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Many tumors increase uptake and dependence on glucose, cystine or glutamine. These basic observations on cancer cell metabolism have opened multiple new diagnostic and therapeutic avenues in cancer research. Recent studies demonstrated that smoking could induce the expression of xCT (SLC7A11) in oral cancer cells, suggesting that overexpression of xCT may support lung tumor progression. We hypothesized that overexpression of xCT occurs in lung cancer cells to satisfy the metabolic requirements for growth and survival. Our results demonstrated that 1) xCT was highly expressed at the cytoplasmic membrane in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), 2) the expression of xCT was correlated with advanced stage and predicted a worse 5-year survival, 3) targeting xCT transport activity in xCT overexpressing NSCLC cells with sulfasalazine decreased cell proliferation and invasion in vitro and in vivo and 4) increased dependence on glutamine was observed in xCT overexpressed normal airway epithelial cells. These results suggested that xCT regulate metabolic requirements during lung cancer progression and be a potential therapeutic target in NSCLC.
Store-operated calcium entry (SOCE), a fundamentally important homeostatic and Ca signaling pathway in many types of cells, is activated by the direct interaction of stromal interaction molecule 1 (STIM1), an endoplasmic reticulum (ER) Ca-binding protein, with Ca-selective Orai1 channels localized in the plasma membrane. While much is known about the regulation of SOCE by STIM1, the role of stromal interaction molecule 2 (STIM2) in SOCE remains incompletely understood. Here, using clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats -CRISPR associated protein 9 (CRISPR-Cas9) genomic editing and molecular imaging, we investigated the function of STIM2 in NIH 3T3 fibroblast and αT3 cell SOCE. We found that deletion of expression reduced SOCE by more than 90% in NIH 3T3 cells. STIM1 expression levels were unaffected in the null cells. However, quantitative confocal fluorescence imaging demonstrated that in the absence of expression, STIM1 did not translocate or form punctae in plasma membrane-associated ER membrane (PAM) junctions following ER Ca store depletion. Fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) imaging of intact, living cells revealed that the formation of STIM1 and Orai1 complexes in PAM nanodomains was significantly reduced in the knockout cells. Our findings indicate that STIM2 plays an essential role in regulating SOCE in NIH 3T3 and αT3 cells and suggests that dynamic interplay between STIM1 and STIM2 induced by ER Ca store discharge is necessary for STIM1 translocation, its interaction with Orai1, and activation of SOCE.
To better understand the roles of microRNAs in glial function, we used a conditional deletion of Dicer1 (Dicer-CKO) in retinal Müller glia (MG). Dicer1 deletion from the MG leads to an abnormal migration of the cells as early as 1 month after the deletion. By 6 months after Dicer1 deletion, the MG form large aggregations and severely disrupt normal retinal architecture and function. The most highly upregulated gene in the Dicer-CKO MG is the proteoglycan Brevican (Bcan) and overexpression of Bcan results in similar aggregations of the MG in wild-type retina. One potential microRNA that regulates Bcan is miR-9, and overexpression of miR-9 can partly rescue the effects of Dicer1 deletion on the MG phenotype. We also find that MG from retinitis pigmentosa patients display an increase in Brevican immunoreactivity at sites of MG aggregation, linking the retinal remodeling that occurs in chronic disease with microRNAs.
Ewing sarcoma is driven by characteristic chromosomal translocations between the EWSR1 gene with genes encoding ETS family transcription factors (EWS-ETS), most commonly FLI1. However, direct pharmacological inhibition of transcription factors like EWS-FLI1 remains largely unsuccessful. Active gene transcription requires orchestrated actions of many epigenetic regulators, such as the bromodomain and extra-terminal domain (BET) family proteins. Emerging BET bromodomain inhibitors have exhibited promising antineoplastic activities via suppression of oncogenic transcription factors in various cancers. We reasoned that EWS-FLI1-mediated transcription activation might be susceptible to BET inhibition. In this study, we demonstrated that small molecule BET bromodomain inhibitors repressed EWS-FLI1-driven gene signatures and downregulated important target genes. However, expression of EWS-FLI1 was not significantly affected. Repression of autocrine IGF1 by BET inhibitors led to significant inhibition of the IGF1R/AKT pathway critical to Ewing sarcoma cell proliferation and survival. Consistently, BET inhibitors impaired viability and clonogenic survival of Ewing sarcoma cell lines and blocked EWS-FLI1-induced transformation of mouse NIH3T3 fibroblast cells. Selective depletion of individual BET genes partially phenocopied the actions of BET inhibitors. Finally, the prototypical BET inhibitor, JQ1, significantly repressed Ewing sarcoma xenograft tumor growth. These findings suggest therapeutic potential of BET inhibitors in Ewing sarcoma and highlight an emerging paradigm of using epigenetic agents to treat cancers driven by fusion transcription factors.
High-level amplification of the protein phosphatase PPM1D (WIP1) is present in a subset of medulloblastomas (MBs) that have an expression profile consistent with active Sonic Hedgehog (SHH) signaling. We found that WIP1 overexpression increased expression of Shh target genes and cell proliferation in response to Shh stimulation in NIH3T3 and cerebellar granule neuron precursor cells in a p53-independent manner. Thus, we developed a mouse in which WIP1 is expressed in the developing brain under control of the Neurod2 promoter (ND2:WIP1). The external granule layer (EGL) in early postnatal ND2:WIP1 mice exhibited increased proliferation and expression of Shh downstream targets. MB incidence increased and survival decreased when ND2:WIP1 mice were crossed with an Shh-activated MB mouse model. Conversely, Wip1 knockout significantly suppressed MB formation in two independent mouse models of Shh-activated MB. Furthermore, Wip1 knockdown or treatment with a WIP1 inhibitor suppressed the effects of Shh stimulation and potentiated the growth inhibitory effects of SHH pathway-inhibiting drugs in Shh-activated MB cells in vitro. This suggests an important cross-talk between SHH and WIP1 pathways that accelerates tumorigenesis and supports WIP1 inhibition as a potential treatment strategy for MB.
MicroRNA (miR) are important regulators of gene expression, and aberrant miR expression has been linked to oncogenesis; however, little is understood about their contribution to lung tumorigenesis. Here, we determined that miR-31 is overexpressed in human lung adenocarcinoma and this overexpression independently correlates with decreased patient survival. We developed a transgenic mouse model that allows for lung-specific expression of miR-31 to test the oncogenic potential of miR-31 in the lung. Using this model, we observed that miR-31 induction results in lung hyperplasia, followed by adenoma formation and later adenocarcinoma development. Moreover, induced expression of miR-31 in mice cooperated with mutant KRAS to accelerate lung tumorigenesis. We determined that miR-31 regulates lung epithelial cell growth and identified 6 negative regulators of RAS/MAPK signaling as direct targets of miR-31. Our study distinguishes miR-31 as a driver of lung tumorigenesis that promotes mutant KRAS-mediated oncogenesis and reveals that miR-31 directly targets and reduces expression of negative regulators of RAS/MAPK signaling.
The link between extracellular-matrix-bound integrins and intracellular F-actin is essential for cell spreading and migration. Here, we demonstrate how the actin-binding proteins talin and vinculin cooperate to provide this link. By expressing structure-based talin mutants in talin null cells, we show that while the C-terminal actin-binding site (ABS3) in talin is required for adhesion complex assembly, the central ABS2 is essential for focal adhesion (FA) maturation. Thus, although ABS2 mutants support cell spreading, the cells lack FAs, fail to polarize and exert reduced force on the surrounding matrix. ABS2 is inhibited by the preceding mechanosensitive vinculin-binding R3 domain, and deletion of R2R3 or expression of constitutively active vinculin generates stable force-independent FAs, although cell polarity is compromised. Our data suggest a model whereby force acting on integrin-talin complexes via ABS3 promotes R3 unfolding and vinculin binding, activating ABS2 and locking talin into an actin-binding configuration that stabilizes FAs.
The MYC family of oncogenes encodes a set of three related transcription factors that are overexpressed in many human tumors and contribute to the cancer-related deaths of more than 70,000 Americans every year. MYC proteins drive tumorigenesis by interacting with co-factors that enable them to regulate the expression of thousands of genes linked to cell growth, proliferation, metabolism and genome stability. One effective way to identify critical co-factors required for MYC function has been to focus on sequence motifs within MYC that are conserved throughout evolution, on the assumption that their conservation is driven by protein-protein interactions that are vital for MYC activity. In addition to their DNA-binding domains, MYC proteins carry five regions of high sequence conservation known as Myc boxes (Mb). To date, four of the Mb motifs (MbI, MbII, MbIIIa and MbIIIb) have had a molecular function assigned to them, but the precise role of the remaining Mb, MbIV, and the reason for its preservation in vertebrate Myc proteins, is unknown. Here, we show that MbIV is required for the association of MYC with the abundant transcriptional coregulator host cell factor-1 (HCF-1). We show that the invariant core of MbIV resembles the tetrapeptide HCF-binding motif (HBM) found in many HCF-interaction partners, and demonstrate that MYC interacts with HCF-1 in a manner indistinguishable from the prototypical HBM-containing protein VP16. Finally, we show that rationalized point mutations in MYC that disrupt interaction with HCF-1 attenuate the ability of MYC to drive tumorigenesis in mice. Together, these data expose a molecular function for MbIV and indicate that HCF-1 is an important co-factor for MYC.
Cell-based therapies have emerged as promising approaches for regenerative medicine. Hydrophobic poly(ester urethane)s offer the advantages of robust mechanical properties, cell attachment without the use of peptides, and controlled degradation by oxidative and hydrolytic mechanisms. However, the application of injectable hydrophobic polymers to cell delivery is limited by the challenges of protecting cells from reaction products and creating a macroporous architecture post-cure. We designed injectable carriers for cell delivery derived from reactive, hydrophobic polyisocyanate and polyester triol precursors. To overcome cell death caused by reaction products from in situ polymerization, we encapsulated bone marrow-derived stem cells (BMSCs) in fastdegrading, oxidized alginate beads prior to mixing with the hydrophobic precursors. Cells survived the polymerization at >70% viability, and rapid dissolution of oxidized alginate beads after the scaffold cured created interconnected macropores that facilitated cellular adhesion to the scaffold in vitro. Applying this injectable system to deliver BMSCs to rat excisional skin wounds showed that the scaffolds supported survival of transplanted cells and infiltration of host cells, which improved new tissue formation compared to both implanted, pre-formed scaffolds seeded with cells and acellular controls. Our design is the first to enable injectable delivery of settable, hydrophobic scaffolds where cell encapsulation provides a mechanism for both temporary cytoprotection during polymerization and rapid formation of macropores post-polymerization. This simple approach provides potential advantages for cell delivery relative to hydrogel technologies, which have weaker mechanical properties and require incorporation of peptides to achieve cell adhesion and degradability.
Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
MYC is an oncoprotein transcription factor that is overexpressed in the majority of malignancies. The oncogenic potential of MYC stems from its ability to bind regulatory sequences in thousands of target genes, which depends on interaction of MYC with its obligate partner, MAX. Here, we show that broad association of MYC with chromatin also depends on interaction with the WD40-repeat protein WDR5. MYC binds WDR5 via an evolutionarily conserved "MYC box IIIb" motif that engages a shallow, hydrophobic cleft on the surface of WDR5. Structure-guided mutations in MYC that disrupt interaction with WDR5 attenuate binding of MYC at ∼80% of its chromosomal locations and disable its ability to promote induced pluripotent stem cell formation and drive tumorigenesis. Our data reveal WDR5 as a key determinant for MYC recruitment to chromatin and uncover a tractable target for the discovery of anticancer therapies against MYC-driven tumors.
Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.