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  • Acheva, Anna; Kärki, Tytti; Schaible, Niccole; Krishnan, Ramaswamy; Tojkander, Sari (2021)
    In postmenopausal women, a major risk factor for the development of breast cancer is obesity. In particular, the adipose tissue-derived adipokine leptin has been strongly linked to tumor cell proliferation, migration, and metastasis, but the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Here we show that treatment of normal mammary epithelial cells with leptin induces EMT-like features characterized by higher cellular migration speeds, loss of structural ordering of 3D-mammo spheres, and enhancement of epithelial traction forces. Mechanistically, leptin triggers the phosphorylation of myosin light chain kinase-2 (MLC-2) through the interdependent activity of leptin receptor and Ca2+ channels. These data provide evidence that leptin-activated leptin receptors, in co-operation with mechanosensitive Ca2+ channels, play a role in the development of breast carcinomas through the regulation of actomyosin dynamics.
  • Vered, Marilena; Lehtonen, Meri; Hotakainen, Lari; Pirila, Emma; Teppo, Susanna; Nyberg, Pia; Sormunen, Raija; Zlotogorski-Hurvitz, Ayelet; Salo, Tuula; Dayan, Dan (2015)
  • Slik, Khadija; Blom, Sami; Turkki, Riku; Välimäki, Katja; Kurki, Samu; Mustonen, Harri; Haglund, Caj; Carpén, Olli; Kallioniemi, Olli; Korkeila, Eija; Sundström, Jari; Pellinen, Teijo (2019)
    Tumour budding predicts survival of stage II colorectal cancer (CRC) and has been suggested to be associated with epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT). However, the underlying molecular changes of tumour budding remain poorly understood. Here, we performed multiplex immunohistochemistry (mIHC) to phenotypically profile tumours using known EMT-associated markers: E-cadherin (adherence junctions), integrin beta 4 (ITGB4; basement membrane), ZO-1 (tight junctions), and pan-cytokeratin. A subpopulation of patients showed high ITGB4 expression in tumour buds, and this coincided with a switch of ITGB4 localisation from the basal membrane of intact epithelium to the cytoplasm of budding cells. Digital image analysis demonstrated that tumour budding with high ITGB4 expression in tissue microarray (TMA) cores correlated with tumour budding assessed from haematoxylin and eosin (H&E) whole sections and independently predicted poor disease-specific survival in two independent stage II CRC cohorts (hazard ratio [HR] = 4.50 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.50-13.5), n = 232; HR = 3.52 (95% CI = 1.30-9.53), n = 72). Furthermore, digitally obtained ITGB4-high bud count in random TMA cores was better associated with survival outcome than visual tumour bud count in corresponding H&E-stained samples. In summary, the mIHC-based phenotypic profiling of human tumour tissue shows strong potential for the molecular characterisation of tumour biology and for the discovery of novel prognostic biomarkers.
  • Bruun, Jarle; Eide, Peter W.; Bergsland, Christian Holst; Bruck, Oscar; Svindland, Aud; Arjama, Mariliina; Välimäki, Katja; Bjornslett, Merete; Guren, Marianne G.; Kallioniemi, Olli; Nesbakken, Arild; Lothe, Ragnhild A.; Pellinen, Teijo (2022)
    Cell-cell and cell-matrix adhesion proteins that have been implicated in colorectal epithelial integrity and epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition could be robust prognostic and potential predictive biomarkers for standard and novel therapies. We analyzed in situ protein expression of E-cadherin (ECAD), integrin beta 4 (ITGB4), zonula occludens 1 (ZO-1), and cytokeratins in a single-hospital series of Norwegian patients with colorectal cancer (CRC) stages I-IV (n = 922) using multiplex fluorescence-based immunohistochemistry (mfIHC) on tissue microarrays. Pharmacoproteomic associations were explored in 35 CRC cell lines annotated with drug sensitivity data on > 400 approved and investigational drugs. ECAD, ITGB4, and ZO-1 were positively associated with survival, while cytokeratins were negatively associated with survival. Only ECAD showed independent prognostic value in multivariable Cox models. Clinical and molecular associations for ECAD were technically validated on a different mfIHC platform, and the prognostic value was validated in another Norwegian series (n = 798). In preclinical models, low and high ECAD expression differentially associated with sensitivity to topoisomerase, aurora, and HSP90 inhibitors, and EGFR inhibitors. E-cadherin protein expression is a robust prognostic biomarker with potential clinical utility in CRC.
  • Kylmä, Anna Kaisa; Tolvanen, Tuomas Aleksi; Carpén, Timo; Haglund, Caj; Mäkitie, Antti; Mattila, Petri S.; Grenman, Reidar; Jouhi, Lauri; Sorsa, Timo; Lehtonen, Sanna; Hagström, Jaana (2020)
    In oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC), the expression pattern of toll-like receptors (TLRs), in comparison between human papillomavirus (HPV)-positive and -negative tumors differs. TLRs control innate immune responses by activating, among others, the nuclear factor-κΒ (NF-κΒ) signaling pathway. Elevated NF-κΒ activity is detectable in several cancers and regulates cancer development and progression. We studied TLR5 expression in 143 unselected consecutive OPSCC tumors, and its relation to HPV-DNA and p16 status, clinicopathological parameters, and patient outcome, and studied TLR5 stimulation and consecutive NF-κB cascade activation in vitro in two human OPSCC cell lines and immortalized human keratinocytes (HaCat). Clinicopathological data came from hospital registries, and TLR5 immunoexpression was evaluated by immunohistochemistry. Flagellin served to stimulate TLR5 in cultured cells, followed by analysis of the activity of the NF-κB signaling cascade with In-Cell Western for IκΒ and p-IκΒ. High TLR5 expression was associated with poor disease-specific survival in HPV-positive OPSCC, which typically shows low TLR5 immunoexpression. High TLR5 immunoexpression was more common in HPV-negative OPSCC, known for its less-favorable prognosis. In vitro, we detected NF-κΒ cascade activation in the HPV-positive OPSCC cell line and in HaCat cells, but not in the HPV-negative OPSCC cell line. Our results suggest that elevated TLR5 immunoexpression may be related to reduced NF-κΒ activity in HPV-negative OPSCC. The possible prognosis-worsening mechanisms among these high-risk OPSCC patients however, require further evaluation.
  • Hurskainen, Maria; Ainasoja, Olli; Lemström, Karl B. (2021)
    The median survival of patients with heart transplants is relatively limited, implying one of the most relevant questions in the field-how to expand the lifespan of a heart allograft? Despite optimal transplantation conditions, we do not anticipate a rise in long-term patient survival in near future. In order to develop novel strategies for patient monitoring and specific therapies, it is critical to understand the underlying pathological mechanisms at cellular and molecular levels. These events are driven by innate immune response and allorecognition driven inflammation, which controls both tissue damage and repair in a spatiotemporal context. In addition to immune cells, also structural cells of the heart participate in this process. Novel single cell methods have opened new avenues for understanding the dynamics driving the events leading to allograft failure. Here, we review current knowledge on the cellular composition of a normal heart, and cellular mechanisms of ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI), acute rejection and cardiac allograft vasculopathy (CAV) in the transplanted hearts. We highlight gaps in current knowledge and suggest future directions, in order to improve cellular and molecular understanding of failing heart allografts.
  • Bufalino, Andreia; Cervigne, Nilva K.; de Oliveira, Carine Ervolino; Fonseca, Felipe Paiva; Rodrigues, Priscila Campioni; Soares Macedo, Carolina Carneiro; Sobral, Lays Martin; Miguel, Marcia Costa; Lopes, Marcio Ajudarte; Paes Leme, Adriana Franco; Lambert, Daniel W.; Salo, Tuula A.; Kowalski, Luiz Paulo; Graner, Edgard; Coletta, Ricardo D. (2015)
    Deregulated expression of activin A is reported in several tumors, but its biological functions in oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) are unknown. Here, we investigate whether activin A can play a causal role in OSCCs. Activin A expression was assessed by qPCR and immunohistochemistry in OSCC tissues. Low activin A-expressing cells were treated with recombinant activin A and assessed for apoptosis, proliferation, adhesion, migration, invasion and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Those phenotypes were also evaluated in high activin A-expressing cells treated with follistatin (an activin A antagonist) or stably expressing shRNA targeting activin A. Transfections of microRNA mimics were performed to determine whether the overexpression of activin A is regulated by miR-143/miR-145 cluster. Activin A was overexpressed in OSCCs in comparison with normal oral mucosa, and high activin A levels were significantly associated with lymph node metastasis, tumor differentiation and poor survival. High activin A levels promoted multiple properties associated with malignant transformation, including decreased apoptosis and increased proliferation, migration, invasion and EMT. Both miR-143 and miR-145 were markedly downregulated in OSCC cell lines and in clinical specimens, and inversely correlated to activin A levels. Forced expression of miR-143 and miR-145 in OSCC cells significantly decreased the expression of activin A. Overexpression of activin A in OSCCs, which is controlled by downregulation of miR-143/miR-145 cluster, regulates apoptosis, proliferation and invasiveness, and it is clinically correlated with lymph node metastasis and poor survival.
  • Laitinen, Alli; Bockelman, Camilla; Hagstrom, Jaana; Kokkola, Arto; Fermer, Christian; Nilsson, Olle; Haglund, Caj (2015)
    Background Podocalyxin-like 1 (PODXL) is a cell-adhesion glycoprotein associated with aggressive tumor phenotype and poor prognosis in several forms of cancer. The aim of this study was to investigate PODXL expression in gastric cancer by use of two different antibodies. Methods By tumor-tissue microarrays and immunohistochemistry we evaluated PODXL expression in tumor specimens from 337 patients who underwent surgery for gastric adenocarcinoma at Helsinki University Hospital. We used two different antibodies: HPA2110, which is a polyclonal antibody and an in-house monoclonal antibody called HES9, to investigate the association of PODXL expression with clinicopathologic variables and patient survival. Results PODXL staining was positive by the polyclonal antibody in 153 (57.5%) cases and by the monoclonal antibody in 212 (76%). Polyclonal antibody expression was associated with intestinal cancer type (p Conclusion In gastric cancer, PODXL expression by the polyclonal antibody HPA2110 is an independent marker of poor prognosis.
  • Korhonen, Ani; Gucciardo, Erika; Lehti, Kaisa; Loukovaara, Sirpa (2021)
    Proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR) is a sight-threatening diabetic complication in urgent need of new therapies. In this study we identify potential molecular mechanisms and target candidates in the pathogenesis of PDR fibrovascular tissue formation. We performed mRNA sequencing of RNA isolated from eleven excised fibrovascular membranes of type 1 diabetic PDR patients and two non-diabetic patients with rhegmatogenous retinal detachment with proliferative vitreoretinopathy. We determined differentially expressed genes between these groups and performed pathway and gene ontology term enrichment analyses to identify potential underlying mechanisms, pathways, and regulators. Multiple pro-angiogenic processes, including VEGFA-dependent and -independent pathways, as well as processes related to lymphatic development, epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT), wound healing, inflammation, fibrosis, and extracellular matrix (ECM) composition, were overrepresented in PDR. Overrepresentation of different angiogenic processes may help to explain the transient nature of the benefits that many patients receive from current intravitreal anti-angiogenic therapies, highlighting the importance of combinatorial treatments. Enrichment of genes and pathways related to lymphatic development indicates that targeting lymphatic involvement in PDR progression could have therapeutic relevance. Together with overrepresentation of EMT and fibrosis as well as differential ECM composition, these findings demonstrate the complexity of PDR fibrovascular tissue formation and provide avenues for the development of novel treatments.