Activated ALK Collaborates with MYCN in Neuroblastoma Pathogenesis

Department of Pediatric Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.
Cancer cell (Impact Factor: 23.52). 03/2012; 21(3):362-73. DOI: 10.1016/j.ccr.2012.02.010
Source: PubMed


Amplification of the MYCN oncogene in childhood neuroblastoma is often accompanied by mutational activation of ALK (anaplastic lymphoma kinase), suggesting their pathogenic cooperation. We generated a transgenic zebrafish model of neuroblastoma in which MYCN-induced tumors arise from a subpopulation of neuroblasts that migrate into the adrenal medulla analog following organogenesis. Coexpression of activated ALK with MYCN in this model triples the disease penetrance and markedly accelerates tumor onset. MYCN overexpression induces adrenal sympathetic neuroblast hyperplasia, blocks chromaffin cell differentiation, and ultimately triggers a developmentally-timed apoptotic response in the hyperplastic sympathoadrenal cells. Coexpression of activated ALK with MYCN provides prosurvival signals that block this apoptotic response and allow continued expansion and oncogenic transformation of hyperplastic neuroblasts, thus promoting progression to neuroblastoma.

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    • "Dr. Thomas A. Look (Zhu et al., 2012). Double-transgenic Tg(dbh:EGFP);(kdrl: ras-mcherry) s916 embryos were selected at 48 hpf by mCherry and EGFP expression. "
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    ABSTRACT: The sympathetic nervous system controls smooth muscle tone and heart rate in the cardiovascular system. Postganglionic sympathetic neurons (SNs) develop in close proximity to the dorsal aorta (DA) and innervate visceral smooth muscle targets. Here, we use the zebrafish embryo to ask whether the DA is required for SN development. We show that noradrenergic (NA) differentiation of SN precursors temporally coincides with vascular mural cell (VMC) recruitment to the DA and vascular maturation. Blocking vascular maturation inhibits VMC recruitment and blocks NA differentiation of SN precursors. Inhibition of platelet-derived growth factor receptor (PDGFR) signaling prevents VMC differentiation and also blocks NA differentiation of SN precursors. NA differentiation is normal in cloche mutants that are devoid of endothelial cells but have VMCs. Thus, PDGFR-mediated mural cell recruitment mediates neurovascular interactions between the aorta and sympathetic precursors and promotes their noradrenergic differentiation. Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2015 · Cell Reports
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    • "The targeted expression of MYCN drives neuroblastoma in mice and zebrafish (Weiss et al., 1997; Zhu et al., 2012). We have previously finessed the destabilization of MYCN through blockade of PI3K/mTOR (Chanthery et al., 2012; Chesler et al., 2006) and have shown in vivo efficacy through an alternative approach to blocking MYCN and its transcriptional targets using BRD4-based bromodomain inhibitors (Puissant et al., 2013). "
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    ABSTRACT: MYC proteins are major drivers of cancer yet are considered undruggable because their DNA binding domains are composed of two extended alpha helices with no apparent surfaces for small-molecule binding. Proteolytic degradation of MYCN protein is regulated in part by a kinase-independent function of Aurora A. We describe a class of inhibitors that disrupts the native conformation of Aurora A and drives the degradation of MYCN protein across MYCN-driven cancers. Comparison of cocrystal structures with structure-activity relationships across multiple inhibitors and chemotypes, coupled with mechanistic studies and biochemical assays, delineates an Aurora A conformation-specific effect on proteolytic degradation of MYCN, rather than simple nanomolar-level inhibition of Aurora A kinase activity.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2014 · Cancer Cell
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    • "The heterogeneity and complexity arose from various mutations. v-myc avian myelocytomatosis viral oncogene neuroblastoma derived homolog (MYCN) or anaplastic lymphoma receptor kinase (ALK), amplification and other genetic factors decide the aggressiveness and recurrence nature of neuroblastoma [16], [17]. Since neuroblastoma has restricted targets for the tumor specific immunotherapy, it is a challenge to develop a novel strategy to treat aggressive neuroblastoma. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Sialic acids (Sia) represent negative-charged terminal sugars on most glycoproteins and glycolipids on the cell surface of vertebrates. Aberrant expression of tumor associated sialylated carbohydrate epitopes significantly increases during onset of cancer. Since Sia contribute towards cell migration ( = metastasis) and to chemo- and radiation resistance. Modulation of cellular Sia concentration and composition poses a challenge especially for neuroblastoma therapy, due to the high heterogeneity and therapeutic resistance of these cells. Here we propose that Metabolic Sia Engineering (MSE) is an effective strategy to reduce neuroblastoma progression and metastasis. Methods Human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells were treated with synthetic Sia precursors N-propanoyl mannosamine (ManNProp) or N-pentanoyl mannosamine (ManNPent). Total and Polysialic acids (PolySia) were investigated by high performance liquid chromatography. Cell surface polySia were examined by flow-cytometry. Sia precursors treated cells were examined for the migration, invasion and sensitivity towards anticancer drugs and radiation treatment. Results Treatment of SH-SY5Y cells with ManNProp or ManNPent (referred as MSE) reduced their cell surface sialylation significantly. We found complete absence of polysialylation after treatment of SH-SY5Y cells with ManNPent. Loss of polysialylation results in a reduction of migration and invasion ability of these cells. Furthermore, radiation of Sia-engineered cells completely abolished their migration. In addition, MSE increases the cytotoxicity of anti-cancer drugs, such as 5-fluorouracil or cisplatin. Conclusions Metabolic Sia Engineering (MSE) of neuroblastoma cells using modified Sia precursors reduces their sialylation, metastatic potential and increases their sensitivity towards radiation or chemotherapeutics. Therefore, MSE may serve as an effective method to treat neuroblastoma.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2014 · PLoS ONE
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