CCL4

Gene Summary

Gene:CCL4; C-C motif chemokine ligand 4
Aliases: ACT2, G-26, HC21, LAG1, LAG-1, MIP1B, SCYA2, SCYA4, MIP1B1, AT744.1, MIP-1-beta
Location:17q12
Summary:The protein encoded by this gene is a mitogen-inducible monokine and is one of the major HIV-suppressive factors produced by CD8+ T-cells. The encoded protein is secreted and has chemokinetic and inflammatory functions. [provided by RefSeq, Dec 2012]
Databases:VEGA, OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:C-C motif chemokine 4
Source:NCBIAccessed: 11 March, 2017

Ontology:

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 11 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 11 March, 2017 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (3)

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: CCL4 (cancer-related)

Nguyen-Hoai T, Pham-Duc M, Gries M, et al.
CCL4 as an adjuvant for DNA vaccination in a Her2/neu mouse tumor model.
Cancer Gene Ther. 2016; 23(6):162-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
Chemokines are key regulators of both innate and adaptive immune responses. CCL4 (macrophage inflammatory protein-1β, MIP-1β) is a CC chemokine that has a broad spectrum of target cells including immature dendritic cells, which express the cognate receptor CCR5. We asked whether a plasmid encoding CCL4 is able to improve tumor protection and immune responses in a Her2/neu+ mouse tumor model. Balb/c mice were immunized twice intramuscularly with plasmid DNA on days 1 and 15. On day 25, a tumor challenge was performed with 2 × 10(5) syngeneic Her2/neu+ D2F2/E2 tumor cells. Different groups of mice were vaccinated with pDNA(Her2/neu) plus pDNA(CCL4), pDNA(Her2/neu), pDNA(CCL4) or mock vector alone. Our results show that CCL4 is able to (i) improve tumor protection and (ii) augment a TH1-polarized immune response against Her2/neu. Although Her2/neu-specific humoral and T-cell immune responses were comparable with that induced in previous studies using CCL19 or CCL21 as adjuvants, tumor protection conferred by CCL4 was inferior. Whether this is due to a different spectrum of (innate) immune cells, remains to be clarified. However, combination of CCL19/21 with CCL4 might be a reasonable approach in the future, particularly for DNA vaccination in Her2/neu+ breast cancer in the situation of minimal residual disease.

Hyun J, Wang S, Kim J, et al.
MicroRNA-378 limits activation of hepatic stellate cells and liver fibrosis by suppressing Gli3 expression.
Nat Commun. 2016; 7:10993 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Hedgehog (Hh) signalling regulates hepatic fibrogenesis. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) mediate various cellular processes; however, their role in liver fibrosis is unclear. Here we investigate regulation of miRNAs in chronically damaged fibrotic liver. MiRNA profiling shows that expression of miR-378 family members (miR-378a-3p, miR-378b and miR-378d) declines in carbon tetrachloride (CCl4)-treated compared with corn-oil-treated mice. Overexpression of miR-378a-3p, directly targeting Gli3 in activated hepatic stellate cells (HSCs), reduces expression of Gli3 and profibrotic genes but induces gfap, the inactivation marker of HSCs, in CCl4-treated liver. Smo blocks transcriptional expression of miR-378a-3p by activating the p65 subunit of nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB). The hepatic level of miR-378a-3p is inversely correlated with the expression of Gli3 in tumour and non-tumour tissues in human hepatocellular carcinoma. Our results demonstrate that miR-378a-3p suppresses activation of HSCs by targeting Gli3 and its expression is regulated by Smo-dependent NF-κB signalling, suggesting miR-378a-3p has therapeutic potential for liver fibrosis.

Yang JC, Srimuninnimit V, Ahn MJ, et al.
First-Line Pemetrexed plus Cisplatin followed by Gefitinib Maintenance Therapy versus Gefitinib Monotherapy in East Asian Never-Smoker Patients with Locally Advanced or Metastatic Nonsquamous Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer: Final Overall Survival Results from a Randomized Phase 3 Study.
J Thorac Oncol. 2016; 11(3):370-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: The primary analysis of this open-label, randomized, multicenter phase 3 study revealed no significant difference in progression-free survival between pemetrexed plus cisplatin followed by maintenance gefitinib (PC/G) and gefitinib monotherapy (G) in patients with advanced nonsquamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and unknown epidermal growth factor receptor gene (EGFR) mutation status; however, the hazard ratio favored PC/G. This report describes the final overall survival (OS) results.
METHODS: Chemonaive, East Asian light ex-smokers/never-smokers with advanced nonsquamous NSCLC and unknown EGFR mutation status were randomized (1:1) to PC/G (n = 118) or G (n = 118). EGFR mutation status was retrospectively determined for 76 patients, 52 (68.4%) of whom had EGFR-mutated tumors (exon 19 deletions in 26 and L858R point mutation in 24). OS was analyzed by the Kaplan-Meier method. The study was registered at ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT01017874).
RESULTS: Median OS was similar in the PC/G (26.9 months) and G (27.9 months) groups (hazard ratio = 0.94, 95% confidence interval: 0.68-1.31, p = 0.717). Median OS was longer with PC/G than with G in patients with EGFR wild-type tumors (28.4 versus 8.9 months) and longer with G than with PC/G in patients with EGFR-mutated tumors (45.7 versus 32.4 months), especially those with exon 19 deletions. Second-line postdiscontinuation therapy was common and included chemotherapy (PC/G, 41 of 118 [34.7%]; G, 73 of 118 [61.9%]) and rechallenge with an EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor (PC/G, 27 of 118 [22.9%]; G, 9 of 118 [7.6%]).
CONCLUSIONS: The progression-free survival and OS results from this study further demonstrate the importance of determining EGFR mutation status to select the most appropriate first-line treatment for patients with advanced NSCLC.

Warnecke-Eberz U, Metzger R, Hölscher AH, et al.
Diagnostic marker signature for esophageal cancer from transcriptome analysis.
Tumour Biol. 2016; 37(5):6349-58 [PubMed] Related Publications
Esophageal cancer is often diagnosed at an advanced stage. Diagnostic markers are needed for achieving a cure in esophageal cancer detecting and treating tumor cells earlier. In patients with locally advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the esophagus (ESCC), we profiled the gene expression of ESCC compared to corresponding normal biopsies for diagnostic markers by genome microarrays. Profiling of gene expression identified 4844 genes differentially expressed, 2122 upregulated and 2722 downregulated in ESCC. Twenty-three overexpressed candidates with best scores from significance analysis have been selected for further analysis by TaqMan low-density array-technique using a validation cohort of 40 patients. The verification rate was 100 % for ESCC. Twenty-two markers were additionally overexpressed in adenocarcinoma of the esophagus (EAC). The markers significantly overexpressed already in earlier tumor stages (pT1-2) of both histological subtypes (n = 19) have been clustered in a "diagnostic signature": PLA2G7, PRAME, MMP1, MMP3, MMP12, LIlRB2, TREM2, CHST2, IGFBP2, IGFBP7, KCNJ8, EMILIN2, CTHRC1, EMR2, WDR72, LPCAT1, COL4A2, CCL4, and SNX10. The marker signature will be translated to clinical practice to prove its diagnostic impact. This diagnostic signature may contribute to the earlier detection of tumor cells, with the aim to complement clinical techniques resulting in the development of better detection of concepts of esophageal cancer for earlier therapy and more favorite prognosis.

De Cecco L, Capaia M, Zupo S, et al.
Interleukin 21 Controls mRNA and MicroRNA Expression in CD40-Activated Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Cells.
PLoS One. 2015; 10(8):e0134706 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Several factors support CLL cell survival in the microenvironment. Under different experimental conditions, IL21 can either induce apoptosis or promote CLL cell survival. To investigate mechanisms involved in the effects of IL21, we studied the ability of IL21 to modulate gene and miRNA expressions in CD40-activated CLL cells. IL21 was a major regulator of chemokine production in CLL cells and it modulated the expression of genes involved in cell movement, metabolism, survival and apoptosis. In particular, IL21 down-regulated the expression of the chemokine genes CCL4, CCL3, CCL3L1, CCL17, and CCL2, while it up-regulated the Th1-related CXCL9 and CXCL10. In addition, IL21 down-regulated the expression of genes encoding signaling molecules, such as CD40, DDR1 and PIK3CD. IL21 modulated a similar set of genes in CLL and normal B-cells (e.g. chemokine genes), whereas other genes, including MYC, TNF, E2F1, EGR2 and GAS-6, were regulated only in CLL cells. An integrated analysis of the miRNome and gene expression indicated that several miRNAs were under IL21 control and these could, in turn, influence the expression of potential target genes. We focused on hsa-miR-663b predicted to down-regulate several relevant genes. Transfection of hsa-miR-663b or its specific antagonist showed that this miRNA regulated CCL17, DDR1, PIK3CD and CD40 gene expression. Our data indicated that IL21 modulates the expression of genes mediating the crosstalk between CLL cells and their microenvironment and miRNAs may take part in this process.

Liu JY, Li F, Wang LP, et al.
CTL- vs Treg lymphocyte-attracting chemokines, CCL4 and CCL20, are strong reciprocal predictive markers for survival of patients with oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma.
Br J Cancer. 2015; 113(5):747-55 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Tumoural infiltration of T lymphocytes is determined by local patterns of specific chemokine expression. In this report, we examined the roles of CCL4 and CCL20 in the accumulation of CD8(+) cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) and regulatory T (Treg) lymphocytes in oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC), and determined the correlations between chemokine expressions and ESCC patients' survival.
METHODS: Reverse transcriptase-PCR and immunohistochemistry (IHC) staining were performed to examine the expressions of interested genes. Flow cytometry was adopted to check the expressions of CCL4- and CCL6-specific receptors, CCR5 and CCR6, on CTLs and Treg cells. In addition, transwell assay was carried on.
RESULTS: The CCL4 expression was significantly correlated with the expression of CTL markers (CD8 and Granzyme B), whereas CCL20 was positively correlated with Treg markers (FoxP3 and IL-10). Consistently, CCR5 was found to be mainly expressed on CD8(+) T lymphocytes, while CCR6 showed prevalence on Treg lymphocytes and the frequencies of CCR5(+)CD8(+) CTLs and CCR6(+) Treg cells were higher in TIL compared with PBMC. Respectively, CCL4 and CCL20 recruited CD8(+) and regulatory T cells in vitro. Importantly, high levels of CCL4 in the lesions of ESCC patients predicted prolonged survival. Furthermore, CCL4(high)/CCL20(low) group demonstrated better overall survival, whereas CCL4(low)/CCL20(low) and CCL4(low)/CCL20(high) groups showed the worst overall survival.
CONCLUSIONS: Our data showed that CCL4 and CCL20 recruit functionally different T lymphocyte subsets into oesophageal carcinoma, indicating CCL4 and CCL20 are potential predictors of ESCC patients' survival.

Yang J, Qiu B, Li X, et al.
p53-p66(shc)/miR-21-Sod2 signaling is critical for the inhibitory effect of betulinic acid on hepatocellular carcinoma.
Toxicol Lett. 2015; 238(3):1-10 [PubMed] Related Publications
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the fifth most common malignancy and the third cause of cancer-related death. Betulinic acid (BA) is a pentacyclic triterpene, possessing potential pro-apoptotic activities. The present study was designed to evaluate the effect of BA on tumor growth in mice and HCC cell proliferation in vitro. We found that BA dose-dependently inhibited tumor growth in mice induced by DEN plus CCl4 (D/C) and suppressed cell viability and proliferation in several HCC cell lines. In addition, BA increased mitochondrial ROS generation and mitochondrial dysfunction, activating molecular apoptotic events and leading to apoptotic cell death. p53 was increased by BA in D/C-treated mice and HCC cells and inhibition of p53 significantly suppressed the pro-apoptotic and anti-tumor effect of BA. Increase of p66(shc) was involved in the pro-apoptotic and anti-tumor effect of BA. Moreover, BA-induced increase of p66(shc) was dependent upon p53. Sod2 expression was reduced by BA treatment, and a Sod2 mimic (MnTBAP) significantly blocked the pro-apoptotic and anti-tumor effect of BA. Furthermore, miR-21 was increased by BA in D/C-treated mice and HCC cells and inhibition of miR-21 significantly suppressed the pro-apoptotic effect of BA. miR-21 inhibitor attenuated BA-induced decrease of Sod2 and p53 inhibitor blocked BA-induced increase of miR-21. These results demonstrated that p53 is responsible for the anti-tumor effect of BA through up-regulation of p66(shc) and miR-21 and down-regulation of Sod2 expression, leading to mitochondrial ROS accumulation and apoptosis. The p53-p66(shc)/miR-21-Sod2 signaling is critical for BA-inhibited tumor growth and cancer cell proliferation.

Hung TM, Yuan RH, Huang WP, et al.
Increased Autophagy Markers Are Associated with Ductular Reaction during the Development of Cirrhosis.
Am J Pathol. 2015; 185(9):2454-67 [PubMed] Related Publications
Autophagy is a regulatory pathway in liver fibrosis. We investigated the roles of autophagy in human cirrhotic livers. Cirrhotic and noncirrhotic liver tissues were obtained from patients with hepatocellular carcinoma, and liver tissues from live donors served as control. Patients with cirrhotic livers had significantly increased levels of various essential autophagy-related genes compared with noncirrhotic livers. In addition, colocalization of autophagy marker microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3B (LC3B) with lysosome-associated membrane protein-1, increased levels of lysosome-associated membrane protein-2, and increased maturation of lysosomal cathepsin D were observed in cirrhotic livers. By using dual-immunofluorescence staining, we demonstrated that increased LC3B was located mainly in the cytokeratin 19-labeled ductular reaction (DR) in human cirrhotic livers and in an experimental cirrhosis induced by 2-acetylaminofluorene (AAF) with carbon tetrachloride (CCl4), indicating a conserved response to chronic liver damage. Furthermore, an AAF/CCl4-mediated increase in DR and fibrosis were attenuated after chloroquine treatment, suggesting that the autophagy-lysosome pathway was essential for AAF/CCl4-induced DR-fibrosis. In conclusion, we demonstrated that increased autophagy marker positively correlated with DR during the development of cirrhosis. Therefore, targeting autophagy may hold therapeutic value for liver cirrhosis.

Han H, Xue-Franzén Y, Miao X, et al.
Early growth response gene (EGR)-1 regulates leukotriene D4-induced cytokine transcription in Hodgkin lymphoma cells.
Prostaglandins Other Lipid Mediat. 2015; 121(Pt A):122-30 [PubMed] Related Publications
Classical Hodgkin lymphoma (cHL) has a unique pathological feature characterized by a minority of malignant Hodgkin Reed-Sternberg (H-RS) cells surrounded by numerous inflammatory cells. Cysteinyl-leukotrienes (CysLTs) are produced by eosinophils, macrophages and mast cells in the HL tumor microenvironment. In the present study we have explored the signal transduction pathways leading to leukotriene (LT) D4 induced expression of cytokines in the Hodgkin lymphoma cell line L1236 and KM-H2. Stimulation of L1236 and KM-H2 cells with LTD4 led to a concentration- and time-dependent increase at the transcriptional level of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), interleukin (IL)-6, IL-8, chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 3 (CCL3) and CCL4. The expression of several transcription factors was induced upon stimulation of Hodgkin cell lines with LTD4. Among these, EGR-1 was required for cytokine production. Inhibition of EGR-1 expression using shEGR-1 transduced by lentivirus led to suppression of the expression of TNF-α and IL-6. The effect of LTD4 on the expression of transcription factors and cytokines were also blocked by the specific CysLT1 receptor antagonist zafirlukast. These results demonstrate that EGR-1 plays a critical role in LTD4-induced cytokine transcription in Hodgkin cell lines.

Tong Z, Li M, Wang W, et al.
Steroid Receptor Coactivator 1 Promotes Human Hepatocellular Carcinoma Progression by Enhancing Wnt/β-Catenin Signaling.
J Biol Chem. 2015; 290(30):18596-608 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Steroid receptor coactivator 1 (SRC-1) is a transcriptional coactivator not only for steroid receptors, such as androgen receptor and estrogen receptor, but also for other transcription factors. SRC-1 has been shown to play an important role in the progression of breast cancer and prostate cancer. However, its role in liver cancer progression remains unknown. In this study, we report that SRC-1 was overexpressed in 25 (62.5%) of 40 human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) specimens. Down-regulation of SRC-1 decreased HCC cell proliferation and impaired tumor maintenance in HCC xenografts. Knockdown of SRC-1 reduced protein levels of the proliferation marker proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) and the oncogene c-Myc. Knockout of SRC-1 in mice reduced diethylnitrosamine/CCl4-induced tumor formation in the liver and the expression of c-Myc and PCNA in liver tumors. SRC-1 promoted c-Myc expression, at least in part, by directly interacting with β-catenin to enhance Wnt/β-catenin signaling. Consistent with these results, the expression of SRC-1 was positively correlated with PCNA expression in human HCC specimens, and the expression levels of c-Myc in SRC-1-positive HCC specimens were higher than in SRC-1-negative HCC specimens. In addition, SRC-1 and SRC-3 were co-overexpressed in 47.5% of HCC specimens, and they cooperated to promote HCC cell proliferation. Simultaneous down-regulation of SRC-1 and SRC-3 dramatically inhibited HCC cell proliferation. Our results demonstrate that SRC-1 promotes HCC progression by enhancing Wnt/β-catenin signaling and suggest that SRC-1 is a potential therapeutic molecular target for HCC.

Neubauer K, Misa IB, Diakowska D, et al.
Nampt/PBEF/visfatin upregulation in colorectal tumors, mirrored in normal tissue and whole blood of colorectal cancer patients, is associated with metastasis, hypoxia, IL1β, and anemia.
Biomed Res Int. 2015; 2015:523930 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Targeting Nampt/PBEF/visfatin is considered a promising anticancer strategy, yet little is known about its association with colorectal cancer (CRC). We quantified Nampt/PBEF/visfatin expression in bowel and blood (mRNA and protein), referring it to CRC advancement and inflammatory, angiogenic, hypoxia, and proliferation indices. Tumor Nampt/PBEF/visfatin upregulation was associated with metastasis, anemia, tumor location, HIF1α, and inflammatory and angiogenic indices, of which HIF1α, IL1β, and anemia explained 70% in Nampt/PBEF/visfatin variability. Nampt/PBEF/visfatin expression in nontumor tissue, both mRNA and protein, increased in patients with metastatic disease and mild anemia, and, on transcriptional level, correlated with HIF1α, IL1β, IL8, CCL2, and CCL4 expression. Whole blood Nampt/PBEF/visfatin tended to be elevated in patients with metastatic cancer or anemia and correlated with inflammatory indices, of which IL1β, IL8, and hematocrit explained 60% of its variability. Circulating visfatin was associated with lymph node metastasis and inflammatory and angiogenic indices. In vitro experiments on SW620 cells demonstrated Nampt/PBEF/visfatin downregulation in response to serum withdrawal but its upregulation in response to serum induction and hypoxia. Stimulation with recombinant visfatin did not provide growth advantage. Summarizing, our results link Nampt/PBEF/visfatin with tumor metastatic potential and point at inflammation and hypoxia as key inducers of its upregulation in CRC.

Chen X, Yamamoto M, Fujii K, et al.
Differential reactivation of fetal/neonatal genes in mouse liver tumors induced in cirrhotic and non-cirrhotic conditions.
Cancer Sci. 2015; 106(8):972-81 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Hepatocellular carcinoma develops in either chronically injured or seemingly intact livers. To explore the tumorigenic mechanisms underlying these different conditions, we compared the mRNA expression profiles of mouse hepatocellular tumors induced by the repeated injection of CCl4 or a single diethylnitrosamine (DEN) injection using a cDNA microarray. We identified tumor-associated genes that were expressed differentially in the cirrhotic CCl4 model (H19, Igf2, Cbr3, and Krt20) and the non-cirrhotic DEN model (Tff3, Akr1c18, Gpc3, Afp, and Abcd2) as well as genes that were expressed comparably in both models (Ly6d, Slpi, Spink3, Scd2, and Cpe). The levels and patterns of mRNA expression of these genes were validated by quantitative RT-PCR analyses. Most of these genes were highly expressed in mouse livers during the fetal/neonatal periods. We also examined the mRNA expression of these genes in mouse tumors induced by thioacetamide, another cirrhotic inducer, and those that developed spontaneously in non-cirrhotic livers and found that they shared a similar expression profile as that observed in CCl4 -induced and DEN-induced tumors, respectively. There was a close relationship between the expression levels of Igf2 and H19 mRNA, which were activated in the cirrhotic models. Our results show that mouse liver tumors reactivate fetal/neonatal genes, some of which are specific to cirrhotic or non-cirrhotic modes of pathogenesis.

Zhao X, Fu J, Xu A, et al.
Gankyrin drives malignant transformation of chronic liver damage-mediated fibrosis via the Rac1/JNK pathway.
Cell Death Dis. 2015; 6:e1751 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Hepatocarcinogenesis is a complex process involving chronic liver injury, inflammation, unregulated wound healing, subsequent fibrosis and carcinogenesis. To decipher the molecular mechanism underlying transition from chronic liver injury to dysplasia, we investigated the oncogenic role of gankyrin (PSMD10 or p28GANK) during malignant transformation in a transgenic mouse model. Here, we find that gankyrin increased in patients with cirrhosis. In addition to more severe liver fibrosis and tumorigenesis after DEN plus CCl4 treatment, hepatocyte-specific gankyrin-overexpressing mice (gankyrinhep) exhibited malignant transformation from liver fibrosis to tumors even under single CCl4 administration, whereas wild-type mice merely experienced fibrosis. Consistently, enhanced hepatic injury, severe inflammation and strengthened compensatory proliferation occurred in gankyrinhep) mice during CCl4 performance. This correlated with augmented expressions of cell cycle-related genes and abnormal activation of Rac1/c-jun N-terminal kinase (JNK). Pharmacological inhibition of the Rac1/JNK pathway attenuated hepatic fibrosis and prevented CCl4-induced carcinogenesis in gankyrinhep mice. Together, these findings suggest that gankyrin promotes liver fibrosis/cirrhosis progression into hepatocarcinoma relying on a persistent liver injury and inflammatory microenvironment. Blockade of Rac1/JNK activation impeded gankyrin-mediated hepatocytic malignant transformation, indicating the combined inhibition of gankyrin and Rac1/JNK as a potential prevention mechanism for cirrhosis transition.

Poswar Fde O, Farias LC, Fraga CA, et al.
Bioinformatics, interaction network analysis, and neural networks to characterize gene expression of radicular cyst and periapical granuloma.
J Endod. 2015; 41(6):877-83 [PubMed] Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: Bioinformatics has emerged as an important tool to analyze the large amount of data generated by research in different diseases. In this study, gene expression for radicular cysts (RCs) and periapical granulomas (PGs) was characterized based on a leader gene approach.
METHODS: A validated bioinformatics algorithm was applied to identify leader genes for RCs and PGs. Genes related to RCs and PGs were first identified in PubMed, GenBank, GeneAtlas, and GeneCards databases. The Web-available STRING software (The European Molecular Biology Laboratory [EMBL], Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany) was used in order to build the interaction map among the identified genes by a significance score named weighted number of links. Based on the weighted number of links, genes were clustered using k-means. The genes in the highest cluster were considered leader genes. Multilayer perceptron neural network analysis was used as a complementary supplement for gene classification.
RESULTS: For RCs, the suggested leader genes were TP53 and EP300, whereas PGs were associated with IL2RG, CCL2, CCL4, CCL5, CCR1, CCR3, and CCR5 genes.
CONCLUSIONS: Our data revealed different gene expression for RCs and PGs, suggesting that not only the inflammatory nature but also other biological processes might differentiate RCs and PGs.

Marrone AK, Shpyleva S, Chappell G, et al.
Differentially expressed MicroRNAs provide mechanistic insight into fibrosis-associated liver carcinogenesis in mice.
Mol Carcinog. 2016; 55(5):808-17 [PubMed] Related Publications
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most prevalent human cancers, with a rising incidence worldwide. The molecular mechanisms associated with the development of HCC are complex and include multiple interconnected molecular alterations with mounting evidence indicating an important role of microRNAs (miRNAs) in the pathogenesis of HCC. In humans, the development of HCC is commonly associated with liver cirrhosis. To study fibrosis-associated liver carcinogenesis, we used a mouse model designed to emulate the development of HCC in cirrhotic liver. Specifically, we were interested in evaluating the role of miRNAs in the molecular pathogenesis of liver carcinogenesis in male B6C3F1/J mice treated with N-nitrosodiethylamine (DEN) or carbon tetrachloride (CCl4 ) alone or a combination of DEN and CCl4 and characterized by a differential tumor incidence that increased in the following order: DEN

Chen S, Jiao J, Jiang D, et al.
T-box transcription factor Brachyury in lung cancer cells inhibits macrophage infiltration by suppressing CCL2 and CCL4 chemokines.
Tumour Biol. 2015; 36(8):5881-90 [PubMed] Related Publications
Both intra-tumor macrophage and T-box transcription factor Brachyury (T) have been proved to play important roles in tumor progression and metastasis. However, it is still unknown whether T could regulate the infiltration of macrophages. Here, we report that the Brachyury expression in human lung tumors was inversely correlated with the infiltration of macrophages. Brachyury suppressed the capability of human lung cancer cells to attract macrophages. Using PCR array, we found that Brachyury inhibited expression of several chemokines, including CCL2, CCL4, and CXCL10. Accordingly, knockdown of CCL2 and CCL4 in lung cancer cells suppressed macrophage invasion under coculture conditions. Furthermore, we found that Brachyury expression was inversely correlated with CCL2 and CCL4 expression in human lung tumors. Taken together, our findings shed light on the novel role of Brachyury in regulation of macrophage infiltration.

Ma T, Wang Z, Yang Z, Chen J
Cluster of differentiation 147 is a key molecule during hepatocellular carcinoma cell-hepatic stellate cell cross-talk in the rat liver.
Mol Med Rep. 2015; 12(1):111-8 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The cross-talk between hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells and activated hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) is considered to be important for modulating the biological behavior of tumor cells. However, the molecular links between inflammation and cancer in the activation of HSCs remain to be elucidated. The present study demonstrated that cluster of differentiation (CD)147 is a key molecule involved in the interaction between HCC cells and HSCs. The effects of conditioned medium from human HCC cells on the activation of the human HSC line, LX-2, were assessed using a 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide assay, western blotting and reverse transcription-quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR). Western blotting, RT-qPCR and gelatin zymography were also used to investigate the effects of CD147 on the activation of LX-2. The expression levels of α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) and CD147 were assessed in a co-culture system of LX-2 and FHCC-98 cells by immunofluorescence staining and immunoblotting. In hepatic tissues from a rat model of fibrosis, immunohistochemistry and immunoblotting were performed to detect the expression levels of α-SMA and CD147. Tumor-conditioned medium and CD147 promoted cell proliferation, activated LX-2 cells, increased the expression levels of α-SMA, collagen I and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-1 (TIMP-1), and increased the secretion of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2. The HSCs, which were induced in the co-culture system of HCC cells and HSCs exhibited marked expression levels of CD147. In the hepatic tissue of rat models of fibrosis induced by CCl4, marked expression levels of CD147 were observed in the activated HSCs. Therefore, CD147 promoted the activation of HSCs and was a key molecule during HCC cell-HSC cross-talk in the rat liver.

Zsiros E, Duttagupta P, Dangaj D, et al.
The Ovarian Cancer Chemokine Landscape Is Conducive to Homing of Vaccine-Primed and CD3/CD28-Costimulated T Cells Prepared for Adoptive Therapy.
Clin Cancer Res. 2015; 21(12):2840-50 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
PURPOSE: Chemokines are implicated in T-cell trafficking. We mapped the chemokine landscape in advanced stage ovarian cancer and characterized the expression of cognate receptors in autologous dendritic cell (DC)-vaccine primed T cells in the context of cell-based immunotherapy.
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: The expression of all known human chemokines in patients with primary ovarian cancer was analyzed on two independent microarray datasets and validated on tissue microarray. Peripheral blood T cells from five HLA-A2 patients with recurrent ovarian cancer, who previously received autologous tumor DC vaccine, underwent CD3/CD28 costimulation and expansion ex vivo. Tumor-specific T cells were identified by HER2/neu pentamer staining and were evaluated for the expression and functionality of chemokine receptors important for homing to ovarian cancer.
RESULTS: The chemokine landscape of ovarian cancer is heterogeneous with high expression of known lymphocyte-recruiting chemokines (CCL2, CCL4, and CCL5) in tumors with intraepithelial T cells, whereas CXCL10, CXCL12, and CXCL16 are expressed quasi-universally, including in tumors lacking tumor-infiltrating T cells. DC-vaccine primed T cells were found to express the cognate receptors for the above chemokines. Ex vivo CD3/CD28 costimulation and expansion of vaccine-primed Tcells upregulated CXCR3 and CXCR4, and enhanced their migration toward universally expressed chemokines in ovarian cancer.
CONCLUSIONS: DC-primed tumor-specific T cells are armed with the appropriate receptors to migrate toward universal ovarian cancer chemokines, and these receptors are further upregulated by ex vivo CD3/CD28 costimulation, which render T cells more fit for migrating toward these chemokines. Clin Cancer Res; 21(12); 2840-50. ©2015 AACR.

Yu T, Lu Q, Ou XL, et al.
Clinical study on gastric cancer susceptibility genes IL-10-1082 and TNF-α.
Genet Mol Res. 2014; 13(4):10909-12 [PubMed] Related Publications
TNF 308 gene polymorphism and IL-10 polymorphism provided evidence in diagnosing some types of cancer. We aimed to explore the relation of gene polymorphism with gastric cancer. A total of 360 cases of gastric cancer patients were included in the study. The genotypes GG, GA, and AA of the interleukin-10-1082 gene (IL-10-1082) and the tumor necrosis factor-alpha gene (TNF-α) 308 polymorphism were examined by chromogenic detection. Three hundred healthy individuals' gene as control group were also examined. The GA 308 genotype of TNF-α differed significantly between the control group and the gastric cancer group (X(2) = 9.32, P < 0.05). Genotype frequencies of A/A (17.2%), A/G (26.2%), and G/G (9.1%) of the IL-10-1082 gene polymorphism in the gastric cancer group differed significantly compared to those of the control group (X(2) = 20.32, P < 0.05). The IL-10-1082 gene and the GA 308 genotype of the TNF-α gene were found to be susceptibility genes for gastric cancer.

Mei F, You J, Liu B, et al.
LASS2/TMSG1 inhibits growth and invasion of breast cancer cell in vitro through regulation of vacuolar ATPase activity.
Tumour Biol. 2015; 36(4):2831-44 [PubMed] Related Publications
Homo sapiens longevity assurance homologue 2 of yeast LAG1 (LASS2)/tumor metastasis suppressor gene 1 (TMSG1) was a novel tumor metastasis-related gene identified using messenger RNA differential display from non-metastatic human prostate cancer cell variants. The mechanism of LASS2/TMSG1 inhibiting tumor invasion metastasis in breast cancer cells had not been well investigated. In the present study, a full length of 1.2 kb LASS2/TMSG1 complementary DNA (cDNA) coding for a protein of 380 amino acids was cloned. PcDNA3 eukaryotic expression plasmids of LASS2/TMSG1 were constructed and transfected into human breast cancer cell line MCF-7 by lipofectin transfection method. And, the biological effects were observed comparing with control groups. As the result, LASS2/TMSG1 inhibited cell growth in vitro by increasing apoptosis and changing cell cycle distribution. Furthermore, the vacuolar ATPase (V-ATPase) activity and extracellular hydrogen ion concentration were significantly decreased and the activity of secreted matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2) was downregulated in MCF-7 cells overexpressing LASS2/TMSG1 compared with the controls. Therefore, LASS2/TMSG1 may inhibit growth and invasion of breast cancer cell in vitro through decreasing V-ATPase activity and extracellular hydrogen ion concentration and inactivating secreted MMP-2. The findings provided the evidence that the LASS2/TMSG1 gene had tumor growth and invasion suppressor function in human breast cancer cell and may provide a promising target for cancer metastasis diagnosis and therapy.

Ray S, Murmu N, Adhikari J, et al.
Inhibition of Hep G2 hepatic cancer cell growth and CCl₄ induced liver cytotoxicity in Swiss albino mice by Mahua extract.
J Environ Pathol Toxicol Oncol. 2014; 33(4):295-314 [PubMed] Related Publications
Mahua flower extract may provide protective effects against hepatotoxicity. The effect of Mahua flower extract (ME) was investigated on Hep G2 cell line and carbon tetrachloride (CCl4)-induced liver damages in Swiss albino mice. To investigate its cytotoxic effect in liver cancer, Hep G2 cells were treated with different doses of ME, and cell proliferation as well as colony formation assays demonstrated dose-dependent cytotoxicity of ME towards Hep G2 cells in tissue culture. Further gene expression studies showed significant down-regulation of AKT1/2/3, p-AKT, and COX-2 proteins including up-regulation of active caspase-3 in ME treated Hep G2 cells. In in vivo experiments, the mice were pretreated with ME for 15 days. On the 16th day CCl4 was injected intraperitoneally and after 24 h all mice were sacrificed. The antioxidant enzyme activities were measured in liver homogenates. CCl4-induced hepatotoxicity was evidenced by significant increase in lipid peroxidation and decrease in activities of antioxidant enzymes such as GST, GSH, SOD, CAT, and GPx. Histological studies showed CCl4-induced centrilobular necrosis and formation of fatty vacuoles in cirrhotic mice liver. Treatment with ME at a dose of 2 mg and 4 mg/kg exhibited the potential to prevent significant liver toxicity. The expression of active caspase-3 protein was down-regulated in ME treated groups compared to CCl4 exposed animals. This study demonstrated ME mediated antioxidant activity and hepatoprotective effects; therefore it could be used in the future for treating hepatic disorders including liver cancer, especially in combination with chemotherapeutics.

Taleb S, Abbaszadegan MR, Moghbeli M, et al.
HES1 as an independent prognostic marker in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma.
J Gastrointest Cancer. 2014; 45(4):466-71 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Notch signaling is one of the main involved pathways in cell differentiation and organogenesis, and its deregulation may lead to tumorigenesis. In this pathway, targeted to the CSL (CBF1, Suppressor of Hairless or Lag-1) complex, notch intracellular domain (NICD) releases corepressors and recruits MAML1 as coactivator triggering the activation of notch signaling transcription complex. Hairy enhance of split-1 (HES1) is one of the notch signaling target genes which is a basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factor acting as a proliferation stimulator through the suppression of cell cycle inhibitors such as p27 and p21.
AIMS: In this study, we aimed to analyze the role of HES1 in the progression of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC).
METHODS: Messenger RNA (mRNA) expression of HES1 in fresh tumoral tissues and their margin normal samples were assessed in 50 ESCC patients by real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR).
RESULTS: Thirteen out of 50 cases (26 %) had HES1 underexpression, while HES1 overexpression was observed only in 4 (8 %) samples. HES1 underexpression was significantly correlated with tumor depth of invasion (P = 0.035).
CONCLUSION: Although we have not observed any significant correlation between the HES1 expression and notch activation in ESCC, this study is the first report that elucidated the HES1 underexpression in ESCC and revealed its correlation with the invasiveness of ESCC.

Sen S, Langiewicz M, Jumaa H, Webster NJ
Deletion of serine/arginine-rich splicing factor 3 in hepatocytes predisposes to hepatocellular carcinoma in mice.
Hepatology. 2015; 61(1):171-83 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
UNLABELLED: Alterations in RNA splicing are associated with cancer, but it is not clear whether they result from malignant transformation or have a causative role. We show here that hepatocyte-specific deletion of serine/arginine-rich splicing factor 3 (SRSF3) impairs hepatocyte maturation and metabolism in early adult life, and mice develop spontaneous hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) with aging. Tumor development is preceded by chronic liver disease with progressive steatosis and fibrosis. SRSF3 protects mice against CCl4 -induced fibrosis and carcinogenesis and suppresses inclusion of the profibrogenic EDA exon in fibronectin 1. Loss of SRSF3 increases expression of insulin-like growth factor 2 and the A-isoform of the insulin receptor, allowing aberrant activation of mitogenic signaling, promotes aberrant splicing and expression of epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) genes, and activates Wnt/β-catenin signaling leading to c-Myc induction. Finally, SRSF3 expression is either decreased or the protein mislocalized in human HCC.
CONCLUSION: Our data suggest a potential role for SRSF3 in preventing hepatic carcinogenesis by regulating splicing to suppress fibrosis, mitogenic splicing, and EMT. Thus, these mice may provide an attractive model to discover the pathogenic mechanisms linking aberrant pre-messenger RNA splicing with liver damage, fibrosis, and HCC.

Tung CY, Lewis DE, Han L, et al.
Activation of dendritic cell function by soypeptide lunasin as a novel vaccine adjuvant.
Vaccine. 2014; 32(42):5411-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
The addition of an appropriate adjuvant that activates the innate immunity is essential to subsequent development of the adaptive immunity specific to the vaccine antigens. Thus, any innovation capable of improving the immune responses may lead to a more efficacious vaccine. We recently identified a novel immune modulator using a naturally occurring seed peptide called lunasin. Lunasin was originally isolated from soybeans, and it is a small peptide containing 43 amino acids. Our studies revealed stimulatory effects of lunasin on innate immune cells by regulating expression of a number of genes that are important for immune responses. The objective was to define the effectiveness of lunasin as an adjuvant that enhances immune responses. The immune modulating functions of lunasin were characterized in dendritic cells (DCs) from human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). Lunasin-treated conventional DCs (cDCs) not only expressed elevated levels of co-stimulatory molecules (CD86, CD40) but also exhibited up-regulation of cytokines (IL1B, IL6) and chemokines (CCL3, CCL4). Lunasin-treated cDCs induced higher proliferation of allogeneic CD4+ T cells when comparing with medium control treatment in the mixed leukocyte reaction (MLR). Immunization of mice with ovalbumin (OVA) and lunasin inhibited the growth of OVA-expressing A20 B-lymphomas, which was correlated with OVA-specific CD8+ T cells. In addition, lunasin was an effective adjuvant for immunization with OVA, which together improved animal survival against lethal challenge with influenza virus expressing the MHC class I OVA peptide SIINFEKL (PR8-OTI). These results suggest that lunasin may function as a vaccine adjuvant by promoting DC maturation, which in turn enhances the development of protective immune responses to the vaccine antigens.

Giannakakis A, Karapetsas A, Dangaj D, et al.
Overexpression of SMARCE1 is associated with CD8+ T-cell infiltration in early stage ovarian cancer.
Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2014; 53:389-98 [PubMed] Related Publications
T-lymphocyte infiltration in ovarian tumors has been linked to a favorable prognosis, hence, exploring the mechanism of T-cell recruitment in the tumor is warranted. We employed a differential expression analysis to identify genes over-expressed in early stage ovarian cancer samples that contained CD8 infiltrating T-lymphocytes. Among other genes, we discovered that TTF1, a regulator of ribosomal RNA gene expression, and SMARCE1, a factor associated with chromatin remodeling were overexpressed in first stage CD8+ ovarian tumors. TTF1 and SMARCE1 mRNA levels showed a strong correlation with the number of intra-tumoral CD8+ cells in ovarian tumors. Interestingly, forced overexpression of SMARCE1 in SKOV3 ovarian cancer cells resulted in secretion of IL8, MIP1b and RANTES chemokines in the supernatant and triggered chemotaxis of CD8+ lymphocytes in a cell culture assay. The potency of SMARCE1-mediated chemotaxis appeared comparable to that caused by the transfection of the CXCL9 gene, coding for a chemokine known to attract T-cells. Our analysis pinpoints TTF1 and SMARCE1 as genes potentially involved in cancer immunology. Since both TTF1 and SMARCE1 are involved in chromatin remodeling, our results imply an epigenetic regulatory mechanism for T-cell recruitment that invites deciphering.

Li F, Ma N, Zhao R, et al.
Overexpression of miR-483-5p/3p cooperate to inhibit mouse liver fibrosis by suppressing the TGF-β stimulated HSCs in transgenic mice.
J Cell Mol Med. 2014; 18(6):966-74 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The transition from liver fibrosis to hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) has been suggested to be a continuous and developmental pathological process. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are recently discovered molecules that regulate the expression of genes involved in liver disease. Many reports demonstrate that miR-483-5p and miR-483-3p, which originate from miR-483, are up-regulated in HCC, and their oncogenic targets have been identified. However, recent studies have suggested that miR-483-5p/3p is partially down-regulated in HCC samples and is down-regulated in rat liver fibrosis. Therefore, the aberrant expression and function of miR-483 in liver fibrosis remains elusive. In this study, we demonstrate that overexpression of miR-483 in vivo inhibits mouse liver fibrosis induced by CCl4 . We demonstrate that miR-483-5p/3p acts together to target two pro-fibrosis factors, platelet-derived growth factor-β and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase 2, which suppress the activation of hepatic stellate cells (HSC) LX-2. Our work identifies the pathway that regulates liver fibrosis by inhibiting the activation of HSCs.

Fuchs BC, Hoshida Y, Fujii T, et al.
Epidermal growth factor receptor inhibition attenuates liver fibrosis and development of hepatocellular carcinoma.
Hepatology. 2014; 59(4):1577-90 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
UNLABELLED: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the most rapidly increasing cause of cancer-related mortality in the United States. Because of the lack of viable treatment options for HCC, prevention in high-risk patients has been proposed as an alternative strategy. The main risk factor for HCC is cirrhosis and several lines of evidence implicate epidermal growth factor (EGF) in the progression of cirrhosis and development of HCC. We therefore examined the effects of the EGF receptor (EGFR) inhibitor erlotinib on liver fibrogenesis and hepatocellular transformation in three different animal models of progressive cirrhosis: a rat model induced by repeated, low-dose injections of diethylnitrosamine (DEN), a mouse model induced by carbon tetrachloride (CCl4 ), and a rat model induced by bile duct ligation (BDL). Erlotinib reduced EGFR phosphorylation in hepatic stellate cells (HSC) and reduced the total number of activated HSC. Erlotinib also decreased hepatocyte proliferation and liver injury. Consistent with all these findings, pharmacological inhibition of EGFR signaling effectively prevented the progression of cirrhosis and regressed fibrosis in some animals. Moreover, by alleviating the underlying liver disease, erlotinib blocked the development of HCC and its therapeutic efficacy could be monitored with a previously reported gene expression signature predictive of HCC risk in human cirrhosis patients.
CONCLUSION: These data suggest that EGFR inhibition using Food and Drug Administration-approved inhibitors provides a promising therapeutic approach for reduction of fibrogenesis and prevention of HCC in high-risk cirrhosis patients who can be identified and monitored by gene expression signatures.

Hayes BJ, Riehle KJ, Shimizu-Albergine M, et al.
Activation of platelet-derived growth factor receptor alpha contributes to liver fibrosis.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(3):e92925 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Chronic liver injury leads to fibrosis, cirrhosis, and loss of liver function. Liver cirrhosis is the 12th leading cause of death in the United States, and it is the primary risk factor for developing liver cancer. Fibrosis and cirrhosis result from activation of hepatic stellate cells (HSCs), which are the primary collagen producing cell type in the liver. Here, we show that platelet-derived growth factor receptor α (PDGFRα) is expressed by human HSCs, and PDGFRα expression is elevated in human liver disease. Using a green fluorescent protein (GFP) reporter mouse strain, we evaluated the role of PDGFRα in liver disease in mice and found that mouse HSCs express PDGFRα and expression is upregulated during carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) induced liver injury and fibrosis injection. This fibrotic response is reduced in Pdgfrα heterozygous mice, consistent with the hypothesis that liver fibrosis requires upregulation and activation of PDGFRα. These results indicate that Pdgfrα expression is important in the fibrotic response to liver injury in humans and mice, and suggest that blocking PDGFRα-specific signaling pathways in HSCs may provide therapeutic benefit for patients with chronic liver disease.

Xu X, Liu B, Zou P, et al.
Silencing of LASS2/TMSG1 enhances invasion and metastasis capacity of prostate cancer cell.
J Cell Biochem. 2014; 115(4):731-43 [PubMed] Related Publications
Homo sapiens longevity assurance homolog 2 of yeast LAG1 (LASS2), also known as tumor metastasis suppressor gene 1 (TMSG1), was firstly cloned by our laboratory in 1999. However, its antitumor molecular mechanisms are still unclear. LASS2/TMSG-1 could directly interact with the C subunit of Vacuolar H(+) ATPase (V-ATPase), which suggested that LASS2/TMSG1 might inhibit the invasion and metastasis through regulating the function of V-ATPase. In this study, we explored the effect of small hairpin RNA (shRNA) targeting LASS2/TMSG1 on the invasion and metastasis of human prostate carcinoma cell line PC-3M-2B4 with low metastatic potential and its functional interaction with V-ATPase. Silencing of LASS2/TMSG1 gene in PC-3M-2B4 cells increased V-ATPase activity, extracellular hydrogen ion concentration and in turn the activation of secreted MMP-2 and MMP-9, which coincided with enhancing cell proliferation, cell survival, and cell invasion in vitro, as well as acceleration of prostate cancer (PCA) growth and lymph node metastases in vivo. Thus we concluded that silencing of LASS2/TMSG1 enhances invasion and metastasis of PCA cell through increase of V-ATPase activity. These results establish LASS2/TMSG1 as a promising therapeutic target for advanced PCA.

Tremblay I, Paré E, Arsenault D, et al.
The MEK/ERK pathway promotes NOTCH signalling in pancreatic cancer cells.
PLoS One. 2013; 8(12):e85502 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Activation of the NOTCH receptors relies on their intracellular proteolysis by the gamma-secretase complex. This cleavage liberates the NOTCH intracellular domain (NIC) thereby allowing the translocation of NIC towards the nucleus to assemble into a transcriptional platform. Little information is available regarding the regulatory steps operating on NIC following its release from the transmembrane receptor up to its association with transcriptional partners. Interfering with these regulatory steps might potentially influences the nuclear outcome of NOTCH signalling. Herein, we exploited a reliable model to study the molecular events occurring subsequent to NOTCH1 cleavage. In pancreatic cancer cells, pulse of NOTCH1 activation led to increased expression of NOTCH target genes namely HES1 and c-MYC. We uncovered that, upon its release, the NOTCH1 intracellular domain, NIC1, undergoes a series of post-translational modifications that include phosphorylation. Most interestingly, we found that activation of the MEK/ERK pathway promotes HES1 expression. Inhibition of the gamma-secretase complex prevented the MEK/ERK-induced HES1 expression suggesting a NOTCH-dependent mechanism. Finally, higher levels of NIC1 were found associated with its transcriptional partners [CBF1, Su(H) and LAG-1] (CSL) and MASTERMIND-LIKE 1 (MAML1) upon MEK/ERK activation providing a potential mechanism whereby the MEK/ERK pathway promotes expression of NOTCH target genes. For the first time, our data exposed a signalling pathway, namely the MEK/ERK pathway that positively impacts on NOTCH nuclear outcome.

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