The gain-of-function GLI1 transcription factor TGLI1 enhances expression of VEGF-C and TEM7 to promote glioblastoma angiogenesis.
ABSTRACT: We recently discovered that truncated glioma-associated oncogene homolog 1 (TGLI1) is highly expressed in glioblastoma (GBM) and linked to increased GBM vascularity. The mechanisms underlying TGLI1-mediated angiogenesis are unclear. In this study, we compared TGLI1- with GLI1-expressing GBM xenografts for the expression profile of 84 angiogenesis-associated genes. The results showed that expression of six genes were upregulated and five were down-regulated in TGLI1-carrying tumors compared to those with GLI1. Vascular endothelial growth factor-C (VEGF-C) and tumor endothelial marker 7 (TEM7) were selected for further investigations because of their significant correlations with high vascularity in 135 patient GBMs. TGLI1 bound to both VEGF-C and TEM7 gene promoters. Conditioned medium from TGLI1-expressing GBM cells strongly induced tubule formation of brain microvascular endothelial cells, and the induction was prevented by VEGF-C/TEM7 knockdown. Immunohistochemical analysis of 122 gliomas showed that TGLI1 expression was positively correlated with VEGF-C, TEM7 and microvessel density. Analysis of NCBI Gene Expression Omnibus datasets with 161 malignant gliomas showed an inverse relationship between tumoral VEGF-C, TEM7 or microvessel density and patient survival. Together, our findings support an important role that TGLI1 plays in GBM angiogenesis and identify VEGF-C and TEM7 as novel TGLI1 target genes of importance to GBM vascularity.
Project description:The Hedgehog signaling pathway is one of the most dysregulated pathways in human cancers. The glioma-associated oncogene homolog 1 (GLI1) transcription factor is the terminal effector of the Hedgehog pathway, frequently activated in human breast cancer and an emerging target of breast cancer therapy. While somatic mutations in the human GLI1 gene have never been reported in any cell or tumor type, we recently uncovered the existence of a novel alternatively spliced, truncated GLI1 (tGLI1) that has an in-frame deletion of 41 codons spanning the entire exon 3 and part of exon 4 of the GLI1 gene. Using glioblastoma models, we showed that tGLI1 has gained the ability to promote glioblastoma migration and invasion via its gain-of-function transcriptional activity. However, the pathological impact of tGLI1 on breast cancer remains undefined. Here, we report that tGLI1 is frequently expressed in human breast cancer cell lines and primary specimens we have examined to date, but is undetectable in normal breast tissues. We found for the first time that tGLI1, but not GLI1, binds to and enhances the human vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A) gene promoter, leading to its upregulation. Consequently, tGLI1-expressing MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells secret higher levels of VEGF-A and contain a higher propensity, than the isogenic cells with control vector and GLI1, to stimulate in vitro angiogenesis of human vascular endothelial cells. We further showed that tGLI1 has gained the ability to enhance the motility and invasiveness of breast cancer cells in a proliferation-independent manner and that this functional gain is associated with increased expression of migration/invasion-associated genes, CD24, MMP-2 and MMP-9. tGLI1 has also acquired the property to facilitate anchorage-independent growth of breast cancer cells. Collectively, our results define tGLI1 as a gain-of-function GLI1 transcription factor and a novel mediator of the behavior of clinically more aggressive breast cancer.
Project description:The family of GLI zinc finger transcription factors regulates the expression of genes involved in many important cellular processes, notably embryonal development and cellular differentiation. The glioma-associated oncogene homologue 1 (GLI1) isoform, in particular, has attracted much attention because of its frequent activation in many human cancers and its interactions with other signaling pathways, such as those mediated by K-RAS, transforming growth factor-beta, epidermal growth factor receptor, and protein kinase A. Here, we report the identification of a novel truncated GLI1 splice variant, tGLI1, with an in-frame deletion of 123 bases (41 codons) spanning the entire exon 3 and part of exon 4 of the GLI1 gene. Expression of tGLI1 is undetectable in normal cells but is high in glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) and other cancer cells. Although tGLI1 undergoes nuclear translocalization and transactivates GLI1-binding sites similar to GLI1, unlike GLI1, it is associated with increased motility and invasiveness of GBM cells. Using microarray analysis, we showed >100 genes to be differentially expressed in tGLI1-expressing compared with GLI1-expressing GBM cells, although both cell types expressed equal levels of known GLI1-regulated genes, such as PTCH1. We further showed one of the tGLI1 up-regulated genes, CD24, an invasion-associated gene, to be required for the migratory and invasive phenotype of GBM cells. These data provide conclusive evidence for a novel gain-of-function GLI1 splice variant that promotes migration and invasiveness of GBM cells and open up a new research paradigm on the role of the GLI1 pathway in malignancy.
Project description:We investigated truncated glioma-associated oncogene homolog 1 (TGLI1) that behaves as gain-of-function GLI1 and promotes tumor cell migration and invasion. Herein, we report that TGLI1 had a higher propensity than GLI1 to enhance glioblastoma angiogenesis and growth, both in vivo and in vitro. TGLI1 has gained the ability to enhance expression of pro-angiogenic heparanase. In patient glioblastomas, TGLI1 levels are correlated with heparanase expression. Together, we report that TGLI1 is a novel mediator of glioblastoma angiogenesis and that heparanase is a novel transcriptional target of TGLI1, shedding new light on the molecular pathways that support tumor angiogenesis and aggressive growth.
Project description:Mechanisms for breast cancer metastasis remain unclear. Whether truncated glioma-associated oncogene homolog 1 (TGLI1), a transcription factor known to promote angiogenesis, migration and invasion, plays any role in metastasis of any tumor type has never been investigated. In this study, results of two mouse models of breast cancer metastasis showed that ectopic expression of TGLI1, but not GLI1, promoted preferential metastasis to the brain. Conversely, selective TGLI1 knockdown using antisense oligonucleotides led to decreased breast cancer brain metastasis (BCBM) in vivo. Immunohistochemical staining showed that TGLI1, but not GLI1, was increased in lymph node metastases compared to matched primary tumors, and that TGLI1 was expressed at higher levels in BCBM specimens compared to primary tumors. TGLI1 activation is associated with a shortened time to develop BCBM and enriched in HER2-enriched and triple-negative breast cancers. Radioresistant BCBM cell lines and specimens expressed higher levels of TGLI1, but not GLI1, than radiosensitive counterparts. Since cancer stem cells (CSCs) are radioresistant and metastasis-initiating cells, we examined TGLI1 for its involvement in breast CSCs and found TGLI1 to transcriptionally activate stemness genes CD44, Nanog, Sox2, and OCT4 leading to CSC renewal, and TGLI1 outcompetes with GLI1 for binding to target promoters. We next examined whether astrocyte-priming underlies TGLI1-mediated brain tropism and found that TGLI1-positive CSCs strongly activated and interacted with astrocytes in vitro and in vivo. These findings demonstrate, for the first time, that TGLI1 mediates breast cancer metastasis to the brain, in part, through promoting metastasis-initiating CSCs and activating astrocytes in BCBM microenvironment.
Project description:Although angiogenesis inhibitors targeting VEGF/VEGFR2 have been applied for tumor therapy, the outcomes are still unsatisfactory. Thus, it is urgent to develop novel angiogenesis inhibitor for cancer therapy from new perspectives. Identification of novel angiogenesis inhibitor from natural products is believed to be one of most promising strategy. In this study, we showed that pristimerin, an active agent isolated from traditional Chinese herbal medicine Celastrus aculeatus Merr, was a novel tumor angiogenesis inhibitor that targeting sonic hedgehog (Shh)/glioma associated oncogene 1 (Gli1) signaling pathway in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). We showed that pristimerin affected both the early- and late-stage of angiogenesis, suggesting by that pristimerin inhibited Shh-induced endothelial cells proliferation, migration, invasion as well as pericytes recruitment to the endothelial tubes, which is critical for the new blood vessel maturation. It also suppressed tube formation, vessel sprouts formation and neovascularization in chicken embryo chorioallantoic membrane (CAM). Moreover, it significantly decreased microvessel density (MVD) and pericyte coverage in NCI-H1299 xenografts, resulting in tumor growth inhibition. Further research revealed that pristimerin suppressed tumor angiogenesis by inhibiting the nucleus distribution of Gli1, leading to inactivation of Shh/Gli1 and its downstream signaling pathway. Taken together, our study showed that pristimerin was a promising novel anti-angiogenic agent for the NSCLC therapy and targeting Shh/Gli1 signaling pathway was an effective approach to suppress tumor angiogenesis.
Project description:Drugs that target the tumor vasculature and inhibit angiogenesis are widely used for cancer treatment. Individual tumors show large differences in vascularity, but it is uncertain how these differences affect responsiveness to antiangiogenesis. We investigated this question using two closely related prostate cancer models that differ markedly in tumor vascularity: PC3, which has very low vascularity, and the PC3-derived cancer stem-like cell holoclone PC3/2G7, which forms tumors with high microvessel density, high tumor blood flow, and low hypoxia compared with parental PC3 tumors. Three angiogenesis inhibitors (axitinib, sorafenib, and DC101) all induced significantly greater decreases in tumor blood flow and microvessel density in PC3/2G7 tumors compared with PC3 tumors, as well as significantly greater decreases in tumor cell proliferation and cell viability and a greater increase in apoptosis. The increased sensitivity of PC3/2G7 tumors to antiangiogenesis indicates they are less tolerant of low vascularity and suggests they become addicted to their oxygen- and nutrient-rich environment. PC3/2G7 tumors showed strong upregulation of the proangiogenic factors chemokine ligand 2 (CCL2) and VEGFA compared with PC3 tumors, which may contribute to their increased vascularity, and they have significantly lower endothelial cell pericyte coverage, which may contribute to their greater sensitivity to antiangiogenesis. Interestingly, high levels of VEGF receptor-2 were expressed on PC3 but not PC3/2G7 tumor cells, which may contribute to the growth static response of PC3 tumors to VEGF-targeted antiangiogenesis. Finally, prolonged antiangiogenic treatment led to resumption of PC3/2G7 tumor growth and neovascularization, indicating these cancer stem-like cell-derived tumors can adapt and escape from antiangiogenesis.
Project description:Signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3), glioma oncogene homolog 1 (GLI1), and truncated GLI1 (tGLI1) are oncogenic transcription factors playing important roles in breast cancer. tGLI1 is a gain-of-function GLI1 isoform. Whether STAT3 physically and/or functionally interacts with GLI1/tGLI1 has not been explored. To address this knowledge gap, we analyzed 47 node-positive breast cancer specimens using immunohistochemical staining and found that phosphorylated-STAT3 (Y705), GLI1, and tGLI1 are co-overexpressed in the majority of triple-negative breast carcinomas (64%) and HER2-enriched (68%) breast carcinomas, and in lymph node metastases (65%). Using gene set enrichment analysis, we analyzed 710 breast tumors and found that STAT3 activation and GLI1/tGLI1 activation signatures are co-enriched in triple-negative subtypes of breast cancers and HER2-enriched subtypes of breast cancers, but not in luminal subtypes of breast cancers. Patients with high levels of STAT3 and GLI1/tGLI1 co-activation in their breast tumors had worse metastasis-free survival compared to those with low levels. Since these proteins co-overexpress in breast tumors, we examined whether they form complexes and observed that STAT3 interacted with both GLI1 and tGLI1. We further found that the STAT3-GLI1 and STAT3-tGLI1 complexes bind to both consensus GLI1-binding and STAT3-binding sites using chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assay, and that the co-overexpression markedly activated a promoter controlled by GLI1-binding sites. To identify genes that can be directly co-activated by STAT3 and GLI1/tGLI1, we analyzed three ChIP-seq datasets and identified 34 potential target genes. Following validations using reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction and survival analysis, we identified three genes as novel transcriptional targets of STAT3 and GLI1/tGLI1, R-Ras2, Cep70, and UPF3A. Finally, we observed that co-overexpression of STAT3 with GLI1/tGLI1 promoted the ability of breast cancer cells to form mammospheres and that STAT3 only cooperates with tGLI1 in immortalized mammary epithelial cells. In summary, our study identified novel physical and functional cooperation between two families of oncogenic transcription factors, and the interaction contributes to aggressiveness of breast cancer cells and poor prognosis of triple-negative breast cancers and HER2-enriched breast cancers.
Project description:To assess whether there is a link between estrogen, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and early aspects of uterine angiogenesis, an acute temporal study was conducted in which ovariectomized baboons were pretreated with VEGF Trap, which sequesters endogenous VEGF, and administered estradiol at time 0 h. Serum estradiol levels approximated 500 pg/ml 4-6 h after estradiol administration. VEGF mRNA levels in endometrial glandular epithelial and stromal cells were increased to values 6 h after estradiol that were 3.74 +/- 0.99-fold (mean +/- se) and 5.70 +/- 1.60-fold greater (P < 0.05), respectively, than at 0 h. Microvessel interendothelial cell tight junctions, which control paracellular permeability, were present in the endometrium at time 0 h, but not evident 6 h after estradiol administration. Thus, microvessel paracellular cleft width increased (P < 0.01, ANOVA) from 5.03 +/- 0.22 nm at 0 h to 7.27 +/- 0.48 nm 6 h after estrogen. In contrast, tight junctions remained intact, and paracellular cleft widths were unaltered in estradiol/VEGF Trap and vehicle-treated animals. Endometrial microvessel endothelial cell mitosis, i.e. percent Ki67+/Ki67- immunolabeled endothelial cells, increased (P < 0.05) from 2.9 +/- 0.3% at 0 h to 21.4 +/- 7.0% 6 h after estrogen treatment but was unchanged in estradiol/VEGF Trap and vehicle-treated animals. In summary, the estrogen-induced disruption of endometrial microvessel endothelial tight junctions and increase in endothelial cell proliferation were prevented by VEGF Trap. Therefore, we propose that VEGF mediates the estrogen-induced increase in microvessel permeability and endothelial cell proliferation as early steps in angiogenesis in the primate endometrium.
Project description:Tumor angiogenesis plays a critical role in the tumor progression. Highly upregulated in liver cancer (HULC) is a long noncoding RNA (lncRNA) that acts as an oncogene in gliomas. We found that HULC, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and ESM-1 (endothelial cell specific molecule 1) expression and microvessel density were positively correlated with grade dependency in glioma patient tissues, and that HULC silencing suppressed angiogenesis by inhibiting glioma cells proliferation and invasion. This process induced anoikis and blocked the cell cycle at G1/S phase via the PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling pathway, thus regulating the tumor-related genes involved in the above biological behavior in human glioma U87MG and U251 cells. However, these effects were reversed by ESM-1 overexpression, suggesting a mediating role of ESM-1 in the pro-angiogenesis effect of HULC. Our results define the mechanism of the pro-angiogenesis activity of HULC, which shows potential for application as a therapeutic target in glioma.