Sensitivity of malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor cells to TRAIL is augmented by loss of NF1 through modulation of MYC/MAD and is potentiated by curcumin through induction of ROS.
ABSTRACT: Malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor (MPNST) is a rare aggressive form of sarcoma often associated with the tumor syndrome neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1). We investigated the effects of tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis inducing ligand (TRAIL) on NF1 associated MPNST and determinants of TRAIL sensitivity. MPNST cell lines with complete neurofibromin deficiency were sensitive to apoptotic cell death induced by TRAIL whereas MPNST cells with retained neurofibromin expression or normal human Schwann cells were resistant. Increased sensitivity to TRAIL was associated with overexpression of death receptors, especially DR5. Re-expression of the GAP related domain of neurofibromin (NF1-GRD) suppressed DR5 expression and decreased sensitivity to TRAIL. We show that death receptor expression and TRAIL sensitivity critically depend on c-MYC and that c-MYC amounts are increased by MEK/ERK and PI3K/AKT signalling pathways which are suppressed by neurofibromin. Furthermore PI3K/AKT signalling strongly suppresses the MYC-antagonist MAD1 which significantly contributes to TRAIL sensitivity. Re-expression of the NF1-GRD decreased c-MYC and increased MAD1 amounts suggesting that neurofibromin influences TRAIL sensitivity at least in part by modulating the MYC/MAX/MAD network. The phytochemical curcumin further increased the sensitivity of neurofibromin deficient MPNST cells to TRAIL. This was presumably mediated by ROS, as it correlated with increased ROS production, was blocked by N-acetylcysteine and mimicked by exogenous ROS.
Project description:Neurofibromatosis type 1, including the highly aggressive malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNSTs), is featured by the loss of functional neurofibromin 1 (NF1) protein resulting from genetic alterations. A major function of NF1 is suppressing Ras activities, which is conveyed by an intrinsic GTPase-activating protein-related domain (GRD). In this study, we explored the feasibility of restoring Ras GTPase via exogenous expression of various GRD constructs, via gene delivery using a panel of adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors in MPNST and human Schwann cells (HSCs). We demonstrated that several AAV serotypes achieved favorable transduction efficacies in those cells and a membrane-targeting GRD fused with an H-Ras C-terminal motif (C10) dramatically inhibited the Ras pathway and MPNST cells in a NF1-specific manner. Our results opened up a venue of gene replacement therapy in NF1-related tumors.
Project description:Neurofibromatosis type I (NF1; also known as von Recklinghausen's disease) is a common autosomal-dominant condition primarily affecting neural crest-derived tissues. The disease gene, NF1, encodes neurofibromin, a protein of over 2,800 amino acids that contains a 216-amino acid domain with Ras-GTPase-activating protein (Ras-GAP) activity. Potential therapies for NF1 currently in development and being tested in clinical trials are designed to modify NF1 Ras-GAP activity or target downstream effectors of Ras signaling. Mice lacking the murine homolog (Nf1) have mid-gestation lethal cardiovascular defects due to a requirement for neurofibromin in embryonic endothelium. We sought to determine whether the GAP activity of neurofibromin is sufficient to rescue complete loss of function or whether other as yet unidentified functions of neurofibromin might also exist. Using cre-inducible ubiquitous and tissue-specific expression, we demonstrate that the isolated GAP-related domain (GRD) rescued cardiovascular development in Nf1(-/-) embryos, but overgrowth of neural crest-derived tissues persisted, leading to perinatal lethality. These results suggest that neurofibromin may possess activities outside of the GRD that modulate neural crest homeostasis and that therapeutic approaches solely aimed at targeting Ras activity may not be sufficient to treat tumors of neural crest origin in NF1.
Project description:Constitutional heterozygous loss-of-function mutations in the SPRED1 gene cause a phenotype known as Legius syndrome, which consists of symptoms of multiple café-au-lait macules, axillary freckling, learning disabilities, and macrocephaly. Legius syndrome resembles a mild neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) phenotype. It has been demonstrated that SPRED1 functions as a negative regulator of the Ras-ERK pathway and interacts with neurofibromin, the NF1 gene product. However, the molecular details of this interaction and the effects of the mutations identified in Legius syndrome and NF1 on this interaction have not yet been investigated. In this study, using a yeast two-hybrid system and an immunoprecipitation assay in HEK293 cells, we found that the SPRED1 EVH1 domain interacts with the N-terminal 16 amino acids and the C-terminal 20 amino acids of the GTPase-activating protein (GAP)-related domain (GRD) of neurofibromin, which form two crossing ?-helix coils outside the GAP domain. These regions have been shown to be dispensable for GAP activity and are not present in p120(GAP). Several mutations in these N- and C-terminal regions of the GRD in NF1 patients and pathogenic missense mutations in the EVH1 domain of SPRED1 in Legius syndrome reduced the binding affinity between the EVH1 domain and the GRD. EVH1 domain mutations with reduced binding to the GRD also disrupted the ERK suppression activity of SPRED1. These data clearly demonstrate that SPRED1 inhibits the Ras-ERK pathway by recruiting neurofibromin to Ras through the EVH1-GRD interaction, and this study also provides molecular basis for the pathogenic mutations of NF1 and Legius syndrome.
Project description:Malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor (MPNST) is a life-threatening complication of neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1). NF1 is caused by mutation in the gene encoding neurofibromin, a negative regulator of Ras signaling. There are no effective pharmacologic therapies for MPNST. To identify new therapeutic approaches targeting this dangerous malignancy, we developed assays in NF1(+/+) and NF1(-/-) MPNST cell lines and in budding yeast lacking the NF1 homologue IRA2 (ira2?). Here, we describe UC1, a small molecule that targets NF1(-/-) cell lines and ira2? budding yeast. By using yeast genetics, we identified NAB3 as a high-copy suppressor of UC1 sensitivity. NAB3 encodes an RNA binding protein that associates with the C-terminal domain of RNA Pol II and plays a role in the termination of nonpolyadenylated RNA transcripts. Strains with deletion of IRA2 are sensitive to genetic inactivation of NAB3, suggesting an interaction between Ras signaling and Nab3-dependent transcript termination. This work identifies a lead compound and a possible target pathway for NF1-associated MPNST, and shows a novel model system approach to identify and validate target pathways for cancer cells in which NF1 loss drives tumor formation.
Project description:Malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor (MPNST) is a type of soft-tissue sarcoma strongly associated with dysfunction in neurofibromin; an inhibitor of the RAS pathway. We performed high-throughput screening of an array of FDA approved and promising agents in clinical development both alone and in combination at physiologically achievable concentrations against a panel of established MPNST cell line models. We found that drugs targeting a variety of factors in the RAS pathway can effectively lead to cell death in vitro with considerable drug combination synergy in regimens that target MEK or mTOR. We observed that the degree of relative sensitivity to chemotherapeutic agents was associated with the status of neurofibromin in these cell line models. Using a combination of agents that target MEK and mTORC1/2, we effectively silenced RAS/PI3K/MEK/mTOR signaling in vitro. Moreover, we employed RNAi against NF1 to establish that MPNST drug sensitivity is directly proportional to relative level of intracellular neurofibromin. Thus, two-drug combinations that target MEK and mTORC1/2 are most effective in halting the RAS signaling cascade, and the relative success of this and related small molecule interventions in MPNSTs may be predicated upon the molecular status of neurofibromin.
Project description:Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) is a common cancer predisposition syndrome in which affected individuals develop benign and malignant nerve tumors. The NF1 gene product neurofibromin negatively regulates Ras and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling, prompting clinical trials to evaluate the ability of Ras and mTOR pathway inhibitors to arrest NF1-associated tumor growth. To discover other downstream targets of neurofibromin, we performed an unbiased cell-based high-throughput chemical library screen using NF1-deficient malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor (MPNST) cells. We identified the natural product, cucurbitacin-I (JSI-124), which inhibited NF1-deficient cell growth by inducing apoptosis. We further showed that signal transducer and activator of transcription-3 (STAT3), the target of cucurbitacin-I inhibition, was hyperactivated in NF1-deficient primary astrocytes and neural stem cells, mouse glioma cells, and human MPNST cells through Ser(727) phosphorylation, leading to increased cyclin D1 expression. STAT3 was regulated in NF1-deficient cells of murine and human origin in a TORC1- and Rac1-dependent manner. Finally, cucurbitacin-I inhibited the growth of NF1-deficient MPNST cells in vivo. In summary, we used a chemical genetics approach to reveal STAT3 as a novel neurofibromin/mTOR pathway signaling molecule, define its action and regulation, and establish STAT3 as a tractable target for future NF1-associated cancer therapy studies.
Project description:Inactivation of the NF1 tumor suppressor causes myeloproliferative diseases. NF1 encodes a GTPase activating protein (GAP) for Ras. Myeloid cells with loss of NF1 have high levels of Ras-GTP, functionally equivalent to the effects of RAS oncogenes. We investigated the effects of the NF1 GAP-related domain (GRD) in proliferation, apoptosis and Ras-GTP levels in Nf1-negative acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cells. In AML cells, with cooperating mutations, the expression of the neurofibromin GRD causes significant reductions of N- and K-Ras-GTP levels, which is not incompatible with AML cell survival, but which is strongly selected against due to suppression of proliferation.
Project description:The NF1 gene encodes neurofibromin, which is one of the primary negative regulatory factors of the Ras protein. Neurofibromin stimulates the GTPase activity of Ras to convert it from an active GTP-bound form to its inactive GDP-bound form through its GTPase activating protein-related domain (GRD). Therefore, neurofibromin serves as a shutdown signal for all vertebrate RAS GTPases. NF1 mutations cause a resultant decrease in neurofibromin expression, which has been detected in many human malignancies, including NSCLC, breast cancer and so on. NF1 mutations are associated with the underlying mechanisms of treatment resistance discovered in multiple malignancies. This paper reviews the possible mechanisms of NF1 mutation-induced therapeutic resistance to chemotherapy, endocrine therapy and targeted therapy in malignancies. Then, we further discuss advancements in targeted therapy for NF1-mutated malignant tumors. In addition, therapies targeting the downstream molecules of NF1 might be potential novel strategies for the treatment of advanced malignancies.
Project description:Neurofibromatosis Type 1 (NF1) is characterized by the abnormal proliferation of neuroectodermal tissues and the development of certain tumors, particularly neurofibromas, which may progress into malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNSTs). Effective pharmacological therapy for the treatment of NF1 tumors is currently unavailable and the prognosis for patients with MPNSTs is poor. Loss of neurofibromin correlates with increased expression of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and ErbB2 tyrosine kinases and these kinases have been shown to promote NF1 tumor-associated pathologies in vivo. We show here that while NF1 MPNST cells have higher EGFR expression levels and are more sensitive to EGF when compared to a non-NF1 MPNST cell line, the ability of the EGFR inhibitor gefitinib to selectively inhibit NF1 MPNST cell proliferation is marginal. We also show that NF1 MPNST proliferation correlates with activated ErbB2 and can be suppressed by nanomolar concentrations of the pan-ErbB inhibitor CI-1033 (canertinib). Consequently, targeting both EGFR and ErbB2 may prove an effective strategy for suppressing NF1 MPNST tumor growth in vivo.
Project description:Neurofibromin, the tumor suppressor encoded by the neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) gene, potentially suppresses the activation of H-Ras, N-Ras, and K-Ras. However, it is not known whether these classic Ras proteins are hyperactivated in NF1-null nerve sheath tumors, how they contribute to tumorigenesis, and what signaling pathways mediate their effects. Here we show that H-Ras, N-Ras, and K-Ras are coexpressed with their activators (guanine nucleotide exchange factors) in neurofibromin-null malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor (MPNST) cells, and that all 3 Ras proteins are activated. Dominant negative (DN) H-Ras, a pan-inhibitor of the classic Ras family, inhibited MPNST proliferation and survival, but not migration. However, NF1-null MPNST cells were variably dependent on individual Ras proteins. In some lines, ablation of H-Ras, N-Ras, and/or K-Ras inhibited mitogenesis. In others, ablation of a single Ras protein had no effect on proliferation; in these lines, ablation of a single Ras protein resulted in compensatory increases in the activation and/or expression of other Ras proteins. Using mass spectrometry-based phosphoproteomics, we identified 7 signaling networks affecting morphology, proliferation, and survival that are regulated by DN H-Ras. Thus, neurofibromin loss activates multiple classic Ras proteins that promote proliferation and survival by regulating several distinct signaling cascades.