Publications by authors named "Jouko Sandholm"

27 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Evaluation of [F]F-DPA as a target for TSPO in head and neck cancer under normal conditions and after radiotherapy.

Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging 2020 Dec 19. Epub 2020 Dec 19.

Preclinical Imaging Laboratory, Turku PET Centre, University of Turku, Tykistökatu 6A, FI-20520, Turku, Finland.

Background: Many malignant tumours have increased TSPO expression, which has been related to a poor prognosis. TSPO-PET tracers have not comprehensively been evaluated in peripherally located tumours. This study aimed to evaluate whether N,N-diethyl-2-(2-(4-([F]fluoro)phenyl)-5,7-dimethylpyrazolo[1,5-a]pyrimidin-3-yl)acetamide ([F]F-DPA) can reflect radiotherapy (RT)-induced changes in TSPO activity in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC).

Methods: RT was used to induce inflammatory responses in HNSCC xenografts and cells. [F]F-DPA uptake was measured in vivo in non-irradiated and irradiated tumours, followed by ex vivo biodistribution, autoradiography, and radiometabolite analysis. In vitro studies were performed in parental and TSPO-silenced (TSPO siRNA) cells. TSPO protein and mRNA expression, as well as tumour-associated macrophages (TAMs), were also assessed.

Results: In vivo imaging and ex vivo measurement revealed significantly higher [F]F-DPA uptake in irradiated, compared to non-irradiated tumours. In vitro labelling studies with cells confirmed this finding, whereas no effect of RT on [F]F-DPA uptake was detected in TSPO siRNA cells. Radiometabolite analysis showed that the amount of unchanged [F]F-DPA in tumours was 95%, also after irradiation. PK11195 pre-treatment reduced the tumour-to-blood ratio of [F]F-DPA by 73% in xenografts and by 88% in cells. TSPO protein and mRNA levels increased after RT, but were highly variable. The proportion of M1/M2 TAMs decreased after RT, whereas the proportion of monocytes and migratory monocytes/macrophages increased.

Conclusions: [F]F-DPA can detect changes in TSPO expression levels after RT in HNSCC, which does not seem to reflect inflammation. Further studies are however needed to clarify the physiological mechanisms regulated by TSPO after RT.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00259-020-05115-zDOI Listing
December 2020

Growth Mode and Carbon Source Impact the Surfaceome Dynamics of GG.

Front Microbiol 2019 5;10:1272. Epub 2019 Jun 5.

Department of Food and Nutrition, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.

Bacterial biofilms have clear implications in disease and in food applications involving probiotics. Here, we show that switching the carbohydrate source from glucose to fructose increased the biofilm formation and the total surface-antigenicity of a well-known probiotic, GG. Surfaceomes (all cell surface-associated proteins) of GG cells grown with glucose and fructose in planktonic and biofilm cultures were identified and compared, which indicated carbohydrate source-dependent variations, especially during biofilm growth. The most distinctive differences under these conditions were detected with several surface adhesins (e.g., MBF, SpaC pilus protein and penicillin-binding proteins), enzymes (glycoside hydrolases, PrsA, PrtP, PrtR, and HtrA) and moonlighting proteins (glycolytic, transcription/translation and stress-associated proteins, r-proteins, tRNA synthetases, Clp family proteins, PepC, PepN, and PepA). The abundance of several known adhesins and candidate moonlighters, including enzymes acting on casein-derived peptides (ClpP, PepC, and PepN), increased in the biofilm cells grown on fructose, from which the surface-associated aminopeptidase activity mediated by PepC and PepN was further confirmed by an enzymatic assay. The mucus binding factor (MBF) was found most abundant in fructose grown biofilm cells whereas SpaC adhesin was identified specifically from planktonic cells growing on fructose. An additional indirect ELISA indicated both growth mode- and carbohydrate-dependent differences in abundance of SpaC, whereas the overall adherence of GG assessed with porcine mucus indicated that the carbon source and the growth mode affected mucus adhesion. The adherence of GG cells to mucus was almost completely inhibited by anti-SpaC antibodies regardless of growth mode and/or carbohydrate source, indicating the key role of the SpaCBA pilus in adherence under the tested conditions. Altogether, our results suggest that carbon source and growth mode coordinate mechanisms shaping the proteinaceous composition of GG cell surface, which potentially contributes to resistance, nutrient acquisition and cell-cell interactions under different conditions. In conclusion, the present study shows that different growth regimes and conditions can have a profound impact on the adherent and antigenic features of GG, thereby providing new information on how to gain additional benefits from this probiotic.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2019.01272DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6560171PMC
June 2019

Alendronate-induced disruption of actin cytoskeleton and inhibition of migration/invasion are associated with cofilin downregulation in PC-3 prostate cancer cells.

Oncotarget 2018 Aug 24;9(66):32593-32608. Epub 2018 Aug 24.

University of Turku, Institute of Biomedicine, FI-20520 Turku, Finland.

Bisphosphonates are used for prevention of osteoporosis and metastatic bone diseases. Anti-invasive effects on various cancer cells have also been reported, but the mechanisms involved are not well-understood. We investigated the effects of the nitrogen-containing bisphosphonate alendronate (ALN) on the regulation of actin cytoskeleton in PC-3 cells. We analyzed the ALN effect on the organization and the dynamics of actin, and on the cytoskeleton-related regulatory proteins cofilin, p21-associated kinase 2 (PAK2), paxillin and focal adhesion kinase. Immunostainings of cofilin in ALN-treated PC-3 cells and xenografts were performed, and the role of cofilin in ALN-regulated F-actin organization and migration/invasion in PC-3 cells was analyzed using cofilin knockdown and transfection. We demonstrate that disrupted F-actin organization and decreased cell motility in ALN-treated PC-3 cells were associated with decreased levels of total and phosphorylated cofilin. PAK2 levels were also lowered but adhesion-related proteins were not altered. The knockdown of cofilin similarly impaired F-actin organization and decreased invasion of PC-3 cells, whereas in the cells transfected with a cofilin expressing vector, ALN treatment did not decrease cellular cofilin levels and migration as in mock transfected cells. ALN also reduced immunohistochemical staining of cofilin in PC-3 xenografts. Our results suggest that reduction of cofilin has an important role in ALN-induced disruption of the actin cytoskeleton and inhibition of the PC-3 cell motility and invasion. These data also support the idea that the nitrogen-containing bisphosphonates could be efficacious in inhibition of prostate cancer invasion and metastasis, if delivered in a pharmacological formulation accessible to the tumors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.25961DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6135693PMC
August 2018

Lipid Bilayer-Gated Mesoporous Silica Nanocarriers for Tumor-Targeted Delivery of Zoledronic Acid in Vivo.

Mol Pharm 2017 09 10;14(9):3218-3227. Epub 2017 Aug 10.

Pharmaceutical Sciences Laboratory, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Åbo Akademi University , Turku 20520, Finland.

Zoledronic acid (ZOL) is a nitrogen-containing bisphosphonate used for the treatment of bone diseases and calcium metabolism. Anticancer activity of ZOL has been established, but its extraskeletal effects are limited due to its rapid uptake and accumulation to bone hydroxyapatite. In this work, we report on the development of tethered lipid bilayer-gated mesoporous silica nanocarriers (MSNs) for the incorporation, retention, and intracellular delivery of ZOL. The in vitro anticancer activity of ZOL-loaded nanocarriers was evaluated by cell viability assay and live-cell imaging. For in vivo delivery, the nanocarriers were tagged with folic acid to boost the affinity for breast cancer cells. Histological examination of the liver revealed no adverse off-target effects stemming from the nanocarriers. Importantly, nonspecific accumulation of ZOL within bone was not observed, which indicated in vivo stability of the tethered lipid bilayers. Further, the intravenously administered ZOL-loaded nanocarriers showed tumor growth suppression in breast cancer xenograft-bearing mice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.molpharmaceut.7b00519DOI Listing
September 2017

Toll-like receptor 9 expression is associated with breast cancer sensitivity to the growth inhibitory effects of bisphosphonates in vitro and in vivo.

Oncotarget 2016 Dec;7(52):87373-87389

Department of Chemistry, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL, U.S.A.

Bisphosphonates are standard treatments for bone metastases. When given in the adjuvant setting, they reduce breast cancer mortality and recurrence in bone but only among post-menopausal patients. Optimal drug use would require biomarker-based patient selection. Such biomarkers are not yet in clinical use. Based on the similarities in inflammatory responses to bisphosphonates and Toll-like receptor (TLR) agonists, we hypothesized that TLR9 expression may affect bisphosphonate responses in cells. We compared bisphosphonate effects in breast cancer cell lines with low or high TLR9 expression. We discovered that cells with decreased TLR9 expression are significantly more sensitive to the growth-inhibitory effects of bisphosphonates in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, cancer growth-promoting effects seen with some bisphosphonates in some control shRNA cells were not detected in TLR9 shRNA cells. These differences were not associated with inhibition of Rap1A prenylation or p38 phosphorylation, which are known markers for bisphosphonate activity. However, TLR9 shRNA cells exhibited increased sensitivity to ApppI, a metabolite that accumulates in cells after bisphosphonate treatment. We conclude that decreased TLR9-expression sensitizes breast cancer cells to the growth inhibitory effects of bisphosphonates. Our results suggest that TLR9 should be studied as a potential biomarker for adjuvant bisphosphonate sensitivity among breast cancer patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.13570DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5349995PMC
December 2016

Deregulation of ocular nucleotide homeostasis in patients with diabetic retinopathy.

J Mol Med (Berl) 2017 02 16;95(2):193-204. Epub 2016 Sep 16.

MediCity Research Laboratory and Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, University of Turku, Tykistökatu 6A, 20520, Turku, Finland.

Clear signaling roles for ATP and adenosine have been established in all tissues, including the eye. The magnitude of signaling responses is governed by networks of enzymes; however, little is known about the regulatory mechanisms of purinergic signaling in the eye. By employing thin-layer chromatographic assays with H-labeled substrates, this study aimed to evaluate the role of nucleotide homeostasis in the pathogenesis of vitreoretinal diseases in humans. We have identified soluble enzymes ecto-5'-nucleotidase/CD73, adenylate kinase-1, and nucleoside diphosphate kinase in the vitreous fluid that control active cycling between pro-inflammatory ATP and anti-inflammatory adenosine. Strikingly, patients with proliferative form of diabetic retinopathy (DR) had higher adenylate kinase activity and ATP concentration, when compared to non-proliferative DR eyes and non-diabetic controls operated for rhegmatogenous retinal detachment, macular hole, and pucker. The non-parametric correlation analysis revealed positive correlations between intravitreal adenylate kinase and concentrations of ATP, ADP, and other angiogenic (angiopoietins-1 and -2), profibrotic (transforming growth factor-β1), and proteolytic (matrix metalloproteinase-9) factors but not erythropoietin and VEGF. Immunohistochemical staining of postmortem human retina additionally revealed selective expression of ecto-5'-nucleotidase/CD73 on the rod-and-cone-containing photoreceptor cells. Collectively, these findings provide novel insights into the regulatory mechanisms that influence purinergic signaling in diseased eye and open up new possibilities in the development of enzyme-targeted therapeutic approaches for prevention and treatment of DR.

Key Message: Ecto-5'-nucleotidase/CD73 and adenylate kinase-1 circulate in human vitreous fluid. Adenylate kinase activity is high in diabetic eyes with proliferative retinopathy. Diabetic eyes display higher intravitreal ATP/ADP ratio than non-diabetic controls. Soluble adenylate kinase maintains resynthesis of inflammatory ATP in diabetic eyes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00109-016-1472-6DOI Listing
February 2017

Spheroid culture of LuCaP 136 patient-derived xenograft enables versatile preclinical models of prostate cancer.

Clin Exp Metastasis 2016 Apr 12;33(4):325-37. Epub 2016 Feb 12.

Department of Urology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, 94305, USA.

LuCaP serially transplantable patient-derived xenografts (PDXs) are valuable preclinical models of locally advanced or metastatic prostate cancer. Using spheroid culture methodology, we recently established cell lines from several LuCaP PDXs. Here, we characterized in depth the features of xenografts derived from LuCaP 136 spheroid cultures and found faithful retention of the phenotype of the original PDX. In vitro culture enabled luciferase transfection into LuCaP 136 spheroids, facilitating in vivo imaging. We showed that LuCaP 136 spheroids formed intratibial, orthotopic, and subcutaneous tumors when re-introduced into mice. Intratibial tumors responded to castration and were highly osteosclerotic. LuCaP 136 is a realistic in vitro-in vivo preclinical model of a subtype of bone metastatic prostate cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10585-016-9781-2DOI Listing
April 2016

Telomeric G-quadruplex-forming DNA fragments induce TLR9-mediated and LL-37-regulated invasion in breast cancer cells in vitro.

Breast Cancer Res Treat 2016 Jan 18;155(2):261-71. Epub 2016 Jan 18.

Division of Hematology-Oncology, Department of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL, USA.

Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9) is a cellular DNA-receptor widely expressed in cancers. We previously showed that synthetic and self-derived DNA fragments induce TLR9-mediated breast cancer cell invasion in vitro. We investigated here the invasive effects of two nuclease-resistant DNA fragments, a 9-mer hairpin, and a G-quadruplex DNA based on the human telomere sequence, both having native phosphodiester backbone. Cellular uptake of DNAs was investigated with immunofluorescence, invasion was studied with Matrigel-assays, and mRNA and protein expression were studied with qPCR and Western blotting and protease activity with zymograms. TLR9 expression was suppressed through siRNA. Although both DNAs induced TLR9-mediated changes in pro-invasive mRNA expression, only the telomeric G-quadruplex DNA significantly increased cellular invasion. This was inhibited with GM6001 and aprotinin, suggesting MMP- and serine protease mediation. Furthermore, complexing with LL-37, a cathelicidin-peptide present in breast cancers, increased 9-mer hairpin and G-quadruplex DNA uptake into the cancer cells. However, DNA/LL-37 complexes decreased invasion, as compared with DNA-treatment alone. Invasion studies were conducted also with DNA fragments isolated from neoadjuvant chemotherapy-treated breast tumors. Also such DNA induced breast cancer cell invasion in vitro. As with the synthetic DNAs, this invasive effect was reduced by complexing the neoadjuvant tumor-derived DNAs with LL-37. We conclude that 9-mer hairpin and G-quadruplex DNA fragments are nuclease-resistant DNA structures that can act as invasion-inducing TLR9 ligands. Their cellular uptake and the invasive effects are regulated via LL-37. Although such structures may be present in chemotherapy-treated tumors, the clinical significance of this finding requires further studying.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10549-016-3683-5DOI Listing
January 2016

Human breast cancer cells educate macrophages toward the M2 activation status.

Breast Cancer Res 2015 Aug 5;17:101. Epub 2015 Aug 5.

School of Pharmacy, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Eastern Finland, Yliopistonranta 1C, P.O. Box 1627, FI-70211, Kuopio, Finland.

Introduction: The immune system plays a major role in cancer progression. In solid tumors, 5-40 % of the tumor mass consists of tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) and there is usually a correlation between the number of TAMs and poor prognosis, depending on the tumor type. TAMs usually resemble M2 macrophages. Unlike M1-macrophages which have pro-inflammatory and anti-cancer functions, M2-macrophages are immunosuppressive, contribute to the matrix-remodeling, and hence favor tumor growth. The role of TAMs is not fully understood in breast cancer progression.

Methods: Macrophage infiltration (CD68) and activation status (HLA-DRIIα, CD163) were evaluated in a large cohort of human primary breast tumors (562 tissue microarray samples), by immunohistochemistry and scored by automated image analysis algorithms. Survival between groups was compared using the Kaplan-Meier life-table method and a Cox multivariate proportional hazards model. Macrophage education by breast cancer cells was assessed by ex vivo differentiation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) in the presence or absence of breast cancer cell conditioned media (MDA-MB231, MCF-7 or T47D cell lines) and M1 or M2 inducing cytokines (respectively IFN-γ, IL-4 and IL-10). Obtained macrophages were analyzed by flow cytometry (CD14, CD16, CD64, CD86, CD200R and CD163), ELISA (IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, monocyte colony stimulating factor M-CSF) and zymography (matrix metalloproteinase 9, MMP-9).

Results: Clinically, we found that high numbers of CD163(+) M2-macrophages were strongly associated with fast proliferation, poor differentiation, estrogen receptor negativity and histological ductal type (p<0.001) in the studied cohort of human primary breast tumors. We demonstrated ex vivo that breast cancer cell-secreted factors modulate macrophage differentiation toward the M2 phenotype. Furthermore, the more aggressive mesenchymal-like cell line MDA-MB231, which secretes high levels of M-CSF, skews macrophages toward the more immunosuppressive M2c subtype.

Conclusions: This study demonstrates that human breast cancer cells influence macrophage differentiation and that TAM differentiation status correlates with recurrence free survival, thus further emphasizing that TAMs can similarly affect therapy efficacy and patient outcome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13058-015-0621-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4531540PMC
August 2015

Inhibition of c-Abl kinase activity renders cancer cells highly sensitive to mitoxantrone.

PLoS One 2014 22;9(8):e105526. Epub 2014 Aug 22.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Joint Clinical Biochemistry Laboratory of Turku University Hospital, Medicity Research Laboratory, University of Turku, Turku, Finland.

Although c-Abl has increasingly emerged as a key player in the DNA damage response, its role in this context is far from clear. We studied the effect of inhibition of c-Abl kinase activity by imatinib with chemotherapy drugs and found a striking difference in cell survival after combined mitoxantrone (MX) and imatinib treatment compared to a panel of other chemotherapy drugs. The combinatory treatment induced apoptosis in HeLa cells and other cancer cell lines but not in primary fibroblasts. The difference in MX and doxorubicin was related to significant augmentation of DNA damage. Transcriptionally active p53 accumulated in cells in which human papillomavirus E6 normally degrades p53. The combination treatment resulted in caspase activation and apoptosis, but this effect did not depend on either p53 or p73 activity. Despite increased p53 activity, the cells arrested in G2 phase became defective in this checkpoint, allowing cell cycle progression. The effect after MX treatment depended partially on c-Abl: Short interfering RNA knockdown of c-Abl rendered HeLa cells less sensitive to MX. The effect of imatinib was decreased by c-Abl siRNA suggesting a role for catalytically inactive c-Abl in the death cascade. These findings indicate that MX has a unique cytotoxic effect when the kinase activity of c-Abl is inhibited. The treatment results in increased DNA damage and c-Abl-dependent apoptosis, which may offer new possibilities for potentiation of cancer chemotherapy.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0105526PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4141754PMC
May 2015

Toll-like receptor 9 in breast cancer.

Front Immunol 2014 22;5:330. Epub 2014 Jul 22.

Department of Pathology, Lapland Central Hospital , Rovaniemi , Finland ; Division of Hematology-Oncology, Department of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham , Birmingham, AL , USA ; Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Alabama at Birmingham , Birmingham, AL , USA.

Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9) is a cellular DNA receptor of the innate immune system. DNA recognition via TLR9 results in an inflammatory reaction, which eventually also activates a Th1-biased adaptive immune attack. In addition to cells of the immune system, TLR9 mRNA and protein are also widely expressed in breast cancer cell lines and in clinical breast cancer specimens. Although synthetic TLR9-ligands induce cancer cell invasion in vitro, the role of TLR9 in cancer pathophysiology has remained unclear. In the studies conducted so far, tumor TLR9 expression has been shown to have prognostic significance only in patients that have triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). Specifically, high tumor TLR9 expression predicts good prognosis among TNBC patients. Pre-clinical studies suggest that TLR9 expression may affect tumor immunophenotype and contribute to the immunogenic benefit of chemotherapy. In this review, we discuss the possible contribution of tumor TLR9 to the pathogenesis and treatment responses in breast cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2014.00330DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4105583PMC
August 2014

Hypoxia regulates Toll-like receptor-9 expression and invasive function in human brain cancer cells in vitro.

Oncol Lett 2014 Jul 25;8(1):266-274. Epub 2014 Apr 25.

Department of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35294, USA.

Toll-like receptor-9 (TLR9) is a cellular DNA sensor of the innate immune system. TLR9 is widely expressed in a number of tumors, including brain cancer; however, little is known regarding its regulation and involvement in cancer pathophysiology. The present study demonstrated that hypoxia upregulates and downregulates TLR9 expression in human brain cancer cells , in a cell-specific manner. In addition, hypoxia-induced TLR9 upregulation was associated with hypoxia-induced invasion; however, such invasion was not detected in cells where hypoxia had suppressed TLR9 expression. Furthermore, suppression of TLR9 expression through TLR9 siRNA resulted in an upregulation of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2, -9 and -13 and tissue inhibitor of matrix metalloproteinases-3 (TIMP-3) mRNA, and a decreased invasion of cells in normoxia, in a cell-specific manner. In cells where hypoxia induced TLR9 expression, TLR9 expression and invasion were reduced by TLR9 siRNA. The decreased invasion observed in hypoxia was associated with the decreased expression of the MMPs and a concomitant increase in TIMP-3 expression. In conclusion, hypoxia regulates the invasion of brain cancer cells in a TLR9-dependent manner, which is considered to be associated with a complex expression pattern of TLR9-regulated mediators and inhibitors of invasion.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3892/ol.2014.2095DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4063648PMC
July 2014

Chloroquine has tumor-inhibitory and tumor-promoting effects in triple-negative breast cancer.

Oncol Lett 2013 Dec 4;6(6):1665-1672. Epub 2013 Oct 4.

Department of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35294, USA ; MediCity/PET Preclinical Imaging, Turku PET Centre, University of Turku, Turku 20521, Finland.

Toll-like receptor-9 (TLR9) is an intracellular DNA receptor that is widely expressed in breast and other cancers. We previously demonstrated that low tumor TLR9 expression upon diagnosis is associated with significantly shortened disease-specific survival times in patients with triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). There are no targeted therapies for this subgroup of patients whose prognosis is among the worst in breast cancer. Due to the previously detected anti-invasive effects of chloroquine in these cell lines, the present study aimed to investigate the effects of chloroquine against two clinical subtypes of TNBC that differ in TLR9 expression. Chloroquine suppressed matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2 and MMP-9 mRNA expression and protein activity, whereas MMP-13 mRNA expression and proteolytic activity were increased. Despite enhancing TLR9 mRNA expression, chloroquine suppressed TLR9 protein expression . Daily treatment of mice with intraperitoneal (i.p.) chloroquine (80 mg/kg/day) for 22 days, did not inhibit the growth of control siRNA or TLR9 siRNA MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells. In conclusion, despite the favorable effects on TNBC invasion and viability, particularly in hypoxic conditions, chloroquine does not prevent the growth of the triple-negative MDA-MB-231 cells with high or low TLR9 expression levels . This may be explained by the activating effects of chloroquine on MMP-13 expression or by the fact that chloroquine, by suppressing TLR9 expression, permits the activation of currently unknown molecular pathways, which allow the aggressive behavior of TNBC cells with low TLR9 expression in hypoxia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3892/ol.2013.1602DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3835157PMC
December 2013

DNA from dead cancer cells induces TLR9-mediated invasion and inflammation in living cancer cells.

Breast Cancer Res Treat 2013 Dec 10;142(3):477-87. Epub 2013 Nov 10.

Division of Hematology-Oncology, Department of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham, SHEL 514, 1825 University Blvd, Birmingham, AL, 35294-3300, USA.

TLR9 is a cellular DNA-receptor, which is widely expressed in breast and other cancers. Although synthetic TLR9-ligands induce cancer cell invasion in vitro, the role of TLR9 in cancer pathophysiology has remained unclear. We show here that living cancer cells uptake DNA from chemotherapy-killed cancer cells. We discovered that such DNA induces TLR9- and cathepsin-mediated invasion in living cancer cells. To study whether this phenomenon contributes to treatment responses, triple-negative, human MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells stably expressing control, or TLR9 siRNA were inoculated orthotopically into nude mice. The mice were treated with vehicle or doxorubicin. The tumor groups exhibited equal decreases in size in response to doxorubicin. However, while the weights of vehicle-treated mice were similar, mice bearing control siRNA tumors became significantly more cachectic in response to doxorubicin, as compared with similarly treated mice bearing TLR9 siRNA tumors, suggesting a TLR9-mediated inflammation at the site of the tumor. In conclusion, our findings propose that DNA released from chemotherapy-killed cancer cells has significant influence on TLR9-mediated biological effects in living cancer cells. Through these mechanisms, tumor TLR9 expression may affect treatment responses to chemotherapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10549-013-2762-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4238912PMC
December 2013

Low TLR9 expression defines an aggressive subtype of triple-negative breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Res Treat 2012 Sep 31;135(2):481-93. Epub 2012 Jul 31.

Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology-Oncology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, SHEL 514, 1825 University Blvd, Birmingham, AL 35294-3300, USA.

Toll-like receptor-9 (TLR9) is a DNA receptor widely expressed in cancers. Although synthetic TLR9 ligands induce cancer cell invasion in vitro, the role of TLR9 in cancer pathophysiology is unclear. We discovered that low tumor TLR9 expression is associated with significantly shortened disease-specific survival in patients with triple negative but not with ER+ breast cancers. A likely mechanism of this clinical finding involves differential responses to hypoxia. Our pre-clinical studies indicate that while TLR9 expression is hypoxia-regulated, low TLR9 expression has different effects on triple negative and ER+ breast cancer invasion in hypoxia. Hypoxia-induced invasion is augmented by TLR9 siRNA in triple negative, but not in ER+ breast cancer cells. This is possibly due to differential TLR9-regulated TIMP-3 expression, which remains detectable in ER+ cells but disappears from triple-negative TLR9 siRNA cells in hypoxia. Our results demonstrate a novel role for this innate immunity receptor in cancer biology and suggest that TLR9 expression may be a novel marker for triple-negative breast cancer patients who are at a high risk of relapse. Furthermore, these results suggest that interventions or events, which induce hypoxia or down-regulate TLR9 expression in triple-negative breast cancer cells may actually induce their spread.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10549-012-2181-7DOI Listing
September 2012

Multiple cellular and molecular mechanisms are involved in human Aβ clearance by transplanted adult astrocytes.

Glia 2011 Nov 8;59(11):1643-57. Epub 2011 Aug 8.

Department of Neurobiology, A.I.Virtanen Institute for Molecular Sciences, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland.

Astrocytes and microglia are able to degrade potentially neurotoxic β-amyloid (Aβ) deposits typical for Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathology. Contrary to microglia, astrocytes degrade human Aβ from tissue sections in vitro without any additional stimulation, but it has remained unclear whether transplanted astrocytes are able to clear deposited human Aβ in vivo. We transplanted adult mouse astrocytes into the hippocampi of transgenic mice mimicking AD and observed their fate, effects on microglial responses, and Aβ clearance. After 2-months follow-up time, we discovered a significant reduction in Aβ burden compared with AD mice infused with PBS only. The remaining Aβ deposits were fragmented and most of the Aβ immunoreactivity was seen within the transplanted astrocytes. Concomitant to Aβ reduction, both CD68 and CD45 immunoreactivities were significantly upregulated but phagocytic microglia were often surrounding and engulfing Aβ burdened, TUNEL-positive astrocytes rather than co-localizing with Aβ alone. Astrocytes are known to degrade Aβ also by secreting proteases involved in Aβ catabolism. To study the contribution of neprilysin (NEP), angiotensin-converting enzyme-1 (ACE-1), and endothelin-converting enzyme-2 (ECE-2) in human Aβ clearance, we utilized an ex vivo assay to demonstrate that adult astrocytes respond to human Aβ by upregulating NEP expression. Further, incubation of adult astrocytes with known inhibitors of NEP, ACE-1, or ECE-2 significantly inhibited the removal of human Aβ from the tissue suggesting an important role for these proteases in Aβ clearance by adult astrocytes ex vivo.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/glia.21212DOI Listing
November 2011

Estrogen receptor-α and sex steroid hormones regulate Toll-like receptor-9 expression and invasive function in human breast cancer cells.

Breast Cancer Res Treat 2012 Apr 24;132(2):411-9. Epub 2011 May 24.

Department of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL, USA.

Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9) is a cellular DNA-receptor, which is widely expressed in cancer. Synthetic TLR9-ligands induce cancer cell invasion in vitro, but the role of TLR9 in cancer pathophysiology remains unclear. Increased TLR9 expression has been, however, detected in estrogen receptor negative (ER-) breast cancers. In this study, we investigated the effects of ERα expression and sex steroid hormones on TLR9 expression in human ER+ (MCF-7, T47-D) and ER- (MDA-MB-231) breast cancer cell lines in vitro. We also studied TLR9 mRNA expression in archival breast cancer specimens (n = 12) with qRT-PCR, using primer sets that detect only the TLR9A isoform or the isoforms A and B (TLR9A/B). The TLR9 mRNA expression was detected in 10/12 specimens with both primer sets, and in 1/12 with only the TLR9A or the TLR9A/B primer sets. The basal TLR9 mRNA expression levels were significantly lower in the ER+ cell lines as compared with the ER- MDA-MB-231 cells. The transfection of ERα cDNA into MDA-MB-231 cells also resulted in down-regulation of TLR9 expression. While sex steroids had no effect on TLR9 expression in MCF-7 cells, testosterone (10(-8) M) induced TLR9 expression in MDA-MB-231 and T47-D cells. Although bicalutamide blocked this testosterone effect in MDA-MB-231 cells, in T47-D cells bicalutamide increased TLR9 expression and only partially blocked the testosterone effects. Estradiol (10(-8) M) induced TLR9 expression in T47-D cells. The invasive effects of synthetic TLR9-ligands were augmented by testosterone in vitro. This effect was lost in TLR9 siRNA MDA-MB-231 cells and also decreased by over-expression of ERα, which also inhibited NF-κB activation by TLR9-ligands. In conclusion, expression of TLR9 isoforms A and B can be detected in clinical breast cancer specimens. The ERα and sex steroid hormones regulate TLR9 expression and invasive effects in the breast cancer cells. Also, the commonly used hormonal cancer therapy bicalutamide affects TLR9 expression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10549-011-1590-3DOI Listing
April 2012

Phosphorylation of SCG10/stathmin-2 determines multipolar stage exit and neuronal migration rate.

Nat Neurosci 2011 Mar 6;14(3):305-13. Epub 2011 Feb 6.

Turku Centre for Biotechnology, Åbo Akademi University and University of Turku, Turku, Finland.

Cell migration is the consequence of the sum of positive and negative regulatory mechanisms. Although appropriate migration of neurons is a principal feature of brain development, the negative regulatory mechanisms remain obscure. We found that JNK1 was highly active in developing cortex and that selective inhibition of JNK in the cytoplasm markedly increased both the frequency of exit from the multipolar stage and radial migration rate and ultimately led to an ill-defined cellular organization. Moreover, regulation of multipolar-stage exit and radial migration in Jnk1(-/-) (also known as Mapk8) mice, resulted from consequential changes in phosphorylation of the microtubule regulator SCG10 (also called stathmin-2). Expression of an SCG10 mutant that mimics the JNK1-phosphorylated form restored normal migration in the brains of Jnk1(-/-) mouse embryos. These findings indicate that the phosphorylation of SCG10 by JNK1 is a fundamental mechanism that governs the transition from the multipolar stage and the rate of neuronal cell movement during cortical development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nn.2755DOI Listing
March 2011

Fast growth associated with aberrant vasculature and hypoxia in fibroblast growth factor 8b (FGF8b) over-expressing PC-3 prostate tumour xenografts.

BMC Cancer 2010 Oct 30;10:596. Epub 2010 Oct 30.

Institute of Biomedicine, Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy, University of Turku, Turku, Finland.

Background: Prostate tumours are commonly poorly oxygenated which is associated with tumour progression and development of resistance to chemotherapeutic drugs and radiotherapy. Fibroblast growth factor 8b (FGF8b) is a mitogenic and angiogenic factor, which is expressed at an increased level in human prostate tumours and is associated with a poor prognosis. We studied the effect of FGF8b on tumour oxygenation and growth parameters in xenografts in comparison with vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-expressing xenografts, representing another fast growing and angiogenic tumour model.

Methods: Subcutaneous tumours of PC-3 cells transfected with FGF8b, VEGF or empty (mock) vectors were produced and studied for vascularity, cell proliferation, glucose metabolism and oxygenation. Tumours were evaluated by immunohistochemistry (IHC), flow cytometry, use of radiolabelled markers of energy metabolism ([18F]FDG) and hypoxia ([18F]EF5), and intratumoral polarographic measurements of pO2.

Results: Both FGF8b and VEGF tumours grew rapidly in nude mice and showed highly vascularised morphology. Perfusion studies, pO2 measurements, [18F]EF5 and [18F]FDG uptake as well as IHC staining for glucose transport protein (GLUT1) and hypoxia inducible factor (HIF) 1 showed that VEGF xenografts were well-perfused and oxygenised, as expected, whereas FGF8b tumours were as hypoxic as mock tumours. These results suggest that FGF8b-induced tumour capillaries are defective. Nevertheless, the growth rate of hypoxic FGF8b tumours was highly increased, as that of well-oxygenised VEGF tumours, when compared with hypoxic mock tumour controls.

Conclusion: FGF8b is able to induce fast growth in strongly hypoxic tumour microenvironment whereas VEGF-stimulated growth advantage is associated with improved perfusion and oxygenation of prostate tumour xenografts.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2407-10-596DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2984431PMC
October 2010

Pim-selective inhibitor DHPCC-9 reveals Pim kinases as potent stimulators of cancer cell migration and invasion.

Mol Cancer 2010 Oct 19;9:279. Epub 2010 Oct 19.

Turku Centre for Biotechnology, University of Turku and Abo Akademi University, Turku, Finland.

Background: Pim family kinases are small constitutively active serine/threonine-specific kinases, elevated levels of which have been detected in human hematopoietic malignancies as well as in solid tumours. While we and others have previously shown that the oncogenic Pim kinases stimulate survival of hematopoietic cells, we now examined their putative role in regulating motility of adherent cancer cells. For this purpose, we inhibited Pim kinase activity using a small molecule compound, 1,10-dihydropyrrolo[2,3-a]carbazole-3-carbaldehyde (DHPCC-9), which we had recently identified as a potent and selective inhibitor for all Pim family members.

Results: We now demonstrate that the Pim kinase inhibitor DHPCC-9 is very effective also in cell-based assays. DHPCC-9 impairs the anti-apoptotic effects of Pim-1 in cytokine-deprived myeloid cells and inhibits intracellular phosphorylation of Pim substrates such as Bad. Moreover, DHPCC-9 slows down migration and invasion of cancer cells derived from either prostate cancer or squamocellular carcinoma patients. Silencing of Pim expression reduces cell motility, while Pim overexpression enhances it, strongly suggesting that the observed effects of DHPCC-9 are dependent on Pim kinase activity. Interestingly, DHPCC-9 also abrogates NFATc-dependent migration of cancer cells, implying that NFATc factors mediate at least part of the pro-migratory effects of Pim kinases.

Conclusions: Altogether, our data indicate that DHPCC-9 is not only a powerful tool to investigate physiological effects of the oncogenic Pim family kinases, but also an attractive molecule for drug development to inhibit invasiveness of Pim-overexpressing cancer cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1476-4598-9-279DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2978147PMC
October 2010

Inhibition of GGTase-I and FTase disrupts cytoskeletal organization of human PC-3 prostate cancer cells.

Cell Biol Int 2010 Aug;34(8):815-26

Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy, Institute of Biomedicine, University of Turku, FI20520 Turku, Finland.

The mevalonate synthesis pathway produces intermediates for isoprenylation of small GTPases, which are involved in the regulation of actin cytoskeleton and cell motility. Here, we investigated the role of the prenylation transferases in the regulation of the cytoskeletal organization and motility of PC-3 prostate cancer cells. This was done by using FTI-277, GGTI-298 or NE-10790, the specific inhibitors of FTase (farnesyltransferase), GGTase (geranylgeranyltransferase)-I and -II, respectively. Treatment of PC-3 cells with GGTI-298 and FTI-277 inhibited migration and invasion in a time- and dose-dependent manner. This was associated with disruption of F-actin organization and decreased recovery of GFP-actin. Immunoblot analysis of various cytoskeleton-associated proteins showed that the most striking change in GGTI-298- and FTI-277-treated cells was a markedly decreased level of total and phosphorylated cofilin, whereas the level of cofilin mRNA was not decreased. The treatment of PC-3 cells with GGTI-298 also affected the dynamics of GFP-paxillin and decreased the levels of total and phosphorylated paxillin. The levels of phosphorylated FAK (focal adhesion kinase) and PAK (p-21-associated kinase)-2 were also lowered by GGTI-298, but levels of paxillin or FAK mRNAs were not affected. In addition, GGTI-298 had a minor effect on the activity of MMP-9. RNAi knockdown of GGTase-Ibeta inhibited invasion, disrupted F-actin organization and decreased the level of cofilin in PC-3 cells. NE-10790 did not have any effect on PC-3 prostate cancer cell motility or on the organization of the cytoskeleton. In conclusion, our results demonstrate the involvement of GGTase-I- and FTase-catalysed prenylation reactions in the regulation of cytoskeletal integrity and motility of prostate cancer cells and suggest them as interesting drug targets for development of inhibitors of prostate cancer metastasis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1042/CBI20090288DOI Listing
August 2010

Pim-1 kinase expression predicts radiation response in squamocellular carcinoma of head and neck and is under the control of epidermal growth factor receptor.

Neoplasia 2009 Jul;11(7):629-36

Turku Centre for Biotechnology, University of Turku and Abo Akademi University, Turku, Finland.

Pim-1 is an oncogenic serine/threonine kinase with poorly defined function in epithelial cancers. In this study, we determined 1) associations of Pim-1 expression with clinicopathological parameters including responsiveness to irradiation in squamocellular cancers of head and neck and 2) how Pim-1 expression is controlled subsequent to irradiation. Moderate to high expression of Pim-1 correlated to poor response to radiation therapy (P = .003). It is also associated to the expression of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR, P < .0001), which has been shown to be activated by irradiation. In radioresistant tumors, irradiation promoted nuclear translocation of Pim-1 (P < .005). When directly testing EGFR dependence of Pim-1 expression, up-regulation and nuclear translocation of Pim-1 could be induced through stimulation of EGFR with its ligands EGF or transforming growth factor alpha. Both ligand- and irradiation-induced changes in Pim-1 expression and localization could be inhibited by the monoclonal anti-EGFR antibody cetuximab and by the tyrosine kinase inhibitor gefitinib also targeting EGFR. These results suggest that irradiation-induced activation of EGFR upregulates Pim-1, and Pim-1 may be used as a novel predictive marker of radiation response in patients with squamocellular cancers of head and neck.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2697349PMC
http://dx.doi.org/10.1593/neo.81038DOI Listing
July 2009

Reconstruction of critical size calvarial bone defects in rabbits with glass-fiber-reinforced composite with bioactive glass granule coating.

J Biomed Mater Res B Appl Biomater 2008 Feb;84(2):510-9

Department of Prosthetic Dentistry and Biomaterials Science, Institute of Dentistry, University of Turku, Turku, Finland.

Unlabelled: The aim of this study was to evaluate glass-fiber-reinforced composite as a bone reconstruction material in the critical size defects in rabbit calvarial bones. The bone defect healing process and inflammatory reactions were evaluated histologically at 4 and 12 weeks postoperatively. Possible neuropathological effects on brain tissue were evaluated. The release of residual monomers from the fiber-reinforced composite (FRC) was analyzed by high performance liquid chromatograph (HPLC).

Results: At 4 weeks postoperatively, fibrous connective tissue ingrowth to implant structures was seen. Healing had started as new bone formation from defect margins, as well as woven bone islets in the middle of the defect. Woven bone was also seen inside the implant. Inflammation reaction was slight. At 12 weeks, part of the new bone had matured to lamellar-type, and inflammation reaction was slight to moderate. Control defects had healed by fibrous connective tissue. Histological examinations of the brain revealed no obvious damage to brain morphology. In HPLC analysis, the release of residual 1,4-butanedioldimethacrylate and methylmethacrylate from polymerized FRC was low.

Conclusions: This FRC-implant was shown to promote the healing process of critical size calvarial bone defect in rabbits. After some modifications to the material properties, this type of implant has the potential to become an alternative for the reconstruction of bone defects in the head and neck area in the future.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jbm.b.30898DOI Listing
February 2008

Intrinsic properties of so-called dormant probiotic bacteria, determined by flow cytometric viability assays.

Appl Environ Microbiol 2006 Jul;72(7):5132-4

Department of Biochemistry and Food Chemistry, University of Turku, 20014 Turku, Finland.

Plate counting and four culture-independent flow cytometric assays were used to determine the viability and intrinsic properties of three probiotic strains during storage. The strains showed reduction in plate counts but were able to maintain esterase activity, intact cytoplasmic membrane, and pH gradient. The apparently uncultivable probiotic cells were active and stress resistant.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/AEM.02897-05DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1489320PMC
July 2006

Pim-1 kinase phosphorylates RUNX family transcription factors and enhances their activity.

BMC Cell Biol 2006 May 9;7:21. Epub 2006 May 9.

Turku Centre for Biotechnology, University of Turku, Tykistökatu 6 B, 20520 Turku, Finland.

Background: The pim family genes encode oncogenic serine/threonine kinases which in hematopoietic cells have been implicated in cytokine-dependent signaling as well as in lymphomagenesis, especially in cooperation with other oncogenes such as myc, bcl-2 or Runx family genes. The Runx genes encode alpha-subunits of heterodimeric transcription factors which regulate cell proliferation and differentiation in various tissues during development and which can become leukemogenic upon aberrant expression.

Results: Here we have identified novel protein-protein interactions between the Pim-1 kinase and the RUNX family transcription factors. Using the yeast two-hybrid system, we were able to show that the C-terminal part of human RUNX3 associates with Pim-1. This result was confirmed in cell culture, where full-length murine Runx1 and Runx3 both coprecipitated and colocalized with Pim-1. Furthermore, catalytically active Pim-1 kinase was able to phosphorylate Runx1 and Runx3 proteins and enhance the transactivation activity of Runx1 in a dose-dependent fashion.

Conclusion: Altogether, our results suggest that mammalian RUNX family transcription factors are novel binding partners and substrates for the Pim-1 kinase, which may be able to regulate their activities during normal hematopoiesis as well as in leukemogenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2121-7-21DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1473194PMC
May 2006

Pim-1 kinase promotes inactivation of the pro-apoptotic Bad protein by phosphorylating it on the Ser112 gatekeeper site.

FEBS Lett 2004 Jul;571(1-3):43-9

Turku Centre for Biotechnology, University of Turku/Abo Akademi University, Tykistökatu 6 B, 20520 Turku, Finland.

Constitutive expression of the Pim-1 kinase prolongs survival of cytokine-deprived FDCP1 cells, partly via maintenance of Bcl-2 expression. Here, we show that Pim-1 colocalizes and physically interacts with the pro-apoptotic Bad protein and phosphorylates it in vitro on serine 112, which is a gatekeeper site for its inactivation. Furthermore, wild-type Pim-1, but not a kinase-deficient mutant, enhances phosphorylation of this site in FDCP1 cells and protects cells from the pro-apoptotic effects of Bad. Our results suggest that phosphorylation of Bad by Pim-1 is one of several mechanisms via which the Pim-1 kinase can enhance Bcl-2 activity and promote cell survival.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.febslet.2004.06.050DOI Listing
July 2004

Cutting edge: Transcriptional activity of NFATc1 is enhanced by the Pim-1 kinase.

J Immunol 2002 Feb;168(4):1524-7

Turku Centre for Biotechnology, University of Turku/Abo Akademi University, and Turku Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Turku, Finland.

Pim-1 is an oncogenic serine/threonine kinase implicated in cytokine-induced signal transduction and in development of lymphoid malignancies. However, its precise function as well as physiological substrates have remained unknown. In this study we demonstrate that Pim-1 can physically interact with the NFATc1 transcription factor and phosphorylate it in vitro on several serine residues. In contrast to previously recognized NFATc kinases, wild-type Pim-1 enhances NFATc-dependent transactivation and IL-2 production in Jurkat T cells, while kinase-deficient Pim-1 mutants inhibit them in a dominant negative fashion. Our results reveal a novel, phosphorylation-dependent regulatory mechanism targeting NFATc1 through which Pim-1 acts as a downstream effector of Ras to facilitate IL-2-dependent proliferation and/or survival of lymphoid cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4049/jimmunol.168.4.1524DOI Listing
February 2002