Subject: Life Sciences, Microbiology Keywords: aflatoxins; tumorigenicity; carcinogenicity; acute toxicity; immunogenicity; genotoxicity
Online: 25 December 2019 (03:07:58 CET)
There are presently more than 18 known aflatoxins (>18) most of which have been insufficiently studied for their incidence, health-risk, and mechanisms of toxicity to allow effective intervention and control means that would significantly and sustainably reduce their incidence and adverse effects on health and economy. Among these, aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) has by far been the most studied; and yet, many aspects of the range and mechanisms of the diseases it causes remain to be elucidated. Its mutagenicity, tumorigenicity, and carcinogenicity, which are the best known still suffer from many limitations regarding the relative contribution of the oxidative stress and the reactive epoxide derivative (Aflatoxin-exo 8,9-epoxide) in the induction of the diseases, as well as its metabolic and synthesis pathways. Additionally, despite the well-established additive effects for carcinogenicity between AFB1 and other risk factors, e.g., hepatitis viruses B and C, and the algal hepatotoxic microcystins, the mechanisms of this synergy remain unclear. This study reviews the most recent advances in the mechanisms of toxicity of aflatoxins and the adverse health effects that they cause in humans and animals.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202010.0046.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Biochemistry Keywords: glioblastoma; master regulators; IGFBP2; survival; tumorigenicity; transcription factors
Online: 2 October 2020 (15:21:34 CEST)
Only 2% of Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) patients respond to standard care and survive beyond 36 months (long-term survivors, LTS) while the majority survives less than 12 months (short-term survivors, STS). To understand the mechanism leading to poor survival, we analyzed publicly available datasets of 113 STS and 58 LTS. This analysis revealed 198 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) that co-occur with aggressive tumor growth and may be responsible for the poor prognosis. These genes belong largely to the GO-categories “epithelial to mesenchymal transition” and “response to hypoxia”. Promoter and network analysis of the DEGs identified 5 potential master regulators that may explain dysregulation of the DEGs in the STS. The following 5 important master-regulators were identified: IGFBP2, VEGFA, PDGFA, OSMR and AEBP1. It is known that IGFBP2 confers increasing malignancy leading to poor prognosis. However, the molecular mechanism by which IGFBP2 affects disease progression and patient prognosis is unclear. Here we found that IGFBP2 is highly upregulated in short survivors and significantly impact survival. Further investigation of the gene regulatory network revealed that IGFBP2 expression can be regulated by FRA-1 transcription factor via MEK2/RAF/ERK5 pathway. FRA-1 is found to be upregulated and to have significant impact on survival in GBM. It is previously reported that FRA-1 can dysregulate at-least 50 genes involved in tumor invasiveness in tumor xenografts making it a therapeutic target for GBM intervention. We propose that IGFBP2 drives dysregulated gene network responsible for short survival in GBM via FRA-1 transcription factor.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints201911.0350.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Microbiology Keywords: aflatoxins; incidence; Sub-Saharan Africa; Southeast Asia; tumorigenicity; carcinogenicity; acute toxicity; immunogenicity; genotoxicity
Online: 28 November 2019 (03:37:24 CET)
Aflatoxins continue to raise health concerns as unavoidable and widespread natural contaminants of foods and feeds with serious impact on health, agricultural and livestock productivity, and food safety. They are secondary metabolites produced by Aspergillus species distributed on three main sections of the genus (section Flavi, section Ochraceorosei, and section Nidulantes). Aflatoxin-producing species, mainly A. flavus and A. parasiticus thrive under hot and humid conditions in the field or during storage, which are met in tropical and sub-tropical regions. Poor economic status of a country exacerbates the risk and the extent of crop contamination due to faulty storage conditions that are usually suitable for mold growth and mycotoxin production; temperature of 22 to 29°C and water activity of 0.90 to 0.99. This situation paralleled the prevalence of high liver cancer and the occasional acute aflatoxicosis episodes that have been associated with these regions. Few of the presently known aflatoxins (>18) have been sufficiently studied for their incidence, health-risk, and mechanisms of toxicity to allow effective intervention and control means that would significantly and sustainably reduce their incidence and adverse effects on health and economy. Among these, aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) has by far been the most studied; and yet, many aspects of the range and mechanisms of the diseases it causes remain to be elucidated. Its mutagenicity, tumorigenicity, and carcinogenicity, which are the best known still suffer from many limitations regarding the relative contribution of the oxidative stress and the reactive epoxide derivative (Aflatoxin-exo 8,9-epoxide) in the induction of the diseases, as well as its metabolic and synthesis pathways. Additionally, despite the well-established additive effects for carcinogenicity between AFB1 and other risk factors, e.g., hepatitis viruses B and C, and the algal hepatotoxic microcystins, the mechanisms of this synergy remain unclear. A review of publications on the incidence and concentrations of aflatoxins in selected foods and feeds from countries whose crops are classically known for their highest contamination with aflatoxins, reveals that despite the intensive efforts made to reduce such an incidence, there has been no clear tendency, with the possible exception of South Africa, towards sustained improvements. The levels and incidence are essentially influenced by the rainfall and temperature during the cultivation year or two successive years with alternating dry and wet seasons. This review aimed to update the main aspects of aflatoxin production, occurrence and incidence in selected countries, and associated adverse health effects. In addition to AFB1 which was the main focus of the review, other aflatoxins were addressed whenever relevant data were available.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202208.0203.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Cell & Developmental Biology Keywords: neural induction; embryogenesis; tumorigenesis; conjoined twin; Spemann organizer; node; neural default model; neural stemness; tumorigenicity; pluripotency; epithelial-mesenchymal transition; tumor microenvironment
Online: 10 August 2022 (12:10:36 CEST)
Some concepts/hypotheses have been proposed to explain the general rules behind the complexity of tumorigenesis. Characterization of the property of cancer cells and neural stem cells indicates that neural stemness underlies tumorigenicity and pluripotency, leading to the proposal that tumorigenesis represents a process of progressive loss of original cell identity and gain of neural stemness. This reminds of a most fundamental process required for the development of the nervous system and body axis during embryogenesis, i.e., embryonic neural induction. The principle of neural induction is that, in response to extracellular signals that are secreted by the Spemann-Mangold organizer in amphibians or the node in mammals and inhibit epidermal fate in ectoderm, the ectodermal cells assume the neural default fate and turn into neuroectodermal cells. These cells further differentiate into the nervous system and also some non-neural cells via interaction with adjacent tissues. Failure in neural induction leads to failure of embryogenesis, and ectopic neural induction due to ectopic organizer or node activity or activation of embryonic neural genes causes a formation of secondary body axis or conjoined twins. A similar principle underlies tumorigenesis. Increasing evidence has demonstrated that the core property of cancer cells is neural stemness. Therefore, cancer cells are cells with the loss of original cell identity and gain of neural stemness, and consequently tumorigenicity and pluripotency, due to various intra-/extracellular insults in postnatal animals. Unlike that pluripotent cells (embryonic pluripotent cells, neural stem cells and cancer cells) can differentiate and integrate into embryonic development, cancer cells are capable of self-renewal and differentiation, but cannot integrate into normal tissues in a 2 postnatal animal, ultimately leading to tumor formation. Neural induction and the unique property of neural stemness provide an inclusive explanation for embryogenesis, conjoined twin formation and tumorigenesis. Based on these findings, I discuss about some confusion in cancer research, e.g., epithelial-mesenchymal transition, and propose to distinguish the causality and associations, and the causal and supporting factors involved in tumorigenesis, and suggest revisiting the focus of cancer research. Integration of evidence from developmental and cancer biology indicates that neural stemness determines tumorigenicity and pluripotency, and neural induction drives embryogenesis in gastrulating embryos but a similar process drives tumorigenesis in a postnatal animal.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202012.0122.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Biochemistry Keywords: neural stemness; neural stem/progenitor cell; tumor-initiating cell; neural ground state; neural default model; differentiation potential; tumorigenicity; tumorigenesis; evo-devo
Online: 7 December 2020 (07:02:34 CET)
Tumorigenesis is a complex biological phenomenon that includes extensive genetic and phenotypic heterogeneities and complicated regulatory mechanisms. In the recent few years, our studies demonstrate that tumor-initiating cells are similar to neural stem/progenitor cells in regulatory networks, tumorigenicity and pluripotent differentiation potential. In the review, I will make further discussion on these observations and propose a rule of cell biology by integrating these findings with evidence from developmental biology, tumor biology and evolution, which suggests that neural stemness underlies two coupled cell properties, tumorigenicity and pluripotent differentiation potential. Tumorigenicity and phenotypic heterogeneity in tumor is a result of acquirement of neural stemness in cells. The neural stemness property of tumor-initiating cells can hopefully integrate different concepts/hypotheses underlying tumorigenesis. Neural stem cells/neural progenitors and tumor-initiating cells share regulatory networks; both exhibit neural stemness, tumorigenicity and differentiation potential; both are dependent on expression or activation of ancestral genes (the atavistic effect); both rely primarily on aerobic glycolytic metabolism; both can differentiate into various cells or tissues that are derived from three germ layers, resembling severely disorganized or more severely degenerated process of embryonic development; both are enriched in long genes with more splice variants that provide more plastic scaffolds for cell differentiation, etc. The property of neural stemness might be a key point to understand tumorigenesis and pluripotent differentiation potential, and possibly explain certain pathological observations in tumors that have been inexplicable. Therefore, behind the complexity of tumorigenesis might be a general rule of cell biology, i.e., neural stemness represents the ground state of cell tumorigenicity and pluripotent differentiation potential.