[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Entry into mitosis is driven by the activity of kinases, which phosphorylate over 7000 proteins on multiple sites. For cells to exit mitosis and segregate their genome correctly, these phosphorylations must be removed in a specific temporal order. This raises a critical and important question: how are specific phosphorylation sites on an individual protein removed? Traditionally, the temporal order of dephosphorylation was attributed to decreasing kinase activity. However, recent evidence in human cells has identified unique patterns of dephosphorylation during mammalian mitotic exit that cannot be fully explained by the loss of kinase activity. This suggests that specificity is determined in part by phosphatases. In this review, we explore how the physicochemical properties of an individual phosphosite and its surrounding amino acids can affect interactions with a phosphatase. These positive and negative interactions in turn help determine the specific pattern of dephosphorylation required for correct mitotic exit.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The presence or absence of a phosphorylation on a substrate at any particular point in time is a functional readout of the balance in activity between the regulatory kinase and the counteracting phosphatase. Understanding how stable or short-lived a phos- phorylation site is required for fully appreciating the biological consequences of the phosphorylation. Our current understanding of kinases and their substrates is well established; however, the role phosphatases play is less understood. Therefore, we utilized a phosphatase dependent model of mitotic exit to identify potential substrates that are preferentially dephosphorylated. Using this method, we identified 416,000 phosphosites on 43300 unique proteins, and quantified the temporal phosphorylation changes that occur during early mitotic exit (McCloy et al., 2015 ). Furthermore, we annotated the majority of these phosphorylation sites with a high confidence upstream kinase using published, motif and prediction based methods. The results from this study have been deposited into the ProteomeXchange repository with identifier PXD001559. Here we provide additional analysis of this dataset; for each of the major mitotic kinases we identified motifs that correlated strongly with phosphorylation status. These motifs could be used to predict the stability of phosphorylated residues in proteins of interest, and help infer potential functional roles for uncharacterized phosphorylations. In addition, we provide valida- tion at the single cell level that serine residues phosphorylated by Cdk are stable during phosphatase dependent mitotic exit. In summary, this unique dataset contains information on the temporal mitotic stability of thousands of phosphorylation sites regulated by dozens of kinases, and information on the potential preference that phosphatases have at both the protein and individual phosphosite level. The compellation of this data provides an invaluable resource for the wider research community.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The landscape of advanced non-small lung cancer (NSCLC) therapies has rapidly been evolving beyond chemotherapy over the last few years. The discovery of oncogenic driver mutations has led to new ways in classifying NSCLC as well as offered novel therapeutic targets for anticancer therapy. Targets such as epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutations and anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) gene rearrangements have successfully been targeted with appropriate tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs). Other driver mutations such as ROS, MET, RET, BRAF have also been investigated with targeted agents with some success in the early phase clinical setting. Novel strategies in the field of immune-oncology have also led to the development of inhibitors of cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen-4 (CTLA-4) and programmed death-1 receptor (PD-1), which are important pathways in allowing cancer cells to escape detection by the immune system. These inhibitors have been successfully tried in NSCLC and also now bring the exciting possibility of long term responses in advanced NSCLC. In this review recent data on novel targets and therapeutic strategies and their future prospects are discussed.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cancer stem cells (CSCs) represent a rare population of cells with the capacity to self-renew and give rise to heterogeneous cell lineages within a tumour. Whilst the mechanisms underlying the regulation of CSCs are poorly defined, key developmental signaling pathways required for normal stem and progenitor functions have been strongly implicated. Hedgehog (Hh) signaling is an evolutionarily-conserved pathway essential for self-renewal and cell fate determination. Aberrant Hh signaling is associated with the development and progression of various types of cancer and is implicated in multiple aspects of tumourigenesis, including the maintenance of CSCs. Here, we discuss the mounting evidence suggestive of Hh-driven CSCs in the context of haematological malignancies and solid tumours and the novel strategies that hold the potential to block many aspects of the transformation attributed to the CSC phenotype, including chemotherapeutic resistance, relapse and metastasis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Inflammation is critical for host defense, but without appropriate control, it can cause chronic disease or even provoke fatal responses. Here we identify a mechanism that limits the inflammatory response. Probing the responses of macrophages to the key sensory Toll-like receptors, we identify that the Broad-complex, Tramtrack and Bric-a-brac/poxvirus and zinc finger (BTB/POZ), transcriptional regulator promyelocytic leukemia zinc finger (PLZF) limits the expression of inflammatory gene products. In accord with this finding, PLZF-deficient animals express higher levels of potent inflammatory cytokines and mount exaggerated inflammatory responses to infectious stimuli. Temporal quantitation of inflammatory gene transcripts shows increased gene induction in the absence of PLZF. Genome-wide analysis of histone modifications distinguish that PLZF establishes basal activity states of early response genes to maintain immune homeostasis and limit damaging inflammation. We show that PLZF stabilizes a corepressor complex that encompasses histone deacetylase activity to control chromatin. Together with our previous demonstration that PLZF promotes the antiviral response, these results suggest a strategy that could realize one of the major goals of immune therapy to retain immune resistance to pathogens while curbing damaging inflammation.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 01/2015; 112(5). DOI:10.1073/pnas.1409728112 · 9.67 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Gli transcription factors of the Hedgehog (Hh) pathway have been reported to be drivers of malignant mesothelioma (MMe) cell survival. The Gli inhibitor GANT61 induces apoptosis in various cancer cell models, and has been associated directly with Gli inhibition. However various chemotherapeutics can induce cell death through generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) but whether ROS mediates GANT61-induced apoptosis is unknown. In this study human MMe cells were treated with GANT61 and the mechanisms regulating cell death investigated. Exposure of MMe cells to GANT61 led to G1 phase arrest and apoptosis, which involved ROS but not its purported targets, GLI1 or GLI2. GANT61 triggered ROS generation and quenching of ROS protected MMe cells from GANT61-induced apoptosis. Furthermore, we demonstrated that mitochondria are important in mediating GANT61 effects: (1) ROS production and apoptosis were blocked by mitochondrial inhibitor rotenone; (2) GANT61 promoted superoxide formation in mitochondria; and (3) mitochondrial DNA-deficient LO68 cells failed to induce superoxide, and were more resistant to apoptosis induced by GANT61 than wild-type cells. Our data demonstrate for the first time that GANT61 induces apoptosis by promoting mitochondrial superoxide generation independent of Gli inhibition, and highlights the therapeutic potential of mitochondrial ROS-mediated anticancer drugs in MMe.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models generated from surgical specimens are gaining popularity as preclinical models of cancer. However, establishment of PDX lines from small cell lung cancer (SCLC) patients is difficult due to very limited amount of available biopsy material. We asked whether SCLC cells obtained from endobronchial ultrasound-guided transbronchial needle aspiration (EBUS-TBNA) could generate PDX lines that maintained the phenotypic and genetic characteristics of the primary tumor. Following successful EBUS-TBNA sampling for diagnostic purposes, we obtained an extra sample for cytologic analysis and implantation into the flanks of immunodeficient mice. Animals were monitored for engraftment for up to 6 months. Histopathologic and immunohistochemical analysis, and targeted next-generation re-sequencing, were then performed in both the primary sample and the derivative PDX line. A total of 12 patients were enrolled in the study. EBUS-TBNA aspirates yielded large numbers of viable tumor cells sufficient to inject between 18,750 and 1,487,000 cells per flank, and to yield microgram quantities of high-quality DNA. Of these, samples from 10 patients generated xenografts (engraftment rate 83%) with a mean latency of 104 days (range 63-188). All but one maintained a typical SCLC phenotype that closely matched the original sample. Identical mutations that are characteristic of SCLC were identified in both the primary sample and xenograft line. EBUS-TBNA has the potential to be a powerful tool in the development of new targeting strategies for SCLC patients by providing large numbers of viable tumor cells suitable for both xenografting and complex genomic analysis.
PLoS ONE 09/2014; 9(9):e106862. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0106862 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Purpose:
Small cell cancers (SmCC), whether pulmonary (SCLC) or extrapulmonary, have a poor prognosis unless localised at diagnosis. Given a proportion of these cancers express somatostatin receptor subtype 2 (SSTR2), we aimed to investigate the efficacy of targeted peptide receptor chemoradionuclide therapy (PRCRT).
In this preclinical study, we used a SCLC xenograft mouse model with high expression of SSTR2 to investigate the effect of peptide receptor radionuclide therapy (PRRT) with chemotherapy compared to either alone. We subsequently explored the clinical utility in a patient with SmCC with high SSTR expression treated with PRCRT.
Robust expression of SSTR2 in NCI-H69 SCLC xenografts was documented by (68)Ga-DOTA-octreotate (GaTate) (tumour to background uptake ratio = 35). The combination of PRRT using (177)Lu-DOTA-octreotate (LuTate) with carboplatin/etoposide (C/E) chemotherapy was more effective than either LuTate or C/E alone for regression of the NCI-H69 model (p value < 0.05). PRCRT was associated with significantly prolonged survival versus PRRT (p value = 0.0001) or chemotherapy alone (p value = 0.0058). In the subsequent case study, a patient with relapsed SmCC with high SSTR2 expression on GaTate PET underwent PRCRT with radiosensitising etoposide with evidence of a complete metabolic response for 4 months.
Given the limited treatment options in this setting, PRCRT is a promising therapeutic option for SSTR2-expressing SmCC.
European journal of nuclear medicine and molecular imaging 08/2014; 42(1). DOI:10.1007/s00259-014-2888-2 · 5.38 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Metaplasia can result when injury reactivates latent developmental signaling pathways that determine cell phenotype. Barrett's esophagus is a squamous-to-columnar epithelial metaplasia caused by reflux esophagitis. Hedgehog (Hh) signaling is active in columnar-lined, embryonic esophagus and inactive in squamous-lined, adult esophagus. We showed previously that Hh signaling is reactivated in Barrett's metaplasia and overexpression of Sonic hedgehog (SHH) in mouse esophageal squamous epithelium leads to a columnar phenotype. Here, our objective was to identify Hh target genes involved in Barrett's pathogenesis. By microarray analysis, we found that the transcription factor Foxa2 is more highly expressed in murine embryonic esophagus compared with postnatal esophagus. Conditional activation of Shh in mouse esophageal epithelium induced FOXA2, while FOXA2 expression was reduced in Shh knockout embryos, establishing Foxa2 as an esophageal Hh target gene. Evaluation of patient samples revealed FOXA2 expression in Barrett's metaplasia, dysplasia, and adenocarcinoma but not in esophageal squamous epithelium or squamous cell carcinoma. In esophageal squamous cell lines, Hh signaling upregulated FOXA2, which induced expression of MUC2, an intestinal mucin found in Barrett's esophagus, and the MUC2-processing protein AGR2. Together, these data indicate that Hh signaling induces expression of genes that determine an intestinal phenotype in esophageal squamous epithelial cells and may contribute to the development of Barrett's metaplasia.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
Originating from Primordial Germ Cells/gonocytes and developing via a precursor lesion called Carcinoma In Situ (CIS), Germ Cell Cancers (GCC) are the most common cancer in young men, subdivided in seminoma (SE) and non-seminoma (NS). During physiological germ cell formation/maturation, epigenetic processes guard homeostasis by regulating the accessibility of the DNA to facilitate transcription. Epigenetic deregulation through genetic and environmental parameters (i.e. genvironment) could disrupt embryonic germ cell development, resulting in delayed or blocked maturation. This potentially facilitates the formation of CIS and progression to invasive GCC. Therefore, determining the epigenetic and functional genomic landscape in GCC cell lines could provide insight into the pathophysiology and etiology of GCC and provide guidance for targeted functional experiments.
This study aims at identifying epigenetic footprints in SE and EC cell lines in genome-wide profiles by studying the interaction between gene expression, DNA CpG methylation and histone modifications, and their function in the pathophysiology and etiology of GCC. Two well characterized GCC-derived cell lines were compared, one representative for SE (TCam-2) and the other for EC (NCCIT). Data were acquired using the Illumina HumanHT-12-v4 (gene expression) and HumanMethylation450 BeadChip (methylation) microarrays as well as ChIP-sequencing (activating histone modifications (H3K4me3, H3K27ac)). Results indicate known germ cell markers not only to be differentiating between SE and NS at the expression level, but also in the epigenetic landscape.
The overall similarity between TCam-2/NCCIT support an erased embryonic germ cell arrested in early gonadal development as common cell of origin although the exact developmental stage from which the tumor cells are derived might differ. Indeed, subtle difference in the (integrated) epigenetic and expression profiles indicate TCam-2 to exhibit a more germ cell-like profile, whereas NCCIT shows a more pluripotent phenotype. The results provide insight into the functional genome in GCC cell lines.
PLoS ONE 06/2014; 9(6):e98330. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0098330 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC) for locally advanced breast cancer can improve operability and local disease control, there is a lack of reliable biomarkers that predict response to chemotherapy or long-term survival. Since expression of ALDEHYDE DEHYDROGENASE-1 (ALDH1) is associated with the stem-like properties of self-renewal and innate chemoresistance in breast cancer, we asked whether expression in serial tumour samples treated with NAC could identify women more likely to benefit from this therapy.
Women with locally advanced breast cancer were randomly assigned to receive four cycles of anthracycline-based chemotherapy, followed by four cycles of taxane therapy (Arm A), or the same regimen in reverse order (Arm B). Tumour specimens were collected at baseline, after four cycles, and then at surgical resection. ALDH1 expression was determined by immunohistochemistry and correlated with tumour response using Fisher's exact test while Kaplan-Meier method was used to calculate survival.
A hundred and nineteen women were enrolled into the study. Fifty seven (48%) were randomized to Arm A and 62 (52%) to Arm B. Most of the women (90%) had ductal carcinoma and 10% had lobular carcinoma. Of these, 26 (22%) achieved a pathological complete response (pCR) after NAC. There was no correlation between baseline ALDH1 expression and tumour grade, stage, hormone receptor, HER2 status and Ki67 index. ALDH1 negativity at baseline was significantly associated with cPR (p = 0.004). The presence of ALDH1(+) cells in the residual tumour cells in non-responding women was strongly predictive of worse overall survival (p = 0.024). Moreover, serial analysis of specimens from non-responders showed a marked increase in tumour-specific ALDH1 expression (p = 0.028). Overall, there was no survival difference according to the chemotherapy sequence. However, poorly responding tumours from women receiving docetaxel chemotherapy showed an unexpected significant increase in ALDH1 expression.
ALDH1 expression is a useful predictor of chemoresistance. The upregulation of ALDH1 after NAC predicts for poor survival in locally advanced breast cancer. Although the chemotherapy sequence had no effect on overall prognosis, our results suggest that anthracycline-based chemotherapy may be more effective at targeting ALDH1(+) breast cancer cells.Trial registration: ACTRN12605000588695.
Breast cancer research: BCR 04/2014; 16(2):R44. DOI:10.1186/bcr3648 · 5.49 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Desmoplastic small round cell tumor (DSRCT) is characterized by the presence of a fusion protein EWS/WT1, arising from the t (11;22) (p13;q12) translocation. Here we examine the oncogenic properties of two splice variants of EWS/WT1, EWS/WT1-KTS and EWS/WT1 + KTS.
We over-expressed both EWS/WT1 variants in murine embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) of wild-type, p53+/- and p53-/- backgrounds and measured effects on cell-proliferation, anchorage-independent growth, clonogenicity after serum withdrawal, and sensitivity to cytotoxic drugs and gamma irradiation in comparison to control cells. We examined gene expression profiles in cells expressing EWS/WT1. Finally we validated our key findings in a small series of DSRCT.
Neither isoform of EWS/WT1 was sufficient to transform wild-type MEFs however the oncogenic potential of both was unmasked by p53 loss. Expression of EWS/WT1 in MEFs lacking at least one allele of p53 enhanced cell-proliferation, clonogenic survival and anchorage-independent growth. EWS/WT1 expression in wild-type MEFs conferred resistance to cell-cycle arrest after irradiation and daunorubicin induced apoptosis. We show DSRCT commonly have nuclear localization of p53, and copy-number amplification of MDM2/MDMX. Expression of either isoform of EWS/WT1 induced characteristic mRNA expression profiles. Gene-set enrichment analysis demonstrated enrichment of WNT pathway signatures in MEFs expressing EWS/WT1 + KTS. Wnt-activation was validated in cell lines with over-expression of EWS/WT1 and in DSRCT.
In conclusion, we show both isoforms of EWS/WT1 have oncogenic potential in MEFs with loss of p53. In addition we provide the first link between EWS/WT1 and Wnt-pathway signaling. These data provide novel insights into the function of the EWS/WT1 fusion protein which characterize DSRCT. (253 words).
BMC Cancer 12/2013; 13(1):585. DOI:10.1186/1471-2407-13-585 · 3.36 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Next-generation sequencing (NGS) studies in cancer are limited by the amount, quality and purity of tissue samples. In this situation, primary xenografts have proven useful preclinical models. However, the presence of mouse-derived stromal cells represents a technical challenge to their use in NGS studies. We examined this problem in an established primary xenograft model of small cell lung cancer (SCLC), a malignancy often diagnosed from small biopsy or needle aspirate samples. Using an in silico strategy that assign reads according to species-of-origin, we prospectively compared NGS data from primary xenograft models with matched cell lines and with published datasets. We show here that low-coverage whole-genome analysis demonstrated remarkable concordance between published genome data and internal controls, despite the presence of mouse genomic DNA. Exome capture sequencing revealed that this enrichment procedure was highly species-specific, with less than 4% of reads aligning to the mouse genome. Human-specific expression profiling with RNA-Seq replicated array-based gene expression experiments, whereas mouse-specific transcript profiles correlated with published datasets from human cancer stroma. We conclude that primary xenografts represent a useful platform for complex NGS analysis in cancer research for tumours with limited sample resources, or those with prominent stromal cell populations.
PLoS ONE 09/2013; 8(9):e74432. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0074432 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In vertebrates, canonical Hedgehog (Hh) pathway activation requires Smoothened (SMO) translocation to the primary cilium (Pc), followed by a GLI-mediated transcriptional response. In addition, a similar gene regulation occurs in response to growth factors/cytokines, although independently of SMO signalling. The Hh pathway plays a critical role in liver fibrosis/regeneration, however, the mechanism of activation in chronic liver injury is poorly understood. This study aimed to characterise Hh pathway activation upon thioacetamide (TAA)-induced chronic liver injury in vivo by defining Hh-responsive cells, namely cells harbouring Pc and Pc-localised SMO.
C57BL/6 mice (wild-type or Ptc1+/-) were TAA-treated. Liver injury and Hh ligand/pathway mRNA and protein expression were assessed in vivo. SMO/GLI manipulation and SMO-dependent/independent activation of GLI-mediated transcriptional response in Pc-positive (Pc+) cells were studied in vitro.
In vivo, Hh activation was progressively induced following TAA. At the epithelial-mesenchymal interface, injured hepatocytes produced Hh ligands. Progenitors, myofibroblasts, leukocytes and hepatocytes were GLI2+. Pc+ cells increased following TAA, but only EpCAM+/GLI2+ progenitors were Pc+/SMO+. In vitro, SMO knockdown/hGLI3-R overexpression reduced proliferation/viability in Pc+ progenitors, whilst increased proliferation occurred with hGLI1 overexpression. HGF induced GLI transcriptional activity independently of Pc/SMO. Ptc1+/- mice exhibited increased progenitor, myofibroblast and fibrosis responses.
In chronic liver injury, Pc+ progenitors receive Hh ligand signals and process it through Pc/SMO-dependent activation of GLI-mediated transcriptional response. Pc/SMO-independent GLI activation likely occurs in Pc-/GLI2+ cells. Increased fibrosis in Hh gain-of-function mice likely occurs by primary progenitor expansion/proliferation and secondary fibrotic myofibroblast expansion, in close contact with progenitors.
Journal of Hepatology 08/2013; 60(1). DOI:10.1016/j.jhep.2013.08.012 · 11.34 Impact Factor