[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background: The 14-3-3 family is a group of intracellular proteins found in all eukaryotic organisms. Humans have seven isoforms that serve as scaffolds to promote interactions of regulatory phospho-proteins involved in many vital cellular processes and previous studies have shown that disturbances in native 14-3-3 levels can contribute significantly to the development of various cancers. Methods: DNA and RNA was extracted from frozen tissue samples collected by the Human Cooperative Tissue Network. RNA samples were reverse transcribed and subjected to qRT-PCR analysis using fluorescently labelled probes. Genomic DNA was treated with bisulfite and cloned into bacterial vectors for subsequent high-resolution sequencing. Mammalian NIH3T3 cells were transformed with 14-3-3 eta and Ras expression vectors synthesized from cDNA. Colonies were counted and transforming capability assessed after 21 days of growth. Cell lysates were analyzed by western blot to verify protein expression. Results: Here we examined normal and cancerous 14-3-3 expression levels of all seven isoforms in a cohort of sporadic colorectal adenocarcinomas and in a group of tumors and their matched normals using qRT-PCR analysis. We found a statistically significant decrease in the levels of 14-3-3 sigma, eta, and zeta observed among adenocarcinomas compared to normal tissue. A parallel analysis of microarray data from the TCGA dataset confirmed that expression of sigma and eta were down-regulated in colon tumors. To explore the mechanisms behind 14-3-3 expression changes, we examined the methylation status of the sigma, eta, and zeta gene promoters in selected samples. Our data identified novel CpG methylation sites in the eta promoter consistent with epigenetic silencing of both 14-3-3 sigma and eta isoforms during colon tumorigenesis. Because epigenetic silencing is the hallmark of a tumor suppressor we tested eta in focus formation assays and found that it is capable of suppressing ras-induced transformation of NIH3T3 cells. Conclusion: To our knowledge, this is the first study to identify the 14-3-3 eta gene as a tumor suppressor and that its expression is suppressed in colon tumors by DNA hypermethylation. These data suggest a link between 14-3-3 expression levels and the development of colon cancers.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A high-fat diet coincides with increased levels of bile acids. This increase in bile acids, particularly deoxycholic acid (DCA), has been strongly associated with the development of colon cancer. Conversely, ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) may have chemopreventive properties. Although structurally similar, DCA and UDCA present different biological and pathological effects in colon cancer progression. The differential regulation of cancer by these two bile acids is not yet fully understood. However, one possible explanation for their diverging effects is their ability to differentially regulate signaling pathways involved in the multistep progression of colon cancer, such as the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway. This review will examine the biological effects of DCA and UDCA on colon cancer development, as well as the diverging effects of these bile acids on the oncogenic signaling pathways that play a role in colon cancer development, with a particular emphasis on bile acid regulation of the EGFR-MAPK pathway.
No preview · Article · Jun 2014 · Digestive Diseases and Sciences
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
Numerous microarray-based prognostic gene expression signatures of primary neoplasms have been published but often with little concurrence between studies, thus limiting their clinical utility. We describe a methodology using logistic regression, which circumvents limitations of conventional Kaplan Meier analysis. We applied this approach to a thrice-analyzed and published squamous cell carcinoma (SQCC) of the lung data set, with the objective of identifying gene expressions predictive of early death versus long survival in early-stage disease. A similar analysis was applied to a data set of triple negative breast carcinoma cases, which present similar clinical challenges.
Important to our approach is the selection of homogenous patient groups for comparison. In the lung study, we selected two groups (including only stages I and II), equal in size, of earliest deaths and longest survivors. Genes varying at least four-fold were tested by logistic regression for accuracy of prediction (area under a ROC plot). The gene list was refined by applying two sliding-window analyses and by validations using a leave–one-out approach and model building with validation subsets. In the breast study, a similar logistic regression analysis was used after selecting appropriate cases for comparison.
A total of 8594 variable genes were tested for accuracy in predicting earliest deaths versus longest survivors in SQCC. After applying the two sliding window and the leave-one-out analyses, 24 prognostic genes were identified; most of them were B-cell related. When the same data set of stage I and II cases was analyzed using a conventional Kaplan Meier (KM) approach, we identified fewer immune-related genes among the most statistically significant hits; when stage III cases were included, most of the prognostic genes were missed. Interestingly, logistic regression analysis of the breast cancer data set identified many immune-related genes predictive of clinical outcome.
Stratification of cases based on clinical data, careful selection of two groups for comparison, and the application of logistic regression analysis substantially improved predictive accuracy in comparison to conventional KM approaches. B cell-related genes dominated the list of prognostic genes in early stage SQCC of the lung and triple negative breast cancer.
Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · BMC Medical Genomics
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cortactin (CTTN), first identified as a major substrate of the Src tyrosine kinase, actively participates in branching F-actin assembly and in cell motility and invasion. CTTN gene is amplified and its protein is overexpressed in several types of cancer. The phosphorylated form of cortactin (pTyr(421)) is required for cancer cell motility and invasion. In this study, we demonstrate that a majority of the tested primary colorectal tumor specimens show greatly enhanced expression of pTyr(421)-CTTN, but no change at the mRNA level as compared to healthy subjects, thus suggesting post-translational activation rather than gene amplification in these tumors. Curcumin (diferulolylmethane), a natural compound with promising chemopreventive and chemosensitizing effects, reduced the indirect association of cortactin with the plasma membrane protein fraction in colon adenocarcinoma cells as measured by surface biotinylation, mass spectrometry, and Western blotting. Curcumin significantly decreased the pTyr(421)-CTTN in HCT116 cells and SW480 cells, but was ineffective in HT-29 cells. Curcumin physically interacted with PTPN1 tyrosine phosphatases to increase its activity and lead to dephosphorylation of pTyr(421)-CTTN. PTPN1 inhibition eliminated the effects of curcumin on pTyr(421)-CTTN. Transduction with adenovirally-encoded CTTN increased migration of HCT116, SW480, and HT-29. Curcumin decreased migration of HCT116 and SW480 cells which highly express PTPN1, but not of HT-29 cells with significantly reduced endogenous expression of PTPN1. Curcumin significantly reduced the physical interaction of CTTN and pTyr(421)-CTTN with p120 catenin (CTNND1). Collectively, these data suggest that curcumin is an activator of PTPN1 and can reduce cell motility in colon cancer via dephosphorylation of pTyr(421)-CTTN which could be exploited for novel therapeutic approaches in colon cancer therapy based on tumor pTyr(421)-CTTN expression.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although biomedical information available in articles and patents is increasing exponentially, we continue to rely on the same information retrieval methods and use very few keywords to search millions of documents. We are developing a fundamentally different approach for finding much more precise and complete information with a single query using predicates instead of keywords for both query and document representation. Predicates are triples that are more complex datastructures than keywords and contain more structured information. To make optimal use of them, we developed a new predicate-based vector space model and query-document similarity function with adjusted tf-idf and boost function. Using a test bed of 107,367 PubMed abstracts, we evaluated the first essential function: retrieving information. Cancer researchers provided 20 realistic queries, for which the top 15 abstracts were retrieved using a predicate-based (new) and keyword-based (baseline) approach. Each abstract was evaluated, double-blind, by cancer researchers on a 0-5 point scale to calculate precision (0 versus higher) and relevance (0-5 score). Precision was significantly higher (p<.001) for the predicate-based (80%) than for the keyword-based (71%) approach. Relevance was almost doubled with the predicate-based approach-2.1 versus 1.6 without rank order adjustment (p<.001) and 1.34 versus 0.98 with rank order adjustment (p<.001) for predicate-versus keyword-based approach respectively. Predicates can support more precise searching than keywords, laying the foundation for rich and sophisticated information search.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Members of the 14,3,3 superfamily regulate numerous cellular functions by binding phosphoproteins. The seven human isoforms (and the myriad of other eukaryotic 14-3-3 proteins) are highly conserved in amino acid sequence and secondary structure yet there is abundant evidence that the various isoforms manifest disparate as well as common functions. Several of the human 14,3,3 isoforms are dysregulated in certain cancers and thus have been implicated in oncogenesis; experimentally, 14,3,3γ behaves as an oncogene while 14,3,3σ acts as a tumor suppressor. In this study, we sought to localize these opposing phenotypes to specific regions of the two isoforms and then to individual amino acids therein. Using a bioinformatics approach, six variable regions (VRI or VRVI) were identified. Using this information two sets of constructs were created in which N-terminal portions (including either VRI or IV or only VRI and VRII) of 14,3,3γ and 14,3,3σ were swapped; NIH3T3 cells over expressing the four chimeric proteins were tested for transformation activity (focus formation, growth in soft agar) and activation of PI3K and MAPK signaling. We found that the specific phenotypes of 14,3,3γ are associated with the N,terminal 40 amino acids (VRI and VRII); in like fashion, VRI and VRII of 14,3,3σ dictated its tumor suppressor function. Using individual amino acid substitutions within the 14,3,3γ VRII, we identified two residues required for and two contributing to the gamma-specific phenotypes. Our observations suggest that isoform-specific phenotypes are dictated by a relatively few amino acids within variable regions.
No preview · Article · Oct 2012 · Journal of Biological Chemistry
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Epithelial ovarian cancer still carries a high mortality rate and remains the leading cause of gynecologic cancer death in the USA, despite decades of research. Hence, there is considerable interest in developing biomarkers that could be used to stratify patients for subsequent treatment. Mutation of the p53 tumor suppressor gene occurs very frequently (∼96%) in high-grade serous ovarian cancer. However, loss of p53 has not proven to be a reliable prognostic marker. Recent evidence indicates that the truncated p53 protein isoforms can regulate activated p53 and thus may play a role in tumorigenesis. In the article by Hofstetter et al., the authors examined the relationship between the expression of two p53 isoforms (Δ133p53 and Δ40p53) and prognosis in patients with serous ovarian cancer. Their findings indicate that Δ133p53 constitutes an independent prognostic marker for improved recurrence-free and overall survival. Intriguingly, this relationship was observed in patients whose tumors expressed a mutant p53, suggesting that Δ133p53 might suppress the actions of mutant p53. The mutational status of p53 alone did not have prognostic significance. These studies suggest that mutant p53 activity may be counteracted by Δ133p53, which leads to a more favorable prognosis in advanced serous ovarian carcinomas. Novel therapeutic approaches could be built upon these findings.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: 14-3-3 proteins are a family of highly conserved proteins that are involved in a wide range of cellular processes. Recent evidence indicates that some of these proteins have oncogenic activity and that they may promote tumorigenesis. We previously showed that one of the 14-3-3 family members, 14-3-3 gamma, is over expressed in human lung cancers and that it can induce transformation of rodent cells in vitro.
qRTPCR and Western blot analysis were performed to examine 14-3-3 gamma expression in non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC). Gene copy number was analyzed by qPCR. P53 mutations were detected by direct sequencing and also by western blot. CHIP and yeast one hybrid assays were used to detect p53 binding to 14-3-3 gamma promoter.
Quantitative rtPCR results showed that the expression level of 14-3-3 gamma was elevated in the majority of NSCLC that we examined which was also consistent with protein expression. Further analysis of the expression pattern of 14-3-3 gamma in lung tumors showed a correlation with p53 mutations suggesting that p53 might suppress 14-3-3 gamma expression. Analysis of the gamma promoter sequence revealed the presence of a p53 consensus binding motif and in vitro assays demonstrated that wild-type p53 bound to this motif when activated by ionizing radiation. Deletion of the p53 binding motif eliminated p53's ability to suppress 14-3-3 gamma expression.
Increased expression of 14-3-3 gamma in lung cancer coincides with loss of functional p53. Hence, we propose that 14-3-3 gamma's oncogenic activities cooperate with loss of p53 to promote lung tumorigenesis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: HSF1 is a transcription factor that plays a key role in the response to heat stress and was previously shown by us to also be essential for importation of p53 into the nucleus. Here we extend these studies and show that loss of HSF1 renders cells more sensitive to killing by ionizing radiation. Cells that lack a functional HSF1 were unable to arrest in G(2) after exposure to ionizing radiation, suggesting that HSF1 activity was essential for activation of this cell cycle checkpoint. In addition, cells with no HSF1 showed a reduced capacity to repair radiation-induced double-stranded DNA breaks. We found that in these cells 53BP1 did not accumulate at sites of DNA damage, suggesting that HSF1 was also essential for the functioning of this DNA damage mediator. Taken together our results indicate that HSF1 plays an important role in checkpoint activation and DNA repair and suggest that there is overlap between the heat stress response pathway and the pathway that responds to ionizing radiation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Loss of p53 function can occur through disruption of its ability to localize to the nucleus. Previously we showed through characterization a set of mutant cell lines that lacked the ability to import p53 into the nucleus that nuclear translocation of p53 appeared to be mechanistically different from that of the SV40 T-antigen (SV40TAg). Here we extend that work by examining nuclear importation of p53 and SV40TAg using both in vivo and in vitro assays for nuclear localization. We show that disruption of microtubule polymerization using colchicine suppresses nuclear localization of p53 but not of SV40TAg. We also show, for the first time, that the heat shock transcription factor (Hsf1), is required for establishment of the microtubule network in cells and for nuclear localization of p53. In contrast, SV40TAg does not interact with polymerized microtubules suggesting that it is transported into the nucleus through an alternative mechanism. Interestingly, lacking of Hsf1 expression and suppressing Hsf1 by siRNA also made cells more resistant to the cytotoxic effects of paclitaxel. Hence, loss of Hsf1 activity not only suppressed p53 function, but also led to reduced sensitivity to killing by drugs that target microtubules.
No preview · Article · Feb 2011 · Molecular Carcinogenesis
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A search engine that supports finding precise biomedical statements, but also complementary, and contrasting information would greatly help biomedical researchers. We propose the use of predicates in a search engine's underlying data structure to accomplish this. A predicate is a triple that combines two phrases with a predicate. We report on the development and evaluation of a search engine that includes the predicates in its underlying data structure. The evaluation of the search engine was conducted by comparing three different approaches: keyword-based search, triple-based search, and an additive search that combines keywords and predicates. Cancer researchers provided the queries, relevant to their ongoing work, and evaluated the outcome in a double-blind fashion. The results showed that the combined approach, which combines triple-based and keyword-based approaches, always outperformed the 2 other approaches.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Loss of p53 tumor suppressor function is a key event in the genesis of most human tumors. This observation has prompted efforts to restore p53 activity as an anticancer therapeutic approach. Recent developments that have extended our understanding of how p53 activity is regulated and how mutations disrupt that regulation have provided the insight needed to develop therapeutic strategies that take advantage of this knowledge. In this article, we review the strategies for restoring p53 function and some of the new compounds that show promise as antitumor agents in preclinical models.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The 14-3-3 proteins are a set of highly conserved scaffolding proteins that have been implicated in the regulation of a variety of important cellular processes such as the cell cycle, apoptosis and mitogenic signaling. Recent evidence indicates that the expression of some of the family members is elevated in human cancers suggesting that they may play a role in tumorigenesis. In the present study, the oncogenic potential of 14-3-3gamma was shown by focus formation and tumor formation in SCID mice using 14-3-3gamma transfected NIH3T3 mouse fibroblast cells. In contrast, 14-3-3sigma, a putative tumor suppressor, inhibited NIH3T3 transformation by H-ras and c-myc. We also report that activation of both MAP kinase and PI3K signaling pathways are essential for transformation by 14-3-3gamma. In addition, we found that 14-3-3gamma interacts with phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) and TSC2 proteins indicating that it could stimulate PI3K signaling by acting at two points in the signaling pathway. Overall, our studies establish 14-3-3gamma as an oncogene and implicate MAPK and PI3K signaling as important for 14-3-3gamma induced transformation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) has been shown to prevent colon tumorigenesis in animal models and in humans. In vitro work indicates that this bile acid can suppress cell growth and mitogenic signaling suggesting that UDCA may be an anti-proliferative agent. However, the mechanism by which UDCA functions is unclear. Previously we showed that bile acids may alter cellular signaling by acting at the plasma membrane. Here we utilized EGFR as a model membrane receptor and examined the effects that UDCA has on its functioning. We found that UDCA promoted an interaction between EGFR and caveolin-1 and this interaction enhanced UDCA-mediated suppression of MAP kinase activity and cell growth. Importantly, UDCA treatment led to recruitment of the ubiquitin ligase, c-Cbl, to the membrane, ubiquitination of EGFR, and increased receptor degradation. Moreover, suppression of c-Cbl activity abrogated UDCA's growth suppression activities suggesting that receptor ubiquitination plays an important role in UDCA's biological activities. Taken together these results suggest that UDCA may act to suppress cell growth by inhibiting the mitogenic activity of receptor tyrosine kinases such as EGFR through increased receptor degradation.
Full-text · Article · Jun 2009 · Biochimica et Biophysica Acta
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although the p53 tumor suppressor is most frequently inactivated by genetic mutations, exclusion from the nucleus is also seen in human tumors. We have begun to examine p53 nuclear importation by isolating a series of mutant cells in which the temperature-sensitive murine p53(Val135) mutant is sequestered in the cytoplasm. We previously showed that that three of them (ALTR12, ALTR19, and ALTR25) constituted a single complementation group. Here, we found that ALTR12 cells are more sensitive to heat stress than either ALTR19 or ALTR25 and that there was a complete lack of induction of Hsp70 in response to heat shock. Western blot analysis showed no expression of the Hsf1 transcription factor, and neither heat shock nor azetidine could induce p53 nuclear localization in ALTR12 cells but did in parental A1-5 cells. Suppression of Hsf1 in A1-5 cells with quercetin or an Hsf1 siRNA reduced p53 nuclear importation and inhibited p53-mediated activation of a p21 reporter. Most convincingly, p53 nuclear importation could be restored in ALTR12 cells by introducing an exogenous Hsf1 gene. Collectively, our result suggests that Hsf1 is required for p53 nuclear importation and activation and implies that heat shock factors play a role in the regulation of p53.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2008 · Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.)
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although the p53 tumor suppressor is most frequently inactivated by genetic mutations, exclusion from the nucleus is also seen in human tumors. We have begun to examine p53 nuclear importation by isolating a series of mutant cells in which the temperature-sensitive murine p53Val135 mutant is sequestered in the cytoplasm. We previously showed that that three of them (ALTR12, ALTR19, and ALTR25) constituted a single complementation group. Here, we found that ALTR12 cells are more sensitive to heat stress than either ALTR19 or ALTR25 and that there was a complete lack of induction of Hsp70 in response to heat shock. Western blot analysis showed no expression of the Hsf1 transcription factor, and neither heat shock nor azetidine could induce p53 nuclear localization in ALTR12 cells but did in parental A1–5 cells. Suppression of Hsf1 in A1–5 cells with quercetin or an Hsf1 siRNA reduced p53 nuclear importation and inhibited p53-mediated activation of a p21 reporter. Most convincingly, p53 nuclear importation could be restored in ALTR12 cells by introducing an exogenous Hsf1 gene. Collectively, our result suggests that Hsf1 is required for p53 nuclear importation and activation and implies that heat shock factors play a role in the regulation of p53.