Oncogene-targeted and immune checkpoint therapies have revolutionized the clinical management of malignant melanoma and now offer hope to patients with advanced disease. Intimately connected to patients’ overall clinical risk is whether the initial primary melanoma lesion will metastasize and cause advanced disease, but underlying mechanisms are not entirely understood. A subset of melanomas display heightened peroxisome proliferator–activated receptor γ coactivator 1-α (PGC1α) expression that maintains cell survival cues by promoting mitochondrial function, but also suppresses metastatic spread. Here, we show that PGC1α expression in melanoma cells was silenced by chromatin modifications that involve promoter H3K27 trimethylation. Pharmacological EZH2 inhibition diminished H3K27me3 histone markers, increased PGC1α expression, and functionally suppressed invasion within PGC1α-silenced melanoma cells. Mechanistically, PGC1α silencing activated transcription factor 12 (TCF12), to increase expression of WNT5A, which in turn stabilized YAP protein levels to promote melanoma migration and metastasis. Accordingly, inhibition of components of this transcription-signaling axis, including TCF12, WNT5A, or YAP, blocked melanoma migration in vitro and metastasis in vivo. These results indicate that epigenetic control of melanoma metastasis involved altered expression of PGC1α and an association with the inherent metabolic state of the tumor.
Chi Luo, Eduardo Balsa, Elizabeth A. Perry, Jiaxin Liang, Clint D. Tavares, Francisca Vazquez, Hans R. Widlund, Pere Puigserver
Aberrant expression of the cardiac gap junction protein connexin-43 (Cx43) has been suggested to play a role in the development of cardiac disease in the mdx mouse model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), however a mechanistic understanding of this association is lacking. Here, we identified a reduction of phosphorylation of Cx43 serines S325/S328/S330 in human and mouse DMD hearts. We hypothesized that hypo-phosphorylation of Cx43 serine-triplet triggers pathological Cx43 redistribution to the lateral sides of cardiomyocytes (remodeling). Therefore, we generated knock-in mdx mice in which the Cx43 serine-triplet was replaced with either phospho-mimicking glutamic acids (mdxS3E) or non-phosphorylatable alanines (mdxS3A). The mdxS3E but not mdxS3A mice were resistant to Cx43 remodeling with a corresponding reduction of Cx43 hemichannel activity. MdxS3E cardiomyocytes displayed improved intracellular Ca2+ signaling and a reduction of NOX2/reactive oxygen species (ROS) production. Furthermore, mdxS3E mice were protected against inducible arrhythmias, related lethality and the development of cardiomyopathy. Inhibition of microtubule polymerization by colchicine reduced both NOX2/ROS and oxidized CaMKII, increased S325/S328/S330 phosphorylation and prevented Cx43 remodeling in mdx hearts. Together, these results demonstrate a mechanism of dystrophic Cx43-remodeling and suggest that targeting Cx43 may be a therapeutic strategy to prevent heart dysfunction and arrhythmias in DMD patients.
Eric Himelman, Mauricio A. Lillo, Julie Nouet, J. Patrick Gonzalez, Qingshi Zhao, Lai-Hua Xie, Hong Li, Tong Liu, Xander H.T. Wehrens, Paul D. Lampe, Glenn I. Fishman, Natalia Shirokova, Jorge E. Contreras, Diego Fraidenraich
Hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) attrition is considered the key event underlying progressive bone marrow failure (BMF) in Fanconi anemia (FA), the most frequent inherited BMF disorder in humans. However, despite major advances, how the cellular, biochemical and molecular alterations reported in FA lead to HSC exhaustion remains poorly understood. Here, we demonstrated in human and mouse cells that loss-of-function of FANCA or FANCC, products of two genes affecting more than 80% of FA patients worldwide, is associated with constitutive expression of the transcription factor Microphthalmia (MiTF) through the cooperative, unscheduled activation of several stress signaling pathways, including the SMAD2/3, p38MAPK, NF-kB and AKT cascades. We validated the unrestrained Mitf expression downstream of p38 in Fanca-/- mice, which display hallmarks of hematopoietic stress, including loss of HSC quiescence, DNA damage accumulation in HSCs and reduced HSC repopulation capacity. Importantly, we demonstrated that shRNA-mediated downregulation of Mitf expression or inhibition of p38 signaling rescued HSC quiescence and prevented DNA damage accumulation. Our data support the hypothesis that HSC attrition in FA is the consequence of defects in the DNA damage response combined with chronic activation of otherwise transiently activated signaling pathways, which jointly prevent the recovery of HSC quiescence.
Alessia Oppezzo, Julie Bourseguin, Emilie Renaud, Patrycja Pawlikowska, Filippo Rosselli
Genomics of primary prostate cancer differs from that of metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC). We studied genomic aberrations in primary prostate cancer biopsies from patients who developed mCRPC, also studying matching, same patient, diagnostic and mCRPC biopsies following treatment. We profiled 470 treatment-naïve, prostate cancer diagnostic biopsies and for 61 cases, mCRPC biopsies using targeted and low-pass whole genome sequencing (n = 52). Descriptive statistics were used to summarize mutation and copy number profile. Prevalence was compared using Fisher's exact test. Survival correlations were studied using log-rank test. TP53 (27%) and PTEN (12%) and DDR gene defects (BRCA2 7%; CDK12 5%; ATM 4%) were commonly detected. TP53, BRCA2, and CDK12 mutations were significantly commoner than described in the TCGA cohort. Patients with RB1 loss in the primary tumour had a worse prognosis. Among 61 men with matched hormone-naïve and mCRPC biopsies, differences were identified in AR, TP53, RB1, and PI3K/AKT mutational status between same-patient samples. In conclusion, the genomics of diagnostic prostatic biopsies acquired from men who develop mCRPC differs to that of the primary prostatic cancers. RB1/TP53/AR aberrations are enriched in later stages, but the prevalence of DDR defects in diagnostic samples is similar to mCRPC.
Joaquin Mateo, George Seed, Claudia Bertan, Pasquale Rescigno, David Dolling, Ines Figueiredo, Susana Miranda, Daniel Nava Rodrigues, Bora Gurel, Matthew Clarke, Mark Atkin, Rob Chandler, Carlo Messina, Semini Sumanasuriya, Diletta Bianchini, Maialen Barrero, Antonella Petremolo, Zafeiris Zafeiriou, Mariane Sousa Fontes, Raquel Perez-Lopez, Nina Tunariu, Ben A. Fulton, Robert Jones, Ursula B. McGovern, Christy Ralph, Mohini Varughese, Omi Parikh, Suneil Jain, Tony Elliott, Shahneen Sandhu, Nuria Porta, Emma Hall, Wei Yuan, Suzanne Carreira, Johann S. de Bono
Aberrant Tau inclusions in the locus coeruleus (LC) are the earliest detectable Alzheimer’s disease–like (AD-like) neuropathology in the human brain. However, why LC neurons are selectively vulnerable to developing early Tau pathology and degenerating later in disease and whether the LC might seed the stereotypical spread of Tau pathology to the rest of the brain remain unclear. Here, we show that 3,4-dihydroxyphenylglycolaldehyde, which is produced exclusively in noradrenergic neurons by monoamine oxidase A metabolism of norepinephrine, activated asparagine endopeptidase that cleaved Tau at residue N368 into aggregation- and propagation-prone forms, thus leading to LC degeneration and the spread of Tau pathology. Activation of asparagine endopeptidase–cleaved Tau aggregation in vitro and in intact cells was triggered by 3,4-dihydroxyphenylglycolaldehyde, resulting in LC neurotoxicity and propagation of pathology to the forebrain. Thus, our findings reveal that norepinephrine metabolism and Tau cleavage represent the specific molecular mechanism underlying the selective vulnerability of LC neurons in AD.
Seong Su Kang, Xia Liu, Eun Hee Ahn, Jie Xiang, Fredric P. Manfredsson, Xifei Yang, Hongbo R. Luo, L. Cameron Liles, David Weinshenker, Keqiang Ye
The c-MYC (MYC) oncoprotein is often overexpressed in human breast cancer; however, its role in driving disease phenotypes is poorly understood. Here, we investigate the role of MYC in HER2+ disease, examining the relationship between HER2 expression and MYC phosphorylation in HER2+ patient tumors and characterizing the functional effects of deregulating MYC expression in the murine NeuNT model of amplified-HER2 breast cancer. Deregulated MYC alone was not tumorigenic, but coexpression with NeuNT resulted in increased MYC Ser62 phosphorylation and accelerated tumorigenesis. The resulting tumors were metastatic and associated with decreased survival compared with NeuNT alone. MYC;NeuNT tumors had increased intertumoral heterogeneity including a subtype of tumors not observed in NeuNT tumors, which showed distinct metaplastic histology and worse survival. The distinct subtypes of MYC;NeuNT tumors match existing subtypes of amplified-HER2, estrogen receptor–negative human tumors by molecular expression, identifying the preclinical utility of this murine model to interrogate subtype-specific differences in amplified-HER2 breast cancer. We show that these subtypes have differential sensitivity to clinical HER2/EGFR–targeted therapeutics, but small-molecule activators of PP2A, the phosphatase that regulates MYC Ser62 phosphorylation, circumvents these subtype-specific differences and ubiquitously suppresses tumor growth, demonstrating the therapeutic utility of this approach in targeting deregulated MYC breast cancers.
Tyler Risom, Xiaoyan Wang, Juan Liang, Xiaoli Zhang, Carl Pelz, Lydia G. Campbell, Jenny Eng, Koei Chin, Caroline Farrington, Goutham Narla, Ellen M. Langer, Xiao-Xin Sun, Yulong Su, Colin J. Daniel, Mu-Shui Dai, Christiane V. Löhr, Rosalie C. Sears
Neuronal hyperexcitability and cytoplasmic mislocalization of the nuclear RNA binding proteinTDP43 are universal features in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), but the relationship between these phenomena remains poorly defined. Here, we show that neuronal hyperexcitability drives TDP43 pathology by upregulating shortened (s)TDP43 splice variants missing the canonical C-terminus. sTDP43 isoforms preferentially accumulate in the cytoplasm,forming insoluble inclusions that sequester full-length TDP43 via preserved N-terminal interactions. Consistent with these findings, sTDP43 overexpression is highly toxic to mammalian neurons, suggesting that neurodegeneration results from complementary gain- and loss-of-function mechanisms. In humans and mice, sTDP43 transcripts are significantly enriched in vulnerable motor neurons, and we observed a striking accumulation of sTDP43 protein within neurons and glia of ALS patients. These studies uncover a hitherto unknown role of alternative TDP43 splice isoforms in ALS, and indicate that sTDP43 production may be a key contributor to the susceptibility of motor neurons in ALS.
Kaitlin Weskamp, Elizabeth M. Tank, Roberto Miguez, Jonathon P. McBride, Nicolás B. Gómez, Matthew White, Ziqiang Lin, Carmen Moreno Gonzalez, Andrea Serio, Jemeen Sreedharan, Sami J. Barmada
CD8 cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) rely on rapid reorganization of the branched F-actin network to drive the polarized secretion of lytic granules, initiating target cell death during the adaptive immune response. Branched F-actin is generated by the nucleation factor actin-related protein 2/3 (Arp2/3) complex. Patients with mutations in the actin-related protein complex 1B (ARPC1B) subunit of Arp2/3 show combined immunodeficiency, with symptoms of immune dysregulation, including recurrent viral infections and reduced CD8+ T cell count. Here, we show that loss of ARPC1B led to loss of CTL cytotoxicity, with the defect arising at 2 different levels. First, ARPC1B is required for lamellipodia formation, cell migration, and actin reorganization across the immune synapse. Second, we found that ARPC1B is indispensable for the maintenance of TCR, CD8, and GLUT1 membrane proteins at the plasma membrane of CTLs, as recycling via the retromer and WASH complexes was impaired in the absence of ARPC1B. Loss of TCR, CD8, and GLUT1 gave rise to defects in T cell signaling and proliferation upon antigen stimulation of ARPC1B-deficient CTLs, leading to a progressive loss of CD8+ T cells. This triggered an activation-induced immunodeficiency of CTL activity in ARPC1B-deficient patients, which could explain the susceptibility to severe and prolonged viral infections.
Lyra O. Randzavola, Katharina Strege, Marie Juzans, Yukako Asano, Jane C. Stinchcombe, Christian M. Gawden-Bone, Matthew N.J. Seaman, Taco W. Kuijpers, Gillian M. Griffiths
Hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia (HHT), a genetic bleeding disorder leading to systemic arteriovenous malformations (AVMs), is caused by loss-of-function mutations in the ALK1-ENG-Smad1/5/8 pathway. Evidence suggests that HHT pathogenesis strongly relies on overactivated PI3K-Akt-mTOR and VEGFR2 pathways in endothelial cells (ECs). In the BMP9/10-immunoblocked (BMP9/10ib) neonatal mouse model of HHT, we report here that the mTOR inhibitor, sirolimus, and the receptor tyrosine-kinase inhibitor, nintedanib, could synergistically fully block, but also reversed, retinal AVMs to avert retinal bleeding and anemia. Sirolimus plus nintedanib prevented vascular pathology in the oral mucosa, lungs, and liver of the BMP9/10ib mice, as well as significantly reduced gastrointestinal bleeding and anemia in inducible ALK1-deficient adult mice. Mechanistically, in vivo in BMP9/10ib mouse ECs, sirolimus and nintedanib blocked the overactivation of mTOR and VEGFR2, respectively. Furthermore, we found that sirolimus activated ALK2-mediated Smad1/5/8 signaling in primary ECs—including in HHT patient blood outgrowth ECs—and partially rescued Smad1/5/8 activity in vivo in BMP9/10ib mouse ECs. These data demonstrate that the combined correction of endothelial Smad1/5/8, mTOR, and VEGFR2 pathways opposes HHT pathogenesis. Repurposing of sirolimus plus nintedanib might provide therapeutic benefit in HHT patients.
Santiago Ruiz, Haitian Zhao, Pallavi Chandakkar, Julien Papoin, Hyunwoo Choi, Aya Nomura-Kitabayashi, Radhika Patel, Matthew Gillen, Li Diao, Prodyot K. Chatterjee, Mingzhu He, Yousef Al-Abed, Ping Wang, Christine N. Metz, S. Paul Oh, Lionel Blanc, Fabien Campagne, Philippe Marambaud
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is caused by mutations in the CF transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR), with approximately 90% of patients harboring at least one copy of the disease-associated variant F508del. We utilized a yeast phenomic system to identify genetic modifiers of F508del-CFTR biogenesis, from which ribosomal protein L12 (RPL12/uL11) emerged as a molecular target. In the present study, we investigated mechanism(s) by which suppression of RPL12 rescues F508del protein synthesis and activity. Using ribosome profiling, we found that rates of translation initiation and elongation were markedly slowed by RPL12 silencing. However, proteolytic stability and patch-clamp assays revealed RPL12 depletion significantly increased F508del-CFTR steady-state expression, interdomain assembly, and baseline open-channel probability. We next evaluated whether Rpl12-corrected F508del-CFTR could be further enhanced with concomitant pharmacologic repair (e.g., using clinically approved modulators lumacaftor and tezacaftor) and demonstrated additivity of these treatments. Rpl12 knockdown also partially restored maturation of specific CFTR variants in addition to F508del, and WT Cftr biogenesis was enhanced in the pancreas, colon, and ileum of Rpl12 haplosufficient mice. Modulation of ribosome velocity therefore represents a robust method for understanding both CF pathogenesis and therapeutic response.
Kathryn E. Oliver, Robert Rauscher, Marjolein Mijnders, Wei Wang, Matthew J. Wolpert, Jessica Maya, Carleen M. Sabusap, Robert A. Kesterson, Kevin L. Kirk, Andras Rab, Ineke Braakman, Jeong S. Hong, John L. Hartman IV, Zoya Ignatova, Eric J. Sorscher
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