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Topical Collection "Programmed Cell Death and Apoptosis"

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A topical collection in International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This collection belongs to the section "Molecular Pathology".

Editor

Collection Editor
Prof. Dr. Anthony Lemarié (Website)

Research Team: Tumor radioresistance, from signalling pathways to therapy Department of Experimental Therapeutics Inserm U1037 Toulouse Cancer Research Center (CRCT) & IUCT 2 av. Hubert Curien, 31100 Toulouse, France
Interests: cell death; apoptosis; cellular differentiation; cellular and mitochondrial metabolism; cellular and mitochondrial homoeostasis; oxidative stress; cancer; cancer stem cells; glioma; radiotherapy & radioresistance

Topical Collection Information

Dear Colleagues,

Apoptosis is considered as an essential physiological process in eukaryotes for development, tissue homeostasis, wound healing or immune response. Moreover, apoptosis appears as a key player in physiopathological deregulations, since sustained apoptotic cell death characterizes ischemic and degenerative diseases as well as toxicological responses and since impaired cell death confers to cells and tissues a hyperproliferative phenotype as observed in cancer cells or autoimmune diseases. This collection is dedicated to bring to light some recent developments in the cell death area and to further present some comprehensive reviews on specific “hot” spots in the apoptotic field. In particular, it is of major interest to present the different types of programmed cell death, such as apoptosis, autophagic cell death, necroptosis and secondary necrosis, mitotic catastrophe or senescence and to depict their specific mechanisms and crossovers. The physiopathological context of each process is of particular importance. In addition, the different upstream early events leading to cell death signalling remain to be fully deciphered, notably the role of oxidative stress, ionic homeostasis, metabolic stress signals (e.g. hypoxia), DNA damages and microRNAs.
Concerning apoptosis, several aspects have to be addressed as the dependency on the caspase proteases, the involvement of extrinsic (death receptors) and intrinsic (mitochondrial) pathways and the role of the endoplasmic reticulum pathway. Finally, it would be of great interest to focus on the pro-survival vs pro-apoptotic regulation in tumour cells and during anticancer treatments (either chemo or radiotherapy), particularly towards several emerging targets such as cancer stem cells or circulating cancer cells.
Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited.

Prof. Dr. Anthony Lemarié
Collection Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • cell death
  • apoptosis
  • cellular differentiation
  • cellular and mitochondrial metabolism
  • cellular and mitochondrial homoeostasis
  • oxidative stress
  • cancer
  • cancer stem cells
  • glioma
  • radiotherapy & radioresistance

Related Special Issues

Published Papers (74 papers)

2016

Jump to: 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012

Open AccessArticle Advanced Glycation End-Products Induce Apoptosis of Vascular Smooth Muscle Cells: A Mechanism for Vascular Calcification
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(9), 1567; doi:10.3390/ijms17091567
Received: 17 May 2016 / Revised: 27 July 2016 / Accepted: 8 September 2016 / Published: 16 September 2016
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Abstract
Vascular calcification, especially medial artery calcification, is associated with cardiovascular death in patients with diabetes mellitus and chronic kidney disease (CKD). To determine the underlying mechanism of vascular calcification, we have demonstrated in our previous report that advanced glycation end-products (AGEs) stimulated [...] Read more.
Vascular calcification, especially medial artery calcification, is associated with cardiovascular death in patients with diabetes mellitus and chronic kidney disease (CKD). To determine the underlying mechanism of vascular calcification, we have demonstrated in our previous report that advanced glycation end-products (AGEs) stimulated calcium deposition in vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) through excessive oxidative stress and phenotypic transition into osteoblastic cells. Since AGEs can induce apoptosis, in this study we investigated its role on VSMC apoptosis, focusing mainly on the underlying mechanisms. A rat VSMC line (A7r5) was cultured, and treated with glycolaldehyde-derived AGE-bovine serum albumin (AGE3-BSA). Apoptotic cells were identified by Terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end labeling (TUNEL) staining. To quantify apoptosis, an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for histone-complexed DNA fragments was employed. Real-time PCR was performed to determine the mRNA levels. Treatment of A7r5 cells with AGE3-BSA from 100 µg/mL concentration markedly increased apoptosis, which was suppressed by Nox inhibitors. AGE3-BSA significantly increased the mRNA expression of NAD(P)H oxidase components including Nox4 and p22phox, and these findings were confirmed by protein levels using immunofluorescence. Dihydroethidisum assay showed that compared with cBSA, AGE3-BSA increased reactive oxygen species level in A7r5 cells. Furthermore, AGE3-induced apoptosis was significantly inhibited by siRNA-mediated knockdown of Nox4 or p22phox. Double knockdown of Nox4 and p22phox showed a similar inhibitory effect on apoptosis as single gene silencing. Thus, our results demonstrated that NAD(P)H oxidase-derived oxidative stress are involved in AGEs-induced apoptosis of VSMCs. These findings might be important to understand the pathogenesis of vascular calcification in diabetes and CKD. Full article
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Open AccessReview ER Stress-Mediated Signaling: Action Potential and Ca2+ as Key Players
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(9), 1558; doi:10.3390/ijms17091558
Received: 7 July 2016 / Revised: 6 September 2016 / Accepted: 9 September 2016 / Published: 15 September 2016
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Abstract
The proper functioning of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is crucial for multiple cellular activities and survival. Disturbances in the normal ER functions lead to the accumulation and aggregation of unfolded proteins, which initiates an adaptive response, the unfolded protein response (UPR), in [...] Read more.
The proper functioning of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is crucial for multiple cellular activities and survival. Disturbances in the normal ER functions lead to the accumulation and aggregation of unfolded proteins, which initiates an adaptive response, the unfolded protein response (UPR), in order to regain normal ER functions. Failure to activate the adaptive response initiates the process of programmed cell death or apoptosis. Apoptosis plays an important role in cell elimination, which is essential for embryogenesis, development, and tissue homeostasis. Impaired apoptosis can lead to the development of various pathological conditions, such as neurodegenerative and autoimmune diseases, cancer, or acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). Calcium (Ca2+) is one of the key regulators of cell survival and it can induce ER stress-mediated apoptosis in response to various conditions. Ca2+ regulates cell death both at the early and late stages of apoptosis. Severe Ca2+ dysregulation can promote cell death through apoptosis. Action potential, an electrical signal transmitted along the neurons and muscle fibers, is important for conveying information to, from, and within the brain. Upon the initiation of the action potential, increased levels of cytosolic Ca2+ (depolarization) lead to the activation of the ER stress response involved in the initiation of apoptosis. In this review, we discuss the involvement of Ca2+ and action potential in ER stress-mediated apoptosis. Full article
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Open AccessReview Apoptosis in Porcine Pluripotent Cells: From ICM to iPSCs
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(9), 1533; doi:10.3390/ijms17091533
Received: 4 August 2016 / Revised: 4 August 2016 / Accepted: 8 September 2016 / Published: 12 September 2016
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Abstract
Pigs have great potential to provide preclinical models for human disease in translational research because of their similarities with humans. In this regard, porcine pluripotent cells, which are able to differentiate into cells of all three primary germ layers, might be a [...] Read more.
Pigs have great potential to provide preclinical models for human disease in translational research because of their similarities with humans. In this regard, porcine pluripotent cells, which are able to differentiate into cells of all three primary germ layers, might be a suitable animal model for further development of regenerative medicine. Here, we describe the current state of knowledge on apoptosis in pluripotent cells including inner cell mass (ICM), epiblast, embryonic stem cells (ESCs), and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). Information is focused on the apoptotic phenomenon in pluripotency, maintenance, and differentiation of pluripotent stem cells and reprogramming of somatic cells in pigs. Additionally, this review examines the multiple roles of apoptosis and summarizes recent progress in porcine pluripotent cells. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Melatonin Alleviates Liver Apoptosis in Bile Duct Ligation Young Rats
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(8), 1365; doi:10.3390/ijms17081365
Received: 6 June 2016 / Revised: 1 August 2016 / Accepted: 15 August 2016 / Published: 20 August 2016
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Abstract
Bile duct ligation (BDL)-treated rats display cholestasis and liver damages. The potential protective activity of melatonin in young BDL rats in terms of apoptosis, mitochondrial function, and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) homeostasis has not yet been evaluated. Three groups of young male Sprague-Dawley [...] Read more.
Bile duct ligation (BDL)-treated rats display cholestasis and liver damages. The potential protective activity of melatonin in young BDL rats in terms of apoptosis, mitochondrial function, and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) homeostasis has not yet been evaluated. Three groups of young male Sprague-Dawley rats were used: one group received laparotomy (Sham), a second group received BDL for two weeks (BDL), and a third group received BDL and intraperitoneal melatonin (100 mg/day) for two weeks (BDL + M). BDL group rats showed liver apoptosis, increased pro-inflamamtory mediators, caspases alterations, anti-apoptotic factors changes, and dysfunction of ER homeostasis. Melatonin effectively reversed apoptosis, mainly through intrinsic pathway and reversed ER stress. In addition, in vitro study showed melatonin exerted its effect mainly through the melatonin 2 receptor (MT2) in HepG2 cells. In conclusion, BDL in young rats caused liver apoptosis. Melatonin rescued the apoptotic changes via the intrinsic pathway, and possibly through the MT2 receptor. Melatonin also reversed ER stress induced by BDL. Full article
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Open AccessReview Apoptotic Pathways Linked to Endocrine System as Potential Therapeutic Targets for Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(8), 1311; doi:10.3390/ijms17081311
Received: 8 July 2016 / Revised: 26 July 2016 / Accepted: 4 August 2016 / Published: 11 August 2016
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Abstract
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a chronic condition common in older men that can result in bothersome lower urinary tract symptoms. The molecular mechanisms and networks underlying the development and the progression of the disease are still far from being fully understood. [...] Read more.
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a chronic condition common in older men that can result in bothersome lower urinary tract symptoms. The molecular mechanisms and networks underlying the development and the progression of the disease are still far from being fully understood. BPH results from smooth muscle cell and epithelial cell proliferation, primarily within the transition zone of the prostate. Apoptosis and inflammation play important roles in the control of cell growth and in the maintenance of tissue homeostasis. Disturbances in molecular mechanisms of apoptosis machinery have been linked to BPH. Increased levels of the glycoprotein Dickkopf-related protein 3 in BPH cause an inhibition of the apoptosis machinery through a reduction in B cell lymphoma (Bcl)-2 associated X protein (Bax) expression. Inhibitors of apoptosis proteins influence cell death by direct inhibition of caspases and modulation of the transcription factor nuclear factor-κB. Current pharmacotherapy targets either the static component of BPH, including finasteride and dutasteride, or the dynamic component of BPH, including α-adrenoceptor antagonists such as tamsulosin and alfuzosin. Both these classes of drugs significantly interfere with the apoptosis machinery. Furthermore, phytotherapic supplements and new drugs may also modulate several molecular steps of apoptosis. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Zeb1 Is a Potential Regulator of Six2 in the Proliferation, Apoptosis and Migration of Metanephric Mesenchyme Cells
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(8), 1283; doi:10.3390/ijms17081283
Received: 17 April 2016 / Revised: 21 July 2016 / Accepted: 27 July 2016 / Published: 6 August 2016
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Abstract
Nephron progenitor cells surround around the ureteric bud tips (UB) and inductively interact with the UB to originate nephrons, the basic units of renal function. This process is determined by the internal balance between self-renewal and consumption of the nephron progenitor cells, [...] Read more.
Nephron progenitor cells surround around the ureteric bud tips (UB) and inductively interact with the UB to originate nephrons, the basic units of renal function. This process is determined by the internal balance between self-renewal and consumption of the nephron progenitor cells, which is depending on the complicated regulation networks. It has been reported that Zeb1 regulates the proliferation of mesenchymal cells in mouse embryos. However, the role of Zeb1 in nephrons generation is not clear, especially in metanephric mesenchyme (MM). Here, we detected cell proliferation, apoptosis and migration in MM cells by EdU assay, flow cytometry assay and wound healing assay, respectively. Meanwhile, Western and RT-PCR were used to measure the expression level of Zeb1 and Six2 in MM cells and developing kidney. Besides, the dual-luciferase assay was conducted to study the molecular relationship between Zeb1 and Six2. We found that knock-down of Zeb1 decreased cell proliferation, migration and promoted cell apoptosis in MM cells and Zeb1 overexpression leaded to the opposite data. Western-blot and RT-PCR results showed that knock-down of Zeb1 decreased the expression of Six2 in MM cells and Zeb1 overexpression contributed to the opposite results. Similarly, Zeb1 promoted Six2 promoter reporter activity in luciferase assays. However, double knock-down of Zeb1 and Six2 did not enhance the apoptosis of MM cells compared with control cells. Nevertheless, double silence of Zeb1 and Six2 repressed cell proliferation. In addition, we also found that Zeb1 and Six2 had an identical pattern in distinct developing phases of embryonic kidney. These results indicated that there may exist a complicated regulation network between Six2 and Zeb1. Together, we demonstrate Zeb1 promotes proliferation and apoptosis and inhibits the migration of MM cells, in association with Six2. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Cellular Stress and p53-Associated Apoptosis by Juniperus communis L. Berry Extract Treatment in the Human SH-SY5Y Neuroblastoma Cells
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(7), 1113; doi:10.3390/ijms17071113
Received: 28 April 2016 / Revised: 27 June 2016 / Accepted: 28 June 2016 / Published: 13 July 2016
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Abstract
Plant phenolics have shown to activate apoptotic cell death in different tumourigenic cell lines. In this study, we evaluated the effects of juniper berry extract (Juniperus communis L.) on p53 protein, gene expression and DNA fragmentation in human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells. [...] Read more.
Plant phenolics have shown to activate apoptotic cell death in different tumourigenic cell lines. In this study, we evaluated the effects of juniper berry extract (Juniperus communis L.) on p53 protein, gene expression and DNA fragmentation in human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells. In addition, we analyzed the phenolic composition of the extract. We found that juniper berry extract activated cellular relocalization of p53 and DNA fragmentation-dependent cell death. Differentially expressed genes between treated and non-treated cells were evaluated with the cDNA-RDA (representational difference analysis) method at the early time point of apoptotic process when p53 started to be activated and no caspase activity was detected. Twenty one overexpressed genes related to cellular stress, protein synthesis, cell survival and death were detected. Interestingly, they included endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress inducer and sensor HSPA5 and other ER stress-related genes CALM2 and YKT6 indicating that ER stress response was involved in juniper berry extract mediated cell death. In composition analysis, we identified and quantified low concentrations of fifteen phenolic compounds. The main groups of them were flavones, flavonols, phenolic acids, flavanol and biflavonoid including glycosides of quercetin, apigenin, isoscutellarein and hypolaetin. It is suggested that juniper berry extract induced the p53-associated apoptosis through the potentiation and synergism by several phenolic compounds. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Differential Apoptosis Radiosensitivity of Neural Progenitors in Adult Mouse Hippocampus
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(6), 970; doi:10.3390/ijms17060970
Received: 13 May 2016 / Revised: 1 June 2016 / Accepted: 13 June 2016 / Published: 20 June 2016
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Abstract
Mammalian tissue-specific stem cells and progenitors demonstrate differential DNA damage response. Neural progenitors in dentate gyrus of the hippocampus are known to undergo apoptosis after irradiation. Using a mouse model of hippocampal neuronal development, we characterized the apoptosis sensitivity of the different [...] Read more.
Mammalian tissue-specific stem cells and progenitors demonstrate differential DNA damage response. Neural progenitors in dentate gyrus of the hippocampus are known to undergo apoptosis after irradiation. Using a mouse model of hippocampal neuronal development, we characterized the apoptosis sensitivity of the different neural progenitor subpopulations in adult mouse dentate gyrus after irradiation. Two different bromodeoxyuridine incorporation paradigms were used for cell fate mapping. We identified two apoptosis sensitive neural progenitor subpopulations after irradiation. The first represented non-proliferative and non-newborn neuroblasts and immature neurons that expressed doublecortin, calretinin or both. The second consisted of proliferative intermediate neural progenitors. The putative radial glia-like neural stem cells or type-1 cells, regardless of proliferation status, were apoptosis resistant after irradiation. There was no evidence of radiation-induced apoptosis in the absence of the Trp53 (p53) gene but absence of Cdkn1a (p21) did not alter the apoptotic response. Upregulation of nuclear p53 was observed in neuroblasts after irradiation. We conclude that adult hippocampal neural progenitors may demonstrate differential p53-dependent apoptosis sensitivity after irradiation. Full article
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Open AccessReview Mechanism of Action and Applications of Interleukin 24 in Immunotherapy
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(6), 869; doi:10.3390/ijms17060869
Received: 5 April 2016 / Revised: 23 May 2016 / Accepted: 30 May 2016 / Published: 2 June 2016
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Abstract
Interleukin 24 (IL-24) is an important pleiotropic immunoregulatory cytokine, whose gene is located in human chromosome 1q32-33. IL-24’s signaling pathways have diverse biological functions related to cell differentiation, proliferation, development, apoptosis, and inflammation, placing it at the center of an active area [...] Read more.
Interleukin 24 (IL-24) is an important pleiotropic immunoregulatory cytokine, whose gene is located in human chromosome 1q32-33. IL-24’s signaling pathways have diverse biological functions related to cell differentiation, proliferation, development, apoptosis, and inflammation, placing it at the center of an active area of research. IL-24 is well known for its apoptotic effect in cancer cells while having no such effect on normal cells. IL-24 can also be secreted by both immune and non-immune cells. Downstream effects of IL-24, after binding to the IL-20 receptor, can occur dependently or independently of the JAK/STAT signal transduction pathway, which is classically involved in cytokine-mediated activities. After exogenous addition of IL-24, apoptosis is induced in tumor cells independently of the JAK/STAT pathway. We have shown that IL-24 binds to Sigma 1 Receptor and this event induces endoplasmic reticulum stress, calcium mobilization, reactive oxygen species generation, p38MAPK activity, and ceramide production. Here we review IL-24’s role in autoimmunity, infectious disease response, wound repair, and vascular disease. Detailed understanding of the pleiotropic roles of IL-24 signaling can assist in the selection of more accurate therapeutic approaches, as well as targeting of appropriate cell types in treatment strategy development, and ultimately achieve desired therapeutic effects. Full article
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Open AccessCommunication Induction of ROS Overload by Alantolactone Prompts Oxidative DNA Damage and Apoptosis in Colorectal Cancer Cells
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(4), 558; doi:10.3390/ijms17040558
Received: 23 February 2016 / Revised: 17 March 2016 / Accepted: 8 April 2016 / Published: 14 April 2016
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Abstract
Cancer cells typically display higher than normal levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which may promote cancer development and progression but may also render the cancer cells more vulnerable to further ROS insult. Indeed, many of the current anticancer therapeutics kill cancer [...] Read more.
Cancer cells typically display higher than normal levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which may promote cancer development and progression but may also render the cancer cells more vulnerable to further ROS insult. Indeed, many of the current anticancer therapeutics kill cancer cells via induction of oxidative stress, though they target both cancer and normal cells. Recently, alantolactone (ATL), a natural sesquiterpene lactone, has been shown to induce apoptosis by increasing ROS levels specifically in cancer cells; however, the molecular mechanisms linking ROS overproduction to apoptosis remain unclear. Here we show that the ATL-induced ROS overload in human SW480 and SW1116 colorectal cancer cells was followed by a prominent accumulation of cellular oxidized guanine (8-oxoG) and immediate increase in the number of DNA strand breaks, indicating that increased ROS resulted in extensive oxidative DNA damage. Consequently, the G1/S-CDK suppresser CDKN1B (p21) and pro-apoptotic proteins Bax and activated caspase-3 were upregulated, while anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 was downregulated, which were followed by cell cycle arrest at G1 and marked apoptosis in ATL-treated cancer but not non-cancer cells. These results suggest that the ATL-induced ROS overload triggers cell death through induction of massive oxidative DNA damage and subsequent activation of the intrinsic apoptosis pathway. Full article
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2015

Jump to: 2016, 2014, 2013, 2012

Open AccessReview Research Advances on Pathways of Nickel-Induced Apoptosis
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(1), 10; doi:10.3390/ijms17010010
Received: 22 September 2015 / Revised: 15 December 2015 / Accepted: 16 December 2015 / Published: 23 December 2015
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Abstract
High concentrations of nickel (Ni) are harmful to humans and animals. Ni targets a number of organs and produces multiple toxic effects. Apoptosis is important in Ni-induced toxicity of the kidneys, liver, nerves, and immune system. Apoptotic pathways mediated by reactive oxygen [...] Read more.
High concentrations of nickel (Ni) are harmful to humans and animals. Ni targets a number of organs and produces multiple toxic effects. Apoptosis is important in Ni-induced toxicity of the kidneys, liver, nerves, and immune system. Apoptotic pathways mediated by reactive oxygen species (ROS), mitochondria, endoplasmic reticulum (ER), Fas, and c-Myc participate in Ni-induced cell apoptosis. However, the exact mechanism of apoptosis caused by Ni is still unclear. Understanding the mechanism of Ni-induced apoptosis may help in designing measures to prevent Ni toxicity. Full article
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Open AccessReview FLIP the Switch: Regulation of Apoptosis and Necroptosis by cFLIP
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2015, 16(12), 30321-30341; doi:10.3390/ijms161226232
Received: 10 November 2015 / Revised: 9 December 2015 / Accepted: 11 December 2015 / Published: 18 December 2015
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Abstract
cFLIP (cellular FLICE-like inhibitory protein) is structurally related to caspase-8 but lacks proteolytic activity due to multiple amino acid substitutions of catalytically important residues. cFLIP protein is evolutionarily conserved and expressed as three functionally different isoforms in humans (cFLIPL, cFLIP [...] Read more.
cFLIP (cellular FLICE-like inhibitory protein) is structurally related to caspase-8 but lacks proteolytic activity due to multiple amino acid substitutions of catalytically important residues. cFLIP protein is evolutionarily conserved and expressed as three functionally different isoforms in humans (cFLIPL, cFLIPS, and cFLIPR). cFLIP controls not only the classical death receptor-mediated extrinsic apoptosis pathway, but also the non-conventional pattern recognition receptor-dependent apoptotic pathway. In addition, cFLIP regulates the formation of the death receptor-independent apoptotic platform named the ripoptosome. Moreover, recent studies have revealed that cFLIP is also involved in a non-apoptotic cell death pathway known as programmed necrosis or necroptosis. These functions of cFLIP are strictly controlled in an isoform-, concentration- and tissue-specific manner, and the ubiquitin-proteasome system plays an important role in regulating the stability of cFLIP. In this review, we summarize the current scientific findings from biochemical analyses, cell biological studies, mathematical modeling, and gene-manipulated mice models to illustrate the critical role of cFLIP as a switch to determine the destiny of cells among survival, apoptosis, and necroptosis. Full article
Open AccessReview Transducer of ERBB2.1 (TOB1) as a Tumor Suppressor: A Mechanistic Perspective
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2015, 16(12), 29815-29828; doi:10.3390/ijms161226203
Received: 10 September 2015 / Revised: 22 November 2015 / Accepted: 8 December 2015 / Published: 15 December 2015
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Abstract
Transducer of ERBB2.1 (TOB1) is a tumor-suppressor protein, which functions as a negative regulator of the receptor tyrosine-kinase ERBB2. As most of the other tumor suppressor proteins, TOB1 is inactivated in many human cancers. Homozygous deletion of TOB1 in mice is reported [...] Read more.
Transducer of ERBB2.1 (TOB1) is a tumor-suppressor protein, which functions as a negative regulator of the receptor tyrosine-kinase ERBB2. As most of the other tumor suppressor proteins, TOB1 is inactivated in many human cancers. Homozygous deletion of TOB1 in mice is reported to be responsible for cancer development in the lung, liver, and lymph node, whereas the ectopic overexpression of TOB1 shows anti-proliferation, and a decrease in the migration and invasion abilities on cancer cells. Biochemical studies revealed that the anti-proliferative activity of TOB1 involves mRNA deadenylation and is associated with the reduction of both cyclin D1 and cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) expressions and the induction of CDK inhibitors. Moreover, TOB1 interacts with an oncogenic signaling mediator, β-catenin, and inhibits β-catenin-regulated gene transcription. TOB1 antagonizes the v-akt murine thymoma viral oncogene (AKT) signaling and induces cancer cell apoptosis by activating BCL2-associated X (BAX) protein and inhibiting the BCL-2 and BCL-XL expressions. The tumor-specific overexpression of TOB1 results in the activation of other tumor suppressor proteins, such as mothers against decapentaplegic homolog 4 (SMAD4) and phosphatase and tensin homolog-10 (PTEN), and blocks tumor progression. TOB1-overexpressing cancer cells have limited potential of growing as xenograft tumors in nude mice upon subcutaneous implantation. This review addresses the molecular basis of TOB1 tumor suppressor function with special emphasis on its regulation of intracellular signaling pathways. Full article
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Open AccessReview Chondrocyte Apoptosis in the Pathogenesis of Osteoarthritis
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2015, 16(11), 26035-26054; doi:10.3390/ijms161125943
Received: 9 August 2015 / Revised: 3 October 2015 / Accepted: 21 October 2015 / Published: 30 October 2015
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (698 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Apoptosis is a highly-regulated, active process of cell death involved in development, homeostasis and aging. Dysregulation of apoptosis leads to pathological states, such as cancer, developmental anomalies and degenerative diseases. Osteoarthritis (OA), the most common chronic joint disease in the elderly population, [...] Read more.
Apoptosis is a highly-regulated, active process of cell death involved in development, homeostasis and aging. Dysregulation of apoptosis leads to pathological states, such as cancer, developmental anomalies and degenerative diseases. Osteoarthritis (OA), the most common chronic joint disease in the elderly population, is characterized by progressive destruction of articular cartilage, resulting in significant disability. Because articular cartilage depends solely on its resident cells, the chondrocytes, for the maintenance of extracellular matrix, the compromising of chondrocyte function and survival would lead to the failure of the articular cartilage. The role of subchondral bone in the maintenance of proper cartilage matrix has been suggested as well, and it has been proposed that both articular cartilage and subchondral bone interact with each other in the maintenance of articular integrity and physiology. Some investigators include both articular cartilage and subchondral bone as targets for repairing joint degeneration. In late-stage OA, the cartilage becomes hypocellular, often accompanied by lacunar emptying, which has been considered as evidence that chondrocyte death is a central feature in OA progression. Apoptosis clearly occurs in osteoarthritic cartilage; however, the relative contribution of chondrocyte apoptosis in the pathogenesis of OA is difficult to evaluate, and contradictory reports exist on the rate of apoptotic chondrocytes in osteoarthritic cartilage. It is not clear whether chondrocyte apoptosis is the inducer of cartilage degeneration or a byproduct of cartilage destruction. Chondrocyte death and matrix loss may form a vicious cycle, with the progression of one aggravating the other, and the literature reveals that there is a definite correlation between the degree of cartilage damage and chondrocyte apoptosis. Because current treatments for OA act only on symptoms and do not prevent or cure OA, chondrocyte apoptosis would be a valid target to modulate cartilage degeneration. Full article
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Open AccessReview Targeting Glutamine Induces Apoptosis: A Cancer Therapy Approach
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2015, 16(9), 22830-22855; doi:10.3390/ijms160922830
Received: 23 August 2015 / Revised: 11 September 2015 / Accepted: 15 September 2015 / Published: 22 September 2015
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Abstract
Glutamine metabolism has been proved to be dysregulated in many cancer cells, and is essential for proliferation of most cancer cells, which makes glutamine an appealing target for cancer therapy. In order to be well used by cells, glutamine must be transported [...] Read more.
Glutamine metabolism has been proved to be dysregulated in many cancer cells, and is essential for proliferation of most cancer cells, which makes glutamine an appealing target for cancer therapy. In order to be well used by cells, glutamine must be transported to cells by specific transporters and converted to glutamate by glutaminase. There are currently several drugs that target glutaminase under development or clinical trials. Also, glutamine metabolism restriction has been proved to be effective in inhibiting tumor growth both in vivo and vitro through inducing apoptosis, growth arrest and/or autophagy. Here, we review recent researches about glutamine metabolism in cancer, and cell death induced by targeting glutamine, and their potential roles in cancer therapy. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Curcumol Inhibits Growth and Induces Apoptosis of Colorectal Cancer LoVo Cell Line via IGF-1R and p38 MAPK Pathway
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2015, 16(8), 19851-19867; doi:10.3390/ijms160819851
Received: 9 June 2015 / Revised: 27 July 2015 / Accepted: 30 July 2015 / Published: 20 August 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (2257 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Curcumol, isolated from the traditional medical plant Rhizoma Curcumae, is the bioactive component of Zedoary oil, whose potential anti-tumor effect has attracted considerable attention in recent years. Though many researchers have reported curcumol and its bioactivity, the potential molecular mechanism for [...] Read more.
Curcumol, isolated from the traditional medical plant Rhizoma Curcumae, is the bioactive component of Zedoary oil, whose potential anti-tumor effect has attracted considerable attention in recent years. Though many researchers have reported curcumol and its bioactivity, the potential molecular mechanism for its anti-cancer effect in colorectal cancer LoVo cells still remains unclear. In the present study, we found that curcumol showed growth inhibition and induced apoptosis of LoVo cells in a dose- and time-dependent manner. The occurrence of its proliferation inhibition and apoptosis came with suppression of IGF-1R expression, and then increased the phosphorylation of p38 mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK), which might result in a cascade response by inhibiting the CREB survival pathway and finally triggered Bax/Bcl-2 and poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase 1 (PARP-1) apoptosis signals. Moreover, curcumol inhibited colorectal cancer in xenograft models of nude mice. Immunohistochemical and Western blot analysis revealed that curcumol could decrease the expression of ki-67, Bcl-2 as well as CREB1, and increase the expression of Bax and the phosphorylation of p38, which were consistent with our in vitro study. Overall, our in vitro and in vivo data confirmed the anti-cancer activity of curcumol, which was related to a significant inhibition of IGF-1R and activation of p38 MAPKs, indicating that curcumol may be a potential anti-tumor agent for colorectal carcinoma therapy. Full article
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Open AccessArticle MiR-30b Is Involved in the Homocysteine-Induced Apoptosis in Human Coronary Artery Endothelial Cells by Regulating the Expression of Caspase 3
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2015, 16(8), 17682-17695; doi:10.3390/ijms160817682
Received: 3 April 2015 / Revised: 20 July 2015 / Accepted: 24 July 2015 / Published: 31 July 2015
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Abstract
Homocysteine (Hcy) is an independent risk factor for a variety of cardiovascular diseases, such as coronary heart disease, hypertension, stroke, etc. There is a close relationship between the vascular endothelial cell apoptosis and these diseases. Recent studies have shown homocysteine can [...] Read more.
Homocysteine (Hcy) is an independent risk factor for a variety of cardiovascular diseases, such as coronary heart disease, hypertension, stroke, etc. There is a close relationship between the vascular endothelial cell apoptosis and these diseases. Recent studies have shown homocysteine can induce apoptosis in endothelial cells, which may be an important mechanism for the development of theses cardiovascular diseases. Although there are several reports about how the Hcy induces apoptosis in endothelial cells, the exact mechanism is not fully understood. MicroRNAs are small, non-coding RNA. Previous studies have shown that there is a close relationship between several microRNAs and cell apoptosis. However, there are no studies about the role of microRNAs in Hcy-induced apoptosis in endothelial cells so far. In this study, we constructed the model of homocysteine-induced apoptosis in human coronary artery endothelial cells (HCAECs) and found miR-30b was significantly down-regulated by 1 mmol/L Hcy. In addition, overexpression of miR-30b can improve the Hcy-induced apoptosis in HCAECs by downregulating caspase-3 expression. Therefore, miR-30b may play an important role in Hcy-induced apoptosis in endothelial cells. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Effect of Growth Hormone Administration on the Regulation of Mitochondrial Apoptosis in-Vivo
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2015, 16(6), 12753-12772; doi:10.3390/ijms160612753
Received: 24 March 2015 / Revised: 21 May 2015 / Accepted: 29 May 2015 / Published: 5 June 2015
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Abstract
The purpose of this study was to determine whether recombinant human growth hormone (rhGH) would show any significant effects on the expression of apoptosis regulating proteins in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). Additionally, the potential for post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression by [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to determine whether recombinant human growth hormone (rhGH) would show any significant effects on the expression of apoptosis regulating proteins in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). Additionally, the potential for post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression by miRNA was assessed in two cellular compartments, the cytosol and the mitochondria. Ten male subjects were subcutaneously injected with either rhGH (1 mg) or saline (0.9%) for seven consecutive days in a double-blinded fashion. Blood sampling was undertaken prior to treatment administration and over a period of three weeks following treatment cessation. Bcl-2 and Bak gene and protein expression levels were measured in PBMCs, while attention was also directed to the expression of miR-181a and miR-125b, known translational inhibitors of Bcl-2 and Bak respectively. Results showed that rhGH significantly decreased Bak protein concentrations compared to placebo samples for up to 8 days post treatment. While cytosolic miRNA expression was not found to be significantly affected by rhGH, measurement of the expression of miR-125b in mitochondrial fractions showed a significant down-regulation eight days post-rhGH administration. These findings suggest that rhGH induces short-term anti-apoptotic effects which may be partially mediated through a novel pathway that alters the concentration of mitochondrially-associated miRNAs. Full article
Open AccessArticle TCF4 Is a Molecular Target of Resveratrol in the Prevention of Colorectal Cancer
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2015, 16(5), 10411-10425; doi:10.3390/ijms160510411
Received: 11 December 2014 / Revised: 30 April 2015 / Accepted: 4 May 2015 / Published: 7 May 2015
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Abstract
The Wnt/β-catenin pathway plays an essential role in the tumorigenesis of colorectal cancer. T-cell factor-4 (TCF4) is a member of the TCF/LEF (lymphoid enhancer factor) family of transcription factors, and dysregulation of β-catenin is decisive for the initiation and progression of colorectal [...] Read more.
The Wnt/β-catenin pathway plays an essential role in the tumorigenesis of colorectal cancer. T-cell factor-4 (TCF4) is a member of the TCF/LEF (lymphoid enhancer factor) family of transcription factors, and dysregulation of β-catenin is decisive for the initiation and progression of colorectal cancer. However, the role of TCF4 in the transcriptional regulation of its target gene remained poorly understood. Resveratrol is a dietary phytoalexin and present in many plants, including grape skin, nuts and fruits. Although resveratrol has been widely implicated in anti-tumorigenic and pro-apoptotic properties in several cancer models, the underlying cellular mechanisms are only partially understood. The current study was performed to elucidate the molecular mechanism of the anti-cancer activity of resveratrol in human colorectal cancer cells. The treatment of resveratrol and other phytochemicals decreased the expression of TCF4. Resveratrol decreases cellular accumulation of exogenously-introduced TCF4 protein, but did not change the TCF4 transcription. The inhibition of proteasomal degradation using MG132 (carbobenzoxy-Leu-Leu-leucinal) and lactacystin ameliorates resveratrol-stimulated down-regulation of TCF4. The half-life of TCF4 was decreased in the cells exposed to resveratrol. Resveratrol increased phosphorylation of TCF4 at serine/threonine residues through ERK (extracellular signal-regulated kinases) and p38-dependent pathways. The TCF4 knockdown decreased TCF/β-catenin-mediated transcriptional activity and sensitized resveratrol-induced apoptosis. The current study provides a new mechanistic link between resveratrol and TCF4 down-regulation and significant benefits for further preclinical and clinical practice. Full article
Open AccessReview Ceramide-Induced Apoptosis in Renal Tubular Cells: A Role of Mitochondria and Sphingosine-1-Phoshate
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2015, 16(3), 5076-5124; doi:10.3390/ijms16035076
Received: 20 November 2014 / Revised: 9 February 2015 / Accepted: 12 February 2015 / Published: 5 March 2015
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Abstract
Ceramide is synthesized upon stimuli, and induces apoptosis in renal tubular cells (RTCs). Sphingosine-1 phosphate (S1P) functions as a survival factor. Thus, the balance of ceramide/S1P determines ceramide-induced apoptosis. Mitochondria play a key role for ceramide-induced apoptosis by altered mitochondrial outer membrane [...] Read more.
Ceramide is synthesized upon stimuli, and induces apoptosis in renal tubular cells (RTCs). Sphingosine-1 phosphate (S1P) functions as a survival factor. Thus, the balance of ceramide/S1P determines ceramide-induced apoptosis. Mitochondria play a key role for ceramide-induced apoptosis by altered mitochondrial outer membrane permeability (MOMP). Ceramide enhances oligomerization of pro-apoptotic Bcl-2 family proteins, ceramide channel, and reduces anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 proteins in the MOM. This process alters MOMP, resulting in generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), cytochrome C release into the cytosol, caspase activation, and apoptosis. Ceramide regulates apoptosis through mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs)-dependent and -independent pathways. Conversely, MAPKs alter ceramide generation by regulating the enzymes involving ceramide metabolism, affecting ceramide-induced apoptosis. Crosstalk between Bcl-2 family proteins, ROS, and many signaling pathways regulates ceramide-induced apoptosis. Growth factors rescue ceramide-induced apoptosis by regulating the enzymes involving ceramide metabolism, S1P, and signaling pathways including MAPKs. This article reviews evidence supporting a role of ceramide for apoptosis and discusses a role of mitochondria, including MOMP, Bcl-2 family proteins, ROS, and signaling pathways, and crosstalk between these factors in the regulation of ceramide-induced apoptosis of RTCs. A balancing role between ceramide and S1P and the strategy for preventing ceramide-induced apoptosis by growth factors are also discussed. Full article
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Open AccessReview A Time to Kill: Targeting Apoptosis in Cancer
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2015, 16(2), 2942-2955; doi:10.3390/ijms16022942
Received: 12 December 2014 / Revised: 8 January 2015 / Accepted: 23 January 2015 / Published: 28 January 2015
Cited by 17 | PDF Full-text (1001 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The process of apoptosis is essential for maintaining the physiologic balance between cell death and cell growth. This complex process is executed by two major pathways that participate in activating an executioner mechanism leading to chromatin disintegration and nuclear fragmentation. Dysregulation of [...] Read more.
The process of apoptosis is essential for maintaining the physiologic balance between cell death and cell growth. This complex process is executed by two major pathways that participate in activating an executioner mechanism leading to chromatin disintegration and nuclear fragmentation. Dysregulation of these pathways often contributes to cancer development and resistance to cancer therapy. Here, we review the most recent discoveries in apoptosis regulation and possible mechanisms for resensitizing tumor cells to therapy. Full article
Open AccessReview Lipid Metabolism, Apoptosis and Cancer Therapy
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2015, 16(1), 924-949; doi:10.3390/ijms16010924
Received: 8 July 2014 / Accepted: 17 December 2014 / Published: 2 January 2015
Cited by 22 | PDF Full-text (1065 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Lipid metabolism is regulated by multiple signaling pathways, and generates a variety of bioactive lipid molecules. These bioactive lipid molecules known as signaling molecules, such as fatty acid, eicosanoids, diacylglycerol, phosphatidic acid, lysophophatidic acid, ceramide, sphingosine, sphingosine-1-phosphate, phosphatidylinositol-3 phosphate, and cholesterol, are [...] Read more.
Lipid metabolism is regulated by multiple signaling pathways, and generates a variety of bioactive lipid molecules. These bioactive lipid molecules known as signaling molecules, such as fatty acid, eicosanoids, diacylglycerol, phosphatidic acid, lysophophatidic acid, ceramide, sphingosine, sphingosine-1-phosphate, phosphatidylinositol-3 phosphate, and cholesterol, are involved in the activation or regulation of different signaling pathways. Lipid metabolism participates in the regulation of many cellular processes such as cell growth, proliferation, differentiation, survival, apoptosis, inflammation, motility, membrane homeostasis, chemotherapy response, and drug resistance. Bioactive lipid molecules promote apoptosis via the intrinsic pathway by modulating mitochondrial membrane permeability and activating different enzymes including caspases. In this review, we discuss recent data in the fields of lipid metabolism, lipid-mediated apoptosis, and cancer therapy. In conclusion, understanding the underlying molecular mechanism of lipid metabolism and the function of different lipid molecules could provide the basis for cancer cell death rationale, discover novel and potential targets, and develop new anticancer drugs for cancer therapy. Full article

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Open AccessArticle Lidocaine Sensitizes the Cytotoxicity of Cisplatin in Breast Cancer Cells via Up-Regulation of RARβ2 and RASSF1A Demethylation
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2014, 15(12), 23519-23536; doi:10.3390/ijms151223519
Received: 19 July 2014 / Revised: 26 November 2014 / Accepted: 3 December 2014 / Published: 17 December 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1449 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
It has been reported that lidocaine is toxic to various types of cells. And a recent study has confirmed that lidocaine exerts a demethylation effect and regulates the proliferation of human breast cancer cell lines. To recognize a potential anti-tumor effect of [...] Read more.
It has been reported that lidocaine is toxic to various types of cells. And a recent study has confirmed that lidocaine exerts a demethylation effect and regulates the proliferation of human breast cancer cell lines. To recognize a potential anti-tumor effect of lidocaine, we evaluated the DNA demethylation by lidocaine in human breast cancer lines, MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cells, and determined the influence of demethylation on the toxicity to these cells of cisplatin, which is a commonly utilized anti-tumor agent for breast cancer. Results demonstrated that lidocaine promoted a significant global genomic demethylation, and particularly in the promoters of tumor suppressive genes (TSGs), RARβ2 and RASSF1A. Further, the lidocaine treatment increased cisplatin-induced apoptosis and enhanced cisplatin-induced cytotoxicity. The combined treatment with both lidocaine and cisplatin promoted a significantly higher level of MCF-7 cell apoptosis than singular lidocaine or cisplatin treatment. Moreover, the abrogation of RARβ2 or RASSF1A expression inhibited such apoptosis. In conclusion, the present study confirms the demethylation effect of lidocaine in breast cancer cells, and found that the demethylation of RARβ2 and RASSF1A sensitized the cytotoxicity of cisplatin in breast cancer cells. Full article
Open AccessArticle Inhibition of p53 deSUMOylation Exacerbates Puromycin Aminonucleoside-Induced Apoptosis in Podocytes
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2014, 15(11), 21314-21330; doi:10.3390/ijms151121314
Received: 8 September 2014 / Revised: 4 November 2014 / Accepted: 5 November 2014 / Published: 18 November 2014
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Abstract
Apoptosis is a major cause of reduced podocyte numbers, which leads to proteinuria and/or glomerulosclerosis. Emerging evidence has indicated that deSUMOylation, a dynamic post-translational modification that reverses SUMOylation, is involved in the apoptosis of Burkitt’s lymphoma cells and cardiomyocytes; however, the impact [...] Read more.
Apoptosis is a major cause of reduced podocyte numbers, which leads to proteinuria and/or glomerulosclerosis. Emerging evidence has indicated that deSUMOylation, a dynamic post-translational modification that reverses SUMOylation, is involved in the apoptosis of Burkitt’s lymphoma cells and cardiomyocytes; however, the impact of deSUMOylation on podocyte apoptosis remains unexplored. The p53 protein plays a major role in the pathogenesis of podocyte apoptosis, and p53 can be SUMOylated. Therefore, in the present study, we evaluated the effect of p53 deSUMOylation, which is regulated by sentrin/SUMO-specific protease 1 (SENP1), on podocyte apoptosis. Our results showed that SENP1 deficiency significantly increases puromycin aminonucleoside (PAN)-induced podocyte apoptosis. Moreover, SENP1 knockdown results in the accumulation of SUMOylated p53 protein and the increased expression of the p53 target pro-apoptotic genes, BAX, Noxa and PUMA, in podocytes during PAN stimulation. Thus, SENP1 may be essential for preventing podocyte apoptosis, at least partly through regulating the functions of p53 protein via deSUMOylation. The regulation of deSUMOylation may provide a novel strategy for the treatment of glomerular disorders that involve podocyte apoptosis. Full article
Open AccessArticle Squamosamide Derivative FLZ Protects Retinal Pigment Epithelium Cells from Oxidative Stress through Activation of Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR)-AKT Signaling
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2014, 15(10), 18762-18775; doi:10.3390/ijms151018762
Received: 3 June 2014 / Revised: 2 September 2014 / Accepted: 11 September 2014 / Published: 17 October 2014
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Abstract
Reactive oxygen species (ROS)-mediated retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cell apoptosis is attributed to age-related macular degeneration (AMD) pathogenesis. FLZ, a novel synthetic squamosamide derivative from a Chinese herb, Annona glabra, has displayed significant cyto-protective activity. In the current study, we explored [...] Read more.
Reactive oxygen species (ROS)-mediated retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cell apoptosis is attributed to age-related macular degeneration (AMD) pathogenesis. FLZ, a novel synthetic squamosamide derivative from a Chinese herb, Annona glabra, has displayed significant cyto-protective activity. In the current study, we explored the pro-survival effect of FLZ in oxidative stressed-RPE cells and studied the underlying signaling mechanisms. Our results showed that FLZ attenuated hydrogen peroxide (H2O2)-induced viability decrease and apoptosis in the RPE cell line (ARPE-19 cells) and in primary mouse RPE cells. Western blotting results showed that FLZ activated AKT signaling in RPE cells. The AKT-specific inhibitor, MK-2206, the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)/AKT pan inhibitor, wortmannin, and AKT1-shRNA (short hairpin RNA) depletion almost abolished FLZ-mediated pro-survival/anti-apoptosis activity. We discovered that epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) trans-activation mediated FLZ-induced AKT activation and the pro-survival effect in RPE cells, and the anti-apoptosis effect of FLZ against H2O2 was inhibited by the EGFR inhibitor, PD153035, or by EGFR shRNA-knockdown. In conclusion, FLZ protects RPE cells from oxidative stress through activation of EGFR-AKT signaling, and our results suggest that FLZ might have therapeutic values for AMD. Full article
Open AccessReview Regulation of TRAIL-Receptor Expression by the Ubiquitin-Proteasome System
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2014, 15(10), 18557-18573; doi:10.3390/ijms151018557
Received: 27 August 2014 / Revised: 30 September 2014 / Accepted: 2 October 2014 / Published: 14 October 2014
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Abstract
The tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-related apoptosis-inducing ligand- receptor (TRAIL-R) family has emerged as a key mediator of cell fate and survival. Ligation of TRAIL ligand to TRAIL-R1 or TRAIL-R2 initiates the extrinsic apoptotic pathway characterized by the recruitment of death domains, assembly [...] Read more.
The tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-related apoptosis-inducing ligand- receptor (TRAIL-R) family has emerged as a key mediator of cell fate and survival. Ligation of TRAIL ligand to TRAIL-R1 or TRAIL-R2 initiates the extrinsic apoptotic pathway characterized by the recruitment of death domains, assembly of the death-inducing signaling complex (DISC), caspase activation and ultimately apoptosis. Conversely the decoy receptors TRAIL-R3 and TRAIL-R4, which lack the pro-apoptotic death domain, function to dampen the apoptotic response by competing for TRAIL ligand. The tissue restricted expression of the decoy receptors on normal but not cancer cells provides a therapeutic rational for the development of selective TRAIL-mediated anti-tumor therapies. Recent clinical trials using agonistic antibodies against the apoptosis-inducing TRAIL receptors or recombinant TRAIL have been promising; however the number of patients in complete remission remains stubbornly low. The mechanisms of TRAIL resistance are relatively unexplored but may in part be due to TRAIL-R down-regulation or shedding of TRAIL-R by tumor cells. Therefore a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying TRAIL resistance is required. The ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) has been shown to regulate TRAIL-R members suggesting that pharmacological inhibition of the UPS may be a novel strategy to augment TRAIL-based therapies and increase efficacies. We recently identified b-AP15 as an inhibitor of proteasome deubiquitinase (DUB) activity. Interestingly, exposure of tumor cell lines to b-AP15 resulted in increased TRAIL-R2 expression and enhanced sensitivity to TRAIL-mediated apoptosis and cell death in vitro and in vivo. In conclusion, targeting the UPS may represent a novel strategy to increase the cell surface expression of pro-apoptotic TRAIL-R on cancer cells and should be considered in clinical trials targeting TRAIL-receptors in cancer patients. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Curcumin-Induced Heme Oxygenase-1 Expression Prevents H2O2-Induced Cell Death in Wild Type and Heme Oxygenase-2 Knockout Adipose-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2014, 15(10), 17974-17999; doi:10.3390/ijms151017974
Received: 11 June 2014 / Revised: 11 September 2014 / Accepted: 23 September 2014 / Published: 8 October 2014
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Abstract
Mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) administration is a promising adjuvant therapy to treat tissue injury. However, MSC survival after administration is often hampered by oxidative stress at the site of injury. Heme oxygenase (HO) generates the cytoprotective effector molecules biliverdin/bilirubin, carbon monoxide (CO) [...] Read more.
Mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) administration is a promising adjuvant therapy to treat tissue injury. However, MSC survival after administration is often hampered by oxidative stress at the site of injury. Heme oxygenase (HO) generates the cytoprotective effector molecules biliverdin/bilirubin, carbon monoxide (CO) and iron/ferritin by breaking down heme. Since HO-activity mediates anti-apoptotic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-oxidative effects, we hypothesized that modulation of the HO-system affects MSC survival. Adipose-derived MSCs (ASCs) from wild type (WT) and HO-2 knockout (KO) mice were isolated and characterized with respect to ASC marker expression. In order to analyze potential modulatory effects of the HO-system on ASC survival, WT and HO-2 KO ASCs were pre-treated with HO-activity modulators, or downstream effector molecules biliverdin, bilirubin, and CO before co-exposure of ASCs to a toxic dose of H2O2. Surprisingly, sensitivity to H2O2-mediated cell death was similar in WT and HO-2 KO ASCs. However, pre-induction of HO-1 expression using curcumin increased ASC survival after H2O2 exposure in both WT and HO-2 KO ASCs. Simultaneous inhibition of HO-activity resulted in loss of curcumin-mediated protection. Co-treatment with glutathione precursor N-Acetylcysteine promoted ASC survival. However, co-incubation with HO-effector molecules bilirubin and biliverdin did not rescue from H2O2-mediated cell death, whereas co-exposure to CO-releasing molecules-2 (CORM-2) significantly increased cell survival, independently from HO-2 expression. Summarizing, our results show that curcumin protects via an HO-1 dependent mechanism against H2O2-mediated apoptosis, and likely through the generation of CO. HO-1 pre-induction or administration of CORMs may thus form an attractive strategy to improve MSC therapy. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Artesunate Induces Apoptosis of Bladder Cancer Cells by miR-16 Regulation of COX-2 Expression
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2014, 15(8), 14298-14312; doi:10.3390/ijms150814298
Received: 31 May 2014 / Revised: 14 July 2014 / Accepted: 23 July 2014 / Published: 15 August 2014
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Abstract
Bladder cancer is the most common malignant tumor of the urinary tract and remains one of the major causes of cancer death worldwide. In this study, we investigated the effect and mechanism of Artesunate (ART), a traditional Chinese medicine, on inducing apoptosis [...] Read more.
Bladder cancer is the most common malignant tumor of the urinary tract and remains one of the major causes of cancer death worldwide. In this study, we investigated the effect and mechanism of Artesunate (ART), a traditional Chinese medicine, on inducing apoptosis of human bladder cancer cells. In vivo antitumor activity was investigated in bladder cancer in rat by subcutaneous injection of different concentration of ART. The effect of ART on growth inhibition and apoptosis of bladder cancer cells was evaluated using dimethylthiazoly-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay and flow cytometry analysis, respectively. Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and miR-16 expression levels were determined with real-time PCR. The concentrations of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) in the supernatants of bladder cancer cells were measured with an ELISA kit. The miR-16 inhibitor or mimic were transfected into cells to up- or down-regulate miR-16 expression. ART efficiently inhibited orthotopic tumor growth in the bladder cancer rat, which is accompanied with an increase of miR-16 expression and a decrease of COX-2 expression. In vitro, ART could induce cytotoxicity and apoptosis in bladder cancer cells, but presented a much lighter toxicity effect against normal human urothelial cells. ART significantly increased miR-16 expression and decreased the expression of COX-2 and the production of PGE2. More importantly, down-regulation of miR-16 expression could reverse the effect of ART on apoptosis and COX-2 expression in bladder cells. Moreover, exogenous PGE2 could inhibit apoptosis of bladder cancer cells treated with ART. In conclusion, ART can elicit an anti-tumor effect against bladder cancer by up-regulation of miR-16 expression, which resulted in the decrease of COX-2 expression and PGE2 production. Hence, ART might be an effective drug for the treatment of bladder cancer. Full article
Open AccessArticle Rapamycin-Induced Apoptosis in HGF-Stimulated Lens Epithelial Cells by AKT/mTOR, ERK and JAK2/STAT3 Pathways
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2014, 15(8), 13833-13848; doi:10.3390/ijms150813833
Received: 12 May 2014 / Revised: 25 July 2014 / Accepted: 26 July 2014 / Published: 11 August 2014
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (2475 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) induced the proliferation of lens epithelial cells (LECs) and may be a major cause of posterior capsule opacification (PCO), which is the most frequent postoperative complication of cataract surgery. To date, several agents that can block LECs proliferation [...] Read more.
Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) induced the proliferation of lens epithelial cells (LECs) and may be a major cause of posterior capsule opacification (PCO), which is the most frequent postoperative complication of cataract surgery. To date, several agents that can block LECs proliferation have been studied, but none have been used in clinic. Recently, accumulating evidence has suggested rapamycin, the inhibitor of mTOR (mammalian target of Rapamycin), was associated with the induction of apoptosis in LECs. The purpose of our study was to investigate the potential effects of rapamycin on HGF-induced LECs and the underlying mechanisms by which rapamycin exerted its actions. Using cell proliferation, cell viability and flow cytometric apoptosis assays, we found that rapamycin potently not only suppressed proliferation but also induced the apoptosis of LECs in a dose-dependent manner under HGF administration. Further investigation of the underlying mechanism using siRNA transfection revealed that rapamycin could promote apoptosis of LECs via inhibiting HGF-induced phosphorylation of AKT/mTOR, ERK and JAK2/STAT3 signaling molecules. Moreover, the forced expression of AKT, ERK and STAT3 could induce a significant suppression of apoptosis in these cells after treatment of rapamycin. Together, these findings suggested that rapamycin-induced apoptosis in HGF-stimulated LECs is accompanied by inhibition of AKT/mTOR, ERK and JAK2/STAT3 pathways, which supports its use to inhibit PCO in preclinical studies and provides theoretical foundation for future possible practice. Full article
Open AccessReview Cytotoxic Autophagy in Cancer Therapy
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2014, 15(6), 10034-10051; doi:10.3390/ijms150610034
Received: 3 April 2014 / Revised: 17 April 2014 / Accepted: 19 May 2014 / Published: 5 June 2014
Cited by 22 | PDF Full-text (553 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Autophagy is a process of cellular self-digestion, whereby the cell degrades subcellular materials in order to generate energy and metabolic precursors in order to prolong survival, classically under conditions of nutrient deprivation. Autophagy can also involve the degradation of damaged or aged [...] Read more.
Autophagy is a process of cellular self-digestion, whereby the cell degrades subcellular materials in order to generate energy and metabolic precursors in order to prolong survival, classically under conditions of nutrient deprivation. Autophagy can also involve the degradation of damaged or aged organelles, and misfolded or damaged proteins to eliminate these components that might otherwise be deleterious to cellular survival. Consequently, autophagy has generally been considered a prosurvival response. Many, if not most chemotherapeutic drugs and radiation also promote autophagy, which is generally considered a cytoprotective response, in that its inhibition frequently promotes apoptotic cells death. Furthermore, it has been shown that conventional chemotherapeutic drugs and radiation alone rarely induce a form of autophagy that leads to cell death. However, there are multiple examples in the literature where newer chemotherapeutic agents, drug combinations or drugs in combination with radiation promote autophagic cell death. This review will describe autophagic cell death induced in breast tumor cells, lung cancer cells as well as glioblastoma, demonstrating that it cannot be concluded that stress induced autophagy is, of necessity, cytoprotective in function. Full article
Open AccessReview Apoptotic Death of Cancer Stem Cells for Cancer Therapy
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2014, 15(5), 8335-8351; doi:10.3390/ijms15058335
Received: 24 February 2014 / Revised: 18 April 2014 / Accepted: 18 April 2014 / Published: 12 May 2014
Cited by 12 | PDF Full-text (352 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Cancer stem cells (CSCs) play crucial roles in tumor progression, chemo- and radiotherapy resistance, and recurrence. Recent studies on CSCs have advanced understanding of molecular oncology and development of novel therapeutic strategies. This review article updates the hypothesis and paradigm of CSCs [...] Read more.
Cancer stem cells (CSCs) play crucial roles in tumor progression, chemo- and radiotherapy resistance, and recurrence. Recent studies on CSCs have advanced understanding of molecular oncology and development of novel therapeutic strategies. This review article updates the hypothesis and paradigm of CSCs with a focus on major signaling pathways and effectors that regulate CSC apoptosis. Selective CSC apoptotic inducers are introduced and their therapeutic potentials are discussed. These include synthetic and natural compounds, antibodies and recombinant proteins, and oligonucleotides. Full article
Open AccessArticle Melatonin Prevents Chemical-Induced Haemopoietic Cell Death
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2014, 15(4), 6625-6640; doi:10.3390/ijms15046625
Received: 29 January 2014 / Revised: 9 April 2014 / Accepted: 9 April 2014 / Published: 17 April 2014
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (1635 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Melatonin (MEL), a methoxyindole synthesized by the pineal gland, is a powerful antioxidant in tissues as well as within cells, with a fundamental role in ameliorating homeostasis in a number of specific pathologies. It acts both as a direct radical scavenger and [...] Read more.
Melatonin (MEL), a methoxyindole synthesized by the pineal gland, is a powerful antioxidant in tissues as well as within cells, with a fundamental role in ameliorating homeostasis in a number of specific pathologies. It acts both as a direct radical scavenger and by stimulating production/activity of intracellular antioxidant enzymes. In this work, some chemical triggers, with different mechanisms of action, have been chosen to induce cell death in U937 hematopoietic cell line. Cells were pre-treated with 100 µM MEL and then exposed to hydrogen peroxide or staurosporine. Morphological analyses, TUNEL reaction and Orange/PI double staining have been used to recognize ultrastructural apoptotic patterns and to evaluate DNA behavior. Chemical damage and potential MEL anti-apoptotic effects were quantified by means of Tali® Image-Based Cytometer, able to monitor cell viability and apoptotic events. After trigger exposure, chromatin condensation, micronuclei formation and DNA fragmentation have been observed, all suggesting apoptotic cell death. These events underwent a statistically significant decrease in samples pre-treated with MEL. After caspase inhibition and subsequent assessment of cell viability, we demonstrated that apoptosis occurs, at least in part, through the mitochondrial pathway and that MEL interacts at this level to rescue U937 cells from death. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Role of Survivin in Podocyte Injury Induced by Puromycin Aminonucleoside
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2014, 15(4), 6657-6673; doi:10.3390/ijms15046657
Received: 24 January 2014 / Revised: 4 April 2014 / Accepted: 8 April 2014 / Published: 17 April 2014
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (2568 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Objective: Survivin is a member of the inhibitor of apoptosis protein family, which uniquely promotes mitosis and regulates apoptosis in cancer cells. Recent studies have demonstrated that survivin also expresses in several normal adult cells. In the present study, we aimed to [...] Read more.
Objective: Survivin is a member of the inhibitor of apoptosis protein family, which uniquely promotes mitosis and regulates apoptosis in cancer cells. Recent studies have demonstrated that survivin also expresses in several normal adult cells. In the present study, we aimed to investigate the function of survivin in the terminally differentiated epithelial cells, podocytes. Methods: Survivin expression and location were detected by Quantitative Real-Time PCR, western blot and fluorescence confocal microscopy methods in normal and injured mouse podocytes. Cyto-protection function of survivin was also studied in cultured podocyte injured by puromycin aminonucleoside (PAN), transfected with survivin siRNA to down-regulate survivin expression, or with survivin plasmid to transiently over-express survivin. Results: In podocytes, PAN stimulated expressions of survivin and the apoptosis related molecule caspase 3. Knockdown of survivin expression by siRNA increased the activation of caspase 3, induced podocyte apoptosis and remarkable rearrangement of actin cytoskeleton. Moreover, over-expression of survivin inhibited PAN-induced podocyte apoptosis and cytoskeleton rearrangement. Conclusion: Our data provides the evidence that survivin plays an important role in protecting podocytes from apoptosis induced by PAN. The mechanism of survivin related anti-apoptosis may, at least partially, be through the activation of caspase 3. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Cardiac Fas-Dependent and Mitochondria-Dependent Apoptosis after Chronic Cocaine Abuse
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2014, 15(4), 5988-6001; doi:10.3390/ijms15045988
Received: 12 November 2013 / Revised: 5 March 2014 / Accepted: 24 March 2014 / Published: 9 April 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (690 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
To evaluate whether chronic cocaine abuse will increase cardiac Fas-dependent and mitochondria-dependent apoptotic pathways, thirty-two male Wistar rats at 3–4 months of age were randomly divided into a vehicle-treated group (phosphate-buffered saline, PBS, 0.5 mL, SQ per day) and a cocaine-treated group [...] Read more.
To evaluate whether chronic cocaine abuse will increase cardiac Fas-dependent and mitochondria-dependent apoptotic pathways, thirty-two male Wistar rats at 3–4 months of age were randomly divided into a vehicle-treated group (phosphate-buffered saline, PBS, 0.5 mL, SQ per day) and a cocaine-treated group (Cocaine, 10 mg/kg, SQ per day). After 3 months of treatment, the excised left ventricles were measured by H&E staining, Western blotting, DAPI staining and TUNEL assays. More cardiac TUNEL-positive apoptotic cells were observed in the Cocaine group than the PBS group. Protein levels of TNF-alpha, Fas ligand, Fas death receptor, FADD, activated caspase-8, and activated caspase-3 (Fas-dependent apoptosis) extracted from excised hearts in the Cocaine group were significantly increased, compared to the PBS group. Protein levels of cardiac Bax, cytosolic cytochrome c, t-Bid-to-Bid, Bak-to-Bcl-xL, Bax-to-Bcl-2 ratio, activated caspase-9, and activated caspase-3 (mitochondria-dependent apoptosis) were significantly increased in the Cocaine group, compared to the PBS group. Chronic cocaine exposure appeared to activate the cardiac Fas-dependent and mitochondria-dependent apoptosis, which may indicate a possible mechanism for the development of cardiac abnormalities in humans with chronic cocaine abuse. Full article
Open AccessArticle Transcriptional Analysis of Apoptotic Cerebellar Granule Neurons Following Rescue by Gastric Inhibitory Polypeptide
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2014, 15(4), 5596-5622; doi:10.3390/ijms15045596
Received: 27 January 2014 / Revised: 4 March 2014 / Accepted: 17 March 2014 / Published: 1 April 2014
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (1174 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Apoptosis triggered by exogenous or endogenous stimuli is a crucial phenomenon to determine the fate of neurons, both in physiological and in pathological conditions. Our previous study established that gastric inhibitory polypeptide (Gip) is a neurotrophic factor capable of preventing apoptosis of [...] Read more.
Apoptosis triggered by exogenous or endogenous stimuli is a crucial phenomenon to determine the fate of neurons, both in physiological and in pathological conditions. Our previous study established that gastric inhibitory polypeptide (Gip) is a neurotrophic factor capable of preventing apoptosis of cerebellar granule neurons (CGNs), during its pre-commitment phase. In the present study, we conducted whole-genome expression profiling to obtain a comprehensive view of the transcriptional program underlying the rescue effect of Gip in CGNs. By using DNA microarray technology, we identified 65 genes, we named survival related genes, whose expression is significantly de-regulated following Gip treatment. The expression levels of six transcripts were confirmed by real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction. The proteins encoded by the survival related genes are functionally grouped in the following categories: signal transduction, transcription, cell cycle, chromatin remodeling, cell death, antioxidant activity, ubiquitination, metabolism and cytoskeletal organization. Our data outline that Gip supports CGNs rescue via a molecular framework, orchestrated by a wide spectrum of gene actors, which propagate survival signals and support neuronal viability. Full article
Open AccessReview Tug of War between Survival and Death: Exploring ATM Function in Cancer
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2014, 15(4), 5388-5409; doi:10.3390/ijms15045388
Received: 7 February 2014 / Revised: 7 March 2014 / Accepted: 20 March 2014 / Published: 27 March 2014
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (250 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Ataxia-telangiectasia mutated (ATM) kinase is a one of the main guardian of genome stability and plays a central role in the DNA damage response (DDR). The deregulation of these pathways is strongly linked to cancer initiation and progression as well as to [...] Read more.
Ataxia-telangiectasia mutated (ATM) kinase is a one of the main guardian of genome stability and plays a central role in the DNA damage response (DDR). The deregulation of these pathways is strongly linked to cancer initiation and progression as well as to the development of therapeutic approaches. These observations, along with reports that identify ATM loss of function as an event that may promote tumor initiation and progression, point to ATM as a bona fide tumor suppressor. The identification of ATM as a positive modulator of several signalling networks that sustain tumorigenesis, including oxidative stress, hypoxia, receptor tyrosine kinase and AKT serine-threonine kinase activation, raise the question of whether ATM function in cancer may be more complex. This review aims to give a complete overview on the work of several labs that links ATM to the control of the balance between cell survival, proliferation and death in cancer. Full article
Open AccessArticle Aerobic Interval Training Attenuates Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Rats Post-Myocardial Infarction: Roles of Mitochondrial Network Dynamics
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2014, 15(4), 5304-5322; doi:10.3390/ijms15045304
Received: 14 November 2013 / Revised: 7 February 2014 / Accepted: 14 March 2014 / Published: 26 March 2014
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (2120 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Aerobic interval training (AIT) can favorably affect cardiovascular diseases. However, the effects of AIT on post-myocardial infarction (MI)—associated mitochondrial dysfunctions remain unclear. In this study, we investigated the protective effects of AIT on myocardial mitochondria in post-MI rats by focusing on mitochondrial [...] Read more.
Aerobic interval training (AIT) can favorably affect cardiovascular diseases. However, the effects of AIT on post-myocardial infarction (MI)—associated mitochondrial dysfunctions remain unclear. In this study, we investigated the protective effects of AIT on myocardial mitochondria in post-MI rats by focusing on mitochondrial dynamics (fusion and fission). Mitochondrial respiratory functions (as measured by the respiratory control ratio (RCR) and the ratio of ADP to oxygen consumption (P/O)); complex activities; dynamic proteins (mitofusin (mfn) 1/2, type 1 optic atrophy (OPA1) and dynamin-related protein1 (DRP1)); nuclear peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator 1-alpha (PGC-1α); and the oxidative signaling of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) 1/2, c-Jun NH2-terminal protein kinase (JNK) and P53 were observed. Post-MI rats exhibited mitochondrial dysfunction and adverse mitochondrial network dynamics (reduced fusion and increased fission), which was associated with activated ERK1/2-JNK-P53 signaling and decreased nuclear PGC-1α. After AIT, MI-associated mitochondrial dysfunction was improved (elevated RCR and P/O and enhanced complex I, III and IV activities); in addition, increased fusion (mfn2 and OPA1), decreased fission (DRP1), elevated nuclear PGC-1α and inactivation of the ERK1/2-JNK-P53 signaling were observed. These data demonstrate that AIT may restore the post-MI mitochondrial function by inhibiting dynamics pathological remodeling, which may be associated with inactivation of ERK1/2-JNK-P53 signaling and increase in nuclear PGC-1α expression. Full article
Open AccessReview The Multiple Mechanisms of Cell Death Triggered by Resveratrol in Lymphoma and Leukemia
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2014, 15(3), 4977-4993; doi:10.3390/ijms15034977
Received: 3 February 2014 / Revised: 27 February 2014 / Accepted: 12 March 2014 / Published: 20 March 2014
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (453 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Lymphoma and leukemia represent a serious threat to human health and life expectancy. Resveratrol is, among the natural-derived chemopreventive molecules, one of the most effective and better studied. In this paper the main mechanisms of cell death triggered by- or linked to- [...] Read more.
Lymphoma and leukemia represent a serious threat to human health and life expectancy. Resveratrol is, among the natural-derived chemopreventive molecules, one of the most effective and better studied. In this paper the main mechanisms of cell death triggered by- or linked to- resveratrol are reviewed and discussed. The main focus is on lymphoma and leukemia experimental models where resveratrol has been tested and investigated at the cellular, molecular or physiological levels. The most relevant in vivo challenges involving resveratrol are also reported and analyzed in order to define the key features of this polyphenol and the potential for the treatment of hematologic tumors. Full article
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Open AccessReview Sphingolipids: Key Regulators of Apoptosis and Pivotal Players in Cancer Drug Resistance
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2014, 15(3), 4356-4392; doi:10.3390/ijms15034356
Received: 20 December 2013 / Revised: 7 February 2014 / Accepted: 21 February 2014 / Published: 12 March 2014
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (1039 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Drug resistance elicited by cancer cells still constitutes a huge problem that frequently impairs the efficacy of both conventional and novel molecular therapies. Chemotherapy usually acts to induce apoptosis in cancer cells; therefore, the investigation of apoptosis control and of the mechanisms [...] Read more.
Drug resistance elicited by cancer cells still constitutes a huge problem that frequently impairs the efficacy of both conventional and novel molecular therapies. Chemotherapy usually acts to induce apoptosis in cancer cells; therefore, the investigation of apoptosis control and of the mechanisms used by cancer cells to evade apoptosis could be translated in an improvement of therapies. Among many tools acquired by cancer cells to this end, the de-regulated synthesis and metabolism of sphingolipids have been well documented. Sphingolipids are known to play many structural and signalling roles in cells, as they are involved in the control of growth, survival, adhesion, and motility. In particular, in order to increase survival, cancer cells: (a) counteract the accumulation of ceramide that is endowed with pro-apoptotic potential and is induced by many drugs; (b) increase the synthesis of sphingosine-1-phosphate and glucosylceramide that are pro-survivals signals; (c) modify the synthesis and the metabolism of complex glycosphingolipids, particularly increasing the levels of modified species of gangliosides such as 9-O acetylated GD3 (αNeu5Ac(2-8)αNeu5Ac(2-3)βGal(1-4)βGlc(1-1)Cer) or N-glycolyl GM3 (αNeu5Ac (2-3)βGal(1-4)βGlc(1-1)Cer) and de-N-acetyl GM3 (NeuNH(2)βGal(1-4)βGlc(1-1)Cer) endowed with anti-apoptotic roles and of globoside Gb3 related to a higher expression of the multidrug resistance gene MDR1. In light of this evidence, the employment of chemical or genetic approaches specifically targeting sphingolipid dysregulations appears a promising tool for the improvement of current chemotherapy efficacy. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Pro-Apoptotic Role of the Regulatory Feedback Loop between miR-124 and PKM1/HNF4α in Colorectal Cancer Cells
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2014, 15(3), 4318-4332; doi:10.3390/ijms15034318
Received: 22 December 2013 / Revised: 10 February 2014 / Accepted: 26 February 2014 / Published: 11 March 2014
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1573 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Accumulating evidence indicates that miRNA regulatory circuits play important roles in tumorigenesis. We previously reported that miR-124 is correlated with prognosis of colorectal cancer due to PKM-dependent regulation of glycolysis. However, the mechanism by which miR-124 regulates apoptosis in colorectal cancer remains [...] Read more.
Accumulating evidence indicates that miRNA regulatory circuits play important roles in tumorigenesis. We previously reported that miR-124 is correlated with prognosis of colorectal cancer due to PKM-dependent regulation of glycolysis. However, the mechanism by which miR-124 regulates apoptosis in colorectal cancer remains largely elusive. Here, we show that miR-124 induced significant apoptosis in a panel of colorectal cancer cell lines. The mitochondrial apoptosis pathway was activated by miR-124. Furthermore, the pro-apoptotic role of miR-124 was dependent on the status of PKM1/2 level. PKM1 was required for miR-124-induced apoptosis. Via direct protein-protein interaction, PKM1 promoted HNF4α binding to the promoter region of miR-124 and transcribing miR-124. Moreover, HNF4α or PKM1 had a more dramatic effect on colorectal cancer cell apoptosis in the presence of miR-124. However, inhibition of miR-124 blocked cell apoptosis induced by HNF4α or PKM1. These data indicate that miR-124 not only alters the expression of genes involved in glucose metabolism but also stimulates cancer cell apoptosis. In addition, the positive feedback loop between miR-124 and PKM1/HNF4α plays an important role in colorectal cancer cell apoptosis; it suggests that disrupting this regulatory circuit might be a potential therapeutic tool for colorectal cancer treatment. Full article
Open AccessReview Mitochondria in the Center of Human Eosinophil Apoptosis and Survival
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2014, 15(3), 3952-3969; doi:10.3390/ijms15033952
Received: 17 January 2014 / Revised: 20 February 2014 / Accepted: 26 February 2014 / Published: 5 March 2014
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (416 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Eosinophils are abundantly present in most phenotypes of asthma and they contribute to the maintenance and exacerbations of the disease. Regulators of eosinophil longevity play critical roles in determining whether eosinophils accumulate into the airways of asthmatics. Several cytokines enhance eosinophil survival [...] Read more.
Eosinophils are abundantly present in most phenotypes of asthma and they contribute to the maintenance and exacerbations of the disease. Regulators of eosinophil longevity play critical roles in determining whether eosinophils accumulate into the airways of asthmatics. Several cytokines enhance eosinophil survival promoting eosinophilic airway inflammation while for example glucocorticoids, the most important anti-inflammatory drugs used to treat asthma, promote the intrinsic pathway of eosinophil apoptosis and by this mechanism contribute to the resolution of eosinophilic airway inflammation. Mitochondria seem to play central roles in both intrinsic mitochondrion-centered and extrinsic receptor-mediated pathways of apoptosis in eosinophils. Mitochondria may also be important for survival signalling. In addition to glucocorticoids, another important agent that regulates human eosinophil longevity via mitochondrial route is nitric oxide, which is present in increased amounts in the airways of asthmatics. Nitric oxide seems to be able to trigger both survival and apoptosis in eosinophils. This review discusses the current evidence of the mechanisms of induced eosinophil apoptosis and survival focusing on the role of mitochondria and clinically relevant stimulants, such as glucocorticoids and nitric oxide. Full article
Open AccessReview Killing Me Softly—Future Challenges in Apoptosis Research
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2014, 15(3), 3746-3767; doi:10.3390/ijms15033746
Received: 23 December 2013 / Revised: 10 February 2014 / Accepted: 19 February 2014 / Published: 3 March 2014
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (2331 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The induction of apoptosis, a highly regulated and clearly defined mode of cell dying, is a vital tenet of modern cancer therapy. In this review we focus on three aspects of apoptosis research which we believe are the most crucial and most [...] Read more.
The induction of apoptosis, a highly regulated and clearly defined mode of cell dying, is a vital tenet of modern cancer therapy. In this review we focus on three aspects of apoptosis research which we believe are the most crucial and most exciting areas currently investigated and that will need to be better understood in order to enhance the efficacy of therapeutic measures. First, we discuss which target to select for cancer therapy and argue that not the cancer cell as such, but its interaction with the microenvironment is a more promising and genetically stable site of attack. Second, the complexity of combination therapy is elucidated using the PI3-K-mediated signaling network as a specific example. Here we show that the current clinical approach to sensitize malignancies to apoptosis by maximal, prolonged inhibition of so-called survival pathways can actually be counter productive. Third, we propose that under certain conditions which will need to be clearly defined in future, chronification of a tumor might be preferable to the attempt at a cure. Finally, we discuss further problems with utilizing apoptosis induction in cancer therapy and propose a novel potential therapeutic approach that combines the previously discussed features. Full article
Open AccessArticle Role of A20 in cIAP-2 Protection against Tumor Necrosis Factor α (TNF-α)-Mediated Apoptosis in Endothelial Cells
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2014, 15(3), 3816-3833; doi:10.3390/ijms15033816
Received: 12 December 2013 / Revised: 30 January 2014 / Accepted: 6 February 2014 / Published: 3 March 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (975 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α) influences endothelial cell viability by altering the regulatory molecules involved in induction or suppression of apoptosis. However, the underlying mechanisms are still not completely understood. In this study, we demonstrated that A20 (also known as TNFAIP3, tumor [...] Read more.
Tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α) influences endothelial cell viability by altering the regulatory molecules involved in induction or suppression of apoptosis. However, the underlying mechanisms are still not completely understood. In this study, we demonstrated that A20 (also known as TNFAIP3, tumor necrosis factor α-induced protein 3, and an anti-apoptotic protein) regulates the inhibitor of apoptosis protein-2 (cIAP-2) expression upon TNF-α induction in endothelial cells. Inhibition of A20 expression by its siRNA resulted in attenuating expression of TNF-α-induced cIAP-2, yet not cIAP-1 or XIAP. A20-induced cIAP-2 expression can be blocked by the inhibition of phosphatidyl inositol-3 kinase (PI3-K), but not nuclear factor (NF)-κB, while concomitantly increasing the number of endothelial apoptotic cells and caspase 3 activation. Moreover, TNF-α-mediated induction of apoptosis was enhanced by A20 inhibition, which could be rescued by cIAP-2. Taken together, these results identify A20 as a cytoprotective factor involved in cIAP-2 inhibitory pathway of TNF-α-induced apoptosis. This is consistent with the idea that endothelial cell viability is dependent on interactions between inducers and suppressors of apoptosis, susceptible to modulation by TNF-α. Full article
Open AccessReview Genotoxic Anti-Cancer Agents and Their Relationship to DNA Damage, Mitosis, and Checkpoint Adaptation in Proliferating Cancer Cells
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2014, 15(3), 3403-3431; doi:10.3390/ijms15033403
Received: 18 December 2013 / Revised: 22 January 2014 / Accepted: 14 February 2014 / Published: 25 February 2014
Cited by 15 | PDF Full-text (755 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
When a human cell detects damaged DNA, it initiates the DNA damage response (DDR) that permits it to repair the damage and avoid transmitting it to daughter cells. Despite this response, changes to the genome occur and some cells, such as proliferating [...] Read more.
When a human cell detects damaged DNA, it initiates the DNA damage response (DDR) that permits it to repair the damage and avoid transmitting it to daughter cells. Despite this response, changes to the genome occur and some cells, such as proliferating cancer cells, are prone to genome instability. The cellular processes that lead to genomic changes after a genotoxic event are not well understood. Our research focuses on the relationship between genotoxic cancer drugs and checkpoint adaptation, which is the process of mitosis with damaged DNA. We examine the types of DNA damage induced by widely used cancer drugs and describe their effects upon proliferating cancer cells. There is evidence that cell death caused by genotoxic cancer drugs in some cases includes exiting a DNA damage cell cycle arrest and entry into mitosis. Furthermore, some cells are able to survive this process at a time when the genome is most susceptible to change or rearrangement. Checkpoint adaptation is poorly characterised in human cells; we predict that increasing our understanding of this pathway may help to understand genomic instability in cancer cells and provide insight into methods to improve the efficacy of current cancer therapies. Full article
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Open AccessReview Autophagic Cell Death and Cancer
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2014, 15(2), 3145-3153; doi:10.3390/ijms15023145
Received: 6 January 2014 / Revised: 10 February 2014 / Accepted: 13 February 2014 / Published: 21 February 2014
Cited by 26 | PDF Full-text (462 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Programmed cell death (PCD) is a crucial process required for the normal development and physiology of metazoans. The three major mechanisms that induce PCD are called type I (apoptosis), type II (autophagic cell death), and type III (necrotic cell death). Dysfunctional PCD [...] Read more.
Programmed cell death (PCD) is a crucial process required for the normal development and physiology of metazoans. The three major mechanisms that induce PCD are called type I (apoptosis), type II (autophagic cell death), and type III (necrotic cell death). Dysfunctional PCD leads to diseases such as cancer and neurodegeneration. Although apoptosis is the most common form of PCD, recent studies have provided evidence that there are other forms of cell death. One of such cell death is autophagic cell death, which occurs via the activation of autophagy. The present review summarizes recent knowledge about autophagic cell death and discusses the relationship with tumorigenesis. Full article
Open AccessArticle Involvement of Hydrogen Peroxide in Safingol-Induced Endonuclease G-Mediated Apoptosis of Squamous Cell Carcinoma Cells
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2014, 15(2), 2660-2671; doi:10.3390/ijms15022660
Received: 8 November 2013 / Revised: 3 January 2014 / Accepted: 13 February 2014 / Published: 17 February 2014
PDF Full-text (516 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Safingol, a L-threo-dihydrosphingosine, induced the nuclear translocation of a mitochondrial apoptogenic mediator—endonuclease G (endo G)—and apoptosis of human oral squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) cells. Upstream mediators remain largely unknown. The levels of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) in cultured oral [...] Read more.
Safingol, a L-threo-dihydrosphingosine, induced the nuclear translocation of a mitochondrial apoptogenic mediator—endonuclease G (endo G)—and apoptosis of human oral squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) cells. Upstream mediators remain largely unknown. The levels of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) in cultured oral SCC cells were measured. Treatment with safingol increased intracellular H2O2 levels but not extracellular H2O2 levels, indicating the production of H2O2. The cell killing effect of safingol and H2O2 was diminished in the presence of reactive oxygen species (ROS) scavenger N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC). Dual staining of cells with annexin V and propidium iodide (PI) revealed that apoptotic cell death occurred by treatment with H2O2 and safingol. The number of apoptotic cells was reduced in the presence of NAC. In untreated cells, endo G distributed in the cytoplasm and an association of endo G with mitochondria was observed. After treatment with H2O2 and safingol, endo G was distributed to the nucleus and cytoplasm, indicating the nuclear translocation of the mitochondrial factor. NAC prevented the increase of apoptotic cells and the translocation of endo G. Knock down of endo G diminished the cell killing effect of H2O2 and safingol. These results suggest that H2O2 is involved in the endo G-mediated apoptosis of oral SCC cells by safingol. Full article
Open AccessArticle Paclitaxel Induces Apoptosis in Breast Cancer Cells through Different Calcium—Regulating Mechanisms Depending on External Calcium Conditions
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2014, 15(2), 2672-2694; doi:10.3390/ijms15022672
Received: 25 December 2013 / Revised: 10 February 2014 / Accepted: 11 February 2014 / Published: 17 February 2014
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (1749 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Previously, we reported that endoplasmic reticulum calcium stores were a direct target for paclitaxel initiation of apoptosis. Furthermore, the actions of paclitaxel attenuated Bcl-2 resistance to apoptosis through endoplasmic reticulum-mediated calcium release. To better understand the calcium-regulated mechanisms of paclitaxel-induced apoptosis in [...] Read more.
Previously, we reported that endoplasmic reticulum calcium stores were a direct target for paclitaxel initiation of apoptosis. Furthermore, the actions of paclitaxel attenuated Bcl-2 resistance to apoptosis through endoplasmic reticulum-mediated calcium release. To better understand the calcium-regulated mechanisms of paclitaxel-induced apoptosis in breast cancer cells, we investigated the role of extracellular calcium, specifically; whether influx of extracellular calcium contributed to and/or was necessary for paclitaxel-induced apoptosis. Our results demonstrated that paclitaxel induced extracellular calcium influx. This mobilization of extracellular calcium contributed to subsequent cytosolic calcium elevation differently, depending on dosage. Under normal extracellular calcium conditions, high dose paclitaxel induced apoptosis-promoting calcium influx, which did not occur in calcium-free conditions. In the absence of extracellular calcium an “Enhanced Calcium Efflux” mechanism in which high dose paclitaxel stimulated calcium efflux immediately, leading to dramatic cytosolic calcium decrease, was observed. In the absence of extracellular calcium, high dose paclitaxel’s stimulatory effects on capacitative calcium entry and apoptosis could not be completely restored. Thus, normal extracellular calcium concentrations are critical for high dose paclitaxel-induced apoptosis. In contrast, low dose paclitaxel mirrored controls, indicating that it occurs independent of extracellular calcium. Thus, extracellular calcium conditions only affect efficacy of high dose paclitaxel-induced apoptosis. Full article
Open AccessReview Survivin as a Preferential Target for Cancer Therapy
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2014, 15(2), 2494-2516; doi:10.3390/ijms15022494
Received: 30 December 2013 / Revised: 31 January 2014 / Accepted: 7 February 2014 / Published: 13 February 2014
Cited by 39 | PDF Full-text (448 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Cancer is typically a consequence of imbalance between cell death and proliferation in a way favorable to cell proliferation and survival. Most conventional cancer therapies are based on targeting rapidly growing cancerous cells to block growth or enhance cell death, thereby, restoring [...] Read more.
Cancer is typically a consequence of imbalance between cell death and proliferation in a way favorable to cell proliferation and survival. Most conventional cancer therapies are based on targeting rapidly growing cancerous cells to block growth or enhance cell death, thereby, restoring the balance between these processes. In many instances, malignancies that develop resistance to current treatment modalities, such as chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and radiotherapy often present the greatest challenge in subsequent management of the patient. Studies have shown that under normal circumstances, cells utilize different death mechanisms, such as apoptosis (programmed cell death), autophagy, mitotic catastrophe, and necrosis to maintain homeostasis and physiological integrity of the organism, but these processes often appear to be altered in cancer. Thus, in recent years developing various strategies for administration of cytotoxic chemotherapeutics in combination with apoptosis-sensitizing reagents is receiving more emphasis. Here, we review the properties of the anti-apoptotic protein, survivin, a member of the inhibitor of apoptosis protein (IAP) family and the clinical feasibility and anti-cancer potential of drugs targeting this protein. We also discuss some key points and concerns that should be taken into consideration while developing drugs that target apoptotic proteins, such as survivin. Full article
Open AccessArticle Int6/eIF3e Is Essential for Proliferation and Survival of Human Glioblastoma Cells
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2014, 15(2), 2172-2190; doi:10.3390/ijms15022172
Received: 17 November 2013 / Revised: 25 December 2013 / Accepted: 23 January 2014 / Published: 29 January 2014
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (3141 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Glioblastomas (GBM) are very aggressive and malignant brain tumors, with frequent relapses despite an appropriate treatment combining surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. In GBM, hypoxia is a characteristic feature and activation of Hypoxia Inducible Factors (HIF-1α and HIF-2α) has been associated with resistance [...] Read more.
Glioblastomas (GBM) are very aggressive and malignant brain tumors, with frequent relapses despite an appropriate treatment combining surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. In GBM, hypoxia is a characteristic feature and activation of Hypoxia Inducible Factors (HIF-1α and HIF-2α) has been associated with resistance to anti-cancer therapeutics. Int6, also named eIF3e, is the “e” subunit of the translation initiation factor eIF3, and was identified as novel regulator of HIF-2α. Eukaryotic initiation factors (eIFs) are key factors regulating total protein synthesis, which controls cell growth, size and proliferation. The functional significance of Int6 and the effect of Int6/EIF3E gene silencing on human brain GBM has not yet been described and its role on the HIFs is unknown in glioma cells. In the present study, we show that Int6/eIF3e suppression affects cell proliferation, cell cycle and apoptosis of various GBM cells. We highlight that Int6 inhibition induces a diminution of proliferation through cell cycle arrest and increased apoptosis. Surprisingly, these phenotypes are independent of global cell translation inhibition and are accompanied by decreased HIF expression when Int6 is silenced. In conclusion, we demonstrate here that Int6/eIF3e is essential for proliferation and survival of GBM cells, presumably through modulation of the HIFs. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Hypoxia Enhances Protective Effect of Placental-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells on Damaged Intestinal Epithelial Cells by Promoting Secretion of Insulin-Like Growth Factor-1
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2014, 15(2), 1983-2002; doi:10.3390/ijms15021983
Received: 23 October 2013 / Revised: 20 January 2014 / Accepted: 22 January 2014 / Published: 27 January 2014
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (2216 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Apoptosis and necrosis of intestinal epithelial cells (IECs), induced by ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) injury, can lead to dysfunction of the intestinal barrier, which could cause multiple organ dysfunction syndromes. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have the potential of providing protective effects on damaged IECs [...] Read more.
Apoptosis and necrosis of intestinal epithelial cells (IECs), induced by ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) injury, can lead to dysfunction of the intestinal barrier, which could cause multiple organ dysfunction syndromes. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have the potential of providing protective effects on damaged IECs via paracrine action. This study investigated whether hypoxia can enhance the protective effect of placental-derived MSCs (pMSCs) on H2O2-treated-caco2 cells, and explored the possible mechanism. The pMSCs isolated by tissue culture were fibroblast-like, positive for CD73, CD90 and CD105 and can differentiate into chondrocytes and endothelial cells. Five days after treatment with H2O2, the numbers of living caco2 cells significantly decreased. More live H2O2-treated-caco2 cells were observed in pMSCs hypoxia culture medium (pMSCs-HCM) than pMSCs normoxia culture medium (pMSCs-NCM), and the application of a specific antibody that blocked insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) leads to a significant decrease of the protective effect of pMSCs-HCM. Hypoxia can promote IGF-1 expression of pMSCs at mRNA and protein levels, and caco2 stably expressed IGF-1 receptor. Knocking down IGF-1 expression in pMSCs by siRNA resulted in a significant attenuation of the increase in apoptosis of H2O2-treated-caco2 cultured in pMSCs-HCM. In conclusion, hypoxia can increase the protective effect of pMSCs on H2O2-treated-caco2 cells via a promotion of their paracrine actions, and the key cytokine involved is IGF-1. Full article
Open AccessArticle Egr-1 Upregulates Siva-1 Expression and Induces Cardiac Fibroblast Apoptosis
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2014, 15(1), 1538-1553; doi:10.3390/ijms15011538
Received: 9 December 2013 / Revised: 21 December 2013 / Accepted: 13 January 2014 / Published: 21 January 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1380 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The early growth response transcription factor Egr-1 controls cell specific responses to proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis. Expression of Egr-1 and downstream transcription is closely controlled and cell specific upregulation induced by processes such as hypoxia and ischemia has been previously linked to [...] Read more.
The early growth response transcription factor Egr-1 controls cell specific responses to proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis. Expression of Egr-1 and downstream transcription is closely controlled and cell specific upregulation induced by processes such as hypoxia and ischemia has been previously linked to multiple aspects of cardiovascular injury. In this study, we showed constitutive expression of Egr-1 in cultured human ventricular cardiac fibroblasts, used adenoviral mediated gene transfer to study the effects of continuous Egr-1 overexpression and studied downstream transcription by Western blotting, immunohistochemistry and siRNA transfection. Apoptosis was assessed by fluorescence microscopy and flow cytometry in the presence of caspase inhibitors. Overexpression of Egr-1 directly induced apoptosis associated with caspase activation in human cardiac fibroblast cultures in vitro assessed by fluorescence microscopy and flow cytometry. Apoptotic induction was associated with a caspase activation associated loss of mitochondrial membrane potential and transient downstream transcriptional up-regulation of the pro-apoptotic gene product Siva-1. Suppression of Siva-1 induction by siRNA partially reversed Egr-1 mediated loss of cell viability. These findings suggest a previously unknown role for Egr-1 and transcriptional regulation of Siva-1 in the control of cardiac accessory cell death. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Inhibitory Effect of Quercetin on Asymmetric Dimethylarginine-Induced Apoptosis Is Mediated by the Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress Pathway in Glomerular Endothelial Cells
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2014, 15(1), 484-503; doi:10.3390/ijms15010484
Received: 10 October 2013 / Revised: 12 December 2013 / Accepted: 16 December 2013 / Published: 2 January 2014
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (3103 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA) is considered an independent mortality and cardiovascular risk factor in chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients, and contributes to the development of renal fibrosis. Quercetin (QC), a natural component of foods, protects against renal injury. Here, we explored the possible [...] Read more.
Asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA) is considered an independent mortality and cardiovascular risk factor in chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients, and contributes to the development of renal fibrosis. Quercetin (QC), a natural component of foods, protects against renal injury. Here, we explored the possible mechanisms that are responsible for ADMA-induced renal fibrosis and the protective effect of QC. We found that ADMA treatment activated the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress sensor proteins phosphorylated protein kinase RNA-activated-like ER kinase (PERK) and inositol requiring-1α (IRE1), which correspondingly induced C/EBP homologous protein (CHOP) expression and phosphorylated c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) phosphorylation in glomerular endothelial cells (GEnCs). Following this, ADMA promoted ER stress-induced apoptosis and resulted in transforming growth factor β (TGF-β) expression in GEnCs. SP600125, an inhibitor of JNK, and CHOP siRNA protected against ADMA-induced cell apoptosis and TGF-β expression. QC prevented ADMA-induced PERK and IRE1 apoptotic ER stress pathway activation. Also, ADMA-induced GEnCs apoptosis and TGF-β expression was reduced by QC. Overexpression of CHOP blocked QC-mediated protection from apoptosis in ER stressed cells. Overall, these observations indicate that ADMA may induce GEnCs apoptosis and TGF-β expression by targeting the PERK-CHOP and IRE1-JNK pathway. In addition, drugs such as QC targeting ER stress may hold great promise for the development of novel therapies against ADMA-induced renal fibrosis. Full article

2013

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Open AccessArticle Human Interleukin 23 Receptor Induces Cell Apoptosis in Mammalian Cells by Intrinsic Mitochondrial Pathway Associated with the Down-Regulation of RAS/Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase and Signal Transducers and Activators of Transcription factor 3 Signaling Pathways
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2013, 14(12), 24656-24669; doi:10.3390/ijms141224656
Received: 1 September 2013 / Revised: 5 December 2013 / Accepted: 9 December 2013 / Published: 18 December 2013
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Abstract
The composition of IL-23R complex is similar to that of the IL-12 receptor (IL-12R) complex with a shared IL-12R-β1 chain. The IL-12R-β1 heterodimerizes with IL-23R and IL-12R-β2 to form IL-23R and IL-12R complexes, respectively. The IL-12R-β2 has been shown to function as [...] Read more.
The composition of IL-23R complex is similar to that of the IL-12 receptor (IL-12R) complex with a shared IL-12R-β1 chain. The IL-12R-β1 heterodimerizes with IL-23R and IL-12R-β2 to form IL-23R and IL-12R complexes, respectively. The IL-12R-β2 has been shown to function as a tumor suppressor gene and apoptotic inducer. However, whether IL-23R also functions in cell apoptosis is currently unknown. In this study, we demonstrate for the first time that overexpression of IL-23R markedly induces cell apoptosis in both 293ET and HeLa cells. The activations of caspase 3 and caspase 9 are induced by IL-23R. Mechanistic study reveals that IL-23R markedly inhibits RAS/MAPK and STAT3 but not STAT1 and PI-3K/Akt signaling pathways in both 293ET and HeLa cells. Overexpression of IL-23R significantly up-regulates IL-12Rβ1 expression but not IL-23α and IL-12β expressions in both cell lines. Therefore, our data strongly indicates that IL-23R is able to induce cell apoptosis by activating the intrinsic mitochondrial pathways associated with the inhibition in RAS/MAPK and STAT3 activations in mammalian cells. Full article
Open AccessArticle Necrostatin-1 Attenuates Ischemia Injury Induced Cell Death in Rat Tubular Cell Line NRK-52E through Decreased Drp1 Expression
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2013, 14(12), 24742-24754; doi:10.3390/ijms141224742
Received: 24 September 2013 / Revised: 3 November 2013 / Accepted: 4 November 2013 / Published: 18 December 2013
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Abstract
Necrostatin-1 (Nec-1) inhibits necroptosis and is usually regarded as having no effect on other cell deaths. Here, this study explored whether the addition of Nec-1 has an effect on cell death induced by simulated ischemia injury in rat tubular cell line NRK-52E. [...] Read more.
Necrostatin-1 (Nec-1) inhibits necroptosis and is usually regarded as having no effect on other cell deaths. Here, this study explored whether the addition of Nec-1 has an effect on cell death induced by simulated ischemia injury in rat tubular cell line NRK-52E. In addition, we also investigated the mechanism of Nec-1 attenuates cell death in this renal ischemia model. The NRK-52E cells were incubated with TNF-α + antimycinA (TA) for 24 h with or without Nec-1. Cell death was observed under fluorescent microscope and quantified by flow cytometry. Cell viabilities were detected by MTT assay. The protein expression of dynamin-related protein 1 (Drp1) was detected by Western blotting and immunofluorescence assay. Increased cell death in simulated ischemia injury of NRK-52E cells were markedly attenuated in the Nec-1 pretreated ischemia injury group. Meanwhile, cell viability was significantly improved after using Nec-1. In addition, we also observed that the protein expression of Drp1, a mediator of mitochondrial fission, was significantly increased in simulated ischemia injury group. Increased Drp1 expression in the ischemia injury group can be abolished by Nec-1 or Drp1-knock down, accompanied with decreased cell death and improved cell viabilities. These results suggest that Nec-1 may inhibit cell death induced by simulated ischemia injury in the rat tubular cell line NRK-52E through decreased Drp1 expression. Full article
Open AccessArticle Bone Morphogenetic Protein-7 Ameliorates Cerebral Ischemia and Reperfusion Injury via Inhibiting Oxidative Stress and Neuronal Apoptosis
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2013, 14(12), 23441-23453; doi:10.3390/ijms141223441
Received: 21 September 2013 / Revised: 12 November 2013 / Accepted: 19 November 2013 / Published: 28 November 2013
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (536 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Previous studies have indicated that bone morphogenetic protein-7 (BMP-7) is neuroprotective against cerebral ischemia/reperfusion (IR) injury. The present study was undertaken to determine the molecular mechanisms involved in this effect. Adult male Wistar rats were subjected to 2 h of transient middle [...] Read more.
Previous studies have indicated that bone morphogenetic protein-7 (BMP-7) is neuroprotective against cerebral ischemia/reperfusion (IR) injury. The present study was undertaken to determine the molecular mechanisms involved in this effect. Adult male Wistar rats were subjected to 2 h of transient middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO), followed by 24 h of reperfusion. BMP-7 (10−4 g/kg) or vehicle was infused into rats at the onset of reperfusion via the tail vein. Neurological deficits, infarct volume, histopathological changes, oxidative stress-related biochemical parameters, neuronal apoptosis, and apoptosis-related proteins were assessed. BMP-7 significantly improved neurological and histological deficits, reduced the infarct volume, and decreased apoptotic cells after cerebral ischemia. BMP-7 also markedly enhanced the activities of antioxidant enzymes superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase (GSH-PX), and reduced the level of malondialdehyde (MDA) in IR rats. In addition, Western blot analysis indicated that BMP-7 prevented cytochrome c release, inhibited activation of caspase-3, caspase-9 and caspase-8. Our data suggested that BMP-7 has protective effects against cerebral IR injury in rats, and the neuroprotective effects may be attributed to attenuating oxidative stress and inhibiting neuronal apoptosis. Full article
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Open AccessReview Mevalonate Kinase Deficiency and Neuroinflammation: Balance between Apoptosis and Pyroptosis
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2013, 14(12), 23274-23288; doi:10.3390/ijms141223274
Received: 22 September 2013 / Revised: 8 November 2013 / Accepted: 13 November 2013 / Published: 26 November 2013
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Abstract
Mevalonic aciduria, a rare autosomal recessive disease, represents the most severe form of the periodic fever, known as Mevalonate Kinase Deficiency. This disease is caused by the mutation of the MVK gene, which codes for the enzyme mevalonate kinase, along the cholesterol [...] Read more.
Mevalonic aciduria, a rare autosomal recessive disease, represents the most severe form of the periodic fever, known as Mevalonate Kinase Deficiency. This disease is caused by the mutation of the MVK gene, which codes for the enzyme mevalonate kinase, along the cholesterol pathway. Mevalonic aciduria patients show recurrent fever episodes with associated inflammatory symptoms, severe neurologic impairments, or death, in early childhood. The typical neurodegeneration occurring in mevalonic aciduria is linked both to the intrinsic apoptosis pathway (caspase-3 and -9), which is triggered by mitochondrial damage, and to pyroptosis (caspase-1). These cell death mechanisms seem to be also related to the assembly of the inflammasome, which may, in turn, activate pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines. Thus, this particular molecular platform may play a crucial role in neuroinflammation mechanisms. Nowadays, a specific therapy is still lacking and the pathogenic mechanisms involving neuroinflammation and neuronal dysfunction have not yet been completely understood, making mevalonic aciduria an orphan drug disease. This review aims to analyze the relationship among neuroinflammation, mitochondrial damage, programmed cell death, and neurodegeneration. Targeting inflammation and degeneration in the central nervous system might help identify promising treatment approaches for mevalonic aciduria or other diseases in which these mechanisms are involved. Full article
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Open AccessCommunication Identification of Novel Pepper Genes Involved in Bax- or INF1-Mediated Cell Death Responses by High-Throughput Virus-Induced Gene Silencing
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2013, 14(11), 22782-22795; doi:10.3390/ijms141122782
Received: 24 September 2013 / Revised: 11 November 2013 / Accepted: 11 November 2013 / Published: 19 November 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (420 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Hot pepper is one of the economically important crops in Asia. A large number of gene sequences, including expressed sequence tag (EST) and genomic sequences are publicly available. However, it is still a daunting task to determine gene function due to difficulties [...] Read more.
Hot pepper is one of the economically important crops in Asia. A large number of gene sequences, including expressed sequence tag (EST) and genomic sequences are publicly available. However, it is still a daunting task to determine gene function due to difficulties in genetic modification of a pepper plants. Here, we show the application of the virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS) repression for the study of 459 pepper ESTs selected as non-host pathogen-induced cell death responsive genes from pepper microarray experiments in Nicotiana benthamiana. Developmental abnormalities in N. benthamiana plants are observed in the 32 (7%) pepper ESTs-silenced plants. Aberrant morphological phenotypes largely comprised of three groups: stunted, abnormal leaf, and dead. In addition, by employing the combination of VIGS and Agrobacterium-mediated transient assays, we identified novel pepper ESTs that involved in Bax or INF1-mediated cell death responses. Silencing of seven pepper ESTs homologs suppressed Bax or INF1-induced cell death, five of which suppressed both cell death responses in N. benthamiana. The genes represented by these five ESTs encode putative proteins with functions in endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and lipid signaling. The genes represented by the other two pepper ESTs showing only Bax-mediated cell death inhibition encode a CCCH-type zinc finger protein containing an ankyrin-repeat domain and a probable calcium-binding protein, CML30-like. Taken together, we effectively isolated novel pepper clones that are involved in hypersensitive response (HR)-like cell death using VIGS, and identified silenced clones that have different responses to Bax and INF1 exposure, indicating separate signaling pathways for Bax- and INF1-mediated cell death. Full article
Open AccessArticle Synthetic Resveratrol Analogue, 3,3',4,4',5,5'-Hexahydroxy-trans-Stilbene, Accelerates Senescence in Peritoneal Mesothelium and Promotes Senescence-Dependent Growth of Gastrointestinal Cancers
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2013, 14(11), 22483-22498; doi:10.3390/ijms141122483
Received: 26 August 2013 / Revised: 18 October 2013 / Accepted: 1 November 2013 / Published: 14 November 2013
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Abstract
3,3',4,4',5,5'-Hexahydroxy-trans-stilbene (M8) is a synthetic resveratrol derivative, advertised as a candidate drug highly effective against numerous malignancies. Because multiple tumors prone to M8 frequently metastasize into the peritoneal cavity, this study was aimed at establishing the effect of M8 on [...] Read more.
3,3',4,4',5,5'-Hexahydroxy-trans-stilbene (M8) is a synthetic resveratrol derivative, advertised as a candidate drug highly effective against numerous malignancies. Because multiple tumors prone to M8 frequently metastasize into the peritoneal cavity, this study was aimed at establishing the effect of M8 on the growth and senescence of human peritoneal mesothelial cells (HPMCs), the largest cell population within the peritoneum, actively involved in the intraperitoneal spread of cancer. The study showed that M8, used at the highest non-toxic dose of 10 μM, impairs proliferation and accelerates senescence in cultured HPMCs via an oxidative stress-dependent mechanism. At the same time, soluble factors released to the environment by HPMCs that senesced prematurely in response to M8 promoted growth of colorectal and pancreatic carcinomas in vitro. These findings indicate that M8 may indirectly—through the modification of normal (mesothelial) cells phenotype—facilitate an expansion of cancer cells, which challenges the postulated value of this stilbene in chemotherapy. Full article
Open AccessArticle Characterization of Apoptosis Induced by Emodin and Related Regulatory Mechanisms in Human Neuroblastoma Cells
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2013, 14(10), 20139-20156; doi:10.3390/ijms141020139
Received: 1 July 2013 / Revised: 26 September 2013 / Accepted: 26 September 2013 / Published: 9 October 2013
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Abstract
Emodin (1,3,8-trihydroxy-6-methylanthraquinone), a major constituent of rhubarb, has a wide range of therapeutic applications. Recent studies have shown that emodin can induce or prevent cell apoptosis, although the precise molecular mechanisms underlying these effects are unknown. Experiments from the current study revealed [...] Read more.
Emodin (1,3,8-trihydroxy-6-methylanthraquinone), a major constituent of rhubarb, has a wide range of therapeutic applications. Recent studies have shown that emodin can induce or prevent cell apoptosis, although the precise molecular mechanisms underlying these effects are unknown. Experiments from the current study revealed that emodin (10–20 μM) induces apoptotic processes in the human neuroblastoma cell line, IMR-32, but exerts no injury effects at treatment doses below 10 μM. Treatment with emodin at concentrations of 10–20 μM led to a direct increase in the reactive oxygen species (ROS) content in IMR-32 cells, along with significant elevation of cytoplasmic free calcium and nitric oxide (NO) levels, loss of mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP), activation of caspases-9 and -3, and cell death. Pretreatment with nitric oxide (NO) scavengers suppressed the apoptotic biochemical changes induced by 20 μM emodin, and attenuated emodin-induced p53 and p21 expression involved in apoptotic signaling. Our results collectively indicate that emodin at concentrations of 10–20 μM triggers apoptosis of IMR-32 cells via a mechanism involving both ROS and NO. Based on the collective results, we propose a model for an emodin-triggered apoptotic signaling cascade that sequentially involves ROS, Ca2+, NO, p53, caspase-9 and caspase-3. Full article
Open AccessArticle Early Exercise Protects against Cerebral Ischemic Injury through Inhibiting Neuron Apoptosis in Cortex in Rats
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2013, 14(3), 6074-6089; doi:10.3390/ijms14036074
Received: 14 January 2013 / Revised: 3 February 2013 / Accepted: 28 February 2013 / Published: 15 March 2013
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Abstract
Early exercise is an effective strategy for stroke treatment, but the underlying mechanism remains poorly understood. Apoptosis plays a critical role after stroke. However, it is unclear whether early exercise inhibits apoptosis after stroke. The present study investigated the effect of early [...] Read more.
Early exercise is an effective strategy for stroke treatment, but the underlying mechanism remains poorly understood. Apoptosis plays a critical role after stroke. However, it is unclear whether early exercise inhibits apoptosis after stroke. The present study investigated the effect of early exercise on apoptosis induced by ischemia. Adult SD rats were subjected to transient focal cerebral ischemia by middle cerebral artery occlusion model (MCAO) and were randomly divided into early exercise group, non-exercise group and sham group. Early exercise group received forced treadmill training initiated at 24 h after operation. Fourteen days later, the cell apoptosis were detected by TdT-mediated dUTP-biotin nick-end labeling (TUNEL) and Fluoro-Jade-B staining (F-J-B). Caspase-3, cleaved caspase-3 and Bcl-2 were determined by western blotting. Cerebral infarct volume and motor function were evaluated by cresyl violet staining and foot fault test respectively. The results showed that early exercise decreased the number of apoptotic cells (118.74 ± 6.15 vs. 169.65 ± 8.47, p < 0.05, n = 5), inhibited the expression of caspase-3 and cleaved caspase-3 (p < 0.05, n = 5), and increased the expression of Bcl-2 (p < 0.05, n = 5). These data were consistent with reduced infarct volume and improved motor function. These results suggested that early exercise could provide neuroprotection through inhibiting neuron apoptosis. Full article

2012

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Open AccessReview Changes in Translational Control after Pro-Apoptotic Stress
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2013, 14(1), 177-190; doi:10.3390/ijms14010177
Received: 30 July 2012 / Revised: 6 November 2012 / Accepted: 10 December 2012 / Published: 21 December 2012
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Abstract
In stressed cells, a general decrease in the rate of protein synthesis occurs due to modifications in the activity of translation initiation factors. Compelling data now indicate that these changes also permit a selective post-transcriptional expression of proteins necessary for either cell [...] Read more.
In stressed cells, a general decrease in the rate of protein synthesis occurs due to modifications in the activity of translation initiation factors. Compelling data now indicate that these changes also permit a selective post-transcriptional expression of proteins necessary for either cell survival or completion of apoptosis when cells are exposed to severe or prolonged stress. In this review, we summarize the modifications that inhibit the activity of the main canonical translation initiation factors, and the data explaining how certain mRNAs encoding proteins involved in either cell survival or apoptosis can be selectively translated. Full article
Open AccessArticle 1-Benzyl-2-Phenylbenzimidazole (BPB), a Benzimidazole Derivative, Induces Cell Apoptosis in Human Chondrosarcoma through Intrinsic and Extrinsic Pathways
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2012, 13(12), 16472-16488; doi:10.3390/ijms131216472
Received: 22 October 2012 / Revised: 23 November 2012 / Accepted: 27 November 2012 / Published: 4 December 2012
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Abstract
In this study, we investigated the anticancer effects of a new benzimidazole derivative, 1-benzyl-2-phenyl -benzimidazole (BPB), in human chondrosarcoma cells. BPB-mediated apoptosis was assessed by the MTT assay and flow cytometry analysis. The in vivo efficacy was examined in a JJ012 xenograft [...] Read more.
In this study, we investigated the anticancer effects of a new benzimidazole derivative, 1-benzyl-2-phenyl -benzimidazole (BPB), in human chondrosarcoma cells. BPB-mediated apoptosis was assessed by the MTT assay and flow cytometry analysis. The in vivo efficacy was examined in a JJ012 xenograft model. Here we found that BPB induced apoptosis in human chondrosarcoma cell lines (JJ012 and SW1353) but not in primary chondrocytes. BPB induced upregulation of Bax, Bad and Bak, downregulation of Bcl-2, Bid and Bcl-XL and dysfunction of mitochondria in chondrosarcoma. In addition, BPB also promoted cytosolic releases AIF and Endo G. Furthermore, it triggered extrinsic death receptor-dependent pathway, which was characterized by activating Fas, FADD and caspase-8. Most importantly, animal studies revealed a dramatic 40% reduction in tumor volume after 21 days of treatment. Thus, BPB may be a novel anticancer agent for the treatment of chondrosarcoma. Full article
Open AccessArticle Injurious Effects of Emodin on Maturation of Mouse Oocytes, Fertilization and Fetal Development via Apoptosis
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2012, 13(11), 13911-13925; doi:10.3390/ijms131113911
Received: 24 September 2012 / Revised: 25 October 2012 / Accepted: 25 October 2012 / Published: 29 October 2012
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (395 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Emodin (1,3,8-trihydroxy-6-methylanthraquinone), a major constituent of rhubarb, has a wide range of therapeutic applications. Previous studies have established that emodin induces apoptosis in the inner cell mass and trophectoderm of mouse blastocysts and leads to decreased embryonic development and viability, indicating a [...] Read more.
Emodin (1,3,8-trihydroxy-6-methylanthraquinone), a major constituent of rhubarb, has a wide range of therapeutic applications. Previous studies have established that emodin induces apoptosis in the inner cell mass and trophectoderm of mouse blastocysts and leads to decreased embryonic development and viability, indicating a role as an injury risk factor for normal embryonic development. However, the mechanisms underlying its hazardous effects have yet to be characterized. In the current study, we further investigated the effects of emodin on oocyte maturation and subsequent pre- and post-implantation development, both in vitro and in vivo. Notably, emodin induced a significant reduction in the rates of oocyte maturation, fertilization, and in vitro embryonic development. Treatment of oocytes with emodin during in vitro maturation (IVM) led to increased resorption of postimplantation embryos and decreased fetal weight. Experiments using an in vivo mouse model disclosed that consumption of drinking water containing 20–40 μM emodin led to decreased oocyte maturation and in vitro fertilization, as well as early embryonic developmental injury. Notably, pretreatment with a caspase-3-specific inhibitor effectively prevented emodin-triggered injury effects, suggesting that impairment of embryo development occurs via a caspase-dependent apoptotic process. Full article
Open AccessArticle A Soluble Receptor for Advanced Glycation End-Products Inhibits Hypoxia/Reoxygenation-Induced Apoptosis in Rat Cardiomyocytes via the Mitochondrial Pathway
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2012, 13(9), 11923-11940; doi:10.3390/ijms130911923
Received: 28 June 2012 / Revised: 5 September 2012 / Accepted: 11 September 2012 / Published: 20 September 2012
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Abstract
Severe myocardial dysfunction and tissue damage resulting from ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) is a common clinical scenario in patients with certain types of heart diseases and therapies such as thrombolysis, percutaneous coronary intervention, coronary artery bypass grafting, and cardiac transplantation. The underlining mechanism of endogenous cardiac protection after I/R injury has been a focus of current research. Growing evidences suggests that soluble receptor for advanced glycation end-products (sRAGE) has a cardioprotective effect; however, its role in I/R injury remains unclear. We hypothesized that exogenous administration of sRAGE during hypoxia/reoxygenation (H/R) induces cardioprotection by inhibiting cardiomyocyte apoptosis via multiple signals, involving mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP), the mitochondrial permeability transition pore (mPTP), mitochondrial cytochrome c, caspase-3, Bcl-2 and Bax. Neonatal rat cardiomyocytes underwent hypoxia for 3-h followed by 2-h reoxygenation or were treated with sRAGE for 10 min before H/R. Compared with H/R alone, sRAGE pretreatment reduced H/R-induced cardiomyocyte apoptosis from 27.9% ± 5.9% to 9.4% ± 0.7% (p < 0.05). In addition, sRAGE treatment significantly inhibited H/R-induced mitochondrial depolarization and mPTP opening, reduced mitochondrial cytochrome c leakage, caspase-3 and caspase-9 activity, and decreased the ratio of Bax to Bcl-2. Therefore, we conclude that the exogenous administration of sRAGE during H/R is involved in cardioprotection by inhibiting apoptosis via the mitochondrial pathway, which, if further confirmed in vivo, may have important clinical implications during H/R. Full article
Open AccessArticle Wogonin Induces Reactive Oxygen Species Production and Cell Apoptosis in Human Glioma Cancer Cells
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2012, 13(8), 9877-9892; doi:10.3390/ijms13089877
Received: 1 June 2012 / Revised: 6 July 2012 / Accepted: 26 July 2012 / Published: 8 August 2012
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Abstract
Glioma is the most common primary adult brain tumor with poor prognosis because of the ease of spreading tumor cells to other regions of the brain. Cell apoptosis is frequently targeted for developing anti-cancer drugs. In the present study, we have assessed [...] Read more.
Glioma is the most common primary adult brain tumor with poor prognosis because of the ease of spreading tumor cells to other regions of the brain. Cell apoptosis is frequently targeted for developing anti-cancer drugs. In the present study, we have assessed wogonin, a flavonoid compound isolated from Scutellaria baicalensis Georgi, induced ROS generation, endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and cell apoptosis. Wogonin induced cell death in two different human glioma cells, such as U251 and U87 cells but not in human primary astrocytes (IC 50 > 100 μM). Wogonin-induced apoptotic cell death in glioma cells was measured by propidine iodine (PI) analysis, Tunnel assay and Annexin V staining methods. Furthermore, wogonin also induced caspase-9 and caspase-3 activation as well as up-regulation of cleaved PARP expression. Moreover, treatment of wogonin also increased a number of signature ER stress markers glucose-regulated protein (GRP)-78, GRP-94, Calpain I, and phosphorylation of eukaryotic initiation factor-2α (eIF2α). Treatment of human glioma cells with wogonin was found to induce reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation. Wogonin induced ER stress-related protein expression and cell apoptosis was reduced by the ROS inhibitors apocynin and NAC (N-acetylcysteine). The present study provides evidence to support the fact that wogonin induces human glioma cell apoptosis mediated ROS generation, ER stress activation and cell apoptosis. Full article
Open AccessArticle Arsenic Trioxide Inhibits Cell Growth and Induces Apoptosis through Inactivation of Notch Signaling Pathway in Breast Cancer
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2012, 13(8), 9627-9641; doi:10.3390/ijms13089627
Received: 30 May 2012 / Revised: 15 July 2012 / Accepted: 25 July 2012 / Published: 2 August 2012
Cited by 16 | PDF Full-text (920 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Arsenic trioxide has been reported to inhibit cell growth and induce apoptotic cell death in many human cancer cells including breast cancer. However, the precise molecular mechanisms underlying the anti-tumor activity of arsenic trioxide are still largely unknown. In the present study, [...] Read more.
Arsenic trioxide has been reported to inhibit cell growth and induce apoptotic cell death in many human cancer cells including breast cancer. However, the precise molecular mechanisms underlying the anti-tumor activity of arsenic trioxide are still largely unknown. In the present study, we assessed the effects of arsenic trioxide on cell viability and apoptosis in breast cancer cells. For mechanistic studies, we used multiple cellular and molecular approaches such as MTT assay, apoptosis ELISA assay, gene transfection, RT-PCR, Western blotting, and invasion assays. For the first time, we found a significant reduction in cell viability in arsenic trioxide-treated cells in a dose-dependent manner, which was consistent with induction of apoptosis and also associated with down-regulation of Notch-1 and its target genes. Taken together, our findings provide evidence showing that the down-regulation of Notch-1 by arsenic trioxide could be an effective approach, to cause down-regulation of Bcl-2, and NF-κB, resulting in the inhibition of cell growth and invasion as well as induction of apoptosis. These results suggest that the anti-tumor activity of arsenic trioxide is in part mediated through a novel mechanism involving inactivation of Notch-1 and its target genes. We also suggest that arsenic trioxide could be further developed as a potential therapeutic agent for the treatment of breast cancer. Full article
Open AccessReview Selenium Compounds, Apoptosis and Other Types of Cell Death: An Overview for Cancer Therapy
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2012, 13(8), 9649-9672; doi:10.3390/ijms13089649
Received: 18 June 2012 / Revised: 23 July 2012 / Accepted: 24 July 2012 / Published: 2 August 2012
Cited by 55 | PDF Full-text (352 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Selenium (Se) is an essential trace element involved in different physiological functions of the human body and plays a role in cancer prevention and treatment. Induction of apoptosis is considered an important cellular event that can account for the cancer preventive effects [...] Read more.
Selenium (Se) is an essential trace element involved in different physiological functions of the human body and plays a role in cancer prevention and treatment. Induction of apoptosis is considered an important cellular event that can account for the cancer preventive effects of Se. The mechanisms of Se-induced apoptosis are associated with the chemical forms of Se and their metabolism as well as the type of cancer studied. So, some selenocompounds, such as SeO2 involve the activation of caspase-3 while sodium selenite induces apoptosis in the absence of the activation of caspases. Modulation of mitochondrial functions has been reported to play a key role in the regulation of apoptosis and also to be one of the targets of Se compounds. Other mechanisms for apoptosis induction are the modulation of glutathione and reactive oxygen species levels, which may function as intracellular messengers to regulate signaling pathways, or the regulation of kinase, among others. Emerging evidence indicates the overlaps between the apoptosis and other types of cell death such as autophagy. In this review we report different processes of cell death induced by Se compounds in cancer treatment and prevention. Full article
Open AccessReview Implication of Tumor Microenvironment in Chemoresistance: Tumor-Associated Stromal Cells Protect Tumor Cells from Cell Death
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2012, 13(8), 9545-9571; doi:10.3390/ijms13089545
Received: 8 June 2012 / Revised: 13 July 2012 / Accepted: 17 July 2012 / Published: 30 July 2012
Cited by 51 | PDF Full-text (9088 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Tumor development principally occurs following the accumulation of genetic and epigenetic alterations in tumor cells. These changes pave the way for the transformation of chemosensitive cells to chemoresistant ones by influencing the uptake, metabolism, or export of drugs at the cellular level. [...] Read more.
Tumor development principally occurs following the accumulation of genetic and epigenetic alterations in tumor cells. These changes pave the way for the transformation of chemosensitive cells to chemoresistant ones by influencing the uptake, metabolism, or export of drugs at the cellular level. Numerous reports have revealed the complexity of tumors and their microenvironment with tumor cells located within a heterogeneous population of stromal cells. These stromal cells (fibroblasts, endothelial or mesothelial cells, adipocytes or adipose tissue-derived stromal cells, immune cells and bone marrow-derived stem cells) could be involved in the chemoresistance that is acquired by tumor cells via several mechanisms: (i) cell–cell and cell–matrix interactions influencing the cancer cell sensitivity to apoptosis; (ii) local release of soluble factors promoting survival and tumor growth (crosstalk between stromal and tumor cells); (iii) direct cell-cell interactions with tumor cells (crosstalk or oncologic trogocytosis); (iv) generation of specific niches within the tumor microenvironment that facilitate the acquisition of drug resistance; or (v) conversion of the cancer cells to cancer-initiating cells or cancer stem cells. This review will focus on the implication of each member of the heterogeneous population of stromal cells in conferring resistance to cytotoxins and physiological mediators of cell death. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Apoptotic Volume Decrease Is an Upstream Event of MAP Kinase Activation during Staurosporine-Induced Apoptosis in HeLa Cells
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2012, 13(7), 9363-9379; doi:10.3390/ijms13079363
Received: 30 May 2012 / Revised: 18 July 2012 / Accepted: 19 July 2012 / Published: 24 July 2012
Cited by 11 | PDF Full-text (352 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Persistent cell shrinkage, called apoptotic volume decrease (AVD), is a pivotal event of apoptosis. Activation of the volume-sensitive outwardly rectifying Cl channel (VSOR) is involved in the AVD induction. On the other hand, activation of the MAP kinase (MAPK) cascade is [...] Read more.
Persistent cell shrinkage, called apoptotic volume decrease (AVD), is a pivotal event of apoptosis. Activation of the volume-sensitive outwardly rectifying Cl channel (VSOR) is involved in the AVD induction. On the other hand, activation of the MAP kinase (MAPK) cascade is also known to play a critical role in apoptosis. In the present study, we investigated the relationship between the AVD induction and the stress-responsive MAPK cascade activation during the apoptosis process induced by staurosporine (STS) in HeLa cells. STS was found to induce AVD within 2–5 min and phosphorylation of c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) and p38 MAPK after over 20–30 min. VSOR blockers suppressed not only STS-induced AVD but also phosphorylation of JNK and p38 as well as activation of caspase-3/7. Moreover, a p38 inhibitor, SB203580, and a JNK inhibitor, SP600125, failed to affect STS-induced AVD, whereas these compounds reduced STS-induced activation of caspase-3/7. Also, treatment with ASK1-specific siRNA suppressed STS-induced caspase-3/7 activation without affecting the AVD induction. Furthermore, sustained osmotic cell shrinkage per se was found to trigger phosphorylation of JNK and p38, caspase activation, and cell death. Thus, it is suggested that activation of p38 and JNK is a downstream event of AVD for the STS-induced apoptosis of HeLa cells. Full article
Open AccessArticle Decidual Macrophages Are Significantly Increased in Spontaneous Miscarriages and Over-Express FasL: A Potential Role for Macrophages in Trophoblast Apoptosis
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2012, 13(7), 9069-9080; doi:10.3390/ijms13079069
Received: 24 May 2012 / Revised: 3 July 2012 / Accepted: 4 July 2012 / Published: 20 July 2012
Cited by 13 | PDF Full-text (9303 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Decidual macrophages (DM) are the second most abundant population in the fetal-maternal interface. Their role has been so far identified as being local immuno-modulators favoring the maternal tolerance to the fetus. Herein we investigated tissue samples from 11 cases of spontaneous miscarriages [...] Read more.
Decidual macrophages (DM) are the second most abundant population in the fetal-maternal interface. Their role has been so far identified as being local immuno-modulators favoring the maternal tolerance to the fetus. Herein we investigated tissue samples from 11 cases of spontaneous miscarriages and from 9 cases of elective terminations of pregnancy. Using immunohistochemistry and dual immunofluorescence we have demonstrated that in spontaneous miscarriages the DM are significantly increased. Additionally, we noted a significant up-regulation of macrophage FasL expression. Our results further support a dual role for DM during pregnancy and miscarriages. We hypothesize that the baseline DM population in normal pregnancy is in line with an M2 phenotype supporting the ongoing gestation. In contrast, during spontaneous miscarriages, the increased FasL-expressing population could be a part of an M1 phenotype participating in Fas/FasL-related apoptosis. Our results highlight a new aspect of macrophage biology in pregnancy physiology and pathophysiology. Further studies with larger samples are needed to verify the current results and evaluate their clinical impact. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Tricyclodecan-9-yl-xanthogenate D609 Triggers Ceramide Increase and Enhances FasL-Induced Caspase-Dependent and -Independent Cell Death in T Lymphocytes
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2012, 13(7), 8834-8852; doi:10.3390/ijms13078834
Received: 1 June 2012 / Revised: 30 June 2012 / Accepted: 4 July 2012 / Published: 16 July 2012
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (552 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
D609 is known to modulate death receptor-induced ceramide generation and cell death. We show that in Jurkat cells, non-toxic D609 concentrations inhibit sphingomyelin synthase and, to a lesser extent, glucosylceramide synthase, and transiently increase the intracellular ceramide level. D609 significantly enhanced FasL-induced [...] Read more.
D609 is known to modulate death receptor-induced ceramide generation and cell death. We show that in Jurkat cells, non-toxic D609 concentrations inhibit sphingomyelin synthase and, to a lesser extent, glucosylceramide synthase, and transiently increase the intracellular ceramide level. D609 significantly enhanced FasL-induced caspase activation and apoptosis. D609 stimulated FasL-induced cell death in caspase-8-deficient Jurkat cells, indicating that D609 acts downstream of caspase-8. At high FasL concentration (500 ng/mL), cell death was significantly, but not completely, inhibited by zVAD-fmk, a broad-spectrum caspase inhibitor, indicating that FasL can activate both caspase-dependent and -independent cell death signaling pathways. FasL-induced caspase activation was abolished by zVAD-fmk, whereas ceramide production was only partially impaired. D609 enhanced caspase-independent ceramide increase and cell death in response to FasL. Also, D609 overcame zVAD-fmk-conferred resistance to a FasL concentration as low as 50 ng/mL and bypassed RIP deficiency. It is likely that mitochondrial events were involved, since Bcl-xL over-expression impaired D609 effects. In PHA-activated human T lymphocytes, D609 enhanced FasL-induced cell death in the presence or absence of zVAD-fmk. Altogether, our data strongly indicate that the inhibition of ceramide conversion to complex sphingolipids by D609 is accompanied by an enhancement of FasL-induced caspase-dependent and -independent cell death in T lymphocytes. Full article
Open AccessReview Molecular Targets of TRAIL-Sensitizing Agents in Colorectal Cancer
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2012, 13(7), 7886-7901; doi:10.3390/ijms13077886
Received: 1 June 2012 / Revised: 18 June 2012 / Accepted: 20 June 2012 / Published: 25 June 2012
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (322 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-related apoptosis inducing ligand (TRAIL), a member of the TNF superfamily, interacts with its functional death receptors (DRs) and induces apoptosis in a wide range of cancer cell types. Therefore, TRAIL has been considered as an attractive agent for [...] Read more.
Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-related apoptosis inducing ligand (TRAIL), a member of the TNF superfamily, interacts with its functional death receptors (DRs) and induces apoptosis in a wide range of cancer cell types. Therefore, TRAIL has been considered as an attractive agent for cancer therapy. However, many cancers are resistant to TRAIL-based therapies mainly due to the reduced expression of DRs and/or up-regulation of TRAIL pathway-related anti-apoptotic proteins. Compounds that revert such defects restore the sensitivity of cancer cells to TRAIL, suggesting that combined therapies could help manage neoplastic patients. In this article, we will focus on the TRAIL-sensitizing effects of natural products and synthetic compounds in colorectal cancer (CRC) cells and discuss the molecular mechanisms by which such agents enhance the response of CRC cells to TRAIL. Full article
Open AccessArticle Apoptosis Signaling Is Altered in CD4+CD25+FoxP3+ T Regulatory Lymphocytes in Pre-Eclampsia
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2012, 13(6), 6548-6560; doi:10.3390/ijms13066548
Received: 17 April 2012 / Revised: 21 May 2012 / Accepted: 22 May 2012 / Published: 29 May 2012
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (288 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The aim of our study was to estimate the surface expressions of CD95 (APO-1/Fas) antigen and the intracellular expressions of anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-2 and pro-apoptotic protein Bax in CD4+CD25+FoxP3+ T regulatory lymphocytes (Tregs) as well as the [...] Read more.
The aim of our study was to estimate the surface expressions of CD95 (APO-1/Fas) antigen and the intracellular expressions of anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-2 and pro-apoptotic protein Bax in CD4+CD25+FoxP3+ T regulatory lymphocytes (Tregs) as well as the percentage of CD8+CD28+ T cytotoxic cells in peripheral blood of patients with pre-eclampsia in comparison with healthy pregnant women in the third trimester of physiological pregnancy. Twenty-four women with pre-eclampsia and 20 normal third trimester pregnant women were included in the study. The lymphocytes were isolated from peripheral blood samples and labeled with monoclonal antibodies. The expressions of surface antigens and intracellular proteins were estimated using flow cytometry. The population of CD4+CD25+FoxP3+ Treg cells was significantly lower in peripheral blood of patients with pre-eclampsia when compared to normal third trimester pregnant women. The percentages of CD4+CD25+FoxP3+ Treg cells that express Bcl-2 protein were significantly lower in peripheral blood of patients with pre-eclampsia when compared to healthy pregnant women, whereas the percentages of CD4+CD25+FoxP3+ Treg cells with the expressions of Bax protein did not differ in both groups. Moreover, the mean fluorescence intensity (MFI) of Bcl-2 protein in CD4+CD25+FoxP3+ Treg cells was significantly lower and MFI of Bax protein significantly higher in pre-eclampsia when compared to the control group. The percentage of CD8+CD28+ T cells did not differ in both studied groups but MFI of CD28 antigen on T CD8+ cells was significantly higher in pre-eclampsia when compared to the control group. The obtained results suggest that the deficit of CD4+CD25+FoxP3+ Treg lymphocytes which is observed in pre-eclampsia may be associated with altered apoptosis signaling in Tregs. Full article
Open AccessArticle A Novel Apoptosis Correlated Molecule: Expression and Characterization of Protein Latcripin-1 from Lentinula edodes C91–3
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2012, 13(5), 6246-6265; doi:10.3390/ijms13056246
Received: 13 March 2012 / Revised: 9 May 2012 / Accepted: 11 May 2012 / Published: 21 May 2012
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (1091 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
An apoptosis correlated molecule—protein Latcripin-1 of Lentinula edodes C91-3—was expressed and characterized in Pichia pastoris GS115. The total RNA was obtained from Lentinula edodes C91–3. According to the transcriptome, the full-length gene of Latcripin-1 was isolated with 3'-Full Rapid Amplification of cDNA Ends (RACE) and 5'-Full RACE methods. The full-length gene was inserted into the secretory expression vector pPIC9K. The protein Latcripin-1 was expressed in Pichia pastoris GS115 and analyzed by Sodium Dodecylsulfonate Polyacrylate Gel Electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) and Western blot. The Western blot showed that the protein was expressed successfully. The biological function of protein Latcripin-1 on A549 cells was studied with flow cytometry and the 3-(4,5-Dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-Diphenyl-tetrazolium Bromide (MTT) method. The toxic effect of protein Latcripin-1 was detected with the MTT method by co-culturing the characterized protein with chick embryo fibroblasts. The MTT assay results showed that there was a great difference between protein Latcripin-1 groups and the control group (p < 0.05). There was no toxic effect of the characterized protein on chick embryo fibroblasts. The flow cytometry showed that there was a significant difference between the protein groups of interest and the control group according to apoptosis function (p < 0.05). At the same time, cell ultrastructure observed by transmission electron microscopy supported the results of flow cytometry. The work demonstrates that protein Latcripin-1 can induce apoptosis of human lung cancer cells A549 and brings new insights into and advantages to finding anti-tumor proteins. Full article

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