Miriam Wankell

Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, La Jolla, California, United States

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Publications (5)34.49 Total impact

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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Ets2 has both tumor repressive and supportive functions for different types of cancer. We have investigated the role of Ets2 within intestinal epithelial cells in postnatal mouse colon development and tumorigenesis. Conditional inactivation of Ets2 within intestinal epithelial cells results in over representation of Ets2-deficient colon crypts within young and adult animals. This preferential representation is associated with an increased number of proliferative cells within the stem cell region and an increased rate of crypt fission in young mice that result in larger patches of Ets2-deficient crypts. These effects are consistent with a selective advantage of Ets2-deficient intestinal stem cells in colonizing colonic crypts and driving crypt fission. Ets2-deficient colon crypts have an increased mucosal thickness, an increased number of goblet cells, and an increased density. Mice with Ets2-deficient intestinal cells develop more colon tumors in response to treatment with azoxymethane and dextran sulfate sodium. The selective population of colon crypts, the altered differentiation state and increased sensitivity to carcinogen-induced tumors all indicate that Ets2 deficiency alters colon stem cell number or behavior. Ets2-dependent, epithelial cell-autonomous repression of intestinal tumors may contribute to protection from colon cancer of persons with increased dosage of chromosome 21.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2011 · Stem Cells
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: C-Src is infrequently mutated in human cancers but it mediates oncogenic signals of many activated growth factor receptors and thus remains a key target for cancer therapy. However, the broad function of Src in many cell types and processes requires evaluation of Src-targeted therapeutics within a normal developmental and immune-competent environment. In an effort to understand the appropriate clinical use of Src inhibitors, we tested an Src inhibitor, SKI-606 (bosutinib), in the MMTV-PyVmT transgenic mouse model of breast cancer. Tumor formation in this model is dependent on the presence of Src, but the necessity of Src kinase activity for tumor formation has not been determined. Furthermore, Src inhibitors have not been examined in an autochthonous tumor model that permits assessment of effects on different stages of tumor progression. Here we show that oral administration of SKI-606 inhibited the phosphorylation of Src in mammary tumors and caused a rapid decrease in the Ezh2 Polycomb group histone H3K27 methyltransferase and an increase in epithelial organization. SKI-606 prevented the appearance of palpable tumors in over 50% of the animals and stopped tumor growth in older animals with pre-existing tumors. These antitumor effects were accompanied by decreased cellular proliferation, altered tumor blood vessel organization and dramatically increased differentiation to lactational and epidermal cell fates. SKI-606 controls the development of mammary tumors by inducing differentiation.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2011 · Oncogene
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    Full-text · Dataset · Aug 2010
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bcl-2 inhibitor of transcription (Bit1) is a mitochondrial protein that functions as a peptidyl-tRNA hydrolase, but, when released into the cytoplasm, it elicits apoptosis. The proapoptotic function is uniquely counteracted by integrin-mediated cell attachment. We generated a conditional KO mouse of the Bit1 gene by using the Cre-LoxP recombination system. Bit1-null mice were born alive but with some developmental abnormalities. They developed a runting syndrome after birth and died within the first 2 weeks. Cultured fibroblasts from the Bit1-null embryos [mouse embryo fibroblasts (MEFs)] were more resistant to cell death induced by loss of attachment to extracellular matrix (anoikis) than cells from the wild-type or heterozygous littermates. MEFs and tissues from Bit1 KO mice displayed a marked increase in Erk phosphorylation. Knocking down Bit1 expression in cultured cells resulted in increased Erk activation, and partially knocking down Erk reversed the increased anoikis resistance of Bit1 knockdown. The enhanced Erk activation was associated with decreased Erk phosphatase activity. These studies establish the physiological significance of Bit1 activity and begin to delineate a Bit1 signaling pathway that acts through Erk regulation.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2008 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The intermediate filament protein keratin 8 (K8) is critical for the development of most mouse embryos beyond midgestation. We find that 68% of K8-/- embryos, in a sensitive genetic background, are rescued from placental bleeding and subsequent death by cellular complementation with wild-type tetraploid extraembryonic cells. This indicates that the primary defect responsible for K8-/- lethality is trophoblast giant cell layer failure. Furthermore, the genetic absence of maternal but not paternal TNF doubles the number of viable K8-/- embryos. Finally, we show that K8-/- concepti are more sensitive to a TNF-dependent epithelial apoptosis induced by the administration of concanavalin A (ConA) to pregnant mothers. The ConA-induced failure of the trophoblast giant cell barrier results in hematoma formation between the trophoblast giant cell layer and the embryonic yolk sac in a phenocopy of dying K8-deficient concepti in a sensitive genetic background. We conclude the lethality of K8-/- embryos is due to a TNF-sensitive failure of trophoblast giant cell barrier function. The keratin-dependent protection of trophoblast giant cells from a maternal TNF-dependent apoptotic challenge may be a key function of simple epithelial keratins.
    Preview · Article · Jun 2003 · The Journal of Cell Biology