An Aberrant Transcription Factor Network Essential for Wnt Signaling and Stem Cell Maintenance in Glioblastoma
ABSTRACT Glioblastoma (GBM) is thought to be driven by a subpopulation of cancer stem cells (CSCs) that self-renew and recapitulate tumor heterogeneity yet remain poorly understood. Here, we present a comparative analysis of chromatin state in GBM CSCs that reveals widespread activation of genes normally held in check by Polycomb repressors. These activated targets include a large set of developmental transcription factors (TFs) whose coordinated activation is unique to the CSCs. We demonstrate that a critical factor in the set, ASCL1, activates Wnt signaling by repressing the negative regulator DKK1. We show that ASCL1 is essential for the maintenance and in vivo tumorigenicity of GBM CSCs. Genome-wide binding profiles for ASCL1 and the Wnt effector LEF-1 provide mechanistic insight and suggest widespread interactions between the TF module and the signaling pathway. Our findings demonstrate regulatory connections among ASCL1, Wnt signaling, and collaborating TFs that are essential for the maintenance and tumorigenicity of GBM CSCs.
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ABSTRACT: The existence of subpopulations of cells in cancers with increased tumor-initiating capacities and self-renewal potential, often termed "cancer stem cells," is a much discussed and key area of cancer biology. Such cellular heterogeneity is very important because of its impact on therapy and especially states of treatment resistance. A major question is whether there is plasticity for evolution of these cell states during tumorigenesis that can involve movement between cell populations in a reversible fashion. In this review, we discuss the possible role of epigenetic abnormalities as well as genetic alterations in such dynamics and in the creation of cellular heterogeneity in cancers of all types.
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ABSTRACT: ASCL1 is an important regulatory transcription factor in pulmonary neuroendocrine (NE) cell development, but its value as a biomarker of NE differentiation in lung adenocarcinoma (AD) and as a potential prognostic biomarker remains unclear. We examined ASCL1 expression in lung cancer samples of varied histologic subtype, clinical outcome and smoking status and compared with expression of traditional NE markers. ASCL1 mRNA expression was found almost exclusively in smokers with AD, in contrast to non-smokers and other lung cancer subtypes. ASCL1 protein expression by immunohistochemical (IHC) analysis correlated best with synaptophysin compared with chromogranin and CD56/NCAM. Analysis of a compendium of 367 microarray-based gene expression profiles in stage I lung adenocarcinomas identified significantly higher expression levels of the RET oncogene in ASCL1-positive tumors (ASCL1(+)) compared with ASCL1(-) tumors (q-value <10(-9)). High levels of RET expression in ASCL1(+) but not in ASCL1(-) tumors was associated with significantly shorter overall survival (OS) in stage 1 (P=0.007) and in all AD (P=0.037). RET protein expression by IHC had an association with OS in the context of ASCL1 expression. In silico gene set analysis and in vitro experiments by ASCL1 shRNA in AD cells with high endogenous expression of ASCL1 and RET implicated ASCL1 as a potential upstream regulator of the RET oncogene. Also, silencing ASCL1 in AD cells markedly reduced cell growth and motility. These results suggest that ASCL1 and RET expression defines a clinically relevant subgroup of ∼10% of AD characterized by NE differentiation.Oncogene advance online publication, 16 September 2013; doi:10.1038/onc.2013.359.Oncogene 09/2013; 74(19 Supplement). DOI:10.1038/onc.2013.359 · 8.56 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The discovery of cancer stem cells in glioma has created a paradigm shift in our understanding of this deadly disease. Glioma stem cells exhibit sustained self-renewal and potent tumorigenic potential and differ from their more differentiated progeny in response to current therapies. Recurrent disease is likely derived from glioma stem cells or progeny reprogrammed to gain stem cell-like phenotypes, indicating that the stem cell phenotype is a crucial therapeutic target. While debate over cancer stem cell and clonal evolution models persists, important knowledge has been gained over the past decade from glioma stem cells investigation and clinical impact is expected.Translational Cancer Research 10/2013; 2(5):429-441. DOI:10.3978/j.issn.2218-676X.2013.08.01