bims-cagime Biomed News
on Cancer, aging and metabolism
Issue of 2022‒07‒24
thirty-one papers selected by
Kıvanç Görgülü
Technical University of Munich

  1. Cancer Cell. 2022 Jul 13. pii: S1535-6108(22)00275-6. [Epub ahead of print]
      In contrast to normal type I collagen (Col1) heterotrimer (α1/α2/α1) produced by fibroblasts, pancreatic cancer cells specifically produce unique Col1 homotrimer (α1/α1/α1). Col1 homotrimer results from epigenetic suppression of the Col1a2 gene and promotes oncogenic signaling, cancer cell proliferation, tumor organoid formation, and growth via α3β1 integrin on cancer cells, associated with tumor microbiome enriched in anaerobic Bacteroidales in hypoxic and immunosuppressive tumors. Deletion of Col1 homotrimers increases overall survival of mice with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), associated with reprograming of the tumor microbiome with increased microaerophilic Campylobacterales, which can be reversed with broad-spectrum antibiotics. Deletion of Col1 homotrimers enhances T cell infiltration and enables efficacy of anti-PD-1 immunotherapy. This study identifies the functional impact of Col1 homotrimers on tumor microbiome and tumor immunity, implicating Col1 homotrimer-α3β1 integrin signaling axis as a cancer-specific therapeutic target.
    Keywords:  immunotherapy; pancreatic cancer; tumor immunology; tumor microbiome; tumor microenvironment; type I collagen
  2. Sci Adv. 2022 Jul 22. 8(29): eabo0404
      Metastasizing cancer cells are able to withstand high levels of oxidative stress through mechanisms that are poorly understood. Here, we show that under various oxidative stress conditions, pancreatic cancer cells markedly expand NADPH and NADP+ pools. This expansion is due to up-regulation of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD), which stimulates the cytoplasmic nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide kinase (NADK1) to produce NADP+ while converting NADP+ to NADPH. G6PD is activated by the transcription factor TAp73, which is, in turn, regulated by two pathways. Nuclear factor-erythroid 2 p45-related factor-2 suppresses expression of the ubiquitin ligase PIRH2, stabilizing the TAp73 protein. Checkpoint kinases 1/2 and E2F1 induce expression of the TAp73 gene. Levels of G6PD and its upstream activators are elevated in metastatic pancreatic cancer. Knocking down G6PD impedes pancreatic cancer metastasis, whereas forced G6PD expression promotes it. These findings reveal an intracellular network that maintains redox homeostasis through G6PD-mediated increase in de novo NADP+ biosynthesis, which may be co-opted by tumor cells to enable metastasis.
  3. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2022 Jul 12. 119(28): e2113465119
      The role of autophagy in cancer is complex. Both tumor-promoting and tumor-suppressive effects are reported, with tumor type, stage and specific genetic lesions dictating the role. This calls for analysis in models that best recapitulate each tumor type, from initiation to metastatic disease, to specifically understand the contribution of autophagy in each context. Here, we report the effects of deleting the essential autophagy gene Atg7 in a model of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), in which mutant KrasG12D and mutant Trp53172H are induced in adult tissue leading to metastatic PDAC. This revealed that Atg7 loss in the presence of KrasG12D/+ and Trp53172H/+ was tumor promoting, similar to previous observations in tumors driven by embryonic KrasG12D/+ and deletion of Trp53. However, Atg7 hemizygosity also enhanced tumor initiation and progression, even though this did not ablate autophagy. Moreover, despite this enhanced progression, fewer Atg7 hemizygous mice had metastases compared with animals wild type for this allele, indicating that ATG7 is a promoter of metastasis. We show, in addition, that Atg7+/- tumors have comparatively lower levels of succinate, and that cells derived from Atg7+/- tumors are also less invasive than those from Atg7+/+ tumors. This effect on invasion can be rescued by ectopic expression of Atg7 in Atg7+/- cells, without affecting the autophagic capacity of the cells, or by treatment with a cell-permeable analog of succinate. These findings therefore show that ATG7 has roles in invasion and metastasis that are not related to the role of the protein in the regulation of autophagy.
    Keywords:  ATG7; autophagy; metastasis; pancreatic cancer
  4. Nature. 2022 Jul 20.
      Mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) regulates cell growth and metabolism in response to multiple nutrients, including the essential amino acid leucine1. Recent work in cultured mammalian cells established the Sestrins as leucine-binding proteins that inhibit mTORC1 signalling during leucine deprivation2,3, but their role in the organismal response to dietary leucine remains elusive. Here we find that Sestrin-null flies (Sesn-/-) fail to inhibit mTORC1 or activate autophagy after acute leucine starvation and have impaired development and a shortened lifespan on a low-leucine diet. Knock-in flies expressing a leucine-binding-deficient Sestrin mutant (SesnL431E) have reduced, leucine-insensitive mTORC1 activity. Notably, we find that flies can discriminate between food with or without leucine, and preferentially feed and lay progeny on leucine-containing food. This preference depends on Sestrin and its capacity to bind leucine. Leucine regulates mTORC1 activity in glial cells, and knockdown of Sesn in these cells reduces the ability of flies to detect leucine-free food. Thus, nutrient sensing by mTORC1 is necessary for flies not only to adapt to, but also to detect, a diet deficient in an essential nutrient.
  5. J Biol Chem. 2022 Jul 19. pii: S0021-9258(22)00729-3. [Epub ahead of print] 102287
      The tumor suppressor p53 is involved in the adaptation of hepatic metabolism to nutrient availability. Acute deletion of p53 in the mouse liver affects hepatic glucose and triglyceride metabolism. However, long-term adaptations upon the loss of hepatic p53 and its transcriptional regulators are unknown. Here we show that short-term, but not chronic, liver-specific deletion of p53 in mice reduces liver glycogen levels and we implicate the transcription factor forkhead box O1 protein (FOXO1) in the regulation of p53 and its target genes. We demonstrate that acute p53 deletion prevents glycogen accumulation upon refeeding, whereas a chronic loss of p53 associates with a compensational activation of the glycogen synthesis pathway. Moreover, we identify fasting-activated FOXO1 as a repressor of p53 transcription in hepatocytes. We show that this repression is relieved by inactivation of FOXO1 by insulin, which likely mediates the upregulation of p53 expression upon refeeding. Strikingly, we find that high fat diet-induced insulin resistance with persistent FOXO1 activation not only blunted the regulation of p53 but also the induction of p53 target genes like p21 during fasting, indicating overlapping effects of both FOXO1 and p53 on target gene expression in a context-dependent manner. Thus, we conclude that p53 acutely controls glycogen storage in the liver and is linked to insulin signaling via FOXO1, which has important implications for our understanding of the hepatic adaptation to nutrient availability.
    Keywords:  Foxo1; fasting; glucose metabolism; glycogen; liver; p53; triglycerides
  6. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2022 Jul 18. pii: S0360-3016(22)00706-4. [Epub ahead of print]
      PURPOSE: Effective consolidative chemoradiation (CRT) regimens are lacking. In this phase I trial, we evaluated the safety and efficacy of nab-paclitaxel, capecitabine, and radiation therapy (RT) following induction chemotherapy in patients with locally-advanced and borderline-resectable pancreatic cancer (LAPC and BRPC). Also, we evaluated a computed tomography (CT)-based biomarker of response.METHODS AND MATERIALS: Eligible patients had pathologically-confirmed pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), underwent CT-imaging, were diagnosed with LAPC or BRPC, and received induction chemotherapy. Standard 3+3 study design was used, with three escalating nab-paclitaxel dose levels (50, 75 and 100 mg/m2) with concurrent capecitabine and RT in cohort sizes of three starting at the lowest dose. Dose limiting toxicity (DLT) was defined as grade 3 or higher toxicity. Patients were restaged 4-6 weeks post-CRT completion, and surgical resection was offered to those with stable/ responsive disease. We scored the tumor interface response (IR) post-chemotherapy and post-CRT into type I (remained/ became more defined) and type II (became less defined). Overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) from time of CRT were estimated using Kaplan-Meier method. p≤0.05 was considered significant.
    RESULTS: Twenty-three patients started and finished on protocol (LAPC=14, BRPC=9). No grade III/IV toxicities were reported in level-1 (n=3) or level-2 (n=3) initial groups. Two patients in the initial level-3 group developed DLTs, establishing level 2 dose as the maximal tolerated dose (MTD). Level-2 group was expanded for additional 15 patients (for a total of 23 on trial), 5 of whom developed grade 3 toxicities. Seven patients underwent surgical resection. Median OS and PFS were 21.2 and 8.1 months, respectively. Type I IR was associated with better OS (p=0.004) and PFS (p=0.03) compared to type II IR.
    CONCLUSION: We established the MTD for nab-paclitaxel in a consolidative CRT regimen for PDAC. Preliminary efficacy results warrant phase II trial evaluation. IR may be used for personalized treatment.
  7. Nature. 2022 Jul 20.
      The APOBEC3 family of cytosine deaminases has been implicated in some of the most prevalent mutational signatures in cancer1-3. However, a causal link between endogenous APOBEC3 enzymes and mutational signatures in human cancer genomes has not been established, leaving the mechanisms of APOBEC3 mutagenesis poorly understood. Here, to investigate the mechanisms of APOBEC3 mutagenesis, we deleted implicated genes from human cancer cell lines that naturally generate APOBEC3-associated mutational signatures over time4. Analysis of non-clustered and clustered signatures across whole-genome sequences from 251 breast, bladder and lymphoma cancer cell line clones revealed that APOBEC3A deletion diminished APOBEC3-associated mutational signatures. Deletion of both APOBEC3A and APOBEC3B further decreased APOBEC3 mutation burdens, without eliminating them. Deletion of APOBEC3B increased APOBEC3A protein levels, activity and APOBEC3A-mediated mutagenesis in some cell lines. The uracil glycosylase UNG was required for APOBEC3-mediated transversions, whereas the loss of the translesion polymerase REV1 decreased overall mutation burdens. Together, these data represent direct evidence that endogenous APOBEC3 deaminases generate prevalent mutational signatures in human cancer cells. Our results identify APOBEC3A as the main driver of these mutations, indicate that APOBEC3B can restrain APOBEC3A-dependent mutagenesis while contributing its own smaller mutation burdens and dissect mechanisms that translate APOBEC3 activities into distinct mutational signatures.
  8. PLoS Genet. 2022 Jul 22. 18(7): e1010315
      Proper Hedgehog (HH) signaling is essential for embryonic development, while aberrant HH signaling drives pediatric and adult cancers. HH signaling is frequently dysregulated in pancreatic cancer, yet its role remains controversial, with both tumor-promoting and tumor-restraining functions reported. Notably, the GLI family of HH transcription factors (GLI1, GLI2, GLI3), remain largely unexplored in pancreatic cancer. We therefore investigated the individual and combined contributions of GLI1-3 to pancreatic cancer progression. At pre-cancerous stages, fibroblast-specific Gli2/Gli3 deletion decreases immunosuppressive macrophage infiltration and promotes T cell infiltration. Strikingly, combined loss of Gli1/Gli2/Gli3 promotes macrophage infiltration, indicating that subtle changes in Gli expression differentially regulate immune infiltration. In invasive tumors, Gli2/Gli3 KO fibroblasts exclude immunosuppressive myeloid cells and suppress tumor growth by recruiting natural killer cells. Finally, we demonstrate that fibroblasts directly regulate macrophage and T cell migration through the expression of Gli-dependent cytokines. Thus, the coordinated activity of GLI1-3 directs the fibroinflammatory response throughout pancreatic cancer progression.
  9. Semin Cancer Biol. 2022 Jul 19. pii: S1044-579X(22)00176-6. [Epub ahead of print]
      Several metabolic pathways for the supply of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) have been proposed; however, the major source of reducing power for ADP in cancer remains unclear. Although glycolysis is the source of ATP in tumors according to the Warburg effect, ATP levels do not differ between cancer cells grown in the presence and absence of glucose. Several theories have been proposed to explain the supply of ATP in cancer, including metabolic reprograming in the tumor microenvironment. However, these theories are based on the production of ATP by the TCA-OxPhos pathway, which is inconsistent with the Warburg effect. We found that blocking fatty acid oxidation (FAO) in the presence of glucose significantly decreased ATP production in various cancer cells. This suggests that cancer cells depend on fatty acids to produce ATP through FAO instead of glycolysis. We observed that cancer cell growth mainly relies on metabolic nutrients and oxygen systemically supplied through the bloodstream instead of metabolic reprogramming. In a spontaneous mouse tumor model (KrasG12D; Pdx1-cre), tumor growth was 2-fold higher in mice fed a high-fat diet (low-carbo diet) that caused obesity, whereas a calorie-balanced, low-fat diet (high-carbo diet) inhibited tumor growth by 3-fold compared with that in mice fed a control/normal diet. This 5-fold difference in tumor growth between mice fed low-fat and high-fat diets suggests that fat-induced obesity promotes cancer growth, and tumor growth depends on fatty acids as the primary source of energy.
    Keywords:  ATP production; cancer energy metabolism; fatty acid oxidation; obesity
  10. Cancer Lett. 2022 Jul 19. pii: S0304-3835(22)00315-9. [Epub ahead of print] 215831
      Low-dose carbon monoxide (CO) is under investigation in clinical trials to treat non-cancerous diseases and has excellent safety profiles. Due to the early detection and cancer awareness, increasing cancer patients are diagnosed at early stages and potentially curative surgical resection can be done. However, many patients ultimately experience recurrence. Here, we evaluate the therapeutic effect of CO on cancer metastatic progression. We show that 250 ppm CO inhibits migration of multiple types of cancer cell lines including breast, pancreatic, colon, prostate, liver, and lung cancer and reduces the ability to adhere to fibronectin. We demonstrate that in mouse models, 250 ppm inhaled CO inhibits lung metastasis of breast cancer and liver metastasis of pancreatic cancer. Moreover, low-dose CO suppresses recurrence and increases survival after surgical removal of primary pancreatic cancer in mice. Mechanistically, low-dose CO blocks transcription of heme importers, leading to diminished intracellular heme levels and a heme-regulated enzyme, cytochrome P4501B1 (CYP1B1). Either supplementing heme or overexpressing CYP1B1 reverses the anti-migration effect of low-dose CO. Taken together, low-dose CO therapy inhibits cell migration, reduces adhesion to fibronectin, prevents disseminated cancer cells from expanding into gross metastases, and improves survival in pre-clinical mouse models of metastasis.
    Keywords:  CO; CYP1B1; Heme; Metastasis; Mouse models
  11. Cell. 2022 Jul 21. pii: S0092-8674(22)00726-7. [Epub ahead of print]185(15): 2611-2612
  12. Growth Factors. 2022 Jul 21. 1-34
      Organ-specific metastasis to secondary organs is dependent on the formation of a supportive pre-metastatic niche. This tissue-specific microenvironmental response is thought to be mediated by mutational and epigenetic changes to primary tumour cells resulting in altered cross-talk between cell types. This response is augmented through the release of tumour and stromal signalling mediators including cytokines, chemokines, exosomes and growth factors. Although researchers have elucidated some of the cancer-promoting features that are bespoke to organotropic metastasis to the lungs, it remains unclear if these are organ-specific or generic between organs. Understanding the mechanisms that mediate the metastasis-promoting synergy between the host microenvironment, immunity, and pulmonary structures may elucidate predictive, prognostic and therapeutic markers that could be targeted to reduce the metastatic burden of disease. Herein, we give an updated summary of the known cellular and molecular mechanisms that contribute to the formation of the lung pre-metastatic niche and tissue-specific metastasis.
    Keywords:  Metastasis; VEGF; endothelial; growth factor receptor; neutrophil; pre-metastatic niche
  13. Cancer Discov. 2022 Jul 18. pii: CD-21-1248. [Epub ahead of print]
      Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) has few effective treatments. Immunotherapy, an attractive alternative strategy, remains challenging with the lack of knowledge on the tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte (TIL) landscape in PDAC. To generate a reference of T-cell subpopulations, we profiled 80,000 T cells from 57 PDAC, 22 uninvolved/normal samples, and cultured TIL using single-cell transcriptomic and T-cell receptor analysis. These data revealed 20 cell states and heterogeneous distributions of TIL populations. The CD8+ TIL contained a putative transitional GZMK+ population based on TCR clonotype sharing, and cell-state trajectory analysis showed similarity to a GZMB+PRF1+ cytotoxic and a CXCL13+ dysfunctional population. Statistical analysis suggested that certain TIL states, such as dysfunctional and inhibitory populations, often occurred together. Finally, analysis of cultured TIL revealed that high-frequency clones from effector populations were preferentially expanded. These data provide a framework for understanding the PDAC TIL landscape for future TIL use in immunotherapy for PDAC.
  14. Nat Chem Biol. 2022 Jul 21.
      Drugs that directly impede the function of driver oncogenes offer exceptional efficacy and a therapeutic window. The recently approved mutant selective small-molecule cysteine-reactive covalent inhibitor of the G12C mutant of K-Ras, sotorasib, provides a case in point. KRAS is the most frequently mutated proto-oncogene in human cancer, yet despite success targeting the G12C allele, targeted therapy for other hotspot mutants of KRAS has not been described. Here we report the discovery of small molecules that covalently target a G12S somatic mutation in K-Ras and suppress its oncogenic signaling. We show that these molecules are active in cells expressing K-Ras(G12S) but spare the wild-type protein. Our results provide a path to targeting a second somatic mutation in the oncogene KRAS by overcoming the weak nucleophilicity of an acquired serine residue. The chemistry we describe may serve as a basis for the selective targeting of other unactivated serines.
  15. Nat Protoc. 2022 Jul 20.
      Tumor-bearing experimental animals are essential for preclinical cancer drug development. A broad range of tumor models is available, with the simplest and most widely used involving a tumor of mouse or human origin growing beneath the skin of a mouse: the subcutaneous tumor model. Here, we outline the different types of in vivo tumor model, including some of their advantages and disadvantages and how they fit into the drug-development process. We then describe in more detail the subcutaneous tumor model and key steps needed to establish it in the laboratory, namely: choosing the mouse strain and tumor cells; cell culture, preparation and injection of tumor cells; determining tumor volume; mouse welfare; and an appropriate experimental end point. The protocol leads to subcutaneous tumor growth usually within 1-3 weeks of cell injection and is suitable for those with experience in tissue culture and mouse experimentation.
  16. Nat Rev Genet. 2022 Jul 20.
      Improved scale, multiplexing and resolution are establishing spatial nucleic acid and protein profiling methods as a major pillar for cellular atlas building of complex samples, from tissues to full organisms. Emerging methods yield omics measurements at resolutions covering the nano- to microscale, enabling the charting of cellular heterogeneity, complex tissue architectures and dynamic changes during development and disease. We present an overview of the developing landscape of in situ spatial genome, transcriptome and proteome technologies, exemplify their impact on cell biology and translational research, and discuss current challenges for their community-wide adoption. Among many transformative applications, we envision that spatial methods will map entire organs and enable next-generation pathology.
  17. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2022 Jul 20.
    PRECEDE Consortium
      Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is one of the most aggressive malignancies, with a dismal survival rate. Screening the general population for early detection of PDAC is not recommended, but because early detection improves survival, high-risk individuals, defined as those meeting criteria based on a family history of PDAC and/or the presence of known pathogenic germline variant genes with PDAC risk, are recommended to undergo screening with MRI and/or endoscopic ultrasound at regular intervals. The Pancreatic Cancer Early Detection (PRECEDE) Consortium was formed in 2018 and is composed of gastroenterologists, geneticists, pancreatic surgeons, radiologists, statisticians, and researchers from 40 sites in North America, Europe, and Asia. The overarching goal of the PRECEDE Consortium is to facilitate earlier diagnosis of PDAC for high-risk individuals to increase survival of the disease. A standardized MRI protocol and reporting template are needed to enhance the quality of screening examinations, improve consistency of clinical management, and facilitate multiinstitutional research. We present a consensus statement to standardize MRI screening and reporting for individuals with elevated risk of pancreatic cancer.
  18. Front Oncol. 2022 ;12 880787
      Purpose: Although the role of signal transducers and activators of transcription (STAT3) in cachexia due to the association of circulating IL-6 and muscle wasting has been extensively demonstrated, the effect of resistance training on STAT3 in mediating muscle atrophy in tumor-bearing mice is unknown. The aim of this study is to investigate the effects of resistance exercise training on inflammatory cytokines and oxidative-mediated STAT3 activation and muscle loss prevention in tumor-bearing mice.Methods: Male Swiss mice were inoculated with Ehrlich tumor cells and exposed or not exposed to resistance exercise protocol of ladder climbing. Skeletal muscle STAT3 protein content was measured, compared between groups, and tested for possible association with plasma interleukins and local oxidative stress markers. Components of the ubiquitin-proteasome and autophagy pathways were assessed by real-time PCR or immunoblotting.
    Results: Resistance training prevented STAT3 excessive activation in skeletal muscle mediated by the overabundance of plasma IL-6 and muscle oxidative stress. These mechanisms contributed to preventing the increased key genes and proteins of ubiquitin-proteasome and autophagy pathways in tumor-bearing mice, such as Atrogin-1, LC3B-II, and Beclin-1. Beyond preventing muscle atrophy, RT also prevented strength loss and impaired locomotor capacity, hallmarks of sarcopenia.
    Conclusion: Our results suggest that STAT3 inhibition is central in resistance exercise protective effects against cancer-induced muscle atrophy and strength loss.
    Keywords:  autophagy; cancer cachexia; muscle wasting; strength; ubiquitin-proteasome
  19. Nat Commun. 2022 Jul 18. 13(1): 4157
      Cellular senescence and cell competition are important tumor suppression mechanisms that restrain cells with oncogenic mutations at the initial stage of cancer development. However, the link between cellular senescence and cell competition remains unclear. Senescent cells accumulated during the in vivo aging process contribute toward age-related cancers via the development of senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP). Here, we report that hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), a SASP factor, inhibits apical extrusion and promotes basal protrusion of Ras-mutated cells in the cell competition assay. Additionally, cellular senescence induced by a high-fat diet promotes the survival of cells with oncogenic mutations, whereas crizotinib, an inhibitor of HGF signaling, provokes the removal of mutated cells from mouse livers and intestines. Our study provides evidence that cellular senescence inhibits cell competition-mediated elimination of oncogenic cells through HGF signaling, suggesting that it may lead to cancer incidence during aging.
  20. Nature. 2022 Jul 20.
      Oocytes form before birth and remain viable for several decades before fertilization1. Although poor oocyte quality accounts for most female fertility problems, little is known about how oocytes maintain cellular fitness, or why their quality eventually declines with age2. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) produced as by-products of mitochondrial activity are associated with lower rates of fertilization and embryo survival3-5. Yet, how healthy oocytes balance essential mitochondrial activity with the production of ROS is unknown. Here we show that oocytes evade ROS by remodelling the mitochondrial electron transport chain through elimination of complex I. Combining live-cell imaging and proteomics in human and Xenopus oocytes, we find that early oocytes exhibit greatly reduced levels of complex I. This is accompanied by a highly active mitochondrial unfolded protein response, which is indicative of an imbalanced electron transport chain. Biochemical and functional assays confirm that complex I is neither assembled nor active in early oocytes. Thus, we report a physiological cell type without complex I in animals. Our findings also clarify why patients with complex-I-related hereditary mitochondrial diseases do not experience subfertility. Complex I suppression represents an evolutionarily conserved strategy that allows longevity while maintaining biological activity in long-lived oocytes.
  21. Nat Cell Biol. 2022 Jul 18.
      Cellular senescence plays a causal role in ageing and, in mice, depletion of p16INK4a-expressing senescent cells delays ageing-associated disorders1,2. Adenosine deaminases acting on RNA (ADARs) are RNA-editing enzymes that are also implicated as important regulators of human ageing, and ADAR inactivation causes age-associated pathologies such as neurodegeneration in model organisms3,4. However, the role, if any, of ADARs in cellular senescence is unknown. Here we show that ADAR1 is post-transcriptionally downregulated by autophagic degradation to promote senescence through p16INK4a upregulation. The ADAR1 downregulation is sufficient to drive senescence in both in vitro and in vivo models. Senescence induced by ADAR1 downregulation is p16INK4a-dependent and independent of its RNA-editing function. Mechanistically, ADAR1 promotes SIRT1 expression by affecting its RNA stability through HuR, an RNA-binding protein that increases the half-life and steady-state levels of its target mRNAs. SIRT1 in turn antagonizes translation of mRNA encoding p16INK4a. Hence, downregulation of ADAR1 and SIRT1 mediates p16INK4a upregulation by enhancing its mRNA translation. Finally, Adar1 is downregulated during ageing of mouse tissues such as brain, ovary and intestine, and Adar1 expression correlates with Sirt1 expression in these tissues in mice. Together, our study reveals an RNA-editing-independent role for ADAR1 in the regulation of senescence by post-transcriptionally controlling p16INK4a expression.
  22. Sci Adv. 2022 Jul 22. 8(29): eabm8780
      Recently developed KRASG12C inhibitory drugs are beneficial to lung cancer patients harboring KRASG12C mutations, but drug resistance frequently develops. Because of the immunosuppressive nature of the signaling network controlled by oncogenic KRAS, these drugs can indirectly affect antitumor immunity, providing a rationale for their combination with immune checkpoint blockade. In this study, we have characterized how KRASG12C inhibition reverses immunosuppression driven by oncogenic KRAS in a number of preclinical lung cancer models with varying levels of immunogenicity. Mechanistically, KRASG12C inhibition up-regulates interferon signaling via Myc inhibition, leading to reduced tumor infiltration by immunosuppressive cells, enhanced infiltration and activation of cytotoxic T cells, and increased antigen presentation. However, the combination of KRASG12C inhibitors with immune checkpoint blockade only provides synergistic benefit in the most immunogenic tumor model. KRASG12C inhibition fails to sensitize cold tumors to immunotherapy, with implications for the design of clinical trials combining KRASG12C inhibitors with anti-PD1 drugs.
  23. Front Physiol. 2022 ;13 865561
      Metastasis is the process by which cancer cells acquire the capability to leave the primary tumor and travel to distant sites. Recent experiments have suggested that the epithelial-mesenchymal transition can regulate invasion and metastasis. Another possible scenario is the collective motion of cells. Recent studies have also proposed a jamming-unjamming transition for epithelial cells based on physical forces. Here, we assume that there exists a short-range chemical attraction between cancer cells and employ the Brownian dynamics to simulate tumor growth. Applying the network analysis, we suggest three possible phases for a given tumor and study the transition between these phases by adjusting the attraction strength.
    Keywords:  Brownian dynamics (BD); interacting cells; metastasis; network analysis; phase transition; tumor growth
  24. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2022 Jul 19. 119(29): e2113180119
      The mutant form of the guanosine triphosphatase (GTPase) KRAS is a key driver in human tumors but remains a challenging therapeutic target, making KRASMUT cancers a highly unmet clinical need. Here, we report a class of bottlebrush polyethylene glycol (PEG)-conjugated antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs) for potent in vivo KRAS depletion. Owing to their highly branched architecture, these molecular nanoconstructs suppress nearly all side effects associated with DNA-protein interactions and substantially enhance the pharmacological properties of the ASO, such as plasma pharmacokinetics and tumor uptake. Systemic delivery to mice bearing human non-small-cell lung carcinoma xenografts results in a significant reduction in both KRAS levels and tumor growth, and the antitumor performance well exceeds that of current popular ASO paradigms, such as chemically modified oligonucleotides and PEGylation using linear or slightly branched PEG. Importantly, these conjugates relax the requirement on the ASO chemistry, allowing unmodified, natural phosphodiester ASOs to achieve efficacy comparable to that of chemically modified ones. Both the bottlebrush polymer and its ASO conjugates appear to be safe and well tolerated in mice. Together, these data indicate that the molecular brush-ASO conjugate is a promising therapeutic platform for the treatment of KRAS-driven human cancers and warrant further preclinical and clinical development.
    Keywords:  KRAS; NSCLC; antisense oligonucleotide; gene regulation; molecular brush
  25. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2022 Jul 26. 119(30): e2203510119
      The interplay between phase separation and wetting of multicomponent mixtures is ubiquitous in nature and technology and recently gained significant attention across scientific disciplines, due to the discovery of biomolecular condensates. It is well understood that sessile droplets, undergoing phase separation in a static wetting configuration, exhibit microdroplet nucleation at their contact lines, forming an oil ring during later stages. However, very little is known about the dynamic counterpart, when phase separation occurs in a nonequilibrium wetting configuration, i.e., spreading droplets. Here we show that liquid-liquid phase separation strongly couples to the spreading motion of three-phase contact lines. Thus, the classical Cox-Voinov law is not applicable anymore, because phase separation adds an active spreading force beyond the capillary driving. Intriguingly, we observe that spreading starts well before any visible nucleation of microdroplets in the main droplet. Using high-speed ellipsometry, we further demonstrate that the evaporation-induced enrichment, together with surface forces, causes an even earlier nucleation in the wetting precursor film around the droplet, initiating the observed wetting transition. We expect our findings to improve the fundamental understanding of phase separation processes that involve dynamical contact lines and/or surface forces, with implications in a wide range of applications, from oil recovery or inkjet printing to material synthesis and biomolecular condensates.
    Keywords:  moving contact line; multicomponent droplet; phase separation; surface force; wetting
  26. Pancreas. 2022 Jul 14.
      OBJECTIVES: Nab-paclitaxel has radiosensitizing antitumor efficacy in pancreatic cancer. We aimed to establish maximum tolerated dose (MTD) of nab-paclitaxel with radiotherapy in unresectable locally advanced pancreatic cancer.METHODS: In a phase I dose escalation trial patients received weekly nab-paclitaxel for 6 weeks with external beam radiotherapy (EBRT). 3 + 3 design was used with nab-paclitaxel doses: 25 mg/m2 (cohort 1), 50 mg/m2 (cohort 2), 75 mg/m2 (cohort 3), and 100 mg/m2 (cohort 4). Primary endpoint was MTD. Secondary objectives were progression-free survival and overall survival.
    RESULTS: Fourteen patients were recruited. Median age was 69 years (range, 40-86). Grade 1/2 toxicities were nausea (93%), vomiting (54%), diarrhea (57%), and fatigue (69%). There were no dose limiting toxicities (DLT) in cohorts 1 to 3. In cohort 4, DLTs of febrile neutropenia and enterocolitis were observed in patient 1. Subsequent DLT of febrile neutropenia and enterocolitis occurred in patient 5 in the expanded cohort. Following chemoradiotherapy median progression-free survival was 4.7 months (95% confidence interval, 2.5-27.5) and median overall survival was 10.8 months (95% confidence interval, 6.37-25.2).
    CONCLUSIONS: Nab-paclitaxel and EBRT was well-tolerated at doses below 100 mg/m2. The MTD and recommended phase II study dose for nab-paclitaxel with EBRT is 75 mg/m2 in this disease.
  27. Nat Chem Biol. 2022 Jul 21.
      Reversible protein phosphorylation is an important mechanism for regulating (dis)assembly of biomolecular condensates. However, condensate-specific phosphosites remain largely unknown, thereby limiting our understanding of the underlying mechanisms. Here, we combine solubility proteome profiling with phosphoproteomics to quantitatively map several hundred phosphosites enriched in either soluble or condensate-bound protein subpopulations, including a subset of phosphosites modulating protein-RNA interactions. We show that multi-phosphorylation of the C-terminal disordered segment of heteronuclear ribonucleoprotein A1 (HNRNPA1), a key RNA-splicing factor, reduces its ability to locate to nuclear clusters. For nucleophosmin 1 (NPM1), an essential nucleolar protein, we show that phosphorylation of S254 and S260 is crucial for lowering its partitioning to the nucleolus and additional phosphorylation of distal sites enhances its retention in the nucleoplasm. These phosphorylation events decrease RNA and protein interactions of NPM1 to regulate its condensation. Our dataset is a rich resource for systematically uncovering the phosphoregulation of biomolecular condensates.
  28. Cancer Discov. 2022 Jul 18. OF1
      The NCI and Cancer Research UK have unveiled the first four winners of Cancer Grand Challenges awards. The teams will probe cancer cachexia, extrachromosomal DNA, CAR T cells for childhood solid tumors, and possible mechanisms of carcinogenesis. Each team received a 5-year, $25 million grant.
  29. Cell Rep. 2022 Jul 19. pii: S2211-1247(22)00922-6. [Epub ahead of print]40(3): 111116
      p62, a well-known adaptor of autophagy, plays multiple functions in response to various stresses. Here, we report a function for p62 in base excision repair that is distinct from its known functions. Loss of p62 impairs base excision repair capacity and increases the sensitivity of cancer cells to alkylating and oxidizing agents. In response to alkylative and oxidative damage, p62 is accumulated in the nucleus,acetylated by hMOF,and deacetylated by SIRT7, and acetylated p62 is recruited to chromatin. The chromatin-enriched p62 directly interacts with APE1, a key enzyme of the BER pathway, and promotes its endonuclease activity, which facilitates BER and cell survival. Collectively, our findings demonstrate that p62 is a regulator of BER and provide further rationale for targeting p62 as a cancer therapeutic strategy.
    Keywords:  APE1; CP: Molecular biology; SIRT7; acetylation; base excision repair; hMOF; p62
  30. Pancreas. 2022 Jul 19.
      OBJECTIVES: The aims of the study are to evaluate the feasibility of using pH-sensitive magnetic resonance imaging, chemical exchange saturation transfer (CEST) in pancreatic imaging and to differentiate pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) with the nontumor pancreas (upstream and downstream) and normal control pancreas.METHODS: Sixteen CEST images with PDAC and 12 CEST images with normal volunteers were acquired and magnetization transfer ratio with asymmetric analysis were measured in areas of PDAC, upstream, downstream, and normal control pancreas. One-way analysis of variance and receiver operating characteristic curve were used to differentiate tumor from nontumor pancreas.
    RESULTS: Areas with PDAC showed higher signal intensity than upstream and downstream on CEST images. The mean (standard deviation) values of magnetization transfer ratio with asymmetric analysis were 0.015 (0.034), -0.044 (0.030), -0.019 (0.027), and -0.037 (0.031), respectively, in PDAC area, upstream, downstream, and nontumor area in patient group and -0.008 (0.024) in normal pancreas. Significant differences were found between PDAC and upstream (P < 0.001), between upstream and normal pancreas (P = 0.04). Area under curve is 0.857 in differentiating PDAC with nontumor pancreas.
    CONCLUSIONS: pH-sensitive CEST MRI is feasible in pancreatic imaging and can be used to differentiate PDAC from nontumor pancreas. This provides a novel metabolic imaging method in PDAC.
  31. Cancer Res. 2022 Jul 20. OF1-OF11
      Circulating tumor cells are the cellular mediators of distant metastasis in solid malignancies. Their metastatic potential can be augmented by clustering with other tumor cells or nonmalignant cells, forming circulating tumor microemboli (CTM). Cell-cell interactions are key regulators within CTM that convey enhanced metastatic properties, including improved cell survival, immune evasion, and effective extravasation into distant organs. However, the cellular and molecular mechanism of CTM formation, as well as the biology of interactions between tumor cells and immune cells, platelets, and stromal cells in the circulation, remains to be determined. Here, we review the current literature on cell-cell interactions in homotypic and heterotypic CTM and provide perspectives on therapeutic strategies to attenuate CTM-mediated metastasis by targeting cell-cell interactions.