A pinboard by
Viviana Hermosilla

Graduate student, Teaching Assistant, Unversidad de Concepcion


The work we are presenting is about molecular mechanisms used by cells to restrain proliferation.

Deregulated cell proliferation is prevented by "guardian" proteins in normal cells. Understanding of cellular mechanisms to control cell proliferation shed lights on how cancer cells can modify and adapt these regulatory paths at their own convenience. In this regard, our research focus is to identify molecular mechanisms underlying cell cycle control, and how cancer cells can overcome the proliferative block imposed by one of these "guardian" proteins. The work we are presenting this time is about a protein named SALL2, whose role is to impair cell proliferation by downregulating specific genes involved in cell division. Our results support a role for SALL2 as a guardian protein and add new insights into how cancer cells acquire proliferative advantage over normal cells by getting rid of SALL2.


Developmental SALL2 transcription factor: a new player in cancer.

Abstract: SALL2, also known as Spalt-like transcription factor 2, is a member of the SALL family of transcription factors involved in development and conserved through evolution. Since its identification in 1996, findings indicate that SALL2 plays a role in neurogenesis, neuronal differentiation and eye development. Consistently, SALL2 deficiency associates with neural tube defects and coloboma, a congenital eye disease. Relevant to cancer, clinical studies indicate that SALL2 is deregulated in various cancers, and is a specific biomarker for Synovial Sarcoma. However, the significance of SALL2 deregulation in this disease is controversial. Here, we present and discuss all available information about SALL2 since its discovery, including isoforms, regulation, targets and functions. We specifically discuss the role of SALL2 in the regulation of cell proliferation and survival within the context of the identified target genes, its interaction with viral oncogenes, and its association with the TP53 tumor suppressor and MYC oncogene. Special attention is given to p53-independent SALL2 regulation of pro-apoptotic genes BAX and PMAIP1, and the implication of these findings on the apoptotic response of cancer cells to therapy. Understanding SALL2 function and the molecular mechanisms governing its expression and activity is critical to comprehend why and how SALL2 could contribute to disease. This knowledge will open new perspectives for the development of molecular targeted approaches in disease.

Pub.: 22 Apr '17, Pinned: 01 Sep '17

Multiplexed RNAi therapy against brain tumor-initiating cells via lipopolymeric nanoparticle infusion delays glioblastoma progression.

Abstract: Brain tumor-initiating cells (BTICs) have been identified as key contributors to therapy resistance, recurrence, and progression of diffuse gliomas, particularly glioblastoma (GBM). BTICs are elusive therapeutic targets that reside across the blood-brain barrier, underscoring the urgent need to develop novel therapeutic strategies. Additionally, intratumoral heterogeneity and adaptations to therapeutic pressure by BTICs impede the discovery of effective anti-BTIC therapies and limit the efficacy of individual gene targeting. Recent discoveries in the genetic and epigenetic determinants of BTIC tumorigenesis offer novel opportunities for RNAi-mediated targeting of BTICs. Here we show that BTIC growth arrest in vitro and in vivo is accomplished via concurrent siRNA knockdown of four transcription factors (SOX2, OLIG2, SALL2, and POU3F2) that drive the proneural BTIC phenotype delivered by multiplexed siRNA encapsulation in the lipopolymeric nanoparticle 7C1. Importantly, we demonstrate that 7C1 nano-encapsulation of multiplexed RNAi is a viable BTIC-targeting strategy when delivered directly in vivo in an established mouse brain tumor. Therapeutic potential was most evident via a convection-enhanced delivery method, which shows significant extension of median survival in two patient-derived BTIC xenograft mouse models of GBM. Our study suggests that there is potential advantage in multiplexed targeting strategies for BTICs and establishes a flexible nonviral gene therapy platform with the capacity to channel multiplexed RNAi schemes to address the challenges posed by tumor heterogeneity.

Pub.: 12 Jul '17, Pinned: 01 Sep '17