Modeling of signaling crosstalk-mediated drug resistance and its implications on drug combination.
ABSTRACT: The efficacy of pharmacological perturbation to the signaling transduction network depends on the network topology. However, whether and how signaling dynamics mediated by crosstalk contributes to the drug resistance are not fully understood and remain to be systematically explored. In this study, motivated by a realistic signaling network linked by crosstalk between EGF/EGFR/Ras/MEK/ERK pathway and HGF/HGFR/PI3K/AKT pathway, we develop kinetic models for several small networks with typical crosstalk modules to investigate the role of the architecture of crosstalk in inducing drug resistance. Our results demonstrate that crosstalk inhibition diminishes the response of signaling output to the external stimuli. Moreover, we show that signaling crosstalk affects the relative sensitivity of drugs, and some types of crosstalk modules that could yield resistance to the targeted drugs were identified. Furthermore, we quantitatively evaluate the relative efficacy and synergism of drug combinations. For the modules that are resistant to the targeted drug, we identify drug targets that can not only increase the relative drug efficacy but also act synergistically. In addition, we analyze the role of the strength of crosstalk in switching a module between drug-sensitive and drug-resistant. Our study provides mechanistic insights into the signaling crosstalk-mediated mechanisms of drug resistance and provides implications for the design of synergistic drug combinations to reduce drug resistance.
Project description:Dysregulation of the PI3K-AKT-mTOR signaling network is a prominent feature of breast cancers. However, clinical responses to drugs targeting this pathway have been modest, possibly because of dynamic changes in cellular signaling that drive resistance and limit drug efficacy. Using a quantitative chemoproteomics approach, we mapped kinome dynamics in response to inhibitors of this pathway and identified signaling changes that correlate with drug sensitivity. Maintenance of AURKA after drug treatment was associated with resistance in breast cancer models. Incomplete inhibition of AURKA was a common source of therapy failure, and combinations of PI3K, AKT or mTOR inhibitors with the AURKA inhibitor MLN8237 were highly synergistic and durably suppressed mTOR signaling, resulting in apoptosis and tumor regression in vivo. This signaling map identifies survival factors whose presence limits the efficacy of targeted therapies and reveals new drug combinations that may unlock the full potential of PI3K-AKT-mTOR pathway inhibitors in breast cancer.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Torcetrapib, a cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) inhibitor which raises high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and reduces low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol level, has been documented to increase mortality and cardiac events associated with adverse effects. However, it is still unclear the underlying mechanisms of the off-target effects of torcetrapib. RESULTS: In the present study, we developed a systems biology approach by combining a human reassembled signaling network with the publicly available microarray gene expression data to provide unique insights into the off-target adverse effects for torcetrapib. Cytoscape with three plugins including BisoGenet, NetworkAnalyzer and ClusterONE was utilized to establish a context-specific drug-gene interaction network. The DAVID functional annotation tool was applied for gene ontology (GO) analysis, while pathway enrichment analysis was clustered by ToppFun. Furthermore, potential off-targets of torcetrapib were predicted by a reverse docking approach. In general, 10503 nodes were retrieved from the integrative signaling network and 47660 inter-connected relations were obtained from the BisoGenet plugin. In addition, 388 significantly up-regulated genes were detected by Significance Analysis of Microarray (SAM) in adrenal carcinoma cells treated with torcetrapib. After constructing the human signaling network, the over-expressed microarray genes were mapped to illustrate the context-specific network. Subsequently, three conspicuous gene regulatory networks (GRNs) modules were unearthed, which contributed to the off-target effects of torcetrapib. GO analysis reflected dramatically over-represented biological processes associated with torcetrapib including activation of cell death, apoptosis and regulation of RNA metabolic process. Enriched signaling pathways uncovered that IL-2 Receptor Beta Chain in T cell Activation, Platelet-Derived Growth Factor Receptor (PDGFR) beta signaling pathway, IL2-mediated signaling events, ErbB signaling pathway and signaling events mediated by Hepatocyte Growth Factor Receptor (HGFR, c-Met) might play decisive characters in the adverse cardiovascular effects associated with torcetrapib. Finally, a reverse docking algorithm in silico between torcetrapib and transmembrane receptors was conducted to identify the potential off-targets. This screening was carried out based on the enriched signaling network analysis. CONCLUSIONS: Our study provided unique insights into the biological processes of torcetrapib-associated off-target adverse effects in a systems biology visual angle. In particular, we highlighted the importance of PDGFR, HGFR, IL-2 Receptor and ErbB1tyrosine kinase might be direct off-targets, which were highly related to the unfavorable adverse effects of torcetrapib and worthy of further experimental validation.
Project description:MOTIVATION:Drug combinations that simultaneously suppress multiple cancer driver signaling pathways increase therapeutic options and may reduce drug resistance. We have developed a computational systems biology tool, DrugComboExplorer, to identify driver signaling pathways and predict synergistic drug combinations by integrating the knowledge embedded in vast amounts of available pharmacogenomics and omics data. RESULTS:This tool generates driver signaling networks by processing DNA sequencing, gene copy number, DNA methylation and RNA-seq data from individual cancer patients using an integrated pipeline of algorithms, including bootstrap aggregating-based Markov random field, weighted co-expression network analysis and supervised regulatory network learning. It uses a systems pharmacology approach to infer the combinatorial drug efficacies and synergy mechanisms through drug functional module-induced regulation of target expression analysis. Application of our tool on diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and prostate cancer demonstrated how synergistic drug combinations can be discovered to inhibit multiple driver signaling pathways. Compared with existing computational approaches, DrugComboExplorer had higher prediction accuracy based on in vitro experimental validation and probability concordance index. These results demonstrate that our network-based drug efficacy screening approach can reliably prioritize synergistic drug combinations for cancer and uncover potential mechanisms of drug synergy, warranting further studies in individual cancer patients to derive personalized treatment plans. AVAILABILITY AND IMPLEMENTATION:DrugComboExplorer is available at https://github.com/Roosevelt-PKU/drugcombinationprediction. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
Project description:Although EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) have demonstrated good efficacy in non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients harboring EGFR mutations, most patients develop intrinsic and acquired resistance. We quantitatively profiled the phosphoproteome and proteome of drug-sensitive and drug-resistant NSCLC cells under gefitinib treatment. The construction of a dose-dependent responsive kinase-substrate network of 1548 phosphoproteins and 3834 proteins revealed CK2-centric modules as the dominant core network for the potential gefitinib resistance-associated proteins. CK2 knockdown decreased cell survival in gefitinib-resistant NSCLCs. Using motif analysis to identify the CK2 core sub-network, we verified that elevated phosphorylation level of a CK2 substrate, HMGA1 was a critical node contributing to EGFR-TKI resistance in NSCLC cell. Both HMGA1 knockdown or mutation of the CK2 phosphorylation site, S102, of HMGA1 reinforced the efficacy of gefitinib in resistant NSCLC cells through reactivation of the downstream signaling of EGFR. Our results delineate the TKI resistance-associated kinase-substrate network, suggesting a potential therapeutic strategy for overcoming TKI-induced resistance in NSCLC.
Project description:Therapies targeting oncogenic drivers rapidly induce compensatory adaptive responses that blunt drug effectiveness, contributing to therapeutic resistance. Adaptive responses are characteristic of robust cell signaling networks, and thus there is increasing interest in drug combinations that co-target the driver and the adaptive response. An alternative approach to co-inhibiting oncogenic and adaptive targets is to identify a critical node where the activities of these targets converge. Nodes of convergence between signaling modules represent potential therapeutic vulnerabilities because their inhibition could result in the collapse of the network, leading to enhanced cytotoxicity. In this report we demonstrate that p70S6 kinase (p70S6K) can function as a critical node linking HER-family and phosphoinositide-3-kinase (PI3K) pathway signaling. We used high-throughput combinatorial drug screening to identify adaptive survival responses to targeted therapies, and found that HER-family and PI3K represented compensatory signaling pathways. Co-targeting these pathways with drug combinations caused synergistic cytotoxicity in cases where inhibition of neither target was effective as a monotherapy. We utilized Reverse Phase Protein Arrays and determined that phosphorylation of ribosomal protein S6 was synergistically down-regulated upon HER-family and PI3K/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) co-inhibition. Expression of constitutively active p70S6K protected against apoptosis induced by combined HER-family and PI3K/mTOR inhibition. Direct inhibition of p70S6K with small molecule inhibitors phenocopied HER-family and PI3K/mTOR co-inhibition. These data implicate p70S6K as a critical node in the HER-family/PI3K signaling network. The ability of direct inhibitors of p70S6K to phenocopy co-inhibition of two upstream signaling targets indicates that identification and targeting of critical nodes can overcome adaptive resistance to targeted therapies.
Project description:How complex signaling networks shape highly coordinated, multistep cellular responses is poorly understood. Here, we made use of a network-perturbation approach to investigate causal influences, or "crosstalk," among signaling modules involved in the cytoskeletal response of neutrophils to chemoattractant. We quantified the intensity and polarity of cytoskeletal marker proteins over time to characterize stereotyped cellular responses. Analyzing the effects of network disruptions revealed that, not only does crosstalk evolve rapidly during polarization, but also that intensity and polarity responses are influenced by different patterns of crosstalk. Interestingly, persistent crosstalk is arranged in a surprisingly simple circuit: a linear cascade from front to back to microtubules influences intensities, and a feed-forward network in the reverse direction influences polarity. Our approach provided a rational strategy for decomposing a complex, dynamically evolving signaling system and revealed evolving paths of causal influence that shape the neutrophil polarization response.
Project description:It is necessary to evaluate the efficacy of individual drugs on patients to realize personalized medicine. Testing drugs on patients in clinical trial is the only way to evaluate the efficacy of drugs. The approach is labour intensive and requires overwhelming costs and a number of experiments. Therefore, preclinical model system has been intensively investigated for predicting the efficacy of drugs. Current computational drug sensitivity prediction approaches use general biological network modules as their prediction features. Therefore, they miss indirect effectors or the effects from tissue-specific interactions.We developed cell line specific functional modules. Enriched scores of functional modules are utilized as cell line specific features to predict the efficacy of drugs. Cell line specific functional modules are clusters of genes, which have similar biological functions in cell line specific networks. We used linear regression for drug efficacy prediction. We assessed the prediction performance in leave-one-out cross-validation (LOOCV). Our method was compared with elastic net model, which is a popular model for drug efficacy prediction. In addition, we analysed drug sensitivity-associated functions of five drugs - lapatinib, erlotinib, raloxifene, tamoxifen and gefitinib- by our model.Our model can provide cell line specific drug efficacy prediction and also provide functions which are associated with drug sensitivity. Therefore, we could utilize drug sensitivity associated functions for drug repositioning or for suggesting secondary drugs for overcoming drug resistance.
Project description:Cancer cells have genetic alterations that often directly affect intracellular protein signaling processes allowing them to bypass control mechanisms for cell death, growth and division. Cancer drugs targeting these alterations often work initially, but resistance is common. Combinations of targeted drugs may overcome or prevent resistance, but their selection requires context-specific knowledge of signaling pathways including complex interactions such as feedback loops and crosstalk. To infer quantitative pathway models, we collected a rich dataset on a melanoma cell line: Following perturbation with 54 drug combinations, we measured 124 (phospho-)protein levels and phenotypic response (cell growth, apoptosis) in a time series from 10 minutes to 67 hours. From these data, we trained time-resolved mathematical models that capture molecular interactions and the coupling of molecular levels to cellular phenotype, which in turn reveal the main direct or indirect molecular responses to each drug. Systematic model simulations identified novel combinations of drugs predicted to reduce the survival of melanoma cells, with partial experimental verification. This particular application of perturbation biology demonstrates the potential impact of combining time-resolved data with modeling for the discovery of new combinations of cancer drugs.
Project description:Constitutively activated signaling molecules are often the primary drivers of malignancy, and are favored targets for therapeutic intervention. However, the effectiveness of targeted inhibition of cell signaling can be blunted by compensatory signaling which generates adaptive resistance mechanisms and reduces therapeutic responses. Therefore, it is important to identify and target these compensatory pathways with combinations of targeted agents to achieve durable clinical benefit. In this report, we demonstrate the use of high-throughput combinatorial drug screening as a discovery tool to identify compensatory pathways that generate resistance to the cytotoxic effects of targeted therapy. We screened 420 drug combinations in 14 different cell lines representing three cancer lineages, and assessed the ability of each combination to cause synergistic cytotoxicity. Drug substitution studies were used to validate the functionally important drug targets. Of the 84 combinations that caused robust synergy in multiple cell lines, none were synergistic in more than half of the lines tested, and we observed no pattern of lineage specificity in the observed synergies. This reflects the plasticity of cell signaling networks, even among cell lines of the same tissue of origin. Mechanistic analysis of one novel synergistic combination identified in the screen, the multi-kinase inhibitor Ro31-8220 and lapatinib, demonstrated compensatory crosstalk between the p70S6 kinase and EGF receptor pathways. In addition, we identified BAD as a node of convergence between these two pathways that may be playing a role in the enhanced apoptosis observed upon combination treatment.