Gene Summary

Gene:ELF4; E74 like ETS transcription factor 4
Aliases: MEF, ELFR
Summary:The protein encoded by this gene is a transcriptional activator that binds and activates the promoters of the CSF2, IL3, IL8, and PRF1 genes. The encoded protein is involved in natural killer cell development and function, innate immunity, and induction of cell cycle arrest in naive CD8+ cells. Two transcript variants encoding the same protein have been found for this gene.[provided by RefSeq, Jan 2010]
Databases:VEGA, OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:ETS-related transcription factor Elf-4
Source:NCBIAccessed: 13 March, 2017


What does this gene/protein do?
Show (11)

Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1992-2017)
Graph generated 13 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.

  • Transcriptional Activation
  • ELF4
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Genomics
  • Acute Myeloid Leukaemia
  • Tumor Suppressor Gene
  • Neoplastic Cell Transformation
  • Liver Cancer
  • Chromosome 21
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • RNA Interference
  • U937 Cells
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Transfection
  • Leukaemia
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Hepatocellular Carcinoma
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Drug Resistance
  • Transcription Factors
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • siRNA
  • X Chromosome
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Oncogene Fusion Proteins
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells
  • Chromosome 8
  • Messenger RNA
  • Apoptosis
  • Signal Transduction
  • Repressor Proteins
  • Promoter Regions
  • Myeloid Leukemia
  • Western Blotting
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Phosphoproteins
  • Transcription
  • Translocation
  • gamma Catenin
  • Up-Regulation
Tag cloud generated 13 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: ELF4 (cancer-related)

Cardoso NT, Santos BA, Barbosa AV, et al.
Serotypes, antimicrobial resistance and genotypes of Streptococcus pneumoniae associated with infections in cancer patients in Brazil.
Diagn Microbiol Infect Dis. 2017; 87(3):281-285 [PubMed] Related Publications
We sought to characterize pneumococcal isolates associated with bacteremia, pneumonia and meningitis in cancer patients and to estimate the coverage of the available pneumococcal vaccines. Fifty isolates recovered from 49 patients attending a cancer reference center over a 1-year period were analyzed. The prevalent serotypes were: 23F (12%), 6A (8%), 3, 4, 20, and 23A (6% each). All isolates were susceptible to chloramphenicol, levofloxacin, rifampicin, and vancomycin. Resistance or reduced susceptibility to penicillin made up 14%, and one isolate was also intermediately resistant to ceftriaxone. The three (6%) erythromycin-resistant isolates presented the M or cMLSB phenotypes and harbored the mef(A/E) gene exclusively or along with the erm(B) gene. Twenty-two (44%) isolates were closely related to 11 international clones, being strongly associated with penicillin non-susceptibility. Combined immunization with the 13-valent conjugate and the 23-valent polysaccharide vaccines might contribute to reduce (76%) the burden of the pneumococcal infections in the population investigated.

Pećina-Šlaus N, Kafka A, Vladušić T, et al.
AXIN1 Expression and Localization in Meningiomas and Association to Changes of APC and E-cadherin.
Anticancer Res. 2016; 36(9):4583-94 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND/AIM: Tumor suppressor gene AXIN1 is an inhibitor of Wnt signaling pathway. It down-regulates the pathway's main signaling effector molecule, beta-catenin, in an AXIN-based destruction complex. In the present study we investigated the involvement of AXIN1 in intracranial meningioma.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Loss of heterozygosity and microsatellite instability analyses were performed. The consequences of genetic changes on protein expression levels were studied in the same patients by immunohistochemistry.
RESULTS: Allelic deletions of AXIN1 gene were found in 21.1% of meningiomas. Microsatellite instability was also observed in 5.3% of cases. Weak or lack of AXIN1 expression was found in 21.9% of meningiomas. We found strong statistical correlations between cytoplasmic localization of AXIN1 and its weak expression and also between the simultaneous cytoplasmic and nuclear localizations and moderate and strong expression levels (p<0.000). The findings on AXIN1 were compared to concomitant expression of APC, beta-catenin and E-cadherin in the same patients by Chi-Square tests and Pearson's correlations. Analysis revealed that AXIN1 genetic changes were significantly associated to lack of the expression of APC and presence of mutant APC proteins (p<0.018). Moderate and strong cytoplasmic and nuclear AXIN1 expressions were positively correlated to strong expression of E-cadherin (p<0.05).
CONCLUSION: Our findings on genetic changes and expression levels of AXIN1 bring novel data on its involvement in meningeal brain tumors and reveal AXIN1's relation to specific Wnt molecules.

Fabijanovic D, Zunic I, Martic TN, et al.
The expression of SFRP1, SFRP3, DVL1, and DVL2 proteins in testicular germ cell tumors.
APMIS. 2016; 124(11):942-949 [PubMed] Related Publications
Germ cell tumors of the testis are a heterogeneous group of neoplasms that affect male adolescents and young adults. Wnt signaling pathway components have been shown to be actively involved in normal and malignant germ cell differentiation and progression. In this study, we aimed to explore the expression patterns of the secreted frizzled-related protein (SFRP) and Disheveled protein family (DVL) in a subset of testicular germ cell tumors. Eighty-five formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue samples of the primary germ cell tumors of the testis were stained against SFRP1, SFRP3, DVL1, and DVL2 proteins using immunohistochemistry. SFRP1 and SFRP3 exhibited lower expression in both seminomas and mixed/non-seminomatous tumors, compared with atrophic/benign tissue (p < 0.001). SFRP3 expression was lower than SFRP1 expression within the seminoma group (p = 0.004), but not within the mixed/non-seminomatous group (p = 0.409). The majority of the tested cases (27/28, 96%) exhibited low DVL1 protein expression (median 0%, range 0-90%). In contrast, 20 out of 22 tested cases (91%) exhibited strong expression of DVL2 protein (median 80%, range 0-100%). No significant difference in DVL1 and DVL2 protein expression was observed between seminomas and mixed/non-seminomatous tumors (p = 0.68 and 0.29). The secreted frizzled-related protein and disheveled protein family members appear to be actively involved in the pathogenesis of primary testicular germ cell tumors.

Li C, Jung S, Yang Y, et al.
Inhibitory role of TRIP-Br1 oncoprotein in hypoxia-induced apoptosis in breast cancer cell lines.
Int J Oncol. 2016; 48(6):2639-46 [PubMed] Related Publications
TRIP-Br1 oncoprotein is known to be involved in many vital cellular functions. In this study, we examined the role of TRIP-Br1 in hypoxia-induced cell death. Exposure to the overcrowded and CoCl2-induced hypoxic conditions increased TRIP-Br1 expression at the protein level in six breast cancer cell lines (MCF7, MDA-MB-231, T47D, Hs578D, BT549, and MDA-MB-435) but resulted in no significant change in three normal cell lines (MCF10A, MEF and NIH3T3). Our result revealed that CoCl2-induced hypoxia stimulated apoptosis and autophagy, in which TRIP-Br1 expression was found to be upregulated. Interestingly, TRIP-Br1 silencing in the MCF7 and MDA-MB-231 cancer cells accelerated apoptosis and destabilization of XIAP under the CoCl2-induced hypoxic condition, implying that TRIP-Br1 may render cancer cells resistant to apoptosis through the stabilization of XIAP. We also propose that TRIP-Br1 seems to be upregulated at least partly as a result of the inhibition of PI3K/AKT signaling pathway and the overexpression of HIF-1α. In conclusion, our findings suggest that TRIP-Br1 functions as an oncogenic protein by providing cancer cells resistance to the hypoxia-induced cell death.

Wang J, Zhang J, Zhang CJ, et al.
In situ Proteomic Profiling of Curcumin Targets in HCT116 Colon Cancer Cell Line.
Sci Rep. 2016; 6:22146 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
To date, the exact targets and mechanism of action of curcumin, a natural product with anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties, remain elusive. Here we synthesized a cell permeable curcumin probe (Cur-P) with an alkyne moiety, which can be tagged with biotin for affinity enrichment, or with a fluorescent dye for visualization of the direct-binding protein targets of curcumin in situ. iTRAQ(TM) quantitative proteomics approach was applied to distinguish the specific binding targets from the non-specific ones. In total, 197 proteins were confidently identified as curcumin binding targets from HCT116 colon cancer cell line. Gene Ontology analysis showed that the targets are broadly distributed and enriched in the nucleus, mitochondria and plasma membrane, and they are involved in various biological functions including metabolic process, regulation, response to stimulus and cellular process. Ingenuity Pathway Analysis(TM) (IPA) suggested that curcumin may exert its anticancer effects over multiple critical biological pathways including the EIF2, eIF4/p70S6K, mTOR signaling and mitochondrial dysfunction pathways. Functional validations confirmed that curcumin downregulates cellular protein synthesis, and induces autophagy, lysosomal activation and increased ROS production, thus leading to cell death.

Zou Q, Wu M, Zhong L, et al.
Development of a Xeno-Free Feeder-Layer System from Human Umbilical Cord Mesenchymal Stem Cells for Prolonged Expansion of Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells in Culture.
PLoS One. 2016; 11(2):e0149023 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Various feeder layers have been extensively applied to support the prolonged growth of human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) for in vitro cultures. Among them, mouse embryonic fibroblast (MEF) and mouse fibroblast cell line (SNL) are most commonly used feeder cells for hPSCs culture. However, these feeder layers from animal usually cause immunogenic contaminations, which compromises the potential of hPSCs in clinical applications. In the present study, we tested human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells (hUC-MSCs) as a potent xeno-free feeder system for maintaining human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs). The hUC-MSCs showed characteristics of MSCs in xeno-free culture condition. On the mitomycin-treated hUC-MSCs feeder, hiPSCs maintained the features of undifferentiated human embryonic stem cells (hESCs), such as low efficiency of spontaneous differentiation, stable expression of stemness markers, maintenance of normal karyotypes, in vitro pluripotency and in vivo ability to form teratomas, even after a prolonged culture of more than 30 passages. Our study indicates that the xeno-free culture system may be a good candidate for growth and expansion of hiPSCs as the stepping stone for stem cell research to further develop better and safer stem cells.

Michaut M, Chin SF, Majewski I, et al.
Integration of genomic, transcriptomic and proteomic data identifies two biologically distinct subtypes of invasive lobular breast cancer.
Sci Rep. 2016; 6:18517 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC) is the second most frequently occurring histological breast cancer subtype after invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC), accounting for around 10% of all breast cancers. The molecular processes that drive the development of ILC are still largely unknown. We have performed a comprehensive genomic, transcriptomic and proteomic analysis of a large ILC patient cohort and present here an integrated molecular portrait of ILC. Mutations in CDH1 and in the PI3K pathway are the most frequent molecular alterations in ILC. We identified two main subtypes of ILCs: (i) an immune related subtype with mRNA up-regulation of PD-L1, PD-1 and CTLA-4 and greater sensitivity to DNA-damaging agents in representative cell line models; (ii) a hormone related subtype, associated with Epithelial to Mesenchymal Transition (EMT), and gain of chromosomes 1q and 8q and loss of chromosome 11q. Using the somatic mutation rate and eIF4B protein level, we identified three groups with different clinical outcomes, including a group with extremely good prognosis. We provide a comprehensive overview of the molecular alterations driving ILC and have explored links with therapy response. This molecular characterization may help to tailor treatment of ILC through the application of specific targeted, chemo- and/or immune-therapies.

Lim HJ, Kim J, Park CH, et al.
Regulation of c-Myc Expression by Ahnak Promotes Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Generation.
J Biol Chem. 2016; 291(2):752-61 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
We have previously reported that Ahnak-mediated TGFβ signaling leads to down-regulation of c-Myc expression. Here, we show that inhibition of Ahnak can promote generation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) via up-regulation of endogenous c-Myc. Consistent with the c-Myc inhibitory role of Ahnak, mouse embryonic fibroblasts from Ahnak-deficient mouse (Ahnak(-/-) MEF) show an increased level of c-Myc expression compared with wild type MEF. Generation of iPSC with just three of the four Yamanaka factors, Oct4, Sox2, and Klf4 (hereafter 3F), was significantly enhanced in Ahnak(-/-) MEF. Similar results were obtained when Ahnak-specific shRNA was applied to wild type MEF. Of note, expressionof Ahnak was significantly induced during the formation of embryoid bodies from embryonic stem cells, suggesting that Ahnak-mediated c-Myc inhibition is involved in embryoid body formation and the initial differentiation of pluripotent stem cells. The iPSC from 3F-infected Ahnak(-/-) MEF cells (Ahnak(-/-)-iPSC-3F) showed expression of all stem cell markers examined and the capability to form three primary germ layers. Moreover, injection of Ahnak(-/-)-iPSC-3F into athymic nude mice led to development of teratoma containing tissues from all three primary germ layers, indicating that iPSC from Ahnak(-/-) MEF are bona fide pluripotent stem cells. Taken together, these data provide evidence for a new role for Ahnak in cell fate determination during development and suggest that manipulation of Ahnak and the associated signaling pathway may provide a means to regulate iPSC generation.

Ma H, Takahashi A, Yoshida Y, et al.
Combining carbon ion irradiation and non-homologous end-joining repair inhibitor NU7026 efficiently kills cancer cells.
Radiat Oncol. 2015; 10:225 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Our previous data demonstrated that targeting non-homologous end-joining repair (NHEJR) yields a higher radiosensitivity than targeting homologous recombination repair (HRR) to heavy ions using DNA repair gene knockouts (KO) in mouse embryonic fibroblast (MEF). In this study, we determined if combining the use of an NHEJR inhibitor with carbon (C) ion irradiation was more efficient in killing human cancer cells compared with only targeting a HRR inhibitor.
METHODS: The TP53-null human non-small cell lung cancer cell line H1299 was used for testing the radiosensitizing effect of NHEJR-related DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-PK) inhibitor NU7026, HRR-related Rad51 inhibitor B02, or both to C ion irradiation using colony forming assays. The mechanism underlying the inhibitor radiosensitization was determined by flow cytometry after H2AX phosphorylation staining. HRR-related Rad54-KO, NHEJR-related Lig4-KO, and wild-type TP53-KO MEF were also included to confirm the suppressing effect specificity of these inhibitors.
RESULTS: NU7026 showed significant sensitizing effect to C ion irradiation in a concentration-dependent manner. In contrast, B02 showed a slight sensitizing effect to C ion irradiation. The addition of NU7026 significantly increased H2AX phosphorylation after C ion and x-ray irradiations in H1299 cells, but not B02. NU7026 had no effect on radiosensitivity to Lig4-KO MEF and B02 had no effect on radiosensitivity to Rad54-KO MEF in both irradiations.
CONCLUSION: These results suggest that inhibitors targeting the NHEJR pathway could significantly enhance radiosensitivity of human cancer cells to C ion irradiation, rather than targeting the HRR pathway.

Hong X, Hong XY, Li T, He CY
Pokemon and MEF2D co-operationally promote invasion of hepatocellular carcinoma.
Tumour Biol. 2015; 36(12):9885-93 [PubMed] Related Publications
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most deadly human malignancy, and frequent invasion and metastasis is closely associated with its poor prognosis. However, the molecular mechanism underlying HCC invasion is still not completely elucidated. Pokemon is a well-established oncogene for HCC growth, but its contribution to HCC invasion has not been studied yet. In this paper, Pokemon was found to be overexpressed in MHCC-97H HCC cell line, which possesses higher invasiveness. Downregulation of Pokemon abolished the invasion of MHCC-97H HCC cell lines. Pokemon overexpression was able to enhance the invasion of MHCC-97L cells with lower invasiveness. MEF2D, an oncogene promoting the invasion of HCC cells, was further detected to be upregulated and downregulated when Pokemon was overexpressed and silenced, respectively. Online database analysis indicated that one Pokemon recognition site was located within the promoter of MEF2D. Chromatin co-precipitation, luciferase, and qPCR assays all proved that Pokemon can promote the expression of MEF2D in HCC cells. Restoration of MEF2D expression can prevent the impaired invasion of HCC cells with Pokemon silencing, while suppression of MEF2D abolished the effect of Pokemon overexpression on HCC invasion. More interestingly, MEF2D was also found to increase the transcription of Pokemon by binding myocyte enhancer factor 2 (MEF2) sites within its promoter region, implying an auto-regulatory circuit consisting of these two oncogenes that can promote HCC invasion. Our findings can contribute to the understanding of molecular mechanism underlying HCC invasion, and provided evidence that targeting this molecular loop may be a promising strategy for anti-invasion therapy.

Lin CW, Jan MS, Kuo JH
Exploring MicroRNA Expression Profiles Related to the mTOR Signaling Pathway in Mouse Embryonic Fibroblast Cells Treated with Polyethylenimine.
Mol Pharm. 2015; 12(8):2858-68 [PubMed] Related Publications
Although the toxicology of poly(ethylenimine) (PEI) in gene expression levels has been previously investigated, little is known about the effects of PEI on the expression of microRNAs (miRNAs) that regulate gene expression at the post-transcriptional level. In this study, we explored miRNA expression profiles related to cell death mechanisms in mouse embryonic fibroblast (MEF) cells treated with PEI by applying microarray analysis. Based on the analysis of the mTOR signaling pathway, three upregulated miRNAs (mmu-miR-3090-5p, mmu-miR-346-3p, and mmu-miR-494-3p) were verified in MEF cells treated with PEI at 24 h using real-time quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction. We further demonstrated that these three upregulated miRNAs resulted in the decrease of gene and protein expressions of the target gene growth factor Igf1 in MEF cells treated with PEI or transfected with three upregulated miRNA mimics. However, these three upregulated miRNAs are not all cell-specific. Finally, we demonstrated that the mTOR signaling pathway is inhibited by autophagy induction and that the cell viability decreases in MEF cells treated with PEI or transfected with these three miRNA mimics. Collectively, our data suggested that PEI may affect the regulation of miRNAs in target cells.

Tsai YT, Chuang MJ, Tang SH, et al.
Novel Cancer Therapeutics with Allosteric Modulation of the Mitochondrial C-Raf-DAPK Complex by Raf Inhibitor Combination Therapy.
Cancer Res. 2015; 75(17):3568-82 [PubMed] Related Publications
Mitochondria are the powerhouses of cells. Mitochondrial C-Raf is a potential cancer therapeutic target, as it regulates mitochondrial function and is localized to the mitochondria by its N-terminal domain. However, Raf inhibitor monotherapy can induce S338 phosphorylation of C-Raf (pC-Raf(S338)) and impede therapy. This study identified the interaction of C-Raf with S308 phosphorylated DAPK (pDAPK(S308)), which together became colocalized in the mitochondria to facilitate mitochondrial remodeling. Combined use of the Raf inhibitors sorafenib and GW5074 had synergistic anticancer effects in vitro and in vivo, but targeted mitochondrial function, rather than the canonical Raf signaling pathway. C-Raf depletion in knockout MEF(C-Raf-/-) or siRNA knockdown ACHN renal cancer cells abrogated the cytotoxicity of combination therapy. Crystal structure simulation showed that GW5074 bound to C-Raf and induced a C-Raf conformational change that enhanced sorafenib-binding affinity. In the presence of pDAPK(S308), this drug-target interaction compromised the mitochondrial targeting effect of the N-terminal domain of C-Raf, which induced two-hit damages to cancer cells. First, combination therapy facilitated pC-Raf(S338) and pDAPK(S308) translocation from mitochondria to cytoplasm, leading to mitochondrial dysfunction and reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation. Second, ROS facilitated PP2A-mediated dephosphorylation of pDAPK(S308) to DAPK. PP2A then dissociated from the C-Raf-DAPK complex and induced profound cancer cell death. Increased pDAPK(S308) modification was also observed in renal cancer tissues, which correlated with poor disease-free survival and poor overall survival in renal cancer patients. Besides mediating the anticancer effect, pDAPK(S308) may serve as a predictive biomarker for Raf inhibitors combination therapy, suggesting an ideal preclinical model that is worthy of clinical translation.

Janeckova L, Pospichalova V, Fafilek B, et al.
HIC1 Tumor Suppressor Loss Potentiates TLR2/NF-κB Signaling and Promotes Tissue Damage-Associated Tumorigenesis.
Mol Cancer Res. 2015; 13(7):1139-48 [PubMed] Related Publications
UNLABELLED: Hypermethylated in cancer 1 (HIC1) represents a prototypic tumor suppressor gene frequently inactivated by DNA methylation in many types of solid tumors. The gene encodes a sequence-specific transcriptional repressor controlling expression of several genes involved in cell cycle or stress control. In this study, a Hic1 allele was conditionally deleted, using a Cre/loxP system, to identify genes influenced by the loss of Hic1. One of the transcripts upregulated upon Hic1 ablation is the toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2). Tlr2 expression levels increased in Hic1-deficient mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEF) and cultured intestinal organoids or in human cells upon HIC1 knockdown. In addition, HIC1 associated with the TLR2 gene regulatory elements, as detected by chromatin immunoprecipitation, indicating that Tlr2 indeed represents a direct Hic1 target. The Tlr2 receptor senses "danger" signals of microbial or endogenous origin to trigger multiple signaling pathways, including NF-κB signaling. Interestingly, Hic1 deficiency promoted NF-κB pathway activity not only in cells stimulated with Tlr2 ligand, but also in cells treated with NF-κB activators that stimulate different surface receptors. In the intestine, Hic1 is mainly expressed in differentiated epithelial cells and its ablation leads to increased Tlr2 production. Finally, in a chemical-induced mouse model of carcinogenesis, Hic1 absence resulted in larger Tlr2-positive colonic tumors that showed increased proportion of proliferating cells.
IMPLICATIONS: The tumor-suppressive function of Hic1 in colon is related to its inhibitory action on proproliferative signaling mediated by the Tlr2 receptor present on tumor cells.

Sugita S, Ito K, Yamashiro Y, et al.
EGFR-independent autophagy induction with gefitinib and enhancement of its cytotoxic effect by targeting autophagy with clarithromycin in non-small cell lung cancer cells.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2015; 461(1):28-34 [PubMed] Related Publications
Gefitinib (GEF), an inhibitor for EGFR tyrosine kinase, potently induces autophagy in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cell lines such as PC-9 cells expressing constitutively activated EGFR kinase by EGFR gene mutation as well as A549 and H226 cells with wild-type EGFR. Unexpectedly, GEF-induced autophagy was also observed in non-NSCLC cells such as murine embryonic fibroblasts (MEF) and leukemia cell lines K562 and HL-60 without EGFR expression. Knockout of EGFR gene in A549 cells by CRISPR/Cas9 system still exhibited autophagy induction after treatment with GEF, indicating that the autophagy induction by GEF is not mediated through inhibiting EGFR kinase activity. Combined treatment with GEF and clarithromycin (CAM), a macrolide antibiotic having the effect of inhibiting autophagy flux, enhances the cytotoxic effect in NSCLC cell lines, although treatment with CAM alone exhibits no cytotoxicity. GEF treatment induced up-regulation of endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-stress related genes such as CHOP/GADD153 and GRP78. Knockdown of CHOP in PC-9 cells and Chop-knockout MEF both exhibited less sensitivity to GEF than controls. Addition of CAM in culture medium resulted in further pronounced GEF-induced ER stress loading, while CAM alone exhibited no effect. These data suggest that GEF-induced autophagy functions as cytoprotective and indicates the potential therapeutic possibility of using CAM for GEF therapy. Furthermore, it is suggested that the intracellular signaling for autophagy initiation in response to GEF can be completely dissociated from EGFR, but unknown target molecule(s) of GEF for autophagy induction might exist.

Jain P, Lavorgna A, Sehgal M, et al.
Myocyte enhancer factor (MEF)-2 plays essential roles in T-cell transformation associated with HTLV-1 infection by stabilizing complex between Tax and CREB.
Retrovirology. 2015; 12:23 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The exact molecular mechanisms regarding HTLV-1 Tax-mediated viral gene expression and CD4 T-cell transformation have yet to be fully delineated. Herein, utilizing virus-infected primary CD4+ T cells and the virus-producing cell line, MT-2, we describe the involvement and regulation of Myocyte enhancer factor-2 (specifically MEF-2A) during the course of HTLV-1 infection and associated disease syndrome.
RESULTS: Inhibition of MEF-2 expression by shRNA and its activity by HDAC9 led to reduced viral replication and T-cell transformation in correlation with a heightened expression of MEF-2 in ATL patients. Mechanistically, MEF-2 was recruited to the viral promoter (LTR, long terminal repeat) in the context of chromatin, and constituted Tax/CREB transcriptional complex via direct binding to the HTLV-1 LTR. Furthermore, an increase in MEF-2 expression was observed upon infection in an extent similar to CREB (known Tax-interacting transcription factor), and HATs (p300, CBP, and p/CAF). Confocal imaging confirmed MEF-2 co-localization with Tax and these proteins were also shown to interact by co-immunoprecipitation. MEF-2 stabilization of Tax/CREB complex was confirmed by a novel promoter-binding assay that highlighted the involvement of NFAT (nuclear factor of activated T cells) in this process via Tax-mediated activation of calcineurin (a calcium-dependent serine-threonine phosphatase). MEF-2-integrated signaling pathways (PI3K/Akt, NF-κB, MAPK, JAK/STAT, and TGF-β) were also activated during HTLV-1 infection of primary CD4+ T cells, possibly regulating MEF-2 activity.
CONCLUSIONS: We demonstrate the involvement of MEF-2 in Tax-mediated LTR activation, viral replication, and T-cell transformation in correlation with its heightened expression in ATL patients through direct binding to DNA within the HTLV-1 LTR.

Hansen MC, Nyvold CG, Roug AS, et al.
Nature and nurture: a case of transcending haematological pre-malignancies in a pair of monozygotic twins adding possible clues on the pathogenesis of B-cell proliferations.
Br J Haematol. 2015; 169(3):391-400 [PubMed] Related Publications
We describe a comprehensive molecular analysis of a pair of monozygotic twins, who came to our attention when one experienced amaurosis fugax and was diagnosed with JAK2+ polycythaemia vera. He (Twin A) was also found to have an asymptomatic B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (B-CLL). Although JAK2-, Twin B was subsequently shown to have a benign monoclonal B-cell lymphocytosis (MBL). Flow cytometric and molecular analyses of the B-cell compartments revealed different immunoglobulin light and heavy chain usage in each twin. We hypothesized that whole exome sequencing could help delineating the pattern of germline B-cell disorder susceptibility and reveal somatic mutations potentially contributing to the differential patterns of pre-malignancy. Comparing bone marrow cells and T cells and employing in-house engineered integrative analysis, we found aberrations in Twin A consistent with a myeloid neoplasm, i.e. in TET2, RUNX1, PLCB1 and ELF4. Employing the method for detecting high-ranking variants by extensive annotation and relevance scoring, we also identified shared germline variants in genes of proteins interacting with B-cell receptor signalling mediators and the WNT-pathway, including IRF8, PTPRO, BCL9L, SIT1 and SIRPB1, all with possible implications in B-cell proliferation. Similar patterns of IGHV-gene usage to those demonstrated here have been observed in inherited acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. Collectively, these findings may help in facilitating identification of putative master gene(s) involved in B-cell proliferations in general and MBL and B-CLL in particular.

Tambe Y, Hasebe M, Kim CJ, et al.
The drs tumor suppressor regulates glucose metabolism via lactate dehydrogenase-B.
Mol Carcinog. 2016; 55(1):52-63 [PubMed] Related Publications
Previously, we showed that drs contributes to suppression of malignant tumor formation in drs-knockout (KO) mice. In this study, we demonstrate the regulation of glucose metabolism by drs using comparisons of drs-KO and wild-type (WT) mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs). Extracellular acidification, lactate concentration, and glucose consumption in drs-KO cells were significantly greater than those in WT cells. Metabolomic analyses also confirmed enhanced glycolysis in drs-KO cells. Among glycolysis-regulating proteins, expression of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH)-B was upregulated at the post-transcriptional level in drs-KO cells and increased LDH-B expression, LDH activity, and acidification of culture medium in drs-KO cells were suppressed by retroviral rescue of drs, indicating that LDH-B plays a critical role for glycolysis regulation mediated by drs. In WT cells transformed by activated K-ras, expression of endogenous drs mRNA was markedly suppressed and LDH-B expression was increased. In human cancer cell lines with low drs expression, LDH-B expression was increased. Database analyses also showed the correlation between downregulation of drs and upregulation of LDH-B in human colorectal cancer and lung adenocarcinoma tissues. Furthermore, an LDH inhibitor suppressed anchorage-independent growth of human cancer cells and MEF cells transformed by activated K-ras. These results indicate that drs regulates glucose metabolism via LDH-B. Downregulating drs may contribute to the Warburg effect, which is closely associated with malignant progression of cancer cells.

Cho E, Moon SM, Park BR, et al.
NRSF/REST regulates the mTOR signaling pathway in oral cancer cells.
Oncol Rep. 2015; 33(3):1459-64 [PubMed] Related Publications
The neuron-restrictive silencer factor/repressor element 1-silencing transcription factor (NRSF/REST) was originally discovered as a transcriptional repressor of neuronal genes in non-neuronal cells. However, it was recently reported to be abundantly expressed in several types of aggressive cancer cells, as well as in mature neurons. In the present study, the role of NRSF/REST in the human oral squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) KB cell line was evaluated. NRSF/REST was expressed at a higher level in KB cells when compared with that in normal human oral keratinocytes (NHOKs). Knockdown of NRSF/REST by siRNA reduced cell viability only in KB cells in a time-dependent manner, and this effect was due to the activation of apoptosis components and DNA fragmentation. In addition, knockdown of NRSF/REST disrupted the mTOR signaling pathway which is a key survival factor in many types of cancer cells. For example, the phosphorylation of elF4G, elF4E and 4E-BP1 was significantly reduced in the KΒ cells upon NRSF/REST knockdown. These results imply that NRSF/REST plays an important role in the survival of oral cancer cells by regulating the mTOR signaling pathway.

Xu C, Li W, Qiu P, et al.
The therapeutic potential of a novel non-ATP-competitive fibroblast growth factor receptor 1 inhibitor on gastric cancer.
Anticancer Drugs. 2015; 26(4):379-87 [PubMed] Related Publications
Previous studies showed that fibroblast growth factor receptor 1 (FGFR1) is an attractive target in gastric cancer therapy. In the current study, we aimed to investigate whether the compound L6123, a novel non-ATP-competitive FGFR1 inhibitor, could show better antitumor activity than the leading compound, nordihydroguaiaretic acid (NDGA), in FGFR1-overexpressing gastric cancer cells. Using an MTT assay, we investigated the inhibitory effect of L6123 on the viability of three gastric cancer cells (MGC-803, SGC-7901, and BGC-823) overexpressing FGFR1, wild-type mouse embryonic fibroblast (MEF), and MEF expressing FGFR1, FGFR2, and FRS2α gene knockout (MEF). We studied the antitumor mechanism of L6123 against the gastric cancer cell line SGC-7901 by western blot analysis. The antitumor effects of L6123 on the gastric cancer cell line SGC-7901 were detected by flow cytometry, Hoechst staining, western blot analysis, and Transwell invasion assay. L6123 had lower IC50 in all three gastric cancer cells than NDGA and showed better inhibitory activity against MEF cells than against MEF cells. In the SGC-7901 gastric cell, L6123 inhibited the FGF2-induced phosphorylation of FGFR1/FRS2α/ERK1/2 in a dose-dependent manner, induced the activation of the apoptosis-related proteins, cleaved-PARP and cleaved-caspase-3, decreased the expression of pro-caspase-3 and Bcl-2, and induced tumor cell apoptosis. L6123 also dose-dependently reduced cell invasion ability, and showed better activity than NDGA at the same concentration. A novel non-ATP-competitive inhibitor L6123 showed excellent antigastric cancer activity by inhibiting the FGFR1 signaling pathway. Thus, we discovered a potential agent for the treatment of FGFR1-overexpressing gastric cancer.

Wang J, Li J, Santana-Santos L, et al.
A novel strategy for targeted killing of tumor cells: Induction of multipolar acentrosomal mitotic spindles with a quinazolinone derivative mdivi-1.
Mol Oncol. 2015; 9(2):488-502 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Traditional antimitotic drugs for cancer chemotherapy often have undesired toxicities to healthy tissues, limiting their clinical application. Developing novel agents that specifically target tumor cell mitosis is needed to minimize the toxicity and improve the efficacy of this class of anticancer drugs. We discovered that mdivi-1 (mitochondrial division inhibitor-1), which was originally reported as an inhibitor of mitochondrial fission protein Drp1, specifically disrupts M phase cell cycle progression only in human tumor cells, but not in non-transformed fibroblasts or epithelial cells. The antimitotic effect of mdivi-1 is Drp1 independent, as mdivi-1 induces M phase abnormalities in both Drp1 wild-type and Drp1 knockout SV40-immortalized/transformed MEF cells. We also identified that the tumor transformation process required for the antimitotic effect of mdivi-1 is downstream of SV40 large T and small t antigens, but not hTERT-mediated immortalization. Mdivi-1 induces multipolar mitotic spindles in tumor cells regardless of their centrosome numbers. Acentrosomal spindle poles, which do not contain the bona-fide centrosome components γ-tubulin and centrin-2, were found to contribute to the spindle multipolarity induced by mdivi-1. Gene expression profiling revealed that the genes involved in oocyte meiosis and assembly of acentrosomal microtubules are highly expressed in tumor cells. We further identified that tumor cells have enhanced activity in the nucleation and assembly of acentrosomal kinetochore-attaching microtubules. Mdivi-1 inhibited the integration of acentrosomal microtubule-organizing centers into centrosomal asters, resulting in the development of acentrosomal mitotic spindles preferentially in tumor cells. The formation of multipolar acentrosomal spindles leads to gross genome instability and Bax/Bak-dependent apoptosis. Taken together, our studies indicate that inducing multipolar spindles composing of acentrosomal poles in mitosis could achieve tumor-specific antimitotic effect, and mdivi-1 thus represents a novel class of compounds as acentrosomal spindle inducers (ASI).

Moriya S, Komatsu S, Yamasaki K, et al.
Targeting the integrated networks of aggresome formation, proteasome, and autophagy potentiates ER stress‑mediated cell death in multiple myeloma cells.
Int J Oncol. 2015; 46(2):474-86 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The inhibitory effects of macrolide antibiotics including clarithromycin (CAM) on autophagy flux have been reported. Although a macrolide antibiotic exhibits no cytotoxicity, its combination with bortezomib (BZ), a proteasome inhibitor, for the simultaneous blocking of the ubiquitin (Ub)‑proteasome and autophagy‑lysosome pathways leads to enhanced multiple myeloma (MM) cell apoptosis induction via stress overloading of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). As misfolded protein cargo is recruited by histone deacetylase 6 (HDAC6) to dynein motors for aggresome transport, serving to sequester misfolded proteins, we further investigated the cellular effects of targeting proteolytic pathways and aggresome formation concomitantly in MM cells. Pronounced apoptosis was induced by the combination of vorinostat [suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid (SAHA); potently inhibits HDAC6] with CAM and BZ compared with each reagent or a 2‑reagent combination. CAM/BZ treatment induced vimentin positive‑aggresome formation along with the accumulation of autolysosomes in the perinuclear region, whereas they were inhibited in the presence of SAHA. The SAHA/CAM/BZ combination treatment maximally upregulated genes related to ER stress including C/EBP homologous protein (CHOP). Similarly to MM cell lines, enhanced cytotoxicity with CHOP upregulation following SAHA/CAM/BZ treatment was shown by a wild‑type murine embryonic fibroblast (MEF) cell line; however, a CHOP‑deficient MEF cell line almost completely canceled this pronounced cytotoxicity. Knockdown of HDAC6 with siRNA exhibited further enhanced CAM/BZ‑induced cytotoxicity and CHOP induction along with the cancellation of aggresome formation. Targeting the integrated networks of aggresome, proteasome, and autophagy is suggested to induce efficient ER stress‑mediated apoptosis in MM cells.

Song X, Kim SY, Zhang L, et al.
Role of AMP-activated protein kinase in cross-talk between apoptosis and autophagy in human colon cancer.
Cell Death Dis. 2014; 5:e1504 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Unresectable colorectal liver metastases remain a major unresolved issue and more effective novel regimens are urgently needed. While screening synergistic drug combinations for colon cancer therapy, we identified a novel multidrug treatment for colon cancer: chemotherapeutic agent melphalan in combination with proteasome inhibitor bortezomib and mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin) inhibitor rapamycin. We investigated the mechanisms of synergistic antitumor efficacy during the multidrug treatment. All experiments were performed with highly metastatic human colon cancer CX-1 and HCT116 cells, and selected critical experiments were repeated with human colon cancer stem Tu-22 cells and mouse embryo fibroblast (MEF) cells. We used immunochemical techniques to investigate a cross-talk between apoptosis and autophagy during the multidrug treatment. We observed that melphalan triggered apoptosis, bortezomib induced apoptosis and autophagy, rapamycin caused autophagy and the combinatorial treatment-induced synergistic apoptosis, which was mediated through an increase in caspase activation. We also observed that mitochondrial dysfunction induced by the combination was linked with altered cellular metabolism, which induced adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) activation, resulting in Beclin-1 phosphorylated at Ser 93/96. Interestingly, Beclin-1 phosphorylated at Ser 93/96 is sufficient to induce Beclin-1 cleavage by caspase-8, which switches off autophagy to achieve the synergistic induction of apoptosis. Similar results were observed with the essential autophagy gene, autophagy-related protein 7, -deficient MEF cells. The multidrug treatment-induced Beclin-1 cleavage was abolished in Beclin-1 double-mutant (D133A/D146A) knock-in HCT116 cells, restoring the autophagy-promoting function of Beclin-1 and suppressing the apoptosis induced by the combination therapy. These observations identify a novel mechanism for AMPK-induced apoptosis through interplay between autophagy and apoptosis.

Kamada M, Mitsui Y, Kumazaki T, et al.
Tumorigenic risk of human induced pluripotent stem cell explants cultured on mouse SNL76/7 feeder cells.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2014; 453(3):668-73 [PubMed] Related Publications
The potential for tumor formation from transplanted human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC) derivatives represents a high risk in their application to regenerative medicine. We examined the genetic origin and characteristics of tumors, that were formed when 13 hiPSC lines, established by ourselves, and 201B7 hiPSC from Kyoto University were transplanted into severe combined immune-deficient (SCID) mice. Though teratomas formed in 58% of mice, five angiosarcomas, one malignant solitary fibrous tumor and one undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcoma formed in the remaining mice. Three malignant cell lines were established from the tumors, which were derived from mitomycin C (MMC)-treated SNL76/7 (MMC-SNL) feeder cells, as tumor development from fusion cells between MMC-SNL and hiPSCs was negative by genetic analysis. While parent SNL76/7 cells produced malignant tumors, neither MMC-SNL nor MMC-treated mouse embryo fibroblast (MEF) produced malignant tumors. When MMC-SNL feeder cells were co-cultured with hiPSCs, growing cell lines were generated, that expressed genes similar to the parent SNL76/7 cells. Thus, hiPSCs grown on MMC-SNL feeder cells have a high risk of generating feeder-derived malignant tumors. The possible mechanism(s) of growth restoration and the formation of multiple tumor types are discussed with respect of the interactions between MMC-SNL and hiPSC.

Fang Y, Wang Y, Wang Y, et al.
A new tumour suppression mechanism by p27Kip1: EGFR down-regulation mediated by JNK/c-Jun pathway inhibition.
Biochem J. 2014; 463(3):383-92 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
p27Kip1 is a potent inhibitor of cyclin-dependent kinases that drive G1-to-S cell-cycle transition. Reduced p27Kip1 expression is prevalent in a wide range of human tumours; however, the exact mechanism(s) of p27Kip1-mediated tumour suppression remains obscure. In the present study, we identified a close inverse relationship between p27Kip1 and EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor) expression: the parental T24 human bladder cancer cells had high p27Kip1 expression but low EGFR expression and, in striking contrast, the metastatic derivative of T24 (T24T) had low p27Kip1 expression but high EGFR expression. This relationship was also found in various human cancer tissues, and was not only just correlative but also causal; depletion of p27Kip1 in MEF (mouse embryonic fibroblast) cells resulted in markedly elevated EGFR expression, a result reproducible with an Egfr promoter-luciferase reporter in both T24 and MEF cells, suggesting transcriptional repression of EGFR by p27Kip1. Indeed, p27Kip1 was found to regulate EGFR expression via the JNK (c-Jun N-terminal kinase)/c-Jun transcription factor: p27Kip1 deficiency activated JNK/c-Jun, whereas inhibition of JNK/c-Jun by dominant-negative mutants dramatically repressed Egfr transcription. Furthermore, the proximal promoter of the Egfr gene was crucial for its transcription, where the recruiting activity of c-Jun was much greater in p27Kip1-/- cells than in p27Kip1+/+ cells. Introduction of GFP-p27Kip1 into T24T cells suppressed JNK/c-Jun activation, EGFR expression and anchorage-independent growth. The results of the present study demonstrate that p27Kip1 suppresses JNK/c-Jun activation and EGFR expression in MEFs and human bladder cancer cells, and the results obtained are consistent with those from human cancer specimens. The present study provides new insights into p27Kip1 suppression of cancer cell growth, migration and metastasis.

Song TY, Lim J, Kim B, et al.
The role of tumor suppressor menin in IL-6 regulation in mouse islet tumor cells.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2014; 451(2):308-13 [PubMed] Related Publications
Menin is a gene product of multiple endocrine neoplasia type1 (Men1), an inherited familial cancer syndrome characterized by tumors of endocrine tissues. To gain insight about how menin performs an endocrine cell-specific tumor suppressor function, we investigated the possibility that menin was integrated in a cancer-associated inflammatory pathway in a cell type-specific manner. Here, we showed that the expression of IL-6, a proinflammatory cytokine, was specifically elevated in mouse islet tumor cells upon depletion of menin and Men(-/-) MEF cells, but not in hepatocellular carcinoma cells. Histone H3 lysine (K) 9 methylation, but not H3 K27 or K4 methylation, was involved in menin-dependent IL-6 regulation. Menin occupied the IL-6 promoter and recruited SUV39H1 to induce H3 K9 methylation. Our findings provide a molecular insight that menin-dependent induction of H3 K9 methylation in the cancer-associated interleukin gene might be linked to preventing endocrine-specific tumorigenesis.

Shaiken TE, Opekun AR
Dissecting the cell to nucleus, perinucleus and cytosol.
Sci Rep. 2014; 4:4923 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Cells have been described under the microscope as organelles containing cytoplasm and the nucleus. However, an unnoted structure exists between the cytoplasm and the nucleoplasm of eukaryotic cells. In addition to the nuclear envelope, there exists a perinuclear region (PNR or perinucleus) with unknown composition and function. Until now, an investigation of the role of the perinucleus has been restricted by the absence of a PNR isolation method. This manuscript describes a perinucleus isolation technique on the basis of its unique compact organization. The perinucleus was found to contain approximately 15 to 18% of the total proteins of the mammalian cell, almost half of the proteins of nuclei. Using four different normal and cancer cell lines, it was shown that the composition of PNR is highly dynamic. Application of the method showed that translocation of the p53 tumor-suppressor protein to the perinucleus in immortalized MEF cells is correlated with the translocation of p53-stabilizing protein, nucleophosmin (B23), to the PNR. Herein, the concept of the perinuclear region is advanced as a formal, identifiable structure. The roles of the perinucleus in maintaining genome integrity, regulation of gene expression and understanding of malignant transformation are discussed.

Huang HJ, Liu J, Hua H, et al.
MiR-214 and N-ras regulatory loop suppresses rhabdomyosarcoma cell growth and xenograft tumorigenesis.
Oncotarget. 2014; 5(8):2161-75 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) is a childhood malignant soft tissue cancer that is derived from myogenic progenitors trapped in a permanent mode of growth. Here, we report that miR-214 is markedly down-regulated in human RMS cell lines. Although not required for embryogenesis in mice, miR-214 suppresses mouse embryonic fibroblast (MEF) proliferation. When re-introduced into RD cells, a line of human embryonal RMS cells, miR-214 showed inhibition of tumor cell growth, induction of myogenic differentiation and apoptosis, as well as suppression of colony formation and xenograft tumorigenesis. We show that in the absence of miR-214, expression of proto-oncogene N-ras is markedly elevated in miR-214(-/-) MEFs, and manipulations of miR-214 levels using microRNA mimics or inhibitor in RD cells reciprocally altered N-ras expression. We further demonstrate that forced expression of N-ras from a cDNA that lacks its 3'-untranslated region neutralized the pro-myogenic and anti-proliferative activities of miR-214. Finally, we show that N-ras is a conserved target of miR-214 in its suppression of xenograft tumor growth, and N-ras expression is up-regulated in xenograft tumor models as well as actual human RMS tissue sections. Taken together, these data indicate that miR-214 is a bona fide suppressor of human RMS tumorigensis.

O'Flanagan CH, Morais VA, Wurst W, et al.
The Parkinson's gene PINK1 regulates cell cycle progression and promotes cancer-associated phenotypes.
Oncogene. 2015; 34(11):1363-74 [PubMed] Related Publications
PINK1 (phosphatase and tensin homolog deleted on chromosome 10 (PTEN)-induced kinase 1), a Parkinson's disease-associated gene, was identified originally because of its induction by the tumor-suppressor PTEN. PINK1 promotes cell survival and potentially metastatic functions and protects against cell stressors including chemotherapeutic agents. However, the mechanisms underlying PINK1 function in cancer cell biology are unclear. Here, using several model systems, we show that PINK1 deletion significantly reduced cancer-associated phenotypes including cell proliferation, colony formation and invasiveness, which were restored by human PINK1 overexpression. Results show that PINK1 deletion causes major defects in cell cycle progression in immortalized mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) from PINK1(-/-) mice, and in BE(2)-M17 cells stably transduced with short hairpin RNA against PINK1. Detailed cell cycle analyses of MEF cell lines from several PINK1(-/-) mice demonstrate an increased proportion of cells in G2/M and decreased number of cells in G1 following release from nocodazole block. This was concomitant with increased double and multi-nucleated cells, a reduced ability to undergo cytokinesis and to re-enter G1, and significant alterations in cell cycle markers, including failure to increase cyclin D1, all indicative of mitotic arrest. PINK1(-/-) cells also demonstrated ineffective cell cycle exit following serum deprivation. Cell cycle defects associated with PINK1 deficiency occur at points critical for cell division, growth and stress resistance in cancer cells were rescued by ectopic expression of human PINK1 and demonstrated PINK1 kinase dependence. The importance of PINK1 for cell cycle control is further supported by results showing that cell cycle deficits induced by PINK1 deletion were linked mechanistically to aberrant mitochondrial fission and its regulation by dynamin-related protein-1 (Drp1), known to be critical for progression of mitosis. Our data indicate that PINK1 has tumor-promoting properties and demonstrates a new function for PINK1 as a regulator of the cell cycle.

Olivier M, Weninger A, Ardin M, et al.
Modelling mutational landscapes of human cancers in vitro.
Sci Rep. 2014; 4:4482 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Experimental models that recapitulate mutational landscapes of human cancers are needed to decipher the rapidly expanding data on human somatic mutations. We demonstrate that mutation patterns in immortalised cell lines derived from primary murine embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) exposed in vitro to carcinogens recapitulate key features of mutational signatures observed in human cancers. In experiments with several cancer-causing agents we obtained high genome-wide concordance between human tumour mutation data and in vitro data with respect to predominant substitution types, strand bias and sequence context. Moreover, we found signature mutations in well-studied human cancer driver genes. To explore endogenous mutagenesis, we used MEFs ectopically expressing activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID) and observed an excess of AID signature mutations in immortalised cell lines compared to their non-transgenic counterparts. MEF immortalisation is thus a simple and powerful strategy for modelling cancer mutation landscapes that facilitates the interpretation of human tumour genome-wide sequencing data.

Tuominen I, Heliövaara E, Raitila A, et al.
AIP inactivation leads to pituitary tumorigenesis through defective Gαi-cAMP signaling.
Oncogene. 2015; 34(9):1174-84 [PubMed] Related Publications
The aryl hydrocarbon receptor interacting protein (AIP) is a tumor-suppressor gene underlying the pituitary adenoma predisposition. Thus far, the exact molecular mechanisms by which inactivated AIP exerts its tumor-promoting action have been unclear. To better understand the role of AIP in pituitary tumorigenesis, we performed gene expression microarray analysis to examine changes between Aip wild-type and knockout mouse embryonic fibroblast (MEF) cell lines. Transcriptional analyses implied that Aip deficiency causes a dysfunction in cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) signaling, as well as impairments in signaling cascades associated with developmental and immune-inflammatory responses. In vitro experiments showed that AIP deficiency increases intracellular cAMP concentrations in both MEF and murine pituitary adenoma cell lines. Based on knockdown of various G protein α subunits, we concluded that AIP deficiency leads to elevated cAMP concentrations through defective Gαi-2 and Gαi-3 proteins that normally inhibit cAMP synthesis. Furthermore, immunostaining of Gαi-2 revealed that AIP deficiency is associated with a clear reduction in Gαi-2 protein expression levels in human and mouse growth hormone (GH)-secreting pituitary adenomas, thus indicating defective Gαi signaling in these tumors. By contrast, all prolactin-secreting tumors showed prominent Gαi-2 protein levels, irrespective of Aip mutation status. We additionally observed reduced expression of phosphorylated extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1/2 and cAMP response element-binding protein levels in mouse and human AIP-deficient somatotropinomas. This study implies for the first time that a failure to inhibit cAMP synthesis through dysfunctional Gαi signaling underlies the development of GH-secreting pituitary adenomas in AIP mutation carriers.

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