A model for the epigenetic switch linking inflammation to cell transformation: deterministic and stochastic approaches.
ABSTRACT: Recently, a molecular pathway linking inflammation to cell transformation has been discovered. This molecular pathway rests on a positive inflammatory feedback loop between NF-?B, Lin28, Let-7 microRNA and IL6, which leads to an epigenetic switch allowing cell transformation. A transient activation of an inflammatory signal, mediated by the oncoprotein Src, activates NF-?B, which elicits the expression of Lin28. Lin28 decreases the expression of Let-7 microRNA, which results in higher level of IL6 than achieved directly by NF-?B. In turn, IL6 can promote NF-?B activation. Finally, IL6 also elicits the synthesis of STAT3, which is a crucial activator for cell transformation. Here, we propose a computational model to account for the dynamical behavior of this positive inflammatory feedback loop. By means of a deterministic model, we show that an irreversible bistable switch between a transformed and a non-transformed state of the cell is at the core of the dynamical behavior of the positive feedback loop linking inflammation to cell transformation. The model indicates that inhibitors (tumor suppressors) or activators (oncogenes) of this positive feedback loop regulate the occurrence of the epigenetic switch by modulating the threshold of inflammatory signal (Src) needed to promote cell transformation. Both stochastic simulations and deterministic simulations of a heterogeneous cell population suggest that random fluctuations (due to molecular noise or cell-to-cell variability) are able to trigger cell transformation. Moreover, the model predicts that oncogenes/tumor suppressors respectively decrease/increase the robustness of the non-transformed state of the cell towards random fluctuations. Finally, the model accounts for the potential effect of competing endogenous RNAs, ceRNAs, on the dynamics of the epigenetic switch. Depending on their microRNA targets, the model predicts that ceRNAs could act as oncogenes or tumor suppressors by regulating the occurrence of cell transformation.
Project description:Inflammation is linked clinically and epidemiologically to cancer, and NF-kappaB appears to play a causative role, but the mechanisms are poorly understood. We show that transient activation of Src oncoprotein can mediate an epigenetic switch from immortalized breast cells to a stably transformed line that forms self-renewing mammospheres that contain cancer stem cells. Src activation triggers an inflammatory response mediated by NF-kappaB that directly activates Lin28 transcription and rapidly reduces let-7 microRNA levels. Let-7 directly inhibits IL6 expression, resulting in higher levels of IL6 than achieved by NF-kappaB activation. IL6-mediated activation of the STAT3 transcription factor is necessary for transformation, and IL6 activates NF-kappaB, thereby completing a positive feedback loop. This regulatory circuit operates in other cancer cells lines, and its transcriptional signature is found in human cancer tissues. Thus, inflammation activates a positive feedback loop that maintains the epigenetic transformed state for many generations in the absence of the inducing signal.
Project description:A transient inflammatory signal can initiate an epigenetic switch from nontransformed to cancer cells via a positive feedback loop involving NF-kappaB, Lin28, let-7, and IL-6. We identify differentially regulated microRNAs important for this switch and putative transcription factor binding sites in their promoters. STAT3, a transcription factor activated by IL-6, directly activates miR-21 and miR-181b-1. Remarkably, transient expression of either microRNA induces the epigenetic switch. MiR-21 and miR-181b-1, respectively, inhibit PTEN and CYLD tumor suppressors, leading to increased NF-kappaB activity required to maintain the transformed state. These STAT3-mediated regulatory circuits are required for the transformed state in diverse cell lines and tumor growth in xenografts, and their transcriptional signatures are observed in colon adenocarcinomas. Thus, STAT3 is not only a downstream target of IL-6 but, with miR-21, miR-181b-1, PTEN, and CYLD, is part of the positive feedback loop that underlies the epigenetic switch that links inflammation to cancer.
Project description:Transient induction of the Src oncoprotein in a non-transformed breast cell line can initiate an epigenetic switch to a cancer cell via a positive feedback loop that involves activation of the signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 protein (STAT3) and NF-?B transcription factors.We show that during the transformation process, nucleosome-depleted regions (defined by formaldehyde-assisted isolation of regulatory elements (FAIRE)) are largely unchanged and that both before and during transformation, STAT3 binds almost exclusively to previously open chromatin regions. Roughly, a third of the transformation-inducible genes require STAT3 for the induction. STAT3 and NF-?B appear to drive the regulation of different gene sets during the transformation process. Interestingly, STAT3 directly regulates the expression of NFKB1, which encodes a subunit of NF-?B, and IL6, a cytokine that stimulates STAT3 activity. Lastly, many STAT3 binding sites are also bound by FOS and the expression of several AP-1 factors is altered during transformation in a STAT3-dependent manner, suggesting that STAT3 may cooperate with AP-1 proteins.These observations uncover additional complexities to the inflammatory feedback loop that are likely to contribute to the epigenetic switch. In addition, gene expression changes during transformation, whether driven by pre-existing or induced transcription factors, occur largely through pre-existing nucleosome-depleted regions.
Project description:MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small, noncoding RNAs that play an important role in many key biological processes, including development, cell differentiation, the cell cycle and apoptosis, as central post-transcriptional regulators of gene expression. Recent studies have shown that miRNAs can act as oncogenes and tumor suppressors depending on the context. The present work focuses on the physiological significance of miRNAs and their role in regulating the switching behavior. We illustrate an abstract model of the Myc/E2F/miR-17-92 network presented by Aguda et al. (2008), which is composed of coupling between the E2F/Myc positive feedback loops and the E2F/Myc/miR-17-92 negative feedback loop. By systematically analyzing the network in close association with plausible experimental parameters, we show that, in the presence of miRNAs, the system bistability emerges from the system, with a bistable switch and a one-way switch presented by Aguda et al. instead of a single one-way switch. Moreover, the miRNAs can optimize the switching process. The model produces a diverse array of response-signal behaviors in response to various potential regulating scenarios. The model predicts that this transition exists, one from cell death or the cancerous phenotype directly to cell quiescence, due to the existence of miRNAs. It was also found that the network involving miR-17-92 exhibits high noise sensitivity due to a positive feedback loop and also maintains resistance to noise from a negative feedback loop.
Project description:Transformation of macrophages to foam cells contributes to atherosclerosis. Here, we report that let-7g reduces macrophage transformation and alleviates foam cell apoptosis by suppressing both canonical and non-canonical NF-?B pathways. In the canonical pathway, let-7g inhibits phosphorylation of IKK? and I?B, down-regulates SREBF2 and miR-33a, and up-regulates ABCA1. In the non-canonical pathway, let-7g directly knocks down MEKK1, IKK? and ablates IKK? phosphorylation. Let-7g's effects in macrophages can be almost completely blocked by inactivation of NF-?B signaling, which suggests that let-7g's effects are primarily mediated through the suppression of NF-?B pathways. NF-?B has been reported to directly activate lin28 transcription, and lin28 is a well-known negative regulator for let-7 biogenesis. Therefore, there is negative feedback between NF-?B and let-7g. Additional macrophages-specific NF-?B knockout in the apoE deficiency mice reduces atherosclerotic lesion by 85%. Let-7g also suppresses p53-dependent apoptosis. Altogether, sufficient let-7g levels are important to prevent NF-?B over-activation in macrophages and to prevent atherosclerosis.
Project description:Radio- and chemo-resistance represent major obstacles in the therapy of non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and the underlying molecular mechanisms are not known. In the present study, during induction of radio- or chemo-resistance in NSCLC cells, dynamic analyses revealed that decreased expression of let-7 induced by irradiation or cisplatin resulted in increased expression of its target gene LIN28, and increased expression of LIN28 then contributed to further decreased expression of let-7 by inhibiting its maturation and biogenesis. Moreover, we showed that down-regulation of let-7 and up-regulation of LIN28 expression promoted resistance to irradiation or cisplatin by regulating the single-cell proliferative capability of NSCLC cells. Consequently, in NSCLC cells, let-7 and LIN28 can form a double-negative feedback loop through mutual inhibition, and disturbance of the let-7/LIN28 double-negative feedback loop induced by irradiation or chemotherapeutic drugs can result in radio- and chemo-resistance. In addition, low expression of let-7 and high expression of LIN28 in NSCLC patients was associated significantly with resistance to radiotherapy or chemotherapy. Therefore, our study demonstrated that disturbance of the let-7/LIN28 double-negative feedback loop is involved in the regulation of radio- and chemo-resistance, and that let-7 and LIN28 could be employed as predictive biomarkers of response to radiotherapy or chemotherapy in NSCLC patients.
Project description:Previous studies have shown that let-7 can repress the post-transcriptional translation of LIN28, and LIN28 in turn could block the maturation of let-7, forming a double-negative feedback loop. In this study, we investigated the effect of germline genetic variants on regulation of the homeostasis of the let-7/LIN28 loop and breast cancer risk. We initially demonstrated that the T/C variants of rs3811463, a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) located near the let-7 binding site in LIN28, could lead to differential regulation of LIN28 by let-7. Specifically, the C allele of rs3811463 weakened let-7-induced repression of LIN28 mRNA, resulting in increased production of LIN28 protein, which could in turn down-regulate the level of mature let-7. This effect was then validated at the tissue level in that the normal breast tissue of individuals with the rs3811463-TC genotype expressed significantly lower levels of let-7 and higher levels of LIN28 protein than those individuals with the rs3811463-TT genotype. Because previous in vitro and ex vivo experiments have consistently suggested that LIN28 could promote cellular transformation, we then systematically evaluated the relationship between rs3811463 as well as other common LIN28 SNPs and the risk of breast cancer in a stepwise manner. The first hospital-based association study (n?=?2,300) demonstrated that two SNPs were significantly associated with breast cancer risk, one of which was rs3811463, while the other was rs6697410. The C allele of the rs3811463 SNP corresponded to an increased risk of breast cancer with an odds ratio (OR) of 1.25 (P?=?0.0091), which was successfully replicated in a second independent study (n?=?1,156) with community-based controls. The combined P-value of the two studies was 8.0 × 10??. Taken together, our study demonstrates that host genetic variants could disturb the regulation of the let-7/LIN28 double-negative feedback loop and alter breast cancer risk.
Project description:Despite their clinicopathologic heterogeneity, malignant germ cell tumors (GCT) share molecular abnormalities that are likely to be functionally important. In this study, we investigated the potential significance of downregulation of the let-7 family of tumor suppressor microRNAs in malignant GCTs. Microarray results from pediatric and adult samples (n = 45) showed that LIN28, the negative regulator of let-7 biogenesis, was abundant in malignant GCTs, regardless of patient age, tumor site, or histologic subtype. Indeed, a strong negative correlation existed between LIN28 and let-7 levels in specimens with matched datasets. Low let-7 levels were biologically significant, as the sequence complementary to the 2 to 7 nt common let-7 seed "GAGGUA" was enriched in the 3' untranslated regions of mRNAs upregulated in pediatric and adult malignant GCTs, compared with normal gonads (a mixture of germ cells and somatic cells). We identified 27 mRNA targets of let-7 that were upregulated in malignant GCT cells, confirming significant negative correlations with let-7 levels. Among 16 mRNAs examined in a largely independent set of specimens by quantitative reverse transcription PCR, we defined negative-associations with let-7e levels for six oncogenes, including MYCN, AURKB, CCNF, RRM2, MKI67, and C12orf5 (when including normal control tissues). Importantly, LIN28 depletion in malignant GCT cells restored let-7 levels and repressed all of these oncogenic let-7 mRNA targets, with LIN28 levels correlating with cell proliferation and MYCN levels. Conversely, ectopic expression of let-7e was sufficient to reduce proliferation and downregulate MYCN, AURKB, and LIN28, the latter via a double-negative feedback loop. We conclude that the LIN28/let-7 pathway has a critical pathobiologic role in malignant GCTs and therefore offers a promising target for therapeutic intervention.
Project description:The abnormal secretion of CA125, a classic tumor marker, is usually related to a poor prognosis in various tumors. Thus, this study aimed to explore the potential mechanisms that promote CA125 secretion in lung cancer. By querying the database, the gene endoplasmic reticulum oxidoreductase 1L (ERO1L) was identified and chosen as the research subject. The antibody chips were used to screen the lung cancer cell supernatant and found that the most obvious secreted protein was CA125. ERO1L was found to promote the secretion of IL6R by affecting the formation of disulfide bonds. IL6R bound to IL6 and triggered the activation of the NF-?B signaling pathway. Then, NF-?B bound to the promoter of MUC16, resulting in overexpression of MUC16. The extracellular segment of MUC16 was cleaved to form CA125, while the C terminus of MUC16 promoted the EMT phenotype and the release of IL6, forming a positive feedback pathway. In conclusion, ERO1L might affect the secretion of CA125 through the IL6 signaling pathway and form a positive feedback loop to further promote the development of lung cancer. This might expand the application scope of CA125 in lung cancer.