Gene Summary

Gene:HTRA2; HtrA serine peptidase 2
Aliases: OMI, MGCA8, PARK13, PRSS25
Summary:This gene encodes a serine protease. The protein has been localized in the endoplasmic reticulum and interacts with an alternatively spliced form of mitogen-activated protein kinase 14. The protein has also been localized to the mitochondria with release to the cytosol following apoptotic stimulus. The protein is thought to induce apoptosis by binding the apoptosis inhibitory protein baculoviral IAP repeat-containing 4. Nuclear localization of this protein has also been observed. Alternate splicing of this gene results in multiple transcript variants encoding different isoforms. [provided by RefSeq, Mar 2016]
Databases:OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:serine protease HTRA2, mitochondrial
Source:NCBIAccessed: 01 September, 2019


What does this gene/protein do?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1994-2019)
Graph generated 01 September 2019 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

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Tag cloud generated 01 September, 2019 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (5)

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

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

Latest Publications: HTRA2 (cancer-related)

Imafuji H, Matsuo Y, Ueda G, et al.
Acquisition of gemcitabine resistance enhances angiogenesis via upregulation of IL‑8 production in pancreatic cancer.
Oncol Rep. 2019; 41(6):3508-3516 [PubMed] Related Publications
Gemcitabine (Gem) is widely used as chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer (PaCa), but its effect is not fully satisfactory. One of the reasons for this is the acquisition of Gem resistance (Gem‑R). To elucidate the mechanism of Gem‑R, two Gem‑R PaCa cell lines were established from AsPC‑1 and MIA PaCa‑2 cells. It was demonstrated that expression of interleukin‑8 (IL‑8) mRNA was significantly upregulated in Gem‑R PaCa cells by cDNA microarray and RT‑qPCR analyses. Increased IL‑8 secretion by Gem‑R cells was confirmed by cytokine array and enzyme‑linked immunosorbent assay. Moreover, we found that co‑culture with Gem‑R PaCa cells significantly enhanced tube formation of human umbilical vein endothelial cells, and treatment with an anti‑CXCR2 (main receptor for IL‑8) antibody significantly prevented this effect. We previously reported that a chemokine network centered on the IL‑8/CXCR2 axis plays an important role in PaCa angiogenesis, and suppression of this axis has an antitumor effect. Since acquisition of Gem‑R increased IL‑8 production and consequently increased tumor angiogenesis, the IL‑8/CXCR2 axis may be a potential novel therapeutic target for PaCa after acquiring Gem‑R.

Jaudan A, Sharma S, Malek SNA, Dixit A
Induction of apoptosis by pinostrobin in human cervical cancer cells: Possible mechanism of action.
PLoS One. 2018; 13(2):e0191523 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Pinostrobin (PN) is a naturally occurring dietary bioflavonoid, found in various medicinal herbs/plants. Though anti-cancer potential of many such similar constituents has been demonstrated, critical biochemical targets and exact mechanism for their apoptosis-inducing actions have not been fully elucidated. The present study was aimed to investigate if PN induced apoptosis in cervical cancer cells (HeLa) of human origin. It is demonstrated that PN at increasing dose effectivity reduced the cell viability as well as GSH and NO2- levels. Condensed nuclei with fragmented chromatin and changes in mitochondrial matrix morphology clearly indicated the role of mitochondria in PN induced apoptosis. A marked reduction in mitochondrial membrane potential and increased ROS production after PN treatment showed involvement of free radicals, which in turn further augment ROS levels. PN treatment resulted in DNA damage, which could have been triggered by an increase in ROS levels. Decrease in apoptotic cells in the presence of caspase 3 inhibitor in PN-treated cells suggested that PN induced apoptosis via caspase dependent pathways. Additionally, a significant increase in the expression of proteins of extrinsic (TRAIL R1/DR4, TRAIL R2/DR5, TNF RI/TNFRSF1A, FADD, Fas/TNFRSF6) and intrinsic pathway (Bad, Bax, HTRA2/Omi, SMAC/Diablo, cytochrome C, Pro-Caspase-3, Cleaved Caspase-3) was observed in the cells exposed to PN. Taken together, these observations suggest that PN efficiently induces apoptosis through ROS mediated extrinsic and intrinsic dependent signaling pathways, as well as ROS mediated mitochondrial damage in HeLa cells.

Kawakami S, Ochiai K, Azakami D, et al.
R132 mutations in canine isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 (IDH1) lead to functional changes.
Vet Res Commun. 2018; 42(1):49-56 [PubMed] Related Publications
Glioma is the second most common intracranial neoplasia in dogs, but the pathogenic mechanisms remain unclear. In humans, isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 (IDH1) is frequently mutated in gliomas. Although almost all human IDH1 mutations have been identified as involving the Arg132 codon, few studies have reported structural, functional, and mutational information for canine IDH1. Therefore, in this study, we cloned the canine IDH1 homologue and used PCR mutagenesis to substitute the wildtype (WT) Arg132 with His (R132H) or Ser (R132S). WT and mutated IDH1 were overexpressed in HeLa cells, and their presence was confirmed by immunoblotting and immunocytochemistry using mutation-specific antibodies. The IDH1 activity between WT, R132H, and R132S transfectants was compared by measuring the production of NADH and NADPH. NADPH production in R132H and R132S transfectants was lower than that in WT, but NADH levels were not significantly different. Finally, we detected increased expression of hypoxia inducible factor 1 alpha (HIF-1α) in the R132H and R132S transfectants. These results indicated that the canine IDH1 Arg132 mutation has the potential to induce carcinogenesis in canine somatic cells.

Brummer G, Acevedo DS, Hu Q, et al.
Chemokine Signaling Facilitates Early-Stage Breast Cancer Survival and Invasion through Fibroblast-Dependent Mechanisms.
Mol Cancer Res. 2018; 16(2):296-308 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Ductal carcinoma

Tadokoro T, Fujihara S, Chiyo T, et al.
Induction of apoptosis by Galectin-9 in liver metastatic cancer cells: In vitro study.
Int J Oncol. 2017; 51(2):607-614 [PubMed] Related Publications
Liver metastasis from gastrointestinal cancer defines a patient's prognosis. Despite medical developments, pancreatic cancer with liver metastasis confers a very poor prognosis. Galectin-9 (Gal‑9) is a tandem-repeat-type galectin that has recently been demonstrated to exert antitumor effects on various types of cancer cells by inducing apoptosis. However, the apoptotic pathway of Gal‑9 in solid tumors is unclear. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effects of Gal‑9 on human liver metastasis from pancreatic cancer. Gal‑9 suppressed cell proliferation in metastatic liver cancer cell lines derived from pancreatic cancer (KMP2, KMP7, and KMP8) and increased the levels of caspase-cleaved keratin 18 and fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC)-conjugated Annexin V. Furthermore, expression of apoptosis-related molecules such as caspase-7, cleaved caspase-3, cleaved PARP, cytochrome c, Smac/Diablo and HtrA2/Omi was enhanced. However, Gal‑9 did not affect expression of various cell cycle-related proteins. The microRNA (miRNA) expression profile was markedly altered by Gal‑9, and various miRNAs might contribute to tumor growth suppression. Our data reveal that Gal‑9 suppresses the growth of liver metastasis, possibly by inducing apoptosis through a mechanism involving mitochondria and changes in miRNA expression. Thus, Gal‑9 might serve as a therapeutic agent for the treatment of liver metastasis from pancreatic cancer.

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

Zhou J, Ning Z, Wang B, et al.
DAB2IP loss confers the resistance of prostate cancer to androgen deprivation therapy through activating STAT3 and inhibiting apoptosis.
Cell Death Dis. 2015; 6:e1955 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Loss of DAB2IP, a novel tumor suppressor gene, is associated with the high risk of aggressive prostate cancer (PCa). Previously, we reported that DAB2IP modulated androgen receptor activation in the development of castration-resistant PCa; however, its direct action on the failure of androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) remains largely unknown. In this study, we showed that DAB2IP knockdown could significantly enhance in vitro growth and colony formation of PCa cells following ADT as well as tumorigenicity in pre-castrated nude mice. In addition, DAB2IP loss stabilized mitochondrial transmembrane potential, prevented release of cytochrome c, Omi/HtrA2 and Smac from the mitochondria to the cytoplasm and inhibited intrinsic apoptosis induced by ADT. Mechanistically, DAB2IP could interact with the signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) via its unique PR domain and suppress STAT3 phosphorylation and transactivation, leading to the inhibition of survivin expression in PCa cells. Moreover, the luminal epithelia in DAB2IP(-/-) mice with more activated STAT3 and survivin expression were resistant to castration-induced apoptosis. Consistently, DAB2IP expression inversely correlated with STAT3 phosphorylation and survivin expression in PCa patients. Together, our data indicate that DAB2IP loss reprograms intracellular signal transduction and anti-apoptotic gene expression, which potentiates PCa cell survival from ADT-induced cell death.

Kato Y, Ochiai K, Michishita M, et al.
Molecular cloning of canine co-chaperone small glutamine-rich tetratricopeptide repeat-containing protein α (SGTA) and investigation of its ability to suppress androgen receptor signalling in androgen-independent prostate cancer.
Vet J. 2015; 206(2):143-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
Although the morbidity of canine prostate cancer is low, the majority of cases present with resistance to androgen therapy and poor clinical outcomes. These pathological conditions are similar to the signs of the terminal stage of human androgen-independent prostate cancer. The co-chaperone small glutamine-rich tetratricopeptide repeat-containing protein α (SGTA) is known to be overexpressed in human androgen-independent prostate cancer. However, there is little information about the structure and function of canine SGTA. In this study, canine SGTA was cloned and analysed for its ability to suppress androgen receptor signalling. The full-length open reading frame (ORF) of the canine SGTA gene was amplified by RT-PCR using primers designed from canine-expressed sequence tags that were homologous to human SGTA. The canine SGTA ORF has high homology with the corresponding human (89%) and mouse (81%) sequences. SGTA dimerisation region and tetratricopeptide repeat (TPR) domains are conserved across the three species. The ability of canine SGTA to undergo homodimerisation was demonstrated by a mammalian two-hybrid system and a pull-down assay. The negative impact of canine SGTA on androgen receptor (AR) signalling was demonstrated using a reporter assay in androgen-independent human prostate cancer cell lines. Pathological analysis showed overexpression of SGTA in canine prostate cancer, but not in hyperplasia. A reporter assay in prostate cells demonstrated suppression of AR signalling by canine SGTA. Altogether, these results suggest that canine SGTA may play an important role in the acquisition of androgen independence by canine prostate cancer cells.

Maus F, Sakry D, Binamé F, et al.
The NG2 Proteoglycan Protects Oligodendrocyte Precursor Cells against Oxidative Stress via Interaction with OMI/HtrA2.
PLoS One. 2015; 10(9):e0137311 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The NG2 proteoglycan is characteristically expressed by oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPC) and also by aggressive brain tumours highly resistant to chemo- and radiation therapy. Oligodendrocyte-lineage cells are particularly sensitive to stress resulting in cell death in white matter after hypoxic or ischemic insults of premature infants and destruction of OPC in some types of Multiple Sclerosis lesions. Here we show that the NG2 proteoglycan binds OMI/HtrA2, a mitochondrial serine protease which is released from damaged mitochondria into the cytosol in response to stress. In the cytosol, OMI/HtrA2 initiates apoptosis by proteolytic degradation of anti-apoptotic factors. OPC in which NG2 has been downregulated by siRNA, or OPC from the NG2-knockout mouse show an increased sensitivity to oxidative stress evidenced by increased cell death. The proapoptotic protease activity of OMI/HtrA2 in the cytosol can be reduced by the interaction with NG2. Human glioma expressing high levels of NG2 are less sensitive to oxidative stress than those with lower NG2 expression and reducing NG2 expression by siRNA increases cell death in response to oxidative stress. Binding of NG2 to OMI/HtrA2 may thus help protect cells against oxidative stress-induced cell death. This interaction is likely to contribute to the high chemo- and radioresistance of glioma.

Vavougios GD, Solenov EI, Hatzoglou C, et al.
Computational genomic analysis of PARK7 interactome reveals high BBS1 gene expression as a prognostic factor favoring survival in malignant pleural mesothelioma.
Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 2015; 309(7):L677-86 [PubMed] Related Publications
The aim of our study was to assess the differential gene expression of Parkinson protein 7 (PARK7) interactome in malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) using data mining techniques to identify novel candidate genes that may play a role in the pathogenicity of MPM. We constructed the PARK7 interactome using the ConsensusPathDB database. We then interrogated the Oncomine Cancer Microarray database using the Gordon Mesothelioma Study, for differential gene expression of the PARK7 interactome. In ConsensusPathDB, 38 protein interactors of PARK7 were identified. In the Gordon Mesothelioma Study, 34 of them were assessed out of which SUMO1, UBC3, KIAA0101, HDAC2, DAXX, RBBP4, BBS1, NONO, RBBP7, HTRA2, and STUB1 were significantly overexpressed whereas TRAF6 and MTA2 were significantly underexpressed in MPM patients (network 2). Furthermore, Kaplan-Meier analysis revealed that MPM patients with high BBS1 expression had a median overall survival of 16.5 vs. 8.7 mo of those that had low expression. For validation purposes, we performed a meta-analysis in Oncomine database in five sarcoma datasets. Eight network 2 genes (KIAA0101, HDAC2, SUMO1, RBBP4, NONO, RBBP7, HTRA2, and MTA2) were significantly differentially expressed in an array of 18 different sarcoma types. Finally, Gene Ontology annotation enrichment analysis revealed significant roles of the PARK7 interactome in NuRD, CHD, and SWI/SNF protein complexes. In conclusion, we identified 13 novel genes differentially expressed in MPM, never reported before. Among them, BBS1 emerged as a novel predictor of overall survival in MPM. Finally, we identified that PARK7 interactome is involved in novel pathways pertinent in MPM disease.

Hirschfeld M, Ouyang YQ, Jaeger M, et al.
HNRNP G and HTRA2-BETA1 regulate estrogen receptor alpha expression with potential impact on endometrial cancer.
BMC Cancer. 2015; 15:86 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Estrogen receptor alpha (ERa/ESR1) expression is regulated by alternative splicing. Its most frequently detectable exon7 skipping isoform (ERaD7) is a dominant negative variant. Elevated expression of ERaD7 was already detected in endometrial cancer (EC), while its potential prognostic significance has not been characterized so far. Exon7 contains potential binding sites for the two functional splicing regulatory opponents, HNRNPG and HTRA2-BETA1 known to trigger opposite effects on EC outcome. This study served to elucidate the influence of HNRNPG and HTRA2-BETA1 on ERa exon7 splicing regulation and the impact of ERaD7 concentration on type 1 EC outcome.
METHODS: Functional in vitro experiments for HNRNPG and HTRA2-BETA1 in regard to the regulatory impact on endogenous and exogenous ERaD7 splicing were performed. Additionally, real-time PCR determined mRNA levels of ERaD7, HNRNPG and HTRA2-BETA1 in 116 type 1 EC patients.
RESULTS: HNRNPG and HTRA2-BETA1 were found to be specific regulators of ERa exon7 splicing. While HTRA2-BETA1 promoted exon7 inclusion, HNRNPG antagonized this effect by inducing exon7 skipping (p = 0.004). ERaD7 was detected in 71 out of 116 type 1 EC specimens. Statistical analyses revealed an inverse correlation between ERaD7 mRNA levels and tumor grading (p = 0.029), FIGO stage (p = 0.033) as well as lymph node metastases (p = 0.032), respectively. Furthermore, higher ERaD7 expression could be correlated to an improved disease-specific survival (p = 0.034).
CONCLUSIONS: Our study demonstrates antagonistic regulatory effects of HNRNPG and HTRA2-BETA1 on ERa exon7 splicing with potential impact on type 1 EC clinical outcome due to the consecutively variable expression levels of the ERa isoform D7.

Lee WS, Park YL, Kim N, et al.
Myeloid cell leukemia-1 regulates the cell growth and predicts prognosis in gastric cancer.
Int J Oncol. 2015; 46(5):2154-62 [PubMed] Related Publications
The expression of myeloid cell leukemia-1 (Mcl‑1), a member of the anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 protein family, has been associated with tumor progression and adverse patient outcome. The aims of current study were to evaluate whether Mcl-1 affects the survival or death of gastric cancer cells, and to investigate the prognostic value of its expression in gastric cancer. PcDNA3.1-Mcl-1 expression and Mcl-1 siRNA vectors were used to overexpress and silence Mcl-1 expression in gastric cancer cell lines including SNU638 and TMK1, respectively. Immunohistochemistry was used to determine the expression of Mcl-1 in gastric cancer tissues. Apoptosis was determined by the TUNEL assay, and cell proliferation was determined by immunostaining with a Ki-67 antibody. Mcl-1 knockdown induced apoptosis through the upregulation of caspase-3, and -7, and PARP activity, and the release of Smac/DIABLO and Omi/HtrA2 into the cytoplasm. Additionally, cell cycle arrest occurred due to decrease of cyclin D1, cell division cycle gene 2 (cdc2), and cyclin-dependent kinase 4 and 6. In contrast, overexpression of Mcl-1 inhibited apoptosis and cell cycle arrest. Mcl-1 knockdown did not suppress tumor cell proliferation in gastric cancer cells, whereas overexpression of Mcl-1 enhanced tumor cell proliferation. The JAK2 and STAT3 signaling cascades were significantly blocked by Mcl-1 knockdown. The mean Ki-67 labeling index (KI) value of Mcl-1 positive tumors was significantly lower than that of Mcl-1 negative tumors. However, there was no significant difference between Mcl-1 expression and the apoptotic index (AI). Mcl-1 expression was significantly increased in gastric cancer tissues compared to normal gastric mucosa tissues, and was associated with age, tumor size, stage, depth of invasion, lymph node metastasis and poor survival. Our study showed that Mcl-1 regulates the cell growth and might be a potential prognostic marker for gastric cancer.

Yang M, Li L, Wang J, et al.
Heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoproteins (hnRNPs) and human transformer-2-beta1 (hTra2-beta1)-regulated estrogen receptor-alpha improves prognosis of endometrial cancer.
Eur J Gynaecol Oncol. 2014; 35(6):701-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE OF INVESTIGATION: Heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein (hnRNP) family possesses decreasing effect towards endometrial cancer (EC) and human transformer-2-betal (hTra2-betal) performs an intimate relationship with EC, either. Recent study shows that hnRNPs and hTra2-betal regulate the genetic expression, which is concerned with estrogen receptor (ER).
MATERIALS AND METHODS: The present study was designed to investigate the link between ER and hnRNPs or hTra2-betal in the prognosis of EC patients by Real-time PCR and immunohistochemisty (IHC).
RESULTS: Results showed that ER protein expression presented a significant change in the recurrence and outcome of EC patients, and the nucleus hTra2-betal protein expression was also increased in the recurrent patients, indicating that the three might be important in ER expression in the prognosis therapy of EC patients.
CONCLUSION: The present findings provide an insight of pharmaceutical targeting therapy and prognosis of EC.

Xu Z, Chen Y, Xu G, et al.
Omi/HtrA2 pro-apoptotic marker differs in various hepatocellular carcinoma cell lines owing to ped/pea-15 expression level.
Oncol Rep. 2015; 33(2):905-12 [PubMed] Related Publications
Omi/HtrA2 promotes cell apoptosis in human cancer cells. Early studies showed that primary hepatocellular carcinoma requires Omi/HtrA2 expression for cell apoptosis. Additionally, the Omi/HtrA2 pro-apoptotic marker demonstrated a difference in some cell types. However, how the Omi/HtrA2 pro-apoptotic marker reacts during the process of hepatocellular carcinoma cell apoptosis remains to be determined. Thus, we investigated the role and possible mechanism of Omi/HtrA2 on hepatocellular carcinoma cell apoptosis using various hepatocellular carcinoma cell lines. The results were analyzed using RT‑qPCR and western blot analysis. In the present study, we found that Omi/HtrA2 was overexpressed in hepatocellular carcinoma cell lines and induced hepatocellular carcinoma cell apoptosis. Additiionally, the only manner in which Omi/HtrA2 participated in cell death in PLC cells may be dependent on IAP-binding. Omi/HtrA2‑inducing HepG2 cell apoptosis may mainly depend on its serine protease activity while both IAP-binding and its serine protease activity participated in Hep3B cell apoptosis. This result suggested that Omi/HtrA2 pro-apoptotic marker differs in various hepatocellular carcinoma cell lines. PLC cells were also devoid of the expression of ped/pea-15 as the substrate of Omi/HtrA2 serine protease while ped/pea-15 was overexpressed in HepG2 and Hep3B cells and ped/pea-15 expression was higher in HepG2 cells than that in Hep3B cells. These results showed that Omi/HtrA2 overexpression promotes hepatocellular carcinoma cell apoptosis and the ped/pea-15 expression level causes this difference of the Omi/HtrA2 pro-apoptotic marker in the various hepatocellular carcinoma cell lines.

Patil KS, Basak I, Lee S, et al.
PARK13 regulates PINK1 and subcellular relocation patterns under oxidative stress in neurons.
J Neurosci Res. 2014; 92(9):1167-77 [PubMed] Related Publications
Parkinson's disease (PD) is a progressive and irreversible neurodegenerative disorder coupled to selective degeneration of dopamine-producing neurons in the substantia nigra. The majority of PD incidents are sporadic, but monogenic cases account for 5-10% of cases. Mutations in PINK1 cause autosomal recessive forms of early-onset PD, and PINK1 stimulates Omi/HtrA2/PARK13 protease activity when both proteins act as neuroprotective components in the same stress pathway. Studies on PINK1 and PARK13 have concentrated on phosphorylation-dependent PINK1-mediated activation of PARK13 and mitochondrial functions, because both proteins are classically viewed as mitochondrial. Although PARK13-mediated protective mechanisms are at least in part regulated by PINK1, little is known concerning how these two proteins are regulated in different subcellular compartments or, indeed, the influence of PARK13 on PINK1 characteristics. We show that PARK13 localizes to a variety of subcellular locations in neuronal cells and that PINK1, although more restrictive, also localizes to locations other than those previously reported. We demonstrate that PARK13 accumulation leads to a concomitant accumulation of PINK1 and that the increase in PINK1 levels is compartmental specific, indicating a correlative relationship between the two proteins. Moreover, we show that PARK13 and PINK1 protein levels accumulate in response to H2 O2 and L-DOPA treatments in a subcellular fashion and that both proteins show relocation to the cytoskeleton in response to H2 O2 . This H2 O2 -mediated relocation is abolished by PARK13 overexpression. This study shows that PARK13 and PINK1 are subcellular-specific, but dynamic, proteins with a reciprocal molecular relationship providing new insight into the complexity of PD.

Zhang F, Yu T, Yi CL, Sun XF
Radiation-inducible HtrA2 gene enhances radiosensitivity of uveal melanoma OCM-1 cells in vitro and in vivo.
Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2014; 42(8):761-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: To explore an effective approach for the treatment of patients with uveal melanomas, we designed a strategy that combines HtrA2 gene therapy and radiation therapy.
METHODS: pIRES-Egr1-Omi/HtrA2 (pEgr1-HtrA2) recombinant plasmids were constructed and transfected into human uveal melanoma cells (OCM-1) in vitro. The transfected cells were exposed to irradiation. HtrA2 messenger RNA and protein level was detected by quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction and Western blot, respectively. Combined with radiation, assays that evaluated the apoptotic inducibility caused by HtrA2 gene therapy was performed by flow cytometry. Followingly, the effects of HtrA2 overexpression on the in vitro radiosensitivity of uveal melanoma cells were investigated by clonogenic formation assay. The in vivo effects of HtrA2 gene therapy combined with radiation therapy were evaluated in different groups.
RESULTS: The recombinant plasmids could be successfully transferred into OCM-1 cells, and transfection of pEgr1-HtrA2 plasmids combined with radiotherapy caused dramatically elevation of HtrA2 compared with non-irradiated cells in messenger RNA and protein levels, which was associated with increased apoptosis. Furthermore, we observed that the transfection of pEgr1-HtrA2 could significantly enhance radiosensitivity of OCM-1 cell in vitro. In mice bearing xenograft tumours, pEgr1-HtrA2 combined with radiation therapy significantly inhibited tumour growth compared with the other treatment groups (P < 0.01).
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings indicate that radiation-inducible gene therapy may have potential to be a more effective and specific therapy for uveal melanoma because the therapeutic gene can be spatially or temporally controlled by exogenous radiation.

Krasieva TB, Stringari C, Liu F, et al.
Two-photon excited fluorescence lifetime imaging and spectroscopy of melanins in vitro and in vivo.
J Biomed Opt. 2013; 18(3):31107 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Changes in the amounts of cellular eumelanin and pheomelanin have been associated with carcinogenesis. The goal of this work is to develop methods based on two-photon-excited-fluorescence (TPEF) for measuring relative concentrations of these compounds. We acquire TPEF emission spectra (λ(ex)=1000  nm) of melanin in vitro from melanoma cells, hair specimens, and in vivo from healthy volunteers. We find that the pheomelanin emission peaks at approximately 615 to 625 nm and eumelanin exhibits a broad maximum at 640 to 680 nm. Based on these data we define an optical melanin index (OMI) as the ratio of fluorescence intensities at 645 and 615 nm. The measured OMI for the MNT-1 melanoma cell line is 1.6 ± 0.22 while the Mc1R gene knockdown lines MNT-46 and MNT-62 show substantially greater pheomelanin production (OMI=0.5 ± 0.05 and 0.17 ± 0.03, respectively). The measured values are in good agreement with chemistry-based melanin extraction methods. In order to better separate melanin fluorescence from other intrinsic fluorophores, we perform fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy of in vitro specimens. The relative concentrations of keratin, eumelanin, and pheomelanin components are resolved using a phasor approach for analyzing lifetime data. Our results suggest that a noninvasive TPEF index based on spectra and lifetime could potentially be used for rapid melanin ratio characterization both in vitro and in vivo.

Reiman A, Lu X, Seabra L, et al.
Gene expression and protein array studies of folliculin-regulated pathways.
Anticancer Res. 2012; 32(11):4663-70 [PubMed] Related Publications
The familial cancer syndrome Birt-Hogg-Dube syndrome is characterised by the development of skin (fibrofolliculomas) and renal tumours (and lung cysts) and is caused by mutations in the FLCN tumour suppressor gene. Though the FLCN gene product (folliculin) has been linked to the regulation of a variety of signalling pathways (e.g. the mTOR, AMPK, TGFbeta and hyoxia-responsive genes) the precise function of the folliculin protein is not well-defined. In order to identify potential novel pathways linked to folliculin function we analysed paired isogenic folliculin-deficient and folliculin-expressing cell lines by gene expression and protein (Kinexus) arrays. Gene expression microarray analysis in the folliculin +/- non-renal cancer line (FTC133), revealed 708 differentially expressed targets (fold change >2 and p<0.001) with enrichment of genes in the cadherin and Wnt signalling pathways. Comparison of the differentially expressed genes in the FTC133 datasets and previously reported gene expression data for a folliculin-deficient renal tumour and the UOK257 renal cell carcinoma cell line, revealed that RAB27B was dysregulated in all three datasets (increased expression in folliculin-deficient cells). The Kinexus protein array analysis suggested 73 candidate, differentially expressed, proteins and further investigation by western blot analysis of 5 candidates that were also differentially expressed in the FTC133 gene expression microarray data, revealed that EIF2AK2 (PKR) and CASP1 were reduced and PLCG2 was increased in folliculin-deficient FTC133 cells and in a BHD renal tumour. In view of the role of CASP1 in apoptosis we investigated whether other apoptosis-related proteins might be regulated by folliculin and found increased levels of SMAC/Diablo and HtrA2 in folliculin-expressing FTC133 cells. These findings identify novel pathways and targets linked to folliculin tumour suppressor activity.

Zurawa-Janicka D, Kobiela J, Galczynska N, et al.
Changes in expression of human serine protease HtrA1, HtrA2 and HtrA3 genes in benign and malignant thyroid tumors.
Oncol Rep. 2012; 28(5):1838-44 [PubMed] Related Publications
Human HtrA proteins are serine proteases involved in essential physiological processes. HtrA1 and HtrA3 function as tumor suppressors and inhibitors of the TGF-β signaling pathway. HtrA2 regulates mitochondrial homeostasis and plays a pivotal role in the induction of apoptosis. The aim of the study was to determine whether the HtrA proteins are involved in thyroid carcinogenesis. We used the immunoblotting technique to estimate protein levels of HtrA1, HtrA2, long and short variants of HtrA3 (HtrA3-L and HtrA3-S) and TGF-β1 in tissues of benign and malignant thyroid lesions, and control groups. We found that the levels of HtrA2 and HtrA3-S were higher in thyroid malignant tumors compared to normal tissues and benign tumors. The HtrA3-L level was increased in malignant tumor tissues compared to benign tumor tissues and control tissues from patients with benign lesions, and elevated in normal tissues from patients with thyroid carcinoma compared to normal tissues from patients with benign lesions. We also compared levels of HtrA proteins in follicular thyroid carcinoma (FTC) and papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) and found that these types of carcinoma differed in the expression of HtrA3-S and HtrA1. These results indicate the implication of HtrA proteins in thyroid carcinogenesis suggest that HtrA3 variants may play different roles in cancer development, and that the increased HtrA3-L levels in thyroid tissue could be correlated with the development of malignant lesions. The TGF-β1 levels in tumor tissues were not significantly altered compared to control tissues.

Yoshikawa Y, Morimatsu M, Ochiai K, et al.
Establishment of a PCR analysis method for canine BRCA2.
BMC Res Notes. 2012; 5:173 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Mammary tumors are the most common tumor type in both human and canine females. In women, carriers of mutations in BRCA2, a tumor suppressor gene product, have a higher risk of breast cancer. Canine BRCA2 has also been suggested to have a relationship with mammary tumors. However, clearly deleterious BRCA2 mutations have not been identified in any canine mammary tumors, as appropriate methods to detect mutations or a consensus BRCA2 sequence have not been reported.
FINDINGS: For amplification and sequencing of BRCA2, we designed 14 and 20 PCR primer sets corresponding to the BRCA2 open reading frame (ORF) and all 27 exons, respectively, including exon-intron boundaries of the canine BRCA2 regions, respectively. To define the consensus canine BRCA2 ORF sequence, we used established methods to sequence the full-length canine BRCA2 ORF sequence from two ovaries and a testis obtained from individual healthy mongrel dogs and partially sequence BRCA2 genomic sequences in 20-56 tumor-free dogs, each aged over 6 years. Subsequently, we compared these sequences and seven previously reported sequences, and defined the most common base sequences as the consensus canine BRCA2 ORF sequence. Moreover, we established a detection method for identifying splicing variants. Unexpectedly, we also identified novel splicing variants in normal testes during establishment of these methods.
CONCLUSIONS: The present analysis methods for determining the BRCA2 base sequence and for detecting BRCA2 splicing variants and the BRCA2 ORF consensus sequence are useful for better understanding the relationship between canine BRCA2 mutation status and cancer risk.

Omi Y, Shibata N, Okamoto T, et al.
The role of CD147 in the invasiveness of follicular thyroid carcinoma cells.
Thyroid. 2012; 22(4):383-94 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: In patients without metastases, capsular and vascular invasion must be noted to make the diagnosis of follicular thyroid carcinoma (FTC). Some patients are initially diagnosed as follicular adenoma (FA) but develop metastases, indicating the original lesion was FTC. A diagnostic marker for FTCs that appear to be FAs by conventional histopathology is urgently needed. CD147 is a transmembrane glycoprotein that induces matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and participates in carcinoma invasion. The objective of this study was to determine whether CD147 is upregulated in FTC and if measures directed against it could reduce the invasive activity of FTC cells.
METHODS: The expression levels of CD147, MMP-1, MMP-2, MMP-3, MMP-7, and MMP-9 in surgical specimens of normal thyroid (n=8), FA (n=20), and FTC (n=9) was determined using immunoblot and immunohistochemical techniques. CD147 protein expression levels of epithelial growth factor stimulated FTC-133 cell lines was measured by immunoblotting with and without cell signaling inhibitors such as wortmannin, PD98059, SP600125, and SB203580. This was also done after exposure to short-hairpin interference RNA directed against CD147.
RESULTS: Immunoblot analysis of thyroid tissues revealed significant increases in signals for CD147, MMP-3, MMP-7, and MMP-9 in FTC compared with FA or normal tissue, or both. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed colocalization of determinants of CD147 with those of all of MMPs studied, mainly in follicular cells in normal and neoplastic cells in FA and FTC; their immunoreactivities were to some extent more intense in the FTC than FA or normals. In FTC-133 cells, immunoreactive signals for CD147 were upregulated by epidermal growth factor (EGF), and the EGF-driven increases in CD147 were prevented by inhibitors against phosphoinositol-3 kinase (PI3K), extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase (ERK), or c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) but not p38. RNA interference targeted against CD147 reduced the invasive activity of FTC-133 cells and was associated with downregulation of MMP-2, MMP-3, MMP-7, and MMP-9.
CONCLUSIONS: These results provide in vivo evidence for CD147 upregulation in FTC and in vitro evidence for EGF-stimulated CD147 induction via the PI3K, ERK, and JNK pathways. They suggest the involvement of CD147 in the invasiveness of FTC cells via regulation of MMPs.

Airiau K, Mahon FX, Josselin M, et al.
ABT-737 increases tyrosine kinase inhibitor-induced apoptosis in chronic myeloid leukemia cells through XIAP downregulation and sensitizes CD34(+) CD38(-) population to imatinib.
Exp Hematol. 2012; 40(5):367-78.e2 [PubMed] Related Publications
Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) tumorigenicity is driven by the oncogenic BCR-ABL tyrosine kinase. Specific tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI) have been designed and are now used for the treatment of CML. These TKI induce apoptosis in leukemic cells in a BIM-dependent mechanism. We hypothesized that an increase in BIM activity could sensitize CML cells to TKI. We blocked the anti-apoptotic proteins of the Bcl-2 family by using ABT-737, a Bcl-2 and Bcl-XL inhibitor. ABT-737 modified Bcl-2 protein interactions toward a pro-apoptotic phenotype. Its combination with TKI resulted in a strong synergism in CML cell lines. The association also induced a large decrease in X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis (XIAP), followed by caspase-3 activation. This XIAP decrease was due to post-translational events. The mitochondrial serine protease HtrA2/Omi was identified as being responsible for this off-target effect. Then, ABT-737 and TKI cooperate at several levels to induce apoptosis of CML cells lines, and the benefit of this association was also observed in CML hematopoietic progenitors. Interestingly, a lethal effect was also observed in the more immature CD34(+)CD38(-) TKI-insensitive population. Combination therapy might by an interesting strategy for the treatment of CML patients.

Xu Z, Chen X, Peng C, et al.
Hypoxia-inducible factor-1alpha suppressed hepatocellular carcinoma cell apoptosis through influencing on Omi/HtrA2 expression and its releasing from the mitochondrion.
Oncol Res. 2012; 20(5-6):213-20 [PubMed] Related Publications
Hypoxia-inducible factor-1alpha (HIF-1alpha) plays an important role in regulating hepatoma cell apoptosis. However, conclusions of different studies about the effects of HIF-1alpha expression on hepatoma cell apoptosis remain controversial. Omi/HtrA2 promotes cell apoptosis in some human cancer cells. Our previous experiments have demonstrated that primary hepatocellular carcinoma may need Omi/HtrA2 expression for cell apoptosis. Thus, we investigated the effect of HIF-1alpha on hepatocellular carcinoma cell apoptosis and Omi/ HtrA2 expression. In our study we found that HIF-1alpha gene could suppress hepatoma cell apoptosis, and Omi/HtrA2 mRNA and protein expression decreased with HIF-1alpha expression increase while Bcl-2 mRNA and protein expression increased with HIF-1alpha expression increase in HepG2 cells under normoxia condition. Meanwhile, Omi/HtrA2 protein expression increased with HIF-1alpha expression decrease in HepG2 cells under hypoxia culture. Taken together, these results demonstrated that HIF-1alpha suppressed hepatocellular carcinoma cell apoptosis through inhibiting Omi/HtrA2 expression and upregulating Bcl-2 expression to impede Omi/ HtrA2 releasing from the mitochondrion. The present finding further enriched and supported the role of HIF-1alpha expression on cell apoptosis of hepatoma cells.

Ise N, Omi K, Nambara D, et al.
Overexpressed HER2 in NSCLC is a possible therapeutic target of EGFR inhibitors.
Anticancer Res. 2011; 31(12):4155-61 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: "Oncogene addiction" is a concept in which tumor cells exhibit dependence on certain oncogene(s) for their sustained proliferation and survival, thus providing the rationale for molecular targeted therapies. Cancer cells addicted to epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) bear activated mutations in the EGFR gene, and these mutations are used as the markers for predicting carcinomas susceptible to EGFR inhibitors such as gefitinib and erlotinib. However, other unknown mechanisms underlying susceptibility to EGFR inhibitors have also been suggested.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: The susceptibility of non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cell lines to EGFR inhibitors and the pattern of their oncogene addiction was examined. The effect of EGFR inhibitors on the activation of the oncogene was analyzed. The possible use of the oncogene protein expression as a biomarker was assessed.
RESULTS: HER2 addicted, non-EGFR expressing NSCLC cell line NCI-H2170 was susceptible to EGFR inhibitors. EGFR inhibitor treatment led to markedly decreased phosphorylation levels of activated HER2 and its downstream effector AKT. Furthermore, the soluble form of HER2 was secreted by NCI-H2170 cells and was positively detected in the blood of xenografted mice.
CONCLUSION: HER2 seems to be a valid therapeutic target of EGFR inhibitors in HER2-addicted lung carcinomas, and soluble HER2 may be an effective biomarker to guide the appropriate treatment of such cancer cells.

Yoo BH, Wang Y, Erdogan M, et al.
Oncogenic ras-induced down-regulation of pro-apoptotic protease caspase-2 is required for malignant transformation of intestinal epithelial cells.
J Biol Chem. 2011; 286(45):38894-903 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Resistance of carcinoma cells to anoikis, apoptosis that is normally induced by loss of cell-to-extracellular matrix adhesion, is thought to be essential for the ability of these cells to form primary tumors, invade adjacent tissues, and metastasize to distant organs. Current knowledge about the mechanisms by which cancer cells evade anoikis is far from complete. In an effort to understand these mechanisms, we found that ras, a major oncogene, down-regulates protease caspase-2 (which initiates certain steps of the cellular apoptotic program) in malignant human and rat intestinal epithelial cells. This down-regulation could be reversed by inhibition of a protein kinase Mek, a mediator of Ras signaling. We also found that enforced down-regulation of caspase-2 in nonmalignant intestinal epithelial cells by RNA interference protected them from anoikis. Furthermore, the reversal of the effect of Ras on caspase-2 achieved by the expression of exogenous caspase-2 in detached ras-transformed intestinal epithelial cells promoted well established apoptotic events, such as the release of the pro-apoptotic mitochondrial factors cytochrome c and HtrA2/Omi into the cytoplasm of these cells, significantly enhanced their anoikis susceptibility, and blocked their long term growth in the absence of adhesion to the extracellular matrix. Finally, the blockade of the effect of Ras on caspase-2 substantially suppressed growth of tumors formed by the ras-transformed cells in mice. We conclude that ras-induced down-regulation of caspase-2 represents a novel mechanism by which oncogenic Ras protects malignant intestinal epithelial cells from anoikis, promotes their anchorage-independent growth, and allows them to form tumors in vivo.

Matsumoto G, Omi Y, Lee U, et al.
NK4 gene therapy combined with cisplatin inhibits tumour growth and metastasis of squamous cell carcinoma.
Anticancer Res. 2011; 31(1):105-11 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: NK4 inhibits vascularisation in tumour tissues, thereby arresting tumour growth. However, the antitumour efficacy of individual antiangiogenic molecules expressed in vivo is not sufficiently potent to induce regression in animal models. One of the strategies to overcome this disadvantage is to use chemotherapy.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: This study evaluated the efficacy of combining NK4 gene therapy with cisplatin to treat experimental squamous cell carcinomas. For gene therapy, biodegradable cationised gelatin microspheres were used for the controlled release of NK4 plasmid DNA.
RESULTS: A combined regimen of antiangiogenic gene therapy and low-dose cisplatin led to a marked decrease in tumour volume and vascularity, and caused increased apoptosis compared to NK4 gene therapy alone. Moreover, combination treatment of NK4 gene therapy and low-dose cisplatin dramatically inhibited the formation of lung metastases.
CONCLUSION: NK4 gene therapy combined with low-dose cisplatin may be an effective regimen for treating oral squamous cell carcinoma.

Balakrishnan MP, Cilenti L, Ambivero C, et al.
THAP5 is a DNA-binding transcriptional repressor that is regulated in melanoma cells during DNA damage-induced cell death.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2011; 404(1):195-200 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
THAP5 was originally isolated as a specific interactor and substrate of the mitochondrial pro-apoptotic Omi/HtrA2 protease. It is a human zinc finger protein characterized by a restricted pattern of expression and the lack of orthologs in mouse and rat. The biological function of THAP5 is unknown but our previous studies suggest it could regulate G2/M transition in kidney cells and could be involved in human cardiomyocyte cell death associated with coronary artery disease (CAD). In this report, we expanded our studies on the properties and function of THAP5 in human melanoma cells. THAP5 was expressed in primary human melanocytes as well as in all melanoma cell lines that were tested. THAP5 protein level was significantly induced by UV irradiation or cisplatin treatment, conditions known to cause DNA damage. The induction of THAP5 correlated with a significant increase in apoptotic cell death. In addition, we show that THAP5 is a nuclear protein that could recognize and bind a specific DNA motif. THAP5 could also repress the transcription of a reporter gene in a heterologous system. Our work suggests that THAP5 is a DNA-binding protein and a transcriptional repressor. Furthermore, THAP5 has a pro-apoptotic function and it was induced in melanoma cells under conditions that promoted cell death.

Hartkamp J, Roberts SG
HtrA2, taming the oncogenic activities of WT1.
Cell Cycle. 2010; 9(13):2508-14 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Wilms' tumour is a paediatric malignancy of the kidneys and is one of the most common solid childhood cancers. The Wilms' tumour 1 protein (WT1) is a transcription factor that can either activate or repress genes involved in growth, apoptosis and differentiation. It is frequently mutated or aberrantly expressed in Wilms' tumour, where the wild type protein would normally act as a tumour suppressor. Several studies, however, have found that wild type WT1 acts as an oncogene in adult tumours, primarily through the inhibition of apoptosis. The expression of WT1 correlates with the aggressiveness of several adult cancers, and its continued expression following treatment is indicative of a poor outcome.We recently found that the treatment of tumour cell lines with cytotoxic drugs leads to the cleavage of WT1 by the serine protease HtrA2. HtrA2 binds to a specific region of WT1, the suppression domain, and then cleaves WT1 at multiple sites. The HtrA2-mediated proteolysis of WT1 leads to its removal from gene promoter regions and changes in gene expression. Cleavage of WT1 by HtrA2 enhances apoptosis. This event is advantageous to the treatment of adult tumours where WT1 acts as an oncogene. However, when WT1 is acting as a tumour suppressor in paediatric malignancies, proteolysis by HtrA2 would be antagonistic to therapy.

Essafi A, Hastie ND
WT1 the oncogene: a tale of death and HtrA.
Mol Cell. 2010; 37(2):153-5 [PubMed] Related Publications
Here, Hartkamp et al. (2010) identify WT1 as a novel bona fide substrate of the HtrA2/Omi mitochondrial protease and show that this reaction modulates WT1 antiapoptotic activity under cytotoxic stress. This supports an oncogenic function for WT1, with implications for novel chemotherapeutic avenues.

Chien J, Campioni M, Shridhar V, Baldi A
HtrA serine proteases as potential therapeutic targets in cancer.
Curr Cancer Drug Targets. 2009; 9(4):451-68 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The human HtrA family of serine proteases consists of four members: HtrA1, HtrA2, HtrA3 and HtrA4. Although prokaryotic HtrA proteins are well characterized in their dual roles as chaperones and proteases that degrade misfolded proteins in the periplasm, some members of mammalian HtrA proteins are described as potential modulators of programmed cell death and chemotherapy-induced cytotoxicity. Goal of this review article is to describe the molecular alterations associated with these HtrA serine proteases and how these alterations may be associated with tumor behavior and response to chemotherapy. We will also discuss evidence that chemotherapeutic drugs regulate the expression and activation of HtrA serine proteases and that these proteases contributes to programmed cell death. Finally, we will discuss the potential role of epigenetic therapy in targeting the expression and activation of HtrA serine proteases and the mechanisms by which these proteases enhance cytotoxic effect of conventional chemotherapy.

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