MANISH BAIS’s Lab
Institution: Boston University
Department: Department of Molecular and Cell Biology
Featured projects (1)
Generate preclinical mouse model useful for preclinical research related to arthritis, oral cancer, and cartilage regeneration.
Featured research (31)
Lysine-specific demethylase 1 (LSD1) is a histone demethylase that contributes to the etiology of oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) in part by promoting cancer stem cell phenotypes. The molecular signals regulated by LSD1, or acting with LSD1, are poorly understood, particularly in the development of OSSC. In this study, we show that conditional deletion of the Lsd1 gene or pharmacologic inhibition of LSD1 in the tongue epithelium leads to reduced development of OSCC following exposure to the tobacco carcinogen 4NQO. LSD1 inhibition attenuated proliferation and clonogenic survival and showed an additive effect when combined with the YAP inhibitor Verteporfin. Interestingly, LSD1 inhibition upregulated the expression of PD-L1, leading to immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy responses. Implications: Collectively, our studies reveal a critical role for LSD1 in OSCC development and identification of tumor growth targeting strategies that can be combined with LSD1 inhibition for improved therapeutic application.
In the United States, 5-12% of adults have at least one symptom of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, including TMJ osteoarthritis (TMJ-OA). However, there is no chondroprotective agent that is approved for clinical application. We showed that LOXL2 is elevated in the regenerative response during fracture healing in mice and has a critical role in chondrogenic differentiation. Indeed, LOXL2 is an anabolic effector that attenuates pro-inflammatory signaling in OA cartilage of the TMJ and knee joint, induces chondroprotective and regenerative responses, and attenuates NF-kB signaling. The specific goal of the study was to evaluate if adenoviral delivery of LOXL2 is anabolic to human and mouse TMJ condylar cartilage in vivo and evaluate the protective and anabolic effect on cartilage-specific factors. We employed two different models to assess TMJ-OA. In one model, clinical TMJ-OA cartilage from 5 different samples in TMJ-OA cartilage plugs were implanted subcutaneously in nude mice. Adenovirus LOXL2-treated implants showed higher mRNA levels of LOXL2, ACAN, and other anabolic genes compared to the adenovirus-Empty-treated implants. Further characterization by RNA-seq analysis showed LOXL2 promotes proteoglycan networks and extracellular matrix in human TMJ-OA cartilage implants in vivo. In order to evaluate if LOXL2-induced functional and sex-linked differences, both male and female four-month-old chondrodysplasia (Cho/+) mice, which develop progressive TMJ-OA due to a point mutation in the Col11a1 gene, were subjected to intraperitoneal injection with Adv-RFP-LOXL2 every 2 weeks for 12 weeks. The data showed that adenovirus delivery of LOXL2 upregulated LOXL2 and aggrecan (Acan), whereas MMP13 expression was slightly downregulated. The fold change expression of Acan and Runx2 induced by Adv-RFP-LOXL2 was higher in females compared to males. Interestingly, Adv-RFP-LOXL2 injection significantly increased Rankl expression in male but there was no change in females, whereas VegfB gene expression was increased in females, but not in males, as compared to those injected with Adv-RFP-Empty in respective groups. Our findings indicate that LOXL2 can induce specifically the expression of Acan and other anabolic genes in two preclinical models in vivo. Further, LOXL2 has beneficial functions in human TMJ-OA cartilage implants and promotes gender-specific anabolic responses in Cho/+ mice with progressive TMJ-OA, suggesting its merit for further study as an anabolic therapy for TMJ-OA. Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders include a group of complex and poorly understood conditions characterized by orofacial pain, popping sounds, and restricted joint movement leading to anatomical changes. The female-to-male ratio of TMJ disorder incidence ranges from 3:1 to 9:1 1-3. TMJ osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative disease that affects both cartilage and subchondral bone. TMJ-OA is the most prevalent of TMJ disorders 4 , which affects 5 to 12 percent of the population and associated with an estimated annual cost of $4 billion 5. However, there is no chondroprotective agent is approved for clinical application. A clinical study showed significant differences in OA-associated inflammatory protein expression between TMJ and knee joint OA, OPEN
Background: The goal of this study was to determine if adenovirus-delivered LOXL2 protects against progressive knee osteoarthritis (OA), assess its specific mechanism of action; and determine if the overexpression of LOXL2 in transgenic mice can protect against the development of OA-related cartilage damage and joint disability. Methods: Four-month-old Cho/+ male and female mice were intraperitoneally injected with either Adv-RFP-LOXL2 or an empty vector twice a month for four months. The proteoglycan levels and the expression of anabolic and catabolic genes were examined by immunostaining and qRT-PCR. The effect of LOXL2 expression on signaling was tested via the pro-inflammatory cytokine IL1β in the cartilage cell line ATDC5. Finally; the OA by monosodium iodoacetate (MIA) injection was also induced in transgenic mice with systemic overexpression of LOXL2 and examined gene expression and joint function by treadmill tests and assessment of allodynia. Results: The adenovirus treatment upregulated LOXL2; Sox9; Acan and Runx2 expression in both males and females. The Adv-RFP-LOXL2 injection; but not the empty vector injection increased proteoglycan staining and aggrecan expression but reduced MMP13 expression. LOXL2 attenuated IL-1β-induced phospho-NF-κB/p65 and rescued chondrogenic lineage-related genes in ATDC5 cells; demonstrating one potential protective mechanism. LOXL2 attenuated phospho-NF-κB independent of its enzymatic activity. Finally; LOXL2-overexpressing transgenic mice were protected from MIA-induced OA-related functional changes; including the time and distance traveled on the treadmill and allodynia. Conclusion: Our study demonstrates that systemic LOXL2 adenovirus or LOXL2 genetic overexpression in mice can protect against OA. These findings demonstrate the potential for LOXL2 gene therapy for knee-OA clinical treatment in the future.
Background: Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) is an aggressive malignancy characterized by tumor heterogeneity, locoregional metastases, and resistance to existing treatments. Although a number of genomic and molecular alterations associated with HNSCC have been identified, they have had limited impact on the clinical management of this disease. To date, few targeted therapies are available for HNSCC, and only a small fraction of patients have benefited from these treatments. A frequent feature of HNSCC is the inappropriate activation of β-catenin that has been implicated in cell survival and in the maintenance and expansion of stem cell-like populations, thought to be the underlying cause of tumor recurrence and resistance to treatment. However, the therapeutic value of targeting β-catenin activity in HNSCC has not been explored. Methods: We utilized a combination of computational and experimental profiling approaches to examine the effects of blocking the interaction between β-catenin and cAMP-responsive element binding (CREB)-binding protein (CBP) using the small molecule inhibitor ICG-001. We generated and annotated in vitro treatment gene expression signatures of HNSCC cells, derived from human oral squamous cell carcinomas (OSCCs), using microarrays. We validated the anti-tumorigenic activity of ICG-001 in vivo using SCC-derived tumor xenografts in murine models, as well as embryonic zebrafish-based screens of sorted stem cell-like subpopulations. Additionally, ICG-001-inhibition signatures were overlaid with RNA-sequencing data from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) for human OSCCs to evaluate its association with tumor progression and prognosis. Results: ICG-001 inhibited HNSCC cell proliferation and tumor growth in cellular and murine models, respectively, while promoting intercellular adhesion and loss of invasive phenotypes. Furthermore, ICG-001 preferentially targeted the ability of subpopulations of stem-like cells to establish metastatic tumors in zebrafish. Significantly, interrogation of the ICG-001 inhibition-associated gene expression signature in the TCGA OSCC human cohort indicated that the targeted β-catenin/CBP transcriptional activity tracked with tumor status, advanced tumor grade, and poor overall patient survival. Conclusions: Collectively, our results identify β-catenin/CBP interaction as a novel target for anti-HNSCC therapy and provide evidence that derivatives of ICG-001 with enhanced inhibitory activity may serve as an effective strategy to interfere with aggressive features of HNSCC.
Saqer F. Alsaqer
Mustafa M. Tashkandi