tumoral stem cell reprogramming hypothesis, i.e., the ability of stemness factors to redirect normal and differentiated tumor cells toward a less-differentiated and stem-like state, adds new layers of complexity to cancer biology, because the effects of such reprogramming may remain dormant until engaged later in response to (epi)genetic and/or (micro)environmental events. To test this hypothesis, we utilized an in vitro model of a SOX2-overexpressing cancer stem cell (CSC)-like cellular state that was recently developed in our laboratory by employing Yamanakas nuclear reprogramming technology in the estrogen receptor ? (ER?)-positive MCF-7 breast cancer cell line. Despite the acquisition of distinct molecular features that were compatible with a breast CSC-like cellular state, such as strong aldehyde dehydrogenase activity, as detected by ALDEFLUOR, and overexpression of the SSEA-4 and CD44 breast CSC markers, the tumor growth-initiating ability of SOX2-overexpressing CSC-like MCF-7 cells solely occurred in female nude mice supplemented with estradiol when compared with MCF-7 parental cells. Ser118 phosphorylation of estrogen receptor ? (ER?), which is a pivotal integrator of the genomic and nongenomic E 2/ER? signaling pathways, drastically accumulated in nuclear speckles in the interphase nuclei of SOX2-driven CSC-like cell populations. Moreover, SOX2-positive CSC-like cells accumulated significantly higher numbers of actively dividing cells, and the highest levels of phospho-Ser118-ER? occurred when chromosomes lined up on a metaphase plate. The previously unrecognized link between E 2/ER? signaling and SOX2-driven stem cell circuitry may significantly impact our current understanding of breast cancer initiation and progression, i.e., SOX2 can promote non-genomic E 2 signaling that leads to nuclear phospho-Ser118-ER?, which ultimately exacerbates genomic ER signaling in response to E 2. Because E 2 stimulation has been recently shown to enhance breast tumor-initiating cell survival by downregulating miR-140, which targets SOX2, the establishment of a bidirectional cross-talk interaction between the stem cell self-renewal regulator, SOX2, and the local and systemic ability of E 2 to increase breast CSC activity may have profound implications for the development of new CSC-directed strategies for breast cancer prevention and therapy.
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Stem cell-like ALDH(bright) cellular states in EGFR-mutant non-small cell lung cancer: a novel mechanism of acquired resistance to erlotinib targetable with the natural polyphenol silibinin.
Cell Cycle
PUBLISHED: 09-17-2013
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The enrichment of cancer stem cell (CSC)-like cellular states has not previously been considered to be a causative mechanism in the generalized progression of EGFR-mutant non-small cell lung carcinomas (NSCLC) after an initial response to the EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor erlotinib. To explore this possibility, we utilized a pre-clinical model of acquired erlotinib resistance established by growing NSCLC cells containing a TKI-sensitizing EGFR exon 19 deletion (?E746-A750) in the continuous presence of high doses of erlotinib. Genome-wide analyses using Agilent 44K Whole Human Genome Arrays were evaluated via bioinformatics analyses through GSEA-based screening of the KEGG pathway database to identify the molecular circuitries that were over-represented in the transcriptomic signatures of erlotinib-refractory cells. The genomic spaces related to erlotinib resistance included a preponderance of cell cycle genes (E2F1, - 2, CDC2, -6) and DNA replication-related genes (MCM4, - 5, - 6, - 7), most of which are associated with early lung development and poor prognosis. In addition, metabolic genes such as ALDH1A3 (a candidate marker for lung cancer cells with CSC-like properties) were identified. Thus, we measured the proportion of erlotinib-resistant cells expressing very high levels of aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) activity attributed to ALDH1/3 isoforms. Using flow cytometry and the ALDEFLUOR® reagent, we confirmed that erlotinib-refractory cell populations contained drastically higher percentages (> 4500%) of ALDH(bright) cells than the parental erlotinib-responsive cells. Notably, strong decreases in the percentages of ALDH(bright) cells were observed following incubation with silibinin, a bioactive flavonolignan that can circumvent erlotinib resistance in vivo. The number of lung cancer spheres was drastically suppressed by silibinin in a dose-dependent manner, thus confirming the ability of this agent to inhibit the self-renewal of erlotinib-refractory CSC-like cells. This report is the first to show that: (1) loss of responsiveness to erlotinib in EGFR-mutant NSCLC can be explained in terms of erlotinib-refractory ALDH(bright) cells, which have been shown to exhibit stem cell-like properties; and (2) erlotinib-refractory ALDH(bright) cells are sensitive to the natural agent silibinin. Our findings highlight the benefit of administration of silibinin in combination with EGFR TKIs to target CSCs and minimize the ability of tumor cells to escape cell death in EGFR-mutant NSCLC patients.
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Dietary restriction-resistant human tumors harboring the PIK3CA-activating mutation H1047R are sensitive to metformin.
Oncotarget
PUBLISHED: 08-30-2013
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Cancer cells expressing constitutively active phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase (PI3K) are proliferative regardless of the absence of insulin, and they form dietary restriction (DR)-resistant tumors in vivo. Because the binding of insulin to its receptors activates the PI3K/AKT/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling cascade, activating mutations in the PIK3CA oncogene may determine tumor response to DR-like pharmacological strategies targeting the insulin and mTOR pathways. The anti-diabetic drug metformin is a stereotypical DR mimetic that exerts its anti-cancer activity through a dual mechanism involving insulin-related (systemic) and mTOR-related (cell-autonomous) effects. However, it remains unclear whether PIK3CA-activating mutations might preclude the anti-cancer activity of metformin in vivo. To model the oncogenic PIK3CA-driven early stages of cancer, we used the clonal breast cancer cell line MCF10DCIS.com, which harbors the gain-of-function H1047R hot-spot mutation in the catalytic domain of the PI3KCA gene and has been shown to form DR-refractory xenotumors. To model PIK3CA-activating mutations in late stages of cancer, we took advantage of the isogenic conversion of a PIK3CA-wild-type tumor into a PIK3CA H1047R-mutated tumor using the highly metastatic colorectal cancer cell line SW48. MCF10DCIS.com xenotumors, although only modestly affected by treatment with oral metformin (approximately 40% tumor growth inhibition), were highly sensitive to the intraperitoneal (i.p.) administration of metformin, the anti-cancer activity of which increased in a time-dependent manner and reached >80% tumor growth inhibition by the end of the treatment. Metformin treatment via the i.p. route significantly reduced the proliferation factor mitotic activity index (MAI) and decreased tumor cellularity in MCF10DCIS.com cancer tissues. Whereas SW48-wild-type (PIK3CA+/+) cells rapidly formed metformin-refractory xenotumors in mice, ad libitum access to water containing metformin significantly reduced the growth of SW48-mutated (PIK3CAH1047R/+) xenotumors by approximately 50%. Thus, metformin can no longer be considered as a bona fide DR mimetic, at least in terms of anti-cancer activity, because tumors harboring the insulin-unresponsive, DR-resistant, PIK3CA-activating mutation H1047R remain sensitive to the anti-tumoral effects of the drug. Given the high prevalence of PIK3CA mutations in human carcinomas and the emerging role of PIK3CA mutation status in the treatment selection process, these findings might have a significant impact on the design of future trials evaluating the potential of combining metformin with targeted therapy.
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Nuclear reprogramming of luminal-like breast cancer cells generates Sox2-overexpressing cancer stem-like cellular states harboring transcriptional activation of the mTOR pathway.
Cell Cycle
PUBLISHED: 08-21-2013
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Energy metabolism plasticity enables stemness programs during the reprogramming of somatic cells to an induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) state. This relationship may introduce a new era in the understanding of Warburgs theory on the metabolic origin of cancer at the level of cancer stem cells (CSCs). Here, we used Yamanakas stem cell technology in an attempt to create stable CSC research lines in which to dissect the transcriptional control of mTOR--the master switch of cellular catabolism and anabolism--in CSC-like states. The rare colonies with iPSC-like morphology, obtained following the viral transduction of the Oct4, Sox2, Klf4, and c-Myc (OSKM) stemness factors into MCF-7 luminal-like breast cancer cells (MCF-7/Rep), demonstrated an intermediate state between cancer cells and bona fide iPSCs. MCF-7/Rep cells notably overexpressed SOX2 and stage-specific embryonic antigen (SSEA)-4 proteins; however, other stemness-related markers (OCT4, NANOG, SSEA-1, TRA-1-60, and TRA-1-81) were found at low to moderate levels. The transcriptional analyses of OSKM factors confirmed the strong but unique reactivation of the endogenous Sox2 stemness gene accompanied by the silencing of the exogenous Sox2 transgene in MCF-7/Rep cells. Some but not all MCF-7/Rep cells acquired strong alkaline phosphatase (AP) activity compared with MCF-7 parental cells. SOX2-overexpressing MCF-7/Rep cells contained drastically higher percentages of CD44(+) and ALDEFLUOR-stained ALDH(bright) cells than MCF-7 parental cells. The overlap between differentially expressed mTOR signaling-related genes in 3 different SOX2-overexpressing CSC-like cell lines revealed a notable downregulation of 3 genes, PRKAA1 (which codes for the catalytic ? 1 subunit of AMPK), DDIT4/REDD1 (a stress response gene that operates as a negative regulator of mTOR), and DEPTOR (a naturally occurring endogenous inhibitor of mTOR activity). The insulin-receptor gene (INSR) was differentially upregulated in MCF-7/Rep cells. Consistent with the downregulation of AMPK expression, immunoblotting procedures confirmed upregulation of p70S6K and increased phosphorylation of mTOR in Sox2-overexpressing CSC-like cell populations. Using an in vitro model of the de novo generation of CSC-like states through the nuclear reprogramming of an established breast cancer cell line, we reveal that the transcriptional suppression of mTOR repressors is an intrinsic process occurring during the acquisition of CSC-like properties by differentiated populations of luminal-like breast cancer cells. This approach may provide a new path for obtaining information about preventing the appearance of CSCs through the modulation of the AMPK/mTOR pathway.
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Silibinin suppresses EMT-driven erlotinib resistance by reversing the high miR-21/low miR-200c signature in vivo.
Sci Rep
PUBLISHED: 05-23-2013
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The flavolignan silibinin was studied for its ability to restore drug sensitivity to EGFR-mutant NSCLC xenografts with epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT)-driven resistance to erlotinib. As a single agent, silibinin significantly decreased the tumor volumes of erlotinib-refractory NSCLC xenografts by approximately 50%. Furthermore, the complete abrogation of tumor growth was observed with the co-treatment of erlotinib and silibinin. Silibinin fully reversed the EMT-related high miR-21/low miR-200c microRNA signature and repressed the mesenchymal markers SNAIL, ZEB, and N-cadherin observed in erlotinib-refractory tumors. Silibinin was sufficient to fully activate a reciprocal mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition (MET) in erlotinib-refractory cells and prevent the highly migratogenic phenotype of erlotinib-resistant NSCLC cells. Given that the various mechanisms of resistance to erlotinib result from EMT, regardless of the EGFR mutation status, a water-soluble, silibinin-rich milk thistle extract might be a suitable candidate therapy for upcoming clinical trials aimed at preventing or reversing NSCLC progression following erlotinib treatment.
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Silibinin meglumine, a water-soluble form of milk thistle silymarin, is an orally active anti-cancer agent that impedes the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in EGFR-mutant non-small-cell lung carcinoma cells.
Food Chem. Toxicol.
PUBLISHED: 05-23-2013
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Silibinin is the primary active constituent of a crude extract (silymarin) from milk thistle plant (Silybum marianum) seeds. We explored the ability of an oral milk thistle extract formulation that was enriched with a water-soluble form of silibinin complexed with the amino-sugar meglumine to inhibit the growth of non-small-cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) mouse xenografts. As a single agent, oral silibinin meglumine notably decreased the overall volumes of NSCLC tumors as efficiently as did the EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) gefitinib. Concurrent treatment with silibinin meglumine impeded the regrowth of gefitinib-unresponsive tumors, resulting in drastic tumor growth prevention. Because the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is required by a multiplicity of mechanisms of resistance to EGFR TKIs, we evaluated the ability of silibinin meglumine to impede the EMT in vitro and in vivo. Silibinin-meglumine efficiently prevented the loss of markers associated with a polarized epithelial phenotype as well as the de novo synthesis of proteins associated with the mesenchymal morphology of transitioning cells. Our current findings with this non-toxic, orally active, and water-soluble silibinin formulation might facilitate the design of clinical trials to test the administration of silibinin meglumine-containing injections, granules, or beverages in combination with EGFR TKIs in patients with EGFR-mutated NSCLC.
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A possible role for CCR5 in the progression of atherosclerosis in HIV-infected patients: a cross-sectional study.
AIDS Res Ther
PUBLISHED: 05-07-2013
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Chemokines can block viral entry by interfering with HIV co-receptors and are recognised mediators of atherosclerosis development. A number of experimental drugs that inhibit HIV entry arrest the development of atherosclerosis in animal models. We hypothesised that the expression of chemokine receptors in circulating leukocytes is associated with the rate of atherosclerosis progression in HIV-infected patients.
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The Warburg effect version 2.0: metabolic reprogramming of cancer stem cells.
Cell Cycle
PUBLISHED: 04-02-2013
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When fighting cancer, knowledge on metabolism has always been important. Today, it matters more than ever. The restricted cataloging of cancer genomes is quite unlikely to achieve the task of curing cancer, unless it is integrated into metabolic networks that respond to and influence the constantly evolving cancer stem cell (CSC) cellular states. Once the genomic era of carcinogenesis had pushed the 1920s Otto Warburgs metabolic cancer hypothesis into obscurity for decades, the most recent studies begin to support a new developing paradigm, in which the molecular logic behind the conversion of non-CSCs into CSCs can be better understood in terms of the "metabolic facilitators" and "metabolic impediments" that operate as proximate openings and roadblocks, respectively, for the transcriptional events and signal transduction programs that ultimately orchestrate the intrinsic and/or microenvironmental paths to CSC cellular states. Here we propose that a profound understanding of how human carcinomas install a proper "Warburg effect version 2.0" allowing them to "run" the CSCs "software" programs should guide a new era of metabolo-genomic-personalized cancer medicine. By viewing metabolic reprogramming of CSCs as an essential characteristic that allows dynamic, multidimensional and evolving cancer populations to compete successfully for their expansion on the organism, we now argue that CSCs bioenergetics might be another cancer hallmark. A definitive understanding of metabolic reprogramming in CSCs may complement or to some extent replace, the 30-y-old paradigm of targeting oncogenes to treat human carcinomas, because it can be possible to metabolically create non-permissive or "hostile" metabotypes to prevent the occurrence of CSC cellular states with tumor- and metastasis-initiating capacity.
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IGF-1R/epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) crosstalk suppresses the erlotinib-sensitizing effect of EGFR exon 19 deletion mutations.
Sci Rep
PUBLISHED: 03-14-2013
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Using non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) cells harboring the erlotinib-sensitizing Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) exon 19 mutation delE746-A750, we developed erlotinib-refractory derivatives in which hyperactive Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 Receptor (IGF-1R) signaling associated with enrichment in epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT)-related morphological and transcriptional features. We then explored whether an IGF-1R/EMT crosstalk was sufficient to promote erlotinib refractoriness in the absence of second-site EGFR mutations, MET and AXL hyperactivation. Transforming Growth Factor-beta1 (TGF?1)-induced mesenchymal trans-differentiation was sufficient to impede erlotinib functioning in the presence of drug-sensitive delE746-A750 EGFR mutation. Pharmacological blockade of IGF-1R fully prevented the TGF?1s ability to activate an EMT protein signature [E-cadherin low/vimentin high]. The sole presence of erlotinib was capable of rapidly activate an IGF-1R-dependent, vimentin-enriched mesenchymal-like phenotype in delE746-A750-mutated epithelial cells. Even if transient, NSCLC cells intrinsic plasticity to undergo crosstalk between IGF-1R and EMT signaling pathways can sufficiently eliminate the erlotinib-sensitizing effect of highly prevalent EGFR mutations and suggests the urgent need for dual IGF-1R/EMT-targeting strategies to circumvent erlotinib resistance.
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Autophagy in stem cells.
Autophagy
PUBLISHED: 03-13-2013
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Autophagy is a highly conserved cellular process by which cytoplasmic components are sequestered in autophagosomes and delivered to lysosomes for degradation. As a major intracellular degradation and recycling pathway, autophagy is crucial for maintaining cellular homeostasis as well as remodeling during normal development, and dysfunctions in autophagy have been associated with a variety of pathologies including cancer, inflammatory bowel disease and neurodegenerative disease. Stem cells are unique in their ability to self-renew and differentiate into various cells in the body, which are important in development, tissue renewal and a range of disease processes. Therefore, it is predicted that autophagy would be crucial for the quality control mechanisms and maintenance of cellular homeostasis in various stem cells given their relatively long life in the organisms. In contrast to the extensive body of knowledge available for somatic cells, the role of autophagy in the maintenance and function of stem cells is only beginning to be revealed as a result of recent studies. Here we provide a comprehensive review of the current understanding of the mechanisms and regulation of autophagy in embryonic stem cells, several tissue stem cells (particularly hematopoietic stem cells), as well as a number of cancer stem cells. We discuss how recent studies of different knockout mice models have defined the roles of various autophagy genes and related pathways in the regulation of the maintenance, expansion and differentiation of various stem cells. We also highlight the many unanswered questions that will help to drive further research at the intersection of autophagy and stem cell biology in the near future.
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The anti-malarial chloroquine overcomes primary resistance and restores sensitivity to trastuzumab in HER2-positive breast cancer.
Sci Rep
PUBLISHED: 03-12-2013
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Autophagy may control the de novo refractoriness of HER2 gene-amplified breast carcinomas to the monoclonal antibody trastuzumab (Herceptin). Tumor cells originally obtained from a patient who rapidly progressed on trastuzumab ab initio display increased cellular levels of the LC3-II protein--a finding that correlates with increased numbers of autophagosomes--and decreased levels of the autophagy receptor p62/SQSTM1, a protein selectively degraded by autophagy. Trastuzumab-refractory cells are in a state of "autophagy addiction" because genetic ablation of autophagy-specific genes (ATG8, ATG5, ATG12) notably reduces intrinsic refractoriness to trastuzumab. When the anti-malarial lysosomotropic drug chloroquine impedes autophagic resolution of the accumulation of autophagolysosomes formed in the presence of trastuzumab, cells commit to die by apoptosis. Accordingly, combination treatment with trastuzumab and chloroquine radically suppresses tumor growth by > 90% in a tumor xenograft completely refractory to trastuzumab. Adding chloroquine to trastuzumab-based regimens may therefore improve outcomes among women with autophagy-addicted HER2-positive breast cancer.
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Metabolic stress in infected cells may represent a therapeutic target for human immunodeficiency virus infection.
Med. Hypotheses
PUBLISHED: 02-16-2013
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Worldwide, there are thousands of new cases of human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) infection per day. The effectiveness of current combination antiretroviral therapy (ART) is relative; to prioritize finding vaccines and/or cure-oriented initiatives should be reinforced because there is little room, if any, for procrastination. Basic and clinical findings on HIV-1 reservoirs suggest that disruption of virus latency is feasible. Because the goal is curing HIV-1 infection, we should be aware that the challenge is to eradicate the viruses of every single infected cell and consequently acting upon virus latency is necessary but not sufficient. The large majority of the virus reservoir, CD4(+) T lymphocytes, is readily accessible but other minor reservoirs, where ART does not diffuse, require innovative strategies. The situation closely resembles that currently faced in the treatment of cancer. Exploiting the fact that histone deacetylase inhibitors, mainly vorinostat, may disrupt the latency of HIV-1, we propose to supplement this effect with a programmed interference in the metabolic stress of infected cells. Metformin and chloroquine are cheap and accessible modulators of pro-survival mechanisms to which viruses are constantly confronted to generate alternative energy sources and maximize virus production. Metformin restrains the use of the usurped cellular biosynthetic machinery by viral genes and chloroquine contributes to death of infected cells. We suggest that the combination of vorinostat, chloroquine and metformin should be combined with ART to pursue viral eradication in infected cells.
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Mitochondrial dysfunction: a basic mechanism in inflammation-related non-communicable diseases and therapeutic opportunities.
Mediators Inflamm.
PUBLISHED: 02-01-2013
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Obesity is not necessarily a predisposing factor for disease. It is the handling of fat and/or excessive energy intake that encompasses the linkage of inflammation, oxidation, and metabolism to the deleterious effects associated with the continuous excess of food ingestion. The roles of cytokines and insulin resistance in excessive energy intake have been studied extensively. Tobacco use and obesity accompanied by an unhealthy diet and physical inactivity are the main factors that underlie noncommunicable diseases. The implication is that the management of energy or food intake, which is the main role of mitochondria, is involved in the most common diseases. In this study, we highlight the importance of mitochondrial dysfunction in the mutual relationships between causative conditions. Mitochondria are highly dynamic organelles that fuse and divide in response to environmental stimuli, developmental status, and energy requirements. These organelles act to supply the cell with ATP and to synthesise key molecules in the processes of inflammation, oxidation, and metabolism. Therefore, energy sensors and management effectors are determinants in the course and development of diseases. Regulating mitochondrial function may require a multifaceted approach that includes drugs and plant-derived phenolic compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities that improve mitochondrial biogenesis and act to modulate the AMPK/mTOR pathway.
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Xenohormetic and anti-aging activity of secoiridoid polyphenols present in extra virgin olive oil: a new family of gerosuppressant agents.
Cell Cycle
PUBLISHED: 01-31-2013
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Aging can be viewed as a quasi-programmed phenomenon driven by the overactivation of the nutrient-sensing mTOR gerogene. mTOR-driven aging can be triggered or accelerated by a decline or loss of responsiveness to activation of the energy-sensing protein AMPK, a critical gerosuppressor of mTOR. The occurrence of age-related diseases, therefore, reflects the synergistic interaction between our evolutionary path to sedentarism, which chronically increases a number of mTOR activating gero-promoters (e.g., food, growth factors, cytokines and insulin) and the "defective design" of central metabolic integrators such as mTOR and AMPK. Our laboratories at the Bioactive Food Component Platform in Spain have initiated a systematic approach to molecularly elucidate and clinically explore whether the "xenohormesis hypothesis," which states that stress-induced synthesis of plant polyphenols and many other phytochemicals provides an environmental chemical signature that upregulates stress-resistance pathways in plant consumers, can be explained in terms of the reactivity of the AMPK/mTOR-axis to so-called xenohormetins. Here, we explore the AMPK/mTOR-xenohormetic nature of complex polyphenols naturally present in extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), a pivotal component of the Mediterranean style diet that has been repeatedly associated with a reduction in age-related morbid conditions and longer life expectancy. Using crude EVOO phenolic extracts highly enriched in the secoiridoids oleuropein aglycon and decarboxymethyl oleuropein aglycon, we show for the first time that (1) the anticancer activity of EVOO secoiridoids is related to the activation of anti-aging/cellular stress-like gene signatures, including endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and the unfolded protein response, spermidine and polyamine metabolism, sirtuin-1 (SIRT1) and NRF2 signaling; (2) EVOO secoiridoids activate AMPK and suppress crucial genes involved in the Warburg effect and the self-renewal capacity of "immortal" cancer stem cells; (3) EVOO secoiridoids prevent age-related changes in the cell size, morphological heterogeneity, arrayed cell arrangement and senescence-associated ?-galactosidase staining of normal diploid human fibroblasts at the end of their proliferative lifespans. EVOO secoiridoids, which provide an effective defense against plant attack by herbivores and pathogens, are bona fide xenohormetins that are able to activate the gerosuppressor AMPK and trigger numerous resveratrol-like anti-aging transcriptomic signatures. As such, EVOO secoiridoids constitute a new family of plant-produced gerosuppressant agents that molecularly "repair" the aimless (and harmful) AMPK/mTOR-driven quasi-program that leads to aging and aging-related diseases, including cancer.
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Mammosphere formation in breast carcinoma cell lines depends upon expression of E-cadherin.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 01-01-2013
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Tumors are heterogeneous at the cellular level where the ability to maintain tumor growth resides in discrete cell populations. Floating sphere-forming assays are broadly used to test stem cell activity in tissues, tumors and cell lines. Spheroids are originated from a small population of cells with stem cell features able to grow in suspension culture and behaving as tumorigenic in mice. We tested the ability of eleven common breast cancer cell lines representing the major breast cancer subtypes to grow as mammospheres, measuring the ability to maintain cell viability upon serial non-adherent passage. Only MCF7, T47D, BT474, MDA-MB-436 and JIMT1 were successfully propagated as long-term mammosphere cultures, measured as the increase in the number of viable cells upon serial non-adherent passages. Other cell lines tested (SKBR3, MDA-MB-231, MDA-MB-468 and MDA-MB-435) formed cell clumps that can be disaggregated mechanically, but cell viability drops dramatically on their second passage. HCC1937 and HCC1569 cells formed typical mammospheres, although they could not be propagated as long-term mammosphere cultures. All the sphere forming lines but MDA-MB-436 express E-cadherin on their surface. Knock down of E-cadherin expression in MCF-7 cells abrogated its ability to grow as mammospheres, while re-expression of E-cadherin in SKBR3 cells allow them to form mammospheres. Therefore, the mammosphere assay is suitable to reveal stem like features in breast cancer cell lines that express E-cadherin.
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Metformin: multi-faceted protection against cancer.
Oncotarget
PUBLISHED: 12-29-2011
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The biguanide metformin, a widely used drug for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, may exert cancer chemopreventive effects by suppressing the transformative and hyperproliferative processes that initiate carcinogenesis. Metformins molecular targets in cancer cells (e.g., mTOR, HER2) are similar to those currently being used for directed cancer therapy. However, metformin is nontoxic and might be extremely useful for enhancing treatment efficacy of mechanism-based and biologically targeted drugs. Here, we first revisit the epidemiological, preclinical, and clinical evidence from the last 5 years showing that metformin is a promising candidate for oncology therapeutics. Second, the anticancer effects of metformin by both direct (insulin-independent) and indirect (insulin-dependent) mechanisms are discussed in terms of metformin-targeted processes and the ontogenesis of cancer stem cells (CSC), including Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition (EMT) and microRNAs-regulated dedifferentiation of CSCs. Finally, we present preliminary evidence that metformin may regulate cellular senescence, an innate safeguard against cellular immortalization. There are two main lines of evidence that suggest that metformins primary target is the immortalizing step during tumorigenesis. First, metformin activates intracellular DNA damage response checkpoints. Second, metformin attenuates the anti-senescence effects of the ATP-generating glycolytic metabotype-the Warburg effect-, which is required for self-renewal and proliferation of CSCs. If metformin therapy presents an intrinsic barrier against tumorigenesis by lowering the threshold for stress-induced senescence, metformin therapeutic strategies may be pivotal for therapeutic intervention for cancer. Current and future clinical trials will elucidate whether metformin has the potential to be used in preventive and treatment settings as an adjuvant to current cancer therapeutics.
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Metformin and the ATM DNA damage response (DDR): accelerating the onset of stress-induced senescence to boost protection against cancer.
Aging (Albany NY)
PUBLISHED: 12-16-2011
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By activating the ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM)-mediated DNA Damage Response (DDR), the AMPK agonist metformin might sensitize cells against further damage, thus mimicking the precancerous stimulus that induces an intrinsic barrier against carcinogenesis. Herein, we present the new hypothesis that metformin might function as a tissue sweeper of pre-malignant cells before they gain stem cell/tumor initiating properties. Because enhanced glycolysis (the Warburg effect) plays a causal role in the gain of stem-like properties of tumor-initiating cells by protecting them from the pro-senescent effects of mitochondrial respiration-induced oxidative stress, metformins ability to disrupt the glycolytic metabotype may generate a cellular phenotype that is metabolically protected against immortalization. The bioenergetic crisis imposed by metformin, which may involve enhanced mitochondrial biogenesis and oxidative stress, can lower the threshold for cellular senescence by pre-activating an ATM-dependent pseudo-DDR. This allows an accelerated onset of cellular senescence in response to additional oncogenic stresses. By pushing cancer cells to use oxidative phosphorylation instead of glycolysis, metformin can rescue cell surface major histocompatibility complex class I (MHC-I) expression that is downregulated by oncogenic transformation, a crucial adaptation of tumor cells to avoid the adaptive immune response by cytotoxic T-lymphocytes (CTLs). Aside from restoration of tumor immunosurveillance at the cell-autonomous level, metformin can activate a senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP) to reinforce senescence growth arrest, which might trigger an immune-mediated clearance of the senescent cells in a non-cell-autonomous manner. By diminishing the probability of escape from the senescence anti-tumor barrier, the net effect of metformin should be a significant decrease in the accumulation of dysfunctional, pre-malignant cells in tissues, including those with the ability to initiate tumors. As life-long or late-life removal of senescent cells has been shown to prevent or delay the onset or progression of age-related disorders, the tissue sweeper function of metformin may inhibit the malignant/metastatic progression of pre-malignant/senescent tumor cells and increase the human lifespan.
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Autophagy positively regulates the CD44(+) CD24(-/low) breast cancer stem-like phenotype.
Cell Cycle
PUBLISHED: 11-15-2011
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The molecular mechanisms used by breast cancer stem cells (BCSCs) to survive and/or maintain their undifferentiated CD44(+) CD24(-/low ) mesenchymal-like antigenic state remains largely unexplored. Autophagy, a key homeostatic process of cytoplasmic degradation and recycling evolved to respond to stress conditions, might be causally fundamental in the biology of BCSCs. Stable & specific knockdown of autophagy-regulatory genes by lentiviral-delivered small hairpin (sh) RNA drastically decreased the number of JIMT-1 epithelial BC cells bearing CD44(+) CD24(-/low) cell-surface antigens from ~75% in parental and control (-) shRNA-transduced cells to 26% and 7% in ATG8/LC3 shRNA- and ATG12 shRNA-transduced cells, respectively. Autophagy inhibition notably enhanced transcriptional activation of CD24 gene, potentiating the epithelial-like phenotype of CD44(+) CD24(+) cells versus the mesenchymal CD44(+) CD24(-/low ) progeny. EMT-focused Real Time RT-PCR profiling revealed that genetic ablation of autophagy transcriptionally repressed the gene coding for the mesenchymal filament vimentin (VIM). shRNA-driven silencing of the ATG12 gene and disabling the final step in the autophagy pathway by the antimalarial drug chloroquine both prevented TGFb1-induced accumulation of vimentin in JIMT-1 cells. Knockdown of autophagy-specific genes was sufficient also to increase by up to 11-times the number of CD24(+) cells in MDA-MB-231 cells, a BC model of mesenchymal origin that is virtually composed of CD44(+) CD24(-/low ) cells. Chloroquine treatment augmented the number of CD24(+) cells and concomitantly reduced constitutive overexpression of vimentin in MDA-MB-231 cells. This is the first report demonstrating that autophagy is mechanistically linked to the maintenance of tumor cells expressing high levels of CD44 and low levels of CD24, which are typical of BCSCs.
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mTOR-regulated senescence and autophagy during reprogramming of somatic cells to pluripotency: a roadmap from energy metabolism to stem cell renewal and aging.
Cell Cycle
PUBLISHED: 11-01-2011
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Molecular controllers of the number and function of tissue stem cells may share common regulatory pathways for the nuclear reprogramming of somatic cells to become induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSCs). If this hypothesis is true, testing the ability of longevity-promoting chemicals to improve reprogramming efficiency may provide a proof-of-concept validation tool for pivotal housekeeping pathways that limit the numerical and/or functional decline of adult stem cells. Reprogramming is a slow, stochastic process due to the complex and apparently unrelated cellular processes that are involved. First, forced expression of the Yamanaka cocktail of stemness factors, OSKM, is a stressful process that activates apoptosis and cellular senescence, which are the two primary barriers to cancer development and somatic reprogramming. Second, the a priori energetic infrastructure of somatic cells appears to be a crucial stochastic feature for optimal successful routing to pluripotency. If longevity-promoting compounds can ablate the drivers and effectors of cellular senescence while concurrently enhancing a bioenergetic shift from somatic oxidative mitochondria toward an alternative ATP-generating glycolytic metabotype, they could maximize the efficiency of somatic reprogramming to pluripotency. Support for this hypothesis is evidenced by recent findings that well-characterized mTOR inhibitors and autophagy activators (e.g., PP242, rapamycin and resveratrol) notably improve the speed and efficiency of iPSC generation. This article reviews the existing research evidence that the most established mTOR inhibitors can notably decelerate the cellular senescence that is imposed by DNA damage-like responses, which are somewhat equivalent to the responses caused by reprogramming factors. These data suggest that fine-tuning mTOR signaling can impact mitochondrial dynamics to segregate mitochondria that are destined for clearance through autophagy, which results in the loss of mitochondrial function and in the accelerated onset of the glycolytic metabolism that is required to fuel reprogramming. By critically exploring how mTOR-regulated senescence, bioenergetic infrastructure and autophagy can actively drive the reprogramming of somatic cells to pluripotency, we define a metabolic roadmap that may be helpful for designing pharmacological and behavioral interventions to prevent or retard the dysfunction/exhaustion of aging stem cell populations.
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Raptor, a positive regulatory subunit of mTOR complex 1, is a novel phosphoprotein of the rDNA transcription machinery in nucleoli and chromosomal nucleolus organizer regions (NORs).
Cell Cycle
PUBLISHED: 09-15-2011
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Raptor is the key scaffolding protein that recruits mTOR substrates to rapamycin-sensitive mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1), a molecular integrator of mitogenic and nutrient/energy environmental inputs into protein translation and cell growth. Although Raptor phosphorylation on various sites is pivotal in the regulation of mTORC1 activity, it remains to be elucidated whether site-specific phosphorylation differentially distributes Raptor to unique subcellular compartments. When exploring the spatiotemporal cell cycle dynamics of six different phospho (P)-Raptor isoforms (Thr ( 706) , Ser ( 722) , Ser ( 863) , Ser ( 792) and Ser ( 877) ), a number of remarkable events differentially defined a topological resetting of P-RaptorThr706 on interphasic and mitotic chromosomes. In interphase nuclei, P-Raptor (Thr706) co-localized with fibrillarin, a component of the nucleolar small nuclear ribonucleoprotein particle, as well as with RNA polymerase I, the enzyme that transcribes nucleolar rRNA. Upon Actinomycin D-induced nucleolar segregation and disaggregation, P-RaptorThr706 was excluded from the nucleolus to accumulate at discrete nucleoplasmic bodies. During mitosis, CDK1 inhibition-induced premature assembly of nucleoli relocated fibrillarin to the surrounding regions of chromosomal-associated P-Raptor (Thr706) , suggesting that a subpopulation of mitotic P-Raptor (Thr706) remained targeted at chromosomal loops of rDNA or nuclear organizer regions (NORs). At the end of mitosis and cytokinesis, when reassembly of incipient nucleoli begins upon NORs activation of rDNA transcription, fibrillarin spatially reorganized with P-Raptor (Thr706) to give rise to daughter nucleoli. Treatment with IGF1 exclusively hyperactivated nuclear P-Raptor (Ser706) and concomitantly promoted Ser ( 2481) autophosphorylation of mTOR, which monitors mTORC1-associated catalytic activity. Nucleolar- and NOR-associated P-Raptor (Ser706) may physically link mTORC1 signaling to ever-growing nucleolus plurifunctionality including ribosome biogenesis, cell stress sensor and cell cycle/aging control.
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Stem cell property epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition is a core transcriptional network for predicting cetuximab (Erbitux™) efficacy in KRAS wild-type tumor cells.
J. Cell. Biochem.
PUBLISHED: 07-20-2011
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Beyond a well-recognized effect of KRAS mutations in determining de novo inefficacy of cetuximab (CTX) in metastatic colorectal cancer, we urgently need a biomarker signature for predicting CTX efficacy in KRAS wild-type (WT) tumors. CTX-adapted EGFR gene-amplified KRAS WT tumor cell populations were induced by stepwise-chronic exposure of A431 epidermoid cancer cells to CTX. Genome-wide analyses of 44K Agilents whole human arrays were bioinformatically evaluated by Gene Set Enrichment Analysis (GSEA)-based screening of the KEGG pathway database. Molecular functioning of CTX was found to depend on: (i) The occurrence of a positive feedback loop on Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) activation driven by genes coding for EGFR ligands (e.g., amphiregulin); (ii) the lack of a negative feedback on mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) activation regulated by dual-specificity phosphatases (e.g., DUSP6) and; (iii) the transcriptional status of gene pathways controlling the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and its reversal (MET) program (actin cytoskeleton and cell-cell communication-e.g., keratins-focal adhesion signaling-e.g., integrins-and EMT-inducing cytokines - e.g., transforming growth factor-?). Quantitative real-time PCR, high-content immunostaining, and flow-cytometry analyses confirmed that CTX efficacy depends on its ability to promote: (i) Stronger cell-cell contacts by up-regulating the expression of the epithelial markers E-cadherin and occludin; (ii) down-regulation of the epithelial transcriptional repressors Zeb, Snail, and Slug accompanied by restoration of cortical F-actin; and (iii) complete prevention of the CD44(pos)/CD24(neg/low) mesenchymal immunophenotype. The impact of EGFR ligands/MAPK phosphatases gene transcripts in predicting CTX efficacy in KRAS WT tumors may be tightly linked with the ability of CTX to concurrently reverse the EMT status, a pivotal property of migrating cancer stem cells.
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Interferon/STAT1 and neuregulin signaling pathways are exploratory biomarkers of cetuximab (Erbitux®) efficacy in KRAS wild-type squamous carcinomas: a pathway-based analysis of whole human-genome microarray data from cetuximab-adapted tumor cell-line mod
Int. J. Oncol.
PUBLISHED: 04-27-2011
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KRAS mutation status is being used as the sole biomarker to predict therapeutic efficacy of cetuximab in metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC). A significant number of mCRC patients with KRAS wild-type (WT) tumors, however, do not benefit from cetuximab. We are also lacking efficacy predictors in head and neck squamous cell carcinomas with an intact KRAS signaling and in non-small cell lung cancer in which KRAS mutations do not predict cetuximab efficacy. We recently established pre-clinical models of EGFR gene-amplified KRAS WT A431 squamous carcinoma cells chronically adapted to grow in the presence of cetuximab. We employed the ingenuity pathway analysis software to functionally interpret data from Agilents whole human genome arrays in the context of biological processes, networks, and pathways. Cetuximab-induced activation of the interferon (IFN)/STAT1 appeared to switch from growth inhibitory in acutely-treated cells to pro-survival in chronically-adapted cells. Cetuximab treatment appeared to negatively select initially dominant IFN-sensitive clones and promoted selection of IFN- and cetuximab-refractory tumor clones constitutively bearing an up-regulated IFN/STAT1 signaling. High-levels of mRNAs coding for the EGFR ligands amphiregulin (AREG), epiregulin (EREG), and neuregulin-1/heregulin (NRG1) predicted for acute cetuximabs functioning. Chronic cetuximab, however, appeared to negatively select initially dominant AREG/EREG/NRG1-positive clones to promote selection of cetuximab-refractory clones exhibiting a knocked-down neuregulin signaling. Our current evolutionary mapping of the transcriptomic changes that occur during cetuximab-induced chronic blockade of EGFR/KRAS WT signaling strongly suggests that mRNAs coding for IFN/STAT1- and EGFR ligands-related genes can be evaluated as novel predictors of efficacy in KRAS WT squamous cancer patients being treated with cetuximab.
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Polo-like kinase 1 regulates activation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) at the mitotic apparatus.
Cell Cycle
PUBLISHED: 04-15-2011
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AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is being primarily studied as a central metabolic stress sensor, which regulates cell survival and growth-related metabolic pathways to preserve intracellular ATP levels in response to energy deprivation. Evidence is now accumulating that AMPK plays also an obligatory role to ensure proper cell division and faithful chromosomal segregation during mitosis. Increased phosphorylation in the AMPK catalytic subunit (AMPK?) was found in a proteomic study for kinases activated during G2/M and, more recently, activated AMPK? (PP-AMPK?(Thr172)) has been observed to transiently associate with several mitotic structures including centrosomes, spindle poles, the central spindle midzone and the midbody throughout all of the mitotic stages and cytokinesis. How AMPK? activation is controlled spatially and temporally during mitosis, however, remained undiscovered. Because Polo-like Kinases (PLKs) regulate many aspects of mitotic progression including centrosome maturation, bipolar spindle assembly, chromosome congression & segregation, and cytokinesis, we decided to combine an immunofluorescence microscopy analysis with a chemical biology approach employing a small-molecule PLK1 inhibitor to dissect a putative relationship between PLK1 and AMPK? during G2/M transition. PLK1 and PP-AMPK?(Thr172) were found to display a major spatio-temporal overlap early at centrosomes, from prophase until anaphase, and late at the midbody, during telophase and cytokinesis. Moreover, short-term treatment with the thiophene derivative GW843682X, a selective PLK inhibitor that has 400-fold greater potency for PLK1 than for PLK2 or PLK3, fully abolished mitotic activation of AMPK?. Upon long-term PLK1 inhibition, PP-AMPK?(Thr172) was barely detected surrounding the spindle poles of prometaphase-like arrested cells displaying the "polo" phenotype. Similarly, PP-AMPK?(Thr172) was largely inhibited in GW843682X-treated cells exhibiting cytokinesis failure and binucleate cell formation. Given that PLK1 is a well-recognized master regulatory kinase for the numerous protein substrates involved in mitosis, our current description of a causal link between PLK1 activity and mitotic phosphorylation of AMPK? may provide fundamental insights into how the energy sensor AMPK is directly coupled to mitotic cell division and cell cycle exist.
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The anti-diabetic drug metformin suppresses the metastasis-associated protein CD24 in MDA-MB-468 triple-negative breast cancer cells.
Oncol. Rep.
PUBLISHED: 04-07-2011
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CD24, a mucin-like adhesion molecule that enhances the metastatic potential of malignant cells, has been suggested to be a marker of poor prognosis in breast carcinomas. The tumor-initiating potential of CD44posCD24pos cell populations has been recently recognized and, accordingly, distant metastases are largely composed of CD24-positive cells in breast cancer patients refractory to treatment. Therefore, new therapeutic strategies aimed at down-regulating CD24 may negatively regulate the dissemination of tumor cells and formation of metastasis. Here, we reveal that suppression of CD24 protein expression is a crucial event in the molecular mechanisms underlying the growth-inhibitory effects of the anti-diabetic drug metformin in MDA-MB-468 triple-negative (basal-like) breast cancer cells. First, we confirmed that, among the different molecular classes of breast cancer, basal-like breast cancer cells were significantly more sensitive to the growth-inhibitory effects of metformin. Second, we observed a positive correlation between the growth inhibitory activity of metformin and the relative enrichment in cells bearing the CD44posCD24pos immunophenotype. Third, high-content indirect immunofluorescence imaging assays revealed that CD24 protein levels were drastically decreased in the presence of growth-inhibitory concentrations of metformin. Fourth, to preliminary assess the clinical relevance of metformins anti-CD24 effects we took advantage of the recently developed ROCK online interface (http://rock.icr.ac.uk/), a publicly accessible portal that allows rapid integration of breast cancer functional and molecular profiling datasets. When we evaluated the impact of CD24 expression on distant metastasis-free survival (DMFS) in microarray gene expression breast cancer datasets, Kaplan-Meier survival analyses and log-rank tests comparing DMSF for CD24-high and CD24-low breast carcinomas revealed that patients with CD24-high tumors tended to have a shorter DMFS. These findings, altogether, suggest that the ability of metformin to suppress the oncogene, metastasis promoter and breast cancer stem cell marker CD24 may open a novel molecular avenue in the therapeutic management of highly-metastastic subgroups of triple-negative (basal-like) breast cancers naturally enriched with CD44posCD24pos tumor-initiating cell populations.
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Repositioning chloroquine and metformin to eliminate cancer stem cell traits in pre-malignant lesions.
Drug Resist. Updat.
PUBLISHED: 04-06-2011
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Ideal oncology drugs would be curative after a short treatment course if they could eliminate epithelium-originated carcinomas at their non-invasive, pre-malignant stages. Such ideal molecules, which are expected to molecularly abrogate all the instrumental mechanisms acquired by migrating cancer stem cells (CSCs) to by-pass tumour suppressor barriers, might already exist. We here illustrate how system biology strategies for repositioning existing FDA-approved drugs may accelerate our therapeutic capacity to eliminate CSC traits in pre-invasive intraepithelial neoplasias. First, we describe a signalling network signature that overrides bioenergetics stress- and oncogene-induced senescence (OIS) phenomena in CSCs residing at pre-invasive lesions. Second, we functionally map the anti-malarial chloroquine and the anti-diabetic metformin ("old drugs") to their recently recognized CSC targets ("new uses") within the network. By discussing the preclinical efficacy of chloroquine and metformin to inhibiting the genesis and self-renewal of CSCs we finally underscore the expected translational impact of the "old drugs-new uses" repurposing strategy to open a new CSC-targeted chemoprevention era.
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Micro(mi)RNA expression profile of breast cancer epithelial cells treated with the anti-diabetic drug metformin: induction of the tumor suppressor miRNA let-7a and suppression of the TGF?-induced oncomiR miRNA-181a.
Cell Cycle
PUBLISHED: 04-01-2011
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An unexplored molecular scenario that might explain the inhibitory impact of the anti-diabetic drug metformin on the genesis of breast cancer relates to metformins ability to modulate the expression status of micro (mi)RNAs. We here report the first miRNA expression profiling of human epithelial breast cancer cells cultured in the presence of metformin. We conducted real-time transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) Arrays to quantitatively compare the expression profile of 88 cancer-related miRNA sequences before and after treatment of MCF-7 cells, which were used as well-differentiated, epithelioid cell controls, with graded concentrations of metformin. Metformin-treated MCF-7 cells notably exhibited up to 18-fold increases in miRNA lethal-7a (let-7a) expression compared with untreated control cells. We confirmed that MCF-7 cells undergoing epithelial-to-mesenchymal (EMT) transition in response to the cytokine TGF? notably up-regulated (~5-fold) miRNA-181a expression and exhibited better mammosphere-forming capabilities. We then explored the ability of metformin to impede TGF?-enhanced propensity of breast cancer stem cells to form mammospheres in a miRNA-181a-related manner. Remarkably, TGF? treatment failed to up-regulate miRNA-181a expression in the presence of metformin, which was able to fully abrogate TGF?-enhanced mammosphere-forming ability. In addition, metformin co-treatment fully prevented TGF?-induced down-regulation of the tumor suppressor miRNA-96 (~10-fold). Metformins molecular functioning to prevent invasive breast cancer can be explained in terms of its previously unrecognized ability to efficiently up-regulate the tumor-suppressive miRNAs let-7a & miRNA-96 and inhibit the oncogenic miRNA-181a, thus epigenetically preserving the differentiated phenotype of mammary epithelium while preventing EMT-related cancer-initiating cell self-renewal.
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Direct antitumour activity of zoledronic acid: preclinical and clinical data.
Clin Transl Oncol
PUBLISHED: 03-23-2011
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Bisphosphonates (BPs) are widely used in the management of metastatic bone disease to reduce skeletal morbidity. Zoledronic acid (ZA), the most potent BP in clinical use, has demonstrated clinical utility in multiple tumour types. Preclinical data indicate that ZA may have direct antitumour activity, as has been demonstrated preclinically in both in vitro and in vivo experiments. The majority of preclinical studies showing antitumour effects have used high doses of ZA, making it difficult to translate these data to the clinical setting. This review summarises the published data on antitumour effects of ZA in tumour cell lines, mice experiments, and human clinical trials. Translational questions regarding drug dose, dose interval, and sequence with chemotherapy treatment are also addressed.
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Inhibitor of Apoptosis (IAP) survivin is indispensable for survival of HER2 gene-amplified breast cancer cells with primary resistance to HER1/2-targeted therapies.
Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun.
PUBLISHED: 03-07-2011
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Primary resistance of HER2 gene-amplified breast carcinomas (BC) to HER-targeted therapies can be explained in terms of overactive HER2-independent downstream pro-survival pathways. We here confirm that constitutive overexpression of Inhibitor of Apoptosis (IAP) survivin is indispensable for survival of HER2-positive BC cells with intrinsic cross-resistance to multiple HER1/2 inhibitors. The IC?? values for the HER1/2 Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors (TKIs) gefitinib, erlotinib and lapatinib were up to 40-fold higher in trastuzumab-unresponsive JIMT-1 cells than in trastuzumab-naïve SKBR3 cells. ELISA-based and immunoblotting assays demonstrated that trastuzumab-refractory JIMT-1 cells constitutively expressed ~ 4 times more survivin protein than trastuzumab-responsive SKBR3 cells. In response to trastuzumab, JIMT-1 cells accumulated ~10 times more survivin than SKBR3 cells. HER1/2 TKIs failed to down-regulate survivin expression in JIMT-1 cells whereas equimolar doses of HER1/HER2 TKIs drastically depleted survivin protein in SKBR3 cells. ELISA-based detection of histone-associated DNA fragments confirmed that trastuzumab-refractory JIMT-1 cells were intrinsically protected against the apoptotic effects of HER1/2 TKIs. Of note, when we knocked-down survivin expression using siRNA and then added trastuzumab, cell proliferation and colony formation were completely suppressed in JIMT-1 cells. Our current findings may be extremely helpful to design successful combinatorial strategies aimed to circumvent the occurrence of de novo resistance to HER2-directed drugs using survivin antagonists.
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Serum fatty acid synthase concentration is increased in patients with hepatitis viral infection and may assist in the prediction of liver steatosis.
J. Clin. Virol.
PUBLISHED: 02-24-2011
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Liver steatosis is frequent in patients with chronic hepatitis viral infections. Intracellular fatty acid synthase (FASN) seems to play a substantial role in its pathogenesis. FASN can also be found in circulation and is significantly increased in HIV-infected individuals, especially if they are co-infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV).
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Crude phenolic extracts from extra virgin olive oil circumvent de novo breast cancer resistance to HER1/HER2-targeting drugs by inducing GADD45-sensed cellular stress, G2/M arrest and hyperacetylation of Histone H3.
Int. J. Oncol.
PUBLISHED: 02-02-2011
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Characterization of the molecular function of complex phenols naturally present in extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) against the HER2-gene amplified JIMT-1 cell line, a unique breast cancer model that inherently exhibits cross-resistance to multiple HER1/2-targeted drugs including trastuzumab, gefitinib, erlotinib and lapatinib, may underscore innovative cancer molecules with novel therapeutic targets because they should efficiently circumvent de novo resistance to HER1/2 inhibitors in order to elicit tumoricidal effects. We identified pivotal signaling pathways associated with the efficacy of crude phenolic extracts (PEs) obtained from 14 monovarietals of Spanish EVOOs. i) MTT-based cell viability and HPLC coupled to time-of-flight (TOF) mass spectrometry assays revealed that anti-cancer activity of EVOO PEs positively correlated with the phenolic index (i.e., total content of phenolics) and with a higher presence of the complex polyphenols secoiridoids instead of lignans. ii) Genome-wide analyses using 44 K Agilents whole human arrays followed by Gene Set Enrichment Analysis (GSEA)-based screening of the Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathway database revealed a differential modulation of the JIMT-1 transcriptome at the level of the cell cycle and p53 pathways. EVOO PEs differentially impacted the expression status of stress-sensing, G2-M check-point-related GADD45 genes and of p53-related CDKN1A, CDKN1C and PMAIP-1 genes. iii) Cell cycle and fluorescence microscopy analyses confirmed that secoiridoid-rich EVOO PE inhibited mitosis to promote G2-M cell cycle arrest. This was accompanied with the appearance of diffuse, even DNA staining with ?H2AX and pan-nuclear hyperacetylation of Histone H3 at Lysine 18. iv) Semi-quantitative Signaling Node Multi-Target ELISAs determined that secoiridoid-rich EVOO PE drastically activated the mitogen-activated protein kinases MEK1 and p38 MAPK, a GADD45-related kinase involved in Histone H3 acetylation. Secoiridoids, a family of complex polyphenols characteristic of Oleaceae plants, appear to permit histones to remain in hyperacetylated states and through the resulting alterations in gene regulation to reduce mitotic viability and metabolic competence of breast cancer cells inherently refractory to HER-targeting therapies ab initio. Oleaceae secoiridoids could provide a valuable phytochemical platform for the design of more pharmacologically active second-generation phytopharmaceutical anti-breast cancer molecules with a unique mode of action.
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Metformin against TGF?-induced epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT): from cancer stem cells to aging-associated fibrosis.
Cell Cycle
PUBLISHED: 11-15-2010
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Transforming Growth Factor-b (TGFb) is a major driving force of the Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal (EMT) genetic program, which becomes overactive in the pathophysiology of many age-related human diseases.  TGFb-driven EMT is sufficient to generate migrating cancer stem cells by directly linking the acquisition of cellular motility with the maintenance of tumor-initiating (stemness) capacity.  Chronic diseases exhibiting excessive fibrosis can be caused by repeated and sustained infliction of TGFb-driven EMT, which increases collagen and extracellular matrix synthesis.  Pharmacological prevention and/or reversal of TGFb-induced EMT may therefore have important clinical applications in the management of cancer metastasis as well as in the prevention and/or treatment of end-state organ failures.  Earlier studies from our group have revealed that clinically-relevant concentrations of the biguanide derivative metformin, the most widely used oral agent to lower blood glucose concentration in patients with type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, notably decreased both the self-renewal and the proliferation of trastuzumab-refractory breast cancer stem cell populations.  Given that: a.) tumor-initiating cancer stem cells display a significant enrichment in the expression of basal/mesenchymal or myoepithelial markers, including an increased secretion of TGFb; b.) metformin treatment impedes the ontogeny of generating the stem cell phenotype by transcriptionally repressing key drivers of the EMT genetic program (e.g. ZEB1, TWIST1, SNAIL2 [Slug], TGFbs), we recently hypothesized that prevention of TGFb-induced EMT might represent a common molecular mechanism underlying the anti-cancer stem cells and anti-fibrotic actions of metformin.  Remarkably, metformin exposure not only impedes TGFb-promoted loss of the epithelial marker E-cadherin in MCF-7 breast cancer cells but it prevents further TGF-induced cell scattering and accumulation of the mesenchymal marker vimentin in Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells.  We now propose that metformin, by weakening the ability of TGFb signaling to fully induce mesenchymal cell states in a variety of pathological processes including fibrosis (e.g. chronic renal disease, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, heart failure or sclerosis) and malignant progression (and likely by reducing TGFb-regulated inflammation and immune responses -inflamm-aging-), molecularly behaves as a bona fide anti-aging modality.
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Pharmacological mimicking of caloric restriction elicits epigenetic reprogramming of differentiated cells to stem-like self-renewal states.
Rejuvenation Res
PUBLISHED: 11-03-2010
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Networks of oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes that control cancer cell proliferation also regulate stem cell renewal and possibly stem cell aging. Because (de)differentiation processes might dictate tumor cells to retrogress to a more stem-like state in response to aging-relevant epigenetic and/or environmental players, we recently envisioned that cultured human cancer cells might be used as reliable models to test the ability of antiaging interventions for promoting the initiation and maintenance of self-renewing divisions. Cancer cell lines naturally bearing undetectable amounts of stem/progenitor-like cell populations were continuously cultured in the presence of the caloric restriction mimetic metformin for several months. Microarray technology was employed to profile expression of genes related to the identification, growth, and differentiation of stem cells. Detection of functionally related gene groups using a pathway analysis package provided annotated genetic signatures over- and underexpressed in response to pharmacological mimicking of caloric restriction. By following this methodological approach, we recently obtained data fitting a model in which, in response to chronic impairment of cellular bioenergetics imposed by metformin-induced mitochondrial uncoupling as assessed by the phosphorylation state of cAMP-response element binding protein (CREB), tumor cells can retrogress from a differentiated state to a more CD44(+) stem-like primitive state epigenetically governed by the Polycomb-group suppressor BMI1-a crucial "stemness" gene involved in the epigenetic maintenance of adult stem cells. These findings might provide a novel molecular avenue to investigate if antiaging benefits from caloric restriction mimetics might relate to their ability to epigenetically reprogram stemness while prolonging the capacity of stem-like cell states to proliferate, differentiate, and replace mature cells in adult aging tissues.
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Metformin regulates breast cancer stem cell ontogeny by transcriptional regulation of the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) status.
Cell Cycle
PUBLISHED: 09-25-2010
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The sole overexpression of pivotal regulators of the embryonic Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition (EMT) genetic program ("EMT status") may be sufficient to efficiently drive the ontogeny of the breast cancer stem cell molecular signature independently of changes in EMT functioning ("EMT phenotype"). Using basal-like breast cancer models naturally enriched in either CD44(pos)CD24(low/neg) or CD44(pos)CD24(pos) tumor-initiating cell populations we herein illustrate that non-cytotoxic concentrations of the anti-diabetic drug metformin efficiently impedes the ontogeny of generating the stem cell phenotype by transcriptionally repressing the stem cell property EMT. Metformin treatment dynamically regulated the CD44(pos)CD24(neg/low) breast cancer stem cell immunophenotype, transcriptionally reprogrammed cells through decreased expression of key drivers of the EMT machinery including the transcription factors ZEB1, TWIST1 and SNAI2 (Slug) and the pleiotrophic cytokines TGF?s, and lastly impeded the propensity of breast cancer stem cells to form multicellular "microtumors" in non-adherent and non-differentiating conditions (i.e., "mammospheres"). These findings, altogether, provide strong motivation for the continued molecular understanding and clinical development of metformin as a non-toxic therapeutic aimed to interdict the breast cancer stem cell phenotype by targeting EMT, a molecular process that is central to the ontogenesis of the breast cancer stem cell molecular signature.
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Evolution of the predictive markers amphiregulin and epiregulin mRNAs during long-term cetuximab treatment of KRAS wild-type tumor cells.
Invest New Drugs
PUBLISHED: 09-20-2010
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Molecular mechanisms other than activating KRAS mutations should underlie the occurrence of weaker versus stronger responses to cetuximab (CTX) in EGFR-dependent carcinomas with either an intact KRAS signaling or in which KRAS mutations do not predict CTX efficacy. We hypothesized that KRAS wild-type (WT) tumor cell-line models chronically adapted to grow in the presence of CTX could be interrogated to establish if the positive predictive value of the mRNAs coding for the EGFR ligands amphiregulin (AR) and epiregulin (EPI) could be significantly altered during and/or after treatment with CTX. Gene expression analyses using real-time (kinetic) RT-PCR were performed to monitor the transcriptional evolution of EGFR ligands EGF, TGF?, AR, BTC, EPI, NRG and HB-EGF in experimental modes induced to exhibit acquired resistance to the mono-HER1 inhibitor CTX, the mono-HER2 inhibitor trastuzumab (Tzb) or the dual HER1/HER2 inhibitor lapatinib (LPT). Gene expression signatures for EGFR ligands distinctively related to the occurrence of unresponsiveness to CTX, Tzb or LPT, with minimal overlap between them. CTXs molecular functioning largely depended on the overproduction of the mRNAs coding for the EGFR ligands AR and EPI. Thus, a dramatic down-regulation of AR/EPI mRNA expression occurred upon loss of CTX efficacy in EGFR-positive tumor cells with an intact regulation of RAS signaling. Unlike KRAS mutations, which are informative of unresponsiveness to CTX solely in mCRC, our hypothesis-generating data suggest that expression status of AR and EPI mRNAs might be evaluated as dynamic predictors of response in KRAS WT patients receiving any CTX-based therapy.
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Prediction of extra virgin olive oil varieties through their phenolic profile. Potential cytotoxic activity against human breast cancer cells.
J. Agric. Food Chem.
PUBLISHED: 08-28-2010
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The aim of this work was to develop a rapid resolution liquid chromatography coupled to electrospray ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (RRLC-ESI-TOF-MS) method followed by tetrazolium salt (MTT)-based cell viability assays for qualitative and quantitative classification of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) varieties by phenolic and other polar compound contents as well as for rapid characterization of putative cytotoxic activities against human cancer cells. Five different Spanish EVOO varieties were analyzed, and RRLC-ESI-TOF-MS method was applied for qualitative and quantitative identification of most important phenolic compounds. We finally employed MTT-based cell viability protocol to assess the effects of crude EVOO phenolic extracts (PEs) on the metabolic status of cultured SKBR3 human breast cancer cells. MTT-based cell viability assays revealed a wide range of breast cancer cytotoxic potencies among individual crude PE obtained from EVOO monovarietals. Remarkably, breast cancer cell sensitivity to crude EVOO-PEs was up to 12 times higher in secoiridoids enriched-PE than in secoiridoids-low/null EVOO-PE.
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Infection with HIV and HCV enhances the release of fatty acid synthase into circulation: evidence for a novel indicator of viral infection.
BMC Gastroenterol
PUBLISHED: 08-13-2010
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Fatty acid synthase (FASN) is an enzyme synthesized by the liver and plays an important role in lipogenesis. The present study aimed to investigate whether serum FASN concentration may provide a direct link between HIV and/or HCV viral infections and lipid metabolic disorders commonly observed in HIV/HCV-infected patients.
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A tumor-suppressing mechanism in Drosophila involving cell competition and the Hippo pathway.
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.
PUBLISHED: 08-02-2010
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Mutant larvae for the Drosophila gene lethal giant larva (lgl) develop neoplastic tumors in imaginal discs. However, lgl mutant clones do not form tumors when surrounded by wild-type tissue, suggesting the existence of a tumor-suppressing mechanism. We have investigated the tumorigenic potential of lgl mutant cells by generating wing compartments that are entirely mutant for lgl and also inducing clones of various genetic combinations of lgl(-) cells. We find that lgl(-) compartments can grow indefinitely but lgl(-) clones are eliminated by cell competition. lgl mutant cells may form tumors if they acquire constitutive activity of the Ras pathway (lgl(-) UAS-ras(V12)), which confers proliferation advantage through inhibition of the Hippo pathway. Yet, the majority of lgl(-) UAS-ras(V12) clones are eliminated in spite of their high proliferation rate. The formation of a tumor requires in addition the formation of a microenvironment that allows mutant cells to evade cell competition.
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Pathway-focused proteomic signatures in HER2-overexpressing breast cancer with a basal-like phenotype: new insights into de novo resistance to trastuzumab (Herceptin).
Int. J. Oncol.
PUBLISHED: 07-29-2010
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Pioneering clinical studies in de novo refractoriness to the anti-HER2 monoclonal antibody trastuzumab have suggested that HER2 gene-amplification can take place also in a basal-like molecular background to generate basal/HER2+ tumors intrinsically resistant to trastuzumab. Here, we first investigated the unique histogenesis of the basal/HER2+ phenotype in breast carcinomas. The presence of basal CK5/CK6 cytokeratin expression in HER2+ tumors revealed a significant overlap in the histological features of HER2+/CK5/6+ and basal-like breast carcinomas. Basal/HER2+ tumors were typically poorly differentiated, high-grade invasive ductal carcinomas with large geographic necrosis, pushing margins of invasion, syncytial arrangement of tumor cells, ribbon- or festoon-like architecture, squamous metaplasia, stromal lymphocytic infiltrates, high mitotic index and strong p53 positivity. Secondly, we performed low-scale proteomic approaches in JIMT-1 cells, a unique model of HER2-gene amplified trastuzumab-resistant breast carcinoma with a basal-like phenotype, to develop biomarker signatures that may differentiate trastuzumab-responsive from non-responsive tumors. When applying antibody-based array technology to the extracellular milieu of trastuzumab-refractory JIMT-1 and trastuzumab-sensitive SKBR3 cell cultures, JIMT-1 cells were found to secrete higher amounts of several growth factors including amphiregulin, EGF, IGFBP-6, PDGF-AA, neurotrophins, TGFbeta and VEGF. Semi-quantitative signaling node multi-target sandwich ELISAs revealed that JIMT-1 cells drastically overactivate RelA, the prosurvival subunit of NF-kappaB as compared to trastuzumab-sensitive luminal/HER2+ SKBR3 cells. When simultaneously assessing the activation status of 42 receptor tyrosine kinases (RTK) using a human phospho-RTK array, JIMT-1 cells were found to constitutively display hyperactivation of the insulin-like growth factor-I receptor (IGF-1R). High-content immunofluorescence imaging revealed that activated IGF-1R mainly localized at focal adhesion-like structures in JIMT-1 cells. In vitro wound healing assays suggested that this functional reorganization of the JIMT-1 cytoskeletal reorganization may account for an exacerbated trastuzumab-refractory migratogenic phenotype. Forthcoming studies should validate the notion that identification of basal-like immunophenotypes and/or basal-like molecular signatures within HER2+ breast carcinomas may provide rapid means to define subgroups of breast cancer patients likely to display resistance to trastuzumab ab initio.
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Dynamic emergence of the mesenchymal CD44(pos)CD24(neg/low) phenotype in HER2-gene amplified breast cancer cells with de novo resistance to trastuzumab (Herceptin).
Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun.
PUBLISHED: 05-06-2010
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Evidence is mounting that the occurrence of the CD44(pos)/CD24(neg/low) cell population, which contains potential breast cancer (BC) stem cells, could explain BC clinical resistance to HER2-targeted therapies. We investigated whether de novo refractoriness to the anti-HER2 monoclonal antibody trastuzumab (Tzb; Herceptin) may relate to the dynamic regulation of the mesenchymal CD44(pos)/CD24(neg/low) phenotype in HER2-positive BC. We observed that the subpopulation of Tzb-refractory JIMT-1 BC cells exhibiting CD44(pos)/CD24(neg/low)-surface markers switched with time. Low-passage JIMT-1 cell cultures were found to spontaneously contain approximately 10% of cells bearing the CD44(pos)/CD24(neg/low) immunophenotype. Late-passage (>60) JIMT-1 cultures accumulated approximately 80% of CD44(pos)/CD24(neg/low) cells and closely resembled the CD44(pos)/CD24(neg/low)-enriched ( approximately 85%) cell population constitutively occurring in HER2-negative MDA-MB-231 mesenchymal BC cells. Dynamic expression of mesenchymal markers was not limited to CD44/CD24 because high-passages of JIMT-1 cells exhibited also reduced expression of the HER2 protein and over-secretion of pro-invasive/metastatic chemokines and metalloproteases. Accordingly, late-passage JIMT-1 cells displayed an exacerbated migratogenic phenotype in plastic, collagen, and fibronectin substrates. Intrinsic genetic plasticity to efficiently drive the emergence of the CD44(pos)/CD24(neg/low) mesenchymal phenotype may account for de novo resistance to HER2 targeting therapies in basal-like BC carrying HER2 gene amplification.
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The anti-diabetic drug metformin suppresses self-renewal and proliferation of trastuzumab-resistant tumor-initiating breast cancer stem cells.
Breast Cancer Res. Treat.
PUBLISHED: 03-22-2010
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We here demonstrate that the anti-diabetic drug metformin interacts synergistically with the anti-HER2 monoclonal antibody trastuzumab (Tzb; Herceptin™) to eliminate stem/progenitor cell populations in HER2-gene-amplified breast carcinoma cells. When using the mammosphere culture technique, graded concentrations of single-agent metformin (range 50-1,000 ?mol/l) were found to dose-dependently reduce the number of mammospheres formed by SKBR3 (a Tzb-naïve model), SKBR3 TzbR (a model of acquired auto-resistance to Tzb) and JIMT-1 (a model of refractoriness to Tzb and other HER2-targeted therapies ab initio) HER2-overexpressing breast cancer cells. Single-agent Tzb likewise reduced mammosphere-forming efficiency (MSFE) in Tzb-naïve SKBR3 cells, but it failed to significantly decrease MSFE in Tzb-resistant SKBR3 TzbR and JIMT-1 cells. Of note, CD44-overexpressing Tzb-refractory SKBR3 TzbR and JIMT-1 cells retained an exquisite sensitivity to single-agent metformin. Concurrent combination of metformin with Tzb synergistically reduced MSFE as well as the size of mammospheres in Tzb-refractory SKBR3 TzbR and JIMT-1 cells. Flow cytometry analyses confirmed that metformin and Tzb functioned synergistically to down-regulate the percentage of Tzb-refractory JIMT-1 cells displaying the CD44(pos)/CD24(neg/low) stem/progenitor immunophenotype. Given that MSFE and mammosphere size are indicators of stem self-renewal and progenitor cell proliferation, respectively, our current findings reveal for the first time that: (a) Tzb refractoriness in HER2 overexpressors can be explained in terms of Tzb-resistant/CD44-overexpressing/tumor-initiating stem cells; (b) metformin synergistically interacts with Tzb to suppress self-renewal and proliferation of cancer stem/progenitor cells in HER2-positive carcinomas.
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Extracellular fatty acid synthase: a possible surrogate biomarker of insulin resistance.
Diabetes
PUBLISHED: 03-18-2010
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Circulating fatty acid synthase (FASN) is a biomarker of metabolically demanding human diseases. The aim of this study was to determine whether circulating FASN could be a biomarker of overnutrition-induced metabolic stress and insulin resistance in common metabolic disorders.
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Metformin and cancer: doses, mechanisms and the dandelion and hormetic phenomena.
Cell Cycle
PUBLISHED: 03-15-2010
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In the early 1970s, Professor Vladimir Dilman originally developed the idea that antidiabetic biguanides may be promising as geroprotectors and anticancer drugs ("metabolic rehabilitation").  In the early 2000s, Anisimov´s experiments revealed that chronic treatment of female transgenic HER2-/neu mice with metformin significantly reduced the incidence and size of mammary adenocarcinomas and increased the mean latency of the tumors.  Epidemiological studies have confirmed that metformin, but not other anti-diabetic drugs, significantly reduces cancer incidence and improves cancer patients survival in type 2 diabetics.  At present, pioneer work by Dilman & Anisimov at the Petrov Institute of Oncology (St. Petersburg, Russia) is rapidly evolving due to ever-growing preclinical studies using human tumor-derived cultured cancer cells and animal models. We herein critically review how the antidiabetic drug metformin is getting reset to metabolically fight cancer. Our current perception is that metformin may constitute a novel "hybrid anti-cancer pill" physically combining both the long-lasting effects of antibodies -by persistently lowering levels of blood insulin and glucose- and the immediate potency of a cancer cell-targeting molecular agent -by suppressing the pivotal AMPK/mTOR/S6K1 axis and several protein kinases at once, including tyrosine kinase receptors such as HER1 and HER2-.  In this scenario, we discuss the relevance of metformin doses in pre-clinical models regarding metformins mechanisms of action in clinical settings. We examine recent landmark studies demonstrating metformins ability to specifically target the cancer-initiating stem cells from which tumor cells develop, thereby preventing cancer relapse when used in combination with cytotoxic chemotherapy (dandelion hypothesis).  We present the notion that, by acting as an efficient caloric restriction mimetic, metformin enhanced intrinsic capacity of mitotically competent cells to self-maintenance and repair (hormesis) might trigger counterintuitive detrimental effects. Ongoing chemopreventive, neoadjuvant and adjuvant trials should definitely establish whether metformins ability to kill the "dandelion root" beneath the "cancer soil" likely exceeds metformin-related dangers of hormesis.
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Serum HER-2 concentration is associated with insulin resistance and decreases after weight loss.
Nutr Metab (Lond)
PUBLISHED: 02-25-2010
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HER2/neu is a member of the epidermal growth factor receptor family easily detectable in the serum of cancer patients. We aimed to evaluate circulating HER-2 concentrations in association with insulin resistance in healthy and obese subjects.
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Qualitative screening of phenolic compounds in olive leaf extracts by hyphenated liquid chromatography and preliminary evaluation of cytotoxic activity against human breast cancer cells.
Anal Bioanal Chem
PUBLISHED: 02-19-2010
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In this work, high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) coupled to electrospray time-of-flight mass spectrometry (ESI-TOF-MS) and electrospray ion trap multiple-stage tandem mass spectrometry (ESI-IT-MS(2)) has been applied to screen phenolic compounds in olive leaf extracts. The use of a small particle size C18 column (1.8 micro) provided great resolution and made separation of a lot of isomers possible. The structural characterization was based on accurate mass data obtained by ESI-TOF-MS, and the nature of fragmentation ions were further confirmed by ESI-IT-MS(2) when possible. In addition, we employed tetrazolium salt (MTT)-based assays to assess the effects of olive leaf extracts on the growth of human tumor-derived cells. Upon this approach, we achieved an accurate profile of olive leaf phenolics along with the identification of several important isomers of secoiridoids and flavonoids. This will allow a better understanding of the complete composition of olive-leaf-bioactive compounds as well as their involvement in Olea europaea L. biochemical pathways. Importantly, olive leaf extracts exhibited dose-dependent inhibitory effects on the metabolic status (cell viability) of three breast cancer models in vitro. Since the tumoricidal activity of the extracts should be mainly attributed to the identified olive leaf phenolics, these findings warrant further investigation at the structure-function molecular level to definitely establish the anticancer value of these phytochemicals.
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AMPK: Evidence for an energy-sensing cytokinetic tumor suppressor.
Cell Cycle
PUBLISHED: 11-24-2009
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The AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) system, an evolutionary conserved low-energy checkpoint, functions as a canonical suppressor of cell proliferation. Proliferating cells, however, should also ensure a proper spatio-temporal bond between AMPK-sensed cells metabolic status and cell division. A crucial linkage between cell proliferation and AMPK-interpreted cell bioenergetics appears to take place during the M-phase of the cell cycle. A recent description of a physical interplay between the active form the alpha-catalytic AMPK subunit with essential mitotic regulators in the centrosome and midbody has provided direct evidence that tumor-suppressive properties for AMPK closely relate to its ability to exquisitely coordinate sensing of energy resources and the fundamental biological process of genome division during mitosis and cytokinesis. Based on recent findings in our laboratory observing abortive cytokinesis followed by nuclear shape reorganization, mitotic catastrophe, polyploidization events, and cell giantism in p53-null cancer cells pharmacologically manipulated to exhibit sustained activation of AMPK, we now propose that AMPK is a novel and biologically significant participant with a tumor suppressive activity in the mitotic/cytokinetic phase of the cell cycle. In this scenario, molecular co-evolution of the energy-sensing cytokinetic tumor suppressor AMPK within the chronic biophysical constraints of the tumor microenvironment may inherently promote a continuous generation of structural and numerical changes in chromosomes favoring generation of nascent tumor cells and/or tumor-initiating cells over tumor cell death.
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Tentative characterization of novel phenolic compounds in extra virgin olive oils by rapid-resolution liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry.
J. Agric. Food Chem.
PUBLISHED: 11-11-2009
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Rapid-resolution liquid chromatography (RRLC) coupled with electrospray time-of-flight mass spectrometry (ESI-TOF-MS) and electrospray ion-trap multiple mass spectrometry (ESI-IT-MS(n)) has been applied to separate and characterize the phenolic compounds in five Spanish extra virgin olive oils. The phenolic compounds were characterized on the basis of accurate mass data according to studies by TOF-MS, and the fragmentation ions were further confirmed by IT-MS(n) whenever possible. Eight compounds, hydroxytyrosol (m/z 153), tyrosol (m/z 137), deacetoxy oleuropein aglycon (m/z 319), luteolin (m/z 285), pinoresinol (m/z 357), acetoxypinoresinol (m/z 415), apigenin (m/z 269), and deacetoxy ligstroside aglycon (m/z 303), all normally found in olive oil, were characterized in all five samples. Nevertheless, 30 uncommon phenolic compounds, including 10 ligstroside aglycon isomers (m/z 361) and two methyl oleuropein aglycon isomers (m/z 391), were also characterized in some of the five samples, and their fragmentation pathways were successfully elucidated.
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Fatty acid synthase activity regulates HER2 extracellular domain shedding into the circulation of HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer patients.
Int. J. Oncol.
PUBLISHED: 11-04-2009
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Clinicopathological assessment of the functional relationship between the HER2 oncogene and tumor-associated fatty acid synthase (FASN) is largely precluded because immunohistochemical and/or mRNA studies should be performed in biopsies from breast cancer patients. We here sought to determine whether serum FASN (sFASN) could associate with circulating HER2 extracellular domain (HER2 ECD) in the blood of metastatic breast cancer (MBC) patients. Concentrations of serum FASN and HER2 ECD were measured with ELISA in sera retrospectively obtained from 201 patients with metastatic breast cancer (MBC) and 31 healthy subjects. Mechanistical in vitro studies were performed using pharmacological inhibitors of HER2 and FASN as well as cultured cancer cells engineered to overexpress HER2 and FASN human genes. When the upper limit of normal sFASN was defined as the mean + 2SD of the control group, sFASN was elevated above this cut-off (12 ng/ml) in 70 MBC patients (35%). Eighty-nine MBC patients (44%) had elevated levels of HER2 ECD (HER2 ECD cut-off = 15 ng/ml). HER2 ECD-positive MBC patients slightly increased their sFASN levels compared with HER2 ECD-negative MBC patients. sFASN-positive MBC patients had significantly increased levels of HER2 ECD when compared with sFASN-negative MBC patients (mean HER2 ECD=34 ng/ml, 95% CI 26-41 ng/ml and 18 ng/ml -95% CI 15-21 ng/ml, respectively; p=0.002). Sixty percent of sFASN-positive patients concurrently exhibited high levels of HER2 ECD whereas 64% of sFASN-negative patients were negative for circulating HER2 ECD. In vitro studies revealed that BC cells bearing HER2 gene-amplification released higher levels of extracellular FASN than HER2-negative BC cells. Trastuzumab-induced blockade of HER2 ECD shedding failed to prevent FASN release and retrovirally-induced HER2 overexpression in MCF-7 cells did not increase extracellular FASN. Of note, pharmacological inhibition of FASN activity significantly decreased HER2 ECD levels in the supernatant of HER2-overexpressing BC cells while transient overexpression of FASN gene in HBL100 cells promoted FASN protein release and concomitantly increased HER2 ECD shedding into the extracellular milieu. Subsequent studies should explore if quantitative determination of FASN molecules in blood could become a rapid and accurate non-invasive test to monitor disease progression and survival in HER2-overexpressing MBC undergoing HER2-targeted therapies.
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Direct characterization of aqueous extract of Hibiscus sabdariffa using HPLC with diode array detection coupled to ESI and ion trap MS.
J Sep Sci
PUBLISHED: 09-15-2009
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The phenolic fraction and other polar compounds of the Hibiscus sabdariffa were separated and identified by HPLC with diode array detection coupled to electrospray TOF and IT tandem MS (DAD-HPLC-ESI-TOF-MS and IT-MS). The H. sabdariffa aqueous extract was filtered and directly injected into the LC system. The analysis of the compounds was carried out by RP HPLC coupled to DAD and TOF-MS in order to obtain molecular formula and exact mass. Posterior analyses with IT-MS were performed and the fragmentation pattern and confirmation of the structures were achieved. The H. sabdariffa samples were successfully analyzed in positive and negative ionization modes with two optimized linear gradients. In positive mode, the two most representative anthocyanins and other compounds were identified whereas the phenolic fraction, hydroxycitric acid and its lactone were identified using the negative ionization mode.
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Serum concentrations of extracellular fatty acid synthase in patients with steatohepatitis.
Clin. Chem. Lab. Med.
PUBLISHED: 09-05-2009
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Fatty acid synthase (FASN) is an enzyme synthesized by the liver and plays an important role in lipogenesis. The present study aimed to assess whether serum FASN concentrations are altered in patients with chronic liver disease, and to investigate whether its measurement may be a useful tool in the clinical evaluation of this derangement.
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The active form of the metabolic sensor: AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) directly binds the mitotic apparatus and travels from centrosomes to the spindle midzone during mitosis and cytokinesis.
Cell Cycle
PUBLISHED: 08-21-2009
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The metabolic rheostat AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is unexpectedly required for proper cell division and faithful chromosomal segregation during mitosis. Although it is conceptually attractive to assume that AMPK-interpreted microenvironmental bioenergetics may strictly engage cells energy status, cell grow, and cell division to avoid that energy stresses trigger cell death, the ultimate framework of AMPK activity towards chromosomal and cytoskeletal mitotic regulation is a question that remains unanswered. We herein reveal that the active form of the alpha-catalytic AMPK subunit (P-AMPKalpha(Thr172))-but not its total form (AMPKalpha)-transiently associates with several mitotic structures including centrosomes, spindle poles, the central spindle midzone and the midbody throughout all of the mitotic stages and cytokinesis in human cancer-derived epithelial cells. At prophase, P-AMPKalpha(Thr172) associates with the two asters of microtubules that begin to nucleate from mature centrosomes. The overlapping localization of P-AMPKalpha(Thr172) with the mitotic centrosomal Aurora-A kinase is also apparent on the microtubules near the spindle poles in metaphase and in early anaphase. This Aurora A-like centrosomal localization of P-AMPKalpha(Thr172) cannot be detected following chromatid separation following anaphase-telophase transition. Rather, toward the end of anaphase and in telophase P-AMPKalpha(Thr172) reactivity exhibited a similar but not identical localization to that occupied by the bona fide chromosomal passenger proteins INCENCP and Aurora-B. This localization of P-AMPKalpha(Thr172) at the central spindle and midbody persisted during the furrowing process and, at the completion of telophase, staining of P-AMPKalpha(Thr172) as doublet was apparent on either side of the midbody within the intercellular cytokinetic bridge. An identical mitotic geography of P-AMPKalpha(Thr172) was observed in cancer cells lacking the AMPK kinase LKB1, in non-cancerous human epithelial cells, and in mouse fibroblasts. The active form of AMPKalpha bound to the mitotic apparatus may physically tether the bioenergetic state of a cell to the four-dimensional regulation of the chromosomal and cytoskeletal mitotic events, thus suggesting a putative cytokinetic suppressor function. In this newly discovered scenario, we suggest a primordial mitotic role for the alpha catalytic AMPK subunit in the eukaryotic evolutionary process as it may ensure, at the cell level, an exquisite coordination between sensing of energy resources and the fundamental biological process of genome division.
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