CDK8 Mediator kinase drives colon cancer hepatic metastasis by regulating gene expression of the matrix metalloproteinase network [Affymetrix]
ABSTRACT: CDK8 Mediator kinase is amplified and overexpressed in colon cancers; elevated CDK8 expression is associated with shorter patient survival. Nevertheless, CDK8 kinase inhibitors do not generally suppress colon cancer growth. We addressed this paradox by investigating the effects of CDK8 knockdown or a CDK8 kinase inhibitor on tumor growth at primary and metastatic sites. CDK8 knockdown or inhibition had no significant effect on primary tumors but suppressed the growth of hepatic metastases in murine and human colon cancer models. The effect of CDK8 inhibition on liver metastasis is mediated by upregulation of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) inhibitor TIMP3 and downregulation of several MMPs. Overall design: Microarray analysis comparing CT26 cells treated with DMSO and 5 µM Senexin B for 24 h and the comparison between CT26-pLKO.1 and CT26-shCDK8 were performed using Affymetrix Mouse gene 2.0 X ST arrays by the Functional Genomics Core of the Center for Targeted Therapeutics at the University of South Carolina.
Project description:CDK8 Mediator kinase is amplified and overexpressed in colon cancers; elevated CDK8 expression is associated with shorter patient survival. Nevertheless, CDK8 kinase inhibitors do not generally suppress colon cancer growth. We addressed this paradox by investigating the effects of CDK8 knockdown or a CDK8 kinase inhibitor on tumor growth at primary and metastatic sites. CDK8 knockdown or inhibition had no significant effect on primary tumors but suppressed the growth of hepatic metastases in murine and human colon cancer models. The effect of CDK8 inhibition on liver metastasis is mediated by upregulation of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) inhibitor TIMP3 and downregulation of several MMPs. Overall design: Transcriptomic comparison between CT26-pLKO.1 and CT26-shCDK8 cells were performed using Illumina MouseWG-6 v2.0 microarrays by the Hollings Cancer Center Genomics Shared Resource facility at Medical University of South Carolina.
Project description:: Unresectable hepatic metastases of colon cancer respond poorly to existing therapies and are a major cause of colon cancer lethality. In this study, we evaluated the therapeutic viability of targeting the mediator kinase CDK8, an early clinical stage drug target, as a means to suppress metastasis of colon cancer. CDK8 was amplified or overexpressed in many colon cancers and CDK8 expression correlated with shorter patient survival. Knockdown or inhibition of CDK8 had little effect on colon cancer cell growth but suppressed metastatic growth of mouse and human colon cancer cells in the liver. This effect was due in part to inhibition of already established hepatic metastases, indicating therapeutic potential of CDK8 inhibitors in the metastatic setting. In contrast, knockdown or inhibition of CDK8 had no significant effect on the growth of tumors implanted subcutaneously, intrasplenically, or orthotopically in the cecum. CDK8 mediated colon cancer growth in the liver through downregulation of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) inhibitor TIMP3 via TGF?/SMAD-driven expression of a TIMP3-targeting microRNA, miR-181b, along with induction of Mmp3 in murine or MMP9 in human colon cancer cells via Wnt/?-catenin-driven transcription. These findings reveal a new mechanism for negative regulation of gene expression by CDK8 and a site-specific role for CDK8 in colon cancer hepatic metastasis. Our results indicate the utility of CDK8 inhibitors for the treatment of colon cancer metastases in the liver and suggest that CDK8 inhibitors may be considered in other therapeutic settings involving TGF?/SMAD or Wnt/?-catenin pathway activation. SIGNIFICANCE: These findings demonstrate that inhibition of the transcription-regulating kinase CDK8 exerts a site-specific tumor-suppressive effect on colon cancer growth in the liver, representing a unique therapeutic opportunity for the treatment of advanced colon cancer.Graphical Abstract: http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/canres/78/23/6594/F1.large.jpg.
Project description:Aerobic glycolysis, also known as the Warburg effect, is a hallmark of cancerous tissues. Despite its importance in cancer development, our understanding of mechanisms driving this form of metabolic reprogramming is incomplete. We report here an analysis of colorectal cancer cells engineered to carry a single point mutation in the active site of the Mediator-associated kinase CDK8, creating hypomorphic alleles sensitive to bulky ATP analogs. Transcriptome analysis revealed that CDK8 kinase activity is required for the expression of many components of the glycolytic cascade. CDK8 inhibition impairs glucose transporter expression, glucose uptake, glycolytic capacity and reserve, as well as cell proliferation and anchorage-independent growth, both in normoxia and hypoxia. Importantly, CDK8 impairment sensitizes cells to pharmacological glycolysis inhibition, a result reproduced with Senexin A, a dual inhibitor of CDK8/CDK19. Altogether, these results contribute to our understanding of CDK8 as an oncogene, and they justify investigations to target CDK8 in highly glycolytic tumors.
Project description:In the ovary, the matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and the tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinase (TIMPs) have been postulated to regulate extracellular matrix remodeling associated with ovulation. In the present study, we investigated the regulatory mechanisms controlling expression of Timp1 and Timp3 mRNA in periovulatory granulosa cells. Granulosa cells were isolated from immature pregnant mare serum gonadotropin-primed (10 IU) rat ovaries and treated with human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG; 1 IU/ml). At 4 h after hCG treatment, Timp1 expression was highest and then decreased gradually over the remaining 24 h of culture. In contrast, hCG induced a biphasic increase of Timp3 expression at 2 and 16 h. The hCG stimulated expression of Timp1 and Timp3 mRNA was blocked by inhibitors of the protein kinase A (H89), protein kinase C (GF109203), and MAPK (SB2035850) pathways. To further explore Timp1 and Timp3 regulation, cells were cultured with the progesterone receptor antagonist RU486, which blocked the hCG induction of Timp3 expression, whereas the epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor AG1478 blocked the hCG stimulation of both Timp1 and Timp3 expression. The prostaglandin-endoperoxide synthase 2 inhibitor NS-398 had no effect. The potential function of TIMP3 was investigated with Timp3-specific small interfering RNA treatment. Timp3 small interfering RNA resulted in a 20% decrease in hCG-induced progesterone levels and microarray analysis revealed an increase in cytochrome P450 Cyp 17, ubiquitin conjugating enzyme E2T, and heat shock protein 70. IGF binding protein 5, stearyl-CoA desaturase, and annexin A1 were decreased. The differential regulation between Timp1 and Timp3 may correlate with their unique roles in the processes of ovulation and luteinization. For TIMP3, this may include regulating fatty acid synthesis, steroidogenesis, and protein turnover.
Project description:CDK8/19 kinases, which mediate transcriptional reprogramming, have become an active target for cancer drug discovery. Several small-molecule CDK8/19 inhibitors showed in vivo efficacy and two have entered clinical trials, with no significant toxicities reported. However, Clarke et al. (eLife 2016; 5; e20722) found severe systemic toxicity associated with two potent CDK8/19 inhibitors, Cmpd3 (CCT251921) and Cmpd4 (MSC2530818), and suggested that their toxicity was due to on-target effects. Here, we compared five CDK8/19 inhibitors: Cmpd3, Cmpd4, Senexin B, 16-didehydro-cortistatin A (dCA) and 15w, in different assays. Only Cmpd4 showed striking toxicity in developing zebrafish. In cell-based assays for CDK8 and CDK19 inhibition, Cmpd3, Cmpd4, dCA and 15w showed similar low-nanomolar potency and efficacy against CDK8 and CDK19, while Senexin B was less potent. Only dCA produced sustained inhibition of CDK8/19-dependent gene expression. While toxicity of different compounds did not correlate with their effects on CDK8 and CDK19, kinome profiling identified several off-target kinases for both Cmpd3 and Cmpd4, which could be responsible for their toxicity. Off-target activities could have been achieved in the study of Clarke et al. due to high in vivo doses of Cmpd3 and Cmpd4, chosen for the ability to inhibit STAT1 S727 phosphorylation in tumor xenografts. We show here that STAT1 S727 phosphorylation is induced by various cytokines and stress stimuli in CDK8/19-independent manner, indicating that it is not a reliable pharmacodynamic marker of CDK8/19 activity. These results illustrate the need for careful off-target analysis and dose selection in the development of CDK8/19 inhibitors.
Project description:A key feature of osteoarthritis is the gradual loss of articular cartilage and bone deformation, resulting in the impairment of joint function. The primary cause of cartilage destruction is considered to be the presence of elevated proteases, such as matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and a disintegrin and metalloproteinase with thrombospondin motifs (ADAMTSs). However, clinically tested global MMP inhibitors have low efficacy that may be due to their lack of selectivity. We previously demonstrated in vitro that a variant of tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-3 ([-1A]TIMP3) inhibits ADAMTSs but not MMPs. In this study, we tested whether the selectivity of [-1A]TIMP3 is beneficial compared with that of the wild-type TIMP3 in preventing or delaying the onset of the degenerative effects in a mouse model of osteoarthritis. We generated transgenic mice that overexpressed TIMP3 or [-1A]TIMP3 driven by a chondrocyte-specific type II collagen promoter. TIMP3 transgenic mice showed compromised bone integrity as opposed to [-1A]TIMP3 mice. After surgically induced joint instability, TIMP3 overexpression proved to be less protective in cartilage destruction than [-1A]TIMP3 at late stages of OA. The selective inhibition of ADAMTSs provides the possibility of modifying TIMP3 to specifically target a class of cartilage-degrading proteinases and to minimize adverse effects on bone and possibly other tissues.
Project description:Hormone therapy targeting estrogen receptor (ER) is the principal treatment for ER-positive breast cancers but many cancers develop resistance to anti-estrogens. Cyclin-dependent kinase 8 (CDK8) is a transcriptional regulator of several oncogenic pathways. Expression levels of CDK8 and ERα are inversely correlated in breast cancers suggesting a functional association between CDK8 and ER. CDK8 inhibition by selective small-molecule inhibitors, by shRNA knockdown or by CRISPR-Cas9 knockout suppressed estrogen-induced transcription, with no significant effects on ERα protein expression or phosphorylation. CDK8 inhibition also abrogated the mitogenic effect of estrogen on ER-positive breast cancer cells and potentiated growth inhibition by the ER antagonist fulvestrant. In vivo, administration of a CDK8 inhibitor suppressed ER-positive breast cancer xenograft growth and augmented the effects of fulvestrant with no apparent toxicity. CDK8 inhibitors also suppressed the development of estrogen independence in ER-positive breast cancer cells. These results identify CDK8 as a novel drug target for breast cancer therapy. Overall design: Examining the effects of 2.5 µM Senexin A for 24 hr followed by 10 nM E2 for 12 hours compared to single agent treatments in estrogen-deprived MCF7 cells
Project description:Aberrant activation of the canonical WNT/beta-catenin pathway occurs in almost all colorectal cancers and contributes to their growth, invasion and survival. Although dysregulated beta-catenin activity drives colon tumorigenesis, further genetic perturbations are required to elaborate full malignant transformation. To identify genes that both modulate beta-catenin activity and are essential for colon cancer cell proliferation, we conducted two loss-of-function screens in human colon cancer cells and compared genes identified in these screens with an analysis of copy number alterations in colon cancer specimens. One of these genes, CDK8, which encodes a member of the mediator complex, is located at 13q12.13, a region of recurrent copy number gain in a substantial fraction of colon cancers. Here we show that the suppression of CDK8 expression inhibits proliferation in colon cancer cells characterized by high levels of CDK8 and beta-catenin hyperactivity. CDK8 kinase activity was necessary for beta-catenin-driven transformation and for expression of several beta-catenin transcriptional targets. Together these observations suggest that therapeutic interventions targeting CDK8 may confer a clinical benefit in beta-catenin-driven malignancies.
Project description:Foxp3 expressing regulatory T (Treg) cells, as the central negative regulator of adaptive immune system, are essential to suppress immune response and maintain immune homeostasis. However, the function of Treg cells is frequently compromised in autoimmunity and hyper-activated in infections and tumor microenvironments. Thus, manipulating Treg cells becomes a promising therapeutic strategy for treating various diseases. Here we reported that inhibition of Cdk8/Cdk19 activity by small molecule inhibitors CCT251921 or Senexin A greatly promoted the differentiation of Treg cells and the expression of Treg signature genes, such as Foxp3, CTLA4, PD-1, and GITR. Mechanistically, we found that the augmented Treg cell differentiation was due to sensitized TGF-? signaling by Cdk8/Cdk19 inhibition, which was associated with attenuation of IFN-?-Stat1 signaling and enhancement of phosphorylated Smad2/3. Importantly, treatment with Cdk8/Cdk19 inhibitor CCT251921 significantly increased Treg population and ameliorated autoimmune symptoms in an experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) model. Taken together, our study reveals a novel role of Cdk8/Cdk19 in Treg cell differentiation and provides a potential target for Treg cell based therapeutics.
Project description:PURPOSE: Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and polypoidal choroidal vasculopathy (PCV) are the leading causes of vision loss in the elderly Asian population. Previous studies have confirmed that abnormal extracellular matrix (ECM) metabolism plays an important role in the pathogenesis of AMD and PCV. However, the dynamic metabolism of the ECM is closely regulated by matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and tissue metalloproteinase inhibitors (TIMPs). Whether MMPs and TIMPs participate in the pathogenesis of AMD and PCV remains unclear. The aim of this study was to investigate the correlation between circulating MMP and TIMP levels and AMD and PCV. METHODS: The serum levels of MMPs (MMP1, MMP2, MMP3, and MMP9) and TIMPs (TIMP1 and TIMP3) were quantified using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays in four groups of subjects (n=342): early AMD (group 1, n=75), neovascular AMD (group 2, n=89), PCV (group 3, n=98), and age- and gender-matched controls (group 4, n=80). RESULTS: The mean concentrations of the two gelatinases, MMP2 and MMP9, in the PCV group were significantly higher than that of the control (p=0.001, p<0.001, respectively), early AMD (both p<0.001), and neovascular AMD (p=0.005, p=0.001, respectively) groups. Moreover, the serum MMP2 concentration was positively correlated with the serum MMP9 concentration in the PCV group (r=0.822, p<0.001). However, the mean concentrations of MMP2 and MMP9 in the early AMD and neovascular AMD groups were not significantly different from that of the control group (p>0.05). The mean serum levels of MMP1, MMP3, TIMP1, and TIMP3 were not significantly different among the four groups. CONCLUSIONS: This pilot study first reveals a link between increased levels of circulating gelatinases (MMP2 and MMP9) and PCV but not AMD, which may provide a biologically relevant marker of ECM metabolism in patients with PCV. This finding suggests that the two disorders may have different molecular mechanisms.