Synergism between Hedgehog-GLI and EGFR signaling in Hedgehog-responsive human medulloblastoma (Daoy) cells
ABSTRACT: Aberrant activation of Hedgehog (HH) signaling has been identified as a key etiologic factor of many human malignancies. Signal strength, target gene specificity, and oncogenic activity of HH signaling profoundly depend on interactions with other pathways such as epidermal growth factor receptor-mediated signaling which has been shown to cooperate with HH/GLI in basal cell carcinoma and pancreatic cancer. We demonstrate that the human medulloblastoma cell line Daoy possesses a fully inducible endogenous HH pathway. Treatment of Daoy cells with Sonic Hedgehog or Smoothened agonist induced expression of GLI1 protein and prevented processing of GLI3 to its repressor form. To study interactions between HH- and EGF-induced signaling in greater detail, time-resolved measurements were carried out and analyzed on the transcriptomic as well as proteomic level. Daoy cells responded to the co-treatment by downregulating GLI1, PTCH, and HHIP on the transcript level which was also seen when Amphiregulin (AREG) was used instead of EGF. The finding that EGFR signaling silences proteins acting as negative regulators of HH signaling is firstly described here as a novel crosstalk mechanism. Furthermore, combined EGFR/HH signaling maintains high GLI1 protein levels contrasting its downregulation on the transcript level. On the other hand, high level synergism was observed with respect to a strong and significant upregulation of numerous canonical EGF-targets with putative tumor-promoting properties such as MMP7, VEGFA, and IL-8. In conclusion, synergistic effects between EGFR and HH signaling can selectively induce a switch from a canonical HH/GLI profile to a modulated specific target gene profile pointing to more wide-spread, yet context-dependent, interactions between HH/GLI and growth factor receptor signaling in human malignancies. To study interactions between HH- and EGF-induced signaling, time-resolved measurements were carried out over a period of 24 h at 14 different time points after stimulation by EGF with and without additional stimulation by SHH. Furthermore, as a control, cells without any stimulation by EGF and SHH (control) and cells in the presents of SHH were analyzed. Overall, three biological replicates of 60 different treatment/timepoints were analyzed yielding 180 different samples.
Project description:Aberrant activation of Hedgehog (HH) signaling has been identified as a key etiologic factor in many human malignancies. Signal strength, target gene specificity, and oncogenic activity of HH signaling depend profoundly on interactions with other pathways, such as epidermal growth factor receptor-mediated signaling, which has been shown to cooperate with HH/GLI in basal cell carcinoma and pancreatic cancer. Our experimental data demonstrated that the Daoy human medulloblastoma cell line possesses a fully inducible endogenous HH pathway. Treatment of Daoy cells with Sonic HH or Smoothened agonist induced expression of GLI1 protein and simultaneously prevented the processing of GLI3 to its repressor form. To study interactions between HH- and EGF-induced signaling in greater detail, time-resolved measurements were carried out and analyzed at the transcriptomic and proteomic levels. The Daoy cells responded to the HH/EGF co-treatment by downregulating GLI1, PTCH, and HHIP at the transcript level; this was also observed when Amphiregulin (AREG) was used instead of EGF. We identified a novel crosstalk mechanism whereby EGFR signaling silences proteins acting as negative regulators of HH signaling, as AKT- and ERK-signaling independent process. EGFR/HH signaling maintained high GLI1 protein levels which contrasted the GLI1 downregulation on the transcript level. Conversely, a high-level synergism was also observed, due to a strong and significant upregulation of numerous canonical EGF-targets with putative tumor-promoting properties such as MMP7, VEGFA, and IL-8. In conclusion, synergistic effects between EGFR and HH signaling can selectively induce a switch from a canonical HH/GLI profile to a modulated specific target gene profile. This suggests that there are more wide-spread, yet context-dependent interactions, between HH/GLI and growth factor receptor signaling in human malignancies.
Project description:Hedgehog (HH)/GLI signaling plays a critical role in epidermal development and basal cell carcinoma. Here, we provide evidence that epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signaling modulates the target gene expression profile of GLI transcription factors in epidermal cells. Using expression profiling and quantitative reverse transcriptase PCR, we identified a set of 19 genes whose transcription is synergistically induced by GLI1 and parallel EGF treatment. Promoter studies of a subset of GLI/EGF-regulated genes, including the genes encoding interleukin-1 antagonist IL1R2, Jagged 2, cyclin D1, S100A7, and S100A9, suggest convergence of EGFR and HH/GLI signaling at the level of promoters of selected direct GLI target genes. Inhibition of EGFR and MEK/ERK but not of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/AKT abrogated synergistic activation of GLI/EGF target genes, showing that EGFR can signal via RAF/MEK/ERK to cooperate with GLI proteins in selective target gene regulation. Coexpression of the GLI/EGF target IL1R2, EGFR, and activated ERK1/2 in human anagen hair follicles argues for a cooperative role of EGFR and HH/GLI signaling in specifying the fate of outer root sheath (ORS) cells. We also show that EGF treatment neutralizes GLI-mediated induction of epidermal stem cell marker expression and provide evidence that EGFR signaling is essential for GLI-induced cell cycle progression in epidermal cells. The results suggest that EGFR signaling modulates GLI target gene profiles which may play an important regulatory role in ORS specification, hair growth, and possibly cancer.
Project description:Melanoma is one of the most aggressive cancers, and its incidence is increasing. These tumors derive from the melanocyte lineage and remain incurable after metastasis. Here we report that SONIC HEDGEHOG (SHH)-GLI signaling is active in the matrix of human hair follicles, and that it is required for the normal proliferation of human melanocytes in culture. SHH-GLI signaling also regulates the proliferation and survival of human melanomas: the growth, recurrence, and metastasis of melanoma xenografts in mice are prevented by local or systemic interference of HH-GLI function. Moreover, we show that oncogenic RAS-induced melanomas in transgenic mice express Gli1 and require Hh-Gli signaling in vitro and in vivo. Finally, we provide evidence that endogenous RAS-MEK and AKT signaling regulate the nuclear localization and transcriptional activity of GLI1 in melanoma and other cancer cells. Our data uncover an unsuspected role of HH-GLI signaling in melanocytes and melanomas, demonstrate a role for this pathway in RAS-induced tumors, suggest a general integration of the RAS/AKT and HH-GLI pathways, and open a therapeutic approach for human melanomas.
Project description:Aberrant Hedgehog (Hh)/glioma-associated oncogene (GLI) signaling has been implicated in cancer progression. Here, we analyzed GLI1, Sonic Hedgehog (Shh) and NF-?B expression in 51 breast cancer (ductal carcinoma) tissues using immunohistochemistry. We found a positive correlation between nuclear GLI1 expression and tumor grade in ductal carcinoma cases. Cytoplasmic Shh staining significantly correlated with a lower tumor grade. Next, the in vitro effects of two Hh signaling pathway inhibitors on breast cancer cell lines were evaluated using the Smoothened (SMO) antagonist GDC-0449 and the direct GLI1 inhibitor GANT-61. GDC-0449 and GANT-61 exhibited the following effects: a) inhibited breast cancer cell survival; b) induced apoptosis; c) inhibited Hh pathway activity by decreasing the mRNA expression levels of GLI1 and Ptch and inhibiting the nuclear translocation of GLI1; d) increased/decreased EGFR and ErbB2 protein expression, reduced p21-Ras and ERK1/ERK2 MAPK activities and inhibited AKT activation; and e) decreased the nuclear translocation of NF-?B. However, GANT-61 exerted these effects more effectively than GDC-0449. The in vivo antitumor activities of GDC-0449 and GANT-61 were analyzed in BALB/c mice that were subcutaneously inoculated with mouse breast cancer (TUBO) cells. GDC-0449 and GANT-61 suppressed tumor growth of TUBO cells in BALB/c mice to different extents. These findings suggest that targeting the Hh pathway using antagonists that act downstream of SMO is a more efficient strategy than using antagonists that act upstream of SMO for interrupting Hh signaling in breast cancer.
Project description:The GLI genes, GLI1 and GLI2, are transcription factors that regulate target genes at the distal end of the canonical Hedgehog (HH) signaling pathway (SHH->PTCH->SMO->GLI), tightly regulated in embryonic development, tissue patterning and differentiation. Both GLI1 and GLI2 are oncogenes, constitutively activated in many types of human cancers. In colon cancer cells oncogenic KRAS-GLI signaling circumvents the HH-SMO-GLI axis to channel through and activate GLI in the transcriptional regulation of target genes. We have observed extensive cell death in a panel of 7 human colon carcinoma cell lines using the small molecule GLI inhibitor GANT61. Using computational docking and experimental confirmation by Surface Plasmon Resonance, GANT61 binds to the 5-zinc finger GLI1 protein between zinc fingers 2 and 3 at sites E119 and E167, independent of the GLI-DNA binding region, and conserved between GLI1 and GLI2. GANT61 does not bind to other zinc finger transcription factors (KLF4, TFIIβ). Mutating the predicted GANT61 binding sites in GLI1 significantly inhibits GANT61-GLI binding and GLI-luciferase activity. Data establish the specificity of GANT61 for targeting GLI, and substantiate the critical role of GLI in cancer cell survival. Thus, targeting GLI in cancer therapeutics may be of high impact.
Project description:Sutherlandia frutescens is a medicinal plant, traditionally used to treat various types of human diseases, including cancer. Previous studies of several botanicals link suppression of prostate cancer growth with inhibition of the Gli/hedgehog (Gli/Hh) signaling pathway. Here we hypothesized the anti-cancer effect of S. frutescens was linked to its inhibition of the Gli/Hh signaling in prostate cancer. We found a dose- and time-dependent growth inhibition in human prostate cancer cells, PC3 and LNCaP, and mouse prostate cancer cell, TRAMP-C2, treated with S. frutescens methanol extract (SLE). We also observed a dose-dependent inhibition of the Gli-reporter activity in Shh Light II and TRAMP-C2QGli cells treated with SLE. In addition, SLE can inhibit Gli/Hh signaling by blocking Gli1 and Ptched1 gene expression in the presence of a Gli/Hh signaling agonist (SAG). A diet supplemented with S. frutescens suppressed the formation of poorly differentiated carcinoma in prostates of TRAMP mice. Finally, we found Sutherlandioside D was the most potent compound in the crude extract that could suppress Gli-reporter in Shh Light II cells. Together, this suggests that the S. frutescens extract may exert anti-cancer effect by targeting Gli/Hh signaling, and Sutherlandioside D is one of the active compounds.
Project description:Persistent activation of the Hedgehog (HH)/GLI signaling pathway has been implicated in the development of a number of human cancers. The GLI zinc finger transcription factors act at the end of the HH signaling cascade to control gene expression, and recent studies have shown that the activity of GLI proteins can be additionally modified by integration of distinct signals, such as the MEK/extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) and phosphinositide-3 kinase (PI3K)/AKT pathway. However, little is known about the identity of the upstream activators of these HH/GLI interacting signaling pathways in cancer. Here, we provide evidence that integration of the HH/GLI and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) pathway synergistically induces oncogenic transformation, which depends on EGFR-mediated activation of the RAS/RAF/MEK/ERK but not of the PI3K/AKT pathway. EGFR/MEK/ERK signaling induces JUN/activator protein 1 activation, which is essential for oncogenic transformation, in combination with the GLI activator forms GLI1 and GLI2. Furthermore, pharmacologic inhibition of EGFR and HH/GLI efficiently reduces growth of basal cell carcinoma (BCC) cell lines derived from mice with activated HH/GLI signaling. The results identify the synergistic integration of GLI activator function and EGFR signaling as a critical step in oncogenic transformation and provide a molecular basis for therapeutic opportunities relying on combined inhibition of the HH/GLI and EGFR/MEK/ERK/JUN pathway in BCC.
Project description:Recent evidence suggests that aberrant activation of Hedgehog (Hh) signaling by Gli transcription factors is characteristic of a variety of aggressive human carcinomas including ovarian cancer. Therefore, chemotherapeutic agents that inhibit activation of Gli transcription factors have emerged as promising novel therapeutic drugs for ovarian cancer.In this study, we show that activation of Hh signaling promoted cellular migration and invasion, whereas blockade of Hh signaling with GANT61 suppressed cellular migration and invasion in ovarian cancer cells. After treatment with GANT61, cDNA microarray analyses revealed changes in many genes such as Integrin β4 subunit (ITGB4), focal adhesion kinase (FAK), etc. Furthermore, ITGB4 expression was up-regulated by Sonic Hedgehog (Shh) ligand and down-regulated by Hh signaling inhibitor. The Shh-mediated ovarian cell migration and invasion was blocked by neutralizing antibodies to ITGB4. In addition, phosphorylations of FAK were increased by Shh and decreased by Hh signaling inhibitor. Inhibition of Gli1 expression using siRNA mimicked the effects of GANT61 treatment, supporting the specificity of GANT61. Further investigations showed that activation of FAK was required for Shh-mediated cell migration and invasion. Finally, we found that down-regulation of Gli reduced the expression of ITGB4 and the phosphorylated FAK, resulting in the inhibition of tumor growth in vivo.The Hh signaling pathway induces cell migration and invasion through ITGB4-mediated activation of FAK in ovarian cancer. Our findings suggest that the diminishment of crosstalk between phosphorylated FAK and ITGB4 due to the down-regulation of Gli family transcription factors might play a pivotal role for inhibiting ovarian cancer progression.
Project description:The Hedgehog (Hh) signaling pathway plays an important role in prostate development and appears to play an equally important role in promoting growth of advanced prostate cancer. During prostate development, epithelial cells in the urogenital sinus (UGS) express Sonic Hedgehog (Shh) and secrete Shh peptide. The secreted Hh peptide acts on adjacent mesenchymal cells to activate the Hh signal transduction pathway and elicit paracrine effects on epithelial proliferation and differentiation. To identify mesenchymal targets of Shh signaling, we performed microarray analysis on a Shh-responsive, immortalized urogential sinus mesenchymal cell line. We found 68 genes that were up-regulated by Shh and 21 genes that were down-regulated. Eighteen of those were selected for further study with Ptc1 and Gli1 serving as reference controls. We found 10 of 18 were also Hh-regulated in primary UGS mesenchymal cells and 13 of 18 in the cultured UGS. Seven of 18 exhibited Shh-regulated expression in both assays (Igfbp-6, Igfbp-3, Fbn2, Ntrk3, Agpt4, Dmp1, and Mmp13). Three of the 18 genes contained putative Gli binding motifs that bound Gli1 peptide in electrophoretic mobility shift assays. With the exception of Tiam1, target gene expression generally showed no differences in the concentration dependence of ligand-induced expression, but we observed strikingly different responses to direct pathway activation by transfection with activated Smo, Gli1, and Gli2.
Project description:Aberrant activation of the Hedgehog (Hh) signaling pathway drives the tumorigenesis of multiple cancers. In this study, we screened a panel of deubiquitinases that may regulate the Hh pathway. We find that deubiquitinase USP48 activates Gli-dependent transcription by stabilizing Gli1 protein. Mechanistically, USP48 interacts with Gli1 and cleaves its ubiquitin off directly. In glioblastoma cells, knockdown of USP48 inhibits cell proliferation and the expression of Gli1's downstream targets, which leads to repressed glioblastoma tumorigenesis. Importantly, USP48's effect on cell proliferation and tumorigenesis depends to some extent on Gli1. In addition, we find that the Sonic Hedgehog (SHH) pathway induces USP48 expression through Gli1-mediated transcriptional activation, which forms thus a positive feedback loop to regulate Hh signaling. In human glioblastoma specimens, the expression levels of USP48 and Gli1 proteins are clinically relevant, and high expression of USP48 correlates with glioma malignancy. In summary, our study reveals that the USP48-Gli1 regulatory axis is critical for glioma cell proliferation and glioblastoma tumorigenesis.