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BACKGROUND - Wilms tumor (WT) is the most common childhood kidney cancer worldwide, yet its incidence and clinical behavior vary according to race and access to adequate healthcare resources. To guide and streamline therapy in the war-torn and resource-constrained city of Baghdad, Iraq, we conducted a first-ever molecular analysis of 20 WT specimens to characterize the biological features of this lethal disease within this challenged population.
METHODS - Next-generation sequencing of ten target genes associated with WT development and treatment resistance (WT1, CTNNB1, WTX, IGF2, CITED1, SIX2, p53, N-MYC, CRABP2, and TOP2A) was completed. Immunohistochemistry was performed for 6 marker proteins of WT (WT1, CTNNB1, NCAM, CITED1, SIX2, and p53). Patient outcomes were compiled.
RESULTS - Mutations were detected in previously described WT "hot spots" (e.g., WT1 and CTNNB1) as well as novel loci that may be unique to the Iraqi population. Immunohistochemistry showed expression domains most typical of blastemal-predominant WT. Remarkably, despite the challenges facing families and care providers, only one child, with combined WT1 and CTNNB1 mutations, was confirmed dead from disease. Median clinical follow-up was 40.5 months (range 6-78 months).
CONCLUSIONS - These data suggest that WT biology within a population of Iraqi children manifests features both similar to and unique from disease variants in other regions of the world. These observations will help to risk stratify WT patients living in this difficult environment to more or less intensive therapies and to focus treatment on cell-specific targets.
Adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) mutations cause Wnt pathway activation in human cancers. Current models for APC action emphasize its role in promoting β-catenin degradation downstream of Wnt receptors. Unexpectedly, we find that blocking Wnt receptor activity in APC-deficient cells inhibits Wnt signaling independently of Wnt ligand. We also show that inducible loss of APC is rapidly followed by Wnt receptor activation and increased β-catenin levels. In contrast, APC2 loss does not promote receptor activation. We show that APC exists in a complex with clathrin and that Wnt pathway activation in APC-deficient cells requires clathrin-mediated endocytosis. Finally, we demonstrate conservation of this mechanism in Drosophila intestinal stem cells. We propose a model in which APC and APC2 function to promote β-catenin degradation, and APC also acts as a molecular "gatekeeper" to block receptor activation via the clathrin pathway.
Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Wnt/β-catenin signaling is necessary for normal lung development, and abnormal Wnt signaling contributes to the pathogenesis of both bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), fibrotic lung diseases that occur during infancy and aging, respectively. Using a library of human normal and diseased human lung samples, we identified a distinct signature of nuclear accumulation of β-catenin phosphorylated at tyrosine 489 and epithelial cell cytosolic localization of β-catenin phosphorylated at tyrosine 654 in early normal lung development and fibrotic lung diseases BPD and IPF. Furthermore, this signature was recapitulated in murine models of BPD and IPF. Image analysis of immunofluorescence colocalization demonstrated a consistent pattern of elevated nuclear phosphorylated β-catenin in the lung epithelium and surrounding mesenchyme in BPD and IPF, closely resembling the pattern observed in 18-week fetal lung. Nuclear β-catenin phosphorylated at tyrosine 489 associated with an increased expression of Wnt target gene AXIN2, suggesting that the observed β-catenin signature is of functional significance during normal development and injury repair. The association of specific modifications of β-catenin during normal lung development and again in response to lung injury supports the widely held concept that repair of lung injury involves the recapitulation of developmental programs. Furthermore, these observations suggest that β-catenin phosphorylation has potential as a therapeutic target for the treatment and prevention of both BPD and IPF.
Copyright © 2018 American Society for Investigative Pathology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
RHOA, a founding member of the Rho GTPase family, is critical for actomyosin dynamics, polarity, and morphogenesis in response to developmental cues, mechanical stress, and inflammation. In murine small intestinal epithelium, inducible RHOA deletion causes a loss of epithelial polarity, with disrupted villi and crypt organization. In the intestinal crypts, RHOA deficiency results in reduced cell proliferation, increased apoptosis, and a loss of intestinal stem cells (ISCs) that mimic effects of radiation damage. Mechanistically, RHOA loss reduces YAP signaling of the Hippo pathway and affects YAP effector epiregulin (EREG) expression in the crypts. Expression of an active YAP (S112A) mutant rescues ISC marker expression, ISC regeneration, and ISC-associated Wnt signaling, but not defective epithelial polarity, in RhoA knockout mice, implicating YAP in RHOA-regulated ISC function. EREG treatment or active β-catenin Catnb mutant expression rescues the RhoA KO ISC phenotypes. Thus, RHOA controls YAP-EREG signaling to regulate intestinal homeostasis and ISC regeneration.
Copyright © 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
De novo and acquired resistance, which are largely attributed to genetic alterations, are barriers to effective anti-epidermal-growth-factor-receptor (EGFR) therapy. To generate cetuximab-resistant cells, we exposed cetuximab-sensitive colorectal cancer cells to cetuximab in three-dimensional culture. Using whole-exome sequencing and transcriptional profiling, we found that the long non-coding RNA MIR100HG and two embedded microRNAs, miR-100 and miR-125b, were overexpressed in the absence of known genetic events linked to cetuximab resistance. MIR100HG, miR-100 and miR-125b overexpression was also observed in cetuximab-resistant colorectal cancer and head and neck squamous cell cancer cell lines and in tumors from colorectal cancer patients that progressed on cetuximab. miR-100 and miR-125b coordinately repressed five Wnt/β-catenin negative regulators, resulting in increased Wnt signaling, and Wnt inhibition in cetuximab-resistant cells restored cetuximab responsiveness. Our results describe a double-negative feedback loop between MIR100HG and the transcription factor GATA6, whereby GATA6 represses MIR100HG, but this repression is relieved by miR-125b targeting of GATA6. These findings identify a clinically actionable, epigenetic cause of cetuximab resistance.
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.
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.
Wilms tumor (WT) is the most common renal malignancy in children and the fourth most common pediatric solid malignancy in the US. Although the mechanisms underlying the WT biology are complex, these tumors most often demonstrate activation of the canonical Wnt/β-catenin pathway. We and others have shown that constitutive activation of β-catenin restricted to the renal epithelium is sufficient to induce primitive renal epithelial tumors, which resemble human WT. Here we demonstrate that pharmacologic inhibition of β-catenin gene transcription with pyrvinium inhibits tumor growth and metastatic progression in a murine model of WT. Cellular invasion is significantly inhibited in both murine WT-like and human WT cells and is accompanied by downregulation of the oncogenes Myc and Birc5 (survivin). Our studies provide proof of the concept that the canonical Wnt/β-catenin pathway may be a novel therapeutic target in the management of WT.
Wilms tumor (WT) is the most common renal neoplasm of childhood and affects 1 in 10 000 children aged less than 15 years. These embryonal tumors are thought to arise from primitive nephrogenic rests that derive from the metanephric mesenchyme during kidney development and are characterized partly by increased Wnt/β-catenin signaling. We previously showed that coordinate activation of Ras and β-catenin accelerates the growth and metastatic progression of a murine WT model. Here, we show that activating KRAS mutations can be found in human WT. In addition, high levels of phosphorylated AKT are present in the majority of WT. We further show in a mouse model and in renal epithelial cells that Ras cooperates with β-catenin to drive metastatic disease progression and promotes in vitro tumor cell growth, migration, and colony formation in soft agar. Cellular transformation and metastatic disease progression of WT cells are in part dependent on PI3K/AKT activation and are inhibited via pharmacological inhibition of this pathway. Our studies suggest both KRAS mutations and AKT activation are present in WT and may represent novel therapeutic targets for this disease.
© 2017 The Authors. Published by FEBS Press and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.