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Intrinsic resistance of unknown mechanism impedes the clinical utility of inhibitors of cyclin-dependent kinases 4 and 6 (CDK4/6i) in malignancies other than breast cancer. Here, we used melanoma patient-derived xenografts (PDXs) to study the mechanisms for CDK4/6i resistance in preclinical settings. We observed that melanoma PDXs resistant to CDK4/6i frequently displayed activation of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)-AKT pathway, and inhibition of this pathway improved CDK4/6i response in a p21-dependent manner. We showed that a target of p21, CDK2, was necessary for proliferation in CDK4/6i-treated cells. Upon treatment with CDK4/6i, melanoma cells up-regulated cyclin D1, which sequestered p21 and another CDK inhibitor, p27, leaving a shortage of p21 and p27 available to bind and inhibit CDK2. Therefore, we tested whether induction of p21 in resistant melanoma cells would render them responsive to CDK4/6i. Because p21 is transcriptionally driven by p53, we coadministered CDK4/6i with a murine double minute (MDM2) antagonist to stabilize p53, allowing p21 accumulation. This resulted in improved antitumor activity in PDXs and in murine melanoma. Furthermore, coadministration of CDK4/6 and MDM2 antagonists with standard of care therapy caused tumor regression. Notably, the molecular features associated with response to CDK4/6 and MDM2 inhibitors in PDXs were recapitulated by an ex vivo organotypic slice culture assay, which could potentially be adopted in the clinic for patient stratification. Our findings provide a rationale for cotargeting CDK4/6 and MDM2 in melanoma.
Copyright © 2019 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. No claim to original U.S. Government Works.
Antagonists of MDM2-p53 interaction are emerging anti-cancer drugs utilized in clinical trials for malignancies that rarely mutate p53, including melanoma. We discovered that MDM2-p53 antagonists protect DNA from drug-induced damage in melanoma cells and patient-derived xenografts. Among the tested DNA damaging drugs were various inhibitors of Aurora and Polo-like mitotic kinases, as well as traditional chemotherapy. Mitotic kinase inhibition causes mitotic slippage, DNA re-replication, and polyploidy. Here we show that re-replication of the polyploid genome generates replicative stress which leads to DNA damage. MDM2-p53 antagonists relieve replicative stress via the p53-dependent activation of p21 which inhibits DNA replication. Loss of p21 promoted drug-induced DNA damage in melanoma cells and enhanced anti-tumor activity of therapy combining MDM2 antagonist with mitotic kinase inhibitor in mice. In summary, MDM2 antagonists may reduce DNA damaging effects of anti-cancer drugs if they are administered together, while targeting p21 can improve the efficacy of such combinations.
Copyright © 2017. Published by Elsevier B.V.
Kidney size adaptively increases as mammals grow and in response to the loss of 1 kidney. It is not clear how kidneys size themselves or if the processes that adapt kidney mass to lean body mass also mediate renal hypertrophy following unilateral nephrectomy (UNX). Here, we demonstrated that mice harboring a proximal tubule-specific deletion of Pten (Pten(ptKO)) have greatly enlarged kidneys as the result of persistent activation of the class I PI3K/mTORC2/AKT pathway and an increase of the antiproliferative signals p21(Cip1/WAF) and p27(Kip1). Administration of rapamycin to Pten(ptKO) mice diminished hypertrophy. Proximal tubule-specific deletion of Egfr in Pten(ptKO) mice also attenuated class I PI3K/mTORC2/AKT signaling and reduced the size of enlarged kidneys. In Pten(ptKO) mice, UNX further increased mTORC1 activation and hypertrophy in the remaining kidney; however, mTORC2-dependent AKT phosphorylation did not increase further in the remaining kidney of Pten(ptKO) mice, nor was it induced in the remaining kidney of WT mice. After UNX, renal blood flow and amino acid delivery to the remaining kidney rose abruptly, followed by increased amino acid content and activation of a class III PI3K/mTORC1/S6K1 pathway. Thus, our findings demonstrate context-dependent roles for EGFR-modulated class I PI3K/mTORC2/AKT signaling in the normal adaptation of kidney size and PTEN-independent, nutrient-dependent class III PI3K/mTORC1/S6K1 signaling in the compensatory enlargement of the remaining kidney following UNX.
The tumor suppressor p53 is a major regulator of genes important for cell cycle arrest, senescence, apoptosis, and innate immunity, and has recently been implicated in retinal aging. In this study we sought to identify the genetic networks that regulate p53 function in the retina using quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis. First we examined age-associated changes in the activation and expression levels of p53; known p53 target proteins and markers of innate immune system activation in primary retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells that were harvested from young and aged human donors. We observed increased expression of p53, activated caspase-1, CDKN1A, CDKN2A (p16INK4a), TLR4, and IFNα in aged primary RPE cell lines. We used the Hamilton Eye Institute (HEI) retinal dataset ( www.genenetwork.org ) to identify genomic loci that modulate expression of genes in the p53 pathway in recombinant inbred BXD mouse strains using a QTL systems biology-based approach. We identified a significant trans-QTL on chromosome 1 (region 172-177 Mb) that regulates the expression of Cdkn1a. Many of the genes in this QTL locus are involved in innate immune responses, including Fc receptors, interferon-inducible family genes, and formin 2. Importantly, we found an age-related increase in FCGR3A and FMN2 and a decrease in IFI16 levels in RPE cultures. There is a complex multigenic innate immunity locus that controls expression of genes in the p53 pathway in the RPE, which may play an important role in modulating age-related changes in the retina.
The limited regenerative capacity of articular cartilage contributes to progressive joint dysfunction associated with cartilage injury or osteoarthritis. Cartilage tissue engineering seeks to provide a biological substitute for repairing damaged or diseased cartilage, but requires a cell source with the capacity for extensive expansion without loss of chondrogenic potential. In this study, we hypothesized that decreased expression of the cell cycle inhibitor p21 would enhance the proliferative and chondrogenic potential of differentiated induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). Murine iPSCs were directed to differentiate toward the chondrogenic lineage with an established protocol and then engineered to express a short hairpin RNA (shRNA) to reduce the expression of p21. Cells expressing the p21 shRNA demonstrated higher proliferative potential during monolayer expansion and increased synthesis of glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) in pellet cultures. Furthermore, these cells could be expanded ∼150-fold over three additional passages without a reduction in the subsequent production of GAGs, while control cells showed reduced potential for GAG synthesis with three additional passages. In pellets from extensively passaged cells, knockdown of p21 attenuated the sharp decrease in cell number that occurred in control cells, and immunohistochemical analysis showed that p21 knockdown limited the production of type I and type X collagen while maintaining synthesis of cartilage-specific type II collagen. These findings suggest that manipulating the cell cycle can augment the monolayer expansion and preserve the chondrogenic capacity of differentiated iPSCs, providing a strategy for enhancing iPSC-based cartilage tissue engineering.
An unresolved issue in genotoxic stress response is identification of induced regulatory proteins and how these activate tumor suppressor p53 to determine appropriate cell responses. Transcription factor KAISO was previously described to repress transcription following binding to methylated DNA. In this study, we show that KAISO is induced by DNA damage in p53-expressing cells and then interacts with the p53-p300 complex to increase acetylation of p53 K320 and K382 residues, although decreasing K381 acetylation. Moreover, the p53 with this particular acetylation pattern shows increased DNA binding and potently induces cell cycle arrest and apoptosis by activating transcription of CDKN1A (cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor 1) and various apoptotic genes. Analogously, in Kaiso KO mouse embryonic fibroblast cells, p53-to-promoter binding and up-regulation of p21 and apoptosis gene expression is significantly compromised. KAISO may therefore be a critical regulator of p53-mediated cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in response to various genotoxic stresses in mammalian cells.
OBJECTIVE - To determine interrelationships between the expression of long intergenic (noncoding) RNA-p21 (lincRNA-p21), NF-κB activity, and responses to methotrexate (MTX) in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) by analyzing patient blood samples and cell culture models.
METHODS - Expression levels of long noncoding RNA and messenger RNA (mRNA) were determined by quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. Western blotting and flow cytometry were used to quantify levels of intracellular proteins. Intracellular NF-κB activity was determined using an NF-κB luciferase reporter plasmid.
RESULTS - Patients with RA expressed reduced basal levels of lincRNA-p21 and increased basal levels of phosphorylated p65 (RelA), a marker of NF-κB activation. Patients with RA who were not treated with MTX expressed lower levels of lincRNA-p21 and higher levels of phosphorylated p65 compared with RA patients treated with low-dose MTX. In cell culture using primary cells and transformed cell lines, MTX induced lincRNA-p21 through a DNA-dependent protein kinase catalytic subunit (DNA PKcs)-dependent mechanism. Deficiencies in the levels of PRKDC mRNA in patients with RA were also corrected by MTX in vivo. Furthermore, MTX reduced NF-κB activity in tumor necrosis factor α-treated cells through a DNA PKcs-dependent mechanism via induction of lincRNA-p21. Finally, we observed that depressed levels of TP53 and lincRNA-p21 increased NF-κB activity in cell lines. Decreased levels of lincRNA-p21 did not alter NFKB1 or RELA transcripts; rather, lincRNA-p21 physically bound to RELA mRNA.
CONCLUSION - Our findings support a model whereby depressed levels of lincRNA-p21 in RA contribute to increased NF-κB activity. MTX decreases basal levels of NF-κB activity by increasing lincRNA-p21 levels through a DNA PKcs-dependent mechanism.
Copyright © 2014 by the American College of Rheumatology.
ErbB4 is highly expressed in the cystic kidneys with polycystic kidney diseases. To investigate its potential role in cystogenesis, cpk mice carrying a heart-rescued ErbB4 deletion were generated. Accelerated cyst progression and renal function deterioration were noted as early as 10 days postnatally in cpk mice with ErbB4 deletion compared to cpk mice, as indicated by increased cystic index, higher kidney weight to body weight ratios, and elevated BUN levels. No apparent defects in renal development were noted with ErbB4 deletion itself. Increased cell proliferation was predominately seen in the cortex of cystic kidneys with or without ErbB4 deletion. However, there was significantly more cell proliferation in the cyst-lining epithelial cells in cpk mice with ErbB4 deletion. TUNEL staining localized apoptotic cells mainly to the renal medulla. There were significantly more apoptotic cells in the cyst-lining epithelial cells in ErbB4-deleted cpk kidneys, with decreased levels of cyclin D1, increased levels of p21, p27, and cleaved caspase 3. Thus, lack of ErbB4 may contribute to elevated cell proliferation and unbalanced cell apoptosis, resulting in accelerated cyst formation and early renal function deterioration. These studies suggest that the high level of ErbB4 expression seen in cpk mice may exert relative cytoprotective effects in renal epithelia.
UNLABELLED - Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2)-derived prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) promotes colorectal tumorigenesis. Glucocorticoids are endogenous and potent COX-2 inhibitors, and their local actions are downregulated by 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type II (11β-HSD2)-mediated metabolism. Previously, it was reported that 11β-HSD2 is increased in human colonic and Apc(min/+) mouse intestinal adenomas and correlated with increased COX-2, and 11β-HSD2 inhibition suppressed the COX-2 pathway and decreased tumorigenesis. Because 11β-HSD2 is expressed in Apc(min/+) mouse intestinal adenoma stromal and epithelial cells, Apc(min/+) mice were generated with selective deletion of 11β-HSD2 in intestinal epithelial cells (Vil-Cre-HSD2(-/-) Apc(min/+)). Deletion of 11β-HSD2 in intestinal epithelia led to marked inhibition of Apc(min/+) mouse intestinal tumorigenesis. Immunostaining indicated decreased 11β-HSD2 and COX-2 expression in adenoma epithelia, whereas stromal COX-2 expression was intact in Vil-Cre-HSD2(-/-) Apc(min/+) mice. In Vil-Cre-HSD2(-/-) Apc(min/+) mouse intestinal adenomas, both p53 and p21 mRNA and protein were increased, with a concomitant decrease in pRb, indicating glucocorticoid-mediated G1-arrest. Further study revealed that REDD1 (regulated in development and DNA damage responses 1), a novel stress-induced gene that inhibits mTOR signaling, was increased, whereas the mTOR signaling pathway was inhibited. Therefore, in Vil-Cre-HSD2(-/-) Apc(min/+) mice, epithelial cell 11β-HSD2 deficiency leads to inhibition of adenoma initiation and growth by attenuation of COX-2 expression, increased cell-cycle arrest, and inhibition of mTOR signaling as a result of increased tumor intracellular active glucocorticoids.
IMPLICATIONS - Inhibition of 11β-HSD2 may represent a novel approach for colorectal cancer chemoprevention by increasing tumor glucocorticoid activity, which in turn inhibits tumor growth by multiple pathways.
Gastrin-releasing peptide (GRP) and its receptor (GRP-R) are highly expressed in undifferentiated neuroblastoma, and they play critical roles in oncogenesis. We previously reported that GRP activates the PI3K/AKT signaling pathway to promote DNA synthesis and cell cycle progression in neuroblastoma cells. Conversely, GRP-R silencing induces cell cycle arrest. Here, we speculated that GRP/GRP-R signaling induces neuroblastoma cell proliferation via regulation of cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) inhibitors. Surprisingly, we found that GRP/GRP-R differentially induced expressions of p21 and p27. Silencing GRP/GRP-R decreased p21, but it increased p27 expressions in neuroblastoma cells. Furthermore, we found that the intracellular localization of p21 and p27 in the nuclear and cytoplasmic compartments, respectively. In addition, we found that GRP/GRP-R silencing increased the expression and accumulation of PTEN in the cytoplasm of neuroblastoma cells where it co-localized with p27, thus suggesting that p27 promotes the function of PTEN as a tumor suppressor by stabilizing PTEN in the cytoplasm. GRP/GRP-R regulation of CDK inhibitors and tumor suppressor PTEN may be critical for tumoriogenesis of neuroblastoma.
Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.