Bryan Nikolai

Doctor of Philosophy
17.79

Publications

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    ABSTRACT: Approximately 20% of early-stage breast cancers display amplification or overexpression of the ErbB2/HER2 oncogene, conferring poor prognosis and resistance to endocrine therapy. Targeting HER2+ tumors with trastuzumab or the receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) inhibitor lapatinib significantly improves survival, yet tumor resistance and progression of metastatic disease still develop over time. While the mechanisms of cytosolic HER2 signaling are well studied, nuclear signaling components and gene regulatory networks that bestow therapeutic resistance and limitless proliferative potential are incompletely understood. Here, we use biochemical and bioinformatic approaches to identify effectors and targets of HER2 transcriptional signaling in human breast cancer. Phosphorylation and activity of the Steroid Receptor Coactivator-3 (SRC-3) is reduced upon HER2 inhibition, and recruitment of SRC-3 to regulatory elements of endogenous genes is impaired. Transcripts regulated by HER2 signaling are highly enriched with E2F1 binding sites and define a gene signature associated with proliferative breast tumor subtypes, cell cycle progression, and DNA replication. We show that HER2 signaling promotes breast cancer cell proliferation through regulation of E2F1-driven DNA metabolism and replication genes together with phosphorylation and activity of the transcriptional coactivator SRC-3. Furthermore, our analyses identified a cyclin dependent kinase (CDK) signaling node that, when targeted using the CDK4/6 inhibitor Palbociclib, defines overlap and divergence of adjuvant pharmacological targeting. Importantly, lapatinib and palbociclib strictly block de novo synthesis of DNA, mostly through disruption of E2F1 and its target genes. These results have implications for rational discovery of pharmacological combinations in pre-clinical models of adjuvant treatment and therapeutic resistance.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2016 · Cancer Research
  • Bryan C. Nikolai · Carolyn L. Smith · Bert W. O'Malley

    No preview · Article · Jun 2012 · Cancer Research
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    ABSTRACT: Oxidation of lipid substrates is essential for survival in fasting and other catabolic conditions, sparing glucose for the brain and other glucose-dependent tissues. Here we show Steroid Receptor Coactivator-3 (SRC-3) plays a central role in long chain fatty acid metabolism by directly regulating carnitine/acyl-carnitine translocase (CACT) gene expression. Genetic deficiency of CACT in humans is accompanied by a constellation of metabolic and toxicity phenotypes including hypoketonemia, hypoglycemia, hyperammonemia, and impaired neurologic, cardiac and skeletal muscle performance, each of which is apparent in mice lacking SRC-3 expression. Consistent with human cases of CACT deficiency, dietary rescue with short chain fatty acids drastically attenuates the clinical hallmarks of the disease in mice devoid of SRC-3. Collectively, our results position SRC-3 as a key regulator of β-oxidation. Moreover, these findings allow us to consider platform coactivators such as the SRCs as potential contributors to syndromes such as CACT deficiency, previously considered as monogenic.
    Full-text · Article · May 2012 · Cell metabolism
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    B. York · C. Yu · J. V. Sagen · Z. Liu · B. C. Nikolai · R.-C. Wu · M. Finegold · J. Xu · B. W. O'Malley

    Full-text · Article · Jun 2010 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
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    ABSTRACT: Here we demonstrate that reprogramming steroid receptor coactivator-3 (SRC-3) function by changing its posttranslational modification (PTM) code drastically influences systems biology. These findings support the physiological importance of PTMs in directing in vivo functions of a master coregulator. We previously reported that the transactivation potential of SRC-3 is controlled in part by PTMs, although this data emanated from in vitro studies. To test the physiological implications of PTMs on SRC-3, we developed a knock-in mouse model containing mutations at four conserved phosphorylation sites. These mice displayed a systems biology phenotype with increased body weight and adiposity, coupled with reduced peripheral insulin sensitivity. Collectively, these phenotypes result from increased IGF1 signaling, due to elevated IGFBP3 levels. We provide convincing evidence that these mutations in SRC-3 promoted enhanced transcription of the IGFBP3 gene and globally influenced growth and metabolism. Consequently, these mice displayed increased liver tumorigenesis, which likely results from elevated IGF1 signaling.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2010 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
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    ABSTRACT: Suicide genes for negative selection of cells have been powerful tools in somatic cell genetic studies and in gene therapy. Here we report on the construction, characterization, and utilization of retroviral vectors encoding barnase, a ribonuclease from Bacillus amyloliquefaciens, expression of which results in apoptosis of transduced mammalian cells. High-titer viral vector production was enabled by expression of an inhibitor of barnase (barstar) in transfected cells generating murine leukemia virus (MLV)- and HIV-1-based vectors. To identify cellular genes required for infection we used barnase-encoding vectors in a genetic screen to isolate mutant mammalian cells that are resistant to infection by MLV and HIV-1. We describe one such mutant clone that is inhibited in the infection process after reverse transcription. These results suggest that barnase-encoding vectors should be useful for negative selection strategies examining retroviral infection from entry to integration. Furthermore these vectors could have utility in approaches for gene therapy that require specific cell ablation.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2006 · Molecular Therapy
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    ABSTRACT: By using a genetic screen, we have isolated a mammalian cell line that is resistant to infection by retroviruses that are derived from the murine leukemia virus, human immunodeficiency virus type 1, and feline immunodeficiency virus. We demonstrate that the cell line is genetically recessive for the resistance, and hence it is lacking a factor enabling infection by retroviruses. The block to infection is early in the life cycle, at the poorly understood uncoating stage. We implicate the proteasome at uncoating by completely rescuing the resistant phenotype with the proteasomal inhibitor MG-132. We further report on the complementation cloning of a gene (MRI, modulator of retrovirus infection) that can also act to reverse the inhibition of infection in the mutant cell line. These data implicate a role for the proteasome during uncoating, and they suggest that MRI is a regulator of this activity. Finally, we reconcile our findings and other published data to suggest a model for the involvement of the proteasome in the early phase of the retroviral life cycle.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2006 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

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