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Paronetto M.P.,Foro Italico University of Rome | Paronetto M.P.,Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology
International Journal of Cell Biology | Year: 2013

The Ewing sarcoma protein (EWS) is a well-known player in cancer biology for the specific translocations occurring in sarcomas. The EWS-FLI1 gene fusion is the prototypical translocation that encodes the aberrant, chimeric transcription factor, which is a landmark of Ewing tumors. In all described Ewing sarcoma oncogenes, the EWS RNA binding domains are completely missing; thus RNA binding properties are not retained in the hybrid proteins. However, it is currently unknown whether the absence of EWS function in RNA metabolism plays a role in oncogenic transformation or if EWS plays a role by itself in cancer development besides its contribution to the translocation. In this regard, recent reports have highlighted an essential role for EWS in the regulation of DNA damage response (DDR), a process that counteracts genome stability and is often deregulated in cancer cells. The first part of this review will describe the structural features of EWS and its multiple roles in the regulation of gene expression, which are exerted by coordinating different steps in the synthesis and processing of pre-mRNAs. The second part will examine the role of EWS in the regulation of DDR- and cancer-related genes, with potential implications in cancer therapies. Finally, recent advances on the involvement of EWS in neuromuscular disorders will be discussed. Collectively, the information reviewed herein highlights the broad role of EWS in bridging different cellular processes and underlines the contribution of EWS to genome stability and proper cell-cycle progression in higher eukaryotic cells. © 2013 Maria Paola Paronetto.

Frisone P.,Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology | Pradella D.,CNR Institute of Molecular Genetics | Di Matteo A.,CNR Institute of Molecular Genetics | Belloni E.,CNR Institute of Molecular Genetics | And 3 more authors.
BioMed Research International | Year: 2015

Alterations in expression and/or activity of splicing factors as well as mutations in cis-acting splicing regulatory sequences contribute to cancer phenotypes. Genome-wide studies have revealed more than 15,000 tumor-associated splice variants derived from genes involved in almost every aspect of cancer cell biology, including proliferation, differentiation, cell cycle control, metabolism, apoptosis, motility, invasion, and angiogenesis. In the past decades, several RNA binding proteins (RBPs) have been implicated in tumorigenesis. SAM68 (SRC associated in mitosis of 68 kDa) belongs to the STAR (signal transduction and activation of RNA metabolism) family of RBPs. SAM68 is involved in several steps of mRNA metabolism, from transcription to alternative splicing and then to nuclear export. Moreover, SAM68 participates in signaling pathways associated with cell response to stimuli, cell cycle transitions, and viral infections. Recent evidence has linked this RBP to the onset and progression of different tumors, highlighting misregulation of SAM68-regulated splicing events as a key step in neoplastic transformation and tumor progression. Here we review recent studies on the role of SAM68 in splicing regulation and we discuss its contribution to aberrant pre-mRNA processing in cancer. © 2015 Paola Frisone et al.

Cappellari M.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | Cappellari M.,Laboratory of Neuroembryology | Bielli P.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | Bielli P.,Laboratory of Neuroembryology | And 8 more authors.
Oncogene | Year: 2014

Splicing abnormalities have profound impact in human cancer. Several splicing factors, including SAM68, have pro-oncogenic functions, and their increased expression often correlates with human cancer development and progression. Herein, we have identified using mass spectrometry proteins that interact with endogenous SAM68 in prostate cancer (PCa) cells. Among other interesting proteins, we have characterized the interaction of SAM68 with SND1, a transcriptional co-Activator that binds spliceosome components, thus coupling transcription and splicing. We found that both SAM68 and SND1 are upregulated in PCa cells with respect to benign prostate cells. Upregulation of SND1 exerts a synergic effect with SAM68 on exon v5 inclusion in the CD44 mRNA. The effect of SND1 on CD44 splicing required SAM68, as it was compromised after knockdown of this protein or mutation of the SAM68-binding sites in the CD44 pre-mRNA. More generally, we found that SND1 promotes the inclusion of CD44 variable exons by recruiting SAM68 and spliceosomal components on CD44 pre-mRNA. Inclusion of the variable exons in CD44 correlates with increased proliferation, motility and invasiveness of cancer cells. Strikingly, we found that knockdown of SND1, or SAM68, reduced proliferation and migration of PCa cells. Thus, our findings strongly suggest that SND1 is a novel regulator of alternative splicing that promotes PCa cell growth and survival. © 2014 Macmillan Publishers Limited All rights reserved.

Fidaleo M.,Foro Italico University of Rome | Fidaleo M.,Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology | De Paola E.,Foro Italico University of Rome | De Paola E.,Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology | And 2 more authors.
Oncotarget | Year: 2016

The RNA helicase A (RHA) is involved in several steps of RNA metabolism, such as RNA processing, cellular transit of viral molecules, ribosome assembly, regulation of transcription and translation of specific mRNAs. RHA is a mutifunctional protein whose roles depend on the specific interaction with different molecular partners, which have been extensively characterized in physiological situations. More recently, the functional implication of RHA in human cancer has emerged. Interestingly, RHA was shown to cooperate with both tumor suppressors and oncoproteins in different tumours, indicating that its specific role in cancer is strongly influenced by the cellular context. For instance, silencing of RHA and/or disruption of its interaction with the oncoprotein EWS-FLI1 rendered Ewing sarcoma cells more sensitive to genotoxic stresses and affected tumor growth and maintenance, suggesting possible therapeutic implications. Herein, we review the recent advances in the cellular functions of RHA and discuss its implication in oncogenesis, providing a perspective for future studies and potential translational opportunities in human cancer.

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