A gene has been identified that is expressed specifically in stromal cells surrounding invasive breast carcinomas. On the basis of its sequence, the product of this gene, named stromelysin-3, is a new member of the family of metalloproteinase enzymes which degrade the extracellular matrix. The suggestion is that stromelysin-3 is one of the stroma-derived factors that have long been postulated to play an important part in progression of epithelial malignancies.
Despite the existence of tumor-specific immune cells, most tumors have devised strategies to avoid immune attack. We demonstrate here that galectin-1 (Gal-1), a negative regulator of T cell activation and survival, plays a pivotal role in promoting escape from T cell-dependent immunity, thus conferring immune privilege to tumor cells. Blockade of immunosuppressive Gal-1 in vivo promotes tumor rejection and stimulates the generation of a tumor-specific T cell-mediated response in syngeneic mice, which are then able to resist subsequent challenge with wild-type Gal-1-sufficient tumors. Our data indicate that Gal-1 signaling in activated T cells constitutes an important mechanism of tumor-immune escape and that blockade of this inhibitory signal can allow for and potentiate effective immune responses against tumor cells, with profound implications for cancer immunotherapy.
Acquisition of invasive/metastatic potential is a key event in tumor progression. Cell surface glycoproteins and their respective matrix ligands have been implicated in this process. Recent evidence reveals that the secreted glycoprotein SPARC (secreted protein, acidic and rich in cysteine) is highly expressed in different malignant tissues. The present study reports that the suppression of SPARC expression by human melanoma cells using a SPARC antisense expression vector results in a significant decrease in the in vitro adhesive and invasive capacities of tumor cells, completely abolishing their in vivo tumorigenicity. This is the first evidence that SPARC plays a key role in human melanoma invasive-metastatic phenotype development.
Tumor growth is essentially the result of an evolving cross-talk between malignant and surrounding stromal cells (fibroblasts, endothelial cells and inflammatory cells). This heterogeneous mass of extracellular matrix and intermingled cells interact through cell-cell and cell-matrix contacts. Malignant cells also secrete soluble proteins that reach neighbor stromal cells, forcing them to provide the soil on which they will grow and metastasize. Different studies including expression array analysis identified the matricellular protein SPARC as a marker of poor prognosis in different cancer types. Further evidence demonstrated that high SPARC levels are often associated with the most aggressive and highly metastatic tumors. Here we describe the most recent evidence that links SPARC with human cancer progression, the controversy regarding its role in certain human cancers and the physiological processes in which SPARC is involved: epithelial-mesenchymal transition, immune surveillance and angiogenesis. Its relevance as a potential target in cancer therapy is also discussed.
Interleukin-1␤ (IL-1) expression is associated with a spectrum of neuroinflammatory processes related to chronic neurodegenerative diseases. The single-bolus microinjection of IL-1 into the central nervous system (CNS) parenchyma gives rise to delayed and localized neutrophil recruitment, transient blood-brain barrier (BBB) breakdown, but no overt damage to CNS integrity. However, acute microinjections of IL-1 do not mimic the chronic IL-1 expression, which is a feature of many CNS diseases. To investigate the response of the CNS to chronic IL-1 expression, we injected a recombinant adenovirus expressing IL-1 into the striatum. At the peak of IL-1 expression (days 8 and 14 post-injection), there was a marked recruitment of neutrophils, vasodilatation, and breakdown of the BBB. Microglia and astrocyte activation was evident during the first 14 days post-injection. At days 8 and 14, extensive demyelination was observed but the number of neurons was not affected by any treatment. Finally, at 30 days, signs of inflammation were no longer present, there was evidence of tissue reorganization, the BBB was intact, and the process of remyelination was noticeable. In summary, our data show that chronic expression of IL-1, in contrast to its acute delivery, can reversibly damage CNS integrity and implicates this cytokine or downstream components as major mediators of demyelination in chronic inflammatory and demyelinating diseases.
p21Cip1/WAF1 is a known inhibitor of the short-gap filling activity of proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) during DNA repair. In agreement, p21 degradation after UV irradiation promotes PCNA-dependent repair. Recent reports have identified ubiquitination of PCNA as a relevant feature for PCNA-dependent DNA repair. Here, we show that PCNA ubiquitination in human cells is notably augmented after UV irradiation and other genotoxic treatments such as hydroxyurea, aphidicolin and methylmethane sulfonate. Intriguingly, those DNA damaging agents also promoted downregulation of p21. While ubiquitination of PCNA was not affected by deficient nucleotide excision repair (NER) and was observed in both proliferating and arrested cells, stable p21 expression caused a significant reduction in UVinduced ubiquitinated PCNA. Surprisingly, the negative regulation of PCNA ubiquitination by p21 does not depend on the direct interaction with PCNA but requires the cyclin dependent kinase binding domain of p21. Taken together, our data suggest that p21 downregulation plays a role in efficient PCNA ubiquitination after UV irradiation.
Although p21 upregulation is required to block cell-cycle progression following many types of genotoxic insult, UV irradiation triggers p21 proteolysis. The significance of the increased p21 turnover is unclear and might be associated with DNA repair. While the role of p21 in nucleotide excision repair (NER) remains controversial, recent reports have explored its effect on translesion DNA synthesis (TLS), a process that avoids replication blockage during S phase. Herein, we analyze the effect of p21 on different PCNA-driven processes including DNA replication, NER and TLS. Whereas only the CDK-binding domain of p21 is required for cell-cycle arrest in unstressed cells, neither the CDK-binding nor the PCNA-binding domain of p21 is able to block early and late steps of NER. Intriguingly, through its PCNA-binding domain, p21 inhibits the interaction of the TLS polymerase, pol η (pol eta), with PCNA and impairs the assembly of pol η foci after UV. Moreover, this obstruction correlates with accumulation of phosphorylated H2AX and increased apoptosis. By showing that p21 is a negative regulator of PCNA-pol η interaction, our data unveil a link between efficient TLS and UV-induced degradation of p21.
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