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:OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:ETS-related transcription factor Elf-4
Source:NCBIAccessed: 29 August, 2019


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

Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1994-2019)
Graph generated 29 August 2019 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.

  • Transcriptome
  • Transcription
  • Neoplastic Cell Transformation
  • Leukaemia
  • Messenger RNA
  • Phosphoproteins
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Signal Transduction
  • Single Nucleotide Polymorphism
  • Acute Myeloid Leukaemia
  • siRNA
  • Tumor Suppressor Gene
  • Transfection
  • U937 Cells
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Transcription Factors
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Translocation
  • Myeloid Leukemia
  • Cell Proliferation
  • ELF4
  • Transcriptional Activation
  • Apoptosis
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Protein Binding
  • gamma Catenin
  • Repressor Proteins
  • Oncogene Fusion Proteins
  • Chromosome 21
  • Small Molecule Libraries
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Promoter Regions
  • Drug Resistance
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Protein Biosynthesis
  • Up-Regulation
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Mutation
  • X Chromosome
  • Liver Cancer
  • RNA Interference
  • Western Blotting
  • Cervical Cancer
  • Genomics
Tag cloud generated 29 August, 2019 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (4)

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)

Li X, Ding D, Yao J, et al.
Chromatin remodeling factor BAZ1A regulates cellular senescence in both cancer and normal cells.
Life Sci. 2019; 229:225-232 [PubMed] Related Publications
AIMS: Cellular senescence is a well-known cancer prevention mechanism, inducing cancer cells to senescence can enhance cancer immunotherapy. However, how cellular senescence is regulated is not fully understood. Dynamic chromatin changes have been discovered during cellular senescence, while the causality remains elusive. BAZ1A, a gene coding the accessory subunit of ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling complex, showed decreased expression in multiple cellular senescence models. We aim to investigate the functional role of BAZ1A in regulating senescence in cancer and normal cells.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Knockdown of BAZ1A was performed via lentivirus mediated short hairpin RNA (shRNA) in various cancer cell lines (A549 and U2OS) and normal cells (HUVEC, NIH3T3 and MEF). A series of senescence-associated phenotypes were quantified by CCK-8 assay, SA-β-Gal staining and EdU incorporation assay, etc. KEY FINDINGS: Knockdown (KD) of BAZ1A induced series of senescence-associated phenotypes in both cancer and normal cells. BAZ1A-KD caused the upregulated expression of SMAD3, which in turn activated the transcription of p21 coding gene CDKN1A and resulted in senescence-associated phenotypes in human cancer cells (A549 and U2OS).
SIGNIFICANCE: Our results revealed chromatin remodeling modulator BAZ1A acting as a novel regulator of cellular senescence in both normal and cancer cells, indicating a new target for potential cancer treatment.

Özdemir MD, Göktürk D
The concurrent effect of acyclovir and rosemary on glioblastoma cell culture.
Cell Mol Biol (Noisy-le-grand). 2019; 65(3):66-71 [PubMed] Related Publications
Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is a beta herpesvirus which large amount of people in world has interacted with. Recent studies indicated that CMV DNA is associated with several cancer types including "Glioblastoma (GBM)" which is the most common and aggressive type of primary brain cancer. In clinical studies it was shown that several antiviral medicines prolonged life span of glioblastoma patients. One of them is Acyclovir (ACV) which is a type of nucleoside analog, used to cure viral infections and might be a potential treatment supplement for Glioblastoma. In this study we aimed to investigate if ACV had cytotoxic effect on glioblastoma cell line U87 MG and also the effect of ACV on healthy cells. Furthermore it was aimed to search the effect of Rosmarinus Officinalis also known as rosemary which is an aromatic, perennial plant concurrent with ACV on glioblastoma and healthy cells.

Pećina-Šlaus N, Kafka A, Gotovac Jerčić K, et al.
Comparable Genomic Copy Number Aberrations Differ across Astrocytoma Malignancy Grades.
Int J Mol Sci. 2019; 20(5) [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
A collection of intracranial astrocytomas of different malignancy grades was analyzed for copy number aberrations (CNA) in order to identify regions that are driving cancer pathogenesis. Astrocytomas were analyzed by Array Comparative Genomic Hybridization (aCGH) and bioinformatics utilizing a Bioconductor package, Genomic Identification of Significant Targets in Cancer (GISTIC) 2.0.23 and DAVID software. Altogether, 1438 CNA were found of which losses prevailed. On our total sample, significant deletions affected 14 chromosomal regions, out of which deletions at 17p13.2, 9p21.3, 13q12.11, 22q12.3 remained significant even at 0.05

Lee JH, Kim C, Lee J, et al.
Arctiin is a pharmacological inhibitor of STAT3 phosphorylation at tyrosine 705 residue and potentiates bortezomib-induced apoptotic and anti-angiogenic effects in human multiple myeloma cells.
Phytomedicine. 2019; 55:282-292 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Arctiin is a main component from the fruits of Arctium lappa L., that can be prescribed for cold or flu in East Asian countries; it has also been found to exert chemopreventive actions against various tumor cells.
HYPOTHESIS: In view of this evidence, we examined arctiin for its ability to trigger apoptosis and inhibit the activation of signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) in human multiple myeloma (MM) cells.
METHODS: We evaluated the effect of arctiin on STAT3 signaling cascades and its regulated functional responses in MM cells.
RESULTS: Arctiin effectively blocked the constitutive activation of STAT3 phosphorylation in the residue of tyrosine 705. Arctiin also abrogated the constitutive activation of Src phosphorylation and Janus-activated kinases (JAKs) 1/2. Furthermore, it was found that arctiin treatment clearly enhanced the mRNA and protein levels of protein tyrosine phosphatase ε (PTPε), and the silencing of PTPε caused a reversal of the arctiin-induced PTPε expression and the blockadge of STAT3 phosphorylation. Interestingly, arctiin could not repress IL-6-induced STAT3 activation in serum-starved U266 cells and when arctiin was incubated with a complete culture medium in RPMI 8226 and MM.1S cells. Arctiin suppressed cell proliferation, accumulated cells in the G2/M cell-cycle phase, and induced apoptosis within U266 cells, although the knockdown of PTPε prevented PARP cleavage and caspase-3 activation induced by the arctiin. In addition, arctiin exerted cytotoxicity in MM cells, but did not do so in peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Arctiin down-modulated diverse oncogenic gene products regulated by STAT3, although the induction of apoptosis by arctiin was abrogated upon transfection with pMXs-STAT3C in mouse embryonic fibroblast (MEF) cells. Arctiin also potentiated bortezomib-induced antitumor effects in U266 cells.
CONCLUSION: On the whole, our results indicate that arctiin is a potentially new inhibitor of constitutive STAT3 activation through the induction of PTPε in MM, cells and therefore has great value in treating various tumors sheltering constitutively activated STAT3.

Deng Y, Li H, Yin X, et al.
C-Terminal Binding Protein 1 Modulates Cellular Redox via Feedback Regulation of MPC1 and MPC2 in Melanoma Cells.
Med Sci Monit. 2018; 24:7614-7624 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND Recent studies have illustrated that the transcription co-repressor, C-terminal binding protein 1 (CtBP1), links the metabolic alterations to transcription controls in proliferation, EMT, genome stability, metabolism, and lifespan, but whether CtBP1 affects the cellular redox homeostasis is unexplored. This study was designed to investigate the mechanism of CtBP1-mediated transcription repression that contributes to the metabolic reprogramming. MATERIAL AND METHODS Knockdown of CtBP1 in both mouse MEF cells and human melanoma cells changed cell redox homeostasis. Further, chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) and luciferase reporter assay were performed for identification of CtBP1 downstream targets, pyruvate carrier 1 and 2 genes (MPC1 and MPC2), which contribute to redox homeostasis and are transcriptionally regulated by CtBP1. Moreover, blockage of the cellular NADH level with the glycolysis inhibitor 2-Deoxy-D-Glucose (2-DG) rescued MPC1 and MPC2 expression. MTT assay and scratch assay were performed to investigate the effect of MPC1 and MPC2 expression on malignant properties of melanoma cells. RESULTS The data demonstrated that CtBP1 directly bound to the promoters of MPC1 and MPC2 and transcriptionally repressed them, leading to increased levels of free NADH in the cytosol and nucleus, thus positively feeding back CtBP1's functions. Consequently, restoring MPC1 and MPC2 in human tumor cells decreases free NADH and inhibits melanoma cell proliferation and migration. CONCLUSIONS Our data indicate that MPC1 and MPC2 are principal mediators that link CtBP1-mediated transcription regulation to NADH production. The discovery of CtBP1 as an NADH regulator in addition to being an NADH sensor shows that CtBP1 is at the center of tumor metabolism and transcription control.

Matthews JH, Liang X, Paul VJ, Luesch H
A Complementary Chemical and Genomic Screening Approach for Druggable Targets in the Nrf2 Pathway and Small Molecule Inhibitors to Overcome Cancer Cell Drug Resistance.
ACS Chem Biol. 2018; 13(5):1189-1199 [PubMed] Related Publications
Resistance to chemotherapy is a major obstacle in the treatment of a wide array of different types of cancer. Chemotherapeutic drug resistance is achieved by cancer cells by a variety of different mechanisms, which can be either compound specific or general. An emerging mechanism for nonspecific chemotherapeutic drug resistance relies on hyperactivity of the transcription factor Nrf2. Normally Nrf2 levels are tightly regulated by the ubiquitin-proteasome system; however, mutations in genes responsible for this regulation are common in many cancer types, resulting in increased expression of Nrf2, activation of its downstream target genes, and resistance to a variety of chemotherapeutic agents. For this reason, there has been considerable interest in the discovery of small molecule inhibitors of Nrf2 capable of attenuating this resistance mechanism. To this end, we have screened two commercially available libraries of known biologically active small molecules to identify potential Nrf2 inhibitors. To increase the breadth of this screen we have also screened an RNAi library that targets the majority of the druggable genome to also identify Nrf2-inhibitor targets that are not currently targeted by small molecules. To complement the commercial chemical and genomic library screening, we screened a small collection of proprietary natural products isolated from marine cyanobacteria, which included actin targeting and uncharacterized but biologically active compounds. Through these efforts, we have identified three classes of compounds: cardiac glycosides, Stat3 inhibitors, and actin disrupting agents as Nrf2 inhibitors that are able to attenuate Nrf2 activity and synergize with chemotherapeutic agents in the non-small-cell lung cancer cell line A549. In addition, we found that grassypeptolide A exerts Nrf2 modulatory activity via a thus far uncharacterized mechanism. Moreover, we have identified a set of putative Nrf2 targets comprising the transcription factors TWIST1 and ELF4, the protein kinase NEK8, the TAK1 kinase regulator TAB1, and the dual specific phosphatase DUSP4. This study broadens the range of mechanisms through which inhibition of Nrf2 activity can be achieved, which will facilitate the characterization of novel Nrf2 inhibitors and allow the design of target specific screening procedures with which to identify more.

Julius A, Desai A, Yung RL
Recombinant human erythropoietin stimulates melanoma tumor growth through activation of initiation factor eIF4E.
Oncotarget. 2017; 8(18):30317-30327 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Recombinant human erythropoietin (EPO) is standard treatment for anemia in cancer patients. Recent clinical trials suggest that EPO may accelerate tumor progression and increase mortality. However, the evidence supporting a growth-promoting effect of EPO has remained controversial. Employing an in vivo model of B16 murine melanoma, we observed that administration of EPO to tumor bearing C57BL/6 mice resulted in pronounced acceleration of melanoma growth. Our in vitro studies demonstrate that B16 murine melanoma cells express EPOR, both at the protein and mRNA levels. Interestingly, expression of EPOR was retained in the established tumors. EPO stimulation of B16 cells enhanced proliferation and protein synthesis rates, and correlated with activation of the receptor associated Janus kinase 2 (Jak2) as well as phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (Erk) 1/2 and Akt kinases. Treatment with EPO and Jak-2 antagonists significantly inhibited EPO-mediated B16 cell proliferation. Moreover, EPO dose-dependently induced the phosphorylation and activation of the translation initiation factor eIF4E as well as the phosphorylation of its repressor, the eIF4E binding protein 4E-BP1. Finally, using eIF4E small interfering RNA (siRNA), we observed that EPO-mediated stimulation of B16 cell proliferation is eIF4E-dependent. Our results indicate that EPO exerts a powerful stimulatory effect on cell proliferation and de novo protein synthesis in melanoma cells through activation of the initiation factor eIF4E.

Filipescu D, Naughtin M, Podsypanina K, et al.
Essential role for centromeric factors following p53 loss and oncogenic transformation.
Genes Dev. 2017; 31(5):463-480 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
In mammals, centromere definition involves the histone variant CENP-A (centromere protein A), deposited by its chaperone, HJURP (Holliday junction recognition protein). Alterations in this process impair chromosome segregation and genome stability, which are also compromised by p53 inactivation in cancer. Here we found that CENP-A and HJURP are transcriptionally up-regulated in p53-null human tumors. Using an established mouse embryonic fibroblast (MEF) model combining p53 inactivation with E1A or HRas-V12 oncogene expression, we reproduced a similar up-regulation of HJURP and CENP-A. We delineate functional CDE/CHR motifs within the

Ahmad R, Alam M, Hasegawa M, et al.
Targeting MUC1-C inhibits the AKT-S6K1-elF4A pathway regulating TIGAR translation in colorectal cancer.
Mol Cancer. 2017; 16(1):33 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Colorectal cancer is third most common malignancy and is the second most common cause of cancer-related death. The MUC1 heterodimeric protein is aberrantly overexpressed in colorectal cancer and has been linked to poor outcomes in this disease. Here, we investigate the effects of the MUC1-C subunit inhibitor (GO-203), which disrupts MUC1-C homo-oligomerization, on human colorectal cancer cells.
METHODS: TIGAR mRNA level was determined using qRT-PCR. Western blotting was used to measure TIGAR protein level and AKT-mTOR-S6K1 pathways. Reactive oxygen species and apoptosis were measured by flow cytometry. Effect of MUC1-C peptide, GO-203 was studied on colorectal xenograft tumors. Immunohistochemistry was utilized for TIGAR staining.
RESULTS: Treatment of MUC1-overexpressing SKCO-1 and Colo-205 colon cancer cells with GO-203 was associated with downregulation of the TP53-inducible glycolysis and apoptosis regulator (TIGAR) protein. TIGAR promotes the shunting of glycolytic intermediates into the pentose phosphate pathway and thus is of importance for maintaining redox balance. We show that GO-203-induced suppression of TIGAR is mediated by inhibition of AKT and the downstream mTOR pathway. The results also demonstrate that targeting MUC1-C blocks eIF4A cap-dependent translation of TIGAR. In concert with these results, GO-203-induced suppression of TIGAR was associated with decreases in GSH levels. GO-203 treatment also resulted in increases in reactive oxygen species (ROS) and loss of mitochondrial transmembrane potential. Consistent with these results, GO-203 inhibited the growth of colon cancer cells in vitro and as xenografts in nude mice. Inhibition of MUC1-C also downregulated TIGAR expression in xenograft tissues.
CONCLUSIONS: These findings indicate that MUC1-C is a potential target for the treatment of colorectal cancer. Colorectal cancer patients who overexpress MUC1-C may be candidates for treatment with the MUC1-C inhibitor alone or in combination therapy with other agents.

Hilliard TS, Miklossy G, Chock C, et al.
15α-methoxypuupehenol Induces Antitumor Effects
Mol Cancer Ther. 2017; 16(4):601-613 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Studies with 15α-methoxypuupehenol (15α-MP), obtained from the extracts of

Chen W, Pan Y, Wang S, et al.
Cryptotanshinone activates AMPK-TSC2 axis leading to inhibition of mTORC1 signaling in cancer cells.
BMC Cancer. 2017; 17(1):34 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Cryptotanshinone (CPT), a fat-soluble phenanthraquinone from Salvia miltiorrhiza Bunge, has been demonstrated to inhibit phosphorylation of p70 S6 kinase 1 (S6K1) and eukaryotic initiation factor 4E binding protein 1 (4E-BP1), a couple of direct downstream effectors of the mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1), resulting in cancer cell arrested in G0 phase and subsequent inhibition of proliferation. However, its concrete molecular mechanism about how CPT inhibits mTORC1 signaling pathway is unclear.
METHODS: one solution was used to check cell viability and western blotting for determining expression of the indicated proteins. Molecular docking was performed to assess the binding of CPT with mTOR. The co-immunoprecipitation assay was to analyze whether CPT could disrupt the mTORC1 and TSC1/TSC2 complex. Recombinant adenoviral dominant-negative AMPKα was used to downregulate expression of AMPKα and lentiviral AMPK and TSC2 to silence the AMPK and TSC2 in Rh30 cells.
RESULTS: Primarily, Rh30 cells expressing rapamycin-resistant mutant mTOR are also sensitive to CPT, while the molecular docking result for CPT binding to mTOR is negative, suggesting that CPT inhibition of mTORC1 is different from rapamycin. Then the related proteins of PTEN-PI3K pathway was proved not to be affected, but the phosphorylation of adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) was activated by a concentration- and time- dependent manner, meaning that it may be associated with AMPK. Further results indicated that compound C, inhibitor of AMPK, could clearly reversed CPT inhibitory effect on Rh30 cells, and dominant-negative AMPK in cancer cells conferred resistance to CPT inhibition of 4E-BP1 and phosphorylation of S6K1, as well as sh-AMPK. Furthermore, compared with AMPK-positive MEF cells, AMPK-negative MEF cells are less sensitive to CPT by the findings that 4E-BP1 and phosphorylation of S6K1 express comparatively more. Additionally, phosphorylation of tuberous sclerosis complex 2 (TSC2) was activated under the treatment of CPT, and down-expression of TSC2 by shRNA slightly recovered expression of 4E-BP1 and phosphorylation of S6K1, while co-immunoprecipitation of TSC2 did not alter expression of TSC1 by CPT.
CONCLUSION: CPT inhibiting mTORC1 pathway was mostly due to activation of AMPK-TSC2 axis rather than specific binding to mTORC1. CPT is a potent anticancer agent targeting AMPK.

Hirasawa K, Moriya S, Miyahara K, et al.
Macrolide Antibiotics Exhibit Cytotoxic Effect under Amino Acid-Depleted Culture Condition by Blocking Autophagy Flux in Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma Cell Lines.
PLoS One. 2016; 11(12):e0164529 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Autophagy, a self-digestive system for cytoplasmic components, is required to maintain the amino acid pool for cellular homeostasis. We previously reported that the macrolide antibiotics azithromycin (AZM) and clarithromycin (CAM) have an inhibitory effect on autophagy flux, and they potently enhance the cytocidal effect of various anticancer reagents in vitro. This suggests that macrolide antibiotics can be used as an adjuvant for cancer chemotherapy. Since cancer cells require a larger metabolic demand than normal cells because of their exuberant growth, upregulated autophagy in tumor cells has now become the target for cancer therapy. In the present study, we examined whether macrolides exhibit cytotoxic effect under an amino acid-starving condition in head and neck squamous cancer cell lines such as CAL 27 and Detroit 562 as models of solid tumors with an upregulated autophagy in the central region owing to hypovascularity. AZM and CAM induced cell death under the amino acid-depleted (AAD) culture condition in these cell lines along with CHOP upregulation, although they showed no cytotoxicity under the complete culture medium. CHOP knockdown by siRNA in the CAL 27 cells significantly suppressed macrolide-induced cell death under the AAD culture condition. CHOP-/- murine embryonic fibroblast (MEF) cell lines also attenuated AZM-induced cell death compared with CHOP+/+ MEF cell lines. Using a tet-off atg5 MEF cell line, knockout of atg5, an essential gene for autophagy, also induced cell death and CHOP in the AAD culture medium but not in the complete culture medium. This suggest that macrolide-induced cell death via CHOP induction is dependent on autophagy inhibition. The cytotoxicity of macrolide with CHOP induction was completely cancelled by the addition of amino acids in the culture medium, indicating that the cytotoxicity is due to the insufficient amino acid pool. These data suggest the possibility of using macrolides for "tumor-starving therapy".

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 cMLS

Suico MA, Shuto T, Kai H
Roles and regulations of the ETS transcription factor ELF4/MEF.
J Mol Cell Biol. 2017; 9(3):168-177 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Most E26 transformation-specific (ETS) transcription factors are involved in the pathogenesis and progression of cancer. This is in part due to the roles of ETS transcription factors in basic biological processes such as growth, proliferation, and differentiation, and also because of their regulatory functions that have physiological relevance in tumorigenesis, immunity, and basal cellular homoeostasis. A member of the E74-like factor (ELF) subfamily of the ETS transcription factor family-myeloid elf-1-like factor (MEF), designated as ELF4-has been shown to be critically involved in immune response and signalling, osteogenesis, adipogenesis, cancer, and stem cell quiescence. ELF4 carries out these functions as a transcriptional activator or through interactions with its partner proteins. Mutations in ELF4 cause aberrant interactions and induce downstream processes that may lead to diseased cells. Knowing how ELF4 impinges on certain cellular processes and how it is regulated in the cells can lead to a better understanding of the physiological and pathological consequences of modulated ELF4 activity.

Wang S, Darini C, Désaubry L, Koromilas AE
STAT1 Promotes KRAS Colon Tumor Growth and Susceptibility to Pharmacological Inhibition of Translation Initiation Factor eIF4A.
Mol Cancer Ther. 2016; 15(12):3055-3063 [PubMed] Related Publications
The transcription factor STAT1 displays antitumor functions for certain forms of cancer via immunoregulatory and cell-autonomous pathways. Paradoxically, STAT1 can promote the survival of different tumor types treated with chemotherapeutic drugs through mechanisms that are not clearly defined. Herein, we demonstrate that STAT1 displays prosurvival effects in human KRAS colon tumor cells by regulating pathways that converge on the initiation of mRNA translation. Specifically, STAT1 increases PI3K class IB signaling and promotes the downregulation of the programmed cell death protein 4 (PDCD4), a protein with tumor-suppressive properties. PDCD4 downregulation by STAT1 increases the activity of the translation initiation factor eIF4A, which facilitates the cap-independent translation of mRNAs encoding for the antiapoptotic XIAP and BCL-XL in colon tumors with mutated but not normal KRAS Genetic inactivation of STAT1 impairs the tumorigenic potency of human KRAS colon tumor cells and renders them resistant to the antitumor effects of the pharmacologic inhibition of eIF4A in culture and immunodeficient mice. Our data demonstrate an important connection between mRNA translation and KRAS tumorigenesis under the control of STAT1, which can determine the susceptibility of KRAS tumors to pharmacologic inhibition of mRNA translation initiation. Mol Cancer Ther; 15(12); 3055-63. ©2016 AACR.

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.

Kaur K, Kakkar A, Kumar A, et al.
Clinicopathological characteristics, molecular subgrouping, and expression of miR-379/miR-656 cluster (C14MC) in adult medulloblastomas.
J Neurooncol. 2016; 130(3):423-430 [PubMed] Related Publications
Medulloblastoma (MB) is a childhood tumor comprising four molecular subgroups: WNT, SHH, group 3 and group 4, with diagnostic and prognostic connotations. Very few studies are available on molecular subgrouping of adult MBs due to their rarity. Recently, loss of chromosome14q has been reported in SHH MBs, with downregulation of miR-379/miR-656 cluster (C14MC) in pediatric SHH MBs. Hence, the present study on adult MBs was undertaken to enumerate clinicopathological characteristics and molecular subgroups, and to analyze expression of C14MC and its transcriptional regulators, MEF2, JUN and ESRRG. Immunohistochemistry for β-catenin, GAB1 and YAP1 was performed to identify molecular subgroups. MYC amplification was evaluated by FISH. Expression profiling of 47 miRNAs from C14MC was performed using customized Taqman low-density array. Expression of transcriptional regulators was examined using RT-PCR. Seventy-one adult MBs were analyzed. They had male predominance and majority were located laterally (52 %). A significant proportion of cases were of Desmoplastic/nodular histology (32 %); MBEN was not seen. WNT tumors constituted 4.2 %, SHH 62 %, and non-WNT/non-SHH 33.8 %. MYC amplification was identified in 11.1 % cases. Patient outcome was worse in adults. Significant downregulation of C14MC was observed in all MB subgroups, and MEF-2 expression was downregulated. Adult MBs are distinct from childhood MBs in terms of location, histopathological subtypes, molecular subgroups, as well as prognosis. Silencing of C14MC in all MB subgroups suggests its role as a tumor suppressor locus in tumorigenesis. Deregulation of C14MC can possibly be attributed to repression of MEF2.

Wee B, Pietras A, Ozawa T, et al.
ABCG2 regulates self-renewal and stem cell marker expression but not tumorigenicity or radiation resistance of glioma cells.
Sci Rep. 2016; 6:25956 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Glioma cells with stem cell traits are thought to be responsible for tumor maintenance and therapeutic failure. Such cells can be enriched based on their inherent drug efflux capability mediated by the ABC transporter ABCG2 using the side population assay, and their characteristics include increased self-renewal, high stem cell marker expression and high tumorigenic capacity in vivo. Here, we show that ABCG2 can actively drive expression of stem cell markers and self-renewal in glioma cells. Stem cell markers and self-renewal was enriched in cells with high ABCG2 activity, and could be specifically inhibited by pharmacological and genetic ABCG2 inhibition. Importantly, despite regulating these key characteristics of stem-like tumor cells, ABCG2 activity did not affect radiation resistance or tumorigenicity in vivo. ABCG2 effects were Notch-independent and mediated by diverse mechanisms including the transcription factor Mef. Our data demonstrate that characteristics of tumor stem cells are separable, and highlight ABCG2 as a potential driver of glioma stemness.

Martínez-Sáez E, Peg V, Ortega-Aznar A, et al.
peIF4E as an independent prognostic factor and a potential therapeutic target in diffuse infiltrating astrocytomas.
Cancer Med. 2016; 5(9):2501-12 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Malignant transformation in tumors is a complex process requiring accumulation of numerous oncogenic abnormalities. Brain tumors show considerable phenotypic and genetic heterogeneity. In a series comprising diffuse infiltrating astrocytomas (DIA) and reactive gliosis, we investigated the main factors associated with signaling pathways. We assessed expression levels and their association with tumor progression and survival. We studied 19 grade II astrocytomas, 25 anaplastic astrocytomas (grade III), 60 glioblastomas (grade IV), and 15 cases of reactive gliosis. Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), pMAPK, 4E-BP1, p4E-BP1, pS6, eIF4E, and peIF4E expression levels were evaluated using immunohistochemistry. Expression levels were semiquantitatively evaluated using a histoscore. Immunohistochemistry and PCR were used for IDH1 mutations. Statistical analysis was based on the following tests: chi-square, Student's t, Pearson correlation, Spearman's rho, and Mann-Whitney; ROC and Kaplan-Meier curves were constructed. A significant increase was observed between grades for expression of total and phosphorylated 4E-BP1 and for eIF4E, Ki67, EGFR, and cyclin D1. Although expression of EGFR, eIF4E, and Ki67 correlated with survival, only peIF4E was an independent predictor of survival in the multivariate analysis. Combining the evaluation of different proteins enables us to generate helpful diagnostic nomograms. In conclusion, cell signaling pathways are activated in DIAs; peIF4E is an independent prognostic factor and a promising therapeutic target. Joint analysis of the expression of 4E-BP1 and peIF4E could be helpful in the diagnosis of glioblastoma multiforme in small biopsy samples.

Kreger BT, Dougherty AL, Greene KS, et al.
Microvesicle Cargo and Function Changes upon Induction of Cellular Transformation.
J Biol Chem. 2016; 291(38):19774-85 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Extracellular vesicles (EVs), including exosomes and microvesicles (MVs), have emerged as a major form of intercellular communication, playing important roles in several physiological processes and diseases, including cancer. EVs generated by cancer cells contain a variety of proteins and RNA species that can be transferred between cancer cells as well as between cancer and non-transformed (normal) cells, thereby impacting a number of aspects of cancer progression. Here we show how oncogenic transformation influences the biogenesis and function of EVs using a mouse embryonic fibroblast (MEF) cell line that can be induced to express an oncogenic form of diffuse B cell lymphoma (Dbl). Although MEFs induced to express onco-Dbl generated a similar amount of MVs as uninduced control cells, we found that MVs isolated from onco-Dbl-transformed cells contain a unique signaling protein, the ubiquitously expressed non-receptor tyrosine kinase focal adhesion kinase. The addition of MVs isolated from MEFs expressing onco-Dbl to cultures of fibroblasts strongly promoted their survival and induced their ability to grow under anchorage-independent conditions, outcomes that could be reversed by knocking down focal adhesion kinase and depleting it from the MVs or by inhibiting its kinase activity using a specific inhibitor. We then showed the same to be true for MVs isolated from aggressive MDAMB231 breast cancer cells. Together, these findings demonstrate that the induction of oncogenic transformation gives rise to MVs, which uniquely contain a signaling protein kinase that helps propagate the transformed phenotype and thus may offer a specific diagnostic marker of malignant disease.

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.

Ando M, Kawazu M, Ueno T, et al.
Mutational Landscape and Antiproliferative Functions of ELF Transcription Factors in Human Cancer.
Cancer Res. 2016; 76(7):1814-24 [PubMed] Related Publications
ELF4 (also known as MEF) is a member of the ETS family of transcription factors. An oncogenic role for ELF4 has been demonstrated in hematopoietic malignancies, but its function in epithelial tumors remains unclear. Here, we show that ELF4 can function as a tumor suppressor and is somatically inactivated in a wide range of human tumors. We identified a missense mutation affecting the transactivation potential of ELF4 in oral squamous cell carcinoma cells. Restoration of the transactivation activity through introduction of wild-type ELF4 significantly inhibited cell proliferation in vitro and tumor xenograft growth. Furthermore, we found that ELF1 and ELF2, closely related transcription factors to ELF4, also exerted antiproliferative effects in multiple cancer cell lines. Mutations in ELF1 and ELF2, as in ELF4, were widespread across human cancers, but were almost all mutually exclusive. Moreover, chromatin immunoprecipitation coupled with high-throughput sequencing revealed ELF4-binding sites in genomic regions adjacent to genes related to cell-cycle regulation and apoptosis. Finally, we provide mechanistic evidence that the antiproliferative effects of ELF4 were mediated through the induction of HRK, an activator of apoptosis, and DLX3, an inhibitor of cell growth. Collectively, our findings reveal a novel subtype of human cancer characterized by inactivating mutations in the ELF subfamily of proteins, and warrant further investigation of the specific settings where ELF restoration may be therapeutically beneficial. Cancer Res; 76(7); 1814-24. ©2016 AACR.

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.

Yuan Z, Sánchez Claros C, Suzuki M, et al.
Loss of MEN1 activates DNMT1 implicating DNA hypermethylation as a driver of MEN1 tumorigenesis.
Oncotarget. 2016; 7(11):12633-50 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1) syndrome results from mutations in the MEN1 gene and causes tumor formation via largely unknown mechanisms. Using a novel genome-wide methylation analysis, we studied tissues from MEN1-parathyroid tumors, Men1 knockout (KO) mice, and Men1 null mouse embryonic fibroblast (MEF) cell lines. We demonstrated that inactivation of menin (the protein product of MEN1) increases activity of DNA (cytosine-5)-methyltransferase 1 (DNMT1) by activating retinoblastoma-binding protein 5 (Rbbp5). The increased activity of DNMT1 mediates global DNA hypermethylation, which results in aberrant activation of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway through inactivation of Sox regulatory genes. Our study provides important insights into the role of menin in DNA methylation and its impact on the pathogenesis of MEN1 tumor development.

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.

Zhang Q, Shim K, Wright K, et al.
Atypical role of sprouty in p21 dependent inhibition of cell proliferation in colorectal cancer.
Mol Carcinog. 2016; 55(9):1355-68 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Sprouty (SPRY) appears to act as a tumor suppressor in cancer, whereas we reported that SPRY2 functions as a putative oncogene in colorectal cancer (CRC) [Oncogene, 2010, 29: 5241-5253]. In general, various studies established inhibition of cell proliferation by SPRY in cancer. The mechanisms by which SPRY regulates cell proliferation in CRC are investigated. We demonstrate, for the first time, suppression of SPRY2 augmented EGF-dependent oncogenic signaling, however, surprisingly decreased cell proliferation in colon cancer cells. Our data suggest that cell cycle inhibitor p21(WAF1/CIP1) transcriptional activity being regulated by SPRY2. Indeed, suppression of SPRY2 significantly increased p21(WAF1/CIP1) mRNA and protein expression as well as p21(WAF1/CIP1) promoter activity. Conversely, overexpressing SPRY2 triggered a decrease in p21(WAF1/CIP1) promoter activity. Concurrent down-regulation of both SPRY1 and SPRY2 also increased p21(WAF1/CIP1) expression in colon cancer cells. Increased nuclear localization of p21(WAF1/CIP1) in SPRY2 downregulated colon cancer cells may explain the inhibition of cell proliferation in colon cancer cells. Underscoring the biological relevance of these findings in SPRY1 and SPRY2 mutant mouse, recombination of floxed SPRY1 and SPRY2 alleles in mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) resulted in increased expression and nuclear localization of p21(WAF1/CIP1) and decreased cell proliferation. In CRC, the relationship of SPRY with p21 may provide unique strategies for cancer prevention and treatment. © 2015 The Authors. Molecular Carcinogenesis published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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