Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) has the lowest survival rate of all cancers and shows remarkable resistance to cell stress. Nuclear protein 1 (Nupr1), which mediates stress response in the pancreas, is frequently upregulated in pancreatic cancer. Here, we report that Nupr1 plays an essential role in pancreatic tumorigenesis. In a mouse model of pancreatic cancer with constitutively expressed oncogenic KrasG12D, we found that loss of Nupr1 protected from the development of pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasias (PanINs). Further, in cultured pancreatic cells, nutrient deprivation activated Nupr1 expression, which we found to be required for cell survival. We found that Nupr1 protected cells from stress-induced death by inhibiting apoptosis through a pathway dependent on transcription factor RelB and immediate early response 3 (IER3). NUPR1, RELB, and IER3 proteins were coexpressed in mouse PanINs from KrasG12D-expressing pancreas. Moreover, pancreas-specific deletion of Relb in a KrasG12D background resulted in delayed in PanIN development associated with a lack of IER3 expression. Thus, efficient PanIN formation was dependent on the expression of Nupr1 and Relb, with likely involvement of IER3. Finally, in patients with PDAC, expression of NUPR1, RELB, and IER3 was significantly correlated with a poor prognosis. Cumulatively, these results reveal a NUPR1/RELB/IER3 stress-related pathway that is required for oncogenic KrasG12D-dependent transformation of the pancreas.
Tewfik Hamidi, Hana Algül, Carla Eliana Cano, Maria José Sandi, Maria Inés Molejon, Marc Riemann, Ezequiel Luis Calvo, Gwen Lomberk, Jean-Charles Dagorn, Falk Weih, Raul Urrutia, Roland Michael Schmid, Juan Lucio Iovanna
PAX5, a B cell–specific transcription factor, is overexpressed through chromosomal translocations in a subset of B cell lymphomas. Previously, we had shown that activation of immunoreceptor tyrosine-based activation motif (ITAM) proteins and B cell receptor (BCR) signaling by PAX5 contributes to B-lymphomagenesis. However, the effect of PAX5 on other oncogenic transcription factor-controlled pathways is unknown. Using a MYC-induced murine lymphoma model as well as MYC-transformed human B cell lines, we found that PAX5 controls c-MYC protein stability and steady-state levels. This promoter-independent, posttranslational mechanism of c-MYC regulation was independent of ITAM/BCR activity. Instead it was controlled by another PAX5 target, CD19, through the PI3K-AKT-GSK3β axis. Consequently, MYC levels in B cells from CD19-deficient mice were sharply reduced. Conversely, reexpression of CD19 in murine lymphomas with spontaneous silencing of PAX5 boosted MYC levels, expression of its key target genes, cell proliferation in vitro, and overall tumor growth in vivo. In human B-lymphomas, CD19 mRNA levels were found to correlate with those of MYC-activated genes. They also negatively correlated with the overall survival of patients with lymphoma in the same way that MYC levels do. Thus, CD19 is a major BCR-independent regulator of MYC-driven neoplastic growth in B cell neoplasms.
Elaine Y. Chung, James N. Psathas, Duonan Yu, Yimei Li, Mitchell J. Weiss, Andrei Thomas-Tikhonenko
Prostate cancer (PCa) is a major lethal malignancy in men, but the molecular events and their interplay underlying prostate carcinogenesis remain poorly understood. Epigenetic events and the upregulation of polycomb group silencing proteins including Bmi1 have been described to occur during PCa progression. Here, we found that conditional overexpression of Bmi1 in mice induced prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia, and elicited invasive adenocarcinoma when combined with PTEN haploinsufficiency. In addition, Bmi1 and the PI3K/Akt pathway were coactivated in a substantial fraction of human high-grade tumors. We found that Akt mediated Bmi1 phosphorylation, enhancing its oncogenic potential in an Ink4a/Arf-independent manner. This process also modulated the DNA damage response and affected genomic stability. Together, our findings demonstrate the etiological role of Bmi1 in PCa, unravel an oncogenic collaboration between Bmi1 and the PI3K/Akt pathway, and provide mechanistic insights into the modulation of Bmi1 function by phosphorylation during prostate carcinogenesis.
Karim Nacerddine, Jean-Bernard Beaudry, Vasudeva Ginjala, Bart Westerman, Francesca Mattiroli, Ji-Ying Song, Henk van der Poel, Olga Balagué Ponz, Colin Pritchard, Paulien Cornelissen-Steijger, John Zevenhoven, Ellen Tanger, Titia K. Sixma, Shridar Ganesan, Maarten van Lohuizen
Malignant progression in cancer requires populations of tumor-initiating cells (TICs) endowed with unlimited self renewal, survival under stress, and establishment of distant metastases. Additionally, the acquisition of invasive properties driven by epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is critical for the evolution of neoplastic cells into fully metastatic populations. Here, we characterize 2 human cellular models derived from prostate and bladder cancer cell lines to better understand the relationship between TIC and EMT programs in local invasiveness and distant metastasis. The model tumor subpopulations that expressed a strong epithelial gene program were enriched in highly metastatic TICs, while a second subpopulation with stable mesenchymal traits was impoverished in TICs. Constitutive overexpression of the transcription factor Snai1 in the epithelial/TIC-enriched populations engaged a mesenchymal gene program and suppressed their self renewal and metastatic phenotypes. Conversely, knockdown of EMT factors in the mesenchymal-like prostate cancer cell subpopulation caused a gain in epithelial features and properties of TICs. Both tumor cell subpopulations cooperated so that the nonmetastatic mesenchymal-like prostate cancer subpopulation enhanced the in vitro invasiveness of the metastatic epithelial subpopulation and, in vivo, promoted the escape of the latter from primary implantation sites and accelerated their metastatic colonization. Our models provide new insights into how dynamic interactions among epithelial, self-renewal, and mesenchymal gene programs determine the plasticity of epithelial TICs.
Toni Celià-Terrassa, Óscar Meca-Cortés, Francesca Mateo, Alexia Martínez de Paz, Nuria Rubio, Anna Arnal-Estapé, Brian J. Ell, Raquel Bermudo, Alba Díaz, Marta Guerra-Rebollo, Juan José Lozano, Conchi Estarás, Catalina Ulloa, Daniel ρlvarez-Simón, Jordi Milà, Ramón Vilella, Rosanna Paciucci, Marian Martínez-Balbás, Antonio García de Herreros, Roger R. Gomis, Yibin Kang, Jerónimo Blanco, Pedro L. Fernández, Timothy M. Thomson
In contrast to the well-studied classic MAPKs, such as ERK1/2, little is known concerning the regulation and substrates of the atypical MAPK ERK3 signaling cascade and its function in cancer progression. Here, we report that ERK3 interacted with and phosphorylated steroid receptor coactivator 3 (SRC-3), an oncogenic protein overexpressed in multiple human cancers at serine 857 (S857). This ERK3-mediated phosphorylation at S857 was essential for interaction of SRC-3 with the ETS transcription factor PEA3, which promotes upregulation of MMP gene expression and proinvasive activity in lung cancer cells. Importantly, knockdown of ERK3 or SRC-3 inhibited the ability of lung cancer cells to invade and form tumors in the lung in a xenograft mouse model. In addition, ERK3 was found to be highly upregulated in human lung carcinomas. Our study identifies a previously unknown role for ERK3 in promoting lung cancer cell invasiveness by phosphorylating SRC-3 and regulating SRC-3 proinvasive activity by site-specific phosphorylation. As such, ERK3 protein kinase may be an attractive target for therapeutic treatment of invasive lung cancer.
Weiwen Long, Charles E. Foulds, Jun Qin, Jian Liu, Chen Ding, David M. Lonard, Luisa M. Solis, Ignacio I. Wistuba, Jun Qin, Sophia Y. Tsai, Ming-Jer Tsai, Bert W. O’Malley
Cooperativity between oncogenic mutations is recognized as a fundamental feature of malignant transformation, and it may be mediated by synergistic regulation of the expression of pro- and antitumorigenic target genes. However, the mechanisms by which oncogenes and tumor suppressors coregulate downstream targets and pathways remain largely unknown. Here, we used ChIP coupled to massively parallel sequencing (ChIP-seq) and gene expression profiling in mouse prostates to identify direct targets of the tumor suppressor Nkx3.1. Further analysis indicated that a substantial fraction of Nkx3.1 target genes are also direct targets of the oncoprotein Myc. We also showed that Nkx3.1 and Myc bound to and crossregulated shared target genes in mouse and human prostate epithelial cells and that Nkx3.1 could oppose the transcriptional activity of Myc. Furthermore, loss of Nkx3.1 cooperated with concurrent overexpression of Myc to promote prostate cancer in transgenic mice. In human prostate cancer patients, dysregulation of shared NKX3.1/MYC target genes was associated with disease relapse. Our results indicate that NKX3.1 and MYC coregulate prostate tumorigenesis by converging on, and crossregulating, a common set of target genes. We propose that coregulation of target gene expression by oncogenic/tumor suppressor transcription factors may represent a general mechanism underlying the cooperativity of oncogenic mutations during tumorigenesis.
Philip D. Anderson, Sydika A. McKissic, Monica Logan, Meejeon Roh, Omar E. Franco, Jie Wang, Irina Doubinskaia, Riet van der Meer, Simon W. Hayward, Christine M. Eischen, Isam-Eldin Eltoum, Sarki A. Abdulkadir
Cancer development, progression, and metastasis are highly dependent on angiogenesis. The use of antiangiogenic drugs has been proposed as a novel strategy to interfere with tumor growth, but cancer cells respond by developing strategies to escape these treatments. In particular, animal models show that antiangiogenic drugs currently used in clinical settings reduce tumor tissue oxygenation and trigger molecular events that foster cancer resistance to therapy. Here, we show that semaphorin 3A (Sema3A) expression overcomes the proinvasive and prometastatic resistance observed upon angiogenesis reduction by the small-molecule tyrosine inhibitor sunitinib in both pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (PNETs) in RIP-Tag2 mice and cervical carcinomas in HPV16/E2 mice. By improving cancer tissue oxygenation and extending the normalization window, Sema3A counteracted sunitinib-induced activation of HIF-1α, Met tyrosine kinase receptor, epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), and other hypoxia-dependent signaling pathways. Sema3A also reduced tumor hypoxia and halted cancer dissemination induced by DC101, a specific inhibitor of the VEGF pathway. As a result, reexpressing Sema3A in cancer cells converts metastatic PNETs and cervical carcinomas into benign lesions. We therefore suggest that this strategy could be developed to safely harnesses the therapeutic potential of the antiangiogenic treatment.
Federica Maione, Stefania Capano, Donatella Regano, Lorena Zentilin, Mauro Giacca, Oriol Casanovas, Federico Bussolino, Guido Serini, Enrico Giraudo
Retinoblastoma is a pediatric cancer that has served as a paradigm for tumor suppressor gene function. Retinoblastoma is initiated by RB gene mutations, but the subsequent cooperating mutational events leading to tumorigenesis are poorly characterized. We investigated what these additional genomic alterations might be using human retinoblastoma samples and mouse models. Array-based comparative genomic hybridization studies revealed deletions in the CDKN2A locus that include ARF and P16INK4A, both of which encode tumor suppressor proteins, in both human and mouse retinoblastoma. Through mouse genetic analyses, we found that Arf was the critical tumor suppressor gene in the deleted region. In mice, inactivation of one allele of Arf cooperated with Rb and p107 loss to rapidly accelerate retinoblastoma, with frequent loss of heterozygosity (LOH) at the Arf locus. Arf has been reported to exhibit p53-independent tumor suppressor roles in other systems; however, our results showed no additive effect of p53 and Arf coinactivation in promoting retinoblastoma. Moreover, p53 inactivation completely eliminated any selection for Arf LOH. Thus, our data reveal important insights into the p53 pathway in retinoblastoma and show that Arf is a key collaborator with Rb in retinoblastoma suppression.
Karina Conkrite, Maggie Sundby, David Mu, Shizuo Mukai, David MacPherson
Most cases of pancreatic cancer are not diagnosed until they are no longer curable with surgery. Therefore, it is critical to develop a sensitive, preferably noninvasive, method for detecting the disease at an earlier stage. In order to identify biomarkers for pancreatic cancer, we devised an in vitro positive/negative selection strategy to identify RNA ligands (aptamers) that could detect structural differences between the secretomes of pancreatic cancer and non-cancerous cells. Using this molecular recognition approach, we identified an aptamer (M9-5) that differentially bound conditioned media from cancerous and non-cancerous human pancreatic cell lines. This aptamer further discriminated between the sera of pancreatic cancer patients and healthy volunteers with high sensitivity and specificity. We utilized biochemical purification methods and mass-spectrometric analysis to identify the M9-5 target as cyclophilin B (CypB). This molecular recognition–based strategy simultaneously identified CypB as a serum biomarker and generated a new reagent to recognize it in body fluids. Moreover, this approach should be generalizable to other diseases and complementary to traditional approaches that focus on differences in expression level between samples. Finally, we suggest that the aptamer we identified has the potential to serve as a tool for the early detection of pancreatic cancer.
Partha Ray, Kristy L. Rialon-Guevara, Emanuela Veras, Bruce A. Sullenger, Rebekah R. White
Dysregulation of canonical Wnt signaling is thought to play a role in colon carcinogenesis. β-Catenin, a key mediator of the pathway, is stabilized upon Wnt activation and accumulates in the nucleus, where it can interact with the transcription factor T cell factor (TCF) to transactivate gene expression. Normal colonic epithelia express a truncated TCF-1 form, called dnTCF-1, that lacks the critical β-catenin–binding domain and behaves as a transcriptional suppressor. How the cell maintains a balance between the two forms of TCF-1 is unclear. Here, we show that ERM-binding phosphoprotein 50 (EBP50) modulates the interaction between β-catenin and TCF-1. We observed EBP50 localization to the nucleus of human colorectal carcinoma cell lines at low cell culture densities and human primary colorectal tumors that manifested a poor clinical outcome. In contrast, EBP50 was primarily membranous in confluent cell lines. Aberrantly located EBP50 stabilized conventional β-catenin/TCF-1 complexes and connected β-catenin to dnTCF-1 to form a ternary molecular complex that enhanced Wnt/β-catenin signaling events, including the transcription of downstream oncogenes such as c-Myc and cyclin D1. Genome-wide analysis of the EBP50 occupancy pattern revealed consensus binding motifs bearing similarity to Wnt-responsive element. Conventional chromatin immunoprecipitation assays confirmed that EBP50 bound to genomic regions highly enriched with TCF/LEF binding motifs. Knockdown of EBP50 in human colorectal carcinoma cell lines compromised cell cycle progression, anchorage-independent growth, and tumorigenesis in nude mice. We therefore suggest that nuclear EBP50 facilitates colon tumorigenesis by modulating the interaction between β-catenin and TCF-1.
Yu-Yu Lin, Yung-Ho Hsu, Hsin-Yi Huang, Yih-Jyh Shann, Chi-Ying F. Huang, Shu-Chen Wei, Chi-Ling Chen, Tzuu-Shuh Jou