Vincent Denis

Institut de Recherche en Cancerologie de Montpellier, Montpelhièr, Languedoc-Roussillon, France

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Publications (7)41 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: GFP-tagged proteins are used extensively as biosensors for protein localization and function, but the GFP moiety can interfere with protein properties. An alternative is to indirectly label proteins using intracellular recombinant antibodies (scFvs), but most antibody fragments are insoluble in the reducing environment of the cytosol. From a synthetic hyperstable human scFv library we isolated an anti-tubulin scFv, 2G4, which is soluble in mammalian cells when expressed as a GFP-fusion protein. Here we report the use of this GFP-tagged scFv to label microtubules in fixed and living cells. We found that 2G4-GFP localized uniformly along microtubules and did not disrupt binding of EB1, a protein that binds microtubule ends and serves as a platform for binding by a complex of proteins regulating MT polymerization. TOGp and CLIP-170 also bound microtubule ends in cells expressing 2G4-GFP. Microtubule dynamic instability, measured by tracking 2G4-GFP labeled microtubules, was nearly identical to that measured in cells expressing GFP-α-tubulin. Fluorescence recovery after photobleaching demonstrated that 2G4-GFP turns over rapidly on microtubules, similar to the turnover rates of fluorescently tagged microtubule-associated proteins. These data indicate that 2G4-GFP binds relatively weakly to microtubules, and this conclusion was confirmed in vitro. Purified 2G4 partially co-pelleted with microtubules, but a significant fraction remained in the soluble fraction, while a second anti-tubulin scFv, 2F12, was almost completely co-pelleted with microtubules. In cells, 2G4-GFP localized to most microtubules, but did not co-localize with those composed of detyrosinated α-tubulin, a post-translational modification associated with non-dynamic, more stable microtubules. Immunoblots probing bacterially expressed tubulins confirmed that 2G4 recognized α-tubulin and required tubulin's C-terminal tyrosine residue for binding. Thus, a recombinant antibody with weak affinity for its substrate can be used as a specific intracellular biosensor that can differentiate between unmodified and post-translationally modified forms of a protein.
    PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(3):e59812. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Recently we have shown that the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) MAPK14/p38α is involved in resistance of colon cancer cells to camptothecin-related drugs. Here we further investigated the cellular mechanisms involved in such drug resistance and showed that, in HCT116 human colorectal adenocarcinoma cells in which TP53 was genetically ablated (HCT116-TP53KO), overexpression of constitutively active MAPK14/p38α decreases cell sensitivity to SN-38 (the active metabolite of irinotecan), inhibits cell proliferation and induces survival-autophagy. Since autophagy is known to facilitate cancer cell resistance to chemotherapy and radiation treatment, we then investigated the relationship between MAPK14/p38α, autophagy and resistance to irinotecan. We demonstrated that induction of autophagy by SN38 is dependent on MAPK14/p38α activation. Finally, we showed that inhibition of MAPK14/p38α or autophagy both sensitizes HCT116-TP53KO cells to drug therapy. Our data proved that the two effects are interrelated, since the role of autophagy in drug resistance required the MAPK14/p38α. Our results highlight the existence of a new mechanism of resistance to camptothecin-related drugs: upon SN38 induction, MAPK14/p38α is activated and triggers survival-promoting autophagy to protect tumor cells against the cytotoxic effects of the drug. Colon cancer cells could thus be sensitized to drug therapy by inhibiting either MAPK14/p38 or autophagy.
    Autophagy 07/2012; 8(7). · 12.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Single-chain antibody fragments (scFv) expressed in the cytoplasm of mammalian cells, also called intrabodies, have many applications in functional proteomics. These applications are, however, limited by the aggregation-prone behaviour of many intrabodies. We show here that two scFv with highly homologous sequences and comparable soluble expression levels in Escherichia coli cytoplasm have different behaviours in mammalian cells. When over-expressed, one of the scFv aggregates in the cytoplasm whereas the second one is soluble and active. When expressed at low levels, using a retroviral vector, as a fusion with the green fluorescent protein (GFP) the former does not form aggregates and is degraded, resulting in weakly fluorescent cells, whereas the latter is expressed as a soluble protein, resulting in strongly fluorescent cells. These data suggest that the GFP signal can be used to evaluate the soluble expression of intrabodies in mammalian cells. When applied to a subset of an E.coli-optimised intrabody library, we showed that the population of GFP+ cells contains indeed soluble mammalian intrabodies. Altogether, our data demonstrate that the requirements for soluble intrabody expression are different in E.coli and mammalian cells, and that intrabody libraries can be directly optimised in human cells using a simple GFP-based assay.
    Protein Engineering Design and Selection 12/2011; 24(12):873-81. · 2.59 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Despite recent advances in the treatment of colon cancer, tumor resistance is a frequent cause of chemotherapy failure. To better elucidate the molecular mechanisms involved in resistance to irinotecan (and its active metabolite SN38), we established SN38-resistant clones derived from HCT-116 and SW48 cell lines. These clones show various levels (6- to 60-fold) of resistance to SN-38 and display enhanced levels of activated MAPK p38 as compared with the corresponding parental cells. Because four different isoforms of p38 have been described, we then studied the effect of p38 overexpression or downregulation of each isoform on cell sensivity to SN38 and found that both α and β isoforms are involved in the development of resistance to SN38. In this line, we show that cell treatment with SB202190, which inhibits p38α and p38β, enhanced the cytotoxic activity of SN38. Moreover, p38 inhibition sensitized tumor cells derived from both SN38-sensitive and -resistant HCT116 cells to irinotecan treatment in xenograft models. Finally, we detected less phosphorylated p38 in primary colon cancer of patients sensitive to irinotecan-based treatment, compared with nonresponder patients. This indicates that enhanced level of phosphorylated p38 could predict the absence of clinical response to irinotecan. Altogether, our results show that the p38 MAPK pathway is involved in irinotecan sensitivity and suggest that phosphorylated p38 expression level could be used as a marker of clinical resistance to irinotecan. They further suggest that targeting the p38 pathway may be a potential strategy to overcome resistance to irinotecan-based chemotherapies in colorectal cancer.
    Cancer Research 02/2011; 71(3):1041-9. · 9.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Topoisomerase I (TOP1) is a nuclear enzyme that catalyzes the relaxation of supercoiled DNA during DNA replication and transcription. TOP1 is the molecular target of camptothecin and related drugs such as irinotecan and SN38 (irinotecan's active metabolite). Irinotecan is widely used as an anti-cancer agent in the treatment of metastatic colon cancer. However, its efficacy is often limited by the development of resistance. We previously established several SN38 resistant HCT116-derived clones to study the mechanisms underlying resistance to SN38. Here, we investigated whether resistance to SN38 in these cell lines could be linked to the presence of TOP1 mutations and changes in its expression and activity. Functional analyses were performed on these cell lines challenged with SN38 and we specifically monitored the double strands breaks with γH2AX staining and replication activity with molecular combing. In SN38 resistant HCT116 clones we identified three new TOP1 mutations, which are located in the core subdomain III (p.R621H and p.L617I) and in the linker domain (p.E710G) and are packed together at the interface between these two domains. The presence of these TOP1 mutations in SN38 resistant HCT116 cells did not modify TOP1 expression or intrinsic activity. Conversely, following challenge with SN38, we observed a decrease of TOP1-DNA cleavage complexes and a reduction in double-stranded break formation). In addition, we showed that SN38 resistant HCT116 cells present a strong decrease in the SN38-dependent asymmetry of replication forks that is characteristic of SN38 sensitive HCT116 cells. These results indicate that the TOP1 mutations are involved in the development of SN38 resistance. We hypothesize that p.L617, p.R621 and p.E710 TOP1 residues are important for the functionality of the linker and that mutation of one of these residues is sufficient to alter or modulate its flexibility. Consequently, linker fluctuations could have an impact on SN38 binding by reducing the enzyme affinity for the drug.
    Molecular Cancer 01/2011; 10:64. · 5.13 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Irinotecan is a topoisomerase I inhibitor widely used as an anticancer agent in the treatment of metastatic colon cancer. However, its efficacy is often limited by the development of resistance. We have isolated a colon carcinoma cell line, HCT116-SN6, which displays a 6-fold higher resistance to SN38, the active metabolite of irinotecan. In this paper, we studied the molecular mechanisms that cause resistance to SN38 in the HCT116-SN6 cell line. First, we analyzed proliferation, cell cycle distribution, apoptosis, topoisomerase I expression and activity in SN38-resistant (HCT116-SN6) and sensitive (HCT116-s cells). We showed that the SN38-induced apoptosis and the SN38-activated cell cycle checkpoints leading to G(2)/M cell cycle arrest were similar in both cell lines. Topoisomerase I expression and catalytic activity were also unchanged. Then, we compared mRNA expression profiles in the two cell lines using the Affymetrix Human Genome GeneChip arrays U133A and B. Microarray analysis showed that among the genes, which were differentially expressed in HCT116-s and HCT116-SN6 cells, 27% were related to cell proliferation suggesting that proliferation might be the main target in the development of resistance to SN38. This result correlates with the phenotypic observation of a reduced growth rate in HCT116-SN6 resistant cells. Furthermore, 29% of the overexpressed genes were Interferon Stimulated Genes and we demonstrate that their overexpression is, at least partially, due to endogenous activation of the p38 MAP kinase pathway in SN38 resistant cells. In conclusion, a slower cell proliferation rate may be a major cause of acquired resistance to SN38 via a reduction of cell cycle progression through the S phase which is mandatory for the cytotoxic action of SN38. This lower growth rate could be due to the endogenous activation of p38.
    Cancer biology & therapy 04/2008; 7(6):822-32. · 3.29 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the most common causes of cancer death throughout the world. In this work our aim was to study the role of the phosphoserine aminotransferase PSAT1 in colorectal cancer development. We first observed that PSAT1 is overexpressed in colon tumors. In addition, we showed that after drug treatment, PSAT1 expression level in hepatic metastases increased in non responder and decreased in responder patients. In experiments using human cell lines, we showed that ectopic PSAT1 overexpression in colon carcinoma SW480 cell line resulted in an increase in its growth rate and survival. In addition, SW480-PSAT1 cells presented a higher tumorigenic potential than SW480 control cells in xenografted mice. Moreover, the SW480-PSAT1 cell line was more resistant to oxaliplatin treatment than the non-transfected SW480 cell line. This resistance resulted from a decrease in the apoptotic response and in the mitotic catastrophes induced by the drug treatment. These results show that an enzyme playing a role in the L-serine biosynthesis could be implicated in colon cancer progression and chemoresistance and indicate that PSAT1 represents a new interesting target for CRC therapy.
    Molecular Cancer 02/2008; 7:14. · 5.13 Impact Factor