Gene Summary

Gene:BAK1; BCL2 antagonist/killer 1
Aliases: BAK, CDN1, BCL2L7, BAK-LIKE
Summary:The protein encoded by this gene belongs to the BCL2 protein family. BCL2 family members form oligomers or heterodimers and act as anti- or pro-apoptotic regulators that are involved in a wide variety of cellular activities. This protein localizes to mitochondria, and functions to induce apoptosis. It interacts with and accelerates the opening of the mitochondrial voltage-dependent anion channel, which leads to a loss in membrane potential and the release of cytochrome c. This protein also interacts with the tumor suppressor P53 after exposure to cell stress. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2008]
Databases:VEGA, OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:bcl-2 homologous antagonist/killer
Source:NCBIAccessed: 16 March, 2017


What does this gene/protein do?
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Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1992-2017)
Graph generated 16 March 2017 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

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Tag cloud generated 16 March, 2017 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Latest Publications: BAK1 (cancer-related)

Nguyen PN, Huang CJ, Sugii S, et al.
Selective activation of miRNAs of the primate-specific chromosome 19 miRNA cluster (C19MC) in cancer and stem cells and possible contribution to regulation of apoptosis.
J Biomed Sci. 2017; 24(1):20 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The human chromosome 19 miRNA cluster (C19MC) of 43 genes is a primate-specific miRNA cluster that may have biological significance in the genetic complexity of the primate. Despite previous reports on individual C19MC miRNA expression in cancer and stem cells, systematic studies on C19MC miRNA expression and biological functions are lacking.
RESULTS: Cluster-wide C19MC miRNA expression profiling by microarray analysis showed wholesome C19MC activation in embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). However, in multipotent adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and a unipotent human white pre-adipocyte cell line, only selected C19MC miRNAs were expressed. MiRNA copy number analysis also showed selective C19MC expression in cancer cells with expression patterns highly similar to those in MSCs, suggesting similar miRNA regulatory mechanisms in these cells. Selective miRNA expression also suggests complex transcriptional mechanism(s) regulating C19MC expression under specific cellular and pathological conditions. Bioinformatics analysis showed that sixteen of the C19MC miRNAs share the same "AAGUGC" seed sequence with members of the miR-302/-372 family, which are known cellular reprogramming factors. In particular, C19MC-AAGUGC-miRNAs with the nucleotides 2-7 canonical seed position as in miR-302/-372 miRNAs, may play similar roles as miR-302/-372 in induced pluripotency. A biased 3p-arm selection of the C19MC-AAGUGC-miRNAs was observed indicating that targets of the 3p species of these miRNAs may be biologically significant in regulating stemness. Furthermore, bioinformatics analysis of the putative targets of the C19MC-AAGUGC-miRNAs predicted significant involvement of signaling pathways in reprogramming, many of which contribute to promoting apoptosis by indirect activation of the pro-apoptotic proteins BAK/BAX via suppression of genes of the cell survival pathways, or by enhancing caspase-8 activation through targeting inhibitors of TRAIL-inducing apoptosis.
CONCLUSIONS: This work demonstrated selective C19MC expression in MSCs and cancer cells, and, through miRNA profiling and bioinformatics analysis, predicted C19MC modulation of apoptosis in induced pluripotency and tumorigenesis.

Shen L, Zhang G, Lou Z, et al.
Cryptotanshinone enhances the effect of Arsenic trioxide in treating liver cancer cell by inducing apoptosis through downregulating phosphorylated- STAT3 in vitro and in vivo.
BMC Complement Altern Med. 2017; 17(1):106 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Arsenic trioxide (ATO) is approved for treating terminal-stage liver cancer in China. Cryptotanshinone (CT), a STAT3 inhibitor, has exhibited certain anti-tumor potency; however, the use of CT enhanced ATO for treating liver cancer has not been reported. Here we try to elucidate how CT could enhance the efficacy of ATO for treating liver cancer and its correlation to STAT3 in vitro and in vivo.
METHODS: Cell viability of ATO combined with CT was assessed by (1)MTT assay. Cell apoptosis induced by ATO combined with CT was detected by Annexin V/PI staining and apoptosis-related proteins were detected by western blotting. STAT3-related proteins were analysis by western blotting analysis and Immunofluorescence assays. Efficacy evaluation of ATO combined with CT on xenograft was carried in nude mice and related proteins were analysis by Immunohistochemistry assays.
RESULTS: First we evaluated cell vitality, and our data indicated that the ATO combined with CT showed obvious growth inhibition of Bel-7404 cells compared to ATO or CT alone. Next we found that ATO combined with CT induced cell apoptosis in Bel-7404 cells and upregulated the activation of apoptosis-related proteins cleaved-caspase-3, cleaved-caspase-9, and cleaved-poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase in a time-dependent manner. Next, we found that ATO combined with CT not only inhibited the constitutive levels of phosphorylated-JAK2 and phosphorylated-STAT3(Tyr705) but did so in a time-dependent manner. We also found that ATO combined with CT reversed the upregulated expression of phosphorylated-STAT3(Tyr705) stimulated by interleukin-6 and downregulated STAT3 direct target genes and the anti-apoptotic proteins Bcl-2, XIAP, and survivin but obviously upregulated the promoting apoptosis proteins Bak,.In vivo studies showed that ATO combined with CT decreased tumor growth. Tumors from ATO combined with CT-treated mice showed decreased levels of phosphorylated-STAT3(Tyr705) and the anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-2 but an increased level of pro-apoptotic protein Bax.
CONCLUSIONS: Our study provides strong evidence that CT could enhance the efficacy of ATO in treating liver cancer both in vitro and in vivo. Downregulation of phosphorylated-STAT3 expression may play an important role in inducing apoptosis of Bel-7404 cells.

Zhang L, Hong Z, Zhang RR, et al.
Bakkenolide A inhibits leukemia by regulation of HDAC3 and PI3K/Akt-related signaling pathways.
Biomed Pharmacother. 2016; 83:958-966 [PubMed] Related Publications
Leukemia has been the third type of cancer killing many people across the world. Bakkenolide A (Bak), extracted from Petasites tricholobus, has been suggested to against cancer and display protective effects on inflammatory cytokines formation. And increasing evidences suggest that histone deacetylase 3 (HDAC3) plays vital roles in cancer formation and persistence via cell death, apoptosis and inflammation. But the function of Bakkenolide A in regulating leukemia is not understood yet, particularly via HDAC3. Here, we found that HDAC3 is up-regulated in clinical samples of leukemia compared with adjacent normal tissues. Then the expression of HDAC3 was knocked down via RNA interference in K562 cells. And inhibition of HDAC3 expression is able to improve leukemia invasion, migration and proliferation. Further, we also found HDAC3 bound to IκBα, affecting subsequent inflammation response. Moreover, Bakkenolide A was found to inhibit inflammation, induce apoptosis and cell death in leukemia cells via PI3K-regulated signaling pathway, down-regulating IKKs expression and suppressing in proinflammatory cytokines of IL-1β, IL-18 and TNF-α. Up-regulation of Caspase3/7 was observed in cells of HDAC3-knockdown and Bakkenolide A treatment, inducing leukemia cell apoptosis. Also, the expression of Akt and GSK were activated by HDAC3-knockdown and Bakkenolide A-treatment. Thus, these results indicated that Bakkenolide A-mediated HDAC3 sensitization in leukemia cells seem to be associated with activation of effector IKKs, Akt/GSK, and caspases through induction of the PI3K pathway, leading to inflammation, cell death, and apoptosis.

Yamaguchi R, Harada H, Hirota K
VHL-deficient renal cancer cells gain resistance to mitochondria-activating apoptosis inducers by activating AKT through the IGF1R-PI3K pathway.
Tumour Biol. 2016; 37(10):13295-13306 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
We previously developed (2-deoxyglucose)-(ABT-263) combination therapy (2DG-ABT), which induces apoptosis by activating Bak in the mitochondria of highly glycolytic cells with varied genetic backgrounds. However, the rates of apoptosis induced by 2DG-ABT were lower in von Hippel-Lindau (VHL)-deficient cancer cells. The re-expression of VHL protein in these cells lowered IGF1R expression in a manner independent of oxygen concentration. Lowering IGF1R expression via small interfering RNA (siRNA) sensitized the cells to 2DG-ABT, suggesting that IGF1R interfered with the activation of apoptosis by the mitochondria. To determine which of the two pathways activated by IGF1R, the Ras-ERK pathway or the PI3K-AKT pathway, was involved in the impairment of mitochondria activation, the cells were treated with a specific inhibitor of either PI3K or ERK, and 2DG-ABT was added to activate the mitochondria. The apoptotic rates resulting from 2DG-ABT treatment were higher in the cells treated with the PI3K inhibitor, while the rates remained approximately the same in the cells treated with the ERK inhibitor. In 2DG-ABT-sensitive cells, a 4-h 2DG treatment caused the dissociation of Mcl-1 from Bak, while ABT treatment alone caused the dissociation of Bcl-xL from Bak without substantially reducing Mcl-1 levels. In 2DG-ABT-resistant cells, Mcl-1 dissociated from Bak only when AKT activity was inhibited during the 4-h 2DG treatment. Thus, in VHL-deficient cells, IGF1R activated AKT and stabilized the Bak-Mcl-1 complex, thereby conferring cell resistance to apoptosis.

Jagadish N, Gupta N, Agarwal S, et al.
Sperm-associated antigen 9 (SPAG9) promotes the survival and tumor growth of triple-negative breast cancer cells.
Tumour Biol. 2016; 37(10):13101-13110 [PubMed] Related Publications
Recently, we demonstrated the association of sperm-associated antigen 9 (SPAG9) expression with breast cancer. Among breast cancer, 15 % of the cancers are diagnosed as triple-negative breast cancers (TNBC) based on hormone receptor status and represent an important clinical challenge because of lack of effective available targeted therapy. Therefore, in the present investigation, plasmid-based small hairpin (small hairpin RNA (shRNA)) approach was used to ablate SPAG9 in aggressive breast cancer cell line model (MDA-MB-231) in order to understand the role of SPAG9 at molecular level in apoptosis, cell cycle, and epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) signaling. Our data in MDA-MB-231 cells showed that ablation of SPAG9 resulted in membrane blebbing, increased mitochondrial membrane potential, DNA fragmentation, phosphatidyl serine surface expression, and caspase activation. SPAG9 depletion also resulted in cell cycle arrest in G0-G1 phase and induced cellular senescence. In addition, in in vitro and in vivo xenograft studies, ablation of SPAG9 resulted in upregulation of p21 along with pro-apoptotic molecules such as BAK, BAX, BIM, BID, NOXA, AIF, Cyto-C, PARP1, APAF1, Caspase 3, and Caspase 9 and epithelial marker, E-cadherin. Also, SPAG9-depleted cells showed downregulation of cyclin B1, cyclin D1, cyclin E, CDK1, CDK4, CDK6, BCL2, Bcl-xL, XIAP, cIAP2, MCL1, GRP78, SLUG, SNAIL, TWIST, vimentin, N-cadherin, MMP2, MMP3, MMP9, SMA, and β-catenin. Collectively, our data suggests that SPAG9 promotes tumor growth by inhibiting apoptosis, altering cell cycle, and enhancing EMT signaling in in vitro cells and in vivo mouse model. Hence, SPAG9 may be a potential novel target for therapeutic use in TNBC treatment.

Witek Ł, Janikowski T, Bodzek P, et al.
Expression of tumor suppressor genes related to the cell cycle in endometrial cancer patients.
Adv Med Sci. 2016; 61(2):317-324 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: Endometrial cancer is the most common gynecological malignancy in developed countries. The role of tumor suppressor genes (TSG) in endometrioid endometrial adenocarcinoma (EEC) has an important impact on patient survival prognosis. Thus, it is important to identify TSG transcripts that differentiate endometrial adenocarcinoma into various pathomorphological grades. The aim of this study was to analyze the expression profile of tumor suppressor genes related to the cell cycle in patients with endometrial adenocarcinoma across histological differentiation and to identify transcripts which differentiate endometrium into various pathomorphological grades.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: Gene expression analysis was completed for 19 endometrial endometrioid adenocarcinomas and 5 normal specimens (obtained from women with diagnosed uterine fibroids, benign ovarian tumors and a prolapsed uterus with histopathologically confirmed endometrium in the proliferative phase) using Affymetrix HG-U133A oligonucleotide microarrays. The statistical analysis was performed using the GeneSpring13.0 software and PANTHER classification system.
RESULTS: Significant changes in gene expression were observed across histological differentiation. The WT-1, CYR 61, TSPYL5 genes were statistically and biologically significant in all cancer grades, and were considered to be primary for the G1 grade in endometrial cancer. The G2 cancer specific genes were BCL2L2 and HNRNPA0, whereas in G3 there was only BAK.
CONCLUSION: In conclusion, the WT-1, CYR61 and TSPYL5 gene expressions are potentially correlated with patient survival in all endometrial cancer grades. The TSGs identified are considered to be important in EEC pathogenesis and further research is needed to confirm this.

Ma J, Zhao Z, Wu K, et al.
MCL-1 is the key target of adjuvant chemotherapy to reverse the cisplatin-resistance in NSCLC.
Gene. 2016; 587(2):147-54 [PubMed] Related Publications
Cisplatin is one of the most effective chemotherapeutic agents for the treatment of lung cancer. However, the acquired resistance occurred in cancer cells limits the clinical application of cisplatin. MCL-1, which is an important member in the pro-survival Bcl-2 family, plays a critical role in multidrug resistance (MDR). The aim of the present study is to investigate the value of Pan-Bcl-2 inhibitor as sensitizer for the chemotherapy of cisplatin-resistant non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cells. We found the obatoclax but not the ABT-737 significantly decreased the IC50 (half maximal inhibitory concentration) of cisplatin in cisplatin-resistant NSCLC cells. Furthermore, we demonstrated that the mechanism of obatoclax-promoted cell death induced by cisplatin was dependent on the inhibition of MCL-1, which couldn't be inhibited by ABT-737 but is the target of obatoclax. Moreover, inhibition of MCL-1 recovered the function of NOXA and BAK in cisplatin-resistant NSCLC cells, leading to the promotion of mitochondrial apoptosis induced by cisplatin. Interestingly, our date indicated the obatoclax also reversed the cross-resistance in cisplatin-resistant NSCLC cells. Therefore, we demonstrated that the targeted therapy with MCL-1 inhibitors, such as obatoclax, may represent a novel strategy for cancer therapy.

Lu JW, Wang AN, Liao HA, et al.
Cabozantinib is selectively cytotoxic in acute myeloid leukemia cells with FLT3-internal tandem duplication (FLT3-ITD).
Cancer Lett. 2016; 376(2):218-25 [PubMed] Related Publications
Cabozantinib is an oral multikinase inhibitor that exhibits anti-tumor activity in several cancers. We found that cabozantinib was significantly cytotoxic to MV4-11 and Molm-13 cells that harbored FLT3-ITD, resulting in IC50 values of 2.4 nM and 2.0 nM, respectively. However, K562, OCI-AML3 and THP-1 (leukemia cell lines lacking FLT3-ITD) were resistant to cabozantinib, showing IC50 values in the micromolar range. Cabozantinib arrested MV4-11 cell growth at the G0/G1 phase within 24 h, which was associated with decreased phosphorylation of FLT3, STAT5, AKT and ERK. Additionally, cabozantinib induced MV4-11 cell apoptosis in a dose-dependent manner (as indicated by annexin V staining and high levels of cleaved caspase 3 and PARP-1), down-regulated the anti-apoptotic protein survivin and up-regulated the pro-apoptotic protein Bak. Thus, cabozantinib is selectively cytotoxic to leukemia cells with FLT3-ITD, causing cell-cycle arrest and apoptosis. In mouse xenograft model, cabozantinib significantly inhibited MV4-11 and Molm-13 tumor growth at a dosage of 10 mg/kg and showed longer survival rate. Clinical trials evaluating the efficacy of cabozantinib in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) with FLT3-ITD are warranted.

Huang K, Zhang J, O'Neill KL, et al.
Cleavage by Caspase 8 and Mitochondrial Membrane Association Activate the BH3-only Protein Bid during TRAIL-induced Apoptosis.
J Biol Chem. 2016; 291(22):11843-51 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 27/05/2017 Related Publications
The BH3-only protein Bid is known as a critical mediator of the mitochondrial pathway of apoptosis following death receptor activation. However, since full-length Bid possesses potent apoptotic activity, the role of a caspase-mediated Bid cleavage is not established in vivo In addition, due to the fact that multiple caspases cleave Bid at the same site in vitro, the identity of the Bid-cleaving caspase during death receptor signaling remains uncertain. Moreover, as Bid maintains its overall structure following its cleavage by caspase 8, it remains unclear how Bid is activated upon cleavage. Here, Bid-deficient (Bid KO) colon cancer cells were generated by gene editing, and were reconstituted with wild-type or mutants of Bid. While the loss of Bid blocked apoptosis following treatment by TNF-related apoptosis inducing ligand (TRAIL), this blockade was relieved by re-introduction of the wild-type Bid. In contrast, the caspase-resistant mutant Bid(D60E) and a BH3 defective mutant Bid(G94E) failed to restore TRAIL-induced apoptosis. By generating Bid/Bax/Bak-deficient (TKO) cells, we demonstrated that Bid is primarily cleaved by caspase 8, not by effector caspases, to give rise to truncated Bid (tBid) upon TRAIL treatment. Importantly, despite the presence of an intact BH3 domain, a tBid mutant lacking the mitochondrial targeting helices (α6 and α7) showed diminished apoptotic activity. Together, these results for the first time establish that cleavage by caspase 8 and the subsequent association with the outer mitochondrial membrane are two critical events that activate Bid during death receptor-mediated apoptosis.

Liu XY, Liu SP, Jiang J, et al.
Inhibition of the JNK signaling pathway increases sensitivity of hepatocellular carcinoma cells to cisplatin by down-regulating expression of P-glycoprotein.
Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2016; 20(6):1098-108 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: The resistance of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) to chemotherapy may be mediated by the c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) pathway. We wished to verify the involvement of this pathway in resistance of HCC cells to cisplatin.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: We used HepG2 cell line and cisplatin-resistant clone (HepG2/DDP). Expressions of drug resistance and apoptosis-related genes were analyzed by qPCR. Protein expressions were assessed by Western blot. The JNK pathway was assessed as total JNK1/2 and JNK1/2 phosphorylation. Cell growth kinetics was quantified by the CCK-8 assay, and cell apoptosis (Annexin V / propidium iodide) by flow cytometry.
RESULTS: HepG2/DDP cells were more resistant and less apoptotic on cisplatin. Expression of drug-resistance genes MDR1, MRP1 and MPR2 was significantly up-regulated in HepG2/DDP cells (p < 0.05), with up-regulation of MDR1 being the highest. This was confirmed by Western blot analysis of P-glycoprotein (P-gp), MRP1 and MRP2 proteins, the proteins encoded by the above genes. Expression of anti-apoptotic genes Bcl-2 and Bcl-XL was significantly up-regulated, and expression of pro-apoptotic genes Bak and Bad was significantly reduced, in HepG2/DDP cells (p < 0.05). Cisplatin treatment of HepG2 led to increased phosphorylation of JNK1/2; the trend reversed by the inhibitor SP600125. Furthermore, cisplatin increased expression of P-gp, which was also attenuated by SP600125. Cell growth was inhibited more substantially, and cell apoptosis promoted, when HepG2 cells were exposed to both cisplatin and SP600125.
CONCLUSIONS: Inhibition of the JNK signaling pathway enhances the sensitivity of HCC cells to cisplatin by down-regulating the expression of P-gp.

Hnisz D, Weintraub AS, Day DS, et al.
Activation of proto-oncogenes by disruption of chromosome neighborhoods.
Science. 2016; 351(6280):1454-8 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 27/05/2017 Related Publications
Oncogenes are activated through well-known chromosomal alterations such as gene fusion, translocation, and focal amplification. In light of recent evidence that the control of key genes depends on chromosome structures called insulated neighborhoods, we investigated whether proto-oncogenes occur within these structures and whether oncogene activation can occur via disruption of insulated neighborhood boundaries in cancer cells. We mapped insulated neighborhoods in T cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) and found that tumor cell genomes contain recurrent microdeletions that eliminate the boundary sites of insulated neighborhoods containing prominent T-ALL proto-oncogenes. Perturbation of such boundaries in nonmalignant cells was sufficient to activate proto-oncogenes. Mutations affecting chromosome neighborhood boundaries were found in many types of cancer. Thus, oncogene activation can occur via genetic alterations that disrupt insulated neighborhoods in malignant cells.

Kwon T, Bak Y, Ham SY, et al.
A1E reduces stemness and self-renewal in HPV 16-positive cervical cancer stem cells.
BMC Complement Altern Med. 2016; 16:42 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 27/05/2017 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in females. Recent reports have revealed the critical role of cervical cancer stem cells (CSCs) in tumorigenicity and metastasis. Previously we demonstrated that A1E exerts an anti-proliferative action, which inhibits the growth of cervical cancer cells.
METHODS: A1E is composed of 11 oriental medicinal herbs. Cervical cancer cell culture, wund healing and invasion assay, flow cytometry, sheroid formation assay, and wstern blot assays were performed in HPV 16-positive SiHa cell and HPV 16-negative C33A cells.
RESULTS: A1E targets the E6 and E7 oncogenes; thus, A1E significantly inhibited proliferation of human papilloma virus (HPV) 16-positive SiHa cells, it did not inhibit the proliferation of HPV-negative C33A cells. Accordingly, we investigated whether A1E can regulate epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT), CSC self-renewal, and stemness-related gene expression in cervical cancer cells. Down rgulation of cell migration, cell invasion, and EMT was observed in A1E-treated SiHa cells. Specifically, A1E-treated SiHa cells showed significant decreases in OCT-3/4 and Sox2 expression levels and in sphere formation. Moreover, CSCs makers ALDH+ and ALDH, CD133 double positive cell were significantly decreased in A1E-treated SiHa cells. However, A1E treatment did not down regulate ALDH+ expression and the number of ALDH/CD133 double positive cells in C33A cells.
CONCLUSIONS: Taken together, A1E can inhibit CSCs and reduce the expression of stemness markers. Treating CSCs with A1E may be a potential therapy for cervical cancer.

Bak Y, Kwon T, Bak IS, et al.
IL-32θ inhibits stemness and epithelial-mesenchymal transition of cancer stem cells via the STAT3 pathway in colon cancer.
Oncotarget. 2016; 7(6):7307-17 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 27/05/2017 Related Publications
Interleukin (IL)-32 is a well-known cytokine associated with inflammation, virus infections and cancer. IL-32θ is a newly identified isoform of IL-32, whose function has yet to be elucidated. In this study, we investigated IL-32θ function in colon cancer stem cells. Using samples from colon cancer patients, we found that the expression of IL-32θ mRNAs was significantly suppressed in tumor regions. We investigated the effects of IL-32θ on colon cancer. Ectopic expression of IL-32θ attenuated invasion, migration in vitro and in vivo tumorigenicity of colon cancer cells. IL-32θ inhibited epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), resulting in the suppression of their migratory and invasive capabilities of HT29 colon cancer cells. In addition, IL-32θ altered various properties of CSCs, including sphere formation and expression of stemness related genes. IL-32θ directly bound to STAT3 and inhibited its nuclear translocation, leading to inhibited transcription of downstream factors, including Bmi1 and ZEB1. We showed that IL-32θ inhibited the STAT3-ZEB1 pathway and consequently inhibited key factors of stemness and EMT. Taken together, our findings reveal that IL-32θ can be a tumor suppressor, indicating that IL-32θ could possibly be used in therapies for colon cancer.

Lee JY, Qing X, Xiumin W, et al.
Longitudinal monitoring of EGFR mutations in plasma predicts outcomes of NSCLC patients treated with EGFR TKIs: Korean Lung Cancer Consortium (KLCC-12-02).
Oncotarget. 2016; 7(6):6984-93 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 27/05/2017 Related Publications
We hypothesized that plasma-based EGFR mutation analysis for NSCLC may be feasible for monitoring treatment response to EGFR TKIs and also predict drug resistance.Clinically relevant mutations including exon 19 deletion (ex19del), L858R and T790M were analyzed using droplet digital PCR (ddPCR) in longitudinally collected plasma samples (n = 367) from 81 NSCLC patients treated with EGFR TKI. Of a total 58 baseline cell-free DNA (cfDNA) samples available for ddPCR analysis, 43 (74.1%) had the same mutation in the matched tumors (clinical sensitivity: 70.8% [17/24] for L858R and 76.5% [26/34] for ex19del). The concordance rates of plasma with tissue-based results of EGFR mutations were 87.9% for L858R and 86.2% for ex19del. All 40 patients who were detected EGFR mutations at baseline showed a dramatic decrease of mutant copies (>50%) in plasma during the first two months after treatment. Median progression-free survival (PFS) was 10.1 months for patients with undetectable EGFR v 6.3 months for detectable EGFR mutations in blood after two-month treatment (HR 3.88, 95% CI 1.48-10.19, P = 0.006). We observed emerging resistance with early detection of T790M as a secondary mutation in 14 (28.6%) of 49 patients. Plasma-based EGFR mutation analysis using ddPCR can monitor treatment response to EGFR TKIs and can lead to early detection of EGFR TKIs resistance. Further studies confirming clinical implications of EGFR mutation in plasma are warranted to guide optimal therapeutic strategies upon knowledge of treatment response and resistance.

Wong HY, Tsai KD, Liu YH, et al.
Cinnamomum verum Component 2-Methoxycinnamaldehyde: A Novel Anticancer Agent with Both Anti-Topoisomerase I and II Activities in Human Lung Adenocarcinoma A549 Cells In Vitro and In Vivo.
Phytother Res. 2016; 30(2):331-40 [PubMed] Related Publications
Cinnamomum verum is used to make the spice cinnamon and has been used as a traditional Chinese herbal medicine. We evaluated the anticancer effect of 2-methoxycinnamaldehyde (2-MCA), a constituent of the bark of the plant, and its underlying molecular biomarkers associated with carcinogenesis in human lung adenocarcinoma A549 cells. The results show that 2-MCA suppressed proliferation and induced apoptosis as indicated by an upregulation of pro-apoptotic Bax and Bak genes and downregulation of anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 and Bcl-XL genes, mitochondrial membrane potential loss, cytochrome c release, activation of caspase-3 and -9, and morphological characteristics of apoptosis, including plasma membrane blebbing and long comet tail. In addition, 2-MCA also induced lysosomal vacuolation with increased volume of acidic compartment (VAC) and suppressions of nuclear transcription factors nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) and both topoisomerase I and II activities. Further study reveals that the growth-inhibitory effect of 2-MCA was also evident in a nude mice model. Taken together, the data suggest that the growth-inhibitory effect of 2-MCA against A549 cells is accompanied by downregulations of NF-κB binding activity and proliferative control involving apoptosis and both topoisomerase I and II activities, together with an upregulation of lysosomal vacuolation and VAC. Our data suggest that 2-MCA could be a potential agent for anticancer therapy.

Zhou S, Huang Q, Zheng S, et al.
miR-27a regulates the sensitivity of breast cancer cells to cisplatin treatment via BAK-SMAC/DIABLO-XIAP axis.
Tumour Biol. 2016; 37(5):6837-45 [PubMed] Related Publications
MicroRNA-27a (miR-27a) has been reported to be an onco-microRNA in multiple cancers promoting tumor growth and metastasis, but the role of miR-27a in regulating the cancer sensitivity to chemotherapy remains unknown. In this study, upregulation of miR-27a was validated by real-time PCR analysis in breast cancer (BC) cell lines and samples of BC patients. A negative correlation between miR-27a and bak was also observed in normal breast epithelial cell line MCF-10A and BC cell lines, suggesting that the bak is the potential target of miR-27a. miR-27a could modulate the growth and metastasis of BC cells. More importantly, we found that knockdown of miR-27a by the specific inhibitors significantly increased the sensitivity of T-47D cells to cisplatin (CDDP) treatment. After further investigation, we indicated that the knockdown of miR-27a promoted the apoptosis via mitochondrial pathway in T-47D cells treated with CDDP, depending on the BAK-second mitochondria-derived activator of caspase/direct IAP binding protein with low pI (SMAC/DIABLO)-X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis (XIAP) axis. Interestingly, we found that the sensitivity of T-47D cells to some other chemotherapeutic agents (5-fluorouracil, doxorubicin, and tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand) was also regulated by miR-27a. These findings improve our understanding of the role of miR-27a in breast cancer and might provide a novel strategy for cancer therapy.

Li BK, Guo K, Li CY, et al.
Influence of suppression of CapG gene expression by siRNA on the growth and metastasis of human prostate cancer cells.
Genet Mol Res. 2015; 14(4):15769-78 [PubMed] Related Publications
This study investigated CapG gene expression in prostate cancer cell lines; in addition, we explored the effects of CapG suppression on DU145 cell growth, and the underlying mechanism with which CapG affects DU145 cell growth and invasiveness. The expression of CapG and 18 related genes in DU145 cells was analyzed by flow cytometry, quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR), CCK8 assay, western blot, and the trans-well assay. DU145 cells were transfected with designed small interfering RNA (siRNA). CapG expression was quantified by qPCR and western blot. DU145 cell proliferation and invasiveness was analyzed using the CCK8, flow cytometric, and trans-well assays. CapG, TMPRSS1, EGFR, ETS-1, ERBB2, AKT, Cyclin D1, P21, Bcl-2, and Bak1 gene and Bcl-2, Cyclin D1, and CapG protein expressions were significantly lower in the siRNA group compared to the negative control group (P < 0.05). The proliferation of CapG siRNA DU145 cells was lower than that of the two control groups, 48 h after transfection. The cell inhibition rate was 24.5, 35.4, and 16,5% at 24, 48, and 72 h, respectively. The growth curve indicated that CapG siRNA DU145 cells showed a significantly slower proliferation rate (P < 0.05). The trans-well assay showed a significant decrease in the migratory and invasive capacities of DU145 cells in the siRNA group (P < 0.05). The suppression of CapG expression caused a significant decrease in the proliferation, invasiveness, and metastasis of DU145 cells. The mechanism with which CapG, with other oncogenes, influences cancer cell cycle remains to be elucidated.

Jagadish N, Parashar D, Gupta N, et al.
A-kinase anchor protein 4 (AKAP4) a promising therapeutic target of colorectal cancer.
J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2015; 34:142 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 27/05/2017 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Colorectal cancer (CRC) ranks third among the estimated cancer cases and cancer related mortalities in the Western world. Early detection and efficient therapy of CRC remains a major health challenge. Therefore, there is a need to identify novel tumor markers for early diagnosis and treatment of CRC.
METHODS: A-kinase anchor protein 4 (AKAP4) gene and protein expression was monitored by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR), reverse transcription (RT)-PCR and Western blotting in normal colon tissue lysate, normal colon epithelial cells and in colon cancer cell lines viz., Caco-2, COLO205, COLO320DM, HCT-15, HCT116, HT-29, SW480, and SW620. The effect of AKAP4 on cellular growth, migration and invasion abilities was studied using gene silencing approach. The role of AKAP4 in various pathways involved in cell cycle, apoptosis, senescence was investigated in in vitro and in human xenograft mouse model.
RESULTS: Our studies showed that AKAP4 gene and protein expression was expressed in all colon cancer cells while no expression was detectable in normal colon cells. Ablation of AKAP4 led to reduced cellular growth, migration, invasion and increased apoptosis and senescence of CRC cells in in vitro assays and tumor growth in human xenograft mouse. Human colon xenograft studies showed a significant decrease in the levels of cyclins B1, D and E and cyclin dependent kinases such as CDK1, CDK2, CDK4 and CDK6. Interestingly, an up-regulation in the levels of p16 and p21 was also observed. Besides, an increase in the levels of pro-apoptotic molecules AIF, APAF1, BAD, BID, BAK, BAX, PARP1, NOXA, PUMA and cyt-C and Caspase 3, 7, 8 and 9 was also found in cancer cells as well as in xenograft tissue sections. However, anti-apoptotic molecules BCL2, Bcl-xL, cIAP2, XIAP, Axin2 and Survivin were down regulated in these samples. Our data also revealed elevated expression of epithelial marker E-cadherin and down regulation of EMT markers N-cadherin, P-cadherin, SLUG, α-SMA, SNAIL, TWIST and Vimentin. Further ablation of AKAP4 resulted in the down regulation of invasion molecules matrix metalloproteinase MMP2, MMP3 and MMP9.
CONCLUSION: AKAP4 appears to be a novel CRC-associated antigen with a potential for developing as a new clinical therapeutic target.

Nakajima W, Sharma K, Hicks MA, et al.
Combination with vorinostat overcomes ABT-263 (navitoclax) resistance of small cell lung cancer.
Cancer Biol Ther. 2016; 17(1):27-35 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 27/05/2017 Related Publications
Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) is an aggressive tumor type with high mortality. One promising approach for SCLC treatment would be to utilize agents targeting molecular abnormalities regulating resistance to apoptosis. BH3 mimetic antagonists, such as ABT-737 and its orally available derivative ABT-263 (navitoclax) have been developed to block the function of pro-survival BCL-2 family members. The sensitivity of SCLC to these drugs varies over a broad range in vitro and in clinical trials. We have previously shown that the expression of Noxa, a BH3-only pro-apoptotic BCL-2 family protein, is a critical determinant of sensitivity to ABT-737. Thus, pharmacological up-regulation of Noxa could enhance cell death induced by the BH3 mimetics. We find that the combination of ABT-263 and a HDAC inhibitor, vorinostat, efficiently induces apoptosis in a variety of SCLC cell lines, including ABT-263 resistant cell lines. Cell death induced by combined treatment is Noxa- and/or BIM-dependent in some cell lines but in others appears to be mediated by down-regulation of BCL-XL and release of BAK from BCL-XL and MCL-1. These results suggest that combination of HDAC inhibitors and BCL-2 inhibitors could be an alternative and effective regimen for SCLC treatment.

Cui YY, Yan L, Zhou J, et al.
The role of peptidylarginine deiminase 4 in ovarian cancer cell tumorigenesis and invasion.
Tumour Biol. 2016; 37(4):5375-83 [PubMed] Related Publications
Peptidylarginine deiminase 4 (PADI4) is an enzyme that converts both histone arginine and mono-methyl arginine residues to citrulline, and it has been detected in various subtypes of ovarian cancer. However, the mechanism of action of PADI4 in ovarian carcinogenesis remains unknown. To examine the function of PADI4, we transfected two ovarian cancer cell lines, wild-type p53 A2780 and p53-null SKOV3, with PADI4-siRNA and negative control siRNA. The proliferation of both A2780 and SKOV3 cells decreased significantly following PADI4-siRNA treatment (P A2780 < 0.01; P SKOV3 < 0.001). The invasion and migration ability of A2780 cells also significantly decreased in response to PADI4-siRNA treatment (P < 0.001), but SKOV3 cells showed no such decrease. The apoptotic rate of A2780 cells increased in the presence of PADI4-siRNA, but there was no such increase in SKOV3 cells (P > 0.05). PCR arrays of A2780 cells treated with PADI4-siRNA revealed the up-regulated expression of six genes, including cell death-inducing DFFA-like effector a (CIDEA) and tumor necrosis factor receptor superfamily member 9 (TNFRSF9), and the down-regulation of seven genes, including integrin beta 3 (ITGB3) and BCL2-antagonist/killer 1 (BAK1). These results suggest an important role for PADI4 in the p53 pathway and the regulation of the proliferation, apoptosis, invasion and migration of ovarian cancer cells. Our study also demonstrated that PADI4 contributes to tumor metastasis by regulating the gene expression of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1) and WAS/WASL-interacting protein family member 1 (WIPF1).

Joo MK, Park JJ, Yoo HS, et al.
Epigenetic regulation and anti-tumorigenic effects of SH2-containing protein tyrosine phosphatase 1 (SHP1) in human gastric cancer cells.
Tumour Biol. 2016; 37(4):4603-12 [PubMed] Related Publications
SH2-containing protein tyrosine phosphatase 1 (SHP1) is an important negative regulator in cytokine-mediated signal transduction and cell cycling. Recent studies have demonstrated that SHP1 promoter methylation is frequently observed in gastric adenocarcinoma tissues. In this in vitro study, we attempted to reveal promoter hypermethylation and to investigate effects of SHP1 in gastric carcinoma cell lines. We observed that both gene and protein expression of SHP1 were negative in 8 of 10 gastric cancer cell lines (SNU-1, SNU-5, SNU-16, SNU-638, SNU-719, MKN-28, MKN-45, AGS). Methylation-specific PCR (MSP) showed a methylation-specific band only in the 10 gastric cancer lines. Bisulfite pyrosequencing in AGS, MKN-28, and SNU-719 cells indicated that methylation frequency was as high as 94.4, 92.6, and 94.5 %, respectively, in the three cell lines. Treatment of SNU-719, MKN-28, and AGS cells with 5-Aza-2'-deoxycytidine (5-Aza-dc) led to re-expression of SHP1 in these cells. Introduction of exogenous SHP1 in SNU-719 and MKN-28 cells by transient transfection substantially downregulated protein expression of constitutive phosphor-Janus kinase 2 (JAK2) (tyrosine 1007/1008) and phosphor-signal transducers and activators of transcription 3 (STAT3) (tyrosine 705), which in turn decreased expression of STAT3 target genes including those encoding cyclin D1, MMP-9, VEGF-1, and survivin. Induction of SHP1 significantly inhibited cell proliferation, migration and invasion in SNU-719 and MKN-28 cells. Taken together, epigenetic silencing of SHP1 is frequently caused by promoter hypermethylation in gastric carcinoma cells. Overexpression of SHP1 downregulates the JAK2/STAT3 pathway to modulate various target genes and inhibit cell proliferation, migration, and invasion in gastric cancer cells.

Ye Z, Hao R, Cai Y, et al.
Knockdown of miR-221 promotes the cisplatin-inducing apoptosis by targeting the BIM-Bax/Bak axis in breast cancer.
Tumour Biol. 2016; 37(4):4509-15 [PubMed] Related Publications
Accumulating evidence shows that microRNAs (miRNAs) have a critical role in the initiation and progression of types of human cancer, including breast cancer. Recent research indicated that miRNAs are also related with the chemotherapy on cancers. In this study, the expression of miR-221 in breast cancer (BC) patients' serum and cancer tissues was found to be significantly up-regulated. The results of in vitro MTT assay indicated that although the anti-miR-221 oligonucleotide alone did not influence the viability of BC cell lines markedly, it significantly promoted the cytotoxicity of cisplatin (DDP) to BC cells. Mechanistic studies demonstrated that the gene of BIM (Bcl-2 interacting mediator of cell death), a pro-apoptotic Bcl-2 family protein, was up-regulated by the knockdown of miR-221. We found that the synergetic effect of anti-miR-221 on increasing the sensitivity of MDA-MB-231 was BIM dependant. Furthermore, results of immunoprecipitation showed the up-regulated BIM directly combined with the Bax and Bak, leading to mitochondrial dysfunction. Our results suggest the anti-miR-221 could promote the cisplatin-inducing apoptosis by targeting the Bim-Bax/Bak axis in breast cancer.

Gao J, Liu M, Zou Y, et al.
Long non-coding RNA growth arrest-specific transcript 5 is involved in ovarian cancer cell apoptosis through the mitochondria-mediated apoptosis pathway.
Oncol Rep. 2015; 34(6):3212-21 [PubMed] Related Publications
The present study investigated the underlying role of growth arrest-specific transcript 5 (GAS5) in epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC), which is the main cause of death in women with malignant tumor of the genital system. In vivo GAS5 expression in 60 EOC specimens was evaluated by quantitative reverse transcription (qRT)-PCR, which was used to study the differences of GAS5 expression between EOC tissues and normal ovarian epithelium. In vitro GAS5 overexpression was applied to discover the biological functions in EOC cell lines. 3-[4,5-Dimethylthiazol-2-yl]-2,5-diphenyl-tetrazolium bromide and colony formation assays were employed to investigate the effect on proliferation. The function of apoptosis was assessed by flow cytometry, terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick-end labeling, and JC-1 probe staining, and migration and invasion were detected by Transwell assay. The data show that no significant differences of GAS5 expression were observed between normal ovarian epithelium and benign epithelial lesions; however, GAS5 expression was lower in EOC tissues compared with normal ovarian epithelial tissues (6.44-fold), which was closely related to lymph node metastasis (P=0.025) and tumor node metastasis stage (P=0.035). Moreover, exogenous GAS5-inhibited proliferation promoted apoptosis and decreased migration and invasion in ovarian cancer cells. Finally, through mitochondrial potential and western blot analyses, GAS5 could disrupt mitochondrial membrane potential and promote BAX, BAK, cleaved-caspase 3 and cleaved-caspase 9 expression. Taken together, the findings of the present study revealed that GAS5 is downregulated in EOC specimens, and GAS5 inhibits EOC cell proliferation, migration and invasion, and promotes cell apoptosis. GAS5 can serve as a novel therapeutic target in patients with EOC.

Wu J, Zhang XX, Sun QM, et al.
β-Asarone inhibits gastric cancer cell proliferation.
Oncol Rep. 2015; 34(6):3043-50 [PubMed] Related Publications
β-Asarone is the main volatile oil of Chinese herb Rhizoma Acori Tatarinowii. It exhibits a wide range of biological activities in many human organs. However, few studies have investigated the effect of β-asarone on gastric cancer. The present study investigated the effect of β-asarone on the proliferation and apoptosis of three types of differentiated human gastric cancer cell lines (SGC-7901, BGC-823 and MKN-28) in vitro as well as the related molecular mechanisms. Methyl thiazolyl tetrazolium assay, Annexin V/PI double staining, immunofluorescence test and transmission electron microscopy all confirmed that β-asarone had an obvious dose-dependent inhibitive effect on the proliferation of human gastric cancer cells and induced apoptosis of the cell lines. Transwell invasion, wound-healing and matrix‑cell adhesion experiments confirmed that β-asarone inhibited the invasion, migration and adhesion of human gastric cancer BGC-823 cells. Quantitative real-time PCR and western blotting found that β-asarone significantly activated caspase-3, caspase-8, caspase-9, Bax, Bak and suppressed Bcl-2, Bcl-xL and survivin activity. Moreover, β-asarone increased the expression of RECK, E-cadherin and decreased the expression of MMP-2, MMP-9, MMP-14 and N-cadherin. The present study demonstrated that β-asarone effectively inhibits the proliferation of human gastric cancer cells, induces their apoptosis and decreased the invasive, migratory and adhesive abilities.

Dai H, Ding H, Meng XW, et al.
Constitutive BAK activation as a determinant of drug sensitivity in malignant lymphohematopoietic cells.
Genes Dev. 2015; 29(20):2140-52 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 27/05/2017 Related Publications
Mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization (MOMP), a key step in the intrinsic apoptotic pathway, is incompletely understood. Current models emphasize the role of BH3-only BCL2 family members in BAX and BAK activation. Here we demonstrate concentration-dependent BAK autoactivation under cell-free conditions and provide evidence that this autoactivation plays a key role in regulating the intrinsic apoptotic pathway in intact cells. In particular, we show that up to 80% of BAK (but not BAX) in lymphohematopoietic cell lines is oligomerized and bound to anti-apoptotic BCL2 family members in the absence of exogenous death stimuli. The extent of this constitutive BAK oligomerization is diminished by BAK knockdown and unaffected by BIM or PUMA down-regulation. Further analysis indicates that sensitivity of cells to BH3 mimetics reflects the identity of the anti-apoptotic proteins to which BAK is constitutively bound, with extensive BCLXL•BAK complexes predicting navitoclax sensitivity, and extensive MCL1•BAK complexes predicting A1210477 sensitivity. Moreover, high BAK expression correlates with sensitivity of clinical acute myelogenous leukemia to chemotherapy, whereas low BAK levels correlate with resistance and relapse. Collectively, these results inform current understanding of MOMP and provide new insight into the ability of BH3 mimetics to induce apoptosis without directly activating BAX or BAK.

Li F, Chen X, Xu B, Zhou H
Curcumin induces p53-independent necrosis in H1299 cells via a mitochondria-associated pathway.
Mol Med Rep. 2015; 12(5):7806-14 [PubMed] Related Publications
Curcumin has been shown to have various therapeutic and/or adjuvant therapeutic effects on human cancers, as it inhibits cancer cell proliferation and induces apoptosis through p53-dependent molecular pathways. However, numerous cancer cell types bear a mutant p53 gene, and whether curcumin has any therapeutic effects on p53-deficient/mutant cancer cells has remained elusive. The present study sought to determine whether curcumin exerts any anti-proliferative and cytotoxic effects on the p53-deficient H1299 human lung cancer cell line via a p53-independent mechanism. An MTT assay and flow cytometric analysis indicated that curcumin significantly decreased cell proliferation and induced necrotic cell death. Western blot analysis of the cytosolic and mitochondrial fractions of H1299 cells as well as a fluorometric caspase assay indicated that curcumin-induced necrosis was mitochondria- and caspase-dependent, and resulted in cytochrome c release. Of note, this necrotic cell death was reduced following inhibition of B-cell lymphoma‑2 (Bcl-2)‑associated X protein (Bax) or Bcl‑2 homologous antagonist killer (Bak) as well as overexpression of Bcl-2. In conclusion, the present study suggested that curcumin-induced necrotic cell death was mediated via a p53-independent molecular pathway, which was associated with Bax and Bak translocation, caspase activation and cytochrome c release.

Tan H, Zeng C, Xie J, et al.
Effects of interferons and double-stranded RNA on human prostate cancer cell apoptosis.
Oncotarget. 2015; 6(36):39184-95 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 27/05/2017 Related Publications
Prostate cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer among men in the United States. Prostate cancer therapy is severely hampered by lack of response and development of resistance to conventional chemotherapeutic drugs in patients. Therefore, the development and discovery of new drugs have become an urgent clinical need. Interferons (IFNs), a family of pleiotropic cytokines, exert antitumor activities due to their anti-proliferative, immunomodulatory and proapoptotic functions. Here, we report that pretreatment of prostate cancer PC-3 cells with IFNs sensitized these cells to double-stranded RNAs (dsRNAs)-induced apoptosis. The enhancement effect of IFN treatment was dependent on IFN subtypes, in particular, IFN γ. In comparison with IFN α or β, IFN γ treatment remarkably augmented apoptosis in PC-3 cells induced with polyinosinic:polycytidylic acid (poly I:C), a synthesized form of dsRNA. We demonstrated that IFN-signaling was necessary for these effects by using mutant cell lines. Transfection of 2-5A, the activator of RNase L, or silencing of dsRNA-dependent protein kinase R (PKR) by siRNA did not have any significant impact on this event, suggesting that neither RNase L nor PKR was involved in poly I:C/IFN γ-induced apoptosis in the cells. Further investigation of the apoptotic pathway revealed that Bak, a pro-apoptotic member of the Bcl-2family, was synergistically up-regulated by IFN γ and poly I:C, whereas other members of the family were not affected. Knocking down of Bak demonstrated its contribution to poly I:C/IFN γ-induced apoptosis in the cells. We believeour findings will precipitate the design of novel therapeutic strategies for prostate cancer.

Yin H, Sun Y, Wang X, et al.
Progress on the relationship between miR-125 family and tumorigenesis.
Exp Cell Res. 2015; 339(2):252-60 [PubMed] Related Publications
miRNA-125 family, which is a highly conserved miRNA family throughout evolution, is consist of miRNA-125a-3p, miRNA-125a-5p, miRNA-125b-1 and miRNA-125b-2.The aberrant expression of miR-125 familyis tightly related to tumorigenesis and tumor development. The downstream targets of miRNA-125 include transcription factors like STAT3, cytokines like IL-6 and TGF-β, tumor suppressing protein p53, pro-apoptotic protein Bak1 and RNA binding protein HuR et al. Through regulating these downstream targets miR-125 family is involved in regulating tumorigenesis and tumor development. Nowadays, miR-125b have already became a putative and valuable biomarker for cancer diagnosis, treatment and prognosis. In this review, we mainly summarize the dual function of miRNA-125 family in suppression and promotion of cancer cells and further elaborate its regulatory mechanisms from four facets, proliferation, apoptosis, invasion or metastasis and immune response.

Bak Y, Shin HJ, Bak Is, et al.
Hepatitis B virus X promotes hepatocellular carcinoma development via nuclear protein 1 pathway.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2015; 466(4):676-81 [PubMed] Related Publications
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most common malignancies and chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is a major risk factor for HCC. Hepatitis B virus X (HBx) protein relates to trigger oncogenesis. HBx has oncogenic properties with a hyperproliferative response to HCC. Nuclear protein 1 (NUPR1) is a stress-response protein, frequently upregulated in several cancers. Recent data revealed that NUPR1 is involved in tumor progression, but its function in HCC is not revealed yet. Here we report HBx can induce NUPR1 in patients, mice, and HCC cell lines. In an HBx transgenic mouse model, we found that HBx overexpression upregulates NUPR1 expression consistently with tumor progression. Further, in cultured HBV positive cells, HBx knockdown induces downregulation of NUPR1. Smad4 is a representative transcription factor, regulated by HBx, and we showed that HBx upregulates NUPR1 by Smad4 dependent way. We found that NUPR1 can inhibit cell death and induce vasculogenic mimicry in HCC cell lines. Moreover, NUPR1 silencing in HepG2-HBx showed reduced cell motility. These results suggest that HBx can modulate NUPR1 expression through the Smad4 pathway and NUPR1 has a role in hepatocellular carcinoma progression.

Zhou H, Forveille S, Sauvat A, et al.
The oncolytic peptide LTX-315 kills cancer cells through Bax/Bak-regulated mitochondrial membrane permeabilization.
Oncotarget. 2015; 6(29):26599-614 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 27/05/2017 Related Publications
LTX-315 has been developed as an amphipathic cationic peptide that kills cancer cells. Here, we investigated the putative involvement of mitochondria in the cytotoxic action of LTX-315. Subcellular fractionation of LTX-315-treated cells, followed by mass spectrometric quantification, revealed that the agent was enriched in mitochondria. LTX-315 caused an immediate arrest of mitochondrial respiration without any major uncoupling effect. Accordingly, LTX-315 disrupted the mitochondrial network, dissipated the mitochondrial inner transmembrane potential, and caused the release of mitochondrial intermembrane proteins into the cytosol. LTX-315 was relatively inefficient in stimulating mitophagy. Cells lacking the two pro-apoptotic multidomain proteins from the BCL-2 family, BAX and BAK, were less susceptible to LTX-315-mediated killing. Moreover, cells engineered to lose their mitochondria (by transfection with Parkin combined with treatment with a protonophore causing mitophagy) were relatively resistant against LTX-315, underscoring the importance of this organelle for LTX-315-mediated cytotoxicity. Altogether, these results support the notion that LTX-315 kills cancer cells by virtue of its capacity to permeabilize mitochondrial membranes.

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