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BACKGROUND - Zebrafish have been used as a vertebrate model to study human cancers such as melanoma, rhabdomyosarcoma, liver cancer, and leukemia as well as for high-throughput screening of small molecules of therapeutic value. However, they are just emerging as a model for human brain tumors, which are among the most devastating and difficult to treat. In this study, we evaluated zebrafish as a brain tumor model by overexpressing a human version of oncogenic KRAS (KRAS(G12V)).
METHODS - Using zebrafish cytokeratin 5 (krt5) and glial fibrillary acidic protein (gfap) gene promoters, we activated Ras signaling in the zebrafish central nervous system (CNS) through transient and stable transgenic overexpression. Immunohistochemical analyses were performed to identify activated pathways in the resulting brain tumors. The effects of the MEK inhibitor U0126 on oncogenic KRAS were evaluated.
RESULTS - We demonstrated that transient transgenic expression of KRAS(G12V) in putative neural stem and/or progenitor cells induced brain tumorigenesis. When expressed under the control of the krt5 gene promoter, KRAS(G12V) induced brain tumors in ventricular zones (VZ) at low frequency. The majority of other tumors were composed mostly of spindle and epithelioid cells, reminiscent of malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNSTs). In contrast, when expressed under the control of the gfap gene promoter, KRAS(G12V) induced brain tumors in both VZs and brain parenchyma at higher frequency. Immunohistochemical analyses indicated prominent activation of the canonical RAS-RAF-ERK pathway, variable activation of the mTOR pathway, but no activation of the PI3K-AKT pathway. In a krt5-derived stable and inducible transgenic line, expression of oncogenic KRAS resulted in skin hyperplasia, and the MEK inhibitor U0126 effectively suppressed this pro-proliferative effects. In a gfap-derived stable and inducible line, expression of oncogenic KRAS led to significantly increased mitotic index in the spinal cord.
CONCLUSIONS - Our studies demonstrate that zebrafish could be explored to study cellular origins and molecular mechanisms of brain tumorigenesis and could also be used as a platform for studying human oncogene function and for discovering oncogenic RAS inhibitors.
OBJECTIVES - Immunohistochemical markers have been shown to assist in the stratification of breast papillary lesions. We evaluated the ability of different cytokeratin (CK) and p63 expression profiles on needle biopsy specimens to predict excision diagnoses.
METHODS - A CK5/p63/CK8/18 antibody cocktail was applied to 58 needle biopsy specimens (32 papillomas, 7 atypical papillomas, 19 papillary carcinomas on excision).
RESULTS - p63 expression was greater in papillomas than in atypical papillomas (P = .044) and papillary carcinomas (P< .0001). Papillary carcinomas and atypical papillomas showed greater CK8/18 expression (and conversely less CK5 expression) than did papillomas (P < .0001). Negative or focal p63 expression was 96% sensitive for diagnosing any atypical lesion (atypical papilloma or papillary carcinoma) on excision, whereas CK8/18 predominant expression (≥80% cells) was 100% sensitive. In contrast, the sensitivity of the original diagnosis was only 81%. The greatest accuracy for the diagnosis of atypical papillary lesions (95%) was achieved when both p63 and cytokeratins were used in combination in an algorithmic fashion. This method also correctly identified all cases that had papillary carcinoma (100% sensitivity) on excision.
CONCLUSIONS - Although a single stain or combination cannot independently stratify papillary lesions, a CK5/p63/CK8/18 antibody cocktail is a useful adjunct to morphology for evaluating breast papillary lesions in needle biopsy specimens.
Matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-3 is induced by multiple cell types in the skin during processes involved in both normal and pathological tissue remodeling. We previously demonstrated that MMP3-null animals have an increased sensitivity to the development of squamous cell carcinoma, suggesting that overall, MMP3 has a protective role in squamous cell carcinoma. However, not all cellular responses affected by a loss of MMP3 are tumor-protective, and tumor expression of MMP3 is co-incident with an invasive tumor phenotype. Transgenic mice were generated with MMP3 targeted to keratinocytes to examine the biological role of tumor-produced MMP3. Overexpression of MMP3 reduced tumor multiplicity in response to chemically induced squamous cell carcinoma. Vascular density was increased with MMP3 overexpression; however, other cellular processes, including tumor growth and leukocyte infiltration, were unaffected. In accordance with the change in tumor multiplicity, SP-1 murine papilloma cell lines that were generated to stably express MMP3 lost the capacity to establish palpable tumors following orthotopic injection into immunocompromised mice. Analysis of epidermal biopsies taken at 1 to 2 weeks postinjection revealed that these MMP3-expressing Sp-1 lines had reduced levels of proliferation and pronounced differentiation. These same cells demonstrated an increased ability to differentiate in vitro, an effect that was inhibited by broad-spectrum MMP and selective MMP3 inhibition. These studies suggest that keratinocyte expression of MMP3 promotes cellular differentiation, impeding tumor establishment during tumorigenesis.
Mice lacking the desmosome protein Perp exhibit blistering in their stratified epithelia and display postnatal lethality. However, it is unclear if these phenotypes are strictly related to Perp function in stratified epithelia, as Perp expression is not restricted to these tissues during embryogenesis, and certain desmosomal blistering diseases such as pemphigus vulgaris and pemphigus foliaceus have non-cell-intrinsic bases. Furthermore, we show here that Perp is expressed in the heart, raising the possibility that defects in heart function could account for lethality in the Perp-deficient mice. To determine conclusively if Perp function in stratified epithelia is crucial for postnatal survival and epithelial adhesion, we specifically ablated Perp in stratified epithelia by breeding conditional Perp knockout mice to keratin 5 (K5)-Cre transgenic mice. We found that the majority of mice lacking Perp in stratified epithelia die within 10 days after birth, accompanied by blistering and hyperproliferation in the epithelia, similar to the constitutive Perp null mice. Together, these findings indicate that Perp's requirement for both viability and epithelial integrity reflects a role in the stratified epithelial compartment.