[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cancer stem cells (CSCs) contribute to tumour heterogeneity, therapy resistance and metastasis. However, the regulatory mechanisms of cancer cell stemness remain elusive. Here we identify PCNA-associated factor (PAF) as a key molecule that controls cancer cell stemness. PAF is highly expressed in breast cancer cells but not in mammary epithelial cells (MECs). In MECs, ectopic expression of PAF induces anchorage-independent cell growth and breast CSC marker expression. In mouse models, conditional PAF expression induces mammary ductal hyperplasia. Moreover, PAF expression endows MECs with a self-renewing capacity and cell heterogeneity generation via Wnt signalling. Conversely, ablation of endogenous PAF induces the loss of breast cancer cell stemness. Further cancer drug repurposing approaches reveal that NVP-AUY922 downregulates PAF and decreases breast cancer cell stemness. Our results unveil an unsuspected role of the PAF-Wnt signalling axis in modulating cell plasticity, which is required for the maintenance of breast cancer cell stemness.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2016 · Nature Communications
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Renal cell carcinomas (RCCs) are frequently occurring genitourinary malignancies in the aged population. A morphological characteristic of RCCs is an irregular nuclear shape, which is used to index cancer grades. Other features of RCCs include the genetic inactivation of the von Hippel-Lindau gene, VHL, and p53 genetic-independent inactivation. An aberrant nuclear shape or p53 suppression has not yet been demonstrated. We examined the effect of progerin (an altered splicing product of the LMNA gene linked to Hutchinson Gilford progeria syndrome; HGPS) on the nuclear deformation of RCCs in comparison to that of HGPS cells. In this study, we showed that progerin was suppressed by pVHL and was responsible for nuclear irregularities as well as p53 inactivation. Thus, progerin suppression can ameliorate nuclear abnormalities and reactivate p53 in response to genotoxic addition. Furthermore, we found that progerin was a target of pVHL E3 ligase and suppressed p53 activity by p14/ARF inhibition. Our findings indicate that the elevated expression of progerin in RCCs results from the loss of pVHL and leads to p53 inactivation through p14/ARF suppression. Interestingly, we showed that progerin was expressed in human leukemia and primary cell lines, raising the possibility that the expression of this LMNA variant may be a common event in age-related cancer progression.
No preview · Article · Jun 2013 · Cell cycle (Georgetown, Tex.)
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Parkinson's disease (PD) is the second leading neurodegenerative disease, and is known to be induced by environmental factors or genetic mutations. Among the verified genetic mutations of PD, Parkin, isolated from the PARK2 locus, shows an autosomal recessive inheritance pattern and is known to be an E3 ligase. However, the physiological target of Parkin and the molecular mechanism of Parkin-deficiency-induced PD have not been clearly demonstrated until now. It has recently been proposed that inflammation, suggesting as a causal factor for PD, is enhanced by Parkin deficiency. Thus, we examined the relationship between inflammation-related factors and Parkin. Here, we provide the evidence that Parkin suppresses inflammation and cytokine-induced cell death by promoting the proteasomal degradation of TRAF2/6 (TNF-α receptor-associated factor 2/6). Overexpression of Parkin can reduce the half-lives of TRAF2 and TRAF6, whereas si-Parkin can extend them. However, mutant Parkins did not alter the expression of TRAF2/6. Thus, loss of Parkin enhances sensitivity to TNF-α- or IL-1β-induced JNK activation and NF-κB activation. Indeed, si-Parkin-induced apoptosis is suppressed by the knockdown of TRAF6 or TRAF2. We also observed elevated expression levels of TRAF6 and a reduction of IκB in an 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine-induced PD mouse model. Moreover, elevated expression levels or aggregation of TRAF6 were detected in approximately half of the human PD tissues (7/15 cases) and 2 cases, respectively. In addition, TRAF6 and Parkin expression levels show a reverse relationship in human PD tissues. Our results strongly suggest that the reduction of Parkin or overexpression of TRAF2/6 by chronic inflammation would be the reason for occurrence of PD.Laboratory Investigation advance online publication, 22 April 2013; doi:10.1038/labinvest.2013.60.
No preview · Article · Apr 2013 · Laboratory Investigation
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Von Hippel-Lindau gene (VHL) is frequently deleted or mutated in human renal cell carcinoma (RCC) at the early stage. According to the well-established theory, pVHL acts as a tumor suppressor through its E3 ligase activity, which targets hypoxia-inducing factor-1α (HIF-1α). However, the elevated expression of HIF-1α did not promote cell proliferation, indicating that there would be another target, which could promote cell proliferation at the early cancer stage of RCC. In this study, we show that estrogen receptor-α (ER-α) is a novel proteasomal degradation target of the pVHL E3 ligase. Indeed, the overexpression of VHL suppresses exo- and endogenous ER-α expression, whereas si-pVHL can increase ER-α expression. The negative regulation of pVHL on ER-α expression is achieved by its E3 ligase activity. Thus, pVHL can promote the ER-α ubiquitinylation. In addition, we revealed that ER-α and HIF-1α are competitive substrates of pVHL. Thus, under normal conditions, ER-α overexpression can increase the transcription factor activity of HIF-1α. Under the hypoxic condition, where HIF-1α is not a suitable target of pVHL, ER-α is more rapidly degraded by pVHL. However, in VHL-deficient cells, the expression of ER-α and HIF-1α is retained, so that the hypoxic condition did not suppress cell proliferation obviously compared with cells that are expressing pVHL. Thus, blocking of ER-α using its inhibitor could suppress the proliferation of VHL-deficient cells as effectively as hypoxia-induced growth suppression. Considering our results, blocking of ER-α signaling in VHL-deficient cancer cells would be beneficial for cancer suppression. Indeed, we showed the anti-proliferative effect of Faslodex in VHL-deficient cells.
No preview · Article · Nov 2012 · Cell cycle (Georgetown, Tex.)
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The strong tumor suppressor p53 shows loss of function in large portion of human cancer. In addition to genetic mutation, biological function of p53 is suppressed by signaling distortion or elevated expression of p53 inhibitors (such as overexpression of MDM2 or deletion of p14/ARF). In this study, we demonstrate that K-Ras, a frequently altered oncogene in human cancers including pancreatic cancer (about 80%), colon cancer (45%) and lung cancer (45%), suppresses p53. Based on this fact, we perform Western blot analysis-based chemical screening to isolate a K-Ras-specific activator of p53. From 117 kinds of chemicals (34 kinds of natural compounds that are obtained from herbal plants, 53 kinds of flavonoid, and 31 kinds of phenolic compounds), we find that quercetin works as an activator of p53 in K-Ras mutated cells but not in wild-type cells. Treatment with quercetin can induce p53 target genes such as PUMA and p21. These results suggest that although quercetin has limitations for use as a therapeutic drug due to its broad effects, specific function of it on K-Ras-p53 may be useful for K-Ras-induced cancer prevention and therapy through further development.
Preview · Article · Jul 2009 · International Journal of Oncology