Identification of DR5 as a critical, NF-κB-regulated mediator of Smac-induced apoptosis
- Smac mimetic promotes apoptosis by neutralizing inhibitor of apoptosis (IAP) proteins and is considered as a promising cancer therapeutic. Although an autocrine/paracrine tumor necrosis factor-α (TNFα) loop has been implicated in Smac mimetic-induced cell death, little is yet known about additional factors that determine sensitivity to Smac mimetic. Using genome-wide gene expression analysis, we identify death receptor 5 (DR5) as a novel key mediator of Smac mimetic-induced apoptosis. Although several cell lines that are sensitive to the Smac mimetic BV6 die in a TNFα-dependent manner, A172 glioblastoma cells undergo BV6-induced apoptosis largely independently of TNFα/TNFR1, as the TNFα-blocking antibody Enbrel or TNFR1 knockdown provide little protection. Yet, BV6-stimulated nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) activation is critically required for apoptosis, as inhibition of NF-κB by overexpression of dominant-negative IκBα superrepressor (IκBα-SR) blocks BV6-induced apoptosis. Unbiased genome-wide gene expression studies in IκBα-SR-overexpressing cells versus vector control cells reveal that BV6 increases DR5 expression in a NF-κB-dependent manner. Importantly, this BV6-stimulated upregulation of DR5 is critically required for apoptosis, as transient or stable knockdown of DR5 significantly inhibits BV6-triggered apoptosis. In addition, DR5 silencing attenuates formation of a RIP1/FADD/caspase-8 cytosolic cell death complex and activation of caspase-8, -3 and -9. By identifying DR5 as a critical mediator of Smac mimetic-induced apoptosis, our findings provide novel insights into the determinants that control susceptibility of cancer cells to Smac mimetic.
The MLL recombinome of acute leukemias in 2013
M Pombo de Oliveira
E De Braekeleer
M De Braekeleer
VH van der Velden
JJ van Dongen
G Te Kronnie
U zur Stadt
L Lo Nigro
MM van den Heuvel-Eibrink
Michael N. Dworzak
- Chromosomal rearrangements of the human MLL (mixed lineage leukemia) gene are associated with high-risk infant, pediatric, adult and therapy-induced acute leukemias. We used long-distance inverse-polymerase chain reaction to characterize the chromosomal rearrangement of individual acute leukemia patients. We present data of the molecular characterization of 1590 MLL-rearranged biopsy samples obtained from acute leukemia patients. The precise localization of genomic breakpoints within the MLL gene and the involved translocation partner genes (TPGs) were determined and novel TPGs identified. All patients were classified according to their gender (852 females and 745 males), age at diagnosis (558 infant, 416 pediatric and 616 adult leukemia patients) and other clinical criteria. Combined data of our study and recently published data revealed a total of 121 different MLL rearrangements, of which 79 TPGs are now characterized at the molecular level. However, only seven rearrangements seem to be predominantly associated with illegitimate recombinations of the MLL gene (≈ 90%): AFF1/AF4, MLLT3/AF9, MLLT1/ENL, MLLT10/AF10, ELL, partial tandem duplications (MLL PTDs) and MLLT4/AF6, respectively. The MLL breakpoint distributions for all clinical relevant subtypes (gender, disease type, age at diagnosis, reciprocal, complex and therapy-induced translocations) are presented. Finally, we present the extending network of reciprocal MLL fusions deriving from complex rearrangements.
Bortezomib antagonizes microtubule-interfering drug-induced apoptosis by inhibiting G2/M transition and MCL-1 degradation
- Inhibition of the proteasome is considered as a promising strategy to sensitize cancer cells to apoptosis. Recently, we demonstrated that the proteasome inhibitor Bortezomib primes neuroblastoma cells to TRAIL-induced apoptosis. In the present study, we investigated whether Bortezomib increases chemosensitivity of neuroblastoma cells. Unexpectedly, we discover an antagonistic interaction of Bortezomib and microtubule-interfering drugs. Bortezomib significantly attenuates the loss of cell viability and induction of apoptosis on treatment with Taxol and different vinca alkaloids but not with other chemotherapeutics, that is, Doxorubicin and Cisplatinum. Importantly, Bortezomib inhibits G2/M transition by inhibiting proteasomal degradation of cell cycle regulatory proteins such as p21, thereby preventing cells to enter mitosis, the cell cycle phase in which they are most vulnerable to antitubulin chemotherapeutics. Consequently, Bortezomib counteracts Taxol-induced mitotic arrest and polyploidy, as shown by reduced expression of PLK1 and phosphorylated histone H3. In addition, Bortezomib antagonizes Taxol-mediated degradation of MCL-1 during mitotic arrest by preventing cells to enter mitosis and by inhibiting the proteasome. Downregulation of MCL-1 is critically required for Taxol-induced apoptosis, as overexpression of a phosphomutant MCL-1 variant, which is resistant to degradation, significantly diminishes Taxol-triggered apoptosis. Vice versa, attenuation of Bortezomib-mediated accumulation of MCL-1 by knockdown of MCL-1 significantly enhances Taxol/Bortezomib-induced apoptosis. Thus, Bortezomib rescues Taxol-induced apoptosis by inhibiting G2/M transition and mitigating MCL-1 degradation. The identification of this antagonistic interaction of Bortezomib and microtubule-targeted drugs has important implications for the design of Bortezomib-based combination therapies.
Enlarging the toolbox for allergen epitope definition with an allergen-type model protein
Christian Seutter von Loetzen
- Background: Birch pollen-allergic subjects produce polyclonal cross-reactive IgE antibodies that mediate pollen-associated food allergies. The major allergen Bet v 1 and its homologs in plant foods bind IgE in their native protein conformation. Information on location, number and clinical relevance of IgE epitopes is limited. We addressed the use of an allergen-related protein model to identify amino acids critical for IgE binding of PR-10 allergens.
Method: Norcoclaurine synthase (NCS) from meadow rue is structurally homologous to Bet v 1 but does not bind Bet v 1-reactive IgE. NCS was used as the template for epitope grafting. NCS variants were tested with sera from 70 birch pollen allergic subjects and with monoclonal antibody BV16 reported to compete with IgE binding to Bet v 1.
Results: We generated an NCS variant (Δ29NCSN57/I58E/D60N/V63P/D68K) harboring an IgE epitope of Bet v 1. Bet v 1-type protein folding of the NCS variant was evaluated by 1H-15N-HSQC NMR spectroscopy. BV16 bound the NCS variant and 71% (50/70 sera) of our study population showed significant IgE binding. We observed IgE and BV16 cross-reactivity to the epitope presented by the NCS variant in a subgroup of Bet v 1-related allergens. Moreover BV16 blocked IgE binding to the NCS variant. Antibody cross-reactivity depended on a defined orientation of amino acids within the Bet v 1-type conformation.
Conclusion: Our system allows the evaluation of patient-specific epitope profiles and will facilitate both the identification of clinically relevant epitopes as biomarkers and the monitoring of therapeutic outcomes to improve diagnosis, prognosis, and therapy of allergies caused by PR-10 proteins.
Isolation Facilities for Highly Infectious Diseases in Europe – A Cross-Sectional Analysis in 16 Countries
Francesco Maria Fusco
Giuseppina De Iaco
Helena C. Maltezou
Highly Infectious Diseases (HIDs) are (i) easily transmissible form person to person; (ii) cause a life-threatening illness with no or few treatment options; and (iii) pose a threat for both personnel and the public. Hence, even suspected HID cases should be managed in specialised facilities minimizing infection risks but allowing state-of-the-art critical care. Consensus statements on the operational management of isolation facilities have been published recently. The study presented was set up to compare the operational management, resources, and technical equipment among European isolation facilities. Due to differences in geography, population density, and national response plans it was hypothesized that adherence to recommendations will vary.
Methods and Findings
Until mid of 2010 the European Network for Highly Infectious Diseases conducted a cross-sectional analysis of isolation facilities in Europe, recruiting 48 isolation facilities in 16 countries. Three checklists were disseminated, assessing 44 items and 148 specific questions. The median feedback rate for specific questions was 97.9% (n = 47/48) (range: n = 7/48 (14.6%) to n = 48/48 (100%). Although all facilities enrolled were nominated specialised facilities' serving countries or regions, their design, equipment and personnel management varied. Eighteen facilities fulfilled the definition of a High Level Isolation Unit'. In contrast, 24 facilities could not operate independently from their co-located hospital, and five could not ensure access to equipment essential for infection control. Data presented are not representative for the EU in general, as only 16/27 (59.3%) of all Member States agreed to participate. Another limitation of this study is the time elapsed between data collection and publication; e.g. in Germany one additional facility opened in the meantime.
There are disparities both within and between European countries regarding the design and equipment of isolation facilities. With regard to the International Health Regulations, terminology, capacities and equipment should be standardised.
Performance of Two HCV RNA Assays during Protease Inhibitor-Based Triple Therapy in Patients with Advanced Liver Fibrosis and Cirrhosis
Michael P. Manns
On-treatment HCV RNA measurements are crucial for the prediction of a sustained virological response (SVR) and to determine treatment futility during protease inhibitor-based triple therapies. In patients with advanced liver disease an accurate risk/benefit calculation based on reliable HCV RNA results can reduce the number of adverse events. However, the different available HCV RNA assays vary in their diagnostic performance.
To investigate the clinical relevance of concordant and discordant results of two HCV RNA assays during triple therapy with boceprevir and telaprevir in patients with advanced liver fibrosis/cirrhosis.
We collected on-treatment samples of 191 patients with advanced liver fibrosis/cirrhosis treated at four European centers for testing with the Abbott RealTime (ART) and COBAS AmpliPrep/COBAS TaqMan HCV v2.0 (CTM) assays.
Discordant test results for HCV RNA detectability were observed in 23% at week 4, 17% at week 8/12 and 9% at week 24 on-treatment. The ART detected HCV RNA in 41% of week 4 samples tested negative by the CTM. However, the positive predictive value of an undetectable week 4 result for SVR was similar for both assays (80% and 82%). Discordance was also found for application of stopping rules. In 27% of patients who met stopping rules by CTM the ART measured levels below the respective cut-offs of 100 and 1000 IU/ml, respectively, which would have resulted in treatment continuation. In contrast, in nine patients with negative HCV RNA by CTM at week 24 treatment would have been discontinued due to detectable residual HCV RNA by the ART assay. Importantly, only 4 of these patients failed to achieve SVR.
Application of stopping rules determined in approval studies by one assay to other HCV RNA assays in clinical practice may lead to over and undertreatment in a significant number of patients undergoing protease inhibitor-based triple therapy.
Linking macroscopic with microscopic neuroanatomy using synthetic neuronal populations
Calvin J. Schneider
- Dendritic morphology has been shown to have a dramatic impact on neuronal function. However, population features such as the inherent variability in dendritic morphology between cells belonging to the same neuronal type are often overlooked when studying computation in neural networks. While detailed models for morphology and electrophysiology exist for many types of single neurons, the role of detailed single cell morphology in the population has not been studied quantitatively or computationally. Here we use the structural context of the neural tissue in which dendritic trees exist to drive their generation in silico. We synthesize the entire population of dentate gyrus granule cells, the most numerous cell type in the hippocampus, by growing their dendritic trees within their characteristic dendritic fields bounded by the realistic structural context of (1) the granule cell layer that contains all somata and (2) the molecular layer that contains the dendritic forest. This process enables branching statistics to be linked to larger scale neuroanatomical features. We find large differences in dendritic total length and individual path length measures as a function of location in the dentate gyrus and of somatic depth in the granule cell layer. We also predict the number of unique granule cell dendrites invading a given volume in the molecular layer. This work enables the complete population-level study of morphological properties and provides a framework to develop complex and realistic neural network models.
Analysis of trainees' memory after classroom presentations of didactical ultrasound courses
Marco Campo dell' Orto
- Background: Emergency ultrasound is gaining importance in medical education. Widespread teaching methods are frontal presentations and hands-on training. The primary goal of our study was to evaluate the impact of frontal presentations (PS) by analysis of retained knowledge rate (RKR) and learning load (LL).
Methods: Our study was conducted during four introductory courses in emergency ultrasound covering Extended Focused Assessment with Sonography for Trauma (E-FAST) and Focused Echocardiography Evaluation in Life Support (FEEL). Standardized PS (length of 10 to 50 min) were presented by experienced trainers, who were asked to provide keywords, key messages, and images and assign a score to each. Group 1 consisted of 11 medical students with no prior ultrasound experience, and group 2 consisted of 80 physicians. Each group was audience to seven to eight standard PS and requested to answer a free text questionnaire after 0 h, 2.5 h, 24 h, and 14 days.
Results: In group 1, 168/176 questionnaires were analyzed, and 161/202 were analyzed in group 2. RKR in group 1 was 32.5%, 15%, 16%, and 12% at 0 h, 2.5 h, 24 h, and 2 weeks. The physicians' RKR were 23%, 20.5%, and 22.4% after 0, 2.5, and 24 h of a respective PS. The LL was 1.6/min for students and 1.2/min for physicians. There was no difference in RKR when comparing PS with higher and lower LL for both groups; shorter or case-based PS were associated with a higher RKR (p < 0.01).
Conclusions: Our study provides evidence that only a limited amount of information can be processed at a time. Only 12% of knowledge is retained after 2 weeks. Presentations of short duration can increase the retained knowledge rate. Therefore, frontal presentations and classroom-based ultrasound training and teaching should be adapted.
Association between acquired resistance to PLX4032 (vemurafenib) and ATP-binding cassette transporter expression
Marijke van Rikxoort
Wilhelm G. Dirks
Jindrich Cinatl Jr.
- Background: Various kinase inhibitors are known to be ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporter substrates and resistance acquisition to kinase inhibitors has been associated to increased ABC transporter expression. Here, we investigated the role of the ABC transporters ABCB1, ABCC1, and ABCG2 during melanoma cell resistance acquisition to the V600-mutant BRAF inhibitors PLX4032 (vemurafenib) and PLX4720. PLX4032 had previously been shown to interfere with ABCB1 and ABCG2. PLX4720 had been demonstrated to interact with ABCB1 but to a lower extent than PLX4032.
Findings: PLX4032 and PLX4720 affected ABCC1- and ABCG2-mediated drug transport in a similar fashion. In a panel of 16 V600E BRAF-mutated melanoma cell lines consisting of four parental cell lines and their sub-lines with acquired resistance to PLX4032, PLX4720, vincristine (cytotoxic ABCB1 and ABCC1 substrate), or mitoxantrone (cytotoxic ABCG2 substrate), we detected enhanced ABC transporter expression in 4/4 cytotoxic ABC transporter substrate-resistant, 3/4 PLX4720-resistant, and 1/4 PLX4032-resistant melanoma cell lines.
Conclusion: PLX4032 has the potential to induce ABC transporter expression but this potential is lower than that of PLX4720 or cytotoxic ABC transporter substrates. Since ABC transporters confer multi-drug resistance, this is of relevance for the design of next-line therapies.
Electronic supplementary material: The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1756-0500-7-710) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Influence of E-smoking liquids on human periodontal ligament fibroblasts
- Introduction: Over the last years, electronic cigarettes (ECs) have become more popular, particularly in individuals who want to give up smoking tobacco. The aim of the present study was to assess the influence of the different e-smoking liquids on the viability and proliferation of human periodontal ligament fibroblasts.
Method and materials: For this study six test solutions with components from ECs were selected: lime-, hazelnut- and menthol-flavored liquids, nicotine, propylene glycol, and PBS as control group. The fibroblasts were incubated up to 96 h with the different liquids, and cell viability was measured by using the PrestoBlue® reagent, the ATP detection and the migration assay. Fluorescence staining was carried out to visualize cell growth and morphology. Data were statistically analyzed by two-tailed one-way ANOVA.
Results: The cell viability assay showed that the proliferation rates of the cells incubated with nicotine or the various flavored liquids of the e-cigarettes were reduced in comparison to the controls, though not all reductions were statistically significant. After an incubation of 96 h with the menthol-flavored liquid the fibroblasts were statistically significant reduced (p < 0.001). Similar results were found for the detection of ATP in fibroblasts; the incubation with menthol-flavored liquids (p < 0.001) led to a statistically significant reduction. The cell visualization tests confirmed these findings.
Conclusion: Within its limits, the present in vitro study demonstrated that menthol additives of e-smoking have a harmful effect on human periodontal ligament fibroblasts. This might indicate that menthol additives should be avoided for e-cigarettes.