ABT-737 promotes tBid mitochondrial accumulation to enhance TRAIL-induced apoptosis in glioblastoma cells
- To search for novel strategies to enhance the tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL)-induced apoptosis pathways in glioblastoma, we used the B-cell lymphoma 2/Bcl2-like 2-inhibitor ABT-737. Here we report that ABT-737 and TRAIL cooperate to induce apoptosis in several glioblastoma cell lines in a highly synergistic manner (combination index <0.1). Interestingly, the concerted action of ABT-737 and TRAIL to trigger the accumulation of truncated Bid (tBid) at mitochondrial membranes is identified as a key underlying mechanism. ABT-737 and TRAIL cooperate to cleave BH3-interacting domain death agonist (Bid) into its active fragment tBid, leading to increased accumulation of tBid at mitochondrial membranes. Coinciding with tBid accumulation, the activation of Bcl2-associated X protein (Bax), loss of mitochondrial membrane potential, release of cytochrome-c and second mitochondria-derived activator of caspase (Smac) into the cytosol and caspase activation are strongly increased in cotreated cells. Of note, knockdown of Bid significantly decreases ABT-737- and TRAIL-mediated Bax activation and apoptosis. Also, caspase-3 silencing reduces ABT-737- and TRAIL-induced Bid cleavage and apoptosis, indicating that a caspase-3-driven, mitochondrial feedback loop contributes to Bid processing. Importantly, ABT-737 profoundly enhances TRAIL-triggered apoptosis in primary cultured glioblastoma cells derived from tumor material, underlining the clinical relevance. Also, ABT-737 acts in concert with TRAIL to suppress tumor growth in an in vivo glioblastoma model. In conclusion, the rational combination of ABT-737 and TRAIL cooperates to trigger tBid mitochondrial accumulation and apoptosis. This approach presents a promising strategy for targeting the apoptosis pathways in glioblastoma, which warrants further investigation.
Shifting the balance of mitochondrial apoptosis: therapeutic perspectives
- Signaling via the intrinsic (mitochondrial) pathway of apoptosis represents one of the critical signal transduction cascades that control the regulation of cell death. This pathway is typically altered in human cancers, thereby providing a suitable target for therapeutic intervention. Members of the Bcl-2 family of proteins as well as cell survival signaling cascades such as the PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway are involved in the regulation of mitochondria-mediated apoptosis. Therefore, further insights into the molecular mechanisms that form the basis for the control of mitochondria-mediated apoptosis will likely open new perspectives to bypass evasion of apoptosis and treatment resistance in human cancers.
Ubiquitylation in immune disorders and cancer: from molecular mechanisms to therapeutic implications
- Conjugation of ubiquitin to proteins (ubiquitylation) has emerged to be one of the most crucial post-translational modifications controlling virtually all cellular processes. What was once regarded as a mere signal for protein degradation has turned out to be a major regulator of molecular signalling networks. Deregulation of ubiquitin signalling is closely associated with various human pathologies. Here, we summarize the current knowledge of ubiquitin signalling in immune deficiencies and cancer as well as the available therapeutic strategies targeting the ubiquitin system in combating these pathogenic conditions.
EFP1 is an ER stress-induced glycoprotein which interacts with the pro-apoptotic protein Par-4
- We have isolated the rat ortholog of EFP1 (EF-hand binding protein 1) as a novel interaction partner of the pro-apoptotic protein Par-4 (prostate apoptosis response-4). Rat EFP1 contains two thioredoxin domains, the COOH-terminal one harboring a CGFC motif, and has a similar protein domain structure as members of the protein disulfide isomerase (PDI) family. In REF52.2 and CHO cells, EFP1 colocalized with the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) marker PDI. Furthermore, EFP1 possesses catalytic activity as demonstrated by an insulin disulfide reduction assay. Western blot analysis revealed two EFP1 protein bands of approximately 136 and 155 kDa, representing different glycosylation states of the protein. Complex formation between EFP1 and Par-4 was confirmed in vitro and in vivo by co-immunoprecipitation, dot blot overlay and pull-down experiments. In CHO cells, coexpression of EFP1 and Par-4 resulted in enhanced Par-4-mediated apoptosis, which required the catalytic activity of EFP1. Interestingly, EFP1 was specifically upregulated in NIH3T3 cells after induction of ER stress by thapsigargin, tunicamycin, and brefeldin A, but not by agents that induce oxidative stress or ER-independent apoptosis. Furthermore, we could show that the induction of apoptosis by Ca2+ stress-inducing agents was significantly decreased after siRNA oligonucleotide-mediated knockdown of Par-4. Our data suggest that EFP1 might represent a cell-protective enzyme that could play an important role in the decision between survival and initiation of Par-4-mediated apoptosis.
Betulinic acid for cancer treatment and prevention
- Betulinic acid is a natural product with a range of biological effects, for example potent antitumor activity. This anticancer property is linked to its ability to induce apoptotic cell death in cancer cells by triggering the mitochondrial pathway of apoptosis. In contrast to the cytotoxicity of betulinic acid against a variety of cancer types, normal cells and tissue are relatively resistant to betulinic acid, pointing to a therapeutic window. Compounds that exert a direct action on mitochondria present promising experimental cancer therapeutics, since they may trigger cell death under circumstances in which standard chemotherapeutics fail. Thus, mitochondrion-targeted agents such as betulinic acid hold great promise as a novel therapeutic strategy in the treatment of human cancers.
Keywords: apoptosis, cancer, betulinic acid, mitochondria
Keywords: AIF, apoptosis inducing factor; Apaf-1, Apoptotic protease activating factor-1; BA, betulinic acid; DIABLO, direct IAP Binding protein with Low PI; HtrA2, high temperature requirement protein A; IAPs, Inhibitor of Apoptosis Proteins; MOMP, mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization; ROS, reactive oxygen species; PARP, Poly (ADP-ribose) Polymerase; Smac, second mitochondria-derived activator of caspase; TNF, tumor necrosis factor; TRAIL, tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand; zVAD.fmk, N-benzyloxycarbonyl-Val-Ala-Asp-fluoromethylketone
Targeting apoptosis signaling in pancreatic cancer
- The ability to escape apoptosis or programmed cell death is a hallmark of human cancers, for example pancreatic cancer. This can promote tumorigenesis, since too little cell death by apoptosis disturbs tissue homeostasis. Additionally, defective apoptosis signaling is the underlying cause of failure to respond to current treatment approaches, since therapy-mediated antitumor activity requires the intactness of apoptosis signaling pathways in cancer cells. Thus, the elucidation of defects in the regulation of apoptosis in pancreatic carcinoma can result in the identification of novel targets for therapeutic interference and for exploitation for cancer drug discovery. Keywords: apoptosis; pancreatic cancer; TRAIL; IAPs; mitochondria
Novel insights into the synergistic interaction of Bortezomib and TRAIL: tBid provides the link
- The proteasome inhibitor Bortezomib has been identified as a potent enhancer of TRAIL-induced apoptosis in several human cancers. However, the identification of the underlying molecular mechanisms of this synergistic cell death induction has been ongoing over the last years. A recent study identifies a new mechanism of action for the synergism of TRAIL and Bortezomib.
Interleukin-22 predicts severity and death in advanced liver cirrhosis: a prospective cohort study
Josef Martin Pfeilschifter
- Background: Interleukin-22 (IL-22), recently identified as a crucial parameter of pathology in experimental liver damage, may determine survival in clinical end-stage liver disease. Systematic analysis of serum IL-22 in relation to morbidity and mortality of patients with advanced liver cirrhosis has not been performed so far.
Methods: This is a prospective cohort study including 120 liver cirrhosis patients and 40 healthy donors to analyze systemic levels of IL-22 in relation to survival and hepatic complications.
Results: A total of 71% of patients displayed liver cirrhosis-related complications at study inclusion. A total of 23% of the patients died during a mean follow-up of 196 +/- 165 days. Systemic IL-22 was detectable in 74% of patients but only in 10% of healthy donors (P <0.001). Elevated levels of IL-22 were associated with ascites (P = 0.006), hepatorenal syndrome (P <0.0001), and spontaneous bacterial peritonitis (P = 0.001). Patients with elevated IL-22 (>18 pg/ml, n = 57) showed significantly reduced survival compared to patients with regular ([less than or equal to]18 pg/ml) levels of IL-22 (321 days versus 526 days, P = 0.003). Other factors associated with overall survival were high CRP ([greater than or equal to]2.9 mg/dl, P = 0.005, hazard ratio (HR) 0.314, confidence interval (CI) (0.141 to 0.702)), elevated serum creatinine (P = 0.05, HR 0.453, CI (0.203 to 1.012)), presence of liver-related complications (P = 0.028, HR 0.258 CI (0.077 to 0.862)), model of end stage liver disease (MELD) score [greater than or equal to]20 (P = 0.017, HR 0.364, CI (0.159 to 0.835)) and age (P = 0.011, HR 1.047, CI (1.011 to 1.085)). Adjusted multivariate Cox proportional-hazards analysis identified elevated systemic IL-22 levels as independent predictors of reduced survival (P = 0.007, HR 0.218, CI (0.072 to 0.662)).
Conclusions: In patients with liver cirrhosis, elevated systemic IL-22 levels are predictive for reduced survival independently from age, liver-related complications, CRP, creatinine and the MELD score. Thus, processes that lead to a rise in systemic interleukin-22 may be relevant for prognosis of advanced liver cirrhosis.
Asthma und Allergien bei Kindern : Ursachen, Konsequenzen, Therapiestrategien
- Die Häufigkeitsrate atopischer Erkrankungen bei Kindern, wie Heuschnupfen, Asthma, Neurodermitis (atopische Dermatitis), nimmt weltweit zu. Die Gründe sind vielschichtig. Gesichert ist der Zusammenhang zwischen der erblichen Überempfindlichkeit gegenüber natürlichen Substanzen (Atopie) und vermehrter Allergen- und Passivrauch-Exposition sowie Zunahme der Ein-Kind-Familien, Veränderung der mikrobiologischen Besiedlung des Darmes und Infektexposition. Besonders gut untersucht wurden diese Zusammenhänge von Erika von Mutius in einer Studie, in der sie von 1991 bis 1992 die Häufigkeit von Asthma in München (5030 Kinder) und Leipzig/Bitterfeld (2623 Kinder) verglichen hat.
ErbB2/HER2-specific NK cells for adoptive cancer immunotherapy
Joachim P. Steinbach
Winfried S. Wels
- Poster presentation: 28th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC)
Significant progress has been made over the last decade towards realizing the potential of natural killer (NK) cells for cancer immunotherapy. NK cells can respond rapidly to transformed and stressed cells, and have the intrinsic potential to extravasate and reach their targets in almost all body tissues. In addition to donor-derived primary NK cells, also continuously expanding cytotoxic cell lines such as NK-92 are being considered for adoptive cancer immunotherapy. High cytotoxicity of NK-92 has previously been shown against malignant cells of hematologic origin in preclinical studies, and general safety of infusion of NK-92 cells has been established in phase I clinical trials. To enhance their therapeutic utility, we genetically modified NK-92 cells to express chimeric antigen receptors (CAR) specific for tumor-associated surface antigens. Such CAR were composed of a tumor-specific scFv antibody fragment fused via hinge and transmembrane domains to intracellular signaling moieties such as CD3 zeta chain, or composite fusion molecules also containing a costimulatory protein domain in addition to CD3 zeta. For development towards clinical applications, here a codon-optimized second generation CAR was constructed that consists of an ErbB2-specific scFv antibody domain fused via a linker to a composite CD28-CD3 zeta signaling domain. GMP-compliant protocols for vector production, lentiviral transduction and expansion of a genetically modified NK-92 single cell clone (NK-92/5.28.z) were established. Functional analysis of NK-92/5.28.z cells revealed high and stable CAR expression, selective cytotoxicity against ErbB2-expressing but otherwise NK-resistant tumor cells of different origins in vitro, as well as homing to ErbB2-expressing tumors in vivo. Furthermore, antigen specificity and selective cytotoxicity of these cells were retained in vivo, resulting in antitumoral activity against subcutaneous and intracranial glioblastoma xenografts in NSG mice. Ongoing work now focuses on the development of these cells for adoptive immunotherapy of ErbB2-positive glioblastoma.