TGF-β promotes PI3K-AKT signaling and prostate cancer cell migration through the TRAF6-mediated ubiquitylation of p85α

Topics overview: Peripheral nerves serve as a stem cell niche for neuroendocrine system development, Different lineage relationships between lymphatic and distant metastases exist in colorectal cancer, TMEM-mediated mechanism, New found of  Glucose-regulated protein 78, TGF-β activates and PI3K-AKT pathway.

1. Multipotent peripheral glial cells generate neuroendocrine cells of the adrenal medulla

Adrenaline is a fundamental circulating hormone for bodily responses to internal and external stressors. Chromaffin cells of the adrenal medulla (AM) represent the main neuroendocrine adrenergic component and are believed to differentiate from neural crest cells. Alessandro Furlan at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden and his colleagues demonstrate that large numbers of chromaffin cells arise from peripheral glial stem cells, termed Schwann cell precursors (SCPs). SCPs migrate along the visceral motor nerve to the vicinity of the forming adrenal gland, where they detach from the nerve and form postsynaptic neuroendocrine chromaffin cells. An intricate molecular logic drives two sequential phases of gene expression, one unique for a distinct transient cellular state and another for cell type specification. Subsequently, these programs down-regulate SCP-gene and up-regulate chromaffin cell–gene networks. The AM forms through limited cell expansion and requires the recruitment of numerous SCPs. Thus, peripheral nerves serve as a stem cell niche for neuroendocrine system development.

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2. Origins of lymphatic and distant metastases in human colorectal cancer

The spread of cancer cells from primary tumors to regional lymph nodes is often associated with reduced survival. One prevailing model to explain this association posits that fatal, distant metastases are seeded by lymph node metastases. This view provides a mechanistic basis for the TNM staging system and is the rationale for surgical resection of tumor-draining lymph nodes. Here Kamila Naxerova at Department of Radiation Oncology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, USA and his colleagues examine the evolutionary relationship between primary tumor, lymph node, and distant metastases in human colorectal cancer. Studying 213 archival biopsy samples from 17 patients, they used somatic variants in hypermutable DNA regions to reconstruct high-confidence phylogenetic trees. They found that in 65% of cases, lymphatic and distant metastases arose from independent subclones in the primary tumor, whereas in 35% of cases they shared common subclonal origin. Therefore, two different lineage relationships between lymphatic and distant metastases exist in colorectal cancer, the authors suggest.

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3. Neoadjuvant chemotherapy induces breast cancer metastasis through a TMEM-mediated mechanism

Breast cancer cells disseminate through TIE2/MENACalc/ MENAINV -dependent cancer cell intravasation sites, called tumor microenvironment of metastasis (TMEM), which are clinically validated as prognostic markers of metastasis in breast cancer patients. Using fixed tissue and intravital imaging of a PyMT murine model and patient-derived xenografts, George S. Karagiannis at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, USA and his colleagues show that chemotherapy increases the density and activity of TMEM sites and Mena expression and promotes distant metastasis. Moreover, in the residual breast cancers of patients treated with neoadjuvant paclitaxel after doxorubicin plus cyclophosphamide, TMEM score and its mechanistically connected MENAINV isoform expression pattern were both increased, suggesting that chemotherapy, despite decreasing tumor size, increases the risk of metastatic dissemination. Chemotherapy-induced TMEM activity and cancer cell dissemination were reversed by either administration of the TIE2 inhibitor rebastinib or knockdown of the MENA gene. Their results indicate that TMEM score increases and MENA isoform expression pattern changes with chemotherapy and can be used in predicting prometastatic changes in response to chemotherapy. Furthermore, inhibitors of TMEM function may improve clinical benefits of chemotherapy in the neoadjuvant setting or in metastatic disease.

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4. Glucose-regulated protein 78 autoantibody associates with blood-brain barrier disruption in neuromyelitis optica

Neuromyelitis optica (NMO) is an inflammatory disorder mediated by antibodies to aquaporin-4 (AQP4) with prominent blood-brain barrier (BBB) breakdown in the acute phase of the disease. Anti-AQP4 antibodies are produced mainly in the periphery, yet they target the astrocyte perivascular end feet behind the BBB. Fumitaka Shimizu at Yamaguchi University Graduate School of Medicine in Yamaguchi, Japan and his colleagues reasoned that an endothelial cell–targeted autoantibody might promote BBB transit of AQP4 antibodies and facilitate NMO attacks. Using monoclonal recombinant antibodies (rAbs) from patients with NMO, they identified two that strongly bound to the brain microvascular endothelial cells (BMECs). Exposure of BMECs to these rAbs resulted in nuclear translocation of nuclear factor κB p65, decreased claudin-5 protein expression, and enhanced transit of macromolecules. Unbiased membrane proteomics identified glucose-regulated protein 78 (GRP78) as the rAb target. Using immobilized GRP78 to deplete GRP78 antibodies from pooled total immunoglobulin G (IgG) of 50 NMO patients (NMO-IgG) reduced the biological effect of NMO-IgG on BMECs. GRP78 was expressed on the surface of murine BMECs in vivo, and repeated administration of a GRP78-specific rAb caused extravasation of serum albumin, IgG, and fibrinogen into mouse brains. Their results identify GRP78 antibodies as a potential component of NMO pathogenesis and GRP78 as a candidate target for promoting central nervous system transit of therapeutic antibodies.

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5. TGF-β promotes PI3K-AKT signaling and prostate cancer cell migration through the TRAF6-mediated ubiquitylation of p85α

TGF-β promotes PI3K-AKT signaling and prostate cancer cell migration through the TRAF6-mediated ubiquitylation of p85αTransforming growth factor–β (TGF-β) is a pluripotent cytokine that regulates cell fate and plasticity in normal tissues and tumors. The multifunctional cellular responses evoked by TGF-β are mediated by the canonical SMAD pathway and by noncanonical pathways, including mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathways and the phosphatidylinositol 3′-kinase (PI3K)–protein kinase B (AKT) pathway. Anahita Hamidi at Uppsala University in Uppsala, Sweden and her colleagues found that TGF-β activated PI3K in a manner dependent on the activity of the E3 ubiquitin ligase tumor necrosis factor receptor–associated factor 6 (TRAF6). TRAF6 polyubiquitylated the PI3K regulatory subunit p85α and promoted the formation of a complex between the TGF-β type I receptor (TβRI) and p85α, which led to the activation of PI3K and AKT. Lys63-linked polyubiquitylation of p85α on Lys513 and Lys519 in the iSH2 (inter–Src homology 2) domain was required for TGF-β–induced activation of PI3K-AKT signaling and cell motility in prostate cancer cells and activated macrophages. Unlike the activation of SMAD pathways, the TRAF6-mediated activation of PI3K and AKT was not dependent on the kinase activity of TβRI. In situ proximity ligation assays revealed that polyubiquitylation of p85α was evident in aggressive prostate cancer tissues. Thus, their data reveal a molecular mechanism by which TGF-β activates the PI3K-AKT pathway to drive cell migration.

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