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Trabulo S.,Center for Neuroscience and Cell Biology of Coimbra | Trabulo S.,University Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdellah | Cardoso A.M.,Center for Neuroscience and Cell Biology of Coimbra | Cardoso A.M.,University Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdellah | And 8 more authors.
Molecular Pharmaceutics

Since clinical application of conventional cancer therapies is usually limited by drug resistance and toxic side effects, combination of chemotherapeutic agents with gene therapy appears as an attractive therapeutic strategy to overcome these issues. Being selectively expressed in tumor tissues, survivin is a promising target for the development of anticancer strategies aimed at eliminating tumor cells while sparing normal tissues. In this work, we achieved substantial protein knockdown in a number of human cell lines, namely, A549, HeLa and MCF-7 cells which overexpress survivin, after treatment with anti-survivin siRNAs, which was associated with a significant reduction of cell viability, when compared to treatment with control siRNAs. Interestingly, when the survivin-silencing approach was combined with a chemotherapeutic agent, an enhancement of the therapeutic effect was achieved. Treatment with anti-survivin siRNAs resulted in high levels of caspase 3/7 activation, and an enhancement of this effect was observed when survivin silencing was combined with vinblastine. In addition, we showed that for A549 and HeLa cells survivin silencing contributes to the reversion of cell resistance to doxorubicin. Overall, we demonstrate that the combination of a survivin-directed silencing strategy with chemotherapeutic agents constitutes a valuable approach for cancer treatment. © 2011 American Chemical Society. Source

Taschenberger G.,University of Gottingen | Garrido M.,University of Gottingen | Garrido M.,Center for Neuroscience and Cell Biology of Coimbra | Tereshchenko Y.,University of Gottingen | And 3 more authors.
Acta Neuropathologica

Fibrillar αSynuclein is the major constituent of Lewy bodies and Lewy neurites, the protein deposits characteristic for Parkinson's disease (PD). Multiplications of the αSynuclein gene, aswell as pointmutations cause familial PD. However, the exact role of αSynuclein in neurodegeneration remains uncertain. Recent research in invertebrates has suggested that oligomeric rather than fibrillizing αSynuclein mediates neurotoxicity. To investigate the impact of αSynuclein aggregation on the progression of neurodegeneration, we expressed variants with different fibrillation propensities in the rat substantia nigra (SN) by means of recombinant adeno-associated viral (AAV) vectors. The formation of proteinase K-resistant αSynuclein aggregates was correlated to the loss of nigral dopaminergic (DA) neurons and striatal fibers. Expression of two prefibrillar, structure-based design mutants of αSynuclein (i.e., A56P and A30P/A56P/A76P) resulted in less aggregate formation in nigral DA neurons as compared to human wild-type (WT) or the inherited A30P mutation. However, only the αSynuclein variants capable of forming fibrils (WT/A30P), but not the oligomeric αSynuclein species induced a sustained progressive loss of adult nigral DA neurons. These results demonstrate that divergent modes of αSynuclein neurotoxicity exist in invertebrate and mammalian DA neurons in vivo and suggest that fibrillation of αSynuclein promotes the progressive degeneration of nigral DA neurons as found in PD patients. © The Author(s) 2011. Source

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