ATF4 contributes to autophagy and survival in sunitinib treated brain tumor initiating cells (BTICs).
ABSTRACT: Receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) pathways are known to play an important role in tumor cell proliferation of glioblastoma (GBM). Cellular determinants of RTK-inhibitor sensitivity are important to optimize and tailor treatment strategies. The stress response gene activating transcription factor 4 (ATF4) is involved in homeostasis and cellular protection. However, little is known about its function in GBM. We found that the ATF4/p-eIF2? pathway is activated in response to Sunitinib in primary tumor initiating progenitor cell cultures (BTICs). Furthermore, lysosome entrapment of RTK-inhibitors (RTK-Is) leads to accumulation of autophagosomes. In case of Sunitinib treated cells, autophagy is additionally increased by ATF4 mediated upregulation of autophagy genes. Inhibition of ATF4 by small interfering RNA (siRNA) reduced autophagy and cell proliferation after Sunitinib treatment in a subset of BTIC cultures. Overall, this study suggests a pro-survival role of the ATF4/p-eIF2? pathway in a cell type and treatment specific manner.
Project description:Glioblastoma (GBM) is a fatal cancer that has eluded major therapeutic advances. Failure to make progress may reflect the absence of a human GBM model that could be used to test compounds for anti-GBM activity. In this respect, the development of brain tumor-initiating cell (BTIC) cultures is a step forward because BTICs appear to capture the molecular diversity of GBM better than traditional glioma cell lines. Here, we perform a comparative genomic and genetic analysis of BTICs and their parent tumors as preliminary evaluation of the BTIC model.We assessed single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), genome-wide copy number variations (CNVs), gene expression patterns, and molecular subtypes of 11 established BTIC lines and matched parent tumors.Although CNV differences were noted, BTICs retained the major genomic alterations characteristic of GBM. SNP patterns were similar between BTICs and tumors. Importantly, recurring SNP or CNV alterations specific to BTICs were not seen. Comparative gene expression analysis and molecular subtyping revealed differences between BTICs and GBMs. These differences formed the basis of a 63-gene expression signature that distinguished cells from tumors; differentially expressed genes primarily involved metabolic processes. We also derived a set of 73 similarly expressed genes; these genes were not associated with specific biological functions.Although not identical, established BTIC lines preserve the core molecular alterations seen in their parent tumors, as well as the genomic hallmarks of GBM, without acquiring recurring BTIC-specific changes.
Project description:Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most common and deadly malignant brain cancer, with a median survival of <2 years. GBM displays a cellular complexity that includes brain tumour-initiating cells (BTICs), which are considered as potential key targets for GBM therapies. Here we show that the transcription factors FOXG1 and Groucho/TLE are expressed in poorly differentiated astroglial cells in human GBM specimens and in primary cultures of GBM-derived BTICs, where they form a complex. FOXG1 knockdown in BTICs causes downregulation of neural stem/progenitor and proliferation markers, increased replicative senescence, upregulation of astroglial differentiation genes and decreased BTIC-initiated tumour growth after intracranial transplantation into host mice. These effects are phenocopied by Groucho/TLE knockdown or dominant inhibition of the FOXG1:Groucho/TLE complex. These results provide evidence that transcriptional programmes regulated by FOXG1 and Groucho/TLE are important for BTIC-initiated brain tumour growth, implicating FOXG1 and Groucho/TLE in GBM tumourigenesis.
Project description:In response to different environmental stresses, eIF2? phosphorylation represses global translation coincident with preferential translation of ATF4, a master regulator controlling the transcription of key genes essential for adaptative functions. Here, we establish that the eIF2?/ATF4 pathway directs an autophagy gene transcriptional program in response to amino acid starvation or endoplasmic reticulum stress. The eIF2?-kinases GCN2 and PERK and the transcription factors ATF4 and CHOP are also required to increase the transcription of a set of genes implicated in the formation, elongation and function of the autophagosome. We also identify three classes of autophagy genes according to their dependence on ATF4 and CHOP and the binding of these factors to specific promoter cis elements. Furthermore, different combinations of CHOP and ATF4 bindings to target promoters allow the trigger of a differential transcriptional response according to the stress intensity. Overall, this study reveals a novel regulatory role of the eIF2?-ATF4 pathway in the fine-tuning of the autophagy gene transcription program in response to stresses.
Project description:Brain tumor-initiating cells (BTICs) have been identified as key contributors to therapy resistance, recurrence, and progression of diffuse gliomas, particularly glioblastoma (GBM). BTICs are elusive therapeutic targets that reside across the blood-brain barrier, underscoring the urgent need to develop novel therapeutic strategies. Additionally, intratumoral heterogeneity and adaptations to therapeutic pressure by BTICs impede the discovery of effective anti-BTIC therapies and limit the efficacy of individual gene targeting. Recent discoveries in the genetic and epigenetic determinants of BTIC tumorigenesis offer novel opportunities for RNAi-mediated targeting of BTICs. Here we show that BTIC growth arrest in vitro and in vivo is accomplished via concurrent siRNA knockdown of four transcription factors (SOX2, OLIG2, SALL2, and POU3F2) that drive the proneural BTIC phenotype delivered by multiplexed siRNA encapsulation in the lipopolymeric nanoparticle 7C1. Importantly, we demonstrate that 7C1 nano-encapsulation of multiplexed RNAi is a viable BTIC-targeting strategy when delivered directly in vivo in an established mouse brain tumor. Therapeutic potential was most evident via a convection-enhanced delivery method, which shows significant extension of median survival in two patient-derived BTIC xenograft mouse models of GBM. Our study suggests that there is potential advantage in multiplexed targeting strategies for BTICs and establishes a flexible nonviral gene therapy platform with the capacity to channel multiplexed RNAi schemes to address the challenges posed by tumor heterogeneity.
Project description:Selenite has emerged as an optional chemotherapeutic agent for hematological malignancies. Autophagy and apoptosis are both engaged in selenite-induced cell death. In a previous report, we have identified heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90) as a critical modulator of the balance between autophagy and apoptosis in selenite-treated leukemia cells. However, the mechanisms by which selenite mediates the crosstalk between autophagy and apoptosis remain largely unknown. Herein, we demonstrate that the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress-related PERK/eIF2?/ATF4 pathway and p38 are core modules for the selenite-induced switch to apoptosis from autophagy. We found that selenite activated PERK and eIF2?/ATF4 downstream to promote apoptosis. During this progression, p38 was dissociated from PERK-inhibiting Hsp90 and became autophosphorylated. Then, activated p38 further enhanced the docking of activating transcription factor 4 (ATF4) onto the CHOP (CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein homologous protein) promoter via eIF2? to enhance apoptosis. We also found that activated p38 suppressed the phosphorylation of eIF4E that directed ATF4 to bind to the MAP1LC3B (microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3B) promoter. Because of the deactivation of eIF4E, the association of ATF4 with the MAP1LC3B promoter was inhibited, and autophagy was compromised. Intriguingly, p53 played important roles in mediating the p38-mediated regulation of eIF2? and eIF4E. When activated by p38, p53 induced the phosphorylation of eIF2? and the dephosphorylation of eIF4E, particularly in the nucleus where the ATF4 transcription factor was modulated, ultimately resulting in differential expression of CHOP and LC3. Moreover, selenite exhibited potent antitumor effects in vivo. In an NB4 cell xenograft model, selenite induced apoptosis and hampered autophagy. In addition, related signaling proteins demonstrated similar changes to those observed in vitro. These data suggest that selenite may be a candidate drug for leukemia therapy.
Project description:Protein kinase CK2 is a ubiquitously expressed serine/threonine kinase composed of two catalytic subunits (?) and/or (?') and two regulatory (?) subunits. The expression and kinase activity of CK2 is elevated in many different cancers, including glioblastoma (GBM). Brain tumor initiating cells (BTICs) are a subset of cells that are highly tumorigenic and promote the resistance of GBM to current therapies. We previously reported that CK2 activity promotes prosurvival signaling in GBM. In this study, the role of CK2 signaling in BTIC function was examined. We found that expression of CK2? was increased in CD133+ BTICs compared to CD133- cells within the same GBM xenolines. Treatment with CX-4945, an ATP-competitive inhibitor of CK2, led to reduced expression of Sox2 and Nestin, transcription factors important for the maintenance of stem cells. Similarly, inhibition of CK2 also reduced the frequency of CD133+ BTICs over the course of 7 days, indicating a role for CK2 in BTIC persistence and survival. Importantly, using an in vitro limiting dilution assay, we found that inhibition of CK2 kinase activity with CX-4945 or siRNA knockdown of the CK2 catalytic subunits reduced neurosphere formation in GBM xenolines of different molecular subtypes. Lastly, we found that inhibition of CK2 led to decreased EGFR levels in some xenolines, and combination treatment with CX-4945 and Gefitinib to inhibit CK2 and EGFR, respectively, provided optimal inhibition of viability of cells. Therefore, due to the integration of CK2 in multiple signaling pathways important for BTIC survival, CK2 is a promising target in GBM.
Project description:Intratumoral heterogeneity in glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) poses a significant barrier to therapy in certain subpopulation such as the tumor-initiating cell population, being shown to be refractory to conventional therapies. Oncolytic virotherapy has the potential to target multiple compartments within the tumor and thus circumvent some of the barriers facing conventional therapies. In this study, we investigate the oncolytic potential of myxoma virus (MYXV) alone and in combination with rapamycin in vitro and in vivo using human brain tumor-initiating cells (BTICs).We cultured fresh GBM specimens as neurospheres and assayed their growth characteristics in vivo. We then tested the susceptibility of BTICs to MYXV infection with or without rapamycin in vitro and assessed viral biodistribution/survival in vivo in orthotopic xenografts.The cultured neurospheres were found to retain stem cell markers in vivo, and they closely resembled human infiltrative GBM. In this study we determined that (i) all patient-derived BTICs tested, including those resistant to temozolomide, were susceptible to MYXV replication and killing in vitro; (ii) MYXV replicated within BTICs in vivo, and intratumoral administration of MYXV significantly prolonged survival of BTIC-bearing mice; (iii) combination therapy with MYXV and rapamycin improved antitumor activity, even in mice bearing "advanced" BTIC tumors; (iv) MYXV treatment decreased expression of stem cell markers in vitro and in vivo.Our study suggests that MYXV in combination with rapamycin infects and kills both the BTICs and the differentiated compartments of GBM and may be an effective treatment even in TMZ-resistant patients.
Project description:Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most common and malignant type of primary brain tumor and associated with a devastating prognosis. Signal transducer and activator of transcription number 3 (STAT3) is an important pathogenic factor in GBM and can be specifically inhibited with Stattic. Metformin inhibits GBM cell proliferation and migration. Evidence from other tumor models suggests that metformin inhibits STAT3, but there is no specific data on brain tumor initiating cells (BTICs).We explored proliferation and migration of 7 BTICs and their differentiated counterparts (TCs) after treatment with Stattic, metformin or the combination thereof. Invasion was measured in situ on organotypic brain slice cultures. Protein expression of phosphorylated and total STAT3, as well as AMPK and mTOR signaling were explored using Western blot. To determine functional relevance of STAT3 inhibition by Stattic and metformin, we performed a stable knock-in of STAT3 in selected BTICs.Inhibition of STAT3 with Stattic reduced proliferation in all BTICs, but only in 4 out of 7 TCs. Migration and invasion were equally inhibited in BTICs and TCs. Treatment with metformin reduced STAT3-phosphorylation in all investigated BTICs and TCs. Combined treatment with Stattic and metformin led to significant additive effects on BTIC proliferation, but not migration or invasion. No additive effects on TCs could be detected. Stable STAT3 knock-in partly attenuated the effects of Stattic and metformin on BTICs.In conclusion, metformin was found to inhibit STAT3-phosphorylation in BTICs and TCs. Combined specific and unspecific inhibition of STAT3 might represent a promising new strategy in the treatment of glioblastoma.
Project description:In glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), brain-tumor-initiating cells (BTICs) with cancer stem cell characteristics have been identified and proposed as primordial cells responsible for disease initiation, recurrence, and therapeutic resistance. However, the extent to which individual, patient-derived BTIC lines reflect the heterogeneity of GBM remains poorly understood. Here we applied a stem cell biology approach and compared self-renewal, marker expression, label retention, and asymmetric cell division in 20 BTIC lines. Through cluster analysis, we identified two subgroups of BTIC lines with distinct precursor states, stem- or progenitor-like, predictive of survival after xenograft. Moreover, stem and progenitor transcriptomic signatures were identified, which showed a strong association with the proneural and mesenchymal subtypes, respectively, in the TCGA cohort. This study proposes a different framework for the study and use of BTIC lines and provides precursor biology insights into GBM.
Project description:The heavy metal cadmium (Cd) is nephrotoxic. Recent studies show that autophagy plays an essential role in Cd-induced kidney injury. However, the mechanisms of Cd-induced kidney injury accompanied by autophagy are still obscure. In the present study, we first confirmed that Cd induced kidney damage and dysfunction, along with autophagy, both in vivo and in vitro. Then, we observed that cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and the eIF2?-ATF4 pathway of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress were induced by Cd in both kidney tissues and cultured cells. Further studies showed that inhibition of COX-2 with celecoxib or RNA interference (RNAi) inhibited the Cd-induced autophagy in kidney cells. In addition, blocking ER stress with 4-phenylbutyrate or RNAi partially counteracted COX-2 overexpression and autophagy induced by Cd, which suggested that ER stress was required for Cd-induced kidney autophagy. Significantly, our results showed that Cd activated ATF4 and induced its translocation to the nucleus. Knockdown of ATF4 inhibited Cd-induced COX-2 overexpression. While COX-2 overexpression is involved in renal dysfunction, there is no prior report on the role of COX-2 in autophagy regulation. The results of the current study suggest a novel molecular mechanism that the ER stress eIF2?-ATF4 pathway-mediated COX-2 overexpression contributes to Cd-induced kidney autophagy and injury. The present study implies that COX-2 may be a potential target for therapy against Cd-induced nephrotoxicity.