A novel three-dimensional high-throughput screening approach identifies inducers of a mutant KRAS selective lethal phenotype.
ABSTRACT: The RAS proteins are the most frequently mutated oncogenes in cancer, with highest frequency found in pancreatic, lung, and colon tumors. Moreover, the activity of RAS is required for the proliferation and/or survival of these tumor cells and thus represents a high-value target for therapeutic development. Direct targeting of RAS has proven challenging for multiple reasons stemming from the biology of the protein, the complexity of downstream effector pathways and upstream regulatory networks. Thus, significant efforts have been directed at identifying downstream targets on which RAS is dependent. These efforts have proven challenging, in part due to confounding factors such as reliance on two-dimensional adherent monolayer cell cultures that inadequately recapitulate the physiologic context to which cells are exposed in vivo. To overcome these issues, we implemented a high-throughput screening (HTS) approach using a spheroid-based 3-dimensional culture format, thought to more closely reflect conditions experienced by cells in vivo. Using isogenic cell pairs, differing in the status of KRAS, we identified Proscillaridin A as a selective inhibitor of cells harboring the oncogenic KRasG12V allele. Significantly, the identification of Proscillaridin A was facilitated by the 3D screening platform and would not have been discovered employing standard 2D culturing methods.
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:Mutations in the Ras family of small GTPases, particularly KRAS, occur at high frequencies in cancer and represent a major unmet therapeutic need due to the lack of effective targeted therapies. Past efforts directed at inhibiting the activity of the Ras oncoprotein have proved difficult. We propose an alternative approach to target Ras by eliminating Ras protein from cells with pharmacological means. In this study, we developed a cell-based, high-content screening platform to identify small molecules that could promote the degradation of the KRAS oncoprotein. We generated an EGFP-KRASG12V fluorescence reporter system and implemented it for automated screening in 1536-well plates using high-throughput cellular imaging. We screened a library of clinically relevant compounds at wide dose range and identified Ponatinib and AMG-47a as two candidate compounds that selectively reduced the levels of EGFP-KRASG12V protein but did not affect EGFP protein in cells. This proof-of-principle study demonstrates that it is feasible to use a high-throughput screen to identify compounds that promote the degradation of the Ras oncoprotein as a new approach to target Ras.
Project description:K-RAS accounts for 90% of RAS mutations in lung adenocarcinomas, the most commonly mutated oncogene in NSCLC, with mutations detected in about 25% of all tumors. Direct inhibition of KRAS has proven clinically challenging. So far, no successful targeted therapy has been developed and remains an elusive target for cancer therapy. Despite significant efforts, currently there are no drugs directly targeting mutated KRAS. Thus, new strategies have emerged for targeting RAS including the use of synthetic lethality. A specific knowledge of individual tumor molecular abnormalities that result in oncogene-specific "synthetic lethal" interactions will allow the rationale to combine promising targeted therapies for KRAS-mutated NSCLC. In this article, we review the new approach based on testing drugs or combinations of agents that work downstream of activated K-RAS.
Project description:While there have been tremendous efforts to target oncogenic RAS signaling from inside the cell, little effort has focused on the cell-surface. Here, we used quantitative surface proteomics to reveal a signature of proteins that are upregulated on cells transformed with KRASG12V, and driven by MAPK pathway signaling. We next generated a toolkit of recombinant antibodies to seven of these RAS-induced proteins. We found that five of these proteins are broadly distributed on cancer cell lines harboring RAS mutations. In parallel, a cell-surface CRISPRi screen identified integrin and Wnt signaling proteins as critical to RAS-transformed cells. We show that antibodies targeting CDCP1, a protein common to our proteomics and CRISPRi datasets, can be leveraged to deliver cytotoxic and immunotherapeutic payloads to RAS-transformed cancer cells and report for RAS signaling status in vivo. Taken together, this work presents a technological platform for attacking RAS from outside the cell.
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:Activating mutations in the RAS oncogene occur frequently in human leukemias. Direct targeting of RAS has proven to be challenging, although targeting of downstream RAS mediators, such as MEK, is currently being tested clinically. Given the complexity of RAS signaling, it is likely that combinations of targeted agents will be more effective than single agents.A chemical screen using RAS-dependent leukemia cells was developed to identify compounds with unanticipated activity in the presence of an MEK inhibitor and led to identification of inhibitors of IGF1R. Results were validated using cell-based proliferation, apoptosis, cell-cycle, and gene knockdown assays; immunoprecipitation and immunoblotting; and a noninvasive in vivo bioluminescence model of acute myeloid leukemia (AML).Mechanistically, IGF1R protein expression/activity was substantially increased in mutant RAS-expressing cells, and suppression of RAS led to decreases in IGF1R. Synergy between MEK and IGF1R inhibitors correlated with induction of apoptosis, inhibition of cell-cycle progression, and decreased phospho-S6 and phospho-4E-BP1. In vivo, NSG mice tail veins injected with OCI-AML3-luc+ cells showed significantly lower tumor burden following 1 week of daily oral administration of 50 mg/kg NVP-AEW541 (IGF1R inhibitor) combined with 25 mg/kg AZD6244 (MEK inhibitor), as compared with mice treated with either agent alone. Drug combination effects observed in cell-based assays were generalized to additional mutant RAS-positive neoplasms.The finding that downstream inhibitors of RAS signaling and IGF1R inhibitors have synergistic activity warrants further clinical investigation of IGF1R and RAS signaling inhibition as a potential treatment strategy for RAS-driven malignancies.
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:Activating K-RAS mutations are the most frequent oncogenic mutations in human cancer. Numerous downstream signaling pathways have been shown to be deregulated by oncogenic K-ras. However, to date there are still no effective targeted therapies for this genetically defined subset of patients. Here we report the results of a small molecule, synthetic lethal screen using mouse embryonic fibroblasts derived from a mouse model harboring a conditional oncogenic K-ras(G12D) allele. Among the >50,000 compounds screened, we identified a class of drugs with selective activity against oncogenic K-ras-expressing cells. The most potent member of this class, lanperisone, acts by inducing nonapoptotic cell death in a cell cycle- and translation-independent manner. The mechanism of cell killing involves the induction of reactive oxygen species that are inefficiently scavenged in K-ras mutant cells, leading to oxidative stress and cell death. In mice, treatment with lanperisone suppresses the growth of K-ras-driven tumors without overt toxicity. Our findings establish the specific antitumor activity of lanperisone and reveal oxidative stress pathways as potential targets in Ras-mediated malignancies.
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:The newly identified claudin-low subtype of cancer is believed to represent the most primitive breast malignancies, having arisen from transformation of an early epithelial precursor with inherent stemness properties and metaplastic features. Challenging this hypothesis, we show both in vitro and in vivo that transcription factors inducing epithelial-mesenchymal transition can drive the development of claudin-low tumors from differentiated mammary epithelial cells, by playing a dual role in cell transformation and dedifferentiation. Human mammary epithelial cells (HMEC) were sequentially immortalized by hTert (HMEC-hTert), transduced with Twist1 or Zeb2 or Zeb1 and then with H-RasG12V. The gene expression profiles of the resulting HMEC-hTert-Twist1+Ras, HMEC-hTert-Zeb1+Ras and HMEC-hTert-Zeb2+Ras cell lines were defined. HMEC-hTert-Twist1+Ras and HMEC-hTert-Zeb2+Ras cell lines were additionally cultured in presence of TGFÃ? and their gene expression profiles were determined. The parental HMEC-hTert, the luminal MCF7 and the basal B MDMB157cell lines were used as controls.