PAI1 mediates fibroblast-mast cell interactions in skin fibrosis.
ABSTRACT: Fibrosis is a prevalent pathological condition arising from the chronic activation of fibroblasts. This activation results from the extensive intercellular crosstalk mediated by both soluble factors and direct cell-cell connections. Prominent among these are the interactions of fibroblasts with immune cells, in which the fibroblast-mast cell connection, although acknowledged, is relatively unexplored. We have used a Tg mouse model of skin fibrosis, based on expression of the transcription factor Snail in the epidermis, to probe the mechanisms regulating mast cell activity and the contribution of these cells to this pathology. We have discovered that Snail-expressing keratinocytes secrete plasminogen activator inhibitor type 1 (PAI1), which functions as a chemotactic factor to increase mast cell infiltration into the skin. Moreover, we have determined that PAI1 upregulates intercellular adhesion molecule type 1 (ICAM1) expression on dermal fibroblasts, rendering them competent to bind to mast cells. This heterotypic cell-cell adhesion, also observed in the skin fibrotic disorder scleroderma, culminates in the reciprocal activation of both mast cells and fibroblasts, leading to the cascade of events that promote fibrogenesis. Thus, we have identified roles for PAI1 in the multifactorial program of fibrogenesis that expand its functional repertoire beyond its canonical role in plasmin-dependent processes.
Project description:Migration and invasion of cancer cells constitute fundamental processes in tumor progression and metastasis. Migratory cancer cells commonly upregulate expression of plasminogen activator inhibitor 1 (PAI1), and PAI1 correlates with poor prognosis in breast cancer. However, mechanisms by which PAI1 promotes migration of cancer cells remain incompletely defined. Here we show that increased PAI1 drives rearrangement of the actin cytoskeleton, mitochondrial fragmentation, and glycolytic metabolism in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) cells. In two-dimensional environments, both stable expression of PAI1 and treatment with recombinant PAI1 increased migration, which could be blocked with the specific inhibitor tiplaxtinin. PAI1 also promoted invasion into the extracellular matrix from coculture spheroids with human mammary fibroblasts in fibrin gels. Elevated cellular PAI1 enhanced cytoskeletal features associated with migration, actin-rich migratory structures, and reduced actin stress fibers. In orthotopic tumor xenografts, we discovered that TNBC cells with elevated PAI1 show collagen fibers aligned perpendicular to the tumor margin, an established marker of invasive breast tumors. Further studies revealed that PAI1 activates ERK signaling, a central regulator of motility, and promotes mitochondrial fragmentation. Consistent with known effects of mitochondrial fragmentation on metabolism, fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy of endogenous NADH showed that PAI1 promotes glycolysis in cell-based assays, orthotopic tumor xenografts, and lung metastases. Together, these data demonstrate for the first time that PAI1 regulates cancer cell metabolism and suggest targeting metabolism to block motility and tumor progression. IMPLICATIONS: We identified a novel mechanism through which cancer cells alter their metabolism to promote tumor progression.
Project description:Plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI1) can promote cancer progression, and its protein expression in tumors is an independent indicator of poor prognosis in many forms of cancer. Here, we show that high PAI1 mRNA levels also predict for shorter overall survival in two independent breast cancer data sets, highlighting the importance of its transcriptional regulation. The -675insG (4G/5G) single-nucleotide polymorphism in the PAI1 gene promoter has been shown to influence PAI1 transcription, with the 4G allele eliciting higher reporter gene expression in vitro and higher levels of circulating PAI1 in vivo. Nevertheless, its genotypic distribution in 2,539 British women with invasive breast cancer was virtually identical to that seen in 1,832 matched controls (P = 0.72), and annual mortality rates for 4G4G, 4G5G, and 5G5G cases were 2.6%, 2.8%, and 3.1% per year, respectively (P = 0.10). Thus, there was no association with breast cancer incidence or outcome, and in a separate set of breast cancers, the 4G/5G single-nucleotide polymorphism showed no association with PAI1 mRNA expression (P = 0.85). By contrast, connective tissue growth factor (CTGF), which can regulate PAI1 expression in culture, was associated with PAI1 expression in three independent cohorts (P << 0.0001). In addition, PAI1 gene copy number differences in the tumors were correlated with PAI1 mRNA expression (P = 0.0005) and seemed to affect expression independently of CTGF. Thus, local factors, such as CTGF and genomic amplification, seem to be more important than germ line genetic variation in influencing PAI1 expression and its untoward effects in breast cancer.
Project description:Connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) plays an important role in the pathogenesis of chronic fibrotic diseases. However, the mechanism by which paracrine effects of CTGF control the cell fate of neighboring epithelial cells is not known. In this study, we investigated the paracrine effects of CTGF overexpressed in fibroblasts of Col1a2-CTGF transgenic mice on epithelial cells of skin and lung. The skin and lungs of Col1a2-CTGF transgenic mice were examined for phenotypic markers of epithelial activation and differentiation and stimulation of signal transduction pathways. In addition to an expansion of the dermal compartment in Col1a2-CTGF transgenic mice, the epidermis was characterized by focal hyperplasia, and basal cells stained positive for ?SMA, Snail, S100A4 and Sox9, indicating that these cells had undergone a change in their genetic program. Activation of phosphorylated p38 and phosphorylated Erk1/2 was observed in the granular and cornified layers of the skin. Lung fibrosis was associated with a marked increase in cells co-expressing epithelial and mesenchymal markers in the lesional and unaffected lung tissue of Col1a2-CTGF mice. In epithelial cells treated with TGF?, CTGF-specific siRNA-mediated knockdown suppressed Snail, Sox9, S100A4 protein levels and restored E-cadherin levels. Both adenoviral expression of CTGF in epithelial cells and treatment with recombinant CTGF induced EMT-like morphological changes and expression of ?-SMA. Our in vivo and in vitro data supports the notion that CTGF expression in mesenchymal cells in the skin and lungs can cause changes in the differentiation program of adjacent epithelial cells. We speculate that these changes might contribute to fibrogenesis.
Project description:Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is associated with a pronounced fibro-inflammatory stromal reaction that contributes to tumor progression. A critical step in invasion and metastasis is the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT), which can be regulated by the Snail family of transcription factors. Overexpression of Snail (Snai1) and mutant Kras(G12D) in the pancreas of transgenic mice, using an elastase (EL) promoter, resulted in fibrosis. To identify how Snail modulates inflammation in the pancreas, we examined the effect of expressing Snail in EL-Kras(G12D) mice (Kras(G12D)/Snail) on mast cell infiltration, which has been linked to PDAC progression. Using this animal model system, it was demonstrated that there are increased numbers of mast cells in the pancreas of Kras(G12D)/Snail mice compared with control Kras(G12D) mice. In addition, it was revealed that human primary PDAC tumors with increased Snail expression are associated with increased mast cell infiltration, and that Snail expression in these clinical specimens positively correlated with the expression of stem cell factor (SCF/KITLG), a cytokine known to regulate mast cell migration. Concomitantly, SCF levels are increased in the Kras(G12D)/Snail mice than in control mice. Moreover, overexpression of Snail in PDAC cells increased SCF levels, and the media conditioned by Snail-expressing PDAC cells promoted mast cell migration. Finally, inhibition of SCF using a neutralizing antibody significantly attenuated Snail-induced migration of mast cells.Together, these results elucidate how the EMT regulator Snail contributes to inflammation associated with PDAC tumors.
Project description:Activation of apoptotic signalling in endothelial cells contributes to the detrimental effects of a variety of pathological stimuli. In investigating the molecular events underlying the anti-apoptotic effect of human plasma in cultured human endothelial cells, we unexpectedly uncovered a novel mechanism of apoptosis suppression by human plasma through an interaction between two previously unrelated proteins. Human plasma inhibited hypoxia-serum deprivation-induced apoptosis and stimulated BADS136 and AktS473 phosphorylation. Akt1 silencing reversed part (~52%) of the anti-apoptotic effect of human plasma, suggesting the existence of additional mechanisms mediating the anti-apoptotic effect other than Akt signalling. Human plasma disrupted the interaction of BAD with protein phosphatase 1 (PP1). Mass spectrometry identified fourteen PP1-interacting proteins induced by human plasma. Notably, a group of serine protease inhibitors including plasminogen activator inhibitor 1 (PAI1), a major inhibitor of fibrinolysis, were involved. Silencing of PAI1 attenuated the anti-apoptotic effect of human plasma. Furthermore, combined Akt1 and PAI1 silencing attenuated the majority of the anti-apoptotic effect of human plasma. We conclude that human plasma protects against endothelial cell apoptosis through sustained BAD phosphorylation, which is achieved by, at least in part, a novel interaction between PP1 with PAI1.
Project description:Persistent fibroblast activation initiated by transforming growth factor ? (TGF-?) is a fundamental event in the pathogenesis of systemic sclerosis, and its pharmacological inhibition represents a potential therapeutic strategy. The nuclear receptor, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor ? (PPAR-?), exerts potent fibrotic activity. The synthetic oleanane triterpenoid, 2-cyano-3,12-dioxo-olean-1,9-dien-28-oic acid (CDDO), is a PPAR-? agonist with potential effects on TGF-? signalling and dermal fibrosis.To examine the modulation of fibrogenesis by CDDO in explanted fibroblasts, skin organ cultures and murine models of scleroderma.The effects of CDDO on experimental fibrosis induced by bleomycin injection or by overexpression of constitutively active type I TGF-? receptor (TgfbR1ca) were evaluated. Modulation of fibrotic gene expression was examined in human skin organ cultures. To delineate the mechanisms underlying the antifibrotic effects of CDDO, explanted skin fibroblasts cultured in two-dimensional monolayers or in three-dimensional full-thickness human skin equivalents were studied.CDDO significantly ameliorated dermal fibrosis in two complementary mouse models of scleroderma, as well as in human skin organ cultures and in three-dimensional human skin equivalents. In two-dimensional monolayer cultures of explanted normal fibroblasts, CDDO abrogated fibrogenic responses induced by TGF-?. These CDDO effects occurred via disruption of Smad-dependent transcription and were associated with inhibition of Akt activation. In scleroderma fibroblasts, CDDO attenuated the elevated synthesis of collagen. Remarkably, the in vitro antifibrotic effects of CDDO were independent of PPAR-?.The PPAR-? agonist triterpenoid CDDO attenuates fibrogenesis by antagonistically targeting canonical TGF-?/Smad and Akt signalling in a PPAR-?-independent manner. These findings identify this synthetic triterpenoid as a potential new therapy for the control of fibrosis.
Project description:Ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury to myocardium induces death of cardiomyocytes and destroys the vasculature, leading to cardiac fibrosis that is mainly mediated by the transdifferentiation of fibroblasts to myofibroblasts and the collagen deposition. Snail involvement in fibrosis is well known; however, the contribution of Snail to cardiac fibrosis during I/R injury and its underlying mechanisms have not been defined. We showed that I/R injury to mouse hearts significantly increases the expression of Snail. An in vitro hypoxia/reoxygenation (Hy/Reoxy) experiment showed that the cell source of Snail induction is endothelial cells rather than cardiac fibroblasts (cFibroblasts) or cardiomyoblasts. When Snail was overexpressed in endothelial cells, they underwent endothelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EndMT) but showed very poor capacity for collagen synthesis. Instead, reoxygenation- or Snail overexpression-mediated EndMT-like cells noticeably stimulated transdifferentiation of fibroblasts to myofibroblasts via secretion of connective tissue growth factor (CTGF). The injection of a peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-? (PPAR-?) agonist, a selective Snail inhibitor, remarkably suppressed collagen deposition and cardiac fibrosis in mouse I/R injury, and significantly improved cardiac function and reduced Snail and CTGF expression in vivo. Our findings suggested a new mechanism of cell-to-cell communication between EndMT-like cells and fibroblasts for fibrosis induction and implicated Snail as a potential target molecule in cardiac fibrosis after I/R injury.
Project description:Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most common cancer worldwide. The standard treatment in locally advanced rectal cancer is preoperative radiation alone or in combination with chemotherapy, followed by adjuvant chemotherapy. Rectal cancer is highly lethal, with only 20% of patients showing a complete remission (by RECIST) after standard treatment, although they commonly show local or systemic relapse likely due to its late detection and high chemotherapy resistance, among other reasons. Here, we explored the role of PAI1 (Serpin E1) in rectal cancer through the analyses of public patient databases, our own cohort of locally advanced rectal cancer patients and a panel of CRC cell lines. We showed that PAI1 expression is upregulated in rectal tumors, which is associated with decreased overall survival and increased metastasis and invasion in advanced rectal tumors. Accordingly, PAI1 expression is correlated with the expression of (Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition) EMT-associated genes and genes encoding drug targets, including the tyrosine kinases PDGFRb, PDGFRa and FYN, the serine/threonine kinase PIM1 and BRAF. In addition, we demonstrate that cells expressing PAI1 protein are more sensitive to the PIM inhibitor AZD1208, suggesting that PAI1 could be used to predict response to treatment with PIM inhibitors and to complement radiotherapy in rectal tumors.
Project description:Because recent studies implicate Toll-like receptors (TLRs) in the pathogenesis of fibrosis, we sought to investigate the in vitro and in vivo role and mechanism of TLR4-mediated fibroblast responses in fibrogenesis. We found that TLR4 was constitutively expressed, and accumulation of endogenous TLR4 ligands significantly elevated, in lesional skin and lung tissues from patients with scleroderma. Activation of TLR4 signaling in explanted fibroblasts resulted in enhanced collagen synthesis and increased expression of multiple genes involved in tissue remodeling and extracellular matrix homeostasis. Moreover, TLR4 dramatically enhanced the sensitivity of fibroblasts to the stimulatory effect of transforming growth factor-?1. These profibrotic responses were abrogated by both genetic and pharmacological disruption of TLR4 signaling in vitro, and skin fibrosis induced by bleomycin in vivo was attenuated in mice harboring a mutated TLR4. Activation of TLR4 in fibroblasts augmented the intensity of canonical Smad signaling, and was accompanied by suppression of anti-fibrotic microRNA expression. Together, these results suggest a novel model to account for persistent fibrogenesis in scleroderma, in which activation of fibroblast TLR4 signaling, triggered by damage-associated endogenous TLR4 ligands, results in augmented transforming growth factor-?1 sensitivity with increased matrix production and progressive connective tissue remodeling. Under these conditions, fibroblast TLR4 serves as the switch for converting self-limited tissue repair into intractable fibrosis.
Project description:Previous studies of tissue repair have revealed osteopontin (OPN) to be up-regulated in association with the wound inflammatory response. We hypothesize that OPN may contribute to inflammation-associated fibrosis. In a series of in vitro and in vivo studies, we analyze the effects of blocking OPN expression at the wound, and determine which inflammatory cells, and which paracrine factors from these cells, may be responsible for triggering OPN expression in wound fibroblasts. Delivery of OPN antisense oligodeoxynucleotides into mouse skin wounds by release from Pluronic gel decreases OPN protein levels at the wound and results in accelerated healing and reduced granulation tissue formation and scarring. To identify which leukocytic lineages may be responsible for OPN expression, we cultured fibroblasts in macrophage-, neutrophil-, or mast cell-conditioned media (CM), and found that macrophage- and mast cell-secreted factors, specifically platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF), induced fibroblast OPN expression. Correspondingly, Gleevec, which blocks PDGF receptor signaling, and PDGF-Rbeta-neutralizing antibodies, inhibited OPN induction by macrophage-CM. These studies indicate that inflammation-triggered expression of OPN both hinders the rate of repair and contributes to wound fibrosis. Thus, OPN and PDGF are potential targets for therapeutic modulation of skin repair to improve healing rate and quality.