Project description:Due to the hyper-activation of WNT signaling in a variety of cancer types, there has been a strong drive to develop pathway-specific inhibitors with the eventual goal of providing a chemotherapeutic antagonist of WNT signaling to cancer patients. A new category of drugs, called epigenetic inhibitors, are being developed that hold high promise for inhibition of the WNT pathway. The canonical WNT signaling pathway initiates when WNT ligands bind to receptors, causing the nuclear localization of the co-activator β-catenin (CTNNB1), which leads to an association of β-catenin with a member of the TCF transcription factor family at regulatory regions of WNT-responsive genes. The TCF/β-catenin complex then recruits CBP (CREBBP) or p300 (EP300), leading to histone acetylation and gene activation. A current model in the field is that CBP-driven expression of WNT target genes supports proliferation whereas p300-driven expression of WNT target genes supports differentiation. The small molecule inhibitor ICG-001 binds to CBP, but not to p300, and competitively inhibits the interaction of CBP with β-catenin. Upon treatment of cancer cells, this should reduce expression of CBP-regulated transcription, leading to reduced tumorigenicity and enhanced differentiation.We have compared the genome-wide effects on the transcriptome after treatment with ICG-001 (the specific CBP inhibitor) versus C646, a compound that competes with acetyl-coA for the Lys-coA binding pocket of both CBP and p300. We found that both drugs cause large-scale changes in the transcriptome of HCT116 colon cancer cells and PANC1 pancreatic cancer cells and reverse some tumor-specific changes in gene expression. Interestingly, although the epigenetic inhibitors affect cell cycle pathways in both the colon and pancreatic cancer cell lines, the WNT signaling pathway was affected only in the colon cancer cells. Notably, WNT target genes were similarly downregulated after treatment of HCT116 with C646 as with ICG-001.Our results suggest that treatment with a general HAT inhibitor causes similar effects on the transcriptome as does treatment with a CBP-specific inhibitor and that epigenetic inhibition affects the WNT pathway in HCT116 cells and the cholesterol biosynthesis pathway in PANC1 cells.
Project description:Two mature miRNA species may be generated from the 5' and 3' arms of a pre-miRNA precursor. In most cases, only one species remains while the complementary species is degraded. However, co-existence of miRNA-5p and -3p species is increasingly being reported. In this work, we aimed to systematically investigate co-expression of miRNA-5p/3p in colon cancer cells in a genome-wide analysis, and to examine cross-targeting of the dysregulated miRNAs and 5p/3p species.Four colon cancer cell lines were examined relative to two normal colon tissues. Of the 1,190 miRNAs analyzed, 92 and 36 were found to be up- or down-regulated, respectively, in cancer cells. Nineteen co-expressed miRNA-5p/3p pairs were further identified suggesting frequent 5p/3p co-accumulation in colon cancer cells. Of these, 14 pairs were co-up-regulated and 3 pairs were co-down-regulated indicating concerted 5p/3p dysregulation. Nine dysregulated miRNA pairs fell into three miRNA gene families, namely let-7, mir-8/200 and mir-17, which showed frequent cross-targeting in the metastasis process. Focusing on the let-7d-5p/3p pair, the respectively targeted IGF1R and KRAS were shown to be in a reverse relationship with expression of the respective miRNA, which was confirmed in transient transfection assays using let-7d mimic or inhibitor. Targeting of KRAS by let-7d was previous reported; targeting of IGF1R by let-7d-5p was confirmed in luciferase assays in this study. The findings of let-7d-5p/3p and multiple other miRNAs targeting IGF1R, KRAS and other metastasis-related factors suggest that 5p/3p miRNAs contribute to cross-targeting of multiple cancer-associated factors and processes possibly to evade functional abolishment when any one of the crucial factors are inactivated.miRNA-5p/3p species are frequently co-expressed and are coordinately regulated in colon cancer cells. In cancer cells, multiple cross-targeting by the miRNAs, including the co-existing 5p/3p species, frequently occurs in an apparent safe-proof scheme of miRNA regulation of important tumorigenesis processes. Further systematic analysis of co-existing miRNA-5p/3p pairs in clinical tissues is important in elucidating 5p/3p contributions to cancer pathogenesis.
Project description:BACKGROUND: microRNAs (miRNAs) exist in blood in an apparently stable form. We have explored whether serum miRNAs can be used as non-invasive early biomarkers of colon cancer. METHODS: Serum samples from 30 patients with colon cancer stage IV and 10 healthy controls were examined for the expression of 375 cancer-relevant miRNAs. Based on the miRNA profile in this study, 34 selected miRNAs were measured in serum from 40 patients with stage I-II colon cancer and from 10 additional controls. RESULTS: Twenty miRNAs were differentially expressed in serum from stage IV patients compared with controls (P<0.01). Unsupervised clustering revealed four subgroups; one corresponding mostly to the control group and the three others to the patient groups. Of the 34 miRNAs measured in the follow-up study of stage I-II patients, 21 showed concordant expression between stage IV and stage I-II patient. Based on the profiles of these 21 miRNAs, a supervised linear regression analysis (Partial Least Squares Regression) was performed. Using this model we correctly assigned stage I-II colon cancer patients based on miRNA profiles of stage IV patients. CONCLUSION: Serum miRNA expression profiling may be utilised in early detection of colon cancer.
Project description:Changes in microRNA (miRNA) expression patterns have been extensively characterized in several cancers, including human colon cancer. However, how these miRNAs and their putative mRNA targets contribute to the etiology of cancer is poorly understood. In this work, a bioinformatics computational approach with miRNA and mRNA expression data was used to identify the putative targets of miRNAs and to construct association networks between miRNAs and mRNAs to gain some insights into the underlined molecular mechanisms of human colon cancer.The miRNA and mRNA microarray expression profiles from the same tissues including 7 human colon tumor tissues and 4 normal tissues, collected by the Broad Institute, were used to identify significant associations between miRNA and mRNA. We applied the partial least square (PLS) regression method and bootstrap based statistical tests to the joint expression profiles of differentially expressed miRNAs and mRNAs. From this analysis, we predicted putative miRNA targets and association networks between miRNAs and mRNAs. Pathway analysis was employed to identify biological processes related to these miRNAs and their associated predicted mRNA targets.Most significantly associated up-regulated mRNAs with a down-regulated miRNA identified by the proposed methodology were considered to be the miRNA targets. On average, approximately 16.5% and 11.0% of targets predicted by this approach were also predicted as targets by the common prediction algorithms TargetScan and miRanda, respectively. We demonstrated that our method detects more targets than a simple correlation based association. Integrative mRNA:miRNA predictive networks from our analysis were constructed with the aid of Cytoscape software. Pathway analysis validated the miRNAs through their predicted targets that may be involved in cancer-associated biological networks.We have identified an alternative bioinformatics approach for predicting miRNA targets in human colon cancer and for reverse engineering the miRNA:mRNA network using inversely related mRNA and miRNA joint expression profiles. We demonstrated the superiority of our predictive method compared to the correlation based target prediction algorithm through a simulation study. We anticipate that the unique miRNA targets predicted by the proposed method will advance the understanding of the molecular mechanism of colon cancer and will suggest novel therapeutic targets after further experimental validations.
Project description:BACKGROUND:While regulated WNT activity is required for normal development and stem cell maintenance, mutations that lead to constitutive activation of the WNT pathway cause cellular transformation and drive colorectal cancer. Activation of the WNT pathway ultimately leads to the nuclear translocation of ?-catenin which, in complex with TCF/LEF factors, promotes the transcription of genes necessary for growth. The proto-oncogene MYC is one of the most critical genes activated downstream the WNT pathway in colon cancer. Here, we investigate the converse regulation of the WNT pathway by MYC. METHODS:We performed RNA-seq analyses to identify genes regulated in cells expressing MYC. We validated the regulation of genes in the WNT pathway including LEF1 by MYC using RT-qPCR, Western blotting, and ChIP-seq. We investigated the importance of LEF1 for the viability of MYC-expressing cells in in fibroblasts, epithelial cells, and colon cells. Bioinformatic analyses were utilized to define the expression of MYC-regulated genes in human colon cancer and metabolomics analyses were used to identify pathways regulated by LEF1 in MYC expressing cells. RESULTS:MYC regulates the levels of numerous WNT-related genes, including the ?-catenin co-transcription factor LEF1. MYC activates the transcription of LEF1 and is required for LEF1 expression in colon cancer cells and in primary colonic cells transformed by APC loss of function, a common mutation in colon cancer patients. LEF1 caused the retention of ?-catenin in the nucleus, leading to the activation of the WNT pathway in MYC-expressing cells. Consequently, MYC-expressing cells were sensitive to LEF1 inhibition. Moreover, we describe two examples of genes induced in MYC-expressing cells that require LEF1 activity: the peroxisome proliferator activated receptor delta (PPAR?) and the Acyl CoA dehydrogenase 9 (ACAD9). CONCLUSIONS:We demonstrated that MYC is a transcriptional regulator of LEF1 in colonic cells. Our work proposes a novel pathway by which MYC regulates proliferation through activating LEF1 expression which in turn activates the WNT pathway.
Project description:BACKGROUND: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have emerged as important gene regulators and are recognized as key players in tumorigenesis. miR-145 is reported to be down-regulated in several cancers, but knowledge of its targets in colon cancer remains limited. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: To investigate the role of miR-145 in colon cancer, we have employed a microarray based approach to identify miR-145 targets. Based on seed site enrichment analyses and unbiased word analyses, we found a significant enrichment of miRNA binding sites in the 3'-untranslated regions (UTRs) of transcripts down-regulated upon miRNA overexpression. Gene Ontology analysis showed an overrepresentation of genes involved in cell death, cellular growth and proliferation, cell cycle, gene expression and cancer. A number of the identified miRNA targets have previously been implicated in cancer, including YES, FSCN1, ADAM17, BIRC2, VANGL1 as well as the transcription factor STAT1. Both YES and STAT1 were verified as direct miR-145 targets. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The study identifies and validates new cancer-relevant direct targets of miR-145 in colon cancer cells and hereby adds important mechanistic understanding of the tumor-suppressive functions of miR-145.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Mitogen-activated protein kinases (MEK 1/2) are central components of the RAS signalling pathway and are attractive targets for cancer therapy. These agents continue to be investigated in KRAS mutant colon cancer but are met with significant resistance. Clinical investigations have demonstrated that these strategies are not well tolerated by patients.<h4>Methods</h4>We investigated a biomarker of response for MEK inhibition in KRAS mutant colon cancers by LC-MS/MS analysis. We tested the MEK inhibitor in PIK3CA wild(wt) and mutant(mt) colon cancer cells. In addition, we tested the combinational effects of MEK and TNKS inhibitor in vitro and in vivo.<h4>Results</h4>We identified ?-catenin, a key mediator of the WNT pathway, in response to MEK inhibitor. MEK inhibition led to a decrease in ?-catenin in PIK3CA wt colon cancer cells but not in mt. Tumour regression was promoted by combination of MEK inhibition and NVP-TNS656, which targets the WNT pathway. Furthermore, inhibition of MEK promoted tumour regression in colon cancer patient-derived xenograft models expressing PIK3CA wt.<h4>Conclusions</h4>We propose that inhibition of the WNT pathway, particularly ?-catenin, may bypass resistance to MEK inhibition in human PIK3CA mt colon cancer. Therefore, we suggest that ?-catenin is a potential predictive marker of MEK inhibitor resistance.
Project description:Altered profiles of gene expression reflect the reprogramming of intestinal epithelial cells during their maturation along the crypt-luminal axis. To focus on genes important in this process, and how they in turn are regulated, we identified 14 transcripts commonly downregulated in expression during lineage-specific maturation of the immortalized cell lines Caco-2 (absorptive), HT29Cl16E (goblet), and HT29Cl19A (secretory) induced by contact inhibition of growth or the short-chain fatty acid butyrate. One such gene, Mybl2 (Myb-related protein B), has been linked to the stem cell phenotype, and we report is also markedly suppressed in maturing cells along the crypt-luminal axis in vivo. Mybl2 is not significantly downregulated transcriptionally during colon cell maturation, but we identified a potential micro-RNA (miRNA)-binding sequence in the Mybl2 3'-untranslated region that mediates reporter gene suppression in differentiating colon cells. Accordingly, miRNAs predicted to bind this functional target are upregulated in differentiating colon epithelial cells in vitro and in vivo; expression of one of these, hsa-miR-365 (but not hsa-324-5p), suppresses Mybl2 protein expression in proliferating Caco-2 cells. These data demonstrate that miRNA silencing plays an important role in regulating gene expression in maturing colon epithelial cells, and that utilizing a target-centered approach, rather than profiling global miRNA expression, can identify physiologically relevant, functional miRNAs.
Project description:Metastatic colon cancer is a major cause of deaths among colorectal cancer (CRC) patients. Elevated expression of kallikrein 6 (KLK6), a member of a kallikrein subfamily of peptidase S1 family serine proteases, has been reported in CRC and is associated with low patient survival rates and poor disease prognosis. We knocked down KLK6 expression in HCT116 colon cancer cells to determine the significance of KLK6 expression for metastatic dissemination and to identify the KLK6-associated microRNAs (miRNAs) signaling networks in metastatic colon cancer. KLK6 suppression resulted in decreased cells invasion in vitro with a minimal effect on the cell growth and viability. In vivo, animals with orthotopic colon tumors deficient in KLK6 expression had the statistically significant increase in survival rates (P=.005) and decrease in incidence of distant metastases. We further performed the integrated miRNA and messenger RNA (mRNA) expression profiling to identify functional miRNA-mRNA interactions associated with KLK6-mediated invasiveness of colon cancer. Through bioinformatics analysis we identified and functionally validated the top two up-regulated miRNAs, miR-182 and miR-203, and one down-regulated miRNA, miRNA-181d, and their seven mRNA effectors. The established miRNA-mRNA interactions modulate cellular proliferation, differentiation and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in KLK6-expressing colon cancer cells via the TGF-? signaling pathway and RAS-related GTP-binding proteins. We confirmed the potential tumor suppressive properties of miR-181d and miR-203 in KLK6-expressing HCT116 cells using Matrigel invasion assay. Our data provide experimental evidence that KLK6 controls metastasis formation in colon cancer via specific downstream network of miRNA-mRNA effectors.