Septin 9 isoform expression, localization and epigenetic changes during human and mouse breast cancer progression.
ABSTRACT: INTRODUCTION:Altered expression of Septin 9 (SEPT9), a septin coding for multiple isoform variants, has been observed in several carcinomas, including colorectal, head and neck, ovarian and breast, compared to normal tissues. The mechanisms regulating its expression during tumor initiation and progression in vivo and the oncogenic function of its different isoforms remain elusive. METHODS:Using an integrative approach, we investigated SEPT9 at the genetic, epigenetic, mRNA and protein levels in breast cancer. We analyzed a panel of breast cancer cell lines, human primary tumors and corresponding tumor-free areas, normal breast tissues from reduction mammoplasty patients, as well as primary mammary gland adenocarcinomas derived from the polyoma virus middle T antigen, or PyMT, mouse model. MCF7 clones expressing individual GFP-tagged SEPT9 isoforms were used to determine their respective intracellular distributions and effects on cell migration. RESULTS:An overall increase in gene amplification and altered expression of SEPT9 were observed during breast tumorigenesis. We identified an intragenic alternative promoter at which methylation regulates SEPT9_v3 expression. Transfection of specific GFP-SEPT9 isoforms in MCF7 cells indicates that these isoforms exhibit differential localization and affect migration rates. Additionally, the loss of an uncharacterized SEPT9 nucleolar localization is observed during tumorigenesis. CONCLUSIONS:In this study, we found conserved in vivo changes of SEPT9 gene amplification and overexpression during human and mouse breast tumorigenesis. We show that DNA methylation is a prominent mechanism responsible for regulating differential SEPT9 isoform expression and that breast tumor samples exhibit distinctive SEPT9 intracellular localization. Together, these findings support the significance of SEPT9 as a promising tool in breast cancer detection and further emphasize the importance of analyzing and targeting SEPT9 isoform-specific expression and function.
Project description:Functions of septin cytoskeletal polymers in tumorigenesis are still poorly defined. Their role in the regulation of cytokinesis and cell migration were proposed to contribute to cancer associated aneuploidy and metastasis. Overexpression of Septin 9 (Sept9) promotes migration of cancer cell lines. SEPT9 mRNA and protein expression is increased in breast tumors compared to normal and peritumoral tissues and amplification of SEPT9 gene was positively correlated with breast tumor progression. However, the existence of multiple isoforms of Sept9 is a confounding factor in the analysis of Sept9 functions. In the present study, we analyze the protein expression of Sept9_i2, an uncharacterized isoform, in breast cancer cell lines and tumors and describe its specific impact on cancer cell migration and Sept9 cytoskeletal distribution. Collectively, our results showed that, contrary to Sept9_i1, Sept9_i2 did not support cancer cell migration, and induced a loss of subnuclear actin filaments. These effects were dependent on Sept9_i2 specific N-terminal sequence. Sept9_i2 was strongly down-regulated in breast tumors compared to normal mammary tissues. Thus our data indicate that Sept9_i2 is a negative regulator of breast tumorigenesis. We propose that Sept9 tumorigenic properties depend on the balance between Sept9_i1 and Sept9_i2 expression levels.
Project description:Septin-family proteins assemble into rod-shaped heteromeric complexes that form higher-order arrangements at the cell cortex, where they serve apparently conserved functions as diffusion barriers and molecular scaffolds. There are 13 confirmed septin paralogues in mammals, which may be ubiquitous or tissue specific. Septin hetero-oligomerization appears homology subgroup directed, which in turn determines the subunit arrangement of six- to eight-subunit core heteromers. Here we address functional properties of human SEPT9, which, due to variable mRNA splicing, exists as multiple isoforms that differ between tissues. Myeloid K562 cells express three SEPT9 isoforms, all of which have an equal propensity to hetero-oligomerize with SEPT7-containing hexamers to generate octameric heteromers. However, due to limiting amounts of SEPT9, K562 cells contain both hexameric and octameric heteromers. To generate cell lines with controllable hexamer-to-octamer ratios and that express single SEPT9 isoforms, we developed a gene product replacement strategy. By this means we identified SEPT9 isoform-specific properties that either facilitate septin heteromer polymerization along microtubules or modulate the size range of submembranous septin disks-a prevalent septin structure in nonadhered cells. Our findings show that the SEPT9 expression level directs the hexamer-to-octamer ratio, and that the isoform composition and expression level together determine higher-order arrangements of septins.
Project description:Septin 9 (SEPT9), a member of the septin gene family, is strongly linked to cancer, particularly breast cancer, where genomic amplification occurs in ~11% of cases. SEPT9 is a putative oncogene as it is amplified in the form of double minute chromosomes in murine models of breast cancer, is a fusion partner of mixed lineage leukemia (MLL) gene in leukemia, and it is a known hot spot of retroviral tagging insertion. SEPT9 contributes to cytoskeleton dynamics, thus oncogenic functions have been proposed based on the broad range of cellular functions it partakes. Yet, a clear mechanism by which SEPT9 elicits tumor-promoting functions is lacking. To obtain unbiased insights on molecular signatures of SEPT9 upregulation in breast tumors, we overexpressed several of its isoforms in breast cancer cell lines. Global transcriptomic profiling supports a role of SEPT9 in invasion. Functional studies indicate that SEPT9 upregulation is sufficient to increase degradation of the extracellular matrix, while its downregulation inhibits this process. The degradation pattern is associated with focal adhesions (FA) at the cell periphery. Increased extracellular matrix digestion during epithelial–mesenchymal transition digestion is significantly associated with increased expression of matrix metalloproteinases. In SEPT9 over expressing cells, MMP3 is secreted to the media at FAs. Downregulation of SEPT9 or chemical inhibition of septin filaments assembly impairs recruitment of MMP3 to FAs. Our results indicate that SEPT9 promotes both trafficking and secretion of MMPs near FAs, thus enhancing migration and invasion of breast cancer cells. Overall design: MCF7_SEPT9_v1, MCF7_SEPT9_v2, and MCF7_SEPT9_v3-overexpressing cell lines and the MCF7 control cells (MCF7_C) were used. A total of 12 samples were used for RNA-Seq analysis (three biological replicates from each of the MCF-7 isoforms and control cells).
Project description:The cytoskeletal interacting protein Septin 9 (SEPT9), a member of the septin gene family, has been proposed to have oncogenic functions. It is a known hot spot of retroviral tagging insertion and a fusion partner of both de novo and therapy-induced mixed lineage leukemia (MLL). Of all septins, SEPT9 holds the strongest link to cancer, especially breast cancer. Murine models of breast cancer frequently exhibit SEPT9 amplification in the form of double minute chromosomes, and about 20% of human breast cancer display genomic amplification and protein over expression at the SEPT9 locus. Yet, a clear mechanism by which SEPT9 elicits tumor-promoting functions is lacking. To obtain unbiased insights on molecular signatures of SEPT9 upregulation in breast tumors, we overexpressed several of its isoforms in breast cancer cell lines. Global transcriptomic profiling supports a role of SEPT9 in invasion. Functional studies reveal that SEPT9 upregulation is sufficient to increase degradation of the extracellular matrix, while SEPT9 downregulation inhibits this process. The degradation pattern is peripheral and associated with focal adhesions (FAs), where it is coupled with increased expression of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). SEPT9 overexpression induces MMP upregulation in human tumors and in culture models and promotes MMP3 secretion to the media at FAs. Downregulation of SEPT9 or chemical inhibition of septin filament assembly impairs recruitment of MMP3 to FAs. Our results indicate that SEPT9 promotes upregulation and both trafficking and secretion of MMPs near FAs, thus enhancing migration and invasion of breast cancer cells.
Project description:Septin 9 (SEPT9) interacts with microtubules (MTs) and is mutated in hereditary neuralgic amyotrophy (HNA), an autosomal-dominant neuropathy. The mechanism of SEPT9 interaction with MTs and the molecular basis of HNA are unknown. Here, we show that the N-terminal domain of SEPT9 contains the novel repeat motifs K/R-x-x-E/D and R/K-R-x-E, which bind and bundle MTs by interacting with the acidic C-terminal tails of ?-tubulin. Alanine scanning mutagenesis revealed that the K/R-R/x-x-E/D motifs pair electrostatically with one another and the tails of ?-tubulin, enabling septin–septin interactions that link MTs together. SEPT9 isoforms lacking repeat motifs or containing the HNA-linked mutation R88W, which maps to the R/K-R-x-E motif, diminished intracellular MT bundling and impaired asymmetric neurite growth in PC-12 cells. Thus, the SEPT9 repeat motifs bind and bundle MTs, and thereby promote asymmetric neurite growth. These results provide the first insight into the mechanism of septin interaction with MTs and the molecular and cellular basis of HNA.
Project description:Septins are GTP-binding proteins that are evolutionarily and structurally related to the RAS oncogenes. Septin expression levels are altered in many cancers and new advances point to how abnormal septin expression may contribute to the progression of cancer. In contrast to the RAS GTPases, which are frequently mutated and actively promote tumorigenesis, little is known about the occurrence and role of septin mutations in human cancers. Here, we review septin missense mutations that are currently in the Catalog of Somatic Mutations in Cancer (COSMIC) database. The majority of septin mutations occur in tumors of the large intestine, skin, endometrium and stomach. Over 25% of the annotated mutations in SEPT2, SEPT4, and SEPT9 belong to large intestine tumors. From all septins, SEPT9 and SEPT14 exhibit the highest mutation frequencies in skin, stomach and large intestine cancers. While septin mutations occur with frequencies lower than 3%, recurring mutations in several invariant and highly conserved amino acids are found across different septin paralogs and tumor types. Interestingly, a significant number of these mutations occur in the GTP-binding pocket and septin dimerization interfaces. Future studies may determine how these somatic mutations affect septin structure and function, whether they contribute to the progression of specific cancers and if they could serve as tumor-specific biomarkers.
Project description:Increasing cell mobility is the basis of tumor invasion and metastasis, and is therefore a therapeutic target for preventing the spread of many types of cancer. Septins are a family of cytoskeletal proteins with GTPase activity, and play a role in many important cellular functions, including cell migration. SEPT9 isoform 1 protein (SEPT9_i1) has been associated with breast tumor development and the enhancement of cell migration; however, the exact mechanism of how SEPT9_i1 might affect breast cancer progression remains to be elucidated. Here, we report that the expression of SEPT9_i1 positively correlated with paxillin, and both were significantly upregulated in invasive breast cancer tissues of patients with lymph node metastases. Lentivirus-mediated shRNA knockdown of SEPT9 in MCF-7 cells diminished tumor cell migration, focal adhesion (FA) maturation and the expression of β-actin, β-tubulin, Cdc42, RhoA, and Rac, whereas overexpression of SEPT9_i1 in SEPT9-knockdown MCF-7 cells promoted cell migration, FA maturation and relevant protein expression. Furthermore, overexpression of SEPT9_i1 in MCF-7 cells markedly increased FAK/Src/paxillin signaling, at least in part through RhoA/ROCK1 upstream activation. Transcriptome profiling suggested that SEPT9_i1 may directly affect "Focal adhesion" and "Regulation of actin cytoskeleton" signaling mechanisms. Finally, overexpression of SEPT9_i1 markedly enhanced lung metastases in vivo 6 weeks after tumor inoculation. These findings suggest that a mechanism of Septin-9-induced aberrant cancer cell migration is through cytoskeletal regulation and FA modulation, and encourages the use of SEPT9 as novel therapeutic target in the prevention of tumor metastasis.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>The septin 9 gene (SEPT9) codes for a GTP-binding protein associated with filamentous structures and cytoskeleton formation. SEPT9 plays a role in multiple cancers as either an oncogene or a tumor suppressor gene. Regulation of SEPT9 expression is complex and not well understood; however, hypermethylation of the gene was recently introduced as a biomarker for early detection of colorectal cancer (CRC) and has been linked to cancer of the breast and of the head and neck. Because the DNA methylation landscape of different regions of SEPT9 is poorly understood in cancer, we analyzed the methylation patterns of this gene in distinct cell populations from normal and diseased colon mucosa.<h4>Methods</h4>Laser capture microdissection was performed to obtain homogeneous populations of epithelial and stromal cells from normal, adenomatous, and tumorous colon mucosa. Microdissected samples were analyzed using direct bisulfite sequencing to determine the DNA methylation status of eight regions within and near the SEPT9 gene. Septin-9 protein expression was assessed using immunohistochemistry (IHC).<h4>Results</h4>Regions analyzed in SEPT9 were unmethylated in normal tissue except for a methylation boundary detected downstream of the largest CpG island. In adenoma and tumor tissues, epithelial cells displayed markedly increased DNA methylation levels (>80%, p <0.0001) in only one of the CpG islands investigated. SEPT9 methylation in stromal cells increased in adenomatous and tumor tissues (?50%, p <0.0001); however, methylation did not increase in stromal cells of normal tissue close to the tumor. IHC data indicated a significant decrease (p <0.01) in Septin-9 protein levels in epithelial cells derived from adenoma and tumor tissues; Septin-9 protein levels in stromal cells were low in all tissues.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Hypermethylation of SEPT9 in adenoma and CRC specimens is confined to one of several CpG islands of this gene. Tumor-associated aberrant methylation originates in epithelial cells; stromal cells appear to acquire hypermethylation subsequent to epithelial cells, possibly through field effects. The region in SEPT9 with disease-related hypermethylation also contains the CpGs targeted by a novel blood-based screening test (Epi proColon®), providing further support for the clinical relevance of this biomarker.
Project description:Metallothionein (MT), a low-molecular weight protein with pleiotropic functions, is believed to play an important role in tumorigenesis. The aim of this study was to compare the expression of functional MT-1 and MT-2 mRNA isoforms in five breast cancer cell lines ranging from noninvasive MCF7 breast cancer cells to highly aggressive MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells together with breast myoepithelial cells in vitro by conventional semiquantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and quantitative real-time RT-PCR. The MT-2A isoform was observed to be differentially upregulated in the invasive phenotype. The MT-1E isoform was found to be present in estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer cell lines (MDA-MB-231 and Hs578T) but not detectable in the estrogen receptor-positive cell lines (T47D, MCF7, and ZR75-1 cells). Only the myoepithelial cells exhibited the presence of the MT-1G transcript. Direct sequencing of the RT-PCR products revealed the occurrence of a variant MT-1H isoform with changes in amino acid residues in the protein sequence and notable differences in the predicted secondary protein structure. The observations in this study are relevant to the development of novel approaches to metastatic breast cancer disease, and may herald the search for novel MT mutants and the elucidation of their biological roles.
Project description:MIER1 was originally identified in a screen for novel fibroblast growth factor activated early response genes. The mier1 gene gives rise to multiple transcripts encoding protein isoforms that differ in their amino (N-) and carboxy (C-) termini. Much of the work to date has focused on the two C-terminal variants, MIER1? and ?, both of which have been shown to function as transcriptional repressors. Our previous work revealed a dramatic shift in MIER1? subcellular localization from nuclear in normal breast tissue to cytoplasmic in invasive breast carcinoma, suggesting that loss of nuclear MIER1? may play a role in breast cancer development. In the present study, we investigated whether alternative splicing to include a cassette exon and produce an N-terminal variant of MIER1? affects its subcellular localization in MCF7 breast carcinoma cells. We demonstrate that this cassette exon, exon 3A, encodes a consensus leucine-rich nuclear export signal (NES). Inclusion of this exon in MIER1? to produce the MIER1-3A? isoform altered its subcellular distribution in MCF7 cells from 81% nuclear to 2% nuclear and this change in localization was abrogated by mutation of critical leucines within the NES. Treatment with leptomycin B (LMB), an inhibitor of the nuclear export receptor CRM1, resulted in a significant increase in the percentage of cells with nuclear MIER1-3A?, from 4% to 53%, demonstrating that cytoplasmic localization of this isoform was due to CRM1-dependent nuclear export. Inclusion of exon 3A in MIER1? to produce the N-terminal variant MIER1-3A? however had little effect on the nuclear targeting of this isoform. Our results demonstrate that alternative splicing to include exon 3A specifically affects the localization pattern of the ? isoform.