Now showing 1 - 10 of 28
  • Publication
    New druggable targets in the Ras pathway?
    (Thomson Reuters, 2010-12) ;
    Ras proteins are key elements in the regulation of cellular proliferation, differentiation and survival. Mutational activation of Ras or of components of its effector pathways are detected in one-third of human cancers and are essential for the genesis and maintenance of the tumoral phenotype. Research efforts have been dedicated to the development of therapeutic agents that inhibit aberrant Ras signals and, subsequently, tumor progression. However, many of these initiatives have proven less successful than expected. This review summarizes the current status of developments in Ras research, the challenges that have arisen during preclinical and clinical stages, and how novel approaches to targeting Ras pathways have introduced new strategies toward the development of antitumoral agents that are alternative or complementary to those currently in use. These new approaches would be aimed at disrupting key protein-protein interactions that are essential for the conveyance of Ras aberrant signals or would be directed against new proteins recently demonstrated to be critical participants in Ras-regulated pathways.
  • Publication
    Extensive rewiring of the EGFR network in colorectal cancer cells expressing transforming levels of KRAS G13D
    Protein-protein-interaction networks (PPINs) organize fundamental biological processes, but how oncogenic mutations impact these interactions and their functions at a network-level scale is poorly understood. Here, we analyze how a common oncogenic KRAS mutation (KRASG13D) affects PPIN structure and function of the Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) network in colorectal cancer (CRC) cells. Mapping >6000 PPIs shows that this network is extensively rewired in cells expressing transforming levels of KRASG13D (mtKRAS). The factors driving PPIN rewiring are multifactorial including changes in protein expression and phosphorylation. Mathematical modelling also suggests that the binding dynamics of low and high affinity KRAS interactors contribute to rewiring. PPIN rewiring substantially alters the composition of protein complexes, signal flow, transcriptional regulation, and cellular phenotype. These changes are validated by targeted and global experimental analysis. Importantly, genetic alterations in the most extensively rewired PPIN nodes occur frequently in CRC and are prognostic of poor patient outcomes.
  • Publication
    Genes expression profiling of alveolar macrophages exposed to non-functionalized, anionic and cationic multi-walled carbon nanotubes shows three different mechanisms of toxicity
    Functionalized multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT) have become the focus of increased research interest, particularly in their application as tools in different areas, such as the biomedical field. Despite the benefits associated with functionalization of MWCNT, particularly in overcoming issues relating to solubility, several studies have demonstrated that these functionalized nanoparticles display different toxicity profiles. For this study, we aim to compare NR8383 cells responses to three well-characterized MWCNT with varying functional groups. This study employed cytotoxicity assays, transcriptomics and proteomics to assess their toxicity using NR8383 rat alveolar macrophages as an in vitro model. The study findings indicated that all MWCNT altered ribosomal protein translation, cytoskeleton arrangement and induced pro-inflammatory response. Only functionalized MWCNT alter mTOR signaling pathway in conjunction with increased Lamtor gene expression. Furthermore, the type of functionalization was also important, with cationic MWCNT activating the transcription factor EB and inducing autophagy while the anionic MWCNT altering eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4 (EIF4) and phosphoprotein 70 ribosomal protein S6 kinase (p70S6K) signaling pathway as well as upregulation Tlr2 gene expression. This study proposes that MWCNT toxicity mechanisms are functionalization dependent and provides evidence that inflammatory response is a key event of carbon nanotubes toxicity.
      129Scopus© Citations 16
  • Publication
    Competing to coordinate cell fate decisions: the MST2-Raf-1 signaling device
    How do biochemical signaling pathways generate biological specificity? This question is fundamental to modern biology, and its enigma has been accentuated by the discovery that most proteins in signaling networks serve multifunctional roles. An answer to this question may lie in analyzing network properties rather than individual traits of proteins in order to elucidate design principles of biochemical networks that enable biological decision-making. We discuss how this is achieved in the MST2/Hippo-Raf-1 signaling network with the help of mathematical modeling and model-based analysis, which showed that competing protein interactions with affinities controlled by dynamic protein modifications can function as Boolean computing devices that determine cell fate decisions. In addition, we discuss areas of interest for future research and highlight how systems approaches would be of benefit
      265Scopus© Citations 21
  • Publication
    An Integrative Computational Approach for a Prioritization of Key Transcription Regulators Associated With Nanomaterial-Induced Toxicity
    A rapid increase of new nanomaterial products poses new challenges for their risk assessment. Current traditional methods for estimating potential adverse health effect of nanomaterials (NMs) are complex, time consuming and expensive. In order to develop new prediction tests for nanotoxicity evaluation, a systems biology approach and data from high-throughput omics experiments can be used. We present a computational approach that combines reverse engineering techniques, network analysis and pathway enrichment analysis for inferring the transcriptional regulation landscape and its functional interpretation. To illustrate this approach, we used published transcriptomic data derived from mice lung tissue exposed to carbon nanotubes (NM-401 and NRCWE-26). Because fibrosis is the most common adverse effect of these NMs, we included in our analysis the data for bleomycin (BLM) treatment, which is a well-known fibrosis inducer. We inferred gene regulatory networks for each NM and BLM to capture functional hierarchical regulatory structures between genes and their regulators. Despite the different nature of the lung injury caused by nanoparticles and BLM, we identified several conserved core regulators for all agents. We reason that these regulators can be considered as early predictors of toxic responses after NMs exposure. This integrative approach, which refines traditional methods of transcriptomic analysis, can be useful for prioritization of potential core regulators and generation of new hypothesis about mechanisms of nanoparticles toxicity.
      396Scopus© Citations 6
  • Publication
    The MST/Hippo Pathway and Cell Death:A Non-Canonical Affair
    The MST/Hippo signalling pathway was first described over a decade ago in Drosophila melanogaster and the core of the pathway is evolutionary conserved in mammals. The mammalian MST/Hippo pathway regulates organ size, cell proliferation and cell death. In addition, it has been shown to play a central role in the regulation of cellular homeostasis and it is commonly deregulated in human tumours. The delineation of the canonical pathway resembles the behaviour of the Hippo pathway in the fly where the activation of the core kinases of the pathway prevents the proliferative signal mediated by the key effector of the pathway YAP. Nevertheless, several lines of evidence support the idea that the mammalian MST/Hippo pathway has acquired new features during evolution, including different regulators and effectors, crosstalk with other essential signalling pathways involved in cellular homeostasis and the ability to actively trigger cell death. Here we describe the current knowledge of the mechanisms that mediate MST/Hippo dependent cell death, especially apoptosis. We include evidence for the existence of complex signalling networks where the core proteins of the pathway play a central role in controlling the balance between survival and cell death. Finally, we discuss the possible involvement of these signalling networks in several human diseases such as cancer, diabetes and neurodegenerative disorders.
      365Scopus© Citations 53
  • Publication
    Quantifying the Kinase Activities of MST1/2
    The functions of the kinases MST1 and MST2 rely heavily on their ability to phosphorylate and become phosphorylated themselves. Hence, it is important to precisely measure the kinase activities of both isoforms in a reproducible manner. Here, we describe in detail the protocol for an in-gel kinase assay for the quantification of the kinase activity of MST1/2, which involves immunoprecipitation of MST1/2 and the incorporation of radiolabeled phosphate from [γ-32P]-ATP into a substrate immobilized in a polyacrylamide gel. We also include a protocol for indirect measurement of MST1/2 activation status using immunoblotting.
  • Publication
    Mutant K-Ras Activation of the Proapoptotic MST2 Pathway Is Antagonized by Wild-Type K-Ras
    K-Ras mutations are frequent in colorectal cancer (CRC), albeit K-Ras is the only Ras isoform that can elicit apoptosis. Here, we show that mutant K-Ras directly binds to the tumor suppressor RASSF1A to activate the apoptotic MST2-LATS1 pathway. In this pathway LATS1 binds to and sequesters the ubiquitin ligase Mdm2 causing stabilization of the tumor suppressor p53 and apoptosis. However, mutant Ras also stimulates autocrine activation of the EGF receptor (EGFR) which counteracts mutant K-Ras-induced apoptosis. Interestingly, this protection requires the wild-type K-Ras allele, which inhibits the MST2 pathway in part via AKT activation. Confirming the pathophysiological relevance of the molecular findings, we find a negative correlation between K-Ras mutation and MST2 expression in human CRC patients and CRC mouse models. The small number of tumors with co-expression of mutant K-Ras and MST2 has elevated apoptosis rates. Thus, in CRC, mutant K-Ras transformation is supported by the wild-type allele.
      585Scopus© Citations 106
  • Publication
    Nanoparticles Can Wrap Epithelial Cell Membranes and Relocate Them Across the Epithelial Cell Layer
    Although the link between the inhalation of nanoparticles and cardiovascular disease is well established, the causal pathway between nanoparticle exposure and increased activity of blood coagulation factors remains unexplained. To initiate coagulation tissue factor bearing epithelial cell membranes should be exposed to blood, on the other side of the less than a micrometre thin air-blood barrier. For the inhaled nanoparticles to promote coagulation, they need to bind lung epithelial-cell membrane parts and relocate them into the blood. To assess this hypothesis, we use advanced microscopy and spectroscopy techniques to show that the nanoparticles wrap themselves with epithelial-cell membranes, leading to the membrane's disruption. The membrane-wrapped nanoparticles are then observed to freely diffuse across the damaged epithelial cell layer relocating epithelial cell membrane parts over the epithelial layer. Proteomic analysis of the protein content in the nanoparticles wraps/corona finally reveals the presence of the coagulation-initiating factors, supporting the proposed causal link between the inhalation of nanoparticles and cardiovascular disease.
      137Scopus© Citations 16
  • Publication
    Increased Virulence of Bloodstream Over Peripheral Isolates of P. aeruginosa Identified Through Post-transcriptional Regulation of Virulence Factors
    The factors influencing the virulence of P. aeruginosa in the development of invasive infection remain poorly understood. Here, we investigated the role of the host microenvironment in shaping pathogen virulence and investigated the mechanisms involved. Comparing seven paired genetically indistinguishable clinical bloodstream and peripheral isolates of P. aeruginosa, we demonstrate that isolates derived from bloodstream infections are more virulent than their peripheral counterparts (p = 0.025). Bloodstream and peripheral isolates elicited similar NF-kB responses in a THP-1 monocyte NF-kappaB reporter cell line implicating similar immunogenicity. Proteomic analysis by mass spectrometry identified multiple virulence and virulence-related factors including LecA and RpoN in significantly greater abundance in the bacterial supernatant from the bloodstream isolate in comparison to that from the corresponding peripheral isolate. Investigation by qPCR revealed that control of expression of these virulence factors was not due to altered levels of transcription. Based on these data, we hypothesize a post-transcriptional mechanism of virulence regulation in P. aeruginosa bloodstream infections influenced by surrounding microenvironmental conditions.
      98Scopus© Citations 10