EZH2-mediated epigenetic regulation of T cell differentiation and regulatory T cell function has been described previously; however, the role of EZH2 in T cell–mediated anti-tumor immunity, especially in the context of immune checkpoint therapy, is not understood. Here, we showed that genetic depletion of EZH2 in regulatory T cells (FoxP3creEZH2fl/fl mice) leads to robust anti-tumor immunity. In addition, pharmacological inhibition of EZH2 in human T cells using CPI-1205 elicited phenotypic and functional alterations of the regulatory T cells and enhanced cytotoxic activity of effector T cells. We observed that ipilimumab (anti–CTLA-4) increased EZH2 expression in peripheral T cells from treated patients. We hypothesized that inhibition of EZH2 expression in T cells would increase the effectiveness of anti–CTLA-4 therapy, which we tested in murine models. Collectively, our data demonstrated that modulating EZH2 expression in T cells can improve anti-tumor responses elicited by anti–CTLA-4 therapy, which provides a strong rationale for a combination trial of CPI-1205 plus ipilimumab.
Sangeeta Goswami, Irina Apostolou, Jan Zhang, Jill Skepner, Swetha Anandhan, Xuejun Zhang, Liangwen Xiong, Patrick Trojer, Ana Aparicio, Sumit K. Subudhi, James P. Allison, Hao Zhao, Padmanee Sharma
Acute pancreatitis (AP), a human disease in which the pancreas digests itself, has substantial mortality with no specific therapy. The major causes of AP are alcohol abuse and gallstone complications, but it also occurs as an important side effect of the standard Asparaginase-based therapy for childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. Previous investigations into the mechanisms underlying pancreatic acinar cell death induced by alcohol metabolites, bile acids or Asparaginase indicated that loss of intracellular ATP generation is a significant factor. In isolated mouse pancreatic acinar cells or cell clusters, we now report that removal of extracellular glucose had little effect on this ATP loss, suggesting that glucose metabolism was severely inhibited under these conditions. Surprisingly, we show that replacing glucose with galactose prevented or markedly reduced the loss of ATP and any subsequent necrosis. Addition of pyruvate had a similar protective effect. We also studied the effect of galactose in vivo in mouse models of AP induced either by a combination of fatty acids and ethanol or Asparaginase. In both cases, galactose markedly reduced acinar necrosis and inflammation. Based on these data we suggest that galactose feeding may be used to protect against AP.
Shuang Peng, Julia V. Gerasimenko, Tetyana M. Tsugorka, Oleksiy Gryshchenko, Sujith Samarasinghe, Ole H. Petersen, Oleg V. Gerasimenko
While the genomic binding of MYC protein correlates with active epigenetic marks on chromatin, it remains largely unclear how major epigenetic mechanisms functionally impact the tumorigenic potential of MYC. Here we showed that compared to the catalytic subunits, the core subunits, including DPY30, of the major H3K4 methyltransferase complexes were frequently amplified in human cancers, and selectively upregulated in Burkitt lymphoma. We showed that DPY30 promoted expression of endogenous MYC, and was also functionally important for efficient binding of MYC to its genomic targets by regulating chromatin accessibility. Dpy30 heterozygosity did not affect normal animal physiology including life span, but significantly suppressed Myc-driven lymphomagenesis, as cells failed to combat oncogene-triggered apoptosis due to insufficient epigenetic modulation and expression of a subset of anti-apoptotic genes. Dpy30 reduction also greatly impeded MYC-dependent cellular transformation without affecting normal cell growth. These results suggest that MYC hijacks a major epigenetic pathway — H3K4 methylation — to facilitate its molecular activity in target binding and to coordinate its oncogenic program for efficient tumorigenesis, meanwhile creating “epigenetic vulnerability.” DPY30 and the H3K4 methylation pathway are thus potential epigenetic targets for treating certain MYC-driven cancers.
Zhenhua Yang, Kushani Shah, Theodore Busby, Keith Giles, Alireza Khodadadi-Jamayran, Wei Li, Hao Jiang
Epigenetic modifications control cancer development and clonal evolution in various cancer types. Here, we show that loss of the male-specific histone demethylase lysine-specific demethylase 5D (KDM5D) encoded on the Y chromosome epigenetically modifies histone methylation marks and alters gene expression, resulting in aggressive prostate cancer. Fluorescent in situ hybridization demonstrated that segmental or total deletion of the Y chromosome in prostate cancer cells is one of the causes of decreased KDM5D mRNA expression. The result of ChIP-sequencing analysis revealed that KDM5D preferably binds to promoter regions with coenrichment of the motifs of crucial transcription factors that regulate the cell cycle. Loss of KDM5D expression with dysregulated H3K4me3 transcriptional marks was associated with acceleration of the cell cycle and mitotic entry, leading to increased DNA-replication stress. Analysis of multiple clinical data sets reproducibly showed that loss of expression of KDM5D confers a poorer prognosis. Notably, we also found stress-induced DNA damage on the serine/threonine protein kinase ATR with loss of KDM5D. In KDM5D-deficient cells, blocking ATR activity with an ATR inhibitor enhanced DNA damage, which led to subsequent apoptosis. These data start to elucidate the biological characteristics resulting from loss of KDM5D and also provide clues for a potential novel therapeutic approach for this subset of aggressive prostate cancer.
Kazumasa Komura, Yuki Yoshikawa, Teppei Shimamura, Goutam Chakraborty, Travis A. Gerke, Kunihiko Hinohara, Kalyani Chadalavada, Seong Ho Jeong, Joshua Armenia, Shin-Yi Du, Ying Z. Mazzu, Kohei Taniguchi, Naokazu Ibuki, Clifford A. Meyer, Gouri J. Nanjangud, Teruo Inamoto, Gwo-Shu Mary Lee, Lorelei A. Mucci, Haruhito Azuma, Christopher J. Sweeney, Philip W. Kantoff
Drug resistance remains the key problem in cancer treatment. It is now accepted that each myeloma patient harbors multiple subclones and subclone dominance may change over time. The coexistence of multiple subclones with high or low chromosomal instability (CIN) signature causes heterogeneity and drug resistance with consequent disease relapse. In this study, using a tandem affinity purification–mass spectrometry (TAP-MS) technique, we found that NEK2, a CIN gene, was bound to the deubiquitinase USP7. Binding to USP7 prevented NEK2 ubiquitination resulting in NEK2 stabilization. Increased NEK2 kinase levels activated the canonical NF-κB signaling pathway through the PP1α/AKT axis. Newly diagnosed myeloma patients with activated NF-κB signaling through increased NEK2 activity had poorer event-free and overall survivals based on multiple independent clinical cohorts. We also found that NEK2 activated heparanase, a secreted enzyme, responsible for bone destruction in an NF-κB–dependent manner. Intriguingly, both NEK2 and USP7 inhibitors showed great efficacy in inhibiting myeloma cell growth and overcoming NEK2-induced and -acquired drug resistance in xenograft myeloma mouse models.
Reinaldo Franqui-Machin, Mu Hao, Hua Bai, Zhimin Gu, Xin Zhan, Hasem Habelhah, Yogesh Jethava, Lugui Qiu, Ivana Frech, Guido Tricot, Fenghuang Zhan
The tumor-suppressive role of trefoil factor family (TFF) members has been suggested in gastric carcinogenesis, but their significance and mechanisms in other digestive diseases remain elusive. To clarify the role of TFF1 in pancreatic carcinogenesis, we performed immunohistochemistry on human samples, transfected siRNA against TFF1 into pancreatic cancer cell lines, and employed mouse models in which PanIN development and loss of TFF1 occurs simultaneously. In human samples, the expression of TFF1 was specifically observed in pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasm (PanIN) but was frequently lost in the invasive component of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). When the expression of TFF1 was suppressed in vitro, pancreatic cancer cell lines showed enhanced invasive ability and features of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), including upregulated Snail expression. TFF1 expression was also observed in PanIN lesions of Pdx-1 Cre; LSL-KRASG12D (KC) mice, a model of pancreatic cancer, and loss of TFF1 in these mice resulted in the expansion of PanIN lesions, an EMT phenotype in PanIN cells, and an accumulation of cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs), eventually resulting in the development of invasive adenocarcinoma. This study indicates that the acquisition of TFF1 expression is an early event in pancreatic carcinogenesis and that TFF1 might act as a tumor suppressor to prevent EMT and the invasive transformation of PanIN.
Junpei Yamaguchi, Yukihiro Yokoyama, Toshio Kokuryo, Tomoki Ebata, Atsushi Enomoto, Masato Nagino
NOTCH1 is a prevalent signaling pathway in T cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL), but crucial NOTCH1 downstream signals and target genes contributing to T-ALL pathogenesis cannot be retrospectively analyzed in patients and thus remain ill defined. This information is clinically relevant, as initiating lesions that lead to cell transformation and leukemia-initiating cell (LIC) activity are promising therapeutic targets against the major hurdle of T-ALL relapse. Here, we describe the generation in vivo of a human T cell leukemia that recapitulates T-ALL in patients, which arises de novo in immunodeficient mice reconstituted with human hematopoietic progenitors ectopically expressing active NOTCH1. This T-ALL model allowed us to identify CD44 as a direct NOTCH1 transcriptional target and to recognize CD44 overexpression as an early hallmark of preleukemic cells that engraft the BM and finally develop a clonal transplantable T-ALL that infiltrates lymphoid organs and brain. Notably, CD44 is shown to support crucial BM niche interactions necessary for LIC activity of human T-ALL xenografts and disease progression, highlighting the importance of the NOTCH1/CD44 axis in T-ALL pathogenesis. The observed therapeutic benefit of anti-CD44 antibody administration in xenotransplanted mice holds great promise for therapeutic purposes against T-ALL relapse.
Marina García-Peydró, Patricia Fuentes, Marta Mosquera, María J. García-León, Juan Alcain, Antonio Rodríguez, Purificación García de Miguel, Pablo Menéndez, Kees Weijer, Hergen Spits, David T. Scadden, Carlos Cuesta-Mateos, Cecilia Muñoz-Calleja, Francisco Sánchez-Madrid, María L. Toribio
Cancer progression is associated with alterations of intra- and extramedullary hematopoiesis to support a systemic tumor-promoting myeloid response. However, the functional specialty, mechanism, and clinical relevance of extramedullary hematopoiesis (EMH) remain unclear. Here we showed that the heightened splenic myelopoiesis in tumor-bearing hosts was not only characterized by the accumulation of myeloid precursors, but also associated with profound functional alterations of splenic early hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells (HSPCs). With the distinct capability to produce and respond to granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), these splenic HSPCs were “primed” and committed to generating immunosuppressive myeloid cells. Mechanistically, the CCL2-CCR2 axis-dependent recruitment and the subsequent local education by the splenic stroma were critical for eliciting this splenic HSPC response. Selective abrogation of this splenic EMH was sufficient to synergistically enhance the therapeutic efficacy of immune checkpoint blockade. Clinically, patients with different types of solid tumors exhibited increased splenic HSPC levels associated with poor survival. These findings reveal a unique and important role of splenic hematopoiesis in the tumor-associated myelopoiesis.
Chong Wu, Huiheng Ning, Mingyu Liu, Jie Lin, Shufeng Luo, Wenjie Zhu, Jing Xu, Wen-Chao Wu, Jing Liang, Chun-Kui Shao, Jiaqi Ren, Bin Wei, Jun Cui, Min-Shan Chen, Limin Zheng
Tumor angiogenesis occurs through regulation of genes that orchestrate endothelial sprouting and vessel maturation, including deposition of a vessel-associated extracellular matrix. CD93 is a transmembrane receptor that is up-regulated in tumor vessels in many cancers, including high-grade glioma. Here, we demonstrate that CD93 regulates integrin-β1-signaling and organization of fibronectin fibrillogenesis during tumor vascularization. In endothelial cells and mouse retina, CD93 was found to be expressed in endothelial filopodia and to promote filopodia formation. The CD93 localization to endothelial filopodia was stabilized by interaction with multimerin-2 (MMRN2), which inhibited its proteolytical cleavage. The CD93-MMRN2 complex was required for activation of integrin-β1, phosphorylation of focal adhesion kinase (FAK) and fibronectin fibrillogenesis in endothelial cells. Consequently, tumor vessels in gliomas implanted orthotopically in CD93-deficient mice showed diminished activation of integrin-β1 and lacked organization of fibronectin into fibrillar structures. These findings demonstrate a key role of CD93 in vascular maturation and organization of the extracellular matrix in tumors, identifying it as a potential target for therapy.
Roberta Lugano, Kalyani Vemuri, Di Yu, Michael Bergqvist, Anja Smits, Magnus Essand, Staffan Johansson, Elisabetta Dejana, Anna Dimberg
Eya proteins are critical developmental regulators that are highly expressed in embryogenesis but downregulated after development. Amplification and/or re-expression of Eyas occurs in many tumor types. In breast cancer, Eyas regulate tumor progression by acting as transcriptional cofactors and tyrosine phosphatases. Intriguingly, Eyas harbor a separate threonine (Thr) phosphatase activity, which was previously implicated in innate immunity. Here we describe what we believe to be a novel role for Eya3 in mediating triple-negative breast cancer–associated immune suppression. Eya3 loss decreases tumor growth in immune-competent mice and is associated with increased numbers of infiltrated CD8+ T cells, which, when depleted, reverse the effects of Eya3 knockdown. Mechanistically, Eya3 utilizes its Thr phosphatase activity to dephosphorylate Myc at pT58, resulting in a stabilized form. We show that Myc is required for Eya3-mediated increases in PD-L1, and that rescue of PD-L1 in Eya3-knockdown cells restores tumor progression. Finally, we demonstrate that Eya3 significantly correlates with PD-L1 in human breast tumors, and that tumors expressing high levels of Eya3 have a decreased CD8+ T cell signature. Our data uncover a role for Eya3 in mediating tumor-associated immune suppression, and suggest that its inhibition may enhance checkpoint therapies.
Rebecca L. Vartuli, Hengbo Zhou, Lingdi Zhang, Rani K. Powers, Jared Klarquist, Pratyaydipta Rudra, Melanie Y. Vincent, Debashis Ghosh, James C. Costello, Ross M. Kedl, Jill E. Slansky, Rui Zhao, Heide L. Ford