Animal Model Facility

Ariano Irpino, Italy

Animal Model Facility

Ariano Irpino, Italy
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Rocco A.,University of Naples Federico II | Liguori E.,University of Naples Federico II | Pirozzi G.,Italian National Cancer Institute | Tirino V.,Italian National Cancer Institute | And 11 more authors.
Journal of Cellular Physiology | Year: 2012

Emerging evidence suggests that tumors contain and are driven by a cellular component that displays stem cell properties, the so-called cancer stem cells (CSCs). CSCs have been identified in several solid human cancers; however, there are no data about CSCs in primary human gastric cancer (GC). By using CD133 and CD44 cell surface markers we investigated whether primary human GCs contain a cell subset expressing stem-like properties and whether this subpopulation has tumor-initiating properties in xenograft transplantation experiments. We examined tissues from 44 patients who underwent gastrectomy for primary GC. The tumorigenicity of the cells separated by flow cytometry using CD133 and CD44 surface markers was tested by subcutaneous or intraperitoneum injection in NOD/SCID and nude mice. GCs included in the study were intestinal in 34 cases and diffuse in 10 cases. All samples contained surface marker-positive cells: CD133 + mean percentage 10.6% and CD133 +/CD44 + mean percentage 27.7%, irrespective of cancer phenotype or grade of differentiation. Purified CD133 + and CD133 +/CD44 + cells, obtained in sufficient number only in 12 intestinal type GC cases, failed to reproduce cancer in two mice models. However, the unseparated cells produced glandular-like structures in 70% of the mice inoculated. In conclusion, although CD133 + and CD133 +/CD44 + were detectable in human primary GCs, they neither expressed stem-like properties nor exhibited tumor-initiating properties in xenograft transplantation experiments. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


Esposito C.L.,National Research Council Italy | Passaro D.,University of Naples Federico II | Longobardo I.,University of Naples Federico II | Condorelli G.,National Research Council Italy | And 6 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2011

Nucleic acid aptamers have been developed as high-affinity ligands that may act as antagonists of disease-associated proteins. Aptamers are non immunogenic and characterised by high specificity and low toxicity thus representing a valid alternative to antibodies or soluble ligand receptor traps/decoys to target specific cancer cell surface proteins in clinical diagnosis and therapy. The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) has been implicated in the development of a wide range of human cancers including breast, glioma and lung. The observation that its inhibition can interfere with the growth of such tumors has led to the design of new drugs including monoclonal antibodies and tyrosine kinase inhibitors currently used in clinic. However, some of these molecules can result in toxicity and acquired resistance, hence the need to develop novel kinds of EGFR-targeting drugs with high specificity and low toxicity. Here we generated, by a cell-Systematic Evolution of Ligands by EXponential enrichment (SELEX) approach, a nuclease resistant RNA-aptamer that specifically binds to EGFR with a binding constant of 10 nM. When applied to EGFR-expressing cancer cells the aptamer inhibits EGFR-mediated signal pathways causing selective cell death. Furthermore, at low doses it induces apoptosis even of cells that are resistant to the most frequently used EGFR-inhibitors, such as gefitinib and cetuximab, and inhibits tumor growth in a mouse xenograft model of human non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Interestingly, combined treatment with cetuximab and the aptamer shows clear synergy in inducing apoptosis in vitro and in vivo. In conclusion, we demonstrate that this neutralizing RNA-aptamer is a promising bio-molecule that can be developed as a more effective alternative to the repertoire of already existing EGFR-inhibitors. © 2011 Esposito et al.


Bellelli R.,University of Naples Federico II | Castellone M.,University of Naples Federico II | Guida T.,University of Naples Federico II | Limongello R.,University of Naples Federico II | And 11 more authors.
Molecular Cell | Year: 2014

NCOA4 is a transcriptional coactivator of nuclear hormone receptors that undergoes gene rearrangement in human cancer. By combining studies in Xenopus laevis egg extracts and mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs), we show here that NCOA4 is a minichromosome maintenance 7 (MCM7)-interacting protein that is able to control DNA replication. Depletion-reconstitution experiments in Xenopus laevis egg extracts indicate that NCOA4 acts as an inhibitor of DNA replication origin activation by regulating CMG (CDC45/MCM2-7/GINS) helicase. NCOA4-/- MEFs display unscheduled origin activation and reduced interorigin distance; this results in replication stress, as shown by the presence of fork stalling, reduction of fork speed, and premature senescence. Together, our findings indicate that NCOA4 acts as a regulator of DNA replication origins that helps prevent inappropriate DNA synthesis and replication stress. © 2014 Elsevier Inc.


Cerchia L.,CNR Institute of Neuroscience | Esposito C.L.,CNR Institute of Neuroscience | Camorani S.,CNR Institute of Neuroscience | Camorani S.,University of Naples Federico II | And 6 more authors.
Molecular Therapy | Year: 2012

Axl is a tyrosine kinase receptor that was first identified as a transforming gene in human myeloid leukemia. Recent converging evidence suggests its implication in cancer progression and invasion for several solid tumors, including lung, breast, brain, thyroid, and pancreas. In the last decade, Axl has thus become an attractive target for therapeutic development of more aggressive cancers. An emerging class of therapeutic inhibitors is now represented by short nucleic acid aptamers. These molecules act as high affinity ligands with several advantages over conventional antibodies for their use in vivo, including their small size and negligible immunogenicity. Furthermore, these molecules can easily form conjugates able to drive the specific delivery of interfering RNAs, nanoparticles, or chemotherapeutics. We have thus generated and characterized a selective RNA-based aptamer, GL21.T that binds the extracellular domain of Axl at high affinity (12 nmol/l) and inhibits its catalytic activity. GL21.T blocked Axl-dependent transducing events in vitro, including Erk and Akt phosphorylation, cell migration and invasion, as well as in vivo lung tumor formation in mice xenografts. In this respect, the GL21.T aptamer represents a promising therapeutic molecule for Axl-dependent cancers whose importance is highlighted by the paucity of available Axl-specific inhibitory molecules. © The American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy.


PubMed | London Research Institute, Animal Model Facility, CNR Institute of Biostructure and Bioimaging, Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Medical Science and University of Naples Federico II
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Molecular cell | Year: 2014

NCOA4 is a transcriptional coactivator of nuclear hormone receptors that undergoes gene rearrangement in human cancer. By combining studies in Xenopus laevis egg extracts and mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs), we show here that NCOA4 is a minichromosome maintenance 7 (MCM7)-interacting protein that is able to control DNA replication. Depletion-reconstitution experiments in Xenopus laevis egg extracts indicate that NCOA4 acts as an inhibitor of DNA replication origin activation by regulating CMG (CDC45/MCM2-7/GINS) helicase. NCOA4(-/-) MEFs display unscheduled origin activation and reduced interorigin distance; this results in replication stress, as shown by the presence of fork stalling, reduction of fork speed, and premature senescence. Together, our findings indicate that NCOA4 acts as a regulator of DNA replication origins that helps prevent inappropriate DNA synthesis and replication stress.

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