The publication data currently available has been vetted by Vanderbilt faculty, staff, administrators and trainees. The data itself is retrieved directly from NCBI's PubMed and is automatically updated on a weekly basis to ensure accuracy and completeness.
If you have any questions or comments, please contact us.
The mechanisms that restrict regeneration and maintain cell identity following injury are poorly characterized in higher vertebrates. Following β-cell loss, 1-2% of the glucagon-producing α-cells spontaneously engage in insulin production in mice. Here we explore the mechanisms inhibiting α-cell plasticity. We show that adaptive α-cell identity changes are constrained by intra-islet insulin- and Smoothened-mediated signalling, among others. The combination of β-cell loss or insulin-signalling inhibition, with Smoothened inactivation in α- or δ-cells, stimulates insulin production in more α-cells. These findings suggest that the removal of constitutive 'brake signals' is crucial to neutralize the refractoriness to adaptive cell-fate changes. It appears that the maintenance of cell identity is an active process mediated by repressive signals, which are released by neighbouring cells and curb an intrinsic trend of differentiated cells to change.
Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) is the deadliest form of breast cancer because it is more aggressive, diagnosed at later stage and more likely to develop local and systemic recurrence. Many patients do not experience adequate tumor control after current clinical treatments involving surgical removal, chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy, leading to disease progression and significantly decreased quality of life. Here we report a new combinatory therapy strategy involving cannabinoid-based medicine and photodynamic therapy (PDT) for the treatment of TNBC. This combinatory therapy targets two proteins upregulated in TNBC: the cannabinoid CB2 receptor (CBR, a G-protein coupled receptor) and translocator protein (TSPO, a mitochondria membrane receptor). We found that the combined CBR agonist and TSPO-PDT treatment resulted in synergistic inhibition in TNBC cell and tumor growth. This combinatory therapy approach provides new opportunities to treat TNBC with high efficacy. In addition, this study provides new evidence on the therapeutic potential of CBR agonists for cancer.
Copyright © 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
The beneficial effects of the gut microbiota on growth in early life are well known. However, knowledge about the mechanisms underlying regulating intestinal development by the microbiota is limited. p40, a Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG-derived protein, transactivates epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) in intestinal epithelial cells for protecting the intestinal epithelium against injury and inflammation. Here, we developed p40-containing pectin/zein hydrogels for targeted delivery of p40 to the small intestine and the colon. Treatment with p40-containing hydrogels from postnatal day 2 to 21 significantly enhanced bodyweight gain prior to weaning and functional maturation of the intestine, including intestinal epithelial cell proliferation, differentiation, and tight junction formation, and IgA production in early life in wild-type mice. These p40-induced effects were abolished in mice with specific deletion of EGFR in intestinal epithelial cells, suggesting that transactivation of EGFR in intestinal epithelial cells may mediate p40-regulated intestinal development. Furthermore, neonatal p40 treatment reduced the susceptibility to intestinal injury and colitis and promoted protective immune responses, including IgA production and differentiation of regulatory T cells, in adult mice. These findings reveal novel roles of neonatal supplementation of probiotic-derived factors in promoting EGFR-mediated maturation of intestinal functions and innate immunity, which likely promote long-term beneficial outcomes.
Neuronal-glial relationships play a critical role in the maintenance of central nervous system architecture and neuronal specification. A deeper understanding of these relationships can elucidate cellular cross-talk capable of sustaining proper development of neural tissues. In the cerebellum, cerebellar granule neuron precursors (CGNPs) proliferate in response to Purkinje neuron-derived Sonic hedgehog (Shh) before ultimately exiting the cell cycle and migrating radially along Bergmann glial fibers. However, the function of Bergmann glia in CGNP proliferation remains not well defined. Interestingly, the Hh pathway is also activated in Bergmann glia, but the role of Shh signaling in these cells is unknown. In this study, we show that specific ablation of Shh signaling using the tamoxifen-inducible TNC line to eliminate Shh pathway activator Smoothened in Bergmann glia is sufficient to cause severe cerebellar hypoplasia and a significant reduction in CGNP proliferation. TNC; Smo (Smo) mice demonstrate an obvious reduction in cerebellar size within two days of ablation of Shh signaling. Mutant cerebella have severely reduced proliferation and increased differentiation of CGNPs due to a significant decrease in Shh activity and concomitant activation of Wnt signaling in Smo CGNPs, suggesting that this pathway is involved in cross-talk with the Shh pathway in regulating CGNP proliferation. In addition, Purkinje cells are ectopically located, their dendrites stunted, and the Bergmann glial network disorganized. Collectively, these data demonstrate a previously unappreciated role for Bergmann glial Shh signaling activity in the proliferation of CGNPs and proper maintenance of cerebellar architecture.
Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Many tumors increase uptake and dependence on glucose, cystine or glutamine. These basic observations on cancer cell metabolism have opened multiple new diagnostic and therapeutic avenues in cancer research. Recent studies demonstrated that smoking could induce the expression of xCT (SLC7A11) in oral cancer cells, suggesting that overexpression of xCT may support lung tumor progression. We hypothesized that overexpression of xCT occurs in lung cancer cells to satisfy the metabolic requirements for growth and survival. Our results demonstrated that 1) xCT was highly expressed at the cytoplasmic membrane in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), 2) the expression of xCT was correlated with advanced stage and predicted a worse 5-year survival, 3) targeting xCT transport activity in xCT overexpressing NSCLC cells with sulfasalazine decreased cell proliferation and invasion in vitro and in vivo and 4) increased dependence on glutamine was observed in xCT overexpressed normal airway epithelial cells. These results suggested that xCT regulate metabolic requirements during lung cancer progression and be a potential therapeutic target in NSCLC.
OBJECTIVE - Deletion of mPGES-1 (microsomal prostaglandin E synthase-1)-an anti-inflammatory target alternative to COX (cyclooxygenase)-2-attenuates injury-induced neointima formation in mice. This is attributable to the augmented levels of PGI (prostacyclin)-a known restraint of the vascular response to injury, acting via IP (I prostanoid receptor). To examine the role of mPGES-1-derived PGE (prostaglandin E) in vascular remodeling without the IP.
APPROACH AND RESULTS - Mice deficient in both IP and mPGES-1 (DKO [double knockout] and littermate controls [IP KO (knockout)]) were subjected to angioplasty wire injury. Compared with the deletion of IP alone, coincident deletion of IP and mPGES-1 increased neointima formation, without affecting media area. Early pathological changes include impaired reendothelialization and increased leukocyte invasion in neointima. Endothelial cells (ECs), but not vascular smooth muscle cells, isolated from DKOs exhibited impaired cell proliferation. Activation of EP (E prostanoid receptor) 4 (and EP2, to a lesser extent), but not of EP1 or EP3, promoted EC proliferation. EP4 antagonism inhibited proliferation of mPGES-1-competent ECs, but not of mPGES-1-deficient ECs, which showed suppressed PGE production. EP4 activation inhibited leukocyte adhesion to ECs in vitro, promoted reendothelialization, and limited neointima formation post-injury in the mouse. Endothelium-restricted deletion of EP4 in mice suppressed reendothelialization, increased neointimal leukocytes, and exacerbated neointimal formation.
CONCLUSIONS - Removal of the IP receptors unmasks a protective role of mPGES-1-derived PGE in limiting injury-induced vascular hyperplasia. EP4, in the endothelial compartment, is essential to promote reendothelialization and restrain neointimal formation after injury. Activating EP4 bears therapeutic potential to prevent restenosis after percutaneous coronary intervention.
© 2018 American Heart Association, Inc.
Proliferative vitreoretinopathy (PVR) is a common complication of open globe injury and the most common cause of failed retinal detachment surgery. The response by retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells liberated into the vitreous includes proliferation and migration; most importantly, epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) of RPE plays a central role in the development and progress of PVR. For the first time, we show that knockdown of BIRC5, a member of the inhibitor of apoptosis protein family, using either lentiviral vector based CRISPR/Cas9 nickase gene editing or inhibition of survivin using the small-molecule inhibitor YM155, results in the suppression of EMT in RPE cells. Knockdown of survivin or inhibition of survivin significantly reduced TGFβ-induced cell proliferation and migration. We further demonstrated that knockdown or inhibition of survivin attenuated the TGFβ signaling by showing reduced phospho-SMAD2 in BIRC5 knockdown or YM155-treated cells compared to controls. Inhibition of the TGFβ pathway using TGFβ receptor inhibitor also suppressed survivin expression in RPE cells. Our studies demonstrate that survivin contributes to EMT by cross-talking with the TGFβ pathway in RPE cells. Targeting survivin using small-molecule inhibitors may provide a novel approach to treat PVR disease.
Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Background - Rictor is an essential component of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) complex 2 (mTORC2), a conserved serine/threonine kinase that may play a role in cell proliferation, survival and innate or adaptive immune responses. Genetic loss of inactivates mTORC2, which directly activates Akt S phosphorylation and promotes pro-survival cell signaling and proliferation.
Methods and results - To study the role of mTORC2 signaling in monocytes and macrophages, we generated mice with myeloid lineage-specific deletion (M). These M mice exhibited dramatic reductions of white blood cells, B-cells, T-cells, and monocytes but had similar levels of neutrophils compared to control flox-flox () mice. M bone marrow monocytes and peritoneal macrophages expressed reduced levels of mTORC2 signaling and decreased Akt S phosphorylation, and they displayed significantly less proliferation than control cells. In addition, blood monocytes and peritoneal macrophages isolated from M mice were significantly more sensitive to pro-apoptotic stimuli. In response to LPS, M macrophages exhibited the M1 phenotype with higher levels of pro-inflammatory gene expression and lower levels of gene expression than control cells. Further suppression of LPS-stimulated Akt signaling with a low dose of an Akt inhibitor, increased inflammatory gene expression in macrophages, but genetic inactivation of reversed this rise, indicating that mTORC1 mediates this increase of inflammatory gene expression. Next, to elucidate whether mTORC2 has an impact on atherosclerosis , female and male null mice were reconstituted with bone marrow from M or mice. After 10 weeks of the Western diet, there were no differences between the recipients of the same gender in body weight, blood glucose or plasma lipid levels. However, both female and male M → mice developed smaller atherosclerotic lesions in the distal and proximal aorta. These lesions contained less macrophage area and more apoptosis than lesions of control → mice. Thus, loss of and, consequently, mTORC2 significantly compromised monocyte/macrophage survival, and this markedly diminished early atherosclerosis in mice.
Conclusion - Our results demonstrate that mTORC2 is a key signaling regulator of macrophage survival and its depletion suppresses early atherosclerosis.
PURPOSE - To develop and investigate a set of biophysical models based on a mechanically coupled reaction-diffusion model of the spatiotemporal evolution of tumor growth after radiation therapy.
METHODS AND MATERIALS - Post-radiation therapy response is modeled using a cell death model (M), a reduced proliferation rate model (M), and cell death and reduced proliferation model (M). To evaluate each model, rats (n = 12) with C6 gliomas were imaged with diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and contrast-enhanced MRI at 7 time points over 2 weeks. Rats received either 20 or 40 Gy between the third and fourth imaging time point. Diffusion-weighted MRI was used to estimate tumor cell number within enhancing regions in contrast-enhanced MRI data. Each model was fit to the spatiotemporal evolution of tumor cell number from time point 1 to time point 5 to estimate model parameters. The estimated model parameters were then used to predict tumor growth at the final 2 imaging time points. The model prediction was evaluated by calculating the error in tumor volume estimates, average surface distance, and voxel-based cell number.
RESULTS - For both the rats treated with either 20 or 40 Gy, significantly lower error in tumor volume, average surface distance, and voxel-based cell number was observed for the M and M models compared with the M model. The M model fit, however, had significantly lower sum squared error compared with the M and M models.
CONCLUSIONS - The results of this study indicate that for both doses, the M and M models result in accurate predictions of tumor growth, whereas the M model poorly describes response to radiation therapy.
Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Small-molecule inhibitors of the mTORC2 kinase (torkinibs) have shown efficacy in early clinical trials. However, the torkinibs under study also inhibit the other mTOR-containing complex mTORC1. While mTORC1/mTORC2 combined inhibition may be beneficial in cancer cells, recent reports describe compensatory cell survival upon mTORC1 inhibition due to loss of negative feedback on PI3K, increased autophagy, and increased macropinocytosis. Genetic models suggest that selective mTORC2 inhibition would be effective in breast cancers, but the lack of selective small-molecule inhibitors of mTORC2 have precluded testing of this hypothesis to date. Here we report the engineering of a nanoparticle-based RNAi therapeutic that can effectively silence the mTORC2 obligate cofactor Rictor. Nanoparticle-based Rictor ablation in HER2-amplified breast tumors was achieved following intratumoral and intravenous delivery, decreasing Akt phosphorylation and increasing tumor cell killing. Selective mTORC2 inhibition , combined with the HER2 inhibitor lapatinib, decreased the growth of HER2-amplified breast cancers to a greater extent than either agent alone, suggesting that mTORC2 promotes lapatinib resistance, but is overcome by mTORC2 inhibition. Importantly, selective mTORC2 inhibition was effective in a triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) model, decreasing Akt phosphorylation and tumor growth, consistent with our findings that RICTOR mRNA correlates with worse outcome in patients with basal-like TNBC. Together, our results offer preclinical validation of a novel RNAi delivery platform for therapeutic gene ablation in breast cancer, and they show that mTORC2-selective targeting is feasible and efficacious in this disease setting. This study describes a nanomedicine to effectively inhibit the growth regulatory kinase mTORC2 in a preclinical model of breast cancer, targeting an important pathogenic enzyme in that setting that has been undruggable to date. .
©2018 American Association for Cancer Research.