ResearchPad - akt-signaling-cascade https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Decyl caffeic acid inhibits the proliferation of colorectal cancer cells in an autophagy-dependent manner <i>in vitro</i> and <i>in vivo</i>]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13874 The treatment of human colorectal cancer (CRC) cells through suppressing the abnormal survival signaling pathways has recently become a significant area of focus. In this study, our results demonstrated that decyl caffeic acid (DC), one of the novel caffeic acid derivatives, remarkedly suppressed the growth of CRC cells both in vitro and in vivo. The inhibitory effects of DC on CRC cells were investigated in an in vitro cell model and in vivo using a xenograft mouse model. CRC cells were treated with DC at various dosages (0, 10, 20 and 40 μM), and cell survival, the apoptotic index and the autophagy level were measured using an MTT assay and flow cytometry analysis, respectively. The signaling cascades in CRC were examined by Western blot assay. The anti-cancer effects of DC on tumor growth were examined by using CRC HCT-116 cells implanted in an animal model. Our results indicated that DC differentially suppressed the growth of CRC HT-29 and HCT-116 cells through an enhancement of cell-cycle arrest at the S phase. DC inhibited the expression of cell-cycle regulators, which include cyclin E and cyclin A proteins. The molecular mechanisms of action were correlated to the blockade of the STAT3 and Akt signaling cascades. Strikingly, a high dosage of DC prompted a self-protection action through inducing cell-dependent autophagy in HCT-116 cells. Suppression of autophagy induced cell death in the treatment of DC in HCT-116 cells. DC seemed to inhibit cell proliferation of CRC differentially, and the therapeutic advantage appeared to be autophagy dependent. Moreover, consumption of DC blocked the tumor growth of colorectal adenocarcinoma in an experimental animal model. In conclusion, our results suggested that DC could act as a therapeutic agent through the significant suppression of tumor growth of human CRC cells.

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<![CDATA[R1507, an Anti-Insulin-Like Growth Factor-1 Receptor (IGF-1R) Antibody, and EWS/FLI-1 siRNA in Ewing's Sarcoma: Convergence at the IGF/IGFR/Akt Axis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dacaab0ee8fa60bb3c12

A subset of patients with Ewing's sarcoma responds to anti-insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor (IGF-1R) antibodies. Mechanisms of sensitivity and resistance are unknown. We investigated whether an anti-IGF-1R antibody acts via a pathway that could also be suppressed by small interfering (si) RNA against the EWS/FLI-1 fusion protein, the hallmark of Ewing's sarcoma. The growth of two Ewing's sarcoma cell lines (TC-32 and TC-71) was inhibited by the fully human anti-IGF-1R antibody, R1507 (clonogenic and MTT assays). TC-32 and TC-71 cells express high levels of IGF-2, while RD-ES and A4573 Ewing's cell lines, which were less responsive to R1507 in our assays, express low or undetectable IGF-2, respectively. TC-71 cells also expressed high levels of IGF-1R, and R1507 decreased steady-state levels of this receptor by internalization/degradation, an effect which was associated with a decrease in p-IGF-1R, p-IRS-1, and p-Akt. EWS/FLI-1 siRNA also decreased p-Akt, due to its ability to increase IGF-BP3 levels and subsequently decrease IGF-1 and IGF-2 levels, thus inhibiting signaling through p-IGF-1R. This inhibition correlated with growth suppression and apoptosis. The attenuation of Akt activation was confirmed in TC-71 and HEK-293 (human embryonic kidney) cells by transfecting them with IGF-1R siRNA. We conclude that antibodies and siRNA to IGF-1R, as well as siRNA to EWS/FLI-1, act via intersecting IGF/IGF-1R signals that suppress a common point in this pathway, namely the phosphorylation of Akt.

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<![CDATA[[Pt(O,O’-acac)(γ-acac)(DMS)] Alters SH-SY5Y Cell Migration and Invasion by the Inhibition of Na+/H+ Exchanger Isoform 1 Occurring through a PKC-ε/ERK/mTOR Pathway]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9f0ab0ee8fa60b6e4be

We previously showed that [Pt(O,O’-acac)(γ-acac)(DMS)] ([Pt(acac)2(DMS)]) exerted substantial cytotoxic effects in SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells, and decreased metalloproteases (MMPs) production and cells migration in MCF-7 breast cancer cells. The ubiquitously distributed sodium-hydrogen antiporter 1 (NHE1) is involved in motility and invasion of many solid tumours. The present study focuses on the effects of [Pt(acac)2(DMS)] in SH-SY5Y cell migration and also on the possibility that NHE1 may be involved in such effect. After sublethal [Pt(acac)2(DMS)] treatment cell migration was examined by wounding assay and cell invasion by transwell assay. NHE1 activity was measured in BCECF-loaded SH-SY5Y as the rate of Na+-dependent intracellular pH recovery in response to an acute acid pulse. Gelatin zymography for MMP-2/9 activities, Western blottings of MMPs, MAPKs, mTOR, S6 and PKCs and small interfering RNAs to PKC-ε/-δ mRNA were performed. Sublethal concentrations of [Pt(acac)2(DMS)] decreases NHE1 activity, inhibites cell migration and invasion and decreases expression and activity of MMP-2 and -9. [Pt(acac)2(DMS)] administered to SH-SY5Y cells provokes the increment of ROS, generated by NADPH oxidase, responsible for the PKC-ε and PKC-δ activation. Whilst PKC-δ activates p38/MAPK, responsible for the inhibition of MMP-2 and -9 secretion, PKC-ε activates a pathway made of ERK1/2, mTOR and S6K responsible for the inhibition of NHE1 activity and cell migration. In conclusion, we have shown a drastic impairment in tumour cell metastatization in response to inhibition of NHE1 and MMPs activities by [Pt(acac)2(DMS)] occurring through a novel mechanism mediated by PKC-δ/-ε activation.

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<![CDATA[Hypoxia Enhances the Proliferative Response of Macrophages to CSF-1 and Their Pro-Survival Response to TNF]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da0bab0ee8fa60b77acf

In chronic inflammatory lesions there are increased numbers of macrophages with a possible contribution of enhanced survival/proliferation due, for example, to cytokine action; such lesions are often hypoxic. Prior studies have found that culture in low oxygen can promote monocyte/macrophage survival. We show here, using pharmacologic inhibitors, that the hypoxia-induced pro-survival response of macrophages exhibits a dependence on PI3-kinase and mTOR activities but surprisingly is suppressed by Akt and p38 MAPK activities. It was also found that in hypoxia at CSF-1 concentrations, which under normoxic conditions are suboptimal for macrophage proliferation, macrophages can proliferate more strongly with no evidence for alteration in CSF-1 receptor degradation kinetics. TNF promoted macrophage survival in normoxic conditions with an additive effect in hypoxia. The enhanced hypoxia-dependent survival and/or proliferation of macrophages in the presence of CSF-1 or TNF may contribute to their elevated numbers at a site of chronic inflammation.

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<![CDATA[Inhibition of EGFR-AKT Axis Results in the Suppression of Ovarian Tumors In Vitro and in Preclinical Mouse Model]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da27ab0ee8fa60b810b1

Ovarian cancer is the leading cause of cancer related deaths in women. Genetic alterations including overexpression of EGFR play a crucial role in ovarian carcinogenesis. Here we evaluated the effect of phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC) in ovarian tumor cells in vitro and in vivo. Oral administration of 12 µmol PEITC resulted in drastically suppressing ovarian tumor growth in a preclinical mouse model. Our in vitro studies demonstrated that PEITC suppress the growth of SKOV-3, OVCAR-3 and TOV-21G human ovarian cancer cells by inducing apoptosis in a concentration-dependent manner. Growth inhibitory effects of PEITC were mediated by inhibition of EGFR and AKT, which are known to be overexpressed in ovarian tumors. PEITC treatment caused significant down regulation of constitutive protein levels as well as phosphorylation of EGFR at Tyr1068 in various ovarian cancer cells. In addition, PEITC treatment drastically reduced the phosphorylation of AKT which is downstream to EGFR and disrupted mTOR signaling. PEITC treatment also inhibited the kinase activity of AKT as observed by the down regulation of p-GSK in OVCAR-3 and TOV-21G cells. AKT overexpression or TGF treatment blocked PEITC induced apoptosis in ovarian cancer cells. These results suggest that PEITC targets EGFR/AKT pathway in our model. In conclusion, our study suggests that PEITC could be used alone or in combination with other therapeutic agents to treat ovarian cancer.

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<![CDATA[Modification of Collagen by 3-Deoxyglucosone Alters Wound Healing through Differential Regulation of p38 MAP Kinase]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da71ab0ee8fa60b94de6

Background

Wound healing is a highly dynamic process that requires signaling from the extracellular matrix to the fibroblasts for migration and proliferation, and closure of the wound. This rate of wound closure is impaired in diabetes, which may be due to the increased levels of the precursor for advanced glycation end products, 3-deoxyglucosone (3DG). Previous studies suggest a differential role for p38 mitogen-activated kinase (MAPK) during wound healing; whereby, p38 MAPK acts as a growth kinase during normal wound healing, but acts as a stress kinase during diabetic wound repair. Therefore, we investigated the signaling cross-talk by which p38 MAPK mediates wound healing in fibroblasts cultured on native collagen and 3DG-collagen.

Methodology/Principal Findings

Using human dermal fibroblasts cultured on 3DG-collagen as a model of diabetic wounds, we demonstrated that p38 MAPK can promote either cell growth or cell death, and this was dependent on the activation of AKT and ERK1/2. Wound closure on native collagen was dependent on p38 MAPK phosphorylation of AKT and ERK1/2. Furthermore, proliferation and collagen production in fibroblasts cultured on native collagen was dependent on p38 MAPK regulation of AKT and ERK1/2. In contrast, 3DG-collagen decreased fibroblast migration, proliferation, and collagen expression through ERK1/2 and AKT downregulation via p38 MAPK.

Conclusions/Significance

Taken together, the present study shows that p38 MAPK is a key signaling molecule that plays a significantly opposite role during times of cellular growth and cellular stress, which may account for the differing rates of wound closure seen in diabetic populations.

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<![CDATA[Activated Protein Synthesis and Suppressed Protein Breakdown Signaling in Skeletal Muscle of Critically Ill Patients]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da31ab0ee8fa60b84780

Background

Skeletal muscle mass is controlled by myostatin and Akt-dependent signaling on mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK3β) and forkhead box O (FoxO) pathways, but it is unknown how these pathways are regulated in critically ill human muscle. To describe factors involved in muscle mass regulation, we investigated the phosphorylation and expression of key factors in these protein synthesis and breakdown signaling pathways in thigh skeletal muscle of critically ill intensive care unit (ICU) patients compared with healthy controls.

Methodology/Principal Findings

ICU patients were systemically inflamed, moderately hyperglycemic, received insulin therapy, and showed a tendency to lower plasma branched chain amino acids compared with controls. Using Western blotting we measured Akt, GSK3β, mTOR, ribosomal protein S6 kinase (S6k), eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E binding protein 1 (4E-BP1), and muscle ring finger protein 1 (MuRF1); and by RT-PCR we determined mRNA expression of, among others, insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), FoxO 1, 3 and 4, atrogin1, MuRF1, interleukin-6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α) and myostatin. Unexpectedly, in critically ill ICU patients Akt-mTOR-S6k signaling was substantially higher compared with controls. FoxO1 mRNA was higher in patients, whereas FoxO3, atrogin1 and myostatin mRNAs and MuRF1 protein were lower compared with controls. A moderate correlation (r2 = 0.36, p<0.05) between insulin infusion dose and phosphorylated Akt was demonstrated.

Conclusions/Significance

We present for the first time muscle protein turnover signaling in critically ill ICU patients, and we show signaling pathway activity towards a stimulation of muscle protein synthesis and a somewhat inhibited proteolysis.

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<![CDATA[Tuberous Sclerosis Complex-1 Deficiency Attenuates Diet-Induced Hepatic Lipid Accumulation]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daefab0ee8fa60bc0be3

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is causally linked to type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance and dyslipidemia. In a normal liver, insulin suppresses gluconeogenesis and promotes lipogenesis. In type 2 diabetes, the liver exhibits selective insulin resistance by failing to inhibit hepatic glucose production while maintaining triglyceride synthesis. Evidence suggests that the insulin pathway bifurcates downstream of Akt to regulate these two processes. Specifically, mTORC1 has been implicated in lipogenesis, but its role on hepatic steatosis has not been examined. Here, we generated mice with hepatocyte-specific deletion of Tsc1 to study the effects of constitutive mTORC1 activation in the liver. These mice developed normally but displayed mild hepatomegaly and insulin resistance without obesity. Unexpectedly, the Tsc1-null livers showed minimal signs of steatosis even under high-fat diet condition. This ‘resistant’ phenotype was reversed by rapamycin and could be overcome by the expression of Myr-Akt. Moreover, rapamycin failed to reduce hepatic triglyceride levels in models of steatosis secondary to Pten ablation in hepatocytes or high-fat diet in wild-type mice. These observations suggest that mTORC1 is neither necessary nor sufficient for steatosis. Instead, Akt and mTORC1 have opposing effects on hepatic lipid accumulation such that mTORC1 protects against diet-induced steatosis. Specifically, mTORC1 activity induces a metabolic shift towards fat utilization and glucose production in the liver. These findings provide novel insights into the role of mTORC1 in hepatic lipid metabolism.

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<![CDATA[Genomic Loss of Tumor Suppressor miRNA-204 Promotes Cancer Cell Migration and Invasion by Activating AKT/mTOR/Rac1 Signaling and Actin Reorganization]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dafaab0ee8fa60bc47bd

Increasing evidence suggests that chromosomal regions containing microRNAs are functionally important in cancers. Here, we show that genomic loci encoding miR-204 are frequently lost in multiple cancers, including ovarian cancers, pediatric renal tumors, and breast cancers. MiR-204 shows drastically reduced expression in several cancers and acts as a potent tumor suppressor, inhibiting tumor metastasis in vivo when systemically delivered. We demonstrated that miR-204 exerts its function by targeting genes involved in tumorigenesis including brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a neurotrophin family member which is known to promote tumor angiogenesis and invasiveness. Analysis of primary tumors shows that increased expression of BDNF or its receptor tropomyosin-related kinase B (TrkB) parallel a markedly reduced expression of miR-204. Our results reveal that loss of miR-204 results in BDNF overexpression and subsequent activation of the small GTPase Rac1 and actin reorganization through the AKT/mTOR signaling pathway leading to cancer cell migration and invasion. These results suggest that microdeletion of genomic loci containing miR-204 is directly linked with the deregulation of key oncogenic pathways that provide crucial stimulus for tumor growth and metastasis. Our findings provide a strong rationale for manipulating miR-204 levels therapeutically to suppress tumor metastasis.

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<![CDATA[Impact of Combined mTOR and MEK Inhibition in Uveal Melanoma Is Driven by Tumor Genotype]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9deab0ee8fa60b68c2b

Uveal melanomas possess activation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)/AKT/mammalian Target of Rapamycin (mTOR) pathways. MAPK activation occurs via somatic mutations in the heterotrimeric G protein subunits GNAQ and GNA11 for over 70% of tumors and less frequently via V600E BRAF mutations. In this report, we describe the impact of dual pathway inhibition upon uveal melanoma cell lines with the MEK inhibitor selumetinib (AZD6244/ARRY-142886) and the ATP-competitive mTOR kinase inhibitor AZD8055. While synergistic reductions in cell viability were observed with AZD8055/selumetinib in both BRAF and GNAQ mutant cell lines, apoptosis was preferentially induced in BRAF mutant cells only. In vitro apoptosis assay results were predictive of in vivo drug efficacy as tumor regressions were observed only in a BRAF mutant xenograft model, but not GNAQ mutant model. We went on to discover that GNAQ promotes relative resistance to AZD8055/selumetinib-induced apoptosis in GNAQ mutant cells. For BRAF mutant cells, both AKT and 4E-BP1 phosphorylation were modulated by the combination; however, decreasing AKT phosphorylation alone was not sufficient and decreasing 4E-BP1 phosphorylation was not required for apoptosis. Instead, cooperative mTOR complex 2 (mTORC2) and MEK inhibition resulting in downregulation of the pro-survival protein MCL-1 was found to be critical for combination-induced apoptosis. These results suggest that the clinical efficacy of combined MEK and mTOR kinase inhibition will be determined by tumor genotype, and that BRAF mutant malignancies will be particularly susceptible to this strategy.

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<![CDATA[Human Cataract Mutations in EPHA2 SAM Domain Alter Receptor Stability and Function]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da6dab0ee8fa60b938cf

The cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis of cataracts leading to visual impairment remain poorly understood. In recent studies, several mutations in the cytoplasmic sterile-α-motif (SAM) domain of human EPHA2 on chromosome 1p36 have been associated with hereditary cataracts in several families. Here, we have investigated how these SAM domain mutations affect EPHA2 activity. We showed that the SAM domain mutations dramatically destabilized the EPHA2 protein in a proteasome-dependent pathway, as evidenced by the increase of EPHA2 receptor levels in the presence of the proteasome inhibitor MG132. In addition, the expression of wild-type EPHA2 promoted the migration of the mouse lens epithelial αTN4-1 cells in the absence of ligand stimulation, whereas the mutants exhibited significantly reduced activity. In contrast, stimulation of EPHA2 with its ligand ephrin-A5 eradicates the enhancement of cell migration accompanied by Akt activation. Taken together, our studies suggest that the SAM domain of the EPHA2 protein plays critical roles in enhancing the stability of EPHA2 by modulating the proteasome-dependent process. Furthermore, activation of Akt switches EPHA2 from promoting to inhibiting cell migration upon ephrin-A5 binding. Our results provide the first report of multiple EPHA2 cataract mutations contributing to the destabilization of the receptor and causing the loss of cell migration activity.

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<![CDATA[Interleukin-6 Synthesis in Human Chondrocytes Is Regulated via the Antagonistic Actions of Prostaglandin (PG)E2 and 15-deoxy-Δ12,14-PGJ2]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da89ab0ee8fa60b9d59b

Background

Elevated levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6), prostaglandin (PG)E2, PGD2 and its dehydration end product 15-deoxy-Δ12,14-PGJ2 (15d-PGJ2) have been detected in joint synovial fluids from patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). PGE2 directly stimulates IL-6 production in human articular chondrocytes. However, the effects of PGD2 and 15d-PGJ2 in the absence or presence of PGE2 on IL-6 synthesis in human chondrocytes have yet to be determined. It is believed that dysregulated overproduction of IL-6 is responsible for the systemic inflammatory manifestations and abnormal laboratory findings in RA patients.

Methodology/Principal Findings

Using the T/C-28a2 chondrocyte cell line as a model system, we report that exogenous PGE2 and PGD2/15d-PGJ2 exert antagonistic effects on IL-6 synthesis in human T/C-28a2 chondrocytes. Using a synthesis of sophisticated molecular biology techniques, we determined that PGE2 stimulates Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) synthesis, which is in turn responsible for the activation of the ERK1/2, PI3K/Akt and PKA/CREB pathways that phosphorylate the NF-κB p65 subunit leading to NF-κB activation. Binding of the activated NF-κB p65 subunit to IL-6 promoter induces IL-6 synthesis in human T/C28a2 chondrocytes. PGD2 or 15d-PGJ2 concurrently downregulates TLR4 and upregulates caveolin-1, which in turn inhibit the PGE2-dependent ERK1/2, PI3-K and PKA activation, and ultimately with NF-κB-dependent IL-6 synthesis in chondrocytes.

Conclusions/Significance

We have delineated the signaling cascade by which PGE2 and PGD2/15d-PGJ2 exert opposing effects on IL-6 synthesis in human chondrocytes. Elucidation of the molecular pathway of IL-6 synthesis and secretion by chondrocytes will provide insights for developing strategies to reduce inflammation and pain in RA patients.

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<![CDATA[Sulforaphane Induces Cell Cycle Arrest and Apoptosis in Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Cells]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9e7ab0ee8fa60b6ba69

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is the most common hematological cancer in children. Although risk-adaptive therapy, CNS-directed chemotherapy, and supportive care have improved the survival of ALL patients, disease relapse is still the leading cause of cancer-related death in children. Therefore, new drugs are needed as frontline treatments in high-risk disease and as salvage agents in relapsed ALL. In this study, we report that purified sulforaphane, a natural isothiocyanate found in cruciferous vegetables, has anti-leukemic properties in a broad range of ALL cell lines and primary lymphoblasts from pediatric T-ALL and pre-B ALL patients. The treatment of ALL leukemic cells with sulforaphane resulted in dose-dependent apoptosis and G2/M cell cycle arrest, which was associated with the activation of caspases (3, 8, and 9), inactivation of PARP, p53-independent upregulation of p21CIP1/WAF1, and inhibition of the Cdc2/Cyclin B1 complex. Interestingly, sulforaphane also inhibited the AKT and mTOR survival pathways in most of the tested cell lines by lowering the levels of both total and phosphorylated proteins. Finally, the administration of sulforaphane to the ALL xenograft models resulted in a reduction of tumor burden, particularly following oral administration, suggesting a potential role as an adjunctive agent to improve the therapeutic response in high-risk ALL patients with activated AKT signaling.

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<![CDATA[The D153del Mutation in GNB3 Gene Causes Tissue Specific Signalling Patterns and an Abnormal Renal Morphology in Rge Chickens]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db39ab0ee8fa60bd44e2

Background

The GNB3 gene is expressed in cone but not rod photoreceptors of vertebrates, where it acts as the β transducin subunit in the colour visual transduction process. A naturally occurring mutation ‘D153del’ in the GNB3 gene causes the recessively inherited blinding phenotype retinopathy globe enlarged (rge) disease in chickens. GNB3 is however also expressed in most other vertebrate tissues suggesting that the D153del mutation may exert pathological effects that outlie from eye.

Principal Findings

Recombinant studies in COS-7 cells that were transfected with normal and mutant recombinant GNB3 constructs and subjected to cycloheximide chase showed that the mutant GNB3d protein had a much shorter half life compared to normal GNB3. GNB3 codes for the Gβ3 protein subunit that, together with different Gγ and Gα subunits, activates and regulates phosphorylation cascades in different tissues. As expected, the relative levels of cGMP and cAMP secondary messengers and their activated kinases such as MAPK, AKT and GRK2 were also found to be altered significantly in a tissue specific manner in rge chickens. Histochemical analysis on kidney tissue sections, from rge homozygous affected chickens, showed the chickens had enlargement of the glomerular capsule, causing glomerulomegaly and tubulointerstitial inflammation whereas other tissues (brain, heart, liver, pancreas) were unaffected.

Significance

These findings confirm that the D153del mutation in GNB3 gene targets GNB3 protein to early degradation. Lack of GNB3 signalling causes reduced phosphorylation activity of ERK2 and AKT leading to severe pathological phenotypes such as blindness and renal abnormalities in rge chickens.

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<![CDATA[Hyperforin Inhibits Akt1 Kinase Activity and Promotes Caspase-Mediated Apoptosis Involving Bad and Noxa Activation in Human Myeloid Tumor Cells]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da7aab0ee8fa60b98486

Background

The natural phloroglucinol hyperforin HF displays anti-inflammatory and anti-tumoral properties of potential pharmacological interest. Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cells abnormally proliferate and escape apoptosis. Herein, the effects and mechanisms of purified HF on AML cell dysfunction were investigated in AML cell lines defining distinct AML subfamilies and primary AML cells cultured ex vivo.

Methodology and Results

HF inhibited in a time- and concentration-dependent manner the growth of AML cell lines (U937, OCI-AML3, NB4, HL-60) by inducing apoptosis as evidenced by accumulation of sub-G1 population, phosphatidylserine externalization and DNA fragmentation. HF also induced apoptosis in primary AML blasts, whereas normal blood cells were not affected. The apoptotic process in U937 cells was accompanied by downregulation of anti-apoptotic Bcl-2, upregulation of pro-apoptotic Noxa, mitochondrial membrane depolarization, activation of procaspases and cleavage of the caspase substrate PARP-1. The general caspase inhibitor Z-VAD-fmk and the caspase-9- and -3-specific inhibitors, but not caspase-8 inhibitor, significantly attenuated apoptosis. HF-mediated apoptosis was associated with dephosphorylation of active Akt1 (at Ser473) and Akt1 substrate Bad (at Ser136) which activates Bad pro-apoptotic function. HF supppressed the kinase activity of Akt1, and combined treatment with the allosteric Akt1 inhibitor Akt-I-VIII significantly enhanced apoptosis of U937 cells.

Significance

Our data provide new evidence that HF's pro-apoptotic effect in AML cells involved inhibition of Akt1 signaling, mitochondria and Bcl-2 members dysfunctions, and activation of procaspases -9/-3. Combined interruption of mitochondrial and Akt1 pathways by HF may have implications for AML treatment.

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<![CDATA[Acute Inhibition of PI3K-PDK1-Akt Pathway Potentiates Insulin Secretion through Upregulation of Newcomer Granule Fusions in Pancreatic β-Cells]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db42ab0ee8fa60bd7005

In glucose-induced insulin secretion from pancreatic β-cells, a population of insulin granules fuses with the plasma membrane without the typical docking process (newcomer granule fusions), however, its mechanism is unclear. In this study, we investigated the PI3K signaling pathways involved in the upregulation of newcomer granule fusions. Acute treatment with the class IA-selective PI3K inhibitors, PIK-75 and PI-103, enhanced the glucose-induced insulin secretion. Total internal reflection fluorescent microscopy revealed that the PI3K inhibitors increased the fusion events from newcomer granules. We developed a new system for transfection into pancreatic islets and demonstrated the usefulness of this system in order for evaluating the effect of transfected genes on the glucose-induced secretion in primary cultured pancreatic islets. Using this transfection system together with a series of constitutive active mutants, we showed that the PI3K-3-phosphoinositide dependent kinase-1 (PDK1)-Akt pathway mediated the potentiation of insulin secretion. The Akt inhibitor also enhanced the glucose-induced insulin secretion in parallel with the upregulation of newcomer granule fusions, probably via increased motility of intracellular insulin granules. These data suggest that the PI3K-PDK1-Akt pathway plays a significant role in newcomer granule fusions, probably through an alteration of the dynamics of the intracellular insulin granules.

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<![CDATA[Combined Efficacy of Cediranib and Quinacrine in Glioma Is Enhanced by Hypoxia and Causally Linked to Autophagic Vacuole Accumulation]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da11ab0ee8fa60b79bbc

We have previously reported that the in vivo anti-glioma efficacy of the anti-angiogenic receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor cediranib is substantially enhanced via combination with the late-stage autophagy inhibitor quinacrine. The current study investigates the role of hypoxia and autophagy in combined cediranib/quinacrine efficacy. EF5 immunostaining revealed a prevalence of hypoxia in mouse intracranial 4C8 glioma, consistent with high-grade glioma. MTS cell viability assays using 4C8 glioma cells revealed that hypoxia potentiated the efficacy of combined cediranib/quinacrine: cell viability reductions induced by 1 µM cediranib +2.5 µM quinacrine were 78±7% (hypoxia) vs. 31±3% (normoxia), p<0.05. Apoptosis was markedly increased for cediranib/quinacrine/hypoxia versus all other groups. Autophagic vacuole biomarker LC3-II increased robustly in response to cediranib, quinacrine, or hypoxia. Combined cediranib/quinacrine increased LC3-II further, with the largest increases occurring with combined cediranib/quinacrine/hypoxia. Early stage autophagy inhibitor 3-MA prevented LC3-II accumulation with combined cediranib/quinacrine/hypoxia and substantially attenuated the associated reduction in cell viability. Combined efficacy of cediranib with bafilomycin A1, another late-stage autophagy inhibitor, was additive but lacked substantial potentiation by hypoxia. Substantially lower LC3-II accumulation was observed with bafilomycin A1 in comparison to quinacrine. Cediranib and quinacrine each strongly inhibited Akt phosphoryation, while bafilomycin A1 had no effect. Our results provide compelling evidence that autophagic vacuole accumulation plays a causal role in the anti-glioma cytotoxic efficacy of combined cediranib/quinacrine. Such accumulation is likely related to stimulation of autophagosome induction by hypoxia, which is prevalent in the glioma tumor microenvironment, as well as Akt signaling inhibition from both cediranib and quinacrine. Quinacrine's unique ability to inhibit both Akt and autophagic vacuole degradation may enhance its ability to drive cytotoxic autophagic vacuole accumulation. These findings provide a rationale for a clinical evaluation of combined cediranib/quinacrine therapy for malignant glioma.

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<![CDATA[Tissue-Specific Responses of IGF-1/Insulin and mTOR Signaling in Calorie Restricted Rats]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dab4ab0ee8fa60bac688

Moderate calorie restriction (CR) (∼60% of ad libitum, AL, intake) has been associated with numerous favorable physiological outcomes in many species, and the insulin/IGF-1 and mTOR signaling pathways have each been proposed as potential mediators for many of CR's bioeffects. However, few studies have assessed the widely held idea that CR induces the down-regulation of the insulin/IGF-1 and/or mTOR pathways in multiple tissues. Accordingly, we analyzed the phosphorylation status of 11 key signaling proteins from the insulin/IGF-1 (IRTyr1162/1163, IGF-1RTyr1135/1136, IRS-1Ser312, PTENSer380, AktSer473, GSK3αSer21, GSK3βSer9) and mTOR (TSC2Ser939, mTORSer2448, P70S6KThr412, RPS6Ser235/236) pathways in 11 diverse tissues [liver, kidney, lung, aorta, two brain regions (cortex and cerebellum), and two slow-twitch and three fast-twitch skeletal muscles] from 9-month-old male AL and CR Fischer 344 x Brown Norway rats. The rats were studied under two conditions: with endogenous insulin levels (i.e., AL>CR) and with insulin infused during a hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp so that plasma insulin concentrations were matched between the two diet groups. The most striking and consistent effect of CR was greater pAkt in 3 of the 5 skeletal muscles of CR vs. AL rats. There were no significant CR effects on the mTOR signaling pathway and no evidence that CR caused a general attenuation of mTOR signaling across the tissues studied. Rather than supporting the premise of a global downregulation of insulin/IGF-1 and/or mTOR signaling in many tissues, the current results revealed clear tissue-specific CR effects for the insulin signaling pathway without CR effects on the mTOR signaling pathway.

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<![CDATA[Non-Canonical Smads Phosphorylation Induced by the Glutamate Release Inhibitor, Riluzole, through GSK3 Activation in Melanoma]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da2bab0ee8fa60b82748

Riluzole, an inhibitor of glutamate release, has shown the ability to inhibit melanoma cell xenograft growth. A phase 0 clinical trial of riluzole as a single agent in patients with melanoma resulted in involution of tumors associated with inhibition of both the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and phophoinositide-3-kinase/AKT (PI3K/AKT) pathways in 34% of patients. In the present study, we demonstrate that riluzole inhibits AKT-mediated glycogen synthase kinase 3 (GSK3) phosphorylation in melanoma cell lines. Because we have demonstrated that GSK3 is involved in the phosphorylation of two downstream effectors of transforming growth factor beta (TGFβ), Smad2 and Smad3, at their linker domain, our aim was to determine whether riluzole could induce GSK3β-mediated linker phosphorylation of Smad2 and Smad3. We present evidence that riluzole increases Smad2 and Smad3 linker phosphorylation at the cluster of serines 245/250/255 and serine 204 respectively. Using GSK3 inhibitors and siRNA knock-down, we demonstrate that the mechanism of riluzole-induced Smad phosphorylation involved GSK3β. In addition, GSK3β could phosphorylate the same linker sites in vitro. The riluzole-induced Smad linker phosphorylation is mechanistically different from the Smad linker phosphorylation induced by TGFβ. We also demonstrate that riluzole-induced Smad linker phosphorylation is independent of the expression of the metabotropic glutamate receptor 1 (GRM1), which is one of the glutamate receptors whose involvement in human melanoma has been documented. We further show that riluzole upregulates the expression of INHBB and PLAU, two genes associated with the TGFβ signaling pathway. The non-canonical increase in Smad linker phosphorylation induced by riluzole could contribute to the modulation of the pro-oncogenic functions of Smads in late stage melanomas.

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<![CDATA[p21-Activated Kinase 1 (Pak1) Phosphorylates BAD Directly at Serine 111 In Vitro and Indirectly through Raf-1 at Serine 112]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dab9ab0ee8fa60bae02e

Background

Cell survival depends on the balance between protective and apoptotic signals. When the balance of signals tips towards apoptosis, cells undergo programmed cell death. This balance has profound implications in diseases including cancer. Oncogenes and tumor suppressors are mutated to promote cell survival during tumor development, and many chemotherapeutic drugs kill tumor cells by stimulating apoptosis. BAD is a pro-apoptotic member of the Bcl-2 family of proteins, which can be phosphorylated on numerous sites to modulate binding to Bcl-2 and 14-3-3 proteins and inhibit its pro-apoptotic activities. One of the critical phosphorylation sites is the serine 112 (S112), which can be phosphorylated by several kinases including Pak1.

Methodology/Principal Findings

We mapped the Pak phosphorylation sites by making serine to alanine mutations in BAD and testing them as substrates in in vitro kinase assays. We found that the primary phosphorylation site is not S112 but serine 111 (S111), a site that is sometimes found phosphorylated in vivo. In transfection assays of HEK293T cells, we showed that Pak1 required Raf-1 to stimulate phosphorylation on S112. Mutating either S111 or S112 to alanine enhanced binding to Bcl-2, but the double mutant S111/112A bound better to Bcl-2. Moreover, BAD phosphorylation at S111 was observed in several other cell lines, and treating one of them with the Pak1 inhibitor 2,2′-Dihydroxy-1,1′-dinaphthyldisulfide (IPA-3) reduced phosphorylation primarily at S112 and to a smaller extent at S111, while Raf inhibitors only reduced phosphorylation at S112.

Conclusion/Significance

Together, these findings demonstrate that Pak1 phosphorylates BAD directly at S111, but phosphorylated S112 through Raf-1. These two sites of BAD serve as redundant regulatory sites for Bcl-2 binding.

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