Breast cancer cells produce tenascin C as a metastatic niche component to colonize the lungs.
ABSTRACT: We report that breast cancer cells that infiltrate the lungs support their own metastasis-initiating ability by expressing tenascin C (TNC). We find that the expression of TNC, an extracellular matrix protein of stem cell niches, is associated with the aggressiveness of pulmonary metastasis. Cancer cell-derived TNC promotes the survival and outgrowth of pulmonary micrometastases. TNC enhances the expression of stem cell signaling components, musashi homolog 1 (MSI1) and leucine-rich repeat-containing G protein-coupled receptor 5 (LGR5). MSI1 is a positive regulator of NOTCH signaling, whereas LGR5 is a target gene of the WNT pathway. TNC modulation of stem cell signaling occurs without affecting the expression of transcriptional enforcers of the stem cell phenotype and pluripotency, namely nanog homeobox (NANOG), POU class 5 homeobox 1 (POU5F1), also known as OCT4, and SRY-box 2 (SOX2). TNC protects MSI1-dependent NOTCH signaling from inhibition by signal transducer and activator of transcription 5 (STAT5), and selectively enhances the expression of LGR5 as a WNT target gene. Cancer cell-derived TNC remains essential for metastasis outgrowth until the tumor stroma takes over as a source of TNC. These findings link TNC to pathways that support the fitness of metastasis-initiating breast cancer cells and highlight the relevance of TNC as an extracellular matrix component of the metastatic niche.
Project description:RNA-binding protein, musashi1 (MSI1), is a main protein in asymmetric cell division of the sensory organ precursor cells, whereas its expression is reported to be upregulated in cancers. This protein is a critical element in proliferation of stem and cancer stem cells, which acts through Wnt and Notch signaling pathways. Moreover, MSI1 modulates malignancy and chemoresistance of lung cancer cells via activating the Akt signaling. Due to the main role of MSI1 in metastasis and cancer development, MSI1 would be an appropriate candidate for cancer therapy. Downregulation of MSI1 inhibits proliferation of cancer stem cells and reduces the growth of solid tumors in several cancers. On the other hand, MSI1 expression is regulated by microRNAs in such a way that several different tumor suppressor miRNAs negatively regulate oncogenic MSI1 and inhibit migration and tumor metastasis. The aim of this review is summarizing the role of MSI1 in stem cell proliferation and cancer promotion.
Project description:Accumulating evidence supports the hypothesis that cancer stem cells (CSCs) are essential for cancer initiation, metastasis and drug resistance. However, the functional association of gastric CSC markers with stemness and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) signature genes is unclear.qPCR was performed to measure the expression profiles of stemness and EMT signature genes and their association with putative CSC markers in gastric cancer tissues, cancer cell lines and sphere cells. Western blot analysis was used to confirm the results of the transcript analysis. Cell proliferation, cell migration, drug resistance and sphere cell growth assays were conducted to measure the expansion and invasion abilities of the cells. Tumor xenograft experiments were performed in NOD/SCID mice to test cell stemness in vivo. Flow cytometry and immunofluorescence staining were used to analyze cell subpopulations.The expression of LGR5 was strikingly up-regulated in sphere cells but not in cancer tissues or parental adherent cells. The up-regulation of LGR5 was also positively associated with stemness regulators (NANOG, OCT4, SOX2, and AICDA) and EMT inducers (PRRX1, TWIST1, and BMI1). In addition, sphere cells exhibited up-regulated vimentin and down-regulated E-cadherin expression. Using gene-specific primers, we found that the NANOG expression primarily originates from the retrogene NANOGP8. Western blot analysis showed that the expression of both LGR5 and NANOG is significantly higher in sphere cells. LGR5 over-expression significantly enhanced sphere cell growth, cell proliferation, cell migration and drug resistance in MGC803 cells. Tumor xenografts in nude mice showed that sphere cells are at least 10 times more efficient at tumor initiation than adherent cells. Flow cytometry analysis showed that ~20% of sphere cells are LGR5+/CD54+, but only ~3% of adherent cells are Lgr5+/CD54+. Immunofluorescence staining supports the above results.The LGR5-expressing fraction of CD54+ cells represents gastric cancer CSCs, in which LGR5 is closely associated with stemness and EMT core genes, and NANOG expression is mainly contributed by the retrogene NANOGP8. Sphere cells are the best starting materials for the characterization of CSCs.
Project description:Despite new therapies, breast cancer continues to be the second leading cause of cancer mortality in women, a consequence of recurrence and metastasis. In recent years, a population of cancer cells has been identified, called cancer stem cells (CSCs) with self-renewal capacity, proposed to underlie tumor recurrence and metastasis. We previously showed that the adipose tissue cytokine LEPTIN, increased in obesity, promotes the survival of CSCs in vivo. Here, we tested the hypothesis that the leptin receptor (LEPR), expressed in mammary cancer cells, is necessary for maintaining CSC-like and metastatic properties. We silenced LEPR via shRNA lentivirus transduction and determined that the expression of stem cell self-renewal transcription factors NANOG, SOX2, and OCT4 (POU5F1) is inhibited. LEPR-NANOG signaling pathway is conserved between species because we can rescue NANOG expression in human LEPR-silenced cells with the mouse LepR. Using a NANOG promoter GFP reporter, we showed that LEPR is enriched in NANOG promoter active (GFP+) cells. In lineage tracing studies, we showed that the GFP+ cells divide in a symmetric and asymmetric manner. LEPR-silenced MDA-MB-231 cells exhibit a mesenchymal to epithelial transition morphologically, increased E-CADHERIN and decreased VIMENTIN expression compared with control cells. Finally, LEPR-silenced cells exhibit reduced cell proliferation, self-renewal in tumor sphere assays, and tumor outgrowth in xenotransplant studies. Given the emergence of NANOG as a pro-carcinogenic protein in multiple cancers, these studies suggest that inhibition of LEPR may be a promising therapeutic approach to inhibit NANOG and thereby neutralize CSC functions.
Project description:Musashi1 (Msi1) is a conserved RNA-binding protein that regulates the Notch and Wnt pathways, and serves as a stem cell marker in the breast and other tissues. It is unknown how Msi1 relates to other breast cancer markers, whether it denotes tumor initiating cells (TICs), and how it affects gene expression and tumor cell survival in breast cancer cells.Msi1 expression was analyzed in 20 breast cancer cell lines and in 140 primary breast tumors by western blotting and immunohistochemistry, respectively. Lentivirus RNA interference was used to reduce Msi1 expression in breast cancer cell lines MCF-7 and T47D grown as spheroid cultures and to assess stem cell gene expression and the growth of these cell lines as xenografts. In normal human breast tissue, Msi1 was expressed in 10.6% of myoepithelum and 1.2% of ductal epithelium in the terminal ductal lobular unit (TDLU), whereas, less than 0.05% of ductal epithelium and myoepithelium in large ducts outside the TDLU expressed Msi1. Msi1 was expressed in 55% of the breast cancer cell lines and correlated with ErbB2 expression in 50% of the cell lines. Msi1 was expressed in 68% of primary tumors and in 100% of lymph node metastases, and correlated with 5 year survival. Msi1 was enriched in CD133+ MCF-7 and T47D cells and in spheroid cultures of these cells, and Msi1 'knockdown' (KD) with a lentivirus-expressed shRNA decreased the number and size of spheroid colonies. Msi1 KD reduced Notch1, c-Myc, ErbB2 and pERK1/2 expression, and increased p21CIP1 expression, which is consistent with known Msi1 target mRNAs. Msi1 KD also reduced the expression of the somatic and embryonic stem cell markers, CD133, Bmi1, Sox2, Nanog and Oct4. Xenografts of MCF-7 and T47D Msi1 KD cells resulted in a marked reduction of tumor growth, reduced Msi1 and Notch1 expression and increased p21CIP1 expression.Msi1 is a negative prognostic indicator of breast cancer patient survival, and is indicative of tumor cells with stem cell-like characteristics. Msi1 KD reduces tumor cell survival and tumor xenograft growth, suggesting that it may represent a novel target for drug discovery.
Project description:Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are currently thought to transdifferentiate into neural lineages under specific microenvironments. Studies have reported that the tenascin family members, tenascin-C (TnC) and tenascin-R (TnR), regulate differentiation and migration, in addition to neurite outgrowth and survival in numerous types of neurons and mesenchymal progenitor cells. However, the mechanisms by which TnC and TnR affect neuronal differentiation are not well understood. In this study, we hypothesized that different forms of tenascin might regulate the neural transdifferentiation of human bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells. Human MSCs were cultured in media incorporated with soluble tenascins, or on precoated tenascins. In a qualitative polymerase chain reaction analysis, adding a soluble TnC and TnR mixture to the medium significantly enhanced the expression of neuronal and glial markers, whereas no synaptic markers were expressed. Conversely, in groups of cells treated with coated TnC, hMSCs showed neurite outgrowth and synaptic marker expression. After being treated with coated TnR, hMSCs exhibited neuronal differentiation; however, it inhibited neurite outgrowth and synaptic marker expression. A combination of TnC and TnR significantly promoted hMSC differentiation in neurons or oligodendrocytes, induced neurite formation, and inhibited differentiation into astrocytes. Furthermore, the effect of the tenascin mixture showed dose-dependent effects, and a mixture ratio of 1:1 to 1:2 (TnC:TnR) provided the most obvious differentiation of neurons and oligodendrocytes. In a functional blocking study, integrin ?7 and ?9?1-blocking antibodies inhibited, respectively, 80% and 20% of mRNA expression by hMSCs in the coated tenascin mixture. In summary, the coated combination of TnC and TnR appeared to regulate neural differentiation signaling through integrin ?7 and ?9?1 in bone marrow-derived hMSCs. Our findings demonstrate novel mechanisms by which tenascin regulates neural differentiation, and enable the use of cell therapy to treat neurodegenerative diseases.
Project description:The homeobox transcription factor CDX2 plays a crucial role in intestinal cell fate specification, both during normal development and in tumorigenic processes involving intestinal reprogramming. The CDX2 regulatory network is intricate, but it has not yet been fully uncovered. Through genome-wide screening of a 3D culture system, the RNA-binding protein MEX3A was identified as putatively involved in CDX2 regulation; therefore, its biological relevance was addressed by setting up cell-based assays together with expression studies in murine intestine. We demonstrate here that MEX3A has a repressive function by controlling CDX2 levels in gastric and colorectal cellular models. This is dependent on the interaction with a specific binding determinant present in CDX2 mRNA 3'untranslated region. We have further determined that MEX3A impairs intestinal differentiation and cellular polarization, affects cell cycle progression and promotes increased expression of intestinal stem cell markers, namely LGR5, BMI1 and MSI1. Finally, we show that MEX3A is expressed in mouse intestine, supporting an in vivo context for interaction with CDX2 and modulation of stem cell properties. Therefore, we describe a novel CDX2 post-transcriptional regulatory mechanism, through the RNA-binding protein MEX3A, with a major impact in intestinal differentiation, polarity and stemness, likely contributing to intestinal homeostasis and carcinogenesis.
Project description:Recently, we have documented a hematopoietic NKL-code mapping physiological expression patterns of NKL homeobox genes in early hematopoiesis and in lymphopoiesis, which spotlights genes deregulated in lymphoid malignancies. Here, we enlarge this map to include normal NKL homeobox gene expressions in myelopoiesis by analyzing public expression profiling data and primary samples from developing and mature myeloid cells. We thus uncovered differential activities of six NKL homeobox genes, namely DLX2, HHEX, HLX, HMX1, NKX3-1 and VENTX. We further examined public expression profiling data of 251 acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and 183 myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) patients, thereby identifying 24 deregulated genes. These results revealed frequent deregulation of NKL homeobox genes in myeloid malignancies. For detailed analysis we focused on NKL homeobox gene NANOG, which acts as a stem cell factor and is correspondingly expressed alone in hematopoietic progenitor cells. We detected aberrant expression of NANOG in a small subset of AML patients and in AML cell line NOMO-1, which served as a model. Karyotyping and genomic profiling discounted rearrangements of the NANOG locus at 12p13. But gene expression analyses of AML patients and AML cell lines after knockdown and overexpression of NANOG revealed regulators and target genes. Accordingly, NKL homeobox genes HHEX, DLX5 and DLX6, stem cell factors STAT3 and TET2, and the NOTCH-pathway were located upstream of NANOG while NKL homeobox genes HLX and VENTX, transcription factors KLF4 and MYB, and anti-apoptosis-factor MIR17HG represented target genes. In conclusion, we have extended the NKL-code to the myeloid lineage and thus identified several NKL homeobox genes deregulated in AML and MDS. These data indicate a common oncogenic role of NKL homeobox genes in both lymphoid and myeloid malignancies. For misexpressed NANOG we identified an aberrant regulatory network, which contributes to the understanding of the oncogenic activity of NKL homeobox genes.
Project description:LGR5 plays a critical role in tissue development and the maintenance of adult stem cells in gastrointestinal tract. However, the oncogenic role of LGR5 in the development of gastric adenocarcinoma remains elusive. Here, we show that LGR5 promotes gastric adenocarcinoma cell proliferation and metastasis. We find that knock down of LGR5 or suppression of Wnt signaling pathway by inhibitor C59 arrests gastric adenocarcinoma cell proliferation and invasion. Moreover, treatment of Wnt3a, the activator of Wnt signaling pathway, partially recovers the proliferation defect observed in LGR5 knockdown gastric adenocarcinoma cells. Moreover, LGR5 facilitates ?-catenin nuclear accumulation, a surrogate marker of the activation of Wnt signaling pathway. In addition, C59 treatment suppresses transcription of Axin2 and TCF1, both of which are the target genes of ?-catenin in gastric adenocarcinoma cells. Gastric adenocarcinoma cells with overexpressed LGR5 form a large quantity of visible actin filaments and pseudopods, suggesting that LGR5 significantly enhances the ability of cell movement, which might capacitate gastric adenocarcinoma cells with enhanced LGR5 expression to gain invasive and migratory properties. Taken together, our results show that LGR5 contributes to cell proliferation and invasion through the activation of Wnt/?-catenin-signaling pathway in gastric adenocarcinoma cells.