Transformation mediated by RhoA requires activity of ROCK kinases.
BACKGROUND: The Ras-related GTPase RhoA controls signalling processes required for cytoskeletal reorganisation, transcriptional regulation, and transformation. The ability of RhoA mutants to transform cells correlates not with transcription but with their ability to bind ROCK-I, an effector kinase involved in cytoskeletal reorganisation. We used a recently developed specific ROCK inhibitor, Y-27632, and ROCK truncation mutants to investigate the role of ROCK kinases in transcriptional activation and transformation. RESULTS: In NIH3T3 cells, Y-27632 did not prevent the activation of serum response factor, transcription of c-fos or cell cycle re-entry following serum stimulation. Repeated treatment of NIH3T3 cells with Y-27632, however, substantially disrupted their actin fibre network but did not affect their growth rate. Y-27632 blocked focus formation by RhoA and its guanine-nucleotide exchange factors Dbl and mNET1. It did not affect the growth rate of cells transformed by Dbl and mNET1, but restored normal growth control at confluence and prevented their growth in soft agar. Y-27632 also significantly inhibited focus formation by Ras, but had no effect on the establishment or maintenance of transformation by Src. Furthermore, it significantly inhibited anchorage-independent growth of two out of four colorectal tumour cell lines. Consistent with these data, a truncated ROCK derivative exhibited weak ability to cooperate with activated Raf in focus formation assays. CONCLUSIONS: ROCK signalling is required for both the establishment and maintenance of transformation by constitutive activation of RhoA, and contributes to the Ras-transformed phenotype. These observations provide a potential explanation for the requirement for Rho in Ras-mediated transformation. Moreover, the inhibition of ROCK kinases may be of therapeutic use. (+info)
Caspase-mediated cleavage of p21Waf1/Cip1 converts cancer cells from growth arrest to undergoing apoptosis.
The cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p21waf1/Cip1 is a downstream effector of the p53-dependent cell growth arrest. We report herein that p21 was cleaved by caspase-3/CPP32 at the site of DHVD112L during the DNA damage-induced apoptosis of cancer cells. The cleaved p21 fragment could no more arrest the cells in G1 phase nor suppress the cells undergoing apoptosis because it failed to bind to the proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) and lost its capability to localize in the nucleus. Thus, caspase-3-mediated cleavage and inactivation of p21 protein may convert cancer cells from growth arrest to undergoing apoptosis, leading to the acceleration of chemotherapy-induced apoptotic process in cancer cells. (+info)
Decreased expression of the pro-apoptotic protein Par-4 in renal cell carcinoma.
Par-4 is a widely expressed leucine zipper protein that confers sensitization to apoptosis induced by exogenous insults. Because the expression of genes that promote apoptosis may be down-regulated during tumorigenesis, we sought to examine the expression of Par-4 in human tumors. We present here evidence that Par-4 protein levels were severely decreased in human renal cell carcinoma specimens relative to normal tubular cells. Replenishment of Par-4 protein levels in renal cell carcinoma cell lines conferred sensitivity to apoptosis. Because apoptosis may serve as a defense mechanism against malignant transformation or progression, decreased expression of Par-4 may contribute to the pathophysiology of renal cell carcinoma. (+info)
Activation of Src in human breast tumor cell lines: elevated levels of phosphotyrosine phosphatase activity that preferentially recognizes the Src carboxy terminal negative regulatory tyrosine 530.
Elevated levels of Src kinase activity have been reported in a number of human cancers, including colon and breast cancer. We have analysed four human breast tumor cell lines that exhibit high levels of Src kinase activity, and have determined that these cell lines also exhibit a high level of a phosphotyrosine phosphatase activity that recognizes the Src carboxy-terminal P-Tyr530 negative regulatory site. Total Src kinase activity in these cell lines is elevated as much as 30-fold over activity in normal control cells and specific activity is elevated as much as 5.6-fold. When the breast tumor cells were grown in the presence of the tyrosine phosphatase inhibitor vanadate, Src kinase activity was reduced in all four breast tumor cell lines, suggesting that Src was being activated by a phosphatase which could recognize the Tyr530 negative regulatory site. In fractionated cell extracts from the breast tumor cells, we found elevated levels of a membrane associated tyrosine phosphatase activity that preferentially dephosphorylated a Src family carboxy-terminal phosphopeptide containing the regulatory tyrosine 530 site. Src was hypophosphorylated in vivo at tyrosine 530 in at least two of the tumor cell lines, further suggesting that Src was being activated by a phosphatase in these cells. In preliminary immunoprecipitation and antibody depletion experiments, we were unable to correlate the major portion of this phosphatase activity with several known phosphatases. (+info)
Caspase 3 inactivation to suppress Fas-mediated apoptosis: identification of binding domain with p21 and ILP and inactivation machinery by p21.
The death mediator caspase acts as the dominant regulator during cell death induction. The CPP32 subfamily, including caspase 3 (CPP32/Yama/Apopain), is essential for the cell death signaling. We recently reported that activation of caspase 3 is regulated by complex formation with p21 or ILP. In the present study, we investigated the binding domain with p21 and ILP to further characterize the caspase 3 inactivation machinery. Our results show that caspase 3 contains p21 binding domain in the N-terminus and ILP binding domain in the active site. Further, the caspase 3 binding domain in p21 was independent of the Cdk- or PCNA-binding domain. We also found caspase 3 protection by p21 from the p3-site cleavage serineproteinase contributes to the suppression machinery. Here, we propose the caspase 3 inactivation system by p21 and ILP as new essential system in the regulation of cell death. (+info)
Phenotypic analysis of human glioma cells expressing the MMAC1 tumor suppressor phosphatase.
MMAC1, also known as PTEN or TEP-1, was recently identified as a gene commonly mutated in a variety of human neoplasias. Sequence analysis revealed that MMAC1 harbored sequences similar to those found in several protein phosphatases. Subsequent studies demonstrated that MMAC1 possessed in vitro enzymatic activity similar to that exhibited by dual specificity phosphatases. To characterize the potential cellular functions of MMAC1, we expressed wild-type and several mutant variants of MMAC1 in the human glioma cell line, U373, that lacks endogenous expression. While expression of wild-type MMAC1 in these cells significantly reduced their growth rate and saturation density, expression of enzymatically inactive MMAC1 significantly enhanced growth in soft agar. Our observations indicate that while wild-type MMAC1 exhibits activities compatible with its proposed role as a tumor suppressor, cellular expression of MMAC1 containing mutations in the catalytic domain may yield protein products that enhance transformation characteristics. (+info)
Detailed methylation analysis of the glutathione S-transferase pi (GSTP1) gene in prostate cancer.
Glutathione-S-Transferases (GSTs) comprise a family of isoenzymes that provide protection to mammalian cells against electrophilic metabolites of carcinogens and reactive oxygen species. Previous studies have shown that the CpG-rich promoter region of the pi-class gene GSTP1 is methylated at single restriction sites in the majority of prostate cancers. In order to understand the nature of abnormal methylation of the GSTP1 gene in prostate cancer we undertook a detailed analysis of methylation at 131 CpG sites spanning the promoter and body of the gene. Our results show that DNA methylation is not confined to specific CpG sites in the promoter region of the GSTP1 gene but is extensive throughout the CpG island in prostate cancer cells. Furthermore we found that both alleles are abnormally methylated in this region. In normal prostate tissue, the entire CpG island was unmethylated, but extensive methylation was found outside the island in the body of the gene. Loss of GSTP1 expression correlated with DNA methylation of the CpG island in both prostate cancer cell lines and cancer tissues whereas methylation outside the CpG island in normal prostate tissue appeared to have no effect on gene expression. (+info)
Growth inhibition of breast cancer cells by Grb2 downregulation is correlated with inactivation of mitogen-activated protein kinase in EGFR, but not in ErbB2, cells.
Increased breast cancer growth has been associated with increased expression of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and ErbB2 receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs). Upon activation, RTKs may transmit their oncogenic signals by binding to the growth factor receptor bound protein-2 (Grb2), which in turn binds to SOS and activates the Ras/Raf/MEK/mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase pathway. Grb2 is important for the transformation of fibroblasts by EGFR and ErbB2; however, whether Grb2 is also important for the proliferation of breast cancer cells expressing these RTKs is unclear. We have used liposomes to deliver nuclease-resistant antisense oligodeoxynucleotides (oligos) specific for the GRB2 mRNA to breast cancer cells. Grb2 protein downregulation could inhibit breast cancer cell growth; the degree of growth inhibition was dependent upon the activation and/or endogenous levels of the RTKs. Grb2 inhibition led to MAP kinase inactivation in EGFR, but not in ErbB2, breast cancer cells, suggesting that different pathways might be used by EGFR and ErbB2 to regulate breast cancer growth. (+info)