Assessment of transformed properties in vitro and of tumorigenicity in vivo in primary keratinocytes cultured for epidermal sheet transplantation.
ABSTRACT: Epidermal keratinocytes are used as a cell source for autologous and allogenic cell transplant therapy for skin burns. The question addressed here is to determine whether the culture process may induce cellular, molecular, or genetic alterations that might increase the risk of cellular transformation. Keratinocytes from four different human donors were investigated for molecular and cellular parameters indicative of transformation status, including (i) karyotype, (ii) telomere length, (iii) proliferation rate, (iv) epithelial-mesenchymal transition, (v) anchorage-independent growth potential, and (vi) tumorigenicity in nude mice. Results show that, despite increased cell survival in one keratinocyte strain, none of the cultures displayed characteristics of cell transformations, implying that the culture protocol does not generate artefacts leading to the selection of transformed cells. We conclude that the current protocol does not result in an increased risk of tumorigenicity of transplanted cells.
Project description:The objective of the present study was to evaluate the aptitude of TRAIL gene expression for inducing apoptosis in co-cultivated T-cells. This should allow preparing a strategy for the development of a durable, allogenic skin substitute based on the induction of an immune-privileged transplant. In order to counteract the significant potential of rejection in transplanted allogenic keratinocytes, we created a murine keratinocyte cell line which expressed TRAIL through stable gene transfer. The exogenic protein was localized on the cellular surface and was not found in soluble condition as sTRAIL. Contact to TRAIL expressing cells in co-culture induced cell death in sensitive Jurkat-cells, which was further intensified by lymphocyte activation. This cytotoxic effect is due to the induction of apoptosis. We therefore assume that the de-novo expression of TRAIL in keratinocytes can trigger apoptosis in activated lymphocytes and thus prevent the rejection of keratinocytes in allogenic, immune-privileged transplants.
Project description:Cancer is a complex, multi-step process characterized by misregulated signal transduction and altered metabolism. Cancer cells divide faster than normal cells and their growth rates have been reported to correlate with increased metabolic flux during cell transformation. Here we report on progressive changes in essential elements of the biochemical network, in an in vitro model of transformation, consisting of primary human keratinocytes, human keratinocytes immortalized by human papillomavirus 16 (HPV16) and passaged repeatedly in vitro, and the extensively-passaged cells subsequently treated with the carcinogen benzo[a]pyrene. We monitored changes in cell growth, cell size and energy metabolism. The more transformed cells were smaller and divided faster, but the cellular energy flux was unchanged. During cell transformation the protein synthesis network contracted, as shown by the reduction in key cap-dependent translation factors. Moreover, there was a progressive shift towards internal ribosome entry site (IRES)-dependent translation. The switch from cap to IRES-dependent translation correlated with progressive activation of c-Src, an activator of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), which controls energy-consuming processes, including protein translation. As cellular protein synthesis is a major energy-consuming process, we propose that the reduction in cell size and protein amount provide energy required for cell survival and proliferation. The cap to IRES-dependent switch seems to be part of a gradual optimization of energy-consuming mechanisms that redirects cellular processes to enhance cell growth, in the course of transformation.
Project description:HIPK2, a cell fate decision kinase inactivated in several human cancers, is thought to exert its oncosuppressing activity through its p53-dependent and -independent apoptotic function. However, a HIPK2 role in cell proliferation has also been described. In particular, HIPK2 is required to complete cytokinesis and impaired HIPK2 expression results in cytokinesis failure and tetraploidization. Since tetraploidy may yield to aneuploidy and chromosomal instability (CIN), we asked whether unscheduled tetraploidy caused by loss of HIPK2 might contribute to tumorigenicity. Here, we show that, compared to Hipk2+/+ mouse embryo fibroblasts (MEFs), hipk2-null MEFs accumulate subtetraploid karyotypes and develop CIN. Accumulation of these defects inhibits proliferation and spontaneous immortalization of primary MEFs whereas increases tumorigenicity when MEFs are transformed by E1A and Harvey-Ras oncogenes. Upon mouse injection, E1A/Ras-transformed hipk2-null MEFs generate tumors with genetic alterations resembling those of human cancers derived by initial tetraploidization events, such as pancreatic adenocarcinoma. Thus, we evaluated HIPK2 expression in different stages of pancreatic transformation. Importantly, we found a significant correlation among reduced HIPK2 expression, high grade of malignancy, and high nuclear size, a marker of increased ploidy. Overall, these results indicate that HIPK2 acts as a caretaker gene, whose inactivation increases tumorigenicity and causes CIN by cytokinesis failure.
Project description:The molecular mechanisms underlying spontaneous neoplastic transformation in cultured mammalian cells remain poorly understood, confounding recognition of parallels with the biology of naturally occurring cancer. The broad use of tumorigenic canine cell lines as research tools, coupled with the accumulation of cytogenomic data from naturally occurring canine cancers, makes the domestic dog an ideal system in which to investigate these relationships. We developed a canine kidney cell line, CKB1-3T7, which allows prospective examination of the onset of spontaneous immortalization and tumorigenicity. We documented the accumulation of cytogenomic aberrations in CKB1-3T7 over 24 months in continuous culture. The majority of aberrations emerged in parallel with key phenotypic changes in cell morphology, growth kinetics, and tumor incidence and latency. Focal deletion of CDKN2A/B emerged first, preceding the onset and progression of tumorigenic potential, and progressed to a homozygous deletion across the cell population during extended culture. Interestingly, CKB1-3T7 demonstrated a tumorigenic phenotype in vivo prior to exhibiting loss of contact inhibition in vitro. We also performed the first genome-wide characterization of the canine tumorigenic cell line MDCK, which also exhibited CDKN2A/B deletion. MDCK and CKB1-3T7 cells shared several additional aberrations that we have reported previously as being highly recurrent in spontaneous canine cancers, many of which, as with CDKN2A/B deletion, are evolutionarily conserved in their human counterparts. The conservation of these molecular events across multiple species, in vitro and in vivo, despite their contrasting karyotypic architecture, is a powerful indicator of a common mechanism underlying emerging neoplastic activity. Through integrated cytogenomic and phenotypic characterization of serial passages of CKB1-3T7 from initiation to development of a tumorigenic phenotype, we present a robust and readily accessible model (to be made available through the American Type Culture Collection) of spontaneous neoplastic transformation that overcomes many of the limitations of earlier studies.
Project description:Chromosomal instability in early cancer stages is caused by replication stress. One mechanism by which oncogene expression induces replication stress is to drive cell proliferation with insufficient nucleotide levels. Cancer development is driven by alterations in both genetic and environmental factors. Here, we investigated whether replication stress can be modulated by both genetic and non-genetic factors and whether the extent of replication stress affects the probability of neoplastic transformation. To do so, we studied the effect of folate, a micronutrient that is essential for nucleotide biosynthesis, on oncogene-induced tumorigenicity. We show that folate deficiency by itself leads to replication stress in a concentration-dependent manner. Folate deficiency significantly enhances oncogene-induced replication stress, leading to increased DNA damage and tumorigenicity in vitro. Importantly, oncogene-expressing cells, when grown under folate deficiency, exhibit a significantly increased frequency of tumor development in mice. These findings suggest that replication stress is a quantitative trait affected by both genetic and non-genetic factors and that the extent of replication stress plays an important role in cancer development.
Project description:Cell culture plays a pivotal role in cancer research. However, culture-induced changes in biological properties of tumor cells profoundly affect research reproducibility and translational potential. Establishing culture conditions tailored to the cancer cell of origin could resolve this problem. For glioma research, it has been previously shown that replacing serum with defined growth factors for neural stem cells (NSCs) greatly improved the retention of gene expression profile and tumorigenicity. However, among all molecular subtypes of glioma, our laboratory and others have previously shown that the oligodendrocyte precursor cell (OPC) rather than the NSC serves as the cell of origin for the proneural subtype, raising questions regarding the suitability of NSC-tailored media for culturing proneural glioma cells.OPC-originated mouse glioma cells were cultured in conditions for normal OPCs or NSCs, respectively, for multiple passages. Gene expression profiles, morphologies, tumorigenicity, and drug responsiveness of cultured cells were examined in comparison with freshly isolated tumor cells.OPC media-cultured glioma cells maintained tumorigenicity, gene expression profiles, and morphologies similar to freshly isolated tumor cells. In contrast, NSC-media cultured glioma cells gradually lost their OPC features and most tumor-initiating ability and acquired heightened sensitivity to temozolomide.To improve experimental reproducibility and translational potential of glioma research, it is important to identify the cell of origin, and subsequently apply this knowledge to establish culture conditions that allow the retention of native properties of tumor cells.
Project description:Tensin family members, including tensin2 (TNS2), are present as major components of the focal adhesions. The N-terminal end of TNS2 contains a C1 region (protein kinase C conserved region 1) that is not found in other tensin members. Three isoforms of TNS2 have been identified with previous reports describing the shortest V3 isoform as lacking the C1 region. Although TNS2 is known to regulate cell proliferation and migration, its role in tumorigenicity is controversial. By gain-of-function overexpression approaches, results supporting either promotion or reduction of cancer cell tumorigenicity were reported. Here we report that the complete V3 isoform also contains the C1 region and describe the expression patterns of the three human TNS2 isoforms. By loss-of-function approaches, we show that silencing of TNS2 up-regulates the activities of Akt, Mek, and IRS1, and increases tumorigenicities in A549 and Hela cells. Using public database analyses we found that TNS2 is down-regulated in head and neck, esophageal, breast, lung, liver, and colon cancer. In addition, patients with low TNS2 expression showed poor relapse-free survival rates for breast and lung cancers. These results strongly suggest a role of tensin2 in suppressing cell transformation and reduction of tumorigenicity.
Project description:Twist1 is a master regulator of epithelial mesenchymal transition and carcinoma metastasis. Twist1 has also been associated with increased malignancy of human glioma. However, the impact of inhibiting Twist1 on tumorigenicity has not been characterized in glioma models in the context of different oncogenic transformation paradigms. Here we used an orthotopic mouse glioma model of transplanted transformed neural progenitor cells (NPCs) to demonstrate the effects of Twist1 loss of function on tumorigenicity. Decreased tumorigenicity was observed after shRNA mediated Twist knockdown in HPV E6/7 Ha-RasV12 transformed NPCs and Cre mediated Twist1 deletion in Twist1 fl/fl NPCs transformed by p53 knockdown and Ha-RasV12 expression. By contrast, Twist1 deletion had no effect on tumorigenicity of NPCs transformed by co-expression of Akt and Ha-RasV12. We demonstrated a dramatic off-target effect of Twist1 deletion with constitutive Cre expression, which was completely reversed when Twist1 deletion was achieved by transient administration of recombinant Cre protein. Together these findings demonstrate that the function of Twist1 in these models is highly dependent on specific oncogenic contexts of NPC transformation. Therefore, the driver mutational context in which Twist1 functions may need to be taken into account when evaluating mechanisms of action and developing therapeutic approaches to target Twist1 in human gliomas.
Project description:Mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is a serine/threonine protein kinase that regulates cell growth, proliferation, and survival. mTOR is frequently activated in human cancers and is a commonly sought anticancer therapeutic target. However, whether the human mTOR gene itself is a proto-oncogene possessing tumorigenicity has not been firmly established. To answer this question, we mutated evolutionarily conserved amino acids, generated eight mutants in the HEAT repeats (M938T) and the FAT (W1456R and G1479N) and kinase (P2273S, V2284M, V2291I, T2294I, and E2288K) domains of mTOR, and studied their oncogenicity. On transient expression in HEK293T cells, these mTOR mutants displayed elevated protein kinase activities accompanied by activated mTOR/p70S6K signaling at varying levels, demonstrating the gain of function of the mTOR gene with these mutations. We selected P2273S and E2288K, the two most catalytically active mutants, to further examine their oncogenicity and tumorigenicity. Stable expression of the two mTOR mutants in NIH3T3 cells strongly activated mTOR/p70S6K signaling, induced cell transformation and invasion, and remarkably, caused rapid tumor formation and growth in athymic nude mice after subcutaneous inoculation of the transfected cells. This study confirms the oncogenic potential of mTOR suggested previously and demonstrates for the first time its tumorigenicity. Thus, beyond the pivotal position of mTOR to relay the oncogenic signals from the upstream phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt pathway in human cancer, mTOR is capable potentially of playing a direct role in human tumorigenesis if mutated. These results also further support the conclusion that mTOR is a major therapeutic target in human cancers.
Project description:The greatest health threat from malignant melanoma is death due to metastatic disease. Consequently, the identification of markers predictive of metastatic disease is essential for identifying new therapeutic targets. EphA2, a protein tyrosine kinase receptor commonly expressed in epithelial cells, has been found to be overexpressed and constitutively active in melanoma tumor cells having a metastatic phenotype as characterized by increased invasion, proliferation and vasculogenic mimicry (VM). Based on this observation, we hypothesized that increased expression of EphA2 by melanoma tumor cells could promote these characteristics of a metastatic phenotype in addition to promoting tumorigenicity as a whole. We analyzed a panel of human melanoma tumor cell lines derived from patient tissues classified as primary (either radial growth phase or vertical growth phase) and/or metastatic for the expression of EphA2 and found a correlation between increased EphA2 expression and metastatic potential. Experiments using the most metastatic of the human melanoma cell lines demonstrated that downregulation of EphA2 results in a significant decrease in invasion, proliferation, clonogenicity and VM in vitro, in addition to suppressed tumorigenicity in an orthotopic mouse model. Lastly, utilization of a human phospho-kinase array revealed increased phosphorylation of several different protein kinases involved in mediating various aspects of cellular proliferation. To the best of our knowledge these results provide the first direct in vivo evidence demonstrating a role for EphA2 in promoting melanoma tumorigenicity and suggest EphA2 as a significant molecular target for the therapeutic intervention of malignant melanoma.