Synvolux Therapeutics Inc.

Groningen, Netherlands

Synvolux Therapeutics Inc.

Groningen, Netherlands
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Van Der Gun B.T.F.,University of Groningen | De Groote M.L.,University of Groningen | Kazemier H.G.,University of Groningen | Arendzen A.J.,University of Groningen | And 5 more authors.
British Journal of Cancer | Year: 2011

Background: The epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM) is overexpressed on carcinomas, and its downregulation inhibits the oncogenic potential of multiple tumour types. Here, we investigated underlying mechanisms of epcam overexpression in ovarian carcinoma.Methods:Expression of EpCAM and DNA methylation (bisulphite sequencing) was determined for ovarian cancer cell lines. The association of histone modifications and 16 transcription factors with the epcam promoter was analysed by chromatin immunoprecipitation. Treatment with 5-Aza-2′-deoxycytidine (5-AZAC) was used to induce EpCAM expression.Results:Expression of EpCAM was correlated with DNA methylation and histone modifications. Treatment with 5-AZAC induced EpCAM expression in negative cells. Ten transcription factors were associated with the epcam gene in EpCAM expressing cells, but not in EpCAM-negative cells. Methylation of an Sp1 probe inhibited the binding of nuclear extract proteins in electromobility shift assays; such DNA methylation sensitivity was not observed for an NF-κB probe.Conclusion:This study provides insights in transcriptional regulation of epcam in ovarian cancer. Epigenetic parameters associated with EpCAM overexpression are potentially reversible, allowing novel strategies for sustained silencing of EpCAM expression. © 2011 Cancer Research UK All rights reserved.

Van Der Gun B.T.F.,University of Groningen | Huisman C.,University of Groningen | Stolzenburg S.,University of Groningen | Stolzenburg S.,University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | And 6 more authors.
British Journal of Cancer | Year: 2013

Background:The epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM) is overexpressed on most carcinomas. Dependent on the tumour type, its overexpression is either associated with improved or worse patient survival. For ovarian cancer, however, the role of EpCAM remains unclear.Methods:Cell survival of ovarian cancer cell lines was studied after induction or repression of endogenous EpCAM expression using siRNA/cDNA or artificial transcription factors (ATF) consisting of engineered zinc-fingers fused to either a transcriptional activator or repressor domain.Results:Two ATFs were selected as the most potent down-and upregulator, showing at least a two-fold alteration of EpCAM protein expression compared with control. Downregulation of EpCAM expression resulted in growth inhibition in breast cancer, but showed no effect on cell growth in ovarian cancer. Induction or further upregulation of EpCAM expression decreased ovarian cancer cell survival.Conclusion:The bidirectional ATF-based approach is uniquely suited to study cell-type-specific biological effects of EpCAM expression. Using this approach, the oncogenic function of EpCAM in breast cancer was confirmed. Despite its value as a diagnostic marker and for immunotherapy, EpCAM does not seem to represent a therapeutic target for gene expression silencing in ovarian cancer. © 2013 Cancer Research UK.

Chen H.,University of Groningen | Chen H.,Chinese Academy of Sciences | Kazemier H.G.,University of Groningen | De Groote M.L.,University of Groningen | And 4 more authors.
Nucleic Acids Research | Year: 2014

Increasing evidence indicates that active DNA demethylation is involved in several processes in mammals, resulting in developmental stage-specificity and cell lineage-specificity. The recently discovered Ten-Eleven Translocation (TET) dioxygenases are accepted to be involved in DNA demethylation by initiating 5-mC oxidation. Aberrant DNA methylation profiles are associated with many diseases. For example in cancer, hypermethylation results in silencing of tumor suppressor genes. Such silenced genes can be re-expressed by epigenetic drugs, but this approach has genome-wide effects. In this study, fusions of designer DNA binding domains to TET dioxygenase family members (TET1, -2 or -3) were engineered to target epigenetically silenced genes (ICAM-1, EpCAM). The effects on targeted CpGs' methylation and on expression levels of the target genes were assessed. The results indicated demethylation of targeted CpG sites in both promoters for targeted TET2 and to a lesser extent for TET1, but not for TET3. Interestingly, we observed re-Activation of transcription of ICAM-1. Thus, our work suggests that we provided a mechanism to induce targeted DNA demethylation, which facilitates re-Activation of expression of the target genes. Furthermore, this Epigenetic Editing approach is a powerful tool to investigate functions of epigenetic writers and erasers and to elucidate consequences of epigenetic marks. © 2013 The Author(s) 2013. Published by Oxford University Press.

Van Der Gun B.T.F.,University of Groningen | Maluszynska-Hoffman M.,RWTH Aachen | Kiss A.,Hungarian Academy of Sciences | Arendzen A.J.,University of Groningen | And 4 more authors.
Bioconjugate Chemistry | Year: 2010

The epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM) is a membrane glycoprotein that has been identified as a marker of cancer-initiating cells. EpCAM is highly expressed on most carcinomas, and transient silencing of EpCAM expression leads to reduced oncogenic potential. To silence the EpCAM gene in a persistent manner via targeted DNA methylation, a low activity mutant (C141S) of the CpG-specific DNA methyltransferase M.SssI was coupled to a triple-helix-forming oligonucleotide (TFO-C141S) specifically designed for the EpCAM gene. Reporter plasmids encoding the green fluorescent protein under control of different EpCAM promoter fragments were treated with the TFO-C141S conjugate to determine the specificity of targeted DNA methylation in the context of a functional EpCAM promoter. Treatment of the plasmids with TFO-C141S resulted in efficient and specific methylation of the targeted CpG located directly downstream of the triple helix forming site (TFS). No background DNA methylation was observed neither in a 700 bp region of the EpCAM promoter nor in a 400 bp region of the reporter gene downstream of the TFS. Methylation of the target CpG did not have a detectable effect on promoter activity. This study shows that the combination of a specific TFO and a reduced activity methyltransferase variant can be used to target DNA methylation to predetermined sites with high specificity, allowing determination of crucial CpGs for promoter activity. © 2010 American Chemical Society.

van der Gun B.T.F.,University of Groningen | Melchers L.J.,University of Groningen | Ruiters M.H.,University of Groningen | Ruiters M.H.,Synvolux Therapeutics Inc. | And 3 more authors.
Carcinogenesis | Year: 2010

The epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM) is a membrane glycoprotein that is highly expressed on most carcinomas and therefore of potential use as a diagnostic and prognostic marker for a variety of carcinomas. Interestingly, EpCAM is explored as target in antibody-based therapies. Recently, EpCAM has been identified as an additional marker of cancer-initiating cells. In this review, we describe the controversial biological role of EpCAM with the focus on carcinogenesis: as an adhesion molecule, EpCAM mediates homophilic adhesion interactions, which in turn might prevent metastasis. On the other hand, EpCAM abrogates E-cadherin mediated cell-cell adhesion thereby promoting metastasis. Also, upon cleavage of EpCAM, the intracellular domain functions as a part of a transcriptional complex inducing c-myc and cyclin A and E. In line with these seemingly controversial roles, EpCAM overexpression has been associated with both decreased and increased survival of patients. Similarly, either induction or downregulation of EpCAM expression lowers the oncogenic potential depending on the cell type. As epigenetic dysregulation underlies aberrant EpCAM expression, we propose epigenetic editing as a novel approach to investigate the biological role of EpCAM, expanding the options for EpCAM as a therapeutic target in cancer. © The Author 2010. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.

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