Gene Summary

Gene:ARHGEF1; Rho guanine nucleotide exchange factor (GEF) 1
Aliases: LSC, GEF1, LBCL2, SUB1.5, P115-RHOGEF
Summary:Rho GTPases play a fundamental role in numerous cellular processes that are initiated by extracellular stimuli that work through G protein coupled receptors. The encoded protein may form complex with G proteins and stimulate Rho-dependent signals. Multiple alternatively spliced transcript variants have been found for this gene, but the full-length nature of some variants has not been defined. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2008]
Databases:OMIM, VEGA, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:rho guanine nucleotide exchange factor 1
Source:NCBIAccessed: 16 March, 2015


What does this gene/protein do?
Show (14)
Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
Show (4)

Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1990-2015)
Graph generated 16 March 2015 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic.

  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Mutation
  • siRNA
  • Base Sequence
  • Tissue Distribution
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • RHOA
  • Messenger RNA
  • Wilms Tumour
  • Guanine Nucleotide Exchange Factors
  • Chromosome 19
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Western Blotting
  • Cultured Cells
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Neoplastic Cell Transformation
  • Rho Guanine Nucleotide Exchange Factors
  • rho-Specific Guanine Nucleotide Dissociation Inhibitors
  • Actins
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Stomach Cancer
  • Colorectal Cancer
  • RNA Interference
  • Tissue Array Analysis
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • NIH 3T3 Cells
  • Protein Binding
  • RHOB
  • Cell Movement
  • Breast Cancer
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins
  • src-Family Kinases
  • Phosphorylation
  • Enzyme Activation
  • rac1 GTP-Binding Protein
  • CDC42
Tag cloud generated 16 March, 2015 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (4)

Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.

Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).

Latest Publications: ARHGEF1 (cancer-related)

Dietrich PA, Yang C, Leung HH, et al.
GPR84 sustains aberrant β-catenin signaling in leukemic stem cells for maintenance of MLL leukemogenesis.
Blood. 2014; 124(22):3284-94 [PubMed] Related Publications
β-catenin is required for establishment of leukemic stem cells (LSCs) in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Targeted inhibition of β-catenin signaling has been hampered by the lack of pathway components amenable to pharmacologic manipulation. Here we identified a novel β-catenin regulator, GPR84, a member of the G protein-coupled receptor family that represents a highly tractable class of drug targets. High GPR84 expression levels were confirmed in human and mouse AML LSCs compared with hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). Suppression of GPR84 significantly inhibited cell growth by inducing G1-phase cell-cycle arrest in pre-LSCs, reduced LSC frequency, and impaired reconstitution of stem cell-derived mixed-lineage leukemia (MLL) AML, which represents an aggressive and drug-resistant subtype of AML. The GPR84-deficient phenotype in established AML could be rescued by expression of constitutively active β-catenin. Furthermore, GPR84 conferred a growth advantage to Hoxa9/Meis1a-transduced stem cells. Microarray analysis demonstrated that GPR84 significantly upregulated a small set of MLL-fusion targets and β-catenin coeffectors, and downregulated a hematopoietic cell-cycle inhibitor. Altogether, our data reveal a previously unrecognized role of GPR84 in maintaining fully developed AML by sustaining aberrant β-catenin signaling in LSCs, and suggest that targeting the oncogenic GPR84/β-catenin signaling axis may represent a novel therapeutic strategy for AML.

Muppidi JR, Schmitz R, Green JA, et al.
Loss of signalling via Gα13 in germinal centre B-cell-derived lymphoma.
Nature. 2014; 516(7530):254-8 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 11/06/2015 Related Publications
Germinal centre B-cell-like diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (GCB-DLBCL) is a common malignancy, yet the signalling pathways that are deregulated and the factors leading to its systemic dissemination are poorly defined. Work in mice showed that sphingosine-1-phosphate receptor-2 (S1PR2), a Gα12 and Gα13 coupled receptor, promotes growth regulation and local confinement of germinal centre B cells. Recent deep sequencing studies of GCB-DLBCL have revealed mutations in many genes in this cancer, including in GNA13 (encoding Gα13) and S1PR2 (refs 5,6, 7). Here we show, using in vitro and in vivo assays, that GCB-DLBCL-associated mutations occurring in S1PR2 frequently disrupt the receptor's Akt and migration inhibitory functions. Gα13-deficient mouse germinal centre B cells and human GCB-DLBCL cells were unable to suppress pAkt and migration in response to S1P, and Gα13-deficient mice developed germinal centre B-cell-derived lymphoma. Germinal centre B cells, unlike most lymphocytes, are tightly confined in lymphoid organs and do not recirculate. Remarkably, deficiency in Gα13, but not S1PR2, led to germinal centre B-cell dissemination into lymph and blood. GCB-DLBCL cell lines frequently carried mutations in the Gα13 effector ARHGEF1, and Arhgef1 deficiency also led to germinal centre B-cell dissemination. The incomplete phenocopy of Gα13- and S1PR2 deficiency led us to discover that P2RY8, an orphan receptor that is mutated in GCB-DLBCL and another germinal centre B-cell-derived malignancy, Burkitt's lymphoma, also represses germinal centre B-cell growth and promotes confinement via Gα13. These findings identify a Gα13-dependent pathway that exerts dual actions in suppressing growth and blocking dissemination of germinal centre B cells that is frequently disrupted in germinal centre B-cell-derived lymphoma.

Zhao J, Xu H, He M, Wu Y
Glucocorticoid receptor DNA binding factor 1 expression and osteosarcoma prognosis.
Tumour Biol. 2014; 35(12):12449-58 [PubMed] Related Publications
Glucocorticoid receptor DNA binding factor 1 (GRF-1) is an important Rho family GTPase-activating protein, and the dysregulation of GRF-1 expression maybe involved in tumor progression. However, the role of GRF-1 expression in the osteosarcoma prognosis has been well less elaborated. Here, we conducted a hospital-based case study, including 247 patients with pathologically confirmed osteosarcoma to evaluate the associations between GRF-1 expression and osteosarcoma prognosis. We found that high GRF-1 expression was correlated with poor outcome of osteosarcoma compared with low GRF-1 expression (the median recurrence-free survival times, 11 months vs 56 months; the median overall survival times, 18 months vs 53 months). Like tumor stage, the GRF-1 expression was an independent prognostic factor influencing the survival of osteosarcoma [hazard ratio values (95 % confidence interval) were 5.39 (3.54-8.20) for recurrence-free survival (RFS) and 6.58 (4.44-9.74) for overall survival (OS), respectively]. Furthermore, the high expression of GRF-1 was significantly associated with larger tumor size, tumor dedifferentiation, and increasing metastasis risk. Functionally, the knockdown of GRF-1 expression inhibited tumor cells proliferation and induced cell apoptosis. These results indicate for the first time that GRF-1 expression may modify osteosarcoma prognosis and may be a potential tumor therapeutic target.

Beutler AS, Kulkarni AA, Kanwar R, et al.
Sequencing of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease genes in a toxic polyneuropathy.
Ann Neurol. 2014; 76(5):727-37 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: Mutations in Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT) genes are the cause of rare familial forms of polyneuropathy. Whether allelic variability in CMT genes is also associated with common forms of polyneuropathy-considered "acquired" in medical parlance-is unknown. Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) occurs commonly in cancer patients and is individually unpredictable. We used CIPN as a clinical model to investigate the association of non-CMT polyneuropathy with CMT genes.
METHODS: A total of 269 neurologically asymptomatic cancer patients were enrolled in the clinical trial Alliance N08C1 to receive the neurotoxic drug paclitaxel, while undergoing prospective assessments for polyneuropathy. Forty-nine CMT genes were analyzed by targeted massively parallel sequencing of genomic DNA from patient blood.
RESULTS: A total of 119 (of 269) patients were identified from the 2 ends of the polyneuropathy phenotype distribution: patients that were most and least susceptible to paclitaxel polyneuropathy. The CMT gene PRX was found to be deleteriously mutated in patients who were susceptible to CIPN but not in controls (p = 8 × 10(-3)). Genetic variation in another CMT gene, ARHGEF10, was highly significantly associated with CIPN (p = 5 × 10(-4)). Three nonsynonymous recurrent single nucleotide variants contributed to the ARHGEF10 signal: rs9657362, rs2294039, and rs17683288. Of these, rs9657362 had the strongest effect (odds ratio = 4.8, p = 4 × 10(-4)).
INTERPRETATION: The results reveal an association of CMT gene allelic variability with susceptibility to CIPN. The findings raise the possibility that other acquired polyneuropathies may also be codetermined by genetic etiological factors, of which some may be related to genes already known to cause the phenotypically related Mendelian disorders of CMT.

Chen Y, Peng C, Abraham SA, et al.
Arachidonate 15-lipoxygenase is required for chronic myeloid leukemia stem cell survival.
J Clin Invest. 2014; 124(9):3847-62 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 11/06/2015 Related Publications
Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are responsible for the initiation and maintenance of some types of cancer, suggesting that inhibition of these cells may limit disease progression and relapse. Unfortunately, few CSC-specific genes have been identified. Here, we determined that the gene encoding arachidonate 15-lipoxygenase (Alox15/15-LO) is essential for the survival of leukemia stem cells (LSCs) in a murine model of BCR-ABL-induced chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). In the absence of Alox15, BCR-ABL was unable to induce CML in mice. Furthermore, Alox15 deletion impaired LSC function by affecting cell division and apoptosis, leading to an eventual depletion of LSCs. Moreover, chemical inhibition of 15-LO function impaired LSC function and attenuated CML in mice. The defective CML phenotype in Alox15-deficient animals was rescued by depleting the gene encoding P-selectin, which is upregulated in Alox15-deficient animals. Both deletion and overexpression of P-selectin affected the survival of LSCs. In human CML cell lines and CD34+ cells, knockdown of Alox15 or inhibition of 15-LO dramatically reduced survival. Loss of Alox15 altered expression of PTEN, PI3K/AKT, and the transcription factor ICSBP, which are known mediators of cancer pathogenesis. These results suggest that ALOX15 has potential as a therapeutic target for eradicating LSCs in CML.

Herrmann H, Sadovnik I, Cerny-Reiterer S, et al.
Dipeptidylpeptidase IV (CD26) defines leukemic stem cells (LSC) in chronic myeloid leukemia.
Blood. 2014; 123(25):3951-62 [PubMed] Related Publications
Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) is a stem cell (SC) neoplasm characterized by the BCR/ABL1 oncogene. Although mechanisms of BCR/ABL1-induced transformation are well-defined, little is known about effector-molecules contributing to malignant expansion and the extramedullary spread of leukemic SC (LSC) in CML. We have identified the cytokine-targeting surface enzyme dipeptidylpeptidase-IV (DPPIV/CD26) as a novel, specific and pathogenetically relevant biomarker of CD34(+)/CD38(─) CML LSC. In functional assays, CD26 was identified as target enzyme disrupting the SDF-1-CXCR4-axis by cleaving SDF-1, a chemotaxin recruiting CXCR4(+) SC. CD26 was not detected on normal SC or LSC in other hematopoietic malignancies. Correspondingly, CD26(+) LSC decreased to low or undetectable levels during successful treatment with imatinib. CD26(+) CML LSC engrafted NOD-SCID-IL-2Rγ(-/-) (NSG) mice with BCR/ABL1(+) cells, whereas CD26(─) SC from the same patients produced multilineage BCR/ABL1(-) engraftment. Finally, targeting of CD26 by gliptins suppressed the expansion of BCR/ABL1(+) cells. Together, CD26 is a new biomarker and target of CML LSC. CD26 expression may explain the abnormal extramedullary spread of CML LSC, and inhibition of CD26 may revert abnormal LSC function and support curative treatment approaches in this malignancy.

Ng KP, Manjeri A, Lee KL, et al.
Physiologic hypoxia promotes maintenance of CML stem cells despite effective BCR-ABL1 inhibition.
Blood. 2014; 123(21):3316-26 [PubMed] Related Publications
C-abl oncogene 1, nonreceptor tyrosine kinase (ABL1) kinase inhibitors such as imatinib mesylate (imatinib) are effective in managing chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) but incapable of eliminating leukemia stem cells (LSCs), suggesting that kinase-independent pathways support LSC survival. Given that the bone marrow (BM) hypoxic microenvironment supports hematopoietic stem cells, we investigated whether hypoxia similarly contributes to LSC persistence. Importantly, we found that although breakpoint cluster region (BCR)-ABL1 kinase remained effectively inhibited by imatinib under hypoxia, apoptosis became partially suppressed. Furthermore, hypoxia enhanced the clonogenicity of CML cells, as well as their efficiency in repopulating immunodeficient mice, both in the presence and absence of imatinib. Hypoxia-inducible factor 1 α (HIF1-α), which is the master regulator of the hypoxia transcriptional response, is expressed in the BM specimens of CML individuals. In vitro, HIF1-α is stabilized during hypoxia, and its expression and transcriptional activity can be partially attenuated by concurrent imatinib treatment. Expression analysis demonstrates at the whole-transcriptome level that hypoxia and imatinib regulate distinct subsets of genes. Functionally, knockdown of HIF1-α abolished the enhanced clonogenicity during hypoxia. Taken together, our results suggest that in the hypoxic microenvironment, HIF1-α signaling supports LSC persistence independent of BCR-ABL1 kinase activity. Thus, targeting HIF1-α and its pathway components may be therapeutically important for the complete eradication of LSCs.

Cook AM, Li L, Ho Y, et al.
Role of altered growth factor receptor-mediated JAK2 signaling in growth and maintenance of human acute myeloid leukemia stem cells.
Blood. 2014; 123(18):2826-37 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/05/2015 Related Publications
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is sustained by small populations of leukemia stem cells (LSCs) that can resist available treatments and represent important barriers to cure. Although previous studies have shown increased signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT)3 and STAT5 phosphorylation in AML leukemic blasts, the role of Janus kinase (JAK) signaling in primary AML compared with normal stem cells has not been directly evaluated. We show here that JAK/STAT signaling is increased in LSCs, particularly from high-risk AML. JAK2 inhibition using small molecule inhibitors or interference RNA reduced growth of AML LSCs while sparing normal stem cells both in vitro and in vivo. Increased JAK/STAT activity was associated with increased expression and altered signaling through growth factor receptors in AML LSCs, including receptor tyrosine kinase c-KIT and FMS-related tyrosine kinase 3 (FLT3). Inhibition of c-KIT and FLT3 expression significantly inhibited JAK/STAT signaling in AML LSCs, and JAK inhibitors effectively inhibited FLT3-mutated AML LSCs. Our results indicate that JAK/STAT signaling represents an important signaling mechanism supporting AML LSC growth and survival. These studies support continued evaluation of strategies for JAK/STAT inhibition for therapeutic targeting of AML LSCs.

Hanna S, Khalil B, Nasrallah A, et al.
StarD13 is a tumor suppressor in breast cancer that regulates cell motility and invasion.
Int J Oncol. 2014; 44(5):1499-511 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/05/2015 Related Publications
Breast cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in women around the world. In general, the more aggressive the tumor, the more rapidly it grows and the more likely it metastasizes. Members of the Rho subfamily of small GTP-binding proteins (GTPases) play a central role in breast cancer cell motility and metastasis. The switch between active GTP-bound and inactive GDP-bound state is regulated by guanine nucleotide exchange factors (GEFs), GTPase-activating proteins (GAPs) and guanine-nucleotide dissociation inhibitors (GDIs). We studied the role of StarD13, a recently identified Rho-GAP that specifically inhibits the function of RhoA and Cdc42. We aimed to investigate its role in breast cancer proliferation and metastasis. The levels of expression of this Rho-GAP in tumor tissues of different grades were assayed using immunohistochemistry. We observed that, while the level of StarD13 expression decreases in cancer tissues compared to normal tissues, it increases as the grade of the tumor increased. This was consistent with the fact that although StarD13 was indeed a tumor suppressor in our breast cancer cells, as seen by its effect on cell proliferation, it was needed for cancer cell motility. In fact, StarD13 knockdown resulted in an inhibition of cell motility and cells were not able to detach their tail and move forward. Our study describes, for the first time, a tumor suppressor that plays a positive role in cancer motility.

Lehnertz B, Pabst C, Su L, et al.
The methyltransferase G9a regulates HoxA9-dependent transcription in AML.
Genes Dev. 2014; 28(4):317-27 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/05/2015 Related Publications
Chromatin modulators are emerging as attractive drug targets, given their widespread implication in human cancers and susceptibility to pharmacological inhibition. Here we establish the histone methyltransferase G9a/EHMT2 as a selective regulator of fast proliferating myeloid progenitors with no discernible function in hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). In mouse models of acute myeloid leukemia (AML), loss of G9a significantly delays disease progression and reduces leukemia stem cell (LSC) frequency. We connect this function of G9a to its methyltransferase activity and its interaction with the leukemogenic transcription factor HoxA9 and provide evidence that primary human AML cells are sensitive to G9A inhibition. Our results highlight a clinical potential of G9A inhibition as a means to counteract the proliferation and self-renewal of AML cells by attenuating HoxA9-dependent transcription.

Cullis J, Meiri D, Sandi MJ, et al.
The RhoGEF GEF-H1 is required for oncogenic RAS signaling via KSR-1.
Cancer Cell. 2014; 25(2):181-95 [PubMed] Related Publications
Cellular transformation by oncogenic RAS engages the MAPK pathway under strict regulation by the scaffold protein KSR-1. Here, we report that the guanine nucleotide exchange factor GEF-H1 plays a critical role in a positive feedback loop for the RAS/MAPK pathway independent of its RhoGEF activity. GEF-H1 acts as an adaptor protein linking the PP2A B' subunits to KSR-1, thereby mediating the dephosphorylation of KSR-1 S392 and activation of MAPK signaling. GEF-H1 is important for the growth and survival of HRAS(V12)-transformed cells and pancreatic tumor xenografts. GEF-H1 expression is induced by oncogenic RAS and is correlated with pancreatic neoplastic progression. Our results, therefore, identify GEF-H1 as an amplifier of MAPK signaling and provide mechanistic insight into the progression of RAS mutant tumors.

Hofbauer SW, Krenn PW, Ganghammer S, et al.
Tiam1/Rac1 signals contribute to the proliferation and chemoresistance, but not motility, of chronic lymphocytic leukemia cells.
Blood. 2014; 123(14):2181-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
Signals from the tumor microenvironment promote the migration, survival, and proliferation of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) cells. Rho GTPases control various signaling pathways downstream of microenvironmental cues. Here, we analyze the function of Rac1 in the motility and proliferation of CLL cells. We found decreased transcription of the Rac guanine nucleotide exchange factors Tiam1 and Vav1 in unstimulated peripheral blood CLL cells with almost complete loss of Tiam1 but increased transcription of the potential Rac antagonist RhoH. Consistently, stimulation of CLL cells with the chemokine CXCL12 induced RhoA but not Rac1 activation, whereas chemokine-induced CLL cell motility was Rac1-independent. Coculture of CLL cells with activated T cells induced their activation and subsequent proliferation. Here, Tiam1 expression was induced in the malignant cells in line with increased Ki-67 and c-Myc expression. Rac1 or Tiam1 knockdown using siRNA or treatment with the Tiam1/Rac inhibitor NSC-23766 attenuated c-Myc transcription. Furthermore, treatment of CLL cells with NSC-23766 reduced their proliferation. Rac inhibition also antagonized the chemoresistance of activated CLL cells toward fludarabine. Collectively, our data suggest a dynamic regulation of Rac1 function in the CLL microenvironment. Rac inhibition could be of clinical use by selectively interfering with CLL cell proliferation and chemoresistance.

de Leeuw DC, Denkers F, Olthof MC, et al.
Attenuation of microRNA-126 expression that drives CD34+38- stem/progenitor cells in acute myeloid leukemia leads to tumor eradication.
Cancer Res. 2014; 74(7):2094-105 [PubMed] Related Publications
Despite high remission rates after therapy, 60% to 70% of patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) do not survive 5 years after their initial diagnosis. The main cause of treatment failures may be insufficient eradication of a subpopulation of leukemic stem-like cells (LSC), which are thought to be responsible for relapse by giving rise to more differentiated leukemic progenitors (LP). To address the need for therapeutic targets in LSCs, we compared microRNA (miRNA) expression patterns in highly enriched healthy CD34(+)CD38(-) hematopoietic stem cells (HSC), CD34(+)CD38(-) LSCs, and CD34(+)CD38(+) LPs, all derived from the same patients' bone marrow (BM) specimens. In this manner, we identified multiple differentially expressed miRNAs, in particular miR-126, which was highly expressed in HSCs and increased in LSCs compared with LPs, consistent with a stem-like cell function. High miR-126 expression in AML was associated with poor survival, higher chance of relapse, and expression of genes present in LSC/HSC signatures. Notably, attenuating miR-126 expression in AML cells reduced in vitro cell growth by inducing apoptosis, but did not affect the survival of normal BM in which it instead enhanced expansion of HSCs. Furthermore, targeting miR-126 in LSCs and LPs reduced their clonogenic capacity and eliminated leukemic cells, again in the absence of similar inhibitory effects on normal BM cells. Our results define miR-126 as a therapeutic focus to specifically eradicate LSCs and improve AML outcome.

Organ SL, Hai J, Radulovich N, et al.
p120RasGAP is a mediator of rho pathway activation and tumorigenicity in the DLD1 colorectal cancer cell line.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(1):e86103 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/05/2015 Related Publications
KRAS is mutated in ∼40% of colorectal cancer (CRC), and there are limited effective treatments for advanced KRAS mutant CRC. Therefore, it is crucial that downstream mediators of oncogenic KRAS continue to be studied. We identified p190RhoGAP as being phosphorylated in the DLD1 CRC cell line, which expresses a heterozygous KRAS G13D allele, and not in DKO4 in which the mutant allele has been deleted by somatic recombination. We found that a ubiquitous binding partner of p190RhoGAP, p120RasGAP (RasGAP), is expressed in much lower levels in DKO4 cells compared to DLD1, and this expression is regulated by KRAS. Rescue of RasGAP expression in DKO4 rescued Rho pathway activation and partially rescued tumorigenicity in DKO4 cells, indicating that the combination of mutant KRAS and RasGAP expression is crucial to these phenotypes. We conclude that RasGAP is an important effector of mutant KRAS in CRC.

Bruse S, Petersen H, Weissfeld J, et al.
Increased methylation of lung cancer-associated genes in sputum DNA of former smokers with chronic mucous hypersecretion.
Respir Res. 2014; 15:2 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/05/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Chronic mucous hypersecretion (CMH) contributes to COPD exacerbations and increased risk for lung cancer. Because methylation of gene promoters in sputum has been shown to be associated with lung cancer risk, we tested whether such methylation was more common in persons with CMH.
METHODS: Eleven genes commonly silenced by promoter methylation in lung cancer and associated with cancer risk were selected. Methylation specific PCR (MSP) was used to profile the sputum of 900 individuals in the Lovelace Smokers Cohort (LSC). Replication was performed in 490 individuals from the Pittsburgh Lung Screening Study (PLuSS).
RESULTS: CMH was significantly associated with an overall increased number of methylated genes, with SULF2 methylation demonstrating the most consistent association. The association between SULF2 methylation and CMH was significantly increased in males but not in females both in the LSC and PLuSS (OR = 2.72, 95% CI = 1.51-4.91, p = 0.001 and OR = 2.97, 95% CI = 1.48-5.95, p = 0.002, respectively). Further, the association between methylation and CMH was more pronounced among 139 male former smokers with persistent CMH compared to current smokers (SULF2; OR = 3.65, 95% CI = 1.59-8.37, p = 0.002).
CONCLUSIONS: These findings demonstrate that especially male former smokers with persistent CMH have markedly increased promoter methylation of lung cancer risk genes and potentially could be at increased risk for lung cancer.

Zhou J, Tao Y, Peng C, et al.
miR-503 regulates metastatic function through Rho guanine nucleotide exchanger factor 19 in hepatocellular carcinoma.
J Surg Res. 2014; 188(1):129-36 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Our previous work described a metastasis-related microRNAs expression profiling and revealed miR-503 regulating metastatic function in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells. Here, we investigate to define the mechanism of miR-503 regulating metastasis in HCC.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: The expressions of miR-503 in HCC cell lines and clinical tissues with different metastatic potential were investigated. Meanwhile, a metastatic human HCC cell BALB/c nude mice model was used to investigate whether miR-503 regulates metastasis of HCC in vivo. Furthermore, luciferase activity of reporter gene, 3-(4,5-Dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT), fluorescence-activated cell sorting analysis (FACS), and invasion assay were carried out to characterize the mechanism of miR-503 regulating metastasis in HCC.
RESULTS: We confirmed the negative correlation between miR-503 expression and metastatic potential of HCC in cell lines and in clinical HCC tissues. We also showed that overexpression of miR-503 resulted in inhibition of proliferation and metastasis of HCC in vivo. Furthermore, we demonstrated that ARHGEF19 is a direct target gene of miR-503. Finally, our results indicated that ARHGEF19 overcomes the suppressive influence of miR-503 in HCC cells.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest an important role of miR-503 in inhibiting metastasis of HCC through deregulating ARHGEF19.

Liu J, Xu CY, Cai SZ, et al.
Senescence effects of Angelica sinensis polysaccharides on human acute myelogenous leukemia stem and progenitor cells.
Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2014; 14(11):6549-56 [PubMed] Related Publications
Leukemia stem cells (LSCs) play important roles in leukemia initiation, progression and relapse, and thus represent a critical target for therapeutic intervention. Hence, it is extremely urgent to explore new therapeutic strategies directly targeting LSCs for acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) therapy. We show here that Angelica sinensis polysaccharide (ASP), a major active component in Dong quai (Chinese Angelica sinensis), effectively inhibited human AML CD34+CD38? cell proliferation in vitro culture in a dose-dependent manner while sparing normal hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells at physiologically achievable concentrations. Furthermore, ASP exerted cytotoxic effects on AML K562 cells, especially LSC-enriched CD34+CD38? cells. Colony formation assays further showed that ASP significantly suppressed the formation of colonies derived from AML CD34+CD38? cells but not those from normal CD34+CD38? cells. Examination of the underlying mechanisms revealed that ASP induced CD34+CD38? cell senescence, which was strongly associated with a series of characteristic events, including up-regulation of p53, p16, p21, and Rb genes and changes of related cell cycle regulation proteins P16, P21, cyclin E and CDK4, telomere end attrition as well as repression of telomerase activity. On the basis of these findings, we propose that ASP represents a potentially important agent for leukemia stem cell-targeted therapy.

Liu Y, Chen F, Wang S, et al.
Low-dose triptolide in combination with idarubicin induces apoptosis in AML leukemic stem-like KG1a cell line by modulation of the intrinsic and extrinsic factors.
Cell Death Dis. 2013; 4:e948 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/05/2015 Related Publications
Leukemia stem cells (LSCs) are considered to be the main reason for relapse and are also regarded as a major hurdle for the success of acute myeloid leukemia chemotherapy. Thus, new drugs targeting LSCs are urgently needed. Triptolide (TPL) is cytotoxic to LSCs. Low dose of TPL enhances the cytotoxicity of idarubicin (IDA) in LSCs. In this study, the ability of TPL to induce apoptosis in leukemic stem cell (LSC)-like cells derived from acute myeloid leukemia cell line KG1a was investigated. LSC-like cells sorted from KG1a were subjected to cell cycle analysis and different treatments, and then followed by in vitro methyl thiazole tetrazolium bromide cytotoxicity assay. The effects of different drug combinations on cell viability, intracellular reactive-oxygen species (ROS) activity, colony-forming ability and apoptotic status were also examined. Combination index-isobologram analysis indicates a synergistic effect between TPL and IDA, which inhibits the colony-forming ability of LSC-like cells and induces their apoptosis. We further investigated the expression of Nrf2, HIF-1α and their downstream target genes. LSC-like cells treated with both TPL and IDA have increased levels of ROS, decreased expression of Nrf2 and HIF-1α pathways. Our findings indicate that the synergistic cytotoxicity of TPL and IDA in LSCs-like cells may attribute to both induction of ROS and inhibition of the Nrf2 and HIF-1α pathways.

David MD, Petit D, Bertoglio J
The RhoGAP ARHGAP19 controls cytokinesis and chromosome segregation in T lymphocytes.
J Cell Sci. 2014; 127(Pt 2):400-10 [PubMed] Related Publications
Small GTP-binding proteins of the Rho family orchestrate the cytoskeleton remodelling events required for cell division. Guanine nucleotide exchange factors (GEFs) and GTPase-activating proteins (GAPs) promote cycling of Rho GTPases between the active GTP-bound and the inactive GDP-bound conformations. We report that ARHGAP19, a previously uncharacterised protein, is predominantly expressed in hematopoietic cells and has an essential role in the division of T lymphocytes. Overexpression of ARHGAP19 in lymphocytes delays cell elongation and cytokinesis. Conversely, silencing of ARHGAP19 or expression of a GAP-deficient mutant induces precocious mitotic cell elongation and cleavage furrow ingression, as well as excessive blebbing. In relation to these phenotypes, we show that ARHGAP19 acts as a GAP for RhoA, and controls recruitment of citron and myosin II to the plasma membrane of mitotic lymphocytes as well as Rock2-mediated phosphorylation of vimentin, which is crucial to maintain the stiffness and shape of lymphocytes. In addition to its effects on cell shape, silencing of ARHGAP19 in lymphocytes also impairs chromosome segregation.

Krause DS, Fulzele K, Catic A, et al.
Differential regulation of myeloid leukemias by the bone marrow microenvironment.
Nat Med. 2013; 19(11):1513-7 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/05/2015 Related Publications
Like their normal hematopoietic stem cell counterparts, leukemia stem cells (LSCs) in chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML) are presumed to reside in specific niches in the bone marrow microenvironment (BMM) and may be the cause of relapse following chemotherapy. Targeting the niche is a new strategy to eliminate persistent and drug-resistant LSCs. CD44 (refs. 3,4) and interleukin-6 (ref. 5) have been implicated previously in the LSC niche. Transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) is released during bone remodeling and plays a part in maintenance of CML LSCs, but a role for TGF-β1 from the BMM has not been defined. Here, we show that alteration of the BMM by osteoblastic cell-specific activation of the parathyroid hormone (PTH) receptor attenuates BCR-ABL1 oncogene-induced CML-like myeloproliferative neoplasia (MPN) but enhances MLL-AF9 oncogene-induced AML in mouse transplantation models, possibly through opposing effects of increased TGF-β1 on the respective LSCs. PTH treatment caused a 15-fold decrease in LSCs in wild-type mice with CML-like MPN and reduced engraftment of immune-deficient mice with primary human CML cells. These results demonstrate that LSC niches in CML and AML are distinct and suggest that modulation of the BMM by PTH may be a feasible strategy to reduce LSCs, a prerequisite for the cure of CML.

Chahdi A, Raufman JP
The Cdc42/Rac nucleotide exchange factor protein β1Pix (Pak-interacting exchange factor) modulates β-catenin transcriptional activity in colon cancer cells: evidence for direct interaction of β1PIX with β-catenin.
J Biol Chem. 2013; 288(47):34019-29 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/05/2015 Related Publications
Wnt/β-catenin signaling is highly regulated and critical for intestinal epithelial development and repair; aberrant β-catenin signaling is strongly associated with colon cancer. The small GTPase Rac1 regulates β-catenin nuclear translocation and signaling. Here we tested the hypothesis that β1Pix, a Cdc42/Rac guanine nucleotide exchange factor (GEF), regulates β-catenin-dependent transcriptional activity and cell function. We report the novel observations that β1Pix binds directly to β-catenin, an action requiring both the β1Pix DH and dimerization domains but not β1Pix GEF activity. In human colon cancer cells, activation of β-catenin signaling with LiCl decreased β1Pix/β-catenin association in the cytosol and increased nuclear binding of β-catenin to β1Pix. Nuclear association of β1Pix and β-catenin was independent of Rac1 expression and activation; down- and up-regulating Rac1 expression levels did not alter nuclear β1Pix/β-catenin association. Ectopic β1Pix expression enhanced LiCl-induced β-catenin transcriptional activity. Conversely, siRNA knockdown of β1Pix attenuated both LiCl-induced β-catenin transcriptional activity and colon cancer cell proliferation. Ectopic expression of β1Pix stimulated β-catenin transcriptional activity, whereas β1PixΔ(602-611), which is unable to bind β-catenin, had no effect. Altogether, these findings suggest that β1Pix functions as a transcriptional regulator of β-catenin signaling through direct interaction with β-catenin, an action that may be functionally relevant to colon cancer biology.

He P, Wu W, Wang H, et al.
Co-expression of Rho guanine nucleotide exchange factor 5 and Src associates with poor prognosis of patients with resected non-small cell lung cancer.
Oncol Rep. 2013; 30(6):2864-70 [PubMed] Related Publications
Specific and sensitive enough molecular biomarkers are lacking to accurately predict the survival of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients. ARHGEF5 and Src have been shown to play an important role in tumorigenesis. However, the involvement of ARHGEF5 and Src in NSCLC remains unknown. Therefore, we evaluated the expression of ARHGEF5 and Src in resected NSCLC tissues and the correlation of co-expression of ARHGEF5 and Src and the prognosis of patients with resected NSCLC. Positive expression of ARHGEF5 was detected in 133 cases of 193 patients (68.91%). A total of 193 NSCLC patients (male: 145; female: 48; average age: 61.84 years; age range: 31-84) were enrolled in this study, of which 99 cases were squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) (51.30%) and 94 cases were adenocarcinomas (ADCs) (48.70%). The expression of ARHGEF5 was mainly located in the cytoplasm of tumor cells, but not in the corresponding adjacent lung tissues. The levels of ARHGEF5 were significantly associated with age, differentiation and tumor stage. ARHGEF5 protein expression was associated with Src protein expression in NSCLC (χ(2) = 11.874, P<0.01) and in ADC (χ(2) = 12.194, P<0.01), but not in SCC. Co-immunoprecipitation revealed that there was a physical interaction between Src and ARHGEF5 in lung cancer cells. The patients with ARHGEF5(+)/Src(+) had a shorter survival time compared with the other patients (29.37 months versus 39.90 months, P = 0.029). In conclusion, ARHGEF5/Src can be considered as a prognostic biomarker and a therapeutic target for patients with resected NSCLC.

Tettamanti S, Magnani CF, Biondi A, Biagi E
Acute myeloid leukemia and novel biological treatments: monoclonal antibodies and cell-based gene-modified immune effectors.
Immunol Lett. 2013 Sep-Oct; 155(1-2):43-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
In the context of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) treatment, the interface between chemotherapy and immunotherapy is at present getting closer as never before. Scientific research is oriented in overcoming the main limits of actual chemotherapeutic regimens against AML, which still accounts for a considerable number of relapsed or resistant forms. A lot of investments have been done in the use of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) and recently gene-modified immune cells have been considered as an alternative approach whenever chemotherapy fails to eradicate the disease. In this sense, AML is a potential suitable target for immunotherapeutic approaches, due to overexpression of several tumor antigens. Here we describe the state of the art of mAbs and cellular therapies employing engineered immune effectors, developed against specific AML antigens, in a window embracing preclinical research and translational studies to the clinical setting.

Häbig K, Gellhaar S, Heim B, et al.
LRRK2 guides the actin cytoskeleton at growth cones together with ARHGEF7 and Tropomyosin 4.
Biochim Biophys Acta. 2013; 1832(12):2352-67 [PubMed] Related Publications
Mutations in the leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) gene represent the most common genetic cause of Parkinson's disease (PD). However, LRRK2 function and molecular mechanisms causing the parkinsonian phenotype remain widely unknown. Most of LRRK2 knockdown and overexpression models strengthen the relevance of LRRK2 in regulating neurite outgrowth. We have recently identified ARHGEF7 as the first guanine nucleotide exchange factor (GEF) of LRRK2. This GEF is influencing neurite outgrowth through regulation of actin polymerization. Here, we examined the expression profile of neuroblastoma cells with reduced LRRK2 and ARHGEF7 levels to identify additional partners of LRRK2 in this process. Tropomyosins (TPMs), and in particular TPM4, were the most interesting candidates next to other actin cytoskeleton regulating transcripts in this dataset. Subsequently, enhanced neurite branching was shown using primary hippocampal neurons of LRRK2 knockdown animals. Furthermore, we observed an enhanced number of growth cones per neuron and a mislocalization and dysregulation of ARHGEF7 and TPM4 in these neuronal compartments. Our results reveal a fascinating connection between the neurite outgrowth phenotype of LRRK2 models and the regulation of actin polymerization directing further investigations of LRRK2-related pathogenesis.

Cook DR, Rossman KL, Der CJ
Rho guanine nucleotide exchange factors: regulators of Rho GTPase activity in development and disease.
Oncogene. 2014; 33(31):4021-35 [PubMed] Related Publications
The aberrant activity of Ras homologous (Rho) family small GTPases (20 human members) has been implicated in cancer and other human diseases. However, in contrast to the direct mutational activation of Ras found in cancer and developmental disorders, Rho GTPases are activated most commonly in disease by indirect mechanisms. One prevalent mechanism involves aberrant Rho activation via the deregulated expression and/or activity of Rho family guanine nucleotide exchange factors (RhoGEFs). RhoGEFs promote formation of the active GTP-bound state of Rho GTPases. The largest family of RhoGEFs is comprised of the Dbl family RhoGEFs with 70 human members. The multitude of RhoGEFs that activate a single Rho GTPase reflects the very specific role of each RhoGEF in controlling distinct signaling mechanisms involved in Rho activation. In this review, we summarize the role of Dbl RhoGEFs in development and disease, with a focus on Ect2 (epithelial cell transforming squence 2), Tiam1 (T-cell lymphoma invasion and metastasis 1), Vav and P-Rex1/2 (PtdIns(3,4,5)P3 (phosphatidylinositol (3,4,5)-triphosphate)-dependent Rac exchanger).

Tang X, Jin R, Qu G, et al.
GPR116, an adhesion G-protein-coupled receptor, promotes breast cancer metastasis via the Gαq-p63RhoGEF-Rho GTPase pathway.
Cancer Res. 2013; 73(20):6206-18 [PubMed] Related Publications
Adhesion G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCR), which contain adhesion domains in their extracellular region, have been found to play important roles in cell adhesion, motility, embryonic development, and immune response. Because most adhesion molecules with adhesion domains have vital roles in cancer metastasis, we speculated that adhesion GPCRs are potentially involved in cancer metastasis. In this study, we identified GPR116 as a novel regulator of breast cancer metastasis through expression and functional screening of the adhesion GPCR family. We found that knockdown of GPR116 in highly metastatic (MDA-MB-231) breast cancer cells suppressed cell migration and invasion. Conversely, ectopic GPR116 expression in poorly metastatic (MCF-7 and Hs578T) cells promoted cell invasion. We further showed that knockdown of GPR116 inhibited breast cancer cell metastasis in two mammary tumor metastasis mouse models. Moreover, GPR116 modulated the formation of lamellipodia and actin stress fibers in cells in a RhoA- and Rac1-dependent manner. At a molecular level, GPR116 regulated cell motility and morphology through the Gαq-p63RhoGEF-RhoA/Rac1 pathway. The biologic significance of GPR116 in breast cancer is substantiated in human patient samples, where GPR116 expression is significantly correlated with breast tumor progression, recurrence, and poor prognosis. These findings show that GPR116 is crucial for the metastasis of breast cancer and support GPR116 as a potential prognostic marker and drug target against metastatic human breast cancer.

Wu CP, Zhou L, Gong HL, et al.
Establishment and characterization of a novel HPV-negative laryngeal squamous cell carcinoma cell line, FD-LSC-1, with missense and nonsense mutations of TP53 in the DNA-binding domain.
Cancer Lett. 2014; 342(1):92-103 [PubMed] Related Publications
Laryngeal squamous cell carcinoma (LSCC) is a common malignancy in China; however, publically available LSCC cell lines are few and not established from Chinese populations. Hence, novel and well-characterized LSCC cell lines of Chinese origin are urgently needed to provide researchers with a comprehensive database for LSCC research. From 40 cases of LSCC, we established a novel cell line that was maintained for more than 100 passages in vitro and was found to have typical epithelial morphology and ultrastructure. In-depth characterization analysis revealed polyploidy in DNA content; a doubling time of some 24h; high tumorigenicity in immunodeficient mice; higher invasive potential and more sensitive to radiation and cisplatin compared with HeLa cell line; upregulated Ki67, Notch1, EGFR, and CK5 protein levels; negative infection of human papillomavirus (HPV) and mycoplasma; expression of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) biomarkers; mutations of TP53 in exons 5 and 8; a near-triploid karyotype with complex structural aberrations; and dozens of dysregulated genes and miRNAs. Cell authentication testing by the American Type Culture Collection (ATCC) confirmed the human origin of this cell line. Our findings indicate that a novel and well-differentiated LSCC cell line recapitulating the primary tumor's malignant characteristics is established and well characterized. It does not match any cell lines within the ATCC database and helps to elucidate the molecular pathogenesis of LSCC.

Chan SM, Majeti R
Role of DNMT3A, TET2, and IDH1/2 mutations in pre-leukemic stem cells in acute myeloid leukemia.
Int J Hematol. 2013; 98(6):648-57 [PubMed] Related Publications
Aberrant changes in the epigenome are now recognized to be important in driving the development of multiple human cancers including acute myeloid leukemia. Recent advances in sequencing technologies have led to the identification of recurrent mutations in genes that regulate DNA methylation including DNA methyltransferase 3A (DNMT3A), ten-eleven translocation 2 (TET2), and isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 (IDH1) and IDH2. These mutations have been shown to promote self-renewal and block differentiation of hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells. Acquisition of these mutations in hematopoietic stem cells can lead to their clonal expansion resulting in a pre-leukemic stem cell (pre-LSC) population. Pre-LSCs retain the ability to differentiate into the full spectrum of mature daughter cells but can become fully transformed with the acquisition of additional driver mutations. Here, we review the effects of mutations in DNMT3A, TET2, and IDH1/2 on mouse and human hematopoiesis, the current understanding of their role in pre-LSCs, and therapeutic strategies to eliminate this population which may serve as a cellular reservoir for relapse.

Sandberg CJ, Altschuler G, Jeong J, et al.
Comparison of glioma stem cells to neural stem cells from the adult human brain identifies dysregulated Wnt- signaling and a fingerprint associated with clinical outcome.
Exp Cell Res. 2013; 319(14):2230-43 [PubMed] Related Publications
Glioblastoma is the most common brain tumor. Median survival in unselected patients is <10 months. The tumor harbors stem-like cells that self-renew and propagate upon serial transplantation in mice, although the clinical relevance of these cells has not been well documented. We have performed the first genome-wide analysis that directly relates the gene expression profile of nine enriched populations of glioblastoma stem cells (GSCs) to five identically isolated and cultivated populations of stem cells from the normal adult human brain. Although the two cell types share common stem- and lineage-related markers, GSCs show a more heterogeneous gene expression. We identified a number of pathways that are dysregulated in GSCs. A subset of these pathways has previously been identified in leukemic stem cells, suggesting that cancer stem cells of different origin may have common features. Genes upregulated in GSCs were also highly expressed in embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells. We found that canonical Wnt-signaling plays an important role in GSCs, but not in adult human neural stem cells. As well we identified a 30-gene signature highly overexpressed in GSCs. The expression of these signature genes correlates with clinical outcome and demonstrates the clinical relevance of GSCs.

Fortin Ensign SP, Mathews IT, Eschbacher JM, et al.
The Src homology 3 domain-containing guanine nucleotide exchange factor is overexpressed in high-grade gliomas and promotes tumor necrosis factor-like weak inducer of apoptosis-fibroblast growth factor-inducible 14-induced cell migration and invasion via tumor necrosis factor receptor-associated factor 2.
J Biol Chem. 2013; 288(30):21887-97 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/05/2015 Related Publications
Glioblastoma (GB) is the highest grade of primary adult brain tumors, characterized by a poorly defined and highly invasive cell population. Importantly, these invading cells are attributed with having a decreased sensitivity to radiation and chemotherapy. TNF-like weak inducer of apoptosis (TWEAK)-Fn14 ligand-receptor signaling is one mechanism in GB that promotes cell invasiveness and survival and is dependent upon the activity of multiple Rho GTPases, including Rac1. Here we report that Src homology 3 domain-containing guanine nucleotide exchange factor (SGEF), a RhoG-specific guanine nucleotide exchange factor, is overexpressed in GB tumors and promotes TWEAK-Fn14-mediated glioma invasion. Importantly, levels of SGEF expression in GB tumors inversely correlate with patient survival. SGEF mRNA expression is increased in GB cells at the invasive rim relative to those in the tumor core, and knockdown of SGEF expression by shRNA decreases glioma cell migration in vitro and invasion ex vivo. Furthermore, we showed that, upon TWEAK stimulation, SGEF is recruited to the Fn14 cytoplasmic tail via TRAF2. Mutation of the Fn14-TRAF domain site or depletion of TNF receptor-associated factor 2 (TRAF2) expression by siRNA oligonucleotides blocked SGEF recruitment to Fn14 and inhibited SGEF activity and subsequent GB cell migration. We also showed that knockdown of either SGEF or RhoG diminished TWEAK activation of Rac1 and subsequent lamellipodia formation. Together, these results indicate that SGEF-RhoG is an important downstream regulator of TWEAK-Fn14-driven GB cell migration and invasion.

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