Publications -- Alakananda Basu

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This collection is limited to articles published under the terms of a creative commons license or other open access publishing agreement since 2016. It is not intended as a complete list of the author's works.


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Now showing 1 - 6 of 6
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    The Emerging Roles of mTORC1 in Macromanaging Autophagy
    (MDPI, 2019-09-24) Dossou, Akpedje; Basu, Alakananda
    Autophagy is a process of self-degradation that enables the cell to survive when faced with starvation or stressful conditions. The mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR), also known as the mammalian target of rapamycin, plays a critical role in maintaining a balance between cellular anabolism and catabolism. mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1) was unveiled as a master regulator of autophagy since inhibition of mTORC1 was required to initiate the autophagy process. Evidence has emerged in recent years to indicate that mTORC1 also directly regulates the subsequent steps of the autophagy process, including the nucleation, autophagosome elongation, autophagosome maturation and termination. By phosphorylating select protein targets of the autophagy core machinery and/or their regulators, mTORC1 can alter their functions, increase their proteasomal degradation or modulate their acetylation status, which is a key switch of the autophagy process. Moreover, it phosphorylates and alters the subcellular localization of transcription factors to suppress the expression of genes needed for autophagosome formation and lysosome biogenesis. The purpose of this review article is to critically analyze current literatures to provide an integrated view of how mTORC1 regulates various steps of the autophagy process.
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    Regulation of anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 family protein Mcl-1 by S6 kinase 2
    (PLOS, 2017-03-16) Basu, Alakananda; Sridharan, Savitha
    The anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 family protein myeloid cell leukemia-1 (Mcl-1) plays an important role in breast cancer cell survival and chemoresistance. We have previously shown that knockdown of the 40S ribosomal protein S6 kinase-2 (S6K2), which acts downstream of the mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1), enhanced breast cancer cell death by apoptotic stimuli. The increase in cell death by S6K2 depletion was partly due to inactivation of Akt. In the present study, we investigated if S6K2 regulates Mcl-1, which acts downstream of Akt. Silencing of S6K2 but not S6K1 in T47D cells decreased Mcl-1 level, and potentiated apoptosis induced by TRAIL and doxorubicin. Knockdown of S6K2 also decreased the level of anti-apoptotic Bcl-xl. Depletion of the tumor suppressor protein PDCD4 (programmed cell death 4), which regulates translation of several anti-apoptotic proteins, reversed downregulation of Bcl-xl but not Mcl-1 and failed to reverse the effect of S6K2 knockdown on potentiation of doxorubicin-induced apoptosis. Downregulation of Mcl-1 by S6K2 knockdown was partly restored by the proteasome inhibitor MG132. Overexpression of catalytically-active Akt or knockdown of glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK3)-beta, a substrate for Akt, had little effect on Mcl-1 downregulation caused by S6K2 deficiency. Silencing of S6K2 increased the level of c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) and knockdown of JNK1 increased basal Mcl-1 level and partly reversed the effect of S6K2 knockdown on Mcl-1 downregulation. JNK1 knockdown also had a modest effect in attenuating the increase in doxorubicin-induced apoptosis caused by S6K2 deficiency. These results suggest that S6K2 regulates apoptosis via multiple mechanisms, and involves both Akt and JNK.
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    Regulation of Autophagy by Protein Kinase C-epsilon in Breast Cancer Cells
    (MDPI, 2020-06-15) Basu, Alakananda
    Protein kinase C-ɛ (PKCɛ), an anti-apoptotic protein, plays critical roles in breast cancer development and progression. Although autophagy is an important survival mechanism, it is not known if PKCɛ regulates autophagy in breast cancer cells. We have shown that silencing of PKCɛ by siRNA inhibited basal and starvation-induced autophagy in T47D breast cancer cells as determined by the decrease in LC3-II, increase in p62, and decrease in autophagy puncta both in the presence and absence of bafilomycin A1. The mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) associates with Raptor or Rictor to form complex-1 (mTORC1) or complex-2 (mTORC2), respectively. Knockdown of PKCɛ attenuated an increase in autophagy caused by the depletion of Raptor and Rictor. Overexpression of PKCɛ in MCF-7 cells caused activation of mTORC1 and an increase in LC3-I, LC3-II, and p62. The mTORC1 inhibitor rapamycin abolished the increase in LC3-I and p62. Knockdown of mTOR and Rictor or starvation enhanced autophagy in PKCɛ overexpressing cells. While overexpression of PKCɛ in MCF-7 cells inhibited apoptosis, it induced autophagy in response to tumor necrosis factor-ɑ. However, inhibition of autophagy by Atg5 knockdown restored apoptosis in PKCɛ-overexpressing cells. Thus, PKCɛ promotes breast cancer cell survival not only by inhibiting apoptosis but also by inducing autophagy.
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    The Enigmatic Protein Kinase C-eta
    (MDPI, 2019-02-13) Basu, Alakananda
    Protein kinase C (PKC), a multi-gene family, plays critical roles in signal transduction and cell regulation. Protein kinase C-eta (PKCeta) is a unique member of the PKC family since its regulation is distinct from other PKC isozymes. PKCeta was shown to regulate cell proliferation, differentiation and cell death. It was also shown to contribute to chemoresistance in several cancers. PKCeta has been associated with several cancers, including renal cell carcinoma, glioblastoma, breast cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, and acute myeloid leukemia. However, mice lacking PKCeta were more susceptible to tumor formation in a two-stage carcinogenesis model, and it is downregulated in hepatocellular carcinoma. Thus, the role of PKCeta in cancer remains controversial. The purpose of this review article is to discuss how PKCeta regulates various cellular processes that may contribute to its contrasting roles in cancer.
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    Distinct Roles of mTOR Targets S6K1 and S6K2 in Breast Cancer
    (MDPI, 2020-02-11) Sridharan, Savitha; Basu, Alakananda
    The mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) is a master regulator of protein translation, metabolism, cell growth and proliferation. It forms two complexes, mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1) and 2 (mTORC2). mTORC1 is frequently deregulated in many cancers, including breast cancer, and is an important target for cancer therapy. The immunosuppressant drug rapamycin and its analogs that inhibit mTOR are currently being evaluated for their potential as anti-cancer agents, albeit with limited efficacy. mTORC1 mediates its function via its downstream targets 40S ribosomal S6 kinases (S6K) and eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E (eIF4E)-binding protein 1 (4E-BP1). There are two homologs of S6K: S6K1 and S6K2. Most of the earlier studies focused on S6K1 rather than S6K2. Because of their high degree of structural homology, it was generally believed that they behave similarly. Recent studies suggest that while they may share some functions, they may also exhibit distinct or even opposite functions. Both homologs have been implicated in breast cancer, although how they contribute to breast cancer may differ. The purpose of this review article is to compare and contrast the expression, structure, regulation and function of these two S6K homologs in breast cancer.
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    Akt Isoforms: A Family Affair in Breast Cancer
    (MDPI, 2021-07-09) Basu, Alakananda; Lambring, Christoffer B.
    Akt, also known as protein kinase B (PKB), belongs to the AGC family of protein kinases. It acts downstream of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) and regulates diverse cellular processes, including cell proliferation, cell survival, metabolism, tumor growth and metastasis. The PI3K/Akt signaling pathway is frequently deregulated in breast cancer and plays an important role in the development and progression of breast cancer. There are three closely related members in the Akt family, namely Akt1(PKBalpha), Akt2(PKBbeta) and Akt3(PKBgamma). Although Akt isoforms share similar structures, they exhibit redundant, distinct as well as opposite functions. While the Akt signaling pathway is an important target for cancer therapy, an understanding of the isoform-specific function of Akt is critical to effectively target this pathway. However, our perception regarding how Akt isoforms contribute to the genesis and progression of breast cancer changes as we gain new knowledge. The purpose of this review article is to analyze current literatures on distinct functions of Akt isoforms in breast cancer.