DLL4

Gene Summary

Gene:DLL4; delta-like 4 (Drosophila)
Aliases: hdelta2
Location:15q14
Summary:This gene is a homolog of the Drosophila delta gene. The delta gene family encodes Notch ligands that are characterized by a DSL domain, EGF repeats, and a transmembrane domain. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2008]
Databases:OMIM, VEGA, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:delta-like protein 4
HPRD
Source:NCBIAccessed: 21 August, 2015

Ontology:

What does this gene/protein do?
Show (21)
Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1990-2015)
Graph generated 21 August 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.

  • Thyroid Cancer
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • VEGFA
  • HIF1A
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • Breast Cancer
  • Angiogenesis
  • Signal Transduction
  • Brain Tumours
  • Tumor Markers
  • Spheroids, Cellular
  • siRNA
  • Wnt1 Protein
  • Mutation
  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors
  • Endothelial Cells
  • Ligands
  • NOTCH1 Receptor
  • Down-Regulation
  • Notch Receptors
  • Gene Expression
  • Apoptosis
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Lung Cancer
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Cell Movement
  • Chromosome 15
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Brain Tumours
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Amyloid Precursor Protein Secretases
  • Stromal Cells
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Western Blotting
  • Up-Regulation
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins
  • Transfection
  • Sirtuin 1
  • Messenger RNA
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
Tag cloud generated 21 August, 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: DLL4 (cancer-related)

Chang GH, Lay AJ, Ting KK, et al.
ARHGAP18: an endogenous inhibitor of angiogenesis, limiting tip formation and stabilizing junctions.
Small GTPases. 2014; 5(3):1-15 [PubMed] Related Publications
The formation of the vascular network requires a tightly controlled balance of pro-angiogenic and stabilizing signals. Perturbation of this balance can result in dysregulated blood vessel morphogenesis and drive pathologies including cancer. Here, we have identified a novel gene, ARHGAP18, as an endogenous negative regulator of angiogenesis, limiting pro-angiogenic signaling and promoting vascular stability. Loss of ARHGAP18 promotes EC hypersprouting during zebrafish and murine retinal vessel development and enhances tumor vascularization and growth. Endogenous ARHGAP18 acts specifically on RhoC and relocalizes to the angiogenic and destabilized EC junctions in a ROCK dependent manner, where it is important in reaffirming stable EC junctions and suppressing tip cell behavior, at least partially through regulation of tip cell genes, Dll4, Flk-1 and Flt-4. These findings highlight ARHGAP18 as a specific RhoGAP to fine tune vascular morphogenesis, limiting tip cell formation and promoting junctional integrity to stabilize the angiogenic architecture.

Minuzzo S, Agnusdei V, Pusceddu I, et al.
DLL4 regulates NOTCH signaling and growth of T acute lymphoblastic leukemia cells in NOD/SCID mice.
Carcinogenesis. 2015; 36(1):115-21 [PubMed] Related Publications
Activation of the NOTCH pathway occurs commonly in T acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) mainly due to mutations in NOTCH1 or alterations in FBW7 and is involved in the regulation of cell proliferation and survival. Since mutations hit different domains of the receptor, they are predicted to heterogeneously perturb ligand-induced NOTCH1 activity. Moreover, T-ALL cells also co-express NOTCH3 receptors which could be triggered by different ligands. In this study, we aimed to investigate the role of DLL4 in the regulation of NOTCH signaling in T-ALL cells in the context of different types of NOTCH1 mutation or wild-type NOTCH receptor, as well as the effects of DLL4 neutralization on T-ALL engraftment in mice. We found that NOTCH signaling can be stimulated in T-ALL cells in vitro by either human or murine DLL4 with heterogeneous effects, according to NOTCH1/FBW7 mutation status, and that these effects can be blocked by antibodies neutralizing DLL4, NOTCH1 or NOTCH2/3. In vivo, DLL4 is expressed in the spleen and the bone marrow (BM) of NOD/SCID mice bearing T-ALL xenografts as well as the BM of T-ALL patients. Importantly, DLL4 blockade impaired growth of T-ALL cells in NOD/SCID mice and increased leukemia cell apoptosis. These results show that DLL4 is an important component of the tumor microenvironment which contributes to the early steps of T-ALL cell growth.

Hu GH, Liu H, Lai P, et al.
Delta-like ligand 4 (Dll4) predicts the prognosis of clear cell renal cell carcinoma, and anti-Dll4 suppresses tumor growth in vivo.
Int J Clin Exp Pathol. 2014; 7(5):2143-52 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The Delta-like ligand 4 (Dll4) and Notch signaling pathway plays a key role in embryonic vascular development and tumor growth. In this study, we measured the expression of Dll4 in clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC) and explored the correlation between Dll4 and ccRCC. We used sh-Dll4 treatment in a nude mouse model to observe the effect that inhibition of the Dll4/Notch pathway had on angiogenesis and vasculogenesis. We found up-regulation of Dll4 to be closely correlated with distant metastasis and worse overall survival. Cox regression analysis showed that Dll4 might be a prognostic marker of ccRCC. Blockade of Dll4/Notch signaling inhibited tumor growth in the mouse model via anti-angiogenesis and anti-vasculogenesis effects. We concluded that Dll4 might be a novel therapeutic target for the treatment of ccRCC.

Harjes U, Bridges E, McIntyre A, et al.
Fatty acid-binding protein 4, a point of convergence for angiogenic and metabolic signaling pathways in endothelial cells.
J Biol Chem. 2014; 289(33):23168-76 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Fatty acid-binding protein 4 (FABP4) is an adipogenic protein and is implicated in atherosclerosis, insulin resistance, and cancer. In endothelial cells, FABP4 is induced by VEGFA, and inhibition of FABP4 blocks most of the VEGFA effects. We investigated the DLL4-NOTCH-dependent regulation of FABP4 in human umbilical vein endothelial cells by gene/protein expression and interaction analyses following inhibitor treatment and RNA interference. We found that FABP4 is directly induced by NOTCH. Stimulation of NOTCH signaling with human recombinant DLL4 led to FABP4 induction, independently of VEGFA. FABP4 induction by VEGFA was reduced by blockade of DLL4 binding to NOTCH or inhibition of NOTCH signal transduction. Chromatin immunoprecipitation of the NOTCH intracellular domain showed increased binding to two specific regions in the FABP4 promoter. The induction of FABP4 gene expression was dependent on the transcription factor FOXO1, which was essential for basal expression of FABP4, and FABP4 up-regulation following stimulation of the VEGFA and/or the NOTCH pathway. Thus, we show that the DLL4-NOTCH pathway mediates endothelial FABP4 expression. This indicates that induction of the angiogenesis-restricting DLL4-NOTCH can have pro-angiogenic effects via this pathway. It also provides a link between DLL4-NOTCH and FOXO1-mediated regulation of endothelial gene transcription, and it shows that DLL4-NOTCH is a nodal point in the integration of pro-angiogenic and metabolic signaling in endothelial cells. This may be crucial for angiogenesis in the tumor environment.

Lee SH, Lee S, Yang H, et al.
Notch pathway targets proangiogenic regulator Sox17 to restrict angiogenesis.
Circ Res. 2014; 115(2):215-26 [PubMed] Related Publications
RATIONALE: The Notch pathway stabilizes sprouting angiogenesis by favoring stalk cells over tip cells at the vascular front. Because tip and stalk cells have different properties in morphology and function, their transcriptional regulation remains to be distinguished. Transcription factor Sox17 is specifically expressed in endothelial cells, but its expression and role at the vascular front remain largely unknown.
OBJECTIVE: To specify the role of Sox17 and its relationship with the Notch pathway in sprouting angiogenesis.
METHODS AND RESULTS: Endothelial-specific Sox17 deletion reduces sprouting angiogenesis in mouse embryonic and postnatal vascular development, whereas Sox17 overexpression increases it. Sox17 promotes endothelial migration by destabilizing endothelial junctions and rearranging cytoskeletal structure and upregulates expression of several genes preferentially expressed in tip cells. Interestingly, Sox17 expression is suppressed in stalk cells in which Notch signaling is relatively high. Notch activation by overexpressing Notch intracellular domain reduces Sox17 expression both in primary endothelial cells and in retinal angiogenesis, whereas Notch inhibition by delta-like ligand 4 (Dll4) blockade increases it. The Notch pathway regulates Sox17 expression mainly at the post-transcriptional level. Furthermore, endothelial Sox17 ablation rescues vascular network from excessive tip cell formation and hyperbranching under Notch inhibition in developmental and tumor angiogenesis.
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings demonstrate that the Notch pathway restricts sprouting angiogenesis by reducing the expression of proangiogenic regulator Sox17.

Deng J, Liu X, Rong L, et al.
IFNγ-responsiveness of endothelial cells leads to efficient angiostasis in tumours involving down-regulation of Dll4.
J Pathol. 2014; 233(2):170-82 [PubMed] Related Publications
Although IFNγ is regarded as a key cytokine in angiostatic response, our poor understanding of its effective cellular target drastically limits its clinical trials against angiogenesis-related disorders. Here, we investigated the effect of IFNγ on endothelial cells (ECs) and possible molecular mechanisms in angiostasis. By employing Tie2(IFNγR) mice, in which IFNγR expression was reconstituted under the control of Tie2 promoter in IFNγR-deficient mice, we found that the response of ECs to IFNγ was highly effective in inhibiting blood supply and retarding tumour growth. Interestingly, the expression of IFNγR on Tie2(-) cells did not inhibit, but promoted tumour growth in control wild-type mice. Mechanism studies showed that IFNγ reacting on ECs down-regulated the delta-like ligand 4 (Dll4)/Notch signalling pathway. Accordingly, overexpression of Dll4 in human ECs diminished the effect of IFNγ on ECs. This study demonstrates that the action of IFNγ on ECs, but not other cells, is highly effective for tumour angiostasis, which involves down-regulating Dll4. It provides insights for EC-targeted angiostatic therapy in treating angiogenesis-associated disorders in the clinic.

Pastò A, Serafin V, Pilotto G, et al.
NOTCH3 signaling regulates MUSASHI-1 expression in metastatic colorectal cancer cells.
Cancer Res. 2014; 74(7):2106-18 [PubMed] Related Publications
MUSASHI-1 (MSI-1) is a well-established stem cell marker in both normal and malignant colon cells and it acts by positively regulating the NOTCH pathway through inactivation of NUMB, a NOTCH signaling repressor. To date, the mechanisms of regulation of MSI-1 levels remain largely unknown. Here, we investigated the regulation of MSI-1 by NOTCH signaling in colorectal cancer cell lines and in primary cultures of colorectal cancer metastases. Stimulation by the NOTCH ligand DLL4 was associated with an increase of MSI-1 mRNA and protein levels, and this phenomenon was prevented by the addition of an antibody neutralizing NOTCH2/3 but not NOTCH1. Moreover, forced expression of activated NOTCH3 increased MSI-1 levels, whereas silencing of NOTCH3 by short hairpin RNA reduced MSI-1 levels in both colorectal cancer cells and CRC tumor xenografts. Consistent with these findings, enforced NOTCH3 expression or stimulation by DLL4 increased levels of activated NOTCH1 in colorectal cell lines. Finally, treatment of colorectal cancer cells with anti-NOTCH2/3 antibody increased NUMB protein while significantly reducing formation of tumor cell spheroids. This novel feed-forward circuit involving DLL4, NOTCH3, MSI-1, NUMB, and NOTCH1 may be relevant for regulation of NOTCH signaling in physiologic processes as well as in tumor development. With regard to therapeutic implications, NOTCH3-specific drugs could represent a valuable strategy to limit NOTCH signaling in the context of colorectal cancers overexpressing this receptor.

Zhou Z, Yu L, Kleinerman ES
EWS-FLI-1 regulates the neuronal repressor gene REST, which controls Ewing sarcoma growth and vascular morphology.
Cancer. 2014; 120(4):579-88 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: RE1-silencing transcription factor (REST), a neuronal repressor gene, regulates neuronal stem cell differentiation. Ewing sarcoma may originate from neural crest cells. In the current study, the authors investigated whether REST plays a role in the growth of this tumor.
METHODS: REST expression was determined by Western blot analysis and reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction in 3 human Ewing sarcoma cell lines and 7 patient tumor samples. The role of REST in tumor growth and tumor vascular morphology was determined using a Ewing sarcoma xenograft model. Immunofluorescence staining, Hypoxyprobe, and terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick end labeling (TUNEL) assays were performed to investigate the impact of REST on pericyte marker expression, hypoxia, and apoptosis in vivo.
RESULTS: High levels of REST were expressed in all 3 human Ewing sarcoma cell lines and in 6 of the 7 patient tumor samples. Overexpression of EWS-FLI-1 in human mesenchymal stem cells and human neural progenitor cells was found to increase REST expression. Inhibition of EWS-FLI-1 using small interfering RNA decreased REST expression in human Ewing sarcoma cells. Inhibition of REST did not affect EWS-FLI-1, but significantly suppressed tumor growth in vivo, reduced the tumor vessel pericyte markers α- smooth muscle actin (SMA) and desmin, increased hypoxia and apoptosis in tumor tissues, and decreased the expression of delta-like ligand 4 (DLL4) and Hes1.
CONCLUSIONS: Inhibition of REST suppressed tumor growth, inhibited pericyte marker expression, and increased tumor hypoxia and apoptosis. Because tumor vessel function has been linked to tumor growth and metastases, REST may be a new therapeutic target in patients with Ewing sarcoma.

Clatot F, Gouérant S, Mareschal S, et al.
The gene expression profile of inflammatory, hypoxic and metabolic genes predicts the metastatic spread of human head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.
Oral Oncol. 2014; 50(3):200-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVES: To assess the prognostic value of the expression profile of the main genes implicated in hypoxia, glucose and lactate metabolism, inflammation, angiogenesis and extracellular matrix interactions for the metastatic spread of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Using a high-throughput qRT-PCR, we performed an unsupervised clustering analysis based on the expression of 42 genes for 61 patients. Usual prognostic factors and clustering analysis results were related to metastasis free survival.
RESULTS: With a median follow-up of 48months, 19 patients died from a metastatic evolution of their head and neck squamous cell carcinoma and one from a local recurrence. The unsupervised clustering analysis distinguished two groups of genes that were related to metastatic evolution. A capsular rupture (p=0.005) and the "cluster CXCL12 low" (p=0.002) were found to be independent prognostic factors for metastasis free survival. Using a Linear Predictive Score methodology, we established a 9-gene model (VHL, PTGER4, HK1, SLC16A4, DLL4, CXCL12, CXCR4, PTGER3 and CA9) that was capable of classifying the samples into the 2 clusters with 90% accuracy.
CONCLUSION: In this cohort, our clustering analysis underlined the independent prognostic value of the expression of a panel of genes involved in hypoxia and tumor environment. It allowed us to define a 9-gene model which can be applied routinely to classify newly diagnosed head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. If confirmed by an independent prospective study, this approach may help future clinical management of these aggressive tumors.

Mezquita B, Mezquita J, Barrot C, et al.
A truncated-Flt1 isoform of breast cancer cells is upregulated by Notch and downregulated by retinoic acid.
J Cell Biochem. 2014; 115(1):52-61 [PubMed] Related Publications
We have previously reported that the major isoform of Flt1/VEGFR-1 expressed in MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells was a truncated intracellular isoform transcribed from intron 21 (i21 Flt1). This isoform upregulated the active form of Src and increased breast cancer cell invasiveness. Since expression of the transmembrane and soluble Flt1 isoforms of HUVEC is activated by Notch signaling, we wondered whether the expression of the intracellular isoform i21 Flt1 was also dependent on Notch activation. We report here that the expression of i21 Flt1 in HUVEC and MDA-MB-231 cells is downregulated by the γ-secretase inhibitor DAPT. In addition, treatment of MDA-MB-231 cells with siRNA specific for Notch-1 and Notch-3 downregulates the expression of i21 Flt1. In agreement with these findings, HUVEC and MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells, cultured on dishes coated with recombinant human Dll4 extracellular domain, express higher levels of i21 Flt1. In cancer cells, Flt1 is a target of the micro RNA family miR-200. In MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells, the truncated intracellular isoform i21 Flt1 is also negatively regulated by miR-200c. Retinoic acid interferes i21 Flt1 expression by downregulating Notch-3 and upregulating miR-200 expression. Treatment of MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells with both a γ-secretase inhibitor and retinoic acid suppresses the expression of i21 Flt1, providing a new mechanism to explain the effectiveness of this therapeutic approach.

Li GG, Li L, Li C, et al.
Influence of up-regulation of Notch ligand DLL4 on biological behaviors of human gastric cancer cells.
World J Gastroenterol. 2013; 19(28):4486-94 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
AIM: To investigate the potential roles of Delta-like ligand 4 (DLL4) on the biological behavior of gastric cancer cells and its molecular mechanisms.
METHODS: A recombinant eukaryotic expression vector containing human DLL4 gene was constructed and transfected into the human gastric cancer cell line SGC7901. Clones with up-regulated DLL4 were selected and amplified. The effect of DLL4 up-regulation on gastric cancer cell growth was assessed using cell growth assay. The migration and invasion were assessed using a transwell migration assay and matrigel invasion assay. Matrix metalloproteinases were detected using the zymogram technique. Cells were implanted subcutaneously into male BALB/c nu/nu mice. Tumor volumes were then calculated and compared. DLL4 staining in the implanted tumor was performed using immunohistochemistry technique.
RESULTS: Growth curves over a six-day time course showed significantly promoted cell proliferation of SGC7901 cells with up-regulated DLL4. DLL4 up-regulation in SGC7901 cells promoted the migration (205.4 ± 15.2 vs 22.3 ± 12.1, P < 0.05) and invasion (68.8 ± 5.3 vs 18.2 ± 6.0, P < 0.05) in vitro and tumorigenicity in vivo (2640.5 ± 923.6 mm(3) vs 1115.1 ± 223.8 mm(3), P < 0.05). Furthermore, significantly increased mRNA level and increased secretion of matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2) proenzyme were observed in SGC7901 cells with up-regulated DLL4. However, increased MMP-9 mRNA level but decreased extracellular MMP-9 proenzyme level was observed.
CONCLUSION: Our observations indicated a mechanism by which activation of DLL4-mediated Notch signaling promotes the expression and secretion of MMP-2 proenzyme and influences the progress of gastric cancer.

Ishigami S, Arigami T, Uenosono Y, et al.
Clinical implications of DLL4 expression in gastric cancer.
J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2013; 32:46 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Delta-like ligand 4 (DLL4)-Notch signaling plays a key role in tumor neovascular development and angiogenesis during tumor growth. The clinical significance of DLL4 expression in gastric cancer has not been clarified.
METHODS: Gastric cancer cell lines and 180 gastric cancer patients were enrolled. DLL4 expression in gastric cancer cells and stroma was identified and evaluated immunohistochemically. The association between DLL4 and clinicopathological factors was also assessed.
RESULTS: DLL4 expression was identified in the cellular membrane and cytoplasm of gastric cancer cells by immunoblotting and immunohistochemical staining. DLL4 positivity in cancer cells and stroma was found in 88 (48%) and 41 (22%) of the 180 gastric cancer patients respectively. Both cancer and stromal DLL4 expression significantly correlated with more advanced tumor depth, nodal involvement, and lymphatic and venous invasion. A strongly positive association between cancerous and stromal DLL4 expression was identified (p < 0.01). Both cancerous and stromal DLL4 expression were prognostic markers in gastric cancer as determined by univariate analysis.
CONCLUSIONS: Cancerous and stromal DLL4 expression was found in 48% and 22% in gastric cancer, and significantly affected postoperative clinical outcomes. Cancerous and stromal DLL4 expression may be an effective target of anti-DLL4 treatment in gastric cancer.

Iyer AK, Singh A, Ganta S, Amiji MM
Role of integrated cancer nanomedicine in overcoming drug resistance.
Adv Drug Deliv Rev. 2013; 65(13-14):1784-802 [PubMed] Related Publications
Cancer remains a major killer of mankind. Failure of conventional chemotherapy has resulted in recurrence and development of virulent multi drug resistant (MDR) phenotypes adding to the complexity and diversity of this deadly disease. Apart from displaying classical physiological abnormalities and aberrant blood flow behavior, MDR cancers exhibit several distinctive features such as higher apoptotic threshold, aerobic glycolysis, regions of hypoxia, and elevated activity of drug-efflux transporters. MDR transporters play a pivotal role in protecting the cancer stem cells (CSCs) from chemotherapy. It is speculated that CSCs are instrumental in reviving tumors after the chemo and radiotherapy. In this regard, multifunctional nanoparticles that can integrate various key components such as drugs, genes, imaging agents and targeting ligands using unique delivery platforms would be more efficient in treating MDR cancers. This review presents some of the important principles involved in development of MDR and novel methods of treating cancers using multifunctional-targeted nanoparticles. Illustrative examples of nanoparticles engineered for drug/gene combination delivery and stimuli responsive nanoparticle systems for cancer therapy are also discussed.

Bazan-Peregrino M, Sainson RC, Carlisle RC, et al.
Combining virotherapy and angiotherapy for the treatment of breast cancer.
Cancer Gene Ther. 2013; 20(8):461-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
A breast cancer-selective oncolytic adenovirus was engineered to express antagonists of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and Notch signaling to combine direct anticancer activity with disruption of tumor-associated angiogenesis. Replication of the parental virus, AdEHE2F, is stimulated by estrogen receptor (ER), E2F1 and hypoxia, and it mediates selective lysis of breast cancer cells in vitro and in vivo. Here, we encoded soluble Flt-1 (sFlt1) and soluble Dll4 (sDll4) under control of the E3 promoter. sFlt1 (the extra-cellular domain of VEGF receptor 1) binds VEGF-A and inhibits stimulation of VEGFR2, decreasing angiogenic stimulus. Conversely, sDll4 (the extracellular domain of Delta-like 4) antagonizes Notch signaling to prevent endothelial maturation. We hypothesized that these agents might show additive or synergistic activity. In vitro, sFlt1 inhibited endothelial cell proliferation and sprouting, whereas sDll4 increased the number of vascular branchpoints. In ER-positive ZR75.1 tumors in vivo AdEHE2F showed the potent direct virotherapy with no augmentation owing to sFlt1 or sDll4; however, in ER-negative MDA-231 tumors efficacy was enhanced by encoding sFlt1 or sDll4, with survival time extending to double that of controls. There was also a dramatic decrease in the total number of tumour blood vessels, as well as the number of perfused vessels, suggesting that improved efficacy reflects combined anti-tumour and anti-vascular effects.

El Hindy N, Keyvani K, Pagenstecher A, et al.
Implications of Dll4-Notch signaling activation in primary glioblastoma multiforme.
Neuro Oncol. 2013; 15(10):1366-78 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is a highly aggressive brain tumor characterized by massive neovascularization, necrosis, and intense resistance to therapy. Deregulated Notch signaling has been implicated in the formation and progression of different malignancies. The present study attempted to investigate the activation status of Dll4-Notch signaling in primary human GBM and its association with vascular and clinical parameters in patients.
METHODS: Major components of Dll4-Notch signaling were examined by real-time reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (PCR), Western blotting, and immunohistochemistry in GBM (n = 26) and control (n = 11) brain tissue. The vascular pattern (VP) and microvascular density (MVD) were analyzed after laminin immunostaining. O6-Methylguanine-methyltransferase (MGMT) promoter methylation in GBM samples was detected by methylation-specific PCR.
RESULTS: The mRNA levels of Dll4, Jagged1, Notch1, Notch4, Hey1, Hey2, Hes1, and VEGF were 3.12-, 3.58-, 3.37-, 5.77-, 4.89-, 3.13-, 6.62-, and 32.57-fold elevated, respectively, in GBM samples, compared with the controls. Western blotting revealed a 4-, 3.7-, and 45.6-fold upregulation of Dll4, Notch1, and Hey1, respectively, accompanied by a downregulation of PTEN expression and an increase in the expression of p-Akt and VEGF. Immunostaining located the immunoreactivity of Dll4 and Notch1 in endothelial cells, microglia/macrophages, tumor cells, and astrocytes. Furthermore, the upregulation of Dll4-Notch signaling components was correlated to a low MVD and was potentially related to a classic VP, tumor edema, and MGMT promoter methylation.
CONCLUSIONS: The upregulation of Dll4-Notch signaling components was found in a subset of GBM samples and was associated with some angiogenic and clinical parameters. These findings highlight this signaling pathway as a potential therapeutic target for patients with GBM who show an activation of Dll4-Notch signaling.

You C, Sandalcioglu IE, Dammann P, et al.
Loss of CCM3 impairs DLL4-Notch signalling: implication in endothelial angiogenesis and in inherited cerebral cavernous malformations.
J Cell Mol Med. 2013; 17(3):407-18 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
CCM3, a product of the cerebral cavernous malformation 3 or programmed cell death 10 gene (CCM3/PDCD10), is broadly expressed throughout development in both vertebrates and invertebrates. Increasing evidence indicates a crucial role of CCM3 in vascular development and in regulation of angiogenesis and apoptosis. Furthermore, loss of CCM3 causes inherited (familial) cerebral cavernous malformation (CCM), a common brain vascular anomaly involving aberrant angiogenesis. This study focused on signalling pathways underlying the angiogenic functions of CCM3. Silencing CCM3 by siRNA stimulated endothelial proliferation, migration and sprouting accompanied by significant downregulation of the core components of Notch signalling including DLL4, Notch4, HEY2 and HES1 and by activation of VEGF and Erk pathways. Treatment with recombinant DLL4 (rhDLL4) restored DLL4 expression and reversed CCM3-silence-mediated impairment of Notch signalling and reduced the ratio of VEGF-R2 to VEGF-R1 expression. Importantly, restoration of DLL4-Notch signalling entirely rescued the hyper-angiogenic phenotype induced by CCM3 silence. A concomitant loss of CCM3 and the core components of DLL4-Notch signalling were also demonstrated in CCM3-deficient endothelial cells derived from human CCM lesions (CCMEC) and in a CCM3 germline mutation carrier. This study defined DLL4 as a key downstream target of CCM3 in endothelial cells. CCM3/DLL4-Notch pathway serves as an important signalling for endothelial angiogenesis and is potentially implicated in the pathomechanism of human CCMs.

Yu S, Sun J, Zhang J, et al.
Aberrant expression and association of VEGF and Dll4/Notch pathway molecules under hypoxia in patients with lung cancer.
Histol Histopathol. 2013; 28(2):277-84 [PubMed] Related Publications
Tumor angiogenesis plays important roles in the pathogenesis and prognosis of lung cancer. Both vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and Dll4/Notch pathways are critical for angiogenesis, whereas their relationship under hypoxia in lung cancer remains unknown. Thus, in the present study, we evaluated the expression of VEGF and Dll4/Notch signaling molecules, and assessed their association with the microvessel density (CD31) and hypoxia (HIF1a) in lung cancer and normal lung tissues using immunohistochemical and Real-time RT-PCR techniques. Then, we investigated the biological function of Dll4 by transfecting Dll4 into HUVECs. In lung cancer tissues, Notch pathway molecules (HES1) and VEGF pathway molecules (VEGFR1 and VEGFR2) were significantly up-regulated, while the ratio of VEGFR1/VEGFR2 was decreased. CD31 and HIF1a were also found to be elevated in lung cancer. VEGFR1 was negatively correlated with Notch1 while positively correlated with Dll4. CD31 was positively correlated with HIF1a but negatively correlated with VEGFR1. Moreover, HIF1a was nearly positively correlated with HES1 in lung cancer tissues. After transfection, Dll4, Notch1 and VEGFR1 were up-regulated while VEGF and VEGFR2 were down-regulated in Dll4-transfected HUVECs compared with controls. Also, our findings suggest that the expression of VEGF and VEGFR2 increased gradually with the disease progression of lung cancer. In summary, VEGF and Notch signaling pathway molecules were overexpressed in lung cancer, which positively correlates with hypoxia (HIF1a) and angiogenesis (CD31). There might be a negative feedback loop between VEGF and Dll4/Notch signaling pathway in lung tumor angiogenesis.

Zhang J, Ye J, Ma D, et al.
Cross-talk between leukemic and endothelial cells promotes angiogenesis by VEGF activation of the Notch/Dll4 pathway.
Carcinogenesis. 2013; 34(3):667-77 [PubMed] Related Publications
Angiogenesis is suggested to be important for leukemogenesis and chemosensitivity in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). The vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and Notch/Dll4 pathways have been identified as critical in the regulation of embryonic vascular development and tumor angiogenesis. However, the potential role of the Notch/Dll4 pathway in leukemia-endothelium cross-talk and its functional link with VEGF remains obscure. This study assessed the expression of VEGF and Notch/Dll4 pathway molecules in primary AML and investigated their biological function in the coculture of endothelial cells with AML cells. The results demonstrated that bone marrow vascularity in the newly diagnosed AML patients was increased and correlated with high VEGF and Dll4 expression. Patients with untreated AML expressed higher levels of VEGFR2, Notch1, Dll4 and Hes1 than healthy controls. Moreover, the activation of the Notch/Dll4 pathway is associated with poor prognosis in AML. In addition, AML cells were shown to increase endothelial cell proliferation in Transwell coculture. This was associated with concomitant activation of the Notch/Dll4 pathway and upregulation of its downstream genes, such as matrix metalloproteinases, resulting in the enhancement of endothelial cell migration and tube formation. Our study also showed that upregulation of Dll4 expression in AML cells by cDNA transfection suppressed VEGF-induced endothelial cell proliferation and angiogenesis in direct contact coculture. These results elucidate a novel mechanism by which the interplay between AML and endothelial cells promotes angiogenesis through the Notch/Dll4 pathway. Modulation of this pathway may, therefore, hold promise as a novel antiangiogenic strategy for the treatment of AML.

Xie M, Liu M, He CS
SIRT1 regulates endothelial Notch signaling in lung cancer.
PLoS One. 2012; 7(9):e45331 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) acts as a key regulator of vascular endothelial homeostasis, angiogenesis, and endothelial dysfunction. However, the underlying mechanism for SIRT1-mediated lung carcinoma angiogenesis remains unknown. Herein, we report that the nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide 1 (NAD1)-dependent deacetylase SIRT1 can function as an intrinsic negative modulator of Delta-like ligand 4 (DLL4)/Notch signaling in Lewis lung carcinoma (LLC) xenograft-derived vascular endothelial cells (lung cancer-derived ECs).
PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: SIRT1 negatively regulates Notch1 intracellular domain (N1IC) and Notch1 target genes HEY1 and HEY2 in response to Delta-like ligand 4 (DLL4) stimulation. Furthermore, SIRT1 deacetylated and repressed N1IC expression. Quantitative chromatin immunoprecipitation (qChIP) analysis and gene reporter assay demonstrated that SIRT1 bound to one highly conserved region, which was located at approximately -500 bp upstream of the transcriptional start site of Notch1,and repressed Notch1 transcription. Inhibition of endothelial cell growth and sprouting angiogenesis by DLL4/Notch signaling was enhanced in SIRT1-silenced lung cancer-derived EC and rescued by Notch inhibitor DAPT. In vivo, an increase in proangiogenic activity was observed in Matrigel plugs from endothelial-specific SIRT1 knock-in mice. SIRT1 also enhanced tumor neovascularization and tumor growth of LLC xenografts.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results show that SIRT1 facilitates endothelial cell branching and proliferation to increase vessel density and promote lung tumor growth through down-regulation of DLL4/Notch signaling and deacetylation of N1IC. Thus, targeting SIRT1 activity or/and gene expression may represent a novel mechanism in the treatment of lung cancer.

Kuramoto T, Goto H, Mitsuhashi A, et al.
Dll4-Fc, an inhibitor of Dll4-notch signaling, suppresses liver metastasis of small cell lung cancer cells through the downregulation of the NF-κB activity.
Mol Cancer Ther. 2012; 11(12):2578-87 [PubMed] Related Publications
Notch signaling regulates cell-fate decisions during development and postnatal life. Little is known, however, about the role of Delta-like-4 (Dll4)-Notch signaling between cancer cells, or how this signaling affects cancer metastasis. We, therefore, assessed the role of Dll4-Notch signaling in cancer metastasis. We generated a soluble Dll4 fused to the IgG1 constant region (Dll4-Fc) that acts as a blocker of Dll4-Notch signaling and introduced it into human small cell lung cancer (SCLC) cell lines expressing either high levels (SBC-3 and H1048) or low levels (SBC-5) of Dll4. The effects of Dll4-Fc on metastasis of SCLC were evaluated using a mouse model. Although Dll4-Fc had no effect on the liver metastasis of SBC-5, the number of liver metastasis inoculated with SBC-3 and H1048 cells expressing Dll4-Fc was significantly lower than that injected with control cells. To study the molecular mechanisms of the effects of Dll4-Fc on liver metastasis, a PCR array analysis was conducted. Because the expression of NF-κB target genes was affected by Dll4-Fc, we conducted an electrophoretic mobility shift assay and observed that NF-κB activities, both with and without stimulation by TNF-α, were downregulated in Dll4-Fc-overexpressing SBC-3 and H1048 cells compared with control cells. Moreover, Dll4-Fc attenuates, at least in part, the classical and alternative NF-κB activation pathway by reducing Notch1 signaling. These results suggest that Dll4-Notch signaling in cancer cells plays a critical role in liver metastasis of SCLC by regulating NF-κB signaling.

Yen WC, Fischer MM, Hynes M, et al.
Anti-DLL4 has broad spectrum activity in pancreatic cancer dependent on targeting DLL4-Notch signaling in both tumor and vasculature cells.
Clin Cancer Res. 2012; 18(19):5374-86 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: We previously showed that targeting Delta-like ligand 4 (DLL4) in colon and breast tumors inhibited tumor growth and reduced tumor initiating cell frequency. In this report, we have extended these studies to pancreatic cancer and probed the mechanism of action in tumor and stromal cells involved in antitumor efficacy.
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: Patient-derived pancreatic xenograft tumor models were used to evaluate the antitumor effect of anti-DLL4. To investigate the mechanism of action, we compared the activity of targeting DLL4 in tumor cells with an anti-human DLL4 antibody (anti-hDLL4) and in the host stroma/vasculature with an anti-mouse DLL4 antibody (anti-mDLL4). The effect of these antibodies on cancer stem cell frequency was examined by in vivo limiting dilution assays.
RESULTS: The combination of anti-hDLL4 and anti-mDLL4 was efficacious in a broad spectrum of pancreatic tumor xenografts and showed additive antitumor activity together with gemcitabine. Treatment with either anti-hDLL4 or anti-mDLL4 delayed pancreatic tumor recurrence following termination of gemcitabine treatment, and the two together produced an additive effect. Anti-hDLL4 had a pronounced effect in reducing the tumorigenicity of pancreatic cancer cells based on serial transplantation and tumorsphere assays. In contrast, disruption of tumor angiogenesis with anti-mDLL4 alone or with anti-VEGF had minimal effects on tumorigenicity. Gene expression analyses indicated that anti-DLL4 treatment regulated genes that participate in Notch signaling, pancreatic differentiation, and epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition.
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest a novel therapeutic approach for pancreatic cancer treatment through antagonism of DLL4/Notch signaling.

Duncan WC, Nio-Kobayashi J
Targeting angiogenesis in the pathological ovary.
Reprod Fertil Dev. 2013; 25(2):362-71 [PubMed] Related Publications
The ovary is a key tissue in the study of physiological neo-vascularisation in the adult and its study has highlighted important molecules involved in the regulation of angiogenesis in vivo. These include vascular endothelial growth factor, delta-like ligand 4, thrombospondin-1, prokineticin-1 and prostaglandin E2. Targeting these molecular pathways has therapeutic potential and their manipulation has an increasing preclinical and clinical role in the management of the pathological ovary. Targeting angiogenic pathways has utility in the promotion of ovarian angiogenesis to improve tissue and follicle survival and function as well as the prevention and management of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. There is a theoretical possibility that targeting angiogenesis may improve the function of the polycystic ovary and a real role for targeting angiogenesis in ovarian cancer.

Reis M, Czupalla CJ, Ziegler N, et al.
Endothelial Wnt/β-catenin signaling inhibits glioma angiogenesis and normalizes tumor blood vessels by inducing PDGF-B expression.
J Exp Med. 2012; 209(9):1611-27 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Endothelial Wnt/β-catenin signaling is necessary for angiogenesis of the central nervous system and blood-brain barrier (BBB) differentiation, but its relevance for glioma vascularization is unknown. In this study, we show that doxycycline-dependent Wnt1 expression in subcutaneous and intracranial mouse glioma models induced endothelial Wnt/β-catenin signaling and led to diminished tumor growth, reduced vascular density, and normalized vessels with increased mural cell attachment. These findings were corroborated in GL261 glioma cells intracranially transplanted in mice expressing dominant-active β-catenin specifically in the endothelium. Enforced endothelial β-catenin signaling restored BBB characteristics, whereas inhibition by Dkk1 (Dickkopf-1) had opposing effects. By overactivating the Wnt pathway, we induced the Wnt/β-catenin-Dll4/Notch signaling cascade in tumor endothelia, blocking an angiogenic and favoring a quiescent vascular phenotype, indicated by induction of stalk cell genes. We show that β-catenin transcriptional activity directly regulated endothelial expression of platelet-derived growth factor B (PDGF-B), leading to mural cell recruitment thereby contributing to vascular quiescence and barrier function. We propose that reinforced Wnt/β-catenin signaling leads to inhibition of angiogenesis with normalized and less permeable vessels, which might prove to be a valuable therapeutic target for antiangiogenic and edema glioma therapy.

Zhang J, Ma D, Ye J, et al.
Prognostic impact of δ-like ligand 4 and Notch1 in acute myeloid leukemia.
Oncol Rep. 2012; 28(4):1503-11 [PubMed] Related Publications
Notch signaling plays a critical role in embryonic vascular development and tumor angiogenesis. The present study was conducted to investigate the prognostic role of the angiogenesis-related Notch ligand and the receptor in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and assess whether their expression correlates with that of the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and angiopoietin (Ang)-2. Bone marrow mononuclear cells from 60 untreated AML patients and 40 healthy controls were obtained. Real-time RT-PCR was performed to evaluate the mRNA expression of δ-like ligand 4 (Dll4), Notch1, VEGF, VEGF receptor (VEGFR)-1, VEGFR-2, Ang-1, Ang-2 and Tie2. Western blot analysis was used to determine the protein levels of Dll4 and Notch1. The results demonstrated that Dll4, Notch1, VEGF, VEGFR-2 and Ang-2 expression were significantly higher in untreated AML patients than in the controls. Univariate analysis of factors associated with the overall survival showed a significantly shorter survival in patients with the unfavorable karyotype, higher Dll4 expression, higher Notch1 expression, higher VEGF expression or higher Ang-2 expression. Furthermore, multivariate analysis revealed that the karyotype and expression levels of Notch1, Dll4, VEGF and Ang-2 were independent prognostic factors for overall survival. Additionally, the prognostic value of Dll4 expression (but not Notch1) was more significant in the subgroup consisting of patients with intermediate-risk cytogenetics. Subgroup analysis showed that Notch1 and Dll4 expression levels had a prognostic impact on patients with high VEGF or Ang-2 levels. Taken together, our data provide evidence that the activation of the Notch pathway may indicate an unfavorable prognosis in AML. In particular, Dll4 may be a relevant prognostic marker in intermediate-risk AML.

Dai J, Wan S, Zhou F, et al.
Genetic polymorphism in a VEGF-independent angiogenesis gene ANGPT1 and overall survival of colorectal cancer patients after surgical resection.
PLoS One. 2012; 7(4):e34758 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The VEGF-independent angiogenic signaling plays an important role in the development of colorectal cancer (CRC). However, its implication in the clinical outcome of CRC has not been reported. This study aimed to investigate the association between genetic variations in several major VEGF-independent signaling pathway genes and the overall survival of CRC patients.
METHODS: Seven single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in four important VEGF-independent angiogenic genes (ANGPT1, AMOT, DLL4 and ENG) were genotyped in a Chinese population with 408 CRC patients.
RESULTS: One SNP, rs1954727 in ANGPT1, was significantly associated with CRC overall survival. Compared to patients with the homozygous wild-type genotype of rs1954727, those with heterozygous and homozygous variant genotypes exhibited a favorable overall survival with a hazard ratio (HR) of 0.89 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.55-1.43, P = 0.623), and 0.32 (95% CI 0.15-0.71, P = 0.005), respectively (P trend = 0.008). In stratified analysis, this association remained significant in patients receiving chemotherapy (P trend = 0.012), but not in those without chemotherapy. We further evaluated the effects of chemotherapy on CRC survival that was stratified by rs1954727 genotypes. We found that chemotherapy resulted in a significantly better overall survival in the CRC patients (HR = 0.44, 95% CI 0.26-0.75, P = 0.002), which was especially prominent in those patients with the heterozygous genotype of rs1954727 (HR = 0.45, 95%CI 0.22-0.92, P = 0.028).
CONCLUSION: Our data suggest that rs1954727 in ANGPT1 gene might be a prognostic biomarker for the overall survival of CRC patients, especially in those receiving chemotherapy, a finding that warrants validation in larger independent populations.

Jubb AM, Browning L, Campo L, et al.
Expression of vascular Notch ligands Delta-like 4 and Jagged-1 in glioblastoma.
Histopathology. 2012; 60(5):740-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
AIMS: The coordinated expression of the Notch ligands Delta-like 4 (Dll4) and Jagged (Jag)1 is believed to define appropriate endothelial sensitivity to vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Preclinical data suggest that Dll4-Notch signalling may confer resistance to anti-VEGF therapy with bevacizumab, and Jag1 may antagonize Dll4-Notch. The aims of this study were to characterize the expression of Dll4 and Jag1 in primary glioblastomas.
METHODS AND RESULTS: Immunohistochemistry was performed on 40 glioblastomas and normal brain using validated antibodies against Dll4 and Jag1. In-situ hybridization for Dll4 was performed on serial sections and compared with protein expression. Dll4 expression was localized to the cytoplasm and membrane of endothelial cells in all glioblastomas; it was weak or absent in normal brain. Jag1 expression was observed in the cytoplasm and membrane of glomeruloid and non-glomeruloid endothelial cells from 76% and 67% of glioblastomas, respectively. However, endothelial Jag1 expression was less intense and less prevalent than Dll4. There was no association between Dll4 and Jag1 expression.
CONCLUSIONS: In summary, Dll4 and Jag1 are expressed in glioblastoma vasculature. These data may define subsets of glioblastoma that might be sensitive (Dll4(+) /Jag1(+) ) or resistant (Dll4(+) /Jag1(-) ) to bevacizumab. Our data also suggest that anti-Dll4 therapy should be evaluated experimentally in glioblastoma.

Zhang X, Chen T, Zhang J, et al.
Notch1 promotes glioma cell migration and invasion by stimulating β-catenin and NF-κB signaling via AKT activation.
Cancer Sci. 2012; 103(2):181-90 [PubMed] Related Publications
The Notch signaling pathway has been implicated in both developmental processes and tumorigenesis. Aberrant Notch signaling has been repeatedly demonstrated to facilitate the proliferation and survival of glioma cells by regulating downstream effectors or other signaling pathways. In glioblastoma multiforme specimens from 59 patients, Notch1 was highly expressed in tumor tissues compared with normal brain tissues, and this expression was correlated with elevated AKT phosphorylation and Snail expression. Increased nuclear localization of β-catenin and p50 as well as enhanced IKKα/AKT interaction were also observed in glioma tissues. In U87MG cells, the activation of Notch1 by DLL4 stimulation or by the overexpression of Notch intracellular domain (NICD) resulted in AKT activation and thereby promoted β-catenin activity and NF-κB signaling. Inhibition of EGFR partially blocked the β-catenin and NF-κB signaling stimulated by Notch1 activation. Furthermore, NICD overexpression in U87MG cells led to the upregulated expression of several metastasis-associated molecules, which could be abrogated by the knockdown of either β-catenin or p50. In U87MG and U251 cells, DLL4-induced cellular migration and invasion could be inhibited by either β-catenin or a p50 inhibitor. Collectively, these results indicate that Notch activation could stimulate β-catenin and NF-κB signaling through AKT activation in glioma cells. Thus, Notch activation-stimulated β-catenin and NF-κB signaling synergistically promote the migratory and invasive properties of glioma cells.

Sharma A, Paranjape AN, Rangarajan A, Dighe RR
A monoclonal antibody against human Notch1 ligand-binding domain depletes subpopulation of putative breast cancer stem-like cells.
Mol Cancer Ther. 2012; 11(1):77-86 [PubMed] Related Publications
Overexpression of Notch receptors and ligands has been associated with various cancers and developmental disorders, making Notch a potential therapeutic target. Here, we report characterization of Notch1 monoclonal antibodies (mAb) with therapeutic potential. The mAbs generated against epidermal growth factor (EGF) repeats 11 to 15 inhibited binding of Jagged1 and Delta-like4 and consequently, signaling in a dose-dependent manner, the antibodies against EGF repeats 11 to 12 being more effective than those against repeats 13 to 15. These data emphasize the role of EGF repeats 11 to 12 in ligand binding. One of the mAbs, 602.101, which specifically recognizes Notch1, inhibited ligand-dependent expression of downstream target genes of Notch such as HES-1, HES-5, and HEY-L in the breast cancer cell line MDA-MB-231. The mAb also decreased cell proliferation and induced apoptotic cell death. Furthermore, exposure to this antibody reduced CD44(Hi)/CD24(Low) subpopulation in MDA-MB-231 cells, suggesting a decrease in the cancer stem-like cell subpopulation. This was confirmed by showing that exposure to the antibody decreased the primary, secondary, and tertiary mammosphere formation efficiency of the cells. Interestingly, effect of the antibody on the putative stem-like cells appeared to be irreversible, because the mammosphere-forming efficiency could not be salvaged even after antibody removal during the secondary sphere formation. The antibody also modulated expression of genes associated with stemness and epithelial-mesenchymal transition. Thus, targeting individual Notch receptors by specific mAbs is a potential therapeutic strategy to reduce the potential breast cancer stem-like cell subpopulation.

Sun HW, Wu C, Tan HY, Wang QS
Combination DLL4 with Jagged1-siRNA can enhance inhibition of the proliferation and invasiveness activity of human gastric carcinoma by Notch1/VEGF pathway.
Hepatogastroenterology. 2012; 59(115):924-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND/AIMS: To evaluate the effects of adenovirus- mediated gene transfer of DLL4 and Jagged1 siRNA on proliferation and invasion of SGC7901 cells by Notch/ VEGFR pathway.
METHODOLOGY: Plasmid of DLL4 and Jagged1 siRNA were constructed and transfected into SGC7901 cells. siRNA and endostatin (VEGF inhibitor) were designed as the control group. The mRNA and protein expressions of DLL4 and Jagged1 were respectively detected with RT-PCR and western blotting. In order to find out the changes of proliferation and invasion power of SGC7901 cell lines, we analyzed the data by MTT, Boyden chamber and evaluated apoptosis of cell with flow cytometry. We treated BALB/C nude mice with DLL4 and Jagged1-siRNA, and tumor control rate (%) in nude mice was calculated.
RESULTS: DLL4 and Jagged1 siRNA transfections specifically down-regulated the corresponding mRNA and protein levels in SGC7901 cells. The experiment of permeated artificial basal membrane showed that the invasion power of SGC7901 cell lines were on the decline after treatment of Ad-DLL4- Jagged1-siRNA (12.23±3.12 vs. 78.38±17.38, p<0.05). The values of 490nm wavelength light absorption were different in the five groups. The number of alive cells in the group of DLL4-Jagged1-siRNA was lower than others in the 6th d (0.77±0.01 vs. 3.00±0.11 p<0.05). The apoptosis rate of transfected DLL4 and Jagged1 group with FACS were 18.07%±0.98±1.78 and there were significant differences between treated and control groups (18.07%±0.98 vs. 1.08%±0.23, p<0.01). The tumor transplantation experiment in BALB/C nude mice showed that intratumoral injection of DLL4 and Jagged1 siRNA could inhibit tumor growth.
CONCLUSIONS: DLL4 and Jagged1 siRNA gene therapy mediated by adenovirus may be useful for inhibiting growth and invasion of SGC7901 through a Notch/VEGFR pathway. These results provided a novel therapeutic target in preventing gastric cancer cell invasion and metastasis.

Man CH, Wei-Man Lun S, Wai-Ying Hui J, et al.
Inhibition of NOTCH3 signalling significantly enhances sensitivity to cisplatin in EBV-associated nasopharyngeal carcinoma.
J Pathol. 2012; 226(3):471-81 [PubMed] Related Publications
Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is an EBV-associated epithelial malignancy which is prevalent in south-east Asia and southern China. Despite the multiple genetic and epigenetic changes reported, the contribution of dysregulated signalling pathways to this distinct type of head and neck cancer is not well understood. Here we demonstrate the up-regulation of NOTCH ligands (JAG1 or DLL4) and effector (HEY1) in the majority of EBV-positive tumour lines and primary tumours. Among the NOTCH receptors, NOTCH3 was over-expressed in all EBV-positive tumour lines and 92.5% of primary tumours. Aberrant activation of NOTCH3 signalling was consistently detected in all these samples. These findings imply that NOTCH3 may play an crucial role in the development of NPC. By NOTCH3 specific siRNA, NOTCH3 signalling was suppressed and thereby significant growth inhibition and apoptosis induction occurred in NPC cells. Down-regulation of a number of targets involved in cell proliferation, eg CCND1, C-MYC,NFKB1, and survival, eg BCL2, BCL-XL, SURVIVIN, was confirmed in the NOTCH3 knockdown NPC cells. Importantly, NOTCH3 knockdown highly enhanced the sensitivity of NPC cells to cisplatin treatment. Furthermore, we revealed that the ability of NPC cells to form spheroids in vitro and tumours in nude mice was also significantly decreased after knockdown of NICD3 expression. These findings indicate that activation of NOTCH3 pathway is a critical oncogenic event in NPC tumourigenesis. Targeting NOTCH3 signalling may serve as a potential therapeutic approach for treating patients suffering from EBV-associated NPC.

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