Publications by authors named "Anna Marie Kenney"

22 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Upregulation of the chromatin remodeler HELLS is mediated by YAP1 in Sonic Hedgehog Medulloblastoma.

Sci Rep 2019 09 20;9(1):13611. Epub 2019 Sep 20.

Department of Pediatric Oncology, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, 30322, USA.

Medulloblastoma is a malignant pediatric tumor that arises from neural progenitors in the cerebellum. Despite a five-year survival rate of ~70%, nearly all patients incur adverse side effects from current treatment strategies that drastically impact quality of life. Roughly one-third of medulloblastoma are driven by aberrant activation of the Sonic Hedgehog (SHH) signaling pathway. However, the scarcity of genetic mutations in medulloblastoma has led to investigation of other mechanisms contributing to cancer pathogenicity including epigenetic regulation of gene expression. Here, we show that Helicase, Lymphoid Specific (HELLS), a chromatin remodeler with epigenetic functions including DNA methylation and histone modification, is induced by Sonic Hedgehog (SHH) in SHH-dependent cerebellar progenitor cells and the developing murine cerebella. HELLS is also up-regulated in mouse and human SHH medulloblastoma. Others have shown that HELLS activity generally results in a repressive chromatin state. Our results demonstrate that increased expression of HELLS in our experimental systems is regulated by the oncogenic transcriptional regulator YAP1 downstream of Smoothened, the positive transducer of SHH signaling. Elucidation of HELLS as one of the downstream effectors of the SHH pathway may lead to novel targets for precision therapeutics with the promise of better outcomes for SHH medulloblastoma patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-50088-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6754407PMC
September 2019

Atoh1/MATH1 Adds Up to Ciliogenesis for Transducing SHH Signaling in the Cerebellum.

Dev Cell 2019 01;48(2):129-130

Department of Pediatrics, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 303022, USA. Electronic address:

In the developing cerebellum, Sonic hedgehog (SHH) signaling is required for expansion of cerebellar granule neural progenitors, proposed to be cells-of-origin for the SHH-driven pediatric brain tumor medulloblastoma. In this issue of Developmental Cell, Chang et al. (2019) show that the transcription factor Atoh1/MATH1 regulates primary cilium formation, enabling SHH signaling.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.devcel.2019.01.012DOI Listing
January 2019

p53 Function Is Compromised by Inhibitor 2 of Phosphatase 2A in Sonic Hedgehog Medulloblastoma.

Mol Cancer Res 2019 01 17;17(1):186-198. Epub 2018 Sep 17.

Department of Pediatrics, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia.

Medulloblastomas, the most common malignant pediatric brain tumors, have been genetically defined into four subclasses, namely WNT-activated, Sonic Hedgehog (SHH)-activated, Group 3, and Group 4. Approximately 30% of medulloblastomas have aberrant SHH signaling and thus are referred to as SHH-activated medulloblastoma. The tumor suppressor gene has been recently recognized as a prognostic marker for patients with SHH-activated medulloblastoma; patients with mutant TP53 have a significantly worse outcome than those with wild-type TP53. It remains unknown whether p53 activity is impaired in SHH-activated, wild-type TP53 medulloblastoma, which is about 80% of the SHH-activated medulloblastomas. Utilizing the homozygous mouse model with wild-type Trp53, which recapitulates human SHH-activated medulloblastoma, it was discovered that the endogenous Inhibitor 2 of Protein Phosphatase 2A (SET/I2PP2A) suppresses p53 function by promoting accumulation of phospho-MDM2 (S166), an active form of MDM2 that negatively regulates p53. Knockdown of I2PP2A in primary medulloblastoma cells reduced viability and proliferation in a p53-dependent manner, indicating the oncogenic role of I2PP2A. Importantly, this mechanism is conserved in the human medulloblastoma cell line ONS76 with wild-type TP53. Taken together, these findings indicate that p53 activity is inhibited by I2PP2A upstream of PP2A in SHH-activated and -wildtype medulloblastomas. IMPLICATIONS: This study suggests that I2PP2A represents a novel therapeutic option and its targeting could improve the effectiveness of current therapeutic regimens for SHH-activated or other subclasses of medulloblastoma with wild-type TP53.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-18-0485DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6318027PMC
January 2019

Sonic Hedgehog Signaling Drives Mitochondrial Fragmentation by Suppressing Mitofusins in Cerebellar Granule Neuron Precursors and Medulloblastoma.

Mol Cancer Res 2016 Jan 7;14(1):114-24. Epub 2015 Oct 7.

Department of Pediatric Oncology, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia. Winship Cancer Institute, Atlanta, Georgia.

Unlabelled: Sonic hedgehog (Shh) signaling is closely coupled with bioenergetics of medulloblastoma, the most common malignant pediatric brain tumor. Shh-associated medulloblastoma arises from cerebellar granule neuron precursors (CGNP), a neural progenitor whose developmental expansion requires signaling by Shh, a ligand secreted by the neighboring Purkinje neurons. Previous observations show that Shh signaling inhibits fatty acid oxidation although driving increased fatty acid synthesis. Proliferating CGNPs and mouse Shh medulloblastomas feature high levels of glycolytic enzymes in vivo and in vitro. Because both of these metabolic processes are closely linked to mitochondrial bioenergetics, the role of Shh signaling in mitochondrial biogenesis was investigated. This report uncovers a surprising decrease in mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) and overall ATP production in CGNPs exposed to Shh, consistent with increased glycolysis resulting in high intracellular acidity, leading to mitochondrial fragmentation. Ultrastructural examination of mitochondria revealed a spherical shape in Shh-treated cells, in contrast to the elongated appearance in vehicle-treated postmitotic cells. Expression of mitofusin 1 and 2 was reduced in these cells, although their ectopic expression restored the MMP to the nonproliferating state and the morphology to a fused, interconnected state. Mouse Shh medulloblastoma cells featured drastically impaired mitochondrial morphology, restoration of which by ectopic mitofusin expression was also associated with a decrease in the expression of Cyclin D2 protein, a marker for proliferation.

Implications: This report exposes a novel role for Shh in regulating mitochondrial dynamics and rescue of the metabolic profile of tumor cells to that of nontransformed, nonproliferating cells and represents a potential avenue for development of medulloblastoma therapeutics.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-15-0278DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4715946PMC
January 2016

Reciprocal actions of ATF5 and Shh in proliferation of cerebellar granule neuron progenitor cells.

Dev Neurobiol 2012 Jun;72(6):789-804

Department of Pathology and Cell Biology, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, New York, USA.

Precise regulation of neuroprogenitor cell proliferation and differentiation is required for successful brain development, but the factors that contribute to this are only incompletely understood. The transcription factor ATF5 promotes proliferation of cerebral cortical neuroprogenitor cells and its down regulation permits their differentiation. Here, we examine the expression and regulation of ATF5 in cerebellar granule neuron progenitor cells (CGNPs) as well as the role of ATF5 in the transition of CGNPs to postmitotic cerebellar granule neurons (GCNs). We find that ATF5 is expressed by proliferating CGNPs in both the embryonic and postnatal cerebellar external granule layer (EGL) and in the rhombic lip, the embryonic structure from which the EGL arises. In contrast, ATF5 is undetectable in postmitotic GCNs. In highly enriched dissociated cultures of CGNPs and CGNs, ATF5 is expressed only in CGNPs. Constitutive ATF5 expression in CGNPs does not affect their proliferation or exit from the cell cycle. In contrast, in presence of sonic hedgehog (Shh), a mitogen for CGNPs, constitutively expressed ATF5 promotes CGNP proliferation and delays their cell cycle exit and differentiation. Conversely, ATF5 loss-of-function conferred by a dominant-negative form of ATF5 significantly diminishes Shh-stimulated CGNP proliferation and promotes differentiation. In parallel with its stimulation of CGNP proliferation, Shh enhances ATF5 expression by what appeared to be a posttranscriptional mechanism involving protein stabilization. These findings indicate a reciprocal interaction between ATF5 and Shh in which Shh stimulates ATF5 expression and in which ATF5 contributes to Shh-stimulated CGNP expansion.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/dneu.20979DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3857133PMC
June 2012

Myc on my mind: a transcription factor family's essential role in brain development.

Oncotarget 2010 Jun;1(2):86-8

Department of Cancer Biology and Genetics, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY 10021, USA.

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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3157705PMC
http://dx.doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.100611DOI Listing
June 2010

p27(Kip1), a double-edged sword in Shh-mediated medulloblastoma: Tumor accelerator and suppressor.

Cell Cycle 2010 Nov 27;9(21):4307-14. Epub 2010 Nov 27.

Department of Cancer Biology and Genetics, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, USA.

Medulloblastoma, a brain tumor arising in the cerebellum, is the most common solid childhood malignancy. the current standard of care for medulloblastoma leaves survivors with life-long side effects. Gaining insight into mechanisms regulating transformation of medulloblastoma cells-of-origin may lead to development of better treatments for these tumors. Cerebellar granule neuron precursors (CGNps) are proposed cells-of-origin for certain classes of medulloblastoma, specifically those marked by aberrant Sonic hedgehog (Shh) signaling pathway activation. CGNps require signaling by Shh for proliferation during brain development. In mitogen-stimulated cells, nuclear localized cyclin dependent kinase (cdk) inhibitor p27 (Kip1) functions as a checkpoint control at the G1- to S-phase transition by inhibiting cdk2. Recent studies have suggested cytoplasmically localized p27(Kip1) acquires oncogenic functions. Here, we show that p27(Kip1) is cytoplasmically localized in CGNps and mouse Shh-mediated medulloblastomas. transgenic mice bearing an activating mutation in the Shh pathway and lacking one or both p27(Kip1) alleles have accelerated tumor incidence compared to mice bearing both p27(Kip1) alleles. Interestingly, mice heterozygous for p27(Kip1) have decreased survival latency compared to p27(Kip1)-null animals. our data indicate that this may reflect the requirement for at least one copy of p27(Kip1) for recruiting cyclin D/cdk4/6 to promote cell cycle progression yet insufficient expression in the heterozygous or null state to inhibit cyclin E/cdk2. Finally, we find that mis-localized p27(Kip1) may play a positive role in motility in medulloblastoma cells. Together, our data indicate that the dosage of p27(Kip1) plays a role in cell cycle progression and tumor suppression in Shh-mediated medulloblastoma expansion.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3055184PMC
http://dx.doi.org/10.4161/cc.9.21.13441DOI Listing
November 2010

β-Arrestin-1 links mitogenic sonic hedgehog signaling to the cell cycle exit machinery in neural precursors.

Cell Cycle 2010 Oct 11;9(19):4013-24. Epub 2010 Oct 11.

Department of Cancer Biology and Genetics, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, USA.

Development of the cerebellum, a brain region regulating posture and coordination, occurs post-natally and is marked by rapid proliferation of granule neuron precursors (CGNPs), stimulated by mitogenic Sonic hedgehog (Shh) signaling. β-Arrestin (βArr) proteins play important roles downstream of Smoothened, the Shh signal transducer. However, whether Shh regulates βArrs and what role they play in Shh-driven CGNP proliferation remains to be determined. Here, we report that Shh induces βArr1 accumulation and localization to the nucleus, where it participates in enhancing expression of the cyclin dependent kinase (cdk) inhibitor p27, whose accumulation eventually drives CGNP cell cycle exit. βArr1 knockdown enhances CGNP proliferation and reduces p27 expression. Thus, Shh-mediated βArr1 induction represents a novel negative feedback loop within the Shh mitogenic pathway, such that ongoing Shh signaling, while required for CGNPs to proliferate, also sets up a cell-intrinsic clock programming their ultimate exit from the cell cycle.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3047755PMC
http://dx.doi.org/10.4161/cc.9.19.13325DOI Listing
October 2010

Double trouble: when sonic hedgehog signaling meets TSC inactivation.

Cell Cycle 2010 Feb 6;9(3):456-9. Epub 2010 Feb 6.

Department of Cancer Biology and Genetics and Brain Tumor Center, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, USA.

Certain types of medulloblastoma, the most common solid pediatric cancer, are proposed to arise from neural precursors known as cerebellar granule neuron precursors (CGNPs), which require signaling by Sonic hedgehog (Shh) and insulin-like growth factor (IGF) for their proliferation and survival. Aberrant activity of these pathways is implicated in medulloblastoma. IGF activates the mammalian Target of Rapamycin (mTOR), a growth-promoting kinase normally kept in check by the tumor suppressive Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC), comprised of TSC1 and TSC2. TSC also counteracts proliferation by stabilizing the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p27(Kip1), preventing progression through G(1)- to S-phase of the cell cycle. We reported that mice with impaired TSC activity show increased susceptibility to Shh-mediated medulloblastoma. CGNPs and tumors from these mice display increased proliferation, mTOR pathway activation, glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK-3) alpha/beta inactivation, and atypical p27(Kip1) cytoplasmic localization. GSK-3alpha/beta inactivation was mTOR-dependent, whereas p27(Kip1) localization was uncoupled from mTOR, and was instead regulated by TSC2. These results provide insight into the molecular 'hardwiring' of the mitogenic network downstream of Shh signaling and emphasize the separate yet synergistic effects regulated by the TSC complex in (1) fueling proliferation through mTOR activation/GSK-3alpha/beta inactivation and (2) compromising checkpoint mechanisms via TSC2-dependent p27(Kip1) nuclear exclusion. Future medulloblastoma therapies targeting Shh signaling can be developed to selectively modulate these activities, to restore checkpoint control and attenuate uncontrolled hyperproliferation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4161/cc.9.3.10532DOI Listing
February 2010

YAP1 is amplified and up-regulated in hedgehog-associated medulloblastomas and mediates Sonic hedgehog-driven neural precursor proliferation.

Genes Dev 2009 Dec;23(23):2729-41

Department of Cancer Biology and Genetics, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York 10021, USA.

Medulloblastoma is the most common solid malignancy of childhood, with treatment side effects reducing survivors' quality of life and lethality being associated with tumor recurrence. Activation of the Sonic hedgehog (Shh) signaling pathway is implicated in human medulloblastomas. Cerebellar granule neuron precursors (CGNPs) depend on signaling by the morphogen Shh for expansion during development, and have been suggested as a cell of origin for certain medulloblastomas. Mechanisms contributing to Shh pathway-mediated proliferation and transformation remain poorly understood. We investigated interactions between Shh signaling and the recently described tumor-suppressive Hippo pathway in the developing brain and medulloblastomas. We report up-regulation of the oncogenic transcriptional coactivator yes-associated protein 1 (YAP1), which is negatively regulated by the Hippo pathway, in human medulloblastomas with aberrant Shh signaling. Consistent with conserved mechanisms between brain tumorigenesis and development, Shh induces YAP1 expression in CGNPs. Shh also promotes YAP1 nuclear localization in CGNPs, and YAP1 can drive CGNP proliferation. Furthermore, YAP1 is found in cells of the perivascular niche, where proposed tumor-repopulating cells reside. Post-irradiation, YAP1 was found in newly growing tumor cells. These findings implicate YAP1 as a new Shh effector that may be targeted by medulloblastoma therapies aimed at eliminating medulloblastoma recurrence.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/gad.1824509DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2788333PMC
December 2009

Normal and oncogenic roles for microRNAs in the developing brain.

Cell Cycle 2009 Dec 5;8(24):4049-54. Epub 2009 Dec 5.

Department of Cancer Biology and Genetics and Brain Tumor Center, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, USA.

MicroRNAS (miRNAs) are small endogenous non-coding RNAs that play important roles in many different biological processes including proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis through silencing of target genes. Emerging evidence indicates that miRNAs are key players in mammalian development that, when altered, contribute to tumorigenesis. However, only a few studies to date have focused on the role of miRNAs in medulloblastoma, the most common malignant pediatric brain tumor. These tumors arise in the cerebellum and may attribute their origins to deregulated proliferation of neural progenitor cells during development. Understanding the interplay between normal brain development and medulloblastoma pathogenesis is necessary in order for more efficient, less toxic targeted therapies to be developed and implemented. MiRNA expression profiling of both mouse and human medulloblastomas has led to the identification of signatures correlating with the molecular subgroups of medulloblastoma, tumor diagnosis and response to treatment, as well as novel targets of potential clinical relevance. This review summarizes the recent miRNA literature in both medulloblastoma and normal brain development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4161/cc.8.24.10243DOI Listing
December 2009

Tuberous sclerosis complex suppression in cerebellar development and medulloblastoma: separate regulation of mammalian target of rapamycin activity and p27 Kip1 localization.

Cancer Res 2009 Sep 8;69(18):7224-34. Epub 2009 Sep 8.

Department of Cancer Biology and Genetics, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York 10021, USA.

During development, proliferation of cerebellar granule neuron precursors (CGNP), candidate cells-of-origin for the pediatric brain tumor medulloblastoma, requires signaling by Sonic hedgehog (Shh) and insulin-like growth factor (IGF), the pathways of which are also implicated in medulloblastoma. One of the consequences of IGF signaling is inactivation of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR)-suppressing tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC), comprised of TSC1 and TSC2, leading to increased mRNA translation. We show that mice, in which TSC function is impaired, display increased mTOR pathway activation, enhanced CGNP proliferation, glycogen synthase kinase-3 alpha/beta (GSK-3 alpha/beta) inactivation, and cytoplasmic localization of the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p27(Kip1), which has been proposed to cause its inactivation or gain of oncogenic functions. We observed the same characteristics in wild-type primary cultures of CGNPs in which TSC1 and/or TSC2 were knocked down, and in mouse medulloblastomas induced by ectopic Shh pathway activation. Moreover, Shh-induced mouse medulloblastomas manifested Akt-mediated TSC2 inactivation, and the mutant TSC2 allele synergized with aberrant Shh signaling to increase medulloblastoma incidence in mice. Driving exogenous TSC2 expression in Shh-induced medulloblastoma cells corrected p27(Kip1) localization and reduced proliferation. GSK-3 alpha/beta inactivation in the tumors in vivo and in primary CGNP cultures was mTOR-dependent, whereas p27(Kip1) cytoplasmic localization was regulated upstream of mTOR by TSC2. These results indicate that a balance between Shh mitogenic signaling and TSC function regulating new protein synthesis and cyclin-dependent kinase inhibition is essential for the normal development and prevention of tumor formation or expansion.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-09-1299DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2745891PMC
September 2009

The miR-17/92 polycistron is up-regulated in sonic hedgehog-driven medulloblastomas and induced by N-myc in sonic hedgehog-treated cerebellar neural precursors.

Cancer Res 2009 Apr 7;69(8):3249-55. Epub 2009 Apr 7.

Division of Neurosurgery, Arthur and Sonia Labatt Brain Tumour Research Centre, Program in Developmental and Stem Cell Biology, Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Medulloblastoma is the most common malignant pediatric brain tumor, and mechanisms underlying its development are poorly understood. We identified recurrent amplification of the miR-17/92 polycistron proto-oncogene in 6% of pediatric medulloblastomas by high-resolution single-nucleotide polymorphism genotyping arrays and subsequent interphase fluorescence in situ hybridization on a human medulloblastoma tissue microarray. Profiling the expression of 427 mature microRNAs (miRNA) in a series of 90 primary human medulloblastomas revealed that components of the miR-17/92 polycistron are the most highly up-regulated miRNAs in medulloblastoma. Expression of miR-17/92 was highest in the subgroup of medulloblastomas associated with activation of the sonic hedgehog (Shh) signaling pathway compared with other subgroups of medulloblastoma. Medulloblastomas in which miR-17/92 was up-regulated also had elevated levels of MYC/MYCN expression. Consistent with its regulation by Shh, we observed that Shh treatment of primary cerebellar granule neuron precursors (CGNP), proposed cells of origin for the Shh-associated medulloblastomas, resulted in increased miR-17/92 expression. In CGNPs, the Shh effector N-myc, but not Gli1, induced miR-17/92 expression. Ectopic miR-17/92 expression in CGNPs synergized with exogenous Shh to increase proliferation and also enabled them to proliferate in the absence of Shh. We conclude that miR-17/92 is a positive effector of Shh-mediated proliferation and that aberrant expression/amplification of this miR confers a growth advantage to medulloblastomas.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-08-4710DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2836891PMC
April 2009

Stabilization of N-Myc is a critical function of Aurora A in human neuroblastoma.

Cancer Cell 2009 Jan;15(1):67-78

Institute of Molecular Biology and Tumor Research, Marburg, Germany.

In human neuroblastoma, amplification of the MYCN gene predicts poor prognosis and resistance to therapy. In a shRNA screen of genes that are highly expressed in MYCN-amplified tumors, we have identified AURKA as a gene that is required for the growth of MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma cells but largely dispensable for cells lacking amplified MYCN. Aurora A has a critical function in regulating turnover of the N-Myc protein. Degradation of N-Myc requires sequential phosphorylation by cyclin B/Cdk1 and Gsk3. N-Myc is therefore degraded during mitosis in response to low levels of PI3-kinase activity. Aurora A interacts with both N-Myc and the SCF(Fbxw7) ubiquitin ligase that ubiquitinates N-Myc and counteracts degradation of N-Myc, thereby uncoupling N-Myc stability from growth factor-dependent signals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ccr.2008.12.005DOI Listing
January 2009

Insulin receptor substrate 1 is an effector of sonic hedgehog mitogenic signaling in cerebellar neural precursors.

Development 2008 Oct 28;135(19):3291-300. Epub 2008 Aug 28.

Department of Cancer Biology and Genetics, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY 10021, USA.

Sonic hedgehog (SHH) and insulin-like growth factor (IGF) signaling are essential for development of many tissues and are implicated in medulloblastoma, the most common solid pediatric malignancy. Cerebellar granule neuron precursors (CGNPs), proposed cells-of-origin for specific classes of medulloblastomas, require SHH and IGF signaling for proliferation and survival during development of the cerebellum. We asked whether SHH regulates IGF pathway components in proliferating CGNPs. We report that SHH-treated CGNPs showed increased levels of insulin receptor substrate 1 (IRS1) protein, which was also present in the germinal layer of the developing mouse cerebellum and in mouse SHH-induced medulloblastomas. Previous roles for IRS1, an oncogenic protein that is essential for IGF-mediated proliferation in other cell types, have not been described in SHH-mediated CGNP proliferation. We found that IRS1 overexpression can maintain CGNP proliferation in the absence of SHH. Furthermore, lentivirus-mediated knock down experiments have shown that IRS1 activity is required for CGNP proliferation in slice explants and dissociated cultures. Contrary to traditional models for SHH signaling that focus on gene transcription, SHH stimulation does not regulate Irs1 transcription but rather stabilizes IRS1 protein by interfering with mTOR-dependent IRS1 turnover and possibly affects Irs1 mRNA translation. Thus, we have identified IRS1 as a novel effector of SHH mitogenic signaling that may serve as a future target for medulloblastoma therapies. Our findings also indicate a previously unreported interaction between the SHH and mTOR pathways, and provide an example of a non-classical means for SHH-mediated protein regulation during development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1242/dev.022871DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2673703PMC
October 2008

N-myc is an essential downstream effector of Shh signaling during both normal and neoplastic cerebellar growth.

Cancer Res 2006 Sep;66(17):8655-61

Clinical Research Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98109, USA.

We examined the genetic requirements for the Myc family of oncogenes in normal Sonic hedgehog (Shh)-mediated cerebellar granule neuronal precursor (GNP) expansion and in Shh pathway-induced medulloblastoma formation. In GNP-enriched cultures derived from N-myc(Fl/Fl) and c-myc(Fl/Fl) mice, disruption of N-myc, but not c-myc, inhibited the proliferative response to Shh. Conditional deletion of c-myc revealed that, although it is necessary for the general regulation of brain growth, it is less important for cerebellar development and GNP expansion than N-myc. In vivo analysis of compound mutants carrying the conditional N-myc null and the activated Smoothened (ND2:SmoA1) alleles showed, that although granule cells expressing the ND2:SmoA1 transgene are present in the N-myc null cerebellum, no hyperproliferation or tumor formation was detected. Taken together, these findings provide in vivo evidence that N-myc acts downstream of Shh/Smo signaling during GNP proliferation and that N-myc is required for medulloblastoma genesis even in the presence of constitutively active signaling from the Shh pathway.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-06-1621DOI Listing
September 2006

Neural precursor cycling at sonic speed: N-Myc pedals, GSK-3 brakes.

Cell Cycle 2006 Jan 1;5(1):47-52. Epub 2006 Jan 1.

Division of Basic Sciences, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington, USA.

Signaling by the sonic hedgehog (Shh) pathway is essential for neural precursor population expansion during normal central nervous system (CNS) development, and is implicated in the childhood brain tumor, medulloblastoma. The proto-oncogene N-myc plays essential roles as a downstream effector of Shh proliferative effects in neural precursors of the cerebellum, where medulloblastomas arise. It is likely that N-Myc has analogous functions in medulloblastomas and other CNS tumors where it is highly expressed due to altered regulation or gene amplification. Myc destabilization occurs in response to phosphorylation by GSK-3beta. N-Myc degradation is required for cerebellar neural precursors to exit the cell cycle. During mitosis in cerebellar neural precursors, levels of N-Myc primed for phosphorylation by GSK-3beta increase, due to cdk1 complex activity towards N-Myc. GSK-3beta is kept in check by insulin-like growth factor signaling, which also plays critical roles in brain development and cancer. These findings indicate that therapeutic strategies targeting N-myc and the IGF pathway might be effective against medulloblastoma.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4161/cc.5.1.2292DOI Listing
January 2006

The Cdk1 complex plays a prime role in regulating N-myc phosphorylation and turnover in neural precursors.

Dev Cell 2005 Sep;9(3):327-38

Department of Pediatric Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.

Myc family transcription factors are destabilized by phosphorylation of a conserved amino-terminal GSK-3beta motif. In proliferating cerebellar granule neuron precursors (CGNPs), Sonic hedgehog signaling induces N-myc expression, and N-myc protein is stabilized by insulin-like growth factor-mediated suppression of GSK-3beta. N-myc phosphorylation-mediated degradation is a prerequisite for CGNP growth arrest and differentiation. We investigated whether N-myc phosphorylation and turnover are thus linked to cell cycle exit in primary mouse CGNP cultures and the developing cerebellum. We report that phosphorylation-induced turnover of endogenous N-myc protein in CGNPs increases during mitosis, due to increased priming phosphorylation of N-myc for GSK-3beta. The priming phosphorylation requires the Cdk1 complex, whose cyclin subunits are indirect Sonic hedgehog targets. These findings provide a mechanism for promoting growth arrest in the final cycle of neural precursor proliferation competency, or for resetting the cell cycle in the G1 phase, by destabilizing N-myc in mitosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.devcel.2005.07.014DOI Listing
September 2005

Subtracting the Math: prominin-positive cerebellar stem cells in white matter.

Nat Neurosci 2005 Jun;8(6):699-701

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nn0605-699DOI Listing
June 2005

Hedgehog and PI-3 kinase signaling converge on Nmyc1 to promote cell cycle progression in cerebellar neuronal precursors.

Development 2004 Jan 3;131(1):217-28. Epub 2003 Dec 3.

Department of Pediatric Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.

Neuronal precursor cells in the developing cerebellum require activity of the sonic hedgehog (Shh) and phosphoinositide-3-kinase (PI3K) pathways for growth and survival. Synergy between the Shh and PI3K signaling pathways are implicated in the cerebellar tumor medulloblastoma. Here, we describe a mechanism through which these disparate signaling pathways cooperate to promote proliferation of cerebellar granule neuron precursors. Shh signaling drives expression of mRNA encoding the Nmyc1 oncoprotein (previously N-myc), which is essential for expansion of cerebellar granule neuron precursors. The PI3K pathway stabilizes Nmyc1 protein via inhibition of GSK3-dependent Nmyc1 phosphorylation and degradation. The effects of PI3K activity on Nmyc1 stabilization are mimicked by insulin-like growth factor, a PI3K agonist with roles in central nervous system precursor growth and tumorigenesis. These findings indicate that Shh and PI3K signaling pathways converge on N-Myc to regulate neuronal precursor cell cycle progression. Furthermore, they provide a rationale for therapeutic targeting of PI3K signaling in medulloblastoma.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1242/dev.00891DOI Listing
January 2004

Nmyc upregulation by sonic hedgehog signaling promotes proliferation in developing cerebellar granule neuron precursors.

Development 2003 Jan;130(1):15-28

Department of Pediatric Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.

Hedgehog pathway activation is required for expansion of specific neuronal precursor populations during development and is etiologic in the human cerebellar tumor, medulloblastoma. We report that sonic hedgehog (Shh) signaling upregulates expression of the proto-oncogene Nmyc in cultured cerebellar granule neuron precursors (CGNPs) in the absence of new protein synthesis. The temporal-spatial expression pattern of Nmyc, but not other Myc family members, precisely coincides with regions of hedgehog proliferative activity in the developing cerebellum and is observed in medulloblastomas of Patched (Ptch) heterozygous mice. Overexpression of Nmyc promotes cell-autonomous G(1) cyclin upregulation and CGNP proliferation independent of Shh signaling. Furthermore, Myc antagonism in vitro significantly decreases proliferative effects of Shh in cultured CGNPs. Together, these findings identify Nmyc as a direct target of the Shh pathway that functions to regulate cell cycle progression in cerebellar granule neuron precursors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1242/dev.00182DOI Listing
January 2003

Identification of genes expressed with temporal-spatial restriction to developing cerebellar neuron precursors by a functional genomic approach.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2002 Apr;99(8):5704-9

Department of Pediatric Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, 44 Binney Street, Boston, MA 02115, USA.

Hedgehog pathway activation is required for proliferation of cerebellar granule cell neuron precursors during development and is etiologic in certain cerebellar tumors. To identify genes expressed specifically in granule cell neuron precursors, we used oligonucleotide microarrays to analyze regulation of 13,179 genes/expressed sequence tags in heterogeneous primary cultures of neonatal mouse cerebellum that respond to the mitogen Sonic hedgehog. In conjunction, we applied experiment-specific noise models to render a gene-by-gene robust indication of up-regulation in Sonic hedgehog-treated cultures. Twelve genes so identified were tested, and 10 (83%) showed appropriate expression in the external granular layer (EGL) of the postnatal day (PN) 7 cerebellum and down-regulation by PN 15, as verified by in situ hybridization. Whole-organ profiling of the developing cerebellum was carried out from PN 1 to 30 to generate a database of temporal gene regulation profiles (TRPs). From the database an algorithm was developed to capture the TRP typical of EGL-specific genes. The "TRP-EGL" accurately predicted expression in vivo of an additional 18 genes/expressed sequence tags with a sensitivity of 80% and a specificity of 88%. We then compared the positive predictive value of our analytical procedure with other widely used methods, as verified by the TRP-EGL in silico. These findings suggest that replicate experiments and incorporation of noise models increase analytical specificity. They further show that genome-wide methods are an effective means to identify stage-specific gene expression in the developing granule cell lineage.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.082092399DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC122835PMC
April 2002