Jennifer P Morton

Beatson Institute for Cancer Research, Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom

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Publications (44)433.34 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Abstract Optimising response to tyrosine kinase inhibitors in cancer remains an extensive field of research. Intravital imaging is an emerging tool, which can be used in drug discovery to facilitate and fine-tune maximum drug response in live tumours. A greater understanding of intratumoural delivery and pharmacodynamics of a drug can be obtained by imaging drug target-specific fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) biosensors in real time. Here, we outline our recent work using a Src-FRET biosensor as a readout of Src activity to gauge optimal tyrosine kinase inhibition in response to dasatinib treatment regimens in vivo. By simultaneously monitoring both the inhibition of Src using FRET imaging, and the modulation of the surrounding extracellular matrix using second harmonic generation (SHG) imaging, we were able to show enhanced drug penetrance and delivery to live pancreatic tumours. We discuss the implications of this dual intravital imaging approach in the context of altered tumour-stromal interactions, while summarising how this approach could be applied to assess other combination strategies or tyrosine kinase inhibitors in a preclinical setting.
    Cell adhesion & migration 10/2014; · 2.34 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: j.celrep.2014.07.057 This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/). SUMMARY MYC is one of the most frequently overexpressed oncogenes in human cancer, and even modestly de-regulated MYC can initiate ectopic proliferation in many postmitotic cell types in vivo. Sensitization of cells to apoptosis limits MYC's oncogenic potential. However, the mechanism through which MYC in-duces apoptosis is controversial. Some studies implicate p19ARF-mediated stabilization of p53, fol-lowed by induction of proapoptotic BH3 proteins NOXA and PUMA, whereas others argue for direct regulation of BH3 proteins, especially BIM. Here, we use a single experimental system to systemati-cally evaluate the roles of p19ARF and BIM during MYC-induced apoptosis, in vitro, in vivo, and in combination with a widely used chemotherapeutic, doxorubicin. We find a common specific requirement for BIM during MYC-induced apoptosis in multiple settings, which does not extend to the p53-respon-sive BH3 family member PUMA, and find no evidence of a role for p19ARF during MYC-induced apoptosis in the tissues examined. INTRODUCTION
    Cell Reports 09/2014; · 7.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In mammalian cells, the MYC oncoprotein binds to thousands of promoters. During mitogenic stimulation of primary lymphocytes, MYC promotes an increase in the expression of virtually all genes. In contrast, MYC-driven tumour cells differ from normal cells in the expression of specific sets of up- and downregulated genes that have considerable prognostic value. To understand this discrepancy, we studied the consequences of inducible expression and depletion of MYC in human cells and murine tumour models. Changes in MYC levels activate and repress specific sets of direct target genes that are characteristic of MYC-transformed tumour cells. Three factors account for this specificity. First, the magnitude of response parallels the change in occupancy by MYC at each promoter. Functionally distinct classes of target genes differ in the E-box sequence bound by MYC, suggesting that different cellular responses to physiological and oncogenic MYC levels are controlled by promoter affinity. Second, MYC both positively and negatively affects transcription initiation independent of its effect on transcriptional elongation. Third, complex formation with MIZ1 (also known as ZBTB17) mediates repression of multiple target genes by MYC and the ratio of MYC and MIZ1 bound to each promoter correlates with the direction of response.
    Nature 07/2014; · 38.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Nucleophosmin (NPM) is known to regulate ARF subcellular localization and MDM2 activity in response to oncogenic stress, though the precise mechanism has remained elusive. Here we describe how NPM and ARF associate in the nucleoplasm to form a MDM2 inhibitory complex. We find that oligomerization of NPM drives nucleolar accumulation of ARF. Moreover, the formation of NPM and ARF oligomers antagonizes MDM2 association with the inhibitory complex, leading to activation of MDM2 E3-ligase activity and targeting of p53. We find that AKT phosphorylation of NPM-Ser48 prevents oligomerization that results in nucleoplasmic localization of ARF, constitutive MDM2 inhibition and stabilization of p53. We also show that ARF promotes p53 mutant stability in tumors and suppresses p73 mediated p21 expression and senescence. We demonstrate that AKT and PI3K inhibitors may be effective in treatment of therapeutically resistant tumors with elevated AKT and carrying gain of function mutations in p53. Our results show that the clinical candidate AKT inhibitor MK-2206 promotes ARF nucleolar localization, reduced p53(mut) stability and increased sensitivity to ionizing radiation in a xenograft model of pancreatic cancer. Analysis of human tumors indicates that phospho-S48-NPM may be a useful biomarker for monitoring AKT activity and in vivo efficacy of AKT inhibitor treatment. Critically, we propose that combination therapy involving PI3K-AKT inhibitors would benefit from a patient stratification rationale based on ARF and p53(mut) status.
    Oncotarget 07/2014; · 6.64 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Basic in vitro systems can be used to model and assess complex diseases, such as cancer. Recent advances in this field include the incorporation of multiple cell types and extracellular matrix proteins into 3D models to recapitulate the structure, organization and functionality of live tissue in situ. Cells within such a 3D environment behave very differently from cells on 2D substrates, as cell-matrix interactions trigger signalling pathways and cellular responses in 3D, which may not be observed in 2D. Thus, the use of 3D systems can be advantageous for the assessment of disease progression over 2D setups alone. Here, we highlight the current advantages and challenges of employing 3D systems in the study of cancer and provide an overview to guide the appropriate use of distinct models in cancer research.
    Carcinogenesis 06/2014; · 5.64 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Pancreatic cancer is a leading cause of cancer-related death in the Western world. Current chemotherapy regimens have modest survival benefit. Thus, novel, effective therapies are required for treatment of this disease. Activating KRAS mutation almost always drives pancreatic tumour initiation, however, deregulation of other potentially druggable pathways promotes tumour progression. PTEN loss leads to acceleration of Kras(G12D)-driven pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) in mice and these tumours have high levels of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signalling. To test whether these KRAS PTEN pancreatic tumours show mTOR dependence, we compared response to mTOR inhibition in this model, to the response in another established model of pancreatic cancer, KRAS P53. We also assessed whether there was a subset of pancreatic cancer patients who may respond to mTOR inhibition. We found that tumours in KRAS PTEN mice exhibit a remarkable dependence on mTOR signalling. In these tumours, mTOR inhibition leads to proliferative arrest and even tumour regression. Further, we could measure response using clinically applicable positron emission tomography imaging. Importantly, pancreatic tumours driven by activated KRAS and mutant p53 did not respond to treatment. In human tumours, approximately 20% of cases demonstrated low PTEN expression and a gene expression signature that overlaps with murine KRAS PTEN tumours. KRAS PTEN tumours are uniquely responsive to mTOR inhibition. Targeted anti-mTOR therapies may offer clinical benefit in subsets of human PDAC selected based on genotype, that are dependent on mTOR signalling. Thus, the genetic signatures of human tumours could be used to direct pancreatic cancer treatment in the future.
    Gut 04/2014; · 10.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The small G protein family Rac has numerous regulators that integrate extracellular signals into tight spatiotemporal maps of its activity to promote specific cell morphologies and responses. Here, we have generated a mouse strain, Rac-FRET, which ubiquitously expresses the Raichu-Rac biosensor. It enables FRET imaging and quantification of Rac activity in live tissues and primary cells without affecting cell properties and responses. We assessed Rac activity in chemotaxing Rac-FRET neutrophils and found enrichment in leading-edge protrusions and unexpected longitudinal shifts and oscillations during protruding and stalling phases of migration. We monitored Rac activity in normal or disease states of intestinal, liver, mammary, pancreatic, and skin tissue, in response to stimulation or inhibition and upon genetic manipulation of upstream regulators, revealing unexpected insights into Rac signaling during disease development. The Rac-FRET strain is a resource that promises to fundamentally advance our understanding of Rac-dependent responses in primary cells and native environments.
    Cell Reports 03/2014; · 7.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mutations of the tumor suppressor TP53 are present in many forms of human cancer and are associated with increased tumor cell invasion and metastasis. Several mechanisms have been identified for promoting dissemination of cancer cells with TP53 mutations, including increased targeting of integrins to the plasma membrane. Here, we demonstrate a role for the filopodia-inducing motor protein Myosin-X (Myo10) in mutant p53-driven cancer invasion. Analysis of gene expression profiles from 2 breast cancer data sets revealed that MYO10 was highly expressed in aggressive cancer subtypes. Myo10 was required for breast cancer cell invasion and dissemination in multiple cancer cell lines and murine models of cancer metastasis. Evaluation of a Myo10 mutant without the integrin-binding domain revealed that the ability of Myo10 to transport β1 integrins to the filopodia tip is required for invasion. Introduction of mutant p53 promoted Myo10 expression in cancer cells and pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma in mice, whereas suppression of endogenous mutant p53 attenuated Myo10 levels and cell invasion. In clinical breast carcinomas, Myo10 was predominantly expressed at the invasive edges and correlated with the presence of TP53 mutations and poor prognosis. These data indicate that Myo10 upregulation in mutant p53-driven cancers is necessary for invasion and that plasma-membrane protrusions, such as filopodia, may serve as specialized metastatic engines.
    The Journal of clinical investigation 02/2014; · 15.39 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is often lethal because it is highly invasive and metastasizes rapidly. The actin-bundling protein fascin has been identified as a biomarker of invasive and advanced PDAC and regulates cell migration and invasion in vitro. We investigated fascin expression and its role in PDAC progression in mice. We used KRas(G12D) p53(R172H) Pdx1-Cre (KPC) mice to investigate the effects of fascin deficiency (FKPC mice) on development of pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PanIn), PDAC, and metastasis. We measured levels of fascin in PDAC cell lines and 122 human resected PDAC samples, along with normal ductal and acinar tissues; we associated levels with patient outcomes. Pancreatic ducts and acini from control mice, and early-stage PanINs from KPC mice, were negative for fascin, but approximately 6% of PanIN3 and 100% of PDAC expressed fascin. FKPC mice had longer survival times, delayed onset of PDAC, and a lower PDAC tumor burdens than KPC mice; loss of fascin did not affect invasion of PDAC into bowel or peritoneum in mice. Levels of slug and fascin correlated in PDAC cells; slug was found to regulate transcription of Fascin along with the epithelial-mesenchymal transition. In PDAC cell lines and cells from mice, fascin concentrated in filopodia, and was required for their assembly and turnover. Fascin promoted intercalation of filopodia into mesothelial cell layers and cell invasion. Nearly all human PDAC samples expressed fascin, and higher fascin histoscores correlated with poor outcome, vascular invasion, and time to recurrence. The actin-bundling protein fascin is regulated by slug and involved in late-stage PanIN and PDAC formation in mice. Fascin appears to promote formation of filopodia and invasive activities of PDAC cells. Its levels in human PDAC correlate with outcome and time to recurrence, indicating it might be a marker or therapeutic target for pancreatic cancer.
    Gastroenterology 01/2014; · 12.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Pancreatico-biliary adenocarcinomas (PBA) have a poor prognosis. Diagnosis is usually achieved by imaging and/or endoscopy with confirmatory cytology. Cytological interpretation can be difficult especially in the setting of chronic pancreatitis/cholangitis. Immunohistochemistry (IHC) biomarkers could act as an adjunct to cytology to improve the diagnosis. Thus, we performed a meta-analysis and selected KOC, S100P, mesothelin and MUC1 for further validation in PBA resection specimens.
    BMC Clinical Pathology 01/2014; 14:35.
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    ABSTRACT: Macroautophagy (hereafter referred to as autophagy) is a process in which organelles termed autophagosomes deliver cytoplasmic constituents to lysosomes for degradation. Autophagy has a major role in cellular homeostasis and has been implicated in various forms of human disease. The role of autophagy in cancer seems to be complex, with reports indicating both pro-tumorigenic and tumour-suppressive roles. Here we show, in a humanized genetically-modified mouse model of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), that autophagy's role in tumour development is intrinsically connected to the status of the tumour suppressor p53. Mice with pancreases containing an activated oncogenic allele of Kras (also called Ki-Ras)-the most common mutational event in PDAC-develop a small number of pre-cancerous lesions that stochastically develop into PDAC over time. However, mice also lacking the essential autophagy genes Atg5 or Atg7 accumulate low-grade, pre-malignant pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia lesions, but progression to high-grade pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasias and PDAC is blocked. In marked contrast, in mice containing oncogenic Kras and lacking p53, loss of autophagy no longer blocks tumour progression, but actually accelerates tumour onset, with metabolic analysis revealing enhanced glucose uptake and enrichment of anabolic pathways, which can fuel tumour growth. These findings provide considerable insight into the role of autophagy in cancer and have important implications for autophagy inhibition in cancer therapy. In this regard, we also show that treatment of mice with the autophagy inhibitor hydroxychloroquine, which is currently being used in several clinical trials, significantly accelerates tumour formation in mice containing oncogenic Kras but lacking p53.
    Nature 12/2013; · 38.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Many tumours harbour mutations in the p53 tumour-suppressor gene that result in the expression of a mutant p53 protein. This mutant p53 protein has, in most cases, lost wild-type transcriptional activity and can also acquire novel functions in promoting invasion and metastasis. One of the mechanisms underlying these novel functions involves the ability of the mutant p53 to interfere with other transcription factors, including the p53 family protein TAp63. To investigate whether simultaneous depletion of both p53 and TAp63 can recapitulate the effect of mutant p53 expression in vivo, we used a mouse model of pancreatic cancer in which the expression of mutant p53 resulted in the rapid appearance of primary tumours and metastases. As shown previously, loss of one allele of wild-type (WT) p53 accelerated tumour development. A change of one WT p53 allele into mutant p53 did not further accelerate tumour development, but did promote the formation of metastasis. By contrast, loss of TAp63 did not significantly accelerate tumour development or metastasis. However, simultaneous depletion of p53 and TAp63 led to both rapid tumour development and metastatic potential, although the incidence of metastases remained lower than that seen in mutant p53-expressing tumours. TAp63/p53-null cells derived from these mice also showed an enhanced ability to scatter and invade in tissue culture as was observed in mutant p53 cells. These data suggest that depletion of TAp63 in a p53-null tumour can promote metastasis and recapitulate-to some extent-the consequences of mutant p53 expression.Oncogene advance online publication, 22 July 2013; doi:10.1038/onc.2013.287.
    Oncogene 07/2013; · 8.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Oncogene-induced senescence (OIS) is crucial for tumour suppression. Senescent cells implement a complex pro-inflammatory response termed the senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP). The SASP reinforces senescence, activates immune surveillance and paradoxically also has pro-tumorigenic properties. Here, we present evidence that the SASP can also induce paracrine senescence in normal cells both in culture and in human and mouse models of OIS in vivo. Coupling quantitative proteomics with small-molecule screens, we identified multiple SASP components mediating paracrine senescence, including TGF-β family ligands, VEGF, CCL2 and CCL20. Amongst them, TGF-β ligands play a major role by regulating p15(INK4b) and p21(CIP1). Expression of the SASP is controlled by inflammasome-mediated IL-1 signalling. The inflammasome and IL-1 signalling are activated in senescent cells and IL-1α expression can reproduce SASP activation, resulting in senescence. Our results demonstrate that the SASP can cause paracrine senescence and impact on tumour suppression and senescence in vivo.
    Nature Cell Biology 06/2013; · 20.76 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cancer invasion and metastasis occur in a complex three-dimensional environment, with reciprocal feedback from the surrounding host tissue and vasculature governing behavior. Here, for the first time, we have successfully analysed the spatiotemporal regulation of Src activity in response to the anti-invasive Src inhibitor dasatinib in alive animal model of pancreatic cancer using a FLIM-FRET Src-biosensor to monitor drug targeting efficacy in vivo. We show that in contrast to conventional techniques, FLIM-FRET analysis allows for accurate, time-dependent, live monitoring of drug efficacy and clearance in live tumors. In three-dimensional organotypic cultures we demonstrate that a spatially distinct gradient of Src activity exists within invading tumor cells, governed by the depth of penetration into complex matrices. In line with this, we show that this gradient also exists within live tumors, where Src activity is enhanced at the invasive border relative to the tumor cortex. Upon treatment with dasatinib we observe a switch in activity at the invasive borders, correlating with their impaired metastatic capacity in vivo. Moreover, Src regulation is governed by the proximity of cells to the host vasculature as cells distal to the vasculature are differentially regulated in response to drug treatment compared to cells proximal to vasculature. This suggests that in live tumors a threshold of drug penetrance exists and can be used to map areas of poor drug targeting efficiency within specific tumor microenvironments. Employment of FLIM-FRET in this capacity could therefore be used as a pre-clinical tool in animal models prior to clinical investigations.
    Cancer Research 06/2013; · 9.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Integration of signal transduction pathways play a fundamental role in governing disease initiation, progression and outcome. It is therefore necessary to understand disease at the signalling level in order to give effective treatment and to intervene in its progression. The recent extension of in vitro sub-cellular image-based analysis to live in vivo modelling of disease is providing a more complete picture of real-time, dynamic signalling processes or drug responses in live tissue. Intravital imaging offers alternative strategies to study disease and embraces the biological complexities that govern disease progression. Here we highlight how three dimensional or live intravital imaging has uncovered novel insights into biological mechanisms or modes of drug action. Furthermore, we offer a prospective view of how imaging applications may be further integrated to understand disease in a more physiological and functional manner within the framework of the drug discovery process. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    FEBS Journal 05/2013; · 4.25 Impact Factor
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    Jennifer P Morton, Owen J Sansom
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    ABSTRACT: MYC is one of the best-studied oncogenes in terms of mouse models of malignancy. MYC overexpression has been targeted to several tissues using transgenic constructs, and more recently as mouse models have evolved, conditional systems have been developed to allow the regulation of MYC expression or activity in vivo. The ability to target MYC expression to specific tissues and cell lineages, as well as the ability to regulate that expression, has made genetically engineered mouse models (GEMM) a valuable resource for studying the importance of MYC in the process of tumourigenesis. Here we review how these models have been used to address the role of MYC in tumour initiation and maintenance, how subtle changes in levels of MYC can influence tumourigenesis, and finally the ongoing efforts to target endogenous MYC genetically and with novel therapies.
    Molecular oncology 03/2013; · 6.70 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Chronic localized pancreatic inflammation in the form of chronic pancreatitis is an established risk factor for human pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) development. Constitutive activation of inflammation-related signal transducer and activator of transcription (Stat)3 signaling has been implicated in the development and progression a number of malignancies, including PDAC. Although, the Janus Kinase (Jak)/Stat pathway is a potential drug target, clinicopathological, molecular, and prognostic features of Stat3-activated PDAC remain uncertain. Our aim was to determine the clinicopathological impact of this inflammatory pathway in resectable PDAC. METHODS: Using a tissue microarray-based cohort of PDAC from 86 patients undergoing pancreaticoduodenectomy with curative intent and complete clinicopathological data available, we evaluated expression of the interleukin-6 receptor (IL-6R)/Jak/Stat pathway by immunohistochemistry. IL-6R, Jak, phospho (p)-Jak, Stat3, pStat3(Tyr705), and pStat3(Ser727) were assessed in PDAC and pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia. A Cox regression multivariate analysis model was used to determine factors influencing survival. Activation of the IL-6R/Jak/Stat3 pathway was compared with the systemic inflammatory response as measured by serum C-reactive protein levels. RESULTS: High pJak was associated with reduced overall survival in multivariate analysis when compared with those with moderate or low expression (p = 0.036; hazard ratio (HR) = 1.68) as was pStat3(Tyr705) (p < 0.001; HR = 2.66) independent of lymph node status and tumor grade. Patients with a combination of pJak(high)/pStat3(Tyr705) (high) expression had an especially poor prognosis (median survival of 8.8 months; 95 % CI, 4.4-13.2). While the IL-6R/Jak/Stat pathway did not correlate with serum C-reactive protein levels, high pStat3 expression was associated with a reduction in the density of the local tumoral immune response. CONCLUSION: Activation of the Jak/Stat3 pathway via phosphorylation was associated with adverse outcome following resection of PDAC with curative intent supporting potential roles for pJak and pStat3 as prognostic biomarkers markers and therapeutic targets.
    Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery 02/2013; · 2.36 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is an aggressive malignancy associated with <5% 5-year survival, in which standard chemotherapeutics have limited benefit. The disease is associated with significant intra- and peritumoral inflammation and failure of protective immunosurveillance. Indeed, inflammatory signals are implicated in both tumour initiation and tumour progression. The major pathways regulating PDAC-associated inflammation are now being explored. Activation of leukocytes, and upregulation of cytokine and chemokine signalling pathways, both have been shown to modulate PDAC progression. Therefore, targeting inflammatory pathways may be of benefit as part of a multi-target approach to PDAC therapy. This review explores the pathways known to modulate inflammation at different stages of tumour development, drawing conclusions on their potential as therapeutic targets in PDAC.British Journal of Cancer advance online publication, 5 February 2013; doi:10.1038/bjc.2013.24 www.bjcancer.com.
    British Journal of Cancer 02/2013; · 5.08 Impact Factor
  • Pancreatology 01/2013; 13(1):e5. · 2.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Tumour-derived mutant p53 proteins promote invasion, in part, by enhancing Rab coupling protein (RCP)-dependent receptor recycling. Here we identified MET as an RCP-binding protein and showed that mutant p53 promoted MET recycling. Mutant p53-expressing cells were more sensitive to hepatocyte growth factor, the ligand for MET, leading to enhanced MET signalling, invasion and cell scattering that was dependent on both MET and RCP. In cells expressing the p53 family member TAp63, inhibition of TAp63 also lead to cell scattering and MET-dependent invasion. However, in cells that express very low levels of TAp63, the ability of mutant p53 to promote MET-dependent cell scattering was independent of TAp63. Taken together, our data show that mutant p53 can enhance MET signalling to promote cell scattering and invasion through both TAp63-dependent and -independent mechanisms. MET has a predominant role in metastatic progression and the identification of mechanisms through which mutations in p53 can drive MET signalling may help to identify and direct therapy.Oncogene advance online publication, 14 May 2012; doi:10.1038/onc.2012.148.
    Oncogene 05/2012; · 8.56 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

1k Citations
433.34 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2009–2014
    • Beatson Institute for Cancer Research
      • Colorectal Cancer and Wnt Signalling
      Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom
  • 2002–2014
    • University of Glasgow
      • College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences
      Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom
    • Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
      Cold Spring Harbor, New York, United States