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Bakiri L.,Genes Development and Disease Group | MacHo-Maschler S.,University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna | Custic I.,Research Institute of Molecular Pathology | Custic I.,Hamburg Unit | And 9 more authors.
Cell Death and Differentiation | Year: 2015

Epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is essential for embryonic morphogenesis and wound healing and critical for tumour cell invasion and dissemination. The AP-1 transcription factor Fra-1 has been implicated in tumorigenesis and in tumour-associated EMT in human breast cancer. We observed a significant inverse correlation between Fra-1 mRNA expression and distant-metastasis-free survival in a large cohort of breast cancer patients derived from multiple array data sets. This unique correlation among Fos genes prompted us to assess the evolutionary conservation between Fra-1 functions in EMT of human and mouse cells. Ectopic expression of Fra-1 in fully polarized, non-tumourigenic, mouse mammary epithelial EpH4 cells induced a mesenchymal phenotype, characterized by a loss of epithelial and gain of mesenchymal markers. Proliferation, motility and invasiveness were also increased in the resulting EpFra1 cells, and the cells were tumourigenic and efficiently colonized the lung upon transplantation. Molecular analyses revealed increased expression of Tgfβ1 and the EMT-inducing transcription factors Zeb1, Zeb2 and Slug. Mechanistically, Fra-1 binds to the tgfb1 and zeb2 promoters and to an evolutionarily conserved region in the first intron of zeb1. Furthermore, increased activity of a zeb2 promoter reporter was detected in EpFra1 cells and shown to depend on AP-1-binding sites. Inhibiting TGFβ signalling in EpFra1 cells moderately increased the expression of epithelial markers, whereas silencing of zeb1 or zeb2 restored the epithelial phenotype and decreased migration in vitro and tumorigenesis in vivo. Thus Fra-1 induces changes in the expression of genes encoding EMT-related transcription factors leading to the acquisition of mesenchymal, invasive and tumorigenic capacities by epithelial cells. This study defines a novel function of Fra-1/AP-1 in modulating tgfb1, zeb1 and zeb2 expression through direct binding to genomic regulatory regions, which establishes a basis for future in vivo genetic manipulations and preclinical studies using mouse models. © 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited. Source


Bakiri L.,Genes Development and Disease Group | Wagner E.F.,Genes Development and Disease Group
Molecular Oncology | Year: 2013

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the most common form of primary liver cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related cell death in human and the fifth in women worldwide. The incidence of HCC is increasing despite progress in identifying risk factors, understanding disease etiology and developing anti-viral strategies. Therapeutic options are limited and survival after diagnosis is poor. Therefore, better preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic tools are urgently needed, in particular given the increased contribution from systemic metabolic disease to HCC incidence worldwide. In the last three decades, technological advances have facilitated the generation of genetically engineered mouse models (GEMMs) to mimic the alterations frequently observed in human cancers or to conduct intervention studies and assess the relevance of candidate gene networks in tumor establishment, progression and maintenance. Because these studies allow molecular and cellular manipulations impossible to perform in patients, GEMMs have improved our understanding of this complex disease and represent a source of great potential for mechanism-based therapy development. In this review, we provide an overview of the current state of HCC modeling in the mouse, highlighting successes, current challenges and future opportunities. © 2013 Federation of European Biochemical Societies. Source


Tummala K.S.,Nutrients and Cancer Group | Gomes A.L.,Nutrients and Cancer Group | Yilmaz M.,Nutrients and Cancer Group | Grana O.,Bioinformatics Unit | And 8 more authors.
Cancer Cell | Year: 2014

Molecular mechanisms responsible for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) remain largely unknown. Using genetically engineered mouse models, we show that hepatocyte-specific expression of unconventional prefoldin RPB5 interactor (URI) leads to a multistep process of HCC development, whereas its genetic reduction in hepatocytes protects against diethylnitrosamine (DEN)-induced HCC. URI inhibits aryl hydrocarbon (AhR)- and estrogen receptor (ER)-mediated transcription of enzymes implicated in L-tryptophan/kynurenine/nicotinamideadenine dinucleotide (NAD+) metabolism, thereby causing DNA damage at early stages of tumorigenesis. Restoring NAD+ pools with nicotinamide riboside (NR) prevents DNA damage and tumor formation. Consistently, URI expression in human HCC is associated with poor survival and correlates negatively with L-tryptophan catabolism pathway. Our results suggest that boosting NAD+ can be prophylactic or therapeutic in HCC. © 2014 Elsevier Inc. Source

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