University of Wisconsin–Madison
Ajit Verma, PhD

Ajit Verma, PhD

Professor Emeritus

Department of Human Oncology

My laboratory research has been focused on the etiology and prevention of two major human cancers, skin and prostate cancer. Skin cancer is the most common malignancy in the United States. The sun’s ultraviolet radiation (UVR) is the most potent environmental carcinogen. Prostate cancer (PCa) is the second leading cause of death in men. While 1 out of every 6 men will develop prostate cancer during his lifetime, 1 in 34 will die of this disease. Our preclinical study using both transgenic and gene knock-out mouse models led us to the identification of protein kinase C epsilon (PKCe), a key-signaling component of the development of both skin and PCa. PKCe is a calcium-independent, phospholipid-dependent serine/threonine kinase. PKCe is overexpressed in human PCa and is linked to PCa development, aggressiveness and emergence of castration-resistant PCa. While developing methods for screening libraries for small molecule PKCe inhibitors, we screened by Western Blot analyses several plant-derived chemopreventive agents and found plumbagin (PL) as an inhibitor of PKCε expression. The roots of Plumbago zeylanica L. have been used in Indian medicine for more than 2,500 years for the treatment of various ailments. Our lab was the first to report that plumbagin, a medicinal plant-derived napthoquinone inhibits the growth and metastasis of prostate cancer. (Cancer Research 2008, 1, 68 :9024-32. Carcinogenesis 2012, 33:2586-92. Molecular Oncology 2013, 7:428-39. Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2015, 8:375-86). A currently activated phase I clinical trial at multiple centers, including my lab and UW Carbone Cancer Center, will study the safety of plumbagin in human patients with advanced prostate cancer.

Education

PhD, Flinders University of South Australia, Biochemistry (1976)

MSc (Honors), Punjab Agricultural University, Biochemistry (1968)

BSc, Punjab Agricultural University, Biochemistry (1966)

Academic Appointments

Professor Emeritus, Human Oncology (2017)

Professor, Human Oncology (1992)

Associate Professor, Human Oncology (1988)

Assistant Professor, Human Oncology (1984)

Associate Scientist, Human Oncology (1982)

Assistant Scientist, Human Oncology (1981)

Postdoctoral Fellow, McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research (1976)

Selected Honors and Awards

The Flinders University of South Australia fellowship to pursue PhD studies (1972–1976)

Certificate of Honor for ranking first in MSc (1968)

Punjab Agricultural University Merit Scholarship (1967–1968)

Gold Medal for ranking first in BSc (1966)

Government of India National Merit Scholarship (1962–1967)

  • Cohort profile: the Welsh Geriatric Registrar-Led Research Network (WeGeN): rationale, design and description. BMJ Open
    Jelley B, Long S, Butler J, Hewitt J, WeGeN
    2017 Feb 14; 7 (2): e013031
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      PURPOSE: Medical trainees are required to undertake audit and quality improvement projects. They must also have an understanding of the principles of research and are encouraged to participate in research projects. However, the constraints of time, a lack of formal training and rotation between different training posts create barriers to audit cycle completion and pursuing research. This leads to trainees being reluctant to undertake research, facilitates poor quality research and risks incomplete audit.

      PARTICIPANTS: The Welsh Geriatricians Network (WeGeN) has been created with the aims of facilitating collaborative, trainee-led research within Geriatric Medicine in Wales, promoting research engagement and improving the research evidence base for older patients. By coordinating collaborative research projects across different sites within Wales, trainees continue existing projects at new sites, allowing completion of projects and establishing the long-term infrastructure and experienced personnel needed for high-quality research data to be gathered.

      FINDINGS: WeGeN has facilitated 4 national audits, all of which are intended for peer review publication. The first project considers the service provision for the older person in the emergency department, the second Parkinson's disease, the third reviews delirium management and the fourth project considers epidemiology of surgical disease in older people.

      FUTURE PLANS: The objective of this project is to further establish and develop WeGeN as a group which facilitates high-quality research and provides the opportunity for geriatric trainees to engage in research activity. It is anticipated that the establishment of this research platform will provide a blueprint for the development of other such networks in the UK and beyond.

      View details for PubMedID 28196947
  • Ultraviolet radiation-induced differential microRNA expression in the skin of hairless SKH1 mice, a widely used mouse model for dermatology research. Oncotarget
    Singh A, Willems E, Singh A, Ong IM, Verma AK
    2016 Dec 20; 7 (51): 84924-84937
    • More

      Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC) is the most common type of non-melanoma skin cancer that can metastasize. The major etiological factor associated with cSCC is Ultraviolet radiation (UVR) with a limited understanding of its molecular mechanism. It was hypothesized that there is a direct effect of UVR on modulation of microRNAs (miRNAs), a novel class of short noncoding RNAs which affects translation and stability of mRNAs. To test the hypothesis, the dorsal skin of the SKH1 mice (6-7 week old) was exposed to acute and chronic doses of UVR. In miRNA array profiling, we found differential expression (log fold change>1) of miR-25-5p between untreated and acute UVR treated (4kJ/m2) SKH1 mice skin. However, differential expression (>1 log fold) of miR-144-3p, miR-33-5p, miR-32-5p, miR-1983, miR-136-5p, miR-142-3p, miR-376a-3p, miR-142-5p, miR-3968, and miR-29b-3p was observed between untreated and chronically UVR treated mice skin. Differentially expressed selected miRNAs (miR-32-5p, miR-33-5p, miR-144-3p, and miR-376a-3p) were further validated in real time PCR using miRNA specific primers. Web based data mining, for the prediction of potential miRNA associated gene pathways in miRBase database revealed a link with important pathways (PI3K-Akt, MAPK, Wnt, transcriptional misregulation, and other oncogenic pathway) associated with cSCC. Furthermore, findings of PI3K-Akt pathway genes affected due to chronic UVR were confirmed using cDNA array.

      View details for PubMedID 27793049
  • Fisetin Enhances Chemotherapeutic Effect of Cabazitaxel against Human Prostate Cancer Cells. Mol Cancer Ther
    Mukhtar E, Adhami VM, Siddiqui IA, Verma AK, Mukhtar H
    2016 Dec; 15 (12): 2863-2874
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      Although treatment of prostate cancer has improved over the past several years, taxanes, such as cabazitaxel, remain the only form of effective chemotherapy that improves survival in patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer. However, the effectiveness of this class of drugs has been associated with various side effects and drug resistance. We previously reported that fisetin, a hydroxyflavone, is a microtubule-stabilizing agent and inhibits prostate cancer cell proliferation, migration, and invasion and suggested its use as an adjuvant for treatment of prostate and other cancer types. In this study, we investigated the effect of fisetin in combination with cabazitaxel with the objective to achieve maximum therapeutic benefit, reduce dose and toxicity, and minimize or delay the induction of drug resistance and metastasis. Our data show for the first time that a combination of fisetin (20 μmol/L) enhances cabazitaxel (5 nmol/L) and synergistically reduces 22Rν1, PC-3M-luc-6, and C4-2 cell viability and metastatic properties with minimal adverse effects on normal prostate epithelial cells. In addition, the combination of fisetin with cabazitaxel was associated with inhibition of proliferation and enhancement of apoptosis. Furthermore, combination treatment resulted in the inhibition of tumor growth, invasion, and metastasis when assessed in two in vivo xenograft mouse models. These results provide evidence that fisetin may have therapeutic benefit for patients with advanced prostate cancer through enhancing the efficacy of cabazitaxel under both androgen-dependent and androgen-independent conditions. This study underscores the benefit of the combination of fisetin with cabazitaxel for the treatment of advanced and resistant prostate cancer and possibly other cancer types. Mol Cancer Ther; 15(12); 2863-74. ©2016 AACR.

      View details for PubMedID 27765854
  • Visible light induced bactericidal and photocatalytic activity of hydrothermally synthesized BiVO4 nano-octahedrals. J Photochem Photobiol B
    Sharma R, Uma, Singh S, Verma A, Khanuja M
    2016 Sep; 162: 266-72
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      In the present work, monoclinic bismuth vanadate (m-BiVO4) nanostructures have been synthesized via simple hydrothermal method and employed for visible light driven antimicrobial and photocatalytic activity. Morphology (octahedral) and size (200-300nm) of the m-BiVO4 are studied using transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The crystal structure of m-BiVO4 (monoclinic scheelite structure) is confirmed by high resolution-TEM (HRTEM) and X-ray diffraction (XRD) studies. The band gap of m-BiVO4 was estimated to be ca. 2.42eV through Kubelka-Munk function F(R∞) using diffuse reflectance spectroscopy (DRS). Antimicrobial action of m-BiVO4 is anticipated by (i) shake flask method, (ii) MTT [3-(4,5-Dimethylthiazol-2-Yl)-2,5-Diphenyltetrazolium Bromide] assay for cytotoxicity. SEM analysis has been carried on Escherichia coli (E.coli) before and after treatment with nanostructure materials to reveal the mechanism underlying the antimicrobial action. Antimicrobial activity is studied as a function of m-BiVO4 concentration viz. 20, 40, 60 and 80ppm. The bacterial growth is decreased 80% to 96%, with the increase in m-BiVO4 concentration from 20ppm to 80ppm, respectively, in 2h. Photocatalytic activity and rate kinetics of m-BiVO4 nanostructures have been studied as a function of time on methylene blue (MB) dye degradation which is one of the waste products of textile industries and responsible for water pollution.

      View details for PubMedID 27394009
  • Tissue-specific conditional PKCε knockout mice: a model to precisely reveal PKCε functional role in initiation, promotion and progression of cancer. Oncotarget
    Hafeez BB, Meske L, Singh A, Singh A, Zhong W, Powers P, John M, Griep AE, Verma AK
    2016 May 31; 7 (22): 33069-80
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      PKCε is a transforming oncogene and a predictive biomarker of various human cancers. However, a precise in vivo link of PKCε to cancer induction, progression and metastasis remain undefined. To achieve these goals, we generated tissue specific conditional PKCε knockout mice (PKCε-CKO) using cre-lox technology. Homozygous PKCε(LoxP/LoxP) mice have normal body weight and phenotype. To determine what effect loss of PKCε would have on the prostate, the PKCε(LoxP/LoxP) mice were bred to probasin cre (PB-Cre4+) mice which express cre specifically in the prostate epithelium of postnatal mice. Western blot and immunohistochemical analyses showed reduced levels of PKCε specifically in the prostate of PKCε-CKO mice. Histopathological analyses of prostate from both PKCε(LoxP/LoxP) and prostate PKCε-CKO mice showed normal pathology. To determine the functional impact of prostate specific deletion of PKCε on prostate tumor growth, we performed an orthotopic xenograft study. Transgenic adenocarcinoma of the mouse prostate (TRAMP) cells (TRAMPC1, 2×106) were implanted in the prostate of PKCε-CKO mice. Mice were sacrificed at 6th week post-implantation. Results demonstrated a significant (P<0.05) decrease in the growth of TRAMPC1 cells-derived xenograft tumors in PKCε-CKO mice compared to wild type. To determine a link of PKCε to ultraviolet radiation (UVR) exposure-induced epidermal Stat3 phosphorylation, PKCε(LoxP/LoxP) mice were bred to tamoxifen-inducible K14 Cre mice. PKCε deletion in the epidermis resulted in inhibition of UVR-induced Stat3 phosphorylation. In summary, our novel PKCε(LoxP/LoxP) mice will be useful for defining the link of PKCε to various cancers in specific organ, tissue, or cells.

      View details for PubMedID 27102301
  • Ultraviolet radiation-induced tumor necrosis factor alpha, which is linked to the development of cutaneous SCC, modulates differential epidermal microRNAs expression. Oncotarget
    Singh A, Willems E, Singh A, Hafeez BB, Ong IM, Mehta SL, Verma AK
    2016 Apr 05; 7 (14): 17945-56
    • More

      Chronic exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UVR) is linked to the development of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), a non-melanoma form of skin cancer that can metastasize. Tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNFα), a pro-inflammatory cytokine, is linked to UVR-induced development of SCC. To find clues about the mechanisms by which TNFα may promote UVR-induced development of SCC, we investigated changes in the expression profiling of microRNAs (miRNA), a novel class of short noncoding RNAs, which affects translation and stability of mRNAs. In this experiment, TNFα knockout (TNFα KO) mice and their wild type (WT) littermates were exposed to acute UVR (2.0 kJ/m2) and the expression profiling of epidermal miRNA was determined 4hr post UVR exposure. TNFα deletion in untreated WT mice resulted in differential expression (log fold change>1) of seventeen miRNA. UVR exposure in WT mice induced differential expression of 22 miRNA. However, UVR exposure in TNFα KO mice altered only two miRNAs. Four miRNA, were differentially expressed between WT+UVR and TNFα KO+UVR groups. Differentially expressed selected miRNAs were further validated using real time PCR. Few of the differentially expressed miRNAs (miR-31-5p, miR-196a-5p, miR-127-3p, miR-206-3p, miR-411-5p, miR-709, and miR-322-5p) were also observed in UVR-induced SCC. Finally, bio-informatics analysis using DIANA, MIRANDA, Target Scan, and miRDB algorithms revealed a link with major UVR-induced pathways (MAPK, PI3K-Akt, transcriptional mis-regulation, Wnt, and TGF-beta).

      View details for PubMedID 26918454
  • Genetic deletion of TNFα inhibits ultraviolet radiation-induced development of cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas in PKCε transgenic mice via inhibition of cell survival signals. Carcinogenesis
    Singh A, Singh A, Bauer SJ, Wheeler DL, Havighurst TC, Kim K, Verma AK
    2016 Jan; 37 (1): 72-80
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      Protein kinase C epsilon (PKCε), a Ca(2+)-independent phospholipid-dependent serine/threonine kinase, is among the six PKC isoforms (α, δ, ε, η, μ, ζ) expressed in both mouse and human skin. Epidermal PKCε level dictates the susceptibility of PKCε transgenic (TG) mice to the development of cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas (SCC) elicited either by repeated exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UVR) or by using the DMBA initiation-TPA (12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate) tumor promotion protocol (Wheeler,D.L. et al. (2004) Protein kinase C epsilon is an endogenous photosensitizer that enhances ultraviolet radiation-induced cutaneous damage and development of squamous cell carcinomas. Cancer Res., 64, 7756-7765). Histologically, SCC in TG mice, like human SCC, is poorly differentiated and metastatic. Our earlier studies to elucidate mechanisms of PKCε-mediated development of SCC, using either DMBA-TPA or UVR, indicated elevated release of cytokine TNFα. To determine whether TNFα is essential for the development of SCC in TG mice, we generated PKCε transgenic mice/TNFα-knockout (TG/TNFαKO) by crossbreeding TNFαKO with TG mice. We now present that deletion of TNFα in TG mice inhibited the development of SCC either by repeated UVR exposures or by the DMBA-TPA protocol. TG mice deficient in TNFα elicited both increase in SCC latency and decrease in SCC incidence. Inhibition of UVR-induced SCC development in TG/TNFαKO was accompanied by inhibition of (i) the expression levels of TNFα receptors TNFRI and TNFRII and cell proliferation marker ornithine decarboxylase and metastatic markers MMP7 and MMP9, (ii) the activation of transcription factors Stat3 and NF-kB and (iii) proliferation of hair follicle stem cells and epidermal hyperplasia. The results presented here provide the first genetic evidence that TNFα is linked to PKCε-mediated sensitivity to DMBA-TPA or UVR-induced development of cutaneous SCC.

      View details for PubMedID 26586792
  • Plumbagin Inhibits Prostate Carcinogenesis in Intact and Castrated PTEN Knockout Mice via Targeting PKCε, Stat3, and Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition Markers. Cancer Prev Res (Phila)
    Hafeez BB, Fischer JW, Singh A, Zhong W, Mustafa A, Meske L, Sheikhani MO, Verma AK
    2015 May; 8 (5): 375-86
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      Prostate cancer continues to remain the most common cancer and the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in American males. The Pten deletions and/or mutations are frequently observed in both primary prostate cancers and metastatic prostate tissue samples. Pten deletion in prostate epithelium in mice results in prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN), followed by progression to invasive adenocarcinoma. The Pten conditional knockout mice [(Pten-loxp/loxp:PB-Cre4(+)) (Pten-KO)] provide a unique preclinical model to evaluate agents for efficacy for both the prevention and treatment of prostate cancer. We present here for the first time that dietary plumbagin, a medicinal plant-derived naphthoquinone (200 or 500 ppm) inhibits tumor development in intact as well as castrated Pten-KO mice. Plumbagin has shown no signs of toxicity at either of these doses. Plumbagin treatment resulted in a decrease expression of PKCε, AKT, Stat3, and COX2 compared with the control mice. Plumbagin treatment also inhibited the expression of vimentin and slug, the markers of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in prostate tumors. In summary, the results indicate that dietary plumbagin inhibits growth of both primary and castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) in Pten-KO mice, possibly via inhibition of PKCε, Stat3, AKT, and EMT markers (vimentin and slug), which are linked to the induction and progression of prostate cancer.

      View details for PubMedID 25627799
  • Topically applied Hsp90 inhibitor 17AAG inhibits UVR-induced cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas. J Invest Dermatol
    Singh A, Singh A, Sand JM, Bauer SJ, Hafeez BB, Meske L, Verma AK
    2015 Apr; 135 (4): 1098-1107
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      We present here that heat-shock protein 90 (Hsp90) inhibitor 17-(allylamino)-17-demethoxygeldanamycin (17AAG), when topically applied to mouse skin, inhibits UVR-induced development of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). In these experiments, DMSO:acetone (1:40 v/v) solution of 17AAG (500 nmol) was applied topically to mouse skin in conjunction with each UVR exposure (1.8 kJ m(-2)). The UVR source was Kodacel-filtered FS-40 sun lamps (approximately 60% UVB and 40% UVA). In independent experiments with three separate mouse lines (SKH-1 hairless mice, wild-type FVB, and protein kinase C epsilon (PKCɛ)-overexpressing transgenic FVB mice), 17AAG treatment increased the latency and decreased both the incidence and multiplicity of UVR-induced SCC. Topical 17AAG alone or in conjunction with UVR treatments elicited neither skin nor systemic toxicity. 17AAG-caused inhibition of SCC induction was accompanied by a decrease in UVR-induced (1) hyperplasia, (2) Hsp90β-PKCɛ interaction, and (3) expression levels of Hsp90β, Stat3, pStat3Ser727, pStat3Tyr705, pAktSer473, and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP). The results presented here indicate that topical Hsp90 inhibitor 17AAG is effective in prevention of UVR-induced epidermal hyperplasia and SCC. One may conclude from the preclinical data presented here that topical 17AAG may be useful for prevention of UVR-induced inflammation and cutaneous SCC either developed in UVR-exposed or organ transplant population.

      View details for PubMedID 25337691
  • Particle dislodgement procedure: a prospective study of 100 consecutive cases of posterior canal Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo. Ann Neurosci
    Verma A
    2010 Oct; 17 (4): 176-81
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      BACKGROUND: Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo is a common cause of vertigo caused by dislodged otoconia.

      PURPOSE: To study the therapeutic efficacy in Indian population and modify the Canalith repositioning procedure (CRP) into a simple, precise and easily reproducible out door procedure.

      METHODS: All patients with Posterior canal BPPV were selected based on Dix Hallpike test and were subjected to CRP.

      RESULTS: 92% patients had type I response ie no vertigo and negative repeat D-H test. No complications were observed.

      CONCLUSION: CRP is highly effective, simple, bed side therapy for Posterior canal BPPV.

      View details for PubMedID 25205901
  • α-Mangostin: a dietary antioxidant derived from the pericarp of Garcinia mangostana L. inhibits pancreatic tumor growth in xenograft mouse model. Antioxid Redox Signal
    Hafeez BB, Mustafa A, Fischer JW, Singh A, Zhong W, Shekhani MO, Meske L, Havighurst T, Kim K, Verma AK
    2014 Aug 10; 21 (5): 682-99
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      AIMS: Pancreatic cancer (PC) is the most aggressive malignant disease, ranking as the fourth most leading cause of cancer-related death among men and women in the United States. In this study, we provide evidence of chemotherapeutic effects of α-mangostin, a dietary antioxidant isolated from the pericarp of Garcinia mangostana L. against human PC.

      RESULTS: The chemotherapeutic effect of α-mangostin was determined using four human PC cells (PL-45, PANC1, BxPC3, and ASPC1). α-Mangostin resulted in a significant inhibition of PC cells viability without having any effects on normal human pancreatic duct epithelial cells. α-Mangostin showed a dose-dependent increase of apoptosis in PC cells. Also, α-mangostin inhibited the expression levels of pNF-κB/p65Ser552, pStat3Ser727, and pStat3Tyr705. α-Mangostin inhibited DNA binding activity of nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) and signal transducer and activator 3 (Stat3). α-Mangostin inhibited the expression levels of matrix metallopeptidase 9 (MMP9), cyclin D1, and gp130; however, increased expression of tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase 1 (TIMP1) was observed in PC cells. In addition, i.p. administration of α-mangostin (6 mg/kg body weight, 5 days a week) resulted in a significant inhibition of both primary (PL-45) and secondary (ASPC1) human PC cell-derived orthotopic and ectopic xenograft tumors in athymic nude mice. No sign of toxicity was observed in any of the mice administered with α-mangostin. α-Mangostin treatment inhibited the biomarkers of cell proliferation (Ki-67 and proliferating cell nuclear antigen [PCNA]) in the xenograft tumor tissues.

      INNOVATION: We present, for the first time, that dietary antioxidant α-mangostin inhibits the growth of PC cells in vitro and in vivo.

      CONCLUSION: These results suggest the potential therapeutic efficacy of α-mangostin against human PC.

      View details for PubMedID 24295217
  • Mouse models of the skin: models to define mechanisms of skin carcinogenesis. J Skin Cancer
    Wheeler DL, Verma AK, Denning MF
    2013; 2013: 971495
  • Protein Kinase C ε , Which Is Linked to Ultraviolet Radiation-Induced Development of Squamous Cell Carcinomas, Stimulates Rapid Turnover of Adult Hair Follicle Stem Cells. J Skin Cancer
    Singh A, Singh A, Sand JM, Heninger E, Hafeez BB, Verma AK
    2013; 2013: 452425
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      To find clues about the mechanism by which kinase C epsilon (PKC ε ) may impart susceptibility to ultraviolet radiation (UVR)-induced development of cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas (SCC), we compared PKC ε transgenic (TG) mice and their wild-type (WT) littermates for (1) the effects of UVR exposures on percent of putative hair follicle stem cells (HSCs) and (2) HSCs proliferation. The percent of double HSCs (CD34+ and α 6-integrin or CD34+/CD49f+) in the isolated keratinocytes were determined by flow cytometric analysis. Both single and chronic UVR treatments (1.8 kJ/m(2)) resulted in an increase in the frequency of double positive HSCs in PKC ε TG mice as compared to their WT littermates. To determine the rate of proliferation of bulge region stem cells, a 5-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine labeling (BrdU) experiment was performed. In the WT mice, the percent of double positive HSCs retaining BrdU label was 28.4 ± 0.6% compared to 4.0 ± 0.06% for the TG mice, an approximately 7-fold decrease. A comparison of gene expression profiles of FACS sorted double positive HSCs showed increased expression of Pes1, Rad21, Tfdp1 and Cks1b genes in TG mice compared to WT mice. Also, PKC ε over expression in mice increased the clonogenicity of isolated keratinocytes, a property commonly ascribed to stem cells.

      View details for PubMedID 23738074
  • A cell wall extract from Piriformospora indica promotes tuberization in potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) via enhanced expression of Ca(+2) signaling pathway and lipoxygenase gene. Appl Biochem Biotechnol
    Upadhyaya CP, Gururani MA, Prasad R, Verma A
    2013 Jun; 170 (4): 743-55
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      Piriformospora indica is an axenically cultivable phytopromotional endosymbiont that mimics capabilities of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. This is a basidiomycete of the Sebacinaceae family, which promotes growth, development, and seed production in a variety of plant species. We report that the cell wall extract (CWE) from P. indica induces tuberization in vitro and promotes tuber growth and yield in potato. The CWE altered the calcium signaling pathway that regulates tuberization process. An increase in tuber number and size was correlated with increased transcript expression of the two Ca(2+)-dependant proteins (CaM1 and St-CDPK1) and the lipoxygenase (LOX) mRNA, which are known to play distinct roles in potato tuberization. External supplementation of Ca(2+) ions induced a similar set of tuberization pathway genes, indicating presence of an active Ca(2+) in the CWE of P. indica. Since potato tuberization is directly influenced by the presence of microflora in nature, the present study provides an insight into the novel mechanism of potato tuberization in relation to plant-microbe association. Ours is the first report on an in vitro tuber-inducing beneficial fungus.

      View details for PubMedID 23609909
  • Plumbagin, a medicinal plant (Plumbago zeylanica)-derived 1,4-naphthoquinone, inhibits growth and metastasis of human prostate cancer PC-3M-luciferase cells in an orthotopic xenograft mouse model. Mol Oncol
    Hafeez BB, Zhong W, Fischer JW, Mustafa A, Shi X, Meske L, Hong H, Cai W, Havighurst T, Kim K, Verma AK
    2013 Jun; 7 (3): 428-39
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      We present here first time that Plumbagin (PL), a medicinal plant-derived 1,4-naphthoquinone, inhibits the growth and metastasis of human prostate cancer (PCa) cells in an orthotopic xenograft mouse model. In this study, human PCa PC-3M-luciferase cells (2 × 10(6)) were injected into the prostate of athymic nude mice. Three days post cell implantation, mice were treated with PL (2 mg/kg body wt. i.p. five days in a week) for 8 weeks. Growth and metastasis of PC-3M-luciferase cells was examined weekly by bioluminescence imaging of live mice. PL-treatment significantly (p = 0.0008) inhibited the growth of orthotopic xenograft tumors. Results demonstrated a significant inhibition of metastasis into liver (p = 0.037), but inhibition of metastasis into the lungs (p = 0.60) and lymph nodes (p = 0.27) was not observed to be significant. These results were further confirmed by histopathology of these organs. Results of histopathology demonstrated a significant inhibition of metastasis into lymph nodes (p = 0.034) and lungs (p = 0.028), and a trend to significance in liver (p = 0.075). None of the mice in the PL-treatment group showed PCa metastasis into the liver, but these mice had small metastasis foci into the lymph nodes and lungs. However, control mice had large metastatic foci into the lymph nodes, lungs, and liver. PL-caused inhibition of the growth and metastasis of PC-3M cells accompanies inhibition of the expression of: 1) PKCε, pStat3Tyr705, and pStat3Ser727, 2) Stat3 downstream target genes (survivin and Bcl(xL)), 3) proliferative markers Ki-67 and PCNA, 4) metastatic marker MMP9, MMP2, and uPA, and 5) angiogenesis markers CD31 and VEGF. Taken together, these results suggest that PL inhibits tumor growth and metastasis of human PCa PC3-M-luciferase cells, which could be used as a therapeutic agent for the prevention and treatment of human PCa.

      View details for PubMedID 23273564
  • A phase III skin cancer chemoprevention study of DFMO: long-term follow-up of skin cancer events and toxicity. Cancer Prev Res (Phila)
    Kreul SM, Havighurst T, Kim K, Mendonça EA, Wood GS, Snow S, Borich A, Verma A, Bailey HH
    2012 Dec; 5 (12): 1368-74
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      Decreasing the incidence of nonmelanoma skin cancer (NMSC) is of great importance in regards to future healthcare services. Given the previously reported preventive effects of α-difluoromethylornithine (DFMO) in skin and colon cancer trials, we determined appropriate cause to update the clinical data on the subjects from the recently reported randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase III skin cancer prevention study of DFMO. Our intention was to retrospectively assess the further incidence of skin cancer, other malignancies, and adverse events of patients accrued to our phase III skin cancer prevention study of DFMO. Clinical records of 209 University of Wisconsin (UW) Health subjects were reviewed, and 2,092.7 person years of on study (884.3 person years) and poststudy (1,208.4 person years) follow-up for these patients were assessed for new NMSC events and recurrence rates from the on study period, the poststudy period, and the two study periods combined. No evidence of increased significant diagnoses or serious adverse events was observed in the DFMO participants. The initially observed, marginally significant reduction (P = 0.069) in NMSC rates for DFMO subjects relative to placebo continued without evidence of rebound. Event rates after discontinuation from study for total NMSCs (DFMO 0.236 NMSC/person/year, placebo 0.297, P = 0.48) or the subtypes of basal cell carcinomas (BCC; DFMO 0.179 BCC/person/year, placebo 0.190, P = 0.77) and squamous cell carcinomas (SCC; DFMO 0.057 SCC/person/year, placebo 0.107, P = 0.43) are listed. Follow-up data revealed a persistent but insignificant reduction in new NMSCs occurring in DFMO subjects without evidence of latent or cumulative toxicity relative to placebo subjects.

      View details for PubMedID 23060038
  • Plumbagin inhibits prostate cancer development in TRAMP mice via targeting PKCε, Stat3 and neuroendocrine markers. Carcinogenesis
    Hafeez BB, Zhong W, Mustafa A, Fischer JW, Witkowsky O, Verma AK
    2012 Dec; 33 (12): 2586-92
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      Plumbagin (PL), 5-hydroxy-2-methyl-1,4-naphthoquinone, is a quinoid constituent isolated from the roots of the medicinal plant Plumbago zeylanica L. (also known as chitrak). PL has also been found in Juglans regia (English Walnut), Juglans cinerea (whitenut) and Juglans nigra (blacknut). The roots of P. zeylanica have been used in Indian and Chinese systems of medicine for more than 2500 years for the treatment of various types of ailments. We were the first to report that PL inhibits the growth and invasion of hormone refractory prostate cancer (PCa) cells [Aziz,M.H. et al. (2008) Plumbagin, a medicinal plant-derived naphthoquinone, is a novel inhibitor of the growth and invasion of hormone-refractory prostate cancer. Cancer Res., 68, 9024-9032.]. Now, we present that PL inhibits in vivo PCa development in the transgenic adenocarcinoma of mouse prostate (TRAMP). PL treatment (2 mg/kg body weight i.p. in 0.2 ml phosphate-buffered saline, 5 days a week) to FVB-TRAMP resulted in a significant (P < 0.01) decrease in prostate tumor size and urogenital apparatus weights at 13 and 20 weeks. Histopathological analysis revealed that PL treatment inhibited progression of prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN) to poorly differentiated carcinoma (PDC). No animal exhibited diffuse tumor formation in PL-treated group at 13 weeks, whereas 75% of the vehicle-treated mice elicited diffuse PIN and large PDC at this stage. At 20 weeks, 25% of the PL-treated animals demonstrated diffuse PIN and 75% developed small PDC, whereas 100% of the vehicle-treated mice showed large PDC. PL treatment inhibited expression of protein kinase C epsilon (PKCε), signal transducers and activators of transcription 3 phosphorylation, proliferating cell nuclear antigen and neuroendocrine markers (synaptophysin and chromogranin-A) in excised prostate tumor tissues. Taken together, these results further suggest PL could be a novel chemopreventive agent against PCa.

      View details for PubMedID 22976928
  • Plumbagin, a plant derived natural agent inhibits the growth of pancreatic cancer cells in in vitro and in vivo via targeting EGFR, Stat3 and NF-κB signaling pathways. Int J Cancer
    Hafeez BB, Jamal MS, Fischer JW, Mustafa A, Verma AK
    2012 Nov 01; 131 (9): 2175-86
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      Pancreatic cancer (PC) is the most aggressive malignant disease, ranks as the fourth most leading cause of cancer-related death among men and women in the United States. We present here that plumbagin (PL), a quinoid constituent isolated from the roots of the medicinal plant Plumbago zeylanica L, inhibits the growth of PC cells both in vitro and in vivo model systems. PL treatment induces apoptosis and inhibits cell viability of PC cells (PANC1, BxPC3 and ASPC1). In addition, i.p. administration of PL (2 mg/kg body weight, 5 days a week) in severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) mice beginning 3 days after ectopic implantation of PANC1 cells resulted in a significant (P < 0.01) inhibition of both tumor weight and volume. PL treatment inhibited (1) constitutive expression of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), pStat3Tyr705 and pStat3Ser727, (2) DNA binding of Stat3 and (3) physical interaction of EGFR with Stat3, in both cultured PANC1 cells and their xenograft tumors. PL treatment also inhibited phosphorylation and DNA-binding activity of NF-κB in both cultured PC cells (PANC1 and ASPC1) and in PANC1 cells xenograft tumors. Downstream target genes (cyclin D1, MMP9 and Survivin) of Stat3 and NF-κB were similarly inhibited. These results suggest that PL may be used as a novel therapeutic agent against human PC. Published 2012 Wiley-Liss, Inc. This article is a US Government work, and, as such, is in the public domain in the United States of America.

      View details for PubMedID 22322442
  • Plumbagin (5-hydroxy-2-methyl-1,4-naphthoquinone), isolated from Plumbago zeylanica, inhibits ultraviolet radiation-induced development of squamous cell carcinomas. Carcinogenesis
    Sand JM, Bin Hafeez B, Jamal MS, Witkowsky O, Siebers EM, Fischer J, Verma AK
    2012 Jan; 33 (1): 184-90
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      Plumbagin (PL) (5-hydroxy-2-methyl-1,4-napthoquinone), a medicinal plant-derived naphthoquinone, was isolated from the roots of the Plumbago zeylanica L. (also known as Chitrak). The roots of P. zeylanica L. have been used in Indian medicine for >2500 years as an anti-atherogenic, cardiotonic, hepatoprotective and neuroprotective agent. We present here that topical application of non-toxic doses (100-500 nmol) of PL to skin elicits dose-dependent inhibition of ultraviolet radiation (UVR)-induced development of squamous cell carcinomas (SCC). In this experiment, FVB/N mice were exposed to UVR (2 kJ/m(2)) three times weekly from a bank of six Kodacel-filtered FS40 sunlamps (∼ 60% UVB and 40% UVA). Carcinoma incidence in mice treated with vehicle, 100, 200 or 500 nmol PL, at 44 weeks post-UVR, were 86, 80 (P = 0.67), 53 (P = 0.12) and 7% (P = 0.0075), respectively. Both vehicle and PL-treated mice gained weight and did not exhibit any signs of toxicity during the entire period of the experiment. Molecular mechanisms associated with inhibition of UVR-induced development of SCC involved induction of apoptosis and inhibition of cell proliferation. Specific findings are that PL treatment (i) inhibited UVR-induced DNA binding of activating protein-1, nuclear factor-kappaB, Stat3 transcription factors and Stat3-regulated molecules (cdc25A and Survivin); (ii) inhibited protein levels of pERK1/2, PI3K85, pAKTSer473, Bcl(2), BclxL, proliferating cell nuclear antigen and cell cycle inhibitory proteins p27 and p21 and (iii) increased UVR-induced Fas-associated death domain expression, poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase protein cleavage and Bax/Bcl(2) ratio. Taken together, our findings suggest that PL may be a novel agent for the prevention of skin cancer.

      View details for PubMedID 22072620
  • Ultraviolet radiation and 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate-induced interaction of mouse epidermal protein kinase Cε with Stat3 involve integration with ERK1/2. Mol Carcinog
    Sand JM, Bin Hafeez B, Aziz MH, Siebers EM, Dreckschmidt NE, Verma AK
    2012 Apr; 51 (4): 291-302
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      We have reported that protein kinase C epsilon (PKCε) expression level in epidermis dictates the susceptibility of mice to the development of squamous cell carcinomas (SCC) elicited either by repeated exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UVR) or by the DMBA-TPA tumor promotion protocol. To find clues about the mechanism by which PKCε mediates susceptibility to UVR-induced development of SCC, we found that PKCε-over-expressing transgenic mice, as compared to their wild-type littermates, when exposed to UVR, elicit enhanced phosphorylation of Stat3 at Ser727 residues. Stat3 is constitutively activated in SCC and UVR fails to induce SCC in Stat3 mutant mice. Stat3Ser727 phosphorylation is essential for Stat3 transcriptional activity (Cancer Res. 67: 1385, 2007). We now present several novel findings including that PKCε integrates with its downstream partner ERK1/2 to phosphorylate Stat3Ser727. In these experiments, mice were either exposed to UVR (2 kJ/m(2)/dose) emitted by Kodacel-filtered FS-40 sun lamps or treated with TPA (5 nmol). Both UVR and TPA treatment stimulated PKCε-Stat3 interaction, Stat3Ser727 phosphorylation and Stat3-regulated gene COX-2 expression. PKCε-Stat3 interaction and Stat3Ser727 phosphorylation was also observed in SCC elicited by repeated UVR exposures of mice. PKCε-Stat3 interaction was PKCε specific. UVR or TPA-stimulated Stat3Ser727 phosphorylation accompanied interaction of PKCε with ERK1/2 in intact mouse skin in vivo. Deletion of PKCε in wild-type mice attenuated both TPA and UVR-induced expression of phosphoforms of ERK1/2 and Stat3Ser727. These results indicate that PKCε integrates with ERK1/2 to mediate both TPA and UVR-induced epidermal Stat3Ser727 phosphorylation. PKCε and Stat3 may be potential molecular targets for SCC prevention.

      View details for PubMedID 21480396
  • Genetic ablation of PKC epsilon inhibits prostate cancer development and metastasis in transgenic mouse model of prostate adenocarcinoma. Cancer Res
    Hafeez BB, Zhong W, Weichert J, Dreckschmidt NE, Jamal MS, Verma AK
    2011 Mar 15; 71 (6): 2318-27
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      Protein kinase C epsilon (PKCε), a novel PKC isoform, is overexpressed in prostate cancer (PCa) and correlates with disease aggressiveness. However, the functional contribution of PKCε to development or progression of PCa remained to be determined. Here we present the first in vivo genetic evidence that PKCε is essential for both the development and metastasis of PCa in the transgenic mouse model of prostate adenocarcinoma (TRAMP). Heterozygous or homozygous genetic deletions of PKCε in FVB/N TRAMP inhibited PCa development and metastasis as analyzed by positron emission tomography/computed tomography, tumor weight determinations, and histopathology. We also examined biomarkers associated with tumor progression in this model, including markers of survival, proliferation, angiogenesis, inflammation, and metastatic progression. To find clues about the genes regulated by PKCε and linked to the Stat3 signaling pathway, we carried out focused PCR arrays of JAK/STAT signaling in excised PCa tissues from PKCε wild-type and nullizygous TRAMP mice. Notably, PKCε loss was associated with significant downregulation of proliferative and metastatic genes C/EBPβ (CCAAT/enhancer binding protein β), CRP (C-reactive protein), CMK, EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor), CD64, Jun B, and gp130. Taken together, our findings offer the first genetic evidence of the role of PKCε in PCa development and metastasis. PKCε may be potential target for prevention and/or treatment of PCa.

      View details for PubMedID 21406403
  • A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase 3 skin cancer prevention study of {alpha}-difluoromethylornithine in subjects with previous history of skin cancer. Cancer Prev Res (Phila)
    Bailey HH, Kim K, Verma AK, Sielaff K, Larson PO, Snow S, Lenaghan T, Viner JL, Douglas J, Dreckschmidt NE, Hamielec M, Pomplun M, Sharata HH, Puchalsky D, Berg ER, Havighurst TC, Carbone PP
    2010 Jan; 3 (1): 35-47
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      Preclinical studies have shown that the inhibition of ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) by alpha-difluoromethylornithine (DFMO) and resultant decreases in tissue concentrations of polyamines (putrescine and spermidine) prevents neoplastic developments in many tissue types. Clinical studies of oral DFMO at 500 mg/m(2)/day revealed it to be safe and tolerable and resulted in significant inhibition of phorbol ester-induced skin ODC activity. Two hundred and ninety-one participants (mean age, 61 years; 60% male) with a history of prior nonmelanoma skin cancer (NMSC; mean, 4.5 skin cancers) were randomized to oral DFMO (500 mg/m(2)/day) or placebo for 4 to 5 years. There was a trend toward a history of more prior skin cancers in subjects randomized to placebo, but all other characteristics including sunscreen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug use were evenly distributed. Evaluation of 1,200 person-years of follow-up revealed a new NMSC rate of 0.5 events/person/year. The primary end point, new NMSCs, was not significantly different between subjects taking DFMO and placebo (260 versus 363 cancers, P = 0.069, two-sample t test). Evaluation of basal cell (BCC) and squamous cell cancers separately revealed very little difference in squamous cell cancer between treatment groups but a significant difference in new BCC (DFMO, 163 cancers; placebo, 243 cancers; expressed as event rate of 0.28 BCC/person/year versus 0.40 BCC/person/year, P = 0.03). Compliance with DFMO was >90% and it seemed to be well tolerated with evidence of mild ototoxicity as measured by serial audiometric examination when compared with placebo subjects. The analysis of normal skin biopsies revealed a significant (P < 0.05) decrease in 12-0-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate-induced ODC activity (month 24, 36, and 48) and putrescine concentration (month 24 and 36 only) in DFMO subjects. Subjects with a history of skin cancer taking daily DFMO had an insignificant reduction (P = 0.069) in new NMSC that was predominantly due to a marked reduction in new BCC. Based on these data, the potential of DFMO, alone or in combination, to prevent skin cancers should be explored further.

      View details for PubMedID 20051371
  • PKCepsilon overexpression, irrespective of genetic background, sensitizes skin to UVR-induced development of squamous-cell carcinomas. J Invest Dermatol
    Sand JM, Aziz MH, Dreckschmidt NE, Havighurst TC, Kim K, Oberley TD, Verma AK
    2010 Jan; 130 (1): 270-7
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      Chronic exposure to UVR is the major etiologic factor in the development of human skin cancers including squamous-cell carcinoma (SCC). We have previously shown that protein Kinase C epsilon (PKCepsilon) transgenic mice on FVB/N background, which overexpress PKCepsilon protein approximately eightfold over endogenous levels in epidermis, exhibit about threefold more sensitivity than wild-type littermates to UVR-induced development of SCC. To determine whether it is PKCepsilon and not the mouse genetic background that determines susceptibility to UVR carcinogenesis, we cross-bred PKCepsilon FVB/N transgenic mice with SKH-1 hairless mice to generate PKCepsilon-overexpressing SKH-1 hairless mice. To evaluate the susceptibility of PKCepsilon SKH-1 hairless transgenic mice to UVR carcinogenesis, the mice were exposed to UVR (1-2 KJ m(-2)) three times weekly from a bank of six kodacel-filtered FS40 sunlamps. As compared with the wild-type hairless mice, PKCepsilon overexpression in SKH-1 hairless mice decreased the latency (12 weeks), whereas it increased the incidence (twofold) and multiplicity (fourfold) of SCC. The SKH hairless transgenic mice were observed to be as sensitive as FVB/N transgenic mice to UVR-induced development of SCC and expression of proliferative markers (proliferating cell nuclear antigen, signal transducers and activators of transcription 3, and extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2). The results indicate that PKCepsilon level dictates susceptibility, irrespective of genetic background, to UVR carcinogenesis.

      View details for PubMedID 19626035
  • Uncertainty analysis based on probability bounds (p-box) approach in probabilistic safety assessment. Risk Anal
    Karanki DR, Kushwaha HS, Verma AK, Ajit S
    2009 May; 29 (5): 662-75
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      A wide range of uncertainties will be introduced inevitably during the process of performing a safety assessment of engineering systems. The impact of all these uncertainties must be addressed if the analysis is to serve as a tool in the decision-making process. Uncertainties present in the components (input parameters of model or basic events) of model output are propagated to quantify its impact in the final results. There are several methods available in the literature, namely, method of moments, discrete probability analysis, Monte Carlo simulation, fuzzy arithmetic, and Dempster-Shafer theory. All the methods are different in terms of characterizing at the component level and also in propagating to the system level. All these methods have different desirable and undesirable features, making them more or less useful in different situations. In the probabilistic framework, which is most widely used, probability distribution is used to characterize uncertainty. However, in situations in which one cannot specify (1) parameter values for input distributions, (2) precise probability distributions (shape), and (3) dependencies between input parameters, these methods have limitations and are found to be not effective. In order to address some of these limitations, the article presents uncertainty analysis in the context of level-1 probabilistic safety assessment (PSA) based on a probability bounds (PB) approach. PB analysis combines probability theory and interval arithmetic to produce probability boxes (p-boxes), structures that allow the comprehensive propagation through calculation in a rigorous way. A practical case study is also carried out with the developed code based on the PB approach and compared with the two-phase Monte Carlo simulation results.

      View details for PubMedID 19302279
  • Protein kinase Cepsilon inhibits UVR-induced expression of FADD, an adaptor protein, linked to both Fas- and TNFR1-mediated apoptosis. J Invest Dermatol
    Aziz MH, Sundling KE, Dreckschmidt NE, Verma AK
    2009 Aug; 129 (8): 2011-21
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      Protein kinase C (PKC)epsilon overexpression in FVB/N transgenic mice sensitized skin to UVR-induced development of squamous cell carcinomas and suppressed formation of sunburn cells, which are DNA-damaged keratinocytes undergoing apoptosis. Here, we elucidated the mechanisms associated with the inhibition of UVR-induced appearance of sunburn cells in PKCepsilon transgenic mice. We found that the inhibition of UVR-induced sunburn cell formation in PKCepsilon transgenic mice may be the result of the inhibition of the expression of Fas, Fas ligand, and the mammalian death adaptor protein termed Fas-associated with death domain (FADD). The adaptor protein FADD is the key component of the death-inducing signaling complex of both Fas and tumor necrosis factor receptor 1. A decreased expression of epidermal FADD was observed after a single UVR exposure. However, a complete loss of FADD expression was found after four (Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Monday) repeated UVR exposures. FADD transmits apoptotic signals from death receptors to the downstream initiator caspase-8 and connects to the mitochondrial intrinsic apoptotic signal transduction pathway by the cleavage of Bid, a Bcl-2 family member. PKCepsilon-mediated loss of FADD expression inhibited UVR signals to the activation of both extrinsic and intrinsic apoptotic pathways.

      View details for PubMedID 19194472
  • Plumbagin, a medicinal plant-derived naphthoquinone, is a novel inhibitor of the growth and invasion of hormone-refractory prostate cancer. Cancer Res
    Aziz MH, Dreckschmidt NE, Verma AK
    2008 Nov 01; 68 (21): 9024-32
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      Prostate cancer (PCa) is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in men. Hormone-refractory invasive PCa is the end stage and accounts for the majority of PCa patient deaths. We present here that plumbagin (PL), a quinoid constituent isolated from the root of the medicinal plant Plumbago zeylanica L., may be a potential novel agent in the control of hormone-refractory PCa. Specific observations are the findings that PL inhibited PCa cell invasion and selectively induced apoptosis in PCa cells but not in immortalized nontumorigenic prostate epithelial RWPE-1 cells. In addition, i.p. administration of PL (2 mg/kg body weight), beginning 3 days after ectopic implantation of hormone-refractory DU145 PCa cells, delayed tumor growth by 3 weeks and reduced both tumor weight and volume by 90%. Discontinuation of PL treatment in PL-treated mice for as long as 4 weeks did not result in progression of tumor growth. PL, at concentrations as low as 5 micromol/L, inhibited in both cultured PCa cells and DU145 xenografts (a) the expression of protein kinase Cepsilon (PKCepsilon), phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase, phosphorylated AKT, phosphorylated Janus-activated kinase-2, and phosphorylated signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (Stat3); (b) the DNA-binding activity of transcription factors activator protein-1, nuclear factor-kappaB, and Stat3; and (c) Bcl-xL, cdc25A, and cyclooxygenase-2 expression. The results indicate for the first time, using both in vitro and in vivo preclinical models, that PL inhibits the growth and invasion of PCa. PL inhibits multiple molecular targets including PKCepsilon, a predictive biomarker of PCa aggressiveness. PL may be a novel agent for therapy of hormone-refractory PCa.

      View details for PubMedID 18974148
  • Differential tumor biology effects of double-initiation in a mouse skin chemical carcinogenesis model comparing wild type versus protein kinase Cepsilon overexpression mice. Toxicol Pathol
    Li Y, Wheeler DL, Ananthaswamy HN, Verma AK, Oberley TD
    2007 Dec; 35 (7): 942-51
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      Our previous studies showed that protein kinase Cepsilon (PKCepsilon) verexpression in mouse skin resulted in metastatic squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) elicited by single 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene (DMBA)-initiation and 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA)-promotion in the absence of preceding papilloma formation as is typically observed in wild type mice. The present study demonstrates that double-DMBA initiation modulates tumor incidence, multiplicity, and latency period in both wild type and PKCepsilon overexpression transgenic (PKCepsilon-Tg) mice. After 17 weeks (wks) of tumor promotion, a reduction in papilloma multiplicity was observed in double- versus single-DMBA initiated wild type mice. Papilloma multiplicity was inversely correlated with cell death indices of interfollicular keratinocytes, indicating decreased papilloma formation was caused by increased cell death and suggesting the origin of papillomas is in interfollicular epidermis. Double-initiated PKCepsilon-Tg mice had accelerated carcinoma formation and cancer incidence in comparison to single-initiated PKCepsilon-Tg mice. Morphologic analysis of mouse skin following double initiation and tumor promotion showed a similar if not identical series of events to those previously observed following single initiation and tumor promotion: putative preneoplastic cells were observed arising from hyperplastic hair follicles (HFs) with subsequent cancer cell infiltration into the dermis. Single-initiated PKCepsilon-Tg mice exhibited increased mitosis in epidermal cells of HFs during tumor promotion.

      View details for PubMedID 18098040
  • Protein kinase Cepsilon interacts with signal transducers and activators of transcription 3 (Stat3), phosphorylates Stat3Ser727, and regulates its constitutive activation in prostate cancer. Cancer Res
    Aziz MH, Manoharan HT, Church DR, Dreckschmidt NE, Zhong W, Oberley TD, Wilding G, Verma AK
    2007 Sep 15; 67 (18): 8828-38
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      Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer in men and ranks second only to lung cancer in cancer-related deaths. The management of locally advanced prostate cancer is difficult because the cancer often becomes hormone insensitive and unresponsive to current chemotherapeutic agents. Knowledge about the regulatory molecules involved in the transformation to androgen-independent prostate cancer is essential for the rational design of agents to prevent and treat prostate cancer. Protein kinase Cepsilon (PKCepsilon), a member of the novel PKC subfamily, is linked to the development of androgen-independent prostate cancer. PKCepsilon expression levels, as determined by immunohistochemistry of human prostate cancer tissue microarrays, correlated with the aggressiveness of prostate cancer. The mechanism by which PKCepsilon mediates progression to prostate cancer remains elusive. We present here for the first time that signal transducers and activators of transcription 3 (Stat3), which is constitutively activated in a wide variety of human cancers, including prostate cancer, interacts with PKCepsilon. The interaction of PKCepsilon with Stat3 was observed in human prostate cancer, human prostate cancer cell lines (LNCaP, DU145, PC3, and CW22rv1), and prostate cancer that developed in transgenic adenocarcinoma of mouse prostate mice. In reciprocal immunoprecipitation/blotting experiments, prostatic Stat3 coimmunoprecipitated with PKCepsilon. Localization of PKCepsilon with Stat3 was confirmed by double immunofluorescence staining. The interaction of PKCepsilon with Stat3 was PKCepsilon isoform specific. Inhibition of PKCepsilon protein expression in DU145 cells using specific PKCepsilon small interfering RNA (a) inhibited Stat3Ser727 phosphorylation, (b) decreased both Stat3 DNA-binding and transcriptional activity, and (c) decreased DU145 cell invasion. These results indicate that PKCepsilon activation is essential for constitutive activation of Stat3 and prostate cancer progression.

      View details for PubMedID 17875724
  • Protein kinase Cepsilon interacts with Stat3 and regulates its activation that is essential for the development of skin cancer. Mol Carcinog
    Aziz MH, Manoharan HT, Sand JM, Verma AK
    2007 Aug; 46 (8): 646-53
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      Protein kinase C (PKC) represents a large family of phosphatidylserine (PS)-dependent serine/threonine protein kinases. At least six PKC isoforms (alpha, delta, epsilon, eta, micro, and zeta) are expressed in epidermis. PKC is a major intracellular receptor for 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA) and is also activated by a variety of stress factors including ultraviolet radiation (UVR). PKC isozymes (alpha, delta, epsilon, and eta), exhibit specificities to the development of skin cancer. PKCepsilon, a calcium-insensitive PKC isoform, is linked to the development of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) elicited either by the 7,12-Dimethylbenzanthracene (DMBA)-TPA protocol or by repeated exposures to UVR. PKCepsilon overexpressing transgenic mice, when treated either with TPA or exposed to UVR, elicit similar responses such as inhibition of apoptosis, promotion of cell survival, and development of SCC. PKCepsilon overexpression increases Stat3 activation after either TPA treatment or UVR exposure. Both PKCepsilon and signal transducers and activators of transcription-3 (Stat3) are implicated in the development of SCC. However, the link between PKCepsilon and Stat3 remains elusive. We found that PKCepsilon interacts with Stat3. PKCepsilon interaction with Stat3 was dependent upon UVR treatment. In reciprocal immunoprecipitation/blotting experiments, Stat3 coimmunoprecipitated with PKCepsilon. Colocalization of PKCepsilon with Stat3 was confirmed by double immunofluorescence staining. PKCepsilon interaction with Stat3 was PKCepsilon isoform specific and was not observed with other protein kinases. As observed in vitro with immunocomplex kinase assay with immunopurified PKCepsilon and Stat3, PKCepsilon phosphorylated Stat3 at the serine 727 residue. PKCepsilon depletion prevented Stat3Ser727 phosphorylation, Stat3 DNA binding, and transcriptional activity. The results presented indicate that PKCepsilon mediates Stat3 activation.

      View details for PubMedID 17583567
  • Protein kinase C epsilon, which sensitizes skin to sun's UV radiation-induced cutaneous damage and development of squamous cell carcinomas, associates with Stat3. Cancer Res
    Aziz MH, Manoharan HT, Verma AK
    2007 Feb 01; 67 (3): 1385-94
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      Chronic exposure to UV radiation (UVR) is the major etiologic factor in the development of human skin cancers including squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). We have shown that protein kinase C(epsilon) (PKC(epsilon)), a Ca(2+)-independent, phospholipid-dependent serine/threonine kinase, is an endogenous photosensitizer. PKC(epsilon) is among the six isoforms (alpha, delta, epsilon, eta, mu, and zeta) expressed in both mouse and human skin. PKC(epsilon) transgenic mice, which overexpress PKC(epsilon) in the basal epidermal cells and cells of the hair follicle, are highly sensitive to UVR-induced cutaneous damage and development of SCC. We now present that PKC(epsilon)-overexpressing, but not PKC(delta)-overexpressing, transgenic mice, when exposed to a single (4 kJ/m(2)) or repeated (four doses, 2 kJ/m(2)/dose, thrice weekly) UVR, emitted by Kodacel-filtered FS-40 sun lamps, elicit constitutive phosphorylation of signal transducers and activators of transcription 3 (Stat3) at both Tyr705 and Ser727 residues. UVR-induced phosphorylation of Stat3 accompanied increased expression of Stat3-regulated genes (c-myc, cyclin D1, cdc25A, and COX-2). In reciprocal immunoprecipitation/blotting experiments, phosphorylated Stat3 co-immunoprecipitated with PKC(epsilon). As observed in vivo using PKC(epsilon) knockout mice and in vitro in an immunocomplex kinase assay, PKC(epsilon) phosphorylated Stat3 at Ser727 residue. These results indicate for the first time that (a) PKC(epsilon) is a Stat3Ser727 kinase; (b) PKC(epsilon)-mediated phosphorylation of StatSer727 may be essential for transcriptional activity of Stat3; and (c) UVR-induced phosphorylation of Ser727 may be a key component of the mechanism by which PKC(epsilon) imparts sensitivity to UVR-induced development of SCC.

      View details for PubMedID 17283176
  • Protein kinase Cepsilon and development of squamous cell carcinoma, the nonmelanoma human skin cancer. Mol Carcinog
    Verma AK, Wheeler DL, Aziz MH, Manoharan H
    2006 Jun; 45 (6): 381-8
    • More

      Protein kinase C (PKC) represents a large family of phosphatidylserine (PS)-dependent serine/threonine protein kinases. At least five PKC isoforms (alpha, delta, epsilon, eta, and zeta) are expressed in epidermal keratinocytes. PKC isoforms are differentially expressed in proliferative (basal layer) and nonproliferative compartments (spinous, granular, cornified layers), which exhibit divergence in their roles in the regulation of epidermal cell proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis. Immunocytochemical localization of PKC isoforms indicate that PKCalpha is found in the membranes of suprabasal cells in the spinous and granular layers. PKCepsilon is mostly localized in the proliferative basal layers. PKCeta is localized exclusively in the granular layer. PKCdelta is detected throughout the epidermis. PKC isozymes exhibit specificities in their signals to the development of skin cancer. PKCepsilon, a calcium-insensitive PKC isoform mediates the induction of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) elicited either by the DMBA-TPA protocol or by repeated exposures to ultraviolet radiation (UVR). PKCepsilon overexpression, which sensitizes skin to UVR-induced carcinogenesis, suppresses UVR-induced sunburn (apoptotic) cell formation, and enhances both UVR-induced levels of TNFalpha and hyperplasia. UVR-induced sunburn cell formation is mediated by Fas/Fas-L and TNFalpha NFR1 extrinsic apoptotic pathways. The death adaptor protein termed Fas-associated death domain (FADD) is a common adaptor protein for both of these apoptotic pathways. PKCepsilon inhibits UVR-induced expression of FADD leading to the inhibition of both apoptotic pathways. It appears that PKCepsilon sensitizes skin to the development of SCC by UVR by transducting signals, which inhibit apoptosis on one hand, and enhances proliferation of preneoplastic cells on the other hand.

      View details for PubMedID 16683253
  • Protein kinase C delta overexpressing transgenic mice are resistant to chemically but not to UV radiation-induced development of squamous cell carcinomas: a possible link to specific cytokines and cyclooxygenase-2. Cancer Res
    Aziz MH, Wheeler DL, Bhamb B, Verma AK
    2006 Jan 15; 66 (2): 713-22
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      Protein kinase C delta (PKCdelta), a Ca(2+)-independent, phospholipid-dependent serine/threonine kinase, is among the novel PKCs (delta, epsilon, and eta) expressed in mouse epidermis. We reported that FVB/N transgenic mice that overexpress ( approximately 8-fold) PKCdelta protein in basal epidermal cells and cells of the hair follicle are resistant to the development of both skin papillomas and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) elicited by 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene initiation and 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA) promotion protocol. We now present that PKCdelta overexpression in transgenic mice failed to suppress the induction of SCC developed by repeated exposures to UV radiation (UVR), the environmental carcinogen linked to the development of human SCC. Both TPA and UVR treatment of wild-type mice (a) increased the expression of proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) and apoptosis; (b) stimulated the expression of cytokines tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), and granulocyte CSF (G-CSF); and (c) increased cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) expression and expression of phosphorylated Akt (p-Akt), p38, extracellular signal-regulated kinase-1 (ERK1), and ERK2. PKCdelta overexpression in transgenic mice enhanced TPA-induced but not UVR-induced apoptosis and suppressed TPA-stimulated but not UVR-stimulated levels of cell PCNA, cytokines (TNF-alpha, G-CSF, and GM-CSF), and the expression of COX-2, p-Akt, and p38. The results indicate that UVR-mediated signal transduction pathway to the induction of SCC does not seem to be sensitive to PKCdelta overexpression. The proapoptotic activity of PKCdelta coupled with its ability to suppress TPA-induced expression of proinflammatory cytokines, COX-2 expression, and the phosphorylation of Akt and p38 may play roles in the suppression of TPA-promoted development of SCC.

      View details for PubMedID 16424000
  • Early epidermal destruction with subsequent epidermal hyperplasia is a unique feature of the papilloma-independent squamous cell carcinoma phenotype in PKCepsilon overexpressing transgenic mice. Toxicol Pathol
    Li Y, Wheeler DL, Alters W, Chaiswing L, Verma AK, Oberley TD
    2005; 33 (6): 684-94
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      Protein kinase C epsilon (PKCepsilon) overexpressing transgenic (PKCepsilon Tg) mice develop papilloma-independent squamous cell carcinomas (SCC) elicited by 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene (DMBA) tumor initiation and 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA) tumor promotion. We examined whether epidermal cell turnover kinetics was altered during the development of SCC in PKCepsilon Tg mice. Dorsal skin samples were fixed for histological examination. A single application of TPA resulted in extensive infiltration of polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMNs) into the epidermis at 24 h after TPA treatment in PKCepsilon Tg mice while wild-type (WT) mouse skin showed focal infiltration by PMNs. Complete epidermal necrosis was observed at 48 h in PKCepsilon Tg mice only; at 72 h, epidermal cell regeneration beginning from hair follicles was observed in PKCepsilon Tg mice. Since the first TPA treatment to DMBA-initiated PKCepsilon Tg mouse skin led to epidermal destruction analogous to skin abrasion, we propose the papilloma-independent phenotype may be explained by death of initiated interfollicular cells originally destined to become papillomas. Epidermal destruction did not occur after multiple doses of TPA, presumably reflecting adaptation of epidermis to chronic TPA treatment. Prolonged hyperplasia in the hair follicle may result in the early neoplastic lesions originally described by Jansen et al. (2001) by expanding initiated cells in the hair follicles resulting in the subsequent development of SCC.

      View details for PubMedID 16243773
  • Overexpression of protein kinase C-{epsilon} in the mouse epidermis leads to a spontaneous myeloproliferative-like disease. Am J Pathol
    Wheeler DL, Reddig PJ, Ness KJ, Leith CP, Oberley TD, Verma AK
    2005 Jan; 166 (1): 117-26
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      Protein kinase C (PKC)-epsilon, a Ca(2+)-independent, phospholipid-dependent serine/threonine kinase, is among the PKC isoforms expressed in mouse epidermis. We reported that FVB/N transgenic mouse lines that overexpress (8- or 18-fold) PKC-epsilon protein in basal epidermal cells and cells of the hair follicle develop papilloma-independent squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) elicited by 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene initiation and 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate-promotion or by repeated ultraviolet radiation exposures. The susceptibility to the development of SCC was proportional to the level of expression of the PKC-epsilon transgene. We now report that PKC-epsilon FVB/N transgenic mice (line 215) that overexpress in epidermis approximately 18-fold PKC-epsilon protein more than their wild-type littermates spontaneously develop a myeloproliferative-like disease (MPD) in 100% of PKC-epsilon transgenic mice. The MPD was characterized by an excess of neutrophils and eosinophils, resulting in invasion of almost all vital organs of the mouse by 6 months of age. On gross examination these mice present with splenomegaly, hepatomegaly, and severe lymphadenopathy. Examination of the bone marrow revealed almost complete effacement by neutrophils, eosinophils, and their precursors. Furthermore, the spleen and lymph nodes were enlarged and exhibited marked extramedullary hematopoiesis. Complete pathological analysis of the second PKC-epsilon transgenic mouse (line 224) that expresses approximately eightfold PKC-epsilon protein more than their wild-type littermates revealed no remarkable findings in any of the affected organs as seen in line 215. However, peripheral blood analyses of PKC-epsilon transgenic mice indicated significant increases of neutrophils in the circulating blood in both PKC-epsilon transgenic lines. To determine whether there was an imbalance of cytokines in PKC-epsilon transgenic mice (line 215), resulting in aberrant myelopoiesis, we analyzed 17 cytokines in the peripheral blood. This analysis indicated that interleukin-5, interleukin-6, and granulocyte-colony stimulating factor were up-regulated as a function of age. The transgene PKC-epsilon was not detected in any of the affected organs (bone marrow, liver, spleen, lung) We suggest that overexpression of PKC-epsilon in the epidermis may lead to the induction of specific cytokines that may, in a paracrine mechanism, perturb normal hematopoiesis in bone marrow resulting in a granulocytic skew toward that of neutrophils and eosinophils. The susceptibility of PKC-epsilon transgenic mice to the induction of SCC and the spontaneous development of MPD are unrelated.

      View details for PubMedID 15632005
  • Protein kinase C epsilon is an endogenous photosensitizer that enhances ultraviolet radiation-induced cutaneous damage and development of squamous cell carcinomas. Cancer Res
    Wheeler DL, Martin KE, Ness KJ, Li Y, Dreckschmidt NE, Wartman M, Ananthaswamy HN, Mitchell DL, Verma AK
    2004 Nov 01; 64 (21): 7756-65
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      Chronic exposure to UV radiation (UVR), especially in the UVA (315-400 nm) and UVB (280-315 nm) spectrum of sunlight, is the major risk factor for the development of nonmelanoma skin cancer. UVR is a complete carcinogen, which both initiates and promotes carcinogenesis. We found that protein kinase C epsilon (PKCepsilon), a member of the phospholipid-dependent threonine/serine kinase family, is an endogenous photosensitizer, the overexpression of which in the epidermis increases the susceptibility of mice to UVR-induced cutaneous damage and development of squamous cell carcinoma. The PKCepsilon transgenic mouse (FVB/N) lines 224 and 215 overexpressed 8- and 18-fold PKCepsilon protein, respectively, over endogenous levels in basal epidermal cells. UVR exposure (1 kJ/m(2) three times weekly) induced irreparable skin damage in high PKCepsilon-overexpressing mouse line 215. However, the PKCepsilon transgenic mouse line 224, when exposed to UVR (2 kJ/m(2) three times weekly), exhibited minimum cutaneous damage but increased squamous cell carcinoma multiplicity by 3-fold and decreased tumor latency by 12 weeks. UVR exposure of PKCepsilon transgenic mice compared with wild-type littermates (1) elevated the levels of neither cyclobutane pyrimidine dimer nor pyrimidine (6-4) pyrimidone dimer, (2) reduced the appearance of sunburn cells, (3) induced extensive hyperplasia and increased the levels of mouse skin tumor promoter marker ornithine decarboxylase, and (4) elevated the levels of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFalpha) and other growth stimulatory cytokines, granulocyte colony-stimulating factor, and granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor. The role of TNFalpha in UVR-induced cutaneous damage was evaluated using PKCepsilon transgenic mice deficient in TNFalpha. UVR treatment three times weekly for 13 weeks at 2 kJ/m(2) induced severe cutaneous damage in PKCepsilon transgenic mice (line 215), which was partially prevented in PKCepsilon-transgenic TNFalpha-knockout mice. Taken together, the results indicate that PKCepsilon signals UVR-induced TNFalpha release that is linked, at least in part, to the photosensitivity of PKCepsilon transgenic mice.

      View details for PubMedID 15520180
  • Protein kinase C epsilon signals ultraviolet light-induced cutaneous damage and development of squamous cell carcinoma possibly through Induction of specific cytokines in a paracrine mechanism. Photochem Photobiol
    Wheeler DL, Li Y, Verma AK
    2005 Jan-Feb; 81 (1): 9-18
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      Protein kinase C (PKC), a family of phospholipid-dependent serine/threonine kinases, is not only the major intracellular receptor for the mouse skin tumor promoter 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA) but also is activated by a variety of stress factors including ultraviolet radiation (UVR). PKCepsilon is among six isoforms (alpha, delta, epsilon, eta, mu and zeta) expressed in the mouse skin. To determine the in vivo functional specificity of PKCepsilon in mouse skin carcinogenesis, we generated PKCepsilon transgenic mouse (FVB/N) lines 224 and 215 that overexpress PKCepsilon protein approximately 8- and 18-fold, respectively, over endogenous levels in the basal epidermal cells and cells of the hair follicle. PKCepsilon transgenic mice were observed to be highly sensitive to the development of papilloma-independent metastatic squamous cell carcinoma (mSCC) elicited either by repeated exposure to UVR or by the 7,12-Dimethylbenzanthracene-TPA tumor promotion protocol. The development of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) appears to be linked to the PKCepsilon-mediated induction of cytokine tumor necrosis factor-alpha(TNFalpha). Immunohistochemical analysis for the expression of PKCepsilon in the SCC of PKCepsilon transgenic mice revealed that PKCepsilon was not expressed in the tumor itself; however, the uninvolved tissue surrounding the SCC exhibited intense PKCepsilon expression. Also, human SCC, similar to mouse SCC, did not express PKCepsilon in the tumor, whereas the surrounding uninvolved epidermis revealed strong PKCepsilon expression. These findings in both the PKCepsilon mouse model and human SCC indicate that overexpression of PKCepsilon in epidermis may lead to a microenvironment, which is suitable for enhancing the development of mSCC by a paracrine mechanism involving specific cytokines including TNFalpha.

      View details for PubMedID 15458367
  • Protein kinase Cepsilon is linked to 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate-induced tumor necrosis factor-alpha ectodomain shedding and the development of metastatic squamous cell carcinoma in protein kinase Cepsilon transgenic mice. Cancer Res
    Wheeler DL, Ness KJ, Oberley TD, Verma AK
    2003 Oct 01; 63 (19): 6547-55
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      Protein kinase Cepsilon (PKCepsilon), a Ca(2+)-independent, phospholipid-dependent serine/threonine kinase, is among the PKC isoforms expressed in mouse epidermis. We reported that FVB/N transgenic mice that overexpress ( approximately 18-fold) PKCepsilon protein in basal epidermal cells and cells of the hair follicle develop papilloma-independent metastatic squamous cell carcinoma (mSCC) elicited by 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene-initiation and 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA)-promotion protocol. We now present that PKCepsilon transgenic mice elicit elevated serum tumor necrosis factor (TNF)alpha levels during skin tumor promotion by TPA, and this increase may be linked to the development of mSCC. A single topical application of TPA (5 nmol) to the skin, as early as 2.5 h after treatment, resulted in a significant (P < 0.01) increase (2-fold) in epidermal TNFalpha and more than a 6-fold increase in ectodomain shedding of TNFalpha into the serum of PKCepsilon transgenic mice relative to their wild-type littermates. Furthermore, this TPA-stimulated TNFalpha shedding was proportional to the level of expression of PKCepsilon in the epidermis. Using the TNF-alpha converting enzyme (TACE) inhibitor, TAPI-1, TPA-stimulated TNFalpha shedding could be completely prevented in PKCepsilon transgenic mice and isolated keratinocytes. These results indicate that PKCepsilon signal transduction pathways to TPA-stimulated TNFalpha ectodomain shedding are mediated by TACE, a transmembrane metalloprotease. Using the superoxide dismutase mimetic CuDIPs and the glutathione reductase mimetic ebselen, TPA-stimulated TNFalpha shedding from PKCepsilon transgenic mice could be completely attenuated, implying the role of reactive oxygen species. Finally, i.p. injection of a TNFalpha synthesis inhibitor, pentoxifylline, during skin tumor promotion completely prevented the development of mSCC in PKCepsilon transgenic mice. Taken together, these results indicate that: (a) PKCepsilon activation is an initial signal in TPA-induced shedding of TNFalpha from epidermal keratinocytes; (b) PKCepsilon-mediated signals to TACE are possibly mediated through reactive oxygen species; and (c) TPA-induced TNFalpha shedding may play a role in the development of mSCC in PKCepsilon transgenic mice.

      View details for PubMedID 14559850
  • Inhibition of the development of metastatic squamous cell carcinoma in protein kinase C epsilon transgenic mice by alpha-difluoromethylornithine accompanied by marked hair follicle degeneration and hair loss. Cancer Res
    Wheeler DL, Ness KJ, Oberley TD, Verma AK
    2003 Jun 15; 63 (12): 3037-42
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      The role of 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA)-stimulated polyamine biosynthesis in the development of metastatic squamous cell carcinoma (mSCC) in protein kinase C epsilon (PKC epsilon) transgenic mice was determined. TPA treatment induced epidermal ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) activity and putrescine levels approximately 3-4-fold more in PKC epsilon transgenic mice than their wild-type littermates. Development of mSCC by the 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene (100 nmol)-TPA (5 nmol) protocol in PKC epsilon transgenic mice was completely prevented by administration of the suicide inhibitor of ODC alpha-difluoromethylornithine (DFMO, 0.5% w/v) in the drinking water during TPA promotion. However, DFMO treatment led to marked hair loss in PKC epsilon transgenic mice. DFMO treatment-associated hair loss in PKC epsilon transgenic mice was accompanied by a decrease in the number of intact hair follicles. These results indicate that TPA-induced ODC activity and the resultant accumulation of putrescine in PKC epsilon transgenic mice are linked to growth and maintenance of hair follicles, and the development of mSCC. Severe hair loss observed in PKC epsilon transgenic mice on DFMO during skin tumor promotion has not been reported before in the prevention of cancer in other animal models or in human cancer prevention trials.

      View details for PubMedID 12810623
  • Induction of apoptosis and inhibition of papilloma formation may signal a new role for okadaic acid. Life Sci
    Elegbede JA, Hayes K, Schell K, Oberley TD, Verma AK
    2002 Jun 14; 71 (4): 421-36
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      Okadaic acid (OA), a tumor promoter in the mouse skin carcinogenesis model, has been shown to induce apoptosis in tumor cell lines that harbor H-ras mutations. We examined the effects of OA on mouse keratinocytes with (308) and without (C50) H-ras mutation in vitro and in an in vivo system. Following exposure to varying concentrations of OA over time, the effects of OA in vitro were assessed using microscopic, biochemical and flow cytometric techniques. OA effects on the cells included incorporation of propidium iodide, externalization of phosphatidylserine, and development of hypodiploidy. 308 cells demonstrated typical DNA ladder formation, rapid chromatin and nuclear condensation, while C50 cells demonstrated delayed chromatin condensation and nuclear fragmentation, but no DNA ladder formation. In vivo, OA elicited delayed papilloma formation and reduced tumor multiplicity. Though its mechanism of action is not fully known, we found that OA-induced inhibition of the clonal expansion of initiated cells may be related to the presence or absence of H-ras mutation.

      View details for PubMedID 12044842
  • Protein kinase Cdelta-mediated signal to ornithine decarboxylase induction is independent of skin tumor suppression. Oncogene
    Wheeler DL, Reddig PJ, Dreckschmidt NE, Leitges M, Verma AK
    2002 May 16; 21 (22): 3620-30
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      Protein Kinase Cdelta (PKCdelta), a Ca(2+)-independent, phospholipid-dependent serine/threonine kinase, is among the PKC isoforms expressed in mouse epidermis. We reported that FVB/N transgenic mice that overexpress ( approximately eightfold) PKCdelta protein in basal epidermal cells are resistant to skin tumor formation by the 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene (DMBA)-initiation and 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA)-promotion protocol. However, despite being resistant to skin tumor promotion by TPA, PKCdelta transgenic mice elicited a 3-4-fold increase in TPA-induced epidermal ODC activity and putrescine levels than their wild-type littermates. PKCdelta was observed to be the key component of the TPA signal transduction pathways to the induction of mouse epidermal ODC activity. To determine if TPA-induced ODC activity and associated putrescine levels in PKCdelta transgenic mice contributed to PKCdelta-mediated suppression of skin tumor promotion by TPA, the irreversible inhibitor of ODC, alpha-difluoromethylornithine (DFMO), was used. PKCdelta transgenic mice and their wild-type littermates were initiated with 100 nmol DMBA and then promoted twice weekly with 5 nmol TPA. The experimental group was given 0.5% DFMO in their drinking water, while the control group was given tap water. After 25 weeks, the number of papillomas (>2 mm) per mouse was counted. The DFMO treatment did not affect the skin tumor multiplicity of PKCdelta transgenic mice. These results indicate that PKCdelta-induced ODC activity is not involved in PKCdelta-mediated tumor suppression. Thus, the signaling pathways via PKCdelta to epidermal ODC induction and skin tumor suppression appear to be independent.

      View details for PubMedID 12032864

Contact Information

Ajit Verma, PhD

1111 Highland Avenue,
7103 WIMR
Madison, WI 53705
Email