Pancreatic DCLK1+ cells originate distinctly from PDX1+ progenitors and contribute to the initiation of intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm in mice.
ABSTRACT: PanINs and IPMNs are the two most common precursor lesions that can progress to invasive pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA). DCLK1 has been identified as a biomarker of progenitor cells in PDA progressed from PanINs. To explore the potential role of DCLK1-expressing cells in the genesis of IPMNs, we compared the incidence of DCLK1-positive cells in pancreatic tissue samples from genetically-engineered mouse models (GEMMs) for IPMNs, PanINs, and acinar to ductal metaplasia by immunohistochemistry and immunofluorescence. Mouse lineage tracing experiments in the IPMN GEMM showed that DCLK1+ cells originated from a cell lineage distinct from PDX1+ progenitors. The DCLK1+ cells shared the features of tuft cells but were devoid of IPMN tumor biomarkers. The DCLK1+ cells were detected in the earliest proliferative acinar clusters prior to the formation of metaplastic ductal cells, and were enriched in the "IPMN niches". In summary, DCLK1 labels a unique pancreatic cellular lineage in the IPMN GEMM. The clustering of DCLK1+ cells is an early event in Kras-induced pancreatic tumorigenesis and may contribute to IPMN initiation.
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 ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) develops predominantly through pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PanIN) and intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm (IPMN) precursor lesions. Pancreatic acinar cells are reprogrammed to a "ductal-like" state during PanIN-PDA formation. Here, we demonstrate a parallel mechanism operative in mature duct cells during which functional cells undergo "ductal retrogression" to form IPMN-PDA. We further identify critical antagonistic roles for Brahma-related gene 1 (Brg1), a catalytic subunit of the SWI/SNF complexes, during IPMN-PDA development. In mature duct cells, Brg1 inhibits the dedifferentiation that precedes neoplastic transformation, thus attenuating tumor initiation. In contrast, Brg1 promotes tumorigenesis in full-blown PDA by supporting a mesenchymal-like transcriptional landscape. We further show that JQ1, a drug that is currently being tested in clinical trials for hematological malignancies, impairs PDA tumorigenesis by both mimicking some and inhibiting other Brg1-mediated functions. In summary, our study demonstrates the context-dependent roles of Brg1 and points to potential therapeutic treatment options based on epigenetic regulation in PDA.
Project description:Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) develops through distinct precursor lesions, including pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PanIN) and intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasia (IPMN). However, genetic features resulting in IPMN-associated PDA (IPMN-PDA) versus PanIN-associated PDA (PanIN-PDA) are largely unknown. Here we find that loss of Brg1, a core subunit of SWI/SNF chromatin remodelling complexes, cooperates with oncogenic Kras to form cystic neoplastic lesions that resemble human IPMN and progress to PDA. Although Brg1-null IPMN-PDA develops rapidly, it possesses a distinct transcriptional profile compared with PanIN-PDA driven by mutant Kras and hemizygous p53 deletion. IPMN-PDA also is less lethal, mirroring prognostic trends in PDA patients. In addition, Brg1 deletion inhibits Kras-dependent PanIN development from adult acinar cells, but promotes Kras-driven preneoplastic transformation in adult duct cells. Therefore, this study implicates Brg1 as a determinant of context-dependent Kras-driven pancreatic tumorigenesis and suggests that chromatin remodelling may underlie the development of distinct PDA subsets.
Project description:Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma (PDA) develops predominantly through pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PanIN) and intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm (IPMN) precursor lesions. Pancreatic acinar cells are reprogrammed to a “ductal like” state during PanIN-PDA formation. Here, we demonstrate a parallel mechanism operative in mature duct cells where they undergo “ductal retrogression” to form IPMN-PDA. Brg1, a catalytic subunit of the SWI/SNF complexes, plays a critical antagonistic role in IPMN-PDA development. In mature duct cells Brg1 inhibits the dedifferentiation that precedes neoplastic transformation, thus attenuating tumor initiation. In contrast, Brg1 promotes tumorigenesis in full-blown PDA by supporting a mesenchymal-like transcriptional landscape. We have exploited this duality of Brg1 functions to develop a novel therapeutic approach using an epigenetic drug JQ1. In summary, this study demonstrates the context-dependent roles of Brg1 and points to potential therapeutic treatment options based on epigenetic regulation in PDA. Duct cells were isolated from mice of 3 different genotypes and duct cells from 3 mice of each genotype were sequenced. For the put back experiments, control retrovirus and that expressing Brg1 were transdcued in Brg1 null IPMN mouse cell line.
Project description:Annexins are a multigene family of calcium and phospholipid-binding proteins that play important roles in calcium signaling, cell motility, differentiation and proliferation. Our previous mass spectrometry-based proteomics study revealed that annexin A10 (ANXA10) was uniquely overexpressed in pancreatic CD24+ adenocarcinoma cells that were dissected from clinical PDAC tissues but was absent in CD24- adjacent normal cells. The correlation between ANXA10 expression and the progression of pancreatic cancer remains unknown. In this study, we performed an immunostaining assay to evaluate ANXA10 expression in 155 primary human tissue specimens, including normal pancreas, chronic pancreatitis (CP), pancreatic adenocarcinoma (PDAC), pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PanIN, the most important precursor of PDAC), and intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm (IPMN). The immunostaining result showed that ANXA10 was significantly overexpressed in PanINs, IPMNs, and PDACs but negative in normal pancreas and the majority of chronic pancreatitis tissues. Statistical analysis revealed that ANXA10 expression was significantly associated with PDAC and its precursor lesions (p<0.0001). Abundant ANXA10 expression was predominantly present in pancreatic ductal epithelial cells of PanINs, IPMNs, and tumor cells of PDACs. Since PDAC develops through a series of PanINs which in turn arise from pancreatic ducts, the consistent overexpression of ANXA10 in ductal epithelial cells in PanINs and PDACs but negative in normal pancreatic ducts suggests that ANXA10 could serve as a potential marker indicating the presence of PDAC at its earliest precancerous stages. Double immunostaining of ANXA10 and CD24 showed that there was a large overlap between these two markers in PDAC and high-grade neoplasia lesions. The statistical analysis showed that the coexpression of ANXA10 and CD24 was significantly correlated with the progression of pancreatic precursor lesions towards PDACs.
Project description:Brahma related gene 1 (BRG1), a catalytic ATPase subunit of SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complexes, is silenced in approximately 10% of human pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas (PDA). We previously showed that BRG1 inhibits the formation of intraductal pancreatic mucinous neoplasm (IPMN) and IPMN-derived PDA from ductal cells. However, the role of BRG1 in pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PanIN) from acinar cells remains elusive. Here, we investigated the role of BRG1 in PanIN initiation and maintenance and its underlying mechanisms. Exclusive elimination of Brg1 in acinar cells of Ptf1a-CreER; KrasG12D; Brg1f/f (KBC) mice impaired the formation of acinar-to-ductal metaplasia (ADM) and PanIN independent of the presence of p53 mutation. We found that Sox9 expression was down-regulated in both Brg1-depleted acinar cell explants and BRG1-depleted ADMs/PanINs. Sox9 overexpression rescued this PanIN-attenuated phenotype in KBC mice. Furthermore, Brg1-deletion in established PanIN by using an inducible dual recombinase system resulted in regression of the lesions in mice. Finally, expression of BRG1 and SOX9 was also positively correlated in human PanIN-derived PDAs. In summary, BRG1 is critical for both initiation and maintenance of PanIN. Mechanistically, this is mediated through positive regulation of SOX9 expression. Thus, the BRG1/SOX9 axis is a potential target for the prevention of PanIN-derived PDA. Overall design: Total pooled RNA from three individual acinar cell explants 24 h after Cre-expressing adenovirus infection were used. Mouse genotypes used for analysis were KrasG12D and KrasG12D; Brg1f/f.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Cancer subtype switching, which involves unclear cancer cell origin, cell fate decision, and transdifferentiation of cells within a confined tumor microenvironment, remains a major problem in pancreatic cancer (PDA).<h4>Results</h4>By analyzing PDA subtypes in The Cancer Genome Atlas, we identified that epigenetic silencing of apoptosis-associated tyrosine kinase (AATK) inversely was correlated with mRNA expression and was enriched in the quasi-mesenchymal cancer subtype. By comparing early mouse pancreatic lesions, the non-invasive regions showed AATK co-expression in cells with acinar-to-ductal metaplasia, nuclear VAV1 localization, and cell cycle suppression; but the invasive lesions conversely revealed diminished AATK expression in those with poorly differentiated histology, cytosolic VAV1 localization, and co-expression of p63 and HNF1α. Transiently activated AATK initiates acinar differentiation into a ductal cell fate to establish apical-basal polarization in acinar-to-ductal metaplasia. Silenced AATK and ectopically expressed p63 and HNF1α allow the proliferation of ductal PanINs in mice.<h4>Conclusion</h4>Epigenetic silencing of AATK regulates the cellular transdifferentiation, proliferation, and cell cycle progression in converting PDA-subtypes.
Project description:Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) is a leading cause of cancer-related death. Through the process of acinar-to-ductal metaplasia (ADM), pancreatic acinar cells give rise to pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PanIN), the most common precursor of PDA. However, even when Kras is activated in a majority of acinar cells, ADM and subsequent development of PanINs is inefficient in the absence of additional stresses. Numb regulates cell junctions, integrins, and the activity of embryonic signaling pathways; therefore, we investigated its effects on acinar cell dedifferentiation, regeneration, and metaplasia.We used mouse models of pancreatic regeneration and PDA as well as mice with loss-of-function alleles of Numb (p48Cre/p48Cre(ER);Numb(f/f) and p48Cre/p48Cre(ER);Kras(G12D);Numb(f/f) mice) to study the roles of Numb in pancreatic regeneration and ADM.Loss of Numb resulted in premature dedifferentiation of acinar cells in response to injury due to administration of the cholecystokinin analogue cerulein and interfered with acinar cell regeneration. Numb was found to regulate multiple signaling pathways in acinar cells during cerulein-induced pancreatitis. Disruption of Numb accelerated and destabilized ADM in the context of oncogenic Kras (in p48Cre;Kras(G12D);Numb(f/f) and p48Cre(ER);Kras(G12D);Numb(f/f) mice).Numb is an important regulator of acinar cell differentiation and viability during metaplasia. In mice with pancreatitis or pancreatic injury, elimination of Numb causes dedifferentiated acinar cells to undergo apoptosis, and this is not mitigated by oncogenic Kras.
Project description:Activin, a member of the transforming growth factor-? (TGFB) family, might be involved in pancreatic tumorigenesis, similar to other members of the TGFB family. Human pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas contain somatic mutations in the activin A receptor type IB (ACVR1B) gene, indicating that ACVR1B could be a suppressor of pancreatic tumorigenesis.We disrupted Acvr1b specifically in pancreata of mice (Acvr1b(flox/flox);Pdx1-Cre mice) and crossed them with LSL-KRAS(G12D) mice, which express an activated form of KRAS and develop spontaneous pancreatic tumors. The resulting Acvr1b(flox/flox);LSL-KRAS(G12D);Pdx1-Cre mice were monitored; pancreatic tissues were collected and analyzed by histology and immunohistochemical analyses. We also analyzed p16(flox/flox);LSL-Kras(G12D);Pdx1-Cre mice and Cre-negative littermates (controls). Genomic DNA, total RNA, and protein were isolated from mouse tissues and primary pancreatic tumor cell lines and analyzed by reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction, sequencing, and immunoblot analyses. Human intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm (IPMN) specimens were analyzed by immunohistochemistry.Loss of ACVR1B from pancreata of mice increased the proliferation of pancreatic epithelial cells, led to formation of acinar to ductal metaplasia, and induced focal inflammatory changes compared with control mice. Disruption of Acvr1b in LSL-KRAS(G12D);Pdx1-Cre mice accelerated the growth of pancreatic IPMNs compared with LSL-KRAS(G12D);Pdx1-Cre mice, but did not alter growth of pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasias. We associated perinuclear localization of the activated NOTCH4 intracellular domain to the apical cytoplasm of neoplastic cells with the expansion of IPMN lesions in Acvr1b(flox/flox);LSL-KRAS(G12D);Pdx1-Cre mice. Loss of the gene that encodes p16 (Cdkn2a) was required for progression of IPMNs to pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas in Acvr1b(flox/flox);LSL-Kras(G12D);Pdx1-Cre mice. We also observed progressive loss of p16 in human IPMNs of increasing grades.Loss of ACVR1B accelerates growth of mutant KRAS-induced pancreatic IPMNs in mice; this process appears to involve NOTCH4 and loss of p16. ACVR1B suppresses early stages of pancreatic tumorigenesis; the activin signaling pathway therefore might be a therapeutic target for pancreatic cancer.
Project description:BACKGROUND & AIMS:Intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasias (IPMNs) are precancerous cystic lesions that can develop into pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas (PDACs). These large macroscopic lesions are frequently detected during medical imaging, but it is unclear how they form or progress to PDAC. We aimed to identify cells that form IPMNs and mutations that promote IPMN development and progression. METHODS:We generated mice with disruption of Pten specifically in ductal cells (Sox9CreERT2;Ptenflox/flox;R26RYFP or PtenΔDuct/ΔDuct mice) and used PtenΔDuct/+ and Pten+/+ mice as controls. We also generated KrasG12D;PtenΔDuct/ΔDuct and KrasG12D;PtenΔDuct/+ mice. Pancreata were collected when mice were 28 weeks to 14.5 months old and analyzed by histology, immunohistochemistry, and electron microscopy. We performed multiplexed droplet digital polymerase chain reaction to detect spontaneous Kras mutations in PtenΔDuct/ΔDuct mice and study the effects of Ras pathway activation on initiation and progression of IPMNs. We obtained 2 pancreatic sections from a patient with an invasive pancreatobiliary IPMN and analyzed the regions with and without the invasive IPMN (control tissue) by immunohistochemistry. RESULTS:Mice with ductal cell-specific disruption of Pten but not control mice developed sporadic, macroscopic, intraductal papillary lesions with histologic and molecular features of human IPMNs. PtenΔDuct/ΔDuct mice developed IPMNs of several subtypes. In PtenΔDuct/ΔDuct mice, 31.5% of IPMNs became invasive; invasion was associated with spontaneous mutations in Kras. KrasG12D;PtenΔDuct/ΔDuct mice all developed invasive IPMNs within 1 month. In KrasG12D;PtenΔDuct/+ mice, 70% developed IPMN, predominately of the pancreatobiliary subtype, and 63.3% developed PDAC. In all models, IPMNs and PDAC expressed the duct-specific lineage tracing marker yellow fluorescent protein. In immunohistochemical analyses, we found that the invasive human pancreatobiliary IPMN tissue had lower levels of PTEN and increased levels of phosphorylated (activated) ERK compared with healthy pancreatic tissue. CONCLUSIONS:In analyses of mice with ductal cell-specific disruption of Pten, with or without activated Kras, we found evidence for a ductal cell origin of IPMNs. We also showed that PTEN loss and activated Kras have synergistic effects in promoting development of IPMN and progression to PDAC.