Professional Education

  • Bachelor, Vietnam National University, Biotechnology (2004)
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Sungkyunkwan University (2010)

Stanford Advisors


All Publications

  • Regulation of Ribosomal Gene Expression in Cancer JOURNAL OF CELLULAR PHYSIOLOGY Le Xuan Truong Nguyen, L. X., Raval, A., Garcia, J. S., Mitchell, B. S. 2015; 230 (6): 1181-1188


    The ability of a cell to undergo malignant transformation is both associated with and dependent on a concomitant increase in protein synthesis due to increased cell division rates and biosynthetic activities. Protein synthesis, in turn, depends upon the synthesis of ribosomes and thus ultimately on the transcription of ribosomal RNA by RNA polymerase I that occurs in the nucleolus. Enlargement of nucleoli has long been considered a hallmark of the malignant cell, but it is only recently that the rate of synthesis of rRNA in the nucleolus has been recognized as both a critical regulator of cellular proliferation and a potential target for therapeutic intervention. As might be expected, the factors regulating rRNA synthesis are both numerous and complex. It is the objective of this review to highlight recent advances in understanding how rRNA synthesis is perturbed in transformed mammalian cells and to consider the impact of these findings on the development of new approaches to the treatment of malignancies. In-depth analysis of the process of rRNA transcription itself may be found in several recently published reviews (Drygin et al., 2010, Annu Rev Pharmacol Toxicol 50:131-156; Bywater et al., 2013,Cancer Cell 22: 51-65; Hein et al., 2013,Trends Mol Med 19:643-654). J. Cell. Physiol. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/jcp.24854

    View details for Web of Science ID 000350303400003

  • Regulation of ribosomal RNA synthesis in T cells: requirement for GTP and Ebp1 BLOOD Le Xuan Truong Nguyen, L. X., Lee, Y., Urbani, L., Utz, P. J., Hamburger, A. W., Sunwoo, J. B., Mitchell, B. S. 2015; 125 (16): 2519-2529


    Mycophenolic acid (MPA) is the active metabolite of Mycophenolate Mofeteil (MMF), an effective immunosuppressive drug. Both MPA and MMF are highly specific inhibitors of guanine nucleotide synthesis and of T cell activation. However, the mechanism by which guanine nucleotide depletion suppresses T cell activation is unknown. Depletion of GTP inhibits ribosomal RNA synthesis in T cells by inhibiting TIF-IA, a GTP-binding protein that recruits RNA Polymerase I to the ribosomal DNA promoter. TIF-IA-GTP binds the ErbB3 binding protein 1 (Ebp1) and together they enhance the transcription of proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA). GTP binding by TIF-IA and Ebp1 phosphorylation by protein kinase C delta are both required for optimal PCNA expression. The PKC inhibitor Sotrastaurin markedly potentiates the inhibition of rRNA synthesis, PCNA expression, and T cell activation induced by MPA, suggesting that the combination of the two agents are more highly effective than either alone in inducing immunosuppression.

    View details for DOI 10.1182/blood-2014-12-616433

    View details for Web of Science ID 000354751700013

  • Identification and genetic manipulation of human and mouse oesophageal stem cells. Gut Jeong, Y., Rhee, H., Martin, S., Klass, D., Lin, Y., Nguyen, L. X., Feng, W., Diehn, M. 2015


    Human oesophageal stem cell research is hampered by the lack of an optimal assay system to study self-renewal and differentiation. We aimed to identify and characterise human and mouse oesophageal stem/progenitor cells by establishing 3-dimensional organotypic sphere culture systems for both species.Primary oesophageal epithelial cells were freshly isolated and fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS)-sorted from human and mouse oesophagus and 3-dimensional organotypic sphere culture systems were developed. The self-renewing potential and differentiation status of novel subpopulations were assessed by sphere-forming ability, cell cycle analysis, immunostaining, qPCR and RNA-Seq.Primary human and mouse oesophageal epithelial cells clonally formed esophagospheres consisting of stratified squamous epithelium. Sphere-forming cells could self-renew and form esophagospheres for over 43 passages in vitro and generated stratified squamous epithelium when transplanted under the kidney capsule of immunodeficient mice. Sphere-forming cells were 10-15-fold enriched among human CD49f(hi)CD24(low) cells and murine CD49f(+)CD24(low)CD71(low) cells compared with the most differentiated cells. Genetic elimination of p63 in mouse and human oesophageal cells dramatically decreased esophagosphere formation and basal gene expression while increasing suprabasal gene expression.We developed clonogenic and organotypic culture systems for the quantitative analyses of human and mouse oesophageal stem/progenitor cells and identified novel cell surface marker combinations that enrich for these cells. Using this system, we demonstrate that elimination of p63 inhibits self-renewal of human oesophageal stem/progenitor cells. We anticipate that these esophagosphere culture systems will facilitate studies of oesophageal stem cell biology and may prove useful for ex vivo expansion of human oesophageal stem cells.

    View details for DOI 10.1136/gutjnl-2014-308491

    View details for PubMedID 25897018

  • Interaction of TIF-90 and filamin A in the regulation of rRNA synthesis in leukemic cells BLOOD Le Xuan Truong Nguyen, L. X., Chan, S. M., Tri Duc Ngo, T. D., Raval, A., Kim, K. K., Majeti, R., Mitchell, B. S. 2014; 124 (4): 579-589


    The transcription initiation factor I (TIF-IA) is an important regulator of the synthesis of ribosomal RNA (rRNA) through its facilitation of the recruitment of RNA polymerase I (Pol I) to the ribosomal DNA promoter. Activation of the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)/protein kinase B (Akt) pathway, which occurs commonly in acute myelogenous leukemia, enhances rRNA synthesis through TIF-IA stabilization and phosphorylation. We have discovered that TIF-IA coexists with a splicing isoform, TIF-90, which is expressed preferentially in the nucleolus and at higher levels in proliferating and transformed hematopoietic cells. TIF-90 interacts directly with Pol I to increase rRNA synthesis as a consequence of Akt activation. Furthermore, TIF-90 binds preferentially to a 90-kDa cleavage product of the actin binding protein filamin A (FLNA) that inhibits rRNA synthesis. Increased expression of TIF-90 overcomes the inhibitory effect of this cleavage product and stimulates rRNA synthesis. Because activated Akt also reduces FLNA cleavage, these results indicate that activated Akt and TIF-90 function in parallel to increase rRNA synthesis and, as a consequence, cell proliferation in leukemic cells. These results provide evidence that the direct targeting of Akt would be an effective therapy in acute leukemias in which Akt is activated.

    View details for DOI 10.1182/blood-2013-12-544726

    View details for Web of Science ID 000342619600021

    View details for PubMedID 24850755

  • Effect of CAL-101, a PI3K delta inhibitor, on ribosomal rna synthesis and cell proliferation in acute myeloid leukemia cells BLOOD CANCER JOURNAL Nguyen, L. X., Sesay, A., Mitchell, B. S. 2014; 4

    View details for DOI 10.1038/bcj.2014.49

    View details for Web of Science ID 000341925000004

    View details for PubMedID 25014775

  • P42 Ebp1 functions as a tumor suppressor in non-small cell lung cancer. BMB reports Ko, H. R., Nguyen, T. L., Kim, C. K., Park, Y., Lee, K. H., Ahn, J. Y. 2014


    Although the short isoform of ErbB3-binding protein 1 (Ebp1), p42 has been considered to be a potent tumor suppressor in a number of human cancers, whether p42 suppresses tumorigenesis of lung cancer cells has never been clarified. In the current study we investigated the tumor suppressor role of p42 in non-small cell lung cancer cells. Our data suggest that the expression level of p42 is inversely correlated with the cancerous properties of NSCLC cells and that ectopic expression of p42 is sufficient to inhibit cell proliferation, anchorage-independent growth, and invasion as well as tumor growth in vivo. Interestingly, p42 suppresses Akt activation and overexpression of a constitutively active form of Akt restores the tumorigenic activity of A549 cells that is ablated by exogenous p42 expression. Thus, we propose that p42 Ebp1 functions as a potent tumor suppressor of NSCLC through interruption of Akt signaling.

    View details for PubMedID 24998263

  • Akt activation enhances ribosomal RNA synthesis through casein kinase II and TIF-IA PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Le Xuan Truong Nguyen, L. X., Mitchell, B. S. 2013; 110 (51): 20681-20686


    Transcription initiation factor I (TIF-IA) plays an essential role in regulating ribosomal RNA (rRNA) synthesis by tethering RNA polymerase I (Pol I) to the rDNA promoter. We have found that activated Akt enhances rRNA synthesis through the phosphorylation of casein kinase IIα (CK2α) on a threonine residue near its N terminus. CK2 in turn phosphorylates TIF-IA, thereby increasing rDNA transcription. Activated Akt also stabilizes TIF-IA, induces its translocation to the nucleolus, and enhances its interaction with Pol I. Treatment with AZD8055, an inhibitor of both Akt and mammalian target of rapamycin phosphorylation, but not with rapamycin, disrupts Akt-mediated TIF-IA stability, translocation, and activity. These data support a model in which activated Akt enhances rRNA synthesis both by preventing TIF-IA degradation and phosphorylating CK2α, which in turn phosphorylates TIF-IA. This model provides an explanation for the ability of activated Akt to promote cell proliferation and, potentially, transformation.

    View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.1313097110

    View details for Web of Science ID 000328548600074

  • Long isoform of ErbB3 binding protein, p48, mediates protein kinase B/Akt-dependent HDM2 stabilization and nuclear localization EXPERIMENTAL CELL RESEARCH Kim, C. K., Lee, S. B., Nguyen, T. L., Lee, K., Um, S. H., Kim, J., Ahn, J. 2012; 318 (2): 136-143


    p48 is a long isoform of the ErbB3 binding protein that has oncogenic functions including promotion of carcinogenesis and induction of malignant transformation through negative regulation of tumor suppressor p53. Here, we show that high level of p48 protein expression leads to enhance HDM2 phosphorylation by Akt and inhibits the self-ubiquitination of HDM2 by up-regulation of Akt activity, thereby promoting its protein stability. Moreover, p48 expression leads to accumulated nuclear localization of HDM2, whereas p48 depletion disturbs its nuclear localization. Hence, higher expression of p48 in cancer cells reduces p53 levels through modulation of HDM2 nuclear localization and protein stability via regulation of its Akt-mediated phosphorylation.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.yexcr.2011.08.013

    View details for Web of Science ID 000297902800005

    View details for PubMedID 21930127

  • Akt2 and nucleophosmin/B23 function as an oncogenic unit in human lung cancer cells EXPERIMENTAL CELL RESEARCH Kim, C. K., Nguyen, T. L., Lee, S. B., Park, S. B., Lee, K., Cho, S., Ahn, J. 2011; 317 (7): 966-975


    The signaling network of protein kinase B(PKB)/Akt has been implicated in survival of lung cancer cells. However, understanding the relative contribution of the different isoform of Akt network is nontrival. Here, we report that Akt2 is highly expressed in human lung adenocarcinoma cell line A549 cells. Suppression of Akt2 expression in A549 cells results in notable inhibition of cell poliferation, soft agar growth, and invasion, accompanying by a decrease of nucleophosmin/B23 protein. Overexpression of Akt1 restores cancerous growth of A549 cells in B23-knockdown (KD) cells while Akt2 overexpression did not restore proliferating potential in cells with downregulated B23, thus suggesting Akt2 requires B23 to drive proliferation of lung cancer cell. Loss of functional Akt2 and B23 has similar defects on cell proliferation, apoptotic resistance and cell cycle regulation, while loss of Akt1 has less defects on cell proliferation, survival and cell cycle progression in A549 cells. Moreover, overexpression of B23 rescues the proliferative block induced as a consequence of loss of Akt2. Thus our data suggest that Akt2/B23 functions as an oncogenic unit to drive tumorigenesis of A549 lung cancer cells.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.yexcr.2010.12.013

    View details for Web of Science ID 000288822600007

    View details for PubMedID 21182834

  • Negative Regulation of p53 by the Long Isoform of ErbB3 Binding Protein Ebp1 in Brain Tumors CANCER RESEARCH Kim, C. K., Nguyen, T. L., Joo, K. M., Nam, D., Park, J., Lee, K., Cho, S., Ahn, J. 2010; 70 (23): 9730-9741


    The ErbB3 binding protein Ebp1 has been implicated in a number of human cancers. Ebp1 includes 2 isoforms, p48 and p42, that exhibit different cellular activities. Here we show that the larger p48 isoform is transforming and that it promotes cell growth, clonogenicity, and invasion in human glioblastoma (GBM). P48 overexpression in GBM cells facilitated tumorigenesis and enhanced tumor growth in mouse xenograft models. Human GBM tissues displayed elevated levels of p48 compared with surrounding normal tissues or low-grade tumors. Notably, p48 levels were inversely correlated with poor prognosis in GBM patients. We determined that p48 binds to the p53 E3 ligase HDM2, enhancing HDM2-p53 association and thereby promoting p53 polyubiquitination and degradation to reduce steady-state p53 levels and activity. Together, our findings suggest that p48 functions as an oncogene by promoting glioma tumorigenicity via interactions with HDM2 that contribute to p53 downregulation.

    View details for DOI 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-10-1882

    View details for Web of Science ID 000285045900023

    View details for PubMedID 21098709

  • Neuroprotection signaling pathway of nerve growth factor and brain-derived neurotrophic factor against staurosporine induced apoptosis in hippocampal H19-7 cells EXPERIMENTAL AND MOLECULAR MEDICINE Nguyen, T. L., Kim, C. K., Cho, J., Lee, K., Ahn, J. 2010; 42 (8): 583-595


    Neurotrophins protect neurons against excitotoxicity; however the signaling mechanisms for this protection remain to be fully elucidated. Here we report that activation of the phosphatidyl inositol 3 kinase (PI3K)/Akt pathway is critical for protection of hippocampal cells from staurosporine (STS) induced apoptosis, characterized by nuclear condensation and activation of the caspase cascade. Both nerve growth factor (NGF) and brain-derived growth factor (BDNF) prevent STS-induced apoptotic morphology and caspase-3 activity by upregulating phosphorylation of the tropomyosin receptor kinase (Trk) receptor. Inhibition of Trk receptor by K252a altered the neuroprotective effect of both NGF and BDNF whereas inhibition of the p75 neurotrophin receptor (p75NTR) had no effect. Impairment of the PI3K/Akt pathway or overexpression of dominant negative (DN)-Akt abolished the protective effect of both neurotrophins, while active Akt prevented cell death. Moreover, knockdown of Akt by si-RNA was able to block the survival effect of both NGF and BDNF. Thus, the survival action of NGF and BDNF against STS-induced neurotoxicity was mediated by the activation of PI3K/Akt signaling through the Trk receptor.

    View details for DOI 10.3858/emm.2010.42.8.060

    View details for Web of Science ID 000281437700006

    View details for PubMedID 20644345

  • Nuclear Akt interacts with B23/NPM and protects it from proteolytic cleavage, enhancing cell survival. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America Lee, S. B., Xuan Nguyen, T. L., Choi, J. W., Lee, K., Cho, S., Liu, Z., Ye, K., Bae, S. S., Ahn, J. 2008; 105 (43): 16584-16589


    B23/NPM is a major nucleolar phosphoprotein that has a critical role in cell proliferation and cell death. Here, we show that it forms a complex with Akt on growth factor (GF) stimulation in both the cytoplasm and the nucleus, for which Akt activation is indispensable. The C terminus of B23 (239-294 residues) potently binds pleckstrin homology (PH) domain of Akt. Akt binding to B23 protects it from proteolytic degradation by caspase-3, leading to the up-regulation of cell survival. Interestingly, unsumoylated B23 K263R, but not wild-type B23, strongly interacts with Akt in the nucleoplasm in the absence of GFs. Furthermore, we show that Akt2, but not other isoforms, specifically regulates B23 sumoylation and protein stability. Also, nuclear Akt regulates the cell cycle progression activity of B23. Therefore, our findings support that nuclear Akt binds and stabilizes B23 in the nucleoplasm, and regulates its activities in cell survival and cell cycle.

    View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.0807668105

    View details for PubMedID 18931307

  • Lipase inactive mutant of PLC-gamma 1 regulates NGF-induced neurite outgrowth via enzymatic activity and regulation of cell cycle regulatory proteins JOURNAL OF BIOCHEMISTRY AND MOLECULAR BIOLOGY Nguyen, T. L., Ahn, J. 2007; 40 (6): 888-894


    Src homology (SH) domains of phospholipase C-gamma1 (PLC-gamma1) impair NGF-mediated PC12 cells differentiation. However, whether the enzymatic activity is also implicated in this process remains elusive. Here, we report that the enzymatic activity of phospholipase C-gamma1 (PLC-gamma1) is at least partially involved to the blockage of neuronal differentiation via an abrogation of MAPK activation, as well as sustained Akt activation. By contrast, Overexpression of WT-PLC-gamma1 exhibited sustained NGF-induced MAPK activation, and triggered transient Akt activation resulting in profound inhibition of neurite outgrowth. However, lipase-inactive mutant (LIM) PLC-gamma1 cells fail to suppress neurite outgrowth, although it contains intact SH domains, specifically enhancing the expression of cyclin D1 and p21 proteins, which regulate the function of retinoblastoma Rb protein. These observations show that the lipase inactive mutant of PLC-gamma1 does not alter NGF-induced neuronal differentiation via enzymatic inability and the odulation of cell cycle regulatory proteins independent on SH3 domain.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000251141900007

    View details for PubMedID 18047783

  • Cellular localization of the full-length isoform of the type 2 corticotropin releasing factor receptor in the postnatal mouse cerebellar cortex JOURNAL OF NEUROSCIENCE RESEARCH Lee, K., Bishop, G. A., Bin Tian, J., Jang, Y., Bui, B. C., Nguyen, T. L., Ahn, J., King, J. S. 2007; 85 (9): 1996-2005


    Corticotropin releasing factor (CRF) and its cognate receptors, defined as Type 1 and Type 2 have been localized within the cerebellum. The Type 2 CRF receptor (CRF-R2) is known to have both a full length (CRF-R2alpha) and a truncated (CRF-R2alpha-tr) isoform. A recent study documented CRF-R2alpha primarily in Bergann glia and astrocytes, as well as in populations of Purkinje cells in the adult cerebellum. The goal of the present study is to determine if CRF-R2alpha is present in the postnatal cerebellum, and if so to describe its cellular distribution. RT-PCR data showed that CRF-R2alpha is expressed in the mouse cerebellum from birth through postnatal day 21. Between birth and P14, CRF-R2alpha-immunoreactivity was localized within the somata of Purkinje cells, and migrating GABAergic interneurons. GFAP-immunoreactive astrocytes, including Bergmann glia, also expressed CRF-R2alpha-immunoreactivity from P3-P14. There is a change, however, in CRF-R2alpha immunolabeling within neurons as the cerebellum matures. Compared to its expression in the adult cerebellum, Purkinje cells, and GABAergic interneurons showed more extensive CRF-R2alpha immunolabeling during early postnatal development. We postulate that CRF-R2alpha could be involved in developmental events related to the survival and differentiation of Purkinje cells and GABAergic neurons, whereas in the adult, this isoform of the CRF receptor family is likely involved in modulating Bergmann glia that have been shown to play a role in regulating the synaptic environment around Purkinje neurons.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/jnr.21333

    View details for Web of Science ID 000248463700017

    View details for PubMedID 17471557

  • Overexpression of phospholipase C-gamma 1 inhibits NGF-induced neuronal differentiation by proliferative activity of SH3 domain INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF BIOCHEMISTRY & CELL BIOLOGY Nguyen, T. L., Ye, K., Cho, S., Ahn, J. 2007; 39 (11): 2083-2092


    Since the biological role of phospholipase C (PLC) gamma1 in neuronal differentiation still barely understood, here, we report that overexpression of PLC gamma1 inhibits neurite outgrowth and prolonged proliferation ability of PLC gamma1 contribute to the alteration of cell cycle regulatory proteins, subsequently exiting from cell growth arrest. Deletion of the SH3 or the entire SH223 domains, but not deletion of the N-SH2 or both the N-SH2 and C-SH2 domains expressing cells abolishes the differentiation-inhibitory effects of PLC gamma1, displaying depression of PCNA and elevation of cyclin D1. Moreover, these cells declined CDK1 and CDK2 expression and increased p21WAF-1, accompanying with G2/M accumulation. Some antiproliferative reagents are able to restore neurite outgrowth in PLC gamma1 cells, showing G2/M arrest. Our findings suggest that the proliferation activity of PLC gamma1 via its SH3 domain may be coupled with the flight from growth arrest by NGF, thereby inhibiting neuronal differentiation.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.biocel.2007.05.020

    View details for Web of Science ID 000250183200010

    View details for PubMedID 17618160

  • Akt phosphorylation is essential for nuclear translocation and retention in NGF-stimulated PC12 cells BIOCHEMICAL AND BIOPHYSICAL RESEARCH COMMUNICATIONS Nguyen, T. L., Choi, J. W., Lee, S. B., Ye, K., Woo, S., Lee, K., Ahn, J. 2006; 349 (2): 789-798


    Nerve growth factor (NGF) elicits Akt translocation into the nucleus, where it phosphorylates nuclear targets. Here, we describe that Akt phosphorylation can promote the nuclear translocation of Akt and is necessary for its nuclear retention. Overexpression of Akt-K179A, T308A, S473A-mutant failed to show either nuclear translocation or nuclear Akt phosphorylation, whereas expression of wild-type counterpart elicited profound Akt phosphorylation and induced nuclear translocation under NGF stimulation. Employing the PI3K inhibitor and a variety of mutants PI3K, we showed that nuclear translocation of Akt was mediated by activation of PI3K, and Akt phosphorylation status in the nucleus required PI3K activity. Thus the activity of PI3K might contribute to the nuclear translocation of Akt, and that Akt phosphorylation is essential for its nuclear retention under NGF stimulation conditions.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.bbrc.2006.08.120

    View details for Web of Science ID 000240791800044

    View details for PubMedID 16956580

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