Mechanism-based cancer prevention approaches: targets, examples, and the use of transgenic mice.
Humans are exposed to a wide variety of carcinogenic insults, including endogenous and man-made chemicals, radiation, physical agents, and viruses. The ultimate goal of carcinogenesis research is to elucidate the processes involved in the induction of human cancer so that interventions may be developed to prevent the disease, either in the general population or in susceptible subpopulations. Progress to date in the carcinogenesis field, particularly regarding the mechanisms of chemically induced cancer, has revealed several points along the carcinogenesis pathway that may be amenable to mechanism-based prevention strategies. The purpose of this review is to examine the basic mechanisms and stages of chemical carcinogenesis, with an emphasis on ways in which preventive interventions can modify those processes. Possible ways of interfering with tumor initiation events include the following: i) modifying carcinogen activation by inhibiting enzymes responsible for that activation or by direct scavenging of DNA-reactive electrophiles and free radicals; ii) enhancing carcinogen detoxification processes by altering the activity of the detoxifying enzymes; and iii) modulating certain DNA repair processes. Possible ways of blocking the processes involved in the promotion and progression stages of carcinogenesis include the following: i) scavenging of reactive oxygen species; ii) altering the expression of genes involved in cell signaling, particularly those regulating cell proliferation, apoptosis, and differentiation; and iii) decreasing inflammation. In addition, the utility for mechanism-based cancer prevention research of new animal models that are based on the overexpression or inactivation of specific cancer-related genes is examined. (+info)
Liver-specific inactivation of the abetalipoproteinemia gene completely abrogates very low density lipoprotein/low density lipoprotein production in a viable conditional knockout mouse.
Conventional knockout of the microsomal triglyceride transfer protein large subunit (lMTP) gene is embryonic lethal in the homozygous state in mice. We have produced a conditional lMTP knockout mouse by inserting loxP sequences flanking exons 5 and 6 by gene targeting. Homozygous floxed mice were born live with normal plasma lipids. Intravenous injection of an adenovirus harboring Cre recombinase (AdCre1) produced deletion of exons 5 and 6 and disappearance of lMTP mRNA and immunoreactive protein in a liver-specific manner. There was also disappearance of plasma apolipoprotein (apo) B-100 and marked reduction in apoB-48 levels. Wild-type mice showed no response, and heterozygous mice, an intermediate response, to AdCre1. Wild-type mice doubled their plasma cholesterol level following a high cholesterol diet. This hypercholesterolemia was abolished in AdCre1-treated lMTP-/- mice, the result of a complete absence of very low/intermediate/low density lipoproteins and a slight reduction in high density lipoprotein. Heterozygous mice showed an intermediate lipoprotein phenotype. The rate of accumulation of plasma triglyceride following Triton WR1339 treatment in lMTP-/- mice was <10% that in wild-type animals, indicating a failure of triglyceride-rich lipoprotein production. Pulse-chase experiments using hepatocytes isolated from wild-type and lMTP-/- mice revealed a failure of apoB secretion in lMTP-/- animals. Therefore, the liver-specific inactivation of the lMTP gene completely abrogates apoB-100 and very low/intermediate/low density lipoprotein production. These conditional knockout mice are a useful in vivo model for studying the role of MTP in apoB biosynthesis and the biogenesis of apoB-containing lipoproteins. (+info)
Tissue-selective expression of alpha-dystrobrevin is determined by multiple promoters.
alpha-Dystrobrevin, the mammalian orthologue of the Torpedo 87-kDa postsynaptic protein, is a dystrophin-associated and dystrophin-related protein. Knockout of the gene in the mouse results in muscular dystrophy. The control of the alpha-dystrobrevin gene in the various tissues is therefore of interest. Multiple dystrobrevin isoforms differing in their domain content are generated by alternative splicing of a single gene. The data presented here demonstrate that expression of alpha-dystrobrevin from three promoters, that are active in a tissue-selective manner, also plays a role in the function of the protein in different tissues. The most proximal promoter A is active in brain and to a lesser extent in lung, whereas the most distal promoter B, which possesses several Sp1 binding sites, is restricted to brain. Promoter C, which contains multiple consensus myogenic binding sites, is up-regulated during in vitro myoblast differentiation. Interestingly, the organization and the activity of the alpha-dystrobrevin promoters is reminiscent of those in the dystrophin gene. Taken together we suggest that the multipromoter system, distributed over a region of 270 kilobases at the 5'-end of the alpha-dystrobrevin gene, has been developed to allow the regulation of this gene in different cell types and/or different developmental stages. (+info)
Telomere length dynamics and chromosomal instability in cells derived from telomerase null mice.
To study the effect of continued telomere shortening on chromosome stability, we have analyzed the telomere length of two individual chromosomes (chromosomes 2 and 11) in fibroblasts derived from wild-type mice and from mice lacking the mouse telomerase RNA (mTER) gene using quantitative fluorescence in situ hybridization. Telomere length at both chromosomes decreased with increasing generations of mTER-/- mice. At the 6th mouse generation, this telomere shortening resulted in significantly shorter chromosome 2 telomeres than the average telomere length of all chromosomes. Interestingly, the most frequent fusions found in mTER-/- cells were homologous fusions involving chromosome 2. Immortal cultures derived from the primary mTER-/- cells showed a dramatic accumulation of fusions and translocations, revealing that continued growth in the absence of telomerase is a potent inducer of chromosomal instability. Chromosomes 2 and 11 were frequently involved in these abnormalities suggesting that, in the absence of telomerase, chromosomal instability is determined in part by chromosome-specific telomere length. At various points during the growth of the immortal mTER-/- cells, telomere length was stabilized in a chromosome-specific man-ner. This telomere-maintenance in the absence of telomerase could provide the basis for the ability of mTER-/- cells to grow indefinitely and form tumors. (+info)
Reduced differentiation potential of primary MyoD-/- myogenic cells derived from adult skeletal muscle.
To gain insight into the regeneration deficit of MyoD-/- muscle, we investigated the growth and differentiation of cultured MyoD-/- myogenic cells. Primary MyoD-/- myogenic cells exhibited a stellate morphology distinct from the compact morphology of wild-type myoblasts, and expressed c-met, a receptor tyrosine kinase expressed in satellite cells. However, MyoD-/- myogenic cells did not express desmin, an intermediate filament protein typically expressed in cultured myoblasts in vitro and myogenic precursor cells in vivo. Northern analysis indicated that proliferating MyoD-/- myogenic cells expressed fourfold higher levels of Myf-5 and sixfold higher levels of PEA3, an ETS-domain transcription factor expressed in newly activated satellite cells. Under conditions that normally induce differentiation, MyoD-/- cells continued to proliferate and with delayed kinetics yielded reduced numbers of predominantly mononuclear myocytes. Northern analysis revealed delayed induction of myogenin, MRF4, and other differentiation-specific markers although p21 was upregulated normally. Expression of M-cadherin mRNA was severely decreased whereas expression of IGF-1 was markedly increased in MyoD-/- myogenic cells. Mixing of lacZ-labeled MyoD-/- cells and wild-type myoblasts revealed a strict autonomy in differentiation potential. Transfection of a MyoD-expression cassette restored cytomorphology and rescued the differentiation deficit. We interpret these data to suggest that MyoD-/- myogenic cells represent an intermediate stage between a quiescent satellite cell and a myogenic precursor cell. (+info)
Rel-dependent induction of A1 transcription is required to protect B cells from antigen receptor ligation-induced apoptosis.
In response to different extracellular signals, Rel/NF-kappaB transcription factors are critical regulators of apoptosis in a variety of cell types. Here we show that in normal B and T cells, expression of the Bcl-2 prosurvival homolog, A1, is rapidly induced in a Rel-dependent manner by mitogens. In B-cell lines derived from c-rel-/- mice, which like primary cells lacking Rel undergo apoptosis in response to antigen receptor ligation, constitutive expression of an A1 transgene inhibits this pathway to cell death. These findings are the first to show that Rel/NF-kappaB regulates physiologically the expression of a Bcl-2-like protein that is critical for the control of cell survival during lymphocyte activation. (+info)
Ski is a component of the histone deacetylase complex required for transcriptional repression by Mad and thyroid hormone receptor.
The N-CoR/SMRT complex containing mSin3 and histone deacetylase (HDAC) mediates transcriptional repression by nuclear hormone receptors and Mad. The proteins encoded by the ski proto-oncogene family directly bind to N-CoR/SMRT and mSin3A, and forms a complex with HDAC. c-Ski and its related gene product Sno are required for transcriptional repression by Mad and thyroid hormone receptor (TRbeta). The oncogenic form, v-Ski, which lacks the mSin3A-binding domain, acts in a dominant-negative fashion, and abrogates transcriptional repression by Mad and TRbeta. In ski-deficient mouse embryos, the ornithine decarboxylase gene, whose expression is normally repressed by Mad-Max, is expressed ectopically. These results show that Ski is a component of the HDAC complex and that Ski is required for the transcriptional repression mediated by this complex. The involvement of c-Ski in the HDAC complex indicates that the function of the HDAC complex is important for oncogenesis. (+info)
Bmp4 is required for the generation of primordial germ cells in the mouse embryo.
In many organisms the allocation of primordial germ cells (PGCs) is determined by the inheritance of maternal factors deposited in the egg. However, in mammals, inductive cell interactions are required around gastrulation to establish the germ line. Here, we show that Bmp4 homozygous null embryos contain no PGCs. They also lack an allantois, an extraembryonic mesodermal tissue derived, like the PGCs, from precursors in the proximal epiblast. Heterozygotes have fewer PGCs than normal, due to a reduction in the size of the founding population and not to an effect on its subsequent expansion. Analysis of beta-galactosidase activity in Bmp4(lacZneo) embryos reveals that prior to gastrulation, Bmp4 is expressed in the extraembryonic ectoderm. Later, Bmp4 is expressed in the extraembryonic mesoderm, but not in PGCs. Chimera analysis indicates that it is the Bmp4 expression in the extraembryonic ectoderm that regulates the formation of allantois and primordial germ cell precursors, and the size of the founding population of PGCs. The initiation of the germ line in the mouse therefore depends on a secreted signal from the previously segregated, extraembryonic, trophectoderm lineage. (+info)