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Poggi A.,Molecular Oncology and Angiogenesis Unit | Zocchi M.R.,San Raffaele Scientific Institute
Frontiers in Immunology | Year: 2014

Increasing evidences have pointed out the relevance of natural killer (NK) cells in organ-specific and systemic autoimmune diseases. NK cells bear a plethora of activating and inhibiting receptors that can play a role in regulating reactivity with autologous cells. The activating receptors recognize natural ligands up-regulated on virus-infected or stressed or neoplastic cells. Of note, several autoimmune diseases are thought to be linked to viral infections as one of the first event in inducing autoimmunity. Also, it is conceivable that autoimmunity can be triggered when a dysregulation of innate immunity occurs, activating T and B lymphocytes to react with self-components. This would imply that NK cells can play a regulatory role during adaptive immunity; indeed, innate lymphoid cells (ILCs), comprising the classical CD56+ NK cells, have a role in maintaining or alternating tissue homeostasis secreting protective and/or pro-inflammatory cytokines. In addition, NK cells display activating receptors involved in natural cytotoxicity and the activating isoforms of receptors for HLA class I that can interact with healthy host cells and induce damage without any evidence of viral infection or neoplastic-induced alteration. In this context, the interrelationship among ILC, extracellular-matrix components, and mesenchymal stromal cells can be considered a key point for the control of homeostasis. Herein, we summarize evidences for a role of NK cells in autoimmune diseases and will give a point of view of the interplay between NK cells and self-cells in triggering autoimmunity. © 2014 Poggi and Zocchi.

Barboro P.,Urologic | Borzi L.,Urologic | Repaci E.,Urologic | Ferrari N.,Molecular Oncology and Angiogenesis Unit | Balbi C.,Urologic
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

The androgen receptor (AR) plays a central role in the development and progression of prostate cancer (PCa) and anti-androgen therapy is a standard treatment. Unfortunately, after a few years, the majority of patients progress, developing androgen-independent PCa. AR-driven gene transcription recruits a large number of co-activator/co-repressor complexes; among these, the heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein K (hnRNP K) directly interacts with and regulates the AR translational apparatus. Here we examined AR and hnRNP K expression in response to the treatment of LNCaP cells with anti-androgen cyproterone acetate (CPA) or bicalutamide (BIC). AR and hnRNP K modulation and compartmentalization were studied by Western blot and confocal microscopy. Phosphate-affinity gel electrophoresis was employed to examine how anti-androgens modified hnRNP K phosphorylation. 10-6 M CPA significantly stimulated LNCaP proliferation, whereas for 10-4 M CPA or 10-5 M BIC an antagonistic effect was observed. After anti-androgen treatment, AR expression was remarkably down-regulated within both the cytoplasm and the nucleus; however, when CPA had an agonist activity, the AR associated with the nuclear matrix (NM) increased approximately 2.5 times. This increase was synchronous with a higher PSA expression, indicating that the NM-associated AR represents the active complex. After BIC treatment, hnRNP K expression was significantly lower in the NM, the protein was hypophosphorylated and the co-localization of AR and hnRNP K decreased. In contrast, CPA as an agonist caused hnRNP K hyperphosphorylation and an increase in the co-localization of two proteins. These findings demonstrate that, in vitro, there is a strong relationship between NM-associated AR and both cell viability and PSA levels, indicating that AR transcriptional activity is critically dependent on its subnuclear localization. Moreover, the agonistic/antagonistic activity of anti-androgens is associated with modifications in hnRNP K phosphorylation, indicating an involvement of this protein in the AR transcriptional activity and likely in the onset of the androgen-independent phenotype. © 2013 Barboro et al.

Raso A.,Neurosurgery Unit | Vecchio D.,Molecular Mutagenesis and DNA Repair Unit | Cappelli E.,Hematology Unit | Ropolo M.,Molecular Mutagenesis and DNA Repair Unit | And 8 more authors.
Brain Pathology | Year: 2012

Previous studies have shown that tumor-driving glioma stem cells (GSC) may promote radio-resistance by constitutive activation of the DNA damage response started by the ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM) protein. We have investigated whether GSC may be specifically sensitized to ionizing radiation by inhibiting the DNA damage response. Two grade IV glioma cell lines (BORRU and DR177) were characterized for a number of immunocytochemical, karyotypic, proliferative and differentiative parameters. In particular, the expression of a panel of nine stem cell markers was quantified by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and flow cytometry. Overall, BORRU and DR177 displayed pronounced and poor stem phenotypes, respectively. In order to improve the therapeutic efficacy of radiation on GSC, the cells were preincubated with a nontoxic concentration of the ATM inhibitors KU-55933 and KU-60019 and then irradiated. BORRU cells were sensitized to radiation and radio-mimetic chemicals by ATM inhibitors whereas DR177 were protected under the same conditions. No sensitization was observed after cell differentiation or to drugs unable to induce double-strand breaks (DSB), indicating that ATM inhibitors specifically sensitize glioma cells possessing stem phenotype to DSB-inducing agents. In conclusion, pharmacological inhibition of ATM may specifically sensitize GSC to DSB-inducing agents while sparing nonstem cells. © 2012 The Authors; Brain Pathology © 2012 International Society of Neuropathology.

Vecchio D.,Mutagenesis Unit | Daga A.,Gene Transfer Unit | Carra E.,Gene Transfer Unit | Marubbi D.,Gene Transfer Unit | And 12 more authors.
International Journal of Cancer | Year: 2014

We have previously shown that pharmacological inhibition of ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM) protein sensitizes glioblastoma-initiating cells (GICs) to ionizing radiation (IR). Herein, we report the experimental conditions to overcome GIC radioresistance in vitro using the specific ATM inhibitor KU-60019, two major determinants of the tumor response to this drug and the absence of toxicity of this treatment in vitro and in vivo. Repeated treatments with KU-60019 followed by IR substantially delayed GIC proliferation in vitro and even eradicated radioresistant cells, whereas GIC treated with vehicle plus radiation recovered early and expanded. The tumor response to the drug occurred under a cutoff level of expression of TP53 and over a cutoff level of expression of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K). No increased clastogenicity or point mutagenicity was induced by KU-60019 plus radiation when compared to vehicle plus radiation. No significant histological changes to the brain or other organs were observed after prolonged infusion into the brain of KU-60019 at millimolar concentrations. Taken together, these findings suggest that GIC-driven tumors with low expression of TP53 and high expression of PI3K might be effectively and safely radiosensitized by KU-60019. What's new? Glioblastoma multiforme is a highly infiltrative brain tumor resistant to radiation. Here, the authors report that inhibition of Ataxia Telangiectasia Mutated (ATM) protein, a key regulator of the DNA damage checkpoint response, improves the efficacy of ionizing radiation against radio-resistant glioblastoma-initiating cells, primary human cell lines isolated from grade IV gliomas. The response to the ATM inhibitor KU-60019 correlated with low expression levels of tumor protein p53 (wild type or mutant) and high expression levels of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase and was tested after intracranial application in mice with orthotopic tumors. The study supports emerging evidence that KU-60019 may improve radiotherapy of high-grade gliomas. © 2013 UICC.

Foresta M.,University of Genoa | Foresta M.,Mutagenesis Unit | Izzotti A.,University of Genoa | Izzotti A.,Mutagenesis Unit | And 5 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2014

Cigarette smoke (CS) is associated to a number of pathologies including lung cancer. Its mutagenic and carcinogenic effects are partially linked to the presence of reactive oxygen species and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) inducing DNA damage. The bacterial DNA repair enzyme formamidopyrimidine DNA glycosylase (FPG) repairs both oxidized bases and different types of bulky DNA adducts. We investigated in vitro whether FPG expression may enhance DNA repair of CS-damaged DNA and counteract the mutagenic effects of CS in human lung cells. NCI-H727 non small cell lung carcinoma cells were transfected with a plasmid vector expressing FPG fused to the Enhanced Green Fluorescent Protein (EGFP). Cells expressing the fusion protein EGFP-FPG displayed accelerated repair of adducts and DNA breaks induced by CS condensate. The mutant frequencies induced by low concentrations of CS condensate to the Na +K+-ATPase locus (ouar) were significantly reduced in cells expressing EGFP-FPG. Hence, expression of the bacterial DNA repair protein FPG stably protects human lung cells from the mutagenic effects of CS by improving cells' capacity to repair damaged DNA. © 2014 Foresta et al.

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