bims-cagime Biomed News
on Cancer, aging and metabolism
Issue of 2021‒07‒11
thirty papers selected by
Kıvanç Görgülü
Technical University of Munich

  1. JCI Insight. 2021 Jul 08. pii: 146133. [Epub ahead of print]
      Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) tumors are characterized by a desmoplastic reaction resulting in dense deposition of collagen that is known to promote cancer progression. A central mediator of pro-tumorigenic collagen signaling is the receptor tyrosine kinase discoid domain receptor 1 (DDR1). DDR1 is a critical driver of a mesenchymal and invasive cancer cell PDAC phenotype. Previous studies have demonstrated that genetic or pharmacologic inhibition of DDR1 reduces PDAC tumorigenesis and metastasis. Here, we investigated whether DDR1 signaling has cancer cell non-autonomous effects that promote PDAC progression and metastasis. We demonstrate that collagen-induced DDR1 activation in cancer cells is a major stimulus for CXCL5 production, resulting in the recruitment of tumor-associated neutrophils (TANs), the formation of neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) and subsequent cancer cell invasion and metastasis. Moreover, we have identified that collagen-induced CXCL5 production was mediated by a DDR1-PKCθ-SYK-NFkB signaling cascade. Together, these results highlight the critical contribution of collagen I-DDR1 interaction in the formation of an immune microenvironment that promotes PDAC metastasis.
    Keywords:  Cytokines; Neutrophils; Oncology; Signal transduction
  2. Dis Model Mech. 2021 Jul 01. 14(7): 1-17
      Cancer cells constantly reprogram their metabolism as the disease progresses. However, our understanding of the metabolic complexity of cancer remains incomplete. Extensive research in the fruit fly Drosophila has established numerous tumor models ranging from hyperplasia to neoplasia. These fly tumor models exhibit a broad range of metabolic profiles and varying nutrient sensitivity. Genetic studies show that fly tumors can use various alternative strategies, such as feedback circuits and nutrient-sensing machinery, to acquire and consolidate distinct metabolic profiles. These studies not only provide fresh insights into the causes and functional relevance of metabolic reprogramming but also identify metabolic vulnerabilities as potential targets for cancer therapy. Here, we review the conceptual advances in cancer metabolism derived from comparing and contrasting the metabolic profiles of fly tumor models, with a particular focus on the Warburg effect, mitochondrial metabolism, and the links between diet and cancer.
    Keywords:   Drosophila cancer models; Aerobic glycolysis; Metabolic reprogramming; Mitochondria
  3. J Cachexia Sarcopenia Muscle. 2021 Jul 06.
      BACKGROUND: Cancer cachexia is a metabolic disorder characterized by the progressive loss of fat and lean mass that results in significant wasting, ultimately leading to reduced quality of life and increased mortality. Effective therapies for cachexia are lacking, potentially owing to the mismatch in clinically relevant models of cachexia. Specifically, cachexia observed in a clinical setting is commonly associated with advanced or late-stage cancers that are metastatic, yet pre-clinical metastatic models of cachexia are limited. Furthermore, the prevalence of cachexia in head and neck cancer patients is high, yet few pre-clinical models of head and neck cancer cachexia exist. In addition to these shortcomings, cachexia is also heterogeneous among any given cancer, whereas patients with similar disease burden may experience significantly different degrees of cachexia symptoms. In order to address these issues, we characterize a metastatic model of human papilloma virus (HPV) positive head and neck squamous cell carcinoma that recapitulates the cardinal clinical and molecular features of cancer cachexia.METHODS: Male and female C57BL/6 mice were implanted subcutaneously with oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma cells stably transformed with HPV16 E6 and E7 together with hRas and luciferase (mEERL) that metastasizes to the lungs (MLM). We then robustly characterize the physiologic, behavioural, and molecular signatures during tumour development in two MLM subclones.
    RESULTS: Mice injected with MLM tumour cells rapidly developed primary tumours and eventual metastatic lesions to the lungs. MLM3, but not MLM5, engrafted mice progressively lost fat and lean mass during tumour development despite the absence of anorexia (P < 0.05). Behaviourally, MLM3-implanted mice displayed decreased locomotor behaviours and impaired nest building (P < 0.05). Muscle catabolism programmes associated with cachexia, including E3 ubiquitin ligase and autophagy up-regulation, along with progressive adipose wasting and accompanying browning gene signatures, were observed. Tumour progression also corresponded with hypothalamic and peripheral organ inflammation, as well as an elevation in neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (P < 0.05). Finally, we characterize the fat and lean mass sparing effects of voluntary wheel running on MLM3 cachexia (P < 0.05).
    CONCLUSIONS: This syngeneic MLM3 allograft model of metastatic cancer cachexia is reliable, consistent, and readily recapitulates key clinical and molecular features and heterogeneity of cancer cachexia. Because few metastatic models of cachexia exist-even though cachexia often accompanies metastatic progression-we believe this model more accurately captures cancer cachexia observed in a clinical setting and thus is well suited for future mechanistic studies and pre-clinical therapy development for this crippling metabolic disorder.
    Keywords:  Cachexia; Fat wasting; Head and neck cancer; Inflammation; Metastasis; Muscle wasting
  4. Dev Cell. 2021 Jun 28. pii: S1534-5807(21)00516-5. [Epub ahead of print]
      Aneuploidy, an unbalanced number of chromosomes, is highly deleterious at the cellular level and leads to senescence, a stress-induced response characterized by permanent cell-cycle arrest and a well-defined associated secretory phenotype. Here, we use a Drosophila epithelial model to delineate the pathway that leads to the induction of senescence as a consequence of the acquisition of an aneuploid karyotype. Whereas aneuploidy induces, as a result of gene dosage imbalance, proteotoxic stress and activation of the major protein quality control mechanisms, near-saturation functioning of autophagy leads to compromised mitophagy, accumulation of dysfunctional mitochondria, and the production of radical oxygen species (ROS). We uncovered a role of c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) in driving senescence as a consequence of dysfunctional mitochondria and ROS. We show that activation of the major protein quality control mechanisms and mitophagy dampens the deleterious effects of aneuploidy, and we identify a role of senescence in proteostasis and compensatory proliferation for tissue repair.
    Keywords:  Drosophila; aneuploidy; autophagy; chromosomal instability; mitochondrial dysfunction; mitophagy; proteotoxic stress; senescence; tissue repair
  5. Cancer Discov. 2021 Jul;2(4): 370-387
      Lysine demethylase 5A (KDM5A) is a negative regulator of histone H3 lysine 4 trimethy-lation (H3K4me3), a histone mark associated with activate gene transcription. We identify that KDM5A interacts with the P-TEFb complex and cooperates with MYC to control MYC-targeted genes in multiple myeloma cells. We develop a cell-permeable and selective KDM5 inhibitor, JQKD82, that increases H3K4me3 but paradoxically inhibits downstream MYC-driven transcriptional output in vitro and in vivo. Using genetic ablation together with our inhibitor, we establish that KDM5A supports MYC target gene transcription independent of MYC itself by supporting TFIIH (CDK7)- and P-TEFb (CDK9)-mediated phosphorylation of RNAPII. These data identify KDM5A as a unique vulnerability in multiple myeloma functioning through regulation of MYC target gene transcription and establish JQKD82 as a tool compound to block KDM5A function as a potential therapeutic strategy for multiple myeloma. SIGNIFICANCE: We delineate the function of KDM5A in activating the MYC-driven transcriptional landscape. We develop a cell-permeable KDM5 inhibitor to define the activating role of KDM5A on MYC target gene expression and implicate the therapeutic potential of this compound in mouse models and multiple myeloma patient samples.See related video from the AACR Annual Meeting 2021:
  6. FEBS J. 2021 Jul 06.
      Oncogenic mutations in the KRAS gene are found in 30-50% of colorectal cancers (CRC) and recent findings have demonstrated independent and non-redundant roles for wild-type and mutant KRAS alleles in governing signaling and metabolism. Here, we quantify proteomic changes manifested by KRAS mutation and KRAS allele loss in isogenic cell lines. We show that expression of KRASG13D upregulates aspartate metabolizing proteins including PCK1, PCK2, ASNS and ASS1. Furthermore, differential expression analyses of transcript-level data from CRC tumors identified the upregulation of urea cycle enzymes in CRC. We find that expression of ASS1, supports colorectal cancer cell proliferation and promotes tumor formation in vitro. We show that loss of ASS1 can be rescued with high levels of several metabolites.
    Keywords:  Quantitative proteomics; aspartate; colorectal cancer; metabolomics; mutant KRAS; urea cycle
  7. J Cell Sci. 2021 Jul 07. pii: jcs.258325. [Epub ahead of print]
      When the temperature is increased, the heat shock response is activated to protect the cellular environment. The transcriptomics and proteomics of this process are intensively studied, while information about how the cell responds structurally to heat stress is mostly lacking. Here, Saccharomyces cerevisiae were subjected to a mild continuous heat shock (38°C) and intermittently cryo-immobilized for electron microscopy. Through measuring changes in all distinguishable organelle numbers, sizes, and morphologies in over 2100 electron micrographs a major restructuring of the cell's internal architecture during the progressive heat shock was revealed. The cell grew larger but most organelles within it expanded even more, shrinking the volume of the cytoplasm. Organelles responded to heat shock at different times, both in terms of size and number, and adaptations of certain organelles' morphology (such as the vacuole), were observed. Multivesicular bodies grew to almost 170% in size, indicating a previously unknown involvement in the heat shock response. A previously undescribed electron translucent structure accumulated close to the plasma membrane. This all-encompassing approach provides a detailed chronological progression of organelle adaptation throughout the cellular heat-stress response.
    Keywords:  Budding yeast; Electron microscopy; Heat shock; Organelles; Ultrastructure
  8. Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2021 Jul 08.
      Autophagosome biogenesis is an essential feature of autophagy. Lipidation of Atg8 plays a critical role in this process. Previous in vitro studies identified membrane tethering and hemi-fusion/fusion activities of Atg8, yet definitive roles in autophagosome biogenesis remained controversial. Here, we studied the effect of Atg8 lipidation on membrane structure. Lipidation of Saccharomyces cerevisiae Atg8 on nonspherical giant vesicles induced dramatic vesicle deformation into a sphere with an out-bud. Solution NMR spectroscopy of Atg8 lipidated on nanodiscs identified two aromatic membrane-facing residues that mediate membrane-area expansion and fragmentation of giant vesicles in vitro. These residues also contribute to the in vivo maintenance of fragmented vacuolar morphology under stress in fission yeast, a moonlighting function of Atg8. Furthermore, these aromatic residues are crucial for the formation of a sufficient number of autophagosomes and regulate autophagosome size. Together, these data demonstrate that Atg8 can cause membrane perturbations that underlie efficient autophagosome biogenesis.
  9. Front Mol Biosci. 2021 ;8 673096
      Ras proteins are membrane-bound small GTPases that promote cell proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis. Consistent with this key regulatory role, activating mutations of Ras are present in ∼19% of new cancer cases in the United States per year. K-Ras is one of the three ubiquitously expressed isoforms in mammalian cells, and oncogenic mutations in this isoform account for ∼75% of Ras-driven cancers. Therefore, pharmacological agents that block oncogenic K-Ras activity would have great clinical utility. Most efforts to block oncogenic Ras activity have focused on Ras downstream effectors, but these inhibitors only show limited clinical benefits in Ras-driven cancers due to the highly divergent signals arising from Ras activation. Currently, four major approaches are being extensively studied to target K-Ras-driven cancers. One strategy is to block K-Ras binding to the plasma membrane (PM) since K-Ras requires the PM binding for its signal transduction. Here, we summarize recently identified molecular mechanisms that regulate K-Ras-PM interaction. Perturbing these mechanisms using pharmacological agents blocks K-Ras-PM binding and inhibits K-Ras signaling and growth of K-Ras-driven cancer cells. Together, these studies propose that blocking K-Ras-PM binding is a tractable strategy for developing anti-K-Ras therapies.
    Keywords:  K-Ras; cancer; mislocalization; phosphatidylinositol; phosphatidylserine; plasma membrane; recycing endosome; sphingomyelin
  10. Nat Methods. 2021 Jul;18(7): 799-805
      A growing appreciation of the importance of cellular metabolism and revelations concerning the extent of cell-cell heterogeneity demand metabolic characterization of individual cells. We present SpaceM, an open-source method for in situ single-cell metabolomics that detects >100 metabolites from >1,000 individual cells per hour, together with a fluorescence-based readout and retention of morpho-spatial features. We validated SpaceM by predicting the cell types of cocultured human epithelial cells and mouse fibroblasts. We used SpaceM to show that stimulating human hepatocytes with fatty acids leads to the emergence of two coexisting subpopulations outlined by distinct cellular metabolic states. Inducing inflammation with the cytokine interleukin-17A perturbs the balance of these states in a process dependent on NF-κB signaling. The metabolic state markers were reproduced in a murine model of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. We anticipate SpaceM to be broadly applicable for investigations of diverse cellular models and to democratize single-cell metabolomics.
  11. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2021 Jul 06.
      Mitochondrial fidelity is a key determinant of longevity and was found to be perturbed in a multitude of disease contexts ranging from neurodegeneration to heart failure. Tight homeostatic control of the mitochondrial proteome is a crucial aspect of mitochondrial function, which is severely complicated by the evolutionary origin and resulting peculiarities of the organelle. This is, on one hand, reflected by a range of basal quality control factors such as mitochondria-resident chaperones and proteases, that assist in import and folding of precursors as well as removal of aggregated proteins. On the other hand, stress causes the activation of several additional mechanisms that counteract any damage that may threaten mitochondrial function. Countermeasures depend on the location and intensity of the stress and on a range of factors that are equipped to sense and signal the nature of the encountered perturbation. Defective mitochondrial import activates mechanisms that combat the accumulation of precursors in the cytosol and the import pore. To resolve proteotoxic stress in the organelle interior, mitochondria depend on nuclear transcriptional programs, such as the mitochondrial unfolded protein response and the integrated stress response. If organelle damage is too severe, mitochondria signal for their own destruction in a process termed mitophagy, thereby preventing further harm to the mitochondrial network and allowing the cell to salvage their biological building blocks. Here, we provide an overview of how different types and intensities of stress activate distinct pathways aimed at preserving mitochondrial fidelity.
    Keywords:  DELE1; Integrated stress response (ISR); Mitochondria; Mitochondrial unfolded protein response (UPRmt); Mitophagy; Protein import
  12. Autophagy. 2021 Jul 09. 1-23
      Macroautophagy/autophagy is an evolutionarily conserved pathway responsible for clearing cytosolic aggregated proteins, damaged organelles or invading microorganisms. Dysfunctional autophagy leads to pathological accumulation of the cargo, which has been linked to a range of human diseases, including neurodegenerative diseases, infectious and autoimmune diseases and various forms of cancer. Cumulative work in animal models, application of genetic tools and pharmacologically active compounds, has suggested the potential therapeutic value of autophagy modulation in disease, as diverse as Huntington, Salmonella infection, or pancreatic cancer. Autophagy activation versus inhibition strategies are being explored, while the role of autophagy in pathophysiology is being studied in parallel. However, the progress of preclinical and clinical development of autophagy modulators has been greatly hampered by the paucity of selective pharmacological agents and biomarkers to dissect their precise impact on various forms of autophagy and cellular responses. Here, we summarize established and new strategies in autophagy-related drug discovery and indicate a path toward establishing a more efficient discovery of autophagy-selective pharmacological agents. With this knowledge at hand, modern concepts for therapeutic exploitation of autophagy might become more plausible.Abbreviations: ALS: amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; AMPK: AMP-activated protein kinase; ATG: autophagy-related gene; AUTAC: autophagy-targeting chimera; CNS: central nervous system; CQ: chloroquine; GABARAP: gamma-aminobutyric acid type A receptor-associated protein; HCQ: hydroxychloroquine; LYTAC: lysosome targeting chimera; MAP1LC3/LC3: microtubule associated protein 1 light chain 3; MTOR: mechanistic target of rapamycin kinase; NDD: neurodegenerative disease; PDAC: pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma; PE: phosphatidylethanolamine; PIK3C3/VPS34: phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase catalytic subunit type 3; PtdIns3K: class III phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase; PtdIns3P: phosphatidylinositol 3-phosphate; PROTAC: proteolysis-targeting chimera; SARS-CoV-2: severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2; SQSTM1/p62: sequestosome 1; ULK1: unc-51 like autophagy activating kinase 1.
    Keywords:  Autophagy activators; autophagy inhibitors; autophagy modulators; clinical trials; drug discovery
  13. Methods Cell Biol. 2021 ;pii: S0091-679X(20)30192-8. [Epub ahead of print]164 167-185
      Endosomal microautophagy (eMI) is a type of autophagy that allows for the selective uptake and degradation of cytosolic proteins in late endosome/multi-vesicular bodies (LE/MVB). This process starts with the recognition of a pentapeptide amino acid KFERQ-like targeting motif in the substrate protein by the hsc70 chaperone, which then enables binding and subsequent uptake of the protein into the LE/MVB compartment. The recognition of a KFERQ-like motif by hsc70 is the same initial step in chaperone-mediated autophagy (CMA), a form of selective autophagy that degrades the hsc70-targeted proteins in lysosomes in a LAMP-2A dependent manner. The shared step of substrate recognition by hsc70, originally identified for CMA, makes it now necessary to differentiate between the two pathways. Here, we detail biochemical and imaging-based methods to track eMI activity in vitro with isolated LE/MVBs and in cells in culture using fluorescent reporters and highlight approaches to distinguish whether a protein is a substrate of eMI or CMA.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Chaperones; Late endosomes; Multi-vesicular bodies; Organelle isolation; Protein degradation; Protein targeting; Proteostasis
  14. Cancer. 2021 Jul 06.
      BACKGROUND: Pancreatic cancer is uncommon in patients younger than 50 years, although its incidence is increasing. This study characterizes treatment utilization for early-onset pancreatic cancer (EOPC) versus average-age-onset pancreatic cancer (AOPC) and identifies factors associated with failure to receive treatment.METHODS: The National Cancer Data Base (NCDB) was queried for patients with EOPC (age < 50 years) or AOPC (age ≥ 50 years) from 2004 to 2016. Multinomial regression was used to compare utilization (single modality vs multimodal treatment with or without surgery vs no treatment) between EOPC and AOPC. Kaplan-Meier methods were used to estimate overall survival (OS).
    RESULTS: Of 248,634 patients, 15,710 (6.3%) had EOPC. There were more male patients (56% vs 50%), non-White patients, and privately insured patients (61% vs 30%) with EOPC versus AOPC, without notable differences in clinical stage distribution. Patients with EOPC received more chemotherapy (38% vs 29%), surgery (9% vs 6.9%), chemoradiation (12% vs 9.2%), and multimodal treatment (21% vs 15%). The odds of receiving multimodal curative therapy were significantly higher for patients with EOPC versus patients with AOPC after adjustments for confounders (odds ratio, 3.89; 95% confidence interval [CI], 3.66-4.15; P < .001). Nineteen percent of patients with EOPC, in contrast to 39% of patients with AOPC, received no treatment. Patients with AOPC more frequently declined chemotherapy (15% vs 9.5%). One-year OS was higher for EOPC versus AOPC across each stage (0/I/II, 72% [95% CI, 71%-74%] vs 53% [95% CI, 53%-54%]; III, 48% [95% CI, 45%-50%] vs 38% [95% CI, 37%-38%]; IV, 25% [95% CI, 24%-26%] vs 15% [95% CI, 15%-15%]) and treated patients (0/I/II, 75% [95% CI, 74%-77%] vs 64% [95% CI, 63%-64%]; III, 51% [95% CI, 49%-54%] vs 47% [95% CI, 47%-48%]; IV, 29% [95% CI, 28%-31%] vs 23% [95% CI, 23%-24%]).
    CONCLUSIONS: Patients with EOPC receive more oncologic therapy than patients with AOPC, although the intensity, type, and duration of chemotherapy are not available in the NCDB; however, 19% and 39%, respectively, receive no therapy. Underutilization may explain suboptimal oncologic outcomes. Efforts to improve access and treatment utilization in all age groups are warranted.
    Keywords:  pancreatic neoplasms; survival; treatment; utilization; young onset
  15. Cell Metab. 2021 Jul 02. pii: S1550-4131(21)00275-8. [Epub ahead of print]
      Liver fibrosis is a strong predictor of long-term mortality in individuals with metabolic-associated fatty liver disease; yet, the mechanisms underlying the progression from the comparatively benign fatty liver state to advanced non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and liver fibrosis are incompletely understood. Using cell-type-resolved genomics, we show that comprehensive alterations in hepatocyte genomic and transcriptional settings during NASH progression, led to a loss of hepatocyte identity. The hepatocyte reprogramming was under tight cooperative control of a network of fibrosis-activated transcription factors, as exemplified by the transcription factor Elf-3 (ELF3) and zinc finger protein GLIS2 (GLIS2). Indeed, ELF3- and GLIS2-controlled fibrosis-dependent hepatokine genes targeting disease-associated hepatic stellate cell gene programs. Thus, interconnected transcription factor networks not only promoted hepatocyte dysfunction but also directed the intra-hepatic crosstalk necessary for NASH and fibrosis progression, implying that molecular "hub-centered" targeting strategies are superior to existing mono-target approaches as currently used in NASH therapy.
    Keywords:  Cell type-specific profiling; ELF3; GLIS2; genomic reprogramming; hepatocytes; liver fibrosis; metabolic-associated fatty liver disease; nonalcoholic steatohepatitis; transcription factor networks
  16. Ann Hepatobiliary Pancreat Surg. 2021 Jun 30. 25(Suppl 1): S350
      Introduction: Pancreatic cancer has an extremely poor prognosis. Adjuvant chemotherapy is recommended for patients with resected pancreatic cancer. However, optimal adjuvant therapy for resected pancreatic cancer remains controversial. This study aimed to evaluate the efficacy of adjuvant chemotherapy according to the cancer status.Methods: We assessed a 253 patients with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma who underwent surgery in between January, 2011 and August, 2019 at Kyungpook National University Chilgok Hospital. Among 253 patients, 132 patients with R0 resection and no prior radiation or chemothrapy were retrospectively analyzed.
    Results: Of the 132 patients analyzed, 67 (50.8%) were men and 65 (49.2%) were women and the median age was 67 (42-85). Overall median survival was 21.8 months. Fifty-seven patients (43.2%) received adjuvant chemotherapy, whereas 75 (56.8%) did not receive adjuvant cheomtherapy after surgery. Although not statistically significant, patients who received chemotherapy seemed to be improved median OS compared with surgery alone (25.6 versus 17.4 months, p = 0.077). Strtified by different lymph node status, the benefit of adjuvant chemotherapy was only seen among the patients with nodal metastasis (HR = 1.78, 95% CI, 1.11-2.87; p = 0.018).
    Conclusions: This study suggests adjuvant chemotherapy for resected pancreatic cancer is associated with improved survival in selected patients. Adjuvant chemotherapy seems to favorably impact on overall survival for resected pancreatic cancer with nodal metastasis.
  17. Nat Rev Cancer. 2021 Jul 08.
      Collective cancer invasion with leader-follower organization is increasingly recognized as a predominant mechanism in the metastatic cascade. Leader cells support cancer invasion by creating invasion tracks, sensing environmental cues and coordinating with follower cells biochemically and biomechanically. With the latest developments in experimental and computational models and analysis techniques, the range of specific traits and features of leader cells reported in the literature is rapidly expanding. Yet, despite their importance, there is no consensus on how leader cells arise or their essential characteristics. In this Perspective, we propose a framework for defining the essential aspects of leader cells and provide a unifying perspective on the varying cellular and molecular programmes that are adopted by each leader cell subtype to accomplish their functions. This Perspective can lead to more effective strategies to interdict a major contributor to metastatic capability.
  18. Nat Biomed Eng. 2021 Jul 08.
      Creating in vitro models of diseases of the pancreatic ductal compartment requires a comprehensive understanding of the developmental trajectories of pancreas-specific cell types. Here we report the single-cell characterization of the differentiation of pancreatic duct-like organoids (PDLOs) from human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) on a microwell chip that facilitates the uniform aggregation and chemical induction of hiPSC-derived pancreatic progenitors. Using time-resolved single-cell transcriptional profiling and immunofluorescence imaging of the forming PDLOs, we identified differentiation routes from pancreatic progenitors through ductal intermediates to two types of mature duct-like cells and a few non-ductal cell types. PDLO subpopulations expressed either mucins or the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator, and resembled human adult duct cells. We also used the chip to uncover ductal markers relevant to pancreatic carcinogenesis, and to establish PDLO co-cultures with stellate cells, which allowed for the study of epithelial-mesenchymal signalling. The PDLO microsystem could be used to establish patient-specific pancreatic duct models.
  19. Nat Rev Immunol. 2021 Jul 06.
      Immune signalling pathways convert pathogenic stimuli into cytosolic events that lead to the resolution of infection. Upon ligand engagement, immune receptors together with their downstream adaptors and effectors undergo substantial conformational changes and spatial reorganization. During this process, nanometre-to-micrometre-sized signalling clusters have been commonly observed that are believed to be hotspots for signal transduction. Because of their large size and heterogeneous composition, it remains a challenge to fully understand the mechanisms by which these signalling clusters form and their functional consequences. Recently, phase separation has emerged as a new biophysical principle for organizing biomolecules into large clusters with fluidic properties. Although the field is still in its infancy, studies of phase separation in immunology are expected to provide new perspectives for understanding immune responses. Here, we present an up-to-date view of how liquid-liquid phase separation drives the formation of signalling condensates and regulates immune signalling pathways, including those downstream of T cell receptor, B cell receptor and the innate immune receptors cyclic GMP-AMP synthase (cGAS)-stimulator of interferon genes (STING) and retinoic acid-inducible gene I protein (RIG-I). We conclude with a summary of the current challenges the field is facing and outstanding questions for future studies.
  20. Ann Hepatobiliary Pancreat Surg. 2021 Jun 30. 25(Suppl 1): S153
      Introduction: The surgical treatment for liver metastasis of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is considered as a contraindication. However, recent studies showed favorable oncologic outcomes in oligometastasis for PDAC after neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NACT). This study was aimed to investigate oncologic outcome of surgery for oligometastasis of PDAC after NACT compared with palliative surgery.Methods: The patients (n = 174) with borderline resectable pancreatic cancer (BRPC) and locally advanced pancreatic cancer (LAPC) patients who underwent surgery after NACT were found between 2015 and 2019 in a tertiary referral center. The patients were divided into curative intent surgery (CU), oligometastatectomy with pancreatic resection (OL), and palliative bypass surgery (PA), and we compared oncologic outcomes among three groups.
    Results: CU, OL, PA groups were found in 160 (91.9%), 7 (4.0%), and 7 (4.0%) patients, respectively. Median follow up period was 13 months, and 3-year overall survival (OS) and recurrence free survival (RFS) were 36.2% and 25%, respectively. There were significant difference of the median OS among CU, OL, and PA groups (37.1 vs. 20.9 vs. 7.0 months; p < 0.001) and OL group showed longer median OS compared with PA group with marginal significance (p = 0.067). There were no significant difference of the median RFS between CU and OL groups (median survival, 11.9 vs. 7 months; p = 0.237).
    Conclusions: OL group showed better OS compared with PA group although there were no statistical significance. Surgical treatment for oligometastasis of PDAC after sufficient NACT could be a considerable option of these disease entity, however, we need to analyze oncologic data for large patients.
  21. Methods Cell Biol. 2021 ;pii: S0091-679X(20)30188-6. [Epub ahead of print]164 63-72
      Autophagy is one of the main adaptive mechanisms to maintain cellular homeostasis in response to multiple stresses. During autophagy diverse cellular components such as damaged organelles or superfluous proteins are targeted for lysosomal degradation. Importantly, during the initiation of autophagy MAP1LC3B (better known as LC3) lipidates into the membrane of the forming phagophore, which facilitates the formation and lengthening of autophagosomes. In addition, the autophagy receptor SQSTM1 (better known as p62) selectively recruits various cargos to autophagosomes for lysosomal degradation. Both, the conversion of LC3 as well as the degradation of p62 can be assessed as means of monitoring autophagy. Here we detail a protocol for assessing these key events of the autophagic flux via immunoblot.
    Keywords:  Autophagic cargo; Drug discovery; LC3; Lipidation; Lysosomal degradation
  22. Cell Rep. 2021 Jul 06. pii: S2211-1247(21)00687-2. [Epub ahead of print]36(1): 109311
      In this study, we present a live-cell-based fluorometric coupled assay system to identify the compounds that can regulate the targeted metabolic pathways in live cells. The assay is established through targeting specific metabolic pathways and using "input" and "output" metabolite pairs. The changes in the extracellular output that are generated and released into the extracellular media from the input are assessed as the activity of the pathway. The screening for the glycolytic pathway and amino acid metabolism reveals the activities of the present drugs, 6-BIO and regorafenib, that regulate the metabolic fate of tumor cells.
    Keywords:  chemical biology; coupled assays; fluorescent probes; glucolysis; glutaminolysis; metabolism
  23. Cell Mol Immunol. 2021 Jul 08.
      In 2011, Hanahan and Weinberg added "Deregulating Cellular Energetics" and "Avoiding Immune Destruction" to the six previous hallmarks of cancer. Since this seminal paper, there has been a growing consensus that these new hallmarks are not mutually exclusive but rather interdependent. The following review summarizes how founding genetic events for tumorigenesis ultimately increase tumor cell glycolysis, which not only supports the metabolic demands of malignancy but also provides an immunoprotective niche, promoting malignant cell proliferation, maintenance and progression. The mechanisms by which altered metabolism contributes to immune impairment are multifactorial: (1) the metabolic demands of proliferating tumor cells and activated immune cells are similar, thus creating a situation where immune cells may be in competition for key nutrients; (2) the metabolic byproducts of aerobic glycolysis directly inhibit antitumor immunity while promoting a regulatory immune phenotype; and (3) the gene programs associated with the upregulation of glycolysis also result in the generation of immunosuppressive cytokines and metabolites. From this perspective, we shed light on important considerations for the development of new classes of agents targeting cancer metabolism. These types of therapies can impair tumor growth but also pose a significant risk of stifling antitumor immunity.
    Keywords:  cancer; glycolysis; immunology; metabolism
  24. Elife. 2021 Jul 08. pii: e64212. [Epub ahead of print]10
      MGA, a transcription factor and member of the MYC network, is mutated or deleted in a broad spectrum of malignancies. As a critical test of a tumor suppressive role, we inactivated Mga in two mouse models of non-small cell lung cancer using a CRISPR-based approach. MGA loss significantly accelerated tumor growth in both models and led to de-repression of non-canonical Polycomb ncPRC1.6 targets, including genes involved in metastasis and meiosis. Moreover, MGA deletion in human lung adenocarcinoma lines augmented invasive capabilities. We further show that MGA-MAX, E2F6, and L3MBTL2 co-occupy thousands of promoters and that MGA stabilizes these ncPRC1.6 subunits. Lastly, we report that MGA loss also induces a pro-growth effect in human colon organoids. Our studies establish MGA as a bona fide tumor suppressor in vivo and suggest a tumor suppressive mechanism in adenocarcinomas resulting from widespread transcriptional attenuation of MYC and E2F target genes mediated by MGA-MAX associated with a non-canonical Polycomb complex.
    Keywords:  MAX; MGA; cancer biology; colon organoids; lung adenocarcinoma; mouse; non-canonical polycomb; tumor suppressor
  25. Ann Hepatobiliary Pancreat Surg. 2021 Jun 30. 25(Suppl 1): S7
      Lecture: Neoadjuvant treatment (NAT) is currently performed in borderline-resectable and locally advanced, primarily non-resectable pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). In addition, NAT is advocated by some in resectable PDAC as well. Down-staging and increase of R0-resection rates belong to the major clinical read-outs for NAT in PDAC. There is therefore a strong need for a highly standardized method for pathological examination of resection specimens after NAT in order to provide reliable, comparable results across studies and institutions worldwide. According to the 8th edition of the AJCC/UICC staging classifications, size is the most important factor to assess the T-category. However, assessment of residual tumor size after NAT represents a major hurdle both by imaging and by pathological examination and substantial evidence for the currently proposed methods is still lacking. In addition, numerous tumor regression grade systems have been proposed in the last years, but they are often scarcely reproducible and/or lack correlation with patients' survival. Recent studies have shown that changes induced by NAT in PDAC, such as fibrosis, cytoplasmic vacuolization and necrosis might also be present in therapy-naïve PDAC, rendering qualitative interpretation difficult. In particular, it seems impossible to distinguish tumor-associated desmoplasia from therapy-induced fibrosis. Numerous international initiatives, such as the International Collaboration on Cancer Reporting, the International Study Group of Pancreatic Pathologists and the Neoadjuvant Therapy Working Group of the Pancreatobiliary Pathology Society are currently working to provide pathologists all over the world with an easy, highly reproducible, standardized and clinically relevant system to evaluate PDAC after NAT.
  26. Carcinogenesis. 2021 Jul 03. pii: bgab057. [Epub ahead of print]
      Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is among the most lethal cancers. Its poor prognosis is predominantly due to the fact that most patients remain asymptomatic until the disease reaches an advanced stage, alongside the lack of early markers and screening strategies. A better understanding of PDAC risk factors is essential for the identification of groups at high risk in the population. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have been a powerful tool for detecting genetic variants associated with complex traits, including pancreatic cancer. By exploiting functional and GWAS data, we investigated the associations between polymorphisms affecting gene function in the pancreas (expression quantitative trait loci, eQTLs) and PDAC risk. In a two-phase approach, we analysed 13 713 PDAC cases and 43 784 controls and identified a genome-wide significant association between the A allele of the rs2035875 polymorphism and increased PDAC risk (P=7.14×10 -10). This allele is known to be associated with increased expression in the pancreas of the keratin genes KRT8 and KRT18, whose increased levels have been reported to correlate with various tumor cell characteristics. Additionally, the A allele of the rs789744 variant was associated with decreased risk of developing PDAC (P=3.56×10 -6). This SNP is situated in the SRGAP1 gene and the A allele is associated with higher expression of the gene, which in turn inactivates the cyclin-dependent protein 42 (CDC42) gene expression, thus decreasing the risk of PDAC. In conclusion, we present here a functional-based novel PDAC risk locus and an additional strong candidate supported by significant associations and plausible biological mechanisms.
    Keywords:  association study; eQTLs; pancreatic cancer; single nucleotide polymorphisms
  27. Clin Exp Metastasis. 2021 Jul 09.
      The behaviour of circulating tumour cells in the microcirculation remains poorly understood. Growing evidence suggests that biomechanical adaptations and interactions with blood components, i.e. immune cells and platelets within capillary beds, may add more complexity to CTCs journey towards metastasis. Revisiting how these mediators impact the ability of circulating tumour cells to survive and metastasise, will be vital to understand the role of microcirculation and advance our knowledge on metastasis.
    Keywords:  Biomechanics; Cancer; Circulating tumour cells; Immune cells; Metastasis; Microvasculature; Platelets
  28. J Cell Physiol. 2021 Jul 08.
      Autophagy is a highly conserved mechanism responsible for cellular homeostasis and integrity in a variety of physiological conditions. Materials targeted for degradation are directed to autophagosomes and autolysosomes, where they are broken down into their base components. Aberrant regulation of autophagy is significantly associated with various cancers and neurodegenerative diseases. Recently, accumulating evidence has revealed that the coordinated regulation of histone and non-histone protein modification is associated with autophagy. In this review, we highlight the recent progress that has been made in elucidating the molecular basis of protein methylation and acetylation associated with autophagy at the transcriptional and posttranslational levels. Furthermore, we discuss the importance of describing causality between protein methylation/acetylation and autophagy regulation as compelling therapeutic opportunities in cancer pathogenesis and progression.
    Keywords:  autophagy; cancer; protein acetylation; protein methylation
  29. STAR Protoc. 2021 Sep 17. 2(3): 100630
      Expansion microscopy is a sample preparation technique in which fixed and immunostained cells or tissues are embedded in a cross-linked network of swellable polyelectrolyte hydrogel that expands isotropically upon addition of deionized water. We utilize the X10 method for tenfold expansion of U2OS cells with concurrent DNA staining. A custom 3D-printed gel cutter and chambered slides minimize gel drift, facilitating analysis of the components of nuclear structures at nanoscale resolution by conventional microscopy or Airyscan confocal imaging. For complete information on the generation and use of this protocol, please refer to Do et al. (2020).
    Keywords:  Cell Biology; Microscopy
  30. Nat Med. 2021 Jul 08.
      Inhibitors of the PD-1-PD-L1 axis have been approved as therapy for many human cancers. In spite of the evidence for their widespread clinical activity, little is known about the immunological alterations that occur in human cancer tissue after PD-1 blockade. We developed and employed a patient-derived tumor fragment platform to dissect the early immunological response of human tumor tissue to ex vivo PD-1 blockade. We observed that the capacity of immune cells to be reactivated ex vivo was predictive of clinical response, and perturbation analyses identified tumor-resident T cells as a key component of this immunological response. In addition, through combined analysis of baseline properties and immune response capacity, we identified a new subgroup of infiltrated tumors that lacks the capacity to respond to PD-1 blockade. Finally, the baseline presence of tertiary lymphoid structures and their components correlated with the capacity of cancers to undergo intratumoral immune cell reactivation.