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Biochem Biophys Res Commun

CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein delta gene expression is mediated by autoregulation through downstream binding sites.

Yamada T. Tsuchiya T. Osada S. Nishihara T. Imagawa M.
Laboratory of Environmental Biochemistry, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Osaka University, Japan.
CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein delta (C/EBP delta) transcription factor is sharply induced at the early stage of the acute phase response. We previously reported that the C/EBP delta gene expression is induced by the acute-phase response factor/signal transducers and activators of transcription 3 (APRF/STAT3). However, the expression level of the C/EBP delta gene is relatively high up to several hours after the stimulation, whereas APRF/STAT3 is inactivated within one hour. In this report, we identified the two C/EBP delta binding sites at the downstream region of this gene. The binding analysis revealed that both of these sites bound recombinant C/EBP delta protein. A cotransfection analysis identified these sites as the cis-elements for the autoregulation. We conclude that the C/EBP delta gene is activated by APRF/STAT3, and the expression level is then maintained by an autoregulation mechanism.

The rhamnose moiety of solamargine plays a crucial role in triggering cell death by apoptosis.

Chang LC. Tsai TR. Wang JJ. Lin CN. Kuo KW.
Department of Biochemistry, School of Pharmacy, Kaohsiung Medical College, Taiwan.
Solamargine, solasodine and khasianine steroidal alkaloids are utilized to determine the role of carbohydrate moiety in the mechanism of apoptosis. The C3 side chain of solamargine, khasianine and solasodine contains 4'Rha-Glc-Rha2', 4'Rha-Glc and H, respectively. Solamargine possessed potent cytotoxicity to human hepatoma cells, while the cytotoxicity of khasianine was greatly diminished. Nevertheless, only solamargine could induced "sub-G1" of apoptotic feature in flowcytometry. Thus, the 2'Rha moiety of solamargine may play a crucial role in triggering cell death by apoptosis. In addition, the molecular modeling of solamargine indicated that the 2'Rha moiety was adjacent to the rigid steroid structure, and drastically changed the dihedral angle of the glycosidic bond. The regulations of TNFR I and II expression by different carbohydrate moieties were also distinct. It implied that the carbohydrate moieties of steroidal alkaloids might alter the binding specificity to steroid receptors and consequently regulate the gene expression in different manners.

Cyclin E overexpression responsible for growth of human hepatic tumors with p21WAF1/CIP1/SDI1.

Tsuji T. Miyazaki M. Fushimi K. Mihara K. Inoue Y. Ohashi R. Ohtsubo M. Hamazaki K. Furusako S. Namba M.
Department of Cell Biology, Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Okayama University Medical School.
We examined a relationship between p21WAF1/CIP1/SDI1 and cell-cycle-related proteins in 12 human liver tumor cell lines (JHH-1, -2, -4, -5, -6, -7; HLE; HuH-7; Hep3B; PLC/PRF/5; HuH-6; HepG2). Seven (JHH-1, -2, -5, -6, -7; Hep3B; HepG2) out of eight cell lines having p21WAF1/CIP1/SDI1 protein overexpressed cyclin E protein, although one of them (JHH-5) overexpressed a reduced size of cyclin E. The rest (HuH-6) of the 8 cell lines with p21WAF1/CIP1/SDI1 showed a decreased expression of cyclin E. Four cell lines (JHH-4; HLE; HuH-7; PLC/PRF/5) deficient of p21WAF1/CIP1/SDI1 protein did not overexpress cyclin E protein. As to expression of the other cell-cycle-related proteins, cyclin A, cyclin D1, CDK2 or CDK4, no significant difference was detected among the 12 cell lines. These findings indicate that the human liver tumor cell lines which have the p21WAF1/CIP1/SDI1-inducible barriers of the cell cycle progression can go through the G1/S checkpoint by overexpressing cyclin E.

Two mutations in rat trypsin confer resistance against autolysis.

Varallyay E. Pal G. Patthy A. Szilagyi L. Graf L.
Institute for Biochemistry and Protein Research, Agricultural Biotechnology Center, Godollo, Hungary.
Due to autodigestion the activity of dissolved trypsin successively decreases. Autolysis leads to proteolytic cleavages of some arginyl and lysyl peptide bonds of the trypsin structure. Three important autolysis sites have been reported for bovine trypsin: Lys61-Ser62, Arg117-Val118 and Lys145-Ser146. Out of these three sites only the first two exist in rat trypsin, an enzyme that has been the target of protein engineering for more than ten years. In this work Lys61 and Arg117 were replaced by Asn via site directed mutagenesis to transform the corresponding peptide bonds to trypsin resistant ones. Kinetic parameters of K61N, R117N and the double mutant K61N/R117N are practically identical with those of the wild-type enzyme. By contrast, the rate of autolysis of each singly-substituted species is substantially slower than with the parent trypsin. In particular, the double mutant shows dramatically increased stability against autolysis and decreased sensitivity to Ca2+. The process of autolysis has been followed by N-terminal sequence determination. We propose a model to explain why these two positions play a key role in autolysis and how Ca2+ can influence this process. In addition, our in vitro results strongly support the recently proposed model of human hereditary pancreatitis.

Identification of genes differentially expressed by hypoxia in hepatocellular carcinoma cells.

Bae MK. Kwon YW. Kim MS. Bae SK. Bae MH. Lee YM. Kim YJ. Kim KW.
Department of Molecular Biology, Pusan National University, Republic of Korea.
In order to identify genes differentially expressed under hypoxia (1% O2, 5% CO2, balance N2), we performed mRNA differential display analysis using total RNA extracted from hypoxic and normoxic HepG2, human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells. Of the differentially expressed genes by hypoxia, some of cDNA fragments were cloned and sequenced. The expression patterns of these clones by hypoxia were confirmed by Northern blot analysis and the quantitative RT-PCR. Down-regulated genes by hypoxia have homology to cDNA sequences encoding cytochrome oxidase subunit II and ADP/ATP translocase, respectively. Up-regulated gene by hypoxia was identified as Homo sapiens oscillin. Moreover, novel genes induced by hypoxia represent partial sequences of cDNAs that have not been reported or functionally identified. Up- or down-regulated expression of these genes in response to hypoxia may contribute to human hepatocarcinogenesis.

Overexpression and activation of the tyrosine kinase Src in human pancreatic carcinoma.

Lutz MP. Esser IB. Flossmann-Kast BB. Vogelmann R. Luhrs H. Friess H. Buchler MW. Adler G.
Department of Internal Medicine I, University of Ulm, Germany.
Src family tyrosine kinases participate in the regulation of cell adhesion, cell growth and differentiation. Here, we examine for the first time the potential role of Src for growth regulation of human pancreatic carcinoma cells. By immunohistochemical analysis, Src was overexpressed in 13/13 pancreatic carcinoma tissue but not in 6 normal pancreatic tissue specimen. In Western blots of total cellular extracts, Src protein expression was elevated in 14/17 carcinoma cell lines as compared to normal pancreas or cultured human pancreatic duct cells. Kinase activity was only detectable in cancer cells and did not correlate with the amount of kinase protein or with the expression of the regulatory kinase Csk, indicating that Src is not regulated through protein expression or through expression of Csk. The Src-specific tyrosine kinase inhibitor herbimycin A decreased cell growth in a dose-dependent manner. We suggest that Src family kinases participate in growth regulation of pancreatic cancer cells.

Induction of adrenomedullin by hypoxia and cobalt chloride in human colorectal carcinoma cells.

Nakayama M. Takahashi K. Murakami O. Shirato K. Shibahara S.
Department of Molecular Biology and Applied Physiology, Tohoku University School of Medicine, Miyagi, Japan.
Adrenomedullin (ADM) is a vasodilator peptide, first isolated from human pheochromocytoma. To explore the pathophysiological role of ADM in ischemic conditions, we investigated the effects of hypoxia on ADM production and ADM mRNA expression in a cultured human colorectal carcinoma cell line, DLD-1. Northern blot analysis and radioimmunoassay showed that hypoxia stimulated the accumulation of ADM mRNA in the DLD-1 cells and immunoreactive ADM (ir-ADM) in the cultured media. Exposure to hypoxia for 12 hours increased ADM mRNA levels about 6-fold and ir-ADM levels about 4-fold. Moreover, treatment of DLD-1 cells with cobalt chloride, which mimics hypoxic states, significantly increased ADM mRNA levels about 18-fold and ir-ADM levels about 4-fold. These results suggest that ADM plays an important role in the pathophysiology of ischemic states.

Isolation and characterization of the 5 region of the human mismatch repair gene hPMS1.

Year 1998
Yanagisawa Y. Ito E. Iwahashi Y. Akiyama Y. Yuasa Y. Maruyama K.
Department of Hygiene and Oncology, Tokyo Medical and Dental University School of Medicine, Japan.
The hPMS1 gene encodes a mutL homolog that is implicated in DNA mismatch repair and was found to be mutated in the germline of a patient with hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC). To understand transcriptional regulation and to perform mutational analysis in the promoter region, we cloned and characterized the genomic sequence of the 5' region of the gene. hPMS1 has an intron upstream of the initiation codon. There were several transcripts with alternative splicing sites and multiple transcriptional start sites. The cloned 1.4-kbp fragment of the 5' region contains a CpG island but no TATA-boxes, typical for promoters of housekeeping genes. The promoter activity of the fragment was almost equal to that of the SV40 early promoter. Deletion analysis showed that about a 300-bp region was sufficient to initiate transcription. Although we searched for mutations in the hPMS1 promoter region in HNPCC kindreds, neither germline nor somatic mutations were detected. However, we found a highly informative polymorphism in the first exon that is useful for searching allelic losses because no polymorphic changes in hPMS1 have been reported previously.

Enhanced and specific gene expression via tissue-specific production of Cre recombinase using adenovirus vector.

Year 1998
Sato Y. Tanaka K. Lee G. Kanegae Y. Sakai Y. Kaneko S. Nakabayashi H. Tamaoki T. Saito I.
Laboratory of Molecular Genetics, University of Tokyo, Japan.
A tissue-specific promoter is potentially valuable for the study of specific gene function and for gene therapy, as it permits a linked cytotoxic or any other gene to be expressed specifically in target cells. The expression levels of such promoters are generally low, and we have therefore developed a novel and general method to enhance the expression level of a tissue-specific promoter while maintaining specificity. We constructed a "regulator" recombinant adenovirus (rAd) producing the site-specific recombinase Cre under the control of the hepatocarcinoma-specific alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) promoter. The rAd was infected to AFP-producing cells together with a "target" rAd containing a Cre-activating potent expression unit. In in vitro experiments, the double infection method gave about 50-fold higher expression than the single rAd infection directly driven by the AFP promoter, while maintaining strict specificity to AFP-producing cells. The enhanced and specific expression was also observed in in vivo tumor models. This method may contribute not only to the establishment of specific gene therapies but also to basic study for elucidating cell-type specific gene functions.

Increased expression of the secretory Na+-K+-2Cl- cotransporter with differentiation of a human intestinal cell line.

Year 1998
Moore-Hoon ML. Turner RJ.
Membrane Biology Section, National Institute of Dental Research, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.
We studied the expression of the secretory Na(+)-K(+)- 2Cl- cotransporter during epithelial differentiation using the clonal human adenocarcinoma cell line HT29-18. Differentiation of HT29-18 cells was accompanied by up to 7-fold increases in cotransporter protein levels, approximately 3-fold increases in cotransporter mRNA levels, and approximately 2.5-fold increases in cotransporter functional expression. No apparent change in cotransporter mRNA stability was observed with differentiation, suggesting that these effects may be due to differences in mRNA transcription rate. Confocal immunofluorescence microscopy showed that undifferentiated cells grew in multilayers and exhibited a diffuse, apparently unlocalized membrane labeling by anti-Na(+)-K(+)-2Cl- cotransporter antibody. In contrast, differentiated cells grew in monolayers with strong cotransporter labeling localized to the basal and lateral membranes. Taken together with previous studies demonstrating that expression of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane regulator is also increased following HT29-18 cell differentiation, our results suggest that these cells provide a promising model for studying epithelial differentiation to a Cl- secretory phenotype.

Infrequent inactivation of DCC gene in replication error-positive colorectal cancers.

Year 1998
Yamamoto H. Itoh F. Kusano M. Yoshida Y. Hinoda Y. Imai K.
First Department of Internal Medicine, Sapporo Medical University, Japan.
Colorectal cancers with and without the replication error (RER) exhibit fundamental differences in genotype and phenotype. While alterations in APC, p53, and K-ras genes have been characterized between RER+ and RER- colorectal cancers, the status of deleted in colorectal carcinomas (DCC) gene has not been yet. Alterations of DCC gene were analyzed in stage-matched two panels of 30 RER+ and 30 RER- colorectal cancers using semiquantitative reverse transcription-PCR and PCR-LOH analyses. Loss or reduction of DCC mRNA expression and allelic loss at the DCC locus were significantly less frequent in RER+ cancers than in RER- cancers. Interestingly, reduced DCC mRNA expression was observed in all 5 RER- cancers with liver metastasis. Our results support the concept that RER+ and RER- colorectal cancers represent different pathways of carcinogenesis and may give a hint for clarifying the specific mechanism of DCC inactivation in RER- colorectal cancers.

Detection of the asialoglycoprotein receptor on cell lines of extrahepatic origin.

Year 1998
Park JH. Cho EW. Shin SY. Lee YJ. Kim KL.
Peptide Engineering Research Unit, Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology, Taejon, South Korea.
The asialoglycoprotein receptor (ASGPR) is the first lectin discovered in mammals. Despite its significant biological role in binding and internalization of desialyated glycoproteins, at least in the human, little information is available regarding its tissue distribution outside of the liver. In the present study, antibodies were raised against the H1 major subunit of the human ASGPR using synthetic peptide antigens, and their binding specificity confirmed by enzyme linked immunosorbent assay. Cell surface analysis by fluorescence activated flow cytometry on various human tissue cell lines confirmed the liver parenchymal cells as the major expression site of ASGPR. Nonetheless, ASGPR was also detectable on some extrahepatic cells such as the Jurkat T-cell line. The determination of extrahepatic expression of ASGPR will have consequences in analyzing the biological role of this receptor complex as well as having implications in designing ASGPR mediated drug- or gene-delivery strategies.

Antibody to a Helicobacter pylori species specific antigen in patients with adenocarcinoma of the stomach.

Year 1998
Wang JT. Chang CS. Lee CZ. Yang JC. Lin JT. Wang TH.
Department of Bacteriology, College of Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan. wangjt@ccms.ntu.edu.tw
This study attempted to identify a possible antibody response to Helicobacter pylori, which is associated with patients with adeno-carcinoma of the stomach. By using proteins of H. pylori as the antigen, pooled sera from gastric cancer and non-cancer patients were used as the first antibody for Western blot analysis. Antibody responses to a 26 kD secreted protein were observed in pooled cancer sera, but not in pooled sera from non-cancer patients. The protein was purified, while amino acid sequences revealed that it was a H. pylori species specific protein. The gene of this protein was cloned and a recombinant protein was expressed in E. coli. In addition, an antibody to the recombinant protein was tested in each individual patient using Western blot analysis. None of the forty non-gastric cancer patients were positive for the antibody to the recombinantly expressed 26 kD species specific protein. Meanwhile, six of the twenty four cancer patients tested positive (0/40 vs 6/24, p < 0.01). Results presented herein demonstrate that the species specific protein of H. pylori can be useful in detecting H. pylori associated with adenocarcinoma of the stomach.

Association between hepatitis B virus core promoter rearrangements and hepatocellular carcinoma.

Year 1998
Laskus T. Radkowski M. Nowicki M. Wang LF. Vargas H. Rakela J.
Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute, University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is the major etiological agent of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Whether any particular viral variants are associated with HCC is unknown. We studied 53 Gambian patients with HCC and 33 HBsAg positive controls. A functional part of HBV core promoter and whole precore region were sequenced directly and/or after cloning. HBV DNA was amplified from sera from 27 HCC patients and in all controls. Fourteen (52%) patients and 12 (36%) controls (NS) were found to harbor an HBV strain with G to A transition mutation at position 1896 leading to HBeAg negative phenotype. Nine (33%) HCC patients and 2 (6%) controls (p < 0.01) harbored a mixture of wild type and HBV strains with deletions/insertions; strong consensus sequences for topoisomerase I breakage were located in the vicinity of these changes. In Africa, HCC is associated with HBV strains that have deletions/insertions in the HBV core promoter region.

Glycosylation of the tandem repeat unit of the MUC2 polypeptide leading to the synthesis of the Tn antigen.

Year 1998
Inoue M. Yamashina I. Nakada H.
Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Engineering, Kyoto Sangyo University, Kita-ku, Kyoto, 603, Japan.
A synthetic peptide corresponding to the human MUC2 tandem repeat domain containing 14 Thr residues was glycosylated in vitro using UDP-GalNAc and microsomal membranes of the colorectal cancer cell line, LS180. The products were fractionated by reverse phase HPLC, which gave seven glycopeptide fractions. Their molecular weights were estimated by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry, the values obtained corresponding to glycopeptides containing from one to ten GalNAc residues. On solid phase radioimmunoassaying involving a monoclonal anti-Tn antibody (MLS128), it was found that the glycopeptides containing nine or ten GalNAc residues were strongly immunoreactive, whereas the glycopeptides containing less than six GalNAc residues were inactive, indicating that a cluster of GalNAc-Thr is essential for the Tn antigenicity.

Estrogens cause rapid activation of IP3-PKC-alpha signal transduction pathway in HEPG2 cells.

Year 1998
Marino M. Pallottini V. Trentalance A.
Department of Biologia, Universita "Roma 3,", v.le Marconi, 446, Rome, 00146, Italy.
The mechanisms through which steroids affect target cells are not fully understood. In addition to the classic model, there is now increasing evidence that steroids can exert rapid actions. It must still be elucidated if rapid and slow estrogen actions produce co-operative and/or integrative functions. The effects of estrogen on inositol trisphosphate (IP3) production and PKC-alpha levels on membrane in the HEPG2 cell line have been investigated. Results show that estrogen addition to HEPG2 cells causes a rapid increase of IP3 production. The effect was totally inhibited by pre-incubation with tyrosine-kinase inhibitor genisteine and with the anti-estrogen ICI 182,780. An increased PKC-alpha level on the membrane fraction was present 30 min after estrogen exposure. The strong signal could elicit a variety of cellular responses such as modulation of ion channel, stimulation of cell proliferation, and phosphorylation of cytosolic ER. The ability of estrogen to trigger IP3 production in human hepatoma cells is a novel aspect of estrogen action that requires the current model of hormone stimulation target cells to be revised.

Butein, a specific protein tyrosine kinase inhibitor.

Year 1998
Yang EB. Zhang K. Cheng LY. Mack P.
Department of Experimental Surgery, Singapore General Hospital, Republic of Singapore. gesyeb@sgh.gov.sg
Butein, a plant polyphenol, was shown to be a specific protein tyrosine kinase inhibitor. This compound inhibited not only the epidermal growth factor (EGF)-stimulated auto-phosphotyrosine level of EGF receptor in HepG2 cells but also tyrosine-specific protein kinase activities of EGF receptor (IC50 = 65 microM) and p60c-src (IC50 = 65 microM) in vitro. The inhibition was competitive to ATP and non-competitive to the phosphate acceptor, poly (Glu, Ala, Tyr) 6:3:1 for EGF receptor tyrosine kinase. In contrast, butein non-significantly inhibited the activities of serine- and threonine-specific protein kinases, such as protein kinase C (PKC) and cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA).

Lactoferrin markedly inhibits hepatitis C virus infection in cultured human hepatocytes.

Year 1998
Ikeda M. Sugiyama K. Tanaka T. Tanaka K. Sekihara H. Shimotohno K. Kato N.
Virology Division, National Cancer Center Research Institute, Tokyo, Japan.
We found that bovine lactoferrin (bLF), a milk protein belonging to the iron transporter family, effectively prevented hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in cultured human hepatocytes (PH5CH8), a cell line susceptible to HCV infection and supportive of HCV replication. Because preincubation of HCV with bLF was required to prevent the infection of HCV to the cells, and preincubation of bLF with the cells showed no inhibitory effect on HCV infection, we demonstrated that the anti-HCV activity of bLF was due to the interaction of bLF with HCV, but not due to the interaction of bLF with the cells. We further found that human lactoferrin also had anti-HCV activity, but bovine transferrin, the other member of the iron transporter family, did not have anti-HCV activity. Our findings suggest that lactoferrin is one of candidates for an anti-HCV reagent that will be well-tolerated and effective in the treatment of patients with chronic hepatitis.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may delay the repair of gastric mucosa by suppressing prostaglandin-mediated increase of hepatocyte growth factor production.

Year 1998
Bamba H. Ota S. Kato A. Matsuzaki F.
1st Department of Internal Medicine, Saitama Medical Center, Saitama Medical School, Japan. bam@saitama-med.ac.jp
Prostaglandins (PGs), hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), and induction of cyclooxygenase (PG synthetase, COX) play important roles in the repair process of gastric mucosa. We hypothesized that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), including indomethacin (IND), retard the healing of ulcers by suppressing these factors. In this study, we investigated the effects of cytokines, growth factors, and IND on production of PG and HGF, and induction of COX using cultured human gastric fibroblasts. Exogenous PGs significantly increased HGF production in a dose-dependent manner. Among various potential stimulants tested, interleukin-1 beta (IL-1 beta) dramatically increased PGE2 production and significantly stimulated HGF production. IL-1 beta induced COX-2 but not COX-1 protein. IND significantly reduced both basal and IL-1 beta-induced PGE2 release and HGF production. These results suggest that the IL-1 beta-PG-HGF pathway plays a role in the repair process of gastric mucosa. Further, NSAIDs may delay the healing of gastric mucosal ulcer, in part through suppression of HGF expression via inhibition of endogenous PG production.

Pro-neurotensin/neuromedin N expression and processing in human colon cancer cell lines.

Year 1998
Rovere C. Barbero P. Maoret JJ. Laburthe M. Kitabgi P.
Institut de Pharmacologie Moleculaire et Cellulaire du CNRS, Universite de Nice-Sophia Antipolis, Valbonne, France.
The regulatory peptide neurotensin NT has been proposed to exert an autocrine trophic effect on human colon cancers. In the present study, pro-neurotensin/neuromedin N (proNT/NN) expression and processing were investigated in 13 human colon cancer cell lines using a combination of radioimmunoassay and HPLC techniques. All 13 cell lines displayed low to moderate levels of proNT/NN ranging from 10 to 250 fmol/mg protein. However, only 6 (HCT8, LoVo, HT29, C119A, LS174T, and coloDM320) processed the precursor. Three of the latter (HCT8, LS174T, and coloDM320) were analysed in detail with regard to proNT/NN processing pattern and were found to produce NT and large precursor fragments ending with the NT or NN sequence. They had no detectable level of NN. Such a processing pattern resembles that generated by the prohormone convertase PC5. Northern and Western blot analysis of prohormone convertase expression in the 3 cell lines revealed that they were devoid of PC1 and PC2, whereas they all expressed PC5. These data indicate that proNT/NN is a good marker of human colon cancer cell lines while NT is found in only about half of the cell lines. They also suggest that, in addition to NT, several proNT/NN-derived products, possibly generated by PC5, might exert an autocrine positive effect on human colon cancer growth.

Phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase is required for the regulation of hepatitis B surface antigen production and mitogen-activated protein kinase activation by insulin but not by TPA.

Year 1998
Lin YL. Chou CK.
Department of Medical Research, Veterans General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China. ylin@ciml.univ-mrs.fr
Insulin suppresses hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) gene expression and stimulates cell proliferation in human hepatoma Hep3B cells. 12-O-tetradecanoyl phorbol-13-acetate, TPA, has been demonstrated to mimic insulin actions in these cells. We examined the role of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI 3-kinase) in the signaling pathways of insulin and TPA towards these two biological phenomena in Hep3B cells. The pre-treatment of 5 microM of wortmannin diminished insulin suppressed HBsAg production and completely abolished insulin stimulated cell proliferation. However, wortmannin had no effect on TPA actions in both HBsAg suppression and cell growth stimulation. We further investigated the effect of wortmannin in mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) activation induced by insulin or TPA. After the pretreatment of wortmannin, insulin activated MAPKs was completely blocked, but TPA was still capable to activate MAPKs. These results suggest that PI 3-kinase is involved in insulin actions but not in TPA effects, and allow us to dissociate the signaling pathways of insulin and TPA in human hepatoma Hep3B cells.

Identification and cloning of human G-protein gamma 7, down-regulated in pancreatic cancer.

Year 1998
Shibata K. Mori M. Tanaka S. Kitano S. Akiyoshi T.
Department of Surgery, Kyushu University, Beppu, Japan.
Differentially expressed genes between normal and cancer tissues of the pancreas were investigated using differential display. Consequently, we identified a fragment cDNA that was expressed in the normal tissue but was rarely expressed in the cancer tissue. This cDNA was screened in cDNA library prepared from the normal pancreatic tissue by rapid amplification of cDNA ends (5'RACE). 859 bp of cDNA was cloned and sequenced, and the inferred amino acid sequence was found to encode a G protein gamma subunit with 98% homology to cow G protein gamma 7 and complete homology to human G protein gamma 7. The decreased expression of the G protein gamma 7 was confirmed by Northern blot assay in twelve pancreatic malignancies which included nine duct cell carcinomas, two cystoadenocarcinomas and one blastoma. Reverse transcriptase (RT)-polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay showed no expression of G protein gamma 7 in five of six pancreatic carcinoma cell lines and two pancreatic cancer tissues. Immunohistochemical analysis also displayed positive staining in the normal tissue but no staining in the cancer tissue. The findings demonstrated that the reduced or suppressed expression of human G-protein gamma 7 may play an important role in pancreatic carcinogenesis.

Plasma heparin-binding EGF-like growth factor levels in patients after partial hepatectomy as determined with an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.

Year 1998
Yamada A. Kawata S. Tamura S. Kiso S. Higashiyama S. Umeshita K. Sakon M. Taniguchi N. Monden M. Matsuzawa Y.
Second Department of Internal Medicine, Osaka University Medical School, Japan. ayamada@imed2.med
We recently showed that heparin-binding EGF-like growth factor (HB-EGF) has hepatotrophic effects. In this study, we developed an ELISA system with high specificity and sensitivity for human plasma HB-EGF. In 14 patients who underwent partial hepatectomy, plasma HB-EGF levels were measured serially after surgery. In patients who underwent gross hepatectomy (lobectomy and segmentectomy), plasma HB-EGF levels increased, reaching maximal levels approximately 5 to 7 days after surgery. In patients who underwent minor hepatectomy (subsegmentectomy), plasma HB-EGF levels did not increase. Maximal plasma HB-EGF levels were significantly higher in patients who had a percent increased volume of the remaining liver (%ILV) above 20% than those who had a %ILV below 20% (32.4 +/- 19.6 pg/ml vs 7.4 +/- 2.7, P < 0.05). The plasma HB-EGF values did not correlate with WBC counts, C-reactive protein, or alanine aminotransferase. Plasma HB-EGF may be a marker for liver regeneration after hepatectomy in humans.

Direct identification of each specific mutation in codon 12 and 13 of ci-ki-ras2 by SSCP analysis.

Year 1998
La Farina M. Maturi N. Stira S. Russo A. Bazan V. Albanese I.
Dipartimento di Biologia Cellulare e dello Sviluppo, Universita di Palermo viale delle Scienze II, Italy. mariolaf@mbox.unipa.it
We compared the SSCP behaviour of the DNA fragments containing c-ki-ras 2 wild type 12 and 13 codons or each of the 12 possible point mutated sequences in these two codons. We found that a single electrophoresis condition was sufficient to distinguish each specific mutation from the other 11 and from the wild type sequence. This observation makes it possible to identify each specific mutation directly by SSCP without any need for reamplification and sequencing.

Oxidative stress in patients with hepatitis, cirrhosis, and hepatoma evaluated by plasma antioxidants.

Year 1998
Yamamoto Y. Yamashita S. Fujisawa A. Kokura S. Yoshikawa T.
Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology, University of Tokyo, Japan.
We have applied our method for the simultaneous detection of plasma ubiquinol-10 (reduced form) and ubiquinone-10 (oxidized form) (S. Yamashita and Y. Yamamoto, Anal. Biochem. 250, 66-73, 1997) to plasmas of normal subjects (n = 16) and patients with chronic active hepatitis (n = 28), liver cirrhosis (n = 16), and hepatocellular carcinoma (n = 20) to evaluate the pressure of oxidative stress in these patients. The average ubiquinone-10 percentages (+/- S.D.) in total ubiquinone-10 and ubiquinol-10 in the four groups were 6.4 +/- 3.3, 12.9 +/- 10.3, 10.6 +/- 6.8, and 18.9 +/- 11.1, respectively, indicating a significant increase in ubiquinone-10 percentage in patient groups in comparison to normal subjects. These results and a significant decrease in the plasma ascorbate level in patient groups indicate that oxidative stress is evident after the onset of hepatitis and the subsequent cirrhosis and liver cancer.

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