Advance online publication:

This section includes articles accepted for publication in Cell Stress, which have not been released in a regular issue, yet. Please note that the PDF versions of advance publication articles are generally paginated starting with page 1. This does not correspond to the final pagination upon release of the issue it will appear in.


Regulation of immune checkpoint blockade efficacy in breast cancer by FIP200: A canonical-autophagy-independent function

Syn Kok Yeo and Jun-Lin Guan

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Immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) has emerged as a promising therapeutic strategy because of its potential to induce durable therapeutic responses in cancer patients. However, in the case of breast cancer, its application and efficacy has been limited. As such, combinatorial therapeutic strategies that can unlock the potential of ICB in breast cancer are of urgent need. In view of that, autophagy-related proteins that play a role in the autophagic cell recycling process have been implicated in the regulation of inflammatory and anti-tumor immune responses. Accordingly, autophagy-related proteins represent a group of prospective therapeutic targets in conjunction with ICB. In our recent study (Okamoto T et al. (2020), Cancer Res), we developed immune-competent mouse models of breast cancer which were deficient for the autophagic function of FIP200 or had FIP200 completely ablated to test the efficacy of ICB. We showed that although FIP200’s autophagy function was required for progression of PyMT-driven mammary tumors, FIP200’s canonical-autophagy-independent function was responsible for increased T-cell infiltration, IFN-signaling and ICB efficacy. These findings provide genetic proof of principle for a combinatorial therapeutic strategy that involves ablation of FIP200 to improve ICB efficacy in non-responsive breast cancers.

PDF | Published online: 02/07/2020 | In press

Exploiting the circuit breaker cancer evolution model in human clear cell renal cell carcinoma

James J. Hsieh and Emily H. Cheng

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The incessant interactions between susceptible humans and their respective macro/microenvironments registered throughout their lifetime result in the ultimate manifestation of individual cancers. With the average lifespan exceeding 50 years of age in humans since the beginning of 20th century, aging – the “time” factor – has played an ever-increasing role alongside host and environmental factors in cancer incidences. Cancer is a genetic/epigenetic disease due to gain-of-function mutations in cancer-causing genes (oncogene; OG) and/or loss-of-function mutations in tumor-suppressing genes (tumor suppressor genes; TSG). In addition to their integral relationship with cancer, a timely deployment of specific OG and/or TSG is in fact needed for higher organisms like human to cope with respective physiological and pathological conditions. Over the past decade, extensive human kidney cancer genomics have been performed and novel mouse models recapitulating human kidney cancer pathobiology have been generated. With new genomic, genetic, mechanistic, clinical and therapeutic insights accumulated from studying clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC)–the most common type of kidney cancer, we conceived a cancer evolution model built upon the OG-TSG signaling pair analogous to the electrical circuit breaker (CB) that permits necessary signaling output and at the same time prevent detrimental signaling overdrive. Hence, this viewpoint aims at providing a step-by-step mechanistic explanation/illustration concerning how inherent OG-TSG CBs intricately operate in concert for the organism’s wellbeing; and how somatic mutations, the essential component for genetic adaptability, inadvertently triggers a sequential outage of specific sets of CBs that normally function to maintain and protect and individual tissue homeostasis.

PDF | Published online: 25/06/2020 | In press

High mitochondrial calcium levels precede neuronal death in vivo in Alzheimer’s disease

Maria Calvo-Rodriguez and Brian J. Bacskai

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Alzheimer’s disease (AD), the most common cause of dementia, affects millions of people worldwide. Suggested mechanisms of neurotoxicity in AD include impaired calcium (Ca2+) homeostasis and mitochondrial dysfunction, both contributing to neuronal damage. Little was known about the exact mitochondrial Ca2+ homeostasis in the living brain, particularly in AD. Only now, with the development of intravital imaging techniques and transgenic mouse models of the disease, we are able to directly observe Ca2+ levels in specific regions or particular subcellular compartments of cells, such as mitochondria. Using multiphoton microscopy, a Ca2+ reporter targeted to mitochondria and a mouse model of cerebral β amyloidosis (APP/PS1), our recent study (Nat Comms 2020, 11:2146) found elevated mitochondrial Ca2+ concentration in the transgenic mouse after plaque deposition, and after topical application of natural soluble amyloid beta (Aβ) oligomers to the healthy mouse brain at concentrations similar to those found in the human brain. Elevated Ca2+ in mitochondria preceded neuronal death and could be targeted for neuroprotective therapies in AD. Here, we describe our main findings and pose new questions for future studies aimed at better understanding mitochondrial Ca2+ dyshomeostasis in AD.

PDF | Published online: 18/06/2020 | In press

The role of lipids in autophagy and its implication in neurodegeneration

Sergio Hernandez-Diaz and Sandra-Fausia Soukup

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Neurodegenerative diseases are, at present, major socio-economic burdens without effective treatments and their increasing prevalence means that these diseases will be a challenge for future generations. Neurodegenerative diseases may differ in etiology and pathology but are often caused by the accumulation of dysfunctional and aggregation-prone proteins. Autophagy, a conserved cellular mechanism, deals with cellular stress and waste product build-up and has been shown to reduce the accumulation of dysfunctional proteins in animal models of neurodegenerative diseases. Historically, progress in understanding the precise function of lipids has traditionally been far behind other biological molecules (like proteins) but emerging works demonstrate the importance of lipids in the autophagy pathway and how the disturbance of lipid metabolism is connected to neurodegeneration. Here we review how altered autophagy and the disturbance of lipid metabolism, particularly of phosphoinositols and sphingolipids, feature in neurodegenerative diseases and address work from the field that suggests that these potentially offer an opportunity of therapeutic intervention.

PDF | Published online: 19/05/2020 | In press

Immune system activation by natural products and complex fractions: a network pharmacology approach in cancer treatment

Alejandra Gomez-Cadena, Alfonso Barreto, Susana Fioretino and Camilla Jandus

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Natural products and traditional herbal medicine are an important source of alternative bioactive compounds but very few plant-based preparations have been scientifically evaluated and validated for their potential as medical treatments. However, a promising field in the current therapies based on plant-derived compounds is the study of their immunomodulation properties and their capacity to activate the immune system to fight against multifactorial diseases like cancer. In this review we discuss how network pharmacology could help to characterize and validate natural single molecules or more complex preparations as promising cancer therapies based on their multitarget capacities.

PDF | Published online: 18/05/2020 | In press

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