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.
Although the primary cellular targets of many anticancer agents have been identified, less is known about the processes leading to the selective cell death of cancer cells or the molecular basis of drug resistance. p53-deficient mouse embryonic fibroblasts were used to examine systematically the requirement for p53 in cellular sensitivity and resistance to a diverse group of anticancer agents. These results demonstrate that an oncogene, specifically the adenovirus E1A gene, can sensitize fibroblasts to apoptosis induced by ionizing radiation, 5-fluorouracil, etoposide, and adriamycin. Furthermore, the p53 tumor suppressor is required for efficient execution of the death program. These data reinforce the notion that the cytotoxic action of many anticancer agents involves processes subsequent to the interaction between drug and cellular target and indicate that divergent stimuli can activate a common cell death program. Consequently, the involvement of p53 in the apoptotic response suggests a mechanism whereby tumor cells can acquire cross-resistance to anticancer agents.
Oncogenic transformation by human adenoviruses requires early regions 1A and 1B (E1A and E1B) and provides a model of multistep carcinogenesis. This study shows that the metabolic stabilization of p53 observed in adenovirus 5 (Ad5)-transformed cells can occur in untransformed cells expressing E1A alone. Stabilized p53 was localized to the nucleus and was indistinguishable from wild-type p53 with respect to its interactions with hsc70, PAb420, Ad5 p55E1B, and SV40 large T antigen. Moreover, binding of Ad5 p55E1B or SV40 large T antigen had no additional effect on p53 levels or turnover. Higher levels of p53 were also induced in a variety of cell types within 40 hr after transferring E1A genes. E1A also caused cells to lose viability by a process resembling apoptosis. The apoptosis appeared to involve p53, because p53 levels reverted to normal in surviving cells that had lost E1A, and E1B protected cells from the toxic effects of E1A. These results suggest that (1) the involvement of p53 in tumor suppression and/or apoptosis can be regulated at the level of protein turnover, and (2) a major oncogenic role for E1B is to counter cellular responses to E1A (i.e., stabilization of p53 and associated apoptosis) that preclude transformation by E1A alone. This represents the first physiological setting in which high levels of endogenous p53 are induced in response to an oncogenic challenge, with the apparent consequence of suppressing transformation.
Erythropoietin (Epo) inhibits apoptosis in murine proerythroblasts infected with the anemia-inducing strain of Friend virus (FVA cells). We have shown that the apoptotic process in FVA cell populations deprived of Epo is asynchronous as a result of a heterogeneity in Epo dependence among individual cells. Here we investigated whether apoptosis in FVA cells correlated with cell cycle phase or stabilization of p53 tumor suppressor protein. DNA analysis in nonapoptotic FVA cell subpopulations cultured without Epo demonstrated little change in the percentages of cells in G1,S, and G2/M phases over time. Analysis of the apoptotic subpopulation revealed high percentages of cells in G1 and S, with few cells in G2/M at any time. When cells were sorted from G1 and S phases prior to culture without Epo, apoptotic cells appeared at the same rate in both populations, indicating that no prior commitment step had occurred in either G1 or S phase. Steady-state wild-type p53 protein levels were very low in FVA cells compared with control cell lines and did not accumulate in Epo-deprived cultures; however, p53 protein did accumulate when FVA cells were treated with the DNA-damaging agent actinomycin D. These data indicate that erythroblast apoptosis caused by Epo deprivation (i) occurs throughout G1 and S phases and does not require cell cycle arrest, (ii) does not have a commitment event related to cell cycle phase, and (iii) is not associated with conformational changes or stabilization of wild-type p53 protein.
p53-deficient mouse embryonic fibroblasts were used to establish a direct mechanism of tumor suppression by p53 involving the destruction of oncogene-expressing cells by apoptosis. The absence of p53 enhanced cell growth, appeared sufficient for immortalization, and allowed a single oncogene [adenovirus early region 1A (E1A)] to transform cells to a tumorigenic state. p53 suppressed transformation of E1A-expressing cells by apoptosis. Apoptosis was associated with p53 stabilization and was triggered by environmental signals that normally suppress cell growth. Absence of even a single p53 allele significantly enhanced cell growth and survival. Although abrogation of apoptosis allowed transformation by E1A alone, escape from apoptosis susceptibility was not a prerequisite for tumor growth. Consequently, p53 mutation could enhance the survival of malignant cells expressing oncogenes activated early in tumor progression.
The therapeutic responsiveness of genetically defined tumors expressing or devoid of the p53 tumor suppressor gene was compared in immunocompromised mice. Tumors expressing the p53 gene contained a high proportion of apoptotic cells and typically regressed after treatment with gamma radiation or adriamycin. In contrast, p53-deficient tumors treated with the same regimens continued to enlarge and contained few apoptotic cells. Acquired mutations in p53 were associated with both treatment resistance and relapse in p53-expressing tumors. These results establish that defects in apoptosis, here caused by the inactivation of p53, can produce treatment-resistant tumors and suggest that p53 status may be an important determinant of tumor response to therapy.
To determine the role of a specific member of the metalloproteinase family, stromelysin-1, in mammary carcinogenesis and tumor progression, transgenic mice expressing activated rat stromelysin-1 under the control of the mouse mammary tumor virus promoter/enhancer were treated with the carcinogen 7,12-dimethylbenzanthracene (DMBA) to induce mammary tumors. Surprisingly, the expression of stromelysin-1 during the time of DMBA treatment reduced the number of mice developing mammary tumors, in particular adenoacanthomas, from 65 to 32% (P = 0.02). In contrast, when transgenic mice expressing both transforming growth factor alpha and stromelysin-1 under the control of the mouse mammary tumor virus long terminal repeat were treated with DMBA, there was no significant difference in the number of mice that developed tumors compared to transforming growth factor alpha controls. A 4-fold increase in the number of apoptotic cells was detected in stromelysin-1 transgenic mice compared to littermate controls at the time of DMBA administration, suggesting that the reduction in DMBA-induced tumorigenicity is likely to be due, at least in part, to an increased rate of cell turnover in stromelysin-1 transgenic mice. When malignant adenocarcinomas developed in the stromelysin-expressing mice, there was no detectable alteration in the extent of invasion or in the metastatic potential of these tumors compared to tumors from control mice. These results suggest that the expression of a single metalloproteinase, stromelysin-1, is insufficient for the progression of mammary adenocarcinomas to an invasive and metastatic phenotype, but that matrix degradation by metalloproteinases can alter basic processes of cell proliferation and apoptosis.
Members of the Notch family of transmembrane receptors mediate a number of developmental decisions in invertebrates. In order to study Notch function in a vertebrate organism, we have mutated the Notch1 gene of the mouse. Notch1 gene function is required for embryonic survival in the second half of gestation. In the first half of gestation, we have found no effect of the mutation on the normal programs of neurogenesis, myogenesis or apoptosis. We conclude that Notch1 function is not essential for these processes, at least in early postimplantation development. However, we have found that somitogenesis is delayed and disorganized in Notch1 mutant embryos. We propose that Notch1 normally coordinates the process of somitogenesis, and we provide a model of how this might occur.
BCR-ABL is a deregulated tyrosine kinase expressed in Philadelphia chromosome-positive human leukemias. Prolongation of hematopoietic cell survival by inhibition of apoptosis has been proposed to be an integral component of BCR-ABL-induced chronic myelogenous leukemia. BCR-ABL elicits transformation of both fibroblast and hematopoietic cells and blocks apoptosis following cytokine deprivation in various factor-dependent cells. To elucidate the mechanisms whereby BCR-ABL induces transformation and blocks apoptosis in hematopoietic cells, we examined the biological effects of expression of a series of BCR-ABL mutants. Single amino acid substitutions in the GRB2 binding site (Y177F), Src homology 2 domain (R552L), or an autophosphorylation site in the tyrosine kinase domain (Y793F) do not diminish the antiapoptotic and transforming properties of BCR-ABL in hematopoietic cells, although these mutations were previously shown to drastically reduce the transforming activity of BCR-ABL in fibroblasts. A BCR-ABL molecule containing all three mutations (Y177F/R552L/Y793F) exhibits a severe decrease in transforming and antiapoptotic activities compared with the wild-type BCR-ABL protein in 32D myeloid progenitor cells. Ras is activated, the SHC adapter protein is tyrosine phosphorylated and binds GRB2, and myc mRNA levels are increased following expression of all kinase active BCR-ABL proteins with the exception of the Y177F/R552L/Y793F BCR-ABL mutant in 32D cells. We propose that BCR-ABL uses multiple pathways to activate Ras in hematopoietic cells and that this activation is necessary for the transforming and antiapoptotic activities of BCR-ABL. However, Ras activation is not sufficient for BCR-ABL-mediated transformation. A BCR-ABL deletion mutant (delta 176-427) that activates Ras and blocks apoptosis but has severely impaired transforming ability in 32D cells has been identified. These data suggest that BCR-ABL requires additional signaling components to elicit tumorigenic growth which are distinct from those required to block apoptosis.
Selective cell death plays a critical role in the development of the immune repertoire and in the elimination of target cells expressing foreign Ags. The apoptosis induced by ligation of the Fas Ag, a member of the TNFR/nerve growth factor receptor superfamily, contributes to both of these modes of cell loss. However, in spite of the molecular cloning of the Fas Ag and the identification of a specific cytoplasmic domain required for its function, it remains unclear as to which Fas-induced second messengers mediate the development of programmed cell death. We, therefore, evaluated Fas-initiated signal transduction in susceptible cell types. We determined that Fas ligation induces the rapid tyrosine phosphorylation of multiple cellular proteins. These phosphorylation events occur within 1 min and decline toward baseline by 30 min. In addition, Fas ligation increases the in vitro protein kinase activity of the tyrosine phosphorylated proteins. Pharmacologic inhibitors of protein tyrosine kinases block, in a concentration-dependent manner, Fas-induced DNA fragmentation and prolong cell survival. These results suggest that protein tyrosine kinase activation is an early and obligatory signal in Fas-induced apoptosis.