Edward D Owuor

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Нью-Брансуик, New Jersey, United States

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Publications (10)41.05 Total impact

  • Young-Sam Keum · Edward D Owuor · Bok-Ryang Kim · Rong Hu · A N Tony Kong
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    ABSTRACT: Phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC) has been of great interest as a promising cancer chemopreventive agent. To better understand its chemopreventive activity, we examined the effect of PEITC on the antioxidant responsive element (ARE), which is an important gene regulatory element of many phase II drug-metabolizing/detoxification enzymes as well as cellular defensive enzymes. HeLa cells were transiently transfected with different cDNA plasmids using calcium phosphate precipitation. Subsequently, the cells were maintained in fresh media, and various concentrations of PEITC were added to the transfected cells. After harvesting and lysing of the cells, ARE-luciferase reporter gene activity was measured and normalized against beta-galactosidase activity. Treatments of HeLa cells with PEITC transiently stimulated ARE-reporter gene expressions in a dose-dependent manner. Overexpression of wild-type NF-E2 related factor-2 (Nrf2) dramatically increased ARE-reporter gene expression in a dose-dependent manner. Similar effects were seen when wild-type c-Jun N-terminal kinase 1 (JNK1) was transfected, although the transactivating potential of JNK1 was much less than that of Nrf2. Cotransfection of Nrf2 and JNK1 showed additional enhancement of ARE reporter gene expression, implying that JNK1 might be an upstream activator of Nrf2. To support this, overexpression of dominant-negative JNK1 suppressed Nrf2-induced ARE reporter gene expression in a dose-dependent manner. When PEITC was added, slight enhancement of ARE reporter gene expression was observed in either Nrf2- or JNK1-transfected cells. Finally, ARE reporter activity induced by PEITC was substantially attenuated by transfection of either dominant-negative mutant of Nrf2 or dominant-negative mutant of JNK1. Taken together, these data suggest that JNK1 acts as an upstream activator of Nrf2 and that PEITC activates ARE-mediated phase II drug metabolism gene expressions via the JNK1- and Nrf2-dependent pathways.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2003 · Pharmaceutical Research
  • Chi Chen · Guoxiang Shen · Vidya Hebbar · Rong Hu · Edward D Owuor · A-N Tony Kong
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    ABSTRACT: Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), a major component in green tea polyphenols, has been proven to suppress colonic tumorigenesis in animal models and epidemiological studies. As EGCG is retained in the gastrointestinal tract after oral administration, this pharmacokinetics property gives it the potential to function as a chemopreventive agent against colon cancer. In this study, human colorectal carcinoma HT-29 cells were treated with EGCG to examine the anti-proliferative and pro-apoptotic effects of EGCG, as well as the molecular mechanism underlying these effects. Cell viability assay, nuclear staining, DNA fragmentation, caspase assay, cytochrome c release, DiOC6(3) staining, mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK) phosphorylation and trypan blue exclusion assays, were utilized to dissect the signaling pathways induced by EGCG. After 36 h treatment, EGCG inhibited HT-29 cell growth with an IC50 of approximately 100 microM. HT-29 cells treated with doses higher than 100 microM showed apparent nuclear condensation and fragmentation, which was confirmed by DNA laddering. Caspase-3 and -9 activation was detected after 12 h treatment, accompanied by mitochondrial transmembrane potential transition and cytochrome c release. Activation of MAPKs was detected as early signaling event elicited by EGCG. Inhibition of c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) pathway showed the involvement of JNK in EGCG-induced cytochrome c release and cell death. EGCG-induced JNK activation was blocked by the antioxidants glutathione and N-acetyl-l-cysteine, suggesting that the cell death signaling was potentially triggered by oxidative stress. In summary, our results from this study suggest that in HT-29 human colon cancer cells (i) EGCG treatment causes damage to mitochondria, and (ii) JNK mediates EGCG-induced apoptotic cell death.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2003 · Carcinogenesis
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    ABSTRACT: Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR)-binding protein (PBP) is an important coactivator for PPARgamma and other transcription factors. PBP is an integral component of a multiprotein thyroid hormone receptor-associated protein (TRAP)/vitamin D(3) receptor-interacting protein (DRIP)/activator-recruited cofactor (ARC) complex required for transcriptional activity. To study the regulation of PBP by cellular signaling pathways, we identified the phosphorylation sites of PBP. Using a combination of in vitro and in vivo approaches and mutagenesis of PBP phosphorylation sites, we identified six phosphorylation sites on PBP: one exclusive protein kinase A (PKA) phosphorylation site at serine 656, two protein kinase C (PKC) sites at serine 796 and serine 1345, a common PKA/PKC site at serine 756, and two extracellular signal-regulated kinase 2 sites of the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) family at threonine 1017 and threonine 1444. Binding of PBP to PPARgamma1 or retinoid-X-receptor for 9-cis-retinoic acid (RXR) is independent of their phosphorylation states, implying no changes in protein-protein interaction after modification by phosphorylation. Overexpression of RafBXB, an activated upstream kinase of the MAPK signal transduction pathway, exerts a significant additive inductive effect on PBP coactivator function. This effect is significantly diminished by overexpression of RafBXB301, a dominant negative mutant of RafBXB. These results identify phosphorylation as a regulatory modification event of PBP and demonstrate that PBP phosphorylation by Raf/MEK/MAPK cascade exerts a positive effect on PBP coactivator function. The functional role of PKA and PKC phosphorylation sites in PBP remains to be elucidated.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2003 · Journal of Biological Chemistry
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    Edward D Owuor · Ah-Ng Tony Kong

    Preview · Article · Nov 2002 · Biochemical Pharmacology
  • Edward D Owuor · Ah-Ng Tony Kong
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    ABSTRACT: Many drugs and xenobiotics induce signal transduction events leading to gene expression of either pharmacologically beneficial effects, or unwanted side effects such as cytotoxicity which can compromise drug therapy. Using dietary chemopreventive compounds (isothiocyanates and green tea polyphenols), which are effective against various chemically-induced carcinogenesis models in animals studies, we studied the signal transduction events and gene expression profiles. These compounds have typically generated cellular "oxidative stress" and modulated gene expression including phase II detoxifying enzymes GST and QR as well as cellular defensive enzymes, heme oxygenase 1 (HO-1) and GST via the antioxidant/electrophile response element (ARE/EpRE). Members of the bZIP transcription factor, Nrf2 which heterodimerizes with Maf G/K, were found to bind to ARE, and transcriptionally activate ARE. Additionally the mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK; ERK, JNK and p38) were differentially activated by these compounds, and involved in the transcriptional activation of ARE-mediated reporter gene. Transfection studies with various cDNA encoding for wild-type of MAPK and Nrf2 showed synergistic response during co-transfection and to these agents. However, by increasing the concentrations of these xenobiotics, caspase activities and apoptosis were observed which were preceded by mitochondria damage and cytochrome c mitochondria release. Further, increased concentrations led to rapid cell necrosis. [corrected] Thus, we have proposed a model, that at low concentrations, these compounds activate MAPK pathway leading to activation of Nrf2 and ARE with subsequent induction of phase II and other defensive genes which protect cells against toxic insults thereby enhancing cell survival, a beneficial homeostatic response. At higher concentrations, these agents activate the caspase pathways, leading to apoptosis, a potential cytotoxic effect if it occurred in normal cells. The studies of these signaling pathways may yield important insights into the pharmacodynamic and toxicodynamic effects of drugs and xenobiotics during pharmaceutical drug discovery and development.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2002 · Biochemical Pharmacology
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    ABSTRACT: Many chemopreventive agents have been shown to modulate gene expression including induction of phase II detoxifying enzymes, such as glutathione S-transferases (GST) and quinone reductases (QR). Induction of phase II enzymes in general leads to protection of cells/tissues against exogenous and/or endogenous carcinogenic intermediates. The antioxidant or electrophile response element (ARE/EpRE) found at the 5′-flanking region of these phase II genes may play important role in mediating their induction by xenobiotics including chemopreventive agents. Members of the basic leucine zipper (bZIP) transcription factor, Nrf2 which heterodimerizes with Maf G/K, are found to bind to the ARE, and transcriptionally-activated ARE. Recently, we showed that the mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK) were activated by phase II gene inducers such as phenolic antioxidant butylated hydroxyanisol (BHA) and isothiocyanate sulforaphane (SUL), and involved in the transcription activation of ARE-mediated reporter gene. Transfection studies with wild-type and dominant negative mutants of Nrf2 and MAPK showed synergistic response during co-transfection as well as to phase II gene inducers. However, increasing the concentrations of these compounds such as BHA, the activities of cell death signaling molecules, caspases, were stimulated and resulted in apoptotic cell death. At these concentrations, BHA stimulated loss of mitochondrial membrane potential, cytochrome c release, and activation of caspase 3, 8 and 9 preceding apoptosis. Further increase in concentrations led to rapid cell necrosis. A model is proposed for BHA and SUL, in that at low concentrations, these potential chemopreventive agents may modulate MAPK pathway leading to transcription activation of Nrf2 and ARE with subsequent induction of cellular defensive enzymes including phase II detoxifying enzymes as well as other defensive genes, which may protect the cells against cellular injury, which is a homeostatic response. At higher concentrations, these agents may activate the caspase pathways, leading to apoptosis, a potential beneficial effect if occurs at preneoplastic/neoplastic tissues, but a potential cytotoxic response if occurs in normal tissues. On the other hand, some phenolic compounds such as resveratrol inhibits TPA- or UV-induced AP-1-mediated activity through the inhibition of c-Src non-receptor tyrosine kinase and MAPK pathways. It is possible that in proliferating or stimulated cells, these chemopreventive compounds may block proliferation by inhibiting these signaling kinases, whereas in non-proliferating or quiescent cells, some of these compounds may activate these signaling kinases leading to gene expression of cellular defensive enzymes such as phase II detoxifying enzymes. The studies of these and other signaling pathways may yield insights into the development of potential chemopreventive compounds.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2001 · Mutation Research/Fundamental and Molecular Mechanisms of Mutagenesis
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    ABSTRACT: Quinacrine (QU), a phospholipase-A2 (PLA-2) inhibitor has been used clinically as a chemotherapeutic adjuvant. To understand the mechanisms leading to its chemotherapeutic effect, we have investigated QU-induced apoptotic signaling pathways in human cervical squamous carcinoma HeLa cells. In this study, we found that QU induced cytochrome c-dependent apoptotic signaling. The release of pro-apoptotic cytochrome c was QU concentration- and time-dependent, and preceded activation of caspase-9 and -3. Flow cytometric FACScan analysis using fluorescence intensities of DiOC6 demonstrated that QU-induced cytochrome c release was independent of mitochondrial permeability transition (MPT), since the concentrations of QU that induced cytochrome c release did not alter mitochondrial membrane potential (delta pai(m)). Moreover, kinetic analysis of caspase activities showed that cytochrome c release led to the activation of caspase-9 and downstream death effector, caspase-3. Caspase-3 inhibitor (Ac-DEVD-CHO) partially blocked QU-induced apoptosis, suggesting the importance of caspase-3 in this apoptotic signaling mechanism. Supplementation with arachidonic acid (AA) sustained caspase-3 activation induced by QU. Using inhibitors against cellular arachidonate metabolism of lipooxygenase (Nordihydroxyguaiaretic Acid, NDGA) and cyclooxygenase (5,8,11,14-Eicosatetraynoic Acid, ETYA) demonstrated that QU-induced apoptotic signaling may be dependent on its role as a PLA-2 inhibitor. Interestingly, NDGA attenuated QU-induced cytochrome c release, caspase activity as well as apoptotic cell death. The blockade of cytochrome c release by NDGA was much more effective than that attained with cyclosporin A (CsA), a MPT inhibitor. ETYA was not effective in blocking cytochrome c release, except under very high concentrations. Caspase inhibitor z-VAD blocked the release of cytochrome c suggesting that this signaling event is caspase dependent, and caspase-8 activation may be upstream of the mitochondrial events. In summary, we report that QU induced cytochrome c-dependent apoptotic signaling cascade, which may be dependent on its role as a PLA-2 inhibitor. This apoptotic mechanism induced by QU may contribute to its known chemotherapeutic effects.
    No preview · Article · May 2001 · Archives of Pharmacal Research
  • Chi Chen · Rong Yu · Edward D. Owuor · A. -N. Tony Kong
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    ABSTRACT: Green tea polyphenols (GTP) have been demonstrated to suppress tumorigenesis in several chemical-induced animal carcinogenesis models, and predicted as promising chemopreventive agents in human. Recent studies of GTP extracts showed the involvement of mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) in the regulation of Phase II enzymes gene expression and induction of apoptosis. In the current work we compared the biological actions of five green tea catechins: (1) induction of ARE reporter gene, (2) activation of MAP kinases, (3) cytotoxicity in human hepatoma HepG2-C8 cells, and (4) caspase activation in human cervical squamous carcinoma HeLa cells. For the induction of phase II gene assay, (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) and (-)-epicatechin-3-gallate (ECG) potently induced antioxidant response element (ARE)-mediated luciferase activity, with induction observed at 25 microM with EGCG. The induction of ARE reporter gene appears to be structurally related to the 3-gallate group. Comparing the activation of MAPK by the five polyphenols, only EGCG showed potent activation of all three MAPKs (ERK, JNK and p38) in a dose- and time-dependent manner, whereas EGC activated ERK and p38. In the concentration range of 25 microM to 1 mM, EGCG and ECG strongly suppressed HepG2-ARE-C8 cell-growth. To elucidate the mechanisms of green tea polyphenol-induced apoptosis, we measured the activation of an important cell death protein, caspase-3 induced by EGCG, and found that caspase-3 was activated in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Interestingly, the activation of caspase-3 was a relatively late event (peaked at 16 h), whereas activation of MAPKs was much earlier (peaked at 2 h). It is possible, that at low concentrations of EGCG, activation of MAPK leads to ARE-mediated gene expression including phase II detoxifying enzymes. Whereas at higher concentrations of EGCG, sustained activation of MAPKs such as JNK leads to apoptosis. These mechanisms are currently under investigation in our laboratory. As the most abundant catechin in GTP extract, we found that EGCG potently induced ARE-mediated gene expression, activated MAP kinase pathway, stimulated caspase-3 activity, and induced apoptosis. These mechanisms together with others, may contribute to the overall chemopreventive function of EGCG itself as well as the GTP
    No preview · Article · Jan 2001 · Archives of Pharmacal Research
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    R Yu · C Chen · YY Mo · V Hebbar · E D Owuor · T. H. and Tan · A.-N. T. Kong
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    ABSTRACT: Antioxidant response element (ARE) regulates the induction of a number of cellular antioxidant and detoxifying enzymes. However, the signaling pathways that lead to ARE activation remain unknown. Here, we report that the expression of mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase/extracellular signal-regulated kinase kinase kinase 1 (MEKK1), transforming growth factor-beta-activated kinase (TAK1), and apoptosis signal-regulating kinase (ASK1) in HepG2 cells activated the ARE reporter gene, whereas the expression of their dominant-negative mutants impaired ARE activation by the chemicals sodium arsenite and mercury chloride. Coexpression of downstream kinases, MAP kinase kinase 4, MAP kinase kinase 6, and c-Jun NH(2)-terminal kinase-1, but not MAP kinase kinase 3 and p38, augmented ARE activation by MEKK1, TAK1, and ASK1. The coexpression of a basic leucine zipper transcription factor Nrf2 but not c-Jun also greatly enhanced the activation of reporter gene by MEKK1, TAK1, and ASK1; however, a dominant-negative mutant of Nrf2 (NF-E2-related factor 2) blocked this event. Furthermore, when overexpressed, MEKK1, TAK1, and ASK1 induced the expression of heme oxygenase-1, a gene regulated by ARE, and the cotransfection with the dominant-negative mutant of Nrf2 abolished the induction. Taken together, these results suggest that MAP kinase pathways that are activated by MEKK1, TAK1, and ASK1 may link chemical signals to Nrf2, leading to the activation of ARE-dependent genes.
    Preview · Article · Jan 2001 · Journal of Biological Chemistry
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    ABSTRACT: Cellular responses to xenobiotic-induced stress can signal proliferation, differentiation, homeostasis, apoptosis, or necrosis. To better understand the underlying molecular mechanisms after exposure to xenobiotics or drugs, we studied the signal transduction pathways, the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), and the basic leucine zipper transcription factor Nrf2, activated by different agents in the induction of Phase II drug metabolizing enzymes (DMEs). The MAPKs, characterized as proline-directed serine/threonine kinases, are essential components of signaling pathways that convert various extracellular signals into intracellular responses through serial phosphorylation cascades. Once activated, MAPKs can phosphorylate many transcription factors, such as c-Jun, ATF-2, and ultimately lead to changes in gene expression. Two classes of Phase II gene inducers, which are also cancer chemopreventive agents, were studied: (1) the phenolic antioxidants, namely butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and its active de-methylated metabolite t-butylhydroquinone (tBHQ), and phenolic flavonoids such as green tea polyphenols (GTP) and (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG); and (2) the naturally occurring isothiocyanates, namely phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC), and sulforaphane. BHA and tBHQ are both well-known phenolic antioxidants used as food preservatives, and strongly activate c-Jun N-terminal kinase 1 (JNK1), extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase 2 (ERK2), or p38, in a time- and dose-dependent fashion. Free radical scavengers N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC), or glutathione (GSH), inhibited ERK2 activation and, to a much lesser extent, JNK1 activation by BHA/tBHQ, implicating the role of oxidative stress. Under conditions where MAPKs were activated, BHA or GTP also activated ARE/EpRE (antioxidant/electrophile response element), with the induction of Phase II genes such as NQO. Transfection studies with various cDNAs encoding wild-type or dominant-negative mutants of MAPKs and/or transcription factor Nrf2, substantially modulated ARE-mediated luciferase reporter activity in the presence or absence of phenolic compounds. Other phytochemicals including PEITC, and sulforaphane, also differentially regulated the activities of MAPKs, Nrf2, and ARE-mediated luciferase reporter gene activity and Phase II enzyme induction. A model is proposed where these xenobiotics (BHA, tBHQ, GTP, EGCG, PEITC, sulforaphane) activate the MAPK pathway via an electrophilic-mediated stress response, leading to the transcription activation of Nrf2/Maf heterodimers on ARE/EpRE enhancers, with the subsequent induction of cellular defense/detoxifying genes including Phase II DMEs, which may protect the cells against toxic environmental insults and thereby enhance cell survival. The studies of these signaling pathways may yield insights into the fate of cells upon exposure to xenobiotics.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2001 · Drug Metabolism Reviews

Publication Stats

2k Citations
41.05 Total Impact Points


  • 2003
    • Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
      • Department of Chemical Biology
      Нью-Брансуик, New Jersey, United States
  • 2001
    • University of Illinois at Chicago
      • Center for Pharmaceutical Biotechnology
      Chicago, IL, United States