Senescence is a prominent solid tumor response to therapy in which cells avoid apoptosis and instead enter into prolonged cell cycle arrest. We applied a quantitative proteomics screen to identify signals that lead to therapy-induced senescence (TIS) and discovered that Bcl2-associated athanogene 3 (Bag3) is upregulated after adriamycin treatment in MCF7 cells. Bag3 protein is a member of the BAG family of co-chaperones that interacts with Hsp70. Bag3 also regulates major signaling pathways. Mass Spectrometry analysis of the Bag3 Complex revealed a novel interaction between Bag3 and Major Vault Protein (MVP). Silencing of Bag3 or MVP shifts the cellular response to adriamycin in favor apoptosis. We demonstrate that Bag3 and MVP contribute to apoptosis resistance in TIS by activation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase1/2 (ERK1/2). Bag3 and MVP were required for ERK1/2 activation in response to adriamycin and silencing either gene product decreased cell survival in response to the drug. An increase in nuclear accumulation of MVP is observed during TIS and the shift in MVP subcellular localization is Bag3-dependent. We propose a model in which Bag3 binds to MVP and facilitates MVP accumulation in the nucleus, which sustains ERK1/2 activation. We also demonstrate that silencing of Bag3 and MVP shifts the response to apoptosis and regulates ERK1/2 signaling in a panel of diverse breast cancer cell lines. This study highlights Bag3-MVP as an important complex that regulates a potent pro-survival signaling pathway and contributes to chemotherapy resistance in breast cancer.
Little is known about the extracellular signaling factors that govern mammary stem cell behavior. Here, we identify CRIPTO and its cell-surface receptor GRP78 as regulators of stem cell behavior in isolated fetal and adult mammary epithelial cells. We develop a CRIPTO antagonist that promotes differentiation and reduces self-renewal of mammary stem cell-enriched populations cultured ex vivo. By contrast, CRIPTO treatment maintains the stem cell phenotype in these cultures and yields colonies with enhanced mammary gland reconstitution capacity. Surface expression of GRP78 marks CRIPTO-responsive, stem cell-enriched fetal and adult mammary epithelial cells, and deletion of GRP78 from adult mammary epithelial cells blocks their mammary gland reconstitution potential. Together, these findings identify the CRIPTO/GRP78 pathway as a developmentally conserved regulator of fetal and adult mammary stem cell behavior ex vivo, with implications for the stem-like cells found in many cancers.
The cell cytoskeleton is composed of microtubules, intermediate filaments, and actin that provide a rigid support structure important for cell shape. However, it is also a dynamic signaling scaffold that receives and transmits complex mechanosensing stimuli that regulate normal physiological and aberrant pathophysiological processes. Studying cytoskeletal functions in the cytoskeletons native state is inherently difficult due to its rigid and insoluble nature. This has severely limited detailed proteomic analyses of the complex protein networks that regulate the cytoskeleton. Here, we describe a purification method that enriches for the cytoskeleton and its associated proteins in their native state that is also compatible with current mass spectrometry-based protein detection methods. This method can be used for biochemical, fluorescence, and large-scale proteomic analyses of numerous cell types. Using this approach, 2346 proteins were identified in the cytoskeletal fraction of purified mouse embryonic fibroblasts, of which 635 proteins were either known cytoskeleton proteins or cytoskeleton-interacting proteins. Functional annotation and network analyses using the Ingenuity Knowledge Database of the cytoskeletome revealed important nodes of interconnectivity surrounding well-established regulators of the actin cytoskeleton and focal adhesion complexes. This improved cytoskeleton purification method will aid our understanding of how the cytoskeleton controls normal and diseased cell functions.
The cytoskeleton is fundamental to many cellular functions including cell proliferation, differentiation, adhesion, and migration. It is composed of actin, microtubules, intermediate filaments, and integrin cell surface receptors, which form focal adhesions with the extracellular matrix. These elements are highly integrated in the cell providing a rigid network of interconnected cables and protein scaffolds, which generate force and mechanical support to maintain cell shape and movement. However, the cytoskeleton is not just a simple compilation of static filaments that dictate cell adhesion and morphology-it is highly plastic with the inherent ability to assemble and disassemble in response to diverse and complex cellular cues. Thus, biochemical and proteomic methods are needed to better understand the cytoskeleton network and its dynamic signal transduction functions in health and disease. This chapter describes methods for the biochemical enrichment and mass spectrometry-based proteomic analyses of the cytoskeletome. We also detail how these methods can be used to investigate the cytoskeletome of migrating cells and their purified pseudopodia membrane projections.
Breast cancer and melanoma cells commonly metastasize to the brain using homing mechanisms that are poorly understood. Cancer patients with brain metastases display poor prognosis and survival due to the lack of effective therapeutics and treatment strategies. Recent work using intravital microscopy and preclinical animal models indicates that metastatic cells colonize the brain, specifically in close contact with the existing brain vasculature. However, it is not known how contact with the vascular niche promotes microtumor formation. Here, we investigate the role of connexins in mediating early events in brain colonization using transparent zebrafish and chicken embryo models of brain metastasis. We provide evidence that breast cancer and melanoma cells utilize connexin gap junction proteins (Cx43, Cx26) to initiate brain metastatic lesion formation in association with the vasculature. RNAi depletion of connexins or pharmacological blocking of connexin-mediated cell-cell communication with carbenoxolone inhibited brain colonization by blocking tumor cell extravasation and blood vessel co-option. Activation of the metastatic gene twist in breast cancer cells increased Cx43 protein expression and gap junction communication, leading to increased extravasation, blood vessel co-option and brain colonization. Conversely, inhibiting twist activity reduced Cx43-mediated gap junction coupling and brain colonization. Database analyses of patient histories revealed increased expression of Cx26 and Cx43 in primary melanoma and breast cancer tumors, respectively, which correlated with increased cancer recurrence and metastasis. Together, our data indicate that Cx43 and Cx26 mediate cancer cell metastasis to the brain and suggest that connexins might be exploited therapeutically to benefit cancer patients with metastatic disease.
Brain development and spinal cord regeneration require neurite sprouting and growth cone navigation in response to extension and collapsing factors present in the extracellular environment. These external guidance cues control neurite growth cone extension and retraction processes through intracellular protein phosphorylation of numerous cytoskeletal, adhesion, and polarity complex signaling proteins. However, the complex kinase/substrate signaling networks that mediate neuritogenesis have not been investigated. Here, we compare the neurite phosphoproteome under growth and retraction conditions using neurite purification methodology combined with mass spectrometry. More than 4000 non-redundant phosphorylation sites from 1883 proteins have been annotated and mapped to signaling pathways that control kinase/phosphatase networks, cytoskeleton remodeling, and axon/dendrite specification. Comprehensive informatics and functional studies revealed a compartmentalized ERK activation/deactivation cytoskeletal switch that governs neurite growth and retraction, respectively. Our findings provide the first system-wide analysis of the phosphoprotein signaling networks that enable neurite growth and retraction and reveal an important molecular switch that governs neuritogenesis.
In this study, we evaluated a concatenated low pH (pH 3) and high pH (pH 10) reversed-phase liquid chromatography strategy as a first dimension for two-dimensional liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry ("shotgun") proteomic analysis of trypsin-digested human MCF10A cell sample. Compared with the more traditional strong cation exchange method, the use of concatenated high pH reversed-phase liquid chromatography as a first-dimension fractionation strategy resulted in 1.8- and 1.6-fold increases in the number of peptide and protein identifications (with two or more unique peptides), respectively. In addition to broader identifications, advantages of the concatenated high pH fractionation approach include improved protein sequence coverage, simplified sample processing, and reduced sample losses. The results demonstrate that the concatenated high pH reversed-phased strategy is an attractive alternative to strong cation exchange for two-dimensional shotgun proteomic analysis.
Signaling by urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR) can cause epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in cultured breast cancer cells. In this report, we show that uPAR signaling can also induce cancer stem cell (CSC)-like properties. Ectopic overexpression of uPAR in human MDA-MB-468 breast cancer cells promoted the emergence of a CD24(-)/CD44(+) phenotype, characteristic of CSCs, while increasing the cell surface abundance of integrin subunits ?1/CD29 and ?6/CD49f that represent putative mammary gland stem cell biomarkers. uPAR overexpression increased mammosphere formation in vitro and tumor formation in an immunocompromized severe combined immunodeficient (SCID) mouse model of orthotopic breast cancer. Hypoxic conditions that are known to induce EMT in MDA-MB-468 cells also increased cell surface ?1/CD29, mimicking the effects of uPAR overexpression. Antagonizing uPAR effector signaling pathways reversed the increase in cell surface integrin expression. Whereas uPAR overexpression did not induce EMT in MCF-7 breast cancer cells, CSC-like properties were nevertheless still induced along with an increase in tumor initiation and growth in the orthotopic setting in SCID mice. Notably, in MCF-7 cell mammospheres, which display a well-defined acinus-like structure with polarized expression of E-cadherin and ?1-integrin, cell collapse into the central cavity was decreased by uPAR overexpression, suggesting that uPAR signaling may stabilize epithelial morphology. In summary, our findings show that uPAR signaling can induce CSC-like properties in breast cancer cells, either concomitantly with or separately from EMT.
Angiogenesis is controlled by signals that stimulate motility in endothelial cells at the tips of vascular sprouts while maintaining cell-cell adhesion in the stalks of angiogenic sprouts. We show here that Gs-linked G protein-coupled receptor activation of cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA) plays an important role in regulating the switch between endothelial cell adhesion and migration by activating C-terminal Src kinase, leading to inhibition of pp60Src. Activated PKA blocks pp60Src-dependent vascular endot helial-cadherin phosphorylation, thereby stimulating cell-cell adhesion while suppressing endothelial cell polarization, motility, angiogenesis, and vascular permeability. Similar to the actions of Notch and Dll4, PKA activation blocks sprouting in newly forming embryonic blood vessels, while PKA inhibition promotes excessive sprouting in these vessels. These findings demonstrate that G protein-coupled receptors and PKA regulate vascular sprouting during angiogenesis by controlling endothelial cell migration and cell-cell adhesion through their actions on pp60Src.
Little is known about how metastatic cancer cells arrest in small capillaries and traverse the vascular wall during extravasation in vivo. Using real-time intravital imaging of human tumor cells transplanted into transparent zebrafish, we show here that extravasation of cancer cells is a highly dynamic process that involves the modulation of tumor cell adhesion to the endothelium and intravascular cell migration along the luminal surface of the vascular wall. Tumor cells do not damage or induce vascular leak at the site of extravasation, but rather induce local vessel remodeling characterized by clustering of endothelial cells and cell-cell junctions. Intravascular locomotion of tumor cells is independent of the direction of blood flow and requires beta1-integrin-mediated adhesion to the blood-vessel wall. Interestingly, the expression of the pro-metastatic gene Twist in tumor cells increases their intravascular migration and extravasation through the vessel wall. However, in this case, Twist expression causes the tumor cells to switch to a beta1-integrin-independent mode of extravasation that is associated with the formation of large dynamic rounded membrane protrusions. Our results demonstrate that extravasation of tumor cells is a highly dynamic process influenced by metastatic genes that target adhesion and intravascular migration of tumor cells, and induce endothelial remodeling.
Regulation of the actin-myosin cytoskeleton plays a central role in cell migration and cancer progression. Here, we report the discovery of a cytoskeleton-associated kinase, pseudopodium-enriched atypical kinase 1 (PEAK1). PEAK1 is a 190-kDa nonreceptor tyrosine kinase that localizes to actin filaments and focal adhesions. PEAK1 undergoes Src-induced tyrosine phosphorylation, regulates the p130Cas-Crk-paxillin and Erk signaling pathways, and operates downstream of integrin and epidermal growth factor receptors (EGFR) to control cell spreading, migration, and proliferation. Perturbation of PEAK1 levels in cancer cells alters anchorage-independent growth and tumor progression in mice. Notably, primary and metastatic samples from colon cancer patients display amplified PEAK1 levels in 81% of the cases. Our findings indicate that PEAK1 is an important cytoskeletal regulatory kinase and possible target for anticancer therapy.
Kinases are known to regulate fundamental processes in cancer including tumor proliferation, metastasis, neovascularization, and chemoresistance. Accordingly, kinase inhibitors have been a major focus of drug development, and several kinase inhibitors are now approved for various cancer indications. Typically, kinase inhibitors are selected via high-throughput screening using catalytic kinase domains at low ATP concentration, and this process often yields ATP mimetics that lack specificity and/or function poorly in cells where ATP levels are high. Molecules targeting the allosteric site in the inactive kinase conformation (type II inhibitors) provide an alternative for developing selective inhibitors that are physiologically active. By applying a rational design approach using a constrained amino-triazole scaffold predicted to stabilize kinases in the inactive state, we generated a series of selective type II inhibitors of PDGFRbeta and B-RAF, important targets for pericyte recruitment and endothelial cell survival, respectively. These molecules were designed in silico and screened for antivascular activity in both cell-based models and a Tg(fli1-EGFP) zebrafish embryogenesis model. Dual inhibition of PDGFRbeta and B-RAF cellular signaling demonstrated synergistic antiangiogenic activity in both zebrafish and murine models of angiogenesis, and a combination of previously characterized PDGFRbeta and RAF inhibitors validated the synergy. Our lead compound was selected as an orally active molecule with favorable pharmacokinetic properties which demonstrated target inhibition in vivo leading to suppression of murine orthotopic tumors in both the kidney and pancreas.
PHR [PAM (protein associated with Myc)-HIW (Highwire)-RPM-1 (regulator of presynaptic morphology 1)] proteins are conserved, large multi-domain E3 ubiquitin ligases with modular architecture. PHR proteins presynaptically control synaptic growth and axon guidance and postsynaptically regulate endocytosis of glutamate receptors. Dysfunction of neuronal ubiquitin-mediated proteasomal degradation is implicated in various neurodegenerative diseases. PHR proteins are characterized by the presence of two PHR domains near the N-terminus, which are essential for proper localization and function. Structures of both the first and second PHR domains of Mus musculus (mouse) Phr1 (MYC binding protein 2, Mycbp2) have been determined, revealing a novel beta sandwich fold composed of 11 antiparallel beta-strands. Conserved loops decorate the apical side of the first PHR domain (MmPHR1), yielding a distinct conserved surface feature. The surface of the second PHR domain (MmPHR2), in contrast, lacks significant conservation. Importantly, the structure of MmPHR1 provides insights into a loss-of-function mutation, Gly1092-->Glu, observed in the Caenorhabditis elegans ortholog RPM-1.
Tumor-associated macrophages are known to influence cancer progression by modulation of immune function, angiogenesis, and cell metastasis, however, little is known about the chemokine signaling networks that regulate this process. Utilizing CT26 colon cancer cells and RAW 264.7 macrophages as a model cellular system, we demonstrate that treatment of CT26 cells with RAW 264.7 conditioned medium induces cell migration, invasion and metastasis. Inflammatory gene microarray analysis indicated CT26-stimulated RAW 264.7 macrophages upregulate SDF-1alpha and VEGF, and that these cytokines contribute to CT26 migration in vitro. RAW 264.7 macrophages also showed a robust chemotactic response towards CT26-derived chemokines. In particular, microarray analysis and functional testing revealed CSF-1 as the major chemoattractant for RAW 264.7 macrophages. Interestingly, in the chick CAM model of cancer progression, RAW 264.7 macrophages localized specifically to the tumor periphery where they were found to increase CT26 tumor growth, microvascular density, vascular disruption, and lung metastasis, suggesting these cells home to actively invading areas of the tumor, but not the hypoxic core of the tumor mass. In support of these findings, hypoxic conditions down regulated CSF-1 production in several tumor cell lines and decreased RAW 264.7 macrophage migration in vitro. Together our findings suggest a model where normoxic tumor cells release CSF-1 to recruit macrophages to the tumor periphery where they secrete motility and angiogenic factors that facilitate tumor cell invasion and metastasis.
Lipid accumulation in arteries induces vascular inflammation and atherosclerosis, the major cause of heart attack and stroke in humans. Extreme hyperlipidemia induced in mice and rabbits enables modeling many aspects of human atherosclerosis, but microscopic examination of plaques is possible only postmortem. Here we report that feeding adult zebrafish (Danio rerio) a high-cholesterol diet (HCD) resulted in hypercholesterolemia, remarkable lipoprotein oxidation, and fatty streak formation in the arteries. Feeding an HCD supplemented with a fluorescent cholesteryl ester to optically transparent fli1:EGFP zebrafish larvae in which endothelial cells express green fluorescent protein (GFP), and using confocal microscopy enabled monitoring vascular lipid accumulation and the endothelial cell layer disorganization and thickening in a live animal. The HCD feeding also increased leakage of a fluorescent dextran from the blood vessels. Administering ezetimibe significantly diminished the HCD-induced endothelial cell layer thickening and improved its barrier function. Feeding HCD to lyz:DsRed2 larvae in which macrophages and granulocytes express DsRed resulted in the accumulation of fluorescent myeloid cells in the vascular wall. Using a fluorogenic substrate for phospholipase A(2) (PLA(2)), we observed an increased vascular PLA(2) activity in live HCD-fed larvae compared to control larvae. Furthermore, by transplanting genetically modified murine cells into HCD-fed larvae, we demonstrated that toll-like receptor-4 was required for efficient in vivo lipid uptake by macrophages. These results suggest that the novel zebrafish model is suitable for studying temporal characteristics of certain inflammatory processes of early atherogenesis and the in vivo function of vascular cells.
Pseudopodium-enriched atypical kinase 1 (PEAK1) is a recently described tyrosine kinase that associates with the actin cytoskeleton and focal adhesion (FA) in migrating cells. PEAK1 is known to promote cell migration, but the responsible mechanisms remain unclear. Here, we show that PEAK1 controls FA assembly and disassembly in a dynamic pathway controlled by PEAK1 phosphorylation at Tyr-665. Knockdown of endogenous PEAK1 inhibits random cell migration. In PEAK1-deficient cells, FA lifetimes are decreased, FA assembly times are shortened, and FA disassembly times are extended. Phosphorylation of Tyr-665 in PEAK1 is essential for normal PEAK1 localization and its function in the regulation of FAs; however, constitutive phosphorylation of PEAK1 Tyr-665 is also disruptive of its function, indicating a requirement for precise spatiotemporal regulation of PEAK1. Src family kinases are required for normal PEAK1 localization and function. Finally, we provide evidence that PEAK1 promotes cancer cell invasion through Matrigel by a mechanism that requires dynamic regulation of Tyr-665 phosphorylation.
Metastatic cancer cells produce invasive membrane protrusions called invadopodia and pseudopodia, which play a central role in driving cancer cell dissemination in the body. Malignant cells use these structures to attach to and degrade extracellular matrix proteins, generate force for cell locomotion, and to penetrate the vasculature. Recent work using unique subcellular fractionation methodologies combined with spatial genomic, proteomic, and phosphoproteomic profiling has provided insight into the invadopodiome and pseudopodiome signaling networks that control the protrusion of invasive membranes. Here I highlight how these powerful spatial omics approaches reveal important signatures of metastatic cancer cells and possible new therapeutic targets aimed at treating metastatic disease.
Our current understanding of 3-dimensional (3D) cell migration is primarily based on results from fibrous scaffolds with randomly organized internal architecture. Manipulations that change the stiffness of these 3D scaffolds often alter other matrix parameters that can modulate cell motility independently or synergistically, making observations less predictive of how cells behave when migrating in 3D. In order to decouple microstructural influences and stiffness effects, we have designed and fabricated 3D polyethylene glycol (PEG) scaffolds that permit orthogonal tuning of both elastic moduli and microstructure. Scaffolds with log-pile architectures were used to compare the 3D migration properties of normal breast epithelial cells (HMLE) and Twist-transformed cells (HMLET). Our results indicate that the nature of cell migration is significantly impacted by the ability of cells to migrate in the third dimension. 2D ECM-coated PEG substrates revealed no statistically significant difference in cell migration between HMLE and HMLET cells among substrates of different stiffness. However, when cells were allowed to move along the third dimension, substantial differences were observed for cell displacement, velocity and path straightness parameters. Furthermore, these differences were sensitive to both substrate stiffness and the presence of the Twist oncogene. Importantly, these 3D modes of migration provide insight into the potential for oncogene-transformed cells to migrate within and colonize tissues of varying stiffness.
Early biomarkers and effective therapeutic strategies are desperately needed to treat pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), which has a dismal 5-year patient survival rate. Here, we report that the novel tyrosine kinase PEAK1 is upregulated in human malignancies, including human PDACs and pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PanIN). Oncogenic KRas induced a PEAK1-dependent kinase amplification loop between Src, PEAK1, and ErbB2 to drive PDAC tumor growth and metastasis in vivo. Surprisingly, blockade of ErbB2 expression increased Src-dependent PEAK1 expression, PEAK1-dependent Src activation, and tumor growth in vivo, suggesting a mechanism for the observed resistance of patients with PDACs to therapeutic intervention. Importantly, PEAK1 inactivation sensitized PDAC cells to trastuzumab and gemcitabine therapy. Our findings, therefore, suggest that PEAK1 is a novel biomarker, critical signaling hub, and new therapeutic target in PDACs.
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