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Pro-carcinogenic bacteria have the potential to initiate and/or promote colon cancer, in part via immune mechanisms that are incompletely understood. Using Apc mice colonized with the human pathobiont enterotoxigenic Bacteroides fragilis (ETBF) as a model of microbe-induced colon tumorigenesis, we show that the Bacteroides fragilis toxin (BFT) triggers a pro-carcinogenic, multi-step inflammatory cascade requiring IL-17R, NF-κB, and Stat3 signaling in colonic epithelial cells (CECs). Although necessary, Stat3 activation in CECs is not sufficient to trigger ETBF colon tumorigenesis. Notably, IL-17-dependent NF-κB activation in CECs induces a proximal to distal mucosal gradient of C-X-C chemokines, including CXCL1, that mediates the recruitment of CXCR2-expressing polymorphonuclear immature myeloid cells with parallel onset of ETBF-mediated distal colon tumorigenesis. Thus, BFT induces a pro-carcinogenic signaling relay from the CEC to a mucosal Th17 response that results in selective NF-κB activation in distal colon CECs, which collectively triggers myeloid-cell-dependent distal colon tumorigenesis.
Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
In the developing hypothalamus, the fat-derived hormone leptin stimulates the growth of axons from the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus (ARH) to other regions that control energy balance. These projections are significantly reduced in leptin deficient (Lep ) mice and this phenotype is largely rescued by neonatal leptin treatments. However, treatment of mature Lep mice is ineffective, suggesting that the trophic action of leptin is limited to a developmental critical period. To temporally delineate closure of this critical period for leptin-stimulated growth, we treated Lep mice with exogenous leptin during a variety of discrete time periods, and measured the density of Agouti-Related Peptide (AgRP) containing projections from the ARH to the ventral part of the dorsomedial nucleus of the hypothalamus (DMHv), and to the medial parvocellular part of the paraventricular nucleus (PVHmp). The results indicate that leptin loses its neurotrophic potential at or near postnatal day 28. The duration of leptin exposure appears to be important, with 9- or 11-day treatments found to be more effective than shorter (5-day) treatments. Furthermore, leptin treatment for 9 days or more was sufficient to restore AgRP innervation to both the PVHmp and DMHv in Lep females, but only to the DMHv in Lep males. Together, these findings reveal that the trophic actions of leptin are contingent upon timing and duration of leptin exposure, display both target and sex specificity, and that modulation of leptin-dependent circuit formation by each of these factors may carry enduring consequences for feeding behavior, metabolism, and obesity risk.
© 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
The hyperactivated Wnt/β-catenin signaling acts as a switch to induce epithelial to mesenchymal transition and promote colorectal cancer. However, due to its essential role in gut homeostasis, therapeutic targeting of this pathway has proven challenging. Additionally, IL-6/Stat-3 signaling, activated by microbial translocation through the dysregulated mucosal barrier in colon adenomas, facilitates the adenoma to adenocarcinomas transition. However, inter-dependence between these signaling pathways and key mucosal barrier components in regulating colon tumorigenesis and cancer progression remains unclear. In current study, we have discovered, using a comprehensive investigative regimen, a novel and tissue-specific role of claudin-3, a tight junction integral protein, in inhibiting colon cancer progression by serving as the common rheostat of Stat-3 and Wnt-signaling activation. Loss of claudin-3 also predicted poor patient survival. These findings however contrasted an upregulated claudin-3 expression in other cancer types and implicated role of the epigenetic regulation. Claudin-3-/- mice revealed dedifferentiated and leaky colonic epithelium, and developed invasive adenocarcinoma when subjected to colon cancer. Wnt-signaling hyperactivation, albeit in GSK-3β independent manner, differentiated colon cancer in claudin-3-/- mice versus WT-mice. Claudin-3 loss also upregulated the gp130/IL6/Stat3 signaling in colonic epithelium potentially assisted by infiltrating immune components. Genetic and pharmacological studies confirmed that claudin-3 loss induces Wnt/β-catenin activation, which is further exacerbated by Stat-3-activation and help promote colon cancer. Overall, these novel findings identify claudin-3 as a therapeutic target for inhibiting overactivation of Wnt-signaling to prevent CRC malignancy.
Oncostatin M (OSM) and leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF) are IL-6 family members with a wide range of biological functions. Human OSM (hOSM) and murine LIF (mLIF) act in mouse cells via a LIF receptor (LIFR)-glycoprotein 130 (gp130) heterodimer. In contrast, murine OSM (mOSM) signals mainly via an OSM receptor (OSMR)-gp130 heterodimer and binds with only very low affinity to mLIFR. hOSM and mLIF stimulate bone remodeling by both reducing osteocytic sclerostin and up-regulating the pro-osteoclastic factor receptor activator of NF-κB ligand (RANKL) in osteoblasts. In the absence of OSMR, mOSM still strongly suppressed sclerostin and stimulated bone formation but did not induce RANKL, suggesting that intracellular signaling activated by the low affinity interaction of mOSM with mLIFR is different from the downstream effects when mLIF or hOSM interacts with the same receptor. Both STAT1 and STAT3 were activated by mOSM in wild type cells or by mLIF/hOSM in wild type and Osmr cells. In contrast, in Osmr primary osteocyte-like cells stimulated with mOSM (therefore acting through mLIFR), microarray expression profiling and Western blotting analysis identified preferential phosphorylation of STAT3 and induction of its target genes but not of STAT1 and its target genes; this correlated with reduced phosphorylation of both gp130 and LIFR. In a mouse model of spontaneous osteopenia caused by hyperactivation of STAT1/3 signaling downstream of gp130 (gp130), STAT1 deletion rescued the osteopenic phenotype, indicating a beneficial effect of promoting STAT3 signaling over STAT1 downstream of gp130 in this low bone mass condition, and this may have therapeutic value.
© 2016 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.
Fibrosis compromises pancreatic ductal carcinoma (PDAC) treatment and contributes to patient mortality, yet antistromal therapies are controversial. We found that human PDACs with impaired epithelial transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) signaling have high epithelial STAT3 activity and develop stiff, matricellular-enriched fibrosis associated with high epithelial tension and shorter patient survival. In several KRAS-driven mouse models, both the loss of TGF-β signaling and elevated β1-integrin mechanosignaling engaged a positive feedback loop whereby STAT3 signaling promotes tumor progression by increasing matricellular fibrosis and tissue tension. In contrast, epithelial STAT3 ablation attenuated tumor progression by reducing the stromal stiffening and epithelial contractility induced by loss of TGF-β signaling. In PDAC patient biopsies, higher matricellular protein and activated STAT3 were associated with SMAD4 mutation and shorter survival. The findings implicate epithelial tension and matricellular fibrosis in the aggressiveness of SMAD4 mutant pancreatic tumors and highlight STAT3 and mechanics as key drivers of this phenotype.
Amplifications at 9p24 have been identified in breast cancer and other malignancies, but the genes within this locus causally associated with oncogenicity or tumor progression remain unclear. Targeted next-generation sequencing of postchemotherapy triple-negative breast cancers (TNBCs) identified a group of 9p24-amplified tumors, which contained focal amplification of the Janus kinase 2 (JAK2) gene. These patients had markedly inferior recurrence-free and overall survival compared to patients with TNBC without JAK2 amplification. Detection of JAK2/9p24 amplifications was more common in chemotherapy-treated TNBCs than in untreated TNBCs or basal-like cancers, or in other breast cancer subtypes. Similar rates of JAK2 amplification were confirmed in patient-derived TNBC xenografts. In patients for whom longitudinal specimens were available, JAK2 amplification was selected for during neoadjuvant chemotherapy and eventual metastatic spread, suggesting a role in tumorigenicity and chemoresistance, phenotypes often attributed to a cancer stem cell-like cell population. In TNBC cell lines with JAK2 copy gains or amplification, specific inhibition of JAK2 signaling reduced mammosphere formation and cooperated with chemotherapy in reducing tumor growth in vivo. In these cells, inhibition of JAK1-signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) signaling had little effect or, in some cases, counteracted JAK2-specific inhibition. Collectively, these results suggest that JAK2-specific inhibitors are more efficacious than dual JAK1/2 inhibitors against JAK2-amplified TNBCs. Furthermore, JAK2 amplification is a potential biomarker for JAK2 dependence, which, in turn, can be used to select patients for clinical trials with JAK2 inhibitors.
Copyright © 2016, American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and ERBB3 have been implicated in hepatocellular carcinogenesis (HCC). However, it is not known whether altering the activity of either EGFR or ERBB3 affects HCC development. We now show that Egfr(Dsk5) mutant mice, which have a gain-of-function allele that increases basal EGFR kinase activity, develop spontaneous HCC by 10 mo of age. Their tumors show increased activation of EGFR, ERBB2, and ERBB3 as well as AKT and ERK1,2. Hepatocyte-specific models of EGFR and ERBB3 gene ablation were generated to evaluate how the loss of these genes affected tumor progression. Loss of either receptor tyrosine kinase did not alter liver development or regenerative liver growth following carbon tetrachloride injection. However, using a well-characterized model of HCC in which N-nitrosodiethylamine is injected into 14-day-old mice, we discovered that loss of hepatocellular ERBB3 but not EGFR, which occurred after tumor initiation, retarded liver tumor formation and cell proliferation. We found no evidence that this was due to increased apoptosis or diminished phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase activity in the ERBB3-null cells. However, the relative amount of phospho-STAT3 was diminished in tumors derived from these mice, suggesting that ERBB3 may promote HCC through STAT3 activation.
Copyright © 2015 the American Physiological Society.
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.
Metaplastic epithelial cells of Barrett's esophagus transformed by the combination of p53-knockdown and oncogenic Ras expression are known to activate signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3). When phosphorylated at tyrosine 705 (Tyr705), STAT3 functions as a nuclear transcription factor that can contribute to oncogenesis. STAT3 phosphorylated at serine 727 (Ser727) localizes in mitochondria, but little is known about mitochondrial STAT3's contribution to carcinogenesis in Barrett's esophagus, which is the focus of this study. We introduced a constitutively active variant of human STAT3 (STAT3CA) into the following: 1) non-neoplastic Barrett's (BAR-T) cells; 2) BAR-T cells with p53 knockdown; and 3) BAR-T cells that express oncogenic H-Ras(G12V). STAT3CA transformed only the H-Ras(G12V)-expressing BAR-T cells (evidenced by loss of contact inhibition, formation of colonies in soft agar, and generation of tumors in immunodeficient mice), and did so in a p53-independent fashion. The transformed cells had elevated levels of both mitochondrial (Ser727) and nuclear (Tyr705) phospho-STAT3. Introduction of a STAT3CA construct with a mutated tyrosine phosphorylation site into H-Ras(G12V)-expressing Barrett's cells resulted in high levels of mitochondrial phospho-STAT3 (Ser727) with little or no nuclear phospho-STAT3 (Tyr705), and the cells still formed tumors in immunodeficient mice. Thus tyrosine phosphorylation of STAT3 is not required for tumor formation in Ras-expressing Barrett's cells. We conclude that mitochondrial STAT3 (Ser727) can contribute to oncogenesis in Barrett's cells that express oncogenic Ras. These findings suggest that agents targeting STAT3 might be useful for chemoprevention in patients with Barrett's esophagus.
Copyright © 2015 the American Physiological Society.
Macrophages dictate both initiation and resolution of inflammation. During acute inflammation classically activated macrophages (M1) predominate, and during the resolution phase alternative macrophages (M2) are dominant. The molecular mechanisms involved in macrophage polarization are understudied. MicroRNAs are differentially expressed in M1 and M2 macrophages that influence macrophage polarization. We identified a role of miR-21 in macrophage polarization, and found that cross-talk between miR-21 and the lipid mediator prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) is a determining factor in macrophage polarization. miR-21 inhibition impairs expression of M2 signature genes but not M1 genes. PGE2 and its downstream effectors PKA and Epac inhibit miR-21 expression and enhance expression of M2 genes, and this effect is more pronounced in miR-21-/- cells. Among potential targets involved in macrophage polarization, we found that STAT3 and SOCS1 were enhanced in miR-21-/- cells and further enhanced by PGE2. We found that STAT3 was a direct target of miR-21 in macrophages. Silencing the STAT3 gene abolished PGE2-mediated expression of M2 genes in miR-21-/- macrophages. These data shed light on the molecular brakes involved in homeostatic macrophage polarization and suggest new therapeutic strategies to prevent inflammatory responses.