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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.
PAR3 suppresses tumor growth and metastasis in vivo and cell invasion through matrix in vitro. We propose that PAR3 organizes and limits multiple signaling pathways and that inappropriate activation of these pathways occurs without PAR3. Silencing Pard3 in conjunction with oncogenic activation promotes invasion and metastasis via constitutive STAT3 activity in mouse models, but the mechanism for this is unknown. We now show that loss of PAR3 triggers increased production of interleukin-6, which induces STAT3 signaling in an autocrine manner. Activation of atypical protein kinase C ι/λ (aPKCι/λ) mediates this effect by stimulating NF-κB signaling and IL-6 expression. Our results suggest that PAR3 restrains aPKCι/λ activity and thus prevents aPKCι/λ from activating an oncogenic signaling network.
© 2015 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.
UNLABELLED - Osteosarcoma is the most common primary bone malignancy and accounts for more than half of primary skeletal malignancies in children and young adults. Although vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) expression in osteosarcoma has been associated with poor outcome, its role in the pathogenesis of osteosarcoma remains controversial. Here, VEGF and VEGFR1 expression in both human and murine osteosarcoma cells associated with increasing malignant potential. Autocrine VEGF/VEGFR1 signaling resulted in constitutive activation of VEGFR1 in highly aggressive osteosarcoma cells. In addition, survival and proliferation of highly aggressive osteosarcoma cells was dependent on autocrine VEGF/R1 signaling in vitro. The effect of VEGFR1 expression on in vivo tumor growth and angiogenesis was evaluated by immunoselecting subpopulations of osteosarcoma cells that express high or low levels of VEGFR1. Cell enriched for high VEGFR1 expression showed increased VEGF production, tumor growth, tumor angiogenesis, and osteolysis in vivo. In addition, it was demonstrated that VEGF and VEGFR1 are coexpressed by a subset of tumor cells in human osteosarcoma, similar to what was observed in the murine osteosarcoma cells. These results suggest that autocrine VEGF/VEGFR1 signaling in a subpopulation of tumor cells plays a pivotal role in osteosarcoma progression.
IMPLICATIONS - Aggressive osteosarcoma phenotypes are mediated by autocrine VEGF/VEGFR1 signaling and improved stratification measures and novel anti-angiogenic strategies may benefit this specific tumor type.
©2014 American Association for Cancer Research.
Directional cell movement is universally required for tissue morphogenesis. Although it is known that cell/matrix interactions are essential for directional movement in heart development, the mechanisms governing these interactions require elucidation. Here we demonstrate that a novel protein/protein interaction between blood vessel epicardial substance (Bves) and N-myc downstream regulated gene 4 (NDRG4) is critical for regulation of epicardial cell directional movement, as disruption of this interaction randomizes migratory patterns. Our studies show that Bves/NDRG4 interaction is required for trafficking of internalized fibronectin through the "autocrine extracellular matrix (ECM) deposition" fibronectin recycling pathway. Of importance, we demonstrate that Bves/NDRG4-mediated fibronectin recycling is indeed essential for epicardial cell directional movement, thus linking these two cell processes. Finally, total internal reflectance fluorescence microscopy shows that Bves/NDRG4 interaction is required for fusion of recycling endosomes with the basal cell surface, providing a molecular mechanism of motility substrate delivery that regulates cell directional movement. This is the first evidence of a molecular function for Bves and NDRG4 proteins within broader subcellular trafficking paradigms. These data identify novel regulators of a critical vesicle-docking step required for autocrine ECM deposition and explain how Bves facilitates cell-microenvironment interactions in the regulation of epicardial cell-directed movement.
Preterm infants may be at risk of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) due to deficiency of transforming growth factor-β 2 (TGF-β(2)) in the developing intestine. We hypothesized that low epithelial TGF-β(2) expression in preterm intestine and during NEC results from diminished autocrine induction of TGF-β(2) in these cells. Premature baboons delivered at 67% gestation were treated per current norms for human preterm infants. NEC was diagnosed by clinical and radiological findings. Inflammatory cytokines, TGF-β(2), Smad7, Ski, and strawberry notch N (SnoN)/Ski-like oncoprotein (SKIL) was measured using quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction, immunoblots, and immunohistochemistry. Smad7 effects were examined in transfected IEC6 intestinal epithelial cells in vitro. Findings were validated in archived human tissue samples of NEC. NEC was recorded in seven premature baboons. Consistent with existing human data, premature baboon intestine expressed less TGF-β(2) than term intestine. TGF-β(2) expression was regulated in epithelial cells in an autocrine fashion, which was interrupted in the premature intestine and during NEC due to increased expression of Smad7. LPS increased Smad7 binding to the TGF-β(2) promoter and was associated with dimethylation of the lysine H3K9, a marker of transcriptional silencing, on the nucleosome of TGF-β(2). Increased Smad7 expression in preterm intestine was correlated with the deficiency of SnoN/SKIL, a repressor of the Smad7 promoter. Smad7 inhibits autocrine expression of TGF-β(2) in intestinal epithelial cells in the normal premature intestine and during NEC. Increased Smad7 expression in the developing intestine may be due to a developmental deficiency of the SnoN/SKIL oncoprotein.
Type 1 and type 2 diabetes result from an absolute or relative reduction in functional β-cell mass. One approach to replacing lost β-cell mass is transplantation of cadaveric islets; however, this approach is limited by lack of adequate donor tissue. Therefore, there is much interest in identifying factors that enhance β-cell differentiation and proliferation in vivo or in vitro. Connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) is a secreted molecule expressed in endothelial cells, pancreatic ducts, and embryonic β cells that we previously showed is required for β-cell proliferation, differentiation, and islet morphogenesis during development. The current study investigated the tissue interactions by which CTGF promotes normal pancreatic islet development. We found that loss of CTGF from either endothelial cells or β cells results in decreased embryonic β-cell proliferation, making CTGF unique as an identified β cell-derived factor that regulates embryonic β-cell proliferation. Endothelial CTGF inactivation was associated with decreased islet vascularity, highlighting the proposed role of endothelial cells in β-cell proliferation. Furthermore, CTGF overexpression in β cells during embryogenesis using an inducible transgenic system increased islet mass at birth by promoting proliferation of immature β cells, in the absence of changes in islet vascularity. Together, these findings demonstrate that CTGF acts in an autocrine manner during pancreas development and suggest that CTGF has the potential to enhance expansion of immature β cells in directed differentiation or regeneration protocols.
Our previous studies using puromycin aminonucleoside (PAN) established that podocyte damage leads to glomerular growth arrest during development and glomerulosclerosis later in life. This study examined the potential benefit of maintaining podocyte-derived VEGF in podocyte defense and survival after PAN injury using conditional transgenic podocytes and mice, in which human VEGF-A (hVEGF) transgene expression is controlled by tetracycline responsive element (TRE) promoter and reverse tetracycline transactivator (rtTA) in podocytes. In vitro experiments used primary cultured podocytes harvested from mice carrying podocin-rtTA and TRE-hVEGF transgenes, in which hVEGF can be induced selectively. Induction of VEGF in PAN-exposed podocytes resulted in preservation of intrinsic VEGF, α-actinin-4 and synaptopodin, antiapoptotic marker Bcl-xL/Bax, as well as attenuation in apoptotic marker cleaved/total caspase-3. In vivo, compared with genotype controls, PAN-sensitive neonatal mice with physiologically relevant levels of podocyte-derived VEGF showed significantly larger glomeruli. Furthermore, PAN-induced up-regulation of desmin, down-regulation of synaptopodin and nephrin, and disruption of glomerular morphology were significantly attenuated in VEGF-induced transgenic mice. Our data indicate that podocyte-derived VEGF provides self-preservation functions, which can rescue the cell after injury and preempt subsequent deterioration of the glomerulus in developing mice.
Annexin A1 (ANXA1) expression is commonly reduced in premalignant lesions and prostate cancer, but a causal relationship of ANAX1 loss with carcinogenesis has not been established. ANXA1 levels have been shown to inversely correlate with interleukin 6 (IL-6) expression in other cell types and IL-6 has been suggested to enhance prostate cancer initiation and promotion. To investigate whether loss of ANXA1 may contribute to prostate carcinogenesis, ANXA1 expression was reduced using RNA interference in non-tumorigenic human prostatic epithelial cells (RWPE-1/rA1). No effect on morphology, apoptosis, migration or anchorage-dependent or -independent growth was detected. However, IL-6 mRNA and secreted protein levels were elevated in RWPE-1/rA1 cells. In addition, re-expression of ANXA1 in these cells suppressed IL-6 secretion, and altering ANXA1 levels in prostate cancer cells had similar effects on IL-6. The effects of ANXA1 loss and increased IL-6 expression on prostate epithelium were examined using an assay of acinar morphogenesis in vitro. Acini formed by RWPE-1/rA1 cells had delayed luminal clearing and larger mean diameters than control cells. The RWPE-1/rA1 phenotype was recapitulated by treating control cells with recombinant IL-6 and was reversed in RWPE-1/rA1 cells by blocking IL-6 bioactivity. Taken together, these data support a direct role for decreased ANXA1 expression in prostate carcinogenesis and enhancing tumor aggressiveness via the upregulation of IL-6 expression and activity.
The adaptive immune response and, in particular, T cells have been shown to be important in the genesis of hypertension. In the present study, we sought to determine how the interplay between ANG II, NADPH oxidase, and reactive oxygen species modulates T cell activation and ultimately causes hypertension. We determined that T cells express angiotensinogen, the angiotensin I-converting enzyme, and renin and produce physiological levels of ANG II. AT1 receptors were primarily expressed intracellularly, and endogenously produced ANG II increased T-cell activation, expression of tissue homing markers, and production of the cytokine TNF-alpha. Inhibition of T-cell ACE reduced TNF-alpha production, indicating endogenously produced ANG II has a regulatory role in this process. Studies with specific antagonists and T cells from AT1R and AT2R-deficient mice indicated that both receptor subtypes contribute to TNF-alpha production. We found that superoxide was a critical mediator of T-cell TNF-alpha production, as this was significantly inhibited by polyethylene glycol (PEG)-SOD, but not PEG-catalase. Thus, T cells contain an endogenous renin-angiotensin system that modulates T-cell function, NADPH oxidase activity, and production of superoxide that, in turn, modulates TNF-alpha production. These findings contribute to our understanding of how ANG II and T cells enhance inflammation in cardiovascular disease.
11q13 amplification is a late-stage event in several cancers that is often associated with poor prognosis. Among 11q13-amplified genes, the actin assembly protein cortactin/CTTN is considered a likely candidate for direct involvement in tumor progression because of its cell motility-enhancing functions. We modulated cortactin expression in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) cell lines. Cortactin expression levels directly correlated with tumor size, vascularization and cell proliferation in an orthotopic HNSCC in vivo model. In contrast, under normal in vitro culture conditions, cortactin expression levels had no effect on cell proliferation. However, cell lines in which cortactin expression was reduced by knockdown (KD) grew poorly in vitro under harsh conditions of growth factor deprivation, anchorage independence and space constraint. In contrast, overexpression of cortactin enhanced in vitro growth under the same harsh conditions. Surprisingly, defects in growth factor-independent proliferation of cortactin-KD cells were rescued by coculture with cortactin-expressing cells. As the cocultured cells are separated by permeable filters, cortactin-expressing cells must secrete growth-supporting autocrine factors to rescue the cortactin-KD cells. Overall, cortactin expression modulates multiple cellular traits that may allow survival in a tumor environment, suggesting that the frequent overexpression of cortactin in tumors is not an epiphenomenon but rather promotes tumor aggressiveness.