TBX2 is a neuroblastoma core regulatory circuitry component enhancing MYCN/FOXM1 reactivation of DREAM targets.
ABSTRACT: Chromosome 17q gains are almost invariably present in high-risk neuroblastoma cases. Here, we perform an integrative epigenomics search for dosage-sensitive transcription factors on 17q marked by H3K27ac defined super-enhancers and identify TBX2 as top candidate gene. We show that TBX2 is a constituent of the recently established core regulatory circuitry in neuroblastoma with features of a cell identity transcription factor, driving proliferation through activation of p21-DREAM repressed FOXM1 target genes. Combined MYCN/TBX2 knockdown enforces cell growth arrest suggesting that TBX2 enhances MYCN sustained activation of FOXM1 targets. Targeting transcriptional addiction by combined CDK7 and BET bromodomain inhibition shows synergistic effects on cell viability with strong repressive effects on CRC gene expression and p53 pathway response as well as several genes implicated in transcriptional regulation. In conclusion, we provide insight into the role of the TBX2 CRC gene in transcriptional dependency of neuroblastoma cells warranting clinical trials using BET and CDK7 inhibitors.
Project description:Childhood high-risk neuroblastomas with MYCN gene amplification are difficult to treat effectively1. This has focused attention on tumor-specific gene dependencies that underlie tumorigenesis and thus provide valuable targets for the development of novel therapeutics. Using unbiased genome-scale CRISPR-Cas9 approaches to detect genes involved in tumor cell growth and survival2-6, we identified 147 candidate gene dependencies selective for MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma cell lines, compared to over 300 other human cancer cell lines. We then used genome-wide chromatin-immunoprecipitation coupled to high-throughput sequencing analysis to demonstrate that a small number of essential transcription factors-MYCN, HAND2, ISL1, PHOX2B, GATA3, and TBX2-are members of the transcriptional core regulatory circuitry (CRC) that maintains cell state in MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma. To disable the CRC, we tested a combination of BRD4 and CDK7 inhibitors, which act synergistically, in vitro and in vivo, with rapid downregulation of CRC transcription factor gene expression. This study defines a set of critical dependency genes in MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma that are essential for cell state and survival in this tumor.
Project description:A heritable polymorphism within regulatory sequences of the LMO1 gene is associated with its elevated expression and increased susceptibility to develop neuroblastoma, but the oncogenic pathways downstream of the LMO1 transcriptional co-regulatory protein are unknown. Our ChIP-seq and RNA-seq analyses reveal that a key gene directly regulated by LMO1 and MYCN is ASCL1, which encodes a basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor. Regulatory elements controlling ASCL1 expression are bound by LMO1, MYCN and the transcription factors GATA3, HAND2, PHOX2B, TBX2 and ISL1-all members of the adrenergic (ADRN) neuroblastoma core regulatory circuitry (CRC). ASCL1 is required for neuroblastoma cell growth and arrest of differentiation. ASCL1 and LMO1 directly regulate the expression of CRC genes, indicating that ASCL1 is a member and LMO1 is a coregulator of the ADRN neuroblastoma CRC.
Project description:RNA-seq upon TBX2, MYCN or combination of TBX2 and MYCN knockdown in the neuroblastoma cell line IMR-5/75. Cells were transduced with two different shRNAs (shTBX2_2 and shTBX2_4) targeting TBX2 and a non-targeting control (NTC), and selected with puromycin. Cells were treated with doxycycline for shMYCN induction (with DOX or not). Analysis was performed three days upon TBX2 knockdown and two days upon MYCN knockdown, including six biological replicates per condition.
Project description:The MYC oncoproteins are thought to stimulate tumor cell growth and proliferation through amplification of gene transcription, a mechanism that has thwarted most efforts to inhibit MYC function as potential cancer therapy. Using a covalent inhibitor of cyclin-dependent kinase 7 (CDK7) to disrupt the transcription of amplified MYCN in neuroblastoma cells, we demonstrate downregulation of the oncoprotein with consequent massive suppression of MYCN-driven global transcriptional amplification. This response translated to significant tumor regression in a mouse model of high-risk neuroblastoma, without the introduction of systemic toxicity. The striking treatment selectivity of MYCN-overexpressing cells correlated with preferential downregulation of super-enhancer-associated genes, including MYCN and other known oncogenic drivers in neuroblastoma. These results indicate that CDK7 inhibition, by selectively targeting the mechanisms that promote global transcriptional amplification in tumor cells, may be useful therapy for cancers that are driven by MYC family oncoproteins.
Project description:Bromodomain inhibition comprises a promising therapeutic strategy in cancer, particularly for hematologic malignancies. To date, however, genomic biomarkers to direct clinical translation have been lacking. We conducted a cell-based screen of genetically defined cancer cell lines using a prototypical inhibitor of BET bromodomains. Integration of genetic features with chemosensitivity data revealed a robust correlation between MYCN amplification and sensitivity to bromodomain inhibition. We characterized the mechanistic and translational significance of this finding in neuroblastoma, a childhood cancer with frequent amplification of MYCN. Genome-wide expression analysis showed downregulation of the MYCN transcriptional program accompanied by suppression of MYCN transcription. Functionally, bromodomain-mediated inhibition of MYCN impaired growth and induced apoptosis in neuroblastoma. BRD4 knockdown phenocopied these effects, establishing BET bromodomains as transcriptional regulators of MYCN. BET inhibition conferred a significant survival advantage in 3 in vivo neuroblastoma models, providing a compelling rationale for developing BET bromodomain inhibitors in patients with neuroblastoma.
Project description:Deletion of chromosome arm 1p and amplification of the MYCN oncogene are well-recognized genetic alterations in neuroblastoma cells. Recently, another alteration has been reported; gain of the distal part of chromosome arm 17q. In this study 48 neuroblastoma tumours were successfully analysed for 17q status in relation to known genetic alterations. Chromosome 17 status was detected by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). Thirty-one of the 48 neuroblastomas (65%) showed 17q gain, and this was significantly associated with poor prognosis. As previously reported, 17q gain was significantly associated with metastatic stage 4 neuroblastoma and more frequently detected than both deletion of chromosome arm 1p and MYCN amplification in tumours of all stages. 17q gain also showed a strong correlation to survival probability (P = 0.0009). However, the most significant correlation between 17q gain and survival probability was observed in children with low-stage tumours (stage 1, 2, 3 and 4S), with a survival probability of 100% at 5 years from diagnosis for children with tumours showing no 17q gain compared to 52.5% for those showing 17q gain (P = 0.0021). This suggests that 17q gain as a prognostic factor plays a more crucial role in low-stage tumours. Expression of the somatostatin receptor 2 (SSTR2), localized in chromosome region 17q24, has in previous studies been shown to be positively related to survival in neuroblastoma. A point mutation in the SSTR2 gene has earlier been reported in a human small-cell lung cancer. In this study, mutation screening of the SSTR2 gene in 43 neuroblastoma tumours was carried out with polymerase chain reaction-based single-stranded conformation polymorphism/heteroduplex (SSCP/HD) and DNA sequencing, and none of the tumours showed any aberrations in the SSTR2 gene. These data suggest that mutations in the SSTR2 gene are uncommon in neuroblastoma tumours and do not correlate with either the 17q gain often seen or the reason some tumours do not express SSTR2 receptors. Overall, this study indicates that gain of chromosome arm 17q is the most frequently occurring genetic alteration, and that it is associated with established prognostic factors.
Project description:BET family proteins are epigenetic regulators known to control expression of genes involved in cell growth and oncogenesis. Selective inhibitors of BET proteins exhibit potent anti-proliferative activity in a number of hematologic cancer models, in part through suppression of the MYC oncogene and downstream Myc-driven pathways. However, little is currently known about the activity of BET inhibitors in solid tumor models, and whether down-regulation of MYC family genes contributes to sensitivity. Here we provide evidence for potent BET inhibitor activity in neuroblastoma, a pediatric solid tumor associated with a high frequency of MYCN amplifications. We treated a panel of neuroblastoma cell lines with a novel small molecule inhibitor of BET proteins, GSK1324726A (I-BET726), and observed potent growth inhibition and cytotoxicity in most cell lines irrespective of MYCN copy number or expression level. Gene expression analyses in neuroblastoma cell lines suggest a role of BET inhibition in apoptosis, signaling, and N-Myc-driven pathways, including the direct suppression of BCL2 and MYCN. Reversal of MYCN or BCL2 suppression reduces the potency of I-BET726-induced cytotoxicity in a cell line-specific manner; however, neither factor fully accounts for I-BET726 sensitivity. Oral administration of I-BET726 to mouse xenograft models of human neuroblastoma results in tumor growth inhibition and down-regulation MYCN and BCL2 expression, suggesting a potential role for these genes in tumor growth. Taken together, our data highlight the potential of BET inhibitors as novel therapeutics for neuroblastoma, and suggest that sensitivity is driven by pleiotropic effects on cell growth and apoptotic pathways in a context-specific manner.
Project description:Tbx2 is a member of a large family of transcription factors defined by homology to the T-box DNA-binding domain. Tbx2 plays a key role in embryonic development, and in cancer through its capacity to suppress senescence and promote invasiveness. Despite its importance, little is known of how Tbx2 is regulated or how it achieves target gene specificity. Here we show that Tbx2 specifically associates with active hypophosphorylated retinoblastoma protein (Rb1), a known regulator of many transcription factors involved in cell cycle progression and cellular differentiation, but not with the Rb1-related proteins p107 or p130. The interaction with Rb1 maps to a domain immediately carboxy-terminal to the T-box and enhances Tbx2 DNA binding and transcriptional repression. Microarray analysis of melanoma cells expressing inducible dominant-negative Tbx2, comprising the T-box and either an intact or mutated Rb1 interaction domain, shows that Tbx2 regulates the expression of many genes involved in cell cycle control and that a mutation which disrupts the Rb1-Tbx2 interaction also affects Tbx2 target gene selectivity. Taken together, the data show that Rb1 is an important determinant of Tbx2 functional specificity.
Project description:Neuroblastoma is a pediatric malignancy with heterogeneous clinical outcomes. To better understand neuroblastoma pathogenesis, here we analyze whole-genome, whole-exome and/or transcriptome data from 702 neuroblastoma samples. Forty percent of samples harbor at least one recurrent driver gene alteration and most aberrations, including MYCN, ATRX, and TERT alterations, differ in frequency by age. MYCN alterations occur at median 2.3 years of age, TERT at 3.8 years, and ATRX at 5.6 years. COSMIC mutational signature 18, previously associated with reactive oxygen species, is the most common cause of driver point mutations in neuroblastoma, including most ALK and Ras-activating variants. Signature 18 appears early and is continuous throughout disease evolution. Signature 18 is enriched in neuroblastomas with MYCN amplification, 17q gain, and increased expression of mitochondrial ribosome and electron transport-associated genes. Recurrent FGFR1 variants in six patients, and ALK N-terminal structural alterations in five samples, identify additional patients potentially amenable to precision therapy.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Members of the T-box family of DNA-binding proteins play a prominent role in the differentiation of the three primary germ layers. VegT, Brachyury, and Eomesodermin function as transcriptional activators and, in addition to directly activating the transcription of endoderm- and mesoderm-specific genes, serve as regulators of growth factor signaling during induction of these germ layers. In contrast, the T-box gene, tbx2, is expressed in the embryonic ectoderm, where Tbx2 functions as a transcriptional repressor and inhibits mesendodermal differentiation by the TGF? ligand Activin. Tbx2 misexpression also promotes dorsal ectodermal fate via inhibition of the BMP branch of the TGF? signaling network. RESULTS:Here, we report a physical association between Tbx2 and both Smad1 and Smad2, mediators of BMP and Activin/Nodal signaling, respectively. We perform structure/function analysis of Tbx2 to elucidate the roles of both Tbx2-Smad interaction and Tbx2 DNA-binding in germ layer suppression. CONCLUSION:Our studies demonstrate that Tbx2 associates with intracellular mediators of the Activin/Nodal and BMP/GDF pathways. We identify a novel repressor domain within Tbx2, and have determined that Tbx2 DNA-binding activity is required for repression of TGF? signaling. Finally, our data also point to overlapping yet distinct mechanisms for Tbx2-mediated repression of Activin/Nodal and BMP/GDF signaling.