Identification of tumour necrosis factor apoptosis inducing ligand (TRAIL), a TNF family ligand, sparked a torrent of research, following an initial observation that it could kill tumour cells, but spare normal cells. Almost a decade after its discovery, and with five known receptors, the true physiological role of TRAIL is still debated and its anti-tumorigenic properties limited by potential toxicity. This review takes a comprehensive look at the story of this enigmatic ligand, addressing its remaining potential as a therapeutic and providing an overview of the TRAIL receptors themselves.
Previously, we demonstrated that a plant steroid, diosgenin, altered cell cycle distribution and induced apoptosis in the human osteosarcoma 1547 cell line. The objective of this study was to investigate if the antiproliferative effect of diosgenin was similar for different human cancer cell lines such as laryngocarcinoma HEp-2 and melanoma M4Beu cells. Moreover, this work essentially focused on the mitochondrial pathway. We found that diosgenin had an important and similar antiproliferative effect on different types of cancer cells. In addition, our new results show that diosgenin-induced apoptosis is caspase-3 dependent with a fall of mitochondrial membrane potential, nuclear localization of AIF and poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase cleavage. Diosgenin treatment also induces p53 activation and cell cycle arrest in the different cell lines studied.
This review begins with a brief commentary on the diversity of placentation mechanisms, and then goes on to examine the extensive alterations which occur in the plasma membrane of uterine epithelial cells during early pregnancy across species. Ultrastructural, biochemical and more general morphological data reveal that strikingly common phenomena occur in this plasma membrane during early pregnancy despite the diversity of placental types-from epitheliochorial to hemochorial, which ultimately form in different species. To encapsulate the concept that common morphological and molecular alterations occur across species, that they are found basolaterally as well as apically, and that moreover they are an ongoing process during much of early pregnancy, not just an event at the time attachment, the term 'plasma membrane transformation' is suggested which also emphasises that alterations in this plasma membrane during early pregnancy are key to uterine receptivity.
RAV1 is a novel DNA-binding protein with two distinct DNA-binding domains unique in higher plants, but its role in plant growth and development remains unknown. Using cDNA array, we found that transcription of RAV1 is down-regulated by epibrassinolide (epiBL) in Arabidopsis suspension cells. RNA gel blot analysis revealed that epiBL-regulated RAV1 transcription involves neither protein phosphorylation/dephosphorylation nor newly synthesized protein, and does not require the functional BRI1, suggesting that this regulation might be through a new BR signaling pathway. Overexpressing RAV1 in Arabidopsis results in a retardation of lateral root and rosette leaf development, and the underexpression causes an earlier flowering phenotype, implying that RAV1 may function as a negative regulatory component of growth and development.
RNA interference (RNAi) is an adaptive defense mechanism triggered by double-stranded RNA (dsRNA). It is a powerful reverse genetic tool that has been widely employed to silence gene expression in mammalian and human cells. RNAi-based gene therapies, especially in viral diseases have become more and more interesting and promising. Recently, small interfering RNA (siRNA) can be used to protect host from viral infection, inhibit the expression of viral antigen and accessory genes, control the transcription and replication of viral genome, hinder the assembly of viral particles, and display influences in virus-host interactions. In this review, we attempt to present recent progresses of this breakthrough technology in the above fields and summarize the possibilities of siRNA-based drugs.
It is well known that during mammalian ovarian follicular development, the majority of follicles undergo atresia at various stages of their development. However, the mechanisms controlling this selection process remain unknown. In this study, we investigated apoptosis in granulosa cells during goat follicular atresia by terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick end labeling (TUNEL). The changes in the levels of steroids, insulin-like growth factors (IGFs) and IGF receptors were studied by radioimmunoassay (RIA) and semi-quantitative reverse transcription-PCR. We found that the percentage of apoptotic granulosa cells in the atretic (A) follicles was significantly higher than that in the slightly atretic (SA) and healthy (H) follicles. The level of estradiol and the ratio of estradiol to progesterone in H follicles were significantly higher than those in A follicles. On the other hand, the level of progesterone was not significantly different among these follicle types. We also found that the level of IGF-I in H follicles was higher than in SA and A follicles, whereas the amount of IGF-II did not vary significantly. The expression of IGF receptor also decreased in A follicles as compared to that in H and SA follicles. These results suggested that estradiol and IGF-I might be involved in controlling apoptosis in granulosa cells during follicular atresia.
It is well documented that the glycosylation of E-cadherin is correlated with cancer metastasis, but whether E-cadherin could be core fucosylated remains largely unknown. We found that E-cadherin was core fucosylated in highly metastatic lung cancer cells while absent in lowly metastatic lung cancer cells. Since alpha-1,6 Fucosyltransferase (alpha-1,6 FucT) is known to catalyze the reaction of core fucosylation, we investigated the biological function of core fucosylation on E-cadherin by alpha-1,6 FucT targeted RNAi and transfecting alpha-1,6 FucT expression vector. As a result, calcium dependent cell-cell adhesion mediated by E-cadherin was strengthened with the reduction of core fucosylation on E-cadherin after RNAi and was weakened with the elevated core fucosylation on E-cadherin after alpha-1,6 FucT over expression. Our data indicated that alpha-1,6 FucT could regulate E-cadherin mediated cell adhesion and thus play an important role in cancer development and progression. Computer modeling showed that core fucosylation on E-cadherin could significantly impair three-dimensional conformation of N-glycan on E-cadherin and produce conformational asymmetry so as to suppress the function of E-cadherin. Furthermore, the relationship between the expression of core fucosylated E-cadherin and clinicopathological background of lung cancer patients was explored in lung cancer tissue of patients. It turns out to demonstrate that core fucosylated E-cadherin could serve as a promising prognostic indicator for lung cancer patients.
Biomarkers are very important indicators of normal and abnormal biological processes. Specific changes in pathologies, biochemistries and genetics can give us comprehensive information regarding the nature of any particular disease. A good biomarker should be precise and reliable, distinguishable between normal and interested disease, and differentiable between different diseases. It is believed that biomarkers have great potential in predicting chances for diseases, aiding in early diagnosis, and setting standards for the development of new remedies to treat diseases. New technologies have enabled scientists to identify biomarkers of several different neurodegenerative diseases. The followings, for instance, are only a few of the many new biomarkers that have been recently identified: the phosphorylated tau protein and aggregated beta-amyloid peptide for Alzheimer's disease (AD), alpha-synuclein contained Lewy bodies and altered dopamine transporter (DAT) imaging for Parkinson's disease (PD), SOD mutations for familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and CAG repeats resulted from Huntington's gene mutations in Huntington's disease (HD). This article will focus on the most-recent findings of biomarkers belonging to the four mentioned neurodegenerative diseases.
Inducible heat shock protein 70 kD (HSP-70i) has been shown to protect cells, tissues, and organs from harmful assaults in in vivo and in vitro experimental models. Hemorrhagic shock followed by resuscitation is the principal cause of death among trauma patients and soldiers in the battlefield. Although the underlying mechanisms are still not fully understood, it has been shown that nitric oxide (NO) overproduction and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) overexpression play important roles in producing injury caused by hemorrhagic shock including increases in polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMN) infiltration to injured tissues and leukotriene B-4 (LTB4) generation. Moreover, transcription factors responsible for iNOS expression are also altered by hemorrhage and resuscitation. It has been evident that either up-regulation of HSP-70i or down-regulation of iNOS can limit tissue injury caused by ischemia/reperfusion or hemorrhage/resuscitation. In our laboratory, geldanamycin, a member of ansamycin family, has been shown to induce HSP-70i overexpression and then subsequently to inhibit iNOS expression, to reduce cellular caspase-3 activity, and to preserve cellular ATP levels. HSP-70i is found to couple to iNOS and its transcription factor. Therefore, the complex formation between HSP-70i and iNOS may be a novel mechanism for protection from hemorrhage/resuscitation-induced injury.
Glucose transporter 4 (GLUT4) is responsible for insulin-stimulated glucose transporting into the insulin-sensitive fat and muscle cells. The dynamics of GLUT4 storage vesicles (GSVs) remains to be explored and it is unclear how GSVs are arranged based on their mobility. We examined this issue in 3T3-L1 cells via investigating the three-dimensional mobility of single GSV labeled with EGFP-fused GLUT4. A thin layer of cytosol right adjacent to the plasma membrane was illuminated and successively imaged at 5 Hz under a total internal reflection fluorescence microscope with a penetration depth of 136 nm. Employing single particle tracking, the three-dimensional subpixel displacement of single GSV was tracked at a spatial precision of 22 nm. Both the mean square displacement and the diffusion coefficient were calculated for each vesicle. Tracking results revealed that vesicles moved as if restricted within a cage that has a mean radius of 160 nm, suggesting the presence of some intracellular tethering matrix. By constructing the histogram of the diffusion coefficients of GSVs, we observed a smooth distribution instead of the existence of distinct groups. The result indicates that GSVs are dynamically retained in a continuous and wide range of mobility rather than into separate classes.
Heart remodeling is associated with the loss of cardiomyocytes and increase of fibrous tissue owing to abnormal mechanical load in a number of heart disease conditions. In present study, a well-described in vitro sustained stretch model was employed to study mechanical stretch-induced responses in both neonatal cardiomyocytes and cardiac fibroblasts. Cardiomyocytes, but not cardiac fibroblasts, underwent mitochondria-dependent apoptosis as evidenced by cytochrome c (cyto c) and Smac/DIABLO release from mitochondria into cytosol accompanied by mitochondrial membrane potential (Deltapsi(m)) reduction, indicative of mitochondrial permeability transition pore (PTP) opening. Cyclosporin A, an inhibitor of PTP, inhibited stretch-induced cyto c release, Deltapsi(m) reduction and apoptosis, suggesting an important role of mitochondrial PTP in stretch-induced apoptosis. The stretch also resulted in increased expression of the pro-apoptotic Bcl-2 family proteins, including Bax and Bad, in cardiomyocytes, but not in fibroblasts. Bax was accumulated in mitochondria following stretch. Cell permeable Bid-BH3 peptide could induce and facilitate stretch-induced apoptosis and Deltapsi(m) reduction in cardiomyocytes. These results suggest that Bcl-2 family proteins play an important role in coupling stretch signaling to mitochondrial death machinery, probably by targeting to PTP. Interestingly, the levels of p53 were increased at 12 h after stretch although we observed that Bax upregulation and apoptosis occurred as early as 1 h. Adenovirus delivered dominant negative p53 blocked Bax upregulation in cardiomyocytes but showed partial effect on preventing stretch-induced apoptosis, suggesting that p53 was only partially involved in mediating stretch-induced apoptosis. Furthermore, we showed that p21 was upregulated and cyclin B1 was downregulated only in cardiac fibroblasts, which may be associated with G2/M accumulation in response to mechanical stretch.
Heart remodeling is associated with the loss of cardiomyocytes and increase of fibrous tissue owing to abnormal mechanical load in a number of heart disease conditions. In present study, a well-described in vitro sustained stretch model was employed to study mechanical stretch-induced responses in both neonatal cardiomyocytes and cardiac fibroblasts. Cardiomyocytes, but not cardiac fibroblasts, underwent mitochondria-dependent apoptosis as evidenced by cytochrome c (cyto c) and Smac/DIABLO release from mitochondria into cytosol accompanied by mitochondrial membrane potential (Deltapsi(m)) reduction, indicative of mitochondrial permeability transition pore (PTP) opening. Cyclosporin A, an inhibitor of PTP, inhibited stretch-induced cyto c release, Deltapsi(m) reduction and apoptosis, suggesting an important role of mitochondrial PTP in stretch-induced apoptosis. The stretch also resulted in increased expression of the pro-apoptotic Bcl-2 family proteins, including Bax and Bad, in cardiomyocytes, but not in fibroblasts. Bax was accumulated in mitochondria following stretch. Cell permeable Bid-BH3 peptide could induce and facilitate stretch-induced apoptosis and Deltapsi(m) reduction in cardiomyocytes. These results suggest that Bcl-2 family proteins play an important role in coupling stretch signaling to mitochondrial death machinery, probably by targeting to PTP. Interestingly, the levels of p53 were increased at 12 h after stretch although we observed that Bax upregulation and apoptosis occurred as early as 1 h. Adenovirus delivered dominant negative p53 blocked Bax upregulation in cardiomyocytes but showed partial effect on preventing stretch-induced apoptosis, suggesting that p53 was only partially involved in mediating stretch-induced apoptosis. Furthermore, we showed that p21 was upregulated and cyclin B1 was downregulated only in cardiac fibroblasts, which may be associated with G(2)/M accumulation in response to mechanical stretch.
The phosphatidylinositol (PI) metabolic pathway is considered critical in plant responses to many environmental factors, and previous studies have indicated the involvement of multiple PI-related gene families during cellular responses. Through a detailed analysis of the Arabidopsis thaliana genome, 82 polypeptides were identified as being involved in PI signaling. These could be grouped into different families including PI synthases (PIS), PI-phosphate kinases (PIPK), phospholipases (PL), inositol polyphosphate phosphatases (IPPase), inositol polyphosphate kinases (IPK), PI transfer proteins and putative inositol polyphosphate receptors. The presence of more than 10 isoforms of PIPK, PLC, PLD and IPPase suggested that these genes might be differentially expressed during plant cellular responses or growth and development. Accordingly, DNA chip technology was employed to study the expression patterns of various isoforms. In total, 79 mRNA clones were amplified and used for DNA chip generation. Expression profile analysis was performed using samples that represented multiple tissues or cellular responses. Tested samples included normal leaf, stem and flower tissues, and leaves from plants treated with various hormones (auxin, cytokinin, gibberellin, abscisic acid and brassinosteroid) or environmental factors (temperature, calcium, sodium, drought, salicylic acid and jasmonic acid). Results showed that many PI pathway-related genes were differentially expressed under these experimental conditions. In particular, the different isoforms of each family were specifically expressed in many cases, suggesting their involvement in tissue specificity and cellular responses to environmental conditions. This work provides a starting point for functional studies of the relevant PI-related proteins and may help shed light onto the role of PI pathways in development and cellular responses.
Double staining flow cytometry was performed using 7-amino actinomycin D and 6-carboxy-2',7'dichlorodihydrofluorescein diacetate, to detect the level fluctuation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) during the cell cycle of normal NB4 cells. Our results showed that NB4 cells possessed higher level of ROS in G2/M phase than in G1 and S phases. Double staining flow cytometry, with TdT mediated dUTP nick end labeling (Tunel) and propidium iodide (PI), indicated that As2O3 (2 muM) could induce apoptosis in NB4 cells prevailingly from G2/M phase, and this efficacy was enhanced upon co-administration of 2, 3-dimethoxy-1, 4-naphthoquinone (DMNQ) (2.5 muM) which could produce the endogenous ROS. These results suggested that different ROS level in different cell cycle phases of NB4 cells might determin the selective induction of G2/M apoptosis and the cells' susceptibility to apoptosis by AS(2)O(3).
Wnt signaling plays an important role in embryogenesis and tumorgenesis. Although the mechanism about how Wnts transduce their signaling from receptor frizzled (Fz) to cytosol has not been understood, dishevelled (Dvl) protein was considered as the intersection of Wnt signal traffic. In this study, we characterized the function of three domains (DIX, PDZ and DEP) of Dvl-1 in canonical Wnt signal transduction and Dvl-1 membrane translocation. It was found both DIX and DEP domain were sufficient to block Wnt-3a-induced LEF-1 transcriptional activity and free cytosol beta-catenin accumulation; whereas PDZ domain and a functional mutant form of DEP domain (DEP-KM) had no effect on canonical Wnt signaling. In addition, when cotransfected with Fz-7, DEP domain, but not DIX, PDZ or DEP-KM, translocated and co-localized with Fz-7 to the plasma membrane, which was similar to Dvl-1. Furthermore, it was DEP domain that could block Fz-7-induced membrane translocation of Dvl-1 via a possible competitive mechanism. These results strongly suggest that DEP domain is responsible for the membrane translocation of Dvl-1 protein upon Wnt signal stimulation.
Wnt signaling plays an important role in embryogenesis and tumorgenesis. Although the mechanism about how Wnts transduce their signaling from receptor frizzled (Fz) to cytosol has not been understood, dishevelled (Dvl) protein was considered as the intersection of Wnt signal traffic. In this study, we characterized the function of three domains (DIX, PDZ and DEP) of Dvl-1 in canonical Wnt signal transduction and Dvl-1 membrane translocation. It was found both DIX and DEP domain were sufficient to block Wnt-3a-induced LEF-l transcriptional activity and free cytosol beta-catenin accumulation; whereas PDZ domain and a functional mutant form of DEP domain (DEP-KM) had no effect on canonical Wnt signaling. In addition, when cotransfected with Fz-7, DEP domain, but not DIX, PDZ or DEP-KM, translocated and co-localized with Fz-7 to the plasma membrane, which was similar to Dvl-l. Furthermore, it was DEP domain that could block Fz-7-induced membrane translocation of Dvl-l via a possible competitive mechanism. These results strongly suggest that DEP domain is responsible for the membrane translocation of Dvl-l protein upon Wnt signal stimulation.
In macrophages, the accumulation of cholesteryl esters synthesized by the activated acyl-coenzyme A:cholesterol acyltransferase-1 (ACAT1) results in the foam cell formation, a hallmark of early atherosclerotic lesions. In this study, with the treatment of a glucocorticoid hormone dexamethasone (Dex), lipid staining results clearly showed the large accumulation of lipid droplets containing cholesteryl esters in THP-1-derived macrophages exposed to lower concentration of the oxidized low-density lipoprotein (ox-LDL). More notably, when treated together with specific anti-ACAT inhibitors, the abundant cholesteryl ester accumulation was markedly diminished in THP-1-derived macrophages, confirming that ACAT is the key enzyme responsible for intracellular cholesteryl ester synthesis. RT-PCR and Western blot results indicated that Dex caused up-regulation of human ACAT1 expression at both the mRNA and protein levels in THP-1 and THP-1-derived macrophages. The luciferase activity assay demonstrated that Dex could enhance the activity of human ACAT1 gene P1 promoter, a major factor leading to the ACAT1 activation, in a cell-specific manner. Further experimental evidences showed that a glucocorticoid response element (GRE) located within human ACAT1 gene P1 promoter to response to the elevation of human ACAT1 gene expression by Dex could be functionally bound with glucocorticoid receptor (GR) proteins. These data supported the hypothesis that the clinical treatment with Dex, which increased the incidence of atherosclerosis, may in part due to enhancing the ACAT1 expression to promote the accumulation of cholesteryl esters during the macrophage-derived foam cell formation, an early stage of atherosclerosis.
Overexpression and activation of HER-2/neu (also known as c-erbB-2), a proto-oncogene, was found in about 30% of human breast cancers, promoting cancer growth and making cancer cells resistant to chemo- and radio-therapy. Wild-type p53 is crucial in regulating cell growth and apoptosis and is found to be mutated or deleted in 60-70% of human cancers. And some cancers with a wild-type p53 do not have normal p53 function, suggesting that it is implicated in a complex process regulated by many factors. In the present study, we showed that the overexpression of HER-2/heu could decrease the amount of wild-type p53 protein via activating PI3K pathway, as well as inducing MDM2 nuclear translocation in MCF7 human breast cancer cells. Blockage of PI3K pathway with its specific inhibitor LY294002 caused G1-S phase arrest, decreased cell growth rate and increased chemo- and radio-therapeutic sensitivity in MCF7 cells expressing wild-type p53. However, it did not increase the sensitivity to adriamycin in MDA-MB-453 breast cancer cells containing mutant p53. Our study indicates that blocking PI3K pathway activation mediated by HER-2/neu overexpression may be useful in the treatment of breast tumors with HER-2/neu overexpression and wild-type p53.
The aim of this study is to assess the effects of DNA methylation and histone acetylation, alone or in combination, on the expression of several tumor-associated genes and cell cycle progression in two established human colon cancer cell lines: Colo-320 and SW1116. Treatments with 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine (5-aza-dC) and trichostatin A, alone or in combination, were applied respectively. The methylation status of the CDKN2A promoter was determined by methylation-specific PCR, and the acetylated status of the histories associated with the p21(WAF1) and CDKN2A genes was examined by chromatin immunoprecipitation. The expression of the CDKN2A, p21(WAF1), p53, p73, APC, c-myc, c-Ki-ras and survivin genes was detected by real-time RT-PCR and RT-PCR. The cell cycle profile was established by flow cytometry. We found that along with the demethylation of the CDKN2A gene promoter in both cell lines induced by 5-aza-dC alone or in combination with TSA, the expression of both CDKN2A and APC genes increased. The treatment of TSA or sodium butyrate up-regulated the transcription of p21(WAF1) significantly by inducing the acetylation of histories H4 and H3, but failed to alter the acetylation level of CDKN2A-associated histories. No changes in transcription of p53, p73, c-myc, c-Ki-ras and survivin genes were observed. In addition, TSA or sodium butyrate was shown to arrest cells at the G, phase. However, 5-aza-dC was not able to affect the cell cycle progression. In conclusion, regulation by epigenetic modification of the transcription of tumor-associated genes and the cell cycle progression in both human colon cancer cell lines Colo-320 and SW 1116 is gene-specific.
The muscle protein myosin binding protein C (MyBPC) is a large multi-domain protein whose role in the sarcomere is complex and not yet fully understood. Mutations in MyBPC are strongly associated with the heart disease familial hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (FHC) and these experiments of nature have provided some insight into the intricate workings of this protein in the heart. While some regions of the MyBPC molecule have been assigned a function in the regulation of muscle contraction, the interaction of other regions with various parts of the myosin molecule and the sarcomeric proteins, actin and titin, remain obscure. In addition, several intra-domain interactions between adjacent MyBPC molecules have been identified. Although the basic structure of the molecule (a series of immunoglobulin and fibronectin domains) has been elucidated, the assembly of MyBPC in the sarcomere is a topic for debate. By analysing the MyBPC sequence with respect to FHC-causing mutations it is possible to identify individual residues or regions of each domain that may be important either for binding or regulation. This review looks at the current literature, in concert with alignments and the structural models of MyBPC, in an attempt to understand how FHC mutations may lead to the disease state.