Dona N Ho

The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, Hong Kong

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Publications (4)19.09 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Phorbol esters, which are protein kinase C (PKC) activators, and histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors, which cause enhanced acetylation of cellular proteins, are the main classes of chemical inducers of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) lytic cycle in latently EBV-infected cells acting through the PKC pathway. Chemical inducers which induce EBV lytic cycle through alternative cellular pathways may aid in defining the mechanisms leading to lytic cycle reactivation and improve cells' responsiveness towards lytic induction. We performed a phenotypic screening on a chemical library of 50,240 novel small organic compounds to identify novel class(es) of strong inducer(s) of EBV lytic cycle in gastric carcinoma (GC) and nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) cells. Five hit compounds were selected after three successive rounds of increasingly stringent screening. All five compounds are structurally diverse from each other and distinct from phorbol esters or HDAC inhibitors. They neither cause hyperacetylation of histone proteins nor significant PKC activation at their working concentrations, suggesting that their biological mode of action are distinct from that of the known chemical inducers. Two of the five compounds with rapid lytic-inducing action were further studied for their mechanisms of induction of EBV lytic cycle. Unlike HDAC inhibitors, lytic induction by both compounds was not inhibited by rottlerin, a specific inhibitor of PKCĪ“. Interestingly, both compounds could cooperate with HDAC inhibitors to enhance EBV lytic cycle induction in EBV-positive epithelial cancer cells, paving way for the development of strategies to increase cells' responsiveness towards lytic reactivation. One of the two compounds bears structural resemblance to iron chelators and the other strongly activates the MAPK pathways. These structurally diverse novel organic compounds may represent potential new classes of chemicals that can be used to investigate any alternative mechanism(s) leading to EBV lytic cycle reactivation from latency.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2015 · PLoS ONE
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    ABSTRACT: A novel drug combination of a proteasome inhibitor, bortezomib and a histone deacetylase inhibitor, suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid (SAHA) was tested in nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) both in vitro and in vivo. Dose-response of different concentrations of bortezomib and SAHA on inhibition of cell proliferation of NPC was determined. Mechanisms of apoptosis and effects on lytic cycle activation of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) were investigated. Combination of bortezomib and SAHA (bortezomib/SAHA) synergistically induced killing of a panel of NPC cell lines. Pronounced increase in sub-G1, annexin V-positive and TUNEL-positive cell populations were detected after treatment with bortezomib/SAHA when compared with either drug alone. Concomitantly, markedly augmented proteolytic cleavage of PARP, caspase-3, -7, -8 and -9, reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation and caspase-8-dependent histone acetylation were observed. ROS scavenger, N-acetyl cysteine, diminished the apoptotic effects of bortezomib/SAHA while caspase inhibitor, Z-VAD-FMK, significantly suppressed the apoptosis without decreasing the generation of ROS. Bortezomib inhibited SAHA's induction of EBV replication and abrogated production of infectious viral particles in NPC cells. Furthermore, bortezomib/SAHA potently induced apoptosis and suppressed the growth of NPC xenografts in nude mice. In conclusion, the novel drug combination of bortezomib and SAHA is highly synergistic in the killing of NPC cells in vitro and in vivo. The major mechanism of cell death is ROS-driven caspase-dependent apoptosis. Bortezomib antagonizes SAHA's activation of EBV lytic cycle in NPC cells. This study provides a strong basis for clinical testing of the combination drug regimen in NPC patients.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2013 · Molecular Cancer Therapeutics
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    ABSTRACT: Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is strongly associated with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). We reported that suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid (SAHA) induced EBV lytic cycle in EBV-positive gastric carcinoma cells and mediated enhanced cell death. However, expression of EBV lytic proteins was thought to exert antiapoptotic effect in EBV-infected cells. Here, we examined the in vitro and in vivo effects of SAHA on EBV lytic cycle induction in NPC cells and investigated the cellular consequences. Micromolar concentrations of SAHA significantly induced EBV lytic cycle in EBV-positive NPC cells. Increased apoptosis and proteolytic cleavage of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase and caspase-3, -7 and -9 in EBV-positive versus EBV-negative NPC cells were observed. More than 85% of NPC cells expressing immediate-early (Zta), early (BMRF1) or late (gp350/220) lytic proteins coexpressed cleaved caspase-3. Tracking of expression of EBV lytic proteins and cleaved caspase-3 over time demonstrated that NPC cells proceeded to apoptosis following EBV lytic cycle induction. Inhibition of EBV DNA replication and late lytic protein expression by phosphonoformic acid did not impact on SAHA's induced cell death in NPC, indicating that early rather than late phase of EBV lytic cycle contributed to the apoptotic effect. In vivo effects of SAHA on EBV lytic cycle induction and tumor growth suppression were also observed in NPC xenografts in nude mice. Taken together, our data indicated that activation of lytic cycle from latent cycle of EBV by SAHA leads to apoptosis and tumor growth suppression of NPC thereby providing experimental evidence for virus-targeted therapy against EBV-positive cancer.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2012 · International Journal of Cancer
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    ABSTRACT: Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is strongly associated with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). We reported that suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid (SAHA) induced EBV lytic cycle in EBV-positive gastric carcinoma cells and mediated enhanced cell death. However, expression of EBV lytic proteins was thought to exert antiapoptotic effect in EBV-infected cells. Here, we examined the in vitro and in vivo effects of SAHA on EBV lytic cycle induction in NPC cells and investigated the cellular consequences. Micromolar concentrations of SAHA significantly induced EBV lytic cycle in EBV-positive NPC cells. Increased apoptosis and proteolytic cleavage of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase and caspase-3, -7 and -9 in EBV-positive versus EBV-negative NPC cells were observed. More than 85% of NPC cells expressing immediate-early (Zta), early (BMRF1) or late (gp350/220) lytic proteins coexpressed cleaved caspase-3. Tracking of expression of EBV lytic proteins and cleaved caspase-3 over time demonstrated that NPC cells proceeded to apoptosis following EBV lytic cycle induction. Inhibition of EBV DNA replication and late lytic protein expression by phosphonoformic acid did not impact on SAHA's induced cell death in NPC, indicating that early rather than late phase of EBV lytic cycle contributed to the apoptotic effect. In vivo effects of SAHA on EBV lytic cycle induction and tumor growth suppression were also observed in NPC xenografts in nude mice. Taken together, our data indicated that activation of lytic cycle from latent cycle of EBV by SAHA leads to apoptosis and tumor growth suppression of NPC thereby providing experimental evidence for virus-targeted therapy against EBV-positive cancer.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2012 · International Journal of Cancer