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Nucleus structure and dynamics

Mol Biol Cell

2020 Hatch, Emily M


Proteomic and transcriptomic profiling of Pten gene-knockout mouse model of prostate cancer


2020 Kemp, Christopher J

BACKGROUND: The prostate-specific phosphatase and tensin homolog deleted on chromosome 10 (Pten) gene-conditional knockout (KO) mouse carcinogenesis model is highly desirable for studies of prostate cancer biology and chemoprevention due to its close resemblance of primary molecular defect and many histopathological features of human prostate cancer including androgen response and disease progression from prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia to invasive adenocarcinoma. Here, we profiled the proteome and transcriptome of the Pten-KO mouse prostate tumors for global macromolecular expression alterations for signaling changes and biomarker signatures. METHODS: For proteomics, four pairs of whole prostates from tissue-specific conditional knockout Pten-KO mice (12-15 weeks of age) and their respective wild-type littermates housed in the same cages were analyzed by 8-plex isobaric tags for relative and absolute quantitation iTRAQ. For microarray transcriptomic analysis, three additional matched pairs of prostate/tumor specimens from respective mice at 20 to 22 weeks of age were used. Real-time quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction was used to verify the trends of protein and RNA expression changes. Gene Set Enrichment Analysis and Ingenuity Pathway Analysis were carried out for bioinformatic characterizations of pathways and networks. RESULTS: At the macromolecular level, proteomic and transcriptomic analyses complement and cross-validate to reveal overexpression signatures including inflammation and immune alterations, in particular, neutrophil/myeloid lineage suppressor cell features, chromatin/histones, ion and nutrient transporters, and select glutathione peroxidases and transferases in Pten-KO prostate tumors. Suppressed expression patterns in the Pten-KO prostate tumors included glandular differentiation such as secretory proteins and androgen receptor targets, smooth muscle features, and endoplasmic reticulum stress proteins. Bioinformatic analyses identified immune and inflammation responses as the most profound macromolecular landscape changes, and the predicted key nodal activities through Akt, nuclear factor-kappaB, and P53 in the Pten-KO prostate tumor. Comparison with other genetically modified mouse prostate carcinogenesis models revealed notable molecular distinctions, especially the dominance of immune and inflammation features in the Pten-KO prostate tumors. CONCLUSIONS: Our work identified prominent macromolecular signatures and key nodal molecules that help to illuminate the patho- and immunobiology of Pten-loss driven prostate cancer and can facilitate the choice of biomarkers for chemoprevention and interception studies in this clinically relevant mouse prostate cancer model.

Wnt-mediated endothelial transformation into mesenchymal stem cell-like cells induces chemoresistance in glioblastoma

Sci Transl Med

2020 Holland, Eric C

Therapeutic resistance remains a persistent challenge for patients with malignant tumors. Here, we reveal that endothelial cells (ECs) acquire transformation into mesenchymal stem cell (MSC)-like cells in glioblastoma (GBM), driving tumor resistance to cytotoxic treatment. Transcriptome analysis by RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) revealed that ECs undergo mesenchymal transformation and stemness-like activation in GBM microenvironment. Furthermore, we identified a c-Met-mediated axis that induces β-catenin phosphorylation at Ser675 and Wnt signaling activation, inducing multidrug resistance-associated protein-1(MRP-1) expression and leading to EC stemness-like activation and chemoresistance. Last, genetic ablation of β-catenin in ECs overcome GBM tumor resistance to temozolomide (TMZ) chemotherapy in vivo. Combination of Wnt inhibition and TMZ chemotherapy eliminated tumor-associated ECs, inhibited GBM growth, and increased mouse survival. These findings identified a cell plasticity-based, microenvironment-dependent mechanism that controls tumor chemoresistance, and suggest that targeting Wnt/β-catenin-mediated EC transformation and stemness activation may overcome therapeutic resistance in GBM.

Longitudinal measures of RNA expression and disease activity in FSHD muscle biopsies

Hum Mol Genet

2020 Tapscott, Stephen J; Wong, Chao-Jen; Campbell, Amy E

Advances in understanding the pathophysiology of facioscapulohumeral dystrophy (FSHD) have led to the discovery of candidate therapeutics and it is important to identify markers of disease activity to inform clinical trial design. For drugs that inhibit DUX4 expression, measuring DUX4 or DUX4-target gene expression might be an interim measure of drug activity; however, only a subset of FHSD muscle biopsies show evidence of DUX4 expression. Our prior study showed that MRI T2-STIR-positive muscles had a higher probability of showing DUX4 expression than muscles with normal MRI characteristics. In the current study, we performed a one-year follow-up assessment of the same muscle with repeat MRI and muscle biopsy. There was little change in MRI characteristics over the one-year period and, similar to the initial evaluation, MRI T2-STIR-postive muscles had a higher expression of DUX4-regulated genes, as well as genes associated with inflammation, extracellular matrix, and cell cycle. Compared to the initial evaluation, overall the level of expression in these gene categories remained stable over the one-year period; however, there was some variability for each individual muscle biopsied. The pooled data from both the initial and one-year follow-up evaluations identified several FSHD subgroups based on gene expression, as well as a set of genes-composed of DUX4-target genes, inflammatory and immune genes, and cell cycle control genes-that distinguished all of the FSHD samples from the controls. These candidate markers of disease activity need to be replicated in independent datasets, and, if validated, may provide useful measures of disease progression and response to therapy.

Identification of HIV-1 Envelope Mutations that Enhance Entry Using Macaque CD4 and CCR5


2020 Overbaugh, Julie M; Bloom, Jesse D; Dingens, Adam S; Cassidy, Noah A; Roop, Jeremy I

Although Rhesus macaques are an important animal model for HIV-1 vaccine development research, most transmitted HIV-1 strains replicate poorly in macaque cells. A major genetic determinant of this species-specific restriction is a non-synonymous mutation in macaque CD4 that results in reduced HIV-1 Envelope (Env)-mediated viral entry compared to human CD4. Recent research efforts employing either laboratory evolution or structure-guided design strategies have uncovered several mutations in Env's gp120 subunit that enhance binding of macaque CD4 by transmitted/founder HIV-1 viruses. In order to identify additional Env mutations that promote infection of macaque cells, we utilized deep mutational scanning to screen thousands of Env point mutants for those that enhance HIV-1 entry via macaque receptors. We identified many uncharacterized amino acid mutations in the N-terminal heptad repeat (NHR) and C-terminal heptad repeat (CHR) regions of gp41 that increased entry into cells bearing macaque receptors up to 9-fold. Many of these mutations also modestly increased infection of cells bearing human CD4 and CCR5 (up to 1.5-fold). NHR/CHR mutations identified by deep mutational scanning that enhanced entry also increased sensitivity to neutralizing antibodies targeting the MPER epitope, and to inactivation by cold-incubation, suggesting that they promote sampling of an intermediate trimer conformation between closed and receptor bound states. Identification of this set of mutations can inform future macaque model studies, and also further our understanding of the relationship between Env structure and function.

Translating basic science discoveries into improved outcomes for glioblastoma

Clin Cancer Res

2020 Holland, Eric C

Members of the scientific and clinical neuro-oncology community met in April 2019 to discuss the current challenges and opportunities associated with translating basic science discoveries in glioblastoma to improved survival for patients. A summary of key points of these discussions is presented in this report.

Anthropometry, body shape in early-life and risk of premenopausal breast cancer among Latin American women: results from the PRECAMA study

Sci Rep

2020 Porter, Peggy L; Lin, Minggang

Cumulating evidence in Caucasian women suggests a positive association between height and premenopausal breast cancer risk and a negative association with overall adiposity; however data from Latin America are scarce. We investigated the associations between excess adiposity, body shape evolution across life, and risk of premenopausal breast cancer among 406 cases (women aged 20-45) and 406 matched population-based controls from Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Mexico. Negative associations between adult adiposity and breast cancer risk were observed in adjusted models (body mass index (BMI): Odds ratio (OR) per 1 kg/m2 = 0.93; 95% confidence interval = 0.89-0.96; waist circumference (WC): OR per 10 cm = 0.81 (0.69-0.96); hip circumference (HC): OR per 10 cm = 0.80 (0.67-0.95)). Height and leg length were not associated with risk. In normal weight women (18.5 ≤ BMI < 25), women with central obesity (WC > 88 cm) had an increased risk compared to women with normal WC (OR = 3.60(1.47-8.79)). Residuals of WC over BMI showed positive associations when adjusted for BMI (OR per 10 cm = 1.38 (0.98-1.94)). Body shape at younger ages and body shape evolution were not associated with risk. No heterogeneity was observed by receptor status. In this population of Latin American premenopausal women, different fat distributions in adulthood were differentially associated with risk of breast cancer.

Embryonic Barcoding of Equipotent Mammary Progenitors Functionally Identifies Breast Cancer Drivers

Cell Stem Cell

2020 Beronja, Slobodan; Ying, Zhe

Identification of clinically relevant drivers of breast cancers in intact mammary epithelium is critical for understanding tumorigenesis yet has proven challenging. Here, we show that intra-amniotic lentiviral injection can efficiently transduce progenitor cells of the adult mammary gland and use that as a platform to functionally screen over 500 genetic lesions for functional roles in tumor formation. Targeted progenitors establish long-term clones of both luminal and myoepithelial lineages in adult animals, and via lineage tracing with stable barcodes, we found that each mouse mammary gland is generated from a defined number of ∼120 early progenitor cells that expand uniformly with equal growth potential. We then designed an in vivo screen to test genetic interactions in breast cancer and identified candidates that drove not only tumor formation but also molecular subtypes. Thus, this methodology enables rapid and high-throughput cancer driver discovery in mammary epithelium.

CenH3-Independent Kinetochore Assembly in Lepidoptera Requires CCAN, Including CENP-T

Curr Biol

2020 Hsieh, Emily

Accurate chromosome segregation requires assembly of the multiprotein kinetochore complex at centromeres. In most eukaryotes, kinetochore assembly is primed by the histone H3 variant CenH3 (also called CENP-A), which physically interacts with components of the inner kinetochore constitutive centromere-associated network (CCAN). Unexpectedly, regarding its critical function, previous work identified that select eukaryotic lineages, including several insects, have lost CenH3 while having retained homologs of the CCAN. These findings imply alternative CCAN assembly pathways in these organisms that function in CenH3-independent manners. Here we study the composition and assembly of CenH3-deficient kinetochores of Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths). We show that lepidopteran kinetochores consist of previously identified CCAN homologs as well as additional components, including a divergent CENP-T homolog, that are required for accurate mitotic progression. Our study focuses on CENP-T, which we found to be sufficient to recruit the Mis12 and Ndc80 outer kinetochore complexes. In addition, CRISPR-mediated gene editing in Bombyx mori establishes an essential function of CENP-T in vivo. Finally, the retention of CENP-T and additional CCAN homologs in other independently derived CenH3-deficient insects indicates a conserved mechanism of kinetochore assembly between these lineages. Our study provides the first functional insights into CCAN-based kinetochore assembly pathways that function independently of CenH3, contributing to the emerging picture of an unexpected plasticity to build a kinetochore.

New approaches to small cell lung cancer therapy : from the laboratory to the clinic

J Thorac Oncol

2020 MacPherson, David P

Small cell lung cancer patient outcomes have not yet been significantly impacted by the revolution in precision oncology, primarily due to a paucity of genetic alterations in actionable driver oncogenes. Nevertheless, systemic therapies that include immunotherapy are beginning to show promise in the clinic. While these results are encouraging, many patients do not respond to or rapidly recur after current regimens, necessitating alternative or complementary therapeutic strategies. In this review, we discuss ongoing investigations into the pathobiology of this recalcitrant cancer and the therapeutic vulnerabilities that are exposed by the disease state. Included within this discussion is a snapshot of the current biomarker and clinical trial landscapes for small cell lung cancer. Finally, we identify key knowledge gaps that should be addressed in order to advance the field in pursuit of reduced small cell lung cancer mortality. This review largely summarizes work presented at the Third Biennial IASLC Small Cell Lung Cancer Meeting.