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1.  Global chromatin profiling reveals NSD2 mutations in pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia 
Nature genetics  2013;45(11):1386-1391.
Epigenetic dysregulation is an emerging hallmark of cancers. We developed a high-information-content mass spectrometry approach to profile global histone modifications in human cancers. When applied to 115 lines from the Cancer Cell Line Encyclopedia1, this approach identified distinct molecular chromatin signatures. One signature was characterized by increased histone 3 lysine 36 (H3K36) dimethylation, exhibited by several lines harboring translocations in NSD2, which encodes a methyltransferase. A previously unknown NSD2 p.Glu1099Lys (p.E1099K) variant was identified in nontranslocated acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) cell lines sharing this signature. Ectopic expression of the variant induced a chromatin signature characteristic of NSD2 hyperactivation and promoted transformation. NSD2 knockdown selectively inhibited the proliferation of NSD2-mutant lines and impaired the in vivo growth of an NSD2-mutant ALL xenograft. Sequencing analysis of >1,000 pediatric cancer genomes identified the NSD2 p.E1099K alteration in 14% of t(12;21) ETV6-RUNX1–containing ALLs. These findings identify NSD2 as a potential therapeutic target for pediatric ALL and provide a general framework for the functional annotation of cancer epigenomes.
doi:10.1038/ng.2777
PMCID: PMC4262138  PMID: 24076604
2.  Dual CDK4/CDK6 Inhibition Induces Cell Cycle Arrest and Senescence in Neuroblastoma 
Purpose
Neuroblastoma is a pediatric cancer that continues to exact significant morbidity and mortality. Recently, a number of cell cycle proteins, particularly those within the Cyclin D/CDK4/CDK6/RB network, have been shown to exert oncogenic roles in neuroblastoma, suggesting that their therapeutic exploitation might improve patient outcomes.
Experimental Procedures
We evaluated the effect of dual CDK4/CDK6 inhibition on neuroblastoma viability using LEE011, a highly specific CDK4/6 inhibitor.
Results
Treatment with LEE011 significantly reduced proliferation in 12 of 17 human neuroblastoma-derived cell lines by inducing cytostasis at nanomolar concentrations (mean IC50 = 307 ± 68 nM in sensitive lines). LEE011 caused cell cycle arrest and cellular senescence that was attributed to dose-dependent decreases in phosphorylated RB and FOXM1, respectively. In addition, responsiveness of neuroblastoma xenografts to LEE011 translated to the in vivo setting in that there was a direct correlation of in vitro IC50 values with degree of subcutaneous xenograft growth delay. While our data indicate that neuroblastomas sensitive to LEE011 were more likely to contain genomic amplification of MYCN (p = 0.01), the identification of additional clinically accessible biomarkers is of high importance.
Conclusions
Taken together, our data show that LEE011 is active in a large subset of neuroblastoma cell line and xenograft models, and supports the clinical development of this CDK4/6 inhibitor as a therapy for patients with this disease.
doi:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-13-1675
PMCID: PMC3844928  PMID: 24045179
Neuroblastoma; CDK4; CDK6; LEE011; MYCN
3.  The Cancer Cell Line Encyclopedia enables predictive modeling of anticancer drug sensitivity 
Nature  2012;483(7391):603-607.
The systematic translation of cancer genomic data into knowledge of tumor biology and therapeutic avenues remains challenging. Such efforts should be greatly aided by robust preclinical model systems that reflect the genomic diversity of human cancers and for which detailed genetic and pharmacologic annotation is available1. Here we describe the Cancer Cell Line Encyclopedia (CCLE): a compilation of gene expression, chromosomal copy number, and massively parallel sequencing data from 947 human cancer cell lines. When coupled with pharmacologic profiles for 24 anticancer drugs across 479 of the lines, this collection allowed identification of genetic, lineage, and gene expression-based predictors of drug sensitivity. In addition to known predictors, we found that plasma cell lineage correlated with sensitivity to IGF1 receptor inhibitors; AHR expression was associated with MEK inhibitor efficacy in NRAS-mutant lines; and SLFN11 expression predicted sensitivity to topoisomerase inhibitors. Altogether, our results suggest that large, annotated cell line collections may help to enable preclinical stratification schemata for anticancer agents. The generation of genetic predictions of drug response in the preclinical setting and their incorporation into cancer clinical trial design could speed the emergence of “personalized” therapeutic regimens2.
doi:10.1038/nature11003
PMCID: PMC3320027  PMID: 22460905
4.  COT/MAP3K8 drives resistance to RAF inhibition through MAP kinase pathway reactivation 
Nature  2010;468(7326):968-972.
Oncogenic mutations in the serine/threonine kinase B-RAF are found in 50–70% of malignant melanomas1. Pre-clinical studies have demonstrated that the B-RAFV600E mutation predicts a dependency on the mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling cascade in melanoma1–5—an observation that has been validated by the success of RAF and MEK inhibitors in clinical trials6–8. However, clinical responses to targeted anticancer therapeutics are frequently confounded by de novo or acquired resistance9–11. Identification of resistance mechanisms in a manner that elucidates alternative ‘druggable’ targets may inform effective long-term treatment strategies12. Here, we expressed ~600 kinase and kinase-related open reading frames (ORFs) in parallel to functionally interrogate resistance to a selective RAF kinase inhibitor. We identified MAP3K8 (COT/TPL2) as a MAPK pathway agonist that drives resistance to RAF inhibition in B-RAFV600E cell lines. COT activates ERK primarily through MEK-dependent mechanisms that do not require RAF signaling. Moreover, COT expression is associated with de novo resistance in B-RAFV600E cultured cell lines and acquired resistance in melanoma cells and tissue obtained from relapsing patients following treatment with MEK or RAF inhibition. We further identify combinatorial MAPK pathway inhibition or targeting of COT kinase activity as possible therapeutic strategies for reducing MAPK pathway activation in this setting. Together, these results provide new insights into resistance mechanisms involving the MAPK pathway and articulate an integrative approach through which high-throughput functional screens may inform the development of novel therapeutic strategies.
doi:10.1038/nature09627
PMCID: PMC3058384  PMID: 21107320
5.  Transcriptional transactivation by selected short random peptides attached to lexA-GFP fusion proteins 
Background
Transcriptional transactivation is a process with remarkable tolerance for sequence diversity and structural geometry. In studies of the features that constitute transactivating functions, acidity has remained one of the most common characteristics observed among native activation domains and activator peptides.
Results
We performed a deliberate search of random peptide libraries for peptides capable of conferring transcriptional transactivation on the lexA DNA binding domain. Two libraries, one composed of C-terminal fusions, the other of peptide insertions within the green fluorescent protein structure, were used. We show that (i) peptide sequences other than C-terminal fusions can confer transactivation; (ii) though acidic activator peptides are more common, charge neutral and basic peptides can function as activators; and (iii) peptides as short as 11 amino acids behave in a modular fashion.
Conclusions
These results support the recruitment model of transcriptional activation and, combined with other studies, suggest the possibility of using activator peptides in a variety of applications, including drug development work.
doi:10.1186/1471-2199-2-10
PMCID: PMC56998  PMID: 11580863

Results 1-5 (5)