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Milano, Italy

Catto C.,University of Milan | Dell'Orto S.,University of Milan | Villa F.,University of Milan | Villa F.,Montana State University | And 8 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2015

The natural compound zosteric acid, or p-(sulfoxy)cinnamic acid (ZA), is proposed as an alternative biocide-free agent suitable for preventive or integrative anti-biofilm approaches. Despite its potential, the lack of information concerning the structural and molecular mechanism of action involved in its anti-biofilm activity has limited efforts to generate more potent anti-biofilm strategies. In this study a 43-member library of small molecules based on ZA scaffold diversity was designed and screened against Escherichia coli to understand the structural requirements necessary for biofilm inhibition at sub-lethal concentrations. Considerations concerning the relationship between structure and anti-biofilm activity revealed that i) the para-sulfoxy ester group is not needed to exploit the anti-biofilm activity of the molecule, it is the cinnamic acid scaffold that is responsible for anti-biofilm performance; ii) the anti-biofilm activity of ZA derivatives depends on the presence of a carboxylate anion and, consequently, on its hydrogen-donating ability; iii) the conjugated aromatic system is instrumental to the anti-biofilm activities of ZA and its analogues. Using a protein pull-down approach, combined with mass spectrometry, the herein-defined active structure of ZA was matrix-immobilized, and was proved to interact with the E. coli NADH:quinone reductase, WrbA, suggesting a possible role of this protein in the biofilm formation process. © 2015 Cattó et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Iorio M.V.,Start Up Unit | Croce C.M.,Ohio State University
Carcinogenesis | Year: 2012

When, ∼20 years ago, investigators first determined that components of the genome considered nonfunctional had, in fact, gene regulatory capacity, they probably had no idea of their potential in controlling cell fate and were forced to revise and somehow reorganize their view of the molecular biology.Indeed, it is currently well documented how a class of small non-coding RNAs, microRNAs, are conserved among the species, expressed in different tissues and cell types and involved in almost every biological process, including cell cycle, growth, apoptosis, differentiation and stress response, exerting a finely tuned regulation of gene expression by targeting multiple molecules.As a consequence of the widespread range of processes they are able to influence, it is not surprising that miRNA deregulation is a hallmark of several pathological conditions, including cancer. Indeed, the aberrant expression of these tiny molecules in human tumors is not just a casual association, but they can exert a causal role, as oncogenes or tumor suppressors, in different steps of the tumorigenic process, from initiation and development to progression toward the acquisition of a metastatic phenotype.An increasing body of evidence has indeed proved the importance of miRNAs in cancer, suggesting their possible use as diagnostic, prognostic and predictive biomarkers and leading to exploit miRNA-based anticancer therapies, either alone or in combination with current targeted therapies, with the goal to improve disease response and increase cure rates. Here, we review our current knowledge about miRNA involvement in cancer. © The Author 2012. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.


Iorio M.V.,Start Up Unit | Croce C.M.,Ohio State University
EMBO Molecular Medicine | Year: 2012

Early studies have shown how aberrantly expressed microRNAs are a hallmark of several diseases like cancer. MicroRNA expression profiling was shown to be associated with tumour development, progression and response to therapy, suggesting their possible use as diagnostic, prognostic and predictive biomarkers. Moreover, based on the increasing number of studies demonstrating that microRNAs can function as potential oncogenes or oncosuppressor genes, with the goal to improve disease response and increase cure rates, miRNA-based anticancer therapies have recently been exploited, either alone or in combination with current targeted therapies. The advantage of using microRNA approaches is based on its ability to concurrently target multiple effectors of pathways involved in cell differentiation, proliferation and survival. Here, we review our current knowledge about the involvement of microRNAs in cancer, and their potential as diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic tools. © 2012 EMBO Molecular Medicine.


Porcelli L.,Italian National Cancer Institute | Porcelli L.,VU University Amsterdam | Giovannetti E.,VU University Amsterdam | Giovannetti E.,Start Up Unit | And 7 more authors.
Current Drug Targets | Year: 2014

While multidrug resistance (MDR) in cancer is well established, little is known about the cellular pathways regulating the expression and trafficking of the MDR efflux transporter like BCRP (ABCG2). Here we evaluated the role of signalling downstream of EGFR on BCRP expression and sub-cellular localization using lung cancer cells harboring BCRP but expressing various EGFR and Ras activating mutations; A549 (K-Ras-G12S), H292 wild-type EGFR and Ras, and H1650 (EGFR-DelE747-A750). Immunocytochemistry and immunofluorescence studies demonstrated that BCRP was predominantly intracellular but its expression was found also on the plasma membrane in A549 and H1650 cells with activated Ras and EGFR. Remarkably, EGFR inhibition by erlotinib at IC50 concentrations induced a differential timedependent alteration in BCRP gene and protein expression. In H1650 cells, erlotinib enhanced both the total and plasma membrane degradation of BCRP by ubiquitination within 6-24 hours, whereas BCRP expression regained the original basal levels after 48 hours. In erlotinib treated H292 cells, BCRP levels decreased at 24 hours until 72 hours, whereas in A549 cells erlotinib initially reduced BCRP expression but then induced its accumulation on the plasma membrane at 72 hours. We further found that the PI3K/Akt inhibitor LY294002 down-regulated BCRP expression, hence showing that the Akt pathway is involved in the regulation of BCRP expression but not in its localization in these lung cancer cell lines. Finally, the selective BCRP transport inhibitor Ko143 did not increase erlotinib sensitivity, but did decrease the transport activity of BCRP in A549 and H1650 cells as it induced the accumulation of its transport substrate topotecan. In conclusion, our results suggest that the EGFR and Akt pathways are involved in regulation of BCRP expression, trafficking and drug transport activity. These findings warrant future studies on the pharmacologic modulation of these pathways to enhance the efficacy of anticancer combinations of erlotinib with drugs that are BCRP transport substrates. © 2014 Bentham Science Publishers.


Henne M.,Leibniz University of Hanover | Konig N.,University of Osnabruck | Triulzi T.,Leibniz University of Hanover | Triulzi T.,Molecular Biology Unit | And 5 more authors.
FEBS Open Bio | Year: 2015

Sulfurtransferases (Strs) and thioredoxins (Trxs) are members of large protein families. Trxs are disulfide reductases and play an important role in redox-related cellular processes. They interact with a broad range of proteins. Strs catalyze the transfer of a sulfur atom from a suitable sulfur donor to nucleophilic sulfur acceptors in vitro, but the physiological roles of these enzymes are not well defined. Several studies in different organisms demonstrate protein-protein interactions of Strs with members of the Trx family. We are interested in investigating the specificity of the interaction between Str and Trx isoforms. In order to use the bimolecular fluorescence complementation (BiFC), several Str and Trx sequences from Arabidopsis thaliana were cloned into the pUC-SPYNE and pUC-SPYCE split-YFP vectors, respectively. Each couple of plasmids containing the sequences for the putative interaction partners were transformed into Arabidopsis protoplasts and screened using a confocal laser scanning microscope. Compartment- and partner-specific interactions could be observed in transformed protoplasts. Replacement of cysteine residues in the redox-active site of Trxs abolished the interaction signal. Therefore, the redox site is not only involved in the redox reaction but also responsible for the interaction with partner proteins. Biochemical assays support a specific interaction among Strs and certain Trxs. Based on the results obtained, the interaction of Strs and Trxs indicates a role of Strs in the maintenance of the cellular redox homeostasis. © 2015 The Authors.

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