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Neuroblastoma, the most common extra-cranial solid tumor in infants and children, is characterized by a high rate of spontaneous remissions in infancy. Retinoic acid (RA) has been known to induce neuroblastoma differentiation; however, the molecular mechanisms and signaling pathways that are responsible for RA-mediated neuroblastoma cell differentiation remain unclear. Here, we sought to determine the cell signaling processes involved in RA-induced cellular differentiation. Upon RA administration, human neuroblastoma cell lines, SK-N-SH and BE(2)-C, demonstrated neurite extensions, which is an indicator of neuronal cell differentiation. Moreover, cell cycle arrest occurred in G1/G0 phase. The protein levels of cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors, p21 and p27(Kip), which inhibit cell proliferation by blocking cell cycle progression at G1/S phase, increased after RA treatment. Interestingly, RA promoted cell survival during the differentiation process, hence suggesting a potential mechanism for neuroblastoma resistance to RA therapy. Importantly, we found that the PI3K/AKT pathway is required for RA-induced neuroblastoma cell differentiation. Our results elucidated the molecular mechanism of RA-induced neuroblastoma cellular differentiation, which may be important for developing novel therapeutic strategy against poorly differentiated neuroblastoma.
Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
BACKGROUND - BRCA2 gene expression is tightly regulated during the cell cycle in human breast cells. The expression of BRCA2 gene is silenced at the G0/G1 phase of cell growth and is de-silenced at the S/G2 phase. While studying the activity of BRCA2 gene promoter in breast cancer cells, we discovered that this promoter has bi-directional activity and the product of the reverse activity (a ZAR1-like protein, we named ZAR2) silences the forward promoter at the G0/G1 phase of the cell. Standard techniques like cell synchronization by serum starvation, flow cytometry, N-terminal or C-terminal FLAG epitope-tagged protein expression, immunofluorescence confocal microscopy, dual luciferase assay for promoter evaluation, and chromatin immunoprecipitation assay were employed during this study.
RESULTS - Human BRCA2 gene promoter is active in both the forward and the reverse orientations. This promoter is 8-20 fold more active in the reverse orientation than in the forward orientation when the cells are in the non-dividing stage (G0/G1). When the cells are in the dividing state (S/G2), the forward activity of the promoter is 5-8 folds higher than the reverse activity. The reverse activity transcribes the ZAR2 mRNA with 966 nt coding sequence which codes for a 321 amino acid protein. ZAR2 has two C4 type zinc fingers at the carboxyl terminus. In the G0/G1 growth phase ZAR2 is predominantly located inside the nucleus of the breast cells, binds to the BRCA2 promoter and inhibits the expression of BRCA2. In the dividing cells, ZAR2 is trapped in the cytoplasm.
CONCLUSIONS - BRCA2 gene promoter has bi-directional activity, expressing BRCA2 and a novel C4-type zinc finger containing transcription factor ZAR2. Subcellular location of ZAR2 and its expression from the reverse promoter of the BRCA2 gene are stringently regulated in a cell cycle dependent manner. ZAR2 binds to BRCA2/ZAR2 bi-directional promoter in vivo and is responsible, at least in part, for the silencing of BRCA2 gene expression in the G0/G1 phase in human breast cells.
Detailed characterization of Ag-specific naive and memory B cell Ab repertoires elucidates the molecular basis for the generation of Ab diversity and the optimization of Ab structures that bind microbial Ags. In this study, we analyzed the immunophenotype and VH gene repertoire of rotavirus (RV) VP6-specific B cells in three circulating naive or memory B cell subsets (CD19+IgD+CD27-, CD19+IgD+CD27+, or CD19+IgD-CD27+) at the single-cell level. We aimed to investigate the influence of antigenic exposure on the molecular features of the two RV-specific memory B cell subsets. We found an increased frequency of CD19+IgD+CD27+ unclass-switched memory B cells and a low frequency of somatic mutations in CD19+IgD-CD27+ class-switched memory B cells in RV-specific memory B cells, suggesting a reduced frequency of isotype switching and somatic mutation in RV VP6-specific memory B cells compared with other memory B cells. Furthermore, we found that dominance of the VH1-46 gene segment was a prominent feature in the VH gene repertoire of RV VP6-specific naive B cells, but this dominance was reduced in memory B cells. Increased diversity in the VH gene repertoire of the two memory B cell groups derived from broader usage of VH gene segments, increased junctional diversity that was introduced by differential TdT activities, and somatic hypermutation.
Angiogenesis contributes to a wide range of neoplastic, ischemic, and inflammatory disorders. Definition of the intrinsic molecular controls in angiogenic vessel growth promises novel therapeutic approaches for angiogenesis-related diseases. CD148 (also named DEP-1/PTP eta) is a receptor-like protein tyrosine phosphatase that is abundantly expressed in vascular endothelial cells. To explore a role of CD148 in endothelial vessel formation, we generated a monoclonal antibody, Ab1, against the ectodomain sequence of CD148 and examined its effects on endothelial-cell growth and vessel formation. Here we report that a bivalent, but not a monovalent, form of the Ab1 antibody inhibits endothelial-cell growth and blocks angiogenesis in mouse cornea in vivo. We further demonstrate that (1) bivalent Ab1 arrests cell-cycle progression of CD148-transfected CHO cells at G(0)/G(1) phase, (2) coexpression of catalytically inactive CD148 mutants attenuates the Ab1-cell growth inhibition, and (3) bivalent Ab1 suppresses phosphorylation of ERK1/2 kinases and Met tyrosine kinase as activated CD148 does, with an increase in CD148-associated tyrosine phosphatase activity. Taken together, these findings demonstrate that Ab1-induced ectodomain oligomerization arrests endothelial-cell growth through catalytic activity of the CD148 cytoplasmic domain. The present study defines CD148 as a valuable molecular target for antiangiogenesis therapy.
The pro-apoptotic molecule BAD binds BCL-[X(L)] or BCL2 and inactivates their survival function. In addition to their anti-apoptotic function, BCL2 and BCL-[X(L)] also delay cell cycle entry from quiescence. We found that the BH3-only molecule BAD also exerted a cell cycle effect. BAD expression resulted in failure to cell cycle block in growth arrest conditions. In low serum and in confluence, fibroblasts constitutively or inducibly expressing BAD persisted in S phase, continued to incorporate BrdU, and exhibited sustained cyclin E/cdk2 activity. Mutation analysis indicated that the cell cycle effect of BAD was not dependent on its phosphorylation status or subcellular localization, but strictly co-segregated with BCL-[X(L)] binding. bclx(-/-) MEFs expressing BAD and bad(-/-) MEFs both arrested in G0/G1 in low serum similar to wild-type controls, suggesting that the ability to overcome the G0/G1 checkpoint resulted from the presence of BAD/BCL-x(L) heterodimers, rather than the absence of BCL-[X(L)] or BAD. These data provide evidence that in addition to regulating apoptosis, the BAD/BCL-[X(L)] heterodimer has a novel cell cycle function.
The mammalian transcription factor LSF (CP2/LBP-1c) binds cellular promoters modulated by cell growth signals. We demonstrate here that LSF-DNA-binding activity is strikingly regulated by induction of cell growth in human peripheral T lymphocytes. Within 15 min of mitogenic stimulation of these cells, the level of LSF-DNA-binding activity increased by a factor of five. The level of LSF protein in the nucleus remained constant throughout this interval. However, a rapid decrease in the electrophoretic mobility of LSF, attributable to phosphorylation, correlated with the increase in DNA-binding activity. pp44 (ERK1) phosphorylated LSF in vitro on the same residue that was phosphorylated in vivo, specifically at amino acid position 291, as indicated by mutant analysis. As direct verification of the causal relationship between phosphorylation and DNA-binding activity, treatment in vitro of LSF with phosphatase both increased the electrophoretic mobility of the protein and decreased LSF-DNA-binding activity. This modulation of LSF-DNA-binding activity as T cells progress from a resting to a replicating state reveals that LSF activity is regulated during cell growth and suggests that LSF regulates growth-responsive promoters.
The effects of glucocorticoid hormones on the expression of the growth factor-inducible genes JE, KC, and c-myc were analyzed in parental BALB/3T3 and polyomavirus middle-T antigen-transfected cell lines. Northern (RNA) blot hybridization and run-on transcription analysis showed that (i) glucocorticoid hormones selectively inhibit JE and KC expression at the transcriptional level and (ii) the downregulatory effect of glucocorticoids on JE and KC expression is partial for serum-stimulated and middle T antigen-transformed cells and total for quiescent and exponentially growing cells. Gel mobility assays using AP-1 oligonucleotides showed a positive correlation between glucocorticoid downregulating effect and presence of the AP-1 complex. JE and KC downregulation by means of the AP-1 complex may play a role in the actions of glucocorticoids as anti-inflammatory and antitumor agents. The ability of glucocorticoids to downregulate JE and KC was used to investigate the relevance of these genes to the mitogenic response to serum growth factors. Hydrocortisone did not alter the basal DNA synthesis level displayed by quiescent 3T3 cells, but it potentiated both the mitogenic effect of platelet-derived growth factor and c-myc induction by serum growth factors. Upon serum restimulation, untreated and dexamethasone-treated quiescent 3T3 cultures entered the S phase after an identical time lag (G1). These results suggest that (i) JE and KC are not necessary for the G0----G1----S transition and (ii) c-myc overexpression is likely to be the basis for the potentiating effect of glucocorticoids on serum growth factors.