Project description:In this study, the expression profiles of the granulocyte-macrophage progenitor cells (GMP) in bone marrow from KrasG12D/+; CD2Cre mice and wild-type mice were utilized as the in vivo model of acute-myeloid leukemic initiating cells for comparison. We compared the microarray data for transcriptional analysis of the GMP cells from KrasG12D/+; CD2Cre+ mice and littermate control. Overall design: Gene expression profiling was performed on GMP cells sorted from leukemic KrasG12D/+; CD2Cre+ mice and littermate control.
Project description:How oncogenes modulate the self-renewal properties of cancer-initiating cells is incompletely understood. Activating KRAS and NRAS mutations are among the most common oncogenic lesions detected in human cancer, and occur in myeloproliferative disorders (MPDs) and leukemias. We investigated the effects of expressing oncogenic Kras(G12D) from its endogenous locus on the proliferation and tumor-initiating properties of murine hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells. MPD could be initiated by Kras(G12D) expression in a highly restricted population enriched for hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), but not in common myeloid progenitors. Kras(G12D) HSCs demonstrated a marked in vivo competitive advantage over wild-type cells. Kras(G12D) expression also increased the fraction of proliferating HSCs and reduced the overall size of this compartment. Transplanted Kras(G12D) HSCs efficiently initiated acute T-lineage leukemia/lymphoma, which was associated with secondary Notch1 mutations in thymocytes. We conclude that MPD-initiating activity is restricted to the HSC compartment in Kras(G12D) mice, and that distinct self-renewing populations with cooperating mutations emerge during cancer progression.
Project description:RAS genes are frequently mutated in cancers, yet an effective treatment has not been developed, partly because of an incomplete understanding of signaling within Ras-related tumors. To address this, we performed a genetic screen in Drosophila, aiming to find mutations that cooperate with oncogenic Ras (RasV12) to induce tumor overgrowth and invasion. We identified fiery mountain (fmt), a regulatory subunit of the protein phosphatase 6 (PP6) complex, as a tumor suppressor that synergizes with RasV12 to drive c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK)-dependent tumor growth and invasiveness. We show that Fmt negatively regulates JNK upstream of dTAK1. We further demonstrate that disruption of PpV, the catalytic subunit of PP6, mimics fmt loss-of-function-induced tumorigenesis. Finally, Fmt synergizes with PpV to inhibit JNK-dependent tumor progression. Our data here further highlight the power of Drosophila as a model system to unravel molecular mechanisms that may be relevant to human cancer biology.
Project description:Breast cancer initiating cells (BCICs), which can fully recapitulate the tumor origin and are often resistant to chemo- and radiotherapy, are currently considered as a major obstacle for breast cancer treatment. Here, we show that BIKDD, a constitutively active mutant form of proapoptotic gene, BIK, effectively induces apoptosis of breast cancer cells and synergizes with lapatinib. Most importantly, BikDD significantly reduces BCICs through co-antagonism of its binding partners Bcl-2, Bcl-xL, and Mcl-1, suggesting a potential therapeutic strategy targeting BCICs. Furthermore, we developed a cancer-specific targeting approach for breast cancer that selectively expresses BikDD in breast cancer cells including BCICs, and demonstrated its potent antitumor activity and synergism with lapatinib in vitro and in vivo.
Project description:Ras mutations are commonly observed in juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (JMML) and chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMML). JMML and CMML transform into acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in about 10% and 50% of patients, respectively. However, how additional events cooperate with Ras to promote this transformation are largely unknown. We show that absence of the ubiquitin-specific peptidase 22 (USP22), a component of the Spt-Ada-GCN5-acetyltransferase chromatin-remodeling complex that is linked to cancer progression, unexpectedly promotes AML transformation in mice expressing oncogenic KrasG12D/+ USP22 deficiency in KrasG12D/+ mice resulted in shorter survival compared with control mice. This was due to a block in myeloid cell differentiation leading to the generation of AML. This effect was cell autonomous because mice transplanted with USP22-deficient KrasG12D/+ cells developed an aggressive disease and died rapidly. The transcriptome profile of USP22-deficient KrasG12D/+ progenitors resembled leukemic stem cells and was highly correlated with genes associated with poor prognosis in AML. We show that USP22 functions as a PU.1 deubiquitylase by positively regulating its protein stability and promoting the expression of PU.1 target genes. Reconstitution of PU.1 overexpression in USP22-deficient KrasG12D/+ progenitors rescued their differentiation. Our findings uncovered an unexpected role for USP22 in Ras-induced leukemogenesis and provide further insights into the function of USP22 in carcinogenesis.
Project description:Mutations in DNA methyltransferase 3A (DNMT3A) are prevalent in various myeloid and lymphoid malignancies. The most common DNMT3A R882 mutations inhibit methyltransferase activity of the remaining wild-type DNMT3A proteins at a heterozygous state due to their dominant-negative activity. Reports and COSMIC database analysis reveal significantly different frequencies of R882 mutations in myeloid versus T-cell malignancies, inspiring us to investigate whether downregulation of DNMT3A regulates malignancies of different lineages in a dose-dependent manner. In a competitive transplant setting, the survival of recipients with KrasG12D/+ ; Dnmt3a+/- bone marrow (BM) cells was significantly shortened than that of recipients with KrasG12D/+ cells. Moreover, all of the recipients with KrasG12D/+ ; Dnmt3a+/- cells developed a lethal T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) without significant myeloproliferative neoplasm (MPN) phenotypes, while ~20% of recipients with KrasG12D/+ cells developed MPN with or without T-ALL. This is in sharp contrast to the recipients with KrasG12D/+ ; Dnmt3a-/- cells, in which ~60% developed a lethal myeloid malignancy (MPN or acute myeloid leukemia [AML]). Our data suggest that in the context of oncogenic Kras, loss of Dnmt3a promotes myeloid malignancies, while Dnmt3a haploinsufficiency induces T-ALL. This dose-dependent phenotype is highly consistent with the prevalence of DNMT3A R882 mutations in AML versus T-ALL in human.
Project description:Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a clonal disease originating from myeloid progenitor cells with a heterogeneous genetic background. High-dose cytarabine is used as the standard consolidation chemotherapy. Oncogenic RAS mutations are frequently observed in AML, and are associated with beneficial response to cytarabine. Why AML-patients with oncogenic RAS benefit most from high-dose cytarabine post-remission therapy is not well understood. Here we used bone marrow cells expressing a conditional MLL-ENL-ER oncogene to investigate the interaction of oncogenic RAS and chemotherapeutic agents. We show that oncogenic RAS synergizes with cytotoxic agents such as cytarabine in activation of DNA damage checkpoints, resulting in a p53-dependent genetic program that reduces clonogenicity and increases myeloid differentiation. Our data can explain the beneficial effects observed for AML patients with oncogenic RAS treated with higher dosages of cytarabine and suggest that induction of p53-dependent differentiation, e.g. by interfering with Mdm2-mediated degradation, may be a rational approach to increase cure rate in response to chemotherapy. The data also support the notion that the therapeutic success of cytotoxic drugs may depend on their ability to promote the differentiation of tumor-initiating cells.
Project description:Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) subtypes that result from oncogenic activation of homeobox (HOX) transcription factors are associated with poor prognosis. The HOXA9 transcription activator and growth factor independent 1 (GFI1) transcriptional repressor compete for occupancy at DNA-binding sites for the regulation of common target genes. We exploited this HOXA9 versus GFI1 antagonism to identify the genes encoding microRNA-21 and microRNA-196b as transcriptional targets of HOX-based leukemia oncoproteins. Therapeutic inhibition of microRNA-21 and microRNA-196b inhibited in vitro leukemic colony forming activity and depleted in vivo leukemia-initiating cell activity of HOX-based leukemias, which led to leukemia-free survival in a murine AML model and delayed disease onset in xenograft models. These data establish microRNA as functional effectors of endogenous HOXA9 and HOX-based leukemia oncoproteins, provide a concise in vivo platform to test RNA therapeutics, and suggest therapeutic value for microRNA antagonists in AML.
Project description:Translocation of the mixed-lineage leukemia (MLL) gene with AF4, AF9, or ENL results in acute leukemia with both lymphoid and myeloid involvement. We characterized leukemia-initiating cells (LICs) in primary infant MLL-rearranged leukemia using a xenotransplantation model. In MLL-AF4 patients, CD34(+)CD38(+)CD19(+) and CD34(-)CD19(+) cells initiated leukemia, and in MLL-AF9 patients, CD34(-)CD19(+) cells were LICs. In MLL-ENL patients, either CD34(+) or CD34(-) cells were LICs, depending on the pattern of CD34 expression. In contrast, in patients with these MLL translocations, CD34(+)CD38(-)CD19(-)CD33(-) cells were enriched for normal hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) with in vivo long-term multilineage hematopoietic repopulation capacity. Although LICs developed leukemic cells with clonal immunoglobulin heavy-chain (IGH) rearrangement in vivo, CD34(+)CD38(-)CD19(-)CD33(-) cells repopulated recipient bone marrow and spleen with B cells, showing broad polyclonal IGH rearrangement and recipient thymus with CD4(+) single positive (SP), CD8(+) SP, and CD4(+)CD8(+) double-positive (DP) T cells. Global gene expression profiling revealed that CD9, CD32, and CD24 were over-represented in MLL-AF4, MLL-AF9, and MLL-ENL LICs compared with normal HSCs. In patient samples, these molecules were expressed in CD34(+)CD38(+) and CD34(-) LICs but not in CD34(+)CD38(-)CD19(-)CD33(-) HSCs. Identification of LICs and LIC-specific molecules in primary human MLL-rearranged acute lymphoblastic leukemia may lead to improved therapeutic strategies for MLL-rearranged leukemia.