Publications by authors named "Mircea Ivan"

60 Publications

Macrophage miR-210 induction and metabolic reprogramming in response to pathogen interaction boost life-threatening inflammation.

Sci Adv 2021 May 7;7(19). Epub 2021 May 7.

Laboratory of Tumor Inflammation and Angiogenesis, CCB, VIB, Leuven, Belgium.

Unbalanced immune responses to pathogens can be life-threatening although the underlying regulatory mechanisms remain unknown. Here, we show a hypoxia-inducible factor 1α-dependent microRNA (miR)-210 up-regulation in monocytes and macrophages upon pathogen interaction. MiR-210 knockout in the hematopoietic lineage or in monocytes/macrophages mitigated the symptoms of endotoxemia, bacteremia, sepsis, and parasitosis, limiting the cytokine storm, organ damage/dysfunction, pathogen spreading, and lethality. Similarly, pharmacologic miR-210 inhibition improved the survival of septic mice. Mechanistically, miR-210 induction in activated macrophages supported a switch toward a proinflammatory state by lessening mitochondria respiration in favor of glycolysis, partly achieved by downmodulating the iron-sulfur cluster assembly enzyme ISCU. In humans, augmented miR-210 levels in circulating monocytes correlated with the incidence of sepsis, while serum levels of monocyte/macrophage-derived miR-210 were associated with sepsis mortality. Together, our data identify miR-210 as a fine-tuning regulator of macrophage metabolism and inflammatory responses, suggesting miR-210-based therapeutic and diagnostic strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.abf0466DOI Listing
May 2021

Correction: The nuclear hypoxia-regulated NLUCAT1 long non-coding RNA contributes to an aggressive phenotype in lung adenocarcinoma through regulation of oxidative stress.

Oncogene 2021 04;40(14):2621

FHU-OncoAge, Nice, France.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death worldwide, with poor prognosis and a high rate of recurrence despite early surgical removal. Hypoxic regions within tumors represent sources of aggressiveness and resistance to therapy. Although long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are increasingly recognized as major gene expression regulators, their regulation and function following hypoxic stress are still largely unexplored. Combining profiling studies on early-stage lung adenocarcinoma (LUAD) biopsies and on A549 LUAD cell lines cultured in normoxic or hypoxic conditions, we identified a subset of lncRNAs that are both correlated with the hypoxic status of tumors and regulated by hypoxia in vitro. We focused on a new transcript, Nuclear LUCAT1 (NLUCAT1), which is strongly upregulated by hypoxia in vitro and correlated with hypoxic markers and poor prognosis in LUADs. Full molecular characterization showed that NLUCAT1 is a large nuclear transcript composed of six exons and mainly regulated by NF-κB and NRF2 transcription factors. CRISPR-Cas9-mediated invalidation of NLUCAT1 revealed a decrease in proliferative and invasive properties, an increase in oxidative stress and a higher sensitivity to cisplatin-induced apoptosis. Transcriptome analysis of NLUCAT1-deficient cells showed repressed genes within the antioxidant and/or cisplatin-response networks. We demonstrated that the concomitant knockdown of four of these genes products, GPX2, GLRX, ALDH3A1, and PDK4, significantly increased ROS-dependent caspase activation, thus partially mimicking the consequences of NLUCAT1 inactivation in LUAD cells. Overall, we demonstrate that NLUCAT1 contributes to an aggressive phenotype in early-stage hypoxic tumors, suggesting it may represent a new potential therapeutic target in LUADs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41388-021-01670-3DOI Listing
April 2021

HypoxamiR-210 accelerates wound healing in diabetic mice by improving cellular metabolism.

Commun Biol 2020 12 14;3(1):768. Epub 2020 Dec 14.

Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.

Wound healing is a high energy demanding process that needs a good coordination of the mitochondria with glycolysis in the characteristic highly hypoxic environment. In diabetes, hyperglycemia impairs the adaptive responses to hypoxia with profound negative effects on different cellular compartments of wound healing. miR-210 is a hypoxia-induced microRNA that regulates cellular metabolism and processes important for wound healing. Here, we show that hyperglycemia blunted the hypoxia-dependent induction of miR-210 both in vitro and in human and mouse diabetic wounds. The impaired regulation of miR-210 in diabetic wounds is pathogenic, since local miR-210 administration accelerated wound healing specifically in diabetic but not in non-diabetic mice. miR-210 reconstitution restores the metabolic balance in diabetic wounds by reducing oxygen consumption rate and ROS production and by activating glycolysis with positive consequences on cellular migration. In conclusion, miR-210 accelerates wound healing specifically in diabetes through improvement of the cellular metabolism.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s42003-020-01495-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7736285PMC
December 2020

Regulation of cellular sterol homeostasis by the oxygen responsive noncoding RNA lincNORS.

Nat Commun 2020 09 21;11(1):4755. Epub 2020 Sep 21.

Rogel Cancer Center, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, 48109, USA.

We hereby provide the initial portrait of lincNORS, a spliced lincRNA generated by the MIR193BHG locus, entirely distinct from the previously described miR-193b-365a tandem. While inducible by low O in a variety of cells and associated with hypoxia in vivo, our studies show that lincNORS is subject to multiple regulatory inputs, including estrogen signals. Biochemically, this lincRNA fine-tunes cellular sterol/steroid biosynthesis by repressing the expression of multiple pathway components. Mechanistically, the function of lincNORS requires the presence of RALY, an RNA-binding protein recently found to be implicated in cholesterol homeostasis. We also noticed the proximity between this locus and naturally occurring genetic variations highly significant for sterol/steroid-related phenotypes, in particular the age of sexual maturation. An integrative analysis of these variants provided a more formal link between these phenotypes and lincNORS, further strengthening the case for its biological relevance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-18411-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7505984PMC
September 2020

Transcriptomic modifications in developmental cardiopulmonary adaptations to chronic hypoxia using a murine model of simulated high-altitude exposure.

Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol 2020 09 8;319(3):L456-L470. Epub 2020 Jul 8.

Department of Pediatrics, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, Indiana.

Mechanisms driving adaptive developmental responses to chronic high-altitude (HA) exposure are incompletely known. We developed a novel rat model mimicking the human condition of cardiopulmonary adaptation to HA starting at conception and spanning the in utero and postnatal timeframe. We assessed lung growth and cardiopulmonary structure and function and performed transcriptome analyses to identify mechanisms facilitating developmental adaptations to chronic hypoxia. To generate the model, breeding pairs of Sprague-Dawley rats were exposed to hypobaric hypoxia (equivalent to 9,000 ft elevation). Mating, pregnancy, and delivery occurred in hypoxic conditions. Six weeks postpartum, structural and functional data were collected in the offspring. RNA-Seq was performed on right ventricle (RV) and lung tissue. Age-matched breeding pairs and offspring under room air (RA) conditions served as controls. Hypoxic rats exhibited significantly lower body weights and higher hematocrit levels, alveolar volumes, pulmonary diffusion capacities, RV mass, and RV systolic pressure, as well as increased pulmonary artery remodeling. RNA-Seq analyses revealed multiple differentially expressed genes in lungs and RVs from hypoxic rats. Although there was considerable similarity between hypoxic lungs and RVs compared with RA controls, several upstream regulators unique to lung or RV were identified. We noted a pattern of immune downregulation and regulation patterns of immune and hormonal mediators similar to the genome from patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension. In summary, we developed a novel murine model of chronic hypoxia exposure that demonstrates functional and structural phenotypes similar to human adaptation. We identified transcriptomic alterations that suggest potential mechanisms for adaptation to chronic HA.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1152/ajplung.00487.2019DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7518056PMC
September 2020

Glycolysis, via NADH-dependent dimerisation of CtBPs, regulates hypoxia-induced expression of CAIX and stem-like breast cancer cell survival.

FEBS Lett 2020 09 15;594(18):2988-3001. Epub 2020 Jul 15.

Cancer Sciences Unit, Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton, Southampton, Hants, UK.

Adaptive responses to hypoxia are mediated by the hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) family of transcription factors. These responses include the upregulation of glycolysis to maintain ATP production. This also generates acidic metabolites, which require HIF-induced carbonic anhydrase IX (CAIX) for their neutralisation. C-terminal binding proteins (CtBPs) are coregulators of gene transcription and couple glycolysis with gene transcription due to their regulation by the glycolytic coenzyme NADH. Here, we find that experimental manipulation of glycolysis and CtBP function in breast cancer cells through multiple complementary approaches supports a hypothesis whereby the expression of known HIF-inducible genes, and CAIX in particular, adapts to available glucose in the microenvironment through a mechanism involving CtBPs. This novel pathway promotes the survival of stem cell-like cancer (SCLC) cells in hypoxia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/1873-3468.13874DOI Listing
September 2020

Osteocytic miR21 deficiency improves bone strength independent of sex despite having sex divergent effects on osteocyte viability and bone turnover.

FEBS J 2020 03 8;287(5):941-963. Epub 2019 Oct 8.

Department of Anatomy, Cell Biology & Physiology, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN, USA.

Osteocytes play a critical role in mediating cell-cell communication and regulating bone homeostasis, and osteocyte apoptosis is associated with increased bone resorption. miR21, an oncogenic microRNA, regulates bone metabolism by acting directly on osteoblasts and osteoclasts, but its role in osteocytes is not clear. Here, we show that osteocytic miR21 deletion has sex-divergent effects in bone. In females, miR21 deletion reduces osteocyte viability, but suppresses bone turnover. Conversely, in males, miR21 deletion increases osteocyte viability, but stimulates bone turnover and enhances bone structure. Further, miR21 deletion differentially alters osteocyte cytokine production in the two sexes. Interestingly, despite these changes, miR21 deletion increases bone mechanical properties in both sexes, albeit to a greater extent in males. Collectively, our findings suggest that miR21 exerts both sex-divergent and sex-equivalent roles in osteocytes, regulating osteocyte viability and altering bone metabolism through paracrine actions on osteoblasts and osteoclasts differentially in males vs females, whereas, influencing bone mechanical properties independent of sex.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/febs.15066DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7396683PMC
March 2020

The nuclear hypoxia-regulated NLUCAT1 long non-coding RNA contributes to an aggressive phenotype in lung adenocarcinoma through regulation of oxidative stress.

Oncogene 2019 11 15;38(46):7146-7165. Epub 2019 Aug 15.

FHU-OncoAge, Nice, France.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death worldwide, with poor prognosis and a high rate of recurrence despite early surgical removal. Hypoxic regions within tumors represent sources of aggressiveness and resistance to therapy. Although long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are increasingly recognized as major gene expression regulators, their regulation and function following hypoxic stress are still largely unexplored. Combining profiling studies on early-stage lung adenocarcinoma (LUAD) biopsies and on A549 LUAD cell lines cultured in normoxic or hypoxic conditions, we identified a subset of lncRNAs that are both correlated with the hypoxic status of tumors and regulated by hypoxia in vitro. We focused on a new transcript, NLUCAT1, which is strongly upregulated by hypoxia in vitro and correlated with hypoxic markers and poor prognosis in LUADs. Full molecular characterization showed that NLUCAT1 is a large nuclear transcript composed of six exons and mainly regulated by NF-κB and NRF2 transcription factors. CRISPR-Cas9-mediated invalidation of NLUCAT1 revealed a decrease in proliferative and invasive properties, an increase in oxidative stress and a higher sensitivity to cisplatin-induced apoptosis. Transcriptome analysis of NLUCAT1-deficient cells showed repressed genes within the antioxidant and/or cisplatin-response networks. We demonstrated that the concomitant knockdown of four of these genes products, GPX2, GLRX, ALDH3A1, and PDK4, significantly increased ROS-dependent caspase activation, thus partially mimicking the consequences of NLUCAT1 inactivation in LUAD cells. Overall, we demonstrate that NLUCAT1 contributes to an aggressive phenotype in early-stage hypoxic tumors, suggesting it may represent a new potential therapeutic target in LUADs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41388-019-0935-yDOI Listing
November 2019

Profiling molecular regulators of recurrence in chemorefractory triple-negative breast cancers.

Breast Cancer Res 2019 08 5;21(1):87. Epub 2019 Aug 5.

Department of Surgery, Indiana University School of Medicine, 980 W. Walnut St. Room C312, Indianapolis, IN, 46202, USA.

Background: Approximately two thirds of patients with localized triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) harbor residual disease (RD) after neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC) and have a high risk-of-recurrence. Targeted therapeutic development for TNBC is of primary significance as no targeted therapies are clinically indicated for this aggressive subset. In view of this, we conducted a comprehensive molecular analysis and correlated molecular features of chemorefractory RD tumors with recurrence for the purpose of guiding downstream therapeutic development.

Methods: We assembled DNA and RNA sequencing data from RD tumors as well as pre-operative biopsies, lymphocytic infiltrate, and survival data as part of a molecular correlative to a phase II post-neoadjuvant clinical trial. Matched somatic mutation, gene expression, and lymphocytic infiltrate were assessed before and after chemotherapy to understand how tumors evolve during chemotherapy. Kaplan-Meier survival analyses were conducted categorizing cancers with TP53 mutations by the degree of loss as well as by the copy number of a locus of 18q corresponding to the SMAD2, SMAD4, and SMAD7 genes.

Results: Analysis of matched somatic genomes pre-/post-NAC revealed chaotic acquisition of copy gains and losses including amplification of prominent oncogenes. In contrast, significant gains in deleterious point mutations and insertion/deletions were not observed. No trends between clonal evolution and recurrence were identified. Gene expression data from paired biopsies revealed enrichment of actionable regulators of stem cell-like behavior and depletion of immune signaling, which was corroborated by total lymphocytic infiltrate, but was not associated with recurrence. Novel characterization of TP53 mutation revealed prognostically relevant subgroups, which were linked to MYC-driven transcriptional amplification. Finally, somatic gains in 18q were associated with poor prognosis, likely driven by putative upregulation of TGFß signaling through the signal transducer SMAD2.

Conclusions: We conclude TNBCs are dynamic during chemotherapy, demonstrating complex plasticity in subclonal diversity, stem-like qualities, and immune depletion, but somatic alterations of TP53/MYC and TGFß signaling in RD samples are prominent drivers of recurrence, representing high-yield targets for additional interrogation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13058-019-1171-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6683504PMC
August 2019

P38α/JNK signaling restrains erythropoiesis by suppressing Ezh2-mediated epigenetic silencing of Bim.

Nat Commun 2018 08 29;9(1):3518. Epub 2018 Aug 29.

Department of Pediatrics, Herman B Wells Center for Pediatric Research, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, Indiana, 46202, USA.

While erythropoietin (EPO) constitutes the major treatment for anemia, a range of anemic disorders remain resistant to EPO treatment. The need for alternative therapeutic strategies requires the identification of mechanisms that physiologically restrain erythropoiesis. Here we show that P38α restrains erythropoiesis in mouse and human erythroblasts independently of EPO by integrating apoptotic signals during recovery from anemia. P38α deficiency promotes JNK activation through increased expression of Map3k4 via a negative feedback mechanism. JNK prevents Cdk1-mediated phosphorylation and subsequent degradation by Smurf2 of the epigenetic silencer Ezh2. Stabilized Ezh2 silences Bim expression and protects erythroblasts from apoptosis. Thus, we identify P38α/JNK signaling as a molecular brake modulating erythropoiesis through epigenetic silencing of Bim. We propose that inhibition of P38α, by enhancing erythropoiesis in an EPO-independent fashion, may provide an alternative strategy for the treatment of anemia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-05955-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6115418PMC
August 2018

Enteral Arg-Gln Dipeptide Administration Increases Retinal Docosahexaenoic Acid and Neuroprotectin D1 in a Murine Model of Retinopathy of Prematurity.

Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2018 02;59(2):858-869

Department of Ophthalmology, University of Alabama, Birmingham, Alabama, United States.

Purpose: Low levels of the long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid (LCPUFA) docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) have been implicated in retinopathy of prematurity (ROP). However, oral DHA suffers from poor palatability and is associated with increased bleeding in premature infants. We asked whether oral administration of the neutraceutical arginine-glutamine (Arg-Glu) could increase retinal DHA and improve outcomes in a mouse model of oxygen-induced retinopathy (OIR).

Methods: Postnatal day 7 (P7) pups were maintained at 75% oxygen for 5 days and then returned to room air on P12. Pups were gavaged twice daily with Arg-Gln or vehicle from P12 to P17 and eyes were harvested for analysis on P17. Vaso-obliteration and vascular density were assessed on retinal flat mounts and preretinal neovascularization was assessed on retinal cross sections. Retinas were used for measurement of DHA and 10,17S-docosatriene (neuroprotectin D1, NPD1), a key DHA-derived lipid, and for analysis by reverse-phase protein array (RPPA).

Results: With Arg-Gln treatment, retinal DHA and NPD1 levels were increased in OIR pups. Arg-Gln reduced preretinal neovascularization by 39 ± 6% (P < 0.05) relative to vehicle control. This was accompanied by a restoration of vascular density of the retina in the pups treated with Arg-Gln (73.0 ± 3.0%) compared to vehicle (53.1 ± 3.4%; P < 0.05). Arg-Gln dipeptide restored OIR-induced signaling changes toward normoxia and was associated with normalization of insulin-like growth factor receptor 1 signaling and reduction of apoptosis and an increase in anti-apoptosis proteins.

Conclusions: Arg-Gln may serve as a safer and easily tolerated nutraceutical agent for prevention or treatment of ROP.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1167/iovs.17-23034DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5815421PMC
February 2018

Transcriptome analysis of hypoxic cancer cells uncovers intron retention in EIF2B5 as a mechanism to inhibit translation.

PLoS Biol 2017 Sep 29;15(9):e2002623. Epub 2017 Sep 29.

Department of Radiation Oncology Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America.

Cells adjust to hypoxic stress within the tumor microenvironment by downregulating energy-consuming processes including translation. To delineate mechanisms of cellular adaptation to hypoxia, we performed RNA-Seq of normoxic and hypoxic head and neck cancer cells. These data revealed a significant down regulation of genes known to regulate RNA processing and splicing. Exon-level analyses classified > 1,000 mRNAs as alternatively spliced under hypoxia and uncovered a unique retained intron (RI) in the master regulator of translation initiation, EIF2B5. Notably, this intron was expressed in solid tumors in a stage-dependent manner. We investigated the biological consequence of this RI and demonstrate that its inclusion creates a premature termination codon (PTC), that leads to a 65kDa truncated protein isoform that opposes full-length eIF2Bε to inhibit global translation. Furthermore, expression of 65kDa eIF2Bε led to increased survival of head and neck cancer cells under hypoxia, providing evidence that this isoform enables cells to adapt to conditions of low oxygen. Additional work to uncover -cis and -trans regulators of EIF2B5 splicing identified several factors that influence intron retention in EIF2B5: a weak splicing potential at the RI, hypoxia-induced expression and binding of the splicing factor SRSF3, and increased binding of total and phospho-Ser2 RNA polymerase II specifically at the intron retained under hypoxia. Altogether, these data reveal differential splicing as a previously uncharacterized mode of translational control under hypoxia and are supported by a model in which hypoxia-induced changes to cotranscriptional processing lead to selective retention of a PTC-containing intron in EIF2B5.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.2002623DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5636171PMC
September 2017

The role of MicroRNA molecules and MicroRNA-regulating machinery in the pathogenesis and progression of epithelial ovarian cancer.

Gynecol Oncol 2017 11 31;147(2):481-487. Epub 2017 Aug 31.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN, United States; Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN, United States. Electronic address:

MicroRNA molecules are small, single-stranded RNA molecules that function to regulate networks of genes. They play important roles in normal female reproductive tract biology, as well as in the pathogenesis and progression of epithelial ovarian cancer. DROSHA, DICER, and Argonaute proteins are components of the microRNA-regulatory machinery and mediate microRNA production and function. This review discusses aberrant expression of microRNA molecules and microRNA-regulating machinery associated with clinical features of epithelial ovarian cancer. Understanding the regulation of microRNA molecule production and function may facilitate the development of novel diagnostic and therapeutic strategies to improve the prognosis of women with epithelial ovarian cancer. Additionally, understanding microRNA molecules and microRNA-regulatory machinery associations with clinical features may influence prevention and early detection efforts.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ygyno.2017.08.027DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5741188PMC
November 2017

The Many Faces of Long Noncoding RNAs in Cancer.

Antioxid Redox Signal 2018 09 20;29(9):922-935. Epub 2017 Oct 20.

1 Department of Medicine, Indiana University School of Medicine , Indianapolis, Indiana.

Significance: The emerging connections between an increasing number of long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) and oncogenic hallmarks provide a new twist to tumor complexity. Recent Advances: In the present review, we highlight specific lncRNAs that have been studied in relation to tumorigenesis, either as participants in the neoplastic process or as markers of pathway activity or drug response. These transcripts are typically deregulated by oncogenic or tumor-suppressing signals or respond to microenvironmental conditions such as hypoxia.

Critical Issues: Among these transcripts are lncRNAs sufficiently divergent between mouse and human genomes that may contribute to biological differences between species.

Future Directions: From a translational standpoint, knowledge about primate-specific lncRNAs may help explain the reason behind the failure to reproduce the results from mouse cancer models in human cell-based systems. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 29, 922-935.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/ars.2017.7293DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6080117PMC
September 2018

The EGLN-HIF O-Sensing System: Multiple Inputs and Feedbacks.

Mol Cell 2017 Jun;66(6):772-779

Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Boston, MA 02215, USA; Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA 02215, USA; Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02215, USA.

The EGLN (also called PHD) prolyl hydroxylase enzymes and their canonical targets, the HIFα subunits, represent the core of an ancient oxygen-monitoring machinery used by metazoans. In this review, we highlight recent progress in understanding the overlapping versus specific roles of EGLN enzymes and HIF isoforms and discuss how feedback loops based on recently identified noncoding RNAs introduce additional layers of complexity to the hypoxic response. Based on novel interactions identified upstream and downstream of EGLNs, an integrated network connecting oxygen-sensing functions to metabolic and signaling pathways is gradually emerging with broad therapeutic implications.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.molcel.2017.06.002DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5613951PMC
June 2017

Disruption of the Cx43/miR21 pathway leads to osteocyte apoptosis and increased osteoclastogenesis with aging.

Aging Cell 2017 06 19;16(3):551-563. Epub 2017 Mar 19.

Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN, USA.

Skeletal aging results in apoptosis of osteocytes, cells embedded in bone that control the generation/function of bone forming and resorbing cells. Aging also decreases connexin43 (Cx43) expression in bone; and osteocytic Cx43 deletion partially mimics the skeletal phenotype of old mice. Particularly, aging and Cx43 deletion increase osteocyte apoptosis, and osteoclast number and bone resorption on endocortical bone surfaces. We examined herein the molecular signaling events responsible for osteocyte apoptosis and osteoclast recruitment triggered by aging and Cx43 deficiency. Cx43-silenced MLO-Y4 osteocytic (Cx43 ) cells undergo spontaneous cell death in culture through caspase-3 activation and exhibit increased levels of apoptosis-related genes, and only transfection of Cx43 constructs able to form gap junction channels reverses Cx43 cell death. Cx43 cells and bones from old mice exhibit reduced levels of the pro-survival microRNA miR21 and, consistently, increased levels of the miR21 target phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) and reduced phosphorylated Akt, whereas PTEN inhibition reduces Cx43 cell apoptosis. miR21 reduction is sufficient to induce apoptosis of Cx43-expressing cells and miR21 deletion in miR21 bones increases apoptosis-related gene expression, whereas a miR21 mimic prevents Cx43 cell apoptosis, demonstrating that miR21 lies downstream of Cx43. Cx43 cells release more osteoclastogenic cytokines [receptor activator of NFκB ligand (RANKL)/high-mobility group box-1 (HMGB1)], and caspase-3 inhibition prevents RANKL/HMGB1 release and the increased osteoclastogenesis induced by conditioned media from Cx43 cells, which is blocked by antagonizing HMGB1-RAGE interaction. These findings identify a novel Cx43/miR21/HMGB1/RANKL pathway involved in preventing osteocyte apoptosis that also controls osteoclast formation/recruitment and is impaired with aging.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/acel.12586DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5418188PMC
June 2017

Regulation of HIF1α under Hypoxia by APE1/Ref-1 Impacts CA9 Expression: Dual Targeting in Patient-Derived 3D Pancreatic Cancer Models.

Mol Cancer Ther 2016 11 17;15(11):2722-2732. Epub 2016 Aug 17.

Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, Indiana.

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related mortality in the United States. Aggressive treatment regimens have not changed the disease course, and the median survival has just recently reached a year. Several mechanisms are proposed to play a role in PDAC therapeutic resistance, including hypoxia, which creates a more aggressive phenotype with increased metastatic potential and impaired therapeutic efficacy. AP Endonuclease-1/Redox Effector Factor 1 (APE1/Ref-1) is a multifunctional protein possessing a DNA repair function in base excision repair and the ability to reduce oxidized transcription factors, enabling them to bind to their DNA target sequences. APE1/Ref-1 regulates several transcription factors involved in survival mechanisms, tumor growth, and hypoxia signaling. Here, we explore the mechanisms underlying PDAC cell responses to hypoxia and modulation of APE1/Ref-1 redox signaling activity, which regulates the transcriptional activation of hypoxia-inducible factor 1 alpha (HIF1α). Carbonic anhydrase IX (CA9) is regulated by HIF1α and functions as a part of the cellular response to hypoxia to regulate intracellular pH, thereby promoting cell survival. We hypothesized that modulating APE1/Ref-1 function will block activation of downstream transcription factors, STAT3 and HIF1α, interfering with the hypoxia-induced gene expression. We demonstrate APE1/Ref-1 inhibition in patient-derived and established PDAC cells results in decreased HIF1α-mediated induction of CA9. Furthermore, an ex vivo three-dimensional tumor coculture model demonstrates dramatic enhancement of APE1/Ref-1-induced cell killing upon dual targeting of APE1/Ref-1 and CA9. Both APE1/Ref-1 and CA9 are under clinical development; therefore, these studies have the potential to direct novel PDAC therapeutic treatment. Mol Cancer Ther; 15(11); 2722-32. ©2016 AACR.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-16-0253DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5097013PMC
November 2016

Allele-Specific Reprogramming of Cancer Metabolism by the Long Non-coding RNA CCAT2.

Mol Cell 2016 Feb 4;61(4):520-534. Epub 2016 Feb 4.

Department of Translational Molecular Pathology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77030, USA.

Altered energy metabolism is a cancer hallmark as malignant cells tailor their metabolic pathways to meet their energy requirements. Glucose and glutamine are the major nutrients that fuel cellular metabolism, and the pathways utilizing these nutrients are often altered in cancer. Here, we show that the long ncRNA CCAT2, located at the 8q24 amplicon on cancer risk-associated rs6983267 SNP, regulates cancer metabolism in vitro and in vivo in an allele-specific manner by binding the Cleavage Factor I (CFIm) complex with distinct affinities for the two subunits (CFIm25 and CFIm68). The CCAT2 interaction with the CFIm complex fine-tunes the alternative splicing of Glutaminase (GLS) by selecting the poly(A) site in intron 14 of the precursor mRNA. These findings uncover a complex, allele-specific regulatory mechanism of cancer metabolism orchestrated by the two alleles of a long ncRNA.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.molcel.2016.01.015DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4982398PMC
February 2016

Knockout of Vdac1 activates hypoxia-inducible factor through reactive oxygen species generation and induces tumor growth by promoting metabolic reprogramming and inflammation.

Cancer Metab 2015 26;3. Epub 2015 Aug 26.

Institute for Research on Cancer and Aging of Nice, CNRS-UMR 7284-Inserm U1081, University of Nice Sophia-Antipolis, Centre Antoine Lacassagne, 33 Ave de Valombrose, 06189 Nice, France.

Background: Mitochondria are more than just the powerhouse of cells; they dictate if a cell dies or survives. Mitochondria are dynamic organelles that constantly undergo fusion and fission in response to environmental conditions. We showed previously that mitochondria of cells in a low oxygen environment (hypoxia) hyperfuse to form enlarged or highly interconnected networks with enhanced metabolic efficacy and resistance to apoptosis. Modifications to the appearance and metabolic capacity of mitochondria have been reported in cancer. However, the precise mechanisms regulating mitochondrial dynamics and metabolism in cancer are unknown. Since hypoxia plays a role in the generation of these abnormal mitochondria, we questioned if it modulates mitochondrial function. The mitochondrial outer-membrane voltage-dependent anion channel 1 (VDAC1) is at center stage in regulating metabolism and apoptosis. We demonstrated previously that VDAC1 was post-translationally C-terminal cleaved not only in various hypoxic cancer cells but also in tumor tissues of patients with lung adenocarcinomas. Cells with enlarged mitochondria and cleaved VDAC1 were also more resistant to chemotherapy-stimulated cell death than normoxic cancer cells.

Results: Transcriptome analysis of mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEF) knocked out for Vdac1 highlighted alterations in not only cancer and inflammatory pathways but also in the activation of the hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF-1) signaling pathway in normoxia. HIF-1α was stable in normoxia due to accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which decreased respiration and glycolysis and maintained basal apoptosis. However, in hypoxia, activation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) in combination with maintenance of respiration and increased glycolysis counterbalanced the deleterious effects of enhanced ROS, thereby allowing Vdac1 (-/-) MEF to proliferate better than wild-type MEF in hypoxia. Allografts of RAS-transformed Vdac1 (-/-) MEF exhibited stabilization of both HIF-1α and HIF-2α, blood vessel destabilization, and a strong inflammatory response. Moreover, expression of Cdkn2a, a HIF-1-target and tumor suppressor gene, was markedly decreased. Consequently, RAS-transformed Vdac1 (-/-) MEF tumors grew faster than wild-type MEF tumors.

Conclusions: Metabolic reprogramming in cancer cells may be regulated by VDAC1 through vascular destabilization and inflammation. These findings provide new perspectives into the understanding of VDAC1 in the function of mitochondria not only in cancer but also in inflammatory diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40170-015-0133-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4551760PMC
August 2015

Enhancing Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation Efficacy by Mitigating Oxygen Shock.

Cell 2015 Jun 11;161(7):1553-65. Epub 2015 Jun 11.

Department of Microbiology/Immunology, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA. Electronic address:

Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) reside in hypoxic niches within bone marrow and cord blood. Yet, essentially all HSC studies have been performed with cells isolated and processed in non-physiologic ambient air. By collecting and manipulating bone marrow and cord blood in native conditions of hypoxia, we demonstrate that brief exposure to ambient oxygen decreases recovery of long-term repopulating HSCs and increases progenitor cells, a phenomenon we term extraphysiologic oxygen shock/stress (EPHOSS). Thus, true numbers of HSCs in the bone marrow and cord blood are routinely underestimated. We linked ROS production and induction of the mitochondrial permeability transition pore (MPTP) via cyclophilin D and p53 as mechanisms of EPHOSS. The MPTP inhibitor cyclosporin A protects mouse bone marrow and human cord blood HSCs from EPHOSS during collection in air, resulting in increased recovery of transplantable HSCs. Mitigating EPHOSS during cell collection and processing by pharmacological means may be clinically advantageous for transplantation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2015.04.054DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4480616PMC
June 2015

Ferroxitosis: a cell death from modulation of oxidative phosphorylation and PKM2-dependent glycolysis in melanoma.

Oncotarget 2014 Dec;5(24):12694-703

Department of Dermatology, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA.

Reliance on glycolysis is a characteristic of malignancy, yet the development of resistance to BRAF inhibitors in melanoma is associated with gain of mitochondrial function. Concurrent attenuation of oxidative phosphorylation and HIF-1α/PKM2-dependent glycolysis promotes a non-apoptotic, iron- and oxygen-dependent cell death that we term ferroxitosis. The redox cycling agent menadione causes a robust increase in oxygen consumption, accompanied by significant loss of intracellular ATP and rapid cell death. Conversely, either hypoxic adaptation or iron chelation prevents menadione-induced ferroxitosis. Ectopic expression of K213Q HIF-1α mutant blunts the effects of menadione. However, knockdown of HIF-1α or PKM2 restores menadione-induced cytotoxicity in hypoxia. Similarly, exposure of melanoma cells to shikonin, a menadione analog and a potential PKM2 inhibitor, is sufficient to induce ferroxitosis under hypoxic conditions. Collectively, our findings reveal that ferroxitosis curtails metabolic plasticity in melanoma.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4350353PMC
http://dx.doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.3031DOI Listing
December 2014

Apurinic/apyrimidinic endonuclease/redox factor-1 (APE1/Ref-1) redox function negatively regulates NRF2.

J Biol Chem 2015 Jan 9;290(5):3057-68. Epub 2014 Dec 9.

Microbiology and Immunology, Medicine,

Apurinic/apyrimidinic endonuclease/redox factor-1 (APE1/Ref-1) (henceforth referred to as Ref-1) is a multifunctional protein that in addition to its base excision DNA repair activity exerts redox control of multiple transcription factors, including nuclear factor κ-light chain enhancer of activated B cells (NF-κB), STAT3, activator protein-1 (AP-1), hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF-1), and tumor protein 53 (p53). In recent years, Ref-1 has emerged as a promising therapeutic target in cancer, particularly in pancreatic ductal carcinoma. Although a significant amount of research has centered on Ref-1, no wide-ranging approach had been performed on the effects of Ref-1 inhibition and transcription factor activity perturbation. Starting with a broader approach, we identified a previously unsuspected effect on the nuclear factor erythroid-related factor 2 (NRF2), a critical regulator of cellular defenses against oxidative stress. Based on genetic and small molecule inhibitor-based methodologies, we demonstrated that repression of Ref-1 potently activates NRF2 and its downstream targets in a dose-dependent fashion, and that the redox, rather than the DNA repair function of Ref-1 is critical for this effect. Intriguingly, our results also indicate that this pathway does not involve reactive oxygen species. The link between Ref-1 and NRF2 appears to be present in all cells tested in vitro, noncancerous and cancerous, including patient-derived tumor samples. In particular, we focused on understanding the implications of the novel interaction between these two pathways in primary pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma tumor cells and provide the first evidence that this mechanism has implications for overcoming the resistance against experimental drugs targeting Ref-1 activity, with clear translational implications.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M114.621995DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4317024PMC
January 2015

Hypoxia promotes stem cell phenotypes and poor prognosis through epigenetic regulation of DICER.

Nat Commun 2014 Oct 29;5:5203. Epub 2014 Oct 29.

Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and Campbell Family Institute for Cancer Research, University Health Network, Toronto, ON M5G 2M9, Canada.

MicroRNAs are small regulatory RNAs that post transcriptionally control gene expression. Reduced expression of DICER, the enzyme involved in microRNA processing, is frequently observed in cancer and is associated with poor clinical outcome in various malignancies. Yet, the underlying mechanisms are not well understood. Here we identify tumour hypoxia as a regulator of DICER expression in large cohorts of breast cancer patients. We show that DICER expression is suppressed by hypoxia through an epigenetic mechanism that involves inhibition of oxygen-dependent H3K27me3 demethylases KDM6A/B and results in silencing of the DICER promoter. Subsequently, reduced miRNA processing leads to derepression of the miR-200 target ZEB1, stimulates the epithelial to mesenchymal transition and ultimately results in the acquisition of stem cell phenotypes in human mammary epithelial cells. Our study uncovers a previously unknown relationship between oxygen-sensitive epigenetic regulators, miRNA biogenesis and tumour stem cell phenotypes that may underlie poor outcome in breast cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncomms6203DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4255228PMC
October 2014

Hypoxia-mediated downregulation of miRNA biogenesis promotes tumour progression.

Nat Commun 2014 Oct 29;5:5202. Epub 2014 Oct 29.

1] Department of Gynecologic Oncology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Boulevard, Houston, Texas 77030, USA [2] Center for RNA Interference and Non-Coding RNA, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Boulevard, Houston, Texas 77030, USA [3] Department of Cancer Biology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Boulevard, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.

Cancer-related deregulation of miRNA biogenesis has been suggested, but the underlying mechanisms remain elusive. Here we report a previously unrecognized effect of hypoxia in the downregulation of Drosha and Dicer in cancer cells that leads to dysregulation of miRNA biogenesis and increased tumour progression. We show that hypoxia-mediated downregulation of Drosha is dependent on ETS1/ELK1 transcription factors. Moreover, mature miRNA array and deep sequencing studies reveal altered miRNA maturation in cells under hypoxic conditions. At a functional level, this phenomenon results in increased cancer progression in vitro and in vivo, and data from patient samples are suggestive of miRNA biogenesis downregulation in hypoxic tumours. Rescue of Drosha by siRNAs targeting ETS1/ELK1 in vivo results in significant tumour regression. These findings provide a new link in the mechanistic understanding of global miRNA downregulation in the tumour microenvironment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncomms6202DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4215647PMC
October 2014

Gene Expression Analysis Reveals Distinct Pathways of Resistance to Bevacizumab in Xenograft Models of Human ER-Positive Breast Cancer.

J Cancer 2014 15;5(8):633-45. Epub 2014 Aug 15.

1. Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN; ; 3. Department of Medicine, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN;

Bevacizumab, the recombinant antibody targeting vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), improves progression-free but not overall survival in metastatic breast cancer. To seek further insights in resistance mechanisms to bevacizumab at the molecular level, we developed VEGF and non-VEGF-driven ER-positive MCF7-derived xenograft models allowing comparison of tumor response at different timepoints. VEGF gene (MV165) overexpressing xenografts were initially sensitive to bevacizumab, but eventually acquired resistance. In contrast, parental MCF7 cells derived tumors were de novo insensitive to bevacizumab. Microarray analysis with qRT-PCR validation revealed that Follistatin (FST) and NOTCH were the top signaling pathways associated with resistance in VEGF-driven tumors (P<0.05). Based on the presence of VEGF, treatment with bevacizumab resulted in altered patterns of metagenes and PAM50 gene expression. In VEGF-driven model after short and long-term bevacizumab treatments, a change in the intrinsic subtype (luminal to myoepithelial/basal-like) was observed in association with increased expression of genes implicated with cancer stem cell phenotype (P<0.05). Our results show that the presence or absence of VEGF expression affects the response to bevacizumab therapy and gene pathways. In particular, long-term bevacizumab treatment shifts the cancer cells to a more aggressive myoepithelial/basal subtype in VEGF-expressing model, but not in non-VEGF model. These findings could shed light on variable results to anti-VEGF therapy in patients and emphasize the importance of patient stratification based on the VEGF expression. Our data strongly suggest consideration of patient subgroups for treatment and designing novel combinatory therapies in the clinical setting.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7150/jca.8466DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4142325PMC
August 2014

Characterizing the heterogeneity of triple-negative breast cancers using microdissected normal ductal epithelium and RNA-sequencing.

Breast Cancer Res Treat 2014 Jan 29;143(1):57-68. Epub 2013 Nov 29.

Division of General Surgery, Department of Surgery, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN, USA,

Triple-negative breast cancers (TNBCs) are a heterogeneous set of tumors defined by an absence of actionable therapeutic targets (ER, PR, and HER-2). Microdissected normal ductal epithelium from healthy volunteers represents a novel comparator to reveal insights into TNBC heterogeneity and to inform drug development. Using RNA-sequencing data from our institution and The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) we compared the transcriptomes of 94 TNBCs, 20 microdissected normal breast tissues from healthy volunteers from the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Tissue Bank, and 10 histologically normal tissues adjacent to tumor. Pathway analysis comparing TNBCs to optimized normal controls of microdissected normal epithelium versus classic controls composed of adjacent normal tissue revealed distinct molecular signatures. Differential gene expression of TNBC compared with normal comparators demonstrated important findings for TNBC-specific clinical trials testing targeted agents; lack of over-expression for negative studies and over-expression in studies with drug activity. Next, by comparing each individual TNBC to the set of microdissected normals, we demonstrate that TNBC heterogeneity is attributable to transcriptional chaos, is associated with non-silent DNA mutational load, and explains transcriptional heterogeneity in addition to known molecular subtypes. Finally, chaos analysis identified 146 core genes dysregulated in >90 % of TNBCs revealing an over-expressed central network. In conclusion, use of microdissected normal ductal epithelium from healthy volunteers enables an optimized approach for studying TNBC and uncovers biological heterogeneity mediated by transcriptional chaos.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10549-013-2780-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3901081PMC
January 2014