• 17-β-Estradiol induces spreading depression and pain behavior in alert female rats

      Sandweiss, Alexander J.; Cottier, Karissa E.; McIntosh, Mary I.; Dussor, Gregory; Davis, Thomas P.; Vanderah, Todd W.; Largent-Milnes, Tally M.; Univ Arizona, Coll Med, Dept Pharmacol (IMPACT JOURNALS LLC, 2017-12-12)
      Aims: Test the putative contribution of 17-beta-estradiol in the development of spreading depression (SD) events and head pain in awake, non-restrained rats. Main Methods: Female, Sprague-Dawley rats were intact or underwent ovariectomy followed one week later by surgery to place electrodes onto the dura to detect epidural electroencephalographic activity (dEEG). dEEG activity was recorded two days later for 12 hours after systemic administration of 17-beta-estradiol (180 mu g/kg, i.p.). A separate set of rats were observed for changes in exploratory, ambulatory, fine, and rearing behaviors; periorbital allodynia was also assessed. Key Findings: A bolus of 17-beta-estradiol significantly elevated serum estrogen levels, increased SD episodes over a 12-hour recording period and decreased rearing behaviors in ovariectomized rats. Pre-administration of ICI 182,780, an estrogen receptor antagonist, blocked 17-beta-estradiol-evoked SD events and pain behaviors; similar results were observed when the antimigraine therapeutic sumatriptan was used. Significance: These data indicate that an estrogen receptor-mediated mechanism contributes to SD events in ovariectomized rats and pain behaviors in both ovariectomized -and intact-rats. This suggests that estrogen plays a different role in each phenomenon of migraine where intense fluctuations in concentration may influence SD susceptibility. This is the first study to relate estrogen peaks to SD development and pain behaviors in awake, freely moving female rats, establishing a framework for future preclinical migraine studies.
    • Biological specificity of CDK4/6 inhibitors: dose response relationship, <i>in vivo</i> signaling, and composite response signature

      Knudsen, Erik S.; Hutcheson, Jack; Vail, Paris; Witkiewicz, Agnieszka K.; Univ Arizona, Ctr Canc; Univ Arizona, Dept Med; Univ Arizona, Dept Pathol (IMPACT JOURNALS LLC, 2017-06-10)
      Recently developed potent and selective CDK4/6 inhibitors fall into two classes based on structure and toxicity profiles in clinical studies. One class, exemplified by palbociclib and ribociclib, exhibits neutropenia as a dose-limiting toxicity and requires discontinuous dosing. In contrast, the structurally distinct CDK4/6 inhibitor abemaciclib is dosed continuously, and has diarrhea and fatigue as dose-limiting toxicities. In preclinical models, palbociclib has been extensively studied and induces cell cycle inhibition in an RB-dependent manner. Thus far, abemaciclib has been less extensively evaluated. We found that abemaciclib cell cycle inhibitory activity is RB-dependent at clinically achievable concentrations. Abemaciclib elicited potent suppression of RB/E2F regulated genes associated with prognosis in ER-positive breast cancer. However, unlike palbociclib, at 250nM-1 mu M doses abemaciclib induced cell death in RB-deficient cell lines. This response was associated with a rapidlyinduced multi-vacuolar phenotype indicative of lysosomal membrane permeabilization that could be ameliorated with chloroquine. This event was not a reflection of inhibition of other CDK family members, but could be recapitulated with CBX4945 that inhibits casein and DYRK/HIPK kinases. To determine if these "off-target" features of abemaciclib were observed in vivo, mice harboring matched RB-positive and negative xenografts were treated with palbociclib and abemaciclib. In vivo, all of the apparent activity of abemaciclib was RB-dependent and strongly elicited suppression of cell cycle regulatory genes in a fashion markedly similar to palbociclib. Using gene expression data from cell lines and tumors treated with abemaciclib and palbociclib a composite signature of response to CDK4/6 inhibition was developed that included many genes that are individually required for tumor cell proliferation or viability. These data indicate that while abemaciclib and palbociclib can exert distinct biological and molecular effects, there are common gene expression features that could be broadly utilized in measuring the response to CDK4/6 inhibition.
    • Co-targeting aurora kinase with PD-L1 and PI3K abrogates immune checkpoint mediated proliferation in peripheral T-cell lymphoma: a novel therapeutic strategy

      Islam, Shariful; Vick, Eric; Huber, Bryan; Morales, Carla; Spier, Catherine; Cooke, Laurence; Weterings, Eric; Mahadevan, Daruka; Univ Arizona, Ctr Canc, Canc Biol GIDP; Univ Arizona, Dept Hematopathol; et al. (IMPACT JOURNALS LLC, 2017-11-01)
      Peripheral T-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma (PTCL) are heterogeneous, rare, and aggressive diseases mostly incurable with current cell cycle therapies. Aurora kinases (AKs) are key regulators of mitosis that drive PTCL proliferation. Alisertib (AK inhibitor) has a response rate similar to 30% in relapsed and refractory PTCL (SWOG1108). Since PTCL are derived from CD4(+)/CD8(+) cells, we hypothesized that Program Death Ligand-1 (PDL1) expression is essential for uncontrolled proliferation. Combination of alisertib with PI3K alpha (MLN1117) or pan-PI3K inhibition (PF-04691502) or vincristine (VCR) was highly synergistic in PTCL cells. Expression of PD-L1 relative to PD-1 is high in PTCL biopsies (similar to 9-fold higher) and cell lines. Combination of alisertib with pan-PI3K inhibition or VCR significantly reduced PD-L1, NF-kappa B expression and inhibited phosphorylation of AKT, ERK1/2 and AK with enhanced apoptosis. In a SCID PTCL xenograft mouse model, alisertib displayed high synergism with MLN1117. In a syngeneic PTCL mouse xenograft model alisertib demonstrated tumor growth inhibition (TGI) similar to 30%, whilst anti-PD-L1 therapy alone was ineffective. Alisertib + anti-PD-L1 resulted in TGI > 90% indicative of a synthetic lethal interaction. PF-04691502 + alisertib + anti-PD-L1 + VCR resulted in TGI 100%. Overall, mice tolerated the treatments well. Co-targeting AK, PI3K and PD-L1 is a rational and novel therapeutic strategy for PTCL.
    • Control of translational activation by PIM kinase in activated B-cell diffuse large B-cell lymphoma confers sensitivity to inhibition by PIM447

      Peters, Tara L.; Li, Lingxiao; Tula-Sanchez, Ana A.; Pongtornpipat, Praechompoo; Schatz, Jonathan H.; Univ Arizona, Dept Mol & Cellular Biol; Univ Arizona, Inst Bio5 (IMPACT JOURNALS LLC, 2016-09-26)
      The PIM family kinases promote growth and survival of tumor cells and are expressed in a wide variety of human cancers. Their potential as therapeutic targets, however, is complicated by overlapping activities with multiple other pathways and remains poorly defined in most clinical scenarios. Here we explore activity of the new pan-PIM inhibitor PIM447 in a variety of lymphoid-derived tumors. We find strong activity in cell lines derived from the activated B-cell subtype of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (ABC-DLBCL). Sensitive lines show lost activation of the mTORC1 signaling complex and subsequent lost activation of cap-dependent protein translation. In addition, we characterize recurrent PIM1 protein-coding mutations found in DLBCL clinical samples and find most preserve the wild-type protein's ability to protect cells from apoptosis but do not bypass activity of PIM447. Pan-PIM inhibition therefore may have an important role to play in the therapy of selected ABC-DLBCL cases.
    • Defining the transcriptional and biological response to CDK4/6 inhibition in relation to ER+/HER2- breast cancer

      Knudsen, Erik S.; Witkiewicz, Agnieszka K.; Univ Arizona, Dept Med; Univ Arizona, Ctr Canc; Univ Arizona, Dept Pathol (IMPACT JOURNALS LLC, 2014-11-09)
      ER positive (ER+) and HER2 negative (HER2-) breast cancers are routinely treated based on estrogen dependence. CDK4/6 inhibitors in combination with endocrine therapy have significantly improved the progression-free survival of patients with ER+/HER2- metastatic breast cancer. Gene expression profiling in ER+/HER2- models was used to define the basis for the efficacy of CDK4/6 inhibitors and develop a gene expression signature of CDK4/6 inhibition. CDK4/6 inhibition robustly suppressed cell cycle progression of ER+/HER2- models and complements the activity of limiting estrogen. Chronic treatment with CDK4/6 inhibitors results in the consistent suppression of genes involved in cell cycle, while eliciting the induction of a comparable number of genes involved in multiple processes. The CDK4/6 inhibitor treatment shifted ER+/HER2- models from a high risk (luminal B) to a low risk (luminal A) molecular-phenotype using established gene expression panels. Consonantly, genes repressed by CDK4/6 inhibition are strongly associated with clinical prognosis in ER+/HER2- cases. This gene repression program was conserved in an aggressive triple negative breast cancer xenograft, indicating that this is a common feature of CDK4/6 inhibition. Interestingly, the genes upregulated as a consequence of CDK4/6 inhibition were more variable, but associated with improved outcome in ER+/HER2- clinical cases, indicating dual and heretofore unknown consequence of CDK4/6 inhibition. Interestingly, CDK4/6 inhibition was also associated with the induction of a collection of genes associated with cell growth; but unlike suppression of cell cycle genes this signaling was antagonized by endocrine therapy. Consistent with the stimulation of a mitogenic pathway, cell size and metabolism were induced with CDK4/6 inhibition but ameliorated with endocrine therapy. Together, the data herein support the basis for profound interaction between CDK4/6 inhibitors and endocrine therapy by cooperating for the suppression of cell cycle progression and limiting compensatory pro-growth processes that could contribute to therapeutic failure.
    • Dysregulated expression of proteins associated with ER stress, autophagy and apoptosis in tissues from nonalcoholic fatty liver disease

      Lee, Seungwoo; Kim, Soohee; Hwang, Seungwoo; Cherrington, Nathan J.; Ryu, Doug-Young; Univ Arizona, Coll Pharm (IMPACT JOURNALS LLC, 2017-09-08)
      Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is categorized into nonalcoholic fatty liver (NAFL) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and has emerged as a risk factor for more critical clinical conditions. However, the underlying mechanisms of NAFLD pathogenesis are not fully understood. In this study, expression of proteins associated with endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, apoptosis and autophagy were analyzed in normal, NAFL and NASH human livers by western blotting. Levels of some ER stress-transducing transcription factors, including cleaved activating transcription factor 6, were higher in NASH than in the normal tissues. However, the expression of a majority of the ER chaperones and foldases analyzed, including glucose-regulated protein 78 and ER protein 44, was lower in NASH than in the normal tissues. Levels of apoptosis markers, such as cleaved poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase, were also lower in NASH tissues, in which expression of some B-cell lymphoma-2 family proteins was up-or down-regulated compared to the normal tissues. The level of the autophagy substrate p62 was not different in NASH and normal tissues, although some autophagy regulators were up-or down-regulated in the NASH tissues compared to the normal tissues. Levels of most of the proteins analyzed in NAFL tissues were either similar to those in one of the other two types, NASH and normal, or were somewhere in between. Together, these findings suggest that regulation of certain important tissues processes involved in protein quality control and cell survival were broadly compromised in the NAFLD tissues.
    • Elimination of quiescent slow-cycling cells via reducing quiescence depth by natural compounds purified from Ganoderma lucidum

      Dai, Jian; Miller, Matthew A.; Everetts, Nicholas J.; Wang, Xia; Li, Peng; Li, Ye; Xu, Jian-hua; Yao, Guang; Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of Arizona; Arizona Cancer Center, University of Arizona (IMPACT JOURNALS LLC, 2017-01-13)
      The medical mushroom Ganoderma lucidum has long been used in traditional Chinese medicine and shown effective in the treatment of many diseases including cancer. Here we studied the cytotoxic effects of two natural compounds purified from Ganoderma lucidum, ergosterol peroxide and ganodermanondiol. We found that these two compounds exhibited cytotoxicity not only against fast proliferating cells, but on quiescent, slow-cycling cells. Using a fibroblast cell-quiescence model, we found that the cytotoxicity on quiescent cells was due to induced apoptosis, and was associated with a shallower quiescent state in compound-treated cells, resultant from the increased basal activity of an Rb-E2F bistable switch that controls quiescence exit. Accordingly, we showed that quiescent breast cancer cells (MCF7), compared to its non-transformed counterpart (MCF10A), were preferentially killed by ergosterol peroxide and ganodermanondiol treatment presumably due to their already less stable quiescent state. The cytotoxic effect of natural Ganoderma lucidum compounds against quiescent cells, preferentially on quiescent cancer cells vs. non-cancer cells, may help future antitumor development against the slow-cycling cancer cell subpopulations including cancer stem and progenitor cells.
    • Insulin receptor substrate 1 is a substrate of the Pim protein kinases

      Song, Jin H.; Padi, Sathish K. R.; Luevano, Libia A.; Minden, Mark D.; DeAngelo, Daniel J.; Hardiman, Gary; Ball, Lauren E.; Warfel, Noel A.; Kraft, Andrew S.; Univ Arizona, Dept Cellular & Mol Med; et al. (IMPACT JOURNALS LLC, 2016-03-04)
      The Pim family of serine/threonine protein kinases (Pim 1, 2, and 3) contribute to cellular transformation by regulating glucose metabolism, protein synthesis, and mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation. Drugs targeting the Pim protein kinases are being tested in phase I/II clinical trials for the treatment of hematopoietic malignancies. The goal of these studies was to identify Pim substrate(s) that could help define the pathway regulated by these enzymes and potentially serve as a biomarker of Pim activity. To identify novel substrates, bioinformatics analysis was carried out to identify proteins containing a consensus Pim phosphorylation site. This analysis identified the insulin receptor substrate 1 and 2 (IRS1/2) as potential Pim substrates. Experiments were carried out in tissue culture, animals, and human samples from phase I trials to validate this observation and define the biologic readout of this phosphorylation. Our study demonstrates in both malignant and normal cells using either genetic or pharmacological inhibition of the Pim kinases or overexpression of this family of enzymes that human IRS1S1101 and IRS2S1149 are Pim substrates. In xenograft tumor experiments and in a human phase I clinical trial, a pan-Pim inhibitor administered in vivo to animals or humans decreased IRS1S1101 phosphorylation in tumor tissues. This phosphorylation was shown to have effects on the half-life of the IRS family of proteins, suggesting a role in insulin or IGF signaling. These results demonstrate that IRS1S1101 is a novel substrate for the Pim kinases and provide a novel marker for evaluation of Pim inhibitor therapy.
    • LINE-1 couples EMT programming with acquisition of oncogenic phenotypes in human bronchial epithelial cells

      Reyes-Reyes, Elsa M.; Aispuro, Ivan; Tavera-Garcia, Marco A.; Field, Matthew; Moore, Sara; Ramos, Irma; Ramos, Kenneth S.; Univ Arizona, Coll Med, Div Pulm Allergy Crit Care & Sleep Med; Univ Arizona, Canc Ctr; Univ Arizona Hlth Sci, Ctr Appl Genet & Genom Med (IMPACT JOURNALS LLC, 2017-10-23)
      Although several lines of evidence have established the central role of epithelial-to-mesenchymal-transition (EMT) in malignant progression of non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLCs), the molecular events connecting EMT to malignancy remain poorly understood. This study presents evidence that Long Interspersed Nuclear Element-1 (LINE-1) retrotransposon couples EMT programming with malignancy in human bronchial epithelial cells (BEAS-2B). This conclusion is supported by studies showing that: 1) activation of EMT programming by TGF-beta 1 increases LINE-1 mRNAs and protein; 2) the lung carcinogen benzo(a)pyrene coregulates TGF-beta 1 and LINE-1 mRNAs, with LINE-1 positioned downstream of TGF-beta 1 signaling; and, 3) forced expression of LINE-1 in BEAS-2B cells recapitulates EMT programming and induces malignant phenotypes and tumorigenesis in vivo. These findings identify a TGF beta 1-LINE-1 axis as a critical effector pathway that can be targeted for the development of precision therapies during malignant progression of intractable NSCLCs.
    • Llgl1 prevents metaplastic survival driven by epidermal growth factor dependent migration

      Greenwood, Erin; Maisel, Sabrina; Ebertz, David; Russ, Atlantis; Pandey, Ritu; Schroeder, Joyce; Univ Arizona, Dept Mol & Cellular Biol; Univ Arizona, Arizona Canc Ctr; Univ Arizona, Inst BIO5; Univ Arizona, Genet Program; et al. (IMPACT JOURNALS LLC, 2016-09-19)
      We have previously demonstrated that Llgl1 loss results in a gain of mesenchymal phenotypes and a loss of apicobasal and planar polarity. We now demonstrate that these changes represent a fundamental shift in cellular phenotype. Llgl1 regulates the expression of multiple cell identity markers, including CD44, CD49f, and CD24, and the nuclear translocation of TAZ and Slug. Cells lacking Llgl1 form mammospheres, where survival and transplantability is dependent upon the Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR). Additionally, Llgl1 loss allows cells to grow in soft-agar and maintain prolonged survival as orthotopic transplants in NOD-SCID mice. Lineage tracing and wound healing experiments demonstrate that mammosphere survival is due to enhanced EGF-dependent migration. The loss of Llgl1 drives EGFR mislocalization and an EGFR mislocalization point mutation (P667A) drives these same phenotypes, including activation of AKT and TAZ nuclear translocation. Together, these data indicate that the loss of Llgl1 results in EGFR mislocalization, promoting pre-neoplastic changes.
    • Magnetic resonance imaging of RRx-001 pharmacodynamics in preclinical tumors

      Raghunand, Natarajan; Scicinski, Jan; Guntle, Gerald P.; Jagadish, Bhumasamudram; Mash, Eugene A.; Bruckheimer, Elizabeth; Oronsky, Bryan; Korn, Ronald L.; Univ Arizona, Arizona Canc Ctr; Univ Arizona, Dept Chem & Biochem (IMPACT JOURNALS LLC, 2017-06-13)
      RRx-001 is an anticancer agent that subjects cancer cells to reactive oxygen/nitrogen species (ROS/RNS) and acts as an epigenetic modifier. We have used a thiol-bearing MRI contrast agent, Gd-LC7-SH, to investigate the pharmacodynamics of RRx-001 in CHP-100 Ewing's Sarcoma, HT-29 colorectal carcinoma, and PANC-1 pancreatic carcinoma xenografts in SCID mice. Binding of Gd-LC7-SH to the Cys34 residue on plasma albumin prolongs retention in the tumor microenvironment and increases tumor enhancement on MRI. Mice were imaged by MRI and in vivo T1 maps acquired 50 min (T1(50 min)) after injection of 0.05 mmol/kg Gd-LC7-SH (i.v.) at baseline and 1, 24, and 72 h post-treatment with 10 mg/kg RRx-001 (i.v.). Consistent with an indirect thiol-modifying activity of RRx-001, tumor T150 min at 1 h post-drug was significantly longer than pre-drug tumor T150 min in all three tumor models, with the T150 min remaining significantly longer than baseline through 72 h post-drug in the HT-29 and PANC-1 tumors. The T150 min of CHP-100 tumors recovered to baseline by 24 h post-drug, suggesting a robust anti-oxidant response to the RRx-001 challenge that was presaged by a marked increase in perfusion at 1 h post-drug measured by DCE-MRI. MRI enhanced with Gd-LC7-SH provides a mechanistically rational biomarker of RRx-001 pharmacodynamics.
    • A meta-analysis of MSI frequency and race in colorectal cancer

      Ashktorab, Hassan; Ahuja, Sadhna; Kannan, Lakshmi; Llor, Xavier; Nathan, Ellis; Xicola, Rosa M.; Adeyinka, Laiyemo O.; Carethers, John M.; Brim, Hassan; Nouraie, Mehdi; et al. (IMPACT JOURNALS LLC, 2014-11-09)
      PURPOSE: African Americans (AA) are at a higher risk of colorectal cancer (CRC) and some studies report a higher frequency of microsatellite instability (MSI) in this population while others report lower frequency compared to Caucasians. AIM: To determine and evaluate the association of race and clinical factors with MSI frequency through meta-analysis. METHODS: Twenty-two studies out of 15,105 (1997-2015) were evaluated after a search in different literature databases, using keywords "colorectal cancer, microsatellite instability, African Americans, Caucasians and Hispanics". We used random effect meta-analysis to calculate the MSI frequency in all studies as well as in African American and Caucasian samples. Meta-regression analysis was used to assess the univariate effect of race, gender, age, tumor location and stage on MSI frequency. RESULTS: The overall MSI frequency among CRCs was 17% (95% CI: 15%-19%, I-2 = 91%). In studies with available race data, The MSI rate among AAs, Hispanics and Caucasians were 12%, 12% and 14% respectively and was not significantly different. Sub-group analysis of studies with racial information indicates MSI OR of 0.78 for AAs compared to Caucasians. CONCLUSION: CRCs demonstrate an overall MSI frequency of 17%. MSI frequency differences between AAs and Caucasians were not pronounced, suggesting that other factors contribute to the racial disparity. The methodological approaches and biological sources of the variation seen in MSI frequency between different studies need to be further investigated.
    • Oncolytic reovirus inhibits angiogenesis through induction of CXCL10/IP-10 and abrogation of HIF activity in soft tissue sarcomas

      Carew, Jennifer S.; Espitia, Claudia M.; Zhao, Weiguo; Mita, Monica M.; Mita, Alain C.; Nawrocki, Steffan T.; Univ Arizona, Ctr Canc (IMPACT JOURNALS LLC, 2017-10-16)
      The tumor-selective viral replication capacity and pro-apoptotic effects of oncolytic reovirus have been reported to be dependent on the presence of an activated RAS pathway in several solid tumor types. However, the mechanisms of selective anticancer efficacy of the reovirus-based formulation for cancer therapy (Reolysin, pelareorep) have not been rigorously studied in soft tissue sarcomas (STS). Here we report that Reolysin triggered a striking induction of the anti-angiogenic chemokine interferon-gamma-inducible protein 10 (IP-10)/CXCL10 (CXC chemokine ligand 10) in both wild type and RAS mutant STS cells. Further analysis determined that Reolysin treatment possessed significant anti-angiogenic activity irrespective of RAS status. In addition to CXCL10 induction, Reolysin dramatically downregulated the expression of hypoxia inducible factor (HIF)-1 alpha, HIF-2 alpha and inhibited vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) secretion. CXCL10 antagonism significantly diminished the anti-angiogenic effects of Reolysin indicating that it is a key driver of this phenomenon. Xenograft studies demonstrated that Reolysin significantly improved the anticancer activity of the anti-angiogenic agents sunitinib, temsirolimus, and bevacizumab in a manner that was associated with increased CXCL10 levels. This effect was most pronounced following treatment with Reolysin in combination with temsirolimus. Further analysis in additional sarcoma xenograft models confirmed the significant increase in CXCL10 and increased anticancer activity of this combination. Our collective results demonstrate that Reolysin possesses CXCL10-driven anti-angiogenic activity in sarcoma models, which can be harnessed to enhance the anticancer activity of temsirolimus and other agents that target the tumor vasculature.
    • Puerarin attenuates locomotor and cognitive deficits as well as hippocampal neuronal injury through the PI3K/Akt1/GSK-3 beta signaling pathway in an in vivo model of cerebral ischemia

      Tao, Jinhao; Cui, Yuehua; Duan, Yu; Zhang, Nan; Wang, Congmin; Zhang, Fayong; Univ Arizona, Dept Basic Med Sci (IMPACT JOURNALS LLC, 2017-11-07)
      Ischemic stroke causes irreversible damage to the brain. The hippocampus is a vulnerable region and plays an important role in cognition and locomotor activity. Puerarin is a phytoestrogen that has beneficial effects in treating neurological disorders. How puerarin protects against hippocampal injury and its molecular mechanisms remain to be elucidated. Transient global brain ischemia was induced by 4-vessel occlusion in adult male Sprague-Dawley rats. The rats were pretreated with puerarin alone or together with LY294002 (an PI3K inhibitor) before ischemia/ reperfusion (I/R). The open-and closed-field tasks and Morris water maze (MWM) test were used to assess the effects of puerarin on anxiety-like behavioral and cognitive impairment following I/R. Hematoxylin-eosin staining(HE) was used to examine the survival of hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons, and immunoblotting was performed to examine the expression of the related proteins. By using the rat model for transient I/R, we demonstrated that puerarin pretreatment significantly increased the travelling distance and number of crossings in the open-and closedfield tests, reduced latency and increased the proportion of distance and time in zone IV in the MWM. The number of live cells in the hippocampus is sharply increased by puerarin pretreatment. We further observed that the levels of phosphorylated Akt1, GSK-3 beta and MCL-1were elevated and those of cleaved-caspase-3 were reduced in the puerarin-treatment group. Notably, the PI3K inhibitor LY294002 counteracted all of the effects of puerarin. Our findings suggest that puerarin protects the hippocampus from I/R damage by activating the PI3K/Akt1/GSK-3 beta/MCL-1 signaling pathway.
    • Quantitative assessment of HLA-DQ gene polymorphisms with the development of hepatitis B virus infection, clearance, liver cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma

      Xu, Tao; Zhu, Anyou; Sun, Meiqun; Lv, Jingzhu; Qian, Zhongqing; Wang, Xiaojing; Wang, Ting; Wang, Hongtao; Univ Arizona, Coll Med Phoenix, Dept Internal Med (IMPACT JOURNALS LLC, 2017-12-06)
      Hepatitis B is one of the most common infectious diseases, which leads to public health problems in the world, especially in Asian counties. In recent years, extensive human genetic association studies have been carried out to identify susceptible genes and genetic polymorphisms to understand the genetic contributions to the disease progression of HBV infection. HLA-DQ gene variations have been reported to be associated with HBV infection/clearance, disease progression and the development of hepatitis B-related complications, including liver cirrhosis (LC) and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, the results are either inconclusive or controversial. Therefore, to derive a more precise estimation of the association, a meta-analysis was performed. Our data revealed that the HLA-DQ alleles rs2856718-G, rs7453920-A and rs9275319-G were significantly associated with decreased risk of HBV infection and HBV natural clearance. Logistic regression analyses showed that HLA-DQ alleles rs9275572-A significantly increased HBV infection clearance, and decreased HBV natural clearance. However, rs2856718-G and rs9275572-A were not associated with development of cirrhosis. The HLA-DQ polymorphisms (rs2856718 and rs9275572) were associated with a decreased HBV-related HCC risk in all genetic models, but rs9272105-A increased the risk of HBV-related HCC. In addition, no significant association was observed between HLA-DQ rs9275319-G polymorphism and HBVrelated HCC. These stratified analyses were limited due to relatively modest size of correlational studies. In future, further investigation on a large population and different ethnicities are warranted. Our findings contribute to the personalized care and prognosis in hepatitis B.
    • Sirtuin 3 attenuates amyloid-β induced neuronal hypometabolism

      Yin, Junxiang; Li, Shiping; Nielsen, Megan; Carcione, Tanner; Liang, Winnie S; Shi, Jiong; Univ Arizona, Coll Sci (IMPACT JOURNALS LLC, 2018-10-23)
      Alzheimer's disease (AD) is manifested by regional cerebral hypometabolism. Sirtuin 3 (Sirt3) is localized in mitochondria and regulates cellular metabolism, but the role of Sirt3 in AD-related hypometabolism remains elusive. We used expression profiling and weighted gene co-expression network analysis (WGCNA) to analyze cortical neurons from a transgenic mouse model of AD (APPSwInd). Based on WGCNA results, we measured NAD+ level, NAD+/ NADH ratio, Sirt3 protein level and its deacetylation activity, and ATP production across both in vivo and in vitro models. To investigate the effect of Sirt3 on amyloid-β (Aβ)-induced mitochondria damage, we knocked down and over-expressed Sirt3 in hippocampal cells. WGCNA revealed Sirt3 as a key player in Aβ-related hypometabolism. In APP mice, the NAD+ level, NAD+/ NADH ratio, Sirt3 protein level and activity, and ATP production were all reduced compared to the control. As a result, learning and memory performance were impaired in 9-month-old APP mice compared to wild type controls. Using hippocampal HT22 cells model, Sirt3 overexpression increased Sirt3 deacetylation activity, rescued mitochondria function, and salvaged ATP production, which were damaged by Aβ. Sirt3 plays an important role in regulating Aβ-induced cerebral hypometabolism. This study suggests a potential direction for AD therapy.
    • Targeting the PIM protein kinases for the treatment of a T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia subset

      Padi, Sathish K.R.; Luevano, Libia A.; An, Ningfei; Pandey, Ritu; Singh, Neha; Song, Jin H.; Aster, Jon C.; Yu, Xue-Zhong; Mehrotra, Shikhar; Kraft, Andrew S.; et al. (IMPACT JOURNALS LLC, 2017-03-17)
      New approaches are needed for the treatment of patients with T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) who fail to achieve remission with chemotherapy. Analysis of the effects of pan-PIM protein kinase inhibitors on human T-ALL cell lines demonstrated that the sensitive cell lines expressed higher PIM1 protein kinase levels, whereas T-ALL cell lines with NOTCH mutations tended to have lower levels of PIM1 kinase and were insensitive to these inhibitors. NOTCH-mutant cells selected for resistance to gamma secretase inhibitors developed elevated PIM1 kinase levels and increased sensitivity to PIM inhibitors. Gene profiling using a publically available T-ALL dataset demonstrated overexpression of PIM1 in the majority of early T-cell precursor (ETP)-ALLs and a small subset of non-ETP ALL. While the PIM inhibitors blocked growth, they also stimulated ERK and STAT5 phosphorylation, demonstrating that activation of additional signaling pathways occurs with PIM inhibitor treatment. To block these pathways, Ponatinib, a broadly active tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) used to treat chronic myelogenous leukemia, was added to this PIM-inhibitor regimen. The combination of Ponatinib with a PIM inhibitor resulted in synergistic T-ALL growth inhibition and marked apoptotic cell death. Treatment of mice engrafted with human T-ALL with these two agents significantly decreased the tumor burden and improved the survival of treated mice. This dual therapy has the potential to be developed as a novel approach to treat T-ALL with high PIM expression.
    • TKI sensitivity patterns of novel kinase-domain mutations suggest therapeutic opportunities for patients with resistant ALK+ tumors

      Amin, Amit Dipak; Li, Lingxiao; Rajan, Soumya S.; Gokhale, Vijay; Groysman, Matthew J.; Pongtornpipat, Praechompoo; Tapia, Edgar O.; Wang, Mengdie; Schatz, Jonathan H.; Univ Arizona, Inst BIO5; et al. (IMPACT JOURNALS LLC, 2016-04-25)
      The anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) protein drives tumorigenesis in subsets of several tumors through chromosomal rearrangements that express and activate its C-terminal kinase domain. In addition, germline predisposition alleles and acquired mutations are found in the full-length protein in the pediatric tumor neuroblastoma. ALK-specific tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) have become important new drugs for ALK-driven lung cancer, but acquired resistance via multiple mechanisms including kinase-domain mutations eventually develops, limiting median progression-free survival to less than a year. Here we assess the impact of several kinase-domain mutations that arose during TKI resistance selections of ALK+ anaplastic large-cell lymphoma (ALCL) cell lines. These include novel variants with respect to ALK-fusion cancers, R1192P and T1151M, and with respect to ALCL, F1174L and I1171S. We assess the effects of these mutations on the activity of six clinical inhibitors in independent systems engineered to depend on either the ALCL fusion kinase NPM-ALK or the lung-cancer fusion kinase EML4-ALK. Our results inform treatment strategies with a likelihood of bypassing mutations when detected in resistant patient samples and highlight differences between the effects of particular mutations on the two ALK fusions.
    • Unique metabolic features of pancreatic cancer stroma: relevance to the tumor compartment, prognosis, and invasive potential

      Knudsen, Erik S.; Balaji, Uthra; Freinkman, Elizaveta; McCue, Peter; Witkiewicz, Agnieszka K.; Univ Arizona, Ctr Canc; Univ Arizona, Dept Med; Univ Arizona, Dept Pathol (IMPACT JOURNALS LLC, 2015-11-07)
      Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) has a dismal prognosis. The aggressiveness and therapeutic recalcitrance of this malignancy has been attributed to multiple factors including the influence of an active desmoplastic stroma. How the stromal microenvironment of PDAC contributes to the fatal nature of this disease is not well defined. In the analysis of clinical specimens, we observed diverse expression of the hypoxic marker carbonic anhydrase IX and the lactate transporter MCT4 in the stromal compartment. These stromal features were associated with the epithelial to mesenchymal phenotype in PDAC tumor cells, and with shorter patient survival. Cultured cancer- associated fibroblasts (CAFs) derived from primary PDAC exhibited a high basal level of hypoxia inducible factor 1a (HIF1 alpha) that was both required and sufficient to modulate the expression of MCT4. This event was associated with increased transcription and protein synthesis of HIF1a in CAFs relative to PDAC cell lines, while surprisingly the protein turnover rate was equivalent. CAFs utilized glucose predominantly for glycolytic intermediates, whereas glutamine was the preferred metabolite for the TCA cycle. Unlike PDAC cell lines, CAFs were resistant to glucose withdrawal but sensitive to glutamine depletion. Consistent with the lack of reliance on glucose, CAFs could survive the acute depletion of MCT4. In co-culture and xenograft studies CAFs stimulated the invasive potential and metastatic spread of PDAC cell lines through a mechanism dependent on HIF1a and MCT4. Together, these data indicate that stromal metabolic features influence PDAC tumor cells to promote invasiveness and metastatic potential and associate with poor outcome in patients with PDAC.