Ruiying Zhao

University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, United States

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Publications (25)218.92 Total impact


  • No preview · Article · Aug 2015 · Cancer Research
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    ABSTRACT: In vitro modeling of human disease has recently become feasible with induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technology. Here, we established patient-derived iPSCs from a Li-Fraumeni syndrome (LFS) family and investigated the role of mutant p53 in the development of osteosarcoma (OS). LFS iPSC-derived osteoblasts (OBs) recapitulated OS features including defective osteoblastic differentiation as well as tumorigenic ability. Systematic analyses revealed that the expression of genes enriched in LFS-derived OBs strongly correlated with decreased time to tumor recurrence and poor patient survival. Furthermore, LFS OBs exhibited impaired upregulation of the imprinted gene H19 during osteogenesis. Restoration of H19 expression in LFS OBs facilitated osteoblastic differentiation and repressed tumorigenic potential. By integrating human imprinted gene network (IGN) into functional genomic analyses, we found that H19 mediates suppression of LFS-associated OS through the IGN component DECORIN (DCN). In summary, these findings demonstrate the feasibility of studying inherited human cancer syndromes with iPSCs. VIDEO ABSTRACT. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2015 · Cell
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    ABSTRACT: Cullin-RING ubiquitin ligases (CRLs) are critical in ubiquitinating Myc, while COP9 signalosome (CSN) controls neddylation of Cullin in CRL. The mechanistic link between Cullin neddylation and Myc ubiquitination/degradation is unclear. Here we show that Myc is a target of the CSN subunit 6 (CSN6)-Cullin signalling axis and that CSN6 is a positive regulator of Myc. CSN6 enhanced neddylation of Cullin-1 and facilitated autoubiquitination/degradation of Fbxw7, a component of CRL involved in Myc ubiquitination, thereby stabilizing Myc. Csn6 haplo-insufficiency decreased Cullin-1 neddylation but increased Fbxw7 stability to compromise Myc stability and activity in an Eμ-Myc mouse model, resulting in decelerated lymphomagenesis. We found that CSN6 overexpression, which leads to aberrant expression of Myc target genes, is frequent in human cancers. Together, these results define a mechanism for the regulation of Myc stability through the CSN-Cullin-Fbxw7 axis and provide insights into the correlation of CSN6 overexpression with Myc stabilization/activation during tumorigenesis.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2014 · Nature Communications

  • No preview · Article · Oct 2014 · Cancer Research
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Obesity increases the risk of cancer death among postmenopausal women with estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) breast cancer, but the direct evidence for the mechanisms is lacking. The purpose of this study is to demonstrate direct evidence for the mechanisms mediating this epidemiologic phenomenon. Methods: We analyzed transcriptomic profiles of pretreatment biopsies from a prospective cohort of 137 ER+ breast cancer patients. We generated transgenic (MMTV-TGFα;A (y) /a) and orthotopic/syngeneic (A (y) /a) obese mouse models to investigate the effect of obesity on tumorigenesis and tumor progression and to determine biological mechanisms using whole-genome transcriptome microarrays and protein analyses. We used a coculture system to examine the impact of adipocytes/adipokines on breast cancer cell proliferation. All statistical tests were two-sided. Results: Functional transcriptomic analysis of patients revealed the association of obesity with 59 biological functional changes (P < .05) linked to cancer hallmarks. Gene enrichment analysis revealed enrichment of AKT-target genes (P = .04) and epithelial-mesenchymal transition genes (P = .03) in patients. Our obese mouse models demonstrated activation of the AKT/mTOR pathway in obesity-accelerated mammary tumor growth (3.7- to 7.0-fold; P < .001; n = 6-7 mice per group). Metformin or everolimus can suppress obesity-induced secretion of adipokines and breast tumor formation and growth (0.5-fold, P = .04; 0.3-fold, P < .001, respectively; n = 6-8 mice per group). The coculture model revealed that adipocyte-secreted adipokines (eg, TIMP-1) regulate adipocyte-induced breast cancer cell proliferation and invasion. Metformin suppress adipocyte-induced cell proliferation and adipocyte-secreted adipokines in vitro. Conclusions: Adipokine secretion and AKT/mTOR activation play important roles in obesity-accelerated breast cancer aggressiveness in addition to hyperinsulinemia, estrogen signaling, and inflammation. Metformin and everolimus have potential for therapeutic interventions of ER+ breast cancer patients with obesity.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2014 · JNCI Journal of the National Cancer Institute
  • Shujuan Song · Ruiying Zhao · Huiying He · Jin Zhang · Hailan Feng · Liyun Lin
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    ABSTRACT: Tooth agenesis is the most common developmental dental anomaly. Absence of one or two permanent teeth is found in the majority of affected subjects. Very few patients suffer severe tooth agenesis. Recent studies revealed that WNT10A gene mutations caused syndromic and isolated severe tooth agenesis. In this study, to determine the contribution of WNT10A variants in different severities of tooth agenesis, we investigated the association between WNT10A variants and non-syndromic tooth agenesis in a Chinese population consisting of 505 tooth agenesis patients and 451 normal controls. Twenty-three novel non-synonymous variants were identified. WNT10A variants were detected in 15.8 % (75/474) of patients with 1-3 missing teeth and 51.6 % (16/31) of patients with 4 or more missing teeth. As compared with a frequency of 3.1 % in individuals with full dentition, variant allele frequencies were significantly elevated in both groups with tooth agenesis (p values of 1.00 × 10(-6) and 3.89 × 10(-23), respectively). Our findings showed that WNT10A variants were associated with non-syndromic tooth agenesis from mild to severe tooth agenesis, and the more severe tooth agenesis, the stronger association. Biallelic genotypes of WNT10A variants may have a pathogenic effect on tooth development. Presence of a single variant allele would be predisposing for causation with low penetrance. Together with WNT10A variant, there should be other genetic or environmental factors leading to biallelic variant-related variable clinical manifestations and single allele variant-related low penetrance. The frequent missing tooth positions in the WNT10A-related cases were consistent with that in the general population, suggesting WNT10A plays a critically important role in the etiology of general tooth agenesis.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2013 · Human Genetics
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    ABSTRACT: CSN5 is pivotal in regulating cell cycle, but its targets remain not well characterized. Kaplan-Meier analysis of patients' breast tumor samples demonstrated that high expression of CSN5 was associated with poor overall survival. We investigated how CSN5 can be involved in tumorigenesis and found inverse correlation between CSN5 and p57Kip2. We found that p57Kip2 interacted with CSN5 and was a target of CSN5 for stability regulation. CSN5 enhanced ubiquitination levels of p57Kip2, thereby increasing the turnover rate of p57Kip2. Ectopic expression of CSN5 increased the turnover rate of p57Kip2, while CSN5 knockdown led to p57Kip2 stabilization. Importantly, HER2 has the positive impact on CSN5 stability, thus CSN5- p57Kip2 link may contribute to HER2-mediated cell proliferation. We showed that p57Kip2 expression inhibited HER2-mediated cell proliferation and migration tumor progression, attesting to its role as a potent inhibitor of G1- and S-phase CDKs. While p57Kip2 induction negatively regulated HER2 function and prevented cell growth and cell migration, ectopic expression of CSN5 overcame p57Kip2 -mediated G1-phase arrest of the cell cycle and inhibition of cell migration ability in the tetracycline-inducible p57Kip2 stable transfectants. Together, these results provide a mechanistic explanation of the correlation of CSN5 overexpression with p57 downregulation during tumorigenesis.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2013
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    ABSTRACT: HER2/neu oncogene is frequently deregulated in cancers, and the (PI3K)-Akt signaling is one of the major pathways in mediating HER2/neu oncogenic signal. p57 (Kip2) , an inhibitor of cyclin-depependent kinases, is pivotal in regulating cell cycle progression, but its upstream regulators remain unclear. Here we show that the HER2-Akt axis is linked to p57 (Kip2) regulation, and that Akt is a negative regulator of p57 (Kip2) . Ectopic expression of Akt can decrease the expression of p57 (Kip2) , while Akt inhibition leads to p57 (Kip2) stabilization. Mechanistic studies show that Akt interacts with p57 (Kip2) and causes cytoplasmic localization of p57 (Kip2) . Akt phosphorylates p57 on Ser 282 or Thr310. Akt activity results in destabilization of p57 by accelerating turnover rate of p57 and enhancing p57 ubiquitination. Importantly, the negative impact of HER2/Akt on p57 stability contributes to HER2-mediated cell proliferation, transformational activity and tumorigenicity. p57 restoration can attenuate these defects caused by HER2. Significantly, Kaplan-Meier analysis of tumor samples demonstrate that in tumors where HER2 expression was observed, high expression levels of p57 (Kip2) were associated with better overall survival. These data suggest that HER2/Akt is an important negative regulator of p57 (Kip2) , and that p57 restoration in HER2-overexpressing cells can reduce breast tumor growth. Our findings indicate the applicability of employing p57 regulation as a therapeutic intervention in HER2-overexpressing cancers.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2013 · Cell cycle (Georgetown, Tex.)
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    ABSTRACT: Subunit 6 of the COP9 signalosome complex, CSN6, is known to be critical to the regulation of the MDM2-p53 axis for cell proliferation and anti-apoptosis, but its many targets remain unclear. Here we show that p57 (Kip2) is a target of CSN6, and that CSN6 is a negative regulator of p57 (Kip2) . CSN6 associates with p57 (Kip2) , and its overexpression can decrease the steady-state expression of p57 (Kip2) ; accordingly, CSN6 deficiency leads to p57 (Kip2) stabilization. Mechanistic studies show that CSN6 associates with p57 (Kip2) and Skp2, a component of the E3 ligase, which, in turn, facilitates Skp2-mediated protein ubiquitination of p57 (Kip2) . Loss of Skp2 compromised CSN6-mediated p57 (Kip2) destabilization, suggesting collaboration between Skp2 and CSN6 in degradation of p57 (Kip2) . CSN6's negative impact on p57 (Kip2) elevation translates into cell growth promotion, cell cycle deregulation and potentiated transformational activity. Significantly, univariate Kaplan-Meier analysis of tumor samples demonstrates that high CSN6 expression or low p57 expression is associated with poor overall survival. These data suggest that CSN6 is an important negative regulator of p57 (Kip2) , and that overexpression of CSN6 in many types of cancer could lead to decreased expression of p57 (Kip2) and result in promoted cancer cell growth.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2012 · Cell cycle (Georgetown, Tex.)
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    ABSTRACT: HER2/neu oncogene is frequently overexpressed in various types of cancer, and the (PI3K)-Akt signaling pathway is often activated in HER2-overexpressing cancer cells. CSN6, subunit 6 of the COP9 signalosome complex, is pivotal in regulating MDM2 to destabilize p53, but its upstream regulators remain unclear. Here we show that the HER2-Akt axis is linked to CSN6 regulation, and that Akt is a positive regulator of CSN6. Ectopic expression of Akt can increase the expression of CSN6; accordingly, Akt inhibition leads to CSN6 destabilization. Mechanistic studies show that Akt causes CSN6 phosphorylation at Ser 60, which, in turn, reduces ubiquitin-mediated protein degradation of CSN6. Significantly, Akt's positive impact on CSN6 elevation translates into p53 degradation, potentiating transformational activity and increasing DNA damage. Akt inhibition can attenuate these defects caused by CSN6. These data suggest that Akt is an important positive regulator of CSN6, and that activation of Akt in many types of cancer could lead to abnormal elevation of CSN6 and result in downregulated p53 and increased DNA damage, which promotes cancer cell growth.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2012 · Cell cycle (Georgetown, Tex.)
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    ABSTRACT: Many signals must be integrated to maintain self-renewal and pluripotency in embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and to enable induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) reprogramming. However, the exact molecular regulatory mechanisms remain elusive. To unravel the essential internal and external signals required for sustaining the ESC state, we conducted a short hairpin (sh) RNA screen of 104 ESC-associated phosphoregulators. Depletion of one such molecule, aurora kinase A (Aurka), resulted in compromised self-renewal and consequent differentiation. By integrating global gene expression and computational analyses, we discovered that loss of Aurka leads to upregulated p53 activity that triggers ESC differentiation. Specifically, Aurka regulates pluripotency through phosphorylation-mediated inhibition of p53-directed ectodermal and mesodermal gene expression. Phosphorylation of p53 not only impairs p53-induced ESC differentiation but also p53-mediated suppression of iPSC reprogramming. Our studies demonstrate an essential role for Aurka-p53 signaling in the regulation of self-renewal, differentiation, and somatic cell reprogramming.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2012 · Cell stem cell
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    ABSTRACT: Radiotherapy is the primary treatment for nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC), but radioresistance severely reduces NPC radiocurability. Here, we have established a radio-resistant NPC cell line, CNE-2R, and investigate the role of miRNAs in radioresistance. The miRNAs microarray assay reveals that miRNAs are differentially expressed between CNE-2R and its parental cell line CNE-2. We find that miR-205 is elevated in CNE-2R. A target prediction algorithm suggests that miR‑205 regulates expression of PTE N, a tumor-suppressor. Introducing miR-205 into CNE-2 cells suppresses PTE N protein expression, followed by activation of AKT, increased number of foci formation and reduction of cell apoptosis postirradiation. On the other hand, knocking down miR-205 in CNE-2R cells compromises the inhibition of PTE N and increases cell apoptosis. Significantly, immunohistochemistry studies demonstrate that PTE N is downregulated at late stages of NPC, and that miR-205 is significantly elevated followed the radiotherapy. Our data conclude that miR-205 contributes to radioresistance of NPC by directly targeting PTE N. Both miR-205 and PTE N are potential predictive biomarkers for radiosensitivity of NPC and may serve as targets for achieve successful radiotherapy in NPC.
    Preview · Article · Feb 2012 · Cell cycle (Georgetown, Tex.)
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    ABSTRACT: Constitutive Kras and NF-κB activation is identified as signature alterations in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). However, how NF-κB is activated in PDAC is not yet understood. Here, we report that pancreas-targeted IKK2/β inactivation inhibited NF-κB activation and PDAC development in Kras(G12D) and Kras(G12D);Ink4a/Arf(F/F) mice, demonstrating a mechanistic link between IKK2/β and Kras(G12D) in PDAC inception. Our findings reveal that Kras(G12D)-activated AP-1 induces IL-1α, which, in turn, activates NF-κB and its target genes IL-1α and p62, to initiate IL-1α/p62 feedforward loops for inducing and sustaining NF-κB activity. Furthermore, IL-1α overexpression correlates with Kras mutation, NF-κB activity, and poor survival in PDAC patients. Therefore, our findings demonstrate the mechanism by which IKK2/β/NF-κB is activated by Kras(G12D) through dual feedforward loops of IL-1α/p62.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2012 · Cancer cell
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    Mong-Hong Lee · Ruiying Zhao · Liem Phan · Sai-Ching J Yeung
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    ABSTRACT: The constitutive photomorphogenesis 9 signalosome (COP9 or CSN) is an evolutionarily conserved multiprotein complex found in plants and animals. Because of the homology between the COP9 signalosome and the 19S lid complex of the proteosome, COP9 has been postulated to play a role in regulating the degradation of polyubiquitinated proteins. Many tumor suppressor and oncogene products are regulated by ubiquitination- and proteosome-mediated protein degradation. Therefore, it is conceivable that COP9 plays a significant role in cancer, regulating processes relevant to carcinogenesis and cancer progression (e.g., cell cycle control, signal transduction and apoptosis). In mammalian cells, it consists of eight subunits (CSN1 to CSN8). The relevance and importance of some subunits of COP9 to cancer are emerging. However, the mechanistic regulation of each subunit in cancer remains unclear. Among the CSN subunits, CSN5 and CSN6 are the only two that each contain an MPN (Mpr1p and Pad1p N-terminal) domain. The deneddylation activity of an MPN domain toward cullin-RING ubiquitin ligases (CRL) may coordinate CRL-mediated ubiquitination activity. More recent evidence shows that CSN5 and CSN6 are implicated in ubiquitin-mediated proteolysis of important mediators in carcinogenesis and cancer progression. Here, we discuss the mechanisms by which some CSN subunits are involved in cancer to provide a much needed perspective regarding COP9 in cancer research, hoping that these insights will lay the groundwork for cancer intervention.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2011 · Cell cycle (Georgetown, Tex.)
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    ABSTRACT: The mammalian constitutive photomorphogenesis 9 (COP9) signalosome (CSN), a protein complex involved in embryonic development, is implicated in cell cycle regulation and the DNA damage response. Its role in tumor development, however, remains unclear. Here, we have shown that the COP9 subunit 6 (CSN6) gene is amplified in human breast cancer specimens, and the CSN6 protein is upregulated in human breast and thyroid tumors. CSN6 expression positively correlated with expression of murine double minute 2 (MDM2), a potent negative regulator of the p53 tumor suppressor. Expression of CSN6 appeared to prevent MDM2 autoubiquitination at lysine 364, resulting in stabilization of MDM2 and degradation of p53. Mice in which Csn6 was deleted died early in embryogenesis (E7.5). Embryos lacking both Csn6 and p53 survived to later in embryonic development (E10.5), which suggests that loss of p53 could partially rescue the effect of loss of Csn6. Mice heterozygous for Csn6 were sensitized to γ-irradiation-induced, p53-dependent apoptosis in both the thymus and the developing CNS. These mice were also less susceptible than wild-type mice to γ-irradiation-induced tumorigenesis. These results suggest that loss of CSN6 enhances p53-mediated tumor suppression in vivo and that CSN6 plays an important role in regulating DNA damage-associated apoptosis and tumorigenesis through control of the MDM2-p53 signaling pathway.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2011 · The Journal of clinical investigation
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    ABSTRACT: Constitutive photomorphogenic 1 (COP1) is a p53-targeting E3 ubiquitin ligase that is downregulated by DNA damage through mechanisms that remain obscure. Here, we report that COP1 is not downregulated following DNA damage in 14-3-3σ null cells, implicating 14-3-3σ as a critical regulator in the response of COP1 to DNA damage. We also identified that 14-3-3σ, a p53 target gene product, interacted with COP1 and controlled COP1 protein stability after DNA damage. Mechanistic studies revealed that 14-3-3σ enhanced COP1 self-ubiquitination, thereby preventing COP1-mediated p53 ubiquitination, degradation, and transcriptional repression. In addition, we found that COP1 expression promoted cell proliferation, cell transformation, and tumor progression, manifesting its role in cancer promotion, whereas 14-3-3σ negatively regulated COP1 function and prevented tumor growth in a mouse xenograft model of human cancer. Immunohistochemical analysis of clinical breast and pancreatic cancer specimens demonstrated that COP1 protein levels were inversely correlated with 14-3-3σ protein levels. Together, our findings define a mechanism for posttranslational regulation of COP1 after DNA damage that can explain the correlation between COP1 overexpression and 14-3-3σ downregulation during tumorigenesis.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2011 · Cancer Research
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    ABSTRACT: Exenatide is an incretin mimetic that is recently available in the US for the treatment of diabetes. There is a paucity of information on the effects of exenatide in glucocorticoid (GC)-induced diabetes. Although the effect of continuous intravenous infusion of exenatide on GC-induced glucose intolerance has been investigated before in healthy human males receiving oral prednisolone, we investigated the efficacy of a single subcutaneous dose of exenatide (3 μg/kg) in lowering blood glucose in GC-induced glucose intolerance in C57BL/6 mice. In a longitudinal experiment, the area under the curve (AUC) of oral glucose tolerance tests (OGTT) significantly increased after dexamethasone (P = 0.004), which was subsequently decreased by exenatide (P < 0.001). A cross-sectional experiment showed that exenatide improved glucose tolerance compared with placebo in a mouse model of dexamethasone-induced glucose intolerance. AUC of OGTT in the exenatide group were significantly (P < 0.001) lower than in the placebo group. Insulin tolerance tests (ITT) demonstrated that exenatide decreased the ability of the mice to tolerate insulin compared with placebo. The AUC of ITT in the exenatide group were also significantly (P = 0.006) lower than in the placebo group. In conclusion, a single dose of exenatide was able to decrease glucose intolerance and insulin resistance in these placebo-controlled experiments. Future clinical trials are justified to investigate the role of exenatide in the treatment of GC-induced glucose intolerance/diabetes.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2011 · Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity: Targets and Therapy
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    ABSTRACT: Mammalian constitutive photomorphogenic 1 (COP1) is a p53 E3 ubiquitin ligase involved in regulating p53 protein level. In plants, the dynamic cytoplasm/nucleus distribution of COP1 is important for its function in terms of catalyzing the degradation of target proteins. In mammalian cells, the biological consequence of cytoplasmic distribution of COP1 is not well characterized. Here, we show that DNA damage leads to the redistribution of COP1 to the cytoplasm and that 14-3-3σ, a p53 target gene product, controls COP1 subcellular localization. Investigation of the underlying mechanism suggests that COP1 S387 phosphorylation is required for COP1 to bind 14-3-3σ. Significantly, upon DNA damage, 14-3-3σ binds to phosphorylated COP1 at S387, resulting in COP1's accumulation in the cytoplasm. Cytoplasmic COP1 localization leads to its enhanced ubiquitination. We also show that N-terminal 14-3-3σ interacts with COP1 and promotes COP1 nuclear export through its NES sequence. Further, we show that COP1 is important in causing p53 nuclear exclusion. Finally, we demonstrate that 14-3-3σ targets COP1 for nuclear export, thereby preventing COP1-mediated p53 nuclear export. Together, these results define a novel, detailed mechanism for the subcellular localization and regulation of COP1 after DNA damage and provide a mechanistic explanation for the notion that 14-3-3σ's impact on the inhibition of p53 E3 ligases is an important step for p53 stabilization after DNA damage.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2010 · Molecular Cancer

  • No preview · Article · Apr 2010 · Cancer Research
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    ABSTRACT: Tumor hypoxia directly promotes genomic instability and facilitates cell survival, resulting in tumors with a more aggressive phenotype. The proto-oncogene pim-1 regulates apoptosis and the cell cycle by phosphorylating target proteins. Overexpression of Pim-1 can cause genomic instability and contribute to lymphomagenesis. It is not clear whether Pim-1 is involved in hypoxia-mediated tumor survival in solid tumors. Here, we show that hypoxia can stabilize Pim-1 by preventing its ubiquitin-mediated proteasomal degradation and can cause Pim-1 translocation from the cytoplasm to the nucleus. Importantly, overexpression of Pim-1 increases NIH3T3 cell transformation exclusively under hypoxic conditions, suggesting that Pim-1 expression under hypoxia may be implicated in the transformation process of solid tumors. Also, blocking Pim-1 function by introduction of dominant negative Pim-1 resensitizes pancreatic cancer cells to apoptosis induced by glucose-deprivation under hypoxia. Introduction of short interfering RNAs for Pim-1 also resensitizes cancer cells to glucose deprivation under hypoxic conditions, while forced overexpression of Pim-1 causes solid tumor cells to become resistant to glucose deprivation. Moreover, dominant negative Pim-1 reduces tumorigenicity in pancreatic cancer cells and HeLa xenograft mouse models. Together, our studies indicate that Pim-1 plays a distinct role in solid tumor formation in vivo, implying that Pim-1 may be a novel target for cancer therapy.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2009 · American Journal Of Pathology