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Cell identity is determined by its gene expression programs. The ability of a cell to change its identity and produce cell types outside its lineage is achieved by the activity of transcription controllers capable of reprogramming differentiation gene networks. The synovial sarcoma (SS)-associated protein, SYT-SSX2, reprograms myogenic progenitors and human bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BMMSCs) by dictating their commitment to a pro-neural lineage. It fulfills this function by directly targeting an extensive array of neural-specific genes as well as genes of developmental pathway mediators. Concomitantly, the ability of both myoblasts and BMMSCs to differentiate into their normal myogenic and adipogenic lineages was compromised. SS is believed to arise in mesenchymal stem cells where formation of the t(X/18) translocation product, SYT-SSX, constitutes the primary event in the cancer. SYT-SSX is therefore believed to initiate tumorigenesis in its target stem cell. The data presented here allow a glimpse at the initial events that likely occur when SYT-SSX2 is first expressed, and its dominant function in subverting the nuclear program of the stem cell, leading to its aberrant differentiation, as a first step toward transformation. In addition, we identified the fibroblast growth factor receptor gene, Fgfr2, as one occupied and upregulated by SYT-SSX2. Knockdown of FGFR2 in both BMMSCs and SS cells abrogated their growth and attenuated their neural phenotype. These results support the notion that the SYT-SSX2 nuclear function and differentiation effects are conserved throughout sarcoma development and are required for its maintenance beyond the initial phase. They also provide the stem cell regulator, FGFR2, as a promising candidate target for future SS therapy.
Human mammary glands arise from multipotent progenitor cells, which likely respond both to cell-autonomous and to extrinsic cues. However, the identity of these cues and how they might act remain unclear. We analyzed HER1 ligand effects on mammary morphogenesis using a three-dimensional organoid model generated from human breast tissue that recapitulates both qualitatively and quantitatively the normal ductal network in situ. Strikingly, different HER1 ligands generate distinct patterns of cell fate. Epidermal growth factor (EGF) causes a massive expansion of the myoepithelial lineage. Amphiregulin, in contrast, enables normal ductal development. These differences cannot be ascribed to preferential apoptosis or proliferation of differentiated cell populations, but are dependent on HER1 signal intensity. Inhibition of the extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2) effector RSK prevents the EGF-induced myoepithelial expansion. Notably, mouse mammary organoids are much less responsive to HER1 ligands. Little is known about the myoepithelial lineage or about growth factor effects on mammary progenitor differentiation, and our studies provide an important window into human mammary development that reveals unexpected differences from the mouse model.
The fibroblast growth factor receptor 2 gene (FGFR2) has been associated with the risk of breast cancer in multiple ethnic populations, and its effect has been suggested to be hormone-dependent. A large, 2-stage, population-based case-control study was conducted in urban Shanghai, China, during the periods of 1996-1998 and 2002-2005. Exposure and genotyping information from 2,073 patients with breast cancer and 2,084 age-matched population controls was available for evaluation of the interactions between FGFR2 polymorphisms and exogenous estrogen exposure in the development of breast cancer. A logistic regression model was used to compute adjusted odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals. Of 20 genotyped and 25 imputed single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), 22 were significantly associated with breast cancer. Three genotyped SNPs in close linkage disequilibrium, rs2303568, rs3135730, and rs1078806, and an imputed SNP of rs755793 in complete linkage disequilibrium with other 8 SNPs were observed to interact significantly with oral contraceptive (OC) use. The SNP-cancer association was evident only among OC users, and the OC use was only associated with the risk of breast cancer among carriers of these minor alleles at these loci. These findings suggest that genetic variants in FGFR2 may modify the role of OC use in causing breast cancer in Chinese women.
Genetic variation in FGFR2 is a newly described risk factor for breast cancer. We estimated the relative risk and contribution of FGFR2 polymorphisms to breast cancer risk in diverse ethnic groups within Jewish and other Middle Eastern populations. We genotyped four FGFR2 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) and tested for association of these SNPs and haplotypes with breast cancer risk in a population-based case-control study of 1,529 women with breast cancer and 1,528 controls. We found significant associations between breast cancer risk and all four studied SNPs in FGFR2 (P trend for all SNPs < 0.0001). In ethnicity-specific analysis, all four SNPs were significantly associated with breast cancer risk in Ashkenazi and Sephardi Jews, with a similar but not significant trend in Arabs. Haplotype analysis identified five common haplotypes (>1%). The previously described AAGT risk haplotype was significantly associated with breast cancer risk in Ashkenazi [odds ratio (OR), 1.25; 95% confidence interval (95% CI), 1.07-1.45; P = 0.0059] and Sephardi Jews (OR, 1.46; 95% CI, 1.17-1.80; P = 0.0006) compared with the reference GGAC haplotype. The AAAC haplotype was significantly associated with breast cancer risk in Sephardi Jews (OR, 1.97; 95% CI, 1.16-3.35; P = 0.0125) but not in Ashkenazi Jews (OR, 0.83; 95% CI, 0.41-1.62; P = 0.5613) or in Arabs (OR, 1.31; 95% CI, 0.80-2.14; P = 0.2881). Genetic variation in FGFR2, identified by rs1219648, may account for a substantial fraction of breast cancer in Arab (12%), Ashkenazi (15%), and Sephardi Jewish (22%) populations. The identification of population-specific risk haplotypes in FGFR2 is likely to help identify causal variants for breast cancer.
Targeted mutagenesis of Fgf9 in mice causes male-to-female sex reversal. Among the four FGF receptors, FGFR2 showed two highly specific patterns based on antibody staining, suggesting that it might be the receptor-mediating FGF9 signaling in the gonad. FGFR2 was detected at the plasma membrane in proliferating coelomic epithelial cells and in the nucleus in Sertoli progenitor cells. This expression pattern suggested that Fgfr2 might play more than one role in testis development. To test the hypothesis that Fgfr2 is required for male sex determination, we crossed mice carrying a floxed allele of Fgfr2 with two different Cre lines to induce a temporal or cell-specific deletion of this receptor. Results show that deletion of Fgfr2 in embryonic gonads phenocopies deletion of Fgf9 and leads to male-to-female sex reversal. Using these two Cre lines, we provide the first genetic evidence that Fgfr2 plays distinct roles in proliferation and Sertoli cell differentiation during testis development.
ABT-737 is a subnanomolar inhibitor of the antiapoptotic proteins Bcl-2, Bcl-X(L) and Bcl-w. Although ABT-737 triggers extensive cell death in many small-cell lung carcinoma (SCLC) cell lines, some of the SCLC cell lines and the majority of the cancer cell lines derived from other solid tumors were found to be resistant to ABT-737. To better understand the mechanism of resistance to ABT-737, we screened a short interfering RNA library consisting of short interfering RNA against 4000 'druggable' targets in an SCLC-derived cell line, NCI-H196. By comparing the knockdowns with phenotypes, all of the three top 'hits' from the screen were found to result from off-target gene silencing. Interestingly, the three off-target siRNAs were found to knock down an antiapoptotic Bcl-2 family protein Mcl-1 owing to the complementation between their seed regions with the 3' untranslated region (3' UTR) of Mcl-1. Furthermore, reducing the level of Mcl-1 using siRNAs or the small-molecule compounds Bay43-9006 and Seliciclib was sufficient to overcome the resistance to ABT-737 in the resistant SCLC cell line and cancer cell lines derived from other solid tumors. These results provide further evidence that Mcl-1 is the major factor that causes resistance to ABT-737 in cancer cells derived from diverse solid tumors, and the combination of Mcl-1 downregulating agents with ABT-737 could be potent therapeutic regimens for patient with ABT-737-resistant SCLC and many other types of solid tumors.
Accurate determination of the contributions of oncogenes toward tumor progression requires their regulation. Herein, we created transgenic mice with prostate-specific expression of ligand-inducible FGFR1 or FGFR2, based on lipid-permeable dimerizing molecules, called chemical inducers of dimerization. Despite extensive homology and equivalent expression by both chimeric receptors in the ventral prostate gland, only FGFR1 triggers detectable nuclear translocation of Erk and progression to prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN). Induction of PIN grade I-II, indicated by multiple layers of atypical cells, is seen consistently by 12 weeks of chemical inducers of dimerization treatment. By 6 months, more extensive nuclear atypia, thickened "reactive" stroma, and basement membrane herniation occurs, corresponding to PIN IV. By timed removal of FGFR1 signaling, we show that induced hyperplasia is reversible until extensive intraductal vascularization occurs, but continued progression requires prolonged FGFR1 signaling. Additionally, by highlighting differences between the two receptors and creating the foundation for controlling FGFR1 signaling during prostate cancer progression, a model of early stage prostate cancer is established for developing targeted intervention directed toward the FGFR signaling axis.
Changes in the fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) axis are often associated with prostate cancer (CaP) progression. We have used chemically induced dimerization (CID) to elucidate the individual contributions of FGFR1 and FGFR2 to tumor etiology. Novel CaP cell lines stably expressing CID/AP20187-inducible FGFR1 (iFGFR1) and iFGFR2 were made using the tumorigenic transgenic adenocarcinoma of the murine prostate (TRAMP)-derived clone, TRAMP-C2N (C2N), to generate C2N.iFGFR1 or C2N.iFGFR2 cells. To test the effects of iFGFR activation on tumor growth, mice bearing s.c. C2N.iFGFR1- or C2N.iFGFR2-derived tumors were treated biweekly with CID. Activation of iFGFR1 led to rapid tumor growth as a result of increased proliferation. In contrast, expression of iFGFR2 inhibited tumor growth. Furthermore, we have ascertained that FGFR1 activation appears to be most important during the early stages of tumor development, but once established, tumors become rapidly CID independent. In these C2N-based lines, quantitative signaling differences were seen between the two receptors, with iFGFR1 leading to more robust extracellular signal-regulated kinase activation. Additionally, activation of iFGFR1, but not iFGFR2, led to strong up-regulation of osteopontin, a secreted glycoprotein involved in integrin activation and associated with CaP progression and metastasis. These studies support the hypothesis that observed changes in the FGFR axis in mammals during CaP progression are causally important.
Mammary gland development is regulated by complex interactions among mammogenic hormones and locally derived paracrine growth factors. In epithelial tissues, keratinocyte growth factor (KGF or FGF-7) originates in the stroma while its receptor (KGFR or FGFR2-IIIb) is present only in the epithelium. Previous work showed that estrogen but not progesterone could stimulate the synthesis of KGF in mammary stroma in vivo. The effects of 17 beta-estradiol and progesterone on KGFR expression in vivo were examined in these studies. Peripubertal and mature virgin mice received subcutaneous injections of hormone in sesame oil after which KGFR mRNA levels were assayed by ribonuclease protection analysis of mammary gland RNA. Estradiol treatment caused a dose- and time-dependent decrease in KGFR mRNA level in mice from both age groups while stimulating ductal growth after 7 days of treatment. Inhibition of KGFR expression was near maximal at an estradiol dose of 2 microg after 1 day of treatment. Progesterone injection increased KGFR mRNA levels but this effect correlated with the stimulation of ductal growth. However, when progesterone was co-administered with estradiol, KGFR mRNA levels were maintained in the absence of any effect on ductal growth. Thus, estradiol inhibited KGFR mRNA only when elevated unopposed by progesterone. These data show that KGFR expression is determined by the ratio of estradiol and progesterone and suggests a mechanism through which these hormones can co-operate to optimize their growth-promoting effects. Consequences of hormone imbalance are also implicated.
The expression of the KGF receptor (KGFR) and its stromal ligands, KGF and FGF-10, was compared during mouse mammary gland development. KGFR expression in mammary parenchyma is maximal in mature virgin mice, declines during pregnancy and lactation, but rises after weaning. The rise in KGFR mRNA in the virgin animal corresponds to parenchymal growth. The fall in KGFR expression in pregnancy is driven by hormone-induced alveolar differentiation since the level of KGFR mRNA is 5-fold higher in isolated ductal cells compared to alveolar cells. KGF and FGF-10 expression patterns differ during ductal development. FGF-10 is also expressed at about a 15-fold higher molar level than KGF. During pregnancy and lactation, expression of KGF and FGF-10 decreases in intact fat pads but is unchanged in parenchyma-free fat pads. Thus, the decrease in KGF and FGF-10 expression observed in intact glands during pregnancy and lactation is not a direct consequence of the changing hormonal milieu but more likely reflects an increase in the ratio of epithelium to stroma. Differences in the level and pattern of expression of mRNA for KGF, FGF-10, and the KGFR during postnatal development of the mouse mammary gland are a result of morphological development, changes in the ratio of stroma to epithelium, and hormonal regulation of cell differentiation. These changes suggest that the biological roles that these growth factors play are regulated by fluctuations in both growth factor and growth factor receptor expression and that KGF and FGF-10 may have different regulatory functions.