Maria del Pilar Camacho-Leal
Bio: Maria del Pilar Camacho-Leal is an academic researcher from University of Turin. The author has contributed to research in topics: Breast cancer & Cancer. The author has an hindex of 7, co-authored 8 publications receiving 516 citations.
TL;DR: In this paper, the relevance of adaptor proteins in signalling that originates from integrin-mediated cell-extracellular matrix (ECM) adhesion and growth factor stimulation in the context of cell transformation and tumour progression is discussed.
Abstract: Current evidence highlights the ability of adaptor (or scaffold) proteins to create signalling platforms that drive cellular transformation upon integrin-dependent adhesion and growth factor receptor activation. The understanding of the biological effects that are regulated by these adaptors in tumours might be crucial for the identification of new targets and the development of innovative therapeutic strategies for human cancer. In this Review we discuss the relevance of adaptor proteins in signalling that originates from integrin-mediated cell-extracellular matrix (ECM) adhesion and growth factor stimulation in the context of cell transformation and tumour progression. We specifically underline the contribution of p130 Crk-associated substrate (p130CAS; also known as BCAR1), neural precursor cell expressed, developmentally down-regulated 9 (NEDD9; also known as HEF1), CRK and the integrin-linked kinase (ILK)-pinch-parvin (IPP) complex to cancer, along with the more recently identified p140 Cas-associated protein (p140CAP; also known as SRCIN1).
TL;DR: Results show that β1 integrin is an essential regulator of EGFR signaling and tumorigenic properties of lung cancer cells, and that its silencing might represent an adjuvant approach to anti-EGFR therapy.
Abstract: Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death worldwide. The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) represents the main target for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) therapy, as its overexpression or constitutive activation contributes to malignancy and correlates with poor prognosis. Our previous work demonstrated that in epithelial cells β1 integrin is required for propagating EGFR signaling from the plasma membrane to the nucleus. In this study, we silenced β1 integrin in human NSCLC A549 cells. The β1 integrin-silenced cells show a defective activation of the EGFR signaling cascade, leading to decreased in vitro proliferation, enhanced sensitivity to cisplatin and Gefitinib, impaired migration and invasive behavior. Inhibitory effects on tumor growth and on the EGFR pathway were also observed in in vivo experiments. Moreover, β1 integrin silencing increases the amount of EGFR on the cell surface, suggesting that β1 integrin is required for efficient constitutive EGFR turnover at the cell membrane. Although the rate of EGF internalization and recycling is not affected in silenced cells, EGFR signaling is recovered only by expression of the Rab-coupling protein RCP, indicating that β1 integrin sustains the endocytic machinery required for EGFR signaling. Overall, these results show that β1 integrin is an essential regulator of EGFR signaling and tumorigenic properties of lung cancer cells, and that its silencing might represent an adjuvant approach to anti-EGFR therapy.
TL;DR: It is demonstrated that p130Cas is an essential transducer element in ErbB2 transformation and highlighted its potential use as a novel therapeutic target in ErBB2 positive human breast cancers.
Abstract: The ErbB2 oncogene is often overexpressed in breast tumors and associated with poor clinical outcome. p130Cas represents a nodal scaffold protein regulating cell survival, migration, and proliferation in normal and pathological cells. The functional role of p130Cas in ErbB2-dependent breast tumorigenesis was assessed by its silencing in breast cancer cells derived from mouse mammary tumors overexpressing ErbB2 (N202-1A cells), and by its reexpression in ErbB2-transformed p130Cas-null mouse embryonic fibroblasts. We demonstrate that p130Cas is necessary for ErbB2-dependent foci formation, anchorage-independent growth, and in vivo growth of orthotopic N202-1A tumors. Moreover, intranipple injection of p130Cas-stabilized siRNAs in the mammary gland of Balbc-NeuT mice decreases the growth of spontaneous tumors. In ErbB2-transformed cells, p130Cas is a crucial component of a functional molecular complex consisting of ErbB2, c-Src, and Fak. In human mammary cells, MCF10A.B2, the concomitant activation of ErbB2,...
TL;DR: In silico analyses indicate that p130Cas expression in ErbB2 positive human breast cancers significantly correlates with higher risk to develop distant metastasis, thus underlying the value of the p130 Cas/ErbB 2 synergism in regulating breast cancer invasion.
Abstract: ErbB2 over-expression is detected in approximately 25% of invasive breast cancers and is strongly associated with poor patient survival. We have previously demonstrated that p130Cas adaptor is a crucial mediator of ErbB2 transformation. Here, we analysed the molecular mechanisms through which p130Cas controls ErbB2-dependent invasion in three-dimensional cultures of mammary epithelial cells. Concomitant p130Cas over-expression and ErbB2 activation enhance PI3K/Akt and Erk1/2 MAPK signalling pathways and promote invasion of mammary acini. By using pharmacological inhibitors, we demonstrate that both signalling cascades are required for the invasive behaviour of p130Cas over-expressing and ErbB2 activated acini. Erk1/2 MAPK and PI3K/Akt signalling triggers invasion through distinct downstream effectors involving mTOR/p70S6K and Rac1 activation, respectively. Moreover, in silico analyses indicate that p130Cas expression in ErbB2 positive human breast cancers significantly correlates with higher risk to develop distant metastasis, thus underlying the value of the p130Cas/ErbB2 synergism in regulating breast cancer invasion. In conclusion, high levels of p130Cas favour progression of ErbB2-transformed cells towards an invasive phenotype.
TL;DR: P130Cas silencing induces loss of mesenchymal features, by downregulating Vimentin, Snail, Slug and Twist transcriptional factors, resulting in the acquirement of epithelial-like traits, identifying a new p130Cas/Cyclooxygenase-2 axis as a crucial element in the control of breast tumor plasticity.
Abstract: Intrinsic plasticity of breast carcinoma cells allows them to undergo a transient and reversible conversion into mesenchymal cells to disseminate into distant organs, where they can re-differentiate to an epithelial-like status to form a cohesive secondary mass. The p130Cas scaffold protein is overexpressed in human ER+ and HER2+ breast cancer where it contributes to cancer progression, invasion and resistance to therapy. However, its role in regulating mesenchymal aggressive breast cancer cells remains to be determined. The aim of this study was to investigate the molecular and functional involvement of this adaptor protein in breast cancer cell plasticity. We used silencing strategies and rescue experiments to evaluate phenotypic and biochemical changes from mesenchymal to epithelial traits in breast tumor cell lines. In the mouse A17 cell model previously related to mesenchymal cancer stem cells and basal-like breast cancer, we biochemically dissected the signaling pathways involved and performed functional in vivo tumor growth ability assays. The significance of the signaling platform was assessed in a human setting through the use of specific inhibitors in aggressive MDA-MB-231 subpopulation LM2-4175 cells. To evaluate the clinical relevance of the results, we analyzed publicly available microarray data from the Netherlands Cancer Institute and from the Koo Foundation Sun Yat-Sen Cancer Center. We show that p130Cas silencing induces loss of mesenchymal features, by downregulating Vimentin, Snail, Slug and Twist transcriptional factors, resulting in the acquirement of epithelial-like traits. Mechanistically, p130Cas controls Cyclooxygenase-2 transcriptional expression, which in turn contributes to p130Cas-dependent maintenance of mesenchymal phenotype. This cascade of events also compromises in vivo tumor growth through inhibition of cell signaling controlling cell cycle progression. c-Src and JNK kinases are sequential players in p130Cas/ Cyclooxygenase-2 axis and their pharmacological inhibition is sufficient to downregulate Cyclooxygenase-2 leading to an epithelial phenotype. Finally, in silico microarray data analysis indicates that p130Cas and Cyclooxygenase-2 concomitant overexpression predicts poor survival and high probability of breast tumor recurrence. Overall, these data identify a new p130Cas/Cyclooxygenase-2 axis as a crucial element in the control of breast tumor plasticity, opening new therapeutic strategies leading to inhibition of these pathways in aggressive breast carcinoma.
TL;DR: Recent evidence that shows that inherent material properties may be engineered to dictate stem cell fate decisions are discussed, and a subset of the operative signal transduction mechanisms that have begun to emerge are overviewed.
Abstract: The stem cell/material interface is a complex, dynamic microenvironment in which the cell and the material cooperatively dictate one another's fate: the cell by remodelling its surroundings, and the material through its inherent properties (such as adhesivity, stiffness, nanostructure or degradability). Stem cells in contact with materials are able to sense their properties, integrate cues via signal propagation and ultimately translate parallel signalling information into cell fate decisions. However, discovering the mechanisms by which stem cells respond to inherent material characteristics is challenging because of the highly complex, multicomponent signalling milieu present in the stem cell environment. In this Review, we discuss recent evidence that shows that inherent material properties may be engineered to dictate stem cell fate decisions, and overview a subset of the operative signal transduction mechanisms that have begun to emerge. Further developments in stem cell engineering and mechanotransduction are poised to have substantial implications for stem cell biology and regenerative medicine.
TL;DR: Findings indicate that human breast cancer progression and aggression, collagen linearization and stromal stiffening are linked and implicate tissue inflammation and TGF beta.
Abstract: Tumors are stiff and data suggest that the extracellular matrix stiffening that correlates with experimental mammary malignancy drives tumor invasion and metastasis. Nevertheless, the relationship between tissue and extracellular matrix stiffness and human breast cancer progression and aggression remains unclear. We undertook a biophysical and biochemical assessment of stromal–epithelial interactions in noninvasive, invasive and normal adjacent human breast tissue and in breast cancers of increasingly aggressive subtype. Our analysis revealed that human breast cancer transformation is accompanied by an incremental increase in collagen deposition and a progressive linearization and thickening of interstitial collagen. The linearization of collagen was visualized as an overall increase in tissue birefringence and was most striking at the invasive front of the tumor where the stiffness of the stroma and cellular mechanosignaling were the highest. Amongst breast cancer subtypes we found that the stroma at the invasive region of the more aggressive Basal-like and Her2 tumor subtypes was the most heterogeneous and the stiffest when compared to the less aggressive luminal A and B subtypes. Intriguingly, we quantified the greatest number of infiltrating macrophages and the highest level of TGF beta signaling within the cells at the invasive front. We also established that stroma stiffness and the level of cellular TGF beta signaling positively correlated with each other and with the number of infiltrating tumor-activated macrophages, which was highest in the more aggressive tumor subtypes. These findings indicate that human breast cancer progression and aggression, collagen linearization and stromal stiffening are linked and implicate tissue inflammation and TGF beta.
TL;DR: Multiple potential targets are present at the BTB for innovative contraceptive development and for better delivery of drugs to alleviate toxicant-induced reproductive dysfunction in men, as well as critically evaluate findings in the field regarding studies on drug transporters in the testis.
Abstract: The blood-testis barrier (BTB) is one of the tightest blood-tissue barriers in the mammalian body. It divides the seminiferous epithelium into the basal and the apical (adluminal) compartments. Meiosis I and II, spermiogenesis, and spermiation all take place in a specialized microenvironment behind the BTB in the apical compartment, but spermatogonial renewal and differentiation and cell cycle progression up to the preleptotene spermatocyte stage take place outside of the BTB in the basal compartment of the epithelium. However, the BTB is not a static ultrastructure. Instead, it undergoes extensive restructuring during the seminiferous epithelial cycle of spermatogenesis at stage VIII to allow the transit of preleptotene spermatocytes at the BTB. Yet the immunological barrier conferred by the BTB cannot be compromised, even transiently, during the epithelial cycle to avoid the production of antibodies against meiotic and postmeiotic germ cells. Studies have demonstrated that some unlikely partners, namely adhesion protein complexes (e.g., occludin-ZO-1, N-cadherin-β-catenin, claudin-5-ZO-1), steroids (e.g., testosterone, estradiol-17β), nonreceptor protein kinases (e.g., focal adhesion kinase, c-Src, c-Yes), polarity proteins (e.g., PAR6, Cdc42, 14-3-3), endocytic vesicle proteins (e.g., clathrin, caveolin, dynamin 2), and actin regulatory proteins (e.g., Eps8, Arp2/3 complex), are working together, apparently under the overall influence of cytokines (e.g., transforming growth factor-β3, tumor necrosis factor-α, interleukin-1α). In short, a “new” BTB is created behind spermatocytes in transit while the “old” BTB above transiting cells undergoes timely degeneration, so that the immunological barrier can be maintained while spermatocytes are traversing the BTB. We also discuss recent findings regarding the molecular mechanisms by which environmental toxicants (e.g., cadmium, bisphenol A) induce testicular injury via their initial actions at the BTB to elicit subsequent damage to germ-cell adhesion, thereby leading to germ-cell loss, reduced sperm count, and male infertility or subfertility. Moreover, we also critically evaluate findings in the field regarding studies on drug transporters in the testis and discuss how these influx and efflux pumps regulate the entry of potential nonhormonal male contraceptives to the apical compartment to exert their effects. Collectively, these findings illustrate multiple potential targets are present at the BTB for innovative contraceptive development and for better delivery of drugs to alleviate toxicant-induced reproductive dysfunction in men.
TL;DR: The prominence of mutations in specific adhesome molecules in various human diseases is now appreciated, and experimental as well as in silico approaches provide insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying these pathological conditions.
Abstract: The adhesive interactions of cells with their environment through the integrin family of transmembrane receptors have key roles in regulating multiple aspects of cellular physiology, including cell proliferation, viability, differentiation and migration. Consequently, failure to establish functional cell adhesions, and thus the assembly of associated cytoplasmic scaffolding and signalling networks, can have severe pathological effects. The roles of specific constituents of integrin-mediated adhesions, which are collectively known as the 'integrin adhesome', in diverse pathological states are becoming clear. Indeed, the prominence of mutations in specific adhesome molecules in various human diseases is now appreciated, and experimental as well as in silico approaches provide insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying these pathological conditions.
TL;DR: The aberrant functions of enzymes in DNA methylation, histone acetylation and histone methylation during tumor progression are summarized and the development of inhibitors of or drugs targeted at epigenetic enzymes are highlighted.
Abstract: Epigenetic alternations concern heritable yet reversible changes in histone or DNA modifications that regulate gene activity beyond the underlying sequence. Epigenetic dysregulation is often linked to human disease, notably cancer. With the development of various drugs targeting epigenetic regulators, epigenetic-targeted therapy has been applied in the treatment of hematological malignancies and has exhibited viable therapeutic potential for solid tumors in preclinical and clinical trials. In this review, we summarize the aberrant functions of enzymes in DNA methylation, histone acetylation and histone methylation during tumor progression and highlight the development of inhibitors of or drugs targeted at epigenetic enzymes.