The SMARCA2/4 ATPase Domain Surpasses the Bromodomain as a Drug Target in SWI/SNF-Mutant Cancers: Insights from cDNA Rescue and PFI-3 Inhibitor Studies.
ABSTRACT: The SWI/SNF multisubunit complex modulates chromatin structure through the activity of two mutually exclusive catalytic subunits, SMARCA2 and SMARCA4, which both contain a bromodomain and an ATPase domain. Using RNAi, cancer-specific vulnerabilities have been identified in SWI/SNF-mutant tumors, including SMARCA4-deficient lung cancer; however, the contribution of conserved, druggable protein domains to this anticancer phenotype is unknown. Here, we functionally deconstruct the SMARCA2/4 paralog dependence of cancer cells using bioinformatics, genetic, and pharmacologic tools. We evaluate a selective SMARCA2/4 bromodomain inhibitor (PFI-3) and characterize its activity in chromatin-binding and cell-functional assays focusing on cells with altered SWI/SNF complex (e.g., lung, synovial sarcoma, leukemia, and rhabdoid tumors). We demonstrate that PFI-3 is a potent, cell-permeable probe capable of displacing ectopically expressed, GFP-tagged SMARCA2-bromodomain from chromatin, yet contrary to target knockdown, the inhibitor fails to display an antiproliferative phenotype. Mechanistically, the lack of pharmacologic efficacy is reconciled by the failure of bromodomain inhibition to displace endogenous, full-length SMARCA2 from chromatin as determined by in situ cell extraction, chromatin immunoprecipitation, and target gene expression studies. Furthermore, using inducible RNAi and cDNA complementation (bromodomain- and ATPase-dead constructs), we unequivocally identify the ATPase domain, and not the bromodomain of SMARCA2, as the relevant therapeutic target with the catalytic activity suppressing defined transcriptional programs. Taken together, our complementary genetic and pharmacologic studies exemplify a general strategy for multidomain protein drug-target validation and in case of SMARCA2/4 highlight the potential for drugging the more challenging helicase/ATPase domain to deliver on the promise of synthetic-lethality therapy.
Project description:Bromodomain containing proteins PB1, SMARCA4, and SMARCA2 are important components of SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complexes. We identified bromodomain inhibitors that target these proteins and display unusual binding modes involving water displacement from the KAc binding site. The best compound binds the fifth bromodomain of PB1 with a KD of 124 nM, SMARCA2B and SMARCA4 with KD values of 262 and 417 nM, respectively, and displays excellent selectivity over bromodomains other than PB1, SMARCA2, and SMARCA4.
Project description:Small cell carcinoma of the ovary, hypercalcaemic type (SCCOHT) is a lethal and sometimes familial ovarian tumour of young women and children. We and others recently discovered that over 90% of SCCOHTs harbour inactivating mutations in the chromatin remodelling gene SMARCA4 with concomitant loss of its encoded protein SMARCA4 (BRG1), one of two mutually exclusive ATPases of the SWI/SNF chromatin remodelling complex. To determine the specificity of SMARCA4 loss for SCCOHT, we examined the expression of SMARCA4 by immunohistochemistry in more than 3000 primary gynaecological tumours. Among ovarian tumours, it was only absent in clear cell carcinoma (15 of 360, 4%). In the uterus, it was absent in endometrial stromal sarcomas (4 of 52, 8%) and high-grade endometrioid carcinomas (2 of 338, 1%). Recent studies have shown that SMARCA2 (BRM), the other mutually exclusive ATPase of the SWI/SNF complex, is necessary for survival of tumour cells lacking SMARCA4. Therefore, we examined SMARCA2 expression and discovered that all SMARCA4-negative SCCOHTs also lacked SMARCA2 protein by IHC, including the SCCOHT cell lines BIN67 and SCCOHT1. Among ovarian tumours, the SMARCA4/SMARCA2 dual loss phenotype appears completely specific for SCCOHT. SMARCA2 loss was not due to mutation but rather from an absence of mRNA expression, which was restored by treatment with the histone deacetylase inhibitor trichostatin A. Re-expression of SMARCA4 or SMARCA2 inhibited the growth of BIN67 and SCCOHT1 cell lines. Our results indicate that SMARCA4 loss, either alone or with SMARCA2, is highly sensitive and specific for SCCOHT and that restoration of either SWI/SNF ATPase can inhibit the growth of SCCOHT cell lines.
Project description:The gene encoding the ATPase of the chromatin remodeling SWI/SNF complexes SMARCA4 (BRG1) is often mutated or silenced in tumors, suggesting a role as tumor suppressor. Nonetheless, recent reports show requirement of SMARCA4 for tumor cells growth. Here, we performed a computational meta-analysis using gene expression, prognosis, and clinicopathological data to clarify the role of SMARCA4 and the alternative SWI/SNF ATPase SMARCA2 (BRM) in cancer. We show that while the SMARCA4 gene is mostly overexpressed in tumors, SMARCA2 is almost invariably downexpressed in tumors. High SMARCA4 expression was associated with poor prognosis in many types of tumors, including liver hepatocellular carcinoma (LIHC), and kidney renal clear cell carcinoma (KIRC). In contrast, high SMARCA2 expression was associated with good prognosis. We compared tumors with high versus low expression of SMARCA4 or SMARCA2 in LIHC and KIRC cohorts from The Cancer Genome Atlas. While a high expression of SMARCA4 is associated with aggressive tumors, a high expression of SMARCA2 is associated with benign differentiated tumors, suggesting that SMARCA4 and SMARCA2 play opposite roles in cancer. Our results demonstrate that expression of SMARCA4 and SMARCA2 have a high prognostic value and challenge the broadly accepted general role of SMARCA4 as a tumor suppressor.
Project description:Subunits of the SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complex are frequently mutated in human cancers leading to epigenetic dependencies that are therapeutically targetable. The dependency on the polycomb repressive complex (PRC2) and EZH2 represents one such vulnerability in tumors with mutations in the SWI/SNF complex subunit, SNF5; however, whether this vulnerability extends to other SWI/SNF subunit mutations is not well understood. Here we show that a subset of cancers harboring mutations in the SWI/SNF ATPase, SMARCA4, is sensitive to EZH2 inhibition. EZH2 inhibition results in a heterogenous phenotypic response characterized by senescence and/or apoptosis in different models, and also leads to tumor growth inhibition in vivo. Lower expression of the SMARCA2 paralog was associated with cellular sensitivity to EZH2 inhibition in SMARCA4 mutant cancer models, independent of tissue derivation. SMARCA2 is suppressed by PRC2 in sensitive models, and induced SMARCA2 expression can compensate for SMARCA4 and antagonize PRC2 targets. The induction of SMARCA2 in response to EZH2 inhibition is required for apoptosis, but not for growth arrest, through a mechanism involving the derepression of the lysomal protease cathepsin B. Expression of SMARCA2 also delineates EZH2 inhibitor sensitivity for other SWI/SNF complex subunit mutant tumors, including SNF5 and ARID1A mutant cancers. Our data support monitoring SMARCA2 expression as a predictive biomarker for EZH2-targeted therapies in the context of SWI/SNF mutant cancers.
Project description:SMARCA2 and SMARCA4 are two mutually exclusive ATPase subunits of SWI/SNF complex. SMARCA4 deficient lung cancer population selectively depend on SMARCA2 for cancer growth phenotype. Rescue experiments with ectopic expression of wild-type, bromodomain mutant and ATPase dead SMARCA2 and SMARCA4 highlight that ATPase domain is the drug target. In this study, we performed genome-wide microarray and differential gene expression profiling on isogenic lung cancer lines expressing cDNA rescue constructs for wild-type, bromodomain mutant and ATPase dead SMARCA2 and SMARCA4 Overall design: RNA was extracted from A549 and H1299 cells expressing wild-type, bromodomain mutant or ATPase dead SMARCA2 and SMARCA4 cDNA
Project description:Mammalian SWI/SNF complexes are multi-subunit chromatin remodeling complexes associated with an ATPase (either SMARCA4 or SMARCA2). Heterozygous mutations in the SMARCA2 ATPase cause Nicolaides-Baraitser syndrome (NCBRS), an intellectual disability syndrome associated with delayed speech onset. We engineered human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) to carry NCBRS-associated heterozygous SMARCA2 K755R or R1159Q mutations. While SMARCA2 mutant hESCs were phenotypically normal, differentiation to neural progenitors cells (NPCs) was severely impaired. We find that SMARCA2 mutations cause enhancer reorganization with loss of SOX3-dependent neural enhancers and prominent emergence of astrocyte-specific de novo enhancers. Changes in chromatin accessibility at enhancers were associated with an increase in SMARCA2 binding and retargeting of SMARCA4. We show that the AP-1 family member FRA2 is aberrantly overexpressed in SMARCA2 mutant NPCs, where it functions as a pioneer factor at de novo enhancers. Together, our results demonstrate that SMARCA2 mutations cause impaired differentiation through enhancer reprogramming via inappropriate targeting of SMARCA4.
Project description:Here we performed transcriptional profiling of the prostate cancer cell lines LNCaP and 22Rv1 comparing non-targeting siRNA treatment versus siRNAs targeting SWI/SNF complex proteins (SMARCA2, SMARCA4, and SMARCB1). Goal was to determine the effect of SWI/SNF knockdown on gene expression in prostate cancer. Two-condition experiment: non-targeting siRNA versus SWI/SNF-siRNA treated cells. Three SWI/SNF proteins were targeted: SMARCA2, SMARCA4, and SMARB1. Biological replicates: 1 control replicate, 2 treatment replicates per SWI/SNF protein. Technical replicates: 1 replicate per SWI/SNF protein. Cell lines: 22Rv1 and LNCaP.
Project description:The clinicopathological significance of altered SWI/SNF complex has not been well evaluated in gastric cancer (GC). We examined SMARCA2, SMARCA4, SMARCB1 and ARID1A expression by immunohistochemistry in 1224 surgically resected GCs with subtyping into Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), microsatellite instability (MSI) and non-EBV/MSI Lauren histotypes. SWI/SNF mutations were investigated using the GC dataset of the TCGA Pan-Cancer Atlas. Clinicopathological association was assessed by statistical analysis. There were 427 cases (35%) of SWI/SNF-attenuated GC, including 344 SMARCA2 (28%), 28 SMARCA4 (2%), 11 SMARCB1 (1%) and 197 ARID1A (16%) cases. Simultaneous alterations of multiple subunits were observed. Compared to SWI/SNF-retained cases, SWI/SNF-attenuated GC exhibited a significant predilection to older ages, EBV and MSI genotypes, higher lymphatic invasion and less hematogenous recurrence (P < 0.05). SWI/SNF attenuation was an independent risk factor for short overall survival (P = 0.001, hazard ratio 1.360, 95% confidence interval 1.138-1.625). The survival impact stemmed from SMARCA2-attenuated GCs in stage III and non-EBV/MSI diffuse/mixed subtypes (P = 0.019 and < 0.001, respectively). ARID1A-lost/heterogeneous GCs were more aggressive in the EBV genotype (P = 0.016). SMARCB1 or SMARCA4 loss was not restricted to rhabdoid/undifferentiated carcinoma. In the TCGA dataset, 223 of 434 GCs (52%) harbored deleterious SWI/SNF mutations, including ARID1A (27%), SMARCA2 (9%), ARID2 (9%), ARID1B (8%), PBRM1 (7%), and SMARCA4 (7%). SWI/SNF-mutated GCs displayed a favorable outcome owing to the high percentage with the MSI genotype. In conclusion, SWI/SNF-altered GCs are common and the clinicopathological significance is related to the genotype.
Project description:Perturbations to mammalian switch/sucrose non-fermentable (mSWI/SNF) chromatin remodeling complexes have been widely implicated as driving events in cancer1. One such perturbation is the dual loss of the SMARCA4 and SMARCA2 ATPase subunits in small cell carcinoma of the ovary, hypercalcemic type (SCCOHT)2-5, SMARCA4-deficient thoracic sarcomas6 and dedifferentiated endometrial carcinomas7. However, the consequences of dual ATPase subunit loss on mSWI/SNF complex subunit composition, chromatin targeting, DNA accessibility and gene expression remain unknown. Here we identify an ATPase module of subunits that is required for functional specification of the Brahma-related gene-associated factor (BAF) and polybromo-associated BAF (PBAF) mSWI/SNF family subcomplexes. Using SMARCA4/2 ATPase mutant variants, we define the catalytic activity-dependent and catalytic activity-independent contributions of the ATPase module to the targeting of BAF and PBAF complexes on chromatin genome-wide. Finally, by linking distinct mSWI/SNF complex target sites to tumor-suppressive gene expression programs, we clarify the transcriptional consequences of SMARCA4/2 dual loss in SCCOHT.
Project description:Mutations of the SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complex occur in 20% of all human cancers, including ovarian cancer. Approximately half of ovarian clear cell carcinomas (OCCC) carry mutations in the SWI/SNF subunit ARID1A, while small cell carcinoma of the ovary hypercalcemic type (SCCOHT) presents with inactivating mutations of the SWI/SNF ATPase SMARCA4 alongside epigenetic silencing of the ATPase SMARCA2. Loss of these ATPases disrupts SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling activity and may also interfere with the function of other histone-modifying enzymes that associate with or are dependent on SWI/SNF activity. One such enzyme is lysine-specific histone demethylase 1 (LSD1/KDM1A), which regulates the chromatin landscape and gene expression by demethylating proteins such as histone H3. Cross-cancer analysis of the TCGA database shows that LSD1 is highly expressed in SWI/SNF-mutated tumors. SCCOHT and OCCC cell lines have shown sensitivity to the reversible LSD1 inhibitor SP-2577 (Seclidemstat), suggesting that SWI/SNF-deficient ovarian cancers are dependent on LSD1 activity. Moreover, it has been shown that inhibition of LSD1 stimulates interferon (IFN)-dependent anti-tumor immunity through induction of endogenous retroviral elements and may thereby overcome resistance to checkpoint blockade. In this study, we investigated the ability of SP-2577 to promote anti-tumor immunity and T-cell infiltration in SCCOHT and OCCC cell lines. We found that SP-2577 stimulated IFN-dependent anti-tumor immunity in SCCOHT and promoted the expression of PD-L1 in both SCCOHT and OCCC. Together, these findings suggest that the combination therapy of SP-2577 with checkpoint inhibitors may induce or augment immunogenic responses of SWI/SNF-mutated ovarian cancers and warrants further investigation.