[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In solid tumors, resistance to therapy inevitably develops upon treatment with cytotoxic drugs or molecularly targeted therapies. Here, we describe a system that enables pooled shRNA screening directly in mouse hepatocellular carcinomas (HCC) in vivo to identify genes likely to be involved in therapy resistance. Using a focused shRNA library targeting genes located within focal genomic amplifications of human HCC, we screened for genes whose inhibition increased the therapeutic efficacy of the multikinase inhibitor sorafenib. Both shRNA-mediated and pharmacological silencing of Mapk14 (p38α) were found to sensitize mouse HCC to sorafenib therapy and prolong survival by abrogating Mapk14-dependent activation of Mek-Erk and Atf2 signaling. Elevated Mapk14-Atf2 signaling predicted poor response to sorafenib therapy in human HCC, and sorafenib resistance of p-Mapk14-expressing HCC cells could be reverted by silencing Mapk14. Our results suggest that a combination of sorafenib and Mapk14 blockade is a promising approach to overcoming therapy resistance of human HCC.
Nature Medicine 09/2014; 20(10). DOI:10.1038/nm.3679 · 27.36 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] 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.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The liver harbors a distinct capacity for endogenous regeneration; however, liver regeneration is often impaired in disease and therefore insufficient to compensate for the loss of hepatocytes and organ function. Here we describe a functional genetic approach for the identification of gene targets that can be exploited to increase the regenerative capacity of hepatocytes. Pools of small hairpin RNAs (shRNAs) were directly and stably delivered into mouse livers to screen for genes modulating liver regeneration. Our studies identify the dual-specific kinase MKK4 as a master regulator of liver regeneration. MKK4 silencing robustly increased the regenerative capacity of hepatocytes in mouse models of liver regeneration and acute and chronic liver failure. Mechanistically, induction of MKK7 and a JNK1-dependent activation of the AP1 transcription factor ATF2 and the Ets factor ELK1 are crucial for increased regeneration of hepatocytes with MKK4 silencing.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Here we discuss a recently published study from our group on how a continuous CD4 T-cell dependent immune clearance of premalignant senescent cells, designated "senescence surveillance," restricts liver cancer development.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Upon the aberrant activation of oncogenes, normal cells can enter the cellular senescence program, a state of stable cell-cycle arrest, which represents an important barrier against tumour development in vivo. Senescent cells communicate with their environment by secreting various cytokines and growth factors, and it was reported that this 'secretory phenotype' can have pro- as well as anti-tumorigenic effects. Here we show that oncogene-induced senescence occurs in otherwise normal murine hepatocytes in vivo. Pre-malignant senescent hepatocytes secrete chemo- and cytokines and are subject to immune-mediated clearance (designated as 'senescence surveillance'), which depends on an intact CD4(+) T-cell-mediated adaptive immune response. Impaired immune surveillance of pre-malignant senescent hepatocytes results in the development of murine hepatocellular carcinomas (HCCs), thus showing that senescence surveillance is important for tumour suppression in vivo. In accordance with these observations, ras-specific Th1 lymphocytes could be detected in mice, in which oncogene-induced senescence had been triggered by hepatic expression of Nras(G12V). We also found that CD4(+) T cells require monocytes/macrophages to execute the clearance of senescent hepatocytes. Our study indicates that senescence surveillance represents an important extrinsic component of the senescence anti-tumour barrier, and illustrates how the cellular senescence program is involved in tumour immune surveillance by mounting specific immune responses against antigens expressed in pre-malignant senescent cells.