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Identification of Cell Surface Targets for CAR T Cell Immunotherapy

Methods Mol Biol

2020 Lee, John K, MD, PhD John Lee

Immunotherapy has become a prominent approach for the treatment of cancer. Targeted killing of malignant cells by adoptive transfer of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells is a promising immunotherapy technique in oncology. However, the identification of cell surface antigens unique to tumor cells against which CAR T cells can be engineered has historically been challenging and not well documented in solid tumors. Here, we describe a generalized method to construct a cell subtype-specific surface antigen profile (i.e., surfaceome) from cell lines and identify high-confidence antigens as effective targets for CAR T cell therapy by integrating transcriptomics and cell surface proteomics. This method is widely applicable to all therapies utilizing CAR T cells, such as cancer, as well as infectious and autoimmune diseases.

Virological failure in children living with HIV on antiretroviral therapy: correlates and predictive value of clinical measurements and CD4 cell count

International journal of STD & AIDS

2019 Overbaugh, Julie M, PhD Julie Overbaugh


TWIST1 Heterodimerization with E12 Requires Coordinated Protein Phosphorylation to Regulate Periostin Expression


2019 Tapscott, Stephen J, MD, PhD Stephen J Tapscott

Diffuse invasion into adjacent brain matter by glioblastoma (GBM) is largely responsible for their dismal prognosis. Previously, we showed that the TWIST1 (TW) bHLH transcription factor and its regulated gene periostin (POSTN) promote invasive phenotypes of GBM cells. Since TW functional effects are regulated by phosphorylation and dimerization, we investigated how phosphorylation of serine 68 in TW regulates TW dimerization, POSTN expression, and invasion in glioma cells. Compared with wild-type TW, the hypophosphorylation mutant, TW(S68A), impaired TW heterodimerization with the E12 bHLH transcription factor and cell invasion in vitro but had no effect on TW homodimerization. Overexpression of TW:E12 forced dimerization constructs (FDCs) increased glioma cell invasion and upregulated pro-invasive proteins, including POSTN, in concert with cytoskeletal reorganization. By contrast, TW:TW homodimer FDCs inhibited POSTN expression and cell invasion in vitro. Further, phosphorylation of analogous PXSP phosphorylation sites in TW:E12 FDCs (TW S68 and E12 S139) coordinately regulated POSTN and PDGFRa mRNA expression. These results suggested that TW regulates pro-invasive phenotypes in part through coordinated phosphorylation events in TW and E12 that promote heterodimer formation and regulate downstream targets. This new mechanistic understanding provides potential therapeutic strategies to inhibit TW-POSTN signaling in GBM and other cancers.

PEG10 promoter-driven expression of reporter genes enables molecular imaging of lethal prostate cancer

Cancer Res

2019 Nelson, Peter S, MD Peter Nelson

The retrotransposon-derived paternally expressed gene 10 (PEG10) protein is ordinarily expressed at high levels in the placenta. Recently, it was discovered that PEG10 isoforms promote the progression of prostate cancer to a highly lethal androgen receptor (AR)-negative phenotype. The presence of PEG10 in other subtypes of prostate cancer has not been explored and a utility for PEG10 overexpression has not been developed. Here, we found that in addition to AR-null disease PEG10 was also expressed in prostate cancer with constitutively active AR-splice variants. A molecular genetic imaging strategy for non-invasive imaging of AR splice variant prostate cancer was developed by utilizing the cancer-specificity of the PEG10 promoter to drive the expression of reporter genes. Plasmid insertion of a PEG10 promoter sequence optimized for enhanced output upstream of a reporter gene allowed detection of prostate cancer by near-infrared and positron emission tomography imaging after systemic administration of the plasmid in vivo. PEG10 expressing subcutaneous xenograft and intratibial tumor models were imaged by both modalities using this molecular genetic imaging strategy. This study demonstrates a pre-clinical proof-of-concept that the PEG10 promoter is a powerful and specific tool that can be utilized for non-invasive detection of aggressive prostate cancer subtypes.

Pathways to breast cancer screening artificial intelligence algorithm validation


2019 Lee, Christoph I, MD, PhD John Lee

As more artificial intelligence (AI)-enhanced mammography screening tools enter the clinical market, greater focus will be placed on external validation in diverse patient populations. In this viewpoint, we outline lessons learned from prior efforts in this field, the need to validate algorithms on newer screening technologies and diverse patient populations, and conclude by discussing the need for a framework for continuous monitoring and recalibration of these AI tools. Sufficient validation and continuous monitoring of emerging AI tools for breast cancer screening will require greater stakeholder engagement and the creation of shared policies and guidelines.

Apical-Basal Polarity Signaling Components, Lgl1 and aPKCs, Control Glutamatergic Synapse Number and Function


2019 Vasioukhin, Valeri I, PhD Valeri Vasioukhin

Normal synapse formation is fundamental to brain function. We show here that an apical-basal polarity (A-BP) protein, Lgl1, is present in the postsynaptic density and negatively regulates glutamatergic synapse numbers by antagonizing the atypical protein kinase Cs (aPKCs). A planar cell polarity protein, Vangl2, which inhibits synapse formation, was decreased in synaptosome fractions of cultured cortical neurons from Lgl1 knockout embryos. Conditional knockout of Lgl1 in pyramidal neurons led to reduction of AMPA/NMDA ratio and impaired plasticity. Lgl1 is frequently deleted in Smith-Magenis syndrome (SMS). Lgl1 conditional knockout led to increased locomotion, impaired novel object recognition and social interaction. Lgl1+/- animals also showed increased synapse numbers, defects in open field and social interaction, as well as stereotyped repetitive behavior. Social interaction in Lgl1+/- could be rescued by NMDA antagonists. Our findings reveal a role of apical-basal polarity proteins in glutamatergic synapse development and function and also suggest a potential treatment for SMS patients with Lgl1 deletion.

Hair follicle regeneration suppresses Ras-driven oncogenic growth

The Journal of cell biology

2019 Beronja, Slobodan, PhD Slobodan Beronja

Mutations associated with tumor development in certain tissues can be nontumorigenic in others, yet the mechanisms underlying these different outcomes remains poorly understood. To address this, we targeted an activating Hras mutation to hair follicle stem cells and discovered that Hras mutant cells outcompete wild-type neighbors yet are integrated into clinically normal skin hair follicles. In contrast, targeting the Hras mutation to the upper noncycling region of the skin epithelium leads to benign outgrowths. Follicular Hras mutant cells autonomously and nonautonomously enhance regeneration, which directs mutant cells into continuous tissue cycling to promote integration rather than aberrancy. This follicular tolerance is maintained under additional challenges that promote tumorigenesis in the epidermis, including aging, injury, and a secondary mutation. Thus, the hair follicle possesses a unique, enhanced capacity to integrate and contain Hras mutant cells within both homeostatic and perturbed tissue, demonstrating that in the skin, multiple, distinct mechanisms exist to suppress oncogenic growth.

YAP1 subgroup supratentorial ependymoma requires TEAD and nuclear factor I-mediated transcriptional programmes for tumorigenesis

Nature communications

2019 Holland, Eric C, MD, PhD Eric Holland

YAP1 fusion-positive supratentorial ependymomas predominantly occur in infants, but the molecular mechanisms of oncogenesis are unknown. Here we show YAP1-MAMLD1 fusions are sufficient to drive malignant transformation in mice, and the resulting tumors share histo-molecular characteristics of human ependymomas. Nuclear localization of YAP1-MAMLD1 protein is mediated by MAMLD1 and independent of YAP1-Ser127 phosphorylation. Chromatin immunoprecipitation-sequencing analyses of human YAP1-MAMLD1-positive ependymoma reveal enrichment of NFI and TEAD transcription factor binding site motifs in YAP1-bound regulatory elements, suggesting a role for these transcription factors in YAP1-MAMLD1-driven tumorigenesis. Mutation of the TEAD binding site in the YAP1 fusion or repression of NFI targets prevents tumor induction in mice. Together, these results demonstrate that the YAP1-MAMLD1 fusion functions as an oncogenic driver of ependymoma through recruitment of TEADs and NFIs, indicating a rationale for preclinical studies to block the interaction between YAP1 fusions and NFI and TEAD transcription factors.

The ribonucleoside AICAr induces differentiation of myeloid leukemia by activating the ATR/Chk1 kinase via pyrimidine depletion

The Journal of biological chemistry

2019 Simon, Julian A, PhD Julian Simon

Metabolic pathways play important roles in proliferation and differentiation of malignant cells. 5-Aminoimidazole-4-carboxamide ribonucleoside (AICAr), a precursor in purine biosynthesis and a well-established activator of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), induces widespread metabolic alterations and is commonly used for dissecting the role of metabolism in cancer. We have previously reported that AICAr promotes differentiation and inhibits proliferation of myeloid leukemia cells. Here, using metabolic assays, immunoblotting, flow cytometry analyses, and siRNA-mediated gene silencing in leukemia cell lines, we show that AICAr-mediated differentiation was independent of the known metabolic effects of AMPK, including glucose consumption, but instead depends on the activation of the DNA damage-associated enzyme checkpoint kinase 1 (Chk1) induced by pyrimidine depletion. LC/MS/MS metabolomics analysis revealed that AICAr increases orotate levels and decreases uridine monophosphate (UMP) levels, consistent with inhibition of UMP synthesis at a step downstream of dihydroorotate dehydrogenase (DHODH). AICAr and the DHODH inhibitor brequinar had similar effects on differentiation markers and S-phase arrest, and genetic or pharmacological Chk1 inactivation abrogated both of these effects. Our results delineate an AMPK-independent effect of AICAr on myeloid leukemia differentiation that involves perturbation of pyrimidine biosynthesis and activation of the DNA damage response network.

ORC-13661 protects sensory hair cells from aminoglycoside and cisplatin ototoxicity

JCI insight

2019 Simon, Julian A, PhD Julian Simon

Aminoglycoside (AG) antibiotics are widely used to prevent life-threatening infections, and cisplatin is used in the treatment of various cancers, but both are ototoxic and result in loss of sensory hair cells from the inner ear. ORC-13661 is a new drug that was derived from PROTO-1, a compound first identified as protective in a large-scale screen utilizing hair cells in the lateral line organs of zebrafish larvae. Here, we demonstrate, in zebrafish larvae and in mouse cochlear cultures, that ORC-13661 provides robust protection of hair cells against both ototoxins, the AGs and cisplatin. ORC-13661 also prevents both hearing loss in a dose-dependent manner in rats treated with amikacin and the loading of neomycin-Texas Red into lateral line hair cells. In addition, patch-clamp recordings in mouse cochlear cultures reveal that ORC-13661 is a high-affinity permeant blocker of the mechanoelectrical transducer (MET) channel in outer hair cells, suggesting that it may reduce the toxicity of AGs by directly competing for entry at the level of the MET channel and of cisplatin by a MET-dependent mechanism. ORC-13661 is therefore a promising and versatile protectant that reversibly blocks the hair cell MET channel and operates across multiple species and toxins.