bims-ectoca Biomed News
on Epigenetic control of tolerance in cancer
Issue of 2023‒11‒05
eight papers selected by
Ankita Daiya, BITS Pilani

  1. RSC Chem Biol. 2023 Nov 01. 4(11): 894-905
      Yes-associated protein (YAP), the master transcriptional effector downstream of the Hippo pathway, regulates essential cell growth and regenerative processes in animals. However, the activation of YAP observed in cancers drives cellular proliferation, metastasis, chemoresistance, and immune suppression, making it of key interest in developing precision therapeutics for oncology. As such, pharmacological inhibition of YAP by targeting its essential co-regulators, TEA domain transcription factors (TEADs) would likely promote tumor clearance in sensitive tumor types. From a fluorescence polarization-based high throughput screen of over 800 000 diverse small molecules, here we report the identification of a pyrazolopyrimidine-based scaffold that inhibits association of YAP and TEADs. Medicinal chemistry-based optimization identified mCMY020, a potent, covalent inhibitor of TEAD transcriptional activity that occupies a conserved, central palmitoylation site on TEADs.
  2. Front Oncol. 2023 ;13 1208403
      Resistance to cisplatin is the main cause of treatment failure in lung adenocarcinoma. Drug-tolerant-persister (DTP) cells are responsible for intrinsic resistance, since they survive the initial cycles of treatment, representing a reservoir for the emergence of clones that display acquired resistance. Although the molecular mechanisms of DTP cells have been described, few studies have investigated the earliest molecular alterations of DTP cells in intrinsic resistance to cisplatin. In this work, we report a gene expression signature associated with the emergence of cisplatin-DTP cells in lung adenocarcinoma cell lines. After a single exposure to cisplatin, we sequenced the transcriptome of cisplatin-DTPs to identify differentially expressed genes. Bioinformatic analysis revealed that early cisplatin-DTP cells deregulate metabolic and proliferative pathways to survive the drug insult. Interaction network analysis identified three highly connected submodules in which SOCS1 had a significant participation in controlling the proliferation of cisplatin-DTP cells. Expression of the candidate genes and their corresponding protein was validated in lung adenocarcinoma cell lines. Importantly, the expression level of SOCS1 was different between CDDP-susceptible and CDDP-resistant lung adenocarcinoma cell lines. Moreover, knockdown of SOCS1 in the CDDP-resistant cell line partially promoted its susceptibility to CDDP. Finally, the clinical relevance of the candidate genes was analyzed in silico, according to the overall survival of cisplatin-treated patients from The Cancer Genome Atlas. Survival analysis showed that downregulation or upregulation of the selected genes was associated with overall survival. The results obtained indicate that these genes could be employed as predictive biomarkers or potential targets to improve the effectiveness of CDDP treatment in lung cancer patients.
    Keywords:  SOCS1; chemotherapy resistance; cisplatin; drug-tolerant persister cells; intrinsic resistance; lung adenocarcinoma; lung cancer; non-small cell lung carcinoma
  3. Anticancer Res. 2023 Nov;43(11): 4843-4853
      BACKGROUND/AIM: Persistent hyperglycemia caused by diabetes mellitus is a risk factor for pancreatic cancer (PC). We have previously reported that aberrant activation of atypical protein kinase C (aPKC) enhances PC cell progression. However, no reports have elucidated whether hyperglycemia promotes PC cell progression and whether aPKC activation is related to PC cell progression mechanisms.MATERIALS AND METHODS: We examined whether high-glucose stimulation accelerates PC cell proliferation, migration, and invasion. Furthermore, to determine whether PC cells activate aPKC upon high-glucose stimulation, we measured the phosphorylation of aPKC at T560 in PC cells.
    RESULTS: High-glucose stimulation accelerated PC cell proliferation, migration, and invasion. High-glucose treatment increased aPKC's activated form, with T560 phosphorylation, in PC cells. However, aPKC knockdown attenuated these effects. aPKC reportedly induces cell transformation through Yes-associated protein (YAP) activation. YAP expression was increased in high glucose-treated PC cells but not in aPKC-knockdown cells. aPKC interacts with partitioning defective 3 (Par-3), which aids in establishing cell polarity and inhibits aPKC by binding as a substrate. In Par-3-knockdown PC cells, YAP expression increased independently of high-glucose treatment. Over-expression of Par-3 and aPKC-dominant negative mutants prevented the high glucose-stimulated nuclear localization of YAP. YAP forms a complex with the zinc finger E-box binding homeobox 1 protein (ZEB1), an activator of epithelial-mesenchymal transition. ZEB1 expression was increased by high glucose treatment or Par-3 knockdown, but aPKC knockdown suppressed this increase.
    CONCLUSION: High glucose-induced aPKC activation promotes PC progression by enhancing the YAP signaling pathway.
    Keywords:  High-glucose stimulation; Yes-associated protein; atypical protein kinase C; diabetes mellitus; pancreatic cancer; partitioning defective 3
  4. Nat Commun. 2023 10 28. 14(1): 6890
      Genome instability is a feature of cancer cells, transcription being an important source of DNA damage. This is in large part associated with R-loops, which hamper replication, especially at head-on transcription-replication conflicts (TRCs). Here we show that TRCs trigger a DNA Damage Response (DDR) involving the chromatin network to prevent genome instability. Depletion of the key chromatin factors INO80, SMARCA5 and MTA2 results in TRCs, fork stalling and R-loop-mediated DNA damage which mostly accumulates at S/G2, while histone H3 Ser10 phosphorylation, a mark of chromatin compaction, is enriched at TRCs. Strikingly, TRC regions show increased mutagenesis in cancer cells with signatures of homologous recombination deficiency, transcription-coupled nucleotide excision repair (TC-NER) and of the AID/APOBEC cytidine deaminases, being predominant at head-on collisions. Thus, our results support that the chromatin network prevents R-loops and TRCs from genomic instability and mutagenic signatures frequently associated with cancer.
  5. Electrophoresis. 2023 Nov 01.
      Single-cell biophysical properties play a crucial role in regulating cellular physiological states and functions, demonstrating significant potential in the fields of life sciences and clinical diagnostics. Therefore, over the last few decades, researchers have developed various detection tools to explore the relationship between the biophysical changes of biological cells and human diseases. With the rapid advancement of modern microfabrication technology, microfluidic devices have quickly emerged as a promising platform for single-cell analysis offering advantages including high-throughput, exceptional precision, and ease of manipulation. Consequently, this paper provides an overview of the recent advances in microfluidic analysis and detection systems for single-cell biophysical properties and their applications in the field of cancer. The working principles and latest research progress of single-cell biophysical property detection are first analyzed, highlighting the significance of electrical and mechanical properties. The development of data acquisition and processing methods for real-time, high-throughput, and practical applications are then discussed. Furthermore, the differences in biophysical properties between tumor and normal cells are outlined, illustrating the potential for utilizing single-cell biophysical properties for tumor cell identification, classification, and drug response assessment. Lastly, we summarize the limitations of existing microfluidic analysis and detection systems in single-cell biophysical properties, while also pointing out the prospects and future directions of their applications in cancer diagnosis and treatment.
    Keywords:  biophysical properties; cancer diagnosis and treatment; label-free microfluidics; signal processing; single-cell analysis
  6. ACS Nano. 2023 Oct 30.
      The technology of aggregation-induced emission (AIE) presents a promising avenue for fluorescence imaging-guided photodynamic cancer therapy. However, existing near-infrared AIE photosensitizers (PSs) frequently encounter limitations, including tedious synthesis, poor tumor retention, and a limited understanding of the underlying molecular biology mechanism. Herein, an effective molecular design paradigm of anion-π+ interaction combined with the inherently crowded conformation that could enhance fluorescence efficacy and reactive oxygen species generation was proposed through a concise synthetic method. Mechanistically, upon photosensitization, the Hippo signaling pathway contributes to the death of melanoma cells and promotes the nuclear location of its downstream factor, yes-associated protein, which regulates the transcription and expression of apoptosis-related genes. The finding in this study would trigger the development of high-performance and versatile AIE PSs for precision cancer therapy based on a definite regulatory mechanism.
    Keywords:  Hippo−YAP signaling pathway; aggregation-induced emission; anion−π+ interaction; crowded conformation; phototheranostic agents
  7. Life Sci Alliance. 2024 Jan;pii: e202302077. [Epub ahead of print]7(1):
      Nuclear expression of protein kinase CK2α is reportedly elevated in human carcinomas, but mechanisms underlying its variable localization in cells are poorly understood. This study demonstrates a functional connection between nuclear CK2 and gene expression in relation to cell proliferation. Growth stimulation of quiescent human normal fibroblasts and phospho-proteomic analysis identified a pool of CK2α that is highly phosphorylated at serine 7. Phosphorylated CK2α translocates into the nucleus, and this phosphorylation appears essential for nuclear localization and catalytic activity. Protein signatures associated with nuclear CK2 complexes reveal enrichment of apparently unique transcription factors and chromatin remodelers during progression through the G1 phase of the cell cycle. Chromatin immunoprecipitation-sequencing profiling demonstrated recruitment of CK2α to active gene loci, more abundantly in late G1 phase than in early G1, notably at transcriptional start sites of core histone genes, growth stimulus-associated genes, and ribosomal RNAs. Our findings reveal that nuclear CK2α complexes may be essential to facilitate progression of the cell cycle, by activating histone genes and triggering ribosomal biogenesis, specified in association with nuclear and nucleolar transcriptional regulators.
  8. Development. 2023 Nov 03. pii: dev.201946. [Epub ahead of print]
      Development can proceed in "fits and starts", with rapid transitions between cell states involving concerted transcriptome-wide changes in gene expression. However, it is not clear how these transitions are regulated in complex cell populations, in which cells receive multiple inputs. We address this issue using Dictyostelium cells undergoing development in their physiological niche. A continuous single cell transcriptomics time series identifies a sharp "jump" in global gene expression marking functionally different cell states. By simultaneously imaging the physiological dynamics of transcription and signalling, we show the jump coincides with the onset of collective oscillations of cAMP. Optogenetic control of cAMP pulses shows that different jump genes respond to distinct dynamic features of signalling. Late jump gene expression changes are almost completely dependent on cAMP, while transcript changes at the onset of the jump require additional input. The coupling of collective signalling with gene expression is a potentially powerful strategy to drive robust cell state transitions in heterogeneous signalling environments. Based on the context of the jump, we also conclude that sharp gene expression transitions may not be sufficient for commitment.
    Keywords:   in vivo imaging; Cell state transition; Collective behaviour; Excitable signalling; MS2 imaging; Optogenetics; Oscillation; Positive feedback; Stem cell niche; Transcriptional noise