Current Molecular Medicine (v.15, #7)

Meet Our Associate Editor: by Kang Zhang (587-587).

Activation of LINE-1 Retrotransposon Increases the Risk of Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition and Metastasis in Epithelial Cancer by D. Rangasamy, N. Lenka, S. Ohms, J.E. Dahlstrom, A.C. Blackburn, P.G. Board (588-597).
Epithelial cancers comprise 80-90% of human cancers. During the process of cancer progression, cells lose their epithelial characteristics and acquire stem-like mesenchymal features that are resistant to chemotherapy. This process, termed the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), plays a critical role in the development of metastases. Because of the unique migratory and invasive properties of cells undergoing the EMT, therapeutic control of the EMT offers great hope and new opportunities for treating cancer. In recent years, a plethora of genes and noncoding RNAs, including miRNAs, have been linked to the EMT and the acquisition of stem cell-like properties. Despite these advances, questions remain unanswered about the molecular processes underlying such a cellular transition. In this article, we discuss how expression of the normally repressed LINE-1 (or L1) retrotransposons activates the process of EMT and the development of metastases. L1 is rarely expressed in differentiated stem cells or adult somatic tissues. However, its expression is widespread in almost all epithelial cancers and in stem cells in their undifferentiated state, suggesting a link between L1 activity and the proliferative and metastatic behaviour of cancer cells. We present an overview of L1 activity in cancer cells including how genes involved in proliferation, invasive and metastasis are modulated by L1 expression. The role of L1 in the differential expression of the let-7 family of miRNAs (that regulate genes involved in the EMT and metastasis) is also discussed. We also summarize recent novel insights into the role of the L1-encoded reverse transcriptase enzyme in epithelial cell plasticity that suggest it might be a potential therapeutic target that could reverse the EMT and the metastasis-associated stem cell-like properties of cancer cells.

Cysteinyl Leukotrienes (CysLTs): Role in Obesity-Induced Asthma by U.C.S. Yadav, S.K. Srivastava (598-605).
Epidemiological studies associate obesity with onset of asthma, especially in obese children, suggesting obesity as the risk factor for asthma. Obesity-induced chronic inflammation has been implicated in the lung inflammation, yet specific mediators and mechanisms are lacking. Obesity is associated with increased expression of 5-lipoxygenase (5-LO) pathway and increased Leukotrienes (LTs) production has been observed in obese asthma patients. However, the precise mechanism that predisposes lungs inflammation in obese is not clearly understood. This article discusses the production and regulation of LTs in obese individuals and presents probable mechanisms regarding the role of LTs in lung inflammation that may lead to obesity-induced asthma. Leukotrienes are well known mediators of asthma but their role in obesity-induced asthma is not clearly understood and thus needs further research. Since efficient antagonists and inhibitors of 5-LO pathways are known, understanding of molecular mechanism of LTs, especially Cysteinyl-LTs, in obesity-induced asthma could lead to optimal treatment regimens for the prevention and treatment of asthma in obese individuals.

Endothelial Progenitor Cells in Sprouting Angiogenesis: Proteases Pave the Way by A. Laurenzana, G. Fibbi, F. Margheri, A. Biagioni, C. Luciani, M. Del Rosso, A. Chilla (606-620).
Sprouting angiogenesis consists of the expansion and remodelling of existing vessels, where the vascular sprouts connect each other to form new vascular loops. Endothelial Progenitor Cells (EPCs) are a subtype of stem cells, with high proliferative potential, able to differentiate into mature Endothelial Cells (ECs) during the neovascularization process. In addition to this direct structural role EPCs improve neovascularization, also secreting numerous pro-angiogenic factors able to enhance the proliferation, survival and function of mature ECs, and other surrounding progenitor cells. While sprouting angiogenesis by mature ECs involves resident ECs, the vasculogenic contribution of EPCs is a high hurdle race. Bone marrowmobilized EPCs have to detach from the stem cell niche, intravasate into bone marrow vessels, reach the hypoxic area or tumour site, extravasate and incorporate into the new vessel lumen, thus complementing the resident mature ECs in sprouting angiogenesis. The goal of this review is to highlight the role of the main protease systems able to control each of these steps. The pivotal protease systems here described, involved in vascular patterning in sprouting angiogenesis, are the matrix-metalloproteinases (MMPs), the serineproteinases urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) associated with its receptor (uPAR) and receptorassociated plasminogen/plasmin, the neutrophil elastase and the cathepsins. Since angiogenesis plays a critical role not only in physiological but also in pathological processes, such as in tumours, controlling the contribution of EPCs to the angiogenic process, through the regulation of the protease systems involved, could yield new opportunities for the therapeutic prospect of efficient control of pathological angiogenesis.

Colon targeted liposomal systems (CTLS) for the delivery of bioactives have been well addressed in therapeutic manifestations of colonic ailments. Number of approaches using various drug delivery systems for colon targeting has been worked out but CTLS are first time being lime lighted in this review. Although liposomes are not supposed to be suitable for colon targeting via oral route this review explicitly provides advances of CTLS using exploitable ligands such as peptides or proteins (e.g. RGD, NGR, fibronectin mimetic peptide, and transferrin), Sialyl Lewis X (SLX), low molecular weight ligand like folate, monoclonal antibodies, endostatin gene and sulfatide etc. Moreover, it is bringing forth the diagnostic (or imaging) potential of CTLS using 188Re, 99mTc, and 111In, etc. This review presents nanotechnology based advances for liposome researchers engaged in design and development of colon targeted liposomes for theranostic exploration.

Selective Inhibition of SIRT2 Improves Outcomes in a Lethal Septic Model by T. Zhao, H.B. Alam, B. Liu, R.T. Bronson, V.C. Nikolian, E. Wu, W. Chong, Y. Li (634-641).
Background: Seven isoforms of histone deacetylase Class III have been reported - Sirtuin (SIRT) 1-7. We recently demonstrated that EX-527, an inhibitor of SIRT1, reduces mortality in a mouse model of lethal-cecal-ligationand- puncture (CLP)-induced septic shock. Our present study was aimed at determining whether selective inhibition of SIRT2, with AGK2, would decrease animal death and attenuate the inflammatory response in a septic model.
Methods: Experiment I: C57BL/6J mice were intraperitoneally given either AGK2 (82 mg/kg) in dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) or DMSO alone, and 2 h later subjected to CLP. Survival was monitored for 240 hours. Experiment II: mice treated the same way as Experiment I, were grouped into (i) DMSO vehicle, and (ii) AGK2, with sham mice (operating but without any treatment) serving as controls. Peritoneal fluid and peripheral blood were examined at 24 and 48 hours for cytokine production. Samples of blood at 48 h were also allocated to assess coagulability using Thrombelastography (TEG). Morphological changes of bone marrow were evaluated from long bones (femurs and tibias) with hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) staining. Bone marrow atrophy was quantified by a blinded pathologist. Experiment III: cytokines in supernatant of the cultured normal primary splenocytes were measured after the cells were stimulated by lipopolysaccharide and treated with or without AGK2 (10 µM) for 6 hours.
Results: AGK2 significantly reduced mortality and decreased levels of cytokines in blood (TNF-?: 298.3±24.6 vs 26.8±2.8 pg/ml, p=0.0034; IL-6: 633.4±82.8 vs 232.6±133.0 pg/ml, p=0.0344) and peritoneal fluid (IL-6: 704.8±67.7 vs 391.4±98.5 pg/ml, p=0.033) compared to vehicle control. Also, AGK2 suppressed the TNF-? and IL-6 production in the cultured splenocytes (TNF-α: 68.1±6.4 vs 23.9±2.8 pg/ml, p=0.0009; IL-6: 73.1±4.2 vs 49.6±3.0 pg/ml; p=0.0051). The TEG data showed that the mice subjected to CLP displayed prolonged fibrin formation and fibrin cross-linkage time, slower clot formation, decreased platelet function, and clot rigidity. AGK2 treatment was associated with dramatic improvements in fibrin cross-linkage and clot formation times, without a significant impact on the clot initiation parameters or platelet function. Additionally, AGK2 significantly attenuated the bone marrow atrophy (58.3±6.5 vs 30.0±8.2%, p=0.0262).
Conclusion: Selective inhibition of SIRT2 significantly improves survival, and attenuates sepsis-associated “cytokine storm”, coagulopathy, and bone marrow atrophy in a mouse model of lethal septic shock.

ACE Inhibitor Delapril Prevents Ca2+-Dependent Blunting of IK1 and Ventricular Arrhythmia in Ischemic Heart Disease by J. Thireau, S. Zalvidea, P. Meschin, J.-L. Pasquie, F. Aimond, S. Richard (642-651).
Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE-I) improve clinical outcome in patients with myocardial infarction (MI) and chronic heart failure. We investigated potential anti-arrhythmic (AA) benefits in a mouse model of ischemic HF. We hypothesized that normalization of diastolic calcium (Ca2+) by ACE-I may prevent Ca2+-dependent reduction of inward rectifying K+ current (IK1) and occurrence of arrhythmias after MI. Mice were randomly assigned to three groups: Sham, MI, and MI-D (6 weeks of treatment with ACE-I delapril started 24h after MI). Electrophysiological analyses showed that delapril attenuates MI-induced prolongations of electrocardiogram parameters (QRS complex, QT, QTc intervals) and conduction time from His bundle to ventricular activation. Delapril improved the sympatho-vagal balance (LF/HF) and reduced atrio-ventricular blocks and ventricular arrhythmia. Investigations in cardiomyocytes showed that delapril prevented the decrease of IK1 measured by patch-clamp technique. IK1 reduction was related to intracellular Ca2+ overload. This reduction was not observed when intracellular free-Ca2+ was maintained low. Conversely, increasing intracellular free-Ca2+ in Sham following application of SERCA2a inhibitor thapsigargin reduced IK1. Thapsigargin had no effect in MI animals and abolished the benefits of delapril on IK1 in MI-D mice. Delapril prevented both the prolongation of action potential late repolarization and the depolarization of resting membrane potential, two phenomena known to trigger abnormal electrical activities, promoted by MI. In conclusion, early chronic therapy with delapril after MI prevented Ca2+-dependent reduction of IK1. This mechanism may significantly contribute to the antiarrhythmic benefits of ACE-I in patients at risk for sudden cardiac death.

CHIP Knockdown Reduced Heat Shock Response and Protein Quality Control Capacity in Lens Epithelial Cells by W. Zhang, Z. Liu, X. Bao, Y. Qin, A. Taylor, F. Shang, M. Wu (652-662).
Protein quality control (PQC) systems, including molecular chaperones and ubiquitin-proteasome pathway (UPP), plays an important role in maintaining intracellular protein homeostasis. Carboxyl terminus of Hsc70- interacting protein (CHIP) links the chaperone and UPPs, thus contributing to the repair or removal of damaged proteins. Over-expression of CHIP had previously been used to protect cells from environmental stress. In order to gain a more physiologic mechanism of the advantage conferred by CHIP, we induced a CHIP knockdown and monitored the ability of cells to cope with environmental stress. To knockdown CHIP, the human lens epithelial cell line HLE B3 was transfected with lentiviral particles that encode a CHIP short hairpin RNA (shRNA) or negative control lentiviral particles. Stable CHIP-knock down cells (KD) and negative control cells (NC) were selected with puromycin. After exposure to heat shock stress, there was no change observed in the expression of Hsp90. In contrast, Hsp70 levels increased significantly in NC cells but less so in KD cells. Hsp27 levels also increased after heat shock, but only in NC cells. Protein ubiquitination was reduced when CHIP was knocked down. CHIP knockdown reduced the ability to clear aggregation proteins. When same levels of aggregation-prone RFP-mutant crystallin fusion protein, RFP/V76D-γD, was expressed, there was ~9- fold more aggregates in KD cells as compared to that observed in NC cells. Furthermore, KD cells were more sensitive to toxicity of amino acid analog canavanine as compared to NC cells. Together, these data indicate that CHIP is required for PQC and that CHIP knockdown diminished cellular PQC capacity in lens cells.

Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most lethal brain tumor and notorious for its resistance to ionizing radiation (IR). Recent evidence suggests that one possible mechanism that enables resistance to IR and protects cells against therapeutic stress is cellular autophagy. The molecular basis for this pro-survival function, however, remains elusive. Herein, we report a molecular mechanism by which IR-induced autophagy accelerates the repair of DNA double-strand breaks (DSB). We demonstrate that IR induces the accumulation of autophagosomes, which is accompanied by elevated expression of autophagyrelated genes beclin-1, atg5, atg7, and atg12. Beclin-1 knockdown impaired the induction of IR-mediated autophagy and significantly sensitized glioma cells to radiation therapy in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, our data is the first to demonstrate that the radiosensitizing effect of beclin-1 knockdown may result from the disruption of nuclear translocation and DNA binding activity of Ku proteins and consequent attenuation of DSB repair. Our findings help advance our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying IR-induced autophagy and provide a promising adjunctive therapeutic strategy for the radiosensitization of malignant glioma.

Salivary Gland Dysplasia in Fgf10 Heterozygous Mice: A New Mouse Model of Xerostomia by A.J. May, L. Chatzeli, G.B. Proctor, A.S. Tucker (674-682).
Xerostomia, or chronic dry mouth, is a common syndrome caused by a lack of saliva that can lead to severe eating difficulties, dental caries and oral candida infections. The prevalence of xerostomia increases with age and affects approximately 30% of people aged 65 or older. Given the large numbers of sufferers, and the potential increase in incidence given our aging population, it is important to understand the complex mechanisms that drive hyposalivation and the consequences for the dentition and oral mucosa. From this study we propose the Fgf10 +/- mouse as a model to investigate xerostomia. By following embryonic salivary gland development, in vivo and in vitro, we show that a reduction in Fgf10 causes a delay in branching of salivary glands. This leads to hypoplasia of the glands, a phenotype that is not rescued postnatally or by adulthood in both male and female Fgf10 +/- mice. Histological analysis of the glands showed no obvious defect in cellular differentiation or acini/ductal arrangements, however there was a significant reduction in their size and weight. Analysis of saliva secretion showed that hypoplasia of the glands led to a significant reduction in saliva production in Fgf10 +/- adults, giving rise to a reduced saliva pellicle in the oral cavity of these mice. Mature mice were shown to drink more and in many cases had severe tooth wear. The Fgf10 +/- mouse is therefore a useful model to explore the causes and effects of xerostomia.