Publications by authors named "Sofia Bellou"

10 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Embryonic stem cells are devoid of macropinocytosis, a trafficking pathway for activin A in differentiated cells.

J Cell Sci 2021 07 12;134(13). Epub 2021 Jul 12.

Foundation for Research & Technology-Hellas (FORTH), Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (IMBB), Department of Biomedical Research, Ioannina, 45110, Greece.

Ligand-receptor complexes formed at the plasma membrane are internalised via various endocytic pathways that influence the ultimate signalling output by regulating the selection of interaction partners by the complex along the trafficking route. We report that, in differentiated cells, activin A-receptor complexes are internalised via clathrin-mediated endocytosis (CME) and macropinocytosis (MP), whereas in human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) internalisation occurs via CME. We further show that hESCs are devoid of MP, which becomes functional upon differentiation towards endothelial cells through mesoderm mediators. Our results reveal, for the first time, that MP is an internalisation route for activin A in differentiated cells, and that MP is not active in hESCs and is induced as cells differentiate.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1242/jcs.246892DOI Listing
July 2021

Amplifying and broadening the cytotoxic profile of quercetin in cancer cell lines through bioconjugation.

Amino Acids 2018 02 28;50(2):279-291. Epub 2017 Nov 28.

Section of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry, Department of Chemistry, University of Ioannina, Ioannina, 45110, Greece.

Quercetin is a flavonoid presenting cytotoxicity against different cancer cell lines. We hypothesized that its core could serve as a scaffold for generating more potent compounds. A quercetin-alanine bioconjugate was synthesized, its cellular internalization was monitored through confocal microscopy and its cytotoxic activity was explored against ten different cell lines. The bioconjugate consistently illustrated enhanced cytotoxic activity with respect to the parent compound. A threefold enhancement in its cytotoxicity was revealed for HeLa, A549, MCF-7 and LNCaP cells. In silico studies suggested that quercetin-alanine possesses enhanced binding affinity to human estrogen receptor alpha corroborating to its activity to MCF-7, overexpressing this receptor. Spectrofluorimetric, calorimetric and in silico studies revealed that quercetin-alanine binds primarily to Sudlow site I of serum albumin mainly through hydrogen bonding. Through this array of experiments we discovered that the specific compound bears a more refined pharmaceutical profile in contrast to quercetin in terms of cytotoxicity, while at the same time preserves its affinity to serum albumin. Natural products could thus offer a potent scaffold to develop bioconjugates with amplified therapeutic window.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00726-017-2514-2DOI Listing
February 2018

Retrotransposon expression and incorporation of cloned human and mouse retroelements in human spermatozoa.

Fertil Steril 2017 03 27;107(3):821-830. Epub 2017 Jan 27.

Laboratory of Medical Genetics of Human Reproduction, Medical School, Ioannina University, Ioannina, Greece; Medical Genetics and Assisted Reproduction Unit, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Ioannina University Hospital, Ioannina, Greece. Electronic address:

Objective: To investigate the expression of long interspersed element (LINE) 1, human endogenous retrovirus (HERV) K10, and short interspersed element-VNTR-Alu element (SVA) retrotransposons in ejaculated human spermatozoa by means of reverse-transcription (RT) polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis as well as the potential incorporation of cloned human and mouse active retroelements in human sperm cell genome.

Design: Laboratory study.

Setting: University research laboratories and academic hospital.

Patient(s): Normozoospermic and oligozoospermic white men.

Intervention(s): RT-PCR analysis was performed to confirm the retrotransposon expression in human spermatozoa. Exogenous retroelements were tagged with a plasmid containing a green fluorescence (EGFP) retrotransposition cassette, and the de novo retrotransposition events were tested with the use of PCR, fluorescence-activated cell sorting analysis, and confocal microscopy.

Main Outcome Measure(s): Retroelement expression in human spermatozoa, incorporation of cloned human and mouse active retroelements in human sperm genome, and de novo retrotransposition events in human spermatozoa.

Result(s): RT-PCR products of expressed human LINE-1, HERV-K10, and SVA retrotransposons were observed in ejaculated human sperm samples. The incubation of human spermatozoa with either retrotransposition-active human LINE-1 and HERV-K10 or mouse reverse transcriptase-deficient VL30 retrotransposons tagged with an EGFP-based retrotransposition cassette led to EGFP-positive spermatozo; 16.67% of the samples were positive for retrotransposition. The respective retrotransposition frequencies for the LINE-1, HERV-K10, and VL30 retrotransposons in the positive samples were 0.34 ± 0.13%, 0.37 ± 0.17%, and 0.30 ± 0.14% per sample of 10,000 spermatozoa.

Conclusion(s): Our results show that: 1) LINE-1, HERV-K10, and SVA retrotransposons are transcriptionally expressed in human spermatozoa; 2) cloned active retroelements of human and mammalian origin can be incorporated in human sperm genome; 3) active reverse transcriptases exist in human spermatozoa; and 4) de novo retrotransposition events occur in human spermatozoa.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fertnstert.2016.12.027DOI Listing
March 2017

DNA-histone complexes as ligands amplify cell penetration and nuclear targeting of anti-DNA antibodies via energy-independent mechanisms.

Immunology 2016 Jan 24;147(1):73-81. Epub 2015 Nov 24.

Immunology Laboratory, Immunology Department, Hellenic Pasteur Institute, Athens, Greece.

We have generated three monoclonal cell-penetrating antibodies (CPAbs) from a non-immunized lupus-prone (NZB × NZW)F1 mouse that exhibited high anti-DNA serum titres. These CPAbs are polyreactive because they bind to DNA and other cellular components, and localize mainly in the nucleus of HeLa cells, albeit with a distinct nuclear labelling profile. Herein, we have examined whether DNA-histone complexes (DHC) binding to CPAbs, before cell entry, could modify the cell penetration of CPAbs or their nuclear staining properties. By applying confocal microscopy and image analysis, we found that extracellular binding of purified CPAbs to DHC significantly enhanced their subsequent cell-entry, both in terms of percentages of positively labelled cells and fluorescence intensity (internalized CPAb amount), whereas there was a variable effect on their nuclear staining profile. Internalization of CPAbs, either alone or bound to DHC, remained unaltered after the addition of endocytosis-specific inhibitors at 37° or assay performance at 4°, suggesting the involvement of energy-independent mechanisms in the internalization process. These findings assign to CPAbs a more complex pathogenetic role in systemic lupus erythematosus where both CPAbs and nuclear components are abundant.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/imm.12542DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4693875PMC
January 2016

VEGF signaling, mTOR complexes, and the endoplasmic reticulum: Towards a role of metabolic sensing in the regulation of angiogenesis.

Mol Cell Oncol 2014 Jul-Sep;1(3):e964024. Epub 2014 Dec 23.

Foundation of Research and Technology-Hellas; Institute of Molecular Biology & Biotechnology - Department of Biomedical Research; Ioannina, Greece; Laboratory of Biological Chemistry; Medical School; University of Ioannina; Ioannina, Greece.

Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) activates unfolded protein response sensors in the endoplasmic reticulum through phospholipase C gamma (PLCγ)-mediated crosstalk with mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1). Activation of transcription factor 6 (ATF6) and protein kinase RNA-like endoplasmic reticulum kinase (PERK) activate mTORC2, ensuring maximal endothelial cell survival and angiogenic activity through phosphorylation of AKT on Ser473. As mTORC1 is a metabolic sensor, metabolic signals may be integrated with signals from VEGF in the regulation of angiogenesis.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.4161/23723548.2014.964024DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4904886PMC
June 2016

VEGF Signals through ATF6 and PERK to promote endothelial cell survival and angiogenesis in the absence of ER stress.

Mol Cell 2014 May 17;54(4):559-72. Epub 2014 Apr 17.

Division of Biomedical Research, Foundation of Research and Technology-Hellas, Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, University Campus, 45110 Ioannina, Greece; Laboratory of Biological Chemistry, Medical School, University of Ioannina, 45110 Ioannina, Greece. Electronic address:

Accumulation of unfolded proteins in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) initiates IRE1α, ATF6, and PERK cascades, leading to a transcriptional/translational response known as unfolded protein response (UPR). Here we show that VEGF activates UPR mediators through a PLCγ-mediated crosstalk with the mTORC1 complex without accumulation of unfolded proteins in the ER. Activation of ATF6 and PERK contributes to the survival effect of VEGF on endothelial cells (ECs) by positively regulating mTORC2-mediated phosphorylation of AKT on Ser473, which is required for full activity of AKT. Low levels of CHOP allow ECs to evade the proapoptotic effect of this UPR product. Depletion of PLCγ, ATF6, or eIF2α dramatically inhibited VEGF-induced vascularization in mouse Matrigel plugs, suggesting that the ER and the UPR machinery constitute components of the VEGF signaling circuit that regulates EC survival and angiogenesis, extending their role beyond adaptation to ER stress.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.molcel.2014.03.022DOI Listing
May 2014

Insulin resistance: an adaptive mechanism becomes maladaptive in the current environment - an evolutionary perspective.

Metabolism 2013 May 20;62(5):622-33. Epub 2012 Dec 20.

Department of Endocrinology, Medical School, University of Ioannina, 45110 Ioannina, Greece.

Human survival has relied upon the ability to withstand starvation through energy storage, the capacity to fight off infection by a proinflammatory immune response, and the ability to cope with physical stressors by an adaptive stress response. Energy storage, mainly as glycogen in liver and triglycerides in adipose tissue, is regulated by the anabolic actions of insulin. On the other hand, mobilization of stored energy during infection, trauma or stress is served by the temporary inhibition of insulin action (insulin resistance) in target tissues by proinflammatory cytokines and stress hormones. In the current environment, high energy intake, low physical activity, and chronic stress favor the storage of surplus fat in adipose tissue depots that far exceeds their storage capacity and liporegulation. Lipid overload in central fat depots initiates an inflammatory response and adipocyte dysfunction with resultant low-grade systemic inflammation and lipid overflow to peripheral tissues. In turn, proinflammatory cytokines and non-oxidized lipid metabolites, accumulated in liver and muscle cells, activate the mechanism of insulin resistance as would occur in the case of infection or stress. The same factors together with the ensuing insulin resistance further contribute to pancreatic β-cell dysfunction and ultimately to type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The present review supports the hypothesis that insulin resistance evolved as a physiological adaptive mechanism in human survival and that the same mechanism is inappropriately activated on a chronic basis in the current environment, leading to the manifestations of the metabolic syndrome.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.metabol.2012.11.004DOI Listing
May 2013

The isoflavone metabolite 6-methoxyequol inhibits angiogenesis and suppresses tumor growth.

Mol Cancer 2012 May 14;11:35. Epub 2012 May 14.

Department of Biomedical Research, Foundation of Research and Technology-Hellas, Institute of Molecular Biology & Biotechnology, University Campus, 45110, Ioannina, Greece.

Background: Increased consumption of plant-based diets has been linked to the presence of certain phytochemicals, including polyphenols such as flavonoids. Several of these compounds exert their protective effect via inhibition of tumor angiogenesis. Identification of additional phytochemicals with potential antiangiogenic activity is important not only for understanding the mechanism of the preventive effect, but also for developing novel therapeutic interventions.

Results: In an attempt to identify phytochemicals contributing to the well-documented preventive effect of plant-based diets on cancer incidence and mortality, we have screened a set of hitherto untested phytoestrogen metabolites concerning their anti-angiogenic effect, using endothelial cell proliferation as an end point. Here, we show that a novel phytoestrogen, 6-methoxyequol (6-ME), inhibited VEGF-induced proliferation of human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVE) cells, whereas VEGF-induced migration and survival of HUVE cells remained unaffected. In addition, 6-ME inhibited FGF-2-induced proliferation of bovine brain capillary endothelial (BBCE) cells. In line with its role in cell proliferation, 6-ME inhibited VEGF-induced phosphorylation of ERK1/2 MAPK, the key cascade responsible for VEGF-induced proliferation of endothelial cells. In this context, 6-ME inhibited in a dose dependent manner the phosphorylation of MEK1/2, the only known upstream activator of ERK1/2. 6-ME did not alter VEGF-induced phosphorylation of p38 MAPK or AKT, compatible with the lack of effect on VEGF-induced migration and survival of endothelial cells. Peri-tumor injection of 6-ME in A-431 xenograft tumors resulted in reduced tumor growth with suppressed neovasularization compared to vehicle controls (P < 0.01).

Conclusions: 6-ME inhibits VEGF- and FGF2-induced proliferation of ECs by targeting the phosphorylation of MEK1/2 and it downstream substrate ERK1/2, both key components of the mitogenic MAPK pathway. Injection of 6-ME in mouse A-431 xenograft tumors results to tumors with decreased neovascularization and reduced tumor volume suggesting that 6-ME may be developed to a novel anti-angiogenic agent in cancer treatment.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1476-4598-11-35DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3406996PMC
May 2012

Immunohistochemical study of the epithelial-mesenchymal transition phenotype in cancer of unknown primary: incidence, correlations and prognostic utility.

Anticancer Res 2012 Apr;32(4):1273-81

Department of Medical Oncology, Medical School, University of Ioannina, Greece.

Background: The epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) has been associated with metastatic dissemination and poor outcome in several solid tumour types. Our aim was to study its incidence and its prognostic significance in cancer of unknown primary (CUP).

Patients And Methods: One hundred tumour samples of CUP were loaded in tissue microarrays and were studied for immunohistochemical (IHC) expression of E-cadherin, N-cadherin, vimentin, the EMT transcription factor (SNAIL) and the stem cell marker octamer-binding transcription marker 4(OCT4). An EMT phenotype was defined as low expression of E-cadherin, expression of N-cadherin with/without vimentin with concomitant expression of SNAIL, as assessed by percentage of tumour cell staining.

Results: Among 100 CUP cases, the histological diagnosis was adenocarcinoma in 55, squamous carcinoma in 20 and undifferentiated carcinoma in 15, with a high grade seen in 46. Therapy consisted of palliative chemotherapy, mostly platinum based. The median progression-free survival and overall survival (OS) were 7 and 12 months respectively. Distributional studies resulted in selection of IHC cut-offs for E-cadherin (negative when expressed in <60% of tumour cells), N-cadherin, vimentin (positive when expressed in ≥40% of tumour cells), SNAIL (positive when stained in ≥80% of tumour cells). An EMT phenotype was observed in 8 cases (8.1%) and was strongly associated with poor OS (median OS EMT(-)=13 months vs. median OS EMT(+)=8 months, p=0.023). When we used staining intensity (H-Score), an EMT phenotype was observed in 16 patients and carried borderline adverse prognostic utility for outcome (median OS 9 vs. 14 months, p=0.07). The presence of the EMT phenotype correlated significantly with male gender, high grade and presence of visceral metastases (χ(2) p<0.05), while EMT mediator expression was correlated to high NOTCH 2/3 expression. Other factors, prognostic for poor survival, were male gender, PS≥2, non-platinum therapy (χ(2) p<0.05).

Conclusion: EMT is infrequently seen in tumours of CUP. However, an adverse prognostic significance for patient outcome has been identified and may warrant studies of therapeutic targeting.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
April 2012

VEGF autoregulates its proliferative and migratory ERK1/2 and p38 cascades by enhancing the expression of DUSP1 and DUSP5 phosphatases in endothelial cells.

Am J Physiol Cell Physiol 2009 Dec 9;297(6):C1477-89. Epub 2009 Sep 9.

University of Ioannina, Greece.

Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a key angiogenic factor that regulates proliferation and migration of endothelial cells via phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase-1/2 (ERK1/2) and p38, respectively. Here, we demonstrate that VEGF strongly induces the transcription of two dual-specificity phosphatase (DUSP) genes DUSP1 and DUSP5 in endothelial cells. Using fluorescence microscopy, fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM), and fluorescence cross-correlation spectroscopy (FCCS), we found that DUSP1/mitogen-activated protein kinases phosphatase-1 (MKP-1) was localized in both the nucleus and cytoplasm of endothelial cells, where it existed in complex with p38 (effective dissociation constant, K(D)(eff), values of 294 and 197 nM, respectively), whereas DUSP5 was localized in the nucleus of endothelial cells in complex with ERK1/2 (K(D)(eff) 345 nM). VEGF administration affected differentially the K(D)(eff) values of the DUSP1/p38 and DUSP5/ERK1/2 complexes. Gain-of-function and lack-of-function approaches revealed that DUSP1/MKP-1 dephosphorylates primarily VEGF-phosphorylated p38, thereby inhibiting endothelial cell migration, whereas DUSP5 dephosphorylates VEGF-phosphorylated ERK1/2 inhibiting proliferation of endothelial cells. Moreover, DUSP5 exhibited considerable nuclear anchoring activity on ERK1/2 in the nucleus, thereby diminishing ERK1/2 export to the cytoplasm decreasing its further availability for activation.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1152/ajpcell.00058.2009DOI Listing
December 2009
-->