Anti-leukemic effect of BET/BRD4 (BETP) protein inhibition has been largely attributed to transcriptional downregulation of cellular anabolic/anti-apoptotic processes but its effect on bone marrow microenvironment, a sanctuary favoring persistence of leukemia stem/progenitor cells, is unexplored. Sustained degradation of BETP with small-molecule BET proteolysis-targeting chimera (PROTAC), ARV-825, resulted in marked downregulation of surface CXCR4 and CD44, key proteins in leukemia-microenvironment interaction, in AML cells. Abrogation of surface CXCR4 expression impaired SDF-1α directed migration and was mediated through transcriptional down-regulation of PIM1 kinase that in turn phosphorylates CXCR4 and facilitates its surface localization. Down-regulation of CD44/CD44v8-10 impaired cystine uptake, lowered intracellular reduced glutathione and increased oxidative stress. More importantly, BETP degradation markedly decreased CD34+CD38-CD90-CD45RA+ leukemic stem cell population and alone or in combination with Cytarabine, prolonged survival in mouse model of human leukemia including AML-PDX. Gene expression profiling and single cell proteomics confirmed down regulation of the gene signatures associated with ‘stemness’ in AML and Wnt/β-catenin, Myc pathways. Hence, BETP degradation by ARV-825 simultaneously targets cell intrinsic signaling, stromal interactions and metabolism in AML.
Sujan Piya, Hong Mu, Seemana Bhattacharya, Philip L. Lorenzi, R. Eric Davis, Teresa McQueen, Vivian Ruvolo, Natalia Baran, Zhiqiang Wang, Yimin Qian, Craig M. Crews, Marina Konopleava, Jo Ishizawa, M. James You, Hagop Kantarjian, Michael Andreeff, Gautam Borthakur
We identified 2 genes, histone deacetylase 1 (HDAC1) and HDAC2, contributing to the pathogenesis of proteinuric kidney diseases, the leading cause of end-stage kidney disease. mRNA expression profiling from proteinuric mouse glomeruli was linked to Connectivity Map databases, identifying HDAC1 and HDAC2 with the differentially expressed gene set reversible by HDAC inhibitors. In numerous progressive glomerular disease models, treatment with valproic acid (a class I HDAC inhibitor) or SAHA (a pan-HDAC inhibitor) mitigated the degree of proteinuria and glomerulosclerosis, leading to a striking increase in survival. Podocyte HDAC1 and HDAC2 activities were increased in mice podocytopathy models, and podocyte-associated Hdac1 and Hdac2 genetic ablation improved proteinuria and glomerulosclerosis. Podocyte early growth response 1 (EGR1) was increased in proteinuric patients and mice in an HDAC1- and HDAC2-dependent manner. Loss of EGR1 in mice reduced proteinuria and glomerulosclerosis. Longitudinal analysis of the multicenter Veterans Aging Cohort Study demonstrated a 30% reduction in mean annual loss of estimated glomerular filtration rate, and this effect was more pronounced in proteinuric patients receiving valproic acid. These results strongly suggest that inhibition of HDAC1 and HDAC2 activities may suppress the progression of human proteinuric kidney diseases through the regulation of EGR1.
Kazunori Inoue, Geliang Gan, Maria Ciarleglio, Yan Zhang, Xuefei Tian, Christopher E. Pedigo, Corey Cavanaugh, Janet Tate, Ying Wang, Elizabeth Cross, Marwin Groener, Nathan Chai, Zhen Wang, Amy Justice, Zhenhai Zhang, Chirag R. Parikh, Francis P. Wilson, Shuta Ishibe
Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) contributes significantly to interstitial matrix deposition in diabetic kidney disease (DKD). However, detection of EMT in kidney tissue is impracticable, and anti-EMT therapies have long been hindered. We reported that phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) promoted transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGF-β), sonic hedgehog (SHH), connective tissue growth factor (CTGF), interleukin 6 (IL-6), and hyperglycemia-induced EMT when PTEN was modified by a MEX3C-catalyzed K27-linked polyubiquitination at lysine 80 (referred to as PTENK27-polyUb). Genetic inhibition of PTENK27-polyUb alleviated Col4a3 knockout–, folic acid–, and streptozotocin-induced (STZ-induced) kidney injury. Serum and urine PTENK27-polyUb concentrations were negatively correlated with glomerular filtration rate (GFR) for diabetic patients. Mechanistically, PTENK27-polyUb facilitated dephosphorylation and protein stabilization of TWIST, SNAI1, and YAP in renal epithelial cells, leading to enhanced EMT. We identified that a small molecule, triptolide, inhibited MEX3C-catalyzed PTENK27-polyUb and EMT of renal epithelial cells. Treatment with triptolide reduced TWIST, SNAI1, and YAP concurrently and improved kidney health in Col4a3 knockout–, folic acid–injured disease models and STZ-induced, BTBR ob/ob diabetic nephropathy models. Hence, we demonstrated the important role of PTENK27-polyUb in DKD and a promising therapeutic strategy that inhibited the progression of DKD.
Yajuan Li, Qingsong Hu, Chunlai Li, Ke Liang, Yu Xiang, Heidi Hsiao, Tina K. Nguyen, Peter K. Park, Sergey D. Egranov, Chandrashekar R. Ambati, Nagireddy Putluri, David H. Hawke, Leng Han, Mien-Chie Hung, Farhad R. Danesh, Liuqing Yang, Chunru Lin
The discovery of recurrent mutations in subunits of the vacuolar-type H+-translocating ATPase (v-ATPase) in follicular lymphoma (FL) highlights a role for the amino acid- and energy-sensing pathway to MTOR in the pathogenesis of this disease. Here, through the use of complementary experimental approaches involving mammalian cells and Saccharomyces cerevisiae, we have demonstrated that mutations in the v-ATPase subunit ATP6V1B2/Vma2 activate autophagic flux and maintain MTOR/Tor in an active state. Engineered lymphoma cell lines and primary follicular lymphoma B cells (FL B cells) carrying mutated ATP6V1B2 demonstrated a remarkable ability to survive low leucine concentrations. The treatment of primary FL B cells with inhibitors of autophagy uncovered an addiction for survival for FL B cells harboring ATP6V1B2 mutants. These data support mutational activation of autophagic flux by recurrent hotspot mutations in ATP6V1B2 as an adaptive mechanism in FL pathogenesis and as a new possible therapeutically targetable pathway.
Fangyang Wang, Damián Gatica, Zhang Xiao Ying, Luke F. Peterson, Peter K. Kim, Denzil Bernard, Kamlai Saiya-Cork, Shaomeng Wang, Mark S. Kaminski, Alfred E. Chang, Tycel Phillips, Daniel J. Klionsky, Sami N. Malek
Hyperactivated AKT/mTOR signaling is a hallmark of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (PNETs). Drugs targeting this pathway are used clinically but tumor resistance invariably develops. A better understanding of factors regulating AKT/mTOR signaling and PNET pathogenesis is needed to improve current therapies. We discovered that RABL6A, a new oncogenic driver of PNET proliferation, is required for AKT activity. Silencing RABL6A caused PNET cell cycle arrest that coincided with selective loss of AKT-S473 (not T308) phosphorylation and AKT/mTOR inactivation. Restoration of AKT phosphorylation rescued the G1 phase block triggered by RABL6A silencing. Mechanistically, loss of AKT-S473 phosphorylation in RABL6A depleted cells resulted from increased protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) activity. Inhibition of PP2A restored phosphorylation of AKT-S473 in RABL6A depleted cells whereas PP2A reactivation using a specific small molecule activator of PP2A (SMAP) abolished that phosphorylation. Moreover, SMAP treatment effectively killed PNET cells in a RABL6A-dependent manner and suppressed PNET growth in vivo. This work identifies RABL6A as a new inhibitor of the PP2A tumor suppressor and essential activator of AKT in PNET cells. Our findings offer what we believe is a novel strategy of PP2A reactivation for treatment of PNETs as well as other human cancers driven by RABL6A overexpression and PP2A inactivation.
Shaikamjad Umesalma, Courtney A. Kaemmer, Jordan L. Kohlmeyer, Blake L. Letney, Angela M. Schab, Jacqueline A. Reilly, Ryan M. Sheehy, Jussara Hagen, Nitija Tiwari, Fenghuang Zhan, Mariah R. Leidinger, Thomas M. O'Dorisio, Joseph S. Dillon, Ronald A. Merrill, David K. Meyerholz, Abbey L. Perl, Bart J. Brown, Terry A. Braun, Aaron T. Scott, Timothy Ginader, Agshin F. Taghiyev, Gideon K. Zamba, James R. Howe, Stefan Strack, Andrew M. Bellizzi, Goutham Narla, Benjamin W. Darbro, Frederick W. Quelle, Dawn E. Quelle
MAPK4 is an atypical MAPK. Currently, little is known about its physiological function and involvement in diseases, including cancer. A comprehensive analysis of 8887 gene expression profiles in The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) revealed that MAPK4 overexpression correlates with decreased overall survival, with particularly marked survival effects in patients with lung adenocarcinoma, bladder cancer, low-grade glioma, and thyroid carcinoma. Interestingly, human tumor MAPK4 overexpression also correlated with phosphorylation of AKT, 4E-BP1, and p70S6K, independent of the loss of PTEN or mutation of PIK3CA. This led us to examine whether MAPK4 activates the key metabolic, prosurvival, and proliferative kinase AKT and mTORC1 signaling, independent of the canonical PI3K pathway. We found that MAPK4 activated AKT via a novel, concerted mechanism independent of PI3K. Mechanistically, MAPK4 directly bound and activated AKT by phosphorylation of the activation loop at threonine 308. It also activated mTORC2 to phosphorylate AKT at serine 473 for full activation. MAPK4 overexpression induced oncogenic outcomes, including transforming prostate epithelial cells into anchorage-independent growth, and MAPK4 knockdown inhibited cancer cell proliferation, anchorage-independent growth, and xenograft growth. We concluded that MAPK4 can promote cancer by activating the AKT/mTOR signaling pathway and that targeting MAPK4 may provide a novel therapeutic approach for cancer.
Wei Wang, Tao Shen, Bingning Dong, Chad J. Creighton, Yanling Meng, Wolong Zhou, Qing Shi, Hao Zhou, Yinjie Zhang, David D. Moore, Feng Yang
Activation of the type 1 angiotensin II receptor (AT1) triggers proinflammatory signaling through pathways independent of classical Gq signaling that regulate vascular homeostasis. Here, we report that the AT1 receptor preformed a heteromeric complex with the receptor for advanced glycation endproducts (RAGE). Activation of the AT1 receptor by angiotensin II (Ang II) triggered transactivation of the cytosolic tail of RAGE and NF-κB–driven proinflammatory gene expression independently of the liberation of RAGE ligands or the ligand-binding ectodomain of RAGE. The importance of this transactivation pathway was demonstrated by our finding that adverse proinflammatory signaling events induced by AT1 receptor activation were attenuated when RAGE was deleted or transactivation of its cytosolic tail was inhibited. At the same time, classical homeostatic Gq signaling pathways were unaffected by RAGE deletion or inhibition. These data position RAGE transactivation by the AT1 receptor as a target for vasculoprotective interventions. As proof of concept, we showed that treatment with the mutant RAGE peptide S391A-RAGE362–404 was able to inhibit transactivation of RAGE and attenuate Ang II–dependent inflammation and atherogenesis. Furthermore, treatment with WT RAGE362–404 restored Ang II–dependent atherogenesis in Ager/Apoe-KO mice, without restoring ligand-mediated signaling via RAGE, suggesting that the major effector of RAGE activation was its transactivation.
Raelene J. Pickering, Christos Tikellis, Carlos J. Rosado, Despina Tsorotes, Alexandra Dimitropoulos, Monique Smith, Olivier Huet, Ruth M. Seeber, Rekhati Abhayawardana, Elizabeth K.M. Johnstone, Jonathan Golledge, Yutang Wang, Karin A. Jandeleit-Dahm, Mark E. Cooper, Kevin D.G. Pfleger, Merlin C. Thomas
Energy stress, such as ischemia, induces mitochondrial damage and death in the heart. Degradation of damaged mitochondria by mitophagy is essential for the maintenance of healthy mitochondria and survival. Here we show that mitophagy during myocardial ischemia was mediated predominantly through autophagy characterized by Rab9-associated autophagosomes, rather than the well-characterized form of autophagy that is dependent upon the Atg-conjugation system and LC3. This form of mitophagy played an essential role in protecting the heart against ischemia and was mediated by a protein complex consisting of Ulk1, Rab9, Rip1 and Drp1. This complex allowed recruitment of trans-Golgi membranes associated with Rab9 to damaged mitochondria through Ser179 phosphorylation of Rab9 by Ulk1 and Ser616 phosphorylation of Drp1 by Rip1. Knock-in of Rab9 (S179A) abolished mitophagy and exacerbated injury in response to myocardial ischemia without affecting conventional autophagy. Mitophagy mediated through the Ulk1-Rab9-Rip1-Drp1 pathway protected the heart against ischemia by maintaining healthy mitochondria.
Toshiro Saito, Jihoon Nah, Shin-ichi Oka, Risa Mukai, Yoshiya Monden, Yusuhiro Maejima, Yoshiyuki Ikeda, Sebastiano Sciarretta, Tong Liu, Hong Li, Erdene Baljinnyam, Diego Fraidenraich, Luke Fritzky, Peiyong Zhai, Shizuko Ichinose, Mitsuaki Isobe, Chiao-Po Hsu, Mondira Kundu, Junichi Sadoshima
Peroxisomes perform essential functions in lipid metabolism, including fatty acid oxidation and plasmalogen synthesis. Here, we describe a role for peroxisomal lipid metabolism in mitochondrial dynamics in brown and beige adipocytes. Adipose tissue peroxisomal biogenesis was induced in response to cold exposure through activation of the thermogenic co-regulator PRDM16. Adipose-specific knockout of the peroxisomal biogenesis factor Pex16 (Pex16-AKO) in mice impaired cold tolerance, decreased energy expenditure, and increased diet-induced obesity. Pex16 deficiency blocked cold-induced mitochondrial fission, decreased mitochondrial copy number, and caused mitochondrial dysfunction. Adipose-specific knockout of the peroxisomal beta-oxidation enzyme acyl CoA oxidase 1 (Acox1-AKO) was not sufficient to affect adiposity, thermogenesis or mitochondrial copy number, but knockdown of the plasmalogen synthetic enzyme glyceronephosphate O-acyltransferase (GNPAT) recapitulated the effects of Pex16 inactivation on mitochondrial morphology and function. Plasmalogens are present in mitochondria and decreased with Pex16 inactivation. Their dietary supplementation increased mitochondrial copy number, improved mitochondrial function, and rescued thermogenesis in Pex16-AKO mice. These findings support a surprising interaction between peroxisomes and mitochondria to regulate mitochondrial dynamics and thermogenesis.
Hongsuk Park, Anyuan He, Min Tan, Jordan M. Johnson, John M. Dean, Terri A. Pietka, Yali Chen, Xiangyu Zhang, Fong-Fu Hsu, Babak Razani, Katsuhiko Funai, Irfan J. Lodhi
Loss of phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) represents one hallmark of prostate cancer (PCa). However, restoration of PTEN or inhibition of the activated PI3K-AKT pathway has shown limited success, prompting us to identify obligate targets for disease intervention. We hypothesized that PTEN loss might expose cells to unique epigenetic vulnerabilities. Here, we identified a synthetic lethal relationship between PTEN and BRG1, an ATPase subunit of the SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complex. Higher BRG1 expression in tumors with low PTEN expression was associated with a worse clinical outcome. Genetically engineered mice (GEMs) and organoid assays confirmed that ablation of PTEN sensitized the cells to BRG1 depletion. Mechanistically, PTEN loss stabilized BRG1 protein through the inhibition of the AKT-GSK3β-FBXW7 axis. Increased BRG1 expression in PTEN-deficient PCa cells led to chromatin remodeling into configurations that drive a protumorigenic transcriptome, causing cells to become further addicted to BRG1. Furthermore, we showed in preclinical models that BRG1 antagonist selectively inhibited the progression of PTEN-deficient prostate tumors. Together, our results highlight the synthetic lethal relationship between PTEN and BRG1, and support targeting BRG1 as an effective approach to the treatment of PTEN-deficient PCa.
Yufeng Ding, Ni Li, Baijun Dong, Wangxin Guo, Hui Wei, Qilong Chen, Huairui Yuan, Ying Han, Hanwen Chang, Shan Kan, Xuege Wang, Qiang Pan, Ping Wu, Chao Peng, Tong Qiu, Qintong Li, Dong Gao, Wei Xue, Jun Qin
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