Genome-wide localization of RNA polymerase II and histone modifications in diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma cells in response to CDK9 inhibition
ABSTRACT: We report the application of chromatin immunoprecipitation for high-thoughput profiling of RNA polymerase II and histone modifications (H3K27me3 and H3K27ac) in diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma cells (DIPG) in response to CDK9 inhibition Overall design: Examination of the localization of RNA polymerase II and two different histone modifications in DIPG cells
Project description:Post-translational histone modifications have essential roles in controlling nuclear processes; however, the specific mechanisms regulating these modifications and their combinatorial activities remain elusive. Cyclin-dependent kinase 9 (CDK9) regulates gene expression by phosphorylating transcriptional regulatory proteins, including the RNA polymerase II carboxy-terminal domain. Here, we show that CDK9 activity is essential for maintaining global and gene-associated levels of histone H2B monoubiquitination (H2Bub1). Furthermore, CDK9 activity and H2Bub1 help to maintain correct replication-dependent histone messenger RNA (mRNA) 3'-end processing. CDK9 knockdown consistently resulted in inefficient recognition of the correct mRNA 3'-end cleavage site and led to increased read-through of RNA polymerase II to an alternative downstream polyadenylation signal. Thus, CDK9 acts to integrate phosphorylation during transcription with chromatin modifications to control co-transcriptional histone mRNA processing.
Project description:Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) is a fatal childhood cancer. We performed a chemical screen in patient-derived DIPG cultures along with RNA-seq analyses and integrated computational modeling to identify potentially effective therapeutic strategies. The multi-histone deacetylase inhibitor panobinostat demonstrated therapeutic efficacy both in vitro and in DIPG orthotopic xenograft models. Combination testing of panobinostat and the histone demethylase inhibitor GSK-J4 revealed that the two had synergistic effects. Together, these data suggest a promising therapeutic strategy for DIPG.
Project description:Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) is a fatal pediatric cancer with limited therapeutic options. The majority of cases of DIPG exhibit a mutation in histone-3 (H3K27M) that results in oncogenic transcriptional aberrancies. We show here that DIPG is vulnerable to transcriptional disruption using bromodomain inhibition or CDK7 blockade. Targeting oncogenic transcription through either of these methods synergizes with HDAC inhibition, and DIPG cells resistant to HDAC inhibitor therapy retain sensitivity to CDK7 blockade. Identification of super-enhancers in DIPG provides insights toward the cell of origin, highlighting oligodendroglial lineage genes, and reveals unexpected mechanisms mediating tumor viability and invasion, including potassium channel function and EPH receptor signaling. The findings presented demonstrate transcriptional vulnerabilities and elucidate previously unknown mechanisms of DIPG pathobiology.
Project description:Cyclin-dependent kinase 9 (Cdk9) promotes elongation by RNA polymerase II (RNAPII), mRNA processing, and co-transcriptional histone modification. Cdk9 phosphorylates multiple targets, including the conserved RNAPII elongation factor Spt5 and RNAPII itself, but how these different modifications mediate Cdk9 functions is not known. Here we describe two Cdk9-dependent pathways in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe that involve distinct targets and elicit distinct biological outcomes. Phosphorylation of Spt5 by Cdk9 creates a direct binding site for Prf1/Rtf1, a transcription regulator with functional and physical links to the Polymerase Associated Factor (PAF) complex. PAF association with chromatin is also dependent on Cdk9 but involves alternate phosphoacceptor targets. Prf1 and PAF are biochemically separate in cell extracts, and genetic analyses show that Prf1 and PAF are functionally distinct and exert opposing effects on the RNAPII elongation complex. We propose that this opposition constitutes a Cdk9 auto-regulatory mechanism, such that a positive effect on elongation, driven by the PAF pathway, is kept in check by a negative effect of Prf1/Rtf1 and downstream mono-ubiquitylation of histone H2B. Thus, optimal RNAPII elongation may require balanced action of functionally distinct Cdk9 pathways.
Project description:Mono-ubiquitylation of histone H2B (H2Bub1) and phosphorylation of elongation factor Spt5 by cyclin-dependent kinase 9 (Cdk9) occur during transcription by RNA polymerase II (RNAPII), and are mutually dependent in fission yeast. It remained unclear whether Cdk9 and H2Bub1 cooperate to regulate the expression of individual genes. Here, we show that Cdk9 inhibition or H2Bub1 loss induces intragenic antisense transcription of ?10% of fission yeast genes, with each perturbation affecting largely distinct subsets; ablation of both pathways de-represses antisense transcription of over half the genome. H2Bub1 and phospho-Spt5 have similar genome-wide distributions; both modifications are enriched, and directly proportional to each other, in coding regions, and decrease abruptly around the cleavage and polyadenylation signal (CPS). Cdk9-dependence of antisense suppression at specific genes correlates with high H2Bub1 occupancy, and with promoter-proximal RNAPII pausing. Genetic interactions link Cdk9, H2Bub1 and the histone deacetylase Clr6-CII, while combined Cdk9 inhibition and H2Bub1 loss impair Clr6-CII recruitment to chromatin and lead to decreased occupancy and increased acetylation of histones within gene coding regions. These results uncover novel interactions between co-transcriptional histone modification pathways, which link regulation of RNAPII transcription elongation to suppression of aberrant initiation.
Project description:Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) is a rare but uniformly fatal cancer of the brain, with peak incidence in children of 5-7 years of age. In contrast to most types of human cancer, there has been no significant improvement in treatment outcomes for patients with DIPG. Since DIPG occurs in the brainstem, a vital region of the brain, there are no surgical options for providing relief to patients, and chemotherapy as well as radiation therapy provide palliative relief at best. To date, more than 250 clinical trials evaluating radiotherapy along with conventional cytotoxic chemotherapy, as well as newer biologic agents, have failed to improve the dismal outcome when compared with palliative radiation alone. The recent discovery of somatic oncogenic histone gene mutations affecting chromatin regulation in DIPG has dramatically improved our understanding of the disease pathogenesis in DIPG, and these findings have stimulated the development of novel therapeutic approaches targeting epigenetic regulators for disease treatment. This review will discuss about the role of histone modification in chromatin machinery and epigenetic therapeutic strategies for the treatment of DIPG.
Project description:Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) is most commonly diagnosed based on imaging criteria, with biopsy often reserved for pontine tumors with imaging features not typical for DIPG (atypical DIPG, 'aDIPG'). The histopathologic and molecular spectra of the clinical entity aDIPG remain to be studied systematically. In this study, thirty-three patients with newly diagnosed pontine-centered tumors with imaging inconsistent with DIPG for whom a pathologic diagnosis was subsequently obtained were included. Neoplasms were characterized by routine histology, immunohistochemistry, interphase fluorescence in situ hybridization, Sanger and next-generation DNA/RNA sequencing, and genome-wide DNA methylome profiling. Clinicopathologic features and survival outcomes were analyzed and compared to those of a contemporary cohort with imaging features consistent with DIPG (typical DIPG, 'tDIPG'). Blinded retrospective neuroimaging review assessed the consistency of the initial imaging-based diagnosis and correlation with histopathology. WHO grade II-IV infiltrating gliomas were observed in 54.6% of the cases; the remaining were low-grade gliomas/glioneuronal tumors or CNS embryonal tumors. Histone H3 K27M mutation, identified in 36% of the cases, was the major prognostic determinant. H3 K27M-mutant aDIPG and H3 K27M-mutant tDIPG had similar methylome profiles but clustered separately from diffuse midline gliomas of the diencephalon and spinal cord. In the aDIPG cohort, clinicoradiographic features did not differ by H3 status, yet significant differences in clinical and imaging features were observed between aDIPG without H3 K27M mutation and tDIPG. Neuroimaging review revealed discordance between the classification of aDIPG and tDIPG and did not correlate with the histology of glial/glioneuronal tumors or tumor grade. One patient (3.1%) developed persistent neurologic deficits after surgery; there were no surgery-related deaths. Our study demonstrates that surgical sampling of aDIPG is well-tolerated and provides significant diagnostic, therapeutic, and prognostic implications, and that neuroimaging alone is insufficient to distinguish aDIPG from tDIPG. H3 K27M-mutant aDIPG is epigenetically and clinically similar to H3 K27M-mutant tDIPG.
Project description:PURPOSE OF REVIEW:Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) is a fatal childhood brainstem malignancy. Despite advances in understanding of the molecular underpinnings of the tumor in the past decade, the dismal prognosis of DIPG has thus far remained unchanged. This review seeks to highlight promising therapeutic targets within three arenas: DIPG cell-intrinsic vulnerabilities, immunotherapeutic approaches to tumor clearance, and microenvironmental dependencies that promote tumor growth. RECENT FINDINGS:Promising therapeutic strategies from recent studies include epigenetic modifying agents such as histone deacetylase inhibitors, bromodomain and extra-terminal motif (BET) protein inhibitors, and CDK7 inhibitors. Tumor-specific immunotherapies are emerging. Key interactions between DIPG and normal brain cells are coming to light, and targeting critical microenvironmental mechanisms driving DIPG growth in the developing childhood brain represents a new direction for therapy. SUMMARY:Several DIPG treatment strategies are being evaluated in early clinical trials. Ultimately, we suspect that a multifaceted therapeutic approach utilizing cell-intrinsic, microenvironmental, and immunotherapeutic targets will be necessary for eradicating DIPG.
Project description:Diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas (DIPGs) have a dismal prognosis and are poorly understood brain cancers. Receptor tyrosine kinases stabilized by neuron-glial antigen 2 (NG2) protein are known to induce gliomagenesis. Here, we investigated NG2 expression in a cohort of DIPG specimens (n= 50). We demonstrate NG2 expression in the majority of DIPG specimens tested and determine that tumors harboring histone 3.3 mutation express the highest NG2 levels. We further demonstrate that microRNA 129-2 (miR129-2) is downregulated and hypermethylated in human DIPGs, resulting in the increased expression of NG2. Treatment with 5-Azacytidine, a methyltransferase inhibitor, results in NG2 downregulation in DIPG primary tumor cells in vitro. NG2 expression is altered (symmetric segregation) in mitotic human DIPG and mouse tumor cells. These mitotic cells co-express oligodendrocyte (Olig2) and astrocyte (glial fibrillary acidic protein, GFAP) markers, indicating lack of terminal differentiation. NG2 knockdown retards cellular migration in vitro, while NG2 expressing neurospheres are highly tumorigenic in vivo, resulting in rapid growth of pontine tumors. NG2 expression is targetable in vivo using miR129-2 indicating a potential avenue for therapeutic interventions. This data implicates NG2 as a molecule of interest in DIPGs especially those with H3.3 mutation.
Project description:Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) is a highly aggressive pediatric brainstem tumor with a peak incidence in middle childhood and a median survival of less than 1 year. The dismal prognosis associated with DIPG has been exacerbated by the failure of over 250 clinical trials to meaningfully improve survival compared with radiotherapy, the current standard of care. The traditional practice to not biopsy DIPG led to a scarcity in available tissue samples for laboratory analysis that till recently hindered therapeutic advances. Over the past few years, the acquisition of patient derived tumor samples through biopsy and autopsy protocols has led to distinct breakthroughs in the identification of key oncogenic drivers implicated in DIPG development. Aberrations have been discovered in critical genetic drivers including histone H3, ACVR1, TP53, PDGFRA, and Myc. Mutations, previously not identified in other malignancies, highlight DIPG as a distinct biological entity. Identification of novel markers has already greatly influenced the direction of preclinical investigations and offers the exciting possibility of establishing biologically targeted therapies. This review will outline the current knowledge of the genomic landscape related to DIPG, overview preclinical investigations, and reflect how biological advances have influenced the focus of clinical trials toward targeted therapies.