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Yang X.,Dorn Research Institute | He X.,University of South Carolina | Yang Z.,University of South Carolina | Jabbari E.,University of South Carolina
Biochemistry and Cell Biology | Year: 2012

PER2 is a key mammalian circadian clock protein. It also has a tumor suppressive function. Down regulation of PER2 in the cultured cancer cells accelerates cell proliferation, while overexpression of PER2 inhibits cell growth and induces apoptosis. The Per2 mutant mice have a cancer prone phenotype and an altered DNA damage response. Here we report that PER2 regulates AKT activity. Cells with down-regulated PER2 expression have prolonged high levels of AKT T308 phosphorylation after growth factor stimulation or DNA damage. PER2 down-regulation delays DNA damage induced Chk2 activation and overrides DNA damage induced apoptosis and cell cycle arrest. © 2012 Published by NRC Research Press. Source


Yang F.,University of South Carolina | Yang X.,University of South Carolina | Yang X.,Dorn Veterans Affairs Medical Center | Yang X.,Dorn Research Institute | And 7 more authors.
Biomicrofluidics | Year: 2010

Separation of colorectal cancer cells from other biological materials is important for stool-based diagnosis of colorectal cancer. In this paper, we use conventional dielectrophoresis in a microfluidic chip to manipulate and isolate HCT116 colorectal cancer cells. It is noticed that at a particular alternating current frequency band, the HCT116 cells are clearly deflected to a side channel from the main channel after the electric activation of an electrode pair. This motion caused by negative dielectrophoresis can be used to simply and rapidly separate cancer cells from other cells. In this manuscript, we report the chip design, flow conditions, dielectrophoretic spectrum of the cancer cells, and the enrichment factor of the colorectal cancer cells from other cells. © 2010 American Institute of Physics. Source


Yang X.,University of South Carolina | Yang X.,Dorn Research Institute | Sarvestani S.K.,University of South Carolina | Moeinzadeh S.,University of South Carolina | And 2 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

Introduction: As cancer cells are affected by many factors in their microenvironment, a major challenge is to isolate the effect of a specific factor on cancer stem cells (CSCs) while keeping other factors unchanged. We have developed a synthetic inert 3D polyethylene glycol diacrylate (PEGDA) gel culture system as a unique tool to study the effect of microenvironmental factors on CSCs response. We have reported that CSCs formed in the inert PEGDA gel by encapsulation of breast cancer cells maintain their stemness within a certain range of gel stiffness. The objective was to investigate the effect of CD44 binding peptide (CD44BP) conjugated to the gel on the maintenance of breast CSCs. Methods: 4T1 or MCF7 breast cancer cells were encapsulated in PEGDA gel with CD44BP conjugation. Control groups included dissolved CD44BP and the gel with mutant CD44BP conjugation. Tumorsphere size and density, and expression of CSC markers were determined after 9 days. For in vivo, cell encapsulated gels were inoculated in syngeneic Balb/C mice and tumor formation was determined after 4 weeks. Effect of CD44BP conjugation on breast CSC maintenance was compared with integrin binding RGD peptide (IBP) and fibronectin-derived heparin binding peptide (FHBP). Results: Conjugation of CD44BP to the gel inhibited breast tumorsphere formation in vitro and in vivo. The ability of the encapsulated cells to form tumorspheres in the peptide-conjugated gels correlated with the expression of CSC markers. Tumorsphere formation in vitro was enhanced by FHBP while it was abolished by IBP. Conclusion: CD44BP and IBP conjugated to the gel abolished tumorsphere formation by encapsulated 4T1 cells while FHBP enhanced tumorsphere formation compared to cells in the gel without peptide. The PEGDA hydrogel culture system provides a novel tool to investigate the individual effect of factors in the microenvironment on CSC maintenance without interference of other factors. © 2013 Yang et al. Source


Jabbari E.,University of South Carolina | Yang X.,University of South Carolina | Yang X.,Dorn Research Institute | Moeinzadeh S.,University of South Carolina | He X.,University of South Carolina
European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics | Year: 2013

An exciting approach to tumor delivery is encapsulation of the drug in self-assembled polymer-peptide nanoparticles. The objective of this work was to synthesize a conjugate of low molecular weight polylactide (LMW PLA) and V6K2 peptide and investigate self-assembly, drug release kinetics, cell uptake and toxicity, drug pharmacokinetics, and tumor cell invasion with Doxorubicin (DOX) or paclitaxel (PTX). The results for PLA-V6K2 self-assembled NPs were compared with those of polyethylene glycol stabilized PLA (PLA-EG) NPs. The size of PLA-V6K2 and PLA-EG NPs was 100 ± 20 and 130 ± 50 nm, respectively, with polydispersity index of 1.04 and 1.14. The encapsulation efficiency of DOX in PLA-V6K2 and PLA-EG NPs was 44 ± 9% and 55 ± 5%, respectively, and that of PTX was >90 for both NP types. The release of DOX and PTX from PLA-V6K2 was slower than that of PLA-EG, and the release rate was relatively constant with time. Based on molecular dynamic simulation, the less hydrophobic DOX was distributed in the lactide core as well as the peptide shell, while the hydrophobic PTX was localized mainly to the lactide core. PLA-V6K2 NPs had significantly higher cell uptake by 4T1 mouse breast carcinoma cells compared to PLA-EG NPs, which was attributed to the electrostatic interactions between the peptide and negatively charged moieties on the cell membrane. PLA-V6K2 NPs showed no toxicity to marrow stromal cells. DOX-loaded PLA-V6K2 NPs showed higher toxicity to 4T1 cells and the DNA damage response, and apoptosis was delayed compared to the free DOX. DOX or PTX encapsulated in PLA-V6K2 NPs significantly reduced invasion of 4T1 cells compared to those cells treated with the drug in PLA-EG NPs. Invasion of 4T1 cells treated with DOX in PLA-V6K2 and PLA-EG NPs was 5 ± 1% and 30 ± 5%, respectively, and that of PTX was 11 ± 2% and 40 ± 7%. The AUC of DOX in PLA-V6K2 NPs was 67% and 21% higher than those of free DOX and PLA-EG NPs, respectively. DOX-loaded PLA-V6K2 NPs injected in C3HeB/FeJ mice inoculated with MTCL syngeneic breast cancer cells displayed higher tumor toxicity than PLA-EG NPs and lower host toxicity than the free DOX. Cationic PLA-V6K2 NPs with higher tumor toxicity than the PLA-EG NPs are potentially useful in chemotherapy. © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. Source


Yang X.,University of South Carolina | Yang X.,Dorn Research Institute | Sarvestani S.K.,University of South Carolina | Moeinzadeh S.,University of South Carolina | And 2 more authors.
Tissue Engineering - Part A | Year: 2013

Maintenance of cancer stem cells (CSCs) is regulated by the tumor microenvironment. Synthetic hydrogels provide the flexibility to design three-dimensional (3D) matrices to isolate and study individual factors in the tumor microenvironment. The objective of this work was to investigate the effect of matrix modulus on tumorsphere formation by breast cancer cells and maintenance of CSCs in an inert microenvironment without the interference of other factors. In that regard, 4T1 mouse breast cancer cells were encapsulated in inert polyethylene glycol diacrylate hydrogels and the effect of matrix modulus on tumorsphere formation and expression of CSC markers was investigated. The gel modulus had a strong effect on tumorsphere formation and the effect was bimodal. Tumorsphere formation and expression of CSC markers peaked after 8 days of culture. At day 8, as the matrix modulus was increased from 2.5 kPa to 5.3, 26.1, and 47.1 kPa, the average tumorsphere size changed from 37±6 μm to 57±6, 20±4, and 12±2 μm, respectively; cell number density in the gel changed from 0.8±0.1×105 cells/mL to 1.7±0.2×105, 0.4±0.1×10 5, and 0.2±0.1×105 cells/mL after initial encapsulation of 0.14×105 cells/mL; and the expression of CD44 breast CSC marker changed from 17±4-fold to 38±9-, 3±1-, and 2±1-fold increase compared with the initial level. Similar results were obtained with MCF7 human breast carcinoma cells. Mouse 4T1 and human MCF7 cells encapsulated in the gel with 5.3 kPa modulus formed the largest tumorspheres and highest density of tumorspheres, and had highest expression of breast CSC markers CD44 and ABCG2. The inert polyethylene glycol hydrogel can be used as a model-engineered 3D matrix to study the role of individual factors in the tumor microenvironment on tumorigenesis and maintenance of CSCs without the interference of other factors. © Copyright 2013, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. 2013. Source

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