[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cells of the innate immune system have a dual role in
cancer development in both tumor initiation and progression.
Innate immune cells can, on the one hand, aid
malignant transformation and tumor outgrowth and, on
the other hand, prevent tumor progression. The innate
immune system has the ability to tune the inflammatory
response and is a key player in cancer-related inflammation,
which can precede the development of malignancy
or be induced by oncogenic changes promoting a protumor
inflammatory milieu. In this review, we discuss
the emerging cellular and molecular mechanisms of the
innate immune system and inflammation in tumor initiation
and progression, and point to the outstanding
questions that remain.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The extracellular matrix (ECM) is a highly dynamic structure that is present in all tissues and continuously undergoes controlled remodelling. This process involves quantitative and qualitative changes in the ECM, mediated by specific enzymes that are responsible for ECM degradation, such as metalloproteinases. The ECM interacts with cells to regulate diverse functions, including proliferation, migration and differentiation. ECM remodelling is crucial for regulating the morphogenesis of the intestine and lungs, as well as of the mammary and submandibular glands. Dysregulation of ECM composition, structure, stiffness and abundance contributes to several pathological conditions, such as fibrosis and invasive cancer. A better understanding of how the ECM regulates organ structure and function and of how ECM remodelling affects disease progression will contribute to the development of new therapeutics.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Tumor-infiltrating inflammatory cells comprise a major part of the stromal microenvironment and support cancer progression by multiple mechanisms. High numbers of tumor myeloid cells corre-late with poor prognosis in breast cancer and are coupled with the angiogenic switch and malignant progression. However, the specific roles and regulation of heterogeneous tumor myeloid populations are incompletely understood. CSF-1 is a major myeloid cell mitogen, and signaling through its receptor CSF-1R is also linked to poor outcomes. To characterize myeloid cell function in tumors, we combined confocal intravital microscopy with depletion of CSF-1R– dependent cells using a neutralizing CSF-1R antibody in the mouse mammary tumor virus long-terminal region-driven polyoma middle T antigen breast cancer model. The depleted cells shared markers of tumor-associated macrophages and dendritic cells (M-DCs), match-ing the phenotype of tumor dendritic cells that take up antigens and interact with T cells. We defined functional subgroups within the M-DC population by imaging endocytic and matrix metalloproteinase activity. Anti–CSF-1R treatment altered stromal dynamics and im-paired both survival of M-DCs and accumulation of new M-DCs, but did not deplete Gr-1 + neutrophils or block doxorubicin-induced myeloid cell recruitment, and had a minimal effect on lung myeloid cells. Nevertheless, prolonged treatment led to delayed tumor growth, reduced vascularity, and decreased lung metastasis. Because the myeloid infiltrate in metastatic lungs differed significantly from that in mammary tumors, the reduction in metastasis may result from the impact on primary tumors. The combination of functional analysis by intravital imaging with cellular characterization has re-fined our understanding of the effects of experimental targeted ther-apies on the tumor microenvironment. inflammation | myeloid cells | matrix metalloproteinase | CSF-1 receptor |
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 11/2014; · 9.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The formation of epithelial tissues containing lumens requires not only the apical-basolateral polarization of cells, but also the coordinated orientation of this polarity such that the apical surfaces of neighboring cells all point toward the central lumen. Defects in extracellular matrix (ECM) signaling lead to inverted polarity so that the apical surfaces face the surrounding ECM. We report a molecular switch mechanism controlling polarity orientation. ECM signals through a β1-integrin/FAK/p190RhoGAP complex to downregulate a RhoA/ROCK/Ezrin pathway at the ECM interface. PKCβII phosphorylates the apical identity-promoting Podocalyxin/NHERF1/Ezrin complex, removing Podocalyxin from the ECM-abutting cell surface and initiating its transcytosis to an apical membrane initiation site for lumen formation. Inhibition of this switch mechanism results in the retention of Podocalyxin at the ECM interface and the development instead of collective front-rear polarization and motility. Thus, ECM-derived signals control the morphogenesis of epithelial tissues by controlling the collective orientation of epithelial polarization.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background: Breast cancer has a complex etiology that includes genetic, biologic, behavioral, environmental and social factors. Etiologic factors are frequently studied in isolation with adjustment for confounding, mediating and moderating effects of other factors. A complex systems model approach may present a more comprehensive picture of the multi-factorial etiology of breast cancer. Methods: We took a transdisciplinary approach with experts from relevant fields to develop a conceptual model of the etiology of postmenopausal breast cancer. The model incorporated evidence of both the strength of association and the quality of the evidence. We operationalized this conceptual model through a mathematical simulation model with a subset of variables, namely, age, race/ethnicity, age at menarche, age at first birth, age at menopause, obesity, alcohol consumption, income, tobacco use, use of hormone therapy (HT) and BRCA1/2 genotype. Results. In simulating incidence for California in 2000, the separate impact of individual variables was modest, but reduction in HT, increase in the age at menarche, and to a lesser extent reduction in excess BMI >30 kg/m2 were more substantial. Conclusions: Complex systems models can yield new insights on the etiologic factors involved in postmenopausal breast cancer. Modification of factors at a population level may only modestly affect risk estimates, while still having an important impact on the absolute number of women affected. Impact: This novel effort highlighted the complexity of breast cancer etiology, revealed areas of challenge in the methodology of developing complex systems models and suggested additional areas for further study.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Myeloid cells are the most abundant immune cells within tumors and have been shown to promote tumor progression. Modern intravital imaging techniques enable the observation of live cellular behavior inside the organ but can be challenging in some types of cancer due to organ and tumor accessibility such as intestine. Direct observation of intestinal tumors has not been previously reported. A surgical procedure described here allows direct observation of myeloid cell dynamics within the intestinal tumors in live mice by using transgenic fluorescent reporter mice and injectable tracers or antibodies. For this purpose, a four-color, multi-region, micro-lensed spinning disk confocal microscope that allows long-term continuous imaging with rapid image acquisition has been used. Apc(Min) (/+) mice that develop multiple adenomas in the small intestine are crossed with c-fms-EGFP mice to visualize myeloid cells and with ACTB-ECFP mice to visualize intestinal epithelial cells of the crypts. Procedures for labeling different tumor components, such as blood vessels and neutrophils, and the procedure for positioning the tumor for imaging through the serosal surface are also described. Time-lapse movies compiled from several hours of imaging allow the analysis of myeloid cell behavior in situ in the intestinal microenvironment.
Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE. 01/2014;
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Matrix metalloproteinase-9 is elevated within the acutely injured murine spinal cord and blockade of this early proteolytic activity with GM6001, a broad-spectrum matrix metalloproteinase inhibitor, results in improved recovery after spinal cord injury. As matrix metalloproteinase-9 is likewise acutely elevated in dogs with naturally occurring spinal cord injuries, we evaluated efficacy of GM6001 solubilized in dimethyl sulfoxide in this second species. Safety and pharmacokinetic studies were conducted in naïve dogs. After confirming safety, subsequent pharmacokinetic analyses demonstrated that a 100 mg/kg subcutaneous dose of GM6001 resulted in plasma concentrations that peaked shortly after administration and were sustained for at least 4 days at levels that produced robust in vitro inhibition of matrix metalloproteinase-9. A randomized, blinded, placebo-controlled study was then conducted to assess efficacy of GM6001 given within 48 hours of spinal cord injury. Dogs were enrolled in 3 groups: GM6001 dissolved in dimethyl sulfoxide (n = 35), dimethyl sulfoxide (n = 37), or saline (n = 41). Matrix metalloproteinase activity was increased in the serum of injured dogs and GM6001 reduced this serum protease activity compared to the other two groups. To assess recovery, dogs were a priori stratified into a severely injured group and a mild-to-moderate injured group, using a Modified Frankel Scale. The Texas Spinal Cord Injury Score was then used to assess long-term motor/sensory function. In dogs with severe spinal cord injuries, those treated with saline had a mean motor score of 2 (95% CI 0-4.0) that was significantly (P<0.05; generalized linear model) less than the estimated mean motor score for dogs receiving dimethyl sulfoxide (mean, 5; 95% CI 2.0-8.0) or GM6001 (mean, 5; 95% CI 2.0-8.0). As there was no independent effect of GM6001, we attribute improved neurological outcomes to dimethyl sulfoxide, a pleotropic agent that may target diverse secondary pathogenic events that emerge in the acutely injured cord.
PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(5):e96408. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Carcinomas typically invade as a cohesive multicellular unit, a process termed collective invasion. It remains unclear how different subpopulations of cancer cells contribute to this process. We developed three-dimensional (3D) organoid assays to identify the most invasive cancer cells in primary breast tumors. Collective invasion was led by specialized cancer cells that were defined by their expression of basal epithelial genes, such as cytokeratin-14 (K14) and p63. Furthermore, K14+ cells led collective invasion in the major human breast cancer subtypes. Importantly, luminal cancer cells were observed to convert phenotypically to invasive leaders following induction of basal epithelial genes. Although only a minority of cells within luminal tumors expressed basal epithelial genes, knockdown of either K14 or p63 was sufficient to block collective invasion. Our data reveal that heterotypic interactions between epithelial subpopulations are critical to collective invasion. We suggest that targeting the basal invasive program could limit metastatic progression.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Phenotypic screens can identify molecules that are at once penetrant and active on the integrated circuitry of a whole cell or organism. These advantages are offset by the need to identify the targets underlying the phenotypes. Additionally, logistical considerations limit screening for certain physiological and behavioral phenotypes to organisms such as zebrafish and C. elegans. This further raises the challenge of elucidating whether compound-target relationships found in model organisms are preserved in humans. To address these challenges we searched for compounds that affect feeding behavior in C. elegans and sought to identify their molecular mechanisms of action. Here, we applied predictive chemoinformatics to small molecules previously identified in a C. elegans phenotypic screen likely to be enriched for feeding regulatory compounds. Based on the predictions, 16 of these compounds were tested in vitro against 20 mammalian targets. Of these, nine were active, with affinities ranging from 9 nM to 10 µM. Four of these nine compounds were found to alter feeding. We then verified the in vitro findings in vivo through genetic knockdowns, the use of previously characterized compounds with high affinity for the four targets, and chemical genetic epistasis, which is the effect of combined chemical and genetic perturbations on a phenotype relative to that of each perturbation in isolation. Our findings reveal four previously unrecognized pathways that regulate feeding in C. elegans with strong parallels in mammals. Together, our study addresses three inherent challenges in phenotypic screening: the identification of the molecular targets from a phenotypic screen, the confirmation of the in vivo relevance of these targets, and the evolutionary conservation and relevance of these targets to their human orthologs.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The tumor microenvironment includes cells such as fibroblasts, immune cells, endothelial cells, as well as extracellular matrix (ECM), proteases, and cytokines. Together, these components participate in a complex crosstalk with neoplastic tumor cells that affects growth, angiogenesis, and metastasis. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small, non-coding RNAs involved in post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression and have recently emerged as important players involved in regulating multiple aspects of cancer biology and the tumor microenvironment. Differential miRNA expression in both the epithelial and stromal compartments of tumors compared with normal tissue suggests that miRNAs are important drivers of tumorigenesis and metastasis. This review article summarizes our current understanding of the diverse roles of miRNAs involved in tumor microenvironment regulation and underscores the importance of miRNAs within multiple cell types that contribute to the hallmarks of cancer.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The microenvironment provides cues that control the behavior of epithelial stem and progenitor cells. Here, we identify matrix metalloproteinase-3 (MMP3) as a regulator of Wnt signaling and mammary stem cell (MaSC) activity. We show that MMP3 overexpression promotes hyperplastic epithelial growth, surprisingly, in a nonproteolytic manner via its hemopexin (HPX) domain. We demonstrate that MMP3-HPX specifically binds and inactivates Wnt5b, a noncanonical Wnt ligand that inhibits canonical Wnt signaling and mammary epithelial outgrowth in vivo. Indeed, transplants overexpressing MMP3 display increased canonical Wnt signaling, demonstrating that MMP3 is an extracellular regulator of the Wnt signaling pathway. MMP3-deficient mice exhibit decreased MaSC populations and diminished mammary-reconstituting activity, whereas MMP3 overexpression elevates MaSC function, indicating that MMP3 is necessary for the maintenance of MaSCs. Our study reveals a mechanism by a microenvironmental protease that regulates Wnt signaling and impacts adult epithelial stem cell function.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Corneal scarring due to injury is a leading cause of blindness worldwide and results from dysregulated inflammation and angiogenesis during wound healing. Here we demonstrate that the extracellular matrix metalloproteinase MMP12 (macrophage metalloelastase) is an important regulator of these repair processes. Chemical injury resulted in higher expression of the fibrotic markers α-smooth muscle actin and type I collagen, and increased levels of angiogenesis in corneas of MMP12(-/-) mice compared with corneas of wild-type mice. In vivo, we observed altered immune cell dynamics in MMP12(-/-) corneas by confocal imaging. We determined that the altered dynamics owed to an altered inflammatory response, with delayed neutrophil infiltration during the first day and excessive macrophage infiltration six days later, mediated by altered expression levels of chemokines CCL2 and CXCL1, respectively. Corneal repair returned to normal upon inhibition of these chemokines. Taken together, these data show that MMP12 has a protective effect on corneal fibrosis during wound repair via regulation of immune cell infiltration and angiogenesis.
Journal of Cell Science 06/2013; · 5.88 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The pregnancy complication preeclampsia (PE), which occurs in approximately 3% to 8% of human pregnancies, is characterized by placental pathologies that can lead to significant fetal and maternal morbidity and mortality. Currently, the only known cure is delivery of the placenta. As the etiology of PE remains unknown, it is vital to find models to study this common syndrome. Here we show that matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP9) deficiency causes physiological and placental abnormalities in mice, which mimic features of PE. As with the severe cases of this syndrome, which commence early in gestation, MMP9-null mouse embryos exhibit deficiencies in trophoblast differentiation and invasion shortly after implantation, along with intrauterine growth restriction or embryonic death. Reciprocal embryo transfer experiments demonstrated that embryonic MMP9 is a major contributor to normal implantation, but maternal MMP9 also plays a role in embryonic trophoblast development. Pregnant MMP9-null mice bearing null embryos exhibited clinical features of PE as VEGF dysregulation and proteinuria accompanied by preexisting elevated blood pressure and kidney pathology. Thus, our data show that fetal and maternal MMP9 play a role in the development of PE and establish the MMP9-null mice as a much-needed model to study the clinical course of this syndrome.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 06/2013; · 9.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite advances in our understanding of breast cancer, patients with metastatic disease have poor prognoses. GATA3 is a transcription factor that specifies and maintains mammary luminal epithelial cell fate, and its expression is lost in breast cancer, correlating with a worse prognosis in human patients. Here, we show that GATA3 promotes differentiation, suppresses metastasis and alters the tumour microenvironment in breast cancer by inducing microRNA-29b (miR-29b) expression. Accordingly, miR-29b is enriched in luminal breast cancers and loss of miR-29b, even in GATA3-expressing cells, increases metastasis and promotes a mesenchymal phenotype. Mechanistically, miR-29b inhibits metastasis by targeting a network of pro-metastatic regulators involved in angiogenesis, collagen remodelling and proteolysis, including VEGFA, ANGPTL4, PDGF, LOX and MMP9, and targeting ITGA6, ITGB1 and TGFB, thereby indirectly affecting differentiation and epithelial plasticity. The discovery that a GATA3-miR-29b axis regulates the tumour microenvironment and inhibits metastasis opens up possibilities for therapeutic intervention in breast cancer.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mammary epithelial stem cells are vital to tissue expansion and remodeling during various phases of postnatal mammary development. Basal mammary epithelial cells are enriched in Wnt-responsive cells and can reconstitute cleared mammary fat pads upon transplantation into mice. Lgr5 is a Wnt-regulated target gene and was identified as a major stem cell marker in the small intestine, colon, stomach, and hair follicle, as well as in kidney nephrons. Here, we demonstrate the outstanding regenerative potential of a rare population of Lgr5-expressing (Lgr5(+)) mammary epithelial cells (MECs). We found that Lgr5(+) cells reside within the basal population, are superior to other basal cells in regenerating functional mammary glands (MGs), are exceptionally efficient in reconstituting MGs from single cells, and exhibit regenerative capacity in serial transplantations. Loss-of-function and depletion experiments of Lgr5(+) cells from transplanted MECs or from pubertal MGs revealed that these cells are not only sufficient but also necessary for postnatal mammary organogenesis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Like other tissue injuries, bone fracture triggers an inflammatory response, which plays an important role in skeletal repair. Inflammation is believed to have both positive and negative effects on bone repair, but the underlying cellular mechanisms are not well understood. To assess the role of inflammation on skeletal cell differentiation, we used mouse models of fracture repair that stimulate either intramembranous or endochondral ossification. In the first model, fractures are rigidly stabilized leading to direct bone formation, while in the second model, fracture instability causes cartilage and bone formation. We compared the inflammatory response in these two mechanical environments and found changes in the expression patterns of inflammatory genes and in the recruitment of inflammatory cells and osteoclasts. These results suggested that the inflammatory response could influence skeletal cell differentiation after fracture. We then exploited matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP9) that is expressed in inflammatory cells and osteoclasts, and which we previously showed is a potential regulator of cell fate decisions during fracture repair. Mmp9(-/-) mice heal stabilized fractures via endochondral ossification, while wild type mice heal via intramembranous ossification. In parallel, we observed increases in macrophages and T cells in the callus of Mmp9(-/-) compared to wild type mice. To assess the link between the profile of inflammatory cells and skeletal cell fate functionally, we transplanted Mmp9(-/-) mice with wild type bone marrow, to reconstitute a wild type hematopoietic lineage in interaction with the Mmp9(-/-) stroma and periosteum. Following transplantation, Mmp9(-/-) mice healed stabilized fractures via intramembranous ossification and exhibited a normal profile of inflammatory cells. Moreover, Mmp9(-/-) periosteal grafts healed via intramembranous ossification in wild type hosts, but healed via endochondral ossification in Mmp9(-/-) hosts. We observed that macrophages accumulated at the periosteal surface in Mmp9(-/-) mice, suggesting that cell differentiation in the periosteum is influenced by factors such as BMP2 that are produced locally by inflammatory cells. Taken together, these results show that MMP9 mediates indirect effects on skeletal cell differentiation by regulating the inflammatory response and the distribution of inflammatory cells, leading to the local regulation of periosteal cell differentiation.