Shannon Fallen

Georgetown University, Washington, Washington, D.C., United States

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Publications (6)21.3 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Myosin light chain phosphatase (MLCP) is an enzyme important to regulation of cell cycle and motility that is shown to be upregulated in aggressive prostate cancer cells and tissue. We developed a fluorescent small molecule inhibitor of MLCP using structure based design in recombinant protein phosphatase 1C. Several best fit compounds were synthesized and evaluated by their inhibition of MLCP/(32)P-MLC dephosphorylation, which resulted in the identification of novel MLCP inhibitors. Androgen dependent (AD) and castration resistant prostate cancer cell (CRPC) lines were treated with the lead inhibitor resulting in decreased growth rate, reduced DNA synthesis, and G2/M cell cycle arrest. Moreover, CRPC cell lines showed an increased sensitivity to drug treatment having GI(50) values four times lower than the AD prostate cancer cell line. This was reinforced by reduced BrdU DNA incorporation into CRPC cells compared to AD cells. β-actin disruption was also seen at much lower drug concentrations in CR cells which caused a dose dependent reduction in cellular chemotaxis of PC-3 cells. Since there are currently few clinical therapeutics targeting CR prostate cancer, MLCP represents a new target for preclinical and clinical development of new potential therapeutics which inhibit this disease phenotype.
    Frontiers in Oncology 09/2011; 1:27. DOI:10.3389/fonc.2011.00027
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    ABSTRACT: Human papilloma virus (HPV) is the principal etiological agent of cervical cancer in women, and its DNA is present in virtually all of these tumors. However, exposure to the high-risk HPV types alone is insufficient for tumor development. Identifying specific collaborating factors that will lead to cervical cancer remains an unanswered question, especially because millions of women are exposed to HPV. Our earlier work using an in vitro model indicated that activation of the canonical Wnt pathway in HPV-positive epithelial cells was sufficient to induce anchorage independent growth. We therefore hypothesized that constitutive activation of this pathway might function as the "second hit." To address this possibility, we developed two double-transgenic (DT) mouse models, K14-E7/ΔN87βcat and K14-HPV16/ΔN87βcat that express either the proteins encoded by the E7 oncogene or the HPV16 early region along with constitutively active β-catenin, which was expressed by linking it to the keratin-14 (K14) promoter. We initiated tumor formation by treating all groups with estrogen for six months. Invasive cervical cancer was observed in 11% of the K14-ΔN87βcat mice, expressing activated β-catenin and in 50% of the animals expressing the HPV16 E7 oncogene. In double-transgenic mice, coexpression of β-catenin and HPV16 E7 induced invasive cervical cancer at about 7 months in 94% of the cases. We did not observe cervical cancer in any group unless the mice were treated with estrogen. In the second model, K14-HPV16 mice suffered cervical dysplasias, but this phenotype was not augmented in HPV16/ΔN87βcat mice. In summary, the phenotypes of the K14-E7/ΔN87βcat mice support the hypothesis that activation of the Wnt/β-catenin pathway in HPV-associated premalignant lesions plays a functional role in accelerating cervical carcinogenesis.
    PLoS ONE 07/2011; 6(11):e27243. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0027243 · 3.23 Impact Factor
  • Golestaneh N · Beauchamp E · Fallen S · Kokkinaki M · Uren A · Dym M
    Reproduction 07/2009; 138. · 3.17 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs) self-renew throughout life to produce progenitor cells that are able to differentiate into spermatozoa. However, the mechanisms underlying the cell fate determination between self-renewal and differentiation have not yet been delineated. Culture conditions and growth factors essential for self-renewal and proliferation of mouse SSCs have been investigated, but no information is available related to growth factors that affect fate determination of human spermatogonia. Wnts form a large family of secreted glycoproteins, the members of which are involved in cell proliferation, differentiation, organogenesis, and cell migration. Here, we show that Wnts and their receptors Fzs are expressed in mouse spermatogonia and in the C18-4 SSC line. We demonstrate that WNT3A induces cell proliferation, morphological changes, and cell migration in C18-4 cells. Furthermore, we show that beta-catenin is activated during testis development in 21-day-old mice. In addition, our study demonstrates that WNT3A sustained adult human embryonic stem (ES)-like cells derived from human germ cells in an undifferentiated stage, expressing essential human ES cell transcription factors. These results demonstrate for the first time that Wnt/beta-catenin pathways, especially WNT3A, may play an important role in the regulation of mouse and human spermatogonia.
    Reproduction 06/2009; 138(1):151-62. DOI:10.1530/REP-08-0510 · 3.17 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Osteosarcoma (OS) is a primary malignant tumor of the bone that typically presents in the second decade of life and has a poor prognosis, especially in metastatic cases. Wnt signaling contributes to the pathogenesis of tumors such as colon cancer and malignant melanoma. Wnt signaling controls normal bone formation during embryogenesis and homeostasis in adult organisms, thus we evaluated Wnt signaling in OS. We surveyed the expression of Wnts, their receptors, Frizzleds and LRPs, and soluble Wnt inhibitors (sFRPs) in four OS cell lines by RT-PCR. We also tested biological response of OS cell lines to exogenous Wnts by measuring beta-catenin stabilization, Dvl phosphorylation, TOPFLASH activity and chemotaxis. Human OS tumor microarrays were evaluated for expression of Wnt10b by immunohistochemistry. All cell lines tested showed expression of at least three Wnts and one Frizzled. Exogenous Wnt3a and Wnt10b treatment induced Dvl phosphorylation, beta-catenin stabilization and TCF4 transcriptional activity in both metastatic and non-metastatic murine OS cell lines. Metastatic OS cell lines showed better chemotaxis response to Wnts than the non-metastatic OS cell lines. Immunohistochemistry studies of 44 human OS samples demonstrated that Wnt10b expression correlated with decreased overall survival. These results further supports a possible autocrine or paracrine Wnt pathway in metastatic potential of OS.
    Pediatric Blood & Cancer 09/2008; 51(3):349-55. DOI:10.1002/pbc.21595 · 2.39 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cervical carcinoma, the second leading cause of cancer deaths in women worldwide, is associated with human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV-infected individuals are at high risk for developing cervical carcinoma; however, the molecular mechanisms that lead to the progression of cervical cancer have not been established. We hypothesized that in a multistep carcinogenesis model, HPV provides the initial hit and activation of canonical Wnt pathway may serve as the second hit. To test this hypothesis, we evaluated the canonical Wnt pathway as a promoting factor of HPV-induced human keratinocyte transformation. In this in vitro experimental cervical carcinoma model, primary human keratinocytes immortalized by HPV were transformed by SV40 small-t (smt) antigen. We show that smt-transformed cells have high cytoplasmic beta-catenin levels, a hallmark of activated canonical Wnt pathway, and that activation of this pathway by smt is mediated through its interaction with protein phosphatase-2A. Furthermore, inhibition of downstream signaling from beta-catenin inhibited the smt-induced transformed phenotype. Wnt pathway activation transformed HPV-immortalized primary human keratinocytes even in the absence of smt. However, activation of the Wnt pathway in the absence of HPV was not sufficient to induce transformation. We also detected increased cytoplasmic and nuclear staining of beta-catenin in invasive cervical carcinoma samples from 48 patients. We detected weak cytoplasmic and no nuclear staining of beta-catenin in 18 cases of cervical dysplasia. Our results suggest that the transformation of HPV expressing human keratinocytes requires activation of the Wnt pathway and that this activation may serve as a screening tool in HPV-positive populations to detect malignant progression.
    Cancer Research 08/2005; 65(14):6199-206. DOI:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-05-0455 · 9.33 Impact Factor