Targeted genomic CRISPR-Cas9 screen identifies MAP4K4 as essential for glioblastoma invasion.
ABSTRACT: Among high-grade brain tumors, glioblastoma is particularly difficult to treat, in part due to its highly infiltrative nature which contributes to the malignant phenotype and high mortality in patients. In order to better understand the signaling pathways underlying glioblastoma invasion, we performed the first large-scale CRISPR-Cas9 loss of function screen specifically designed to identify genes that facilitate cell invasion. We tested 4,574 genes predicted to be involved in trafficking and motility. Using a transwell invasion assay, we discovered 33 genes essential for invasion. Of the 11 genes we selected for secondary testing using a wound healing assay, 6 demonstrated a significant decrease in migration. The strongest regulator of invasion was mitogen-activated protein kinase 4 (MAP4K4). Targeting of MAP4K4 with single guide RNAs or a MAP4K4 inhibitor reduced migration and invasion in vitro. This effect was consistent across three additional patient derived glioblastoma cell lines. Analysis of epithelial-mesenchymal transition markers in U138 cells with lack or inhibition of MAP4K4 demonstrated protein expression consistent with a non-invasive state. Importantly, MAP4K4 inhibition limited migration in a subset of human glioma organotypic slice cultures. Our results identify MAP4K4 as a novel potential therapeutic target to limit glioblastoma invasion.
Project description:Cell motility is a complex biological process, involved in development, inflammation, homeostasis, and pathological processes such as the invasion and metastatic spread of cancer. Here, we describe a genomic screen designed to identify inhibitors of cell migration. A library of 10,996 small interfering RNAs (targeting 5,234 human genes) was screened for their ability to block the migration of a highly motile ovarian carcinoma cell line, SKOV-3, by using a 384-well wound-healing assay coupled with automated microscopy and wound quantification. Two or more small interfering RNAs against four genes, CDK7, DYRK1B, MAP4K4 (NIK/HGK) (MAP4K4, mitogen-activated protein 4 kinase 4), and SCCA-1 (SerpinB3), potently blocked the migration of SKOV-3 cells, concordant with reduced transcript levels. Further studies of the promigratory role of MAP4K4 showed that the knockdown of this transcript inhibited the migration of multiple carcinoma cell lines, indicating a broad role in cell motility and potently suppressed the invasion of SKOV-3 cells in vitro. The effect of MAP4K4 on cellular migration was found to be mediated through c-Jun N-terminal kinase, independent of AP1 activation and downstream transcription. Accordingly, small molecule inhibition of c-Jun N-terminal kinase suppressed SKOV-3 cell migration, underscoring the potential therapeutic utility of mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway inhibition in cancer progression.
Project description:Glioma cell migration correlates with Pyk2 activity, but the intrinsic mechanism that regulates the activity of Pyk2 is not fully understood. Previous studies have supported a role for the N-terminal FERM domain in the regulation of Pyk2 activity as mutations in the FERM domain inhibit Pyk2 phosphorylation. To search for novel protein-protein interactions mediated by the Pyk2 FERM domain, we utilized a yeast two-hybrid genetic selection to identify the mammalian Ste20 homolog MAP4K4 as a binding partner for the Pyk2 FERM domain. MAP4K4 coimmunoprecipitated with Pyk2 and was a substrate for Pyk2 but did not coimmunoprecipitate with the closely related focal adhesion kinase FAK. Knockdown of MAP4K4 expression inhibited glioma cell migration and effectively blocked Pyk2 stimulation of glioma cell. Increased expression of MAP4K4 stimulated glioma cell migration; however, this stimulation was blocked by knockdown of Pyk2 expression. These data support that the interaction of MAP4K4 and Pyk2 is integrated with glioma cell migration and suggest that inhibition of this interaction may represent a potential therapeutic strategy to limit glioblastoma tumor dispersion.
Project description:Local tissue infiltration of Medulloblastoma (MB) tumor cells precedes metastatic disease but little is still known about intrinsic regulation of migration and invasion in these cells. We found that MAP4K4, a pro-migratory Ser/Thr kinase, is overexpressed in 30% of primary MB tumors and that increased expression is particularly associated with the frequently metastatic SHH ? subtype. MAP4K4 is a driver of migration and invasion downstream of c-Met, which is transcriptionally up-regulated in SHH MB. Consistently, depletion of MAP4K4 in MB tumor cells restricts HGF-driven matrix invasion in vitro and brain tissue infiltration ex vivo. We show that these pro-migratory functions of MAP4K4 involve the activation of the integrin ?-1 adhesion receptor and are associated with increased endocytic uptake. The consequent enhanced recycling of c-Met caused by MAP4K4 results in the accumulation of activated c-Met in cytosolic vesicles, which is required for sustained signaling and downstream pathway activation. The parallel increase of c-Met and MAP4K4 expression in SHH MB could predict an increased potential of these tumors to infiltrate brain tissue and cause metastatic disease. Molecular targeting of the underlying accelerated endocytosis and receptor recycling could represent a novel approach to block pro-migratory effector functions of MAP4K4 in metastatic cancers.
Project description:Disassembly of focal adhesions (FAs) allows cell retraction and integrin detachment from the extracellular matrix, processes critical for cell movement. Growth of microtubules (MTs) can promote FA turnover by serving as tracks to deliver proteins essential for FA disassembly. The molecular nature of this FA "disassembly factor," however, remains elusive. By quantitative proteomics, we identified mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase kinase kinase 4 (MAP4K4) as an FA regulator that associates with MTs. Knockout of MAP4K4 stabilizes FAs and impairs cell migration. By exploring underlying mechanisms, we further show that MAP4K4 associates with ending binding 2 (EB2) and IQ motif and SEC7 domain-containing protein 1 (IQSEC1), a guanine nucleotide exchange factor specific for Arf6, whose activation promotes integrin internalization. Together, our findings provide critical insight into FA disassembly, suggesting that MTs can deliver MAP4K4 toward FAs through EB2, where MAP4K4 can, in turn, activate Arf6 via IQSEC1 and enhance FA dissolution.
Project description:About 76% of patients with lung adenocarcinoma harbor activating mutations in the receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK)/RAS/RAF pathways, leading to aberrant activation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathways particularly the MAPK/ERK pathway. However, many lung adenocarcinomas lacking these genomic mutations also display significant MAPK pathway activation, suggesting that additional MAPK pathway alterations remain undetected. This study has identified serine/threonine kinase mitogen-activated protein 4 kinase 4 (MAP4K4) as a novel positive regulator of MAPK/ERK signaling in lung adenocarcinoma. The results showed that MAP4K4 was drastically elevated in lung adenocarcinoma independently of KRAS or EGFR mutation status. Knockdown of MAP4K4 inhibited proliferation, anchorage-independent growth and migration of lung adenocarcinoma cells, and also inhibited human lung adenocarcinoma xenograft growth and metastasis. Mechanistically, we found that MAP4K4 activated ERK through inhibiting protein phosphatase 2 activity. Our results further showed that downregulation of MAP4K4 prevented ERK reactivation in EGFR inhibitor erlotinib-treated lung adenocarcinoma cells. Together, our findings identify MAP4K4 as a novel MAPK/ERK pathway regulator in lung adenocarcinoma that is required for lung adenocarcinoma maintenance.
Project description:Myoblast differentiation into mature myotubes is a critical step in the development and repair of human skeletal muscle. Here we show that small interfering RNA (siRNA)-based silencing of the Ste20-like mitogen-activated protein 4 kinase 4 (Map4k4) in C2C12 myoblasts markedly enhances expression of myogenic differentiation genes, myoblast fusion, and myotube diameter. In contrast, adenovirus-mediated expression of native Map4k4 in C2C12 cells attenuates each of these processes, indicating that Map4k4 is a negative regulator of myogenic differentiation and hypertrophy. Expression of a Map4k4 kinase-inactive mutant enhances myotube formation, suggesting that the kinase activity of Map4k4 is essential for its inhibition of muscle differentiation. Map4k4 regulation of myogenesis is unlikely to be mediated by classic mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling pathways, because no significant difference in phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), p38, or c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) is observed in Map4k4-silenced cells. Furthermore, silencing of these other MAPKs does not result in a hypertrophic myotube phenotype like that seen with Map4k4 depletion. Uniquely, Map4k4 silencing upregulates the expression of the myogenic regulatory factor Myf5, whose depletion inhibits myogenesis. Furthermore, Myf5 is required for enhancement of myotube formation in Map4k4-silenced cells, while Myf5 overexpression rescues Map4k4-mediated inhibition of myogenic differentiation. These results demonstrate that Map4k4 is a novel suppressor of skeletal muscle differentiation, acting through a Myf5-dependent mechanism.
Project description:Signalling pathways that control endothelial cell (EC) permeability, leukocyte adhesion and inflammation are pivotal for atherosclerosis initiation and progression. Here we demonstrate that the Sterile-20-like mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase kinase kinase 4 (MAP4K4), which has been implicated in inflammation, is abundantly expressed in ECs and in atherosclerotic plaques from mice and humans. On the basis of endothelial-specific MAP4K4 gene silencing and gene ablation experiments in Apoe(-/-) mice, we show that MAP4K4 in ECs markedly promotes Western diet-induced aortic macrophage accumulation and atherosclerotic plaque development. Treatment of Apoe(-/-) and Ldlr(-/-) mice with a selective small-molecule MAP4K4 inhibitor also markedly reduces atherosclerotic lesion area. MAP4K4 silencing in cultured ECs attenuates cell surface adhesion molecule expression while reducing nuclear localization and activity of NF?B, which is critical for promoting EC activation and atherosclerosis. Taken together, these results reveal that MAP4K4 is a key signalling node that promotes immune cell recruitment in atherosclerosis.
Project description:Adipose tissue lipogenesis is paradoxically impaired in human obesity, promoting ectopic triglyceride (TG) deposition, lipotoxicity, and insulin resistance. We previously identified mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase kinase kinase 4 (Map4k4), a sterile 20 protein kinase reported to be upstream of c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase (JNK) signaling, as a novel negative regulator of insulin-stimulated glucose transport in adipocytes. Using full-genome microarray analysis we uncovered a novel role for Map4k4 as a suppressor of lipid synthesis. We further report here the surprising finding that Map4k4 suppresses adipocyte lipogenesis independently of JNK. Thus, while Map4k4 silencing in adipocytes enhances the expression of lipogenic enzymes, concomitant with increased conversion of (14)C-glucose and (14)C-acetate into TGs and fatty acids, JNK1 and JNK2 depletion causes the opposite effects. Furthermore, high expression of Map4k4 fails to activate endogenous JNK, while Map4k4 depletion does not attenuate JNK activation by tumor necrosis factor ?. Map4k4 silencing in cultured adipocytes elevates both the total protein expression and cleavage of sterol-regulated element binding protein-1 (Srebp-1) in a rapamycin-sensitive manner, consistent with Map4k4 signaling via mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1). We show Map4k4 depletion requires Srebp-1 upregulation to increase lipogenesis and further show that Map4k4 promotes AMP-protein kinase (AMPK) signaling and the phosphorylation of mTORC1 binding partner raptor (Ser792) to inhibit mTORC1. Our results indicate that Map4k4 inhibits adipose lipogenesis by suppression of Srebp-1 in an AMPK- and mTOR-dependent but JNK-independent mechanism.
Project description:To perceive pathogens, plants employ pattern recognition receptor (PRR) complexes, which then transmit these signals via the receptor-like cytoplasmic kinase BIK1 to induce defense responses. How BIK1 activity and stability are controlled is still not completely understood. Here, we show that the Hippo/STE20 homolog MAP4K4 regulates BIK1-mediated immune responses. MAP4K4 associates and phosphorylates BIK1 at Ser233, Ser236, and Thr242 to ensure BIK1 stability and activity. Furthermore, MAP4K4 phosphorylates PP2C38 at Ser77 to enable flg22-induced BIK1 activation. Our results uncover that a Hippo/STE20 homolog, MAP4K4, maintains the homeostasis of the central immune component BIK1.
Project description:To perceive pathogens, plants employ pattern recognition receptor (PRR) complexes, which then transmit these signals via the receptor-like cytoplasmic kinase BIK1 to induce defense responses. How BIK1 activity and stability are controlled is still not completely understood. Here we show that the Hippo/STE20 homolog MAP4K4 regulates BIK1-mediated immune responses. MAP4K4 associates and phosphorylates BIK1 at Ser233, Ser236 and Thr242 to ensure BIK1 stability and activity. Furthermore, MAP4K4 phosphorylates PP2C38 at Ser77 to enable flg22-induced BIK1 activation. Our results uncover that a Hippo/STE20 homolog, MAP4K4, maintains the homeostasis of the central immune component BIK1.