Laboratory for Biotechnology

Brussels, Belgium

Laboratory for Biotechnology

Brussels, Belgium

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Umelo I.A.,Universitair Ziekenhuis | De Wever O.,Universitair Ziekenhuis | Kronenberger P.,Universitair Ziekenhuis | Kronenberger P.,Laboratory for Biotechnology | And 5 more authors.
Lung Cancer | Year: 2015

Introduction: Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer-related mortality worldwide, with metastatic disease frequently a prominent feature at the time of diagnosis. The role of NSCLC-derived EGFR mutations in cancer cell proliferation and survival has been widely reported, but little is known about the function of these mutations in invasive growth and metastasis. In this study, we sought to evaluate the intrinsic invasive properties of NSCLC cells with differing EGFR status and examine possible therapeutic targets that can abrogate invasive growth. Materials and methods: Collagen-based assays and 3D cell cultures were used to assess morphological features, actin cytoskeleton dynamics and the invasive capacity of NSCLC cell lines with differing EGFR status. The role of the RhoA/ROCK/MYPT1 and EGFR/HER pathways in NSCLC-related invasion was investigated by pharmacological inhibition and RNA interference techniques. Results: We demonstrate a positive correlation between EGFR mutational/amplification status and invasive capacity. Knockdown of wild-type and mutant EGFR leads to depletion of active and total MYPT1 levels. Combined pharmacological inhibition or genetic ablation of ROCK/EGFR suppresses the hallmarks of cancer cells and abrogates the invasive phenotype in EGFR-dependent NSCLC cells. Conclusions: These observations suggest that combined targeting of the ROCK and EGFR/HER pathways may be a potential therapeutic approach in limiting invasive growth in NSCLC. © 2015 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.


Chen G.,Vrije Universiteit Brussel | Chen G.,Guangxi Medical University | Kronenberger P.,Vrije Universiteit Brussel | Kronenberger P.,Laboratory for Biotechnology | And 3 more authors.
Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications | Year: 2013

The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is a validated therapeutic target in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). However, some mutations confer resistance to current available agents, especially the frequently occurring T790M mutation. In the current study, we have examined, in a NSCLC cell line H1975 containing both L858R and T790M mutations, the effect of T790M-specific-siRNAs versus other EGFR-specific-siRNAs. T790M-specific-siRNAs were able to inhibit T790M and EGFR mRNA, to reduce EGFR protein expression, as well as to reduce the cell growth and induce cell caspase activity in H1975 cells. However, this effect showed less potency compared to the other EGFR-specific-siRNAs. EGFR-specific-siRNAs strongly inhibited cell growth and induced apoptosis in H358, H1650, H292, HCC827 and also in H1975 cells, which showed weak response to tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) or cetuximab. The addition of T790M-specific-siRNAs could rescue the sensitivity of T790M mutant H1975 cells to TKIs. The combination of T790M-specific-siRNAs and cetuximab also additively enhanced cell growth inhibition and induction of apoptosis in H1975 cells. Among the anti-EGFR agents tested, the strongest biological effect was observed when afatinib was combined with T790M-specific-siRNAs. Afatinib also offered extra effect when combined with cetuximab in H1975 cells. In conclusion, knock-down of T790M transcript by siRNAs further decreases the cell growth of T790M mutant lung cancer cells that are treated with TKIs or cetuximab. The combination of a potent, irreversible kinase inhibitor such as afatinib, with T790M-specific-siRNAs should be further investigated as a new strategy in the treatment of lung cancer containing the resistant T790M mutation. © 2012 Elsevier Inc.


Chen G.,Guangxi Medical University | Chen G.,Vrije Universiteit Brussel | Noor A.,Vrije Universiteit Brussel | Kronenberger P.,Vrije Universiteit Brussel | And 4 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and c-MET receptors are expressed on many non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cells. Current single agent therapeutic targeting of a mutant EGFR has a high efficacy in the clinic, but is not curative. Here, we investigated the combination of targeting EGFR and c-MET pathways in NSCLC cells resistant to receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), using RNA interference and inhibition by TKIs. Different NSCLC cell lines with various genomic characteristics (H358, H1650 and H1975) were transfected with EGFR-specific-siRNA, T790M-specific-siRNA, c-MET siRNA or the combination. Subsequently EGFR TKIs (gefitinib, erlotinib or afatinib) or monoclonal antibody cetuximab were combined respectively with the c-MET-specific TKI su11274 in NSCLC cell lines. The cell proliferation, viability, caspase-3/7 activity and apoptotic morphology were monitored by spectrophotometry, fluorimetry and fluorescence microscopy. The combined effect of EGFR TKIs, or cetuximab and su11274, was evaluated using a combination index. The results showed that the cell lines that were relatively resistant to EGFR TKIs, especially the H1975 cell line containing the resistance T790M mutation, were found to be more sensitive to EGFR-specific-siRNA. The combination of EGFR siRNA plus c-MET siRNA enhanced cell growth inhibition, apoptosis induction and inhibition of downstream signaling in EGFR TKI resistant H358, H1650 and H1975 cells, despite the absence of activity of the c-MET siRNA alone. EGFR TKIs or cetuximab plus su11274 were also consistently superior to either agent alone. The strongest biological effect was observed when afatinib, an irreversible pan-HER blocker was combined with su11274, which achieved a synergistic effect in the T790M mutant H1975 cells. In a conclusion, our findings offer preclinical proof of principle for combined inhibition as a promising treatment strategy for NSCLC, especially for patients in whom current EGFR-targeted treatments fail due to the presence of the T790M-EGFR-mutation or high c-MET expression. © 2013 Chen et al.


Chen G.,Guangxi Medical University | Chen G.,Vrije Universiteit Brussel | Umelo I.A.,Vrije Universiteit Brussel | Lv S.,Vrije Universiteit Brussel | And 8 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

Aberrant expression of microRNA-146a (miR-146a) has been reported to be involved in the development and progression of various types of cancers. However, its role in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) has not been elucidated. The aim of this study was to investigate the contribution of miR-146a to various aspects of the malignant phenotype of human NSCLCs. In functional experiments, miR-146a suppressed cell growth, induced cellular apoptosis and inhibited EGFR downstream signaling in five NSCLC cell lines (H358, H1650, H1975, HCC827 and H292). miR-146a also inhibited the migratory capacity of these NSCLC cells. On the other hand, miR-146a enhanced the inhibition of cell proliferation by drugs targeting EGFR, including both TKIs (gefitinib, erlotinib, and afatinib) and a monoclonal antibody (cetuximab). These effects were independent of the EGFR mutation status (wild type, sensitizing mutation or resistance mutation), but were less potent compared to the effects of siRNA targeting of EGFR. Our results suggest that these effects of miR-146a are due to its targeting of EGFR and NF-κB signaling. We also found, in clinical formalin fixed paraffin embedded (FFPE) lung cancer samples, that low expression of miR-146a was correlated with advanced clinical TNM stages and distant metastasis in NSCLC (P<0.05). The patients with high miR-146a expression in their tumors showed longer progression-free survival (25.6 weeks in miR-146a high patients vs. 4.8 weeks in miR-146a low patients, P<0.05). miR-146a is therefore a strong candidate prognostic biomarker in NSCLC. Thus inducing miR-146a might be a therapeutic strategy for NSCLC. © 2013 Chen et al.


Umelo I.A.,Universitair Ziekenhuis Brussel | Weverb O.D.,Universitair Ziekenhuis Ghent | Kronenberger P.,Universitair Ziekenhuis Brussel | Kronenberger P.,Laboratory for Biotechnology | And 5 more authors.
Lung Cancer | Year: 2015

Introduction: Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer-related mortality worldwide, with metastatic disease frequently a prominent feature at the time of diagnosis. The role of NSCLC-derived EGFR mutations in cancer cell proliferation and survival has been widely reported, but little is known about the function of these mutations in invasive growth and metastasis. In this study, we sought to evaluate the intrinsic invasive properties of NSCLC cells with differing EGFR status and examine possible therapeutic targets that can abrogate invasive growth. Materials and methods: Collagen-based assays and 3D cell cultures were used to assess morphological features, actin cytoskeleton dynamics and the invasive capacity of NSCLC cell lines with differing EGFR status. The role of the RhoA/ROCK/MYPT1 and EGFR/HER pathways in NSCLC-related invasion was investigated by pharmacological inhibition and RNA interference techniques. Results: We demonstrate a positive correlation between EGFR mutational/amplification status and invasive capacity. Knockdown of wild-type and mutant EGFR leads to depletion of active and total MYPT1 levels. Combined pharmacological inhibition or genetic ablation of ROCK/EGFR suppresses the hallmarks of cancer cells and abrogates the invasive phenotype in EGFR-dependent NSCLC cells. Conclusions: These observations suggest that combined targeting of the ROCK and EGFR/HER pathways may be a potential therapeutic approach in limiting invasive growth in NSCLC. © 2015 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.


Chen G.,Vrije Universiteit Brussel | Chen G.,Guangxi Medical University | Kronenberger P.,Vrije Universiteit Brussel | Kronenberger P.,Laboratory for Biotechnology | And 2 more authors.
Biological Procedures Online | Year: 2010

Real-time quantitative RT-PCR (RT-qPCR) is a "gold" standard for measuring steady state mRNA levels in RNA interference assays. The knockdown of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) gene with eight individual EGFR small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) was estimated by RT-qPCR using three different RT-qPCR primer sets. Our results indicate that accurate measurement of siRNA efficacy by RT-qPCR requires careful attention for the selection of the primers used to amplify the target EGFR mRNA. We conclude that when assessing siRNA efficacy with RT-qPCR, more than one primer set targeting different regions of the mRNA should be evaluated and at least one of these primer sets should amplify a region encompassing the siRNA recognition sequence. © 2010 The Author(s).


Chen G.,Universitair Ziekenhuis Brussel | Chen G.,Guangxi Medical University | Kronenberger P.,Universitair Ziekenhuis Brussel | Kronenberger P.,Laboratory for Biotechnology | And 2 more authors.
Biological Procedures Online | Year: 2011

Background: Real-time quantitative RT-PCR (RT-qPCR) is a "gold" standard for measuring steady state mRNA levels in RNA interference assays. The knockdown of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) gene with eight individual EGFR small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) was estimated by RT-qPCR using three different RT-qPCR primer sets. Results: Our results indicate that accurate measurement of siRNA efficacy by RT-qPCR requires careful attention for the selection of the primers used to amplify the target EGFR mRNA. Conclusions: We conclude that when assessing siRNA efficacy with RT-qPCR, more than one primer set targeting different regions of the mRNA should be evaluated and at least one of these primer sets should amplify a region encompassing the siRNA recognition sequence. © 2011 Chen et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


Chen G.,Vrije Universiteit Brussel | Chen G.,Guangxi Medical University | Kronenberger P.,Vrije Universiteit Brussel | Kronenberger P.,Laboratory for Biotechnology | And 3 more authors.
Analytical Biochemistry | Year: 2010

A simple and sensitive real-time reverse transcriptase-quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) was developed to quantify threonine-to-methionine substitution at amino acid position 790 (T790M) mutant transcripts in a wild-type (wt) epidermal growth factor receptor background. The assay is based on three unmodified oligonucleotides, and both SYBR Green and a Taqman probe can be used. To increase the discrimination between mutant and wt signals, ARMS (amplification refractory mutation system) and LNA (locked nucleic acid) primers were tested, but a benefit was observed only with plasmids and not with cellular complementary DNA. The RT-qPCR assay using transcript-specific primers can detect as few as 1% T790M transcripts in a wt background and, therefore, will be useful in RNA interference studies specifically targeting mutant RNA. © 2009 Elsevier Inc.


Chen G.,Vrije Universiteit Brussel | Chen G.,Guangxi Medical University | Kronenberger P.,Vrije Universiteit Brussel | Kronenberger P.,Laboratory for Biotechnology | And 3 more authors.
BMC Medicine | Year: 2012

Background: The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is a validated therapeutic target in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). However, current single agent receptor targeting does not achieve a maximal therapeutic effect, and some mutations confer resistance to current available agents. In the current study we have examined, in different NSCLC cell lines, the combined effect of RNA interference targeting the EGFR mRNA, and inactivation of EGFR signaling using different receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) or a monoclonal antibody cetuximab.Methods: NSCLC cells (cell lines HCC827, H292, H358, H1650, and H1975) were transfected with EGFR siRNA and/or treated with the TKIs gefitinib, erlotinib, and afatinib, and/or with the monoclonal antibody cetuximab. The reduction of EGFR mRNA expression was measured by real-time quantitative RT-PCR. The down-regulation of EGFR protein expression was measured by western blot, and the proliferation, viability, caspase3/7 activity, and apoptotic morphology were monitored by spectrophotometry, fluorimetry, and fluorescence microscopy. The combined effect of EGFR siRNA and different drugs was evaluated using a combination index.Results: EGFR-specific siRNA strongly inhibited EGFR protein expression almost equally in all cell lines and inhibited cell growth and induced cell apoptosis in all NSCLC cell lines studied, albeit with a different magnitude. The effects on growth obtained with siRNA was strikingly different from the effects obtained with TKIs. The effects of siRNA probably correlate with the overall oncogenic significance of the receptor, which is only partly inhibited by the TKIs. The cells which showed weak response to TKIs, such as the H1975 cell line containing the T790M resistance mutation, were found to be responsive to siRNA knockdown of EGFR, as were cell lines with downstream TKI resistance mutations. The cell line HCC827, harboring an exon 19 deletion mutation, was more than 10-fold more sensitive to TKI proliferation inhibition and apoptosis induction than any of the other cell lines. Cetuximab alone had no relevant in vitro activity at concentrations obtainable in the clinic. The addition of EGFR siRNA to either TKIs or cetuximab additively enhanced growth inhibition and induction of apoptosis in all five cell lines, independent of the EGFR mutation status (wild-type or sensitizing mutation or resistant mutation). The strongest biological effect was observed when afatinib was combined with an EGFR-specific siRNA.Conclusions: EGFR knockdown by siRNA further decreases the cell growth of lung cancer cells that are treated with TKIs or cetuximab alone, confirming that single agent drug targeting does not achieve a maximal biological effect. The siRNA inhibits EGFR oncogenic activity that bypasses downstream "resistance" mutations such as KRAS and PTEN. The combined treatment of siRNA and EGFR inhibitory agents is additive. The combination of a potent, irreversible kinase inhibitor such as afatinib, with EGFR-specific siRNAs should be further investigated as a new strategy in the treatment of lung cancer and other EGFR dependent cancers, including those with downstream resistance mutations. © 2012 Chen et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


PubMed | National Water Research Institute, University of Carthage and Laboratory for Biotechnology
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Comptes rendus biologies | Year: 2016

In order to study the genetic diversity, the phylogeographic pattern and hybridization between six Tunisian Capparis species, 213 accessions of Caper were genotyped with three primer combinations of amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) markers. Out of 750 fragments generated, 636 were polymorphic and 407 of them were restricted to a single species. STRUCTURE and PCoA analyses clearly separated morphologically different populations into six distinct genetic ones. The UPGMA analysis grouped the species into three main clusters: G1 grouped C.spinosa subsp. spinosa var. spinosa and C.sicula subsp. sicula; G2 grouped C.ovata subsp. ovata and C.orientalis and G3 clustered C.zoharyi and C.aegyptia. Populations from G1, G2 and G3 were mainly distributed in arid, subhumid, and semi-arid bioclimates, respectively. Additional genetic studies on Capparis could help to identify genes underlying speciation events and local adaptation to geographic areas leading to the development of breeding programs.

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