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EGF receptor (EGFR) is a critical signaling node throughout life. However, it has not been possible to directly visualize endogenous Egfr in mice. Using CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing, we appended a fluorescent reporter to the C terminus of the Egfr. Homozygous reporter mice appear normal and EGFR signaling is intact in vitro and in vivo. We detect distinct patterns of Egfr expression in progenitor and differentiated compartments in embryonic and adult mice. Systemic delivery of EGF or amphiregulin results in markedly different patterns of Egfr internalization and trafficking in hepatocytes. In the normal intestine, Egfr localizes to the crypt rather than villus compartment, expression is higher in adjacent epithelium than in intestinal tumors, and following colonic injury expression appears in distinct cell populations in the stroma. This reporter, under control of its endogenous regulatory elements, enables in vivo monitoring of the dynamics of Egfr localization and trafficking in normal and disease states.
Copyright © 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Mutations in PIK3CA, the gene encoding the p110α catalytic subunit of phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) have been shown to transform human mammary epithelial cells (MECs). These mutations are present in all breast cancer subtypes, including basal-like breast cancer (BLBC). Using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS), we identified 72 protein expression changes in human basal-like MECs with knock-in E545K or H1047R PIK3CA mutations versus isogenic MECs with wild-type PIK3CA. Several of these were secreted proteins, cell surface receptors or ECM interacting molecules and were required for growth of PIK3CA mutant cells as well as adjacent cells with wild-type PIK3CA. The proteins identified by MS were enriched among human BLBC cell lines and pointed to a PI3K-dependent amphiregulin/EGFR/ERK signaling axis that is activated in BLBC. Proteins induced by PIK3CA mutations correlated with EGFR signaling and reduced relapse-free survival in BLBC. Treatment with EGFR inhibitors reduced growth of PIK3CA mutant BLBC cell lines and murine mammary tumors driven by a PIK3CA mutant transgene, all together suggesting that PIK3CA mutations promote tumor growth in part by inducing protein changes that activate EGFR.
© 2015 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.
Secondary bile acids (BA) such as deoxycholic acid (DCA) promote the development of several gastrointestinal malignancies, but how they mediate this effect is unclear. In this study, we offer evidence of a mechanism involving ectodomain shedding of the EGFR ligands amphiregulin (AREG) and TGF-α, which rely upon the cell surface protease TACE/ADAM-17. Specifically, we show that AREG participates in DCA-induced EGFR and STAT3 signaling, cell-cycle progression, and tumorigenicity in human colorectal cancer and pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). TACE and AREG, but not TGF-α, were overexpressed in both colorectal cancer and PDAC tissues compared with normal tissues. Exposure of colorectal cancer and PDAC cells to DCA resulted in colocalization of Src and TACE to the cell membrane, resulting in AREG-dependent activation of EGFR, mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), and STAT3 signaling. Src or TACE inhibition was sufficient to attenuate DCA-induced AREG, but not TGF-α shedding. We also examined a role for the BA transporter TGR5 in DCA-mediated EGFR and STAT3 signaling. RNA interference-mediated silencing of TGR5 or AREG inhibited DCA-induced EGFR, MAPK, and STAT3 signaling, blunted cyclin D1 expression and cell-cycle progression, and attenuated DCA-induced colorectal cancer or PDAC tumorigenicity. Together, our findings define an AREG-dependent signaling pathway that mediates the oncogenic effects of secondary BAs in gastrointestinal cancers, the targeting of which may enhance therapeutic responses in their treatment.
The colonic epithelium is composed of a polarized monolayer sheathed by a layer of pericryptal myofibroblasts (PCMFs). We mimicked these cellular compartments in vitro to assess the effects of paracrine-acting PCMF-derived factors on tight junction (TJ) integrity, as measured by transepithelial electrical resistance (TER). Coculture with 18Co PCMFs, or basolateral administration of 18Co conditioned medium, significantly reduced TER of polarized Caco-2 cells. Among candidate paracrine factors, only keratinocyte growth factor (KGF) reduced Caco-2 TER; basolateral KGF treatment led to time- and concentration-dependent increases in claudin-2 levels. We also demonstrate that amphiregulin (AREG), produced largely by Caco-2 cells, increased claudin-2 levels, leading to epidermal growth factor receptor-mediated TER reduction. We propose that colonic epithelial TJ integrity can be modulated by paracrine KGF and autocrine AREG through increased claudin-2 levels. KGF-regulated claudin-2 induction may have implications for inflammatory bowel disease, where both KGF and claudin-2 are upregulated.
Epithelial cells establish apical and basolateral (BL) membranes with distinct protein and lipid compositions. To achieve this spatial asymmetry, the cell utilizes a variety of mechanisms for differential sorting, delivery and retention of cell surface proteins. The EGF receptor (EGFR) and its ligand, amphiregulin (AREG), are transmembrane proteins delivered to the BL membrane in polarized epithelial cells. Herein, we show that the cytoplasmic domain of AREG (ACD) contains dominant BL sorting information; replacement of the cytoplasmic domain of apically targeted nerve growth factor receptor with the ACD redirects the chimera to the BL surface. Using sequential truncations and site-directed mutagenesis of the ACD, we identify a novel BL sorting motif consisting of a single leucine C-terminal to an acidic cluster (EEXXXL). In adaptor protein (AP)-1B-deficient cells, newly synthesized AREG is initially delivered to the BL surface as in AP-1B-expressing cells. However, in these AP-1B-deficient cells, recycling of AREG back to the BL surface is compromised, leading to its appearance at the apical surface. These results show that recycling, but not delivery, of AREG to the BL surface is AP-1B dependent.
© 2011 John Wiley & Sons A/S.
Human mammary glands arise from multipotent progenitor cells, which likely respond both to cell-autonomous and to extrinsic cues. However, the identity of these cues and how they might act remain unclear. We analyzed HER1 ligand effects on mammary morphogenesis using a three-dimensional organoid model generated from human breast tissue that recapitulates both qualitatively and quantitatively the normal ductal network in situ. Strikingly, different HER1 ligands generate distinct patterns of cell fate. Epidermal growth factor (EGF) causes a massive expansion of the myoepithelial lineage. Amphiregulin, in contrast, enables normal ductal development. These differences cannot be ascribed to preferential apoptosis or proliferation of differentiated cell populations, but are dependent on HER1 signal intensity. Inhibition of the extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2) effector RSK prevents the EGF-induced myoepithelial expansion. Notably, mouse mammary organoids are much less responsive to HER1 ligands. Little is known about the myoepithelial lineage or about growth factor effects on mammary progenitor differentiation, and our studies provide an important window into human mammary development that reveals unexpected differences from the mouse model.
Autocrine, paracrine, and juxtacrine are recognized modes of action for mammalian EGFR ligands including EGF, TGF-α (TGFα), amphiregulin (AREG), heparin-binding EGF-like growth factor (HB-EGF), betacellulin, epiregulin, and epigen. We identify a new mode of EGFR ligand signaling via exosomes. Human breast and colorectal cancer cells release exosomes containing full-length, signaling-competent EGFR ligands. Exosomes isolated from MDCK cells expressing individual full-length EGFR ligands displayed differential activities; AREG exosomes increased invasiveness of recipient breast cancer cells 4-fold over TGFα or HB-EGF exosomes and 5-fold over equivalent amounts of recombinant AREG. Exosomal AREG displayed significantly greater membrane stability than TGFα or HB-EGF. An average of 24 AREG molecules are packaged within an individual exosome, and AREG exosomes are rapidly internalized by recipient cells. Whether the composition and behavior of exosomes differ between nontransformed and transformed cells is unknown. Exosomes from DLD-1 colon cancer cells with a mutant KRAS allele exhibited both higher AREG levels and greater invasive potential than exosomes from isogenically matched, nontransformed cells in which mutant KRAS was eliminated by homologous recombination. We speculate that EGFR ligand signaling via exosomes might contribute to diverse cancer phenomena such as field effect and priming of the metastatic niche.
Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
EGFR is a major anticancer drug target in human epithelial tumors. One effective class of agents is the tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), such as gefitinib and erlotinib. These drugs induce dramatic responses in individuals with lung adenocarcinomas characterized by mutations in exons encoding the EGFR tyrosine kinase domain, but disease progression invariably occurs. A major reason for such acquired resistance is the outgrowth of tumor cells with additional TKI-resistant EGFR mutations. Here we used relevant transgenic mouse lung tumor models to evaluate strategies to overcome the most common EGFR TKI resistance mutation, T790M. We treated mice bearing tumors harboring EGFR mutations with a variety of anticancer agents, including a new irreversible EGFR TKI that is under development (BIBW-2992) and the EGFR-specific antibody cetuximab. Surprisingly, we found that only the combination of both agents together induced dramatic shrinkage of erlotinib-resistant tumors harboring the T790M mutation, because together they efficiently depleted both phosphorylated and total EGFR. We suggest that these studies have immediate therapeutic implications for lung cancer patients, as dual targeting with cetuximab and a second-generation EGFR TKI may be an effective strategy to overcome T790M-mediated drug resistance. Moreover, this approach could serve as an important model for targeting other receptor tyrosine kinases activated in human cancers.
BACKGROUND & AIMS - The loss of parietal cells from the fundic mucosa leads to the emergence of metaplastic lineages associated with an increased susceptibility to neoplastic transformation. Both intestinal metaplasia (IM) and spasmolytic polypeptide (TFF2/SP) expressing metaplasia (SPEM) have been identified in human stomach, but only SPEM is present in most mouse models of gastric metaplasia. We previously determined that loss of amphiregulin (AR) promotes SPEM induced by acute oxyntic atrophy. We have now examined whether SPEM in the AR-/- mouse predisposes the stomach to gastric neoplasia.
METHODS - Gross pathology of 18-month-old wild-type, AR-/-, and TGF-alpha-/- mice were examined. Ki-67, beta-catenin, Pdx-1, TFF3, and TFF2/SP expression was analyzed by immunohistochemistry. Metaplastic gastric mucosa was analyzed by dual immunostaining for TFF2/SP with MUC2 or TFF3.
RESULTS - By 18 months of age, more than 70% of AR-/- mice developed SPEM while 42% showed goblet cell IM labeled with MUC2, TFF3, and Pdx-1. A total of 28% had invasive gastric lesions in the fundus. No antral abnormalities were observed in AR-/- mice. Metaplastic cell lineages in AR-/- mice showed increases in cell proliferation and cytosolic beta-catenin expression. Dual staining for TFF2/SP with MUC2 or TFF3 showed glands containing both SPEM and IM with intervening cells expressing both TFF2/SP and MUC2 or TFF2/SP and TFF3.
CONCLUSIONS - AR-/- mice develop SPEM, which gives rise to goblet cell IM and invasive fundic dysplastic lesions. The AR-/- mouse represents the first mouse model for spontaneous development of fundic SPEM with progression to IM.
PURPOSE - Activation of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) requires cell surface cleavage of EGFR ligands, uptake of soluble ligand by the receptor, and initiation of EGFR tyrosine kinase activity. We define these collective events as the EGFR axis. Transforming growth factor-alpha (TGF-alpha) and amphiregulin are two EGFR ligands that are delivered preferentially to the basolateral surface of polarized epithelial cells where the EGFR resides. TACE/ADAM-17 (tumor necrosis factor-alpha converting enzyme/a disintegrin and metalloprotease) has been implicated in ectodomain cleavage of TGF-alpha and amphiregulin.
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN - Using a human polarizing colorectal cancer (CRC) cell line, HCA-7, and a tissue array of normal colonic mucosa and primary and metastatic CRC, we determined the intracellular localization of TACE and the effects of EGFR axis inhibition in CRC.
RESULTS - Herein, we show that TACE is localized to the basolateral plasma membrane of polarized HCA-7 cells. TACE is overexpressed in primary and metastatic CRC tumors compared with normal colonic mucosa; the intensity of its immunoreactivity is inversely correlated with that of TGF-alpha and amphiregulin. Pharmacologic blockade of HCA-7 cells with an EGFR monoclonal antibody, a selective EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor, and a selective TACE inhibitor results in concentration-dependent decreases in cell proliferation and active, phosphorylated mitogen-activated protein kinase. Combining suboptimal concentrations of these agents results in cooperative growth inhibition, increased apoptosis, and reduced mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway activation. Furthermore, an EGFR tyrosine kinase-resistant clone of HCA-7 cells is growth-inhibited by combined monoclonal antibody and TACE inhibition.
CONCLUSION - These results implicate TACE as a promising target of EGFR axis inhibition in CRC.