Juha Klefstrom

University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Southern Finland Province, Finland

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Publications (9)83.1 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Checkpoint kinase Chk1 is constitutively active in many cancer cell types and new generation Chk1 inhibitors show marked antitumor activity as single agents. Here we present a hitherto unrecognized mechanism that contributes to the response of cancer cells to Chk1 targeted therapy. Inhibiting chronic Chk1 activity in cancer cells induced the tumor suppressor activity of protein phosphatase PP2A, which by dephosphorylating MYC serine 62, inhibited MYC activity and impaired cancer cell survival. Mechanistic investigations revealed that Chk1 inhibition activated PP2A by decreasing the transcription of CIP2A, a chief inhibitor of PP2A activity. Inhibition of cancer cell clonogenicity by Chk1 inhibition could be rescued in vitro either by exogenous expression of CIP2A or by blocking the CIP2A-regulated PP2A complex. Chk1-mediated CIP2A regulation was extended in tumor models dependent on either Chk1 or CIP2A. The clinical relevance of CIP2A as a Chk1 effector protein was validated in several human cancer types, including neuroblastoma where CIP2A was identified as a NMYC-independent prognostic factor. Since the Chk1-CIP2A-PP2A pathway is driven by DNA-PK activity, functioning regardless of p53 or ATM/ATR status, our results offer explanative power for understand how Chk1 inhibitors mediate single-agent anticancer efficacy. Further, they define CIP2A-PP2A status in cancer cells as a pharmacodynamic marker for their response to Chk1-targeted therapy.
    Cancer Research 09/2013; · 8.65 Impact Factor
  • Johanna I Partanen, Juha Klefstrom
    Cancer Research 02/2012; 72(4):1035; author reply 1036. · 8.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Epithelial architecture is formed in tissues and organs when groups of epithelial cells are organized into polarized structures. The epithelial function and integrity as well as signaling across the epithelial layer is orchestrated by apical junctional complexes (AJCs), which are landmarks for PAR/CRUMBS and lateral SCRIB polarity modules and by dynamic interactions of the cells with underlying basement membrane (BM). These highly organized epithelial architectures are demolished in cancer. In all advanced epithelial cancers, malignant cells have lost polarity and connections to the basement membrane and they have become proliferative, motile, and invasive. Clearly, loss of epithelial integrity associates with tumor progression but does it contribute to tumor development? Evidence from studies in Drosophila and recently also in vertebrate models have suggested that even the oncogene-driven enforced cell proliferation can be conditional, dependant on the influence of cell-cell or cell-microenvironment contacts. Therefore, loss of epithelial integrity may not only be an obligate consequence of unscheduled proliferation of malignant cells but instead, malignant epithelial cells may need to acquire capacity to break free from the constraints of integrity to freely and autonomously proliferate. We discuss how epithelial polarity complexes form and regulate epithelial integrity, highlighting the roles of enzymes Rho GTPases, aPKCs, PI3K, and type II transmembrane serine proteases (TTSPs). We also discuss relevance of these pathways to cancer in light of genetic alterations found in human cancers and review molecular pathways and potential pharmacological strategies to revert or selectively eradicate disorganized tumor epithelium.
    Advances in Cancer Research 01/2011; 111:97-161. · 6.35 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Machiavelli wrote, in his famous political treatise Il Principe, about disrupting organization by planting seeds of dissension or by eliminating necessary support elements. Tumor cells do exactly that by disrupting the organized architecture of epithelial cell layers during progression from contained benign tumor to full-blown invasive cancer. However, it is still unclear whether tumor cells primarily break free by activating oncogenes powerful enough to cause chaos or by eliminating tumor suppressor genes guarding the order of the epithelial organization. Studies in Drosophila have exposed genes that encode key regulators of the epithelial apicobasal polarity and which, upon inactivation, cause disorganization of the epithelial layers and promote unscheduled cell proliferation. These polarity regulator/tumor suppressor proteins, which include products of neoplastic tumor suppressor genes (nTSGs), are carefully positioned in polarized epithelial cells to maintain the order of epithelial structures and to impose a restraint on cell proliferation. In this review, we have explored the presence and prevalence of somatic mutations in the human counterparts of Drosophila polarity regulator/tumor suppressor genes across the human cancers. The screen points out LKB1, which is a causal genetic lesion in Peutz-Jeghers cancer syndrome, a gene mutated in certain sporadic cancers and a human homologue of the fly polarity gene par-4. We review the evidence linking Lkb1 protein to polarity regulation in the scope of our recent results suggesting a coupled role for Lkb1 as an architect of organized acinar structures and a suppressor of oncogenic c-Myc. We finally present models to explain how Lkb1-dependent formation of epithelial architecture is coupled to suppression of normal and oncogene-induced proliferation.
    Cell cycle (Georgetown, Tex.) 04/2009; 8(5):716-24. · 5.24 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: TRAIL ligand induces selectively apoptosis in tumor cells by binding to two death receptors (DR4 and DR5) and holds promise as a potential therapeutic agent against cancer. While it has been known for long time that TRAIL receptors are commonly expressed in wide variety of normal tissues, it is not well understood why TRAIL kills tumor cells but leaves normal cells unharmed. The prototypic oncogene c-Myc promotes the cell cycle and simultaneously primes activation of the Bcl-2 family controlled mitochondria apoptosis pathway. A striking reflection of the c-Myc-dependent apoptotic sensitization is the dramatic c-Myc-induced vulnerability of cells to TRAIL and other death receptor ligands. Here we summarize the recent findings regarding the death mechanisms of TRAIL/TRAIL receptor system and the connection of c-Myc to the mitochondrial apoptosis pathway, focusing on our work that couples c-Myc via Bak to the TRAIL death receptor pathway. Finally, we present a mitochondria-priming model to explain how c-Myc-Bak interaction amplifies the TRAIL-induced caspase 8-Bid pathway to induce full-blown apoptosis. We discuss the implications of these findings for understanding the selective cytotoxicity of TRAIL and for the therapeutic exploitation of the death receptor pathway.
    Cell cycle (Georgetown, Tex.) 11/2007; 6(20):2464-72. · 5.24 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cellular organization into epithelial architecture maintains structural integrity and homeostasis by suppressing cell proliferation and apoptosis. However, it is unclear whether the epithelial organization is sufficient to block induction of cell-autonomous cell cycle progression and apoptotic sensitivity by activated oncogenes. We show that chronic activation of oncogenic c-Myc, starting in the developing 3D organotypic mammary acinar structures, results in hyperproliferation and transformed acinar morphology. Surprisingly, acute c-Myc activation in mature quiescent acini with established epithelial architecture fails to reinitiate the cell cycle or transform these structures. c-Myc does reinitiate the cell cycle in quiescent, but structurally unorganized, acini, which demonstrates that proper epithelial architecture is needed for the proliferation blockade. The capability of c-Myc to reinitiate the cell cycle in acinar structures is also restored by the loss of LKB1, a human homologue of the cell polarity protein PAR4. The epithelial architecture also restrains the apoptotic activity of c-Myc, but coactivation of c-Myc and a complementary TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand death receptor pathway can induce a strong Bim and Bid-mediated apoptotic response in the established acini. The results together expose surprising proliferation and apoptosis resistance of organized epithelial structures and identify a role for the polarity regulator LKB1 in the development of c-Myc-resistant cell organization.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 10/2007; 104(37):14694-9. · 9.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Oncogenic c-Myc renders cells sensitive to TRAIL-induced apoptosis, and existing data suggest that c-Myc sensitizes cells to apoptosis by promoting activation of the mitochondrial apoptosis pathway. However, the molecular mechanisms linking the mitochondrial effects of c-Myc to the c-Myc-dependent sensitization to TRAIL have remained unresolved. Here, we show that TRAIL induces a weak activation of procaspase-8 but fails to activate mitochondrial proapoptotic effectors Bax and Bak, cytochrome c release or downstream effector caspase-3 in non-transformed human fibroblasts or mammary epithelial cells. Our data is consistent with the model that activation of oncogenic c-Myc primes mitochondria through a mechanism involving activation of Bak and this priming enables weak TRAIL-induced caspase-8 signals to activate Bax. This results in cytochrome c release, activation of downstream caspases and postmitochondrial death-inducing signaling complex -independent augmentation of caspase-8-Bid activity. In conclusion, c-Myc-dependent priming of the mitochondrial pathway is critical for the capacity of TRAIL-induced caspase-8 signals to activate effector caspases and for the establishment of lethal caspase feedback amplification loop in human cells.
    The EMBO Journal 03/2007; 26(4):1055-67. · 9.82 Impact Factor
  • Juha Klefstrom, Emmy W Verschuren, Gerard Evan
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    ABSTRACT: Activation of c-Myc sensitizes cells to apoptosis induction by ligand-activated death receptors. Such sensitization to death receptors by oncogenes may well be the mechanism underlying tumor cell sensitivity to tumor necrosis factor (TNF) or TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL). The mechanism by which this c-Myc-induced sensitization occurs is unclear but could involve modulation of expression of death receptors or their ligands or potentiation of the sensitivity of mitochondria to release pro-apoptotic effectors such as holocytochrome c. Here, we show that ectopic expression of the death receptor signaling protein RIP (receptor-interactive protein) triggers apoptosis via a FAS-associated death domain protein (FADD) and caspase 8-dependent pathway. Induction of apoptosis by this intracellular activation of the death receptor signaling pathway is significantly augmented by c-Myc expression. Moreover, c-Myc expression strongly promotes the potential of RIP to induce cytochrome c release from mitochondria. This implicates the mitochondrial apoptotic pathway in this synergy, a notion confirmed by the inability of c-Myc to sensitize to RIP killing in cells lacking the obligate mitochondrial apoptotic effectors Bax and Bak. We conclude that the lethality of the RIP-activated cytosolic caspase 8 pathway is augmented by c-Myc priming mitochondria to release cytochrome c. This places the intersection of apoptotic synergy between c-Myc and death receptor signaling downstream of the death receptors.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 12/2002; 277(45):43224-32. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Expression of the Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) cyclin D homolog, K cyclin, is thought to contribute to viral oncogenesis. We show that K cyclin expression in primary cells sensitizes to apoptosis and induces growth arrest, both of which are dependent on p53 but independent of E2F1 or p19(ARF). DNA synthesis, but not cytokinesis, continues in K cyclin-expressing cells, leading to multinucleation and polyploidy. Such polyploid cells exhibit pronounced centrosome amplification and consequent aneuploidy. Our data suggest that K cyclin expression leads to cytokinesis defects and polyploidy, which activates p53. However, in the absence of p53, such cells survive and expand as an aneuploid population. Corroborating these findings, in vivo Emu; K cyclin expression cooperates with p53 loss in the induction of lymphomas.
    Cancer Cell 10/2002; 2(3):229-41. · 24.76 Impact Factor