KITLG; KIT ligand (12q22)

Gene Summary

Gene:KITLG; KIT ligand
Aliases: SF, MGF, SCF, FPH2, KL-1, Kitl, SHEP7
Summary:This gene encodes the ligand of the tyrosine-kinase receptor encoded by the KIT locus. This ligand is a pleiotropic factor that acts in utero in germ cell and neural cell development, and hematopoiesis, all believed to reflect a role in cell migration. In adults, it functions pleiotropically, while mostly noted for its continued requirement in hematopoiesis. Two transcript variants encoding different isoforms have been found for this gene. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2008]
Databases:OMIM, HGNC, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:kit ligand
Updated:14 December, 2014

Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1989-2014)
Graph generated 14 December 2014 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic.

  • Chromosome 12
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Gene Knockdown Techniques
  • RT-PCR
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Neoplastic Cell Transformation
  • Knockout Mice
  • Cell Movement
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition
  • Apoptosis
  • Octamer Transcription Factor-3
  • Glioblastoma
  • Lung Cancer
  • p300-CBP Transcription Factors
  • MicroRNAs
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Leukemic Gene Expression Regulation
  • RNA Interference
  • Phosphorylation
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells
  • Breast Cancer
  • Adolescents
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Drug Resistance
  • Acute Myeloid Leukaemia
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Acute Lymphocytic Leukaemia
  • Mutation
  • Messenger RNA
  • Down-Regulation
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Western Blotting
  • Phenotype
  • Cancer Stem Cells
  • Promoter Regions
Tag cloud generated 14 December, 2014 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Notable (6)

Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.

Entity Topic PubMed Papers
Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML)KITLG and Acute Myeloid Leukaemia View Publications368
Breast CancerKITLG and Breast Cancer View Publications254
Lung CancerKITLG and Lung Cancer View Publications127
-KITLG and Glioblastoma View Publications124
Acute Lymphocytic Leukaemia (ALL)KITLG and Acute Lymphocytic Leukaemia View Publications121
Prostate CancerKITLG and Prostate Cancer View Publications86

Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).

Related Links

Latest Publications: KITLG (cancer-related)

Roberts KG, Li Y, Payne-Turner D, et al.
Targetable kinase-activating lesions in Ph-like acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
N Engl J Med. 2014; 371(11):1005-15 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 11/03/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Philadelphia chromosome-like acute lymphoblastic leukemia (Ph-like ALL) is characterized by a gene-expression profile similar to that of BCR-ABL1-positive ALL, alterations of lymphoid transcription factor genes, and a poor outcome. The frequency and spectrum of genetic alterations in Ph-like ALL and its responsiveness to tyrosine kinase inhibition are undefined, especially in adolescents and adults.
METHODS: We performed genomic profiling of 1725 patients with precursor B-cell ALL and detailed genomic analysis of 154 patients with Ph-like ALL. We examined the functional effects of fusion proteins and the efficacy of tyrosine kinase inhibitors in mouse pre-B cells and xenografts of human Ph-like ALL.
RESULTS: Ph-like ALL increased in frequency from 10% among children with standard-risk ALL to 27% among young adults with ALL and was associated with a poor outcome. Kinase-activating alterations were identified in 91% of patients with Ph-like ALL; rearrangements involving ABL1, ABL2, CRLF2, CSF1R, EPOR, JAK2, NTRK3, PDGFRB, PTK2B, TSLP, or TYK2 and sequence mutations involving FLT3, IL7R, or SH2B3 were most common. Expression of ABL1, ABL2, CSF1R, JAK2, and PDGFRB fusions resulted in cytokine-independent proliferation and activation of phosphorylated STAT5. Cell lines and human leukemic cells expressing ABL1, ABL2, CSF1R, and PDGFRB fusions were sensitive in vitro to dasatinib, EPOR and JAK2 rearrangements were sensitive to ruxolitinib, and the ETV6-NTRK3 fusion was sensitive to crizotinib.
CONCLUSIONS: Ph-like ALL was found to be characterized by a range of genomic alterations that activate a limited number of signaling pathways, all of which may be amenable to inhibition with approved tyrosine kinase inhibitors. Trials identifying Ph-like ALL are needed to assess whether adding tyrosine kinase inhibitors to current therapy will improve the survival of patients with this type of leukemia. (Funded by the American Lebanese Syrian Associated Charities and others.).

Related: Signal Transduction

Wang Y, Chen D, Qian H, et al.
The splicing factor RBM4 controls apoptosis, proliferation, and migration to suppress tumor progression.
Cancer Cell. 2014; 26(3):374-89 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 08/09/2015 Related Publications
Splicing dysregulation is one of the molecular hallmarks of cancer. However, the underlying molecular mechanisms remain poorly defined. Here we report that the splicing factor RBM4 suppresses proliferation and migration of various cancer cells by specifically controlling cancer-related splicing. Particularly, RBM4 regulates Bcl-x splicing to induce apoptosis, and coexpression of Bcl-xL partially reverses the RBM4-mediated tumor suppression. Moreover, RBM4 antagonizes an oncogenic splicing factor, SRSF1, to inhibit mTOR activation. Strikingly, RBM4 expression is decreased dramatically in cancer patients, and the RBM4 level correlates positively with improved survival. In addition to providing mechanistic insights of cancer-related splicing dysregulation, this study establishes RBM4 as a tumor suppressor with therapeutic potential and clinical values as a prognostic factor.

Related: Apoptosis Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Lung Cancer

Bachurska S, Staykov D, Belovezhdov V, et al.
Bilateral pheochromocytoma/intra-adrenal paraganglioma in von Hippel-Lindau patient causing acute myocardial infarction.
Pol J Pathol. 2014; 65(1):78-82 [PubMed] Related Publications
A 26-year-old male presented to the emergency department complaining of obstipation, severe headache and abdominal pain. An autopsy revealed bilateral pheochromocytoma and acute myocardial infarction. The tumor cells showed positive immunoreactivity of both chromogranin A and synaptophysin and were negative for adrenocortical markers such as SF-1, c17, scc, 3-HSD as well as SDHB, suggesting a germline mutation of the gene SDHB or SDHD. Molecular genetic analyses did not show a mutation in these two genes, but a mutation in the VHL gene, in exon 3: VHL c.499C>T. This is a missense mutation and causes an amino acid change (Arg167Trp).

Broustas CG, Lieberman HB
RAD9 enhances radioresistance of human prostate cancer cells through regulation of ITGB1 protein levels.
Prostate. 2014; 74(14):1359-70 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Mouse embryonic stem cells null for Rad9 are sensitive to deleterious effects of ionizing radiation exposure. Likewise, integrin β1 is a known radioprotective factor. Previously, we showed that RAD9 downregulation in human prostate cancer cells reduces integrin β1 protein levels and ectopic expression of Mrad9 restores inherent high levels.
METHODS: We used RNA interference to knockdown Rad9 expression in PC3 and DU145 prostate cancer cells. These cells were then exposed to ionizing radiation, and integrin β1 protein levels were measured by immunoblotting. Survival of irradiated cells was measured by clonogenicity, cell cycle analysis, PARP-1 cleavage, and trypan blue exclusion.
RESULTS: The function of RAD9 in controlling integrin β1 expression is unique and not shared by the other members of the 9-1-1 complex, HUS1 and RAD1. RAD9 or integrin β1 silencing sensitizes DU145 and PC3 cells to ionizing radiation. Irradiation of DU145 cells with low levels of RAD9 induces cleavage of PARP-1 protein. High levels of ionizing radiation have no effect on integrin β1 protein levels. However, when RAD9 downregulation is combined with 10 Gy of ionizing radiation in DU145 or PC3 cells, there is an additional 50% downregulation of integrin β1 compared with levels in unirradiated RAD9 knockdown cells. Finally, PC3 cells growing on fibronectin display increased radioresistance. However, PC3 cells with RAD9 knockdown are no longer protected by fibronectin after treatment with ionizing radiation.
CONCLUSIONS: Downregulation of RAD9 when combined with ionizing radiation results in reduction of ITGB1 protein levels in prostate cancer cells, and increased lethality.

Related: ITGB1 Prostate Cancer PARP1

Zhang P, Wei Y, Wang L, et al.
ATM-mediated stabilization of ZEB1 promotes DNA damage response and radioresistance through CHK1.
Nat Cell Biol. 2014; 16(9):864-75 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/03/2015 Related Publications
Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is associated with characteristics of breast cancer stem cells, including chemoresistance and radioresistance. However, it is unclear whether EMT itself or specific EMT regulators play causal roles in these properties. Here we identify an EMT-inducing transcription factor, zinc finger E-box binding homeobox 1 (ZEB1), as a regulator of radiosensitivity and DNA damage response. Radioresistant subpopulations of breast cancer cells derived from ionizing radiation exhibit hyperactivation of the kinase ATM and upregulation of ZEB1, and the latter promotes tumour cell radioresistance in vitro and in vivo. Mechanistically, ATM phosphorylates and stabilizes ZEB1 in response to DNA damage, ZEB1 in turn directly interacts with USP7 and enhances its ability to deubiquitylate and stabilize CHK1, thereby promoting homologous recombination-dependent DNA repair and resistance to radiation. These findings identify ZEB1 as an ATM substrate linking ATM to CHK1 and the mechanism underlying the association between EMT and radioresistance.

Related: Breast Cancer TWIST1

Das K, Gunasegaran B, Tan IB, et al.
Mutually exclusive FGFR2, HER2, and KRAS gene amplifications in gastric cancer revealed by multicolour FISH.
Cancer Lett. 2014; 353(2):167-75 [PubMed] Related Publications
Gastric cancer (GC) is a major cause of global cancer mortality. Previous genomic studies have reported that several RTK-RAS pathway components are amplified in GC, with individual tumours often amplifying one component and not others ("mutual exclusivity"). Here, we sought to validate these findings for three RTK/RAS components (FGFR2, HER2, KRAS) using fluorescence in situ hybridisation (FISH) on a series of gastric tumours, cell lines and patient-derived xenografts. Applying dual-colour FISH on 137 gastric tumours (89 FFPE surgical resections and 48 diagnostic biopsies), we observed FGFR2 amplification in 7.3% and HER2 amplification in 2.2% of GCs. GCs exhibiting FGFR2 amplification were associated with high tumour grade (p = 0.034). In FISH positive tumours, striking differences in copy number levels between cancer cells in the same tumour were observed, suggesting intra-tumour heterogeneity. Using a multicolour FISH assay allowing simultaneous detection of FGFR2, HER2, and KRAS amplifications, we confirmed that these components exhibited a mutually exclusive pattern of gene amplification across patients. The FISH data were also strongly correlated with Q-PCR levels and at the protein level by immunohistochemistry. Our data confirm that RTK/RAS components are mutually exclusively amplified in GC, and demonstrate the feasibility of identifying multiple aneuploidies using a single FISH assay. Application of this assay to GC samples, particularly diagnostic biopsies, may facilitate enrollment of GC patients into clinical trials evaluating RTK/RAS directed therapies. However, the presence of intra-tumour heterogeneity may require multiple biopsy samples to be obtained per patient before a definitive diagnosis can be attained.

Related: FISH FGFR2 gene Stomach Cancer Gastric Cancer KRAS gene

Yu H, Neale G, Zhang H, et al.
Downregulation of Prdm16 mRNA is a specific antileukemic mechanism during HOXB4-mediated HSC expansion in vivo.
Blood. 2014; 124(11):1737-47 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 11/09/2015 Related Publications
Overexpression of HOXB4 in hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) leads to increased self-renewal without causing hematopoietic malignancies in transplanted mice. The molecular basis of HOXB4-mediated benign HSC expansion in vivo is not well understood. To gain further insight into the molecular events underlying HOXB4-mediated HSC expansion, we analyzed gene expression changes at multiple time points in Lin(-)Sca1(+)c-kit(+) cells from mice transplanted with bone marrow cells transduced with a MSCV-HOXB4-ires-YFP vector. A distinct HOXB4 transcriptional program was reproducibly induced and stabilized by 12 weeks after transplant. Dynamic expression changes were observed in genes critical for HSC self-renewal as well as in genes involved in myeloid and B-cell differentiation. Prdm16, a transcription factor associated with human acute myeloid leukemia, was markedly repressed by HOXB4 but upregulated by HOXA9 and HOXA10, suggesting that Prdm16 downregulation was involved in preventing leukemia in HOXB4 transplanted mice. Functional evidence to support this mechanism was obtained by enforcing coexpression of sPrdm16 and HOXB4, which led to enhanced self-renewal, myeloid expansion, and leukemia. Altogether, these studies define the transcriptional pathways involved in HOXB4 HSC expansion in vivo and identify repression of Prdm16 transcription as a mechanism by which expanding HSCs avoid leukemic transformation.

Related: Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) HOXA9 gene

Wolfe AL, Singh K, Zhong Y, et al.
RNA G-quadruplexes cause eIF4A-dependent oncogene translation in cancer.
Nature. 2014; 513(7516):65-70 [PubMed] Related Publications
The translational control of oncoprotein expression is implicated in many cancers. Here we report an eIF4A RNA helicase-dependent mechanism of translational control that contributes to oncogenesis and underlies the anticancer effects of silvestrol and related compounds. For example, eIF4A promotes T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia development in vivo and is required for leukaemia maintenance. Accordingly, inhibition of eIF4A with silvestrol has powerful therapeutic effects against murine and human leukaemic cells in vitro and in vivo. We use transcriptome-scale ribosome footprinting to identify the hallmarks of eIF4A-dependent transcripts. These include 5' untranslated region (UTR) sequences such as the 12-nucleotide guanine quartet (CGG)4 motif that can form RNA G-quadruplex structures. Notably, among the most eIF4A-dependent and silvestrol-sensitive transcripts are a number of oncogenes, superenhancer-associated transcription factors, and epigenetic regulators. Hence, the 5' UTRs of select cancer genes harbour a targetable requirement for the eIF4A RNA helicase.

Ueda J, Ho JC, Lee KL, et al.
The hypoxia-inducible epigenetic regulators Jmjd1a and G9a provide a mechanistic link between angiogenesis and tumor growth.
Mol Cell Biol. 2014; 34(19):3702-20 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2015 Related Publications
Hypoxia promotes stem cell maintenance and tumor progression, but it remains unclear how it regulates long-term adaptation toward these processes. We reveal a striking downregulation of the hypoxia-inducible histone H3 lysine 9 (H3K9) demethylase JMJD1A as a hallmark of clinical human germ cell-derived tumors, such as seminomas, yolk sac tumors, and embryonal carcinomas. Jmjd1a was not essential for stem cell self-renewal but played a crucial role as a tumor suppressor in opposition to the hypoxia-regulated oncogenic H3K9 methyltransferase G9a. Importantly, loss of Jmjd1a resulted in increased tumor growth, whereas loss of G9a produced smaller tumors. Pharmacological inhibition of G9a also resulted in attenuation of tumor growth, offering a novel therapeutic strategy for germ cell-derived tumors. Finally, Jmjd1a and G9a drive mutually opposing expression of the antiangiogenic factor genes Robo4, Igfbp4, Notch4, and Tfpi accompanied by changes in H3K9 methylation status. Thus, we demonstrate a novel mechanistic link whereby hypoxia-regulated epigenetic changes are instrumental for the control of tumor growth through coordinated dysregulation of antiangiogenic gene expression.

Related: Germ Cell Tumors Testicular Cancer

Agarwal A, Cooke L, Riley C, et al.
Genetic and cytokine changes associated with symptomatic stages of CLL.
Leuk Res. 2014; 38(9):1097-101 [PubMed] Related Publications
The pathogenesis and drug resistance of symptomatic CLL patients involves genetic changes associated with the CLL clone as well as changes within the microenvironment. To further understand these processes, we compared early stage CLL to symptomatic late stage using gene expression and serum cytokine profiling to gain insight of the genetic and microenvironment changes associated with the most severe form of the disease. Patients were classified into low stage (Rai stage 0/I/II) and high stage (Rai stage III/IV). Gene expression profiles were obtained on pretreatment samples using the HG-U133A 2.0 Affymetrix platform. A comparison of low versus high stage CLL revealed a set of 21 genes differentially expressed genes. 15 genes were up regulated in the high stage compared to low stage while 6 genes were down regulated. Analysis of GO molecular function revealed 9 of 21 genes were involved in transcription factor activity. Serum cytokine profiles showed six cytokines to be significantly different in high stage patients. Two chemokines, SDF-1/CXCL12 and uPAR known to be involved in stem cell mobilization and homing were increased in serum of high stage patients. This study has identified therapeutic targets for symptomatic CLL patients.

Related: Cytokines Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) CLL - Molecular Biology

Yui MA, Rothenberg EV
Developmental gene networks: a triathlon on the course to T cell identity.
Nat Rev Immunol. 2014; 14(8):529-45 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 25/07/2015 Related Publications
Cells acquire their ultimate identities by activating combinations of transcription factors that initiate and sustain expression of the appropriate cell type-specific genes. T cell development depends on the progression of progenitor cells through three major phases, each of which is associated with distinct transcription factor ensembles that control the recruitment of these cells to the thymus, their proliferation, lineage commitment and responsiveness to T cell receptor signals, all before the allocation of cells to particular effector programmes. All three phases are essential for proper T cell development, as are the mechanisms that determine the boundaries between each phase. Cells that fail to shut off one set of regulators before the next gene network phase is activated are predisposed to leukaemic transformation.

Related: Signal Transduction NOTCH1 gene

Chen SS, Chiorazzi N
Murine genetically engineered and human xenograft models of chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
Semin Hematol. 2014; 51(3):188-205 [PubMed] Related Publications
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is a genetically complex disease, with multiple factors having an impact on onset, progression, and response to therapy. Genetic differences/abnormalities have been found in hematopoietic stem cells from patients, as well as in B lymphocytes of individuals with monoclonal B-cell lymphocytosis who may develop the disease. Furthermore, after the onset of CLL, additional genetic alterations occur over time, often causing disease worsening and altering patient outcomes. Therefore, being able to genetically engineer mouse models that mimic CLL or at least certain aspects of the disease will help us understand disease mechanisms and improve treatments. This notwithstanding, because neither the genetic aberrations responsible for leukemogenesis and progression nor the promoting factors that support these are likely identical in character or influences for all patients, genetically engineered mouse models will only completely mimic CLL when all of these factors are precisely defined. In addition, multiple genetically engineered models may be required because of the heterogeneity in susceptibility genes among patients that can have an effect on genetic and environmental characteristics influencing disease development and outcome. For these reasons, we review the major murine genetically engineered and human xenograft models in use at the present time, aiming to report the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Related: Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) CLL - Molecular Biology Signal Transduction

Rack PG, Ni J, Payumo AY, et al.
Arhgap36-dependent activation of Gli transcription factors.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014; 111(30):11061-6 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 29/01/2015 Related Publications
Hedgehog (Hh) pathway activation and Gli-dependent transcription play critical roles in embryonic patterning, tissue homeostasis, and tumorigenesis. By conducting a genome-scale cDNA overexpression screen, we have identified the Rho GAP family member Arhgap36 as a positive regulator of the Hh pathway in vitro and in vivo. Arhgap36 acts in a Smoothened (Smo)-independent manner to inhibit Gli repressor formation and to promote the activation of full-length Gli proteins. Arhgap36 concurrently induces the accumulation of Gli proteins in the primary cilium, and its ability to induce Gli-dependent transcription requires kinesin family member 3a and intraflagellar transport protein 88, proteins that are essential for ciliogenesis. Arhgap36 also functionally and biochemically interacts with Suppressor of Fused. Transcriptional profiling further reveals that Arhgap36 is overexpressed in murine medulloblastomas that acquire resistance to chemical Smo inhibitors and that ARHGAP36 isoforms capable of Gli activation are up-regulated in a subset of human medulloblastomas. Our findings reveal a new mechanism of Gli transcription factor activation and implicate ARHGAP36 dysregulation in the onset and/or progression of GLI-dependent cancers.

Related: Childhood Medulloblastoma / PNET GLI

Tian F, Yourek G, Shi X, Yang Y
The development of Wilms tumor: from WT1 and microRNA to animal models.
Biochim Biophys Acta. 2014; 1846(1):180-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
Wilms tumor recapitulates the development of the kidney and represents a unique opportunity to understand the relationship between normal and tumor development. This has been illustrated by the findings that mutations of Wnt/β-catenin pathway-related WT1, β-catenin, and WTX together account for about one-third of Wilms tumor cases. While intense efforts are being made to explore the genetic basis of the other two-thirds of tumor cases, it is worth noting that, epigenetic changes, particularly the loss of imprinting of the DNA region encoding the major fetal growth factor IGF2, which results in its biallelic over-expression, are closely associated with the development of many Wilms tumors. Recent investigations also revealed that mutations of Drosha and Dicer, the RNases required for miRNA generation, and Dis3L2, the 3'-5' exonuclease that normally degrades miRNAs and mRNAs, could cause predisposition to Wilms tumors, demonstrating that miRNA can play a pivotal role in Wilms tumor development. Interestingly, Lin28, a direct target of miRNA let-7 and potent regulator of stem cell self-renewal and differentiation, is significantly elevated in some Wilms tumors, and enforced expression of Lin28 during kidney development could induce Wilms tumor. With the success in establishing mice nephroblastoma models through over-expressing IGF2 and deleting WT1, and advances in understanding the ENU-induced rat model, we are now able to explore the molecular and cellular mechanisms induced by these genetic, epigenetic, and miRNA alterations in animal models to understand the development of Wilms tumor. These animal models may also serve as valuable systems to assess new treatment targets and strategies for Wilms tumor.

Related: Kidney Cancer WT1 Wilms' Tumour Wilms Tumour

Gammons MV, Lucas R, Dean R, et al.
Targeting SRPK1 to control VEGF-mediated tumour angiogenesis in metastatic melanoma.
Br J Cancer. 2014; 111(3):477-85 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 29/07/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Current therapies for metastatic melanoma are targeted either at cancer mutations driving growth (e.g., vemurafenib) or immune-based therapies (e.g., ipilimumab). Tumour progression also requires angiogenesis, which is regulated by VEGF-A, itself alternatively spliced to form two families of isoforms, pro- and anti-angiogenic. Metastatic melanoma is associated with a splicing switch to pro-angiogenic VEGF-A, previously shown to be regulated by SRSF1 phosphorylation by SRPK1. Here, we show a novel approach to preventing angiogenesis-targeting splicing factor kinases that are highly expressed in melanomas.
METHODS: We used RT-PCR, western blotting and immunohistochemistry to investigate SRPK1, SRSF1 and VEGF expression in tumour cells, and in vivo xenograft assays to investigate SRPK1 knockdown and inhibition in vivo.
RESULTS: In both uveal and cutaneous melanoma cell lines, SRPK1 was highly expressed, and inhibition of SRPK1 by knockdown or with pharmacological inhibitors reduced pro-angiogenic VEGF expression maintaining the production of anti-angiogenic VEGF isoforms. Both pharmacological SRPK1 inhibitors and SRPK1 knockdown reduced growth of human melanomas in vivo, but neither affected cell proliferation in vitro.
CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that selective blocking of pro-angiogenic isoforms by inhibiting splice-site selection with SRPK1 inhibitors reduces melanoma growth. SRPK1 inhibitors may be used as therapeutic agents.

Related: Angiogenesis Inhibitors Angiogenesis and Cancer Skin Cancer VEGFA

Guo Z, Wang A, Zhang W, et al.
PIM inhibitors target CD25-positive AML cells through concomitant suppression of STAT5 activation and degradation of MYC oncogene.
Blood. 2014; 124(11):1777-89 [PubMed] Related Publications
Postchemotherapy relapse presents a major unmet medical need in acute myeloid leukemia (AML), where treatment options are limited. CD25 is a leukemic stem cell marker and a conspicuous prognostic marker for overall/relapse-free survival in AML. Rare occurrence of genetic alterations among PIM family members imposes a substantial hurdle in formulating a compelling patient stratification strategy for the clinical development of selective PIM inhibitors in cancer. Here we show that CD25, a bona fide STAT5 regulated gene, is a mechanistically relevant predictive biomarker for sensitivity to PIM kinase inhibitors. Alone or in combination with tyrosine kinase inhibitors, PIM inhibitors can suppress STAT5 activation and significantly shorten the half-life of MYC to achieve substantial growth inhibition of high CD25-expressing AML cells. Our results highlight the importance of STAT5 and MYC in rendering cancer cells sensitive to PIM inhibitors. Because the presence of a CD25-positive subpopulation in leukemic blasts correlates with poor overall or relapse-free survival, our data suggest that a combination of PIM inhibitors with chemotherapy and tyrosine kinase inhibitors could improve long-term therapeutic outcomes in CD25-positive AML.

Related: Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)

Park SW, Do HJ, Ha WT, et al.
Transcriptional activation of OCT4 by the ETS transcription factor PEA3 in NCCIT human embryonic carcinoma cells.
FEBS Lett. 2014; 588(17):3129-36 [PubMed] Related Publications
We examined the molecular mechanism of OCT4 gene regulation by polyomavirus enhancer activator 3 (PEA3) in NCCIT cells. Endogenous PEA3 and OCT4 were significantly elevated in undifferentiated cells and reduced upon differentiation. PEA3 knockdown led to a reduction in OCT4 levels. OCT4 promoter activity was significantly up-regulated by dose-dependent PEA3 overexpression. Deletion and site-directed mutagenesis of the OCT4 promoter revealed a putative binding site within the conserved region 2 (CR2). PEA3 interacted with the binding element within CR2 in NCCIT cells. This study reveals the molecular details of the mechanism by which the oncogenic factor PEA3 regulates OCT4 gene expression as a transcriptional activator.

Sinkevicius KW, Kriegel C, Bellaria KJ, et al.
Neurotrophin receptor TrkB promotes lung adenocarcinoma metastasis.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014; 111(28):10299-304 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/01/2015 Related Publications
Lung cancer is notorious for its ability to metastasize, but the pathways regulating lung cancer metastasis are largely unknown. An in vitro system designed to discover factors critical for lung cancer cell migration identified brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which stimulates cell migration through activation of tropomyosin-related kinase B (TrkB; also called NTRK2). Knockdown of TrkB in human lung cancer cell lines significantly decreased their migratory and metastatic ability in vitro and in vivo. In an autochthonous lung adenocarcinoma model driven by activated oncogenic Kras and p53 loss, TrkB deficiency significantly reduced metastasis. Hypoxia-inducible factor-1 directly regulated TrkB expression, and, in turn, TrkB activated Akt signaling in metastatic lung cancer cells. Finally, TrkB expression was correlated with metastasis in patient samples, and TrkB was detected more often in tumors that did not have Kras or epidermal growth factor receptor mutations. These studies demonstrate that TrkB is an important therapeutic target in metastatic lung adenocarcinoma.

Related: AKT1 NTRK2 Signal Transduction

Rösner T, Lohse S, Peipp M, et al.
Epidermal growth factor receptor targeting IgG3 triggers complement-mediated lysis of decay-accelerating factor expressing tumor cells through the alternative pathway amplification loop.
J Immunol. 2014; 193(3):1485-95 [PubMed] Related Publications
Binding of C1q to target-bound IgG initiates complement-mediated lysis (CML) of pathogens, as well as of malignant or apoptotic cells, and thus constitutes an integral part of the innate immune system. Despite its prominent molecular flexibility and higher C1q binding affinity compared with human IgG1, IgG3 does not consistently promote superior CML. Hence the aim of this study was to investigate underlying molecular mechanisms of IgG1- and IgG3-driven complement activation using isotype variants of the therapeutic epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) Ab cetuximab. Both IgG1 and IgG3 Abs demonstrated similar EGFR binding and similar efficiency in Fab-mediated effector mechanisms. Whereas anti-EGFR-IgG1 did not promote CML of investigated target cells, anti-EGFR-IgG3 triggered significant CML of some, but not all tested cell lines. CML triggered by anti-EGFR-IgG3 negatively correlated with expression levels of the membrane-bound complement regulatory proteins CD55 and CD59, but not CD46. Notably, anti-EGFR-IgG3 promoted strong C1q and C3b, but relatively low C4b and C5b-9 deposition on analyzed cell lines. Furthermore, anti-EGFR-IgG3 triggered C4a release on all cells but failed to induce C3a and C5a release on CD55/CD59 highly expressing cells. RNA interference-induced knockdown or overexpression of membrane-bound complement regulatory proteins revealed CD55 expression to be a pivotal determinant of anti-EGFR-IgG3-triggered CML and to force a switch from classical complement pathway activation to C1q-dependent alternative pathway amplification. Together, these data suggest human anti-EGFR-IgG3, although highly reactive with C1q, to weakly promote assembly of the classical C3 convertase that is further suppressed in the presence of CD55, forcing human IgG3 to act mainly through the alternative pathway.

Related: Ovarian Cancer

Purwanti YI, Chen C, Lam DH, et al.
Antitumor effects of CD40 ligand-expressing endothelial progenitor cells derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells in a metastatic breast cancer model.
Stem Cells Transl Med. 2014; 3(8):923-35 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/08/2015 Related Publications
Given their intrinsic ability to home to tumor sites, endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) are attractive as cellular vehicles for targeted cancer gene therapy. However, collecting sufficient EPCs is one of the challenging issues critical for effective clinical translation of this new approach. In this study, we sought to explore whether human induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells could be used as a reliable and accessible cell source to generate human EPCs suitable for cancer treatment. We used an embryoid body formation method to derive CD133(+)CD34(+) EPCs from human iPS cells. The generated EPCs expressed endothelial markers such as CD31, Flk1, and vascular endothelial-cadherin without expression of the CD45 hematopoietic marker. After intravenous injection, the iPS cell-derived EPCs migrated toward orthotopic and lung metastatic tumors in the mouse 4T1 breast cancer model but did not promote tumor growth and metastasis. To investigate their therapeutic potential, the EPCs were transduced with baculovirus encoding the potent T cell costimulatory molecule CD40 ligand. The systemic injection of the CD40 ligand-expressing EPCs stimulated the secretion of both tumor necrosis factor-α and interferon-γ and increased the caspase 3/7 activity in the lungs with metastatic tumors, leading to prolonged survival of the tumor bearing mice. Therefore, our findings suggest that human iPS cell-derived EPCs have the potential to serve as tumor-targeted cellular vehicles for anticancer gene therapy.

Related: Breast Cancer

Whissell G, Montagni E, Martinelli P, et al.
The transcription factor GATA6 enables self-renewal of colon adenoma stem cells by repressing BMP gene expression.
Nat Cell Biol. 2014; 16(7):695-707 [PubMed] Related Publications
Aberrant activation of WNT signalling and loss of BMP signals represent the two main alterations leading to the initiation of colorectal cancer (CRC). Here we screen for genes required for maintaining the tumour stem cell phenotype and identify the zinc-finger transcription factor GATA6 as a key regulator of the WNT and BMP pathways in CRC. GATA6 directly drives the expression of LGR5 in adenoma stem cells whereas it restricts BMP signalling to differentiated tumour cells. Genetic deletion of Gata6 from mouse colon adenomas increases the levels of BMP factors, which signal to block self-renewal of tumour stem cells. In human tumours, GATA6 competes with β-catenin/TCF4 for binding to a distal regulatory region of the BMP4 locus that has been linked to increased susceptibility to development of CRC. Hence, GATA6 creates an environment permissive for CRC initiation by lowering the threshold of BMP signalling required for tumour stem cell expansion.

Related: Colorectal (Bowel) Cancer

Yamamoto S, Wu Z, Russnes HG, et al.
JARID1B is a luminal lineage-driving oncogene in breast cancer.
Cancer Cell. 2014; 25(6):762-77 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 16/06/2015 Related Publications
Recurrent mutations in histone-modifying enzymes imply key roles in tumorigenesis, yet their functional relevance is largely unknown. Here, we show that JARID1B, encoding a histone H3 lysine 4 (H3K4) demethylase, is frequently amplified and overexpressed in luminal breast tumors and a somatic mutation in a basal-like breast cancer results in the gain of unique chromatin binding and luminal expression and splicing patterns. Downregulation of JARID1B in luminal cells induces basal genes expression and growth arrest, which is rescued by TGFβ pathway inhibitors. Integrated JARID1B chromatin binding, H3K4 methylation, and expression profiles suggest a key function for JARID1B in luminal cell-specific expression programs. High luminal JARID1B activity is associated with poor outcome in patients with hormone receptor-positive breast tumors.

Related: Breast Cancer

Yang W, Wei J, Guo T, et al.
Knockdown of miR-210 decreases hypoxic glioma stem cells stemness and radioresistance.
Exp Cell Res. 2014; 326(1):22-35 [PubMed] Related Publications
Glioma contains abundant hypoxic regions which provide niches to promote the maintenance and expansion of glioma stem cells (GSCs), which are resistant to conventional therapies and responsible for recurrence. Given the fact that miR-210 plays a vital role in cellular adaption to hypoxia and in stem cell survival and stemness maintenance, strategies correcting the aberrantly expressed miR-210 might open up a new therapeutic avenue to hypoxia GSCs. In the present study, to explore the possibility of miR-210 as an effective therapeutic target to hypoxic GSCs, we employed a lentiviral-mediated anti-sense miR-210 gene transfer technique to knockdown miR-210 expression and analyze phenotypic changes in hypoxic U87s and SHG44s cells. We found that hypoxia led to an increased HIF-2α mRNA expression and miR-210 expression in GSCs. Knockdown of miR-210 decreased neurosphere formation capacity, stem cell marker expression and cell viability, and induced differentiation and G0/G1 arrest in hypoxic GSCs by partially rescued Myc antagonist (MNT) protein expression. Knockdown of MNT could reverse the gene expression changes and the growth inhibition resulting from knockdown of miR-210 in hypoxic GSCs. Moreover, knockdown of miR-210 led to increased apoptotic rate and Caspase-3/7 activity and decreased invasive capacity, reactive oxygen species (ROS) and lactate production and radioresistance in hypoxic GSCs. These findings suggest that miR-210 might be a potential therapeutic target to eliminate GSCs located in hypoxic niches.

Related: Apoptosis HIF1A

Janghorban M, Farrell AS, Allen-Petersen BL, et al.
Targeting c-MYC by antagonizing PP2A inhibitors in breast cancer.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014; 111(25):9157-62 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 24/12/2014 Related Publications
The transcription factor c-MYC is stabilized and activated by phosphorylation at serine 62 (S62) in breast cancer. Protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) is a critical negative regulator of c-MYC through its ability to dephosphorylate S62. By inactivating c-MYC and other key signaling pathways, PP2A plays an important tumor suppressor function. Two endogenous inhibitors of PP2A, I2PP2A, Inhibitor-2 of PP2A (SET oncoprotein) and cancerous inhibitor of PP2A (CIP2A), inactivate PP2A and are overexpressed in several tumor types. Here we show that SET is overexpressed in about 50-60% and CIP2A in about 90% of breast cancers. Knockdown of SET or CIP2A reduces the tumorigenic potential of breast cancer cell lines both in vitro and in vivo. Treatment of breast cancer cells in vitro or in vivo with OP449, a novel SET antagonist, also decreases the tumorigenic potential of breast cancer cells and induces apoptosis. We show that this is, at least in part, due to decreased S62 phosphorylation of c-MYC and reduced c-MYC activity and target gene expression. Because of the ubiquitous expression and tumor suppressor activity of PP2A in cells, as well as the critical role of c-MYC in human cancer, we propose that activation of PP2A (here accomplished through antagonizing endogenous inhibitors) could be a novel antitumor strategy to posttranslationally target c-MYC in breast cancer.

Related: Breast Cancer

Mortus JR, Zhang Y, Hughes DP
Developmental pathways hijacked by osteosarcoma.
Adv Exp Med Biol. 2014; 804:93-118 [PubMed] Related Publications
Cancer of any type often can be described by an arrest, alteration or disruption in the normal development of a tissue or organ, and understanding of the normal counterpart's development can aid in understanding the malignant state. This is certainly true for osteosarcoma and the normal developmental pathways that guide osteoblast development that are changed in the genesis of osteogenic sarcoma. A carefully regulated crescendo-decrescendo expression of RUNX2 accompanies the transition from mesenchymal stem cell to immature osteoblast to mature osteoblast. This pivotal role is controlled by several pathways, including bone morphogenic protein (BMP), Wnt/β-catenin, fibroblast growth factor (FGF), and protein kinase C (PKC). The HIPPO pathway and its downstream target YAP help to regulate proliferation of immature osteoblasts and their maturation into non-proliferating mature osteoblasts. This pathway also helps regulate expression of the mature osteoblast protein osteocalcin. YAP also regulates expression of MT1-MMP, a membrane-bound matrix metalloprotease responsible for remodeling the extracellular matrix surrounding the osteoblasts. YAP, in turn, can be regulated by the ERBB family protein Her-4. Osteosarcoma may be thought of as a cell held at the immature osteoblast stage, retaining some of the characteristics of that developmental stage. Disruptions of several of these pathways have been described in osteosarcoma, including BMP, Wnt/b-catenin, RUNX2, HIPPO/YAP, and Her-4. Further, PKC can be activated by several receptor tyrosine kinases implicated in osteosarcoma, including the ERBB family (EGFR, Her-2 and Her-4 in osteosarcoma), IGF1R, FGF, and others. Understanding these functions may aid in the understanding the mechanisms underpinning clinical observations in osteosarcoma, including both the lytic and blastic phenotypes of tumors, the invasiveness of the disease, and the tendency for treated tumors to ossify rather than shrink. Through a better understanding of the relationship between normal osteoblast development and osteosarcoma, we may gain insights into novel therapeutic avenues and improved outcomes.

Related: Bone Cancers Osteosarcoma Signal Transduction CTNNB1 gene

Tanaka M, Yamazaki Y, Kanno Y, et al.
Ewing's sarcoma precursors are highly enriched in embryonic osteochondrogenic progenitors.
J Clin Invest. 2014; 124(7):3061-74 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 24/12/2014 Related Publications
Ewing's sarcoma is a highly malignant bone tumor found in children and adolescents, and the origin of this malignancy is not well understood. Here, we introduced a Ewing's sarcoma-associated genetic fusion of the genes encoding the RNA-binding protein EWS and the transcription factor ETS (EWS-ETS) into a fraction of cells enriched for osteochondrogenic progenitors derived from the embryonic superficial zone (eSZ) of long bones collected from late gestational murine embryos. EWS-ETS fusions efficiently induced Ewing's sarcoma-like small round cell sarcoma formation by these cells. Analysis of the eSZ revealed a fraction of a precursor cells that express growth/differentiation factor 5 (Gdf5), the transcription factor Erg, and parathyroid hormone-like hormone (Pthlh), and selection of the Pthlh-positive fraction alone further enhanced EWS-ETS-dependent tumor induction. Genes downstream of the EWS-ETS fusion protein were quite transcriptionally active in eSZ cells, especially in regions in which the chromatin structure of the ETS-responsive locus was open. Inhibition of β-catenin, poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase 1 (PARP1), or enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2) suppressed cell growth in a murine model of Ewing's sarcoma, suggesting the utility of the current system as a preclinical model. These results indicate that eSZ cells are highly enriched in precursors to Ewing's sarcoma and provide clues to the histogenesis of Ewing's sarcoma in bone.

Related: Bone Cancers Ewing's Sarcoma CTNNB1 gene

Kurayoshi K, Ozono E, Iwanaga R, et al.
Cancer cell specific cytotoxic gene expression mediated by ARF tumor suppressor promoter constructs.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2014; 450(1):240-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
In current cancer treatment protocols, such as radiation and chemotherapy, side effects on normal cells are major obstacles to radical therapy. To avoid these side effects, a cancer cell-specific approach is needed. One way to specifically target cancer cells is to utilize a cancer specific promoter to express a cytotoxic gene (suicide gene therapy) or a viral gene required for viral replication (oncolytic virotherapy). For this purpose, the selected promoter should have minimal activity in normal cells to avoid side effects, and high activity in a wide variety of cancers to obtain optimal therapeutic efficacy. In contrast to the AFP, CEA and PSA promoters, which have high activity only in a limited spectrum of tumors, the E2F1 promoter exhibits high activity in wide variety of cancers. This is based on the mechanism of carcinogenesis. Defects in the RB pathway and activation of the transcription factor E2F, the main target of the RB pathway, are observed in almost all cancers. Consequently, the E2F1 promoter, which is mainly regulated by E2F, has high activity in wide variety of cancers. However, E2F is also activated by growth stimulation in normal growing cells, suggesting that the E2F1 promoter may also be highly active in normal growing cells. In contrast, we found that the tumor suppressor ARF promoter is activated by deregulated E2F activity, induced by forced inactivation of pRB, but does not respond to physiological E2F activity induced by growth stimulation. We also found that the deregulated E2F activity, which activates the ARF promoter, is detected only in cancer cell lines. These observations suggest that ARF promoter is activated by E2F only in cancer cells and therefore may be more cancer cell-specific than E2F1 promoter to drive gene expression. We show here that the ARF promoter has lower activity in normal growing fibroblasts and shows higher cancer cell-specificity compared to the E2F1 promoter. We also demonstrate that adenovirus expressing HSV-TK under the control of the ARF promoter shows lower cytotoxicity than that of the E2F1 promoter, in normal growing fibroblasts but has equivalent cytotoxicity in cancer cell lines. These results suggest that the ARF promoter, which is specifically activated by deregulated E2F activity, is an excellent candidate to drive therapeutic cytotoxic gene expression, specifically in cancer cells.

Related: Apoptosis E2F1 Transcription Factor

Fan QM, Jing YY, Yu GF, et al.
Tumor-associated macrophages promote cancer stem cell-like properties via transforming growth factor-beta1-induced epithelial-mesenchymal transition in hepatocellular carcinoma.
Cancer Lett. 2014; 352(2):160-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs), a crucial component of immune cells infiltrated in tumor microenvironment, have been found to be associated with progression and metastasis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). In this study, we aimed to clarify the mechanism underlying the crosstalk between TAMs and cancer stem cells (CSCs) in HCC. Mouse macrophage cell line RAW264.7 cells were used to investigate the effects of TAMs on mouse hepatoma cell line Hepa1-6 cells in vivo and vitro. A total of 90 clinical samples had pathology-proven HCC were used to evaluate the distribution of TAMs and CSCs and analyze their value in predicting the prognosis. In the study, we have found that the number of TAMs has a positive correlation with the density of CSCs in the marginal of human HCC. Our results show that, cocultured with TAM-conditioned medium (CM) promoted CSC-like properties in Hepa1-6 cells, which underwent EMT and gained higher invasive capability. TAMs secreted more transforming growth factor- beta1 (TGF-beta1) than other phenotypes of macrophage. Furthermore, depletion of TGF-beta1 blocked acquisition of CSC-like properties by inhibition of TGF-beta1-induced EMT. High expression of CD68 in the EpCAM positive expression HCC tissues was strongly associated with both poor cancer-free survival and overall survival in patients. Our results indicate that the TAMs promote CSC-like properties via TGF-beta1-induced EMT and they may contribute to investigate the prognosis of HCC.

Related: Liver Cancer Signal Transduction TGFB1 EPCAM

Zafar A, Wu F, Hardy K, et al.
Chromatinized protein kinase C-θ directly regulates inducible genes in epithelial to mesenchymal transition and breast cancer stem cells.
Mol Cell Biol. 2014; 34(16):2961-80 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/02/2015 Related Publications
Epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) is activated during cancer invasion and metastasis, enriches for cancer stem cells (CSCs), and contributes to therapeutic resistance and disease recurrence. Signal transduction kinases play a pivotal role as chromatin-anchored proteins in eukaryotes. Here we report for the first time that protein kinase C-theta (PKC-θ) promotes EMT by acting as a critical chromatin-anchored switch for inducible genes via transforming growth factor β (TGF-β) and the key inflammatory regulatory protein NF-κB. Chromatinized PKC-θ exists as an active transcription complex and is required to establish a permissive chromatin state at signature EMT genes. Genome-wide analysis identifies a unique cohort of inducible PKC-θ-sensitive genes that are directly tethered to PKC-θ in the mesenchymal state. Collectively, we show that cross talk between signaling kinases and chromatin is critical for eliciting inducible transcriptional programs that drive mesenchymal differentiation and CSC formation, providing novel mechanisms to target using epigenetic therapy in breast cancer.

Related: Breast Cancer Signal Transduction

Dave B, Granados-Principal S, Zhu R, et al.
Targeting RPL39 and MLF2 reduces tumor initiation and metastasis in breast cancer by inhibiting nitric oxide synthase signaling.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014; 111(24):8838-43 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/02/2015 Related Publications
We previously described a gene signature for breast cancer stem cells (BCSCs) derived from patient biopsies. Selective shRNA knockdown identified ribosomal protein L39 (RPL39) and myeloid leukemia factor 2 (MLF2) as the top candidates that affect BCSC self-renewal. Knockdown of RPL39 and MLF2 by specific siRNA nanoparticles in patient-derived and human cancer xenografts reduced tumor volume and lung metastases with a concomitant decrease in BCSCs. RNA deep sequencing identified damaging mutations in both genes. These mutations were confirmed in patient lung metastases (n = 53) and were statistically associated with shorter median time to pulmonary metastasis. Both genes affect the nitric oxide synthase pathway and are altered by hypoxia. These findings support that extensive tumor heterogeneity exists within primary cancers; distinct subpopulations associated with stem-like properties have increased metastatic potential.

Related: Breast Cancer Lung Cancer Signal Transduction


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