Oncogenomic studies indicate that copy number variation (CNV) alters genes involved in tumor progression; however, identification of specific driver genes affected by CNV has been difficult, as these rearrangements are often contained in large chromosomal intervals among several bystander genes. Here, we addressed this problem and identified a CNV-targeted oncogene by performing comparative oncogenomics of human and zebrafish melanomas. We determined that the gene encoding growth differentiation factor 6 (GDF6), which is the ligand for the BMP family, is recurrently amplified and transcriptionally upregulated in melanoma. GDF6-induced BMP signaling maintained a trunk neural crest gene signature in melanomas. Additionally, GDF6 repressed the melanocyte differentiation gene MITF and the proapoptotic factor SOX9, thereby preventing differentiation, inhibiting cell death, and promoting tumor growth. GDF6 was specifically expressed in melanomas but not melanocytes. Moreover, GDF6 expression levels in melanomas were inversely correlated with patient survival. Our study has identified a fundamental role for GDF6 and BMP signaling in governing an embryonic cell gene signature to promote melanoma progression, thus providing potential opportunities for targeted therapy to treat GDF6-positive cancers.
Arvind M. Venkatesan, Rajesh Vyas, Alec K. Gramann, Karen Dresser, Sharvari Gujja, Sanchita Bhatnagar, Sagar Chhangawala, Camilla Borges Ferreira Gomes, Hualin Simon Xi, Christine G. Lian, Yariv Houvras, Yvonne J. K. Edwards, April Deng, Michael Green, Craig J. Ceol
Synovial sarcoma (SS) is an aggressive soft-tissue sarcoma that is often discovered during adolescence and young adulthood. Despite the name, synovial sarcoma does not typically arise from a synoviocyte but instead arises in close proximity to bones. Previous work demonstrated that mice expressing the characteristic SS18-SSX fusion oncogene in myogenic factor 5–expressing (Myf5-expressing) cells develop fully penetrant sarcomagenesis, suggesting skeletal muscle progenitor cell origin. However, Myf5 is not restricted to committed myoblasts in embryos but is also expressed in multipotent mesenchymal progenitors. Here, we demonstrated that human SS and mouse tumors arising from SS18-SSX expression in the embryonic, but not postnatal, Myf5 lineage share an anatomic location that is frequently adjacent to bone. Additionally, we showed that SS can originate from periosteal cells expressing SS18-SSX alone and from preosteoblasts expressing the fusion oncogene accompanied by the added stabilization of β-catenin, which is a common secondary change in SS. Expression and secretion of the osteoclastogenesis inhibitory factor osteoprotegerin enabled early growth of SS18-SSX2–transformed cells, indicating a paracrine link between the bone and synovial sarcomagenesis. These findings explain the skeletal contact frequently observed in human SS and may provide alternate means of enabling SS18-SSX–driven oncogenesis in cells as differentiated as preosteoblasts.
Jared J. Barrott, Benjamin E. Illum, Huifeng Jin, Matthew L. Hedberg, Yanliang Wang, Allie Grossmann, Malay Haldar, Mario R. Capecchi, Kevin B. Jones
Lymphedema, the most common lymphatic anomaly, involves defective lymphatic valve development; yet the epigenetic modifiers underlying lymphatic valve morphogenesis remain elusive. Here, we showed that during mouse development, the histone-modifying enzyme histone deacetylase 3 (Hdac3) regulates the formation of both lymphovenous valves, which maintain the separation of the blood and lymphatic vascular systems, and the lymphatic valves. Endothelium-specific ablation of Hdac3 in mice led to blood-filled lymphatic vessels, edema, defective lymphovenous valve morphogenesis, improper lymphatic drainage, defective lymphatic valve maturation, and complete lethality. Hdac3-deficient lymphovenous valves and lymphatic vessels exhibited reduced expression of the transcription factor Gata2 and its target genes. In response to oscillatory shear stress, the transcription factors Tal1, Gata2, and Ets1/2 physically interacted with and recruited Hdac3 to the evolutionarily conserved E-box–GATA–ETS composite element of a Gata2 intragenic enhancer. In turn, Hdac3 recruited histone acetyltransferase Ep300 to form an enhanceosome complex that promoted Gata2 expression. Together, these results identify Hdac3 as a key epigenetic modifier that maintains blood-lymph separation and integrates both extrinsic forces and intrinsic cues to regulate lymphatic valve development.
Harish P. Janardhan, Zachary J. Milstone, Masahiro Shin, Nathan D. Lawson, John F. Keaney Jr., Chinmay M. Trivedi
Netrin-1 is a secreted protein that was first identified 20 years ago as an axon guidance molecule that regulates midline crossing in the CNS. It plays critical roles in various tissues throughout development and is implicated in tumorigenesis and inflammation in adulthood. Despite extensive studies, no inherited human disease has been directly associated with mutations in NTN1, the gene coding for netrin-1. Here, we have identified 3 mutations in exon 7 of NTN1 in 2 unrelated families and 1 sporadic case with isolated congenital mirror movements (CMM), a disorder characterized by involuntary movements of one hand that mirror intentional movements of the opposite hand. Given the diverse roles of netrin-1, the absence of manifestations other than CMM in NTN1 mutation carriers was unexpected. Using multimodal approaches, we discovered that the anatomy of the corticospinal tract (CST) is abnormal in patients with NTN1-mutant CMM. When expressed in HEK293 or stable HeLa cells, the 3 mutated netrin-1 proteins were almost exclusively detected in the intracellular compartment, contrary to WT netrin-1, which is detected in both intracellular and extracellular compartments. Since netrin-1 is a diffusible extracellular cue, the pathophysiology likely involves its loss of function and subsequent disruption of axon guidance, resulting in abnormal decussation of the CST.
Aurélie Méneret, Elizabeth A. Franz, Oriane Trouillard, Thomas C. Oliver, Yvrick Zagar, Stephen P. Robertson, Quentin Welniarz, R.J. MacKinlay Gardner, Cécile Gallea, Myriam Srour, Christel Depienne, Christine L. Jasoni, Caroline Dubacq, Florence Riant, Jean-Charles Lamy, Marie-Pierre Morel, Raphael Guérois, Jessica Andreani, Coralie Fouquet, Mohamed Doulazmi, Marie Vidailhet, Guy A. Rouleau, Alexis Brice, Alain Chédotal, Isabelle Dusart, Emmanuel Roze, David Markie
Despite its central position in oncogenic intracellular signaling networks, the role of mTORC1 in epithelial development has not been studied extensively in vivo. Here, we have used the epidermis as a model system to elucidate the cellular effects and signaling feedback sequelae of mTORC1 loss of function in epithelial tissue. In mice with conditional epidermal loss of the mTORC1 components Rheb or Rptor, mTORC1 loss of function unexpectedly resulted in a profound skin barrier defect with epidermal abrasions, blistering, and early postnatal lethality, due to a thinned epidermis with decreased desmosomal protein expression and incomplete biochemical differentiation. In mice with mTORC1 loss of function, we found that Rho kinase (ROCK) signaling was constitutively activated, resulting in increased cytoskeletal tension and impaired cell-cell adhesion. Inhibition or silencing of ROCK1 was sufficient to rescue keratinocyte adhesion and biochemical differentiation in these mice. mTORC1 loss of function also resulted in marked feedback upregulation of upstream TGF-β signaling, triggering ROCK activity and its downstream effects on desmosomal gene expression. These findings elucidate a role for mTORC1 in the regulation of epithelial barrier formation, cytoskeletal tension, and cell adhesion, underscoring the complexity of signaling feedback following mTORC1 inhibition.
Kaushal Asrani, Akshay Sood, Alba Torres, Dan Georgess, Pornima Phatak, Harsimar Kaur, Amber Dubin, C. Conover Talbot Jr., Loubna Elhelu, Andrew J. Ewald, Bo Xiao, Paul Worley, Tamara L. Lotan
The short-limbed dwarfism metaphyseal chondrodysplasia type Schmid (MCDS) is linked to mutations in type X collagen, which increase ER stress by inducing misfolding of the mutant protein and subsequently disrupting hypertrophic chondrocyte differentiation. Here, we show that carbamazepine (CBZ), an autophagy-stimulating drug that is clinically approved for the treatment of seizures and bipolar disease, reduced the ER stress induced by 4 different MCDS-causing mutant forms of collagen X in human cell culture. Depending on the nature of the mutation, CBZ application stimulated proteolysis of misfolded collagen X by either autophagy or proteasomal degradation, thereby reducing intracellular accumulation of mutant collagen. In MCDS mice expressing the Col10a1.pN617K mutation, CBZ reduced the MCDS-associated expansion of the growth plate hypertrophic zone, attenuated enhanced expression of ER stress markers such as Bip and Atf4, increased bone growth, and reduced skeletal dysplasia. CBZ produced these beneficial effects by reducing the MCDS-associated abnormalities in hypertrophic chondrocyte differentiation. Stimulation of intracellular proteolysis using CBZ treatment may therefore be a clinically viable way of treating the ER stress–associated dwarfism MCDS.
Lorna A. Mullan, Ewa J. Mularczyk, Louise H. Kung, Mitra Forouhan, Jordan M.A. Wragg, Royston Goodacre, John F. Bateman, Eileithyia Swanton, Michael D. Briggs, Raymond P. Boot-Handford
Angiogenesis is a multistep process that requires coordinated migration, proliferation, and junction formation of vascular endothelial cells (ECs) to form new vessel branches in response to growth stimuli. Major intracellular signaling pathways that regulate angiogenesis have been well elucidated, but key transcriptional regulators that mediate these signaling pathways and control EC behaviors are only beginning to be understood. Here, we show that YAP/TAZ, a transcriptional coactivator that acts as an end effector of Hippo signaling, is critical for sprouting angiogenesis and vascular barrier formation and maturation. In mice, endothelial-specific deletion of Yap/Taz led to blunted-end, aneurysm-like tip ECs with fewer and dysmorphic filopodia at the vascular front, a hyper-pruned vascular network, reduced and disarranged distributions of tight and adherens junction proteins, disrupted barrier integrity, subsequent hemorrhage in growing retina and brain vessels, and reduced pathological choroidal neovascularization. Mechanistically, YAP/TAZ activates actin cytoskeleton remodeling, an important component of filopodia formation and junction assembly. Moreover, YAP/TAZ coordinates EC proliferation and metabolic activity by upregulating MYC signaling. Overall, these results show that YAP/TAZ plays multifaceted roles for EC behaviors, proliferation, junction assembly, and metabolism in sprouting angiogenesis and barrier formation and maturation and could be a potential therapeutic target for treating neovascular diseases.
Jongshin Kim, Yoo Hyung Kim, Jaeryung Kim, Do Young Park, Hosung Bae, Da-Hye Lee, Kyun Hoo Kim, Seon Pyo Hong, Seung Pil Jang, Yoshiaki Kubota, Young-Guen Kwon, Dae-Sik Lim, Gou Young Koh
BACKGROUND. The tumor immune response is increasingly associated with better clinical outcomes in breast and other cancers. However, the evaluation of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) relies on histopathological measurements with limited accuracy and reproducibility. Here, we profiled DNA methylation markers to identify a methylation of TIL (MeTIL) signature that recapitulates TIL evaluations and their prognostic value for long-term outcomes in breast cancer (BC). METHODS. MeTIL signature scores were correlated with clinical endpoints reflecting overall or disease-free survival and a pathologic complete response to preoperative anthracycline therapy in 3 BC cohorts from the Jules Bordet Institute in Brussels and in other cancer types from The Cancer Genome Atlas. RESULTS. The MeTIL signature measured TIL distributions in a sensitive manner and predicted survival and response to chemotherapy in BC better than did histopathological assessment of TILs or gene expression–based immune markers, respectively. The MeTIL signature also improved the prediction of survival in other malignancies, including melanoma and lung cancer. Furthermore, the MeTIL signature predicted differences in survival for malignancies in which TILs were not known to have a prognostic value. Finally, we showed that MeTIL markers can be determined by bisulfite pyrosequencing of small amounts of DNA from formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tumor tissue, supporting clinical applications for this methodology. CONCLUSIONS. This study highlights the power of DNA methylation to evaluate tumor immune responses and the potential of this approach to improve the diagnosis and treatment of breast and other cancers. FUNDING. This work was funded by the Fonds National de la Recherche Scientifique (FNRS) and Télévie, the INNOVIRIS Brussels Region BRUBREAST Project, the IUAP P7/03 program, the Belgian “Foundation against Cancer,” the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF), and the Fonds Gaston Ithier.
Jana Jeschke, Martin Bizet, Christine Desmedt, Emilie Calonne, Sarah Dedeurwaerder, Soizic Garaud, Alexander Koch, Denis Larsimont, Roberto Salgado, Gert Van den Eynden, Karen Willard Gallo, Gianluca Bontempi, Matthieu Defrance, Christos Sotiriou, François Fuks
The spermatogenesis/oogenesis helix-loop-helix (SOHLH) proteins SOHLH1 and SOHLH2 play important roles in male and female reproduction. Although previous studies indicate that these transcriptional regulators are expressed in and have in vivo roles in postnatal ovaries, their expression and function in the embryonic ovary remain largely unknown. Because oocyte differentiation is tightly coupled with the onset of meiosis, it is of significant interest to determine how early oocyte transcription factors regulate these two processes. In this issue of the
T. Rajendra Kumar
Following migration of primordial germ cells to the genital ridge, oogonia undergo several rounds of mitotic division and enter meiosis at approximately E13.5. Most oocytes arrest in the dictyate (diplotene) stage of meiosis circa E18.5. The genes necessary to drive oocyte differentiation in parallel with meiosis are unknown. Here, we have investigated whether expression of spermatogenesis and oogenesis bHLH transcription factor 1 (
Yong-Hyun Shin, Yu Ren, Hitomi Suzuki, Kayla J. Golnoski, Hyo won Ahn, Vasil Mico, Aleksandar Rajkovic
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