Optical Control of Tumor Induction in the Zebrafish.
ABSTRACT: The zebrafish has become an increasingly popular and valuable cancer model over the past few decades. While most zebrafish cancer models are generated by expressing mammalian oncogenes under tissue-specific promoters, here we describe a method that allows for the precise optical control of oncogene expression in live zebrafish. We utilize this technique to transiently or constitutively activate a typical human oncogene, kRASG12V, in zebrafish embryos and investigate the developmental and tumorigenic phenotypes. We demonstrate the spatiotemporal control of oncogene expression in live zebrafish, and characterize the different tumorigenic probabilities when kRASG12V is expressed transiently or constitutively at different developmental stages. Moreover, we show that light can be used to activate oncogene expression in selected tissues and single cells without tissue-specific promoters. Our work presents a novel approach to initiate and study cancer in zebrafish, and the high spatiotemporal resolution of this method makes it a valuable tool for studying cancer initiation from single cells.
Project description:Oncogenic Ras mutants play a major role in the etiology of most aggressive and deadly carcinomas in humans. In spite of continuous efforts, effective pharmacological treatments targeting oncogenic Ras isoforms have not been developed. Cell-surface proteins represent top therapeutic targets primarily due to their accessibility and susceptibility to different modes of cancer therapy. To expand the treatment options of cancers driven by oncogenic Ras, new targets need to be identified and characterized at the surface of cancer cells expressing oncogenic Ras mutants. Here, we describe a mass spectrometry-based method for molecular profiling of the cell surface using KRasG12V transfected MCF10A (MCF10A-KRasG12V) as a model cell line of constitutively activated KRas and native MCF10A cells transduced with an empty vector (EV) as control. An extensive molecular map of the KRas surface was achieved by applying, in parallel, targeted hydrazide-based cell-surface capturing technology and global shotgun membrane proteomics to identify the proteins on the KRasG12V surface. This method allowed for integrated proteomic analysis that identified more than 500 cell-surface proteins found unique or upregulated on the surface of MCF10A-KRasG12V cells. Multistep bioinformatic processing was employed to elucidate and prioritize targets for cross-validation. Scanning electron microscopy and phenotypic cancer cell assays revealed changes at the cell surface consistent with malignant epithelial-to-mesenchymal transformation secondary to KRasG12V activation. Taken together, this dataset significantly expands the map of the KRasG12V surface and uncovers potential targets involved primarily in cell motility, cellular protrusion formation, and metastasis.
Project description:Metabolic reprogramming is as a hallmark of cancer, and several studies have reported that BRAF and KRAS tumors may be accompanied by a deregulation of cellular metabolism. We investigated how BRAFV600E and KRASG12V affect cell metabolism, stress resistance and signaling in colorectal carcinoma cells driven by these mutations. KRASG12V expressing cells are characterized by the induction of glycolysis, accumulation of lactic acid and sensitivity to glycolytic inhibition. Notably mathematical modelling confirmed the critical role of MCT1 designating the survival of KRASG12V cells. Carcinoma cells harboring BRAFV600E remain resistant towards alterations of glucose supply or application of signaling or metabolic inhibitors. Altogether these data demonstrate that an oncogene-specific decoupling of mTOR from AMPK or AKT signaling accounts for alterations of resistance mechanisms and metabolic phenotypes. Indeed the inhibition of mTOR in BRAFV600E cells counteracts the metabolic predisposition and demonstrates mTOR as a potential target in BRAFV600E-driven colorectal carcinomas.
Project description:Somatic activation of the KRAS proto-oncogene is evident in almost all pancreatic cancers, and appears to represent an initiating event. These mutations occur primarily at codon 12 and less frequently at codons 13 and 61. Although some studies have suggested that different KRAS mutations may have variable oncogenic properties, to date there has been no comprehensive functional comparison of multiple KRAS mutations in an in vivo vertebrate tumorigenesis system. We generated a Gal4/UAS-based zebrafish model of pancreatic tumorigenesis in which the pancreatic expression of UAS-regulated oncogenes is driven by a ptf1a:Gal4-VP16 driver line. This system allowed us to rapidly compare the ability of 12 different KRAS mutations (G12A, G12C, G12D, G12F, G12R, G12S, G12V, G13C, G13D, Q61L, Q61R and A146T) to drive pancreatic tumorigenesis in vivo. Among fish injected with one of five KRAS mutations reported in other tumor types but not in human pancreatic cancer, 2/79 (2.5%) developed pancreatic tumors, with both tumors arising in fish injected with A146T. In contrast, among fish injected with one of seven KRAS mutations known to occur in human pancreatic cancer, 22/106 (20.8%) developed pancreatic cancer. All eight tumorigenic KRAS mutations were associated with downstream MAPK/ERK pathway activation in preneoplastic pancreatic epithelium, whereas nontumorigenic mutations were not. These results suggest that the spectrum of KRAS mutations observed in human pancreatic cancer reflects selection based on variable tumorigenic capacities, including the ability to activate MAPK/ERK signaling.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Colorectal cancer is a common disease that involves genetic alterations, such as inactivation of tumour suppressor genes and activation of oncogenes. Among them are RAS and BRAF mutations, which rarely coexist in the same tumour. Individual members of the Rho (Ras homology) GTPases contribute with distinct roles in tumour cell morphology, invasion and metastasis. The aim of this study is to dissect cell migration and invasion pathways that are utilised by BRAFV600E as compared to KRASG12V and HRASG12V oncoproteins. In particular, the role of RhoA (Ras homolog gene family, member A), Rac1 (Ras-related C3 botulinum toxin substrate 1) and Cdc42 (cell division cycle 42) in cancer progression induced by each of the three oncogenes is described. METHODS: Colon adenocarcinoma cells with endogenous as well as ectopically expressed or silenced oncogenic mutations of BRAFV600E, KRASG12V and HRASG12V were employed. Signalling pathways and Rho GTPases were inhibited with specific kinase inhibitors and siRNAs. Cell motility and invasion properties were correlated with cytoskeletal properties and Rho GTPase activities. RESULTS: Evidence presented here indicate that BRAFV600E significantly induces cell migration and invasion properties in vitro in colon cancer cells, at least in part through activation of RhoA GTPase. The relationship established between BRAFV600E and RhoA activation is mediated by the MEK-ERK pathway. In parallel, KRASG12V enhances the ability of colon adenocarcinoma cells Caco-2 to migrate and invade through filopodia formation and PI3K-dependent Cdc42 activation. Ultimately increased cell migration and invasion, mediated by Rac1, along with the mesenchymal morphology obtained through the Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition (EMT) were the main characteristics rendered by HRASG12V in Caco-2 cells. Moreover, BRAF and KRAS oncogenes are shown to cooperate with the TGF?-1 pathway to provide cells with additional transforming properties. CONCLUSION: This study discriminates oncogene-specific cell migration and invasion pathways mediated by Rho GTPases in colon cancer cells and reveals potential new oncogene-specific characteristics for targeted therapeutics.
Project description:To identify novel hubs for cancer immunotherapy, we generated C57BL/6J mice with concomitant deletion of the drugable transcription factor PPAR? and transgenic overexpression of the mutant KRASG12V oncogene in enterocytes. Animals developed epithelial hyperplasia, transmural inflammation and serrated adenomas in the small intestine with infiltration of CD3+ FOXP3+ T-cells and macrophages into the lamina propria of the non-malignant mucosa. Within serrated polyps, CD3+ CD8+ T-cells and phosphorylated ERK1/2 were reduced and the senescence marker P21 and macrophage counts up-regulated, indicative of an immunosuppressive tissue microenvironment. Treatment of mutant KRASG12V mice with the PPAR?-agonist rosiglitazone augmented M1 macrophage numbers, reduced IL4 expression and diminished polyp load in mice. Rosiglitazone also promoted M1 polarisation of human THP1-derived macrophages and decreased Il4 mRNA in isolated murine lymphocytes. Thus, inhibition of the oncogenic driver mutant RAS by PPAR? in epithelial and immune cell compartments may be a future target for the prevention or treatment of human malignancies associated with intestinal inflammation.
Project description:A complex network of inflammatory genes is closely linked to somatic cell transformation and malignant disease. Immune cells and their associated molecules are responsible for detecting and eliminating cancer cells as they establish themselves as the precursors of a tumour. By the time a patient has a detectable solid tumour, cancer cells have escaped the initial immune response mechanisms. Here, we describe the development of a double binary zebrafish model that enables regulatory programming of the myeloid cells as they respond to oncogene-activated melanocytes to be explored, focussing on the initial phase when cells become the precursors of cancer. A hormone-inducible binary system allows for temporal control of expression of different Ras oncogenes (NRasQ61K, HRasG12V and KRasG12V) in melanocytes, leading to proliferation and changes in morphology of the melanocytes. This model was coupled to binary cell-specific biotagging models allowing in vivo biotinylation and subsequent isolation of macrophage or neutrophil nuclei for regulatory profiling of their active transcriptomes. Nuclear transcriptional profiling of neutrophils, performed as they respond to the earliest precursors of melanoma in vivo, revealed an intricate landscape of regulatory factors that may promote progression to melanoma, including Serpinb1l4, Fgf1, Fgf6, Cathepsin H, Galectin 1 and Galectin 3. The model presented here provides a powerful platform to study the myeloid response to the earliest precursors of melanoma.
Project description:KRAS mutations are associated with rare cases of neurodevelopmental disorders that can cause intellectual disabilities. Previous studies showed that mice expressing a mutant KRAS have impaired the development and function of GABAergic inhibitory neurons, which may contribute to behavioural deficits in the mutant mice. However, the underlying cellular mechanisms and the role of excitatory neurons in these behavioural deficits in adults are not fully understood. Herein, we report that neuron type-specific expression of a constitutively active mutant KRASG12V in either excitatory or inhibitory neurons resulted in spatial memory deficits in adult mice. In inhibitory neurons, KRASG12V induced ERK activation and enhanced GABAergic synaptic transmission. Expressing KRASG12V in inhibitory neurons also impaired long-term potentiation in the hippocampal Shaffer-collateral pathway, which could be rescued by picrotoxin treatment. In contrast, KRASG12V induced ERK activation and neuronal cell death in excitatory neurons, which might have contributed to the severe behavioural deficits. Our results showed that both excitatory and inhibitory neurons are involved in mutant KRAS-associated learning deficits in adults via distinct cellular mechanisms.
Project description:Cancer cachexia affects up to 80% of patients with advanced solid cancer and leads to excessive muscle wasting. Here, using an inducible zebrafish hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) model driven by oncogenic krasG12V , we observed a progressive muscle-wasting phenotype in adult zebrafish, characterized by significant loss of body weight and muscle fibers. By differential feeding, we observed that overfeeding caused fatty liver, accelerated carcinogenesis and muscle wasting. Interestingly, leptin, an obesity hormone, was upregulated in oncogenic hepatocytes and overfeeding groups. We also found that leptin expression progressively increased during human liver disease progression. By using leptin receptor (lepr)-knockout fish, we found that tumor fish in the lepr mutant background had a higher survival rate and significantly lower muscle-wasting level after tumor induction than the tumor fish in the wild-type background. Chemical inhibitors targeting leptin signaling also alleviated the muscle-wasting phenotype, indicating that leptin signaling may be a new therapeutic target for cancer patients with muscle wasting.
Project description:RAS mutations lead to a constitutively active oncogenic protein that signals through multiple effector pathways. In this chemical biology study, we describe a novel coupled biochemical assay that measures activation of the effector BRAF by prenylated KRASG12V in a lipid-dependent manner. Using this assay, we discovered compounds that block biochemical and cellular functions of KRASG12V with low single-digit micromolar potency. We characterized the structural basis for inhibition using NMR methods and showed that the compounds stabilized the inactive conformation of KRASG12V. Determination of the biophysical affinity of binding using biolayer interferometry demonstrated that the potency of inhibition matches the affinity of binding only when KRAS is in its native state, namely post-translationally modified and in a lipid environment. The assays we describe here provide a first-time alignment across biochemical, biophysical, and cellular KRAS assays through incorporation of key physiological factors regulating RAS biology, namely a negatively charged lipid environment and prenylation, into the in vitro assays. These assays and the ligands we discovered are valuable tools for further study of KRAS inhibition and drug discovery.
Project description:The KRAS mutations have been an obstacle to identify therapeutic targets in cancer treatment. In this work, we clarified the distinct metastasis pattern of non-small-cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) induced by KRASG12V/KRASG12D mutations and inhibited the KRASG12V mediated metastasis by Wnt inhibitor. First, we found that KRASG12V induced more aggressive phenotype in vitro and in vivo experiments. The Gene Set Enrichment Analysis (GSEA) results of H838 KRASG12V cells showed a significant negative correlation with RhoA-related signaling. Following this clue, we observed KRASG12D induced higher activation of RhoA and suppressed activation of Wnt/?-catenin in H838KRASG12D cells. The restored activation of Wnt/?-catenin in H838KRASG12D cells could be detected when expression with a dominant-negative mutant of RhoA or treatment with RhoA inhibitor. Furthermore, the Wnt inhibitor abolished the KRASG12V-induced migration. We elucidated the importance of the axis of RhoA/Wnt in regulatory NSCLC metastasis driven by KRAS mutations. Our data indicate that KRASG12V driven NSCLC metastasis is Wnt-dependent and the mechanisms of NSCLC metastasis induced by KRASG12V/KRASG12D is distinct.