Canonical TGF-β Pathway Activity Is a Predictor of SHH-Driven Medulloblastoma Survival and Delineates Putative Precursors in Cerebellar Development

Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
Brain Pathology (Impact Factor: 3.84). 09/2012; 23(2). DOI: 10.1111/j.1750-3639.2012.00631.x
Source: PubMed


Medulloblastoma (MB) is the most common malignant brain tumor of childhood. Very little is known about aggressive forms of this disease, such as metastatic or recurrent MBs. In order to identify pathways involved in aggressive MB pathophysiology, we performed unbiased, whole genome microarrays on MB tumors at both the human and murine levels. Primary human MBs were compared, transcriptomically, to their patient-matched recurrent or metastatic tumors. Expression profiling was also performed on murine tumors from two spontaneously developing MB mouse models (Ptch+/- and Smo/Smo) that present with differing clinical severities. At both the human and murine levels we identified transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β) as a potential contributor to MB progression/metastasis. Smad3, a major downstream component of the TGF-β pathway, was also evaluated using immunohistochemistry in malignant human tissues and was shown to correlate with MB metastasis and survival. Similarly, Smad3 expression during development identified a subset of cerebellar neuronal precursors as putative cells of origin for the Smad3-positive MBs. To our knowledge, this is the first study that links TGF-β to MB pathogenesis. Our research suggests that canonical activation of this pathway leads to better prognosis for patients.

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    • "In agreement with these reports, we found, by GSEA analysis, that the TGF-β pathway was upregulated in the cerebella of miR-17∼92cKO; miR-106b∼25KO mice. TGF-β pathway is associated with SHH-MB pathogenesis with high levels connoting a good prognosis (Aref et al., 2013). Our results are in agreement with a study suggesting that miR-17∼92 cluster downregulates two different signaling pathways, Bmp and TGF-β pathways (Brock et al., 2009). "
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    ABSTRACT: The miR-17∼92 cluster family is composed of three members encoding microRNAs that share seed sequences. To assess their role in cerebellar and medulloblastoma (MB) development, we deleted the miR-17∼92 cluster family in Nestin-positive neural progenitors and in mice heterozygous for the Sonic Hedgehog (SHH) receptor Patched 1 (Ptch1(+/-)). We show that mice in which we conditionally deleted the miR-17∼92 cluster (miR-17∼92(floxed/floxed); Nestin-Cre(+)) alone or together with the complete loss of the miR-106b∼25 cluster (miR-106b∼25(-/-)) were born alive but with small brains and reduced cerebellar foliation. Remarkably, deletion of the miR-17∼92 cluster abolished the development of SHH-MB in Ptch1(+/-) mice. Using an orthotopic transplant approach, we showed that granule neuron precursors (GNPs) purified from the cerebella of postnatal day 7 (P7) Ptch1(+/-); miR-106b∼25(-/-) mice and overexpressing Mycn induced MBs in the cortices of naïve recipient mice. In contrast, GNPs purified from the cerebella of P7 Ptch1(+/-); miR-17∼92(floxed/floxed); Nestin-Cre(+) animals and overexpressing Mycn failed to induce tumors in recipient animals. Taken together, our findings demonstrate that the miR-17∼92 cluster is dispensable for cerebellar development, but required for SHH-MB development.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · Biology Open
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    • "We observed the inhibition of canonical Notch signaling and the increase in Smad3b- mediated TGFβ signaling at tumor onset (supplementary material Fig. S7). This is in agreement with results previously described in human and mouse models of MDB and mouse models of MDB (Aref et al., 2013; Guessous et al., 2008; Rodini et al., 2010). Smad3/TGFβ activity continued to be sustained till 30 dpf with a very slow decrease. "
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    ABSTRACT: Pancreatic adenocarcinoma, one of the worst malignancies of exocrine pancreas, is a solid tumor with increasing incidence and mortality in industrialized countries. It is usually driven by oncogenic Kras point mutations and evolves into a highly aggressive metastatic carcinoma due to secondary gene mutations and specific signaling pathways unbalance. To examine in vivo the effects of Kras(G12D) during pancreatic cancer progression and time correlation with cancer signaling pathways activities, we have generated a zebrafish model of Pancreatic adenocarcinoma in which eGFP-Kras(G12D) expression was specifically driven to the pancreatic tissue by using the GAL4/UAS conditional expression system. Outcrossing the inducible oncogenic Kras(G12D) line with transgenic zebrafish reporters harboring specific signaling responsive elements of transcriptional effectors, we were able to follow TGFβ, Notch, Bmp and Shh activities during tumor development. Zebrafish transgenic lines expressing eGFP-Kras(G12D) showed normal exocrine pancreas development till 3 weeks post fertilization (wpf). From 4 to 24 wpf we observed several degree of acinar lesions, characterized by an increase of mesenchymal cells and mixed acinar/ductal features followed by progressive bowel and liver infiltrations finally bringing to highly aggressive carcinoma. Moreover, live imaging analysis of the exocrine pancreatic tissue revealed an increasing number of Kras positive cells and progressive activation of TGFβ; and Notch pathways. Increase of TGFβ, following Kras(G12D) activation, was confirmed in a concomitant model of medulloblastoma (MDB). Notch and Shh signaling activities during tumor onset were different between MDB and pancreatic adenocarcinoma indicating a tissue specific regulation of cell signaling pathways. Moreover, our results shows that a living model of pancreatic adenocarcinoma joined with cell signaling reporters is a suitable tool to describe in vivo the signaling cascades and molecular mechanisms involved in tumor development and a potential platform to screen for novel oncostatic drugs.
    Full-text · Article · May 2014 · Disease Models and Mechanisms
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    ABSTRACT: Medulloblastoma (MB) is one of the most common pediatric cancers, likely originating from abnormal development of cerebellar progenitor neurons. MicroRNA (miRNA) has been shown to play an important role in the development of the central nervous system. Microarray analysis was used to investigate miRNA expression in desmoplastic MB from patients diagnosed at a young age (1 or 2 years old). Normal fetal or newborn cerebellum was used as control. A total of 84 differentially expressed miRNAs (64 downregulated and 20 upregulated) were found. Most downregulated miRNAs (32/64) were found to belong to the cluster of miRNAs at the 14q32 locus, suggesting that this miRNA locus is regulated as a module in MB. Possible mechanisms of 14q32 miRNAs downregulation were investigated by the analysis of publicly available gene expression data sets. First, expression of estrogen-related receptor-γ (ESRRG), a reported positive transcriptional regulator of some 14q32 miRNAs, was found downregulated in desmoplastic MB. Second, expression of the parentally imprinted gene MEG3 was lower in MB in comparison to normal cerebellum, suggesting a possible epigenetic silencing of the 14q32 locus. miR-129-5p (11p11.2/7q32.1), miR-206 (6p12.2), and miR-323-3p (14q32.2), were chosen for functional studies in DAOY cells. Overexpression of miR-129-5p using mimics decreased DAOY proliferation. No effect was found with miR-206 or miR-323 mimics.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2013 · Frontiers in Oncology
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