Myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) are associated with significant alterations in the bone marrow microenvironment that include decreased expression of key niche factors and myelofibrosis. Here, we explore the contribution of TGF-β to these alterations by abrogating TGF-β signaling in bone marrow mesenchymal stromal cells. Loss of TGF-β signaling in Osx-Cre-targeted MSCs prevents the development of myelofibrosis in both MPLW515L and Jak2V617F models of MPNs. In contrast, despite the absence of myelofibrosis, loss of TGF-β signaling in mesenchymal stromal cells does not rescue the defective hematopoietic niche induced by MPLW515L, as evidenced by decreased bone marrow cellularity, hematopoietic stem/progenitor cell number, and Cxcl12 and Kitlg expression and the presence of splenic extramedullary hematopoiesis. Induction of myelofibrosis by MPLW515L was intact in Osx-Cre; Smad4f/f recipients, demonstrating that SMAD4-independent TGF-β signaling mediates the myelofibrosis phenotype. Indeed, treatment with a c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) inhibitor prevents the development of myelofibrosis induced by MPLW515L. Together, these data show that JNK-dependent TGF-β signaling in mesenchymal stromal cells is responsible for the development of myelofibrosis but not hematopoietic niche disruption in MPNs, suggesting that the signals that regulate niche gene expression in bone marrow mesenchymal stromal cells are distinct from those that induce a fibrogenic program.
Juo-Chin Yao, Karolyn A. Oetjen, Tianjiao Wang, Haoliang Xu, Grazia Abou-Ezzi, Joseph R. Krambs, Salil Uttarwar, Eric J. Duncavage, Daniel C. Link
PRAME is a prominent member of the cancer germline antigen family of proteins, which triggers autologous T-cell mediated immune responses. Integrative genomic analysis in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) uncovered recurrent, and highly focal deletions of 22q11.22 including the PRAME gene, which were associated with poor outcome. PRAME-deleted tumors showed cytotoxic T-cell immune escape and were associated with cold tumor microenvironments. In addition, PRAME down-modulation was strongly associated with somatic EZH2 Y641 mutations in DLBCL. In turn, PRC2-regulated genes were repressed in isogenic PRAME KO lymphoma cell lines and PRAME was found to directly interact with EZH2 as a negative regulator. EZH2 inhibition with EPZ-6438 abrogated these extrinsic and intrinsic effects leading to PRAME expression and microenvironment restoration in vivo. Our data highlight multiple functions of PRAME during lymphomagenesis, and provide a preclinical rationale for synergistic therapies combining epigenetic re-programming with PRAME-targeted therapies.
Katsuyoshi Takata, Lauren C. Chong, Daisuke Ennishi, Tomohiro Aoki, Michael Yu Li, Avinash Thakur, Shannon Healy, Elena Viganò, Tao Dao, Daniel Kwon, Gerben Duns, Julie S. Nielsen, Susana Ben-Neriah, Ethan Tse, Stacy S. Hung, Merrill Boyle, Sung Soo Mun, Christopher M. Bourne, Bruce Woolcock, Adèle H. Telenius, Makoto Kishida, Shinya Rai, Allen W. Zhang, Ali Bashashati, Saeed Saberi, Gianluca D' Antonio, Brad H. Nelson, Sohrab P. Shah, Pamela A. Hoodless, Ari M. Melnick, Randy D. Gascoyne, Joseph M. Connors, David A. Scheinberg, Wendy Béguelin, David W. Scott, Christian Steidl
Understanding the regulatory programs enabling cancer stem cells (CSCs) to self-renew and drive tumorigenicity could identify new treatments. Through comparative chromatin state and gene expression analyses in ovarian CSCs vs. non-CSCs, we identified FOXK2 as a highly expressed stemness-specific transcription factor in ovarian cancer. Its genetic depletion diminished stemness features and reduced tumor initiation capacity. Our mechanistic studies highlight that FOXK2 directly regulated IRE1α (ERN1 gene) expression, a key sensor for the unfolded protein response (UPR). Chromatin immunoprecipitation-sequencing revealed that FOXK2 bound to an intronic regulatory element of ERN1. Blocking FOXK2 from binding to this enhancer by using a catalytically inactive CRISPR/Cas9 (dCas9) diminished IRE1α transcription. At the molecular level, FOXK2-driven upregulation of IRE1α led to alternative XBP1 splicing and activation of stemness pathways, while genetic or pharmacological blockade of this sensor of the UPR inhibited ovarian CSCs. Collectively, these data establish a new function for FOXK2 as a key transcriptional regulator of CSCs and a mediator of the UPR, providing insight into potentially targetable new pathways in CSCs.
Yaqi Zhang, Yinu Wang, Guangyuan Zhao, Edward J. Tanner, Mazhar Adli, Daniela Matei
T cell immunoglobulin mucin domain-containing protein 3 (Tim-3) negatively regulates innate and adaptive immunity in cancer. To identify the mechanisms of Tim-3 in cancer immunity, we evaluated the effects of Tim-3 blockade in human and mouse melanoma. Here, we show that human PD-1+Tim-3+ CD8+ tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) upregulate phosphatidylserine (PS), a receptor for Tim-3, and acquire cell surface myeloid markers from antigen presenting cells (APCs) through transfer of membrane fragments called trogocytosis. Tim-3 blockade acted on Tim-3+ APCs in a PS-dependent fashion to disrupt the trogocytosis of activated tumor antigen-specific CD8+ T cells and PD-1+Tim-3+ CD8+ TILs isolated from melanoma patients. Tim-3 and PD-1 blockades cooperated to disrupt trogocytosis of CD8+ TILs in two melanoma mouse models, decreasing tumor burden and prolonging survival. Deleting Tim-3 in dendritic cells but not on CD8+ T cells impeded the trogocytosis of CD8+ TILs in vivo. Trogocytosed CD8+ T cells presented tumor peptide-major histocompatibility complexes and became the target of fratricide T cell killing, which was reversed by Tim-3 blockade. Our findings have uncovered a mechanism used by Tim-3 to limit antitumor immunity.
Ornella Pagliano, Robert M. Morrison, Joe-Marc Chauvin, Hridesh Banerjee, Diwakar Davar, Quanquan Ding, Tokiyoshi Tanegashima, Wentao Gao, Saranya Rani Chakka, Richelle DeBlasio, Ava Lowin, Kevin Kara, Mignane Ka, Bochra Zidi, Rada Amin, Itay Raphael, Shuowen Zhang, Simon C. Watkins, Cindy Sander, John M. Kirkwood, Marcus Bosenberg, Ana C. Anderson, Vijay K. Kuchroo, Lawrence P. Kane, Alan J. Korman, Arvind Rajpal, Sean M. West, Minhua Han, Christine Bee, Xiaodi Deng, Xiao Min Schebye, Pavel Strop, Hassane M. Zarour
De novo and acquired resistance are major impediments to the efficacy of conventional and targeted cancer therapy. In unselected gastric cancer (GC) patients with advanced disease, trials combining chemotherapy and an anti-EGFR monoclonal antibody have been largely unsuccessful. In an effort to identify biomarkers of resistance so as to better select patients for such trials, we screened the secretome of chemotherapy-treated human GC cell lines. We found that levels of CGA, the α-subunit of glycoprotein hormones, were markedly increased in the conditioned media of chemoresistant GC cells, and CGA immunoreactivity was enhanced in GC tissues that progressed on chemotherapy. CGA levels in plasma increased in GC patients who received chemotherapy, and this increase was correlated with reduced responsiveness to chemotherapy and poor survival. Mechanistically, secreted CGA was found to bind to EGFR and activate EGFR signaling, thereby conferring a survival advantage to GC cells. N-glycosylation of CGA at Asn52 and Asn78 is required for its stability, secretion, and interaction with EGFR. GATA2 was found to activate CGA transcription, whose increase, in turn, induced the expression and phosphorylation of GATA2 in an EGFR-dependent manner, forming a positive feedback circuit that was initiated by GATA2 autoregulation upon sublethal exposure to chemotherapy. Based on this circuit, combination strategies involving anti-EGFR therapies or targeting CGA with microRNAs (miR-708-3p and miR-761) restored chemotherapy sensitivity. These findings identify a clinically actionable CGA/EGFR/GATA2 circuit and highlight CGA as a predictive biomarker and therapeutic target in chemoresistant GC.
Tianyu Cao, Yuanyuan Lu, Qi Wang, Hongqiang Qin, Hongwei Li, Hao Guo, Minghui Ge, Sarah E. Glass, Bhuminder Singh, Wenyao Zhang, Jiaqiang Dong, Feng Du, Airong Qian, Ye Tian, Xin Wang, Cunxi Li, Kaichun Wu, Daiming Fan, Yongzhan Nie, Robert J. Coffey, Xiaodi Zhao
The Y-box binding protein 1 (YB-1) is a multi-functional RNA binding protein involved in virtually each step of RNA metabolism. However, the functions and mechanisms of YB-1 in one of the most aggressive cancers, glioblastoma, are not well understood. In this study, we identified that YB-1 protein was markedly overexpressed in glioblastoma and acted as a critical activator of both mTORC1 and mTORC2 signaling. Mechanistically, YB-1 bound the 5’ untranslated region (UTR) of the CCT4 mRNA to promote the translation of CCT4, a component of CCT chaperone complex, that in turn activated the mTOR signal pathway by promoting mLST8 folding. In addition, YB-1 autoregulated its own translation by binding to its 5’ UTR, leading to sustained activation of mTOR signaling. In glioblastoma patients, the protein level of YB-1 positively correlated with CCT4 and mLST8 expression as well as activated mTOR signaling. Importantly, the administration of RNA decoys specifically targeting YB-1 in a mouse xenograft model resulted in slower tumor growth and better survival. Taken together, these findings uncover a disrupted proteostasis pathway involving YB-1/CCT4/mLST8/mTOR axis in promoting glioblastoma growth, suggesting that YB-1 is a potential therapeutic target for the treatment of glioblastoma.
Jin-Zhu Wang, Hong Zhu, Pu You, Hui Liu, Wei-Kang Wang, Xiaojuan Fan, Yun Yang, Keren Xu, Yingfeng Zhu, Qunyi Li, Ping Wu, Chao Peng, Catherine C.L. Wong, Kaicheng Li, Yufeng Shi, Nu Zhang, Xiuxing Wang, Rong Zeng, Ying Huang, Liusong Yang, Zefeng Wang, Jingyi Hui
IFN-γ-stimulated histocompatibility complex-I (MHC-I) antigen presentation underlies the core of anti-tumor immunity. However, sustained IFN-γ signaling also enhances PD-L1 checkpoint pathway to dampen anti-tumor immunity. It remains unclear how these opposing effects of IFN-γ are regulated. Here we reported that loss of the histone dimethyl transferase WHSC1 impaired the anti-tumor effect of IFN-γ signaling by the transcriptional downregulation of the MHC-I machinery without affecting PD-L1 expression in colorectal cancer (CRC) cells. Whsc1 loss promoted tumorigenesis via a non-cell autonomous mechanism in an Apcmin/+ mouse model, CRC organoids and xenografts. Mechanistically, we identified that IFN-γ-STAT1 signal axis stimulated WHSC1 expression, and in turn WHSC1 directly interacted with NLRC5 to promote MHC-I gene expression, but not PD-L1 level. Concordantly, silencing Whsc1 diminished MHC-I levels, impaired anti-tumor immunity and blunted the effect of immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICB). Patient cohort analysis revealed that WHSC1 expression positively correlated with enhanced MHC-I expression, tumor-infiltrating T cells and favorable disease outcome. Together, our findings establish a tumor-suppressive function of WHSC1 that relays IFN-γ signaling to promote antigen presentation in CRC cells, and provide a rationale for boosting WHSC1 activity in immunotherapy.
Jiale Ren, Ni Li, Siyu Pei, Yannan Lian, Li Li, Yuchong Peng, Qiuli Liu, Jiacheng Guo, Xuege Wang, Ying Han, Guoying Zhang, Hanling Wang, Yaqi Li, Jun Jiang, Qintong Li, Minjia Tan, Junjie Peng, Guohong Hu, Yichuan Xiao, Xiong Li, Moubin Lin, Jun Qin
Tumor Treating Fields (TTFields), an approved therapy for glioblastoma (GBM) and malignant mesothelioma, employ non-invasive application of low-intensity, intermediate-frequency, alternating electric fields to disrupt the mitotic spindle, leading to chromosome mis-segregation and apoptosis. Emerging evidence suggest that TTFields may also induce inflammation. However, the mechanism of this property and whether it can be harnessed therapeutically are unclear. Here, we report that TTFields induced focal disruption of the nuclear envelope, leading to cytosolic release of large micronuclei clusters that intensely recruited and activated 2 major DNA sensors – cGAS (cyclic GMP-AMP synthase) and AIM2 (absent-in-melanoma-2) – and their cognate cGAS/STING (stimulator-of-interferon-genes) and AIM2/Caspase-1 inflammasomes to produce pro-inflammatory cytokines (PICs), type-1 interferons (T1IFNs), and T1IFN-responsive genes (T1IRGs). In syngeneic murine GBM models, TTFields-treated GBM cells induced anti-tumor memory immunity and cure rate of 42% to 66% in a STING- and AIM2-dependent manner. Using single-cell and bulk RNA-sequencing of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs), we detected robust post-TTFields activation of adaptive immunity in patients with GBM via a T1IFN-based trajectory and identified a gene panel signature of TTFields effects on T cell activation and clonal expansion. Collectively, these studies defined a therapeutic strategy using TTFields as cancer immunotherapy in GBM and potentially other solid tumors.
Dongjiang Chen, Son B. Le, Tarun E. Hutchinson, Anda-Alexandra Calinescu, Mathew Sebastian, Dan Jin, Tianyi Liu, Ashley Ghiaseddin, Maryam Rahman, David D. Tran
The tumour microenvironment (TME) is reprogrammed by cancer cells and participates in all stages of tumour progression. The contribution of stromal cells to the reprogramming of the TME is not well-understood. Here we provide solid evidence of the role of the cytokine Oncostatin M (OSM) as central node for multicellular interactions between immune and non-immune stromal cells and the epithelial cancer cell compartment. Oncostatin M Receptor (OSMR) deletion in a multistage breast cancer model halted tumour progression. We ascribed causality to the stromal function of OSM axis by demonstrating reduced tumour burden of syngeneic tumours implanted in mice lacking OSMR. Single-cell and bioinformatic analysis of murine and human breast tumours revealed that OSM expression was restricted to myeloid cells, whereas OSMR was detected predominantly in fibroblasts and, to a lower extent, cancer cells. Myeloid-derived OSM reprogrammed fibroblasts to a more contractile and tumorigenic phenotype, elicited the secretion of VEGF and pro-inflammatory chemokines CXCL1 and CXCL16, leading to increased neutrophil and macrophage recruitment. Collectively, our data support that stromal OSM:OSMR axis reprograms the immune and non-immune microenvironment and plays a key role in breast cancer progression.
Angela M Araujo, Andrea Abaurrea, Peio Azcoaga, Joanna I. López-Velazco, Sara Manzano, Javier Rodriguez, Ricardo Rezola, Leire Egia-Mendikute, Fátima Valdés-Mora, Juana M. Flores, Liam Jenkins, Laura Pulido, Iñaki Osorio-Querejeta, Patricia Fernández-Nogueira, Nicola Ferrari, Cristina Viera, Natalia Martin-Martin, Alexandar Tzankov, Serenella Eppenberger-Castori, Isabel Alvarez-Lopez, Ander Urruticoechea, Paloma Bragado, Nicholas Coleman, Asis Palazon, Arkaitz Carracedo, David Gallego-Ortega, Fernando Calvo, Clare M. Isacke, Maria M. Caffarel, Charles H. Lawrie
Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is an aggressive neuroendocrine skin cancer that frequently carries an integrated Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCPyV) genome and expresses viral transforming antigens (TAgs). MCC tumor cells also express signature genes detected in skin-resident, post-mitotic Merkel cells, including Atoh1, which is required for Merkel cell development from epidermal progenitors. We now report the use of in vivo cellular reprogramming, using ATOH1, to drive MCC development from murine epidermis. We generated mice that conditionally expressed MCPyV TAgs and ATOH1 in epidermal cells, yielding microscopic collections of proliferating MCC-like cells arising from hair follicles. Immunostaining of these nascent tumors revealed p53 accumulation and apoptosis, and targeted deletion of Trp53 led to development of gross skin tumors with classic MCC histology and marker expression. Global transcriptome analysis confirmed the close similarity of mouse and human MCCs, and hierarchical clustering showed conserved upregulation of signature genes. Our data establish that expression of MCPyV TAgs, in ATOH1-reprogrammed epidermal cells and their neuroendocrine progeny, initiates hair follicle-derived MCC tumorigenesis in adult mice. Moreover, progression to full-blown MCC in this model requires loss of p53, mimicking the functional inhibition of p53 reported in human MCPyV-positive MCCs.
Monique E. Verhaegen, Paul W. Harms, Julia J. Van Goor, Jacob Arche, Matthew T. Patrick, Dawn Wilbert, Haley Zabawa, Marina Grachtchouk, Chia-Jen Liu, Kevin Hu, Michael C. Kelly, Ping Chen, Thomas L. Saunders, Stephan Weidinger, Li-Jyun Syu, John S. Runge, Johann E. Gudjonsson, Sunny Y. Wong, Isaac Brownell, Marcin Cieslik, Aaron M. Udager, Arul M. Chinnaiyan, Lam C. Tsoi, Andrzej A. Dlugosz