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Aspergillus fumigatus is the causative agent of invasive aspergillosis, leading to infection-related mortality in immunocompromised patients. We previously showed that the conserved and unique-to-fungi veA gene affects different cell processes such as morphological development, gliotoxin biosynthesis and protease activity, suggesting a global regulatory effect on the genome of this medically relevant fungus. In this study, RNA sequencing analysis revealed that veA controls the expression of hundreds of genes in A. fumigatus, including those comprising more than a dozen known secondary metabolite gene clusters. Chemical analysis confirmed that veA controls the synthesis of other secondary metabolites in this organism in addition to gliotoxin. Among the secondary metabolite gene clusters regulated by veA is the elusive but recently identified gene cluster responsible for the biosynthesis of fumagillin, a meroterpenoid known for its anti-angiogenic activity by binding to human methionine aminopeptidase 2. The fumagillin gene cluster contains a veA-dependent regulatory gene, fumR (Afu8g00420), encoding a putative C6 type transcription factor. Deletion of fumR results in silencing of the gene cluster and elimination of fumagillin biosynthesis. We found expression of fumR to also be dependent on laeA, a gene encoding another component of the fungal velvet complex. The results in this study argue that veA is a global regulator of secondary metabolism in A. fumigatus, and that veA may be a conduit via which chemical development is coupled to morphological development and other cellular processes.
Biological transformations of polyunsaturated fatty acids often lead to chemically unstable products, such as the prostaglandin endoperoxides and leukotriene A(4) epoxide of mammalian biology and the allene epoxides of plants. Here, we report on the enzymatic production of a fatty acid containing a highly strained bicyclic four-carbon ring, a moiety known previously only as a model compound for mechanistic studies in chemistry. Starting from linolenic acid (C18.3omega3), a dual function protein from the cyanobacterium Anabaena PCC 7120 forms 9R-hydroperoxy-C18.3omega3 in a lipoxygenase domain, then a catalase-related domain converts the 9R-hydroperoxide to two unstable allylic epoxides. We isolated and identified the major product as 9R,10R-epoxy-11trans-C18.1 containing a bicyclo[1.1.0]butyl ring on carbons 13-16, and the minor product as 9R,10R-epoxy-11trans,13trans,15cis-C18.omega3, an epoxide of the leukotriene A type. Synthesis of both epoxides can be understood by initial transformation of the hydroperoxide to an epoxy allylic carbocation. Rearrangement to an intermediate bicyclobutonium ion followed by deprotonation gives the bicyclobutane fatty acid. This enzymatic reaction has no parallel in aqueous or organic solvent, where ring-opened cyclopropanes, cyclobutanes, and homoallyl products are formed. Given the capability shown here for enzymatic formation of the highly strained and unstable bicyclobutane, our findings suggest that other transformations involving carbocation rearrangement, in both chemistry and biology, should be examined for the production of the high energy bicyclobutanes.
The fact that tumor growth and metastatic spread relies on angiogenesis has been widely proven and accepted. The understanding of cancer biology and metastasis formation has led to the development of new therapeutic approaches that target tumor biology. The survival and establishment of metastatic lesions depend on a shift in the normal balance of proangiogenic and antiangiogenic factors that favor angiogenesis. Colorectal cancer is one of the leading cancer deaths worldwide. Angiogenesis has been associated with colon cancer progression and metastatic spread, thereby significantly affecting patient survival. New experimental approaches that inhibit angiogenic processes have demonstrated promising antineoplastic effects on metastatic colorectal cancer and are partially being investigated in clinical trials. This review focuses on angiogenesis in colorectal cancer metastasis formation as a target for antiangiogenic therapy, describing the experience from experimental studies and current clinical trials.
PURPOSE - Renal cell carcinoma is resistant to most chemotherapy, and only a minority of patients respond to immunotherapy. Its highly vascular nature suggests that antiangiogenesis therapy might be useful. We thus performed a phase II study of the fumigillin analog TNP-470 in previously treated patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma.
PATIENTS AND METHODS - Metastatic renal cell carcinoma patients with good organ function were entered onto the study through five separate institutions. There were no exclusion criteria for prior therapy. All patients were treated at a dose of 60 mg/m(2) of TNP-470 infused over 1 hour three times per week.
RESULTS - Thirty-three patients were enrolled. Therapy was generally well tolerated, but asthenia, fatigue, vertigo, dizziness, sense of imbalance, and loss of concentration were common and severe enough to lead to therapy discontinuation in five patients. There was only one partial response of short duration (response rate, 3%, 95% confidence interval, 0% to 16%), but six patients (18%) remained on study for 6 or more months without toxicity or disease progression.
CONCLUSION - Long-term therapy with TNP-470 has manageable toxicities and is feasible in patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma but does not lead to any significant objective responses. Further studies in this population using TNP-470 schedules that produce more prolonged drug levels and clinical trial end points other than objective tumor regression may be indicated.
Assessment of free fatty acid (FFA) concentration and isotopic enrichment is useful for studies of FFA kinetics in vivo. A new procedure to recover the major FFA from plasma for concentration and isotopic enrichment measurements is described and validated. The procedure involves extraction of plasma lipids with hexane, methylation with iodomethane (CH(3)I) to form fatty acid methyl esters (FAME), and subsequent purification of FAME by solid phase extraction (SPE) chromatography. The new method was compared with a traditional method using thin-layer chromatography (TLC) to recover plasma FFA, with subsequent methylation by BF(3)/methanol. The TLC method was found to be less reliable than the new CH(3)I method because of contamination with extraneous fatty acids, chemical fractionation of FFA species, and incomplete recovery of FFA associated with TLC. In contrast, the CH(3)I/SPE method was free of contamination, did not exhibit chemical fractionation, and had higher recovery. The iodomethane reaction was specific for free fatty acids; no FAME were formed when esterified fatty acids (triglycerides, cholesteryl esters, phospholipids) were subjected to the methylation reaction. We conclude that the CH(3)I/SPE method provides rapid and convenient recovery of plasma fatty acids for quantification or GC/MS analysis as methyl esters, and is not subject to the problems of contamination, reduced recovery, and chemical fractionation associated with recovery of FFA by TLC.
BACKGROUND & AIMS - Low temperature preservation causes unique liver injuries to the sinusoidal lining cells characterized by endothelial cell detachment and rounding and Kupffer cell activation. These changes are similar to those observed during the early stages of angiogenesis. The aim of this study was to investigate if cold preservation injury is caused by the activation of angiogenic mechanisms.
METHODS - Livers were obtained from rats pretreated with three well-known antiangiogenic agents (minocycline, interferon alfa-2b, and fumagillin) and were stored for various durations in cold preservation solutions. The effects of the drugs were evaluated by morphometric assessment of endothelial cell injury in H&E, trypan blue, and immunostained (TIE2/Tek) biopsy specimens. Graft functions and survival were evaluated in isolated perfused rat liver and arterialized orthotopic liver transplantation models.
RESULTS - Sinusoidal lining cell integrity and viability were significantly improved in animals pretreated with the drugs. Reperfusion injury and survival were also better in pretreated animals. Interferon alfa was the most potent agent, reducing injury even in livers preserved in the current most commonly used solution (University of Wisconsin solution).
CONCLUSIONS - Cold preservation injury of liver may be the results of angiogenic mechanisms. This novel observation provides a rationale for improved liver preservation using antiangiogenic agents.
Two commonly employed solvents, n-hexane and carbon disulfide (CS2), although chemically dissimilar, result in identical neurofilament-filled swellings of the distal axon in both the central and peripheral nervous systems. Whereas CS2 is itself a neurotoxicant, hexane requires metabolism to the gamma-diketone, 2,5-hexanedione (HD). Both HD and CS2 react with protein amino functions to yield initial adducts (pyrrolyl or dithiocarbamate derivatives, respectively), which then undergo oxidation or decomposition to an electrophile (oxidized pyrrole ring or isothiocyanate), that then reacts with protein nucleophiles to result in protein cross-linking. It is postulated that progressive cross-linking of the stable neurofilament during its anterograde transport in the longest axons ultimately results in the accumulation of neurofilaments within axonal swellings. Reaction with additional targets appears to be responsible for the degeneration of the axon distal to the swellings.