In chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), the B-cell receptor (BCR) plays a critical role in disease development and progression as indicated by the therapeutic efficacy of drugs blocking BCR signaling. However, the mechanism(s) underlining BCR responsiveness are not completely defined. Selective engagement of membrane IgM or IgD on CLL cells, each co-expressed by > 90% of cases, leads to distinct signaling events. Since both IgM and IgD carry the same antigen-binding domains, the divergent actions of the receptors are attributed to differences in immunoglobulin (IG) structure or the outcome of signal transduction. We showed that IgM, not IgD, level and organization linked with CLL-cell birth rate and the type and consequences of BCR signaling in humans and mice. The latter IgM-driven effects were abrogated when BCR signaling was inhibited. Collectively, these studies demonstrated a critical, selective role for IgM in BCR signaling and B-cell fate decisions, possibly opening new avenues for CLL therapy.
Andrea N. Mazzarello, Eva Gentner-Göbel, Marcus Dühren-von Minden, Tatyana N. Tarasenko, Antonella Nicolò, Gerardo Ferrer, Stefano Vergani, Yun Liu, Davide Bagnara, Kanti R. Rai, Jan A. Burger, Peter J. McGuire, Palash C. Maity, Hassan Jumaa, Nicholas Chiorazzi
High expression of LIN28B is associated with aggressive malignancy and poor survival. Here, probing MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma as a model system, we showed that LIN28B expression was associated with enhanced cell migration in vitro and invasive and metastatic behavior in murine xenografts. Sequence analysis of the polyribosome fraction of LIN28B-expressing neuroblastoma cells revealed let-7–independent enrichment of transcripts encoding components of the translational and ribosomal apparatus and depletion of transcripts of neuronal developmental programs. We further observed that LIN28B utilizes both its cold shock and zinc finger RNA binding domains to preferentially interact with MYCN-induced transcripts of the ribosomal complex, enhancing their translation. These data demonstrated that LIN28B couples the MYCN-driven transcriptional program to enhanced ribosomal translation, thereby implicating LIN28B as a posttranscriptional driver of the metastatic phenotype.
Pavlos Missios, Edroaldo Lummertz da Rocha, Daniel S. Pearson, Julia Philipp, Maria M. Aleman, Mehdi Pirouz, Dorian Farache, Joseph W. Franses, Caroline Kubaczka, Kaloyan M. Tsanov, Deepak K. Jha, Brian Pepe-Mooney, John T. Powers, Richard I. Gregory, Amy S.Y. Lee, Daniel Dominguez, David T. Ting, George Q. Daley
The tumorigenic mechanism for pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is not clear, although chronic inflammation is implicated. Here, we identified an inflammatory cytokine–regulated transfer RNA–derived (tRNA-derived) fragment, tRF-21-VBY9PYKHD (tRF-21), as a tumor suppressor in PDAC progression. We found that the biogenesis of tRF-21 could be inhibited by leukemia inhibitory factor and IL-6 via the splicing factor SRSF5. Reduced tRF-21 promoted AKT2/1-mediated heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein L (hnRNP L) phosphorylation, enhancing hnRNP L to interact with dead-box helicase 17 (DDX17) to form an alternative splicing complex. The provoked hnRNP L-DDX17 activity preferentially spliced Caspase 9 and mH2A1 pre-mRNAs to form Caspase 9b and mH2A1.2, promoting PDAC cell malignant phenotypes. The tRF-21 levels were significantly lower in PDACs than in normal tissues, and patients with low tRF-21 levels had a poor prognosis. Treatment of mouse PDAC xenografts or patient-derived xenografts (PDXs) with tRF-21 mimics repressed tumor growth and metastasis. These results demonstrate that tRF-21 has a tumor-suppressive effect and is a potential therapeutic agent for PDAC.
Ling Pan, Xudong Huang, Ze-Xian Liu, Ying Ye, Rui Li, Jialiang Zhang, Guandi Wu, Ruihong Bai, Lisha Zhuang, Lusheng Wei, Mei Li, Yanfen Zheng, Jiachun Su, Junge Deng, Shuang Deng, Lingxing Zeng, Shaoping Zhang, Chen Wu, Xu Che, Chengfeng Wang, Rufu Chen, Dongxin Lin, Jian Zheng
Alpelisib selectively inhibits the p110α catalytic subunit of PI3Kα and is approved for treatment of breast cancers harboring canonical PIK3CA mutations. In head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), 63% of PIK3CA mutations occur at canonical hotspots. The oncogenic role of the remaining 37% of PIK3CA noncanonical mutations is incompletely understood. We report a patient with HNSCC with a noncanonical PIK3CA mutation (Q75E) who exhibited a durable (12 months) response to alpelisib in a phase II clinical trial. Characterization of all 32 noncanonical PIK3CA mutations found in HNSCC using several functional and phenotypic assays revealed that the majority (69%) were activating, including Q75E. The oncogenic impact of these mutations was validated in 4 cellular models, demonstrating that their activity was lineage independent. Further, alpelisib exhibited antitumor effects in a xenograft derived from a patient with HNSCC containing an activating noncanonical PIK3CA mutation. Structural analyses revealed plausible mechanisms for the functional phenotypes of the majority of the noncanonical PIK3CA mutations. Collectively, these findings highlight the importance of characterizing the function of noncanonical PIK3CA mutations and suggest that patients with HNSCC whose tumors harbor activating noncanonical PIK3CA mutations may benefit from treatment with PI3Kα inhibitors.
Nan Jin, Bhumsuk Keam, Janice Cho, Michelle J. Lee, Hye Ryun Kim, Hayarpi Torosyan, Natalia Jura, Patrick K.S. Ng, Gordon B. Mills, Hua Li, Yan Zeng, Zohar Barbash, Gabi Tarcic, Hyunseok Kang, Julie E. Bauman, Mi-Ok Kim, Nathan K. VanLandingham, Danielle L. Swaney, Nevan J. Krogan, Daniel E. Johnson, Jennifer R. Grandis
Aberrant activation of telomerase in human cancer is achieved by various alterations within the TERT promoter, including cancer-specific DNA hypermethylation of the TERT hypermethylated oncological region (THOR). However, the impact of allele-specific DNA methylation within the TERT promoter on gene transcription remains incompletely understood. Using allele-specific next-generation sequencing, we screened a large cohort of normal and tumor tissues (n = 652) from 10 cancer types and identified that differential allelic methylation (DAM) of THOR is restricted to cancerous tissue and commonly observed in major cancer types. THOR-DAM was more common in adult cancers, which develop through multiple stages over time, than in childhood brain tumors. Furthermore, THOR-DAM was especially enriched in tumors harboring the activating TERT promoter mutations (TPMs). Functional studies revealed that allele-specific gene expression of TERT requires hypomethylation of the core promoter, both in TPM and TERT WT cancers. However, the expressing allele with hypomethylated core TERT promoter universally exhibits hypermethylation of THOR, while the nonexpressing alleles are either hypermethylated or hypomethylated throughout the promoter. Together, our findings suggest a dual role for allele-specific DNA methylation within the TERT promoter in the regulation of TERT expression in cancer.
Donghyun D. Lee, Martin Komosa, Sumedha Sudhaman, Ricardo Leão, Cindy H. Zhang, Joana D. Apolonio, Thomas Hermanns, Peter J. Wild, Helmut Klocker, Farshad Nassiri, Gelareh Zadeh, Bill H. Diplas, Hai Yan, Steven Gallinger, Trevor J. Pugh, Vijay Ramaswamy, Michael D. Taylor, Pedro Castelo-Branco, Nuno Miguel Nunes, Uri Tabori
Although serine metabolism plays a crucial role in the proliferation and survival of tumor cells, how it supports tumor cell migration remains poorly understood. Phosphoglycerate dehydrogenase (PHGDH) catalyzes the oxidation of 3-phosphoglycerate to 3-phosphonooxypyruvate, the first committed step in de novo serine biosynthesis. Here we show that PHGDH was monoubiquitinated by cullin 4A–based E3 ligase complex at lysine 146 in colorectal cancer (CRC) cells, which enhanced PHGDH activity by recruiting a chaperone protein, DnaJ homolog subfamily A member 1, to promote its tetrameric formation, thereby increasing the levels of serine, glycine, and S-adenosylmethionine (SAM). Increased levels of SAM upregulated the expression of cell adhesion genes (laminin subunit gamma 2 and cysteine rich angiogenic inducer 61) by initiating SET domain containing 1A–mediated trimethylation of histone H3K4, thereby promoting tumor cell migration and CRC metastasis. Intriguingly, SAM levels in tumors or blood samples correlated with the metastatic recurrence of patients with CRC. Our finding not only reveals a potentially new role and mechanism of SAM-promoted tumor metastasis but also demonstrates a regulatory mechanism of PHGDH activity by monoubiquitination.
Yajuan Zhang, Hua Yu, Jie Zhang, Hong Gao, Siyao Wang, Shuxian Li, Ping Wei, Ji Liang, Guanzhen Yu, Xiongjun Wang, Xinxiang Li, Dawei Li, Weiwei Yang
Evasion of the immune response is a hallmark of cancer, and programmed cell death 1 (PD-1) and PD-1 ligand 1 (PD-L1) are major mediators of this immunosuppression. Chitinase 3–like 1 (CHI3L1) is induced in many cancers, where it portends a poor prognosis and contributes to tumor metastasis and spread. However, the mechanism(s) that CHI3L1 uses in metastasis have not been defined. Here we demonstrate that CHI3L1 regulates the expression of PD-L1, PD-L2, PD-1, LAG3, and TIM3 and plays a critical role in melanoma progression and lymphatic spread. CHI3L1 also contributed to IFN-γ–stimulated macrophage PD-L1 expression, and RIG-like helicase innate immunity suppressed CHI3L1, PD-L1, and melanoma progression. Individual antibodies against CHI3L1 or PD-1 had discrete antitumor effects and additive antitumor responses in metastasis models and T cell–tumor cell cocultures when administered simultaneously. Synergistic cytotoxic tumor cell death was seen in T cell–tumor cell cocultures, and significantly enhanced antitumor responses were seen in in vivo tumor models treated with bispecific antibodies that simultaneously target CHI3L1 and PD-1. CHI3L1 contributes to tumor progression by stimulating the PD-1/PD-L1 axis and other checkpoint molecules. The simultaneous targeting of CHI3L1 and the PD-1/PD-L1 axis with individual and, more powerfully, with bispecific antibodies represents a promising therapy for pulmonary metastasis and progression.
Bing Ma, Bedia Akosman, Suchitra Kamle, Chang-Min Lee, Chuan Hua He, Ja Seok Koo, Chun Geun Lee, Jack A. Elias
Neoantigens are now recognized drivers of the antitumor immune response. Recurrent neoantigens, shared among groups of patients, have thus become increasingly coveted therapeutic targets. Here, we report on the data-driven identification of a robustly presented, immunogenic neoantigen that is derived from the combination of HLA-A*01:01 and RAS.Q61K. Analysis of large patient cohorts indicated that this combination applies to 3% of patients with melanoma. Using HLA peptidomics, we were able to demonstrate robust endogenous presentation of the neoantigen in 10 tumor samples. We detected specific reactivity to the mutated peptide within tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) from 2 unrelated patients, thus confirming its natural immunogenicity. We further investigated the neoantigen-specific clones and their T cell receptors (TCRs) via a combination of TCR sequencing, TCR overexpression, functional assays, and single-cell transcriptomics. Our analysis revealed a diverse repertoire of neoantigen-specific clones with both intra- and interpatient TCR similarities. Moreover, 1 dominant clone proved to cross-react with the highly prevalent RAS.Q61R variant. Transcriptome analysis revealed a high association of TCR clones with specific T cell phenotypes in response to cognate melanoma, with neoantigen-specific cells showing an activated and dysfunctional phenotype. Identification of recurrent neoantigens and their reactive TCRs can promote “off-the-shelf” precision immunotherapies, alleviating limitations of personalized treatments.
Aviyah Peri, Erez Greenstein, Michal Alon, Joy A. Pai, Tamir Dingjan, Shlomit Reich-Zeliger, Eilon Barnea, Chaya Barbolin, Ronen Levy, Claudia Arnedo-Pac, Shelly Kalaora, Bareket Dassa, Ester Feldmesser, Ping Shang, Polina Greenberg, Yishai Levin, Gil Benedek, Mitchell P. Levesque, David J. Adams, Michal Lotem, James S. Wilmott, Richard A. Scolyer, Göran B. Jönsson, Arie Admon, Steven A. Rosenberg, Cyrille J. Cohen, Masha Y. Niv, Nuria Lopez-Bigas, Ansuman T. Satpathy, Nir Friedman, Yardena Samuels
Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICB) have significantly prolonged patient survival across multiple tumor types, particularly in melanoma. Interestingly, gender specific differences in response to ICB have been observed with males getting more benefit than females, although the mechanism(s) underlying this difference are unknown. Mining published transcriptomic datasets, we determined that response to ICBs is influenced by the functionality of intratumoral macrophages. This puts into context our observation that estrogens (E2) working through the estrogen receptor (ERα) stimulate melanoma growth in murine models by skewing macrophage polarization towards an immune-suppressive state that promotes CD8+ T cell dysfunction/exhaustion and ICB resistance. This activity was not evident in mice harboring a macrophage specific depletion of ERα confirming a direct role for estrogen signaling within myeloid cells in establishing an immunosuppressed state. Inhibition of ERα using fulvestrant, a selective estrogen receptor downregulator (SERD) decreases tumor growth, stimulates adaptive immunity and increases the antitumor efficacy of ICBs. Further, a gene signature that reads on ER activity in macrophages predicted survival in ICB treated melanoma patients. These results highlight the importance of E2/ER as a regulator of intratumoral macrophage polarization; an activity that can be therapeutically targeted to reverse immune suppression and increase ICB efficacy.
Binita Chakraborty, Jovita Byemerwa, Jonathan H. Shepherd, Corinne N. Haines, Robert Baldi, Weida Gong, Wen Liu, Debarati Mukherjee, Sandeep Artham, Felicia Lim, Yeeun Bae, Olivia Brueckner, Kendall Heetderks, Suzanne E. Wardell, Brent A. Hanks, Charles M. Perou, Ching-Yi Chang, Donald P. McDonnell
Ferroptosis, an iron-dependent non-apoptotic cell death, is a highly regulated tumor suppressing process. However, functions and mechanisms of RNA binding proteins in regulation of evasion of ferroptosis during lung cancer progression are still largely unknown. Here we reported that the RNA binding protein RBMS1 participated in lung cancer development through mediating ferroptosis evasion. Through an shRNA-mediated systematic screen, we discovered that RBMS1 was a key ferroptosis regulator. Clinically, RBMS1 was elevated in lung cancer and its high expression was associated with reduced patient survival. Conversely, depletion of RBMS1 inhibited lung cancer progression both in vivo and in vitro. Mechanistically, RBMS1 interacted with the translation initiation factor eIF3d directly to bridge the 3'- and 5'-UTRs of SLC7A11. RBMS1 ablation inhibited the translation of SLC7A11, reduced SLC7A11-mediated cystine uptake and promotes ferroptosis. In a drug screen that targeted RBMS1, we further uncovered that nortriptyline hydrochloride decreased the level of RBMS1, thereby promoting ferroptosis. Importantly, RBMS1 depletion or inhibition by nortriptyline hydrochloride sensitized radioresistant lung cancer cells to radiotherapy. Our findings established RBMS1 as a translational regulator of ferroptosis and a prognostic factor with therapeutic potentials and clinical values.
Wenjing Zhang, Yu Sun, Lu Bai, Lili Zhi, Yun Yang, Qingzhi Zhao, Chaoqun Chen, Yangfan Qi, Wenting Gao, Wenxia He, Luning Wang, Dan Chen, Shujun Fan, Huan Chen, Hai-Long Piao, Qinglong Qiao, Zhaochao Xu, Jinrui Zhang, Jinyao Zhao, Sirui Zhang, Yue Yin, Chao Peng, Xiaoling Li, Quentin Liu, Han Liu, Yang Wang