Albert Santamaria-Martínez

National Centre of Competence in Research LIVES, Lausanne, Vaud, Switzerland

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Publications (6)56.77 Total impact

  • No preview · Article · Aug 2014 · Experimental Hematology
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    ABSTRACT: Metastatic growth in distant organs is the major cause of cancer mortality. The development of metastasis is a multistage process with several rate-limiting steps. Although dissemination of tumour cells seems to be an early and frequent event, the successful initiation of metastatic growth, a process termed 'metastatic colonization', is inefficient for many cancer types and is accomplished only by a minority of cancer cells that reach distant sites. Prevalent target sites are characteristic of many tumour entities, suggesting that inadequate support by distant tissues contributes to the inefficiency of the metastatic process. Here we show that a small population of cancer stem cells is critical for metastatic colonization, that is, the initial expansion of cancer cells at the secondary site, and that stromal niche signals are crucial to this expansion process. We find that periostin (POSTN), a component of the extracellular matrix, is expressed by fibroblasts in the normal tissue and in the stroma of the primary tumour. Infiltrating tumour cells need to induce stromal POSTN expression in the secondary target organ (in this case lung) to initiate colonization. POSTN is required to allow cancer stem cell maintenance, and blocking its function prevents metastasis. POSTN recruits Wnt ligands and thereby increases Wnt signalling in cancer stem cells. We suggest that the education of stromal cells by infiltrating tumour cells is an important step in metastatic colonization and that preventing de novo niche formation may be a novel strategy for the treatment of metastatic disease.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2011 · Nature
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    ABSTRACT: The human sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) gene comprises at least 6 different transcription units (TU-1, -1A, -1B, -1C, -1D and -1E), and is regulated by no less than 6 different promoters. The best characterized are TU-1 and TU-1A: TU-1 is responsible for producing plasma SHBG, while TU-1A is transcribed and translated in the testis. Transcription of the recently described TU-1B, -1C, and -1D has been demonstrated in human prostate tissue and prostate cancer cell lines, as well as in other human cell lines such as HeLa, HepG2, HeK 293, CW 9019 and imr 32. However, there are no reported data demonstrating their translation. In the present study, we aimed to determine whether TU-1A and TU-1B are indeed translated in the human prostate and whether 5' UTR exons 1A and 1B differently regulate SHBG translation. Cis-regulatory elements that could potentially regulate translation were identified within the 5'UTRs of SHBG TU-1A and TU-1B. Although full-length SHBG TU-1A and TU-1B mRNAs were present in prostate cancer cell lines, the endogenous SHBG protein was not detected by western blot in any of them. LNCaP prostate cancer cells transfected with several SHBG constructs containing exons 2 to 8 but lacking the 5'UTR sequence did show SHBG translation, whereas inclusion of the 5'UTR sequences of either exon 1A or 1B caused a dramatic decrease in SHBG protein levels. The molecular weight of SHBG did not vary between cells transfected with constructs with or without the 5'UTR sequence, thus confirming that the first in-frame ATG of exon 2 is the translation start site of TU-1A and TU-1B. The use of alternative SHBG first exons 1A and 1B differentially inhibits translation from the ATG situated in exon 2, which codes for methionine 30 of transcripts that begin with the exon 1 sequence.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2010 · PLoS ONE
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    ABSTRACT: The human Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG) gene, located at 17p13.1, comprises, at least, two different transcription units regulated by two different promoters. The first transcription unit begins with the exon 1 sequence and is responsible for the production of plasma SHBG by the hepatocytes, while the second begins with an alternative exon 1 sequence, which replaces the exon 1 present in liver transcripts. Alternative exon 1 transcription and translation has only been demonstrated in the testis of transgenic mice containing an 11-kb human SHBG transgene and in the human testis. Our goal has been to further characterize the 5' end of the SHBG gene and analyze the presence of the SHBG alternative transcripts in human prostate tissue and derived cell lines. Using a combination of in silico and in vitro studies, we have demonstrated that the SHBG gene, along with exon 1 and alternative exon 1 (renamed here exon 1A), contains four additional alternative first exons: the novel exons 1B, 1C, and 1E, and a previously identified exon 1N, which has been further characterized and renamed as exon 1D. We have shown that these four alternative first exons are all spliced to the same 3' splice site of SHBG exon 2, and that exon 1A and the novel exon 1B can be spliced to exon 1. We have also demonstrated the presence of SHBG transcripts beginning with exons 1B, 1C and 1D in prostate tissues and cell lines, as well as in several non-prostatic cell lines. Finally, the alignment of the SHBG mammalian sequences revealed that, while exons 1C, 1D and 1E are very well conserved phylogenetically through non-primate mammal species, exon 1B probably aroused in apes due to a single nucleotide change that generated a new 5' splice site in exon 1B. The identification of multiple transcription start sites (TSS) upstream of the annotated first exon of human SHBG, and the detection of the alternative transcripts in human prostate, concur with the prediction of the ENCODE (ENCyclopedia of DNA Elements) project, and suggest that the regulation of SHBG is much more complex than previously reported.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2009 · BMC Molecular Biology
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    ABSTRACT: Cancer stem cells are a distinct cellular population that is believed to be responsible for tumor initiation and maintenance. Recent data suggest that solid tumors also contain another type of stem cells, the mesenchymal stem cells or multipotent mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs), which contribute to the formation of tumor-associated stroma. The Hoechst 33342 efflux assay has proved useful to identify a rare cellular fraction, named Side Population (SP), enriched in cells with stem-like properties. Using this assay, we identified SP cells in a prostate cancer xenograft containing human prostate cancer cells and mouse stromal cells. The SP isolation, subculture and sequential sorting allowed the generation of single-cell-derived clones of murine origin that were recognized as MSC by their morphology, plastic adherence, proliferative potential, adipogenic and osteogenic differentiation ability and immunophenotype (CD45(-), CD81(+) and Sca-1(+)). We also demonstrated that SP clonal cells secrete transforming growth factor beta1 (TGF-beta1) and that their inhibition reduces proliferation and accelerates differentiation. These results reveal the existence of SP cells in the stroma of a cancer xenograft, and provide evidence supporting their MSC nature and the role of TGF-beta1 in maintaining their proliferation and undifferentiated status. Our data also reveal the usefulness of the SP assay to identify and isolate MSC cells from carcinomas.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2009 · Experimental Cell Research
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    ABSTRACT: It is well known that estrogens regulate cell cycle progression, but the specific contributions and mechanisms of action of the estrogen receptor beta (ERbeta) remain elusive. We have analyzed the levels of ERbeta1 and ERbeta2 throughout the cell cycle, as well as the mechanisms of action and the consequences of the over-expression of ERbeta1 in the human prostate cancer LNCaP cell line. Both ERbeta1 mRNA and protein expression increased from the G1 to the S phase and decreased before entering the G2/M phase, whereas ERbeta2 levels decreased during the S phase and increased in the G2/M phase. ERbeta1 protein was detected in both the nuclear and non-nuclear fractions, and ERbeta2 was found exclusively in the nucleus. Regarding the mechanisms of action, endogenous ERbeta was able to activate transcription via ERE during the S phase in a ligand-dependent manner, whereas no changes in AP1 and NFkappaB transactivation were observed after exposure to estradiol or the specific inhibitor ICI 182,780. Over-expression of either wild type ERbeta1 or ERbeta1 mutated in the DNA-binding domain caused an arrest in early G1. This arrest was accompanied by the interaction of over-expressed ERbeta1 with c-Jun N-terminal protein kinase 1 (JNK1) and a decrease in c-Jun phosphorylation and cyclin D1 expression. The administration of ICI impeded the JNK1-ERbeta1 interaction, increased c-Jun phosphorylation and cyclin D1 expression and allowed the cells to progress to late G1, where they became arrested. Our results demonstrate that, in LNCaP prostate cancer cells, both ERbeta isoforms are differentially expressed during the cell cycle and that ERbeta regulates the G1 phase by a non-genomic mechanism.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2008 · Cellular oncology: the official journal of the International Society for Cellular Oncology

Publication Stats

384 Citations
56.77 Total Impact Points


  • 2011
    • National Centre of Competence in Research LIVES
      Lausanne, Vaud, Switzerland
  • 2008-2010
    • University Hospital Vall d'Hebron
      • Institut de Recerca
      Barcino, Catalonia, Spain
  • 2009
    • University of Barcelona
      Barcino, Catalonia, Spain