Despite being in the same pathway, mutations of KRAS and BRAF in colorectal carcinomas (CRCs) determine distinct progression courses. ZEB1 induces an epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and is associated with worse progression in most carcinomas. Using samples from patients with CRC, mouse models of KrasG12D and BrafV600E CRC, and a Zeb1-deficient mouse, we show that ZEB1 had opposite functions in KRAS- and BRAF-mutant CRCs. In KrasG12D CRCs, ZEB1 was correlated with a worse prognosis and a higher number of larger and undifferentiated (mesenchymal or EMT-like) tumors. Surprisingly, in BrafV600E CRC, ZEB1 was associated with better prognosis; fewer, smaller, and more differentiated (reduced EMT) primary tumors; and fewer metastases. ZEB1 was positively correlated in KRAS-mutant CRC cells and negatively in BRAF-mutant CRC cells with gene signatures for EMT, cell proliferation and survival, and ERK signaling. On a mechanistic level, ZEB1 knockdown in KRAS-mutant CRC cells increased apoptosis and reduced clonogenicity and anchorage-independent growth; the reverse occurred in BRAFV600E CRC cells. ZEB1 is associated with better prognosis and reduced EMT signature in patients harboring BRAF CRCs. These data suggest that ZEB1 can function as a tumor suppressor in BRAF-mutant CRCs, highlighting the importance of considering the KRAS/BRAF mutational background of CRCs in therapeutic strategies targeting ZEB1/EMT.
Ester Sánchez-Tilló, Leire Pedrosa, Ingrid Vila, Yongxu Chen, Balázs Győrffy, Lidia Sánchez-Moral, Laura Siles, Juan J. Lozano, Anna Esteve-Codina, Douglas S. Darling, Miriam Cuatrecasas, Antoni Castells, Joan Maurel, Antonio Postigo
Approximately 30% of breast cancer survivors deemed ‘free of disease’ will experience locoregional or metastatic recurrence even up to 30 years post initial diagnosis, yet how residual/dormant tumor cells escape immunity elicited by the primary tumor remains unclear. We demonstrate that intrinsically dormant tumor cells are indeed recognized and lysed by antigen-specific T cells in vitro and elicit robust immune responses in vivo. However, despite close proximity to CD8+ killer T cells, dormant tumor cells themselves support early accumulation of protective FoxP3+ T regulatory cells (Tregs), which can be targeted to reduce tumor burden. These intrinsically dormant tumor cells maintain a hybrid epithelial/mesenchymal state which is associated with immune dysfunction, and we find the tumor-derived stem/basal gene Dickkopf WNT Signaling Pathway Inhibitor 3 (DKK3) is critical for Treg inhibition of CD8+ T cells. We also demonstrate that DKK3 promotes immune-mediated progression of proliferative tumors and is significantly associated with poor survival and immune suppression in human breast cancers. Together, these findings reveal that latent tumors can use fundamental mechanisms of tolerance to alter the T cell microenvironment and subvert immune detection. Thus, targeting these pathways, such as DKK3, may help render dormant tumors susceptible to immunotherapies.
Timothy N. Trotter, Carina E. Dagotto, Delila Serra, Tao Wang, Xiao Yang, Chaitanya R. Acharya, Junping Wei, Gangjun Lei, Herbert Kim Lyerly, Zachary C. Hartman
MAD2L1BP-encoded p31comet mediates Trip13-dependent disassembly of Mad2- and Rev7-containing complexes and, through this antagonism, promotes timely spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC) silencing, faithful chromosome segregation, insulin signaling and homology-directed repair (HDR) of DNA double-strand breaks. We identified a homozygous MAD2L1BP nonsense variant, R253*, in two siblings with microcephaly, epileptic encephalopathy and juvenile granulosa cell tumors of ovary and testis. Patient-derived cells exhibited high-grade mosaic variegated aneuploidy, slowed-down proliferation, and instability of truncated p31comet mRNA and protein. Corresponding recombinant p31comet was defective in Trip13-, Mad2- and Rev7-binding and unable to support SAC silencing or HDR. Furthermore, C-terminal truncation abrogated a newly identified interaction of p31comet with tp53. Another homozygous truncation, R227*, detected in an early deceased patient with low-level aneuploidy, severe epileptic encephalopathy and frequent blood glucose elevations likely corresponds to complete loss-of-function, as in Mad2l1bp–/– mice. Thus, human mutations of p31comet are linked to aneuploidy and tumor predisposition.
Ghada M. H. Abdel-Salam, Susanne Hellmuth, Elise Gradhand, Stephan Käseberg, Jennifer Winter, Ann-Sophie Pabst, Maha M. Eid, Holger Thiele, Peter Nürnberg, Birgit S. Budde, Mohammad Reza Toliat, Ines B. Brecht, Christopher Schroeder, Axel Gschwind, Stephan Ossowski, Friederike Häuser, Heidi Rossmann, Mohamed S. Abdel-Hamid, Ibrahim Hegazy, Ahmed G. Mohamed, Dominik T. Schneider, Aida M. Bertoli-Avella, Peter Bauer, Jillian N. Pearring, Rolph Pfundt, Alexander Hoischen, Christian Gilissen, Dennis Strand, Ulrich Zechner, Soha A. Tashkandi, Eissa A. Faqeih, Olaf Stemmann, Susanne Strand, Hanno J. Bolz
Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most lethal brain cancer with a dismal prognosis. Stem-like GBM cells (GSCs) are a major driver of GBM propagation and recurrence, thus understanding the molecular mechanisms that promote GSCs may lead to effective therapeutic approaches. Through in vitro clonogenic growth-based assays, we determined mitogenic activities of the ligand molecules that are implicated in neural development. We have identified that Semaphorin 3A (Sema3A), originally known as an axon guidance molecule in the central nervous system, promotes clonogenic growth of GBM cells but not normal neural progenitor cells (NPCs). Mechanistically, Sema3A binds to its receptor Neuropilin-1 (NRP1) and facilitates an interaction between NRP1 and TGF receptor 1 (TGFR1), which in turn leads to activation of canonical TGF signaling in both GSCs and NPCs. TGF signaling enhances self-renewal and survival of GBM tumors through induction of key stem cell factors, but it evokes cytostatic responses in NPCs. Blockage of the Sema3A-NRP1 axis via shRNA-mediated knockdown of Sema3A or NRP1 impeded clonogenic growth and TGF pathway activity in GSCs and inhibited tumor growth in vivo. Taken together, these findings suggest that the Sema3A-NRP1-TGFR1 signaling axis is a critical regulator of GSC propagation and a potential therapeutic target for GBM.
Hye-Min Jeon, Yong Jae Shin, Jaehyun Lee, Nakho Chang, Dong-Hun Woo, Won Jun Lee, Dayna Nguyen, Wonyoung Kang, Hee Jin Cho, Heekyoung Yang, Jin-Ku Lee, Jason K. Sa, Yeri Lee, Donggeon Kim, Benjamin W. Purow, Yeup Yoon, Do-Hyun Nam, Jeongwu Lee
Intratumoral B cell responses are associated with more favorable clinical outcomes in human pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). However, the antigens driving these B cell responses are largely unknown. We sought to discover these antigens by using single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-Seq) and immunoglobulin (Ig) sequencing of tumor-infiltrating immune cells from seven primary PDAC samples. We identified activated T and B cell responses and evidence of germinal center reactions. Ig sequencing identified plasma cell (PC) clones expressing isotype-switched and hyper-mutated Igs, suggesting the occurrence of T cell-dependent B cell responses. We assessed the reactivity of 41 recombinant antibodies that represented the products of 235 PCs and 12 B cells toward multiple cell lines and PDAC tissues, and observed frequent staining of intracellular self-antigens. Three of these antigens were identified: the filamentous actin (F-actin), the nucleic protein, RUVBL2, and the mitochondrial protein, HSPD1. Antibody titers to F-actin and HSPD1 were significantly elevated in the plasma of PDAC patients (n=59) compared to healthy donors (n=61). Thus, PCs in PDAC produce auto-antibodies reacting with intracellular self-antigens, which may result from promotion of pre-existing, autoreactive B cell responses. These observations indicate that the chronic inflammatory microenvironment of PDAC can support the adaptive immune response.
Min Yao, Jonathan Preall, Johannes Yeh, Darryl J. Pappin, Paolo Cifani, Yixin Zhao, Sophia Shen, Philip Moresco, Brian He, Hardik Patel, Amber N. Habowski, Daniel A. King, Kara L. Raphael, Arvind Rishi, Divyesh V. Sejpal, Matthew Weiss, David Tuveson, Douglas T. Fearon
Alternative polyadenylation (APA), a posttranscriptional mechanism of gene expression via determination of 3′UTR length, has an emerging role in carcinogenesis. Although abundant APA reprogramming is found in kidney renal clear cell carcinoma (KIRC), which is one of the major malignancies, whether APA functions in KIRC remains unknown. Herein, we found that chromatin modifier MORC2 gained oncogenic potential in KIRC among the genes with APA reprogramming, and moreover, its oncogenic potential was enhanced by 3′UTR shortening through stabilization of MORC2 mRNA. MORC2 was found to function in KIRC by downregulating tumor suppressor DAPK1 via DNA methylation. Mechanistically, MORC2 recruited DNMT3A to facilitate hypermethylation of the DAPK1 promoter, which was strengthened by 3′UTR shortening of MORC2. Furthermore, loss of APA regulator NUDT21, which was induced by DNMT3B-mediated promoter methylation, was identified as responsible for 3′UTR shortening of MORC2 in KIRC. Additionally, NUDT21 was confirmed to act as a tumor suppressor mainly depending on downregulation of MORC2. Finally, we designed an antisense oligonucleotide (ASO) to enhance NUDT21 expression and validated its antitumor effect in vivo and in vitro. This study uncovers the DNMT3B/NUDT21/APA/MORC2/DAPK1 regulatory axis in KIRC, disclosing the role of APA in KIRC and the crosstalk between DNA methylation and APA.
Yuqin Tan, Tong Zheng, Zijun Su, Min Chen, Suxiang Chen, Rui Zhang, Ruojiao Wang, Ke Li, Ning Na
Glycolysis is highly enhanced in Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) cells; thus, glucose restrictions are imposed on nontumor cells in the PDAC tumor microenvironment (TME). However, little is known about how such glucose competition alters metabolism and confers phenotypic changes in stromal cells in the TME. Here, we report that cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) with restricted glucose availability utilize lactate from glycolysis-enhanced cancer cells as a fuel and exert immunosuppressive activity in the PDAC TME. The expression of lactate dehydrogenase A (LDHA), which regulates lactate production, was a poor prognostic factor for PDAC patients, and LDHA depletion suppressed tumor growth in a CAF-rich murine PDAC model. Coculture of CAFs with PDAC cells revealed that most of the glucose was taken up by the tumor cells and that CAFs consumed lactate via monocarboxylate transporter 1 to enhance proliferation through the TCA cycle. Moreover, lactate-stimulated CAFs upregulated IL6 expression and suppressed cytotoxic immune cell activity synergistically with lactate. Finally, the LDHA inhibitor FX11 reduced tumor growth and improved antitumor immunity in CAF-rich PDAC tumors. Our study provides new insights into crosstalk among tumor cells, CAFs, and immune cells mediated by lactate and offers therapeutic strategies for targeting LDHA enzymatic activity in PDAC cells.
Fumimasa Kitamura, Takashi Semba, Noriko Yasuda-Yoshihara, Kosuke Yamada, Akiho Nishimura, Juntaro Yamasaki, Osamu Nagano, Tadahito Yasuda, Atsuko Yonemura, Yilin Tong, Huaitao Wang, Takahiko Akiyama, Kazuki Matsumura, Norio Uemura, Rumi Itoyama, Luke Bu, Lingfeng Fu, Xichen Hu, Feng Wei, Kosuke Mima, Katsunori Imai, Hiromitsu Hayashi, Yo-ichi Yamashita, Yuji Miyamoto, Hideo Baba, Takatsugu Ishimoto
Obesity promotes triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), and effective interventions are urgently needed to break the obesity-TNBC link. Epidemiologic studies indicate that bariatric surgery reduces TNBC risk, while evidence is limited or conflicted for weight loss via low-fat diet (LFD) or calorie restriction (CR). Using a murine model of obesity-driven TNBC, we compared the antitumor effects of vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG) with LFD, chronic CR, and intermittent CR. Each intervention generated weight and fat loss and suppressed tumor growth relative to obese mice (greatest suppression with CR). VSG and CR regimens exerted both similar and unique effects, as assessed using multi-omic approaches, in reversing obesity-associated transcriptional, epigenetic, secretome, and microbiota changes and restoring antitumor immunity. Thus, in a murine model of TNBC, bariatric surgery and CR each reverse obesity-driven tumor growth via shared and distinct antitumor mechanisms, and CR is superior to VSG in reversing obesity’s procancer effects.
Kristina Camp, Michael F. Coleman, Tori McFarlane, Steven S. Doerstling, Subreen A. Khatib, Erika T. Rezeli, Alfor G. Lewis, Alexander J. Pfeil, Laura A. Smith, Laura W. Bowers, Farnaz Fouladi, Weida Gong, Elaine M. Glenny, Joel S. Parker, Ginger L. Milne, Ian M. Carroll, Anthony A. Fodor, Randy J. Seeley, Stephen D. Hursting
A T50I substitution in the K-Ras interswitch domain causes Noonan syndrome and emerged as a third-site mutation that restored the in vivo transforming activity and constitutive MAPK pathway activation by an attenuated KrasG12D,E37G oncogene in a mouse leukemia model. Biochemical and crystallographic data suggested that K-RasT50I increases MAPK signal output through a non-GTPase mechanism, potentially by promoting asymmetric Ras:Ras interactions between T50 and E162. We generated a “switchable” system in which K-Ras mutant proteins expressed at physiologic levels supplant the fms like tyrosine kinase 3 (FLT3) dependency of MOLM-13 leukemia cells lacking endogenous KRAS and used this system to interrogate single or compound G12D, T50I, D154Q, and E162L mutations. These studies support a key role for the asymmetric lateral assembly of K-Ras in a plasma membrane–distal orientation that promotes the formation of active Ras:Raf complexes in a membrane-proximal conformation. Disease-causing mutations such as T50I are a valuable starting point for illuminating normal Ras function, elucidating mechanisms of disease, and identifying potential therapeutic opportunities for Rasopathy disorders and cancer.
Pan-Yu Chen, Benjamin J. Huang, Max Harris, Christopher Boone, Weijie Wang, Heidi Carias, Brian Mesiona, Daniela Mavrici, Amanda C. Kohler, Gideon Bollag, Chao Zhang, Ying Zhang, Kevin Shannon
Malignant T lymphocyte proliferation in mycosis fungoides (MF) is largely restricted to the skin, implying that malignant cells are dependent on their specific cutaneous tumor microenvironment (TME), including interactions with non-malignant immune and stromal cells, cytokines, and other immunomodulatory factors. To explore these interactions, we performed a comprehensive transcriptome analysis of the TME in advanced-stage MF skin tumors by single-cell RNA sequencing. Our analysis identified cell-type compositions, cellular functions, and cell-cell interactions in the MF TME that were distinct from those from healthy skin and benign dermatoses. While patterns of gene expression were common amongst patient samples, high transcriptional diversity was also observed in immune and stromal cells, with dynamic interactions and crosstalk between these cells and malignant T lymphocytes. This heterogeneity mapped to processes such as cell trafficking, matrix interactions, angiogenesis, immune functions, and metabolism that affect cancer cell growth, migration and invasion, as well as anti-tumor immunity. By comprehensively characterizing the transcriptomes of immune and stromal cell within the cutaneous microenvironment of individual MF tumors, we have identified patterns of dysfunction common to all tumors that represents a resource for identifying candidates with therapeutic potential as well as patient-specific heterogeneity that has important implications for personalized disease management.
Alyxzandria M. Gaydosik, Connor J. Stonesifer, Tracy Tabib, Robert Lafyatis, Larisa J. Geskin, Patrizia Fuschiotti
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