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Results in Journal Oncogene: 21,007

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, Miriam J. Smith, Claire O’Leary, Omar N. Pathmanaban, Federico Roncaroli, Nicoletta Bobola, Andrew T. King, Dafydd Gareth Evans
Published: 14 September 2021
Sunil Kumar Singh, , , Daniel R. Principe, , Gautam Sondarva, Rakesh Sathish Nair, Piush Srivastava, , , et al.
Published: 13 September 2021
Abstract:
MAP4K4 is a Ste20 member and reported to play important roles in various pathologies, including in cancer. However, the mechanism by which MAP4K4 promotes pancreatic cancer is not fully understood. It is suggested that MAP4K4 might function as a cancer promoter via specific downstream target(s) in an organ-specific manner. Here we identified MLK3 as a direct downstream target of MAP4K4. The MAP4K4 and MLK3 associates with each other, and MAP4K4 phosphorylates MLK3 on Thr738 and increases MLK3 kinase activity and downstream signaling. The phosphorylation of MLK3 by MAP4K4 promotes pancreatic cancer cell proliferation, migration, and colony formation. Moreover, MAP4K4 is overexpressed in human pancreatic tumors and directly correlates with the disease progression. The MAP4K4-specific pharmacological inhibitor, GNE-495, impedes pancreatic cancer cell growth, migration, induces cell death, and arrests cell cycle progression. Additionally, the GNE-495 reduced the tumor burden and extended survival of the KPC mice with pancreatic cancer. The MAP4K4 inhibitor also reduced MAP4K4 protein expression, tumor stroma, and induced cell death in murine pancreatic tumors. These findings collectively suggest that MLK3 phosphorylation by MAP4K4 promotes pancreatic cancer, and therefore therapies targeting MAP4K4 might alleviate the pancreatic cancer tumor burden in patients.
Shanna Dewaele, Louis Delhaye, , Eric James de Bony, Jilke De Wilde, Katrien Vanderheyden, , , Justine Nuytens, Eveline Vanden Eynde, et al.
Published: 10 September 2021
Abstract:
Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) can exhibit cell-type and cancer-type specific expression profiles, making them highly attractive as therapeutic targets. Pan-cancer RNA sequencing data revealed broad expression of the SAMMSON lncRNA in uveal melanoma (UM), the most common primary intraocular malignancy in adults. Currently, there are no effective treatments for UM patients with metastatic disease, resulting in a median survival time of 6–12 months. We aimed to investigate the therapeutic potential of SAMMSON inhibition in UM. Antisense oligonucleotide (ASO)-mediated SAMMSON inhibition impaired the growth and viability of a genetically diverse panel of uveal melanoma cell lines. These effects were accompanied by an induction of apoptosis and were recapitulated in two uveal melanoma patient derived xenograft (PDX) models through subcutaneous ASO delivery. SAMMSON pulldown revealed several candidate interaction partners, including various proteins involved in mitochondrial translation. Consequently, inhibition of SAMMSON impaired global, mitochondrial and cytosolic protein translation levels and mitochondrial function in uveal melanoma cells. The present study demonstrates that SAMMSON expression is essential for uveal melanoma cell survival. ASO-mediated silencing of SAMMSON may provide an effective treatment strategy to treat primary and metastatic uveal melanoma patients.
Stefano Di Giulio, Valeria Colicchia, Fabio Pastorino, Flaminia Pedretti, Francesca Fabretti, Vittoria Nicolis di Robilant, Valentina Ramponi, Giorgia Scafetta, , Valerio Licursi, et al.
Published: 10 September 2021
Abstract:
MYCN drives aggressive behavior and refractoriness to chemotherapy, in several tumors. Since MYCN inactivation in clinical settings is not achievable, alternative vulnerabilities of MYCN-driven tumors need to be explored to identify more effective and less toxic therapies. We previously demonstrated that PARP inhibitors enhance MYCN-induced replication stress and promote mitotic catastrophe, counteracted by CHK1. Here, we showed that PARP and CHK1 inhibitors synergized to induce death in neuroblastoma cells and in primary cultures of SHH-dependent medulloblastoma, their combination being more effective in MYCN amplified and MYCN overexpressing cells compared to MYCN non-amplified cells. Although the MYCN amplified IMR-32 cell line carrying the p.Val2716Ala ATM mutation showed the highest sensitivity to the drug combination, this was not related to ATM status, as indicated by CRISPR/Cas9-based correction of the mutation. Suboptimal doses of the CHK1 inhibitor MK-8776 plus the PARP inhibitor olaparib led to a MYCN-dependent accumulation of DNA damage and cell death in vitro and significantly reduced the growth of four in vivo models of MYCN-driven tumors, without major toxicities. Our data highlight the combination of PARP and CHK1 inhibitors as a new potential chemo-free strategy to treat MYCN-driven tumors, which might be promptly translated into clinical trials.
Chuanpeng Dong, Annamaria Cesarano, Giuseppe Bombaci, , Christina Y. Yu, , Zhaoyang Jiang, Mohammad Abu Zaid, , , et al.
Published: 9 September 2021
Abstract:
Neoantigen peptides arising from genetic alterations may serve as targets for personalized cancer vaccines and as positive predictors of response to immune checkpoint therapy. Mutations in genes regulating RNA splicing are common in hematological malignancies leading to dysregulated splicing and intron retention (IR). In this study, we investigated IR as a potential source of tumor neoantigens in multiple myeloma (MM) patients and the relationship of IR-induced neoantigens (IR-neoAg) with clinical outcomes. MM-specific IR events were identified in RNA-sequencing data from the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation CoMMpass study after removing IR events that also occurred in normal plasma cells. We quantified the IR-neoAg load by assessing IR-induced novel peptides that were predicted to bind to major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecules. We found that high IR-neoAg load was associated with poor overall survival in both newly diagnosed and relapsed MM patients. Further analyses revealed that poor outcome in MM patients with high IR-neoAg load was associated with high expression levels of T-cell co-inhibitory molecules and elevated interferon signaling activity. We also found that MM cells exhibiting high IR levels had lower MHC-II protein abundance and treatment of MM cells with a spliceosome inhibitor resulted in increased MHC-I protein abundance. Our findings suggest that IR-neoAg may represent a novel biomarker of MM patient clinical outcome and further that targeting RNA splicing may serve as a potential therapeutic strategy to prevent MM immune escape and promote response to checkpoint blockade.
Qian Feng, Shan Li, Hong-Mei Ma, Wen-Ting Yang, Peng-Sheng Zheng
Published: 6 September 2021
Abstract:
The leucine-rich repeat-containing G-protein-coupled receptor 6 (LGR6) is considered to be a stem cell marker in many normal tissues and promotes tissue development, regeneration, and repair. LGR6 is also related to the initiation and progression of some malignant tumors. However, the role of LGR6 in cervical cancer has not been reported. Here, immunohistochemistry and western blotting showed that LGR6 was significantly upregulated in cervical cancer, compared with the normal cervix. By analyzing The Cancer Genome Atlas database, LGR6 was found to be correlated with a poor prognosis of cervical cancer. Then, a small population of LGR6high cells isolated by using the fluorescence-activated cell sorting exhibited enhanced properties of cancer stem cells including self-renewal, differentiation, and tumorigenicity. Moreover, RNA sequencing revealed that LGR6 was correlated with the Wnt signaling pathway and TOP/FOP, reverse transcription-PCR, and western blotting further proved that LGR6 could activate the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway. Interestingly, LGR6 upregulated the expression of TCF7L2 by activating the Wnt/β-catenin pathway. Then, TCF7L2 combining with β-catenin in the nucleus enhanced LGR6 transcription by binding the promoter of LGR6, which further activated the Wnt signaling to form a positive feedback loop. Thus, our study demonstrated that LGR6 activated a novel β-catenin/TCF7L2/LGR6-positive feedback loop in LGR6high cervical cancer stem cells (CSCs), which provided a new therapeutic strategy for targeting cervical CSCs to improve the prognosis of cervical cancer patients.
Alexander Wilhelm,
Published: 6 September 2021
Abstract:
Leukemia patients bearing the t(4;11)(q21;q23) translocations can be divided into two subgroups: those expressing both reciprocal fusion genes, and those that have only the MLL-AF4 fusion gene. Moreover, a recent study has demonstrated that patients expressing both fusion genes have a better outcome than patients that are expressing the MLL-AF4 fusion protein alone. All this may point to a clonal process where the reciprocal fusion gene AF4-MLL could be lost during disease progression, as this loss may select for a more aggressive type of leukemia. Therefore, we were interested in unraveling the decisive role of the AF4-MLL fusion protein at an early timepoint of disease development. We designed an experimental model system where the MLL-AF4 fusion protein was constitutively expressed, while an inducible AF4-MLL fusion gene was induced for only 48 h. Subsequently, we investigated genome-wide changes by RNA- and ATAC-Seq experiments at distinct timepoints. These analyses revealed that the expression of AF4-MLL for only 48 h was sufficient to significantly change the genomic landscape (transcription and chromatin) even on a longer time scale. Thus, we have to conclude that the AF4-MLL fusion protein works through a hit-and-run mechanism, probably necessary to set up pre-leukemic conditions, but being dispensable for later disease progression.
Haoran Feng, Zhijian Jin, Juyong Liang, Qiwu Zhao, Ling Zhan, Zheyu Yang, Jiqi Yan, Jie Kuang, ,
Published: 6 September 2021
Abstract:
Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma (ATC) is a rare and extremely aggressive type of thyroid cancer, and the potential mechanisms involved in ATC progression remains unclarified. In this study, we found that forkhead box K2 (FOXK2) was upregulated in ATC tissues, and the expression of FOXK2 was associated with tumor size. Evidenced by RNA-seq and Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP)-seq assays, FOXK2 positively regulated VEGF and VEGFR signaling network, among which only VEGFA could be noticed in both RNA-seq and ChIP-seq results. ChIP, dual-luciferase reporter system and functional experiments further confirmed that FOXK2 promoted angiogenesis by inducing the transcription of VEGFA. On VEGFR2 blockage by specific targeting agent, such as Apatinib, FOXK2 could rapidly trigger therapeutic resistance. Mechanical analyses revealed that VEGFA transcriptionally induced by FOXK2 could bind to VEGFR1 as a compensation for VEGFR2 blockage, which promoted angiogenesis by activating ERK, PI3K/AKT and P38/MAPK signaling in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). Synergic effect on anti-angiogenesis could be observed when VEGFR1 suppressor AF321 was included in VEGFR2 inhibition system, which clarified the pivot role of FOXK2 in VEGFR2 targeting therapy resistance. More importantly, the binding of VEGFA to VEGFR1 could further promoter FOXK2-mediated VEGFA transcription, which consequently constituted a positive feedback loop. Therefore, the novel loop VEGFA/VEGFR1/FOXK2 functioned importantly in resistance to VEGFR2 targeting therapy in FOXK2+ ATCs. Altogether, FOXK2 plays critical roles in ATC angiogenesis and VEGFR2 blockage resistance by inducing VEGFA transcription. FOXK2 represents a potentially new therapeutic strategy and biomarker for anti-angiogenic therapy against ATC.
Ming Zhu, Ruiqing Peng, Xin Liang, Zhengdao Lan, Ming Tang, Pingping Hou, Jian H. Song, Celia Sze Ling Mak, Jiwon Park, Shui-Er Zheng, et al.
Published: 1 September 2021
Abstract:
Yes-associated protein 1 (YAP1), a key player in the Hippo pathway, has been shown to play a critical role in tumor progression. However, the role of YAP1 in prostate cancer cell invasion, migration, and metastasis is not well defined. Through functional, transcriptomic, epigenomic, and proteomic analyses, we showed that prolyl hydroxylation of YAP1 plays a critical role in the suppression of cell migration, invasion, and metastasis in prostate cancer. Knockdown (KD) or knockout (KO) of YAP1 led to an increase in cell migration, invasion, and metastasis in prostate cancer cells. Microarray analysis showed that the EMT pathway was activated in Yap1-KD cells. ChIP-seq analysis showed that YAP1 target genes are enriched in pathways regulating cell migration. Mass spectrometry analysis identified P4H prolyl hydroxylase in the YAP1 complex and YAP1 was hydroxylated at multiple proline residues. Proline-to-alanine mutations of YAP1 isoform 3 identified proline 174 as a critical residue, and its hydroxylation suppressed cell migration, invasion, and metastasis. KO of P4ha2 led to an increase in cell migration and invasion, which was reversed upon Yap1 KD. Our study identified a novel regulatory mechanism of YAP1 by which P4HA2-dependent prolyl hydroxylation of YAP1 determines its transcriptional activities and its function in prostate cancer metastasis.
Ping Tan, Manli Wang, Ailing Zhong, Yiyun Wang, Jiajia Du, Jian Wang, Lu Qi, Zhanying Bi, Peng Zhang, Tianhai Lin, et al.
Published: 1 September 2021
Abstract:
There are unmet clinical needs for novel therapeutic targets and drugs for bladder cancer. Majority of previous work relied on limited bladder cancer cell lines, which could not well represent the tumor heterogeneity and pathology of this disease. Recently, it has been shown that cancer organoids can recapitulate pathological and molecular properties of bladder cancer. Here, we report, by our knowledge, the first bladder cancer organoid-based small molecule screening for epigenetic drugs. We found that SRT1720, a Sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) activator, significantly inhibits the growth of both mouse and human bladder cancer organoids. And it also restrains the development of mouse in situ bladder cancer and human PDX bladder cancer. Mutation of Sirt1 promotes the growth of cancer organoids and decreases their sensitivity to SRT1720, which validate Sirt1 as the target of SRT1720 in bladder cancer. Mechanistically, SRT1720 treatment represses the hypoxia pathway through deacetylating HIF1α by activating Sirt1. Genetic or pharmaceutic inhibitions of HIF mimic the anti-tumor effect of SRT1720. Furthermore, the SIRT1-repressed gene signature is associated with the hypoxia target gene signature and poor prognosis in human bladder cancers. Thus, our study demonstrates the power of cancer organoid-based drug discovery and, in principle, identifies SRT1720 as a new treatment for bladder cancer.
N. V. Soshnikova, E. V. Tatarskiy, N. S. Klimenko, A. A. Shtil, , S. G. Georgieva
Published: 31 August 2021
Abstract:
The PBAF complex, a member of SWI/SNF family of chromatin remodelers, plays an essential role in transcriptional regulation. We revealed a disease progression associated elevation of PHF10 subunit of PBAF in clinical melanoma samples. In melanoma cell lines, PHF10 interacts with MYC and facilitates the recruitment of PBAF complex to target gene promoters, therefore, augmenting MYC transcriptional activation of genes involved in the cell cycle progression. Depletion of either PHF10 or MYC induced G1 accumulation and a senescence-like phenotype. Our data identify PHF10 as a pro-oncogenic mechanism and an essential novel link between chromatin remodeling and MYC-dependent gene transcription.
Kevin Tong, Om A. Kothari, Katherine S. Haro, Anshuman Panda, Manisha M. Bandari, Jillian N. Carrick, Joseph J. Hur, Lanjing Zhang, , Jinchuan Xing, et al.
Published: 27 August 2021
Abstract:
BRAF-driven colorectal cancer is among the poorest prognosis subtypes of colon cancer. Previous studies suggest that BRAF-mutant serrated cancers frequently exhibit Microsatellite Instability (MSI) and elevated levels of WNT signaling. The loss of tumor-suppressor Smad4 in oncogenic BRAF-V600E mouse models promotes rapid serrated tumor development and progression, and SMAD4 mutations co-occur in human patient tumors with BRAF-V600E mutations. This study assesses the role of SMAD4 in early-stage serrated tumorigenesis. SMAD4 loss promotes microsatellite stable (MSS) serrated tumors in an oncogenic BRAF-V600E context, providing a model for MSS serrated cancers. Inactivation of Msh2 in these mice accelerated tumor formation, and whole-exome sequencing of both MSS and MSI serrated tumors derived from these mouse models revealed that all serrated tumors developed oncogenic WNT mutations, predominantly in the WNT-effector gene Ctnnb1 (β-catenin). Mouse models mimicking the oncogenic β-catenin mutation show that the combination of three oncogenic mutations (Ctnnb1, Braf, and Smad4) are critical to drive rapid serrated dysplasia formation. Re-analysis of human tumor data reveals BRAF-V600E mutations co-occur with oncogenic mutations in both WNT and SMAD4/TGFβ pathways. These findings identify SMAD4 as a critical factor in early-stage serrated cancers and helps broaden the knowledge of this rare but aggressive subset of colorectal cancer.
Pengxiang Qiu, Weilong Hou, Haitao Wang, Kimmy Ka Wing Lei, ShaoWei Wang, Weiping Chen, Lakhansing Arun Pardeshi, Katherine Prothro, Yashvita Shukla, Samson Sek Man Su, et al.
Published: 25 August 2021
Abstract:
Sirtuin-1 (SIRT1) is involved in various metabolic pathways, including fatty acid synthesis and gluconeogenesis in the liver. However, its role in initiation and progression of liver cancer remains unclear. Studying Sirt1 liver-specific knockout (LKO) mice in combination with diethylnitrosamine (DEN) treatment, we demonstrated that loss of Sirt1 rendered mice resistant to DEN-induced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) development. RNA-seq revealed that livers from LKO mice exhibited an enrichment in glutathione metabolism eight months after DEN challenge. Sirt1 deficiency elevated the expression of glutathione-s-transferase family genes by increasing the level of Nrf2, a key regulator of glutathione metabolism. Hence, LKO livers displayed a reductive environment with an increased ratio of GSH to GSSG and an elevated GSH level. Furthermore, using CRISPR knockout techniques, we confirmed that the impairment of HCC formation in LKO mice is mainly dependent on NRF2 signaling. Meanwhile, HCC induced by DEN could be blocked by the administration of N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) when administered one month after DEN challenge. However, NAC treatment starting five months after DEN injection was not able to prevent tumor development. In conclusion, our findings indicate that a reductive environment orchestrated by glutathione metabolism at an early stage can prevent the initiation of HCC.
, Gemma S. Puts, Nidhi Pamidimukkala, Gautam Adhikary, Yili Xu, Eric Kwok, Yuxin Jin, , Nicolette Matsangos, Marián Novak, et al.
Published: 25 August 2021
Abstract:
Hepatocyte growth factor-overexpressing mice that harbor a deletion of the Ink4a/p16 locus (HP mice) form melanomas with low metastatic potential in response to UV irradiation. Here we report that these tumors become highly metastatic following hemizygous deletion of the Nme1 and Nme2 metastasis suppressor genes (HPN mice). Whole-genome sequencing of melanomas from HPN mice revealed a striking increase in lung metastatic activity that is associated with missense mutations in eight signature genes (Arhgap35, Atp8b4, Brca1, Ift172, Kif21b, Nckap5, Pcdha2, and Zfp869). RNA-seq analysis of transcriptomes from HP and HPN primary melanomas identified a 32-gene signature (HPN lung metastasis signature) for which decreased expression is strongly associated with lung metastatic potential. Analysis of transcriptome data from The Cancer Genome Atlas revealed expression profiles of these genes that predict improved survival of patients with cutaneous or uveal melanoma. Silencing of three representative HPN lung metastasis signature genes (ARRDC3, NYNRIN, RND3) in human melanoma cells resulted in increased invasive activity, consistent with roles for these genes as mediators of the metastasis suppressor function of NME1 and NME2. In conclusion, our studies have identified a family of genes that mediate suppression of melanoma lung metastasis, and which may serve as prognostic markers and/or therapeutic targets for clinical management of metastatic melanoma.
Joanne Lundy, , Hugh Gao, Alison C. West, Louise McLeod, Virginie Deswaerte, Liang Yu, Sean Porazinski, Marina Pajic, Paul J. Hertzog, et al.
Published: 16 August 2021
Abstract:
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) has an extremely poor prognosis, and is plagued by a paucity of targeted treatment options and tumour resistance to chemotherapeutics. The causal link between chronic inflammation and PDAC suggests that molecular regulators of the immune system promote disease pathogenesis and/or therapeutic resistance, yet their identity is unclear. Here, we couple endoscopic ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspiration, which captures tumour biopsies from all stages, with whole transcriptome profiling of PDAC patient primary tumours to reveal enrichment of the innate immune Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) molecular pathway. Augmented TLR2 expression associated with a 4-gene “TLR2 activation” signature, and was prognostic for survival and predictive for gemcitabine-based chemoresistance. Furthermore, antibody-mediated anti-TLR2 therapy suppressed the growth of human PDAC tumour xenografts, independent of a functional immune system. Our results support TLR2-based therapeutic targeting for precision medicine in PDAC, with further clinical utility that TLR2 activation is prognostic and predictive for chemoresponsiveness.
Published: 13 August 2021
Abstract:
The p53 protein is a transcription factor that prevents tumors from developing. In spontaneous and inherited cancers there are many different missense mutations in the DNA binding domain of the TP53 gene that contributes to tumor formation. These mutations produce a wide distribution in the transcriptional capabilities of the mutant p53 proteins with over four logs differences in the efficiencies of forming cancers in many diverse tissue types. These inherited and spontaneous TP53 mutations produce proteins that interact with both genetic and epigenetic cellular modifiers of p53 function and their inherited polymorphisms to produce a large number of diverse phenotypes in individual patients. This manuscript reviews these variables and discusses how the combinations of TP53 genetic alterations interact with genetic polymorphisms, epigenetic alterations, and environmental factors to begin predicting and modifying patient outcomes and provide a better understanding for new therapeutic opportunities.
Bo Cen, Jie Wei, Dingzhi Wang, Ying Xiong, , Raymond N. DuBois
Published: 12 August 2021
Abstract:
PD-L1 expression is elevated in various human cancers, including colorectal cancer. High levels of PD-L1 expressed on tumor epithelial cells are one of the potential mechanisms by which tumor cells become resistant to immune attack. However, PD-L1 regulation in tumor cells is not fully understood. Here we demonstrate that mutations in the adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) gene lead to colonic epithelial cell resistance to CD8+ T cell cytotoxicity by induction of PD-L1 expression. Mechanistically, this occurs as a result of the β-catenin/TCF4 complex binding to the PD-L1 promoter, leading to increased transcription. Our findings not only reveal a novel mechanism by which APC mutations induce tumor immune evasion via an immune checkpoint pathway but also pave the way for developing β-catenin or TCF4 inhibitors as possible new options for immune checkpoint inhibition.
Guang Yang, Ling Huang, Hongtao Jia, Batuer Aikemu, Sen Zhang, Yanfei Shao, Hiju Hong, Galiya Yesseyeva, Chenxing Wang, Shuchun Li, et al.
Published: 12 August 2021
Abstract:
N-myc downstream-regulated gene 1 (NDRG1) is a key regulator that interacts with many classic tumor signaling pathways, including some molecules downstream of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). However, whether NDRG1 is involved in the mechanism of resistance to cetuximab (CTX), the first monoclonal antibody targeting the EGFR has not been reported. Here, we found that NDRG1 enhanced the sensitivity of CTX in colorectal cancer (CRC) cell lines. Afterwards, we determined the underlying mechanism of this phenomenon. We demonstrated that NDRG1 inhibited the expression of EGFR; blocked EGFR phosphorylation and reduced the EGFR distribution in the cell membrane, cytoplasm and nucleus. And then, NDRG1 suppressed the EGFR downstream signaling: RAS/RAF/ERK and PI3k/AKT/mTOR pathways. Moreover, we discovered that NDRG1 attenuated the endocytosis and degradation of EGFR induced by caveolin-1 (Cav1). Additionally, our findings were further observed in an animal model and human tissues. Our results represent a potentially significant discovery that explains the mechanisms of NDRG1 in CTX resistance. NDRG1 could be a promising biomarker to predict optimum responses to CTX, and a key target to enhance CTX activity in the treatment of metastatic CRC (mCRC).
Anna K. Miller, , Ricardo L. Dominguez, M. Constanza Camargo, Tim Waterboer, , ,
Published: 10 August 2021
Abstract:
The primary cause of gastric cancer is chronic infection with Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), particularly the high-risk genotype cagA, and risk modification by human genetic variants. We studied 94 variants in 54 genes for association with gastric cancer, including rs2302615 in ornithine decarboxylase (ODC1), which may affect response to chemoprevention with the ODC inhibitor, eflornithine (difluoromethylornithine; DFMO). Our population-based, case-control study included 1366 individuals (664 gastric cancer cases and 702 controls) from Western Honduras, a high incidence region of Latin America. CagA seropositivity was strongly associated with cancer (OR = 3.6; 95% CI: 2.6, 5.1). The ODC1 variant rs2302615 was associated with gastric cancer (OR = 1.36; p = 0.018) in a model adjusted for age, sex, and CagA serostatus. Two additional single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in CASP1 (rs530537) and TLR4 (rs1927914) genes were also associated with gastric cancer in univariate models as well as models adjusted for age, sex, and CagA serostatus. The ODC1 SNP association with gastric cancer was stronger in individuals who carried the TT genotype at the associating TLR4 polymorphism, rs1927914 (OR = 1.77; p = 1.85 × 10−3). In conclusion, the ODC1 variant, rs2302615, is associated with gastric cancer and supports chemoprevention trials with DFMO, particularly in individuals homozygous for the T allele at rs1927914.
Jun Sun, Gabriel Gaidosh, Ye Xu, Adnan Mookhtiar, Na Man, Pradeep Reddy Cingaram, Ezra Blumenthal, Ramin Shiekhattar, Erik T. Goka, Stephen D. Nimer, et al.
Published: 9 August 2021
Abstract:
The activity of Rho family GTPase protein, RAC1, which plays important normal physiological functions, is dysregulated in multiple cancers. RAC1 is expressed in both estrogen receptor alpha (ER)-positive and ER-negative breast cancer (BC) cells. However, ER-positive BC is more sensitive to RAC1 inhibition. We have determined that reducing RAC1 activity, using siRNA or EHT 1864 (a small molecule Rac inhibitor), leads to rapid ER protein degradation. RAC1 interacts with ER within the ER complex and RAC1 localizes to chromatin binding sites for ER upon estrogen treatment. RAC1 activity is important for RNA Pol II function at both promoters and enhancers of ER target genes and ER-regulated gene transcription is blocked by EHT 1864, in a dose-dependent manner. Having identified that RAC1 is an essential ER cofactor for ER protein stability and ER transcriptional activity, we report that RAC1 inhibition could be an effective therapeutic approach for ER-positive BC.
Li Chen, Xiao-Han Jin, Jie Luo, Jin-Ling Duan, Mu-Yan Cai, Jie-Wei Chen, Zi-Hao Feng, Austin Meng Guo, Feng-Wei Wang,
Published: 6 August 2021
Abstract:
Low levels of ITLN1 have been correlated with obesity-related colorectal carcinogenesis, however, the specific functions and underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Thus, we sought to explore the inhibitory role of ITLN1 in the tumor-permissive microenvironment that exists during the first occurrence and subsequent development of colorectal carcinoma (CRC). Results indicated that ITLN1 was frequently lost in CRC tissues and ITLN1 to be an independent prognostic predictor of CRC. Orthotopic and subcutaneous tumor xenograft approaches were then used to further confirm the protective role of ITLN1 during tumor progression. Increased ITLN1 expression in CRC cells significantly inhibited local pre-existing vessels sprouting, EPC recruitment and the infiltration of immunosuppressive myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) into tumor tissues without affecting the behavior of CRC cells in vitro. Comparatively, ITLN1-derived MDSCs had a lower suppressive effect on T cell proliferation, NOS2 expression, and ROS production. In addition, ITLN1 overexpression markedly suppressed bone marrow (BM)-derived hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPC) differentiation into MDSCs as well as NOS2 activity on MDSCs. Using H-2b+YFP + chimerism through bone marrow transplantation, increased ITLN1 in HCT116 significantly reduced the BM-derived EPCs and MDSCs in vivo mobilization. Mechanistically, results indicated ITLN1 inhibited tumor-derived IL-17D and CXCL2 (MIP2) through the KEAP1/Nrf2/ROS/IL-17D and p65 NF-ĸB/CXCL2 signaling cascades dependent on PI3K/AKT/GSK3ß. This effect was reversed by the PI3K selective inhibitor LY294002. Collectively, ITLN1 synergistically suppressed IL-17D and CXCL2-mediated tumor vascularization, bone marrow derived EPC recruitment, as well as MDSCs generation and trafficking. Thus, ITLN1 potentially serves as a critical prognostic and therapeutic target for CRC.
Wei Guo, Cuiyu Zhang, Panpan Feng, Mingying Li, Xia Wang, Yuan Xia, ,
Published: 6 August 2021
Abstract:
N6-methyladenosine (m6A) is the most prevalent RNA epigenetic regulator in cancer. However, the understanding of m6A modification on lipid metabolism regulation in colorectal cancer (CRC) is very limited. Here, we observed that human CRCs exhibited increased m6A mRNA methylation mediated by dysregulation of m6A erasers and readers. By performing methylated RNA-immunoprecipitation sequencing (MeRIP-seq) and transcriptomic sequencing (RNA-seq), we identified DEGS2 as a downstream target of m6A dysregulation. Overexpression or knockdown of DEGS2 confirmed the role of DEGS2 in proliferation, invasion and metastasis of CRC both in vitro and in vivo. Mechanistic studies identified the specific m6A modification site within DEGS2 mRNA, and mutation of this target site was found to drastically enhance the proliferative and invasive ability of CRC cells in vitro and promote tumorigenicity in vivo. Lipidome analysis showed that lipid metabolism was dysregulated in CRC. Moreover, ceramide synthesis was suppressed due to DEGS2 upregulation mediated by m6A modification in CRC tissues. Our findings highlight that the function of DEGS2 m6A methylation in CRC and extend the understanding of the importance of RNA epigenetics in cancer biology.
Haoran Li, Zihao Qi, , Yufei Yang, Mengjiao Li, Yangyang Pang, Mingming Liu, Xi Cheng, Midie Xu,
Published: 6 August 2021
Abstract:
Fructose-1,6-bisphosphatase (FBP1) is a rate-limiting enzyme in gluconeogenesis and an important tumor suppressor in human malignancies. Here, we aimed to investigate the expression profile of FBP1 in ovarian cancer, the molecular mechanisms that regulate FBP1 expression and to examine how the FBP1 regulatory axis contributes to tumorigenesis and progression in ovarian cancer. We showed that FBP1 expression was significantly decreased in ovarian cancer tissues compared with normal ovarian tissues, and low-FBP1 expression predicted poor prognosis in patients with ovarian cancer. The enhanced expression of FBP1 in ovarian cancer cell lines suppressed proliferation and 2-D/3-D invasion, reduced aerobic glycolysis, and sensitized cancer cells to cisplatin-induced apoptosis. Moreover, DNA methylation and C-MYC binding at the promoter inhibited FBP1 expression. Furthermore, through physical interactions with signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3), FBP1 suppressed nuclear translocation of STAT3 and exerted its non-metabolic enzymatic activity to induce the dysfunction of STAT3. Thus, our study suggests that FBP1 may be a valuable prognostic predictor for ovarian cancer. C-MYC-dependent downregulation of FBP1 acted as a tumor suppressor via modulating STAT3, and the C-MYC/FBP1/STAT3 axis could be a therapeutic target.
Luigi Magrin, , Chiara Brando, Alessia Fiorino, Lidia Rita Corsini, Roberta Sciacchitano, Clarissa Filorizzo, Alessandra Dimino, , Viviana Bazan
Published: 6 August 2021
Abstract:
POLE, POLD1, and NTHL1 are involved in DNA replication and have recently been recognized as hereditary cancer-predisposing genes, because their alterations are associated with colorectal cancer and other tumors. POLE/POLD1-associated syndrome shows an autosomal dominant inheritance, whereas NTHL1-associated syndrome follows an autosomal recessive pattern. Although the prevalence of germline monoallelic POLE/POLD1 and biallelic NTHL1 pathogenic variants is low, they determine different phenotypes with a broad tumor spectrum overlapping that of other hereditary conditions like Lynch Syndrome or Familial Adenomatous Polyposis. Endometrial and breast cancers, and probably ovarian and brain tumors are also associated with POLE/POLD1 alterations, while breast cancer and other unusual tumors are correlated with NTHL1 pathogenic variants. POLE-mutated colorectal and endometrial cancers are associated with better prognosis and may show favorable responses to immunotherapy. Since POLE/POLD1-mutated tumors show a high tumor mutational burden producing an increase in neoantigens, the identification of POLE/POLD1 alterations could help select patients suitable for immunotherapy treatment. In this review, we will investigate the role of POLE, POLD1, and NTHL1 genetic variants in cancer predisposition, discussing the potential future therapeutic applications and assessing the utility of performing a routine genetic testing for these genes, in order to implement prevention and surveillance strategies in mutation carriers.
Arpita Kundu, Eric Kowarz,
Published: 5 August 2021
Abstract:
Leukemia patients bearing t(6;11)(q27;q23) translocations can be divided in two subgroups: those with breakpoints in the major breakpoint cluster region of MLL (introns 9–10; associated mainly with AML M1/4/5), and others with breakpoints in the minor breakpoint cluster region (introns 21–23), associated with T-ALL. We cloned all four of the resulting fusion genes (MLL-AF6, AF6-MLL, exMLL-AF6, AF6-shMLL) and subsequently transfected them to generate stable cell culture models. Their molecular function was tested by inducing gene expression for 48 h in a Doxycycline-dependent fashion. Here, we present our results upon differential gene expression (DGE) that were obtained by the “Massive Analyses of cDNA Ends” (MACE-Seq) technology, an established 3′-end based RNA-Seq method. Our results indicate that the PHD/BD domain, present in the AF6-MLL and the exMLL-AF6 fusion protein, is responsible for chromatin activation in a genome-wide fashion. This led to strong deregulation of transcriptional processes involving protein-coding genes, pseudogenes, non-annotated genes, and RNA genes, e.g., LincRNAs and microRNAs, respectively. While cooperation between the MLL-AF6 and AF6-MLL fusion proteins appears to be required for the above-mentioned effects, exMLL-AF6 is able to cause similar effects on its own. The exMLL-AF6/AF6-shMLL co-expressing cell line displayed the induction of a myeloid-specific and a T-cell specific gene signature, which may explain the T-ALL disease phenotype observed in patients with such breakpoints. This again demonstrated that MLL fusion proteins are instructive and allow to study their pathomolecular mechanisms.
Liqing Lu, Jing Zhang, Wei Fan, Yuan Li, Jiaohong Wang, Tony W. H. Li, Lucia Barbier-Torres, , Ting Liu, , et al.
Published: 4 August 2021
Abstract:
Methionine adenosyltransferase 1A (MAT1A) is a tumor suppressor downregulated in hepatocellular carcinoma and cholangiocarcinoma, two of the fastest rising cancers worldwide. We compared MATα1 (protein encoded by MAT1A) interactome in normal versus cancerous livers by mass spectrometry to reveal interactions with 14-3-3ζ. The MATα1/14-3-3ζ complex was critical for the expression of 14-3-3ζ. Similarly, the knockdown and small molecule inhibitor for 14-3-3ζ (BV02), and ChIP analysis demonstrated the role of 14-3-3ζ in suppressing MAT1A expression. Interaction between MATα1 and 14-3-3ζ occurs directly and is enhanced by AKT2 phosphorylation of MATα1. Blocking their interaction enabled nuclear MATα1 translocation and inhibited tumorigenesis. In contrast, overexpressing 14-3-3ζ lowered nuclear MATα1 levels and promoted tumor progression. However, tumor-promoting effects of 14-3-3ζ were eliminated when liver cancer cells expressed mutant MATα1 unable to interact with 14-3-3ζ. Taken together, the reciprocal negative regulation that MATα1 and 14-3-3ζ exert is a key mechanism in liver tumorigenesis.
Shuang Qiao, Wenhua Lu, Christophe Glorieux, Jiangjiang Li, Peiting Zeng, Ning Meng, Huiqin Zhang, ,
Published: 4 August 2021
Abstract:
Although the role of isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH) mutation in promoting cancer development has been well-characterized, the impact of wild-type IDH on cancer cells remains unclear. Here we show that the wild-type isocitrate dehydrogenase 2 (IDH2) is highly expressed in colorectal cancer (CRC) cells, and plays an unexpected role in protecting the cancer cells from oxidative damage. Genetic abrogation of IDH2 in CRC cells leads to reactive oxygen species (ROS)-mediated DNA damage and an accumulation of 8-oxoguanine with DNA strand breaks, which activates DNA damage response (DDR) with elevated γH2AX and phosphorylation of ataxia telangiectasia-mutated (ATM) protein, leading to a partial cell cycle arrest and eventually cell senescence. Mechanistically, the suppression of IDH2 results in a reduction of the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle activity due to a decrease in the conversion of isocitrate to α-ketoglutarate (α-KG) with a concurrent decrease in NADPH production, leading to ROS accumulation and oxidative DNA damage. Importantly, abrogation of IDH2 inhibits CRC cell growth in vitro and in vivo, and renders CRC cells more vulnerable to DNA-damaging drugs. Screening of an FDA-approved drug library has identified oxaliplatin as a compound highly effective against CRC cells when IDH2 was suppressed. Our study has uncovered an important role of the wild-type IDH2 in protecting DNA from oxidative damage, and provides a novel biochemical basis for developing metabolic intervention strategy for cancer treatment.
Su H. Park, Ka-Wing Fong, Ezinne Mong, M. Cynthia Martin, Gary E. Schiltz,
Published: 4 August 2021
Abstract:
The Polycomb group (PcG) protein Enhancer of Zeste Homolog 2 (EZH2) is one of the three core subunits of the Polycomb Repressive Complex 2 (PRC2). It harbors histone methyltransferase activity (MTase) that specifically catalyze histone 3 lysine 27 (H3K27) methylation on target gene promoters. As such, PRC2 are epigenetic silencers that play important roles in cellular identity and embryonic stem cell maintenance. In the past two decades, mounting evidence supports EZH2 mutations and/or over-expression in a wide array of hematological cancers and solid tumors, including prostate cancer. Further, EZH2 is among the most upregulated genes in neuroendocrine prostate cancers, which become abundant due to the clinical use of high-affinity androgen receptor pathway inhibitors. While numerous studies have reported epigenetic functions of EZH2 that inhibit tumor suppressor genes and promote tumorigenesis, discordance between EZH2 and H3K27 methylation has been reported. Further, enzymatic EZH2 inhibitors have shown limited efficacy in prostate cancer, warranting a more comprehensive understanding of EZH2 functions. Here we first review how canonical functions of EZH2 as a histone MTase are regulated and describe the various mechanisms of PRC2 recruitment to the chromatin. We further outline non-histone substrates of EZH2 and discuss post-translational modifications to EZH2 itself that may affect substrate preference. Lastly, we summarize non-canonical functions of EZH2, beyond its MTase activity and/or PRC2, as a transcriptional cofactor and discuss prospects of its therapeutic targeting in prostate cancer.
, Nabil Hajji, Sara Sánchez-Molina, Elisabet Figuerola-Bou, Rocío M. de Pablos, Ana M. Espinosa-Oliva, , Laura Carmen Terrón-Camero, Rocío Flores-Campos, Guillem Pascual-Pasto, et al.
Published: 3 August 2021
Abstract:
Ewing sarcoma (EWS) is an aggressive bone and soft tissue tumor of children and young adults in which the principal driver is a fusion gene, EWSR1-FLI1. Although the essential role of EWSR1-FLI1 protein in the regulation of oncogenesis, survival, and tumor progression processes has been described in-depth, little is known about the regulation of chimeric fusion-gene expression. Here, we demonstrate that the active nuclear HDAC6 in EWS modulates the acetylation status of specificity protein 1 (SP1), consequently regulating the SP1/P300 activator complex binding to EWSR1 and EWSR1-FLI1 promoters. Selective inhibition of HDAC6 impairs binding of the activator complex SP1/P300, thereby inducing EWSR1-FLI1 downregulation and significantly reducing its oncogenic functions. In addition, sensitivity of EWS cell lines to HDAC6 inhibition is higher than other tumor or non-tumor cell lines. High expression of HDAC6 in primary EWS tumor samples from patients correlates with a poor prognosis in two independent series accounting 279 patients. Notably, a combination treatment of a selective HDAC6 and doxorubicin (a DNA damage agent used as a standard therapy of EWS patients) dramatically inhibits tumor growth in two EWS murine xenograft models. These results could lead to suitable and promising therapeutic alternatives for patients with EWS.
Fan Zhang, Pan Li, Shuang Liu, Mingqiang Yang, Shanshan Zeng, Junjian Deng, Danyang Chen, Yanmei Yi,
Published: 3 August 2021
Abstract:
Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer among women worldwide. Though advances in diagnosis and treatment have prolonged overall survival (OS) for patients with breast cancer, metastasis remains the major obstacles to improved survival for breast cancer patients. The existence of breast cancer stem cells (BCSCs) is a major reason underlying cancer metastasis and recurrence. Therefore, understanding the molecular pathways sustaining BCSC properties and targeting BCSCs will ultimately improve breast cancer treatments. In this study, we found that activation of β-Catenin directly regulated CCL2 expression at the transcriptional level, and in turn promoted macrophages infiltration and M2 polarization. Moreover, macrophages co-cultured with breast cancer cells showed a significant increase in CCL2 expression and promoted β-Catenin-induced BCSCs properties, whereas depletion of CCL2 by adding neutralizing antibodies suppressed BSCSs properties. In addition, we found that β-Catenin-mediated CCL2 secretion recruited macrophages into tumor microenvironment and promoted breast cancer growth and metastasis in vivo. Clinically, we observed a significant positive correlation between β-Catenin, CCL2 and CD163 expression, and increased expression of β-Catenin, CCL2 and CD163 predicted poor prognosis in breast cancer. Furthermore, pharmacological inhibition of CCR2 and β-Catenin synergistically suppressed BCSC properties and breast cancer growth. Collectively, our findings suggested that β-Catenin-mediated CCL2 secretion forms a paracrine feedback loop between breast cancer cells and macrophages, which in turn promotes BCSC properties and supports breast cancer growth and metastasis. Targeting β-Catenin/CCL2 signaling might be an effective strategy for breast cancer therapy.
Shukai Yuan, Peitao Zhang, Liqi Wen, Shikai Jia, Yufan Wu, Zhenlei Zhang, Lizhao Guan, ,
Published: 3 August 2021
Abstract:
Emerging evidence suggests that the cancer stem cells (CSCs) are key culprits of cancer metastasis and drug resistance. Understanding mechanisms regulating the critical oncogenic pathways and CSCs function could reveal new diagnostic and therapeutic strategies. We now report that miR-22, a miRNA critical for hair follicle stem/progenitor cell differentiation, promotes tumor initiation, progression, and metastasis by maintaining Wnt/β-catenin signaling and CSCs function. Mechanistically, we find that miR-22 facilitates β-catenin stabilization through directly repressing citrullinase PAD2. Moreover, miR-22 also relieves DKK1-mediated repression of Wnt/β-catenin signaling by targeting a FosB-DDK1 transcriptional axis. miR-22 knockout mice showed attenuated Wnt/β-catenin activity and Lgr5+ CSCs penetrance, resulting in reduced occurrence, progression, and metastasis of chemically induced cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC). Clinically, miR-22 is abundantly expressed in human cSCC. Its expression is even further elevated in the CSCs proportion, which negatively correlates with PAD2 and FosB expression. Inhibition of miR-22 markedly suppressed cSCC progression and increased chemotherapy sensitivity in vitro and in xenograft mice. Together, our results revealed a novel miR-22-WNT-CSCs regulatory mechanism in cSCC and highlight the important clinical application prospects of miR-22, a common target molecule for Wnt/β-catenin signaling and CSCs, for patient stratification and therapeutic intervention.
Jiuna Zhang, Xiaoyu Jiang, Jie Yin, Shiying Dou, Xiaoli Xie, Ting Liu, Yijun Wang, Shuling Wang, Xue Zhou, Dongxuan Zhang, et al.
Published: 3 August 2021
Abstract:
RING finger proteins (RNFs) play a critical role in cancer initiation and progression. RNF141 is a member of RNFs family; however, its clinical significance, roles, and mechanism in colorectal cancer (CRC) remain poorly understood. Here, we examined the expression of RNF141 in 64 pairs of CRC and adjacent normal tissues by real-time PCR, Western blot, and immunohistochemical analysis. We found that there was more expression of RNF141 in CRC tissue compared with its adjacent normal tissue and high RNF141 expression associated with T stage. In vivo and in vitro functional experiments were conducted and revealed the oncogenic role of RNF141 in CRC. RNF141 knockdown suppressed proliferation, arrested the cell cycle in the G1 phase, inhibited migration, invasion and HUVEC tube formation but promoted apoptosis, whereas RNF141 overexpression exerted the opposite effects in CRC cells. The subcutaneous xenograft models showed that RNF141 knockdown reduced tumor growth, but its overexpression promoted tumor growth. Mechanistically, liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry indicated RNF141 interacted with KRAS, which was confirmed by Co-immunoprecipitation, Immunofluorescence assay. Further analysis with bimolecular fluorescence complementation (BiFC) and Glutathione-S-transferase (GST) pull-down assays showed that RNF141 could directly bind to KRAS. Importantly, the upregulation of RNF141 increased GTP-bound KRAS, but its knockdown resulted in a reduction accordingly. Next, we demonstrated that RNF141 induced KRAS activation via increasing its enrichment on the plasma membrane not altering total KRAS expression, which was facilitated by the interaction with LYPLA1. Moreover, KRAS silencing partially abolished the effect of RNF141 on cell proliferation and apoptosis. In addition, our findings presented that RNF141 functioned as an oncogene by upregulating KRAS activity in a manner of promoting KRAS enrichment on the plasma membrane in CRC.
Jiachun Su, Guandi Wu, Ying Ye, Jialiang Zhang, Lingxing Zeng, Xudong Huang, Yanfen Zheng, Ruihong Bai, Lisha Zhuang, Mei Li, et al.
Published: 3 August 2021
Abstract:
5-Methylcytosine (m5C) is a posttranscriptional RNA modification participating in many critical bioprocesses, but its functions in human cancer remain unclear. Here, by detecting the transcriptome-wide m5C profiling in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC), we showed increased m5C methylation in ESCC tumors due to the overexpressed m5C methyltransferase NSUN2. Aberrant expression of NSUN2 was positively regulated by E2F Transcription Factor 1 (E2F1). High NSUN2 levels predicted poor survival of ESCC patients. Moreover, silencing NSUN2 suppressed ESCC tumorigenesis and progression in Nsun2 knockout mouse models. Mechanistically, NSUN2 induced m5C modification of growth factor receptor-bound protein 2 (GRB2) and stabilized its mRNA, which was mediated by a novel m5C mediator, protein lin-28 homolog B (LIN28B). Elevated GRB2 levels increased the activation of PI3K/AKT and ERK/MAPK signalling. These results demonstrate that NSUN2 enhances the initiation and progression of ESCC via m5C-LIN28B dependent stabilization of GRB2 transcript, providing a promising epitranscriptomic-targeted therapeutic strategy for ESCC.
Chunhui Jiang, Renee M. McKay,
Published: 3 August 2021
Abstract:
Neurofibromatosis Type 1 (NF1) is one of the most common inherited neurological disorders and predisposes patients to develop benign and malignant tumors. Neurofibromas are NF1-associated benign tumors but can cause substantial discomfort and disfigurement. Numerous studies have shown that neurofibromas arise from the Schwann cell lineage but both preclinical mouse models and clinical trials have demonstrated that the neurofibroma tumor microenvironment contributes significantly to tumorigenesis. This offers the opportunity for targeting new therapeutic vulnerabilities to treat neurofibromas. However, a translational gap exists between deciphering the contribution of the neurofibroma tumor microenvironment and clinically applying this knowledge to treat neurofibromas. Here, we discuss the key cellular and molecular components in the neurofibroma tumor microenvironment that can potentially be targeted therapeutically to advance neurofibroma treatment.
Yu Yan, Athira Narayan, Soonweng Cho, Zhiqiang Cheng, , , Guannan Wang, Bryan Wharram, Ala Lisok, Mary Brummet, et al.
Published: 2 August 2021
Abstract:
Expression of β-crystallin B2 (CRYβB2) is elevated in African American (AA) breast tumors. The underlying mechanisms of CRYβB2-induced malignancy and the association of CRYβB2 protein expression with survival have not yet been described. Here, we report that the expression of CRYβB2 in breast cancer cells increases stemness, growth, and metastasis. Transcriptomics data revealed that CRYβB2 upregulates genes that are functionally associated with unfolded protein response, oxidative phosphorylation, and DNA repair, while down-regulating genes related to apoptosis. CRYβB2 in tumors promotes de-differentiation, an increase in mesenchymal markers and cancer-associated fibroblasts, and enlargement of nucleoli. Proteome microarrays identified a direct interaction between CRYβB2 and the nucleolar protein, nucleolin. CRYβB2 induces nucleolin, leading to the activation of AKT and EGFR signaling. CRISPR studies revealed a dependency on nucleolin for the pro-tumorigenic effects of CRYβB2. Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) xenografts with upregulated CRYβB2 are distinctively sensitive to the nucleolin aptamer, AS-1411. Lastly, in AA patients, higher levels of nucleolar CRYβB2 in primary TNBC correlates with decreased survival. In summary, CRYβB2 is upregulated in breast tumors of AA patients and induces oncogenic alterations consistent with an aggressive cancer phenotype. CRYβB2 increases sensitivity to nucleolin inhibitors and may promote breast cancer disparity.
Shangce Du, Zhi Yang, Xiaofeng Lu, Suhail Yousuf, Min Zhao, Wenxi Li, Ji Miao, Xingzhou Wang, Heng Yu, Xinya Zhu, et al.
Published: 2 August 2021
Abstract:
Anoikis is a type of programmed cell death induced by loss of anchorage to the extracellular matrix (ECM). Anoikis resistance (AR) is crucial for the survival of metastatic cancer cells in blood, lymphatic circulation and distant organs. Compared to ordinary cancer cells, anoikis resistant cancer cells undergo various cellular and molecular alterations, probably characterizing the cells with unique features not limited to anoikis resistance. However, the molecular mechanisms connecting anoikis resistance to other metastatic properties are still poorly understood. Here, the biological interaction between anoikis resistance and angiogenesis as well as their involvement into peritoneal metastasis of gastric cancer (GC) were investigated in vitro and in vivo. The prognostic value of key components involved in this interaction was evaluated in the GC cohort. Compared to ordinary GC cells, GCAR cells exhibited stronger metastatic and pro-angiogenic traits corresponding to elevated PDGFB secretion. Mechanistically, transcription factor C/EBPβ facilitated PDGFB transcription by directly binding to and interacting with PDGFB promoter elements, subsequently increasing PDGFB secretion. Secreted PDGFB promoted the survival of detached GC cells through a C/EBPβ-dependent self-feedback loop. Moreover, secreted PDGFB promoted angiogenesis in metastases via activation of the MAPK/ERK signaling pathway in vascular endothelial cells. Both C/EBPβ activation level and PDGFB expression were significantly elevated in GC and correlated with metastatic progression and poor prognosis of patients with GC. Overall, interaction between GCAR cells and vascular endothelial cells promotes angiogenesis and peritoneal metastasis of GC based on C/EBPβ-mediated PDGFB autocrine and paracrine signaling. C/EBPβ-PDGFB-PDGFRβ-MAPK axis promises to be potential prognostic biomarkers and therapeutic targets for peritoneal metastasis of GC.
Francesco Rugolo, , Jorgelina Calandria, Bokkyoo Jun, , ,
Published: 31 July 2021
Abstract:
Cancer cells exhibit dysregulation of critical genes including those involved in lipid biosynthesis, with subsequent defects in metabolism. Here, we show that ELOngation of Very Long chain fatty acids protein 4 (ELOVL4), a rate-limiting enzyme in the biosynthesis of very-long polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3, ≥28 C), is expressed and transcriptionally repressed by the oncogene MYCN in neuroblastoma cells. In keeping, ELOVL4 positively regulates neuronal differentiation and lipids droplets accumulation in neuroblastoma cells. At the molecular level we found that MYCN binds to the promoter of ELOVL4 in close proximity to the histone deacetylases HDAC1, HDAC2, and the transcription factor Sp1 that can cooperate in the repression of ELOVL4 expression. Accordingly, in vitro differentiation results in an increase of fatty acid with 34 carbons with 6 double bonds (FA34:6); and when MYCN is silenced, FA34:6 metabolite is increased compared with the scrambled. In addition, analysis of large neuroblastoma datasets revealed that ELOVL4 expression is highly expressed in localized clinical stages 1 and 2, and low in high-risk stages 3 and 4. More importantly, high expression of ELOVL4 stratifies a subsets of neuroblastoma patients with good prognosis. Indeed, ELOVL4 expression is a marker of better overall clinical survival also in MYCN not amplified patients and in those with neuroblastoma-associated mutations. In summary, our findings indicate that MYCN, by repressing the expression of ELOVL4 and lipid metabolism, contributes to the progression of neuroblastoma.
Débora Cabot, Sònia Brun, Noelia Paco, Mireia M. Ginesta, Núria Gendrau-Sanclemente, Baraa Abuasaker, Triana Ruiz-Fariña, Carles Barceló, , Marta Bosch, et al.
Published: 31 July 2021
Abstract:
Oncogenic mutations of KRAS are found in the most aggressive human tumors, including colorectal cancer. It has been suggested that oncogenic KRAS phosphorylation at Ser181 modulates its activity and favors cell transformation. Using nonphosphorylatable (S181A), phosphomimetic (S181D), and phospho-/dephosphorylatable (S181) oncogenic KRAS mutants, we analyzed the role of this phosphorylation to the maintenance of tumorigenic properties of colorectal cancer cells. Our data show that the presence of phospho-/dephosphorylatable oncogenic KRAS is required for preserving the epithelial organization of colorectal cancer cells in 3D cultures, and for supporting subcutaneous tumor growth in mice. Interestingly, gene expression differed according to the phosphorylation status of KRAS. In DLD-1 cells, CTNNA1 was only expressed in phospho-/dephosphorylatable oncogenic KRAS-expressing cells, correlating with cell polarization. Moreover, lack of oncogenic KRAS phosphorylation leads to changes in expression of genes related to cell invasion, such as SERPINE1, PRSS1,2,3, and NEO1, and expression of phosphomimetic oncogenic KRAS resulted in diminished expression of genes involved in enterocyte differentiation, such as HNF4G. Finally, the analysis, in a public data set of human colorectal cancer, of the gene expression signatures associated with phosphomimetic and nonphosphorylatable oncogenic KRAS suggests that this post-translational modification regulates tumor progression in patients.
Shaoyang Zhang, , Xiufeng Liu, Zhixiong Zhong, Shulan Yang,
Published: 30 July 2021
Abstract:
Metastatic recurrence is still a major challenge in breast cancer treatment, but the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Here, we report that a small adaptor protein, SH3BGRL, is upregulated in the majority of breast cancer patients, especially elevated in those with metastatic relapse, indicating it as a marker for the poor prognosis of breast cancer. Physiologically, SH3BGRL can multifunctionally promote breast cancer cell tumorigenicity, migration, invasiveness, and efficient lung colonization in nude mice. Mechanistically, SH3BGRL downregulates the acting-binding protein profilin 1 (PFN1) by accelerating the translation of the PFN1 E3 ligase, STUB1 via SH3BGRL interaction with ribosomal proteins, or/and enhancing the interaction of PFN1 with STUB1 to accelerate PFN1 degradation. Loss of PFN1 consequently contributes to downstream multiple activations of AKT, NF-kB, and WNT signaling pathways. In contrast, the forced expression of compensatory PFN1 in SH3BGRL-high cells efficiently neutralizes SH3BGRL-induced metastasis and tumorigenesis with PTEN upregulation and PI3K-AKT signaling inactivation. Clinical analysis validates that SH3BGRL expression is negatively correlated with PFN1 and PTEN levels, but positively to the activations of AKT, NF-kB, and WNT signaling pathways in breast patient tissues. Our results thus suggest that SH3BGRL is a valuable prognostic factor and a potential therapeutic target for preventing breast cancer progression and metastasis.
, , Michael Lübbert
Published: 30 July 2021
Abstract:
The chromosomal translocation t(8;21) and the resulting oncofusion gene AML1/ETO have long served as a prototypical genetic lesion to model and understand leukemogenesis. In this review, we describe the wide-ranging role of AML1/ETO in AML leukemogenesis, with a particular focus on the aberrant epigenetic regulation of gene transcription driven by this AML-defining mutation. We begin by analyzing how structural changes secondary to distinct genomic breakpoints and splice changes, as well as posttranscriptional modifications, influence AML1/ETO protein function. Next, we characterize how AML1/ETO recruits chromatin-modifying enzymes to target genes and how the oncofusion protein alters chromatin marks, transcription factor binding, and gene expression. We explore the specific impact of these global changes in the epigenetic network facilitated by the AML1/ETO oncofusion on cellular processes and leukemic growth. Furthermore, we define the genetic landscape of AML1/ETO-positive AML, presenting the current literature concerning the incidence of cooperating mutations in genes such as KIT, FLT3, and NRAS. Finally, we outline how alterations in transcriptional regulation patterns create potential vulnerabilities that may be exploited by epigenetically active agents and other therapeutics.
Ziyang Liu, Anqiang Wang, Yingying Pu, Zhongwu Li, , Chong Zhang, Xiao Xiang, , , , et al.
Published: 30 July 2021
Abstract:
Hepatoid adenocarcinoma of the stomach (HAS), a rare subtype of gastric cancer (GC), has a low incidence but a high mortality rate. Little is known about the molecular features of HAS. Here we applied whole-exome sequencing (WES) on 58 tumours and the matched normal controls from 54 HAS patients, transcriptome sequencing on 30 HAS tumours, and single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) on one HAS tumour. Our results reveal that the adenocarcinomatous component and hepatocellular-like component of the same HAS tumour originate monoclonally, and HAS is likely to initiate from pluripotent precursor cells. HAS has high stemness and high methionine cycle activity compared to classical GC. Two genes in the methionine cycle, MAT2A, and AHCY are potential targets for HAS treatments. We provide the first integrative genomic profiles of HAS, which may facilitate its diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment.
Nicol Mecozzi, ,
Published: 30 July 2021
Abstract:
Non-coding RNAs are emerging as critical molecules in the genesis, progression, and therapy resistance of cutaneous melanoma. This includes circular RNAs (circRNAs), a class of non-coding RNAs with distinct characteristics that forms through non-canonical back-splicing. In this review, we summarize the features and functions of circRNAs and introduce the current knowledge of the roles of circRNAs in melanoma. We also highlight the various mechanisms of action of the well-studied circRNA CDR1as and describe how it acts as a melanoma tumor suppressor. We further discuss the utility of circRNAs as biomarkers, therapeutic targets, and therapeutic agents in melanoma and outline challenges that must be overcome to comprehensively characterize circRNA functions.
Iram Fatima, Susmita Barman, JayaPrakash Uppada, Shailender Chauhan, Sanchita Rauth, Satyanarayana Rachagani, , Lynette Smith, Geoffrey Talmon, Amar B. Singh, et al.
Published: 30 July 2021
Abstract:
Pancreatic cancer (PC) remains a major cause of cancer-related deaths primarily due to its inherent potential of therapy resistance. Checkpoint inhibitors have emerged as promising anti-cancer agents when used in combination with conventional anti-cancer therapies. Recent studies have highlighted a critical role of the Greatwall kinase (microtubule-associated serine/threonine-protein kinase-like (MASTL)) in promoting oncogenic malignancy and resistance to anti-cancer therapies; however, its role in PC remains unknown. Based on a comprehensive investigation involving PC patient samples, murine models of PC progression (Kras;PdxCre-KC and Kras;p53;PdxCre-KPC), and loss and gain of function studies, we report a previously undescribed critical role of MASTL in promoting cancer malignancy and therapy resistance. Mechanistically, MASTL promotes PC by modulating the epidermal growth factor receptor protein stability and, thereupon, kinase signaling. We further demonstrate that combinatorial therapy targeting MASTL promotes the efficacy of the cell-killing effects of Gemcitabine using both genetic and pharmacological inhibitions. Taken together, this study identifies a key role of MASTL in promoting PC progression and its utility as a novel target in promoting sensitivity to the anti-PC therapies.
Xiao-Ying Yin, Melanie F. Landay, Weiping Han, Edwin S. Levitan, Simon C. Watkins, Richard M. Levenson, Daniel L. Farkas,
Published: 29 July 2021
Kristina M. Whately, Maria A. Voronkova, Abha Maskey, Jasleen Gandhi, Juergen Loskutov, Hyeran Choi, , Dongquan Chen, Sijin Wen, Naira V. Margaryan, et al.
Published: 29 July 2021
Abstract:
Metastatic breast cancer causes most breast cancer-associated deaths, especially in triple negative breast cancers (TNBC). The metastatic drivers of TNBCs are still poorly understood, and effective treatment non-existent. Here we reveal that the presence of Aurora-A Kinase (AURKA) in the nucleus and metastatic dissemination are molecularly connected through HIF1 (Hypoxia-Inducible Factor-1) signaling. Nuclear AURKA activates transcription of “hypoxia-induced genes” under normoxic conditions (pseudohypoxia) and without upregulation of oxygen-sensitive HIF1A subunit. We uncover that AURKA preferentially binds to HIF1B and co-localizes with the HIF complex on DNA. The mass-spectrometry analysis of the AURKA complex further confirmed the presence of CBP and p300 along with other TFIIB/RNApol II components. Importantly, the expression of multiple HIF-dependent genes induced by nuclear AURKA (N-AURKA), including migration/invasion, survival/death, and stemness, promote early cancer dissemination. These results indicate that nuclear, but not cytoplasmic, AURKA is a novel driver of early metastasis. Analysis of clinical tumor specimens revealed a correlation between N-AURKA presence and decreased patient survival. Our results establish a mechanistic link between two critical pathways in cancer metastasis, identifying nuclear AURKA as a crucial upstream regulator of the HIF1 transcription complex and a target for anti-metastatic therapy.
Ming-Xiao Zhang, Li-Zhen Zhang, Liang-Min Fu, Hao-Hua Yao, Lei Tan, Zi-Hao Feng, Jia-Ying Li, Jun Lu, Yi-Hui Pan, Guan-Nan Shu, et al.
Published: 28 July 2021
Abstract:
Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) have been reported to exert important roles in tumors, including clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC). PVT1 is an important oncogenic lncRNA which has critical effects on onset and development of various cancers, however, the underlying mechanism of PVT1 functioning in ccRCC remains largely unknown. VHL deficiency-induced HIF2α accumulation is one of the major factors for ccRCC. Here, we identified the potential molecular mechanism of PVT1 in promoting ccRCC development by stabilizing HIF2α. PVT1 was significantly upregulated in ccRCC tissues and high PVT1 expression was associated with poor prognosis of ccRCC patients. Both gain-of-function and loss-of function experiments revealed that PVT1 enhanced ccRCC cells proliferation, migration, and invasion and induced tumor angiogenesis in vitro and in vivo. Mechanistically, PVT1 interacted with HIF2α protein and enhanced its stability by protecting it from ubiquitination-dependent degradation, thereby exerting its biological significance. Meanwhile, HIF2α bound to the enhancer of PVT1 to transactivate its expression. Furthermore, HIF2α specific inhibitor could repress PVT1 expression and its oncogenic functions. Therefore, our study demonstrates that the PVT1/ HIF2α positive feedback loop involves in tumorigenesis and progression of ccRCC, which may be exploited for anticancer therapy.
Shaobin Huang, Wuguo Deng, Peng Wang, Yue Yan, Chuanbo Xie, Xiaoling Cao, Miao Chen, Changlin Zhang, Dingbo Shi, Yunxian Dong, et al.
Published: 28 July 2021
Abstract:
We identified fermitin family member 2 (FERMT2, also known as kindlin-2) as a potential target in A375 cell line by siRNA library screening. Drugs that target mutant BRAF kinase lack durable efficacy in the treatment of melanoma because of acquired resistance, thus the identification of novel therapeutic targets is needed. Immunohistochemistry was used to identify kindlin-2 expression in melanoma samples. The interaction between kindlin-2 and Rac1 or p-Rac/Cdc42 guanine nucleotide exchange factor 6 (α-Pix) was investigated. Finally, the tumor suppressive role of kindlin-2 was validated in vitro and in vivo. Analysis of clinical samples and Oncomine data showed that higher levels of kindlin-2 predicted a more advanced T stage and M stage and facilitated metastasis and recurrence. Kindlin-2 knockdown significantly inhibited melanoma growth and migration, whereas kindlin-2 overexpression had the inverse effects. Further study showed that kindlin-2 could specifically bind to p-α-Pix(S13) and Rac1 to induce a switch from the inactive Rac1-GDP conformation to the active Rac1-GTP conformation and then stimulate the downstream MAPK pathway. Moreover, we revealed that a Rac1 inhibitor suppressed melanoma growth and metastasis and the combination of the Rac1 inhibitor and vemurafenib resulted in a better therapeutic outcome than monotherapy in melanoma with high kindlin-2 expression and BRAF mutation. Our results demonstrated that kindlin-2 promoted melanoma progression, which was attributed to specific binding to p-α-Pix(S13) and Rac1 to stimulate the downstream MAPK pathway. Thus, kindlin-2 could be a potential therapeutic target for treating melanoma.
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