ARID1A, a SWI/SNF subunit, is critical to acinar cell homeostasis and regeneration and is a barrier to transformation and epithelial-mesenchymal transition in the pancreas.
ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE:Here, we evaluate the contribution of AT-rich interaction domain-containing protein 1A (ARID1A), the most frequently mutated member of the SWItch/sucrose non-fermentable (SWI/SNF) complex, in pancreatic homeostasis and pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) pathogenesis using mouse models. DESIGN:Mice with a targeted deletion of Arid1a in the pancreas by itself and in the context of two common genetic alterations in PDAC, Kras and p53, were followed longitudinally. Pancreases were examined and analysed for proliferation, response to injury and tumourigenesis. Cancer cell lines derived from these models were analysed for clonogenic, migratory, invasive and transcriptomic changes. RESULTS:Arid1a deletion in the pancreas results in progressive acinar-to-ductal metaplasia (ADM), loss of acinar mass, diminished acinar regeneration in response to injury and ductal cell expansion. Mutant Kras cooperates with homozygous deletion of Arid1a, leading to intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm (IPMN). Arid1a loss in the context of mutant Kras and p53 leads to shorter tumour latency, with the resulting tumours being poorly differentiated. Cancer cell lines derived from Arid1a-mutant tumours are more mesenchymal, migratory, invasive and capable of anchorage-independent growth; gene expression analysis showed activation of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and stem cell identity pathways that are partially dependent on Arid1a loss for dysregulation. CONCLUSIONS:ARID1A plays a key role in pancreatic acinar homeostasis and response to injury. Furthermore, ARID1A restrains oncogenic KRAS-driven formation of premalignant proliferative IPMN. Arid1a-deficient PDACs are poorly differentiated and have mesenchymal features conferring migratory/invasive and stem-like properties.
Project description:Mutations in members of the SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling family are common events in cancer, but the mechanisms whereby disruption of SWI/SNF components alters tumorigenesis remain poorly understood. To model the effect of loss of function mutations in the SWI/SNF subunit Arid1a in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) initiation, we directed shRNA triggered, inducible and reversible suppression of Arid1a to the mouse pancreas in the setting of oncogenic KrasG12D. Arid1a cooperates with Kras in the adult pancreas as postnatal silencing of Arid1a following sustained KrasG12D expression induces rapid and irreversible reprogramming of acinar cells into mucinous PDAC precursor lesions. In contrast, Arid1a silencing during embryogenesis, concurrent with KrasG12D activation, leads to retention of acinar cell fate. Together, our results demonstrate Arid1a as a critical modulator of Kras-dependent changes in acinar cell identity, and underscore an unanticipated influence of timing and genetic context on the effects of SWI/SNF complex alterations in epithelial tumorigenesis.
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.
Project description: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:Understanding the initiation and progression of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) may provide therapeutic strategies for this deadly disease. Recently, we and others made the surprising finding that PDAC and its preinvasive precursors, pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PanIN), arise via reprogramming of mature acinar cells. We therefore hypothesized that the master regulator of acinar differentiation, PTF1A, could play a central role in suppressing PDAC initiation. In this study, we demonstrate that PTF1A expression is lost in both mouse and human PanINs, and that this downregulation is functionally imperative in mice for acinar reprogramming by oncogenic KRAS. Loss of Ptf1a alone is sufficient to induce acinar-to-ductal metaplasia, potentiate inflammation, and induce a KRAS-permissive, PDAC-like gene expression profile. As a result, Ptf1a-deficient acinar cells are dramatically sensitized to KRAS transformation, and reduced Ptf1a greatly accelerates development of invasive PDAC. Together, these data indicate that cell differentiation regulators constitute a new tumor suppressive mechanism in the pancreas.
Project description:Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is thought to derive from different precursor lesions including the recently identified atypical flat lesions (AFL). While all precursor lesions and PDAC share ductal characteristics, there is an ongoing debate about the cellular origin of the different PDAC precursor lesions. In particular, pancreatic acinar cells have previously been shown to display a remarkable plasticity being able to undergo ductal dedifferentiation in the context of oncogenic stimuli.Histological analyses were performed in a murine PDAC model that specifically expresses oncogenic Kras in adult pancreatic acinar cells. Occurrence, characterization, and lineage tracing of AFLs were investigated.Upon expression of oncogenic Kras in adult pancreatic acinar cells, AFLs with typical morphology and expression profile arise. Lineage tracing confirmed that the AFLs were of acinar origin.Using a murine PDAC model, this study identifies pancreatic acinar cells as a cellular source for AFLs.
Project description:Mutations of subunit genes of the SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complexes were found in 12-23% of human Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma (PDAC). We previously showed that Brg1, a catalytic ATPase subunit of the SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complexes, inhibits the formation of intraductal pancreatic mucinous neoplasms (IPMN) and IPMN-derived PDAC from ductal cells. On the other hand, ARID1A is the most frequent target of mutations in the SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complexes in human PDAC. We found that Arid1a loss in the context of mutant Kras resulted in formation of IPMN and PDAC. We also found that the incidence of PDAC formation in Ptf1a-Cre; KrasG12D; Arid1af/f mice was markedly lower than that in Ptf1a-Cre; KrasG12D; Brg1f/f mice despite the similarities between Arid1a-deficient and Brg1-deficient IPMNs. We extracted total RNA from intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms (IPMNs) in Ptf1a-Cre; KrasG12D; Arid1af/f and Ptf1a-Cre; KrasG12D; Brg1f/f mice and perform microarray analysis. Overall design: Analysis of mRNA from IPMNs in two Ptf1a-Cre; KrasG12D; Arid1af/f mice and three Ptf1a-Cre; KrasG12D; Brg1f/f mice.
Project description:HHLA2 is a newly identified member of the B7 immune checkpoint family, but its function and crosstalk with immune cells is not fully understood. To gain insights into the HHLA2 expression profile and to determine the clinical significance and function of HHLA2 in pancreatic cancer, we performed immunohistochemistry (IHC) analyses on tissue microarrays (TMAs) of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC, n?=?92) with matched peritumoral tissues as well as in cohorts of precancerous lesions: pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PanIN) and intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm (IPMN). We found that HHLA2 was rarely detected in normal acinar, islet, and ductal cells but widely expressed from early pancreatic precancerous lesions to invasive PDAC. The overall HHLA2 positivity was 95% (19/20) in low grade PanIN and 70.73% (29/41) in IPMN. HHLA2 expression was detected in 77.17% (71/92) of the PDAC cases and was significantly associated with better prognosis in this cohort. Our findings suggest that HHLA2 may behave as a costimulatory ligand in pancreatic cancer, which differs from other B7 family members that are largely characterized as checkpoint inhibitors. Further investigation of the HHLA2 signaling pathway and its receptors is warranted by our data and may lead to novel therapeutic interventions.
Project description:The exocrine pancreas, consisting of ducts and acini, is the site of origin of pancreatitis and pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). Our understanding of the genesis and progression of human pancreatic diseases, including PDAC, is limited because of challenges in maintaining human acinar and ductal cells in culture. Here we report induction of human pluripotent stem cells toward pancreatic ductal and acinar organoids that recapitulate properties of the neonatal exocrine pancreas. Expression of the PDAC-associated oncogene GNAS<sup>R201C</sup> induces cystic growth more effectively in ductal than acinar organoids, whereas KRAS<sup>G12D</sup> is more effective in modeling cancer in vivo when expressed in acinar compared with ductal organoids. KRAS<sup>G12D</sup>, but not GNAS<sup>R201C</sup>, induces acinar-to-ductal metaplasia-like changes in culture and in vivo. We develop a renewable source of ductal and acinar organoids for modeling exocrine development and diseases and demonstrate lineage tropism and plasticity for oncogene action in the human pancreas.
Project description:Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is an aggressive cancer with poor survival rates and frequently carries oncogenic KRAS mutation. However, KRAS has thus far not been a viable therapeutic target. We found that the abundance of YAP mRNA, which encodes Yes-associated protein (YAP), a protein regulated by the Hippo pathway during tissue development and homeostasis, was increased in human PDAC tissue compared with that in normal pancreatic epithelia. In genetically engineered Kras(G12D) and Kras(G12D):Trp53(R172H) mouse models, pancreas-specific deletion of Yap halted the progression of early neoplastic lesions to PDAC without affecting normal pancreatic development and endocrine function. Although Yap was dispensable for acinar to ductal metaplasia (ADM), an initial step in the progression to PDAC, Yap was critically required for the proliferation of mutant Kras or Kras:Trp53 neoplastic pancreatic ductal cells in culture and for their growth and progression to invasive PDAC in mice. Yap functioned as a critical transcriptional switch downstream of the oncogenic KRAS-mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway, promoting the expression of genes encoding secretory factors that cumulatively sustained neoplastic proliferation, a tumorigenic stromal response in the tumor microenvironment, and PDAC progression in Kras and Kras:Trp53 mutant pancreas tissue. Together, our findings identified Yap as a critical oncogenic KRAS effector and a promising therapeutic target for PDAC and possibly other types of KRAS-mutant cancers.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>To clarify the genetic mutations associated with intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms (IPMN) and IPMN-related pancreatic tumours, we conducted cancer-related gene profiling analyses using pure pancreatic juice and resected pancreatic tissues.<h4>Methods</h4>Pure pancreatic juice was collected from 152 patients [nine with a normal pancreas, 22 with chronic pancreatitis (CP), 39 with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), and 82 with IPMN], and resected tissues from the pancreas were collected from 48 patients (six IPMNs and 42 PDACs). The extracted DNA was amplified by multiplexed polymerase chain reaction (PCR) targeting 46 cancer-related genes containing 739 mutational hotspots. The mutations were analysed using a semiconductor-based DNA sequencer.<h4>Results</h4>Among the 46 cancer-related genes, KRAS and GNAS mutations were most frequently detected in both PDAC and IPMN cases. In pure pancreatic juice, GNAS mutations were detected in 7.7% of PDAC cases and 41.5% of IPMN cases (p<0.001 vs. others). All PDAC cases with GNAS mutations (n = 3) were accompanied by IPMN. Multivariate analysis revealed that GNAS mutations in IPMN cases were associated with dilated main pancreatic ducts (MPD, p = 0.016), while no statistically independent associations with clinical variables were observed for KRAS mutations. In the resected pancreatic tissues, GNAS mutations were detected in 50% of PDAC cases concomitant with IPMN, 33.3% of PDAC cases derived from IPMN, and 66.7% of IPMN cases, while no GNAS mutations were detected in cases of PDAC without IPMN.<h4>Conclusions</h4>The GNAS mutation was specifically found in the cases with IPMN and it was speculated that some PDACs might be influenced by the concomitant but separately-located IPMN in their pathogenic mechanism. Furthermore, the GNAS mutation was significantly associated with MPD dilatation in IPMN cases, suggesting its role in mucus hypersecretion.