Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) is a dominantly inherited disease, caused by hyperactivation of the mTORC1 pathway and characterized by the development of hamartomas and benign tumors, also in the brain. Among the neurological manifestations associated with TSC, the tumor progression of static subependymal nodules (SENs) into subependymal giant cell astrocytomas (SEGAs) is one of the major causes of morbidity and shortened life expectancy. To date, mouse modeling has failed in reproducing these two lesions. Here we report that simultaneous hyperactivation of mTORC1 and Akt pathways by codeletion of Tsc1 and Pten, selectively in postnatal neural stem cells (pNSCs), is required for the formation of bona fide SENs and SEGAs. Notably, both lesions closely recapitulate the pathognomonic morphological and molecular features of the corresponding human abnormalities. The establishment of long-term expanding pNSC lines from mouse SENs and SEGAs made possible the identification of mTORC2 as one of the mediators conferring tumorigenic potential to SEGA pNSCs. Of note, in spite of concurrent Akt hyperactivation in mouse brain lesions, single mTOR inhibition by rapamycin was sufficient to strongly impair mouse SEGA growth. This study provides the first evidence that, concomitant with mTORC1 hyperactivation, sustained activation of Akt and mTORC2 in pNSCs is a mandatory step for the induction of SENs and SEGAs and, at the same time, makes available an unprecedented NSC-based in vivo/in vitro model to be exploited for identifying actionable targets in TSC.
Paola Zordan, Manuela Cominelli, Federica Cascino, Elisa Tratta, Pietro L. Poliani, Rossella Galli
Breast cancer cells with stem cell properties are key contributors to metastatic disease, and there remains a need to better understand and target these cells in human cancers. Here, we identified rare stem-like cells in patients’ tumors characterized by low levels of the proapoptotic molecule p53-upregulated modulator of apoptosis (PUMA) and showed that these cells play a critical role in tumor progression that is independent of clinical subtype. A signaling axis consisting of the integrin αvβ3, Src kinase, and the transcription factor Slug suppresses PUMA in these cells, promoting tumor stemness. We showed that genetic or pharmacological disruption of αvβ3/Src signaling drives PUMA expression, specifically depleting these stem-like tumor cells; increases their sensitivity to apoptosis; and reduces pulmonary metastasis, with no effect on primary tumor growth. Taken together, these findings point to PUMA as a key vulnerability of stem-like cells and suggest that pharmacological upregulation of PUMA via Src inhibition may represent a strategy to selectively target these cells in a wide spectrum of aggressive breast cancers.
Qi Sun, Jacqueline Lesperance, Hiromi Wettersten, Elaine Luterstein, Yoko S. DeRose, Alana Welm, David A. Cheresh, Jay S. Desgrosellier
Endothelial cells (ECs) are components of the hematopoietic microenvironment and regulate hematopoietic stem and progenitor cell (HSPC) homeostasis. Cytokine treatments that cause HSPC trafficking to peripheral blood are associated with an increase in dipeptidylpeptidase 4/CD26 (DPP4/CD26), an enzyme that truncates the neurotransmitter neuropeptide Y (NPY). Here, we show that enzymatically altered NPY signaling in ECs caused reduced VE-cadherin and CD31 expression along EC junctions, resulting in increased vascular permeability and HSPC egress. Moreover, selective NPY2 and NPY5 receptor antagonists restored vascular integrity and limited HSPC mobilization, demonstrating that the enzymatically controlled vascular gateway specifically opens by cleavage of NPY by CD26 signaling via NPY2 and NPY5 receptors. Mice lacking CD26 or NPY exhibited impaired HSPC trafficking that was restored by treatment with truncated NPY. Thus, our results point to ECs as gatekeepers of HSPC trafficking and identify a CD26-mediated NPY axis that has potential as a pharmacologic target to regulate hematopoietic trafficking in homeostatic and stress conditions.
Pratibha Singh, Jonathan Hoggatt, Malgorzata M. Kamocka, Khalid S. Mohammad, Mary R. Saunders, Hongge Li, Jennifer Speth, Nadia Carlesso, Theresa A. Guise, Louis M. Pelus
Age-related changes in the hematopoietic compartment are primarily attributed to cell-intrinsic alterations in hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs); however, the contribution of the aged microenvironment has not been adequately evaluated. Understanding the role of the bone marrow (BM) microenvironment in supporting HSC function may prove to be beneficial in treating age-related functional hematopoietic decline. Here, we determined that aging of endothelial cells (ECs), a critical component of the BM microenvironment, was sufficient to drive hematopoietic aging phenotypes in young HSCs. We used an ex vivo hematopoietic stem and progenitor cell/EC (HSPC/EC) coculture system as well as in vivo EC infusions following myelosuppressive injury in mice to demonstrate that aged ECs impair the repopulating activity of young HSCs and impart a myeloid bias. Conversely, young ECs restored the repopulating capacity of aged HSCs but were unable to reverse the intrinsic myeloid bias. Infusion of young, HSC-supportive BM ECs enhanced hematopoietic recovery following myelosuppressive injury and restored endogenous HSC function in aged mice. Coinfusion of young ECs augmented aged HSC engraftment and enhanced overall survival in lethally irradiated mice by mitigating damage to the BM vascular microenvironment. These data lay the groundwork for the exploration of EC therapies that can serve as adjuvant modalities to enhance HSC engraftment and accelerate hematopoietic recovery in the elderly population following myelosuppressive regimens.
Michael G. Poulos, Pradeep Ramalingam, Michael C. Gutkin, Pierre Llanos, Katherine Gilleran, Sina Y. Rabbany, Jason M. Butler
In multiple sclerosis, the pathological interaction between autoreactive Th cells and mononuclear phagocytes in the CNS drives initiation and maintenance of chronic neuroinflammation. Here, we found that intrathecal transplantation of neural stem/precursor cells (NPCs) in mice with experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) impairs the accumulation of inflammatory monocyte-derived cells (MCs) in the CNS, leading to improved clinical outcome. Secretion of IL-23, IL-1, and TNF-α, the cytokines required for terminal differentiation of Th cells, decreased in the CNS of NPC-treated mice, consequently inhibiting the induction of GM-CSF–producing pathogenic Th cells. In vivo and in vitro transcriptome analyses showed that NPC-secreted factors inhibit MC differentiation and activation, favoring the switch toward an antiinflammatory phenotype. Tgfb2–/– NPCs transplanted into EAE mice were ineffective in impairing MC accumulation within the CNS and failed to drive clinical improvement. Moreover, intrathecal delivery of TGF-β2 during the effector phase of EAE ameliorated disease severity. Taken together, these observations identify TGF-β2 as the crucial mediator of NPC immunomodulation. This study provides evidence that intrathecally transplanted NPCs interfere with the CNS-restricted inflammation of EAE by reprogramming infiltrating MCs into antiinflammatory myeloid cells via secretion of TGF-β2.
Donatella De Feo, Arianna Merlini, Elena Brambilla, Linda Ottoboni, Cecilia Laterza, Ramesh Menon, Sundararajan Srinivasan, Cinthia Farina, Jose Manuel Garcia Manteiga, Erica Butti, Marco Bacigaluppi, Giancarlo Comi, Melanie Greter, Gianvito Martino
Extramedullary hematopoiesis (EMH) is induced during pregnancy to support rapid expansion of maternal blood volume. EMH activation requires hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) proliferation and mobilization, processes that depend upon estrogen receptor α (ERα) in HSCs. Here we show that treating mice with estradiol to model estradiol increases during pregnancy induced HSC proliferation in the bone marrow but not HSC mobilization. Treatment with the alternative ERα ligand 27-hydroxycholesterol (27HC) induced ERα-dependent HSC mobilization and EMH but not HSC division in the bone marrow. During pregnancy, 27HC levels increased in hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells as a result of CYP27A1, a cholesterol hydroxylase. Cyp27a1-deficient mice had significantly reduced 27HC levels, HSC mobilization, and EMH during pregnancy but normal bone marrow hematopoiesis and EMH in response to bleeding or G-CSF treatment. Distinct hematopoietic stresses thus induce EMH through different mechanisms. Two different ERα ligands, estradiol and 27HC, work together to promote EMH during pregnancy, revealing a collaboration of hormonal and metabolic mechanisms as well as a physiological function for 27HC in normal mice.
Hideyuki Oguro, Jeffrey G. McDonald, Zhiyu Zhao, Michihisa Umetani, Philip W. Shaul, Sean J. Morrison
Teriparatide, a recombinant form of parathyroid hormone (PTH), is the only approved treatment for osteoporosis that increases the rate of bone formation. Teriparatide increases osteoblast numbers by suppressing osteoblast apoptosis and activating bone-lining cells. No direct evidence for teriparatide’s actions on early cells of the osteoblast lineage has been demonstrated. Here, we have employed a lineage-tracing strategy that uses a tamoxifen-dependent, promoter-driven cre to mark early cells of the osteoblast lineage in adult mice. We show that teriparatide increases the numbers of osteoblast precursors and drives their differentiation into mature osteoblasts. Unexpectedly, following withdrawal of teriparatide therapy, bone marrow adipocytes increased dramatically in number. Some of these adipocytes derived from cells marked by Sox9-cre expression weeks earlier. Continued therapy with teriparatide prevented the appearance of adipocytes. Selective, inducible deletion of the PTH receptor in Sox9-cre cells demonstrated that PTH receptor expression is required for teriparatide-mediated increases in early osteoblast precursors. The increase in early precursors after teriparatide administration was associated with robust suppression of precursor apoptosis without affecting their rate of proliferation. Thus, teriparatide increases the numbers of early cells of the osteoblast lineage, hastens their differentiation into osteoblasts, and suppresses their differentiation into adipocytes in vivo.
Deepak H. Balani, Noriaki Ono, Henry M. Kronenberg
Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP) is a rare and intractable disease characterized by extraskeletal bone formation through endochondral ossification. Patients with FOP harbor point mutations in ACVR1, a type I receptor for BMPs. Although mutated ACVR1 (FOP-ACVR1) has been shown to render hyperactivity in BMP signaling, we and others have uncovered a mechanism by which FOP-ACVR1 mistransduces BMP signaling in response to Activin-A, a molecule that normally transduces TGF-β signaling. Although Activin-A evokes enhanced chondrogenesis in vitro and heterotopic ossification (HO) in vivo, the underlying mechanisms have yet to be revealed. To this end, we developed a high-throughput screening (HTS) system using FOP patient–derived induced pluripotent stem cells (FOP-iPSCs) to identify pivotal pathways in enhanced chondrogenesis that are initiated by Activin-A. In a screen of 6,809 small-molecule compounds, we identified mTOR signaling as a critical pathway for the aberrant chondrogenesis of mesenchymal stromal cells derived from FOP-iPSCs (FOP-iMSCs). Two different HO mouse models, an FOP model mouse expressing FOP-ACVR1 and an FOP-iPSC–based HO model mouse, revealed critical roles for mTOR signaling in vivo. Moreover, we identified ENPP2, an enzyme that generates lysophosphatidic acid, as a linker of FOP-ACVR1 and mTOR signaling in chondrogenesis. These results uncovered the crucial role of the Activin-A/FOP-ACVR1/ENPP2/mTOR axis in FOP pathogenesis.
Kyosuke Hino, Kazuhiko Horigome, Megumi Nishio, Shingo Komura, Sanae Nagata, Chengzhu Zhao, Yonghui Jin, Koichi Kawakami, Yasuhiro Yamada, Akira Ohta, Junya Toguchida, Makoto Ikeya
Accumulating evidence suggests that glioma stem cells (GSCs) are important therapeutic targets in glioblastoma (GBM). In this study, we identified NIMA-related kinase 2 (NEK2) as a functional binding protein of enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2) that plays a critical role in the posttranslational regulation of EZH2 protein in GSCs. NEK2 was among the most differentially expressed kinase-encoding genes in GSC-containing cultures (glioma spheres), and it was required for in vitro clonogenicity, in vivo tumor propagation, and radioresistance. Mechanistically, the formation of a protein complex comprising NEK2 and EZH2 in glioma spheres phosphorylated and then protected EZH2 from ubiquitination-dependent protein degradation in a NEK2 kinase activity–dependent manner. Clinically, NEK2 expression in patients with glioma was closely associated with EZH2 expression and correlated with a poor prognosis. NEK2 expression was also substantially elevated in recurrent tumors after therapeutic failure compared with primary untreated tumors in matched GBM patients. We designed a NEK2 kinase inhibitor, compound 3a (CMP3a), which efficiently attenuated GBM growth in a mouse model and exhibited a synergistic effect with radiotherapy. These data demonstrate a key role for NEK2 in maintaining GSCs in GBM by stabilizing the EZH2 protein and introduce the small-molecule inhibitor CMP3a as a potential therapeutic agent for GBM.
Jia Wang, Peng Cheng, Marat S. Pavlyukov, Hai Yu, Zhuo Zhang, Sung-Hak Kim, Mutsuko Minata, Ahmed Mohyeldin, Wanfu Xie, Dongquan Chen, Violaine Goidts, Brendan Frett, Wenhao Hu, Hongyu Li, Yong Jae Shin, Yeri Lee, Do-Hyun Nam, Harley I. Kornblum, Maode Wang, Ichiro Nakano
Generation of functional hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) from human pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) has been a long-sought-after goal for use in hematopoietic cell production, disease modeling, and eventually transplantation medicine. Homing of HSPCs from bloodstream to bone marrow (BM) is an important aspect of HSPC biology that has remained unaddressed in efforts to derive functional HSPCs from human PSCs. We have therefore examined the BM homing properties of human induced pluripotent stem cell–derived HSPCs (hiPS-HSPCs). We found that they express molecular effectors of BM extravasation, such as the chemokine receptor CXCR4 and the integrin dimer VLA-4, but lack expression of E-selectin ligands that program HSPC trafficking to BM. To overcome this deficiency, we expressed human fucosyltransferase 6 using modified mRNA. Expression of fucosyltransferase 6 resulted in marked increases in levels of cell surface E-selectin ligands. The glycoengineered cells exhibited enhanced tethering and rolling interactions on E-selectin–bearing endothelium under flow conditions in vitro as well as increased BM trafficking and extravasation when transplanted into mice. However, glycoengineered hiPS-HSPCs did not engraft long-term, indicating that additional functional deficiencies exist in these cells. Our results suggest that strategies toward increasing E-selectin ligand expression could be applicable as part of a multifaceted approach to optimize the production of HSPCs from human PSCs.
Jungmin Lee, Brad Dykstra, Joel A. Spencer, Laurie L. Kenney, Dale L. Greiner, Leonard D. Shultz, Michael A. Brehm, Charles P. Lin, Robert Sackstein, Derrick J. Rossi