[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most common and aggressive histologic subtype of brain cancer with poor outcomes and limited treatment options. Here we report the selective overexpression of the protein arginine methyltransferase PRMT5 as a novel candidate theranostic target in this disease. PRMT5 silences the transcription of regulatory genes by catalyzing symmetric di-methylation of arginine residues on histone tails. PRMT5 overexpression in patient-derived primary tumors and cell lines correlated with cell line growth rate and inversely with overall patient survival. Genetic attenuation of PRMT5 led to cell cycle arrest, apoptosis and loss of cell migratory activity. Cell death was p53-independent but caspase-dependent and enhanced with temozolomide, a chemotherapeutic agent used as a present standard of care. Global gene profiling and chromatin immunoprecipitation identified the tumor suppressor ST7 as a key gene silenced by PRMT5. Diminished ST7 expression was associated with reduced patient survival. PRMT5 attenuation limited PRMT5 recruitment to the ST7 promoter, led to restored expression of ST7 and cell growth inhibition. Lastly, PRMT5 attenuation enhanced GBM cell survival in a mouse xenograft model of aggressive GBM. Together, our findings defined PRMT5 as a candidate prognostic factor and therapeutic target in GBM, offering a preclinical justification for targeting PRMT5-driven oncogenic pathways in this deadly disease.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Extracellular vesicles (EVs) have emerged as important mediators of intercellular communication in cancer, including by conveying tumor-promoting microRNAs between cells, but their regulation is poorly understood. In this study, we report the findings of a comparative microRNA profiling and functional analysis in human glioblastoma (GBM) that identifies miR-1 as an orchestrator of EV function and GBM growth and invasion. Ectopic expression of miR-1 in GBM cells blocked in vivo growth, neovascularization and invasiveness. These effects were associated with a role for miR-1 in intercellular communication in the microenvironment mediated by EVs released by cancer stem-like GBM cells. An EV-dependent phenotype defined by GBM invasion, neurosphere growth and endothelial tube formation was mitigated by loading miR-1 into GBM-derived EVs. Protein cargo in EVs was characterized to learn how miR-1 directed EV function. The mRNA encoding Annexin A2 (ANXA2), one of the most abundant proteins in GBM-derived EVs, was found to be a direct target of miR-1 control. In addition, EV-derived miR-1 along with other ANXA2 EV networking partners targeted multiple pro-oncogenic signals in cells within the GBM microenvironment. Together, our results showed how EV signalling promotes the malignant character of GBM and how ectopic expression of miR-1 can mitigate this character, with possible implications for how to develop a unique miRNA-based therapy for GBM management.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
The Polycomb Repressor Complex (PRC) is an epigenetic regulator of transcription whose action is mediated by 2 protein complexes, PRC1 and PRC2. PRC is oncogenic in glioblastoma, where it is involved in cancer stem cell maintenance and radioresistance.Methods
We used a set of glioblastoma patient samples, glioma stem cells, and neural stem cells from a mouse model of glioblastoma. We characterized gene/protein expression and cellular phenotypes by quantitative PCR/Western blotting and clonogenic, cell-cycle, and DNA damage assays. We performed overexpression/knockdown studies by lentiviral infection and microRNA/small interfering RNA oligonucleotide transfection.ResultsWe show that microRNA-128 (miR-128) directly targets mRNA of SUZ12, a key component of PRC2, in addition to BMI1, a component of PRC1 that we previously showed as a target as well. This blocks the partially redundant functions of PRC1/PRC2, thereby significantly reducing PRC activity and its associated histone modifications. MiR-128 and SUZ12/BMI1 show opposite expression in human glioblastomas versus normal brain and in glioma stemlike versus neural stem cells. Furthermore, miR-128 renders glioma stemlike cells less radioresistant by preventing the radiation-induced expression of both PRC components. Finally, miR-128 expression is significantly reduced in neural stem cells from the brain of young, presymptomatic mice in our mouse model of glioblastoma. This suggests that loss of miR-128 expression in brain is an early event in gliomagenesis. Moreover, knockdown of miR-128 expression in nonmalignant mouse and human neural stem cells led to elevated expression of PRC components and increased clonogenicity.Conclusions
MiR-128 is an important suppressor of PRC activity, and its absence is an early event in gliomagenesis.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Peripheral neuropathic pain is one of the most common and debilitating complications of diabetes. Several genes have been shown to be effective in reducing neuropathic pain in animal models of diabetes after transfer to the dorsal root ganglion using replication-defective herpes simplex virus (HSV)1-based vectors, yet there has never been a comparative analysis of their efficacy. We compared four different HSV1-based vectors engineered to produce one of two opioid receptor agonists (enkephalin or endomorphin), or one of two isoforms of glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD65 or GAD67), alone and in combination, in the streptozotocin-induced diabetic rat and mouse models. Our results indicate that a single subcutaneous hindpaw inoculation of vectors expressing GAD65 or GAD67 reduced diabetes-induced mechanical allodynia to a degree that was greater than daily injections of gabapentin in rats. Diabetic mice that developed thermal hyperalgesia also responded to GAD65 or endomorphin gene delivery. The results suggest that either GAD65 or GAD67 vectors are the most effective in the treatment of diabetic pain. The vector combinations, GAD67+endomorphin, GAD67+enkephalin or endomorphin+enkephalin also produced a significant antinociceptive effect but the combination did not appear to be superior to single gene treatment. These findings provide further justification for the clinical development of antinociceptive gene therapies for the treatment of diabetic peripheral neuropathies.Gene Therapy advance online publication, 13 December 2012; doi:10.1038/gt.2012.90.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Tumor virotherapy has been and continues to be used in clinical trials. One barrier to effective viral oncolysis, consisting of the interferon (IFN) response induced by viral infection, is inhibited by valproic acid (VPA) and other histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACi). Innate immune cell recruitment and activation have been shown to be deleterious to the efficacy of oncolytic herpes simplex virus (oHSV) infection, and in this report we demonstrate that VPA limits this deleterious response. VPA, administered prior to oHSV inoculation in an orthotopic glioblastoma mouse model, resulted in a decline in NK and macrophage recruitment into tumor-bearing brains at 6 and 24 h post-oHSV infection. Interestingly, there was a robust rebound of recruitment of these cells at 72 h post-oHSV infection. The observed initial decline in immune cell recruitment was accompanied by a reduction in their activation status. VPA was also found to have a profound immunosuppressive effect on human NK cells in vitro. NK cytotoxicity was abrogated following exposure to VPA, consistent with downmodulation of cytotoxic gene expression of granzyme B and perforin at the mRNA and protein levels. In addition, suppression of gamma IFN (IFN-γ) production by VPA was associated with decreased STAT5 phosphorylation and dampened T-BET expression. Despite VPA-mediated immune suppression, mice were not at significantly increased risk for HSV encephalitis. These findings indicate that one of the avenues by which VPA enhances oHSV efficacy is through initial suppression of immune cell recruitment and inhibition of inflammatory cell pathways within NK cells.
Journal of Virology 02/2012; 86(8):4566-77. · 5.08 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Glioblastoma tumors are highly invasive; therefore the overall prognosis
of patients remains poor, despite major improvements in treatment
techniques. Cancer cells detach from the inner tumor core and actively
migrate away ; eventually these invasive cells might form clusters,
which can develop to recurrent tumors. In vitro experiments in collagen
gel  followed the clustering dynamics of different glioma cell lines.
Based on the experimental data, we formulated a stochastic model for
cell dynamics, which identified two mechanisms of clustering. First,
there is a critical value of the strength of adhesion; above the
threshold, large clusters grow from a homogeneous suspension of cells;
below it, the system remains homogeneous, similarly to the ordinary
phase separation. Second, when cells form a cluster, there is evidence
that their proliferation rate increases. We confirmed the theoretical
predictions in a separate cell migration experiment on a substrate and
found that both mechanisms are crucial for cluster formation and growth
. In addition to their medical importance, these phenomena present
exciting examples of pattern formation and collective cell behavior in
intrinsically non-equilibrium systems . [4pt]  A. M. Stein et al,
Biophys. J., 92, 356 (2007). [0pt]  E. Khain et al, EPL 88, 28006
(2009). [0pt]  E. Khain et al, Phys. Rev. E. 83, 031920 (2011).
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: PTEN (Phosphatase and tensin homolog deleted on chromosome 10) expression in stromal fibroblasts suppresses epithelial mammary tumours, but the underlying molecular mechanisms remain unknown. Using proteomic and expression profiling, we show that Pten loss from mammary stromal fibroblasts activates an oncogenic secretome that orchestrates the transcriptional reprogramming of other cell types in the microenvironment. Downregulation of miR-320 and upregulation of one of its direct targets, ETS2 (v-ets erythroblastosis virus E26 oncogene homolog 2) are critical events in Pten-deleted stromal fibroblasts responsible for inducing this oncogenic secretome, which in turn promotes tumour angiogenesis and tumour-cell invasion. Expression of the Pten-miR-320-Ets2-regulated secretome distinguished human normal breast stroma from tumour stroma and robustly correlated with recurrence in breast cancer patients. This work reveals miR-320 as a critical component of the Pten tumour-suppressor axis that acts in stromal fibroblasts to reprogramme the tumour microenvironment and curtail tumour progression.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A hallmark of malignant gliomas is their ability to disperse through neural tissue, leading to long-term failure of all known therapies. Identifying new antimigratory targets could reduce glioma recurrence and improve therapeutic efficacy, but screens based on conventional migration assays are hampered by the limited ability of these assays to reproduce native cell motility. Here, we have analyzed the motility, gene expression, and sensitivity to migration inhibitors of glioma cells cultured on scaffolds formed by submicron-sized fibers (nanofibers) mimicking the neural topography. Glioma cells cultured on aligned nanofiber scaffolds reproduced the elongated morphology of cells migrating in white matter tissue and were highly sensitive to myosin II inhibition but only moderately affected by stress fiber disruption. In contrast, the same cells displayed a flat morphology and opposite sensitivity to myosin II and actin inhibition when cultured on conventional tissue culture polystyrene. Gene expression analysis indicated a correlation between migration on aligned nanofibers and increased STAT3 signaling, a known driver of glioma progression. Accordingly, cell migration out of glioblastoma-derived neurospheres and tumor explants was reduced by STAT3 inhibitors at subtoxic concentrations. Remarkably, these inhibitors were ineffective when tested at the same concentrations in a conventional two-dimensional migration assay. We conclude that migration of glioma cells is regulated by topographical cues that affect cell adhesion and gene expression. Cell migration analysis using nanofiber scaffolds could be used to reproduce native mechanisms of migration and to identify antimigratory strategies not disclosed by other in vitro models.
Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.) 09/2011; 13(9):831-40. · 5.48 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Invasion and proliferation in neoplasia require the cooperation of tumor cell and endothelial compartments. Glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK-3) is increasingly recognized as a major contributor to signaling pathways that modulate invasion and proliferation. Here we show that GSK-3 inhibitors of the indirubin family reduce invasion of glioma cells and glioma-initiating cell-enriched neurospheres both in vitro and in vivo, and we show that β-catenin signaling plays an important role in mediating these effects. Indirubins improved survival in glioma-bearing mice in which a substantial decrease in blood vessel density was seen in treated animals. In addition, indirubins blocked migration of endothelial cells, suggesting that anti-invasive glioma therapy with GSK-3 inhibitors in vivo not only inhibits invasion of tumor cells, but blocks migration of endothelial cells, which is also required for tumor angiogenesis. Overall, our findings suggest that indirubin inhibition of GSK-3 offers a novel treatment paradigm to target 2 of the most important interacting cellular compartments in heterotypic models of cancer.
Cancer Research 06/2011; 71(16):5374-80. · 8.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have previously shown that high expression levels of the lipid kinase sphingosine kinase-1 (SphK1) correlate with poor survival of glioblastoma (GBM) patients. In this study we examined the regulation of SphK1 expression by epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signaling in GBM cells. As the EGFR gene is often overexpressed and mutated in GBM, and EGFR has been shown to regulate SphK1 in some cell types, we examined the effect of EGF signaling and the constitutively active EGFRvIII mutant on SphK1 in GBM cells. Treatment of glioma cell lines with EGF led to increased expression and activity of SphK1. Expression of EGFRvIII in glioma cells also activated and induced SphK1. In addition, siRNA to SphK1 partially inhibited EGFRvIII-induced growth and survival of glioma cells as well as ERK MAP kinase activation. To further evaluate the connection between EGFR and SphK1 in GBM we examined primary neurosphere cells isolated from fresh human GBM tissue. The GBM-derived neurosphere cell line GBM9, which forms GBM-like tumors intracranially in nude mice, maintained expression of EGFRvIII in culture and had high levels of SphK1 activity. EGFR inhibitors modestly decreased SphK1 activity and proliferation of GBM9 cells. More extensive blockage of SphK1 activity by a SphK inhibitor, potently blocked cell proliferation and induced apoptotic cell death of GBM9 cells. Thus, SphK1 activity is necessary for survival of GBM-derived neurosphere cells, and EGFRvIII partially utilizes SphK1 to further enhance cell proliferation.
Journal of Neuro-Oncology 10/2010; 102(3):353-66. · 3.12 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Glioblastoma, the most common and aggressive primary brain tumor, is rapidly growing and highly infiltrative. Incomplete knowledge of the molecular biology, genetics, causes and cellular origin of these tumors may limit the development of improved therapeutics. A major and fundamental advance in recent years has been the identification of microRNAs as highly conserved regulators of gene expression. Here we will discuss further our recently published data on the role of miR-451 in the biology of glioblastoma. We initially identified miR-451 due to its downregulation in a glioma cell migration assay. We then found that by targeting the LKB1 kinase complex miR-451 suppresses the activity of downstream protein kinases including the major energy biosensor AMPK. MiR-451 levels are regulated by glucose; under conditions of abundant energy miR-451 expression is high, and the suppression of AMPK signaling allows cells to maintain elevated proliferation rates via unrestrained mTOR activation. Under conditions of glucose withdrawal, miR-451 downregulation is necessary for AMPK pathway activation, leading to suppressed proliferation rates, increased cell survival and migration. We also identified a potential feedback loop between LKB1 and miR-451, which allows a sustained and robust response to glucose deprivation. This data will be discussed in the context of potential biological significance and therapeutic implications.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To sustain tumor growth, cancer cells must be able to adapt to fluctuations in energy availability. We have identified a single microRNA that controls glioma cell proliferation, migration, and responsiveness to glucose deprivation. Abundant glucose allows relatively high miR-451 expression, promoting cell growth. In low glucose, miR-451 levels decrease, slowing proliferation but enhancing migration and survival. This allows cells to survive metabolic stress and seek out favorable growth conditions. In glioblastoma patients, elevated miR-451 is associated with shorter survival. The effects of miR-451 are mediated by LKB1, which it represses through targeting its binding partner, CAB39 (MO25 alpha). Overexpression of miR-451 sensitized cells to glucose deprivation, suggesting that its downregulation is necessary for robust activation of LKB1 in response to metabolic stress. Thus, miR-451 is a regulator of the LKB1/AMPK pathway, and this may represent a fundamental mechanism that contributes to cellular adaptation in response to altered energy availability.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We investigate clustering of malignant glioma cells. In vitro experiments in collagen gels identified a cell line that formed clusters in a region of low cell density, whereas a very similar cell line (which lacks an important mutation) did not cluster significantly. We hypothesize that the mutation affects the strength of cell-cell adhesion. We investigate this effect in a new experiment, which follows the clustering dynamics of glioma cells on a surface. We interpret our results in terms of a stochastic model and identify two mechanisms of clustering. First, there is a critical value of the strength of adhesion; above the threshold, large clusters grow from a homogeneous suspension of cells; below it, the system remains homogeneous, similarly to the ordinary phase separation. Second, when cells form a cluster, we have evidence that they increase their proliferation rate. We have successfully reproduced the experimental findings and found that both mechanisms are crucial for cluster formation and growth.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Glioblastoma is the most common and the most aggressive type of brain cancer. The median survival time from the time of diagnosis is approximately one year. Invasion of glioma cells from the core tumor into the surrounding brain tissue is a major reason for treatment failure: these migrating cells are not eliminated in surgical resection and cause tumor recurrence. Variations are seen in number of invading cells, and in the extent and patterns of migration. Cells can migrate diffusely and can also be seen as clusters of cells distinct from the main tumor mass. This kind of clustering is also evident in vitro using 3D spheroid models of glioma invasion. This has been reported for U87 cells stably expressing the constitutively active EGFRVIII mutant receptor, often seen expressed in glioblastoma. In this case the cells migrate as clusters rather than as single cells migrating in a radial pattern seen in control wild type U87 cells. Several models have been suggested to explain the different modes of migration, but none of them, so far, has explored the important role of cell-cell adhesion. The present paper develops a mathematical model which includes the role of adhesion and provides an explanation for the various patterns of cell migration. It is shown that, depending on adhesion, haptotactic, and chemotactic parameters, the migration patterns exhibit a gradual shift from branching to dispersion, as has been reported experimentally.
Journal of Theoretical Biology 08/2009; 260(3):359-71. · 2.35 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The herpes simplex virus (HSV) amplicon vector produces an initial host response that limits transgene expression. In this study, we hypothesized that restoration of the HSV gene infected cell protein (ICP0) into the amplicon could circumvent this host response and thus overcome silencing of encoded transgenes. To test this, we constructed an amplicon vector that encodes the ICP0 under control of its native promoter (ICP0+ amplicon). Expression of ICP0 was transient and, at a multiplicity of infection (MOI) of 1, did not significantly alter interferon (IFN)-based responses against the vector or cell kinetics/apoptosis of infected cells. Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) PCR analysis revealed that conventional amplicon DNA became associated with histone deacetylase 1 (HDAC1) immediately after infection, whereas ICP0+ amplicon DNA remained relatively unbound by HDAC1 for at least 72 hours after infection. Mice administered systemic ICP0+ amplicon exhibited significantly greater and more sustained transgene expression in their livers than did those receiving conventional amplicon, likely due to increased transcriptional or post-transcriptional activity rather than increased copy numbers of vector DNA. These findings indicate that restoration of ICP0 expression may be employed within HSV amplicon constructs to decrease transgene silencing in vitro and in vivo.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: MicroRNAs (miR) show characteristic expression signatures in various cancers and can profoundly affect cancer cell behavior. We carried out miR expression profiling of human glioblastoma specimens versus adjacent brain devoid of tumor. This revealed several significant alterations, including a pronounced reduction of miR-128 in tumor samples. miR-128 expression significantly reduced glioma cell proliferation in vitro and glioma xenograft growth in vivo. miR-128 caused a striking decrease in expression of the Bmi-1 oncogene, by direct regulation of the Bmi-1 mRNA 3'-untranslated region, through a single miR-128 binding site. In a panel of patient glioblastoma specimens, Bmi-1 expression was significantly up-regulated and miR-128 was down-regulated compared with normal brain. Bmi-1 functions in epigenetic silencing of certain genes through epigenetic chromatin modification. We found that miR-128 expression caused a decrease in histone methylation (H3K27me(3)) and Akt phosphorylation, and up-regulation of p21(CIP1) levels, consistent with Bmi-1 down-regulation. Bmi-1 has also been shown to promote stem cell self-renewal; therefore, we investigated the effects of miR-128 overexpression in human glioma neurosphere cultures, possessing features of glioma "stem-like" cells. This showed that miR-128 specifically blocked glioma self-renewal consistent with Bmi-1 down-regulation. This is the first example of specific regulation by a miR of a neural stem cell self-renewal factor, implicating miRs that may normally regulate brain development as important biological and therapeutic targets against the "stem cell-like" characteristics of glioma.
Cancer Research 12/2008; 68(22):9125-30. · 8.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Therapies targeting glioma cells that diffusely infiltrate normal brain are highly sought after. Our aim was to identify novel approaches to this problem using glioma spheroid migration assays. Lithium, a currently approved drug for the treatment of bipolar illnesses, has not been previously examined in the context of glioma migration. We found that lithium treatment potently blocked glioma cell migration in spheroid, wound-healing, and brain slice assays. The effects observed were dose dependent and reversible, and worked using every glioma cell line tested. In addition, there was little effect on cell viability at lithium concentrations that inhibit migration, showing that this is a specific effect. Lithium treatment was associated with a marked change in cell morphology, with cells retracting the long extensions at their leading edge. Examination of known targets of lithium showed that inositol monophosphatase inhibition had no effect on glioma migration, whereas inhibition of glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK-3) did. This suggested that the effects of lithium on glioma cell migration could possibly be mediated through GSK-3. Specific pharmacologic GSK-3 inhibitors and siRNA knockdown of GSK-3alpha or GSK-3beta isoforms both reduced cell motility. These data outline previously unidentified pathways and inhibitors that may be useful for the development of novel anti-invasive therapeutics for the treatment of brain tumors.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Oncolytic viral therapy is under evaluation for toxicity and efficacy in clinical trials relating to several different tumors. We report a significant increase in the angiogenic index of oncolytic virus (OV)-treated glioma-matrigel implants (2.83-fold, P < 0.02). In a rat intracranial glioma model, large tumors from OV-treated animals were significantly more angiogenic than the phosphate-buffered saline (PBS)-treated control tumors (OV: 101 +/- 21.6; PBS: 19.8 +/- 10; P = 0.0037). Transcript profiling of OV-treated tumors revealed dysregulation of several transcripts involved in glioma angiogenesis. OV-mediated induction of CYR61 gene expression (8.94-fold, P = 0.001) correlated significantly with the presence of OV in tumor tissue in vivo (R = 0.7, P < 0.001). Further, induction of CYR61 mRNA and protein were confirmed in multiple human cancer cell lines and primary human tumor-derived cells in vitro, and in tumor lysate and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in vivo. Finally, we show that treatment of glioma cells with Cilengitide, known to counter CYR61-induced integrin activation, significantly suppressed the proangiogenic effect of OV treatment of gliomas (P < 0.05).
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To gain insight into brain tumor invasion, experiments are conducted on multicellular tumor spheroids grown in collagen gel. Typically, a radius of invasion is reported, which is obtained by human measurement. We present a simple, heuristic algorithm for automated invasive radii estimation (AIRE) that uses local fluctuations of the image intensity. We then derive an analytical expression relating the image graininess to the cell density for a model imaging system. The result agrees with the experiment up to a multiplicative constant and thus describes a novel method for estimating the cell density from bright-field images.