• Aberrant CREB1 Activation in Prostate Cancer Disrupts Normal Prostate Luminal Cell Differentiation

      Watson, MJ; Berger, PL; Banerjee, K; Frank, SB; Tang, L; Ganguly, SS; Hostetter, G; Winn, M; Miranti, CK; Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of Arizona Cancer Center (Nature, 2021-04-12)
      The molecular mechanisms of luminal cell differentiation are not understood well enough to determine how differentiation goes awry during oncogenesis. Using RNA-Seq analysis, we discovered that CREB1 plays a central role in maintaining new luminal cell survival and that oncogenesis dramatically changes the CREB1-induced transcriptome. CREB1 is active in luminal cells, but not basal cells. We identified ING4 and its E3 ligase, JFK, as CREB1 transcriptional targets in luminal cells. During luminal cell differentiation, transient induction of ING4 expression is followed by a peak in CREB1 activity, while JFK increases concomitantly with CREB1 activation. Transient expression of ING4 is required for luminal cell induction; however, failure to properly down-regulate ING4 leads to luminal cell death. Consequently, blocking CREB1 increased ING4 expression, suppressed JFK, and led to luminal cell death. Thus, CREB1 is responsible for the suppression of ING4 required for luminal cell survival and maintenance. Oncogenic transformation by suppressing PTEN resulted in constitutive activation of CREB1. However, the tumor cells could no longer fully differentiate into luminal cells, failed to express ING4, and displayed a unique CREB1 transcriptome. Blocking CREB1 in tumorigenic cells suppressed tumor growth in vivo, rescued ING4 expression, and restored luminal cell formation, but ultimately induced luminal cell death. IHC of primary prostate tumors demonstrated a strong correlation between loss of ING4 and loss of PTEN. This is the first study to define a molecular mechanism whereby oncogenic loss of PTEN, leading to aberrant CREB1 activation, suppresses ING4 expression causing disruption of luminal cell differentiation.
    • Facemasks and ferrous metallurgy: improving gasification reactivity of low-volatile coals using waste COVID-19 facemasks for ironmaking application

      Stewart, D.J.C.; Fisher, L.V.; Warwick, M.E.A.; Thomson, D.; Barron, A.R.; University of Arizona (Nature, 2022)
      The global pandemic response to COVID-19 has led to the generation of huge volumes of unrecyclable plastic waste from single use disposable face coverings. Rotary hearth furnaces can be used to recover Zn and Fe from non-recyclable steelmaking by-product dusts, and waste plastic material such as facemasks could be utilized as a supplementary reductant for the rotary hearth furnace (RHF), but their fibrous form makes milling and processing to appropriate sizing for RHF application extremely challenging. A scalable method of grinding facemasks to powder by melting and mixing with Welsh coal dust reported herein provides a solution to both environmental challenges. The melt-blended PPE/coal dust shows a dramatically improved CO2 gasification reactivity (Ea = 133-159 kJmol-1) when compared to the untreated coal (Ea = 183-246 kJmol-1), because of improved pore development in the coal during the pyrolysis stage of heating and the catalytic activity of the CaO based ash present in the facemask plastic. The results are promising for the application of waste facemasks in recycling steelmaking by-product dusts in rotary hearth furnaces and may also be suitable for direct injection to the blast furnace subject to further study. © 2022. The Author(s).
    • Long horns protect Hestina japonica butterfly larvae from their natural enemies

      Kandori, I.; Hiramatsu, M.; Soda, M.; Nakashima, S.; Funami, S.; Yokoi, T.; Tsuchihara, K.; Papaj, D.R.; Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona (Nature, 2022)
      Animals sometimes have prominent projections on or near their heads serving diverse functions such as male combat, mate attraction, digging, capturing prey, sensing or defence against predators. Some butterfly larvae possess a pair of long frontal projections; however, the function of those projections is not well known. Hestina japonica butterfly larvae have a pair of long hard projections on their heads (i.e., horns). Here we hypothesized that they use these horns to protect themselves from natural enemies (i.e., predators and parasitoids). Field surveys revealed that the primary natural enemies of H. japonica larvae were Polistes wasps. Cage experiments revealed that larvae with horns intact and larvae with horns removed and fitted with horns of other individuals succeeded in defending themselves against attacks of Polistes wasps significantly more often than larvae with horns removed. We discuss that the horns counter the paper wasps' hunting strategy of first biting the larvae's 'necks' and note that horns evolved repeatedly only within the Nymphalidae in a phylogeny of the Lepidoptera. This is the first demonstration that arthropods use head projections for physical defence against predators. © 2022. The Author(s).