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The ventricular-subventricular zone (V-SVZ) of the mammalian brain is a site of adult neurogenesis. Within the V-SVZ reside type B neural stem cells (NSCs) and type A neuroblasts. The V-SVZ is also a primary site for very aggressive glioblastoma (GBM). Standard-of-care therapy for GBM consists of safe maximum resection, concurrent temozolomide (TMZ), and X-irradiation (XRT), followed by adjuvant TMZ therapy. The question of how this therapy impacts neurogenesis is not well understood and is of fundamental importance as normal tissue tolerance is a limiting factor. Here, we studied the effects of concurrent TMZ/XRT followed by adjuvant TMZ on type B stem cells and type A neuroblasts of the V-SVZ in C57BL/6 mice. We found that chemoradiation induced an apoptotic response in type A neuroblasts, as marked by cleavage of caspase 3, but not in NSCs, and that A cells within the V-SVZ were repopulated given sufficient recovery time. 53BP1 foci formation and resolution was used to assess the repair of DNA double-strand breaks. Remarkably, the repair was the same in type B and type A cells. While Bax expression was the same for type A or B cells, antiapoptotic Bcl2 and Mcl1 expression was significantly greater in NSCs. Thus, the resistance of type B NSCs to TMZ/XRT appears to be due, in part, to high basal expression of antiapoptotic proteins compared with type A cells. This preclinical research, demonstrating that murine NSCs residing in the V-SVZ are tolerant of standard chemoradiation therapy, supports a dose escalation strategy for treatment of GBM. Stem Cells 2019;37:1629-1639.
© 2019 The Authors. Stem Cells published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of AlphaMed Press 2019.
Human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) maintain a highly fragmented mitochondrial network, but the mechanisms regulating this phenotype remain unknown. Here, we describe a non-cell death function of the anti-apoptotic protein, MCL-1, in regulating mitochondrial dynamics and promoting pluripotency of stem cells. MCL-1 is induced upon reprogramming, and its inhibition or knockdown induces dramatic changes to the mitochondrial network as well as loss of the key pluripotency transcription factors, NANOG and OCT4. Aside from localizing at the outer mitochondrial membrane like other BCL-2 family members, MCL-1 is unique in that it also resides at the mitochondrial matrix in pluripotent stem cells. Mechanistically, we find MCL-1 to interact with DRP-1 and OPA1, two GTPases responsible for remodeling the mitochondrial network. Depletion of MCL-1 compromised the levels and activity of these key regulators of mitochondrial dynamics. Our findings uncover an unexpected, non-apoptotic function for MCL-1 in the maintenance of mitochondrial structure and stemness.
Copyright © 2018 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Monoclonal antibodies targeting the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), cetuximab and panitumumab, are a mainstay of metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) treatment. However, a significant number of patients suffer from primary or acquired resistance. RAS mutations are negative predictors of clinical efficacy of anti-EGFR antibodies in patients with mCRC. Oncogenic RAS activates the MAPK and PI3K/AKT pathways, which are considered the main effectors of resistance. However, the relative impact of these pathways in RAS-mutant CRC is less defined. A better mechanistic understanding of RAS-mediated resistance may guide development of rational intervention strategies. To this end we developed cancer models for functional dissection of resistance to anti-EGFR therapy in vitro and in vivo. To selectively activate MAPK- or AKT-signaling we expressed conditionally activatable RAF-1 and AKT in cancer cells. We found that either pathway independently protected sensitive cancer models against anti-EGFR antibody treatment in vitro and in vivo. RAF-1- and AKT-mediated resistance was associated with increased expression of anti-apoptotic BCL-2 proteins. Biomarkers of MAPK and PI3K/AKT pathway activation correlated with inferior outcome in a cohort of mCRC patients receiving cetuximab-based therapy. Dual pharmacologic inhibition of PI3K and MEK successfully sensitized primary resistant CRC models to anti-EGFR therapy. In conclusion, combined targeting of MAPK and PI3K/AKT signaling, but not single pathways, may be required to enhance the efficacy of anti-EGFR antibody therapy in patients with RAS-mutated CRC as well as in RAS wild type tumors with clinical resistance.
An estimated 40,000 deaths will be attributed to breast cancer in 2016, underscoring the need for improved therapies. Evading cell death is a major hallmark of cancer, driving tumor progression and therapeutic resistance. To evade apoptosis, cancers use antiapoptotic Bcl-2 proteins to bind to and neutralize apoptotic activators, such as Bim. Investigation of antiapoptotic Bcl-2 family members in clinical breast cancer datasets revealed greater expression and more frequent gene amplification of as compared with or (Bcl-xL) across three major molecular breast cancer subtypes, Luminal (A and B), HER2-enriched, and Basal-like. While Mcl-1 protein expression was elevated in estrogen receptor α (ERα)-positive and ERα-negative tumors as compared with normal breast, Mcl-1 staining was higher in ERα tumors. Targeted Mcl-1 blockade using RNAi increased caspase-mediated cell death in ERα breast cancer cells, resulting in sustained growth inhibition. In contrast, combined blockade of Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL only transiently induced apoptosis, as cells rapidly acclimated through Mcl-1 upregulation and enhanced Mcl-1 activity, as measured using Mcl-1/Bim proximity ligation assays. Importantly, gene expression levels correlated inversely with sensitivity to pharmacologic Bcl-2/Bcl-xL inhibition in luminal breast cancer cells, whereas no relationship was seen between the gene expression of or and sensitivity to Bcl-2/Bcl-xL inhibition. These results demonstrate that breast cancers rapidly deploy Mcl-1 to promote cell survival, particularly when challenged with blockade of other Bcl-2 family members, warranting the continued development of Mcl-1-selective inhibitors for targeted tumor cell killing. Mcl-1 levels predict breast cancer response to inhibitors targeting other Bcl-2 family members, and demonstrate the key role played by Mcl-1 in resistance to this drug class. .
©2016 American Association for Cancer Research.
NADPH oxidase 4 (NOX4) is highly expressed in kidney proximal tubular cells. NOX4 constitutively produces hydrogen peroxide, which may regulate important pro-survival pathways. Renal ischemia reperfusion injury (IRI) is a classical model mimicking human ischemic acute tubular necrosis. We hypothesized that NOX4 plays a protective role in kidney IRI. In wild type (WT) animals subjected to IRI, NOX4 protein expression increased after 24 hours. NOX4 KO (knock-out) and WT littermates mice were subjected to IRI. NOX4 KO mice displayed decreased renal function and more severe tubular apoptosis, decreased Bcl-2 expression and higher histologic damage scores compared to WT. Activation of NRF2 was decreased in NOX4 KO mice in response to IRI. This was related to decreased KEAP1 oxidation leading to decreased NRF2 stabilization. This resulted in decreased glutathione levels. In vitro silencing of NOX4 in cells showed an enhanced propensity to apoptosis, with reduced expression of NRF2, glutathione content and Bcl-2 expression, similar to cells derived from NOX4 KO mice. Overexpression of a constitutively active form of NRF2 (caNRF2) in NOX4 depleted cells rescued most of this phenotype in cultured cells, implying that NRF2 regulation by ROS issued from NOX4 may play an important role in its anti-apoptotic property.
Hdac3 is a key target for Hdac inhibitors that are efficacious in cutaneous T cell lymphoma. Moreover, the regulation of chromatin structure is critical as thymocytes transition from an immature cell with open chromatin to a mature T cell with tightly condensed chromatin. To define the phenotypes controlled by Hdac3 during T cell development, we conditionally deleted Hdac3 using the Lck-Cre transgene. This strategy inactivated Hdac3 in the double-negative stages of thymocyte development and caused a significant impairment at the CD8 immature single-positive (ISP) stage and the CD4/CD8 double-positive stage, with few mature CD4(+) or CD8(+) single-positive cells being produced. When Hdac3(-/-) mice were crossed with Bcl-xL-, Bcl2-, or TCRβ-expressing transgenic mice, a modest level of complementation was found. However, when the null mice were crossed with mice expressing a fully rearranged T cell receptor αβ transgene, normal levels of CD4 single-positive cells were produced. Thus, Hdac3 is required for the efficient transit from double-negative stage 4 through positive selection.
Copyright © 2015, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.
Apoptosis, cell death executed by caspases, is essential to normal breast development and homeostasis. Pro-apoptotic and anti-apoptotic signals are tightly regulated in normal breast epithelial cells. Dysregulation of this balance is required for breast tumorigenesis and increases acquired resistance to treatments, including molecularly targeted therapies, radiation and chemotherapies. The pro-apoptotic or anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 family members interact with each other to maintain mitochondrial integrity and regulate cellular commitment to apoptosis. Among the anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 family members, Mcl-1 is uniquely regulated by numerous oncogenic signaling pathways. This review will focus on the role of Bcl-2 family proteins in normal breast development, breast tumorigenesis and acquired resistance to breast cancer treatment strategies, while highlighting Mcl-1 as a promising target to improve breast cancer tumor cell killing.
The generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), particularly superoxide, by damaged or dysfunctional mitochondria has been postulated to be an initiating event in the development of diabetes complications. The glomerulus is a primary site of diabetic injury, and podocyte injury is a classic hallmark of diabetic glomerular lesions. In streptozotocin-induced type 1 diabetes, podocyte-specific EGF receptor (EGFR) knockout mice (EGFR(podKO)) and their wild-type (WT) littermates had similar levels of hyperglycemia and polyuria, but EGFR(podKO) mice had significantly less albuminuria and less podocyte loss compared with WT diabetic mice. Furthermore, EGFR(podKO) diabetic mice had less TGF-β1 expression, Smad2/3 phosphorylation, and glomerular fibronectin deposition. Immunoblotting of isolated glomerular lysates revealed that the upregulation of cleaved caspase 3 and downregulation of Bcl2 in WT diabetic mice were attenuated in EGFR(podKO) diabetic mice. Administration of the SOD mimetic mito-tempol or the NADPH oxidase inhibitor apocynin attenuated the upregulation of p-c-Src, p-EGFR, p-ERK1/2, p-Smad2/3, and TGF-β1 expression and prevented the alteration of cleaved caspase 3 and Bcl2 expression in glomeruli of WT diabetic mice. High-glucose treatment of cultured mouse podocytes induced similar alterations in the production of ROS; phosphorylation of c-Src, EGFR, and Smad2/3; and expression of TGF-β1, cleaved caspase 3, and Bcl2. These alterations were inhibited by treatment with mito-tempol or apocynin or by inhibiting EGFR expression or activity. Thus, results of our studies utilizing mice with podocyte-specific EGFR deletion demonstrate that EGFR activation has a major role in activating pathways that mediate podocyte injury and loss in diabetic nephropathy.
Copyright © 2015 by the American Society of Nephrology.
Anti-apoptosis engineering is an established technique to prolong the viability of mammalian cell cultures used for industrial production of recombinant proteins. However, the effect of overexpressing anti-apoptotic proteins on central carbon metabolism has not been systematically studied. We transfected CHO-S cells to express Bcl-2∆, an engineered anti-apoptotic gene, and selected clones that differed in their Bcl-2∆ expression and caspase activity. (13)C metabolic flux analysis (MFA) was then applied to elucidate the metabolic alterations induced by Bcl-2∆. Expression of Bcl-2Δ reduced lactate accumulation by redirecting the fate of intracellular pyruvate toward mitochondrial oxidation during the lactate-producing phase, and it significantly increased lactate re-uptake during the lactate-consuming phase. This flux redistribution was associated with significant increases in biomass yield, peak viable cell density (VCD), and integrated VCD. Additionally, Bcl-2∆ expression was associated with significant increases in isocitrate dehydrogenase and NADH oxidase activities, both rate-controlling mitochondrial enzymes. This is the first comprehensive (13)C MFA study to demonstrate that expression of anti-apoptotic genes has a significant impact on intracellular metabolic fluxes, especially in controlling the fate of pyruvate carbon, which has important biotechnology applications for reducing lactate accumulation and enhancing productivity in mammalian cell cultures.
Copyright © 2014 International Metabolic Engineering Society. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
BACKGROUND - Higher frequency of Smad4 inactivation or loss of expression is observed in metastasis of colorectal cancer (CRC) leading to unfavourable survival and contributes to chemoresistance. However, the molecular mechanism of how Smad4 regulates chemosensitivity of CRC is unknown.
METHODS - We evaluated how the loss of Smad4 in CRC enhanced chemoresistance to 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) using two CRC cell lines in vitro and in vivo. Immunoblotting with cell and tumour lysates and immunohistochemical analyses with tissue microarray were performed.
RESULTS - Knockdown or loss of Smad4 induced tumorigenicity, migration, invasion, angiogenesis, metastasis, and 5-FU resistance. Smad4 expression in mouse tumours regulated cell-cycle regulatory proteins leading to Rb phosphorylation. Loss of Smad4 activated Akt pathway that resulted in upregulation of anti-apoptotic proteins, Bcl-2 and Bcl-w, and Survivin. Suppression of phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt pathway by LY294002 restored chemosensitivity of Smad4-deficient cells to 5-FU. Vascular endothelial growth factor-induced angiogenesis in Smad4-deficient cells might also lead to chemoresistance. Low levels of Smad4 expression in CRC tissues correlated with higher levels of Bcl-2 and Bcl-w and with poor overall survival as observed in immunohistochemical staining of tissue microarrays.
CONCLUSION - Loss of Smad4 in CRC patients induces resistance to 5-FU-based therapy through activation of Akt pathway and inhibitors of this pathway may sensitise these patients to 5-FU.