Abstract: Human papillomavirus 16 (HPV16) is a high-risk DNA tumour virus which is the primary causative agent of cervical cancer. Cell transformation arises from deregulated expression of the E6 and E7 oncogenes. E6 has been shown to bind a number of cellular proteins, including p53 and proteins containing a PDZ domain. This study reports the first RNA aptamers to E6. These have been employed as molecular tools to further investigate E6-p53 and E6-PDZ interactions. This study is focussed on two aptamers (termed F2 and F4) which induced apoptosis in cells derived from an HPV16-transformed cervical carcinoma. The molecules were able to inhibit the interaction between E6 and PDZ1 from Magi1, with F2 being the most effective inhibitor. Neither of the aptamers inhibited E6-p53 interaction or p53 degradation. This study shows the specificity of this approach and highlights the potential benefits of the E6 aptamers as potential therapeutic or diagnostic agents in the future.
Abstract: Certain genetically defined cancers are dependent on a single overactive oncogene for their proliferation and survival, a phenomenon known as “oncogene addiction”. A new generation of drugs that selectively target such “driver oncogenes” manifests a clinical efficacy greater than that of conventional chemotherapy in appropriate genetically defined patients. MET is aproto-oncogene that encodes a receptor tyrosine kinase, and aberrant activation of MET signaling occurs in a subset of advanced cancers as result of various genetic alterations including gene amplification, polysomy, and gene mutation. Our preclinical studies have shown that inhibition of MET signaling either with the small-molecule MET inhibitor crizotinib or by RNA interference targeted to MET mRNA resulted in marked antitumor effects in cancer cell lines with MET amplification both in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, patients with non-small cell lung cancer or gastric cancer positive for MET amplification have shown a pronounced clinical response to crizotinib. Accumulating preclinical and clinical evidence thus suggests that MET amplification is an “oncogenic driver” and therefore a valid target for treatment. However, the prevalence of MET amplification has not been fully determined, possibly in part because of the difficulty in evaluating gene amplification. In this review, we provide a rationale for targeting this genetic alteration in cancer therapy.
Abstract: Despite widening interest in the possible association between infection/ inflammation and cancer development, knowledge of this issue in relation to oral cancer remains inadequate. This study aimed to determine the susceptibility of Apc-mutant Kyoto Apc Delta (KAD) rats, which are vulnerable to developing inflammation-associated colorectal carcinogenesis, to 4-nitroquinoline 1-oxide (4-NQO)-induced tongue carcinogenesis in order to clarify the role of inflammation in oral cancer. KAD (20 males and 22 females) and F344/NS1c (22 males and 23 females) rats received drinking water with or without 4-NQO (20 ppm) for eight weeks. Histopathological and immunohistochemical analyses of the tongue were performed at week 20. Additionally, the mRNA expression of inflammatory cytokines in the tongue mucosa was determined at week 8. Tongue squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) developed in the KAD and F344/NS1c rats that received 4-NQO. Regardless of gender, the incidence and multiplicity of tongue SCC were greater in the KAD rats than in the F344/NS1c rats. In addition, the multiplicity of tongue SCC in the female KAD rats was significantly greater than that observed in the male KAD (p < 0.01) and female F344/NS1c rats (p < 0.05). The levels of inflammation and the mRNA expression of inflammatory cytokines in the tongue in the 4-NQO-treated female KAD rats were the highest among the rats given 4-NQO. These results show that KAD rats, particularly females, are susceptible to 4-NQO-induced tongue carcinogenesis, suggesting the utility of models employing KAD rats for investigating the pathobiology of oral (tongue) carcinogenesis associated with inflammation.
Abstract: Cancer and inflammation are intimately linked due to specific oxidative processes in the tumor microenvironment. Lipoxygenases are a versatile class of oxidative enzymes involved in arachidonic acid metabolism. An increasing number of arachidonic acid metabolites is being discovered and apart from their classically recognized pro-inflammatory effects, anti-inflammatory effects are also being described in recent years. Interestingly, these lipid mediators are involved in activation of pro-inflammatory signal transduction pathways such as the nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) pathway, which illustrates the intimate link between lipid signaling and transcription factor activation. The identification of the role of arachidonic acid metabolites in several inflammatory diseases led to a significant drug discovery effort around arachidonic acid metabolizing enzymes. However, to date success in this area has been limited. This might be attributed to the lack of selectivity of the developed inhibitors and to a lack of detailed understanding of the functional roles of arachidonic acid metabolites in inflammatory responses and cancer. This calls for a more detailed investigation of the activity of arachidonic acid metabolizing enzymes and development of more selective inhibitors.
Abstract: In attempts to develop an orally applicable platinum-based drug, platinum(IV) drugs which exhibit higher in vivo stabilitycompared to the platinum(II) drug cisplatin were formulated. The first such chemotherapeutic agent, namely satraplatin, failed to receive approval. In the present work, we checked the initial cellular stress response of the chemosensitive NCI-H526 small cell lung cancer (SCLC) cells by determination of the relative phosphorylation of 46 specific phosphorylation sites of 38 selected proteins in a six hours response to cisplatin (platinum(II)) or oxoplatin (platinum(IV)), respectively. Oxoplatin is considered as prodrug of cisplatin, although several findings point to differences in intracellular effects. Cisplatin induced hyperphosphorylation of p38α MAPK and AMPKα1, whereas oxoplatin treatment resulted in increased phosphorylation of a large number of signaling proteins involved in stress response/drug resistance, including JNK, GSK-3α, AMPKα1, src kinases, STATs, CHK-2 and especially focal adhesion kinase (FAK). Cisplatin exerts markedly higher cytotoxicity upon four hours short-term exposure in comparison to oxoplatin and, correspondingly, the extended initial stress response to the platinum(IV) drug oxoplatin thus is expected to increase clinical drug resistance. Induction of a substantial stress response to any prodrug of a platinum-based compound may likewise limit the effectivity of its active metabolite(s), such contributing to the failure of selected derivatized platinum complexes.
Abstract: Merkel Cell Polyomavirus (MCPyV) was recently discovered as a novel human polyomavirus that is associated with ~80% of Merkel Cell Carcinomas. The Large Tumor antigen (LT) is an early viral protein which has a variety of functions, including manipulation of the cell cycle and initiating viral DNA replication. Phosphorylation plays a critical regulatory role for polyomavirus LT proteins, but no investigation of MCPyV LT phosphorylation has been performed to date. In this report mass spectrometry analysis reveals three unique phosphorylation sites: T271, T297 and T299. In vivo replication assays confirm that phosphorylation of T271 does not play a role in viral replication, while modification at T297 and T299 have dramatic and opposing effects on LT’s ability to initiate replication from the viral origin. We test these mutants for their ability to bind, unwind, and act as a functional helicase at the viral origin. These studies provide a framework for understanding how phosphorylation of LT may dynamically regulate viral replication. Although the natural host cell of MCPyV has not yet been established, this work provides a foundation for understanding how LT activity is regulated and provides tools for better exploring this regulation in both natural host cells and Merkel cells.