The Ts1Cje model of Down syndrome is of particular interest for perinatal studies because affected males are fertile. This permits affected pups to be carried in wild-type females, which is similar to human pregnancies. Here we describe the early natural history and growth profiles of Ts1Cje embryos and neonates and determine if heart defects are present in this strain.
Pups were studied either on embryonic (E) day 15.5, or from postnatal (P) day 3 through weaning on P21. PCR amplification targeting the neomycin cassette (present in Ts1Cje) and Sry (present in males) was used to analyze pup genotypes and sex ratios. Body weights and lengths, as well as developmental milestones, were recorded in Ts1Cje mice and compared to their wild-type (WT) littermates. Histological evaluations were performed at E15.5 to investigate the presence or absence of heart defects. Pups were divided into two groups: Ts1Cje-I pups survived past weaning and Ts1Cje-II pups died at some point before P21.
Ts1Cje mouse embryos showed expected Mendelian ratios (45.8%, n = 66 for Ts1Cje embryos; 54.2%, n = 78 for WT embryos). Histological analysis revealed the presence of ventricular septal defects (VSDs) in 21% of Ts1Cje E15.5 embryos. After weaning, only 28.2% of pups were Ts1Cje (185 Ts1Cje out of 656 total pups generated), with males predominating (male:female ratio of 1.4:1). Among the recovered dead pups (n = 207), Ts1Cje (63.3%, n = 131, p<0.01) genotype was found significantly more often than WT (36.7%, n = 76). Retrospective analysis of Ts1Cje-II (pre-weaning deceased) pups showed that they were growth restricted compared to Ts1Cje-I pups (post-weaning survivors). Growth restriction correlated with statistically significant delays in achieving several neonatal milestones between P3 and P21 compared to Ts1Cje-I (post-weaning survivors) neonates and WT littermates.
Ts1Cje genotype is not associated with increased early in utero mortality. Cardiac defects, specifically VSDs, are part of the phenotype in this strain. There is increased neonatal mortality in Ts1Cje pups, with sex differences observed. Ts1Cje mice that died in the neonatal period were more likely to be growth restricted and delayed in achieving neonatal developmental milestones.
Production of innate and adaptive immune cells from hematopoietic stem cells, and maturation of T lymphocytes are effective immune responses to fight severe microbial infection. In sepsis, this emergency myelopoiesis is damaged, leading to failure of bacterial clearance, and excessive stress-induced steroids cause immature T-lymphocyte apoptosis in thymus. We recently found that Cl-amidine, a peptidylarginine deiminase (PAD) inhibitor, improves survival in a mouse model of cecal ligation and puncture (CLP)-induced septic shock. In the present study we investigated how Cl-amidine promotes survival, focusing on protective effects of Cl-amidine on immune response. We confirmed survival-improving effect of Cl-amidine and are the first to explore the role of Cl-amidine in immune response. CLP caused bone marrow (BM) and thymus atrophy, decreased innate immune cells in BM. CLP increased levels of cytokines (IL-1β, IL-6, and TNF-α) and bacteria load in blood/liver. In primary splenocyte culture, lipopolysaccharide increased TNF-α production. In contrast, Cl-amidine attenuated these CLP and lipopolysaccharide-induced alterations. Moreover, Cl-amidine increased circulating monocytes. Collectively, our results demonstrate Cl-amidine plays protective roles by significantly decreasing BM and thymus atrophy, restoring innate immune cells in BM, increasing blood monocytes and blood/liver bacteria clearance, and attenuating pro-inflammatory cytokine production in a murine model of lethal sepsis.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a common cause of mortality in congenital heart disease (CHD). Many gene abnormalities are associated with cardiac hypertrophy, but their function in cardiac development is not well understood. Loss-of-function mutations in PTPN11, which encodes the protein tyrosine phosphatase (PTP) SHP2, are implicated in CHD and cause Noonan syndrome with multiple lentigines (NSML), a condition that often presents with cardiac hypertrophic defects. Here, we found that NSML-associated hypertrophy stems from aberrant signaling mechanisms originating in developing endocardium. Trabeculation and valvular hyperplasia were diminished in hearts of embryonic mice expressing a human NSML-associated variant of SHP2, and these defects were recapitulated in mice expressing NSML-associated SHP2 specifically in endothelial, but not myocardial or neural crest, cells. In contrast, mice with myocardial- but not endothelial-specific NSML SHP2 expression developed ventricular septal defects, suggesting that NSML-associated mutations have both cell-autonomous and nonautonomous functions in cardiac development. However, only endothelial-specific expression of NSML-associated SHP2 induced adult-onset cardiac hypertrophy. Further, embryos expressing the NSML-associated SHP2 mutation exhibited aberrant AKT activity and decreased downstream forkhead box P1 (FOXP1)/FGF and NOTCH1/EPHB2 signaling, indicating that SHP2 is required for regulating reciprocal crosstalk between developing endocardium and myocardium. Together, our data provide functional and disease-based evidence that aberrant SHP2 signaling during cardiac development leads to CHD and adult-onset heart hypertrophy.
We examined the potential benefit of gene therapy in a mouse model of tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) in which there is embryonic loss of Tsc1 (hamartin) in brain neurons. An adeno-associated virus (AAV) vector (serotype rh8) expressing a tagged form of hamartin was injected into the cerebral ventricles of newborn pups with the genotype Tsc1cc (homozygous for a conditional floxed Tsc1 allele) SynI-cre+, in which Tsc1 is lost selectively in neurons starting at embryonic day 12. Vector-treated Tsc1ccSynIcre+ mice showed a marked improvement in survival from a mean of 22 days in non-injected mice to 52 days in AAV hamartin vector-injected mice, with improved weight gain and motor behavior in the latter. Pathologic studies showed normalization of neuron size and a decrease in markers of mTOR activation in treated as compared to untreated mutant littermates. Hence, we show that gene replacement in the brain is an effective therapeutic approach in this mouse model of TSC1. Our strategy for gene therapy has the advantages that therapy can be achieved from a single application, as compared to repeated treatment with drugs, and that AAV vectors have been found to have minimal to no toxicity in clinical trials for other neurologic conditions. Although there are many additional issues to be addressed, our studies support gene therapy as a useful approach in TSC patients.
Tuberous Sclerosis Complex; TSC; TSC1; TSC2; gene therapy; AAV; neuron
Fibrinogen like protein-1 (Fgl1) is a predominantly liver expressed protein that has been implicated as both a hepatoprotectant and a hepatocyte mitogen. Fgl1 expression is decreased in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and its loss correlates with a poorly differentiated phenotype. To better elucidate the role of Fgl1 in hepatocarcinogenesis, we treated mice wild type or null for Fgl1 with diethyl nitrosamine and monitored for incidence of hepatocellular cancer. We find that mice lacking Fgl1 develop HCC at more than twice the rate of wild type mice. We show that hepatocellular cancers from Fgl1 null mice are molecularly distinct from those of the wild type mice. In tumors from Fgl1 null mice there is enhanced activation of Akt and downstream targets of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR). In addition, there is paradoxical up regulation of putative hepatocellular cancer tumor suppressors; tripartite motif-containing protein 35 (Trim35) and tumor necrosis factor super family 10b (Tnfrsf10b). Taken together, these findings suggest that Fgl1 acts as a tumor suppressor in hepatocellular cancer through an Akt dependent mechanism and supports its role as a potential therapeutic target in HCC.
Fibrinogen like protein-1; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Diethyl nitrosamine; Hepatoprotecatant; Mitogen
BRAFV600E; melanocytes; Schwannian differentiation; melanoma; benign nerve sheath tumor
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a devastating multisystemic autoimmune disorder. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying its pathogenesis remain elusive. Some patients with Noonan syndrome, a congenital disorder predominantly caused by gain-of-function mutations in the protein tyrosine phosphatase SH2 domain–containing PTP (SHP2), have been shown to develop SLE, suggesting a functional correlation between phosphatase activity and systemic autoimmunity. To test this directly, we measured SHP2 activity in spleen lysates isolated from lupus-prone MRL/lpr mice and found it was markedly increased compared with that in control mice. Similar increases in SHP2 activity were seen in peripheral blood mononuclear cells isolated from lupus patients relative to healthy patients. To determine whether SHP2 alters autoimmunity and related immunopathology, we treated MRL/lpr mice with an SHP2 inhibitor and found increased life span, suppressed crescentic glomerulonephritis, reduced spleen size, and diminished skin lesions. SHP2 inhibition also reduced numbers of double-negative T cells, normalized ERK/MAPK signaling, and decreased production of IFN-γ and IL-17A/F, 2 cytokines involved in SLE-associated organ damage. Moreover, in cultured human lupus T cells, SHP2 inhibition reduced proliferation and decreased production of IFN-γ and IL-17A/F, further implicating SHP2 in lupus-associated immunopathology. Taken together, these data identify SHP2 as a critical regulator of SLE pathogenesis and suggest targeting of its activity as a potent treatment for lupus patients.
Nephrotoxicity is a common toxic side-effect of chemotherapeutic alkylating agents. Although the base excision repair (BER) pathway is essential in repairing DNA alkylation damage, under certain conditions the initiation of BER produces toxic repair intermediates that damage healthy tissues. We have shown that the alkyladenine DNA glycosylase, Aag (a.k.a. Mpg), an enzyme that initiates BER, mediates alkylation-induced whole-animal lethality and cytotoxicity in the pancreas, spleen, retina, and cerebellum, but not in the kidney. Cytotoxicity in both wild-type and Aag-transgenic mice (AagTg) was abrogated in the absence of Poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase-1 (Parp1). Here we report that Parp1-deficient mice expressing increased Aag (AagTg/Parp1−/−) develop sex-dependent kidney failure upon exposure to the alkylating agent, methyl methanesulfonate (MMS), and suffer increased whole-animal lethality compared to AagTg and wild-type mice. Macroscopic, histological, electron microscopic and immunohistochemical analyses revealed morphological kidney damage including dilated tubules, proteinaceous casts, vacuolation, collapse of the glomerular tuft, and deterioration of podocyte structure. Moreover, mice exhibited clinical signs of kidney disease indicating functional damage, including elevated blood nitrogen urea and creatinine, hypoproteinemia and proteinuria. Pharmacological Parp inhibition in AagTg mice also resulted in sensitivity to MMS-induced nephrotoxicity. These findings provide in vivo evidence that Parp1 modulates Aag-dependent MMS-induced nephrotoxicity in a sex-dependent manner and highlight the critical roles that Aag-initiated BER and Parp1 may play in determining the side-effects of chemotherapeutic alkylating agents.
alkylating agents; MMS; Parp1; Aag; nephrotoxicity; Pathology Section
Organ transplantation has seen an increased utilization of organs from older donors over the past decades in an attempt to meet the globally growing shortage of donor organs. However, inferior transplant outcomes when utilizing older donor organs represent a growing challenge.
Methods and Results
Here, we characterize the impact of donor age on solid organ transplantation using a murine cardiac transplantation model. We found a compromised graft survival when utilizing older hearts. Shorter graft survival of older hearts was independent of organ age per se, as chimeric young or old organs repopulated with young passenger leukocytes showed comparable survival times. Transplantation of older organs triggered more potent alloimmune responses via intragraft CD11c+ dendritic cells (DCs) augmenting CD4+ and CD8+ T cell proliferation and pro-inflammatory cytokine production, particularly that of IL-17A. Of note, depletion of donor CD11c+ DCs prior to engraftment, neutralization of IL-17A or transplantation of older hearts into IL-17A-/- mice delayed rejection and reduced alloimmune responses to levels observed when transplanting young hearts.
These results demonstrate a critical role of old donor CD11c+ DCs in mounting age-dependent alloimmune responses with an augmented IL-17A response in recipient animals. Targeting IL-17A may serve as a novel therapeutic approach when transplanting older organs.
transplantation; immunology; rejection; aging
Alström syndrome is an autosomal recessive syndromic genetic disorder caused by mutations in the ALMS1 gene. Sensorineural hearing loss occurs in greater than 85% of patients. Histopathology of the inner ear abnormalities in the human has not previously been fully described. Histopathology of the inner ear in Alström syndrome is presented in two genetically confirmed cases. The predominant histopathologic correlates of the sensorineural loss were degeneration of the organ of Corti, both inner and outer hair cells, degeneration of spiral ganglion cells, and atrophy of the stria vascularis and spiral ligament.
Alström; ALMS1; human; histopathology; inner ear
Recurrent fusion of the v-myb avian myelobastosis viral oncogene homolog (MYB) and nuclear factor I/B (NFIB) generates the MYB-NFIB transcription factor, which has been detected in a high percentage of individuals with adenoid cystic carcinoma (ACC). To understand the functional role of this fusion protein in carcinogenesis, we generated a conditional mutant transgenic mouse that expresses MYB-NFIB along with p53 mutation in tissues that give rise to ACC: mammary tissue, salivary glands, or systemically in the whole body. Expression of the oncogene in mammary tissue resulted in hyperplastic glands that developed into adenocarcinoma in 27.3% of animals. Systemic expression of the MYB-NFIB fusion caused more rapid development of this breast phenotype, but mice died due to abnormal proliferation in the glomerular compartment of the kidney, which led to development of glomerulonephritis. These findings suggest the MYB-NFIB fusion is oncogenic and treatments targeting this transcription factor may lead to therapeutic responses in ACC patients.
MYB-NFIB; adenoid cystic carcinoma; breast; salivary; GEMM
The retinoblastoma gene (Rb) is mutated at significant frequency in various human epithelial tumors, including colorectal cancer, and is strongly associated with metastatic disease. However, sole inactivation of Rb in the mouse has so far failed to yield epithelial cancers. Here, we specifically inactivate Rb and/or p53 in the urogenital epithelium and the intestine. We find that loss of both tumor suppressors is unable to yield tumors in the transitional epithelium lining the bladder, kidneys and ureters. Instead, these mice develop highly metastatic tumors of neuroendocrine, not epithelial, origin within the urogenital tract to give prostate cancer in the males and vaginal tumors in the females. Additionally, we discovered that the sole inactivation of Rb in the intestine was sufficient to induce formation of metastatic colorectal adenocarcinomas. These tumors closely mirror the human disease in regard to age of onset, histological appearance, invasiveness and metastatic potential. Like most human colorectal carcinomas, our murine Rb-deficient tumors demonstrate genomic instability and they show activation of β-catenin. Deregulation of the Wnt/β-catenin pathway is specific to the intestinal tumors, as genomic instability but not activation of β-catenin was observed in the neuroendocrine tumors. To date, attempts to generate genetically engineered mouse models of colorectal cancer tumors have yielded mostly cancer of the small intestine, which rarely occurs in humans. Our system provides the opportunity to accurately model and study colorectal cancer in the mouse via a single gene mutation.
Rb; colorectal cancer; intestine; neuroendocrine; bladder; β-catenin
Stem cells of the gastrointestinal tract, pancreas, liver, and other columnar epithelia collectively resist cloning in their elemental states. Here we demonstrate the cloning and propagation of highly clonogenic, “ground state” stem cells of the human intestine and colon. We show that derived stem cell pedigrees sustain limited copy number and sequence variation despite extensive serial passaging and display exquisitely precise, cell-autonomous commitment to epithelial differentiation consistent with their origins along the intestinal tract. This developmentally patterned and epigenetically maintained commitment of stem cells likely enforces the functional specificity of the adult intestinal tract. Using clonally-derived colonic epithelia, we show that toxins A or B of the enteric pathogen C. difficile recapitulate the salient features of pseudomembranous colitis. The stability of the epigenetic commitment programs of these stem cells, coupled with their unlimited replicative expansion and maintained clonogenicity, suggests certain advantages for their use in disease modeling and regenerative medicine.
Infiltration of regulatory T (Treg) cells into many tumor types correlates with poor patient prognoses. However, mechanisms of intratumoral Treg cell function remain to be elucidated. We investigated Treg cell function in a genetically-engineered mouse lung adenocarcinoma model and found Treg cells suppress anti-tumor responses in tumor-associated tertiary lymphoid structures (TA-TLS). TA-TLS have been described in human lung cancers, but their function remains to be determined. TLS in this model were spatially associated with >90% of tumors and facilitated interactions between T cells and tumor-antigen presenting dendritic cells (DCs). Costimulatory ligand expression by DCs and T cell proliferation rates increased in TA-TLS upon Treg cell depletion, leading to tumor destruction. Thus, we propose Treg cells in TA-TLS can inhibit endogenous immune responses against tumors, and targeting these cells may provide therapeutic benefit for cancer patients.
Super-enhancers (SEs), which are composed of large clusters of enhancers densely loaded with the Mediator complex, transcription factors (TFs), and chromatin regulators, drive high expression of genes implicated in cell identity and disease, such as lineage-controlling TFs and oncogenes 1, 2. BRD4 and CDK7 are positive regulators of SE-mediated transcription3,4,5. In contrast, negative regulators of SE-associated genes have not been well described. Here we report that Mediator-associated kinases cyclin-dependent kinase 8 (CDK8) and CDK19 restrain increased activation of key SE-associated genes in acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) cells. We determined that the natural product cortistatin A (CA) selectively inhibited Mediator kinases, had antileukaemic activity in vitro and in vivo, and disproportionately induced upregulation of SE-associated genes in CA-sensitive AML cell lines but not in CA-insensitive cell lines. In AML cells, CA upregulated SE-associated genes with tumour suppressor and lineage-controlling functions, including the TFs CEBPA, IRF8, IRF1 and ETV6
6, 7, 8. The BRD4 inhibitor I-BET151 downregulated these SE-associated genes, yet also has antileukaemic activity. Individually increasing or decreasing expression of these TFs suppressed AML cell growth, providing evidence that leukaemia cells are sensitive to dosage of SE-associated genes. Our results demonstrate that Mediator kinases can negatively regulate SE-associated gene expression in specific cell types and can be pharmacologically targeted as a therapeutic approach to AML.
The tumor suppressor PTEN, which antagonizes PI3K signaling, is frequently inactivated in hematologic malignancies. In mice, deletion of Pten in hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) causes perturbed hematopoiesis, myeloproliferative neoplasia (MPN), and leukemia. While the roles of the PI3K isoforms have been studied in Pten-deficient tumors, their individual roles in Pten-deficient HSCs are unknown. Here we show that when we delete Pten in HSCs using the Mx1-Cre system, p110β ablation prevents MPN, improves HSC function and suppresses leukemia initiation. Pharmacologic inhibition of p110β in Pten-deficient mice recapitulates these genetic findings, but suggests involvement of both Akt-dependent and independent pathways. Further investigation reveals that a p110β-Rac signaling loop plays a critical role in Pten-deficient HSCs. Together, these data suggest that myeloid neoplasia driven by Pten-loss is dependent on p110β via p110β-Rac positive feedback-loop, and that disruption of this loop may offer a new and effective therapeutic strategy for PTEN-deficient leukemia.
We have recently demonstrated that inhibition of histone deacetylase (HDAC) class I, II and IV with non-specific HDAC inhibitors improves survival in a mouse model of lethal cecal ligation and puncture (CLP). However, the consequence of HDAC class III inhibition is unknown in this model. The aims of present study were to explore the effect of EX-527, a selective SIRT1 inhibitor, on survival in the lethal model of CLP-sepsis, and to assess the impact of the treatment on inflammatory cytokine production, coagulopathy and bone marrow atrophy during severe sepsis.
Experiment I: C57BL/6J mice were subjected to CLP, and 1 h later intraperitoneally injected with either EX-527 dissolved in dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO), or DMSO only. Survival was monitored for 10 days. Experiment II: One hour after CLP animals were randomly treated with: (i) DMSO vehicle, and (ii) EX-527. Peritoneal fluid and blood samples were collected for measurement of cytokines, and blood was also used to evaluate coagulation status using Thrombelastography. In addition, long bones (femurs and tibias) were harvested from animals to determine morphological changes of bone marrow by H&E staining. Experiment III: Normal primary splenocytes were cultured, and treated with lipopolysaccharide in the presence or absence of EX-527 to assess cytokine production.
EX-527 significantly improved survival, and attenuated levels of cytokines in blood and peritoneal fluid compared to the vehicle control. It also decreased TNF-α and IL-6 production by splenocytes in vitro. Selective inhibition of SIRT1 was associated with dramatic improvements in fibrin cross-linkage, platelet function and clot rigidity, but without a significant impact on the clot initiation parameters. Moreover, inhibition of SIRT1 decreased bone marrow atrophy significantly.
Selective inhibition of Class III histone deacetylase SIRT1 significantly improves survival, attenuates “cytokine storm” and sepsis-associated coagulopathy, and decreases bone marrow atrophy in a lethal mouse septic model.
SIRT1; EX-527; sepsis; survival
Seven isoforms of histone deacetylase Class III have been reported - Sirtuin (SIRT) 1–7. We recently demonstrated that EX-527, an inhibitor of SIRT1, improves survival in a lethal cecal ligation and puncture (CLP) model. The aim of the present study was to determine whether selective inhibition of SIRT2 with AGK2 could also improve survival in a lethal septic model, and attenuate the inflammatory response.
Experiment I: C57BL/6J mice were intraperitoneally injected with either AGK2 (82 mg/kg) dissolved in dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) or DMSO only, and 2 h later subjected to CLP. Survival was monitored for 10 days. Experiment II: animals, treated the same way as Experiment I, were grouped into (i) DMSO vehicle, and (ii) AGK2, with sham-operated animals (no CLP, no treatment) serving as controls. Peritoneal fluid and blood samples were collected for measurement of cytokines at 24 or 48 h. Blood at 48 h was also used to assess the coagulation status using Thrombelastography (TEG). In addition, long bones (femurs and tibias) were harvested at 48 h to determine morphological changes in the bone marrow by hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) staining. Bone marrow atrophy was quantified by a blinded pathologist. Experiment III: Normal primary splenocytes were cultured, and treated with lipopolysaccharide in the presence or absence of AGK2 (10 µM) for 6 h to assess cytokine production.
AGK2 significantly improved survival and attenuated the levels of cytokines in the circulation (TNF-α: 298.3±24.6 vs. 26.8±2.8 pg/ml, p=0.0034; IL-6: 633.4±82.8 vs. 232.6±133.0 pg/ml, p=0.0344) and peritoneal fluid (IL-6: 704.8±67.7 vs. 391.4±98.5 pg/ml, p=0.033) compared to the vehicle control. It also decreased the TNF-α and IL-6 production by the splenocytes in-vitro (TNF-α: 68.1±6.4 vs. 23.9±2.8 pg/ml, p=0.0009; IL-6: 73.1±4.2 vs. 49.6±3.0 pg/ml; p=0.0051). The TEG data showed that animals subjected to CLP displayed markers of coagulopathy: prolonged fibrin formation and fibrin cross-linkage time, slower clot formation, decreased platelet function and clot rigidity. Selective inhibition of SIRT2 was associated with dramatic improvements in fibrin cross-linkage and clot formation speed, but without a significant impact on the clot initiation parameters and platelet function. Meanwhile, inhibition of SIRT2 significantly attenuated the bone marrow atrophy (58.3±6.5 vs. 30.0±8.2%, p=0.0262).
Selective inhibition of SIRT2 significantly improves survival, attenuates “cytokine storm” and sepsis-associated coagulopathy, and decreases bone marrow atrophy in a lethal septic model.
The mucin 1 (MUC1) oncoprotein has been linked to the inflammatory response by promoting cytokine-mediated activation of the NF-κB pathway. The TGF-β-activated kinase 1 (TAK1) is an essential effector of proinflammatory NF-κB signaling that also regulates cancer cell survival. The present studies demonstrate that the MUC1-C transmembrane subunit induces TAK1 expression in colon cancer cells. MUC1 also induces TAK1 in a MUC1+/−/IL-10−/− mouse model of colitis and colon tumorigenesis. We show that MUC1-C promotes NF-κB-mediated activation of TAK1 transcription and, in a positive regulatory loop, MUC1-C contributes to TAK1-induced NF-κB signaling. In this way, MUC1-C binds directly to TAK1 and confers the association of TAK1 with TRAF6, which is necessary for TAK1-mediated activation of NF-κB. Targeting MUC1-C thus suppresses the TAK1→NF-κB pathway, downregulates BCL-XL, and in turn sensitizes colon cancer cells to MEK inhibition. Analysis of colon cancer databases further indicates that MUC1, TAK1 and TRAF6 are upregulated in tumors associated with decreased survival and that MUC1-C-induced gene expression patterns predict poor outcomes in patients. These results support a model in which MUC1-C-induced TAK1→NF-κB signaling contributes to intestinal inflammation and colon cancer progression.
MUC1-C; TAK1; TRAF6; NF-κB; colitis; colon cancer
Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCPyV) is frequently associated with Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC), a highly aggressive neuroendocrine skin cancer. Most MCC tumors contain integrated copies of the viral genome with persistent expression of the MCPyV large T (LT) and small T (ST) antigen. MCPyV isolated from MCC typically contain wild type ST but truncated forms of LT that retain the N-terminus but delete the C-terminus and render LT incapable of supporting virus replication. To determine the oncogenic activity of MCC tumor-derived T antigens in vivo, a conditional, tissue-specific mouse model was developed. Keratin 14-mediated Cre recombinase expression induced expression of MCPyV T antigens in stratified squamous epithelial cells and Merkel cells of the skin epidermis. Mice expressing MCPyV T antigens developed hyperplasia, hyperkeratosis, and acanthosis of the skin with additional abnormalities in whisker pads, footpads and eyes. Nearly half of the mice also developed cutaneous papillomas. Evidence for neoplastic progression within stratified epithelia included increased cellular proliferation, unscheduled DNA synthesis, increased E2F-responsive genes levels, disrupted differentiation, and presence of a DNA damage response. These results indicate that MCPyV T antigens are tumorigenic in vivo, consistent with their suspected etiological role in human cancer.
Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC) is an autosomal disease caused by inactivating mutations in either of the tumor suppressor genes TSC1 or TSC2. TSC-associated tumor growth is present in multiple tissues and organs including brain, kidney, liver, heart, lungs, and skin. In the kidney, TSC angiomyolipomas have aberrant vascular structures with abnormal endothelial cells, suggesting a role for endothelial mTORC1 function. In the current report, a genetically engineered mouse model (GEMM) with a conditional knockout allele of Tsc1 with a Darpp32-Cre allele displayed accelerated formation of both kidney cystadenomas and paw hemangiosarcomas. All mutant mice developed hemangiosarcomas on multiple paws by 6 weeks of age. By 16 weeks of age the average mutant hind paw was 4.0 mm in diameter, nearly double the size of control mice. Furthermore, the hemangiosarcomas and kidney cystadenomas were responsive to intraperitoneal rapamycin treatment. Immunoblotting and immunostaining for phospho-S6 (pS6) and phospho-CAD showed that that the effect of rapamycin on tumor size was through inhibition of the mTOR signaling pathway. Finally, elevated VEGF mRNA levels were also observed in hemangiosarcoma specimens. Since paw hemangiosarcomas are easily detectable and scorable for size and growth, this novel mouse model enables accelerated in vivo drug-testing for therapies of TSC related tumors.
DARPP-32; Tsc1; tuberous sclerosis; mTOR; angiosarcoma; hemangiosarcoma
The phosphatases PTEN and INPP4B have been proposed to act as tumor suppressors by antagonizing PI3K/AKT signaling, and are frequently dysregulated in human cancer. While PTEN has been extensively studied, little is known about the underlying mechanisms by which INPP4B exerts its tumor suppressive function and its role in tumorigenesis in vivo. Here, we show that a partial or complete loss of Inpp4b morphs benign thyroid adenoma lesions in Pten heterozygous mice into lethal and metastatic follicular-like thyroid cancer (FTC). Importantly, analyses of human thyroid cancer cell lines and specimens reveal INPP4B downregulation in FTC. Mechanistically, we find that INPP4B, but not PTEN, is enriched in the early endosomes of thyroid cancer cells, where it selectively inhibits AKT2 activation and in turn tumor proliferation and anchorage-independent growth. We therefore identify INPP4B as a novel tumor suppressor in FTC oncogenesis and metastasis through localized regulation of PI3K/AKT pathway at the endosomes.
Cancer; metastasis; genetics; INPP4B; endosome; PI3K/AKT; thyroid
BRAFV600E mutation exerts an essential oncogenic function in many tumors, including papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC). Although BRAFV600E inhibitors are available, lack of response has been frequently observed. To study the mechanism underlying intrinsic resistance to the mutant BRAFV600E selective inhibitor vemurafenib, we established short-term primary cell cultures of human metastatic/recurrent BRAFV600E-PTC, intrathyroidal BRAFV600E-PTC, and normal thyroid (NT). We also generated an early intervention model of human BRAFV600E-PTC orthotopic mouse. We find that metastatic BRAFV600E-PTC cells elicit paracrine-signaling which trigger migration of pericytes, blood endothelial cells and lymphatic endothelial cells as compared to BRAFWT-PTC cells, and show a higher rate of invasion. We further show that vemurafenib therapy significantly suppresses these aberrant functions in non-metastatic BRAFV600E-PTC cells but lesser in metastatic BRAFV600E-PTC cells as compared to vehicle treatment. These results concur with similar folds of down-regulation of tumor microenvironment–associated pro-metastatic molecules, with no effects in BRAFWT-PTC and NT cells. Our early intervention preclinical trial shows that vemurafenib delays tumor growth in the orthotopic BRAFWT/V600E-PTC mice. Importantly, we identify high copy number gain of MCL1 (chromosome 1q) and loss of CDKN2A (P16, chromosome 9p) in metastatic BRAFV600E-PTC cells which are associated with resistance to vemurafenib treatment. Critically, we demonstrate that combined vemurafenib therapy with BCL2/MCL1 inhibitor increases metastatic BRAFV600E-PTC cell death and ameliorates response to vemurafenib treatment as compared to single agent treatment. In conclusion, short-term PTC and NT cultures offer a predictive model for evaluating therapeutic response in patients with PTC. Our PTC pre-clinical model suggests that combined targeted therapy might be an important therapeutic strategy for metastatic and refractory BRAFV600E-positive PTC.
BRAFV600E papillary thyroid cancer pre-clinical model; vemurafenib resisatnce; MCL1 and P16/CDKN2A somatic copy number; microenvironment
The tumour suppressor PTEN, which antagonizes PI3K signalling, is frequently inactivated in haematologic malignancies. In mice, deletion of PTEN in haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) causes perturbed haematopoiesis, myeloproliferative neoplasia (MPN) and leukaemia. Although the roles of the PI3K isoforms have been studied in PTEN-deficient tumours, their individual roles in PTEN-deficient HSCs are unknown. Here we show that when we delete PTEN in HSCs using the Mx1–Cre system, p110β ablation prevents MPN, improves HSC function and suppresses leukaemia initiation. Pharmacologic inhibition of p110β in PTEN-deficient mice recapitulates these genetic findings, but suggests involvement of both Akt-dependent and -independent pathways. Further investigation reveals that a p110β–Rac signalling loop plays a critical role in PTEN-deficient HSCs. Together, these data suggest that myeloid neoplasia driven by PTEN loss is dependent on p110β via p110β–Rac-positive-feedback loop, and that disruption of this loop may offer a new and effective therapeutic strategy for PTEN-deficient leukaemia.
The tumor suppressor PTEN antagonizes the PI3K signalling pathway and is frequently inactivated in haematological malignancies. Here, the authors unravel the main contribution of the PI3K isoform p110ß to leukemic transformation driven by PTEN-loss.