Gene Summary

Gene:RARS; arginyl-tRNA synthetase
Aliases: HLD9, ArgRS, DALRD1
Summary:Aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases catalyze the aminoacylation of tRNA by their cognate amino acid. Because of their central role in linking amino acids with nucleotide triplets contained in tRNAs, aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases are thought to be among the first proteins that appeared in evolution. Arginyl-tRNA synthetase belongs to the class-I aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase family. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2008]
Databases:OMIM, VEGA, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:arginine--tRNA ligase, cytoplasmic
Source:NCBIAccessed: 25 June, 2015


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

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1990-2015)
Graph generated 25 June 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.

  • Receptors, Retinoic Acid
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Base Sequence
  • alpha-Fetoproteins
  • Transcription
  • Chromosome Aberrations
  • Retinoid X Receptors
  • Gene Expression
  • Apoptosis
  • Up-Regulation
  • Teratocarcinoma
  • Anemia, Refractory
  • Cell Division
  • Signal Transduction
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Translocation
  • Lung Cancer
  • Transfection
  • Retinoic Acid
  • Acute Myeloid Leukaemia
  • Retinoids
  • Breast Cancer
  • Messenger RNA
  • Neoplastic Cell Transformation
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Transcription Factors
  • Leukemia, Promyelocytic, Acute
  • Myelodysplastic Syndromes
  • Vitamin D Response Element
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Adolescents
  • Promoter Regions
  • Chromosome 5
  • Drug Resistance
  • Cancer DNA
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Anemia, Sideroblastic
Tag cloud generated 25 June, 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: RARS (cancer-related)

Janesick A, Wu SC, Blumberg B
Retinoic acid signaling and neuronal differentiation.
Cell Mol Life Sci. 2015; 72(8):1559-76 [PubMed] Related Publications
The identification of neurological symptoms caused by vitamin A deficiency pointed to a critical, early developmental role of vitamin A and its metabolite, retinoic acid (RA). The ability of RA to induce post-mitotic, neural phenotypes in various stem cells, in vitro, served as early evidence that RA is involved in the switch between proliferation and differentiation. In vivo studies have expanded this "opposing signal" model, and the number of primary neurons an embryo develops is now known to depend critically on the levels and spatial distribution of RA. The proneural and neurogenic transcription factors that control the exit of neural progenitors from the cell cycle and allow primary neurons to develop are partly elucidated, but the downstream effectors of RA receptor (RAR) signaling (many of which are putative cell cycle regulators) remain largely unidentified. The molecular mechanisms underlying RA-induced primary neurogenesis in anamniote embryos are starting to be revealed; however, these data have been not been extended to amniote embryos. There is growing evidence that bona fide RARs are found in some mollusks and other invertebrates, but little is known about their necessity or functions in neurogenesis. One normal function of RA is to regulate the cell cycle to halt proliferation, and loss of RA signaling is associated with dedifferentiation and the development of cancer. Identifying the genes and pathways that mediate cell cycle exit downstream of RA will be critical for our understanding of how to target tumor differentiation. Overall, elucidating the molecular details of RAR-regulated neurogenesis will be decisive for developing and understanding neural proliferation-differentiation switches throughout development.

Nervi C, Grignani F
RARs and microRNAs.
Subcell Biochem. 2014; 70:151-79 [PubMed] Related Publications
MicroRNA MicroRNA s (miRNAs) are small noncoding RNAs acting as endogenous regulators of gene expression. Their discovery is one of the major recent breakthroughs in molecular biology. miRNAs establish a multiplicity of relationships with target mRNAs and exert pleiotropic biological effects in many cell physiological pathways during development and adult life. The dynamic nature of gene expression regulation by Retinoic Acid Retinoic acid (RA) is consistent with an extensive functional interplay with miRNA activities. In fact, RA regulates the expression of many different miRNAs, thus suggesting a relevant function of miRNAs in RA-controlled gene expression programmes. miRNAs have been extensively studied as targets and mediators of the biological activity of RA during embryonic development as well as in normal and neoplastic cells. However, relatively few studies have experimentally explored the direct contribution of miRNA function to the RA signalling pathway. Here, we provide an overview of the mechanistic aspects that allow miRNA biogenesis, functional activation and regulation, focusing on recent evidence that highlights a functional interplay between miRNAs and RA-regulated molecular networks. We report examples of tissue-specific roles of miRNAs modulated by RA in stem cell pluripotency maintenance and regeneration, embryonic development, hematopoietic and neural differentiation, and other biological model systems, underlining their role in disease pathogenesis. We also address novel areas of research linking the RA signalling pathway to the nuclear activity of miRNAs.

Li M, Sun Y, Guan X, et al.
Advanced progress on the relationship between RA and its receptors and malignant tumors.
Crit Rev Oncol Hematol. 2014; 91(3):271-82 [PubMed] Related Publications
Retinoic acid (RA) is an active derivative of vitamin A, and it has different isomers, including ATRA (all-trans-retinoic acid), 13-cRA (13-cis-retinoic acid) and 9-cRA (9-cis-retinoic acid), etc. Combining with RARs and RXRs, RA plays important roles not only in embryonic development but also in cellular growth and differentiation through transcriptional regulation of its target genes. Following the successful application in the differentiation therapy of acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) in clinical, recent studies have found that the disturbance of RA signal transduction was also related to differentiation, proliferation or apoptosis of tumor cells. To develop novel mechanisms-based differentiation therapy for other tumors, the relationship between RA or its receptors and tumors will be summarized in this review.

Orfali N, McKenna SL, Cahill MR, et al.
Retinoid receptor signaling and autophagy in acute promyelocytic leukemia.
Exp Cell Res. 2014; 324(1):1-12 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Retinoids are a family of signaling molecules derived from vitamin A with well established roles in cellular differentiation. Physiologically active retinoids mediate transcriptional effects on cells through interactions with retinoic acid (RARs) and retinoid-X (RXR) receptors. Chromosomal translocations involving the RARα gene, which lead to impaired retinoid signaling, are implicated in acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL). All-trans-retinoic acid (ATRA), alone and in combination with arsenic trioxide (ATO), restores differentiation in APL cells and promotes degradation of the abnormal oncogenic fusion protein through several proteolytic mechanisms. RARα fusion-protein elimination is emerging as critical to obtaining sustained remission and long-term cure in APL. Autophagy is a degradative cellular pathway involved in protein turnover. Both ATRA and ATO also induce autophagy in APL cells. Enhancing autophagy may therefore be of therapeutic benefit in resistant APL and could broaden the application of differentiation therapy to other cancers. Here we discuss retinoid signaling in hematopoiesis, leukemogenesis, and APL treatment. We highlight autophagy as a potential important regulator in anti-leukemic strategies.

Malcovati L, Cazzola M
Refractory anemia with ring sideroblasts.
Best Pract Res Clin Haematol. 2013; 26(4):377-85 [PubMed] Related Publications
Refractory anemia with ring sideroblasts (RARS) is a subtype of myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) characterized by 15% or more ring sideroblasts in the bone marrow according to the WHO classification. After Perls staining, ring sideroblasts are defined as erythroblasts in which there are 5 or more siderotic granules covering at least a third of the nuclear circumference. The iron deposited in perinuclear mitochondria of ring sideroblasts is present in the form of mitochondrial ferritin. The molecular basis of MDS with ring sideroblasts has remained unknown until recently. In 2011, whole exome sequencing studies revealed somatic mutations of SF3B1, a gene encoding a core component of RNA splicing machinery, in myelodysplasia with ring sideroblasts. The close relationship between SF3B1 mutation and ring sideroblasts is consistent with a causal relationship, and makes SF3B1 the first gene to be associated with a specific morphological feature in MDS. RARS is mainly characterized by isolated anemia due to ineffective erythropoiesis, and its clinical course is generally benign, although there is a tendency to worsening of anemia in most patients over time. By contrast, refractory cytopenia with multilineage dysplasia and ring sideroblasts (RCMD-RS) is characterized by pancytopenia and dysplasia in two or more myeloid cell lineages. More importantly, patients with RCMD-RS have a higher risk of developing bone marrow failure or progressing to acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Refractory anemia with ring sideroblasts (RARS-T) associated with marked thrombocytosis is a myelodysplastic/myeloproliferative neoplasm associated with both SF3B1 and JAK2 or MPL mutations. RARS-T may develop from an SF3B1 mutated RARS through the acquisition of a JAK2 or MPL mutations in a subclone of hematopoietic cells.

Qi LN, Li LQ, Chen YY, et al.
Genome-wide and differential proteomic analysis of hepatitis B virus and aflatoxin B1 related hepatocellular carcinoma in Guangxi, China.
PLoS One. 2013; 8(12):e83465 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Both hepatitis B virus (HBV) and aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) exposure can cause liver damage as well as increase the probability of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). To investigate the underlying genetic changes that may influence development of HCC associated with HBV infection and AFB1 exposure, HCC patients were subdivided into 4 groups depending upon HBV and AFB1 exposure status: (HBV(+)/AFB1(+), HBV(+)/AFB1(-), HBV(-)/AFB1(+), HBV(-)/AFB1(-)). Genetic abnormalities and protein expression profiles were analyzed by array-based comparative genomic hybridization and isobaric tagging for quantitation. A total of 573 chromosomal aberrations (CNAs) including 184 increased and 389 decreased were detected in our study population. Twenty-five recurrently altered regions (RARs; chromosomal alterations observed in ≥10 patients) in chromosomes were identified. Loss of 4q13.3-q35.2, 13q12.1-q21.2 and gain of 7q11.2-q35 were observed with a higher frequency in the HBV(+)/AFB1(+), HBV(+)/AFB1(-) and HBV(-)/AFB1(+) groups compared to the HBV(-)/AFB(-) group. Loss of 8p12-p23.2 was associated with high TNM stage tumors (P = 0.038) and was an unfavorable prognostic factor for tumor-free survival (P =0.045). A total of 133 differentially expressed proteins were identified in iTRAQ proteomics analysis, 69 (51.8%) of which mapped within identified RARs. The most common biological processes affected by HBV and AFB1 status in HCC tumorigenesis were detoxification and drug metabolism pathways, antigen processing and anti-apoptosis pathways. Expression of AKR1B10 was increased significantly in the HBV(+)/AFB1(+) and HBV(-)/AFB1(+) groups. A significant correlation between the expression of AKR1B10 mRNA and protein levels as well as AKR1B10 copy number was observered, which suggest that AKR1B10 may play a role in AFB1-related hepatocarcinogenesis. In summary, a number of genetic and gene expression alterations were found to be associated with HBV and AFB1- related HCC. The possible synergistic effects of HBV and AFB1 in hepatocarcinogenesis warrant further investigations.

Joo YH, Park SW, Jung SH, et al.
Recurrent loss of the FHIT gene and its impact on lymphatic metastasis in early oral squamous cell carcinoma.
Acta Otolaryngol. 2013; 133(9):992-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
CONCLUSION: Our findings show that copy number loss of FHIT is associated with lymph node metastasis (LNM) and suggest that the down-regulation of Fhit indicates poor prognosis in early oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC).
OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to identify alterations in genetic markers related to LNM in early OSCC.
METHODS: Genome-wide copy number alterations were analyzed in 14 early OSCCs with (n = 7) or without (n = 7) cervical LNM using 180K array-comparative genomic hybridization. To explore the prognostic implications of the most significantly associated genetic alteration with cervical LNM, immunohistochemical analysis was conducted in 30 OSCCs.
RESULTS: A total of 11 recurrently altered regions (RARs) were identified in the 14 OSCC cases. Six RARs on chromosomes 3p26-3p14, 5q22, and 9p21 were found to be significantly more common in early OSCC with LNM (p < 0.05). Among these, loss of 3p14.2 (where the FHIT gene is located) was the most frequent (five of seven patients with LNM, and none of seven without LNM), and most significantly associated with cervical LNM (p = 0.005). Fhit immunohistochemical staining of 30 OSCCs showed that Fhit negativity was associated with cervical LNM (p = 0.032) and poor disease-specific survival (p = 0.045).

Gauchotte G, Lacomme S, Brochin L, et al.
Retinoid acid receptor expression is helpful to distinguish between adenoma and well-differentiated carcinoma in the thyroid.
Virchows Arch. 2013; 462(6):619-32 [PubMed] Related Publications
Retinoid receptors (RRs) play a key role in cell proliferation and differentiation. We characterized the expression of RA receptors and retinoid X receptors (RARs and RXRs) in a series of 111 thyroid tumors and investigated the mechanisms responsible for their deregulation: hypermethylation of the RARB2 promoter, loss of heterozygosity (LOH) in the regions of RARB and RXRA, and altered expression of CRBP1 and enzymes involved in RA biosynthesis (RDH10 and RALDH2). Expression of RALDH2 and RDH10 was conserved in 100 % of adenomas and in 90 and 98 %, respectively, of carcinomas, whereas staining for CRBP1 was decreased in 9 % of FAs and 28 % of carcinomas, mainly anaplastic carcinomas (55 %). We found an abnormal expression of RARA, RARB, RXRA, and RXRB in 67, 69, 66, and 73 %, respectively, of thyroid carcinomas (n = 78) and in 9, 9, 9, and 33 % of follicular adenomas (n = 33) (p < 0.001). An abnormal staining pattern of at least two of these markers had 90 % sensitivity and 91 % specificity for a diagnosis of malignancy. Promoter hypermethylation of RARB2 was observed in some anaplastic carcinomas (14 %). LOH was found to be common at the RARB locus (3p24-3p25) and the RXRA locus (9q34), respectively, in 44 and 55 % of carcinomas and in 27 and 43 % of adenomas. In conclusion, immunohistochemical staining for RARs and RXRs may help in the differential diagnosis between well-differentiated carcinoma and follicular adenoma. Further investigation should be carried out to determine whether the characterization of RR expression might identify patients who could benefit from therapy with RA derivatives.

Wang S, Wang Z, Lin S, et al.
Revealing a natural marine product as a novel agonist for retinoic acid receptors with a unique binding mode and inhibitory effects on cancer cells.
Biochem J. 2012; 446(1):79-87 [PubMed] Related Publications
Retinoids display anti-tumour activity on various cancer cells and therefore have been used as important therapeutic agents. However, adverse side effects and RA (retinoic acid) resistance limit further development and clinical application of retinoid-based therapeutic agents. We report in the present paper the identification of a natural marine product that activates RARs (RA receptors) with a chemical structure distinct from retinoids by high-throughput compound library screening. Luffariellolide was uncovered as a novel RAR agonist by inducing co-activator binding to these receptors in vitro, further inhibiting cell growth and regulating RAR target genes in various cancer cells. Structural and molecular studies unravelled a unique binding mode of this natural ligand to RARs with an unexpected covalent modification on the RAR. Functional characterization further revealed that luffariellolide displays chemotherapeutic potentials for overcoming RA resistance in colon cancer cells, suggesting that luffariellolide may represent a unique template for designing novel non-retinoid compounds with advantages over current RA drugs.

Cras A, Politis B, Balitrand N, et al.
Bexarotene via CBP/p300 induces suppression of NF-κB-dependent cell growth and invasion in thyroid cancer.
Clin Cancer Res. 2012; 18(2):442-53 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: Retinoic acid (RA) treatment has been used for redifferentiation of metastatic thyroid cancer with loss of radioiodine uptake. The aim of this study was to improve the understanding of RA resistance and investigate the role of bexarotene in thyroid cancer cells.
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: A model of thyroid cancer cell lines with differential response to RA was used to evaluate the biological effects of retinoid and rexinoid and to correlate this with RA receptor levels. Subsequently, thyroid cancer patients were treated with 13-cis RA and bexarotene and response evaluated on radioiodine uptake reinduction on posttherapy scan and conventional imaging.
RESULTS: In thyroid cancer patients, 13-cis RA resistance can be bypassed in some tumors by bexarotene. A decreased tumor growth without differentiation was observed confirming our in vitro data. Indeed, we show that ligands of RARs or RXRs exert different effects in thyroid cancer cell lines through either differentiation or inhibition of cell growth and invasion. These effects are associated with restoration of RARβ and RXRγ levels and downregulation of NF-κB targets genes. We show that bexarotene inhibits the transactivation potential of NF-κB in an RXR-dependent manner through decreased promoter permissiveness without interfering with NF-κB nuclear translocation and binding to its responsive elements. Inhibition of transcription results from the release of p300 coactivator from NF-κB target gene promoters and subsequent histone deacetylation.
CONCLUSION: This study highlights dual mechanisms by which retinoids and rexinoids may target cell tumorigenicity, not only via RARs and RXRs, as expected, but also via NF-κB pathway.

Ocadiz-Delgado R, Castañeda-Saucedo E, Indra AK, et al.
RXRα deletion and E6E7 oncogene expression are sufficient to induce cervical malignant lesions in vivo.
Cancer Lett. 2012; 317(2):226-36 [PubMed] Related Publications
Cervical cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among women worldwide. High-Risk-Human Papillomaviruses (HR-HPVs) play an important etiologic role in the development of carcinoma of the uterine cervix. However, host factors are important in determining the outcome of genital HPV infection as most cervical precancerous lesions containing HR-HPVs do not progress to invasive carcinomas. Retinoids, acting through nuclear receptors (RARs, RXRs), play a crucial role in cervix development and homeostasis regulating growth and differentiation of a wide variety of cell types; indeed, they can inhibit cell proliferation, and induce cell differentiation or apoptotic cell death. Here we introduce a mouse model that develops spontaneously malignant cervical lesions allowing the study of the cooperative effect between HPV16E6E7 expression and the lack of RXRα in cervical cancer development. This model could be useful to study multistep carcinogenesis of uterine cervix tissue and might improve chemopreventive and chemotherapeutic strategies for this neoplasia.

Cassinat B, Zassadowski F, Ferry C, et al.
New role for granulocyte colony-stimulating factor-induced extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 in histone modification and retinoic acid receptor α recruitment to gene promoters: relevance to acute promyelocytic leukemia cell differentiation.
Mol Cell Biol. 2011; 31(7):1409-18 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The induction of the granulocytic differentiation of leukemic cells by all-trans retinoic acid (RA) has been a major breakthrough in terms of survival for acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) patients. Here we highlight the synergism and the underlying novel mechanism between RA and the granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) to restore differentiation of RA-refractory APL blasts. First, we show that in RA-refractory APL cells (UF-1 cell line), PML-RA receptor alpha (RARα) is not released from target promoters in response to RA, resulting in the maintenance of chromatin repression. Consequently, RARα cannot be recruited, and the RA target genes are not activated. We then deciphered how the combination of G-CSF and RA successfully restored the activation of RA target genes to levels achieved in RA-sensitive APL cells. We demonstrate that G-CSF restores RARα recruitment to target gene promoters through the activation of the extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK)/mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway and the subsequent derepression of chromatin. Thus, combinatorial activation of cytokines and RARs potentiates transcriptional activity through epigenetic modifications induced by specific signaling pathways.

Duong V, Rochette-Egly C
The molecular physiology of nuclear retinoic acid receptors. From health to disease.
Biochim Biophys Acta. 2011; 1812(8):1023-31 [PubMed] Related Publications
The nuclear retinoic acid (RA) receptors (RARα, β and γ) are transcriptional transregulators, which control the expression of specific gene subsets subsequently to ligand binding and to strictly controlled phosphorylation processes. Consequently RARs maintain homeostasis through the control of cell proliferation and differentiation. Today, it is admitted that, analogous to the paradigm established by the hematopoietic system, most adult tissues depict a differentiation hierarchy starting from rare stem cells. Here we highlight that the integrity of RARs is absolutely required for homeostasis in adults. Indeed, strictly controlled levels of RARs are necessary for the correct balance between self-renewal and differentiation of tissue stem cells. In addition, loss, accumulation, mutations or aberrant modifications of a specific RAR lead to uncontrolled proliferation and/or to differentiation block and thereby to cancer. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Translating nuclear receptors from health to disease.

Hua S, Kittler R, White KP
Genomic antagonism between retinoic acid and estrogen signaling in breast cancer.
Cell. 2009; 137(7):1259-71 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Retinoic acid (RA) triggers antiproliferative effects in tumor cells, and therefore RA and its synthetic analogs have great potential as anticarcinogenic agents. Retinoic acid receptors (RARs) mediate RA effects by directly regulating gene expression. To define the genetic network regulated by RARs in breast cancer, we identified RAR genomic targets using chromatin immunoprecipitation and expression analysis. We found that RAR binding throughout the genome is highly coincident with estrogen receptor alpha (ERalpha) binding, resulting in a widespread crosstalk of RA and estrogen signaling to antagonistically regulate breast cancer-associated genes. ERalpha- and RAR-binding sites appear to be coevolved on a large scale throughout the human genome, often resulting in competitive binding activity at nearby or overlapping cis-regulatory elements. The highly coordinated intersection between these two critical nuclear hormone receptor signaling pathways provides a global mechanism for balancing gene expression output via local regulatory interactions dispersed throughout the genome.

Luo P, Lin M, Lin M, et al.
Function of retinoid acid receptor alpha and p21 in all-trans-retinoic acid-induced acute T-lymphoblastic leukemia apoptosis.
Leuk Lymphoma. 2009; 50(7):1183-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
All-trans-retinoic acid (ATRA) is a morphogenetic signalling molecule derived from vitamin A and is used clinically to target acute promyelocytic leukemia by inducing differentiation of immature blood cells. Retinoid signals are mediated by retinoic acid (RA) receptors (RARs) and retinoid X receptors (RXRs). Retinoic acid receptors consist of RARalpha, RARbeta and RARgamma isotypes. Among these components, RARalpha is preferentially bound to ATRA, which is used to treat acute T-lymphoblastic leukemia, yet the conditions and mechanisms remain unknown. In this study, we have demonstrated that, in human acute T-lymphoblastic leukemia Molt3 cells, inhibition of RA-induced proliferation results from massive cell death characterised by apoptosis. The effect of ATRA:RARalpha binding on apoptosis in Molt3 cells has been investigated. Consequently, it has been shown that, in RA-treated Molt3 cells, upregulation of p21 due to RA accompanies caspase 3/PARP activation which precedes the occurrence of apoptosis.

Montrone M, Martorelli D, Rosato A, Dolcetti R
Retinoids as critical modulators of immune functions: new therapeutic perspectives for old compounds.
Endocr Metab Immune Disord Drug Targets. 2009; 9(2):113-31 [PubMed] Related Publications
Retinoids are vitamin A derivatives that critically regulate several physiological and pathological processes, including immune functions and cancer development. These biological response modifiers exert their pleiotropic effects through the interaction with nuclear receptors, defined as retinoic acid receptors (RARs) and retinoid X receptors (RXRs). These ligand-activated nuclear receptors induce the transcription of target genes by binding to responsive elements in the promoter regions. RARs and RXRs are also capable to interact with other nuclear receptors, thus expanding their spectrum of action on gene expression. Evidence has been accumulated indicating that retinoids may exert beneficial effects in both immune-mediated disorders and tumors. With regard to cancer, retinoids directly target neoplastic cells by inducing differentiation, inhibiting cell growth or promoting survival. However, the efficacy of these compounds in cancer treatment probably resides in their ability to modulate also the function of immune effectors. Vitamin A derivatives are currently used in the therapy of acute promyelocytic leukemia and of cutaneous T cell lymphomas, but they could be effective also on B-cell malignancies. Clinical trials are ongoing to test their efficacy in solid tumors. In this review, we give a broad depiction of how retinoids influence the function of immune effectors and affect growth and survival of hematological malignancies. This with the aim to better understand the clinical effects of retinoid-based therapies and provide the rationale to combine retinoids with other active compounds in new synergistic treatment strategies.

Tomaru Y, Nakanishi M, Miura H, et al.
Identification of an inter-transcription factor regulatory network in human hepatoma cells by Matrix RNAi.
Nucleic Acids Res. 2009; 37(4):1049-60 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Transcriptional regulation by transcriptional regulatory factors (TRFs) of their target TRF genes is central to the control of gene expression. To study a static multi-tiered inter-TRF regulatory network in the human hepatoma cells, we have applied a Matrix RNAi approach in which siRNA knockdown and quantitative RT-PCR are used in combination on the same set of TRFs to determine their interdependencies. This approach focusing on several liver-enriched TRF families, each of which consists of structurally homologous members, revealed many significant regulatory relationships. These include the cross-talks between hepatocyte nuclear factors (HNFs) and the other TRF groups such as CCAAT/enhancer-binding proteins (CEBPs), retinoic acid receptors (RARs), retinoid receptors (RXRs) and RAR-related orphan receptors (RORs), which play key regulatory functions in human hepatocytes and liver. In addition, various multi-component regulatory motifs, which make up the complex inter-TRF regulatory network, were identified. A large part of the regulatory edges identified by the Matrix RNAi approach could be confirmed by chromatin immunoprecipitation. The resultant significant edges enabled us to depict the inter-TRF TRN forming an apparent regulatory hierarchy of (FOXA1, RXRA) --> TCF1 --> (HNF4A, ONECUT1) --> (RORC, CEBPA) as the main streamline.

Kim TM, Yim SH, Shin SH, et al.
Clinical implication of recurrent copy number alterations in hepatocellular carcinoma and putative oncogenes in recurrent gains on 1q.
Int J Cancer. 2008; 123(12):2808-15 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
To elucidate the pathogenesis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and develop useful prognosis predictors, it is necessary to identify biologically relevant genomic alterations in HCC. In our study, we defined recurrently altered regions (RARs) common to many cases of HCCs, which may contain tumor-related genes, using whole-genome array-CGH and explored their associations with the clinicopathologic features. Gene set enrichment analysis was performed to investigate functional implication of RARs. On an average, 23.1% of the total probes were altered per case. Mean numbers of altered probes are significantly higher in high-grade, bigger and microvascular invasion (MVI) positive tumors. In total, 32 RARs (14 gains and 18 losses) were defined and 4 most frequent RARs are gains in 1q21.1-q32.1 (64.5%), 1q32.1-q44 (59.2%), 8q11.21-q24.3 (48.7%) and a loss in 17p13.3-p12 (51.3%). Through focusing on RARs, we identified genes and functional pathways likely to be involved in hepatocarcinogenesis. Among genes in the recurrently gained regions on 1q, expression of KIF14 and TPM3 was significantly increased, suggesting their oncogenic potential in HCC. Some RARs showed the significant associations with the clinical features. Especially, the recurrent loss in 9p24.2-p21.1 and gain in 8q11.21-q24.3 are associated with the high tumor grade and MVI, respectively. Functional analysis showed that cytokine receptor binding and defense response to virus pathways are significantly enriched in high grade-related RARs. Taken together, our results and the strategy of analysis will help to elucidate pathogenesis of HCC and to develop biomarkers for predicting behaviors of HCC.

Kitareewan S, Blumen S, Sekula D, et al.
G0S2 is an all-trans-retinoic acid target gene.
Int J Oncol. 2008; 33(2):397-404 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
All-trans-retinoic acid (RA) treatment of acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) cases expressing the t(15;17) product, PML/RARalpha, is a successful example of differentiation therapy. Uncovering RA target genes is of considerable interest in APL. This study comprehensively examines in APL cells transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation of the novel candidate RA target gene, G0S2, the G0/G1 switch gene. Reverse transcription (RT)-polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and heteronuclear PCR assays performed +/- treatment with the protein synthesis inhibitor cycloheximide (CHX) revealed G0S2 induction within 3 h of RA-treatment. Treatment with the RNA synthesis inhibitor actinomycin D did not implicate G0S2 transcript stabilization in the RA-mediated increase of G0S2 mRNA expression. Promoter elements of G0S2 were cloned into a reporter plasmid and retinoic acid receptor (RAR) co-transfection assays confirmed transcriptional activation after RA-treatment. Consistent with G0S2 being a direct RA target gene, retinoic acid response element (RARE) half-sites were found in this promoter. Mutation of these sites blocked RA-transcriptional activation of G0S2. To extend analyses to the protein expression level, a polyclonal anti-G0S2 antibody was derived and detected murine and human G0S2 species. G0S2 protein was rapidly induced in cultured NB4-S1 human APL cells and in APL transgenic mice treated with RA. An RAR pan-antagonist confirmed dependence on RARs for this induction. That these findings are clinically relevant was shown by analyses of APL cells derived directly from patients. These leukemic cells induced both a prominent increase in the cellular differentiation marker nitrotetrazolium blue (NBT) staining and marked increase in G0S2 expression. Taken together, these findings indicate G0S2 is an RA target gene. The functional role of G0S2 in retinoid response of APL warrants further study.

Choi EJ, Whang YM, Kim SJ, et al.
Combinational treatment with retinoic acid derivatives in non-small cell lung carcinoma in vitro.
J Korean Med Sci. 2007; 22 Suppl:S52-60 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The growth inhibitory effects of four retinoic acid (RA) derivatives, 9-cis RA, 13-cis RA, N-(4-hydroxyphenyl) retinamide (4-HPR), and all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) were compared. In addition, the effects of various combinations of these four agents were examined on non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) cell-lines, and on the expressions of retinoic acid receptors (RARs) and retinoid X receptors (RXRs) on these cells. At the clinically achievable concentration of 1 microM, only 4-HPR inhibited the growths of H1299 and H460 cells-lines. However, retinoic acid receptor beta(RAR beta) expression was up-regulated on H460 and H1299 cells treated with 1 microM of ATRA, 13-cis RA, or 9-cis RA. All NSCLC cell lines showed growth inhibition when exposed sequentially to 1 microM ATRA and 0.1 microM 4-HPR. In particular, sequential treatment with 1 microM ATRA or 13-cis RA and 4-HPR markedly inhibited H1703 cell growth; these cells exhibited no basal RAR beta expression and were refractory to 4-HPR. However, in NSCLC cell lines that expressed RAR beta, the expressional levels of RAR beta were up-regulated by ATRA alone and by sequential treatment with ATRA and 4-HPR. 4-HPR was found to be the most active of the four agents in terms of NSCLC growth-inhibition. Moreover, sequential treatments with ATRA or 13-cis RA followed by 4-HPR were found to have synergistic growth-inhibitory effects and to regulate RAR expression.

Delage B, Rullier A, Capdepont M, et al.
The effect of body weight on altered expression of nuclear receptors and cyclooxygenase-2 in human colorectal cancers.
Nutr J. 2007; 6:20 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Epidemiological studies on risk factors for colorectal cancer (CRC) have mainly focused on diet, and being overweight is now recognized to contribute significantly to CRC risk. Overweight and obesity are defined as an excess of adipose tissue mass and are associated with disorders in lipid metabolism. Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs) and retinoid-activated receptors (RARs and RXRs) are important modulators of lipid metabolism and cellular homeostasis. Alterations in expression and activity of these ligand-activated transcription factors might be involved in obesity-associated diseases, which include CRC. Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) also plays a critical role in lipid metabolism and alterations in COX-2 expression have already been associated with unfavourable clinical outcomes in epithelial tumors. The objective of this study is to examine the hypothesis questioning the relationship between alterations in the expression of nuclear receptors and COX-2 and the weight status among male subjects with CRC.
METHOD: The mRNA expression of the different nuclear receptor subtypes and of COX-2 was measured in 20 resected samples of CRC and paired non-tumor tissues. The association between expression patterns and weight status defined as a body mass index (BMI) was statistically analyzed.
RESULTS: No changes were observed in PPAR gamma mRNA expression while the expression of PPAR delta, retinoid-activated receptors and COX-2 were significantly increased in cancer tissues compared to normal colon mucosa (P or= 25) compared to subjects with healthy BMI (P = 0.002).
CONCLUSION: Our findings show that alterations in the pattern of nuclear receptor expression observed in CRC do not appear to be correlated with patient weight status. However, the analysis of COX-2 expression in normal colon mucosa from subjects with a high BMI suggests that COX-2 deregulation might be driven by excess weight during the colon carcinogenesis process.

Anding AL, Chapman JS, Barnett DW, et al.
The unhydrolyzable fenretinide analogue 4-hydroxybenzylretinone induces the proapoptotic genes GADD153 (CHOP) and Bcl-2-binding component 3 (PUMA) and apoptosis that is caspase- dependent and independent of the retinoic acid receptor.
Cancer Res. 2007; 67(13):6270-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
The synthetic retinoid N-(4-hydroxyphenyl)retinamide (4-HPR) induces apoptosis in a variety of cell lines and has shown promise as an anticancer agent both in vitro and in vivo. The clinical dose of 4-HPR, however, is limited by residual-associated toxicities, indicating a need for a less toxic drug. In this study, we show that 4-hydroxybenzylretinone (4-HBR), the unhydrolyzable analogue of 4-HPR, is effective in producing apoptosis in a variety of 4-HPR-sensitive cell lines, including breast cancer, neuroblastoma, and leukemia cells. We also show through the use of a pan-caspase inhibitor that this 4-HBR-induced apoptosis is dependent, at least in part, on caspase activity. 4-HBR is shown to exhibit binding to the retinoic acid receptors (RAR) at concentrations necessary to induce cell death and induces expression of all-trans-retinoic acid-responsive genes that can be blocked by a RAR pan-antagonist. However, through the use of this RAR pan-antagonist, 4-HBR-induced apoptosis and cell death is shown to be independent of the RAR signaling pathway. To further characterize the mechanism of action of 4-HBR, expression of the endoplasmic reticulum stress-induced genes GADD153 and Bcl-2-binding component 3 was examined. These mRNAs are shown to be rapidly induced in 4-HBR-treated and 4-HPR-treated breast cancer cells, and this up-regulation is also shown to be independent of the RARs. These results suggest that a stress-mediated apoptotic cascade is involved in the mechanism of action of these retinoids.

Minucci S, Pelicci PG
Determinants of oncogenic transformation in acute promyelocytic leukemia: the hetero-union makes the force.
Cancer Cell. 2007; 12(1):1-3 [PubMed] Related Publications
Acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) is caused by chromosomal translocations that involve the retinoic acid receptor alpha (RAR) and several other genes to yield X-RAR fusion proteins. Unlike wild-type RARs, which require heterodimerization with the retinoid X receptor (RXR) for their function as DNA-binding transcriptional regulators, X-RAR fusion proteins bind DNA and deregulate transcription as homo-oligomers. In this issue of Cancer Cell, however, Zeisig et al. and Zhu et al. show that RXR recruitment is a critical determinant for the transforming potential of oligomeric X-RAR fusion proteins and explore the possibility for targeted interventions in APL with either RAR or RXR ligands.

Bacher U, Haferlach T, Kern W, et al.
A comparative study of molecular mutations in 381 patients with myelodysplastic syndrome and in 4130 patients with acute myeloid leukemia.
Haematologica. 2007; 92(6):744-52 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: The precise relationship between myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is unclear and the role of molecular mutations in leukemic transformation in MDS is controversial. The aim of this study was to clarify the relationship between AML and MDS by comparing the frequency of molecular mutations in the two conditions.
DESIGN AND METHODS: We compared the frequency of FLT3-length mutations (FLT3-LM), FLT3-TKD, MLL-partial tandem duplications (MLL-PTD), NRAS, and KITD816 in 381 patients with MDS refractory anemia with excess blasts [RAEB] n=49; with ringed sideroblasts [RARS] n=310; chronic monomyelocytic leukemia [CMML] n=22) and in 4130 patients with AML (de novo: n=3139; secondary AML [s-AML] following MDS: n=397; therapy-related [t-AML]: n=233; relapsed: n=361).
RESULTS: All mutations were more frequent in s-AML than in MDS and all but the FLT3-TKD were more frequent in RAEB than in RA/RARS. The higher incidences in s-AML were significant for FLT3-TKD (p=0.032), MLL-PTD (p=0.034), and FLT3-LM (RA/RARS: 0/45; RAEB: 8/293; 2.7%; s-AML: 45/389; 11.6%; p<0.0001). The incidence of NRAS-mutations increased from 17/272 (6.3%) in MDS to 41/343 in s-AML (12.0%) and that of KITD816-mutations from 2/290 (0.7%) to 5/341 (1.5%) (p=n.s.). FLT3-LM-acquisition occurred in 3/22 cases (13.6%) during MDS transformation; NRAS-acquisition occurred in 1/24 (4.2%). FLT3-LM and MLL-PTD were more frequent in AML relapse than in de novo AML or s-AML (p<0.0001).
INTERPRETATION AND CONCLUSIONS: The increase of molecular mutations from low- to high-risk MDS, to s-AML, and to relapsed AML emphasizes the value of these mutations as markers of progressing disease. Finally, we found a low rate of 5q- in the molecularly mutated cases in MDS which might explain the stability of this subtype.

Bottoni A, Vignali C, Piccin D, et al.
Proteasomes and RARS modulate AIMP1/EMAP II secretion in human cancer cell lines.
J Cell Physiol. 2007; 212(2):293-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
The aminoacyl t-RNA synthetase interacting multifunctional protein (AIMP1) is the precursor of the multifunctional inflammatory cytokine endothelial monocyte-activating polypeptide II (EMAP II). We previously demonstrated that AIMP1 secretion by pituitary adenomas is inversely correlated with tumor diameter and with RARS expression, suggesting that a high amount of RARS associated with AIMP1 might prevent the secretion of the latter cytokine. In this study, we investigated the role of RARS in modulating the secretion of AIMP1 in HeLa and MCF7 cell lines and investigated the possible role of the multicatalytic protease in the cleavage of AIMP1 to generate EMAP II. Our data show that RARS over-expression impairs AIMP1 secretion by both HeLa and MCF7 cells. Moreover, proteasome inhibition impairs AIMP1 cleavage to produce EMAP II. These data indicate that RARS over-expression associates with a reduced AIMP1 secretion and that the multicatalytic protease is involved in the generation of the mature cytokine, EMAP II.

Si J, Mueller L, Collins SJ
CaMKII regulates retinoic acid receptor transcriptional activity and the differentiation of myeloid leukemia cells.
J Clin Invest. 2007; 117(5):1412-21 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Retinoic acid receptors (RARs) are members of the nuclear hormone receptor family and regulate the proliferation and differentiation of multiple different cell types, including promyelocytic leukemia cells. Here we describe a biochemical/functional interaction between the Ca(2+)/calmodulin-dependent protein kinases (CaMKs) and RARs that modulates the differentiation of myeloid leukemia cells. We observe that CaMKIIgamma is the CaMK that is predominantly expressed in myeloid cells. CaMKII inhibits RAR transcriptional activity, and this enzyme directly interacts with RAR through a CaMKII LxxLL binding motif. CaMKIIgamma phosphorylates RARalpha both in vitro and in vivo, and this phosphorylation inhibits RARalpha activity by enhancing its interaction with transcriptional corepressors. In myeloid cell lines, CaMKIIgamma localizes to RAR target sites within myeloid gene promoters but dissociates from the promoter upon retinoic acid-induced myeloid cell differentiation. KN62, a pharmacological inhibitor of the CaMKs, enhances the terminal differentiation of myeloid leukemia cell lines, and this is associated with a reduction in activated (autophosphorylated) CaMKII in the terminally differentiating cells. These observations reveal a significant cross-talk between Ca(2+) and retinoic acid signaling pathways that regulates the differentiation of myeloid leukemia cells, and they suggest that CaMKIIgamma may provide a new therapeutic target for the treatment of certain human myeloid leukemias.

de Melo Campos P, Traina F, da Silva Santos Duarte A, et al.
Reduced expression of FLIP SHORT in bone marrow of low risk myelodysplastic syndrome.
Leuk Res. 2007; 31(6):853-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
Apoptosis is dysregulated in patients with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and acute myelogenous leukaemia (AML). FLIP (FLICE (FAS-associated death-domain-like IL-1 beta-converting enzyme)-inhibitory protein) has been described as an anti-apoptotic protein. Here, we characterize the expression level of FLIP(LONG) and FLIP(SHORT) mRNA in bone marrow aspirates from 61 patients diagnosed with MDS or AML. FLIP(SHORT) mRNA expression was significantly lower in low risk MDS, compared to high risk MDS, according to FAB classification (RA/RARS versus RAEB/RAEBt, P=0.0127) and IPSS (low risk/intermediate-1 versus intermediate-2/high risk, P=0.0345). Furthermore, FLIP(SHORT) mRNA expression was significantly lower in low risk MDS, compared to MDS-AML/AML de novo (P=0.0006), according to FAB classification. FLIP(LONG) expression did not differ between these groups. Increased levels of FLIP(SHORT) in RAEB and AML may be related to apoptosis resistance in these diseases and to MDS progression.

Kim MY, Yim SH, Kwon MS, et al.
Recurrent genomic alterations with impact on survival in colorectal cancer identified by genome-wide array comparative genomic hybridization.
Gastroenterology. 2006; 131(6):1913-24 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND & AIMS: Although genetic aspects of tumorigenesis in colorectal cancer (CRC) have been well studied, reliable biomarkers predicting prognosis are scarce. We aimed to identify recurrently altered genomic regions (RAR) in CRC with high resolution, to investigate their implications on survival and to explore novel cancer-related genes in prognosis-associated RARs.
METHODS: A 1-Mb resolution microarray-based comparative genomic hybridization (array CGH) was applied to 59 CRCs. RARs, defined as genomic alterations, detected in more than 10 cases were identified and analyzed for their association with survival. Expression levels of genes in prognosis-associated RARs were examined by real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction.
RESULTS: Twenty-seven RARs were identified. Eleven high-level amplifications and 2 homozygous deletions also were detected, but they were not as common as RARs. Multivariate analysis revealed RAR-L1 (loss on 1p36; hazard ratio = 8.15, P = .002) and RAR-L20 (loss on 21q22; hazard ratio = 3.53, P = .034) are independent indicators of poor prognosis. Expression of CAMTA1, located in RAR-L1, was reduced frequently in CRCs, and low CAMTA1 expression was associated significantly with poor prognosis, which indicates that CAMTA1 may play a role as a tumor suppressor in CRC. Five pairs of RARs were correlated significantly to each other and 3 pairs share genes involved in the same biological functions, suggesting possible collaborative roles in tumorigenesis.
CONCLUSIONS: We identified recurrent genomic changes in 59 CRCs. RARs could be more important in sporadic tumors where the effect of genomic changes on tumorigenesis is relatively smaller than in familial cancer. Our results and analysis strategy will be helpful to elucidate pathogenesis of CRCs or to develop biomarkers for predicting prognosis.

Tokar EJ, Ancrile BB, Ablin RJ, Webber MM
Cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) and the retinoid N-(4-hydroxyphenyl)retinamide (4-HPR) are synergistic for chemoprevention of prostate cancer.
J Exp Ther Oncol. 2006; 5(4):323-33 [PubMed] Related Publications
Prostate cancer, the most commonly diagnosed cancer among American men, develops slowly over many years. The long latent period of 20 to 30 years, involved in the multistep process of carcinogenesis, provides an important opportunity to block or reverse progression to a malignant state. Vitamin A (retinoids) and vitamin D not only have the ability to block steps in the process of carcinogenesis but they can also modulate or reverse some malignant characteristics of cancer cells. However, at high levels, vitamins A and D have undesirable side effects, thus, limiting effective dose levels and efficacy. Therefore, combination treatment at low doses, to increase efficacy and avoid toxicity, is of special interest. This study examines the effects of the synthetic retinoid N-(4-hydroxyphenyl)retinamide (4-HPR) in combination with cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) on growth, and on the expression of vimentin, matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2), and retinoid and vitamin D receptor expression, using the non-tumorigenic, human prostate epithelial cell line RWPE-1. Treatment with 4-HPR and cholecalciferol resulted in synergistic growth inhibition when compared to that caused by each agent alone. A decrease in vimentin expression and MMP-2 activity, and up-regulation of vitamin D receptor (VDR) and some of the retinoid-X (RXRs) and retinoic acid receptor (RARs) subtypes, was observed. These results suggest that combined treatment with 4-HPR and cholecalciferol, at doses lower than what might be effective with single agents, increases their efficacy and suggest that this may serve as an effective strategy for chemoprevention and treatment of prostate cancer.

Zou C, Zhou J, Qian L, et al.
Comparing the effect of ATRA, 4-HPR, and CD437 in bladder cancer cells.
Front Biosci. 2006; 11:2007-16 [PubMed] Related Publications
Clinical trials have explored the use of natural and synthetic retinoids for the prevention of bladder cancer recurrence. Natural retinoids have been shown to inhibit bladder cancer growth. Here, we compared the effects of natural and synthetic retinoids in bladder cancer cells. Bladder cancer cell lines were treated with all-trans-retinoid acid (ATRA), N-4-hydroxyphenyl-retinamide (4-HPR) and 6-[3-(1-adamantyl)-4 hydroxyphenyl]-2-naphthalene carboxylic acid (CD437). Their effects on cell growth, apoptosis, cell cycle, gene expression, and retinoid acid receptors (RARs) and the JWA-retinoid response gene were assessed. Most of the bladder cancer cells were resistant to ATRA (1 and 10 microM). 4-HPR inhibited cell growth by 90% at 10 microM; however, CD437 showed the same effect at 1 microM. 4-HPR and CD437 increased G1 and decreased S phase. The three retinoids differentially affected p53, RARs, and JWA. Only CD437 increased Caspase 3 expression. The results demonstrated that 4-HPR and CD437 were more potent growth inhibitors and apoptosis inducers than ATRA. However, 4-HPR was effective at a concentration at least 10 microM. The in vitro results suggested the higher dose of 4-HPR in chemoprevention trial be considered.

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