Kruppel-like Factor 5, Increased in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma, Promotes Proliferation, Acinar-to-Ductal Metaplasia, Pancreatic Intraepithelial Neoplasia, and Tumor Growth in Mice.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND & AIMS:Activating mutations in KRAS are detected in most pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas (PDACs). Expression of an activated form of KRAS (KrasG12D) in pancreata of mice is sufficient to induce formation of pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PanINs)-a precursor of PDAC. Pancreatitis increases formation of PanINs in mice that express KrasG12D by promoting acinar-to-ductal metaplasia (ADM). We investigated the role of the transcription factor Krüppel-like factor 5 (KLF5) in ADM and KRAS-mediated formation of PanINs. METHODS:We performed studies in adult mice with conditional disruption of Klf5 (Klf5fl/fl) and/or expression of KrasG12D (LSL-KrasG12D) via CreERTM recombinase regulated by an acinar cell-specific promoter (Ptf1a). Activation of KrasG12D and loss of KLF5 was achieved by administration of tamoxifen. Pancreatitis was induced in mice by administration of cerulein; pancreatic tissues were collected, analyzed by histology and immunohistochemistry, and transcriptomes were compared between mice that did or did not express KLF5. We performed immunohistochemical analyses of human tissue microarrays, comparing levels of KLF5 among 96 human samples of PDAC. UN-KC-6141 cells (pancreatic cancer cells derived from Pdx1-Cre;LSL-KrasG12D mice) were incubated with inhibitors of different kinases and analyzed in proliferation assays and by immunoblots. Expression of KLF5 was knocked down with small hairpin RNAs or CRISPR/Cas9 strategies; cells were analyzed in proliferation and gene expression assays, and compared with cells expressing control vectors. Cells were subcutaneously injected into flanks of syngeneic mice and tumor growth was assessed. RESULTS:Of the 96 PDAC samples analyzed, 73% were positive for KLF5 (defined as nuclear staining in more than 5% of tumor cells). Pancreata from Ptf1a-CreERTM;LSL-KrasG12D mice contained ADM and PanIN lesions, which contained high levels of nuclear KLF5 within these structures. In contrast, Ptf1a-CreERTM;LSL-KrasG12D;Klf5fl/fl mice formed fewer PanINs. After cerulein administration, Ptf1a-CreERTM;LSL-KrasG12D mice formed more extensive ADM than Ptf1a-CreERTM;LSL-KrasG12D;Klf5fl/fl mice. Pancreata from Ptf1a-CreERTM;LSL-KrasG12D;Klf5fl/fl mice had increased expression of the tumor suppressor NDRG2 and reduced phosphorylation (activation) of STAT3, compared with Ptf1a-CreERTM;LSL-KrasG12D mice. In UN-KC-6141 cells, PI3K and MEK signaling increased expression of KLF5; a high level of KLF5 increased proliferation. Cells with knockdown of Klf5 had reduced proliferation, compared with control cells, had reduced expression of ductal markers, and formed smaller tumors (71.61 ± 30.79 mm3 vs 121.44 ± 34.90 mm3 from control cells) in flanks of mice. CONCLUSION:Levels of KLF5 are increased in human PDAC samples and in PanINs of Ptf1a-CreERTM;LSL-KrasG12D mice, compared with controls. KLF5 disruption increases expression of NDRG2 and reduces activation of STAT3 and reduces ADM and PanINs formation in mice. Strategies to reduce KLF5 activity might reduce progression of acinar cells from ADM to PanIN and pancreatic tumorigenesis.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Pancreatic cancer is currently the third leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States and it is predicted to become the second by the year 2030. High-mobility group A1 protein (HMGA1) is an oncogenic transcription factor, localised and active in cell nuclei, that is linked to tumour progression in many human cancers, including pancreatic cancer. Overexpression of HMGA1 renders cancer cells resistant to chemotherapy. Although the Ptf1a-Cre; LSL-KrasG12D transgenic mouse is perhaps the most widely utilised animal model for human pancreatic cancer, expression levels of HMGA1 in pancreata from this mouse model have not been characterised.<h4>Methods</h4>Quantitative immunohistochemical analysis was used to determine nuclear HMGA1 levels in pancreatic tissue sections from Ptf1a-Cre; LSL-KrasG12D mice aged 5, 11, and 15 months. The H Score method was used for quantitative analysis.<h4>Results</h4>The HMGA1 levels were significantly elevated in pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PanIN) epithelia compared with untransformed acinar tissues or fibroinflammatory stroma.<h4>Conclusions</h4>The PanINs have long been regarded as precancerous precursors to pancreatic adenocarcinoma. Significantly elevated HMGA1 levels observed in the nuclei of PanINs in Ptf1a-Cre; LSL-KrasG12D mice validate this animal model for investigating the role that HMGA1 plays in cancer progression and testing therapeutic approaches targeting HMGA1 in human cancers.
Project description:Pancreatic cancer (PC) is an almost uniformly lethal disease with inflammation playing an important role in its progression. Sustained stimulation of purinergic receptor P2X7 drives induction of NLRP inflammasome activation. To understand the role of P2X7 receptor and inflammasome, we performed transcriptomic analysis of p48Cre/+-LSL-KrasG12D/+ mice pancreatic tumors by next generation sequencing. Results showed that P2X7R's key inflammasome components, IL-1? and caspase-1 are highly expressed (p < 0.05) in pancreatic tumors. Hence, to target P2X7R, we tested effects of two P2X7R antagonists, A438079 and AZ10606120, on pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasms (PanINs) and their progression to PC in p48Cre/+-LSL-KrasG12D/+ mice. Following dose optimization studies, for chemoprevention efficacy, six-week-old p48Cre/+-LSL-KrasG12D/+ mice (24-36/group) were fed modified AIN-76A diets containing 0, 50 or 100 ppm A438079 and AZ10606120 for 38 weeks. Pancreata were collected, weighed, and evaluated for PanINs and PDAC. Control diet-fed male mice showed 50% PDAC incidence. Dietary A438079 and AZ10606120 showed 60% PDAC incidence. A marginal increase of PanIN 3 (carcinoma in-situ) was observed in drug-treated mice. Importantly, the carcinoma spread in untreated mice was 24% compared to 43-53% in treatment groups. Reduced survival rates were observed in mice exposed to P2X7R inhibitors. Both drugs showed a decrease in caspase-3, caspase-1, p21 and Cdc25c. Dietary A438079 showed modest inhibition of P2X7R, NLRP3, and IL-33, whereas AZ10606120 had no effects. In summary, targeting the P2X7R pathway by A438079 and AZ10606120 failed to show chemopreventive effects against PC and slightly enhanced PanIN progression to PDAC. Hence, caution is needed while treating high-risk individuals with P2X7R inhibitors.
Project description:Pancreatitis is the most important risk factor for pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). Pancreatitis predisposes to PDAC because it induces a process of acinar cell reprogramming known as acinar-to-ductal metaplasia (ADM)-a precursor of pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia lesions that can progress to PDAC. Mutations in KRAS are found at the earliest stages of pancreatic tumorigenesis, and it appears to be a gatekeeper to cancer progression. We investigated how mutations in KRAS cooperate with pancreatitis to promote pancreatic cancer progression in mice.We generated mice carrying conditional alleles of Yap1 and Taz and disrupted Yap1 and Taz using a Cre-lox recombination strategy in adult mouse pancreatic acinar cells (Yap1fl/fl;Tazfl/fl;Ela1-CreERT2). We crossed these mice with LSL-KrasG12D mice, which express a constitutively active form of KRAS after Cre recombination. Pancreatic tumor initiation and progression were analyzed after chemically induced pancreatitis. We analyzed pancreatic tissues from patients with pancreatitis or PDAC by immunohistochemistry.Oncogenic activation of KRAS in normal, untransformed acinar cells in the pancreatic tissues of mice resulted in increased levels of pancreatitis-induced ADM. Expression of the constitutive active form of KRAS in this system led to activation of the transcriptional regulators YAP1 and TAZ; their function was required for pancreatitis-induced ADM in mice. The JAK-STAT3 pathway was a downstream effector of KRAS signaling via YAP1 and TAZ. YAP1 and TAZ directly mediated transcriptional activation of several genes in the JAK-STAT3 signaling pathway; this could be a mechanism by which acinar cells that express activated KRAS become susceptible to inflammation.We identified a mechanism by which oncogenic KRAS facilitates ADM and thereby generates the cells that initiate neoplastic progression. This process involves activation of YAP1 and TAZ in acinar cells, which up-regulate JAK-STAT3 signaling to promote development of PDAC in mice.
Project description:Obesity is a risk factor for pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), but it is not clear how obesity contributes to pancreatic carcinogenesis. The oncogenic form of KRAS is expressed during early stages of PDAC development and is detected in almost all of these tumors. However, there is evidence that mutant KRAS requires an additional stimulus to activate its full oncogenic activity and that this stimulus involves the inflammatory response. We investigated whether the inflammation induced by a high-fat diet, and the accompanying up-regulation of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX2), increases Kras activity during pancreatic carcinogenesis in mice.We studied mice with acinar cell-specific expression of KrasG12D (LSL-Kras/Ela-CreERT mice) alone or crossed with COX2 conditional knockout mice (COXKO/LSL-Kras/Ela-CreERT). We also studied LSL-Kras/PDX1-Cre mice. All mice were fed isocaloric diets with different amounts of fat, and a COX2 inhibitor was administered to some LSL-Kras/Ela-CreERT mice. Pancreata were collected from mice and analyzed for Kras activity, levels of phosphorylated extracellular-regulated kinase, inflammation, fibrosis, pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PanIN), and PDACs.Pancreatic tissues from LSL-Kras/Ela-CreERT mice fed high-fat diets (HFDs) had increased Kras activity, fibrotic stroma, and numbers of PanINs and PDACs than LSL-Kras/Ela-CreERT mice fed control diets; the mice fed the HFDs also had shorter survival times than mice fed control diets. Administration of a COX2 inhibitor to LSL-Kras/Ela-CreERT mice prevented these effects of HFDs. We also observed a significant reduction in survival times of mice fed HFDs. COXKO/LSL-Kras/Ela-CreERT mice fed HFDs had no evidence for increased numbers of PanIN lesions, inflammation, or fibrosis, as opposed to the increases observed in LSL-Kras/Ela-CreERT mice fed HFDs.In mice, an HFD can activate oncogenic Kras via COX2, leading to pancreatic inflammation and fibrosis and development of PanINs and PDAC. This mechanism might be involved in the association between risk for PDAC and HFDs.
Project description:Pancreatic cancer (PC) is acquired postnatally; to mimic this scenario, we developed an inducible KrasG12D; Ptf1a-CreER™ (iKC) mouse model, in which Kras is activated postnatally at week 16 upon tamoxifen (TAM) administration. Upon TAM treatment, iKC mice develop pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PanIN) lesions and PC with metastasis at the fourth and fortieth weeks, respectively, and exhibited acinar-to-ductal metaplasia (ADM) and transdifferentiation. Kras activation upregulated the transcription factors Ncoa3, p-cJun and FoxM1, which in turn upregulated expression of transmembrane mucins (Muc1, Muc4 and Muc16) and secretory mucin (Muc5Ac). Interestingly, knockdown of KrasG12D in multiple PC cell lines resulted in downregulation of MUC1, MUC4, MUC5AC and MUC16. In addition, iKC mice exhibited ADM and transdifferentiation. Our results show that the iKC mouse more closely mimics human PC development and can be used to investigate pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) biomarkers, early onset of PDAC, and ADM. The iKC model can also be used for preclinical strategies such as targeting mucin axis alone or in combination with neo-adjuvant, immunotherapeutic approaches and to monitor chemotherapy response.
Project description:Chromatin remodeler Brahma related gene 1 (BRG1) is silenced in approximately 10% of human pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas (PDAs). We previously showed that BRG1 inhibits the formation of intraductal pancreatic mucinous neoplasm (IPMN) and that IPMN-derived PDA originated from ductal cells. However, the role of BRG1 in pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia-derived (PanIN-derived) PDA that originated from acinar cells remains elusive. Here, we found that exclusive elimination of Brg1 in acinar cells of Ptf1a-CreER; KrasG12D; Brg1fl/fl mice impaired the formation of acinar-to-ductal metaplasia (ADM) and PanIN independently of p53 mutation, while PDA formation was inhibited in the presence of p53 mutation. BRG1 bound to regions of the Sox9 promoter to regulate its expression and was critical for recruitment of upstream regulators, including PDX1, to the Sox9 promoter and enhancer in acinar cells. SOX9 expression was downregulated in BRG1-depleted ADMs/PanINs. Notably, Sox9 overexpression canceled this PanIN-attenuated phenotype in KBC mice. Furthermore, Brg1 deletion in established PanIN by using a dual recombinase system resulted in regression of the lesions in mice. Finally, BRG1 expression correlated with SOX9 expression in human PDAs. In summary, BRG1 is critical for PanIN initiation and progression through positive regulation of SOX9. Thus, the BRG1/SOX9 axis is a potential target for PanIN-derived PDA.
Project description:Pancreatic cancers driven by KRAS mutations require additional mutations for tumor progression. The tumor suppressor FBXW7 is altered in pancreatic cancers, but its contribution to pancreatic tumorigenesis is unknown. To determine potential cooperation between Kras mutation and Fbxw7 inactivation in pancreatic tumorigenesis, we generated P48-Cre;LSL-KrasG12D;Fbxw7fl/fl (KFCfl/fl) compound mice. We found that KFCfl/fl mice displayed accelerated tumorigenesis: all mice succumbed to pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) by 40 days of age, with PDA onset occurring by 2 weeks of age. PDA in KFCfl/fl mice was preceded by earlier onset of acinar-to-ductal metaplasia (ADM) and pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PanIN) lesions, and associated with chromosomal instability and the accumulation of Fbxw7 substrates Yes-associated protein (Yap), c-Myc, and Notch. Using KFCfl/fl and FBXW7-deficient human pancreatic cancer cells, we found that Yap silencing attenuated growth promotion by Fbxw7 deletion. Our data demonstrate that Fbxw7 is a potent suppressor of KrasG12D-induced pancreatic tumorigenesis due, at least in part, to negative regulation of Yap.
Project description:Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is the fourth leading cause of cancer-associated mortality worldwide with an overall five-year survival rate less than 7%. Accumulating evidence has revealed the cancer preventive and therapeutic effects of metformin, one of the most widely prescribed medications for type 2 diabetes mellitus. However, its role in pancreatic cancer is not fully elucidated. Herein, we aimed to further study the preventive and therapeutic effects of metformin in genetically engineered mouse models of pancreatic cancer.LSL-KrasG12D/+; Pdx1-Cre (KC) mouse model was established to investigate the effect of metformin in pancreatic tumorigenesis suppression; LSL-KrasG12D/+; Trp53fl/+; Pdx1-Cre (KPC) mouse model was used to evaluate the therapeutic efficiency of metformin in PDAC. Chronic pancreatitis was induced in KC mice by peritoneal injection of cerulein.Following metformin treatment, pancreatic acinar-to-ductal metaplasia (ADM) and mouse pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia (mPanIN) were decreased in KC mice. Chronic pancreatitis induced a stroma-rich and duct-like structure and increased the formation of ADM and mPanIN lesions, in line with an increased cytokeratin 19 (CK19)-stained area. Metformin treatment diminished chronic pancreatitis-mediated ADM and mPanIN formation. In addition, it alleviated the percent area of Masson's trichrome staining, and decreased the number of Ki67-positive cells. In KPC mice, metformin inhibited tumor growth and the incidence of abdominal invasion. More importantly, it prolonged the overall survival.Metformin inhibited pancreatic cancer initiation, suppressed chronic pancreatitis-induced tumorigenesis, and showed promising therapeutic effect in PDAC.
Project description:To investigate the role of SHP2 (Ptpn11) in pancreatic carcinogenesis, murine pancreatic whole tissue RNA samples of 9 week old mice with the genotypes Ptf1a-Cre;LSL-KrasG12D (ID-labels Kxxx) and Ptf1a-Cre;LSL-KrasG12D;Ptpn11fl/fl (ID-labels Mxxxx) were analyzed by microarray.
Project description:Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is a dynamic tumor supported by several stromal elements such as pancreatic stellate cells (PSC). Significant crosstalk exists between PSCs and tumor cells to stimulate oncogenic signaling and malignant progression of PDAC. However, how PSCs activate intercellular signaling in PDAC cells remains to be elucidated. We have previously shown that activated signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) signaling is a key component in the progression of pancreatic neoplasia. We hypothesize that PSC secreted IL-6 activates STAT3 signaling to promote PanIN progression to PDAC. Human PDAC and mouse PanIN cells were treated with PSC-conditioned media (PSC-CM), and phospho- and total-STAT3 levels by immunoblot analysis were determined. IL-6 was quantified in PSC-CM and cell invasion and colony formation assays were performed in the presence or absence of a neutralizing IL-6 antibody and the JAK/STAT3 inhibitor AZD1480. Serum from Ptf1aCre/+;LSL-KrasG12D/+;Tgfbr2flox/flox (PKT) and LSL-KrasG12D/+; Trp53R172H/+; Pdx1Cre/+ (KPC) mice demonstrated increased levels of IL-6 compared to serum from non-PDAC bearing KC and PK mice. PSC secreted IL-6 activated STAT3 signaling in noninvasive, precursor PanIN cells as well as PDAC cells, resulting in enhanced cell invasion and colony formation in both cell types. There was a significant positive linear correlation between IL-6 concentration and the ratio of phosphorylated STAT3/total STAT3. IL-6 neutralization or STAT3 inhibition attenuated PSC-CM induced activation of STAT3 signaling and tumorigenicity. These data provide evidence that PSCs are directly involved in promoting the progression of PanINs towards invasive carcinoma. This study demonstrates a novel role of PSC secreted IL-6 in transitioning noninvasive pancreatic precursor cells into invasive PDAC through the activation of STAT3 signaling.