[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Fra-1 (Fos-related antigen-1) is a member of the AP-1 (activator protein-1) family of transcription factors. We previously showed that Fra-1 is necessary for breast cancer cells to metastasize in vivo, and that a classifier comprising genes that are expressed in a Fra-1-dependent fashion can predict breast cancer outcome. Here, we show that Fra-1 plays an important role also in colon cancer progression. Whereas Fra-1 depletion does not affect 2D proliferation of human colon cancer cells, it impairs growth in soft agar and in suspension. Consistently, subcutaneous tumors formed by Fra-1-depleted colon cancer cells are three times smaller than those produced by control cells. Most remarkably, when injected intravenously, Fra-1 depletion causes a 200-fold reduction in tumor burden. Moreover, a Fra-1 classifier generated by comparing RNA profiles of parental and Fra-1-depleted colon cancer cells can predict the prognosis of colon cancer patients. Functional pathway analysis revealed Wnt as one of the central pathways in the classifier, suggesting a possible mechanism of Fra-1 function in colon cancer metastasis. Our results demonstrate that Fra-1 is an important determinant of the metastatic potential of human colon cancer cells, and that the Fra-1 classifier can be used as a prognostic predictor in colon cancer patients.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Tumor organoids are 3D cultures of cancer cells. They can be derived from the tumor of each individual patient, thereby providing an attractive ex vivo assay to tailor treatment. Using patient-derived tumor organoids for this purpose requires that organoids derived from biopsies maintain the genetic diversity of the in vivo tumor. In this study tumor biopsies were obtained from 14 patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (i) to test the feasibility of organoid culture from metastatic biopsy specimens and (ii) to compare the genetic diversity of patient-derived tumor organoids and the original tumor biopsy. Genetic analysis was performed using SOLiD sequencing for 1,977 cancer-relevant genes. Copy number profiles were generated from sequencing data using CopywriteR. Here we demonstrate that organoid cultures can be established from tumor biopsies of patients with metastatic colorectal cancer with a success rate of 71%. Genetic analysis showed that organoids reflect the metastasis from which they were derived. Ninety percent of somatic mutations were shared between organoids and biopsies from the same patient, and the DNA copy number profiles of organoids and the corresponding original tumor show a correlation of 0.89. Most importantly, none of the mutations that were found exclusively in either the tumor or organoid culture are in driver genes or genes amenable for drug targeting. These findings support further exploration of patient-derived organoids as an ex vivo platform to personalize anticancer treatment.
No preview · Article · Oct 2015 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Protein phosphorylation is an essential post-translational modification (PTM) regulating many biological processes at the cellular and multicellular level. Continuous improvements in phosphoproteomics technology allow the analysis of this PTM in an expanding biological content. Yet, up till now proteome data visualization tools are still very gene centric, hampering the ability to comprehensively map and study PTM dynamics. Here we present PhosphoPath, a Cytoscape app designed for the visualization and analysis of quantitative proteome and phosphoproteome datasets. PhosphoPath brings knowledge into the biological network by importing publically available data, and enables PTM site-specific visualization of information from quantitative time series. To showcase PhosphoPath performance we use a quantitative proteomics dataset comparing patient derived melanoma cell lines grown either in conventional cell culture or xenografts.
No preview · Article · Aug 2015 · Journal of Proteome Research
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cellular senescence is a largely irreversible form of cell cycle arrest triggered by various types of damage and stress, including
oncogene expression (termed oncogene-induced senescence or OIS). We and others have previously demonstrated that OIS occurs
in human benign lesions, acting as a potent tumor suppressor mechanism. Numerous phenotypic changes occur during OIS, both
in the cytoplasm and in the nucleus. These include the activation of autophagy, a catabolic process operating in the cytoplasm
and downregulation of lamin B1, a component of the nuclear lamina. However, it is unknown whether these changes relate to
each other. We discovered that cells entering BRAFV600E- or H-RASG12V-induced senescence downregulate not only lamin B1 but also lamin A, as well as several other nuclear envelope (NE) proteins,
resulting in an altered NE morphology. Depletion of LMNB1 or LMNA/C was sufficient to recapitulate some OIS features, including cell cycle exit and downregulation of NE proteins. We further
found that the global loss of NE proteins is a consequence of their degradation by the autophagy machinery, which occurs concomitantly
with autophagy induction and increased lysosomal content and activity. Our study therefore reveals a previously unknown connection
between autophagy and the disruption of NE integrity during OIS.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The relationship between cellular metabolism and the cell cycle machinery is by no means unidirectional. The ability of a cell to enter the cell cycle critically depends on the availability of metabolites. Conversely, the cell cycle machinery commits to regulating metabolic networks in order to support cell survival and proliferation. In this review, we will give an account of how the cell cycle machinery and metabolism are interconnected. Acquiring information on how communication takes place among metabolic signaling networks and the cell cycle controllers is crucial to increase our understanding of the deregulation thereof in disease, including cancer.
No preview · Article · Jun 2015 · Cell cycle (Georgetown, Tex.)
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We report a straightforward strategy to comprehensively monitor signal transduction pathway dynamics in mammalian systems. Combining targeted quantitative proteomics with highly selective phosphopeptide enrichment, we monitor, with great sensitivity, phosphorylation dynamics of the PI3K-mTOR and MAPK signaling networks. Our approach consists of a single enrichment step followed by a single targeted proteomics experiment, circumventing the need for labeling and immune-purification, while enabling analysis of selected phosphorylation nodes throughout signaling pathways. The need for such a comprehensive pathway analysis is illustrated by highlighting previously uncharacterized phosphorylation changes in oncogene-induced senescence, associated with diverse biological phenotypes and pharmacological intervention of the PI3K-mTOR pathway.
No preview · Article · May 2015 · Journal of Proteome Research
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Breast cancers with BRCA1 germline mutation have a characteristic DNA copy number (CN) pattern. We developed a test that assigns CN profiles to be ‘BRCA1-like’ or ‘non-BRCA1-like’, which refers to resembling a BRCA1-mutated tumor or resembling a tumor without a BRCA1 mutation, respectively. Approximately one third of the BRCA1-like breast cancers have a BRCA1 mutation, one third has hypermethylation of the BRCA1 promoter and one third has an unknown reason for being BRCA1-like. This classification is indicative of patients' response to high dose alkylating and platinum containing chemotherapy regimens, which targets the inability of BRCA1 deficient cells to repair DNA double strand breaks. We investigated whether this classification can be reliably obtained with next generation sequencing and copy number platforms other than the bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) array Comparative Genomic Hybridization (aCGH) on which it was originally developed.
Full-text · Article · Mar 2015 · Molecular oncology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Current methods for detection of copy number variants (CNV) and aberrations (CNA) from targeted sequencing data are based on the depth of coverage of captured exons. Accurate CNA determination is complicated by uneven genomic distribution and non-uniform capture efficiency of targeted exons. Here we present CopywriteR, which eludes these problems by exploiting ‘off-target’ sequence reads. CopywriteR allows for extracting uniformly distributed copy number information, can be used without reference, and can be applied to sequencing data obtained from various techniques including chromatin immunoprecipitation and target enrichment on small gene panels. CopywriteR outperforms existing methods and constitutes a widely applicable alternative to available tools.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13059-015-0617-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: No effective targeted therapy is currently available for NRAS mutant melanoma. Experimental MEK inhibition is rather toxic and has only limited efficacy in clinical trials. At least in part, this is caused by the emergence of drug resistance, which is commonly seen for single agent treatment and shortens clinical responses. Therefore, there is a dire need to identify effective companion drug targets for NRAS mutant melanoma. Here, we show that at concentrations where single drugs had little effect, ROCK inhibitors GSK269962A or Fasudil, in combination with either MEK inhibitor GSK1120212 (Trametinib) or ERK inhibitor SCH772984 cooperatively caused proliferation inhibition and cell death in vitro. Simultaneous inhibition of MEK and ROCK caused induction of BimEL , PARP, and Puma, and hence apoptosis. In vivo, MEK and ROCK inhibition suppressed growth of established tumors. Our findings warrant clinical investigation of the effectiveness of combinatorial targeting of MAPK/ERK and ROCK in NRAS mutant melanoma. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
No preview · Article · Feb 2015 · Pigment Cell & Melanoma Research
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Increased expression of the Microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF) contributes to melanoma progression and resistance to BRAF pathway inhibition. Here we show that the lack of MITF is associated with more severe resistance to a range of inhibitors, while its presence is required for robust drug responses. Both in primary and acquired resistance, MITF levels inversely correlate with the expression of several activated receptor tyrosine kinases, most frequently AXL. The MITF-low/AXL-high/drug-resistance phenotype is common among mutant BRAF and NRAS melanoma cell lines. The dichotomous behaviour of MITF in drug response is corroborated in vemurafenib-resistant biopsies, including MITF-high and -low clones in a relapsed patient. Furthermore, drug cocktails containing AXL inhibitor enhance melanoma cell elimination by BRAF or ERK inhibition. Our results demonstrate that a low MITF/AXL ratio predicts early resistance to multiple targeted drugs, and warrant clinical validation of AXL inhibitors to combat resistance of BRAF and NRAS mutant MITF-low melanomas.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2014 · Nature Communications
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Resistance to treatment is the main problem of targeted treatment for cancer. We followed ten patients during treatment with vemurafenib, by three-dimensional imaging. In all patients, only a subset of lesions progressed. Next generation DNA sequencing was performed on sequential biopsies in four patients to uncover mechanisms of resistance. In two patients we identified mutations that explained resistance to vemurafenib; one of these patients had a secondary BRAF L505H mutation. This is the first observation of a secondary BRAF mutation in a vemurafenib-resistant patient derived melanoma sample, which confirms the potential importance of the BRAF L505H mutation in the development of therapy resistance. Moreover, this study hints towards an important role for tumor heterogeneity in determining the outcome of targeted treatments.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
No preview · Article · Dec 2014 · Pigment Cell & Melanoma Research
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To identify factors preferentially necessary for driving tumor expansion, we performed parallel in vitro and in vivo negative-selection short hairpin RNA (shRNA) screens. Melanoma cells harboring shRNAs targeting several DNA damage response (DDR) kinases had a greater selective disadvantage in vivo than in vitro, indicating an essential contribution of these factors during tumor expansion. In growing tumors, DDR kinases were activated following hypoxia. Correspondingly, depletion or pharmacologic inhibition of DDR kinases was toxic to melanoma cells, including those that were resistant to BRAF inhibitor, and this could be enhanced by angiogenesis blockade. These results reveal that hypoxia sensitizes melanomas to targeted inhibition of the DDR and illustrate the utility of in vivo shRNA dropout screens for the identification of pharmacologically tractable targets.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Expression of the BRAFV600E oncoprotein is known to cause benign lesions, for example melanocytic nevi (moles). In spite of the oncogenic function of mutant BRAF, these lesions are arrested by a cell-autonomous mechanism called Oncogene-Induced Senescence (OIS). Infrequently, nevi can progress to malignant melanoma, through mechanisms that are incompletely understood. To gain more insight into this vital tumor suppression mechanism, we performed a mass spectrometry-based screening of the proteome and phosphoproteome in cycling and senescent cells as well as cells that have abrogated senescence. Proteome analysis of senescent cells revealed the upregulation of established senescence biomarkers, including specific cytokines, but also several proteins not previously associated with senescence, including extracellular matrix-interacting. Using both general and targeted phosphopeptide enrichment by Ti4+-IMAC and phosphotyrosine antibody enrichment, we identified over 15,000 phosphorylation sites. Among the regulated phosphorylation sites we encountered components of the interleukin, BRAF/MAPK and CDK-retinoblastoma (Rb) pathways and several other factors. The extensive proteome and phosphoproteome dataset of BRAFV600E-expressing senescent cells provides molecular clues as to how OIS is initiated, maintained or evaded, serving as a comprehensive proteomic basis for functional validation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The activation of oncogenes in primary cells blocks proliferation by inducing oncogene-induced senescence (OIS), a highly potent in vivo tumor-suppressing program. A prime example is mutant BRAF, which drives OIS in melanocytic nevi. Progression to melanoma occurs only in the context of additional alteration(s) like the suppression of PTEN, which abrogates OIS. Here, we performed a near-genomewide short hairpin (sh)RNA screen for novel OIS regulators and identified by next generation sequencing and functional validation seven genes. While all but one were upregulated in OIS, their depletion abrogated BRAF(V) (600E) -induced arrest. With genome-wide DNA methylation analysis we found one of these genes, RASEF, to be hypermethylated in primary cutaneous melanomas compared to nevi. Bypass of OIS by depletion of RASEF was associated with suppression of several senescence biomarkers including senescence-associated (SA)-β-galactosidase activity, interleukins and tumor suppressor p15(INK) (4B) . Restoration of RASEF expression inhibited proliferation. These results illustrate the power of shRNA OIS bypass screens and identify a potential novel melanoma suppressor gene. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Dysfunctional telomeres suppress tumour progression by activating cell-intrinsic programs that lead to growth arrest. Increased levels of TRF2, a key factor in telomere protection, are observed in various human malignancies and contribute to oncogenesis. We demonstrate here that a high level of TRF2 in tumour cells decreased their ability to recruit and activate natural killer (NK) cells. Conversely, a reduced dose of TRF2 enabled tumour cells to be more easily eliminated by NK cells. Consistent with these results, a progressive upregulation of TRF2 correlated with decreased NK cell density during the early development of human colon cancer. By screening for TRF2-bound genes, we found that HS3ST4-a gene encoding for the heparan sulphate (glucosamine) 3-O-sulphotransferase 4-was regulated by TRF2 and inhibited the recruitment of NK cells in an epistatic relationship with TRF2. Overall, these results reveal a TRF2-dependent pathway that is tumour-cell extrinsic and regulates NK cell immunity.
Full-text · Article · Jun 2013 · Nature Cell Biology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In response to tenacious stress signals, such as the unscheduled activation of oncogenes, cells can mobilize tumour suppressor networks to avert the hazard of malignant transformation. A large body of evidence indicates that oncogene-induced senescence (OIS) acts as such a break, withdrawing cells from the proliferative pool almost irreversibly, thus crafting a vital pathophysiological mechanism that protects against cancer. Despite the widespread contribution of OIS to the cessation of tumorigenic expansion in animal models and humans, we have only just begun to define the underlying mechanism and identify key players. Although deregulation of metabolism is intimately linked to the proliferative capacity of cells, and senescent cells are thought to remain metabolically active, little has been investigated in detail about the role of cellular metabolism in OIS. Here we show, by metabolic profiling and functional perturbations, that the mitochondrial gatekeeper pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH) is a crucial mediator of senescence induced by BRAF(V600E), an oncogene commonly mutated in melanoma and other cancers. BRAF(V600E)-induced senescence was accompanied by simultaneous suppression of the PDH-inhibitory enzyme pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase 1 (PDK1) and induction of the PDH-activating enzyme pyruvate dehydrogenase phosphatase 2 (PDP2). The resulting combined activation of PDH enhanced the use of pyruvate in the tricarboxylic acid cycle, causing increased respiration and redox stress. Abrogation of OIS, a rate-limiting step towards oncogenic transformation, coincided with reversion of these processes. Further supporting a crucial role of PDH in OIS, enforced normalization of either PDK1 or PDP2 expression levels inhibited PDH and abrogated OIS, thereby licensing BRAF(V600E)-driven melanoma development. Finally, depletion of PDK1 eradicated melanoma subpopulations resistant to targeted BRAF inhibition, and caused regression of established melanomas. These results reveal a mechanistic relationship between OIS and a key metabolic signalling axis, which may be exploited therapeutically.