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  • 1
    Keywords: CELLS ; carcinoma ; THERAPY ; MICE ; VECTOR ; OVARIAN-CANCER ; FUSION ; ADENOVIRUS ; PHASE-I TRIAL ; PHOSPHORIBOSYLTRANSFERASE
    Abstract: Abstract Oncolytic virotherapy with measles vaccine virus (MeV) already has been demonstrated to be safe. However, early clinical results pointed out the necessity for an enhancement of oncolytic effectiveness of MeV-based virotherapeutics. In our work, we are developing an armed measles vaccine virus (MeV-SCD) encoding a suicide fusion gene of yeast cytosine deaminase/uracil phosphoribosyltransferase, converting the nontoxic prodrug 5-fluorocytosine (5-FC) to the chemotherapeutic drug 5-fluorouracil (5-FU). To preclinically investigate what an optimal prodrug-assisted therapeutic regimen might look like, we added 5-FC at various time points after infection with MeV-SCD and either let the prodrug remain in the tumor cell culture medium continuously for various time periods ("continuous" 5-FC application) or applied it only temporarily for defined shorter periods of time ("pulsed" 5-FC application); we also varied the time point at which 5-FC was added after infection with MeV-SCD. As a result, addition of the prodrug at early times postinfection (e.g., at 3 hr postinfection) was found to be inferior concerning the overall oncolytic effectiveness when compared with addition of 5-FC at later time points (e.g., at 24 hr postinfection). Next, oncolytic effectiveness was found to correlate positively with the overall duration of incubation of MeV-infected tumor cells with 5-FC. Of note, this was true despite our finding that addition of the prodrug could also exert an inhibitory effect on the generation of infectious progeny viral particles, that is, on virus replication. These findings should be helpful for the rational design of further trials (preclinical, clinical) using suicide gene armed virotherapeutics, such as MeV-SCD.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 24933569
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  • 2
    Abstract: MYC oncoproteins are involved in the genesis and maintenance of the majority of human tumors but are considered undruggable. By using a direct in vivo shRNA screen, we show that liver cancer cells that have mutations in the gene encoding the tumor suppressor protein p53 (Trp53 in mice and TP53 in humans) and that are driven by the oncoprotein NRAS become addicted to MYC stabilization via a mechanism mediated by aurora kinase A (AURKA). This MYC stabilization enables the tumor cells to overcome a latent G2/M cell cycle arrest that is mediated by AURKA and the tumor suppressor protein p19(ARF). MYC directly binds to AURKA, and inhibition of this protein-protein interaction by conformation-changing AURKA inhibitors results in subsequent MYC degradation and cell death. These conformation-changing AURKA inhibitors, with one of them currently being tested in early clinical trials, suppressed tumor growth and prolonged survival in mice bearing Trp53-deficient, NRAS-driven MYC-expressing hepatocellular carcinomas (HCCs). TP53-mutated human HCCs revealed increased AURKA expression and a positive correlation between AURKA and MYC expression. In xenograft models, mice bearing TP53-mutated or TP53-deleted human HCCs were hypersensitive to treatment with conformation-changing AURKA inhibitors, thus suggesting a therapeutic strategy for this subgroup of human HCCs.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 27213815
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  • 3
    Keywords: PATHWAYS ; GENES ; STRATEGIES ; sensitivity ; MAP KINASES ; INTEGRATION ; KINASE INHIBITORS ; senescence ; ADVANCED HEPATOCELLULAR-CARCINOMA ; JAK/STAT
    Abstract: In solid tumors, resistance to therapy inevitably develops upon treatment with cytotoxic drugs or molecularly targeted therapies. Here, we describe a system that enables pooled shRNA screening directly in mouse hepatocellular carcinomas (HCC) in vivo to identify genes likely to be involved in therapy resistance. Using a focused shRNA library targeting genes located within focal genomic amplifications of human HCC, we screened for genes whose inhibition increased the therapeutic efficacy of the multikinase inhibitor sorafenib. Both shRNA-mediated and pharmacological silencing of Mapk14 (p38alpha) were found to sensitize mouse HCC to sorafenib therapy and prolong survival by abrogating Mapk14-dependent activation of Mek-Erk and Atf2 signaling. Elevated Mapk14-Atf2 signaling predicted poor response to sorafenib therapy in human HCC, and sorafenib resistance of p-Mapk14-expressing HCC cells could be reverted by silencing Mapk14. Our results suggest that a combination of sorafenib and Mapk14 blockade is a promising approach to overcoming therapy resistance of human HCC.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 25216638
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  • 4
    Abstract: The antimicrobial peptide human beta-defensin 1 (hBD1) is continuously produced by epithelial cells in many tissues. Compared to other defensins, hBD1 has only minor antibiotic activity in its native state. After reduction of its disulfide bridges, however, it becomes a potent antimicrobial agent against bacteria, while the oxidized native form (hBD1ox) shows specific activity against Gram-negative bacteria. We show that the killing mechanism of hBD1ox depends on aerobic growth conditions and bacterial enzymes. We analyzed the different activities of hBD1 using mutants of Escherichia coli lacking one or more specific proteins of their outer membrane, cytosol, or redox systems. We discovered that DsbA and DsbB are essential for the antimicrobial activity of hBD1ox but not for that of reduced hBD1 (hBD1red). Furthermore, our results strongly suggest that hBD1ox uses outer membrane protein FepA to penetrate the bacterial periplasm space. In contrast, other bacterial proteins in the outer membrane and cytosol did not modify the antimicrobial activity. Using immunogold labeling, we identified the localization of hBD1ox in the periplasmic space and partly in the outer membrane of E. coli However, in resistant mutants lacking DsbA and DsbB, hBD1ox was detected mainly in the bacterial cytosol. In summary, we discovered that hBD1ox could use FepA to enter the periplasmic space, where its activity depends on presence of DsbA and DsbB. HBD1ox concentrates in the periplasm in Gram-negative bacteria, which finally leads to bleb formation and death of the bacteria. Thus, the bacterial redox system plays an essential role in mechanisms of resistance against host-derived peptides such as hBD1.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 29378796
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