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WD repeat domain 5 (WDR5) is a member of the WD40-repeat protein family that plays a critical role in multiple chromatin-centric processes. Overexpression of WDR5 correlates with a poor clinical outcome in many human cancers, and WDR5 itself has emerged as an attractive target for therapy. Most drug-discovery efforts center on the WIN site of WDR5 that is responsible for the recruitment of WDR5 to chromatin. Here, we describe discovery of a novel WDR5 WIN site antagonists containing a dihydroisoquinolinone bicyclic core using a structure-based design. These compounds exhibit picomolar binding affinity and selective concentration-dependent antiproliferative activities in sensitive MLL-fusion cell lines. Furthermore, these WDR5 WIN site binders inhibit proliferation in MYC-driven cancer cells and reduce MYC recruitment to chromatin at MYC/WDR5 co-bound genes. Thus, these molecules are useful probes to study the implication of WDR5 inhibition in cancers and serve as a potential starting point toward the discovery of anti-WDR5 therapeutics.
Apoptotic cell clearance (efferocytosis) elicits an anti-inflammatory response by phagocytes, but the mechanisms that underlie this response are still being defined. Here, we uncover a chloride-sensing signalling pathway that controls both the phagocyte 'appetite' and its anti-inflammatory response. Efferocytosis transcriptionally altered the genes that encode the solute carrier (SLC) proteins SLC12A2 and SLC12A4. Interfering with SLC12A2 expression or function resulted in a significant increase in apoptotic corpse uptake per phagocyte, whereas the loss of SLC12A4 inhibited corpse uptake. In SLC12A2-deficient phagocytes, the canonical anti-inflammatory program was replaced by pro-inflammatory and oxidative-stress-associated gene programs. This 'switch' to pro-inflammatory sensing of apoptotic cells resulted from the disruption of the chloride-sensing pathway (and not due to corpse overload or poor degradation), including the chloride-sensing kinases WNK1, OSR1 and SPAK-which function upstream of SLC12A2-had a similar effect on efferocytosis. Collectively, the WNK1-OSR1-SPAK-SLC12A2/SLC12A4 chloride-sensing pathway and chloride flux in phagocytes are key modifiers of the manner in which phagocytes interpret the engulfed apoptotic corpse.
Adopting a systems approach, we devise a general workflow to define actionable subtypes in human cancers. Applied to small cell lung cancer (SCLC), the workflow identifies four subtypes based on global gene expression patterns and ontologies. Three correspond to known subtypes (SCLC-A, SCLC-N, and SCLC-Y), while the fourth is a previously undescribed ASCL1+ neuroendocrine variant (NEv2, or SCLC-A2). Tumor deconvolution with subtype gene signatures shows that all of the subtypes are detectable in varying proportions in human and mouse tumors. To understand how multiple stable subtypes can arise within a tumor, we infer a network of transcription factors and develop BooleaBayes, a minimally-constrained Boolean rule-fitting approach. In silico perturbations of the network identify master regulators and destabilizers of its attractors. Specific to NEv2, BooleaBayes predicts ELF3 and NR0B1 as master regulators of the subtype, and TCF3 as a master destabilizer. Since the four subtypes exhibit differential drug sensitivity, with NEv2 consistently least sensitive, these findings may lead to actionable therapeutic strategies that consider SCLC intratumoral heterogeneity. Our systems-level approach should generalize to other cancer types.
Activating mutations in Kras are nearly ubiquitous in human pancreatic cancer and initiate precancerous pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PanINs) when induced in mouse acinar cells. PanINs normally take months to form but are accelerated by deletion of acinar cell differentiation factors such as Ptf1a, suggesting that loss of cell identity is rate limiting for pancreatic tumor initiation. Using a genetic mouse model that allows for independent control of oncogenic Kras and Ptf1a expression, we demonstrate that sustained Ptf1a is sufficient to prevent Kras-driven tumorigenesis, even in the presence of tumor-promoting inflammation. Furthermore, reintroducing Ptf1a into established PanINs reverts them to quiescent acinar cells in vivo. Similarly, Ptf1a re-expression in human pancreatic cancer cells inhibits their growth and colony-forming ability. Our results suggest that reactivation of an endogenous differentiation program can prevent and reverse oncogene-driven transformation in cells harboring tumor-driving mutations, introducing a potential paradigm for solid tumor prevention and treatment.
Copyright © 2019 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Melanomas are characterized by driver and loss-of-function mutations that promote mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling. MEK inhibitors are approved for use in BRAF-mutated melanoma; however, early-phase clinical trials show occasional responses in driver-negative melanoma, suggesting other alterations conferring MAPK/ERK dependency. To identify additional structural alterations in melanoma, we evaluated RNA-Seq from a set of known MAPK/ERK regulators using a novel population-based algorithm in The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA). We identified recurrent MAP3K8 rearrangements in 1.7% of melanomas in TCGA, occurring in more than 15% of tumors without known driver mutations (, and ). Using an independent tumor set, we validated a similar rearrangement frequency by FISH. MAP3K8-rearranged melanomas exhibit a low mutational burden and absence of typical UV-mutational patterns. We identified two melanoma cell lines that harbor endogenous truncating MAP3K8 rearrangements that demonstrate exquisite dependency. Rearrangement and amplification of the MAP3K8 locus in melanoma cells result in increased levels of a truncated, active MAP3K8 protein; oncogenic dependency on the aberrant MAP3K8; and a concomitant resistance to BRAF inhibition and sensitivity to MEK or ERK1/2 inhibition. Our findings reveal and biochemically characterize targetable oncogenic MAP3K8 truncating rearrangements in driver mutation-negative melanoma, and provide insight to therapeutic approaches for patients with these tumors. These data provide rationale for using MEK or ERK inhibitors in a subset of driver-negative, MAPK/ERK-dependent melanomas harboring truncating MAP3K8 rearrangements. IMPLICATIONS: This is the first mechanistic study and therapeutic implications of truncating MAP3K8 rearrangements in driver-negative melanoma.
©2019 American Association for Cancer Research.
Exomeres are a recently discovered type of extracellular nanoparticle with no known biological function. Herein, we describe a simple ultracentrifugation-based method for separation of exomeres from exosomes. Exomeres are enriched in Argonaute 1-3 and amyloid precursor protein. We identify distinct functions of exomeres mediated by two of their cargo, the β-galactoside α2,6-sialyltransferase 1 (ST6Gal-I) that α2,6- sialylates N-glycans, and the EGFR ligand, amphiregulin (AREG). Functional ST6Gal-I in exomeres can be transferred to cells, resulting in hypersialylation of recipient cell-surface proteins including β1-integrin. AREG-containing exomeres elicit prolonged EGFR and downstream signaling in recipient cells, modulate EGFR trafficking in normal intestinal organoids, and dramatically enhance the growth of colonic tumor organoids. This study provides a simplified method of exomere isolation and demonstrates that exomeres contain and can transfer functional cargo. These findings underscore the heterogeneity of nanoparticles and should accelerate advances in determining the composition and biological functions of exomeres.
Copyright © 2019 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The heterogeneity of small extracellular vesicles and presence of non-vesicular extracellular matter have led to debate about contents and functional properties of exosomes. Here, we employ high-resolution density gradient fractionation and direct immunoaffinity capture to precisely characterize the RNA, DNA, and protein constituents of exosomes and other non-vesicle material. Extracellular RNA, RNA-binding proteins, and other cellular proteins are differentially expressed in exosomes and non-vesicle compartments. Argonaute 1-4, glycolytic enzymes, and cytoskeletal proteins were not detected in exosomes. We identify annexin A1 as a specific marker for microvesicles that are shed directly from the plasma membrane. We further show that small extracellular vesicles are not vehicles of active DNA release. Instead, we propose a new model for active secretion of extracellular DNA through an autophagy- and multivesicular-endosome-dependent but exosome-independent mechanism. This study demonstrates the need for a reassessment of exosome composition and offers a framework for a clearer understanding of extracellular vesicle heterogeneity.
Copyright © 2019 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Radiation therapy is often combined with androgen deprivation therapy in the treatment of aggressive localized prostate cancer. However, castration-resistant disease may not respond to testosterone deprivation approaches. Enzalutamide is a second-generation anti-androgen with high affinity and activity that is used for the treatment of metastatic disease. Although radiosensitization mechanisms are known to be mediated through androgen receptor activity, this project aims to uncover the detailed DNA damage repair factors influenced by enzalutamide using multiple models of androgen-sensitive (LNCaP) and castration-resistant human prostate cancer (22Rv1 and DU145). Enzalutamide is able to radiosensitize both androgen-dependent and androgen-independent human prostate cancer models in cell culture and xenografts in mice, as well as a treatment-resistant patient-derived xenograft. The enzalutamide-mediated mechanism of radiosensitization includes delay of DNA repair through temporal prolongation of the repair factor complexes and halting the cell cycle, which results in decreased colony survival. Altogether, these findings support the use of enzalutamide concurrently with radiotherapy to enhance the treatment efficacy for prostate cancer.
Overexpression of myeloid cell leukemia-1 (Mcl-1) in cancers correlates with high tumor grade and poor survival. Additionally, Mcl-1 drives intrinsic and acquired resistance to many cancer therapeutics, including B cell lymphoma 2 family inhibitors, proteasome inhibitors, and antitubulins. Therefore, Mcl-1 inhibition could serve as a strategy to target cancers that require Mcl-1 to evade apoptosis. Herein, we describe the use of structure-based design to discover a novel compound (42) that robustly and specifically inhibits Mcl-1 in cell culture and animal xenograft models. Compound 42 binds to Mcl-1 with picomolar affinity and inhibited growth of Mcl-1-dependent tumor cell lines in the nanomolar range. Compound 42 also inhibited the growth of hematological and triple negative breast cancer xenografts at well-tolerated doses. These findings highlight the use of structure-based design to identify small molecule Mcl-1 inhibitors and support the use of 42 as a potential treatment strategy to block Mcl-1 activity and induce apoptosis in Mcl-1-dependent cancers.