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Find video protocols related to scientific articles indexed in Pubmed.
Long-range enhancer activity determines Myc sensitivity to Notch inhibitors in T cell leukemia.
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.
PUBLISHED: 11-04-2014
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Notch is needed for T-cell development and is a common oncogenic driver in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The protooncogene c-Myc (Myc) is a critical target of Notch in normal and malignant pre-T cells, but how Notch regulates Myc is unknown. Here, we identify a distal enhancer located >1 Mb 3' of human and murine Myc that binds Notch transcription complexes and physically interacts with the Myc proximal promoter. The Notch1 binding element in this region activates reporter genes in a Notch-dependent, cell-context-specific fashion that requires a conserved Notch complex binding site. Acute changes in Notch activation produce rapid changes in H3K27 acetylation across the entire enhancer (a region spanning >600 kb) that correlate with Myc expression. This broad Notch-influenced region comprises an enhancer region containing multiple domains, recognizable as discrete H3K27 acetylation peaks. Leukemia cells selected for resistance to Notch inhibitors express Myc despite epigenetic silencing of enhancer domains near the Notch transcription complex binding sites. Notch-independent expression of Myc in resistant cells is highly sensitive to inhibitors of bromodomain containing 4 (Brd4), a change in drug sensitivity that is accompanied by preferential association of the Myc promoter with more 3' enhancer domains that are strongly dependent on Brd4 for function. These findings indicate that altered long-range enhancer activity can mediate resistance to targeted therapies and provide a mechanistic rationale for combined targeting of Notch and Brd4 in leukemia.
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Discovery of biomarkers predictive of GSI response in triple-negative breast cancer and adenoid cystic carcinoma.
Cancer Discov
PUBLISHED: 08-07-2014
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Next-generation sequencing was used to identify Notch mutations in a large collection of diverse solid tumors. NOTCH1 and NOTCH2 rearrangements leading to constitutive receptor activation were confined to triple-negative breast cancers (TNBC; 6 of 66 tumors). TNBC cell lines with NOTCH1 rearrangements associated with high levels of activated NOTCH1 (N1-ICD) were sensitive to the gamma-secretase inhibitor (GSI) MRK-003, both alone and in combination with paclitaxel, in vitro and in vivo, whereas cell lines with NOTCH2 rearrangements were resistant to GSI. Immunohistochemical staining of N1-ICD in TNBC xenografts correlated with responsiveness, and expression levels of the direct Notch target gene HES4 correlated with outcome in patients with TNBC. Activating NOTCH1 point mutations were also identified in other solid tumors, including adenoid cystic carcinoma (ACC). Notably, ACC primary tumor xenografts with activating NOTCH1 mutations and high N1-ICD levels were sensitive to GSI, whereas N1-ICD-low tumors without NOTCH1 mutations were resistant.
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Application and evaluation of anti-Notch antibodies to modulate Notch signaling.
Methods Mol. Biol.
PUBLISHED: 07-24-2014
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In recent years, several groups have reported the development of antibodies that inhibit or activate Notch signaling. Modulatory antibodies are valuable experimental tools that permit specific targeting of individual Notch receptor homologs (in contrast to pan-Notch-receptor inhibitors like gamma-secretase inhibitors), and show promise as therapeutic agents. Typically, Notch responsive luciferase reporter assays are used to validate and characterize modulatory antibodies. We describe detailed methods for performing dual luciferase-based signaling assays to read out modulation of Notch activity by antibodies designed to inhibit/activate signaling.
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Cyclin C is a haploinsufficient tumour suppressor.
Nat. Cell Biol.
PUBLISHED: 06-19-2014
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Cyclin C was cloned as a growth-promoting G1 cyclin, and was also shown to regulate gene transcription. Here we report that in vivo cyclin C acts as a haploinsufficient tumour suppressor, by controlling Notch1 oncogene levels. Cyclin C activates an 'orphan' CDK19 kinase, as well as CDK8 and CDK3. These cyclin-C-CDK complexes phosphorylate the Notch1 intracellular domain (ICN1) and promote ICN1 degradation. Genetic ablation of cyclin C blocks ICN1 phosphorylation in vivo, thereby elevating ICN1 levels in cyclin-C-knockout mice. Cyclin C ablation or heterozygosity collaborates with other oncogenic lesions and accelerates development of T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (T-ALL). Furthermore, the cyclin C encoding gene CCNC is heterozygously deleted in a significant fraction of human T-ALLs, and these tumours express reduced cyclin C levels. We also describe point mutations in human T-ALL that render cyclin-C-CDK unable to phosphorylate ICN1. Hence, tumour cells may develop different strategies to evade inhibition by cyclin C.
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Loss of oncogenic Notch1 with resistance to a PI3K inhibitor in T-cell leukaemia.
Nature
PUBLISHED: 05-20-2014
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Mutations that deregulate Notch1 and Ras/phosphoinositide 3 kinase (PI3K)/Akt signalling are prevalent in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (T-ALL), and often coexist. Here we show that the PI3K inhibitor GDC-0941 is active against primary T-ALLs from wild-type and Kras(G12D) mice, and addition of the MEK inhibitor PD0325901 increases its efficacy. Mice invariably relapsed after treatment with drug-resistant clones, most of which unexpectedly had reduced levels of activated Notch1 protein, downregulated many Notch1 target genes, and exhibited cross-resistance to ?-secretase inhibitors. Multiple resistant primary T-ALLs that emerged in vivo did not contain somatic Notch1 mutations present in the parental leukaemia. Importantly, resistant clones upregulated PI3K signalling. Consistent with these data, inhibiting Notch1 activated the PI3K pathway, providing a likely mechanism for selection against oncogenic Notch1 signalling. These studies validate PI3K as a therapeutic target in T-ALL and raise the unexpected possibility that dual inhibition of PI3K and Notch1 signalling could promote drug resistance in T-ALL.
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Generation of mouse models of myeloid malignancy with combinatorial genetic lesions using CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing.
Nat. Biotechnol.
PUBLISHED: 04-29-2014
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Genome sequencing studies have shown that human malignancies often bear mutations in four or more driver genes, but it is difficult to recapitulate this degree of genetic complexity in mouse models using conventional breeding. Here we use the CRISPR-Cas9 system of genome editing to overcome this limitation. By delivering combinations of small guide RNAs (sgRNAs) and Cas9 with a lentiviral vector, we modified up to five genes in a single mouse hematopoietic stem cell (HSC), leading to clonal outgrowth and myeloid malignancy. We thereby generated models of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) with cooperating mutations in genes encoding epigenetic modifiers, transcription factors and mediators of cytokine signaling, recapitulating the combinations of mutations observed in patients. Our results suggest that lentivirus-delivered sgRNA:Cas9 genome editing should be useful to engineer a broad array of in vivo cancer models that better reflect the complexity of human disease.
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The Notch1 transcriptional activation domain is required for development and reveals a novel role for Notch1 signaling in fetal hematopoietic stem cells.
Genes Dev.
PUBLISHED: 03-19-2014
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Notch1 is required to generate the earliest embryonic hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs); however since Notch-deficient embryos die early in gestation, additional functions for Notch in embryonic HSC biology have not been described. We used two complementary genetic models to address this important biological question. Unlike Notch1-deficient mice, mice lacking the conserved Notch1 transcriptional activation domain (TAD) show attenuated Notch1 function in vivo and survive until late gestation, succumbing to multiple cardiac abnormalities. Notch1 TAD-deficient HSCs emerge and successfully migrate to the fetal liver but are decreased in frequency by embryonic day 14.5. In addition, TAD-deficient fetal liver HSCs fail to compete with wild-type HSCs in bone marrow transplant experiments. This phenotype is independently recapitulated by conditional knockout of Rbpj, a core Notch pathway component. In vitro analysis of Notch1 TAD-deficient cells shows that the Notch1 TAD is important to properly assemble the Notch1/Rbpj/Maml trimolecular transcription complex. Together, these studies reveal an essential role for the Notch1 TAD in fetal development and identify important cell-autonomous functions for Notch1 signaling in fetal HSC homeostasis.
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An epigenetic mechanism of resistance to targeted therapy in T cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Nat. Genet.
PUBLISHED: 02-06-2014
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The identification of activating NOTCH1 mutations in T cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) led to clinical testing of ?-secretase inhibitors (GSIs) that prevent NOTCH1 activation. However, responses to these inhibitors have been transient, suggesting that resistance limits their clinical efficacy. Here we modeled T-ALL resistance, identifying GSI-tolerant 'persister' cells that expand in the absence of NOTCH1 signaling. Rare persisters are already present in naive T-ALL populations, and the reversibility of their phenotype suggests an epigenetic mechanism. Relative to GSI-sensitive cells, persister cells activate distinct signaling and transcriptional programs and exhibit chromatin compaction. A knockdown screen identified chromatin regulators essential for persister viability, including BRD4. BRD4 binds enhancers near critical T-ALL genes, including MYC and BCL2. The BRD4 inhibitor JQ1 downregulates expression of these targets and induces growth arrest and apoptosis in persister cells, at doses well tolerated by GSI-sensitive cells. Consistently, the GSI-JQ1 combination was found to be effective against primary human leukemias in vivo. Our findings establish a role for epigenetic heterogeneity in leukemia resistance that may be addressed by incorporating epigenetic modulators in combination therapy.
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NOTCH1 mutations occur early during cutaneous squamous cell carcinogenesis.
J. Invest. Dermatol.
PUBLISHED: 01-27-2014
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Cutaneous SCC (cSCC) is the most frequently occuring skin cancer with metastatic potential and can manifest rapidly as a common side effect in patients receiving systemic kinase inhibitors. Here, we use massively parallel exome and targeted level sequencing of 132 sporadic cSCCs and of 39 squamoproliferative lesions and cSCCs arising in patients receiving the BRAF inhibitor vemurafenib, as well as 10 normal skin samples, to identify NOTCH1 mutation as an early event in squamous cell carcinogenesis. Bisected vemurafenib-induced lesions revealed surprising heterogeneity with different activating HRAS and NOTCH1 mutations identified in two halves of the same cSCC, suggesting polyclonal origin. Immunohistochemical analysis using an antibody specific to nuclear NOTCH1 correlates with mutation status in sporadic cSCCs, and regions of NOTCH1 loss or downregulation are frequently observed in normal-looking skin. Our data indicate that NOTCH1 acts as a gatekeeper in human cSCC.
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SYK is a critical regulator of FLT3 in acute myeloid leukemia.
Cancer Cell
PUBLISHED: 01-22-2014
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Cooperative dependencies between mutant oncoproteins and wild-type proteins are critical in cancer pathogenesis and therapy resistance. Although spleen tyrosine kinase (SYK) has been implicated in hematologic malignancies, it is rarely mutated. We used kinase activity profiling to identify collaborators of SYK in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and determined that FMS-like tyrosine kinase 3 (FLT3) is transactivated by SYK via direct binding. Highly activated SYK is predominantly found in FLT3-ITD positive AML and cooperates with FLT3-ITD to activate MYC transcriptional programs. FLT3-ITD AML cells are more vulnerable to SYK suppression than FLT3 wild-type counterparts. In a FLT3-ITD in vivo model, SYK is indispensable for myeloproliferative disease (MPD) development, and SYK overexpression promotes overt transformation to AML and resistance to FLT3-ITD-targeted therapy.
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Phenothiazines induce PP2A-mediated apoptosis in T cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
J. Clin. Invest.
PUBLISHED: 01-09-2014
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T cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) is an aggressive cancer that is frequently associated with activating mutations in NOTCH1 and dysregulation of MYC. Here, we performed 2 complementary screens to identify FDA-approved drugs and drug-like small molecules with activity against T-ALL. We developed a zebrafish system to screen small molecules for toxic activity toward MYC-overexpressing thymocytes and used a human T-ALL cell line to screen for small molecules that synergize with Notch inhibitors. We identified the antipsychotic drug perphenazine in both screens due to its ability to induce apoptosis in fish, mouse, and human T-ALL cells. Using ligand-affinity chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry, we identified protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) as a perphenazine target. T-ALL cell lines treated with perphenazine exhibited rapid dephosphorylation of multiple PP2A substrates and subsequent apoptosis. Moreover, shRNA knockdown of specific PP2A subunits attenuated perphenazine activity, indicating that PP2A mediates the drug's antileukemic activity. Finally, human T-ALLs treated with perphenazine exhibited suppressed cell growth and dephosphorylation of PP2A targets in vitro and in vivo. Our findings provide a mechanistic explanation for the recurring identification of phenothiazines as a class of drugs with anticancer effects. Furthermore, these data suggest that pharmacologic PP2A activation in T-ALL and other cancers driven by hyperphosphorylated PP2A substrates has therapeutic potential.
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NOTCH1-RBPJ complexes drive target gene expression through dynamic interactions with superenhancers.
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.
PUBLISHED: 12-27-2013
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The main oncogenic driver in T-lymphoblastic leukemia is NOTCH1, which activates genes by forming chromatin-associated Notch transcription complexes. Gamma-secretase-inhibitor treatment prevents NOTCH1 nuclear localization, but most genes with NOTCH1-binding sites are insensitive to gamma-secretase inhibitors. Here, we demonstrate that fewer than 10% of NOTCH1-binding sites show dynamic changes in NOTCH1 occupancy when T-lymphoblastic leukemia cells are toggled between the Notch-on and -off states with gamma-secretase inhibiters. Dynamic NOTCH1 sites are functional, being highly associated with Notch target genes, are located mainly in distal enhancers, and frequently overlap with RUNX1 binding. In line with the latter association, we show that expression of IL7R, a gene with key roles in normal T-cell development and in T-lymphoblastic leukemia, is coordinately regulated by Runx factors and dynamic NOTCH1 binding to distal enhancers. Like IL7R, most Notch target genes and associated dynamic NOTCH1-binding sites cooccupy chromatin domains defined by constitutive binding of CCCTC binding factor, which appears to restrict the regulatory potential of dynamic NOTCH1 sites. More remarkably, the majority of dynamic NOTCH1 sites lie in superenhancers, distal elements with exceptionally broad and high levels of H3K27ac. Changes in Notch occupancy produces dynamic alterations in H3K27ac levels across the entire breadth of superenhancers and in the promoters of Notch target genes. These findings link regulation of superenhancer function to NOTCH1, a master regulatory factor and potent oncoprotein in the context of immature T cells, and delineate a generally applicable roadmap for identifying functional Notch sites in cellular genomes.
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Targeted imaging of Ewing sarcoma in preclinical models using a 64Cu-labeled anti-CD99 antibody.
Clin. Cancer Res.
PUBLISHED: 11-11-2013
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Ewing sarcoma is a tumor of the bone and soft tissue characterized by diffuse cell membrane expression of CD99 (MIC2). Single-site, surgically resectable disease is associated with an excellent 5-year event-free survival; conversely, patients with distant metastases have a poor prognosis. Non-invasive imaging is the standard approach to identifying sites of metastatic disease. We sought to develop a CD99-targeted imaging agent for staging Ewing sarcoma and other CD99-expressing tumors.
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Intrinsic selectivity of Notch 1 for Delta-like 4 over Delta-like 1.
J. Biol. Chem.
PUBLISHED: 07-09-2013
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Notch signaling makes critical contributions to cell fate determination in all metazoan organisms, yet remarkably little is known about the binding affinity of the four mammalian Notch receptors for their three Delta-like and two Jagged family ligands. Here, we utilized signaling assays and biochemical studies of purified recombinant ligand and receptor molecules to investigate the differences in signaling behavior and intrinsic affinity between Notch1-Dll1 and Notch1-Dll4 complexes. Systematic deletion mutagenesis of the human Notch1 ectodomain revealed that epidermal growth factor (EGF) repeats 6-15 are sufficient to maintain signaling in a reporter assay at levels comparable with the full-length receptor, and identified important contributions from EGF repeats 8-10 in conveying an activating signal in response to either Dll1 or Dll4. Truncation studies of the Dll1 and Dll4 ectodomains showed that the MNNL-EGF3 region was both necessary and sufficient for full activation. Plate-based and cell binding assays revealed a specific, calcium-dependent interaction between cell-surface and recombinant Notch receptors and ligand molecules. Finally, direct measurement of the binding affinity of Notch1 EGF repeats 6-15 for Dll1 and Dll4 revealed that Dll4 binds with at least an order of magnitude higher affinity than Dll1. Together, these studies give new insights into the features of ligand recognition by Notch1, and highlight how intrinsic differences in the biochemical behavior of receptor-ligand complexes can influence receptor-mediated responses of developmental signaling pathways.
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Modulation of gene expression via overlapping binding sites exerted by ZNF143, Notch1 and THAP11.
Nucleic Acids Res.
PUBLISHED: 02-13-2013
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ZNF143 is a zinc-finger protein involved in the transcriptional regulation of both coding and non-coding genes from polymerase II and III promoters. Our study deciphers the genome-wide regulatory role of ZNF143 in relation with the two previously unrelated transcription factors Notch1/ICN1 and thanatos-associated protein 11 (THAP11) in several human and murine cells. We show that two distinct motifs, SBS1 and SBS2, are associated to ZNF143-binding events in promoters of >3000 genes. Without co-occupation, these sites are also bound by Notch1/ICN1 in T-lymphoblastic leukaemia cells as well as by THAP11, a factor involved in self-renewal of embryonic stem cells. We present evidence that ICN1 binding overlaps with ZNF143 binding events at the SBS1 and SBS2 motifs, whereas the overlap occurs only at SBS2 for THAP11. We demonstrate that the three factors modulate expression of common target genes through the mutually exclusive occupation of overlapping binding sites. The model we propose predicts that the binding competition between the three factors controls biological processes such as rapid cell growth of both neoplastic and stem cells. Overall, our study establishes a novel relationship between ZNF143, THAP11 and ICN1 and reveals important insights into ZNF143-mediated gene regulation.
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Complementary genomic screens identify SERCA as a therapeutic target in NOTCH1 mutated cancer.
Cancer Cell
PUBLISHED: 01-22-2013
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Notch1 is a rational therapeutic target in several human cancers, but as a transcriptional regulator, it poses a drug discovery challenge. To identify Notch1 modulators, we performed two cell-based, high-throughput screens for small-molecule inhibitors and cDNA enhancers of a NOTCH1 allele bearing a leukemia-associated mutation. Sarco/endoplasmic reticulum calcium ATPase (SERCA) channels emerged at the intersection of these complementary screens. SERCA inhibition preferentially impairs the maturation and activity of mutated Notch1 receptors and induces a G0/G1 arrest in NOTCH1-mutated human leukemia cells. A small-molecule SERCA inhibitor has on-target activity in two mouse models of human leukemia and interferes with Notch signaling in Drosophila. These studies "credential" SERCA as a therapeutic target in cancers associated with NOTCH1 mutations.
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Gauging NOTCH1 Activation in Cancer Using Immunohistochemistry.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 01-01-2013
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Fixed, paraffin-embedded (FPE) tissues are a potentially rich resource for studying the role of NOTCH1 in cancer and other pathologies, but tests that reliably detect activated NOTCH1 (NICD1) in FPE samples have been lacking. Here, we bridge this gap by developing an immunohistochemical (IHC) stain that detects a neoepitope created by the proteolytic cleavage event that activates NOTCH1. Following validation using xenografted cancers and normal tissues with known patterns of NOTCH1 activation, we applied this test to tumors linked to dysregulated Notch signaling by mutational studies. As expected, frequent NICD1 staining was observed in T lymphoblastic leukemia/lymphoma, a tumor in which activating NOTCH1 mutations are common. However, when IHC was used to gauge NOTCH1 activation in other human cancers, several unexpected findings emerged. Among B cell tumors, NICD1 staining was much more frequent in chronic lymphocytic leukemia than would be predicted based on the frequency of NOTCH1 mutations, while mantle cell lymphoma and diffuse large B cell lymphoma showed no evidence of NOTCH1 activation. NICD1 was also detected in 38% of peripheral T cell lymphomas. Of interest, NICD1 staining in chronic lymphocytic leukemia cells and in angioimmunoblastic lymphoma was consistently more pronounced in lymph nodes than in surrounding soft tissues, implicating factors in the nodal microenvironment in NOTCH1 activation in these diseases. Among carcinomas, diffuse strong NICD1 staining was observed in 3.8% of cases of triple negative breast cancer (3 of 78 tumors), but was absent from 151 non-small cell lung carcinomas and 147 ovarian carcinomas. Frequent staining of normal endothelium was also observed; in line with this observation, strong NICD1 staining was also seen in 77% of angiosarcomas. These findings complement insights from genomic sequencing studies and suggest that IHC staining is a valuable experimental tool that may be useful in selection of patients for clinical trials.
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T-cell factor 1 is a gatekeeper for T-cell specification in response to Notch signaling.
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.
PUBLISHED: 11-22-2011
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Although transcriptional programs associated with T-cell specification and commitment have been described, the functional hierarchy and the roles of key regulators in structuring/orchestrating these programs remain unclear. Activation of Notch signaling in uncommitted precursors by the thymic stroma initiates the T-cell differentiation program. One regulator first induced in these precursors is the DNA-binding protein T-cell factor 1 (Tcf-1), a T-cell-specific mediator of Wnt signaling. However, the specific contribution of Tcf-1 to early T-cell development and the signals inducing it in these cells remain unclear. Here we assign functional significance to Tcf-1 as a gatekeeper of T-cell fate and show that Tcf-1 is directly activated by Notch signals. Tcf-1 is required at the earliest phase of T-cell determination for progression beyond the early thymic progenitor stage. The global expression profile of Tcf-1-deficient progenitors indicates that basic processes of DNA metabolism are down-regulated in its absence, and the blocked T-cell progenitors become abortive and die by apoptosis. Our data thus add an important functional relationship to the roadmap of T-cell development.
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Loss-of-function mutations in Notch receptors in cutaneous and lung squamous cell carcinoma.
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.
PUBLISHED: 10-17-2011
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Squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) are one of the most frequent forms of human malignancy, but, other than TP53 mutations, few causative somatic aberrations have been identified. We identified NOTCH1 or NOTCH2 mutations in ~75% of cutaneous SCCs and in a lesser fraction of lung SCCs, defining a spectrum for the most prevalent tumor suppressor specific to these epithelial malignancies. Notch receptors normally transduce signals in response to ligands on neighboring cells, regulating metazoan lineage selection and developmental patterning. Our findings therefore illustrate a central role for disruption of microenvironmental communication in cancer progression. NOTCH aberrations include frameshift and nonsense mutations leading to receptor truncations as well as point substitutions in key functional domains that abrogate signaling in cell-based assays. Oncogenic gain-of-function mutations in NOTCH1 commonly occur in human T-cell lymphoblastic leukemia/lymphoma and B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia. The bifunctional role of Notch in human cancer thus emphasizes the context dependency of signaling outcomes and suggests that targeted inhibition of the Notch pathway may induce squamous epithelial malignancies.
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High-level IGF1R expression is required for leukemia-initiating cell activity in T-ALL and is supported by Notch signaling.
J. Exp. Med.
PUBLISHED: 08-01-2011
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T cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) is an aggressive cancer of immature T cells that often shows aberrant activation of Notch1 and PI3K-Akt pathways. Although mutations that activate PI3K-Akt signaling have previously been identified, the relative contribution of growth factor-dependent activation is unclear. We show here that pharmacologic inhibition or genetic deletion of insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor (IGF1R) blocks the growth and viability of T-ALL cells, whereas moderate diminution of IGF1R signaling compromises leukemia-initiating cell (LIC) activity as defined by transplantability in syngeneic/congenic secondary recipients. Furthermore, IGF1R is a Notch1 target, and Notch1 signaling is required to maintain IGF1R expression at high levels in T-ALL cells. These findings suggest effects of Notch on LIC activity may be mediated in part by enhancing the responsiveness of T-ALL cells to ambient growth factors, and provide strong rationale for use of IGF1R inhibitors to improve initial response to therapy and to achieve long-term cure of patients with T-ALL.
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Notch ankyrin repeat domain variation influences leukemogenesis and Myc transactivation.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 07-28-2011
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The functional interchangeability of mammalian Notch receptors (Notch1-4) in normal and pathophysiologic contexts such as cancer is unsettled. We used complementary in vivo, cell-based and structural analyses to compare the abilities of activated Notch1-4 to support T cell development, induce T cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia/lymphoma (T-ALL), and maintain T-ALL cell growth and survival.
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Epstein-Barr virus exploits intrinsic B-lymphocyte transcription programs to achieve immortal cell growth.
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.
PUBLISHED: 07-11-2011
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Epstein-Barr virus nuclear antigen 2 (EBNA2) regulation of transcription through the cell transcription factor RBPJ is essential for resting B-lymphocyte (RBL) conversion to immortal lymphoblast cell lines (LCLs). ChIP-seq of EBNA2 and RBPJ sites in LCL DNA found EBNA2 at 5,151 and RBPJ at 10,529 sites. EBNA2 sites were enriched for RBPJ (78%), early B-cell factor (EBF, 39%), RUNX (43%), ETS (39%), NF?B (22%), and PU.1 (22%) motifs. These motif associations were confirmed by LCL RBPJ ChIP-seq finding 72% RBPJ occupancy and Encyclopedia Of DNA Elements LCL ChIP-seq finding EBF, NF?B RELA, and PU.1 at 54%, 31%, and 17% of EBNA2 sites. EBNA2 and RBPJ were predominantly at intergene and intron sites and only 14% at promoter sites. K-means clustering of EBNA2 site transcription factors identified RELA-ETS, EBF-RUNX, EBF, ETS, RBPJ, and repressive RUNX clusters, which ranked from highest to lowest in H3K4me1 signals and nucleosome depletion, indicative of active chromatin. Surprisingly, although quantitatively less, the same genome sites in RBLs exhibited similar high-level H3K4me1 signals and nucleosome depletion. The EBV genome also had an LMP1 promoter EBF site, which proved critical for EBNA2 activation. LCL HiC data mapped intergenic EBNA2 sites to EBNA2 up-regulated genes. FISH and chromatin conformation capture linked EBNA2/RBPJ enhancers 428 kb 5 of MYC to MYC. These data indicate that EBNA2 evolved to target RBL H3K4me1 modified, nucleosome-depleted, nonpromoter sites to drive B-lymphocyte proliferation in primary human infection. The primed RBL program likely supports antigen-induced proliferation.
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Genome-wide analysis reveals conserved and divergent features of Notch1/RBPJ binding in human and murine T-lymphoblastic leukemia cells.
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.
PUBLISHED: 07-07-2011
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Notch1 regulates gene expression by associating with the DNA-binding factor RBPJ and is oncogenic in murine and human T-cell progenitors. Using ChIP-Seq, we find that in human and murine T-lymphoblastic leukemia (TLL) genomes Notch1 binds preferentially to promoters, to RBPJ binding sites, and near imputed ZNF143, ETS, and RUNX sites. ChIP-Seq confirmed that ZNF143 binds to ?40% of Notch1 sites. Notch1/ZNF143 sites are characterized by high Notch1 and ZNF143 signals, frequent cobinding of RBPJ (generally through sites embedded within ZNF143 motifs), strong promoter bias, and relatively low mean levels of activating chromatin marks. RBPJ and ZNF143 binding to DNA is mutually exclusive in vitro, suggesting RBPJ/Notch1 and ZNF143 complexes exchange on these sites in cells. K-means clustering of Notch1 binding sites and associated motifs identified conserved Notch1-RUNX, Notch1-ETS, Notch1-RBPJ, Notch1-ZNF143, and Notch1-ZNF143-ETS clusters with different genomic distributions and levels of chromatin marks. Although Notch1 binds mainly to gene promoters, ?75% of direct target genes lack promoter binding and are presumably regulated by enhancers, which were identified near MYC, DTX1, IGF1R, IL7R, and the GIMAP cluster. Human and murine TLL genomes also have many sites that bind only RBPJ. Murine RBPJ-only sites are highly enriched for imputed REST (a DNA-binding transcriptional repressor) sites, whereas human RPBJ-only sites lack REST motifs and are more highly enriched for imputed CREB sites. Thus, there is a conserved network of cis-regulatory factors that interacts with Notch1 to regulate gene expression in TLL cells, as well as unique classes of divergent RBPJ-only sites that also likely regulate transcription.
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Temporal dissection of tumorigenesis in primary cancers.
Cancer Discov
PUBLISHED: 06-29-2011
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Timely intervention for cancer requires knowledge of its earliest genetic aberrations. Sequencing of tumors and their metastases reveals numerous abnormalities occurring late in progression. A means to temporally order aberrations in a single cancer, rather than inferring them from serially acquired samples, would define changes preceding even clinically evident disease. We integrate DNA sequence and copy number information to reconstruct the order of abnormalities as individual tumors evolve for 2 separate cancer types. We detect vast, unreported expansion of simple mutations sharply demarcated by recombinative loss of the second copy of TP53 in cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas (cSCC) and serous ovarian adenocarcinomas, in the former surpassing 50 mutations per megabase. In cSCCs, we also report diverse secondary mutations in known and novel oncogenic pathways, illustrating how such expanded mutagenesis directly promotes malignant progression. These results reframe paradigms in which TP53 mutation is required later, to bypass senescence induced by driver oncogenes.
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Notch1 inhibition targets the leukemia-initiating cells in a Tal1/Lmo2 mouse model of T-ALL.
Blood
PUBLISHED: 06-13-2011
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T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) is an aggressive malignancy largely caused by aberrant activation of the TAL1/SCL, LMO1/2, and NOTCH1 oncogenes. Approximately 30% of T-ALL patients relapse, and evidence is emerging that relapse may result from a failure to eliminate leukemia-initiating cells (LICs). Thymic expression of the Tal1 and Lmo2 oncogenes in mice results in rapid development of T-ALL; and similar to T-ALL patients, more than half the leukemic mice develop spontaneous mutations in Notch1. Using this mouse model, we demonstrate that mouse T-ALLs are immunophenotypically and functionally heterogeneous with approximately 1 of 10,000 leukemic cells capable of initiating disease on transplantation. Our preleukemic studies reveal expansion of Notch-active double-negative thymic progenitors, and we find the leukemic DN3 population enriched in disease potential. To examine the role of Notch1 in LIC function, we measured LIC activity in leukemic mice treated with vehicle or with a ?-secretase inhibitor. In 4 of 5 leukemias examined, Notch inhibition significantly reduced or eliminated LICs and extended survival. Remarkably, in 2 mice, ?-secretase inhibitor treatment reduced LIC frequency below the limits of detection of this assay, and all transplanted mice failed to develop disease. These data support the continued development of Notch1 therapeutics as antileukemia agents.
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Crosstalk between NOTCH and AKT signaling during murine megakaryocyte lineage specification.
Blood
PUBLISHED: 06-07-2011
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The NOTCH signaling pathway is implicated in a broad range of developmental processes, including cell fate decisions. However, the molecular basis for its role at the different steps of stem cell lineage commitment is unclear. We recently identified the NOTCH signaling pathway as a positive regulator of megakaryocyte lineage specification during hematopoiesis, but the developmental pathways that allow hematopoietic stem cell differentiation into the erythro-megakaryocytic lineages remain controversial. Here, we investigated the role of downstream mediators of NOTCH during megakaryopoiesis and report crosstalk between the NOTCH and PI3K/AKT pathways. We demonstrate the inhibitory role of phosphatase with tensin homolog and Forkhead Box class O factors on megakaryopoiesis in vivo. Finally, our data annotate developmental mechanisms in the hematopoietic system that enable a decision to be made either at the hematopoietic stem cell or the committed progenitor level to commit to the megakaryocyte lineage, supporting the existence of 2 distinct developmental pathways.
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Differentiation of NUT midline carcinoma by epigenomic reprogramming.
Cancer Res.
PUBLISHED: 03-29-2011
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NUT midline carcinoma (NMC) is a lethal pediatric tumor defined by the presence of BRD-NUT fusion proteins that arrest differentiation. Here we explore the mechanisms underlying the ability of BRD4-NUT to prevent squamous differentiation. In both gain-of and loss-of-expression assays, we find that expression of BRD4-NUT is associated with globally decreased histone acetylation and transcriptional repression. Bulk chromatin acetylation can be restored by treatment of NMC cells with histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACi), engaging a program of squamous differentiation and arrested growth in vitro that closely mimics the effects of siRNA-mediated attenuation of BRD4-NUT expression. The potential therapeutic utility of HDACi differentiation therapy was established in three different NMC xenograft models, where it produced significant growth inhibition and a survival benefit. Based on these results and translational studies performed with patient-derived primary tumor cells, a child with NMC was treated with the FDA-approved HDAC inhibitor, vorinostat. An objective response was obtained after five weeks of therapy, as determined by positron emission tomography. These findings provide preclinical support for trials of HDACi in patients with NMC.
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SCF(FBW7) regulates cellular apoptosis by targeting MCL1 for ubiquitylation and destruction.
Nature
PUBLISHED: 03-04-2011
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The effective use of targeted therapy is highly dependent on the identification of responder patient populations. Loss of FBW7, which encodes a tumour-suppressor protein, is frequently found in various types of human cancer, including breast cancer, colon cancer and T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (T-ALL). In line with these genomic data, engineered deletion of Fbw7 in mouse T cells results in T-ALL, validating FBW7 as a T-ALL tumour suppressor. Determining the precise molecular mechanisms by which FBW7 exerts antitumour activity is an area of intensive investigation. These mechanisms are thought to relate in part to FBW7-mediated destruction of key proteins relevant to cancer, including Jun, Myc, cyclin E and notch 1 (ref. 9), all of which have oncoprotein activity and are overexpressed in various human cancers, including leukaemia. In addition to accelerating cell growth, overexpression of Jun, Myc or notch 1 can also induce programmed cell death. Thus, considerable uncertainty surrounds how FBW7-deficient cells evade cell death in the setting of upregulated Jun, Myc and/or notch 1. Here we show that the E3 ubiquitin ligase SCF(FBW7) (a SKP1-cullin-1-F-box complex that contains FBW7 as the F-box protein) governs cellular apoptosis by targeting MCL1, a pro-survival BCL2 family member, for ubiquitylation and destruction in a manner that depends on phosphorylation by glycogen synthase kinase 3. Human T-ALL cell lines showed a close relationship between FBW7 loss and MCL1 overexpression. Correspondingly, T-ALL cell lines with defective FBW7 are particularly sensitive to the multi-kinase inhibitor sorafenib but resistant to the BCL2 antagonist ABT-737. On the genetic level, FBW7 reconstitution or MCL1 depletion restores sensitivity to ABT-737, establishing MCL1 as a therapeutically relevant bypass survival mechanism that enables FBW7-deficient cells to evade apoptosis. Therefore, our work provides insight into the molecular mechanism of direct tumour suppression by FBW7 and has implications for the targeted treatment of patients with FBW7-deficient T-ALL.
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Jagged2 acts as a Delta-like Notch ligand during early hematopoietic cell fate decisions.
Blood
PUBLISHED: 03-03-2011
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Notch signaling critically mediates various hematopoietic lineage decisions and is induced in mammals by Notch ligands that are classified into 2 families, Delta-like (Delta-like-1, -3 and -4) and Jagged (Jagged1 and Jagged2), based on structural homology with both Drosophila ligands Delta and Serrate, respectively. Because the functional differences between mammalian Notch ligands were still unclear, we have investigated their influence on early human hematopoiesis and show that Jagged2 affects hematopoietic lineage decisions very similarly as Delta-like-1 and -4, but very different from Jagged1. OP9 coculture experiments revealed that Jagged2, like Delta-like ligands, induces T-lineage differentiation and inhibits B-cell and myeloid development. However, dose-dependent Notch activation studies, gene expression analysis, and promoter activation assays indicated that Jagged2 is a weaker Notch1-activator compared with the Delta-like ligands, revealing a Notch1 specific signal strength hierarchy for mammalian Notch ligands. Strikingly, Lunatic-Fringe- mediated glycosylation of Notch1 potentiated Notch signaling through Delta-like ligands and also Jagged2, in contrast to Jagged1. Thus, our results reveal a unique role for Jagged1 in preventing the induction of T-lineage differentiation in hematopoietic stem cells and show an unexpected functional similarity between Jagged2 and the Delta-like ligands.
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Evidence for increased exposure of the Notch1 metalloprotease cleavage site upon conversion to an activated conformation.
Structure
PUBLISHED: 01-06-2011
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Notch proteins are transmembrane receptors that normally adopt a resting state poised to undergo activating proteolysis upon ligand engagement. Receptor quiescence is maintained by three LIN12/Notch repeats (LNRs), which wrap around a heterodimerization domain (HD) divided by furin cleavage at site S1 during maturation. Ligand binding initiates signaling by inducing sensitivity of the HD to proteolysis at the regulated S2 cleavage site. Here, we used hydrogen exchange mass spectrometry to examine the solution dynamics of the Notch1 negative regulatory region in autoinhibited states before and after S1 cleavage, in a proteolytically sensitive "on" state, and in a complex with an inhibitory antibody. Conversion to the "on" state leads to accelerated deuteration in the S2 region and in nearby secondary structural elements within the HD. In contrast, complexation with the inhibitory antibody retards deuteration around the S2 site. Together, these studies reveal how S2 site exposure is promoted by receptor activation and suppressed by inhibitory antibodies.
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Notch dimerization is required for leukemogenesis and T-cell development.
Genes Dev.
PUBLISHED: 10-08-2010
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Notch signaling regulates myriad cellular functions by activating transcription, yet how Notch selectively activates different transcriptional targets is poorly understood. The core Notch transcriptional activation complex can bind DNA as a monomer, but it can also dimerize on DNA-binding sites that are properly oriented and spaced. However, the significance of Notch dimerization is unknown. Here, we show that dimeric Notch transcriptional complexes are required for T-cell maturation and leukemic transformation but are dispensable for T-cell fate specification from a multipotential precursor. The varying requirements for Notch dimerization result from the differential sensitivity of specific Notch target genes. In particular, c-Myc and pre-T-cell antigen receptor ? (Ptcra) are dimerization-dependent targets, whereas Hey1 and CD25 are not. These findings identify functionally important differences in the responsiveness among Notch target genes attributable to the formation of higher-order complexes. Consequently, it may be possible to develop a new class of Notch inhibitors that selectively block outcomes that depend on Notch dimerization (e.g., leukemogenesis).
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Deletion-based mechanisms of Notch1 activation in T-ALL: key roles for RAG recombinase and a conserved internal translational start site in Notch1.
Blood
PUBLISHED: 09-17-2010
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Point mutations that trigger ligand-independent proteolysis of the Notch1 ectodomain occur frequently in human T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) but are rare in murine T-ALL, suggesting that other mechanisms account for Notch1 activation in murine tumors. Here we show that most murine T-ALLs harbor Notch1 deletions that fall into 2 types, both leading to ligand-independent Notch1 activation. Type 1 deletions remove exon 1 and the proximal promoter, appear to be RAG-mediated, and are associated with mRNA transcripts that initiate from 3 regions of Notch1. In line with the RAG dependency of these rearrangements, RAG2 binds to the 5 end of Notch1 in normal thymocytes near the deletion breakpoints. Type 2 deletions remove sequences between exon 1 and exons 26 to 28 of Notch1, appear to be RAG-independent, and are associated with transcripts in which exon 1 is spliced out of frame to 3 Notch1 exons. Translation of both types of transcripts initiates at a conserved methionine residue, M1727, which lies within the Notch1 transmembrane domain. Polypeptides initiating at M1727 insert into membranes and are subject to constitutive cleavage by ?-secretase. Thus, like human T-ALL, murine T-ALL is often associated with acquired mutations that cause ligand-independent Notch1 activation.
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Oncogenic activation of the Notch1 gene by deletion of its promoter in Ikaros-deficient T-ALL.
Blood
PUBLISHED: 09-09-2010
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The Notch pathway is frequently activated in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemias (T-ALLs). Of the Notch receptors, Notch1 is a recurrent target of gain-of-function mutations and Notch3 is expressed in all T-ALLs, but it is currently unclear how these receptors contribute to T-cell transformation in vivo. We investigated the role of Notch1 and Notch3 in T-ALL progression by a genetic approach, in mice bearing a knockdown mutation in the Ikaros gene that spontaneously develop Notch-dependent T-ALL. While deletion of Notch3 has little effect, T cell-specific deletion of floxed Notch1 promoter/exon 1 sequences significantly accelerates leukemogenesis. Notch1-deleted tumors lack surface Notch1 but express ?-secretase-cleaved intracellular Notch1 proteins. In addition, these tumors accumulate high levels of truncated Notch1 transcripts that are caused by aberrant transcription from cryptic initiation sites in the 3 part of the gene. Deletion of the floxed sequences directly reprograms the Notch1 locus to begin transcription from these 3 promoters and is accompanied by an epigenetic reorganization of the Notch1 locus that is consistent with transcriptional activation. Further, spontaneous deletion of 5 Notch1 sequences occurs in approximately 75% of Ikaros-deficient T-ALLs. These results reveal a novel mechanism for the oncogenic activation of the Notch1 gene after deletion of its main promoter.
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Notch signalling in T-cell lymphoblastic leukaemia/lymphoma and other haematological malignancies.
J. Pathol.
PUBLISHED: 08-06-2010
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Notch receptors participate in a highly conserved signalling pathway that regulates normal development and tissue homeostasis in a context- and dose-dependent manner. Deregulated Notch signalling has been implicated in many diseases, but the clearest example of a pathogenic role is found in T-cell lymphoblastic leukaemia/lymphoma (T-LL), in which the majority of human and murine tumours have acquired mutations that lead to aberrant increases in Notch1 signalling. Remarkably, it appears that the selective pressure for Notch mutations is virtually unique among cancers to T-LL, presumably reflecting a special context-dependent role for Notch in normal T-cell progenitors. Nevertheless, there are some recent reports suggesting that Notch signalling has subtle, yet important roles in other forms of haematological malignancy as well. Here, we review the role of Notch signalling in various blood cancers, focusing on T-LL with an eye towards targeted therapeutics.
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A prospective study of Epstein-Barr virus antibodies and risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Blood
PUBLISHED: 07-20-2010
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Severe immunosuppression is an established risk factor for non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), but an association with subclinical immune dysfunction is unclear. We conducted a case-control study nested in the Physicians Health Study and the Nurses Health Study cohorts to determine whether patterns of antibody response to Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) were associated with NHL risk. We measured antibody titers against viral capsid antigen, early antigen, and Epstein-Barr nuclear antigen (EBNA-1 and EBNA-2) in blood samples collected before diagnosis from 340 cases and 662 matched controls. Using conditional logistic regression, we estimated rate ratios (RRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for elevated versus normal titers and the ratio of anti-EBNA-1 to anti-EBNA-2 titers (? 1.0 vs > 1.0). We found no association between EBV serostatus, elevated titers, or an EBNA-1/EBNA-2 ratio ? 1.0 and NHL risk overall. For chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma, suggestive associations were noted for elevated anti-EBNA-2 (RR, 1.74; 95% CI, 0.99-3.05), anti-viral capsid antigen (RR, 1.58; 95% CI, 0.79-3.14), and EBNA-1/EBNA-2 ratio ? 1.0 (RR, 1.52; 95% CI, 0.91-2.55). There was no evidence of heterogeneity by subtype. Overall, we found no evidence that EBV antibody profile predicts NHL risk in immunocompetent persons, with the possible exception of chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma.
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Structural and mechanistic insights into cooperative assembly of dimeric Notch transcription complexes.
Nat. Struct. Mol. Biol.
PUBLISHED: 06-11-2010
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Ligand-induced proteolysis of Notch produces an intracellular effector domain that transduces essential signals by regulating the transcription of target genes. This function relies on the formation of transcriptional activation complexes that include intracellular Notch, a Mastermind co-activator and the transcription factor CSL bound to cognate DNA. These complexes form higher-order assemblies on paired, head-to-head CSL recognition sites. Here we report the X-ray structure of a dimeric human Notch1 transcription complex loaded on the paired site from the human HES1 promoter. The small interface between the Notch ankyrin domains could accommodate DNA bending and untwisting to allow a range of spacer lengths between the two sites. Cooperative dimerization occurred on the human and mouse Hes5 promoters at a sequence that diverged from the CSL-binding consensus at one of the sites. These studies reveal how promoter organizational features control cooperativity and, thus, the responsiveness of different promoters to Notch signaling.
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Plasma organochlorine levels and risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in the Nurses Health Study.
Cancer Epidemiol. Biomarkers Prev.
PUBLISHED: 04-20-2010
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Numerous studies have reported positive associations of environmental exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) and p,p-dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (p,p-DDE) with the risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). In a case-control study nested within the Nurses Health Study, a prospective cohort of U.S. women, we measured concentrations of PCBs and p,p-DDE in blood samples from 145 women diagnosed with NHL at least 6 months after blood draw and 290 age- and race-matched controls. We used conditional logistic regression to estimate the odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals for each quartile of exposure relative to the lowest quartile. We also evaluated these associations for major histologic subtypes of NHL. There was no consistent evidence of an association of p,p-DDE, total PCBs, immunotoxic, or individual PCB congeners with risk of NHL. These results do not support the hypothesis of a positive association between PCB exposure and development of NHL.
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Dose-dependent induction of distinct phenotypic responses to Notch pathway activation in mammary epithelial cells.
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.
PUBLISHED: 03-01-2010
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Aberrant activation of Notch receptors has been implicated in breast cancer; however, the mechanisms contributing to Notch-dependent transformation remain elusive because Notch displays dichotomous functional activities, promoting both proliferation and growth arrest. We investigated the cellular basis for the heterogeneous responses to Notch pathway activation in 3D cultures of MCF-10A mammary epithelial cells. Expression of a constitutively active Notch-1 intracellular domain (NICD) was found to induce two distinct types of 3D structures: large, hyperproliferative structures and small, growth-arrested structures with reduced cell-to-matrix adhesion. Interestingly, we found that these heterogeneous phenotypes reflect differences in Notch pathway activation levels; high Notch activity caused down-regulation of multiple matrix-adhesion genes and inhibition of proliferation, whereas low Notch activity maintained matrix adhesion and provoked a strong hyperproliferative response. Moreover, microarray analyses implicated NICD-induced p63 down-regulation in loss of matrix adhesion. In addition, a reverse-phase protein array-based analysis and subsequent loss-of-function studies identified STAT3 as a dominant downstream mediator of the NICD-induced outgrowth. These results indicate that the phenotypic responses to Notch are determined by the dose of pathway activation; and this dose affects the balance between growth-stimulative and growth-suppressive effects. This unique feature of Notch signaling provides insights into mechanisms that contribute to the dichotomous effects of Notch during development and tumorigenesis.
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Characterization of Notch1 antibodies that inhibit signaling of both normal and mutated Notch1 receptors.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 02-08-2010
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Notch receptors normally play a key role in guiding a variety of cell fate decisions during development and differentiation of metazoan organisms. On the other hand, dysregulation of Notch1 signaling is associated with many different types of cancer as well as tumor angiogenesis, making Notch1 a potential therapeutic target.
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Plasma organochlorine levels and risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in a cohort of men.
Epidemiology
PUBLISHED: 01-21-2010
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Environmental exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and p,p-dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (p, p-DDE) has been associated with the risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
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Functional screening identifies CRLF2 in precursor B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.
PUBLISHED: 12-15-2009
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The prognosis for adults with precursor B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL) remains poor, in part from a lack of therapeutic targets. We identified the type I cytokine receptor subunit CRLF2 in a functional screen for B-ALL-derived mRNA transcripts that can substitute for IL3 signaling. We demonstrate that CRLF2 is overexpressed in approximately 15% of adult and high-risk pediatric B-ALL that lack MLL, TCF3, TEL, and BCR/ABL rearrangements, but not in B-ALL with these rearrangements or other lymphoid malignancies. CRLF2 overexpression can result from translocation with the IGH locus or intrachromosomal deletion and is associated with poor outcome. CRLF2 overexpressing B-ALLs share a transcriptional signature that significantly overlaps with a BCR/ABL signature, and is enriched for genes involved in cytokine receptor and JAK-STAT signaling. In a subset of cases, CRLF2 harbors a Phe232Cys gain-of-function mutation that promotes constitutive dimerization and cytokine independent growth. A mutually exclusive subset harbors activating mutations in JAK2. In fact, all 22 B-ALLs with mutant JAK2 that we analyzed overexpress CRLF2, distinguishing CRLF2 as the key scaffold for mutant JAK2 signaling in B-ALL. Expression of WT CRLF2 with mutant JAK2 also promotes cytokine independent growth that, unlike CRLF2 Phe232Cys or ligand-induced signaling by WT CRLF2, is accompanied by JAK2 phosphorylation. Finally, cells dependent on CRLF2 signaling are sensitive to small molecule inhibitors of either JAKs or protein kinase C family kinases. Together, these findings implicate CRLF2 as an important factor in B-ALL with diagnostic, prognostic, and therapeutic implications.
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A small molecule inhibitor of Pim protein kinases blocks the growth of precursor T-cell lymphoblastic leukemia/lymphoma.
Blood
PUBLISHED: 11-23-2009
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The serine/threonine Pim kinases are up-regulated in specific hematologic neoplasms, and play an important role in key signal transduction pathways, including those regulated by MYC, MYCN, FLT3-ITD, BCR-ABL, HOXA9, and EWS fusions. We demonstrate that SMI-4a, a novel benzylidene-thiazolidine-2, 4-dione small molecule inhibitor of the Pim kinases, kills a wide range of both myeloid and lymphoid cell lines with precursor T-cell lymphoblastic leukemia/lymphoma (pre-T-LBL/T-ALL) being highly sensitive. Incubation of pre-T-LBL cells with SMI-4a induced G1 phase cell-cycle arrest secondary to a dose-dependent induction of p27(Kip1), apoptosis through the mitochondrial pathway, and inhibition of the mammalian target of rapamycin C1 (mTORC1) pathway based on decreases in phospho-p70 S6K and phospho-4E-BP1, 2 substrates of this enzyme. In addition, treatment of these cells with SMI-4a was found to induce phosphorylation of extracellular signal-related kinase1/2 (ERK1/2), and the combination of SMI-4a and a mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase 1/2 (MEK1/2) inhibitor was highly synergistic in killing pre-T-LBL cells. In immunodeficient mice carrying subcutaneous pre-T-LBL tumors, treatment twice daily with SMI-4a caused a significant delay in the tumor growth without any change in the weight, blood counts, or chemistries. Our data suggest that inhibition of the Pim protein kinases may be developed as a therapeutic strategy for the treatment of pre-T-LBL.
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Structure of the Notch1-negative regulatory region: implications for normal activation and pathogenic signaling in T-ALL.
Blood
PUBLISHED: 06-03-2009
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Proteolytic resistance of Notch prior to ligand binding depends on the structural integrity of a negative regulatory region (NRR) of the receptor that immediately precedes the transmembrane segment. The NRR includes the 3 Lin12/Notch repeats and the juxtamembrane heterodimerization domain, the region of Notch1 most frequently mutated in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia lymphoma (T-ALL). Here, we report the x-ray structure of the Notch1 NRR in its autoinhibited conformation. A key feature of the Notch1 structure that maintains its closed conformation is a conserved hydrophobic plug that sterically occludes the metalloprotease cleavage site. Crystal packing interactions involving a highly conserved, exposed face on the third Lin12/Notch repeat suggest that this site may normally be engaged in intermolecular or intramolecular protein-protein interactions. The majority of known T-ALL-associated point mutations map to residues in the hydrophobic interior of the Notch1 NRR. A novel mutation (H1545P), which alters a residue at the crystal-packing interface, leads to ligand-independent increases in signaling in reporter gene assays despite only mild destabilization of the NRR, suggesting that it releases the autoinhibitory clamp on the heterodimerization domain imposed by the Lin12/Notch repeats. The Notch1 NRR structure should facilitate a search for antibodies or compounds that stabilize the autoinhibited conformation.
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Effects of S1 cleavage on the structure, surface export, and signaling activity of human Notch1 and Notch2.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 05-22-2009
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Notch receptors are normally cleaved during maturation by a furin-like protease at an extracellular site termed S1, creating a heterodimer of non-covalently associated subunits. The S1 site lies within a key negative regulatory region (NRR) of the receptor, which contains three highly conserved Lin12/Notch repeats and a heterodimerization domain (HD) that interact to prevent premature signaling in the absence of ligands. Because the role of S1 cleavage in Notch signaling remains unresolved, we investigated the effect of S1 cleavage on the structure, surface trafficking and ligand-mediated activation of human Notch1 and Notch2, as well as on ligand-independent activation of Notch1 by mutations found in human leukemia.
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Diagnosis of NUT midline carcinoma using a NUT-specific monoclonal antibody.
Am. J. Surg. Pathol.
PUBLISHED: 04-14-2009
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NUT midline carcinoma (NMC) is a uniformly lethal malignancy that is defined by rearrangement of the nuclear protein in testis (NUT) gene on chromosome 15q14. NMCs are morphologically indistinguishable from other poorly differentiated carcinomas, and the diagnosis is usually made currently by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). As normal NUT expression is confined to testis and ovary, we reasoned that an immunohistochemical (IHC) stain for NUT would be useful in diagnosing NMC. To this end, we raised a highly specific rabbit monoclonal antibody, C52, against a recombinant NUT polypeptide, and developed an IHC staining protocol. The sensitivity and specificity of C52 staining was evaluated in a panel of 1068 tissues, predominantly diverse types of carcinomas (n=906), including 30 NMCs. Split-apart FISH for NUT rearrangement was used as a "gold standard" diagnostic test for NMC. C52 immunoreactivity among carcinomas was confined to NMCs. IHC staining had a sensitivity of 87%, a specificity of 100%, a negative predictive value of 99%, and a positive predictive value of 100%. Two new cases of NMC containing BRD4-NUT fusions were detected by C52 IHC, but missed by conventional FISH. In both instances, these tumors contained cryptic BRD4-NUT rearrangements, as confirmed by FISH using a refined set of probes. Some germ cell tumors, including 64% of dysgerminomas, showed weak NUT immunoreactivity, consistent with the expression of NUT in normal germ cells. We conclude that IHC staining with the C52 monoclonal antibody is a highly sensitive and specific test that reliably distinguishes NMC from other forms of carcinoma. The NUT antibody is being prepared for commercial release and will be available in the near future.
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Notch signaling mediates G1/S cell-cycle progression in T cells via cyclin D3 and its dependent kinases.
Blood
PUBLISHED: 04-02-2009
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Notch signaling plays a role in normal lymphocyte development and function. Activating Notch1-mutations, leading to aberrant downstream signaling, have been identified in human T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL). While this highlights the contribution of Notch signaling to T-ALL pathogenesis, the mechanisms by which Notch regulates proliferation and survival in normal and leukemic T cells are not fully understood. Our findings identify a role for Notch signaling in G(1)-S progression of cell cycle in T cells. Here we show that expression of the G(1) proteins, cyclin D3, CDK4, and CDK6, is Notch-dependent both in vitro and in vivo, and we outline a possible mechanism for the regulated expression of cyclin D3 in activated T cells via CSL (CBF-1, mammals; suppressor of hairless, Drosophila melanogaster; Lag-1, Caenorhabditis elegans), as well as a noncanonical Notch signaling pathway. While cyclin D3 expression contributes to cell-cycle progression in Notch-dependent human T-ALL cell lines, ectopic expression of CDK4 or CDK6 together with cyclin D3 shows partial rescue from gamma-secretase inhibitor (GSI)-induced G(1) arrest in these cell lines. Importantly, cyclin D3 and CDK4 are highly overexpressed in Notch-dependent T-cell lymphomas, justifying the combined use of cell-cycle inhibitors and GSI in treating human T-cell malignancies.
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Direct inhibition of the NOTCH transcription factor complex.
Nature
PUBLISHED: 01-29-2009
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Direct inhibition of transcription factor complexes remains a central challenge in the discipline of ligand discovery. In general, these proteins lack surface involutions suitable for high-affinity binding by small molecules. Here we report the design of synthetic, cell-permeable, stabilized alpha-helical peptides that target a critical protein-protein interface in the NOTCH transactivation complex. We demonstrate that direct, high-affinity binding of the hydrocarbon-stapled peptide SAHM1 prevents assembly of the active transcriptional complex. Inappropriate NOTCH activation is directly implicated in the pathogenesis of several disease states, including T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (T-ALL). The treatment of leukaemic cells with SAHM1 results in genome-wide suppression of NOTCH-activated genes. Direct antagonism of the NOTCH transcriptional program causes potent, NOTCH-specific anti-proliferative effects in cultured cells and in a mouse model of NOTCH1-driven T-ALL.
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Constitutive JAK3 activation induces lymphoproliferative syndromes in murine bone marrow transplantation models.
Blood
PUBLISHED: 01-12-2009
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The tyrosine kinase JAK3 plays a well-established role during normal lymphocyte development and is constitutively phosphorylated in several lymphoid malignancies. However, its contribution to lymphomagenesis remains elusive. In this study, we used the newly identified activating JAK3A572V mutation to elucidate the effect of constitutive JAK3 signaling on murine lymphopoiesis. In a bone marrow transplantation model, JAK3A572V induces an aggressive, fatal, and transplantable lymphoproliferative disorder characterized by the expansion of CD8(+)TCRalphabeta(+)CD44(+)CD122(+)Ly-6C(+) T cells that closely resemble an effector/memory T-cell subtype. Compared with wild-type counterparts, these cells show increased proliferative capacities in response to polyclonal stimulation, enhanced survival rates with elevated expression of Bcl-2, and increased production of interferon-gamma (IFNgamma) and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNFalpha), correlating with enhanced cytotoxic abilities against allogeneic target cells. Of interest, the JAK3A572V disease is epidermotropic and produces intraepidermal microabscesses. Taken together, these clinical features are reminiscent of those observed in an uncommon but aggressive subset of CD8(+) human cutaneous T-cell lymphomas (CTCLs). However, we also observed a CD4(+) CTCL-like phenotype when cells are transplanted in an MHC-I-deficient background. These data demonstrate that constitutive JAK3 activation disrupts T-cell homeostasis and induces lymphoproliferative diseases in mice.
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Divergent effects of supraphysiologic Notch signals on leukemia stem cells and hematopoietic stem cells.
Blood
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The leukemia stem cell (LSC) hypothesis proposes that a subset of cells in the bulk leukemia population propagates the leukemia.We tested the LSC hypothesis in a mouse model of Notch-induced T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) in which the tumor cells were largely CD4+ CD8+ T cells. LSC activity was enriched but rare in the CD8+ CD4 HSA(hi) immature single-positive T-cell subset. Although our murine T-ALL model relies on transduction of HSCs, we were unable to isolate Notch-activated HSCs to test for LSC activity. Further analysis showed that Notch activation in HSCs caused an initial expansion of hematopoietic and T-cell progenitors and loss of stem cell quiescence, which was followed by progressive loss of long-term HSCs and T-cell production over several weeks. Similar results were obtained in a conditional transgenic model in which Notch activation is induced in HSCs by Cre recombinase. We conclude that although supraphysiologic Notch signaling in HSCs promotes LSC activity in T-cell progenitors, it extinguishes self-renewal of LT-HSCs. These results provide further evidence for therapeutically targeting T-cell progenitors in T-ALL while also underscoring the need to tightly regulate Notch signaling to expand normal HSC populations for clinical applications.
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NOTCH1 promotes T cell leukemia-initiating activity by RUNX-mediated regulation of PKC-? and reactive oxygen species.
Nat. Med.
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Reactive oxygen species (ROS), a byproduct of cellular metabolism, damage intracellular macromolecules and, when present in excess, can promote normal hematopoietic stem cell differentiation and exhaustion. However, mechanisms that regulate the amount of ROS in leukemia-initiating cells (LICs) and the biological role of ROS in these cells are largely unknown. We show here that the ROS(low) subset of CD44(+) cells in T cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL), a malignancy of immature T cell progenitors, is highly enriched in the most aggressive LICs and that ROS accumulation is restrained by downregulation of protein kinase C ? (PKC-?). Notably, primary mouse T-ALLs lacking PKC-? show improved LIC activity, whereas enforced PKC-? expression in both mouse and human primary T-ALLs compromised LIC activity. We also show that PKC-? is regulated by a new pathway in which NOTCH1 induces runt-related transcription factor 3 (RUNX3), RUNX3 represses RUNX1 and RUNX1 induces PKC-?. NOTCH1, which is frequently activated by mutation in T-ALL and required for LIC activity in both mouse and human models, thus acts to repress PKC-?. These results reveal key functional roles for PKC-? and ROS in T-ALL and suggest that aggressive biological behavior in vivo could be limited by therapeutic strategies that promote PKC-? expression or activity, or the accumulation of ROS.
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Targeting Notch, a key pathway for ovarian cancer stem cells, sensitizes tumors to platinum therapy.
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.
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Chemoresistance to platinum therapy is a major obstacle that needs to be overcome in the treatment of ovarian cancer patients. The high rates and patterns of therapeutic failure seen in patients are consistent with a steady accumulation of drug-resistant cancer stem cells (CSCs). This study demonstrates that the Notch signaling pathway and Notch3 in particular are critical for the regulation of CSCs and tumor resistance to platinum. We show that Notch3 overexpression in tumor cells results in expansion of CSCs and increased platinum chemoresistance. In contrast, ?-secretase inhibitor (GSI), a Notch pathway inhibitor, depletes CSCs and increases tumor sensitivity to platinum. Similarly, a Notch3 siRNA knockdown increases the response to platinum therapy, further demonstrating that modulation of tumor chemosensitivity by GSI is Notch specific. Most importantly, the cisplatin/GSI combination is the only treatment that effectively eliminates both CSCs and the bulk of tumor cells, indicating that a dual combination targeting both populations is needed for tumor eradication. In addition, we found that the cisplatin/GSI combination therapy has a synergistic cytotoxic effect in Notch-dependent tumor cells by enhancing the DNA-damage response, G(2)/M cell-cycle arrest, and apoptosis. Based on these results, we conclude that targeting the Notch pathway could significantly increase tumor sensitivity to platinum therapy. Our study suggests important clinical applications for targeting Notch as part of novel treatment strategies upon diagnosis of ovarian cancer and at recurrence. Both platinum-resistant and platinum-sensitive relapses may benefit from such an approach as clinical data suggest that all relapses after platinum therapy are increasingly platinum resistant.
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Notch ligand delta-like 4 blockade attenuates atherosclerosis and metabolic disorders.
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.
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Atherosclerosis and insulin resistance are major components of the cardiometabolic syndrome, a global health threat associated with a systemic inflammatory state. Notch signaling regulates tissue development and participates in innate and adaptive immunity in adults. The role of Notch signaling in cardiometabolic inflammation, however, remains obscure. We noted that a high-fat, high-cholesterol diet increased expression of the Notch ligand Delta-like 4 (Dll4) in atheromata and fat tissue in LDL-receptor-deficient mice. Blockade of Dll4-Notch signaling using neutralizing anti-Dll4 antibody attenuated the development of atherosclerosis, diminished plaque calcification, improved insulin resistance, and decreased fat accumulation. These changes were accompanied by decreased macrophage accumulation, diminished expression of monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), and lower levels of nuclear factor-?B (NF-?B) activation. In vitro cell culture experiments revealed that Dll4-mediated Notch signaling increases MCP-1 expression via NF-?B, providing a possible mechanism for in vivo effects. Furthermore, Dll4 skewed macrophages toward a proinflammatory phenotype ("M1"). These results suggest that Dll4-Notch signaling plays a central role in the shared mechanism for the pathogenesis of cardiometabolic disorders.
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Cutaneous ?-human papillomavirus E6 proteins bind Mastermind-like coactivators and repress Notch signaling.
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.
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The Notch signaling pathway is a key determinant in keratinocyte differentiation and growth cycle arrest, and has been reported to have a tumor suppressor function in skin. The papillomavirus life cycle is intricately linked to the differentiation status of keratinocytes. Papillomaviruses are associated with benign proliferative epithelial lesions in their respective hosts. Although human papillomaviruses (HPVs) associated with genital tract lesions have been extensively studied, studies of the cutaneous HPVs are more limited. In particular, it is well established that the E6 proteins of high-risk HPVs of the ?-genus such as HPV16 and HPV18 mediate the degradation of p53 by its association with the ubiquitin ligase E6AP. In contrast, less is known about the cellular activities of the cutaneous HPVs of the ?-genus. By using an unbiased proteomic approach, we identify MAML1 and other members of the Notch transcription complex as high-confidence cellular interacting proteins of E6 proteins of the ?-genus HPVs and of the bovine papillomavirus type 1 associated with cutaneous fibropapillomas. We show that bovine papillomavirus type 1 and ?-HPV E6 repress Notch transcriptional activation, and that this repression is dependent on an interaction with MAML1. Finally, we show that the expression levels of endogenous Notch target genes are repressed by ?-HPV E6 proteins. These findings elucidate a mechanism of viral antagonism of Notch signaling, and suggest that Notch signaling is an important epithelial cell pathway target for the ?-HPVs.
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The intersection of genetic and chemical genomic screens identifies GSK-3? as a target in human acute myeloid leukemia.
J. Clin. Invest.
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Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is the most common form of acute leukemia in adults. Long-term survival of patients with AML has changed little over the past decade, necessitating the identification and validation of new AML targets. Integration of genomic approaches with small-molecule and genetically based high-throughput screening holds the promise of improved discovery of candidate targets for cancer therapy. Here, we identified a role for glycogen synthase kinase 3? (GSK-3?) in AML by performing 2 independent small-molecule library screens and an shRNA screen for perturbations that induced a differentiation expression signature in AML cells. GSK-3 is a serine-threonine kinase involved in diverse cellular processes, including differentiation, signal transduction, cell cycle regulation, and proliferation. We demonstrated that specific loss of GSK-3? induced differentiation in AML by multiple measurements, including induction of gene expression signatures, morphological changes, and cell surface markers consistent with myeloid maturation. GSK-3?-specific suppression also led to impaired growth and proliferation in vitro, induction of apoptosis, loss of colony formation in methylcellulose, and anti-AML activity in vivo. Although the role of GSK-3? has been well studied in cancer development, these studies support a role for GSK-3? in AML.
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The double-edged sword of Notch signaling in cancer.
Semin. Cell Dev. Biol.
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Recent deep sequencing of cancer genomes has produced an explosion of new data implicating Notch signaling in several human cancers. Unlike most other pathways, these data indicate that Notch signaling can be either oncogenic or tumor suppressive, depending on the cellular context. In some instances, these relationships were predicted from mouse models or presaged by developmental roles for Notch, but in other cases were unanticipated. This review discusses the pathogenic and translational significance of these new findings.
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In Brief: Notch Signaling in Health and Disease.
J. Pathol.
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The Notch pathway controls many aspects of development and is mutated in various human cancers. Remarkably, Notch function changes during development of cellular hierarchies and can be either oncogenic or tumor suppressive, depending on cellular context. Notch dysregulation is also important in cardiovascular disease and disorders of immunity. This minireview outlines key features of the Notch signaling pathway and emerging data linking it to human diseases.
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What is Visualize?

JoVE Visualize is a tool created to match the last 5 years of PubMed publications to methods in JoVE's video library.

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We use abstracts found on PubMed and match them to JoVE videos to create a list of 10 to 30 related methods videos.

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In developing our video relationships, we compare around 5 million PubMed articles to our library of over 4,500 methods videos. In some cases the language used in the PubMed abstracts makes matching that content to a JoVE video difficult. In other cases, there happens not to be any content in our video library that is relevant to the topic of a given abstract. In these cases, our algorithms are trying their best to display videos with relevant content, which can sometimes result in matched videos with only a slight relation.