Tong Wu

Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center New Orleans, New Orleans, Louisiana, United States

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Publications (80)456.09 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Augmenter of liver regeneration (ALR, encoded by GFER) is a widely distributed pleiotropic protein originally identified as a hepatic growth factor. However, little is known about its roles in hepatic physiology and pathology. We created mice with liver-specific deletion of ALR to study its function. We developed mice with liver-specific deletion of ALR (ALR-L-KO) using the albumin-Cre/LoxP system. Liver tissues were collected from ALR-L-KO mice and ALRfloxed/floxed mice (controls) and analyzed by histology, reverse-transcription PCR, immunohistochemistry, electron microscopy, and techniques to measure fibrosis and lipids. Liver tissues from patients with and without advanced liver disease were determined by immunoblot analysis. Two weeks after birth, livers of ALR-L-KO mice contained low levels of ALR and ATP; they had reduced mitochondrial respiratory function and increased oxidative stress, compared with livers from control mice, and had excessive steatosis, and hepatocyte apoptosis. Levels of carbamyl-palmitoyl transferase 1a and ATP synthase subunit ATP5G1 were reduced in livers of ALR-L-KO mice, indicating defects in mitochondrial fatty acid transport and ATP synthesis. Electron microscopy showed mitochondrial swelling with abnormalities in shapes and numbers of cristae. From weeks 2-4 after birth, levels of steatosis and apoptosis decreased in ALR-L-KO mice, whereas numbers of ALR-expressing cells increased, along with ATP levels. However, at weeks 4-8 after birth, livers became inflamed, with hepatocellular necrosis, ductular proliferation, and fibrosis; hepatocellular carcinoma developed by 1 year after birth in nearly 60% of the mice. Hepatic levels of ALR were also low in ob/ob mice and alcohol-fed mice with liver steatosis, compared with controls. Levels of ALR were lower in liver tissues from patients with advanced alcoholic liver disease and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis than in control liver tissues. We developed mice with liver-specific deletion of ALR, and showed that it is required for mitochondrial function and lipid homeostasis in the liver. ALR-L-KO mice provide a useful model for investigating the pathogenesis of steatohepatitis and its complications. Copyright © 2014 AGA Institute. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    Gastroenterology 10/2014; · 12.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: miR-17-92 is an oncogenic miRNA cluster implicated in the development of several cancers; however, it remains unknown whether the miR-17-92 cluster is able to regulate cholangiocarcinogenesis. This study was designed to investigate the biological functions and molecular mechanisms of the miR-17-92 cluster in cholangiocarcinoma. In situ hybridization and quantitative RT-PCR analysis showed that the miR-17-92 cluster is highly expressed in human cholangiocarcinoma cells compared with the nonneoplastic biliary epithelial cells. Forced overexpression of the miR-17-92 cluster or its members, miR-92a and miR-19a, in cultured human cholangiocarcinoma cells enhanced tumor cell proliferation, colony formation, and invasiveness, in vitro. Overexpression of the miR-17-92 cluster or miR-92a also enhanced cholangiocarcinoma growth in vivo in hairless outbred mice with severe combined immunodeficiency (SHO-Prkdc(scid)Hr(hr)). The tumor-suppressor, phosphatase and tensin homolog deleted on chromosome 10 (PTEN), was identified as a bona fide target of both miR-92a and miR-19a in cholangiocarcinoma cells via sequence prediction, 3' untranslated region luciferase activity assay, and Western blot analysis. Accordingly, overexpression of the PTEN open reading frame protein (devoid of 3' untranslated region) prevented miR-92a- or miR-19a-induced cholangiocarcinoma cell growth. Microarray analysis revealed additional targets of the miR-17-92 cluster in human cholangiocarcinoma cells, including APAF-1 and PRDM2. Moreover, we observed that the expression of the miR-17-92 cluster is regulated by IL-6/Stat3, a key oncogenic signaling pathway pivotal in cholangiocarcinogenesis. Taken together, our findings disclose a novel IL-6/Stat3-miR-17-92 cluster-PTEN signaling axis that is crucial for cholangiocarcinogenesis and tumor progression.
    The American journal of pathology. 10/2014; 184(10):2828-39.
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    ABSTRACT: The role of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega3-PUFAs) in cancer prevention has been demonstrated; however, the exact molecular mechanisms underlying the anticancer activity of omega3-PUFAs are not fully understood. Here, we investigated the relationship between the anticancer action of a specific omega3-PUFA docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and the conventional mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) including extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), c-JUN N-terminal kinase (JNK) and p38 whose dysregulation has been implicated in human cancers.
    BMC Cancer 07/2014; 14(1):481. · 3.33 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: miRNAs have recently been implicated in hepatocarcinogenesis, although the actions and mechanisms of individual miRNAs remain incompletely understood. We examined the biological functions and molecular mechanisms of miR-185 in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The expression of miR-185 decreased in human HCC tissues compared with the nonneoplastic liver parenchyma. Quantitative RT-PCR showed a reduction of miR-185 in human HCC cells compared with primary hepatocytes. miR-185 overexpression in human HCC cells inhibited cell proliferation and invasion in vitro and prevented tumor growth in SCID mice. miR-185 overexpression inhibited DNMT1 3' untranslated region luciferase reporter activity in HCC cells; this effect was abolished when the miR-185 binding site was mutated. miR-185 mimic or overexpression decreased the level of DNMT1 protein in HCC cells. These findings establish DNMT1 as a bona fide target of miR-185 in HCC cells. The role of DNMT1 in miR-185-induced inhibition of HCC growth was further supported by the fact that DNMT1 overexpression prevented miR-185-induced inhibition of HCC cell proliferation/invasion. miR-185 mimic or overexpression reduced PTEN promoter DNA methylation and enhanced PTEN expression, leading to the inhibition of Akt phosphorylation; these effects were partially reversed by DNMT1 overexpression. These results provide novel evidence that miR-185 inhibits HCC cell growth by targeting DNMT1, leading to PTEN induction and Akt inhibition. Thus, reactivation or induction of miR-185 may represent a novel therapeutic strategy for HCC treatment.
    The American journal of pathology. 06/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: MicroRNAs (miRs) are a group of small, non-coding RNAs that modulate the translation of genes by binding to specific target sites in the target mRNA. This study investigated the biological function and molecular mechanism of microRNA-21 (miR-21) in human cholangiocarcinoma. In situ hybridization analysis of human cholangiocarcinoma specimens showed increased miR-21 in cholangiocarcinoma tissue compared to the non-cancerous biliary epithelium. Lentiviral transduction of miR-21 enhanced human cholangiocarcinoma cell growth and clonogenic efficiency in vitro, whereas inhibition of miR-21 decreased these parameters. Over-expression of miR-21 also promoted cholangiocarcinoma growth using an in vivo xenograft model system. The NAD+-linked 15-hydroxyprostaglandin dehydrogenase (15-PGDH/HPGD), a key enzyme that converts the pro-tumorigenic prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) to its biologically inactive metabolite, was identified as a direct target of miR-21 in cholangiocarcinoma cells. In parallel, cyclooxygenase-2 (COX2) over-expression and PGE2 treatment increased miR-21 levels and enhanced miR-21 promoter activity in human cholangiocarcinoma cells. Implications: Cholangiocarcinogenesis and tumor progression is regulated by a novel interplay between COX-2/PGE2 and miR-21 signaling which converges at 15-PGDH.
    Molecular Cancer Research 04/2014; · 4.35 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Chronic Hepatitis C Virus (HCV)-infected patients with liver cirrhosis (LC) respond poorly to interferon-alpha (IFN-α) and ribavirin (RBV) combination therapy, but the reason for this is unclear. We previously reported that HCV-infection induces endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and autophagy response that selectively down regulates the type I IFN-α receptor-1 (IFNAR1) and RBV transporters (CNT1 and ENT1), leading to IFN-α/RBV resistance. The goal of this study is to verify whether an increase in ER stress and autophagy response is also associated with the reduced expression of IFNAR1 and RBV transporters in chronic HCV-infected patients.
    PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(9):e108616. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Autophagy is a cellular lysosomal degradation mechanism has been implicated in chronic liver diseases and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Association of autophagy defect with the development of human HCC has been shown in transgenic mouse model. Aim We performed this study to verify whether a defect in autophagy would play a role in human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Archival tissue sections of 20 patients with HCC with or without hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection were studied. All slides were immunostained using monoclonal antibodies to p62 and glypican-3 with appropriate positive and negative controls. The expression of p62 and glycican-3 in the HCC and the surrounding non-tumor were semiquantitated. The cytoplasmic staining was graded as negative, weak or strong. Positive p62 staining was found in 20 out of 20 (100%) HCCs and negative staining was observed in 20 out of 20 non-tumor areas and cirrhotic nodules. Positive glypican-3 staining was found in 70% of HCCs and negative staining was seen in all non-tumor areas. An autophagy defect leading to increased expression of p62 and glypican-3 was also seen in the HCC cell line (Huh-7.5), but not in the primary human hepatocytes. Activation of cellular autophagy in Huh-7.5 cells efficiently cleared p62 and glypican-3 expression and inhibition of autophagy induced the expression of p62 and glypican-3. This study shows that p62 is increased in HCC compared to the surrounding non-tumorous liver tissue suggesting that human HCCs are autophagy defective. We provide further evidence that glypican-3 expression in HCC may be also related to defective autophagy. Our study indicates that p62 immunostain may represent a novel marker for HCC.
    Experimental and Molecular Pathology 12/2013; · 2.13 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A stable and persistent Hepatitis C virus (HCV) replication cell culture model was developed to examine clearance of viral replication during long-term treatment using interferon-α (IFN-α), IFN-λ, and ribavirin (RBV). Persistently HCV-infected cell culture exhibited an impaired antiviral response to IFN-α+RBV combination treatment, whereas IFN-λ treatment produced a strong and sustained antiviral response that cleared HCV replication. HCV replication in persistently infected cells induced chronic endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and an autophagy response that selectively down-regulated the functional IFN-α receptor-1 chain of type I, but not type II (IFN-γ) or type III (IFN-λ) IFN receptors. Down-regulation of IFN-α receptor-1 resulted in defective JAK-STAT signaling, impaired STAT phosphorylation, and impaired nuclear translocation of STAT. Furthermore, HCV replication impaired RBV uptake, because of reduced expression of the nucleoside transporters ENT1 and CNT1. Silencing ER stress and the autophagy response using chemical inhibitors or siRNA additively inhibited HCV replication and induced viral clearance by the IFN-α+RBV combination treatment. These results indicate that HCV induces ER stress and that the autophagy response selectively impairs type I (but not type III) IFN signaling, which explains why IFN-λ (but not IFN-α) produced a sustained antiviral response against HCV. The results also indicate that inhibition of ER stress and of the autophagy response overcomes IFN-α+RBV resistance mechanisms associated with HCV infection.
    American Journal Of Pathology 11/2013; · 4.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) induces autophagy-associated apoptotic cell death in wild-type p53 cancer cells via regulation of p53. The present study investigated the effects of DHA on PC3 and DU145 prostate cancer cell lines harboring mutant p53. Results show that, in addition to apoptosis, DHA increased the expression levels of lipidated form LC3B and potently stimulated the autophagic flux, suggesting that DHA induces both autophagy and apoptosis in cancer cells expressing mutant p53. DHA led to the generation of mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS), as shown by the mitochondrial ROS-specific probe mitoSOX. Similarly, pretreatment with the antioxidant N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) markedly inhibited both the autophagy and the apoptosis triggered by DHA, indicating that mitochondrial ROS mediate the cytotoxicity of DHA in mutant p53 cells. Further, DHA reduced the levels of phospho-Akt and phospho-mTOR in a concentration-dependent manner, while NAC almost completely blocked that effect. Collectively, these findings present a novel mechanism of ROS-regulated apoptosis and autophagy that involves Akt-mTOR signaling in prostate cancer cells with mutant p53 exposed to DHA.
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    American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases; 11/2013
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    ABSTRACT: MicroRNA-122 (miR-122), a pivotal liver-specific miRNA, has been implicated in several liver diseases including hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and hepatitis C and B viral infection. This study aimed to explore epigenetic regulation of miR-122 in human HCC cells and to examine the effect of hepatitis C virus (HCV) and hepatitis B virus (HBV). We performed microRNA microarray analysis and identified miR-122 as the most up-regulated miRNA (6-fold) in human HCC cells treated with 5′aza-2′deoxycytidine (5-Aza-CdR, DNA methylation inhibitor) and 4-phenylbutyric acid (PBA, histone deacetylation inhibitor). Real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis verified significant up-regulation of miR-122 by 5′aza and PBA in HCC cells, and to a lesser extent in primary hepatocytes. Peroxisome proliferator activated receptor-gamma (PPARγ) and retinoid X receptor alpha (RXRα) complex was found to be associated with the DR1 and DR2 consensus site in the miR-122 gene promoter which enhanced miR-122 gene transcription. 5-Aza-CdR and PBA treatment increased the association of PPARγ/RXRα, but decreased the association of its corepressors (N-CoR and SMRT), with the miR-122 DR1 and DR2 motifs. The aforementioned DNA-protein complex also contains SUV39H1, an H3K9 histone methyl transferase, which down-regulates miR-122 expression. Conclusions: These findings establish a novel role of the PPARγ binding complex for epigenetic regulation of miR-122 in human HCC cells. Moreover, we show that hepatitis B virus X protein binds PPARγ and inhibits the transcription of miR-122, whereas hepatitis C viral particles exhibited no significant effect; these findings provide mechanistic insight into reduction of miR-122 in patients with HBV but not with HCV infection. (Hepatology 2013;58:1681–1692)
    Hepatology 11/2013; 58(5). · 12.00 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) is a potent lipid mediator that plays a key role in inflammation and carcinogenesis. NAD+-dependent 15-hydroxyprostaglandin dehydrogenase (15-PGDH) catalyzes the oxidation of the 15(S)-hydroxyl group of PGE2, which leads to PGE2 biotransformation. In this study, we showed that the 15-PGDH-derived 15-keto-PGE2 is an endogenous peroxisome proliferator activated receptor-γ (PPAR-γ) ligand that causes PPAR-γ dissociation from Smad2/3, allowing Smad2/3 association with TGFBRI and SARA and subsequent Smad2/3 phosphorylation and transcription activation in human cholangiocarcinoma cells. The 15-PGDH/15-keto-PGE2-induced Smad2/3 phosphorylation resulted in the formation of pSmad2/3, TAp63, p53 ternary complex and their binding to TAp63 promoter, inducing TAp63 auto-transcription. The role of TAp63 in 15-PGDH/15-keto-PGE2-induced inhibition of tumor growth was further supported by the observation that knockdown of TAp63 prevented 15-PGDH-induced inhibition of tumor cell proliferation, colony formation and migration. These findings disclose a novel 15-PGDH-mediated 15-keto-PGE2 signaling cascade that interacts with PPAR-γ, Smad2/3 and TAp63.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 05/2013; · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Recent evidence has suggested an important role of miRNAs in liver biology and diseases, although the implication of miRNAs in cholangiocarcinoma remains to be defined further. This study was designed to examine the biological function and molecular mechanism of miR-101 in cholangiocarcinogenesis and tumor progression. In situ hybridization and quantitative RT-PCR were performed to determine the expression of miR-101 in human cholangiocarcinoma tissues and cell lines. Compared with noncancerous biliary epithelial cells, the expression of miR-101 is decreased in 43.5% of human cholangiocarcinoma specimens and in all three cholangiocarcinoma cell lines used in this study. Forced overexpression of miR-101 significantly inhibited cholangiocarcinoma growth in severe combined immunodeficiency mice. miR-101-overexpressed xenograft tumor tissues showed decreased capillary densities and decreased levels of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2). The VEGF and COX-2 mRNAs were identified as the bona fide targets of miR-101 in cholangiocarcinoma cells by both computational analysis and experimental assays. miR-101 inhibits cholangiocarcinoma angiogenesis by direct targeting of VEGF mRNA 3'untranslated region and by repression of VEGF gene transcription through inhibition of COX-2. This study established a novel tumor-suppressor role of miR-101 in cholangiocarcinoma and it suggests the possibility of targeting miR-101 and related signaling pathways for future therapy.
    American Journal Of Pathology 05/2013; 182(5):1629-39. · 4.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Hedgehog (Hh) signaling plays an important role in embryonic development and in the regulation of a variety of cellular functions. Aberrant activation of Hh signaling has been implicated in several human cancers including hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). In this study we examined the pathobiological functions and molecular mechanisms of Hh signaling pathway in HCC cells. Treatment of cultured human HCC cells (Huh7, Hep3B and HepG2) with the Hh signaling ligand (recombinant Shh) or agonist, SAG and purmorphamine, prevented the induction of autophagy. In contrast, GANT61 (a small molecule inhibitor of Gli1 and Gli2) induced autophagy, as determined by immunobloting for microtubule-associated protein light chain 3 (LC3) and p62, GFP-LC3 puncta, monodansylcadaverine (MDC) staining and transmission electron microscopy. Hh inhibition-induced autophagy was associated with upregulation of Bnip3, as determined by immunoblotting and real-time PCR assay. Knockdown of Bnip3 by RNAi impaired GANT61-induced autophagy. Additionally, Hh inhibition-induced autophagy was associated with Bnip3-mediated displacement of Bcl-2 from Beclin-1, as determined by immunoblotting and immunoprecipitation assays. Furthermore, inhibition of Hh signaling increased HCC cell apoptosis and decreased cell viability, as determined by caspase and WST-1 assays. Pharmacological or genetic inhibition of autophagy by 3-methyladenine (3- MA) or Beclin-1 siRNA partially suppressed GANT61-induced cell apoptosis and cytotoxicity. In a tumor xenograft model using SCID mice inoculated with Huh7 cells, administration of GANT61 inhibited tumor formation and decreased tumor volume; this effect was partially blocked by the autophagy inhibitor, 3-MA. These findings provide novel evidence that hedgehog inhibition induces autophagy through upregulation of Bnip3 and that this mechanism contributes to apoptosis. Therefore, the status of autophagy is a key factor that determines the therapeutic response to Hh-targeted therapies. (HEPATOLOGY 2013.).
    Hepatology 03/2013; · 12.00 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) induces autophagy-associated apoptotic cell death in wild-type p53 cancer cells via regulation of p53. The present study investigated the effects of DHA on PC3 and DU145 prostate cancer cell lines harboring mutant p53. Results show that, in addition to apoptosis, DHA increased the expression levels of lipidated form LC3B and potently stimulated the autophagic flux, suggesting that DHA induces both autophagy and apoptosis in cancer cells expressing mutant p53. DHA led to the generation of mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS), as shown by the mitochondrial ROS-specific probe mitoSOX. Similarly, pretreatment with the antioxidant N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) markedly inhibited both the autophagy and the apoptosis triggered by DHA, indicating that mitochondrial ROS mediate the cytotoxicity of DHA in mutant p53 cells. Further, DHA reduced the levels of phospho-Akt and phospho-mTOR in a concentration-dependent manner, while NAC almost completely blocked that effect. Collectively, these findings present a novel mechanism of ROS-regulated apoptosis and autophagy that involves Akt-mTOR signaling in prostate cancer cells with mutant p53 exposed to DHA.
    BioMed research international. 01/2013; 2013:568671.

Publication Stats

2k Citations
456.09 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2012–2014
    • Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center New Orleans
      New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
  • 2010–2014
    • Tulane University
      • Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
      New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
  • 2013
    • Tongji Hospital
      Wu-han-shih, Hubei, China
  • 2011–2013
    • Chungnam National University
      • Department of Biochemistry
      Seongnam, Gyeonggi, South Korea
    • Jilin University
      Yung-chi, Jilin Sheng, China
  • 2003–2009
    • University of Pittsburgh
      • Department of Pathology
      Pittsburgh, PA, United States
  • 2004
    • University of Maryland, Baltimore
      • Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine
      Baltimore, MD, United States
    • National Institutes of Health
      • Critical Care Medicine Department
      Bethesda, MD, United States