[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite their high degree of identity and even higher homology, the two Kat3 transcriptional coactivators, CBP and p300, have distinct functions, particularly within the Wnt/β-catenin signaling cascade. ICG-001, by directly binding to CBP but not p300, inhibits CBP/β-catenin transcription and has served as an invaluable chemical genomic tool to dissect the Wnt signaling cascade and the divergent roles of these two coactivators. However, to date no direct antagonist of the p300/β-catenin interaction has been reported. We now report the identification and validation of the first highly specific, direct p300/β-catenin antagonists, YH249/250 and their ability to maintain pluripotency in ESC.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Wnt/β-catenin signaling has been suggested to regulate proximal-distal determination of embryonic lung epithelium based upon genetically modified mouse models. The previously identified and characterized small molecule inhibitor IQ1 can pharmacologically decrease the interaction between β-catenin and its transcriptional coactivator p300, thereby enhancing the β-catenin/CBP interaction. Inhibition of the β-catenin/p300 interaction by IQ1 blocks the differentiation of embryonic stem cells and epicardial progenitor cells; however, whether differential coactivator usage by β-catenin plays a role in proximal-distal determination of lung epithelium is unknown.
We examined the effects of inhibiting the β-catenin/p300 interaction with IQ1 on lung branching morphogenesis in mouse embryos in utero and mouse embryonic lung organ culture ex vivo. The phenotype of IQ1 treated lungs was analyzed by epithelial staining, histology, quantitative PCR and in situ hybridization.
Inhibition of the β-catenin/p300 interaction by IQ1 disrupted the distal branching of mouse lung epithelium both in utero and ex vivo. IQ1 proximalized lung epithelium with decreased expression of the genes Bmp4 and Fgf10, hallmarks of distal lung determination, and increased expression of the proximal genes Sox2 and Scgb1a1 (CC10) as shown by quantitative PCR and in situ hybridization. The disruption of branching was reversible ex vivo as branching was reinitiated after removal of IQ1 from the media.
The results demonstrate that the β-catenin/p300 interaction plays a critical role in proximal-distal determination of the epithelium in mouse lung branching morphogenesis and β-catenin/p300 inhibition pharmacologically proximalizes lung epithelium.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cancer stem cells (CSCs), also known as tumor initiating cells are now considered to be the root cause of most if not all cancers, evading treatment and giving rise to disease relapse. They have become a central focus in new drug development. Prospective identification, understanding the key pathways that maintain CSCs, and being able to target CSCs, particularly if the normal stem cell population could be spared, could offer an incredible therapeutic advantage. The Wnt signaling cascade is critically important in stem cell biology, both in homeostatic maintenance of tissues and organs through their respective somatic stem cells and in the CSC/tumor initiating cell population. Aberrant Wnt signaling is associated with a wide array of tumor types. Therefore, the ability to safely target the Wnt signaling pathway offers enormous promise to target CSCs. However, just like the sword of Damocles, significant risks and concerns regarding targeting such a critical pathway in normal stem cell maintenance and tissue homeostasis remain ever present. With this in mind, we review recent efforts in modulating the Wnt signaling cascade and critically analyze therapeutic approaches at various stages of development.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: WNT-β-catenin signalling is involved in a multitude of developmental processes and the maintenance of adult tissue homeostasis by regulating cell proliferation, differentiation, migration, genetic stability and apoptosis, as well as by maintaining adult stem cells in a pluripotent state. Not surprisingly, aberrant regulation of this pathway is therefore associated with a variety of diseases, including cancer, fibrosis and neurodegeneration. Despite this knowledge, therapeutic agents specifically targeting the WNT pathway have only recently entered clinical trials and none has yet been approved. This Review examines the problems and potential solutions to this vexing situation and attempts to bring them into perspective.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Throughout our life, long lived somatic stem cells (SSCs) regenerate adult tissues both during homeostatic processes and repair after injury. The role of aberrant regulation of SSC has also recently gained prominence in the field of cancer research. Following malignant transformation, so termed cancer stem cells (CSCs), endowed with the same properties as SSCs (i.e. the ability to both self-renew as well as generate differentiated progenitors) play a major part in tumor initiation, therapy resistance and ultimately relapse. The same signaling pathways involved in regulating SSC maintenance are also involved in the regulation of CSCs. CSCs have been demonstrated to exist in a wide array of tumor types including leukemias, brain, breast, prostate, colon etc.. Consequently, one of the key goals in cancer research over the past decade has been to develop therapeutic strategies to safely eliminate the CSC population without damaging the endogenous SSC population. A major hurdle to this goal lies in the identification of the key mechanisms that distinguish CSCs from the normal endogenous tissue stem cells. This review will discuss the discovery and of the specific CBP/catenin antagonist ICG-001 and the ongoing clinical development of the second generation CBP/catenin antagonist PRI-724. Importantly, specific CBP/catenin antagonists appear to have the ability to safely eliminate CSCs by taking advantage of an intrinsic differential preference in the way SSCs and CSCs divide.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Cancer Science 06/2014; 105(9). DOI:10.1111/cas.12471 · 3.52 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Wnt signaling plays an important role in development and disease. In this review we focus on the role of the canonical Wnt signaling pathway in somatic stem cell biology and its critical role in tissue homeostasis. We present current knowledge how Wnt/β-catenin signaling affects tissue stem cell behavior in various organ systems, including the gut, mammary gland, the hematopoietic and nervous system. We discuss evidence that canonical Wnt signaling can both maintain potency and an undifferentiated state as well as cause differentiation in somatic stem cells, depending on the cellular and environmental context. Based on studies by our lab and others, we will attempt to explain the dichotomous behavior of this signaling pathway in determining cell fate decisions and put special emphasis on the interaction of β-catenin with two highly homologous co-activator proteins, CBP and p300, to shed light on the their differential role in the outcome of Wnt/β-catenin signaling. Furthermore, we review current knowledge regarding the aberrant regulation of Wnt/β-catenin signaling in cancer biology, particularly its pivotal role in the context of cancer stem cells. Finally, we discuss data demonstrating that small molecule modulators of the β-catenin/co-activator interaction can be used to shift the balance between undifferentiated proliferation and differentiation, which potentially presents a promising therapeutic approach to stem cell based disease mechanisms.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Wnt signaling pathway controls several cell processes, such as motility and proliferation during embryonic development. Wnt signaling is also involved in the maintenance of potency and the induction of differentiation in stem cells. Aberrant Wnt signaling is implicated in several cancer types. Particularly in colorectal cancer (CRC), the Wnt-β-catenin signaling cascade is at the center of the carcinogenesis, and mutations in this pathway can be found in almost all CRC patients. We discuss the potential of targeting Wnt-β-catenin signaling with a brief overview of the pathway and the most promising pathway inhibitors.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hypoxia has been reported to regulate both stem cell maintenance and differentiation. Wnt signaling is also a key regulator in stem cells. The recent discovery of functional cross-regulation between the Wnt pathway and HIF-1α/HIF-2α signaling further highlights the complexity of the role of hypoxia in the regulation of stem cells. In this report we reveal that human CML cell lines treated under hypoxic conditions increase the percentage of leukemia stem/initiating-like cells, as judged by surface marker expression, colony forming ability and quiescence. We demonstrate that differential usage of the Kat3 coactivators, CREBBP/Creb Binding Protein (CBP) and EP300 (p300) by catenin, with increased CBP/catenin signaling at the expense of p300/catenin signaling, is mechanistically correlated with the increase in the leukemia stem/initiating-like population. A specific small molecule inhibitor of CBP/catenin dependent transcription, ICG-001, can reverse these effects further demonstrating the critical involvement of CBP/catenin signaling in enhancing and maintaining the leukemia stem/initiating-like cell population under hypoxic conditions.
Current Molecular Pharmacology 02/2014; 6(3). DOI:10.2174/1874467207666140219121219
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The adult mammalian heart has limited capability for self-repair after myocardial infarction. Therefore, therapeutic strategies that improve post-infarct cardiac function are critically needed. The small molecule ICG-001 modulates Wnt signaling and increased the expression of genes beneficial for cardiac regeneration in epicardial cells. Lineage tracing experiments, demonstrated the importance of β-catenin/p300 mediated transcription for epicardial progenitor contribution to the myocardium. Female rats given ICG-001 for 10 days post-occlusion significantly improved ejection fraction by 8.4%, compared to controls (P<0.05). Taken together, Wnt modulation via β-catenin/CBP inhibition offers a promising therapeutic strategy towards restoration of myocardial tissues and an enhancement of cardiac functions following infarction.
PLoS ONE 09/2013; 8(9):e75010. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0075010 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Wnt/β-catenin signaling has a central role in the development and progression of most colon cancers (CCs). Germline variants in Wnt/β-catenin pathway genes may result in altered gene function and/or activity, thereby causing inter-individual differences in relation to tumor recurrence capacity and chemoresistance. We investigated germline polymorphisms in a comprehensive panel of Wnt/β-catenin pathway genes to predict time to tumor recurrence (TTR) in patients with stage III and high-risk stage II CC. A total of 234 patients treated with 5-fluorouracil-based chemotherapy were included in this study. Whole-blood samples were analyzed for putative functional germline polymorphisms in SFRP3, SFRP4, DKK2, DKK3, Axin2, APC, TCF7L2, WNT5B, CXXC4, NOTCH2 and GLI1 genes by PCR-based restriction fragment-length polymorphism or direct DNA sequencing. Polymorphisms with statistical significance were validated in an independent study cohort. The minor allele of WNT5B rs2010851 T>G was significantly associated with a shorter TTR (10.7 vs 4.9 years; hazard ratio: 2.48; 95% CI, 0.96-6.38; P=0.04) in high-risk stage II CC patients. This result remained significant in multivariate Cox's regression analysis. This study shows that the WNT5B germline variant rs2010851 was significantly identified as a stage-dependent prognostic marker for CC patients after 5-fluorouracil-based adjuvant therapy.The Pharmacogenomics Journal advance online publication, 2 July 2013; doi:10.1038/tpj.2013.20.
The Pharmacogenomics Journal 07/2013; DOI:10.1038/tpj.2013.20 · 4.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Drug resistance in acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) remains a major problem warranting new treatment strategies. Wnt/catenin signaling is critical for the self-renewal of normal hematopoietic progenitor cells. Deregulated Wnt signaling is evident in chronic and acute myeloid leukemia; however, little is known about ALL. Differential interaction of catenin with either the Kat3 coactivator CREBBP (CREB-binding protein (CBP)) or the highly homologous EP300 (p300) is critical to determine divergent cellular responses and provides a rationale for the regulation of both proliferation and differentiation by the Wnt signaling pathway. Usage of the coactivator CBP by catenin leads to transcriptional activation of cassettes of genes that are involved in maintenance of progenitor cell self-renewal. However, the use of the coactivator p300 leads to activation of genes involved in the initiation of differentiation. ICG-001 is a novel small-molecule modulator of Wnt/catenin signaling, which specifically binds to the N-terminus of CBP and not p300, within amino acids 1-110, thereby disrupting the interaction between CBP and catenin. Here, we report that selective disruption of the CBP/β- and γ-catenin interactions using ICG-001 leads to differentiation of pre-B ALL cells and loss of self-renewal capacity. Survivin, an inhibitor-of-apoptosis protein, was also downregulated in primary ALL after treatment with ICG-001. Using chromatin immunoprecipitation assay, we demonstrate occupancy of the survivin promoter by CBP that is decreased by ICG-001 in primary ALL. CBP mutations have been recently identified in a significant percentage of ALL patients, however, almost all of the identified mutations reported occur C-terminal to the binding site for ICG-001. Importantly, ICG-001, regardless of CBP mutational status and chromosomal aberration, leads to eradication of drug-resistant primary leukemia in combination with conventional therapy in vitro and significantly prolongs the survival of NOD/SCID mice engrafted with primary ALL. Therefore, specifically inhibiting CBP/catenin transcription represents a novel approach to overcome relapse in ALL.Oncogene advance online publication, 3 June 2013; doi:10.1038/onc.2013.169.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: An optimal culture system for human pluripotent stem cells should be fully defined and free of animal components. To date, most xeno-free culture systems require human feeder cells and/or highly complicated culture media that contain activators of the fibroblast growth factor (FGF) and transforming growth factor-β (TGFβ) signaling pathways, and none provide for replacement of FGF/TGFβ ligands with chemical compounds. The Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway plays an important role in mouse embryonic stem cells in leukemia inhibitory factor-independent culture; however, the role of Wnt/β-catenin signaling in human pluripotent stem cell is still poorly understood and controversial because of the dual role of Wnts in proliferation and differentiation. Building on our previous investigations of small molecules modulating Wnt/β-catenin signaling in mouse embryonic stem cells, we identified a compound, ID-8, that could support Wnt-induced human embryonic stem cell proliferation and survival without differentiation. Dual-specificity tyrosine phosphorylation-regulated kinase (DYRK) is the target of the small molecule ID-8. Its role in human pluripotent cell renewal was confirmed by DYRK knockdown in human embryonic stem cells. Using Wnt and the DYRK inhibitor ID-8, we have developed a novel and simple chemically defined xeno-free culture system that allows for long-term expansion of human pluripotent stem cells without FGF or TGFβ activation. These culture conditions do not include xenobiotic supplements, serum, serum replacement, or albumin. Using this culture system, we have shown that several human pluripotent cell lines maintained pluripotency (>20 passages) and a normal karyotype and still retained the ability to differentiate into derivatives of all three germ layers. This Wnt-dependent culture system should provide a platform for complete replacement of growth factors with chemical compounds.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Fibroblast Growth Factor (FGF)-10 promotes the proliferation and survival of murine hepatoblasts during early stages of hepatogenesis through a Wnt-β-catenin dependent pathway. To determine the mechanism by which this occurs, we expanded primary culture of hepatoblasts enriched for progenitor markers CD133 and CD49f from embryonic day (E) 12.5 fetal liver and an established tumor initiating stem cell line from Mat1a−/− livers in media conditioned with recombinant (r) FGF10 or rFGF7. FGF Receptor (R) activation resulted in the downstream activation of MAPK, PI3K-AKT, and β-catenin pathways, as well as cellular proliferation. Additionally, increased levels of nuclear β-catenin phosphorylated at Serine-552 in cultured primary hepatoblasts, Mat1a−/− cells, and also in ex vivo embryonic liver explants indicate AKT-dependent activation of β-catenin downstream of FGFR activation; conversely, the addition of AKT inhibitor Ly294002 completely abrogated β-catenin activation. FGFR activation-induced cell proliferation and survival were also inhibited by the compound ICG-001, a small molecule inhibitor of β-catenin-CREB Binding Protein (CBP) in hepatoblasts, further indicating a CBP-dependent regulatory mechanism of β-catenin activity.
Conclusion: FGF signaling regulates the proliferation and survival of embryonic and transformed progenitor cells in part through AKT-mediated activation of β-catenin and downstream interaction with the transcriptional co-activator CBP.
PLoS ONE 11/2012; 7(11):e50401. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0050401 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Rationale: In this study we explore the regulation and the role of upregulated microRNAs in Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), a progressive interstitial lung disease of unknown origin. Methods and Results: We analyzed the expression of microRNAs in IPF lungs and identified 43 significantly upregulated microRNAs. Impressively, 24 of the 43 increased microRNAs were localized to the chromosome 14q32 microRNA cluster. We validated the increased expression of miR-154, miR-134, miR-299-5p, miR-410, miR-382, miR-409-3p, miR-487b, miR-31 and miR-127 by qRT-PCR, and determined that they were similarly expressed in embryonic lungs. We did not find evidence for differential methylation in this region but analysis of transcription factor binding sites identified multiple SMAD3 binding elements in the 14q32 microRNA cluster. TGF-β1 stimulation of normal human lung fibroblast (NHLF) caused up-regulation of microRNAs on chr14q32 that were also increased in IPF lungs. Chromatin immunoprecipitation confirmed binding of SMAD3 to the putative promoter of miR-154. Mir-154 was increased in IPF fibroblasts and transfection of NHLF with miR-154 caused significant increases in cell proliferation and migration. The increase in proliferation induced by TGF-β was not observed when NHLF or IPF fibroblasts were transfected with a mir-154 inhibitor. Transfection with miR-154 caused activation of the WNT pathway in NHLF. ICG-001 and XAV939, inhibitors of the WNT/β-catenin pathway, reduced the proliferative effect of miR-154. Conclusion: The potential role of miR-154, one of multiple chr14q32 microRNA cluster members upregulated in IPF, and a regulator of fibroblast migration and proliferation, should be further explored in IPF.
American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology 10/2012; 47(6). DOI:10.1165/rcmb.2011-0377OC · 3.99 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: While allergies are very common, affecting ∼40% of the population in most Western countries, only a proportion of allergic people develop asthma. This highlights the importance of tissue and cell specific mechanisms that contribute to the disease. As the interface between the inhaled environment and the internal environment of the lung, the epithelium normally possesses numerous mechanisms to maintain an effective protective barrier. However, the inability of the airway epithelium of asthmatics to effectively defend the lung against normally innocuous inhaled agents strongly suggests that asthma must involve defects in the epithelial barrier rather than being primarily an allergic disease. Evidence is accumulating that in asthma, the epithelium does not go through normal stages of development and differentiation and as a consequence, remain somewhat "immature". This in turn leads to a chronic cycle of dysregulated damage and repair which ultimately impacts on the airways function by increasing inflammation, but also by initiating processes that ultimately lead to changes to the structure and function of the airway.