The p53-induced RNA-binding protein ZMAT3 is a splicing regulator that inhibits the splicing of oncogenic CD44 variants in colorectal carcinoma.
ABSTRACT: p53 is an intensely studied tumor-suppressive transcription factor. Recent studies suggest that the RNA-binding protein (RBP) ZMAT3 is important in mediating the tumor-suppressive effects of p53. Here, we globally identify ZMAT3-regulated RNAs and their binding sites at nucleotide resolution in intact colorectal cancer (CRC) cells. ZMAT3 binds to thousands of mRNA precursors, mainly at intronic uridine-rich sequences and affects their splicing. The strongest alternatively spliced ZMAT3 target was CD44, a cell adhesion gene and stem cell marker that controls tumorigenesis. Silencing ZMAT3 increased inclusion of CD44 variant exons, resulting in significant up-regulation of oncogenic CD44 isoforms (CD44v) and increased CRC cell growth that was rescued by concurrent knockdown of CD44v Silencing p53 phenocopied the loss of ZMAT3 with respect to CD44 alternative splicing, suggesting that ZMAT3-mediated regulation of CD44 splicing is vital for p53 function. Collectively, our findings uncover a p53-ZMAT3-CD44 axis in growth suppression in CRC cells.
Project description:Understanding the mechanism by which cancer cells enhance stemness facilitates cancer therapies. Here, we revealed that a stem cell transcription factor, SALL4, functions to enhance stemness in basal-like breast cancer cells. We used shRNA-mediated knockdown and gene overexpression systems to analyze gene functions. To evaluate stemness, we performed a sphere formation assay. In SALL4 knockdown cells, the sphere formation ability was reduced, indicating that SALL4 enhances stemness. CD44 is a membrane protein and is known as a stemness factor in cancer. CD44 splicing variants are involved in cancer stemness. We discovered that SALL4 modulates CD44 alternative splicing through the upregulation of KHDRBS3, a splicing factor for CD44. We cloned the KHDRBS3-regulated CD44 splicing isoform (CD44v), which lacks exons 8 and 9. CD44v overexpression prevented a reduction in the sphere formation ability by KHDRBS3 knockdown, indicating that CD44v is positively involved in cancer stemness. In addition, CD44v enhanced anoikis resistance under the control of the SALL4 - KHDRBS3 network. Basal-like breast cancer is an aggressive subtype among breast cancers, and there is no effective therapy so far. Our findings provide molecular targets for basal-like breast cancer therapy. In the future, this study may contribute to the establishment of drugs targeting cancer stemness.
Project description:Although changes in alternative splicing have been observed in cancer, their functional contributions still remain largely unclear. Here we report that splice isoforms of the cancer stem cell (CSC) marker CD44 exhibit strikingly opposite functions in breast cancer. Bioinformatic annotation in patient breast cancer in The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) database reveals that the CD44 standard splice isoform (CD44s) positively associates with the CSC gene signatures, whereas the CD44 variant splice isoforms (CD44v) exhibit an inverse association. We show that CD44s is the predominant isoform expressed in breast CSCs. Elimination of the CD44s isoform impairs CSC traits. Conversely, manipulating the splicing regulator ESRP1 to shift alternative splicing from CD44v to CD44s leads to an induction of CSC properties. We further demonstrate that CD44s activates the PDGFR?/Stat3 cascade to promote CSC traits. These results reveal CD44 isoform specificity in CSC and non-CSC states and suggest that alternative splicing provides functional gene versatility that is essential for distinct cancer cell states and thus cancer phenotypes.
Project description:Although TP53 is the most commonly mutated gene in human cancers, the p53-dependent transcriptional programs mediating tumor suppression remain incompletely understood. Here, to uncover critical components downstream of p53 in tumor suppression, we perform unbiased RNAi and CRISPR-Cas9-based genetic screens in vivo. These screens converge upon the p53-inducible gene Zmat3, encoding an RNA-binding protein, and we demonstrate that ZMAT3 is an important tumor suppressor downstream of p53 in mouse Kras<sup>G12D</sup>-driven lung and liver cancers and human carcinomas. Integrative analysis of the ZMAT3 RNA-binding landscape and transcriptomic profiling reveals that ZMAT3 directly modulates exon inclusion in transcripts encoding proteins of diverse functions, including the p53 inhibitors MDM4 and MDM2, splicing regulators, and components of varied cellular processes. Interestingly, these exons are enriched in NMD signals, and, accordingly, ZMAT3 broadly affects target transcript stability. Collectively, these studies reveal ZMAT3 as a novel RNA-splicing and homeostasis regulator and a key component of p53-mediated tumor suppression.
Project description:CD44 can be considered structurally and functionally one of the most variable surface molecules. Alternative splicing of variant exons as well as posttranslational modifications of the molecule (differences in glycosylation) generate a rich repertoire of CD44 isoforms (CD44v), some of which seem to play a key role in tumor growth and progression. Immunodetection of CD44 isoforms in vivo, using mAbs specific for CD44 variant exon products, is largely used to identify those CD44 molecules involved in tumor growth and progression and to interfere with CD44-mediated processes. In the present work we demonstrate that the immunoreactivity of some mAbs directed to CD44 exon-specific epitopes can be impaired by the structural variability of the molecule. Our findings demonstrate that (1) specific exon assortment and/or posttranslational modifications of CD44v molecules can mask CD44 exon-specific epitopes; (2) glycosaminoglycan side chains, carried by some CD44v isoforms of high molecular weight, may play a critical role in determining the exact conformation of the molecule, which is necessary for the detection of CD44 variant epitopes by specific mAbs; and (3) in a panel of stable transfectants expressing CD44 N-glycosylation site-specific mutants, generated in the constant region of CD44 extracellular domain, asparagine-isoleucine substitution is sufficient per se to impair the immunoreactivity of several mAbs to pan-CD44. Thus, conformational changes due to the alternative splicing of CD44 variant exons and/or posttranslational modifications of the molecule (different degree of glycosylation), which are cell type-specific, are likely to generate CD44 variants that elude immunodetection. These findings strongly suggest that immunohistochemical analysis of CD44 expression in vitro and in vivo, using mAbs specific for CD44 variant exon epitopes, can potentially be impaired by a large number of false negative results.
Project description:Melanoma is one of the most lethal forms of skin cancer because of its early metastatic spread. The variant form of CD44 (CD44v), a cell surface glycoprotein, is highly expressed on metastatic melanoma. The mechanisms of regulation of CD44 alternative splicing in melanoma and its pathogenic contributions are so far poorly understood. Here, we investigated the expression level of CD44 in a large set of melanocytic lesions at different stages. We found that the expression of CD44v8-10 and a splicing factor, U2AF2, is significantly increased during melanoma progression, whereas CD82/KAI1, a tetraspanin family of tumor suppressor, is reduced in metastatic melanoma. CD44v8-10 and U2AF2 expression levels, which are negatively correlated with CD82 levels, are markedly elevated in primary melanoma compared with dysplastic nevi and further increased in metastatic melanoma. We also showed that patients with higher CD44v8-10 and U2AF2 expression levels tended to have shorter survival. By using both in vivo and in vitro assays, we demonstrated that CD82 inhibits the production of CD44v8-10 on melanoma. Mechanistically, U2AF2 is a downstream target of CD82 and in malignant melanoma facilitates CD44v8-10 alternative splicing. U2AF2-mediated CD44 isoform switch is required for melanoma migration in vitro and lung and liver metastasis in vivo. Notably, overexpression of CD82 suppresses U2AF2 activity by inducing U2AF2 ubiquitination. In addition, our data suggested that enhancement of melanoma migration by U2AF2-dependent CD44v8-10 splicing is mediated by Src/focal adhesion kinase/RhoA activation and formation of stress fibers, as well as CD44-E-selectin binding reinforcement. These findings uncovered a hitherto unappreciated function of CD82 in severing the linkage between U2AF2-mediated CD44 alternative splicing and cancer aggressiveness, with potential prognostic and therapeutic implications in melanoma.
Project description:Gallbladder cancer (GBC) is one of the most unfavorable prognostic tumor, and immediate growth and distant metastasis are important factors associated with the poor prognosis of patients with this disease. Standard and variant isoforms of CD44 are associated with tumor growth, metastasis, and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), although their roles in GBC are unclear. We investigated the relationship between the CD44 isoforms with EMT, chemotaxis, and tumorigenicity. We analyzed CD44 expression in the GBC cell line NOZ and found that it comprises a major population that expressed CD44std+/CD44v9- (CD44s) and the minor population that expressed CD44std-/CD44v9+ (CD44v). CD44s cells exhibited increased chemotaxis and invasiveness compared with CD44v cells in in vitro cell migration and invasion assays. CD44s cells expressed higher and lower levels of mRNAs that encode vimentin and E-cadherin, respectively, compared with those of CD44v cells. CD44s cells expressed high levels of the transcription factors ZEB1 and ZEB2 that mediate EMT, and low levels of a splicing factor ESRP1 that controls the CD44 isoform switch. We performed in vivo mouse xenotransplantation analyses of CD44s and CD44v cells and found that CD44v cells exhibited relatively increased tumorigenicity. Immunohistochemical analysis of tissue microarrays revealed that high levels of CD44v9 and CD44std were associated with poorer prognosis. The expression of CD44std was also associated with poorly differentiated tumors and distant metastasis. In conclusion, CD44s was associated with a mesenchymal phenotype, increased chemotaxis and invasiveness, and decreased tumorigenicity. In contrast, CD44v cells exhibited an epithelial phenotype, decreased chemotaxis, decreased invasiveness, and increased tumorigenicity. These findings suggest that CD44v and CD44s cells play differently important roles in the progression and metastasis of GBC and the isoform switch triggers EMT.
Project description:CD44 is a multifunctional glycoprotein that binds to hyaluronan and fibrin(ogen). Alternative splicing is responsible for the generation of numerous different isoforms, the smallest of which is CD44s. Insertion of variant exons into the extracellular membrane proximal region generates the variant isoforms (CD44v). Here, we used force spectroscopy to delineate the biophysical and molecular requirements of CD44-HA and CD44-fibrin(ogen) interactions at the single-molecule level. CD44v-HA and CD44s-HA single bonds exhibit similar kinetic and micromechanical properties because the HA-binding motif on CD44 is common to all of the isoforms. Although this is the primary binding site, O- and N-linked glycans and sulfation also contribute to the tensile strength of the CD44-HA bond. The CD44s-fibrin pair has a lower unstressed dissociation rate and a higher tensile strength than CD44s-fibrinogen but is weaker than the CD44-HA bond. In contrast to CD44-HA binding, the molecular interaction between CD44 and fibrin(ogen) is predominantly mediated by the chondroitin sulfate and dermatan sulfate on CD44. Blocking sulfation on CD44s modestly decreases the tensile strength of CD44s-fibrin(ogen) binding, which is in stark contrast to CD44v-fibrin interaction. Collectively, the results obtained by force spectroscopy in conjunction with biochemical interventions enable us to delineate the biophysical parameters and molecular constituents of CD44 binding to hyaluronan and fibrin(ogen).
Project description:Splicing of precursor mRNA (pre-mRNA) is an important regulatory step in gene expression. Recent evidence points to a regulatory role of chromatin-related proteins in alternative splicing regulation. Using an unbiased approach, we have identified the acetyltransferase p300 as a key chromatin-related regulator of alternative splicing. p300 promotes genome-wide exon inclusion in both a transcription-dependent and -independent manner. Using CD44 as a paradigm, we found that p300 regulates alternative splicing by modulating the binding of splicing factors to pre-mRNA. Using a tethering strategy, we found that binding of p300 to the CD44 promoter region promotes CD44v exon inclusion independently of RNAPII transcriptional elongation rate. Promoter-bound p300 regulates alternative splicing by acetylating splicing factors, leading to exclusion of hnRNP M from CD44 pre-mRNA and activation of Sam68. p300-mediated CD44 alternative splicing reduces cell motility and promotes epithelial features. Our findings reveal a chromatin-related mechanism of alternative splicing regulation and demonstrate its impact on cellular function.
Project description:CD44, a non-kinase transmembrane glycoprotein, is overexpressed in several cell types including cancer stem cells and frequently shows alternative spliced variants that are thought to play a role in cancer development and progression. Hyaluronan, the main ligand for CD44, binds to and activates CD44 resulting in activation of cell signaling pathways that induces cell proliferation, increases cell survival, modulates cytoskeletal changes, and enhances cellular motility. The different functional roles of CD44 standard (CD44s) and specific CD44 variant (CD44v) isoforms are not fully understood. CD44v contain additional peptide motifs that can interact with and sequester growth factors and cytokines at the cell surface thereby functioning as coreceptors to facilitate cell signaling. Moreover, CD44v were expressed in metastasized tumors, whereas switching between CD44v and CD44s may play a role in regulating epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) and in the adaptive plasticity of cancer cells. Here, we review current data on the structural and functional properties of CD44, the known roles for CD44 in tumorigencity, the regulation of CD44 expression, and the potential for targeting CD44 for cancer therapy.