[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Tumor hypoxia and hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1) activation are associated with cancer progression. Here, we demonstrate that the transcription factor TAp73 opposes HIF-1 activity through a nontranscriptional mechanism, thus affecting tumor angiogenesis. TAp73-deficient mice have an increased incidence of spontaneous and chemically induced tumors that also display enhanced vascu- larization. Mechanistically, TAp73 interacts with the regulatory sub- unit (α) of HIF-1 and recruits mouse double minute 2 homolog into the protein complex, thus promoting HIF-1α polyubiquitination and consequent proteasomal degradation in an oxygen-independent manner. In human lung cancer datasets, TAp73 strongly predicts good patient prognosis, and its expression is associated with low HIF-1 activation and angiogenesis. Our findings, supported by in vivo and clinical evidence, demonstrate a mechanism for oxygen- independent HIF-1 regulation, which has important implications for individualizing therapies in patients with cancer.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 12/2014; · 9.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Serine and glycine are amino acids that provide the essential precursors for the synthesis of proteins, nucleic acids and lipids. Employing 3 subsequent enzymes, phosphoglycerate dehydrogenase (PHGDH), phosphoserine phosphatase (PSPH), phosphoserine aminotransferase 1 (PSAT1), 3-phosphoglycerate from glycolysis can be converted in serine, which in turn can by converted in glycine by serine methyl transferase (SHMT). Besides proving precursors for macromolecules, serine/glycine biosynthesis is also required for the maintenance of cellular redox state. Therefore, this metabolic pathway has a pivotal role in proliferating cells, including cancer cells. In the last few years an emerging literature provides genetic and functional evidences that hyperactivation of serine/glycine biosynthetic pathway drives tumorigenesis. Here, we extend these observations performing a bioinformatics analysis using public cancer datasets. Our analysis highlighted the relevance of PHGDH and SHMT2 expression as prognostic factor for breast cancer, revealing a substantial ability of these enzymes to predict patient survival outcome. However analyzing patient datasets of lung cancer our analysis reveled that some other enzymes of the pathways, rather than PHGDH, might be associated to prognosis. Although these observations require further investigations they might suggest a selective requirement of some enzymes in specific cancer types, recommending more cautions in the development of novel translational opportunities and biomarker identification of human cancers.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Metabolic adaptation has emerged as a hallmark of cancer and a promising therapeutic target, as rapidly proliferating cancer cells adapt their metabolism increasing nutrient uptake and reorganizing metabolic fluxes to support biosynthesis. The transcription factor p73 belongs to the p53-family and regulates tumorigenesis via its two N-terminal isoforms, with (TAp73) or without (ΔNp73) a transactivation domain. TAp73 acts as tumor suppressor, at least partially through induction of cell cycle arrest and apoptosis and through regulation of genomic stability. Here, we sought to investigate whether TAp73 also affects metabolic profiling of cancer cells. Using high throughput metabolomics, we unveil a thorough and unexpected role for TAp73 in promoting Warburg effect and cellular metabolism. TAp73-expressing cells show increased rate of glycolysis, higher amino acid uptake and increased levels and biosynthesis of acetyl-CoA. Moreover, we report an extensive TAp73-mediated upregulation of several anabolic pathways including polyamine and synthesis of membrane phospholipids. TAp73 expression also increases cellular methyl-donor S-adenosylmethionine (SAM), possibly influencing methylation and epigenetics, and promotes arginine metabolism, suggestive of a role in extracellular matrix (ECM) modeling. In summary, our data indicate that TAp73 regulates multiple metabolic pathways that impinge on numerous cellular functions, but that, overall, converge to sustain cell growth and proliferation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Both in epithelial development as well as in epithelial cancers, the p53 family member p63 plays a crucial role acting as a master transcriptional regulator. P63 steady state protein levels are regulated by the E3 ubiquitin ligase Itch, via a physical interaction between the PPxY consensus sequence (PY motif) of p63 and one of the 4 WW domains of Itch; this substrate recognition process leads to protein-ubiquitylation and p63 proteasomal degradation. The interaction of the WW domains, a highly compact protein-protein binding module, with the short proline-rich sequences is therefore a crucial regulatory event that may offer innovative potential therapeutic opportunity. Previous molecular studies on the Itch-p63 recognition have been performed in vitro using the Itch-WW2 domain and the peptide interacting fragment of p63 (pep63), which includes the PY motif. Itch-WW2-pep63 interaction is also stabilized in vitro by the conformational constriction of the S-S cyclization in the p63 peptide. The PY motif of p63, as also for other proteins, is characterized by the nearby presence of a (T/S)P motif, which is a potential recognition site of the WW domain of the IV group present in the prolyl-isomerase Pin1. In this study, we demonstrate, by in silico and spectroscopical studies using both the linear pep63 and its cyclic form, that the threonine phosphorylation of the (T/S)PPPxY motif may represent a crucial regulatory event of the Itch-mediated p63 ubiquitylation, increasing the Itch-WW domains-p63 recognition event and stabilizing in vivo the Itch-WW-p63 complex. Moreover, our studies confirm that the subsequently trans/cis proline isomerization of (T/S)P motif by the Pin1 prolyl-isomerase, could modulate the E3-ligase interaction, and that the (T/S)pPtransPPxY motif represent the best conformer for the ItchWW-(T/S)PPPxY motif recognition.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: TAp73, a member of the p53 family, has been traditionally considered a tumor suppressor gene, but a recent report has claimed that it can promote cellular proliferation. This assumption is based on biochemical evidence of activation of anabolic metabolism, with enhanced pentose phosphate shunt (PPP) and nucleotide biosynthesis. Here, while we confirm that TAp73 expression enhances anabolism, we also substantiate its role in inhibiting proliferation and promoting cell death. Hence, we would like to propose an alternative interpretation of the accumulating data linking p73 to cellular metabolism: we suggest that TAp73 promotes anabolism to counteract cellular senescence rather than to support proliferation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cells exposed to extreme physicochemical or mechanical stimuli die in an uncontrollable manner, as a result of their immediate structural breakdown. Such an unavoidable variant of cellular demise is generally referred to as /`accidental cell death/' (ACD). In most settings, however, cell death is initiated by a genetically encoded apparatus, correlating with the fact that its course can be altered by pharmacologic or genetic interventions. /`Regulated cell death/' (RCD) can occur as part of physiologic programs or can be activated once adaptive responses to perturbations of the extracellular or intracellular microenvironment fail. The biochemical phenomena that accompany RCD may be harnessed to classify it into a few subtypes, which often (but not always) exhibit stereotyped morphologic features. Nonetheless, efficiently inhibiting the processes that are commonly thought to cause RCD, such as the activation of executioner caspases in the course of apoptosis, does not exert true cytoprotective effects i
Cell death and differentiation 09/2014; · 8.24 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS) plays a role in the regulation of most cellular pathways, and its deregulation has been implicated in a wide range of human pathologies that include cancer, neurodegenerative and immunological disorders and viral infections. Targeting the UPS by small molecular regulators thus provides an opportunity for the development of therapeutics for the treatment of several diseases. The proteasome inhibitor Bortezomib was approved for treatment of hematologic malignancies by the FDA in 2003, becoming the first drug targeting the ubiquitin proteasome system in the clinic. Development of drugs targeting specific components of the ubiquitin proteasome system, however, has lagged behind, mainly due to the complexity of the ubiquitination reaction and its outcomes. However, significant advances have been made in recent years in understanding the molecular nature of the ubiquitination system and the vast variety of cellular signals that it produces. Additionally, improvement of screening methods, both in vitro and in silico, have led to the discovery of a number of compounds targeting components of the ubiquitin proteasome system, and some of these have now entered clinical trials. Here, we discuss the current state of drug discovery targeting E3 ligases and the opportunities and challenges that it provides.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: MicroRNAs (miRs) are a class of small noncoding RNAs that suppress the expression of protein-coding genes by repressing protein translation. Although the roles that miRs and the miR processing machinery have in regulating epithelial stem cell biology are not fully understood, their fundamental contributions to these processes have been demonstrated over the last few years. The p53-family member p63 is an essential transcription factor for epidermal morphogenesis and homeostasis. p63 functions as a determinant for keratinocyte cell fate and helps to regulate the balance between stemness, differentiation and senescence. An important factor that regulates p63 function is the reciprocal interaction between p63 and miRs. Some miRs control p63 expression, and p63 regulates the miR expression profile in the epidermis. p63 controls miR expression at different levels. It directly regulates the transcription of several miRs and indirectly regulates their processing by regulating the expression of the miR processing components Dicer and DGCR8. In this review, we will discuss the recent findings on the miR-p63 interaction in epidermal biology, particularly focusing on the ΔNp63-dependent regulation of DGCR8 recently described in the ΔNp63(-/-) mouse. We provide a unified view of the current knowledge and discuss the apparent discrepancies and perspective therapeutic opportunities.Cell Death and Differentiation advance online publication, 29 August 2014; doi:10.1038/cdd.2014.113.
Cell Death and Differentiation 08/2014; · 8.39 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: During the recent years lysine methyltransferase Set7/9 ((Su(var)-3-9, Enhancer-of-Zeste, Trithorax) domain containing protein 7/9) has emerged as an important regulator of different transcription factors. In this study, we report a novel function for Set7/9 as a critical co-activator of E2 promoter-binding factor 1 (E2F1)-dependent transcription in response to DNA damage. By means of various biochemical, cell biology, and bioinformatics approaches, we uncovered that cell-cycle progression through the G1/S checkpoint of tumour cells upon DNA damage is defined by the threshold of expression of both E2F1 and Set7/9. The latter affects the activity of E2F1 by indirectly modulating histone modifications in the promoters of E2F1-dependent genes. Moreover, Set7/9 differentially affects E2F1 transcription targets: it promotes cell proliferation via expression of the CCNE1 gene and represses apoptosis by inhibiting the TP73 gene. Our biochemical screening of the panel of lung tumour cell lines suggests that these two factors are critically important for transcriptional upregulation of the CCNE1 gene product and hence successful progression through cell cycle. These findings identify Set7/9 as a potential biomarker in tumour cells with overexpressed E2F1 activity.Cell Death and Differentiation advance online publication, 15 August 2014; doi:10.1038/cdd.2014.108.
Cell Death and Differentiation 08/2014; · 8.39 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: TAp63α is a member of the p53 family, which plays a central role in epithelial cancers. Recently, a role has emerged for p53 family members in cancer metabolic modulation. In order to assess whether TAp63α plays a role in cancer metabolism, we exploited p53-null osteosarcoma Tet-On Saos-2 cells, in which the expression of TAp63α was dependent on doxycycline supplementation to the medium. Metabolomics labeling experiments were performed by incubating the cells in 13C-glucose or 13C15Nglutamine-
labeled culture media, as to monitor metabolic fluxes upon induced
expression of TAp63α.
Induced expression of TAp63α resulted in cell cycle arrest at the G1 phase. From
a metabolic standpoint, expression of Tap63α promoted glycolysis and the pentose
phosphate pathway, which was uncoupled from nucleotide biosynthesis, albeit
prevented oxidative stress in the form of oxidized glutathione. Double 13C-glucose
and 13C15N-glutamine metabolic labeling confirmed that induced expression of TAp63α
corresponded to a decreased flux of pyruvate to the Krebs cycle and decreased
utilization of glutamine for catabolic purposes in the TCA cycle. Results were not
conclusive in relation to anabolic utilization of labeled glutamine, since it is unclear
to what extent the observed minor TAp63α-dependent increases of glutamine-derived
labeling in palmitate could be tied to increased rates of reductive carboxylation and
de novo synthesis of fatty acids. Finally, bioinformatics elaborations highlighted a
link between patient survival rates and the co-expression of p63 and rate limiting
enzymes of the pentose phosphate pathway, G6PD and PGD.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: nhibition of distinct ubiquitin E3 ligases might represent a powerful therapeutic tool. ITCH is a HECT domain-containing E3 ligase that promotes the ubiquitylation and degradation of several proteins, including p73, p63, c-Jun, JunB, Notch and c-FLIP, thus affecting cell fate. Accordingly, ITCH depletion potentiates the effect of chemotherapeutic drugs, revealing ITCH as a potential pharmacological target in cancer therapy. Using high throughput screening of ITCH auto- ubiquitylation, we identified several putative ITCH inhibitors, one of which is clomipramine – a clinically useful antidepressant drug. Previously, we have shown that clomipramine inhibits autophagy by blocking autophagolysosomal fluxes and thus could potentiate chemotherapy in vitro. Here, we found that clomipramine specifically blocks ITCH auto-ubiquitylation, as well as p73 ubiquitylation. By screening structural homologues of clomipramine, we identified several ITCH inhibitors and putative molecular moieties that are essential for ITCH inhibition. Treating a panel of breast, prostate and bladder cancer cell lines with clomipramine, or its homologues, we found that they reduce cancer cell growth, and synergize with gemcitabine or mitomycin in killing cancer cells by blocking autophagy. We also discuss a potential mechanism of inhibition. Together, our study (i) demonstrates the feasibility of using high throughput screening to identify E3 ligase inhibitors and (ii) provides insight into how clomipramine and its structural homologues might interfere with ITCH and other HECT E3 ligase catalytic activity in (iii) potentiating chemotherapy by regulating autophagic fluxes. These results may have direct clinical applications.
Cell Death & Disease 05/2014; 5(e1203). · 5.18 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The skin protects humans from the surrounding environment. Tissues undergo continuous renewal throughout an individual's lifetime; however, there is a decline in the regenerative potential of tissue with age. The accumulation of senescent cells over time probably reduces tissue regenerative capacity and contributes to the physiological ageing of the tissue itself. The mechanisms that govern ageing remain unclear and are under intense investigation, and insight could be gained by studying the mechanisms involved in cellular senescence. In vitro, keratinocytes and dermal fibroblasts undergo senescence in response to multiple cellular stresses, including the overproduction of reactive oxygen species and the shortening of telomeres, or simply by reaching the end of their replicative potential (i.e., reaching replicative senescence). Recent findings demonstrate that microRNAs play key roles in regulating the balance between a cell's proliferative capacity and replicative senescence. Here, we will focus on the molecular mechanisms regulated by senescence-associated microRNAs and their validated targets in both keratinocytes and dermal fibroblasts.
Ageing research reviews 04/2014; · 7.63 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Serine and glycine are biosynthetically linked, and together provide the essential precursors for the synthesis of proteins, nucleic acids, and lipids that are crucial to cancer cell growth. Moreover, serine/glycine biosynthesis also affects cellular antioxidative capacity, thus supporting tumour homeostasis. A crucial contribution of serine/glycine to cellular metabolism is through the glycine cleavage system, which refuels one-carbon metabolism; a complex cyclic metabolic network based on chemical reactions of folate compounds. The importance of serine/glycine metabolism is further highlighted by genetic and functional evidence indicating that hyperactivation of the serine/glycine biosynthetic pathway drives oncogenesis. Recent developments in our understanding of these pathways provide novel translational opportunities for drug development, dietary intervention, and biomarker identification of human cancers.
Trends in Biochemical Sciences 03/2014; · 13.52 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: p63 is a transcriptional factor belonging to p53 family of genes. Beside the role in cancer, partially shared with p53 and the other member p73, p63 also plays exclusive roles in development and homeostasis of ectodermal/epidermal-related organs. Here we show that p63 transcriptionally controls the expression of the matrix metallopeptidase 13 (MMP13). p63 binds a p53-like responsive element in the human promoter of MMP13, thus promoting the activation of its transcription. The catalytic activity of MMP13 is required in high invasion capacity of metastatic cancer cells, however, although p63 and MMP13 expression correlates in cancer patients, their co-expression does not predict cancer patient survival. Our results demonstrate that p63 directly controls MMP13 expression.
Oncotarget 02/2014; 5(5). · 6.63 Impact Factor
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[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Oxidative stress plays a key role in late onset diseases including cancer and neurodegenerative diseases such as Huntington disease. Therefore, uncovering regulators of the antioxidant stress responses is important for understanding the course of these diseases. Indeed, the nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (NRF2), a master regulator of the cellular antioxidative stress response, is deregulated in both cancer and neurodegeneration. Similar to NRF2, the tumor suppressor Homologous to the E6-AP Carboxyl Terminus (HECT) domain and Ankyrin repeat containing E3 ubiquitin-protein ligase 1 (HACE1) plays a protective role against stress-induced tumorigenesis in mice, but its roles in the antioxidative stress response or its involvement in neurodegeneration have not been investigated. To this end we examined Hace1 WT and KO mice and found that Hace1 KO animals exhibited increased oxidative stress in brain and that the antioxidative stress response was impaired. Moreover, HACE1 was found to be essential for optimal NRF2 activation in cells challenged with oxidative stress, as HACE1 depletion resulted in reduced NRF2 activity, stability, and protein synthesis, leading to lower tolerance against oxidative stress triggers. Strikingly, we found a reduction of HACE1 levels in the striatum of Huntington disease patients, implicating HACE1 in the pathology of Huntington disease. Moreover, ectopic expression of HACE1 in striatal neuronal progenitor cells provided protection against mutant Huntingtin-induced redox imbalance and hypersensitivity to oxidative stress, by augmenting NRF2 functions. These findings reveal that the tumor suppressor HACE1 plays a role in the NRF2 antioxidative stress response pathway and in neurodegeneration.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 02/2014; · 9.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The use of existing drugs for new therapeutic applications, commonly referred to as drug repositioning, is a way for fast and cost-efficient drug discovery. Drug repositioning in oncology is commonly initiated by in vitro experimental evidence that a drug exhibits anticancer cytotoxicity. Any independent verification that the observed effects in vitro may be valid in a clinical setting, and that the drug could potentially affect patient survival in vivo is of paramount importance. Despite considerable recent efforts in computational drug repositioning, none of the studies have considered patient survival information in modelling the potential of existing/new drugs in the management of cancer. Therefore, we have developed DRUGSURV; this is the first computational tool to estimate the potential effects of a drug using patient survival information derived from clinical cancer expression data sets. DRUGSURV provides statistical evidence that a drug can affect survival outcome in particular clinical conditions to justify further investigation of the drug anticancer potential and to guide clinical trial design. DRUGSURV covers both approved drugs (∼1700) as well as experimental drugs (∼5000) and is freely available at http://www.bioprofiling.de/drugsurv.
Cell Death & Disease 02/2014; 5:e1051. · 5.18 Impact Factor