bims-pideca Biomed News
on Class IA PI3K signalling in development and cancer
Issue of 2019‒10‒13
sixteen papers selected by
Ralitsa Radostinova Madsen
University College London Cancer Institute

  1. Mol Oncol. 2019 Oct 10.
      Recurrence and metastasis are the major causes of mortality in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). It is suggested that cancer stem cells (CSCs) play pivotal roles in recurrence and metastasis. Thus, a greater understanding of the mechanisms of CSC regulation may provide opportunities to develop novel therapies for improving survival by controlling recurrence or metastasis. Here, we report that overexpression of PIK3CA, the most frequently amplified oncogene in HNSCC, promotes epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and enriches the CSC population. However, PIK3CA is not required to maintain these traits and inhibition of the PI3K signaling pathway paradoxically promotes CSC population. Molecular analysis revealed that overexpression of PIK3CA activates multiple receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs), in which ephrin receptors (Ephs), tropomyosin receptor kinases (TRK) and mast/stem cell growth factor receptor (c-Kit) contribute to maintain CSC population. Accordingly, simultaneous inhibition of these RTKs using a multi-kinase inhibitor ponatinib has a superior effect at eliminating the CSC population and reduces metastasis of PIK3CA-overexpressing HNSCC cells. Our result suggests that co-targeting of Ephs, TRKs and the c-Kit pathway may be effective at eliminating the PI3K-independent CSC population, thereby providing potential targets for future development of a novel anti-CSC therapeutic approach for HNSCC patients, and particularly for patients with PIK3CA amplification.
    Keywords:   PIK3CA ; HNSCC; cancer stem cell; ponatinib; recurrence and metastasis
  2. Genetics. 2019 Oct;213(2): 329-360
      The Target of Rapamycin (TOR or mTOR) is a serine/threonine kinase that regulates growth, development, and behaviors by modulating protein synthesis, autophagy, and multiple other cellular processes in response to changes in nutrients and other cues. Over recent years, TOR has been studied intensively in mammalian cell culture and genetic systems because of its importance in growth, metabolism, cancer, and aging. Through its advantages for unbiased, and high-throughput, genetic and in vivo studies, Caenorhabditis elegans has made major contributions to our understanding of TOR biology. Genetic analyses in the worm have revealed unexpected aspects of TOR functions and regulation, and have the potential to further expand our understanding of how growth and metabolic regulation influence development. In the aging field, C. elegans has played a leading role in revealing the promise of TOR inhibition as a strategy for extending life span, and identifying mechanisms that function upstream and downstream of TOR to influence aging. Here, we review the state of the TOR field in C. elegans, and focus on what we have learned about its functions in development, metabolism, and aging. We discuss knowledge gaps, including the potential pitfalls in translating findings back and forth across organisms, but also describe how TOR is important for C. elegans biology, and how C. elegans work has developed paradigms of great importance for the broader TOR field.
    Keywords:  Caenorhabditis elegans development; DAF-15; NPRL-2; NPRL-3; Nprl2; Nprl3; RAGA-1; RSKS-1; RagA; RagC; Raptor; Rheb; Rheb-1; Rictor; S6 kinase; TOR; TORC1; TORC2; WormBook; aging; growth regulation; metabolism; nutrient signaling; sphingolipid
  3. Nat Commun. 2019 Oct 08. 10(1): 4567
      Type 1 insulin-like growth factor receptor (IGF1R) is a receptor tyrosine kinase that regulates cell growth and proliferation, and can be activated by IGF1, IGF2, and insulin. Here, we report the cryo-EM structure of full-length IGF1R-IGF1 complex in the active state. This structure reveals that only one IGF1 molecule binds the Γ-shaped asymmetric IGF1R dimer. The IGF1-binding site is formed by the L1 and CR domains of one IGF1R protomer and the α-CT and FnIII-1 domains of the other. The liganded α-CT forms a rigid beam-like structure with the unliganded α-CT, which hinders the conformational change of the unliganded α-CT required for binding of a second IGF1 molecule. We further identify an L1-FnIII-2 interaction that mediates the dimerization of membrane-proximal domains of IGF1R. This interaction is required for optimal receptor activation. Our study identifies a source of the negative cooperativity in IGF1 binding to IGF1R and reveals the structural basis of IGF1R activation.
  4. Clin Cancer Res. 2019 Oct 09. pii: clincanres.1063.2019. [Epub ahead of print]
      PURPOSE: Head and neck cancer (HNC) is the sixth most common cancer worldwide with a 5-year survival rate of less than 50%. The PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling pathway is frequently implicated in HNC. Recently, IQmotif-containing GTPase activating protein 1 (IQGAP1) was discovered to scaffold the PI3K/AKT signaling pathway. IQGAP1gene expression is increased in HNC, raising the hypothesis that IQGAP1 contributes to HNC.EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: We performed a combination of in vitrostudies using human cancer cell lines treated with a cell permeable peptide that interferes with IQGAP1's ability to bind to PI3K, and in vivostudies utilizing mice genetically knocked out for the Iqgap1(Iqgap1-/- ). In vivoEGF-stimulation assays were used to evaluate PI3K signaling. To study the role of IQGAP1 in HNC, we used a well-validated mouse model that drives HNC via a synthetic oral carcinogen, 4-nitroquinoline 1-oxide (4NQO).
    RESULTS: IQGAP1 is necessary for efficient PI3K signaling in vitroand in vivo Disruption of IQGAP1-scaffolded PI3K/AKT signaling reduced HNC cell survival. Iqgap1-/- mice had significantly lower cancer incidences, lesser disease severity and fewer cancer foci. IQGAP1 protein levels were increased in HNC arising in Iqgap1+/+ mice. The level of PI3K signaling in 4NQO-induced HNC arising in Iqgap1-/- mice was significantly reduced, consistent with the hypothesis that IQGAP1 contributes to HNC at least partly through PI3K signaling. High IQGAP1 expression correlated with reduced survival, and high pS6 levels correlated with high IQGAP1 levels in HNC patients.
    CONCLUSIONS: These data demonstrate that IQGAP1 contributes to head and neck carcinogenesis.
  5. Mol Cell. 2019 Sep 24. pii: S1097-2765(19)30693-8. [Epub ahead of print]
      Deregulated cell proliferation is an established feature of cancer, and altered tumor metabolism has witnessed renewed interest over the past decade, including the study of how cancer cells rewire metabolic pathways to renew energy sources and "building blocks" that sustain cell division. Microenvironmental oxygen, glucose, and glutamine are regarded as principal nutrients fueling tumor growth. However, hostile tumor microenvironments render O2/nutrient supplies chronically insufficient for increased proliferation rates, forcing cancer cells to develop strategies for opportunistic modes of nutrient acquisition. Recent work shows that cancer cells overcome this nutrient scarcity by scavenging other substrates, such as proteins and lipids, or utilizing adaptive metabolic pathways. As such, reprogramming lipid metabolism plays important roles in providing energy, macromolecules for membrane synthesis, and lipid-mediated signaling during cancer progression. In this review, we highlight more recently appreciated roles for lipids, particularly cholesterol and its derivatives, in cancer cell metabolism within intrinsically harsh tumor microenvironments.
    Keywords:  bile acids; cancer; cholesterol; lipids; metabolism; oxysterols
  6. J Neurosci. 2019 Oct 07. pii: 0642-19. [Epub ahead of print]
      Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC) is a genetic disorder caused by mutations in TSC1 or TSC2, and patients frequently have epilepsy, autism spectrum disorder, and/or intellectual disability, as well as other systemic manifestations. In this study, we differentiated human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from a female patient with TSC with one or two mutations in TSC2 into neurons using induced expression of NGN2 to examine neuronal dysregulation associated with the neurological symptoms in TSC. Using this method, neuronal differentiation was comparable between the three genotypes of iPSCs. We observed that TSC2+/- neurons show mTORC1 hyperactivation and associated increased cell body size and process outgrowth, as well as exacerbation of the abnormalities by loss of the second allele of TSC2 in TSC2-/- neurons. Interestingly, iPSC-derived neurons with either a single or biallelic mutation in TSC2 demonstrated hypersynchrony and down-regulation of FMRP targets. However, only neurons with biallelic mutations of TSC2 demonstrated hyperactivity and transcriptional dysregulation observed in cortical tubers. These data demonstrate that loss of one allele of TSC2 is sufficient to cause some morphological and physiological changes in human neurons but that biallelic mutations in TSC2 are necessary to induce gene expression dysregulation present in cortical tubers. Finally, we found that treatment of iPSC-derived neurons with rapamycin reduced neuronal activity and partially reversed gene expression abnormalities, demonstrating that mTOR dysregulation contributes to both phenotypes. Therefore, biallelic mutations in TSC2 and associated molecular dysfunction, including mTOR hyperactivation, may play a role in the development of cortical tubers.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENTIn this study, we examined neurons derived from iPSCs with two, one, or no functional TSC2 alleles, and we found that loss of one or both alleles of TSC2 results in mTORC1 hyperactivation and specific neuronal abnormalities. However, only biallelic mutations in TSC2 resulted in elevated neuronal activity and up-regulation of cell adhesion genes that is also observed in cortical tubers. These data suggest that loss of heterozygosity of TSC1 or TSC2 may play an important role in the development of cortical tubers and, potentially epilepsy, in patients with TSC.
  7. Science. 2019 Oct 10. pii: eaay0166. [Epub ahead of print]
      The mTORC1 protein kinase regulates growth in response to nutrients and growth factors. Nutrients promote its translocation to the lysosomal surface, where its Raptor subunit interacts with the Rag GTPase-Ragulator complex. Nutrients switch the heterodimeric Rag GTPases between four different nucleotide binding states, only one of which (RagA/B•GTP-RagC/D•GDP) permits mTORC1 association. We determined the structure of the supercomplex of Raptor with Rag-Ragulator to 3.2 Å resolution by cryo-electron microscopy. The Raptor α-solenoid directly detects the nucleotide state of RagA, while the Raptor "claw" threads between the GTPase domains to detect that of RagC. Mutations that disrupt Rag-Raptor binding inhibit mTORC1 lysosomal localization and signaling. By comparison with a structure of mTORC1 bound to its activator Rheb, we develop a model of active mTORC1 docked on the lysosome.
  8. Nat Commun. 2019 Oct 11. 10(1): 4623
      Reactive oxygen species (ROS) act as intracellular compartmentalized second messengers, mediating metabolic stress-adaptation. In skeletal muscle fibers, ROS have been suggested to stimulate glucose transporter 4 (GLUT4)-dependent glucose transport during artificially evoked contraction ex vivo, but whether myocellular ROS production is stimulated by in vivo exercise to control metabolism is unclear. Here, we combined exercise in humans and mice with fluorescent dyes, genetically-encoded biosensors, and NADPH oxidase 2 (NOX2) loss-of-function models to demonstrate that NOX2 is the main source of cytosolic ROS during moderate-intensity exercise in skeletal muscle. Furthermore, two NOX2 loss-of-function mouse models lacking either p47phox or Rac1 presented striking phenotypic similarities, including greatly reduced exercise-stimulated glucose uptake and GLUT4 translocation. These findings indicate that NOX2 is a major myocellular ROS source, regulating glucose transport capacity during moderate-intensity exercise.
  9. Pediatr Endocrinol Rev. 2019 Sep;17(1): 4-16
      Growth hormone (GH) is a pleiotropic hormone that coordinates an array of physiological processes including growth and metabolism. GH promotes anabolic action in all tissues except adipose, where it catabolizes stored fat to release energy for the promotion of growth in other tissues. However, chronic stimulation of lipolysis by GH results in an increased flux of free fatty acids (FFAs) into systemic circulation. Hence, a sustained release of high levels of GH contributes significantly to the development of insulin resistance by antagonizing the anti-lipolytic action of insulin. The molecular pathways associated with the lipolytic effect of GH in adipose tissue however, remain elusive. Recent studies have provided molecular insights into GH-induced lipolysis and impairment of insulin signaling. This review discusses the physiological and metabolic actions of GH on adipose tissue as well as GH-mediated deregulation of the FSP27-PPARγ axis which alters adipose tissue homeostasis and contributes to the development of insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes.
    Keywords:  AKT; CIDEC; FSP27; Fat metabolism; Growth hormone; Insulin resistance; Lipid droplets; Metabolic disease; PPARγ; Type 2 diabetes
  10. Cell Rep. 2019 Oct 08. pii: S2211-1247(19)31151-9. [Epub ahead of print]29(2): 495-510.e6
      Technological improvements enable single-cell epigenetic analyses of organ development. We reasoned that high-resolution single-cell chromatin accessibility mapping would provide needed insight into the epigenetic reprogramming and transcriptional regulators involved in normal mammary gland development. Here, we provide a single-cell resource of chromatin accessibility for murine mammary development from the peak of fetal mammary stem cell (fMaSC) functional activity in late embryogenesis to the differentiation of adult basal and luminal cells. We find that the chromatin landscape within individual cells predicts both gene accessibility and transcription factor activity. The ability of single-cell chromatin profiling to separate E18 fetal mammary cells into clusters exhibiting basal-like and luminal-like chromatin features is noteworthy. Such distinctions were not evident in analyses of droplet-based single-cell transcriptomic data. We present a web application as a scientific resource for facilitating future analyses of the gene regulatory networks involved in mammary development.
    Keywords:  ATAC-seq; chromatin profiling; differentiation trajectory; lineage relationships; mammary gland; mammary gland development; pseudotime ordering; single cell; snATAC-seq; transcription factor dynamics
  11. Science. 2019 Oct 11. 366(6462): 203-210
      The Rag guanosine triphosphatases (GTPases) recruit the master kinase mTORC1 to lysosomes to regulate cell growth and proliferation in response to amino acid availability. The nucleotide state of Rag heterodimers is critical for their association with mTORC1. Our cryo-electron microscopy structure of RagA/RagC in complex with mTORC1 shows the details of RagA/RagC binding to the RAPTOR subunit of mTORC1 and explains why only the RagAGTP/RagCGDP nucleotide state binds mTORC1. Previous kinetic studies suggested that GTP binding to one Rag locks the heterodimer to prevent GTP binding to the other. Our crystal structures and dynamics of RagA/RagC show the mechanism for this locking and explain how oncogenic hotspot mutations disrupt this process. In contrast to allosteric activation by RHEB, Rag heterodimer binding does not change mTORC1 conformation and activates mTORC1 by targeting it to lysosomes.
  12. Mol Hum Reprod. 2019 Oct 07. pii: gaz053. [Epub ahead of print]
      The reproductive lifespan of a woman is determined by the gradual recruitment of quiescent follicles into the growing pool. In humans, ovarian tissue removal from its in-vivo environment induces spontaneous activation of resting follicles. Similarly, pharmacological activation of the PI3K/Akt pathway leads to accelerated follicle recruitment, but has been associated with follicular damage. Recent findings demonstrate that everolimus (EVE), an mTORC1 inhibitor, limits primordial follicle activation. However, its potential benefit regarding growing follicle integrity remains unexplored. Ovarian cortical fragments were exposed to ± EVE for 24h and cultured for an additional 5 days. After 0, 1 and 6 days of culture, fragments were either processed for ultrastructural analysis or subjected to follicular isolation for gene expression and immunofluorescence assessments. Data from transmission electron microscopy showed that growing follicles displayed similar ultrastructural features irrespective of the conditions and maintained close contacts between germinal and stromal compartments. Establishment of intra-follicular communication was confirmed by detection of a gap junction component, Cx43, in both groups throughout culture, whereas transzonal projections, which physically link granulosa cells to oocyte, formed later in EVE-treated follicles. Importantly, levels of Gja1 mRNA, encoding for the Cx43 protein, significantly increased from day 0 to day 1 in the EVE group, but not in the control group. Given that EVE-treated follicles were smaller than controls, these findings suggest that EVE might facilitate the establishment of appropriate intercellular communications without impairing follicle ultrastructure. Therefore, mTORC1 inhibitors might represent an attractive tool to delay the culture-induced primordial follicle activation while maintaining follicles in a functionally integrated state.
    Keywords:  RAD001; everolimus; fertility preservation; ovary; primordial follicle activation
  13. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2019 Oct 07. pii: 201911612. [Epub ahead of print]
      Autophagy induction by starvation and stress involves the enzymatic activation of the class III phosphatidylinositol (PI) 3-kinase complex I (PI3KC3-C1). The inactive basal state of PI3KC3-C1 is maintained by inhibitory contacts between the VPS15 protein kinase and VPS34 lipid kinase domains that restrict the conformation of the VPS34 activation loop. Here, the proautophagic MIT domain-containing protein NRBF2 was used to map the structural changes leading to activation. Cryoelectron microscopy was used to visualize a 2-step PI3KC3-C1 activation pathway driven by NRFB2 MIT domain binding. Binding of a single NRBF2 MIT domain bends the helical solenoid of the VPS15 scaffold, displaces the protein kinase domain of VPS15, and releases the VPS34 kinase domain from the inhibited conformation. Binding of a second MIT stabilizes the VPS34 lipid kinase domain in an active conformation that has an unrestricted activation loop and is poised for access to membranes.
    Keywords:  autophagy; cryo-EM; lipid kinase
  14. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2019 Oct 08.
      A high fat diet (HFD) can rapidly recruit neutrophils to insulin target tissues and within days induce microvascular insulin resistance (IR). Myeloperoxidase (MPO) is highly enriched in neutrophils, can inhibit nitric oxide mediated vaso-relaxation in vitro and is associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk. AZD5904 irreversibly inhibits MPO and is in human clinical trials. MPO knockout, or chemical inhibition, blunts HFD induced metabolic IR in mice. Whether MPO affects microvascular IR or muscle metabolic insulin sensitivity in vivo is unknown. We used contrast-enhanced ultrasound and the euglycemic insulin clamp to test whether inhibiting MPO could prevent the development or reverse established HFD-induced metabolic and/or microvascular IR in Sprague-Dawley rats. Two weeks of HFD feeding blocked insulin-mediated skeletal muscle capillary recruitment, inhibited glucose utilization, and insulin signaling to muscle. Continuous subcutaneous AZD5904 infusion during the two weeks selectively blocked HFD's microvascular effect. Furthermore, AZD5904 infusion during the last 2 of 4 weeks of HFD feeding restored microvascular insulin sensitivity but not metabolic IR. We conclude that inhibiting MPO selectively improves vascular IR. This selective microvascular effect may connote a therapeutic potential for MPO inhibition in the prevention of vascular disease/dysfunction seen in IR humans.
    Keywords:  high fat diet; insulin resistance; microvascular; muscle; myleperoxidase
  15. Cancer Discov. 2019 Oct 08. pii: CD-18-0830. [Epub ahead of print]
      The combination of CDK4/6 inhibitors with anti-estrogen therapies significantly improves clinical outcomes in ER-positive advanced breast cancer. To identify mechanisms of acquired resistance, we analyzed serial biopsies and rapid autopsies from patients treated with the combination of the CDK4/6 inhibitor ribociclib with letrozole. This study revealed that some resistant tumors acquired RB loss, whereas other tumors lost PTEN expression at the time of progression. In breast cancer cells ablation of PTEN, through increased AKT activation, was sufficient to promote resistance to CDK4/6 inhibition in vitro and in vivo. Mechanistically, PTEN loss resulted in exclusion of p27 from the nucleus, leading to increased activation of both CDK4 and CDK2. Since PTEN loss also causes resistance to PI3Kalpha-inhibitors, currently approved in the post-CDK4/6 setting, these findings provide critical insight into how this single genetic event may cause clinical cross-resistance to multiple targeted therapies in the same patient, with implications for optimal treatment sequencing strategies.
  16. Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2019 Oct 10.
      The success of targeted therapies in cancer treatment has been impeded by various mechanisms of resistance. Besides the acquisition of resistance-conferring genetic mutations, reversible mechanisms that lead to drug tolerance have emerged. Plasticity in tumour cells drives their transformation towards a phenotypic state that no longer depends on the drug-targeted pathway. These drug-refractory cells constitute a pool of slow-cycling cells that can either regain drug sensitivity upon treatment discontinuation or acquire permanent resistance to therapy and drive relapse. In the past few years, cell plasticity has emerged as a mode of targeted therapy evasion in various cancers, ranging from prostate and lung adenocarcinoma to melanoma and basal cell carcinoma. Our understanding of the mechanisms that control this phenotypic switch has also expanded, revealing the crucial role of reprogramming factors and chromatin remodelling. Further deciphering the molecular basis of tumour cell plasticity has the potential to contribute to new therapeutic strategies which, combined with existing anticancer treatments, could lead to deeper and longer-lasting clinical responses.