Selective and reversible suppression of intestinal stem cell differentiation by pharmacological inhibition of BET bromodomains.
ABSTRACT: Absorptive and secretory cells of the small intestine are derived from a single population of Lgr5-expressing stem cells. While key genetic pathways required for differentiation into specific lineages have been defined, epigenetic programs contributing to this process remain poorly characterized. Members of the BET family of chromatin adaptors contain tandem bromodomains that mediate binding to acetylated lysines on target proteins to regulate gene expression. In this study, we demonstrate that mice treated with a small molecule inhibitor of BET bromodomains, CPI203, exhibit greater than 90% decrease in tuft and enteroendocrine cells in both crypts and villi of the small intestine, with no changes observed in goblet or Paneth cells. BET bromodomain inhibition did not alter the abundance of Lgr5-expressing stem cells in crypts, but rather exerted its effects on intermediate progenitors, in part through regulation of Ngn3 expression. When BET bromodomain inhibition was combined with the chemotherapeutic gemcitabine, pervasive apoptosis was observed in intestinal crypts, revealing an important role for BET bromodomain activity in intestinal homeostasis. Pharmacological targeting of BET bromodomains defines a novel pathway required for tuft and enteroendocrine differentiation and provides an important tool to further dissect the progression from stem cell to terminally differentiated secretory cell.
Project description:Cycling intestinal Lgr5+ stem cells are intermingled with their terminally differentiated Paneth cell daughters at crypt bottoms. Paneth cells provide multiple secreted (e.g., Wnt, EGF) as well as surface-bound (Notch ligand) niche signals. Here we show that ablation of Paneth cells in mice, using a diphtheria toxin receptor gene inserted into the P-lysozyme locus, does not affect the maintenance of Lgr5+ stem cells. Flow cytometry, single-cell sequencing, and histological analysis showed that the ablated Paneth cells are replaced by enteroendocrine and tuft cells. As these cells physically occupy Paneth cell positions between Lgr5 stem cells, they serve as an alternative source of Notch signals, which are essential for Lgr5+ stem cell maintenance. Our combined in vivo results underscore the adaptive flexibility of the intestine in maintaining normal tissue homeostasis.
Project description:The enteric neurotransmitter acetylcholine governs important intestinal epithelial secretory and immune functions through its actions on epithelial muscarinic Gq-coupled receptors such as M3R. Its role in the regulation of intestinal stem cell function and differentiation, however, has not been clarified. Here, we find that nonselective muscarinic receptor antagonism in mice as well as epithelial-specific ablation of M3R induces a selective expansion of DCLK1-positive tuft cells, suggesting a model of feedback inhibition. Cholinergic blockade reduces Lgr5-positive intestinal stem cell tracing and cell number. In contrast, Prox1-positive endocrine cells appear as primary sensors of cholinergic blockade inducing the expansion of tuft cells, which adopt an enteroendocrine phenotype and contribute to increased mucosal levels of acetylcholine. This compensatory mechanism is lost with acute irradiation injury, resulting in a paucity of tuft cells and acetylcholine production. Thus, enteroendocrine tuft cells appear essential to maintain epithelial homeostasis following modifications of the cholinergic intestinal niche.
Project description:The epithelium of the small intestine is the most rapidly self-renewing tissue in mammals. We previously demonstrated the existence of a long-lived pool of cycling stem cells defined by Lgr5 expression at the bottom of intestinal crypts. An Lgr5-eGFP-IRES-CreERT2 knockin allele has been instrumental in characterizing and profiling these cells, yet its low level expression and its silencing in patches of adjacent crypts have not allowed quantitative gene deletion. Olfactomedin-4 (Olfm4) has emerged from a gene signature of Lgr5 stem cells as a robust marker for murine small intestinal stem cells. We observe that Olfm4(null) animals show no phenotype and report the generation of an Olfm4-IRES-eGFPCreERT2 knockin mouse model that allows visualization and genetic manipulation of Lgr5+ stem cells in the epithelium of the small intestine. The eGFPCreERT2 fusion protein faithfully marks all stem cells in the small intestine and induces the activation of a conditional LacZ reporter with robust efficiency.
Project description:Endogenous c-MYC (MYC) has been reported to be a potential pharmacological target to trigger ubiquitous tumor regression of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (PanNETs) and lung tumors. Recently inhibitors of bromodomain and extra-terminal (BET) family proteins have shown antitumor effects through the suppression of MYC in leukemia and lymphoma. In this paper, we investigated the antitumor activity of a BET protein bromodomain inhibitor (BETi) CPI203 as a single agent and in combination with rapamycin in human PanNETs. We found that exposure of human PanNET cell lines to CPI203 led to downregulation of MYC expression, G1 cell cycle arrest and nearly complete inhibition of cell proliferation. In addition, overexpression of MYC suppressed the growth inhibition caused by CPI203 and knockdown of MYC phenocopied the effects of CPI203 treatment. These findings indicate that suppression of MYC contributed to the antiproliferative effects of BETi inhibition in human PanNET cells. Importantly, CPI203 treatment enhanced the antitumor effects of rapamycin in PanNET cells grown in monolayer and in three-dimensional cell cultures, as well as in a human PanNET xenograft model in vivo. Furthermore, the combination treatment attenuated rapamycin-induced AKT activation, a major limitation of rapamycin therapy. Collectively, our data suggest that targeting MYC with a BETi may increase the therapeutic benefits of rapalogs in human PanNET patients. This provides a novel clinical strategy for PanNETs, and possibly for other tumors as well.
Project description:Recent proteomic studies discovered histone lysines are modified by acylations beyond acetylation. These acylations derive from acyl-CoA metabolites, potentially linking metabolism to transcription. Bromodomains bind lysine acylation on histones and other nuclear proteins to influence transcription. However, the extent bromodomains bind non-acetyl acylations is largely unknown. Also unclear are the effects of neighboring post-translational modifications, especially within heavily modified histone tails. Using peptide arrays, binding assays, sucrose gradients, and computational methods, we quantified 10 distinct acylations for binding to the bromodomain and extraterminal domain (BET) family. Four of these acylations (hydroxyisobutyrylation, malonylation, glutarylation, and homocitrullination) had never been tested for bromodomain binding. We found N-terminal BET bromodomains bound acetylated and propionylated peptides, consistent with previous studies. Interestingly, all other acylations inhibited binding of the BET bromodomains to peptides and nucleosomes. To understand how context tunes bromodomain binding, effects of neighboring methylation, phosphorylation, and acylation within histone H4 tails were determined. Serine 1 phosphorylation inhibited binding of the BRD4 N-terminal bromodomain to polyacetylated H4 tails by >5-fold, whereas methylation had no effect. Furthermore, binding of BRDT and BRD4 N-terminal bromodomains to H4K5acetyl was enhanced 1.4-9.5-fold by any neighboring acylation of lysine 8, indicating a secondary H4K8acyl binding site that is more permissive of non-acetyl acylations than previously appreciated. In contrast, C-terminal BET bromodomains exhibited 9.9-13.5-fold weaker binding for polyacylated than for monoacylated H4 tails, indicating the C-terminal bromodomains do not cooperatively bind multiple acylations. These results suggest acyl-CoA levels tune or block recruitment of the BET bromodomains to histones, linking metabolism to bromodomain-mediated transcription.
Project description:Bromodomains are gaining increasing interest as drug targets. Commercially sourced and de novo synthesized substituted [1,2,4]triazolo[4,3-a]phthalazines are potent inhibitors of both the BET bromodomains such as BRD4 as well as bromodomains outside the BET family such as BRD9, CECR2, and CREBBP. This new series of compounds is the first example of submicromolar inhibitors of bromodomains outside the BET subfamily. Representative compounds are active in cells exhibiting potent cellular inhibition activity in a FRAP model of CREBBP and chromatin association. The compounds described are valuable starting points for discovery of selective bromodomain inhibitors and inhibitors with mixed bromodomain pharmacology.
Project description:LGR5 is known to be a stem cell marker in the murine small intestine and colon, however the localization of LGR5 in human adenoma samples has not been examined in detail, and previous studies have been limited by the lack of specific antibodies. Here we used in situ hybridization to specifically examine LGR5 mRNA expression in a panel of human adenoma and carcinoma samples (n = 66). We found that a small number of cells express LGR5 at the base of normal colonic crypts. We then showed that conventional adenomas widely express high levels of LGR5, and there is no evidence of stereotypic cellular hierarchy. In contrast, serrated lesions display basal localization of LGR5, and the cellular hierarchy resembles that of a normal crypt. Moreover, ectopic crypts found in traditional serrated adenomas show basal LGR5 mRNA, indicating that they replicate the stem cell organization of normal crypts with the development of a cellular hierarchy. These data imply differences in the stem cell dynamics between the serrated and conventional pathways of colorectal carcinogenesis. Furthermore we noted high LGR5 expression in invading cells, with later development of a stem cell niche in adenocarcinomas of all stages.
Project description:The intestinal epithelium is in a constant state of renewal. The rapid turnover of cells is fed by a hierarchy of transit amplifying and stem/progenitor cells destined to give rise to the four differentiated epithelial lineages of the small intestine. Doxorubicin (Dox) is a commonly used chemotherapeutic agent that preferentially induces apoptosis in the intestinal stem cell zone (SCZ). We hypothesized that Dox treatment would initially decrease "+4" intestinal stem cell numbers with a subsequent expansion during mucosal repair. Temporal assessment following Dox treatment demonstrated rapid induction of apoptosis in the SCZ leading to a decrease in the number of intestinal stem/progenitor cells as determined by flow cytometry for CD45(-) SP cells, and immunohistochemistry of cells positive for putative +4 stem cell markers beta-cat(Ser552) and DCAMKL1. Between 96 and 168 h postinjection, overall proliferation in the crypts increased concomitant with increases in both absolute and relative numbers of goblet, Paneth, and enteroendocrine cells. This regeneration phase was also associated with increases of CD45(-) SP cells, beta-cat(Ser552)-positive cells, crypt fission, and crypt number. We used Lgr5-lacZ mice to assess behavior of Lgr5-positive stem cells following Dox and found no change in this cell population. Lgr5 mRNA level was also measured and showed no change immediately after Dox but decreased during the regeneration phase. Together these data suggest that, following Dox-induced injury, expansion of intestinal stem cells occurs during mucosal repair. On the basis of available markers this expansion appears to be predominantly the +4 stem cell population rather than those of the crypt base.
Project description:Replicating Lgr5+ stem cells and quiescent Bmi1+ cells behave as intestinal stem cells (ISCs) in vivo. Disrupting Lgr5+ ISCs triggers epithelial renewal from Bmi1+ cells, from secretory or absorptive progenitors, and from Paneth cell precursors, revealing a high degree of plasticity within intestinal crypts. Here, we show that GFP+ cells from Bmi1GFP mice are preterminal enteroendocrine cells and we identify CD69+CD274+ cells as related goblet cell precursors. Upon loss of native Lgr5+ ISCs, both populations revert toward an Lgr5+ cell identity. While active histone marks are distributed similarly between Lgr5+ ISCs and progenitors of both major lineages, thousands of cis elements that control expression of lineage-restricted genes are selectively open in secretory cells. This accessibility signature dynamically converts to that of Lgr5+ ISCs during crypt regeneration. Beyond establishing the nature of Bmi1GFP+ cells, these findings reveal how chromatin status underlies intestinal cell diversity and dedifferentiation to restore ISC function and intestinal homeostasis.
Project description:Lysine acetylation regulates gene expression through modulating protein-protein interactions in chromatin. Chemical inhibition of acetyl-lysine binding bromodomains of the major chromatin regulators BET (bromodomain and extraterminal domain) proteins has been shown to effectively block cell proliferation in cancer and inflammation. However, whether selective inhibition of individual BET bromodomains has distinctive functional consequences remains only partially understood. In this study, we show that selective chemical inhibition of the first bromodomain of BET proteins using our small-molecule inhibitor, Olinone, accelerated the progression of mouse primary oligodendrocyte progenitors toward differentiation, whereas inhibition of both bromodomains of BET proteins hindered differentiation. This effect was target specific, as it was not detected in cells treated with inactive analogs and independent of any effect on proliferation. Therefore, selective chemical modulation of individual bromodomains, rather than use of broad-based inhibitors, may enhance regenerative strategies in disorders characterized by myelin loss such as aging and neurodegeneration.