The Hippo pathway has emerged as a fundamental regulator in tissue growth, organ size and stem cell functions, and tumorigenesis when deregulated. However, its roles and associated molecular mechanisms underlying oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) initiation and progression remain largely unknown. Here, we identified TAZ, the downstream effector of Hippo signaling, as a novel bona fide oncogene by promoting cell proliferation, migration/invasion and chemoresistance in OSCC. TAZ promoted epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and also was involved in TGF-β1-induced EMT in oral cancer cells. Furthermore, enriched TAZ sustained self-renewal, maintenance, tumor-seeding potential of oral cancer stem cells (CSCs). Remarkably, enforced TAZ overexpression conferred CSCs-like properties on differentiated non-CSCs and fueled phenotypic transition from non-CSCs to CSCs-like cells. Mechanistically, TAZ-TEADs binding and subsequent transcriptional activation of EMT mediators and pluripotency factors are presumably responsible for TAZ-mediated EMT and non-CSCs-to-CSCs conversion. Importantly, aberrant TAZ overexpression was found to be associated with tumor size, pathological grade and cervical lymph node metastasis, as well as unfavorable prognosis. Pharmacological repression of TAZ by simvastatin resulted in potent anti-cancer effects against OSCC. Taken together, our findings have revealed critical links between TAZ, EMT and CSCs in OSCC initiation and progression, and also established TAZ as a novel cancer biomarker and viable druggable target for OSCC therapeutics.
The alteration of age‐related molecules in the bone marrow microenvironment is one of the driving forces in osteoporosis. These molecules inhibit bone formation and promote bone resorption by regulating osteoblastic and osteoclastic activity, contributing to age‐related bone loss. Here, we observed that the level of microRNA‐31a‐5p (miR‐31a‐5p) was significantly increased in bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs) from aged rats, and these BMSCs demonstrated increased adipogenesis and aging phenotypes as well as decreased osteogenesis and stemness. We used the gain‐of‐function and knockdown approach to delineate the roles of miR‐31a‐5p in osteogenic differentiation by assessing the decrease of special AT‐rich sequence‐binding protein 2 (SATB2) levels and the aging of BMSCs by regulating the decline of E2F2 and recruiting senescence‐associated heterochromatin foci (SAHF). Notably, expression of miR‐31a‐5p, which promotes osteoclastogenesis and bone resorption, was markedly higher in BMSCs‐derived exosomes from aged rats compared to those from young rats, and suppression of exosomal miR‐31a‐5p inhibited the differentiation and function of osteoclasts, as shown by elevated RhoA activity. Moreover, using antagomiR‐31a‐5p, we observed that, in the bone marrow microenvironment, inhibition of miR‐31a‐5p prevented bone loss and decreased the osteoclastic activity of aged rats. Collectively, our results reveal that miR‐31a‐5p acts as a key modulator in the age‐related bone marrow microenvironment by influencing osteoblastic and osteoclastic differentiation and that it may be a potential therapeutic target for age‐related osteoporosis.
Background Caenorhabditis elegans is a powerful model organism for probing many biological processes including host-pathogen interactions with bacteria and fungi. The recent identification of nematode viruses that naturally infect C. elegans and Caenorhabditis briggsae provides a unique opportunity to define host-virus interactions in these model hosts.ResultsWe analyzed the transcriptional response of pathogen infected C. elegans and C. briggsae by RNA-seq. We identified a total of 320 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in C. elegans following Orsay virus infection. The DEGs of known function were enriched for ubiquitin ligase related genes; however, the majority of the genes were of unknown function. Interestingly, many DEGs that responded to Orsay virus infection were similar to those induced by Nematocida parisii infection, which is a natural microsporidia pathogen of C. elegans that like Orsay virus infects intestinal cells. Furthermore, comparison of the Orsay virus DEGs in C. elegans to Santeuil virus DEGs in C. briggsae identified 58 C. elegans genes whose orthologs were likewise differentially expressed in C. briggsae, thereby defining an evolutionarily conserved response to viral infection.ConclusionsThe two different species C. elegans and C. briggsae, which diverged ~18 million years ago, share a common set of transcriptionally responsive genes to viral infection. Furthermore, a subset of these genes were also differentially expressed following infection by a eukaryotic pathogen, N. parisii, suggesting that these genes may constitute a broader pan-microbial response to infection.Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12864-017-3689-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Our results indicate that α-SMA-positive myofibroblasts have important impacts on cancer progression, metastasis, and survival prognosis of patients with OTSCC. The functions of α-SMA-positive myofibroblasts in OTSCC may be associated with promoting EMT of tumor cells and lymphogenesis of metastasis microenvironment.
The polycomb complex protein Bmi1 (B lymphoma Mo-MLV insertion region 1 homolog) mediates epigenetic transcriptional silencing by modifying chromatin structure and is critical for stem cell homeostasis and tumorigenesis. Bmi1 is frequently overexpressed in human malignancies and therefore has key diagnostic and prognostic significance, and holds potential as a therapeutic target. Here we sought to characterize the expression patterns and oncogenic roles of Bmi1 in tongue squamous cell carcinoma and to determine the anticancer effects of histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACis) via Bmi1 inhibition against tongue cancer. Our data revealed that Bmi1 was aberrantly overexpressed in a significant portion of tongue cancers. Elevated Bmi1 is associated with cervical node metastasis, Ki-67 abundance and reduced overall survival, and also serves as an independent prognostic factor for patient outcomes. Short-hairpin RNA-mediated Bmi1 knockdown inhibited cell proliferation and migration, induced cell apoptosis and senescence, reduced colony formation and CD44þ CD133 þ sub-population as well as enhanced cisplatin chemosensitivity, presumably by modulation of p16, p14 and E-cadherin. Moreover, HDACi chemicals Trichostatin A (TSA) and sodium butyrate (NaB) potently inhibited Bmi1 and triggered similar phenotypic changes reminiscent of Bmi1 silencing, although TSA treatment seemed paradoxically to induce some epithelial-mesenchymal transition-like changes in tongue cancer cells. Importantly, NaB-induced antitumor effects were partially attenuated by enforced Bmi1 overexpression in vitro. Genetic Bmi1 silencing and pharmacological inhibition of Bmi1 by NaB treatment significantly impaired tumor growth in a tongue cancer xenograft model. Taken together, our results indicate that Bmi1 serves as a key driver and biomarker with multiple oncogenic functions underlying tongue tumorigenesis. Selected appropriate HDACi compounds like NaB may represent novel therapeutic agents against tongue cancer. Oral cancer is one of the most common cancers worldwide, approximately accounting for 3% of all malignancies in both sexes. It is widely represented as a heterogeneous tumor with aggressive phenotypes and behaviors. The major etiological risks for this malignancy include smoking and alcohol consumption and human papillomavirus infection. 1 The overwhelming majority of oral cancers arises from tongue and is pathologically identified as squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). 2 Despite tremendous advancement in multimodal therapies against oral cancers over the past decades, the overall 5-year survival rate with these devastating diseases, especially those with advanced diseases, has not been markedly improved. 3 Local relapse and cervical lymph node metastasis are recognized as the most prevalent factors affecting patients' survival. Although many oncogenes and tumor suppressors have been identified as key factors underlying oral tumorigenesis, however, no optimal and commonly accepted biomarkers have been established to facilitate disease diagnosis, ...
RNA viruses are a major threat to animals and plants. RNA interference (RNAi) and the interferon response provide innate antiviral defense against RNA viruses. Here, we performed a large-scale screen using Caenorhabditis elegans and its natural pathogen the Orsay virus (OrV), and we identified cde-1 as important for antiviral defense. CDE-1 is a homolog of the mammalian TUT4 and TUT7 terminal uridylyltransferases (collectively called TUT4(7)); its catalytic activity is required for its antiviral function. CDE-1 uridylates the 3' end of the OrV RNA genome and promotes its degradation in a manner independent of the RNAi pathway. Likewise, TUT4(7) enzymes uridylate influenza A virus (IAV) mRNAs in mammalian cells. Deletion of TUT4(7) leads to increased IAV mRNA and protein levels. Collectively, these data implicate 3'-terminal uridylation of viral RNAs as a conserved antiviral defense mechanism.
Many fundamental biological discoveries have been made in Caenorhabditis elegans. The discovery of Orsay virus has enabled studies of host-virus interactions in this model organism. To identify host factors critical for Orsay virus infection, we designed a forward genetic screen that utilizes a virally induced green fluorescent protein (GFP) reporter. Following chemical mutagenesis, two Viro (virus induced reporter off) mutants that failed to express GFP were mapped to sid-3, a nonreceptor tyrosine kinase, and B0280.13 (renamed viro-2), an ortholog of human Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein (WASP). Both mutants yielded Orsay virus RNA levels comparable to that of the residual input virus, suggesting that they are not permissive for Orsay virus replication. In addition, we demonstrated that both genes affect an early prereplication stage of Orsay virus infection. Furthermore, it is known that the human ortholog of SID-3, activated CDC42-associated kinase (ACK1/TNK2), is capable of phosphorylating human WASP, suggesting that VIRO-2 may be a substrate for SID-3 in C. elegans. A targeted RNA interference (RNAi) knockdown screen further identified the C. elegans gene nck-1, which has a human ortholog that interacts with TNK2 and WASP, as required for Orsay virus infection. Thus, genetic screening in C. elegans identified critical roles in virus infection for evolutionarily conserved genes in a known human pathway.
Bisphosphonate‐related osteonecrosis of the jaw (BRONJ) is a detrimental side effect of the long‐term administration of bisphosphonates. Although macrophages were reported to be an important mediator of BRONJ, the detailed potential mechanism of BRONJ remains unclear. Here, we reported an elevated TLR‐4 expression in macrophages under action of zoledronic acid (ZA), resulting in enhanced M1 macrophage polarization and decreased M2 macrophage polarization both in vitro and in vivo. After inhibiting the TLR‐4 signaling pathway, the activation of the TLR‐4/NF‐κB signaling pathway and the induction of NF‐κB nuclear translocation and production of proinflammatory cytokines by ZA were suppressed in macrophages, thereby inhibiting M1 macrophage polarization. By utilizing the TLR‐4−/− mice, development of BRONJ was markedly ameliorated, and M1 macrophages were significantly attenuated in the extraction socket tissues in the TLR‐4−/− mice. Importantly, the systemic administration of the TLR‐4 inhibitor TAK‐242 improved the wound healing of the extraction socket and decreased the incidence rate of BRONJ. Taken together, our findings suggest that TLR‐4‐mediated macrophage polarization participates in the pathogenesis of BRONJ in mice, and TLR‐4 may be a potential target for the prevention and therapeutic treatment of BRONJ.—Zhu, W., Xu, R., Du, J., Fu, Y., Li, S., Zhang, P., Liu, L., Jiang, H. Zoledronic acid promotes TLR‐4‐mediated M1 macrophage polarization in bisphosphonate‐related osteonecrosis of the jaw. FASEB J. 33, 5208–5219 (2019). http://www.fasebj.org
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