Gene Summary

Gene:MAPK14; mitogen-activated protein kinase 14
Aliases: RK, p38, CSBP, EXIP, Mxi2, CSBP1, CSBP2, CSPB1, PRKM14, PRKM15, SAPK2A, p38ALPHA
Summary:The protein encoded by this gene is a member of the MAP kinase family. MAP kinases act as an integration point for multiple biochemical signals, and are involved in a wide variety of cellular processes such as proliferation, differentiation, transcription regulation and development. This kinase is activated by various environmental stresses and proinflammatory cytokines. The activation requires its phosphorylation by MAP kinase kinases (MKKs), or its autophosphorylation triggered by the interaction of MAP3K7IP1/TAB1 protein with this kinase. The substrates of this kinase include transcription regulator ATF2, MEF2C, and MAX, cell cycle regulator CDC25B, and tumor suppressor p53, which suggest the roles of this kinase in stress related transcription and cell cycle regulation, as well as in genotoxic stress response. Four alternatively spliced transcript variants of this gene encoding distinct isoforms have been reported. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2008]
Databases:OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:mitogen-activated protein kinase 14
Source:NCBIAccessed: 31 August, 2019


What does this gene/protein do?
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Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

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

Literature Analysis

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Tag cloud generated 31 August, 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: MAPK14 (cancer-related)

Yue CH, Liu JY, Chi CS, et al.
Myeloid Zinc Finger 1 (MZF1) Maintains the Mesenchymal Phenotype by Down-regulating IGF1R/p38 MAPK/ERα Signaling Pathway in High-level MZF1-expressing TNBC cells.
Anticancer Res. 2019; 39(8):4149-4164 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND/AIM: Signaling regulation of myeloid zinc finger 1 (MZF1) has been implicated in the progression of many human malignancies; however, the mechanistic action of MZF1 in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) progression remains elusive. In this study, the aim was to investigate the molecular mechanisms of MZF1 and its functional role in TNBC cellular migration and invasion.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Hs578T and MDA-MB-231 cells were transfected to stably express the acidic domain of MZF1 (MZF1
RESULTS: Herein, we found that MZF1 in high-level MZF1-expressing TNBC cells is associated with cell migration, invasion, and mesenchymal phenotype. MZF1 interacted with the promoter region of insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor (IGF1R) to drive invasion and metastasis of high-level MZF1-expressing TNBC cells. Exogenous expression of the acidic domain of MZF1 repressed the binding of endogenous MZF1 to IGF1R promoter via blocking the interaction with ETS-like gene 1 (ELK1). This blockage not only caused MZF1 protein degradation, but also restrained ELK1 nuclear localization in high-level MZF1-expressing TNBC cells. MZF1, but not ELK1, was necessary for the retention of mesenchymal phenotype by repressing IGF1R promoter activity in TNBC cells expressing high levels of MZF1. Activation of the IGF1R-driven p38MAPK-ERα-slug-E-cadherin signaling axis mediated the conversion of mesenchymal cell to epithelial phenotype, caused by MZF1 destabilization. These results suggest that MZF1 is an oncogenic inducer.
CONCLUSION: Blocking of the MZF1/ELK1 interaction to reduce MZF1 protein stability by saturating the endogenous MZF1/ELK1 binding domains might be a promising therapeutic strategy for the treatment of high-level MZF1-expressing TNBC.

Wu TK, Chen CH, Pan YR, et al.
Cetrimonium Bromide Inhibits Cell Migration and Invasion of Human Hepatic SK-HEP-1 Cells Through Modulating the Canonical and Non-canonical TGF-β Signaling Pathways.
Anticancer Res. 2019; 39(7):3621-3631 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND/AIM: Cetrimonium bromide (CTAB), a quaternary ammonium surfactant, is an antiseptic agent against bacteria and fungi. However, the mechanisms by which its pharmacological actions affect epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells, such as adenocarcinoma in SK-HEP-1 cells, have not been investigated. We, thereby, investigated whether CTAB inhibits cellular mobility and invasiveness of human hepatic adenocarcinoma in SK-HEP-1 cells.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: SK-HEP-1 cells were treated with CTAB, and subsequent migration and invasion were measured by wound healing and transwell assays. Protein expression was detected by immunoblotting analysis.
RESULTS: Our data revealed that treatment of SK-HEP-1 cells with CTAB altered their mesenchymal spindle-like morphology. CTAB exerted inhibitory effects on the migration and invasion of SK-HEP-1 cells dose-dependently, and reduced protein levels of matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2), MMP-9, snail, slug, twist, vimentin, fibronectin, N-cadherin, Smad2, Smad3, Smad4, phosphoinositide-3-kinase (PI3K), p-PI3K, Akt, p-Akt, β-catenin, mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), p-mTOR, p-p70S6K, p-extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERK)1/2, p-p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and p-c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK), but increased protein levels of tissue inhibitor matrix metalloproteinase-1 (TIMP-1), TIMP-2, claudin-1 and p-GSK3β. Based on these observations, we suggest that CTAB not only inhibits the canonical transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) signaling pathway though reducing SMADs (an acronym from the fusion of Caenorhabditis elegans Sma genes and the Drosophila Mad, Mothers against decapentaplegic proteins), but also restrains the non-canonical TGF-β signaling including MAPK pathways like ERK1/2, p38 MAPK, JNK and PI3K.
CONCLUSION: CTAB is involved in the suppression of TGF-β-mediated mesenchymal phenotype and could be a potent medical agent for use in controlling the migration and invasion of hepatic adenocarcinoma.

Xu F, Song Y, Guo A
Anti-Apoptotic Effects of Docosahexaenoic Acid in IL-1β-Induced Human Chondrosarcoma Cell Death through Involvement of the MAPK Signaling Pathway.
Cytogenet Genome Res. 2019; 158(1):17-24 [PubMed] Related Publications
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative disease characterized by progressive articular cartilage destruction and joint marginal osteophyte formation with different degrees of synovitis. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is an unsaturated fatty acid with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antiapoptotic functions. In this study, the human chondrosarcoma cell line SW1353 was cultured in vitro, and an OA cell model was constructed with inflammatory factor IL-1β stimulation. After cells were treated with DHA, cell apoptosis was measured. Western blot assay was used to detect protein expression of apoptosis-related factors (Bax, Bcl-2, and cleaved caspase-3) and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling pathway family members, including extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), c-JUN N-terminal kinase (JNK), and p38 MAPK. Our results show that IL-1β promotes the apoptosis of SW1353 cells, increases the expression of Bax and cleaved caspase-3, and activates the MAPK signaling pathway. In contrast, DHA inhibits the expression of IL-1β, inhibits IL-1β-induced cell apoptosis, and has a certain inhibitory effect on the activation of the MAPK signaling pathway. When the MAPK signaling pathway is inhibited by its inhibitors, the effects of DHA on SW1353 cells are weakened. Thus, DHA enhances the apoptosis of SW1353 cells through the MAPK signaling pathway.

Gao S, Wang J, Tian S, Luo J
miR‑9 depletion suppresses the proliferation of osteosarcoma cells by targeting p16.
Int J Oncol. 2019; 54(6):1921-1932 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Osteosarcoma (OS) is a common primary malignancy in adolescents and children. MicroRNAs (miRNAs or miRs) can regulate the progression of OS. Herein, we explored the target genes and effects of miR‑9 in OS. Cell growth, colony formation and cell cycle were respectively examined using a cell counting kit‑8 (CCK‑8), crystal violet staining and flow cytometry. The target gene of miR‑9 was predicted according to the website. Luciferase activity was examined using a dual luciferase reporter gene assay kit. The corresponding factors levels were analyzed by carrying out reverse transcription‑quantitative PCR (RT‑qPCR) and western blot analysis. A mouse model of OS was also established and the volume and weight of the tumors of the mice with OS were measured. The levels of p16 in the mice with OS were detected by immunohistochemistry (IHC). The data revealed a high expression of miR‑9 and a low expression of p16 in the OS tissue. p16 was found to be the target gene for miR‑9 in OS. miR‑9 depletion decreased the proliferation and colony formation of Saos‑2 cells by arresting the cells at the G1 phase, accompanied by the downregulation of cyclin A, cyclin D1 and c‑Myc expression levels. Moreover, miR‑9 depletion inhibited the phosphorylation of p38, c‑Jun N‑terminal kinase (JNK) and extracellular signal‑regulated kinase (ERK). In vivo, miR‑9 depletion decreased the tumor volume and weight and increased p16 expression in the mouse tumor tissues. Nevertheless, p16 silencing reversed the suppressive effects of miR‑9 inhibitors on OS cells. On the whole, the findings of this study substantiate that miR‑9 depletion suppresses cell proliferation by targeting p16 in OS and by mediating the activation of the ERK/p38/JNK pathway.

Cheng J, Li Y, Kong J
Ginkgetin inhibits proliferation of HeLa cells via activation of p38/NF-κB pathway.
Cell Mol Biol (Noisy-le-grand). 2019; 65(4):79-82 [PubMed] Related Publications
Effect of ginkgetin on proliferation of human cervical cancer (HeLa) cells and the underlying mechanism   were investigated. Human cervical cancer (HeLa) cells were cultured at 37 °C in 10 % fetal bovine serum (FBS) supplemented RPMI 1640 medium in a humidified incubator containing 5 % CO2. Cell proliferation was determined using MTT assay, while real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) were used to determine the levels of expression of interleukin 1β (IL-1β), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and interleukin 8 (IL-8). The expressions of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinases (p38 MAPK) and nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF- κB) were determined using Western blotting. Treatment of HeLa cells with ginkgetin significantly and time- and dose-dependently inhibited their proliferation (p < 0.05). The invasion of the cells were also significantly and dose-dependently decreased, when compared with control cells (p < 0.05). The expressions of p-p38 and p-NF-κB were significantly and dose-dependently down-regulated, relative to control group (p < 0.05). However, the expressions of p38 and NF-κB in ginkgetin-treated cells were not significantly different from those of control group (p > 0.05). The results of qRT-PCR and ELISA showed that the levels of expression of TNF-α, IL-1β and IL-8 mRNAs were significantly and dose-dependently reduced in HeLa cells after 48 h of treatment with ginkgetin, when compared with the control group (p < 0.05). The anti-proliferative effect of ginkgetin on HeLa cells is exerted via a mechanism involving the p38/NF-κB pathway.

Lee J, Kim DH, Kim JH
Combined administration of naringenin and hesperetin with optimal ratio maximizes the anti-cancer effect in human pancreatic cancer via down regulation of FAK and p38 signaling pathway.
Phytomedicine. 2019; 58:152762 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: We have previously reported the functional anti-cancer effects of the products of enzymatic hydrolysis of Citrus unshiu peel (εCUP) and fermented extraction of Citrus unshiu peel (ƒCUP) in human pancreatic cancer. Despite their different characteristics and effects, the underlying mechanism remains elusive.
PURPOSE: In this study, we further demonstrate the impact of ingredient contents of Citrus unshiu peel on the cancer's natural features.
METHODS: Anti-pancreatic cancer activities following combined treatment of naringenin and hesperetin were demonstrated in vitro and in vivo experiments.
RESULTS: Combined treatment with naringenin and hesperetin inhibited the growth of human pancreatic cancer cells (εCUP mimic condition, p < 0.001 for Miapaca-2 cells) through induction of caspase-3 cleavage compared to separate treatment with naringenin or hesperetin. Combined treatment with naringenin and hesperetin also inhibited the migration (εCUP mimic condition, p < 0.001 for Panc-1 cells) of human pancreatic cancer cells. The εCUP mimic condition had the most effective anti-cancer features; in contrast, which had no inhibitory effect on growth and migration of normal cells (HUVECs and Detroit551 cells). In addition, εCUP mimic condition inhibited the phosphorylation of focal adhesion kinase (FAK) and p38 signaling compared with separate treatment with naringenin or hesperetin. Of note, εCUP mimic condition showed a prominent anti-growth effect (p < 0.001) compared with control or ƒCUP mimic condition in vivo xenograft models.
CONCLUSION: These results suggest that combined treatment with naringenin and hesperetin might be a promising anti-cancer strategy for pancreatic cancers without eliciting toxicity on normal cells.

Kang FC, Wang SC, So EC, et al.
Propofol may increase caspase and MAPK pathways, and suppress the Akt pathway to induce apoptosis in MA‑10 mouse Leydig tumor cells.
Oncol Rep. 2019; 41(6):3565-3574 [PubMed] Related Publications
In the western world, there is an increasing trend of occurrence in testicular cancer. Treatment of malignant testicular cancer is primarily combined surgery with various chemical drugs. Propofol has been frequently used as an anesthetic and sedative induction agent, which could modulate different γ‑aminobutyric acid receptors in the central nervous system. Studies demonstrated that propofol activates endoplasmic reticulum stress to induce apoptosis in lung cancer. However, it remains elusive whether propofol regulates caspase and/or mitogen‑activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathways to induce apoptosis in Leydig tumor cells. In the present study, MA‑10 mouse Leydig tumor cells were treated with propofol, and possible signal pathways associated with apoptosis were investigated. Results demonstrated that increasing dosage of propofol (300‑600 µM) for 24 h significantly decreased cell viability in MA‑10 cells (P<0.05). In flow cytometry analysis, the amount of sub‑G1 phase cell numbers in MA‑10 cells was significantly increased by propofol (P<0.05). Additionally, Annexin V/propidium iodide double staining further confirmed that propofol could induce MA‑10 cell apoptosis. Furthermore, cleaved caspase‑8, ‑9 and ‑3, and/or poly(ADP‑ribose) polymerase were significantly activated following treatment of propofol in MA‑10 cells. In addition, c‑Jun N‑terminal kinase, extracellular signal‑regulated kinase 1/2, and p38 were significantly activated by propofol in MA‑10 cells (P<0.05), indicating that propofol may induce apoptosis through the MAPK pathway. Additionally, propofol diminished the phosphorylation of Akt to activate apoptosis in MA‑10 cells. In conclusion, propofol may induce MA‑10 cell apoptosis by activating caspase and MAPK pathways, and inhibiting the Akt pathway in MA‑10 cells, demonstrating that propofol may be a potential anticancer agent against Leydig cell cancer.

Ban Z, He J, Tang Z, et al.
LRG‑1 enhances the migration of thyroid carcinoma cells through promotion of the epithelial‑mesenchymal transition by activating MAPK/p38 signaling.
Oncol Rep. 2019; 41(6):3270-3280 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Leucine‑rich‑alpha‑2‑glycoprotein 1 (LRG‑1) has been reported to be associated with multiple malignancies. However, its participation in thyroid carcinoma progression remains unclear. In the present study, the biological function and underlying molecular mechanisms of LRG‑1 in thyroid carcinoma were investigated. It was found that LRG‑1 was overexpressed in thyroid carcinoma tissues, and high LRG‑1 expression predicted poor patient survival and late tumor stage. As shown in the mouse xenograft study, knockdown of LRG‑1 significantly attenuated thyroid cancer growth in vivo. Based on wound healing, Transwell, proliferation and apoptosis assays, it was found that the knockdown of LRG‑1, using shLRG‑1, inhibited cell migration and invasion, but did not affect proliferation and apoptosis in thyroid cancer cells. Furthermore, LRG‑1 also induced epithelial‑mesenchymal transition (EMT) in thyroid carcinoma cells. Western blot analysis revealed that this tumor‑promoting bioactivity of LRG‑1 was attributed to its selective activation of MAPK/p38 signaling. All of these findings indicate that LRG‑1 plays a deleterious role in the progression of thyroid carcinoma. LRG‑1 may serve as a promising biomarker for predicting prognosis in thyroid carcinoma patients, and LRG‑1‑based therapy may be developed into a novel strategy for the treatment of thyroid carcinoma.

Sur S, Nakanishi H, Steele R, Ray RB
Depletion of PCAT-1 in head and neck cancer cells inhibits tumor growth and induces apoptosis by modulating c-Myc-AKT1-p38 MAPK signalling pathways.
BMC Cancer. 2019; 19(1):354 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) represents one of the most common malignancies worldwide with a high mortality rate mainly due to lack of early detection markers, frequent association with metastasis and aggressive phenotype. Recently, long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) have been shown to have important regulatory roles in human cancers. The lncRNA prostate cancer-associated transcript 1 (PCAT-1) showed potential oncogenic roles in different cancers, however its role in HNSCC is not known. In this study, we evaluated the role of the PCAT-1 in HNSCC.
METHODS: The expression of PCAT-1 was measured by quantitative real-time PCR in 23 paired human HNSCC tissues and adjacent non-tumor tissue specimens. Cell proliferation after depleting PCAT-1 was determined. Effect of PCAT-1 depletion in HNSCC cell lines was determined by qRT-PCR and Western blot analyses. Finally, JHU029 HNSCC cells was implanted subcutaneously into athymic nude mice and therapeutic potential of PCAT-1 was investigated.
RESULTS: Up-regulation of PCAT-1 in TCGA dataset of HNSCC was noted. We also observed increased expression of PCAT-1 in archived HNSCC patient samples as compared to adjacent non-tumor tissues. Knockdown of PCAT-1 significantly reduced cell proliferation in HNSCC cell lines. Mechanistic study revealed significant down regulation of c-Myc and AKT1 gene in both RNA and protein levels upon knockdown of PCAT-1. We observed that c-Myc and AKT1 positively correlate with PCAT-1 expression in HNSCC. Further, we observed activation of p38 MAPK and apoptosis signal-regulating kinase 1 upon knockdown of PCAT-1 which induces Caspase 9 and PARP mediated apoptosis. Targeted inhibition of PCAT-1 regresses tumor growth in nude mice.
CONCLUSION: Together our data demonstrated an important role of the PCAT-1 in HNSCC and might serve as a target for HNSCC therapy.

Li S, Song Y, Quach C, et al.
Transcriptional regulation of autophagy-lysosomal function in BRAF-driven melanoma progression and chemoresistance.
Nat Commun. 2019; 10(1):1693 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Autophagy maintains homeostasis and is induced upon stress. Yet, its mechanistic interaction with oncogenic signaling remains elusive. Here, we show that in BRAF

Tiwari A, Mukherjee B, Hassan MK, et al.
Reduced FRG1 expression promotes prostate cancer progression and affects prostate cancer cell migration and invasion.
BMC Cancer. 2019; 19(1):346 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer in males and accounts for high cancer related deaths. Therapeutic advancement in prostate cancer has not been able to reduce the mortality burden of prostate cancer, which warrants further research. FRG1 which affects angiogenesis and cell migration in Xenopus, can be a potential player in tumorigenesis. In this study, we investigated the role of FRG1 in prostate cancer progression.
METHODS: Immunohistochemistry was performed to determine FRG1 expression in patient samples. FRG1 expression perturbation was done to investigate the effect of FRG1 on cell proliferation, migration and invasion, in DU145, PC3 and LNCaP cells. To understand the mechanism, we checked expression of various cytokines and MMPs by q-RT PCR, signaling molecules by western blot, in FRG1 perturbation sets. Results were validated by use of pharmacological inhibitor and activator and, western blot.
RESULTS: In prostate cancer tissue, FRG1 levels were significantly reduced, compared to the uninvolved counterpart. FRG1 expression showed variable effect on PC3 and DU145 cell proliferation. FRG1 levels consistently affected cell migration and invasion, in both DU145 and PC3 cells. Ectopic expression of FRG1 led to significant reduction in cell migration and invasion in both DU145 and PC3 cells, reverse trends were observed with FRG1 knockdown. In androgen receptor positive cell line LNCaP, FRG1 doesn't affect any of the cell properties. FRG1 knockdown led to significantly enhanced expression of GM-CSF, MMP1, PDGFA and CXCL1, in PC3 cells and, in DU145, it led to higher expression of GM-CSF, MMP1 and PLGF. Interestingly, FRG1 knockdown in both the cell lines led to activation of p38 MAPK. Pharmacological activation of p38 MAPK led to increase in the expression of GM-CSF and PLGF in DU145 whereas in PC3 it led to enhanced expression of GM-CSF, MMP1 and CXCL1. On the other hand, inhibition of p38 MAPK led to reduction in the expression of above mentioned cytokines.
CONCLUSION: FRG1 expression is reduced in prostate adenocarcinoma tissue. FRG1 expression affects migration and invasion in AR negative prostate cancer cells through known MMPs and cytokines, which may be mediated primarily via p38 MAPK activation.

Liu S, Han Z, Trivett AL, et al.
Cryptotanshinone has curative dual anti-proliferative and immunotherapeutic effects on mouse Lewis lung carcinoma.
Cancer Immunol Immunother. 2019; 68(7):1059-1071 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Lung cancer is currently the leading cause of cancer-related mortality with very limited effective therapy. Screening of a variety of traditional Chinese medicines (TCMs) for their capacity to inhibit the proliferation of human lung cancer A549 cells and to induce the in vitro maturation of human DCs led to the identification of cryptotanshinone (CT), a compound purified from the TCM Salvia miltiorrhiza Bunge. Here, CT was shown to inhibit the proliferation of mouse Lewis lung carcinoma (LLC) cells by upregulating p53, downregulating cyclin B1 and Cdc2, and, consequently, inducing G2/M cell-cycle arrest of LLC cells. In addition, CT promoted maturation of mouse and human DCs with upregulation of costimulatory and MHC molecules and stimulated DCs to produce TNFα, IL-1β, and IL-12p70, but not IL-10 in vitro. CT-induced maturation of DCs depended on MyD88 and also involved the activation of NF-κB, p38, and JNK. CT was effective in the treatment of LLC tumors and, when used in combination with low doses of anti-PD-L1, cured LLC-bearing mice with the induction of subsequent anti-LLC long-term specific immunity. CT treatment promoted T-cell infiltration and elevated the expression of genes typical of Th1 polarization in LLC tumor tissue. The therapeutic effect of CT and low doses of anti-PD-L1 was reduced by depletion of CD4 and CD8 T cells. This paper provides the first report that CT induces immunological antitumor activities and may provide a new promising antitumor immunotherapeutic.

Chen M, Xu M, Zhu C, et al.
Sirtuin2 enhances the tumoricidal function of liver natural killer cells in a mouse hepatocellular carcinoma model.
Cancer Immunol Immunother. 2019; 68(6):961-971 [PubMed] Related Publications
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the third most lethal cancer in the world. Natural killer (NK) cell-mediated immunity is crucial for tumor surveillance and therapy. Characterization of the regulatory mechanisms of NK cell function is important for developing novel immunotherapies against HCC. In this study, we used a chemical-induced mouse HCC model to identify the upregulation of Sirtuin2 (SIRT2) in liver NK cells. In particular, SIRT2 was predominantly expressed in liver CD94

Kim JH
Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate promotes lung cancer cell line A549 progression via Wnt/β-catenin signaling.
J Toxicol Sci. 2019; 44(4):237-244 [PubMed] Related Publications
Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) is widely used in polyvinylchloride-based materials and remains intact in the environment. Lungs are one route of entry of DEHP into the body; however, there is limited information on the effects and mechanism of action of DEHP on non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Here, we addressed this by examining the effect of DEHP on the proliferation of A549 human lung adenocarcinoma cells by MTS assay. The induction of inflammation and epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT), as well as activation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathways, were assessed by western blot and real-time polymerase chain reaction. Although there were discrepancies in the concentration, DEHP treatment enhanced A549 cell viability accompanied by increased mRNA and protein levels of inflammation-related factors, such as matrix metalloproteinase-9 and nuclear factor-κB. Additionally, EMT was activated in cells according to decreased E-cadherin and increased vimentin expression. Furthermore, MAPK pathway components, including phosphorylated p38 and c-Jun N-terminal kinase, and Wnt/β-catenin pathway components, including phosphorylated glycogen synthase kinase 3β and β-catenin, as well as their downstream genes c-Myc and cyclin D1, were upregulated in the presence of DEHP. These results suggest that DEHP promotes NSCLC progression by promoting cell proliferation, inflammation, and EMT via activation of Wnt/β-catenin signaling.

Liu F, Yin R, Chen X, et al.
Over-expression of miR-206 decreases the Euthyrox-resistance by targeting MAP4K3 in papillary thyroid carcinoma.
Biomed Pharmacother. 2019; 114:108605 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: microRNAs (miRNAs) play a critical role in drug resistance of multiple cancers including papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC), indicating the potential of miRNAs as chemoresistance regulators in cancer treatment. The aim of this paper is to explore the relationship between miR-206 and chemoresistance of PTC.
METHODS: qRT-PCR was conducted to examine the expression of miR-206 in PTC tissues, parental and TPC-1/euthyrox. The CCK-8 assay, EdU assay and flow cytometry were performed to test cells viability, proliferation and apoptosis, respectively. Luciferase reporter assay was used to confirm the potential target of miR-206. Western blotting analysis was performed to evaluate the expressions of related-proteins.
RESULTS: miR-206 was significantly down-regulated in PTC tissues, parental and TPC-1/euthyrox. Moreover, the expression of miR-206 was exceptionally lower in TPC-1/euthyrox cells than that in TPC-1 cells. Furthermore, we found that over-expression of miR-206 could notably decrease the IC
CONCLUSION: miR-206 contributed to euthyrox resistance in PTC cells through blockage p38 and JNK signaling pathway by targeting MAP4K3, providing a potential therapeutic application for the treatment of patients with euthyrox-resistant PTC in the further.

Li C, Ma L, Liu Y, et al.
TLR2 promotes development and progression of human glioma via enhancing autophagy.
Gene. 2019; 700:52-59 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: In this study, we aim to evaluate Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) expression in human glioma tumors and the correlation between its expression with degrees of malignancy and autophagy, development of tumors.
METHOD: Immunohistochemistry and Western blot were carried out to determine the expression of LC3, Beclin1 and TLR2 in 74 glioma specimens. We analyzed the prognosis of 551 glioma patients through the Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA). To determine the effect of TLR2 in glioma, we manipulated TLR2 expression using TLR2 plasmid transfer technique in U87 human glioma cell.
RESULTS: TLR2 expression in high-grade was significantly higher than that in low-grade glioma group (P < 0.05). TLR2 was positively correlated with tumor grade (P < 0.05). Spearman correlation showed that the expression of TLR2 was positively correlated with the numbers of LC3 and Beclin1 (P < 0.05). The patients with high TLR2 expression had a poorer outcome compared with the patients with low TLR2 in low-grade glioma (P < 0.05). TLR2 overexpression enhances glioma cell activity and accelerates cell cycle progression. In addition, treatment with TLR2 overexpression increases the conversion rate of LC3-I to LC3-II and enhances the level of phosphorylated p38.
CONCLUSION: TLR2 promotes development and progression of human glioma via enhancing autophagy.

Soni S, Anand P, Padwad YS
MAPKAPK2: the master regulator of RNA-binding proteins modulates transcript stability and tumor progression.
J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2019; 38(1):121 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (p38MAPK) pathway has been implicated in a variety of pathological conditions including inflammation and metastasis. Post-transcriptional regulation of genes harboring adenine/uridine-rich elements (AREs) in their 3'-untranslated region (3'-UTR) is controlled by MAPK-activated protein kinase 2 (MAPKAPK2 or MK2), a downstream substrate of the p38MAPK. In response to diverse extracellular stimuli, MK2 influences crucial signaling events, regulates inflammatory cytokines, transcript stability and critical cellular processes. Expression of genes involved in these vital cellular cascades is controlled by subtle interactions in underlying molecular networks and post-transcriptional gene regulation that determines transcript fate in association with RNA-binding proteins (RBPs). Several RBPs associate with the 3'-UTRs of the target transcripts and regulate their expression via modulation of transcript stability. Although MK2 regulates important cellular phenomenon, yet its biological significance in tumor progression has not been well elucidated till date. In this review, we have highlighted in detail the importance of MK2 as the master regulator of RBPs and its role in the regulation of transcript stability, tumor progression, as well as the possibility of use of MK2 as a therapeutic target in tumor management.

Kang M, Park SH, Park SJ, et al.
p44/42 MAPK signaling is a prime target activated by phenylethyl resorcinol in its anti-melanogenic action.
Phytomedicine. 2019; 58:152877 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Melanin plays a crucial role in protecting human skin against exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. However, its overproduction induces hyperpigmentation disorders of the skin.
PURPOSE: To investigate effects of phenylethyl resorcinol as one resorcinol derivative on melanogenesis and its mechanisms using B16F10 mouse melanoma cells and human epidermal melanocytes.
METHODS: Effects of phenylethyl resorcinol on melanogenesis and its mechanism of action were examined using several in vitro assays (i.e., cell survival, melanin content, cellular tyrosinase activity, real-time PCR analysis, luciferase-reporter assay, Western blot analysis, and ELISAs for cyclic AMP (cAMP), protein kinase A (PKA), cAMP response element binding (CREB) protein, and mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs)).
RESULTS: Phenylethyl resorcinol reduced both melanin content and tyrosinase activity in these cells. Phenylethyl resorcinol also suppressed tyrosinase activity in cell-free tyrosinase enzyme assay. Although phenylethyl resorcinol decreased mRNA levels of tyrosinase and tyrosinase-related protein (TRP)-2, it did not affect mRNA levels of melanogenic gene microphthalmia-associated transcriptional factor (MITF) or TRP-1. Phenylethyl resorcinol had no effects on cAMP signaling or NF-κB signaling based on results of cyclic AMP response element (CRE)-luciferase reporter assay, cAMP production, protein kinase A (PKA) activity, Western blot assays for phosphorylated CRE-binding protein (CREB), NF-κB-luciferase reporter assay, and Western blot assays for phosphorylated NF-κB. However, phenylethyl resorcinol induced activation of activator protein-1 (AP-1) signaling. Specifically, phenylethyl resorcinol increased AP-1 reporter activity and increased phosphorylation of p44/42 MAPK, but not p38 MAPK or c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK). MEK1/2 and Src, upstream molecules of p44/42 MAPK were also phosphorylated by phenylethyl resorcinol. In addition, phenylethyl resorcinol-induced decreases in melanin content, tyrosinase activity, and MITF protein levels were attenuated by PD98059, a p44/42 MAPK inhibitor.
CONCLUSION: These data indicate that the anti-melanogenic activity of phenylethyl resorcinol is mediated by activation of p44/42 MAPK, indicating that phenylethyl resorcinol may be a potential therapeutic agent for treating hyperpigmentation skin disorders.

Wang G, Yin L, Peng Y, et al.
Insulin promotes invasion and migration of KRAS
Cell Prolif. 2019; 52(3):e12575 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVES: Hyperinsulinemia is a risk factor for pancreatic cancer, but the function of insulin in carcinogenesis is unclear, so this study aimed to elucidate the carcinogenic effects of insulin and the synergistic effect with the KRAS mutation in the early stage of pancreatic cancer.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: A pair of immortalized human pancreatic duct-derived cells, hTERT-HPNE E6/E7/st (HPNE) and its oncogenic KRAS
RESULTS: The migration and invasion ability of HPNE cells was increased after the introduction of the mutated KRAS gene, together with an increased expression of MMP-2. These effects were further enhanced by the simultaneous administration of insulin. The use of MMP-2 siRNA confirmed that MMP-2 was involved in the regulation of cell invasion. Furthermore, there was a concentration- and time-dependent increase in gelatinase activity after insulin treatment, which could be reversed by an insulin receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor (HNMPA-(AM)
CONCLUSIONS: Taken together, these results suggest that insulin induced migration and invasion in HPNE and HPNE-mut-KRAS through PI3K/AKT and ERK1/2 activation, with MMP-2 gelatinolytic activity playing a vital role in this process. These findings may provide a new therapeutic target for preventing carcinogenesis and the evolution of pancreatic cancer with a background of hyperinsulinemia.

Lee D, Kim KH, Lee WY, et al.
Multiple Targets of 3-Dehydroxyceanothetric Acid 2-Methyl Ester to Protect Against Cisplatin-Induced Cytotoxicity in Kidney Epithelial LLC-PK1 Cells.
Molecules. 2019; 24(5) [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Chronic exposure to cisplatin, a potent anticancer drug, causes irreversible kidney damage. In this study, we investigated the protective effect and mechanism of nine lupane- and ceanothane-type triterpenoids isolated from jujube (

Driscoll K, Deshpande A, Chapp A, et al.
Anti-inflammatory and immune-modulating effects of rice callus suspension culture (RCSC) and bioactive fractions in an in vitro inflammatory bowel disease model.
Phytomedicine. 2019; 57:364-376 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Rice callus suspension culture (RCSC) has been shown to exhibit potent antiproliferative activity in multiple cancer cell lines. RCSC and its bioactive compounds can fill the need for drugs with no side effects.
HYPOTHESIS/PURPOSE: The anti-inflammatory potential of RCSC and its bioactive fractions on normal colon epithelial cell lines, was investigated.
STUDY DESIGN: Three cell lines, InEpC, NCM356 and CCD841-CoN were treated with proinflammatory cytokines followed by RCSC. Cytoplasmic and nuclear ROS were assayed with fluorescent microscopy and flow cytometer. Expression analysis of immune-related genes was performed in RCSC-treated cell lines. RCSC was fractionated using column chromatography and HPLC. Pooled fractions 10-18 was used to test for antiproliferative activity using colon adenocarcinoma cell line, SW620 and anti-inflammatory activity using CCD841-CoN. Mass spectrometric analysis was performed to identify candidate compounds in four fractions.
RESULTS: RCSC treatment showed differential effects with higher cytoplasmic ROS levels in NCM356 and CCD841-CoN and lower ROS levels in InEpC. Nuclear generated ROS levels increased in all three treated cell lines. Flow cytometry analysis of propidium iodide stained cells indicated mitigation of cell death caused by inflammation in RCSC treated groups in both NCM356 and CCD841-CoN. Genes encoding transcription factors and cytokines were differentially regulated in NCM356 and CCD841-CoN cell lines treated with RCSC which provided insights into possible pathways. Analysis of pooled fractions 10-18 by HPLC identified 8 peaks. Cell viability assay with fractions 10-18 using SW620 showed that the number of viable cells were greatly reduced which was similar to 6X and 33X RCSC with very little effect on normal cells which similar to 1X RCSC. RCSC fractions increased nuclear and cytoplasmic ROS vs. both untreated and inflammatory control. Analysis of four fractions by mass spectrometry identified 4-deoxyphloridzin, 5'-methoxycurcumin, piceid and lupeol as candidate compounds which are likely to be responsible for the antiproliferative, anti-inflammatory and immune-regulating properties of RCSC.
CONCLUSION: RCSC and its fractions showed anti-inflammatory activity on inflamed colon epithelial cells. Downstream target candidate genes which are likely to mediate RCSC effects were identified. Candidate compounds responsible for the antiproliferative and anti-inflammatory activity of RCSC and its fractions provide possible drug targets.

Ma Y, Lai W, Zhao M, et al.
Plastin 3 down-regulation augments the sensitivity of MDA-MB-231 cells to paclitaxel via the p38 MAPK signalling pathway.
Artif Cells Nanomed Biotechnol. 2019; 47(1):685-695 [PubMed] Related Publications
Plastin 3 (PLS3) overexpression may serve as a marker for predicting chemotherapeutic outcomes in drug-resistant cancer cells, but the mechanism is unclear. Herein, we show that the down-regulation of PLS3 by PLS3 gene silencing augments the sensitivity of MDA-MB-231 triple-negative breast cancer cells to paclitaxel. Interestingly, a low concentration of paclitaxel was able to induce strong apoptosis in the PLS3-silenced cells. Further study revealed that p38 MAPK signalling was responsible for the increased sensitivity to paclitaxel in these cells, as the p38 MAPK inhibitor SB203580 impaired the changes mediated by PLS3 down-regulation in response to paclitaxel. Therefore, our study identifies PLS3 as a potential target for enhancing the p38 MAPK-mediated apoptosis induced by paclitaxel. Unlike paclitaxel, Abraxane was unable to induce strong apoptosis in the PLS3-silenced cells. As PLS3 was found to be involved in the process of endocytosis in breast cancer cells, the reliance of cellular Abraxane uptake on this process may render it not as efficient as paclitaxel in PLS3-depleted tumour cells. The finding that PLS3 could be a critical regulator of paclitaxel sensitivity may have important implications for breast cancer chemotherapy.

Ku KE, Choi N, Oh SH, et al.
Src inhibition induces melanogenesis in human G361 cells.
Mol Med Rep. 2019; 19(4):3061-3070 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The Src kinase family (SKF) includes non‑receptor tyrosine kinases that interact with many cellular cytosolic, nuclear and membrane proteins, and is involved in the progression of cellular transformation and oncogenic activity. However, there is little to no evidence on the effect of SKF or its inhibitors on melanogenesis. Therefore, the present study investigated whether C‑terminal Src kinase inhibition can induce melanogenesis and examined the associated signaling pathways and mRNA expression of melanogenic proteins. First, whether stimulators of melanogenesis, such as ultraviolet B and α‑melanocyte‑stimulating hormone, can dephosphorylate Src protein was evaluated, and the results revealed that SU6656 and PP2 inhibited the phosphorylation of Src in G361 cells. Src inhibition by these chemical inhibitors induced melanogenesis in G361 cells and upregulated the mRNA expression levels of melanogenesis‑associated genes encoding microphthalmia‑associated transcription factor, tyrosinase‑related protein 1 (TRP1), TRP2, and tyrosinase. In addition, Src inhibition by small interfering RNA induced melanogenesis and upregulated the mRNA expression levels of melanogenesis‑associated genes. As the p38 mitogen‑activated protein kinase (MAPK) and cyclic adenosine monophosphate response element binding (CREB) pathways serve key roles in melanogenesis, the present study further examined whether Src mediates melanogenesis via these pathways. As expected, Src inhibition via SU6656 or PP2 administration induced the phosphorylation of p38 or CREB, as determined by western blotting analysis, and increased the levels of phosphorylated p38 or CREB, as determined by immunofluorescence staining. In addition, the induced pigmentation and melanin content of G361 cells by Src inhibitors was significantly inhibited by p38 or CREB inhibitors. Taken together, these data indicate that Src is associated with melanogenesis, and Src inhibition induces melanogenesis via the MAPK and CREB pathways in G361 cells.

Han SE, Park CH, Nam-Goong IS, et al.
Anticancer Effects of Baicalein in FRO Thyroid Cancer Cells Through the Up-regulation of ERK/p38 MAPK and Akt Pathway.
In Vivo. 2019 Mar-Apr; 33(2):375-382 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND/AIM: The aim of the study was to evaluate the anticancer effects of baicalein in FRO anaplastic thyroid cancer (ATC) cells.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: FRO cells were treated with baicalein and viability was measured by the MTT assay. Cell apoptosis was observed by staining with Hoechst dye. The expression of apoptotic proteins (Bax, Bcl-2, PARP, cytochrome c, and caspase-3) and the inflammatory protein Cox-2 and the phosphorylation of MAPKs and Akt were determined by western blot.
RESULTS: Treatment with baicalein inhibited cell proliferation in a time-dependent manner and increased DNA fragmentation and apoptosis in FRO cells. Baicalein at 50 and 100 μM inhibited the expression of Bax, PARP, cytochrome c, cleaved caspase-3, and Cox-2, and increased the expression of Bcl-2. Baicalein increased the phosphorylation of ERK, p38 MAPK, and Akt and decreased JNK phosphorylation.
CONCLUSION: Baicalein caused anticancer effects in FRO ATC cells through induction of apoptosis and regulation of the MAPK and Akt pathway.

Chiang CH, Chung JG, Hsu FT
Regorefenib induces extrinsic/intrinsic apoptosis and inhibits MAPK/NF-κB-modulated tumor progression in bladder cancer in vitro and in vivo.
Environ Toxicol. 2019; 34(6):679-688 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The aim of the present study is to investigate anticancer effect and mechanism of regorafenib in bladder cancer in vitro and in vivo. Human bladder cancer TSGH 8301 cells were treated with regorafenib, NF-κB, AKT, or mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) inhibitors for different time. The changes of cell viability, NF-κB activation, apoptotic signaling transduction, and expression of tumor progression-associated proteins were evaluated with MTT, NF-κB reporter gene assay, flow cytometry, and Western blotting assay. TSGH 8301 tumor bearing mice were established and treated with vehicle (140 μL of 0.1% DMSO) or regorafenib (10 mg/kg/day by gavage) for 15 days. The changes of tumor volume, body weight, NF-κB activation, MAPK activation, and tumor progression-associated proteins (MMP-9, XIAP, VEGF, and Cyclin-D1) after regorafenib treatment were evaluated with digital caliper, digital weight, and ex vivo Western blotting assay. Our results demonstrated NF-κB activation and protein levels of MMP-9, XIAP, VEGF, and Cyclin-D1 were significantly reduced by NF-κB (QNZ), ERK (PD98059), and P38 (SB203580) inhibitors. Regorafenib also significantly induced extrinsic and intrinsic apoptotic signaling transduction in bladder cancer in vitro. In addition, regorafenib significantly inhibited tumor growth, NF-κB, p38, ERK activation and expression of tumor progression-associated proteins in bladder cancer in vitro and in vivo. Taken together, these results proved that regorafenib not only induced apoptosis through extrinsic and intrinsic pathways and but suppressed MAPK/ NF-κB-modulated tumor progression in bladder cancer.

Sun K, Tang S, Hou Y, et al.
Oxidized ATM-mediated glycolysis enhancement in breast cancer-associated fibroblasts contributes to tumor invasion through lactate as metabolic coupling.
EBioMedicine. 2019; 41:370-383 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) are the predominant residents in the breast tumor microenvironment. In our work, we found activation of DNA damage-independent ATM (oxidized ATM), enhanced glycolysis and aberrant metabolism-associated gene expressions in breast CAFs. Nevertheless, whether and how oxidized ATM regulates the glycolytic activity of CAFs keep in unveil. Recently, a reverse Warburg effect was observed in tumor tissues, in which host cells (such as CAFs, PSCs) in the tumor microenvironment have been found to "fuel" the cancer cells via metabolites transfer. However, the molecular mechanisms of the metabolites from stromal cells playing a role to the progression of cancer cells remain to be determined.
METHODS: Oxidized ATM activation in stromal CAFs was assessed by western blotting and immunofluorescence. The increased glycolytic ability of CAFs was validated by measurements of OCR and ECAR and detections of glucose consumption and lactate production. Kinase assay and western blotting were performed to confirm the phosphorylation of GLUT1. The membrane location of phosphorylated GLUT1 was determined by biotin pull-down assay and immunofluorescence staining. The regulation of PKM2 through oxidized ATM was evaluated by western blots. In addition, the impact of lactate derived from hypoxic CAFs on cancer cell invasion was investigated both in vitro (transwell assays, western blots) and in vivo (orthotopic xenografts).
FINDINGS: Hypoxia-induced oxidized ATM promotes glycolytic activity of CAFs by phosphorylating GLUT1 at S490 and increasing PKM2 expression. Moreover, lactate derived from hypoxic CAFs, acting as a metabolic coupling between CAFs and breast cancer cells, promotes breast cancer cell invasion by activating the TGFβ1/p38 MAPK/MMP2/9 signaling axis and fueling the mitochondrial activity in cancer cells.
INTERPRETATION: Our work shows that oxidized ATM-mediated glycolysis enhancement in hypoxic stromal fibroblasts plays an essential role in cancer cell invasion and metastasis and may implicate oxidized ATM as a target for breast tumor treatment. FUND: This research was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China.

Xu L, Feng X, Hao X, et al.
CircSETD3 (Hsa_circ_0000567) acts as a sponge for microRNA-421 inhibiting hepatocellular carcinoma growth.
J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2019; 38(1):98 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Circular RNAs (circRNAs) play important roles in tumourigenesis and tumour progression. However, the expression profiles and functions of circRNAs in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) are largely unclear.
METHODS: The expression profiles of circRNAs in HCC were identified through microarray analysis and were validated through quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). Survival curves were plotted using the Kaplan-Meier method and compared using the log-rank test. The circular structure of candidate circRNA was confirmed through Sanger sequencing, divergent primer PCR, and RNase R treatments. Proliferation of HCC cells was evaluated in vitro and in vivo. The microRNA (miRNA) sponge mechanism of circRNAs was demonstrated using dual-luciferase reporter and RNA immunoprecipitation assays.
RESULTS: CircSETD3 (hsa_circRNA_0000567/hsa_circRNA_101436) was significantly downregulated in HCC tissues and cell lines. Low expression of circSETD3 in HCC tissues significantly predicted an unfavourable prognosis and was correlated with larger tumour size and poor differentiation of HCC in patients. In vitro experiments showed that circSETD3 inhibited the proliferation of HCC cells and induced G1/S arrest in HCC cells. In vivo studies revealed that circSETD3 was stably overexpressed in a xenograft mouse model and inhibited the growth of HCC. Furthermore, we demonstrated that circSETD3 acts as a sponge for miR-421 and verified that mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK)14 is a novel target of miR-421.
CONCLUSION: CircSETD3 is a novel tumour suppressor of HCC and is a valuable prognostic biomarker. Moreover, circSETD3 inhibits the growth of HCC partly through the circSETD3/miR-421/MAPK14 pathway.

Ostrovskaya A, Hick C, Hutchinson DS, et al.
Expression and activity of the calcitonin receptor family in a sample of primary human high-grade gliomas.
BMC Cancer. 2019; 19(1):157 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most common and aggressive type of primary brain cancer. With median survival of less than 15 months, identification and validation of new GBM therapeutic targets is of critical importance.
RESULTS: In this study we tested expression and performed pharmacological characterization of the calcitonin receptor (CTR) as well as other members of the calcitonin family of receptors in high-grade glioma (HGG) cell lines derived from individual patient tumours, cultured in defined conditions. Previous immunohistochemical data demonstrated CTR expression in GBM biopsies and we were able to confirm CALCR (gene encoding CTR) expression. However, as assessed by cAMP accumulation assay, only one of the studied cell lines expressed functional CTR, while the other cell lines have functional CGRP (CLR/RAMP1) receptors. The only CTR-expressing cell line (SB2b) showed modest coupling to the cAMP pathway and no activation of other known CTR signaling pathways, including ERK
CONCLUSIONS: This study shows that GPCR signaling can display significant variation depending on cellular system used, and effects seen in model recombinant cell lines or tumour cell lines are not always reproduced in a more physiologically relevant system and vice versa.

Jiang X, Tang J, Wu M, et al.
BP‑1‑102 exerts an antitumor effect on the AGS human gastric cancer cell line through modulating the STAT3 and MAPK signaling pathways.
Mol Med Rep. 2019; 19(4):2698-2706 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BP‑1‑102, a novel inhibitor of signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3), exhibits significant antitumor effects in several malignancies in vitro and in vivo. However, its role in gastric cancer (GC) remains to be elucidated. In the present study, the effect and potential molecular mechanisms of BP‑102 in human GC cell lines were investigated. The results showed that BP‑1‑02 dose‑dependently inhibited the proliferation of AGS cells, whereas it had little effect on HGC‑27 cells. Flow cytometric analysis indicated that BP‑1‑102 induced apoptosis, but had minimal effect on cell cycle distribution. In addition, cells treated with BP‑1‑102 demonstrated markedly suppressed migration and invasion capacities. Western blot analysis revealed that BP‑1‑102 inhibited the phosphorylation of STAT3 and its target genes, including c‑Myc, cyclin D1 and survivin, in a time‑ and dose‑dependent manner. Furthermore, it was found that BP‑1‑102 induced the phosphorylation of c‑Jun N‑terminal kinase and p38 mitogen‑activated protein kinase (MAPK) and inhibited the activation of extracellular signal‑related kinases. Taken together, these results demonstrated that BP‑1‑102 may be a potent antitumor agent that acts through modulating the STAT3 and MAPK signaling pathways in GC cells.

Lu CC, Chiang JH, Tsai FJ, et al.
Metformin triggers the intrinsic apoptotic response in human AGS gastric adenocarcinoma cells by activating AMPK and suppressing mTOR/AKT signaling.
Int J Oncol. 2019; 54(4):1271-1281 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Metformin is commonly used to treat patients with type 2 diabetes and is associated with a decreased risk of cancer. Previous studies have demonstrated that metformin can act alone or in synergy with certain anticancer agents to achieve anti‑neoplastic effects on various types of tumors via adenosine monophosphate‑activated protein kinase (AMPK) signaling. However, the role of metformin in AMPK‑mediated apoptosis of human gastric cancer cells is poorly understood. In the current study, metformin exhibited a potent anti‑proliferative effect and induced apoptotic characteristics in human AGS gastric adenocarcinoma cells, as demonstrated by MTT assay, morphological observation method, terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end labeling and caspase‑3/7 assay kits. Western blot analysis demonstrated that treatment with metformin increased the phosphorylation of AMPK, and decreased the phosphorylation of AKT, mTOR and p70S6k. Compound C (an AMPK inhibitor) suppressed AMPK phosphorylation and significantly abrogated the effects of metformin on AGS cell viability. Metformin also reduced the phosphorylation of mitogen‑activated protein kinases (ERK, JNK and p38). Additionally, metformin significantly increased the cellular ROS level and included loss of mitochondrial membrane potential (ΔΨm). Metformin altered apoptosis‑associated signaling to downregulate the BAD phosphorylation and Bcl‑2, pro‑caspase‑9, pro‑caspase‑3 and pro‑caspase‑7 expression, and to upregulate BAD, cytochrome c, and Apaf‑1 proteins levels in AGS cells. Furthermore, z‑VAD‑fmk (a pan‑caspase inhibitor) was used to assess mitochondria‑mediated caspase‑dependent apoptosis in metformin‑treated AGS cells. The findings demonstrated that metformin induced AMPK‑mediated apoptosis, making it appealing for development as a novel anticancer drug for the treating gastric cancer.

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