bims-pideca Biomed News
on Class IA PI3K signalling in development and cancer
Issue of 2021‒04‒11
nine papers selected by
Ralitsa Radostinova Madsen
University College London Cancer Institute

  1. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2021 Mar 16. pii: e2010206118. [Epub ahead of print]118(11):
      Interferonopathies, interferon (IFN)-α/β therapy, and caveolin-1 (CAV1) loss-of-function have all been associated with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). Here, CAV1-silenced primary human pulmonary artery endothelial cells (PAECs) were proliferative and hypermigratory, with reduced cytoskeletal stress fibers. Signal transducers and activators of transcription (STAT) and phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)/protein kinase B (AKT) were both constitutively activated in these cells, resulting in a type I IFN-biased inflammatory signature. Cav1 -/- mice that spontaneously develop pulmonary hypertension were found to have STAT1 and AKT activation in lung homogenates and increased circulating levels of CXCL10, a hallmark of IFN-mediated inflammation. PAH patients with CAV1 mutations also had elevated serum CXCL10 levels and their fibroblasts mirrored phenotypic and molecular features of CAV1-deficient PAECs. Moreover, immunofluorescence staining revealed endothelial CAV1 loss and STAT1 activation in the pulmonary arterioles of patients with idiopathic PAH, suggesting that this paradigm might not be limited to rare CAV1 frameshift mutations. While blocking JAK/STAT or AKT rescued aspects of CAV1 loss, only AKT inhibitors suppressed activation of both signaling pathways simultaneously. Silencing endothelial nitric oxide synthase (NOS3) prevented STAT1 and AKT activation induced by CAV1 loss, implicating CAV1/NOS3 uncoupling and NOS3 dysregulation in the inflammatory phenotype. Exogenous IFN reduced CAV1 expression, activated STAT1 and AKT, and altered the cytoskeleton of PAECs, implicating these mechanisms in PAH associated with autoimmune and autoinflammatory diseases, as well as IFN therapy. CAV1 insufficiency elicits an IFN inflammatory response that results in a dysfunctional endothelial cell phenotype and targeting this pathway may reduce pathologic vascular remodeling in PAH.
    Keywords:  caveolin-1; inflammation; interferon; pulmonary arterial hypertension; pulmonary artery endothelium
  2. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2021 Apr 08.
      The mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) is an important regulator of cellular metabolism that is commonly hyperactivated in cancer. Recent cancer genome screens have identified multiple mutations in Ras-homolog enriched in brain (Rheb), the primary activator of mTORC1 that might act as driver oncogenes by causing hyperactivation of mTORC1. Here, we show that a number of recurrently occurring Rheb mutants drive hyperactive mTORC1 signalling through differing levels of insensitivity to the primary inactivator of Rheb, tuberous sclerosis complex. We show that two activated mutants, Rheb-T23M and E40K, strongly drive increased cell growth, proliferation and anchorage-independent growth resulting in enhanced tumour growth in vivo. Proteomic analysis of cells expressing the mutations revealed, surprisingly, that these two mutants promote distinct oncogenic pathways with Rheb-T23M driving an increased rate of anaerobic glycolysis, while Rheb-E40K regulates the translation factor eEF2 and autophagy, likely through differential interactions with 5' AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) which modulate its activity. Our findings suggest that unique, personalized, combination therapies may be utilised to treat cancers according to which Rheb mutant they harbour.
    Keywords:  AMPK; PKM; Rheb; TSC; eEF2; mTOR
  3. NPJ Breast Cancer. 2021 Apr 09. 7(1): 40
      Dysregulation of PI3K/Akt signaling is a dominant feature in basal-like or triple-negative breast cancers (TNBC). However, the mechanisms regulating this pathway are largely unknown in this subset of aggressive tumors. Here we demonstrate that the transcription factor SOX4 is a key regulator of PI3K signaling in TNBC. Genomic and proteomic analyses coupled with mechanistic studies identified TGFBR2 as a direct transcriptional target of SOX4 and demonstrated that TGFBR2 is required to mediate SOX4-dependent PI3K signaling. We further report that SOX4 and the SWI/SNF ATPase SMARCA4, which are uniformly overexpressed in basal-like tumors, form a previously unreported complex that is required to maintain an open chromatin conformation at the TGFBR2 regulatory regions in order to mediate TGFBR2 expression and PI3K signaling. Collectively, our findings delineate the mechanism by which SOX4 and SMARCA4 cooperatively regulate PI3K/Akt signaling and suggest that this complex may play an essential role in TNBC genesis and/or progression.
  4. Genet Med. 2021 Apr 08.
      PURPOSE: Hypomelanosis of Ito (HI) is a skin marker of somatic mosaicism. Mosaic MTOR pathogenic variants have been reported in HI with brain overgrowth. We sought to delineate further the pigmentary skin phenotype and clinical spectrum of neurodevelopmental manifestations of MTOR-related HI.METHODS: From two cohorts totaling 71 patients with pigmentary mosaicism, we identified 14 patients with Blaschko-linear and one with flag-like pigmentation abnormalities, psychomotor impairment or seizures, and a postzygotic MTOR variant in skin. Patient records, including brain magnetic resonance image (MRI) were reviewed. Immunostaining (n = 3) for melanocyte markers and ultrastructural studies (n = 2) were performed on skin biopsies.
    RESULTS: MTOR variants were present in skin, but absent from blood in half of cases. In a patient (p.[Glu2419Lys] variant), phosphorylation of p70S6K was constitutively increased. In hypopigmented skin of two patients, we found a decrease in stage 4 melanosomes in melanocytes and keratinocytes. Most patients (80%) had macrocephaly or (hemi)megalencephaly on MRI.
    CONCLUSION: MTOR-related HI is a recognizable neurocutaneous phenotype of patterned dyspigmentation, epilepsy, intellectual deficiency, and brain overgrowth, and a distinct subtype of hypomelanosis related to somatic mosaicism. Hypopigmentation may be due to a defect in melanogenesis, through mTORC1 activation, similar to hypochromic patches in tuberous sclerosis complex.
  5. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2021 Apr 08.
      Class I PI3K are heterodimers composed of a p85 regulatory subunit and a p110 catalytic subunit involved in multiple cellular functions. Recently, the catalytic subunit p110β has emerged as a class I PI3K isoform playing a major role in tumorigenesis. Understanding its regulation is crucial for the control of the PI3K pathway in p110β-driven cancers. Here we sought to evaluate the putative regulation of p110β by SUMO. Our data show that p110β can be modified by SUMO1 and SUMO2 in vitro, in transfected cells and under completely endogenous conditions, supporting the physiological relevance of p110β SUMOylation. We identify lysine residue 952, located at the activation loop of p110β, as essential for SUMOylation. SUMOylation of p110β stabilizes the protein increasing its activation of AKT which promotes cell growth and oncogenic transformation. Finally, we show that the regulatory subunit p85β counteracts the conjugation of SUMO to p110β. In summary, our data reveal that SUMO is a novel p110β interacting partner with a positive effect on the activation of the PI3K pathway.
    Keywords:  SUMO; Stability; Transformation; p110β; p85β
  6. FEBS J. 2021 Apr 09.
      Three-dimensional (3D) cultures of cancer cells in liquid without extracellular matrix (ECM) offers in vitro models for metastasising conditions such as those in vessels and effusion. However, liquid culturing is often hindered by cell adhesiveness, which causes large cell clumps. We previously described a liquid culture material, LA717, which prevents non-clonal cell adhesion and subsequent clumping, thus allowing clonal growth of spheroids in an anchorage-independent manner. Here, we examined such liquid culture cancer spheroids for the acquisition of apical-basal polarity, sensitivity to an Akt inhibitor (anticancer drug MK-2206) and interaction with ECM. The spheroids present apical plasma membrane on the surface, which originated from the failure of polarisation at the single-cell stage and subsequent defects in phosphorylated Ezrin accumulation at the cell boundary during the first cleavage, failing internal lumen formation. At the multi-cellular stage, liquid culture spheroids presented bleb-like protrusion on the surface, which was enhanced by activation of the PI3K/Akt pathway and reduced by PI3K/Akt inhibitors. Liquid culture spheroids exhibited slow proliferation speed and low endogenous pAkt levels compared to gel-cultured spheroids and 2D-cultured cells, explaining the susceptibility to the Akt-inhibiting anticancer drug. Subcutaneous xenografting and in vitro analysis demonstrated low viability and adhesive property of liquid culture spheroids to ECM, while migratory and invasive capacities were comparable with gel-cultured spheroids. These features agree with the low efficacy of circulating tumour spheroids in the settling step of metastasis. This study demonstrates the feature of anchorage-independent spheroids and validates liquid cultures as a useful method in cancer spheroid research.
    Keywords:  3D culture; anchorage-independent; apical-basal polarity; cancer; spheroid
  7. Hum Mol Genet. 2021 Apr 02. pii: ddab094. [Epub ahead of print]
      BACKGROUND: Ultrarare genetic disorders can provide proof of concept for efficacy of targeted therapeutics and reveal pathogenic mechanisms relevant to more common conditions. Juvenile polyposis of infancy (JPI) is caused by microdeletions in chromosome 10 that result in haploinsufficiency of two tumor suppressor genes: phosphatase and tensin homolog deleted on chromosome 10 (PTEN) and bone morphogenetic protein receptor, type IA (BMPR1A). Loss of PTEN and BMPR1A results in a much more severe phenotype then deletion of either gene alone, with infantile onset pan-enteric polyposis and a high mortality rate. No effective pharmacological therapy exists.METHODS: A multi-center cohort analysis was performed to characterize phenotype and investigate the therapeutic effect of mTOR inhibition (adverse events, disease progression, time to colectomy, and mortality) in patients with JPI.
    RESULTS: Among 25 JPI patients identified (mean age of onset 13 months), seven received mTOR inhibitors (Everolimus n = 2 or Sirolimus n = 5). Treatment with an mTOR inhibitor reduced the risk of colectomy (hazard ratio 0.27, 95% CI 0.07-0.954, p = 0.042) and resulted in significant improvements in serum albumin level (mean increase 16.3 g/L, p = 0.0003) and hemoglobin (mean increase 2.68 g/dL, p = 0.0077). Long-term mTOR inhibitor treatment was well tolerated over an accumulated follow-up time of 29.8 patient years. No serious adverse events were reported.
    CONCLUSION: Early therapy with mTOR inhibitors offers effective, pathway-specific, personalized treatment for patients with JPI. Inhibition of the PI3K-AKT-mTOR pathway mitigates the detrimental synergistic effects of combined PTEN-BMPR1A deletion. This is the first effective pharmacological treatment identified for a hamartomatous polyposis syndrome.
  8. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2021 Apr 01. pii: S0006-291X(21)00472-1. [Epub ahead of print]555 81-88
      Defects in PTEN, a critical tumor suppressor, are associated with tumorigenesis and aberrant organ sizes. It has been shown that heterozygous PTEN loss increases brains and neuron size, while the specific loss of nuclear PTEN has the opposite effect. Here, we investigate the impact of a combination of heterozygous PTEN loss and nuclear PTEN loss on the size of various organs, including the brain, liver, thymus, spleen, and inguinal lymph node. We found that the effect of the combination varies among organs. Notably, the combination of heterozygous PTEN loss and nuclear PTEN loss restored the normal size of brains and neurons. In contrast, the liver's size was unaffected by either single PTEN defects or their combination. Strikingly, the size of the inguinal lymph node was greatly increased due to lymphoma by the combination of the two PTEN defects. These data suggest that nuclear PTEN and non-nuclear PTEN function in an antagonistic manner in the brain while acting synergistically in the inguinal lymph node.
    Keywords:  Brain; Lymph node; Lymphoma; Neuron; Nuclear PTEN; PTEN
  9. Nature. 2021 Apr 07.
      Cancer cells characteristically consume glucose through Warburg metabolism1, a process that forms the basis of tumour imaging by positron emission tomography (PET). Tumour-infiltrating immune cells also rely on glucose, and impaired immune cell metabolism in the tumour microenvironment (TME) contributes to immune evasion by tumour cells2-4. However, whether the metabolism of immune cells is dysregulated in the TME by cell-intrinsic programs or by competition with cancer cells for limited nutrients remains unclear. Here we used PET tracers to measure the access to and uptake of glucose and glutamine by specific cell subsets in the TME. Notably, myeloid cells had the greatest capacity to take up intratumoral glucose, followed by T cells and cancer cells, across a range of cancer models. By contrast, cancer cells showed the highest uptake of glutamine. This distinct nutrient partitioning was programmed in a cell-intrinsic manner through mTORC1 signalling and the expression of genes related to the metabolism of glucose and glutamine. Inhibiting glutamine uptake enhanced glucose uptake across tumour-resident cell types, showing that glutamine metabolism suppresses glucose uptake without glucose being a limiting factor in the TME. Thus, cell-intrinsic programs drive the preferential acquisition of glucose and glutamine by immune and cancer cells, respectively. Cell-selective partitioning of these nutrients could be exploited to develop therapies and imaging strategies to enhance or monitor the metabolic programs and activities of specific cell populations in the TME.