A key predictor for the success of gene-modified T cell therapies for cancer is the persistence of transferred cells in the patient. The propensity of less differentiated memory T cells to expand and survive efficiently has therefore made them attractive candidates for clinical application. We hypothesized that re-directing T cells to specialized niches in the bone marrow (BM) that support memory differentiation would confer increased therapeutic efficacy. We show that overexpression of chemokine receptor CXCR4 in CD8+ T cells (TCXCR4) enhanced their migration towards vascular-associated CXCL12+ cells in the BM and increased their local engraftment. Increased access of TCXCR4 to the BM microenvironment induced IL-15-dependent homeostatic expansion and promoted the differentiation of memory precursor-like cells with low expression of programmed death-1, resistance to apoptosis and a heightened capacity to generate poly-functional cytokine-producing effector cells. Following transfer to lymphoma-bearing mice, TCXCR4 showed a greater capacity for effector expansion and better tumor protection, the latter being independent of changes in trafficking to the tumor bed or local out-competition of regulatory T cells. Thus, re-directed homing of T cells to the BM confers increased memory differentiation and anti-tumor immunity, suggesting an innovative solution to increase the persistence and functions of therapeutic T cells.
Anjum B. Khan, Ben Carpenter, Pedro Santos e Sousa, Constandina Pospori, Reema Khorshed, James Griffin, Pedro Veliça, Mathias Zech, Sara Ghorashian, Calum Forrest, Sharyn Thomas, Sara Gonzalez Anton, Maryam Ahmadi, Angelika Holler, Barry Flutter, Zaida Ramirez-Ortiz, Terry K. Means, Clare L. Bennett, Hans Stauss, Emma Morris, Cristina Lo Celso, Ronjon Chakraverty
The unfolded protein response (UPR) is a cellular homeostatic mechanism that is activated in many human cancers and plays pivotal roles in tumor progression and therapy resistance. However, the molecular mechanisms for UPR activation and regulation in cancer cells remain elusive. Here, we show that oncogenic MYC regulates the inositol-requiring enzyme 1 (IRE1)/X-box binding protein 1 (XBP1) branch of the UPR in breast cancer via multiple mechanisms. We found that MYC directly controls IRE1 transcription by binding to its promoter and enhancer. Furthermore, MYC forms a transcriptional complex with XBP1, a target of IRE1, and enhances its transcriptional activity. Importantly, we demonstrate that XBP1 is a synthetic lethal partner of MYC. Silencing of XBP1 selectively blocked the growth of MYC-hyperactivated cells. Pharmacological inhibition of IRE1 RNase activity with small molecule inhibitor 8866 selectively restrained the MYC-overexpressing tumor growth in vivo in a cohort of preclinical patient-derived xenograft models and genetically engineered mouse models. Strikingly, 8866 substantially enhanced the efficacy of docetaxel chemotherapy, resulting in rapid regression of MYC-overexpressing tumors. Collectively, these data establish the synthetic lethal interaction of the IRE1/XBP1 pathway with MYC hyperactivation and provide a potential therapy for MYC-driven human breast cancers.
Na Zhao, Jin Cao, Longyong Xu, Qianzi Tang, Lacey E. Dobrolecki, Xiangdong Lv, Manisha Talukdar, Yang Lu, Xiaoran Wang, Dorothy Z. Hu, Qing Shi, Yu Xiang, Yunfei Wang, Xia Liu, Wen Bu, Yi Jiang, Mingzhou Li, Yingyun Gong, Zheng Sun, Haoqiang Ying, Bo Yuan, Xia Lin, Xin-Hua Feng, Sean M. Hartig, Feng Li, Haifa Shen, Yiwen Chen, Leng Han, Qingping Zeng, John B. Patterson, Benny Abraham Kaipparettu, Nagireddy Putluri, Frank Sicheri, Jeffrey M. Rosen, Michael T. Lewis, Xi Chen
BACKGROUND. Sporadic vascular malformations (VMs) are complex congenital anomalies of blood vessels that lead to stroke, life-threatening bleeds, disfigurement, overgrowth, and/or pain. Therapeutic options are severely limited and multi-disciplinary management remains challenging, particularly for high-flow arteriovenous malformations (AVM). METHODS. To investigate the pathogenesis of sporadic intracranial and extracranial VMs in 160 children in which known genetic causes had been excluded, we sequenced DNA from affected tissue and optimised analysis for detection of low mutant allele frequency. RESULTS. We discovered multiple mosaic activating variants in four genes of the RAS-MAPK pathway, KRAS, NRAS, BRAF, and MAP2K1, a pathway commonly activated in cancer and responsible for the germ-line RAS-opathies. These variants were more frequent in high-flow than low-flow VMs. In vitro characterisation and two transgenic zebrafish AVM models which recapitulated the human phenotype validated the pathogenesis of the mutant alleles. Importantly, treatment of AVM-BRAF mutant zebrafish with the BRAF inihibitor, Vemurafinib, restored blood flow in AVM. CONCLUSIONS. Our findings uncover a major cause of sporadic vascular malformations of different clinical types, and thereby offer the potential of personalised medical treatment by repurposing existing licensed cancer therapies. FUNDING. This work was funded or supported by grants from AVM Butterfly Charity, the Wellcome Trust (UK), the Medical Research Council (UK), the UK National Institute for Health Research, L’Oreal-Melanoma Research Alliance, the European Research Council, and the National Human Genome Research (US).
Lara Al-Olabi, Satyamaanasa Polubothu, Katherine Dowsett, Katrina A. Andrews, Paulina Stadnik, Agnel P. Joseph, Rachel Knox, Alan Pittman, Graeme Clark, William Baird, Neil Bulstrode, Mary Glover, Kristiana Gordon, Darren Hargrave, Susan M. Huson, Thomas S. Jacques, Gregory James, Hannah Kondolf, Loshan Kangesu, Kim M. Keppler-Noreuil, Amjad Khan, Marjorie J. Lindhurst, Mark Lipson, Sahar Mansour, Justine O'Hara, Caroline Mahon, Anda Mosica, Celia Moss, Aditi Murthy, Juling Ong, Victoria E. Parker, Jean-Baptiste Rivière, Julie C. Sapp, Neil J. Sebire, Rahul Shah, Branavan Sivakumar, Anna Thomas, Alex Virasami, Regula Waelchli, Zhiqiang Zeng, Leslie G. Biesecker, Alex Barnacle, Maya Topf, Robert K. Semple, E. Elizabeth Patton, Veronica A. Kinsler
Myc activation is a primary oncogenic event in many human cancers; however, these transcription factors are difficult to inhibit pharmacologically, suggesting that Myc-dependent downstream effectors may be more tractable therapeutic targets. Here we show that Myc overexpression induces endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and engages the IRE1α-XBP1 pathway through multiple molecular mechanisms in a variety of c-Myc- and N-Myc-dependent cancers. In particular, Myc-overexpressing cells require IRE1α-XBP1 signaling for sustained growth and survival in vitro and in vivo, dependent on elevated stearoyl-CoA-desaturase 1 (SCD1) activity. Pharmacological and genetic XBP1 inhibition induces Myc-dependent apoptosis, which is alleviated by exogenous unsaturated fatty acids. Of note, SCD1 inhibition phenocopies IRE1α RNase activity suppression in vivo. Furthermore, IRE1α inhibition enhances the cytotoxic effects of standard chemotherapy drugs used to treat c-Myc-overexpressing Burkitt’s lymphoma, suggesting that inhibiting the IRE1α-XBP1 pathway is a useful general strategy for treatment of Myc-driven cancers.
Hong Xie, Chih-Hang Anthony Tang, Jun H. Song, Anthony Mancuso, Juan R. Del Valle, Jin Cao, Yan Xiang, Chi V. Dang, Roy Lan, Danielle J. Sanchez, Brian Keith, Chih-Chi Andrew Hu, M. Celeste Simon
Aberrant activation of MAPK signaling leads to activation of oncogenic transcriptomes. How MAPK signaling is coupled with transcriptional response in cancer is not fully understood. In gastrointestinal stromal tumor and melanoma, both with oncogenic MAPK activation, we find that ETV1 and other Pea3-ETS transcription factors are critical nuclear effectors of MAPK signaling that are regulated through protein stability. Expression of stabilized Pea3-ETS factors can partially rescue the MAPK transcriptome and cell viability after MAPK inhibition. To identify players involved in this process, we performed a pooled genome-wide RNAi screen using a novel fluorescence-based ETV1 protein stability sensor, and identified COP1, DET1, DDB1, UBE3C, PSMD4, and COP9 signalosome members. COP1 and DET1 loss led to decoupling between MAPK signaling and downstream transcriptional response, where MAPK inhibition failed to destabilize Pea3 factors and fully inhibit the MAPK transcriptome, thus resulting in decreased sensitivity to MAPK pathway inhibitors. We identified multiple COP1 and DET1 mutations in human tumors that were defective in degradation of Pea3-ETS factors. Two melanoma patients had de novo DET1 mutations arising after vemurafenib treatment. These observations indicate that MAPK signaling-dependent regulation of Pea3-ETS protein stability is a key signaling node in oncogenesis and therapeutic resistance to MAPK pathway inhibition.
Yuanyuan Xie, Zhen Cao, Elissa W.P. Wong, Youxin Guan, Wenfu Ma, Jenny Q. Zhang, Edward G. Walczak, Devan Murphy, Leili Ran, Inna Sirota, Shangqian Wang, Shipra Shukla, Dong Gao, Simon R.V. Knott, Kenneth Chang, Justin Leu, John Wongvipat, Cristina R. Antonescu, Gregory Hannon, Ping Chi, Yu Chen
Blockade of the checkpoint inhibitor programmed death 1 (PD1) has demonstrated remarkable success in the clinic for the treatment of cancer; however, a majority of tumors are resistant to anti-PD1 monotherapy. Numerous ongoing clinical combination therapy studies will likely reveal additional therapeutics that complement anti-PD1 blockade. Recent studies found that immunogenic cell death (ICD) improves T cell responses against different tumors, thus indicating that ICD may further augment antitumor immunity elicited by anti-PD1. Here, we observed antitumor activity following combinatorial therapy with anti-PD1 Ab and the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor dinaciclib in immunocompetent mouse tumor models. Dinaciclib induced a type I IFN gene signature within the tumor, leading us to hypothesize that dinaciclib potentiates the effects of anti-PD1 by eliciting ICD. Indeed, tumor cells treated with dinaciclib showed the hallmarks of ICD including surface calreticulin expression and release of high mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) and ATP. Mice treated with both anti-PD1 and dinaciclib showed increased T cell infiltration and DC activation within the tumor, indicating that this combination improves the overall quality of the immune response generated. These findings identify a potential mechanism for the observed benefit of combining dinaciclib and anti-PD1, in which dinaciclib induces ICD, thereby converting the tumor cell into an endogenous vaccine and boosting the effects of anti-PD1.
Dewan Md Sakib Hossain, Sarah Javaid, Mingmei Cai, Chunsheng Zhang, Anandi Sawant, Marlene Hinton, Manjiri Sathe, Jeff Grein, Wendy Blumenschein, Elaine M. Pinheiro, Alissa Chackerian
Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 1A (CMT1A) is caused by duplication of peripheral myelin protein 22 (PMP22) and is the most common hereditary peripheral neuropathy. CMT1A is characterized by demyelination and axonal loss, which underlie slowed motor nerve conduction velocity (MNCV) and reduced compound muscle action potentials (CMAP) in patients. There is currently no known treatment for this disease. Here, we show that antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs) effectively suppress PMP22 mRNA in affected nerves in 2 murine CMT1A models. Notably, initiation of ASO treatment after disease onset restored myelination, MNCV, and CMAP almost to levels seen in WT animals. In addition to disease-associated gene expression networks that were restored with ASO treatment, we also identified potential disease biomarkers through transcriptomic profiling. Furthermore, we demonstrated that reduction of PMP22 mRNA in skin biopsies from ASO-treated rats is a suitable biomarker for evaluating target engagement in response to ASO therapy. These results support the use of ASOs as a potential treatment for CMT1A and elucidate potential disease and target engagement biomarkers for use in future clinical trials.
Hien Tran Zhao, Sagar Damle, Karli Ikeda-Lee, Steven Kuntz, Jian Li, Apoorva Mohan, Aneeza Kim, Gene Hung, Mark A. Scheideler, Steven S. Scherer, John Svaren, Eric E. Swayze, Holly B. Kordasiewicz
The molecular mechanisms that transduce the osteoblast response to physical forces in the bone microenvironment are poorly understood. Here, we used genetic and pharmacological experiments to determine whether the polycystins PC1 and PC2 (encoded by Pkd1 and Pkd2) and the transcriptional coactivator TAZ form a mechanosensing complex in osteoblasts. Compound-heterozygous mice lacking 1 copy of Pkd1 and Taz exhibited additive decrements in bone mass, impaired osteoblast-mediated bone formation, and enhanced bone marrow fat accumulation. Bone marrow stromal cells and osteoblasts derived from these mice showed impaired osteoblastogenesis and enhanced adipogenesis. Increased extracellular matrix stiffness and application of mechanical stretch to multipotent mesenchymal cells stimulated the nuclear translocation of the PC1 C-terminal tail/TAZ (PC1-CTT/TAZ) complex, leading to increased runt-related transcription factor 2–mediated (Runx2-mediated) osteogenic and decreased PPARγ-dependent adipogenic gene expression. Using structure-based virtual screening, we identified a compound predicted to bind to PC2 in the PC1:PC2 C-terminal tail region with helix:helix interaction. This molecule stimulated polycystin- and TAZ-dependent osteoblastogenesis and inhibited adipogenesis. Thus, we show that polycystins and TAZ integrate at the molecular level to reciprocally regulate osteoblast and adipocyte differentiation, indicating that the polycystins/TAZ complex may be a potential therapeutic target to increase bone mass.
Zhousheng Xiao, Jerome Baudry, Li Cao, Jinsong Huang, Hao Chen, Charles R. Yates, Wei Li, Brittany Dong, Christopher M. Waters, Jeremy C. Smith, L. Darryl Quarles
Medulloblastoma, an aggressive cancer of the cerebellum, is among the most common pediatric brain tumors. Approximately one-third of medulloblastomas are associated with misactivation of the Hedgehog (Hh) pathway. GLI family zinc finger 2 (GLI2) coordinates the Hh transcriptional program; however, the GLI2 targets that promote cancer cell proliferation are unknown. Here, we incorporated a Gli2-EGFP allele into 2 different genetic mouse models of Hh-associated medulloblastoma. Hh signaling induced GLI2 binding to the Cdk6 promoter and activated Cdk6 expression, thereby promoting uncontrolled cell proliferation. Genetic or pharmacological inhibition of CDK6 in mice repressed the growth of Hh-associated medulloblastoma and prolonged survival through inhibition of cell proliferation. In human medulloblastoma, misactivation of Hh signaling was associated with high levels of CDK6, pointing to CDK6 as a direct transcriptional target of the Hh pathway. These results suggest that CDK6 antagonists may be a promising therapeutic approach for Hh-associated medulloblastoma in humans.
David R. Raleigh, Pervinder K. Choksi, Alexis Leigh Krup, Wasima Mayer, Nicole Santos, Jeremy F. Reiter
The transcription factor PU.1 is often impaired in patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Here, we used AML cells that already had low PU.1 levels and further inhibited PU.1 using either RNA interference or, to our knowledge, first-in-class small-molecule inhibitors of PU.1 that we developed specifically to allosterically interfere with PU.1-chromatin binding through interaction with the DNA minor groove that flanks PU.1-binding motifs. These small molecules of the heterocyclic diamidine family disrupted the interaction of PU.1 with target gene promoters and led to downregulation of canonical PU.1 transcriptional targets. shRNA or small-molecule inhibition of PU.1 in AML cells from either PU.1lo mutant mice or human patients with AML-inhibited cell growth and clonogenicity and induced apoptosis. In murine and human AML (xeno)transplantation models, treatment with our PU.1 inhibitors decreased tumor burden and resulted in increased survival. Thus, our study provides proof of concept that PU.1 inhibition has potential as a therapeutic strategy for the treatment of AML and for the development of small-molecule inhibitors of PU.1.
Iléana Antony-Debré, Ananya Paul, Joana Leite, Kelly Mitchell, Hye Mi Kim, Luis A. Carvajal, Tihomira I. Todorova, Kenneth Huang, Arvind Kumar, Abdelbasset A. Farahat, Boris Bartholdy, Swathi-Rao Narayanagari, Jiahao Chen, Alberto Ambesi-Impiombato, Adolfo A. Ferrando, Ioannis Mantzaris, Evripidis Gavathiotis, Amit Verma, Britta Will, David W. Boykin, W. David Wilson, Gregory M.K. Poon, Ulrich Steidl
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