Geminin expression is essential for embryonic development and the maintenance of chromosomal integrity. In spite of this protective role, geminin is also frequently overexpressed in human cancers and the molecular mechanisms underlying its role in tumor progression remain unclear. The histone deacetylase HDAC3 modulates transcription factors to activate or suppress transcription. Little is known about how HDAC3 specifies substrates for modulation among highly homologous transcription factor family members. Here, we have demonstrated that geminin selectively couples the transcription factor forkhead box O3 (FoxO3) to HDAC3, thereby specifically facilitating FoxO3 deacetylation. We determined that geminin–associated HDAC3 deacetylates FoxO3 to block its transcriptional activity, leading to downregulation of the downstream FoxO3 target Dicer, an RNase that suppresses metastasis. Breast cancer cells depleted of geminin or HDAC3 exhibited poor metastatic potential that was attributed to reduced suppression of the FoxO3-Dicer axis. Moreover, elevated levels of geminin, HDAC3, or both together with decreased FoxO3 acetylation and reduced Dicer expression were detected in aggressive human breast cancer specimens. These results underscore a prominent role for geminin in promoting breast cancer metastasis via the enzyme-substrate–coupling mechanism in HDAC3-FoxO3 complex formation.
Lei Zhang, Meizhen Cai, Zhicheng Gong, Bingchang Zhang, Yuanpei Li, Li Guan, Xiaonan Hou, Qing Li, Gang Liu, Zengfu Xue, Muh-hua Yang, Jing Ye, Y. Eugene Chin, Han You
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is almost uniformly fatal; however, some improvement in overall survival has been achieved with the introduction of nanocarriers that deliver irinotecan or paclitaxel. Although it is generally assumed that nanocarriers rely principally on abnormal leaky vasculature for tumor access, a transcytosis transport pathway that is regulated by neuropilin-1 (NRP-1) has recently been reported. NRP-1–mediated transport can be triggered by the cyclic tumor-penetrating peptide iRGD. In a KRAS-induced orthotopic PDAC model, coadministration of iRGD enhanced the uptake of an irinotecan-loaded silicasome carrier that comprises lipid bilayer–coated mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSNPs); this uptake resulted in enhanced survival and markedly reduced metastasis. Further, ultrastructural imaging of the treated tumors revealed that iRGD coadministration induced a vesicular transport pathway that carried Au-labeled silicacomes from the blood vessel lumen to a perinuclear site within cancer cells. iRGD-mediated enhancement of silicasome uptake was also observed in patient-derived xenografts, commensurate with the level of NRP-1 expression on tumor blood vessels. These results demonstrate that iRGD enhances the efficacy of irinotecan-loaded silicasome–based therapy and may be a suitable adjuvant in nanoparticle-based treatments for PDAC.
Xiangsheng Liu, Paulina Lin, Ian Perrett, Joshua Lin, Yu-Pei Liao, Chong Hyun Chang, Jinhong Jiang, Nanping Wu, Timothy Donahue, Zev Wainberg, Andre E. Nel, Huan Meng
Tumors are capable of coopting hematopoietic cells to create a suitable microenvironment to support malignant growth. Here, we have demonstrated that upregulation of kinase insert domain receptor (KDR), also known as VEGFR2, in a myeloid cell sublineage is necessary for malignant progression of gliomas in transgenic murine models and is associated with high-grade tumors in patients. KDR expression increased in myeloid cells as myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) accumulated, which was associated with the transformation and progression of low-grade fibrillary astrocytoma to high-grade anaplastic gliomas. KDR deficiency in murine BM-derived cells (BMDCs) suppressed the differentiation of myeloid lineages and reduced granulocytic/monocytic populations. The depletion of myeloid-derived KDR compromised its proangiogenic function, which inhibited the angiogenic switch necessary for malignant progression of low-grade to high-grade tumors. We also identified inhibitor of DNA binding protein 2 (ID2) as a key upstream regulator of KDR activation during myeloid differentiation. Deficiency of ID2 in BMDCs led to downregulation of KDR, suppression of proangiogenic myeloid cells, and prevention of low-grade to high-grade transition. Tumor-secreted TGF-β and granulocyte-macrophage CSF (GM-CSF) enhanced the KDR/ID2 signaling axis in BMDCs. Our results suggest that modulation of KDR/ID2 signaling may restrict tumor-associated myeloid cells and could potentially be a therapeutic strategy for preventing transformation of premalignant gliomas.
Yujie Huang, Prajwal Rajappa, Wenhuo Hu, Caitlin Hoffman, Babacar Cisse, Joon-Hyung Kim, Emilie Gorge, Rachel Yanowitch, William Cope, Emma Vartanian, Raymond Xu, Tuo Zhang, David Pisapia, Jenny Xiang, Jason Huse, Irina Matei, Hector Peinado, Jacqueline Bromberg, Eric Holland, Bi-sen Ding, Shahin Rafii, David Lyden, Jeffrey Greenfield
Gain-of-function (GOF) p53 mutations are observed frequently in most intractable human cancers and establish dependency for tumor maintenance and progression. While some of the genes induced by GOF p53 have been implicated in more rapid cell proliferation compared with p53-null cancer cells, the mechanism for dependency of tumor growth on mutant p53 is unknown. This report reveals a therapeutically targetable mechanism for GOF p53 dependency. We have shown that GOF p53 increases DNA replication origin firing, stabilizes replication forks, and promotes micronuclei formation, thus facilitating the proliferation of cells with genomic abnormalities. In contrast, absence or depletion of GOF p53 leads to decreased origin firing and a higher frequency of fork collapse in isogenic cells, explaining their poorer proliferation rate. Following genome-wide analyses utilizing ChIP-Seq and RNA-Seq, GOF p53–induced origin firing, micronuclei formation, and fork protection were traced to the ability of GOF p53 to transactivate cyclin A and CHK1. Highlighting the therapeutic potential of CHK1’s role in GOF p53 dependency, experiments in cell culture and mouse xenografts demonstrated that inhibition of CHK1 selectively blocked proliferation of cells and tumors expressing GOF p53. Our data suggest the possibility that checkpoint inhibitors could efficiently and selectively target cancers expressing GOF p53 alleles.
Shilpa Singh, Catherine A. Vaughan, Rebecca A. Frum, Steven R. Grossman, Sumitra Deb, Swati Palit Deb
Worldwide epidemics of metabolic diseases, including liver steatosis, are associated with an increased frequency of malignancies, showing the highest positive correlation for liver cancer. The heterogeneity of liver cancer represents a clinical challenge. In liver, the transcription factor PPARγ promotes metabolic adaptations of lipogenesis and aerobic glycolysis under the control of Akt2 activity, but the role of PPARγ in liver tumorigenesis is unknown. Here we have combined preclinical mouse models of liver cancer and genetic studies of a human liver biopsy atlas with the aim of identifying putative therapeutic targets in the context of liver steatosis and cancer. We have revealed a protumoral interaction of Akt2 signaling with hepatocyte nuclear factor 1α (HNF1α) and PPARγ, transcription factors that are master regulators of hepatocyte and adipocyte differentiation, respectively. Akt2 phosphorylates and inhibits HNF1α, thus relieving the suppression of hepatic PPARγ expression and promoting tumorigenesis. Finally, we observed that pharmacological inhibition of PPARγ is therapeutically effective in a preclinical murine model of steatosis-associated liver cancer. Taken together, our studies in humans and mice reveal that Akt2 controls hepatic tumorigenesis through crosstalk between HNF1α and PPARγ.
Cecilia Patitucci, Gabrielle Couchy, Alessia Bagattin, Tatiana Cañeque, Aurélien de Reyniès, Jean-Yves Scoazec, Raphaël Rodriguez, Marco Pontoglio, Jessica Zucman-Rossi, Mario Pende, Ganna Panasyuk
The eleven-nineteen leukemia (ENL) protein family, composed of ENL and AF9, is a common component of 3 transcriptional modulators: AF4–ENL–P-TEFb complex (AEP), DOT1L-AF10-ENL complex (referred to as the DOT1L complex) and polycomb-repressive complex 1 (PRC1). Each complex associates with chromatin via distinct mechanisms, conferring different transcriptional properties including activation, maintenance, and repression. The mixed-lineage leukemia (
Hiroshi Okuda, Boban Stanojevic, Akinori Kanai, Takeshi Kawamura, Satoshi Takahashi, Hirotaka Matsui, Akifumi Takaori-Kondo, Akihiko Yokoyama
Paradoxically, during early tumor development in many cancer types, TGF-β acts as a tumor suppressor, whereas in the advanced stages of these cancers, increased TGF-β expression is linked to high metastasis and poor prognosis. These findings suggest that unidentified mechanisms may function to rewire TGF-β signaling toward its prometastatic role in cancer cells. Our current study using non–small-cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) cell lines, animal models, and clinical specimens demonstrates that suppression of SMAD2, with SMAD3 function intact, switches TGF-β–induced transcriptional responses to a prometastatic state. Importantly, we identified chaperonin containing TCP1 subunit 6A (CCT6A) as an inhibitor and direct binding protein of SMAD2 and found that CCT6A suppresses SMAD2 function in NSCLC cells and promotes metastasis. Furthermore, selective inhibition of SMAD3 or CCT6A efficiently suppresses TGF-β–mediated metastasis. Our findings provide a mechanism that directs TGF-β signaling toward its prometastatic arm and may contribute to the development of therapeutic strategies targeting TGF-β for NSCLC.
Zhe Ying, Han Tian, Yun Li, Rong Lian, Wei Li, Shanshan Wu, Hui-Zhong Zhang, Jueheng Wu, Lei Liu, Junwei Song, Hongyu Guan, Junchao Cai, Xun Zhu, Jun Li, Mengfeng Li
Many cancer-associated mutations that deregulate cellular metabolic responses to hypoxia also reprogram carbon metabolism to promote utilization of glutamine. In renal cell carcinoma (RCC), cells deficient in the von Hippel–Lindau (
Arimichi Okazaki, Paulo A. Gameiro, Danos Christodoulou, Laura Laviollette, Meike Schneider, Frances Chaves, Anat Stemmer-Rachamimov, Stephanie A. Yazinski, Richard Lee, Gregory Stephanopoulos, Lee Zou, Othon Iliopoulos
Mutations in the isocitrate dehydrogenase genes
Gary Kohanbash, Diego A. Carrera, Shruti Shrivastav, Brian J. Ahn, Naznin Jahan, Tali Mazor, Zinal S. Chheda, Kira M. Downey, Payal B. Watchmaker, Casey Beppler, Rolf Warta, Nduka A. Amankulor, Christel Herold-Mende, Joseph F. Costello, Hideho Okada
Loss of phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) and activation of the PI3K/AKT signaling pathway are hallmarks of prostate cancer (PCa). However, these alterations alone are insufficient for cells to acquire metastatic traits. Here, we have shown that the histone dimethyl transferase WHSC1 critically drives indolent PTEN-null tumors to become metastatic PCa. In a PTEN-null murine PCa model, WHSC1 overexpression in prostate epithelium cooperated with
Ni Li, Wei Xue, Huairui Yuan, Baijun Dong, Yufeng Ding, Yongfeng Liu, Min Jiang, Shan Kan, Tongyu Sun, Jiale Ren, Qiang Pan, Xiang Li, Peiyuan Zhang, Guohong Hu, Yan Wang, Xiaoming Wang, Qintong Li, Jun Qin
The most frequent focal alterations in human retinoblastoma are mutations in the tumor-suppressor gene retinoblastoma (
Nan Wu, Deshui Jia, Breanna Bates, Ryan Basom, Charles G. Eberhart, David MacPherson
Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells have been highly successful in treating hematological malignancies, including acute and chronic lymphoblastic leukemia. However, treatment of solid tumors using CAR T cells has been largely unsuccessful to date, partly because of tumor-induced immunosuppressive mechanisms, including adenosine production. Previous studies have shown that adenosine generated by tumor cells potently inhibits endogenous antitumor T cell responses through activation of adenosine 2A receptors (A2ARs). Herein, we have observed that CAR activation resulted in increased A2AR expression and suppression of both murine and human CAR T cells. This was reversible using either A2AR antagonists or genetic targeting of A2AR using shRNA. In 2 syngeneic HER2+ self-antigen tumor models, we found that either genetic or pharmacological targeting of the A2AR profoundly increased CAR T cell efficacy, particularly when combined with PD-1 blockade. Mechanistically, this was associated with increased cytokine production of CD8+ CAR T cells and increased activation of both CD8+ and CD4+ CAR T cells. Given the known clinical relevance of the CD73/adenosine pathway in several solid tumor types, and the initiation of phase I trials for A2AR antagonists in oncology, this approach has high translational potential to enhance CAR T cell efficacy in several cancer types.
Paul A. Beavis, Melissa A. Henderson, Lauren Giuffrida, Jane K. Mills, Kevin Sek, Ryan S. Cross, Alexander J. Davenport, Liza B. John, Sherly Mardiana, Clare Y. Slaney, Ricky W. Johnstone, Joseph A. Trapani, John Stagg, Sherene Loi, Lev Kats, David Gyorki, Michael H. Kershaw, Phillip K. Darcy
Elevated expression of the chemokine receptor CCR4 in tumors is associated with poor prognosis in several cancers. Here, we have determined that CCR4 was highly expressed in human renal cell carcinoma (RCC) biopsies and observed abnormal levels of CCR4 ligands in RCC patient plasma. An antagonistic anti-CCR4 antibody had antitumor activity in the RENCA mouse model of RCC. CCR4 inhibition did not reduce the proportion of infiltrating leukocytes in the tumor microenvironment but altered the phenotype of myeloid cells, increased NK cell and Th1 cytokine levels, and reduced immature myeloid cell infiltrate and blood chemokine levels. In spite of prominent changes in the myeloid compartment, the anti-CCR4 antibody did not affect RENCA tumors in T cell–deficient mice, and treatment with an anti–class II MHC antibody abrogated its antitumor activity. We concluded that the effects of the anti-CCR4 antibody required the adaptive immune system and CD4+ T cells. Moreover, CCL17-induced IFN-γ production was reduced when Th1-polarized normal CD4+ T cells were exposed to the CCR4 ligand, evidencing the involvement of CCR4 in Th1/Th2 regulation. The anti-CCR4 antibody, alone or in combination with other immune modulators, is a potential treatment approach to human solid cancers with high levels of CCR4-expressing tumor-infiltrating leukocytes and abnormal plasma CCR4 ligand levels.
Chiara Berlato, Moddasar N. Khan, Tiziana Schioppa, Richard Thompson, Eleni Maniati, Anne Montfort, Maryam Jangani, Monica Canosa, Hagen Kulbe, Urs B. Hagemann, Alexander R. Duncan, Laura Fletcher, Robert W. Wilkinson, Thomas Powles, Sergio A. Quezada, Frances R. Balkwill
Compromised apoptotic signaling is a prerequisite for tumorigenesis. The design of effective therapies for cancer treatment depends on a comprehensive understanding of the mechanisms that govern cell survival. The antiapoptotic proteins of the BCL-2 family are key regulators of cell survival and are frequently overexpressed in malignancies, leading to increased cancer cell survival. Unlike BCL-2 and BCL-XL, the closest antiapoptotic relative BCL-W is required for spermatogenesis, but was considered dispensable for all other cell types. Here, however, we have exposed a critical role for BCL-W in B cell survival and lymphomagenesis. Loss of
Clare M. Adams, Annette S. Kim, Ramkrishna Mitra, John K. Choi, Jerald Z. Gong, Christine M. Eischen
Most patients who initially respond to treatment with the multi–tyrosine kinase inhibitor sunitinib eventually relapse. Therefore, developing a deeper understanding of the contribution of sunitinib’s numerous targets to the clinical response or to resistance is crucial. Here, we have shown that cancer cells respond to clinically relevant doses of sunitinib by enhancing the stability of the antiapoptotic protein MCL-1 and inducing mTORC1 signaling, thus evoking little cytotoxicity. Inhibition of MCL-1 or mTORC1 signaling sensitized cells to clinically relevant doses of sunitinib in vitro and was synergistic with sunitinib in impairing tumor growth in vivo, indicating that these responses are triggered as prosurvival mechanisms that enable cells to tolerate the cytotoxic effects of sunitinib. Furthermore, higher doses of sunitinib were cytotoxic, triggered a decline in MCL-1 levels, and inhibited mTORC1 signaling. Mechanistically, we determined that sunitinib modulates MCL-1 stability by affecting its proteasomal degradation. Dual modulation of MCL-1 stability at different dose ranges of sunitinib was due to differential effects on ERK and GSK3β activity, and the latter also accounted for dual modulation of mTORC1 activity. Finally, comparison of patient samples prior to and following sunitinib treatment suggested that increases in MCL-1 levels and mTORC1 activity correlate with resistance to sunitinib in patients.
Mohamed Elgendy, Amal Kamal Abdel-Aziz, Salvatore Lorenzo Renne, Viviana Bornaghi, Giuseppe Procopio, Maurizio Colecchia, Ravindran Kanesvaran, Chee Keong Toh, Daniela Bossi, Isabella Pallavicini, Jose Luis Perez-Gracia, Maria Dolores Lozano, Valeria Giandomenico, Ciro Mercurio, Luisa Lanfrancone, Nicola Fazio, Franco Nole, Bin Tean Teh, Giuseppe Renne, Saverio Minucci
The AXL receptor and its activating ligand, growth arrest–specific 6 (GAS6), are important drivers of metastasis and therapeutic resistance in human cancers. Given the critical roles that GAS6 and AXL play in refractory disease, this signaling axis represents an attractive target for therapeutic intervention. However, the strong picomolar binding affinity between GAS6 and AXL and the promiscuity of small molecule inhibitors represent important challenges faced by current anti-AXL therapeutics. Here, we have addressed these obstacles by engineering a second-generation, high-affinity AXL decoy receptor with an apparent affinity of 93 femtomolar to GAS6. Our decoy receptor, MYD1-72, profoundly inhibited disease progression in aggressive preclinical models of human cancers and induced cell killing in leukemia cells. When directly compared with the most advanced anti-AXL small molecules in the clinic, MYD1-72 achieved superior antitumor efficacy while displaying no toxicity. Moreover, we uncovered a relationship between AXL and the cellular response to DNA damage whereby abrogation of AXL signaling leads to accumulation of the DNA-damage markers γH2AX, 53BP1, and RAD51. MYD1-72 exploited this relationship, leading to improvements upon the therapeutic index of current standard-of-care chemotherapies in preclinical models of advanced pancreatic and ovarian cancer.
Mihalis S. Kariolis, Yu Rebecca Miao, Anh Diep, Shannon E. Nash, Monica M. Olcina, Dadi Jiang, Douglas S. Jones II, Shiven Kapur, Irimpan I. Mathews, Albert C. Koong, Erinn B. Rankin, Jennifer R. Cochran, Amato J. Giaccia
Li-Fraumeni syndrome (LFS) is a cancer predisposition disorder caused by germline mutations in
Ping-yuan Wang, Jie Li, Farzana L. Walcott, Ju-Gyeong Kang, Matthew F. Starost, S. Lalith Talagala, Jie Zhuang, Ji-Hoon Park, Rebecca D. Huffstutler, Christina M. Bryla, Phuong L. Mai, Michael Pollak, Christina M. Annunziata, Sharon A. Savage, Antonio Tito Fojo, Paul M. Hwang
Tumor cells gain metastatic capacity through a Golgi phosphoprotein 3–dependent (GOLPH3-dependent) Golgi membrane dispersal process that drives the budding and transport of secretory vesicles. Whether Golgi dispersal underlies the pro-metastatic vesicular trafficking that is associated with epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) remains unclear. Here, we have shown that, rather than causing Golgi dispersal, EMT led to the formation of compact Golgi organelles with improved ribbon linking and cisternal stacking. Ectopic expression of the EMT-activating transcription factor ZEB1 stimulated Golgi compaction and relieved microRNA-mediated repression of the Golgi scaffolding protein PAQR11. Depletion of PAQR11 dispersed Golgi organelles and impaired anterograde vesicle transport to the plasma membrane as well as retrograde vesicle tethering to the Golgi. The N-terminal scaffolding domain of PAQR11 was associated with key regulators of Golgi compaction and vesicle transport in pull-down assays and was required to reconstitute Golgi compaction in PAQR11-deficient tumor cells. Finally, high PAQR11 levels were correlated with EMT and shorter survival in human cancers, and PAQR11 was found to be essential for tumor cell migration and metastasis in EMT-driven lung adenocarcinoma models. We conclude that EMT initiates a PAQR11-mediated Golgi compaction process that drives metastasis.
Xiaochao Tan, Priyam Banerjee, Hou-Fu Guo, Stephen Ireland, Daniela Pankova, Young-ho Ahn, Irodotos Michail Nikolaidis, Xin Liu, Yanbin Zhao, Yongming Xue, Alan R. Burns, Jonathon Roybal, Don L. Gibbons, Tomasz Zal, Chad J. Creighton, Daniel Ungar, Yanzhuang Wang, Jonathan M. Kurie
Mutations and deletions in components of ubiquitin ligase complexes that lead to alterations in protein turnover are important mechanisms in driving tumorigenesis. Here we describe an alternative mechanism involving upregulation of the microRNA miR-424 that leads to impaired ubiquitination and degradation of oncogenic transcription factors in prostate cancers. We found that miR-424 targets the E3 ubiquitin ligase COP1 and identified STAT3 as a key substrate of COP1 in promoting tumorigenic and cancer stem-like properties in prostate epithelial cells. Altered protein turnover due to impaired COP1 function led to accumulation and enhanced basal and cytokine-induced activity of STAT3. We further determined that loss of the ETS factor ESE3/EHF is the initial event that triggers the deregulation of the miR-424/COP1/STAT3 axis. COP1 silencing and STAT3 activation were effectively reverted by blocking of miR-424, suggesting a possible strategy to attack this key node of tumorigenesis in ESE3/EHF–deficient tumors. These results establish miR-424 as an oncogenic effector linked to noncanonical activation of STAT3 and as a potential therapeutic target.
Cecilia Dallavalle, Domenico Albino, Gianluca Civenni, Jessica Merulla, Paola Ostano, Maurizia Mello-Grand, Simona Rossi, Marco Losa, Gioacchino D’Ambrosio, Fausto Sessa, George N. Thalmann, Ramon Garcia-Escudero, Andrea Zitella, Giovanna Chiorino, Carlo V. Catapano, Giuseppina M. Carbone
Hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) reside in the bone marrow. Stress signals from cancer and other conditions promote HSPC mobilization into circulation and subsequent homing to tissue microenvironments. HSPC infiltration into tissue microenvironments can influence disease progression; notably, in cancer, HSPCs encourage tumor growth. Here we have uncovered a mutually exclusive distribution of EPHB4 receptors in bone marrow sinusoids and ephrin B2 ligands in hematopoietic cells. We determined that signaling interactions between EPHB4 and ephrin B2 control HSPC mobilization from the bone marrow. In mice, blockade of the EPHB4/ephrin B2 signaling pathway reduced mobilization of HSPCs and other myeloid cells to the circulation. EPHB4/ephrin B2 blockade also reduced HSPC infiltration into tumors as well as tumor progression in murine models of melanoma and mammary cancer. These results identify EPHB4/ephrin B2 signaling as critical to HSPC mobilization from bone marrow and provide a potential strategy for reducing cancer progression by targeting the bone marrow.
Hyeongil Kwak, Ombretta Salvucci, Roberto Weigert, Jorge L. Martinez-Torrecuadrada, Mark Henkemeyer, Michael G. Poulos, Jason M. Butler, Giovanna Tosato