bims-ectoca Biomed News
on Epigenetic control of tolerance in cancer
Issue of 2024‒03‒31
fifteen papers selected by
Ankita Daiya, BITS Pilani

  1. Nat Commun. 2024 Mar 27. 15(1): 2700
      Hyperactivation of YAP/TAZ, the Hippo pathway downstream effectors, is common in human cancer. The requirement of YAP/TAZ for cancer cell survival in preclinical models, prompted the development of pharmacological inhibitors that suppress their transcriptional activity. However, systemic YAP/TAZ inhibition may sometimes have unpredictable patient outcomes, with limited or even adverse effects because YAP/TAZ action is not simply tumor promoting but also tumor suppressive in some cell types. Here, we review the role of the Hippo pathway in distinct tumor cell populations, discuss the impact of inhibiting Hippo output on tumor growth, and examine current developments in YAP/TAZ inhibitors.
  2. Apoptosis. 2024 Mar 29.
      A number of studies have confirmed that Yes-associated protein (YAP)/transcriptional co-activator with PDZ-binding motif (TAZ)-transcriptional enhanced associate domain (TEAD) activity is the driver of cancer development. However, the role and mechanism of the YAP/TAZ-TEAD pathway in cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) remain to be clarified. Therefore, this study was designed to observe the effect of YAP/TAZ-TEAD activity on the development of CIN and provide new ideas for the diagnosis and treatment of CIN. Firstly, cervical tissues were collected from CIN patients in different stages [CIN grade 1 (CIN1) tissue, CIN grade 2/3 (CIN 2/3) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC)] and healthy volunteers. Next, the expression levels of YAP, TAZ and TEAD in cervical tissues and cells were observed by immunohistochemistry, qRT-PCR and western blot. Besides, Z172 and Z183 cells were transfected with siRNA-YAP/TAZ (si-YAP/TAZ) and YAP/TAZ overexpression vector (YAP-5SA). Also, Z172 cells were co-transfected with YAP-5SA and si-TEAD2/4. Subsequently, the stemness characteristics, glycolysis level and malignant transformation of cells in each group were observed by sphere-formation assay, commercial kit, MTT, Transwell, scratch experiment, xenotransplantation and western blot.The expression of YAP, TAZ and TEAD increased significantly in cervical cancer tissue and cell line at the stage of CIN2/3 and SCC. When YAP/TAZ was knocked down, the stemness characteristics, glycolysis level and malignant transformation of cancer cells were notably inhibited; while activating YAP/TAZ exhibited a completely opposite result. In addition, activating YAP/TAZ and knocking down the TEAD expression at the same time significant weakened the effect of activated YAP/TAZ signal on precancerous cells and reduced inhibitory effect of knocking down TEAD alone. YAP/TAZ-TEAD signal activates the characteristics and Warburg effect of cancer stem cells, thereby promoting the malignant transformation of CIN.
    Keywords:  Cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN); Characteristics of cancer stem cells; Transcriptional enhanced associate domain (TEAD); Warburg effect; Yes-associated protein (YAP)/transcriptional co-activator with PDZ-binding motif (TAZ)
  3. J Biol Chem. 2024 Mar 22. pii: S0021-9258(24)01707-1. [Epub ahead of print] 107212
      As an output effector of the Hippo signaling pathway, the TEAD transcription factor and co-activator YAP play crucial functions in promoting cell proliferation and organ size. The tumor suppressor NF2 has been shown to activate LATS1/2 kinases and interplay with the Hippo pathway to suppress the YAP-TEAD complex. However, whether and how NF2 could directly regulate TEAD remains unknown. We identified a direct link and physical interaction between NF2 and TEAD4. NF2 interacted with TEAD4 through its FERM domain and C-terminal tail and decreased the protein stability of TEAD4 independently of LATS1/2 and YAP. Furthermore, NF2 inhibited TEAD4 palmitoylation and induced the cytoplasmic translocation of TEAD4, resulting in ubiquitination and dysfunction of TEAD4. Moreover, the interaction with TEAD4 is required for NF2 function to suppress cell proliferation. These findings reveal an unanticipated role of NF2 as a binding partner and inhibitor of the transcription factor TEAD, shedding light on an alternative mechanism of how NF2 functions as a tumor suppressor through the Hippo signaling cascade.
    Keywords:  Hippo pathway; NF2; Palmitoylation; Protein‒protein interaction; TEAD4; Tumor suppressor
  4. Epigenetics Chromatin. 2024 Mar 25. 17(1): 8
      Chromatin state is thought to impart regulatory function to the underlying DNA sequence. This can be established through histone modifications and chromatin organisation, but exactly how these factors relate to one another to regulate gene expression is unclear. In this study, we have used super-resolution microscopy to image the Y loops of Drosophila melanogaster primary spermatocytes, which are enormous transcriptionally active chromatin fibres, each representing single transcription units that are individually resolvable in the nuclear interior. We previously found that the Y loops consist of regular clusters of nucleosomes, with an estimated median of 54 nucleosomes per cluster with wide variation.In this study, we report that the histone modifications H3K4me3, H3K27me3, and H3K36me3 are also clustered along the Y loops, with H3K4me3 more associated with diffuse chromatin compared to H3K27me3. These histone modifications form domains that can be stretches of Y loop chromatin micrometres long, or can be in short alternating domains. The different histone modifications are associated with different sizes of chromatin clusters and unique morphologies. Strikingly, a single chromatin cluster almost always only contains only one type of the histone modifications that were labelled, suggesting exclusivity, and therefore regulation at the level of individual chromatin clusters. The active mark H3K36me3 is more associated with actively elongating RNA polymerase II than H3K27me3, with polymerase often appearing on what are assumed to be looping regions on the periphery of chromatin clusters.These results provide a foundation for understanding the relationship between chromatin state, chromatin organisation, and transcription regulation - with potential implications for pause-release dynamics, splicing complex organisation and chromatin dynamics during polymerase progression along a gene.
    Keywords:  Chromatin; Epigenetic mark; Histone modification; Nucleosome; Nucleosome cluster; RNA polymerase II; Super-resolution microscopy; Transcription; Transcription loop
  5. Biomaterials. 2024 Mar 20. pii: S0142-9612(24)00076-0. [Epub ahead of print]308 122542
      Focal adhesions (FAs) are nanoscale complexes containing clustered integrin receptors and intracellular structural and signaling proteins that function as principal sites of mechanotransduction in part via promoting the nuclear translocation and activation of the transcriptional coactivator yes-associated protein (YAP). Knockdown of FA proteins such as focal adhesion kinase (FAK), talin, and vinculin can prevent YAP nuclear localization. However, the mechanism(s) of action remain poorly understood. Herein, we investigated the role of different functional domains in vinculin, talin, and FAK in regulating YAP nuclear localization. Using genetic or pharmacological inhibition of fibroblasts and human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) adhering to deformable substrates, we find that disruption of vinculin-talin binding versus talin-FAK binding reduces YAP nuclear localization and transcriptional activity via different mechanisms. Disruption of vinculin-talin binding or knockdown of talin-1 reduces nuclear size, traction forces, and YAP nuclear localization. In contrast, disruption of the talin binding site on FAK or elimination of FAK catalytic activity did not alter nuclear size yet still prevented YAP nuclear localization and activity. These data support both nuclear tension-dependent and independent models for matrix stiffness-regulated YAP nuclear localization. Our results highlight the importance of vinculin-talin-FAK interactions at FAs of adherent cells, controlling YAP nuclear localization and activity.
    Keywords:  Focal adhesion; Mechanotransduction; Micropillar array; Rigidity sensing
  6. Eur J Med Chem. 2024 Mar 16. pii: S0223-5234(24)00204-6. [Epub ahead of print]269 116324
      The development of cancer is influenced by several variables, including altered protein expression, and signaling pathways. Cancers are inherently heterogeneous and exhibit genetic and epigenetic aberrations; therefore, developing therapies that act on numerous biological targets is encouraged. To achieve this, two approaches are employed: combination therapy and dual/multiple targeting chemotherapeutics. Two enzymes, histone deacetylases (HDACs) and ribonucleotide reductase (RR), are crucial for several biological functions, including replication and repair of DNA, division of cells, transcription of genes, etc. However, it has been noted that different cancers exhibit abnormal functions of these enzymes. Potent inhibitors for each of these proteins have been extensively researched. Many medications based on these inhibitors have been successfully food and drug administration (FDA) approved, and the majority are undergoing various stages of clinical testing. This review discusses various studies of HDAC and RR inhibitors in combination therapy and dual-targeting chemotherapeutics.
    Keywords:  Anticancer; Combination therapy; Dual/multitargeting; HDAC; Inhibitors; RR
  7. Biomed Pharmacother. 2024 Mar 22. pii: S0753-3322(24)00316-0. [Epub ahead of print]174 116432
      Oxidative stress results from a persistent imbalance in oxidation levels that promotes oxidants, playing a crucial role in the early and sustained phases of DNA damage and genomic and epigenetic instability, both of which are intricately linked to the development of tumors. The molecular pathways contributing to carcinogenesis in this context, particularly those related to double-strand and single-strand breaks in DNA, serve as indicators of DNA damage due to oxidation in cancer cases, as well as factors contributing to epigenetic instability through ectopic expressions. Oxidative stress has been considered a therapeutic target for many years, and an increasing number of studies have highlighted the promising effectiveness of natural products in cancer treatment. In this regard, we present significant research on the therapeutic targeting of oxidative stress using natural molecules and underscore the essential role of oxidative stress in cancer. The consequences of stress, especially epigenetic instability, also offer significant therapeutic prospects. In this context, the use of natural epi-drugs capable of modulating and reorganizing the epigenetic network is beginning to emerge remarkably. In this review, we emphasize the close connections between oxidative stress, epigenetic instability, and tumor transformation, while highlighting the role of natural substances as antioxidants and epi-drugs in the anti-tumoral context.
    Keywords:  Cancer; epi-drugs; epigenomic instability; human and disease; natural compounds; oxidative stress
  8. Mol Biol Rep. 2024 Mar 29. 51(1): 467
      BACKGROUND: Osteosarcoma (OS) stands out as the most common bone tumor, with approximately 20% of the patients receiving a diagnosis of metastatic OS at their initial assessment. A significant challenge lies in the frequent existence of undetected metastases during the initial diagnosis. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) possess unique abilities that facilitate tumor growth, and their interaction with OS cells is crucial for metastatic spread.METHODS AND RESULTS: We demonstrated that, in vitro, MSCs exhibited a heightened migration response toward the secretome of non-metastatic OS cells. When challenged to a secretome derived from lungs preloaded with OS cells, MSCs exhibited greater migration toward lungs colonized with metastatic OS cells. Moreover, in vivo, MSCs displayed preferential migratory and homing behavior toward lungs colonized by metastatic OS cells. Metastatic OS cells, in turn, demonstrated an increased migratory response to the MSCs' secretome. This behavior was associated with heightened cathepsin D (CTSD) expression and the release of active metalloproteinase 2 (MMP2) by metastatic OS cells.
    CONCLUSIONS: Our assessment focused on two complementary tumor capabilities crucial to metastatic spread, emphasizing the significance of inherent cell features. The findings underscore the pivotal role of signaling integration within the niche, with a complex interplay of migratory responses among established OS cells in the lungs, prometastatic OS cells in the primary tumor, and circulating MSCs. Pulmonary metastases continue to be a significant factor contributing to OS mortality. Understanding these mechanisms and identifying differentially expressed genes is essential for pinpointing markers and targets to manage metastatic spread and improve outcomes for patients with OS.
    Keywords:  Invasion; Mesenchymal stem cells; Mesenchymal stromal cells; Metastasis; Migration; Osteosarcoma
  9. Int J Mol Sci. 2024 Mar 07. pii: 3103. [Epub ahead of print]25(6):
      Super-enhancers (SEs) are regions of the genome that play a crucial regulatory role in gene expression by promoting large-scale transcriptional responses in various cell types and tissues. Recent research suggests that alterations in super-enhancer activity can contribute to the development and progression of various disorders. The aim of this research is to explore the multifaceted roles of super-enhancers in gene regulation and their significant implications for understanding and treating complex diseases. Here, we study and summarise the classification of super-enhancer constituents, their possible modes of interaction, and cross-regulation, including super-enhancer RNAs (seRNAs). We try to investigate the opportunity of SE dynamics prediction based on the hierarchy of enhancer single elements (enhancers) and their aggregated action. To further our understanding, we conducted an in silico experiment to compare and differentiate between super-enhancers and locus-control regions (LCRs), shedding light on the enigmatic relationship between LCRs and SEs within the human genome. Particular attention is paid to the classification of specific mechanisms and their diversity, exemplified by various oncological, cardiovascular, and immunological diseases, as well as an overview of several anti-SE therapies. Overall, the work presents a comprehensive analysis of super-enhancers across different diseases, aiming to provide insights into their regulatory roles and may act as a rationale for future clinical interventions targeting these regulatory elements.
    Keywords:  chromatin interactions; chromatin structure regulation; dynamics; enhancers; locus-control regions; super-enhancers
  10. Front Biosci (Landmark Ed). 2024 Mar 21. 29(3): 120
      BACKGROUND: Osteosarcoma cells are prone to metastasis, and the mechanism of N6-methyladenosine (m6A) methylation modification in this process is still unclear. Methylation modification of m6A plays an important role in the development of osteosarcoma, which is mainly due to abnormal expression of enzymes related to methylation modification of m6A, which in turn leads to changes in the methylation level of downstream target genes messenger RNA (mRNA) leading to tumor development.METHODS: We analyzed the expression levels of m6A methylation modification-related enzyme genes in GSE12865 whole-genome sequencing data. And we used shRNA (short hairpin RNA) lentiviral interference to interfere with METTL3 (Methyltransferase 3) expression in osteosarcoma cells. We studied the cytological function of METTL3 by Cell Counting Kit-8 (CCK8), flow cytometry, migration and other experiments, and the molecular mechanism of METTL3 by RIP (RNA binding protein immunoprecipitation), Western blot and other experiments.
    RESULTS: We found that METTL3 is abnormally highly expressed in osteosarcoma and interferes with METTL3 expression in osteosarcoma cells to inhibit metastasis, proliferation, and apoptosis of osteosarcoma cells. We subsequently found that METTL3 binds to the mRNA of CBX4 (chromobox homolog 4), a very important regulatory protein in osteosarcoma metastasis, and METTL3 regulates the mRNA and protein expression of CBX4. Further studies revealed that METTL3 inhibited metastasis of osteosarcoma cells by regulating CBX4. METTL3 has been found to be involved in osteosarcoma cells metastasis by CBX4 affecting the protein expression of matrix metalloproteinase 2 (MMP2), MMP9, E-Cadherin and N-Cadherin associated with osteosarcoma cells metastasis.
    CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that the combined action of METTL3 and CBX4 plays an important role in the regulation of metastasis of osteosarcoma, and therefore, the METTL3-CBX4 axis pathway may be a new potential therapeutic target for osteosarcoma.
    Keywords:  CBX4; METTL3; m6A modification; metastasis; osteosarcoma
  11. Bioorg Med Chem Lett. 2024 Mar 22. pii: S0960-894X(24)00115-X. [Epub ahead of print]104 129713
      Basidalin, isolated from the basidiomycete Leucoagaricus naucina, has previously demonstrated antibacterial and antitumor properties against murine cancer cells in vivo, but its effects on human cancer cells remain unknown. In this study, we found that basidalin possesses antiproliferative activity against human cancer cell lines. To elucidate the antiproliferative mechanism of basidalin, we focused on autophagy. Treatment with basidalin led to an increase in LC3-II expression level, and accelerated autophagic flux through an mTOR-independent pathway. Moreover, according to the structure-activity relationship analysis-including newly synthesized basidalin analogs-the formyl group, not the amino group, contributes to the antiproliferative activities of basidalin against human cancer cells. Additionally, the antiproliferative activity of basidalin analogs was strongly correlated with autophagy-inducing activity, indicating that basidalin exhibits antiproliferative activity through autophagy induction. These data suggest that basidalin, characterized by its ability to upregulate autophagic flux, emerges as a novel anticancer drug.
    Keywords:  Antibiotic; Antiproliferative activity; Autophagy inducer; Basidalin; Structure–activity relationship; mTOR signal
  12. Free Radic Biol Med. 2024 Mar 23. pii: S0891-5849(24)00143-6. [Epub ahead of print]217 48-59
      The transcription factor NRF2 plays a pivotal role in maintaining redox and metabolic homeostasis by orchestrating oxidative stress-dependent transcription programs. Despite growing evidence implicating various cellular components in the regulation of NRF2 activity at the posttranslational stage, relatively less is known about the factors dictating the transcriptional activation of NRF2 in response to oxidative stress. In this study, we report the crucial roles of MLL1, an H3K4-specific methyltransferase, and UTX, an H3K27-specific histone demethylase, in the NRF2-dependent transcription program under oxidative stress. We find that the depletion of MLL1 or UTX results in increased susceptibility to oxidative stress, accompanied by higher intracellular ROS and the failed activation of antioxidant genes, including NRF2. In addition, MLL1 and UTX selectively target the NRF2 promoter, and exogenous FLAG-NRF2 expression increases the viability of MLL1-or UTX-depleted cells upon exposure to hydrogen peroxide. RNA-seq analysis demonstrates that depletion of MLL1 or UTX affects the changes in NRF2-dependent transcriptome in response to oxidative stress. Furthermore, ChIP and ChIP-seq analyses find that MLL1 and UTX functionally cooperate to establish a chromatin environment that favors active transcription at the H3K4me3/H3K27me3 bivalent NRF2 promoter in response to ROS-induced oxidative stress. Collectively, these findings provide a molecular mechanism underlying the cellular response to oxidative stress and highlight the importance of the chromatin structure and function in maintaining redox homeostasis.
    Keywords:  Histone modification; MLL1; NRF2; Oxidative stress; Redox homeostasis; UTX
  13. FEBS Open Bio. 2024 Mar 26.
      Drug repurposing is promising because approving a drug for a new indication requires fewer resources than approving a new drug. Signature reversion detects drug perturbations most inversely related to the disease-associated gene signature to identify drugs that may reverse that signature. We assessed the performance and biological relevance of three approaches for constructing disease-associated gene signatures (i.e., limma, DESeq2, and MultiPLIER) and prioritized the resulting drug repurposing candidates for four low-survival human cancers. Our results were enriched for candidates that had been used in clinical trials or performed well in the PRISM drug screen. Additionally, we found that pamidronate and nimodipine, drugs predicted to be efficacious against the brain tumor glioblastoma (GBM), inhibited the growth of a GBM cell line and cells isolated from a patient-derived xenograft (PDX). Our results demonstrate that by applying multiple disease-associated gene signature methods, we prioritized several drug repurposing candidates for low-survival cancers.
    Keywords:  cancer; drug repurposing; gene signature; glioblastoma; transcriptomic signature
  14. Trends Cancer. 2024 Mar 22. pii: S2405-8033(24)00050-5. [Epub ahead of print]
      Seeking to define early events that regulate disseminated tumor cell (DTC) fate upon their arrival to the lung, Jakab et al. reach the surprising conclusion that dormancy is determined by a cell autonomous poised epigenetic state that renders DTCs responsive to angiocrine Wnt signaling.
    Keywords:  Wnt; dormancy; epigenetics; metastasis; niche; plasticity
  15. Cancers (Basel). 2024 Mar 12. pii: 1131. [Epub ahead of print]16(6):
      The DEAD (Asp-Glu-Ala-Asp)-box helicase 3 X-linked (DDX3X) protein participates in many aspects of mRNA metabolism and stress granule (SG) formation. DDX3X has also been associated with signal transduction and cell cycle regulation that are important in maintaining cellular homeostasis. Malfunctions of DDX3X have been implicated in multiple cancers, including brain cancer, leukemia, prostate cancer, and head and neck cancer. Recently, literature has reported SG-associated cancer drug resistance, which correlates with a negative disease prognosis. Based on the connections between DDX3X, SG formation, and cancer pathology, targeting DDX3X may be a promising direction for cancer therapeutics development. In this review, we describe the biological functions of DDX3X in terms of mRNA metabolism, signal transduction, and cell cycle regulation. Furthermore, we summarize the contributions of DDX3X in SG formation and cellular stress adaptation. Finally, we discuss the relationships of DDX3X, SG, and cancer drug resistance, and discuss the current research progress of several DDX3X inhibitors for cancer treatment.
    Keywords:  DDX3X; castration resistance; double-negative prostate cancer; drug resistance; novel therapy; stress granule; translational repression