Cancer cell molecular mimicry of stem cells (SC) imbues neoplastic cells with enhanced proliferative and renewal capacities. In support, numerous mediators of SC self-renewal have been evinced to exhibit oncogenic potential. We have recently reported that shRNA-mediated knockdown of the embryonic stem cell (ESC) self-renewal gene NANOG significantly reduced the clonogenic and tumorigenic capabilities of various cancer cells. In this study, we sought to test the potential pro-tumorigenic functions of NANOG, particularly, in prostate cancer (PCa). Using quantitative RT-PCR, we first confirmed that PCa cells expressed NANOG mRNA primarily from the NANOGP8 locus on chromosome 15q14. We then constructed a lentiviral promoter reporter in which the -3.8 kb NANOGP8 genomic fragment was used to drive the expression of green fluorescence protein (GFP). We observed that NANOGP8-GFP+ PCa cells exhibited cancer stem cell (CSC) characteristics such as enhanced clonal growth and tumor regenerative capacity. To further investigate the functions and mechanisms of NANOG in tumorigenesis, we established tetracycline-inducible NANOG overexpressing cancer cell lines, including both prostate (Du145 and LNCaP) and breast (MCF-7) cancer cells. NANOG induction promoted drug-resistance in MCF-7 cells, tumor regeneration in Du145 cells, and, most importantly, castration-resistant tumor development in LNCaP cells. These pro-tumorigenic effects of NANOG were associated with key molecular changes, including an upregulation of molecules such as CXCR4, IGFBP5, CD133 and ALDH1. The present gain-of-function studies, coupled with our recent loss-of-function work, establish the integral role for NANOG in neoplastic processes and shed light on its mechanisms of action.
Nanog; prostate cancer; cancer stem cells; castration resistance; self-renewal
Interferon alpha (IFNα) is widely used for treatment of melanoma and certain other malignancies. This cytokine as well as the related IFNβ exerts potent anti-tumorigenic effects; however, their efficacy in patients is often suboptimal. Here we report that inflammatory signaling impedes the effects of IFNα/β. Melanoma cells can secrete pro-inflammatory cytokines that inhibit cellular responses to IFNα/β via activating the ligand-independent pathway for the phosphorylation and subsequent ubiquitination and accelerated degradation of the IFNAR1 chain of Type I IFN receptor. Catalytic activity of the p38 protein kinase was required for IFNAR1 downregulation and inhibition of IFNα/β signaling induced by proinflammatory cytokines such as Interleukin 1 (IL-1). Activation of p38 kinase inversely correlated with protein levels of IFNAR1 in clinical melanoma specimens. Inhibition of p38 kinase augmented the inhibitory effects of IFNα/β on cell viability and growth in vitro and in vivo. The role of inflammation and p38 protein kinase in regulating cellular responses to IFNα/β in normal and tumor cells are discussed.
inflammation; cancer; interferon; receptor; ubiquitin; melanoma
Translational control at the initiation step has been recognized as a major and important regulatory mechanism of gene expression. eIF3a, a putative subunit of eIF3 complex, has recently been shown to play an important role in regulating translation of a subset of mRNAs and found to correlate with prognosis of cancers. In this study, using nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) cells as a model system we tested the hypothesis that eIF3a negatively regulates synthesis of nucleotide excision repair (NER) proteins and, thus, NER activities and cellular response to treatments with DNA damaging agents such as cisplatin. We found that a cisplatin-sensitive subclone S16 isolated from a NPC cell line CNE2 via limited dilution has increased eIF3a expression. Knocking down its expression in S16 cells increased cellular resistance to cisplatin, NER activity, and synthesis of NER proteins XPA, XPC, RAD23B, and RPA32. Altering eIF3a expression also changed cellular response to cisplatin and UV treatment in other NPC cell lines. Taken together, we conclude that eIF3a plays an important role in cisplatin response and NER activity of nasopharyngeal carcinomas by suppressing synthesis of NER proteins.
cisplatin sensitivity; eIF3a; nasopharyngeal carcinoma; nucleotide excision repair; translational control
The overexpression of IRX1 gene correlates with the growth arrest in gastric cancer. Furthermore, overexpression of IRX1 gene suppresses peritoneal spreading and long distance metastasis. To explore the precise mechanisms, we investigated whether restoring IRX1 expression affects the angiogenesis or vasculogenic mimicry (VM). Human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) and chick embryo and SGC-7901 gastric cancer cells were used for angiogenesis and VM analysis. Small interfering RNA was used for analyzing the function of BDKRB2, a downstream target gene of IRX1. As results, the remarkable suppression on peritoneal spreading and pulmonary metastasis of SGC-7901 cells by IRX1 transfectant correlates to reduced angiogenesis as well as VM formation. Using the supernatant from SGC-7901/IRX1 cells, we found a strong inhibiting effect on angiogenesis both in vitro and in chick embryo. SGC-7901/IRX1 cells revealed strong inhibiting effect on VM formation too. By gene-specific RNA interference for BDKRB2, or its effector PAK1, we got an effective inhibition on tube formation, cell proliferation, cell migration and invasion in vitro. In conclusion, enforcing IRX1 expression effectively suppresses peritoneal spreading and pulmonary metastasis via anti-angiogenesis and anti-VM mechanisms, in addition to previously found cell growth and invasion. BDKRB2 and its downstream effector might be potential targets for anti-cancer strategy.
gastric carcinoma; IRX1; angiogenesis; vasculogenic mimicry; BDKRB2
The nuclear p68 RNA helicase is a prototypical member of the DEAD box family of RNA helicases. P68 RNA helicase has been implicated in cell proliferation and early organ development and maturation. However, the functional role of p68 RNA helicase in these biological processes at the molecular level is not well understood. We previously reported that tyrosine phosphorylation of p68 RNA helicase mediates the effects of PDGF in induction of EMT by promoting β-catenin nuclear translocation (Yang et.al. Cell 127:139-155 2006). Here we report that phosphorylation of p68 RNA helicase at Y593 up-regulates transcription of the Snail1 gene. The phosphorylated p68 activates transcription of the Snail1 gene by promoting HDAC1 dissociation from the Snail1 promoter. Our results showed that p68 interacted with the nuclear remodeling and deacetylation complex MBD3:Mi-2/NuRD. Thus, our data suggested that a DEAD box RNA unwindase can potentially regulate gene expression by functioning as a protein ‘displacer’ to modulate protein-protein interactions at the chromatin remodeling complex.
P68 RNA helicase; E-cadherin; Snail1; transcription activation; DEAD-box; HDAC1; Mi-2/NuRD
HER2/neu (HER2) and cyclin E are important prognostic indicators in breast cancer. Since both are involved in cell cycle regulation we investigated whether there was a direct interaction between the two. HER2 and cyclin E expression levels were determined in 395 breast cancer patients. Patients with HER2-overexpression and high levels of cyclin E had decreased 5-year disease-specific survival compared with low levels of cyclin E (14% versus 89%, P < .0001) In vitro studies were performed in which HER2-mediated activity in HER2-overexpressing breast cancer cell lines was downregulated by transfection with HER2 siRNA or treatment with trastuzumab. Cyclin E expression levels were determined, and functional effects investigated using kinase assays, MTT assays to assess cell viability as a marker of proliferation, and FACS analysis to determine cell cycle profiles. Decreased HER2-mediated signaling resulted in decreased expression of cyclin E, particularly the low molecular weight (LMW) isoforms. Decreased HER2 and LMW cyclin E expression had functional effects, including decreased cyclin E-associated kinase activity and decreased proliferation, due to increased apoptosis and an increased accumulation of cells in the G1 phase. In vivo studies performed in a HER2-overexpressing breast cancer xenograft model confirmed the effects of trastuzumab on cyclin E expression. Given the relationship between HER2 and cyclin E, in vitro clonogenic assays were performed to assess combination therapy targeting both proteins. Isobologram analysis showed a synergistic interaction between the two agents (trastuzumab targeting HER2 and roscovitine targeting cyclin E). Taken together, these studies demonstrate that HER2-mediated signaling effects LMW cyclin E expression, which in turn effects cell cycle regulation. LMW cyclin E has prognostic and predictive roles in HER2-overexpressing breast cancer, warranting further study of its potential as a therapeutic target.
Breast cancer; HER2/neu; cell cycle regulation; cyclin E
Transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) regulates epithelial tissue homeostasis by activating processes that control cell cycle arrest, differentiation and apoptosis. Disruption of TGF-β signaling pathway often occurs in colorectal cancers. Previously, we have shown that TGF-β induces apoptosis through the transcription factor Smad3. Affymetrix oligonucleotide microarrays were used to identify TGF-β/Smad3 target genes that regulate apoptosis in rat intestinal epithelial cells (RIE-1). We found that TGF-β repressed the expression of the inhibitor of differentiation (Id) gene family. Knockdown of Id1 and Id2 gene expression induced apoptosis in RIE cells, whereas over-expression of Id2 attenuated TGF-β-induced apoptosis. TranSignal™ Protein/DNA arrays were used to identify hypoxia-inducing factor-1 (HIF-1) as a downstream target of TGF-β. HIF-1 is a bHLH protein, and over-expression of Id2 blocked HIF-1 activation by TGF-β. Furthermore, knockdown of HIF-1 blocked TGF-β-induced apoptosis. Thus, we have identified HIF-1 as a novel mediator downstream of Id2 in the pathway of TGF-β-induced apoptosis.
Apoptosis; Affymetrix oligonucleotide microarrays; Inhibitor of differentiation; TranSignal™; Protein/DNA arrays; Hypoxia-inducing factor
Ebp1, an ErbB3 receptor-binding protein, inhibits cell proliferation and acts as a putative tumor suppressor. Ebp1 translocates into the nucleus and functions as a transcription corepressor for E2F-1. Here, we show that Ebp1 p42 isoform can be sumoylated on both K93 and K298 residues, which mediate its nuclear translocation and is required for its anti-proliferative activity. We find that TLS/FUS, an RNA-binding nuclear protein that is involved in pre- mRNA processing and nucleocytoplasmic shuttling, has Sumo1 E3 ligase activity for Ebp1 p42. Ebp1 directly binds TLS/FUS, which is regulated by genotoxic stress-triggered phosphorylation on Ebp1. Ebp1 sumoylation facilitates its nucleolar distribution and protein stability. Overexpression of TLS enhances Ebp1 sumoylation, while depletion of TLS abolishes Ebp1 sumoylation. Moreover, Unsumoylated Ebp1 mutants fail to suppress E2F-1- regulated transcription, resulting in loss of its anti-proliferation activity. Hence, TLS-mediated sumoylation is required for Ebp1 transcription repressive activity.
Ebp1; TLS/FUS; Sumoylation; Cell proliferation
The removal of DNA interstrand cross-links (ICLs) has proven to be notoriously complicated due to the involvement of multiple pathways of DNA repair, which include the Fanconi anemia/BRCA pathway, homologous recombination, and components of the nucleotide excision and mismatch repair pathways. Members of the SNM1 gene family have also been shown to have a role in mediating cellular resistance to ICLs, although their precise function has remained elusive. Here we show that knockdown of Snm1B/Apollo in human cells results in hypersensitivity to mitomycin C (MMC), but not to IR. We also show that Snm1B-deficient cells exhibit a defective S phase checkpoint in response to MMC, but not to IR, and this finding may account for the specific sensitivity to the cross-linking drug. Interestingly, although previous studies have largely implicated ATR as the major kinase activated in response to ICLs, we show that it is activation of the ATM-mediated checkpoint that is defective in Snm1B-deficient cells. The requirement for Snm1B in ATM checkpoint activation specifically after ICL damage is correlated with its role in promoting double-strand break formation, and thus replication fork collapse. Consistent with this result Snm1B was found to interact directly with Mus81-Eme1 an endonuclease previously implicated in fork collapse. In addition, we also show that Snm1B interacts with the Mre11-Rad50-Nbs1 (MRN) complex and with FancD2 further substantiating its role as a checkpoint/DNA repair protein.
Snm1B/Apollo; interstrand cross-links; cell cycle checkpoint; ATM
Castration-resistant prostate cancer (PCa) is refractory to hormone therapy and new strategies for treatment are urgently needed. We found that androgen-insensitive (AI) PCa cells, LNCaP-AI, are reprogrammed to upregulate the mitotic kinase Plk1 and other M phase cell cycle proteins, which may underlie AI PCa growth. In androgen-depleted media, LNCaP-AI cells showed exquisite sensitivity to growth inhibition by subnanomolar concentrations of a small molecule inhibitor of Plk1, BI2536, suggesting that these cells are dependent on Plk1 for growth. In contrast, the androgen-responsive parental LNCaP cells showed negligible responses to BI2536 treatment under the same condition. BI2536 treatment of LNCaP-AI cells resulted in an increase in cell death marker PARP-1 but did not activate caspase-3, an apoptosis marker, suggesting that the observed cell death was caspase-independent. BI2536-treated LNCaP-AI cells formed multinucleated giant cells that contain clusters of nuclear vesicles indicative of mitotic catastrophe. Live-cell time-lapse imaging revealed that BI2536-treated giant LNCaP-AI cells underwent necroptosis, as evidenced by “explosive” cell death and partial reversal of cell death by a necroptosis inhibitor. Our studies suggest that LNCaP-AI cells underwent reprogramming in both their cell growth and cell death pathways, rendering them highly sensitive to Plk1 inhibition that induces necroptosis. Harnessing necroptosis through Plk1 inhibition may be explored for therapeutic intervention of castration-resistant PCa.
Plk1; BI2536; mitotic catastrophe; necroptosis; autophagy; prostate cancer
Tumor suppressor p53 is critical to suppress all types of human cancers, including breast cancers. The p53 gene is somatically mutated in over half of all human cancers. The majority of the p53 mutations are missense mutations, leading to the expression of the full-length p53 mutants. Several hotspot mutations, including R175H, are frequently detected in human breast cancers. P53 cancer mutants not only lose tumor suppression activity, but more problematically, gain new oncogenic activities. Despite correlation of the expression of p53 cancer mutants and the poor prognosis of human breast cancer patients, the roles of p53 cancer mutants in promoting breast cancer remain unclear. We employed the humanized p53 cancer mutant knock-in (R175H) mice and MMTV-Wnt-1 transgenic (mWnt-1) mice to specifically address the gain of function of R175H in promoting breast cancer. While both R175H/R175HmWnt-1(R175HmWnt-1) and p53−/−mWnt-1 mice died from mammary cancers at the same kinetics, which was much earlier than mWnt-1 mice, most of the R175HmWnt-1 mice developed multiple mammary tumors per mouse, whereas p53−/−mWnt-1 and mWnt-1 mice mostly developed one tumor per mouse. The multiple mammary tumors arose in the same R175HmWnt-1 mouse exhibited different histological characters. Moreover, R175H gain-of-function mutant expands the mammary epithelial stem cells (MESCs) that give rise to the mammary tumors. Since ATM suppresses the expansion of MESCs, the inactivation of ATM by R175H in mammary epithelial cells could contribute to the expansion of MESCs in R175HmWnt-1 mice. These findings provide the basis for R175H to promote the initiation of breast cancer by expanding MESCs.
The cyclin-dependent kinase 4 (CDK4) amplicon is frequently amplified in numerous human cancers including gliomas. PIKE-A, a proto-oncogene that is one of the important components of the CDK4 amplicon, binds to and enhances the kinase activity of Akt, thereby promoting cancer progression. To define the roles of the PIKE-A/Akt interaction in glioblastoma multiform (GBM) progression, we used biochemical protein/protein interaction (PPI) assays and live cell fluorescence-based protein complementation assays to search for small peptide antagonist from these proteins that were able to block their interaction. Here, we show that disruption of the interaction between PIKE-A and Akt by the small peptides significantly reduces glioblastoma cell proliferation, colony formation, migration and invasion. Disruption of PIKE-A/Akt association potently suppressed GBM cell proliferation and sensitized the cells to two clinical drugs that are currently used to treat GBM. Interestingly, GBM cells containing the CDK4 amplicon were more responsive to the inhibition of the PIKE-A/Akt interaction than GBM cells lacking this amplicon. Taken together, our findings provide proof-of-principle that blocking a PPI that is essential for cancer progression provides a valuable strategy for therapeutic discovery.
glioblastoma; protein/protein interaction; PIKE-A; Akt
A clearer definition of the molecular determinants that drive the development and progression of prostate cancer (PCa) is urgently needed. Efforts to map recurrent somatic deletions in the tumor genome, especially homozygous deletions (HODs), have provided important positional information in the search for cancer-causing genes. Analyzing HODs in the tumors of 244 patients from two independent cohorts and 22 PCa xenografts using high-resolution single-nucleotide polymorphism arrays, herein we report the identification of CHD1, a chromatin remodeler, as one of the most frequently homozygously deleted genes in PCa, second only to PTEN in this regard. The HODs observed in CHD1, including deletions affecting only internal exons of CHD1, were found to completely extinguish the expression of mRNA of this gene in PCa xenografts. Loss of this chromatin remodeler in clinical specimens is significantly associated with an increased number of additional chromosomal deletions, both hemi- and homozygous, especially on 2q, 5q and 6q. Together with the deletions observed in HEK293 cells stably transfected with CHD1 small hairpin RNA, these data suggest a causal relationship. Downregulation of Chd1 in mouse prostate epithelial cells caused dramatic morphological changes indicative of increased invasiveness, but did not result in transformation. Indicating a new role of CHD1, these findings collectively suggest that distinct CHD1-associated alterations of genomic structure evolve during and are required for the development of PCa.
CHD1; homozygous deletion; prostate cancer
The promyelocytic leukemia (PML) protein is a tumor suppressor originally identified in acute promyelocytic leukemia and implicated in tumorigenesis in multiple forms of cancer. Here, we demonstrate that the PML protein undergoes ubiquitination-mediated degradation facilitated by an E3 ligase UHRF1 (ubiquitin-like with PHD and RING finger domains 1), which is commonly upregulated in various human malignancies. Furthermore, UHRF1 negatively regulates PML protein accumulation in primary human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs), HEK 293 cells and cancer cells. Knockdown of UHRF1 upregulates whereas ectopic overexpression of UHRF1 downregulates protein abundance of endogenous or exogenous PML, doing so through its binding to the N-terminus of PML. Overexpression of wild-type UHRF1 shortens PML protein half-life and promotes PML polyubiquitination, whereas deletion of the RING domain or coexpression of the dominant-negative E2 ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme, E2D2, attenuates this modification to PML. Finally, knockdown of UHRF1 prolongs PML half-life and increases PML protein accumulation, yet inhibits cell migration and in vitro capillary tube formation, whereas co-knockdown of PML compromises this inhibitory effect. These findings suggest that UHRF1 promotes the turnover of PML protein, and thus targeting UHRF1 to restore PML-mediated tumor suppression represents a promising, novel, anticancer strategy.
UHRF1; PML; ubiquitination; cell migration; capillary tube formation
Rac1b, an alternative splice form of Rac1, has been previously shown to be upregulated in colon and breast cancer cells, suggesting an oncogenic role for Rac1b in these cancers. Our analysis of NSCLC tumor and matched normal tissue samples indicates Rac1b is upregulated in a significant fraction of lung tumors in correlation with mutational status of K-ras. To directly assess the oncogenic potential of Rac1b in vivo, we employed a mouse model of lung adenocarcinoma, in which the expression of Rac1b can be conditionally activated specifically in the lung. While expression of Rac1b alone is insufficient to drive tumor initiation, the expression of Rac1b synergizes with an oncogenic allele of K-ras resulting in increased cellular proliferation and accelerated tumor growth. Finally, we show that in contrast to our previous findings demonstrating a requirement for Rac1 in K-ras-driven cell proliferation, Rac1b is not required in this context. Given the partially overlapping spectrum of downstream effectors regulated by Rac1 and Rac1b, our findings further delineate the signaling pathways downstream of Rac1 that are required for K-ras driven tumorigenesis.
Mutation of the p53 gene is the most common genetic alteration in human cancer and contributes to malignant process by enhancing transformed properties of cells and resistance to anticancer therapy. Mutant p53 is often highly expressed in tumor cells at least in part due to its increased half-life. However, whether mutant p53 expression is regulated by other mechanisms in tumors is unclear. Here, we found that histone deacetylase inhibitors suppress both wild-type and mutant p53 transcription in time- and dose-dependent manners. Consistent with this, the levels of wild-type and mutant p53 proteins are decreased upon treatment with HDAC inhibitors. Importantly, we found that upon knockdown of each class I HDAC, only HDAC8 knockdown leads to decreased expression of wild-type and mutant p53 proteins and transcripts. Conversely, we found that ectopic expression of wild-type but not mutant HDAC8 leads to increased transcription of p53. Furthermore, we found that knockdown of HDAC8 results in reduced expression of HoxA5 and consequently attenuated ability of HoxA5 to activate p53 transcription, which can be rescued by ectopic expression of HoxA5. Due to the fact that HDAC8 is required for expression of both wild-type and mutant p53, we found that targeted disruption of HDAC8 expression remarkably triggers proliferative defect in cells with a mutant, but not wild-type, p53. Together, our data uncover a regulatory mechanism of mutant p53 transcription via HDAC8 and suggest that HDAC inhibitors and especially HDAC8-targeting agents might be explored as an adjuvant for tumors carrying a mutant p53.
p53; mutant p53; HDAC8; HDAC inhibitor; HoxA5; Transcription
In Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia, the constitutive activation of the BCR-ABL kinase transforms cells to an “addicted” state that requires glucose metabolism for survival. We investigated S6K1, a protein kinase that drives glycolysis in leukemia cells, as a target for counteracting glucose-dependent survival induced by BCR-ABL. BCR-ABL potently activated S6K1-dependent signaling and glycolysis. Although S6K1 knockdown or rapamycin treatment suppressed glycolysis in BCR-ABL transformed cells, these treatments did not induce cell death. Instead, loss of S6K1 triggered compensatory activation of fatty acid oxidation, a metabolic program that can support glucose-independent cell survival. Fatty acid oxidation in response to S6K1-inactivation required the expression of the fatty acid transporter Cpt1c, which was recently linked to rapamycin resistance in cancer. Finally, addition of an inhibitor of fatty acid oxidation significantly enhanced cytotoxicity in response to S6K1 inactivation. These data indicate that S6K1 dictates the metabolic requirements mediating BCR-ABL survival and provide a rationale for combining targeted inhibitors of signal transduction with strategies to interrupt oncogene-induced metabolism.
S6K1; glycolysis; fatty acid oxidation; rapamycin; leukemia; Cpt1c
CXC chemokine ligand-13 (CXCL13) has been implicated in oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) tumor progression and osteolysis. Tumor necrosis factor family member, RANKL (receptor activator of NF-κB ligand), a critical bone resorbing osteoclastogenic factor plays an important role in cancer invasion of bone/osteolysis. Here, we show high level expression of CXCL13 in primary human OSCC tumor specimens; however human bone marrow derived stromal (SAKA-T) and murine preosteoblast (MC3T3-E1) cells produce at very low level. Recombinant CXCL13 (0–15 ng/ml) dose dependently induced CXCR5 expression in SAKA-T and MC3T3-E1 cells. Conditioned media obtained from OSCC cell lines increased the RANKL expression and an antibody against the CXCL13 specific receptor, CXCR5 markedly decreased RANKL expression in these cells. Furthermore, CXCL13 increased hRANKL-Luc promoter activity. Superarray screening identified c-Myc and NFATc3 transcription factors upregulated in CXCL13 stimulated SAKA-T cells. Immunohistochemical analysis of OSCC tumors developed in athymic mice demonstrated RANKL and NFATc3 expression in tumor and osteoblast cells, however p-c-Myc expression specific to osteoblastic cells at the tumor-bone interface. We further identified NFATc3 expression but not c-Myc activation in primary human OSCC tumor specimens compared to adjacent normal tissue. Also, CXCL13 significantly increased p-ERK1/2 in SAKA-T and MC3T3-E1 cells. siRNA suppression of c-Myc expression markedly decreased CXCL13 induced RANKL and NFATc3 expression in preosteoblast cells. Chromatin-immuno precipitation (ChIP) assay confirmed p-c-Myc binding to the hRANKL promoter region. In summary, c-Myc activation through CXCL13-CXCR5 signaling axis stimulates RANKL expression in stromal/preosteoblast cells. Thus, our results implicate CXCL13 as a potential therapeutic target to prevent OSCC invasion of bone/osteolysis.
oral squamous cell carcinoma; CXCL13; RANK ligand; c-Myc; osteoblast
There is enormous interest to target cancer stem cells (CSCs) for clinical treatment because these cells are highly tumorigenic and resistant to chemotherapy. Oct4 is expressed by CSC-like cells in different types of cancer. However, function of Oct4 in tumor cells is unclear. In this study, we showed that expression of Oct4 gene or transmembrane delivery of Oct4 protein promoted dedifferentiation of melanoma cells to CSC-like cells. The dedifferentiated melanoma cells showed significantly decreased expression of melanocytic markers and acquired the ability to form tumor spheroids. They showed markedly increased resistance to chemotherapeutic agents and hypoxic injury. In the subcutaneous xenograft and tail vein injection assays, these cells had significantly increased tumorigenic capacity. The dedifferentiated melanoma cells acquired features associated with CSCs such as multipotent differentiation capacity and expression of melanoma CSC markers such as ABCB5 and CD271. Mechanistically, Oct4 induced dedifferentiation was associated with increased expression of endogenous Oct4, Nanog and Klf4, and global gene expression changes that enriched for transcription factors. RNAi mediated knockdown of Oct4 in dedifferentiated cells led to diminished CSC phenotypes. Oct4 expression in melanoma was regulated by hypoxia and its expression was detected in a subpopulation of melanoma cells in clinical samples. Our data indicate that Oct4 is a positive regulator of tumor dedifferentiation. The results suggest that CSC phenotype is dynamic and may be acquired through dedifferentiation. Oct4 mediated tumor cell dedifferentiation may play an important role during tumor progression.
Oct4; Cancer stem cell; Melanoma; Dedifferentiation; hypoxia
Chronic inflammation is implicated in the pathogenesis of esophageal squamous cell cancer (ESCC). The causes of inflammation in ESCC, however, are undefined. Dietary zinc-deficiency (ZD) increases the risk of ESCC. We have previously shown that short-term ZD (6 weeks) in rats induces overexpression of the proinflammatory mediators S100a8 and S100a9 in the esophageal mucosa with accompanying esophageal epithelial hyperplasia. Here we report that prolonged ZD (21 weeks) in rats amplified this inflammation that when combined with non-carcinogenic low doses of the environmental carcinogen N-nitrosomethylbenzylamine (NMBA) elicited a 66.7% (16/24) incidence of ESCC. With zinc-sufficiency NMBA produced no cancers (0/21) (P<0.001). At tumor endpoint, the neoplastic ZD esophagus as compared with zinc-sufficient esophagus had an inflammatory gene signature with upregulation of numerous cancer-related inflammation genes (CXC and CC chemokines, chemokine receptors, cytokines, and Cox-2) in addition to S100a8 and S100a9. This signature was already activated in the earlier dysplastic stage. Additionally, time-course bioinformatics analysis of expression profiles at tumor endpoint and prior to NMBA exposure revealed that this sustained inflammation was due to ZD rather than carcinogen exposure. Importantly, zinc replenishment reversed this inflammatory signature at both the dysplastic and neoplastic stages of ESCC development, and prevented cancer formation. Thus, the molecular definition of ZD-induced inflammation as a critical factor in ESCC development has important clinical implications with regard to development and prevention of this deadly disease.
The heparan sulfate 6-O-endosulfatase (SULF2) promotes growth and metastasis of solid tumors. We recently identified that cytosine methylation of the SULF2 promoter is associated with better survival of resected lung adenocarcinoma patients and now also demonstrate a marginal improvement in survival of advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients receiving standard chemotherapy (HR = 0.63, p = 0.07). Subsequent studies focused on investigating the effect of methylation on SULF2 expression and its genome-wide impact. The genes and pathways modulated by epigenetic inactivation of SULF2 and the effects on sensitivity to chemotherapy were characterized in vitro and in vivo. Silencing SULF2 through siRNA or methylation primarily increased expression of interferon-inducible genes including ISG15, a marker for increased sensitivity to topoisomerase-1 inhibitors such as camptothecin. NSCLC cell lines with methylated SULF2 (SULF2M) express 60-fold higher ISG15 compared to SULF2 unmethylated (SULF2U) NSCLC cell lines and normal human bronchial epithelial cells. In vitro, SULF2M and high ISG15 (ISG15H) expressing NSCLC cell lines were 134-fold more sensitive to camptothecin than SULF2U and low ISG15 (ISG15L) expressing cell lines. Topotecan, a soluble analogue of camptothecin and FDA approved anti-cancer drug, dramatically arrested the growth of SULF2M-ISG15H, but not SULF2U-ISG15L lung tumors in nude mice (p < 0.002). Similarly, high ISG15 expression that is comparable to the topotecan sensitive NSCLC cell lines was found in tumors from 25% of NSCLC patients compared to normal lung indicating a potential to identify and target the most sensitive NSCLC subpopulation for personalized topotecan therapy.
NSCLC; Camptothecin; SULF-2; Oncogene; Topotecan
Identifying the spectrum of genetic alterations that cooperate with critical oncogenes to promote transformation provides a foundation for understanding the diversity of clinical phenotypes observed in human cancers. Here, we performed integrated analyses to identify genomic alterations that co-occur with oncogenic BRAF in melanoma and abrogate cellular dependence upon this oncogene. We identified concurrent mutational inactivation of the PTEN and RB1 tumor suppressors as a mechanism for loss of BRAF/MEK dependence in melanomas harboring V600EBRAF mutations. RB1 alterations were mutually exclusive with loss of p16INK4A, suggesting that whereas p16INK4A and RB1 may have overlapping roles in preventing tumor formation, tumors with loss of RB1 exhibit diminished dependence upon BRAF signaling for cell proliferation. These findings provide a genetic basis for the heterogeneity of clinical outcomes in patients treated with targeted inhibitors of the mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway. Our results also suggest a need for comprehensive screening for RB1 and PTEN inactivation in patients treated with RAF and MEK-selective inhibitors to determine whether these alterations are associated with diminished clinical benefit in patients whose cancers harbor mutant BRAF.
BRAF; PTEN; RB1; MEK inhibitor; BRAF inhibitor; CDKN2A
Dysregulation of β-catenin turnover due to mutations of its regulatory proteins including APC and p53 is implicated in the pathogenesis of cancer. Thus, intensive effort is being made to search for alternative approaches to reduce abnormally activated β-catenin in cancer cells. Nur77, an orphan member of the nuclear receptor superfamily, plays a role in the growth and apoptosis of cancer cells. Here, we reported that Nur77 could inhibit transcriptional activity of β-catenin by inducing β-catenin degradation via proteasomal degradation pathway that is GSK3β and Siah-1 independent. Nur77 induction of β-catenin degradation required both the N-terminal region of Nur77, which was involved in Nur77 ubiquitination, and the C-terminal region, which was responsible for β-catenin binding. Nur77/ΔDBD, a Nur77 mutant lacking its DNA-binding domain, resided in the cytoplasm, interacted with β-catenin, and induced β-catenin degradation, demonstrating that Nur77-mediated β-catenin degradation was independent of its DNA-binding and transactivation and might occur in the cytoplasm. In addition, we reported our identification of two digitalis-like compounds (DLCs), H-9 and ATE-i2-b4, which potently induced Nur77 expression and β-catenin degradation in SW620 colon cancer cells expressing mutant APC protein in vitro and in animals. DLC-induced Nur77 protein was mainly found in the cytoplasm, and inhibition of Nur77 nuclear export by the CRM1-dependent nuclear export inhibitor leptomycin B or Jun N-terminal kinase inhibitor prevented the effect of DLC on inducing β-catenin degradation. Together, our results demonstrate that β-catenin can be degraded by cytoplasmic Nur77 through their interaction and identify H-9 and ATE-i2-b4 as potent activators of the Nur77-mediated pathway for β-catenin degradation.
Nur77; β-catenin; Nongenomic; Cardenolide; Cancer
HER2/Neu is overexpressed in 20-30% of breast cancers and associated with aggressive phenotypes and poor prognosis. For deciphering the role of HER2/Neu in breast cancer, mouse mammary tumor virus (MMTV)-Her2/neu transgenic mice that develop mammary tumors resembling human HER2-subtype breast cancer have been established. Several recent studies have revealed that HER2/Neu is overexpressed in and regulates self renewal of breast tumor initiating cells (TICs). However, in the MMTV-Her2/neu transgenic mouse model, the identity of TICs remains elusive, despite previous studies showing supportive evidence for existence of TICs in Her2/neu-induced mammary tumors. Through systematic screening and characterization, we identified surface markers CD49f, CD61 and ESA were aberrantly overexpressed in Her2-overexpressing mammary tumor cells. Analysis of these markers as well as CD24 detected anomalous expansion of the luminal progenitor population in preneoplastic mammary glands of Her2/neu-transgenic mice, indicating that aberrant luminal progenitors originated Her2-induced mammary tumors. The combined markers, CD49f and CD61, further delineated the CD49fhighCD61high-sorted fraction as a TIC-enriched population, which displayed increased tumorsphere formation ability, enhanced tumorigenicity both in vitro and in vivo and drug resistance to pacitaxel and doxorubicin. Moreover, the TIC-enriched population manifested increased TGFβ signaling and exhibited gene expression signatures of stemness, TGFβ signaling and Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition. Our findings that self-renewal and clonogenicity of TICs were suppressed by pharmacologically inhibiting the TGFβ signaling further indicate that the TGFβ pathway is vital for maintenance of the TIC population. Finally, we showed that the integrin β3 (CD61) signaling pathway was required for sustaining active TGFβ signaling and self-renewal of TICs. We for the first time developed a technique to highly enrich TICs from mammary tumors of Her2/neu-transgenic mice, unraveled their properties and identified the cooperative integrin β3-TGFβ signaling axis as a potential therapeutic target for HER2-induced TICs.
Tumor Initiating Cells; Her2/neu; mammary tumor; CD49f; CD61; ESA
Dynamin 2 (Dyn2), a large GTPase, is involved in receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK)-promoted cell migration. However, molecular mechanisms by which Dyn2 regulates RTK-induced cell migration have not been established. Recently we reported that SHP-2 and PI3K mediate PDGFRα-promoted glioma tumor growth and invasion. Here, we show that Dyn2 is an effector downstream of the PDGFRα-PI3K/SHP-2 signaling in glioma cells. Depletion of endogenous Dyn2 by shRNAs inhibited PDGFRα-stimulated phosphorylation of Akt, Erk1/2, Rac1 and Cdc42 activities, glioma cell migration and survival in vitro, tumor growth and invasion in the brains of mice. Dyn2 binds to SHP-2, PI3K and co-localizes with PDGFRα at the invasive fronts in PDGF-A-stimulated glioma cells. Inhibition of SHP-2 by siRNA knockdown abrogated Dyn2 association with activated PDGFRα and PDGFRα activation of Rac1 and Cdc42, glioma cell migration, thereby establishing a link between SHP-2 interaction with Dyn2 and the PDGFRα signaling. Furthermore, a dominant negative SHP-2 C459S mutant inhibited PDGF-A-stimulated glioma cell migration, phosphorylation of Dyn2 and concomitantly blocked PDGFRα-induced Src activation. Inhibition of Src by Src inhibitors attenuated PDGF-A-stimulated phosphorylation of Akt and Dyn2 and glioma cell migration. Additionally, mutations of binding sites to PI3K, SHP-2 or Src of PDGFRα impaired PDGFRα-stimulated phosphorylation of Akt and Dyn2, and Dyn2 association with activated PDGFRα. Taken together, this study identifies Dyn2 as an effector that mediates PDGFRα-SHP-2-induced glioma tumor growth and invasion, suggesting that targeting the PDGFRα-SHP-2-Dyn2 pathway may be beneficial to patients with malignant glioblastomas.
Dyn2; PDGFRα; SHP-2; Src; glioma tumor growth; invasion