[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Acetylated tubulin (AT) expression has been proposed as a marker for sensitivity to taxane chemotherapy. We wanted to explore AT as a prognostic marker in squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN). We assessed AT expression in archival tissue from our institutional tissue bank of primary SCCHN specimens. We also examined AT expression on pre-therapy tissues of patients with SCCHN receiving induction chemotherapy with docetaxel, cisplatin and 5FU (TPF IC). AT expression was assessed on archival cases of SCCHN with (N = 63) and without (N = 82) locoregional lymph node metastases (LNM). The predominant tumor site was oral cavity (52 %). Immunohistochemistry staining was based on staining intensity and percentage of tumor cells stained to create a weighted index (WI). A total of nine patients who received TPF IC were evaluable for response by RECIST and also had pre-therapy tissues available. A significant independent correlation between AT and tumor grade (p = 0.001) and primary location (p = 0.008) was noted. There was a trend of higher AT in patients with presence of LNM (p = 0.052) and a trend in improved OS for patients with an AT WI below the median compared to those above the median for patients with no LNM (p = 0.054). For patients treated with induction TPF, we observed an inverse correlation between AT expression and response to TPF IC (p = 0.0071). AT expression is correlated with tumor grade and primary site. There was an observed trend correlating AT with presence nodal metastases. The observed inverse correlation with response to taxane based chemotherapy needs validation in a larger sample size.
Head and Neck Pathology 07/2013; 8(1). DOI:10.1007/s12105-013-0476-6
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The proper orientation of the mitotic spindle is essential for mitosis; however, how these events unfold at the molecular
level is not well understood. AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) regulates energy homeostasis in eukaryotes, and AMPK-null
Drosophila mutants have spindle defects. We show that threonine172 phosphorylated AMPK localizes to the mitotic spindle poles and increases when cells enter mitosis. AMPK depletion causes
a mitotic delay with misoriented spindles relative to the normal division plane and a reduced number and length of astral
microtubules. AMPK-depleted cells contain mitotic actin bundles, which prevent astral microtubule-actin cortex attachments.
Since myosin regulatory light chain (MRLC) is an AMPK downstream target and mediates actin function, we investigated whether
AMPK signals through MRLC to control spindle orientation. Mitotic levels of serine19 phosphorylated MRLC (pMRLCser19) and spindle pole-associated pMRLCser19 are abolished when AMPK function is compromised, indicating that AMPK is essential for pMRLCser19 spindle pole activity. Phosphorylation of AMPK and MRLC in the mitotic spindle is dependent upon calcium/calmodulin-dependent
protein kinase kinase (CamKK) activity in LKB1-deficient cells, suggesting that CamKK regulates this pathway when LKB1 function
is compromised. Taken together, these data indicate that AMPK mediates spindle pole-associated pMRLCser19 to control spindle orientation via regulation of actin cortex-astral microtubule attachments.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: LKB1 is a Ser/Thr kinase, and its activity is regulated by the pseudokinase, STE20-related adaptor α (STRADα). The STRADα-LKB1 pathway plays critical roles in epithelial cell polarity, neuronal polarity, and cancer metastasis. Though much attention is given to the STRADα-LKB1 pathway, the function of STRADα itself, including a role outside of the LKB1 pathway, has not been well-studied. Data in Caenorhabditis elegans suggest that STRADα has an LKB1-independent role in regulating cell polarity, and therefore we tested the hypothesis that STRADα regulates cancer cell polarity and motility when wild-type LKB1 is absent. These results show that STRADα protein is reduced in LKB1-null cell lines (mutation or homozygous deletion) and this partial degradation occurs through the Hsp90-dependent proteasome pathway. The remaining STRADα participates in cell polarity and invasion, such that STRADα depletion results in misaligned lamellipodia, improper Golgi positioning, and reduced invasion. To probe the molecular basis of this defect, we show that STRADα associates in a complex with PAK1, and STRADα loss disrupts PAK1 activity via Thr(423) PAK1 phosphorylation. When STRADα is depleted, PAK1-induced invasion could not occur, suggesting that STRADα is necessary for PAK1 to drive motility. Furthermore, STRADα overexpression caused increased activity of the PAK1-activating protein, rac1, and a constitutively active rac1 mutant (Q61L) rescued pPAK(Thr423) and STRADα invasion defects. Taken together, these results show that a STRADα-rac1-PAK1 pathway regulates cell polarity and invasion in LKB1-null cells. It also suggests that while the function of LKB1 and STRADα undoubtedly overlap, they may also have mutually exclusive roles.