[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Protein kinase C ε (PKC ε ) signals through RhoA to modulate cell invasion and motility. In this study, the multifaceted interaction between PKC ε and RhoA was defined. Phosphopeptide mapping revealed that PKC ε phosphorylates RhoA at T127 and S188. Recombinant PKC ε bound to recombinant RhoA in the absence of ATP indicating that the association between PKC ε and RhoA does not require an active ATP-docked PKC ε conformation. Activation of PKC ε resulted in a dramatic coordinated translocation of PKC ε and RhoA from the cytoplasm to the cell membrane using time-lapse fluorescence microscopy. Stoichiometric FRET analysis revealed that the molecular interaction between PKC ε and RhoA is a biphasic event, an initial peak at the cytoplasm and a gradual prolonged increase at the cell membrane for the entire time-course (12.5 minutes). These results suggest that the PKC ε -RhoA complex is assembled in the cytoplasm and subsequently recruited to the cell membrane. Kinase inactive (K437R) PKC ε is able to recruit RhoA to the cell membrane indicating that the association between PKC ε and RhoA is proximal to the active catalytic site and perhaps independent of a PKC ε -RhoA phosphorylation event. This work demonstrates, for the first time, that PKC ε phosphorylates and modulates the cell membrane translocation of RhoA.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) detached from both primary and metastatic lesions represent a potential alternative to invasive biopsies as a source of tumor tissue for the detection, characterization and monitoring of cancers. Here we report a simple yet effective strategy for capturing CTCs without using capture antibodies. Our method uniquely utilized the differential adhesion preference of cancer cells to nanorough surfaces when compared to normal blood cells and thus did not depend on their physical size or surface protein expression, a significant advantage as compared to other existing CTC capture techniques.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cancer stem cells (CSCs) have been shown to promote tumorigenesis of many tumor types, including breast, although their relevance to cancer metastasis remains unclear. While subpopulations of CSCs required for metastasis have been identified, to date there are no known molecular regulators of breast CSC (BCSC) metastasis. Here we identify RhoC GTPase as an important regulator of BCSC metastasis, and present evidence suggesting that RhoC also modulates the frequency of BCSCs within a population. Using an orthotopic xenograft model of spontaneous metastasis we discover that RhoC is both necessary and sufficient to promote SUM149 and MCF-10A BCSC metastasis--often independent from primary tumor formation--and can even induce metastasis of non-BCSCs within these cell lines. The relationship between RhoC and BCSCs persists in breast cancer patients, as expression of RhoC and the BCSC marker ALDH1 are highly correlated in clinical specimens. These results suggest new avenues to combating the deadliest cells driving the most lethal stage of breast cancer progression.
PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(7):e40979. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Understanding the molecular alterations that confer cancer cells with motile, metastatic properties is needed to improve patient survival. Here, we report that p38γ motogen-activated protein kinase regulates breast cancer cell motility and metastasis, in part, by controlling expression of the metastasis-associated small GTPase RhoC. This p38γ-RhoC regulatory connection was mediated by a novel mechanism of modulating RhoC ubiquitination. This relationship persisted across multiple cell lines and in clinical breast cancer specimens. Using a computational mechanical model based on the finite element method, we showed that p38γ-mediated cytoskeletal changes are sufficient to control cell motility. This model predicted novel dynamics of leading edge actin protrusions, which were experimentally verified and established to be closely related to cell shape and cytoskeletal morphology. Clinical relevance was supported by evidence that elevated expression of p38γ is associated with lower overall survival of patients with breast cancer. Taken together, our results offer a detailed characterization of how p38γ contributes to breast cancer progression. Herein we present a new mechanics-based analysis of cell motility, and report on the discovery of a leading edge behavior in motile cells to accommodate modified cytoskeletal architecture. In summary, these findings not only identify a novel mechanism for regulating RhoC expression but also advance p38γ as a candidate therapeutic target.
Cancer Research 08/2011; 71(20):6338-49. · 8.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The objective of the present study was to delineate the efficacy of tetrathiomolybdate (TM), a novel antiangiogenic anticancer agent, as a chemopreventative agent.
Nulliparous Her2/neu transgenic mice were treated with water or TM for 180 days and observed for tumor development during treatment and for 180 days after treatment. Mammary gland composition and architecture were also observed following TM treatment of Her2/neu transgenic and normal FVB mice.
At the 1-year follow-up, 86.7% of control and 40% of TM-treated Her2/neu mice had palpable mammary tumors with a median time to tumor development of 234 days (95% confidence interval, 202-279 days) for control and >460 days for TM-treated mice (P < 0.0005, n = 15). The mammary glands from TM-treated Her2/neu and FVB mice showed a blunted epithelial ductal branching system due to a significant decrease in the number of secondary branches and total number of differentiated mammary epithelial cells. Microvessel density in Her2/neu and FVB mammary glands was lowered by 65.6 +/- 6.2% and 50.9 +/- 4.5% (P < 0.005), respectively, following TM therapy, consistent with the antiangiogenic effect of TM. Lastly, TM treatment resulted in a 2-fold increase in the absolute number of aldehyde dehydrogenase-positive mammary stem cells in Her2/neu and FVB mammary glands.
Taken together, these results strongly support that TM is a potent chemopreventative agent as a consequence of hypoplastic remodeling of the mammary gland through modulation of the mammary stem cell compartment.
Clinical Cancer Research 12/2009; 15(23):7441-6. · 7.84 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) is the sixth most frequent cancer worldwide, comprising approximately 50% of all malignancies in some developing nations. Our recent work identified protein kinase Cepsilon (PKCepsilon) as a critical and causative player in establishing an aggressive phenotype in HNSCC. In this study, we investigated the specificity and efficacy of HN1-PKCepsilon, a novel bifunctional cancer cell homing, PKCepsilon inhibitory peptide, as a treatment for HNSCC. HN1-PKCepsilon peptide was designed by merging two separate technologies and synthesized as a capped peptide with two functional modules, HN1 (cancer cell homing) and PKCepsilon (specific PKCepsilon inhibitory), connected by a novel linker module. HN1-PKCepsilon preferentially internalized into UMSCC1 and UMSCC36 cells, two HNSCC cell lines, in comparison with oral epithelial cells: 82.1% positive for UMSCC1 and 86.5% positive for UMSCC36 compared with 1.2% positive for oral epithelial cells. In addition, HN1-PKCepsilon penetrated HNSCC cells in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Consistent with these in vitro observations, systemic injection of HN1-PKCepsilon resulted in selective delivery of HN1-PKCepsilon into UMSCC1 xenografts in nude mice. HN1-PKCepsilon blocked the translocation of active PKCepsilon in UMSCC1 cells, confirming HN1-PKCepsilon as a PKCepsilon inhibitor. HN1-PKCepsilon inhibited cell invasion by 72 +/- 2% (P < 0.001, n = 12) and cell motility by 56 +/- 2% (P < 0.001, n = 5) in UMSCC1 cells. Moreover, in vivo bioluminescence imaging showed that HN1-PKCepsilon significantly (83 +/- 1% inhibition; P < 0.02) retards the growth of UMSCC1 xenografts in nude mice. Our work indicates that the bifunctional HN1-PKCepsilon inhibitory peptide represents a promising novel therapeutic strategy for HNSCC.
Cancer Research 07/2009; 69(14):5829-34. · 8.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Inflammatory breast carcinoma (IBC) is a highly aggressive form of locally advanced breast cancer that has the ability to invade and block the dermal lymphatics of the skin overlying the breast. In a previous series of studies, our laboratory identified overexpression of RhoC GTPase in >90% of IBCs (K. L. van Golen et al., Clin. Cancer Res., 5: 2511-2519, 1999) and defined RhoC as a mammary oncogene involved in conferring the metastatic phenotype (K. L. van Golen et al., Cancer Res., 60: 5832-5838, 2000). RhoC GTPase is involved in cytoskeletal reorganization during cellular motility. Farnesyl transferase inhibitors (FTIs) were previously shown to be effective in modulating tumor growth in Ras-transformed tumor cells. Recently, studies have focused on RhoB as a putative non-Ras target of FTI action. In the present study, we assessed the effect of the FTI L-744,832 on RhoC-overexpressing IBC and RhoC-transfected human mammary epithelial (HME-RhoC) cells. Treatment of the SUM149 IBC cell line and HME-RhoC transfectants with the FTI L-744,832 led to reversion of the RhoC-induced phenotype, manifested by a significant decrease in anchorage-independent growth, motility, and invasion. Although RhoC expression and activation were not affected, RhoB levels were increased by FTI treatment. Transient transfection of geranylgeranylated RhoB (RhoB-GG) into the same cells reproduced the effects of the FTI, thus suggesting that FTI-induced reversion of the RhoC phenotype may be mediated by an increase in RhoB-GG levels. These data provide direct evidence that FTIs may find use in the clinic when directed against RhoC-overexpressing tumors and suggest appropriate biological markers to evaluate during FTI treatment.
Molecular Cancer Therapeutics 06/2002; 1(8):575-83. · 5.60 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Plasma fibronectin-mediated invasion of human DU145 prostate cancer cell line was efficaciously inhibited in a rat tumor model by treatment with Ac-PHSCN-NH(2) peptide. Invasion of DU145 cells was stimulated by the PHSRN sequence of plasma fibronectin. However, PHSCN acts as a competitive inhibitor of PHSRN-mediated invasion. In the current study, we determined whether PHSCN could inhibit the recurrence and metastasis of DU145 tumors after excision of the primary tumor in an athymic nude mouse model. We demonstrated that mice treated thrice weekly with intravenous Ac-PHSCN-NH(2) peptide survived tumor-free for more than 30 weeks post-primary tumor excision, whereas their untreated counterparts succumbed to recurrence and/or metastatic disease in significantly less time. Because of the universal requirement for angiogenesis in solid tumor growth, we tested the efficacy of copper deficiency induced by tetrathiomolybdate (TM) to retard tumor growth in the Dunning prostate cancer model. Significant reduction in size of the primary tumor was observed in mice rendered copper deficient. We sought to reduce tumor growth at the primary and metastatic sites by combining the anti-invasion Ac-PHSCN-NH(2) peptide with TM. Improved survival, fewer metastatic lesions, and excellent tolerability were observed with the combination therapy.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is a distinct and aggressive form of locally advanced breast cancer. IBC is highly angiogenic, invasive, and metastatic at its inception. Previously, we identified specific genetic alterations of IBC that contribute to this highly invasive phenotype. RhoC GTPase was overexpressed in 90% of archival IBC tumor samples, but not in stage-matched, non-IBC tumors. To study the role of RhoC GTPase in contributing to an IBC-like phenotype, we generated stable transfectants of human mammary epithelial cells overexpressing the RhoC gene, and studied the effect of RhoC GTPase overexpression on the modulation of angiogenesis in IBC. Levels of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and interleukin-8 (IL-8) were significantly higher in the conditioned media of the HME-RhoC transfectants than in the untransfected HME and HME-beta-galactosidase control media, similar to the SUM149 IBC cell line. Inhibition of RhoC function by introduction of C3 exotransferase decreased production of angiogenic factors by the HME-RhoC transfectants and the SUM149 IBC cell line, but did not affect the control cells. These data support the conclusion that overexpression of RhoC GTPase is specifically and directly implicated in the control of the production of angiogenic factors by IBC cells.