Telomerase activity is sufficient to allow transformed cells to escape from crisis. (1/5595)

The introduction of simian virus 40 large T antigen (SVLT) into human primary cells enables them to proliferate beyond their normal replicative life span. In most cases, this temporary escape from senescence eventually ends in a second proliferative block known as "crisis," during which the cells cease growing or die. Rare immortalization events in which cells escape crisis are frequently correlated with the presence of telomerase activity. We tested the hypothesis that telomerase activation is the critical step in the immortalization process by studying the effects of telomerase activity in two mortal SVLT-Rasval12-transformed human pancreatic cell lines, TRM-6 and betalox5. The telomerase catalytic subunit, hTRT, was introduced into late-passage cells via retroviral gene transfer. Telomerase activity was successfully induced in infected cells, as demonstrated by a telomerase repeat amplification protocol assay. In each of nine independent infections, telomerase-positive cells formed rapidly dividing cell lines while control cells entered crisis. Telomere lengths initially increased, but telomeres were then maintained at their new lengths for at least 20 population doublings. These results demonstrate that telomerase activity is sufficient to enable transformed cells to escape crisis and that telomere elongation in these cells occurs in a tightly regulated manner.  (+info)

Transduction of glioma cells using a high-titer retroviral vector system and their subsequent migration in brain tumors. (2/5595)

The intracranial migration of transduced glioma cells was investigated in order to improve the treatment of malignant glioma by gene therapy using retroviral vectors. In this study, about half the volume of the tumor mass could be transduced in 14 days after only a single implantation of 3 x 10(5) retrovirus-producing cells into a tumor mass with a diameter of 5 mm. Moreover, we were able to follow the migration of glioma cells transduced by the lacZ-harboring retroviruses originating from the high-titer retrovirus-producing cells. Besides the importance of using a high-titer retroviral vector system, our results also indicate that the implantation site of the virus-producing cells and the interval between the implantation of the virus-producing cells and the subsequent administration of ganciclovir are important factors for the efficient killing of glioma cells.  (+info)

The bystander effect in the HSVtk/ganciclovir system and its relationship to gap junctional communication. (3/5595)

The bystander effect (BSE) is an interesting and important property of the herpes thymidine kinase/ganciclovir (hTK/GCV) system of gene therapy for cancer. With the BSE, not only are the hTK expressing cells killed upon ganciclovir (GCV) exposure but also neighboring wild-type tumor cells. On testing a large number of tumor cell lines in vitro, a wide range of sensitivity to bystander killing was found. Since transfer of toxic GCV metabolites from hTK-modified to wild-type tumor cells via gap junctions (GJ) seemed to be a likely mechanism of the BSE, we tested GJ function in these various tumors with a dye transfer technique and pharmacological agents known to affect GJ communication. We confirmed that mixtures of tumor cell resistant to the BSE did not show dye transfer from cell to cell while bystander-sensitive tumor cells did. Dieldrin, a drug known to decrease GJ communication, diminished dye transfer and also inhibited the BSE. Forskolin, an upregulator of cAMP did increase GJ, but directly inhibited hTK and therefore its effect on BSE could not be determined. We conclude that these observations further support port the concept that functional GJ play an important role in the BSE and further suggest that pharmacological manipulation of GJ may influence the outcome of cancer therapy with hTK/GCV.  (+info)

Regulation of chamber-specific gene expression in the developing heart by Irx4. (4/5595)

The vertebrate heart consists of two types of chambers, the atria and the ventricles, which differ in their contractile and electrophysiological properties. Little is known of the molecular mechanisms by which these chambers are specified during embryogenesis. Here a chicken iroquois-related homeobox gene, Irx4, was identified that has a ventricle-restricted expression pattern at all stages of heart development. Irx4 protein was shown to regulate the chamber-specific expression of myosin isoforms by activating the expression of the ventricle myosin heavy chain-1 (VMHC1) and suppressing the expression of the atrial myosin heavy chain-1 (AMHC1) in the ventricles. Thus, Irx4 may play a critical role in establishing chamber-specific gene expression in the developing heart.  (+info)

Re-expression of endogenous p16ink4a in oral squamous cell carcinoma lines by 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine treatment induces a senescence-like state. (5/5595)

We have previously reported that a set of oral squamous cell carcinoma lines express specifically elevated cdk6 activity. One of the cell lines, SCC4, contains a cdk6 amplification and expresses functional p16ink4a, the other cell lines express undetectable levels of p16ink4a, despite a lack of coding-region mutations. Two of the cell lines, SCC15 and SCC40 have a hypermethylated p16ink4A promoter and a third cell line, SCC9, has a mutation in the p16ink4a promoter. Using the demethylation agent 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine, we showed that the p16ink4a protein was re-expressed after a 5-day treatment with this chemical. One cell line, SCC15 expressed high levels of p16ink4a. In this line, cdk6 activity was decreased after 5-aza-2'deoxycytidine treatment, and the hypophosphorylated, growth suppressive form of the retinoblastoma tumor suppressor protein pRB was detected. Expression of p16ink4a persisted, even after the drug was removed and the cells expressed senescence-associated beta-galactosidase activity. Ectopic expression of p16ink4a with a recombinant retrovirus in this cell line also induced a similar senescence-like phenotype. Hence, it was possible to restore a functional pRB pathway in an oral squamous cell carcinoma line by inducing re-expression of endogenous p16ink4a in response to treatment with a demethylating agent.  (+info)

Detection of antibody to bovine syncytial virus and respiratory syncytial virus in bovine fetal serum. (6/5595)

Batches of commercial fetal bovine serum, described by the suppliers as antibody-free, all contained antibody to bovine syncytial virus (BSV) when tested by indirect immunofluorescence. Antibody to bovine respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) was not detected in these sera. Twenty-four percent of individual fetal bovine sera contained antibody to BSV, and 14% contained antibody to RSV when tested by indirect immunofluorescence. BSV antibody titers in fetal sera from dams with high BSV antibody levels were variable but always higher than RSV antibody titers. Radial immunodiffusion studies with BSV-positive sera revealed the presence of immunoglobulin M (IgM), IgG, and IgA, but the quantity of these immunoglobulins was not directly related to the BSV antibody titers. The evidence suggests that the antibody present in fetal sera arose as the result of infection rather than from maternal transfer across the placenta.  (+info)

Up-regulation of the Pit-2 phosphate transporter/retrovirus receptor by protein kinase C epsilon. (7/5595)

The membrane receptors for the gibbon ape leukemia retrovirus and the amphotropic murine retrovirus serve normal cellular functions as sodium-dependent phosphate transporters (Pit-1 and Pit-2, respectively). Our earlier studies established that activation of protein kinase C (PKC) by treatment of cells with phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA) enhanced sodium-dependent phosphate (Na/Pi) uptake. Studies now have been carried out to determine which type of Na/Pi transporter (Pit-1 or Pit-2) is regulated by PKC and which PKC isotypes are involved in the up-regulation of Na/Pi uptake by the Na/Pi transporter/viral receptor. It was found that the activation of short term (2-min) Na/Pi uptake by PMA is abolished when cells are infected with amphotropic murine retrovirus (binds Pit-2 receptor) but not with gibbon ape leukemia retrovirus (binds Pit-1 receptor), indicating that Pit-2 is the form of Na/Pi transporter/viral receptor regulated by PKC. The PKC-mediated activation of Pit-2 was blocked by pretreating cells with the pan-PKC inhibitor bisindolylmaleimide but not with the conventional PKC isotype inhibitor Go 6976, suggesting that a novel PKC isotype is required to regulate Pit-2. Overexpression of PKCepsilon, but not of PKCalpha, -delta, or -zeta, was found to mimic the activation of Na/Pi uptake. To further establish that PKCepsilon is involved in the regulation of Pit-2, cells were treated with PKCepsilon-selective antisense oligonucleotides. Treatment with PKCepsilon antisense oligonucleotides decreased the PMA-induced activation of Na/Pi uptake. These results indicate that PMA-induced stimulation of Na/Pi uptake by Pit-2 is specifically mediated through activation of PKCepsilon.  (+info)

A subpopulation of apoptosis-prone cardiac neural crest cells targets to the venous pole: multiple functions in heart development? (8/5595)

A well-described population of cardiac neural crest (NC) cells migrates toward the arterial pole of the embryonic heart and differentiates into various cell types, including smooth muscle cells of the pharyngeal arch arteries (but not the coronary arteries), cardiac ganglionic cells, and mesenchymal cells of the aortopulmonary septum. Using a replication-incompetent retrovirus containing the reporter gene LacZ, administered to the migratory neural crest of chicken embryos, we demonstrated another population of cardiac neural crest cells that employs the venous pole as entrance to the heart. On the basis of our present data we cannot exclude the possibility that precursors of these cells might not only originate from the dorsal part of the posterior rhombencephalon, but also from the ventral part. These NC cells migrate to locations surrounding the prospective conduction system as well as to the atrioventricular (AV) cushions. Concerning the prospective conduction system, the tagged neural crest cells can be found in regions where the atrioventricular node area, the retroaortic root bundle, the bundle of His, the left and right bundle branches, and the right atrioventricular ring bundle are positioned. The last area connects the posteriorly located AV node area with the retroaortic root bundle, which receives its neural crest cells through the arterial pole in concert with the cells giving rise to the aortopulmonary septum. The NC cells most probably do not form the conduction system proper, as they enter an apoptotic pathway as determined by concomitant TUNEL detection. It is possible that the NC cells in the heart become anoikic and, as a consequence, fail to differentiate further and merely die. However, because of the perfect timing of the arrival of crest cells, their apoptosis, and a change in electrophysiological behavior of the heart, we postulate that neural crest cells play a role in the last phase of differentiation of the cardiac conduction system. Alternatively, the separation of the central conduction system from the surrounding working myocardium is mediated by apoptotic neural crest cells. As for the presence of NC cells in both the outflow tract and the AV cushions, followed by apoptosis, a function is assigned in the muscularization of both areas, resulting in proper septation of the outflow tract and of the AV region. Failure of normal neural crest development may not only play a role in cardiac outflow tract anomalies but also in inflow tract abnormalities, such as atrioventricular septal defects.  (+info)