Cells2014, 3(1), 152-179; doi:10.3390/cells3010152 - published online 5 March 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Opioid receptors are the sites of action for morphine and the other opioid drugs. Abundant evidence now demonstrates that different opioid receptor types can physically associate to form heteromers. Understandings of the nature, behavior, and role of these opioid receptor heteromers are developing. Owing to their constituent monomers’ involvement in analgesia, mu/delta opioid receptor (M/DOR) heteromers have been a particular focus of attention. There is now considerable evidence demonstrating M/DOR to be an extant and physiologically relevant receptor species. Participating in the cellular environment as a distinct receptor type, M/DOR availability is complexly regulated and M/DOR exhibits unique pharmacology from that of other opioid receptors (ORs), including its constituents. M/DOR appears to have a range of actions that vary in a ligand- (or ligands-) dependent manner. These actions can meaningfully affect the clinical effects of opioid drugs: strategies targeting M/DOR may be therapeutically useful. This review presents and discusses developments in these understandings with a focus on the molecular nature and activity of M/DOR in the context of therapeutic potentials.
Cells2014, 3(1), 129-149; doi:10.3390/cells3010129 - published online 19 February 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Flotillins are highly conserved proteins that localize into specific cholesterol rich microdomains in cellular membranes. They have been shown to be associated with, for example, various signaling pathways, cell adhesion, membrane trafficking and axonal growth. Recent findings have revealed that flotillins are frequently overexpressed in various types of human cancers. We here review the suggested functions of flotillins during receptor tyrosine kinase signaling and in cancer. Although flotillins have been implicated as putative cancer therapy targets, we here show that great caution is required since flotillin ablation may result in effects that increase instead of decrease the activity of specific signaling pathways. On the other hand, as flotillin overexpression appears to be related with metastasis formation in certain cancers, we also discuss the implications of these findings for future therapy aspects.
Cells2014, 3(1), 112-128; doi:10.3390/cells3010112 - published online 19 February 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Herein we evaluate the involvement of the TRPV2 channel, belonging to the Transient Receptor Potential Vanilloid channel family (TRPVs), in development and progression of different tumor types. In normal cells, the activation of TRPV2 channels by growth factors, hormones, and endocannabinoids induces a translocation of the receptor from the endosomal compartment to the plasma membrane, which results in abrogation of cell proliferation and induction of cell death. Consequently, loss or inactivation of TRPV2 signaling (e.g., glioblastomas), induces unchecked proliferation, resistance to apoptotic signals and increased resistance to CD95-induced apoptotic cell death. On the other hand, in prostate cancer cells, Ca2+-dependent activation of TRPV2 induced by lysophospholipids increases the invasion of tumor cells. In addition, the progression of prostate cancer to the castration-resistant phenotype is characterized by de novo TRPV2 expression, with higher TRPV2 transcript levels in patients with metastatic cancer. Finally, TRPV2 functional expression in tumor cells can also depend on the presence of alternative splice variants of TRPV2 mRNA that act as dominant-negative mutant of wild-type TRPV2 channels, by inhibiting its trafficking and translocation to the plasma membrane. In conclusion, as TRP channels are altered in human cancers, and their blockage impair tumor progression, they appear to be a very promising targets for early diagnosis and chemotherapy.
Cells2014, 3(1), 92-111; doi:10.3390/cells3010092 - published online 14 February 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: One of the best examples of the renaissance of Src as an open door to cancer has been the demonstration that just five min of Src activation is sufficient for transformation and also for induction and maintenance of cancer stem cells . Many tyrosine kinase receptors, through the binding of their ligands, become the keys that unlock the structure of Src and activate its oncogenic transduction pathways. Furthermore, intracellular isoforms of these receptors, devoid of any tyrosine kinase activity, still retain the ability to unlock Src. This has been shown with a truncated isoform of KIT (tr-KIT) and a truncated isoform of VEGFR-1 (i21-VEGFR-1), which are intracellular and require no ligand binding, but are nonetheless able to activate Src and induce cell migration and invasion of cancer cells. Expression of the i21-VEGFR-1 is upregulated by the Notch signaling pathway and repressed by miR-200c and retinoic acid in breast cancer cells. Both Notch inhibitors and retinoic acid have been proposed as potential therapies for invasive breast cancer.
Cells2014, 3(1), 79-91; doi:10.3390/cells3010079 - published online 10 February 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: BAFF has a critical role in B-cell survival, maturation and function, which makes its pathway a prime therapeutic target for various autoimmune diseases, such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), rheumatoid arthritis and Sjögren’s syndrome. A cell-based assay that measures the functional activity of BAFF is required for many high throughput purposes, such as lead target screening and BAFF quantification. We report here the development of a sensitive BAFF responsive cell line via stable transfection of the BAFFR-TNFR1 hybrid receptor into monkey kidney epithelial COS-1 cells. The cellular response to BAFF can be detected by measuring the secretion of IL-8. This BAFF bioassay is not only reproducible and sensitive, but also responsive to a wide concentration range of BAFF stimulation in sera from various species. This cell line is useful in the development of sensitive bioassays to measure the levels of bioactive BAFF, inhibition of BAFF and neutralizing antibodies against any BAFF pathway-mediated therapeutic proteins.