45 research outputs found

    HOPX: A Unique Homeodomain Protein in Development and Tumor Suppression

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    Homeobox genes are master regulators of morphogenesis and differentiation by acting at the top of genetic hierarchies and their deregulation is associated with a variety of human diseases. They usually contain a highly conserved sequence that codes for the homeodomain of the protein, a specialized motif with three α helices and an N-terminal arm that aids in DNA binding. However, one homeodomain protein, HOPX, is unique among its family members in that it lacks the capacity to bind DNA and instead functions by interacting with transcriptional regulators. HOPX plays crucial roles in organogenesis and is expressed in both embryonic and adult stem cells. Loss of HOPX expression is common in cancer, where it functions primarily as a tumor suppressor gene. In this review, we describe the function of HOPX in development and discuss its role in carcinogenesis

    Functional implications of Epstein-Barr virus lytic genes in carcinogenesis

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    Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is associated with a diverse range of tumors of both lymphoid and epithelial origin. Similar to other herpesviruses, EBV displays a bipartite life cycle consisting of latent and lytic phases. Current dogma indicates that the latent genes are key drivers in the pathogenesis of EBV-associated cancers, while the lytic genes are primarily responsible for viral transmission. In recent years, evidence has emerged to show that the EBV lytic phase also plays an important role in EBV tumorigenesis, and the expression of EBV lytic genes is frequently detected in tumor tissues and cell lines. The advent of next generation sequencing has allowed the comprehensive profiling of EBV gene expression, and this has revealed the consistent expression of several lytic genes across various types of EBV-associated cancers. In this review, we provide an overview of the functional implications of EBV lytic gene expression to the oncogenic process and discuss possible avenues for future investigations

    The development of a novel transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) inhibitor that disrupts ligand-receptor interactions

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    Transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) plays an important role in regulating epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) and the TGF-β signaling pathway is a potential target for therapeutic intervention in the development of many diseases, such as fibrosis and cancer. Most currently available inhibitors of TGF-β signaling function as TGF-β receptor I (TβR-I) kinase inhibitors, however, such kinase inhibitors often lack specificity. In the present study, we targeted the extracellular protein binding domain of the TGF-β receptor II (TβR-II) to interfere with the protein-protein interactions (PPIs) between TGF-β and its receptors. One compound, CJJ300, inhibited TGF-β signaling by disrupting the formation of the TGF-β-TβR-I-TβR-II signaling complex. Treatment of A549 cells with CJJ300 resulted in the inhibition of downstream signaling events such as the phosphorylation of key factors along the TGF-β pathway and the induction of EMT markers. Concomitant with these effects, CJJ300 significantly inhibited cell migration. The present study describes for the first time a designed molecule that can regulate TGF-β-induced signaling and EMT by interfering with the PPIs required for the formation of the TGF-β signaling complex. Therefore, CJJ300 can be an important lead compound with which to study TGF-β signaling and to design more potent TGF-β signaling antagonists. © 2020 Elsevier Masson SA

    Monoamine oxidase A is downregulated in EBV-associated nasopharyngeal carcinoma

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    Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is a highly metastatic cancer that is consistently associated with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection. In this study, we identify for the first time a role for monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) in NPC. MAOA is a mitochondrial enzyme that catalyzes oxidative deamination of neurotransmitters and dietary amines. Depending on the cancer type, MAOA can either have a tumourpromoting or tumour-suppressive role. We show that MAOA is down-regulated in primary NPC tissues and its down-regulation enhances the migration of NPC cells. In addition, we found that EBV infection can down-regulate MAOA expression in both pre-malignant and malignant nasopharyngeal epithelial (NPE) cells. We further demonstrate that MAOA is down-regulated as a result of IL-6/IL-6R/STAT3 signalling and epigenetic mechanisms, effects that might be attributed to EBV infection in NPE cells. Taken together, our data point to a central role for EBV in mediating the tumour suppressive effects of MAOA and that loss of MAOA could be an important step in the pathogenesis of NPC

    Collagen induces a more proliferative, migratory and chemoresistant phenotype in head and neck cancer via DDR1

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    Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) is the sixth most common cancer worldwide and includes squamous cell carcinomas of the oropharynx and oral cavity. Patient prognosis has remained poor for decades and molecular targeted therapies are not in routine use. Here we showed that the overall expression of collagen subunit genes was higher in cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) than normal fibroblasts. Focusing on collagen8A1 and collagen11A1, we showed that collagen is produced by both CAFs and tumour cells, indicating that HNSCCs are collagen-rich environments. We then focused on discoidin domain receptor 1 (DDR1), a collagen-activated receptor tyrosine kinase, and showed that it is over-expressed in HNSCC tissues. Further, we demonstrated that collagen promoted the proliferation and migration of HNSCC cells and attenuated the apoptotic response to cisplatin. Knockdown of DDR1 in HNSCC cells demonstrated that these tumour-promoting effects of collagen are mediated by DDR1. Our data suggest that specific inhibitors of DDR1 might provide novel therapeutic opportunities to treat HNSCC

    Clinico-pathological features of oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinomas in Malaysia with reference to HPV infection

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    Background: The incidence of oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC) has been rising in Western countries and this has been attributed to human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. p16 expression is a marker for HPV infection and p16 positive OPSCC is now recognized as a separate disease entity. There are only limited data available regarding HPV-related OPSCC in Asian countries and no data from Malaysia. Methods: We identified 60 Malaysian patients with OPSCC over a 12-year period (2004-2015) from four different hospitals in two major cities, Kuala Lumpur and Penang. The detection of HPV was carried out using p16 immunohistochemistry and high risk HPV DNA in situ hybridisation. Results: Overall, 15 (25%) tumours were p16 positive by immunohistochemistry, 10 of which were also positive for high risk HPV DNA by in situ hybridisation. By comparison, a matched cohort of UK patients had a p16 positive rate of 49%. However, between 2009 and 2015, where cases were available from all four hospitals, 13 of 37 (35%) cases were p16 positive. In our Malaysian cohort, 53% of patients were of Chinese ethnicity and 80% of the p16 positive cases were found in these patients; no Indian patients had p16 positive disease, despite representing 35% of the total cohort. Conclusion: The proportion of OPSCCs associated with HPV in Malaysia appears to be lower than in European and American cohorts and could possibly be more prevalent amongst Malaysians of Chinese ethnicity. Further, our data suggests that the burden of HPV-related OPSCC could be increasing in Malaysia. Larger cross-sectional studies of Malaysian patients are required to determine the public health implications of these preliminary findings

    Observation of Gravitational Waves from a Binary Black Hole Merger

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    The Epstein-Barr virus encoded LMP1 oncoprotein modulates cell adhesion via regulation of activin A/TGFβ and β1 integrin signalling

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    Approximately 20% of global cancer incidence is causally linked to an infectious agent. EpsteinBarr virus (EBV) accounts for around 1% of all virus-associated cancers and is associated with nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). Latent membrane protein 1 (LMP1), the major oncoprotein encoded by EBV, behaves as a constitutively active tumour necrosis factor (TNF) receptor activating a variety of signalling pathways, including the three classic MAPKs (ERK-MAPK, p38 MAPK and JNK/SAPK). The present study identifes novel signalling properties for this integral membrane protein via the induction and secretion of activin A and TGFβ1, which are both required for LMP1’s ability to induce the expression of the extracellular matrix protein, fbronectin. However, it is evident that LMP1 is unable to activate the classic Smad-dependent TGFβ signalling pathway, but rather elicits its efects through the non-Smad arm of TGFβ signalling. In addition, there is a requirement for JNK/SAPK signalling in LMP1-mediated fbronectin induction. LMP1 also induces the expression and activation of the major fbronectin receptor, α5β1 integrin, an efect that is accompanied by increased focal adhesion formation and turnover. Taken together, these fndings support the putative role for LMP1 in the pathogenesis of NPC by contributing to the metastatic potential of epithelial cells

    Epstein-Barr virus:more than 50 years old and still providing surprises

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    It is more than 50 years since the Epstein–Barr virus (EBV), the first human tumour virus, was discovered. EBV has subsequently been found to be associated with a diverse range of tumours of both lymphoid and epithelial origin. Progress in the molecular analysis of EBV has revealed fundamental mechanisms of more general relevance to the oncogenic process. This Timeline article highlights key milestones in the 50-year history of EBV and discusses how this virus provides a paradigm for exploiting insights at the molecular level in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of cancer
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