[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: EBV causes B lymphomas and undifferentiated nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). Although the mechanisms by which EBV infects B lymphocytes have been extensively studied, investigation of the mechanisms by which EBV infects nasopharyngeal epithelial cells (NPECs) has only recently been enabled by the successful growth of B lymphoma Mo-MLV insertion region 1 homolog (BMI1)-immortalized NPECs in vitro and the discovery that neuropilin 1 expression positively affects EBV glycoprotein B (gB)-mediated infection and tyrosine kinase activations in enhancing EBV infection of BMI1-immortalized NPECs. We have now found that even though EBV infected NPECs grown as a monolayer at extremely low efficiency (<3%), close to 30% of NPECs grown as sphere-like cells (SLCs) were infected by EBV. We also identified nonmuscle myosin heavy chain IIA (NMHC-IIA) as another NPEC protein important for efficient EBV infection. EBV gH/gL specifically interacted with NMHC-IIA both in vitro and in vivo. NMHC-IIA densely aggregated on the surface of NPEC SLCs and colocalized with EBV. EBV infection of NPEC SLCs was significantly reduced by NMHC-IIA siRNA knock-down. NMHC-IIA antisera also efficiently blocked EBV infection. These data indicate that NMHC-IIA is an important factor for EBV NPEC infection.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 09/2015; 112(35):11036-41. DOI:10.1073/pnas.1513359112 · 9.67 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: NF-κB is a key regulator of inflammatory response and is frequently activated in human cancer including the undifferentiated nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC), which is common in Southern China including Hong Kong. Activation of NF-κB is common in NPC and may contribute to NPC development. The role of NF-κB activation in immortalization of nasopharyngeal epithelial (NPE) cells, which may represent an early event in NPC pathogenesis, is unknown. Examination of NF-κB activation in immortalization of NPE cells is of particularly interest as the site of NPC is often heavily infiltrated with inflammatory cellular components. We found that constitutive activation of NF-κB signaling is a common phenotype in telomerase-immortalized NPE cell lines. Our results suggest that NF-κB activation promotes the growth of telomerase-immortalized NPE cells, and suppression of NF-κB activity inhibits their proliferation. Furthermore, we observed upregulation of c-Myc, IL-6 and Bmi-1 in our immortalized NPE cells. Inhibition of NF-κB downregulated expression of c-Myc, IL-6 and Bmi-1, suggesting that they are downstream events of NF-κB activation in immortalized NPE cells. We further delineated that EGFR/MEK/ERK/IKK/mTORC1 is the key upstream pathway of NF-κB activation in immortalized NPE cells. Elucidation of events underlying immortalization of NPE cells may provide insights into early events in pathogenesis of NPC. The identification of NF-κB activation and elucidation of its activation mechanism in immortalized NPE cells may reveal novel therapeutic targets for treatment and prevention of NPC. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
International Journal of Cancer 09/2015; DOI:10.1002/ijc.29850 · 5.09 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection is closely associated with several human malignancies including nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). The EBV immediate-early protein BZLF1 is the key mediator that switches EBV infection from latent to lytic forms. The lytic form of EBV infection has been implicated in human carcinogenesis but its molecular mechanisms remain unclear. BZLF1 has been shown to be a binding partner of several DNA damage response (DDR) proteins. Its functions in host DDR remain unknown. Thus, we explore the effects of BZLF1 on cellular response to DNA damage in NPC cells. We found that expression of BZLF1 impaired the binding between RNF8 and MDC1 (mediator of DNA damage checkpoint 1), which in turn interfered with the localization of RNF8 and 53BP1 to the DNA damage sites. The RNF8-53BP1 pathway is important for repair of DNA double-strand breaks and DNA damage-induced G2/M checkpoint activation. Our results showed that, by impairing DNA damage repair as well as abrogating G2/M checkpoint, BZLF1 induced genomic instability and rendered cells more sensitive to ionizing radiation. Moreover, the blockage of 53BP1 and RNF8 foci formation was recapitulated in EBV-infected cells. Taken together, our study raises the possibility that, by causing mis-localization of important DDR proteins, BZLF1 may function as a link between lytic EBV infection and impaired DNA damage repair, thus contributing to the carcinogenesis of EBV-associated human epithelial malignancies.Laboratory Investigation advance online publication, 1 June 2015; doi:10.1038/labinvest.2015.69.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is closely associated with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection. EBV episomes are detected in almost all NPC cells. The role of EBV in NPC pathogenesis has long been postulated but remains enigmatic. In contrast to infection of B lymphocytes, EBV infection does not directly transform nasopharyngeal epithelial cells into proliferative clones with malignant potential. EBV infection of normal pharyngeal epithelial cells is predominantly lytic in nature. Genetic alterations in premalignant nasopharyngeal epithelium, in combination with inflammatory stimulation in the nasopharyngeal mucosa, presumably play essential roles in the establishment of a latent EBV infection in infected nasopharyngeal epithelial cells during the early development of NPC. Establishment of latent EBV infection in premalignant nasopharyngeal epithelial cells and expression of latent viral genes, including the BART transcripts and BART-encoded microRNAs, are crucial features of NPC. Expression of EBV genes may drive further malignant transformation of premalignant nasopharyngeal epithelial cells into cancer cells. The difficulties involved in the establishment of NPC cell lines and the progressive loss of EBV epsiomes in NPC cells propagated in culture strongly implicate the contribution of host stromal components to the growth of NPC cells in vivo and maintenance of EBV in infected NPC cells. Defining the growth advantages of EBV-infected NPC cells in vivo will lead to a better understanding of the contribution of EBV infection in NPC pathogenesis, and may lead to the identification of novel therapeutic targets for NPC treatment.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is implicated as an aetiological factor in B lymphomas and nasopharyngeal carcinoma. The mechanisms of cell-free EBV infection of nasopharyngeal epithelial cells remain elusive. EBV glycoprotein B (gB) is the critical fusion protein for infection of both B and epithelial cells, and determines EBV susceptibility of non-B cells. Here we show that neuropilin 1 (NRP1) directly interacts with EBV gB(23-431). Either knockdown of NRP1 or pretreatment of EBV with soluble NRP1 suppresses EBV infection. Upregulation of NRP1 by overexpression or EGF treatment enhances EBV infection. However, NRP2, the homologue of NRP1, impairs EBV infection. EBV enters nasopharyngeal epithelial cells through NRP1-facilitated internalization and fusion, and through macropinocytosis and lipid raft-dependent endocytosis. NRP1 partially mediates EBV-activated EGFR/RAS/ERK signalling, and NRP1-dependent receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) signalling promotes EBV infection. Taken together, NRP1 is identified as an EBV entry factor that cooperatively activates RTK signalling, which subsequently promotes EBV infection in nasopharyngeal epithelial cells.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The TP53-induced glycolysis and apoptosis regulator (TIGAR) is the protein product of the p53 target gene, C12orf5. TIGAR blocks glycolysis and promotes cellular metabolism via the pentose phosphate pathway; it promotes the production of cellular nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH), which leads to enhanced scavenging of intracellular reactive oxygen species, and inhibition of oxidative stress-induced apoptosis in normal cells. Our previous study identified a novel nucleoside analog that inhibited cellular growth and induced apoptosis in nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) cell lines via downregulation of TIGAR expression. Furthermore, the growth inhibitory effects of c-Met tyrosine kinase inhibitors were ameliorated by the overexpression of TIGAR in the NPC cell lines. These results indicate a significant role for TIGAR expression in the survival of NPCs. The present study aimed to further define the function of TIGAR expression in NPC cells. In total, 36 formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded NPC tissue samples were obtained for the immunohistochemical determination of TIGAR expression. The effects of TIGAR expression on cell proliferation, NADPH production and cellular invasiveness were also assessed in NPC cell lines. Overall, TIGAR was overexpressed in 27/36 (75%) of the NPC tissues compared with the adjacent non-cancer epithelial cells. Similarly, TIGAR overexpression was also observed in a panel of six NPC cell lines compared with normal NP460 hTert and Het1A cell lines. TIGAR overexpression led to increased cellular growth, NADPH production and invasiveness of the NPC cell lines, whereas a knockdown of TIGAR expression resulted in significant inhibition of cellular growth and invasiveness. The expression of the two mesenchymal markers, fibronectin and vimentin, was increased by TIGAR overexpression, but reduced following TIGAR-knockdown. The present study revealed that TIGAR overexpression led to increased cellular growth, NADPH production and invasiveness, and the maintenance of a mesenchymal phenotype, in NPC tissues.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Undifferentiated nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is a highly metastatic disease that is consistently associated with the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection. In this study, we have investigated the contribution of lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) signalling to the pathogenesis of NPC. Here we demonstrate two distinct functional roles for LPA in NPC. First, we show that LPA enhances the migration of NPC cells and secondly that it can inhibit the activity of EBV-specific cytotoxic T cells. Focussing on the first of these phenotypes, we show that one of the LPA receptors, LPA receptor 5 (LPAR5), is down-regulated in primary NPC tissues and that this down-regulation promotes the LPA-induced migration of NPC cell lines. Furthermore, we found that EBV infection or ectopic expression of the EBV-encoded LMP2A gene was sufficient to down-regulate LPAR5 in NPC cell lines. Our data point to a central role for EBV in mediating the oncogenic effects of LPA in NPC and identify LPA signalling as a potential therapeutic target in this disease.
The Journal of Pathology 02/2015; 235(3). DOI:10.1002/path.4460 · 7.43 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Increasing appreciation of tumor heterogeneity and the tumor-host interaction has stimulated interest in developing novel therapies that target both tumor cells and tumor microenvironment. Bone marrow derived cells (BMDCs) constitute important components of the tumor microenvironment. In this study, we aim to investigate the significance of VEGFR1- and VEGFR2-expressing non-tumor cells, including BMDCs, in esophageal cancer (EC) progression and in VEGFR1/VEGFR2-targeted therapies. Here we report that VEGFR1 or VEGFR2 blockade can significantly attenuate VEGF-induced Src and Erk signaling, as well as the proliferation and migration of VEGFR1+ and VEGFR2+ bone marrow cells and their pro-invasive effect on cancer cells. Importantly, our in vivo data show for the first time that systemic blockade of VEGFR1+ or VEGFR2+ non-tumor cells with neutralizing antibodies is sufficient to significantly suppress esophageal tumor growth, angiogenesis and metastasis in mice. Moreover, our tissue microarray study of human EC clinical specimens showed the clinicopathological significance of VEGFR1 and VEGFR2 in EC, which suggest that anti-VEGFR1/VEGFR2 therapies may be particularly beneficial for patients with aggressive EC. In conclusion, this study demonstrates the important contributions of VEGFR1+ and VEGFR2+ non-tumor cells in esophageal cancer progression, and substantiates the validity of these receptors as therapeutic targets for this deadly disease.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: CRISPR/Cas9 system is a highly efficient and powerful tool for RNA-guided editing of cellular genome. Whether CRISPR/Cas9 can also cleave the genome of DNA viruses such as Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), which undergo episomal replication in human cells, remains to be established. Here we reported on CRISPR/Cas9-mediated editing of EBV genome in human cells. Two guide RNAs were used to direct a targeted deletion of 558 bp in the promoter region of BART transcript which encodes viral microRNAs. Targeted editing was achieved in several human epithelial cell lines latently infected with EBV, including nasopharyngeal carcinoma C666-1 cells. CRISPR/Cas9-mediated editing of EBV genome was efficient. A recombinant virus with the desired deletion was obtained after puromycin selection of cells expressing Cas9 and guide RNAs. No off-target cleavage was found by deep sequencing. The loss of BART microRNA expression and activity was verified, supporting that the BART promoter is the major promoter of BART RNA. Although CRISPR/Cas9-mediated editing of the multicopy episome of EBV in infected HEK293 cells was mostly incomplete, viruses can be recovered and introduced into other cells at low multiplicity of infection. Recombinant viruses with an edited genome can be further isolated through single-cell sorting. Finally, a DsRed selectable marker was successfully introduced into the EBV genome during the course of CRISPR/Cas9-mediated editing. Taken together, our work provides not only the first genetic evidence that the BART promoter drives the expression of BART transcript, but also a new and efficient method for targeted editing of EBV genome in human cells.
Journal of General Virology 12/2014; 96(Pt_3). DOI:10.1099/jgv.0.000012 · 3.18 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Aims:
Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is a common tumor consistently associated with Epstein-Barr virus infection and prevalent in South China, including Hong Kong, and southeast Asia. Current genomic sequencing studies found only rare mutations in NPC, indicating its critical epigenetic etiology, while no epigenome exists for NPC as yet.
Materials & methods:
We profiled the methylomes of NPC cell lines and primary tumors, together with normal nasopharyngeal epithelial cells, using methylated DNA immunoprecipitation (MeDIP).
We observed extensive, genome-wide methylation of cellular genes. Epigenetic disruption of Wnt, MAPK, TGF-β and Hedgehog signaling pathways was detected. Methylation of Wnt signaling regulators (SFRP1, 2, 4 and 5, DACT2, DKK2 and DKK3) was frequently detected in tumor and nasal swab samples from NPC patients. Functional studies showed that these genes are bona fide tumor-suppressor genes for NPC.
The NPC methylome shows a special high-degree CpG methylation epigenotype, similar to the Epstein-Barr virus-infected gastric cancer, indicating a critical epigenetic etiology for NPC pathogenesis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), a type of oncogenic herpesvirus, is associated with human malignancies. Previous studies have shown that lytic reactivation of EBV in latently infected cells induces an ATM-dependent DNA damage response (DDR). The involvement of ATM activation has been implicated in inducing viral lytic gene transcription to promote lytic reactivation. Its contribution to the formation of a replication compartment during lytic reactivation of EBV remains poorly defined. In this study, the role of ATM in viral DNA replication was investigated in EBV-infected nasopharyngeal epithelial cells. We observed that induction of lytic infection of EBV triggers ATM activation and localization of DDR proteins at the viral replication compartments. Suppression of ATM activity using a small interfering RNA (siRNA) approach or a specific chemical inhibitor profoundly suppressed replication of EBV DNA and production of infectious virions in EBV-infected cells induced to undergo lytic reactivation. We further showed that phosphorylation of Sp1 at the serine-101 residue is essential in promoting the accretion of EBV replication proteins at the replication compartment, which is crucial for replication of viral DNA. Knockdown of Sp1 expression by siRNA effectively suppressed the replication of viral DNA and localization of EBV replication proteins to the replication compartments. Our study supports an important role of ATM activation in lytic reactivation of EBV in epithelial cells, and phosphorylation of Sp1 is an essential process downstream of ATM activation involved in the formation of viral replication compartments. Our study revealed an essential role of the ATM-dependent DDR pathway in lytic reactivation of EBV, suggesting a potential antiviral replication strategy using specific DDR inhibitors.
Journal of Virology 10/2014; 89(1). DOI:10.1128/JVI.01437-14 · 4.44 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Esophageal cancer is the sixth most common cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide. Novel therapeutic intervention is urgently needed for this deadly disease. The functional role of PI3K/AKT pathway in esophageal cancer is little known. In this study, our results from 49 pairs of human esophageal tumor and normal specimens demonstrated that AKT was constitutively active in the majority (75.5%) of esophageal tumors compared with corresponding normal tissues. Inhibition of the PI3K/AKT pathway with specific inhibitors, wortmannin and LY294002, significantly reduced Bcl-xL expression, induced caspase-3-dependent apoptosis, and repressed cell proliferation and tumor growth in vitro and in vivo without obvious toxic effects. Moreover, significantly higher expression level of p-AKT was observed in fluorouracil (5-FU)-resistant esophageal cancer cells. Inactivation of PI3K/AKT pathway markedly increased the sensitivity and even reversed acquired resistance of esophageal cancer cells to chemotherapeutic drugs in vitro. More importantly, the resistance of tumor xenografts derived from esophageal cancer cells with acquired 5-FU resistance to chemotherapeutic drugs was significantly abrogated by wortmannin treatment in animals. In summary, our data support PI3K/AKT as a valid therapeutic target and strongly suggest that PI3K/AKT inhibitors used in conjunction with conventional chemotherapy may be a potentially useful therapeutic strategy in treating esophageal cancer patients.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection is closely associated with undifferentiated nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC), strongly implicating a role for EBV in NPC pathogenesis; conversely, EBV infection is rarely detected in normal nasopharyngeal epithelial tissues. In general, EBV does not show a strong tropism for infecting human epithelial cells, and EBV infection in oropharyngeal epithelial cells is believed to be lytic in nature. To establish lifelong infection in humans, EBV has evolved efficient strategies to infect B cells and hijack their cellular machinery for latent infection. Lytic EBV infection in pharyngeal epithelial cells, though an infrequent event, is believed to be a major source of infectious EBV particles for salivary transmission. The biological events associated with nasopharyngeal epithelial cells are only beginning to be understood with the advancement of EBV infection methods and the availability of nasopharyngeal epithelial cell models for EBV infection studies. EBV infection in human epithelial cells is a highly inefficient process compared to that in B cells, which express the complement receptor type 2 (CR2) to mediate EBV infection. Although receptor(s) on the epithelial cell surface for EBV infection remain(s) to be identified, EBV infection in epithelial cells could be achieved via the interaction of glycoproteins on the viral envelope with surface integrins on epithelial cells, which might trigger membrane fusion to internalize EBV into cells. Normal nasopharyngeal epithelial cells are not permissive for latent EBV infection, and EBV infection in normal nasopharyngeal epithelial cells usually results in growth arrest. However, genetic alterations in premalignant nasopharyngeal epithelial cells, including p16 deletion and cyclin D1 overexpression, could override the growth inhibitory effect of EBV infection to support stable and latent EBV infection in nasopharyngeal epithelial cells. The EBV episome in NPC is clonal in nature, suggesting that NPC develops from a single EBV-infected nasopharyngeal epithelial cell, and the establishment of persistent and latent EBV infection in premalignant nasopharyngeal epithelium may represent an early and critical event for NPC development.
Ai zheng = Aizheng = Chinese journal of cancer 09/2014; 33(11). DOI:10.5732/cjc.014.10169 · 2.16 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The p38 MAPK signal transduction pathway plays an important role in inflammatory and stress responses. MAPKK6 (MKK6), a dual
specificity protein kinase, is a p38 activator. Activation of the MKK6-p38 pathway is kept in check by multiple layers of
regulations, including autoinhibition, dimerization, scaffold proteins, and Lys-63-linked polyubiquitination. However, the
mechanisms underlying deactivation of MKK6-p38, which is crucial for maintaining the magnitude and duration of signal transduction,
are not well understood. Lys-48-linked ubiquitination, which marks substrates for proteasomal degradation, is an important
negative posttranslational regulatory machinery for signal pathway transduction. Here we report that the accumulation of F-box
only protein 31 (FBXO31), a component of Skp1·Cul1·F-box protein E3 ligase, negatively regulated p38 activation in cancer
cells upon genotoxic stresses. Our results show that FBXO31 binds to MKK6 and mediates its Lys-48-linked polyubiquitination
and degradation, thereby functioning as a negative regulator of MKK6-p38 signaling and protecting cells from stress-induced
cell apoptosis. Taken together, our findings uncover a new mechanism of deactivation of MKK6-p38 and substantiate a novel
regulatory role of FBXO31 in stress response.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is a common disease among southern Chinese. The major etiological factors proposed for NPC pathogenesis include genetic susceptibility, environment factors and EBV infection. In the high risk population, genetic susceptibility to NPC has been mapped to the HLA loci and adjacent genes in MHC region on chromosome 6p21. Consumption of preserved food including salted fish has been implicated in its etiology in earlier studies. Its contribution to pathogenesis of NPC remains to be determined. A decreasing trend of NPC incidence was observed in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore in recent years which may be accounted by a change of dietary habits. A comprehensive epidemiological study will help to elucidate the relative importance of various risk factors in the pathogenesis of NPC. Despite the close association of EBV infection with NPC, the etiological role of EBV in NPC pathogenesis remains enigmatic. EBV infection in primary nasopharyngeal epithelial cells is uncommon and difficult to achieve. EBV does not transform primary nasopharyngeal epithelial cells into proliferative clones, which contrasts greatly with the well-documented ability of EBV to transform and immortalize primary B cells. Genetic alterations identified in premalignant nasopharyngeal epithelium may play crucial roles to support stable EBV infection. Subsequently, latent and lytic EBV gene products may drive clonal expansion and transformation of premalignant nasopharyngeal epithelial cells into cancer cells. Stromal inflammation in nasopharyngeal mucosa is believed to play an important role in modulating the growth and possibly drive the malignant transformation of EBV-infected nasopharyngeal epithelial cells. Furthermore, there are increasing evidences supporting a role of EBV infection to evade host immune surveillance. EBV-infected cells may have selective growth advantages in vivo by acquiring a stress–resistance phenotype. Understanding the etiological factors and pathogenesis of NPC will contribute effectively to the prevention and treatment of this disease.