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Budapest, Hungary

Simon-Szabo L.,Semmelweis University | Kokas M.,Semmelweis University | Mandl J.,Semmelweis University | Keri G.,Semmelweis University | And 2 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2014

Lipotoxicity refers to cellular dysfunctions caused by elevated free fatty acid levels playing a central role in the development and progression of obesity related diseases. Saturated fatty acids cause insulin resistance and reduce insulin production in the pancreatic islets, thereby generating a vicious cycle, which potentially culminates in type 2 diabetes. The underlying endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress response can lead to even β-cell death (lipoapoptosis). Since improvement of β-cell viability is a promising anti-diabetic strategy, the protective effect of metformin, a known insulin sensitizer was studied in rat insulinoma cells. Assessment of palmitate-induced lipoapoptosis by fluorescent microscopy and by detection of caspase-3 showed a significant decrease in metformin treated cells. Attenuation of β-cell lipotoxicity was also revealed by lower induction/activation of various ER stress markers, e.g. phosphorylation of eukaryotic initiation factor 2α (eIF2α), c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK), insulin receptor substrate-1 (IRS-1) and induction of CCAAT/enhancer binding protein homologous protein (CHOP). Our results indicate that the β-cell protective activity of metformin in lipotoxicity can be at least partly attributed to suppression of ER stress. © 2014 Simon-Szabó et al.

Kubisch J.,Eotvos Lorand University | Turei D.,Eotvos Lorand University | Turei D.,Semmelweis University | Foldvari-Nagy L.,Eotvos Lorand University | And 7 more authors.
Seminars in Cancer Biology | Year: 2013

Autophagy, a highly regulated self-degradation process of eukaryotic cells, is a context-dependent tumor-suppressing mechanism that can also promote tumor cell survival upon stress and treatment resistance. Because of this ambiguity, autophagy is considered as a double-edged sword in oncology, making anti-cancer therapeutic approaches highly challenging. In this review, we present how systems-level knowledge on autophagy regulation can help to develop new strategies and efficiently select novel anti-cancer drug targets. We focus on the protein interactors and transcriptional/post-transcriptional regulators of autophagy as the protein and regulatory networks significantly influence the activity of core autophagy proteins during tumor progression. We list several network resources to identify interactors and regulators of autophagy proteins. As in silico analysis of such networks often necessitates experimental validation, we briefly summarize tractable model organisms to examine the role of autophagy in cancer. We also discuss fluorescence techniques for high-throughput monitoring of autophagy in humans. Finally, the challenges of pharmacological modulation of autophagy are reviewed. We suggest network-based concepts to overcome these difficulties. We point out that a context-dependent modulation of autophagy would be favored in anti-cancer therapy, where autophagy is stimulated in normal cells, while inhibited only in stressed cancer cells. To achieve this goal, we introduce the concept of regulo-network drugs targeting specific transcription factors or miRNA families identified with network analysis. The effect of regulo-network drugs propagates indirectly through transcriptional or post-transcriptional regulation of autophagy proteins, and, as a multi-directional intervention tool, they can both activate and inhibit specific proteins in the same time. The future identification and validation of such regulo-network drug targets may serve as novel intervention points, where autophagy can be effectively modulated in cancer therapy. © 2013 Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Toth G.,Hungarian Academy of Sciences | Baska F.,Vichem Chemie Research Ltd. | Baska F.,Semmelweis University | Schretner A.,Hungarian Academy of Sciences | And 2 more authors.
European Biophysics Journal | Year: 2013

Interactions between thyroid hormone α and β receptors and the eight protonation microspecies of each of the main thyroid hormones (thyroxine, liothyronine, and reverse liothyronine) were investigated and quantitated by molecular modeling. Flexible docking of the various protonation forms of thyroid hormones and high-affinity thyromimetics to the two thyroid receptors was carried out. In this method the role of the ionization state of each basic site could be studied in the composite process of molecular recognition. Our results quantitate at the molecular level how the ionization state and the charge distribution influence the protein binding. The anionic form of the carboxyl group (i.e., carboxylate site) is essential for protein binding, whereas the protonated form of amino group worsens the binding. The protonation state of the phenolate plays a less important role in the receptor affinity; its protonation, however, alters the electron density and the concomitant stacking propensity of the aromatic rings, resulting in a different binding score. The combined results of docking and microspeciation studies show that microspecies with the highest concentration at the pH of blood are not the strongest binding ones. The calculated binding free energy values can be well interpreted in terms of the interactions between the actual sites of the microspecies and the receptor amino acids. Our docking results were validated and compared with biological data from the literature. Since the thyroid hormone receptors influence several physiologic functions, such as metabolic rate, cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and heart frequency, our binding results provide a molecular basis for drug design and development in related therapeutic indications. © 2013 European Biophysical Societies' Association.

Haas D.A.,Hannover Medical School | Bala K.,Hannover Medical School | Busche G.,Hannover Medical School | Weidner-Glunde M.,Hannover Medical School | And 11 more authors.
PLoS Pathogens | Year: 2013

Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) is a mesenchymal tumour, which is caused by Kaposi's sarcoma herpesvirus (KSHV) and develops under inflammatory conditions. KSHV-infected endothelial spindle cells, the neoplastic cells in KS, show increased invasiveness, attributed to the elevated expression of metalloproteinases (MMPs) and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2). The majority of these spindle cells harbour latent KSHV genomes, while a minority undergoes lytic reactivation with subsequent production of new virions and viral or cellular chemo- and cytokines, which may promote tumour invasion and dissemination. In order to better understand KSHV pathogenesis, we investigated cellular mechanisms underlying the lytic reactivation of KSHV. Using a combination of small molecule library screening and siRNA silencing we found a STE20 kinase family member, MAP4K4, to be involved in KSHV reactivation from latency and to contribute to the invasive phenotype of KSHV-infected endothelial cells by regulating COX-2, MMP-7, and MMP-13 expression. This kinase is also highly expressed in KS spindle cells in vivo. These findings suggest that MAP4K4, a known mediator of inflammation, is involved in KS aetiology by regulating KSHV lytic reactivation, expression of MMPs and COX-2, and, thereby modulating invasiveness of KSHV-infected endothelial cells. © 2013 Haas et al.

Hegedus C.,Hungarian Academy of Sciences | Truta-Feles K.,Hungarian Academy of Sciences | Antalffy G.,Hungarian Academy of Sciences | Varady G.,Hungarian Academy of Sciences | And 10 more authors.
Biochemical Pharmacology | Year: 2012

Human ABCG2 is a plasma membrane glycoprotein that provides physiological protection against xenobiotics. ABCG2 also significantly influences biodistribution of drugs through pharmacological tissue barriers and confers multidrug resistance to cancer cells. Moreover, ABCG2 is the molecular determinant of the side population that is characteristically enriched in normal and cancer stem cells. Numerous tumors depend on unregulated EGFR signaling, thus inhibition of this receptor by small molecular weight inhibitors such as gefitinib, and the novel second generation agents vandetanib, pelitinib and neratinib, is a promising therapeutic option. In the present study, we provide detailed biochemical characterization regarding the interaction of these EGFR inhibitors with ABCG2. We show that ABCG2 confers resistance to gefitinib and pelitinib, whereas the intracellular action of vandetanib and neratinib is unaltered by the presence of the transporter. At higher concentrations, however, all these EGFR inhibitors inhibit ABCG2 function, thereby promoting accumulation of ABCG2 substrate drugs. We also report enhanced expression of ABCG2 in gefitinib-resistant non-small cell lung cancer cells, suggesting potential clinical relevance of ABCG2 in acquired drug resistance. Since ABCG2 has important impact on both the pharmacological properties and anti-cancer efficiencies of drugs, our results regarding the novel EGFR inhibitors should provide useful information about their therapeutic applicability against ABCG2-expressing cancer cells depending on EGFR signaling. In addition, the finding that these EGFR inhibitors efficiently block ABCG2 function may help to design novel drug-combination therapeutic strategies. © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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