Yun Qiu

University of Maryland, Baltimore, Baltimore, MD, United States

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Publications (26)174.36 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Deregulation of androgen receptor (AR) splice variants have been implicated to play a role in prostate cancer development and progression. To understand their functions in prostate, we established a transgenic mouse model (AR3Tg) with targeted expression of the constitutively active and androgen-independent AR splice variant AR3 (a.k.a. AR-V7) in prostate epithelium. We found that over-expression of AR3 modulates expression of a number of tumor-promoting autocrine/ paracrine growth factors (including Tgfβ2 and Igf1) and expands prostatic progenitor cell population, leading to development of prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia. In addition, we showed that some epithelial-mesenchymal-transition (EMT) associated genes are upregulated in AR3Tg prostates, suggesting that AR3 may antagonize AR activity and halt differentiation process driven by AR and androgen. This notion is supported by our observations that the number of ck5+/ck8+ intermediate cells is increased in AR3Tg prostates after castration, and expression of AR3 transgene in these intermediate cells compromises prostate epithelium regeneration upon androgen replacement. Our results demonstrate that AR3 is a driver of prostate cancer, at least in part, through modulating multiple tumor-promoting autocrine/paracrine factors.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 12/2013; · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The type III receptor tyrosine kinase fms-like tyrosine kinase 3 (FLT3) is expressed on both normal hematopoietic stem cells and acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cells and regulates their proliferation. Internal tandem duplication (ITD) mutation of FLT3 is present in a third of AML cases, results in constitutive activation and aberrant signaling of FLT3, and is associated with adverse treatment outcomes. While wild-type (WT) FLT3 is predominantly a 150 kDa complex glycosylated cell surface protein, FLT3-ITD is partially retained in the endoplasmic reticulum as a 130 kDa underglycosylated species associated with the chaperones calnexin and heat shock protein (HSP) 90, and mediates aberrant STAT5 signaling, which upregulates the oncogenic serine/threonine kinase Pim-1. FLT3 contains a Pim-1 substrate consensus serine phosphorylation site, and we hypothesized that it might be a Pim-1 substrate. Pim-1 was indeed found to directly interact with and serine-phosphorylate FLT3. Pim-1 inhibition decreased the expression and half-life of 130 kDa FLT3, with partial abrogation by proteasome inhibition, in association with decreased FLT3 binding to calnexin and HSP90, and increased 150 kDa FLT3 expression and half-life, with abrogation by inhibition of glycosylation. These findings were consistent with Pim-1 stabilizing FLT3-ITD as a 130 kDa species associated with calnexin and HSP90 and inhibiting its glycosylation to form the 150 kDa species. Pim-1 knockdown effects were similar. Pim-1 inhibition also decreased phosphorylation of FLT3 at tyrosine 591 and of STAT5, and expression of Pim-1 itself, consistent with inhibition of the FLT3-ITD-STAT5 signaling pathway. Finally, Pim-1 inhibition synergized with FLT3 inhibition in inducing apoptosis of FLT3-ITD cells. This is, to our knowledge, the first demonstration of a role of Pim-1 in a positive feedback loop promoting aberrant signaling in malignant cells.
    PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(9):e74653. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Androgen receptor (AR) plays a pivotal role in prostate cancer. Regulation of AR transcriptional activity by post-translational modifications, such as phosphorylation by multiple kinases, is well documented. Here, we report that two PIM-1 kinase isoforms which are up-regulated during prostate cancer progression, namely PIM-1S and PIM-1L, modulate AR stability and transcriptional activity through differentially phosphorylating AR at serine 213 (Ser-213) and threonine 850 (Thr-850). Although both kinases are capable of interacting with and phosphorylating AR at Ser-213, only PIM-1L could phosphorylate Thr-850. We also showed that PIM-1S induced Ser-213 phosphorylation destabilizes AR by recruiting the ubiquitin E3 ligase Mdm2 and promotes AR degradation in a cell cycle-dependent manner, while PIM-1L-induced Thr-850 phosphorylation stabilizes AR by recruiting the ubiquitin E3 ligase RNF6 and promotes AR-mediated transcription under low-androgen conditions. Furthermore, both PIM-1 isoforms could promote prostate cancer cell growth under low-androgen conditions. Our data suggest that these kinases regulate AR stability and transcriptional activity through recruitment of different functional partners in a phosphorylation-dependent manner. As AR turnover has been previously shown to be critical for cell cycle progression in prostate cancer cells, PIM-1 kinase isoforms may promote prostate cancer cell growth, at least in part, through modulating AR activity via distinct mechanisms.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 05/2012; 287(27):22959-68. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Progression from the androgen-sensitive to androgen-insensitive (or castration-resistant) stage is the major obstacle for sustained effectiveness of hormonal therapy for prostate cancer. The androgen receptor (AR) and its splice variants play important roles in regulating the transcription program essential for castration resistance. Here, we report the identification of a novel AR splice variant, designated as AR8, which is up-regulated in castration-resistant prostate cancer cells. AR8 is structurally different from other known AR splice variants because it lacks a DNA binding domain and therefore, unlikely functions as a transcription factor on its own. Immunofluorescence staining revealed that AR8 was primarily localized on the plasma membrane, possibly through palmitoylation of two cysteine residues within its unique C-terminal sequence. Mutation of these putative palmitoylation sites in AR8 led to loss of its plasma membrane localization. In addition, we demonstrated that overexpression of AR8 in prostate cancer cells promoted association of Src and AR with the EGF receptor in response to EGF treatment and enhanced tyrosine phosphorylation of AR. Conversely, specific knockdown of AR8 expression in prostate cancer cells compromised EGF-induced Src activation and AR phosphorylation. This effect was accompanied with attenuation of proliferation and increased apoptosis in prostate cancer cells cultured in androgen-depleted medium. We also showed that AR8 was required for optimal transcriptional activity of AR in response to treatment of both androgen and EGF. Taken together, our results demonstrate that the membrane-associated AR8 isoform may contribute to castration resistance by potentiating AR-mediated proliferative and survival responses to hormones and growth factors.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 10/2011; 286(41):36152-36160. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Progression from the androgen-sensitive to androgen-insensitive (or castration-resistant) stage is the major obstacle for sustained effectiveness of hormonal therapy for prostate cancer. The androgen receptor (AR) and its splice variants play important roles in regulating the transcription program essential for castration resistance. Here, we report the identification of a novel AR splice variant, designated as AR8, which is up-regulated in castration-resistant prostate cancer cells. AR8 is structurally different from other known AR splice variants because it lacks a DNA binding domain and therefore, unlikely functions as a transcription factor on its own. Immunofluorescence staining revealed that AR8 was primarily localized on the plasma membrane, possibly through palmitoylation of two cysteine residues within its unique C-terminal sequence. Mutation of these putative palmitoylation sites in AR8 led to loss of its plasma membrane localization. In addition, we demonstrated that overexpression of AR8 in prostate cancer cells promoted association of Src and AR with the EGF receptor in response to EGF treatment and enhanced tyrosine phosphorylation of AR. Conversely, specific knockdown of AR8 expression in prostate cancer cells compromised EGF-induced Src activation and AR phosphorylation. This effect was accompanied with attenuation of proliferation and increased apoptosis in prostate cancer cells cultured in androgen-depleted medium. We also showed that AR8 was required for optimal transcriptional activity of AR in response to treatment of both androgen and EGF. Taken together, our results demonstrate that the membrane-associated AR8 isoform may contribute to castration resistance by potentiating AR-mediated proliferative and survival responses to hormones and growth factors.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 08/2011; 286(41):36152-60. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    Zhiyong Guo, Yun Qiu
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    ABSTRACT: Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related death in American men. Although most prostate cancers are initially androgen-dependent and respond to androgen ablation therapy, majority of them eventually relapse and progress into incurable castration-resistant (or hormone refractory) prostate cancer. The underlying mechanisms are the focus of intensive investigation for development of more effective treatment. Mounting evidence from both clinical and basic research has demonstrated that the activity of the androgen receptor (AR) is still required for castration-resistant prostate cancer. Multiple mechanisms by which AR is re-activated under androgen-depleted conditions may be involved in the development of castration resistance. The recent identification of AR splicing variants may add another layer of complexity in AR biology. The present review summarizes recent progress in study of AR splicing variants in prostate cancer.
    International journal of biological sciences 01/2011; 7(6):815-22. · 3.17 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Deregulation of the non-receptor tyrosine kinase ETK/BMX has been reported in several solid tumors. In this report, we demonstrated that ETK expression is progressively increased during bladder cancer progression. We found that down-regulation of ETK in bladder cancer cells attenuated STAT3 and AKT activity whereas exogenous overexpression of ETK had opposite effects, suggesting that deregulation of ETK may attribute to the elevated activity of STAT3 and AKT frequently detected in bladder cancer. The survival, migration and invasion of bladder cancer cells were significantly compromised when ETK expression was knocked down by a specific shRNA. In addition, we showed that ETK localizes to mitochondria in bladder cancer cells through interacting with Bcl-XL and regulating ROS production and drug sensitivity. Therefore, ETK may play an important role in regulating survival, migration and invasion by modulating multiple signaling pathways in bladder cancer cells. Immunohistochemistry analysis on tissue microarrays containing 619 human bladder tissue samples shows that ETK is significantly upregulated during bladder cancer development and progression and ETK expression level predicts the survival rate of patients with cystectomy. Taken together, our results suggest that ETK may potentially serve as a new drug target for bladder cancer treatment as well as a biomarker which could be used to identify patients with higher mortality risk, who may be benefited from therapeutics targeting ETK activity.
    PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(3):e17778. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Drug resistance remains a clinical challenge in cancer treatment due to poor understanding of underlying mechanisms. We have established several drug-resistant prostate cancer cell lines by long-term culture in medium containing chemotherapeutic drugs. These resistant lines displayed a significant increase in side population cells due to overexpression of drug efflux pumps including ABCG2/BCRP and MDR1/Pgp. To uncover potential mechanisms underlying drug resistance, we performed microarray analysis to identify differentially expressed genes in 2 drug-resistant lines. We observed that POU5F1/OCT4, a transcription factor key to regulating pluripotency in embryonic stem cells, was upregulated in drug-resistant lines and accompanied by transcriptional activation of a set of its known target genes. Upregulation of OCT4 in drug-resistant cells was validated by RT-PCR and sequencing of PCR products as well as confirmation by Western blot and specific shRNA knockdown. Analysis of the regulatory region of POU5F1/OCT4 revealed a reduction of methylation in drug-resistant cell lines. Furthermore, these drug-resistant cells exhibited a significant increase in tumorigenicity in vivo. Subcutaneous inoculation of as few as 10 drug-resistant cells could initiate tumor formation in SCID mice, whereas no detectable tumors were observed from the parental line under similar conditions, suggesting that these drug-resistant cells may be enriched for tumor-initiating cells. Knocking down OCT4 expression by specific shRNAs attenuated growth of drug-resistant cells. Our data suggest that OCT4 re-expression in cancer cells may play an important role in carcinogenesis and provide one possible mechanism by which cancer cells acquire/maintain a drug-resistant phenotype.
    Genes & cancer 09/2010; 1(9):908-16.
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    ABSTRACT: We previously showed that targeted expression of non-receptor tyrosine kinase Etk/BMX in mouse prostate induces prostate intraepithelial neoplasia, implying a possible causal role of Etk in prostate cancer development and progression. Here, we report that Etk is upregulated in both human and mouse prostates in response to androgen ablation. Etk expression seems to be differentially regulated by androgen and interleukin 6 (IL-6), which is possibly mediated by the androgen receptor (AR) in prostate cancer cells. Our immunohistochemical analysis of tissue microarrays containing 112 human prostate tumor samples revealed that Etk expression is elevated in hormone-resistant prostate cancer and positively correlated with tyrosine phosphorylation of AR (Pearson correlation coefficient rho = 0.71, P < 0.0001). AR tyrosine phosphorylation is increased in Etk-overexpressing cells, suggesting that Etk may be another tyrosine kinase, in addition to Src and Ack-1, which can phosphorylate AR. We also showed that Etk can directly interact with AR through its Src homology 2 domain, and such interaction may prevent the association of AR with Mdm2, leading to stabilization of AR under androgen-depleted conditions. Overexpression of Etk in androgen-sensitive LNCaP cells promotes tumor growth while knocking down Etk expression in hormone-insensitive prostate cancer cells by a specific shRNA that inhibits tumor growth under androgen-depleted conditions. Taken together, our data suggest that Etk may be a component of the adaptive compensatory mechanism activated by androgen ablation in prostate and may play a role in hormone resistance, at least in part, through direct modulation of the AR signaling pathway.
    Cancer Research 07/2010; 70(13):5587-96. · 9.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The oncogenic serine/threonine kinase Pim-1 phosphorylates and activates the ATP-binding cassette transporter breast cancer resistance protein (ABCG2). The ABC transporter P-glycoprotein (Pgp; ABCB1) also contains a Pim-1 phosphorylation consensus sequence, and we hypothesized that Pim-1 also regulates Pgp. Pgp is exported from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) as a 150-kDa species that is glycosylated to 170-kDa Pgp, translocates to the cell surface, and mediates drug efflux; alternatively, 150-kDa Pgp is cleaved to a 130-kDa proteolytic product by ER proteases or undergoes ubiquitination and proteasomal degradation. Pim-1 and Pgp interaction was studied in GST pull-down and phosphorylation in in vitro kinase assays. Pim-1 knockdown and inhibition effects on Pgp expression were studied by immunoblotting and flow cytometry and on Pgp stability by immunoblotting after cycloheximide treatment. Pim-1 directly interacted with and phosphorylated Pgp in intact cells and in vitro. Pim-1 knockdown or inhibition decreased cellular and cell surface 170-kDa Pgp, in association with both transient increase in 130-kDa Pgp and increased Pgp ubiquitination and proteasomal degradation. Pim-1 inhibition also decreased expression of 150-kDa Pgp in the presence of the glycosylation inhibitor 2-deoxy-d-glucose. Finally, Pim-1 inhibition sensitized Pgp-overexpressing cells to doxorubicin. Thus, Pim-1 regulates Pgp expression by protecting 150-kDa Pgp from proteolytic and proteasomal degradation and enabling Pgp glycosylation and cell surface translocation and thus Pgp-mediated drug efflux. Pim-1 inhibitors are entering clinical trials and may provide a novel approach to abrogating drug resistance.
    Molecular pharmacology 05/2010; 78(2):310-8. · 4.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The androgen receptor (AR) plays a critical role in prostate cancer. We have identified a ubiquitin E3 ligase, RNF6, as an AR-associated protein in a proteomic screen. RNF6 induces AR ubiquitination and promotes AR transcriptional activity. Specific knockdown of RNF6 or mutation of RNF6-induced ubiquitination acceptor sites on AR selectively alters expression of a subset of AR target genes and diminishes recruitment of AR and its coactivators to androgen-responsive elements present in the regulatory region of these genes. Furthermore, RNF6 is overexpressed in hormone-refractory human prostate cancer tissues and required for prostate cancer cell growth under androgen-depleted conditions. Our data suggest that RNF6-induced ubiquitination may regulate AR transcriptional activity and specificity through modulating cofactor recruitment.
    Cancer cell 05/2009; 15(4):270-82. · 25.29 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The androgen receptor (AR) plays a key role in progression to incurable androgen ablation-resistant prostate cancer (PCA). We have identified three novel AR splice variants lacking the ligand-binding domain (designated as AR3, AR4, and AR5) in hormone-insensitive PCA cells. AR3, one of the major splice variants expressed in human prostate tissues, is constitutively active, and its transcriptional activity is not regulated by androgens or antiandrogens. Immunohistochemistry analysis on tissue microarrays containing 429 human prostate tissue samples shows that AR3 is significantly up-regulated during PCA progression and AR3 expression level is correlated with the risk of tumor recurrence after radical prostatectomy. Overexpression of AR3 confers ablation-independent growth of PCA cells, whereas specific knockdown of AR3 expression (without altering AR level) in hormone-resistant PCA cells attenuates their growth under androgen-depleted conditions in both cell culture and xenograft models, suggesting an indispensable role of AR3 in ablation-independent growth of PCA cells. Furthermore, AR3 may play a distinct, yet essential, role in ablation-independent growth through the regulation of a unique set of genes, including AKT1, which are not regulated by the prototype AR. Our data suggest that aberrant expression of AR splice variants may be a novel mechanism underlying ablation independence during PCA progression, and AR3 may serve as a prognostic marker to predict patient outcome in response to hormonal therapy. Given that these novel AR splice variants are not inhibited by currently available antiandrogen drugs, development of new drugs targeting these AR isoforms may potentially be effective for treatment of ablation-resistant PCA.
    Cancer Research 03/2009; 69(6):2305-13. · 9.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Androgen receptor (AR) is a ligand-dependent transcription factor and its activity is regulated by numerous AR coregulators. Aberrant expression of AR coregulators in prostate cancer cells has an important role in the development and progression of prostate cancer. We report here that CDC25A, a cell cycle-promoting phosphatase over-expressed in a number of cancers, functions as an AR coregulator suppressing the AR transcriptional activity. In this study, we found that CDC25A is upregulated in human prostate cancer and its expression level is positively associated with the Gleason score and disease metastasis. More importantly, we showed that CDC25A can physically interact with AR through its putative catalytic domain. In addition, ectopic expression of CDC25A in prostate cancer cell lines suppresses PSA and Probasin promoter activities significantly, indicating that CDC25A may function as an AR corepressor. This was further confirmed by knockdown of endogenous CDC25A expression using small interfering RNA (siRNA), which resulted in upregulation of PSA promoter activity. Moreover, a truncated mutant that does not interact with AR fails to suppress the PSA promoter activity, indicating that CDC25A downregulates androgen-responsive promoter by physically interacting with AR. Taken together, our results demonstrated a novel function of CDC25A in the regulation of androgen signaling in human prostate cancer cells.
    Journal of Molecular Biology 12/2008; 385(2):446-56. · 3.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We previously showed that the 44-kDa serine/threonine kinase Pim-1 (Pim-1L) can protect prostate cancer cells from apoptosis induced by chemotherapeutic drugs (Xie, Y., Xu, K., Dai, B., Guo, Z., Jiang, T., Chen, H., and Qiu, Y. (2006) Oncogene 25, 70-78). To further explore the mechanisms of Pim-1L-mediated resistance to chemotherapeutic drugs in prostate cancer cells, we employed a yeast two-hybrid screening to identify cellular proteins that were associated with Pim-1L, and we found the ABC transporter BCRP/ABCG2 as one of the potential interacting partners of Pim-1L. We also showed that the expression level of Pim-1L and BCRP was up-regulated in mitoxantrone and docetaxel-resistant prostate cancer cell lines. Pim-1L was co-localized with BCRP on the plasma membrane and induced phosphorylation of BCRP at threonine 362. Knocking-down Pim-1L expression in the drug-resistant prostate cancer cells abolished multimer formation of endogenous BCRP and resensitized the resistant cells to chemotherapeutic drugs suggesting that BCRP phosphorylation induced by Pim-1L was essential for its functionality. This is further corroborated by our finding that the plasma membrane localization and drug-resistant activity of BCRP were compromised by T362A mutation. Our data suggest that Pim-1L may protect prostate cancer cells from apoptosis, at least in part, through regulation of transmembrane drug efflux pump. These findings may provide a potential therapeutic approach by disrupting Pim-1 signaling to reverse BCRP-mediated multidrug resistance.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 03/2008; 283(6):3349-56. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Proline-, glutamic acid-, and leucine-rich protein-1 (PELP1) is a coregulator of multiple nuclear receptors. Molecular mechanisms of PELP1 function are not completely understood, but its expression is up-regulated in hormonal-dependent cancers. Using a yeast two-hybrid screen, we found that four-and-a-half LIM-only protein 2 (FHL2) interacted with PELP1. FHL2 is a transcriptional regulator that associates with nuclear cofactors, including androgen receptors (ARs), and contains an intrinsic activation domain. PELP1 and FHL2 interact in vitro and in vivo and colocalize in the nuclear compartment. PELP1 interacts with FHL2 via LIM domains 3 and 4 and synergistically enhances the transcriptional activity of FHL2. Src kinase is required for PELP1-mediated enhancement of FHL2 functions because knockdown of Src kinase expression or function abolished PELP1-mediated FHL2 activation functions. PELP1 interacted with AR and enhanced FHL2-mediated AR transactivation functions. PELP1 knockdown by small interfering RNA or PELP1 mutant, which lacks an activation domain, reduced FHL2-mediated AR transactivation. Biochemical analyses revealed a complex consisting of PELP1, FHL2, and AR in prostate cancer cells. PELP1/MNAR expression was elevated in high-grade prostate tumors. Our results suggest that PELP1 functions as a molecular adaptor, coupling FHL2 with nuclear receptors, and PELP1-FHL2 interactions may have a role in prostate cancer progression.
    Molecular Endocrinology 04/2007; 21(3):613-24. · 4.75 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The androgen receptor (AR) is essential for the growth of prostate cancer cells. Here, we report that tyrosine phosphorylation of AR is induced by growth factors and elevated in hormone-refractory prostate tumors. Mutation of the major tyrosine phosphorylation site in AR significantly inhibits the growth of prostate cancer cells under androgen-depleted conditions. The Src tyrosine kinase appears to be responsible for phosphorylating AR, and there is a positive correlation of AR tyrosine phosphorylation with Src tyrosine kinase activity in human prostate tumors. Our data collectively suggest that growth factors and their downstream tyrosine kinases, which are elevated during hormone-ablation therapy, can induce tyrosine phosphorylation of AR and such modification may be important for prostate tumor growth under androgen-depleted conditions.
    Cancer Cell 11/2006; 10(4):309-19. · 24.76 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The nonreceptor tyrosine kinase Etk/BMX was originally identified from the human prostate xenograft CWR22. Here, we report that Etk is up-regulated in human prostate tumor specimens surveyed. Knocking down Etk expression by a specific small interfering RNA (siRNA) in prostate cancer cells attenuates cell proliferation, suggesting an essential role of Etk for prostate cancer cell survival and growth. Targeted expression of Etk in mouse prostate epithelium results in pathologic changes resembling human prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia, indicating that up-regulation of Etk may contribute to prostate cancer development. A marked increase of luminal epithelial cell proliferation was observed in the Etk transgenic prostate, which may be attributed in part to the elevated activity of Akt and signal transducers and activators of transcription 3 (STAT3). More interestingly, the expression level of acetyltransferase cyclic AMP-responsive element binding protein-binding protein (CBP) is also increased in the Etk transgenic prostate as well as in a prostate cancer cell line overexpressing Etk, concomitant with elevated histone 3 acetylation at lysine 18 (H3K18Ac). Down-modulation of Etk expression by a specific siRNA leads to a decrease of H3 acetylation in prostate cancer cell lines. Our data suggest that Etk may also modulate chromatin remodeling by regulating the activity of acetyltransferases, such as CBP. Given that Etk may exert its effects in prostate through modulation of multiple signaling pathways altered in human prostate cancer, the Etk transgenic mouse model may be a useful tool for studying the functions of Etk and identification of new molecular markers and drug targets relevant to human diseases.
    Cancer Research 09/2006; 66(16):8058-64. · 9.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Previous work has shown that androgens inhibit breast cancer cells and tumor growth. On the other hand, androgens can be converted to mitogenic estrogens by aromatase in breast cancer cells. Here, we report that androgens, such as the aromatizable androstenedione and the non-aromatizable 5alpha-dihydrotestosterone, inhibit MCF-7 cell proliferation. This effect is observed only in the absence or at a low concentration of estrogens and is evident in cells with low aromatase activity. Growth of a new aromatase stably transfected MCF-7 cell line (Ac1) was stimulated by conversion of androstenedione into estrogens and was sensitive to aromatase inhibitors. We show that blockade of the androgen receptor (AR) in these cells by the antiandrogen casodex or by the anti-AR small interfering RNA inhibited the antiproliferative effect of dihydrotestosterone and letrozole (aromatase inhibitor). We also show that suppression of the estrogen-induced antiapoptotic protein Bcl-2 may be involved in the antiproliferative effects of androgens and letrozole. These effects can be reversed by casodex. In conclusion, the results suggest that aromatase inhibitors may exert their antiproliferative effect not only by reducing the intracellular production of estrogens but also by unmasking the inhibitory effect of androgens acting via the AR.
    Cancer Research 09/2006; 66(15):7775-82. · 8.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We recently showed that Etk/Bmx, a member of the Tec family of nonreceptor protein tyrosine kinases, promotes tight junction formation during chronic hypoxic exposure and augments normoxic VEGF expression via a feedforward mechanism. Here we further characterized Etk's role in potentiating hypoxia-induced gene expression in salivary epithelial Pa-4 cells. Using transient transfection in conditionally activated Etk (DeltaEtk:ER) cells, we demonstrated that Etk enhances hypoxia-response element-dependent reporter activation in normoxia and hypoxia. This Etk-driven reporter activation is ameliorated by treatment with wortmannin or LFM-A13. Using lentivirus-mediated gene delivery and small interfering RNA, we provided direct evidence that hypoxia leads to transient Etk and Akt activation and hypoxia-mediated Akt activation is Etk dependent. Northern blot analyses confirmed that Etk activation led to induction of steady-state mRNA levels of endogenous VEGF and plasminogen activator inhibitor (PAI)-1, a hallmark of hypoxia-mediated gene regulation. We also demonstrated that Etk utilizes a phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt pathway to promote reporter activation driven by NF-kappaB, another oxygen-sensitive transcription factor, and to augment cytokine-induced inducible nitric oxide synthase expression in endothelial cells. To establish the clinical relevance of Etk-induced, hypoxia-mediated gene regulation, we examined Etk expression in keloid, which has elevated VEGF and PAI-1. We found that Etk is overexpressed in keloid (but not normal skin) tissues. The differential steady-state Etk protein levels were further confirmed in primary fibroblast cultures derived from these tissues, suggesting an Etk role in tissue fibrosis. Our results provide further understanding of Etk function within multiple signaling cascades to govern adaptive cytoprotection against extracellular stress in different cell systems, salivary epithelial cells, brain endothelial cells, and dermal fibroblasts.
    AJP Cell Physiology 09/2005; 289(2):C444-54. · 3.71 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: New chemical entities, steroidal C-17 benzoazoles (5, 6, 9 and 10) and pyrazines (14 and 15) were rationally designed and synthesized. The key reaction for synthesis of the benzoazoles involved the nucleophilic vinylic "addition-elimination" substitution reaction of 3beta-acetoxy-17-chloro-16-formylandrosta-5,16-diene (2) and benzoazole nucleophiles, while that for synthesis of pyrazines involved palladium-catalyzed cross-coupling reaction of 17-iodoandrosta-5,16-dien-3beta-ol (13) with tributylstannyl diazines. Some of the compounds were shown to be potent inhibitors of human CYP17 enzyme as well as potent antagonist of both wild type and mutant androgen receptors (AR). The most potent CYP17 inhibitors were 3beta-hydroxy-17-(1H-benzimidazole-1-yl)androsta-5,16-diene (5, code named VN/124-1), 3beta-hydroxy-17-(5(1)-pyrimidyl)androsta-5,16-diene (15) and 17-(1H-benzimidazole-1-yl)androsta-4,16-dien-3-one (6), with IC(50) values of 300, 500 and 915 nM, respectively. Compounds 5, 6, 14 and 15 were effective at preventing binding of (3)H-R1881 (methyltrienolone, a stable synthetic androgen) to both the mutant LNCaP AR and the wild-type AR, but with a 2.2- to 5-fold higher binding efficiency to the latter. Compounds 5 and 6 were also shown to be potent pure AR antagonists. The cell growth studies showed that 5 and 6 inhibit the growth of DHT-stimulated LNCaP and LAPC4 prostate cancer cells with IC(50) values in the low micromolar range (i.e., <10 microM). Their inhibitory potencies were comparable to that of casodex but remarkably superior to that of flutamide. The pharmacokinetics of compounds 5 and 6 in mice were investigated. Following s.c. administration of 50 mg/kg of 5 and 6, peak plasma levels of 16.82 and 5.15 ng/mL, respectively, occurred after 30 to 60 min, both compounds were cleared rapidly from plasma (terminal half-lives of 44.17 and 39.93 min, respectively), and neither was detectable at 8 h. Remarkably, compound 5 was rapidly converted into a metabolite tentatively identified as 17-(1H-benzimidazol-1-yl)androsta-3-one. When tested in vivo, 5 proved to be very effective at inhibiting the growth of androgen-dependent LAPC4 human prostate tumor xenograft, while 6 was ineffective. Compound 5 (50 mg/kg/twice daily) resulted in a 93.8% reduction (P = 0.00065) in the mean final tumor volume compared with controls, and it was also significantly more effective than castration. To our knowledge, this is the first example of an antihormonal agent (an inhibitor of androgen synthesis (CYP17 inhibitor)/antiandrogen) that is significantly more effective than castration in suppression of androgen-dependent prostate tumor growth. In view of these impressive anticancer properties, compound 5 is a strong candidate for development for the treatment of human prostate cancer.
    Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 04/2005; 48(8):2972-84. · 5.61 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

1k Citations
174.36 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2003–2012
    • University of Maryland, Baltimore
      • Department of Pharmacology
      Baltimore, MD, United States
  • 2011
    • University of Maryland Medical Center
      Baltimore, Maryland, United States
  • 2002
    • University of Minnesota Twin Cities
      • Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology
      Minneapolis, MN, United States