MYCN acts as a direct co-regulator of p53 in MYCN amplified neuroblastoma.
ABSTRACT: The MYC oncogenes and p53 have opposing yet interrelated roles in normal development and tumorigenesis. How MYCN expression alters the biology and clinical responsiveness of pediatric neuroblastoma remains poorly defined. Neuroblastoma is p53 wild type at diagnosis and repression of p53 signaling is required for tumorigenesis. Here, we tested the hypothesis that MYCN amplification alters p53 transcriptional activity in neuroblastoma. Interestingly, we found that MYCN directly binds to the tetrameric form of p53 at its C-terminal domain, and this interaction is independent of MYCN/MAX heterodimer formation. Chromatin analysis of MYCN and p53 targets reveals dramatic changes in binding, as well as co-localization of the MYCN-p53 complex at p53-REs and E-boxes of genes critical to DNA damage responses and cell cycle progression. RNA sequencing studies show that MYCN-p53 co-localization significantly modulated the expression of p53 target genes. Furthermore, MYCN-p53 interaction leads to regulation of alternative p53 targets not regulated in the presence of low MYCN levels. These novel targets include a number of genes involved in lipid metabolism, DNA repair, and apoptosis. Taken together, our findings demonstrate a novel oncogenic role of MYCN as a transcriptional co-regulator of p53 in high-risk MYCN amplified neuroblastoma. Targeting this novel oncogenic function of MYCN may enhance p53-mediated responses and sensitize MYCN amplified tumors to chemotherapy.
Project description:MYCN, an oncogenic transcription factor of the Myc family, is a major driver of neuroblastoma tumorigenesis. Due to the difficulty in drugging MYCN directly, revealing the molecules in MYCN regulatory networks will help to identify effective therapeutic targets for neuroblastoma therapy. Here we perform ChIP-sequencing and small RNA-sequencing of neuroblastoma cells to determine the MYCN-binding sites and MYCN-associated microRNAs, and integrate various types of genomic data to construct MYCN regulatory networks. The overall analysis indicated that MYCN-regulated genes were involved in a wide range of biological processes and could be used as signatures to identify poor-prognosis MYCN-non-amplified patients. Analysis of the MYCN binding sites showed that MYCN principally served as an activator. Using a computational approach, we identified 32 MYCN co-regulators, and some of these findings are supported by previous studies. Moreover, we investigated the interplay between MYCN transcriptional and microRNA post-transcriptional regulations and identified several microRNAs, such as miR-124-3p and miR-93-5p, which may significantly contribute to neuroblastoma pathogenesis. We also found MYCN and its regulated microRNAs acted together to repress the tumor suppressor genes. This work provides a comprehensive view of MYCN regulations for exploring therapeutic targets in neuroblastoma, as well as insights into the mechanism of neuroblastoma tumorigenesis.
Project description:The MYCN oncogene is the major negative prognostic marker in neuroblastoma with important roles in both the pathogenesis and clinical behavior of this aggressive malignancy. MYC oncogenes activate both proliferative and apoptotic cellular pathways and, accordingly, inhibition of p53-mediated apoptosis is a prerequisite for MYC-driven tumorigenesis. To identify novel transcriptional targets mediating the MYCN-dependent phenotype, we screened a MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma cell line by using chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) cloning. We identified the essential p53 inhibitor and protooncogene MDM2 as a putative target. MDM2 has multiple p53-independent functions modulating cell cycle and transcriptional events. Standard ChIP with MYCN antibodies established the binding of MYCN to a consensus E-box within the human MDM2 promoter. Oligonucleotide pull-down assays further established the capacity of MYCN to bind to this promoter region, confirming the ChIP results. Luciferase reporter assays confirmed the E-box-specific, MYCN-dependent regulation of the MDM2 promoter in MYCN-inducible neuroblastoma cell lines. Real-time quantitative PCR and Western blot analysis demonstrated a rapid increase in endogenous MDM2 mRNA and MDM2 protein upon induction of MYCN. Targeted inhibition of MYCN in a MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma cell line resulted in decreased MDM2 expression levels with concomitant stabilization of p53 and induction of apoptosis. Our finding that MYCN directly modulates baseline MDM2 levels suggests a mechanism contributing to the pathogenesis of neuroblastoma and other MYC-driven malignancies through inhibition of MYC-stimulated apoptosis.
Project description:MRE11 is a component of the MRE11/RAD50/NBS1 (MRN) complex, whose activity is essential to control faithful DNA replication and to prevent accumulation of deleterious DNA double-strand breaks. In humans, hypomorphic mutations in these genes lead to DNA damage response (DDR)-defective and cancer-prone syndromes. Moreover, MRN complex dysfunction dramatically affects the nervous system, where MRE11 is required to restrain MYCN-dependent replication stress, during the rapid expansion of progenitor cells. MYCN activation, often due to genetic amplification, represents the driving oncogenic event for a number of human tumors, conferring bad prognosis and predicting very poor responses even to the most aggressive therapeutic protocols. This is prototypically exemplified by neuroblastoma, where MYCN amplification occurs in about 25% of the cases. Intriguingly, MRE11 is highly expressed and predicts bad prognosis in MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma. Due to the lack of direct means to target MYCN, we explored the possibility to trigger intolerable levels of replication stress-dependent DNA damage, by inhibiting MRE11 in MYCN-amplified preclinical models. Indeed, either MRE11 knockdown or its pharmacological inhibitor mirin induce accumulation of replication stress and DNA damage biomarkers in MYCN-amplified cells. The consequent DDR recruits p53 and promotes a p53-dependent cell death, as indicated by p53 loss- and gain-of-function experiments. Encapsulation of mirin in nanoparticles allowed its use on MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma xenografts in vivo, which resulted in a sharp impairment of tumor growth, associated with DDR activation, p53 accumulation, and cell death. Therefore, we propose that MRE11 inhibition might be an effective strategy to treat MYCN-amplified and p53 wild-type neuroblastoma, and suggest that targeting replication stress with appropriate tools should be further exploited to tackle MYCN-driven tumors.
Project description:MYCN amplification occurs in approximately 25% of neuroblastomas, where it is associated with rapid tumor progression and poor prognosis. MYCN plays a paradoxical role in driving cellular proliferation and inducing apoptosis. Based on observations of nuclear p53 accumulation in neuroblastoma, we hypothesized that MYCN may regulate p53 in this setting. Immunohistochemical analysis of 82 neuroblastoma tumors showed an association of high p53 expression with MYCN expression and amplification. In a panel of 5 MYCN-amplified and 5 nonamplified neuroblastoma cell lines, and also in the Tet21N-regulatable MYCN expression system, we further documented a correlation between the expression of MYCN and p53. In MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma cell lines, MYCN knockdown decreased p53 expression. In Tet21N MYCN+ cells, higher levels of p53 transcription, mRNA, and protein were observed relative to Tet21N MYCN- cells. In chromatin immunoprecipitation and reporter gene assays, MYCN bound directly to a Myc E-Box DNA binding motif located close to the transcriptional start site within the p53 promoter, where it could initiate transcription. E-Box mutation decreased MYCN-driven transcriptional activation. Microarray analysis of Tet21N MYCN+/- cells identified several p53-regulated genes that were upregulated in the presence of MYCN, including MDM2 and PUMA, the levels of which were reduced by MYCN knockdown. We concluded that MYCN transcriptionally upregulates p53 in neuroblastoma and uses p53 to mediate a key mechanism of apoptosis.
Project description:MYCN amplification is a major biomarker of poor prognosis, occurring in 25-30% of neuroblastomas. MYCN has contradictory roles in promoting cell growth and sensitizing cells to apoptosis. We have recently shown that p53 is a direct transcriptional target of MYCN in neuroblastoma and that p53-mediated apoptosis may be an important mechanism of MYCN-induced apoptosis. Although p53 mutations are rare in neuroblastoma at diagnosis, the p53/MDM2/p14(ARF) pathway is often inactivated through MDM2 amplification or p14(ARF) inactivation. We hypothesized that reactivation of p53 by inhibition of its negative regulator MDM2, using the MDM2-p53 antagonists Nutlin-3 and MI-63, will result in p53-mediated growth arrest and apoptosis especially in MYCN-amplified cells. Using the SHEP Tet21N MYCN-regulatable system, MYCN(-) cells were more resistant to both Nutlin-3 and MI-63 mediated growth inhibition and apoptosis compared with MYCN(+) cells and siRNA-mediated knockdown of MYCN in four MYCN-amplified cell lines resulted in decreased p53 expression and activation, as well as decreased levels of apoptosis following treatment with MDM2-p53 antagonists. In a panel of 18 neuroblastoma cell lines treated with Nutlin-3 and MI-63, the subset amplified for MYCN had a significantly lower mean GI(50) value (50% growth inhibition) and increased caspase 3/7 activity compared with the non-MYCN-amplified group of cell lines, but p53 mutant cell lines were resistant to the antagonists regardless of MYCN status. We conclude that amplification or overexpression of MYCN sensitizes neuroblastoma cell lines with wild-type p53 to MDM2-p53 antagonists and that these compounds may therefore be particularly effective in treating high-risk MYCN-amplified disease.
Project description:MicroRNAs are small molecules which regulate gene expression post-transcriptionally and aberrant expression of several miRNAs is associated with neuroblastoma, a childhood cancer arising from precursor cells of the sympathetic nervous system. Amplification of the MYCN transcription factor characterizes the most clinically aggressive subtype of this disease, and although alteration of p53 signaling is not commonly found in primary tumors, deregulation of proteins involved in this pathway frequently arise in recurrent disease after pharmacological treatment. TH-MYCN is a well-characterized transgenic model of MYCN-driven neuroblastoma which recapitulates many clinicopathologic features of the human disease. Here, we evaluate the dysregulation of miRNAs in tumors from TH-MYCN mice that are either wild-type (TH-MYCN) or deficient (TH-MYCN/p53ER(TAM)) for the p53 tumor suppressor gene.We analyzed the expression of 591 miRNAs in control (adrenal) and neuroblastoma tumor tissues derived from either TH-MYCN or TH-MYCN/p53ER(TAM) mice, respectively wild-type or deficient in p53. Comparing miRNA expression in tumor and control samples, we identified 159 differentially expressed miRNAs. Using data previously obtained from human neuroblastoma samples, we performed a comparison of miRNA expression between murine and human tumors to assess the concordance between murine and human expression data. Notably, the miR-17-5p-92 oncogenic polycistronic cluster, which is over-expressed in human MYCN amplified tumors, was over-expressed in mouse tumors. Moreover, analyzing miRNAs expression in a mouse model (TH-MYCN/p53ER(TAM)) possessing a transgenic p53 allele that drives the expression of an inactive protein, we identified miR-125b-3p and miR-676 as directly or indirectly regulated by the level of functional p53.Our study represents the first miRNA profiling of an important mouse model of neuroblastoma. Similarities and differences in miRNAs expression between human and murine neuroblastoma were identified, providing important insight into the efficacy of this mouse model for assessing miRNA involvement in neuroblastoma and their potential effectiveness as therapeutic targets.
Project description:Neuroblastoma is a pediatric malignancy that arises from the neural crest, and patients with high-risk neuroblastoma, which typically harbor amplifications of MYCN, have an extremely poor prognosis. The tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) promoter-driven TH-MYCN transgenic mouse model faithfully recapitulates many hallmarks of human MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma. A key downstream target of Myc oncoproteins in tumorigenesis is ornithine decarboxylase (Odc), the rate-limiting enzyme of polyamine biosynthesis. Indeed, sustained treatment with the Odc suicide inhibitor alpha-difluoromethylornithine (DFMO) or Odc heterozygosity markedly impairs lymphoma development in Emicro-Myc transgenic mice, and these effects are linked to the induction of the cyclin-dependent kinase (Cdk) inhibitor p27(Kip1), which is normally repressed by Myc. Here, we report that DFMO treatment, but not Odc heterozygosity, impairs MYCN-induced neuroblastoma and that, in this malignancy, transient DFMO treatment is sufficient to confer protection. The selective anticancer effects of DFMO on mouse and human MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma also rely on its ability to disable the proliferative response of Myc, yet in this tumor context, DFMO targets the expression of the p21(Cip1) Cdk inhibitor, which is also suppressed by Myc oncoproteins. These findings suggest that agents, such as DFMO, that target the polyamine pathway may show efficacy in high-risk, MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma.
Project description:Background: Transcription factor ISL1 plays a critical role in sympathetic neurogenesis. Expression of ISL1 has been associated with neuroblastoma, a pediatric tumor derived from sympatho-adrenal progenitors, however the role of ISL1 in neuroblastoma remains unexplored. Method: Here, we knocked down ISL1 (KD) in SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells and performed RNA-seq and ISL1 ChIP-seq analyses. Results: Analyses of these data revealed that ISL1 acts upstream of multiple oncogenic genes and pathways essential for neuroblastoma proliferation and differentiation, including LMO1 and LIN28B. ISL1 promotes expression of a number of cell cycle associated genes, but represses differentiation associated genes including RA receptors and the downstream target genes EPAS1 and CDKN1A. Consequently, Knockdown of ISL1 inhibits neuroblastoma cell proliferation and migration in vitro and impedes tumor growth in vivo, and enhances neuronal differentiation by RA treatment. Furthermore, genome-wide mapping revealed a substantial co-occupancy of binding regions by ISL1 and GATA3, and ISL1 physically interacts with GATA3, and together they synergistically regulate the aforementioned oncogenic pathways. In addition, analyses of the roles of ISL1 and MYCN in MYCN-amplified and MYCN non-amplified neuroblastoma cells revealed an epistatic relationship between ISL1 and MYCN. ISL1 and MYCN function in parallel to regulate common yet distinct oncogenic pathways in neuroblastoma. Conclusion: Our study has demonstrated that ISL1 plays an essential role in neuroblastoma regulatory networks and may serve as a potential therapeutic target in neuroblastoma.
Project description:Aurora kinases regulate key stages of mitosis including centrosome maturation, spindle assembly, chromosome segregation, and cytokinesis. Aurora A and B kinase overexpression has also been associated with various human cancers, and as such, they have been extensively studied as novel antimitotic drug targets. Here, we characterize the Aurora kinase inhibitor CCT137690, a highly selective, orally bioavailable imidazo[4,5-b]pyridine derivative that inhibits Aurora A and B kinases with low nanomolar IC(50) values in both biochemical and cellular assays and exhibits antiproliferative activity against a wide range of human solid tumor cell lines. CCT137690 efficiently inhibits histone H3 and transforming acidic coiled-coil 3 phosphorylation (Aurora B and Aurora A substrates, respectively) in HCT116 and HeLa cells. Continuous exposure of tumor cells to the inhibitor causes multipolar spindle formation, chromosome misalignment, polyploidy, and apoptosis. This is accompanied by p53/p21/BAX induction, thymidine kinase 1 downregulation, and PARP cleavage. Furthermore, CCT137690 treatment of MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma cell lines inhibits cell proliferation and decreases MYCN protein expression. Importantly, in a transgenic mouse model of neuroblastoma that overexpresses MYCN protein and is predisposed to spontaneous neuroblastoma formation, this compound significantly inhibits tumor growth. The potent preclinical activity of CCT137690 suggests that this inhibitor may benefit patients with MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma.
Project description:MYCN amplification occurs in about 20-25% of human neuroblastomas and characterizes the majority of the high-risk cases, which display less than 50% prolonged survival rate despite intense multimodal treatment. Somehow paradoxically, MYCN also sensitizes neuroblastoma cells to apoptosis, understanding the molecular mechanisms of which might be relevant for the therapy of MYCN amplified neuroblastoma. We recently reported that the apoptosis-sensitive phenotype induced by MYCN is linked to stabilization of p53 and its proapoptotic kinase HIPK2. In MYCN primed neuroblastoma cells, further activation of both HIPK2 and p53 by Nutlin-3 leads to massive apoptosis in vitro and to tumor shrinkage and impairment of metastasis in xenograft models. Here we report that Galectin-3 impairs MYCN-primed and HIPK2-p53-dependent apoptosis in neuroblastoma cells. Galectin-3 is broadly expressed in human neuroblastoma cell lines and tumors and is repressed by MYCN to induce the apoptosis-sensitive phenotype. Despite its reduced levels, Galectin-3 can still exert residual antiapoptotic effects in MYCN amplified neuroblastoma cells, possibly due to its specific subcellular localization. Importantly, Nutlin-3 represses Galectin-3 expression, and this is required for its potent cell killing effect on MYCN amplified cell lines. Our data further characterize the apoptosis-sensitive phenotype induced by MYCN, expand our understanding of the activity of MDM2-p53 antagonists and highlight Galectin-3 as a potential biomarker for the tailored p53 reactivation therapy in patients with high-risk neuroblastomas.