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The SMOOTHENED inhibitor vismodegib is FDA approved for advanced basal cell carcinoma (BCC), and shows promise in clinical trials for SONIC HEDGEHOG (SHH)-subgroup medulloblastoma (MB) patients. Clinical experience with BCC patients shows that continuous exposure to vismodegib is necessary to prevent tumor recurrence, suggesting the existence of a vismodegib-resistant reservoir of tumor-propagating cells. We isolated such tumor-propagating cells from a mouse model of SHH-subgroup MB and grew them as sphere cultures. These cultures were enriched for the MB progenitor marker SOX2 and formed tumors in vivo. Moreover, while their ability to self-renew was resistant to SHH inhibitors, as has been previously suggested, this self-renewal was instead WNT-dependent. We show here that loss of Trp53 activates canonical WNT signaling in these SOX2-enriched cultures. Importantly, a small molecule WNT inhibitor was able to reduce the propagation and growth of SHH-subgroup MB in vivo, in an on-target manner, leading to increased survival. Our results imply that the tumor-propagating cells driving the growth of bulk SHH-dependent MB are themselves WNT dependent. Further, our data suggest combination therapy with WNT and SHH inhibitors as a therapeutic strategy in patients with SHH-subgroup MB, in order to decrease the tumor recurrence commonly observed in patients treated with vismodegib.
The glandular stomach has two major zones: the acid secreting corpus and the gastrin cell-containing antrum. Nevertheless, a single gland lies at the transition between the forestomach and corpus in the mouse stomach. We have sought to define the lineages that make up this gland unit at the squamocolumnar junction. The first gland in mice showed a notable absence of characteristic corpus lineages, including parietal cells and chief cells. In contrast, the gland showed strong staining of Griffonia simplicifolia-II (GSII)-lectin-positive mucous cells at the bases of glands, which were also positive for CD44 variant 9 and Clusterin. Prominent numbers of doublecortin-like kinase 1 (DCLK1) positive tuft cells were present in the first gland. The first gland contained Lgr5-expressing putative progenitor cells, and a large proportion of the cells were positive for Sox2. The cells of the first gland stained strongly for MUC4 and EpCAM, but both were absent in the normal corpus mucosa. The present studies indicate that the first gland in the corpus represents a unique anatomic entity. The presence of a concentration of progenitor cells and sensory tuft cells in this gland suggests that it may represent a source of reserve reparative cells for adapting to severe mucosal damage.
The timing and gene regulatory logic of organ-fate commitment from within the posterior foregut of the mammalian endoderm is largely unexplored. Transient misexpression of a presumed pancreatic-commitment transcription factor, Ptf1a, in embryonic mouse endoderm (Ptf1a(EDD)) dramatically expanded the pancreatic gene regulatory network within the foregut. Ptf1a(EDD) temporarily suppressed Sox2 broadly over the anterior endoderm. Pancreas-proximal organ territories underwent full tissue conversion. Early-stage Ptf1a(EDD) rapidly expanded the endogenous endodermal Pdx1-positive domain and recruited other pancreas-fate-instructive genes, thereby spatially enlarging the potential for pancreatic multipotency. Early Ptf1a(EDD) converted essentially the entire glandular stomach, rostral duodenum and extrahepatic biliary system to pancreas, with formation of many endocrine cell clusters of the type found in normal islets of Langerhans. Sliding the Ptf1a(EDD) expression window through embryogenesis revealed differential temporal competencies for stomach-pancreas respecification. The response to later-stage Ptf1a(EDD) changed radically towards unipotent, acinar-restricted conversion. We provide strong evidence, beyond previous Ptf1a inactivation or misexpression experiments in frog embryos, for spatiotemporally context-dependent activity of Ptf1a as a potent gain-of-function trigger of pro-pancreatic commitment.
© 2014. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.
BACKGROUND - SOX2 is a member of SOX (SRY-related high mobility group box) family of transcription factors.
METHODS - In this study, we examined the expression of SOX2 in murine and human prostatic specimens by immunohistochemistry.
RESULTS - We found that SOX2 was expressed in murine prostates during budding morphogenesis and in neuroendocrine (NE) prostate cancer (PCa) murine models. Expression of SOX2 was also examined in human prostatic tissue. We found that SOX2 was expressed in 26 of the 30 BPH specimens. In these BPH samples, expression of SOX2 was limited to basal epithelial cells. In contrast, 24 of the 25 primary PCa specimens were negative for SOX2. The only positive primary PCa was the prostatic NE tumor, which also showed co-expression of synaptophysin. Additionally, the expression of SOX2 was detected in all prostatic NE tumor xenograft lines. Furthermore, we have examined the expression of SOX2 on a set of tissue microarrays consisting of metastatic PCa tissues. Expression of SOX2 was detected in at least one metastatic site in 15 of the 24 patients with metastatic castration-resistant PCa; and the expression of SOX2 was correlated with synaptophysin.
CONCLUSIONS - SOX2 was expressed in developing prostates, basal cells of BPH, as well as prostatic NE tumors.
The RNA-binding protein TDP-43 regulates RNA metabolism at multiple levels, including transcription, RNA splicing, and mRNA stability. TDP-43 is a major component of the cytoplasmic inclusions characteristic of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and some types of frontotemporal lobar degeneration. The importance of TDP-43 in disease is underscored by the fact that dominant missense mutations are sufficient to cause disease, although the role of TDP-43 in pathogenesis is unknown. Here we show that TDP-43 forms cytoplasmic mRNP granules that undergo bidirectional, microtubule-dependent transport in neurons in vitro and in vivo and facilitate delivery of target mRNA to distal neuronal compartments. TDP-43 mutations impair this mRNA transport function in vivo and in vitro, including in stem cell-derived motor neurons from ALS patients bearing any one of three different TDP-43 ALS-causing mutations. Thus, TDP-43 mutations that cause ALS lead to partial loss of a novel cytoplasmic function of TDP-43.
Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The lineage-specific basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor Ptf1a is a critical driver for development of both the pancreas and nervous system. How one transcription factor controls diverse programs of gene expression is a fundamental question in developmental biology. To uncover molecular strategies for the program-specific functions of Ptf1a, we identified bound genomic regions in vivo during development of both tissues. Most regions bound by Ptf1a are specific to each tissue, lie near genes needed for proper formation of each tissue, and coincide with regions of open chromatin. The specificity of Ptf1a binding is encoded in the DNA surrounding the Ptf1a-bound sites, because these regions are sufficient to direct tissue-restricted reporter expression in transgenic mice. Fox and Sox factors were identified as potential lineage-specific modifiers of Ptf1a binding, since binding motifs for these factors are enriched in Ptf1a-bound regions in pancreas and neural tube, respectively. Of the Fox factors expressed during pancreatic development, Foxa2 plays a major role. Indeed, Ptf1a and Foxa2 colocalize in embryonic pancreatic chromatin and can act synergistically in cell transfection assays. Together, these findings indicate that lineage-specific chromatin landscapes likely constrain the DNA binding of Ptf1a, and they identify Fox and Sox gene families as part of this process.
BACKGROUND - Primary culture and animal and cell-line models of prostate and bladder development have limitations in describing human biology, and novel strategies that describe the full spectrum of differentiation from foetal through to ageing tissue are required. Recent advances in biology demonstrate that direct reprogramming of somatic cells into pluripotent embryonic stem cell (ESC)-like cells is possible. These cells, termed induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), could theoretically generate adult prostate and bladder tissue, providing an alternative strategy to study differentiation.
OBJECTIVE - To generate human iPSCs derived from normal, ageing, human prostate (Pro-iPSC), and urinary tract (UT-iPSC) tissue and to assess their capacity for lineage-directed differentiation.
DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS - Prostate and urinary tract stroma were transduced with POU class 5 homeobox 1 (POU5F1; formerly OCT4), SRY (sex determining region Y)-box 2 (SOX2), Kruppel-like factor 4 (gut) (KLF4), and v-myc myelocytomatosis viral oncogene homolog (avian) (MYC, formerly C-MYC) genes to generate iPSCs.
OUTCOME MEASUREMENTS AND STATISTICAL ANALYSIS - The potential for differentiation into prostate and bladder lineages was compared with classical skin-derived iPSCs. The student t test was used.
RESULTS AND LIMITATIONS - Successful reprogramming of prostate tissue into Pro-iPSCs and bladder and ureter into UT-iPSCs was demonstrated by characteristic ESC morphology, marker expression, and functional pluripotency in generating all three germ-layer lineages. In contrast to conventional skin-derived iPSCs, Pro-iPSCs showed a vastly increased ability to generate prostate epithelial-specific differentiation, as characterised by androgen receptor and prostate-specific antigen induction. Similarly, UT-iPSCs were shown to be more efficient than skin-derived iPSCs in undergoing bladder differentiation as demonstrated by expression of urothelial-specific markers: uroplakins, claudins, and cytokeratin; and stromal smooth muscle markers: α-smooth-muscle actin, calponin, and desmin. These disparities are likely to represent epigenetic differences between individual iPSC lines and highlight the importance of organ-specific iPSCs for tissue-specific studies.
CONCLUSIONS - IPSCs provide an exciting new model to characterise mechanisms regulating prostate and bladder differentiation and to develop novel approaches to disease modelling. Regeneration of bladder cells also provides an exceptional opportunity for translational tissue engineering.
Copyright © 2013 European Association of Urology. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Recent successes in deriving human-induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) allow for the possibility of studying human neurons derived from patients with neurological diseases. Concomitant inhibition of the BMP and TGF-β1 branches of the TGF-β signaling pathways by the endogenous antagonist, Noggin, and the small molecule SB431542, respectively, induces efficient neuralization of hiPSCs, a method known as dual-SMAD inhibition. The use of small molecule inhibitors instead of their endogenous counterparts has several advantages including lower cost, consistent activity, and the maintenance of xeno-free culture conditions. We tested the efficacy of DMH1, a highly selective small molecule BMP-inhibitor for its potential to replace Noggin in the neuralization of hiPSCs. We compare Noggin and DMH1-induced neuralization of hiPSCs by measuring protein and mRNA levels of pluripotency and neural precursor markers over a period of seven days. The regulation of five of the six markers assessed was indistinguishable in the presence of concentrations of Noggin or DMH1 that have been shown to effectively inhibit BMP signaling in other systems. We observed that by varying the DMH1 or Noggin concentration, we could selectively modulate the number of SOX1 expressing cells, whereas PAX6, another neural precursor marker, remained the same. The level and timing of SOX1 expression have been shown to affect neural induction as well as neural lineage. Our observations, therefore, suggest that BMP-inhibitor concentrations need to be carefully monitored to ensure appropriate expression levels of all transcription factors necessary for the induction of a particular neuronal lineage. We further demonstrate that DMH1-induced neural progenitors can be differentiated into β3-tubulin expressing neurons, a subset of which also express tyrosine hydroxylase. Thus, the combined use of DMH1, a highly specific BMP-pathway inhibitor, and SB431542, a TGF-β1-pathway specific inhibitor, provides us with the tools to independently regulate these two pathways through the exclusive use of small molecule inhibitors.
Modifications to the core histones are thought to contribute to ESC pluripotency by priming tissue-specific promoters and enhancers for later activation. However, it is unclear how these marks are targeted in ESCs and maintained during differentiation. Here, we show that the ESC factor Sox2 targets H3K4 methylation to monovalent and bivalent domains. In ESCs, Sox2 contributes to the formation of a monovalent mark at an enhancer in the pro/pre-B cell-specific lambda5-VpreB1 locus. Binding of Foxd3 suppresses intergenic transcription of the enhancer and surrounding sequences. In pro-B cells, enhancer activity is dependent on the Sox and Fox binding sites, and the enhancer is bound by Sox4, which is required for efficient expression of lambda5. Our results lead us to propose a factor relay model whereby ESC factors establish active epigenetic marks at tissue specific elements before being replaced by cell type-specific factors as cells differentiate.
Copyright (c) 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The Pax6 transcription factor plays a key role in ocular development of vertebrates and invertebrates. Homozygosity of the Pax6 null mutation in human and mice results in arrest of optic vesicle development and failure to initiate lens formation. This phenotype obscures the understanding of autonomous function of Pax6 in these tissue components and during later developmental stages. We employed the Cre/loxP approach to inactivate Pax6 specifically in the eye surface ectoderm concomitantly with lens induction. Although lens induction occurred in the mutant, as indicated by Sox2 up-regulation in the surface ectoderm, further development of the lens was arrested. Hence, Pax6 activity was found to be essential in the specified ectoderm for lens placode formation. Furthermore, this mutant model allowed us for the first time to address in vivo the development of a completely normal retina in the absence of early lens structures. Remarkably, several independent, fully differentiated neuroretinas developed in a single optic vesicle in the absence of a lens, demonstrating that the developing lens is not necessary to instruct the differentiation of the neuroretina but is, rather, required for the correct placement of a single retina in the eye.