Wnt Signaling Pathways in Keratinocyte Carcinomas.
ABSTRACT: The skin functions as a barrier between the organism and the surrounding environment. Direct exposure to external stimuli and the accumulation of genetic mutations may lead to abnormal cell growth, irreversible tissue damage and potentially favor skin malignancy. Skin homeostasis is coordinated by an intricate signaling network, and its dysregulation has been implicated in the development of skin cancers. Wnt signaling is one such regulatory pathway orchestrating skin development, homeostasis, and stem cell activation. Aberrant regulation of Wnt signaling cascades not only gives rise to tumor initiation, progression and invasion, but also maintains cancer stem cells which contribute to tumor recurrence. In this review, we summarize recent studies highlighting functional evidence of Wnt-related oncology in keratinocyte carcinomas, as well as discussing preclinical and clinical approaches that target oncogenic Wnt signaling to treat cancers. Our review provides valuable insight into the significance of Wnt signaling for future interventions against keratinocyte carcinomas.
Project description:Keratinocyte is the predominant cell type in the epidermis of skin, and it provides the protective barrier function for the body. Various signaling pathways have been implicated in keratinocyte differentiation in animal models; However, their temporal regulation and interactions are still to be explored in pluripotent stem cell models. In this report, we use human embryonic stem cells to demonstrate that epidermal ectoderm and subsequent keratinocyte cell fate can be determined step by step under the regulation of defined factors. The inhibition of TGF? initiates ectodermal lineage differentiation, and the activation of BMP pathway drives epidermal TP63 expression. Meanwhile, the timely activation of WNT pathway suppresses extraembryonic lineage, and promotes epidermal cell fate. With further specification by NOTCH inhibition, more than 90% of cells become TP63-positive stage ? keratinocytes. Finally, stage ? keratinocytes are produced under defined hypo-calcium keratinocyte culture conditions, and are further matured in mouse xenograft model. This study not only establishes an in vitro platform to study keratinocyte cell fate determination, but also provides an efficient protocol to produce keratinocytes for disease models and clinical applications.
Project description:Wnt10b is a signaling protein regulating skin development and homeostasis, and the expression of Wnt10b is restricted to epidermal keratinocytes in embryonic and postnatal skin. Recent studies indicate an elevated expression of Wnt10b in skin tumors. However, how Wnt10b regulates skin tumorigenesis remains largely unknown. Here we report that continuous expression of Wnt10b mediates transformation of epidermal keratinocytes through activating genes involved in EGF/MAPK signaling pathways. We first established a prolonged Wnt10b overexpression system in JB6P- cells to represent the elevated Wnt10b expression level in skin keratinocytes. Through expression assays and observations under phase-contrast microscopy, prolonged expression of Wnt10b activated Wnt/?-catenin pathway and induced morphological changes of cells showing longer protrusions and multilayer growth, indicating early-stage cell transformation. Wnt10b also increased cellular proliferation and migration according to BrdU incorporation and cell mobility assays. Furthermore, multi-doses of AdWnt10b treatment to JB6P- cells induced colony formation, stronger invasive ability in transwell system, and anchorage-independent growth in agar gel. In molecular level, AdWnt10b treatment induced increased transcriptional expressions of Egf, downstream Mapk pathway factors, and MMPs. Administration of Wnt antagonist DKK1 blocked the tumor promotion process induced by Wnt10b. Taken together, these findings clearly demonstrate that Wnt10b promotes epidermal keratinocyte transformation through induced Egf pathway.
Project description:Epidermal homeostasis relies on a well-defined transcriptional control of keratinocyte proliferation and differentiation, which is critical to prevent skin diseases such as atopic dermatitis, psoriasis or cancer. We have recently shown that the homeobox transcription factor DLX3 and the tumor suppressor p53 co-regulate cell cycle-related signaling and that this mechanism is functionally involved in cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma development. Here we show that DLX3 expression and its downstream signaling depend on protein kinase C ? (PKC?) activity in skin. We found that following 12-O-tetradecanoyl-phorbol-13-acetate (TPA) topical treatment, DLX3 expression is significantly upregulated in the epidermis and keratinocytes from mice overexpressing PKC? by transgenic targeting (K5-PKC?), resulting in cell cycle block and terminal differentiation. Epidermis lacking DLX3 (DLX3cKO), which is linked to the development of a DLX3-dependent epidermal hyperplasia with hyperkeratosis and dermal leukocyte recruitment, displays enhanced PKC? activation, suggesting a feedback regulation of DLX3 and PKC?. Of particular significance, transcriptional activation of epidermal barrier, antimicrobial peptide and cytokine genes is significantly increased in DLX3cKO skin and further increased by TPA-dependent PKC activation. Furthermore, when inhibiting PKC activity, we show that epidermal thickness, keratinocyte proliferation and inflammatory cell infiltration are reduced and the PKC-DLX3-dependent gene expression signature is normalized. Independently of PKC, DLX3 expression specifically modulates regulatory networks such as Wnt signaling, phosphatase activity and cell adhesion. Chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing analysis of primary suprabasal keratinocytes showed binding of DLX3 to the proximal promoter regions of genes associated with cell cycle regulation, and of structural proteins and transcription factors involved in epidermal differentiation. These results indicate that Dlx3 potentially regulates a set of crucial genes necessary during the epidermal differentiation process. Altogether, we demonstrate the existence of a robust DLX3-PKC? signaling pathway in keratinocytes that is crucial to epidermal differentiation control and cutaneous homeostasis.
Project description:CYLD is a gene mutated in familial cylindromatosis and related diseases, leading to the development of skin appendages tumors. Although the deubiquitinase CYLD is a skin tumor suppressor, its role in skin physiology is unknown. Using skin organotypic cultures as experimental model to mimic human skin, we have found that CYLD acts as a regulator of epidermal differentiation in humans through the JNK signaling pathway. We have determined the requirement of CYLD for the maintenance of epidermal polarity, keratinocyte differentiation and apoptosis. We show that CYLD overexpression increases keratinocyte differentiation while CYLD loss of function impairs epidermal differentiation. In addition, we describe the important role of CYLD in the control of human non-melanoma skin cancer progression. Our results show the reversion of the malignancy of human squamous cell carcinomas that express increased levels of CYLD, while its functional inhibition enhances the aggressiveness of these tumors which progress toward spindle cell carcinomas. We have found that the mechanisms through which CYLD regulates skin cancer progression include the control of tumor differentiation, angiogenesis and cell survival. These findings of the role of CYLD in human skin cancer prognosis make our results relevant from a therapeutic point of view, and open new avenues for exploring novel cancer therapies.
Project description:Kindlin-1 is an integrin tail binding protein that controls integrin activation. Mutations in the FERMT-1 gene, which encodes for Kindlin-1, lead to Kindler syndrome in man, which is characterized by skin blistering, premature skin aging and skin cancer of unknown etiology. Here we show that loss of Kindlin-1 in mouse keratinocytes recapitulates Kindler syndrome and also produces enlarged and hyperactive stem cell compartments, which lead to hyperthickened epidermis, ectopic hair follicle development and increased skin tumor susceptibility. Mechanistically, Kindlin-1 controls keratinocyte adhesion through ?1-class integrins and proliferation and differentiation of cutaneous epithelial stem cells by promoting ?(v)?(6) integrin-mediated transforming growth factor-? (TGF-?) activation and inhibiting Wnt-?-catenin signaling through integrin-independent regulation of Wnt ligand expression. Our findings assign Kindlin-1 the previously unknown and essential task of controlling cutaneous epithelial stem cell homeostasis by balancing TGF-?-mediated growth-inhibitory signals and Wnt-?-catenin-mediated growth-promoting signals.
Project description:Although p63 and MYC are important in the control of epidermal homeostasis, the underlying molecular mechanisms governing keratinocyte proliferation or differentiation downstream of these two genes are not completely understood. By analyzing the transcriptional changes and phenotypic consequences of the loss of either p63 or MYC in human developmentally mature keratinocytes, we have characterized the networks acting downstream of these two genes to control epidermal homeostasis. We show that p63 is required to maintain growth and to commit to differentiation by two distinct mechanisms. Knockdown of p63 led to down-regulation of MYC via the Wnt/?-catenin and Notch signaling pathways and in turn reduced keratinocyte proliferation. We demonstrate that a p63-controlled keratinocyte cell fate network is essential to induce the onset of keratinocyte differentiation. This network contains several secreted proteins involved in cell migration/adhesion, including fibronectin 1 (FN1), interleukin-1? (IL1B), cysteine-rich protein 61 (CYR61), and jagged-1 (JAG1), that act downstream of p63 as key effectors to trigger differentiation. Our results characterized for the first time a connection between p63 and MYC and a cell adhesion-related network that controls differentiation. Furthermore, we show that the balance between the MYC-controlled cell cycle progression network and the p63-controlled cell adhesion-related network could dictate skin cell fate.
Project description:Mps one binder 1a (MOB1A) and MOB1B are key components of the Hippo signaling pathway and are mutated or inactivated in many human cancers. Here we show that intact Mob1a or Mob1b is essential for murine embryogenesis and that loss of the remaining WT Mob1 allele in Mob1a(?/?)1b(tr/+) or Mob1a(?/+)1b(tr/tr) mice results in tumor development. Because most of these cancers resembled trichilemmal carcinomas, we generated double-mutant mice bearing tamoxifen-inducible, keratinocyte-specific homozygous-null mutations of Mob1a and Mob1b (kDKO mice). kDKO mice showed hyperplastic keratinocyte progenitors and defective keratinocyte terminal differentiation and soon died of malnutrition. kDKO keratinocytes exhibited hyperproliferation, apoptotic resistance, impaired contact inhibition, enhanced progenitor self renewal, and increased centrosomes. Examination of Hippo pathway signaling in kDKO keratinocytes revealed that loss of Mob1a/b altered the activities of the downstream Hippo mediators LATS and YAP1. Similarly, YAP1 was activated in some human trichilemmal carcinomas, and some of these also exhibited MOB1A/1B inactivation. Our results clearly demonstrate that MOB1A and MOB1B have overlapping functions in skin homeostasis, and exert their roles as tumor suppressors by regulating downstream elements of the Hippo pathway.
Project description:Skin complications and chronic non-healing wounds are common in obesity, metabolic disease, and type 2 diabetes. Epidermal ?? T cells normally produce keratinocyte growth factors, participate in wound repair, and are necessary for keratinocyte homeostasis. We have determined that in ?? T cell-deficient mice, there are reduced numbers of keratinocytes and the epidermis exhibits a flattened, thinner structure with fewer basal keratinocytes. This is important in obesity, where skin-resident ?? T cells are reduced and rendered dysfunctional. Similar to ?? T cell-deficient mice, keratinocytes are reduced and the epidermal structure is altered in two obese mouse models. Even in regions where ?? T cells are present, there are fewer keratinocytes in obese mice, indicating that dysfunctional ?? T cells are unable to regulate keratinocyte homeostasis. The impact of absent or impaired ?? T cells on epidermal structure is exacerbated in obesity as E-cadherin localization and expression are additionally altered. These studies reveal that ?? T cells are unable to regulate keratinocyte homeostasis in obesity and that the obese environment further impairs skin structure by altering cell-cell adhesion. Together, impaired keratinocyte homeostasis and epidermal barrier function through direct and indirect mechanisms result in susceptibility to skin complications, chronic wounds, and infection.
Project description:In this study, we examined the impact of rapamycin on mTORC1 signaling during 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA)-induced keratinocyte proliferation and skin tumor promotion in both wild-type (FVB/N) and BK5.Akt(WT) mice. TPA activated mTORC1 signaling in a time-dependent manner in cultured primary mouse keratinocytes and a mouse keratinocyte cell line. Early activation (15-30?min) of mTORC1 signaling induced by TPA was mediated in part by PKC activation, whereas later activation (2-4?h) was mediated by activation of EGFR and Akt. BK5.Akt(WT) transgenic mice, where Akt1 is overexpressed in basal epidermis, are highly sensitive to TPA-induced epidermal proliferation and two-stage skin carcinogenesis. Targeting mTORC1 with rapamycin effectively inhibited TPA-induced epidermal hyperplasia and hyperproliferation as well as tumor promotion in a dose-dependent manner in both wild-type and BK5.Akt(WT) mice. A significant expansion (?threefold) of the label retaining cell (LRC) population per hair follicle was observed in BK5.Akt(WT) mice compared to FVB/N mice. There was also a significant increase in K15 expressing cells in the hair follicle of transgenic mice that coincided with expression of phospho-Akt, phospho-S6K, and phospho-PRAS40, suggesting an important role of mTORC1 signaling in bulge-region keratinocyte stem cell (KSC) homeostasis. After 2 weeks of TPA treatment, LRCs had moved upward into the interfollicular epidermis from the bulge region of both wild-type and BK5.Akt(WT) mice. TPA-mediated LRC proliferation and migration was significantly inhibited by rapamycin. Collectively, the current data indicate that signaling through mTORC1 contributes significantly to the process of skin tumor promotion through effects on proliferation of the target cells for tumor development.
Project description:Keratinocyte carcinomas, including basal and squamous cell carcinomas, are the most common human cancers worldwide. While 75% of all keratinocyte carcinoma (4 million annual cases in the United States) are treated with conventional excision, this surgical modality has much lower cure rates than Mohs micrographic surgery, likely due to the bread-loaf histopathologic assessment that visualizes <1% of the tissue margins. A quenched protease-activated fluorescent probe 6qcNIR, which produces a signal only in the protease-rich tumor microenvironment, was topically applied to 90 specimens ex vivo immediately following excision. "Puzzle-fit" analysis was used to correlate the fluorescent images with histology. Probe-dependent fluorescent images correlated with cancer determined by conventional histology. Point-of-care fluorescent detection of skin cancer had a clinically relevant sensitivity of 0.73 and corresponding specificity of 0.88. Importantly, clinicians were effectively trained to read fluorescent images within 15 minutes with reliability and confidence, resulting in sensitivities of 62%-78% and specificities of 92%-97%. Fluorescent imaging using 6qcNIR allows 100% tumor margin assessment by generating en face images that correlate with histology and may be used to overcome the limitations of conventional bread-loaf histology. The utility of 6qcNIR was validated in a busy real-world clinical setting, and clinicians were trained to effectively read fluorescent margins with a short guided instruction, highlighting clinical adaptability. When used in conventional excision, this approach may result in higher cure rates at a lower cost by allowing same-day reexcision when needed, reducing patient anxiety and improving compliance by expediting postsurgical specimen assessment. SIGNIFICANCE: A fluorescent-probe-tumor-visualization platform was developed and validated in human keratinocyte carcinoma excision specimens that may provide simple, rapid, and global assessment of margins during skin cancer excision, allowing same-day reexcision when needed.