[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BMI1 is required for the self-renewal of stem cells in many tissues including the lung epithelial stem cells, Bronchioalveolar Stem Cells (BASCs). Imprinted genes, which exhibit expression from only the maternally or paternally inherited allele, are known to regulate developmental processes, but what their role is in adult cells remains a fundamental question. Many imprinted genes were derepressed in Bmi1 knockout mice, and knockdown of Cdkn1c (p57) and other imprinted genes partially rescued the self-renewal defect of Bmi1 mutant lung cells. Expression of p57 and other imprinted genes was required for lung cell self-renewal in culture and correlated with repair of lung epithelial cell injury in vivo. Our data suggest that BMI1-dependent regulation of expressed alleles at imprinted loci, distinct from imprinting per se, is required for control of lung stem cells. We anticipate that the regulation and function of imprinted genes is crucial for self-renewal in diverse adult tissue-specific stem cells.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Highlights
► An imprinted gene network is dysregulated in the absence of Bmi1 ► Precise regulation of imprinted loci is required for lung stem cell function ► Imprinted genes may be important stem cell regulators in diverse tissues
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Small cell lung carcinoma (SCLC) is a neuroendocrine subtype of lung cancer that affects more than 200,000 people worldwide every year with a very high mortality rate. Here, we used a mouse genetics approach to characterize the cell of origin for SCLC; in this mouse model, tumors are initiated by the deletion of the Rb and p53 tumor suppressor genes in the lung epithelium of adult mice. We found that mouse SCLCs often arise in the lung epithelium, where neuroendocrine cells are located, and that the majority of early lesions were composed of proliferating neuroendocrine cells. In addition, mice in which Rb and p53 are deleted in a variety of non-neuroendocrine lung epithelial cells did not develop SCLC. These data indicate that SCLC likely arises from neuroendocrine cells in the lung.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Successful cancer therapy requires the elimination or incapacitation of all tumor cells capable of regenerating a tumor. Therapeutic advances therefore necessitate the characterization of the cells that are able to propagate a tumor in vivo. We show an important link between tumor genotype and isolation of tumor-propagating cells (TPCs). Three mouse models of the most common form of human lung cancer each had TPCs with a unique cell-surface phenotype. The cell-surface marker Sca1 did not enrich for TPCs in tumors initiated with oncogenic Kras, and only Sca1-negative cells propagated EGFR mutant tumors. In contrast, Sca1-positive cells were enriched for tumor-propagating activity in Kras tumors with p53 deficiency. Primary tumors that differ in genotype at just one locus can therefore have tumor-propagating cell populations with distinct markers. Our studies show that the genotype of tumor samples must be considered in studies to identify, characterize, and target tumor-propagating cells.