Despite progress in intensification of therapy, outcomes for patients with metastatic osteosarcoma (OS) have not improved in thirty years. We developed a system that enabled preclinical screening of compounds against metastatic OS cells in the context of the native lung microenvironment. Using this strategy to screen a library of epigenetically targeted compounds, we identified inhibitors of CDK12 to be most effective, reducing OS cell outgrowth in the lung by more than 90% at submicromolar doses. We found that knockout of CDK12 in an in vivo model of lung metastasis significantly decreased the ability of OS to colonize the lung. CDK12 inhibition led to defects in transcription elongation in a gene length– and expression-dependent manner. These effects were accompanied by defects in RNA processing and altered the expression of genes involved in transcription regulation and the DNA damage response. We further identified OS models that differ in their sensitivity to CDK12 inhibition in the lung and provided evidence that upregulated MYC levels may mediate these differences. Our studies provided a framework for rapid preclinical testing of compounds with antimetastatic activity and highlighted CDK12 as a potential therapeutic target in OS.
Ian Bayles, Malgorzata Krajewska, W. Dean Pontius, Alina Saiakhova, James J. Morrow, Cynthia Bartels, Jim Lu, Zachary J. Faber, Yuriy Fedorov, Ellen S. Hong, Jaret M. Karnuta, Brian Rubin, Drew J. Adams, Rani E. George, Peter C. Scacheri
Polymerase δ is essential for eukaryotic genome duplication and synthesizes DNA at both the leading and lagging strands. The polymerase δ complex is a heterotetramer comprising the catalytic subunit POLD1 and the accessory subunits POLD2, POLD3, and POLD4. Beyond DNA replication, the polymerase δ complex has emerged as a central element in genome maintenance. The essentiality of polymerase δ has constrained the generation of polymerase δ–knockout cell lines or model organisms and, therefore, the understanding of the complexity of its activity and the function of its accessory subunits. To our knowledge, no germline biallelic mutations affecting this complex have been reported in humans. In patients from 2 independent pedigrees, we have identified what we believe to be a novel syndrome with reduced functionality of the polymerase δ complex caused by germline biallelic mutations in POLD1 or POLD2 as the underlying etiology of a previously unknown autosomal-recessive syndrome that combines replicative stress, neurodevelopmental abnormalities, and immunodeficiency. Patients’ cells showed impaired cell-cycle progression and replication-associated DNA lesions that were reversible upon overexpression of polymerase δ. The mutations affected the stability and interactions within the polymerase δ complex or its intrinsic polymerase activity. We believe our discovery of human polymerase δ deficiency identifies the central role of this complex in the prevention of replication-related DNA lesions, with particular relevance to adaptive immunity.
Cecilia Domínguez Conde, Özlem Yüce Petronczki, Safa Baris, Katharina L. Willmann, Enrico Girardi, Elisabeth Salzer, Stefan Weitzer, Rico Chandra Ardy, Ana Krolo, Hanna Ijspeert, Ayca Kiykim, Elif Karakoc-Aydiner, Elisabeth Förster-Waldl, Leo Kager, Winfried F. Pickl, Giulio Superti-Furga, Javier Martínez, Joanna I. Loizou, Ahmet Ozen, Mirjam van der Burg, Kaan Boztug
The Toll-Like Receptor 8 (TLR8) has an important role in innate immune responses to RNA viral infections including respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). We reported previously that TLR8 expression was increased directly by the tumor suppressor and transcription factor p53 via a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP: rs3761624) in the TLR8 promoter, thereby placing TLR8 in the p53/immune axis. Because this SNP is in linkage disequilibrium with other SNPs associated with several infectious diseases, we addressed the combined influence of p53 and the SNP on downstream inflammatory signaling in response to a TLR8 cognate ssRNA ligand. Using human primary lymphocytes, p53 induction by chemotherapeutic agents such as ionizing radiation caused SNP-dependent synergistic increases in IL-6 following incubation with an ssRNA ligand, as well as TLR8 RNA and protein expression along with p53 binding at the TLR-p53 SNP site. Because TLR8 is X-linked, the increases were generally reduced in heterozygous females. We found a corresponding association of the p53-responsive allele with RSV disease severity in infants hospitalized with RSV infection. We conclude that p53 can strongly influence TLR8 mediated immune responses and that knowledge of the p53 responsive SNP can inform diagnosis and prognosis of RSV disease and other diseases that might have a TLR8 component, including cancer.
Daniel Menendez, Joyce Snipe, Jacqui Marzec, Cynthia L. Innes, Fernando P. Polack, Mauricio Caballero, Shepherd H. Schurman, Steven R. Kleeberger, Michael A. Resnick
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a putative T cell–mediated autoimmune disease. As with many autoimmune diseases, females are more susceptible than males. Sexual dimorphisms may be due to differences in sex hormones, sex chromosomes, or both. Regarding sex chromosome genes, a small percentage of X chromosome genes escape X inactivation and have higher expression in females (XX) compared with males (XY). Here, high-throughput gene expression analysis in CD4+ T cells showed that the top sexually dimorphic gene was Kdm6a, a histone demethylase on the X chromosome. There was higher expression of Kdm6a in females compared with males in humans and mice, and the four core genotypes (FCG) mouse model showed higher expression in XX compared with XY. Deletion of Kdm6a in CD4+ T cells ameliorated clinical disease and reduced neuropathology in the classic CD4+ T cell–mediated autoimmune disease experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). Global transcriptome analysis in CD4+ T cells from EAE mice with a specific deletion of Kdm6a showed upregulation of Th2 and Th1 activation pathways and downregulation of neuroinflammation signaling pathways. Together, these data demonstrate that the X escapee Kdm6a regulates multiple immune response genes, providing a mechanism for sex differences in autoimmune disease susceptibility.
Yuichiro Itoh, Lisa C. Golden, Noriko Itoh, Macy Akiyo Matsukawa, Emily Ren, Vincent Tse, Arthur P. Arnold, Rhonda R. Voskuhl
3-M primordial dwarfism is an inherited disease characterized by severe pre- and postnatal growth retardation and by mutually exclusive mutations in three genes, CUL7, OBSL1, and CCDC8. The mechanism underlying 3-M dwarfism is not clear. We showed here that CCDC8, derived from a retrotransposon Gag protein in placental mammals, exclusively localized on the plasma membrane and was phosphorylated by CK2 and GSK3. Phosphorylation of CCDC8 resulted in its binding first with OBSL1, and then CUL7, leading to the membrane assembly of the 3-M E3 ubiquitin ligase complex. We identified LL5β, a plasma membrane protein that regulates cell migration, as a substrate of 3-M ligase. Wnt inhibition of CCDC8 phosphorylation or patient-derived mutations in 3-M genes disrupted membrane localization of the 3-M complex and accumulated LL5β. Deletion of Ccdc8 in mice impaired trophoblast migration and placental development, resulting in intrauterine growth restriction and perinatal lethality. These results identified a mechanism regulating cell migration and placental development that underlies the development of 3-M dwarfism.
Pu Wang, Feng Yan, Zhijun Li, Yanbao Yu, Scott E. Parnell, Yue Xiong
Genetic susceptibility to type 2 diabetes is primarily due to β-cell dysfunction. However, a genetic study to directly interrogate β-cell function ex vivo has never been previously performed. We isolated 233,447 islets from 483 Diversity Outbred (DO) mice maintained on a Western-style diet, and measured insulin secretion in response to a variety of secretagogues. Insulin secretion from DO islets ranged >1,000-fold even though none of the mice were diabetic. The insulin secretory response to each secretagogue had a unique genetic architecture; some of the loci were specific for one condition, whereas others overlapped. Human loci that are syntenic to many of the insulin secretion QTL from mouse are associated with diabetes-related SNPs in human genome-wide association studies. We report on three genes, Ptpn18, Hunk and Zfp148, where the phenotype predictions from the genetic screen were fulfilled in our studies of transgenic mouse models. These three genes encode a non-receptor type protein tyrosine phosphatase, a serine/threonine protein kinase, and a Krϋppel-type zinc-finger transcription factor, respectively. Our results demonstrate that genetic variation in insulin secretion that can lead to type 2 diabetes is discoverable in non-diabetic individuals.
Mark P. Keller, Mary E. Rabaglia, Kathryn L. Schueler, Donnie S. Stapleton, Daniel M. Gatti, Matthew Vincent, Kelly A. Mitok, Ziyue Wang, Takanao Ishimura, Shane P. Simonett, Christopher H. Emfinger, Rahul Das, Tim Beck, Christina Kendziorski, Karl W. Broman, Brian S. Yandell, Gary A. Churchill, Alan D. Attie
Despite recent therapeutic advances, prostate cancer remains a leading cause of cancer-related death. A subset of castration resistant prostate cancers become androgen receptor (AR) signaling-independent and develop neuroendocrine prostate cancer (NEPC) features through lineage plasticity. These NEPC tumors, associated with aggressive disease and poor prognosis, are driven, in part, by aberrant expression of N-Myc, through mechanisms that remain unclear. Integrative analysis of the N-Myc transcriptome, cistrome and interactome using in vivo, in vitro and ex vivo models (including patient-derived organoids) identified a lineage switch towards a neural identity associated with epigenetic reprogramming. N-Myc and known AR-co-factors (e.g., FOXA1 and HOXB13) overlapped, independently of AR, at genomic loci implicated in neural lineage specification. Moreover, histone marks specifically associated with lineage-defining genes were reprogrammed by N-Myc. We also demonstrated that the N-Myc-induced molecular program accurately classifies our cohort of patients with advanced prostate cancer. Finally, we revealed the potential for EZH2 inhibition to reverse the N-Myc-induced suppression of epithelial lineage genes. Altogether, our data provide insights on how N-Myc regulates lineage plasticity and epigenetic reprogramming associated with lineage-specification. The N-Myc signature we defined could also help predict the evolution of prostate cancer and thus better guide the choice of future therapeutic strategies.
Adeline Berger, Nicholas J. Brady, Rohan Bareja, Brian D. Robinson, Vincenza Conteduca, Michael A. Augello, Loredana Puca, Adnan Ahmed, Etienne Dardenne, Xiaodong Lu, Inah Hwang, Alyssa M. Bagadion, Andrea Sboner, Olivier Elemento, Jihye Paik, Jindan Yu, Christopher E. Barbieri, Noah Dephoure, Himisha Beltran, David S. Rickman
The etiology of severe hemolytic anemia in most patients with recessive hereditary spherocytosis (rHS) and the related disorder hereditary pyropoikilocytosis (HPP) is unknown. Whole exome sequencing of DNA from probands of 24 rHS or HPP kindreds identified numerous mutations in erythrocyte membrane α-spectrin (SPTA1). Twenty-eight mutations were novel, with null alleles frequently found in trans to missense mutations. No mutations were identified in a third of SPTA1 alleles (17/48). Whole genome sequencing revealed linkage disequilibrium between the common rHS-linked α-spectrinBug Hill polymorphism and a rare intron 30 variant in all 17 mutation-negative alleles. In vitro minigene studies and in vivo splicing analyses revealed the intron 30 variant changes a weak alternate branch point (BP) to a strong BP. This change leads to increased utilization of an alternate 3′ splice acceptor site, perturbing normal α-spectrin mRNA splicing and creating an elongated mRNA transcript. In vivo mRNA stability studies revealed the newly created termination codon in the elongated transcript activates nonsense mediated decay leading to spectrin deficiency. These results demonstrate a unique mechanism of human genetic disease contributes to the etiology of a third of cases of rHS, facilitating diagnosis and treatment of severe anemia, and identifying a new target for therapeutic manipulation.
Patrick G. Gallagher, Yelena Maksimova, Kimberly Lezon-Geyda, Peter E. Newburger, Desiree Medeiros, Robin D. Hanson, Jennifer A. Rothman, Sara J. Israels, Donna A. Wall, Robert F. Sidonio Jr., Colin Sieff, L. Kate Gowans, Nupur Mittal, Roland Rivera-Santiago, David W. Speicher, Susan J. Baserga, Vincent P. Schulz
Vacuolar H+-ATPase–dependent (V-ATPase–dependent) functions are critical for neural proteostasis and are involved in neurodegeneration and brain tumorigenesis. We identified a patient with fulminant neurodegeneration of the developing brain carrying a de novo splice site variant in ATP6AP2 encoding an accessory protein of the V-ATPase. Functional studies of induced pluripotent stem cell–derived (iPSC-derived) neurons from this patient revealed reduced spontaneous activity and severe deficiency in lysosomal acidification and protein degradation leading to neuronal cell death. These deficiencies could be rescued by expression of full-length ATP6AP2. Conditional deletion of Atp6ap2 in developing mouse brain impaired V-ATPase–dependent functions, causing impaired neural stem cell self-renewal, premature neuronal differentiation, and apoptosis resulting in degeneration of nearly the entire cortex. In vitro studies revealed that ATP6AP2 deficiency decreases V-ATPase membrane assembly and increases endosomal-lysosomal fusion. We conclude that ATP6AP2 is a key mediator of V-ATPase–dependent signaling and protein degradation in the developing human central nervous system.
Takuo Hirose, Alfredo Cabrera-Socorro, David Chitayat, Thomas Lemonnier, Olivier Féraud, Carmen Cifuentes-Diaz, Nicolas Gervasi, Cedric Mombereau, Tanay Ghosh, Loredana Stoica, Jeanne d’Arc Al Bacha, Hiroshi Yamada, Marcel A. Lauterbach, Marc Guillon, Kiriko Kaneko, Joy W. Norris, Komudi Siriwardena, Susan Blasér, Jérémie Teillon, Roberto Mendoza-Londono, Marion Russeau, Julien Hadoux, Sadayoshi Ito, Pierre Corvol, Maria G. Matheus, Kenton R. Holden, Kohji Takei, Valentina Emiliani, Annelise Bennaceur-Griscelli, Charles E. Schwartz, Genevieve Nguyen, Matthias Groszer
BRAF and CRAF are critical components of the MAPK signaling pathway which is activated in many cancer types. In approximately 1% of melanomas, BRAF or CRAF are activated through structural arrangements. We describe here a metastatic melanoma with a GOLGA4-RAF1 fusion and pathogenic variants in CTNNB1 and CDKN2A. Anti-CTLA4/anti-PD1 combination immunotherapy failed to control tumor progression. In the absence of other actionable variants the patient was administered MEK inhibitor therapy on the basis of its potential action against RAF1 fusions. This resulted in a profound and clinically significant response. We demonstrated that GOLGA4-RAF1 expression was associated with ERK activation, elevated expression of the RAS/RAF downstream co-effector ETV5, and a high Ki67 index. These findings provide a rationale for the dramatic response to targeted therapy. This study shows that thorough molecular characterization of treatment-resistant cancers can identify therapeutic targets and personalize management, leading to improved patient outcomes.
Christopher R. McEvoy, Huiling Xu, Kortnye Smith, Dariush Etemadmoghadam, Huei San Leong, David Y. Choong, David J. Byrne, Amir Iravani, Sophie Beck, Linda Mileshkin, Richard W. Tothill, David D. Bowtell, Bindi M. Bates, Violeta Nastevski, Judy Browning, Anthony H. Bell, Chloe Khoo, Jayesh Desai, Andrew P. Fellowes, Stephen B. Fox, Owen W.J. Prall