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The TGF- and Wnt/-catenin pathways have important roles in modulating CKD, but how these growth factors affect the epithelial response to CKD is not well studied. TGF- has strong profibrotic effects, but this pleiotropic factor has many different cellular effects depending on the target cell type. To investigate how TGF- signaling in the proximal tubule, a key target and mediator of CKD, alters the response to CKD, we injured mice lacking the TGF- type 2 receptor specifically in this epithelial segment. Compared with littermate controls, mice lacking the proximal tubular TGF- receptor had significantly increased tubular injury and tubulointerstitial fibrosis in two different models of CKD. RNA sequencing indicated that deleting the TGF- receptor in proximal tubule cells modulated many growth factor pathways, but Wnt/-catenin signaling was the pathway most affected. We validated that deleting the proximal tubular TGF- receptor impaired -catenin activity and Genetically restoring -catenin activity in proximal tubules lacking the TGF- receptor dramatically improved the tubular response to CKD in mice. Deleting the TGF- receptor alters many growth factors, and therefore, this ameliorated response may be a direct effect of -catenin activity or an indirect effect of -catenin interacting with other growth factors. In conclusion, blocking TGF- and -catenin crosstalk in proximal tubules exacerbates tubular injury in two models of CKD.
Copyright © 2017 by the American Society of Nephrology.
We previously reported that single cells from a human colorectal cancer (CRC) cell line (HCA-7) formed either hollow single-layered polarized cysts or solid spiky masses when plated in 3D in type-I collagen. To begin in-depth analyses into whether clonal cysts and spiky masses possessed divergent properties, individual colonies of each morphology were isolated and expanded. The lines thus derived faithfully retained their parental cystic and spiky morphologies and were termed CC (cystic) and SC (spiky), respectively. Although both CC and SC expressed EGF receptor (EGFR), the EGFR-neutralizing monoclonal antibody, cetuximab, strongly inhibited growth of CC, whereas SC was resistant to growth inhibition, and this was coupled to increased tyrosine phosphorylation of MET and RON. Addition of the dual MET/RON tyrosine kinase inhibitor, crizotinib, restored cetuximab sensitivity in SC. To further characterize these two lines, we performed comprehensive genomic and transcriptomic analysis of CC and SC in 3D. One of the most up-regulated genes in CC was the tumor suppressor , and the most up-regulated gene in SC was () in 3D and xenografts. Analysis of a CRC tissue microarray showed that epithelial, but not stromal, VCAN staining strongly correlated with reduced survival, and combined epithelial VCAN and absent HPGD staining portended a poorer prognosis. Thus, with this 3D system, we have identified a mode of cetuximab resistance and a potential prognostic marker in CRC. As such, this represents a potentially powerful system to identify additional therapeutic strategies and disease-relevant genes in CRC and possibly other solid tumors.
Alveolar epithelial cell (AEC) dysfunction underlies the pathogenesis of pulmonary fibrosis in Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome (HPS) and other genetic syndromes associated with interstitial lung disease; however, mechanisms linking AEC dysfunction and fibrotic remodeling are incompletely understood. Since increased macrophage recruitment precedes pulmonary fibrosis in HPS, we investigated whether crosstalk between AECs and macrophages determines fibrotic susceptibility. We found that AECs from HPS mice produce excessive MCP-1, which was associated with increased macrophages in the lungs of unchallenged HPS mice. Blocking MCP-1/CCR2 signaling in HPS mice with genetic deficiency of CCR2 or targeted deletion of MCP-1 in AECs normalized macrophage recruitment, decreased AEC apoptosis, and reduced lung fibrosis in these mice following treatment with low-dose bleomycin. We observed increased TGF-β production by HPS macrophages, which was eliminated by CCR2 deletion. Selective deletion of TGF-β in myeloid cells or of TGF-β signaling in AECs through deletion of TGFBR2 protected HPS mice from AEC apoptosis and bleomycin-induced fibrosis. Together, these data reveal a feedback loop in which increased MCP-1 production by dysfunctional AECs results in recruitment and activation of lung macrophages that produce TGF-β, thus amplifying the fibrotic cascade through AEC apoptosis and stimulation of fibrotic remodeling.
The transforming growth factor β (TGF-β) pathway plays an important role in breast cancer progression and in metabolic regulation and energy homeostasis. The prognostic significance of TGF-β interaction with obesity and physical activity in breast cancer patients remains unclear. We evaluated the expression of TGF-β type II receptor and pSmad2 immunohistochemically in breast cancer tissue from 1,045 patients in the Shanghai Breast Cancer Study (2002-2005). We found that the presence of nuclear pSmad2 in breast cancer cells was inversely associated with overall and disease-free survival, predominantly among participants with lower body mass index (BMI; weight (kg)/height (m)) and a moderate level of physical activity. However, the test for multiplicative interaction produced a significant result only for BMI (for disease-free survival and overall survival, adjusted hazard ratios were 1.79 and 2.05, respectively). In 535 earlier-stage (T1-2, N0) invasive cancers, nuclear pSmad2 was associated with improved survival among persons with higher BMI (overall survival: adjusted hazard ratio = 0.27, 95% confidence interval: 0.09, 0.86). The cytoplasmic pattern of TGF-β type II receptor expression in cancer cells was significantly associated with a lower survival rate but was not modified by BMI or physical activity. Our study suggests that the TGF-β pathway in tumor cells is involved in breast cancer prognosis and may be modified by BMI through pSmad2.
© The Author 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: email@example.com.
The broad implementation of precision medicine in cancer is impeded by the lack of a complete inventory of the genes involved in tumorigenesis. We performed in vivo screening of ∼1,000 genes that are associated with signaling for positive roles in breast cancer, using lentiviral expression vectors in primary MMTV-ErbB2 mammary tissue. Gain of function of five genes, including RET, GTF2IRD1, ADORA1, LARS2, and DPP8, significantly promoted mammary tumor growth. We further studied one tumor-promoting gene, the transcription factor GTF2IRD1. The mis-regulation of genes downstream of GTF2IRD1, including TβR2 and BMPR1b, also individually promoted mammary cancer development, and silencing of TβR2 suppressed GTF2IRD1-driven tumor promotion. In addition, GTF2IRD1 is highly expressed in human breast tumors, correlating with high tumor grades and poor prognosis. Our in vivo approach is readily expandable to whole-genome annotation of tumor-promoting genes.
Copyright © 2016 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) and hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) play key roles in regulating the response to renal injury but are thought to mediate divergent effects on cell behavior. However, how TGF-β signaling alters the response to HGF in epithelia, the key site of HGF signaling in the injured kidney, is not well studied. Contrary to our expectation, we showed that deletion of the TGF-β type II receptor in conditionally immortalized proximal tubule (PT) cells impaired HGF-dependent signaling. This reduced signaling was due to decreased transcription of c-Met, the HGF receptor, and the TGF-β-dependent c-Met transcription and increased response to HGF in PT cells were mediated by the Notch pathway. The interactions of TGF-β, HGF, and Notch pathways had biologically significant effects on branching morphogenesis, cell morphology, migration, and proliferation. In conclusion, epithelial TGF-β signaling promotes HGF signaling in a Notch-dependent pathway. These findings suggest that TGF-β modulates PT responses not only by direct effects, but also by affecting other growth factor signaling pathways.
BACKGROUND & AIMS - A hallmark of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is the presence of a dense desmoplastic reaction (stroma) that impedes drug delivery to the tumor. Attempts to deplete the tumor stroma have resulted in formation of more aggressive tumors. We have identified signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) 3 as a biomarker of resistance to cytotoxic and molecularly targeted therapy in PDAC. The purpose of this study is to investigate the effects of targeting STAT3 on the PDAC stroma and on therapeutic resistance.
METHODS - Activated STAT3 protein expression was determined in human pancreatic tissues and tumor cell lines. In vivo effects of AZD1480, a JAK/STAT3 inhibitor, gemcitabine or the combination were determined in Ptf1a(cre/+);LSL-Kras(G12D/+);Tgfbr2(flox/flox) (PKT) mice and in orthotopic tumor xenografts. Drug delivery was analyzed by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization imaging mass spectrometry. Collagen second harmonic generation imaging quantified tumor collagen alignment and density.
RESULTS - STAT3 activation correlates with decreased survival and advanced tumor stage in patients with PDAC. STAT3 inhibition combined with gemcitabine significantly inhibits tumor growth in both an orthotopic and the PKT mouse model of PDAC. This combined therapy attenuates in vivo expression of SPARC, increases microvessel density, and enhances drug delivery to the tumor without depletion of stromal collagen or hyaluronan. Instead, the PDAC tumors demonstrate vascular normalization, remodeling of the tumor stroma, and down-regulation of cytidine deaminase.
CONCLUSIONS - Targeted inhibition of STAT3 combined with gemcitabine enhances in vivo drug delivery and therapeutic response in PDAC. These effects occur through tumor stromal remodeling and down-regulation of cytidine deaminase without depletion of tumor stromal content.
Copyright © 2015 AGA Institute. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Cancer patients frequently develop skeletal metastases that significantly impact quality of life. Since bone metastases remain incurable, a clearer understanding of molecular mechanisms regulating skeletal metastases is required to develop new therapeutics that block establishment of tumors in bone. While many studies have suggested that the microenvironment contributes to bone metastases, the factors mediating tumors to progress from a quiescent to a bone-destructive state remain unclear. In this study, we hypothesized that the "soil" of the bone microenvironment, specifically the rigid mineralized extracellular matrix, stimulates the transition of the tumor cells to a bone-destructive phenotype. To test this hypothesis, we synthesized 2D polyurethane (PUR) films with elastic moduli ranging from the basement membrane (70 MPa) to cortical bone (3800 MPa) and measured expression of genes associated with mechanotransduction and bone metastases. We found that expression of Integrin β3 (Iβ3), as well as tumor-produced factors associated with bone destruction (Gli2 and parathyroid hormone related protein (PTHrP)), significantly increased with matrix rigidity, and that blocking Iβ3 reduced Gli2 and PTHrP expression. To identify the mechanism by which Iβ3 regulates Gli2 and PTHrP (both are also known to be regulated by TGF-β), we performed Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) and immunoprecipitation, which indicated that Iβ3 co-localized with TGF-β Receptor Type II (TGF-β RII) on rigid but not compliant films. Finally, transplantation of tumor cells expressing Iβ3 shRNA into the tibiae of athymic nude mice significantly reduced PTHrP and Gli2 expression, as well as bone destruction, suggesting a crucial role for tumor-produced Iβ3 in disease progression. This study demonstrates that the rigid mineralized bone matrix can alter gene expression and bone destruction in an Iβ3/TGF-β-dependent manner, and suggests that Iβ3 inhibitors are a potential therapeutic approach for blocking tumor transition to a bone destructive phenotype.
Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) strongly promotes renal tubulointerstitial fibrosis, but the cellular target that mediates its profibrotic actions has not been clearly identified. While in vitro data suggest that TGF-β-induced matrix production is mediated by renal fibroblasts, the role of these cells in TGF-β-dependent tubulointerstitial fibrosis following renal injury is not well defined. To address this, we deleted the TGF-β type II receptor in matrix-producing interstitial cells using two different inducible Cre models: COL1A2-Cre with a mesenchymal enhancer element and tenascin-Cre that targets medullary interstitial cells, and either the mouse unilateral ureteral obstruction or the aristolochic acid renal injury model. Renal interstitial cells lacking the TGF-β receptor had significantly impaired collagen I production, but, unexpectedly, overall tissue fibrosis was unchanged in the conditional knockouts after renal injury. Thus, abrogating TGF-β signaling in matrix-producing interstitial cells is not sufficient to reduce fibrosis after renal injury.
Metastasis is the most devastating aspect of cancer, however we know very little about the mechanisms of local invasion, the earliest step of metastasis. During tumor growth CD11b+ Gr1+ cells, known also as MDSCs, have been shown to promote tumor progression by a wide spectrum of effects that suppress the anti-tumor immune response. In addition to immunosuppression, CD11b+ Gr1+ cells promote metastasis by mechanisms that are currently unknown. CD11b+ Gr1+ cells localize near fibroblasts, which remodel the ECM and leave tracks for collective cell migration of carcinoma cells. In this study we discovered that CD11b+ Gr1+ cells promote invasion of mammary carcinoma cells by increasing fibroblast migration. This effect was directed by secreted factors derived from CD11b+ Gr1+ cells. We have identified several CD11b+ Gr1+ cell secreted proteins that activate fibroblast migration, including CXCL11, CXCL15, FGF2, IGF-I, IL1Ra, Resistin, and Shh. The combination of CXCL11 and FGF2 had the strongest effect on fibroblast migration that is associated with Akt1 and ERK1/2 phosphorylation. Analysis of subsets of CD11b+ Gr1+ cells identified that CD11b+ Ly6Chigh Ly6Glow cells increase fibroblast migration more than other myeloid cell populations. Additionally, tumor-derived CD11b+ Gr1+ cells promote fibroblast migration more than splenic CD11b+ Gr1+ cells of tumor-bearing mice. While TGFβ signaling in fibroblasts does not regulate their migration toward CD11b+ Gr1+ cells, however deletion of TGFβ receptor II on CD11b+ Gr1+ cells downregulates CXCL11, Shh, IGF1 and FGF2 resulting in reduced fibroblast migration. These studies show that TGFβ signaling in CD11b+ Gr1+ cells promotes fibroblast directed carcinoma invasion and suggests that perivascular CD11b+ Ly6Chigh Ly6Glow cells may be the stimulus for localized invasion leading to metastasis.