Competitive binding of E3 ligases TRIM26 and WWP2 controls SOX2 in glioblastoma
ABSTRACT: The pluripotency transcription factor SOX2 is essential for the maintenance of glioblastoma stem cells (GSC), which are thought to underlie tumor growth, treatment resistance, and recurrence. To understand how SOX2 is regulated in GSCs, we utilized a proteomic approach and identified the E3 ubiquitin ligase TRIM26 as a direct SOX2-interacting protein. Unexpectedly, we found TRIM26 depletion decreased SOX2 protein levels and increased SOX2 polyubiquitination in patient-derived GSCs, suggesting TRIM26 promotes SOX2 protein stability. Accordingly, TRIM26 knockdown disrupted the SOX2 gene network and inhibited both self-renewal capacity as well as in vivo tumorigenicity in multiple GSC lines. Mechanistically, we found TRIM26, via its C-terminal PRYSPRY domain, but independent of its RING domain, stabilizes SOX2 protein by directly inhibiting the interaction of SOX2 with WWP2, which we identify as a bona fide SOX2 E3 ligase in GSCs. Our work identifies E3 ligase competition as a critical mechanism of SOX2 regulation, with functional consequences for GSC identity and maintenance. SOX2 is required for the maintenance of glioblastoma stem cells (GSCs). Here the authors identify that the RING family E3 ubiquitin ligase TRIM26 promotes SOX2 stability in a non-canonical ligase-independent manner and thus, increases the tumorigenicity of GSCs.
Project description:The pluripotency transcription factor SOX2 is essential for the maintenance of glioblastoma stem cells (GSC), which drive tumor growth and treatment resistance.To understand how SOX2 is regulated in GSCs, we utilized a proteomic approach and identified the E3 ubiquitin ligase TRIM26 as a direct SOX2-interacting protein. Unexpectedly, we found TRIM26 depletion decreased SOX2 protein levels and increased SOX2 polyubiquitination in patient-derived GSCs, suggesting TRIM26 promotes SOX2 protein stability. Accordingly, TRIM26 knockdown reduced SOX2 transcriptional activity, self-renewal capacity, and in vivo tumorigenicity in multiple GSC lines. Mechanistically, we found TRIM26, via its C-terminal PRYSPRY domain, but independent of its RING domain, stabilizes SOX2 protein by directly inhibiting the interaction of SOX2 with WWP2, which we identify as a bona fide SOX2 E3 ligase in GSCs. Our work identifies E3 ligase competition as a critical mechanism of SOX2 regulation, with functional consequences for GSC identity and maintenance.
Project description:Glioma stem cells (GSCs) contribute to the pathogenesis of glioblastoma, the most malignant form of glioma. The implication and underlying mechanisms of SMAD specific E3 ubiquitin protein ligase 2 (SMURF2) on the GSC phenotypes remain unknown. We previously demonstrated that SMURF2 phosphorylation at Thr<sup>249</sup> (SMURF2<sup>Thr249</sup>) activates its E3 ubiquitin ligase activity. Here, we demonstrate that SMURF2<sup>Thr249</sup> phosphorylation plays an essential role in maintaining GSC stemness and tumorigenicity. SMURF2 silencing augmented the self-renewal potential and tumorigenicity of patient-derived GSCs. The SMURF2<sup>Thr249</sup> phosphorylation level was low in human glioblastoma pathology specimens. Introduction of the SMURF2<sup>T249A</sup> mutant resulted in increased stemness and tumorigenicity of GSCs, recapitulating the SMURF2 silencing. Moreover, the inactivation of SMURF2<sup>Thr249</sup> phosphorylation increases TGF-β receptor (TGFBR) protein stability. Indeed, TGFBR1 knockdown markedly counteracted the GSC phenotypes by SMURF2<sup>T249A</sup> mutant. These findings highlight the importance of SMURF2<sup>Thr249</sup> phosphorylation in maintaining GSC phenotypes, thereby demonstrating a potential target for GSC-directed therapy.
Project description:Glioblastoma harbors a dynamic subpopulation of glioblastoma stem-like cells (GSCs) that can propagate tumors in vivo and is resistant to standard chemoradiation. Identification of the cell-intrinsic mechanisms governing this clinically important cell state may lead to the discovery of therapeutic strategies for this challenging malignancy. Here, we demonstrate that the mitotic E3 ubiquitin ligase CDC20-anaphase-promoting complex (CDC20-APC) drives invasiveness and self-renewal in patient tumor-derived GSCs. Moreover, CDC20 knockdown inhibited and CDC20 overexpression increased the ability of human GSCs to generate brain tumors in an orthotopic xenograft model in vivo. CDC20-APC control of GSC invasion and self-renewal operates through pluripotency-related transcription factor SOX2. Our results identify a CDC20-APC/SOX2 signaling axis that controls key biological properties of GSCs, with implications for CDC20-APC-targeted strategies in the treatment of glioblastoma.
Project description:Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most malignant form of primary brain tumor, and GBM stem-like cells (GSCs) contribute to the rapid growth, therapeutic resistance, and clinical recurrence of these fatal tumors. STAT3 signaling supports the maintenance and proliferation of GSCs, yet regulatory mechanisms are not completely understood. Here, we report that tri-partite motif-containing protein 8 (TRIM8) activates STAT3 signaling to maintain stemness and self-renewing capabilities of GSCs. TRIM8 (also known as 'glioblastoma-expressed ring finger protein') is expressed equally in GBM and normal brain tissues, despite its hemizygous deletion in the large majority of GBMs, and its expression is highly correlated with stem cell markers. Experimental knockdown of TRIM8 reduced GSC self-renewal and expression of SOX2, NESTIN, and p-STAT3, and promoted glial differentiation. Overexpression of TRIM8 led to higher expression of p-STAT3, c-MYC, SOX2, NESTIN, and CD133, and enhanced GSC self-renewal. We found that TRIM8 activates STAT3 by suppressing the expression of PIAS3, an inhibitor of STAT3, most likely through E3-mediated ubiquitination and proteasomal degradation. Interestingly, we also found that STAT3 activation upregulates TRIM8, providing a mechanism for normalized TRIM8 expression in the setting of hemizygous gene deletion. These data demonstrate that bidirectional TRIM8-STAT3 signaling regulates stemness in GSC.
Project description:Glioblastoma ranks among the most aggressive and lethal of all human cancers. Functionally defined glioma stem cells (GSC) contribute to this poor prognosis by driving therapeutic resistance and maintaining cellular heterogeneity. To understand the molecular processes essential for GSC maintenance and tumorigenicity, we interrogated the superenhancer landscapes of primary glioblastoma specimens and in vitro GSCs. GSCs epigenetically upregulated ELOVL2, a key polyunsaturated fatty-acid synthesis enzyme. Targeting ELOVL2 inhibited glioblastoma cell growth and tumor initiation. ELOVL2 depletion altered cellular membrane phospholipid composition, disrupted membrane structural properties, and diminished EGFR signaling through control of fatty-acid elongation. In support of the translational potential of these findings, dual targeting of polyunsaturated fatty-acid synthesis and EGFR signaling had a combinatorial cytotoxic effect on GSCs. SIGNIFICANCE: Glioblastoma remains a devastating disease despite extensive characterization. We profiled epigenomic landscapes of glioblastoma to pinpoint cell state-specific dependencies and therapeutic vulnerabilities. GSCs utilize polyunsaturated fatty-acid synthesis to support membrane architecture, inhibition of which impairs EGFR signaling and GSC proliferation. Combinatorial targeting of these networks represents a promising therapeutic strategy.See related commentary by Affronti and Wellen, p. 1161.This article is highlighted in the In This Issue feature, p. 1143.
Project description:Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most common malignant primary brain tumor in adults and prognosis is poor despite maximum therapeutic efforts. GBM is composed of heterogeneous cell populations, among which the glioma stem-like cells (GSCs) play an important role in tumor cell self-renewal and the ability to initiate and drive tumor growth and recurrence. The transcription factor SOX2 is enriched in GSCs where it controls the stem cell phenotype, invasion and maintenance of tumorigenicity. Therefore, understanding the molecular mechanisms governed by SOX2 in GSCs is crucial to developing targeted therapies against this resistant cell population. In this study, we identified and validated a miRNA profile regulated by SOX2 in GSCs. Among these miRNAs, miR-425-5p emerged as a significant robust candidate for further study. The expression of miR-425-5p was significantly enriched in clinical GBM specimens compared with a human brain reference sample and showed a positive correlation with SOX2 expression. Using a combination of <i>in silico</i> analyses and molecular approaches, we show that SOX2 binds to the promoter of miR-425-5p. Loss of function studies show that repressing miR-425-5p expression in multiple GSCs inhibited neurosphere renewal and induced cell death. More importantly, miR-425-5p inhibition extended survival in an orthotopic GBM mouse model. Finally, combining several bioinformatics platforms with biological endpoints in multiple GSC lines, we identified FOXJ3 and RAB31 as high confidence miR-425-5p target genes. Our findings show that miR-425-5p is a GBM stem cell survival factor and that miR-425-5p inhibition function is a potential strategy for treating GBM.
Project description:A subset of stem-like cells in glioblastoma (GBM; GSC) underlies tumor propagation, therapeutic resistance, and tumor recurrence. Immune evasion is critical for GSCs to carry out these functions. However, the molecular mechanisms employed by GSCs to escape antitumor immunity remain largely unknown. The reprogramming transcription factors Oct4 and Sox2 function as core multipotency factors and play an essential role in the formation and maintenance of GSCs, but the roles of these transcription factors in GSC immune escape have not been well explored. Here we examine how Oct4/Sox2 coexpression contributes to the immunosuppressive phenotype of GSCs. Combined transcription profiling and functional studies of Oct4/Sox2 coexpressing GSCs and differentiated GBM cells demonstrated that Oct4 and Sox2 cooperatively induce an immunosuppressive transcriptome consisting of multiple immunosuppressive checkpoints (i.e., PD-L1, CD70, A2aR, TDO) and dysregulation of cytokines and chemokines that are associated with an immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment. Mechanistically, induction and function of BRD/H3k27Ac-dependent immunosuppressive genes played a role in the immunosuppressive phenotype of GSCs. Pan-BET bromodomain inhibitors (e.g., JQ1) and shBRD4 constructs significantly inhibited the immunosuppressive transcriptome and immunosuppressive biological responses induced by Oct4/Sox2. Our findings identify targetable mechanisms by which tumor-propagating GSCs contribute to the immunosuppressive microenvironment in GBM. SIGNIFICANCE: This report identifies mechanisms by which the reprogramming transcription factors Oct4 and Sox2 function to drive the immunomodulatory transcriptome of GSCs and contribute to the immunosuppressive microenvironment in GBM.
Project description:Emerging evidence suggests that USP39 plays an important role in the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, the molecular mechanism by which USP39 promotes HCC progression has not been well defined, especially regarding its putative ubiquitination function. Zinc-finger E-box-binding homeobox 1 (ZEB1) is a crucial inducer of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) to promote tumor proliferation and metastasis, but the regulatory mechanism of ZEB1 stability in HCC remains enigmatic. Here, we reveal that USP39 is highly expressed in human HCC tissues and correlated with poor prognosis. Moreover, USP39 depletion inhibits HCC cell proliferation and metastasis by promoting ZEB1 degradation. Intriguingly, deubiquitinase USP39 has a direct interaction with the E3 ligase TRIM26 identified by co-immunoprecipitation assays and immunofluorescence staining assays. We further demonstrate that TRIM26 is lowly expressed in human HCC tissues and inhibits HCC cell proliferation and migration. TRIM26 promotes the degradation of ZEB1 protein by ubiquitination in HCC. Deubiquitinase USP39 and E3 ligase TRIM26 function in an antagonistic pattern, but not a competitive pattern, and play key roles in controlling ZEB1 stability to determine the HCC progression. In summary, our data reveal a previously unknown mechanism that USP39 and TRIM26 balance the level of ZEB1 ubiquitination and thereby determine HCC cell proliferation and migration. This novel mechanism may provide new approaches to target treatment for inhibiting HCC development by restoring TRIM26 or suppressing USP39 expression in HCC cases with high ZEB1 protein levels.
Project description:Diffuse infiltrative invasion is a major cause for the dismal prognosis of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), but the underlying mechanisms remain incompletely understood. Using human glioma stem cells (GSCs) that recapitulate the invasive propensity of primary GBM, we find that EphA2 critically regulates GBM invasion in vivo. EphA2 was expressed in all seven GSC lines examined, and overexpression of EphA2 enhanced intracranial invasion. The effects required Akt-mediated phosphorylation of EphA2 on serine 897. In vitro the Akt-EphA2 signaling axis is maintained in the absence of ephrin-A ligands and is disrupted upon ligand stimulation. To test whether ephrin-As in tumor microenvironment can regulate GSC invasion, the newly established Efna1;Efna3;Efna4 triple knockout mice (TKO) were used in an ex vivo brain slice invasion assay. We observed significantly increased GSC invasion through the brain slices of TKO mice relative to wild-type (WT) littermates. Mechanistically EphA2 knockdown suppressed stem cell properties of GSCs, causing diminished self-renewal, reduced stem marker expression and decreased tumorigenicity. In a subset of GSCs, the reduced stem cell properties were associated with lower Sox2 expression. Overexpression of EphA2 promoted stem cell properties in a kinase-independent manner and increased Sox2 expression. Disruption of Akt-EphA2 cross-talk attenuated stem cell marker expression and neurosphere formation while having minimal effects on tumorigenesis. Taken together, the results show that EphA2 endows invasiveness of GSCs in vivo in cooperation with Akt and regulates glioma stem cell properties.
Project description:The interplay between glioblastoma stem cells (GSCs) and tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) promotes progression of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). However, the detailed molecular mechanisms underlying the relationship between these two cell types remain unclear. Here, we demonstrate that ARS2 (arsenite-resistance protein 2), a zinc finger protein that is essential for early mammalian development, plays critical roles in GSC maintenance and M2-like TAM polarization. ARS2 directly activates its novel transcriptional target MGLL, encoding monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL), to regulate the self-renewal and tumorigenicity of GSCs through production of prostaglandin E<sub>2</sub> (PGE<sub>2</sub>), which stimulates ?-catenin activation of GSC and M2-like TAM polarization. We identify M2-like signature downregulated by which MAGL-specific inhibitor, JZL184, increased survival rate significantly in the mouse xenograft model by blocking PGE<sub>2</sub> production. Taken together, our results suggest that blocking the interplay between GSCs and TAMs by targeting ARS2/MAGL signaling offers a potentially novel therapeutic option for GBM patients.