[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We identified the specific role of vaccinia-related kinase 1 (VRK1) in the progression of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and evaluated its therapeutic and prognostic potential. VRK1 levels were significantly higher in HCC cell lines than a normal hepatic cell line, and were higher in HCC than non-tumor tissue. VRK1 knockdown inhibited the proliferation of SK-Hep1, SH-J1 and Hep3B cells; moreover, depletion of VRK1 suppressed HCC tumor growth in vivo. We also showed that VRK1 knockdown increased the number of G1 arrested cells by decreasing cyclin D1 and p-Rb while upregulating p21 and p27, and that VRK1 depletion downregulated phosphorylation of CREB, a transcription factor regulating CCND1. Additionally, we found that luteolin, a VRK1 inhibitor, suppressed HCC growth in vitro and in vivo, and that the aberrant VRK1 expression correlated with poor prognostic features of HCC. High levels of VRK1 were associated with shorter overall and disease-free survival and higher recurrence rates. Taken together, our findings suggest VRK1 may act as a tumor promoter by controlling the level of cell cycle regulators associated with G1/S transition and could potentially serve as a therapeutic target and/or prognostic biomarker for HCC.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite a low risk of liver failure and preserved liver function, non-cirrhotic hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) has a poor prognosis. In the current study, we evaluated an active regulator of SIRT1 (AROS) as a prognostic biomarker in non-cirrhotic HCC. mRNA levels of AROS were measured in tumor and non-tumor tissues obtained from 283 non-cirrhotic HCC patients. AROS expression was exclusively up-regulated in recurrent tissues from the non-cirrhotic HCC patients (P = 0.015) and also in tumor tissues irrespective of tumor stage (P < 0.001) or BCLC stage (P < 0.001). High mRNA levels of AROS were statistically significantly associated with tumor stage (P < 0.001), BCLC stage (P = 0.007), alpha fetoprotein (AFP) level (P = 0.013), microvascular invasion (P = 0.001), tumor size (P = 0.036), and portal vein invasion (P = 0.005). Kaplan-Meir curve analysis demonstrated that HCC patients with higher AROS levels had shorter disease-free survival (DFS) in both the short-term (P < 0.001) and long-term (P = 0.005) compared to those with low AROS. Cox regression analysis demonstrated that AROS is a significant predictor for DFS along with large tumor size, tumor multiplicity, vascular invasion, and poor tumor differentiation, which are the known prognostic factors. In conclusion, AROS is a significant biomarker for tumor aggressiveness in non-cirrhotic hepatocellular carcinoma.
Full-text · Article · Sep 2015 · Journal of Korean medical science
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The three-dimensional structures of the wild-type Pseudomonas putida ketosteroid isomerase (KSI-WT) and its single mutant KSI-Y57S were studied in solution for the first time using synchrotron X-ray scattering methods. The protein solutions were further analyzed using pulse field
gradient nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and ultracentrifugation analysis. The X-ray scattering profiles were extracted from the atomic crystal structures and analyzed. The KSI-WT solution structure differed in size and shape from the structure observed in the crystal form. In solution,
the KSI-WT structure included an open cavity around the active site. This feature might be essential for the catalytic performance. The structure of KSI-WT changed upon introduction of a single mutation (the Tyr57 of KSI-WT was replaced with a serine residue). This single mutation was found
to reduce the size and shape of the KSI-WT structure. However, the open cavity around the active site was abnormally enlarged in the presence of the single mutation. The changes in the size and shape might directly correlate with the large decrease in the catalytic performance of KSI-Y57S.
No preview · Article · Nov 2014 · Science of Advanced Materials
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Uncontrolled proliferation, a major feature of cancer cells, is often triggered by the malfunction of cell cycle regulators such as protein kinases. Recently, cell cycle-related protein kinases have become attractive targets for anti-cancer therapy, because they play fundamental roles in cellular proliferation. However, the protein kinase-targeted drugs that have been developed so far do not show impressive clinical results and also display severe side effects; therefore, there is undoubtedly a need to investigate new drugs targeting other protein kinases that are critical in cell cycle progression. Vaccinia-related kinase 1 (VRK1) is a mitotic kinase that functions in cell cycle regulation by phosphorylating cell cycle-related substrates such as barrier-to-autointegration factor (BAF), histone H3, and the cAMP response element (CRE)-binding protein (CREB). In our study, we identified luteolin as the inhibitor of VRK1 by screening a small-molecule natural compound library. Here, we evaluated the efficacy of luteolin as a VRK1-targeted inhibitor for developing an effective anti-cancer strategy. We confirmed that luteolin significantly reduces VRK1-mediated phosphorylation of the cell cycle-related substrates BAF and histone H3, and directly interacts with the catalytic domain of VRK1. In addition, luteolin regulates cell cycle progression by modulating VRK1 activity, leading to the suppression of cancer cell proliferation and the induction of apoptosis. Therefore, our study suggests that luteolin-induced VRK1 inhibition may contribute to establish a novel cell cycle-targeted strategy for anti-cancer therapy.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sirtuins are NAD+-dependent deacetylases that regulate a range of cellular processes. Although diverse functions of sirtuins have been proposed, those functions of SIRT6 and SIRT7 which are mediated by their interacting proteins remain elusive. In the present study, we identified SIRT6- and SIRT7-interacting proteins, and compared their interactomes to investigate functional links. Our interactomes revealed 136 interacting proteins for SIRT6 and 233 for SIRT7 while confirming 7 and 111 proteins identified previously for SIRT6 and SIRT7, respectively. Comparison of SIRT6 and SIRT7 interactomes under the same experimental conditions disclosed 111 shared proteins, implying related functional links. The interaction networks of interactomes indicated biological processes associated with DNA repair, chromatin assembly and aging. Interactions of two highly acetylated proteins, nucleophosmin (NPM1) and nucleolin, with SIRT6 and SIRT7 were confirmed by co-immunoprecipitation. NPM1 was found to be deacetylated by both SIRT6 and SIRT7. In senescent cells, the acetylation level of NPM1 was increased in conjunction with decreased levels of SIRT6 and SIRT7, suggesting that the acetylation of NPM1 could be regulated by SIRT6 and SIRT7 in the aging process. Our comparative interactomic study of SIRT6 and SIRT7 implies important functional links to aging by their associations with interacting proteins.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Purpose:
Although transcatheter arterial chemoembolization (TACE) is the most common treatment option in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), its clinical benefits remain still controversial. Since TACE induces hypoxic necrosis in tumors, hypoxia-inducible factor 1α (HIF-1α) could critically affect biology in residual tumors after TACE treatment and subsequent prognosis. However, HIF-1α and its prognostic relevance in TACE have rarely been examined in human specimens. In the current study, we investigated the prognosis and expression of genes regulated by HIF-1α in HCC patients receiving preoperative TACE for the first time.
In total, 35 patients with HCC (10 patients undergoing preoperative TACE) were retrospectively studied. The prognostic significance of TACE was analyzed using Kaplan-Meier and Cox regression models. Protein levels of HIF-1α and mRNA levels of HIF-1α-associated genes were examined using immunohistochemistry (IHC) and real-time RT-PCR, respectively.
Preoperative TACE was significantly associated with increased 2-year recurrence rate (80 vs. 36 %, P = 0.00402) and shorter disease-free survival (DFS) time (11.9 vs. 35.7 months, P = 0.0182). TACE was an independent prognostic factor for recurrence (P = 0.007) and poor DFS (P = 0.010) in a multivariate analysis. Immunohistochemical staining revealed in vivo activation of HIF-1α in human specimens treated with TACE. Notably, protein levels of HIF-1α were significantly increased in TACE tissues demonstrated by IHC. Transcriptional targets of HIF-1α showed mRNA expression patterns consistent with activation of HIF-1α in TACE tissues.
Our findings collectively demonstrate that preoperative TACE confers poor prognosis in HCC patients through activation of HIF-1α.
Full-text · Article · May 2014 · Journal of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We analyzed the enzymatic profiles of on-chip DNA ligation as we controlled the lateral spacing of surface-immobilized DNA substrates using dendron molecules with different sizes at the nanoscale. Enzymatic on-chip DNA ligation was performed on the dendron-coated surface within 20 min with no need for post-ligation gel electrophoresis. The enzymatic DNA repair was assessed by the fluorescence intensity at the repaired DNA duplex after thermally dissociating the unligated Cy3-labeled DNA from the DNA duplex, in which the Cy3-labeled DNA was hybridized prior to the on-chip DNA ligation. The rate of the nick-sealing reaction on the 27-acid dendron surface was 3-fold higher than that on the 9-acid dendron surface, suggesting that the wider lateral spacing determined by the larger dendron molecule could facilitate the access of DNA ligase to the nick site. The performance of on-chip DNA ligation was dropped to 10% and 3% when the nick was replaced by one- and two-nucleotide-long gaps, respectively. The 5' terminal phosphorylation of DNA strands by polynucleotide kinase and the on-chip DNA cleavage by endonucleases were also quantitatively monitored throughout the on-chip DNA ligation on the dendron-coated surface. A better understanding of the enzymatic kinetics of on-chip DNA ligation will contribute to a more reliable performance of various on-chip DNA ligation-based assays.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The effectiveness of molecular targeted agents is modest in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Efficacy of molecular targeted therapies has been better in cancer patients with high expression of actionable molecules defined as cognate target molecules. However, patient stratification based on the actionable molecules dictating the effectiveness of targeted drugs has remained understudied in HCC. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN & RESULTS: Paired tumor and non-tumoral tissues derived from a total of 130 HCC patients were studied. Real-time RT-PCR was used to analyze the mRNA expression of actionable molecules in the tissues. mRNA levels of EGFR, VEGFR2, PDGFRβ, FGFR1, and mTOR were up-regulated in tumors compared to non-tumors in 35.4, 42.3, 61.5, 24.6, and 50.0% of patients, respectively. Up-regulation of EGFR was observed at early stage and tended to gradually decrease toward late stages (BCLC stage A: 41.9%; B: 30.8%; C: 17.6%). Frequency of VEGFR2 expression in tumors at stage C was lower than that in the other stages (BCLC stage A: 45.9%; B: 41.0%; C: 29.4%). PDGFRβ and mTOR were observed to be up-regulated in more than 50% of tumors in all the stages whereas FGFR1 was up-regulated in only about 20% of HCC irrespective of stages. A cluster analysis of actionable gene expression revealed that HCC can be categorized into different subtypes that predict the effectiveness of molecular targeted agents and combination therapies in clinical trials. Analysis of in vitro sensitivity to sorafenib demonstrated that HCC cells with up-regulation of PDGFRβ and c-Raf mRNA are more susceptible to sorafenib treatment in a dose and time-dependent manner than cells with low expression of the genes.
mRNA expression analysis of actionable molecules could provide the rationale for new companion diagnostics-based therapeutic strategies in the treatment of HCC.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Proteins have evolved to compensate for detrimental mutations. However, compensatory mechanisms for protein defects are not well understood. Using ketosteroid isomerase (KSI), we investigated how second-site mutations could recover defective mutant function and stability. Previous results revealed that the Y30F mutation rescued the Y14F, Y55F and Y14F/Y55F mutants by increasing the catalytic activity by 23-, 3- and 1.3-fold, respectively, and the Y55F mutant by increasing the stability by 3.3 kcal/mol. To better understand these observations, we systematically investigated detailed structural and thermodynamic effects of the Y30F mutation on these mutants. Crystal structures of the Y14F/Y30F and Y14F/Y55F mutants were solved at 2.0 and 1.8 Å previoulsy solved structures of wild-type and other mutant KSIs. Structural analyses revealed that the Y30F mutation partially restored the active-site cleft of these mutant KSIs. The Y30F mutation also increased Y14F and Y14F/Y55F mutant stability by 3.2 and 4.3 kcal/mol, respectively, and the melting temperatures of the Y14F, Y55F and Y14F/Y55F mutants by 6.4°C, 5.1°C and 10.0°C, respectively. Compensatory effects of the Y30F mutation on stability might be due to improved hydrophobic interactions because removal of a hydroxyl group from Tyr30 induced local compaction by neighboring residue movement and enhanced interactions with surrounding hydrophobic residues in the active site. Taken together, our results suggest that perturbed active-site geometry recovery and favorable hydrophobic interactions mediate the role of Y30F as a second-site suppressor.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The molecular basis underlying the physiologically well-defined orexigenic function of glucocorticoid (Gc) is unclear. Brain-specific
homeobox factor (Bsx) is a positive regulator of the orexigenic neuropeptide, agouti-related peptide (AgRP), in AgRP neurons
of the hypothalamic arcuate nucleus. Here, we show that in response to fasting-elevated Gc levels, Gc receptor (GR) and Bsx
synergize to direct activation of AgRP transcription. This synergy is dictated by unique sequence features in a novel Gc response element in AgRP (AgRP-GRE). In contrast to AgRP-GRE, Bsx suppresses transactivation directed by many conventional GREs, functioning as a
gene context-dependent modulator of GR actions or a target selector for GR. Consistent with this finding, AgRP-GRE drives
fasting-dependent activation of a target gene specifically in GR+ Bsx+ AgRP neurons. These results define AgRP as a common orexigenic target gene of GR and Bsx and provide an opportunity to identify their additional common targets,
facilitating our understanding of the molecular basis underlying the orexigenic activity of Gc and Bsx.
Full-text · Article · May 2013 · Molecular and Cellular Biology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nanotechnology has been applied to the development of more effective and compatible drug delivery systems for therapeutic proteins. Human growth hormone (hGH) was fused with a hybrid Fc fragment containing partial Fc domains of human IgD and IgG4 to produce a long-acting fusion protein. The fusion protein, hGH-hyFc, resulted in the increase of the hydrodynamic diameter (ca. 11 nm) compared with the diameter (ca. 5 nm) of the recombinant hGH. A diblock copolymer membrane with nanopores (average diameter of 14.3 nm) exhibited a constant release rate of hGH-hyFc. The hGH-hyFc protein released in a controlled manner for one month was found to trigger the phosphorylation of Janus kinase 2 (JAK2) in human B lymphocyte and to exhibit an almost identical circular dichroism spectrum to that of the original hGH-hyFc, suggesting that the released fusion protein should maintain the functional and structural integrity of hGH. Thus, the nanoporous release device could be a potential delivery system for the long-term controlled release of therapeutic proteins fused with the hybrid Fc fragment.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We independently controlled surface topography and wettability of polystyrene (PS) films by CF4 and oxygen plasma treatments, respectively, to evaluate the adhesion and proliferation of human fetal osteoblastic (hFOB) cells on the films. Among the CF4 plasma-treated PS films with the average surface roughness ranging from 0.9 to 70nm, the highest adhesion of hFOB cells was observed on a PS film with roughness of ~11nm. When this film was additionally treated by oxygen plasma to provide a hydrophilic surface with a contact angle less than 10°, the proliferation of bone-forming cell was further enhanced. Thus, the plasma-based independent modification of PS film into an optimum nanotexture for human osteoblast cells could be appplied to materials used in bone tissue engineering.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: REST is a neuronal gene silencing factor ubiquitously expressed in non-neuronal tissues. REST is additionally believed to serve as a tumor suppressor in non-neuronal cancers. Conversely, recent findings on REST-dependent tumorigenesis in non-neuronal cells consistently suggest a potential role of REST as a tumor promoter. Here, we have uncovered for the first time the mechanism by which REST contributes to cancer cell survival in non-neuronal cancers. We observed abundant expression of REST in various types of non-neuronal cancer cells compared to normal tissues. The delicate roles of REST were further evaluated in HCT116 and HeLa, non-neuronal cancer cell lines expressing REST. REST silencing resulted in decreased cell survival and activation of the DNA damage response (DDR) through a decrease in the level of TRF2, a telomere-binding protein. These responses were correlated with reduced colony formation ability and accelerated telomere shortening in cancer cells upon the stable knockdown of REST. Interestingly, REST was down-regulated under oxidative stress conditions via ubiquitin proteasome system, suggesting that sustainability of REST expression is critical to determine cell survival during oxidative stress in a tumor microenvironment. Our results collectively indicate that REST-dependent TRF2 expression renders cancer cells resistant to DNA damage during oxidative stress, and mechanisms to overcome oxidative stress, such as high levels of REST or the stress-resistant REST mutants found in specific human cancers, may account for REST-dependent tumorigenesis.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2013 · International Journal of Cancer
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BNIP3 (BCL2/adenovirus E1B 19 kDa interacting protein 3) is an atypical BH3-only protein that is induced by hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF1) under hypoxia. BNIP3 is primarily regulated at the transcriptional level. However, little is known about the underlying mechanism of BNIP3 degradation. In this study, we found that BNIP3 was downregulated when hypoxia was accompanied by amino acid starvation. The BNIP3 downregulation did not occur at the transcription level and was independent of HIF1A. BNIP3 was primarily degraded by the proteasome, but BNIP3 was subjected to both proteasomal and autophagic degradation in response to starvation. The autophagic degradation of BNIP3 was dependent on ATG7 and MAP1LC3. We determined that autophagic degradation of BNIP3 was specifically regulated by ULK1 via the MTOR-AMPK pathway. Moreover, we confirmed that BNIP3 could play a protective role in tumor cells under hypoxia, and the treatment with Torin1, an MTOR inhibitor, decreased the BNIP3 level and enhanced the death of hypoxic tumor cells.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Targeting specific molecules is a promising cancer treatment because certain types of cancer cells are dependent on specific oncogenes. This strategy led to the development of therapeutics that employ monoclonal antibodies or small molecule inhibitors. However, the continued development of novel molecular targeting inhibitors is required to target the various oncogenes associated with the diverse types and stages of cancer. Obtusilactone B is a butanolide derivative purified from Machilus thunbergii. Here, we show that obtusilactone B functions as a small molecule inhibitor, that causes abnormal nuclear envelope dynamics and inhibits growth by suppressing vaccinia-related kinase 1 (VRK1)-mediated phosphorylation of barrier-to-autointegration factor (BAF). BAF is important in maintaining lamin integrity, which is closely associated with diseases that include cancer. Specific binding of obtusilactone B to BAF suppressed VRK1-mediated BAF phosphorylation and the subsequent dissociation of the nuclear envelope from DNA that allows cells to progress through the cell cycle. Obtusilactone B potently induced tumor cell death in vitro, indicating that specific targeting of BAF to block cell cycle progression can be an effective anti-cancer strategy. Our results demonstrate that targeting a major constituent of the nuclear envelope may be a novel and promising alternative approach to cancer treatment.
Preview · Article · Nov 2012 · Molecular pharmacology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cholangiocarcinoma (CC) is a malignant epithelium neoplasm that originates from the bile epithelium and for which there are few therapeutic strategies. The mTOR pathway involved in many cellular processes was reported to be up-regulated in various cancers. We investigated the activation of the AKT/mTOR pathway in CC cell lines with different degrees of dedifferentiation and found that rapamycin could suppress the motility and the peritoneal dissemination of sarcomatoid SCK cells. Inhibition of the mTOR pathway with rapamycin decreased significantly the number of tumor nodules and prolonged the survival rates of nude mice inoculated with sarcomatoid CC cells. Prolonged treatments with rapamycin were found to disrupt the mTORC2 assembly and to reduce the phosphorylation of STAT3 at Ser 727. Rapamycin decreased both mRNA and protein levels of MMP2 and Twist1, which are regulated by STAT3 and associated with cancer metastasis. The overexpression of STAT3 S727A lacking the phosphorylation site resulted in significantly less sensitivity to rapamycin than the overexpression of STAT3 WT. Taken together, our results suggest that rapamycin could suppress the motility of sarcomatoid CC by down-regulating p-STAT3 (S727) through the impairment of mTORC2 assembly.
Full-text · Article · Aug 2012 · Clinical and Experimental Metastasis
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nick-sealing of a single DNA duplex was studied with the use of atomic force microscopy (AFM). To form a nick between a 47 mer DNA and a 24 mer DNA, the complementary 71 mer template DNA immobilized on an AFM tip was hybridized with the 47 mer DNA and brought into contact with the 24 mer DNA on a substrate surface. The AFM tip and substrate surface were modified with dendron molecules to ensure the formation of a single DNA duplex. When a single nick in the DNA duplex was sealed by DNA ligase during a pause, an increase in the unbinding force was observed after the pause. The change from 24.0 ± 4.4 piconewtons (pN) to 62.8 ± 14.6 pN matched well with the resulting DNA length (71 bp). Additionally, a 30 s pause showed a 3-fold higher nick-sealing probability (60%) than a 10 s pause, while the probability did not increase with a 120 s pause. In the presence of free 47 mer DNAs in solution, the single nick-sealing event could be repeated at other positions.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are extremely rare in peripheral blood, and they are mostly derived from primary and metastatic epithelial tumors. Recent studies have reported that the presence of CTCs is an independent predictor of progression-free survival and overall survival of metastatic cancer patients, and is proportional to the progression of the disease when a carcinoma recurs. Because of the extremely low concentration of CTCs in peripheral blood (1–2 per 10 billion blood cells), the isolation and characterization of CTCs are major technological challenges. Recent micro-/nano-based technical advances are providing new opportunities for the isolation of purer CTCs from peripheral blood and better cellular and molecular characterization. This review focuses on available micro-/nano-based techniques for the detection of CTCs, clinical utilities of CTCs and their limitations, and future perspectives in this field.
No preview · Article · Jun 2012 · Biomedical Engineering Letters
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hyaluronic acid (HA) is one of the major components of extracellular matrix (ECM). Keratinocyte and fibroblast are known to have HA receptors in the skin. Fibroblast also has human growth hormone (hGH) receptors. In this work, HA-hGH conjugate was developed as a receptor mediated transdermal delivery system of protein drugs. HA-hGH conjugate was synthesized by specific coupling reaction between aldehyde modified HA and the N-terminal amine group of hGH. We could confirm the proliferative effect of HA on keratinocyte and fibroblast, and the biological activity of HA-hGH conjugate in fibroblast with an elevated expression level of phosphorylated Janus kinase 2 (p-JAK2). Interestingly, fluorescence microscopy clearly visualized the dramatically enhanced penetration of HA-hGH conjugate through the dorsal skin of mice after topical treatment with FITC labeled HA-hGH conjugate. According to pharmacokinetic analysis, HA-hGH conjugate appeared to be delivered through the skin into the blood stream possibly by the receptor mediated transdermal delivery. This work confirms the feasibility of using the HA-hGH conjugate as a model system for the receptor mediated transdermal delivery of protein drugs and their further exploitation for various cosmetic and tissue engineering applications.