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SARI suppresses colitis-associated cancer development by maintaining MCP-1-mediated tumour-associated macrophage recruitment

期刊: JOURNAL OF CELLULAR AND MOLECULAR MEDICINE, 2020; 24 (1)

SARI (suppressor of AP-1, regulated by IFN) impaired tumour growth by promoting apoptosis and inhibiting cell proliferation and tumour angiogenesis in various cancers. However, the role of SARI in regulating tumour-associated inflammation microenvironment is still elusive. In our study, the colitis-dependent and -independent primary model were established in SARI deficiency mice and immuno-reconstructive mice to investigate the functional role of SARI in regulating tumour-associated inflammation microenvironment and primary colon cancer formation. The results have shown that SARI deficiency promotes colitis-associated cancer (CAC) development only in the presence of colon inflammation. SARI inhibited tumour-associated macrophages (TAM) infiltration in colon tissues, and SARI deficiency in bone marrow cells has no observed role in the promotion of intestinal tumorigenesis. Mechanism investigations indicated that SARI down-regulates p-STAT1 and STAT1 expression in colon cancer cells, following inhibition of MCP-1/CCR2 axis activation during CAC development. Inverse correlations between SARI expression and macrophage infiltration, MCP-1 expression and p-STAT1 expression were also demonstrated in colon malignant tissues. Collectively, our results prove the inhibition role of SARI in colon cancer formation through regulating TAM infiltration.

Cosmc overexpression enhances malignancies in human colon cancer

期刊: JOURNAL OF CELLULAR AND MOLECULAR MEDICINE, 2020; 24 (1)

Cosmc is known as a T-synthase-specific molecular chaperone that plays a crucial role in the process of O-glycosylation. Cosmc dysfunction leads to inactive T-synthase and results in aberrant O-glycosylation, which is associated with various tumour malignancies. However, it is unclear whether Cosmc has some other functions beyond its involvement in O-glycosylation. In this study, we aimed to investigate the functional role of Cosmc in human colorectal cancer (CRC). We first assessed the expression levels of Cosmc in human CRC specimens and then forcedly expressed Cosmc in human CRC cell lines (HCT116, SW480) to examine its impact on cellular behaviours. The mechanisms for aberrant expression of Cosmc in CRC tissues and the altered behaviours of tumour cells were explored. It showed that the mRNA and protein levels of Cosmc were markedly elevated in human CRC specimens relative to normal colorectal tissues. The occurrence of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress may largely contribute to the increased Cosmc expression in cancer tissue and cells. Cosmc overexpression in CRC cells significantly promoted cell migration and invasion, which could be attributed to the activation of the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) pathway rather than aberrant O-glycosylation. These data indicate that Cosmc expression was elevated in human CRC possibly caused by ER stress, which further enhanced malignancies through the activation of EMT but independently of aberrant O-glycosylation.

Manganese activates autophagy to alleviate endoplasmic reticulum stress-induced apoptosis via PERK pathway

期刊: JOURNAL OF CELLULAR AND MOLECULAR MEDICINE, 2020; 24 (1)

Overexposure to manganese (Mn) is neurotoxic. Our previous research has demonstrated that the interaction of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and autophagy participates in the early stage of Mn-mediated neurotoxicity in mouse. However, the mechanisms of ER stress signalling pathways in the initiation of autophagy remain confused. In the current study, we first validated that ER stress-mediated cell apoptosis is accompanied by autophagy in SH-SY5Y cells. Then, we found that inhibiting ER stress with 4-phenylbutyrate (4-PBA) decreased ER stress-related protein expression and reduced cell apoptosis, whereas blocking autophagy with 3-methyladenine (3-MA) increased cell apoptosis. These data indicate that protective autophagy was activated to alleviate ER stress-mediated apoptosis. Knockdown of the protein kinase RNA-like ER kinase (PERK) gene inhibited Mn-induced autophagy and weakened the interaction between ATF4 and the LC3 promoter. Our results reveal a novel molecular mechanism in which ER stress may regulate autophagy via the PERK/eIF2 alpha/ATF4 signalling pathway. Additionally, Mn may activate protective autophagy to alleviate ER stress-mediated apoptosis via the PERK/eIF2 alpha/ATF4 signalling pathway in SH-SY5Y cells.

Crosstalk between cancer-associated fibroblasts and immune cells in cancer

期刊: JOURNAL OF CELLULAR AND MOLECULAR MEDICINE, 2020; 24 (1)

Multiple studies have shown that cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) play an important role in tumour progression, including carcinogenesis, invasion, metastasis and the chemoresistance of cancer cells. Immune cells, including macrophages, natural killer cells, dendritic cells and T cells, play a dual role in the tumour microenvironment. Although increasing research has focused on studying interactions between distinct cells in the tumour microenvironment, the complex relationships between CAFs and immune cells remain unclear and need further study. Here, we summarize our current understanding of crosstalk between CAFs and immune cells, which may help clarify their diagnostic and therapeutic value in tumour progression.

Nuclear localization of the tyrosine kinase BMX mediates VEGFR2 expression

期刊: JOURNAL OF CELLULAR AND MOLECULAR MEDICINE, 2020; 24 (1)

Vascular endothelial growth factor receptors (VEGFRs) are major contributors to angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis through the binding of VEGF ligands. We have previously shown that the bone marrow tyrosine kinase BMX is critical for inflammatory angiogenesis via its direct transactivation of VEGFR2. In the present study, we show that siRNA-mediated silencing of BMX led to a significant decrease in the total levels of VEGFR2 mRNA and protein, without affecting their stability, in human endothelial cells (ECs). Interestingly, BMX was detected in the nuclei of ECs, and the SH3 domain of BMX was necessary for its nuclear localization. Luciferase assays showed a significant decrease in the Vegfr2 (kdr) gene promoter activity in ECs after BMX silencing, indicating that BMX is necessary for Vegfr2 transcription. In addition, we found that wild-type BMX, but not a catalytic inactive mutant BMX-K445R, promoted Vegfr2 promoter activity and VEGF-induced EC migration and tube sprouting. Mechanistically, we show that the enhancement of Vegfr2 promoter activity by BMX was mediated by Sp1, a transcription factor critical for the Vegfr2 promoter. Loss of BMX significantly reduced Sp1 binding to the Vegfr2 promoter as assayed by chromatin immunoprecipitation assays. Wild-type BMX, but not a kinase-inactive form of BMX, associated with and potentially phosphorylated Sp1. Moreover, a nuclear-targeted BMX (NLS-BMX), but not cytoplasm-localized form (NES-BMX), bound to Sp1 and augmented VEGFR2 expression. In conclusion, we uncovered a novel function of nuclear-localized BMX in regulating VEGFR2 expression and angiogenesis, suggesting that BMX is a therapeutic target for angiogenesis-related diseases.

Toll-like receptor 4 regulates spontaneous intestinal tumorigenesis by up-regulating IL-6 and GM-CSF

期刊: JOURNAL OF CELLULAR AND MOLECULAR MEDICINE, 2020; 24 (1)

Inflammation is as an important component of intestinal tumorigenesis. The activation of Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) signalling promotes inflammation in colitis of mice, but the role of TLR4 in intestinal tumorigenesis is not yet clear. About 80%-90% of colorectal tumours contain inactivating mutations in the adenomatous polyposis coli (Apc) tumour suppressor, and intestinal adenoma carcinogenesis in familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) is also closely related to the germline mutations in Apc. The Apc(Min/+) (multiple intestinal neoplasia) model mouse is a well-utilized model of FAP, an inherited form of intestinal cancer. In this study, Apc(Min/+) intestinal adenoma mice were generated on TLR4-sufficient and TLR4-deficient backgrounds to investigate the carcinogenic effect of TLR4 in mouse gut by comparing mice survival, peripheral blood cells, bone marrow haematopoietic precursor cells and numbers of polyps in the guts of Apc(Min/+) WT and Apc(Min/+) TLR4(-/-) mice. The results revealed that TLR4 had a critical role in promoting spontaneous intestinal tumorigenesis. Significant differential genes were screened out by the high-throughput RNA-Seq method. After combining these results with KEGG enrichment data, it was determined that TLR4 might promote intestinal tumorigenesis by activating cytokine-cytokine receptor interaction and pathways in cancer signalling pathways. After a series of validation experiments for the concerned genes, it was found that IL6, GM-CSF (CSF2), IL11, CCL3, S100A8 and S100A9 were significantly decreased in gut tumours of Apc(Min/+) TLR4(-/-) mice compared with Apc(Min/+) WT mice. In the functional study of core down-regulation factors, it was found that IL6, GM-CSF, IL11, CCL3 and S100A8/9 increased the viability of colon cancer cell lines and decreased the apoptosis rate of colon cancer cells with irradiation and chemical treatment.

Circular RNA USP1 regulates the permeability of blood-tumour barrier via miR-194-5p/FLI1 axis

期刊: JOURNAL OF CELLULAR AND MOLECULAR MEDICINE, 2020; 24 (1)

Recent studies indicate circular RNAs are related to dysregulation of vascular endothelial cell function, yet the underlying mechanisms have remained elusive. Here, we characterized the functional role of circular RNA USP1 (circ-USP1) in the regulation of the blood-tumour barrier (BTB) permeability and the potential mechanisms. In the current study, the circ-USP1 expressing level was up-regulated in glioma cerebral microvascular endothelial cells (GECs) of the BTB model in vitro. Knockdown of circ-USP1 disrupted the barrier integrity, increased its permeability as well as reduced tight junction-related protein claudin-5, occludin and ZO-1 expressions in GECs. Bioinformatic prediction and luciferase assay indicated that circ-USP1 bound to miR-194-5p and suppressed its activity. MiR-194-5p contributed to circ-USP1 knockdown-induced increase of BTB permeability via targeting and down-regulating transcription factor FLI1. Furthermore, FLI1 regulated the expressions of claudin-5, occludin and ZO-1 in GECs through binding to their promoter regions. Single or combined treatment of circ-USP1 and miR-194-5p effectively promoted anti-tumour drug doxorubicin across BTB to induce apoptosis of glioma cells. Overall, this present study identified the crucial regulation of circ-USP1 on BTB permeability via miR-194-5p/FLI1 axis-mediated regulation of tight junction proteins, which might facilitate the development of therapeutics against human gliomas.

Characterization and modulation of microglial phenotypes in an animal model of severe sepsis

期刊: JOURNAL OF CELLULAR AND MOLECULAR MEDICINE, 2020; 24 (1)

We aim to characterize the kinetics of early and late microglial phenotypes after systemic inflammation in an animal model of severe sepsis and the effects of minocycline on these phenotypes. Rats were subjected to CLP, and some animals were treated with minocycline (10 ug/kg) by i.c.v. administration. Animals were killed 24 hours, 5, 10 and 30 days after sepsis induction, and serum and hippocampus were collected for subsequent analyses. Real-time PCR was performed for M1 and M2 markers. TNF-alpha, IL-1 beta, IL-6, IL-10, CCL-22 and nitrite/nitrate levels were measured. Immunofluorescence for IBA-1, CD11b and arginase was also performed. We demonstrated that early after sepsis, there was a preponderant up-regulation of M1 markers, and this was not switched to M2 phenotype markers later on. We found that up-regulation of both M1 and M2 markers co-existed up to 30 days after sepsis induction. In addition, minocycline induced a down-regulation, predominantly, of M1 markers. Our results suggest early activation of M1 microglia that is followed by an overlap of both M1 and M2 phenotypes and that the beneficial effects of minocycline on sepsis-associated brain dysfunction may be related to its effects predominantly on the M1 phenotype.

Glycyrrhizin mitigates radiation-induced acute lung injury by inhibiting the HMGB1/TLR4 signalling pathway

期刊: JOURNAL OF CELLULAR AND MOLECULAR MEDICINE, 2020; 24 (1)

Radiation-induced lung injury (RILI) is the major complication of thoracic radiation therapy, and no effective treatment is available. This study explored the role of high-mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) in acute RILI and the therapeutic effect of glycyrrhizin, an inhibitor of HMGB1, on RILI. C57BL/6 mice received a 20 Gy dose of X-ray radiation to the whole thorax with or without administration of glycyrrhizin. Severe lung inflammation was present 12 weeks after irradiation, although only a mild change was noted at 2 weeks and could be alleviated by administration of glycyrrhizin. Glycyrrhizin decreased the plasma concentrations of HMGB1 and sRAGE as well as TNF-alpha, IL-1 beta and IL-6 levels in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF). The expression of RAGE was decreased while that of TLR4 was significantly increased at 12 weeks, but not 2 weeks, after irradiation in mouse lung tissue. In vitro, the expression of TLR4 increased in RAW 264.7 cells after conditioning with the supernatant from the irradiated MLE-12 cells containing HMGB1 but showed no change when conditioned medium without HMGB1 was used. However, conditioned culture had no effect on RAGE expression in RAW 264.7 cells. Glycyrrhizin also inhibited the related downstream transcription factors of HMGB/TLR4, such as NF-kappa B, JNK and ERK1/2, in lung tissue and RAW 264.7 cells when TLR4 was activated. In conclusion, the HMGB1/TLR4 pathway mediates RILI and can be mitigated by glycyrrhizin.

Long non-coding RNA TNRC6C-AS1 promotes methylation of STK4 to inhibit thyroid carcinoma cell apoptosis and autophagy via Hippo signalling pathway

期刊: JOURNAL OF CELLULAR AND MOLECULAR MEDICINE, 2020; 24 (1)

The role of long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) in thyroid carcinoma (TC), the most frequent endocrine malignancy, has been extensively examined. This study investigated effect of interaction among lncRNA TNRC6C-AS1, serine/threonine-protein kinase 4 (STK4) and Hippo signalling pathway on TC. Initially, lncRNA TNRC6C-AS1 expression in TC tissues was detected. To explore roles of lncRNA TNRC6C-AS1, STK4 and Hippo signalling pathway in TC progression, their expressions were altered. Interaction between lncRNA TNRC6C-AS1 and STK4, STK4 promoter methylation, or Hippo signalling pathway was verified. After that, a series of experiments were employed to evaluate in vitro ability of apoptosis, proliferation and autophagy of TC cells and in vivo tumorigenicity, and tumour growth of TC cells. lncRNA TNRC6C-AS1 was highly expressed while STK4 was poorly expressed in TC tissues. LncRNA TNRC6C-AS1 promoted the STK4 methylation and down-regulated STK4 expression, which further activated the Hippo signalling pathway. STK4 silencing was observed to promote the proliferation ability of TC cells, inhibit the apoptosis and autophagy abilities, as well as enhance the tumorigenicity and tumour growth. Moreover, the in vitro proliferation ability as well as the in vivo tumorigenicity and tumour growth of TC cells were inhibited after the blockade of Hippo signalling pathway, while the apoptosis and autophagy abilities were promoted. The results demonstrate that the lncRNA TNRC6C-AS1 increases STK4 promoter methylation to down-regulate STK4 expression, thereby promoting the development of TC through activation of Hippo signalling pathway. It highlights that lncRNA TNRC6C-AS1 may be a novel therapeutic target for the treatment of TC.

p53-dependent transcriptional suppression of BAG3 protects cells against metabolic stress via facilitation of p53 accumulation

期刊: JOURNAL OF CELLULAR AND MOLECULAR MEDICINE, 2020; 24 (1)

Solid tumour frequently undergoes metabolic stress during tumour development because of inadequate blood supply and the high nutrient expenditure. p53 is activated by glucose limitation and maintains cell survival via triggering metabolic checkpoint. However, the exact downstream contributors are not completely identified. BAG3 is a cochaperone with multiple cellular functions and is implicated in metabolic reprogramming of pancreatic cancer cells. The current study demonstrated that glucose limitation transcriptionally suppressed BAG3 expression in a p53-dependent manner. Importantly, hinderance of its down-regulation compromised cellular adaptation to metabolic stress triggered by glucose insufficiency, supporting that BAG3 might be one of p53 downstream contributors for cellular adaptation to metabolic stress. Our data showed that ectopic BAG3 expression suppressed p53 accumulation via direct interaction under metabolic stress. Thereby, the current study highlights the significance of p53-mediated BAG3 suppression in cellular adaptation to metabolic stress via facilitating p53 accumulation.

An EMT-related gene signature for the prognosis of human bladder cancer

期刊: JOURNAL OF CELLULAR AND MOLECULAR MEDICINE, 2020; 24 (1)

The transition from non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC) to muscle-invasive bladder cancer (MIBC) is detrimental to bladder cancer (BLCA) patients. Here, we aimed to study the underlying mechanism of the subtype transition. Gene set variation analysis (GSVA) revealed the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) signalling pathway with the most positive correlation in this transition. Then, we built a LASSO Cox regression model of an EMT-related gene signature in BLCA. The patients with high risk scores had significantly worse overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS) than those with low risk scores. The EMT-related gene signature also performed favourably in the accuracy of prognosis and in the subtype survival analysis. Univariate and multivariate Cox regression analyses demonstrated that the EMT-related gene signature, pathological N stage and age were independent prognostic factors for predicting survival in BLCA patients. Furthermore, the predictive nomogram model was able to effectively predict the outcome of BLCA patients by appropriately stratifying the risk score. In conclusion, we developed a novel EMT-related gene signature that has tumour-promoting effects, acts as a negative independent prognostic factor and might facilitate personalized counselling and treatment in BLCA.

Macrophage autophagy regulates mitochondria-mediated apoptosis and inhibits necrotic core formation in vulnerable plaques

期刊: JOURNAL OF CELLULAR AND MOLECULAR MEDICINE, 2020; 24 (1)

The vulnerable plaque is a key distinguishing feature of atherosclerotic lesions that can cause acute atherothrombotic vascular disease. This study was designed to explore the effect of autophagy on mitochondria-mediated macrophage apoptosis and vulnerable plaques. Here, we generated the mouse model of vulnerable carotid plaque in ApoE(-/-) mice. Application of ApoE(-/-) mice with rapamycin (an autophagy inducer) inhibited necrotic core formation in vulnerable plaques by decreasing macrophage apoptosis. However, 3-methyladenine (an autophagy inhibitor) promoted plaque vulnerability through deteriorating these indexes. To further explore the mechanism of autophagy on macrophage apoptosis, we used macrophage apoptosis model in vitro and found that 7-ketocholesterol (7-KC, one of the primary oxysterols in oxLDL) caused macrophage apoptosis with concomitant impairment of mitochondria, characterized by the impairment of mitochondrial ultrastructure, cytochrome c release, mitochondrial potential dissipation, mitochondrial fragmentation, excessive ROS generation and both caspase-9 and caspase-3 activation. Interestingly, such mitochondrial apoptotic responses were ameliorated by autophagy activator, but exacerbated by autophagy inhibitor. Finally, we found that MAPK-NF-kappa B signalling pathway was involved in autophagy modulation of 7-KC-induced macrophage apoptosis. So, we provide strong evidence for the potential therapeutic benefit of macrophage autophagy in regulating mitochondria-mediated apoptosis and inhibiting necrotic core formation in vulnerable plaques.

Haemin pre-treatment augments the cardiac protection of mesenchymal stem cells by inhibiting mitochondrial fission and improving survival

期刊: JOURNAL OF CELLULAR AND MOLECULAR MEDICINE, 2020; 24 (1)

The cardiac protection of mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) transplantation for myocardial infarction (MI) is largely hampered by low cell survival. Haem oxygenase 1 (HO-1) plays a critical role in regulation of cell survival under many stress conditions. This study aimed to investigate whether pre-treatment with haemin, a potent HO-1 inducer, would promote the survival of MSCs under serum deprivation and hypoxia (SD/H) and enhance the cardioprotective effects of MSCs in MI. Bone marrow (BM)-MSCs were pretreated with or without haemin and then exposed to SD/H. The mitochondrial morphology of MSCs was determined by MitoTracker staining. BM-MSCs and haemin-pretreated BM-MSCs were transplanted into the peri-infarct region in MI mice. SD/H induced mitochondrial fragmentation, as shown by increased mitochondrial fission and apoptosis of BM-MSCs. Pre-treatment with haemin greatly inhibited SD/H-induced mitochondrial fragmentation and apoptosis of BM-MSCs. These effects were partially abrogated by knocking down HO-1. At 4 weeks after transplantation, compared with BM-MSCs, haemin-pretreated BM-MSCs had greatly improved the heart function of mice with MI. These cardioprotective effects were associated with increased cell survival, decreased cardiomyocytes apoptosis and enhanced angiogenesis. Collectively, our study identifies haemin as a regulator of MSC survival and suggests a novel strategy for improving MSC-based therapy for MI.

Knockdown of long non-coding RNA LINC00176 suppresses ovarian cancer progression by BCL3-mediated down-regulation of ceruloplasmin

期刊: JOURNAL OF CELLULAR AND MOLECULAR MEDICINE, 2020; 24 (1)

Ovarian cancer is a common malignancy among women with some clinically approved diagnostic coding gene biomarkers. However, long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) have been indicated to play an important role in controlling tumorigenesis of ovarian cancer. Hereby, the aim of the study was to uncover the function of lncRNA LINC00176 in the development and progression of ovarian cancer by regulating ceruloplasmin (CP). Bioinformatics prediction in combination with RT-qPCR analysis for the expression pattern of LINC00176 revealed that LINC00176 was highly expressed in ovarian cancer tissues as well as in ovarian cancer cell lines, respectively. LINC00176 was predominantly localized in the nucleus. Delivery of si-LINC00176, oe-LINC00176, si-BCL3 and si-CP plasmids was conducted to explore the effects of LINC00176 on ovarian cancer. Promoted proliferation, migration and invasion along with reduced apoptosis were observed in cells treated with oe-LINC00176, while si-BCL3 and si-CP were able to block the promoting effects. Investigations with regard to the correlation between LINC00176 and promoter region of CP turned out to be positive via B-cell CLL/lymphoma 3 (BCL3) by means of dual-luciferase reporter gene assay, ChIP and RIP assays. Furthermore, oncogenic properties of the LINC00176/BCL3/CP axis were also demonstrated by tumour formation in vivo generated upon injecting cells in nude mice. Our results demonstrate that restored LINC00176 initiates tumorigenesis in ovarian cancer by increasing CP expression via recruiting BCL3, the mechanism of which represented a potential and promising therapeutic target for the disease.

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