Cancer is a disease caused by the accumulation of genetic and epigenetic changes in two types of genes: tumor suppressor genes (TSGs) and proto-oncogenes. Extensive research has been conducted over the last few decades to elucidate the role of TSGs in cancer development. In cancer, loss of TSG function occurs via the deletion or inactivation of two alleles, according to Knudson’s two-hit model hypothesis. It has become clear that mutations in TSGs are recessive at the level of an individual cell; therefore, a single mutation in a TSG is not sufficient to cause carcinogenesis. However, many studies have identified candidate TSGs that do not conform with this standard definition, including genes inactivated by epigenetic silencing rather than by deletion. In addition, proteasomal degradation by ubiquitination, abnormal cellular localization, and transcriptional regulation are also involved in the inactivation of TSGs. This review incorporates these novel additional mechanisms of TSG inactivation into the existing two-hit model and proposes a revised multiple-hit model that will enable the identification of novel TSGs that can be used as prognostic and predictive biomarkers of cancer.
Epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors (EGFR-TKIs) are used clinically as target therapies for lung cancer patients, but the occurrence of acquired drug resistance limits their efficacy. Nicotinamide N-methyltransferase (NNMT), a cancer-associated metabolic enzyme, is commonly overexpressed in various human tumors. Emerging evidence also suggests a crucial loss of function of microRNAs (miRNAs) in modulating tumor progression in response to standard therapies. However, their precise roles in regulating the development of drug-resistant tumorigenesis are still poorly understood. Herein, we established EGFR-TKI-resistant non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) models and observed a negative correlation between the expression levels of NNMT and miR-449a in tumor cells. Additionally, knockdown of NNMT suppressed p-Akt and tumorigenesis, while re-expression of miR-449a induced phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN), and inhibited tumor growth. Furthermore, yuanhuadine, an antitumor agent, significantly upregulated miR-449a levels while critically suppressing NNMT expression. These findings suggest a novel therapeutic approach for overcoming EGFR-TKI resistance to NSCLC treatment.
Cervical Cancer (CC) is a highly aggressive tumor and is one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths in women. miR-375 was shown to be significantly down-regulated in cervical cancer cells. However, the precise biological functions of miR-375 and the molecular mechanisms underlying its action in CC are largely unknown. miR-375 targets were predicted by bioinformatics target prediction tools and validated using luciferase reporter assay. Herein, we investigated the functional significance of miR-375 and its target gene in CC to identify potential new therapeutic targets. We found that miR-375 expression was significantly downregulated in CC, and astrocyte elevated gene-1 (AEG-1) was identified as a target of miR-375. Our results also showed that ectopic expression of miR-375 suppressed CC cell proliferation, migration, invasion and angiogenesis, and increased the 5-fluorouracil-induced apoptosis and cell cycle arrest in vitro. In contrast, inhibition of miR-375 expression significantly enhanced these functions. Furthermore, HPV - 16 E6/E7 and HPV - 18 E6/E7 significantly down-regulates miR-375 expression in CC. HPV 16/18-E6/E7/miR-375/AEG-1 axis plays an important role in the regulation of cell proliferation, migration, and invasion in CC. Therefore, targeting miR-375/AEG-1 mediated axis could serve as a potential therapeutic target for CC.
Nanodiamonds have been discovered as a new exogenous material source in biomedical applications. As a new potent form of nanodiamond (ND), polyamidoamine-decorated nanodiamonds (PAMAM-NDs) were prepared for E7 or E6 oncoprotein-suppressing siRNA gene delivery for high risk human papillomavirus-induced cervical cancer, such as types 16 and 18. It is critical to understand the physicochemical properties of siRNA complexes immobilized on cationic solid ND surfaces in the aspect of biomolecular structural and conformational changes, as the new inert carbon material can be extended into the application of a gene delivery vector. A spectral study of siRNA/PAMAM-ND complexes using differential scanning calorimetry and circular dichroism spectroscopy proved that the hydrogen bonding and electrostatic interactions between siRNA and PAMAM-NDs decreased endothermic heat capacity. Moreover, siRNA/PAMAM-ND complexes showed low cell cytotoxicity and significant suppressing effects for forward target E6 and E7 oncogenic genes, proving functional and therapeutic efficacy. The cellular uptake of siRNA/PAMAM-ND complexes at 8 h was visualized by macropinocytes and direct endosomal escape of the siRNA/PAMAM-ND complexes. It is presumed that PAMAM-NDs provided a buffering cushion to adjust the pH and hard mechanical stress to escape endosomes. siRNA/PAMAM-ND complexes provide a potential organic/inorganic hybrid material source for gene delivery carriers.
Human papillomaviruses (HPVs) are small DNA viruses; some oncogenic ones can cause different types of cancer, in particular cervical cancer. HPV-associated carcinogenesis provides a classical model system for RNA interference (RNAi) based cancer therapies, because the viral oncogenes E6 and E7 that cause cervical cancer are expressed only in cancerous cells. Previous studies on the development of therapeutic RNAi facilitated the advancement of therapeutic siRNAs and demonstrated its versatility by siRNA-mediated depletion of single or multiple cellular/viral targets. Sequence-specific gene silencing using RNAi shows promise as a novel therapeutic approach for the treatment of a variety of diseases that currently lack effective treatments. However, siRNA-based targeting requires further validation of its efficacy in vitro and in vivo, for its potential off-target effects, and of the design of conventional therapies to be used in combination with siRNAs and their drug delivery vehicles. In this review we discuss what is currently known about HPV-associated carcinogenesis and the potential for combining siRNA with other treatment strategies for the development of future therapies. Finally, we present our assessment of the most promising path to the development of RNAi therapeutic strategies for clinical settings.
Ulcerative colitis is a multi-factorial disease involving a dysregulated immune response. Disruptions to the intestinal epithelial barrier and translocation of bacteria, resulting in inflammation, are common in colitis. The mechanisms underlying epithelial barrier dysfunction or regulation of tight junction proteins during disease progression of colitis have not been clearly elucidated. Increase in phospholipase D (PLD) activity is associated with disease severity in colitis animal models. However, the role of PLD2 in the maintenance of intestinal barrier integrity remains elusive. We have generated intestinalspecific Pld2 knockout mice (Pld2 IEC-KO) to investigate the mechanism of intestinal epithelial PLD2 in colitis. We show that the knockout of Pld2 confers protection against dextran sodium sulphate (DSS)-induced colitis in mice. Treatment with DSS induced the expression of PLD2 and downregulated occludin in colon epithelial cells. PLD2 was shown to mediate phosphorylation of occludin and induce its proteasomal degradation in a c-Src kinase-dependent pathway. Additionally, we have shown that treatment with an inhibitor of PLD2 can rescue mice from DSS-induced colitis. To our knowledge, this is the first report showing that PLD2 is pivotal in the regulation of the integrity of epithelial tight junctions and occludin turn over, thereby implicating it in the pathogenesis of colitis.Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a multi-factorial disease with genetic, immunological, environmental, and diet-related factors contributing to its etiology 1, 2 . Incidence of UC is increasing worldwide, and current research is focused on elucidating the origin and mechanism of disease initiation and perpetuation. A chronically dysregulated response, mediated by the host's immune cells against normal gut microbiota, results in severe inflammation and is the hallmark of UC 3 . Genome-wide association studies have revealed several genes associated with UC. These studies have highlighted the role of immune cell-and intestinal barrier-associated genes in the development of UC; however, convincing evidence, enabling the understanding of the complex aetiology of UC, is still lacking 4 .Maintenance of proper barrier integrity is an essential function of the epithelial layer. Disruptions in the intestinal epithelial monolayer lead to bacterial translocation across the membrane and subsequent inflammation 5 . Patients with UC show an increased intestinal permeability 6, 7 . Tight junction proteins are a major class of proteins responsible for junctional sealing and selective transport of molecules across the epithelial barrier 4,8 . Altered or compromised expression of epithelial tight junction proteins is a key factor in the pathogenesis of the disease 9, 10 . However, the mechanisms underlying epithelial barrier dysfunction or regulation of epithelial tight junction proteins during disease progression remain unexplored.
The functional inactivation of TP53 and Rb tumor suppressor proteins by the HPV-derived E6 and E7 oncoproteins is likely an important step in cervical carcinogenesis. We have previously shown siRNA technology to selectively silence both E6/E7 oncogenes and demonstrated that the synthetic siRNAs could specifically block its expression in HPV-positive cervical cancer cells. Herein, we investigated the potentiality of E6/E7 siRNA candidates as radiosensitizers of radiotherapy for the human cervical carcinomas. HeLa and SiHa cells were transfected with HPV E6/E7 siRNA; the combined cytotoxic effect of E6/E7 siRNA and radiation was assessed by using the cell viability assay, flow cytometric analysis and the senescence-associated β-galactosidase (SA-β-Gal) assay. In addition, we also investigated the effect of combined therapy with irradiation and E6/E7 siRNA intravenous injection in an in vivo xenograft model. Combination therapy with siRNA and irradiation efficiently retarded tumor growth in established tumors of human cervical cancer cell xenografted mice. In addition, the chemically-modified HPV16 and 18 E6/E7 pooled siRNA in combination with irradiation strongly inhibited the growth of cervical cancer cells. Our results indicated that simultaneous inhibition of HPV E6/E7 oncogene expression with radiotherapy can promote potent antitumor activity and radiosensitizing activity in human cervical carcinomas.
SMAD4 is a tumor suppressor that is frequently inactivated in many types of cancer. The role of abnormal expression of SMAD4 has been reported in developmental processes and the progression of various human cancers. The expression level of SMAD4 has been related to the survival rate in gastric cancer patients. However, the molecular mechanism underlying transcriptional regulation of SMAD4 remains largely unknown. In the present study, we characterized the promoter region of SMAD4 and identified myeloid zinc finger 1 (MZF1), as a putative transcription factor. MZF1 directly bound to a core region of the SMAD4 promoter and stimulated transcriptional activity. We also found that the expression of MZF1 influences the migration ability of gastric adenocarcinoma cells. Collectively, our results showed that MZF1 has a role in cellular migration of gastric cancer cells via promoting an increase in intracellular SMAD4 levels. This study might provide new evidence for the molecular basis of the tumor suppressive effect of the MZF1-SMAD4 axis, a new therapeutic target in advanced human gastric cancer.
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