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Nistico P.,Regina Elena Cancer Institute | Bissell M.J.,Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | Radisky D.C.,Mayo Clinic Cancer Center
Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Biology | Year: 2012

Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a physiological process in which epithelial cells acquire the motile and invasive characteristics of mesenchymal cells. Although EMTin embryonic development is a coordinated, organized process involving interaction between many different cells and tissue types, aspects of the EMT program can be inappropriately activated in response to microenvironmental alterations and aberrant stimuli, and this can contribute to disease conditions including tissue fibrosis and cancer progression. Here we will outline how EMT functions in normal development, how it could be activated in pathologic conditions- especially by matrix metalloproteinases-and how it may be targeted for therapeutic benefit. © 2012 Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press; all rights reserved.


Bellacchio E.,Research Laboratories | Paggi M.G.,Regina Elena Cancer Institute
Journal of Cellular Physiology | Year: 2013

The retinoblastoma (RB) family consists of three genes, RB1, RBL1, and RBL2, that code for the pRb, p107, and pRb2/p130 proteins, respectively. All these factors have pivotal roles in controlling fundamental cellular mechanisms such as cell cycle, differentiation and apoptosis. The founder and the most investigated RB family protein is pRb, which is considered to be the paradigm of tumor suppressors. However, p107 and pRb2/p130 clearly display a high degree of structural and functional homology with pRb. Interestingly, these factors were first identified as physical targets of the Adenovirus E1A oncoprotein. Indeed, RB family proteins are the most important and widely investigated targets of small DNA virus oncoproteins, such as Adenovirus E1A, human papillomavirus E7 and Simian virus 40 large T antigen. By interacting with pRb and with other RB family members, these oncoproteins neutralize their growth suppressive properties, thus stimulating proliferation of the infected cells, de-differentiation, and resistance to apoptosis. All these acquired features strongly favor the rise and selection of immortalized and mutation-prone cells, leading to a higher propensity in undergoing transformation. Our present work aims to illustrate and delve into these protein-protein interactions. Considering that these viral oncoproteins are dispensable for normal cellular functions, they can create "oncogene addiction" in the infected/transformed cells. This makes the possibility to dismantle these interactions extremely attractive, thus promoting the development of highly specific smart molecules capable of targeting only the infected/transformed cells that express these viral factors. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


Bonci D.,Regina Elena Cancer Institute
Oncogene | Year: 2015

Although the development of bone metastasis is a major detrimental event in prostate cancer, the molecular mechanisms responsible for bone homing and destruction remain largely unknown. Here we show that loss of miR-15 and miR-16 in cooperation with increased miR-21 expression promote prostate cancer spreading and bone lesions. This combination of microRNA endows bone-metastatic potential to prostate cancer cells. Concomitant loss of miR-15/miR-16 and gain of miR-21 aberrantly activate TGF-β and Hedgehog signaling, that mediate local invasion, distant bone marrow colonization and osteolysis by prostate cancer cells. These findings establish a new molecular circuitry for prostate cancer metastasis that was validated in patients' cohorts. Our data indicate a network of biomarkers and druggable pathways to improve patient treatment.Oncogene advance online publication, 15 June 2015; doi:10.1038/onc.2015.176. © 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited


Nistico P.,Regina Elena Cancer Institute
Cold Spring Harbor perspectives in biology | Year: 2012

Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a physiological process in which epithelial cells acquire the motile and invasive characteristics of mesenchymal cells. Although EMT in embryonic development is a coordinated, organized process involving interaction between many different cells and tissue types, aspects of the EMT program can be inappropriately activated in response to microenvironmental alterations and aberrant stimuli, and this can contribute to disease conditions including tissue fibrosis and cancer progression. Here we will outline how EMT functions in normal development, how it could be activated in pathologic conditions-especially by matrix metalloproteinases-and how it may be targeted for therapeutic benefit.


Ragazzoni Y.,Regina Elena Cancer Institute
Cell death & disease | Year: 2013

We have previously demonstrated that the thiazole derivative 3-methylcyclopentylidene-[4-(4'-chlorophenyl)thiazol-2-yl]hydrazone (CPTH6) induces apoptosis and cell cycle arrest in human leukemia cells. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether CPTH6 is able to affect autophagy. By using several human tumor cell lines with different origins we demonstrated that CPTH6 treatment induced, in a dose-dependent manner, a significant increase in autophagic features, as imaged by electron microscopy, immunoblotting analysis of membrane-bound form of microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3 (LC3B-II) levels and by appearance of typical LC3B-II-associated autophagosomal puncta. To gain insights into the molecular mechanisms of elevated markers of autophagy induced by CPTH6 treatment, we silenced the expression of several proteins acting at different steps of autophagy. We found that the effect of CPTH6 on autophagy developed through a noncanonical mechanism that did not require beclin-1-dependent nucleation, but involved Atg-7-mediated elongation of autophagosomal membranes. Strikingly, a combined treatment of CPTH6 with late-stage autophagy inhibitors, such as chloroquine and bafilomycin A1, demonstrates that under basal condition CPTH6 reduces autophagosome turnover through an impairment of their degradation pathway, rather than enhancing autophagosome formation, as confirmed by immunofluorescence experiments. According to these results, CPTH6-induced enhancement of autophagy substrate p62 and NBR1 protein levels confirms a blockage of autophagic cargo degradation. In addition, CPTH6 inhibited autophagosome maturation and compounds having high structural similarities with CPTH6 produced similar effects on the autophagic pathway. Finally, the evidence that CPTH6 treatment decreased α-tubulin acetylation and failed to increase autophagic markers in cells in which acetyltransferase ATAT1 expression was silenced indicates a possible role of α-tubulin acetylation in CPTH6-induced alteration in autophagy. Overall, CPTH6 could be a valuable agent for the treatment of cancer and should be further studied as a possible antineoplastic agent.

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