Project description:Kynureninase is a member of a large family of catalytically diverse but structurally homologous pyridoxal 5'-phosphate (PLP) dependent enzymes known as the aspartate aminotransferase superfamily or alpha-family. The Homo sapiens and other eukaryotic constitutive kynureninases preferentially catalyze the hydrolytic cleavage of 3-hydroxy-l-kynurenine to produce 3-hydroxyanthranilate and l-alanine, while l-kynurenine is the substrate of many prokaryotic inducible kynureninases. The human enzyme was cloned with an N-terminal hexahistidine tag, expressed, and purified from a bacterial expression system using Ni metal ion affinity chromatography. Kinetic characterization of the recombinant enzyme reveals classic Michaelis-Menten behavior, with a Km of 28.3 +/- 1.9 microM and a specific activity of 1.75 micromol min-1 mg-1 for 3-hydroxy-dl-kynurenine. Crystals of recombinant kynureninase that diffracted to 2.0 A were obtained, and the atomic structure of the PLP-bound holoenzyme was determined by molecular replacement using the Pseudomonas fluorescens kynureninase structure (PDB entry 1qz9) as the phasing model. A structural superposition with the P. fluorescens kynureninase revealed that these two structures resemble the "open" and "closed" conformations of aspartate aminotransferase. The comparison illustrates the dynamic nature of these proteins' small domains and reveals a role for Arg-434 similar to its role in other AAT alpha-family members. Docking of 3-hydroxy-l-kynurenine into the human kynureninase active site suggests that Asn-333 and His-102 are involved in substrate binding and molecular discrimination between inducible and constitutive kynureninase substrates.
Project description:A physiologically relevant in vitro human-based model could be the 'gold standard' to clarify the pathological steps involved in glaucoma onset. In this regard, human 3D cultures may represent an excellent starting point to achieve this goal. Indeed, the 3D matrix allows to re-create the in vivo-like tissue architecture, maintaining its functionality and cellular behaviour, compared to the 2D model. Thus, we propose a comparison between the 2D and 3D in vitro models of human trabecular meshwork cells in terms of cellular responses after chronic stress exposure. Our results showed that 3D-cells are more sensitive to intracellular reactive oxidative specie production induced by hydrogen peroxide treatment, compared to 2D cultures. Additionally, in 3D cultures a more accurate regulation of the apoptosis trigger and cell adaptation mechanisms was detected than in 2D models. In line with these findings, the 3D-HTMC model shows the ability to better mimic the in vivo cell behaviour in adaptive responses to chronic oxidative stress than 2D.
Project description:Obvious advantages of 3D cell culture model are the cell morphology better reflecting tissue cell morphology, the formation of zones of i) active proliferation, ii) quiescent viable cell zone and iii) necrotic zone, as well as formation of nutrition, oxygen and drug gradients better reflecting cellular environment in tissue. Nevertheless the 3D cultures are a model still not resembling full complexity of tumor tissue environment in vivo. Few obvious limitations of 3D cell cultures as cancer research model are the lack of vasculature, host immune response and other cell-cell interactions that occur between cancer and stromal cells in tumors. Recognized advantages and limitations of the 3D cell culture models, however do not suggest directly the areas of cancer biology where 3D models could be applied with highest success. Hence detailed analysis at the molecular level of 2D/3D cell cultures and tumors in vivo are needed to unlock the power of 3D cell culture model. In order to elucidate which biological pathways of cancer cells in tumors are best resembled by the 3D cell culture model we have analyzed whole genome gene expression changes in mouse LLC1 cell line when cultured in 2D or laminin rich ECM 3D system. RNA was isolated 48h after growing in two different cell culture systems.
Project description:Solid tumours naturally grow in 3D wherein the spatial arrangement of cells affects how they interact with each other. This suggests that 3D cell culture may mimic the natural in vivo setting better than traditional monolayer (2D) cell culture, where cells are grown attached to plastic. Here, using HER2-positive breast cancer cell lines as models (BT474, HCC1954, EFM192A), the effects of culturing cells in 3D using the poly-HEMA method compared to 2D cultures were assessed in terms of cellular viability, response/resistance to anti-cancer drugs, protein expression and enzyme activity. Scanning electron microscopy showed the morphology of cells in 3D to be substantially different to those cultured in 2D. Cell viability in 3D cells was substantially lower than that of cells in 2D cultures, while 3D cultures were more resistant to the effects of HER-targeted (neratinib) and classical chemotherapy (docetaxel) drugs. Expression of proteins involved in cell survival, transporters associated with drug resistance and drug targets were increased in 3D cultures. Finally, activity of drug metabolising enzyme CYP3A4 was substantially increased in 3D compared to 2D cultures. Together this data indicates that the biological information represented by 3D and 2D cell cultures is substantially different i.e. 3D cell cultures demonstrate higher innate resistance to anti-cancer drugs compared to 2D cultures, which may be facilitated by the altered receptor proteins, drug transporters and metabolising enzyme activity. This highlights the importance of considering 3D in addition to 2D culture methods in pre-clinical studies of both newer targeted and more traditional anti-cancer drugs.
Project description:Improving the congruity of preclinical models with cancer as it is manifested in humans is a potential way to mitigate the high attrition rate of new cancer therapies in the clinic. In this regard, three-dimensional (3D) tumor cultures in vitro have recently regained interest as they have been acclaimed to have higher similarity to tumors in vivo than to cells grown in monolayers (2D). To identify cancer functions that are active in 3D rather than in 2D cultures, we compared the transcriptional profiles (TPs) of two non-small cell lung carcinoma cell lines, NCI-H1650 and EBC-1 grown in both conditions to the TP of xenografted tumors. Because confluence, diameter or volume can hypothetically alter TPs, we made intra- and inter-culture comparisons using samples with defined dimensions. As projected by Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (IPA), a limited number of signal transduction pathways operational in vivo were better represented by 3D than by 2D cultures in vitro. Growth of 2D and 3D cultures as well as xenografts induced major changes in the TPs of these 3 modes of culturing. Alterations of transcriptional network activation that were predicted to evolve similarly during progression of 3D cultures and xenografts involved the following functions: hypoxia, proliferation, cell cycle progression, angiogenesis, cell adhesion, and interleukin activation. Direct comparison of TPs of 3D cultures and xenografts to monolayer cultures yielded up-regulation of networks involved in hypoxia, TGF and Wnt signaling as well as regulation of epithelial mesenchymal transition. Differences in TP of 2D and 3D cancer cell cultures are subject to progression of the cultures. The emulation of the predicted cell functions in vivo is therefore not only determined by the type of culture in vitro but also by the confluence or diameter of the 2D or 3D cultures, respectively. Consequently, the successful implementation of 3D models will require phenotypic characterization to verify the relevance of applying these models for drug development.
Project description:Biophysical and biochemical properties of the microenvironment regulate cellular responses such as growth, differentiation, morphogenesis and migration in normal and cancer cells. Since two-dimensional (2D) cultures lack the essential characteristics of the native cellular microenvironment, three-dimensional (3D) cultures have been developed to better mimic the natural extracellular matrix. To date, 3D culture systems have relied mostly on collagen and Matrigel™ hydrogels, allowing only limited control over matrix stiffness, proteolytic degradability, and ligand density. In contrast, bioengineered hydrogels allow us to independently tune and systematically investigate the influence of these parameters on cell growth and differentiation. In this study, polyethylene glycol (PEG) hydrogels, functionalized with the Arginine-glycine-aspartic acid (RGD) motifs, common cell-binding motifs in extracellular matrix proteins, and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) cleavage sites, were characterized regarding their stiffness, diffusive properties, and ability to support growth of androgen-dependent LNCaP prostate cancer cells. We found that the mechanical properties modulated the growth kinetics of LNCaP cells in the PEG hydrogel. At culture periods of 28 days, LNCaP cells underwent morphogenic changes, forming tumor-like structures in 3D culture, with hypoxic and apoptotic cores. We further compared protein and gene expression levels between 3D and 2D cultures upon stimulation with the synthetic androgen R1881. Interestingly, the kinetics of R1881 stimulated androgen receptor (AR) nuclear translocation differed between 2D and 3D cultures when observed by immunofluorescent staining. Furthermore, microarray studies revealed that changes in expression levels of androgen responsive genes upon R1881 treatment differed greatly between 2D and 3D cultures. Taken together, culturing LNCaP cells in the tunable PEG hydrogels reveals differences in the cellular responses to androgen stimulation between the 2D and 3D environments. Therefore, we suggest that the presented 3D culture system represents a powerful tool for high throughput prostate cancer drug testing that recapitulates tumor microenvironment.
Project description:<h4>Simple Summary</h4> Pancreatic cancer is an extremely lethal malignancy with a survival rate lower than any other cancer type. For decades, two-dimensional (2D) cultures have been the cornerstone for studying cancer cell biology and drug testing, due to their simplicity and cost. However, their inability to reconstitute the tumor architecture, the absence of nutrient and oxygen supply gradients, as well as the lack of appropriate mechano-forces that mimic the extracellular microenvironment, make them an inadequate model to accurately reproduce tissue level-specific characteristics. Bioengineering systems, such as three-dimensional (3D) patient-specific models, are progressively emerging as systems better able to mimic the biology of pancreatic tumors and to test new anticancer therapies, as they more efficiently recapitulate the complex tumor microenvironment characteristic of pancreatic tumors. Here, we review how cellular component interactions, within the pancreatic tumor microenvironment, have been studied and mimicked in 3D cell culture models, and discuss selected emerging therapeutic strategies, addressing their limitations and future perspectives. <h4>Abstract</h4> Pancreatic cancer, the fourth most common cancer worldwide, shows a highly unsuccessful therapeutic response. In the last 10 years, neither important advancements nor new therapeutic strategies have significantly impacted patient survival, highlighting the need to pursue new avenues for drug development discovery and design. Advanced cellular models, resembling as much as possible the original in vivo tumor environment, may be more successful in predicting the efficacy of future anti-cancer candidates in clinical trials. In this review, we discuss novel bioengineered platforms for anticancer drug discovery in pancreatic cancer, from traditional two-dimensional models to innovative three-dimensional ones.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Protein-coding regions in a genome evolve by sequence divergence and gene gain and loss, altering the gene content of the organism. However, it is not well understood how this has given rise to the enormous diversity of metazoa present today.<h4>Results</h4>To obtain a global view of human genomic evolution, we quantify the divergence of proteins by functional category at different evolutionary distances from human.<h4>Conclusion</h4>This analysis highlights some general systems-level characteristics of human evolution: regulatory processes, such as signal transducers, transcription factors and receptors, have a high degree of plasticity, while core processes, such as metabolism, transport and protein synthesis, are largely conserved. Additionally, this study reveals a dynamic picture of selective forces at short, medium and long evolutionary timescales. Certain functional categories, such as 'development' and 'organogenesis', exhibit temporal patterns of sequence divergence in eukaryotes relative to human. This framework for a grammar of human evolution supports previously postulated theories of robustness and evolvability.
Project description:The geometric morphometric analysis of shape variation in complex biological structures such as the human skull poses a number of specific challenges: the registration of homologous morphologies, the treatment of bilateral symmetry, the graphical representation of form variability in three dimensions and the interpretation of the results in terms of differential growth processes. To visualize complex patterns of shape change, we propose an alternative to classical Cartesian deformation grids in the style of D'Arcy W. Thompson. Reference to the surface structures of the organism under investigation permits a comprehensive visual grasp of shape change and its tentative interpretation in terms of differential growth. The application of this method to the analysis of human craniofacial shape variation reveals distinct modes of growth and development of the neurocranial and viscerocranial regions of the skull. Our data further indicate that variations in the orientation of the viscerocranium relative to the neurocranium impinge on the shapes of the face and the cranial vault.
Project description:Plexiform neurofibromas (PNs), which may be present at birth in up to half of children with type 1 neurofibromatosis (NF1), can cause serious loss of function, such as quadriparesis, and can undergo malignant transformation. Surgery is the first line treatment although the invasive nature of these tumors often prevents complete resection. Recent clinical trials have shown promising success for some drugs, notably selumetinib, an inhibitor of MAP kinase kinase (MEK). We have developed three-dimensional (3D) cell culture models of immortalized cells from NF1 PNs and of control Schwann cells (SCs) that we believe mimic more closely the in vivo condition than conventional two-dimensional (2D) cell culture. Our goal is to facilitate pre-clinical identification of potential targeted therapeutics for these tumors. Three drugs, selumetinib (a MEK inhibitor), picropodophyllin (an IGF-1R inhibitor) and LDN-193189 (a BMP2 inhibitor) were tested with dose-response design in both 2D and 3D cultures for their abilities to block net cell growth. Cell lines grown in 3D conditions showed varying degrees of resistance to the inhibitory actions of all three drugs. For example, control SCs became resistant to growth inhibition by selumetinib in 3D culture. LDN-193189 was the most effective drug in 3D cultures, with only slightly reduced potency compared to the 2D cultures. Characterization of these models also demonstrated increased proteolysis of collagen IV in the matrix by the PN driver cells as compared to wild-type SCs. The proteolytic capacity of the PN cells in the model may be a clinically significant property that can be used for testing the ability of drugs to inhibit their invasive phenotype.