Pengcheng Zhou

Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, United States

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Publications (9)69.96 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Aberrant Shh signaling promotes tumor growth in diverse cancers. The importance of Shh signaling is particularly evident in medulloblastoma and basal cell carcinoma (BCC), where inhibitors targeting the Shh pathway component Smoothened (Smo) show great therapeutic promise. However, the emergence of drug resistance limits long-term efficacy and the mechanisms of resistance remain poorly understood. Using new medulloblastoma models, we identify two distinct paradigms of resistance to Smo inhibition. Sufu mutations lead to maintenance of the Shh pathway in the presence of Smo inhibitors. Alternatively activation of the RAS/MAPK pathway circumvents Shh pathway-dependency, drives tumor growth and enhances metastatic behavior. Strikingly, in BCC patients treated with Smo inhibitor, squamous cell cancers with RAS/MAPK activation emerged from the antecedent BCC tumors. Together these findings reveal a critical role of RAS/MAPK pathway in drug resistance and tumor evolution of Shh pathway-dependent tumors. Copyright © 2015, American Association for Cancer Research.
    Cancer Research 06/2015; DOI:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-14-2999-T · 9.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Sonic hedgehog (Shh) signaling is critical in development and oncogenesis, but the mechanisms regulating this pathway remain unclear. Although protein phosphorylation clearly affects Shh signaling, little is known about phosphatases governing the pathway. Here, we conducted a small hairpin RNA (shRNA) screen of the phosphatome and identified Eya1 as a positive regulator of Shh signaling. We find that the catalytically active phosphatase Eya1 cooperates with the DNA-binding protein Six1 to promote gene induction in response to Shh and that Eya1/Six1 together regulate Gli transcriptional activators. We show that Eya1, which is mutated in a human deafness disorder, branchio-oto-renal syndrome, is critical for Shh-dependent hindbrain growth and development. Moreover, Eya1 drives the growth of medulloblastoma, a Shh-dependent hindbrain tumor. Together, these results identify Eya1 and Six1 as key components of the Shh transcriptional network in normal development and in oncogenesis. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    Developmental Cell 03/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.devcel.2015.01.033 · 10.37 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: ErbB2(+) human breast cancer is a major clinical problem. Prior results have suggested that tetraspanin CD151 might contribute to ErbB2-driven breast cancer growth, survival, and metastasis. In other cancer types, CD151 sometimes supports tumor growth and metastasis. However, a definitive test of CD151 effects on de novo breast cancer initiation, growth, and metastasis has not previously been done. We used CD151 gene-deleted mice expressing the MMTV-ErbB2 transgene to show that CD151 strongly supports ErbB2(+) mammary tumor initiation and metastasis. Delayed tumor onset (by 70-100 days) in the absence of CD151 was accompanied by reduced survival of mammary epithelial cells and impaired activation of FAK- and MAPK-dependent pathways. Both primary tumors and metastatic nodules showed smooth, regular borders, consistent with a less invasive phenotype. Furthermore, consistent with impaired oncogenesis and decreased metastasis, CD151-targeted MCF-10A/ErbB2 cells showed substantial decreases in three-dimensional colony formation, EGF-stimulated tumor cell motility, invasion, and transendothelial migration. These CD151-dependent functions were largely mediated through α(6)β(4) integrin. Moreover, CD151 ablation substantially prevented PKC- and EGFR/ERK-dependent α(6)β(4) integrin phosphorylation, consistent with retention of epithelial cell polarity and intermediate filament cytoskeletal connections, which helps to explain diminished metastasis. Finally, clinical data analyses revealed a strong correlation between CD151 and ErbB2 expression and metastasis-free survival of breast cancer patients. In conclusion, we provide strong evidence that CD151 collaborates with LB integrins (particularly α(6)β(4)) and ErbB2 (and EGFR) receptors to regulate multiple signaling pathways, thereby driving mammary tumor onset, survival, and metastasis. Consequently, CD151 is a useful therapeutic target in malignant ErbB2(+) breast cancer.
    Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.) 08/2012; 14(8):678-89. DOI:10.1593/neo.12922 · 5.40 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cell polarization is essential throughout development for proliferation, migration, and differentiation. However, it is not known how extracellular cues correctly orient cell polarity at distinct stages of development. Here, we show that the endocytic adaptor protein Numb, previously characterized for its role in cell proliferation, subsequently plays an important role in cell migration. In neural precursors stimulated with the chemotactic factor BDNF, Numb binds to activated TrkB, the BDNF receptor, and functions both as an endocytic regulator for TrkB and as a scaffold for aPKC (aPKC). Thus, Numb promotes BDNF-dependent aPKC activation. Interestingly, Numb is also a substrate of aPKC. When phosphorylated, Numb exhibits increased efficacy in binding TrkB and in promoting a chemotactic response to BDNF. Therefore, Numb functions in a feed-forward loop to promote chemotaxis of neural precursors, linking BDNF, an extracellular cue, to aPKC, a critical component of the intrinsic polarity machinery.
    Developmental Cell 05/2011; 20(5):610-22. DOI:10.1016/j.devcel.2011.04.006 · 10.37 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Resistance to anti-ErbB2 agents is a significant problem in the treatment of human ErbB2+ breast cancers. We show here that adhesion of human ErbB2+ breast cancer cells to basement membrane laminin-5 provides substantial resistance to trastuzumab and lapatinib, agents that respectively target the extracellular and kinase domains of ErbB2. Knockdown of laminin-binding integrins (alpha6beta4, alpha3beta1) or associated tetraspanin protein CD151 reversed laminin-5 resistance and sensitized ErbB2+ cells to trastuzumab and lapatinib. CD151 knockdown, together with trastuzumab treatment, inhibited ErbB2 activation and downstream signaling through Akt, Erk1/2, and focal adhesion kinase (FAK). Hence, ErbB2 function in mammary tumor cells is promoted by integrin-mediated adhesion to laminin-5, with strong support by CD151, leading to signaling through FAK. Consequently, removal or inhibition of any of these components (laminin-5, integrin, CD151, FAK) markedly sensitizes cells to anti-ErbB2 agents. These new insights should be useful when devising strategies for overcoming drug resistance in ErbB2+ cancers.
    Cancer Research 03/2010; 70(6):2256-63. DOI:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-09-4032 · 9.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: CD151, a master regulator of laminin-binding integrins (alpha(6)beta(4), alpha(6)beta(1), and alpha(3)beta(1)), assembles these integrins into complexes called tetraspanin-enriched microdomains. CD151 protein expression is elevated in 31% of human breast cancers and is even more elevated in high-grade (40%) and estrogen receptor-negative (45%) subtypes. The latter includes triple-negative (estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, and HER2 negative) basal-like tumors. CD151 ablation markedly reduced basal-like mammary cell migration, invasion, spreading, and signaling (through FAK, Rac1, and lck) while disrupting epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-alpha(6) integrin collaboration. Underlying these defects, CD151 ablation redistributed alpha(6)beta(4) integrins subcellularly and severed molecular links between integrins and tetraspanin-enriched microdomains. In a prototypical basal-like mammary tumor line, CD151 ablation notably delayed tumor progression in ectopic and orthotopic xenograft models. These results (a) establish that CD151-alpha(6) integrin complexes play a functional role in basal-like mammary tumor progression; (b) emphasize that alpha(6) integrins function via CD151 linkage in the context of tetraspanin-enriched microdomains; and (c) point to potential relevance of CD151 as a high-priority therapeutic target, with relative selectivity (compared with laminin-binding integrins) for pathologic rather than normal physiology.
    Cancer Research 06/2008; 68(9):3204-13. DOI:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-07-2949 · 9.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: During development, neural precursors migrate in response to positional cues such as growth factor gradients. However, the mechanisms that enable precursors to sense and respond to such gradients are poorly understood. Here we show that cerebellar granule cell precursors (GCPs) migrate along a gradient of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), and we demonstrate that vesicle trafficking is critical for this chemotactic process. Activation of TrkB, the BDNF receptor, stimulates GCPs to secrete BDNF, thereby amplifying the ambient gradient. The BDNF gradient stimulates endocytosis of TrkB and associated signaling molecules, causing asymmetric accumulation of signaling endosomes at the subcellular location where BDNF concentration is maximal. Thus, regulated BDNF exocytosis and TrkB endocytosis enable precursors to polarize and migrate in a directed fashion along a shallow BDNF gradient.
    Neuron 08/2007; 55(1):53-68. DOI:10.1016/j.neuron.2007.05.030 · 15.98 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

247 Citations
69.96 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2015
    • Harvard Medical School
      • Department of Neurobiology
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States
  • 2007–2015
    • Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
      • • Department of Cancer Biology
      • • Department of Pediatric Oncology
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States
  • 2008
    • Harvard University
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States