Atypical KRASG12R Mutant Is Impaired in PI3K Signaling and Macropinocytosis in Pancreatic Cancer.
ABSTRACT: Allele-specific signaling by different KRAS alleles remains poorly understood. The KRAS G12R mutation displays uneven prevalence among cancers that harbor the highest occurrence of KRAS mutations: It is rare (?1%) in lung and colorectal cancers, yet relatively common (?20%) in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), suggesting context-specific properties. We evaluated whether KRASG12R is functionally distinct from the more common KRASG12D- or KRASG12V-mutant proteins (KRASG12D/V). We found that KRASG12D/V but not KRASG12R drives macropinocytosis and that MYC is essential for macropinocytosis in KRASG12D/V- but not KRASG12R-mutant PDAC. Surprisingly, we found that KRASG12R is defective for interaction with a key effector, p110? PI3K (PI3K?), due to structural perturbations in switch II. Instead, upregulated KRAS-independent PI3K? activity was able to support macropinocytosis in KRASG12R-mutant PDAC. Finally, we determined that KRASG12R-mutant PDAC displayed a distinct drug sensitivity profile compared with KRASG12D-mutant PDAC but is still responsive to the combined inhibition of ERK and autophagy. SIGNIFICANCE: We determined that KRASG12R is impaired in activating a key effector, p110? PI3K. As such, KRASG12R is impaired in driving macropinocytosis. However, overexpression of PI3K? in PDAC compensates for this deficiency, providing one basis for the prevalence of this otherwise rare KRAS mutant in pancreatic cancer but not other cancers.See related commentary by Falcomatà et al., p. 23.This article is highlighted in the In This Issue feature, p. 1.
Project description:Increased PI 3-kinase (PI3K) signaling in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) correlates with poor prognosis, but the role of class I PI3K isoforms during its induction remains unclear. Using genetically engineered mice and pharmacological isoform-selective inhibitors, we found that the p110? PI3K isoform is a major signaling enzyme for PDAC development induced by a combination of genetic and nongenetic factors. Inactivation of this single isoform blocked the irreversible transition of exocrine acinar cells into pancreatic preneoplastic ductal lesions by oncogenic Kras and/or pancreatic injury. Hitting the other ubiquitous isoform, p110?, did not prevent preneoplastic lesion initiation. p110? signaling through small GTPase Rho and actin cytoskeleton controls the reprogramming of acinar cells and regulates cell morphology in vivo and in vitro. Finally, p110? was necessary for pancreatic ductal cancers to arise from Kras-induced preneoplastic lesions by increasing epithelial cell proliferation in the context of mutated p53. Here we identify an in vivo context in which p110? cellular output differs depending on the epithelial transformation stage and demonstrate that the PI3K p110? is required for PDAC induced by oncogenic Kras, the key driver mutation of PDAC. These data are critical for a better understanding of the development of this lethal disease that is currently without efficient treatment.
Project description:The KRAS mutations have been an obstacle to identify therapeutic targets in cancer treatment. In this work, we clarified the distinct metastasis pattern of non-small-cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) induced by KRASG12V/KRASG12D mutations and inhibited the KRASG12V mediated metastasis by Wnt inhibitor. First, we found that KRASG12V induced more aggressive phenotype in vitro and in vivo experiments. The Gene Set Enrichment Analysis (GSEA) results of H838 KRASG12V cells showed a significant negative correlation with RhoA-related signaling. Following this clue, we observed KRASG12D induced higher activation of RhoA and suppressed activation of Wnt/?-catenin in H838KRASG12D cells. The restored activation of Wnt/?-catenin in H838KRASG12D cells could be detected when expression with a dominant-negative mutant of RhoA or treatment with RhoA inhibitor. Furthermore, the Wnt inhibitor abolished the KRASG12V-induced migration. We elucidated the importance of the axis of RhoA/Wnt in regulatory NSCLC metastasis driven by KRAS mutations. Our data indicate that KRASG12V driven NSCLC metastasis is Wnt-dependent and the mechanisms of NSCLC metastasis induced by KRASG12V/KRASG12D is distinct.
Project description:Rationale: Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is a highly lethal disease with few therapeutic targets and rare effective treatments. Over 90% of PDAC tumors bear a Kras mutation, and the single-site mutation G12D (KrasG12D) is most prevalent. Methods: Here, we applied the CRISPR-CasRx system to silence the mutant KrasG12D transcript in PDAC cells. We also used a capsid-optimized adenovirus-associated virus 8 vector (AAV8) to deliver the CRISPR-CasRx system into PDAC orthotopic tumors and patient-derived tumor xenografts (PDX). Results: Our data showed that guided by a KrasG12D-specific gRNA, CasRx is able to precisely and efficiently silence the mutant KrasG12D expression in PDAC cells. The knockdown of mutant KrasG12D by CasRx abolishes the aberrant activation of downstream signaling induced by mutant KrasG12D and subsequently suppresses the tumor growth and improves the sensitivity of gemcitabine in PDAC. Additionally, delivering CasRx-gRNA via AAV8 into the orthotopic KrasG12D PDAC tumors substantially improves the survival of mice without obvious toxicity. Furthermore, targeting KrasG12D through CasRx suppresses the growth of PDAC PDXs. In conclusion, our study provides a proof-of-concept that CRISPR-CasRx can be utilized to target and silence mutant KrasG12D transcripts and therefore inhibit PDAC malignancy.
Project description:Almost all human pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas (PDACs) are driven by oncogenic Kras and the progression of the disease is characterized by the serial appearance of certain genetic lesions. Mouse models have convincingly shown that Kras mutation induces classical PanIN lesions that can progress to PDAC in the appropriate tumor suppressor background. However, the cooperative mechanism between mutant Kras-dependent signaling surrogates and other oncogenic pathways remains to be fully elucidated in order to devise better therapeutic strategy. Mounting evidence PTEN/PI3K perturbation on PDAC tumorigenesis, we observed frequent PTEN inactivation at both genomic and histopathological levels in primary human PDAC samples. The importance of PTEN/PI3K pathway during the development of PDAC was further supported by genetic studies demonstrating that Pten deficiency in cooperation with Kras activation accelerated the formation of invasive PDAC. Mechanistically, combined Kras mutation and Pten inactivation leads to NFkB activation and subsequent induction of cytokine pathways, accompanied with strong stromal activation and immune cell infiltration. Therefore, PTEN/PI3K pathway dictates the activity of NFkB network and serves as a major surrogate during Kras-mediated pancreatic tumorigenesis. Primary pancreatic ductal epithelial cell cultures were established from 6 week old Pdx1-Cre;LSL-KrasG12D L/+ (n=3) or Pdx1-Cre;LSL-KrasG12D L/+;Pten L/+ (n=5) mice. Total RNA was collected from early passage cells.
Project description:BACKGROUND & AIMS:Activating mutations in KRAS are detected in most pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas (PDACs). Expression of an activated form of KRAS (KrasG12D) in pancreata of mice is sufficient to induce formation of pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PanINs)-a precursor of PDAC. Pancreatitis increases formation of PanINs in mice that express KrasG12D by promoting acinar-to-ductal metaplasia (ADM). We investigated the role of the transcription factor Krüppel-like factor 5 (KLF5) in ADM and KRAS-mediated formation of PanINs. METHODS:We performed studies in adult mice with conditional disruption of Klf5 (Klf5fl/fl) and/or expression of KrasG12D (LSL-KrasG12D) via CreERTM recombinase regulated by an acinar cell-specific promoter (Ptf1a). Activation of KrasG12D and loss of KLF5 was achieved by administration of tamoxifen. Pancreatitis was induced in mice by administration of cerulein; pancreatic tissues were collected, analyzed by histology and immunohistochemistry, and transcriptomes were compared between mice that did or did not express KLF5. We performed immunohistochemical analyses of human tissue microarrays, comparing levels of KLF5 among 96 human samples of PDAC. UN-KC-6141 cells (pancreatic cancer cells derived from Pdx1-Cre;LSL-KrasG12D mice) were incubated with inhibitors of different kinases and analyzed in proliferation assays and by immunoblots. Expression of KLF5 was knocked down with small hairpin RNAs or CRISPR/Cas9 strategies; cells were analyzed in proliferation and gene expression assays, and compared with cells expressing control vectors. Cells were subcutaneously injected into flanks of syngeneic mice and tumor growth was assessed. RESULTS:Of the 96 PDAC samples analyzed, 73% were positive for KLF5 (defined as nuclear staining in more than 5% of tumor cells). Pancreata from Ptf1a-CreERTM;LSL-KrasG12D mice contained ADM and PanIN lesions, which contained high levels of nuclear KLF5 within these structures. In contrast, Ptf1a-CreERTM;LSL-KrasG12D;Klf5fl/fl mice formed fewer PanINs. After cerulein administration, Ptf1a-CreERTM;LSL-KrasG12D mice formed more extensive ADM than Ptf1a-CreERTM;LSL-KrasG12D;Klf5fl/fl mice. Pancreata from Ptf1a-CreERTM;LSL-KrasG12D;Klf5fl/fl mice had increased expression of the tumor suppressor NDRG2 and reduced phosphorylation (activation) of STAT3, compared with Ptf1a-CreERTM;LSL-KrasG12D mice. In UN-KC-6141 cells, PI3K and MEK signaling increased expression of KLF5; a high level of KLF5 increased proliferation. Cells with knockdown of Klf5 had reduced proliferation, compared with control cells, had reduced expression of ductal markers, and formed smaller tumors (71.61 ± 30.79 mm3 vs 121.44 ± 34.90 mm3 from control cells) in flanks of mice. CONCLUSION:Levels of KLF5 are increased in human PDAC samples and in PanINs of Ptf1a-CreERTM;LSL-KrasG12D mice, compared with controls. KLF5 disruption increases expression of NDRG2 and reduces activation of STAT3 and reduces ADM and PanINs formation in mice. Strategies to reduce KLF5 activity might reduce progression of acinar cells from ADM to PanIN and pancreatic tumorigenesis.
Project description:KRAS mutation has been known as crucial marker for growth and maintenance of pancreatic cancer (PC) and targeting the KRAS is inevitable component for realizing precision medicine to PC. We established patient-derived tumor cells (PDCs) from patient with KRAS G12R mutant PC. Through the PDC, we investigated the therapeutic impact of sorafenib alone, LEE001 alone and the combination of sorafenib and LEE001 in KRAS mutant PC. For the validation, we also tested a cell viability assay for sorafenib, LEE001, and sorafenib plus LEE001 in KRAS G12R transfected HEK293T cells. Based on MTT proliferation assays using PDCs, values of IC50 were 6.07 uM to sorafenib and > 10.00 uM to LEE001, respectively. The value of IC50 of the combination (sorafenib plus LEE001) was 3.19 uM. Cell proliferation of PDC was significantly inhibited by sorafenib plus LEE001, as compared to sorafenib monotherapy and LEE001 monotherapy. In the validation through KRAS G12R transfected HEK293T cells, consistent to findings in PDCs, combinations of sorafenib plus LEE001 had most effective inhibitory effect in KRAS G12R transfected HEK293T cells. Furthermore, on analyzing the regulation of targeted downstream pathways upon exposure to sorafenib, LEE001, and sorafenib plus LEE001 by immunoblot assay using KRAS G12R transfected HEK293T cells, AKT phosphorylation was distinctively decreased in KRAS G12R transfected HEL293 cells after only sorafenib plus LEE001. This study suggests that the combination of RAF and CDK4/6 inhibitors might be a novel treatment strategy for KRAS G12R mutant pancreatic cancer. The antitumor effect of RAF plus CDK4/6 inhibitors also needs to be evaluated in other subtypes of KRAS mutation in pancreatic cancer.
Project description:Almost all human pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas (PDACs) are driven by oncogenic Kras and the progression of the disease is characterized by the serial appearance of certain genetic lesions. Mouse models have convincingly shown that Kras mutation induces classical PanIN lesions that can progress to PDAC in the appropriate tumor suppressor background. However, the cooperative mechanism between mutant Kras-dependent signaling surrogates and other oncogenic pathways remains to be fully elucidated in order to devise better therapeutic strategy. Mounting evidence PTEN/PI3K perturbation on PDAC tumorigenesis, we observed frequent PTEN inactivation at both genomic and histopathological levels in primary human PDAC samples. The importance of PTEN/PI3K pathway during the development of PDAC was further supported by genetic studies demonstrating that Pten deficiency in cooperation with Kras activation accelerated the formation of invasive PDAC. Mechanistically, combined Kras mutation and Pten inactivation leads to NFkB activation and subsequent induction of cytokine pathways, accompanied with strong stromal activation and immune cell infiltration. Therefore, PTEN/PI3K pathway dictates the activity of NFkB network and serves as a major surrogate during Kras-mediated pancreatic tumorigenesis. Overall design: Primary pancreatic ductal epithelial cell cultures were established from 6 week old Pdx1-Cre;LSL-KrasG12D L/+ (n=3) or Pdx1-Cre;LSL-KrasG12D L/+;Pten L/+ (n=5) mice. Total RNA was collected from early passage cells.
Project description:Activating mutations in the KRAS oncogene are prevalent in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). We previously demonstrated that pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PanIN) formation, which precedes malignant transformation, associates with the expression of immediate early response 3 (Ier3) as part of a prooncogenic transcriptional pathway. Here, we evaluated the role of IER3 in PanIN formation and PDAC development. In human pancreatic cancer cells, IER3 expression efficiently sustained ERK1/2 phosphorylation by inhibiting phosphatase PP2A activity. Moreover, IER3 enhanced KrasG12D-dependent oncogenesis in the pancreas, as both PanIN and PDAC development were delayed in IER3-deficient KrasG12D mice. IER3 expression was discrete in healthy acinar cells, becoming highly prominent in peritumoral acini, and particularly high in acinar ductal metaplasia (ADM) and PanIN lesions, where IER3 colocalized with phosphorylated ERK1/2. However, IER3 was absent in undifferentiated PDAC, which suggests that the IER3-dependent pathway is an early event in pancreatic tumorigenesis. IER3 expression was induced by both mild and severe pancreatitis, which promoted PanIN formation and progression to PDAC in KrasG12D mice. In IER3-deficient mice, pancreatitis abolished KrasG12D-induced proliferation, which suggests that pancreatitis enhances the oncogenic effect of KRAS through induction of IER3 expression. Together, our data indicate that IER3 supports KRASG12D-associated oncogenesis in the pancreas by sustaining ERK1/2 phosphorylation via phosphatase PP2A inhibition.
Project description:Macropinocytosis supports the metabolic requirement of RAS-transformed pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma cells (PDACs). However, regulators of RAS-transformation (activation) that lead to macropinocytosis have not been identified. Herein, we report that UBAP2 (ubiquitin-binding associated protein 2), regulates the activation of KRAS and macropinocytosis in pancreatic cancer. We demonstrate that UBAP2 is highly expressed in both pancreatic cancer cell lines and tumor tissues of PDAC patients. The expression of UBAP2 is associated with poor overall survival in several cancers, including PDAC. Silencing UBAP2 decreases the levels of activated KRAS, and inhibits macropinocytosis, and tumor growth in vivo. Using a UBAP2-deletion construct, we demonstrate that the UBA-domain of UBAP2 is critical for the regulation of macropinocytosis and maintaining the levels of activated KRAS. In addition, UBAP2 regulates RAS downstream signaling and helps maintain RAS in the GTP-bound form. However, the exact mechanism by which UBAP2 regulates KRAS activation is unknown and needs further investigation. Thus, UBAP2 may be exploited as a potential therapeutic target to inhibit macropinocytosis and tumor growth in activated KRAS-driven cancers.
Project description:Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) features a near-universal mutation in KRAS. Additionally, the tumor suppressor PTEN is lost in ?10% of patients, and in mouse models, this dramatically accelerates tumor progression. While oncogenic KRAS and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) cause divergent metabolic phenotypes individually, how they synergize to promote tumor metabolic alterations and dependencies remains unknown. We show that in KRAS-driven murine PDAC cells, loss of Pten strongly enhances both mTOR signaling and macropinocytosis. Protein scavenging alleviates sensitivity to mTOR inhibition by rescuing AKT phosphorylation at serine 473 and consequently cell proliferation. Combined inhibition of mTOR and lysosomal processing of internalized protein eliminates the macropinocytosis-mediated resistance. Our results indicate that mTORC2, rather than mTORC1, is an important regulator of protein scavenging and that protein-mediated resistance could explain the lack of effectiveness of mTOR inhibitors in certain genetic backgrounds. Concurrent inhibition of mTOR and protein scavenging might be a valuable therapeutic approach.