Gene Summary

Gene:CASP7; caspase 7
Aliases: MCH3, CMH-1, LICE2, CASP-7, ICE-LAP3
Summary:This gene encodes a member of the cysteine-aspartic acid protease (caspase) family. Sequential activation of caspases plays a central role in the execution-phase of cell apoptosis. Caspases exist as inactive proenzymes which undergo proteolytic processing at conserved aspartic residues to produce two subunits, large and small, that dimerize to form the active enzyme. The precursor of the encoded protein is cleaved by caspase 3 and 10, is activated upon cell death stimuli and induces apoptosis. Alternatively spliced transcript variants encoding multiple isoforms have been observed for this gene. [provided by RefSeq, May 2012]
Databases:VEGA, OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Source:NCBIAccessed: 14 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 14 March 2017 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic.

Tag cloud generated 14 March, 2017 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (5)

Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.

Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).

Latest Publications: CASP7 (cancer-related)

Thakur R, Kini S, Kurkalang S, et al.
Mechanism of apoptosis induction in human breast cancer MCF-7 cell by Ruviprase, a small peptide from Daboia russelii russelii venom.
Chem Biol Interact. 2016; 258:297-304 [PubMed] Related Publications
Ruviprase, a 4.4 kDa peptide isolated from Daboia russelii russelii venom demonstrated antiproliferative activity against EMT6/AR1, U-87MG, HeLa and MCF-7 cancer cells with an IC50 value of 23.0, 8.8, 5.8 and 4.0 μg ml(-1), respectively. However, it was nontoxic to non-cancerous human embryonic kidney cell and human peripheral blood lymphocytes. Flow-cytometric analysis confirmed the apoptosis induction in MCF-7 cells by Ruviprase where it induced DNA condensation but did not cause mitotic blockage or chromosomal aberration in treated-cells. Immunofluorescence microscopic analysis indicated Ruviprase induced apoptosis in MCF-7 cells through p53 and p21-mediated pathways. Ruviprase generated reactive oxygen species (ROS), altered the mitochondrial transmembrane potential, and significantly decreased the cellular glutathione (GSH) content of MCF-7 cells. Immunoblotting and quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) analyses suggested that Ruviprase down-regulated the expression of anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-2, increased cleavage of poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) protein, and up-regulated the expression of pro-apoptotic protein Bax, as well as executer protein caspase-7 to induced apoptosis in MCF-7 cells via intrinsic pathway. This is the first report on the characterization of the anticancer potential of a small, non-toxic and anticoagulant peptide purified from Russell's viper venom.

Okada K, Hakata S, Terashima J, et al.
Combination of the histone deacetylase inhibitor depsipeptide and 5-fluorouracil upregulates major histocompatibility complex class II and p21 genes and activates caspase-3/7 in human colon cancer HCT-116 cells.
Oncol Rep. 2016; 36(4):1875-85 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Epigenetic anticancer drugs such as histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors have been combined with existing anticancer drugs for synergistic or additive effects. In the present study, we found that a very low concentration of depsipeptide, an HDAC inhibitor, potentiated the antitumor activity of 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) in a human colon cancer cell model using HCT-116, HT29, and SW48 cells via the inhibition of colony formation ability or cellular viability. Exposure to a combination of 5-FU (1.75 µM) and 1 nM depsipeptide for 24 and 48 h resulted in a 3- to 4-fold increase in activated caspase-3/7, while 5-FU alone failed to activate caspase-3/7. Microarray and subsequent gene ontology analyses revealed that compared to 5-FU or depsipeptide alone, the combination treatment of 5-FU and depsipeptide upregulated genes related to cell death and the apoptotic process consistent with the inhibition of colony formation and caspase-3/7 activation. These analyses indicated marked upregulation of antigen processing and presentation of peptide or polysaccharide antigen via major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class (GO:0002504) and MHC protein complex (GO:0042611). Compared with vehicle controls, the cells treated with the combination of 5-FU and depsipeptide showed marked induction (3- to 8.5-fold) of expression of MHC class II genes, but not of MHC class I genes. Furthermore, our global analysis of gene expression, which was focused on genes involved in the molecular regulation of MHC class II genes, showed enhancement of pro-apoptotic PCAF and CIITA after the combination of 5-FU and depsipeptide. These results may indicate a closer relationship between elevation of MHC class II expression and cellular apoptosis induced by the combination of depsipeptide and 5-FU. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to report that the combination of 5-FU and depsipeptide induces human colon cancer cell apoptosis in a concerted manner with the induction of MHC class II gene expression.

Mathuram TL, Ravikumar V, Reece LM, et al.
Tideglusib induces apoptosis in human neuroblastoma IMR32 cells, provoking sub-G0/G1 accumulation and ROS generation.
Environ Toxicol Pharmacol. 2016; 46:194-205 [PubMed] Related Publications
Neuroblastoma is the most common tumor amongst children amounting to nearly 15% of cancer deaths. This cancer is peculiar in its characteristics, exhibiting differentiation, maturation and metastatic transformation leading to poor prognosis and low survival rates among children. Chemotherapy, though toxic to normal cells, has shown to improve the survival of the patient with emphasis given more towards targeting angiogenesis. Recently, Tideglusib was designed as an 'Orphan Drug' to target the neurodegenerative Alzheimer's disease and gained significant momentum in its function during clinical trials. Duffy et al. recently reported a reduction in cell viability of human IMR32 neuroblastoma cells when treated with Tideglusib at varying concentrations. We investigated the effects of Tideglusib, at various concentrations, compared to Lithium chloride at various concentrations, on IMR32 cells. Lithium, a known GSK-3 inhibitor, was used as a standard to compare the efficiency of Tideglusib in a dose-dependent manner. Cell viability was assessed by MTT assay. The stages of apoptosis were evaluated by AO/EB staining and nuclear damage was determined by Hoechst 33258 staining. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) and mitochondrial membrane potential (ΔΨm) were assessed by DCFDA dye and Rhodamine-123 dye, respectively. Tideglusib reported a significant dose-dependent increase in pro-apoptotic proteins (PARP, Caspase-9, Caspase-7, Caspase-3) and tumor-related genes (FasL, TNF-α, Cox-2, IL-8, Caspase-3). Anti-GSK3 β, pGSK3 β, Bcl-2, Akt-1, p-Akt1 protein levels were observed with cells exposed to Tideglusib and Lithium chloride. No significant dose-dependent changes were observed for the mRNA expression of collagenase MMP-2, the tumor suppressor p53, or the cell cycle protein p21. Our study also reports Tideglusib reducing colony formation and increasing the level of sub-G0/G1 population in IMR32 cells. Our investigations report the significance of Tideglusib as a promising apoptotic inducer in human neuroblastoma IMR32 cells. Our study also reports that LiCl reduced cell viability in IMR32 cells inducing apoptosis mediated by ROS generation.

Guzmán-Rodríguez JJ, López-Gómez R, Salgado-Garciglia R, et al.
The defensin from avocado (Persea americana var. drymifolia) PaDef induces apoptosis in the human breast cancer cell line MCF-7.
Biomed Pharmacother. 2016; 82:620-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are cytotoxic to cancer cells; however, mainly the effects of AMPs from animals have been evaluated. In this work, we assessed the cytotoxicity of PaDef defensin from avocado (Persea americana var. drymifolia) on the MCF-7 cancer cell line (a breast cancer cell line) and evaluated its mechanism of action. PaDef inhibited the viability of MCF-7 cells in a concentration-dependent manner, with an IC50=141.62μg/ml. The viability of normal peripheral blood mononuclear cells was unaffected by this AMP. Additionally, PaDef induced apoptosis in MCF-7 cells in a time-dependent manner, but did not affect the membrane potential or calcium flow. In addition, PaDef IC50 induced the expression of cytochrome c, Apaf-1, and the caspase 7 and 9 genes. Likewise, this defensin induced the loss of mitochondrial Δψm and increased the phosphorylation of MAPK p38, which may lead to MCF-7 apoptosis by the intrinsic pathway. This is the first report of an avocado defensin inducing intrinsic apoptosis in cancer cells, which suggests that it could be a potential therapeutic molecule in the treatment of cancer.

Cheng S, Luo M, Ding C, et al.
Downregulation of Peptidylprolyl isomerase A promotes cell death and enhances doxorubicin-induced apoptosis in hepatocellular carcinoma.
Gene. 2016; 591(1):236-44 [PubMed] Related Publications
Peptidylprolyl isomerase A (PPIA) is a peptidyl-prolyl cis-trans isomerase that is known to play a critical role in the development of many human cancers. However, the precise biological function of PPIA in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) remains largely unclear. In this study, lentiviral overexpression vectors and small interfering RNA knockdown methods were employed to investigate the biological effects of PPIA in HCC. PPIA levels in HCC tissues and peritumoral tissues were detected by real-time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR), Western blotting, and immunohistochemistry. Our results indicate that PPIA levels were significantly higher in the HCC tissues compared to the matched peritumoral tissues. Moreover, PPIA expression was significantly associated with tumor size in these tissues. Interestingly, serum PPIA (sPPIA) levels were significantly higher in healthy controls compared to the HCC patients. Knockdown or overexpression of PPIA was shown to downregulate and upregulate cell growth, respectively. Moreover, PPIA siRNA knockdown appears to promote doxorubicin-induced apoptosis in HCC cells, altering the expression of downstream apoptotic factors. In summary, our results indicate that PPIA may play a pivotal role in HCC by regulating cell growth and could serve as a novel marker and therapeutic molecular target for HCC patients.

Wang P, Henning SM, Magyar CE, et al.
Green tea and quercetin sensitize PC-3 xenograft prostate tumors to docetaxel chemotherapy.
J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2016; 35:73 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Chemotherapy with docetaxel (Doc) remains the standard treatment for metastatic and castration-resistance prostate cancer (CRPC). However, the clinical success of Doc is limited by its chemoresistance and side effects. This study investigated whether natural products green tea (GT) and quercetin (Q) enhance the therapeutic efficacy of Doc in CRPC in mouse models.
METHODS: Male severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) mice (n = 10 per group) were inoculated with androgen-independent prostate cancer PC-3 cells subcutaneously. When tumors were established the intervention started. Mice were administered with GT + Q, Doc 5 mg/kg (LD), GT + Q + LD Doc, Doc 10 mg/kg (HD) or control. The concentration of GT polyphenols in brewed tea administered as drinking water was 0.07% and Q was supplemented in diet at 0.4%. Doc was intravenously injected weekly for 4 weeks, GT and Q given throughout the study.
RESULTS: GT + Q or LD Doc slightly inhibited tumor growth compared to control. However, the combination of GT and Q with LD Doc significantly enhanced the potency of Doc 2-fold and reduced tumor growth by 62% compared to LD Doc in 7-weeks intervention. A decrease of Ki67 and increase of cleaved caspase 7 were observed in tumors by the mixture, along with lowered blood concentrations of growth factors like VEGF and EGF. The mixture significantly elevated the levels of tumor suppressor mir15a and mir330 in tumor tissues. An increased risk of liver toxicity was only observed with HD Doc treatment.
CONCLUSIONS: These results provide a promising regimen to enhance the therapeutic effect of Doc in a less toxic manner.

Ha SH, Lee JM, Kwon KM, et al.
Exogenous and Endogeneous Disialosyl Ganglioside GD1b Induces Apoptosis of MCF-7 Human Breast Cancer Cells.
Int J Mol Sci. 2016; 17(5) [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Gangliosides have been known to play a role in the regulation of apoptosis in cancer cells. This study has employed disialyl-ganglioside GD1b to apoptosis in human breast cancer MCF-7 cells using exogenous treatment of the cells with GD1b and endogenous expression of GD1b in MCF-7 cells. First, apoptosis in MCF-7 cells was observed after treatment of GD1b. Treatment of MCF-7 cells with GD1b reduced cell growth rates in a dose and time dependent manner during GD1b treatment, as determined by XTT assay. Among the various gangliosides, GD1b specifically induced apoptosis of the MCF-7 cells. Flow cytometry and immunofluorescence assays showed that GD1b specifically induces apoptosis in the MCF-7 cells with Annexin V binding for apoptotic actions in early stage and propidium iodide (PI) staining the nucleus of the MCF-7 cells. Treatment of MCF-7 cells with GD1b activated apoptotic molecules such as processed forms of caspase-8, -7 and PARP (Poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase), without any change in the expression of mitochondria-mediated apoptosis molecules such as Bax and Bcl-2. Second, to investigate the effect of endogenously produced GD1b on the regulation of cell function, UDP-gal: β1,3-galactosyltransferase-2 (GD1b synthase, Gal-T2) gene has been transfected into the MCF-7 cells. Using the GD1b synthase-transfectants, apoptosis-related signal proteins linked to phenotype changes were examined. Similar to the exogenous GD1b treatment, the cell growth of the GD1b synthase gene-transfectants was significantly suppressed compared with the vector-transfectant cell lines and transfection activated the apoptotic molecules such as processed forms of caspase-8, -7 and PARP, but not the levels of expression of Bax and Bcl-2. GD1b-induced apoptosis was blocked by caspase inhibitor, Z-VAD. Therefore, taken together, it was concluded that GD1b could play an important role in the regulation of breast cancer apoptosis.

Ashour AE, Ahmed AF, Kumar A, et al.
Thymoquinone inhibits growth of human medulloblastoma cells by inducing oxidative stress and caspase-dependent apoptosis while suppressing NF-κB signaling and IL-8 expression.
Mol Cell Biochem. 2016; 416(1-2):141-55 [PubMed] Related Publications
Medulloblastoma (MB) is the most common malignant brain tumor of childhood. The transcription factor NF-κB is overexpressed in human MB and is a critical factor for MB tumor growth. NF-κB is known to regulate the expression of interleukin-8 (IL-8), the chemokine that enhances cancer cell growth and resistance to chemotherapy. We have recently shown that thymoquinone (TQ) suppresses growth of hepatocellular carcinoma cells in part by inhibiting NF-κB signaling. Here we sought to extend these studies in MB cells and show that TQ suppresses growth of MB cells in a dose- and time-dependent manner, causes G2M cell cycle arrest, and induces apoptosis. TQ significantly increased generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), while pretreatment of MB cells with the ROS scavenger N-acetylcysteine (NAC) abrogated TQ-induced cell death and apoptosis, suggesting that TQ-induced cell death and apoptosis are oxidative stress-mediated. TQ inhibitory effects were associated with inhibition of NF-κB and altered expression of its downstream effectors IL-8 and its receptors, the anti-apoptotic Bcl-2, Bcl-xL, X-IAP, and FLIP, as well as the pro-apoptotic TRAIL-R1, caspase-8, caspase-9, Bcl-xS, and cytochrome c. TQ-triggered apoptosis was substantiated by up-regulation of the executioner caspase-3 and caspase-7, as well as cleavage of the death substrate poly(ADP-ribose)polymerase. Interestingly, pretreatment of MB cells with NAC or the pan-caspase inhibitor zVAD-fmk abrogated TQ-induced apoptosis, loss of cyclin B1 and NF-κB activity, suggesting that these TQ-mediated effects are oxidative stress- and caspase-dependent. These findings reveal that TQ induces both extrinsic and intrinsic pathways of apoptosis in MB cells, and suggest its potential usefulness in the treatment of MB.

Samarin J, Laketa V, Malz M, et al.
PI3K/AKT/mTOR-dependent stabilization of oncogenic far-upstream element binding proteins in hepatocellular carcinoma cells.
Hepatology. 2016; 63(3):813-26 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
UNLABELLED: Transcription factors of the far-upstream element-binding protein (FBP) family represent cellular pathway hubs, and their overexpression in liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma [HCC]) stimulates tumor cell proliferation and correlates with poor prognosis. Here we determine the mode of oncogenic FBP overexpression in HCC cells. Using perturbation approaches (kinase inhibitors, small interfering RNAs) and a novel system for rapalog-dependent activation of AKT isoforms, we demonstrate that activity of the phosphatidylinositol-4,5-biphosphate 3-kinase/AKT pathway is involved in the enrichment of nuclear FBP1 and FBP2 in liver cancer cells. In human HCC tissues, phospho-AKT significantly correlates with nuclear FBP1/2 accumulation and expression of the proliferation marker KI67. Mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) inhibition or blockade of its downstream effector eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E activity equally reduced FBP1/2 concentrations. The mTORC1 inhibitor rapamycin diminishes FBP enrichment in liver tumors after hydrodynamic gene delivery of AKT plasmids. In addition, the multikinase inhibitor sorafenib significantly reduces FBP levels in HCC cells and in multidrug resistance 2-deficient mice that develop HCC due to severe inflammation. Both FBP1/2 messenger RNAs are highly stable, with FBP2 being more stable than FBP1. Importantly, inhibition of phosphatidylinositol-4,5-biphosphate 3-kinase/AKT/mTOR signaling significantly diminishes FBP1/2 protein stability in a caspase-3/-7-dependent manner.
CONCLUSION: These data provide insight into a transcription-independent mechanism of FBP protein enrichment in liver cancer; further studies will have to show whether this previously unknown interaction between phosphatidylinositol-4,5-biphosphate 3-kinase/AKT/mTOR pathway activity and caspase-mediated FBP stabilization allows the establishment of interventional strategies in FBP-positive HCCs.

Kimura K, Huang RC
Tetra-O-Methyl Nordihydroguaiaretic Acid Broadly Suppresses Cancer Metabolism and Synergistically Induces Strong Anticancer Activity in Combination with Etoposide, Rapamycin and UCN-01.
PLoS One. 2016; 11(2):e0148685 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The ability of Tetra-O-methyl nordihydroguaiaretic acid (M4N) to induce rapid cell death in combination with Etoposide, Rapamycin, or UCN-01 was examined in LNCaP cells, both in cell culture and animal experiments. Mice treated with M4N drug combinations with either Etoposide or Rapamycin showed no evidence of tumor and had a 100% survival rate 100 days after tumor implantation. By comparison all other vehicles or single drug treated mice failed to survive longer than 30 days after implantation. This synergistic improvement of anticancer effect was also confirmed in more than 20 cancer cell lines. In LNCaP cells, M4N was found to reduce cellular ATP content, and suppress NDUFS1 expression while inducing hyperpolarization of mitochondrial membrane potential. M4N-treated cells lacked autophagy with reduced expression of BNIP3 and ATG5. To understand the mechanisms of this anticancer activity of M4N, the effect of this drug on three cancer cell lines (LNCaP, AsPC-1, and L428 cells) was further examined via transcriptome and metabolomics analyses. Metabolomic results showed that there were reductions of 26 metabolites essential for energy generation and/or production of cellular components in common with these three cell lines following 8 hours of M4N treatment. Deep RNA sequencing analysis demonstrated that there were sixteen genes whose expressions were found to be modulated following 6 hours of M4N treatment similarly in these three cell lines. Six out of these 16 genes were functionally related to the 26 metabolites described above. One of these up-regulated genes encodes for CHAC1, a key enzyme affecting the stress pathways through its degradation of glutathione. In fact M4N was found to suppress glutathione content and induce reactive oxygen species production. The data overall indicate that M4N has profound specific negative impacts on a wide range of cancer metabolisms supporting the use of M4N combination for cancer treatments.

He R, Yang L, Lin X, et al.
MiR-30a-5p suppresses cell growth and enhances apoptosis of hepatocellular carcinoma cells via targeting AEG-1.
Int J Clin Exp Pathol. 2015; 8(12):15632-41 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: MiR-30a-5p has been reported to play vital roles in the carcinogenesis and progression of various malignancies via different molecular mechanisms. However, the role and target genes of miR-30a-5p in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) remain still unclear. In silico analysis finds that there are complementary sequences between the 3'-untrasnlated region of astrocyte elevated gene 1 (AEG-1) and miR-30a-5p. Herein, we investigated the biological function of miR-30a-5p, as well as the potential molecular mechanism via targeting AEG-1 in HCC cells.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: MiR-30a-5p inhibitor, miR-30a-5p mimic, AEG-1 siRNAs, as well as their negative controls were transfected into HCC cell lines HepG2, SMMC-7221, HepB3 and SNU449. Then, the in vitro influence and mechanism of miR-30a-5p on cell viability, proliferation, caspase-3/7 activity and apoptosis were studied, as assessed by different methods, including spectrophotometry, fluorimetry, fluorescence microscopy of Hoechst 33342/propidium iodide double chromatin staining, western blot and dual luciferase reporter assay, respectively.
RESULTS: MiR-30a-5p mimic markedly inhibited cell growth, also induced caspase-3/7 activity and apoptosis in all four HCC cell lines tested. The strongest effect was observed in HepG2 and SMMC-7721 cells. However, this effect was slightly weaker than that of AEG-1 siRNAs. Transfection of miR-30a-5p mimic led to a markedly reduced AEG-1 protein level and further dual luciferase reporter assay confirmed that AEG-1 was one of the target genes of miR-30a-5p in HCC cells.
CONCLUSIONS: MiR-30a-5p may play an essential role in the cell growth and apoptosis of HCC cells, partially via targeting AEG-1.

Oroz-Parra I, Navarro M, Cervantes-Luevano KE, et al.
Apoptosis Activation in Human Lung Cancer Cell Lines by a Novel Synthetic Peptide Derived from Conus californicus Venom.
Toxins (Basel). 2016; 8(2):38 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Lung cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in men and women and a leading cause of death worldwide resulting in more than one million deaths per year. The venom of marine snails Conus contains up to 200 pharmacologically active compounds that target several receptors in the cell membrane. Due to their diversity and specific binding properties, Conus toxins hold great potential as source of new drugs against cancer. We analyzed the cytotoxic effect of a 17-amino acid synthetic peptide (s-cal14.1a) that is based on a native toxin (cal14.1a) isolated from the sea snail Conus californicus. Cytotoxicity studies in four lung cancer cell lines were complemented with measurement of gene expression of apoptosis-related proteins Bcl-2, BAX and the pro-survival proteins NFκB-1 and COX-2, as well as quantification of caspase activity. Our results showed that H1299 and H1437 cell lines treated with s-call4.1a had decreased cell viability, activated caspases, and reduced expression of the pro-survival protein NFκB-1. To our knowledge, this is the first report describing activation of apoptosis in human lung cancer cell lines by s-cal14.1a and we offer insight into the possible mechanism of action.

Sun C, Li S, Yang C, et al.
MicroRNA-187-3p mitigates non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) development through down-regulation of BCL6.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2016; 471(1):82-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
Hsa-microRNA-187-3p (miR-187-3p) has recently been discovered having anticancer efficacy in different organs. However, the role of miR-187-3p on non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is still ambiguous. In this study, we investigated the role of miR-187-3p on the development of NSCLC. The results indicated that miR-187-3p was significantly down-regulated in primary tumor tissues and very low levels were found in NSCLC cell lines. Ectopic expression of miR-187-3p in NSCLC cell lines significantly suppressed cell growth as evidenced by cell viability assay and colony formation assay, through inhibition of BCL6. In addition, miR-187-3p induced apoptosis, as indicated by concomitantly with up-regulation of the activities of caspase-3 and caspase-7, and inhibited cellular migration and invasiveness through inhibition of BCL6. Further, oncogene BCL6 was revealed to be a putative target of miR-187-3p, which was inversely correlated with miR-187-3p expression in NSCLC. Taken together, our results demonstrated that miR-187-3p played a pivotal role on NSCLC through inhibiting cell proliferation, migration, invasion, and promoting apoptosis by targeting oncogenic BCL6.

Esfandiari A, Hawthorne TA, Nakjang S, Lunec J
Chemical Inhibition of Wild-Type p53-Induced Phosphatase 1 (WIP1/PPM1D) by GSK2830371 Potentiates the Sensitivity to MDM2 Inhibitors in a p53-Dependent Manner.
Mol Cancer Ther. 2016; 15(3):379-91 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Sensitivity to MDM2 inhibitors is widely different among responsive TP53 wild-type cell lines and tumors. Understanding the determinants of MDM2 inhibitor sensitivity is pertinent for their optimal clinical application. Wild-type p53-inducible phosphatase-1 (WIP1) encoded by PPM1D, is activated, gained/amplified in a range of TP53 wild-type malignancies, and is involved in p53 stress response homeostasis. We investigated cellular growth/proliferation of TP53 wild-type and matched mutant/null cell line pairs, differing in PPM1D genetic status, in response to Nutlin-3/RG7388 ± a highly selective WIP1 inhibitor, GSK2830371. We also assessed the effects of GSK2830371 on MDM2 inhibitor-induced p53(Ser15) phosphorylation, p53-mediated global transcriptional activity, and apoptosis. The investigated cell line pairs were relatively insensitive to single-agent GSK2830371. However, a non-growth-inhibitory dose of GSK2830371 markedly potentiated the response to MDM2 inhibitors in TP53 wild-type cell lines, most notably in those harboring PPM1D-activating mutations or copy number gain (up to 5.8-fold decrease in GI50). Potentiation also correlated with significant increase in MDM2 inhibitor-induced cell death endpoints that were preceded by a marked increase in a WIP1 negatively regulated substrate, phosphorylated p53(Ser15), known to increase p53 transcriptional activity. Microarray-based gene expression analysis showed that the combination treatment increases the subset of early RG7388-induced p53 transcriptional target genes. These findings demonstrate that potent and selective WIP1 inhibition potentiates the response to MDM2 inhibitors in TP53 wild-type cells, particularly those with PPM1D activation or gain, while highlighting the mechanistic importance of p53(Ser15) and its potential use as a biomarker for response to this combination regimen.

Gomes SE, Simões AE, Pereira DM, et al.
miR-143 or miR-145 overexpression increases cetuximab-mediated antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity in human colon cancer cells.
Oncotarget. 2016; 7(8):9368-87 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
miR-143 and miR-145 are downregulated in colon cancer. Here, we tested the effect of restoring these miRNAs on sensitization to cetuximab in mutant KRAS (HCT116 and SW480) and wild-type KRAS (SW48) colon cancer cells. We evaluated cetuximab-mediated antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) and the modulation of signaling pathways involved in immune effector cell-mediated elimination of cancer cells. Stable miR-143 or miR-145 overexpression increased cell sensitivity to cetuximab, resulting in a significant increase of cetuximab-mediated ADCC independently of KRAS status. Importantly, HCT116 cells overexpressing these miRNAs triggered apoptosis in result of cetuximab-mediated ADCC, effected by peripheral blood mononuclear cells (p < 0.01). This was associated with increased apoptosis and caspase-3/7 activity, and reduced Bcl-2 protein expression (p < 0.01). In addition, caspase inhibition abrogated cetuximab-mediated ADCC in HCT116 cells overexpressing either miR-143 or miR-145 (p < 0.01). Furthermore, Bcl-2 silencing led to high level of cetuximab-mediated ADCC, compared to control siRNA (p < 0.05). Importantly, granzyme B inhibition, abrogated cetuximab-mediated ADCC, reducing caspase-3/7 activity (p < 0.01). Collectively, our data suggests that re-introduction of miR-143 or miR-145 may provide a new approach for development of therapeutic strategies to re-sensitize colon cancer cells to cetuximab by stimulating cetuximab-dependent ADCC to induce cell death.

Ju W, Zhang M, Wilson KM, et al.
Augmented efficacy of brentuximab vedotin combined with ruxolitinib and/or Navitoclax in a murine model of human Hodgkin's lymphoma.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016; 113(6):1624-9 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Despite relative success of therapy for Hodgkin's lymphoma (HL), novel therapeutic agents are needed for patients with refractory or relapsed disease. Recently, anti-PD1 immunotherapy or treatment with the anti-CD30 toxin conjugate brentuximab vedotin (BV) have been associated with remissions; however, the median responses of complete responses (CRs) with the latter were only 6.7 mo. To obtain curative therapy, other effective agents, based on HL biology, would have to be given in combination with BV. Hodgkin's Reed-Sternberg (HRS) cells secrete cytokines including IL-6 and -13, leading to constitutive activation of JAK/STAT signaling. In the present study the JAK1/2 inhibitor ruxolitinib reduced phosphorylation of STAT3 and STAT6 and expression of c-Myc in the HL cell line HDLM-2. These changes were enhanced when, on the basis of a matrix screen of drug combinations, ruxolitinib was combined with the Bcl-2/Bcl-xL inhibitor Navitoclax. The combination augmented expression of Bik, Puma, and Bax, and attenuated Bcl-xL expression and the phosphorylation of Bad. The use of the two-agent combination of either ruxolitinib or Navitoclax with BV or the three-agent combination strongly activated Bax and increased activities of cytochrome c and caspase-9 and -3 that, in turn, led to cleavage of poly(ADP ribose) polymerase and Mcl-1. Either ruxolitinib combined with Navitoclax or BV alone prolonged survival but did not cure HDLM-2 tumor-bearing mice, whereas BV combined with ruxolitinib and/or with Navitoclax resulted in a sustained, complete elimination of the HDLM-2 HL. These studies provide scientific support for a clinical trial to evaluate BV combined with ruxolitinib in select patients with HL.

Park KJ, Cho SB, Park YL, et al.
Prospero homeobox 1 mediates the progression of gastric cancer by inducing tumor cell proliferation and lymphangiogenesis.
Gastric Cancer. 2017; 20(1):104-115 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Prospero homeobox 1 (PROX1) functions as a tumor suppressor gene or an oncogene in various cancer types. However, the distinct function of PROX1 in gastric cancer is unclear. We determined whether PROX1 affected the oncogenic behavior of gastric cancer cells and investigated its prognostic value in patients with gastric cancer.
METHODS: A small interfering RNA against PROX1 was used to silence PROX1 expression in gastric cancer cell lines AGS and SNU638. Expression of PROX1 in gastric cancer tissues was investigated by performing immunohistochemistry. Apoptosis, proliferation, angiogenesis, and lymphangiogenesis were determined by performing the TUNEL assay and immunohistochemical staining for Ki-67, CD34, and D2-40.
RESULTS: PROX1 knockdown induced apoptosis by activating cleaved caspase-3, caspase-7, caspase-9, and poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase, and by decreasing the expression of anti-apoptotic proteins Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL. PROX1 knockdown also suppressed tumor cell proliferation. In addition, PROX1 knockdown decreased lymphatic endothelial cell invasion and tube formation and the expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-C and -D and cyclooxygenase (COX)-2. However, PROX1 knockdown only decreased umbilical vein endothelial cell invasion, not tube formation. The mean Ki-67 labeling index and lymphatic vessel density value of PROX1-positive tumors were significantly higher than those of PROX1-negative tumors. However, no significant difference was observed between PROX1 expression and apoptotic index or microvessel density. PROX1 expression was significantly associated with age, cell differentiation, lymph node metastasis, cancer stage, and poor survival.
CONCLUSIONS: These results indicate that PROX1 mediates the progression of gastric cancer by inducing tumor cell proliferation and lymphangiogenesis.

Wang Z, Chen J, Zhang W, et al.
Axon guidance molecule semaphorin3A is a novel tumor suppressor in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.
Oncotarget. 2016; 7(5):6048-62 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Semaphorin3A (SEMA3A), an axon guidance molecule in the nervous system, plays an inhibitory role in oncogenesis. Here, we investigated the expression pattern and biological roles of SEMA3A in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) by gain-of-function assays using adenovirus transfection and recombinant human SEMA3A protein. In addition, we explored the therapeutic efficacy of SEMA3A against HNSCC in vivo. We found that lower expression of SEMA3A correlated with shorter overall survival and had independent prognostic importance in patients with HNSCC. Both genetic and recombinant SEMA3A protein inhibited cell proliferation and colony formation and induced apoptosis, accompanied by decreased cyclin E, cyclin D, CDK2, CDK4 and CDK6 and increased P21, P27, activated caspase-5 and caspase-7. Moreover, over-expression of SEMA3A suppressed migration, invasion and epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition due in part to the inhibition of NF-κB and SNAI2 in HNSCC cell lines. Furthermore, intratumoral SEMA3A delivery significantly stagnated tumor growth in a xenograft model. Taken together, our results indicate that SEMA3A serves as a tumor suppressor during HNSCC tumorigenesis and a new target for the treatment of HNSCC.

Legrier ME, Bièche I, Gaston J, et al.
Activation of IFN/STAT1 signalling predicts response to chemotherapy in oestrogen receptor-negative breast cancer.
Br J Cancer. 2016; 114(2):177-87 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Oestrogen receptor-negative (ER-) breast cancer is intrinsically sensitive to chemotherapy. However, tumour response is often incomplete, and relapse occurs with high frequency. The aim of this work was to analyse the molecular characteristics of residual tumours and early response to chemotherapy in patient-derived xenografts (PDXs) of breast cancer.
METHODS: Gene and protein expression profiles were analysed in a panel of ER- breast cancer PDXs before and after chemotherapy treatment. Tumour and stromal interferon-gamma expression was measured in xenografts lysates by human and mouse cytokine arrays, respectively.
RESULTS: The analysis of residual tumour cells in chemo-responder PDX revealed a strong overexpression of IFN-inducible genes, induced early after AC treatment and associated with increased STAT1 phosphorylation, DNA-damage and apoptosis. No increase in IFN-inducible gene expression was observed in chemo-resistant PDXs upon chemotherapy. Overexpression of IFN-related genes was associated with human IFN-γ secretion by tumour cells.
CONCLUSIONS: Treatment-induced activation of the IFN/STAT1 pathway in tumour cells is associated with chemotherapy response in ER- breast cancer. Further validations in prospective clinical trials will aim to evaluate the usefulness of this signature to assist therapeutic strategies in the clinical setting.

Jakstaite A, Maziukiene A, Silkuniene G, et al.
HuR mediated post-transcriptional regulation as a new potential adjuvant therapeutic target in chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer.
World J Gastroenterol. 2015; 21(46):13004-19 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
AIM: To investigate the expression of HuR in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) and to assess the effects of HuR silencing on the expression of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) and the in vitro response to gemcitabine (GEM) treatment in pancreatic cell lines.
METHODS: We compared the expression of HuR, COX-2, and HO-1 in PDA and normal pancreatic tissue using quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) and western blot. In addition, the HuR, COX-2 and HO-1 were analyzed in four types of cancer cell lines (MiaPaca2, Su.86.86, Capan-1, and Capan-2) with and without GEM treatment. Immunocytofluorescence analysis was used to investigate HuR localization in cells. Cell viability and response to GEM after HuR silencing were determined with the 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-Yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide test and the crystal violet clonogenic assay, respectively. To measure apoptosis, activation of caspases 3/7 was evaluated using immunofluorescence.
RESULTS: In PDA tissue obtained from patients not treated with GEM, HuR mRNA expression was 3.2 times lower (P < 0.05) and COX-2 and HO-1 mRNA expression was 2.3-fold and 7.2-fold higher (P < 0.05), respectively, than normal pancreatic tissue (from organ donor). qRT-PCR analysis showed that HuR, COX-2, and HO-1 mRNA were overexpressed in all cancer cell lines treated with the half maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) dose of GEM compared with control cells (P < 0.05). Western blot analysis revealed that COX-2 and HO-1 levels were significantly decreased in cancer cells after HuR silencing. Furthermore, HuR silencing increased the response to GEM treatment and decreased cell viability by 11.6%-53.7% compared to control cell lines. Caspases 3 and 7 were activated after HuR silencing and GEM treatment in all pancreatic cancer cell lines. In comparison, treatment with GEM alone did not activate caspases 3 and 7 in the same cell lines.
CONCLUSION: HuR mediated post-transcriptional upregulation of COX-2 and HO-1 expression after GEM treatment in pancreatic cancer cells. HuR silencing significantly increased the effectiveness of GEM treatment in vitro.

Hunakova L, Macejova D, Toporova L, Brtko J
Anticancer effects of tributyltin chloride and triphenyltin chloride in human breast cancer cell lines MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231.
Tumour Biol. 2016; 37(5):6701-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
Triorganotin compounds induce hormonal alterations, i.e., endocrine-disrupting effects in mammals, including humans. Tributyltin chloride (TBT-Cl) and triphenyltin chloride (TPT-Cl) are known to function as nuclear retinoid X receptor (RXR) agonists. Their cytotoxic effects in ER(+) luminal human breast cancer cell line MCF-7 and ER(-) basal-like human breast cancer cell line MDA-MB-231 were examined. We observed significantly higher toxicity of TBT-Cl in comparison with TPT-Cl in both cell lines. Comparable apoptosis-inducing concentrations were 200 and 800 nM, respectively, as shown by PARP cleavage and FDA staining. Both compounds activated executive caspases in the concentration-dependent manner in MDA-MB-231 cells, but the onset of TPT-Cl-induced caspase-3/7 activation was delayed in comparison with TBT-Cl. Both compounds slowed down the migration of these highly invasive cells, which was accompanied by RARbeta upregulation. Other RAR and RXR expressions were differentially modulated by studied organotins in both cell lines.

Cataldo A, Cheung DG, Balsari A, et al.
miR-302b enhances breast cancer cell sensitivity to cisplatin by regulating E2F1 and the cellular DNA damage response.
Oncotarget. 2016; 7(1):786-97 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The identification of the molecular mechanisms involved in the establishment of the resistant phenotype represents a critical need for the development of new strategies to prevent or overcome cancer resistance to anti-neoplastic treatments.Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in women, and resistance to chemotherapy negatively affects patient outcomes. Here, we investigated the potential role of miR-302b in the modulation of breast cancer cell resistance to cisplatin.miR-302b overexpression enhances sensitivity to cisplatin in breast cancer cell lines, reducing cell viability and proliferation in response to the treatment. We also identified E2F1, a master regulator of the G1/S transition, as a direct target gene of miR-302b. E2F1 transcriptionally activates ATM, the main cellular sensor of DNA damage. Through the negative regulation of E2F1, miR-302b indirectly affects ATM expression, abrogating cell-cycle progression upon cisplatin treatment. Moreover miR-302b, impairs the ability of breast cancer cells to repair damaged DNA, enhancing apoptosis activation following cisplatin treatment.These findings indicate that miR-302b plays a relevant role in breast cancer cell response to cisplatin through the modulation of the E2F1/ATM axis, representing a valid candidate as therapeutic tool to overcome chemotherapy resistance.

Gao XL, Lin H, Zhao W, et al.
JA, a new type of polyunsaturated fatty acid isolated from Juglans mandshurica Maxim, limits the survival and induces apoptosis of heptocarcinoma cells.
Apoptosis. 2016; 21(3):340-50 [PubMed] Related Publications
Juglans mandshurica Maxim (Juglandaceae) is a famous folk medicine for cancer treatment and some natural compounds isolated from it have been studied extensively. Previously we isolated a type of ω-9 polyunsaturated fatty acid (JA) from the bark of J. mandshurica, however little is known about its activity and the underlying mechanisms. In this study, we studied anti-tumor activity of JA on several human cancer cell lines. Results showed that JA is cytotoxic to HepG2, MDA-MB-231, SGC-7901, A549 and Huh7 cells at a concentration exerting minimal toxic effects on L02 cells. The selective toxicity of JA was better than other classical anti-cancer drugs. Further investigation indicated that JA could induce cell apoptosis, characterized by chromatin condensation, DNA fragmentation and activation of the apoptosis-associated proteins such as Caspase-3 and PARP-1. Moreover, we investigated the cellular apoptosis pathway involved in the apoptosis process in HepG2 cells. We found that proteins involved in mitochondrion (cleaved-Caspase-9, Apaf-1, HtrA2/Omi, Bax, and Mitochondrial Bax) and endocytoplasmic reticulum (XBP-1s, GRP78, cleaved-Caspase-7 and cleaved-Caspase-12) apoptotic pathways were up-regulated when cells were treated by JA. In addition, a morphological change in the mitochondrion was detected. Furthermore, we found that JA could inhibit DNA synthesis and induce G2/M cell cycle arrest. The expression of G2-to-M transition related proteins, such as CyclinB1 and phosphorylated-CDK1, were reduced. In contrast, the G2-to-M inhibitor p21 was increased in JA-treated cells. Overall, our results suggest that JA can induce mitochondrion- and endocytoplasmic reticulum-mediated apoptosis, and G2/M phase arrest in HepG2 cells, making it a promising therapeutic agent against hepatoma.

Ho IL, Kuo KL, Liu SH, et al.
MLN4924 Synergistically Enhances Cisplatin-induced Cytotoxicity via JNK and Bcl-xL Pathways in Human Urothelial Carcinoma.
Sci Rep. 2015; 5:16948 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Cisplatin-based chemotherapy is the primary treatment for metastatic bladder urothelial carcinoma. However, the response rate is only 40-65%. This study investigated the anti-tumor effect and underlying mechanisms of the combination of cisplatin and the NEDD8-activating enzyme inhibitor MLN4924 in human bladder urothelial carcinoma. The combination of cisplatin and MLN4924 exerted synergistic cytotoxicity on two high-grade bladder urothelial carcinoma cell lines, NTUB1 and T24 (combination index <1). MLN4924 also potentiated the cisplatin-induced apoptosis and activation of caspase-3 and -7, phospho-histone H2A.X and PARP. c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) activation and a down-regulation of B-cell lymphoma-extra large (Bcl-xL) were also observed during cisplatin and MLN4924 treatment. Inhibition of JNK activation partially restored cell viability and Bcl-xL expression. Bcl-xL overexpression also rescued cell viability. MLN4924 significantly potentiated cisplatin-induced tumor suppression in urothelial carcinoma xenograft mice. In summary, MLN4924 synergistically enhanced the anti-tumor effect of cisplatin via an increase in DNA damage, JNK activation and down-regulation of Bcl-xL in urothelial carcinoma cells. These findings provide a new therapeutic strategy for the treatment of bladder cancer.

Davies C, Hogarth LA, Mackenzie KL, et al.
p21(WAF1) modulates drug-induced apoptosis and cell cycle arrest in B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Cell Cycle. 2015; 14(22):3602-12 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
p21(WAF1) is a well-characterized mediator of cell cycle arrest and may also modulate chemotherapy-induced cell death. The role of p21(WAF1) in drug-induced cell cycle arrest and apoptosis of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) cells was investigated using p53-functional patient-derived xenografts (PDXs), in which p21(WAF1) was epigenetically silenced in T-cell ALL (T-ALL), but not in B-cell precursor (BCP)-ALL PDXs. Upon exposure to diverse cytotoxic drugs, T-ALL PDX cells exhibited markedly increased caspase-3/7 activity and phosphatidylserine (PS) externalization on the plasma membrane compared with BCP-ALL cells. Despite dramatic differences in apoptotic characteristics between T-ALL and BCP-ALL PDXs, both ALL subtypes exhibited similar cell death kinetics and were equally sensitive to p53-inducing drugs in vitro, although T-ALL PDXs were significantly more sensitive to the histone deacetylase inhibitor vorinostat. Transient siRNA suppression of p21(WAF1) in the BCP-ALL 697 cell line resulted in a moderate depletion of the cell fraction in G1 phase and marked increase in PS externalization following exposure to etoposide. Furthermore, stable lentiviral p21(WAF1) silencing in the BCP-ALL Nalm-6 cell line accelerated PS externalization and cell death following exposure to etoposide and vorinostat, supporting previous findings. Finally, the Sp1 inhibitor, terameprocol, inhibited p21(WAF1) expression in Nalm-6 cells exposed to vorinostat and also partially augmented vorinostat-induced cell death. Taken together, these findings demonstrate that p21(WAF1) regulates the early stages of drug-induced apoptosis in ALL cells and significantly modulates their sensitivity to vorinostat.

Li C, Zhao Z, Zhou Z, Liu R
PKM2 Promotes Cell Survival and Invasion Under Metabolic Stress by Enhancing Warburg Effect in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma.
Dig Dis Sci. 2016; 61(3):767-73 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Pyruvate kinase isoenzyme M2 (PKM2) is an essential enzyme involved in the regulation of aerobic glycolysis in cancer cells and promotes the translation between glycolytic flux and biosynthesis of cellular building blocks.
AIM: Our present study aims to explore the expression pattern and underlying cellular functions of PKM2 in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) under metabolic stress.
METHODS: Oncomine database and a tissue microarray (n = 90) were used to investigate the expression pattern of PKM2 and its clinicopathological findings. In vitro proliferation, apoptosis and invasion assays were used to determine the role and related mechanism of PKM2 in PDAC.
RESULTS: Data from Oncomine database and our tissue microarray show that PKM2 is significantly elevated in PDAC specimens compared with the corresponding normal tissues. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis shows that higher expression of PKM2 is closely correlated with a poor prognosis of patients with PDAC. Under metabolic stress, suppression of PKM2 expression in PANC-1 and AsPC-1 cells results in decreased cell survival, increased caspase-3/7 activity, and reduced invasive potential, and these effects can be reversed by reintroduction of PKM2. Furthermore, sh-PKM2 cells show a significant decreased Warburg effect compared with sh-Ctrl cells as demonstrated by reduced glucose consumption and lactate production. Treatment with 2-deoxy-D-glucose, a glycolysis inhibitor, completely blocks the influences of PKM2 on cell survival and invasion.
CONCLUSIONS: Our study reveals that silencing of PKM2 exhibits a tumor-suppressive role through altered Warburg effect and suggests that targeting PKM2 might serve as a potential therapeutic target for PDAC.

Im JY, Lee KW, Won KJ, et al.
DNA damage-induced apoptosis suppressor (DDIAS), a novel target of NFATc1, is associated with cisplatin resistance in lung cancer.
Biochim Biophys Acta. 2016; 1863(1):40-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
In a previous study, we reported that DNA damage induced apoptosis suppressor (DDIAS; hNoxin), a human homolog of mouse Noxin, functions as an anti-apoptotic protein in response to DNA repair. Here we reveal that DDIAS is a target gene of nuclear factor of activated T cells 2 (NFATc1) and is associated with cisplatin resistance in lung cancer cells. In the DDIAS promoter analysis, we found that NFATc1 activated the transcription of DDIAS through binding to NFAT consensus sequences in the DDIAS promoter. In addition, tissue array immunostaining revealed a correlation between DDIAS and NFATc1 expression in human lung tumors. NFATc1 knockdown or treatment with the NFAT inhibitor cyclosporine A induced apoptosis and led to growth inhibition of lung cancer cells, indicating the functional relevance of both the proteins. In contrast, DDIAS overexpression overcame this NFATc1 knockdown-induced growth inhibition, supporting the cancer-specific role of DDIAS as a target gene of NFATc1. NFATc1 or DDIAS inhibition clearly enhanced apoptosis induced by cisplatin in NCI-H1703 and A549 cells. Conversely, DDIAS overexpression rescued NCI-H1703 cells from cisplatin-mediated cell death and caspase-3/7 activation. These results suggest that NFATc1-induced DDIAS expression contributes to cisplatin resistance, and targeting DDIAS or NFATc1 impairs the mechanism regulating cisplatin resistance in lung cancer cells. Taken together, DDIAS is a target of NFATc1 and is associated with cisplatin resistance in lung cancer cells.

Abdulkareem ZA, Gee JM, Cox CD, Wann KT
Knockdown of the small conductance Ca(2+) -activated K(+) channels is potently cytotoxic in breast cancer cell lines.
Br J Pharmacol. 2016; 173(1):177-90 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Small conductance calcium-activated potassium (KCa 2.x) channels have a widely accepted canonical function in regulating cellular excitability. In this study, we address a potential non-canonical function of KCa 2.x channels in breast cancer cell survival, using in vitro models.
EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH: The expression of all KCa 2.x channel isoforms was initially probed using RT-PCR, Western blotting and microarray analysis in five widely studied breast cancer cell lines. In order to assess the effect of pharmacological blockade and siRNA-mediated knockdown of KCa 2.x channels on these cell lines, we utilized MTS proliferation assays and also followed the corresponding expression of apoptotic markers.
KEY RESULTS: All of the breast cancer cell lines, regardless of their lineage or endocrine responsiveness, were highly sensitive to KCa 2.x channel blockade. UCL1684 caused cytotoxicity, with LD50 values in the low nanomolar range, in all cell lines. The role of KCa 2.x channels was confirmed using pharmacological inhibition and siRNA-mediated knockdown. This reduced cell viability and also reduced expression of Bcl-2 but increased expression of active caspase-7 and caspase-9. Complementary to these results, a variety of cell lines can be protected from apoptosis induced by staurosporine using the KCa 2.x channel activator CyPPA.
CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: In addition to a well-established role for KCa 2.x channels in migration, blockade of these channels was potently cytotoxic in breast cancer cell lines, pointing to modulation of KCa 2.x channels as a potential therapeutic approach to breast cancer.

Saitoh Y, Hamano A, Mochida K, et al.
A20 targets caspase-8 and FADD to protect HTLV-I-infected cells.
Leukemia. 2016; 30(3):716-27 [PubMed] Related Publications
Adult T-cell leukemia (ATL) arises from a human T-cell leukemia virus type I (HTLV-I)-infected cell and has few therapeutic options. Here, we have uncovered a previously unrecognized role for a ubiquitin-editing enzyme A20 in the survival of HTLV-I-infected cells. Unlike in lymphomas of the B-cell lineage, A20 is abundantly expressed in primary ATL cells without notable mutations. Depletion of A20 in HTLV-I-infected cells resulted in caspase activation, cell death induction and impaired tumorigenicity in mouse xenograft models. Mechanistically, A20 stably interacts with caspase-8 and Fas-associated via death domain (FADD) in HTLV-I-infected cells. Mutational studies revealed that A20 supports the growth of HTLV-I-infected cells independent of its catalytic functions and that the zinc-finger domains are required for the interaction with and regulation of caspases. These results indicate a pivotal role for A20 in the survival of HTLV-I-infected cells and implicate A20 as a potential therapeutic target in ATL.

Dai M, Lu JJ, Guo W, et al.
BPTF promotes tumor growth and predicts poor prognosis in lung adenocarcinomas.
Oncotarget. 2015; 6(32):33878-92 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BPTF, a subunit of NURF, is well known to be involved in the development of eukaryotic cell, but little is known about its roles in cancers, especially in non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Here we showed that BPTF was specifically overexpressed in NSCLC cell lines and lung adenocarcinoma tissues. Knockdown of BPTF by siRNA significantly inhibited cell proliferation, induced cell apoptosis and arrested cell cycle progress from G1 to S phase. We also found that BPTF knockdown downregulated the expression of the phosphorylated Erk1/2, PI3K and Akt proteins and induced the cleavage of caspase-8, caspase-7 and PARP proteins, thereby inhibiting the MAPK and PI3K/AKT signaling and activating apoptotic pathway. BPTF knockdown by siRNA also upregulated the cell cycle inhibitors such as p21 and p18 but inhibited the expression of cyclin D, phospho-Rb and phospho-cdc2 in lung cancer cells. Moreover, BPTF knockdown by its specific shRNA inhibited lung cancer growth in vivo in the xenografts of A549 cells accompanied by the suppression of VEGF, p-Erk and p-Akt expression. Immunohistochemical assay for tumor tissue microarrays of lung tumor tissues showed that BPTF overexpression predicted a poor prognosis in the patients with lung adenocarcinomas. Therefore, our data indicate that BPTF plays an essential role in cell growth and survival by targeting multiply signaling pathways in human lung cancers.

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