In neuroblastoma specimens, HIF-2alpha but not HIF-1alpha is strongly expressed in well-vascularized areas. In vitro, HIF-2alpha protein was stabilized at 5% O2 (resembling end capillary oxygen conditions) and, in contrast to the low HIF-1alpha activity at this oxygen level, actively transcribed genes like VEGF. Under hypoxia (1% O2), HIF-1alpha was transiently stabilized and primarily mediated acute responses, whereas HIF-2alpha protein gradually accumulated and governed prolonged hypoxic gene activation. Knockdown of HIF-2alpha reduced growth of neuroblastoma tumors in athymic mice. Furthermore, high HIF-2alpha protein levels were correlated with advanced clinical stage and high VEGF expression and predicted poor prognosis in a clinical neuroblastoma material. Our results demonstrate the relevance of HIF-2alpha in neuroblastoma progression and have general tumor biological implications.
Insufficient oxygen and nutrient supply often restrain solid tumor growth, and the hypoxia-inducible factors (HIF) 1␣ and HIF-2␣ are key transcription regulators of phenotypic adaptation to low oxygen levels. Moreover, mouse gene disruption studies have implicated HIF-2␣ in embryonic regulation of tyrosine hydroxylase, a hallmark gene of the sympathetic nervous system. Neuroblastoma tumors originate from immature sympathetic cells, and therefore we investigated the effect of hypoxia on the differentiation status of human neuroblastoma cells. Hypoxia stabilized HIF-1␣ and HIF-2␣ proteins and activated the expression of known hypoxia-induced genes, such as vascular endothelial growth factor and tyrosine hydroxylase. These changes in gene expression also occurred in hypoxic regions of experimental neuroblastoma xenografts grown in mice. In contrast, hypoxia decreased the expression of several neuronal͞neuroendocrine marker genes but induced genes expressed in neural crest sympathetic progenitors, for instance c-kit and Notch-1. Thus, hypoxia apparently causes dedifferentiation both in vitro and in vivo. These findings suggest a novel mechanism for selection of highly malignant tumor cells with stem-cell characteristics.
The three-dimensional structure of a bacterial superantigen, Staphylococcus aureus enterotoxin H (SEH), bound to human major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II (HLA-DR1) has been determined by X-ray crystallography to 2.6 A Ê resolution (1HXY). The superantigen binds on top of HLA-DR1 in a completely different way from earlier co-crystallized superantigens from S.aureus. SEH interacts with high af®nity through a zinc ion with the b1 chain of HLA-DR1 and also with the peptide presented by HLA-DR1. The structure suggests that all superantigens interacting with MHC class II in a zinc-dependent manner present the superantigen in a common way. This suggests a new model for ternary complex formation with the T-cell receptor (TCR), in which a contact between the TCR and the MHC class II is unlikely.
SCF (Skp1/Cul1/F-box) ubiquitin ligases act as master regulators of cellular homeostasis by targeting key proteins for ubiquitylation. Here, we identified a hitherto uncharacterized F-box protein, FBXO28 that controls MYC-dependent transcription by non-proteolytic ubiquitylation. SCFFBXO28 activity and stability are regulated during the cell cycle by CDK1/2-mediated phosphorylation of FBXO28, which is required for its efficient ubiquitylation of MYC and downsteam enhancement of the MYC pathway. Depletion of FBXO28 or overexpression of an F-box mutant unable to support MYC ubiquitylation results in an impairment of MYC-driven transcription, transformation and tumourigenesis. Finally, in human breast cancer, high FBXO28 expression and phosphorylation are strong and independent predictors of poor outcome. In conclusion, our data suggest that SCFFBXO28 plays an important role in transmitting CDK activity to MYC function during the cell cycle, emphasizing the CDK-FBXO28-MYC axis as a potential molecular drug target in MYC-driven cancers, including breast cancer.
Comprehensive transcriptome studies of cancers often rely on corresponding normal tissue samples to serve as a transcriptional reference. In this study, we performed in-depth analyses of normal kidney tissue transcriptomes from the TCGA and demonstrate that the histological variability in cellularity, inherent in the kidney architecture, lead to considerable transcriptional differences between samples. This should be considered when comparing expression profiles of normal and cancerous kidney tissues. We exploited these differences to define renal-cell-specific gene signatures and used these as a framework to analyze renal cell carcinoma (RCC) ontogeny. Chromophobe RCCs express FOXI1-driven genes that define collecting duct intercalated cells, whereas HNF-regulated genes, specific for proximal tubule cells, are an integral part of clear cell and papillary RCC transcriptomes. These networks may be used as a framework for understanding the interplay between genomic changes in RCC subtypes and the lineage-defining regulatory machinery of their non-neoplastic counterparts.
In the cell, γ-tubulin establishes a cellular network of threads named the γ-string meshwork. However, the functions of this meshwork remain to be determined. We investigated the traits of the meshwork and show that γ-strings have the ability to connect the cytoplasm and the mitochondrial DNA together. We also show that γ-tubulin has a role in the maintenance of the mitochondrial network and functions as reduced levels of γ-tubulin or impairment of its GTPase domain disrupts the mitochondrial network and alters both their respiratory capacity and the expression of mitochondrial-related genes. By contrast, reduced mitochondrial number or increased protein levels of γ-tubulin DNA-binding domain enhanced the association of γ-tubulin with mitochondria. Our results demonstrate that γ-tubulin is an important mitochondrial structural component that maintains the mitochondrial network, providing mitochondria with a cellular infrastructure. We propose that γ-tubulin provides a cytoskeletal element that gives form to the mitochondrial network.
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