LIM-only proteins (LMO), which consist of LMO1, LMO2, LMO3, and LMO4, are involved in cell fate determination and differentiation during embryonic development. Accumulating evidence suggests that LMO1 and LMO2 act as oncogenic proteins in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, whereas LMO4 has recently been implicated in the genesis of breast cancer. However, little is known about the role of LMO3 in either tumorigenesis or development. In the present study, we have identified LMO3 and HEN2, which encodes a neuronal basic helix-loop-helix protein, as genes whose expression levels were higher in unfavorable neuroblastomas compared with those of favorable tumors. Immunoprecipitation and immunostaining experiments showed that LMO3 was associated with HEN2 in mammalian cell nucleus. Human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells stably overexpressing LMO3 showed a marked increase in cell growth, a promotion of colony formation in soft agar medium, and a rapid tumor growth in nude mice compared with the control transfectants. More importantly, the increased expression of LMO3 and HEN2 was significantly associated with a poor prognosis in 87 primary neuroblastomas. These results suggest that the deregulated expression of neuronal-specific LMO3 and HEN2 contributes to the genesis and progression of human neuroblastoma in a lineage-specific manner. (Cancer Res 2005; 65(11): 4587-97)
Differential screening of the genes obtained from cDNA libraries of primary neuroblastomas (NBLs) between the favorable and unfavorable subsets has identified a novel gene BCH motif-containing molecule at the carboxyl terminal region 1 (BMCC1). Its 350 kDa protein product possessed a Bcl2-/adenovirus E1B nineteen kDa-interacting protein 2 (BNIP2) and Cdc42GAP homology domain in the COOHterminus in addition to P-loop and a coiled-coil region near the NH 2 -terminus. High levels of BMCC1 expression were detected in the human nervous system as well as spinal cord, brain and dorsal root ganglion in mouse embryo. The immunohistochemical study revealed that BMCC1 was positively stained in the cytoplasm of favorable NBL cells but not in unfavorable ones with MYCN amplification. The quantitative real-time reverse transcription-PCR using 98 primary NBLs showed that high expression of BMCC1 was a significant indicator of favorable NBL. In primary culture of newborn mice superior cervical ganglion (SCG) neurons, mBMCC1 expression was downregulated after nerve growth factor (NGF)-induced differentiation, and upregulated during the NGF-depletion-induced apoptosis. Furthermore, the proapoptotic function of BMCC1 was also suggested by increased expression in CHP134 NBL cells undergoing apoptosis after treatment with retinoic acid, and by an enhanced apoptosis after depletion of NGF in the SCG neurons obtained from newborn mice transgenic with BMCC1 in primary culture. Thus, BMCC1 is a new member of prognostic factors for NBL and may play an important role in regulating differentiation, survival and aggressiveness of the tumor cells.
The homeobox is a 183-base-pair DNA sequence originally found in Drosophila segmentation and homeotic genes. In Drosophila, homeotic genes are clustered in the Antennapedia and Bithorax complexes, collectively called the homeotic gene complex (HOM-C). In the mouse genome, about 40 homeobox genes (Hox) are clustered in four chromosomal regions (Hox A to D). The Hox genes are arranged in the same order and have the same anteroposterior pattern of expression as their structural homologue in the HOM-C, suggesting that they control mouse pattern formation in the same way that HOM-C members do in Drosophila. Homeobox gene products are believed to be transcription factors that regulate expression of target genes. A few candidate target genes have been identified in Drosophila by various approaches but the Hox gene targets are poorly understood, mostly because of limitations in the available approaches. Here we identify several candidate Hox gene targets, including a mouse homologue of the Drosophila tumour-suppressor gene l(2)gl, by immunopurification of DNA sequences bound to a Hox protein in native chromatin.
Cardiomyocytes derived from human embryonic stem (ES) cells are a potential source for cell-based therapy for heart diseases. We studied the effect of bone morphogenetic protein (BMP)-4 in the presence of fetal bovine serum (FBS) on cardiac induction from human H1 ES cells during embryoid body (EB) development. Suspension culture for 4 days with 20% FBS produced the best results for the differentiation of early mesoderm and cardiomyocytes. The addition of Noggin reduced the incidence of beating EBs from 23.6% to 5.3%, which indicated the involvement of BMP signaling in the spontaneous cardiac differentiation. In this condition, treatment with 12.5–25 ng/ml BMP-4 during the 4-day suspension optimally promoted the cardiomyocyte differentiation. The incidence of beating EBs at 25 ng/ml BMP-4 reached 95.8% on day 6 of expansion and then plateaued until day 20. In real-time PCR analysis, the cardiac development-related genes MESP1 and Nkx2.5 were upregulated in the EB outgrowths by 25 ng/ml BMP-4. The activation of BMP signaling in EBs was confirmed by the increase in the phosphorylation of Smad1/5/8 and by the nuclear localization of phospho-Smad1/5/8 and Smad4. The addition of 150 ng/ml Noggin considerably decreased the incidence of beating EBs and Nkx2.5 expression, and Noggin alone increased Nestin expression and neural differentiation in EB outgrowths. The cardiomyocytes induced by 25 ng/ml BMP-4 showed proper cell biological characteristics and a course of differentiation as judged from isoproterenol administration, gene expression, protein assay, immunoreactivity, and subcellular structures. No remarkable change in the extent of apoptosis and proliferation in the cardiomyocytes was observed by BMP-4 treatment. These findings showed that BMP-4 in combination with FBS at the appropriate time and concentrations significantly promotes cardiomyocyte induction from human ES cells.
The complexity and heterogeneity of tumours have hindered efforts to identify commonalities among different cancers. Furthermore, because we have limited information on the prevalence and nature of ubiquitous molecular events that occur in neoplasms, it is unfeasible to implement molecular-targeted cancer screening and prevention. Here, we found that the FEAT protein is overexpressed in most human cancers, but weakly expressed in normal tissues including the testis, brain, and liver. Transgenic mice that ectopically expressed FEAT in the thymus, spleen, liver, and lung spontaneously developed invasive malignant lymphoma (48%, 19/40) and lung-metastasizing liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma) (35%, 14/40) that models human hepatocarcinogenesis, indicating the FEAT protein potently drives tumorigenesis in vivo. Gene expression profiling suggested that FEAT drives receptor tyrosine kinase and hedgehog signalling pathways. These findings demonstrate that integrated efforts to identify FEAT-like ubiquitous oncoproteins are useful and may provide promising approaches for cost-effective cancer screening and prevention.
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