Publications by authors named "Suzanne M Quartuccio"

10 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

The oncogenic role of meiosis-specific Aurora kinase C in mitotic cells.

Exp Cell Res 2021 Aug 27;407(2):112803. Epub 2021 Aug 27.

Department of Biological Sciences, Seton Hall University, South Orange, NJ, USA. Electronic address:

Aberrant expression of meiosis-specific genes in cancer has recently emerged as a driver of some cancer formation. Aurora kinase C (AURKC) is a member of the Aurora kinase family of proteins known to regulate chromosome segregation during cell divisions. AURKC is normally expressed in meiotic cells; however, elevated levels of AURKC mRNA and protein are frequently measured in cancer cells. To understand the function of AURKC in cancer cells, expression was induced in noncancerous, human retina pigmented epithelial cells. While AURKC expression did not alter cell proliferation over 72 h, it did increase cell migration and anchorage independent growth in soft agar suggesting an oncogenic role in mitotically dividing cells. To evaluate AURKC as a potential therapeutic target, a frameshift mutation in the gene was introduced in U2OS osteosarcoma cells using CRISPR-Cas9 technology resulting in a premature stop codon. Cancer cells lacking AURKC displayed no change in cell proliferation over 72 h but did migrate less and formed fewer colonies in soft agar. Whole transcriptome sequencing analysis uncovered over 400 differentially expressed genes in U2OS cells with and without AURKC. GO analysis revealed alterations in proteinaceous extracellular matrix genes including COL1A1. These data indicate that therapeutics targeting AURKC could decrease cancer cell metastasis and disease progression. Because AURKC is transcriptionally silenced in normal mitotic cells, its disruption could specifically target cancer cells limiting the toxic side effects associated with current therapeutics.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.yexcr.2021.112803DOI Listing
August 2021

Haspin inhibition reveals functional differences of interchromatid axis-localized AURKB and AURKC.

Mol Biol Cell 2017 Aug 28;28(17):2233-2240. Epub 2017 Jun 28.

Department of Genetics, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Piscataway, NJ 08854

Aneuploidy is the leading genetic abnormality contributing to infertility, and chromosome segregation errors are common during female mammalian meiosis I (MI). Previous results indicate that haspin kinase regulates resumption of meiosis from prophase arrest, chromosome condensation, and kinetochore-microtubule attachments during early prometaphase of MI. Here we report that haspin inhibition in late prometaphase I causes acceleration of MI, bypass of the spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC), and loss of interchromatid axis-localized Aurora kinase C. Meiotic cells contain a second chromosomal passenger complex (CPC) population, with Aurora kinase B (AURKB) bound to INCENP. Haspin inhibition in oocytes from mice, where AURKB is the sole CPC kinase, does not alter MI completion timing, and no change in localization of the SAC protein, MAD2, is observed. These data suggest that AURKB on the interchromatid axis is not needed for SAC activation and illustrate a key difference between the functional capacities of the two AURK homologues.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1091/mbc.E16-12-0850DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5555651PMC
August 2017

Haspin kinase regulates microtubule-organizing center clustering and stability through Aurora kinase C in mouse oocytes.

J Cell Sci 2016 10 25;129(19):3648-3660. Epub 2016 Aug 25.

Department of Genetics, 145 Bevier Road, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Piscataway, NJ 08854-8082, USA

Meiotic oocytes lack classic centrosomes and, therefore, bipolar spindle assembly depends on clustering of acentriolar microtubule-organizing centers (MTOCs) into two poles. However, the molecular mechanism regulating MTOC assembly into two poles is not fully understood. The kinase haspin (also known as GSG2) is required to regulate Aurora kinase C (AURKC) localization at chromosomes during meiosis I. Here, we show that inhibition of haspin perturbed MTOC clustering into two poles and the stability of the clustered MTOCs. Furthermore, we show that AURKC localizes to MTOCs in mouse oocytes. Inhibition of haspin perturbed the localization of AURKC at MTOCs, and overexpression of AURKC rescued the MTOC-clustering defects in haspin-inhibited oocytes. Taken together, our data uncover a role for haspin as a regulator of bipolar spindle assembly by regulating AURKC function at acentriolar MTOCs in oocytes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1242/jcs.189340DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5087654PMC
October 2016

Functions of Aurora kinase C in meiosis and cancer.

Front Cell Dev Biol 2015 20;3:50. Epub 2015 Aug 20.

Department of Genetics, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey Piscataway, NJ, USA.

The mammalian genome encodes three Aurora kinase protein family members: A, B, and C. While Aurora kinase A (AURKA) and B (AURKB) are found in cells throughout the body, significant protein levels of Aurora kinase C (AURKC) are limited to cells that undergo meiosis (sperm and oocyte). Despite its discovery nearly 20 years ago, we know little about the function of AURKC compared to that of the other 2 Aurora kinases. This lack of understanding can be attributed to the high sequence homology between AURKB and AURKC preventing the use of standard approaches to understand non-overlapping and meiosis I (MI)-specific functions of the two kinases. Recent evidence has revealed distinct functions of AURKC in meiosis and may aid in our understanding of why chromosome segregation during MI often goes awry in oocytes. Many cancers aberrantly express AURKC, but because we do not fully understand AURKC function in its normal cellular context, it is difficult to predict the biological significance of this expression on the disease. Here, we consolidate and update what is known about AURKC signaling in meiotic cells to better understand why it has oncogenic potential.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fcell.2015.00050DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4542505PMC
September 2015

Tumorigenesis and peritoneal colonization from fallopian tube epithelium.

Oncotarget 2015 Aug;6(24):20500-12

Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA.

Ovarian cancer is the most lethal gynecological malignancy, primarily because its origin and initiation factors are unknown. A secretory murine oviductal epithelial (MOE) model was generated to address the hypothesis that the fallopian tube is an origin for high-grade serous cancer. MOE cells were stably altered to express mutation in p53, silence PTEN, activate AKT, and amplify KRAS alone and in combination, to define if this cell type gives rise to tumors and what genetic alterations are required to drive malignancy. Cell lines were characterized in vitro and allografted into mice. Silencing PTEN formed high-grade carcinoma with wide spread tumor explants including metastasis into the ovary. Addition of p53 mutation to PTEN silencing did not enhance this phenotype, whereas addition of KRAS mutation reduced survival. Interestingly, PTEN silencing and KRAS mutation originating from ovarian surface epithelium generated endometrioid carcinoma, suggesting that different cellular origins with identical genetic manipulations can give rise to distinct cancer histotypes. Defining the roles of specific signaling modifications in tumorigenesis from the fallopian tube/oviduct is essential for early detection and development of targeted therapeutics. Further, syngeneic MOE allografts provide an ideal model for pre-clinical testing in an in vivo environment with an intact immune system.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4653021PMC
http://dx.doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.3985DOI Listing
August 2015

Mutant p53 expression in fallopian tube epithelium drives cell migration.

Int J Cancer 2015 Oct 11;137(7):1528-38. Epub 2015 Apr 11.

Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy, Center for Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, College of Pharmacy, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL.

Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer death among US women. Evidence supports the hypothesis that high-grade serous ovarian cancers (HGSC) may originate in the distal end of the fallopian tube. Although a heterogeneous disease, 96% of HGSC contain mutations in p53. In addition, the "p53 signature," or overexpression of p53 protein (usually associated with mutation), is a potential precursor lesion of fallopian tube derived HGSC suggesting an essential role for p53 mutation in early serous tumorigenesis. To further clarify p53-mutation dependent effects on cells, murine oviductal epithelial cells (MOE) were stably transfected with a construct encoding for the R273H DNA binding domain mutation in p53, the most common mutation in HGSC. Mutation in p53 was not sufficient to transform MOE cells but did significantly increase cell migration. A similar p53 mutation in murine ovarian surface epithelium (MOSE), another potential progenitor cell for serous cancer, was not sufficient to transform the cells nor change migration suggesting tissue specific effects of p53 mutation. Microarray data confirmed expression changes of pro-migratory genes in p53(R273H) MOE compared to parental cells, which could be reversed by suppressing Slug expression. Combining p53(R273H) with KRAS(G12V) activation caused transformation of MOE into high-grade sarcomatoid carcinoma when xenografted into nude mice. Elucidating the specific role of p53(R273H) in the fallopian tube will improve understanding of changes at the earliest stage of transformation. This information can help develop chemopreventative strategies to prevent the accumulation of additional mutations and reverse progression of the "p53 signature" thereby, improving survival rates.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijc.29528DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4503498PMC
October 2015

Three-dimensional modeling of the human fallopian tube fimbriae.

Gynecol Oncol 2015 Feb 16;136(2):348-54. Epub 2014 Dec 16.

Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy, College of Pharmacy, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL 60607, USA. Electronic address:

Objective: Ovarian cancer is the most lethal gynecological malignancy that affects women. Recent data suggests that the disease may originate in the fallopian fimbriae; however, the anatomical origin of ovarian carcinogenesis remains unclear. This is largely driven by our lack of knowledge regarding the structure and function of normal fimbriae and the relative paucity of models that accurately recapitulate the in vivo fallopian tube. Therefore, a human three-dimensional (3D) culture system was developed to examine the role of the fallopian fimbriae in serous tumorigenesis.

Methods: Alginate matrix was utilized to support human fallopian fimbriae ex vivo. Fimbriae were cultured with factors hypothesized to contribute to carcinogenesis, namely; H2O2 (1mM) a mimetic of oxidative stress, insulin (5μg/ml) to stimulate glycolysis, and estradiol (E2, 10nM) which peaks before ovulation. Cultures were evaluated for changes in proliferation and p53 expression, criteria utilized to identify potential precursor lesions. Further, secretory factors were assessed after treatment with E2 to identify if steroid signaling induces a pro-tumorigenic microenvironment.

Results: 3D fimbriae cultures maintained normal tissue architecture up to 7days, retaining both epithelial subtypes. Treatment of cultures with H2O2 or insulin significantly induced proliferation. However, p53 stabilization was unaffected by any particular treatment, although it was induced by ex vivo culturing. Moreover, E2-alone treatment significantly induced its canonical target PR and expression of IL8, a factor linked to poor outcome.

Conclusions: 3D alginate cultures of human fallopian fimbriae provide an important microphysiological model, which can be further utilized to investigate serous tumorigenesis originating from the fallopian tube.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ygyno.2014.12.015DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4358821PMC
February 2015

Mutation or loss of p53 differentially modifies TGFβ action in ovarian cancer.

PLoS One 2014 20;9(2):e89553. Epub 2014 Feb 20.

Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy, Center for Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, United States of America.

Ovarian cancer is the most lethal gynecological disease affecting women in the US. The Cancer Genome Atlas Network identified p53 mutations in 96% of high-grade serous ovarian carcinomas, demonstrating its critical role. Additionally, the Transforming Growth Factor Beta (TGFβ) pathway is dysfunctional in various malignancies, including ovarian cancer. This study investigated how expression of wild-type, mutant, or the absence of p53 alters ovarian cancer cell response to TGFβ signaling, as well as the response of the ovarian surface epithelium and the fallopian tube epithelium to TGFβ. Only ovarian cancer cells expressing wild-type p53 were growth inhibited by TGFβ, while ovarian cancer cells that were mutant or null p53 were not. TGFβ induced migration in p53 null SKOV3 cells, which was not observed in SKOV3 cells with stable expression of mutant p53 R273H. Knockdown of wild-type p53 in the OVCA 420 ovarian cancer cells enhanced cell migration in response to TGFβ. Increased protein expression of DKK1 and TMEPAI, two pro-invasive genes with enhanced expression in late stage metastatic ovarian cancer, was observed in p53 knockdown and null cells, while cells stably expressing mutant p53 demonstrated lower DKK1 and TMEPAI induction. Expression of mutant p53 or loss of p53 permit continued proliferation of ovarian cancer cell lines in the presence of TGFβ; however, cells expressing mutant p53 exhibit reduced migration and decreased protein levels of DKK1 and TMEPAI.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0089553PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3930740PMC
March 2015

Conditional inactivation of p53 in mouse ovarian surface epithelium does not alter MIS driven Smad2-dominant negative epithelium-lined inclusion cysts or teratomas.

PLoS One 2013 31;8(5):e65067. Epub 2013 May 31.

Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, United States of America.

Epithelial ovarian cancer is the most lethal gynecological malignancy among US women. The etiology of this disease, although poorly understood, may involve the ovarian surface epithelium or the epithelium of the fallopian tube fimbriae as the progenitor cell. Disruptions in the transforming growth factor beta (TGFβ) pathway and p53 are frequently found in chemotherapy-resistant serous ovarian tumors. Transgenic mice expressing a dominant negative form of Smad2 (Smad2DN), a downstream transcription factor of the TGFβ signaling pathway, targeted to tissues of the reproductive tract were created on a FVB background. These mice developed epithelium-lined inclusion cysts, a potential precursor lesion to ovarian cancer, which morphologically resembled oviductal epithelium but exhibited protein expression more closely resembling the ovarian surface epithelium. An additional genetic "hit" of p53 deletion was predicted to result in ovarian tumors. Tissue specific deletion of p53 in the ovaries and oviducts alone was attempted through intrabursal or intraoviductal injection of Cre-recombinase expressing adenovirus (AdCreGFP) into p53 (flox/flox) mice. Ovarian bursal cysts were detected in some mice 6 months after intrabursal injection. No pathological abnormalities were detected in mice with intraoviductal injections, which may be related to decreased infectivity of the oviductal epithelium with adenovirus as compared to the ovarian surface epithelium. Bitransgenic mice, expressing both the Smad2DN transgene and p53 (flox/flox), were then exposed to AdCreGFP in the bursa and oviductal lumen. These mice did not develop any additional phenotypes. Exposure to AdCreGFP is not an effective methodology for conditional deletion of floxed genes in oviductal epithelium and tissue specific promoters should be employed in future mouse models of the disease. In addition, a novel phenotype was observed in mice with high expression of the Smad2DN transgene as validated through qPCR analysis, characterized by teratoma-like lesions implicating Smad signaling in teratoma development.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0065067PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3669126PMC
January 2014

Early transformative changes in normal ovarian surface epithelium induced by oxidative stress require Akt upregulation, DNA damage and epithelial-stromal interaction.

Carcinogenesis 2013 May 8;34(5):1125-33. Epub 2013 Jan 8.

Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL 60607, USA.

Ovarian cancer is the deadliest gynecological malignancy due to detection of cancer at a late stage when the disease has metastasized. One likely progenitor cell type of ovarian cancer is the ovarian surface epithelium (OSE), which proliferates rapidly in the presence of inflammatory cytokines and oxidative stress following ovulation. To determine whether oxidative stress induces DNA damage leading to spontaneous transformative changes in normal OSE, an immortalized mouse OSE cell line (MOSE cells) or normal mouse ovarian organoids were treated with hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and loss of contact inhibition was assessed by soft agar assay. In response to H2O2, OSE cells grown in 3D exhibited growth in soft agar but MOSE cells grown on 2D plastic did not, indicating a critical role for epithelial-stromal interactions in neoplastic initiation. Loss of contact inhibition in response to H2O2 correlated with an increase in proliferation, DNA damage and upregulation of the oncogene Akt1. Use of a reactive oxygen species scavenger or Akt inhibitor blocked H2O2-induced proliferation and growth in soft agar. Although parental MOSE cells did not undergo transformation by H2O2, MOSE cells stably overexpressing constitutively active myristoylated Akt or knockdown of phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) exhibited loss of contact inhibition and increased proliferation. This study indicates that normal OSE undergo transformative changes induced by oxidative stress and that this process requires Akt upregulation and activation. A 3D model that retains tissue architecture is critical for studying this process and may lead to development of new intervention strategies directed at early stages of ovarian cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/carcin/bgt003DOI Listing
May 2013
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